Saturday, December 19, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

A quick Merry Christmas to all with a little Photoshop help.



Monday, December 7, 2009

Surfer Portraits at Dusk

I just got back from spending a few days in San Juan, La Union, Philippines, where I have spent many a day surfing some great waves. The main reason I went is that my daughter Jade, now going on three, has been wanting to go to the beach and I have been promising we would as soon as my shoulder was okay. It isn't 100% by any means but good enough to take her to the beach.

I had not done any photography since the motorcycle accident and knew I wanted to give it a try, see if my shoulder could handle it. I was thinking about just a camera and some cute photos of Jade.

But I have never gone anywhere without loading up more than I need so the night before we were to take off I decided I better put in at least a tripod, then well I better take a 580 EXII, well better take two just in cast one goes out. Hmmm? Probably better take a light stand, arm and knuckle...oh yeah and remote triggers, and a shoot through transparent umbrella, maybe a soft box, batteries, chargers, video camera.

Short of it is I loaded up still thinking I would only do some fun snaps. We stayed in a new studio apartment my friend Bob just finished, where two other good friends live. Sitting around drinking a beer with them the first night I asked if they would let me use them as models. They agreed although a bit reluctantly.

My idea was to shoot them as the sun set standing on the beach with their surfboards. The main obstacle was could I get down to the beach with the gear. I did trim it down to one camera body, a stand, shoot through umbrella, tripod, remotes and slaves and somehow managed to get to the beach with it all in hand.

I was so excited to do some photography again. I felt like a kid with my first camera.

As is always the case with late evening photos I was amazed at how fast the light fades and is suddenly gone, not a lot of time to work with but I feel very good about the photographs we got that evening.







Thursday, December 3, 2009

NEW RDA CONTRACT INSULTS THE VALUE OF PHOTOGRAPHERS!

I just received the following from one of the stock/rep agencies I am associated with, http://www.onasia.com/. They, very wisely, have decided not to work with RDA until a version of the contract more photographer friendly is offered.

Photographers are being pushed around more and more and the value of our work is being decided by other than us. I think it is time to be very careful with how we allow agencies, publishers, etc. to determine our value.

Notes in red are the agencies thoughts. The comments made by OnAsia are only opinions and purely for informational purposes – it is up to you to make your own decisions as to what you feel is acceptable in a contract.

DATE:

NAME OF PHOTOGRAPHER:

ADDRESS:

This contract, when executed by both parties, shall constitute an agreement between Reader’s Digest Asia Pte. Ltd. (“RDA”) and yourself with respect to certain photographs (the “Photographs”) to be created as follows:

1. You agree to deliver the Photograph(s) listed in Schedule A in compliance with the delivery date(s) set out in said Schedule.

2. You hereby grant, license, and assign to RDA, its subsidiaries, affiliates, parent company and licensees the following rights in the Photographs:

a) Exclusive worldwide rights to reproduce and publish the Photographs in any magazine, periodical or other publication as well as the right to reproduce and publish the Photographs in any Read­er’s Digest anthologies, compilations and promotional materials. AT EDITORIAL RATES THE NORM FOR ASSIGNMENTS HAS BEEN AND SHOULD CONTINUE TO BE FOR ONE TIME USE BY A SINGLE PUBLICATION UNLESS A REASONABLE FURTHER FEE HAS BEEN AGREED FOR MULTIPLE USES.

b) Exclusive rights to distribute the Photographs through the Internet, mobile phone and other commercial on-line services or through any other method or media, including without limitation, motion pictures, television programs, video programs and other audiovisual productions. IT IS OUR OPINION THAT THIS MEANS THAT NEITHER YOU (NOR YOUR AGENT) CAN RELICENSE ANY OF THE IMAGES YOU SHOOT ON THESE ASSIGNMENTS FOR TWO YEARS (SEE 4 BELOW) – EFFECTIVELY THE MAIN ‘LIFE’ OF THESE IMAGES. SO YOU WILL LOSE PRETTY MUCH ALL RESALE VALUE – ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS YOU CAN AFFORD TO TAKE ASSIGNMENTS AT LOW EDITORIAL RATES. THIS CLAUSE IS AMBIGUOUS AND IT IS OUR READING THAT YOU WOULD BE GIVING RD THE RIGHT TO MARKET AND SELL YOUR IMAGES TO ANYONE EVEN PUBLICATIONS/CLIENTS OUTSIDE OF RD FOR ANY USE INCLUDING ADVERTISING WITH NO FURTHER REMUNERATION TO YOU.

c) The right to archive the Photographs in any manner, method or media, now or hereafter known.

