This was a crazy month! Whoa!
Everything came at the same time. Move of the domain to a different provider, me and partner’s move abroad, issues with the transfer. And now I’m still sitting on missing links to all the imagery on the blog. I’ll try to fix that, but I don’t know if, how, and how long it will take for that to happen, so bear with me.

More posts in the coming days WITH pictures.
In the mean time, I’ve changed themes. Thought while I’m changing providers and have to set up everything again, I might just as well change the layout a tiny bit. Nothing big or spectacular, but a bit different to keep things fresh.

This morning I was surprised by an email in my inbox from the Associate Creative Director of Yahoo Singapore.
That was awesome!
She wrote me a mail saying that they recently came across an image of mine on Flickr and they “would very much like to feature it in a Facebook and Twitter post going live next Monday, and hope that you will give us permission to do so. The post will appear on the following pages:

  • https://www.facebook.com/yahoosingaporenewsroom
  • https://www.facebook.com/yahoomalaysia
  • https://www.facebook.com/yahoophilippines
  • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Yahoo-Vietnam/50203816661
  • https://www.facebook.com/YahooIndonesia
  • https://twitter.com/YahooSG
  • https://twitter.com/Yahoo_MY
  • https://twitter.com/Yahoo_ID
  • https://twitter.com/YahooPH


And with it there would be a funny text, and they “will add “© Arno Enzerink on Flickr” as an image credit. However, we would first need a copy of this image without the watermark.”
And “The Yahoo and Flickr teams are honoured to have you as part of the Flickr community, and your contribution would be sincerely appreciated.”

My “contribution” would be sincerely appreciated.
I bet it would.

The moment I read this, I instantly was reminded of this precious reply Mr White gave to a large multi-million dollar entertainment agency who contacted him and wanted to use his music for free because they “didn’t have a budget for music”.
You can read about that here: http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2013/11/06/whitey

I kindly thanked the Associate Creative Director for her inquiry and told her for the use of the image in the places she indicated the fee would be US$175 and that I would provide them with an unwatermarked image and an EULA when I had received the payment.

I gotta give it to her, she wasn’t as blunt as the example in Mr White’s case.
She kindly thanked me for my prompt response and she “totally understand that you need to charge for this, since you also run an image library, but we’ll have to pass this time I’m afraid”.

She understands that I need to charge for this, since I also run an image library.
REALLY?
Does that mean that people who DON’T run an image library should NOT be compensated for their work?
I know that there are plenty of people out there who would jump a hole through the roof if they were to be contacted by Yahoo with the question if they could use their image, and that for my “no” there will be 1,000 “yes”s.
And I won’t deny that I’m honored that they contacted me (regardless of the fact that the image in question was far from my best, but it was funny, yes). But here comes in the whole misconception again that people should he happy for just the exposure and the credit.
It doesn’t work like that.
Yahoo is a famous, multi-billion dollar company. They should not abuse the power of their name to get people to do stuff for free for them.
THEIR services aren’t for free. They make money.
I have to pay my bills as well, so why shouldn’t they pay for MY services?
And also… I can’t even really claim credit for this, since I just pressed the shutter. This little piece of art was made by one of the great people in the kitchen of Camiguin Action Geckos in the Philippines.

Anyway…
They were going to put up my image wishing everyone a happy Monday next week.
Well… I’ll put up my image here – for free-, and I’ll wish you all a very happy Friday, and a magnificent weekend!

Breakfast of Kings

D800, ISO800, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm

I’ve started a business with the Better Half.
And for that I made a few ads that I wanted to boost on Facebook to get a larger reach. You’d think that’s a straight-forward piece of design, right?
WRONG!
Facebook has a few rules to live by when you want to boost posts on their website. That’s fine, of course. And if it was all logical, it would be even finer (is that even proper English? ;) ).
But it’s not as fine as it sounds.
The rule over which I kept on tripping was the 20% text rule. In order to be allowed to boost an ad on Facebook, the ad is not allowed to have more than 20% text. And that’s where everything goes south.
I don’t know if there are actually PEOPLE checking the posts submitted, or if that’s a totally automated “optical character recognition” kind of thing, but there are two major flaws in the system where Facebook fucks up royally (excuse me my french).
1) They don’t understand logo fonts. So everything that has a logo in it consisting of text, is seemingly considered as… text.
2) They work with a grid system. A 5 x 5-box grid. Regardless of the size of the ad, everything is divided in a 5 x 5-box grid and you’re supposed to click the boxes in the grid that contain text. If you have more than 5 boxes clicked, you have more than 20% text and your ad is rejected for boosting.
The problem with this is, if I have only ONE letter in one box, that WHOLE box is considered to have text. If that letter happens to be exactly on the division of the grid, it will be in two boxes, and thus TWO boxes are considered to have text.

