New card stock

Monday – this morning I spent some time looking after details of my Etsy store. I had to reorder stock for one of my most popular greeting cards since they sold out at the market I did a week ago. While doing that, I decided to prepare two other photos for printing on greeting cards and order some stock of those as well. The order is at the printer and I should get the cards in a week or so.

I also set up a new photo available as a matted print (within Australia) – the same sea lion photo that I’d had to restock as a greeting card. The animal photos are definitely more popular than the landscapes, and I’m running out of stock of those faster.

I also spent some time today reprocessing a bunch of old photos from scans of film that I took 20 yers ago. And some time writing comics. I basically stayed in most fo the day because it was rainy, although it stopped in the afternoon when I took Scully to the dog park for a bit.

New content today:

Shimmering views

Today was another busy day for me and my fledgling photography business. My Etsy shop is going okay – I’ve had a dozen or so orders for greetings cards and have been mailing them out. But as I said yesterday, I want to expand my range and start offering matted prints ready to frame.

So today I went down to the garage and grabbed some of the stock I have printed for market stalls, and took some photos to set up some new items on Etsy. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, because taking product photos requires good lighting, and it was a grey day here, and we don’t get a lot of natural light inside because of large trees near the windows – and indoor artificial lighting is often odd colour temperatures and very directional and harsh.

I ended up taking my stock outside and placing it on the ground under the open sky, and standing over it to take the photos looking straight down. Even then the results weren’t brilliant, because taking a photo of a photo naturally ends up with reduced image quality. So I took to Photoshop and made some mock-ups using a combination of photos of the matting boards that I’d taken outside and the original photos.

I ended up with something I could display and created a new item on Etsy. But given what I said yesterday about shipping to Australia versus internationally, at the moment it’s only available (and hence only visible, I believe) within Australia. I’m going to think about using a drop-shipping printer in the US and/or Europe to make these sort of prints available there too, but that’s a job for another day.

While I had my printed stock out, I took a bunch of photos of one of them for another purpose. Back when I was working for CiSRA (Canon Information Systems Research Australia), the last project I worked on was one to create 3D lighting effects of material surfaces. Some of my former team members decided to take their knowledge of the technology and form a start-up company to commercialise it (by re-implementing the systems from scratch in a non-intellectual-property-infringing manner). The company they’ve formed is Bandicoot Imaging. Check out in particular their demos of the Shimmer View technology and the materials gallery. This is imaging technology that I worked on!

What you need to do is take a bunch of photos from different angles, which are then combined into a material appearance model, which can be illuminated by a simulated light source from any angle. So I took some photos and uploaded them to their server, and produced a Shimmer View of one of my photos:

Mouse over it and you can control the motion, and also zoom in and out a bit. You can see the faint sheen of the semi-gloss satin finish of the photo paper, but there isn’t very much going on, unlike some of the fabric and leather textures in the demo gallery. But still, a nice effect.

New content today:

A post on postage

I’m planning to start offering larger prints of my photos on my Etsy shop, to supplement the greeting cards. The prints are 30×20 cm, matted with boards to a size of 40×30 cm, which fits a standard 16×12 inch picture frame. (It’s such a mess working with a mix of metric and Imperial measurements…)

To offer these for sale, I needed to know how much it would cost to package and ship them to potential buyers, so I could price them accordingly. There’s a place near me that does packing and shipping of stuff, so I went there to get a quote. They quoted me $20 to package a print, and $60 to ship it within Australia, or $96 to ship it to the US or Europe. I took the quote and thanked them for their assistance.

This seemed like an awful lot, so I checked Australia Post. They can ship package of this size within Australia for $26 by Express post, or just $19 by regular parcel post. And I’m sure I can pack a print with a few sheets of cardboard, taped up, to keep it safe and prevent it bending. So that seems a lot better.

The only issue is that this print size is just over the maximum dimensions for a package for Australia Post to ship overseas. And I mean just… the matting board itself is exactly the maximum possible size, but by the time I add packaging it will necessarily be a bit bigger.

So I think for now I’ll only be offering these for sale within Australia. I need to take some product photos and set up a new listing on Etsy, but hopefully I can do that tomorrow.

New content today:

Minimalism

Today I didn’t do much worth reporting: Ethics class this morning, a smidgen of mid-week grocery shopping, and writing and producing some Darths & Droids strips.

But yesterday while I was out having lunch, I took a couple of photos on the theme of minimalism, for a specific theme week in a photography group that I post to occasionally.

Two yachts

I call that one “Two Yachts”. I took it at Fishermans Beach, in the suburb of Collaroy. This is the spot where I like to sit while I eat pies from my favourite pie shop. It’s a bit of a drive from my place, so I don’t go here as often as I’d like to enjoy the pies. Perhaps fortunately!

The second photo I took heading back to my car to drive home:

Blue minimalism

So I ended up not merely with a minimalism theme, but a “blue minimalism” theme.

New content today:

Back to the comics grind

It’s Monday, the day after my weekend trip, and that means back to work – making comics! I had to compete writing a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! today, in preparation for photographing tomorrow morning.

Apart from that, I did a large grocery shop, since we were out of a lot of things and the shopping list was pretty full.

And I went through some more of the photos from the weekend trip. Here’s that floodwater that stopped us driving further along the road that was cut off:

Gerringong Creek flooded

An artistic shot of the suspension bridge over the creek:

Gerringong Creek suspension bridge

And a pied currawong:

Pied currawong

New content today:

Road trip day 3

I’m back home tonight, after a day on the road with my wife and Scully. We left our accommodation Kangaroo Valley this morning, and drove to Bowral in steady rain. We had a nice lunch there, then headed back home, arriving around 5pm. Overall, since leaving home on Friday morning we’ve driven 438 km.

