Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nothing New Here

Today's New York Times features an article entitled Photographers, the Image of Shrinking Pathh. According to author the perfect storm that provoked this mess was "the advertising downturn, the popularity and accessibility of digital photography, and changes in the stock-photo market."

They also take a shot at amateur photographers. “People that don’t have to make a living from photography and do it as a hobby don’t feel the need to charge a reasonable rate,” Mr. Eich said.

My take is that this is an oversimplifcation of the problems within the profession. Especially the casting of blame on amateurs. The truth is that a lot of professionals, especially young professionals are the ones who are typically afraid to negotiate with photo editors and accepting the $200 a day assignments. If they don't value their time, who will?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

They're Here...Well Soon Anyway!

According to today's New York Times, Rupert Murdoch's News International, has devised a pay plan for The Times and The Sunday TImes of London. "From June, the new sites, www.thetimes.co.uk and www.thesundaytimes.co.uk, will be available at £1, or $1.48, for a day’s access or £2 for a week’s subscription."

To read the full story, click here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Advertisers Show Interest in iPad

A good sign of the potential of the iPad became clearer today in an article in the New York Times. It seems that advertisers are showing an interest in buying advertising for the Ipad versions of some magazines. Is this a fad or not is still to be determined, but regardless it's a positive sign.

Advertisers Show Interest in iPad
Advertisers initially approached new media as if they were going duck hunting, tiptoeing cautiously into the waters of mobile phones and the Internet.

With the iPad, it’s big-game season.

Getting ready for the April 3 iPad introduction, FedEx has bought advertising space on the iPad applications from Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. Chase Sapphire, a credit card for the high-end market, has bought out The New York Times’s iPad advertising units for 60 days after the introduction.

Advertisers including Unilever, Toyota Motor, Korean Air and Fidelity have booked space on Time’s iPad application. In a draft press release, The Journal said a subscription to its app would cost $17.99 a month, and the first advertisers included Capital One, Buick, Oracle, iShares and FedEx.

At least initially, it should provide a nice boost for publishers. iPad advertisements on print publishers’ applications cost $75,000 to $300,000 for a few months with some exclusivity, said Phuc Truong, managing director of Mobext U.S., a mobile-marketing unit at Havas Digital.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Not Again: Canon 5D Mark II Firmware Update to Update

It seems Canon needed to correct a problem with the update so here is a second version to the same update I reported last week. This time it is called 2.0.4. You can download it here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Canon Canon 5D Mark II Firmware Update Available for Download

The much anticipated firmware update for the Canon 5D Mark II is finally available for download. I updated mine this morning. The five big enhancements are the following:

1. Adds or changes the following movie frame rates
1920x1080:30 fps (changed - actual 29.97fps)
1920x1080:24 fps (added - actual 23.976 fps)
640x480:30 fps (changed - actual 29.97fps)
1920x1080:25 fps (added - actual 25.0 fps)
1920x1080:24 fps (added - actual 23.976 fps)
640x480:25 fps (added - actual 25.0 fps)
2. Adds a function for manually adjusting the sound recording level (64 levels).
3. Adds a histogram display (brightness or RGB) for shooting movies in manual exposure.
4. Adds shutter-priority AE mode (Tv) and aperture-priority AE (Av) mode to the exposure
modes for shooting movies.
5. Changes the audio sampling frequency from 44.1 KHz to 48 KHz.
6. Fixes a phenomenon where communication between the camera and the
attached lens is sometimes interrupted after manual sensor cleaning.
(This phenomenon only affects units with Firmware Version 1.2.4.)

>To download, click here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Be a part of the Solution

In continuation of the ongoing discussion here of trying to find solutions to today's problems in photojournalism (see prior postings one, two and three), here is a wonderful story of some photojournalists and visual journalists who are getting it right. They have effectively turned the area of working for NGO's on it's head. One group that is featured in the story are my friends at Bombay Flying Club, who helped me produce my multimedia piece, A Trouble Paradise.

You can find the full article here, but here's a teaser.

