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Archive for October, 2010

Great Double Rainbow Photographs…and Unicorns!

October 29, 2010 1 comment

Ok, no unicorns.

But I did run across a couple of cool pics of double rainbows.

The first from Joe McNally shows an awesome shot looking across Central Park. The composition is great and the fall colors of the leaves just add to the picture. 

The second shot is from a photographer who’s taken a picture looking out from his office every day for the last seven years! Not a bad view.

Kind of makes my attempt look lame:

A Rainbow over the Tradewinds House

Click for Larger Image

Yeah, ok, it’s not a double rainbow. I seem to remember from my meteorology 101 class that all rainbows are double rainbows, but we can’t always see the second one.  So just cross your eyes when looking at mine. :)

Misappropriation of Photography Credit

October 28, 2010 2 comments

Take a look at this picture:

Erica Shain of Two Becomes One

I took that picture last October for Central Florida Lifestyle Magazine.  The story, with a different picture, ran in an article a few months later:

Article in Central Florida Lifestyle Magazine

click for larger image

A month or so ago, the editor contacted me and wanted additional photos from the shoot. I sent her the picture above (the first one).  Well, on Tuesday I noticed the magazine’s Facebook profile picture was from one of their edition’s cover*:

Cover of Central Florida Lifestyle Magazine

Look familiar? It’s the same picture I took, only the subject has been cut out and placed on a different background. At first, I was excited to see one of my pictures on the cover. But my heart sank when I saw the photo credit was given to another photographer. I contacted the editor and the Facebook image was corrected immediately; but the printed issue went out with the other photographer’s name. Apparently the other photographer took the image of the background. The editor said she would print a correction in the next issue.

On the same day, she asked if I wanted to take on another assignment. Here’s where I need your opinion. My gut says “no”. I’m still a little hurt and peeved by the mistake. A tiny correction inside the magazine which most people won’t read or care about does not compare to the COVER of a magazine which another photographer got credit for.  So, right now, I’m inclined to not take any more assignments from them. What do you think? Should I burn that bridge? Or am I overreacting? I understand it was an honest mistake (read below), but it deprived me of a lot of exposure.

I should note that I don’t get paid, per say, for the assignments. Each hour is worth a certain amount of ad space in the magazine.

I’d love to hear your thoughts….

*the magazine has several editions targeting different areas in Central Florida. Each edition is very similar but has a different cover image. So I understand how the mistake was made. They just replace the image and the accompanying headline, but leave everything else, including the photographer’s credit, the same.

Shooting the Baldwin Park Halloween Party

October 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Over the weekend I got to shoot the 8th Annual Halloween Party in my Baldwin Park community. For those who don’t know, I am a regular contributor to Baldwin Park Living Magazine so I often shoot events for the publication.

I’m really happy with the way the shots turned out. I know I’ve done a good job when I have to do minimal processing on the photos; some lens correction and sharpening, maybe some white balance adjustment and done! But what I’m most happy about is what I learned. I’m the kind of person who kicks myself for making a mistake or not having thought of a better solution at the time. Same goes for this shoot, but at least I can look at it and learn.

2010 Baldwin Park Halloween Party

click for larger image

Here’s the set-up: the event ran from 6pm to 8pm, so I knew I’d be losing light quickly. So I borrowed my brother’s 50mm f/1.4 lens and put it on the full frame Canon 5D. I had my 70-200 f/2.8 on my Canon 40D. You might remember from my last post, that having this lens on a cropped sensor gives me added “reach”. So for a good 30-to-45 minutes, I had enough available light to shoot with my zoom lens; great for isolating kids’ faces. When I wanted a wide-angle or started to lose light I switched to the 50mm.

I love to shoot in manual mode because it gives me total control. But I realized after shooting the 2nd Annual Dog Wash that by the time I adjusted my settings I would lose the shot. So perhaps manual mode is best for situations where you can take your time. But for fast-moving events, like this one, I chose to shoot in Aperture priority and set my aperture to 2.8 almost all the time (to make sure I got as much light as possible and get a nice depth of field). I know I shouldn’t hand-hold anything slower than 1/60th of a second, so when I saw my shutter fall below that, I just boosted my ISO.

Here’s where the lesson comes in. At one point I wanted to get a shot; so I was changing the ISO on my camera and by the time I looked up, the shot was gone. What I should’ve done was just to set the ISO to “auto”. In retrospect, I could’ve even shot in shutter priority to make sure I never fell below 1/60th.  Lesson learned; and it’s a simple one too.

2010 Baldwin Park Halloween Party

click for larger image

I found that the 50mm on a full frame body produced vignetting as seen in the picture above. I removed it using Photoshop’s lens correction, but then decided I kind of liked it; which is weird ’cause I hate it when people add vignetting to their images. But in this case, it’s natural caused by the lens on a full frame body.

Overall, I was happy with the majority of the shots. You can see the rest of the pictures in my Baldwin Park gallery. Thanks for stopping by!

