Friday, November 11, 2011

"Grunge Box" created with Inkscape

I worked with Inkscape alongside a friend today and created this RSS box icon from scratch. There is a great listing of tutorials at the Inkscape Tutorials weblog where I discovered how to make this and other cool things. The great thing about an exercise like this is that it teaches you some useful techniques to employ in your own designs. Inkscape is a great vector graphics editor, and it's free. To learn more about vector graphics, there is a pretty decent wiki on the subject.


I made this box from the "Use Inkscape to Create a Grunge RSS Box Icon" tutorial. Enjoy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

New Sci-fi Movie "Rage of the Yeti" vs "The Thing"

I had to laugh at the title of this new sci fi horror movie premiering November 12th, 2011 on the Syfy channel. However, I still maintain that nothing can beat John Carpenter's "The Thing" (1982), which will always be the ultimate 'snowy wasteland' sci fi horror movie.

(Update: 11/27/2011) Unfortunately, the embedded Yeti trailer no longer works, so I removed it from this post. I wasn't able to find the trailer any where else online. So enjoy "The Thing"!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Yes sir, November is National Novel Writing Month. Every year people gather to write novels together and sign up at nanowrimo.org. I've never been a fan of online writing communities. I tried some out in 2001 and found that I was much better off writing and tracking my progress offline. I carefully choose who I show fresh work to, especially if it is far from being complete. But that's what works best for me.

I say if it helps you write, do it. But then keep on going. Don't stop on Nov. 30th. If novels are what you want to write, write 'em, damn it! And write 'em year round. If you can make time for one month, you can make time for 11 more.

If you're going to sign up for this 30 day novel writing extravaganza, use it as an opportunity to learn about your own writing process. Your mission:
  1. Find out what works best for you.
  2. Do what works best.
  3. Make it so you can do it the rest of the year.
Sounds simpler than it is... but hang in there. Write. Write. And write some more!

Here's some nice sentiments on NaNoWriMo from S. Misanthrope: Stupid of the Week #3: National Write a Novel Month.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunset Landscapes from San Francisco

I was out walking with my wife through the city on a Sunday evening when we witnessed this sunset over the ocean. The day had been really hot, October being San Francisco's late summer this year, and the clouds began to form in front of the sun.

 (Camera: Pentax K100D Super; Lens: SMC Pentax 50 - 200mm f/3.5; Settings: 1/90 sec, f/19, ISO 200)

 (Camera: Pentax K100D Super; Lens: SMC Pentax 50 - 200mm f/3.5; Settings: 1/90 sec, f/22, ISO 200)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Moody and Empty Glass

I did some speculative product photography for my company Dexter Washington and captured this shot as a test shot. I was working with a 50mm 1:1.4 prime lens.

Moody, Empty Glass
(Camera: Pentax K100D Super; Lens: SMC Pentax-M 50mm 1:1.4; Settings: 1/3000 sec, f/10, daylight balanced, ISO 200)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Ups and Downs of Script Writing for Beginners: A Review of "Tales from the Script"

Tales from the Script is a collection of sit down interviews with prominent screenwriters who have made money at their craft. If you're any kind of beginning fiction or screenplay writer, this movie is worth watching for insight into the business and the reality of working in the film industry. But not just the film industry, a lot of what these screenwriters describe and the advice they give is generally applicable to almost any other kind of creative writing.

I think writers with 5 years or more under their belts, who have experience with rejection, submitting, finishing stories and scripts, and completing many, many drafts, probably won't find any new advice or insights in this film. So if you've spent time in a writing program, reading books for writers, or doing the hard work in the trenches, many of the points in the movie will be familiar to you. But if you're interested in starting a career in screenwriting, you may find the movie helpful in making your decision.

There are some moments when the "writing process" and " what makes a good script" are briefly discussed. But this is not the primary focus. The movie is mostly about what to expect from the job. The primary position it takes is "This is what you're getting yourself into, so be prepared and don't have any delusions about it."

It was enjoyable to see masters like William Goldman and David S. Ward and prominent writers like Frank DarabontSteven E. de SouzaGuinevere TurnerShane Black and John Carpenter speak about the ups and downs of the film industry. A total of 50 screenwriters speak in the movie.

