Russian Soldier on Red Square, Moscow © ExposedPlanet.com Images, all rights reserved

Russian Soldier on Red Square, Moscow. With Lytro you could focus on the blue baret instead. But what's the point?

Something exciting seemed to happen in photography land. What if you could decide on the focus of an image afterwards?

That sounded like crazy, but Lytro used some existing technical possibilities for a new way of looking at light. They posted some flash movies where you can click on an out of focus part of an image which automagically would refocus on that spot.

Or least it appeared so.

For several months the photographers around the world were made curious: what would the camera be, would it cost $20,000? What could I do with these images? Which lens system will it use?

This week the announcement was made: the Lytro camera is out and for sale for $399 (8gb storage) or $499 (16bg storage).

From their press release:

Unlike conventional cameras, the Lytro light field camera captures all the rays of light in a scene, providing new capabilities never before possible, such as the ability to focus a picture after it’s taken. The pocket-sized camera, which offers a powerful 8x optical zoom and f/2 lens in an iconic design, creates interactive ―living pictures‖ that can be endlessly refocused. The camera is available in two models and three colors, starting at $399

It is clear from the comments on the Lytro blog that many if not most potential users have been very disappointed.

I also got the pre-order email (with a non-working link/code), which would give me access to pre-order the camera, which would be shipped in spring 2012. But then I started to look at the specifications and specifically the lack thereof. Let me make a list of positive and negative points about the new Lytro Camera as I can see them now: Read the rest of this post »

Many times I get requests for usage of my photos or even complete articles. Often, no payment is offered, as ‘the budget is low‘, ‘we are non-profit‘, ‘we will give a credit in return, which will be good for you!‘ and other, similar motivations.

Photography is a profession, we need to make a living and websites and cameras cannot be bought with ‘credits’. Photographers are often helping out people who need it, but any charity or non-profit that pays thousands of dollars in salary to each member of their management team (would they agree to work for ‘credit’?), can also afford to pay for photography.

Tony Wu has written a standard answer down that can be sent by photographers, which covers everything:

Text by Tony Wu, under CC license (images are all rights reserved and cannot be copied). See original and undersigned photographers here.

Dear potential photo buyer, Read the rest of this post »

Climbers hugging on the summit of Pico de Orizaba, Mexico. (c) Harry Kikstra, ExposedPlanet.com

Climbers hugging on the summit of Pico de Orizaba, Mexico. (c) Harry Kikstra, ExposedPlanet.com

It’s even worse

Many of you have read my previous article, “Why sharing photos on Facebook is bad for you“, and have learned that sharing your photos is not just bad for you, but also for your friends and especially for your photography business. Check it out first if you have not done so. I will wait a moment here.

Welcome back. That post got re-tweeted a lot (thanks!) and I got a few comments that made me check my websites and dig even deeper (thank you Matthew, Kerry, Tim and Rob) and it appears the situation is even worse than imagined. My apologies for the following long post involving lots of assumptions and legal stuff. But I think it is important to get this out in the open.

To lighten it up a little, I have added some more cheerful images (you can click on them to go to a larger version on the ExposedPlanet photoblog for details, exif info and comments).

Like this? Please ReTweet!

Ps: all images are mine and link to larger versions on ExposedPlanet.com photoblog. They are available as print, free eCard or commercial/editorial licensing. Or just enjoy them and read the thoughts behind the pictures as well as technical info for photographers!

But first, read and weep:

In defense of Facebook

Facebook is a company that is worth billions. Well done. Unfortunately, as always this attracts all kinds of idiots and lazies looking for easy money as they are too stupid to think of a good idea of their own. Especially in the US it is customary to sue for anything you want, which is a pain in the behind for any company and individual. I am positive that there are dozens of people currently scheming to set up Facebook by testing the legal limits, placing ‘bad’ pictures of themselves through friends and then blaming FB for it.

Lone hiker above the Horseshoe Bend of the colorado river. (c) Harry Kikstra, ExposedPlanet.com

Lone hiker above the Horseshoe Bend of the colorado river. (c) Harry Kikstra, ExposedPlanet.com

FB needs a strong defense against this, and also to allow FB users to share links, comment on each other’s photos and do all things that makes FB a successful social tool. I totally agree that they keep it strict to avoid problems rather than fixing them.

But that does not mean that they need to wipe out everybody else’s rights like Monsanto’s toxic chemicals on a corn field. Yes, it will do the job, but meanwhile destructing everything else.

I am a photographer and no IP lawyer, but it seems to me that there is no reason to be able to ‘sublicense’ and ‘transfer’ your IP content ‘worldwide’ ‘royalty free’, while using your private content to show advertisements to your friends unless you opt out of this, while you never get paid for it.

This is not protecting them, just increasing their market value. And as I pointed out, these terms contradict the terms all stock photographers sign for with their stock company, putting them at legal risk.

Disclaimer: do what you want with this information on this blog, but don’t blame me for either taking your pictures off or leaving them on FB. maybe I am wrong, maybe I am right. Surely you should be able to decide for yourself what to do. First, let’s dig a bit deeper in the legal mess of the rest of the  Terms.

Why Low resolution pictures are just as bad. Read the rest of this post »

**** Update: the 2nd part of this post is up as well, please check it out here ****

I don’t spend much time on Facebook. It uses my precious time, I get tired of blocking more applications and updating my notification settings.

