100,000 Visits and Christmas !

It’s incredible but true, we are nearly at 100,000 visits to the Oaktree website, and we’re thrilled.

It’s been a good year so far – with lots of new clients asking us to shoot, and a good deal of repeat business from existing ones.  Each time we do an event shoot – the hit rate on the site goes mad, and in one case we nearly collapsed under the strain.  We’ve increased our stability since, and it shouldn’t happen again…….

We’ve loved doing dinners at great hotels, this one taken at the new Mercure Leicester City Hotel.   A superb venue with lots of great photo opportunities.  I was surprised with this shot, that the folks on the front table saw me up in the balcony and raised a glass in celebration.

We’re looking forward to Christmas events now, and have secured a press pass to shoot the opening of the Manchester Christmas markets this week.   More information can be found by clicking HERE

The Manchester Hoteliers Association Ball, was a great success – with all the major Manchester Hotels in attendance.  Their theme this year was ‘Bollywood’, and included Indian Drummers.  Guests dressed in costume, and awards were presented to Hotel Staff.  We set up a ‘mobile studio’ and guests had a great time posting for the camera.

Thanks go to the Palace Hotel in Manchester for hosting the event.

We look forward to working with you all again ….

Canon EOS-1DX SLR

I’ve been reading lots about this camera over the last week or so, and mentally comparing it with my own camera of choice – the 1D MK4.  The 1DX has got lots going for it, 18mp CMOS sensor, 61 point  autofocus, 14 fps shooting, and full HD recording.

It’s designed to completely replace the 1DS MK3, and the 1D MK4 models.  It has three DIGIC processors which will deliver 17 times more processing speed than current models. It is a full frame camera with the Canon CMOS sensor, with improved noise control.  The high processing speeds allow the 1DX to perform other functions such as improved chromatic aberration correction for various L lens in the Canon range.

The 1DX has larger pixels too, to achieve better light gathering.  The wave motion sensor cleaning has been improved, and will remove even small specs of dust, and can in some cases even repel it.  The high ISO setting of 204,800 should allow shooting in extreme dark conditions.

It also features new intelligent tracking and face recognition – ideal for event and sports photography.

Interestingly, it seems that this camera will also feature multiple exposure capability, and will be able to combine up to nine individual images into a single composite without the need to put the images through computer software.

Instead of combining CF and SD card slots, the 1DX will carry two CF cards, so photographers only have to consider one make of card.

This camera is scheduled for release in March 2012, and the initial price is suggested at $6,800.

Would I get one?  In a heartbeat, is the answer, but the reality is that it might just have to wait a little while longer…..

Why Don’t Photographers Work for Free

Photoprofessionals.wordpress.com
Text by Tony Wu
I get asked to provide images for free a lot – and sometimes I just don’t have the time to explain properly why I can’t do that.  I did explain to one client, who said I could have a credit, that credits don’t put bread on the table on a Friday night… I was pointed to this piece of work, which I much appreciate, and hopefully will incorporate into the website in the future… in the meantime, please read and appreciate.

Reasons Why Professional Photographers Cannot Work for Free

Dear potential photo buyer,

If you have been directed to this page, it is likely that you have requested the use of an image or images for free or minimal compensation.

As professional photographers, we receive requests for free images on a regular basis. In a perfect world, each of us would love to be able to respond in a positive manner and assist, especially with projects or efforts related to areas such as education, social issues, and conservation of natural resources. It is fair to say that in many cases, we wish we had the time and resources to do more to assist than just send photographs.

Unfortunately, such are the practicalities of life that we are often unable to respond, or that when we do, our replies are brief and do not convey an adequate sense of the reasons underlying our response.

Circumstances vary for each situation, but we have found that there are a number of recurring themes, which we have set out below with the objective of communicating more clearly with you, and hopefully avoiding misunderstandings or unintentionally engendering ill will.

Please take the following points in the constructive manner in which they are intended. We certainly hope that after you have had a chance to read this, we will be able to talk again and establish a mutually beneficial working relationship.

Photographs Are Our Livelihood
Creating compelling images is the way we make our living. If we give away our images for free, or spend too much time responding to requests for free images, we cannot make a living.

We Do Support Worthy Causes With Images
Most of us do contribute photographs, sometimes more, to support certain causes. In many cases, we may have participated directly in projects that we support with images, or we may have a pre-existing personal relationship with key people involved with the efforts concerned. In other words, each of us can and does provide images without compensation on a selective basis.

We Have Time Constraints
Making a leap from such selective support to responding positively to every request we get for free photographs, however, is impractical, if for no other reason than the substantial amount of time required to respond to requests, exchange correspondence, prepare and send files, and then follow-up to find out how our images were used and what objectives, if any, were achieved. It takes a lot of time to respond to requests, and time is always in short supply.

