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Thread: Bluejay Where Hobbits Dwell

  1. #1
    CNelson's Avatar
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    Bluejay Where Hobbits Dwell

    I've visited this site a few times and thought I might post a link to an image I find interesting. It's actually two images put together. The background scene is looking south down the Sacramento River Canyon from the south slopes of Mt. Shasta (northern California). The image is a pseudo HDR developed from one RAW image. The scene suggests to me that it might be a forest where Hobbits dwell. As for the jay, I shot it in my yard with my Canon. I put the images together to make something interesting for my website.

    The missing link: http://www.chucknelsonphotography.co...5736/e27d2bebc

    Chuck

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    Re: Bluejay Where Hobbits Dwell

    Alright Chuck, Welcome,

    I love the images you've got there. Top stuff. Watermarks. Now I understand the need but I still hate them when I'm asked to go off site to look. Otherwise, beautiful photographs.

    Mark

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    Re: Bluejay Where Hobbits Dwell

    Hi Chuck,

    Great work ... but ... the water marking absolutely murders the image (no if's, but's or maybe's about it I'm afraid).

    I put a lot of my commercial work up on my website at resolutions that people could download and make quite a reasonable print from (usually 1024 x 512 pixels), but in reality it's just hasn't been an issue. I think of it like this ...

    1. If someone wants to claim my work as their own then they're the ones who have to live with their dishonesty. If ever I need to prove that I'm the real creator I could do that so so so easily it would almost be laughable if they tried to defend their phony position.

    2. If someone want to make themselves a small or even medium size print for themselves then I say they're more than welcome - I hope it brings them as much pleasure as the image(s) brought me.

    3. If someone somewhere around the world wants to lift my work and start selling it I'd be inclined to think "cheeky sod", but at the end of the day it doesn't take any dollars out of my pocket.

    About the only thing I ask is "don't use my images to compete in business against me" - and to date there's never been even a hint of an issue. I even sent another photographer a full high res copy of an image to the other side of the world and gave her express permission to make some money out of it and put it towards a new lens she was hoping to afford - and she still didn't want to!

    Morel of the story? Well in my opinion it seems a shame to ruin 100% of your images 100% of the time just because there's a small chance that someone will lift them - especially when the consequences of them lifting them to you are practically zero anyway. As proud of our creations as we are, there will always be people who's images are better & worse - I'm sure that ours are just a drop in the ocean.

    Just my 10c worth

    Cheers
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 5th February 2009 at 05:58 AM.

  4. #4
    CNelson's Avatar
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    Re: Bluejay Where Hobbits Dwell

    Gentlemen. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts about watermarks. You have given me serious food for thought. I will be reconsidering.

    Chuck

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    Re: Bluejay Where Hobbits Dwell

    You're welcome Chuck.

    To be honest, I think a lot of good photographers are basically a vain bunch who suffer from borderline excessive/compulsive disorder and generally have an over-inflated sense of self importance and over-sized egos to match (but enough about me!) ...

    ... fortunately, the rest of the world just doesn't seem to either care or notice!

    Why not try a few without the watermarks and see if the world stops turning

    Happy new year!

    Cheers

  6. #6
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    Re: Bluejay Where Hobbits Dwell

    OK....I did it...watermarks removed on all. By way of compromise I reduced display size some. So far the world is still turning but I make no clain not to possess all those qualities Colin has enumerated.

    Chuck

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    Re: Bluejay Where Hobbits Dwell

    Hi Chuck,

    Well done! - it makes a world of difference.

    To be honest, I've done very very little in the way of bird photography - but if I could get results like you've got here I'd probably even invest in another lens or two (any excuse to buy more glass eh?) (it's another character flaw that can be added to my previous list!).

    I think it takes a certain sort of "eye" to be able to place composits together like this and have them still look believeable - but you've certainly "nailed" that completely - no questions about. And I like the colouring and texture of the sky and valley (in fact the post-processing of the whole image) is pretty flawless - just wondering if you'd be so kind as to detail your workflow for these? What focal lengths are you using?

    The other question I have is "what do you do with these images"? - from what I've seen so far, many of them would be perfect candidates for framed canvas prints to be put up for sale (part of what I do for a living) - just wondering if it's something you already do, or would be interested in doing? (it's all about the money )

    Cheers

  8. #8
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    Re: Bluejay Where Hobbits Dwell

    Thank you for the kind words again Colin. I have looked at your work and find it VERY impressive.

