Archive for the ‘News’ Category|
Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
My shoot today was of a music therapy session at Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly in Framingham, MA. I’d never seen a music therapy session before, so it was a really interesting experience for me.
Most of the images are still in the editing process, but below is a quick frame of one of the therapists. Interesting day!
Wednesday, November 28th, 2012
I finally got around to cutting together a timelapse reel today, and now it’s done! Take a look. I hope you like it!
(as with all Vimeo videos, for best viewing, hit the play button and then pause it to allow the video to buffer, then watch with HD turned on and in full screen!)
Saturday, May 26th, 2012
(This post is not at all related to photography. So if you’re interested in reading about photography, you can skip this post. But when I read this today, I thought it was so interesting I just wanted to post it.)
It turns out that there is going to be a lot of traffic on the moon in the next few years.
A number of countries (including Japan, China, India, possibly Brazil, etc.) are planning to send missions to the moon in the next few years. In addition, the Lunar X Prize contest (run by the X Prize Foundation and Google) has gotten something like 26 different entrants competing to become the first privately-funded organization to land a robot on the moon, and the deadline to claim the $20 million prize is 2015.
So with all this upcoming traffic on the moon, NASA felt the need to make recommendations to the various interested parties about how to avoid damaging historically- and technologically-important landing sites, artifacts and equipment still on the moon’s surface. They made recommendations about minimum keep-out distances (stay at least a meter away from any tools you find, and 250 meters away from the Apollo 17 landing site!), flight trajectories (don’t fly directly over the landing sites!), even speed limits for the rovers.
That’s right folks… we now live in an age where there are speed limits on the moon.
I happened to see the NASA report with all these recommendations today, and even though I’m not a scientist or rocket engineer, I am a giant geek when it comes to these things, and it was fun and fascinating to read part of the report.
If that sounds interesting to you, you can download the whole report here:
Speed limits on the moon… this certainly is an amazing time to be alive in the world.
Thursday, May 24th, 2012
I’ve been really busy (and still am…) and haven’t been able to post much recently (sorry about that!), but I saw this photograph and had to mention it here.
In yet another example of the power of imagery (and specifically the talent and astute eye of Mr. Pete Souza!), I saw the photograph below a couple of days ago, and it literally brought tears to my eyes. Lo and behold, it turns out the New York Times published a short article on the photo today.
For a full explanation of what is going on here, read the New York Times article linked below (it is very worthwhile). In short though, in this photograph President Barack Obama is meeting with the family of a former Marine who was leaving the a post on the National Security Council to serve in Afghanistan. One of the individual’s young sons, five-year-old Jacob, asked the President if the President’s hair felt the same as his own… to which the President said “Why don’t you touch it and see for yourself?” and proceeded to bend down so the boy could touch his hair.
This is the kind of moment that photographers dream of catching and saving for posterity. Luckily, the extremely talented official White House photographer Pete Souza (who I’ve written about before… this isn’t Pete’s first historic photograph) was on hand, and despite the fact that the moment was completely unexpected, was able to capture the moment.
Think about what it means to a 5-year-old boy to see that, yes, the President of the United States is a person, just like him. It is things like this that are the reason I became a photographer.
(you can read the New York Times story here)
Friday, August 26th, 2011
The East Coast is starting to flip out about Hurricane Irene (I just read that New Jersey is ordering gambling halted in Atlantic City… the horror!) and since it looks like Irene has Boston in its sights, it looks like I’m going to be spending my Saturday getting a generator and moving things out of my basement in case it floods. In the mean time though, before it gets here, check out this image NASA created from one of its GOES geosynchronous orbit satellites:
And here’s a closeup of the U.S. showing the storm:
NASA is wonderful for this kind of stuff. I’m sure two days from now I’m going to be much less of a fan, but from 22,000 miles up, the storm is beautiful!
This is just more proof of what I’ve always thought – anything can be beautiful if you look at it in the right way.
Friday, July 1st, 2011
So I walked over to my town’s local fireworks display last night (right around the corner from my house), and just for fun, I carried along a camera and tripod (of course… it’s just who I am). It was crazy – a much bigger production than I’d assumed: all of the streets were blocked off, there were thousands of people in the streets, food trucks, etc etc.:
No sooner than I had set up my tripod I was approached by a woman who introduced herself as writer for the Boston Globe, asking me who I was there shooting for (in other words, if I worked for another news organization). When I replied that I’m a self-employed photographer and was just there shooting photos for my own amusement, she asked if she could use one of my photos for her Globe article – apparently the Globe “didn’t have budget” to send one of their own photographers to cover the event.
Everyone knows that times are very tough for print media organizations – since everyone is getting their news online, newspapers’ subscriber bases are evaporating and with them go the newspapers’ revenue, which has resulted in terrible staff cuts at just about every paper. But it is a sad state of affairs indeed when a leading regional newspaper “doesn’t have budget” to pay a photojournalist to cover an event on which they plan to publish a story, and this was an example of why I am very, very glad that I am not a photojournalist.
