Refuge

We had it coming already for a couple of days, and after 3 weeks of pretty much non-stop rain I was really looking forward to it. SNOW!
Some slush to begin with, but last night it started seriously snowing. Now I only hope that it’ll get more and that it’ll stay until next year. Last year’s winter sucked moosepeckers. We “celebrated” my first snowless Christmas since moving to Finland.

There was a little bug on the window looking out, probably content with itself being on the inside of the window, not on the outside. It IS quite important, if you’re a one-day fly that the quality of your life is good and snowless.
Unfortunately the quality of its life wasn’t catless and Cassandra did have a protein rich breakfast… And the fly turned out to be not-quite-a-complete-one-day fly.

Enjoy the snow while you still can...

Enjoy the snow while you still can...

I went on a night shoot with a buddy of mine and we passed (among others) by the Sibelius monument. It actually looks as interesting by night (if not more) as it does by day. It’s lit with a good number of strong, bright lights. My buddy came up with the idea to bring a couple of colored gels to put over the light sources. Not a bad idea. Not a bad idea at all! I will have to try that some time…

D200, ISO100, 2 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 2 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 3 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 3 sec @ f/2.8, Tamron 28-75mm

I’ve been confronted with it now several times.
After uploading an image with a model in it to a stock agency, WITH model release, I received a message that the image was rejected because the model release didn’t have the signature of a witness.

One of the images happened to be of my better half walking on the beach. We were on the beach pretty much by ourselves, and certainly not in the position to ask any of the other early walkers to come and co-sign my better half’s model release.
So what to do?
Well, they said. Just get someone over (it can be any time, doesn’t have to be at the time you shoot the picture) and have them co-sign it.

So for all you co-photographers out there who weren’t familiar with this: make sure you have someone co-sign the model release as a witness, otherwise your images will be no-good for stock photography.

When I was in Missoula last summer one of my friends gave me a DVD to watch. A movie called Once.
It was a bit funny. It’s an Irish movie, but not the blockbuster type of movie. It was made in 2006 and it was released in Finland in July 2008, hence I hadn’t really heard of the movie until my friend pointed it out.
And it was a great movie. Well… Movie… More musical-ish.
Great music, great play.
And guess what…? This week, The Swell Season, the band with the guy and girl from the movie, played a couple of gigs in Helsinki and we were there. And it was great all over again.

We were a bit late with booking our tickets, the whole thing was sold out within 2 hours, so we ended up high up on the balcony on the back row. But but…. lo and behold… A couple of people didn’t show up and a guy came up to the balcony and offered us and some other people on the back row the seats from the people who hadn’t showed up. So we ended up all the way in the front, right up near the stage.
Oh, and did I mention it was great?
Wish I brought my big camera, but that would’ve probably been a bit obvious, so I had to make do with my cellphone.
But it was still great :)
Totally recommended!

Swell Season in concert in Helsinki

Swell Season in concert in Helsinki

It’s been on the minds of photographers around the world since way back.
Many photographers are told to, and have, also get themselves familiar in the area of (digital) video and moving images. The time that stills are taken from video images is drawing near.
Red Digital Cinema is working hard on making digital camera manufacturers obsolete. The toys that they have announced for the coming period are… well… very interesting to say the least.

Image courtesy Red Digital Cinema

Image courtesy Red Digital Cinema

The Epic 617, announced for 2010, is said to have a whopping 261 MP sensor with a 186x56mm sensor size. Imagine an image of 28000×9334 pixels.
I hope by the time this camera comes on the market, Apple’s released a G15, because otherwise processing the images might be quite the painstaking and time consuming ordeal.

This kind of gadget are still well outside my budget. But how long will it take for these things to get available for “normal” people?
And what will happen to photography?
I’m sure there’ll always be photography and photographers, as there will always be newspapers and books, but boy, this is a development…

It’s been pouring for the past couple of days. No chance to go out and make it back inside dry.
Owwell… Sometimes you don’t need to. If you look past the things you’re used to, the most common things can look wondrous :)

D200, ISO100, 15 sec @ f/22, Tamron 90mm macro, 12mm + 20mm + 36mm extension tubes

D200, ISO100, 15 sec @ f/22, Tamron 90mm macro, 12mm + 20mm + 36mm extension tubes

I’m a Photoshop guy… At least, that’s what I thought.
Over the past years quite a couple of things what I thought have changed.

