The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Gearing up for Spring Fling

Not been posting much lately as most of my energy has been taken up with preparation for next weekend’s Spring Fling Open Studio Event (I am, of course, assuming that the latest prediction of the Rapture later today - the beginning of the Endtimes for some believers – is wrong. Again).

For 3 days (28th-30th May), along with more than 80 other artists and makers across SW Scotland, I will be opening my doors to visitors.

To make a more interactive event out of it, I will be taking photos of anyone interested, printing them out and pinning them to the wall. As the weekend progresses, the walls of my studio should steadily fill up with images of the visitors.

Given my limited energy levels (see post on CFS), I am trying to create a system to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible – from getting people to sign a model release form (so I can use the images in a book of the event later), through to sitting and posing, taking the photo, printing it, emailing it to anyone who wants a copy and pinning it to the wall. All this needs to be done within a few minutes per person.

If, for example, I take 15 minutes per person, then I can only do a maximum of 4 per hour, even at the busiest times. What I want to do is streamline it so I can get up to 10 per hour. Not every hour of the weekend will be packed, but going from previous experiences of Maggie opening up for Spring Fling, at it’s busiest, you can have up to 40 people or more in an hour poking their heads into the studio, and I want to miss as few people as possible.

My biggest hair-pulling frustration at the moment is the printer. I bought a new one especially for the event. It even has a wi-fi option so I don’t have to connect cables to it. However, for some bizarre reason it won’t print black and white photos using the black ink cartridge only – it insists on using some of the colour inks too (thereby increasing the ink cost). It also only has one photo-printing setting – highest resolution, maximum ink and soooo slow to print an A4 sheet (approx 30cm x 21cm).

Hewlett Packard – you suck!

The style of portrait I’m going to shoot will just be head and shoulders. A light background doesn’t go with the mood I’m want to create with the images, so my original plan was to use a black backdrop. However, given the ink problems in particular, a completely black background would have me changing the cartridges in the printer every 5 photos.

I figured a textured background would be better and could add an extra level of interest, so yesterday Maggie and I went in search of some material. Unfortunately, almost every material available had a regular pattern and I wanted something a bit more random.

Luckily Maggie spotted one my eyes had skimmed right over. The reason I hadn’t registered it was because it was purple – not a colour I would use in a colour portrait. However, as Maggie pointed out, I’m doing black and white portraits, so the colour is irrelevant.

Below is a test shot I took of my son, Rogan, using the set up I plan on using throughout the weekend.

Original with dodgy colour scheme

Cropped and converted to black and white

If you’re in the region next weekend, do come along and get your photo added to the wall.


Guyana-Gyal said...

This is so exciting, Kim. You see, I've suggested over and over to creative [and non-creative] people I've met to do things differently, but they stick to the same old, and there's always jealousy, etc, and people wait for the govt. to do, yawn, yawn.

For me, this is fresh and wonderful. The world opens up for me on the Net.

angryparsnip said...

What a wonderful and creative idea, except for your exhaustion part of it.

Printers are a boil on the face of
the earth...
I am on my third printer and with this one can't seen to resolve the amount of green/blue on some of of my photos, they come out muddy. It is so frustrating !
Japanese son has almost the same printer and his photos come out Fabulous, why ? He has even logged on from Japan to try and figure out the problem and hasn't had any luck so far.
Arghhhh ! hair pulling commencing !

This is a fabulous idea and if I could be in the area I would love to have my photo added to the wall.

cheers, parsnip

Eryl said...

Great idea, and if the weather improves I will come over. Will Maggie be opening her new studio, I'd like to see that too? And her work of course, not just the space.

How much coffee will you have to consume to get you through the weekend? And, importantly, will there be someone there to make it for you while you're snapping?

Kim Ayres said...

Guyana-Gyal - I would have thought creative people were more likely to do things differently - that's what creativity is! :)

Parsnip - Nearly every time I want to print something, it all goes peaer shaped. I'm gradually developing a phobia for it. This printer sat in the box for 4 days because I couldn't face having to deal with whatever was going to go wrong. I didn't know what would go wrong, only that something would. Which is a bit paranoid, evenif it is true...

Eryl - I hope you can make it at some point over the weekend. I'm guessing it being a bank holiday weekend, you and Stevie will be busy with the paintballing.

I'll be trying to hold off the coffee for as long as possible - it's nearly a year now since I gave it up. But I am keeping it in reserve.

And yes, Rogan will be my assistant for the weekend, apart from Saturday morning, when he's running his home-baking stall, during which time my friend Mark, the poet, will be helping me

hope said...

Now that's what REAL friends out, especially when the machinery is evil!

I have a simple Lexmark which prints, scans, copies and faxes. Good color. Sis-in-law who does photo work has an HP...and I believe curses at it at regular intervals.

I know many people like HP printers but the only one I deal with is at work and it is the worst piece of junk!