In any case, I was there shooting photos anyway, and since they’d already decided they weren’t going to pay for photography of the event (that much was clear) I told the writer that provided I was given proper credit for the photo, I’d give the Globe one to run with their story*. The writer took my email address, and several hours later via email I sent her a few photos I captured from the evening.
For the Globe’s article, they picked one of the photos I sent, and the writer actually quoted me as well (which I didn’t know she was going to do! If I’d known I was going to be quoted, I’d have paid attention to my grammar!). The article can be seen here: http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/somerville/2011/07/somerville_fireworks_light_up.html
Here are a few of the photos I shot that night (it really was a great display, and as Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone was sure to point out, the fireworks didn’t cost taxpayers a dime, since they were funded in full through private donations).
*: I understand this issue may anger some professionals in the industry who rely on paying editorial work. The debate about shooting for pay vs. shooting solely for a credit is not an insignificant one, and it is truly embarrassing for the Globe that they have cut back so dramatically on paying editorial work that they didn’t send a staff photographer or editorial freelancer to shoot something that they thought was important enough to warrant a story. It is a bad time to be an editorial photographer or photojournalist indeed.
Tags: Boston, Boston Globe, Fireworks, Independence Day, July 4th, Mayor Joe Curtatone, media, newspaper, Photographer, Photographing Fireworks, Photography, photojournalism, photojournalist, print media, revenue, Somerville, taxpayers
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Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
I just spent the morning shooting on the campus of Phillips Andover for their admissions materials, and it was such a great experience. My staff contact is wonderful, the faculty we worked with were helpful, friendly and accommodating, the students are enthusiastic and vibrant, and the campus is to die for (it certainly didn’t hurt that we had the prettiest day of the summer yet!).
It was a reminder of why I do what I do. I love my job.
Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
This past weekend I got a treat: I got to spend Memorial Day weekend in Maine in a gorgeous spot on the ocean. I had my cameras with me of course, so I shot some timelapse clips. This video doesn’t have any sound and is rough (the project was just for fun and was done quickly), but here goes.
(for best viewing, click the “HD” button to “on” and watch it full-screen by clicking the four-arrows button)
Wednesday, May 11th, 2011
Those pictures you took of yourself and your friends at that party the other night? How would you like to turn around and see them on a billboard for a product you’ve never heard of?
That, and worse, is exactly what can happen now when you upload your pictures to a lot of popular web services.
You know those unbelievably long “Terms & Conditions” that pop up whenever you sign up for a website or web service? The ones that are so full of legalese as to be incomprehensible? The ones that you never read, but instead just scroll to the bottom and click “I Accept”? You always know that’s a bad idea, and that you really should read them… and you always know, in the back of your head somewhere, that somewhere buried somewhere in those agreements is something you don’t want.
Well, in the case of TwitPic, the ubiquitous service for Twitter users to post pictures, that “something you don’t want” is giving TwitPic the right to sell your pictures and videos… to whoever they want, to be used wherever and however they want. And they won’t even tell you first (Facebook also has similar language that lets them use your pictures in ads, etc without telling you).
TwitPic changed its “Terms of Service” yesterday to add the following:You retain all ownership rights to Content uploaded to Twitpic. However, by submitting Content to Twitpic, you hereby grant Twitpic a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and Twitpic’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.
That means anything you upload to TwitPic they can turn around and sell (without giving you any of the money, by the way). Who would they be selling it to? Well, it turns out that yesterday’s change to the “Terms of Service” isn’t a coincidence: TwitPic just signed a deal with the celebrity gossip content agency WEBB (yep, the people who sell pictures to the National Enquirer and other gossip rags) to have access to all of TwitPic’s (ie, your) pictures & video.
In reality, it is unlikely that TwitPic would sell your pictures of your less-than-sober friends to anyone… because, let’s be honest, while they’re interesting to you, those pictures aren’t really financially valuable to the rest of the world. But, if you happen to be at the right place at the right time and take a picture of something or someone newsworthy, or take a particularly striking or unique photo? You can bet TwitPic is going to turn around and sell it without even telling you, and your picture will end up on a website somewhere (probably a website of questionable integrity, since those are the places that buy content from places like WEBB) and you won’t even know it. TwitPic will make a bunch of money, and you won’t get a dime.
As I mentioned, these types of arrangements are becoming increasingly common with web sites and services recently – Facebook, Instagram, YFrog and most other Twitter photo services all have similar language in their Terms of Service. Basically, you have to assume that any web service you use has this type of legal language. For professional photographers, these agreements are particularly problematic: If, for example, I’m working for an outdoor equipment company and make a landscape photograph of a hiker on a trail and I were to upload that photo to Facebook, TwitPic, etc., I can’t legally give my client exclusive use of that photograph, because by using their services, I’ve already given Facebook or TwitPic the right to use it… and therefore, my entire agreement with my client is void. As a result, professional photographers know not to use any of these services with any of their work that they care about (which is why you’ll see very few photos on my Facebook or Twitter profiles!).
