To end the year, we made a video montage of every photo published on 75CentralPhotography in 2018. Thank you for a great year and best wishes in 2019. Enjoy!
If you’re like me and share your photos online in any capacity, you’ve probably had at least a few stolen by unscrupulous people for use on their websites or for other promotional reasons. Usually, you’d deal with this by finding the violator and either sending an invoice or filing a DMCA takedown. Unfortunately, in my experience, invoices sent generally mean invoices ignored. Of course, you could always hire a lawyer to go after copyright thieves, but that usually takes upfront capital, which can mean a fair amount of money out-of-pocket with no guarantee of a reward. And running down copyright violators on your own can take a lot of energy and time.
Time and energy that I don’t have. Nor do a lot of people.
So, what do I do about copyright thieves?
I recently discovered Pixsy.Com, a service that searches the web for violations, lets you choose the ones worth pursuing via their service, and goes after these for resolution.
It’s pretty easy to use and doesn’t take a lot of time or effort. Once you’ve signed up, you can sync your Flickr, SmugMug, Instagram or other social accounts or upload a batch of photos.
They then periodically scan the web for uses of these photos and present potential matches in an easy-to-use interface for you to browse.
From here, you can reject false-positives, confirm if the use of a photo is okay or submit a case.
When you submit a case, you provide some background information on the image, such as when and where it was taken as well as when you first published it on the web, and Pixsy goes to work. They evaluate your submission for feasibility of pursuing based on whether or not they feel it will result in payment as well as if the amount of payment is worth the effort.
If the image is accepted into the resolution program, they contact the violator via email, presenting them with documentation of the violation as well as an invoice. If this is ignored, they eventually start calling the violator until they get resolution. If they don’t get a response from a thief, they will consult with their associated legal firms as to whether or not it’s worth filing suit.
If they get resolution, they keep 50% as their fee, which might seem high, but I think it worth it for me not to have to mess with.
And it’s been pretty worth it for me. In the few months I’ve been using their service, I’ve netted of $4000 in fees for only a few hours of my time. And while direct licensing of there photos would’ve made me more if the violators had actually bothered securing a license instead of offering their usual excuses (“my web guy did it” or “I found it on Google Image Search, so I thought it was free”), it’s more than I would’ve made had I tried to do this on my own (which would be $0 because I’m a) busy, b) lazy and c) don’t have a law firm with which to send scary letters on my behalf).
The one caveat I have, however, is that Pixsy only operates in certain countries. So they’ve been unable to hunt down Metallica’s thievery of one of my photos because the record label that actually published the CD with the violation is based in Greece, outside of their operating area. To resolve this, I am looking at other legal options.
So, if you’re a photographer who doesn’t have time or energy or money to pursue pirates on your own, I highly-recommend giving Pixsy a try.
Beyond photography, I enjoy other pursuits. Such as design. And science fiction. So I was pleased a few years ago when I came across Dave Addey’s awesome site Typeset in the Future. It’s an exploration of the use of typefaces in iconic science fiction movies that’s completely-engrossing.
So I’m somewhat pleased to know he’s releasing a book! It’s on my Christmas wishlist, assuming I don’t go ahead and buy it myself.
Bonus: If you’re a fan of the film Moon, check out production designer Gavin Rothery’s BTS post on his site: They Never Went to the Moon
As you may recall, a few years back, I moved from Canon to Panasonic’s Lumix line of Micro Four-Thirds cameras. I made this decision for two reasons: 1) I’d just trekked around the Alaskan Panhandle carrying a EOS body and a 100-400mm lens for a week and the size and weight just about killed me and 2) Canon seemed to not be innovating (similar to Apple and its Mac platform) but both Panasonic and its partner in the m43 system, Olympus, were coming out with all sorts of cool features.
So, I started looking at smaller systems. Fujifilm’s X Series was intriguing, especially since they offered an ASP-C-sized sensor, but the buy-in to the platform was expensive and I’d had a not-excellent experience with my x100 (though, to be fair, that was the first model of the X Series and it’s improved a helluva lot since then). So, my options limited, I bought a Panasonic Lumix G6.
