Monthly Archives: August 2009

Your rights are Burning, Man!

Sorry, to be safe, no photo can go here!

So, it’s late August, and you wanna go to Burning Man; that yearly counterculture blowout and paean to, I dunno, free love and the Woodstock nation?  You’re gonna maybe take some pictures, do a video or an audio slideshow that will put you on the map as a sensitive documentarian of contemporary counterculture?

So maybe, in 40 years, they’ll be using your images on the PBS Burning Man anniversary special (directed by Ken Burns, Jr.)?

Think again, my friend.

This event may masquerade as a celebration of “la vie boheme,” but they want to restrict your rights as a photographer just like the big money-making events run by the NFL and rock stars.  Only difference is, those latter two don’t pretend to be anything but money making operations…(well, maybe some of the rockbands do, but certainly not the NFL.)

Here are the terms and conditions of attending BM:

“I UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT THAT NO USE OF IMAGES, FILM, OR VIDEO OBTAINED AT THE EVENT MAY BE MADE WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM BURNING MAN, OTHER THAN PERSONAL USE. I understand that I have no rights to make any non-personal use of any image, film, or video footage obtained at the event, and that I cannot sell, transfer, or give the footage or completed film or video to any other party, except for personal use, and I agree to inform anyone to whom I give any footage, film, or video that it can only be used for personal use.
I acknowledge that the Burning Man name and logo are the property of the Burning Man organization, and I understand that the Burning Man organization controls all rights regarding the licensing and reproduction of any imagery recorded at the event . I agree that I will not use the mark or logo of Burning Man or likeness of the Man on any website or in any commercial manner.”

Here’s an interesting analysis of how this rights grab is pulled off by using a loophole in the  Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA).

I had an 8 paragraph rant about this, to run after a jump.  But in an uncommon fit of discretion, it was redacted by the superego department. Needless to say, the id department is up in arms, and I expect some tough times ahead for the ego department, who had to negotiate this settlement…..Oy, these voices in my head! I wish they would all shut up!

As always, to get a cogent perspective (rather than my incoherent rants) on any legal issue regarding photography, visit my friend Carolyn Wright’s site, The Photo Attorney, or buy her book, Photographer’s Legal Guide.

Posted in Destinations, Events, Ironies, Legal Issues, Multimedia, Travel

Give the drummer some….


Photo © Bob Krist

My friend Tim gave me a call the other day…he needed some new shots for his website and promo material, and would I be interested? You betcha!  As James Brown used to say, you got to “give the drummer some!”

Tim is a great drummer and educator and I first met him in conjunction with a project he volunteered for through auspices of the Jonathan Krist Foundation. Tim spends a lot of time working with young guys in Trenton, making them better drummers and keeping them out of trouble.


Photo © Bob Krist

We decided to do this in my cavernous, dirty, dank garage high tech home studio, and started with a pretty straightforward portrait with a couple of his congas.

I didn’t go Strobist on this, deciding instead to use my old DynaLites, the great, compact AC strobe system I used day in and day out during my annual report shooting days.

The units have to be about 20 years old, and these days, they don’t see much use, but when you need ’em, they’re there, compact and dependable as ever.

Simple light, as always. One head into a 3×4 Chimera lightbox from camera left, and a head with a grid spot hitting the background from the floor. Not even a white fill card on the shadow side.

We got our “safe” shots and then Tim, who played football at school in Tennessee and looks like he still could tear through a defensive line, jumped into a dashiki and pulled out his African drums.

When he started playing, you could feel the power and energy, so we decided to go for a little more dramatic light. This time, we’d have the light coming from overhead.

To see how it evolved into the above shot, take a look at some other shots from the session, and grab a peek at my drive-in disaster area swanky studio setup, hit the jump.

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Posted in Lighting, Photo Gear, Photo Techniques

Don’t cry for me, Argentina…I’ll do that myself…

…but if you know a great fixer, I’ll stop sobbing.

I’ve got a gig coming up in early October in Buenos Aires, Argentina and I’m looking for a fixer/translator/guide type of person to help since my Spanish is really bad non-existent, and the assignment calls for a lot of phone calling and permission seeking.

The ideal candidate will be friendly, speak English, be a resident of BsAs, and hopefully a little familiar with photography. But a good tour guide type of person with patience, initiative, and a strong back would also suffice.

I’ve got a couple of irons in the fire, but do drop me an email if you have any leads.  Thanks, Bob

Posted in Travel

Don’t neglect to reflect….


Photo © Bob Krist

Regular readers of my column and blog know that I love my little Nikon speedlights for all the wonderful things they do so effortlessly. From fill flash, to slow synch to cordless off camera TTL control, these units have changed the way I work and have made me a flash maven.

But there are some contrasty situations where my first choice will be a reflector, usually one of the pop-open types like the Flexfill or Photoflex or Lastolite.  What are those situations and why do I like to use a reflector instead of flash when I encounter them? Hit the jump to find out.

Continue reading »

Posted in Lighting, Photo Gear, Photo Techniques, Travel

Reflections of a Road Warrior


Photo © Bob Krist

As one existential wag put it: “the only vehicle suited to the road is truth”. So, here are a few Truths from the Road, as I saw it during our three-week, 4,461-mile sweep of the West.

–If you’re going to spend more than a week anyplace, consider renting your car from the company’s downtown office rather than the airport. You’ll save a bundle. On this trip, we saved about 55% off the airport rate by taking a $50 taxi into downtown Denver and doing the three week rental from that office rather than the airport. On the return, with Peggy pleading sweetly on the cell phone, they let us drop the car at the airport anyway, with no penalty or foul. Total savings? Close to $1000!

–GPS units are a godsend. BUT, if you travel with a spouse/significant other who considers him or herself to be a navigator, try to take in the bigger picture. True, one of these methods is virtually infallible, and the other only thinks she is. But remember, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

Who cares if it takes another few hours, or days, to get where you’re going….especially if it helps your relationship last longer too? (Of course, if making your relationship last longer is NOT a desired result, then tell your spouse or significant other to cram it and surrender to the sweet, satellite-guided sounds of Garmin, Tom-Tom or whomever.)

–If you don’t think our country’s infrastructure is in trouble, look at what passes for a rest stop (in above photo)…. Okay, in the spirit of full disclosure, this is not a real rest stop, just one farmer’s idea of a joke.

Of course, if said farmer were an artist and, say, wore a beret, went by one name, spoke with a delicious foreign accent, and sent the above creation to an art museum, it would be an installation. An installation that is decrying, of course, the pitiful state of our country’s infrastructure.

But, rest assured, this guy is no Christo, and I’m no Avedon, and so this is just a fun picture to wrap up a great road trip….


Photo © Bob Krist

Posted in Career issues, Destinations, Ironies, Travel