PAP 2011-1 – Carlingwood YMCA-YWCA

I set myself up with Pole Aerial Photography equipment about 2 years ago but prefer to do kite aerial photography so rarely to I bring out the pole. This week it came in handy as I did my first PAP session of 2011.

I’ve been a member at the Carlingwood YMCA-YWCA on Lockhart Avenue for over 20 years, primarily in the Masters Swimming Program. I have also had the pleasure of working at the membership desk for about 18 months. Regrettably the property has been sold and at the end of next summer (2012) the doors will close with the expectation that the building will be flattened and a retirement residence will be built in its place.

I’ve been thinking for some time that I would like to do aerial shots of the building before it is gone using Kite Aerial Photography. However, the criteria I was seeking to do this have been a bit restrictive due to circumstances. I’ve been planning for the fall when the trees concealing the front of the building have lost their leaves but there is still some colour around. At this time of year morning light between 10:00 and 11:00 am is required to illuminate the front so that the sun clears the apartments across the road but has not slipped too far westward to leave the front in shadow. A SW wind would be required to fly my kite from the neighbouring schoolyard towards the front of the building. This would have to be on a weekend so that I could avoid children in the schoolyard.

So over a 4 week period there would be 8 days when I need 15 to 20 KM winds from the SW between 10:00-11:00 am on a sunny day. This was just not happening. So one weekday this week I just went with a 20′ pole and did Pole Aerial Photography instead.

I was spotted by former work colleagues during the course of shooting and was commandeered into trying a group shot of a small portion of staff and children.

Here’s the results. A number of the building shots have been stitched to produce a panoramic view.

The images in this gallery were taken with a remote controlled camera atop a 20 foot pole. (Pole Aerial Photography – PAP)

Aerial photograph of the Carlingwood YMCA-YWCA on Lockhart Avenue in Ottawa, Ontario. Several images have been stitched to provide a larger, panorama-style view.

Aerial photograph of the Carlingwood YMCA-YWCA on Lockhart Avenue in Ottawa, Ontario. Several images have been stitched to provide a larger, panorama-style view.

Aerial photograph of the Carlingwood YMCA-YWCA on Lockhart Avenue in Ottawa, Ontario.

Aerial photograph of the Carlingwood YMCA-YWCA on Lockhart Avenue in Ottawa, Ontario.

Aerial view of a few of the staff and members of the Carlingwood YMCA-YWCA on Lockhart Avenue in Ottawa, Ontario.

Aerial view of a few of the staff and members of the Carlingwood YMCA-YWCA on Lockhart Avenue in Ottawa, Ontario.

You can see additional pictures in the Pole Aerial Photography Gallery – Carlingwood YMCA – November 2, 2011.

© Rob Huntley

Beaver Pond Reflections, Gatineau Park

Beaver Pond Reflections, Gatineau Park, Quebec.

Beaver Pond Reflections, Gatineau Park, Quebec.

There are a number of beaver ponds and swamps in Gatineau Park and interesting images abound if you are prepared for a hike and often some bushwhacking. The place I visited during this session I had discovered while hiking with a friend a few years ago. With the goal then being the hike, not the photography, I made a mental note of the location. Finally I returned this fall and the scenery was as rewarding as I had expected.

At this site there is a series of three ponds; however the top pond is more of a drained swamp. It seems this pond is not being maintained by the beavers unless park officials are directing/interfering with their developments. The bottom two ponds are smaller, relatively free of deadwood standing out of the ponds and closely lined with trees. The reflections as you can see are amazing.

WARNING: Beaver habitat can be dangerous. Do not be guilty of admiring the landscape and scenery without paying attention to your footwork. This is not to be taken lightly. Why? Although the typical image of beaver activity is large tree stumps and fallen tree trunks, for every large tree felled there are dozens of 1″ to 2″ diameter saplings chopped at about 18″ in length and chiseled to a fine point. The rest of the sapling has been hauled away and only the spike remains. Even in open terrain they are well enough camouflaged, but in typical beaver terrain where new trees, grasses and shrubs have grown over, these spikes are frequently hidden from view. You are likely to trip on one and impale your body or your face on the next. Why so morbid? Well I had a close call myself a couple of years ago. I now try to practice a policy of taking 30 or so steps with my eyes glued to the ground, stopping, and then looking around for appealing shots or where to go next.

Beaver Pond Reflections, Gatineau Park, Quebec.

The image has been inverted to give it an abstract feeling. Beaver Pond Reflections, Gatineau Park, Quebec.

Beaver Pond Reflections, Gatineau Park, Quebec.

Original image has been turned upside-down. Beaver Pond Reflections, Gatineau Park, Quebec.

Beaver Pond Reflections, Gatineau Park, Quebec.

Beaver Pond Reflections, Gatineau Park, Quebec.

Beaver Pond Reflections, Gatineau Park, Quebec.

Beaver Pond Reflections, Gatineau Park, Quebec.

Beaver Pond Reflections, Gatineau Park, Quebec.

Beaver Pond Reflections, Gatineau Park, Quebec.

