08.11.2011

Seychelles: wonderful beaches

This year I had the chance to travel to the Seychelles Islands and get a bag full of pictures of the really wonderful beaches there. Have a look. More will be coming soon.

Seychelles - Copyright Kristian Peetz / www.latin-point.com

Seychelles - Copyright Kristian Peetz / www.latin-point.com 

Seychelles - Copyright Kristian Peetz / www.latin-point.com 

Seychelles - Copyright Kristian Peetz / www.latin-point.com

Seychelles - Copyright Kristian Peetz / www.latin-point.com 

Seychelles - Copyright Kristian Peetz / www.latin-point.com 

Seychelles - Copyright Kristian Peetz / www.latin-point.com 

Seychelles - Copyright Kristian Peetz / www.latin-point.com 

Seychelles - Copyright Kristian Peetz / www.latin-point.com 

Seychelles - Copyright Kristian Peetz / www.latin-point.com 

Seychelles - Copyright Kristian Peetz / www.latin-point.com 

All pictures available at print size and for commercial uses through my Stock Agency Alamy:

Stock photography by Kristian+Peetz at Alamy

Google+ Pages - Introduction


Yesterday Google+ rolled out the brand new Google+ Pages. This new feature allows G+ members to create a new "profile page", but there are some slight differences:

- Pages can´t add people to circles until the page is added first or mentioned
- Pages can be made for a variety of different entities whereas profiles can only be made for people
- The default privacy setting for elements on your page profile is public
- Pages have the +Button
- Pages can´t +1 other pages, nor can they +1 stuff on the Web
- Pages can´t play games
- Pages don´t have the option to share to 'Extended circles'
- Pages don´t receive notifications via email, text, or in the Google bar
- Pages can´t hangout on mobile device
- Local Pages have special fields that help people find the business' physical location

Pages are extremly easy to build up and most of the Big Business (Pepsi, H&M, The Muppet Show, ABC News, etc.) have already done so. Seems like they were just waiting for it :-)

So, what are Pages then? Well, in my opinion, they are focused business profiles. The advantage for them are obvious:

1) For the Big Businesses (Industry, Media, Services, etc.) the Pages are a no-brain. No better way to get in touch with the G+ users. They can extend their network and interact with customers easily. Actually very similar to the Facebook Fan-Pages...
2) For Little Businesses (Individuals, Small Services, Individual Sellers, etc.) Pages offer the chance to build up a reputation, create a network and do Marketing at little cost. Communication with customers will be easy.
3) For One Time Shots (Campaigns, Happenings, Parties, Events, Social Moves, etc.) Pages are great: easy and fast to build up, easy and fast to delete. If the Manager has built up a big community (Circle) it will be possible to reach many people with just a click.
4) For Photographers (individual ones) Pages offer a interesting opportunity on G+: many (actually the most I´ve ever seen on a Social Platform) are very active on G+ and have build up extremely big Circles. This Circles are almost to 100% full of fellow Photographers or People who like images. But... are this Circles the right target for a Photographer making business? I guess NOT. Photographers make their business selling Rights, selling the Use of an Image. Will this fellow photographers in their Circles buy these? Probably not...



So, for interacting and communicationg about the Photography Topic this Circles they have build up since the beginning of G+ (which is only some months old) are really great and cool. No better place to talk about it and get useful information. But sales are not going to happen within them.

Pages now offer the (professional) Photographers the chance to create a new Profile focusing on Business. This does not mean that they will have to share their posts twice (Private Profile and Business Page), it means they will have the possibility of focusing their Posts to the right target audience, which in this case would be Editorials, Designers, Stock Images Agencies and so on. The one who will probably PAY for the images.

Pages are still only some hours old, so there is much to explore right now. But it could actually become the next Big Thing on G+ for business oriented Photographers.


For the time beeing this one is my Page:




The Page is not ready now, but you gotta begin somehow!
If you´re interested in Photography, specially Stock Photography... add me :-)

04.11.2011

Find my pictures online - Chrome Extension

So, Google has realeased some months ago the possibility of tracking pictures online in their serach engine. You would just drag and drop a picture into the search box and it would show you the results.
Allthough a cool way to find uses of your images online, I found it a bit tedious having to have two separate windows open in order to drag the images from the one (original) to the other one (search window)...
Chrome Extension: search by Image for Google
Now, if your are using Chrome as your internet browser you can just add this tiny Extension from the Chrome Web Store and just right click on the picture and it will automate the search. NO more dragging... just clicking!

