Friday, August 31, 2007

New Records for August!

We set some new monthly records!!

1 - Monthly sales at $13,822.45, beating our previous record of $11,814.31. That is a 14.5% growth in sales from July to August!

2 - Most customers in a month at 3052, up from 2544 in July. This is a 16.6% growth in # of customers.

3 - This is a milestone, not a record, but we went over 10,000 total customers today!

Gotta go...

One shot from today's senior photo session

I don't have much time, but I wanted to post a shot from today's senior photo session. This image shows the original capture on the right, and edited color version in the center, and an edited black and white conversion on the left (which is my favorite). Click on the image to see it larger!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

No time to blog tonight...

I don't have any time for blogging right now, but just a couple of comments anyway:

1- we are on pace to set new records this week for a) highest sales in a week b)most customers in a week.

2- Already set a new record for highest sales in a month, most customers in a month, but will wait until after tomorrow to post results.

The monthly records are already a done deal, but the weekly records depend on tomorrow. We are predicting a slow Friday due to the holiday weekend. Many people have told us they are taking tomorrow off to head out of town and make it a 4 day weekend. On the other hand, the Colorado Springs Hot Air Balloon Classic is this weekend, and it is located two blocks down the street. Balloons set up beginning at about 5:30 am and begin launching at 7:00am. Well over 125 balloons go up in a short period of time, and thousands and thousands of people go to Memorial Park for the event. We could be completely slammed...

I booked two more senior photo sessions for the studio... One of them is tomorrow, one is for mid-September.

We had a discussion with a band that plays different venues, but normally gets paid. His girlfriend teaches yoga and needs some photography done for her brochures, business cards, etc. We are going to work out a trade where I do her photography for free, and he plays our shop for free on a regular basis. We'll see how things shape up...

I emailed Jeff Caylor, as well as Brad Ewing, who are both incredible Christian musicians here in town. Jeff has played our shop twice before, and will be coming back for another date (TBD) in September. He released his first CD this year and it is getting radio play!

Brad is our praise and worship minister at Rocky Mountain Calvary Chapel (our church). He is an amazingly talented singer and musician. I have very keen senses (extensive history in quality assurance - I'm a freak for even the most insignificant details). I can always find a mistake in live performances, even by very talented musicians. I have to say, I'm not sure I have ever picked up on a mistake by Brad. In the years we have been going to RMCC with Brad serving as Worship Minister, we have heard him sing hundreds, if not thousands of songs. His voice is soft when it needs to be soft, powerful when he calls on it, and he never misses a note. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am that he has agreed to play at our shop. We are going to speak with him this weekend at church to figure out the details.

I want to thank Jeff and Brad, and their band members, for taking the time to play at Nemo's. Besides the fact that they are incredible and very entertaining to listen to, they bring the message of the gospel through music. They add to the experience that Tracy and I are so committed to, and that is to treat our shop as a personal ministry. You can read through my blog and see my prayer requests that I pass on to all of you as well. I'm happy if we can impact even one person for Christ, but Jeff and Brad will be able to reach many through their God-given talents!

Here is a link to Brad's band Unseen:

and a link to Jeff Caylors site:

Well, I spent more time than I have on this post... Gotta run.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Scabs for Free!!

The AMA recently built a BMX race track here in town that exactly matches the Olympic BMX track in China for the next summer Olympic Games. I took Josh, Jonah, and Ethan to ride it yesterday. We rode the circuit five or six times and got a good feel for it. I was on my Mountain bike (c'mon, like I'm the only 42 year old guy who doesn't have a BMX bike) and I was catching some air off the jumps, but just a little. I didn't want to get too crazy with it. After an hour or so of riding, Josh asked if I wanted to race the entire track. Of course that is a great idea!! We went to the top of the gates, which is a steep incline to build speed heading into the first series of jumps (if you have ever watched real BMX racers, they keep both wheels on the ground... it is faster than catching air). But are we professional racers?? No, we are just a couple of hacks on mountain bikes. We took off and I let Josh beat me off the gates. He hit the first jump at full speed and caught some air. I hit it even faster than him because I was catching up to him. I hit the first upslope with waaaayyyy more speed than I intended. I shot off the top and went airborne at approx 20mph. I was coming down towards another jump, but I didn't make it to the down slope side. I landed on my front tire at the top of the up slope, just about a foot short of the peak. I proceeded to fly over the handle bars. The funny thing about momentum is that it seems unfazed by 'air friction.' I continued in the same direction, still at about 20 mph straight into the upslope side of the jump. I hit really, really hard, bounced and went airborne again, fell the six feet or so to land in the valley between the next two jump hills. I had enough time to tuck my head and roll/flip through that landing and come up on my feet. The first impact, though, was pretty much earth shattering. How do I know, you ask? Well, because I had earth embedded in my right hand, left knee, left forearm and elbow, and a little in my left cheek (face,not butt). Even though I no longer compete at anything, I still have that drive! I never even slowed down to see how bad I was hurt, or to pay attention to the fact that I had knocked the wind out of myself. I grabbed my bike and tried to take off to catch Josh, but my chain had fallen off. I put it back on quickly and tried to take off again, but couldn't. I noticed that my rear derailleur was bent into the spokes of my back tire. Bummer... I was done for the day. Since I was out of the race, I took a look at all the places I was bleeding. I counted 14 places. Woo Hoo! Look out for the crazy old guy who thinks he's still 25!! Anyway, this brings me back to the title of this blog entry: Scabs for free!! The BMX track is open to the public with no admission costs. In other words, you can go there and get scabs for free, just like me! Oh yeah, shiners are free too...

