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All posts for the month April, 2010

Soo…. after a long aversion against Flickr I think I found the golden path through the middle, and with the help from a nifty plug-in provided through Photoshelter I can directly upload my images to Flickr, of course fully watermarked, bang across the middle, which seems to be the only sufficient way to protect your images from being stolen.

I do it mainly for the exposure, to get the stuff out there, and lead potential clients back to my portfolio and what better way is that to do it through websites like Twitter, Facebook, and (heaven help us) Flickr.

There’ve been many discussions going on about how Flickr is the image-thieves-walhalla, and sure, if you don’t protect your stuff it is. But it’s the same with your wallet on the street (not in Finland of course, there you can leave your wallet on the bench at the bus stop and it’ll still be there if you come back for it the next day**). If you keep it in plain sight, it will be gone the next time you look at it.
Anyway… The other day, in my in-box, I found a mail from Ms Emma Williams, who is, according to her e-mail footer, Managing Editor at Schmap Guides, which is an American (NC) based publisher of digital travel guides for 200 destinations throughout the world. She was writing me the following:

I am writing to let you know that one of your photos has been short-listed for inclusion in the eleventh edition of our Schmap Paris Guide, to be published mid-May 2010.

http://www.schmap.com/shortlist/yadayadadee (<– deleted for obvious reasons)

Clicking this link will take you to a page where you can:
i) See which of your photos has been short-listed.
ii) Submit or withdraw your photo from our final selection phase.
iii) Learn how we credit photos in our Schmap Guides.
iv) Browse online or download the tenth edition of our Schmap Paris Guide.

While we offer no payment for publication, many photographers are pleased to submit their photos, as Schmap Guides give their work recognition and wide exposure, and are free of charge to readers. Photos are published at a maximum width of 150 pixels, are clearly attributed, and link to high-resolution originals at Flickr.

Our submission deadline is Friday, April 30. If you happen to be reading this message after this date, please still click on the link above (our Schmap Guides are updated frequently – photos submitted after this deadline will be considered for later releases).

Note the bolded part.
Also… When I clicked the link and read through the more extensive Terms and Conditions I was told that when I agree I would give them a perpetual, royalty free rights of use for this image. The rest was pretty ok, no sublicensing, credit to the photographer, link to the file on Flickr, etc. etc.
But still… I’m a photographer. I sell stock. I make money with my photographs (at least I’m trying to). And if this would’ve been some sort of charity, I might’ve considered. But it isn’t.
Although Ms Emma Williams politely stated that the guides are free for their readers (except for the premium version, which might be coming in the near future according to their Terms of use), I have no doubt that Ms Emma Williams is paid handsomely for her job at Schmap Guides. And that all the other people at Schmap Guides make a good living with what they’re doing. So why would I have to do MY job for free? That doesn’t really make much sense, does it? At least not to me.

And sure, I believe there are enough “photographers” out there who would be proud to see their name in a release like that and who’d be gullible enough to give away their pictures. I’m not one of them, though (not to mention the fact that this particular image is far far from being even close to one of my best…, but that’s a whole different thing ;) ).

Sacre Coeur in Paris, France

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/5.6, Sigma 28-200mm

**) This, of course, is a metaphor. A matter of speech, to illustrate the relative safeness of Finland. I cannot be held responsible if you actually try this and your wallet is gone the next day ;) )

Awhile back I wrote a little bit about our godson. He’s the cutest boy you’ve ever seen. Recently me and the better half have been so busy that we haven’t really had time to meet up with godson and parents, and you know how kids in that age grow and change in an instant…
The other night mom and godson came over for dinner and I managed to quickly grab a few shots. And the little guy is just getting cuter and cuter!
Love him! :)

Noah

D700, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm

Noah

D700, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm

Did I ever mention how much I love my 50 mm f/1.4? I didn’t? I must’ve! Well, if I didn’t…: I love my 50 mm f/1.4. And why, would you wonder…? Because the right subjects shot with an aperture larger than f/2 give you this magnificent depth of field, this sweet bokeh which is such a feast to look at…

Red rose

D700, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/1.7, Nikkor 50mm 1.4

Red rose

D700, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/1.7, Nikkor 50mm 1.4

It’s not always all easy and lazy, photographing cats lazying on a warm lamp or on the bed. Sometimes it takes a bit more than just pulling the camera out of the bag.
Our friends have a beautiful German Shepherd. She was quite patient and willing and jumped up and down in the snow for the most part of an hour while I tried to get the right shots, which in the end wasn’t all that easy, focusing in the dark on a moving subject… But… in the end I think I managed to get a few good ones anyway.

Jotta

D700, ISO3200, 1/250 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm, 2x SB-800 fired remotely on both sides of the dog.

Jotta

D700, ISO3200, 1/250 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm, 2x SB-800 fired remotely on both sides of the dog

So I did a couple of those, here and there. You saw a few posts ago the ones I did in Portland, and quite a while back the ones of our own cats. And they keep on being a source of inspiration.
They’re a pair of silly, and curious beings, that surprise you all the time with the funkiest stuff, or the weirdest positions, or whatever… One of their favorite spots is on the light on the aquarium, because it’s warm and nice, and they just squeeze up behind a flower pot which is standing there. And when we’re sitting at the dining table having breakfast, you get these kinds of peek-a-boo moments when they hear or smell something…

Bombay

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm, off-camera SB-800

Russian Blue

D700, ISO1600, 1/90 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

It was launched. Yes it was.

