Op Editorial

Off topic & political rant

So today, it kind of struck me exactly what the President is trying to do with raising minimum wage.  It started about 5-6 years ago with a little bill called the Affordable Care Act(ObamaCare)  One of the provisions of this law provide what is called a Full Time Equivalency(30) for people who qualify for health care.  It says that if a company with x number of employees works on average 30 or more hours the company MUST provide healthcare to employees working over 30 hours.

You can guess what happened.  Those companies reduced hours to less than 30 on average for their employees and simply hired more warm bodies to fill their labor gap.  Wow, guess what, reduced unemployment!  So instead of 1 person working 35 hours, the company now has 2 employees working 17 1/2 hours.  But hey, we’ve reduced the unemployment rate – those people are working MAN.

Suddenly the president realizes all those people need to make more money somehow.  The employer can’t boost their hours or they would have to provide health care.  So, here comes the push for raising the minimum wage.

Here’s what’s coming next.  Retailers will need to raise their prices in order to pay the employees and still generate a profit for their shareholders.  So, now the cost for goods and services goes up.

I’m sorry – what is that called?  Oh oh yeah Inflation.

Guess what, the raise you want to give to minimum wage earners would be worthless because they would have to pay more for everything.  But hey, in 3 years it will fall in someone elses lap.

No wonder he reminds me of Alfred E. Newman.  What Me Worry?

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Why I trust Scott Kelby

So I was catching up on my photo podcasts and I came across an episode of The GRID from Scott Kelby. It was shot in October and talked about a scandal in the photography community. I won’t go into names, but there were some photographers who were found to be using blog postings from other sources without attributing the original source.

No doubt about it, the messed up. I’m sure they didn’t mean any harm – they probably got a little lazy.

Scott’s podcast centered upon the aftermath of what happened. He was disappointed in the people who were involved in the scandal. But the thing that sets Scott apart was he was also upset with the response. I think it says a lot about Scott’s character that he was motivated to speak to his audience about what people do to trash each others reputation.

Let’s face it, when someone screws up there are tons of trolls who pile on and want to beat someone down. They don’t just express anger at the act – they have to go far and wide to tare people down.

The reason I respect Scott is he went against the mob and said wait a minute – nothing these people did really deserves this kind of public flogging.

Talk about it, be angry the scandal happened, but also learn from it.

And when someone makes a mistake, help them past it. I don’t think anyone was born to tare people down. We should be lifting them up.

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A glimpse at how I create my ideas and art.

Get organized.
I use Microsoft One Note. If you have an ipad you can download and link between your pc and the ipad. I capture photos and other items of interest.

In the photo below you’ll see a page from my notebook. A photo I found on the internet and my impressions of the photo. Some positive and some negative.

Train your eye.
I look at these photos in a critical way. What’s good, what’s bad? And why? It’s an artistic review of the elements in the photo and what I notice about them. All of the photos are of pretty girls wearing pretty clothes. But if you can’t look beyond that then you’ll never grow as a artist.

Be critical of your own work.
I look at my own photos and try to figure out what works and what doesn’t. You have to consider all aspects. Lighting, pose, setting. Everything. Do the shoes work? Consider it all.

How this applies to Models
Don’t just look at your photos and pat yourself on the back. Train yourself to notice the details. Some questions you should ask
– Is this your best Angle
– Does the angle flatter your figure
– Does the pose look comfortable or awkward
– Do you have the same expression in every photo

 

Notebook

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Why Pinterest isn’t the best option for organizing anymore.

Okay so I’ve previously talked about using Pinterest to organize your inspirational photos from the internet.  I still think that’s a good way to start, but my biggest gripe about you is that it’s not slideshow friendly.  What I mean is that the I want to use the photos in a slideshow, however Pinterest doesn’t have anything build in for that.  That totally screws up my organizational plans and doesn’t allow me to quickly view photos during an actual shoot.

My solution to this is to use Microsoft one note which comes with Microsoft Office 2010.  I really like the notebook approach.  Think of a scrapbook and One Note is perfect for this.  A cool feature is that you can actually drag and drop photos into the application.  Another words, drag a photo from a web page you like right into the application.

