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A Frosty Morning in Idyllwild – Bikini Frog Protests

A Frosty Morning in Idyllwild – Bikini Frog Protests


Idyllwild has finally been dusted with a precious snow blanket. The drought continues, but a small amount of relief has been granted. The only one complaining is my bikini frog.


Adventures In Making A Photography Book – Part 1 – Getting Started

The cover of my 2nd  volume of Everybody And Their Mother - Idyllwild, CA.

The cover of my 2nd volume of Everybody And Their Mother – Idyllwild, CA.

Hello Friends and Bloggers,

Tucked neatly in the San Jacinto Mountains of Southern California is a small village called Idyllwild. The place is quirky and so are the residents. The mayor is a golden retriever. The village mascot is the Idyll-Beast. I have been consumed with producing 2 volumes of photography books of the unique citizens of Idyllwild depicted in their most comfortable surroundings: work, home, or the forest. Free spirits, shop owners, professors, and those down on their luck grace the pages. The series is called Everybody And Their Mother – Idyllwild, CA. 

While the village clearly has a sense of humor, it takes the arts and community very seriously. For the past twenty years, award-winning musicians gather from all over the country for Jazz in the Pines, raising money for students of Idyllwild Arts Academy, the famous high school for international teenagers talented in music, visual arts, fashion design, film, and more. The proceeds of this book are donated to the Gina Genis Scholarship Fund for an Idyllwild Arts student. I am happy to report the books have been successful with brisk sales, and the scholarship fund has a healthy amount in it to aid a worthy student.

Volume 1 of Everybody And Their Mother – Idyllwild, CA (released July 5, 2013) began my journey to document the population of the entire village. Volume 2 (released September 5, 2014) continues the Idyllwild experience.

The front cover of Everybody And Their Mother - Idyllwild, CA Volume 1

The front cover of Everybody And Their Mother – Idyllwild, CA Volume 1

This has been a monumental undertaking of time and finances. Many of my readers are themselves photographers, so I thought you might like to know what publishing a photo book entails.

First, you must have a good idea. Something many people are interested in, to ensure many sales. If your subject matter is too narrow or too eccentric, you are limiting the amount of people who will be willing to buy your book. Save those images to exhibit in more appropriate venues such as museums or galleries. In addition, if your subject matter is something that people can take with their cell phones, such as landscapes or flowers, you need to make sure your images are far superior to what the general public can make, or there is no reason for them to drop hard-earned dollars on your book. Ask yourself this important question: why would anyone pay money for my book? You need a solid answer, and that answer has to be more than “because I want to make a book”. Offer your audience something they cannot do themselves, and are highly interested in.

Second, you need financing. You need money for producing the books, advertising, and shipping. I chose to use a professional printing company rather than a print-on-demand company because I find the quality of print-on-demand far inferior to a pro printer. Let’s break down the differences between the two types of companies.

Ted Gorzny in his apple orchard, from Everybody And Their Mother - Idyllwild, CA Volume 2

Ted Gorzny in his apple orchard, from Everybody And Their Mother – Idyllwild, CA Volume 2

Print-on-demand is convenient. You can order books as your customers place orders with you, saving you up front expenses, and preventing you from spending a lot of money if your books don’t sell. You can even have the print-on-demand company drop ship the book to your customer. This sounds great, but you are giving up two important things: profits and quality.

I printed Economy Portraits through a print-on-demand company. It was fine for this particular book, because it was a document of a project I did as Artist-In-Residence at the Huntington Beach Art Center. It was never intended to be a photography book. The paper from print-on-demand companies is not as good as from a pro printing company.  You do not have a personal contact to speak with because everything is done online. What frustrated me most is that color accuracy is not a priority with these companies. They want you to proof the book on your computer, but I do not recommend this because every computer’s monitor is calibrated differently, and you need to see the book in print to know what it truly looks like. In my case, there were shifts towards yellow or blue, and I had to pay full price for several copies to ask for changes before they got it right. The price of print-on-demand books is expensive. Let’s face it. Most of their customers are not professional photographers. They are people who want to make a book of their child’s birthday party and share it with their relatives and friends. The books are priced for retail, not wholesale, so you cannot mark them up to a price that the average person will be willing to spend on a photography book.

Using a professional printing company is the way to go if you want to produce a high quality fine art photography book for several reasons. Simply said, you have more control of your product. You have a real person to call and talk to when necessary. There are more choices of papers, sizes, and covers. Free proofs assure color accuracy. You have to pay for a specified number of books before you sell them, but the price of the books are far less than print-on-demand. All books are sent to you at once, so you have to ship to customers when they sell, but that costs you less than when the print-on-demand company does it for you. All in all, the results from a professional printing company are far superior to print-on-demand companies. Because the proceeds of my books go to the scholarship fund, price is extremely important. The book has to be affordable to the public, and my profits need to be such that I can recover my production, advertising, and shipping costs and have money left over to fund the scholarship.

