Getting That Model Release

posted on 3rd of march, 2008

So there I was, watching an intrepid climber sling himself up a sheer rock face in Joshua Tree National Park. The light was golden, about 30 minutes before sunset. My angle was perfect to capture the climber going up. Without him, the rock face was 'pretty,' but not all that interesting.

So, even though it made me feel a little self-conscious, I asked permission to take his photo. He agreed--no problem. In fact, he repeated his climb a couple times to make sure I got all the shots I needed.

I'm still tweaking the photos, but I have high hopes. In the meantime, the happy moral of this particular story is that it doesn't hurt to ask--and it can feel great when that potential model says 'sure.'

© Mlane (Help)

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This article has been read 699 times.

Backing Up While Away From Home?

posted on 3rd of march, 2008

Here's a question for anyone who cares to comment:

How many backups do you keep while you're traveling? And how do you do it? I don't have nearly enough CF cards to hold all my images if I'm on the road for more than a couple days, so I transfer the files to my laptop, then backup those files to a portable hard drive.

I _guess_ this is safe, but, all the same, I'm depending on two hard drives, both of which get plenty of banging around during transit.

Any other strategies? How far do you all go to ensure you have a good backup while you're traveling?

Comments (2)

Posted by Charlesoutcalt on March 04, 2008
Good ideas all around. I like the thought of burning DVDs. Cheap, reliable, and easy to make multiple copies--and to mail them to yourself for added protection.
Posted by Amyemilia on March 04, 2008
You could always burn CDs or DVDs...

This article has been read 1191 times.


posted on 8th of march, 2008

Just returned from two amazing weeks in places that could not be more different from one another. The first week: as much sybaritic indulgence as one could imagine at an amazing resort in Mexico. The second week: utterly still desert in Joshua Tree, California, no company but huge boulders and tiny creatures that would reveal themselves only if I stayed absolutely still.

I didn't have much luck photographing the big-eared bunnies and fleet-footed lizards in the desert. The rocks were much more cooperative at standing still while I set up my tripod!

I didn't push myself to learn many new techniques in Mexico, but I did experiment with panoramas and high dynamic range in the desert. So far, the panoramas have been more successful than the hdr...

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This article has been read 795 times.

Keeping Them All Straight

posted on 9th of march, 2008

I have never seen this issue addressed on Dreamstime, so maybe I'm the only person who struggles with it, but I have had a very hard time keeping all the versions of my photos straight. I just realized that I submitted the same photo twice. Sure, I liked it, but I don't think that means I get to submit it twice!

Actually, it wasn't precisely the same photo. While in the desert, I experimented a lot with bracketing shots, especially around sunset. When I got back, I did even more experimentation dialing up and down the color intensities, working with shadows, etc., in an effort to reproduce on the screen the richness of the actual scene. I'm more or less happy with some of these results (see this photo, for which I can take no credit--I didn't arrange for those rocks to...

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Adventures with HDR

posted on 12th of march, 2008

Sometimes it seems that a new idea sweeps across the landscape, somehow making its way into every photography magazine and website I read. Lately, I haven't been able to avoid the term HDR. From at least some of what I read, high dynamic range is going to replace megapixel count as the new holy grail.

A recent trip to Joshua Tree, California, gave me a good chance to experiment with HDR. The results? I'll stick with a good single exposure and a few adjustments, thank you very much.

Here's what I did: While in the desert, I bracketed quite a few shots, using a tripod to make it easier to align the images. Back at home, I tried PhotoShop's HDR automation, spending quite a bit of time tweaking my curves during the process. I was moderately happy with the results,...

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Feeling Self-Conscious

posted on 13th of march, 2008

There I was, barreling down the 99 freeway in the Central Valley of California, when I saw an incredible sight: a windmill farm in a mountain pass. Hundreds of windmills, different heights and shapes, some spinning quickly, others making lazy loops, others seemingly stuck.

Of course, my first thought was to try to capture the beauty of these machines. I pulled off at an exit, found a gas station with a little parking area, and set up my tripod. That's when I started to feel very self-conscious. In fact, I got a little paranoid: Was taking pictures of our country's energy infrastructure allowed? Was I violating some law? Did I just look silly? I was able to shake these feelings off, but they definitely colored my experience. They might have been heightened by the fact that I live near Washington,...

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Comments (1)

Posted by Studioceja on March 13, 2008
"Ask for forgiveness, not permission." nicely put Amyemilia.

This article has been read 984 times.

Panoramas, and Why the Polarizer Is Not Your Friend

posted on 17th of march, 2008

What could be more natural than using a circular polarizer on a sunny day with a few clouds? What better way to bring some definition to those clouds, intensify the colors without introducing weird PhotoShop-y elements, and darken up that sky? And, if you're intending to take multiple shots to create a panorama later, wouldn't that polarizer be even more useful?