Pleas of “We Have No Money” Are Often Difficult to Fathom
The primary rationale provided in nearly all requests for free photographs is budgetary constraint, meaning that the requestor pleads a lack of funds.

Such requests frequently originate from organisations with a lot of cash on hand, whether they be publicly listed companies, government or quasi-government agencies, or even NGOs. Often, it is a simple matter of taking a look at a public filing or other similar disclosure document to see that the entity concerned has access to significant funding, certainly more than enough to pay photographers a reasonable fee should they choose to do so.

To make matters worse, it is apparent that all too often, of all the parties involved in a project or particular effort, photographers are the only ones being asked to work for free. Everyone else gets paid.

Given considerations like this, you can perhaps understand why we frequently feel slighted when we are told that: “We have no money.” Such claims can come across as a cynical ploy intended to take advantage of gullible individuals.

We Have Real Budget Constraints
With some exceptions, photography is not a highly remunerative profession. We have chosen this path in large part due to the passion we have for visual communication, visual art, and the subject matters in which we specialise.

The substantial increase in photographs available via the internet in recent years, coupled with reduced budgets of many photo buyers, means that our already meager incomes have come under additional strain.

Moreover, being a professional photographer involves significant monetary investment.

Our profession is by nature equipment-intensive. We need to buy cameras, lenses, computers, software, storage devices, and more on a regular basis. Things break and need to be repaired. We need back-ups of all our data, as one ill-placed cup of coffee could literally erase years of work. For all of us, investment in essential hardware and software entails thousands of dollars a year, as we need to stay current with new technology and best practices.

In addition, travel is a big part of many of our businesses. We must spend a lot of money on transportation, lodging and other travel-related costs.

And of course, perhaps most importantly, there is a substantial sum associated with the time and experience we have invested to become proficient at what we do, as well as the personal risks we often take. Taking snapshots may only involve pressing the camera shutter release, but creating images requires skill, experience and judgement.

So the bottom line is that although we certainly understand and can sympathise with budget constraints, from a practical point of view, we simply cannot afford to subsidise everyone who asks.

Getting “Credit” Doesn’t Mean Much
Part and parcel with requests for free images premised on budgetary constraints is often the promise of providing “credit” and “exposure”, in the form or a watermark, link, or perhaps even a specific mention, as a form of compensation in lieu of commercial remuneration.

There are two major problems with this.

First, getting credit isn’t compensation. We did, after all, create the images concerned, so credit is automatic. It is not something that we hope a third party will be kind enough to grant us.

Second, credit doesn’t pay bills. As we hopefully made clear above, we work hard to make the money required to reinvest in our photographic equipment and to cover related business expenses. On top of that, we need to make enough to pay for basic necessities like food, housing, transportation, etc.

In short, receiving credit for an image we created is a given, not compensation, and credit is not a substitute for payment.

“You Are The Only Photographer Being Unreasonable”
When we do have time to engage in correspondence with people and entities who request free photos, the dialogue sometimes degenerates into an agitated statement directed toward us, asserting in essence that all other photographers the person or entity has contacted are more than delighted to provide photos for free, and that somehow, we are “the only photographer being unreasonable”.

We know that is not true.

We also know that no reasonable and competent photographer would agree to unreasonable conditions. We do allow for the fact that some inexperienced photographers or people who happen to own cameras may indeed agree to work for free, but as the folk wisdom goes: “You get what you pay for.”

Please Follow-Up
One other experience we have in common is that when we do provide photographs for free, we often do not receive updates, feedback or any other form of follow-up letting us know how the event or project unfolded, what goals (if any) were achieved, and what good (if any) our photos did.

All too often, we don’t even get responses to emails we send to follow-up, until, of course, the next time that someone wants free photographs.

In instances where we do agree to work for free, please have the courtesy to follow-up and let us know how things went. A little consideration will go a long way in making us feel more inclined to take time to provide additional images in the future.

Wrap Up
We hope that the above points help elucidate why the relevant photographer listed below has sent you to this link. All of us are dedicated professionals, and we would be happy to work with you to move forward in a mutually beneficial manner.

Creative Commons License

HP – Printer Drivers

I thought I’d write about this, because HP seem to be making lives a bit strained (not to say expensive at the moment) – the story goes like this …..

A little while ago, my MAC updated the HP drivers, as part of its normal software updates. After this, I still quite happily printed text documents, and drafts. Yesterday, for the first time since the upgrade, I tried to print some client images – disaster, the paper was flooded with very expensive HP ink. It was literally running off the sheet, and not only did I get covered in it, but so did the wooden unit on which the printer stands, the printer itself, and anything within a half mile radius..
So I did the obvious things, recalibrated the heads, self clean, printed a test sheet – all OK, so another go with a photo, and a repeat disaster.