Facebook Ad Example 1

An ad that would -supposedly- fail according to Facebook’s 20% text rule

Left a 125 x 125 mm square made in InDesign with the letters on the grid division. Right the grid from Facebook where you have to indicate what boxes contain text. When done properly, it indicates that this ad has 40% text. Of course that’s not true, and if there are ACTUAL people checking this, you will get away with it, because it has maybe 5% text. But a computer is stupid. If this is done automatically by OCR, then you’re screwed.

Another problem with this system is, that they use this grid, the 5 x 5-box grid, on EVERY ad. Regardless of its size. So I put out another test.
In InDesign I made a document of 150 x 2500 mm, so a super long, narrow document. I put a bit of text in the top and in the bottom. See what happens:

Facebook Ad Example 1

Another ad that would -supposedly- fail according to Facebook’s 20% text rule

Facebook’s app to check your ad squeeeeeezes that complete document into a smaller space. The text is somewhat stretched, so it’s unproportionally scaled, but according to the boxes checked, that ad still has 40% text. And that’s nowhere near right

The initial add that I posted DID have more than 20% text.

Facebook ad, rejected

Initial ad that was rejected because it had too much text.

So that was right. But then I changed it, took away the majority of the text (two versions in between), until only this was left:

 

Facebook ad, rejected

Ad that was initially accepted, but then rejected after all.

So this one was initially accepted, it ran for about an hour, and then I STILL got a mail that it was rejected, due to the 20%-text rule.

So I really believe that they have no clue about logo fonts. In this last case the ACTUAL text is only in the red stamp and next to it, and those fall exactly in the second row of the grid. They clearly calculated the diver’s log, which is a logo font and the Reconnect Discover logo as text.
But then again, if you look at it closely, and look at the EFFECTIVE amount of text in the image, so the part that is really text and not the boxes that Facebook has indicated as being completely text, then all that is left is maybe… 10-12%? And in the example below I’ve even added the logo font that is Diver’s Log (which isn’t text, but a logo / image):

Actual text in the image

The actual amount of text in the image in blue, the text in the image according to Facebook in red (Diver’s Log not included in this).

Right now I’m a bit at a loss. If they really do also consider the Reconnect Discover logo a bit of text, there’s no way this ad would ever get through.
If they would only consider the top part text, I would have to design it like this:

Facebook ad, approved?

I’m a designer. A visual artist. I create nice things.
And that idiotic 5 x 5-box grid of Facebook prevents me from making nice things. No designer in his right mind would make something like this. By default any design would cover exactly the division of grids. It’s a rule of thumb. That also goes in photography. You put things on the division lines, because instinctively that’s where your eye draws to first.
And Facebook is putting a plug in that.
So F**K YOU, Facebook.
Now… Since this is my own website, and I can freely advertise anything I want here, I’ll put the original ad here once more.
Go check out the website, and go get your Diver’s Log. It’ll be one of the best decisions you’ll make in 2014. I promise :)

Facebook ad, rejected

 

Edit to add, at 13:39.

Just for the fun of it, I boosted this post on the fromadifferentangle.net Facebook page.
This was at 12:09:

FB ad approved

At 12:09 I boosted the post on the fromadifferentangle.net Facebook page. It was approved.

Then at 13:39 I get a message from Facebook, saying that the ad to boost my post was rejected. It had, by that time, generated just over 600 views and I was charged $ 1,32 for it.

FB ad rejected

At 13:39 I got a message from Facebook saying that the ad for boosting the post was rejected, because there was too much text in it.

So first the boost was approved. I’ve boosted a good number of posts on the fromadifferentangle Facebook page, and they have ALL -without any exception until now- been accepted. Why? Because it’s a LINK. It’s a link to a post, not an image ad.
Now one can start thinking: WHY did they reject this boost? Was it because I was badmouthing Facebook? Or was it because I was basically promoting the ad that they wouldn’t let me promote through Reconnect Discover Facebook page?
It’s a very dubious case.