And I loved it.
Small, lightweight, lots of good, fairly-inexpensive glass. I could carry a body and three lenses in the roughly the same amount of space that my EOS and a 24-105L would take up in my backpack, Color was excellent, it was responsive enough for the type of photos I take and, because of the aforementioned size, I could take it anywhere. Especially once I bought a second body, the tiny GM-1.
Eventually, I invested in more lenses and another body, the GX8. I was completely into the m43 ecosystem and these cameras went everywhere with me. Las Vegas, San Francisco, the Mojave Desert, Utah, Idaho, all over Texas, Mexico, the Caribbean…pretty much anywhere I went over the last five years, at least one of my Lumix cameras came with me.
But then something interesting happened.
I started to get a lot of customers licensing photos for giant installations. And not your typical billboard-type installations where resolution doesn’t really matter, but installations in offices and retail spaces that needed fine details. So, to support this business line going forward, I needed something with higher resolution. Hasselblad or other medium format solutions were out of the question as they were out of budget. Luckily, Sony had a solution: the A7rii boasted 41 megapixels and was full-frame to boot.
So I bought one. And a couple of lenses.
And I’m loving it so far. While bigger than my m43 bodies and lenses, it’s still smaller than the legacy dSLR systems from Canon or Nikon. The image quality is excellent…great dynamic range and color (if occasionally over-saturated, though nothing that Lightroom can’t fix), splendid details because of the resolution and a great community of fellow photographers that have really helped me understand and appreciate how far the platform can be pushed.
Even though I’ve had the a7rii for roughly six months now, I’m still slowly entering the system. My gear wishlist on Amazon has grown pretty long. I haven’t given up on m43 yet…still a great system to carry around, but for the most part, new photos I create going forward will by Sony Full Frame. Can’t wait to see what I create.
As you might have noticed, I hadn’t blogged in a while. In fact, for a long time, there wasn’t a link to the blog up there on the menu bar. A couple of reasons for this, though no excuse is really good enough for not sharing anything but photos.
- Because of performance issues with my previous host, 1and1.com, we ended up moving 75centralphotography.com to a new host, Dreamhost. Because our bread-and-butter is photography and not writing, our focus was making a smooth transition for the main photoblog to the new host and, thus, deferring migration of this seldom-updated blog until a later date. However, that later date kept getting pushed back for months until now. Why? Laziness, really. No other excuse beyond that. Oh, and I started a new day job a while back that has been taking up a lot of my time. That and an unanticipated move from one Dallas suburb to another that destroyed any will to write a bit for a long time.
- We knew it would be time-consuming to migrate. Which follows on from point 1.
- The blog never got as much traffic as the main site. Of course it wouldn’t…we’re in the business of making photos, not making writings.
- Finally, I kind of just forgot about it. After all, the photoblog is our focus. We’ve shared fine photos daily for over 11 years straight now and we didn’t want to slow down.
At any rate, I’m going to start blogging and sharing interesting things again. It will still be somewhat-seldom, but at least I’m doing it.
That said, the migration is mostly-complete. We’re still fixing some borked links and re-uploading some media that was lost in the transition, so please be patient. If you find anything weird, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exciting news! We are participating in this year’s East Main Arts Festival in Arlington, Texas. We’ll be selling prints, magnets and photocards. Here’s a taste of what we’ll have available for purchase:
If you’re in the DFW area and are looking for something to do this Saturday, come by and see us!
It’s that time of year again where I take a look at how Flickr has ranked the photos I took this year and share the ten most-interesting according to their mysterious “Interestingness” algorithm.dds
As always, the misfortunate side-effect of ranking a year’s photos this way is that it’s entirely possible that I shot some photos this year that are better than these but have not yet posted them. I post a new photo every day on my photoblog at 75CentralPhotography.Com and invite and encourage you to check in periodically to see even more great photos. You can also view a Flickr album of my 250 Most-Interesting Photos of all time here. Stay tuned for an exciting 2018! And, of course, all of my photos are available to purchase on their respective photo pages at 75CentralPhotography.Com.
