Monday, July 6, 2009

The March of Progress

Building a website when one has no formal training in doing such is usually a bad idea. On the other hand, if one has not the necessary riches at hand to hire someone to do it for one, then there may be no other option. Seems like the story of one's life: do it one's self or don't do it at all.

Well, one found an alternative.

For the past few weeks I have been working away at my new site with tools provided by an outfit called SmugMug. I have since discovered that there are other companies offering pretty much the same but I decided to throw my lot in with the Smuggers. It has worked well and I'm quite happy with the upgrade in appearance I will now enjoy as a result. And although appearances may not be everything they do count in marketing photography. I hope.

It was certainly long overdue and, now that I am once again devoting so much time to taking pictures, I really had few other options. You can see the new site here: New Site!

While there take a look at my collection of San Francisco Doors. Back in the early nineties I compiled more than a hundred of them in about three days while producing a Corel Photo CD.

Tired feet.

It's mandatory to have an 0n-line portfolio and SmugMug does a great job of it. I'm especially pleased with the well integrated shopping cart. Nothing dampens a desire to purchase a photo like having to jump through a series of hoops and then actually having to contact the photographer himself anyway to discover he doesn't accept credit cards. One could possibly miss sales this way.

Besides providing actual quality prints in a gadzillion different finishes and formats, some regular products are also offered (mugs, tees, and the like). One may even download the photos as digital files, which is very convenient.

Hope it works!

A Catch

The vast majority of my work still resides in box after box of all the transparencies I've taken over my forty years in the business, all the way up to about 2005 A.D. when I really started to learn digital. All of this Kodachrome implies lots of scanning, i.e. time and money. Most of my best work is there and I really want to show it, so what to do?

Well, there is one possibility. Back in the early '90s I participated in the production of a huge project to digitize photography in order to make collections available on the then new recording medium called See Dees, or something like that. This, in effect, was the beginning of the end for film photography, so in one way I felt I was cutting the throat of the medium I loved so well. But it was clear as daylight that nothing I did or didn't do was going to alter the unyielding progress of technology. That would be like me believing that my breathing out contributed to global warming.

(Here's a photo from a Fruits and Vegetables collection I shot for a photo disk. You can see why I wanted these scans!)

Skip ahead fifteen years. I have a pile of CDs with a lot of my good work on them in fairly high res scans - why should I complain? Well, the file type used in those disks is no longer recognized by anyone but a few gray haired geeks in the basement at the Smithsonian Institute, so they have been pretty much irretrievable. How frustrating!

Note I said "pretty much". Every year or so I do a search to see if there is anything new in the "pull photo cd images out of their retirement" front. This year I finally struck pay dirt with "PCDTOJPEG". It's a DOS command line program so I had to reach back into the dark recesses of my memory and draw forth skills and tricks from my earliest days with computers, way before Windows. Way, way before.

With some very helpful e-mail support from the author of this great little program, AKA Sandy CornerFix, I've finally been able to access those scans. What a thrill! If you too have encountered this frustrating problem, let me be of service: PCDTOJPEG.

So now I'm busy transforming those hard to get at files with complimentary software that does a great job. This is going to be fun. Visit the site to see more!

The entrance to the "Li Po" Bar on Grant Avenue, right in the middle of Chinatown. I'll bet many of you have seen it, but have you dared enter?

Kiss me! (Move over Edward Weston.)