No Travel Thursday

Assateague Island Lighthouse

Normally I would be calling today “Travel Thursday”, but we aren’t in normal times right now. With travel restrictions enacted across the country, there isn’t going to be much in the way of fresh travel photos.

To honor the occasion, today’s travel photo is now a no travel photo, taken on Assateague Island, Virginia at sunrise.

On this particular morning, I rode a scooter out to the inlet to get a sunrise shot across the water of the lighthouse. The temperature was warm, the mosquitoes were thick and the morning was delightful.

Keep on Chooglin’

The Photography Business

Train Photography by Gary Gray
Durango & Silverton NGRR on the Animas River in Colorado

Working on updating the business products.

I’ve been selling various products with my images over the last 10 years, but I’ve never really kept the line up to date, so reworking the business sales is on my agenda this winter.

Here’s a link to my sales catalog where I offer prints, clothing, home decor, notebook/phone cases, coffee mugs and things like that. I’ll be adding more stuff to the sales catalog in the coming weeks, but right now train photos have been my big sellers so I intend to promote those products heavily.

I’ve dropped my prices and will be adding more product soon. Take a look. Buy something.

Click here to see my product catalog.

The Story Behind Image Colorado And The Edge Of The Map

I’m knee deep in redesigning this web site, though on the surface the average reader isn’t going to notice much change. I try to nibble at it a little bit at a time.

Today’s modification was to the main logo image. I decided to drop the word “My” from the tagline, so rather than read “My Adventures” it simply starts with “Adventures” Woopie… What’s the difference? Well, the idea is to move forward with the concept of the website and I plan to broaden the scope of what this website is about. It’s been quite a journey getting to this point, what the site is today, how it looks, the information presented.

Here’s the back-story.

Back around 2004 I had published an Internet Literary Magazine called Global Inner Visions. That too was a popular website, dedicated to amateur writers learning the craft of writing short stories, novellas and poetry. After retiring from The Wall Street Journal, my mindset had changed. I wanted to dedicate my efforts into establishing my newly started business and the interests that revolved around that business. Photography.

Image Colorado was originally a different website. When I started my photography business in 2006, I created two websites to associate with my business. The first website, and still published today was Gray Photography, my main business presence on the Internet. I created a second website called “Have Camera Will Travel.” HCWT was my first foray into writing about photography. It was online for several years and became quite popular, getting more than 60,000 visitors a year. What happened though was other websites started popping up using the same concept and same exact name or tagline. I don’t like hanging out in crowds and I began exploring other ideas to move on from that publication.

Around 2010, I began thinking about a new publication, an online photography magazine that featured articles written by established photographers and photography from around the world. I was able to recruit several notable photographers as contributors and Image Colorado, the magazine was launched as a quarterly publication. My ultimate goal at that time was to monetize the publication and actually pay the contributors for their work. After a couple of years, I was unable to come up with a business model that would actually make a profit though. I explored vendor links and selling advertising space, but there simply wasn’t enough money and interest in the concept to get it flying above the radar. It was a great art magazine but like all magazines, the Internet was moving in a different direction, particularly in the photography publishing world. I shelved the idea and held on to the server and domain name, until such time as I came up with a better idea.

Back to the logo…

The tagline on the website “Adventures In Photography From The Edge Of The Map” came from an interaction with a friend of mine, Quade Smith, while we were on a photography trip in 2011. We were driving around the San Juan Mountains discussing photography locations and were always looking at a Delorme Atlas of Colorado. Just about every time Quade and I discussed a location, we’d look it up on the Atlas and just about every time we looked at the location on the map, it would always be a spot that was on the edge of one of the map pages, requiring us to flip around from different pages just to figure out where it was and how to get to & from there. We jokingly came to the realization that all of our adventures were generally on the edge of one of those Atlas map pages. Interestingly, the repetitive nature of the map oddity still exists today.

The constant travels I had been making throughout Colorado and the idea of the map oddity kept surfacing in my thoughts. After lying dormant for a couple of years, I decided to resurrect the online magazine as a sort of blog,

In 2017, I had decided to retire from doing commercial photography work, workshops, weddings, events, head shots and such, and simply concentrate on my personal photography work which involved landscape and wildlife photography and writing about my life in that context. I had pretty much stopped traveling to other countries and to some extent other states in the country. I realized that most of my attention was focused on the work I wanted to do in Colorado. For a photographer, Colorado is a very unique place and it is also a photographic Mecca. Why not play the hand I’m dealt and use it to my advantage, so my thinking progressed.

So today, February 2020, I’m two years in to the private life and times of a Colorado Photographer and Image Colorado is about photography life here in Colorado. But it’s not going to be just about me, as I’ve made many friends and acquaintances and worked with some top notch photographers here in Colorado over the years, so it’s not just about “My Adventures In Photography From The Edge Of The Map.” It’s now about the “Adventures In Photography” many of us Colorado photographers share, and there is no doubt in my mind that as I move forward, every place worth photographing will remain on the edge of the map.

Calibration Day

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro

I picked up a used Sigma 105mm macro lens on eBay a few weeks back.

The one lens missing from my kit since I switched from Canon to Nikon has been a suitable macro lens. I had this same lens in the Canon mount and loved it. Very sharp, easy to manually focus and quite sturdy.

The one I got on eBay was a total steal for the price. I’d been watching the eBay action on these lenses for over a year and when they did come up for sale, and that was far and few between, they were commanding over $350 used in good condition. I found this one for $179 and it is in near mint condition.

So today, I decided to do the lens micro-focus adjustment on my D750 and D810.  The results were better than I could have hoped for, as neither body required an adjustment to the fine focus offset. Both cameras set to 0 offset on this lens. That means that I got a perfect focusing, near mint quality macro for next to nothing.

If you are exploring the lens market, I highly recommend searching for a used version of this lens. Sigma doesn’t make this model any longer and the folks who do own them hang on to them like they are gold. And for good reason.