Went to friends yesterday to shoot some flowers, because they have such a nice garden… You never know what you end up shooting :)

Snail

D700, ISO800, 1/320 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm macro, on-camera flash

Centipede

D700, ISO800, 1/320 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm macro, on-camera flash

Not too long ago I bought a new toy for my camera. Had been drooling over it for a looooong time already, but never got it, because they’re hard to get from here (and with a hefty price-tag) and it would still be quite expensive to order from the States anyway. But then the other day I finally made up my mind and ordered it from B&H.

It took me awhile before I got the chance to actually test it, but some nights ago I went out to this place I’ve been looking at for some time, and set up the “gear”. And in these neck of the woods you really NEED this gear. Especially around this time, when the sun sets around midnight and rises again an hour later without it getting dark completely. And even then it was still so light and bright that I couldn’t get it exposed any longer than 30 secs. It worked fairly ok. There was a decent wind that kept the waves rolling and the boat bobbing on the waves, so that gives a nice little touch to the image.
This image was shot just after 8pm, and it was like mid-day. I really need to go out after midnight to catch some of that civil twilight. Maybe then I can up the clock to a minute or so…

Question now is (again): which one’s better? The color one or the black and white one?

Boat and pier

Both images shot with D700, ISO200, 30sec @ f/16, Nikkor 50mm, 8-stop VariND filter

Boat and pier

From my time in Montana in 2008 I remember that it was on the list (was it #3?) of most dangerous animals. Around here they seem to be a bit more laid-back about it and when I was driving around the area the other day and spotted one in the field on the other side of the road I never had the idea I was doing a lethal thing with pulling over and getting out of the car. I even had brought the camera this time, and had time enough to switch lenses. The moose occasionally looked up, but never seemed to be in any hurry to charge at me.
So I walked across the road and stood in the grass, with the moose probably about 300 meters away in the field, taking pictures.
Very weird in a way.

This is a young one still. Probably a year (or two) or so old. It doesn’t have a rack, yet, and compared to other moose (mooses? meese? 😀 ) I’ve seen it was pretty small, even if this is already a massive one.

Moose

D700, ISO200, 1/90 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

It’s hard to tell a dog that there are appropriate sizes for everyone.
Especially this particular cutie seemed to be determined to bring back anything you threw away. I tried with a log I just managed to lift and he went after it and tried to drag it back. To no avail, of course 😀

Igor

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 70-200mm

Oh, and challenge of the day:
Try panning this!

Igor

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 70-200mm

A suitable door is all it takes.
Before:

 

Door before metamorphosis

D700, ISO200, 1/125 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 50mm

Oh, and of course a tad bit of Photoshop:

Screenshot Photoshop

Screenshot Photoshop, what you can’t see: the Hue/Saturation layer is set to blend mode Overlay.

Which then results in:

The door after post-processing

The door after post-processing

Sooo… in about a month and a half it’s about a year ago I wrote a re-revisited on the Digimarc topic. I was reminded about it, because I got a mail from them that my subscription was going to end. Read that re-revisited for the details on that. Before that I wrote already two other pieces about it.
In that re-revisited I wrote that I would probably do another blog post with the results on the reporting. Well… You haven’t heard from me before, because… there was nothing to report.
I was told that indexing would be done maybe once every 3-6 months on websites where there wasn’t much traffic, and I already expressed my concern in regards to the usability of this reporting service for the photographer hosting his own images on his own site as opposed to on websites with a massive amount of traffic like Getty Images, iStock, or the likes.
I must honestly admit that I haven’t checked the report frequently, but there was no need for it. I was set up with the free pro account to test it out on July 21st 2010, and now, June 3rd 2011, so ten months later, there has been no activity in my account’s report. No images found / indexed. Not a single one. Not even on my own website.
So… Conclusion…
No disrespect towards the great people there, with their excellent customer service and an otherwise good (but not spectacular) product: would I invest in Digimarc Digital Watermarking? No. I wouldn’t.
The one thing that makes this product interesting is exactly the reporting of how and where my images appear. But if the only way to have that reporting working is to get a massive amount of traffic (because those are the websites they primarily target), it doesn’t make any sense to get this as a photographer who doesn’t get x1000 visitors on my website daily (or even weekly). The digital watermarking isn’t as invisible as is portrayed, especially not if you don’t have the high-resolution image available. And personally if I can’t trace back the image with the digital watermark I prefer to have a visible watermark on the image so people don’t steal the images in the first place.
Also the limitation of 2,000 or 5,000 images which you could digitally watermark per year seems to be a bit odd. As a photographer, especially stock and travel photographers, you probably shoot well over that amount of images. You’d have to sign up for the most expensive package for an unlimited amount of images you could watermark.