I have Tineye installed, too. So this one is just another alternative for tracking your images online. Funny: searching for one image with both searching tools gives you different results... so, it´s not a bad idea to try them both.

I think both tools are great for photographers, specially stock photographers, to track their images online and check the uses. You never know.... as you can see in my Blog Post before.

The Chrome Extension can be found here.

Cocktail: Pisco Sour - Recipe

If you ever have been to Peru then you will hopefully have tasted the cocktail called Pisco Sour! It is actually very easy to prepare and tastes extremly good :-)

Here is how you prepare it:

you need to have

* 8 parts of Pisco
* 4 parts of lime juice
* 3 parts of syrup
* 1 egg white
* 1 dash Bitter
* ice

Put the Pisco, the lime juice, the syrup and the egg white into the blender. Put ice into it, too. Bleeeend, bleeeend till it gets creamy. Then strain it into a glass and garnish it with some drops of bitter on the top.

Enjoy! :-)

Here is a good video shoing a bit more of background info about Pisco:

03.11.2011

Your picture on a block of wood

This one is a great idea for putting your picture on something else than paper oder your monitor. It´s actually very easy to do and the result is very handy. Will try it myself in the next days!



Best things in life are simple :-)

Visualization of the Credit Crisis

Allthough it has nothing to do (at least not directly) with photography, I found this video visualizing the Credit Crisis in very simple infographics. Worth a look!



May you live in interesting times...

02.11.2011

To Watermark or not... continued

Some time ago I wrote my opinion about watermarking or not your pictures when putting them online (see my blog). This has been a very discussed topic in almost any of the online platforms I visit, where people put pictures online. And, as always... there are diverging opinions.
Allthough he wrote it some time ago, I found today a very interesting post from photographer Jim Goldstein in his blog about it. Give it a read... it´s good!

here

*UPDATE*

Just to give you an example of what can happen to a picture if you just let it loose:

Click on the image to make it large
I took this picture long ago with my first digital cam, Canon G2, back in 2005. I was at the beach and thought "Hey, just write down miss you on the sand!" and took a picture.

At that time I was not really aware of the dynamic ways a picture can go through the web, so I posted it without a watermark. So, what happened during this short time lapse (after some months I began to watermark every single file) where it could be copied without having probs? You guess it... it was copied! Allthough it was strictly stated that this is my intelectual property, my copyright and "thou shall not copy" yaddayadda... some people came by, took it and posted it on their stream as if it was THEIRS.
You know, if somebody likes a picture and he/she asks politely I would really think about letting him/her use it. But blatantly stealing it and marking it as their own (which means: not marking it as mine) is what is really annoying.
So, what to do? As almost all of them (at least at Flickr) are kiddies, I wont do nothing and get over it. But there are some pro accounts there where I suppose some smart dudes behind. This one will get a shotdown notice from Flickr/Yahoo. And if I get to know that they made money with it... they wil get a bill. As simple as that.

I'm watch: the next cool thingie?

I have to admit that I am always checking new devices and stuff. This one came to my eyes today and seems pretty handsome. As far as I understand it, it just connects your mobile to a pretty designed (hey, it´s italian!) watch. So, instead of always havong to pull out your cell to check what's up this watch informs you on its display. Seems quite cool :-)

Watch the preview:


And here is the homepage where you can find it: http://live.imwatch.it/

I wonder if it will become popular :-)

*UPDATE*
I found another Youtube-Video showing the watch itself:

Lightroom: Automating things

This is a very good Adobe Video about Automating Processes and avoiding double tasks while using Lightroom. If you work with Lightroom this one is for you :-)



There are a lot more of Video-Tutorials on Adobes Pages, check them out!
Enjoy!

