Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Cost of Doing Business - an NPPA publication

The following is what I have been studying tonight. It is a "Cost of Doing Business" calculator by Greg Smith of the NPPA. The way I see it, you cannot loose by joining professional organizations such as this. These are his figures, but I used them for myself because I may be moving to a city with expenses comparable to his in the near future.

Annual Expenses

Office or Studio (more info)

Advertising & Promotion (more info)

Phone (Cell, Office & Fax) (more info)

Subscriptions & dues (more info)

Photo Equipment (more info)

Business Insurance (more info)

Repairs (more info)

Health Insurance (more info)

Computers (Hardware & Software) (more info)

Legal & Accounting Services (more info)

Internet (Broadband, Web site & email) (more info)

Taxes & Licenses (Business, Property & Self-employment) (more info)

Vehicle Expenses (Lease, Insurance & Maintenance) (more info)

Office Assistance (Payroll) (more info)

Office Supplies (more info)

Utilities (more info)

Photography Supplies (more info)

Retirement Fund (more info)

Postage & Shipping (more info)

Travel (more info)

Professional Development (more info)

Entertainment (meals with clients) (more info)

Desired annual salary (more info)

Total days per year you expect to bill for shooting (more info)

Non-Assignment Income

Stock, print, and reprint sales (more info)


Total annual expenses (including desired salary)
Weekly Cost of Doing Business
Your Overhead Cost for a Day of Shooting (more info)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Controlling Depth of Field

Depth of field study.

By Keith Birmingham

One of the basic subjects that I struggled with as a “beginner” in photography was controlling my “depth of field“, and thus controlling the sharpness of my photographs. It is one of those rules that can easily boggle my mind trying to keep it straight. When I first purchased my camera I carried it around with everything set for “automatic” exposure. That way I would not have to worry with so many of the questions that zoomed through my mind if I had to worry about getting the correct exposure. However, I soon realized that I was getting “a” correct exposure, but not “the” correct exposure. I was getting what I wanted in some parts of my photographs, but not with the entire images. For instance, in scenes that covered a large area there were objects closer to me, or further from me, that were out of focus even though my main subject was in focus. Research taught me that controlling my “depth of field” was very important in getting the visual results I wanted.  What  is in focus in a photograph is very important to creating the mood, or meaning of a photograph.

What I realized was: when you change your aperture setting you change the “depth of field”. That is, you change the area of the photograph which appears to be in focus in a photograph.

Here is how to get the results you want:
    1.) Large aperture = smaller f/numbers = produces limited depth of
        Larger hole = f/32 = limits depth of field.
    2.) Small aperture = large f/numbers = increase depth of field.
        Small hole = f/2.0 = decreased depth of field.
    3.) Use a smaller aperture number to decrease depth of field.
    4.) Using a smaller aperture number makes the aperture opening
    larger and requires that you use a faster shutter speed to get a correct     exposure.
    5.) Use a larger aperture number to increase depth of field.
    6.) Using a larger aperture number makes the aperture opening
    Smaller and requires a slower shutter speed to get a correct exposure.

Here is how I now remember the rules:
    1.) Large hole = less depth of field.
    2.) Small hole = more depth of field.
To make it even easier for me I only try to remember one rule: The other rule works if you just get one right: ).
Trucking Career: It ain't all fun and games.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Taking Care of Business:

Taking Care of Business

The follow story was written a few years ago. I have always considered it a simple outline, a very short draft for a book idea. Now that I am off of the road, and no longer putting in 14-18 hours for 8 days a week on a truck, maybe I will get a chance to write this book.

Taking Care of Business 

The difference between being a looser or a winner is attitude.

by Keith Birmingham

It was recess. Two nine year old boys, Norman and Timmy, were on the school playground playing with their toy trucks. When Billy the Bully walked up to them they both stood up with trucks in hand. Billy the Bully started calling them names, threatening to whip them, and demanding that the boys give him their trucks.

