F-stops and All That

I’ve been wanting to get back into photography for quite awhile, but between work and work and more work I’ve been so creatively drained that’s it’s been a major chore even to finish reading a novel, for crying out loud. Well, no more. I signed up with Shutterstock to do some stock photography work. That was something I considered years ago, but the business model required so much time that I wasn’t able to meet the Big Guys’ specifications (travel, submit hundreds of photos at a time, etc.).

The business model has changed a lot in the last few years, and now there’s something called microstock photography. You don’t have to be a full-time photographer or submit hundreds of images — but of course, you still need to submit good work. By giving myself a “job” I will spend more time with my photography. I haven’t uploaded any images yet as I’m still filling out some paperwork and I need time to go through my portfolio and decide what will make good stock photography. Since I have some background in editorial work I have a bit of an idea what to expect, and I hope that works for me.

Approaching photography with the idea of purposely shooting stock means that I will also spend some time coming up with compositions. I don’t expect to do portraits or events; landscapes, buildings, and things that don’t move are more to my liking. I spent a season at a ski resort in New Hampshire taking photos of skiers and snowboarders, and it was pretty hard to get everyone posed without having them slide down the mountain while I was fiddling around with aperture settings!

So, I’m off to read up about stock photography (and get sidetracked reading about new camera gear and camera bags). I’ll be going to the Maine Astronomy Retreat at the end of July, and I’m hoping to have some more Milky Way photos that maybe I can turn into works of art or at least earn enough to buy myself a cup of coffee. So, I’m off to charge my camera batteries and scout out things around the house that would be interesting subjects for some still life compositions.

Bug Bites

It’s summer, and that means bug bites. Since I work indoors and rarely venture beyond the front porch to pick up the mail I usually don’t have to worry about more than a mosquito bite or two. But I just came back from a week’s vacation in Maine and I’m covered with red welts all over my legs and hands.

Don’t go looking for photos of things on the Internet if you aren’t prepared to see a lot of gross things you’d rather not imagine crawling on your skin, let alone sucking your blood or eating your skin cells. Gee, I’m glad to learn that chiggers aren’t buried in my skin (OMG!) but I really could have done without the portrait of the nasty little things. However, I’ve learned that putting nail polish on bug bites does relieve the itch. It’s kind of gross now, because I’m covered with nail polish and it peels off after a while just like your skin peels from sunburn. But at least I’m not scratching my skin raw.

This week I’m trying to get resettled into the work routine after a relaxing week off. I’m also drafting some encyclopedia articles for the forthcoming Technical Innovation in American History: An Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. And I have some photographs of the Milky Way that I took at the Maine Astronomy Retreat so I need to look through them and sort the duds from the … ahem … stellar ones.