Lightroom 5 + Morganti Training = Flickr Explore and loads of views

Following on from my previous blog I thought I’d update you all on an early success.  I mentioned that I’d recently transferred across to using Lightroom 5 from DPP to be at the core of my workflow and was getting used to using Lightroom by watching the immensely helpful video tutorials provided by Anthony Morganti via his YouTube Channel.  Well I’ve been ploughing through some of my back catalogue to see if there were any previous shots that I’d overlooked for publication that could be “bettered” using my new found skills, then publishing on my Flickr Photostream to gauge interest.

I started to publish a few shots this weekend and struck gold today with a shot I’d taken back in early 2012 at Stone Henge in the UK.  So starting with the shot below.

Stonehenge Ancient Landscape

I added a few tweaks using the techniques I’d learned recently (thanks again Anthony Morganti) and ended up with this shot

  The net result was nearly 7300 views and 140+ favourites in less than 24 hours via a promotion to Flickr’s Explore page.

Flickr StatsSo a lesson to all when it comes to Lightroom, do your homework before you dive headlong into the product in order to reap the benefits.  Keep an eye out for more of my back catalogue appearing on my Flickr Photostream and Website, can’t wait to see what other Nuggets I can reclaim over the coming weeks and months only problem is I’ve barely taken my Camera out of it’s bag these past few weeks.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the week.

Another shot covered

Drops on Leaf

A little while ago I was contacted by Calvin Dexter, the editor of a popular Spanish speaking Photography website Como La Hice regarding one of my most popular macro photographs that I have on my Flickr photostream and website.  He was interested in covering my photo and how I setup and took the shot.  So I wrote a small piece which he helpfully translated and on the 18th of December it was published.

All I can say is the site has generated a lot of traffic to my website from areas of the world I’ve had no previous visits.  So a lesson to me and a lesson for us all, don’t forget that not all of the world speaks english as a first language and what more can we do to make our content more accessible to all our buddies spread across the globe.

For the photographers out there Como La Hice certainly seems to be very popular in the Spanish speaking world so why not take a look and help to support the wider photography community out there.

On another note, this macro image was taken without a dedicated macro lens and as I’ve mentioned before it goes to show what is achievable with some technical knowledge a little bit of creativity all without breaking the bank on expensive macro glass.  I’ll go into further detail in my next blog about how you can achieve results such as this, what equipment you’ll need and how to setup your camera.

Thanks for reading.


More photo exposure, @Flickr #TwitterTuesday

Project 365 #302 – The James Bond Sunset

Thought I’d insert a “quick break” blog entry before the final part of my Canon EOS 70D review.  Flickr‘s #TwitterTuesday blog seems to be a great place to get exposure for your images stored on Flickr, assuming your image is selected of course.  Since discovering the #TwitterTuesday blog a few weeks ago all of the images I’ve submitted have featured in the final blog….. probably more luck than skill.

This week’s #TwitterTuesday theme was #CityScape and my submitted image, from my Project 365 Set not only has been Explore’d on Flickr but has now feature on the latest blog, great for my viewing stats (currently standing at 2993 views).

The best lesson that you can take from this image is that it wasn’t taken with a £1000+ DSLR with a £600 lens, it was a taken using my Smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy S3.  So I guess there’s some truth in the saying “the best camera is the one you have with you”.  I wasn’t lugging my DSLR with me when I took the picture but I was in the right place at the right time and spent a couple of minutes thinking about the composition before taking a single shot.

So to “all the gear no idea” guys that are out there, try testing yourself leave the gear at home and try taking some decent images with “the camera you have with you” or force yourself to only use a prime lens for a while, you might be surprised by the results and you’ll certainly improve your “eye” and understanding of a scene better to get that shot you want.

Thanks for reading and check back next week for the final part of my Canon EOS 70D Review.

A great photography week for me.

