Sunday, August 23, 2015

2015 August 23rd not a bad morning: red sun and floatplane

The hydro (electricity) was scheduled to be off in Moosonee today so we were up early to make coffee before it went out. I checked outside and it really did not look that promising. No glorious sunrise seemed to be in the offing.

A bit later there was a little bit of colour down the river before sunrise so I headed outside. Nothing spectacular. Some cranes around but it was pretty dark although they were pretty loud.

Other people told me they saw a quartet of bald eagles at the other end of the sandbar. Also saw a hydro boat traveling to and from Moose Factory -- figured they were picking up workers.

All of a sudden things picked up. A red sun started to rise across and down the river from where I was shooting from the Two Bay docks. I had come outside with a 70-200mm lens and all of a sudden I wanted something longer.

It took me a few minutes to get back to the house and pick up something more suitable. The sun was still red but unfortunately it was also quite bright which meant it was not possible to really place it within the landscape. I tried an HDR sequence but didn't like the results when I processed them later.

The power was supposed to go off at 7:00 a.m. and sunrise was 6:23 so I didn't have a lot of time to process a few pictures before I shut down the computer. Got a few posted and turned it off and waited for the darkness.

The darkness was a bit slow in coming but eventually did. Didn't seem much else was likely but all of a sudden I noticed that the floatplane that had been docked was moving. Got a couple of shots of it from the top of the river bank as it taxied down the river.

It taxied a long way. I had time to get back on to the dock at Two bay where the aircraft would seem to come almost right at me as it took off before it turned and revved its engines for take off.

I was shooting RAW so I had to watch out that I did not overflow the buffer on my Canon 7DII. Takes a little discipline, learning not to just press the shutter and fill the memory card.

Got a reasonable sequence of the aircraft, a Sealane 182 taking off. Processing them was interesting since the sun had been on the far side of the aircraft. Finally decided to heck with the background and worked on keeping the near side of the aircraft reasonably light.

A lot of pictures so I decided to create a separate gallery on my smugmug site and just post links to that.

One comment I got later on was that the Sealane 182 had a three bladed propeller and the aircraft I photographed had a two bladed. A few internet sites later taught me that the plane could have two or three blades so I left my captions alone.

I took a few other pictures that I didn't use; ravens following me around looking for breakfast, people camping on Charles Island.

The past couple of days I had been using my new Canon G3X but today I used DSLRs. There is no way to follow a fast moving object on a back panel the
way you can through a viewfinder.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Making money with photography

Photography can be an awfully expensive hobby. It is one of those fields where you generally get what pay for in equipment and everything you buy is out of date a few months later. Ok, that is a bit of an exaggeration, lenses tend to last for a long time.

I take a lot of pictures; tens of thousands every year -- sometimes a thousand in a single day. The shutter on a camera is rated for a finite number of pictures, maybe 150,000 or so. Every picture you take is using up a bit of your equipment.

If you use flash you use up batteries. Those I buy when I go down south because they are a lot cheaper at Wal-Mart in Timmins than they are in Moosonee.

Replacements for cameras come out every three or four years. Unfortunately there are often big improvements with each generation and it is hard to say no, I don't "need" this new technology.

That's the justification for spending the money.

I'm fortunate that live a fairly simple life so I can devote much of my income to photography but at times it seems tempting to try to make some money as well.

Not so easily done.

One thing I don't do is charge for taking pictures. People sometimes call me and ask how much I would want to take some shots at this party or that event. The answer is zero. I have a day job. Most of the time I take pictures to please myself: sunrises, birds, trains, the river...

I have several websites. On a couple of them I have advertising. So far today I have taken in seven cents from that. It adds up and some days are better than others. Mind you, some are worse. In my dream world the advertising would pay for the websites. Probably not in this lifetime.

I sell prints from one website. Of course I also let people download most of the pictures so they can print them themselves. Sales are not a big feature; something comes along every few months it seems, mostly small sales. It took me about five years to make $1000 in sales.

Newspapers buy pictures sometimes. Out of town ones do if something big happens here or if I have a shot of something that was in the news. The bad things about this are that not much happens here that is of interest to the outside world and sometimes newspapers don't pay much or fail to pay at all. In the past there was a fairly local paper that used to  print a lot of my pictures and that was a reasonable and regular source of income. I had my first article in a newspaper when I was in high school and it is still a thrill to see my stuff in print, paid or not.

Finally and sort of surprisingly I sell pictures for textbooks. Here it helps to have a site that is relatively well indexed. This means that editors can search for specific images.

One nasty thing about making money is having to pay tax on it. That takes a lot of the fun out of the whole little business. I can deduct a few expenses, e.g. web space, which helps a bit.

In the end none of these small sources of income comes close to covering the costs of my photography hobby. In some ways that is a good thing. It reminds me that it is a hobby; that it is something I do because I enjoy doing it not something I have to do to make a living.