So, what am I doing writing a blog post for Scott Kelby’s website? Scott Kelby’s website is the big league and I’m just an amateur photographer.Asking me to write this blog post is like asking a minor league rookie to take his first at bat in the World Series. However, I do have a story to tell.It is not often an amateur photographer has to hide the names of people and places to protect the life of a local guide in a foreign country.
I travel a lot, mainly in Asia and always with my cameras looking to photograph people. In this blog I am going to describe my most recent trip to two countries, Myanmar and Bangladesh.My narratives from the two countries are quite different.
Also WARNING – there are descriptions towards the end of this blog that some may find disturbing.
Planning this trip began a few days after I was awarded a solo show at “The Gallery at KelbyOne” on December 9, 2017.I received an email from a filmmaker who had seen my Instagram Site and was scheduled to do a documentary for the United Nations starting as soon as in three weeks.She wanted me to take stills that could be used for publicity and to create a poster for her film.The documentary was to be about Rohingya, the ethnic group in Myanmar that has been the worldwide subject of many recent reports.I was most interested.
Both the New York Times and BBC had been writing extensively about the Rohingya fleeing for their lives into Bangladesh as the Myanmar Army burned down their villages in southwest Myanmar.Doctors without Borders estimated 6,700 had been killed since last August.Horror stories were being recounted daily, straight out of the mouths of the Rohingya as they flowed into Bangladesh, by the hundreds of thousands.
The photography would be pro bono work for a good cause and it was a way for me to gain entrance into the Bangladesh refugee camps run by the United Nations. I agreed to work with the filmmaker on the promise that I could get four days in the camps, two days shooting with her, and another two days of independent shooting with a guide/translator I was planning to seek out once I got to Bangladesh.
I also decided on a side trip to Myanmar, a place I have taken some of my best photographs.I wanted to make the trip to the other side of the world worthwhile and four days in Bangladesh was not enough and so I contacted my guide in Myanmar, who works at Santa Maria Travel and Tours in Yangon.His name is Mya Min Din but I call him M.M. He is simply the best photographic guide in Asia. He was available and we made plans to meet-up in Yangon and fly together to Bagan, Myanmar.Bagan is the home of 4,000 ancient Buddhist temples.This would be my fourth visit to Myanmar.
Normally, before I go into a new country, I seek guide recommendations from other photographers.I then contact the guide directly who would handle the arrangements for hotels, a driver, and a car. By not going with a photo tour group I save several thousand dollars, have a private guide, and the flexibility to change my schedule at will. Photo tours do however offer professional photographers to help you improve your skills and also offer an additional layer of security.I recommend Karl Grobl of Jim Cline Photography Tours for those wanting a photo tour group in Asia.But if you are more adventuresome and don’t need a professional’s help you can save money by traveling without other photographers.
This trip was different.While I knew M.M. from trips to Myanmar, I knew no guides in Bangladesh.As I had to be there in three weeks, I was not able to find and prearrange a guide.I would have to play it by ear when I arrived in Bangladesh, which in the end, was to prove challenging.
Part 1: Myanmar It takes three flights, two layovers, and 24 hours to make my way to Myanmar from Phoenix, Arizona.The longest leg is the fifteen hours from Los Angeles to Guangzhou, China.I spent a night in Yangon, and then flew with M.M. to Bagan.
M.M. is the reason I take my best photographs in Myanmar.He travels through his country many times a year with eyes open for places with good light and good backgrounds. He also has good relations with the monastic Buddhist schools throughout the country. This allows us to borrow novice monks to serve as our models.
It’s that time of the week already! I’m Dave Williams, I’m right here every Tuesday on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider, and this week I have a really quick and easy Photoshop tip for you.
Contrast can add a real punch to your images, and it’s an important consideration in virtually any post process. Contrast, used properly, can have a serious, attention-grabbing effect. With tonal contrast, specifically, we can do a very, very simple thing to see what kind of difference it makes. Generally better on images without a great range of contrast already, just do this: –
1. In Photoshop, duplicate your layer by pressing Command-J (Windows: Ctrl-J).
2. From the top of the Layers panel, select Overlay as the blending mode.
Take a look at what a difference this makes:
Before and after, and once more…
It’s a really cool way to give your image some contrast impact, which is achieved in this particular blend mode by combining the Multiply and Screen blending modes, which results in dark blacks and bright whites.