James Bond Sunset

After blogging about having one of my pictures being included in Flickr’s #TwitterTuesday blog (Water theme) earlier this week I seem to have struck gold again and had another photograph featured in Flickr’s daily Explore gallery for the 30th of October.  For those that don’t know “Flickr Explore” is a daily listing on Flickr that captures the 500 most “Interesting” photographs of the day.  The images don’t necessarily need to have been taken that day, just uploaded to Flickr.  Flickr keep the algorithms that calculate “Interestingness” close to their chests but it is essentially a mix of number of page views, user comments and user favourites.

I’ve had the pleasure of having a number of my pictures “explored” this year and for me it’s always exciting to see, if what you felt was a great image, was also matched by the citizens of the web.  Overall when you excluded the web citizen’s obvious blind love for pictures of flowers and animals (usually pet dogs) I think there’s a correlation.  It is also very useful to prove that in order to take a good photograph you don’t need a professional camera just a good eye and a good scene.

The image here looking across the River Thames London to the MI6 and St George’s Wharf buildings next to Vauxhall Bridge was taken using my Samsung Smart Phone.  When walking along the River last week I could tell that there was going to be a clear sunset but alas did’t have my DSLR gear with me.  Never mind I thought, there was enough light to use my S3 in HDR mode and I’d probably get away with minimal noise on the picture.  So two shots later this was the result.  Not bad, possible not good enough for production quality but all in a good photograph.

Flickr #TwitterTuesday – Reprise

Blue Water Drops

Flickr’s #TwitterTuesday Blog again and another success.  This time the theme was #Water, so I dug into my archives and posted this shot taken with my new Canon EOS 70D using my trusty Canon EF 24-105 F4.0 L USM.  After a tiny bit of tweaking of the colour temperature to draw out the blue hues in DPP this is the result I stuck with and I must admit it is one of my favourites so I’m glad it was short-listed for the Flickr Blog.

Take time to have a look at some of the other fantastic submissions there are some great shots and don’t forget if you like this image it is available to buy directly from my website in various print formats as well as there being both personal and commercial license  download options available.

… also I’m aware I promise a my review of the Canon EOS 70D it is coming but I’ve been so busy I’ve not had a change to complete it yet.  Be sure to pop back and watch out for this review.

Who’s stolen my images…. UPDATE

In my last blog I mentioned treading the newly laid path of discovery around copyright infringement having spotted two of my images being incorrectly used or licensed on-line.  So what happened I here you say.  Well I contacted both sites with a polite yet professional email stating I had been made aware that my images were being hosted on their website and that the licensing for their use was incorrect.  I politely requested that they get in touch to discuss options and gave 28 days notice before I would start proceedings for a DMCA Take-down notice with their respective hosting companies.

In the instance were creative commons was being used incorrectly the companies rectified the problem gave me correct attribution and linked back to my site.

In the instance were an All Rights Reserved Image had been modified and re-used on the front cover of a PDF brochure the company responded by removing the content.  In this instance I supposed I could have taken if further as they had been using this image for a few months but I decided against it given they responded promptly and removed my images.

So lesson to all – keep a regular eye out for your copyrighted images on-line, know your stuff and always be polite and professional.

Who’s stolen my images?

I’ve been reading a few blogs recently covering copyright infringement and the issues photographers encounter with unlicensed use of their images on the Internet.  From my previous bogs you’ll recall I’m not a professional photographer, I have a day job to pay the wages, but just like a professional photographer I wouldn’t take too likely to my images being used without consent licensing and/or attribution.

I have a few general rules regarding the use of my images I take and host online.

