All posts tagged photography

Giant frogfish – antennarius commersoni
Photographed at approximately 5 meters deep.

Giant frogfish - antennarius commerson

D800 in Ikelite housing, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm macro, 2 Ikelite strobes

My first photography e-book is now published!

Below The Surface Around Camiguin Island

Below The Surface Around Camiguin Island, photo e-book with underwater photography

A photography e-book with 184 pages of stunning underwater photography.

It’ll be yours to page through for the ridiculously low price of € 3,75 and you can order it by clicking on the “Add to Bag” button on the right side.
The order process is super-easy, and super-fast. You can pay via PayPal or with credit card. After payment you’ll be sent a confirmation mail with a link from where you can download the e-book (pdf, appr. 25Mb in size).

(and of course, feel free to share it with everyone you know and don’t know! 😉 ).

I had to interrupt my 365 days underwater with this post.
Via a fellow photographer I came across an advertisement of the Finnish branch of Hihostels (
They posted an ad here:

For those not fluent in Finnish, summarized this ad asks for a volunteer photographer, who will shoot pictures for Hihostel’s image bank so they can use it for marketing and communication purposes and such. There will be no additional compensation for the use of the images, and they won’t be sold forward. They state that it won’t be always possible to credit the photographer, but where they can, they will.

They offer photographing experience in “our beautiful country” as well as travel compensation up to 50 euros and accommodation if necessary (but they hope you can do it during (one of your own) day trips) and specific tasks.
They wish you to be self-reliant, have your own photography gear and skilled to take pictures of places, people and landscapes.

I see things like this come by all the time, and it always gets me off.
It’s an insult to every (professional) photographer out there.

Usually I boil for a while, let it sink and go on with my life. But this time, especially because it’s a Finnish company and I’m Finnish, I thought I’d write them a friendly email.
I contacted the marketing and communications officer as stated on the website and wrote her the following:

Dear Ms XXXX,

I would like introduce myself:
My name is Arno XXXX, I’m a Finnish professional photographer.
I have a massive library of photographs, of which a big part is shot in Finland.
If you have the time, have a look at

I travel around the world to try to make a living from something I absolutely love doing.
My camera equipment is worth approximately € 35,000.00.
I pay a handsome amount of money in maintenance for my equipment, as well as insurances for my equipment while on assignment both locally and globally. I spend a good amount of time editing my pictures so that they look perfect for the people who are going to use them.
That’s on top of my daily costs for existing, like apartment rent, groceries, social security, etc. etc.

Photography is what I do for a living.
It pays my bills and allows me to exist.

I read from the advertisement on that you are the marketing and communications coordinator for
That’s what you do for a living, right?
And I reckon you have monthly costs like apartment rent (or a mortgage), social security, insurances, etc. etc.
Would you have taken your job if Hihostels would’ve offered you travel expenses up to 50 euros and a fantastic experience of working for them?

Can you understand that I take offense to job advertisements like the one is hosting on its webpage?
What you do with this is ridicule the profession (yes, it IS a very PROfession) of photography and you are undermining an already very difficult market to survive in.

Being a photographer is a hard existence and the photography market is -literally, at time- violently competitive.
With ads like these you make it even harder for professional photographers to pay their bills and exist.
Hihostels is an international corporation, which makes money. You have a marketing budget. If you budget properly, you can budget an amount for licensing photographs.

Imagine I would show up at Hihostels telling you “Hey, I’d like to stay in Hihostels for a week or two. I will pay up to 50€ for your services.”
How would you react to that?
I bet you’d start laughing and say “I’m sorry, Sir, but we can’t do that!” with a friendly smile on you face and in your head you’d think “What the hell?? Who is this idiot?”

So why should you be paid for doing YOUR job, why should your boss be paid for doing his/her job?
And why would I have to do my job basically for free?
Does that sound anywhere near fair to you?

If you are interested in licensing any of my Finland pictures, please do let me know.
I can make a very interesting package price for you.

Awaiting your response.

Kind regards,


Let’s see if I get any response and what they will write…

Tomorrow the underwater series continues.

