Remember that scene at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie – “Raiders of the Lost Ark” – when the Ark of the Covenant is put into storage. The camera pulls back to reveal an immense warehouse with thousands, possibly 100’s of thousands, of items in storage. Well the photo above is not that warehouse but it made me think of it. I had an corporate assignment from a client to photograph his place of business. When I was in the warehouse section I was raised up on a lift. I thought, “Here’s an opportunity to photograph a widescreen view of the plant.” Capturing such images usually requires, or at least is recommended, a tripod with panoramic head. I had the tripod but no specialty head. But I thought, “What the hell!”, I’ll try anyway. The 3 individual photos are shown with the “stitched” final image at the bottom.
Regarding SEO, one of the important actions to work on is building quality links between your site and others. Obviously this takes time, and resorting to a “link farm” – companies that readily provide your website with 100s or 1000s of links – is not the way to go. Google will penalize you and you’ll wind up in the “phantom zone” (reference to Superman, for all the fans out there). My main website – RJGreen Photo – has built up a bunch of links. Photographers, many from England, have found my site requesting reciprocal links. (That is, I link to them and they link to me.) On my link pages I offer the option to any photographer wishing to do so, offering my code to input into their websites. While I’m small potatoes compared to the big guys I’m apparently attracting enough attention that non-photographers/photography websites want me to link to them. No, I haven’t received any from adult sites, but I have gotten them from marriage counselors.
I like to keep a check on my “link popularity” by using SEO websites to check my stats. Recently Google changed something with their search algorithm and my stats took a nose dive. Down into the single digits. I checked other websites whose stats I knew were excellent and they also nosed dived so I knew it wasn’t me, but all of my known links have disappeared. One way to check them is to google – links:yourdomain.com. I used to have pages of them. Not any more. Even my best quality links from ASMP are gone.
I know that Google does this periodically to weed out the scammers, but this one was the biggest drop for me. I hope everything rebounds soon.
The image above is how I feel.
Every year at this time I like to head to New York City for photos, fun and food. I shoot for stock photography, never sure what I’ll get other than the standard images, but am always looking for some inspiration. Sometimes I win, sometimes I don’t. Let’s see about today.
In 1990 I started a family tradition of reading “Twas the Night…” on Christmas Eve to my children. I started with my son and my daughter was came onboard in 1995. The videos have been edited to watch them grow.
Dover Castle is on the south coast of England on the English Channel.
I wish I were king 500 years ago so I could behead somebody.
It’s that time of year again!
I’m not one who uses the Daily Show or Stephen Colbert to keep me up-to-date on the news, but it was on the Colbert Report that shows the damage that free reporting – aka “CNN’s iReport” is doing to the jobs of editors and photojournalists in the field – 50 of them are being laid off. When a CNN viewer photographs/videotapes an event and uploads it to the news organization – they are working for free, letting CNN profit off their work and putting Americans out of a job. That momentary elation of “look Ma, my photo/video is on the the news!” has evolved into employees losing their jobs. Free reporting is obviously not a good idea.
If I’m ever in a position to photograph a newsworthy event, I will be paid for my services. I don’t work for free.
Click on Colbert Report – CNN iReporter to take you to the video.
A two family apartment house in Paterson in the 1970’s. It is abandoned because a highway was scheduled to be built through this area and the local inhabitants had to move. – the law of Eminent Domain. I know this because I was one of them. The highway was never built, the house was torn down and the area was cleaned up.
