So here is the first journal entry. I felt like having as pretentious sounding name as possible for my journal. I have a few goals about this journal. My main goal is just to actually write in it. My second goal is to be as truthful as possible towards my true thoughts and feelings. I have another journal on another website, but it is really just a collection of sarcastic statements and cheap jabs at open faced sandwiches. This journal is meant to be about what my achievements and failures are in the world of art. What projects I am working on and what I have accomplished and what I have failed to accomplish. What I am photographing and what I am thinking about entering in photo contests. What I am thinking about. It might not always make sense. It might just be things I need to write down because they strike me as poignant or inspirational. This is in a small way an online “idea box”.
I do also have a goal of producing something that makes me worthy of having a pretentious sounding journal title like: “An Artist’s Notebook”.
With those words on August 9, 2006 this blog burst into the world with the blog entry titled:
Now here we are 4294 days later and I’m posting journal entry number 3,000.
The blog has changed quite a bit over the years. It started out as a blog that I physically coded and added to a website that I physically coded back when my website was hosted on Frank’s basement server. Then, I moved it to a third party company called Blogger. If you visit this URL, you can still see its pathetic remains:
After that, I still used Blogger, but I published An Artist’s Notebook to the server that currently hosts my website. The content was the same, but the URL changed. If you click on the link below, you can still see it’s pathetic remains, that are identical to the Blogger URL remains:
Well before this, I had changed my website over to WordPress. Even though WordPress has very powerful blogging tools, it wasn’t until March of 2010 that I started using WordPress and An Artist’s Notebook moved to (hopefully) its final URL:
Last time I posted that An Artist’s Notebook had reached a milestone number of posts, I received a bunch of congratulations. I was confused by this because I didn’t feel it was necessarily an accomplishment. After all, I basically was just too stupid to quit. Just plugging along in relative obscurity, with a few loyal subscribers that send me emails or leave comments on the blogs scattered across the globe earth. A smarter person would have just stopped by now.
But instead, other than a slight walking away from An Artist’s Notebook back in the spring of 2015, nevertheless he persisted.*
I don’t know if just persisting is an accomplishment, but looking at the earlier formats for An Artist’s Notebook, I see that I used to link to several other blogs, that have either stopped updating or are just simply gone with the wind.
- The original Little White Lye Soap website is gone, but it has been replaced by the Franklin Broomworks website.
- Act of Gravity – BrogFrog’s band at one time is gone. True I don’t think Act of Gravity every played a show, but you could pretend.
- Waxen Media – Vest’s website is still up, but hasn’t been updated since 2015. Although I’ve heard rumors that a comeback might be on the horizon.
- Lesser Known Saint – My friend Mike’s old band website is still up, but they broke up in 2012.
- Impassioned Versifier – Dawn’s poetry blog is still up, but she hasn’t versified, impassioned or otherwise since 2011. Get it together Dawn!
- Mayor Goldie’s Website – Jesse’s website is frozen. He must have done something bad. Like giving up his dream of being mayor of Hill Valley.
- LowellDavis.net – Still up, but the last post was in 2015.
- Carla’s Blog, Teresa’s Blog, and J- The Online Magazine are all victims to Windows Live Spaces no longer being a thing. I miss knowing what was in Jay’s fridge.
- Live Like A Champion Today – Mark’s blog on his Missionary Work is still up, but he no longer posts. He isn’t a missionary any longer, but he could make stuff up.
- Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century – Died on October 1, 2010. Sad. I think we all remember where we were when we heard the blog about 19th century mustaches stopped production. I was grooming my beard.
- True Wife Confessions – Died on October 28, 2012
- I Found Your Camera – Date of death, lost.
I have to give props to the other people who are also too dumb to quit:
- Horror Movie A Day – Sure he isn’t cranking them out like he used to, but he hasn’t given up the ghost.
- A Novel Blog – The writing blog of a person I actually knew in the real world once. A very talented writer named S.E. White.
I’m still here. Let’s not make a big deal of it.
Even though An Artist’s Notebook is meant to complement the rest of the Photography 139 website and universe, I actually didn’t post a photo in the blog until a good 3 months after I started it. On October 20, 2006 history was made with the blog post:
This was the first picture ever posted to An Artist’s Notebook:
A picture of a groundhog that lived behind the computer mine.
Although the seal was broken the floodgates didn’t exactly open. I didn’t post an image again until December 31, 2006. That picture was the back page of the the 2007 Photography 139 calendar.
Back from when I printed the calendars myself.
The picture flood gates really opened on January 5, 2007 with this post:
And these 2 photos:
The rest, has been photographic history.
An observant reader of An Artist’s Notebook would have notice that my Saturday post walking down memory lane are partially done so that I can have a look at my old images and partially done so I can restore my old blog posts to their original glory. The reason why this is necessary is because in addition to having gone through several ways to post a blog, I also went through several hosting options for my photos.
The first one was a company known as Photobucket. Photobucket was a good free option. I used it from October 2006 up until October 2008.