The moral of the story is, be really careful what you do with your photos. You may have agreed to something you don’t necessarily want.
Monday, May 2nd, 2011
Today was a significant day in world history, with President Barack Obama announcing just before midnight last night that after a 10-year-long search, the United States had located Osama Bin Laden and killed him in a military operation hours earlier. The announcement has sparked an avalanche of media coverage that has continued all day, and I’m sure the story will dominate headlines for weeks to come.
Among the countless pieces of media coverage today have been many photographs from all over the world, and for me (unsurprisingly) these have been the most powerful. From crowds of young Americans cheering in front of the White House to a somber and angry procession of radical militants in Yemen mourning Bin Laden’s death, the photographs that we’ve seen today will serve as the world’s memory of this day for generations to come. They are a reminder of the power of a photograph, and are an affirmation of why we as photographers do what we do.
One photo in particular that I think went largely unnoticed in the flood of coverage today crystallizes in a nutshell the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The photo, below, by official White House photographer Pete Souza, shows President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior members of the U.S. leadership in the White House Situation Room watching updates on the raid on Bin Laden’s hideout live as it was taking place.
It’s rare that the public gets to see a raw, unposed look at our leaders, especially in as tense a moment as this, and the expressions on the faces of the individuals in the room couldn’t be more telling. From what we know, it seems likely that this assembled group was watching live video feed via satellite from the Navy SEALs as they were storming Bin Laden’s compound, and this photo would seem to support that – Look at the stone-faced concern on the president’s face; look at the expression of what can only be described as sheer horror on that of Secretary Clinton: photographs like this give us a rare glimpse into what our leaders face and feel behind closed doors. They let us imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes.
This is the power of photography: to tell stories and convey emotions – whether they are jubilation, love, anxiety or fear – that we could not convey any other way.
(Note: The White House has noted that a classified document in this photo was digitally altered to obscure its contents. A quick look shows that the piece of paper on top of Secretary Clinton’s laptop has been obscured. It would appear that that document is an aerial photograph of the compound where Bin Laden was found.)
UPDATE: It seems that in the last two days this photo has become extremely famous. The White House uploaded this photo to its Flickr stream and it has apparently become Flickr’s “fastest viewed” photo ever, reaching over two million views in only two days. Flickr now predicts that it will become its most-viewed photo ever sometime tomorrow or the next day after passing three million views… in only 3-4 days.
Additionally, commentators other than myself have started started discussing the photo, and it has been suggested that this photo may well become one of the iconic, lasting images of Barack Obama’s presidency. The New York Times’ David Brooks and Gail Collins discuss this photo here. In their discussion, Brooks identifies many of the same issues I noted. Additionally though, Brooks very keenly notes that in the photo, President Obama is sitting not at the head of the table, but off to the side:
“The posture of the president is fascinating. Instead of occupying the power chair in the center of the table, he is perched on a low chair off the side, hunched over looking tense. If you just looked at this picture, you might think that Joe Biden was president or Bill Daley, who is standing behind looking imposing and grave. You’d think Obama was a midlevel aide. I think what happened is this: some sort of communication or technical relay had to be done, so the president got out of his chair and relinquished it to Brig. Gen. Brad Webb, who is the assistant commanding general of the Joint Special Operations Command. The president just slid over to the low chair off to the side, which one of the standers must have relinquished. Still, I wonder how many White Houses would have been confident enough to release a photo with the president looking so diminutive. I think it speaks well of Obama and the administration that they released this as the iconic image of the decision-making process behind the event.”
I agree. I think it shows confidence on the part of the president that he is willing to be depicted publicly in the manner shown in this photo.
In any case, I agree that this photo, which was initially nearly lost in the flood of media coverage around the event, could well become the central image of how history remembers Barack Obama’s presidency.
Tags: Barack Obama, Bill Daley, Brad Webb, Brig. Gen., David Brooks, Flickr, Gail Collins, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Joint Special Operations Command, Navy SEALs, New York Times, Osama Bin Laden, Pete Souza, President, Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Situation Room, Vice President, White House, Yemen
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Tuesday, April 26th, 2011
I haven’t had much free time since I got back from my trip out west, and today was the first chance I had to even look at the still photos I shot while I was there. I shot such a huge quantity of material during the course of the three weeks (in Utah, San Diego, Los Angeles, and finally Las Vegas) that there are a lot of shots that I don’t even remember taking. There are a few, though, that I remember very clearly, and this is one of them.
This photograph was taken in a remote section of the backcountry of Zion National Park in southwestern Utah.
