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!

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*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 :-)