    I will give you the particulars of the photograph(s) but first a word about my approach to photography. I think I am like most serious non-professional photographers in that I see photography as an art-form. I don't want to just document a place, event or creature I want to capture what I photograph and then try to put it's best face forward to share with others. To that end I use Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro Photo, Noiseware, Photomatix and recently Topaz Adjust. I try to come up with an end product that I would like to hang on a wall. You will notice that I try to push toward the dramatic. For many photographers I would be seen as going too far but we all must work withing our range of comfort and artistic license. I don't try to fool people with my blended images. When it's not obvious that I have combined more than one image I include a statement like "Quail and Mt. Shasta photographed separately in Siskiyou County." I think people need to trust me and my work so such a disclaimer is important to me.

    About a year ago I started placing my prints in galleries in northern California and, to my suprise and delight, I have sold quite a few. I'm in no danger of getting rich, let alone recouping equipment costs, but I love it when others take home with them something of my photoart. Selling is fun and I use it to justify equipment upgrades. We all love glass don't we. Don't get me wrong, these are not high end galleries for the most part, they are small town galleries, mostly in the area where I take many of my photographs. But locals and tourists have purchased. One client saw my work in a gallery and had me work with him to decorate his home with a number of prints.

    I did the website in June of this year because someone came across one of my images floating around the internet...probably sent by email to a friend who shared it with others, and will be using some of my images in a brochure put out by a national wildlife agency. I figured if someone found one of my images by accident, perhaps I should put them out there for others to find. To this point I have not sold anything on the website. The prices on the website are approximately the same as in the galleries. If I undercut the galleries in private or website sales, they won't want to carry my work. Gallery prices must accommodate a gallery commission of up to 50% so the end price reflects gallery commission, costs of print/frame and some profit. While I haven't sold through the website, one customer saw my work on the web and went to a local gallery to make a purchase.

    I enjoy the photography and post processing but I don't like doing the sales so the galleries and website free me up for the fun stuff. I have so very much to learn and I see no end to the learning curve in the artistic and technical directions. I do enjoy revisiting galleries to find what has sold and restocking them. I have been given dedicaqted wall space in three places.

    Now before I wax too windy...the particulars on the photos in question.

    Both the jay and the background scene were photographed on November 24th 2008 using a canon 40D. Original images were shot in RAW format. It was shot hand-held as are almost all of my bird shots as I have to be able to move quickly to capture brief opportunities.

    The JAY was shot with with Canon's 100-400 L lens at ISO 400, 400 flcal length, at 1/500 5.6 shutter priority.

    The BACKGROUND (blue mountains) were shot with Canon's 24-105 L lens at ISO 100, 47 focal length, 1/125 9.9. I used a tripod.

    I can't tell you all the post processing process as I didn't keep record. The pseudo HDR of the background scene was done with Photomatix. The rest of the processing would involve are or some of the others software I have listed.

    I believe that answers your questions and a bit more.

    Chuck

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    The Blue Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Bluejay Where Hobbits Dwell

    Fantastic. Although I must admit I've got watermarks on some of mine, I've tried to be really discreet so as to make no difference to the picture; for example

    Bluejay Where Hobbits Dwell

    I honestly don't think anyone would nick any of mine and I agree with Colin that it's an ego thing.

    Isn't it great that the likes of me can "mingle" with talent such as yourselves?

    God I love this site.

    Mark

  10. #10

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    Re: Bluejay Where Hobbits Dwell

    Hi Chuck,

    Thanks for the detailed reply.

    I think that you and I have similar thoughts when it comes to our philosophy and approach to our craft. In the past I've had great debates with people over the use of photoshop to prepare images - and at the end of the day, it usually distills down to 2 things ...

    - it's virtually impossible to present an image without some form of post-processing. It's a bit like women and beauty treatments - at one end of the scale we have a bit of powder and a touch of lipstick, whilst at the other end we have full-on plastic surgery ... or (in most cases) something inbetween the two extremes. In my opinion there's no right or wrong amount ... just whatever is required for best results.

    - That as an artist, I reserve the right to present my images any way I bloomin well like! ... so long as I'm honest about it - at the end of the day, it's art, not photojournalism. I'm more than happy to explain what processes go in to creating any particular image that's of interest to someone - in my eyes it's only dishonest when one creates something using tools of the trade and then tries to pass it off as something it's not - like the photographer in Iraq who photographed the results of a bombing - added a lot more smoke - and tried to pass it off as something that was realistic.

    Something for you to think about ...

