Thursday, September 22, 2016

come with me

Oyster River Paddle

I'd like to invite you all to come with me and share in the stunning beauty of the river. Six mile paddle yesterday down the Oyster River to Great Bay and around Goat Island and back. I wish I had been on the water just a little longer to catch the full sunset. Paddling is addictive and here's why:

Oyster River Paddle

It's both physically intense - I did the six miles in a little over an hour yesterday - and deeply peaceful. Someday you should all come down to the river.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

giving it all away

closing this chapter

Yesterday I decided to convert the licensing on my nearly 6,000 Flickr images to a "Creative Commons - Attribution" license.

This is how it is described by the Creative Commons Corporation:

Attribution CC BYThis license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.
This means that now anyone can do anything they want with my images, including using them to make money, so long as they give me photo credit.

I came to this decision after I was contacted by one of the editors of Task and Purpose to ask if they could use one of images (the one above). The contact came about because I happened to go to high school with the editor's wife, and he recognized my name. I like Task and Purpose and so I was happy to let them use my image. I e-mailed with the editor and asked how he normally found the images that he used for his publication, and his answer was that he searched Flickr, looking for images with CC-A licenses. I mulled this over. I've been a participant in the Getty Stock Images program for a while, where businesses can pay to use your images. I've made exactly one sale, for something like $0.50. By deciding to go with a CC-A license, I basically allow anyone to use my images without paying. So I would be losing all those potential $0.50 payments. All one of them in the two years I have been in the program. So I decided I would just give away the images. I'd rather people used them than not, even if it means they will make money on them and not share it with me.

At some point I'd like to try to monetize my photography hobby. But selling images today, even for pros, has become very difficult. Professionals used to be able to generate a decent income stream from stock photography (photos they took, and then gave to organizations like Getty who then let businesses look through their catalogs for appropriate images for newspaper articles or magazine ads). Today, with so many free images on the web, that incomes stream has largely gone to zero. Why should I, as a committed amateur, think that I would be able to make money when pros can't?

Some time ago I read a book called "Free: The Future of a Radical Price" - and I blogged about it here: http://recalcitrantegg.blogspot.com/2009/07/quick-book-review-free-future-of.html  . The book was free for a while; the audio book version remains free. I have the link to the book's site on my blog post.

The basic argument of the book was anything that had zero marginal cost to produce - i.e., something that could be copied for virtually nothing - like an MP3 or a PDF  - will eventually fall to zero in the new internet economy. That would include JPEGs (image files).

To make money in the Free economy, you have to produce something with positive marginal costs. Or else you have to take donations.

I've done the donation thing for my photography. I ran a Kickstarter project that was largely funded by friends so that I could do a photo essay about the Albuquerque Balloon Festival - results here: http://www.bonicaphoto.com/blog/2013/12/a-gathering-of-angels . 

But I think the sustainable choice is selling actual services. I was doing some wedding photography with a friend and he used to try to prevent people from downloading and printing his images. He realized that was pointless, and now he just gives couples who hire him all of the images so that they can print them themselves. He also offers to help have them printed, for a per-unit fee. His profit now comes primarily from the fee he charges for his time. The images themselves are "free".

For me, I think going CC-A is going to be a bit like that. I'd rather my photos get out there, however they may, and get seen. Then, hopefully, eventually, I'll be able to sell my services. If people see my work, maybe they will be willing to pay more - whenever that time comes.

This is the model that the music industry is headed toward. Artists now make the bulk of their income from live performances. Selling recordings is a thing of the past, and headed toward the dust bin. It's just not possible to stop people from copying. But you can't copy a live performance - you have to buy a ticket to it. I know - I just paid $150 to see Bruce Springsteen.

Free is good - it's excellent for marketing. Some people who were used to making money in a time when free wasn't possible (record companies, for example) are going to lose. But the rest of us - including, I think, the makers and creators, will benefit.

I make images because I like to. And it makes me happy when those images delight other people. And at the end of the day, that's what I really care about.






Saturday, September 17, 2016

slowing down at the LHH

slow breakfast at the LHH

It's not easy to slow down. But today was nice. Kandie and I took a long, winding walk through the UNH campus and Durham's downtown, and then back through some of the neighborhoods near us. There was a fall chill in the air with temperatures in the mid-50s. At 7 something on a Saturday, campus is like a ghost town. You would never have guessed that Stoke was full of young scholars given how still everything was.

When we got back to the house, I decided to indulge myself a bit. I cooked hash browns with onions, peppers, and ham, and plenty of cumin and chili powder. Getting hash browns to come out just right takes time. I cut up the potatoes and onions and let them cook slowly over low heat for about 20 minutes while I stood in front of the stove stirring them. It was a meditative process, just the food and I interacting.

By the time the food was done, it had warmed up into the high 60s, so I sat out on the porch to enjoy the morning sun.