Here is a quick little shot of where I dug gravel out of my hand. Most of my left leg and shoulder look like that as well, along with a swollen knee, and very sore left shoulder. Oh yeah, and my left cheek bone feels a little bit re-arranged...

So, if you too would like some free scabs, give me a call and I'll take you to the BMX track. I'll have my bike fixed by then and I'll join you!

As for the kids, Jonah didn't feel like riding bikes. He spent the hole time jumping off the dirt hills, and throwing dirt clods at us as we rode by. He came away unscathed. Josh had a great time, but he is much more timid (or smarter) than me. He scared me the way he was catching air on the first jump out of the gates, but he never went down, and he was much more conservative through the rest of the track. He, too, came home unscathed. Ethan, who happens to be a carbon copy of me, is another story. He is only five, but has been riding a two wheeler without training wheels since he was three. He rode the entire BMX circuit over and over and over and over!!! HE was born to ride a bike!! He had such a great time, but he has absolutely no fear, just like me. That means he also got some free scabs. He would wipe out and crash/slide down a 10 foot long down slope. As soon as he got to the bottom, he would jump up and say "No problem, I'm a BMX Guy!" I also saw him take off from the top of a hill several times. He would stand next to his bike and push it off the hill, onto the steep down slope. He would jump in the air at the last second and throw his leg over the seat and land on the bike in mid air half way down the slope. WHAT FIVE YEAR OLD IN THE WORLD DOES THAT??? He also gets going really fast and then stands up on either his seat or his top tube and cruises like that. I keep waiting for him to go down hard, but he never does. Ethan is the most excited about BMX out of all of us. His self proclaimed nick-name is Tony Hawk, or sometimes Taylor Hawk (since his middle name is Taylor). I need to start getting video of him now so ESPN will have footage of him at five for the 2020 X Games.

Gotta run,

Monday, August 27, 2007

Two new records last week!

We set two new records with 162 customers in one day (Wednesday) and 687 total customers for the week. This beat the one week old records of 150 and 682.

We had an unusually slow Monday last week, with only $405 in sales. If Monday had been up at our typical average, we would have set a new weekly sales record. Maybe this week???

Gotta run,

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Senior Portrait Sessions

I had two senior portrait sessions this weekend. One was for Chad, and the other for my neice Katie.
Here is a shot from Katie's session, both color and BW. This was shot right around dusk in a city park flower garden near Colorado College. It was lit with two Alien Bees strobes with brolley boxes, powered by a Vagabond II portable power pack.
The light to the right was behind Katie to light the flowers, and to spill light on her hair and arm to give her separation from the background. Click on the images to see them larger...

Friday, August 24, 2007

New Studio Shot

Tracy's mom brought her some flowers today to put in vases on the cafe tables.
I decided to use one of them to continue my flower series shots for greeting cards I am going to have printed.

I have been testing myself in the studio by giving myself various challenges. For this shot, I limited myself to one studio light, and 15 minutes.
I created a deep blue 'sky' background in Photoshop and displayed it on my computer monitor. I put the flower in a mug and positioned it in front of the monitor.

I set up one Alien Bee 400 studio light with a 10 degree grid to the left of the flower. I used a small white reflector to the right side of the flower.
I set the camera up on a tripod, with 100mm f2.8 macro lens. I took two
test shots, using the results to adjust aperture and shutter speed so that the flower was properly exposed, and the deep blue color of the monitor was properly exposed.