The other part is the ipad app for one note allows you to sync between the ipad and PC so your images are right there.   You can add your photos to a table and then add notes about what you like or don’t like.

Today I’m organizing photos that I’m actually had on my computer and I’m putting them into one note so that they are in better categories as well.  I’ve been wadding through all the photos that I have collected over the last few years and I’ve been picking and choosing the best to keep and organize.  I’ve got all kinds of different categories including dance, lingerie, glamour, and bit of boudoir.

Of the photos I’m keeping, I LOVE the beauty and elegance of the images.  I’m not into raunchy stuff.  When I work with a model, I want her to leave my studio feeling beautiful and powerful!

Here’s a screenshot of my notepad.  The categories are along the top.  The subcategories are on the right

 

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2 Queens – Endgame

Angaria

Angaria

The 2 armies stood silent across the final field.  Angaria’s generals had marched as far south as they dared before choosing the place for their attack.  The archers stood forward with the infantry standing in files behind them ready to move forward.  To the flanks waited her cavalry, not yet mounted but ready to take to horse when the order was given.

Her generals had chosen a large hill to make their stand.  The place mostly chose itself as it was the perfect place to mount a defense.  Their enemy would have to meet them 1/2 way up the hill thereby running uphill and getting tired in the processes.

Looking down at her enemy she could see the entire field of battle.  In a surprising move Moira had placed her trolls to the rear of her formation.  Angaria wasn’t sure that putting the man eating carnivores at her men’s back was the best move.  How Moira held the creatures in control was beyond her.

The last part of Angaria’s main line was her artillery.  Various siege engines lay to their rear next to vast piles or rocks and stones that they had piled in place.  Along her front lay a strong earthen wall with various entanglements and traps laid out.

The enemy’s disposition was almost identical except they had no defenses.  They would march toward Angaria until the archers were almost in range, and then the infantry would leapfrog their lines to attack.  As the infantry moved forward; so too would the archers coming in behind the infantry to harass and harry the defenders.

A disturbance to the rear of Moira’s lines drew Angaria’s attention.  3 riders on horseback broke through the lines and rode out to the middle of the field where they planted a white flag.

She turned to General Toroth and he nodded to her.  “Parlay, my lady.”  He then kicked his horse forward and Angaria and her page rode forward with him.  They picked their path through the field of entanglements and rode out to the center to meet Moira and her own officers.  When they reached the center they too stood their horses.  General Toroth removed his helmet and spat upon the ground.  Moira looked amused and a smirk briefly crossed her face before she turned her attention back to Angaria.

Angaria sat still returning Moira’s gaze.  An oppressive silence hung across the battle field and no one said anything for some few moments…

Moira finally spoke.  “You really are the beauty aren’t you?”  Her words seemed more sad than angry.  “It’s no wonder he loved you so.”  Angaria looked confused and asked “who loved me?”
Moira didn’t answer directly but her next words left little doubt.  “You favor him you know.”  The irony in her voice was unmistakable.

Angaria was angry at the remark.  “As if you could know,” she hissed.  Then she asked.  “Why this?  Why all this?  You destroy the world and kill everything in your path,” she said.  “Why this war?”

Then in exasperation, she gestured at the armies around them.  “Were you ignored as a child?  Did someone not give you some treat that you wanted?  Were you beaten as a child,” she asked.  General Toroth spat again and mumbled “Not beaten nearly enough I’ll gather.”

Moira again looked amused, but she raised her voice, “Still your dog Angaria or I shall muzzle him myself.”

In the next moment, the amusement slid from her face and a look of pure loathing replaced it.  “I’m here Angaria to destroy you and everything dear to you.”  Haven’t you figured it out yet little queen,” she spat.  “You could use my face to apply your makeup,” she purred.  Angaria’s face lost all color.  “You, no.  That can’t be!” She said.

“Actually,” Moira said tossing off a laugh.  “It’s true”

“But why this war?” Angaria anguished.  She could not believe this admission about her father, and yet the evidence was right in front of her.

“You could have joined us,” she said.  “Why did you kill our father?”

