Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Bigger Church — St. Louis, MO

Bigger Church
Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

Want to Win a Canon 5D Mark II Camera?

Sunrise With the Scobleizer

Well then you are in luck! Because we are giving one away, courtesy of SmugMug, next Wednesday night live on Photo Talk Plus.

Want to learn how you can win it? Then tune in and join us tonight at 8PM PST LIVE on the Vidcast Network for an epic interview with the one and only Robert Scoble.

Robert and I go way back from the days of our photo walking videos and tonight’s hangout should be a great one. Tonight we’ll be talking about SmugMug’s new awesomest iPhone camera app Camera Awesome, the brand new Lytro lightfield camera announced today, an update on Sunday’s huge Trey Ratcliff / Tom Anderson hosted photowalk down in Los Angeles, all the latest from the rumor mill on the rumored to be imminently released (this Friday) new Canon 5D, Mark III, and much, much more.

Joining me tonight as always will be my lovely cohost Lotus Carroll, along with panelists Don MacAskill from SmugMug, Natalie Villalobos from Google, The Vidcast Network’s Keith Barrett, Camera Labs’ own Gordon Laing and LIFE Through the Lens Host Karen Hutton.

Thanks as always to our great sponsors over at Drobo and SmugMug!

Flickr Adds Pinterest Restrictions to Better Reflect Users’ Sharing Preferences (See Update)

UPDATE: When I wrote this story I tested Flickr’s behavior on how a default account is set up. In my test image it appeared that this image was coded by default as “all rights reserved” with sharing disabled and I could not pin it. Based on this behavior by Flickr, I assumed that all default photos (the majority on Flickr) could not be pinned. In actuality the fact that this account was set up with the “all rights reserved” “no sharing” options default may have been an error in the default settings on flickr. I’m now told by Flickr that the default setting actually *should* be all rights reserved sharing enabled.

What this means is that the only photos that are being restricted from Pinterest are a very small number of photos where users have consciously chosen to restrict their sharing elsewhere on the web. This is actually a pretty smart thing to do to give these users more control over their flickr photos. The vast majority of all rights reserved images on flickr then are still very much able to be shared to Pinterest. Aaron Hockley has a good rundown on the situation here.

Original article corrected:
=====================================================
Flickr apparently disabled the ability to post Flickr photos to Pinterest when the photo is uploaded using the all rights reserved license that Flickr defaults to when a user has opted not to share their images outside of flickr in their flickr settings.

1. This limitation is super easy to get around. Just install Dan Pupius’ mega-excellent FitrFlickr extension. Now on a flickr images’ main photo page under every photo will be direct links to the various sized copies of the images that flickr stores. Here you can easily just go to where the photo is stored directly and share that version of the image circumventing flickr’s code that has been put in place.

2. If you’ve disabled sharing in the past but now want people to be able to share them on Pinterest, just go to your sharing options and turn the default no to “yes, that would be lovely.”

3. One of the biggest things that this does is helps to make sure that flickr’s underground porn world stays underground. The “no pin” tag has been put on all non-safe, non-public photos on Flickr non matter what settings you’ve put on your photostream.

You can of course still post non-safe, non-public photos with the hack that I described in item 1. For example. Flickr has coded this photo that I took of a painting at the Chicago Art Institute as naughty (rolls eyes) — so if you try to pin it you can’t. But if you go to where flickr actually stores the image you can pin it from there just fine. And here it is, a super naughty non-safe flickr photo live living and breathing on Pinterest. 🙂

4. Flickr Help Forum thread on the topic here.

As far as Pinterest goes generally speaking, I like it. I blogged about it the other day here. My friend Trey Ratcliff blogged about it the other day as well here. Alot of photographers are pretty wound up about it though. The most recent bugaboo is that Pinterest strips your metadata when a photo is uploaded there. This upsets alot of people because they embed things like their copyright in the metadata on their photos. Thanks for the heads up on the metadata thing Gary!

My view in general on Pinterest is that many photographers are overreacting about it. Pinterest is not going to steal your photos and sell them as stock photography no matter what mumbo jumbo you might come up with on their TOU. Pinterest users are really not even the type to buy your photos. They’re basically a bunch girls/women who like to scrapbook stuff (and Trey Ratcliff). It’s no different than back in the olden days when bored housewives would cut pictures out of Good Housekeeping magazine and put them in shoe boxes to show them to their girlfriends later — or some girl printing up a photo of Justin Bieber from the internet to hang up in her locker at school. [no chauvinism meant or intended by describing Pinterest as a largely female user base with my flowery language in this part. It’s a cool site for men and women both]

Oh, and if you want to follow me on Pinterst, you can find me here.