Lightroom: controlled editing of the Histogram

Adobe Lightroom is an extremly powerfull tool when it comes to quickly editing/managing your pictures. Allthough his big brother Photoshop has much more editing possibilities, sometimes you just need some quick editing and retouches which can be done in Lightroom very easy and fast. No need to open Photoshop and creating layers and so on.
One thing I discovered while working with Lightroom is the possibility of editing the Histogram of the picture right out of the Histogram itself! If you don´t know what the Histogram is... well, in a few words it´s the graphical overview of the tonal distribution of the image. Actually, it´s a very important tool for checking if your image has its range of colour/light optimally set. If you don´t know about it and you want to get your images to an upper level of quality you should get in touch with this topic.
So, back to Lightroom: when you open your picture in the Develop Module you will find the Histogram on the upper right side:

Lightroom Histogram
Normally you would now begin to move the sliders Exposure, Recovery, Fill Lights and Blacks in order to rearrange the tonal distribution of your image and check the Histogram to see what happens.

Well, there is another way. Actually it´s the other way around:

instead of moving the sliders and checking the Histogram you can rearrange the Histogram out of the Histogram itself! Just move your mouse over the Histogram and you will see that depending on which part of the Histogram you are on (which cassually are exactly the four regions Exposure, Recovery, Fill Lights and Blacks) you´ll be able to edit the region by just pressing your mouse-button and sliding to left or right:

This is a good tip for quickly rearranging your tonal distribution and optimize it. Of course you can still do it with the sliders underneath but this method is more intuitive. Have fun!



01.11.2011

Google+ introduces "Ripples"

Few days ago the team of Google+ introduced a new feature called RIPPLES. So, what are ripples? Well, it´s a graphical overview of the spreading directions and ways that the posts on Google+ do follow. You can check the way your post is following while beeing reshared all over the network. The GUI is easy to understand and you can gather important information out of it, specially when tracking the way and multiplicators your post goes through while hopefully getting many readers. Check it out here:



Cool, isn´t it? :-)

Newspapers of the world

Ever wondered what the newspapers of Madagascar or Uzbekistan have to say? Well, here´s an easy way to check it out... and even understand it in your own language :-)

newspapers of the world
http://newspapermap.com

Very handy!

Inspiring Photo-Albums on Google+

As you may have noticed my blog hasn't been updated for a long time... the reason is actually very simple: since the launch of Google+ (of which I got to be one of the first generation users during the Beta-Phase) I´ve spent much of my online time on that network. It has became a great source of inspiration and information, specially for photographers! If you´re not already into Google+ and you´re a photographer: you should! I´ve never experienced a more genuine and pleasant place for sharing and contribuiting about photography before. If you want a starting point for getting contacts, just add me and you´ll find many, many great togs in my profile.

My Photo-Album at Google+ 
But now to the point of this post: if you´re looking for some great photography-albums whit truly inspiring and amazing photography, take a look at this site!

More info about Google+ here.


Google-Maps: Helicopter View enabled!

I am a huge fan of Google-Maps! It makes life much more easier when dealing with adresses, locations and even for just surfing through the surface of our wonderful planet. Gotta try it... just turn it on and walk through the world :-)
Now Google-Maps has enabled the "Helicopter View" on it. Using it you can track the tour as if you would be flying with an helicopter along it. Really cool :-)

Watch it here:



More info here!

Have fun driving around the world... without having to drive :-)

Amazing: be in the middle of the movie!

There has been a lot of development in the 3D-Area of cinematography. Google was one of the first to implement it into their Google-Maps, Streetview-Option. When using it you can scroll around and get a 360° view of the area you´re in. Looks great, but it´s still kind of clumsy and will surely get better in the next years. So, what they did was to stitch different still pictures, taken from different angles to give the viewer a sense of 360° feeling.
Today while scrolling through Google+ posts I found this amazing development of this idea... but it goes further: it does not only stitch still images... nope... it stitches VIDEO in an amazing way! You can watch the video and turn around while the movie is running. Kind of beeing in the middle of the happening.

Watch it here: http://www.yellowbirdsdonthavewingsbuttheyflytomakeyouexperiencea3dreality.com/showreels/

I believe this technique will take us into another big step of videography! Next time you watch a movie... you could be in the middle of the action... watch out for the zombies! :-)

 *UPDATE* Talking about 360° views, here´s a pretty toy for making it with still images:
 

More info here! Quite nice :-)

Lightroom: did you know about the ALT-key trick?

One of the most challenging tasks while working with digital photography is applying the sharpness. Because of the nature of the digital sensors and the procedure used most of the pictures need to be sharpen afterwards. While there is option of USM or Smart Sharpen in Photoshop, you can also use the sharpen tool in Lightroom. One thing I did not know was the possibility of using the ALT-key while applying the sharpness. It gives you a very good control of the areas of the picture which will be altered and those which will not be touched by the sharpness tool. Try it out!

