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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

As a gadget guy with a photo obsession I try not to be swayed or get “lost” in the digital technology which often runs multi-levels deep and just enjoy the hobby for the sake of enjoying pictures as well as seeing what others can do with a camera.  

I’m often surprised at the great quality of pictures on the internet and when there is a story that goes along with the photo/artist I’m listening.   Such is the case with Kevin Connolly. Not only is he a great photographer with fascinating intellect, but he provides profound insight about people that will make you stop and speculate.  I really think it’s the start of something big. 

What makes this so interesting to me is that Kevin was born without legs.  Kevin prefers to get around on his skate board rather than wheel chairs. When the terrain isn’t skateboard friendly he walks on his hands.  Imagine being ask if you were eaten by a shark or lost your legs in Iraq?  He has been ask! 

My initial reaction was one of sadness, but after learning and reading more about this individual I have an incredible amount of respect for what he has accomplished and the obstacles he has over come. 

Kevin is a championship skier, world traveler, photographer and skateboarder.  He is a senior film student at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT.  Last year he completed a year of study at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch NZ – a world away from his native state of Montana.  He placed second at the 2007 X Games as a mono-skier.   

And while traveling around the world he captured the expressions of people from his camera’s unique vantage point as they see him getting around on his skateboard.  Kevin has exhibited his photographic study called ‘The People are Curious’.  The photo essay is about how around the world people react in the same way, they are curious and they stare.

The work is part of his The Rolling Exhibition is 3200 photos he shot while seeing 15 countries from his unique vantage.   I would truly like to meet Kevin and spend time listening to his travel stories.  

What an inspiration for all of us into photography or just living life.

Picture by Chris Toalson courtesy of Kevin Connolly.

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My photography stretches back far before the digital era, and many of my photo memories are etched into the emulsion of slide film. I was late to the digital party, but soon became enamored with all the information these cameras would record for me, like a diligent research assistant. My first digital camera recorded the date and time, image dimensions, and a few other features. As I bought new cameras and the Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) standard improved, more and more information was added that I had been too lazy to record.

The EXIF data records almost all the information, ranging from the obvious information of time and date, to the minute details such as the f-stop and shutter speed. There was, until recently, still a big gap in the EXIF — place or position. Now, Global Positioning System (GPS) enabled cameras will close the gap.

As a hiker, I’ve been interested in outdoor location-based photography and the GPS technology. I’ve watched the evolution of GPS photography, from the earlier Kodak cameras, gradually evolving to what is available now. Only a few cameras on the market today support direct recording of GPS data to EXIF—the Nikon D1X, D2X, and D2Hs; the Ricoh RDC-i700G; and the SurveyLab ike300 unit. For example the Red Hen Systems requires a consumer GPS unit and there are still cabling issues.

But, Ricoh just raised the bar. The new Ricoh 500SE is one of the first true GPS embedded/equipped digital cameras that I’ve seen. Very cool! The camera was specifically designed to optimize map-based workflows and includes built in Bluetooth or Wi-fi capability. There are bolt on units for the Nikon high-end cameras, but this is one of the first true GPS cameras I’ve seen with it built-in. The Ricoh 500SE captures “geo-images” or “geo-video” files, they are transferred to a PC, they are automatically converted to shape files or merged into geo-databases for instant integration into Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Points representing each file’s position may be hovered over to display a thumbnail of the file, or clicked on to access the original image or video.

A very positive trend and one I’m sure will accelerate more manufactures to come to market with GPS-ready cameras.

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The Photo Buzz is Loud…

The face of new business in the land of opportunity….Bruce Livingstone (CEO of iStockPhoto.com). He looks like a Harley rider heading to the SD Bad lands, not sitting at a conference table running a major photo imaging company. Guess I’m envious…and need to bring back the “sole patch”.

In the spirit of, “get-your-act-together” (GYAT), I spent time last weekend to become a contributing photographer for istockphoto.com. I read through the mountain of paperwork, reviewed the rules and finally received confirmation that I passed their online exam. But it’s unclear they will ever “approve” any photo I decide to submit because snapping pics of people eating Turkey gravy in Huber’s isn’t my tea bag and they are all full up of fall foliage and sunset shots.

The photo stock biz is dominated by Getty Images. But, they are being hurt. There’s more competition, and customers are turning to cheaper, Web-based imagery providers as an alternative to the high-end products that Getty specializes in. Last February they acquired iStockphoto, a Canadian company that accepts images from amateur photographers and others, and sells them for as little as $1. Thus my interest.

Certainly the Getty/Corbis’ of the world are under pressure and facing competition from smaller rivals. Yahoo already owns one of the biggest social network/photo sites (Flickr) in the world. They must be thinking about monetizing Flickr at some point, right? What about all that social user generated content that is appearing all over the internet? Getty likely needs to maintain high editorial standards to ensure that photos are not doctored, etc. before they are sent out to worldwide publications so they will continue to use high scrutiny and only use their pros for certain types of photo’s.

But, as the digital cameras get better and less expensive, more and more people will put them in “AUTO” and are able to create stunning images. The proliferation of great images are created due to lower barriers to entry for fine photography.

And, all that user generated content appearing all over the internet only puts more pressure on Getty. It’s a great day for us amateur photographers!

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