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  • POTD/BLOG Thu, 8 May 2003: Why? 8 May 2003


    Yesterday I started to put some pages together for an on-line journal I started asking my self the question: “Why?”

    “Why AM I creating these pages?” That’s a very good question – and not one I’m sure I know the full answer to.

    On 16th May 2003, I finish my full time job with a leading IT company. After that date I will be making my living as a freelance photographer/writer. I’ve been doing both in my spare time for a little while, but the time has come to do it full time.

    So these journal pages serve several purposes:

    A means to focus my work in the early days – if I have to keep a public record of what I’m working on there will be less temptation to fritter away the day. (I doubt that will be a big problem for me as I’ve been working from home for the last 6 years anyhow).

    I will no doubt make mistakes when going freelance – I will endeavour not to, but I’m not perfect… no honestly I’m not! Hopefully others can learn by my experiences – but that will only be possible if I record what I’m doing.

    I was recently watching a BBC program about Leonardo Da Vinci(a person who fascinates me – he was the first to combine the two fields of art and technology). One of the things he did was to keep a journal, recoding his thoughts, ideas or in my case and ramblings.

    Finally this journal will enable family, friends and contacts to know how I’m doing on this freelance venture.

    28 January 2007
    With hindsight not all the objectives of this short lived journal were met. However one objective of the journal which was sort of in my mind at the time I wrote the above entry was that it should inspire me to take photos which I could later sell. The photo which went with this entry… which I would never had taken had it not been for this journal was sold through Alamy.  See: for information about that sale.

    PLEASE NOTE: This is not a source of free photographs.
    This photograph is (c) Ian M Butterfield. All rights are reserved. No use Is permitted (including non-commercial use) without prior permission. If you wish to use any of my photographs please ask first.

    Image Reference: EV0508A-D00112

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  • POTD 9 May 2003: Feline Intruder? 9 May 2003

    Sam and Sybil

    Sam (left) and Sybil (right) our two cats are frequent subjects for my photography.  Sometimes they are even co-operative!  Give their involvement it this business venture as (unwilling?) subjects, I thought they deserved a mention in the journal.  They have been acting a little strange today (“They’re cats – how can you tell?” I hear you say).


    At something past five this morning we were awoken by both cats outside our bedroom door crying is a very distressed manner.  When we got up to investigate what was going on, both cats were still crying on the landing when I heard the sound of our cat flap going.  We suspect we had a feline intruder in the night.  So much for having a cat flap which requires the cats to have magnets to get in.  We know at least some of the neighbourhood cats also have the magnets, and just occasionally the flap doesn’t latch correctly after our cats have been through.


    I’ve seen both cats on guard duty at the cat flap today.  Not sure whether that is to repel boarders or just so they know when to run away.


    QuickBooks 2002


    Also today my Barclays Small Business adviser, called at the house to drop off a copy of QuickBooks 2002, the package he has recommended for keeping my business account on.  I’d ordered the 2003 version but that’s not going to be available for a few weeks yet so he’s given me 2002 to get me started on managing the account.  I’ll note more in this journal when I’ve had the chance to install it.  But I must just comment that so far I’m quite impressed with the service I’ve had from Barclays when it came to setting up the business account.  I hope it lasts.


    New Film Scanner


    Alamy ( is the photo library that a market my stock/travel images through.  They have recently increased the minimum scanned image size to 48Mb – my current scanner can only produce images 30-25Mb in size.  Minolta have recently announce a new scanner : Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 film scanner. Today I have placed a pre-order for the scanner with ACE Cameras in Bristol.  They are expecting their first few orders in the two or three weeks time.


    29 Jan 2007 – Updates
    Cat intruders continued to be a problem resulting in Sam being attacked in 2005 (For the full story see: – don’t click the link if you are squeemish).


    Quickbooks I am still using it – can’t say I particularly like it – but there really isn’t that much choice.


    The Minolta DiMAGE Scan Elite 5400 scanner arrived and it is an excellent scanner and I am still using it!