Click on any image to go to the same image on my website to view larger or purchase.

You can see additional pictures from this session included as part of my Trees and Leaves Nature Gallery.

reflections art / reflections photos / reflections greeting cards
reflection art / reflection photos / reflection greeting cards
pond reflection art / pond reflection photos / pond reflection greeting cards
pond reflections art / pond reflections photos / pond reflections greeting cards

© Rob Huntley Photography / Rob’s Photo Cards / STOCK Photography / Like My Facebook

Facebook Business Page – RobHuntleyPhotography

I’ve been running a facebook business page for a little while now and recently registered the username as:
http://www.facebook.com/RobHuntleyPhotography
Will be adding additional content shortly.

“Like” it if you like it.

…Rob

Kite Aerial Photography – A Report on Yours Truly

Courtney Hurley, a journalism student at Carleton University asked to interview me and also accompany me on my recent Kite Aerial Photography session at Petrie Island on the Ottawa River to learn what is involved. It was a class project and here is the video she produced.

 

Here it is on Courtney’s What’s Up Westboro Blog.

© Rob Huntley

Follow “Rob Huntley Photography” on Facebook

If you are a Facebook user, click the “Like” button on the Rob Huntley Photography Facebook Page and follow my activity plus keep up to date with this blog and my twitter tweets in your Facebook news feed.

Thanks for your continued interest in my photography.

…Rob

Stock Photography 100.5

This is not quite ‘Stock Photography 101′ as I cannot claim to be anywhere near an expert. However, I’m happy to share some key things on what I have learned on the way to where I am now.

There are numerous stock websites on the internet to which you can upload photography and offer them for sale by download by their clients. Your commission on the sale can range from pennies to hundreds of dollars per usage. Some sites are no doubt better than others in terms of traffic and rewards.

There are discussions, arguments, possibly even boycott movements, etc. regarding the merits of letting your images go for pennies through microstock versus holding out for a ‘respectable’ professional fee. There is a sense that microstock undermines the work of professionals. I won’t disagree. I just try to avoid these debates and get on with it. The internet environment is a rapidly changing one, as is the photography environment. I just try to play on the field that is out there the best way I can, and what I did yesterday is not what I do today, and I don’t expect that what I do today will necessarily work on the playing field of tomorrow. However, having said that, I’m not partial to giving my photography away for nothing – i.e. simply an acknowledgment/photo credit. I have done it, but rarely, and in selected cases. But that is off topic.

As a ‘starter’ in stock photography it is probably the easiest to become accepted to be a player in the microstock sphere. I participate in a few agencies, and of those few I would recommend Shutterstock and Dreamstime. These sites sell images at very low cost to the buyer and consequently your commission is low – but sometimes the volume can be relatively high. The $0.25  to $0.50 you earn per download can add up over time. There is a large investment in time required to upload, title, keyword and categorize each photo, but once done they are there to stay and can continue to earn for you into the future. If it turns out that you have an ‘eye’ for stock shots and have fairly good technical abilities, you can earn a few thousand dollars a year from an equal number of uploads. Some photographers do much better, some don’t do well at all. I’m just speaking from my perspective and you won’t know unless you give it a try. You probably won’t make a living at it, but it can be a supplement or at least be a way make a down payment on the upgrade in camera gear you would like or a camera quality that your growing addiction to stock may dictate (yes it can become addictive). Note that some stock sites won’t let you become a player there unless you can produce a certain quality/size of image and they may even go as far to exclude camera types. You will find out soon enough when you try to register. (I still use a Nikon D70s, a good camera but not good enough for some stock sites). Others, even Getty Images, will accept good images from my Canon PowerShot A570IS which I have used for kite aerial photography. If you encounter an equipment limitation at a site, you can only move on and wait for your camera upgrade.

With most stock sites, you will be required to submit several samples of your work for approval. Take this seriously. Some sites won’t let you reapply for a long time after you have failed. Read their image submission guidelines and quality control FAQs religiously before you submit. If you are like me you will learn a lot about image quality and it is best to take some time to learn what they are looking for before you go through your files to make your submission selection. Once accepted you can risk some of your borderline shots which may be rejected. But in your first submission, just send your best. Be prepared also that once you are in, the acceptance rate can be very low. Keep trying to learn what they want and what your mistakes are. Don’t get hot under the collar and start firing off in their forums about “what’s wrong with this one”. Just move on to the next image, or try the rejected image at another stock site if it is that good a shot. Read the FAQs and learn. And don’t submit images with people in them unless you have a model release (also in their FAQs).

Before diving into microstock too quickly though, weigh the pros of being an “exclusive” photographer with one agency such as iStockphoto. www.istockphoto.com is the third site I would recommend but personally I found it harder to get in the door with them. My submissions failed the first two times and then I simply gave up for about 12 months. Now that I’m in I see that the rewards are slightly higher than the previous two mentioned and their exclusivity option is tempting. There are stories of young photographers (talented mind you) earning 6 figure incomes in one year through iStockphoto. (Dream on I say). Basically they ask that you make them your only stock agency in exchange for higher commissions. However, in the case of iStockphoto, becoming an exclusive with them isn’t an option until you have had 250 downloads/sales. So here’s the dilemma. In the time it takes to be first accepted, and then get to the 250 download point, how much time and energy should you invest in stock sales elsewhere. You will have to chop up your accounts at other stock agencies if you intend to become an exclusive photographer at iStockphoto. I have not yet reached the 250 mark. I learned about the exclusive option after I was well into uploading photos elsewhere. So while I ponder, I’m less ambitious about uploading to my other stock sites for penny rewards. iStockphoto’s market strategy is obviously working as they have succeeded to have me withhold new submissions from the other stock sites while I ferment the options. I’ve put myself on hold with Shutterstock and Dreamstime until I see how my iStockphoto experience matures.

The one exception to iStockphoto’s exclusivity arrangement is Getty Images. There is an affiliation between the two companies which I don’t fully understand, but if you’ve made it into Getty Images, you can continue there and take full advantage of iStockphoto exclusive arrangements.

Until about 18 months ago, Getty Images seemed to the uninformed like myself, to be a domain of the expert photographers; an enviable and inaccessible fortress of the professional. Whether I was right or wrong doesn’t matter, because a change occurred at that time. Getty made an arrangement with Flickr.com whereby Getty could glean through the ranks of Flickr and select images and photographers to join and submit to a special ‘creative’ line of Getty Images. I was fortunate to be one of those Flickrites ‘found’ by Getty.  There were several glitches and growing pains in the arrangement but most of those that made sales recognized that there was merit to being in the program. Any image selected has to be a Getty exclusive but it doesn’t mean that you have to stop selling other stock through your other agencies. You are just not permitted to sell elsewhere the images you sell through Getty. It has to be a new image that you have not sold anywhere previously. And you cannot sell ‘similars’ elsewhere; those being images taken at the same session of the same subject or sufficiently similar from another session to be seen as related.  In a nutshell, they don’t want two buyers to have a similar image that will compete with each other in the marketplace. A downside of being in the Flickr/Getty process is the long review time after you have submitted an image and the long time it may take to get a sale on a particular image. The upside is that sales can sometimes come with significant commission (by this I mean several dollars to several hundred dollars from one sale). Initially it was a shame that you had to be ‘discovered’ by Getty on Flickr. I have friends who wondered how to get in front of their face …. there are a lot of images on Flickr and you can be easily overlooked as my friends were. Fortunately there is now a mechanism to put your images in a queue for Getty reviewers to ‘consider’ so that you may be discovered more easily. You can read all about it yourself here: Getty Images Call For Artists. I can only guess that it may be months and months before photographers on the newbie list get reviewed and, if fortunate, invited to participate. Start the ball rolling there soon just to get the door open. Good luck with that and be patient. Remember to only use an image that you will not submit elsewhere. Also remember that Getty employs people to proactively sell imagery out of their database. They match images with clients and charge higher fees from their clients for that service. So be patient for what will hopefully will be larger rewards.

As small or large as sales may be, stock photography is a good way to force yourself to improve your skills. The agency websites give you guidelines, FAQs and discussion forums where you can learn the trade and make friends. Plus you sometimes get ‘limited’ review of some of your images (other times you get form responses that seem totally inadequate). But for someone that is starting , I think one important thing to take away from stock photography is that somebody out there liked one of your images enough to buy it. Even if they only spent a few dollars and you only received a few cents. Satisfaction comes with knowing you are being appreciated and on the right track with your photography.

Comments and links to other advice, resources and useful stock photography sites welcomed.

My Photo Gallery during WEST 2010

I’m mid-way through participating in the West End Studio Tour 2010 (WEST). There is still the weekend of September 25th and 26th to attend if you are in the Ottawa area. I’m one of 20 artists in the tour so there is much to see. I’m including a few pictures of my setup which includes not just my kite aerial photography but also more traditional landscapes, macro photography and a number of images using post-processing to give a painterly quality or otherwise unique interpretation.

I converted our entrance hall, living room and dining room into a walk-through photo gallery exhibiting framed prints of various dimensions, mostly 16″ x 20″, but also several aerial panoramas of Ottawa scenes framed with dimensions 18″ x 36″.

Rob's Home Photography Gallery

Rob's Home Photography Gallery

Rob's Home Photography Gallery

Rob's Home Photography Gallery

Rob's Home Photography Gallery

I also set up a display table with pictures and equipment demonstrating the “art” of kite aerial photography plus a laptop slideshow of a selection of low level aerial photography images. It was invaluable during the first weekend in explaining the technique which is often interpreted in bizarre ways when not enough information has been given. Some imagine that I strap myself and an SLR camera to a hang glider. Others have an image of me tying a camera to a kite and running down a field trying to get the contraption off the ground. The visual presentation helped to convey that the camera is suspended from the “line” at considerable distance below the already stable flying kite.

Rob's Home Photography Gallery

For more information about the West End Studio Tour, the other 19 artists and our sponsors, please visit the West End Studio Tour website.

Rob Huntley