Besides the printer issues, I hope you have a wonderful turnout! And of course, if I lived in your neighborhood, I'd offer to help you out. I'd even make the coffee. ;)

Jayne Martin said...

I bought a Canon printer with all the bells and whistles in January. Come to find out the cartridge replacements cost damn near half of what I paid for the stupid machine.

The event sounds like great fun. I'm sure you'll be a big hit.

pilgrimchick said...

Oh, geez--HP printers are notorious. I hope your event goes well--it sounds exhausting, but very rewarding.

Tinkikiwi said...

If you've got the photosmart, I've probably got the same printer. It's absolutely ridiculous, I don't need to use up yellow ink to print a black and white picture.

If I have to print pictures, I usually use one of the school printers now. :(

Jyoti Mishra said...

awesome pics !!
this place is good. i'd luv to visit it agn

Hindsfeet said...

I, for one, am hoping said prediction is correct, as I downed copious amounts of Krispy Kreme doughnuts today and really would rather not pay the price.....

....Beam me and my compromised waistline up!

; )

Guyana-Gyal said...

That's what I find so weird about here, Kim. We have some great artists...but when it comes to exhibiting their work differently...doesn't happen.

Reading about everyone's complaints about printers, I'm it true that it's really expensive to get technicians to look after things like printers? So my brother in England says.

Attila The Mom said...

Oh, good luck with this! Sounds very exciting.

Anonymous said...

In my limited experience with printers Epson (and scanners for that matter) has always been good. Great photo of Rogan.

Anonymous said...

It would be great to have a photo taken by you...alas I'll be way over here in Florida, probably working on my blog! I hope you can figure out a schedule that will do you and your visitors proud and not tire you out completely! The black and white with the fabric you (your wife) found is perfect! The last printer I purchased is a Canon and it's eating the ink like candy (I haven't paid enough attention but I think it's eating color faster than black). I rarely print things out anymore unless I absolutely have too. As a professional photographer you don't have that option! I have to agree most printers are EVIL!

Carole said...

Here's hoping you have a great turn-out for the event.

Love the picture of Rogan, and the pic in black and white is great.

Scheduling sounds like a nightmare.

Pat said...

I recognise the 'leaving it in the box rather than deal with it' syndrome.
Hope all goes well and you don't get too exhausted. The results look encouraging.

Mary Witzl said...

That is a great shot of Rogan, Kim. I would like so much to go to this, but for that other commitment. The really frustrating thing is that this past week's lesson was cancelled, due to the bad weather (water far too choppy). If I knew that this weather would continue through Saturday, I could commit myself right now.

But if you're really strapped, I'll do this, whatever the weather is like -- just let me know!

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - it's a shame that so few of my wonderfully supportive blogger friends live within easy travelling distance!

Jayne - our other printer is a Canon, but we were using cheap, compatible cartridges. Unfortunately, no where seems to stock them anymore

Pilgrimchick - did everyone know about HP printers except me?

Tinkikiwi - it's not the photosmart, just a Deskjet 3050. But you're right, this is going to use up the magenta and yellow a great deal.

Jyoti - thank you, do visit as often as you like and have a nose about through the archives :)

Hindsfeet - I found a webpage which listed all the failed end of the world predictions over the past 2,000 years. Apparently I have survived the end of the world over 100 times since I was born...

Guyana-Gyal - If you call out a technician, you can expect to pay about £40 as a call out fee. But as the printer itself cost less than £40 it seems rather pointless doing that. Besides, it's not a fault with the printer, exactly... it was actually designed that way to ensure you use up far more ink than you need to so HPs profits are bigger.

Attila - thank you :)

Allen - Taht photo of Rogan is now out of date - he insisted I cut his hair last night. Now I keep getting a shock each time I see him.

Theanne & Baron - well, as I've mentioned several times on my blog, if you can find a few neighbours to club together to sort out airfare and accommodation for me and an assistant (probably my son), then I'll take everyone's photos for pin money. I've always fancied visiting Florida :)

Carole - thank you. I love your new pic, with a warm smile, "come to bed" eyes and the bedroom behind you ;)

Pat - thank you :)

Mary - the event goes on all weekend, so it would be good if you could call in and say hello on the Sunday or Monday - it might be a bit quieter then as most of the footfall traditionally happens on Saturday.

Ron said...

As soon as you said you had a problem with your printer, I thought "HP!" Hewlett-Packard used to have such a good reputation as a reliable printer now they're for s__t. I have an "All-in-one" printer that has a mind of it's own. My friend Bob just gave up on his printer. He couldn't even give it away. I rarely use mine but when I do I succumb to it's whims and ways. By the way, I like the black and white photo of Rogan better. Good luck!

Kim Ayres said...

It seems I have yet to meet anyone who has a positive word to say about HP printers...

TalesNTypos said...

Isn't Rogan accommodating?! Lovely shot BTW.

Kim Ayres said...

That photo's out of date - he had his hair cut just a couple of days later :)

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