Before I shoot any photograph I always try to have a picture in my mind of how the image will look when it is finished. There are certain scenes that just scream out to be displayed in black and white. This was one of those times – I knew before I even shot the photo that I was going to convert it from color to black and white when I got back to the computer (one of the conveniences of digital photography).
I don’t know why this particular scene was so striking to me – it had something to do with how the loose stones were strewn around on the slickrock, how their shadows contrasted with the unbelievably strong, bright sun.
P. S. – As a side note, this image illustrates both the advantages and disadvantages of digital photography. My digital camera gave me the ability to shoot the photo in color and convert it to black & white afterwards (whereas in the days of film I would have been forced to either A) shoot the image on whatever type of film I happened to have in my camera at the moment or B) pull the roll of film out and waste whatever I hadn’t used), which of course is a big advantage.
A big disadvantage with digital photography, though, is that I, as a photographer, have a lot less control over how you, the viewer, see my images. In the days of film, if I printed a photo onto a piece of photographic paper in a darkroom and then showed it to you, I could be pretty sure you would see it almost exactly as I did – the colors would look the same, the lights and darks would be the same light or dark. With digital photography, on the other hand, since this image is being viewed on a computer screen, I can’t actually even be sure if you, the viewer, are seeing the image the way I intended it. The reason for this is that computers (both through software and hardware) all display color and luminance (how bright something is) differently. So in the case of this image, I intended parts of the sky to be dark, but not completely black. But your computer screen might show the image with parts of the sky completely black, so you may not be able to see some of the detail that I intended.
I’m sure eventually technology will solve this problem, but for the moment it is just a weakness of digital photography that photographers have to live with.
Monday, March 21st, 2011
This post is going to be part rant and part (hopefully) helpful information which will (hopefully) save somebody else the time, money and aggravation of going through what I have (it will also, it seems, be part legal primer as it appears I’m going to be taking FedEx to small claims court).
I had FedEx ship a camera lens from California to Boston on Feb. 16. Thankfully, it was an inexpensive one, a Canon Extender EF 2x II teleconverter, which retails for about $300, which is downright cheap as far as professional lenses go. When the box finally arrived here in Boston on March 1 (a week late), this is what it looked like:
I was home when the package was delivered, but the FedEx delivery person just dropped the box on my doorstep and left without ringing the doorbell (perhaps because they knew the package was damaged? I’d say it was a coincidence except that this is the second time they’ve done this, as I’ll explain at the end). So, I had no way of stopping the delivery person to note the damage at the time.
I opened up the package, and sure enough, despite being extremely well-packed, wrapped in many layers of bubble wrap, the lens inside was trashed: the rear lens cap was broken off, with little bits of broken plastic rolling around (these rear lens caps are extremely sturdy and durable… I can’t even imagine the amount of shock it took to break it), the front lens cap had popped off, and both the front and rear lens elements (pieces of glass) were scratched, and there was a dent in the metal body of the lens right where the outer cardboard box was dented.
The glass scratches alone would have totaled the piece of equipment, but the huge dent in the lens’s metal body made it completely unusable. So, I went online to FedEx’s damage claim webpage, filled out the necessary forms, and submitted all the necessary information (thankfully, when I’m shipping something important or expensive I always pay extra for the insurance, in case precisely this kind of thing happens. So for an additional $8.50 or something, I insured the lens for its replacement value, or about $300). After about two and a half weeks without a word of communication (not a phone call, not even an automated email), a FedEx guy showed up on my doorstep saying he was there to pick up the package. What? Pick up the package? Apparently FedEx wanted to inspect the damaged lens, but never bothered to tell me. I hurriedly went and got the lens and the box it originally shipped in, along with the ton of bubble wrap, packaged it up and gave it to the guy (thankfully I got a receipt).
I’m leaving for a long trip in a few days (mix of business and personal, should be some great stuff when I get back!) and would really have liked to have my lens, so today I decided to check into the status of the claim, because once again, I haven’t heard a word. In speaking to the customer service rep on the phone, today I learned that not only had the claim been denied (with no reason given and in fact without even having been told), FedEx has now LOST THE PACKAGE. It was supposed to be sent back to me when the claim was denied for no reason, but the FedEx person told me they don’t know where it is.
So my lens was destroyed, the claim for the destruction was denied without explanation, and now the evidence has been “lost.”
I won’t have time to deal with it until after I get back from my trip, but when I do it seems now my only option is to take FedEx to small claims court to get them to pay for a new lens.
This whole experience would be bad enough, if it weren’t for the fact that this is the second time in a row that FedEx has destroyed one of my packages. Readers of this blog may recall the last incident, in which the FedEx delivery person delivered (and by “delivered” I mean “dropped on the front steps and scurried away without ringing the doorbell” in a suspiciously similar manner) this package:
Those were prints made to be framed and donated to an auction to raise money for a local cancer patient.
So there you have it. Never, ever use FedEx. Both UPS and the US Postal Service are cheaper, have better and faster service, and don’t destroy the things you’re trying to ship.
Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
A few days ago I discovered that a few of my images from this very blog had been taken by a person I’ve never met and re-used, without my permission or even my knowledge, on that person’s web site.
The subject of copyright infringement has come up by coincidence a few times in the last several days, and it prompted me to write this post. In my case, some of my images were downloaded from this website and then re-posted by an individual, apparently located somewhere in Europe, to that person’s photography website, http://www.pafosphotos.com. What irked me most about the episode was that this person, whoever they are, appears from their website not to generate ANY content of his/her own, but instead simply posts content (images, text & video) that s/he has “scraped” from other people’s sites like mine. Further, it seems clear that this individual is fully aware that his or her actions are illegal since I subsequently discovered that s/he pays a 3rd-party company to conceal his or her identity.
Another, much more widespread recent example of stolen work is the story of Noam Galai and “The Stolen Scream,” as it has come to be known. Take a look at the video below about it.
This story raises a lot of really important questions, not just for photographers and other creative professionals but for the world at large, since Mr. Galai’s photograph was used (and misused) as widely as on a book cover in Mexico, a graphic design from a designer in Europe and even as an anti-government revolutionary symbol in Iran. As he alluded to in his interview, Mr. Galai is less concerned about the appropriation of his image for non-profit purposes like the Iranian resistance than he is about for-profit misuses like cover image that was sold to the publisher of the book in Mexico City or the graphic design that the designer sells for hefty sums. I think this kind of sentiment would probably be pretty common… many people would probably mind misappropriation of their work less for non-profit uses than for for-profit uses – but then again, Mr. Galai isn’t a professional photographer (at least that I’m aware of) and therefore doesn’t rely on his photographs for his livelihood.
The law is very clear that photographers (as well as writers, musicians, etc.) own the material that they author and that other people can’t take it and try to profit from it without the permission of (which of course usually includes payment to) the person who created it. The rights authors have over their stuff are inherent and not dependent on the creator doing any legal wrangling (such as writing “Copyright …..” underneath, or whatever), but these are added steps professionals have generally been advised to take as an extra precaution. One such added precaution that U.S. residents are advised to take is registering their work with the U.S. Copyright Office (www.copyright.gov). I make a practice of registering all of my work with the Copyright Office and from what attorneys tell me, this gives me an added layer of security in case people steal my work. But as case with my work being stolen by PafosPhotos (which I only ever discovered through a combination of coincidence and luck) clearly shows, none of these legal protections are terribly effective, both because of the varying laws in play (I know what the laws are here in the United States, but does that help me when the perpetrator is located in Italy and his or her identity is concealed by a company in Luxembourg?) as well as by the logistics of actually trying to enforce my rights.
Copyright infringement is a very complicated subject, but there are problems with it that I’m afraid are only going to get worse.
Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
I just saw that one of my education clients, Riverdale Country School, a private K-12 gradeschool just outside of New York City, is using my images for most of their website photography.
(Their website is www.riverdale.edu… most of the images on the homepage slideshow, as well as the images under the other tabs, are mine)
I love happy clients!
Monday, January 24th, 2011
This blog has been really quiet for a long time, but it’s because I’ve been busy! Really exciting news is that there are going to be some big changes (additions) to this website coming soon. I’m really looking forward to it. Stay tuned.
Right now though, I just wanted to share this really quickly. I just finished this image, and I think it is probably my new favorite architectural landscape image. This image is actually a composite of three different exposures (which makes it undeniably an HDR ["high dynamic range"] image… this is significant for me because generally HDR, as it is typically practiced these days, is not my cup of tea… this is an example of a topic that passes for controversy within the photographic community, but nevermind that for now).
Anyway, the image is definitely not perfect (in hindsight a higher perspective would have been better, composition could have been shifted a bit, etc.), but I think it is pretty good and I like it.
Friday, July 9th, 2010
A few weeks ago I was contacted about donating a print or two to a charity, to be auctioned at a fundraiser for a young man who needs a very expensive medical operation not covered by insurance. I was happy to participate. I had the prints printed by Millers Lab (which did an excellent job, as always), and they were delivered today by FedEx, who crushed the package and destroyed the prints inside, which will now have to be reprinted.
I love how it says right on the box in bold letters, “PHOTOGRAPHS, DO NOT BEND”… right next to where FedEx crunched the box.
The best part? I saw the FedEx woman dropping off the package as I was on my way home from an errand. She dropped it on the porch and scurried away without ringing the bell or anything, clearly knowing the package was damaged and not wanting to get caught.
FEDEX FAIL. Next time, UPS!
Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
So about a month ago (jeez, it’s been a month already…!) I wrote that a company called Zaza Gallery that makes canvas photo prints had offered to give me a free canvas if I would review the product here on the blog. The technology that drives many of today’s photo products is evolving so rapidly that I’m always interested in hearing about and trying out new vendors, so I was happy to take them up on it.