*** Edit to add:
Of course we will not know why, if it was because of my mail, or maybe a lot of photographers sent a mail with similar content as mine, but the page with the job advertisement is now not available (anymore).

My Better Half bought me a GoPro Hero3+ for my birthday (that’s already a while ago, but a lot has happened in the past months).
I tried videography with my D800, but I must honestly admit it is not my thing. It’s too bulky and too much of a hassle, and really, my heart’s not in it. I’m a still photographer.
But with the GoPro things are very good, very easy, not a hassle and especially now that I’m diving so much, the GoPro is quick and easy to take a long.

But there we ran into the problem. On land the GoPro is fabulous. Fantastic colors. But in the water, as soon as you get below 3-4 meters everything turns blue.
I’m kind of at a loss that GoPro themselves doesn’t supply the necessary filters with this. They supply the craziest things as accessories with the little camera, and Hero3(+) comes by default in a waterproof housing. So you’d think that the good people at GoPro made this thing to go under water.
I started Googling red filters for GoPro. A couple of hits came out of that, but the one that stood out for me was the PolarPro link.
I was a bit hesitant at first, but decided to go for the Switchblade, which is a combination of red filter and macro filter.

And see here. The difference is remarkable.

The video above was a quick test just for the sake of showing the difference with filter and without filter. It was shot at about 5 meters depth.
It works really great between about 4-15 meters. When you go deeper, the effect of the loss of light will be heavier, and the red filter won’t be able to compensate as much as it would at shallower depths. The compensation will stay closer to the camera and further away the blue will still come out.
But nonetheless, it really works wonders.

Being a photographer, and having much experience with macro photography, I must say that the macro filter doesn’t do much for me personally. There is a slight difference, but just slightly. Close focusing will still render the video out of focus.
Now when I go out with the GoPro I will just leave both the red filter AND macro filter on. It doesn’t make much of a difference anyway.

Customer service
Initially getting the package was quite an operation.
I’m at the moment located in quite a remote location and having the package sent over proved to be quite a challenge. The postal service in this place is marginal at best, and delivery of anything seems to be subject to the mood of the post man. So when, after a month, I still hadn’t received the package, I contacted PolarPro and asked them about it. Since I hadn’t received a tracking number, I had no way of tracing the package myself. But they could, and I was told that the package had been stuck in customs.
But no worries, they would resend a new package with DHL, and it should arrive in 5 days (“yeah, right”, I thought). And indeed, 5 days later the package arrived. I had to pay some taxes and duties, but I had my package.
And I was eager to try. The next day I wanted to give it a try, and to my (unpleasant) surprise I found that the filter did not fit the Hero3+. The package read SwitchBlade 3+, and I ordered it from the Hero3+ accessory section of the website, but after inquiring again with PolarPro we found out that this really was the filter for the Hero3, which has a slightly different case around the lens. It’s still unclear how this mistake occurred, but the great people at PolarPro did not hesitate to send a new package, again with DHL, and sure enough 5 days later the new package arrived. And this one did fit.

PolarPro requested I return the other filter, which in any other case I would happily do, but like I mentioned before, the location I’m in is quite limited with its services, and right now even the ferries to and from the island are mostly out of service (until further notice). It would cost me two days and about 200US$ (excluding sending the package) to get to a location to return the package from.
I wrote PolarPro a mail and explained this to them. I told them if it was possible they would just charge my credit card for the extra filter (it was only 60US$), because that would be way cheaper for me in the end.

I promptly received a mail back from them telling me to never mind, it was ok. No need to worry about anything, no need to pay or return anything, and thank you for shopping with us.

You want customer service?
This is it.
This is the kind of customer service any company can set as an example.
This is the kind of customer service I haven’t received in a very long time.

Thank you, PolarPro!