Update: I’d like to emphasize that this change only affects the *Default* all rights reserved photos uploaded to flickr. I put default in my headline specifically to try to emphasize that this applied to default all rights reserved photos, not every all rights reserved photo on Flickr. In point #2 I show users who are using all rights reserved licenses with the original default how they can actually use the settings on flickr to change the default no share option and control how their photos are shared or not with that setting.

Festival of Colors Utah Photowalk , March 23-25th

Festival
Photo by Scott Jarvie

What is it?

A free 3 day event/photowalk – March 23-25th in Utah

“A photowalk of epic proportions and awesomeness” – Scott Jarvie

I’m super excited to be heading out for the Festival of Colors next month with my good Pal Scott Jarvie.

I’d try to describe exactly what it is but Scott’s blog post does a much better job of that than I can. Check it out and if you’re up for it, post here on Google+ and come on out and join us for this remarkable photography adventure.

The North American International Auto Show 2012

Apparently There's a New Porsche Coming Out -- Detroit, MI

Over 100 photos of the North American International Auto Show here!

Watch them as a slide show here!

I was pleased to be able to attend the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this year as an invited social media guest for The Ford Motor Company. The show opens this weekend, but they give the press a preview day ahead of the opening and Scott Monty, Ford’s Head of Social Media, and his excellent team hosted me and about 150 other bloggers as press for the event.

In addition to covering NAIAS, Ford also hosted us at The Henry Ford Museum and at their world headquarters. Scott also gave me a personal tour inside the historic Ford Rouge River plant where photography is not usually allowed but where I was allowed to photograph (these photos coming soon). Ford really rolled out the red carpet for us and even arranged for us to have a personal interview with Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally along with many other of the Ford executives. Wow!

I’ve photographed a lot of cars and car shows before but never anything as huge or comprehensive as NAIAS. NAIAS is one of the largest automobile shows in the world and I had an absolute blast shooting it. In addition to all of the major car manufacturers showing off their upcoming models, the manufacturers also showcase many concept cars and share new technology ideas that they are working on for the future.

Anyways, I’ll post more on this trip later along with more photos, but here are a little over 100 of my photos of the show. If you like the photos and are an auto enthusiast feel free to share the photos with others. All of my photos are licensed creative commons non-commercial so feel free to use them if you’d like. If you’re a commercial blog feel free to use as well.

Thank you again to Scott Monty and Ford Motor Company for putting so much effort into organizing this trip for a bunch of bloggers. It’s great to see Ford reaching out beyond the traditional press/media channels and recognizing our content and getting us involved in an event like this. It really shows that Ford is a forward thinking company and gets where media is headed in the future.

#FordNAIAS

Top 10 Ways to Improve Google Photos

Top 10 Ways to Improve Google Photos

My friend Trey Ratcliff has an excellent post and poll going on over at Google+ right now asking photographers what their number one ideas are to improve Google Photos. Trey is meeting with the Google Photos team today and wanted to use his post to get ideas to share with the photos team as well as a rank how people feel about them.

What a great idea.

If you haven’t voted yet, hop on over to Trey’s post and check out some of the ideas and vote.

I’m amazed at how open to feedback the Google Photos team has been. It’s nice to see an active team engaged with the community that actually gets it.

Inspired by Trey’s post I thought I’d take a minute myself to put down what I feel are the top 10 ways to improve Google Photos. Some of these ideas are fanciful and would take a tremendous amount of work and some might be easier to implement.

I consider Google Photos largely a work in progress, but a work in progress with a very talented and dedicated team committed to innovation and I’m sure there will be great advancements by the team in the weeks, months, years ahead.

1. Stock Photography. Trey stayed at my place last week and we stayed up late one night doing a hangout and talked alot about the potential for stock photography with Google Photos. If the interent (and Google) are good at anything it’s disrupting inefficient businesses. This currently is the number one idea on Trey’s poll.

