Monthly Archives: June 2009

Are your online images secure?

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I hadn’t planned on doing 2 posts in a single day, but after reading and contributing to this thread on PentaxForums.com, I thought it would be something that you would be interested in.

If you pay attention to the news (or have read the PentaxForums thread if you don’t), you will periodically learn about people who have posted their pics to one of the many photosharing sites out there in cyberspace (i.e. Flickr, PicasaWeb, etc.), only to have them stolen by unscrupulous people who use them, oftentimes commercially for either innocent or not so innocent purposes. This is a classic case of where the lawmakers of the world are way behind the rapidly advancing technology in terms of updating laws that will help curb this issue for photographers like you and me.

Until the laws catch up with the technology, it is up to us as individual photographers to protect ourselves. I have three suggestions that should give you more peace of mind when it comes to sharing your images with the world:

  1. Reduce the resolution size of the  images you upload to your favorite photo sharing site; 600×480 pixels is sufficient to allow for easy viewing on your computer screen, but will prevent anybody from making prints of any decent size. If you would like to save your original-sized images for printing out, it is possible to keep those, but create duplicate copies for uploading. If you’d like to do this batch-style, but don’t want to spend a bunch of money on a more advanced program like Photoshop Lightroom, I highly recommend Irfanview, as this is one of it’s strengths. It’s also FREE, which is always a good thing. Another good option with a few more bells and whistles is FastStone Image Viewer, also FREE.
  2. Check and see if your favorite image editor will allow you to add a watermark with your copyright info when you export your pictures for uploading. Of course, Lightroom will do this, but FastStone offers this capability, as well. Here’s an example of a watermarked image that I uploaded to Flickr just earlier this evening:
  3. Check your favorite photo sharing website to see if they have a setting making it impossible for other people to download your pictures. Since Flickr is my main photo sharing site, I have discovered that it is an option there. I wrote out a set of instructions for doing this that I shared with the folks on PentaxForums and I’ll share them with you, as well:
  •  At the top of your Flickr page, click on the “You” tab to get the drop-down menu. 
  • Scroll down and click on “Your Account”. Click on the “Privacy and Permissions” tab.
  • Under “Global Settings”, look for “Who can download your stuff” (the first option). Click on “edit” on the right side of the screen.
  • You’ll see that Flickr’s default setting is “Anyone (Recommended)”, which is at the bottom of the list of options. If you don’t want anybody besides yourself to download your images, then click on the radio button next to “Only You”, or one of the other buttons, if you want only you and select groups of people to have downloading privileges.
  • Once you’re done, click on the blue SAVE button.

Since doing all of the above, my mind is now more at ease about being able to confidently share my images online in a more secure manner. I hope that this will help you as well.  🙂

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Reading about photography

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Besides photography, one of my other main interests is reading, so once I started getting more serious about my photography, it was natural that I started looking for books on the how-tosof photography. I’ve read a bunch of books on that aspect of photography, but it has been just recently that I’ve started getting more interested in reading and looking at photos produced by the better-known photographers of times past and present. The idea behind this is by studying their work and methods and applying the relevant parts to my photography, that I will become a better photographer.

I’m currently working my way through Mary Street Alinder’s excellent biography about Ansel Adams. During the later years of his life, she was his personal assistant, so with that and some pretty thorough research on the early part of his life, she has painted a detailed picture of Ansel Adams as both a photographer and a person, much of which I can relate to on a personal level, as a fellow photographer. Even though I’m only about halfway though the book, I’ve already learned a lot, particularly when it comes to the process he used in the darkroom to produce the prints that are so loved, even to this day. Even though I’m not using the same type of “darkroom” that he used, I can still apply some of his methods to the digital pictures that I work on in my Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (more on photo editing in a future post). An excellent collection of Ansel Adams’ photographs can be found in Ansel Adams : 400 Photographs. Even if you prefer to shoot in color, this is still a valuable resource for studying photo composition and lighting as it relates to the great outdoors.

Another book that I just got today via ILL at the public library is Intimate Landscapes by Eliot Porter. This is a collection of landscape photography that proves that you don’t necessarily have to include a horizon with a big sky or use a wide-angle lens to capture landscapes. Often times, the best landscape shots are those that don’t include any sky at all. I first became aware of this title when I read an article on shooting the American Midwest in the June 2009 issue of Outdoor Photographer and I think it will provide some much needed inspiration for my photography right here in north central Florida, where I live.

I will leave you with an example of an intimate landscape that I captured just earlier this week as I was walking around my neighborhood. Enjoy!