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So I was talking to a co-worker yesterday, and we got on the subject of pay – wages, raises, etc.  Nothing was said about the exact amount that either of us were making, but he was telling me about some of our new hires – that they’re making more than I am, with less education, less general electronics field experience, and just as little (if not more, now) experience in the field of semiconductors (what I’m working in now).  I’ve got to say, it really did piss me off a little. 

For one thing, I know that talking about your pay to your co-workers is taboo, and I can see why.  The one guy (not the one I was talking to), apparently, is going around announcing to the world what he’s making….and while it’s not significantly more than me, it still chaps my ass a bit.  What really chaps me though, is that our newest hire, is making more than him!  I guess I’m a little confused about how they determine what to offer you when they extend an employment offer…  Was I supposed to negotiate?  If so, I wasn’t aware – not to mention the fact that I was hard-up for a job and didn’t want to chance them telling me to piss off.  Admittedly, I was a bit put-off when they made their offer, but I figured because I was new to this industry, that I had to suck it up and start from wherever they determined.  If I could’ve negotiated for a higher wage and gotten away with it, I certainly would have…after all, I feel that I’m worth more than what they hired me for.  But like I said, I couldn’t afford to be picky, so I just went with it.  Now, I’m stuck with this huge pay cut compared to what I was making when I left the Navy, and to boot, guys coming on after me are making more….with less experience and education.

Another subject that came up was pay raises.  We just had ours last month, and while I got double the average company-wide raise rate, it ended up being significantly less than what my boss was making it out to be.  What really sucks, is he acts like he did me some huge favor or something…  Again, maybe I’m a little unrealistic here, or my perceptions were way off.  Either way, yesterday’s conversation got me spun up a bit…so I felt the need to vent.  But as always, I welcome your input, so feel free to leave comments.  Thanks for reading!

- J

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Mirrored from Diary of A Madman.

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No, I’m not actually asking for a favor…well, maybe I am…kinda.  I’m looking for people to weigh-in on something – it’s a topic that I’ve had to deal with before, but it’s about a long-standing rule that I’ve followed when it comes to photography.

Let me back up a bit…

About 10yrs ago, I read a post on a photography message board (I think that’s where it was at) when searching for an answer to whether I should photograph a relative’s wedding or not.  The answer I came up with, was somewhat of an unwritten rule – maybe more of a guideline – that it’s never a good idea to photograph a family member’s wedding.  The reasoning behind that is that if things were to go horribly wrong, or you had an ‘off’ day, pictures didn’t come out, etc…..you weren’t turned into a pariah for fucking up the cherished memories of said beloved family member.  That answer led me to adopt this rule and decline shooting my step-sister’s wedding.  What ended up happening though, was the day I showed up for the wedding, I found out a few hours before the ceremony that the photographer had canceled and I was the only one there to shoot the wedding.  GREAT.  Needless to say, it was the first wedding I’d EVER shot and I only got a couple of decent shots.  My family didn’t shun me for it, but I was never happy with the results.

Since then, I’ve shot two more weddings – both of whom are pretty good friends, and the outcome was vastly more favorable.  At least one of these friends I consider family, so a question I could pose to you, dear reader, is did I break my rule by shooting these weddings?  I’ve been asked to shoot other weddings since, and I’ve declined – one of which was my Mom’s wedding a few years ago – and stuck to my guns.

Now, fast-forward to today.  My little sister is getting married next year, and I’ve been asked – by both my mom AND my sister – to shoot her wedding.
So far I haven’t flat-out said ‘No’, but I don’t really want to chance screwing something up and ending up with a whole bunch of photos that may or may not be able to be saved.  As of now, Mom has been trying to guilt me into doing it, and has even said that I have really hurt my sister’s feelings.

So now I pose the main question (and whole point) of this blog post to you…

Do I cave-in and shoot my sister’s wedding?  Or do I stick to the ‘rule’ and decline?

It’s not really a matter of my skill that’s in question here, but everyone has an off-day…or equipment malfunctions, etc.  My gear is getting up there in age (it’s over 10yrs old now!), and while it takes pretty good shots still, if I were to shoot a wedding again, I’d want something a little newer and more capable in lower-light situations (such as a church, chapel, or wherever the ceremony will be held…it’s sure to be dimly-lit though).

I welcome feedback from everyone, but my target audience here is primarily other photographers or those in the ‘industry’.  Thanks for reading, and please weigh-in.

