Not much to report today. I basically spent the whole day processing photos from the original camera RAW files into final images at several print resolutions, to build myself a portfolio of image files ready to print. This is in preparation to launch my photo print web shop.

Apart from that, it was very rainy today. Very rainy. It started at 10pm last night, and by 5pm this evening we’d had 140 mm. It’s since stopped, but tomorrow we are forecast to have even more than that.

It’s good, because we’re still technically in a severe drought, and it’s put out several of the bushfires that were still burning around the state. A lot of rain has fallen in Sydney’s dam catchment area too, which should hopefully see our water storage levels go up from around 42% to somewhere near 70%, according to the water authorities.

New content today:

Setting up shop

Today I mostly worked on setting up my photo shop site. It’s still a little away form going public, but I got a lot of the gruntwork done today, setting up sizes and framing and finishing options, and crunching numbers to calculate prices. Oh, and figuring out costs for smallish (A4 or so) matted prints that I can sell face to face at the market. I’ve been doing a lot of spreadsheets lately.

In the background I ripped the DVDs of Star Wars Episodes VII and VIII, in preparation for starting work on them for Darths & Droids. And while doing that had some ideas for plot points which I jotted down.

Apart from that, it was mostly a day of cleaning up the house, scanning a pile of documents that I needed to get through and throw out, taking Scully for a walk, and cooking dinner.

Oh! I almost forgot. While at the dog park, I spotted a greater crested tern! You don’t see these in the city a lot.

One good tern deserves another

New content today:

Ethics kickoff morning tea

The new school year has begun after the summer holidays, and the kids are getting stuck into new classes. This means a new group of kids for me when my Primary Ethics classes begin. The school needs a couple of weeks to get the kids settled into new routines before they start the scripture/ethics classes, so my first day with the new Year 6 group will be 19 February, two weeks from today.

This morning we had a morning tea to meet the new teachers and for our coordinator to give us any relevant news. We met in a cafe near the school, and had a group of 7 present, with a couple of others who were’t able to make it today. Besides the coordinator, there are two women returning from last year, one woman transferring from another school where she taught ethics last year, and two new men starting this year.

One of the main issues we have this year is the fire that burnt down the school hall a couple of weeks ago. The hall was the venue for non-scripture, the kids who do neither scripture nor ethics classes, and there were a lot of kids in there, who now need to find somewhere else to sit and be supervised. Which puts pressure on the limited classroom space. So our coordinator told us that we may end up having some of our ethics classes outdoors. Which will be challenging if it happens that way.

I walked to the cafe and back, nearly 9 km of walking, and we spent 1.5 hours chatting there, so this ended up eating up the entire morning and I didn’t get home until after midday. This afternoon I’ve been making spreadsheets of costs and pricing figures for my nascent photography business, as well as recording invoices and taxes and stuff. Fortunately the accounting is fairly simple and I think I can handle it with nothing more complex than a spreadsheet.

This evening for dinner I cooked something I’ve never cooked before: Brussels sprouts. I bought some the other – the first time in my life I’ve ever bought them. I used to hate them as a kid, and thought they were disgusting. But a few weeks ago my wife and I went to a restaurant and one of the recommended side dishes was fried Brussels sprouts, with salt and chilli. I’m always keen to try something new, so we ordered them… and they were delicious! So I decided to see if I could emulate them.

I made vegetarian sausages, mashed potato, and I fried the sprouts, cut in half, in some olive oil with a pinch of salt, fresh sliced garlic, and some dried chilli flakes. And wow, it turned out really good! So easy to make.

New content today:

Comics and commerce

It was another hot, humid day here in Sydney. I spent most of the day at home, only going out a couple of times to let Scully get some exercise.