Size Matters in Photography: Choosing the Right Camera/Lens Combination

October 20, 2010 4 comments

Chart of Sensor Sizes

I was watching a recent episode of D-Town TV with Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski and they were explaining why you want to use “full frame” lenses on full frame cameras. It’s the difference between DX and FX lenses for Nikon and EF or EF-S lenses for Canon.  But they kind of glossed over something for Canon users: EF-S lenses will not fit on a full frame body. So why does any of this matter?

Take a look at the image above. The “Full Frame” line shows a full-sized sensor. Pictures taken with this sensor will give you the equivalent of  a standard 35mm film camera. Canon only makes two full frame cameras: The 5D MKII and the 1Ds MKIII. Nikon has four: the D700, D3, D3s and D3x. 

The next line is APS-H. Canon’s 1D MKIV and 1D MKIII have this sensor. Here is where the “crop factor” or “focal length multiplier” comes into play. With these cameras any lens you put on, you have to multipy by 1.3 to get the actual focal length. So your 50mm lens on a 1D MKIV would actually be a 65mm.

The next two lines are APS-C. The majority of Nikon and Canon cameras use this type of sensor. Nikon’s APS-C sensors have a crop factor of 1.5 and Canon’s is 1.6. That means a 50mm on most Nikons is 75mm and on most Canons its 80mm.

The only way to get a true 50mm is to use an EF lens on a full frame Canon or an FX lens on a full frame Nikon. Check out this video to see the difference on a 5D MKII and 7D.

As you can see, the difference is pretty telling. This all comes into play depending on the type of photography you do. If you shoot landscapes or interiors, then you want as much information as possible on your sensor. That’s why I use a full frame camera and a wide-angle lens for my interior and architecture images. If you shoot sports, then you might want the benefit of the crop factor. My 70-200, for example, on most Canons is actually, 112 to 320. I can get an extra 120mm on the long end by using a cropped sensor.

I mentioned DX, FX, EF and EF-S lenses. Canon’s EF lenses will fit any Canon camera. The EF-S lenses are made specifically for APS-C sized sensor cameras. On the body, where the lens attaches to the camera, you’ll notice a white or red dot. The white dot is where an EF-S lens attaches. The red dot is where an EF lens attaches. As mentioned earlier an EF-S lens will not fit on a full frame camera. If you try, the rear lens element will break your mirror. So if you have EF-S lenses and you upgrade to a full frame camera, then you’ll need new lenses too! As I understand it, a DX lens will fit on an FX camera but you can’t really use it on the wide end of the focal length without getting some severe vignetting. Also, your image size is decreased. Click the D-Town link above and watch the video for a more detailed explanation on that point.

Well I hope this helps. I’ve found a lot of DSLR owners never know that the lens they’re using isn’t giving them the focal length they think. Some people also ask what camera or lens they should buy. I always say to think about what you want to shoot and then take the sensor size into consideration.

A Giant Lens and a Giant Megapixel Image

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Silly restraining order keeping you away from Angelina Jolie? Pfft. Meaningless when put up against the “Mother of All Telephoto lenses. To quote Petapixel.com: “The Canon 1200mm f/5.6 L lens is a legendary optic that B&H calls “The Mother of all Telephotos“. It’s a 36 pound behemoth that costs $120,000 if you can find one for sale — only a handful of them were made at a rate of 2 per year (delivery time was 18 months). When coupled with a crop factor body (e.g. the Canon 7D) and a 2x extender, the lens is the equivalent of a 3840mm f/11.”

See it in action here:

And now baseball fans….check out this image from Game 1 of the National League Series. It’s a panoramic made up of 280 images and totalling 1,242 megapixels…that’s 1.2 gigapixels! What’s really cool is that if you use the tool to zoom in, you can actually see people in the stands! I see you picking your nose!

Stocking Stuffers For Your Favorite Photographer

October 18, 2010 4 comments

It’s that time of year again when vacant strip-mall spaces are temporarily occupied by costume shops and stores everywhere have candy on sale. Yes, it can only mean one thing…it’s almost Christmas! Relax, I found the perfect stocking stuffers for the photographer on your list.

First is a wide/macro and fisheye lens that fits on your camera phone. Awesome.

Next is a 4GB USB thumb drive in the shape of a DSLR. Shut the front door! They even come in different makes like Canon, Nikon, Sony and Olympus.

Those are the two that stuck out to me. Check out the Photojojo store for more cool ideas and hit me in the comments with your favorite.

Friday’s Photo Round-Up and Some Sad News

October 15, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m usually in a good mood on Fridays. I was feeling pretty good today until I read some sad news about one of my favorite photographers. Joe McNally is mourning the passing of his cat, Nigel. He wrote about it in his blog. If you’ve read my past blogs, you know how influential Joe is to photographers around the world in teaching off-camera flash and lighting techniques. In my blog yesterday I referenced his portrait of “napalm girl”. Please take a moment to stop by his blog and leave a note.