Moira sneered at Angaria’s NAÏVETÉ.  “Tell me sister,” she asked Angaria.  “What do they call a girl who is a bastard?  A person so low they don’t even have a name for it?”

Toroth saw the anguish on his queen’s face and wanted to spare her the pain but he knew it was true.

Then in a moment, Angaria seemed to shake her pain off.  She remembered why she was here.  She remembered what she had to do.

“So, she said regaining her hold on her nerves with an icy resolve.  “This whole thing is because father couldn’t, acknowledge you,” She said.

“Wouldn’t” Moira raged

Angaria nodded then.  “I can’t talk you out of this then.  General Toroth, this parlay is over.  We’re to send good men on both sides to their death because my SISTER wasn’t loved as a child.”  She turned her horse and started back towards her lines.  Behind her, Moira screamed at her and practically foamed at the mouth.  “Come back here you little shit,” she called.  “You spoiled bitch, I’ll kill you and everything you’ve ever loved.”

Angaria rode back to her men.  “You already have” she thought.

It took quite some time for Moira to calm down.  She was so incoherent she couldn’t even order the attack for an hour.

Finally her troops started forward.

Along Angaria’s lines, trumpets sounded readiness and signal flags snapped out messages.  As they came within archery range, Angaria’s men opened fire.  The eastern part of Angaria’s lines seemed deceptively weak.  Several enemy companies angled in that direction.  To the rear, Angaria’s artillery began firing.  In most cases, they weren’t firing rocks however.

A caltrop is an evil little weapon.  It’s a small piece of metal made up of 4 spikes arranged in such a way that no matter how it lands, one side is always facing up.  These little devices are terrible on infantry and easily pierce the thin soled shoes and boots the infantry wore.  At least for the ones who wore anything on their feet.

Moira’s troops consisted of farm boys and street thugs.  Many didn’t own shoes.  Screams echoed across the field as the enemy reached the lines of caltrops.  The advance on the east side stalled for a moment and Angaria moved some of her troops to cover the weak side.  Moira ordered 2 more companies to that flank as the infantry passed the area where the caltrops had landed.  Moira’s men surged forward in a teeming mass of angry hurt humanity.

At 30 yards from the base of the hill, the ground opened up in front of the soldiers and the front lines were swallowed by deep holes filled with sharpened stakes.  Men further behind in the lines didn’t really know what was happening and they pushed the line forward forcing other soldiers into the deathtraps.  Men to the front jumped across the pits and ran forward only to fall into a second line holes.

All of these tactics were designed to slow the enemy down and keep them in a kill zone.  All along the battle line the pits opened up and the enemy advance faltered.  Arrows rained down on Moira’s troops and started claiming lives as well.

From behind her infantry, Moira deployed her heavy armor.  They crashed through their own army center and rode towards the archers aligned behind the battlements.  Signal flags snapped at the hilltop and Angaria’s men responded.  Firing as they went, the troops abandoned the first line and fell back to a second line.  The last of her troops were crossing over the barricades as thunder sounded on a sunny afternoon.

The enemy armor halted 1/2 way across the lines as flaming bundles lifted aloft.  Angaria had deployed several batteries of mangonels behind the hill.  Instead of heavy rocks, they launched burning bundles of pitch and barrels of Naphtha.  The flaming weapons were timed perfectly.  They landed in front of the charging troops and exploded in their faces.  Men were cooked alive in their armor and again the charge faltered.

To the West, Moira’s soldiers fared better and managed to grab a toehold.  The infantry marched slowly with their shields raised to protect the archers and the archers would harassed Angaria’s men.

Angaria’s response was to send a company of cavalry to disrupt the enemy attack.

She looked at Toroth who was busy giving orders to his adjutant.  The Lieutenant ran off toward a signal platoon nearby to signal a shifting of companies.  He looked at her.  “Now you know why we chose this spot, my Queen.”  She nodded, but the good feelings would not come.  Good men and even young boys were dying down below.

Then it happened.  The eastern point of Moira’s advance collapsed completely and her troops started to retreat.  As they retreated past the base of the hill, Moira deployed her trolls.  They deployed to the east attacking everything in sight.  And they didn’t distinguish between friend or foe.  Retreating soldiers became food in the creature’s feast. And it had the effect of turning Moira’s troops back toward Angaria’s men.  Luckily for the human elements, the trolls and goblins became distracted by their banquet and they soon stopped to finish their feast.

