#Ogdenwide Photowalk for Q1 2017

This weekend presented another fantastic opportunity to hang out with some excellent people and shoot some thing I normally would have never even stopped to look at. One of the great things about the group is that people of all shooting styles and skill levels show up and meander about town like a flock of flamingos (or foreign tourists) snapping pictures of every nook and cranny along the route. What it provides for me is a different perspective on how other view the world, or what they find visually appealing. So even though most of the time a lot of us will shoot the same object (or set of objects) never have I seen two photos look alike. So much so, that by now it’s starting to get kind of weird. You’d think there would at least be one or two overlapping images, but nay! It’s all original and it’s all most excellent.

Instead of boring you with commentary on each of the shots, here’s the pictures I liked and posted up online:

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One thing of note (or maybe two), in the last two photos, I spent roughly about 3-5 minutes waiting with my camera focused and pointed through the tire, for someone, anyone to walk into the frame. I was starting to lose hope of getting a candid shot and almost went to grab someone to stage it which Zach (@zachary.leroy on IG) wandered in. So the lesson here: Patience! You can get the shot you want, if you just wait! Or if you’re super impatient, grab another human being (or whatever) and stage it!. It’s all the same when printed and framed.

The very last shot of the grouping involved another buddy of mine being willing to sit on a very gross and sketchy looking chair thing. Thank goodness for his adventurous spirit. You can follow him on IG as well (@atomritchey)

I hope you enjoyed these all as well, and as always, until next time –Thanks for reading!
-D

Starting the Conversation: Suicide Awareness Shoot.

Like many of you out there, I’ve known more than one person who’s been down and out and felt helpless. Sadly, like some of you, I wasn’t there when they were at their lowest and looking for a hand to hold or an ear to listen to their troubles. It’s more likely than not that either you, or someone you know has had a close friend or family member take their own life. For me, it’s happened a little more often in the last few years than I’d care to think about. What hurts most when I think back on the lives of my friends who are no longer with us, it that suicide doesn’t care about what rung of the economic ladder you stand on, what color you are, your religious or even your political beliefs. Deep seated depression, the kind that makes you look at your liquor cabinet and full bottle of pain killers and say to yourself “Well, it can’t be any worse than it is now.” hits people of all walks of life.

But because we as a society are of the utmost level of cowardly when it comes to having difficult conversations or admitting when we need a hand; whether it’s in fear of being labeled weak, or the fear that comes from being rejected by someone we trust enough to spill out guts out too, when the time comes to have a conversation about how someone is really feeling or whether they (or even you, if you find yourself in this place) need some help, we clam up. We make an uncomfortable joke. We stop answering the phone when someone calls. We tell ourselves and our loved ones that everything is “fine” or it’s just a “case of the Monday’s”.

In all reality, suicide is not 100% preventable, but it damn sure shouldn’t be happening with any regularity. So when a buddy of mine posted some photos to Facebook a couple weeks back with the number to the suicide hotline hoping to start the conversation and get people to not shy away from the topic, it really hit me. Reading through the comments in which people were disgusted that he would post such a thing, to say the least, pissed me off. Was his photo shoot the absolute best way to show the ugly and dark side of how people feel right before going over the edge? Maybe, Maybe not. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that you saw it. You saw it and it forced you to say something about it. His post if nothing else, was successful on that front.

That being said, I reached out and asked if I could come in to the studio and take a crack at my own interpretation of what that feeling looks like and what I felt may get the conversation going. The hardest part of the whole thing was trying to find someone who would model for, as once again it’s a touchy subject that no one really wants to have rammed in their face. Nonetheless, a most excellent human and good friend of mine stepped up to the plate and absolutely crushed it. Here’s the three shots I’m most happy with:

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Paige

Hopefully, my thoughts and intentions come across in the imagery. It’s definitely something I will be thinking about more and revisiting at least for the next little while. In the meantime, know that if you’re reading this (or hell, even if you aren’t), you are loved. If you are considering suicide as an option for you, know there is help. Reach out to someone. Don’t beat around the bush. If you don’t know someone who you think understands, call this number: 1-800-273-8255 or Text Connect to 741741 if you’d rather not speak on the phone. Whatever you do though, ask for help. You are not weak, you are not crazy. Helping and loving one another are what make us human and it’s the only thing that will ensure we continue as a species. Stay Safe, Stay Alive, Keep fighting. As always, Thanks for reading!
-D

Exploring the Salt Lake Urban Arts Fest

Saturday night was a fun filled date night with the wife in which we had originally planned to grab dinner and hit up a Vietnamese Lunar celebration as it sounded like a fun photo opportunity. We did have a wonderful dinner, but instead of the Lunar Festival, we opted instead to pop into the Urban Arts Fest, which was right next to where we parked, so I could walk off the unnecessary amount of delicious food and drink I partook of.

