Wednesday, December 27, 2006

ImageKind update

Great news for you APO/FPO customers!

I just got a message from customer support at ImageKind and they told me two important pieces of information:

1) Thay are actively working on a way to ship using USPS mail, thereby opening up the APO/FPO/PO Box customer base, and...

2) If you e-mail or call them with your purchase request they can arrange for a USPS shipment NOW.

I love this company.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Why Didn't I (or you) Think of That?

One of the things I have always hated about e-commerce and my images is that I always get asked about framing options. To tell you the truth, having been in the contest world for some time I'm of the mindset that everything belongs in a black frame with a white mat.

My lovely wife disagrees with me. And she's right.

As usual.

I have wished there was a simple, one-stop-shopping way for my customers to select an image, pick out a nice frame and then select the mat colors to suit their homes. Wouldn't that just be the coolest thing?

Well, our wishes have come true! IMAGEKIND has apparently picked our collective dreams and done exactly that. They spent quite a bit of time in my brain as they offer a LOT of things that I have always wanted as well: the ability for me to caption my images, their use of EPSON gilcee' printers using EPSON archival inks and EPSON papers (all things I firmly believe in), rag and suede mats, metal AND wood frames, single/double/triple mat layers, acrylic or glass glazing options and the big one for me:



My brain is literally buzzing with excitement about FINALLY being able to offer my images with a partner that allows YOU to select what holds my prints. Listen, you can hear the buzzing I swear, even from here in England.

The only downside is they don't currently ship to APO/FPO addresses but I've already started begging them to figure some way to help the military folks out. If you'd like to see that as an option, kindly let them hear your voice in a quick e-mail.

Stop by the site and give it a good look-through, images are being added frequently so check often. If you know of an image you want seen on the site, drop me a quick e-mail and I'll see what I can do!


Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Codetalkers

You might think I'm referring to the Navajo tribe members who, literally, saved many a life during WWII using their language as a code to deliver messages in the Pacific theater. I'm not, but if you get the chance, read about their exploits and how despite being maltreated for decades answered the call of a nation during war.

I'm talking about all the gobbledy-gook known as HTML or HyperText Markup Language. That's the stuff that makes up websites. I like to think of myself as a fart smeller, er... smart feller, but this stuff makes my head hurt. Reminds me of the headaches I get when reading stuff by Ansel Adams and he launches into how film grain consists of the visible structure created by silver halide crystals... blah blah blah. Serious Excedrin territory here.

I decided that the website needed a new look and after careful consideration (not really) thought a FLASH based site would be cool. You know, music, moving images, stuff like that. So, I delved into the exciting world of HTML code.


Don't get me wrong, I'm pleased as punch with the new website! Several folks have looked at it and given it a virtual thumbs-up. I think it's much easier to navigate and looks pretty stinking good, but holy cow did I spend many a night trying to figure out what strange demon monster would emerge from my monitor when I edited things like:

id="index" width="740" height="520">

Scary, isn't it?

Anyways, with that off of my chest, please take a look at the site if you get a minute. Some neat stuff there and some exciting news coming up before the new year.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Apostle Paul and I: Brothers in Suffering?


If you get squeamish at the mention of the normal/abnormal processes of the human body, TURN AWAY NOW!

I'm fairly certain that when the Apostle Paul asked the Lord to remove the pain from his side he was referring specifically to a kidney stone. In his second letter to the church at Corinth he says in part:

"... there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me..."
2 Corinthians 12:7 NAS- Revised

Those of you who have had the sad experience of this malady are nodding your head and yelling "Preach on brother!" Paul suffered many painful challenges during his travels across the lands preaching the Way, but this pain had him asking God three times to takes it away. Obviously Paul was a much stronger man than I as I asked/pleaded/cried/screamed at God a hunderd times a second to take my pain away! If I am stong in my weakness I must have been Superman many times over...

During one of my many careers I was a registered nurse and had the honor of working at Auburn Regional Medical Center in Auburn, Washington. Part of my duties were monitoring patients as they had their kidney stones broken up using a fancy semi-trailer sized maching called an ESWL (electro shock-wave lithotripsy). Despite my lengthy training I couldn't help but think "it's a little bitty grain of sand, how bad could it be?".

Well I certainly found out while living in the Azores and Jill was gone to the States. Weird stuff always happens while your military spouse is gone TDY so I should have seen what was coming down the pike when I began a course of hematuria. Blood in the urine.

"Hmmm. That's funny."

What a dumb-ass. that night I was struck by what I could only describe as a cramp, a charley-horse of near Biblical proportions in my right side. Having 2 blown lumbar discs I have experienced pain before but HOLY COW this was something else alltogether! To make a long story short (I know, too late) it took a butt load (literally) of narcotics to get me to where the pain was "freaking ridiculous" so I could get home. thankfully Team Lajes was there to help me and friends and neighbors helped me through it all.

Fast forward to 3 weeks ago when I'm standing in the bathroom and my urine exits with a familiar color tint to it.

"Hmmm. That's funny. Ohhhh, crap."

Website re-design. Image cataloging. Slide scanning. Book publishing. Things I was in the midst of doing, events that had finally been gaining hard-sought momentum all came to a screeching halt. The worst part is that I'm now experienced and know the course of events to follow. I'm also no longer 3 minutes from the base, neighbors with most of the medical personnel who could assist me. I have more pheasants than heighbors for crying out loud (and I was)!