3. You agree that RDA may modify the size or other elements of the Photographs, which it shall do with care.

4. RDA shall have the exclusive right set out in section 2 herien, for a period of 24 months which shall commence from the date of publication of the photos and thereafter the rights set out in secton 2 shall be read as non -exclusive for an indefinite period. EVEN AFTER THE TWO YEARS RD CAN CONTINUE TO LICENSE (SELL) YOUR IMAGES IN PERPETUITY WITH NO REMUNERATION TO YOU.

5. You warrant that you have the full power to grant such rights set out in Section 2 herein, that the Photographs are original, and do not infringe any copyright or other rights of any third party, or contain any matter that is libelous or otherwise in contravention of the law. BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN SIGNING A CLAUSE LIKE THIS, IT IS OUR OPINION THAT IF YOU ARE SHOOTING AN ASSIGNMENT FOR A CLIENT, THEN IT IS UP TO THE PUBLISHER TO SATISFY THEMSELVES THAT THE IMAGES DO NOT INFRINGE ON ANY RIGHTS. NOT MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS CAN AFFORD TO DEFEND THEMSELVES AND THIS ONE SIDED CLAUSE MIGHT OPEN THE DOOR TO AN ACTION AGAINST THE PHOTOGRAPHER SHOULD THE MAGAZINE END UP USING AN IMAGE IN A LIBELOUS MANNER ESPECIALLY AS THEY CAN, WE BELIEVE, SELL THE IMAGES TO OTHER CLIENTS AND LOSE ANY CONTROL OVER HOW THE IMAGES MAY BE USED.

6. In consideration of the rights granted hereunder, upon acceptance of the Photographs at our sole discretion, RDA will pay you the sum set out in Schedule A. SHOULD RD OFFER YOU CORPORATE STYLE RATES FOR THE ADDITIONAL RIGHTS THEY ARE DEMANDING ABOVE (RIGHTS THAT WE BELIEVE ARE WAY IN EXCESS OF MOST CORPORATE ASSIGNMENTS WHICH NORMALLY DO NOT CARRY RESALE RIGHTS) THEN FOR SOME PHOTOGRAPHERS THIS MAY BE WORTH SIGNING. BUT IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT ANY RATE INCREASE FOR THEIR ASSIGNMENTS WILL BE MINUMAL, CERTAINLY WILL NOT APPROACH ANYTHING LIKE THE VALUE OF WHAT THEY ARE DEMANDING IN THIS AGREEMENT.

7. If the Photographs are not accepted because the article that they illustrate has been cancelled, RDA will pay you a kill fee representing up to fifty percent (50%) of the due amount for the Photographs as set out in Schedule A. THIS CLAUSE ALONE MAKES THIS CONTRACT COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE IN OUR OPINION – THEY CAN SIMPLY DECIDE NOT TO RUN A STORY AND ONLY PAY YOU 50% - THEY DO NOT EVEN MAKE IT CLEAR WHETHER THIS INCLUDES ONLY PAYING 50% OF THE EXPENSES! ASK THEM WHETHER WHEN THE READERS DIGEST CORPORATE TYPES GO SHOPPING AT TESCOS AND BUY A CASE OF RED WINE, THEY SAY THEY WILL ONLY PAY HALF IF THEY SUDDENLY DECIDE THEY PREFER WHITE.

