Welcome to the Three Cats Photography blog where I write about my journey as a professional photographer and starting my own business.
Trying to keep the creative juices flowing during lockdown.
Well it is April and spring has been put on hold here in Michigan, while Florida is hotter than usual we are colder. It snowed for a bit yesterday and the temps are much lower than normal. We have had some warm spells to get outside and enjoy, but not as much as I would like.
As we observe the stay at home request from the Governor, it has been a challenge to try and stay creative while we wait for this terrible time to pass. I have managed to get out a bit and take some pictures of some of the early flowers that have been brave enough to poke up only to be snowed on.
My cat Kylo, flying solo for now, has been a bit lonely and mischievous. I decided to put up a bird feeder off of our back deck so he could bird watch which he loves to do. I have been amazed at the variety of birds that have shown up for the free meal. I braved the cold last evening to attempt, and I stress attempt, at getting some good pictures of the birds visiting. We of course have a squirrel who came and emptied the bird feeder one night. I now have to take it down at night because he is quite thorough in emptying the feeder in the dark. It should be a fun challenge this summer to get some good pictures. Here is a little one that visited last night.
Recently, a photographer out of England who I follow and puts out a lot of instructive content on YouTube for the Adorama channel issued a photo challenge. His name is Gavin Hoey and he is very creative with his portrait and art shots. He was demonstrating how to take pictures of water droplets using flash and macro photography and issued the challenge to try it. It was a hard choice, more house work or play with the camera and lights. What do you think happened? Below are a few results from the shoot. This turned out to be fun but also very challenging. Timing is everything as they say and I had a lot of misfires. To early, too late, poor angle, bad focus. I learned quite a bit.
I am looking forward, as are most people, returning to a more stable life and get back to the business of building a business. One thing I need to do is begin to figure how best to use the internet and online activities to gain exposure so hopefully drum up some paying gigs once the crises passes. I hope you are all well and are taking care of yourself and you loved ones. If you have read the blog, please drop me a comment, I would like to hear from you, what you think and any suggestions you may have.
Thanks for stopping by.
Bump in the road, everything put on hold
Well it is March and I was hoping to write about, and show some pictures from, the shoot I was to do for the Lansing Art Gallery reception of the Collegiate Art Exhibition, but the Covid-19 virus put that in the no go column. In the interest of public safety, the gallery has shuttered until mid-April. With hope, the next Exhibition reception on April 24th will not be canceled.
In the meantime, I have joined the Howell Chamber of Commerce. I am hopeful that I will meet some of the business leaders in the Livingston County area and network a bit. I have already been to one Chamber event and met the Chamber staff. I have found that they are very hard-working folks and do a lot to promote business and communication in the area.
My wife, Nora, is now working from home like so many people. On the upside, we get to have lunch together everyday and her commute to and from work is very short, about 20 feet.
I look for ways to keep in practice and look forward to the warmer weather so I can get out to do some nature photography.
On a very sad note, our older cat, R.J. is no longer with us. He will be dearly missed. He was an exceptionally kind and loving. He was the “Love Sponge” and warm lap warmer in the winter. A lover of all foods human, he was ever present during dinner, lunch, or if there was cheese involved. This leaves Kylo by himself for a bit. We will probably adopt some new “siblings” once the current virus issue clears up.
Hopefully next month I will have something more interesting to write about as well as some pictures to share. If anything comes up in the meantime I will post. Come on back, you’all . If you have stopped by, drop a comment. I would love to hear from you.
Till next time,
Blog 20200325 RJR. J. The Love Sponge
Next steps down the road of getting this photography business off the ground.
I was in the business world (corporate world) for many years but that is not the same as setting up your own small business. Some experiences translate, like communication, computer skills, etc. But much of this is new. As I navigate the new waters, I am constantly learning. Nora recently saw an item of mention in the local library newsletter about an offer for small business mentoring. A local businessman, Rick Scofield, was as part of a mentoring organization and was offering to sit down with business start ups to discuss their plans and offer direction. Since there was no cost, I contacted Rick to set up a meeting. We set up a date a time to get together at his office. In the meantime, I have gotten my website set up. That will be a continuing work in process as I continue to tweak things. I went with a company that specializes in working with photographers, Zenfolio, so the features lend themselves to benefit my business instead of a more generic set up.
