Thank you for playing, “Who’s the Loser?”

Posted June 12th, 2008 by
Categories: Newsworthy

The angry mom, the kid, the cop, or the photographer?

(Sung to the tune of the TV show, Jeopardy) Da da dada dah da dah…

Who is the Photographer, Alex?

“Yes, that is correct, for $600.00″

Read all about this saga of modern day collision of paranoia and civil liberties at New York’s famed Village Voice.

Confessions of a Craigslist Photographer

Posted June 10th, 2008 by
Categories: Fossil Beds, Newsworthy, Photo Business, Rants and Raves

The text reads, “I am a professional Photographer, and I have no idea what f-stops, ISO, or that other crap is.”

OK, maybe they’re not advertising on Craigslist… but it’s highly likely!

How can you be a professional photographer and not know what an f-stop is? OK, granted, I once met a woman at a photo workshop who exclaimed that she wouldn’t know an “f-stop from a truckstop”, yet she still took nice pictures. However, she would never have called herself a professional with that type of gaping hole in her knowledge banks.

This came courtesy of a post on the PDN Forums, from someone who found this on PostSecrets, a place where people anonymously reveal secrets about themselves by using made up postcards. There’s some really juicy stuff there. Now, I don’t feel too bad about re-posting this picture. If whoever wrote this and has a problem with this, they’re welcome to come out of the woodwork, stand-up, and identify your ‘professional’ self. I won’t be holding my breath.

Photo: Elevation 6 Population 7

Posted June 9th, 2008 by
Categories: Barns Farms and Rural Scenes, California, Photos, Travel

Picture: Now entering the exciting metropolis of Camp Weott, near the mouth of the Eel River, Humboldt County, California.

This is one of the places that I’ve passed along in my current travels. They don’t have a Rush Hour here. They don’t even have a Rush Minute. I don’t think anyone in this town knows the definition of “Rush”. Of course, I could be wrong. It wouldn’t be too hard to find out. Just ask everyone in town; all seven of them. I’ll just bet this is one of those places where everyone in town has a seat on the city planning commission.

Overheard; how ironic.

Posted June 3rd, 2008 by
Categories: Photo Business, Rants and Raves, Stock Photography

So… imagine your listening to a conversation between a couple microstock photographers talking dirt about one of their agents’ new subscription sales models. One photographer says something like, “Don’t they understand we don’t want to license our images for $0.25 a download?” Then another microstocker chimes in with a semi-rant and says something along the lines of, “There’s no way in tarnation I’m gonna let them use my images to undercut the industry like this! The quicker we abandon the ‘race-to-the- bottom’ ground-feeders the better for the industry as a whole.”

Um…am I the only one that sees the complete irony in this discussion coming from some microstockers? They may get up in arms if someone tries to get the unlimited commercial use to their photos for $0.25, but $3.00 is just fine by them.

File this under “Sheesh!” (The above was inspired by a true online forum conversation.)

Photo: The family that swims together…

Posted June 3rd, 2008 by
Categories: Animals, California, Coast, Photos

Picture: Whale family swimming in the Pacific Ocean, from High Bluff Overlook, Redwood National Park, Humboldt County, California

A couple weeks ago, when driving my kids home from school, they gave me a  pop-quiz about whales. Thanks to them, I learned what is the second-largest species of whale. (Go look it up yourself. :) )

So this photo is dedicated to my kids, Brandon, and Alyssa, and my wife, Connie. I wish they had been with me to see this family cruising together very close to shore. I’ll probably think of this photo the next time we all go swimming together – ‘cuz you know what they say, “The family that swims together, stays together”.

Photo: Redwood Highway

Posted May 28th, 2008 by
Categories: California, National Parks, Photos, Roads, Travel, Trees

Picture: Rhododendron flowers bloom under trees along curve on Highway 101, Redwood National Park, Del Norte County, Northern California

Reports are in that the wild Rhododendrons are in bloom again along the North Coast. It’s been several years since I’ve been up this way, but I know the area very well. I was lucky enough to spend six years living in this region of the country while attending college at Humboldt State University. (Yes, the rumors are true, and I have the stories to prove it.)

Starting at River Road, just north of Santa Rosa, the drive up Highway 101 is just awesome, and for me, feels like home. Reaching the redwoods of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties is like Natures medicine for the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area. I think I need to go get me some of this medicine.

See more of my North Coast photos in my online web gallery.

Spammed to death

Posted May 23rd, 2008 by
Categories: Animals, Deserts, Photos, Rants and Raves, Travel, Utah

Photo: Cow skull in window sill as western living decor, Valley of the Gods Bed & Breakfast Inn, Valley of the Gods, Utah.