8. If the Photographs are not accepted because they do not meet professional standards or if they do not meet the expectations or descriptions of RDAU specified in Schedule A, you will not receive any form of compensation or kill fee. THIS IS NOT A CLAUSE WE LIKE TO SEE IN ANY CONTRACT AS IT IS AMBIGUOUS, ONE PERSON’S IDEA OF WHAT IS USABLE IS ANOTHER’S FULL PAGE PICTURE. IF A PHOTOGRAPHER REALLY MESSES UP A SHOOT BOTH SIDES WILL KNOW IT AND THE PHOTOGRAPHER WILL PROBABLY CONCEDE THIS AND NOT CHARGE OR RESHOOT FOR NO ADDITIONAL FEE…BUT NEVER GOOD TO HAVE THIS AS PART OF A CONTRACT. BUT PROBABLY NOT A DEAL BREAKER.

9 RDA will reimburse reasonable expenses upon presentation of appropriate receipts or documentation. Any expense exceeding $100 must be approved in writing in advance by RDA.

10. this agreement may not be assigned by either party without prior written consent of the other party, except that RDA may assign the agreement to any successor publisher of Reader’s Digest magazine.

11. This Agreement shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of Singapore.

READ, ACCEPTED AND AGREED TO:

READER’S DIGEST ASIA PTE. LTD.

By:_________________________________________

Date:________________________________________

PHOTOGRAPHER

By:_________________________________________

Date:________________________________________

SCHEDULE A

DESCRIPTION OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS DELIVERY DATE(S) FEES

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Canon 5D Mark II DSLR

I came across a very interesting snapshot of a spec video shot by Ken Arlidge using the Canon 5D Mark II. It seems the revolution is here so to speak.

In his words: "The results were remarkable and it is clear that this camera is a viable tool in the business of making television commercials."

Ken Arlidge is obviously a pro and knows how to shoot motion. While many of us may not be as adept as he this certainly can open up possibilities for us doing video personally and/or professionally.

It really is a beautiful piece of work he has done. I only wish all Coke commercials were this enjoyable.



Friday, November 13, 2009

Keith Don't Go

If the title to this post doesn't ring a bell it is the title to a song by one of my favorite musicians, Nils Lofgren. He has played with E Street Band, Ringo Starr, Neil Young and has countless solo albums out there. If you are not familiar with his solo work check it out.

But I have already digressed. I admire the work of Annie Leibovitz but what this is about for me is Keith Richards. He defines Rock and Roll. Who would have thought he would me hanging around with Louis Vuitton luggage. I would have guessed more likely an old duffle bag but what do I know.

Anyway there is some cool lighting Annie does here, I just have to wonder, with both of them being such high profile people what the vibe was in that room. I bet it was way cool!




Sunday, November 8, 2009

You Suck at Photoshop #5: Select Color Range

If you haven't seen any of these videos let me just say they are FUNNY.

Whether you know the process covered or not you will get a laugh watching Donnie walk you through various Photoshop techniques.

I think there are a series of 20, all funny and for those new to Photoshop informative.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Website Up!

I just spent the last week doing what I thought would be a fairly easy task, updating my website. That was not to be the case.

With a lot of time on my hands, my arm still in a sling, one thing led to another and the end result is that I completely redid my website. I added new images, which would have been easy enough but I decided to complicate this by going back over hundreds of older files looking for images I had not used for one reason or another.

Then since so much of my existing web imagery was a couple of years old and feeling like I know a LOT more about using Photoshop now I thought it wise to start from the original RAW file and re-edit almost every image.

Turns out I am really glad I did both. The downside to my new knowledge is there just seem to crop (no pun intended) up those images that I can spend infinite amounts of time on playing with variations.

A good example is this image. I shot it six months ago and before finally saying, “okay this is it!” I must have started from the RAW file 25 times at least. I have a new appreciation for landscapes and photographers that shoot them.


Then I decided to change the type face of my header. I thought this would be quick and easy but I turned it into a full day of looking at type faces on what seems like every website that has them. Good news is I learned a lot about type...man there are some awesome type faces out there...there are also some really weird ones to put it nicely. Towards the end my eyes started to glaze over and at one point I even considered this, well for about a split second.