I have to spread this out over a few posts, wouldn’t want you to get RSI from scrolling down too much 😉


D800 (in Ikelight underwater housing), ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/4.0, Tamron 90mm, Ikelight DS161 strobe

Sea squirt

D800 (in Ikelight underwater housing), ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/4.0, Tamron 90mm, Ikelight DS161 strobe


D800 (in Ikelight underwater housing), ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/5.6, Tamron 90mm, Ikelight DS161 strobe


D800 (in Ikelight underwater housing), ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/4.0, Tamron 90mm, Ikelight DS161 strobe

Sea cucumber

D800 (in Ikelight underwater housing), ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/4.0, Tamron 90mm, Ikelight DS161 strobe

Awhile ago I wrote a little piece about how you can find your pictures in the weirdest places. A few of my self portraits were used on other people’s Facebook profiles and a few of the portraits I did of other people were also used as Facebook and Twitter profile pictures. After getting no response from the people in question I contacted Facebook and Twitter and those images have been removed. Other pictures I found have been traced back and were sold by one of my agents’ sublicensors. Not fully according to the rules they were bound by, but in any case I’m getting paid for those images.

In that same search I also found another of my images used, and that was a bit of a nasty surprise. It wasn’t the best image, and even if paid for, it wouldn’t have been the golden goose. Or turkey in this case

Traffic sign which warns for crossing turkeys

The image in question

I found the image on the website of the Berkeley Daily Planet. An online news paper. It was used in an article written by Tom Butt on April Fool’s Day in 2010, so it had been online for about 2,5 years when I found it.

Screenshot of the article on the Berkeley Daily Planet website

Screenshot of the article on the Berkeley Daily Planet website. All copyright lies with the respective authors / copyright holders (source: Except for the Turkey image. That’s mine!

See… I’m a guy of principles. I get it if a company uses your image and tries to get away with the excuse that they thought everything on the internet is public domain and free to use for everyone. It’s a shit excuse, and they try to pull it every time when I contact a company which has used one of my images, but I pretend that they don’t know any better and I explain to them how it works, even if I know that in most cases they know exactly how it works. It’s kind of a game. They try. I patiently laugh about the joke, and in most cases we come to an agreement.
And in most cases I’m very reasonable (I think). I don’t charge them tenfold (even if -according to copyright infringement cases the penalty for each case could be 10x the original value of the image- I’d be legally entitled to do so). I may up the price slightly from its original level, just as a slap on the wrist, but we’re not talking thousands of euros/dollars.
But in this case it was different. This is a news paper. This is an institute that deals with copyrighted material on a structural basis and they know EXACTLY how things work. They can’t hide behind the “I thought everything on the internet belonged to the public and was free”, and if I’d rip an article from their website, they’d come at me faster than I can say news paper. So…

I wrote a mail to an email address I found on their website: And guess what? No reply.
A week went by and I sent a copy of the email again to and to another address I found on the website:

Dear Sir, Madam,

I recently came across an image of mine on your website.
The image I’m referring to is the image of the turkey sign in this article–By-Tom-Butt-Special-to-the-Planet by Tom Butt.
The image is credited to Tom Butt.

Now I realize there are probably tons of images out there with a sign of a turkey crossing on it, but I would say it’s extremely unlikely that Tom Butt and I would’ve been on exactly the same spot at exactly the same time to see that car coming out of the street from the right behind the sign.
My image is here:
I’m not sure where Mr Butt has obtained this image, but seeing the low resolution quality of the image, and that I haven’t got a license for the use of this image archived to either Mr Butt or the Berkeley Daily Planet I believe we may have a slight problem here.

The fact that you, the Berkeley Daily Planet, are a news source which handles copyright protected material on a daily basis, makes this all the more a very awkward situation. I realize you are not a national paper, although with the coming of the internet everything’s gone worldwide, and I do believe a compensation for the use of this image from April 1st 2010 until now seems very reasonable to me.

I would gladly hear your opinion on this.

Kind regards,

Arno Enzerink

So Mr Tom Butt wrote the article, snatched a thumbnail of my image (the quality of the image was so bad that it was clearly not a hi-res image) from my website or from one of my agent’s websites, blew it up, added his name to it as credit and uploaded the article to the Berkeley Daily Planet.
There would’ve still been a slight hint of my understanding if he at least put MY name under the picture instead of his own. But that was too much to ask…

Honestly, I didn’t expect a reply. But I did get one. A few days later the following message waited for me in my inbox:

It was given to me by Mr. Butt– he says he got if from somewhere on the internet but can’t remember where.  I’d be glad to change the attribution if you wish, or to pull the photo if you prefer.