This is the place where I found it: http://mansurovs.com/how-to-properly-sharpen-images-in-lightroom

Great tip!

17.07.2011

Handimals by Guido Daniele

You have probably seen some of this highly creative pictures of animals on hands:



They are called "Handimals". He uses human hands in different positions to artistically display animals.

The artist, Guido Daniele, has got an amazing portfolio of works, gotta check his Homepage! And don´t forget to check his advertising-work with body-painting... just great!

Here you can see the artist on an interview with an italian magazine (logically... it´s in italian):



I always admire artists who find new ways of showing the possibilities of "optical" arts. Kuddos to this one!

16.07.2011

Tutorial: stacking for wider focus range - Video

Specially when doing Product Photography from small items (for example jewels, watches, etc.) you will often get the problem, that the Depth of Field will often be too small in order to get the whole item (from the beginning to the end) sharp. Even if you go down to f22 or smaller... it wont be enough - and you might not have enough light power. Difraction may come, too...

Of course there are special Lenses (Macros) for this purpose, but besides of being expensive they have their limits, too. So, isn´t there another solution for this prob?

The answer is YES.

The process is called "Focus Stacking": The item is then shot with slightly different focus lengths and afterwards the software stacks (merges) the whole set of pictures using as an merge-indication the sharpest parts of the pictures. By doing this you may then artificially increase the Depth of Field and thus the Sharpness of the depictured item.

Fellow Photographer Alex Koloskov has made a very informational video tutorial about the way he handles focux stacking. This is his video tutorial:

Focus stacking (bracketing) technique in photoshop. from Alex Koloskov on Vimeo.

Take a look at it, it´s actually very easy to understand and use. His whole blog is actually worth reading!

The Genius Of Photography - a Documentary

Zapping through the billions of YouTube-Videos around there I found this fantastic serie of videos made by the BBC about the "Genius Of Photography". It covers the 170 years old history of Photography and its various makers. Enjoy a lot of background info and watch many of the most famous pictures ever taken :-)

As usual the BBC made a great work with this documentary and I really recommend all photographers (pro or non-pro) to take a look at it. You may learn a lot... or just say "I know all of that", but you will for sure understand Photography more by learning its backgrounds and historical development. Please enjoy :-)



The whole episodes of it (15 minutes each) can be found here.

Have a nice weekend!

15.07.2011

The Story behind the Microsoft Windows XP Wallpaper "Bliss"

I always wondered who made the photograph of the green hill with the white clouds which adorns (or should I say adorned...) thousands... no... millions (!) of desktops through the lifecycle of Windows XP as an OS. It even has got its own Wikipedia Article! By the way... there you can also check how the place looks on a not "perfect" day :-)

Well, today a got a link to an interview with the Photographer Charles O'Rear, who actually took the picture and sold the rights to Microsoft. Allthough no information about the deal has been disclosed... I wonder how many cents he would have gotten if he had made a Rights Managed Licence out of it... just 1 Cent per sold Win XP...

Nope... I don´t wanna know... no... nope... the weekend is too close :-)

A collection of Top 33 Photography Blogs

The E-Junkie.info Blog today published a very good list of worthy blogs around the Photography topic:
"When it comes to suggesting interesting and informative resources, we've covered lists of some of the best blogs that every small business owner, writer, young entrepreneur, and artist must follow. And today we bring you a huge list of resources for photographers. In this list we've covered blogs that cater to different types of photography so that every photographer can find something that he/she could use.

So have a look at this list and choose from some of the best blogs that will provide you product information, tips, advices, reviews, ideas, techniques and inspiration." (source: E-Junkie.info)

Check it out here! Lots of very good information and ressources for every photographer out there.

11.07.2011

Add favicon to your Blog @ Blogger

The guys at blogger (where by the way my blog is hosted) have been doing some work and adding new features to the blogger site. One of the thing they have been working on is the new feature for adding or choosing your own favicon (you know, the little thingie at the top of any tab of the browser) instead of the standard orange B.

Before this you had to work a bit into the HTML design of the blog to get your own favicon (which was not easy for people not into the HTML-topic), but now it´s easy as abc!

Check it here!

Thanx guys!

