“A Stand-Out Date”, or “The Importance of Proper Captions and Metadata”

Posted January 31st, 2007 by
Categories: Newsworthy, Photos

This one actually even needs a third title; “The Year That Really Lept“.

Here’s one I really haven’t seen before. I can’t imaging any photographer, photo-editor, or news editor letting this one fall through the crack, but MSNBC (and / or Fox) got some serious problems with their ability to properly caption a photograph. Appearing in response to tonight’s American Idol show, MSNBC ran the following:

Now check the Photo Caption:

In case you can’t read the small type, it says,

Los Angeles contestant Martik Manoukian on “American Idol” on Wednesday, Feb. 31.

NANPA Conference Report

Posted January 28th, 2007 by
Categories: Photo Business, Photographers

Over the week of Jan 17-21 I was fortunate to attend my first NANPA (North American Nature Photographers Assoc.) Conference in Palm Springs, California. It was also my first year as a NANPA member. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect, and I had some concerns. I’ve watched NANPA from the outset, and one of my major concerns was that it was nothing but a glorified camera club; and honestly, in part it was. At nearly 3,000 members, it really is a very social organization. That’s not a bad thing, btw. But my personal interests revolves around if, how, and where the organization was working on or supporting professional business issues and education.

Prior to my arrival and check-in on Wednesday, the conference had several days worth of pre-summit workshops that I wasn’t able to attend, although I heard some good feedback on them. I spent my several days prior shooting around the area south and east of Palm Springs. Part of me would have liked to have stayed away from civilization, but the cost of attending the conference was enough to ensure not changing my plans.

Read the rest of this post »

If only there were some guidelines…

Posted January 26th, 2007 by
Categories: Digital, Photo Business

At the NANPA Conference Pro’s Meeting, a packed room was asked, “How many people are just using film?” Out of several hundred photographers sitting in on this session, only three raised their hands. That means almost everyone is now using digital. Not surprisingly, at the outset of this ‘revolution’, professionals and agencies alike had to wade through a miriad of potential workflow solutions. The problem was that if everyone is doing things slightly different, the end results would often be different as well. There was no guarentee that what went to one agency or client would be cross compatible or acceptble with other agents or clients.

So how in the world do you get so many people to agree on what’s best for all? The Solution, a multi-partnered organization called UPDIG, The Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines. From their site:

Who We Are: A working group of digital imaging professionals and allied trade groups and manufacturers, dedicated to promoting worldwide standards in the commercial application of digital imaging.
Mission Statement: Our mission is to bring the creators, distributors, customers, and other vendors in the imaging trades together to identify and promote digital imaging standards. We will identify a delivery protocol that promotes creative and quality control, and builds value and efficiency.

From color management, monitor calibration, file naming, and file sizes, to archiving and delivery, this is the place to get info on what the industry has agreed should be the right way to work with your digital image files. Check ’em out!

Quote of the Day 01-24-07

Posted January 24th, 2007 by
Categories: Quotable Quotes

I’m catching up on reading emails after having been gone for more than a week at the NANPA conference. (More on that later.) One of the emails referenced a signature line of a photographer that reads:

“Getty (Images) cares about photographers the way McDonalds cares about cows.”

– ’nuff said.

“Say Hello to my Little Mule”

Posted January 18th, 2007 by
Categories: California, Deserts, Photos, Travel

Picture: Toyota 4-Runner on the sand dunes at the Imperial Sand Dunes State Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Area, near Brawley, Imperial County, California

Who forgot the rake?

One thing about taking pictures: Sometimes you see something after you took the photo that you wish you could have changed. Sometimes, maybe you could have done something about it at the time – had you discovered it. Other times, there’s nothing you could have done given the circumstances. After I processed this shot, I noticed all of my footprints near the car door. Of course, this is a completely natural occurance. Yet, if you tried to envision this as a car ad – you’d never see footprints. In fact, the ground would look so pristine, that it would look like the car was dropped in by helicopter. The less dramatic truth is that the ad agencies hire cleaning crews who’s sole job is to prep the car to ultimate cleanliness on site, and then rake the ground of all human traces. I never would have thought to bring a rake on my trip. Now I wish I’d brought one, or better yet had my own detailing crew.

Is there a photographers conference nearby?

