Archive for January, 2012

My Favorite Subject

Continuing to focus my efforts on expanding my skills into portrait work, I once again pestered my daughter Abby for some photos.  This time I’m working on a strobe flash, umbrella mount with a lower than normal position.  My goal was unique lighting control with half-lit, half-darkened face.  In addition I was trying to naturally impact a shallow depth of field while keeping the full focus of the face in place.



How about a paying gig?

I should warn you that most of what is written here is a bit tongue-in-cheek!


One of the most common requests I get from people is, “Hey, can I use one of your pictures for…”, and they go on to say, “I can’t afford to pay you but I’ll give you credit.”  This request comes in several times a week and for the most part I try to be as accommodating as possible because hey, let’s face it, I’m not exactly Ansel Admans or Annie Leibovitz.  At the same time I have to ask myself how much longer I can give stuff away?


Let’s look at both sides of this conundrum.  First, it’s flattering when someone likes my work so much that they want to use it for their own identity.  Often the requests come from independent bloggers, musicians or an organization’s newsletter.  In the past year my work has been published in numerous non-profit newsletters including adult education and environmental causes.


Second, the fact that someone takes the time to ask is a sign of fairness.  Many people just snatch my images and use them on their websites to promote their business.  Right now there is a tire company in Surrey England currently using my Impala Rim photograph to promote his business and unless I want to hire some crack-legal team to fight him, there isn’t much I can do.  The lesson learned here is that the ones who can’t afford to pay for images ask for permission, and the ones who can afford to license images just rip me off.  I should point out that all my images have an embedded watermark with a unique ID number and all I have to do is Google that number and every site where my images appear shows up.  The rules are fairly simple – you can use any image I post on your site so long as you don’t alter or change it in any way and you provide a link back to this site.  I think that’s fair.


Bottom-line, it’s a great feeling when someone wants to use my work, to-be-sure…


What’s the other side of this?  I don’t support my family on my photography, else we’d have starved to death by now.  Originally I set up this website to prove that a great photographer can emerge with adequate equipment and low cost.  I hope I’ve proven that.  On the flip side, there are so many pro photographers out there that are not creative or artistic in the least but they own super expensive equipment and software that makes them look good enough.  It also helps to be a great marketer and a so-so photographer can make a descent living disappointing new parents, graduating teenagers and newlyweds.


So here’s what I think.  Yes, I’m willing to provide images so long as you are faithful about providing credit.  Please ask first and be kind to the images, every image I post is a piece of me.  Changing, altering, claiming ownership; these are all unethical and I’ll hunt you down like a dog and belittle you and your family with condescending remarks in front of your peers.  I’m also going to start a hot-list soon.  These are people who snatch my images and use them as their own without giving credit.  This hot-list is going to rank very high on Google searches (higher than your own website I can promise) that people will see that you are a thief.


All I ask is, A) Just ask permission; and, B) If you can pay something for use of the image – then offer!   I promise not to be outrageous with prices and will take into consideration if you are a non-profit, just getting started or an independent without a corporate infrastructure.  A little common courtesy,  both-ways, can be a wonderful way to make friends and support each other’s ventures.


God Bless,




Hunting Camp

Conan Tracking

Today I spent some time at a hunting camp doing some training with my black lab, Conan.  After Conan had enough for one day I took out my camera and snapped a few shots.

A Man and His Dog


Pine Row

Fungal Firewoood

Retired Tractor Parts