Mittwoch, 29. April 2009

Getty and Me

As many good photographers and bloggers before I now enqueue to the line of the persons that blogs about this Getty and Flickr thing. The reason for that is that I got such an invitation recently and at the moment I have no idea what to do.

A short information for all who dont know what I am talking about:

Some month ago our good old friend flickr signed up a deal with the world's "biggest supplier of pictures and video to media and advertising companies" Getty Images to combine their businesses. In reality this means that Getty searches through the big flickr universe and invites images of which they think that they are suitable for selling to their stock. The terms for that are reason for many controversial arguments these days. A photographer that wants his work to appear in the Getty stock has to give all selling rights to Getty what means that he is not more allowed to sell his work on his own for the time of the contract (2 years). If a photographer agrees he gets 20-30% of every image that is sold without having any costs. Many professionals bring forward the argument that they get at least 40% if they give their images to other stocks. I am not really into all these professional photography selling things but what I think is that for all the persons that do photography only as a hobby this is good way to get a bit of extra money out of their stuff.

So, why am I unsure about adding my images? The reason for that is the tax issue. Of course you have to pay taxes on your earnings but it is not as easy as it sounds at least not here in germany. Due to the fact that I have not really worked yet( my apprenticeship will start in september) I have no clue about taxes and this stuff. I dont want to get into problems because of these few euro but on the other hand I dont want reject it because it is a easy way to earn some cash without doing anything for it. What I found out yet is that I would have to register a trade only for this Getty thing and then doing my tax declaration and all the other things that are connected with that. Sounds like a bunch of stress doesnt it? The problem is that I dont know who can really give me tips about my special case. I think I will recherche a bit more and then publish my decision here.


I would like to know whether you received such an invitation too and if so how did you decide? And why? Have you had problems with taxes? How much did earn? If you have any tips or your personal story with Getty please contact me I am thankful for every information about this thing.

Thanks in advance!


Mittwoch, 22. April 2009

1 Year on Flickr

Yesterday(pretty late) I recognized that today is the first anniversary for me on flickr. For all who wonder, I dont count that year from the first image I published at all but from the first image that I took with focus on the photo. The images before were only means to an end to practice photoshop.  So for better understanding it is more my first anniversary with photographing than with flickr.

The first real artistic image that I published was this:

That day I had school vacations and nothing to do. I grabbed the snapshot cam of my parents and walked around the garden to look for motives. This was the best shot of this day and I have to say: "I think I couldnt have done this photo better". It is one of the rare images in my stream that I still like even if I have seen it about a thousand times already. I really love it.

About two month later I bought my Canon EOS 400D. This image was one of the biggest reasons for that buy.

Now, one year later I have published an amount of 208 images. I have uploaded 25804 images to flickr in total(private ones). More than 106000 people have clicked on my stream already.

The most clicked image of mine is this one with 19004 clicks:

My most favourited image with 958 faves is this one:

I would have liked to name one all time favourite of mine but I cant. There are just too many images of mine that I really like. There are also so many images from other artists that I could tell you but unfortunately I dont know how to post images from other artists here. I give you a list of 3 of my all time favourite images on flickr. These are images that I keep coming back to from time to time and which always fascinate me again.

1. "Crimson Death" by Lara Jade

This is just too good. When I saw it the first time I couldnt take my eyes of it. The red is perfect, the hair is perfect and the whole composition, perspective and everything is perfect. Just wonderful!

2. "Italy vs. Spain" by °freak°

Another really perfect image. I still dont know how he did it that it so amazingly sharp though it is photographed in the darkness. I think this mystery makes it somehow special for me.

3. "Who's next???"  by Eldad Hagar

At first I thought this is a complete photoshop merge. But after I asked Eldad he told me that this is SOOC. I couldnt believe it. The fact that he does everything for saving the lifes of different animals makes it even more powerful for me.


I think this is enough for the anniversary. Back to the important things. Images. I hope can go on for a long time with shooting and of course flickring and I hope you all will be on my side. Because I dont know whether I would still do all this if nobody but me would be interested in it.

So thanks for everything and I hope I can fulfill expectations you have.

Greetings from Germany to the whole wide world. Over and out.