Norman refused, but Timmy became very frightened. Timmy threw his truck to the ground, turned around and ran back to the schoolhouse screaming for help. Billy the Bully leaned backward and roared in laughter so that all the other kids on the playground would see that he had scared Timid Timmy.

Now, watching Timid Timmy run away disgusted Norman. But, hearing Billy the Bully’s laughter infuriated him. While Billy the Bully roared with laughter Norman reached down and grabbed a handful of sand. When Billy the Bully stopped laughing and turned his attention to Norman he received a face full of sand. Billy the Bully raised his hands to shield his face. Norman used this opportunity to kick Billy the Bully between the legs. Of course, Billy the Bully now bent over in pain. And, when he did, Norman used his truck on Billy the Bully’s noggin, laying him out cold on the ground. Now, Stormin’ Norman picked up both of his trucks, and calmly moved to another part of the playground to continue his games.

But, the story doesn’t end there. That was over thirty years ago. These boys grew up. Billy the Bully continued to play with trucks. He grew up and became a trucker for awhile. But, he grew tired of all the hard work, and being gone from home all of the time. So, Billy the Bully got an office job in a major trucking firm. Now, people had to do what he said or he could fire them.

Timid Timmy also continued to play with trucks. He also grew up and became a trucker. Things looked good for awhile, but Timid Timmy continued to whine instead of taking care of his business. And, because he spent more time whining than he did taking care of business Timid Timmy’s business failed. But, the “softhearted” Billy the Bully was there to smile wickedly and give Timid Timmy a job working under him.

But then, one day at a company meeting Billy the Bully was promoted to Corporate Operations Manager. His first order of business was to promote Timid Timmy to Terminal Manager in the worst terminal he could find. And, as usual, Timid Timmy accepted the promotion, and immediately began to whine and complain about his working conditions.

Now, Stormin’ Norman also continued to play with trucks. And, he also grew up to become a truck driver, an owner/operator, and eventually started his own trucking company providing more and more people with good paying jobs. He treated his employees well, and he and his employees prospered. And then, one sunny afternoon Stormin’ Norman closed a deal to purchase the very corporation where Billy the Bully and Timid Timmy now worked. And, the first order of business for Stormin’ Norman was to terminate Billy the Bully and Timid Timmy for incompetence. Stormin’ Norman never tolerated bully’s, laziness or incompetence.

Stormin’ Norman was successful because, unlike Timid Timmy, he stood up for what he believed in. He didn’t waste his time whining and complaining. And, unlike Billy the Bully, he treated his employees well. Stormin’ Norman could be counted on to take care of business, Stormin’ Norman had the attitude of a winner. He and his employees could be counted on to get the job done. They didn’t quit because the job was too hard. Stormin’ Norman proudly ran with the big dogs.

Keith Birmingham is an Oklahoma/Nevada based photographer, writer and webmaster with a growing catalog of industrial, lifestyle and nature photography. HKB Photois the online portfolio he uses to attract professional photo buyers. HKB Photo Studio. If you use articles written by Keith Birminghamfor any kind of publication you must include this resource box with the article. For details please contact Keith Birmingham.
Where I-40 skirts around Weatherford, OK:
I designed this bumper sticker last night: maddadkeith's Store at Zazzle

Friday, December 11, 2009

Nikon D3000 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm & 55-200mm VR Lenses
All shooters from beginners on up, can have a great shooting experience with the Nikon D3000 Digital SLR Camera. This Nikon incorporates high-tech ingenuity with a 10.2MP DX-format CCD sensor, 11-point autofocus system, plus a Guide Mode and a Scene Recognition Mode for improved accuracy for exposure, white balance, and autofocus. Its high resolution also gives you the freedom to print beautiful enlargements and crop more creatively without loss of sharpness The easy-to-use D3000's shooting modes optimize the camera settings for any lighting situation. This DSLR has an Active D-Lighting function used to improve shadows and highlights of high-contrast scenes. Like the Scene Recognition System, Active D-Lighting utilizes a 420-pixel RGB sensor to analyze a scene then adjust exposure to achieve images that closely resemble what the human eye sees.