What really matters to me is my family. Not my job as a photographer but my son, daughter and wife. I was reminded of that fact a little over a week ago when my wife had a very close call. She was headed to work and just a few blocks from her job the car she was driving wasn’t accelerating properly. There was a bang under the car and a fire started. She pulled over, got out, dialed 911, the fire engines quickly arrived and the fire was contained. Afterwards a fireman determined that the cause was the catalytic converter. It had ruptured causing the fuel line to break with gasoline spilling out. Then the fireman told my wife, “You were very, very lucky that the car wasn’t engulfed in flames while you were still in it. You were very, very lucky.” My wife was naturally in shock to hear that, but I think that I was upset more than she. Almost, in a split second, my life would have changed and I would have lost my best friend. And the manner of that lost was too grisly to think about. Recently I watched a movie “The Captains”. It was a documentary about the actors who played “The Captains” on the various Star Trek shows. (I am a fan.) And one comment by Patrick Stewart resonated with how different he and I are. I respect him as a actor but “acting” is more important to him than family and he stated that fact. I understand the need and desire to work at a job/career that brings more than just financial well-being, but also emotional and psychological satisfaction too. But how does that compare to losing the most important members of your family? At least, they should be the most important people in your life. Well, anyway, for once I’m being hit with an unplanned expensive bill (new car) and I’m not complaining. I almost had a far bigger lost. Happy Thanksgiving.
The image above was taken in Dec. 1980. It is my favorite photo of her.
Travel across this bridge and you’re heading in the direction of Skywalker Ranch.
Photo was taken before leaving for London.
I am now iPad ready. What that means is, when a viewer (potential client) connects to my site, it can now be seen on an iPad or mobile device. For those who didn’t get the news, iPads do not work with Adobe flash. My 2 websites – RJGreenphoto and Rich Green Photography – were a combination of HTML and flash. The HTML was for SEO and the flash was for the photo galleries. With Google Analytics I knew when someone was viewing my site with an iPad and, of course, they didn’t see anything past the opening HTML pages. There weren’t many iPad visitors, but one always has to be ready. Now I am.
What was created as the name of a software program, has evolved in it’s meaning. This is obviously not news to anyone, but can be frustrating to photographers. I have family members showing me 4×6 inch prints, poorly photographed, lacking image definition and detail, poor color, etc. and they’ll ask, “You can photoshop this, right?” In other words, “make it look absolutely perfect”. When I say no, they give me that quizzical look, “Why not? You know photoshop.” I’ll be polite and ask to see the film negative thinking, maybe there’s more detail there. “I don’t have the negative. It’s lost. Why should that matter?” Yikes, I’m dealing with amateurs. Yes, I realize that photos from 1920 are “restored”, but these 1960 images don’t fall into that category for me. I’m not going to spend hours “creating and filling in” to make it look wonderful.
Which brings me back to my use of Photoshop. I used to have a B&W darkroom. (I left color processing and printing to the labs.) I had a print processing setup purchased from Spiratone (remember them?) for making quickie 5×7 prints for clients. (If anyone remembers what the process was called, let me know.) And I also made prints with equipment I purchased from Zone VI -for images that were important to me personally. I used my darkroom in the manner that was typical – dodging/burning/setting up contrast via filter or paper/processing time, etc. And this is how I essentially use Photoshop, as an electronic darkroom, dodging, burning, contrast, etc. Yes, I employ some tricks of the trade as any photographer would do for clients, but for personal work, I generally like to keep it simple.
The image above is an example of that process. It was shot quickly, before my kids had a chance to move. The place is Monument Valley and the sun was rising. Dodging, burning, creating masks, adjusting contrast were my tools to create the image. Just like in a darkroom, but I admit, more convenient because I could turn my computer off when I was tired, save everything and return the next day when I had time to reflect on my work. That, for me, is the real advantage Photoshop has that a darkroom doesn’t.
On August 20th I posted a short video on my blog about my vacation trip to England. Now on my Lifestyle website I have posted a gallery of images from my trip. We flew into and out of London with 3 day trips outside of the city. Our first destination was to Dover to see the castle. The photograph of the cruise ship (you’re probably thinking “what does that have to do with England?) was taken looking out from the castle onto the English Channel. Barely visible in the background is France. The next day we went to Bath. It was a return trip for my wife and I, having visited it in 1984. It’s a beautiful city with ancient Roman ruins and an amazing street performer (photo included in gallery and a short clip in the video). Our last trip was to Brighton also on the English Channel, and which was another return trip for us. When we were there in October 1985 the swimming season had ended. Not for this visit however, as evidenced by a few images in my gallery.
