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Friday, December 23, 2011

My Best Images of 2011

I had a tough choice picking the 10 best this year. Several very good ones had to be left out but I think you will enjoy the images and the stories behind them.

School Days
This was shot at the Dallas Heritage Village. The Renner School is fixed up just like it was when being used as a one room schoolhouse. This has been a popular image at my art shows and it seems that a school teacher is usually the one that is interested.

Lake Martin Egret
When I traveled to my last show of the year in Covington, Louisiana, I stopped at Lake Martin. Both mornings had great conditions for photography and I made the most of it. I could have included more images from the trip than I have. Lake Martin Egret received so much positive response on Google+ and 500px that I had to include it. This day had started out much like the image below, but the fog had just lifted and was letting some sunlight in.

Moon Set on Lake Martin
The pre-dawn skies appeared to be clear while I was driving from my hotel to Lake Martin but things really changed when I got within a half mile of the lake. This was one of the first couple of images I took that day and the last one before the moon vanished in the fog. I spent the next hour shooting like a mad man and ended up with quite a collection of winners from this mornings shoot.

Lightning Over Dallas
Summer had been hot and dry in Dallas but late September brought some rain and lightning. Actually, it was much more lightning than rain and was pretty scary when it moved in. I headed to White Rock Lake and felt it  was much safer to get out of the car now that the storm was moving away from me. I took many exposures and combined several of the better lighting strikes to create this image.

San Miguel Mission
The San Miguel Mission is in Socorro, New Mexico. I had spent sunrise shooting at  nearby Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge. It was still fairly early in the morning when I headed back to town and wanted to shoot the mission. Normally, I would want some clouds in the sky but in this case the clear blue skies contrasted nicely with the warm adobe walls of the mission. The shadow fell in just the right place too.

View From the Winspear
On this evening I was anxious to try out a new wide angle lens that I had bought. I was hoping to shoot the reflection pond in front of the Winspear Opera House but a large Christmas tree was sitting in the middle of it. That forced me to look for something else to shoot and this is what I found. The new lens at 16mm did very well.

Reflection of Mammoth Mountain
In late August I spent a week in California. A large forest fire near Yosemite National Park had us changing our schedule but we managed to survive. I got this nice reflection one morning in Yosemite near the Tioga Road.

On Sunday morning before the Rockport Art Festival I went down to the marina and shot a few pictures. I took a few shots of a jellyfish that was swimming near the surface. It didn't have the bright colors of some of the jellyfish photos I've seen but worked very well when converted to black and white.

Zion Tree
I may be fudging a little on this one. I shot it a couple of years ago but only recently did I process it as a black and white. It was OK in color but I really like it in black and white.

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge Reflection
This is a new bridge that is being built over the Trinity River in Dallas, Texas. It has been designed by Santiago Calatrava and is scheduled to open around March of 2012. I was walking back to the car after taking some pictures of the bridge and noticed a large pool of water in the river bottom. I got a little muddy getting this last shot but it was worth it.

I wish everyone a Happy Holiday and Great 2012!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

So that's what happened to those images!

Last year I was at the Denny's in Avon, Colorado having some breakfast before heading to the art show at the Beaver Creek Resort. While turning through the Vail newspaper I was stopped by an ad for tree trimming. That's one of my photos on that ad! I assume they acquired the image honestly. This was one of 8 images that a company had purchased some of the rights to about 10 years ago. This was the first time I had seen one of them used but it got me to thinking...how often have those images been used? It occurred to me that I could use TinEye to search the web for these images. TinEye is a web site that does a reverse search on an image that you upload. It's really amazing. As soon as the image is uploaded it grinds away for a few seconds and then tells you something like...

10 Results

Searched over 1.8627 billion images in 0.111 seconds.

Wow! That is some fast moving stuff there! When I did a search on the image from the tree trimming ad this cover on the National Geographic Guide to Trees was one of the 10 results that came up. Cool!
I decided to try a search on another very similar aspen photo that was part of the submission. Damned if I don't have another book cover show up. One of the other results was a Chinese web site which is probably selling the image illegally unless they are the Chinese version of Getty Images. Maybe someone that understands Chinese can tell me what this web site is about. Most of the other images I sold rights to are also on this Chinese web site but not much else showed up when I TinEyed them. Just the occasional web site use. However, all the images had been distributed world wide so who knows how many other times they sold for print and wouldn't show up on an internet search.

I guess at this point I should give some background on what was sold to who and how this all came about. Back in 2000 I wasn't selling my work at art shows yet. Some of my work had been published and I had sold a few framed prints of my work but I was still at a stage where I was trying to figure out how to sell my work and begin earning a living with my photography. I submitted about 100 of my images to a company called Digital Vision. Another photographer that I knew had licensed some work to them. They made a CD of his images and whenever it sold  or usage of an individual image was sold a royalty was paid. I was hoping for the same. The letter I received back was disappointing. They were only interested in 8 of the images I submitted. That obviously wasn't enough for a full CD so their offer was a one time payment of $150 per image. Even though $1200 immediately sounded good at the time I wish I had said no to the deal. I would also not receive any photo credits. Like so many new photographers trying to earn a living today I didn't think about the long term consequences. I was giving them the right to sell usage of these images until the end of time with no further compensation. What if one or several of the images became really big sellers? Some types of image usage could also be worth much more than what my one time payment was. I should have stood firm and insisted that either I receive future royalties or no deal.  The photographer should always get a percentage when someone has paid to use one of their images. Always!
 Five of the eight images!
In the past decade several of the big stock photo agencies have bought up most of the small agencies. Digital Vision was purchased by Getty, one of the biggest stock agencies on the planet. If you get on the Getty web site and do a search for "aspen trees"  my book cover images will show up on the first couple of pages. They don't have my name on them but say Digital Vision.
I think its neat that several of my images have been put on book covers. I think its BS that I didn't get a photo credit for them. I also feel that I left some money on the table when I agreed to the Digital Vision deal.  As the late Paul Harvey used to say "and now you know the rest of the story".

Friday, January 28, 2011

My work on display at the Gardan Cafe!

On Monday I set up a display of my work at the Garden Cafe. This East Dallas eatery is open 6 days a week for breakfast and lunch. My work will showcased until March.

One of the my new images shown will be "Five Clay Pots". Instead of presenting this on canvas without a frame I have printed this one on a heavy photo paper. The paper was mounted to gator board, given a clear UV coating, and then put in a classy walnut burl frame with linen liner. I really like this look and will do other images this way.

 Five Clay Pots
 I also have five pastels on display.When I was 6 years old I took some pastel lessons from an artist that lived down the street from our house. Over the years I haven't worked with them very much but recently I have picked them back up. I think its a talent that I need to spend a little more time on and give it a chance to mature. What do you think?

 Sea Oats and Sand Dunes
Pastel on sanded paper!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A few more from my California trip!

Some more images from my recent California trip.

Tahoe Reflections

 Tufa Morning

 Tufa Panorama

Zabriski Point