I abandoned Photobucket because eventually I was going to outgrow their limits. Recently they stopped allowing people to embed images stored with them, so if you were to click on a journal entry from May 2008 to October 2008, you’d see something like this:
After Photobucket, I decided to host my pictures with a MySQL-PHP photo gallery called Coppermine. I ran with Coppermine from November 2008 until July 2011. I left those galleries up for several years, even though you couldn’t access them unless you had a direct URL. Also by leaving them up, pictures would still show up on the website. Unfortunately, those galleries were used to hack my website and take it down a few years back. As a result, I had to completely delete the galleries to close the security loophole in my website. So until I get the journal entries from November 2008 until July 2011 restored to their original glory, they will look something like this:
Then in April of 2011 I was hired to be the photographer for the American Red Cross Young Heroes event. They wanted to have a way that people could go to my website and buy pictures. I didn’t actually have a way to do that, so I needed to find one. I ended up with Smugmug. It was a service that a professional photographer I knew used and recommended. You can store unlimited photos there and people can buy them directly from your website.
It took me a few months to realize that the Smugmug was the future of my photo hosting. It has unlimited data storage and it stores full resolution images.
That unlimited full resolution pictures is a pretty big deal because I have currently uploaded 45,005 images/videos that take up 395.59 GB of hard drive space. Probably not going to be slowing down any time soon on that front, either.
Also, if anybody every wanted to buy a print or a coffee mug or a puzzle or a mouse pad or a ceramic tile or a mahogany desk organizer or playing cards or photo key tag or coasters or a phone case with one of my pictures on it, they can do it straight from the website. Don’t worry people who submit photos for the WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. Those photos are not for sale on the website. Either are pictures from Graceland or of Iowa State athletic events. I can’t sell those for legal reasons.
While people can go to the gallery and leave comments on pictures and rate them up to 5 stars (hint: this will be how Pufferbilly Day Photo Contest and possibly Boone County Fair entries will be determined this year), the way I determine the most popular images is by views. Views statistics go back one year.
These are the 10 most popular Photography 139 Images (by views) of the last 10 Months:
#10 – Sidewalk Chalk – 1,223 Views – Picture taken for STILL LIFE in the WPC. Taken outside of the Ericson Public Library
#9 – Johnathan Stensland – 1,261 Views – Taken for THE 9 EMOTIONS PROJECT in the Photography 139 Studio
#8 – Brett Meyer – 1,403 Views – Taken at the Iowa State vs. Kent State football game in 2007
#7 – Sioux Falls – 1,428 Views – Taken on my South Dakota Road Trip with my Mom
#6 – Nora – 1,493 Views – Taken at the Irish Fair in Saint Paul, Minnesota
#5 – Graffiti – 1,707 Views – Taken in downtown Ames for ART for the WPC
#4 – Reflection – 1,762 Views – Taken in Ledges for REFLECTION for the WPC
#3 – Angel Ornament – 3,197 Views – Willow Angel Ornament taken in my Mom’s house
#2 – Ground Squirrel – 3,732 Views – Ground squirrel on top of a shepherd’s hook at my Mom’s house
#1 – With Alisa – 9,541 Views – Taken at Winter Jam in 2017 for THE SELFIE PROJECT
The following are links to the 5 Most Popular Photography 139 Photo Galleries:
I also use a category system to organize my posts so that a person could find all the posts on a certain topic or a certain person. This is far from a scientific system and it is a moving target as I am re-categorizing old entries as I restore them. I’m trying to get rid of some of the more generic categories like “Photography” or “Life” or “Family” or “Friends” or “Religion”. But this is an ongoing process.
These are the 10 most popular categories on “An Artist’s Notebook”:
10 Most Popular Not People Categories
If you are relatively new and are wondering what the heck a “Personal Photo Project” is, it came about at a time where I seemed to be working on a ton of other photo projects (for various entities) and seemed to be getting pulled a way from the pure joy of photography. At that time I decided to work on a Personal Photo Project once a week to keep photography from becoming a grind.
10 Most Popular People Categories
You may be looking at the list and wondering, “what can I do to improve my Photography 139 Q Score?”
First, I should point out that these aren’t necessarily the people that have influenced by photography the most. That would be my Dad by having photography in the house. My Mom for buying me my first camera. Olivia for loving flower photography. The favicon on this website was her favorite flower picture. Carla and Teresa for doing photography with our Dad. The list could continue, but you get the idea.
However, these are the people that most influence this blog.
But about that Q-Score thing…
Obviously, the easiest way is to submit photos to the WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. You could also volunteer to be a photo assistant on photo projects. Pose for THE 9 EMOTIONS PROJECT. Head out on the open road with me. Join an organization that I am in. Commission me to do work for you (i.e. photograph your baby, wedding, family, senior picture, work holiday card, church directory, soap, leather goods).
Follow those simple suggestions and someday, when we hit blog post number 3,500, you could see yourself in the Photography 139 Top 10. After all, Sara, you are knocking right on the door!
I also decided to update my profile pictures for Twitter and Instagram and Smugmug. Here is the new one below:
That should work for another year or so!
I think that more than covers where the Photography 139 community currently sits. Until next time!
*I hope Elizabeth Warren doesn’t mind my appropriating this phrase. I guess it was accidentally created by a half man-half turtle creature and I am at least half a man. No turtle. I’ve had a grudge against turtles since The Great Turtle Race was fixed back in 2016. Sorry Mitch.