The battle raged on through the long day and into the night.  As darkness fell, so too came the rain.  Men on both sides were exhausted and hacked at each other in ineffective tiredness.  The only good thing to happen was because everyone was so tired; casualties on both sides were lighter.

A few hours before dawn saw a surge in enemy activity.  Moira had finally committed her reserves.  Angaria ordered her lines to fall back to the 3rd line of defense.  Now her troops would be just below the crest of the hill.

“Breach,” came the call.  “The enemy has breached the eastern line!”  Angaria could see in the growing light of dawn that her men were being overrun.  She turned to Turoth to order a reserve company forward when the general was cut from his saddle by an arrow shot.  Angaria was startled from her horse and she fell into a puddle at her feet.  She blinked water as nearby troops rushed to fill another nearby breach.

She turned to the adjutant and ordered a regiment of soldiers to buttress the eastern line.

2 companies came to her section of the line and the enemy was forced back.

As dawn broke across the field, Angaria saw thousands upon thousands of troops arrayed on the field waiting for the order to annihilate her men.  Along the lines, her own men were finishing the last of the enemy who had attacked during the night.  Most of the men who survived fell to ground where they stood. Exhausted and most were bleeding from multiple wounds.  Angaria didn’t wait.  She ordered her troops to retreat.  The only place left was across the top of the hill and down the other side.

Without waiting, her men turned and left the field of battle…

Moira’s troops marched through the silent deserted lines.  Only the dead and dying remained.  Her men paused in their march to finish the wounded off and pillage the bodies.  In all, it took the better part of a day before they would continue their march.

Moira rode to the top of the hill and looked down the other side.  Then she screamed.  Another hill awaited her and this one was steeper and it was armed the same way.  Below her in the valley, enemy engineers had set fire to their mangonels before retreating to their lines.  The last of Angaria’s weary troops crossed through and Angaria’s reserve closed off the lines.

It was almost nightfall when Moira’s troops finally engaged the enemy.

Throughout the night the battle raged neither side pressing any advantage.  On the morning of the 3rd day, the enemy pushed through on the western side of the line.  “Breach, Breach! Came the yell.  But there was no reserve able to respond.  Moira called her household guard to ready and they all picked up swords and ran toward the breach.

Moira

Moira

As Angaria left the safety of the command post, Moira who had seen her, sprinted to her own horse.  She broke through her lines flogging her horse mercilessly.  As she rode, she kept raging “No no no no nooooo,” she yelled as she reached the western line.  In a blind frothing rage, she cut down anything that got in her way.

Angaria swung her sword like a farmer hewing at his crops.  She laughed to herself as she cut down the enemy soldiers.  Her teachers had been professionals who would have been furious at how she cut and hacked at the soldiers.  But she also knew that her instructors would say whatever works and whatever keeps you standing.

During a brief respite, she saw Moira more than 1/2 way through her lines trying to fight her way to Angaria.  To the east, the trolls had returned to the field creating havoc along the entire area.  There was no organization, just hewing and hawing at each other.

Suddenly an arrow came out of the dawn sky and slammed into Angaria’s shoulder.  She was thrown on her back.  She lay down on her back staring into a clearing sky.  Smoke rose above her and her page was suddenly at her side.  She smiled at the boy and brushed his hair.  She tried to sit up but there was too much pain.  Little James tried to help her but several troops ran by and he was forced to the side to avoid being trampled.  One of the soldiers stepped on Angaria’s right arm as he ran by.  She didn’t know if it was one of her soldiers or of Moira’s.  Her sword fell from her grip.

And then Moira was there.  Her white hair mangled and covered in blood.  She carried her sword in her left hand because her right hung limp and bleeding at her side.  She stumbled to Angaria’s side and looked down at her.  “Don’t die yet little queen,” she said.  I want to kill you myself.