Their initial offer was for a 16″ x 20″ photo canvas. I shoot on Canon cameras, whose sensors are built with a 3:2 aspect-ratio frame (meaning the width of the image is 1.5x the height) and like many pros, whenever possible I use the entire frame when composing my shots (this is a good practice, as it maximizes the sensor area that you’re using for your final composition, thereby maximizing the image quality). As a result, the 16×20 canvas was a different aspect ratio (5:4) than my intended composition. I brought this to the attention of the company, and they generously offered to instead provide me with a 16×24 canvas, which matched my images’ 3:2 aspect ratio.
Zaza directs that for best quality, the image file that customers provide for printing have a resolution of 300 dpi in order to preserve detail in the final print. This is good, because in order to achieve the great detail of true professional-quality prints, high resolution is essential. For a 16×24 print though, this works out to 4800×7200 pixels, or approximately 35 megapixels, which is a higher resolution than even the best pro cameras widely used today (there are a small number of exotic systems that can achieve this resolution natively). What this means is that to make a Zaza canvas print properly, photo-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom is needed to increase the resolution of image files (known as “up-resing”). Since up-resing can result in nasty pixelation, artifacting and other image degradation if not done carefully, images that will be used to print high-quality prints such as canvases must be originally captured in the highest resolution possible.
I chose to use this photo because it would really put the Zaza printing process through its paces: With its heavily saturated colors it would test Zaza’s ability to color-match, the absolute blacks in the silhouettes and sky would test the ability to achieve true black, and the smooth fade-to-black in the sky would test Zaza’s ability to print smooth gradients.
I prepared the image file according to Zaza’s specifications, with the appropriate resolution, format (Zaza takes standard JPG files) and embedded sRGB color profile (color profiles are essential for accurate color reproduction) and sent the image off. In about a week and a half (which is a normal turnaround time for canvas prints like this) I received the finished canvas. It was packaged well-protected, in a cardboard box in a plastic bag covered in bubble-wrap. Here is the finished canvas:
Zaza offers a number of different wrapping style options – a traditional “gallery wrap,” in which the image extends beyond the edges of the frame and continues on the sides, white and black wraps, in which image extends only to the edge of the frame and the sides are white or black, and finally “mirror wraps” and “blur wraps,” which are the best of both worlds: the image extends only to the edges of the frame (meaning the image is not cut off), but the edges are colored either by a reflection of the edge of the image or a blur of the edge of the image (which is nice so that the sides, if visible when hung, have some color and look like a real gallery wrap). I elected for the blur-wrap style. I haven’t seen this option with other canvas print vendors, and it is really nice. Your image doesn’t get clipped, but you still get nice coloration on the sides of the frame.
The quality of the final product is very good. The frame is sturdy and the canvas is stretched quite taut and stapled very securely. As far as the print quality:
-The color reproduction is very good. The colors matched the file I provided, and the saturation and vividness are excellent. Neither over- nor under-saturated.
-The blacks are truly black, the white truly white. Overall, contrast is excellent.
-Detail sharpness is average. On extremely close inspection I can make out a bit of fuzziness in the details, but this is to be expected from a file that was up-res’ed. And in any case no one viewing the print on a wall will get close enough to see the level of detail that I was inspecting. No complaints here.
-Like nearly all canvas prints I’ve seen, the print reflects a moderate amount of glare light, so care must be taken in regard to where the canvas is hung to avoid glare light. But again, this is common for canvas prints.
So there you have it, that’s my review! This canvas will hang proudly on my studio wall. Good job Zaza!
Tags: 300 dpi, Adobe, artifacting, aspect ratio, blur wrap, Canon, Canvas, Canvas photo print, color matching, color profile, color saturation, detail, gallery wrap, glare, image degradation, Lightroom, megapixels, mirror wrap, Photoshop, pixelation, resolution, review, sharpness, sRGB, up-resing, vendor, vividness, Zaza Gallery
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Tuesday, July 6th, 2010
Monday, June 28th, 2010
This will probably be the last Photo of the Day for a little while, as I’m getting pretty busy and I don’t think I’ll have time to post these each day for a little while. It’s been fun, I’ve enjoyed getting comments, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the images! Hopefully when things settle back down a bit I’ll be able to restart these.
For now though, I’ll leave you with “A Flower Grows in the City.” Have a great week everyone!
Friday, June 25th, 2010
How about some adorable for today’s Friday Photo of the Day?
Have a great weekend everybody!
Thursday, June 24th, 2010
Today’s Photo of the Day is one that I kind of like. We’ve all seen lots of “put the camera on a tripod and point it at rocks on a beach with a long exposure” photos before, and I’ll completely acknowledge that this shot is very certainly not an original idea. What I like about this shot though is the lighting – it was a very special time of day (actually a little bit after sunset), shot from a special angle so that the water caught some reflected light in the sky, and the rocks actually caught light from two sides. Plus I like the composition, with lots of empty space suggesting expansiveness… I guess I better like the composition, since I shot it!