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  • POTD Sat 10 May 2003: Camera Timing Oddity 10 May 2003

    Canon EOS5 Camera

    I collected my Canon EOS 5 film camera from Jessops today. It had been in for repair for the last 9 weeks. I’d bought this camera second hand last September and this is the second time it has been back. The first time for a sticky mode dial. This time because it appeared to have some timing problems – I’d noticed that some shots were in explicably under exposed. When I tried timing the shutter times I’d noticed something odd – at “15 sec” exposure was anything between 15 and 20 seconds. So back in March the camera when to be checked out. Today I went to collect it. In the shop I tested the 15 second exposure – it was 16 seconds. A 20 second exposure was actually 23 seconds. The odd thing was that when we compared this with another EOS 5 in the shop – it was also out by the same amount!! Are all canons this far out on their long exposures?

    2015 Update:
    I had forgotten all about this event from 12 years ago until I was preapring this POTD for reposting. I’ve just tested my digital 5D mark II. The ’15 sec’ exposure is consistently 16 secs. And the 30 sec exposure is 32 secs. So after all this time canon are still producing cameras with in acurate timings…. or are they? Let’s think about this for a moment. A full ‘stop’ is a halving or doubling of the light. If we go from 1sec. The full stops should be 2sec, 4sec, 8sec, 16sec and 32sec. So in reality the timings are correct but the labels we give to them by convention (ie 15sec and 30sec) are wrong.

    PLEASE NOTE: This is not a source of free photographs.
    This photograph is (c) Ian M Butterfield. All rights are reserved. No use Is permitted (including non-commercial use) without prior permission. If you wish to use any of my photographs please ask first.

    Image Reference: EV0510B-D00125

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  • POTD 11 May 2003: A Change of Plan 11 May 2003

    Noting Serial Numbers

    We were meant to be going to an RPS event in Derbyshire today, but Ann was feeling a little a ill this morning so we abandoned that idea and have stayed at home instead.  It has given me a chance to make in-roads in to cataloguing all my ‘business assets’ for insurance purposes.  The plan is to move these items (particularly the camera equipment) to a specialist insurance policy rather than keep them on the house hold policy.  It’s not a job I enjoy, getting each item out, noting its serial number, and trying to estimate a value for it.


    Upload of Large Files


    I mentioned in yesterday’s entry that I’d been having trouble uploading some large files to my website.  (Example Canon RAW files for Ed Hamrick, author of VueScan).  I’ve got round the problem of uploading the files via front-page by using FTP to do the upload.  I wanted to use the free FTP program from SeagullSW but having registered for this version the download site is not available.   So had to resort to using a 30 day trial version of CuteFTP – nice product, worked like a dream and the files are finally posted.


    30 January 2007
    I still use CuteFTP occasionally – but more often these days I use Filezilla for uploads of files.

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  • POTD 12 May 2003: A Dead PC 12 May 2003

    Intel Motherboard and CPU

    I was preparing my last ever expense claim before I leave the IT industry.  (I shall be ever so pleased to see the back of that corporate expense system and it’s in built red tape).  I needed to photocopy the receipts for sending off.  For photocopying I use a flat bed scanner on Ann’s PC.  When I came to power up the PC I found it to be completely lifeless.  Power is getting to the CD drive, and hard disk, but that’s it.  My conclusion at this stage is that the mother board is dead.  Fortunately I have a spare – a Pentium III  motherboard that used to live in my PC before it’s last upgrade.  All I need now is time to fit it.  This is turning out to be a very busy week and it’s only Monday.


    VueScan Uploads


    Got an email of Ed Hamrick – after all the problems I had uploading the Canon RAW files over the weekend.  He can only use IT8 sources.  The images I posted are of no use.  Oh well!


    Possible Job Lead


    I received a phone call today about the job lead I mentioned on Saturday.  I have a meeting with the company concerned tomorrow lunch time.  It does look very promising.  If the meeting is successful it looks like I will have some photographic work to do next week.  It sounds like they need the job doing as soon as possible.   Spent an hour or so tonight thinking through what they require.  They are looking for 4 photographs to illustrate 4 “tag lines” for their new website.