Do leave your input, if you know the answer.

Most of you probably haven’t heard about it.
That’s ok. I hadn’t either, until today.

It’s a LinkedIn term. It refers to a “new” feature that LinkedIn introduced about a year ago. The abbreviation SWAM stands for Site Wide Automated Moderation.

LinkedIn apparently initially introduced this feature to reduce the amount of spam being posted to the LinkedIn groups in such a manner that if one group moderator would indicate someone’s a spammer, this particular person would automatically be put on a “blacklist” for ALL groups to prevent him from also spamming other groups. That way all group moderators would help each other weed out the bad seeds.
However, this backfired massively, because people all over the world are wrongfully SWAM-ed. If it happens so that you get into a quarrel with a group moderator over something completely insignificant and the group moderator blocks/deletes you just because to him/her you are a nuisance, this will affect your input in ALL the groups you are a member of.
Anything you post into any of your groups (unless you’re a moderator of a group yourself) will go into the “Pending Submissions” queue and will most likely stay there until your dying day.

A little background story, which I will tell with name and shame, just because this is annoying on very many levels.

It started out on the Photography Group, a sub group of the Adobe Photoshop Group, both for which I’m one of the administrators.
A person by the name of Victoria Cavendish-Hamiliton opened a thread in the Photography group with the header “i-need-photographs”. This person pretended to be some sort of art-mediator, buying photography for her clients. She had a 500+ network of people (which of course doesn’t mean very much, but still). In her thread she inquired with the members about their interest in joining her group and from there we could see if there was material in our portfolios that would be suitable. A good number of people indicated interest, and I was one of them. The photography business is a very competitive business, and every connection to clients is a potential source of income, so… Of course, being photographers and being paranoid as hell, we all had our questions, which we posted in the group. Some were answered, some weren’t, or only vaguely.
The group was private, and myself and a number of photographers joined and were accepted.

Along the way the group name changed into The Photographers Innercircle (or something along those lines, I can’t quite remember).
In this group Victoria asked people to put the link to their portfolio, so she could see some of our work.
Everyone did so, as did I.
I entered my www.stockphotography.nu.
It was not posted.
I tried again, and noticed that my posts (and probably all others) were pending review. So I sent Victoria a private message on LinkedIn:

Hi Victoria,

I keep on trying to add my portfolio -as requested- to the Gallery thread, but apparently it doesn’t get past the review stage.
Is there a problem with my post?

Arno

A few days later I get a reply:

Hi Arno,

It is because it’s stock footage. We can’t support any stock footage site because of the rates they pay to photographers. Sorry Arno.

This leads me to believe that she hasn’t even checked the contents of the website, because if she would’ve, she instantly would’ve seen that the URL is merely a marketing tool, and that “my rates” are totally fair, because I’m paying myself, and I have to pay for my living. And I reply as such to Victoria in another private message:

I’m a professional photographer, Victoria, just because my portfolio has “stockphotography” in the URL doesn’t mean I charge like iStock and Shutterstock.
My rates are professional rates. If you were to buy one of my images, you pay a “normal” fee, because I have to pay my bills. I don’t do this for a hobby.

If I would’ve lead you to the same portfolio on Flickr, you would not have said a word and have publish the link.

Arno

After that I indeed post the link to my Flickr pages, which have the EXACT same images, and surely that link was promptly allowed.

There were some discussions in that group, which were deleted after a day or so. And then Victoria put up another thread.
In this thread she explained that she was going to make a book (emphasizing that she would hire someone to make this book, all on her own expense) and requested the members in the group to all send her ONE (only) high-resolution tif image to put in the book. She said that she had no intention to publish the book, only make one copy of it, and the participating photographers would not be compensated for the image they supplied for this book. The book was solely for the purpose of showing her clients the material she was able to deliver, so she said.
She did add that photographers could order their own copy of the book, and in that case she would try to get some of the production costs of the book reimbursed.

