days have been swirling by in a blur of printing and packaging.  i’m too tired to use the caps key.

one day printing from say 6 a.m. until 3 when i have to take a nap, getting up and doing more until i go to bed for the night or the cat won’t let me work anymore;  and the next day matting and packaging on the same schedule.  yesterday first time that i had to make two trips to Fedex on the same day because i couldn’t carry it all  on one trip.

and that – yesterday – was the big push.  now i have about four of the large prints (15 x 19 and up) to get through and figure out where to put them to dry; and tomorrow (thurs) everything that is scheduled for Christmas delivery should be on the way.

then there are three new yorkers coming by on friday to pick up prints.

It’s been very lucky that this season went hectic on me because the year had been a washout which I chalked up to the recession.  On the other hand, I spent a lot of time during the year making sure the site was ready for xmas; and doing what I called the pre-season sale.  I can see that the sale helped big time – which is why everyone in the world does sales.

The only glitch, in the middle of the frenzy was running out of yellow ink which ShadesOfPaper.com was good enough to overnight to me for free.  I can’t say enough about the service those guys offer.  On top of that – somewhere in the blur they had a half-off sale (speaking of sales) on the Epson Exhibit paper and I really stocked up then which was smart.

Yesterday, I was so busy that I didn’t notice that somehow the radio signal on the blackberry had shut off somehow and had been off for two days.  Weird.  I looked at the thing which didn’t have email or calls for two days and wasn’t making outgoing calls and realized the thing had turned itself off.  Whatever.

On top of that – the Zazzle stuff continues to sell, I wish I knew who was buying it, which is something I can’t see in Zazzle; and I keep adding items when I have a break.

None of this could have been done in the darkrooms days.  No way.  Just to start off with, the number of sizes I offer, and even the Zazzle stuff, since all the digital files are already prepared for printing.  It’s just a matter of uploading them to Z and sticking my name and title on them, and some description which I usually copy and paste from the store website.  I have nothing to do with those sales which is the real blessing, and I have just upped my royalty on the posters to 45%.  I may go higher with that later.

I also have three lessons scheduled for the new year; so when this is over with I had better get a haircut and get my clothes cleaned.  I’m walking around like a bum.

Okay – time for a nozzle check on the 7800. Sure, it needs to be cleaned.  Which is why I tend to print for a day, and then package the next.  Otherwise I’d be doing nozzle checks around the clock.  Ciao.

[hopefully this doesn’t come across as whining.  just the way it is right now.  these are the times i wish i was 25 years younger.  man, in the film making days we’d often do 18 hour days.  i remember one shoot where we worked three days in a row without sleep.  i also remember thinking at the time that this was the sort of life that would be impossible when i got older.  i was on the track to be a cinematographer then.  i looked at the older cinematographers, i just wondered how, physically, they were able to endure the hours.]


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.

12 thoughts on “swirling”

  1. Are you aware that you can see the first name and city of your buyers on Zazzle? First go to “My Account” and then click on the “Earnings” tab. Then click on “Royalty History” on the left side.

  2. Hey, it’s a lot better than working for MegaCorp Inc., trapped in a little cubicle and watching the clock. Now at least you have Buddy to share your cubicle and a futon to nap on whenever you please.

    Remember the words of the great Zen master Bo Chi:

    “Life is a kumquat.”

  3. Jason – thanks for that. There’s still a lot I don’t know (obviously) about how Zazzle works. That’s really helpful to me. Dave

  4. No Dave, it doesn’t come across as whining; not at all. Good for you that things are working out well for you. And it’s good to hear it too. It’s inspiring.

    As Lester says, it’s better than working in the cubicle for MegaCorp, which I’m currently doing but your success gives me hope that making money from photography can be done.

    Lester is wise but I’m unsure of the kumquat reference…

    As you Americans like to say; Happy Holidays to you all.


  5. Phil, I don’t get the kumquat reference either, though if I have enough drinks it may come to me (though I don’t drink).

    But yes – much to the surprise of many – it can be done. Perseverance is as important as talent.

    Happy holidays – as we say here – to one and all and to all a good night.