The main thing I did today was finish writing a new batch of Irregular Webcomic! strips. These are now ready for photographing tomorrow. I also spent a bit of time working on configuring the online shop for my photography prints. I’ve got a Square Reader payment processing gadget that Bluetooths to my phone, for processing credit cards while at the market stall, so I was setting that up and testing it out. And fiddling with the configurations and product details in WooCommerce on my website. I need to start thinking of exactly how the prints will be available (sizes, finishes, framing, etc), and how much to charge for them, given the production costs and a reasonable profit.

New content today:

Setting up web shop

Today was a heavy day of working on the nascent web shop for my photography site, and ordering prints of photos for sale stock for the market stall I mentioned yesterday. I formatted four photos for printing in a large size, and placed an order with the printer, choosing some different paper types to test out how they look when printed large. They should take about a week to be ready for me to pick them up, and then I’ll order some more to have enough stock for the market stall in March.

And the other thing I spent a lot of time on today was installing WooCommerce, which is a web shop package, with catalogue, inventory, shopping cart, credit card and PayPal payment handling, and a bunch of other features that are useful for running an online shop. There’s a lot of configuration needed and I’m still figuring out how it all works, but hopefully soon I’ll have some catalogue pages ready for people to browse and buy prints.


New content today:

Photography market up and running

Today marked the biggest steps so far in turning my photography into something that can hopefully pay the bills and mean I don’t have to go looking to work for someone else again. I applied for a stall at That Great Market, a small local suburban market in northern Sydney. In the application form I said I wanted to sell art photography prints. After I sent it off, I was metaphorically holding my breath to see what they said…

If they accepted my application, I’d need some stock to sell. I already have a printer set up for large framed prints (see yesterday), but I thought it would be good to have smaller items as well, so today I ordered a batch of greeting cards printed with a selection of my photos. The printer I chose supplies envelopes with the cards, so that’s good. My wife suggested that I should present them professionally by putting each card/envelope in a cellophane slip bag. Searching online found a supplier of those, and I ordered a box of those as well. When these all arrive we’ll have to spend some time collating and inserting the cards into the bags!

Now I can sell all this stuff from an online store – which I still need to set up. I have plans for that, but just need some time to do the necessary installation and configuration.

And then this evening the market responded, saying I could have a stall! They said they were actually looking for a photographer to complement their other stalls, so it was good fortune that I’d applied! I’m definitely taking that as a good sign.

So… I’m now set to have a market stall at Laurelbank, Willoughby, on Sunday 1 March, and at East Lindfield Community Hall on Sunday 15 March and 19 April. I’ll see how they go, and then may extend my stall into future months. If things go well, I’ll look to expand to other markets, including some larger and more well known ones.

This is incredibly exciting… and daunting. I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m making up a business plan and listing equipment that I need to get organised before the first market day. Phew!

New content today:

Taking care of business, part 2

(Oh, haha, I see I’ve already used that as a post title…)

Today was dedicated to steps along the road to getting myself set up with a photography sales business. I set up my website a while ago, and now I’m implementing a bunch of stuff necessary to start selling prints. Today I got a monitor colour calibration tool and properly calibrated my monitor, then I prepared a few selected photos in Photoshop files with all the required colour profile settings, ready to send to the printing lab to have them printed on art quality paper. The next stage is to send them off and have a few test prints made. Then I’ll be ready to start selling and shipping them to people.

The other thing is that the printer I’m using can put my photos on their website, with the handful of art photographers that they work with, and start selling online off their website. I’ll also be adding a shop on my own website, to collect orders through my own advertising.

And another thing I did was to register for an Australian Business Number. This is required for all the dull business/tax things that I need to start keeping track of, and filing with the government.

To calibrate my monitor I needed to pick up the tool from the city, and then I realised I needed a calibration print from the printer, so I walked over there to get one. It was a fair walk, and I passed some interesting things along the way:

Mortuary Station

Regent Street Station, formerly known as Mortuary Station, a now disused railway station that used to be the stop where bodies were loaded to be transported to Rookwood Cemetery, in Sydney’s west.

Codenames Blue Spy

Some cool street art. It reminded me of one of the blue spy cards in Codenames.