Sonntag, 19. April 2009

Through Binoculars

To underline my most recent image "Through Binoculars" I wanted to tell you something about the way this image has been achieved and a bit about this technique in general.

To begin with I will tell you what I used.

I used my Canon EOS 400D in connection with the 18-55mm Kit Lens and binoculars of a brand I dont know. All I know about them is that they are about 200 EUR. You will need some pretty good binoculars to work with, I tried it with small and cheap ones but it didnt work at all. It is important that the peephole is big enough because if its not you will have a black circle frame which limits the sight.

I started with simply connecting my camera to the binoculars by pressing them together and trying to focus automatically.

This did not work at all, the camera had big problems with finding a focus so I changed to manual focussing and tried to get a good result by holding the binoculars in the left hand, my camera in the right, pressing both together and trying to focus the binoculars AND the camera. I failed miserably!

It is impossible to do all this together when you hold all this stuff in your hands. I placed the construction on an appropriate surface and had the opportunity to focus the both separate systems.     

There was only one unpleasant thing in all this. Due to  the  fact that I had to place all this on a plane surface to be  able to have any positive influence on the results it wasnt possible to change the shooting angle. That means that the camera stood on a handrail that was parallel to the ground and there was nothing I could do against that.

As you can imagine this is a very limitation in a creative process.



the interesting parts of this technique:

There are many points that I really liked about the resulting images. I will try to name and explain them and to show you images that visualize that.









To achieve a real sharp image it needs a bunch of practicing time and patience to learn it. But why must it be a sharp image all the time? Most of my own results were not sharp at all but that made them not worse in any kind of way. Many of them looked very abstract, you could only guess what they show and the way that the blurred lights look like is just awesome(see the "unsharp" image for better understanding). All in all the sharpness is probably the most challenging part of this technique but also the most interesting. It is just funny to try around with different focus settings and to see how the bokeh parts look like.



The distortion of the images is quite interesting and pretty different to the ones of other techniques IMO. It mostly concentrates on the background while the foreground is not so clearly distorted. You can increase or reduce the effect by changing the distance of the camera and the binoculars. The distortion effect looks a bit like motion blur in some kind of way. I think the best is if you form your own opinion with the help of the image further up.


Colors are defined very desaturated. I worked with the 18-55mm which is probably the worst lens of canon but even this one produces more colorful images when used normally. The effect that is produced has a nostalgic and old feeling to it but all who dont like that can compensate this with color correction in post processing.









A big point because it is really hard to produce results that dont show any sign of vignetting. The best way is to learn to work with them. As you can see further up the strengths of vignettes vary obviously clear and give a totally different effect to the particular images. As you can imagine the vignette effect is enhanced when the camera-binoculars distance is magnified. If you put the lens as close as possible and in the center of the peephole this vignette is only a shadow that is not clearly visible. I really liked the different ways these vignettes appeared because you had various opportunities what to do with them. As you can see in the second picture you can let it look like you would look through something or not.



A very interesting and different technique that is worth to be tried.

With this technique you can achieve very interesting and unique effects. You can change these effects by yourself with changing things like the distance of binoculars and lens, changing the focus of either the camera or the bicoculars, changing the focal distance or to put the camera in a little sharp angle to the binocular to get a distorted image. All this is possible and of course you can also work with motion blur, long exposures and all the other beautiful things that photography offers.

Try it!


P.S: I would really appreciate to see your results when you try it. Please contact me either through flickr or through a comment on my blog.

Sonntag, 5. April 2009

Before/After "where does it lead us?"

After the first look, I put it into the "nothing special" pigeon-hole.

When I looked through my archives today I developed it and loved it from the same moment on.
I started the postpro with correcting the WB which was set to a very warm color as you can see in the Before image. After that I proceeded with adding some colored layers, played around with the blending modes, added a little vignette and enhanced the single part colors to get all of them really clear and shiny. I had to spin it a bit because the horizon was not completely horizontal due to the darkness I shot this in.

The whole postpro took no more than 15min until I was completely happy with it.
I really love this style and I now recognized that shooting at night is the best way to achieve it. I made the same experience when I postprocessed this:


What I especially like about it is the big purple amount of it which I really adore.