The porch is a happy space at the Last Homely House. Pretty soon it's going to be too cold to eat outside, as these cool mornings are making it clear.

It's good to slow down. I'm not good at it, but I think it's important. One can go rushing through life and not appreciate the moments.


Jambalaya!

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I had the urge to make a pot of jambalaya earlier this week, but since this week was crazy busy, I had to put things off until last night. But that was cool because Kandie and I were able to invite M&L over to join us for our Cajun feast.

I also baked an excellent bread which I did not get a shot of. Bread is fickle - sometimes it comes out, sometimes it doesn't. Maybe it's because I do it a little different every time...

Love me some jambalaya! This is a wicked easy dish to cook, and it allows for some variation. Here's what I did:

1 C white rice
1/2 C diced onion
1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp thyme
1.5 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
2.5 C water
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (partially drained)
1/2 pound sausage, chopped (I used Portuguese sausage last night, but I've used pretty much anything but Italian and it's worked well)
1/2 pound chicken breast, chopped and cooked
1/2 pound cooked salad shrimp (i.e., tiny shrimp, deveined and shelled, tails off)

So this is how easy it is:

If your sausage isn't cooked, brown it. Chop your chicken breast, throw it in a skillet and cook it in a little oil. If you need to cook the shrimp, do that too.

Now dump everything in a big pot except the shrimp. Bring it to a boil. Bring it down to a simmer. Partially cover it. Stir frequently to keep it from sticking to the bottom and burning. Cook for about 30 minutes on medium low, until the rice is soft.

Turn off the heat.

Add the shrimp and mix it in. Let the pot sit covered for about five minutes so the shrimp can warm up.

That's it! Serve with Frank's or Tabasco. Note I didn't have any cayenne in the recipe because Kandie can't take the spice. If I was just cooking for me, I'd probably put about 1.5 tsp of cayenne in while cooking. I'd still want a splash of Frank's to round it out.

Serve with a nice ale or light red wine and great company, and you have yourself a nice evening!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

a walk on the Foss Farm trail

Foss Farms

Marley and I went for a walk in Foss Farms for the first time since probably June. I know, it's crazy. It's literally in my backyard. Like, my backyard is 10 feet from where Marley is standing in this picture. So I guess that's not literally. But it touches my backyard, which is pretty darn close.


Foss Farms

The problem with this particular trail is that it gets infested with deer flies in the late spring/early summer. I guess they die off at some point because we weren't bothered by a single one today. Deer flies, in case you haven't experienced them, are about the size of your typical house fly, but they bite. Literally. They don't sting, and they don't stick a straw in your skin like mosquitos. They land on you and they take away chunks of your flesh. Once they sense you, they continuously dive bomb the back of your head. They basically made walking on the trail miserable.


Foss Farms

If you were running, they probably wouldn't bother you, but I like to walk with Marley, not run. And today there was not a one. No horse flies, no mosquitoes - it was beautiful. Wee just walked and enjoyed the end of summer coolness - about 70 degrees today. The sun was bright, but the trees hide you from the sun most of the way on the trail - so you just get to enjoy the lovely filtered light and the tall trees.


Foss Farms

It's a beautiful trail. Old rock walls, dense new growth, ponds and cattails.

I'm glad to have it back, and looking forward to photographing it as the leaves change this fall.

skillet gnocchi with white beans and spinach

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Cooking (reasonably) healthy tonight - a dish I've really come to like - skillet gnocchi with white beans and spinach. I was hunting for a recipe that had a fair amount of potassium, and this one came up. Recipe is here:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/238785/skillet-gnocchi-with-chard-white-beans/

I'm not a fan of chard, so I sub in spinach.

Give it a try and tell me what you think.

The Boss!

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Kandie gave me tickets to see Bruce Springsteen for my birthday this past May. And last night, I finally got to see him!



I've been a Springsteen fan since college, and one of the people I got to go with was one of my very good college friends, Mike, who is one of the world's biggest Bruce Springsteen fans. Mike has seen Springsteen more than 20 times.

We had an amazing show - more than four hours of energetic rock. Considering Bruce is going to be 67 next week, that's pretty darn incredible. I hope when I'm 67 I can run around a stage and sing for four hours and show no sign of tiring.

Hungry heart is one of my favorites. I was disappointed he didn't play Thunder Road, which is also a personal favorite, but he did play my all time favorite - Jungle Land - which was amazing. I keep saying amazing. But it was. It was amazing to be there and experience it live.

What is it about Springsteen's music that makes it so timeless? I think he appeals to the fact that we all feel like outsiders in some aspect of our lives, and he treats that feeling with respect without being too indulgent.

Outside the street's on fire in a real death waltz
Between what's flesh and what's fantasy
And the poets down here don't write nothing at all
They just stand back and let it all be