Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year, New Directions!

As of January 1, 2013, I am officially out of the studio on Main Street in Sheridan after 5 years!

It has been a busy and fantastic run but over the past couple years I have steadily been shifting my photographic business back to my original intentions.  I went into the building in town to have an office space outside of the home and then things got a little convuloted at that point.  Instead of focusing on my corporate/editorial work like I originally intended, I started getting into retail portraits just by having the exposure on Main Street.  Now, mind you, that is not a bad thing.  I enjoyed dabbling in that for a while.  That side of the business took off like wildfire and quickly took over my life.  And that was unintentional.  I used to have a hard time saying no! (Except for weddings, no way!) Not anymore.

I have had a great many wonderful clients over the past years and thank them very much.  Sheridan schools approached me about working with them and that took off.  I enjoyed working with Mrs. Shelburne and Mrs. Pitzer with the yearbook and Mr. Shelburne and Mr. Jones with the athletics.  They were always great with me.  It was kind-of neat to shoot some high school sports again after 20 years since I was a newspaper photographer.  I also got to meet a lot of great kids and have seen them go on to the workforce or college.

But there was a problem, with all the new work on the retail portrait side, my corporate/editorial work was getting pushed to the wayside and I found myself working many hours, sometimes up to 70/week. And getting burned out.

A couple years ago I decided that I needed to step back.  I was going to give up the school contract in 2011 but stayed on another year; but in that time I decided not to advertise with the phone book, newpapers and other avenues to try and lighten the retail load.  It helped some as I was able to do more corporate work.  But not enough.  In June of '12 I let the school know that I was not going to be the official photographer anymore.  In July, I let the athletic department know that I also would not be doing the sports photos anymore.

I am dedicating my photography back to what I love.  Hittin' the road when I want and going where I want and not worrying about retail hours and having to be at the studio at the beck and call of local clients.  It's been liberating!  Corporate sales are back up to where they should be and expanding. 

With the technology now I can sit in my RV out west with my dog by my side, or sit in a Cafe and upload photos to my agencies with ease.  I can work when I want and be with my wife and kids when I want.  I can work with the police department a little easier with my open schedule to help fill in shifts for them.  And I can dedicate more time to the US Naval Sea Cadet Corps and the responsibilities of commanding the Indianapolis division.

This past year I was hardly ever at the studio.  So, finally, I decided that there was no point in maintaining that space if I was rarely using it.  I think I kept the studio longer than I should have just because I didn't want to move all the stuff!  I hate moving!

I have a full year coming up and lots of projects.  The beagle and I will be putting thousands more miles under our belts on the back-roads of America.  I'll be able to go to drill weekends and summer trainings without juggling clients and worrying about other people's schedules.  I can take a day at the last minute and fill a shift at the PD without cancelling on somebody.  I can feel un-rushed cutting grass or doing other things at church. Selfish? Yes. But not to my family and my volunteering.

So this is "so long" to Sheridan but not goodbye as I will be shooting a lot, just not here.  Thanks for the Main Street memories but it is time to move on.  There is still a lot to fit in before the Good Lord decides to call me Home!

The mobile office, somewhere outside Area 51, Nevada, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Leaving Nevada into Beautiful Utah!

 Caliente, Nevada railroad station. Caliente is a pretty cool little cowboy town.
 Outside Caliente heading towards Utah.
 Driving into Utah.
 Gotta love the west.  80mph on the interstate in Utah.  Below, a storm crosses the interstate leaving lots of damage behind.

 Below 4 photos from the nights campsite.

 I love Utah for the wide open vistas.  The photo above was the view from where I parked the RV for the night.  We watched a thunderstorm pass many miles in the distance and enjoyed the night in overlooking the valley on some BLM land.

 Amtrak cutting through the high desert.


 A Utah morning.  Getting ready to head out on the interstate towards Colorado.
 Ruby ready to go.  Her favorite spot through the whole trip.
 Utah is just gorgeous.  Even in mid-day light.
 Another great way to travel through the west.  Amtrak.