Here's what I learned when I examined those would-be panorama shots back on the big screen (as opposed to my 3 inch viewfinder): that polarizer is NOT your friend if you want to stitch shots together. Sure, the sky looks more intense, but that intensity jumps around from shot to shot, as the angle of the sun hitting the polarizer changes. Some shots will have oddly intense areas, others will be...

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Feeling Good About a Milestone

posted on 20th of march, 2008

Usually when I blog I try to write something that will be of interest to other photographers, designers, or guests.

Today, on the other hand, I just want to share some happy news: I have made it to one of my goals, which is to upload 200 images.

This shot took a good amount of consideration: How to compose the frame to provide something of interest in each plane, how to expose the beautiful ironwood without over-exposing the mountains and sky (PhotoShop helped on that), how to balance depth of field. . . The lucky part of this time-consuming process is that I have a clear memory of that still, warm day in the desert--and having reached my milestone makes that memory even sweeter! So, thanks to all in the Dt world, from reviewers to keyworders to designers to colleagues...

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Comments (1)

Posted by Amyemilia on March 21, 2008
I was struck by this image when I saw it come by in your "latest images" line. Love the flowers in the foreground!

The invisible part of each of these photos is the smells, sounds, and emotions that are part of the matrix of the image memory. It would be nice to be able to store that in the EXIF as well, eh?

Lovely moment.

This article has been read 887 times.

Models and Logos

posted on 21st of march, 2008

If you read this blog regularly (and really, does anyone?), you might remember my happy story about working up the nerve to ask a rock climber I encountered if he would sign a model release. We were in Joshua Tree at a beautiful time of day, just about an hour before sunset. He agreed, very willingly, and so I put the images in my submission folder.

Well, I am very happy to say that the files have been accepted. I am as pleased as ever with this guy's willingness to be a model. I think the rocks, the time of day, and his climbing technique all came together.

Here's the cautionary part of this story, though: I was so focused on getting the model release that I forgot about the many logos he was wearing! From his hat, which mentioned a certain baseball...

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Comments (2)

Posted by Charlesoutcalt on July 09, 2008
Bugsy, PS can do wonders on those logos. My toughest project to date was removing the name from a fireboat. Cloning to the rescue, followed by lots of brushing to smooth things out. I have to say I love my Wacom tablet :)
Posted by Niagaragirl on March 21, 2008
Good shots Charles. Congrats on a good job.

This article has been read 1615 times. 1 readers have found this article useful.


posted on 25th of march, 2008

Running is a huge passion for me. Last year, I was lucky enough to join a charity group that trains runners to complete endurance events while raising funds for cancer research. Thanks to my coaches, captains and team-mates, I completed the Marine Corps Marathon. I didn't set any land speed records, but I did crawl across that finish line. . .

Now, I am planning to photograph a marathon for other volunteers in the same program. I am excited, but also a bit apprehensive about this. I've done a bit of volunteer work for them before, but each event is very different. If I don't get the shot I want the first time, I really can't ask the runner to go back over that hill again while I get the lighting right!

Any tips from photographers who have photographed marathons and...

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Comments (3)

Posted by Charlesoutcalt on August 19, 2008
It did go well--thanks, Rebecca. I donated the shots to the runners for their own use. I think I got some good images.
Posted by Rebeccaosborn on August 19, 2008
hope this photo shot went well, given me an idea to start taking pics of local races!!
Posted by Eprom on March 25, 2008
no tips for you. hope you can handle it.

This article has been read 1027 times.

Races Are Hard Work (Even When You Are Volunteering)!

posted on 30th of march, 2008

Yesterday I got up at 3:30 AM and drove 30 minutes to the Metro so I could wrestle my bike onto a subway train to get down to the stadium by 6:00.

I was set to photograph a local marathon for a charity group that's near and dear to my heart. I've been involved with this group as a runner and a volunteer for over a year now, and have seen first-hand how they are making a difference in the lives of people who are fighting cancer. None of this is stock work--the photos are strictly personal (and wouldn't be suitable for stock, anyway, with logos galore and not a model release in sight!).

So, my motivation was high, and so were my spirits. I had double-checked my camera gear (and my bike!) the night before. Even so, this was a hard shoot! We started well before dawn, and so the challenge was...

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Comments (1)

Posted by Charlesoutcalt on March 31, 2008
Ann, I was just tipped off to a bag called the Glass Taxi, by Think Tank. Apparently, it will hold a DSLR with a 300 mm lens attached, and it has external straps for mono- and tripods. I am hoping that will make for easier biking with camera gear!

This article has been read 942 times.

About me

Discovering the world, one little bit at a time. . . If you choose to download one of my images, please consider dropping me a note via the comments section to let me know how you will use it.

Bethesda, US

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