Update: for those who change their favicon and wonder why this does not change immediately, here´s the explanation. As often in life... you gotta wait a bit :-)

10.07.2011

Funny :-)

I have to confess that I use the maps functionality of Google a lot! Simple to handle, correct informations and always a good help when needed.

Today I came across a very funny example of EXACT description of how to get from China to Taiwan:

1 - Open Google Maps (directions)
2 - Type China as your starting point
3 - Type Taiwan as your destination.
4 - Read step 48
5 - When you stop laughing, +1 this and Share :)

Have a nice laugh :-)

GOOGLE+ invites



As of today I can send some invites for google+... so, if you want one, just drop me a line in the comments with your googlemail and I will send it to you a.s.a.p.

The thing with the TOS of many Online Services

First of all: I am not a lawyer, so the coming text is just my personal opinion about this topic. If you want a decisive legal opinion about this: ask your lawyer.

There has been a lot of discussion about the newly updated TOS (Term Of Service) of Dropbox or the fineprint in Google´s TOS. You can read them here, here, here and here. Even the Washington Post commented it. Fellow Photographer Rolando Gomez makes some interesting points in his Blog, too.
The main issue discussed is the fear of loosing control over your intelectual property (that means your files) when uploading them to Dropbox or any of the others. Well, let me tell you that almost all of the Online Storage Services (specially for photographers: Flickr, Google, Picasa [same as Google as the Owner], etc. even Facebook!) do have a very similar wording in their TOS regarding the licence you provide them when uploading your data. In almost all the cases you provide them with

* worldwide,
* non-exclusive,
* royalty-free,
* sublicenseable rights to use,
* copy,
* distribute,
* prepare derivative works (such as translations or format conversions) of,
* perform,
* or publicly display the data

So... what´s all the fuzz about Dropbox updating their TOS or Google stating their TOS? Nothing new under the stars, folks.

Regarding photographers the common fear is that when uploading your pictures to this services you grant them a licence with the above mentioned rights and some photographers think that this could breach the contracts with Agencies/Customers when they had granted rights or even "kill" the revenue possibilities of a picture BEFORE offering it to the market:

If photographer grants through a sale of a picture a customer a licence to use the picture for lets say 3 years exclusively... is he still able to upload the file to Dropbox without breaching the contract? Remember: he grants the customer the exclusive licence to use the picture and by the terms he should not be able to upload the file to Dropbox, cause he would be granting Dropbox the above mentioned rights... 2 times rights-granting to different folks. Is this a legal violation of the contract?

On the other side, if you don´t grant them this specifical rights to handle your files... well, then the Online Storage Services wouldn´t be able to offer you their services. Without this rights THEY would be breaching the law and violating YOUR Intelectual Property Rights.

As stated above, I am not a lawyer but I really don´t see a problem in uploading your pictures to any of the mentioned Online Storage Services AS LONG as you keep some basic rules when handling your pictures:

- read the TOS carefully (!) before uploading your files
- when possible, mark your pictures as YOUR own pictures
- when possible put a good watermark on them
- when possible inform the viewer about the possibilities to contact you directly
- when possible state the licence form your pictures can be used or not be used
- never, ever upload the file in its original size... always use web-size for this matter

I think, if you keep an eye on this simple rules you can avoid having legal problems when showing your pictures to the world through any of the Online Storage Services. And if you´re still unsure, well then contact your lawyer or... simply don´t upload your pictures anywhere.

But, seriously, I think the advantages of this services are bigger than the possible disadvantages.

By the way: as Dropbox doesn´t offer a optical showcase for pictures, only storage... the solution for the above mentioned problem could be very easy: encrypt them!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*UPDATE* Now I have found comments from a LAWYER about this topic, check what Denise Howell has to say about it.
*UPDATE 2* Photographer Colby Brown comments about this topic in his Blog. So does Microstock Photographer Sean Locke in his Blog.
*UPDATE 3* Photographer Jim Goldstein explains step by step why he does not think that the sky is falling down with the TOS of Social Media in his Blog.
*UPDATE 4* This is perhaps one of the most important updates about this topic, specially concerning prof. photographers working with agencies:

the big G (Getty Images) has responded on Flickr that posting pictures on G+ DOES NOT violate the terms of the Flickr Getty Contributors Contract. If you´re a Flickr Contributor of Getty you can check this info here! So, as presumed above... the sky isn´t falling down :-)