New Photo of the Month April ’06

Posted April 11th, 2006 by
Categories: California, Photos, Spring, Sunset, Trees

Picture: Sunset over oak tree and green hills in Spring, Mount Diablo State Park, California
Sunset over oak tree in spring, Mount Diablo, California

Taken just about a year ago, this image is close to what we should be seeing this time of year. Yes, the nearby hills are green, but that ball of fire in the sky is starting to seem like a myth of yester-year. You know the type of story your great-granpappy mighta told… “I remember when you could actually see the sun in the sky, and there would be times when you could go five whole days without rain!” Anyone wanna guess my mood? :)

See more of my East Bay Scenic Photos.

Required Reading 101a

Posted April 11th, 2006 by
Categories: Photo Business, Stock Photography

One of my favorite weblogs, About the Image, posted a must-read article by retiring PACA President Jeffery Burke entitled “The State of the Stock Picture Licensing Industry 2006.” For those that don’t know, PACA stands for the Picture Archive Council of America, whose membership is made up of Stock Agencies and other photo archives. It’s length, in-depth, and comprehensive. On top of that, it’s not e ven an article, per se. Actually, it the text of his opening speech at the 2006 PACA Conference. If you sell (read: license) photos, you need to read this straight-forward account that will certainly keep you thinking. For instance, he says,

Vision has its place in this industry as in others, but practicality often counts more in today’s business world. Creating the best images, selling them at the optimal price and placing them where customers will easily find them is what really matters in today’s business environment. Potentially more important that tomorrow’s visionaries are the 7 out of 10 customers today who vote with their wallets and decide that a royalty free license is more appropriate for their needs than a rights-managed license, or who prefer to visit one stock website over another.

The update

Posted April 8th, 2006 by
Categories: Fossil Beds

The dreaded server update to WordPress done by my webhost has come and gone. I can tell it was about 98% successful. I see the new dashboard, and a couple new plugins. There’s no doubt that from the inside, there’s a whole new look & feel to the admin panel. Last night, when I first looked at the blog, I could see everything on the front page just fine. However, anytime I tried to navigate to another page, I got the dreaded 404 “Could Not Find” page. As I suspected from research, I kind of knew I would have to update my htaccess file. Even though that was a first for me, everything seemed to go smoothly, and all seemed restored back to normal.

 The only 2% flaw that will take me some time to figure out is the comments. It appears that readers (Thanks, Richard) can leave comments on posts, but for some reason, those comments don’t show up in the comment counter on the front page. For example, a post may have a comment, but below the post on the front page, it will still read “Be the First to Comment…”. I have no idea on why, so I guess it’s off to the WP Support group for me on this one. I just hope it’s not going to require me to rebuild this whole site in WP2. We’ll see…

 If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

Score One for the Writers

Posted April 7th, 2006 by
Categories: Newsworthy

Fountain AbbeyMaking headlines in national media today are reports that The DaVinci Code author, Dan Brown has won a copyright infringement lawsuit that had been filed by the two authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail. You can read the AP story at This just goes to prove the old adage, “You can’t copyright an idea.” Unless Dan Brown actually copied the words in some significant and substantive form, such that the average reader would likely discern the similarity, one author could completely copy another’s plot line idea. As the second author wrote their own version of a story, where’s the copyright violation? Key to the report are the comments that:

While skeptical about the Browns, the judge almost pitied their accusers, as witnesses and as writers. He read “Holy Blood” multiple times and found their claims contrived and insupportable, though he did praise them for a “very interesting book to read whether or not it is credible.  (Judge) Smith speculated that they were jealous of Brown’s success, and he wondered why they couldn’t appreciate the “genuine and handsome recognition of their role” in the novel, which openly acknowledges their book. But he would not accept that the lawsuit was a scheme by both sides to make money.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Score One for the Photographers

Posted April 7th, 2006 by
Categories: Newsworthy

Bart Train station and passengerThe National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) has reported a victory for photographers against New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority. All it took was the threat of a potential lawsuit by the New York Civil Liberties Union. It seems a bunch of (insert: arrogant, paranoid) transit police have been harrassing photographers shooting on public property. They write in the story:

Catherine Rinaldi, general counsel and deputy executive director for MTA, conceded in a March letter to photographers that there is “no ban on photography in the Long Island Railroad or the Metro North Transit system.” The concession came after NYCLU attorneys wrote to MTA demanding that they explain why MTA officers were threatening photographers with arrest for taking pictures in public areas of the transit system.

Read the entire story Here.

Ouch Thats gotta hurt

Posted April 5th, 2006 by
Categories: Copyright, Newsworthy

Bummer. According to an item in last weeks PDN Newswire, a copyright infringment case brought by several noted photographers has been tossed out of court. The three photographers, several of whom I (e)know through various professional forums, sued the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), a company that provides licensing for magazine article reprints. The newsclip goes on to say:

In rejecting the copyright claims, US District Judge Rya W. Zobel said that granting a third party rights to copyrighted works without authorization doesn’t amount to contributory infringement unless the third party ends up committing a direct infringement. Citing a recent decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals, the Zobel wrote, “‘wrongful authorization alone’ cannot constitute infringement under the [copyright] statute.”

So, someone (the CCC) is trying to sell (license) something they may not have the rights to distribute to third parties isn’t liable under copyright law unless some third party actually buys and exercises the rights that they didn’t really have the right to license, distribute or acquire. I guess I can understand the judge’s ruling on this one. Technicalities; Ouch! – What I can’t understand is why gas prices are soaring back to $3.00 / gal. with nary a peep. Was there another Hurricane that I missed or something?

Sometimes, you become aware that you’ve just stepped in something, and the only immediate cure is to repeatedly scrape your shoes in the nearest patch of grass.

Photo: Rainy Day Waterfall, Yosemite

Posted April 5th, 2006 by
Categories: California, National Parks, Photos, Weather

Picture: Upper Yosemite Falls on a rainy spring afternoon, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Upper Yosemite Falls on a rainy spring afternoon, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

I’m supposed to be off for a camping trip in Yosemite Valley soon. But given the weather lately, I wonder if my time wouldn’t be better spent building an Ark. We (California) have been getting pounded by a nearly endless stream of winter and spring storms. March here in the Bay Area broke the all time record (c.1903) for the most days of mesurable rain; 25 out of 31. Rrrrr. So this photo kind of represents a prophecy of sorts, a preview of what I’m likely to see. The reports for the next few weeks are skeptical to downright doubtful that there will be any meaningful changes in the current weather patterns.
Read the rest of this post »

Models Models Everywhere

Posted April 5th, 2006 by
Categories: People, Photo Business, Photos

One of the biggest questions emerging and established photographers often ask is, “When do I need a Model Release, and where can I find one?” Apogee Photo Magazine has a great online article that I’ve linked to from my Photography > Resources page. Author Michael Faulks has written, The Model Release; A Primer, in which he includes information on privacy and commercial gains, as well as a link to a sample model release form. He begins by saying that…

“…two fundamental but competing rights come into play: the right of the photographer or artist to free expression and the right of the subject to privacy. Over the years, a variety of model releases have been developed to contractually spell out an agreement between these two opposing parties.”

Thanks Ugh and more Ugh

Posted April 4th, 2006 by
Categories: Rants and Raves

For starters, Happy April.

I spent the part of the weekend in the South Bay, where I was the featured presenter for an all day seminar hosted by the Yerba Buena Chapter of the Photographic Society of America. Thank you all for having me. It was great fun.

The seminar was on Sunday at 9:00 am, the morning after the time change. Ugh. Of course, I had to be there early to set up. More Ugh. It was my own fault, though. When I was asked which dates I was available, they gave me a choice of April 2nd or April 8th. I picked the 2nd. It never crossed my mind that would be the day when we lose an hours sleep. Triple Ugh. Oh well.

The seminar went great, and I loved presenting to the sold out audience. Many familiar faces, and many enthusiastic comments and questions. Check out your local chapter of the PSA. For locals, I’ll be judging this Thursday at the Contra Costa Camera Club (4/6).
Read the rest of this post »

Common Cents Sense

Posted March 30th, 2006 by
Categories: Photo Business

Photographer, Producer, and Designer Mark Loundy has a wonderful industry resource that includes many “must read” articles in an almost-monthly mini industry e-zine called Return to Common Cents. I’ve also included a permanent link on my Photography > Resources page.

From his site:

Common Cents is an unapologetic, opinionated, and often sarcastic advocate for independent photographers. It will educate, agitate and inform.

There is no article for April, but this should give you plenty of time to catch up on all the excellent past articles. – Happy Reading.