Adobe CS5

Adobe CS5 (all logos, names, texts, and whatever else are copyright of their original copyright holders)

Creative Suite is ready for pre-ordering and the English version is said to be shipped mid May.

And every time, EVERY time Adobe launches a new version of it’s Creative Suite (and some other software, too) it annoys the crap out of me (excuse me my french), because they with their monopoly position in the market right now can do whatever they want with the prices.

Adobe CS5

The price for the English upgrade to CS5 Design Premium from CS3 Design Premium in the US is $799. That's a fair price, I would say.

Adobe CS5

The price, however, for an English upgrade to CS5 Design Premium from CS3 Design Premium in Finland is €1,096.78!!

Don’t get me wrong, I love the software, I can read and write with it and I’ve been using it (and paying for it!) ever since version 3 or so of Photoshop), but there are things that just aren’t right, regardless of the quality of the product.

I contacted them through the Adobe website (I have a customer number, yes, so you can open a case which will be reviewed by their customer service) about it with some of the previous versions, and they say it’s all about translating costs, and differences in prices in marketing and commercials. When I wanted a more explicit explanation, because I thought the whole translation and marketing reply was too vague they just closed the case without further reply. So translation and marketing? I say that’s the biggest load of crap and the lousiest excuse they could’ve come up with (until of course they reopen my case and give me some physical proof of the numbers of marketing here in Finland compared with those in the US).

When it comes to marketing and commercials… There’s not so much of that here in Finland from Adobe. There are no huge tv-campaigns, or the likes. Most of the commercials and ads are done in specific magazines and on websites, and that really doesn’t bring in the costs. On the translations excuse… I get it that the version in Finnish language would be a tad bit more expensive, but if I order the English version here in Finland the price difference shouldn’t be as massive as it is.

Right now? At the current exchange rate $799 equals €586.23. So the upgrade for the same product here in Finland is OVER TWICE the price than that in the US. Even with 22% VAT that’s too big a difference.

And you know what the worst thing is?
I’m a graphic designer / photographer and I need the software, because it’s industry standard.
So you know what I’m gonna do about it (to speak in Jim Carey’s words in Liar Liar):

so what I am going to do is piss and moan like an impotent jerk, and then bend over and take it up the tailpipe!

Here are some pictures that every photographer should have in his or her portfolio. I think ;)
One of those images is a very cliché image of birds sitting on an electricity wire. Where I’m currently residing, obviously birds aren’t all that keen on sitting on an electricity wire in big numbers, and I’ve been looking out for an image like that for I don’t know how long. Over time I’ve seen some sitting here and there, but I never wanted to take the shot, because, cliché as it already is, I did want to have a version that stands out from the pack at least that much.
During our holidays in Oregon I finally came across a scene that could fit the description. And when I moved in closer, camera at the ready, and the birds got restless and started flying away, I think I finally got my shot.
Below a few of (a good number) of the images I shot and the last one would be my favorite…

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm 1.4

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm 1.4

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm 1.4

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm 1.4

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm 1.4

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm 1.4

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm 1.4

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm 1.4

Usually I know it instantly.
I see things in black and white when they “need” to be in black and white. Or at least when I think they “need” to be, since that’s a personal taste matter.
But this particular image was one of those ones of which I wasn’t quite sure. And I do think it works very well in both color and black and white…

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Sigma 10-20mm

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Sigma 10-20mm

Same camera settings, converted to black and white in Photoshop with some dodging and burning in the sky

Same camera settings, converted to black and white in Photoshop with some dodging and burning in the sky

Boy, is that a milked cow, or what?
These days the whole HDR thing is SO overdone! It seems like people don’t seem to understand the true meaning of this technique anymore.
True, you can do some funky stuff with it (although then it’s not really called HDR anymore but cross-processing), but some people really just don’t know when to stop and go waaay overboard with it.
So here’s a little 1-2-3 on HDR:
1) the abbreviation HDR stands for High Dynamic Range
2) the meaning of this High Dynamic Range is to capture a range of contrast with a series of exposures of the same subject, which your camera wouldn’t be able to capture in a single exposure
3) the result of of a true High Dynamic Range image is a believable image which doesn’t have HDR written all over it.

The exposures:

Left: D200, ISO100, 1/3 sec @ f/11, Sigma 10-20mm. Right: D200, ISO100, 1/30 sec @ f/11, Sigma 10-20mm.

Left: D200, ISO100, 1/3 sec @ f/11, Sigma 10-20mm. Right: D200, ISO100, 1/30 sec @ f/11, Sigma 10-20mm.

The outcome:

Compiled from 2 images as shown above

Compiled from 2 images shown above

Soo… What happened now, you may wonder…
Well… some idiots thought it funny to hack into my blog, and that it was – with its whopping average of 20-30 visitors a day – a good source for traffic to get to all kinds of viagra and other medicinal crap.

Things got outdated on this blog already anyway, so what time is a better time to update than this time?

So here you have it.
From a different angle from a different angle. If you get my drift.
Enjoy!