[Mr. Butt, Tom Butt, was the writer of the article and his name was put as a credit under the image]

No “Hi”, no “Bye”, nothing. Just these three lines.

So I write her back (and sign with my name 😉 ):

Dear Ms O’Malley,

I don’t mean to sound blunt and impolite, but both you and Mr Butt are in the publishing industry and you are (or at least SHOULD be) very well aware of the copyright rules on used images. You don’t just “pull an image off the internet” (and “not remember from where”), and then attribute it to someone you know for a fact is not the creator of the work. It has been online for 2,5 years. You make money with your job, Mr Butt makes money with his job, and I’m a professional photographer, which is supposed to pay my bills. Just changing the attribute or pulling the image off the site after it’s been used for 2,5 years is not going to make this go away.

I’m still very much willing to settle this nicely (but properly), but I am asking you a financial compensation for the used image, next to changing the attribute to the used image.

If I would just let everyone “change the attribute” or “pull it off the site” without further consequences I would be a naive and bankrupt professional photographer.

I sincerely hope you understand my point of view and that we can come to an agreement which is satisfying to both of us.

Kind regards,

That went unnoticed. No reply whatsoever, not a sign of life. So after a week (the week I spent in the US shooting pictures in the Rocky Mountains) I figured I could start poking a bit and write Ms O’Malley the following:

Dear Ms O’Mally,

A week has passed since I sent you my last correspondence (10/13/2012). I haven’t heard back from you since then.
I take that silence as a sign of unwillingness to solve this with me directly.
If I haven’t heard from you in a week from now I will contact my attorney and let him settle this with your attorney.

Usually when you start bringing in the attorneys they will get back to you pretty quick. But nothing happens. I go back to check on the website and I noticed they’ve actually taken down the image. I’ll be damned.

I shoot another email to Ms O’Malley:

Dear Ms O’Malley,

I see you have taken down the image. Let me stress again that that is not going to solve the issue.

Aside from the fact that your website is stored online in many edited versions, I have a screenshot of the website with tie image on it, and the correspondence between you and me in which you admit to the use of the image.

I’m still hoping we can settle this in an agreeable way, but if you continue to ignore me I will contact my attorney.

And yes… There we go. Promptly a reply follows:

The Berkeley Daily Planet is no longer published in print. The commercial corporation Berkeley Daily Planet LLC has been abandoned because the tax preparer stole the money he was supposed to give to the government and the government is pursuing a criminal case against him–its funds are totally depleted except what the Internal Revenue Service has a claim on.  The current website is completely non-commercial, created by volunteers working for free.  We neither spend nor collect any money of any kind.You can certainly be paid the same as everyone else for your contribution: nothing.

Please do consult your lawyer,  who will tell you that there’s no point in pursuing this matter, because you and he or she will not make a penny from it, except perhaps what you will pay the attorney to tell you this.  I will not have to pay legal fees myself because for most of my career I was an intellectual property attorney and a member of the State Bar of California, a status which I could easily activate if needed.  Don’t waste your time and money on this pointless quest.

Wow… just wow… All kinds of excuses for why they can’t properly license an image.

Two things that stung me the most and that made me ACTUALLY contact my attorney: “you can certainly be paid the same as everyone else for your contribution: nothing.” and “Don’t waste your time and money on this pointless quest.”

So I kindly write Ms O’Malley a mail back (I fail to write a “Hi” and a “Bye” myself this time):

So that makes it all ok for you to steal images?

As an intellectual property attorney and member of the State Bar of California you do show the right moral attitude…

I will cross-reference this with my attorney and I would be very sorry if you are right and he confirms what you’re saying.