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  • POTD 13 May 2003: Job Lead & Dead PC (Part II) 13 May 2003

    Sign at Landmark House, Cheadle Hulme

    Possible Job Lead


    This lunch time I went to visit the company in “Landmark House” Cheadle Hulme that is interested in having me do photographs for their website.  It was a good meeting and we have agreement on the images required for the site.  We have also agreed a price.  I need to get the images done quickly for the company and will be doing most of the office based shooting on Wednesday next week.  There are still a couple of tricky images to finalise – I need to find a location where there are lots of people walking (probably at rush hour) for one shot.  We also need to find an ‘interesting modern building’ for another shot.  As the company recruits for the construction industry, I have asked them to see if they can suggest a building.  But I’ll be looking for a possible location also.


    A Dead PC


    I’ve started to take Ann’s PC apart to find the source of the problem.  So far I deduced that it is a dead mother board.  My spare mother board works fine, but is too big for the PC case.  If I install the motherboard in the existing case there is no room for the CD drive!  In addition to this the Hard Disk appears to have a problem.  My old motherboard can’t access it.  It maybe a faulty hard disk or it may be the fact the the mother board’s BIOS is dated from 1997.  I’m going to install the disk in my PC to see if I can access it.  I think this little problem is going to continue for a couple of days yet.

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  • POTD 14 May 2003: A Dead PC (Part III) 14 May 2003

    Welcome to Windows XP

    Putting the drive in my PC worked a dream – I was able to back up all the data.  Trying to get the replacement motherboard in Ann’s PC to see the drive when it was returned to her machine has proven somewhat troublesome.  Booting from W2K installation CD and selecting rescue could see it, and I could even access it via the rescue console.  But it refused to boot, even after having a new MBR and Bootsector written to it.  (Sorry for all the technical speak, but I want to keep a record of what I’ve done to resolve this).  The BIOS on the board only thinks it is an 8Gb disk instead of a 15Gb.  (Apparently that’s a known “limitation” of the BIOS!) And Even partition magic can’t see the partitions!!  Eventually FDISK let me destroy the partitions, and Partition Magic let me create them anew.  The long over due upgrade to XP installed and the PC is at last booting again.  Of course there’s no applications on there yet and I’ve discovered another problem – the spare mother board is a little too big the CD drive won’t fit in the PC’s Case.


    I end the night with a PC, back in it’s case but with a CD sitting proud by 2.5in/6cm! Looks very bizarre but it is on the road to recovery.

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  • POTD (13 Years ago today) Thu 15 May 2003: Time to Say Goodbye 15 May 2003

    Wrist Watch – A leaving present from EDS

    Today is the day I said goodbye to my colleagues at EDS. Although tomorrow is my last day, I will spend most of it ‘on the road’ taking equipment back to Cheadle and back to Blackpool. As a result of that, it was today that I said goodbye to them and they said goodbye to me.

    At about 10 O’clock this morning one of my colleagues from the Cheadle office arrived at the door with various items for me. Included in this was a package with instructions not to open it. At five this afternoon I joined a teleconference, the purpose of which was for the team to say goodbye. This may seem a very strange way to do it, but when you realise that I work from home and my colleagues are all around the world. There really is no other way.

    A few words from one of my colleagues and I was told I could open the package that had been delivered earlier. A leaving card which been around the world and back for people to sign and a watch.

    I’ve sent an email to my colleagues and set my Out Of Office message. As I write this, I’m clearing data off my PC ready to disconnect it. Leaving paid employment and going freelance suddenly feels very, very real. Ann asked me how I felt – I guess I am sad to be leaving EDS, there are a lot of things I won’t miss. But I will miss the friends I’ve made. Thirteen years is a long time. I hope I will be able to keep in touch.

    PLEASE NOTE: This is not a source of free photographs.
    This photograph is (c) Ian M Butterfield. All rights are reserved. No use Is permitted (including non-commercial use) without prior permission. If you wish to use any of my photographs please ask first.

    Image Reference: EV0515A-D00152

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  • POTD 16 May 2003: The Last Day 16 May 2003

    Blackpool Promenade in the Rain

    Today was officially my last day with a salaried job.  My one task for the day was to return various items of IT equipment.  I had to go to Cheadle and Lytham St. Annes.  I had a short chat in Cheadle with a colleague before driving up a wet and windy motorway to Lytham.  My time on site there was brief, I said farewell to my manager and headed up the road  to Blackpool to get some lunch and to take a few photographs.