Austin of England

“Austin of England” car, circa 1951. Showing the typical mud-spattered look that many Sydney cars now sport, due to the combination of dust storms and rainstorms, and water restrictions that make it more difficult to wash cars.

Ravenswood, 1896

Ravenswood, a Federation style building from 1896.

By the time I got home I was very warm and sweaty, from the humid heat that has settled over Sydney in the past couple of weeks. But it was an exciting day for another reason! Today was Scully’s first day on the job as a Delta Therapy Dog!

Delta Dog

Here she is in uniform, ready to go to work at Royal North Shore Hospital. My wife is her official Delta handler, and they both had to pass training and evaluation to qualify for this role. They’re doing patient visits in the orthopaedics ward at the hospital, to help cheer the patients up and improve their recovery. I’m extremely proud of both of them – when I first heard of this program I didn’t think it was a serious possibility for them to qualify for it. But I’m very happy they did!

New content today:

Taking care of business

I had a busy day today. I had a meeting scheduled at 2pm with a guy who runs an art photo printing company. One of my contacts through the Standards Australia committee for photography that I chair was the former owner of the business, and he arranged to meet us there and introduce us.

The site was in the city, not far from where one of my friends works, so I contacted him and asked if he wanted to meet up for lunch beforehand. With a lunch appointment set, I headed into the city on the train a couple of hours early, so I could browse around in some bookshops and then walk from there to lunch. I took some photos along the way:

Sydney Town Hall

This is Sydney Town Hall, the seat of the local city government council. They’re the ones who put on the famous New Year’s Eve fireworks, among other things. This lovely old building also hosts concerts and other events. It has a magnificent pipe organ.

From here I walked south down George Street, the central city’s main thoroughfare, until I reached Broadway, which is really just the continuation of George Street as it gently turns west. Here there are some lovely old Art Deco hotel/pub buildings:

Bar Broadway

This is the Bar Broadway, which used to be Sutherland’s Hotel (hence the old signage above). Behind it you can see the tall tower of the newish Central Park building, with the greenery on the exterior. Closer up it looks like this:

Central Park, Broadway

The dangling thing over the middle is an array of solar reflectors, to reflect sunlight down into parts of the building that are in the shade. This building is mostly student accommodation, because the University of Technology, Sydney, is right across the road. Here’s an exterior walkway along the road just outside one of the university buildings:

UTS tunnel

And out the other side there’s another old Art Deco hotel:

Broadway Crown, formerly Hotel Broadway

This one is the Broadway Crown, formerly known as the Hotel Broadway. This is near where I had lunch with my friend. We discussed various things, including our stalled comic project, Eavesdropper. He said that what we’d been doing was essentially a first draft of the story in his head, and it wasn’t a final polished version in his opinion. What he needs to do is get the whole story down on paper, and then revise it. So illustrating it further as a comic doesn’t really make sense – doubly so because of how much effort I had to put into drawing the artwork. So I think we can officially call the comic project finished, albeit not completed.

We also talked about games we’ve been playing lately and plan to play in the future. I need to knuckle down and write the next instalment of our current D&D adventure that I’m running.

After lunch, I headed to my meeting at the photo printing place. I met the owner and he showed me around the print shop, and we discussed the various printing machines and paper stocks and mounting and framing options he had available. I said I wanted to to start selling mounted and framed prints of my photography, from an online shop on my website, and he said they had art photographers listing photos for sale on the print shop’s website, so the photographers themselves don’t need to run a shop site. Customers can order prints, they print and frame and ship them, and give the mark-up to the photographer, minus a small percentage for hosting the online shop. This sounds perfect! So I’m going to go through the details with him by email and produce some photo files that they can sell as large prints. Initial selections will be some of the photos that you can see on my portfolio site.

I got home late in the afternoon. My wife and I took Scully for a walk and run around the park near our place. Then we made some more pizza with the home-made feta. I’d left a chunk of it sitting in a bowl of milk in the fridge all day, to draw some of the salt out, and that trick worked well. The resulting cheese was milder, and the pizza wasn’t as salty as yesterday.