Kenna Dahleen watering her vegetable garden in Everybody And Their Mother - Idyllwild, CA Volume 2

Kenna Dahleen watering her vegetable garden in Everybody And Their Mother – Idyllwild, CA Volume 2

My next post will contain information on how to choose a printing company, overseas vs. America printing, timelines, and more.

Snow Days In Idyllwild, CA

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The road to my house after the snow plow came

The road to my house after the snow plow came

Last month, I was snowed in at my home in Idyllwild for two days. I was able to enjoy the coziness of my wood burning stove, home-made soup, and the entire 1st season of Homeland on DVD. No one was pressing me for work because the whole town stayed home too. Appointments were rescheduled and life slowed down.

National Forest at the end of my block.

National Forest at the end of my block.

Once there was a break between storms, I bundled up and ventured out to the National Forest at the end of my block. The views are always stunning. By the third day, when the storm completely passed, the temperature rose high enough to go snowshoeing in a T-shirt.


Snowshoeing out Cowbell Alley.

These are the reasons I love any kind of weather. There is enjoyment in all four seasons, and fortunately, Idyllwild has them all.

If you are thinking of visiting Idyllwild, I have a great apartment vacation rental. Check it out on FlipKey.


Gina Genis Photography Now Available At Forest Furniture Gallery In Idyllwild

Fuller Mill Creek in the Fog by Gina Genis

Hi Friends and Bloggers,

Just want to let you know that I am trying out a new gallery in Idyllwild. Forest Furniture Gallery, a gallery and hand make furniture store located upstairs in the Fort, is now carrying my photography. The image you see above won the month of December in the Idyllwild Town Crier calendar competition, and will be one of the available prints.

Lake Fulmor With Ice by Gina Genis

The image above, “Lake Fulmor With Ice”, is currently the cover of the Idyllwild Visitor’s Guide. This image is included in a room screen that has 3 panels, each panel with 4 of my landscape or nature photographs in it.

Lake Fulmor Reflections by Gina Genis

A horizontal version of “Lake Fulmor Reflections”, above is on display and waiting for a new home.

Contact Forest Furniture for details. As for Martin. He’s the owner and a really cool and funny guy. He will ship.

Forest Furniture Gallery
The Fort
54225 North Circle Dr. Ste. #B18
Idyllwild, CA. 92549

Phone: 714-717-9447   email

24 Hours In Idyllwild – A Day In The World Project

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The Idyllbeast at play in Idyllwild‘s forest playground

Hello Friends,

Last week, I let you know about an opportunity to take part in the world’s largest photo documentary project, called A Day In The World. I hope some of you participated. The goal was to have people from every corner of the world take photos of their daily lives for 24 hours on May 15, 2012, then create a public archive of the images on the web.

Getting ready for the day. Eating breakfast, applying make up and checking phone calls.

I photographed my life in Idyllwild beginning at 6:30 am to 6:30 p.m. It happened to be a busy day. I rose early to photograph Lake Fulmor before it got too bright. By 10 a.m., I was teaching private photo lessons. At 2 p.m. I had a photoshoot with Idyllwild’s mascot, the Idyllbeast in progress. The photos will be used for postcards and other promotional materials.  5 p.m. put me in front of an adorable 7 month old boy, photographing his every smile and expression for a personal photo project. I ended the day in front of Strawberry Creek, relaxing to the sound of water spilling off a small waterfall. In between these appointments, I took shots of daily chores such as going to the post office and gas station. My images are public, and you can see them by clicking here.

Early evening at Strawberry Creek Waterfall.

Light Across Lily Rock – Time Lapse Video

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A still image from the time lapse video “Light Across Lily Rock”.

Lily Rock is an important landmark in Idyllwild. It can be seen all over the San Jacinto mountains. On April 25, 2012, I was photographing streams and waterfalls in a light drizzle. I enjoy being out in this type of weather because the colors of nature get saturated and the skies are dramatic. A storm was approaching quickly so I decided to climb out of the creek bed and take a look at the sky. Lily Rock was there to greet me. I stood in a meadow watching the shifts of light across the majestic rock.  I couldn’t resist taking photos as the clouds played hide and seek with it. I’ve put together a short time-lapse video you can view on YouTube. Click here and enjoy it.

Panorama Of Banning, California

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Hello Friends,

Just thought I’d share one of my favorite landscape views. This is a panorama I took from Highway 243, that runs from the desert city of Banning to the mountains of Idyllwild. It’s a winding, narrow, two lane road that ascends over 6,000 feet. Some people hate the road, thinking it is dangerous. I love it for its beautiful views. I think you will agree with me after seeing this photo.

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