I’m currently enrolled in the Flickr/Getty stock photography deal (along with almost 30,000 other photographers if the number of members in the invite only Getty Contributors group are a measure). Here Getty keeps 80% of my photo sales and pays me 20%. That feels like too low of a payout to me. I’m not sure what the right payout should be, but I have a feeling that Google could do better.

The stock photography business is a big complicated complex business though. There are legal and licensing considerations that would scare off many who might like to get involved. I don’t have insight into the Flickr/Getty deal, but I’d guess that the reason why Flickr went with Getty rather than building something out themselves was because Getty has a good history of clearing images and also I’m guessing that Getty indemnified Yahoo over any liability associated with unauthorized image sales.

Google could acquire a smaller stock agency though with experience in clearing images and begin doing what Flickr is doing but with better payouts to photographers. The profit from this business itself wouldn’t be as important as the fact that having this opportunity to sell images would attract even more high quality Pros and advanced amateurs to Google Photos.

Stock photography is not a slam dunk though and Google would have many considerations. Could they protect themselves (and their deep pockets) legally from potential claims? How much money does Getty spend on advertising each year on Google? Certainly competing with them could threaten this advertising revenue. Google has been criticized already for being as fragmented as they are. Would stock photography be yet another distraction and yet another place to create competitors?

On the other hand, giving us a way to monetize our photos on Google Photos would be huge and certainly something that many high quality photographers would love to take advantage of. If anyone has the clout to compete in this world it would be Google.

2. Better album management including SmartSets. At present I’m dumping all of my photos into Google photos one at a time. I’m only using a single album, “Photos from Posts.” It looks really slick (with infinite scrolling!). I haven’t made any other albums because when I do it creates too much noise in my Google+ stream by dropping in tons of smaller sized duplicate photos anytime anyone makes a comment on a photo of mine that I put into an album.

The noise problem is one that Google should solve hopefully over time — but still, making albums is a manually intensive task at Google Photos today. You have to go to each photo one by one and literally copy it into a new album to create albums that overlap each other. This is very inefficient. First of all, actually copying new files when moving a photo to a new album is unnecessary. It’s duplicate storage and you don’t need to do this to better organize albums. And secondly it’s way too time consuming.

Instead Google should let us build albums by tags or keywords. I’d like to create an album of all of my San Francisco photos. Sets of sets or collections would be cool as well.

3. Interestingness by Circles. I know that technically Yahoo/Flickr have patented “interestingness,” but it seems absurd to me that this should prevent another company from sharing popular items.

What would be cool would be if I could view each of my circles by most popular items by day, week, month. I can’t always stay on top of everything and being able to go back and see the highest rated content from various circles would be slick.

4. Google Galleries. No, not online. I mean real, actual, physical Google Galleries. I think that there is a great opportunity for Google to sell fine art prints in a gallery setting. While a physical store is a big expense, I believe that merging digital art with physical art/prints in the physical world is ripe with opportunity. Initially Google would open a couple of smaller galleries in influential places, say San Francisco and New York. They would hire a curator to run the store. The stores would primarily be composed of plasmas rotating art for sale. Visually they would be stunning, clean, light, like an Apple store, with great big plasmas everywhere rotating the latest photos uploaded and cleared for sale by Google Photos. Every day the art would change.

There would be a cafe in the back that sold coffee drinks. This would invite the public in to browse the store and look at the art. There would be special terminals set up where you could search and browse for art by subject. You could, for instance, look specifically for a print to buy of a cable car in San Francisco, or of a cafe in Spain, or of an Amazon Rainforest, or of the Empire State Building — anything. You could search by artist, or subject, or whatever. Some prints could be done on demand – other prints could be done as limited editions being signed by an artist and shipped to you later.

Google Photographers could also hold shows and meetups at these galleries. Rather than me printing up a ton of my work, if I wanted to do a Thomas Hawk show, the plasmas could just rotate to all of my photos for a weekend. I could do an opening and have a show and sell prints much more economically. Google Photos could do meetups at the galleries and photowalks afterwards. How cool would it be if 100 photographers RSVPd for a Google Photos Meet Up where an hour before a photowalk the best photos from those exact 100 RSVPed rotated randomly on giant plasmas throughout the store.

Jen Bekman’s got a lot of great press with 20×200. Could this be a model? Maybe Google could consider her gallery as a jumping off point to partner with or help launch this?

Gallery photos could also be ordered online and shipped as real physical prints as well.

