Statcounter code

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Never, ever assume

This shot cost me $1400 to make. Ouch.

It was taken on the last afternoon of a week long Resort shoot in Cancun. I had checked out of the Resort and all of my gear was packed and in the trunk of the car. My flight was in two hours.

I had a rather large, 16 gig card in the camera and my laptop and extra portable hard drive were already both full and in the car. The laptop and extra drive carried redundant copies of the week's shoot, 150 gigs in all.

When I got back home, I copied all of the shots from the 16 gig card to the folder I had created on my Desktop, together with the Laptop files and went to bed exhausted. The following morning, I booted up the Desktop and discovered that the hard drive had crashed. A real nuisance, but I still had everything on my Laptop and extra hard drive, right? Not so, for my last few hours of shooting on the 16 gig card. After I had verified the copy to my Desktop, I had formatted the card!

Enter the computer nerds and their Clean Room as they dismantled my drive and slowly brought the data back to life. Three days and $1400 later, I had my 16 gigs back. Then I upgraded the drive in my Laptop to 500 gig and bought an additional 350 gig external drive for a backup, so I'll never run out of storage again while on location.
Never, ever assume that your hard drive isn't going to crash right now.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


This was my first sale from Photoshelter Collection. It went for a bus wrap for a mobile communications company.

I thought I'd give Photoshelter a try because I won't participate in the Micro Stock market and with Corbis and Getty buying up every one in sight for the last few years, the number of venues is shrinking. Alamy do well for me, but Photoshelter is still new enough that the jury is still out. Their editing is very inconsistent and they dislike shots that are "commercial" - isn't that where the money is? Instead, they favor funky and artsy is good.

This could be a very bright move, or they may be forced to change. Time will tell. In the meantime by the look of their Blog, the arsty fartsy look is firmly in place for now. I find it strange that a Stock Photo Agency's blog is mainly about Photo Art and Galleries. Generally speaking, Art Photography leaves me cold - lacking technical competance and requiring too much explanation as to meaning. The greatest artists in my mind are folks like Avedon, Rebecca Blake and Newton, who were masters of their craft and didn't require an interprator to tell you what the work signified. It was/is just brilliant and stunning and leaves one wanting more.
The Stock industry is in such a sorry state these days, becoming just another commodity fueled by weekend shooters who just want to see their name in print and are fine with earning pennies a piece. It took us years to move people away from the perception that Stock was the crap left over from an assignment (thank the Image Bank for spearheading that effort) and no sooner did Stock become established as a source of commercial grade quality, then the MS sites came along and lowered the bar.
Change is good and should be embraced, and when disruptive change like this comes along one needs to be a seer to see how things will eventually shake out. But shake out it will, just watch out for the falling debris and try not to get hurt.
In the meantime, we'll see about Photoshelter. Another photographer mentioned to me that he had gone with Digital Railroad and was disappointed, so he was considering Photoshelter instead. I'm sure the Stock industry is full of disappointed photographers, but switching isn't the answer. Finding new avenues for your work is.

First Post

Because this is my first post I'm sure I'll make a number of mistakes and wish that I had learned more before I started. Ah well.

I've hesitated in starting because, quite frankly, I don't know who'll bother to read this or why. There are a number of Photo related blogs that seem to have achieved stardom - Strobist, Chase Jarvis, A Photo Editor, Joe McNally and everything Scott Kelby related. It's interesting to see the "attaboys" that they give each other as if they're a closed circle of cognoscenti, all of whom, not uncoincidentally are in the workshop business too. Andrew Hetherington's Blog is the one that confuses me the most, mainly picture after picture of himself and someone else at an artsy function in New York. Does this man ever work, or does he just hang out with a drink in his hand and wait for someone who'll pose with him for a snapshot? Hmmm.

To be frank, the only reason that I started this is to increase my visibility and get more work. There, I said it - no meaningful highbrow - just plain old commerce. I'll try to be interesting along the way, hopefully more interesting than this post has been. But you have to start somewhere right?