If I were to tell you that there is a website out there that steals photos you post on the Internet and sells them without your permission, how would you react? I bet you would not be happy. Earlier this week, our very own Thomas Stirr reached out to me, asking what I would do with a website called “WallPart.com” that sells posters of my photographs. At first, I didn’t think it would be bad, since my photos get taken without permission all the time and they often end up being on some unknown sites (mostly outside of the USA). But this one did tick me off a bit more than usual, since not only did it contain a boatload of my images sold at a ridiculous price of $5.59 for a 6×4 print, but it also contained images of pretty much every photographer I typed into the search field. And based on the Alexa rank of the website, the site has been growing at an incredibly fast rate, with close to 60% of hits coming from search engines. That’s pretty alarming, given that the majority of people ending up on the website are coming from the USA. So if you have been posting your work online, it is either already on this website, or fairly soon it will end up there. So what should you and I do about these thieves?
Asian photographers who live and work in Asia, and especially in developing countries like Myanmar, don’t often get much attention in the West. This is now beginning to change, but only slowly. One such photographer breaking through is Burma’s most famous all around lensman, Kyaw Kyaw Winn.
Millions — perhaps billions — of people take pictures every day. Famous places and people have been photographed more times than anyone can count. All of this leads to the deluge of images that we are seeing online and in social media. Every time that a photographer visits a beautiful location for the first time, thousands of people already photographed it under the best possible conditions (and the worst conditions, and everywhere in between). Recently, I have heard more than a few people say that photography has become boring to them; everyone copies everyone else, and it doesn’t seem like there is anything new left to photograph and explore. Is that mindset justified? Can photographers still create unique photos?
Sebastião Salgado is a world famous photographer, who needs no introduction. He is certainly the most illustrious photographer in Brazil and, perhaps, one of the most known in the world. Besides authoring more than 30 photo books and winning numerous international awards (World Press Photo, Photography of the Year by the American Society of Magazine, Photojournalist of the Year, Visa Dór, Photography Book of the Year), Salgado was president of the Magnum agency in Europe for several years. However, to enumerate his prizes is not the goal here.
Recently I’ve been experiencing one of those existential photo crises. Low motivation, cliché results, slumping Instagram likes. When I get bummed about my photography I do what any self-respecting unprofessional photographer would do – put on some soft jazz, pour myself a fine single malt, then pull out my favorite Zeiss lens chart results and pleasure myself. But even that didn’t make me feel better. What’s a listless soul-wrenched photographer to do? Ha, I know what will do the trick – no better way to demonstrate my photographic élan and self-assurance than to dis on a kit lens.
My wife and I just returned from a whirlwind photography tour/vacation travelling by car through some of the most intriguing parts of the United States. We were on the road for 26 days with 19 of them focused on capturing images along our route. In all we covered 10,187 kilometres (6,330 miles).
Without a doubt, Sony has been flooding the camera market with camera and lens announcements in the past few years. It has not even been a year since the company announced the Sony A6300 back in February and we already have another iteration of the camera in the form of the Sony A6500. I am not sure what the deal is with skipping iterations, but Sony went from A6000 directly to A6300 (skipping both A6100 and A6200) and it looks like there won’t ever be a Sony A6400 either. So why did Sony announce the A6500 this early? Based on the camera specs, one might think that Sony rushed with the A6300 in the first place, but looking at the price and the list of features, it appears that the A6500 isn’t meant to be a replacement for the A6300, but rather an introduction to a higher-end mirrorless camera. If we had NEX-3, NEX-5 and NEX-7 series cameras before, with a clear difference in features and price, now the higher model number is the indication of a superior camera. At $1,400, the A6500 is priced $400 higher than the A6300, but what exactly does the camera gain in comparison? Let’s take a look at all the new features.
In addition to the A6500 mirrorless camera, Sony has also announced an update to the RX100 and the new iteration is now called Sony RX100 V, as expected. While most of the camera specifications stayed the same (20 MP 1″ sensor and 24-70mm equivalent f/1.8-f/2.8 lens), the new RX100 V gains on-sensor phase-detection system to improve its autofocus performance. With a total of 315 phase-detection autofocus points spreading to over 65% of the frame, the camera snaps into focus almost immediately, at record-breaking 0.05 seconds.
Over the past two years, I have written a couple of articles about SmugMug’s website-building platform. There are many ways to build an online portfolio of your work, and SmugMug is one that I have recommended for a while (and use for my own website). If you have been thinking about SmugMug for your photos, there is a pretty nice sale going on now: 31% off any of their plans, expiring October 31. I haven’t seen a discount of more than 20% before, so this is a surprisingly good deal.
Update: It’s past October 31st, but the link still seems to be valid. I don’t know how long it’s going to last, but I’ll keep checking back and updating this article once I’ve noticed that the deal is gone.
Although the Pentax 645Z medium format DSLR has been out for a few years, I only had a chance to try it out earlier this year, during my trip to Death Valley. I have been wanting to try the 645Z for quite some time, since I heard so many good things about it. With medium format digital being traditionally out of reach in terms of cost for most photographers out there, including myself, I did not really have much interest in trying out cameras that are as expensive as some nice cars. However, the Pentax 645D changed the game back in 2010, by being the first sub-$10K medium format digital camera at launch.