5. Photo Search. Right now one of the downsides of Google+ is that while your photos get a lot of attention when you first post them, they quickly fall off the radar and are buried for good. Google Photos needs a way to reignite long-term activity on these old photos. Search is where this starts. I need to be able to search for photos and then sort by interestingness or most recent. Photo search would drive activity to photos that are past their initial flurry in Google+.

Google should also consider giving great photos from Google Photos preferential placement in Google Image Search where appropriate. The social meta data around photos should give some insight into how strong a photo is. When someone is searching for images of the Golden Gate Bridge, why not send them to Google Photos Photographers with super strong images of the Golden Gate Bridge?

6. Recent Activity Page. Google’s notifications page is good, but it is not as good as Flickr’s Recent Activity page. This page really is the number one page on Flickr and should be the number one page on G+. There is no page there that is more important.

Google should study Flickr’s page and tear it apart every which way from Sunday. It’s quite literally the best and most addictive thing that Flickr does. We should have a customizable (we choose what to hide and see) recent activity page on Google+ that lets us know when people add us, when they make comments on our photos, when they mention us, when they +1 our photos, when they make a comment after a comment we’ve made (it’s very important to be able to hide this specific activity item especially on a one off basis).

Items should be bumped to the top as a new activity occurs on a post. This will make sure that we see a comment someone makes on a 2 week old photo of ours. The current Google+ notifications page feels too cluttered and noisy. Google’s got to get this page right. It’s important.

7. Photo Stats. Photographers love keeping track of the stats on their photos. This gets a little harder with Google+’s streams (what exactly is a photo view for instance?), but something here would be interesting.

8. Google Groups. I know groups are coming. Google bought Fridge afterall. But Groups are important to photographers. Groups have been very popular at flickr. Some thought should be given to how photo games can be created with groups. There are several flickr groups utilizing different voting games. DeleteMe style critique groups/games have been popular on flickr.

Groups on Google+ should have photo tools and even perhaps some built in voting interfaces. Mike Wiacek, a photographer who works for Google, has in fact built the voting interface for some of the voting groups on flickr on his own time. Mike would be a great guy to talk to about how some of these tools might be integrated by default into Google Photos voting games/groups.

9. Google Photo Books. Here Google could buy Blurb or another publisher, or they could try to build it themselves. Letting us create and sell photo books would be amazing. Print on demand is getting cheaper and cheaper and better and better. They could do magazines like HP’s MagCloud as well, but I think books are a better market.

10. Rebrand Picasa to Google Photos. Goole Photos is a much stronger name. This is already rumored in the works. Identity is important and Picasa has a bit of a reputation for being a sort of clunky 2nd best to Flickr.

Google Photos should recognize the goodwill associated with their name and rebrand everything photo related simply Google Photos. This should coincide with a clean up of Picasa’s interface (see smart sets above) and even more integration with Google+. There should be a link to photos in G+ for example that take you to a more traditional photo landing page for that photo simliar to a flickr photo landing page. This page should not be the same as the lightbox. The lighbox view is pretty perfect as is right now (although keywords should be included in the photo details section) and you should be able to +1 photos from this view and even with a simple keyboard command.

Bonus Improvement: Create a tie in between Google’s Reverse Image Search and our Google Photos accounts.

Although it’s not my bag, some photographers get really, really, really, really, really worked up when people use their photos online without their permission. Google’s new reverse image search shows you where your photos are appearing online. It would be cool if with a simple link next to one of your Google Photos you could conduct an image search showing where it shows up. Alot of people concerned about image theft would like this feature.

Photographers (maybe a Pro or Premium feature?) could also sign up for alerts to let them know when new instances of their photos were showing up online. These alerts could be dismissed one by one as much of the use might not concern people. But other unathorized use would concern people and Google’s already built a great reverse image search tool.

Have You Joined the 500px Club Yet?

The 500px Club by Thomas Hawk (thomashawk) on 500px.com
The 500px Club by Thomas Hawk

Have you joined the 500px Club yet?

If not, come check out the hottest new photosharing site on the web. It’s nice to see a photosharing site innovating. They added a bunch of major improvements yesterday. You can find me on the site here, it’s where I’m posting some of my best work.

I See You in the Skies Above

I See You in the Skies Above

Outside the Motel

Outside the Motel

Sky Flier

Sky Flier