Hunting round the web, I find that HP will only offer ‘chat’ and ‘e-mail’ support, if the product is still under warranty – so no help there then… thanks a lot HP….. But I did find the HP forum which discussed exactly the problem I was having – it seems that the problem is with the driver update, but it was proving difficult to find the old driver again. Fortunately with the MAC – I do have time machine installed, and so I was able to roll back and find the old driver software. I installed this, but then just got lots of errors flagged up, and an upgrade message from the MAC telling me to update the driver to the one I’d just deleted.

More research found this
Clearest way to solve the issue is to do following steps:

– Remove HP printer(s) from printer list (System Preferences > Print and Fax (MacOS 10.6) / Print and Scan (MacOS 10.7)

– Move the whole “hp” folder from /Library/Printers/ into Trash

– Download and install HP Drivers Update Version 2.6 from following link:

ftp://hppsu2_6:7iy*HW4i@ftp.usa.hp.com/

– Restart the Mac

– Add printer in System Preferences …

And so the problem (for the moment at least) is solved, and I printed my client images. How I wish I was getting paid by the hour, because it took just over 4 hours to identify, and solve the problem… loads of ink down the drain, and one 10×8 print at the end of it…. I’m going to do the rest today…. wish me luck….

It’s riot free here…….

It’s been a long night in Manchester – and it’s been a tragedy that after all the work done post IRA bomb, there are idiots that will just wreck it all again….. I’m too old to understand.  Hey ho !  onwards and upwards…

I’ve just been on an evening course all about time-lapse photography.  It of course ended up with me spending money, this time on an intervalometer.  I’ve uploaded my first attempt onto Flickr… which was of course my better half mowing the lawn.  It’s been suggested that I should add the ‘Benny Hill’ music.

I’ve also been working on images with ‘white’ backgrounds, with the use of a light-tent whilst the weather has been not so brilliant.

These images almost look like sketches when they are printed large.  This is Lavender taken out of the back garden and arranged in sand in a small glass vase.  The vase has been faded out into the background, and the latin text added – after looking it up on the web that is.

Add one flash either side of the tent, at low power, and over expose by at least one stop to make sure the background is fully white.

These could be great greetings cards, and so easy to do.

 

open city photography | Initiative | CityCo

open city photography | Initiative | CityCo.

I’m impressed by this.  After all the problems that photographers have had, taking photographs in the city centre, finally we have one city who want to make it the UK’s most welcoming and accessible photography destination.  It seems to have been going since 2010, but then I always was a bit behind the times.  LOL

The Droste Experience

Over the last few days, I’ve been experimenting with the Droste Effect in CS5 – The Droste effect is a specific kind of recursive picture, one that in heraldry is termed mise en abyme. An image exhibiting the Droste effect depicts a smaller version of itself in a place where a similar picture would realistically be expected to appear. This smaller version then depicts an even smaller version of itself in the same place, and so on. Only in theory could this go on forever; practically, it continues only as long as the resolution of the picture allows, which is relatively short, since each iteration geometrically reduces the picture’s size. It is a visual example of a strange loop, a self-referential system of instancing which is the cornerstone of fractal geometry.

Whilst I don’t always understand the mathematics of it, the principle works well…

You need a couple of plugins for photoshop to achieve the effect, and they can be found on the Adobe Website, and are free – the first is “Pixel Bender”, and the add-on for that, is “Droste” – both of which sit in the filters menu of CS5. More fiddling is needed to achieve the desired effects, but there are plenty of good tutorials online. I’m sure I’ll get around to writing my own when I get the chance.

But in the meantime, I’m going to have a ball with this filter.

Yosemite Moonbows

Hunting around for something else, I stumbled upon this video on U-Tube about Moonbows.  They are like Rainbows, but only appear at night when there is a full moon shining.  There are few places where this can be seen, but Yosemite is one of them.  I spent some time there last year, but sadly didn’t know about Moonbows till I got back from the trip.

Steven Bumgardner is the video producer for Yosemite National Park and has spent the last two years Moonbow hunting and shot over 2000 images with his trusty Canon to catch the time lapse sequences you see here.

Watch the video and enjoy…

Diane Seddon LRPS – Google+

Diane Seddon LRPS – Google+.

OK, so I hate Facebook, but now I’ve been invited to join Google’s latest offering, Google+. Already I’m finding people I know, and so far it’s much nicer to use I feel than FB.  We’ll give it a run for its money – and if anyone out there wants an invite then just let me know.

I’m back off holiday now, and already back in the swing of things.  Shooting dogs tomorrow – and another wedding on Thursday – in association with Shared Earth Photography.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll have the day off on Friday…