I took the final 'keeper' 11 minutes into this exercise.
I spent about 20 minutes working with the image in Photoshop to get this:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New Record Today!

We had 162 customers today, beating last Monday's record of 150!! Woo Hoo!

I just checked some sales numbers...
We have sold 823 breakfast burritos since we opened...
We have sold 375 Mountain Dews from the cooler...
We have sold 1967 brewed coffees...
We have sold about 1300 lattes...

Here are a couple of shots from 2005 that I stumbled across today (click on them to see a larger version):

This is Josh walking back from a fishing stream outside Glenwood Springs, CO

Complete Insanity!! This "Swing" ride drops you from 80 feet in the air backwards and swings out over the edge of the cliff. When you reach the apex of the swing, you are looking straight down 1400 feet into the town of Glenwood Springs! I rode this for some stupid reason. Did I mention that I am deathly afraid (make that petrified, as in PRIMAL TERROR) of heights? I nearly had a heart attack (not kidding).

Just a shot of the sky and a field while driving:

Well, I had a photography contest here tonight and it has put me way behind schedule. I did not get ingredients cooked for breakfast burritos... It is now 11:35 pm. I have the sausage cooked, and the eggs are cooking now. I still have to cook potatoes and build the burritos.

Yikes... I'm going to be here for awhile. I have to get up at 5:30am because tomorrow is a hiking day with the kids before school.

Tomorrow is going to be long! EDIT: It is now 1:00am and I am leaving...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Nemo's Bucks

Well, we had another day at 105 degrees. Nobody wants to come over here for coffee with heat like that. We still exceeded our 'break even' thresh hold for the day, though. We had 129 customers, and our biggest sale of the day was over $50 by my friend Chris... That put us over the top!

We have looked at advertising costs for various publications in town and they are all incredibly expensive. We decided to 'beat the streets' around here on our own. They are the people we want to reach, anyway, as opposed to the whole city. I made up the following Nemo's Bucks:

It is difficult to see the detail at this low resolution. I designed it all from a blank slate in Photoshop, and I put little, tiny squiggley lines everywhere, just like on real money. It looks really nice at print resolution.

The back has information about our location, what we have to offer, etc...
We are going to get several thousand of them printed and plaster all the cars in the surrounding parking lots. I'm not sure several thousand is enough, but it will get us started. I would rather give away $2000 in free product than spend $2000 on a newspaper ad campaign.

I recently ordered a new computer to run our financial data server in the back room. That will free up the laptop for me to take on location for photo shoots, weddings, etc. It came with a 20" widescreen flat panel monitor by Samsung. The computer did not arrive yet, but the monitor did. We have a group meeting in the studio tomorrow and they asked if we have a DVD player available for a DVD presentation they want to play. I am going to set up another computer in the studio, with this LCD monitor for them. 20" is small when you think TV, but it is pretty large when talking about a computer monitor. I'll see how this works out for them...

My Still Life photo contest has finally arrived! It is tomorrow that 28 avid photographers will descend upon Nemo's Coffee Shop armed with their very best 8x10 print from the last three weeks. I'm looking forward to it...

Well, I am very tired and want to get my stuff done and go home to sleep. Take care everybody, and good luck to my nephew Jimmy Lutton who flew to New York today. He is the bass guitar player for a world tour kicking off in September. The singer is eMiko and she was recently signed by Sony Records. Have fun Jimmy!


Monday, August 20, 2007

Busy, but fun weekend...

Well, the weekend is over and we are back to the weekly routine, except we changed it this week.

First, the weekend...
Tracy opened the shop Saturday and I stayed home with the boys for awhile. I got the things together that I needed to do the videography at the wedding in Green Mountain Falls. Josh, Jonah, Ethan and I went to the shop and I got changed into wedding clothes. I ended up working on the espresso bar for several customers and I was wondering if I would wind up going to the wedding with a few stains. All worked out well, and I was very careful to not get all messy.