Much like any other art festival it was set up with a couple of stages, and a ton of booths for people to sell off whatever art-thing they had made. There were a ton of super talented artists out there (I’ll have a list of links at the bottom of the post) and I recommend hitting up their websites and buying as much of their stuff as you can! Me however, I made it a point to focus on the stages and the large graffiti pieces being done at the show. I got a couple of fun shots of those works in progress:

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I’m pretty interested to see how the last one looks when finished, so hopefully there will be a record of that since I wasn’t able to make the show today. As for the stages, one had a number of local rappers, DJs, and other musicians doing there thing, none of which provided the photo-op I was hoping for. Mostly it was a combination of bad lighting and them running about the stage like a crazy person. On the other stage however, there was a dance troupe called Samba Fogo. It was a fun show to watch with heavy drum rhythms, and leaping women. I happened to catch a pair of shots I was pretty happy with, but it would have been nice to get a little closer to the stage. Sadly, there were a number of people taking video of the set, so I figured I wouldn’t get in the middle of that and ruin someone else’s shot. Here’s the two shots:

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Like every other art related event my wife and I go to, we bought a few small pieces to add to our already large collection of eclectic decor. I’m hoping that in the near future I can start making these types of venues an option for myself and maybe sell some of my work. Nonetheless, it was a good time all around. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot more to say about it, so I’ll end it here. As always, until next time –Thanks for reading!
-D

Those links as promised:

https://stevestonesart.com/

http://www.ahfractals.com/

https://www.facebook.com/colunga.art

https://www.facebook.com/monster.mike.artist

Lackadaisical Saturays

This wasn’t one of my more productive weeks for photography as even though I had my camera with me I didn’t take it out much as I wasn’t terribly inspired by the things I was seeing. Saturday was a fun and eventful day nonetheless, as I took the kiddo down to Farmington Station on the Railrunner (our local Amtrak). I caught a few photos on the way home that I thought were kind of neat, but otherwise the day was comprised of shopping and walking and just spending some time with the kiddo. Here’s a pair of street shots at the train platform:

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The clouds made for some fun pictures that a lot of my friends took. In hindsight I should have been a little more active on the shutter, but alas it was a carelessly lazy weekend.

Next weekend seems like it should be more exciting as I am dropping the kiddo off with her grandparents for the month of June, as we have the last few years. In doing so, I’ll get to meander around Denver a little where I hope to get some fun street shots and some cool architecture work in. The blog post will likely be a little late as it’s a three day weekend for me and around the time of mine and my wife’s wedding anniversary, so we’ll be puttering around to take advantage of the day off of work.

That’s all for this time. As always, until next time — Thanks for reading!
-D

Awesome weekend is AWESOME!

Sorry this post is a little later than the usual Sunday evening, but I spent the entire weekend doing some behind the scenes work on a short film with a some brilliant local artists. I can’t actually discuss or go into any real details about it as of right now, but as soon as I can, I will. What I can do though is show you this sweet set of piping that was located near where we were filming which I thought was cool:

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In lieu of the movie talk, I will instead take the rest of this post to talk about something I can share! That is of course my Ogden 52 photos. For those interested “Ogden 52” is a local photography project in which the town of Ogden, Ut is split into 52 sections. Each one is assigned a card from a standard deck of playing cards and 52 photographers will draw one at random then photograph something from their assigned area. It’s a super fun and awesome project as the photos are sold off and the money goes to funding local children’s art programs. Here’s the link to the blog for more info:

http://ogden52.blogspot.com/

For reference here’s one of the shots I took in the last run:

Ogden 52 - 8 of Spades

For this time around I got a completely residential area, which at first I thought would be a total drag. Lo’ and behold I stumbled on a cool house with a ton of old rusted out relics (cars, stoves, wagons, you name it) and decided to shoot those:

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As you can see, this house is a veritable treasure trove of older stuff, and if you’re like me and like it rusty and old, then this is the place to be. I haven’t totally decided which photo I want to submit yet, and I may get out and take a few more to be sure. But I am definitely leaning towards either the tractor or the stove and cow skull.