Through a one of my former teammates from Merrill, I reached out to Barb Whitney, director at the Lansing Art Gallery to request to meet to and discuss some collaborative work possibilities. She had indicated to my friend Rich that she like the picture I had taken of him and he had supplied to them for a newsletter article that the gallery was doing that involved Rich who is on their board of directors. Barb and I had a great meeting to discuss the gallery, their mission and goals, and how we can work together we can further that mission. Since I am looking for additional exposure for my business and they are looking for quality content for community outreach, I will be their primary photographer for events and show receptions during the upcoming year. This is the very collaborative arrangement I was hoping for. For taking the photographs for use on their sites and materials, they will in turn credit me on the photos they use and provide my website address. The first event is on March 13th, Michigan Collegiate Art Exhibition. The exhibition runs from March 3rd through the 28th. If you near downtown Lansing, stop on by and look in on it. I am hopeful that the additional exposure will drive some traffic to my website. At the very least, I get to see a lot of great artwork throughout the year.
The meeting with Rick Scofield was very helpful. Rick listened to my plans and the next steps that I was laying out. He has a couple of suggestions, talk to the Howell Chamber of Commerce and reach out to a local long-term photographer he knew from the area that was also a chamber member. I contacted the photographer and he was willing to meet me at a local coffee shop. This was very kind of him since he could have easily just viewed me as competition. As it turned out, we had much in common. He too also worked in the financial services field before switching to a full-time photographer. He shared a lot of good practical advice. I ended up also deciding to join the Howell Chamber of Commerce and hope to meet some of the local business people and do some networking at some of the Chamber’s event. If you have gotten to the bottom here, thank you for reading. We will see where this takes us.
Until next time,
Fresh start and the beginning of Three Cats Photography
And so it begins. After much thought, planning, and preparation, I am launching Three Cats Photography. For people that don't know me or haven't spoken to me in a while, a brief history.
My name is Brett Haddock and previous to last July (2019), I worked for Merrill Lynch for 31 years. How time goes by!! For the last twenty of those years, I worked with Frank Bustamante and then the team that was formed with other advisors to create The BZEMS Group. Here is my shameless plug – These are a fantastic group of advisors and support staff and I recommend them to anyone in search of a wealth management team. After much thinking, I decided to retire from cube land, take some time to catch up on everything that we all promise ourselves we will do around the homestead when we have time. Latest project, “the basement”. I have been married to Nora for almost 28 years and she is my rock and keeps me on the rails. We live in our house that we built in 1998 when we had no neighbors for a while. Now we live with wonderful people around us. Enough of the history stuff.
Since this is my first blog post, and I am not a writer by nature, let me talk about what this blog will be and not be. I plan on writing on a few topics that touch on my love and fascination with photography. This will include my new business, my travels where I tend to take a lot of photos. This will include the joys of, and the frustrations of both. What this blog will not be. I will not be laying out my opinions here, unless it is about the aforementioned topics. As my friends will attest to, I have an opinion on pretty much everything, which I usually keep to myself. That’s a joke for my former teammates. If you want the world according to Brett, this will not be the platform for it. Feel free to reach out to me and I am always up for a good-natured debate offline. I hope to keep this entertaining, informative and hopefully have some interesting pictures and behind the scenes shots as well.
I hope to update this on a regular basis and create a journal of this journey. Please stop back again to catch up on things. If you have made it this far, thank you. If you know someone or a business that can use my talents, I always appreciate a referral. If you have arrived at this blog from an avenue other than my website, feel free to visit and take a look at my work. There was no way that this was not going to end without a plug for myself.
Best Regards as always
Three Cats Photography LLC
January February March April May June July August September October November December