Friday, February 20, 2009

My Book on Underwater Photography

Late yesterday afternoon I received an email from my publisher, Amherst Media, which included the above graphic. It represents the cover of and for my book on underwater photography. I am obviously very excited about this book and it being published. Amherst Media publishes books on photography and I own a couple and they produce good quality books. I am proud they are going to publish my book and feel fortunate to have them as my publisher. And that I can now go more public with it being published!

Many of you knew I was writing a book on underwater photography. Fewer knew I had finished the book, and, fewer knew that I had found a publisher. I am happy to now be able to announce this to everyone.

The book's content very much mirrors my underwater photography courses and seminars/workshops that some of you reading this have participated in. The book speaks of the technology we use in our underwater photography but also and perhaps more importantly, actually speaks of how to take a photograph underwater. The technique of underwater photography.

I could go on and describe more about the book here, but, in effect, my doing so could amount to my re-writing the book here in this blogpost!!

I'd rather post about how this book came to be. Just as there is a story behind every photograph there is a story behind this book.

I got the idea for the book back in the mid to late '90s. I even had an outline for it, and a hand written one at that, because I was late in my entry into the computer world. 'Things' happened back then and the book and its writing was put on the back burner along with other back burner projects.

A few years ago the book migrated to the front burner and I took to writing it in earnest. By then I had a computer, thank the powers to be. But, had misplaced the book's outline and as such had to start all over.....

This was not all a bad thing as by then the digital paradigm in underwater photography was upon us and was in full-swing. Mercifully an F-stop stayed an F-stop so the underlying theme for my book remained current.

The book was very challenging to write and in every way imaginable. There was much psychology involved during its writing. Running the gamut from believing I had the 'mother of all' books on underwater photography, to, extreme and grave self doubt about my worthiness to write a book on the subject. I pressed ahead with the conviction that if I could teach underwater photography, and I can; that I should then be able to write a book about it. I had a lot of help and support and some of it came from some of you reading this blog. I thank you dearly, and did so within the book itself. I believe I could write a book about writing this book!

Writing a book is one thing. Getting it published yet another. I am very fortunate to my having been able to write this book. I am also very fortunate to have found a good publisher who, like I, believes the book has merit and is worthy of being published.

I believe you will find this book to be of value to you in your own underwater photography. The book has its humorous moments too, so should be fun to read as well.

It is with many emotions running that I post, humbly, about this book in my blog this morning.

I will let everyone know when the book is available!!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Protecting your Photographs

This blogpost was spawned from a conversation I had with several of my underwater photography students this weekend and about 'orphaned works'. Read more about 'orphaned works, images' by opening the link below or by doing a 'Google'.

In the 'good ole days' of film, it was easier to keep track of your photographs and where and by whom they were being used. Now days, we share our photographs on-line and through several venues, such as Myspace, Facebook, Flickr, PhotoBucket and other 'web albums' and personal websites. Once on-line they are seemingly fair game for any and all viewers and potential users or abusers of your copyrighted photograph.

If you are a photographer you automatically have, own, the copyright to your photographs. That is nice, of course, but, only if a potential user of the photograph knows 'who' owns the copyright to it.

In this day and age of the internet and digital photography there are countless numbers of (digital/digitized) photographs on-line and available to any and everyone. So many in fact, that it makes one wonder, given the sheer numbers of them, whether photographs have any worth or value and therefore 'need' protecting.
Your underwater photographs do have value and to help you begin to understand its value, think about what it took for you to be able to get the photograph.
You first needed to learn how to scuba dive and that was not without expence. Next you purchased your SCUBA. Then it cost you some money to actually go diving. Finally you needed the underwater camera to be able to take that photograph and unless you were gifted one, that had a cost. I am only dealing with the intrinsic value of your photograph. There are other intangible values involved. In any event, however calculated, your underwater photographs do have a value and in my view worth protecting.

There are several ways or methods to alert a viewer or potential user that you are the copyright owner of your photograph and protect it from becoming 'orphaned'.
You can use a photo editing application to create a digital signature and over-lay it onto your photograph. The first and second photographs are 'signed' that way, for example. Using these types of applications you can also create a 'watermark' which alerts a viewer that the photograph is copyrighted and by whom. This is what I did to the third photograph, which I title 'Big Splash', for example.

Digital photographs are computer files. As such they have 'properties'. One other method I have recently begun to use to protect my copyright is to embed my copyright information into the digital photograph's properties. You may already own a computer program or application that enables you to do this, but, if you do not, I have included a link to Microsoft where, for free, you can download their program: 'Pro Photo Tools II'.

Using it is simple and you can embed your copyright info to whole folders of your photographs in batches. The first photograph in this blogpost shows a screen shot of Pro Photo Tools II, and, it is easy to use. Whether you use this application or another, it is a step that should, in my view, be incorporated into your post processing workflow.
Once you've embedded your metadata (copyright info) into the digital image it takes a diabolical character to un-embed it. But, barring that, you've helped protect your valuable photograph and your copyrights.

Is it worth it? Yes, I believe it is. Whether you are a professional photographer makes no difference. As outlined above, your photographs have value and are worth protecting.

This post just scratches the surface on this topic. There is a lot of information on the internet about the whole matter. How deep you delve into it, if at all, is up to you, but, at least in this post, I hope I at least convinced you of the worth in trying to protect your photographs. Because once you put them on-line for 'sharing' you are sharing them with the whole wide world, or, the world wide web.

On an aside here is the story behing 'Big Splash' and it ties in nicely with the topic of this post and of the value of a photograph. The first value of any photograph is it captures the memory. Jeff, my subject is one of my 'regular guys' who dives with me 'regularly' and took scuba courses with me. I took this shot of him as he giant strided into the water some years ago and it turned out to be a 'fun' looking photograph. I subsequently posted it on my website and its Fun Topside page. A few years later and a few years ago, I received an inquiry from a graphics artist who worked for a small corporation in North Carolina that wanted to use on a promotional brochure for a corporate wide event they were planning. The corporation paid me $ XXX.XX for the one time, non- exclusive rights to use the photograph. So, one never knows......

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Okay... Back to Scuba Diving and Underwater Photography

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Conch Republic: ' Where weird turns pro..'

I was walking home from the 'office' some days ago, and passed by the neighborhood gas station and witnessed the above pictured 'vehicle'. My first thought was: 'only in the Florida Keys!!' But, then I noticed that this contraption was licensed in and from the state of Michigan! It is referred to as a 'Boatmobile'.
The Florida Keys are also known as the ''Conch Republic". It is a comparatively small republic and I think populated by wonderful people in much the same way as small towns anywhere can be. It s also a place that attracts people with a different way of looking at things, and I am among them.
One of my friends, George, coined the descriptive phrase that titles this blog post. And when I saw the 'boatmobile' I also thought of George's quote.
Weird or not or Pro or not, it is actually a pretty cool, to me at least, vehicle. And at times, I find myself in envy of others' imaginations and creativity. For more about its story you can visit:

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