Photo: Whats that sound Toto

Posted June 5th, 2006 by
Categories: California, Clouds and Sky, Photos, Weather

Picture: Funnel cloud descending on the rural outskirts of Tracy, Central Valley, California.

I’ve only been lucky enough to photograph one funnel cloud. It occured on a stormy afternoon in NOVEMBER. I had been returning from Yosemite National Park, after spending the whole first half of the day under deep dark rainclouds. You can actually see the storm clouds in the background stacked up against the Sierra. The funnel cloud lasted about 15 minutes, and the photo above shows it’s closest approach to the ground. Had the tip actually touched the ground, then – meteorologically speaking – it would have offically been classified as a tornado. Eventually, I’ll add these and similar images into my Clouds and Skies photo gallery. In the meantime, you can also see a close-up version in my New Images Portfolio.

Now, if you really want to see the KILLER tornado shots, there really is only one world-class, go to specialist, Warren Faidley. He’s the guy every stormchaser envies, having founded the photo agency, Weatherstock.

Say that again

Posted June 5th, 2006 by
Categories: Photo Business, Stock Photography

Sometimes I hear or read things that photographers say when discussing the Microstocks that, from my perspective, sound so absurdly insightful in a sad way that all I can do is giggle.

This evening, I read a post about a woman photographer who was concerned because she had noticed the commission on some of her affiliate sales had apparently shrunk from 3 cents down to 2 cents.

OMG! like, fer sure. I’d feel ripped off and pretty concerned too. 323 sales at a penny less is like losing out on a whole gallon of gas.

Photo: Beam of sunlight through Arch

Posted June 3rd, 2006 by
Categories: Deserts, Photos, Sunrise, Travel, Utah

Picture: Beam of sunlight at sunrise passing through South Window Arch and falling exactly over the window of Turret Arch, Windows Section, Arches National Park, near Moab, Uath.


That last post I made was so important for me to write, at the same time so “Ugh” – that I just needed to follow it up with a pretty picture. I hope you like it. A scene like this doesn’t happen everyday, primarly due to solar-planetary alignment fluctuations that occur in regular annual cycles.

How many for how much

Posted June 3rd, 2006 by
Categories: Photo Business, Stock Photography

This week, thanks to the honest reply of a photographer in the microstock agencies, I got my first real life look at some ‘average to better than average” returns, and I must say, the glimpse was quite “enlightening”.

Last month, this photographer made jsut shy of $300 from approx 300 images each on a handful of microagents. Playing the straight numbers game, that’s a dollar an image per month, or $12.00 per image per year. On the surface, that seems like a good return; in fact it’s better than the same traditional calculations from regular agencies a decade ago; before ‘traditional’ RF, and long before Micro RF. But this has always been the crux of the commoditization thought process vs. the fair value based on use sales models. And in fact, if we stop the calculations right there, then it’s easy to see the attraction for photographers to dive right into this market.

But that’s not what opened my eyes and caught my attention. What got me was that to make that $300.00, he had to have his images downloaded approx. 750 times. Now let’s consider each download as a new “Client” – and since clients are rarely likely to buy more than a couple images from any given photographer at a time; that’s almost 750 new Clients he made that month; and combined, those 750 clients paid him $300.00. But that’s still not what gets me….

Read the rest of this post »

Ouch Thats gotta hurt 2

Posted June 2nd, 2006 by
Categories: Copyright, Newsworthy

To be filed under the new and continuing, “Ouch! That’s gotta hurt” series:

Photo District News Senior Editor, David Walker, in this week’s Newswire has spun the sad tale of what happens when a photographer and his lawyer goes after the ‘Big’ prize for the wrong reason. In this case, the prize was a $260,000.00 (USD) Copyright Infringement lawsuit. Unfortunately, the Judge thought the pair was making a frivolous claim against the defendant, and acting in bad faith, namely by refusing to settle the case in a fair, amicable, and reasonable fashion. In the legal system, this is one of the big no-no’s for an attorney, kinda like doctors chasing ambulances. Oh, wait; Lawyers chase ambulances. :)

Anyway; Judge says; Bad Move. Tosses the copyright infringement case out of court in 2002. Fast Forward; Judge now slaps the wrist of the photographer by ordering him to pay the legal bills of the party he had brought the suit against. If one slap = $1.00, imagine getting your wrist slapped slightly more than 388,000 times.

Read David’s excellent article at PDN.

How do you like your photos served

Posted May 31st, 2006 by
Categories: Digital

If you’re like me and many others, you like your photos served up RAW, and the RAW’er the Better’r. The has released the results of their 2006 survey which is also in a PDF file on their web site.

And speaking of RAW, I recently replied to a forum post where someone had asked about the difference between shooting in RAW or JPEG Mode. I replied with the following analogy, which I’m reposting here since there may be some readers who only know that their little Point-n-Shoot camera spits out JPEGs, and are unfamiliar with RAW digital image formats.

Think of your picture as food. If you have the camera set to do all the thinking for you, and you shoot in JPEG, it’s like buying a frozen dinner and popping it into the microwave. Once the oven beeps, you can add a little salt or pepper, but for all intensive purposes you’re pretty much done.

If you shoot in RAW, it’s like going to the grocery store and getting all the ingredients to make the same meal, except now you decide how much of this, how much of that, add more of this, etc.. Then when you’re all done mixing the ingredients (exposure, color balance, saturation, sharpening, etc.) you put it in the oven, and with a quick conversion – viola, out pops your custom adjusted TIFF or JPEG or PSD.

Of course, shooting in RAW means you spend a lot more time in the kitchen. (read: computer.)

Where’s your Jpeg License

Posted May 30th, 2006 by
Categories: Newsworthy

Thanks to my good friend Ross for sending me a note about the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) rejecting a patent assertion for the JPEG Standard.
“What would make me use the upcoming Microsoft WiMP?” Well for one thing, if I had to start paying a license fee to use a Jpeg file format. But seriously, there is a company out there trying to assert a patent claim for Jpeg file format, and another trying to defend our right to use it. Uhhh, or something like that… You can read about the rejected claims from the USPTO at BoingBoing and their link to PUBPAT. But if your a math-lover, read the PDF legal brief that describes the details of the patent and the reasons for rejecting the claim in greater detail.

Photo: Go Fly Over a Rock

Posted May 30th, 2006 by
Categories: Aviation, California, Clouds and Sky, Mountains, Photos, Travel

Picture: Passenger jet in blue sky with contrail flying over the summit of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California.

“Ladies & Gentlemen, this is your capitan speaking. For those of you lucky enough to be seated on the right side of the plane, if you look out your window, you’ll notice that we’re passing by one of the greatest natural wonders in the whole United States. Directly below us is Yosemite Valley, and that big rock you see is the world-famous Half Dome. Currently we’re cruising at 32,000 feet, and we should be arriving at our destination on schedule. Your luggage should arrive about a day or two later. Thank you for flying with us today, and enjoy the rest of your flight.”

Tweet Tweet said the over-anxious bird

Posted May 30th, 2006 by
Categories: Digital, Newsworthy

Another one of those annoying little birds has been seen tweeting it’s way around the Internet. In this case, it’s in the form of a very small little blurb on the Nikonians site, pre-announcing a June 2nd announcement from Nikon, announcing an upgrade to their D2x camera body. Of course, being pre-announcement buzz, the announcement contained no details about what the upcoming announcement would announce. So here I sit, until June 2nd, twiddling my thumbs. Actually, I think I’ll prepare written statement to announce that I’ll sit here and wait for Nikon’s upcoming announcement.

In fact, I’m not even gonna bother linking to the Nikonians announcement about the upcoming announcement from Nikon, because I’ve already just told you everything you needed to know; at least, according to the announcement. Stay tuned.

Photo: Pine Tree and El Capitan

Posted May 25th, 2006 by
Categories: California, Clouds and Sky, Mountains, National Parks, Photos, Trees

Picture: Pine tree and clearing storm clouds peel off the face of El Capitan in morning light, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California

Another from my trip to the valley last month. I was actually shooting a different subject, and literally spun in my tracks to see this scene. I tried several variations, including this where I purposefully aligned the tree with the summit. Feel free to comment and let me know if you like it, love it, or hate it.

Hopefully by the end of summer, I’ll have added some of these to my Yosemite Gallery.