Only once before in my professional career as a photographer did I have to fall back on the help of an attorney. He did so very successfully (and I can warmly recommend him to anyone who needs help in copyright infringement cases based in the US) and I contacted him again on this matter and asked him for advise on what to do. He generously offered his time to look into the matter and see if there was any use to pursue it and he did so without any costs for me.
In the end he laid out all the possibilities, the extremes when it would go ok, but also the extremes if things would get really ugly, and I’m sorry to say that the initial amount of money involved (the license for an image in that particular use would be around 120$, slap a bit of penalty fee on it and it would be maybe 200$) was not worth the head ache and the risk to me.
So I’m  -again- sorry to say that I backed out of this one.

I guess sometimes it does pay off to steal an image. But I hope this post (and I usually don’t wish people bad things, but I sometimes am willing to make an exception) will be spread all over the internet and that it would give the Berkeley Daily Planet, with volunteers Becky O’Malley and Tom Butt, such a bad name that they will have to find another volunteer job to fill up their time. Or maybe Ms O’Malley can pick up her Intellectual Property job again at the State Bar of California.

Not too long ago we had a discussion about focusing. I was asked to explain the reasons for why I do what I do, and I figured I could write it up in another blog post.
Note that my ways are not written in stone. It’s not the holy grail. It may not the be the “best” way for everyone, even if I feel for me it works best.
I’m a Nikon shooter, so the images and descriptions you see here are based on Nikon DSLR bodies (the example(s) I used are from D700 and D800). I’m positive Canon has similar functions, but they may be named differently and be located in different places in menu and on camera body.

So focusing…

Manual or automatic?
It depends, I guess. Some swear by manual focusing, some swear by auto-focusing.
If the circumstances allow it, and the focus points reach where I want to focus, I will use auto-focus. If not, I’ll use manual focus. If your camera body and lenses are properly calibrated (it’s like with your computer screen, you also calibrate that every month, right? RIGHT?? 😉 ) the camera will do a better job than you do (remember I said “if the circumstances allow it”).

In the menu of the camera you can set the amount of active focus points. I’ve set it to 21. 9 is too little and believe me, you do NOT want to be scrolling through 51 focus points all the time. 21 is a good average and it keeps -as I call it- custom focusing quick and easy.

Set the amount of active focus points in the menu of your camera

Set the amount of active focus points in the menu of your camera

With the disk on the back of the camera you can select which focus point you want to use for focusing. Look through you view finder of the camera to see which focus point is currently active.

With the big round disk you can select the focus point (check in the viewfinder or on the top display).

With the big round disk you can select the focus point (check in the viewfinder or -with some cameras- on the top display).

If you have a vertical grip, there will be a second disk or knob with which you can select the focus point while you’re shooting vertically.
And yes, I’m a cheap-ass Dutch guy. I use a third party vertical grip, because I refuse to pay the ridiculously overpriced amounts that Nikon is asking for their original battery packs. It doesn’t do anything more than give you one or two frames extra when you’re burst-shooting in jpg. And the batteries are already a wringer as it is, let alone the batteries for Nikon’s battery pack.
If you want to have an excellent substitute: On the D700 I have a ZEIKOS, and for my D800 I just recently bought a Phottix. Both work great, look and feel solid and do exactly what I need them to do. And that for about 1/5th of the price. Nikon can stick their battery packs …. well… never mind.

Shutter button focus or back focus?
I don’t think that’s a matter of “I guess”. This is -to me, at least- a no-brainer. If you’re an enthousiast (or worse, a pro) photographer, you’re shooting daily, you’re focusing by pressing the shutter button half way all the time and you’re NOT annoyed at least every time you press the shutter, you are either the most patient, agreeable and forgiving person in the world, or there’s something wrong with you. When I started photographing, looong time ago, in a previous Life, I started with my dad’s old Mamiya. It was a full manual. When I bought my first SLR camera with auto-focus, it came with that shutter-button-half-way-press-focus-thingy. And it annoyed the crap out of me already from the start. And that was the time that you couldn’t switch it off yet. You just had to live with it, or -like I did most of the time- switch back to full manual.
I get it that the manufacturers put it on the consumer cameras. If you don’t know anything and you just make snaps of your kids or your holiday it works just fine. But why they put the function on pro-sumer and pro bodies is completely beyond me.
Do yourself a favor, scroll through the menu, switch off the focusing on the shutter button and start focusing with your thumb on the back of your camera body with the AF-ON button.