  1. Contact me and ask – whilst almost all of my images are Copyright All Rights Reserved I am open to re-use.  It’s not always about the money…. I’m more than happy to allow free Creative Commons re-use for non-commercial purposes e.g. charity work, education etc. and have licensed a couple of images for use.  Just drop me an email and ask.
  2. Commercial re-use – I will not entertain commercial re-use of my images without paid licensing being in place.  Again, whilst it is not necessarily about the money for me I won’t see somebody use my work for commercial gain without fair compensation, with the emphasis on fair.
  3. Personal Use – again drop me an email and ask, alternatively you can always buy and/or download images for personal use via my website

Recently I received an email from a marketing company asking me if they could use one of my images to support a campaign they were running on behalf of a building company.   They said they would be willing to pay me for re-use.  So, interested I thought I’d find out more about what exactly they wanted to do and how much they were offering.  The reply was along the lines of…… 1/2 Page image in a glossy brochure for a print run of 3000 copies.  Additionally they would like to use the image in local press adverts over a period of 3 months and use the image on their client’s website.  For this they would pay the the handsome sum of £30 yes THIRTY whole British POUNDS!!!!!

So I thought I’d try a bargaining and did a little research to see what this requirement would cost me if I were to go via a stock photo site like Getty Images.  The cost from Getty was approaching £1500.  Armed with his info I replied back highlighting my research and suggested that I would be willing to accept a fee of just £500 – very fair I thought given the very specific nature of the image and the value compared  to Getty.

As expected I didn’t get any response back.  The point I’m trying to make here relates to Rule number 2 above e.g. “fair compensation” Whilst I wouldn’t grumble at a bit of extra cash, I’m not going to be insulted by a derisory offer.  In this case it seemed like the marketing company believed they could correctly gain license for image use by targeting amateur photographers via Flickr in the belief that the amateur would be unsure of their rights and the going market rates for such use.  I’ve also no doubt that if I had taken the offer they probably would have charged their client for the going market rate pocketing the difference themselves.

In the instance above no images were stolen or used without permission but how can you ascertain if somebody is using your images without permission?   The answer when physical reproduction occurs is “give up” as far as I can see (suggestions are welcome though).  However there are some helpful tools to assist identifying re-use of images when hosted on the Internet.

Google helpfully provides a reverse image search feature “Search by Image” which allows you to either upload an image or image URL to run a search for similar images on the Net.  Similarly  TinEye provides almost the same functionality although I don’t think it is quite as good as the Google offering at the moment.  I’m sure there are other services out there but one advantage for both of these services if you’re running the Chrome browser is you can install a plug-in (TinEye Google Image Search)  that allows right-click functionality in the browser making it much easier to automatically search for similar images straight from your website or flickr photostream for example.

Armed with these tools I thought I’d give it a go on a few of my most popular images from my website and flickr photostream.  Lo-and-behold Google brought back a number of potential infringements.  I decided to look closer at two examples…. One, a blatant re-edited copy of one of my images sitting on the cover page of a PDF City Guide the other incorrect use of Creative Commons Licensing e.g. my image was available to license using Creative Commons but there was no attribution to myself and referral link back to my website.

So what next? in all honesty I’m not sure.  This will be subject to further research but I have sent emails to both offenders politely highlighting their potential infringement and to either rectify the omission or lack of licensing or to remove offending images.   Both infringers are US based (a WhoIS search confirmed the sites were both hosted in the US) so I also mentioned the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and the fact that if necessary I could approach their website hosts to request a DMCA Takedown.

That’s about the extent of my knowledge so far.  I’ll let you know how I get on with the two examples above but would appreciate comments covering your own experience and or advice.

In the meantime if like me you’re new to all this take a look at Carolyn E Wright’s website which gives you a great overview of the issues, mostly with a US slant.

Have a great weekend people and keep safe……

Flickr #TwitterTuesday

Quick post…  I spotted on Tuesday that Flickr run a weekly theme based blog/ submission called #TwitterTuesday were they ask users to share their photos relevant to the chosen weekly theme via Twitter.  This week’s theme was #Red so I thought I’d give it a try with one of my Favourites from my Portfolio (see left).

Well, on my first attempt at posting to the blog this very pic was chosen to be part of their published blog.  Not bad for a first attempt.

Take time to have a look at some of the other submissions there are some fantastic shots and don’t forget if you like this image it is available to buy directly from my website in various print formats as well as there being both personal and commercial license  download options available.