My photo was selected as a Finalist in the Annual Spring Photography Contest staged by Photographer’s Forum Magazine. In the great scheme of things, it’s really not that big a deal: out of about 10,000 entries (if I remember correctly) my photograph was chosen as one of 1,500 finalists. My entry didn’t get beyond that level in the judging process but will get published in the magazine’s Best of Photography 2015 book and today I received a nifty certificate proclaiming my achievement. If they’re publishing 1,000 pictures in their book, I expect mine will be pretty small, so it’s unlikely I’ll purchase a copy but they are making tear sheets available and I’ll be ordering a couple copies. I rarely enter contests so to have gotten this far, well, I’m pretty pleased. Here’s my entry (below) “Under the Shelf”, which looks far better on a big screen!
Whew! I’ve managed to put together the 2014 edition of my photographic calendar. It was quite a struggle working with the foibles and requirements of the publishing site but, at least, it should be easy for any buyer to purchase copies. I selected some of my favorite images from 2013 for use in the calendar. Selection wasn’t very difficult and it was fun looking back over the past year’s shoots. I know I left out a bunch of pictures I loved but only had space for a “baker’s dozen” in the calendar. Next project: the annual bicycle events calendar and after that, perhaps a photo exhibition for mid-2014. To view or purchase my 2014 calendar, click here!
I have long had an interested in printing and publishing and today, during a visit to Vermilion, Ohio, learned of the Vermilion News Print Shop Museum. Just off the city’s main street stands a two-story house with a storefront where the front door might have been located. The building and equipment served as a print shop and a weekly paper from 1905 – 1964, the whole time owned and operated by the same family. Family members lived upstairs from the business and worked various jobs downstairs.
A family member today is developing the shop as a museum illustrating not only the history of the family business but of printing technology and, increasingly, that of Vermilion.
It amazing how much heavy-duty printing equipment is crammed into the shop: “The print shop houses two linotypes (c. 1915) and four letter presses: Stonemetz 2 Revolution Newspaper Press (c. 1919), Kelly Press (c. 1917), Chandler and Price 8″ x 12″ Gordon Jobber Press (c. 1900), Heidelberg Windmill Press (c. 1954).”
There is much work ahead as the museum, only a year old, is developed. At least one of the presses will be put in working order and used for demonstrations. There are historic engraved plates and glass photographic negatives to be printed and documented. There are artifacts and treasures to be discovered and displayed. Personal tours are offered during museum hours and admission is by donation; visit, enjoy, and be generous!
Ah! My Big Annual Publishing Project is just about to be shipped off to the printer. This brings a sense of relief … all that work and stress of deadline finally over. Next comes the fun part: discovering what typos, errors, omissions I managed to commit to print and 25,000 copies! For now, though, it’s a good feeling.
It’s amazing companies like Lulu.com can print on demand products like books and, in my case, calendars at all. I was pretty cheesed off, however, when I received a batch of calendars that had, to my eye, a prominent printing flaw on several picture pages. Most people probably would not have noticed the flaws I saw, but it bothered me intensely. After a good bit of back and forth with their support folk and an attempt at printing with a different company, I’m back with Lulu. Even with the printing flaws, the Lulu.com job had richer colors and clearer reproductions of my photographs than did the (literally) lackluster competitor. So, since we’re now past the first of the year, my Lulu-published calendar is available at the lowest price they allow me to charge. In any event, I hope you have a happy new year and will stop back and see what sights I’ve seen as the months pass. My Lulu.com store is here.
I was sorely disappointed with Lulu.com this year. I’d created my 2011 calendar using that company expecting the same very good results I enjoyed last time. What I received was, in several places, second-rate printing at best. So today I used Zazzle.com to create a new edition of the 2011 calendar. Their online creation process was easy though didn’t seem to offer some customizations to which I am accustomed. Still, I’ve heard good things and will hope for the best. So I’ll be placing an order for close relatives and dearly hoping Zazzle provides me with excellent product! All told, next year’s calendars are costing me a fortune!