- J

Oh – to see the photos of said weddings, go to http://www.facebook.com/JKBPhoto/ and look under the ‘Albums’ page for ‘Ramirez Wedding’, ‘Barrett Wedding’, and ‘Alsbury Wedding’.

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Mirrored from Diary of A Madman.

raven2k360: (pic#945030)

I was practically born with a camera in my hand.  My earliest memory of owning a camera was when I was about 5yrs old (give or take a year or so), and that first camera was an old ’120′ camera.  That camera took 120mm film, which is considered ‘medium format’ in old-school Photography lingo, but I remember having so much fun with that camera shooting whatever my tiny little heart desired.  Thinking back, I kinda wish I knew whatever happened to those photos – but I digress…and I’ll do that a lot in this post.  My point here is that I’ve had a camera in my hand from as early as I can remember, and finally in High School, my Grandpa gave me one of the coolest things ever…his old 35mm SLR camera.  It was an old Nikon EM body, and sure, it only had one lens (the standard 55mm that came with most cameras at the time), but I feel like that is where my skills started to develop.  I learned about ISO speed (film speed), shutter speed, and aperture – all components that are the core of taking a great photograph.  If you flub one, it could ruin the shot by either over- or under-exposing the frame.  I also learned about how aperture plays a part in depth-of-field (how clear the picture is past your focal point…like a face), and armed with this new knowledge, I ended up with a spot on the High School yearbook as a photographer my Sophomore year.

Fast-forward to today.  I’ve been through a few cameras since then (mostly SLR…and still have them tucked away), and gained quite a bit of knowledge since…I’m still not a rockstar like Ansel Adams or Helmut Newton by any means, but I’ve taken my fair share of great photos.  About 10-12yrs ago though, a technological revolution began that changed the industry forever; the digital camera.  Digital versions of cameras, from your basic point-and-shoot to full-on SLRs began replacing their older film counterparts.  This wasn’t so bad in the beginning; digital had a bit of catching-up to do as far as quality was concerned, and then about 10yrs ago digital was finally on-par with film…if not a wee bit better.  Other advantages started coming to light in favor of digital photography – instant review, no more costs wrapped-up in film, development, etc.

Now let’s back up a bit to the film age.  Somewhere in the late-80s to early-90s, point-and-shoot cameras started coming with what I like to call ‘idiot settings’.  These are the settings you set for different environments that you’re shooting in, like at night, sports photography, portraits, scenics, etc.  These nice little features enabled more versatility with your standard point-and-shoot camera.  The problem was that these settings started making their way into SLR cameras as well, essentially allowing you to ‘dumb down’ the camera and allow it to do ALL of the work…basically turning a nice SLR camera into a basic point-and-shoot camera.  Now let’s go forward again, to today.  The technological advancements in digital photograhpy since it’s inception a dozen years ago are amazing to say the least…but with all the ‘automated modes’ and higher ISO speeds (still considerd film speed, even though there is no film…an explanation can be made later) that newer cameras can achieve, it allows a user to take some amazing photographs….without hardly any thought going into the shot whatsoever.  Let me side-step this for a minute and come back to it in a bit.

Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege to shoot many concerts – most local acts, but some were big-name acts (Thanks again Paige Montgomery!).  One reason for diving into concert photography is because I feel that it’s the perfect medium to perfect one’s low-light photography skills…which is an area I’ve always felt that I’ve been lacking.  One thing I’ve realized is that my equipment (while still a great workhorse and takes great photos in daylight) is a bit inadequate when it comes to low-light conditions…especially EXTREMELY low-light.  Sure, I can (and have) use a flash, but a flash tends to wash out the cool stage lighting and highlight all the background stuff you don’t want in the photo, like cables, cabinets, gaffer’s tape, etc…So I bought a faster, higher-quality lens (because the ones I’ve been using so far have been the average ‘kit’ lenses, which are not that ‘fast’ when it comes to light….again, I’m getting into the technical aspects here) so I could try and shoot sans-flash.  It helped a bit, but even in SUPER low-light conditions, the photos aren’t very clear – they end up grainy, or even a bit blurry because of the settings I have to run in order to try and let enough light in.  So I made another realization.  I need a new camera…which brings be back to the ‘idiot-proof’ topic.  It really is a double-edged sword; on the one hand, you now have hardware that allows you to take photographs that weren’t capable with the hardware of even 5yrs ago.

