The Best Intentions…

I got to thinking the other day that I haven’t updated my blog lately. Frankly, I haven’t updated it in quite some time. My goal was to update it weekly but I think that may have morphed into annually! That’s just not right and I know it. But I’ve been behind with everything lately; wedding editing, portrait editing, NILMDTS editing, Honey-do list, etc. I recently missed a much anticipated memorial service at Hopkins as well as a wedding seminar I had already paid for! So I’m stressing over figuring this all out because it has gotten out of hand for sure, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I am behind due to the best of intentions. Linda and I have always volunteered for things. Linda was a Girl Scout Leader for quite some time and I realized my childhood dream of becoming a volunteer fireman years ago. Well, our daughter Laura grew up so Girl Scouts eventually went bye the bye and frankly, firefighting is a young person’s game and we all know I’m not a member of that category any more!!! So a few years ago I became a volunteer photographer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. It is an organization that photographs early infant loss and I can tell you with a great degree of certainly that it is by far the most emotionally charged assignment I’ve ever taken on. We get to meet with people on what is probably their worst day and it just never becomes routine. One thing leads to another and now I am the NILMDTS photography coordinator for Johns Hopkins, Hopkins Bayview, University of MD Medical Center and Mt. Washington Ped’s Hospital. Oh yea – I’m pretty active with the photography end as well. So active in fact that my photography business is now suffering, things aren’t getting done at home, etc. The logical thing, at least from a business standpoint, would be to give up NILMDTS. I was able to walk away from firefighting so walking away from NILMDTS should be easy, right? Well, not that easy. Have you ever done something you felt was a true calling? That’s how I feel about photographing these babies. My connections is actually with the babies and I feel like I am offering them a means to leave some tangible evidence here on earth that they were here – even if just for a short time. Someone has to do it and I have the ability, so I just can’t walk away. But I have to change something… So this is what I am going to try, and a little of what I’ve done.

I need to better manage my time. I’ve started scheduling things like Linda time, editing time, photo session times, etc. and that seems to at least be keeping me current. I then went out and purchased some software to help me edit. We recently started shooting using a green screen and I was doing the subject extractions manually. It was fun and rewarding but VERY time consuming. So I got some software to do that for me. I also edit every wedding photo so I purchased some portrait software to speed that up a bit. When we first started doing weddings (ions ago!) we were shooting with Nikon D2H cameras. Like many other Nikon Pro’s we used Nikon’s editing software nearly exclusively and editing was pretty much efficient. For every hour we spent at a wedding we were editing 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Eventually we moved to the Fuji S5 Pro camera that is based on Nikon’s D200 camera. This way I could keep all my lenses and take advantage of the wonderful Fuji skin tones. Those cameras were purpose built for weddings and portraits… But the Fuji software that processed the RAW image files is painfully slow. Not only is it slow, but it is not the complete deal. I did think their software processed their RAW files better then any other program specifically because of the way it processed the dual layer sensor data. But I then had to finish the images in Photoshop. So, my 1 to 1-1/2 hours of editing for each hour of photography more then tripled. But I liked the results and wanted to deliver the best image I could so I just pressed on. Now, I’m severely behind with editing. So we made the decision to move back into 100% Nikon cameras and edit using just one software program. I will still use PS and the portrait software as necessary, but the bulk of my images will be processed just fine in the Nikon software. Before moving to the Fuji’s I always thought the prints I made from the RAW files from the Nikon software looked better then the prints PS made from the resulting JPEG files so now that I’m into wide format printing I’m finding this exciting as well. So, I’m getting on schedule (OK – trying to get on schedule…), using software to help with editing and shooting with cameras that will greatly reduce my editing time. An added bonus is the amount of technical advances the new cameras have and to tell you the truth, I’m stoked!

But that doesn’t help me with the editing I am behind on. I need to finish a wedding this week so I can catch up on at least half of my sleep sessions next week. Then there’s the portrait sessions that need editing! So I guess I better go get to work! Thanks for listening…

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One Response to “The Best Intentions…”

  1. Kristine Goolsby Says:

    Wow, I always wondered how you had time for the things I heard you mention that you do. I feel a little better that I’m not the only one out there wishing for more time to appear on the clock. Sounds like you are headed in the right direction. The backdrop program sounds pretty awesome.

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