It finally happened. I threw up my hands in surrender, and labeled myself, “Spammed to Death”. I ranted back in Feburary about how I was getting 200 spam emails a day. I had tried moving my email filter settings to “Challenge”, but several people mentioned, and I agreed, that challenging clients on their first communication is not good for business. But recently, I’ve grown to between 300 & 400 spam messages a day. It was too much, and not how I wanted to waste anymore of my life.

If you send an email to me now, and are not on my approved white list of email addresses, you will get an automated challenge to manually confirm your email address. I simply had to do it. I would rather lose a client, than waste anymore time dealing with mountains of life-sucking spam. I can just hope that most people will understand and not feel to bothered or put off by replying to an automated email. I know that when I’ve gotten them, I personally have never felt any ill feelings about confirming my own legitimacy. It’s all part of our brave new world.

See more of my Valley of the Gods photos online.

It only hurts when you get stung

Posted May 21st, 2008 by
Categories: Newsworthy, Stock Photography

One of the long standing pitfalls when using Royalty Free photos has always been the non-exclusive nature of that sales model, meaning anyone can buy it, and anyone can use it. But the honey-scent of low cost often proves too attractive for most budget conscious users. You can almost hear the silent words, “What are the chances…?”.
Well, the chances may be small, but every so often, a company that should have invested a little more money in protecting their advertising and branding campaigns gets stung by taking the cheaper road.

Computer manufacturers ASUS and MSI have now been caught using the same royalty free photo to promote their respective products. Each company photoshopped their own product into the scene, ironically where the original shot apparently had the young boy modeling an Apple laptop.

I have to wonder what it would be like to be a fly on the wall at the corporate offices at ASUS and MSI when the upper management hears about this. Will they say, “No big deal” to all the wasted dollars on these ads that now have muddled themselves with a direct competitor? You can be sure they’re probably hearing about it for sure, thanks to places like PC Pro, TweakTown, and Mobile Magazine reporting on this.

Perhaps the memo ordering heads to roll has already been sent down the pipeline. In my minds eye, I see two poor graphic designers packing up their desks, muttering to themselves something about how they were told (by the same people now firing them) to use Royalty Free photos to save money.

See more fun examples on my Royalty Free page.

Photo: A Revisited Sunset on the Big Sur Coast

Posted May 14th, 2008 by
Categories: California, Coast, Photos, Sunset, Water

Picture: Sunset at Pfeiffer Beach, Big Sur, Monterey County coast, California

We all have them; photos that we think are good, except for the little voice whispering at you from across the the other side of your brain, “yeah, but….”. There are several things that I do to cure that nagging uncertainty, namely seek validation from others. I’ll ask my wife what she thinks, and then I’ll ask my kids. The quality of feedback I get depends on if I’ve been helpful around the house, or if the kids are unplugged. I can ask my mom, but we all know mom’s love everything. I would sometimes post the image on an internet forum like Nature Photographers Network, (NPN) and see what other excellent and enthusiastic photographers have to say.

Ultimately, what works best for me is to not see the image for a little while, and then see how I feel about the photo down the road. The image above was a perfect example. I’ve always kinda liked this image, but there was also that little voice in my ear. I haven’t seen this image for the last six weeks, but cruising through a file this evening, it again caught my eye. Now, revisited, it was much easier to know that the voice saying “Yeah, I like this” had won out over the, “Yeah, but(s)…”.

By the way, I’ll take this moment to pass on an axiom or truism that I share with other photographers starting out. If you want get an honest opinion about your photos, never ask your friends or family.

A “Fixed” News Photo – You decide

Posted May 9th, 2008 by
Categories: Digital, Newsworthy, Photo Business

So this evening I was doing some random surfing on the internet; and speaking of surfing…

Check out this photo taken during this years Maverick’s Surf Contest by photographer Brant Ward. The image appears on the SFGate.com photo gallery pages. The SFGate is owned by Hearst Newspapers, and everything about this gallery and other similar galleries tend to leave the reader with the perception that these are news-oriented editorial photo stories. Yet I am willing to wager a good bet that this image, contrary to all news-ethicalness, has been “fixed”. Notice the odd brightness immediately surrounding the surfer. Even the sunlit areas of the wave crashing are not as brightly exposed, or as oddly cyan stained. What do you think? Fixed or Not? A news photo, or if fixed, is it now ‘something else’ instead?

Bad News Photographer! Bad!  (said while shaking a rolled up newspaper.)