Hacked and moving

Wind rooster

Move

One is my move from Dendermonde to Sart-Risbart, a little village next to the E411 just below Louvain-la-neuve.

The move and the renovations before the move have taken up all my free time lately, which also means I haven’t been taking photos like I would like, but hopefully that will change in the coming time.

Also my move doesn’t mean I’m leaving behind all my clients, definitely not, I’m just expanding my horizon with a possible extra set of clients.

Hacked

The other is the reason why this site is in a horrible condition for the moment.

The last couple of months, this site and others that I’m maintaining have been subject of continuous attacks by spammers and black hat hackers.

It got that bad, that one of my sites even got warnings from google. No matter what I tried, I was fighting a loosing battle. It seemed that the hackers had fought a way in one of my websites and were so able to access all my other sites as well.

So I decided to move my websites away from wordpress and use a static site generator, his name is Hugo. This means that everything on this site is plain HTML and Javascript and I’m generating the pages on my own computer. A welcome extra is that the site loads a lot faster.

The transition went very smooth, but because of the hacking most of my photos have been deleted (by myself by accident), I’m slowly finding all the photos and will add them back in the next couple of days. As you guessed however it is a monks work, so it takes time, to do it by hand.

To avoid this issue in the future, my source-files are now on dropbox and my site is also available as a repository on github. That way I always have several backups of my website and it’s contents and I can even rebuild and deploy a previous version, so that I always have a working site online.

[BIFFF] Predator

My subjects today are a bit frightening.

Predator cosplay

Predator Alexandre Lartaux

Failing is hard

First of all, I have to say, that I don’t really know what I want to achieve with this post. It’s something that has been bothering me for some time and I’m writing it here to get it of my chest.

20141005_florian_annick-9449

The following is my personal experience. When I made the choice to become freelancer I would have never expected that it would have this big of a effect on me. In that period I have had my fair share of past dues, bailiffs, notifications of foreclosure of my things, phone calls from the bank. It has been that bad that in July 2013 I was 2 days from bankrupt.

Do I tell you this, because I want your pity, no not at all. The reasons were plenty, by myself aswel outside factors. But what I want to tell is more how these things have impacted my life in more ways than I could imagine.

During the last 6 years, I lived in a constant state of stress, let me give you some exampels.

  • Every time I went to the mailbox, I expected the worst
  • Every car that stopped in the street, I feared it was a bailiff
  • With every telephone I had the fear of needing to find a new excuse why I didn’t pay yet.
  • Every time I came home, I checked the door for scratch marks of the locksmith, because the bailiff passed to write up my things
  • Every doorbell, I hid my important things
  • Every time I checked my account, I wondered what to pay first
  • Every moment of the day I was looking for creative solutions to pay something and still being able to live

That are only the small things, I had learned to hate and evade the question: “How are you doing?”. I didn’t want anybody to know that it wasn’t well, not that anybody wanted to hear that anyway. So I kept the charade going

But I wasn’t sleeping anymore, I stopped eating, I only drank water. I had small panic attacks. I hope for some good luck and started playing on the lottery, against my better judgement. I hoped for accounting mistakes from my clients, I stopped taking phone calls from unknown numbers

I hoped that hiding would solve my problems, but actually I was slowly killing myself, mentally and physically. I supposed it was part of the entrepreneur experience, as nobody was talking about it. Even those admitting to failure on the Fail conferences, never talked about the negative effects, only about getting up after you fall. So I must have been exaggerating.

One day I decided to stop hiding and just told everybody that asked, no it’s not well. As I made the click, it seemed that all felt in place. When the day came that I almost payed off all of my debts, it thought great, from now on it will be all better.

However, with my debt, I also lost my drive. I do realise I’m still not safe but I’m tired, I can’t go at 250% anymore. I’m still doing 90%, but that feels like standing still. I’m tired, empty, broken. I’m still passionate about photography and my jobs, but all other work is too much.

At least that is the feeling I’m having for the last months. So when yesterday, on the Failing Forward conference I heard every speaker talk about failure as a stepping stone to success, I had a bad taste with all that. Failing is not only a stepping stone, but also very tiresome and hard. You only get hit by it afterwards. You only know what it took, the moment you get up again.

By the way I still expect the worst, I’m still a bit anxious when opening the mailbox, going to the door or arriving home.

[snapshot] 22˚ halo around the moon

22˚ halo around the moon in Aalst

Last night while I was experimenting with long exposures on film, I noticed a halo around the moon. I thought this to be a fairly unique phenomena so I rushed to get my digital camera.

It turned out to be a 22˚ halo around the moon, something that occurs more regularly, but I did never notice it before. You can read more about it on wikipedia

Anyway as I took the photos, I thought I’d share them with you.

22˚ halo around the moon in Aalst

Archive – 2008

landscape 2008

Last 2 weeks I had an intern over here and while we were browsing through my archives, he noticed I have a lot of pictures I never published. So I decided to post some images from my archives. This will be a regular feature, some images may be reposts.