Here's a summary of some points that stood out to me:
  1. It doesn't matter how good you are. It's extremely hard. Success is close to impossible.
  2. For most people it can take 10 years to break into the industry.
  3. Chances are high that your script will be rewritten, changed and altered by someone else.
  4. Some successful screenwriters in this movie have written more than 30 scripts only to have 2 or 3 sold.
  5. Selling a script doesn't mean it will get made.
  6. You only need one person to like it.
  7. Approaching your writing like it is a full time job is greatly beneficial.
  8. Persistence and hard work can pay off, but it is best not to be attached to what the end product will be.
  9. Get ready to draft and redraft and draft some more. The movie mentions that Peter Shaffer drafted Amadeus around 40 times for the screenplay version. And Antwone Fisher states that he drafted his first script over 100 times.
  10. Get used to rejection. Embrace it. Grow thick skin.
If you're new to writing scripts and fiction, you might think the above is pretty harsh or depressing. And if publication and making money is all you want out of a career in writing, I would suggest finding something else you love about it. Because the thing(s) you love about it will keep you going until you gain that monetary or commercial success. I think you have to believe you'll make it. But you also have to keep in mind the realities of the business. Most of the time your head will be buried in the work itself. And the majority of writers spend many years submitting before they find success if at all. You got to love it. You have to make sure you do.

Here's a clip from Tales from the Script:

  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

The 5 a.m. Writing Schedule: How to Make Writing a Priority

If you're like me and you have a pretty busy work and family life, you may find it hard to get that writing time in. One solution I've found is the 5 a.m. writing schedule. That's right, waking up at 5 a.m. to get the writing in before anyone else gets up and before I have to be at work.

Making writing the first priority of the day, and not having any distractions in the morning, makes for efficient and productive writing sessions, even if they're only two or three hours. As you complete projects using this schedule, you will gain confidence and begin to really enjoy it.

In 2001 when I was in college as an undergraduate, I began a daily writing practice. Since then I have worked on many short stories, novels and screenplays. It meant making writing a habit every day, and although I thought this was challenging at the time, I now look back on that period and see how much easier it was to fit writing into my life. As the years went by, I accumulated more and more responsibilities and writing often got pushed to "when I can fit it in."

Now in 2011, I have a wife and daughter, and I run a photography company--so family and work make it difficult to find that writing time that I need to keep my stories, novels, screenplays and ideas flowing. I used to save my writing time for the last thing I did before bed, but I was so tired I often only got a page or two before I was ready to pass out. Also, during the day, I'd often worry about whether I would even get any time between my other responsibilities--but if it's the first thing you do, all these worries go out the window. You've already accomplished your writing for that day, before any loved ones are awake, before you check your email or surf the web, before you even make breakfast (if you want).

You may be surprised how quickly you adjust to waking up this early. I started by setting my alarm for 6 a.m., then 5:30 and then 5, making it a gradual adjustment. I also caffeinate myself immediately by making black tea when I wake up. In a couple weeks I was waking up at 5 a.m. on my own without an alarm.

I will warn you that it does take some preparation. If your house is arranged anything like mine, sleeping people are near the printer which can be really loud if I need to print drafts. I always print them out the night before and have all my writing tasks recorded in notes from the previous morning. That way I do less thinking about where I left off, and I can just get down to it. Make it so you already have a project to work on or something to revise; make it easy to just start.

This process has been extremely helpful for me. So far I've been ten times more productive at this early hour than any other time of the day. If writing is important to you, then this schedule will help make it a priority while still allowing you to maintain your other responsibilities.

Find other writing schedules or solutions helpful? Post them in the comments.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Light Streaks Series on Ocean Ave."

I did a series of these every Thursday night in February, 2011. This is also my 100th post:

Ocean Street at Night

Balboa Park Area at Night

Staircase Railing
(Camera: HOLGA 120N; Film: Kodak Ektar 100, ISO 100; Scanner: CanoScan 9000f, 3200 dpi)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Two Church and Duboce Shots:

Taken at the same time as this digital streetcar photograph.

Glowing Streetcar

Church and Duboce #2
(Camera: Pentax ZX-60; Lens: SMC Pentax FA 28mm -- 90mm, f/3.5; Film: Fuji Acros Neopan 400;  Scanner: CanoScan 9000f, 4800 dpi; Place: San Francisco, CA)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Glance into Shadow"

New portrait photography shot for Dexter Washington Photography.