Anyway, I digress. Hope you enjoy it. Happy Thursday!
Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
Talk about a boring name, huh? Well, today’s shot really is some wet rocks! If you can think of a better name, let me know. If I pick your name, you’ll get… I don’t know, something cool.
Anyway, this shot was on a volcanic black sand beach. Just up from the sand there were thousands of smooth black pebbles and the way the water ran over and through them was very interesting to me.
Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
We’ve been very busy! Sorry about the skipped Photo of the Day yesterday! It’s nice to know that enough people are following these for me to get a number of notes when one goes missing.
Today’s photo needs very little in the way of explanation. The USS Arizona Memorial bears the names of the men who died on board when the Arizona sank after the attack on Pearl Harbor, whose bodies still lay inside.
Friday, June 18th, 2010
Happy Friday everyone!
This was my first year photographing the Boston Marathon, and I was blown away at the number of striking visual opportunities it provided; not just the stereotypical shots of runners pounding pavement, enduring mile after mile while pouring sweat, but more subtle, less-noticed details like this one. The marathon was a wealth of opportunity, and I’ll be going back next year.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Thursday, June 17th, 2010
New Orleans is a party town. I mean these people party. So it is no wonder that the streets are deserted on a Sunday morning. But, if you do somehow find yourself awake and about early in the morning, the city’ll treat you well.
Have a great day.
Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
Today’s photo is of the sunset over the island of Lana’i, taken from Lahaina, HI. The tree in the foreground is a “monkey pod” tree, which is a protected species in Hawaii. Apparently it was the preferred tree of ancient Hawaiians to use to carve their famous masks, idols, figures, etc. I composed the shot from under the tree because I thought it gave the image good depth.
Anyway, happy Wednesday!
Monday, June 14th, 2010
Hope everybody had a great weekend. To ease you back into the workweek, how about a photo of the cutest kid ever?
Friday, June 11th, 2010
Happy Friday everyone!
In Hawaiian, “mauka” means “toward the mountain.” It is used when giving directions as the opposite of “makai,” or “toward the sea.” So today’s photo’s name translates (very roughly) as “up the mountain from Lahaina.”
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, June 10th, 2010
Today’s photo is one of my personal favorites. The title is aspirational, as well as motivational (for me at least!). I almost called this one “Glass” for obvious reasons, but this title seemed more appropriate.
Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
Today’s photo was taken inside the crater at the summit of Haleakala, one of the inactive volcanoes in Hawaii, elevation approximately 10,100 ft. It was a landscape like I’d never seen.
I couldn’t come up with a good name for today’s photo, so I originally called it “Alien Land”, but that was a totally lame name. I was just informed that the trail I’ve photographed here is the Sliding Sands trail in the Haleakala crater, and that is a much better name. So this photo is now called “Sliding Sands.”
Happy hump day, everyone!
Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
I received an offer the other day from a company called Zaza Gallery (www.zazagallery.com). Zaza makes canvas photo prints, and they’re going to give me a print in order evaluate their services. Then I’ll tell all of you what my thoughts are! I’m eager to see how well I like them, because I don’t yet have a vendor for canvas prints that I really like.
So keep an eye out for my review, as soon as I receive the print!
Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
A little bit of fun today. Today’s photo I’ll call, “Don’t Do It, Man!”
Happy Tuesday, everybody!
Monday, June 7th, 2010
It’s Monday… back to work. For today’s Photo of the Day, my mother calls this one “Grace.” I suppose that’s as good a name as any.
Friday, June 4th, 2010
Today’s photo I’ll call “City of Water.” The back story here is that this is in the French Quarter in New Orleans, post-Katrina. Throughout my time in the New Orleans, I was struck with the relationship the city has with water. In the French Quarter, water seems to be everywhere, all the time. Residents live with water all around them in their everyday lives in a way that I haven’t seen before almost anywhere I’ve traveled. You can imagine the impact then that Katrina had (and still has) on people’s emotions. So I was fascinated with the city’s relationship with water.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
Its been a busy week for Chris Conti Photography, so apologies for the couple of days without a photo!
Today’s photo I’ll call, “The Commonwealth.”
Friday, May 28th, 2010
Today’s photo of the day from the Boston Marathon a couple weeks ago. I’ll call it, “Runner.”
We’re heading to a wedding this Memorial Day weekend, so check back on Tuesday for the next Photo of the Day! Enjoy the long weekend everyone!
Thursday, May 27th, 2010
Late post… busy day today. For today’s Photo of the Day, I’ll call this one “Cattle Country.”
Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
This blog has been very quiet for the last couple of months, and its because I’ve been very busy! I’ve been shooting so much over the past month or two, and I have such a big backlog of photos to share that I’ve decided that starting today (and going for who knows how long!) I’m going to be sharing a photo every day. It will be posted here, so check back each day for a new photo!
