It’s mid-summer in the Sonoran Desert and the winds have begun to shift bringing moist air up from Mexico and monsoon season. All of the smart people have escaped the desert floor, while we and a handful of other trailer park residents try to cope with the stifling humidity (25%). With most of the neighbors gone for the summer, it’s really boring in the neighborhood. So boring in fact, that last week a service showed up to remove a dying saguaro, and the neighborhood lined up lawn chairs to watch the show.
Since the themes of this blog are photography and travel, I feel that I need to add some posts about the latter. Unfortunately, the queen and I are stuck at home this year, so I need to come up with content somehow, and I got an idea. I reached out to our circle of friends that are or have been on the road and asked them to write about their trips. I’m pleased that they agreed to contribute.
It’s been a couple of weeks now and some material has started to come in and in the next few days I’ll be able to post our first guest article. I’m looking forward to traveling vicariously with our friends; seeing new places, tasting new foods from beyond the horizon. And, let me add this. If you’ve been on the road lately and like to share your story and photos, let me know and there may be room on the stage for you.
It took a week for the drives to arrive from Amazon and only a couple hours to install and partition them. I spent most of the weekend organizing and restoring all of my files to their original locations. I haven’t done an exhaustive inventory, but it looks like pretty much everything is recovered now. That means that I can start moving forward again instead of treading water waiting for parts to get here.
I should have some new images up on the site later this week and I’ll have an announcement by then about the West of Center show at the Museum. Stay tuned to this channel . . . film at 11:00.
Another new year is here bringing hope that finally, this one will be ‘our year’. It’s a clean slate; a fresh start. That’s why so many resolutions begin with a new year, and they’d probably be more successful if we didn’t have to drag so much of last year’s baggage with us. We at least have to give it a try . . . besides, if the resolution doesn’t make it to the first weekend, what’s the difference?
This year ends in a seven, and those are the years I dread. It means I’ve survived another decade. I’m beginning to run out of those. At best, I can count the ones I have left on one hand; at worst, one finger. That’s why I have to put a lot of thought into my New Year’s resolutions.
As I’ve written before, the Queen and I have gone through a lot of changes in the past year. We’ve retired, moved to a new town and took a trip years in the planning. Now that the dust has settled, I have more free time. After several months of pondering, I’ve decided to use that time to focus more on my photography. I have a new freedom to go out shooting more often and if you’ve visited my Web Site recently, you may have noticed that it’s been under going several revisions.
For almost seventeen years now, I’ve been publishing this newsletter and my subscription base, although small, has been very loyal. Some issues have been easy to write, especially when Anne or I do something outrageous that make for a good story. When that happens, my fingers can’t type fast enough to keep up with the words coming out of my head. The newsletter seems to write itself. Other times, I’ll stare at a blank screen for hours while trying to think of something to say.
During our trip last summer, I tried my hand at blogging. It started off shaky, but after I got the hang of it, it became easier. I found that I could come up with something to write about and do it more often than on a monthly schedule. Some topics were whimsical while others were more somber.
I’ve discovered several advantages in using the blog format. It allows me to write without scheduling constraints. I can communicate when I have something to say, whether it is daily or weekly. I can cover a broader range of topics. There is a built-in mechanism for you to respond and leave public comments so you can see other people’s reactions. Search engines index the blog articles, so readers can Google (Yahoo or Bing) our discussions (you won’t believe how many people want to know about Chicken Alaska). Finally, the blog is open to a world-wide audience.
With those arguments in mind, I’ve decided to move my regular newsletters into my blog pages. This will be the last regular newsletter I send via email. After that, I will only be publishing news on my blog. At the end of January, I will drop this email list and close my Emma account.
I am publishing this exact newsletter, word for word, here and on the blog, which you can see if you click on this link. I would be very much honored if you followed. If you would like an email notification when I publish a new article there is an easy way for you to sign up. At the end of the article, scroll down to the section titled Leave a Reply.
At the bottom of the Reply section:
Check the box that says “Notify me of new posts by email”
Click the POST COMMENT button. That will trigger a new dialog box where you enter your email address. You’re welcome to add a few words in the comment box, but it’s optional.
I hope to see all of you on the blog, but if that’s not your choice, I’d like to thank you for being a loyal subscriber these years and maybe we’ll meet On the Road.
This morning I added another image to the New Work section of my Website. It’s called Rental Canoes at Lake Louise and I took this photograph in June this year while on our Alaska journey. I originally published the picture in the blog entry; Lake Louise – Alberta. This is the official edition as processed on my office set-up.
This image is a cluster of red rental canoes tied up at the Lake Louise dock. It rained off and on during the day and only a few hearty souls ventured out onto the lake. In the background is the swanky Fairmont Chateau at Lake Louise. If you travel to Alberta Canada, Lake Louise is a must stop, and if you have the where-with-all to spring for a room and/or meal at the hotel, you won’t be disappointed; highly recommended.
It’s been a quiet month here at the Jim Witkowski Photography World Headquarters in the greater Congress Metropolitan Area, but we’ve been busily slaving away in the basement revising the web site. I thought I’d stop for a moment, get a cup of coffee and point out some of the changes we’re making.
This long-term project started off after returning from the Alaska excursion. On that trip, I started posting landscape photos using a ratio of 16:9. That’s the wide format commonly used in HDTV. The photos fit the blog slots and I liked the way they looked, so I decided to keep the ratio as my landscape standard. To display them effectively on the web site, I wanted to give them more room and that meant putting them on a wider background. Since I was changing that, I opened up the left side menu which complies with Google’s new “Hand-held device policy”. That will make it easier for a phone visitor to touch a single menu item. Finally, since I have this new-found space, I decided to make all the images and thumbnails larger. Since that means revising several hundred pages. The task will keep me off the streets and out of bars for a while.
Deciding where to start was easy, I began on the New Work index page. I hadn’t cleaned up this page for a while and a lot of images were taken several years ago. I can’t consider them new any longer, so I’m moving them into the Ongoing Projects pages if I still like them, or getting rid of the ones that don’t work for me any longer.
I’ve also created a new project page for my West Side work. It’s not officially up yet, but you can get a sneak peek by going to http://www.jimwitkowski.com/westSide. Since I had to start fresh, you can get a good idea of what the finished page will look like. I think it’s less crowded and a cleaner look.
When I first created this Web Site, I used small images to reduce the bandwidth. After all, most people used dial-up then. With high-speed connections and bigger monitors, bandwidth has become more generous and I can afford to post larger, reasonably formatted images. As an example of the changes I’m talking about, compare these pages:
http://www.jimwitkowski.com/newWork/kluaneRuby.html In this example, the image is the wider 16:9 ratio which makes the landscape more expansive (you need a large copy for over your couch right?). The image is an inch wider than in example 2, but it’s still not crowded on the page.
As I said, there are a lot of pages that need revision so progress will be slow but steady. Since I have this blog tool, I will be using it to announce my progress. However, I’m also going to take advantage of the tool to make posts about other crazy ideas that run through my mind. The topics will photography centered but there’s no telling where my mind will wander. If you’d like notification when I post a new rambling, use the “Comment” link in the left column and check the “Notify me of new posts by email” box in the comment section. Please feel welcome to add your two cents as well. You’ll need to give an email address of course, but that’s a small price for so much joy (email addresses are not published anywhere on this site).