Shannon picked me up a little after 11:00 and we headed up to the church. I have done the photography for many weddings, but I have never done video before! I have a really nice camera that is suitable for professional work, but I have never read the manual, or really messed with it too much. I got to the church and set it up on a tripod and connected the remote control. I was all set on the left side of the sanctuary, where I could tape the wedding party coming in, going to the alter, and then tape the ceremony with a good direction towards the bride. The wedding planner came along and said I couldn't set up there, and that I needed to move my equipment up on the alter, behind the ceremony. That's weird... I didn't want to be in all of the photographer's shots... I ended up setting my equipment up center line behind the Unity table where I could tape the wedding party entering the sanctuary, then coming down the aisle to the alter. My plan was to complete that portion, then move to the side of the alter area to tape the ceremony, direction pointing towards the bride (who wants to watch the groom in a wedding video anyway?) I had my spot all picked out where I could video the couple from the front while they did the unity candle stuff. Then, the wedding planner came and told me that they would go around to the back of the Unity table to light the candles so that they would be facing the crowd. So... I once again figured out a new location where I could move to and get the Unity candle stuff, the ceremony, and not be in the photographer's photos. This was tricky because the wedding planner told me the minister does not allow movement once things got started. Well, my plan was to move only once (from center to side). Once I moved from the center position to the side, I found that I was out of view of the crowd because of a large podium on the alter. I was able to move around as needed to get the best angle of the bride for the ceremony, as well as to get both of them when they went behind the Unity table. The minister was kind of irked, but that's OK. He wasn't the one paying me!
After the ceremony was over, Shannon (my friend who was the actual wedding photographer) had to re-enact the ceremony because the minister would not allow flash photography during the real ceremony. It was dark in there, so any images he shot would have been marginal at best. I grabbed my cameras and shot along side of him, as he is new at being the primary photographer at a wedding. I wanted to get some shots to back him up, if needed. Besides that, I am so used to being the photographer... How could I just stand around and watch?
After that, we went to the reception in Woodland Park. Shannon wasn't exactly sure where it was, but we found a building with a marquee that said congrats to Marc and Suzanne. We figured there probably weren't more than one Marc and Suzanne having a reception in town, and we were right.
The couple wanted a low key, quick deal and only paid us to be at the reception for an hour. Well, they served dinner at the reception first, so we had some time to sit around and wait. For some reason of insanity, the reception hall did not have air conditioning and it was pretty stinkin hot in there. Once dinner was over, we shot the cake cutting and the first dance. I did video via tripod, and shot photos, along with Shannon. That was it... We left after taking a few candids. I now have to buy some video editing software. I have Pinnacle Studio 10, but it is total crap. Anyone have a copy of Adobe Premiere they don't want??

We went up to Denver on Sunday with Tracy's parents. We visited her grandfather in the hospital, then went to Kaladi Brother's Coffee shop on Evans in Denver. What a great time that was. Kaladi Bros is a company that was started in Alaska and grew to a huge operation, both coffee shops and commercial roasting for wholesale accounts. It got crazy big, and the owner moved to Denver and started a single shop, with roasting room. He said he just wanted a very small roasting operation, and he is doing 10,000 pounds a month. To me, that is a lot! All the power to him!

Anyway, Mark (the owner) spent a great deal of time with Tracy and I. He took us behind the bar and showed us all of his specially modified equipment. He also has equipment that he and his friend designed and built. I don't have time to go into details now, but it was an AMAZING shop and we are so thankful that Mark took so much time to talk with us, sample his new experimental espresso roast, show us his roasting room, etc. He had his baristas make us a latte, and she created the following work of art for me:

And here are a couple more shots:

Tracy with world famous coffee aficionado Mark Overly of Kaladi Coffee in the roasting room...

If you end up in Denver, make sure you visit this coffee shop (1730 E Evans Ave Denver, CO 80210). I know, there are tons of coffee shops around, but not like this. Take the time to go and you'll realize why I think it is worth it.

As long as you are in the area, the very first, original Chipotle Burrito place is not far from Kaladi's. Yes, Chipotle is all over the place now, but this is your chance to go to the very first one, near Denver University.
Instead of burritos, we went to the chocolate/candy store next door. We got deep fried angel food cake dipped in dark chocolate. That was yummy...

We then went to Washington Park and rode bikes and Razor scooters with the kids (yes, everybody thought I was a freak for riding a Razor scooter with $6000 worth of cameras hanging all over me).

We then went to a place over by Cherry Creek Mall for dinner, then headed back to the Springs. Yes, we told our kids that was Summer Vacation! We were not able to get away this summer with the shop just being open (except for one overnight camping trip in Woodland Park), so this day in Denver was pretty exciting to us!