Price: $ 799.90 - $ 150.00 = 649.90 + Free Shipping (USA)
Click on image to view product

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What the Fed Said:
Site Growth Dismal - and other improvements: )

Site Growth Dismal - and other improvements: )

I will post when I can. But, my plate is full for some time to come. I am off of the road (for good, as far as trucking goes, I hope), but I have to find a way to produce an income. Hopefully, I will produce an income with my photography and some writing. I am also looking at some web design work.

And, I am trying to learn to treat my body better. It seems a miracle to me that I can actually sleep 7 hours without waking up. With just a slight change in my eating habits I have lost 12 pounds. My legs are no stronger, but they seem more limber. I even walked more than half-a-mile at one time yesterday. I hope to do a mile today, and more, more, more. And, I think my nerves are settling down even though I am still jumpy. So, I may at least have improved health to look forward to.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pink Flamingos of the Flamingo



This quick shot was snapped while I was at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino for a wedding photo shoot.

Shot info: Nikon D70s, f/5 @ 1/45sec, 210mm focal length, shutter photo shoot.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Four Bills in One

I first published the following note in February, 2009. I am still getting comments on it.

Cactus Drilling Rig #117

From HKB Photo Studio:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Learn SEO - NOW

After years of trying to find the time to go commercial “the time has come”. Although I am not completely organized with my workflow I believe I am ready to start working on Search Engine Optimization.

[Search Engine Optimization (SEO) = The process of making a site and its content highly relevant for both search engines and searchers. SEO includes technical tasks to make it easier for search engines to find and index a site for the appropriate keywords, as well as marketing-focused tasks to make a site more appealing to users.]

First comes the research. I have started my research as of today. The following is a summary of what I have learned in the past hour:

I have learned a little about DMOZ and  Google Directoy, and how your site would have a higher status in the web by being listed in these and other directories.

All of the info that I have read seems to suggest that if you have nothing “relevant” to what your blog is about it is probably best to not post anything. Your readers have come to your site for information and entertainment. A post that describes what you had for lunch would probably not be considered relevant to a photography blog, unless of course the blog was about “food photography”. Give your readers the content they came to your site to see.

Search engine editors will generally just visit the first page of your site. They will be checking for content and layout.

Keep affiliate links to a minimum. Editors may see them as too much clutter. (All of the above tips are courtesy of Webtalks.)

Place keywords in your blog or website URL. (Blogger Book)

All of these tips, and more, were taken from Dummies’ Guide to Blogger.

I believe that learning this SEO stuff, and keeping abreast of every possible technical aspect of photography and using the web is paramount to the success of HKB Photo (or any business). Because of this I will continue to “post” about this any subject related to “optimizing blogs/webs for increasing traffic.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crossing the Washita

File #:    d.017_0312
Camera:    Nikon D200
Focal Length:    90mm
ISO:    400
Shutter Speed:    1/125
f/Stop:    f/10
Weather Conditions:    cloudy
I will probably place the photo info differently in the future. Just gotta figure out how.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wild Mustangs Adoption Center

Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.

Wild Mustangs Adoption Center

Original file size = 16mb, Nikon D200, 1/125 @f10, shutter priority.
This shot was taken from I-35 right of way, just north of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. I plan to ask for permission to go onto the property and spend time photographing these animals. The ranch is ran under supervision of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and is a "Wild Horse and Butto Adoption Center. Adoptions are held the second Tuesday of each month starting at 08:00.