As I was relaxing into the evening, news broke of a fire in a school in Sydney. It was Lane Cove Public School, which is the school where I teach Primary Ethics! Fortunately the kids are still on summer holidays, but their school hall and canteen are reported to have burnt down. The hall apparently had a lot of musical instruments stored inside, so the students are going to have it tough until they can buy new instruments. Fortunately no classrooms were affected. It’s going to be interesting to see how the recovery is going when I return there in a few weeks to start teaching a new year of kids Ethics.

New content today:


I had a dental appointment today, for a clean. The hygienist reported everything looks good, so that’s always good news. My appointment was shortly before lunch, not far from my wife’s office, and she finished early today, so we met up to have lunch at a place nearby that does dim sum, and had a nice meal together, before heading home.

The other thing I’ve done today is put the finishing touches on my new photography website, which I’ve set up as part of my effort to generate some income through my photography. I’m planning to sell framed prints of some of my photos, and am currently doing some research into suitable printing and framing companies where I can get them made. I also have a new Instagram account dedicated to the sort of high quality photos that I’ll be selling – please follow it if you’re interested! (I also have a more general Instagram account, with more casual day-to-day photos on it.)

Oh, I also did some Standards work, follow-up tasks from the meeting I had a week and a bit ago. I’m in the process of organising to host an international photography standards meeting in Sydney in early 2021. There are people to contact and things to book and agreements to get signed.

And gosh, it’s only Tuesday! It’s going to be a full week by the time it’s over.

New content today:

Dog party!

Somehow I got stuck with the job of baking a ham for Christmas lunch with my wife’s family. So this morning I ventured out to acquire a ham. When I got to the supermarket, I found a section with Christmas hams… they were about $20 a kilogram, and all huge slabs of meat weighing 4, 5, 6+ kilos each. Christmas lunch will be for about 8 people… I really don’t think we could get through $100 worth of ham. So I wandered off to get some other groceries, wondering what to do. But then I ran across another section of the store where they had baby hams, closer to 1 kilo. Perfect!

Ham acquired, I bought some other stuff and went home. On the way, I popped into my dentist, as I was walking past and it reminded me that I’m overdue for a teeth clean. The receptionist wasn’t at the desk, so I had to wait a couple of minutes to make my appointment, and I looked over at the coffee table covered in magazines for waiting patients to read. And I spotted something interesting:

Mechanical Dentistry by Charles Hunter

Mechanical Dentistry by Charles Hunter

Well it’s good to see that my dentist is up on all of the latest techniques and practices! There was even a chapter on how to alloy gold for use in a filling or for a false tooth!

The rest of the morning I spent cataloguing all the bird photos I took yesterday, extracting photo metadata (date, time, GPS coordinates, etc), matching it to species IDs, and then importing the lot into my bird photo database. (You can browse this database, but it’s still under construction – I have to go back and import all my historical bird photos. At the moment it only has photos I took this year, so many of the birds click through to an empty page. For one with several photos, try the New Holland honeyeater.)

This afternoon, we had another Christmas party that Scully was invited to – this time at her dog park that we go to a couple of times a week. It was just organised by the group of regulars there, who invited everyone and their dogs to show up with a plate of food. We arrived early, to go for the usual walk along the shore with the group of dogs that Scully has become familiar with. By the time we got back from the walk there were maybe 20-30 dogs plus their owners there, enjoying plenty of food and drink.

Dog park party

As you can see, Scully was wearing her festive kiwifruit bandana. We stayed for a couple of hours, until about 6pm, when we left to go in search of dinner (the food we ate there was really more of an appetiser than a meal). We ended up at an Italian place, walking a large circuit from our place via the dog park. In total it was almost 8 km we walked this evening. Scully should sleep well tonight, as hopefully will I!

New content today: