I haven’t been able to make money by making images. I can’t keep up with the business side of things for same reasons that I can’t ride-or-drive on a racetrack. Also: if it’s a choice between tires, and photos, the racer is usually going to choose the tires. That’s OK.
I’d love to get paid, but I really want to make things, because doing-so makes me feel good. Making things, and helping others, gives life meaning.
I came from the software development world where people legally share programs that took thousands of hours to create. Much of the software that runs entire industries is built using APIs that are free (gratis and-or libre), or on Linux. Free software is integral to Java, C++, IOS, Android, OS X, and almost everything else out there. There’s even free software from Apple inside Android.
It wasn’t always like this. Companies believed that they needed to keep their software to themselves in order to retain a competitive advantage, and there was a strong prejudice against free software for many years. It was assumed to be inferior, because people said that, "You can’t get the best work for free," and it was thought of as unfair competition, but we now live in an age where even Microsoft supports Linux for its customers.
So why doesn’t this work for photography? I am not sure that it doesn’t. Photographers often use other people’s images, and videos, on their websites. They only do this when they are allowed-to, but this isn’t substantially different than what happens in the software world; it’s just on a smaller scale.
Trey Ratcliff, and others, have been successful, in part, because they do share their photos. Trey writes about this in Go Ahead, Steal This Photo and Make Prints. "Steal" is a euphemism; Trey’s photos are licensed under Creative Commons Noncommercial, which is very similar to some free software licenses.
Here’s the thing: for the most part, people don’t buy images, because they want to support photography. Publishers buy images, because they want to produce great magazines. Wedding photos are purchased, because people want a great wedding. Advertisers hire photographers, because they want to make great ads. These are the people that pay.
There are a small percentage of people that make it big by purely making art, but most of us don’t expect to be paid for doing something fun, whether that’s skiing, surfing, musicianship, or taking photos.
Luck shooting is when one takes many pictures in hopes that some will be good. Some of the photographers out on the interwebs like to complain about beginners that do this, as if these beginners would gain the ability to determine what's good, before they have the experience to do so, if only they would behave like "real" photographers.
Dealing with too many images is extremely time-consuming. People figure that out immediately. That person that appears to be luck shooting is simply someone who has not-yet developed their ability to previsualize. If they could do that, then of course they would take less photos, dealing with lots of images always has a cost associated with it.
Pixel peeping is when a person views their image at 100% zoom (1 pixel in the image takes up one pixel on the computer monitor) in order to get it as sharp as possible. Obsessing at this level might be unnecessary, and potentially counterproductive, because most images, even ones that are excellent as-is, have flaws at 100% zoom. It's common to see this criticism on the interwebs: "You don't need to be pixel peeping, because you aren't printing the images that large."
That is incorrect. The minimum size photo that you should be (pun ahead) shooting-for is 21" x 12" at 12" away. Why? That's close to the dimensions of a 23 inch monitor. Those monitors are now common, and using computers to enjoy photos is now the preferred way: at least for non-photographers. Your customers will judge you by how sharp your photos are at this size or larger, and in many cases, depending on your monitor's resolution, your images will be close to 100% zoomed at this size. Pixel peeping is a virtue.
Every year I struggle with this decision: do I stay in the AMA (the motorcycle one), or not. In the end, I stay. Why the struggle? The AMA's anti-helmet law activism posing as fence-straddling.
Do riders avoid Missouri? Not that I can see. They wear their helmets in Missouri, and pull over to take them off at the border. If this is all it takes to increase helmet use, then I am all for it.
People hated it when we instituted seatbelt laws, they said that during an accident, they didn't want to be trapped in the vehicle. Do people still complain about seatbelt laws? No. The laws changed our future values. This is how we resolve our cognitive dissonance, and in some cases, that's a very good thing.
In the AMA's response to The Community Preventive Services Task Force's recommendations on helmet laws. Wayne Allard, the AMA's vice president for government relations, said, "Instead of trying to draw conclusions from this type of observation, the CDC task force could have better spent its time and resources searching for cures for infectious diseases." Does he really believe that our government shouldn't be looking into the prevention of motorcycle deaths at all? Is this even logically reasonable? No, it's not.
This video was shared by a couple of my favorite photography websites. Here are some of my thoughts about it.
I highly doubt that the analog-video-tech described in the video inspired digital-imagery, at least not directly. "Pixelated" (rasterized) images are closely related to arrays, which are data structures that existed long before computers had video terminals. Rasterized-image history started with the teletype. Teletypes created images just like typewriters.
OK: so if pixels were digital, and video was analog, then why did they both have lines? Because books have lines!
The pixels that make up an image, are exactly the same regardless of which display technology is used. So the RGB designs at the end of this video are not pixels. (Where he says, "shapes and sizes on a variety of screens.")
Pixels are one-dimensional points, just like in geometry class. To get a better understand this, you could read Alvy Ray's essay: "A Pixel Is Not A Little Square! (And a Voxel is Not a Little Cube)". If my next paragraph doesn't sound right, well, Alvy Ray has a more precise explanation.
Now you might be thinking of how when you zoom into a picture you can see the squares that make up the image, but the decision to render the image as squares when you are zoomed-in is something that the computer programmer chose to do. Also: the squares are easier for an artist to deal with when zoomed-in to a paint program (such as Photoshop). As an alternative, the programmer could have chosen to calculate the hues and brightness for the points (pixels) in between the current pixel data, and rendered those when zoomed-in.
Digital video is even stranger. It doesn't have pixels in it, instead it has a digital representation of what the CRT guns would do, if displays had CRT guns, which they no longer have. That's why we still use terms like "progressive scan", and 1080p, instead of 1290x1080. This is a historical artifact. We had video, we needed to digitize it, so we took what we had (analog wave forms), and digitized those.
One thing that's cool about this is that it's efficient. If 1080p at 30 fps digital video were a series of rasterized bitmaps, then its uncompressed size would require 1,003,104,000 kbps (24 bits per pixel * 1290 horizontal resolution * 1080 vertical resolution * 30 fps). Another thing that's cool about it, is that it's naturally anti-aliased, at least for each line.
6 E 9th St, Lawrence Kansas, USA
Canon EOS Rebel SL1
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Photomatix Pro HDR
Nik Sharpener Pro 3
This is a Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera. This composite photograph represents less than two seconds at Heartland Park Topeka's Turn 12.
American manufacturing isn't growing relative to the-countries-that-are-currently-undergoing-an-industrial-revolution, our children are being taught to hate science, and our public schools don't teach computer programming. Without more research, more production, or more software, what do we have to contribute to the global economy? Less-than-we-did-before is what I fear.
Event: Heartland Park Topeka Touring Club Track Day
This was the first automotive track day for 2014.
The old and busted (just kidding, but I like the new version a lot more):
The original was four images at 109 MB, combined to one image at 66 MB. I then uploaded a large JPEG version to RedBubble. This is a small version.
The movie Frozen River may have made a mistake regarding the geography of Akwesasne and Massena NY. I say "may have", because the borders are complex there: the Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne incorporates parts of two Canadian provinces and one US state. Mohawk residents can buy-and-sell goods to Canadians without collecting taxes, and they can buy-and-sell goods to Americans without collecting taxes, but they cannot buy goods from the citizens one country and sell them to citizens of the other country without collecting taxes. If they do, then it's smuggling, and smuggling does go on via our northern border: fuel, cigarettes, etc.
IMDB (which hasn't approved my "Ontario" edit yet) and Wikipedia (which now has my Ontario edit) describe the movie as taking place "near Quebec". Which is accurate, but the movie depicts the Ontario-side of Akwesasne. The movie specifically shows Ray driving towards the General Motors Powertrain Castings Foundry Massena on State Highway 37. This is one of the few places in the movie that could only have been filmed near Massena. Massena's GM plant, ALCOA plant, State Highway 37, and international border between Massena NY and Cornwall Ontario share the same traffic circle. How likely am I to be correct here? Akwesasne does straddle New York, Quebec, and Ontario, but the Quebec part is south of the river, so Ray wouldn't cross the river before entering Quebec from New York.
Because of these aspects, I believe that the movie shows Ray driving over the ice from the US to Canada via Cornwall Island, but the St. Lawrence Seaway passes Cornwall Island on the south side. It can freeze, but the Canadian Coast Guard runs ice breakers through there, so driving on the ice is unlikely to happen on the south side of the island. It's also true that the Seaway closes for part of the winter, but the place where she drives is perfectly flat, and not like a place where ice had been broken by ships before refreezing.
A little story:
Some friends and I went to a bar-and-grille in Cornwall Ontario for a farewell-celebration before I moved to Texas. We played NTN there. We were doing very well, and beating other online teams, until we got a question "wrong". What was the question? "Cornwall is in what Canadian Province?" What answer did NTN grade as correct? "Quebec". We were actually in a Cornwall bar, and it was in Ontario: not Quebec!
What's with the wacky perspective Paul? I am glad you asked.
The bottom of this panorama is the floor. Then there's a round vent in the pillar's base, which does a good job of hiding its vent-ness. However it contains an electrical conduit that doesn't hide its conduit-ness. The camera was at the height of the round vent in every shot. From there it was pointed-up to get the pillar, and then the ceiling above. Yes, this vertical panorama includes both the floor and ceiling, and the whole thing leans back as if it were on the inside of a 3D "S".
The size of the original images was around 6 GB. They then became 2.04 GB after the bracketed images were combined in Nik HDR Efex Pro 2, and 183 MB when the HDRs were combined into a panorama by Photoshop. Yes folks, this one can fill the side of a barn (a guess, I didn't do the math) without loss of resolution. The version below is considerably smaller.
It's a pillar of society.
Please contact me for more information. This is a low-resolution copy of the image.