OK, now for Nemo's shop news...
1 - We set two new records in the shop last week. The first was most customers in a day at 150. The second record was most customers in a week at 682! We missed setting a new weekly sales record by only $18.50... It looked like that record was going to fall, but we had slower than normal Friday and Saturday business. That spilled over into today. It was over 100 degrees, and our sales reflect that. We barely cleared $400 in sales today, which is way, way, way below our recent averages.

2- I built a spreadsheet early on to calculate how oue sales are compared to current budget (without rent, since we negotiated free rent for quite some time), and compared to our budget with full rent ($2800 per month).
Somewhere along the line, I thought I had not subtracted total shop overhead from projected revenues, but in reality, I had built that into the spreadsheet. I have been indicating in previous posts that we made it to the break even point and have been operating there for some time, based upon a budget WITHOUT rent. I built a better spreadsheet and noticed today that we have actually been profitable!! We have been operating at the break even point for the last month or so with rent and all other expenses included! That makes me happy...
Basically, we need to average 225 customers a day to cover our overhead, and pay ourselves enough salary to pay our personal bills. We are routinely hitting the 140's per day, and we still have not advertised, tapped into the commuter traffic (80,000 cars a day on our frontal street), or really done any marketing to speak of. That is very, very encouraging...

I scheduled a Senior Photo Session for Saturday morning, and have a couple more high school kids wanting senior photos done soon... Woo Hoo!

Well, that is enough rambling for now. I need to make burritos, finish closing the store, process photos and upload them to the photo lab, then get home and get some sleep. I am getting up at 5:30 to take the kids hiking before school again...

Gotta run, it is 9:30 pm.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Nemo's Coffee - Odd Conversation #1

With me having a quirky sense of humor and all, it is not uncommon for odd conversations to occur here. Here is one typical conversation that seems to happen much too often:

CUSTOMER: Do you have any unique flavored drinks?
JD: We carry approximately 30 naturally flavored Monin syrups, but we also have several specialty drinks made with real ingredients. The most unusual is probably our cottage cheese-tuna fish latte.

Now, the conversation typically goes one of three ways:

1. Customer and/or innocent bystanders realize they are in the presence of a comical genius and laugh so hard they snort hot foamed latte milk out their nose, just like in 3rd grade lunch. There is nothing like a 2nd degree burn in your nasal passage.

2. Customer and/or innocent bystanders realize they are in the presence of a potentially dangerous mental ward escapee. They flash an uneasy smile just to indicate to me that they are playing along and cooperating. They secretly wonder what I did with the real people who are supposed to work here.

3. ...and on a few rare occasions, we get customers who actually believe that we offer a cottage cheese - tuna fish latte. Their face goes blank while they try to imagine what a tuna fish latte would taste like. They typically forget about the cottage cheese part because, frankly, cottage cheese would not be the dominant flavor in this drink. The conversation picks up something like this:

CUSTOMER: So, how many of those do you sell?
JD: Oh, not very many... In four months, I think we have sold approximately ZERO tuna fish lattes! Would you like to be the first to try it?
CUSTOMER: Uuummmmm... I think I'll go with the vanilla this time. I'll try that one some other time.

The #3 type customers, referred to as "The Believers" make being quirky worth-while. If you are one of them, I'm not making fun of you. All this laughing is WITH you, not AT you...

Today's Accomplishments:
Up at 6:00, got kids off to school.
Went to the shop and prepared a Sam's Club order worksheet (check inventory and determine needed products)
Went to Sam's Club for the fourth time this week.
Back to the shop.
Completed my weekly deposit summary sheet. Prepared a deposit for the bank. Counted the change bank (rolls of quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies as well as 1's and 5's).
Went to the bank and completed the deposit, with the typical issues. We have used our bank for approximately 11 years, but a different branch. There is another branch very close to our shop, and that is where we do our business deposits. They count it wrong about 75% of the time. One time when I did a change order they gave me too much $$. I told her that I had counted it as she put the rolls of coins in the box and that there was too much money. She insisted that she was correct. I suggested that she re-count it. She refused, saying she was absolutely sure that she gave me the right amount of money. OK, I realized that my options were to take the money, or challenge her to some sort of duel. She weighed more than me, and to be honest, she looked tougher than me. I decided against the duel, thanked her for the tip and left. I counted it back at the shop and I was correct, she gave me too much money. Oh well...

Getting back on track here...

Got the kids after school.

I then went home to pick up my matt cutter so I could cut a custom matt for a 16" x 24" print for a customer. I also got my video equipment so I could charge the batteries in preparation for tomorrow's wedding.

