Thursday, September 19, 2013

Why I don’t Use Watermarks

Watermarks Get in the way of the art I know my stance on this is not popular, but I don’t really care. The photography-media is out there trying to scare you into protecting your work with watermarks… I urge you not to live your online life and make your online decisions based on fear. Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering. A little green friend once told me that. As you may know, my work is all Creative Commons Non-Commercial. That means people, as long as they give credit and link back to , can use my images on their blogs, wallpaper, personal use – anything – as long as it is not used commercially. Every day, I upload a HUGE 6000+ pixel max-resolution image to the Internet. I do not have any fear at all… Believe me, it’s quite liberating living in a world without internet-stealth-fear. This does not prevent licensing of the images. We do a ton of this activity when people contact us through the website. So why don’t I use watermarks? It’s a multi-part philosophy: Updated List o’ Reasons 1) Watermarks look ugly. Whenever I look at a photo with a watermark, often times, ALL I can think about is that watermark! It’s so distracting. Also, I find that I begin to psycho-analyze the photographer based on their font choice. I can tell immediately if they are a cheesy wedding photographer or someone that has no sense of graphic design couth. Now, maybe this is just me. But I don’t want to spend any time thinking about the watermark. I just want to look at the image. And, conversely, I think this is what people want when they look at my images. 2) Legitimate companies do not steal images to use commercially. So I don’t have any logical fear there. *In case of emergency, break glass and see #4 3) There are other services, like Google Reverse Image Search that can help my team easily find bottom-feeders that DO re-post your images. 4) We do register our images with the copyright office, so if someone uses an image commercially without a proper license, it is an easy lawsuit. Easy. We’ve had many many wins (often which happen even before you go to court), but we can’t talk about them because it’s always in the paperwork. But there are many online articles you can find out about our lawsuits… everyone from Time magazine to the Sydney Newspapers. 5) I don’t have to maintain two versions of each image – one with a watermark and one without. 6) NOT using watermarks and using creative commons helps more and more people to use your image freely for fun, which increases traffic and builds something I call “internet-trust.” If more people link to your images, then you get more Google juice that flows down your river. 7) As image search and image recognition get better and better, there will be no need to watermark things. In a very short time, we’ll be able to use online tools to find the original creator of an image. 8) Yes, last, there will be bottom-feeders that steal your stuff. I call this the cost of doing business on the internet. These are the Tic-Tacs that are stolen from the 7-11. It is impossible to maintain 100% of your digital inventory, so wanting “perfection” in your online strategy is an illusion.

Super Moon Sets Over Queenstown

So… you’ve been coming to the blog for, what, six+ years, yes? Well, maybe…hehe… AND, if you’ve been coming all that time, you might have noticed that I have NEVER posted a photo of the moon. Why is that, you wonder? The main reason is because I’ve always gotten absolutely terrible moon photos. Until now! I finally got one that I am kinda happy with… I shot this in the morning yesterday when I walked out to my studio. I saw it setting behind the mountain near my house, so I got out my NEX-7 with the 55-210mm lens and shot away. This is just one exposure… one RAW file. It worked out well because all the light levels were about the same with the pink in the sky and the snow and the white moon behind the purple cloud…

Another Photo during Winterfest

Every year around this time Queenstown has a long event called Winterfest. Every day they have different events… on the opening night, there is a big concert and then some fireworks. Here’s a quick shot I got while I was watching it with the family.

Swimming On Top of Beijing

I spent the morning and the night up on top of this building shooting downtown. I didn’t even realize this awesome room was here until I came down to the bathroom! So I decided to have some fun moving around and taking photos! And yes, if you look close, you can probably see it is not really a swimming pool. The floor was super-buttery and soft. I don’t know what this room was used for. As far as I could tell, it was always empty. There were no tables or stage or anything at all… maybe the only reason it ever existed was for me to come in and take a photo of it!

New Stuck On Earth for the Mac – Wanna Test?

Wow – look at that… over 2500 pixels across or however much your Mac monitors can muster! This is the ultimate way to use the app… we’re looking for a few good testers before it is released. Hit it hard and give us your feedback! And yes, it is already available for free on the Android and the iPad – check!

Dark Street with Lanterns in China

Here’s another night scene from China a few weeks ago. I’m always a sucker for these Chinese lanterns. They just always seem so authentic, even though I am sure that most of the time they are just strange anachronisms and no longer the most efficient way to light up the area. But, as far as anachronisms go, it’s one of my favorites!

Peaceful Evening in Wanaka

Want to join the community and share your photos? Here’s some links for you! Google+ turned 2 years old, and they announced a new Badge Maker that you can use for your website. I thought I’d use the new badges below to re-invite you to a few of the communities we started there! These are good places for you to share your work, if you so desire. Also, as always, I am happy for you to share your work here in the comments on the blog too!
I had a peaceful evening in Wanaka. There is this tree that sits out in the middle of the lake. It’s so unusual. I love the way it reflects back on itself in the smooth water. I was by myself, listening to music on my iPod, and just watching the water as it would calm down then get excited, then calm down again. I swapped out lenses a few times and kept moving around to admire it from different angles. This one was one of my favorites.