I guess it’s all in perception, but I feel like while these technological advancements are great for the industry as a whole, I also feel like they’re stripping the skill from the art.  I guess it’s one of those things that’s good in the right hands, but hurts in the wrong hands.  With what’s available today, anyone can take some pretty cool and creative shots just with their smartphone thanks to the software settings available.  You couple that with just these new, entry-level DSLRs, and everyone thinks they’re a pro photographer all of a sudden.  Now you have instances where, instead of hiring an actual photographer (you know, someone that makes a living from it) for things like Senior Photos, Wedding Photos, etc., now people are having just a friend or relative with a cool $300 camera take the shots…and quite honestly, they’re turning out quite good.  This is all due to the settings and controls within the camera that I’m talking about — it allows the camera to do ALL the work, and all the user has to do is point and click.

Needless to say, it’s frustrating and maddening to me, and yet there’s so much more to this topic than what I’ve written.  Anyway, I’ll wrap it up for now, but feel free to weigh-in with comments and opinions.  Maybe I’m getting upset over nothing… *shrug*

- J

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Mirrored from Diary of A Madman.

raven2k360: (Default)
I have to admit, the thought of journaling hasn't crossed my mind in about a year, until tonight. Alex mentioned that she had started again, both when I visited her at work today and she had made a facebook post about it. It kind of got me thinking -- maybe I should try and give it another go... This time however, I think I'll try it on here; it IS a 'journaling' site after all. She does have a point though...writing your thoughts out can be very cathartic, and even help you puzzle things out when you're troubled and having problems concentrating...or, even if you have great news and really have nobody to share it with, but have to tell 'someone'. Journaling can provide that needed outlet, a release to express thoughts and emotions, to work through troubling thoughts that are plaguing your mind.

What's really nice about this site is that I can set entries to private, so only I can view them; I don't think the Wordpress-driven blog on my site has that option, but then again...I haven't really thought to look for it. Blogging itself is still fairly new to me overall, and I've only made a handful of posts through that. I mainly use that site to comment on something, then share it on my Facebook page, so it is what it is... Here, however, I can actually keep a personal journal, with private access settings...it's kind of cool.

I was going to use this post to start my 'journal' and even marked it private...but considering the general nature of this post and the fact that it really gives nothing of my personal thoughts away, I decided to make it 'public'...I guess it's really just an announcement (to whom I don't know) that I'm going to give journaling a try again...we'll see how it goes, right?
raven2k360: (Default)
Not sure why, but I've decided to throw this out there. Back in my younger days -- I guess you could say my 'emo' days, before emo was even a thing -- I wrote a poem; if memory serves me correctly, the inspiration behind it was a girl that I had met who at the time, was engaged to another guy that was in the Army or Marine Corps and was on deployment or something. We had hit it off really well, and when we had to stop hanging out with each other, it hit me a bit hard, and I think that's where this poem came from. anyway, here it is...

Life is nothing but one big game,
it plays with your emotions and mine just the same.
Some are fortunate when the dice are cast
to find a love -- a love that will last.
Others, on the other hand, are doomed by fate
to always be alone…to constantly wait.
To wait for that someone is torture and hell;
to know that no time soon you’ll hear that wedding bell.
Just when you think you’ve found that special one,
life pulls her away and tells you, “She’s not the one.”
The dice reach my hand, and I just can’t decide
whether to take my chance, or to run and hide.
Millions of thoughts run all through my head
every night as I lay there, awake in my bed.
If I throw the dice will I be one of the lucky few,
or will the dealer laugh at me and say, “Ha-ha! Screw you!”
But if I run and hide I’ll never be one of the few,
one of those who have someone to tell, “I Love You.”
Should I run or should I throw,
the outcome of either I don’t really know.
The one thing I do know is life is one big game,
it toys with your emotions and mine just the same.

                                - Justin Bassett
raven2k360: (Default)
So I heard about this site from a newsfeed post on Facebook from one of the Linux pages that I 'fanned' or 'liked'...depending on how you want to say it. I'm a recent and big fan of Open Source Software, so I decided I'd throw my hat into this proverbial ring and sign up for an account. I already have a blog through my website (http://jkbweb.net/blog), but I'll give this place a shot too....apparently it's supposed to be good for more than just 'blogging'. Actually, based on the description in the news article I read, it seems this place is aiming for a cross between Live Journal, Wordpress, etc. and DeviantArt. At any rate, here I am, and we'll see how versatile this site will be.


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