The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Doin' time

Apparently today is a day of extended blog topic posting.

Technically, I'm doing time. I'm on probation, awaiting my appointed day to begin serving 45 days. I have been approved for work release, which means I will get out and make sales calls five or six days a week. That begins August 18.

For the past several days I have been getting accustomed to shooting moving targets in ever-changing light with a digital camera. Between July 22 and 29, I shot a few test shots. July 30, I shot 600 exposures of motorcyclists in Spearfish Canyon, at the entrance to the Rimrock Lodge. The photo you see of the spire on Needles Highway was a one-time guerrilla operation.

The success of this gig for me will depend on those pictured being able to know where to look at themselves on the web, and a way to order pix if they want 'em. I am fortunate to be friends with Randee Peterson, who owns the domain name "," where you can click "09 pics," and finally get to where you can go directly, which is here, where you can browse through 2900 logically assembled photos of motorcycle and riders. STURGIS-DOT-COM! Can you beat that with a stick?

Marketing geniuses that we are, we decided to tell people to "Get Your Pictures at," by means of a sandwich board, and then put some pictures up on the site for folks to see. I spend about 6 hours a day shooting and about 8 uploading.

I am pretty impressed with the Sony DSC-H1 camera I got used for about $135 on eBay a couple years ago. They're selling for about $100 last I checked. It produces a 14MB screen image (72 ppi, 36"x27") after transferring to photoshop, but stores at about 2.1MB. One can make a pretty darn good print sized 19"x13". With a good printer, 11"x14"s are breathtaking if the image is exposed and focused correctly.

An overcast day like yesterday was great, because the shadows almost disappear on a grey day. But bright sunshine creates deep shadows and the light reflecting from the road surface makes the camera compensate in a way that deepens them. So I've had to use the manual setting for shutter speed and aperture, just like with a real camera. But a real camera would have made me expose 61 rolls of 36-exposure film to get just the 2200 exposures I shot today, which would have cost me at least $650 to have purchased and processed in the days before digital cameras with 8-Gig memory sticks (3500 exposures at the highest resolution rating "5meg" although as I said, it produces a 14-meg screen shot). I would have had $6500 or better tied up just in film and 3x5 prints during the Rally, and no good way to get them in front of people for them to purchase. Before the Internet and Sturgis-damn-dot-com, that is.

The albums of my shots have received about 300 visitors each just since Thursday, the first day I had the sandwich board set up along the highway and me there lookin' good. I am currently downloading shots that would further illustrate the scene, but it's taking like hours to transfer 2200 photos from my memory stick to my hard drive. So once you have a camera and a computer setup that allows you to store lots of gigs and a good printer, all you have to invest to get pictures is time, and I'm doin' time. Like six or seven hours a day shooting and at least that uploading to the web. But, like I say, I'm doin' time, so I got time.

By the way, I didn't see a log truck today. They might not run on Saturdays anyway, but maybe (I hope) they've been suspended for a few days. Those guys are pretty good drivers but lots can happen (log trucks are treacherous). We'll see. They seem to have been replaced by Highway Patrol cars, naturally enough. Thursday, there were about 100 bikes per hour going by me. Today there were 600 per hour. More tomorrow, I'll bet. I think I can crack 3000 exposures in a day. More later.

By the way, Randee Peterson owns, and a whole bunch of other is an Internet Service Provider as well as the owner of a bunch of prime domains, which makes it a pretty good place to advertise or establish a web presence, especially for a tourist-related business. Randee says gets more hits than the Twins, Vikings, or Broncos sites.

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