Contrast is, generally, attractive and eye-catching, so make sure your workflow includes a good look at it! You can show me (@capturewithdave) and @Kelbyonepics your results over on Instagram, we’d love to see!
That’s right — come to beautiful Venice, Italy and join me and Venice photography expert (and KelbyOne Instructor) Mimo Meidany for an unforgettable four-day “Magic of Venice” travel photography workshop in one of the most amazing locales on the planet. First, watch this short video:
Get ready for an unforgettable hands-on travel photography workshop in one of the most magical and photogenic cities in the world, — beautiful Venice, Italy. The beautiful canals and bridges of Venice will be your home for four delightful days of creating captivating images, learning important camera techniques, composition, and the latest post-processing techniques. All this while enjoying wonderful meals, remarkable views, and making new friends.
What: The Magic of Venice Travel Photography Workshop Instructors: Scott Kelby and Mimo Meidany When: April 6-9, 2018 (with an informal get-together the night of the 5th) Where: The Hotel Concordia, Venice, Italy Price: $3,450 Per Person (includes accommodations – see below) Tickets: More details and tickets here (limited to 10 participants maximum)
Your home for the workshop is the wonderful Hotel Concordia; a charming boutique style hotel (with excellent wi-fi) located in the heart of Venice, and just steps from San Marco Square. It’s close to many of Venice’s most iconic shooting locations (and some incredible little-known spots and vantage points) with lots of great shopping and restaurants nearby (including some of my favorites).
We’ll be shooting each day on location Then heading back to the hotel for post-processing our images where we’ll learning new techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop; learn new camera techniques; have time for critiques before we head back out to make more gorgeous images. Lots of learning, lots of laughing, amidst the incredible views and scrumptious food of this truly enchanting floating city. After sunset each day you’ll be free to explore the city on your own, and its charming restaurants and cafes.
It will be an extraordinary experience — one that will inspire, inform, stretch you, and challenge you to try new techniques, new ways of thinking, and do things photographically you never thought you could. You’ll come home with lots of stunning images, and memories that will last a lifetime.
Mimo and I look forward to welcoming you to Venice and getting to know you as we spend a few days together making images, learning new techniques, and uncovering the Magic of Venice.
NOTE: This workshop is limited to a maximum of 10 participants.
What’s Included: Workshop fee includes four nights accommodations at the Hotel Concordia, double-occupancy, including Four continental breakfasts at the hotel. Additional meals are on your own. (If you prefer more privacy, single rooms are available for an up-charge. See the sign-up page for details).
Activity Level: Light to Moderate There are no roads in Venice — it’s a walking city, so we’ll be traveling by foot. One of Venice’s nicknames is “The City of Bridges,” and you’ll be crossing many of them during your stay. They are small bridges (across tiny canals), but just know ahead of time — there are plenty of them. Workshop Participants should be in good health; wear comfortable shoes and clothing, and be ready for lots of walking and standing for extended periods of time.
Dress: The weather in Venice in April is beautiful — it’s not too hot with highs in the low 60s F°, but it can get a little chilly at night, so bring at least a light jacket or coat. As with any outdoor event, the weather is somewhat unpredictable, so also be prepared if it rains.
What do I need to bring to the workshop? A DSLR or Mirrorless Camera; a sturdy tripod with ballhead; wireless remote or cable release; a wide-angle lens (24mm or wider); a telephoto lens; a neutral density filter (10-stops or higher) would be ideal for long exposure techniques. You’ll need a laptop with either Lightroom or Photoshop (or both) for the post-processing segments.
What level of experience is required? All levels of experience are welcome, but participants should be familiar with their camera and lens and have some experience in either Lightroom or Photoshop.
What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event? The Hotel Concordia hotel offers Airport Transfer from Venice Marco Polo Airport for an additional fee.
What if I have questions that aren’t answered here? You can post a comment below, or you can email me directly.
What’s the refund policy? If you have to cancel the workshop, as long as you cancel before March 28, 2018, you will receive a 100% refund, minus a $300 cancellation fee. After April 1st, 2018 refunds will not be available.
Where do I sign up? Right here (you’ll be taken to the sign-up page).
Reserve your space now — and we’ll see you soon in beautiful Venice, Italy.
I’m out in Houston today with my Lightroom Seminar Looking forward to meeting some of you there. Then I’m off to Las Vegas for a quick visit to the WPPI Expo – hope to see you there. :)
Have a great Monday!
P.S.See how I worked that Italian word in there? That’s pretty much the extent of my Italian language skills. You’ll be glad Mimo is with us — his Italian is quite a bit better. ;-)
Today we’re announcing the official winners from our KelbyOne/LexarArchitectural Photography Contest. From the hundreds of entries on Instagram, here’s our Winner, Runner Up, and our three Honorable Mentions (who all win prizes, courtesy of our contest partner Lexar Memory )
David Queenan | @davidqueenan David wins a Lexar Professional 2000x SD Memory Card and a Lexar USB 3 Card Reader
James Hannick | @jameshannick.photography James wins a Lexar Professional 2000x SD Memory Card and a Lexar USB 3 Card Reader
Lori Novak | @laurinovakphoto Lori wins a Lexar Professional 2000x SD Memory Card and a Lexar USB 3 Card Reader
Congratulations to all of our featured artists above, and high-five to those who didn’t win for entering the competition. It takes moxie to put your images out there like that in competition, and I have great respect and applause for all the photographers who took submitted images. There were a lot of great images submitted, which made my job that much harder, but I can’t complain — I got to enjoy all these wonderful entries during the judging process.
Special thanks to Joey Lopez and the crew at Lexar Memory for being our partners and sponsors on this contest. Make sure you all follow @lexarmemory on Instagram and Twitter.
Have a great weekend everybody!
P.S.Shout out to the awesome folks in San Antonio who came out to my seminar there yesterday. Really fun crowd, in a really great town. Next stop: Houston on Monday!
User’s Guide For The Sony A7R III with Larry Becker Attention all Sony A7R III owners! Larry Becker has a fantastic guide to help you get the most out of this full featured camera from Sony. This class is designed with the advanced enthusiast to pro photographer in mind. Larry starts off with a look at the things you need to know to get up and running quickly, and then proceeds through shooting modes, autofocus options, video capture, customizations you can make, and a whole lot more.
In Case You Missed It Photograph your kids sports like a pro! Join Rob Foldy, professional sports photographer, as he teaches you the basic photographic principles that will make your subjects proud. This is not a class on gear, but Rob does show you how to use what you have, and how to configure your camera for the best results. You’ll also learn the importance of storytelling and how being prepared before you go to the game will help you take your photographs to the next level. Rob brings it all together by working with three parents while they photograph their kids’ soccer game, providing them tips for shooting with everything from a mobile phone to a DSLR.
We’re Still Blue in the Face Over Stuff The two of us want to thank Scott for the opportunity to spread the word about some new and mostly terrible changes in copyright registration rules. As soon as we called Scott he immediately saw the need to get the news out. Ed and I as usual talk until we’re “blue in the face” about copyright issues, and these changes are making us “bluer than blue.” These new copyright registration changes will have a huge impact on photographers registering their copyrights. Understand that these are not changes in the copyright law itself but rather to the procedures you must use to register your works.
These changes have been instituted by the US Copyright Office (USCO), which is the only place you can register your images in the United States. Those whofollow us know registration is critical in protecting your copyright rights. With very rare exceptions, without a registration you cannot bring an action in court to prosecute a case for copyright infringement. The registration received from USCO is the “key to the courthouse’ you need it to pursue your case. Photographers that have deep pockets loaded with Benjamins will cope with the new rules easier than the vast majority of creatives who are not flush with cash. Let us explain, in plain English.
The three words we dread to see on our favorite products when we hike to the grocery store are, “New and Improved!” (Always with one or two exclamation points). Uh oh. Usually, it’s a new box design around our cereal or a new jar holding our peanut butter. And gloryoski, the price and the taste are still the same. But wait a minute; any shopper over 8 years old knows what’s coming next. There is less cereal in the box or less peanut butter in the jar, it tastes exactly the same. What the……? What’s “new and improved” is the smaller package and better bottom line for the manufacturer, not for us.