Harpy Eagle, the largest eagle in the world. (c) Harry Kikstra, ExposedPlanet.com

Harpy Eagle, the largest eagle in the world. FB is a bird of prey.

Most of all, I don’t like the privacy issues but for photographers there is something even worse.

This article will detail the terms you signed for, what could happen with your images and why you could be breaking the law by uploading your wedding pictures to Facebook or even by sharing pictures you are selling through stock Agencies like Getty.

I am not a lawyer and some of the following might be incorrect in a legal sense. But most of it is clear to anybody. Read and shiver:

Ps: all images are mine and link to larger versions on ExposedPlanet.com photoblog. They are available as print, free eCard or commercial/editorial licensing. Or just enjoy them and read the thoughts behind it as well as technical info for photographers!

Signing your rights and income away without knowing

While changing yet another notification setting (No more emails for anything!), I noticed this FB message:

A Note About Your Photos
There is a false rumor circulating that Facebook is changing who owns your private photos. You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook. Learn More

That’s reassuring, right? Wrong. “Learn more” linked to the FB terms page, which states something much different:

Sharing Your Content and Information

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings.

Young Masai calling from the beach Zanzibar, (c) Harry Kikstra, ExposedPlanet.com

Young Masai calling from the beach Zanzibar. Facebook gets its free content from all over the world.

That sounds good, right? Of course, you own all the content, they could not state otherwise, as in the case of intellectual property rights, a photo is yours the moment you take it. This includes the copyright.
And yes, you can tell FB NOT to use your photos for advertising purposes through their apps.

But wait, can you really? Here is what is next in the terms, a tiny ‘addition’:

In addition:

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

So what does this mean?

In short: Facebook can do everything it wants and can legally do with your photos, videos, stories and everything else you might be able to add. Everything? Yes, everything.

For example, the above covers:

  • - Facebook can sell your pictures and stories to anybody (‘transferable’)
  • - They do not need to pay you for this, while they can charge what ever they want (‘royalty free’)
  • - They can license your images to anybody else, who also can sell your images. (‘sub-licensable’)
  • - They can do this all over the world (‘Worldwide license’)
  • - Even if you have deleted your photos, if you have ever shared any of it (which I think you do by default), they can still do the above. Forever.

Oops.

So that cute photo of your baby? Yes, it could be sold by FB to a news agency doing a story about children. That nice sunset photo? It could be sold to Getty who can sub-license it and FB will get paid for every use of it (commercial use included). And guess what? They do not have to pay you anything, FB gets all income for it, you zero.

Read the rest of this post »

The good people at SmartPress asked me for an interview and it is now up at their website. As it contains some of my thoughts about photography and ideas for starting photographers, I thought it would be a good idea to post it here as well.

Thanks to Sean for his friendly words in the introduction:

Recently we had the pleasure of interviewing the very talented and seasoned photographer, Harry Kikstra. Harry has a very good eye when it comes to taking pictures, and all of his photos make me want to get away and explore other continents and the beauty that is contained within them. I absolutely love images of other cultures, with their vibrant colors, textured skin tones, and most of all, to see how other cultures live. Harry’s photography is very close to something you would see right out of the National Geographic magazine, such beauty and depth captured along with strong human emotions! Check out the interview below which contains a TON of Harry’s work. Thank you again for your time Harry, and your valuable input for our readers! Keep up the great work!

*All images are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced in any form without permission from the photographer*

 

tibetan kids in love

tibetan kids in love

Who am I?

Harry Kikstra, a climber/expedition leader/ photographer/ filmmaker/ producer/ writer/ public speaker/ cyclist and many other things that have to do with sharing the beauty of the outdoors. I just turned 40, have climbed the 7 continental highpoints, cycled 25,000km across the Americas and have travelled a lot and will not stop soon, though originally I was based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

I share my photography irregularly on the photo-blog ExposedPlanet, http://ExposedPlanet.com which just has been relaunched, together with a blog (http://blog.exposedplanet.com).

I have started it not just to show my portfolio and sell my art, but also to share the wonders of the world, both nature and culture, to counter the fear-culture and xenophobia. See http://exposedplanet.com/about/ for more backgrounds and reasoning for the site.

I also run BikeTravellers (http://BikeTravellers.com), a free community for travelling cyclists. One of the blogs on the network is my own journal, http://WorldOnaBike.com, which contains thousands of photos from my recent bicycle trip through the Americas.

My main project/income however is 7summits.com (http://7summits.com):  my website about the highest peaks of the 7 continents. You can book trips, find info and much more. I also just co-started a new and huge initiative to replace costly and dangerous kerosene lamps by solar-powered LED lamps, see http://illuminationhq.com.

 

Tashi Dzom Angels in Tibet on Royal Enfield bikes

Tashi Dzom Angels in Tibet on Royal Enfield bikes

What kind of photography do you do? Do you enjoy it?

I am mostly a travel photographer, with a sharp focus on Nature and culture. As I am a climber, I have specialized in mountains and love to share the beauty of nature, but I also really enjoy capturing culture and portraits, especially of children around the world.

What’s your gear? (type of camera and most used lens)

Read the rest of this post »