Tag Archives: work

Office Picture

wpid5220-AU0E0982.jpgI have been working in an office in Sacramento on a project for a while.  With the end of the year coming up, an office calendar is being put together.  The majority of the pictures in the calendar are from the team members and their activities throughout the year.  However, there was also a need for a group photo.  I was asked if I would take the shot.  I was happy to do it but I also am a little less happy taking pictures of people than I am when it comes to inanimate objects!

I took a couple of flashes along with me and a remote trigger.  However, I was not willing to find out whether the whole thing would work only when everyone was there.  Therefore, a little early setup was in order.  I had a couple of volunteers to help by standing in various places to see how the light was working out.  Initially it was not good with the spread of light not avoiding some harsh shadows.  A bit of tweaking improved things a bit.  When everyone arrived for the shot, the result was a little different but acceptable.  A few people still managed to get in shadows and the corners did not look as good as I would have liked but the team seemed happy with the result.  I shall have to work out how I would do it differently another time.  Not an area I work in a lot but one I would like to be better at.


This is a short piece and has absolutely nothing to do with photography – unless you consider going on a photo shoot as a reason to not keep to your other schedule items!  It is safe to say that the holidays did not fit in with my normal exercise schedule.  I have a pretty regular routine that I try to do each week but, having people to stay for the holidays and the distractions of food and drink meant everything went on hold.  Even the last chance before Christmas was sacrificed to a trip to Waukegan to shoot the Mustangs and Buckeye!

Anyway, the holidays are done, our friends have headed home and it is back to a normal routine.  That means back to the gym.  In the past I have felt crap after some time out from exercise and, after an odd experience, I have been better about knowing when I am reaching that point.  Consequently, today I went in with a limited plan.  However, nearly two weeks off combined with a lot of indulgence means even that plan was a stretch.  I did it but I did not fell particularly great.  However, I survived (otherwise you would not be reading this)!

Usually the next visit is significantly better.  I hope so!  I also need to get into the routine again since my annual check-up is coming and I don’t want the Christmas and New Year excess to be too obvious to my doctor!  Good luck to all of you in a similar boat to me.  To those that kept working out during the holidays, well done – I do hate you of course!

Article In Progress

When you are first putting together a piece for a magazine, you don’t know exactly what sort of response you are going to get from the subject.  I am presently working on a piece about a manufacturer of business jets.  The magazine is getting well established so it should be a good amount of exposure for the company but you never know whether that is something they want or not.

When I contacted this company, I got a speedy response from their PR team which was great.  They provided responses to a series of questions I emailed to them but that is really only half of a story.  When writing questions, you think you have covered the main bases.  Then you get the responses and they trigger further questions.  In a face to face interview, this process also takes place but you get to deal with the back and forth immediately and the result should be a lot better as a result.

Consequently, with a little prodding, I managed to secure an interview with one of the board members of the company.  He arranged to meet me at one of their facilities that was conveniently located for me to get to.  When I got there, he immediately had to apologize that an aircraft closing was happening that morning and he couldn’t immediately be available.  This was really no big deal for me since I had made plenty of time available in case anything should mess up the schedule.  Selling aircraft is the business they are in so it isn’t hard to see that it should take preference over an interview.

In the mean time, one of the team was available to show me around the hangars.  I needed to get images of the aircraft in work to illustrate the piece and he was great at helping me get what I needed.  There were only two restrictions applied.  Registration numbers had to be obscured since customers owned the aircraft and some of the internal looms could not be shown.  This was fine by me and wasn’t going to limit the piece at all.

Aside from those rules, everything was made available.  Aircraft were powered up if I needed them.  Anything in the way or obscuring the shot was removed.  Gallery access was fine to get an overview of the hangars.  When I asked if anything was out on the ramp, I was told it wasn’t but if I wanted something, it would be put out there.  Fantastic cooperation and all provided with the friendliest attitudes.  Everyone I met in the hangar was very friendly.  They treated me the way they apparently treat visiting customers – shame I don’t have the cash to be a customer!

With the important things taken care of, it was possible to conduct the interview.  The person I was interviewing was very helpful and willing to discuss most things that I brought up.  One aspect of it was quite interesting from my point of view.  My idea of who I am is not necessarily the same as that of the interviewee.  I shall explain.  I am interested in the topic that I am writing about and I have a fair bit of experience in the subject so like to delve a little deeper into the subject.  I am interested in understanding but I am not trying to embarrass the company.  They will get a chance to review what we write to make sure we do not say anything untrue.

As far as they are concerned, I am a journalist who wants a story.  Will I try and make them look bad?  They don’t know.  The answers are all in line with the general message the company wants to portray.  This is perfectly reasonable.  However, it can mean that they are not going to give me the most frank answers to the questions or may avoid answering them altogether.  As we were talking, I found this a little odd.  It was only when I thought about it further afterwards that it made more sense.  They don’t know me, what my motives might be and they have a business to protect and promote.  I guess this is an example of my own inexperience in some aspects of this.

None of this should in anyway suggest that I wasn’t provided with the utmost cooperation.  The team were great and I hope they find the article both fair and interesting.  I wish them the best with their efforts and hope that we might get to work again some time.  Now to just get some images of the aircraft flying!

Can Everyone Do Anything?

First things first, if you are interested in the photography pieces I put up, this one might not be for you.  This is one of those things that has been making me think for a bit and I felt like blogging about it since it might provide some interesting feedback from anyone out there.

I have seen a number of things recently that seem part of a trend.  The death of Steve Jobs was one of these stories but it is by no means unique.  The general theme is that with hard work and commitment, anyone can achieve their goals and ambitions.  This is a very nice feelgood kind of thing but I wonder if it is really true.

I certainly do not disagree that, to achieve high levels of success, you are probably going to have to put a ton of effort in and make sacrifices along the way to get what you want.  (There will be occasional cases where the great stuff falls in the lap of someone but I don’t think they are the rule!)  For those of you that like logic options, I wonder whether one implying the other is being misconstrued as an equivalence.

A friend recently tweeted a link to a motivational speaker that I checked out.  They had the same message:  anyone can achieve their ambitions with hard work and determination.  I just don’t think that is true.  The fact you hear these messages from people that have achieved something gives it credence but, are they natural achievers and not a fair sample of the population?  Are they telling everyone to never give up and never settle when, perhaps, that might actually be a good thing for them to do?  Do you know someone who you suspect could never achieve their goals however hard they tried?

This is part of a general theme I notice today about wanting things enough being what matters.  A parallel to this is sickness, particularly cancer.  There is a common theme about fighting cancer and not giving up.  Cancer can be a vicious illness and there are times when it is going to be fatal however hard you try.  Are we now judging its victims as people who didn’t try hard enough to live?  I don’t believe that is right but it seems to be the subtext a lot more these days.  Phrases like “He finally couldn’t fight it any more” get used and imply that they could have done more.  What a rotten message to send and a poor impression to leave the bereaved about how you view what happened.

What is all this to say?  My point is that we can strive to do things and to overcome situations.  However, we don’t all have some preordained right to achieve everything we want that can be attained only if we try hard enough.  Try, yes!  If you don’t always make it, you are not a failure.  You are a human-being, just like those telling you how wonderful they have been doing something you couldn’t do in the end.