Outside of that, I have been getting ready for my pair of First Friday venues here in Ogden and making sure I have enough prints available to hang up in both. So next week will likely be a catalog of my adventures in framing prints.

As always, until next time, Thanks for reading!
-D

Good things in Progress!

This will be a pretty short post since unlike my others, there won’t be any photos to discuss or adventures to be had. However, there is still awesome stuff to be had! For example, I have recently opened an online store in which to sell my prints! You can find the store currently by going here:

https://society6.com/earthquakephotography

Once I have figured out the best way to perma-link that into the blog interface, I’ll likely have that posted in the top right corner above all the other various things on the right-hand panel.

On top of that, I’m still making strides on getting the photography club up and running. This seems to be the biggest challenge I’ll face this year as most of the people I know and would like to participate have non co-operating schedules with mine so scheduling a time to meet has been brutal. Nonetheless, I shant give up on it as I think it can be great for the community at large to harvest the power of a ton of great photographers.

On top of all that, I am in the infant stages of putting together a photography book (or two)! The first is related to abandoned buildings in the area with a look at their current state compared to their rich history of what they once were. The second is likely to be a street photography project in which all the details haven’t been fully flushed out yet.

So, like I said, big things are on the horizon. I hope you’ll stick around and be a part of the journey. For those who’ve been around since the beginning I wanted to take a moment to really thank you for your continued support of my endeavors. As I get closer to book time, I’ll be sure to let everyone know so you can get your hands on some cool promo stuff.

That all being said, I hope that if you enjoy reading this blog, you share it with your friends and family on whatever social networks you prefer. The more people who see and support this, the more I’ll be able to do!

As always, until next time — Thanks for reading!
-D

Social Sharing: Or “Why it’s better to just buy twitter ads”

Back in 2014 I wrote up a short write up about a site I use to share my various tweets and Facebook posts called Empire Avenue. This means I’ve been on the site for a bit longer now and after having reread that article which you can read here. I found myself asking why the hell am I still checking in on this thing? Then I realized I don’t really. Maybe once every 4-5 days or so. And for the longest time it seemed like a necessary evil in order to spread the word about my photography. Of course, some painful realizations have been had lately. But it did lead me to ask another question:

As an artist trying to promote your work, are social marketing sites worth your time and/or money?

Aside from taking photos and playing with the kiddo, I spend a pretty decent amount of time online perusing various social media networks. I’m a little bit addicted. Part of the reason for this I think is because I find it’s a fairly efficient way to connect with like-minded individuals or learn something about world events in real time. It is however, a dual-edged sword. Wading through a legitimate ocean of shit-posts, idiocy, and advertising can be a struggle. This presents an interesting puzzle as someone who also needs to market myself in order to spread the word about my various photography projects or works I am trying to sell. This brings me to the point of the post. There is a certain subset of social sites that exist solely for the purpose of self-promotion. Sites that provide a method by which you can share your work with a large and varied group of users who will like, share, retweet, reblog, or whatever, your social media posts to help you reach a new and broader audience.

Unfortunately, it’s a real dumpster fire to navigate. In exploring the quagmire that is these sites, I’ve found a few that I happened to use with some regularity for the purpose of seeing if they’re worthwhile at all. Spoiler alert: They aren’t. From here on I’ll compare two options, give you a run-down of what they claim to do for you, and what they actually do for you. The sites I’ll be discussing are: Empire.Kred and CoPromote.

Empire.Kred

Empire.Kred (EAK from here out) claims to be “Social Media Rocket Fuel” and touts its ability to spread your reach amongst a number of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, WordPress, Instagram, and more. EAK which was formerly just Empire Avenue, was recently bought out by “Kred”, which is a social media scoring system similar to “Klout”. The basic premise, is that it will take some status you post then run it and all your interactions on it through a trash algorithm and then tell you whether or not you are internet famous. EAK takes this and goes one step further by allowing you to basically game that score through a “mission” based system. The site presents as an investing game in which you can buy or sell people like stocks based on how internet famous they are. It uses a fake currency called “eaves” which you can purchase with real money that you use to run the missions. Those missions basically allow you to pay another player the fake money so they’ll go and interact with your social media posts. You’re basically buying RTs, likes, shares etc. with the fake money. So naturally, your score reflects that you have a ton of meaningful interaction on your posts even though the people who follow you or share your post will never organically interact with you until you pay them again.

