SoFoBoMo Overdue Update

+ Comments (1) SoFoBoMo Overdue Update - 2008-04-21 17:56:45

It's been just over 3 weeks since I last (and first, as it happens) mentioned SoFoBoMo, the project wherein I and scores of other photographers are working on a photo book to be started, shot, edited, and assembled into a book in the span of a single month. Whew!

When I hopped on the bandwagon back in January, I had forgotten a number of things that would impact this undertaking:

> I had forgotten that Weez and I were going to be taking a week long vacation to Georgia to visit her sister and brother-in-law during the first full work week of April.

> I had forgotten about a number of responsibilities relevant to my day-job that I might otherwise find myself 'moonlighting' on as I do have a tendency to bring it home and yes, I'm well aware of pros and cons, but I very much like what I do and bringing it home is often as much play as work.

> I had forgotten (more like simply didn't THINK ABOUT) the fact that I'm basically clueless when it comes to book production, layout, and things like desktop (or other forms of) publishing.

> I had not forgotten but elected to ignore the related detail about desktop publishing that meant finding, obtaining, learning and growing comfortable with, some manner of software to aid in said production. And yes, I know I could do it more simply but I know me and I know I won't rest (as in sleepless, coffee buzzed nights) if I do something that I know I tossed together when there IS a way to do it more tidily. I'll give myself a pass on overall quality and be able to accept something less polished than say GQ or Cosmo or Weekly World News, but I still need to know I made some effort to figure some of it out -- that's just how I'm wired. And I accept it.

> I had handily let slip subconsciously that I haven't really warmed up to all the photo processing tools that are NEWER on my new computer and have features and functions and capabilities I don't yet fully understand as well as I'd like. I can't really roll back to most older tools because the new system runs Windows Vista and Vista is happily hostile to legacy (read written for XP) software and such software is often hostile to Vista. It's a mutually fulfilling animosity -- fulfilling for some programmers somewhere, that is.

So ... what has all of that to do with the photo of photos above, you ask? Everything.

I downloaded and began working with Scribus, an open source desktop publishing tool that has far more power than I'm likely to fully need or learn.

I also did a bit of research (some while peeking over the shoulders of other SoFoBoMo participants) on publishing options and what my final goal(s) might be for the book once I'm there.

Then, upon realizing that we were going to be on vacation and acknowledging that I had absolutely no idea what direction I might be taking this in (or which direction in might take ME in!), I decided to simply take the camera, the laptop, a Western Digital Book Drive for massive storage capacity and an open mind. Then I spent the first few days of my official month getting ready for vacation -- both personally and professionally -- so I could focus on vacationing and photographing while on the road and at Linda & Charlie's (Weez's sister and her husband).

After 8 days on and off the road, we arrived back home and I had taken a little over 1200 photos. Since our return, I've sorted and done early proof-level processing of something slightly less than a couple of hundred shots. Of those, there are between 60 and 80 serious and semi-serious contenders for inclusion in the book.

Once I had the selection winnowed to that point, I decided to do what I see others are doing and actually put pigment to paper and printed myself some proof sheets so I can shuffle through these little 2x3 inch prints and see how they speak to me. Or, on occasion, how they cry. Some are much more disappointing on paper than I had imagined. Some are much more exciting.

And that's where I am right now ... the photo above is all of the current contenders. The upper left are mostly ruled out. The upper right is a mix of shoo-ins and possibles. The group in the lower center are all that remain. I have roughly 20 likely (or certain) inclusions. I have between 30 and 40 that remain to compete for the last 15 or 16 spots.

And ... I uploaded my initial dry-run book to Issuu last night to see how that whole process works. More on all my impressions later but the link below is there for any who're interested ...

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