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All posts for the month September, 2008

And you don’t even notice!
I’ve been out pretty much every day, but not early in the morning in the past week and a half or so. During the day it was really pleasant weather. Sunshine (for a change!) and probably some 14 degrees Celcius.
This morning I had to get out early, because I had an appointment downtown. When I got to the car I was kind of surprised to see it all frozen up. And not just a bit, but a good layer of ice that I needed to scrape off.
That layer of ice meant it had been at least -3 to -5 degrees Celcius in the night.

Took me 10 minutes to get the car ice-free!

Took me 10 minutes to get the car ice-free!

Well, what can I say? ;)

Well, what can I say? ;)

So… Winter’s on the doorstep. And I’ve seen only a couple of weeks of fall. We’ll probably get a big pack of snow in a couple of weeks…

The past couple of days I’ve been working on my portfolio. Put up a whole lot of new images and stuff.

Portfolio

Portfolio

In this age of easy-access and disappearing ethics it’s up to the person who makes the portfolio how to protect his or her material. Just a copyright line in the disclaimer just isn’t enough anymore.
But where do you draw the line?
Should you make the images so small, i.e. the quality of the images so low, that they are completely useless, and people who come to visit start wondering why the hell you even put up a portfolio since you obviously haven’t a clue what you’re doing?
Or should you make the images big enough for people to see what it is and splash a big watermark all over the image?
Or should you make the images big, leave out the visible watermark, and hope that invisible watermarks like the ones from for example Digimarc will protect you against digital theft?

I’ve gone for a big watermark all over the image and a fairly low quality image. Unfortunately a few images are more sensitive to jpg artifacts, so they look worse than others. But I hope that people who come to visit my portfolio (people that matter at least) have the common sense to know from the rest of my portfolio, so not only the photographic part, that I do know what I’m doing, and the bad quality images aren’t the result of my amateurism, but from my overprotectiveness for my images.

I hope…

After I came back from the US I bought a bunch of stuff to set up a small studio at home. Last week I got my first official assignment to shoot some products for a brochure that I’m doing (great fun, now I’m doing everything, from the initial design of the brochure to the photography of the stuff that goes IN the brochure :D ).
It was a good road of trial and error, but in the end I think the results are very nice. And the client loved what I did, so I guess everyone’s happy.

D200, ISO100, 1/60 sec @ f/16, Tamron 28-75mm, off-camera SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

D200, ISO100, 1/60 sec @ f/16, Tamron 28-75mm, off-camera SB-800 with Photoflex softbox

Creative Suite 4 (image courtesy Adobe)

Creative Suite 4 (image courtesy Adobe)

It’s a fight all over again.
Creative Suite 4 is going to be released soon, most likely in the beginning of October.
Pretty much with all previous versions of Creative Suite and with many a version of Photoshop that I can remember there was a massive price difference between the US version and the European version.

When CS3 was released, and I wanted to get the upgrade from CS2 I was shocked to see the price: € 1146,- for the English version of the upgrade vs $ 599.- (appr. € 360,- at that time).
I contacted Adobe through the website. If you have an account you get a case number and everything and you get your reply through the website. I got a reply and immediately after the reply they closed the case. They didn’t even give me the opportunity to respond to that. Which I very much wanted to do, because I wasn’t completely ok with the answer I got.
Their reply was very superficial: it’s the costs for translation and marketing is a lot more expensive in Europe.
So I opened a new case, which was withdrawn without even being answered.

Now… I would buy the story about translation and marketing if it was supported by statistics.
I would even buy something like “higher average income”, if they would show me the average income of the TARGET group which primarily uses the software.
But 1) I can count the times I’ve seen any marketing on Finnish tv or radio or magazines on the fingers of my two hands and 2) if I buy the English language version I have no business with any translation, so the price difference can’t be as big as it was. I’d accept some price difference, but 4x the price is unjustifiable.

The same goes with this CS4 upgrade. The price for the US version of the upgrade is set to $ 599.- and I will have to cough up € 791,78, which is about $ 1,150.- at the current conversion rate. That’s almost twice the price. It’s getting better, but it’s still over priced!
(don’t get me wrong, I love the software, been using it ever since PS version 2, but the pricing policies are just wrong)

Translations? Marketing? Average income?
I think it’s a big pile of moose peckers!
Adobe has a monopoly in the market at this time with their whole package, so basically they can do what they want. Of course… I don’t HAVE to buy it. But I’m a freelance graphic professional, and if I want to stay up to date with what’s going on in the market, if I want to play along with the big boys and girls, I’m pretty much forced to, since Creative Suite is pretty much the market standard at the moment.