Posted January 16th, 2007 by
Categories: California, Deserts, People, Photos, Travel

Photo: Self portrait at Font Point in Anza Borego State Park, near Borego Springs, California

This was taken tonight. I am in Southern California for the North American Nature Photographers Assoc. Annual Conference in Palm Springs that starts tomorrow. Frankly, I’m not looking forward to leaving a place like this for the likes of Palm Springs.

So you say you want a revolution…

Posted January 11th, 2007 by
Categories: Photo Business

In the last few weeks, a very new, but long-discussed strategy to affect Rights Managed Licensing has finally been enabled by placing it’s first legs on the ground. In an attempt to answer the market-driven “easy” solution offered by Royalty Free licensing, the PLUS group has come up with “Plus Packs“. These are designed to make the process of purchasing managed rights easy, both for buying and tracking. Oh here, let them tell you:

“PLUS Packs introduce a universal licensing standard for a streamlined form of image licensing. With licensors of all sizes worldwide offering the same conveniently standardized, numbered packages, Rights Managed image licensing will be easier than ever.”

See the Standards Library and Media Matrix at http://www.useplus.com

A recent discussion on a pro forum had one photographer commenting on the early demise of the PLUS System within two weeks of the announced availability, because he basically hadn’t yet seen anything sweep into action. It was a sort-of, “Where’s all the hype? Where’s all the media? Where’s all the photographers clambering aboard?.” Quick to answer the call in the vein of “My early death has been misreported and greatly exaggerated”, one spokesperson basically said, “Hey, give us a break; it’s only been two weeks”.

While I chuckled from the sidelines during this exchange, it did get me to thinking that we could be seeing the start of a quiet revolution. Between the Plus Packs and Getty’s Rights-Ready Licensing model, maybe Rights Managed photographers will have a chance to stay in the Buyers game of “Simple & Easy”. Read the rest of this post »

New Photo of the Month – January 2007

Posted January 8th, 2007 by
Categories: Animals, California, National Parks, Photos, Winter

Well it happened today, I wrote 2006; ugh. At least now it’s outta my system. Now for the first POM of 2007:

 Picture: Coyote in snow covered meadow in Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California.

My 5 year old daughter chose this for her Christmas card to her Grandma. I actually have, by complete accident, discovered a nearly fool-proof method for ‘calling’ and getting coyotes attention. I have even seen them come prancing across entire meadows to within a few yards of where I was. I won’t share this method with you, and I actually haven’t used it since its “discovery”. What is truly sad is that this method is a testament to the horrible habituation some wildlife encounters in our National Parks and beyond. However, this coyote here wasn’t ‘called’, and he wasn’t paying attention to me or the several other photographers nearby. He was focused on looking for mice; a perfectly acceptable behavior for Wiley E.

Remember 110 format film cartridges?

Posted January 4th, 2007 by
Categories: Fossil Beds

PRESS RELEASE:  From the makers that brought you the 110 format film cartridges, advantix, ektachrome and kodachrome, now comes “Glorychrome – the worlds best all-digital analog film for use in Kodak’s patented hybrid cameras – due for release in late 1997 .”

Yes, this is how Kodak plans to bring itself back from the brink of extinction; a stunning and very funny example of how every corporate TV commercial should be made.

“I’ll give you a ‘Kodak Moment’…” – Well I would, but mine were all shot on Fuji.

Starting out the New Year right.

Posted January 3rd, 2007 by
Categories: Photos

Photo: Cracked Crab Omlette for New Years Day Breakfast, at my mom’s house.

Some of you may know that in a past life I was a cook, and primarily a breakfast cook. For about 10 years off and on from when I was a sophmore in high school through the completion of my Masters Degree, I worked at a variety of restaurants. I was best at breakfasts, but gosh how I hated waking up early for work.

But at rare times (“rare”; get it? cook’s humor) I’ll dust off the old apron and make something special. This New Years Day morning, it was my delight to treat my family to a fresh cracked crab omlette with spinach, jack and cheddar cheese, grilled onion, mushroom, and avacado. The garnish was a pair of crab legs, tomatos on mixed greens with brie and fresh blue cheeses, tangerine sections, sourdough french bread, mini-quiche wedges, fresh coffee mixed with mudslide, a bloody mary, and orange juice.

My wife and I call such moments of sheer gastric delights as a “foo-gasm”. The only bad part is I know it’ll likely be another year until I savor another breakfast that good.