Turning NGOs Into Paying Clients

Because photographers have lined up for years to donate their services, NGOs have come to expect free photography. But some photographers are trying to change that expectation by giving NGOs reasons to pay them,

Phil Borges has built a career and a decent living—from book sales, exhibitions, print sales, speaking engagements and teaching—trading his services to Non Government Organizations (NGOs) in exchange for access to stories he couldn't otherwise get, for logistical and promotional support, and for the satisfaction of making a difference in peoples' lives. It's the calculus of many photographers working without pay for NGOs.

Recently, though, Borges has found himself wondering whether he's doing a disservice to both his profession and the NGOs when he charges too little or nothing at all. The question weighed heavily on him after one particular job for an NGO that was paying him only for some post-production work. He found himself in the field "working my butt off from dawn until dusk," he recounts, and the NGO staff person he was traveling with made him feel like he was a subordinate, or worse.

"And I thought, here I am doing work supporting that employee's salary," he recalls. "It's only human nature. If you're giving your time away, you're not valued as much." He adds, "From now on when I donate my time I will be including my day rate in the contract so they can at least see the value in the contribution I'm making."

Borges is also charging some NGO clients substantial fees. For two recent multimedia projects, for instance, he billed different NGOs $16,500. One project was about burn victims in Sri Lanka for an NGO based in Palo Alto. The charge included $8,000 for the time spent in country shooting, and $8,500 for post-production. Those fees worked out to about $600 per day, which is far less than an NGO would pay for TV production, and nothing near a commercial day rate. But it's better than free, and it's progress for Borges, who confesses, "I'm a very timid negotiator. My wife is the one who should be doing it. I've never had anybody balk at my fee. All of them have just said thank you."

Friday, March 5, 2010

Why Photographers ARE the Problem!!!

Earlier this week I taught a class in the postgraduate program in Photojournalism at the University Autonoma of Barcelona. At the end of the lecture I made a series of recommendations to the students on how to take their careers forward and I closed with the old lesson about the importance of not giving away your work cheaply and especially not for free. The promise of future paying work in these circumstances is a myth, but I wonder how many of them will fall in to the trap anyway. If you don't value your work, how can you expect anyone else to?

I've touched upon this problem before here and will continue to address it in the future, but I wanted to bring it up today because I just came across another example here. Really, can people be so foolish? Thanks to Rob Haggart at A Photo Editor for sharing this with us.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

World Press Photo Disqualified

WPP disqualified this image because Stepan Rudik used the cloning tool to remove a distracting element from the image. In this case, a foot. As small as the distracting element was, in my opinion WPP made the right call. Credibility is the question here and there is just no room for cloning in photojournalism.

You can read more about it at Lens and at Petapixel.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

FOR SALE: Canon EF 24-105mm LS IS USM f/4

I'm selling a used Canon EF 24-105mm L IS USM f/4 with Image Stabilizer. It's in excellent condition as I have always kept a UV filter on the lens to protect it. I'm selling the lens because I won a similar lens, a 24-70 f/2.8 and don't need both. I will accept the best offer. If interested email me. Thanks.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Another War Documentary by a Photojournalist

Battle for Hearts and Minds Trailer from Danfung Dennis on Vimeo.

Yesterday on Lens there was a very interesting article written by NY Times contributor Michael Kamber. His criticism was aimed at the Oscar nominated movie, The Hurt Locker. Apparently the movie has received other criticism as well for being entirely unrealistic in it's portrayal of the U.S. military in Iraq.

When the truth is stretched too thin, a movie loses credibility it also loses it's ability to influence the viewer. Documentary films, on the other hand, are simply more credible. With recent changes in technology, most notably the ability to shoot video more cheaply with the Canon 5D mark ii and the 7D, it's safe to say that more photojournalists will be going in this direction. I think that most people applaud this.

Two photojournalists, who have recently made war documentaries, are trying to market their documentaries using the film distribution model. This is very interesting because they are bypassing the broken business models of traditional media (magazines, newspapers and TV news). Restrepo, by Tim Heatherington and Sebastian Junger, recently won the Sundance Documentary Grand Jury Prize. Today, I give you the trailer to Danfung Dennis' Battle for Hearts and Minds. I think this just may be the light at the end of the tunnel for this profession. I wish them both much success.

Thanks to Poul at the Bombay Flying Club for bringing this to my attention. Poul, also was the point man helping me produce my multimedia piece, A Troubled Paradise.