Sunday, November 09, 2014

I live in the "705"!

New Phone Number!

I'm a procrastinator. I've been living up here in the highlands for 7 years now, you'd think I'd have a local phone number by now! My neighbours have complained that they have to call long distance to reach me and I have a certain lack of credibility because I don't have a local number (for the record, if you're grandparents weren't born here, you're not considered a 'local' anyway!). I needed to keep my business number (for the First Aid business). Up to now, that's been a Bell "SNR" number which was permanently forwarded to my cellphone.


Like many other people, I don't have an actual home phone. I live on my cellphone. There are a few disadvantages but I can live with them. Because my cellphone plan has unlimited calling, I decided to make the number known. I don't really want to type it here, so look at the business card in the picture below.


The challenge was to keep the Toronto (416) number so business contacts and people in Toronto without long distance plans could still call me toll-free, and yet have a local (705) number for up here where I live. I accomplished that by getting a new cellphone (actually, I didn't get a phone, just a SIM-card) and permanently forwarding it to the (705) number. It came with an almost unlimited long distance package. Now you can call me at either number. 


The ONLY thing I had to give up was the ability to receive faxes. The one or two people every year who send me a legitimate fax will eventually learn that they have to join the 21st century and go with email.



New Business Cards


With my change in phone number, I needed new business cards. 



Front and back (or back and front!) of my new business cards. The bottom image has a green cast to it on my screen, which shows up here but not on the original file. It could be because of changing colour spaces, from CMYK for print to ProPhoto RGB in Lightroom to sRGB when making the images for here... we'll see what the actual printed product looks like. (update: it's somewhat in-between. If I were reprinting, I'd warm it up a little).

The other thing that's inaccurate is that the actual printed cards will be slightly trimmed from what you see here. These are 3.627 x 2.127" and they'll be trimmed to the standard 3.5 x 2" when made.

I have an outstanding wholesale printing supplier who specializes in business cards. Because they gets hundreds of orders per day and can standardize inks and paper (they put all the cards on one big sheet, run it through a top end large format printing press) their prices and quality are UNBELIEVABLE.

I ordered 500 business cards, printed in full colour on both sides, on 14-point bright white glossy stock, with an aqueous coating that provides excellent rub and scuff resistance. My cost? Around $20. That's right, I said $20.


If you want cards, let me know (delivery US and Canada). You can approach this two ways: (1) you do all the artwork. I'll send you a template, just fit everything inside the lines, produce a PDF file (press quality, in CMYK: you can do that in Photoshop easily) and send them to me via dropbox or (2) send me the pictures you want to use and the text, I'll do the layout for you. If I do the layout, I have to charge you for my time, of course. I'm reasonable but not free...


Or you could use one or more of my images. There's a selection on Smugmug, here. You could also use virtually any image you've seen on my blog. Get in touch with me by email and I'll send you details...

AND they make greeting cards (folded to 5x7 with an envelope!) and a hundred other products.
Think Xmas...

Just want to go on record...


I HATE Leukemia. I just attended a funeral for someone who passed away this week, far too young. His name was Howie Mandel (not the one most of you are thinking of). He was, admittedly, more of an acquaintance than a close friend but he was close with several people whom I care about and his death had a big impact on them and therefore, me.


Leukemia or lymphoma have taken too many, too soon. My first girlfriend died of it in her 20's. My dear friend Fran was taken a couple of years ago. 


Just feeling sad and hope writing about it is somehow cathartic. 


Winter is on its way

I'm pretty well ready: we still have to address the sump pump line problem, one last small repair on the ATV but the plow is already mounted. The roof is done, at least the critical part, firewood is cut and stacked, chimney re-cemented, summer shorts and bathing suits stored, winter boots ready. Do I hate winter? Not really. I don't love it like I did up to a few years ago but I'm actually looking forward to crisp white snow underfoot.


The last vestiges of fall are slowly giving way.



This stubborn shrub is next to my fence and it refuses to drop its leaves. I think they will eventually, they're holding on by a thread, but virtually everything else is down now.

Impression is such a great program because it turns a mundane photo into a piece of art. Don't get me wrong: the picture has to be properly exposed and composed and focused... but it can do wonders with an ordinary picture of a leaf.







The forest looks like this, sun filtering between bare tree trunks, snowflakes gently falling on the still-wet ground. 

But I don't like this time of year. There are two times I don't like – early spring and late fall. The world is damp and dull and wet and chilly and grey and ugly. When I used to be a hunter, I looked forward to November. Spring was a lot warmer than winter, you look forward to summer. But November? As I type this, I look out on a couple of inches of soggy, wet snow. My hands are chilly, although it's warm enough in the house. I'll go lay a fire in the fireplace and it'll be better in here, but it's ugly outside.


On the other hand, there are days... like yesterday, as I drove into Toronto, the air was crystal clear and the light was gorgeous. I was under some time pressure but I couldn't resist stopping for a couple of pictures, and the one here is my new Blog header as of today.



I spent an hour painting this image, tweaking this and that, then I saved it and by chance looked at it beside the original, unedited image right out of the camera. Yep, that's the one I used! OK, well it's a 5-exposure HDR,  

Sometimes an image just doesn't want to look like my mind wants it to. That's the case with this one. I want the trees to be silhouetted against a dark sky but I can't seem to make it happen. HDR's like the header above look a lot cheerier, somehow. In this bottom image, which is just a single virtually unedited frame, everything is wrong technically, the histogram is way off, there aren't any whites... but it's approaching the mood that I want. I'll keep at it. 

Two minutes later, I pulled over for another shot. 



I can't explain. There was something about the light... This was the original, more or less. It's another HDR, of course.



And this is my final version of this image. I removed the gate. I leveled the combine (or whatever it's called). Both of those things were "fussy" work. I used Topaz Adjust to add colour and contrast to the sky. I thought I was done until I opened Impression to play with it. There are two layers of Impression used here, one for the sky and one for the foreground. Click to blow it up so you can see the brush strokes.
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