Then she lifted her sword.  She could have said a lot of things.  She could have made an entire speech.  Instead she just leered in triumph.  Then her eyes glazed and her sword seemed to jump from her hand.  She looked down at Angaria with a strange almost sad expression.  A moment later a spray of blood fountained from her lips and she stumbled and fell to her knees.  Then, her head fell lifeless onto the ground at Angaria’s side.

As Moira took her last breath, the air suddenly cooled and clouds raced across the sky.  There was an explosion of sound and wind and debris that rushed out in all directions from Moira’s body.  As the noise died down on the battlefield, the enemy troops were running south.  Across the field, the trolls and goblins also ran off to the south.  With Moira’s death, they were no longer in her thrall.

Epilogue

Moira was carried from the field on a stretcher.  At the end, it was her page James who held her sword and took the life of the white witch.  After the winds died down, he crawled to her side and refused to leave until she was taken to a medical tent.  Even then he had stayed by her side.  On the 2 hills, her soldiers were piling the bodies of the dead into large piles to be set aflame.  There weren’t enough men to bury them and disease was always a concern.

As the wagon carrying the queen left for home, she contemplated what had happened.  Her sister had great power.  In that final destruction there was nothing left of her body behind.

Angaria looked out of the back of her wagon.  She looked above the fires and saw the sunrise through the smoke.  The sun consumes itself in a fiery destruction at every moment, its light being reborn in an instant.  Its power can be used for good for growing things and sustaining life.  Or it can be used for destruction such as in the forest fires that come in the heat of the late summer months.

She laughed at herself.  The first laugh in a long time.  As she drifted off to sleep, she wrote herself a note.  When she got back, she wanted to make sure she promoted a certain boy from her page to a squire.  He deserved a title.  At the least.

Cast
Angaria – Katie Rycraft
Moria – Carmen Peruzzini
Makeup Artists & Wardrobe Accessories
Rachael Kersey
Cassandra Ramsden
Hair Stylist & Wardrobe Accessories
Donna Latino
Art Direction
Lexy Page
Based on a Concept by
Lexy Page
Photographer
Bob Jones
http://bobjonesphoto.com

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Who do I trust “In Photography” and why

Who do I trust “In Photography” and why.  All of the people on this list are considered the “rock stars” of the photography industry.  They are all experts in their craft, but they are willing to put themselves out there to help train other photographers.  I consider all of them to be silent mentors.  Meaning that I listen to what they say and I use as much of their information as possible.

I trust Mathew Jordan Smith.  http://matthewjordansmith.com/
Mathew has done what I want to do.  He works with models all round the world.  This is my dream.  He has walked the walk and he can talk the talk.  Not only is he a great teacher and (Unknown to him) a mentor.  I pay attention to everything he has to say.  He seems a genuine person who is willing to teach people what he does and how he does it.

I trust Scott Kelby.  http://kelbytraining.com
Scott Kelby is a photography trainer.  His specialty is teaching photography and photoshop techniques.  He is the Publisher for Photoshop User magazine and other great sources for photo shop magazines.  He has published several books on photography and continues to lead the way with innovative technologies.  I also trust him because he is also an approachable person.  He hosts various hangouts with just about anyone and he also travels extensively to train people.  He’s also someone I try to emulate in my skills.  He plays a nice guitar as well.

I trust RC Concepcione.  http://www.aboutrc.com/
RC is also part of the Kelby media group.  He is also a trainer and an amazing photographer in his own right.  I’ve been in several Google + Hangouts with him and he is also approachable.  He’s commented on a few of my images -without me asking him to which means that he takes an interest in what people do.

I trust Zack Arias.  http://zackarias.com/
I don’t shoot the same things he does, but this guy tells it like it is.  His blog posts are insightful and relevant.  He hits from the heart and I swear he’s speaking with my own words sometimes.

Honorable mention.  http://creativelive.comI trust creativelive to provide relevant content.  In the last year, they’ve gone off topic from photography and tried things like life improvement, business & health an fitness.  But this content is still relevant if you want to be  a healthy happy photographer.  I like their format – free to watch while live and pay to keep the course.  This format has been so helpful in choosing exactly what I want to keep.  I have watched most of their classes in the last year, and although I haven’t bought all of them, I have chosen several that will help me along.

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