Enter This Into Pop Photo’s “Travelographer of the Year” competition!

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. 

Warning….your sensibilities as an image producer are guaranteed to be offended, sometimes resulting in agita (aka “heartburn”), and general irrititability. If symptoms persist, see a lawyer! (more…)

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Friends in High Places

Photo © Bob Krist

I’m just putting together a stock submission of images from Buenos Aires  for a European magazine client when I came across the above pic of the Capitolio dome in Buenos Aires. It’s the seat of the government and notice how it’s nicely etched with light.

There’s a story behind that, and it’s another tale of who you know, not necessarily what you know.

My excellent friend and fixer, Bernardo Galmarini, knew the building manager of the Palacio Barolo building, an unbelievably beautiful art deco masterpiece from which we shot this view. It’s a work of art, and topped with a real working lighthouse complete with giant bulb and fresnel lens. That’s Bernando, below, checking his settings by the glow of the lighthouse.

Photo © Bob Krist

For the story of how we lit the dome of the Argentinian parliament without bringing the country’s Air Force or the Secret Service down on our heads, hit the jump.

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Luxury Hotel Peeves–A Rant in Four Acts

www.whattheduck.net

I’m back and furiously trying to get the three long multimedia slide shows, one for each leg of the jet trip, done and sent off to National Geographic Expeditions so they can dupe them and send one to each passenger. It’s fun working in iMovie and iDVD when you’re totally jetlagged. It makes you feel like you are not as smart as you think you are!

In the meantime, I had a chance to bang off a rant on the plane home. It illustrates just how nasty I can get when I’m sleep deprived, but what the hell, here goes:

It’s been almost two straight months, 18 countries, and countless hotel rooms. Most of the latter in much better establishments than I’m used to staying….much, much better.

By and large, the luxe hotel experience is kinda nice (but I tried really hard not to get used to it!). However, I am stunned at how many things about some of these these places are, well, downright frustrating. Things that much cheaper hotel chains got right years ago.

I don’t want to be whiny, (but I am, ‘cuz I’m profoundly jet-lagged) but there are reasons (besides my lack of income and inherent cheapness) that I stay at regular two or three-star business hotels and not these types of places. Here’s a quick list of my luxury hotel pet peeves.

1. Playing Hide the Plug–With a few notable exceptions, many of the fancy places don’t understand that we travelers need plugs, and we need plenty of them and we need them to be accessible.

I don’t care if the table I’m sitting at in my designer-furnished room is made from rare Burmese teak smuggled out of the jungle on the backs of thousands of specially-trained army ants in the service of Sultan of Brunei and carved to its current state of exquisiteness by a band of blind eunuchs who commit ritual suicide after they finish their works of art.

If I have to crawl on my hands and knees under said exquisiteness to find one damn plug, it’s all for naught. Why don’t they get that? What we need is a power strip with universal plug receptors on the top of the main table in the room. There are a few places that do something just like that in a very tasteful way (yeah, Four Seasons in Istanbul, you go!).

But if I have to get on my hands and knees to look for electricity, I think they should charge the damn interior decorator, and not me or my client, to stay in the room. C’mon! With apologies to Richard III, “My kingdom for an outlet!”

For a look at some of my other hotel pet peeves, and a chance to add a few of your own, hit the jump! (more…)

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The Great Video Dilemma…Redux

It would have been cool to have a video clip of these Shinto priests processing out of the temple after a ceremony, but while my video rig wasn't ready, my camera was! Photo © Bob Krist

Well, my marathon trip is coming to a close in beautiful Istanbul. And one other thing (besides the weather) has been bugging me on the trip.

Whether it’s a speed dating tour like the one I’m currently on, or a more in-depth assignment like my recent city profile of Buenos Aires for National Geographic Traveler, I am having a devil of a time fitting in the time to shoot video, let alone collect audio.

I’ve seen such stunning work from younger PJs who are combining both in beautiful stories. Maybe it’s because I’m from a pre-multi-tasking generation, but I really find it difficult to do both, or all three. I’ve written about this before and it hasn’t gotten any easier since.

I think part of the reason is that, while video-enabled DSLRs produce stunning-looking video, shooting video with them still presents, shall we say, ergonomic challenges.

First you put on your Zacuto viewfinder, then you put on your mic, your mixer, and your follow focus rig, and by the time you do that, the subject you want to video is three towns away, and maybe even retired. When, I wonder, will Nikon or Canon come up with a camera with the same chip, that takes the same lenses, but is actually designed to shoot video and not jerry-rigged to do so?

For my speculation on that and other video ironies, hit the jump.

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