Well before this point a good number of alarm bells had started to ring in my head already.
I’ve been around for some time, and I’ve been creative (or so I’d like to think ;) ) for quite some time already. I write poetry at times, and in my previous Life -”back in the day”- I wrote a good number of blog posts (just around the time that the word “blogging” became a well-used word, and that blog is no longer up and running) about Vanity Presses. Back in the day that was for example Poetry.com, National Library of Poetry, National Library of Photography… All companies that had the strategy to use someone’s ego against him or herself. You wrote or created something, and you got a mail which basically told you that you were the next best thing and they wanted to publish you. And you were so up in the clouds about being published that you bought a 60$ book without a second thought (yep, been there, done that :D ).
So when Victoria explained her plans about getting pictures from everyone to put in a book, and that we -the photographers- could buy that book, all the red flags went up.
I didn’t tell her straight that I thought it was a very dubious plan, but I simply replied in the thread with a couple of questions about her plans with the book.
For example that I thought it wouldn’t be really correctly representing the photographers if we could send ONLY one image, because that one image would instantly categorize a photographer into something he may not ONLY be. A photographer can have a wide portfolio and not be “just” a landscape or portrait or studio or wildlife photographer. I also suggested to her that maybe she should consider a spread per photographer, including a bio of the photographer, several images and a link to his or her website. Additionally I questioned her idea of making only one book and using this for her clients. Since I assumed that her clients don’t all live in her street (or even her town), and she wouldn’t really meet with most of her clients in person, the purpose of ONE book to show clients didn’t sound very practical.

Obviously, THAT post also never made it past her review, and again I wrote her a private message.

Hi Victoria,

I get the impression that you really don’t handle criticism very well.
My comment was fully constructive criticism, which everyone has a right to read.

Is there a valid reason why you deleted that from the queue?

Arno

To this I didn’t get any reply.

I reproduced a similar response as what I had intended to post in her group and posted it in the thread in the Photography Group on LinkedIn where the whole “i-need-photographs” story started off.
Not very long after that the whole thread disappeared. She deleted it.Subsequently I copy-pasted the response in a number of other LinkedIn groups where I was a member and she had posted the exact same thread, and what I didn’t realize then, was that at that point I was already SWAM-ed, blacklisted, because she had blocked and deleted me from her Photographers Innercircle group.
Because of the beauty of this feature from LinkedIn I was now automatically put on a moderation list for ALL groups I was in and for future groups I would sign up for.
As a result my replies in the other group never made it past the moderation queue, because I guess most moderators/admins don’t really check those messages for content.

I sent her one more private message, which was still delivered, but I found out a bit later through a LinkedIn message that “this user has deleted his or her account”.
So there was definitely something very shady going on with this.

But now what…?

This SWAM feature on LinkedIn clearly isn’t functioning as intended.
The problem, however, is that it’s a non-reversible action, unless LinkedIn decides to disable it. Many people have fallen victim to this thing, and the only thing LinkedIn support tells us is that we have to individually contact the moderator/admin of the groups we’re a member of to beg and plead if they can take us (manually) off the moderation list again. These messages will go in the moderation queue, which most likely won’t be read, so we’re stuck in a vicious circle.
Basically f you piss against the wrong tree, you’re fucked with everything you do on LinkedIn. It doesn’t make any difference if you’re a paying member with a premium account or just a user of the basic account. This SWAM hits everyone once you get deleted and blocked from a LinkedIn Group.

In the end I’m not really dying from this, I’m an administrator for the two groups that I am most active in (and yes, I have also deleted and blocked people, but only those that are blatantly breaking the Group rules, like those irritating “Get a job online now, work from home and make 5,000$ a day!” type of posts). But sometimes I do feel the need to reply to posts in other groups, and that possibility has now basically been taken away from me, even if I didn’t do anything wrong.

LinkedIn has been made aware of this problem, but until now has refused to do something about it.
Let’s see where this is heading…

 

Oh, by the way…
I really did a number on the poetry.com thing back in the end 90s. When I found out I had been scammed, I put up a name and shame website and wrote the whole thing down, with correspondence, and proof and everything. The best part of the proof was one of my best works so far, which was selected to receive an Award of Excellence and ended up being the second runner-up in a Washington D.C. poetry convention (but only if I bought the book that it was going to be published in, which I was not going to be published in if I didn’t buy the book (see where it’s going? :D) ).
I wouldn’t want to keep you from this literary masterpiece (I kid you not, I still have the invitation and selection letter somewhere that it was selected and all that shit :D ).
It had the very catchy title “Gawaa… Aghwawawa!” and it went like this:

Rasaa kagavalaa awawawawaaa
Brrrrgrrrrwaaaaa awawaaa
Grababababa awaaa grababaaa
Knsieieie mrraaa wababaa
Swggggieieieieie
Trrrblieieieieie
Konnokonnokonno wafwafwaf
Derrewerrewerrewed

This was a poem
by the talking horse Mr Ed

(I kid you not :D ).

