Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Sea of Tranquility

The sea of Tranquility. No, not the one on the moon. Just something that occurred to me in response when asked why I'm planning to spend the summer in Newfoundland. Scroll down to read more.

My work is now protected under Creative Commons licensing.

People seem to get their panties in a knot about copyright and their online images getting stolen and copied. I can understand if you're making a living — or a business — out of selling pictures but I don't, really. I've decided that if someone likes my pictures enough to copy them to share on social media, to look at onscreen or even make small prints for their own use, why not? I should be honoured.

I do draw the line at people making large prints because I'd like to have some say about quality, and of course people selling or making money from my images.

I've decided to partially release copyright on the images or copy I post online, both here on the Blog and on Facebook. From now on, my pictures and text are licensed under Creative Commons rules.

Creative Commons
Attribution — NonCommercial — NoDerivs

What that basically means is people can share — copy and redistribute my images in any medium or format subject to the following:
  • they must give appropriate credit to me when they do so
  • they cannot use it for any commercial purpose whatsoever
  • they cannot change the image or text in any way.
This is different from normal copyright rules in that people can use the pictures or text (following the rules above) without asking permission. For example, you can legally download a picture from the blog to share, maybe use it as background wallpaper on your computer or even print it for private non-commercial use (although I don't upload full high resolution images online). If it has a watermark on it like the one above, you can't edit it out. You can quote my writings but you have to say where you got it.

You can still contact me for permission to use my works commercially or for a high resolution print, for instance.

Creative Commons rules are on this page: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/. Have a look.

Time to upgrade the camera?

Not for this old codger. I wrote the following ramble in response to a thread in a Facebook Nikon group. I share it here because it eventually gets to the end message.

I love my D800. It's been frozen shooting pond hockey and dogsled racing, doused in salt water spray on a zodiac in the North Atlantic, drowned in a frog-strangling rainstorm... but like that Timex watch, it keeps on ticking.
Yes, I had it in for service a couple of times, the last time after those liquid events last summer in Newfoundland. There was some corrosion where water got in (apparently around the flash shoe) and the bayonet mount was replaced (too many heavy lenses). Does it ever fail to autofocus? Sure. Do I ever get unexplained exposure variances. Yep. Sometimes. 
The camera is a tool. It's a really fine one. BTW I'm at around 100,000 shutter actuations. Sure I'd love to have the latest and greatest but I'm an old retired guy and my limited funds are going into glass, if anything. And I'm debating a new tripod and gimbal head, my old one's getting a bit heavy for these old bones and arthritic knees.
I met a guy the other day with a slick D5 and a 600 f/4 on a pristine Jobu tripod and gimbal head. Did he get better shots than me? Yes, but part of that was because he's young and can still see through his eyes and can actually hike to where the better images are. And he's skilled.
I shoot birds with my 200-400 f/4. I shoot timelapse star shots and landscapes with my 17-35 f/2.8. I shoot macros and focus stacks with my 105 f/2.8. I shoot all kinds of everything with my 70-200 f/2.8. I love the 36Mp because I don't have to worry about precise framing, I can crop in post.
If I had the money, I'd replace it with a D850 and buy a D500 as a backup to replace the D5500. But for now, I'm really content with what I have and prefer to focus on the art instead of the hardware.

Thanks for putting up with my rambling.

Newfoundland plans are coming together!

At this moment, the plan is to leave for Newfoundland by car in the last week of June, returning at the beginning of September. 

People have asked me, "Why Newfoundland"? It's one of the most spectacular places in the world if you like the idea of outports, small villages, birds, seascapes, stars... I can go there and still be covered by the Canadian medicare system in case anything happens. Although it's a lot of driving, I'm comfortable with that (besides, there's a new engine in my car!). 
What do I want to get out of it? The word, "Peace" comes to mind. I will pursue my photographic art and I hope to be able to accomplish more painting and sketching and writing. 

My friend Amin is travelling with me and will stay until about July 8th. He's coming back at the end of August and will travel back home with me too.