Ten years ago, I started the 75Central.Com photoblog as a creative outlet to show my photography to the world. A lot has happened since that first photo went up on the Web on August 12, 2007. I met and married my wonderful wife. I adopted a dog. I’ve worked my way through five cars. I’ve been all over Texas, through the deserts of Nevada and California, to parts of Canada I’d never visited in the past, sailed to Alaska and the Caribbean, switched to Mac, partly switched back to Windows, loved and took care of my wife while she faced a life-changing illness, moved a couple of times, advanced both my photography and non-photography careers, made new friends, lost old friends and so much more. Most importantly, I learned to love life and not take it for granted. If an opportunity presents itself, take it. As I begin the second decade of sharing my work with the world, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who’s been a fan or a friend or just took a moment to admire on of my photos. It’s not always easy finding the motivation to select and post a photo every day, but I do it because I hope that at least one person appreciates it.
To celebrate this milestone anniversary, I put together the below video montage of every daily photo from the photoblog from the last ten years. Enjoy!
After an arduous 2016, full of misfortune both societal and personal, I’m gladly welcoming 2017. Over the weekend, I started thinking about how I can “up my photography game” during the coming 12 months. Here’s a short list I came up with.</p><p><strong>Shoot more</strong><br />This one seems obvious, but, at least in my case, it’s applicable. During 2016, I didn’t get out and take photos as often as I had in the past. Whereas in the past, I’d get up early on a weekend morning and head out on “photo drives” that would take me all over my part of the state, in 2016 I didn’t do this nearly enough. I’d make excuses like “it’s too cold” or “it’s too hot” or “it’s raining”, even though these things don’t matter as much as I’d make them out to matter. So, I’m promising myself that in 2017, I’ll get out and shoot more often, even if it is just throwing my trusty Lumix GM1 in my pocket with a 20mm prime and taking my dog, Winston, on a long walk around the neighborhood.</p><p><strong>Make Some Photography Friends</strong><br />I tend to be a “lone gunman” when shooting, as I imagine most photographers are. We don’t like other people slowing us down or getting in our way while we’re working. But sometimes, it’s good to be around like-minded people that are “into” photography. Professionally, networking is one of the best ways to find new business and learn new techniques or skills. Personally, it’s good to meet new people that you can “talk shop” with, especially if you’re constantly boring your significant other with photographic minutiae that they clearly aren’t that interested in. To remedy this, I’ve joined several active MeetUp.Com groups as well as local Facebook groups that regularly meet for photowalks and discussions. </p><p><strong>Hone My Post-Processing Technique</strong><br />I’m a die-hard Lightroom user. I’ve been using it since version one dropped and everything I shoot goes through it. That said, I know there’s still a lot of processing knowledge that I need to learn, both inside and outside of Lightroom. I’m working my way through online tutorials in Lightroom, Photoshop and, now, On1 Raw, the excellent new Raw processing application from On1.</p><p><strong>Expand My Business</strong><br />Like a lot of photographers, I live in the limbo called “semi-pro”. Photography isn’t my main source of income in that I do have a day job as a software architect. And while I love my software work, my passion is photography…it’s what makes me truly happy. So, in 2017, I’m going to make a concerted effort to expand the business side of my photography, focusing on licensing and fine-art prints.</p><p><strong>Have Fun</strong><br />This is a follow-on to the last resolution. While I have the luxury(?) of not relying on my photography as my main source of income, I do want to expand it as a source of income. But I need to make sure that as I do this, I’m not working so hard at it that it ceases to be fun to me and becomes the drudge of a second job.
*according to Flickr’s Interestingness algorithm
As I’ve done at the end of the year in the past, here are the Top 10 “Most Interesting” Photos that I took (and posted) in 2016.
The misfortunate side-effect of ranking a year’s photos this way is that it’s entirely possible that I shot some photos this year that are better than these but have not yet posted them. I post a new photo every day on my photoblog at 75Central.Com and invite and encourage you to check in periodically to see even more great photos. You can also view a Flickr album of my 250 Most-Interesting Photos of all time here. Stay tuned for an exciting 2017!