I hit Colorado and only took one photo. I just felt claustrophobic driving through there this time after all the wide open spaces.  I couldn't wait to get through the state.  At Denver I went north to Wyoming and then back to the east into the Nebraska panhandle.  Back again to my home state...I feel comfortable in Nebraska and love the wide open spaces of western Nebrasksa.  I stayed overnight in Sidney, home of Cabela's and stayed in the Cabela's campground right behind the mother store and next to the world headquarters.  It was nice to have full hookups and internet for the evening.  I met a retired couple that was in their Class B coach like mine.  They had a 2009 Pleasure-Way on a Sprinter chassis.  They were on a 3 month trip!  That's a long time in a little coach but they were loving it as they had done it several times.
 I loved this motel just outside of Sidney.  The Generic Motel.
 This old place was next to the Generic Motel.  At this point I was on the Lincoln Highway and this was a relic from when there was no interstate.
 In between the cowboy towns on the Lincoln Highway.
 Above and the following are shots from the town of Sunol, Nebraska.  Once a thriving railroad town but now a dusty relic of the past.  Shotgun style building and dirt roads. Not many people around except one guy that, as soon as he saw me, turned around and walked back to his house hidden behind the old trucks in the front yard.  After I passed his house, he came back out and walked to the middle of the road to watch me drive down the road.  Not a real friendly sort.

 The "Public School" was the only building that looked really maintained in the town.  I can't imagine there were that many kids around the area and the surrounding ranches to go there.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Movin' On...Area 51...UFO's

I crossed into California and within a couple miles I came to the aggriculture checkpoint.  I was a little worried going into the Socialist Republic since right off the bat I knew I had a couple violations of California law.  #1- My GPS was attached to my windshield along with my radar detector.  That's a no-no since nothing is suppossed to be attached to the windshield.  #2- My dog was unrestrained.  All animals riding in vehicles in California must be restrained by seat-belt or cage. #3 I forgot to bring her vaccination records. But I pulled up and the 2 state government inspectors looked like cleaned up hippies and only asked where I came from, if I had any fruit and any other animals besides my dog. Thanks dude, have nice night. I finished my westward drive on Route 66 in Needles, California, a small Mojave desert town that I always wanted to drive through.  So I did.  Then I left.  And headed north through the desert.
 The sun setting on railcars in Needles.
 Remnants of the Route.

And these prices were before fuel spiked a few weeks later!

Finally off Route 66.  I had already been to the end of the route a couple years ago at the Santa Monica Pier.  Now time to head north and loop back home towards the midwest.  

The Mojave desert is a neat place to drive at night, though somewhat spooky.  2 lane highway with nothing, and I mean nothing, out there.  I saw a car about every 25 minutes.  It was just me, the dog and K-LOVE on the radio.  I crossed the border from California into Nevada and started thinking about a place to pull over for the night.  I came upon the town of Searchlight, Nevada and pulled into Terrible s Truck Stop.  Sounded like a good place to stop.  Surprisingly it was.  I parked next to a wash (a ravine) and walked the dog around for a bit.  There were only about 15 semi's there and it was not crowded at all.  The truck stop itself was clean and folks were friendly and there was a McDonald's inside the building where I could clog my arteries with a McMuffin in the morning.  That next morning I headed towards Las Vegas and decided at the last minute to head towards Area 51, the home of top-secret military testing and where the government keeps our captured aliens and UFO spacecraft.  Or so they say.
 OK, I admit I did see aliens and here is proof.
 Otherwise it's very, very lonely out there.
 Looking toward Area 51.  So quiet.
 Ruby enjoyed hunting out there.

 Great places to pull off and eat and enjoy the quiet.
 The town of Rachel, Nevada in the distance (above).  The only town on the road and home base for the UFO hunters, conspiracy theorists and movie producers that use the area.  Closest gas stations is either 50 miles away or 110 miles away.  Rachel's abandoned gas station is below.  It still has a picture of an alien on the above ground tank.

 The Little Ale'Inn is the towns bar, restaurant, motel and gathering spot.  If you've watched any shows on TV about UFO's, Area 51, secret aircraft or the like you may have seen this establishment on the show. The food is decent and they don't gouge you on price considering there is no where else to go for miles and miles.  And they have convenient parking if you flew your saucer into town.

 Government monitoring of radioactivity (above) in the area due to past testing in the region.  This was part of a large setup along the highway that took air samples.  Hmmm, interesting considering for years they never even acknowledged a base out there.

One thing that was a mystery to me (above) was that every few hundred feet along the highway east of Rachel there were these pile of stones like pictured above.  Don't pay attention to the cow leg laying behind it.  Or maybe that's connected somehow, don't aliens come down and eviscerate cattle?  But anyway, the stone are a mystery, why and who would do that for miles and miles?  Someone thinking they can communicate and leave messages for outer space visitors?  Someone bored and thinking they can make inquisitive people like me wonder about why stones are placed in that manner?  Probably the latter. Ha!