Probably a good decision since I don't want people to think of me as the chain saw photographer as a friend of mine put it.

I am using http://www.sitewelder.com/ as my host company and I can't say enough about the good people that run things there. They are amazingly fast to get back to me answering any questions I have and are also great about tweaking things for me when asked.

Here are a few other new photos I added:




Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What To Do With My Arm In A Sling??


So I have my left arm in a sling from the accident a week ago and I am starting to get bored. So I figured go through some old files and play with Photoshop. The one below I shot several years ago in Pagudpud on the cost of Luzon. I decided to bump up the saturation...a lot, and give it some grain i.e. noise, crop it and voila.


This one I did close to the opposite. I desaturated it and then added the noise.


Then I decided to go out n the deck and shoot some of the orchids my wife had just put out and convert them to B/W. Again I added some "grain".


Not sure the doc would approve quite yet but it was kind of fun just playing around.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ouch!

Had an accident on my motorcycle last Sunday. Dog ran out in front of me and then did a u-turn about 3 feet from me.

Here is the scoop...

My clavicle bone separated from the scapula completely. Clavicle was sticking straight up. 3 cracked ribs. Fortunately I had a full face Helmut on. I have two pins in the bones. One will be removed in two months. The other stays in for two years at which time it can be removed if I want but no real need to. Have to find out more about that. Minimum 6 months recovery before I can go back to the gym. It sucks! Can't even lift a camera for at least 2 months and maybe more. Hell I can't even put in my contact lenses because I can't lift my left arm to my face.

Thankfully I had a full-face helmet on. It is trash now. Weird no cuts and only one minor bruise on the inside of my knee. All in all I would say I was lucky!

Surgery went well and I think I had a great orthopedic surgeon. He and his brothers all studied at St. Lukes here in the PI...best med school here and rated very highly worldwide. But man am I soar.

Jade and Mia stayed at the hospital with me. Of course Jade loved that. She thinks it's a vacation but she was glad to come home last night. Going to be tough on her since daddy was always the play guy and now I can't even pick her up but she seems to understand, saying "dad you sick? Your shoulder is broken? This one?" And points to hers.

The brother of my surgeon is a cardiologist and he went over me to clear me for surgery. Blood tests for everything. Cardiogram was good as was everything else. BP was 120/80 the entire time there except immediately on checking when it was 130/90.

The most painful thing was tests for allergies to any and all meds before they gave them. Those hurt!

He has me on antibiotics, pain meds (which I really need) and vitamins to help the bones heal for three months.

Docs told me 80% of their trauma cases are motorcycle accidents and most of those caused by dogs running out into the street.

I took the sling off yesterday to bath and already my arm has stiffened to where it is hard, close to impossible, to straighten at the elbow...so I am slowing stretching it twice a day. The rehab is going to be slow I think especially in the beginning which is probably 2 months away...

Trying to do some PS work today and finding it to be a pain in the ass with one hand.

This is the last shot I did the day before the accident playing with a couple of lights on yet another rainy day here in the Philippines.



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ocean Cleanup

This past weekend I covered the cleanup on Manila Bay here in the Philippines, part of an around the world ocean cleanup day organized by Ocean Conservancy.

The Cleanup began in 1986 in Texas and in 1989 the Cleanup went global with the addition of Mexico and Canada. Since then, the International Coastal Cleanup has grown to become the largest volunteer effort of its kind for the ocean. Last year alone, nearly 400,000 volunteers in more than 100 countries removed up 6.8 million pounds of trash at 6,485 sites along beaches, rivers, lakes and streams as well as below the water’s surface.

It was amazing to see the effort put into the day by so many people. Sadly the results, as good as they were, seemed hopeless as I watched another line of trash move in on an incoming tide just as the cleanup was finishing up.

Before the cleanup began you can see the amount of trash on the shoreline.

Just a fraction of the people helping Saturday.

The Philippine Coast Guard was on hand to help.


A new line of trash can be seen close to the horizon as it moves in with the incoming tide just as the cleanup is finished.

