BIG ruler

I recently bought a lovely bit of gear that’s made my life much easier. A BIG ruler. Big in every sense. One point two metres long and made from a massive extrusion of aluminium. It’s fantastic to hold in the hand, it feels like something you’d build bridges out of.

Keencut Safety Edge with just-cut sheet of 2mm MDF framing board
Keencut Safety Edge with just-cut sheet of 2mm MDF framing board

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Framers Corner PFK04 Frame Joiner review

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Framers Corner PFK04 unpacked out of the box

One of the key pieces of kit I bought to let me make frames is a frame joiner called the Framers Corner PFK04. It lets you join two sides of the frame using V-nails. Professional framers use a big, expensive piece of gear called an underpinner to do this. The PFK04 is one of the cheaper options at £79. My hope was that it would give me all the quality of a bigger machine but sacrificing productivity. Well, here’s my experience of using it for a short while. I’ve now made about twenty frames in sizes from 30×40 cm to 50×60 cm with mostly good results but that’s not entirely down to the PFK04. Continue reading

My main site updated

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Calderdale

I’ve updated my main web site – artoflandscape.wordpress.com – and chosen new portfolios to represent my work.

The main improvement is no adverts any more. I hadn’t realised how intrusive these were because I don’t usually see them myself. Using Chrome’s “incognito” feature means I can see my own site anonymously, as others see it. I didn’t like the adverts so I’ve upgraded both the main site and this blog site to a paid-for subscription which means no more adverts.

I’ve taken the opportunity to update the main site’s theme and choose a new set of portfolios as my main show case. Please have a look, I hope you like it.

By the way, the photograph shown above is Calderdale, above Mytholmroyd looking south. It was taken on a walk a few years ago and I think I published it at the time but I’ve cropped it to a panoramic format and I think it looks really good.

iZettle again

I wrote about iZettle some time ago when I got myself an iZettle credit card reading device. I was delighted with it at the time but I had taken a chance because officially my phone wasn’t a supported device. This finally bit me, as the card reader became increasingly unreliable and finally just didn’t work. Fortunately, the customers were patient and I didn’t lose any sales but it couldn’t carry on.

So I checked with iZettle and I’ve spent £70 on a new, bluetooth-connected, iZettle reader.

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Old (left) vs. new

This worked first time out. Set-up was easy and in fact, compared to the previous model, this one is almost instantaneous in use. I no longer need to engage the customer in polite chit-chat while we wait for the swirly image on the phone to indicate “ready”.

In use, it’s basically the same as the old device except you don’t need to plug it into your phone. I’ll write again if I have any trouble with it but for now I’m going to be optimistic and assume it will work.

Expanding my horizons

I’m excited to say I have a new retail outlet for selling my work. I’ve taken a space at Botany Bay, a big old mill near Chorley that has been converted into a major shopping destination.

I’ll have a fairly sizeable permanent display of framed and unframed prints for sale. It’ll be interesting to see how they sell without me there to tell the story. Normally I can tell the potential customer all about the shot, where it was taken, when, the challenges of getting it, what you can see in the scene, and such like. I’m sure this helps with the sale, bringing the physical object to life. I won’t be there at Botany Bay so they’ll have to stand up for themselves.

I signed the papers yesterday and I plan to have the space fully stocked and open for monday the 3rd of April, less than two weeks away. I’ve got a hell of a job of printing, mounting and framing ahead of me.

I don’t know if I have many Lancashire-based readers but if you’re near Chorley, drop in a have a look and let me know what you think.

New work in my Etsy shop

I’ve added some new pictures to my Etsy shop. This is part of the on-going work to move all my on-line sales to Etsy, which has better payment and ordering options. Anyway, if you fancy taking a look, here it is.

It’s surprising how much work it takes to do this. Nine new pictures have taken me most of the afternoon. One of the hardest parts is writing the descriptions. This means getting the maps out, tracking my position and what’s in the frame, what the hill tops are, what the valley features are, etc. Worth it though, I’ve been told that this detail is part of what makes my Etsy shop interesting.

I also have to make the framed shot for each picture. For each one I have the full size shot, plus a shot of the print inside a frame. I cheat to do this. I took a picture of an empty frame, then I composite the actual image into the empty frame. The end result is indistinguishable from reality except for the lack of the signature and title in the mount border.

I’m on Instagram

I’ve opened an Instagram account – @artoflandscapephoto . This is a new thing for me, and I’m not really sure what to do with it, but I’ve decided to use it to show the various jobs, processes, techniques, etc. that go into taking, making, printing and selling landscape photographs. So I’ll show myself in the field taking shots, in my shed studio printing and framing, getting prints ready for shipment, on the market selling, etc. I hope it will be interesting and tell a story. If you pop over, let me know what you think.