  6. It might be interesting to test out the ten thousand hours of practice theory on Dave Beckerman.

    Consider, for example, the number of hours Dave has spent on the streets of NYC taking photographs and sharpening his technique. Then add to that the number of hours he has spent teaching himself the ins and outs of Photoshop and Lightroom, two very complex programs. Finally, throw in years of programming background and knowledge gained from setting up his website.

    I’m sure the total is more than ten thousand hours. Perhaps those who don’t succeed in selling photos on the internet have the talent but haven’t put in the requisite time.

    As far as the kumquats reference goes, the only way to understand it is to watch this video:

  7. Dave, your mentioning your film days, reminded me that I was thinking of you last night…

    I had just watched a film on DVD, and was watching one of the little extra material they had on the disc, which had some behind the scenes making of the film… during which, they showed the common setting up of a shot, where some guy with a tape measure, is measuring the distance from the camera to the subject who is to be in focus – and that is what led me to think of you, wanting to ask you, why do they do that?

    I know obviously to gauge the distance in order to focus (at least, I guess that is why)… but even in this day and age, a tape measure stretched between the front of the camera to the actor, has no better way been devised to replace this archaic means? And do the focusing knobs, or wheels, or whatever on the camera, have like corresponding inch marks (or metric equivalent) on it, so if the tape measure reads 37 and 5/8 inches, the camera man just turns the knob/wheel to the 37 5/8″ mark?

    Do the lenses, or viewfinders, not have at least like a split-image, or one of those micro-prism focusing screens in them to use to focus?

    Again, just saw that last night, and reminded me that I was always curious about that movie making procedure, and thought of you, and your breadth of time spent in the field, and that you might share the behind-the-lens what’s what about it all.

    Of course, I know you have far more pressing matters weighing on you, that is even keeping you from hitting the shift key… so, when you have some time again in the future, to humor my question… I would be very appreciative to learn what you would have to share 🙂

  8. Lester – I did a bit of rough calculations, including all the various skills involved – I’d say at this point we’re approaching about 50,000 hours. If I add on the time I spent with photography when I was a teenager, add another few thousand hours. Probably about the same amount of hours you spent as a teacher?

  9. Real quickly – I don’t know if the tape measure is used any more but it was when I worked in film. I was in fact, what they called a “focus puller” for a while. Remember, the actor is moving all over the place, and hitting marks that are chalked or taped on the floor… position one, position two… etc. and the camera operator is following the actor, but he can’t focus at the same time, so the focus puller is watching the actor hit his various marks and doing the focusing by looking at the markings on the lens (meters / feet) and doing it in such a way that it is smooth and not noticed by the audience.

    If you are shooting in a well lit place with a high enough f-stop and wide angle lens, you have some leeway, but also remember that the camera may be a 35mm or a 70mm camera etc. and the lenses are longer and DOF decreases etc…

    As far as whether tape measures are still used – that I don’t know. I’d guess that on high-budget feature films they’ve replaced them with a better way to get focus, and for all I know there is a computer setup now that can have a list of focal points put in and another operator watches the actor and presses the right button at the right time. But it can’t be done automatically because there is no way for the camera to know exactly what to focus on. It may be the guy who is closest, or it may be someone in the background…

    I would guess that on low budget films – a tape measure is still used for tricky low f-stop work. But I don’t know. We were taught to measure to the right eye of the actor. Remember – no flash. People wandering all over the place; and generally you don’t want to overlight the scene because it will be too hot (you are covering a lot of area) and too flat. Lights are setup so that you know exactly what they read in maybe ten spots in a scene. What used to annoy me – was that with all this effort – the film could be a piece of crap – and you were working like a nut to make it look good.

  10. Yes Lester, I like the ten thousand hours theory and I think it stands up well here. The trick is, of course, finding those ten thousand hours amongst competing priorities…

    Now will you get me my kumquats!!

  11. Interesting… thank you. And thank you for replying to it so quickly, I know it was OT and really not that important to necessitate any sense of a high priority response… thanks for your time and the info.

  12. Hi Dave,
    Your post really gives a sense of the hecticness (did I just invent a new word?)of the season. I was one of the recipients of 3 or your prints as a Christmas gift and I’m really enjoying them.
    You are a real inspiration, and I look forward to taking some lessons from you in the future.

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