In the first post I’ll post some landscapes from 2008.

Panorama

Sunset over the sea

landscape 2008

landscape 2008

landscape 2008

Let me know if you like these in the comments or through the various social media.

I’ll be king promotion

King promotion

As you may know, our belgian king Albert II announced his abdication and he will be handing his crown to prince Filip. Coincidentally that happens to be my name, so to celebrate me becoming king, I launched the “I’ll be king promotion”.

You’ll get the following package for only 199 euro (incl. VAT), normal price is 399 euro (incl. VAT).

  • Portrait shoot on black and white film (portrait, family, boudoir, pet, engagement, pregnancy, etc)
  • 1 handmade wet print of 50×60 cm
  • 3 handmade wet prints of 24×30 cm
  • Digital scans of the photos

The promotion is valid until the 21st of july, when prince Filip will be king.

Book now via info@pitslamp.be, the contactform or call +32 486 36 29 61

[PitsLamp-short] Saturday packshots

Packshots Sleek MakeUP blush>

Every now and then, my girlfriend Sara asks me to take photos of the products she receives to review for her blog. Today I got my gear out and started experimenting with some new techniques for packshots.

This time it were packshots for cosmetic products including the brands Caudalie and Sleek MakeUP. Enjoy the results here, these shots are almost straight out of camera, I just made some small adjustments with the iPad.

Packshots Caudalie Figue de Vigne>

Cliché remarks to a photographer

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This is the last blogpost in my short series about my frustrations. Have a look at my previous ones over at Frustrations of a photographer and What does a photographer cost?.

As a photographer there are a number of clichés remarks that photographers hear on a daily basis. Some funny, some less funny and some are just insulting.

Here is a list of the most heard remarks.

Paper doesn’t like me.

This is the one I hear the most. It gives me the impression that most people don’t like themself. As a photographer I’m responsible for making sure everybody looks good on a photo, so with a remark like that you are basically telling me I’m not good at my job, even before you so any results.

Made any good photos lately, it has to with such a camera|

I like to work with satisfied clients, this implies I do my job well and make good photos.

Aside from the previous, it does not matter what type of camera I use, when you had a good meal, you are not complimenting the chef on his stove.

For me the camera is a tool, a way to achieve a result. Obtaining the result with one camera may be easier than with another, but even with the most expensive and most advanced camera in the world, you can still make bad pictures.

You can photoshop, can’t you?

A remark made by women as well as men. Yes I do make some adjustments on a photo, like colour, contrast and cadrage, however I’m not going to photoshop 300 photos.

I did not become photographer, to spend hours behind a computer, photoshopping wrinkles and excessive fat. I don’t like converting an honest portrait into a barbie.

Hey, hey take my picture

A remark made whenever somebody finds him or herself interesting and mostly combined with alcohol intoxication. If I want a photo, I’ll ask you or make it. However it can get worse, when that somebody interferes with a shoot I’m doing for other people, who payed for my time and expertise. Keep in mind that the photo I do make if you ask for it probably won’t make the cut after all.

Can you join our party/show/birth/…, do bring your camera.

You can read my answer to this remark over at Frustrations of a photographer.

Have a look at our vacation photos, what do you think?

Followed by a computer, iPad, iPhone or even a camera, with x thousand photos of their travel companion in front of some great view, photographed in the middle of the day and/or flashed (in very bad light). After about 100 photos my interest is gone, even it are photos from the best photographer in the world. Just make a selection and only show the 100 best.

Also I don’t like to comment on photos if they are not from a fellow photographer, nobody wants to hear my comments on their photos, they just want to have the bragging rights, that a photographer liked their photos.

Is this coming in the papers?

Not every photos is meant to be put in a paper and even if it is for the paper, the photographer doesn’t decide which photo gets published.

This was my last post in the mini series about my frustrations. Now we’re back to the normal routine on here.

[I shoot people] I.

Film noir: Detective

Yesterday I was shooting with I. for a upcoming project with the large format camera. We had some time left after the shoot and decided to do some fun stuff. Here are the results, enjoy.

20130612_MN_idoia_pouilliers-1743 20130612_MN_idoia_pouilliers-1782 20130612_MN_idoia_pouilliers-1807 20130612_MN_idoia_pouilliers-1831 20130612_MN_idoia_pouilliers-1833 20130612_MN_idoia_pouilliers-1886

Nespresso packshots

Nespresso packshots caramelito

Sara, my girlfriend, regularly gets products to test and review for her blog. Off course as a photographer, I can’t resist the urge to use them to test out new techniques or ideas. So it happens that yesterday afternoon, I was standing in the living room, shooting Nespresso packshots with hot chocolate, milk and coffee.

Don’t forget, you can still subscribe for the workshops film photography and darkroom.

Nespresso packshots vanilio

Nespresso packshots Ciocattino