I thought I was a dog person… Turns out that I love cats equally much.
I thought I was a Photoshop guy, turns out that I love Lightroom equally much.
I thought I was a nature photographer, turns out that I have NO clue what photographer I am…

What am I going to do?

Anyway… Here’s a little before and after, Lightroom work.
Nothing you couldn’t do in Photoshop either, but well… It’s easier in Lightroom, and it saves time not having to open it in Photoshop, and save an extra file in the collection.

D200, ISO100, 10 sec @ f/32

D200, ISO100, 10 sec @ f/32

Lightroom how-to

Lightroom how-to

End result

End result

So… now that I know that I don’t know a lot about photography, I started applying to a number of stock agencies. And even if I knew better, I also submitted a number of images from my previous life. I guess some were crap and got rejected by most of the agencies.
Not by all, though… And guess what…
After a first super sale which brought in a whopping $.30 (WOOOHOOO!!! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not greedy or ungrateful or anything, but yeah… start wondering why I don’t put my best pictures in there when I get a magnificent $.30 per download) I was notified with a significantly better sale through another website. Another one of the images from my previous life made it into the sales books. At almost $5.
So yeah… For all generic images that don’t have that WOW factor it’s an easy little extra that builds up unnoticed over time.
I’m not going put that image here, because I don’t want everyone to copy my …. ahem… Just kidding  :D

D200, ISO100, 30 sec @ f/5, Sigma 28-200mm

D200, ISO100, 30 sec @ f/5, Sigma 28-200mm

National Geographic here I come!!!! :D

I stumbled across a great blog called Photoshop Disasters. Its writer was supplied with a hilarious image by one of its readers and I just have to put it here (image courtesy of Photoshop Disasters, copyright with the magazine it was published in, although one can wonder if one should be proud of that :D )

Image as found on the blog Photoshop Disasters, source magazine unknown

Image as found on the blog Photoshop Disasters, source magazine unknown

So here we are, us photographers. Trying our very, very best to produce a great image for our clients.
Sure, we all know that all images we see are edited to some extend. I’m sure everyone’s familiar with Dove’s viral from YouTube (by Tim Piper / Ogilvy), which is a quick peek behind the scenes of what’s really going on in the advertising world.
And also in the image shown above you can clearly see that for example the legs have been extended.
But the whole crew of designers and editors who let this image pass must’ve been either drunk or mass-hypnotized, because this is seriously one of the biggest bloopers I’ve seen in my graphic career. And I’ve seen a good number of them…

Photography can lead you into several directions. All creative, all unique (supposedly). And they all come with a certain set of rules.
Take for example product photography. Open any style magazine and you’re buried under adverts displaying -among others- watches. It’s such a big thing these days to have a massive, expensive watch.
In photography school we were taught how to properly photograph watches.
You know, photographers were way ahead of their time. Already well before the first official mentioning of a smiley face photographers were taught to put the pointers of a watch on 10 past 10 to create a smile and make the picture look positive. And that’s what we’re still taught.

Image courtesy Hamilton (ripped out of Men's Health November issue).

Image courtesy Hamilton (ripped out of Men's Health November issue)

And when you keep an eye on it, it’s everywhere… EVERYWHERE! To the point that it’s annoying. 10 past 10. The magical time.

But that’s where most of the photographers stop thinking. Watch – photograph – 10 past 10.
But wait! What about…
If it’s not only a watch, but someone’s wearing it?
No matter… Watch – photograph – 10 past 10. It’s the golden rule.
Or is it?

What about…
Hehehe… The funny thing is, when people are wearing a watch, it’s not positioned the same as when it’s just a watch set up for a shot in a studio. It’s upside down.
But apparently this hasn’t occurred to most photographers. And they stubbornly set the watch to 10 past 10 on their models and shoot the shot, because that’s how they were taught.

Image courtesy Hugo Boss (ripped out of Mens Health November issue)

Image courtesy Hugo Boss (ripped out of Men's Health November issue)

Image courtesy Chanel (ripped out of Mens Health November issue)

Image courtesy Chanel (ripped out of Men's Health November issue)

But wait!
What happened to the smiley face? Of course… When people wear a watch, the watch is upside down, thus the smiley face turns upside down with it. And turns into a very unhappy face.
Little improvisation for photographers: if you shoot a watch while it’s worn by a model, set the pointers to 20 to 4 or 20 past 8, if that makes you more happy. The ad will end up a lot happier, at least. That I can assure you ;)