Big Learning Curve but I’m finally ‘LIVE’

It’s been an amazing learning curve this past few weeks trying to get a new website up. The people at APhotoFolio have been great and their manual very helpful. But choosing photos and learning the ropes has been an education. I had a website before at my domain name artmeripol.com to feature and sell prints from all my 70’s and 80′ rock n’ roll photos. I wanted to use that domain name for the new site. That one was hosted by Livebooks for years.

With the domain name registered with Yahoo I had to learn how to change A names, C names and a lot of other behind-the-scenes internet addressing protocols that most people don’t even know exist. I sure didn’t. I have a few new friends including Rajeesh at Yahoo’s support center.

Livebooks also had the email address I wanted directed to their servers from Yahoo. I wanted to keep art@artmeripol for my website so I also had to deal with a third party email company NetworkSolutions. Again, more long long holds with tech support people who’s first language was tech and not english. I’m getting there. I though each call would be the last. I think my final call comes this morning as I figure out how to host this blog from my website rather than separately from WordPress. It’ll still be here but there too.

The website is up and LIVE! I’m very happy about it. It’s been just over three weeks since I learned I was a new freelance photographer. it’s been a full time gig just getting this far.

I’m always glad to hear nice words and so many people have been encouraging and it’s keep me going. But if you look at the website and can offer design or image choice suggestions my ears and mind are open.

artmeripol.com

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Losing Henry

Henry changed our lives. I know it was time but I still regret letting him go. Now 14, a brain tumor had all but eliminated any joy in his life.

Our last few years together were hard. Slowly our amazing once-in-a-lifetime dog began leaving us.

Henry had been my dog but so much of his care fell to my wonderful wife since I was so often on the road for work. It was an incredible amount of work too. As if I didn’t already owe her so much, I could never thank her enough.

What Henry should have had was 10, 000 sheep. But his life went another direction. We adopted this crazy border collie from the Birmingham Humane Society shortly before he turned one.

He’d been abandoned there twice. Being naive we didn’t recognize what were getting into. It was a learning experience for all three of us. Henry was lucky we lived where we could walk and walk we did.

I’m sure my wife walked him well over 8 thousand miles. He was walked at least three times a day 365 days a year. And the early, usually pre-sunrise, walk was near 3 miles. He kept us in shape.

He loved to ride in my 66 mustang. He loved Blue Bell Ice Cream. He loved going to George Ward Park to play disc golf. He was the canine Mayor of George Ward.

He was…

45 pounds of Sagacious, Steadfast Courage.

Big hearted, Stern and commanding.

Brilliant and didn’t suffer fools lightly.
Generous and calming with lesser dogs (and people)
An enemy of chaos.
Cat hating-water loving, hard working, ice-cream worshiping, highly observant but rarely playful.
Contemptuous of stupid commands.
Self aware reasoning and strategic
Protective and patient and absolutely the most handsome dignified dog ever.

Our deepest thanks to Dr. Arthur Serwitz and his great staff at Riverview Animal Clinic for the great care over the years. Especially for Dr. Serwitz kindness and compassion yesterday as he came to our house to help with Henry and ease his way. There aren’t words enough…

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Turning in the old, getting started on the new

Turning in the old, getting started on the new

Had high hopes for this week, my first as a newly minted freelancer. So much to get done and so much more to do. I wish I had accomplished so much this week that I didn’t. But then I did get a lot done too. First I turned in that employee Key Card to the office. I then came home, picked out and ordered a new laptop. The old one had to be turned in when I left Southern Living. As a pro photographer these days you just can’t shoot without one. So much of what I’ve been shooting is shot tethered to the laptop. It’s a great help to me in refining a shot. Going forward I expect any clients I might find will want to see it as well.

I had hoped to get started on a list of contacts to approach. Didn’t exactly get that done but I did go through a giant pile of old business cards and select the viable few. I talked to a good friend who freelances in Florida about software for billing, day rates, assistants, agents, websites, insurance and myriad other minutia where I’ll quickly have to get up to speed.

I’ve been looking at three websites hosts, Livebooks (who currently hosts my rock and roll photography website at my current URL artmeripol.com) Photoshelter which offers so many other services including storage and third party fulfillment for print orders and finally APhotoFolio, a fairly new host. I really like them all but I am leaning towards APhotoFolio because they use HTML5 which allows the site to work seamlessly on any device like smartphones and iPads. The guys who run it were photographers and photo editors who in their jobs were looking at thousands of photographer websites and came to realize what truly worked and what didn’t.
So, week one…some plans made, some more things to think about and a whole lot of editing to do for a website. At least I’m typing on my sweet new retina macbook pro. Now back to sifting through my external hard drives and thousands of files for that one image that might lift the upcoming website. I hope to have a site and business cards in the next couple weeks. But it’s almost overwhelming that I have so much to do in addition to walking the dogs.

Unexpected Career Change

I started this blog last week and have done two post so far. I wanted to document the technical and creative problems I’ve faced on a weekly basis as Senior Photographer for Travel for Southern Living Magazine for the last 24 years. Sadly, those first two post last week were from my last two shoots for the magazine as a staffer. Further cuts across parent company Time Inc came down to my level and our photo department was hit hard. It’s a shame but buying photos or even getting free images is a lot cheaper than staff and we were easy to cut. It’s the time’s we live in.

This morning I woke up unemployed for the first time since three weeks in the summer of 1974. I’ve made my living photographing. I’ve made a career out of something I love, something that satisfies me as no other activity can.

So the direction of this blog obviously has to change. Now I hope to keep it going as a document of my search for new directions, new outlets for my creative work. I’m without any clue how to bid a job, bill a job, what day-rates are, who’s buying or even what I want to pursue with my camera. I don’t even own my cameras.

What I do have is talent, energy, curiosity and creativity. Fortunately all that is portable. I also do have a good reputation with the many people I’ve been fortunate to work with and a lot of good and talented friends. I’ve developed a quality look and style of work shooting food, drinks, people, lifestyle activities, shopping and architecture…all the elements of good travel stories. Because what is Travel but where to stay, where to play, where to eat and where to shop. Within that arena you’ll find my work.Image, Ann Savoy-Louisiana Musician at home.

I’m frightened by the unknowables and anxious to move forward. But another part of my brain is telling me to take a short break, try not to panic and jump too fast.

I need a website, I need to organize my contacts. I need most of all to rest a little after spending half of every year for 24 years on the road in hotels, airports and rental cars. I need to spend time walking the dogs.

I have a chance to offer a fairly unique blog with this sudden life change and I hope I can keep it going. I hope you’ll follow me and check back occasionally. And if you have any photographic needs I hope you’ll let me know too.

Please share your thoughts with me.