Sunday, December 23, 2012

The year is coming to a close...

And at last, it's snowing outside! The forecast for Thursday night (it's now Saturday) was for up to 11" of snow here: I think we got 11mm! I could still see my grass. But it's snowing right now and the guy across the road is plowing his parking lot. Guess that means I get to take my ATV out and do my driveway! I think I'll let the township pass down the road first so I can clear the "cone" they make at the head of my driveway. Anyway, "Yahoo!" Winter.

(PS: it's later in the day. I went out and plowed with the ATV, the whole 2" of snow that we got! Having some issues with the switch that controls the winch (and the plow blade), I hope that's all it is. Up works, down doesn't always.)

Need I remind you that making quality winter pictures requires some forethought? Look over on the right to see my Guide to winter photography, and download it!

People try to take advantage

I read an ad in the local paper this morning calling for entries to the Haliburton Tourism photo contest. I'm not entering. I went to their website and discovered

  1. You have to be on FaceBook or Twitter to submit images. 
  2. It wants to install an app on your computer and you have to give it permission to "post on your behalf" which to me means I would allow them to pretend they're me and post on facebook as if it was me doing so. I'm not paranoid, that's what it says on the subtext.
  3. No manipulation, no composites. I get it, but that means you can't even clone out a power line or do an HDR.
  4. Here's the biggie. They ask for "a royalty-free, world-wide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to display, distribute, reproduce, and create derivative works of the entries, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or subsequently developed, for any County of Haliburton purpose, including, but not limited to advertising and promotional materials, its website, exhibition, and commercial products, including but not limited to County of Haliburton publications. The County of Haliburton will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses".
It's the 'commercial products, the "derivative works" and the "not limited to.." aspects that bother me.

I wrote them an email saying I'd be delighted to contribute to Tourism Haliburton, and I have some worthwhile images for them, but under my terms. I said, instead of the fancy legal terms, why not say something like, "we have the right to use your pictures on our website and even on our printed advertising, but if there's going to be any other use made of it, we will ask your permission first."

I'm sure it will fall on deaf ears but it was cathartic to write it.

Moving forward in 2013

There are some things I want to do with my life going forward. I'm going to be 67 this year. It's now or never! This isn't a New Year's Resolution, simply a goal to make some of the things I've been considering and preparing turn into concrete actions. They include:

  • Consider where I am as an artist. I had a great conversation with Rosa yesterday in which I tried to convince her that by practicing and studying and reading and learning what the rules are (whether you follow them or not) you gain technical expertise and can therefore devote more attention to your art. She responded that all of that was horse manure, just go out and do what your passion tells you. I still think I'm right, in the sense that you can't do that if the technical stuff isn't instinctive but I do get what she's saying.
  • Commercialize or monetize. Don't get me wrong, I hate blogs that are constantly and transparently trying to sell you something (the ones written by NAPP staffers come to mind), but at this point I do need some income from this stuff. Again I don't mean the blog... I mean training courses and materials, marketing some photographs, teaching.
  • Explore other media. Writing: there's that novel that really wants to come out of me. Painting: despite my best intentions, I haven't tried it yet. Music: I'll never be any good (not in this life, anyway!) but I get passionate listening to great musicians. 
  • Travel. I want to go places I can experience some of these things before it's too late. I haven't travelled in a long time. I need to.
  • Relationships. I don't want to talk about that here, but it's something I need to address.
It's going to be a busy year.

February is already a busy month: there's an art show I plan to attend (The Artist Project 2013), I'm doing a presentation to the Richmond Hill Camera Club on HDR techniques, and I'm judging a competition at Toronto Camera Club. More to come!

Killer deal from B&H

If you're reading this before the end of 2012, you have to go to the B&H site and see this offer for a Nikon D600 outfit at an $850 discount. I wish it had been there when I bought mine, but then I wouldn't have 3 months of pictures with it under my belt, would I?

There's also my D300 outfit for sale:

If you're interested, I shot this in the light tent with one single off-camera Speedlight (SB600) pointing up. I overexposed it on purpose to blow out the background and I enhanced the detail in Photoshop using Topaz Adjust.

Everything you see here. What a great Christmas gift! Now in my Kijiji ad, I say $1200 (someone else is offering just the camera and lens for $1350 firm! Look at all my goodies!) but if you're reading it here, let's talk. Check out the Kijiji ad for more details or contact me directly!


The world out there hasn't inspired me to shoot much in the past weeks. Maybe with snow on the ground, I'll feel more like getting out there. But in the meantime...

Winter's on its way! But it's not here yet... the lake isn't hard! Here's an unusual shot, you can only get at this time of year (actually you can see this in the dead of winter in fast water).

Iced Cap

The water washing over the rock froze in place. But the lake is still liquid! 

I went back and got my 10x ND filter so I could shoot this 15 second time exposure. The red colour snuck in there: I think it was the sun reflecting off the ND filter. So I emphasized it. Again, the rocks have a cap of ice. 

This ATV was sitting in the parking lot next door. HDR + Oil Paint filter makes it surreal.

This guy was working in the parking lot. He works at the Inn and I don't think I've ever seen him without a cigarette hanging from his mouth. This a really tight crop out of a long telephoto shot.. I just liked the character study. 

I drive past this sculpture all the time: it's on Water Street, one of the main roads into Minden. It's very 'kitch' but I thought it was quite cool in the snow. I fixed the eyes in Photoshop because they were covered with snow, but they realistically match the eyes the sculptor put in there, you can see it in a bear further down.
That's it for this weekend: it's more interesting out there now, let's see what I can come up with for next time!

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