Glance into Shadow
(Model: Judi Mao; Camera: Pentax ZX-60; Lens: SMC Pentax FA 28mm -- 90mm, f/3.5; Film: Agfa APX 100; Place: San Francisco, CA)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"View from Nob Hill"

View from Nob Hill
(Camera: HOLGA 120N; Film: Ilford XP2 Super, ISO 400; Scanner: CanoScan 9000f, 3200 dpi)

"Powell Street Workers"

Powell Street Workers
(Camera: HOLGA 120N; Film: Ilford XP2 Super, ISO 400; Scanner: CanoScan 9000f, 3200 dpi)

Friday, July 15, 2011

"Oakland Downtown"

Oakland Downtown
(Camera: HOLGA 120N; Film: Ilford XP2 Super, ISO 400; Scanner: CanoScan 9000f, 3200 dpi; Place: Oakland, CA)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Watching the Fog Roll"

Watching the Fog Roll
(Camera: Pentax K100D Super; Lens: SMC Pentax DA 18mm -- 55mm, f/3.5; 1/2 secs, f/3.5, ISO 200; Place: San Francisco, CA)

"Rotational Skylight"

Rotational Skylight
(Camera: Pentax K100D Super; Lens: SMC Pentax DA 18mm -- 55mm, f/3.5; 1/30secs, f/16, ISO 200; Place: San Francisco, CA)

"Car through Rain"

Car through Rain
(Camera: HOLGA 120N, 6 x 4.5 mask; Film: Ilford XP2 Super, ISO 400; Scanner: CanoScan 9000f, 3200 dpi; Place: Oakland, CA)

"Powell Street Cable Car Turnaround"

Took this one stormy night in SF around late February or early March, 2011. I was walking up to visit a friend on Nob Hill and shot this at the turnaround. Had an umbrella to cover the camera and used one of the permanent stands as a stable surface. Shutter speed was between 2 and 4 secs.

Powell Street Cable Car Turn-around
(Camera: HOLGA 120N, 6 x 4.5 mask; Film: Kodak Portra 400VC; Scanner: CanoScan 9000f, 3200 dpi)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I started the new Dexter Washington Photography blog today. It will document my company's journey in business, photography and the web.

This concludes any Dexter related posts on this blog. Well, any exclusive Dexter posts--I may still link relevant material on here.

"Which Way's Up?"

Which Way's Up?
(Camera: Pentax K100D Super; Lens: SMC Pentax DA 18mm -- 55mm, f/3.5; 1/180secs, f/4, ISO 200; Place: San Francisco, CA)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Which Way Out?"

Which Way Out?
(Camera: Pentax K100D Super; Lens: SMC Pentax DA 18mm -- 55mm, f/3.5; 1/250 secs, f/4, ISO 200; Place: San Francisco, CA)

Making a New "Business" Blog

I think I've decided to create a new blog specifically for the commercial photography business that I've started, Dexter Washington Photography, and reserve this blog for my artistic endeavors: fiction writing, art photography, video making, filmmaking etc.

I'll post a link here when the new one is ready.

Update (July 13th, 2011): New Dexter blog for my company.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dexter Ad #3: Wedding Photography

My third ad for Dexter Washington Photography going up tomorrow on Monday the 11th.

Dexter Ad #3: Wedding Photography

Portrait: "Judi"

I rate this photograph among the best portraits that I've taken. The lighting, the tones, the pose and model--all contribute to it being one of my favorites. This one is from a shoot with the lovely Judi Mao for Dexter Washington Photography.

Judi
(Model: Judi Mao; Camera: Pentax K100D Super; Lens: SMC Pentax DA 18mm -- 55mm, f/3.5; 1/90 secs, f/5.6, ISO 200; Place: San Francisco, CA)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ads for Dexter

I created two ads for Dexter Washington Photography today. One for product and ad photography and the other for a special summer rate we're offering.

I plan to post them on craigslist.org on Monday. These are two of four I plan to create:

Dexter Ad #1: Product & Ad Photography

Dexter Ad #2: Special Summer Rate

Thursday, July 7, 2011

More Portraits for Dexter

More portraits from the Kat R. shoot I took for Dexter Washington Photography.