Came back to the shop and worked for awhile.
I haven't used the matt cutter for many months, and I kind of forgot some of the intricacies. I had to download the user manual from the Logan website. Isn't the internet awesome?? I read instructions (not an easy thing for a guy to do, let alone admit it). I cut a practice matt perfectly, then started measuring for the client work. My friend Shannon came in and talked to me about the wedding we are doing together tomorrow in Green Mountain Falls.

Shannon left and I realized it was almost closing time. I helped Michelle close the store, then spent 45 minutes cutting the matt and mounting the print for tomorrow.

Cooked 20 eggs in preparation for making breakfast burritos (sausage and potatoes already cooked).

Made 14 breakfast burritos.

Backed up my external 500GB hard drive to my other external 500GB hard drive (I keep two external copies of all of my client photography data and our business data. One hard drive stays at the shop, the other goes home with me each night).

Prepped Katie's senior photo session images for batch proofing.
Wrote an action in Photoshop CS2 to batch process her 300 images; ran the action...

Checked the paper for special lease opportunities for new vehicles. We currently need two reliable cars that can haul around three kids. I hate to say it, but my '69 Chevy needs some work. The alternator went out, so I have to charge the battery every few days. My Jeep Cherokee needs new brakes (not just pads, but drums/rotors, etc). The Jeep also overheats on trips longer than 20 minutes. The reason I got to thinking about this is because I have to drive to Green Mountain Falls tomorrow for a wedding, and I started wondering if I would make it. I decided to leave two hours early just in case. I ended up working it out for Shannon to pick me up instead... I'll be riding with him... Anyway, Subaru has a $159 a month lease on their new Impreza Sedan and a $239 a month lease on the Outback. Both are no money down lease options. We can do a business lease for a vehicle and have two reliable cars instead of one... Just a thought...

Wow, it is Midnight already...

OK, I have had very little sleep this week (4 hours Monday, six hours Tuesday, Four on Wed, four last night, and I'm in line for five tonight...)
I've got to run so I can get a little sleep and be functional tomorrow...


Nearly Blasted Out of My Skin!

I went outside the shop yesterday to take some snapshots of the clouds. I was standing about 10 feet out into the parking lot taking this picture:

The hair on my arms stood up and before I could move, a huge bolt of lightning struck the Intellitec sign in the parking lot, about 150 feet from me. I could hear the electricity crackle during the strike, and the thunder clap was instantaneous. It was one of those really loud, sharp cracks that makes you jump out of your skin. It set off a bunch of car alarms in the parking lot.



Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'm Very Tired...

Well, I made it through last night OK. Michelle went home sick right after she got here. Tracy came in from 6:30pm until a little after 7:00pm just to help me with the massive photographer hoard scheduled to meet at 7:00. As it turns out, the severe thunderstorms kept some people at home and we had about 14 people show up for the photo session. I then ran the shop by myself and ducked into the meeting from time to time until about 9:30pm. Once everyone left after 10:00pm I was able to make burritos and finish the closing duties. I got everything wrapped up at about Midnight, but then I remembered that I was supposed to send our menu flier by email to a contact at the Pikes Peak Work Force Center (adjacent to us). I spent a few minutes updating that and sent it to Mike, then got out of here at 12:30.

I got to bed at 1:00am, and back up again at 5:30. I got the boys ready for school (make them breakfast, make their lunches, verify backpacks are all set, check their uniforms-shoes-belt, brush teeth, and most important of all, fix their bedhead!. We then picked up Sarah and Anthony (neighbor kids) and I took them all, along with Machi our Jack Russell Terrier, hiking in Palmer Park. We have had serious thunderstorms for about 5 days in a row, so the trails were a little muddy. I had five kids from Kindergarten to fifth grade hiking on muddy trails in school uniforms. I got them all to school mostly clean, but there were a few issues... I'll have to check their folders and see if they got any notes from their teachers!

I then came to the shop and worked for a little while, then went to Hobby Lobby to get matt board. I have to matt a 16x20" print for a client wedding by tomorrow. I also ran to Sam's Club to get more croissants for our sandwiches. Tracy had a group of 20 show up and order a bunch of sandwiches!

Now it is 6:25pm, Michelle is still sick, so I am working the shop alone again tonight. I have a group meeting in the studio from 7:00pm to 9:00pm tonight. Luckily, it is only abut 10-12 people. I can handle a small rush like that by myself without any real delays for the customers.

I should get out of here by 10:00 tonight, which means I can get 7 hours of sleep!! Woo Hoo!