    The weather in Blackpool was terrible, it was cold and wet.  If I’d had a warm fleece and a proper set of waterproofs with me I could have quite enjoyed the challenge of taking photographs there.   Although I did get some shots which may be suitable for submission to my photo library, I was a little too wet and cold to carry on shooting for long.  At some point I will go back.


    Party Guest


    Tomorrow I will be having “open house” in the evening to celebrate my 40th birthday and my change of career.  Chris, a friend from my Polytechnic days who is staying the weekend, arrived this evening.  I collected him from Stockport Bus station (having stopped to take a couple of shots en route).  Sybil (our timid cat) spent a while making a fuss of Chris and even sat on his lap for a while.  Chris is highly honoured he is the first person other than Ann and I who has had Sybil on their lap!

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  • POTD 17 May 2003: The Party 17 May 2003

    My 40th Birthday Party

    Today we held open house to celebrate by forthcoming 40th Birthday and my change of career.  During the day Ann and I with the help of Chris prepared the house for the party.  Friends and family arrived from 6.30pm.  A good time was had by all and it was a great chance to meet up with some friends I hadn’t seen for a while.  The party finished at 11.30pm

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  • POTD 18 May 2003: The Day After the Night Before 18 May 2003

    Cassiopeia Personal Organiser

    We were definitely tired today.  And it was a day to take it easy.  Took Chris to the bus station, went to church, watched the Grand Prix, and generally loafed about the house.  Towards the end of the day I decided I ought to be a little more productive and started to plan all the tasks which need to be done during this my first week of being self-employed.  As it turns out it looks like the first week is going to be a busy week.  I’m certainly not complaining – at least 2 or 3 days worth of effort is going in to a paying job.  Which is definitely how I want to start this venture.

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  • POTD 19 May 2003: The New Job Starts Here 19 May 2003

    Pressing a button

    I wanted to ensure I got my priorities right when I stared the new career.  I believe that this is what God want me to do.  I’ve committed 10% of my working week (or half a day) to the Christian Drama writing that I have been doing.  So after reading my bible and a time of prayer the mornings activities were all to do with Lifelines Drama Group.  Some paper work that had been sitting on my desk for a while.  And then I started to define the process by which I can email past script purchasers and those who have expressed an interest in Lifelines.

    The First Photographic Job


    Last week I’d been given an assignment by a recruitment company, that assignment involves taking photographs to illustrate a number of ‘strap lines’.  One photograph is of a person pointing as though they have just pressed a button.  This afternoon I set up the studio equipment to take that photograph.  To save on the cost of hiring a model I decided to use myself as the subject.  It is never easy doing self portraits, but this particular shot would have been impossible without the use of digital.  After each shot I could look at the preview and determine if I need to be back a little, left a little or what ever.

    I also spent a little while making a list of the shots that I need to get on Wednesday when I attend their offices.

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  • POTD 20 May 2003: The Great Jelly Baby Hunt 20 May 2003

    Jelly Babies

    I should have been going into Manchester this morning.  One of the shots I had agreed to take was to illustrate the strap line “We are as individual as you are” the initial idea was for a figure stationary in the middle of a blurred crowd.  I was aiming for the 6.45am train to ‘check out’ the rush hour for locations and to take some suitable test shots.  Having woken up at a little after 5.30am [Yawn – I don’t do early mornings!] I discovered the weather was wet, and grey.  Not the kind of weather I was wanting at all.  Oh good – I get to go back to bed!


    When I got up for the second time I had an idea – I could illustrate the strap line by using Jelly Babies.  In the morning I finished the post production on two other shots for the same client this included doing some finger painting to produce a finger print that could be scanned!  After lunch I set out to buy Jelly Babies.  I can’t use Bassets because they no longer look like traditional Jelly Babies, and some of the cheap ones have very deformed features and are thus not very photogenic.   I had to visit 6 different shops before I got a batch I was happy with!  (At least Ann and I can enjoy eating the props on this job!).  The final result can be seen above – did you know that every one of those Jelly Babies had to be cleaned to remove the icing sugar!


    As Ann pointed out this is going to get some getting used to – last week I was designing computer systems for multinational companies, this week I’m finger painting and playing with Jelly Babies!!!