Flare with Kat #2
(Model: Kat R.; Camera: Pentax ZX-60; Lens: SMC Pentax FA 28mm -- 90mm; Film: AGFA APX 100; ISO 100; Place: San Francisco, CA)

Laugh
(Model: Kat R.; Camera: Pentax ZX-60; Lens: SMC Pentax FA 28mm -- 90mm; Film: AGFA APX 100; ISO 100; Place: San Francisco, CA)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dexter Washington Photography Launches

I just finished constructing the new and improved Dexter Washington Photography website. Dexter is a commercial photography firm that I started in San Francisco, CA.

I used CSS2, the gedit Text Editor, Google Chrome, GIMP and of course HTML to build it. Being new to CSS, I was especially happy with the style sheet and how I was able to make the website completely search engine optimized.

Dexter -- Index Page
Index Page

Dexter -- Gallery Index
Gallery Index

Dexter -- Plans & Rates Page
Plans & Rates

Dexter -- Contact Page
Contact Page
Dexter launched on July 1st, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Streetcar from Darkness"

(Camera: Pentax K100D Super; Lens: SMC Pentax DA 18mm -- 55mm; 1/10 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400, no tripod; Place: San Francisco)

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Sunset Corner"

I recently moved back to the Sunset District in San Francisco. This is my first shot after being back--a typical sidewalk and hill in the neighborhood.

Sunset Corner
(Camera: Pentax K100D Super; Lens: SMC Pentax DA 18mm -- 55mm; 4 secs, f/5.6, ISO 200; Place: San Francisco)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Trumpet" wins 3rd place & Publication

I'm proud to announce that my short-short story, "Trumpet," won 3rd place in the Sudden Fiction Contest hosted by the Berkeley Fiction Review.

My story appears in issue 31; however, their website says "pre-order" and the editors informed me recently that issues of #31 won't be available until September unfortunately.

If you're interested in pre-ordering a copy, click here.

I also got the chance to read this story at the Porter Gulch Review reading in May, 2009. Here's a video of that reading.

Monday, June 6, 2011

"Sun in Clouds"

Sun in Clouds
(Camera: Pentax ZX-60; Lens: SMC Pentax FA 28mm -- 90mm; Film: Pro Max 100; 1/350 sec, f/16, ISO 100; Place: Ocean Beach, San Francisco, CA)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"The Mystery Woman"

The Mystery Woman
(Model: Kat R.; Camera: Pentax ZX-60; Lens: SMC Pentax FA 28mm -- 90mm; Film: AGFA APX 100; ISO 100; Place: San Francisco, CA)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"Flare with Kat R."

Flare
(Model: Kat R.; Camera: Pentax ZX-60; Lens: SMC Pentax FA 28mm -- 90mm; Film: AGFA APX 100; ISO 100; Place: San Francisco, CA)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Nah Nah"

Nah Nah
(Model: Kat R.; Camera: Pentax ZX-60; Lens: SMC Pentax FA 28mm -- 90mm; Film: Neopan 400; ISO 400; Place: San Francisco, CA)

Monday, May 30, 2011

"Jagged Edge"

Jagged Edge
(Camera: Pentax ZX-60; Lens: SMC Pentax FA 28mm -- 90mm; Film: Pro Max 100; 1/125 sec, f/6.7, ISO 100; Place: Ocean Beach, San Francisco, CA)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"Bending Hat"

Recent portrait I did for DW Photo. Also seen at Dexter Washington Photography's website.

Bending Hat
(Model: Kat R.; Camera: Pentax ZX-60; Lens: SMC Pentax FA 28mm -- 90mm; Film: AGFA APX 100; ISO 100; Place: San Francisco, CA)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"Building Light"

Building Light
(Camera: Pentax ZX-60; Lens: SMC Pentax FA 28mm -- 90mm; Film: AGFA APX 400; 1/350 sec, f/16, ISO 400; Place: Oakland, CA)

Friday, May 27, 2011

"Sea Dune"

Sea Dune
(Camera: Pentax ZX-60; Lens: SMC Pentax FA 28mm -- 90mm; Film: Pro Max 100; 1/45 sec, f/16, ISO 100; Place: Ocean Beach, San Francisco, CA)