Our laptop in the office is getting a little bit glitchy. It is our server for the financial software and for the Point of Sale system out at the bar. I have been wanting to build a new computer for the back room server for awhile now. Dell was having a deal (I found it at for a dual core Windows XP machine with a 20" widescreen Samsung LCD monitor for $489 and free shipping!! If you subtract the retail cost of the monitor, that means I got a dual core XP computer for about $240. I couldn't even buy the components to build it for that much, let alone get a copy of Windows for it. It will be here in about a week or so... Then I will have to move the required applications to the new desktop, set up the network, get Quick Books Pro and QB Point of Sale to communicate, set up the DSL modem again, etc, etc, etc...

Oh yeah, we are on pace to set a new record this week both for total weekly sales and for most customers in a week!! Here are a few sales numbers for August so far (quantities sold):

Espresso Drinks - 867
Bottled Drinks - 462
Lunches - 544
Fruit Smoothies - 420
Pastries - 425

In all, we have sold 3142 items from August 1 to August 16!

Take care and God Bless!

5 Minute Photo Challenge

I've been giving myself some 'challenges' lately just to improve my photography skills. Today I decided to give myself 5 minutes to find a subject, set it up in the studio, set up the lighting, take the shot, and download it to the computer. Here is what I came up with:

I pulled one of the flowers out of an arrangement in the cafe and put it in a glass. I taped this blue paper to a cardboard box for a background. I set up one Alien Bees 800 strobe with a Brollie Box for lighting. I set it up in a way that it was lighting both the flower and the background paper. I had to arrange things so that the flower shadow would not appear in the background paper.

Well, that's it...
What do you think?

EDIT - I just viewed this on another computer... I did the original download and editing on my laptop, which is very bright. It looks like the image is a little too dark on most computers as a result. I'll adjust it later and upload the brighter version when I have a chance...


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New Things Going On...

Hello everybody...

Well, as always, we have been very busy lately. I want to get back to doing blog entries every couple of days, instead of every week or two...

Good news first!
We set a new record Monday with 150 customers in one day! Woo Hoo!
Our previous high was 145...

We had our second highest weekly sales last week, and we are on pace this week to break our current standing record.

The rental house is coming along, and I should be finished with it in a couple of weeks. We have already shown it to several interested buyers and we hope to nail down a quick sale.

I have scheduled over 14 photography events over the next six weeks or so...
Here is a rundown of some of them:

Colorado Springs Christian Photography Guild - 2 meetings in August
Professional Photography Seminar/Workshop - 5 events in September and October
My Photography Group: Still Life photo contest August 22, Hot Air Balloon Classic Photo Contest September 13, Avatar Photo Shoot August 14, Colorado Springs Free Your Mind Suicide Prevention event August 18, American Diabetes Association event photography at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo on October 6. I also have coordinated an action photo shoot of Dave Leland, who is a world class competitive cyclist. He is currently training for a world record attempt for the one hour speed record (velodrome). He is going to ride while we pace him in a vehicle and take really cool photos of him in action. I also have some model shoots coming up, and a couple of senior portrait sessions...

My brother Aubrey and his wife Steffi just had their second child this week! Her name is Kaydence and both her and Steffi are doing great! Aubrey is in Iraq and was not able to be present. Please pray for Aubrey's safety, and for Steffi as she goes home with a newborn and toddler (Braeden) without Aubrey's help and support. While you are at it, please pray for all of our troops, and for their families carrying on at home...

Well, Michelle, our employee who was working with me tonight, just went home sick! I have 20 photographers showing up here in less than an hour for a photo shoot in my studio. Yikes!! Gotta run...


Monday, August 6, 2007

Nemo's Coffee

Need Some Growth!

Well, it would appear that we have flattened out on the growth curve at $500 to $600 per day. I have mentioned that before, but we have another week's data to confirm... College starts up again in a couple of weeks. Colorado College and Pikes Peak Community College are not far from us. I'm going to start doing flyers around the campuses soon... Kids will be moving in over the next couple of weeks.
We are also going to get some signs made and have someone stand out by the street advertising $1 coffee and $2 lattes during the morning commute hours. Pikes Peak Ave goes straight into downtown. We obtained traffic data last week and 80,000 cars go by our shop DAILY. We need to tap into some of that, as we have not done so yet.