Menu A5 on a Nikon D700 (A4 on a Nikon D800, A6 on a Nikon D200) will give you the choice to set focusing on the shutter button AND the AF-ON button or on the AF-ON button only

Menu A5 on a Nikon D700 (A4 on a Nikon D800, A6 on a Nikon D200) will give you the choice to set focusing on the shutter button AND the AF-ON button or on the AF-ON button only

The AF-ON focus button on the back of a D700/D800

The AF-ON focus button on the back of a D700/D800

The most annoying thing about the shutter button focus is that you have to focus every single frigging frame (unless you want to keep the AF-L button pressed with your thumb, in which case you can just as well use the AF-ON button), even if you don’t change position or composition. It just is that way. You press the shutter half way, you focus, you press the shutter all the way, you take the picture. You let the shutter go and you have to go through the whole process again. In “normal” circumstances you can’t take a picture without having to (re-)focus, because you will always press the shutter half way on your way to taking a picture by pressing the shutter all the way – if you get my drift. When you use the AF-ON button to focus, you need to focus only once and you can take as many pictures you want of the same subject without having to re-focus. It saves time, battery power, frustration, head-ache and finger-power (do you know how many muscles you use in your fingers when you have to keep that damn button pressed half way until you lock focus? – I don’t either).

Some cameras won’t let you take a picture unless you lock-on focus. Truth be told, one could wonder why you want to take an out-of-focus image, but hey… if you need to take a quick picture (imagine Kate topless or something) and focus isn’t the first priority, you can’t be stuck with having to search focus, because your half-way pressed shutter and not-yet-locked-focus is preventing you from taking that money-shot.

Should you use the method of focusing on a scene and then recomposing it to get your subject in a different position in the frame (a little bit about that further down this post!), it’s also easier to use the AF-ON button. Sure, you can use the AF-L button, but then first you have press that wretched shutter button half way down to focus, then fiddle your thumb to the AF-L button -which, at least on the Nikon body, sits just about half a centimeter too far to the left to comfortably do that (and I have long fingers!)- without letting go of the shutter and losing your focus or having to refocus, recompose your frame and then press the shutter all the way… As opposed to press the AF-ON button to focus your scene, let go of the button, recompose the scene, press the shutter. Doesn’t that sound just so much more relaxed?

And then there’s of course the people who shoot moving subjects. Have you tried shooting a burst of shots, following the moving subjects and keeping focus on while your subject moves a bit out of the focus area you set while pressing the shutter button half way? You’re screwed, I tell you. It’s impossible.
The beauty of the AF-ON button is, that you can keep it pressed while you follow your subject and you keep the focus locked on your subject while it moves towards you or away from you. That may not work exactly 100% if your subject moves with a speed your camera can’t keep up with, but typically it works very well.
For this you do need to check another little setting on your camera:

Focus settings button on the D700/D800: C = continuous, S = single, M = manual

Focus settings button on the D700/D800: C = continuous, S = single, M = manual

Set your camera on C for continuous servo, meaning it will keep on focusing on the selected focus point as long as you press the AF-ON button (or the shutter button). It’s said to use this setting only for sports and actions, but I have it set like this all the time. You never know when you land in a situation where things go quick, and it doesn’t otherwise make any difference.

Recomposing a shot
I shortly mentioned this earlier.
Many people use this method to make their pictures. They don’t use the moving focus points, but they have the focus set in the center of the view finder. They focus on a subject, keep the shutter button half way pressed to “keep the focus locked” and recompose the shot to, for example, abide by the rules of thirds. Or another method, they focus on a subject, use the AF-L (focus lock) to “lock on the subject” and recompose the shot.
But here’s the thing:
There’s a general misconception about focus locking. Most people think that when you lock focus, focus is locked on the subject. That’s not true. When you lock focus, you lock focus on the location where your subject is/was when you locked on. If you recompose by rotating your camera or body slightly away from the subject to put it in a third of the frame you change the distance from your camera to the subject and thus you change the focusing distance. This means that, however slightly, your subject is no longer in focus.
Below is a (very crude) drawing of what exactly happens when you recompose an image. The green and the red line are equally long, showing that the distance from the lens to the subject has increased slightly after recomposing the image.

