Lenses for sale

Just a quick note for anyone looking for lenses for Nikon cameras. I’m putting some of mine up for sale.  I expect the current economy to make these difficult to sell, but I’m in the same pickle as every one else and can’t just go out and buy the new lens I want without raising some cash.

  • Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
  • Sigma 28mm f/1.8 Macro
  • Nikon 60mm f/2.8 AF-S Nanocoat Macro
  • Lensbaby 3G plus macro/wideangle kit

I might just cry when I sell that 60mm, it’s the sharpest lens I have, the colors, contrast, and bokeh are superb, and it’s great for portraits.

I’m looking to buy or trade for a Nikon 14-24 f/2.8, trades must be mint condition. I’m only selling the 11-16 to get the 14-24 because of the working focal range is closer to what I need, and I hear it’s the sharpest lens in the world. I plan on focusing on landscape photography and this would really be my bread and butter. The 11-16 is a ridiculously awesome lens for those who want to go that wide.

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On Flickr and Getty Images

This stuff has me a bit perturbed, and I need to write it down, to ‘cleanse the soul’ so to speak.

So, if Getty is picky about choosing images (they don’t want everything on Flickr, just the top 0.001% or so, right?), then doesn’t that assume that there is really great stuff on Flickr? To answer my own question, yes there is great stuff on Flickr, but there shouldn’t be.

It is really, really easy to rip off other people’s images from Flickr and do what ever you like with them. Flickr provides an API, which allows casual programmers to systematically download any and every image on Flickr, usually in original size if I understand correctly, and do what they like with them. For example, selling them as cell phone wallpaper images for $2.00 each, or selling prints on eBay for tens if not hundreds of dollars each.

I DO NOT POST MY BEST WORK ON FLICKR. I doubt I ever will. Even what i do post is 600px max on the longest side and/or has a watermark on the image. I can set my image license to All Rights Reserved, lock down the Flickr permissions, and STILL see my images on some wallpaper-selling web site without my prior knowledge. Flickr is awesome for sharing and participating in a photography community, and I enjoy that very much, but that sharing needs to be limited to the visual sense only, not copying. Like I tell my kids, look with your eyes not your hands. Unless I mark an image with a Creative Commons license that allows that kind of thing. 🙂

I know many people put superb professional-quality work in very high resolutions up on Flickr, and I know many of them just don’t care. That’s fine, I guess; free will and all that. But I wish they wouldn’t, because it makes it more confusing when those of us who do care try to put our foot down and prevent anyone else from profiting from our work without permission. Now along comes Getty looking for world-class images on Flickr.

I know Getty will never come knocking on my door asking to use my images, and that’s fine. They’re looking in a pool of imagery that is easy to steal from, yet they’re looking for images they can own if not at least profit from. My spider-senses tell me there’s something not quite right here.

Sorry, mindless rant. It probably doesn’t even make sense. Suffice it to say that Flickr is not a safe place to keep your good images, and this liason with a stock image company sounds like copyright lawsuit heaven to me.

Pre-visualization

The idea of pre-visualization is at odds with digital photography. Digital photography allows instant feedback and the “film” is free, so it’s common for digital shooters to shoot hundreds of images per hour. Old school large format photographers spend so much on each image that they’ll only take a couple in one day, but they spend a lot of time visualizing and preparing for the image, and they usually get it right the first time. Well, I’ve been trying find where these two worlds meet. Who knows, maybe my photography could improve a bit. Ya think?

 

So here’s the story. I decided to go to Pawnee Buttes last weekend, because that coincided with the full moon. The idea was to be looking east at the buttes, with them lit up by the sunset glow / final light of the day. The sun and moon schedules said that the moon would rise about 20 minutes before sunset. Also, this was supposed to be the biggest full moon of the year as well.

I didn’t quite get the angle I had in mind, and the sun was behind clouds as the moon was rising, but I got a good result anyway.

 

I found it really helped a ton to have a clear idea of the image I wanted to make. It was different from just trying to capture an image, which is what I normally do. It’s the difference between taking a picture and making a picture. Pre-visualization helped me frame the image, helped me know what color and light to look for, and helped me figure out where I wanted to be to take the best photo possible (which I wasn’t able to get to in time).

What images have you pre-visualized? Did it work out?

Gems from Photoshop User TV

I’m catching up on episodes from Photoshop User TV and thought I would share the best parts (in my opinion).

In episode 166 at around the 3:50 mark, Matt explains a really great use of Content Aware Scaling to match print sizes. I admit I’ve wondered about that tool and what I would ever use it for, and this is a great example of how useful it can be.

Also, around the 12:45 mark, Laurie Excell plays a video from a Nikon D90 which shows a huge sunrise bird launch (not sure what the correct name for that is). It’s great footage, but what really strikes me is the age-old point – being in the right place at the right time. If you don’t have your gear ready, focus point set, exposure set, and camera aimed to the right spot, you made the trip for nothing. The whole event took about 20 seconds!

This show is a great resource for me, helping me explore and learn Photoshop instead of being afraid of it.

Flash Media Maintenance

In case you didn’t know this one, I thought I’d pass it along. Common wisedom these days is that as long as you format your flash media in camera once all your images are safely on your computer and backup drives, you shouldn’t have any problems with the flash media.

Here’s what I do after a shoot.

  1. Insert card into card reader
  2. Copy files to hard drive *AND* external backup drive
  3. Load into Lightroom (you may choose iPhoto or Picasa or Aperture or whatever image catalog tool you use at this step)
  4. Process images
  5. Run remote backup (3rd file location, I should be pretty safe)
  6. Format flash media in camera – ready for next shoot

Ok, go shoot!

Failing to get "the shot"

I was at Sprague Lake today, which is frozen over. It was snowing and the wind was blowing, so there were little snow puffs and whirls floating across the frozen lake surface. There was this old downed tree giving me some foreground, too. All I had to do was get a relatively slow shutter speed and nail the exposure. Due to the high contrast of the scene, I decided to use bracketed exposures and a graduated ND filter mounted upside down (snowy lake surface much brighter than storm clouds). Flare, among many other things, contributed to this not working out.