It hit close to home. I lost my cat in January and blogged about it here.

Ok. Let’s lighten the mood. You’ve heard about the rescued Chilean miner with the wife and the mistress? I can kinda relate. You see, I too have two loves: Photography….and cookies. Well, now I don’t have to choose thanks to this sweet little camera.

I saw this on the Today show yesterday. Check out these cool microscopic photographs. Some of them are like surreal works of art.

Lastly, here’s a majestic underwater image that helped me put things into perspective.

Cool Pics, An Amazing Gadget and More in Today’s Round-Up

October 14, 2010 1 comment

First up, the cool pics.

Here’s one that I didn’t believe at first. New York photographer Jay Fine captured lightning hitting the Statue of Liberty. The first thumbnail in the article clearly shows lightning “near” the statute. The last picture, blown up, actually shows what appears to be a lightning bolt hitting Lady Liberty. I was still skeptical, but then thought, “well, it is a huge lightning rod out in the middle of the water.”

Next up, 10 War Photographs that Changed the World.  Number 3 on that list is the one of “napalm girl”, the 9-year old who was burned in a napalm attack on her village in Vietnam. Joe McNally took her portrait   in 1995 holding her son. In the portrait you can see the scars on her back.

Here’s some advice on choosing a lens.

The Canon 1DMkIV was used for a live Al-Jazeera news broadcast. Find out why the cameraman chose a DSLR instead of a high-end video camera. Judging by the image quality, it’s not hard to see why!

Finally, my jaw dropped when I saw this. Then again, I’m a gadget freak. Canon has a device that looks like a scanner. You rest your DSLR or video camera on top of it and it starts to charge the battery. But wait, there’s more! It will, at the same time, retrieve the images from your memory card! The whole thing is hooked up to a flat screen TV where you can sort the files and even email them to someone! I’m still stuck on the “charge-your-battery-and-download-your-images-while-your-camera-sits-on-the-gadget” part. Dang, my Christmas list keeps getting longer!

Categories: Images, News, Tips

Tips for Writing Licenses and Contracts for Photography

October 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Pen and legal forms

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you want to make money from photography, you need to have a contract and a license signed by you and the client. A contract is just an agreement between you and a client that specifies the scope and nature of your work. A license is the document that grants a client certain rights to use your image(s). I’ve seen some wedding contracts, for example, that include a model release and specifies what the bride and groom can and can’t do with the images. So in essence it’s a contract, model release and license all in one.

Now, I’m no lawyer. That means two things; I can’t give  you legal advice. Second, it means writing and reading contracts and licenses give me a headache. I’m a college educated person, but sometimes I have to re-read a statement several times and sometimes I still don’t know what it says! If you think about it, writing “and” instead of “or” can have serious implications in a legal document.

So my first solution was to buy “Business and Legal Forms for Photographers” by Tad Crawford. The book comes with boiler-plate templates on a CD-ROM in various formats that you can use. The book walks you through what each line means and covers everything from model releases to wedding contracts and more.

Then I read something on the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) blog, “Strictly Business“.  In it, Judy Hermann writes,

 “Licenses don’t have to be complicated.  They don’t need to include a lot of wherefore’s, whereby’s or other legalese.   What they need to do is to outline – clearly, simply and in plain English – what the client can and can’t do with your images.”

She goes on to say that licenses can be written in list form. That got me thinking. I’m now in the process of writing up a contract in plain english. It’s not that easy though. I’m referring to the legalese in the book as well as the ASMP web site and translating it into plain english. In the end, I think this helps both parties. Would you want to give a bride a 2-to-3 page legal paper to sign? Seems a little intimidating, I think.

So my advice is to talk to your client and find out what their needs are. Then incorporate that into the contract. The  contract I’m writing now, for example, really only has three core principles. First, granting limited use to the client. Second, protecting my copyright and by extension; Third, not allowing them to give my images to anyone else.

If you’re serious about making money from photography you’ve got to learn about releases, contracts and licenses. Fortunately, the ASMP site is full of free information. On the homepage click on “Business Resources” then “Tutorials and Forms“. There you’ll find info on copyright, releases, an example of a bad contract and a terms and conditions example that you can include in your contracts.

Photography News and Tips

October 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Not much to report this morning. Here are a few items of interest.

1.) Here’s a video tutorial on how to use Photoshop Elements to create a slideshow.

2.) If you follow me on Facebook, then you saw my post about Canon’s rebates on entry-level DSLRs.

   2a.) Related to that; Canon has a new firmware update for the Rebel XS.

3.) Finally, check out this cool time-lapse video of a music festival. It uses some 50,000 images and a tilt-shift effect was added in post to make things look miniature. Be sure to click the link to the “Sandpit” video which uses the same concept to give us a glimpse into life in New York like you’ve never seen it.

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