Posted in photography, Photos

Watermarking, Why Do You Do it?

Icons or watermarks, there are a lot of people that systematically mark there images. Im one of them-at least, I was until recently. Thomas Hawk is a social photography pioneer (I should watermark that statement). Whether it’s Flickr, 500px, or Google Plus, Thomas is at the forefront of the community. We have mutually encircled each other In Google plus-you place people in circles of similar people you are a fan of, inspired by, or enjoy what they do in the internet. If you are encircled by someone like Thomas Hawk you are certain to gain exposure from it. I happen to have recently been added to one his circles for photography. It’s like winning nobel prize. He shares his circles with the hundreds of thousands that have encircled him to give people an opportunity to enjoy what he enjoys-this is my interpretation.

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In thanking him, he gave me some feedback that spurred a passionate dialogue with my wife, and some introspection on my part. He responded to my comment-something he does often at all hours of the day and night. In his response to me he wrote, David your watermark is heavy-or something along those lines. I replied and asked if heavy was good or heavy bad. He then replied sometime later, heavy-bad for me, sorry. I never thought of how a watermark on my image-something i created in Lightroom when i first bought it years ago and forgot about- may be interpreted until then.

I was on the morning train to work when I read his last reply. I turned to my wife, my commuting buddy (with benefits) and made a pouty face mimicking my son Noah. Imagine someone just told you that your breath smelled. You’re shocked at first. You cup your hand to your face and test the air you exhale because your breath didn’t smell bad to you. That’s when you turn to your wife and ask her “smell my breath” (provided she’s not the one that made the revelation of your foul smelling mouth). Imagine the horror you feel after she confirms it with a devilish grin. That is how I felt when my wife confirmed Thomas’s feeling.

She came to the same conclusion after seeing three images. I chose one on my iPad and she shrugged an said “thats not bad”. The next warranted no verbal response. She merely shrugged indifference. The last image however, she gave an involuntary “whoa boy”. “What is it”, I asked. She looked me in the face and said sadly, “I think is obnoxious. Have a breath mint.”

Fundamentally, my images are my own. My style is all my own. This conviction has been solidified by my co-organizing some NY based Photowalks for fellow G+ photographers. You can look at an image an have 15 people surround it. The majority of the shots will seem similar, but, there will be something different.

There is and has always been an underlying concern of digital piracy. Since the first sites you old post to. This is MY image and you are not going to take it. When I post my images online, I typically send them directly through Adobe Lightroom. Facebook, Flickr, and my Zenfolio gallery are typically populated this way. Google plus currently is the only place I manually submit images to-until someone creates an add on for that, of course. One of my settings on automatic is to watermark the image with my name.

My style is my watermark going forward. I don’t want my image to compete with my branding. I want my images to tell a story. I don want that story to be “this is MY image. Look, but, don’t touch”. Thomas Hawk inspired this blog post. Thanks for inspiring me to look at my body of images differently. Thanks for continuously being supportive of the photography community and of me at all hours of the night.

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Posted in Photography, Photos, Uncategorized

Photography Book Review: Going Candid by Thomas Leuthard

“Going Candid…”

I came across the street photography of Thomas Leuthard as I was ravenously adding photographers to my circles in Google plus or G+ as it is affectionately known. Thomas is a great example of how G+ can help talented photographers develop or build a following for themselves. I have gained in similar fashion and the surface has yet to be scratched.

Thomas Leuthard has produced a refreshing take on his photography. His intent is to redefine your view of street photography. He isn’t interested in the history of it. He shares with the reader an honest, candid (pun), and refreshing perspective on a form of art that at first makes the camera feel like a 50lbs dumbbell. Going Candid reads like a great conversation over a afternoon lunch where you lost track of time. Thomas successfully explains his view in a confident and digestible manner. The link above leads to a main page with the following excerpt (Pardon the formatting):

“Going Candid”

A book about street photography in the digital age. Forget what you know about street photography and read how Thomas Leuthard (85mm) explores the street with his camera. Find useful tips and tricks on how to approach people, getting closer to them and get the best out of you street experience. His workflow starts without a camera and ends in the galleries of this World. It’s not about the Decisive Moment or how you setup your camera. It’s more about the approach of getting a successful street photographer who will build a successful community around the World. It’s all about sharing and socializing. You will be taken to a journey through the big cities of this World looking into the eyes of strangers. Candid is the key word and
you will not be disappointed. Stay tuned for an exclusive book which will change your life as a street photographer…

The pdf is downloadable for free here. Enjoy it.

Posted in Photos

Manhattanhenge -Its your last chance for 2011

Manhattanhenge July 12, 2011
Tuesday night, I spent the evening watching the sunset with about 200 fellow photography aficionados. The occasion was due to a rare event that happens 4 days in the year. Manhattan Solstice aka Manhattan-henge, named after the mythical construct Stone Henge, occurs when the setting sun aligns with the Manhattan city grid. Major streets that stretch east to west allow you see and photograph an incredible view. My fanaticism with this event has stretched back 3 years or so. Last year, my schedule allowed me to participate, but, I would have to wait another year due to the weather. Last night, I was able to view the full sun in all its splendor glide down on 42nd Street.

Crowds before Manhattanhenge July 12, 2011
I arrived around 5:15 in Tudor City, a pretty village like area that stretches 3 blocks overlooking the United Nations. I knew the sun wasn’t due to set until 8:25, but, in order to be in the perfect spot, I was destined to be there early. I was mortified to find at least 15 photographers already staking claims to prime spots.

A steady stream of photographers continued to arrive the entire time I was there. The congregation of photogs were made up of mostly amateur enthusiasts with all kinds of cameras. Film-yes, you read correctly, digital, SLRs, Compacts, Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic-All brands and model types were represented. One person had an camera he created, attached to a ball head with a clamp. He attached it to the guard rail in front of everyone. He connected it to a battery source and with an ethernet cable, controlled it from his laptop some 6 feet away. By the end of the evening his camera was said to have taking over 5000 images of the 5 minute event. I really hope he got the shot.

The time ticked away and new friendships established, Google+ circles increased and business cards exchanged to pass time. When the sun arrived, baited breath was overwhelmed with the fury of shutters firing. It was electric. The moment lasted for a life time-although it was all of 5 minutes. When the sun was completely out of sight, everyone stopped, paused and began to clap. Maybe showing gratitude for the stars visit. I walked away drunk with the moment and partially blind. Last night at 8:25 was your last chance to see the half sun set. 14th,23rd,34th, or 42nd Streets:-pick your spot, you wouldn’t regret or forget it.

Manhattanhenge July 12, 2011