Marine debris (ocean trash) is more than an eyesore; it is a potential threat to our food supply, to tourism and economic activity, to marine wildlife and ecosystems, and to our own personal health and safety. It even relates to the ocean’s resilience and ability to adapt to the onset of climate change.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Testing in the Rain

Okay so I am sick of the rain. It just seems to rain and rain and rain here lately. Last night I was going a bit stir crazy and decided to walk down the street with two 580 EXIIs and the Canon 5D and play around. I knew a spot where I could hopefully light and shoot and keep everything dry.

This is what you call a dirty kitchen (the outside kitchen) in the Philippines and the vehicle to the right is called oner here in the Philippines, kind of a jeep.

I used a 16-35 zoom at about 24 or somewhere close. It was too dark to worry about recording that at the time.

This first shot is without any strobes...f11@ 20 seconds, ISO 100.

For this shot I used one strobe just off camera right zoomed out as wide as possible -2/3 stop, same aperture and speed. I actually discovered that by slightly pulling out the bounce I could zoom it out to 14mm. Not sure if it is fact but it says so on the display and I thought I saw a difference between that and 24mm. The second strobe was about 15 feet to my right zoomed to 70mm and again -2/3 stop, angled right at the oner.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Travel and PS Brushes

Thought I would go back in time today and talk about a couple of images I shot, the first in the Panhandle of Florida at sunset and the second near Hoi An in Vietnam. Both of these I thought nice enough as they were but wanted to do something a bit more painterly like with them.

I used some brushes I found on diviantart by KeReN R and loaded into Photoshop. The second layer was a BW the third layer with another brush with color. I adjusted the opacity of each one about a dozen times until I liked what I saw, then flattened the image.

The last step was to open a threshold layer and get a true black and then flatten that. The result I like to think was nice and moody.



Friday, July 24, 2009

Shoot Through Translucent Umbrella

I've recently noticed some very nice photos done with these umbrellas, my favorite a photo done of Keith Richards by Annie Liebovitz and decided it was time for me to get over my old dislike for umbrellas. I think there was some part of me that thought umbrellas were for people that couldn't get their hands on a soft-box for one reason or another. And that probably comes from the fact that the first lighting setup I had came with two of the cheesiest umbrellas I have seen to this day.

So add that to the fact that I was getting a bit tired of the light produced from a soft-box and knowing it is always a good idea to try new things I decided it was time to go out and get one.

Here is the first shot I did with one. It is just left of camera feathered off to the right and just pointed slightly down. BTW that is my daughter who is 2 years and four months, loves to pose and have daddy as she says "click, click". But after a about six frames she informed me "me finished".



Monday, July 20, 2009

Fish

Thankfully I am pretty lazy sometimes so the light stayed up last night and there was a fish in the house this AM, a tilapia to be exact so I though it might be fun to shoot it until I put it in the skillet and he or she jumped out on the floor. I have never been real big on grabbing fish, some deep hidden fear of the scales slicing off my shooting finger. Somehow I managed to get it back in the skillet and here is the shot.


Bones

We all keep hearing about how bad the economy is and I was wanting to shoot something with this old skillet I have. So having just eaten some chicken and looking at what was left of my daughter's favorite piece of said chicken I decided it might say something about the way a lot of us are feeling these days.

I used an overhead softbox tilted slightly toward camera and a 580EXII as the only light source. Not sure it says exactly how I feel but pretty close.

Maybe tomorrow there will be some real food around the house!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Boys and a Laptop

Here is something I shot this week playing with some new off camera strobes. They are both 580 EXIIs. The one lighting their faces is bouncing off the laptop screen. I didn't have a blue gel handy (ok I lost it) so I used a notebook my wife had that is blue and leaned it against the screen to give the blue cast to their faces. Of course I didn't tell her until after I used it which I highly recommend. You know this time it's a notebook, next time it's some jewelry...

The light on the front of the laptop is shot through a snoot at about 10 o'clock.

I had seen something like this on http://strobist.blogspot.com and wanted to give it a try. The hardest part of the photo was keeping the boys interested for me to get a decent number of frames fired off but they were pretty good about it all in all.