    ... For many years my main source of income has been from the Information Technolgy sector (constructing & supporting small to medium sized networks) - but over the past few years I've started to augment that with photography related things. It started with the photography - quickly moved to large format printing of my work, and added a bit of processing and printing of other peoples work as well. My original direction was towards paper prints, but framing costs were a real killer - so I ended up drifting towards canvas prints (far more "bang for your bucks") - and have ended up now working almost exclusively with canvas. Last year I took it a step further and purchased a DeWalt thicknesser, Mitre saw, planer, drill and started manufacturing my own frames and stretching my own prints (typically 44" wide by 22" high) (to suit the maximum media width of the printer which is 24 inches) - and slowly (very slowly) but surely (very surely) the sales are starting to increase. This year, possibly up to 30% of my income may come from the non-IT side of my business. (on a side note, this is one of the things I love about the photography business - great leverage. Once you have a finished image - even though you might have worked hard to get it - when someone needs a copy it's simply a case of "file -> open -> print")

    ... Late last year I explored a slightly new direction when a associate came to me for help joining 4 images of a very wide angle dramatic sunset into a seamless panorama to be printed onto a canvas for his lounge wall. To cut a short story even shorter, we ended up with a canvas 22" high and 88" wide - one for his wall - one for his fathers wall - 2 for other relatives - and I think we've now sold about 5 through one of my usual outlets. It was the first time I'd sold an image that wasn't of my creation, but the end result was the money that ended up in my bank account worked just as well as the money from my images - and he ended up making quite a few hundred dollars too. Lesson to be learned? ... things like this are a win / win for everyone involved.

    ... Looking through your gallery, I can see one or two images that I think would look fantastic on canvas - and I think they'd sell - so I'm wondering if this would be an avenue you'd be interested in exploring? I'm fortunate to have enough capital to be able to take all the risk with exercises like this (ie I'm quite happy to produce the product at my expense) - I simply pass on an agreed commission when a canvas sells. It does come down to a bit of trust (I'd need full res copies of the files - and you'd have to trust me to pass on the commission), but on the flip side of the coin it's in my best interests to build long-term relationships, and ripping people off really doesn't help!

    If it's something you'd like to discuss further, just let me know. We can discuss it in a non-public forum (I only mention all this here because I want to give others an insite into how some of the very simple marketing mechanisms can start turnng something that someone loves into something they can make some money from).

    Be interested to hear your thoughts.

    Cheers

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    Re: Bluejay Where Hobbits Dwell

    "Although I must admit I've got watermarks on some of mine, I've tried to be really discreet so as to make no difference to the picture"

    Hi Mark,

    Nice shot by the way.

    Two thoughts come to mind with regards to watermarks like yours ...

    1. As a "statement of ownership" I think it's just fine - done in a way (like you have) of being reasonably discreet (although, personally, I think the same this is accomplished with even smaller font sizes), but ...

    2. As an "anti-theft device" it really doesn't do a lot as it's a pretty simple task just to photoshot it out (hence the way Chuck did it was pretty bullet proof in this respect - only problem was it also murdered a very fine image in the process).

    Personally, I subscribe to the theory that if someone really wants to rip me off then they're probably prepared to put a lot more time & effort in to doing it than I'm going to waste trying to stop it - especially when it doesn't affect me financially in any way (or even emotionally, as I probably wouldn't even known that they'd done it anyway).

    "Isn't it great that the likes of me can "mingle" with talent such as yourselves?"

    Arrgh! Stop - I'll have to start wearing a neck support if my head swells any bigger! Seriously, we're all equals here - and I'm sure we've all got things to learn from each other. I think the real kudos should go to people like Sean who, despite an accomplished career and being a very talented photographer, STILL finds the time to write world-class tutorials and setup sites like this. I'm sure it takes a lot of time - and it's all very "selfless" - thus very much appreciated by all. I hope we can all now do our part to make it as successful as possible.

  12. #12
    CNelson's Avatar
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    Re: Bluejay Where Hobbits Dwell

    Mark, your picture is wonderful. It's my privelege to try to run with the big dogs too.

    I now see my former watermark was about as subtle as a handgrenade. I had reduced the opacity and thought that was all I could do. Now, after playing on my website, I just realized that I can reduce the watermark size and move it around. Having and managing a website is something new for me. I learn by trial and error but most efficiently from good advice - thank you.

    I appreciate the openness with which other shooters are willing to share advice and techniques here. Many forums are inhabited by nerds and sharp shooters but I haven't seen that here. I frequent another web forum ( http://community.mpix.com/forums/) where the photographers are VERY helpful but a large percentage are what I call production photographers...they do weddings, portraits, seniors, families, etc. I love what they do and learn from them but I'm more interested in fine art....landscapes and critters.

    Chuck

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