The image above was, of course, taken at the Beatles Abbey Road spot. Back in 1985 we also visited Abbey Road and took a similar photo but we were the only ones there. Also, we were at the wrong corner at the time and nice elderly lady pointed us to the right corner. Well, things have changed. The spot is very busy with plenty of tourists wanting to take their Beatles shot. And the front wall to EMI studios is covered in Beatles graffiti – names of songs, I love the Beatles, Miss you George, etc. And yes, I wrote on the wall too.
One comment concerning photo #19 in the gallery – I was walking along shooting photos and, without realizing it at the time, captured this shot of a man on his phone, in front of a store display that happened to have the phrase “OMG” in a cartoon balloon right next to the man’s head. Wow.
Just in case you have a problem, here’s a website that might be able to help – Camera Stolen. A photographer on APAnet/Yahoo Group wrote about a photographer getting all of his equipment back using this service. If you’re a member of the group, you can read about it here. If you’re not, you can always join.
While I’m in the path of Hurricane Irene, luckily I’m far enough west – about 50 miles from NYC – that it’ll probably just be a tropical storm in my area. My neighborhood is not a flood zone and my house sits on an incline so water runs away, but I still cleaned up my yard and tied everything down on my deck, just in case. And there’s always the possibility of a tree falling on my house. Yikes! It’s a surreal moment to prepare for a hurricane. I’ve never done it. I wish I had a waterproof video camera so I could go outside, play weatherman and look like I’m about to be blown away. Why do those knuckleheads do that?
Well, it’s about 24 hours to the big show!
Just returned from a family vacation to London, England. We also made several day trips outside the city. I shot a ton of images. I’ll showcase a few here along with a gallery on my Lifestyle site as soon as I finished editing and copyright registering them. The (very) short video is just for fun.
One of the most beautiful places in our country – Monument Valley.
For me seeing the new apes movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, was not a choice but an obligation. When the original Planet of the Apes film with Charlton Heston premiered in 1968 I was around 14 years old. I sat in the Plaza Theater in Paterson, NJ and was transported to a world that held me by my heart and soul. I had chills when the character “Taylor” played by Mr. Heston uttered the words, “Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape.” And those chills were intensified with the ending of the movie – seeing the remains of the Statue of Liberty on the sandy beach. It’s an iconic moment in American film history. I walked out of the theater in a daze. To this day, I do not remember if I saw the film with anyone else. That movie cemented a relationship with the soon-to-be-made franchise. I bought a hardcover of the original novel written by French author Pierre Boulle, also author of The Bridge over the River Kwai. For a 14 year old to purchase a hardcover of a book displays the respect I had for the material. The novel was different than the movie, but it was just as perfect.
After the original film premiered I was first on line for everything that followed – Beneath the Planet…., Escape from the Planet…., Conquest of the Planet…., and finally Battle for the Planet….. Nothing equaled the original, but the movies were entertaining. Sometime in the 1970s a close friend and myself sat through a marathon of the 5 films at the Plaza theater. A bland TV followed in 1974, comic books (not interested) and the Tim Burton remake in 2001. I’d lump Burton’s remake with the sequels, entertaining but nothing special.
I don’t remember the year, but sometime between 2000 and 2009 the original Planet of the Apes film was playing at the Lafayette theater in Suffern, NY. The theater had a sci-fi movie weekend with the Heston movie being one of the films shown. Also present at the showing was Linda Harrison, aka “Nova”. It was a fan’s dream to see and hear Ms. Harrison reminisce about the making of the movie.
Back to the new film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It was entertaining, more so than some of the other sequels. There were plenty of references to the original – some subtle, some not. I don’t remember the reason given in Conquest of the Planet for the rise of the apes intelligence, been a long time since I’ve seen it, but the logic in the new movie was very good, in my opinion. My only real qualm was the ending of the movie. It contradicts the original story, how the apes became the dominant species, and I didn’t see any real reason to change it.
Regarding the photo above – that’s my wife and I. It has nothing to do with the apes movies. I also love comedy and the Three Stooges, and as any student of film comedy will say, gorilla costumes are part of that history. I thought that it was time me for to be a stooge.
Early morning fog. One of these days I’ll get lucky and the wolfman will come out of the shadows.
One of my more difficult assignments.