When you recompose an image after focusing and rotate the camera (or your full body) slightly to get the right framing, the distance between lens and subject increases, and thus -however slightly- throwing the subject out of focus.

When you recompose an image after focusing and rotate the camera (or your full body) slightly to get the right framing, the distance between lens and subject increases, and thus -however slightly- throwing the subject out of focus.

Most people probably won’t even notice it and of course this theory is subject to a lot of variables, but if you’re critical about your focus, it’s best to move around the focus point in your viewfinder and compose with the focus points on the subject in the composition you want, and not recompose.

Always interested in hearing other people’s opinions.
Share what you think!

It took only a month and a half of waiting, but it finally came… I believe words are not necessary…
Me = happy camper! 🙂 🙂

Nikon D800

D700, ISO1600, 1/125 sec @ f/3.5, Tamron 90mm macro

I guess you can say I’ve gotten myself into the night photography stuff a bit. I know the pictures with the light trails are pretty much as cliché as clichés come, but I always try to look at it from… well… a different angle 😀
I’ve tried that with the images you’ve found here that I took from the window of my apartment. I’ve tried that with for example the dead badger (talking about different angles, if any 😉 although that wasn’t really about the light trails, I had completely different intentions with that one). And I’ve shot a few mushrooms with light trails in the background, so I guess in many ways I’ve managed to get it a bit un-cliché.

My aim is always to not go stand on a straight road. Not to shoot at that “normal” angle. That would be plain boring. I usually try to find a point of view or a location where several roads collide. And then it usually still takes some post-processing, because I think it’s virtually impossible to get light trails to actually visibly cross in one exposure of say 10-30 seconds.


D700, ISO200, 10 sec @ f/22, Nikkor 14-24mm

Sooo… in about a month and a half it’s about a year ago I wrote a re-revisited on the Digimarc topic. I was reminded about it, because I got a mail from them that my subscription was going to end. Read that re-revisited for the details on that. Before that I wrote already two other pieces about it.
In that re-revisited I wrote that I would probably do another blog post with the results on the reporting. Well… You haven’t heard from me before, because… there was nothing to report.
I was told that indexing would be done maybe once every 3-6 months on websites where there wasn’t much traffic, and I already expressed my concern in regards to the usability of this reporting service for the photographer hosting his own images on his own site as opposed to on websites with a massive amount of traffic like Getty Images, iStock, or the likes.
I must honestly admit that I haven’t checked the report frequently, but there was no need for it. I was set up with the free pro account to test it out on July 21st 2010, and now, June 3rd 2011, so ten months later, there has been no activity in my account’s report. No images found / indexed. Not a single one. Not even on my own website.
So… Conclusion…
No disrespect towards the great people there, with their excellent customer service and an otherwise good (but not spectacular) product: would I invest in Digimarc Digital Watermarking? No. I wouldn’t.
The one thing that makes this product interesting is exactly the reporting of how and where my images appear. But if the only way to have that reporting working is to get a massive amount of traffic (because those are the websites they primarily target), it doesn’t make any sense to get this as a photographer who doesn’t get x1000 visitors on my website daily (or even weekly). The digital watermarking isn’t as invisible as is portrayed, especially not if you don’t have the high-resolution image available. And personally if I can’t trace back the image with the digital watermark I prefer to have a visible watermark on the image so people don’t steal the images in the first place.
Also the limitation of 2,000 or 5,000 images which you could digitally watermark per year seems to be a bit odd. As a photographer, especially stock and travel photographers, you probably shoot well over that amount of images. You’d have to sign up for the most expensive package for an unlimited amount of images you could watermark.

But anyway… the decision is yours.
I think this topic is closed for all I care 😉