Paul Kulik came by this weekend and swapped out his amazing photos again (third set of artwork to be on display). They will be up until September 8th, at which time Paul's work will come down and we will support another local artist. It has been a real blessing to have Paul's beautiful work on display since our opening, and we look forward to showing his work again in the future. We can't thank him enough! What I look forward to even more is to go to some of those places myself! He is a great inspiration. Bottom line, though, is that you need to get in here this month and see his photos of Western Colorado, Antelope Canyon in Arizona, and some other beautiful locations...

We had a meeting with the local event organizer for the Diabetes Walkathon. It is confirmed... We are going to provide the coffee service, after Starbucks backed out. I will also be doing candid photos of people on the walk for their website, and I will also be doing formal group shots for 85 groups. In exchange, we get to have our logos on the event t-shirts, flyers, brochures, and have flyers in the event bags that all participants get.

We spent some quality family time yesterday by checking out Red Rocks Canyon, which the city of Colorado Springs recently purchased from a private owner. They have built a some trails, a technical mountain bike practice area, lots of rock climbing areas, etc... I only took the point and shoot, and the batteries went dead after just a few shots. Here are a couple of them of the kids doing what boys do best:

Gotta run,

Friday, August 3, 2007

Another studio shot

I spent a few minutes in the studio during a slow period today. I took this flower out of one of Tracy's arrangements on the tables in the cafe. I used a main light to the right of the camera, fitted with a 10 degree spotlight grid, to give highlights and shadows, giving the flower a 3D look. The center of the flower was in deep shadow, so I added a second light, at about 15% power as compared to the main light, to add a little fill. This light was just to the right of the camera, fitted with a 20 degree grid (snoot).

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Coffee Photos

Finally, after three months, I got around to taking a couple of coffee photos. I only spent a few minutes with this, since it is late. I used one studio light only...

This is my favorite of the two. I adjusted my single light (with a 10 degree snoot) to create dramatic shadows across the cup, reflect the handle in the cup to create an abstract heart, and to allow light/shadow to spill onto the background, which would contrast with the cup. It was a little tricky to set up, but I'm very happy with the outcome. I converted it to black and white using calculations (which creates an alpha channel in Photoshop), then toned it with a nice, coffee brown.

Here is the second, which used one light, and a reflector to the left side... I'm not too excited about this composition, but thought I'd post it anyway...

Everybody have a great night...

Still Life Photo Contest

Click this link for information and to RSVP:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007, 6:30 PM

Nemo's Coffee
2230 E Pikes Peak Ave
Colorado Springs , CO 80909

After having the Still Life Workshop tonight, I thought it would be fun to have a Still Life themed contest to give everyone a chance (and the motivation) to practice what was discussed tonight.

Here is the plan:
-Create a still life image, subject of your choosing, between now and August 22.
-Editing rules are wide open, although your entry must be a single photograph (not a compilation of two or more photos). Artistic filters are allowed, but remember that this is a Photography exercise.
-Attend the Meetup on Wednesday August 22 with an 8x10 print of your entry.
-We will have a review and critique session, where members can provide feedback and encouragement!
-Voting will be by secret ballot, and only those participating in the contest will vote (others are welcome to attend, though)
-First place prize will be 1/2 lb of premium whole bean coffee from Nemo's! (if you have other ideas for prizes, feel free to email me).

That's it... Keep in mind, this is just for fun and to put into practice the Still Life concept over the next few weeks.
I will make my studio available if you need a place to shoot, and would like to borrow my lighting. Just stop in or call to schedule a time. I am typically here from 3:00pm to close, and on Saturdays. We are closed on Sundays.

I hope everyone had a great time tonight and I look forward to seeing all of you again...
Take care,
JD Anderson

RSVP limit:
Only 25 members (including guests) can RSVP 'Yes' or 'Maybe' for this event. There's still room for 22 more.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Sales Data, Aug 01, 2007

Well, today marks our fifth calendar month in operation, although we were only open the final four days in April.
Here are some cumulative sales data information:

We have sold 4036 espresso beverages (lattes, mochas, americanos, etc), by far our biggest seller (which is good, since we are a coffee shop!)

We have sold 2326 lunch items, which includes salads, sandwiches, hot dogs, soup, breakfast burritos, etc.

We have sold 1403 bottled drinks out of our merchandise cooler, which means we only need to sell about 2100 more for the cooler to pay for itself!

In 14 weeks of operation, we have sold 13,775 items!

We exceeded $600 in sales today, which is only our third time to do so! Today was also our second highest customer count ever!

Thanks everybody, for your support, patronage, and your prayers!