The Pros:

You can get a pretty good number of interactions on a post without having to spend any actual money. This can be helpful if you have a Google Plus profile since Google’s search algorithm factors in to some degree how popular something is on G+. So if you can convince a bunch of people to +1 or reshare your G+ posts, you can actually improve your crawl status. The same goes for sites like Facebook, which uses the like/share numbers as a metric for what appears in your friend’s feeds. The more popular something is, the more likely you are to see it while scrolling through your news feed.

The Cons:

While having a ton of likes and shares is nice on the surface level and may make you feel good about yourself, that feeling doesn’t last long when you remember you paid for them, and those people won’t ever interact with you again until you pay them more. It’s also the case that likes and shares do not equal conversions in any meaningful way. So if you’re trying to sell something, you may get 50-100 likes on a post, but also ZERO of those people will actually buy what your selling.

Another downside with this network specifically is that the user base is small and fairly incestuous. What I mean by that is that there are about 200 active users on the site (people who log in and do something every day). They all follow each other on each of their networks. So if Guy X RTs your tweet, then he is simply RT’ing it to the same 200 people who would have seen your tweet the first time. This means you aren’t getting any new eyes on your feed or your posts. It’s just the same exact people spreading the same posts in a circle. Also, since they are all doing the missions for these, if you are following them, you feed will be filled to the brim with shit-posts and spam. You’ll see the same tweet two to three dozen times. Or you’ll see the same person who just tweeted or retweeted fifteen to twenty things at once. So now you have to scroll past a sea of their inspirational quotes or trash memes before you can get to someone you follow because you enjoy their content.

Wrap Up:

This site is really only for those who consider themselves a “Social Media Guru” and enjoy seeing large numbers of likes and shares and doesn’t care about actual interaction with their content. If you’re one of those people, by all means, sign up. It’s free to do so and in about 4-6 months you’ll have a large enough bankroll of fake money you can start buying those RTs and Likes.

CoPromote:

Copromote as a site works primarily with Twitter, Youtube, Vine, and Tumblr. Similar in its stated goals to other promotion sites, the idea is to spread your content further than it would normally go. However, the vehicle by which it does so is a little different. Like EAK, CoPromote utilizes a fake currency as well, named “reach”. How it works is: I have 430 followers on twitter. So every tweet I retweet earns me 430 reach. I can set up a series of things I like or am interested in, such as art, sports, etc. and CoPromote will then show me tweets from other users inside those categories for me to retweet. Once you’ve amassed some amount of reach you’re happy with, you can “boost” a post, or offer up one of your own tweets for others to retweet (or reblog, etc.). Your reach is then spent based on the number of followers they have. If some person has 1,000 followers, it’ll cost you 1,000 reach for them to RT you. Simple enough.

The Pros:

Thus far this site has reigned in an OK number of shares for some of my twitter posts regarding blog updates (since I use all other social media to feed back to the blog). What I like better than EAK, is that these RTs I’m getting are going out to actually different people, meaning my stuff is spreading in a somewhat worthwhile manner. I’ve also managed to turn at least a small portion of those RTs into blog views which have led to a few more followers. Actual conversions are being made.
The other pro is that I only share from the arts category and I have managed to come across a decent number of things worth sharing. Awesome art projects, canvas prints, tattoo galleries, and much more I wouldn’t have normally found (since I don’t really go looking all that often). While I have only used this site for about half the time I have EAK, I’m pretty sure it’s done at least twice as much work for me.

The Cons:

Of which there are two: 1) The conversion rate is low. Like, really low. I’m talking 5-7% if things go well. 2) The reach system is a bummer for those who don’t have a massive twitter following. Because of this I am required to share 8-10 posts in order to get 3-4 decent shares for myself. Unless I plan on buying a ton of fake twitter followers it ends up seeming like it’s going to be more work than its worth.

Wrap Up:

All in all, it’s a straight-forward, simple system that has proven (albeit very slightly) worthwhile. If you have a twitter account you don’t care about and are using only for the purpose of spamming ads for yourself, this could be a good option for you to generate some semi-organic reach on your tweets.

So there you have it. A short comparison of a couple of promotion tools that may or may not work for you. There are lots of others out there, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but a lot of the other options like Guestr etc. are complete trash and not worth even testing. Over all I myself am likely going to just drift out of both before too long, but I am interested in trying to game them a little first to see what I can do with em. Especially the CoPromote.
I’ll be sure to come back next week and post some more photography related stuff. I have a couple ideas I’m working on, and I want to get out and shoot when it isn’t dumping five inches of snow in three hours.
As always, until next time, Thanks for reading!
-D