For the first Photo of the Day, here’s one I’ll call, “Daybreak.”
Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
A week or two ago I learned via Twitter (you can follow me at @chriscontiphoto) of a contest for “Best Snow Photo” being run by Lens Pro To Go, a national pro gear rental company that is based locally. I don’t have any snow photos that I think of as particularly great, but just for the hell of it I submitted a shot from back in the archives (from so long ago I don’t even know what it was for). Lo and behold, turns out that shot was picked as a finalist, and then in popular voting went on to win the whole competition (and not to brag, but won by a landslide, with something like 4 times the votes of the 2nd place finisher)!
The results are on Lens Pro’s website here.
For my First Place finish I will receive $100 in rental credit. Thanks Lens Pro To Go, and thanks to everyone who voted for me!
Here is the photo that got me the win:
Friday, February 19th, 2010
President Barack Obama met with the Dalai Lama at the White House yesterday. This is a significant event in global politics, because meeting with the president is seen as official recognition of a leader’s stature and authority. And China does not want anyone to recognize the Dalai Lama as a leader with authority, because that, in turn, is a recognition of the independence and sovereignty of Tibet (in fact, the Chinese tried to pressure Obama to cancel the meeting).
But despite the international significance of this event, if you’re American and unless you particularly follow these things, chances are you didn’t hear much about it. And you almost certainly didn’t see any pictures of Obama meeting with the Dalai Lama. Why not?
Because the White House, in an effort to conduct the meeting in a manner that wouldn’t offend the Chinese (an effort that was doomed to fail before it even began), barred media photographers from photographing the event, and instead only released one photo taken by the official White House photographer (of course, the Chinese were offended anyway).
And the Associated Press, the American news agency that provides news content to nearly all news outlets in the U.S., refused to run the provided image. Why? The AP’s director of photography Santiago Lyon explained on a Facebook page that the AP “won’t accept or use handout photos if we feel access would have been possible by the media.” He continued, “This position is particularly important to us when covering government activities in democratic nations.”
And in the very next breath, Lyon wrote:
“True, we often accept handout photos from governments or states where media freedoms are not as developed as they are in most democracies. Ignoring those handout photos would deprive our readers and viewers of a unique source of information.”
Come again?? So the AP is willing to run government handouts from authoritarian and totalitarian governments and dictatorships which suppress the freedom of information, but is unwilling to run handouts that come from freely, democratically-elected governments which support the freedom of the press? Does this policy sound backwards to you? Well, the AP is saying essentially that information should be provided by independent media, not the government (sure, this is the whole point of freedom of the press), but that when there is no independent press, they’ll run with whatever information they can get, no matter how dubious the source. Basically, they seem to be saying that any information is better than no information.
This perspective itself is questionable, but the AP’s policy becomes flatly self-contradictory when they take the next step: in order to protest the fact that the free media that does exist in this country wasn’t given access to the President’s meeting with the Dalai Lama, the AP wasn’t going to run anything. So their choice was to deny readers any information about this significant global event because they didn’t like the source of the available information. This is an obvious contradiction to their previous position that any information is better than no information.
There are several other, additional reasons the AP’s policy here is wrong:
- Running the propaganda of governments that deny freedom of the press accomplishes the exact opposite of the goal: It is precisely those governments that suppress and deny the freedom of the press of which the public must be most suspicious; these are the governments that most slant, distort, manipulate and outright fabricate information for their own ends. Further, by providing an outlet for the propaganda of these governments, the AP is rewarding them for suppressing independent media, and encouraging these governments to continue doing so.
- Refusing to run official handouts from democratically-elected governments, in the rare occurrences when the free press that does exist is not given access to an event denies the world the opportunity to learn about that event, as was perfectly illustrated in this case. Further, democratically-elected governments have the least motivation of any government to distort or manipulate information (no one, even Mr. Lyon of the AP, suggests that the photograph provided by the White House was in any way inaccurate).
Through its policy on this matter, the AP is essentially saying that the information that comes from governments like North Korea, China and Iran is more valuable, trustworthy and pressworthy than the information that comes from the U.S. government. This thinking is clearly backwards, and the policy is foolish and made more out of convenience than of journalistic integrity.
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
My girlfriend Wendy has wanted a Dachshund forever, and after a long application and approval process, she was approved to adopt a rescued puppy from a Dachshund rescue/shelter organization in Tennessee this past week. Last night we went to go meet the volunteer who was transporting the puppy and take him home for the first time. Of course, I brought along a camera. His name is Oliver, and he’s the sweetest dog I’ve ever met.
(By the way, if you’re getting a dog and you possibly can, please adopt a rescue dog instead of buying from a breeder! There are thousands and thousands of sweet, sweet dogs out there that need homes!)
The image above was shot with at 24mm at f/2.8 to achieve a shallow depth of field, to make my little buddy’s face really pop.