The Copyright Office has announced substantial, “new and improved” changes to the registration process. New? Yes. Improved? Not so much…at least for photographers. These changes will take effect on February 20, 2018.The new procedures will affect the registration of both published and unpublished images. Details have been promised by the Copyright Office and should be downloadable at Copyright.gov by the time you read this. (That is the official USCO site. Ignore commercial sites with similar addresses).
But excuse us as we’re “burying the lead” in this story. The major change, that which will really impact photographers, is not the fact that the $55 application fee (which not too long ago was $35) will not be going up. It stays at $55. That’s the good news. The bad news is akin to that new and improved cereal box, where you’re getting a whole lot less value for your money. And we mean a lot less. After February 20th, you will be limited to 750 photos on a $55 application. That 750 is the cap, the maximum number of images which will now be permitted per $55 application. Like these guys never heard of a motor drive on a camera?
To some photographers 750 images is a big number and more than adequate for them. If however you’re a professional photographer, like a wedding photographer or an advertising photographer, shooting 2,000 or 4,000 or more on multi day shoots is not unheard of. Before this February 20th change, you could register thousands of photos with one application. Jack talks at our lectures about a photo shoot in Africa where he shot 13,000 images. He registered all 13,000 as a single collection for $55. At the new 750 limit it means that Jack’s 13,000 images from his Africa trip would take 17.3 applications to register. OK, let’s edit a bit and call it 17. That would cost him $935 dollars to register his Africa images rather than $55. One of our friends shoots beauty, fashion and cosmetics. Shooting 4,000 or 5,000 images in a two-day shoot is pretty common.
For another example, let’s look at the amount a wedding photographer would typically shoot. Experienced wedding photographers (as opposed to the Uncle Bobs) tend to shoot tight, knowing that if they over-shoot, the editing and postproduction time costs them time and money. Let’s say that wedding photographer clamps down, turns off that motor drive, and shoots just 1,500 images in a day-long wedding (without kicking in the engagement shots). That registration of 1,500 now doubles to $110 for that registration, rather than $55 it would have cost to register 3,000 or 4,000 files previously. Try and pass that on to the bride and groom who are already upset at what the rose petals for the ring girl cost them.
Two of the reasons we advocated registering your entire shoot, all the images, no exceptions, all of the time is that first, it assured that everything you shot was registered and secondly, it speeds up the process. Registering it all took away the big speed bump of doing a tight edit. Well, welcome to the speed bump. Unless you have very, very deep pockets, you will need to do very tight edits to limit submissions to 750 or fewer which will inevitably delay your registrations.
As they say on TV: But wait! There’s more! When registering you now have to submit an Excel spreadsheet, a PDF, or some other accepted listing of all file titles of each image separately. New Rule (10): “The applicant must submit a sequentially numbered list containing a title and file name for each photograph in the group…”
All that can be easily accomplished, it’s just another added step for some. This was always required for registering published images, but not for a collection of unpublished images. Not a big hurdle, but still something that from now on will have to be done. More work…as if you needed it.
Some of the new directives seem to be written with someone’s tongue firmly planted in cheek. The one we really like is they point out while there is a 750 image limit now, you can submit as many registrations @ $55 as you want. The wording states: “But it is important to recognize that the final rule does not impose any limit on the number of applications that may be submitted at a given time.”
In other words, feel free to spend $935 rather than $55 for those 13,000 images. The Copyright Office will not limit, will not put a ceiling, on how much it now costs you. So if you want to buy the smaller volume cereal box at the same old price, you can buy as many boxes as you want. Yeah, thanks. No limit to my added overhead expenses. It is as if that “$55 All You Can Eat Buffet” now has new signage, “$55 All You Can Eat On This Small Size Plate Buffet”.
We have found that no single factor has encouraged photographers to register their work than the ability to register thousands of images at one time and for one affordable fee.
Another issue that is adding a shade of blue to our faces is the buzz around Blockchain technology. This part reads better if you put on a recording of Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang.” (Hooh aah) (Hooh aah). We think the technology of Blockchain ledgers could be revolutionary for our industry. The technology is very promising if and when computer speeds improve, and especially if the Copyright Office embraces it for registration.