I have to spread this out over a few posts, wouldn’t want you to get RSI from scrolling down too much ;)

Nudibranch

D800 (in Ikelight underwater housing), ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/4.0, Tamron 90mm, Ikelight DS161 strobe

Sea squirt

D800 (in Ikelight underwater housing), ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/4.0, Tamron 90mm, Ikelight DS161 strobe

Nudibranch

D800 (in Ikelight underwater housing), ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/5.6, Tamron 90mm, Ikelight DS161 strobe

Seahorse

D800 (in Ikelight underwater housing), ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/4.0, Tamron 90mm, Ikelight DS161 strobe

Sea cucumber

D800 (in Ikelight underwater housing), ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/4.0, Tamron 90mm, Ikelight DS161 strobe

So I’m back here in the Philippines, as you may have noticed from my previous posts.

I’m not here only for photography, and writing articles. I’m not here only for diving, or holidays. Of course I’m having a lot of fun, and I’m shooting great pictures, but it’s not *just* for me.
I’m also here to prepare a little piece of paradise for all of you.
See… I’ve been photographing to gather material to show you the beauty of where you could go next year, as a holiday, as a (re)treat, where we offer you yoga and diving as a relaxing combination to get your mind off your every day life.

How does this look?

 

White Island

Noka Lumia 820, ISO100, 1/2020 sec @ f/2.2 (don’t ask, I have NO idea where the 1/2020 came from, I’m just typing it down from the IPTC info).

White Island

Noka Lumia 820, ISO100, 1/3003 sec @ f/2.2 (don’t ask, I have NO idea where the 1/3003 came from, I’m just typing it down from the IPTC info).

Doesn’t that look inviting? :)
Having been there, having done that, I can say it IS very inviting!

Divers

D800 (in Ikelight underwater housing), ISO400, 1/2000 sec @ f/8, Sigma 15mm fisheye

Boat ready to depart to dive site

D800 (in Ikelight underwater housing), ISO400, 1/2000 sec @ f/8, Sigma 15mm fisheye

I’ve got a lot more pictures, also from underwater wildlife and landscapes. Keep an eye out for those in the coming posts.

And if I’ve managed to arouse some interest, head on over here:

Check it out, like if you like, sign up for the newsletter if you want to stay informed. There are visual updates on the Facebook Group frequently as well.

Usually if it doesn’t belong there, it’s crap.
But sometimes there’s an exception to the rule.

I didn’t check if there was something in it (you’re not supposed to touch anything ;) ).

But if you recognize it, and you believe it’s yours, write me a line (with distinct details, that are not in the picture, so I know it’s really yours :D ), and I’ll try to find it again when I go down next time ;)

Kipling purse

D800 (in Ikelight underwater housing), ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/4, Tamron 90mm, Ikelight DS161 strobe

The other day I had an Arachnophobia moment. Remember that movie from the 90s with the spiders in it?
I got to the toilet, lifted the seat and found a big, fat spider on it. It scurried away too fast for me to actually consciously register what had just happened.

Today, however, I can say with 100% probability that I most certainly have discovered a new species of spiders, I think.
It looks very much like a brown huntsman, so I would assume that it’s a subspecies. I will call it the 5-legged brown arnoman.
It’s very docile, doesn’t move much, and is very photogenic. It comes over as very natural in front of the camera and is not afraid to wink with one of its 8 eyes when given the opportunity.
It frequents in locations with humid (occasionally smelly) air and laughs in one of its 5 fists when it scares (maybe literally) the crap out of you when you lift the toilet seat.

Brown Huntsman

D800, ISO100, 1/320 sec @ f/22, Tamron 90mm, on-camera flash

Brown Huntsman

D800, ISO100, 1/320 sec @ f/22, Tamron 90mm, on-camera flash