So I’ll just suck it up, pull out my plastic and eat pasta and tomato sauce for three weeks.
And make a group on Facebook, so that I can rant to others about it…

Helsinki’s not really my home town, Espoo is. But they’re so close and I’m actually more often “traveling” through Helsinki than I am through Espoo (and Helsink has a lot more touristic things to show for), that I’m mixing them both.
But today some Espoo. Been living here for six years now and this was the first time (yeah, I know… it’s sad…) I visited the old church in town.
This would actually fit well in the Fall series too. I love the red tree next to the church. It fits well with the building :)

D200, ISO100, 1/500 sec @ f/5.6, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 1/500 sec @ f/5.6, Sigma 10-20mm

I frequently stand in as a full-color offset printer with a local printing office, when someone’s on holiday, gets sick or when it’s really busy. When they called me yesterday if I could fill in the morning shift I told them I’d be there at 6am. So this morning at around 5.45am I hopped into my car and drove to the printing office.
About 2 km before the printing office the motorway (80km/h) turns into a 60km/h road (it’s still double lanes) and leads into steadily downwards sloping short tunnel.

I was still doing 80 when going into the tunnel and right at the end of the tunnel in the dark they stood, laser gun at the ready, waiting for the next victim to pass.
My own stupid mistake, I’ve seen them standing there a dozen times before, but I was a bit in a hurry (excuses, excuses, excuses), and they caught me with 79km/h.

It was 5.58am, on a two-lane road, in the middle of nowhere, no school, no town, no buildings, no nothing anywhere near, and not a soul on the road except for me and them.
But I’ll eat it. I’ll bear my mistakes like man and pay the oh so wasted amount of money that they fined me :D
The rules even apply to me *sighs*
I actually got away with a scare this time, because Finland (bless’em, to speak in Allison’s words) has the great moneymaking system that the fine for many traffic violations are related to one’s net income.
If you drive more than 20km/h too fast, they’ll cough up your tax records and you’ll get one big fine, or if you drove really a lot too fast an x number of dayfines (Jussi Salonoja, heir to a big sausage empire, was fined € 170,000 for over speeding, Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s former manager, once got a € 116,000 fine for over speeding, and there are a good number of other examples just like that). Not that I’d get such a high fine. Being an aspiring photographer… that’s probably so underpaid that they’d have to pay me money :D

Anyway… The police guys didn’t want me to take a picture of them and the car with the flashy lights, so you’ll have to make do with a very bad picture, shot hand held @ 1/10 sec, of “my” printing press.
Oh… and a chocolate cookie, because I’ve had such a bad morning :D

D200, ISO100, 1/10 sec @ f/5.6, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 1/10 sec @ f/5.6, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 1/45 sec @ f/16, off-camera flash SB-800 + Photoflex softbox

D200, ISO100, 1/45 sec @ f/16, off-camera flash SB-800 + Photoflex softbox

So… I’ve been trying out some painting with light. Or actually, with the flash.
They’re building a new bridge close to where we live (and the construction is an artwork in itself, I should really make a picture of it), and they’ve pulled up a framework of wood. I went out the other night to shoot some night shots and I ended up here.

With the camera on tripod (naturally), the remote shutter release locked and the exposure on bulb I went out with the flash in hand and popped it some in the beginning of the structure, a bit more half way and quite some more in the end. Trying to create some kind of creepy passage.
Did I succeed? Not sure. My better half thinks it’s creepy alright. And interesting…
You know when you ask someone what they think and they go “Hmmm… well, ummm… Yeah! It’s interesting…” :D No really… My better half would just brutally honestly tell me if it sucked (which is really effective and helpful!). So it must be somewhat interesting.

D200, ISO100, 53 sec @ f/19, Sigma 10-20mm, off-camera flash, flash, flash, flash, flash, flash, flash, flash, flashflashflashflashflash ;o)

D200, ISO100, 53 sec @ f/19, Sigma 10-20mm, off-camera flash, flash, flash, flash, flash, flash, flash, flash, flashflashflashflashflash ;o)

Maybe it sounds familiar.
I’ve noticed when I lived back in the Netherlands, I didn’t really go out to see what was to see in my own country. Only when my better half came over did I start to actually see things in my own country. Silly, isn’t it? Then we moved to Finland and after the first period of all things new, I kind of rolled back in that same habit. You see a busload of tourists step out, all point’n’shoots at the ready, and you wonder… “Man! That picture’s probably been taken by 1,459,450 people before in 78,307,145 different ways!” And then you look at your own pictures and you realize you don’t have one…
So… Arno’s going on a tourist tour in his own town (and if I get out of this town, also in his own country).
Here’s my first, a subject of which every single tourist takes a picture (but not the way I do it, because I do it From a Different Angle ;) ).
This is a view from the Senate’s Square on the statue of Alexander the Great with the Dome Church in the background.

D200, ISO100, 48 sec @ f/27, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 48 sec @ f/27, Sigma 10-20mm

It actually did stop raining. I took a good walk with my better half today (still walking off the extra pounds that I gained back in the US ;) ).
Fall colors are really coming through now everywhere. I’ll save you a lot of reading, just look at the pictures.

D200, ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/4.8, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm, off-camera flash SB-800

D200, ISO100, 1/60 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm, off-camera flash SB-800

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/5.6, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/90 sec @ f/5.6, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/60 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm, off-camera flash SB-800

D200, ISO100, 1/60 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm, off-camera flash SB-800