Finally, last week, the pain migrated from my side to my groin and I knew that THE EVENT was coming soon: expulsion. It happened during Emmalea's nap thank God and I knew for sure that as it was happening I would soon see an 8-pounder pop out (baby, bowling ball, small mouth bass, whatever) but in a miracle of matter transformation I soon found a little grain of sand in the bottom of my toilet bowl.

Funny. Felt bigger than that. Well, time to try and gain some momentum.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Well the leaves are turning, the gardens are being prepped for winter and of course that also means time to re-vamp the website. A disadvantage to being married to a US military member is the cold hard fact that you move frequently and that can often put the brakes on any career efforts. Luckily, photography is in demand around the world and I get to see it courtesy of Uncle Sam!

Take this example: Many of you know before being stationed in England we were at Lajes Field in the Azores, Portugal. What's there? 10,000 feet of runway and 6 million gallons of jet fuel. So, we got to see a wide variety of military planes come through. Trans-oceanic flights are long and boring so often pilots will bring along "reading material" to help pass the time. A flight of A-10 Warthogs from Alaska stopped in and guess what? I managed to get a photo of it landing with the magazine proudle displayed in the canopy. A couple of e-mails and voila' another tearsheet for the file. Planes from Alaska, magazine from California, photographer in the Azores. Ain't life grand?

So in my our verbose way I'm trying to tell you to 1) look for news about the upcoming web re-design and 2) be ready to see sights that only England (and the travel access it affords) can possess.


Friday, October 06, 2006

The Real Partridge Family

I am constantly amazed at how I can be doing something quite technically amazing (say, utilizing a broadband connection to share a Google Earth .KMZ file with friends and family) and in an instant be observing a wild animal turning the tables on me and observing... ME.

Case in point. This morning I was sitting here at the keyboard hard at work on the latest version of my photography website (OK, OK, I was multi-tasking and playing the My Little Pony game at the same time as Emmalea who whipped the pants off me) when that all-too-familiar bit of movement out of the corner of my eye made me pause. Just outside the office door looking quite intently at us was an honest dozen red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa). All of them for what seemed like forever but was likely only just a couple of seconds. I felt rather violated. Here I am grinding my nubby fingers to the bone pecking at keys and THEY'RE LOOKING AT ME. Insert shiver HERE!

Well, we'll just turn the tables a bit. I knew they would scatter as soon as I moved but I did anyways, slapped on the 300mm lens as well as a 1.4x teleconverter and cranked the ISO up to 800 (digital, what a God-send for adverse light situations) and snapped off a few frames as they bolted across the yard and into the side bed of plants.

Similarly we had a beautiful pheasant cock do the same last night, but at least he was polite and looked away when eye contact was made. Thank goodness I'm not one of those aberrant naked E-bay fanatics. I always keep my socks on. ;-)



Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Demise of a hen harrier

I like birds. That being said, I like some better then others and for reasons which are as diverse as the hues in a 128-count box of crayons. I'm rather fond of chicken (unless its a rooster going off at times other than sunrise, had one of those just outside out bedroom in the Azores) but as you might imagine that has more to do with dinner than anything else. I'm exceedingly fond of raptors.

While in Alaska I had the chance to observe the majestic Bald Eagle on numerous occasions. One particularly grand morning in Homer my son Jordan and I sat among them at close distance and got some incredible images. That was one of those days you talk about years later in hushed voices while sitting around a campfire sipping hot chocolate out of a tin mug that has clanged down many a trail clipped to the outside of your pack.

Today was a raptor encounter of a different sort. Mowing the lawn I noticed something hidden in the uncut grass near the rear of the property. I approached and upon closer inspection found it to be some sort of bird. Couple of pokes with a stick found it to be dead so, being the kind of guy I am, I picked it up to see what it was.

It was warm first off, not dead long at all. Not wounded, malnourished or visibly distressed. Like it just fell out of the sky. Between Jordan and I we determined (as well as we could) that what I had found was likely a female hen harrier (Circus cyaneus). Jordan was hands-on as usual and held it out so I could photograph her. Magnificent. A wonderfully curved beak, massive talons of the most extraordinary yellow and a magical pattern to her feathers. An incredible physical manifestation of God's creation in front of us. Perfectly designed to fly, hunt, eat. Sad that she is no more, I'm grateful for the chance to inspect her close up. So long hen harrier. Soar high.




Welcome to my blog where I will deposit my thoughts about being an American Yank living in Lord Nelson's land: Norfolk shire in England. This won't be a tourist's guide to this part of the United Kingdom, although I will certainly be featuring the sights around us I observe. Moreso it will be a place to record what daily life is like for a stay-at-home Dad in an 18th century farmhouse located in rural Norfolk county. You might also get to hear what it is like to be an American living overseas in these, um... unsettled times.

Sadly, it may also contain the mad rambling thoughts I have while mowing the lawn, maintaining the garden or working hard to refine my photographic skills. Please don't expect any form of political correctness (or political cowardess as I prefer) and I would certainly expect to come across such phrases as "poop" and "fart" as they seem fit. :-)