But anyway… the decision is yours.
I think this topic is closed for all I care 😉

Some time ago I wrote a little something about how Google and Facebook (and then some photo competitions) had some dubious paragraphs in their terms and conditions which allowed them to basically do with what they want with the images you upload to their server/service.
I’ve always been careful to the point of paranoia when it comes to these kind of things, which is why I don’t upload any images (of significance) to for example Facebook, or if I do they are so small (and/or with a big fat watermark across) that no one can do anything with them.
I also don’t have a TwitPic account. Not for that particular reason, although right now that might just become the reason.
Three weeks ago TwitPic has sneakily changed their terms and conditions in regards to the image material uploaded to their website.
Since May 10th they’ve added/modified a paragraph that reads:

You retain all ownership rights to Content uploaded to Twitpic. However, by submitting Content to Twitpic, you hereby grant Twitpic a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and Twitpic’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.

Of course the people who DO read the Terms and keep an eye on what’s changing immediately started demanding some clarification about what the hell is going, after which TwitPic replied the following with a blog post:

We recently made changes to our terms of service that has caused some confusion for our users. First off I want to apologize for that confusion and our lack of clarity. We’ve updated our terms again to be more clear and to also show that you still own your content.

Our goal with Twitpic from the beginning has been to create the best way to share your photos and videos on Twitter and to always keep our user’s best interest at the forefront.

To clarify our ToS regarding ownership, you the user retain all copyrights to your photos and videos, it’s your content. Our terms state by uploading content to Twitpic you allow us to distribute that content on twitpic.com and our affiliated partners. This is standard among most user-generated content sites (including Twitter). If you delete a photo or video from Twitpic, that content is no longer viewable.

As we’ve grown, Twitpic has been a tool for the spread of breaking news and events. Since then we’ve seen this content being taken without permission and misused. We’ve partnered with organizations to help us combat this and to distribute newsworthy content in the appropriate manner. This has been done to protect your content from organizations who have in the past taken content without permission. As recently as last month, a Twitpic user uploaded newsworthy images of an incident on a plane, and many commercial entities took the image from Twitpic and used it without the user’s permission.

To sum everything up, you the user retain all copyrights to your photos/videos and we are very sorry by the confusion our old updated terms of service caused.

So they sneakily emphasize that you DO retain the copyright to all your work, but they fail to inform the users about the deal they made with for example a News Agency.
TwitPic has indeed been known to be the source of a good number of news worthy images, but now it seems that they’ve caught up with the moneymaking machine and are going to cash in on what the users are uploading to their services, without actually compensating the users for it.
Now does that sound fair to you?
If you ARE using TwitPic, make sure you put a big watermark across the image, so that everyone knows that the image they’re looking at is yours.

… then you just wait until the ball’s gone and all that’s left is the smoldering sky…

Sunset

D700, ISO1600, 1/750 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm

Or then… If you don’t want to do anything from a different angle and you’re just looking for a plain sunset, you wait for awhile still until the fire’s spread from the ball to the rest of the sky.

Sunset

D700, ISO1600, 1/750 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm

The way you usually want to see it, but not always (or always not) when you’re a photographer, unless you have something from a different angle in mind. Big bright ball of fire up in the sky, screwing up your exposures and your contrast.
There are going pictures around on the net all the time where photographers are creative with what nature offers them. I found my own little thing the other day when I was out and about with the camera at hand.
Since here in Finland things don’t really get dark anymore around this time, at least not during the times that one is supposed to consciously live it, the street lights don’t go on anymore.
But with a little bit of help from that big ball up in the sky you can make any light switch on :)

Street light

D700, ISO200, 1/3000 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 50mm