I had all but given up on the video footage I shot with my D300s when leading a photo safari in Tanzania last February for National Geographic Expeditions. Although I…
Ah, the lengths we go to to gain inspiration on an assignment. Whether it's staying out even though the skies are cloudy and pouring rain, or channeling Navajo spirits near…
In the midst of the packing and last minute details for an assignment I’m leaving on tomorrow (note to self: no more blog posts about Photoshop or plug-ins…whoa…you guys are tough, tough, tough), I took stock of my upcoming shopping list for gear, gadgets, and software.
And none of it was for still photo stuff.
I should be upgrading to CS5, but all my cameras are covered by the version of Adobe Camera Raw in CS4 so what I’m really getting ready to plunk down near four figures to upgrade is to Final Cut Studio from Final Cut Express, and not from CS4 to CS5.
And yes, I’d like that tiny new 85mm Nikkor DX VR macro lens, but what I’m actually buying next is a fairly pricey little Sennheiser wireless mic setup. And I’ve been hitting the videography blogs with alarming regularity.
What the hell is going on? Hit the jump to find out just who, or what, has hijacked my brain.
Ordinarily, my clients don’t let me mess with reality, but I had a shoot last weekend for the Arthritis Foundation‘s annual report cover that was clearly considered to be a “photo illustration,” and as such, I had more than the normal leeway.
The AD wanted a shot of a remarkable guy named David who cycled across country to raise money for the foundation, despite the fact that he’s pretty heavily laden with arthritis. And the concept was to get him moving along on his bike—trying to keep him sharp but getting a sense of movement to the rest of the shot.
So we popped open the trunk of my car and I got in, rigged up an SB800 on the lid, put my trusty 20-year-old KenLab KS 6 gyro stabilizer under the D300s and 24-70mmf/2.8, and had David trail the car (which was piloted by my good buddy, photographer Jerry Millevoi) at upwards of 20 miles an hour down a country road near New Hope. I tried a variety of shutter speeds, some resulting in very dramatic blurs, but for the cover purposes, just the hint of movement seemed to do the trick.
The 1/30th of second shutter speed picked up a nice bit of blur, the flash froze David (an excellent and fearless cyclist who tracked the car without breaking a sweat!), and the shot worked nicely. But the trees and the road behind him didn’t fall off a lot because we were down at f/11 or thereabouts. So if you wanted to run a cover headline and cutlines, the foliage would be pretty defined and distracting. But how to soften that background after the fact?
Cue the software cavalry…
Well, the foxes have been put in charge of the photo contest henhouse again, this time by Popular Photography. Their “Travelographer of the Year” photo competition is another thinly-disguised rights grab similar to Frommers’ notorious contest.
Yes, the good folks at Popular Photography who depend on you, the photo enthusiast, for their bread-and-butter subscriptions have no compunction about ripping off your work. Where, you might ask, is the love? I suspect it’s left on the conference table in the Legal Department, in the folder marked “F__k ’em if They Can’t Take a Joke,” or “Their Ignorance is Our Bliss.”
Truth be told, Pop Photo has been sliding down this path for a while under their new ownership and without the guidance of the late, great Burt Keppler, and the host of real photographer friends on staff like Monica Cipnic, Mason Resnick, and the crew from that era.
Fortunately, an organization called www.pro-imaging.org is helping to call out these rights grab contests. They offer the all-type jpeg seen above that you can use as a contest-entry, calling out the organizers of these rip-off contests and offering to educate them on issues of rights and rates.
Their Bill of Rights for photography competitions is worth a read, since these contests are springing up like weeds from all quarters, and many of them have this boilerplate ripoff rights language.
This kind of pro image-creator rights activism used to be the mainstay of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) before that organization got bogged down in a lot of internecine squabbles about dues increases, director payments to one another, and gadfly censuring.
I’ve been an ASMP member since 1982, but am reconsidering renewing in 2011 because of this bureaucratic nonsense and the erosion of member benefits that seem to move in lockstep with ever-increasing dues demands.
Pro-Imaging.Org looks to be a UK-based entity and is totally non-profit and run by volunteers. The membership is £30, which is about US$50 (as opposed to ASMP’s current $335 per year). And all the money goes to the programs (photo contests are just one aspect…they deal with all types of rights-grabbing organizations), not the leadership.
It’s too soon to tell how effective Pro-Imaging.org will be in the long run, but so far, I like the cut of their jib and it’s worth my $50 to help their cause.
Hit the jump for a read of the Travelographer of the Year contest rules.