I've arranged to rent accommodations in the following areas:
  • Change Islands, last week of June — focus on icebergs, landscapes, Fogo Island
  • Twillingate, the month of July — focus on icebergs, landscapes, maybe whales, boat tours
  • Bonavista, the first week of August — focus on Puffins, icebergs, whales, boat tours
  • Torbay, the following 3 weeks in August — focus on whales, boat tours, landscapes, cityscapes

On the drive in, we'll be stopping at Peggy's Cove (just for the lobsters!) and once on the Rock, heading straight for Change Islands. From Torbay, I plan day trips including Cape St. Mary (Gannets). On the way home, we'll spend a couple of days on the West coast, a quick look at Gros Morne, the Port au Port peninsula and the bird sanctuaries around Codroy.

The only hole (at this writing) is the last few days of July. I've rented 2-bedroom or bigger houses with the intent of making space available for friends to come visit and join me in experiencing the beauty of this fabulous place.

Except for a few days in Bonavista, where some friends are planning to spend some time with me, I have space available. I'm happy to act as a tour guide and I have help, especially in the St. John's area where Ray Mackey is available. Best photographer/tour guide in Newfoundland!

A previously unedited image. I have LOTS of images from last summer that I haven't gotten around to working on.
Shot in the harbour at Twillingate, sky textures added. 

If you always wanted to come to Newfoundland, this is your chance! My suggestion would be a 2-week visit, one week with me and one week exploring on your own. You need to contact me soon, though, I need to plan! Email me — that's the best way. photography@faczen.com.


Let's move on to some pictures, shall we? After all that's why most of you read this blog. This issue has an eclectic mix of images taken in the past couple of weeks, a hodge-podge of venues and styles. Where shall I start...

I went to Algonquin Park twice so far in February. The animals seem to be avoiding me but the landscape and the birds can't escape my itchy shutter finger.

At Mew Lake, the snow on the trees was awesome. Now this image won't stand up to a close scrutiny because I edited it very roughly, but if you can ignore the little errors (for instance that branch top centre shouldn't be 'hazed out').  The scene was majestic and beautiful. I added the haze to give it atmospheric perspective and make it more 3-dimensional. I also converted it to black and white, although it wasn't really necessary, there wasn't any colour there anyway! 

On my second visit, the icicles hanging on this rock wall on Highway 60 called to me. I wanted to highlight the details and textures in the rocks and the ice. By the way, both this and the trees image are large-pixel-count panoramic merges of multiple frames. Extremely high resolution. 

Then there were the birds. I'm really pleased with the performance of the 200-400mm f/4 Nikon lens, a whole level better than I was able to do before.

American Goldfinch in winter plumage

Female purple finch. 

Male red crossbill. First time I've seen these birds and they're rampant in the park. This one was on a tree behind the visitor's centre. The hard part is the exposure: they sit right up at the top of the trees and when I was there, the sun was directly behind the bird! The magic of Photoshop and Lightroom... 

Next was the pond hockey tournament and the dogsled racing at Pinestone. Some great photo ops!

I just came out to shoot some pictures of Cheryl Hamilton's team, the "Finest Things". On their uniforms, the individual players were identified with big badges, "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" and... I loved their coach, the Cat in the Hat. Some fanciful editing with Topaz Impression to make this whimsical picture. 

I got there late for the dogsled races. I missed everything except the closing 8-dog race. Again lots more shots to edit, but these are a couple of my favourites. The weather was ugly: freezing rain, although it wasn't frigid. 

It was a rainy day in Pizzaville... so I shot indoors for a bit instead of going out there. In an effort to begin decluttering, I put some items up online to sell and did some quick pictures to go with the listings.

These are pieces from a beautiful anodized aluminium chess set I had acquired in the late '60s in New York. I thought I'd get rid of it in an effort to declutter, but I'm just as glad nobody bought it. I shot this in the light tent which provides such even, soft lighting that there's not a shadow to be seen! Each of the pieces is represented in this picture (plus an extra pawn for balance.  
And now, as my closing picture, here's a macro shot of a spider. Since purchasing Helicon Focus software last month, I haven't seen a single bug to photograph. Not one. Then I came across this dead spider and said, "Aha"!

This little guy was about 1cm across. This picture is a composite of 88 stacked images. I was trying to get a picture showing the spider's eyes. Hidden by the hair? Nah. Guess which end of the spider this is! Like one of those little dogs where you can't tell front from back. No wonder I couldn't find them!  

À prochaine!

— 30 —