Now, we’ve seen some private companies advertising that their blockchain technology “registers” your image. All we can say is, “no,” it does not. Only a registration with USCO has any legal weight. Other “registrations” are misleading and serve little to no purpose. It’s the equivalent of the old copyright myth of putting your photo in a sealed envelope and mailing it to yourself. All that proves is that you mailed yourself a photo. These private company “registrations” have no legal benefit as far as copyright protection is concerned. Just the use of the word “registration” is in our view, inherently misleading.
Take Kodak and their KodakOne business model. Our once beloved Kodak (Oh Kodak, Kodak, wherefore art thou Kodak) has taken a strange turn into using blockchain technology. You’d have to be a blockhead to get involved there. Kodak has been slammed in the trade press and in the NY Times about how what they’re offering is a bit of a scam. You can read more in this NY Times article that slams Kodak titled Kodak’s Dubious Cryptocurrency Gamble. Unless Kodak can demonstrate otherwise – none of our money on that bet – we tend to agree with the Gray Lady.
Kodak is hardly alone in attempting to pull cash from photographer’s pockets these days. There are now numerous “search and rescue” service companies where you sign up to their terms (which no one reads) and they use their “technology” to find infringements of your work and collect settlements. How alluring it is for someone else to do all of the work. Most people signing up, who don’t read the fine print, don’t realize that they are giving up their Constitutional right to pursue a litigation with an attorney of their choosing and if they prevail, are entitled to seek an award of attorneys fees. These search firms staffed by non-lawyers with little to no expertise have first crack, the right of first refusal, at resolving the infringements and then they take 50% of the settlement. Lawyers who know the value of your claims are omitted from the process unless the infringer is smart enough to force the search firm to hire one, and any sophisticated IP lawyer representing an infringer knows that these search firms like to settle early and cheap.
The short version is that the company will attempt to collect much less than the infringement is worth so long as they can do so quickly and without hiring a lawyer whose fees bring down the amount of any net recovery. When needed, they hire the cheapest lawyer they can engage who will sometimes screw up your case. On this Reddit thread, you can read about someone who was told over a period of time that these legal matters take time. They kept saying that right up until the time they said, “Awww, forget about it. We’re dropping the pursuit of this infringement. Not worth our time”. When Ed gets calls from photographers who now have to pursue such a case on their own, he generally refuses to take them, because negotiations with the infringer were started at unrealistically low amounts and you can’t suddenly restart pre-existing negotiations with new proposals, which would now reflect true worth. The legal real world doesn’t work that way. It’s not a board game, once started, you can’t go back to go.
These “services” rely on illustrators, photographers and artists being ignorant of the USC Title 17 – The Copyright Law. We address issues about these services in our article “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics” located on our blog TheCopyrightZone.com.
These services hire inexperienced, non-lawyers to evaluate and typically settle early claims, the true value of which they know not. Early, quick, cheap settlements mean little to no work on their part. Artists like to avoid conflict and think that these services will make them money. Naively they do not realize that any competent attorney will put far more money in their pocket on any viable case. That takes some work. We like to emphasize that one should never, ever assigns the right to pursue or defend their copyrights to anyone.
These “search and rescue” services are simply not law firms. Staffers at these services need no level of expertise or experience in the industry, they have no “legal” experience. And when and if they decide to employ a lawyer, they hire lawyers without your input. When a company with a lot of business to throw around, hires a lawyer, said lawyer might see more of an allegiance to the company, rather than to the individual. If you retain you own attorney, that lawyer has one allegiance and it is only to you. The business model of these “search and rescue” services – frequently located in the EU – makes no sense for anyone who registers his or her images and has any understanding of copyright law. If, heaven forbid, you required major surgery, wouldn’t you prefer to select your own surgeon based on the suggestions of other doctors? Here some kid can be selecting your attorney for you, and guess what, you are stuck with that lawyer whether you like him/her or not.
Sorry to have to be the bearers of bad news on this blog piece, but an informed photographer is a prepared photographer. Prepared photographers come out with good results they’re happy with. And prepared photographers don’t call us crying on the phone because they’re getting the shaft instead of the goldmine.