Celebrating Word Oceans Day 2014!

Happy World Oceans Day 2014 everyone!  Thanks for taking a minute to check out our website.  There’s lots of information on our project here so please be sure to look around.

As you go through your day today (and hopefully everyday) be sure to take a minute and reflect on how important our oceans are to life on this planet and how they touch on your lives daily, even if you’re a thousand miles from the nearest one.   The ocean’s influence touches everything from the food you eat to the air you breathe to the weather you experience.

The Underwater Sombrero project team will be celebrating World Ocean Day today with a series of images from our project shared on our social media pages.  We hope you’ve liked the Facebook page and are following the Twitter Feed!  Watch for the hashtags: #WorldOceansDay and #OurOcean2014!

Our project is #crowdfunded, so if you think you’d like to help us out, check out our Funding Incentives page.   Thanks for visiting, and again, Happy World Oceans Day!

Steve, Dee, Elizabeth, Dennis and Robert – The Underwater Sombrero Project Team

2013 Expedition Sneak Peak

The 2013 Expedition was easily our best yet and yielded hundreds of fantastic images and dozens of video clips!  We’re busily processing them and beginning page layout for the book so we’ve been head down and nose to the grindstone, but we thought we’d take a quick break to share some of our favorites:

Size Does Matter!

Just in case you’re wondering, the Underwater Sombrero book, when published is anticipated to be a full size, hard cover, dust jacketed publication.   We’re planning to include about 200 pages of Sombrero Key beauty and information!   The below image shows a good representation of scale.  Won’t you please consider one of our funding incentives?  It’s not a donation, it’s an advance purchase, and it helps us get our project done!

Our First Share Drive!

Friends, we’ve been at this project for a while and we need some help to get to the next phase of the project.  Soon, we hope to start a funding drive, but before we do that, we need to build the audience for our message.  We need to let more people know about the project!

Currently we’re at about 77 followers on Twitter and about 70 “likes” on Facebook.  So, here’s the plan:  We’re going to start small.  We want to hit our first milestone on each networking service of 100 likes or follows.   To get there, we need supporters of the project to share links to us with their friends.   As incentive to help us reach this level we’re giving away a 5×7 print of your choice from the project.  That’s the $10 funding incentive we offer as a prize!  One each to the 100th follower or “like” and one each to the supporter that referred the 100th follower or like!   You’ll also be recognized on the website and in the book as a supporter!

Winners can select from one of the existing images we’ve already captured, or may wait for the project to complete and select one from a wider array later.

If our drive is successful, we’ll do it again later for larger like and follow milestones!

All you have to do is either be the 100th “like” or the 100th follower, OR, be the person that referred them!  Share away!

As always, we thank everyone for the support!

Steve, Dee, Elizabeth, Dennis and Robert – The Underwater Sombrero Project Team

Art Print – “Sombrero Light”

Weigold Photography is pleased to introduce our latest art print titled “Sombrero Light″!  This image is currently available in several sizes and customization such as sepia, black and white and bordering is available.  Please select a standard size below, or contact us for customization options at sales@weigoldphotography.com

Your purchase of prints such as this will help us fund our photography book project: Underwater Sombrero!

Print Options

Can you spare a dime?

Friends, we’re getting close to our next expedition to Sombrero!  Remember that we’ve already got the trip scheduled (and paid for) and we’re leaving in a few weeks.

We still need your help though!  In order to make the most of the trip and get the photography we need to support our book project we need a few more pieces of equipment and to get it, we need to raise another $800 as quickly as we can! 

We’ve learned that some of the equipment we need is on sale and if we can get it soon, we can save the project hundreds of dollars!

Please consider an advance purchase of one of our project prints or other funding incentive to help us get the equipment we need and make this project happen!

Here’s a handy link to purchase a 5×7 print and other incentives from the program:

If you’d prefer a bigger print or some other incentive, please visit our Funding Incentives page for other options.  If you’d prefer to just make a simple donation, we’d welcome that also.  You can do so by visiting our donations page.

Thank You!

Kickstopped!

It is safe to say that it has been a challenging 30 days as we tried to promote the Kickstarter funding drive to try to get this book published.  We sincerely appreciate all those that stepped up and pledged their support.   If you saw the last project update there, or looked at any of the new material here on the site, you know we aren’t giving up on this project.

If you were a pledged backer there and are willing to convert that pledge to an incentive purchase, please visit our Funding Incentives page and do so.   It’s less clicks and hassle than the Amazon process from Kickstarter!  You already pledged the money.  Please follow through and get it to us!

As we move forward, we’ll be managing our own funding drive for this project.  No more Kickstarter for Underwater Sombrero.  When we started with Kickstarter, we new that we would have to promote the project ourselves as much as possible, both to our contacts and to our contacts’ contacts.  We also had an expectation that we would receive some support from Kickstarter in the form of project exposure.  That didn’t happen. Kickstarter keeps some 5% of project funds if a project is funded.  For our $8000 Kickstarter goal, that would have amounted to $400.  Our project would have paid $400 for nothing more than 30 days of web hosting.  That’s it.  Even the payments are processed by someone else at an additional expense to the project.

You can see the statistics yourself.  Below is the final pledge statistics graph provided by Kickstarter.  Only in the last 10 hours or so of the project did we get any attention from the Kickstarter website at all, and then it was as a result of the automatic “ending soon” feature which prompted two $1 dollar contributions from site members, likely wishing to simply up their “projects backed” stats without having to spend any money.    So, after 30 days of hosting on a site with “Featured Projects”, “Staff Picks”, “Project of the Day” and a blog that discusses notable projects, not to mention Facebook and Twitter promoting projects, we got no attention from Kickstarter at all until the last 10 hours, and then only because their automated “ending soon” function picked us up, and then it was too late.  We wonder how the outcome might have been if we had been publicized even just once by Kickstarter.   Apparently we’ll never know.

Keep in mind also that we didn’t sit idle and hope for Kickstarter’s attention.  We availed ourselves of every opportunity to tweet @kickstarter on Twitter, post on their Facebook page and tag them in Facebook posts.   An email to Kickstarter HQ asking about being featured was met with an automated response which we interpreted as “keep marketing to your own contacts.  Maybe we’ll notice you.”

So, Kickstarter for us turned out to be nothing more than web hosting for our project.  Had we managed to get funded through our efforts, it would have been expensive funding at that.  $400 for 30 days.  We don’t need to spend that kind of money for hosting, so we don’t need Kickstarter!  We also don’t need their help to manage online payments and we can offer incentives just like those offered on Kickstarter.  As is probably obvious by now, we won’t be using Kickstarter again.

Moving forward, we’ll continue to run our funding drive, by our rules, on our own site.  Payments are being handled securely by Paypal, and you don’t need a Paypal account to donate or purchase funding incentives.  It’s even fewer clicks than the Kickstarter/Amazon process!  No deadline.  We can work on the project as funding becomes available.  If you have questions, or want to discuss your contribution, please don’t hesitate to email us at info@underwatersombrero.com

If you were a Kickstarter backer, please visit our Funding Incentives page and select your incentive and follow through with the purchase.  You already committed the money and it would have been collected today.   We’re just asking that you please go ahead and get it to us!

As always, we thank everyone for the support!

Steve, Dee, Elizabeth, Dennis and Robert – The Underwater Sombrero Project Team