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  • POTD 21 May 2003: The Commercial Job 21 May 2003

    Finger Print

    Today I went to Cheadle Hulme to the company that I was doing some images for their website.  I showed them the three images I had prepared so far:  the Jelly Babies, the finger print, and a building with a bar code.  None of the images were quite what the company wanted.

    After a meeting with my pensions advisor, who by coincidence has an office near the company I was working for, I continued working with the client taking photographs of two members of staff,  which will form part of a montage image.  Unfortunately these images were not quite to the customers liking either.  The hands on the keyboard had “stubby fingers”.

    After some discussion, the client and I decided by mutual agreement that we would not proceed with this job.

    From my perspective, I have learned a number of important lessons today:

      1. Get a set of standard terms and conditions.  (Including payment terms)


      1. Price by the hour.  I’ve seen several sites pricing £100 for the first hour, and £50 per hour after.  Or £800 per day.  I was definitely under pricing myself on this job.


      1. Ensure that for any commercial work, there a non-refundable deposit.


      1. Tightly define what images will be taken in advance.  Define how an image is judged to be acceptable.  If it is a building that should include details of which building.  If it is people, define who the people are.


    1. Must get a price list for model and hand models.


    It’s not all bad news though, at least I can sell the Jelly Baby, Finger Print and Bar Code photos through the photo library now.

    Updating the Price List


    I need to update the price list today.  I’ve set new figures for prints and sitting fees.  I was a bit concerned about my sitting fee prices until I read a survey that indicated that poll of photographers had sitting fees of between £15 and £200.  So I guess my £15 isn’t too high after all!

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  • POTD 22 May 2003: The Big Four-O 22 May 2003

    Manchester Ship Canal Cruise – Royal Iris of the Mersey docked at Salford Quays

    Today is my 40th Birthday.  Officially I’m not working today.  Although when you are freelance the distinction between when I’m working and when I’m not does blur a little.  We decided to celebrate my birthday by going on a cruise on the Manchester Ship Canal.

    The trip starts in Salford Quays, lasts 6 hours and covers the 35 miles of the Manchester Ship Canal and 6 miles of the river Mersey to finish in front of the Liver Building in Liverpool.

    We boarded our ferry the recently refurbished “Royal Iris of the Mersey” just before 12.00 noon.  It was rainy today.  Very rainy.  This however didn’t spoil the trip, there is plenty of under cover seating on the Mersey Ferry and depending on where you choose to sit a variety of views.  When the weather is nice the top deck of the ferry has an open deck on top with a semi covered deck in front of it.

    We had a running commentary and explanation of the sights through much of the trip.  The guide managed to find just the right level between simplification and information overload.

    As the ferry arrived in Liverpool slightly ahead of schedule we were treated to an extra mile or so of the river Mersey.  The boat went past its landing stage at the Liver Building and took us to the mouth of the Mersey before turning round to dock.

    The return journey by coach was included in the price.  The trip was organised by the Mersey Ferry Company.

    A Mums and Toddler Group Booking?


    I’ve dropped off a portfolio of images to one of the leaders of the Mums and Toddler Group at our church today.  She is going to discuss the possibility of me doing a portrait session for them when they meet tomorrow.

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  • POTD 23 May 2003: Press Release 23 May 2003

    My ARPS portfolio

    In an attempt to get a little bit of publicity for my fledgling business, I’ve put together a press release about the ARPS distinction I’ve just been awarded and about the change of career.  It has been sent to a number of local newspapers – I’ll just have to wait to see if anyone publishes it.


    One of the things I have learned recently is that most of the local free papers have disappeared!  We stopped getting them when we move house and I had just assumed that they were still going, but it appears not.  It looks like almost all the local papers in the area (both free and non-free) are owned by the same media group.  Form my point of view I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.


    In addition to sending the press release I’ve started to try to make contacts with the local papers.  I’ve had a useful conversation with the chief photographer at one local paper.  He has said that he will keep my details on file, but that he doesn’t use freelancers too often.  But he has given me details of the photo editors for another paper that does use freelancers.  I’ll give them a call on Tuesday.


    A Mums and Toddler Group Booking?


    I’ve been told I’ve got the booking for the end of June.  Apparently a couple of the members of this group are past customers of mine and photos of their children were in my portfolio.  I understand that this generated a lot of interest.

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