UPDATE: The calendars finally arrived at my PO Box over the weekend and I picked them up today (Dec. 6). They look very good though slightly shorter than the Lulu 2010 product. Zazzle’s image quality is very good (way better than what Lulu did to the 2011 calendar) though perhaps a bit flat. Then again, I’m used to computer screen and photographic print renditions. At least I now have something decent to send and sell.
Something happened with our PC systems –something to do with the change to Daylight Saving Time– that did not go well at all. So yesterday I arrived at the office to be asked casually by someone, "did you notice how all the computer clocks are off?" The clocks were off by an hour or two, or more, or even a day or so. Ulp! I still don't know what happened to the computers but I did spend a full 12-hour day shutting off security on each of the 50 or so computers, correcting the clocks, installing Microsoft updates and patches (hoping that helps), and turning security back on. All that while people were in the building. Odd, though, the PCs went through the change from DST to Standard Time last fall with no issues at all. I'm still investigating the incident and trying to find out what to do to avoid its repeating. I'd love it if the world's governments would finally just give up on this "saving time" business and stick with Standard Time year 'round; there are many good reasons to do that.
The unexpected additional work hours did, however, have a small bright side — I generated enough compensatory time off that I was able to stay home for the better part of the day. I used that time to create Web presence for the Big Publishing Project. Tomorrow I see and (presumably) approve proofs of the job and nearly all of my work on that 20-page, full-color beauty will be complete. I'm looking forward to some time off during my time off.
It's looking like the skies may be clear this weekend for a re-scheduled observatory public night. So, instead of kicking back and relaxing Saturday night, I'll probably be in a cold, dark dome keeping a century-old telescope aimed at the planet Saturn. Thing is, thinking about that right now makes it seem like a chore; I'm so very tired. There is, however, something about hearing "WOW!" and "COOL!" and "It's so beautiful!" from folks enjoying their first good look at Saturn that recharges my spirit.
Yesterday was bright and sunny. Today we have returned to winter gloom. It doesn't look good for the weekend, either, and Saturday night at the Observatory I was supposed to host our first Public Night for the year. Oh well, at least it looks like the sky conditions will be unambiguously opaque — no second-, third-, and fourth-guessing a decision on whether to open. The worst times are when we have an event planned and maybe it will be cloudy and maybe it won't be cloudy. Do I drive to the Observatory or not? Because this was going to be a Saturn Observation Campaign special event, we have a rare "rain" date –next Saturday– in case sky conditions prevent our opening. That's Northern Ohio for you… not exactly the astronomy capital of the world.
This year's big event calendar publishing project seems to have taken forever! In fact, we ought to be in print right now and might have been except we needed to find a new printing company. It seems Rohrich Corporation closed its doors, apparently late last year, and I was left scrambling looking for a new company that could provide excellent quality and service at an affordable price. I got three estimates and selected the new provider. About all that remains on the publishing end is a page or two of text to place, copy-fitting, and a photo caption or two. I hope to be able to >>finally<< finish the publication tomorrow (a scheduled day off) and ship the CD-ROM off to the new guys. Celebration will be in order. A bonus: this year, for the first time ever, I won't do the majority of shipping and distribution from my house! The new printer will handle that. What a relief: you have no idea how much 20,000 full-color "magazines" fresh off the press can stink up your house unless you've actually lived with it! Of course, I'll lose the exercise of lugging 20 or so cartons of 35 pounds each down into the basement and back up again over the course of a few months — I guess I'll have to do strength and cardio training some other way.
My thoughts go out to the fine folks formerly with Rohrich. So sorry to learn of the closure and job losses for people we worked with for many years. Here's hoping they all find better times not long ahead.
Weekend: We plan to visit the Cleveland Auto Show. Yes, a little pre-shopping.