Blurb Books Disappoints

It’s been a while since I last posted a blog. The last ones were about problems I was having with my MS back in January and February. Since that time, my health has improved and I’m getting around better than I was back then. I’m back working on my photo projects again and that is what led to this posting.

I attended the Palm Springs Photo Festival in April and had some very positive and informative portfolio reviews. A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about the reviews and how I could make even more of an impression up the reviewers and anyone else I’m showing my work to. I started thinking about producing a small inexpensive book to show or give to interested parties. It would be a small soft covered book with nothing fancy, only my photos displayed in a quality format.

Lightroom now has book tab that provides the capability to produce a books using the provider, Blurb. Having seen reviews that gushed about the quality of these books, I decided it would be easy to give it a try since I already have collections of my work in Lightroom and it would then send it to Blurb. I opened Lightroom and went to my Giants Collection and chose the 24 photos for the book. For the size of the book, I chose the “Small Square” size, which is 7 in. square. This seemed like a very good size for a small handout book. To keeps costs down I choose the “Softcover” option as apposed to the Hardcover option. I feel that the softcover is more appropriate for the use I wanted in the book.

Lightroom quickly laid out the book with the photos from my Giants collection. I choose to display one photo per page and chose the full-page option since I have both verticals and horizontals. I then arranged the photos in the order I wanted, set the covers and added a couple of text pages at the end. I checked the pages and all looked fine in the Lightroom display. I then exported the book as a PDF and inspected the book and it looked great. I then sent it off to Blurb and ordered a couple of copies. These were only going to be test books, as I would be adding more photos and text to the final version. I just wanted to check the quality of the book before I sent a larger version.

This weekend, the books arrived. When I quickly looked at them when I first opened the package, the looked OK, at least the covers did. But when I opened the books, I started to see problems. With the vertical photos, there was a small white border at the top but bleed of the page at the bottom. Same problem with the horizontals on the sides. Not only was there was a discrepancy with the borders, but you could see that the photo were slightly crocked one the page since the border was crocked. I’m posting a scan of one of the pages from the printed book and also a page from the PDF file that I exported so that you can see the differences.

The final problem is that when I measured the book. It was supposed to 7 in. (18cm) square. When I measured it, it was 6 5/8 in. (16.8 cm) square. Either Blurb is advertising a size they don’t offer or their cutters are way off. It will be interesting to see what Blurb has to say about this. I’ll keep you informed.

Giants-Pg1 Eagle

Giants-Pg1.PDF

Heading for Death Valley in July? Crazy!!!!

It’s summer time again, which means it’s time to head to Death Valley again. While I wouldn’t go there for vacation at this time of year, I will go there to photograph athletes that come there to test their toughness against it. It’s time for the Badwater Ultramarathon, http://www.badwater.com, a 135 mile race from Badwater, Death Valley, the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere (-280 Ft) to Mt. Whitney Portals (8300 Ft). The race covers 13,000 ft. of climbing with 4,700 ft. of descent.

Many wonder how I can survive in the heat with my Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It is predicted to be 120˚ F for the start on Monday, a little warmer than the last couple of years but cooler then the 127˚ in the past. Heat is one of the most complained about problems associated with MS. Most people with MS don’t like temperatures over the mid 70’s. While I don’t enjoy the heat, it doesn’t bother me anymore than it does normal people. So, will it will be extremely hot, I won’t suffer anymore than the rest out there.

DSCN0332I thought I’d share a photo of the photographic equipment I’ll be taking along.

  • 3 Nikon Bodies: D2X, D3 & D800E
  • Lenses from 17mm to 500mm
  • Flash Equipment: Flash Units, remote triggers, Light Stand, Unbrella, reflectors & Other modifiers
  • Tripods
  • Light Meter
  • GPS Units
  • Many memory cards
  • White Balance Units
  • Computers for backup and communications
  • Lots of tape, you never know
  • Batteries and battery chargers and spare AA batteries
  • Radios for personal communications
  • Bag with all the cable you need
  • Knife, flash lights
  • Hats, sunglasses, knee pads and tone of Sun screen.

This is most of what I have already assembled though there will be a few more things added as I get ready.

Hope to post a few blogs during the race, though most of the time we aren’t near normal cell service.

Terrible experience ordering from Light Impressions

I hate writing about bad service, but I feel that it is important to warn others about problems. Recently I needed some items to update my portfolio for an upcoming portfolio review. As I was extremely sick with the flu at the time, I decided to order the supplies I needed online, as I didn’t feel good enough to go out in public. Having ordered many items online from computers to TVs and having 2 weeks before I need the supplies, what could go wrong ordering some paper item.

I looked for the items I needed, a portfolio box and some interleave tissue, and found that they were available from a company called “Light Impressions.” I had used this company years ago to get archival storage supplies for photo transparencies, aka: Color Slides. I had good experiences with them back then, though this was before online stores. I ordered what I needed and received an e-mail confirming the order along with my order number.

This is where the first indications of problems arose. The e-mail stated that most items were in stock ship within 2 business days another 7-10 business day for deliveries. I found the time frame a little excessive, particularly that since I’ve received large items order through other vendors within a few days. Even items that were extremely came within a few days. But since I had more than 2 weeks I wasn’t worried.

12 days later I called to find out about my order and boy what I learned. It seems that this isn’t the old Light Impressions. The old one had gone out of business and this is a new group that had just taken it over, along with a couple of other businesses. I was told that my order hadn’t shipped yet as they are waiting for the items to arrive from the manufacture. Now I have now way of getting what I had ordered before I need it. Felling better now, I purchased what I needed locally. By the way, the portfolio review went great.

Talking with the representative on the phone was like talking to an excuse machine. They are a new company that has just taken over the old Light Impressions and their warehouse is not stocked yet. I told them that is fine, but why wasn’t this information given to me, the customer, when I placed my order. I was told they weren’t wet up to send out this information. When I inquired as to why this information wasn’t sent out later letting me know, again I was informed that there aren’t enough employees to perform these functions. I was told the have “thousands of order” and don’t have time to keep everyone informed. I can only assume that there are thousands of other artists waiting with no update.

The representative on the phone didn’t seem concerned that I have my business to run and that I need to know what is happening to schedule my business. Maybe she just didn’t understand as if they way they run their business is they way the rest of the world runs theirs. I informed that I was definitely going to blog and write about my experience to the Internet community. She seemed not to be too concerned. She again stated that they are doing the best that they can and they don’t have the resources. I informed her that that is not my problem and that I understand that, I have my business to run. If I had been informed of the problem by them and had time to wait, I might had left my order and waited. Since I had already acquire the resources I need locally, I cancelled my order, as I can only assume others will do. If they have the resources to take orders and money, they need to have the resources to provide support to their customers.

I don’t like to see businesses fail, but I can only assume that is where they are headed. I can only offer my extreme disappointment with Light Impressions and strongly express my displeasure with them. There is now way I could recommend them and warn others that use them at your own risk and if you do contact them immediately to find out what the likely hood of getting your order. Even if they have the item in stock, 7-10 business days is unreasonable.

Again, I will never use Light Impressions again.