I’ve had time to process a few photos from the the trip, so here they are. First, Kiama Lighthouse:

Kiama Lighthouse

The ocean pool at Kiama:

Kiama rock pool

What I’m guessing is an unnamed intermittent waterfall (that only appears after heavy rain), spotted on the escarpment of Budderoo National Park, from our drive up Upper Kangaroo Valley:

Budderoo waterfall

The road that was flooded, cutting our progress up Upper Kangaroo Valley – you can see from the flood depth marker that the water is more than a metre deep over the road:

Gerringong Creek flood

A view of some farming country in Upper Kangaroo Valley:

End of Treefern Road

And a view from Cambewarra Lookout, over the Shoalhaven River and the towns of Bomaderry (this side of the river) and Nowra (far side):

Cambewarra Storm

New content today:

Errands and chores

I had a busy day. First off the rank was sending an Etsy order out at the post office. Then when I returned home I cleaned up, vacuuming the carpets and floors. Then I washed the kitchen floor (and also the balcony floor later in the afternoon). Changed out the damp absorbers in the wardrobes. Took out a bunch of rubbish.

In the middle of the day I caught a train into the city. I needed to go in to pick up a book I’d ordered from a game store in there: Original Adventures Reincarnated #4: The Lost City by Goodman Games. While in the city I grabbed some lunch. There aren’t a lot of particularly good places to grab a quick lunch in that part of the city, but a friend suggested the food hall at David Jones, an upmarket department store. The basement level food hall sells all sorts of gourmet ingredients, and they also have hot food bars and tables. I got a seat at the Asian bar and had a massaman curry with rice, which was fairly good.

Once back home, I grabbed my camera and went out to Kirribilli again to get another photo of the slowly emerging jacaranda flowers. Today they looked like this (compare to last week):

McDougall Street jacarandas: 19 Oct

While there, I noticed the rose beds in the adjacent park were also in flower and got a few photos of the roses:

Roses in Milson Park

Roses in Milson Park

And then by the time I got home, it was almost time to take Scully to the dog park, and buy some bread form the bakery on the way. A pretty full day right up to dinner time.

New content today:

Chilly Friday photo project

Today dawned cloudy and chilly and a bit rainy. I did some comic work, but also took some time to continue a photography project I started back on Monday.

There’s a street in a suburb not far from me which is lined with jacaranda trees. Every year in late spring, basically November, the trees flower, and the location becomes a fantastic wonderland of purple flowers creating a tunnel around the street. In the past few years it’s become Instagram famous and has attracted large numbers of tourists. They want to take photos standing on the street – which of course is a hazard as the locals use it to drive on. This has become such an issue that the council has stuck warning signs on the footpaths:

McDougall Street jacaranda warning sign

Anyway, jacaranda flowering season is just in the very earliest stages right now. And given COVID, there are no tourists in Sydney at the moment. So this is the perfect opportunity to take photos of the flowering without the photos being full of tourists.

My plan is to go down to the street at least a couple of times a week, to make sure I’m keeping track of the flowering progress. And so this way I can be sure to catch and capture it at the peak. During the peak, I might try to go down there every day and take photos.

I went down on Monday, and the street looked like this:

McDougall Street jacarandas: 12 Oct

It doesn’t look like much yet. There’s just a faint hint of the earliest purple flower buds coming out. I went down again today:

McDougall Street jacarandas: 16 Oct

Not much change. But stay tuned as I keep this up, because this street is going to transform into something absolutely magical within the next few weeks.

New content today:

Bit of a lazy Sunday

It was almost a lazy Sunday. Except for my wife rousing me to go with her and Scully for a walk this morning. We did our usual weekend circuit, around to our favourite local bakery and back via the marina and Berry Island. It’s about 4.5 km, a good solid walk. Scully was still a bit tired after yesterday’s big day out, so she slept a lot of this afternoon.

I made a comic, but mostly I worked on processing some old photos from our trip to Tasmania in 2000. I have a bunch of photos taken in King Solomon’s Cave in Mole Creek Karst National Park.

King Solomon's Cave

Oh, and I wrote up a new Snot Block & Roll review from yesterday, plus an older one that I’d had waiting for a few months.

And… that’s about it.

New content today:

A nice day for a ferry trip

Today I went on a Saturday outing with my wife and Scully. We walked down to Greenwich Point wharf, which is a decent walk in itself from our place.

Greenwich Point

From here we caught a ferry across the harbour to Balmain, home of many Victorian era terrace houses.

Keyhole doorway duplex

We walked up and down the main street, checking out food places and shops, and grabbing a few little bites to eat here and there to make up an overall lunch. The Balmain Post Office is an interesting structure, built in 1886-7. The writing on it still proclaims it to be the “Post and Telegraph Office”.

Balmain Post Office

There are also old sandstone churches. The St Andrew’s Congregational Church, 1854 (with Scully):

Scully at St Andrew's Congregational Church, Balmain

And the Campbell Street Presbyterian Church, 1867:

Campbell Street Presbyterian Church

After a few hours of enjoying the warm spring sunshine and visiting a suburb we don’t go to very much, we headed back home on the ferry.

Ferry wake, heading home

This afternoon my wife and I played a few games of Codenames Duet, and finally completed the 11th city in our campaign. Sydney, as it happened. 😀

New content today: