Friday, March 25, 2011

An Oldie but a Goodie... The Friday Photo

I decided sometime ago to post random images on Fridays.... giving no explanation as to what they were or where they were taken. I'm diverging from that goal today.

I shot this image several years ago when I was in Paris. I was still shooting film regularly and was quite frustrated with my work. I decided to treat myself by giving in to the tourist in me and devoting some time to shoot my own interpretation of the Eiffel Tower.
What makes me proud of this shot --- besides the fact that capturing it helped re-energize my creativity --- was the fact that I captured the bird as it was. It is not an edited shot. I saw the pigeon land on the planter and waited for what seemed like five full minutes for it to fly off. I even resisted the urge to toss a pebble in it's direction to force it into flight so I could keep walking.

I'm getting ready to add Intermediate DSLR classes to my teaching roster at the Light Factory. I think I may introduce the students to some of the old school ways of shooting to really give them command of their equipment.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

This is Oxalis Regnelli, otherwise known as a Shamrock. This image is part of the flower portrait project I've been working on.

I usually only purchase cut flowers because, I am ashamed to say, I am not gifted with a green thumb. But I figured I would give it a try since I like this plant.
I have it housed in a mini-greenhouse beside one of the windows by my front door. This is not just for decorative purposes, though. I have a cat that I love very much and oxalis is toxic to kitties. And horses, actually, but I don't usually keep a horse in the house.
And none of this actually has anything to do with St. Patrick's Day... but it's almost 2:00pm and I missed my coffee this morning.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

On the Warpath: So What's It Worth to Ya?

One of the perils of being a photographer in the world of digital imagery and the internet is copyright infringement. Some people believe (or try to convince themselves) that if they can find an image on the internet, it must be in the public domain.
This thinking even bleeds into places where people are “in the industry” and should know better --- I received an email from one of my fellow APA members recently warning of a “rights grab” that was thinly veiled as a contest benefiting a charity. It was a rather nasty rights grab as well, with the sponsor stating “All entries become the exclusive property of … "Sponsor" and will not be acknowledged or returned.” I don’t think this company would respond well if someone proposed that they supply their services for free… So why are they trying to trick new talent into giving their efforts away?
I routinely surf the web, searching for my own images that have been used without my permission. I mean, come on… I know who my clients are and what we’ve discussed in terms of who can post what. I have had some clients who have purchased prints, then scanned those prints (very poorly) and have posted the bad scans. Not only is that stealing from me, that’s presenting my work in a poor light and can cost me other clients if they think the poor scans represent the quality (or lack thereof) of my work.

I even had one person argue with me about use of my images. I had shot an event for a non-profit, and even though I gave them permission to use the work for a specific purpose I still maintained my copyright. I chose to give them a discount, but I did get paid. This person called and asked to use an image from the event for a newsletter for a for-profit entity that had nothing to do with the original client. She got quite frustrated when I would not give her the image for free, saying “But you’ve already been paid for it.” Well, yes… but I had not been paid by the for-profit company.

I have been known to contact clients (or just general people who have no rights to my imagery) and inform them that they are in violation of my copyright. I think I inherited this from my very proper, somewhat petite paternal grandmother…. One day she came back into her office to find someone had wandered in off the street and was going through her desk to grab her purse. She chased him back out into the street. And she got her purse back. So if you plan on “grabbing” the work of me or any of my creative buddies, be forewarned: I will chase you back out into the street and get my work back.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ah, Spring!

A few weeks ago, Punxsutawney Phil, arguably the most notorious groundhog in the United States, did not see his shadow, thereby declaring an early Spring.

It seems that the rodent was right as the Bradford Pears that populate most of Charlotte, NC are bursting forth with their blooms and their pollen. I'm not such a fan of these ornamental trees since I seem to have developed a raging allergy to them. I can just about predict when they will start to bloom by the degree of pain that creeps into my sinus cavities. But it's all good, because I know that the pain with eventually go away and I will have my flowers to photograph again.

I recently grabbed my camera and Lensbaby on one of the first warm days and headed for the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in Belmont. The crocuses were up. My bonus-father always kept watch for their arrival and even had a yearly contest to see who would actually spot the first shoots sticking through the ground.

And my flower sources seem to be in high gear, offering several options for flower models whereas a few weeks ago the only thing being offered was what could be shipped in from far off, warmer environs. I shot three flower portraits yesterday and have two more waiting for their close-ups today. Before too much longer, I'll be knocking on strangers' doors requesting to photograph flowers from their yards.

Now where did I leave my allergy meds?