Truck at Work

Nikon D200, original file size = 3.7mb, shutter priority, 1/125 sec at f11 at ISO400, 200mm

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Learning While Doing

 Kenny and Gina Claxton
Nikon D200, ISO: 100, 1/60 @f5.6, fixed strobe, 65mm, clear sky.
Today was a good day. My first photo shoot since leaving my 35 year career (hopefully forever) of trucking, and starting to test the waters of a new (hopefully permanant) occupation. The photoshoot was in downtown Pauls Valley, Oklahoma at the historic train station. My clients were a family who live in Pauls Valley. After almost 300 clicks of the shutter I believe the family is receiving a good number of terrific portraits. The best part about it was the almost total lack of extra equipment I needed. It took only one flash unit, and sometimes I used only the on camera flash. The best part of the day is the education I received from  the shoot. I know that I will become more proficient with each shoot that I work. Today's shoot is the kind of shooting I like to do. Keep it simple! Keep it fun! Get it done!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Taking Chances

Hopefully, this is the last truck I will ever drive.
Although I do not plan to totally leave the trucking industry, I am making an attempt to get out of the trucks as a driver. Now, along with event photography, I will concentrate on industrial photography. This includes the transportation and energy production industries. I am currently updating my portfolio website, and adding new features.

This has been a bad week for me with my trucking career. No accidents or injuries. Just citations. Therefore, my mvr now looks a little ridiculous. And, after 35 years, I have had enough of living in a truck. Today I quit my job. Yeah, I know what the economy looks like. But, for the sake of sanity, I gotta try something.

So, with a minimum of equipment and not much money, I am about to step out and start soliciting for photographic assignments and clients. Of course, I will also spend a bunch of time trying to find a steady job. But, at least now I may have some time to try to make some money with what I love doing. I will also try to turn my blogs (HKB PhotoBlog and Trucks * Truckers * Trucking) into commercial enterprises. And, if the photography stuff kicks in for me I will forget about finding another job. But, I have to be realistic. This is a risky thing I am doing with the economy like it is. But, I had to do something.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Has My Time Came

It seems that my life has, for most of my life, been chaotic and pointless. But, I have struggled through it with a dogged determination to make my life mean something. For the past few years, since all of my children are now grown and on their on, I have been working toward a new career, in photography, that I believe will be rewarding, challenging and satisfying to me. As of today I do not have the equipment that other professionals say that I need to go into the business. But, I am at a point in my that says "it may be now or never".

I am currently on the road in Phoenix. It will be a few days before I get home. When I get their I will probably be fired from my job. Nothing bad has happened, and I still like working for my employer. My work record is in good shape, and I believe my employer appreciates having me around. The problem is that I now have 2, and possibly 3, moving violations that will be going onto my mvr. Company policy states that I can have no more than 2 citations in a one year period. That is the problem.

I will probably talk to my employer in the next couple of days to try to arrange a "voluntary quit" situation with them if I can. I believe that will look better if I need to worry about it in the future. I believe they will work with me on this. There is a slim chance that they will try to find a way to keep me hired on. But, I am not counting on that. So, I am in the process of finalizing some decisions that I have been working on for quiet some time, and making plans for what I hope will be a speedy recovery from this situation regardless of the 10.2% unemployment rate that the U.S. is now coping with.

Originally it was my plan to retire from trucking, move to Las Vegas and do event photography. I believe I am now putting that plan on hold, and for several reasons that I won't waist time with. It boils down to the economy, family and personal preferences of lifestyle. Enough said on that.

Assuming that this will be my last time out for this company my plans are now as follows:
1.) Start the process of filing for disabilility income through the government. I do not want to file for unemployment benefits, and probably would not get them anyway.
2.) Look for a place to live. I may live with my son for awhile, but I prefer to move to a rural sitting.
3.) Start a job hunt. This may not happen right away, if ever. I may instead try to push into reality some of the plans that my son and I are working on, and start doing photography in Oklahoma. There is also my writing projects that I need to work on. And, I believe I can make some money with the web sites, and other projects that I already have going on the computer.

4.) Enroll in school. I want some training in Photoshop, Quark Express, and some business courses.
5.) Furnish my home.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009