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Cloud Hunting

As many locals will tell you, the past three days have been filled with some awesome looking clouds, and finally, I got a chance to go out and shoot some…

I had to stop at home to grab my gear, and I also jumped on Google Earth to get a quick idea of areas I wanted to check-out with the clouds being as inspiring as they were!

My first stop, was just East of Shamona Creek Elementary School, which is rather close to where I live, and having just photographed a similar scene just over two weeks ago, I knew that there was a nice overview both North and South.

Cloud Hunting hdr 04 (08/16/2011)
Cloud Hunting hdr 04 – South

The biggest thing that you notice missing, is the big bails of hay, which were one of the focus point in the previous Black and White image conversion.

From this scene, I walked across the street and up a small hill to capture the next image, and I am very happy to have been able to capture one of the birds that was out souring with the various up-drafts.

Cloud Hunting hdr 07 - North (08/16/2011)
Cloud Hunting hdr 07 – North

After this shot, I got back to my car, and headed toward the other side of the school, where I set-up and took some more shoots. (Note: I have decided to wait and HDR process those images when there is real snow on the ground!)

Backing up again, I continued West down Dorlan Mill Road to Creek Road (Rt. 282).

For those that have been following my blog closely, yes, this is the same Creek Road I explored on a Friday in the 101°F heat earlier in July, and very thankfully, it is much cooler this time!

As I drove North West on Creek Road toward Glenmoore, I looked at the Brandywine creek, making metal notes of how the water has risen some, and where I want to explore in the up coming months.

I continued through Glenmoore, and as I was driving and looking, I spotted the following cumulus thunderhead developing, and pulled over to the side as quickly as possible to capture this (7) image HDR capture:

Cloud Hunting hdr 28 (08/16/2011)
Cloud Hunting hdr 28

I took a couple of different angles on this, and as I was, an adult heron fly from right to left in this image, and disappeared into the woods behind the cat-o-nine-tails.

Jumping back into my car, I continued toward Elverson on Creek Road, crossing Manor Road (Rt. 82), and as I started up the small hill, I noticed a group of cows, laying on the ground resting with wonderful clouds in the background.

I quickly turned around, pulled over, and grabbed my equipment.

My fear as I approached the fence, was that all the cows were going to get up and head toward me.

Cloud Hunting hdr 33 (08/16/2011)
Cloud Hunting hdr 33 (08/16/2011)

But alas, the cows seemed content to stay were they were, and I was able to click a few frames before my camera just stopped working.

Damn!

I wanted to continue, so I headed home to grab my AA battery pack, but by the time I got there, and back out my car, the clouds had changed into pending rain, which the area needs, but is no where nearly as interesting as it had been.

I called it a day, and started the process of transferring my images from the camera on to my computer for further processing.

- Andrew
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Updates

After working on the second image, “Cloud Hunting hdr 07 – North”, until 3am this morning, I woke up to find that it had been selected as “Image of the Day” by Parkesburg Today!

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Adobe Blogging Chester County Facebook Flickr HDR Kennett Square Photo Journal

Waterfall – Longwood Gardens hdr

Waterfall - Longwood Gardens HDR
Waterfall - Longwood Gardens HDR

Originally uploaded by Andrew (SDC)

This image was taken last summer, when I was at Longwood Gardens with my Father.

It is 6 shoots at f29 between 1.6 seconds and 15 seconds.

Processed using Photoshop CS5.

Via Flickr:
A small waterfall located within Longwood Gardens in Chester County (PA).

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Blogging Facebook Flickr Information Online Life

Google+ TOS and Photography

2011 Chester County Balloon Fest 098
2011 Chester County Balloon Fest 098

Today I got an Invite from an old friend of mine to join Google+.

Everything that I had been reading, suggested that Invites were still hard to get and Google was reducing the amount of Invites being sent out.

So I was very happy to get an offer from my friend Steve.

It was easy to sign up my account via my Gmail address, and I spent a few minutes checking out the details that had been imported into my profile.

After making a few corrections, I went up to Facebook, and posted that I had a new Google+ account!

Almost immediately, a few my friends started to request Invites, which I still need to send, but haven’t figured out how to yet…

But then one of my local photography contacts, Mike, suggested that I check out a Washington Post article that talked about Google’s Terms of Service (TOS) and how it related to posting of photographic images.

Google+ may carry dangers for photographers

Initially I was very shocked, and proceeded to read the cited blog posting by Scott Bourne on photofocus.com.

Google Plus – Read the Fine Print BEFORE You Sign Up

Which further made me reconsider moving all my images to another environment, and was nothing I was looking forward to, after having just joined JPGmag within the past week.

I posted the two links above, onto several of my Facebook pages, looking to get some input from my connections.

After some dinner and television, it was off to bed for the kids.

As the house began to quiet down, I was able to put on my shows, and begin my nightly surfing of the Internet.

Still very intrigued by the Scott Bourne posting, and decided to do a little bit more research.

Being a creature of habit, I fired up my Firefox, and went to Google to start my search, using the search term “Google+ +Photo +TOS”, and began to read the results.

About three-quarters of the way down the page, I noticed an article that included the term “social media” in the Title, which I thought was rather odd considering my search criteria, so I clicked.

Google+, Social Marketing and the Changing Photo Industry

As I started the skim Colby Brown’s blog post, I noticed he was the teacher, and he thought it was important to stay ahead of the game in regards to social media when teaching his students – I very much agree.

Mr. Brown also writes about the older photography business models, and suggested some new marketing opportunities based on common practices used when posting to social networking sites such as Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.

I agree with Mr. Brown full wholeheartedly in the fact that photographers can not give away things for free, but at the same time, in the older business model, it was quite common for photographers to spend money on Mailings of prints or slides of their work.

Those Mailings, have now been replaced by the 72dpi images that he is suggesting, and in the name of the game in the photography business, is to get your work in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

His article just made sense, and I commend him for his observations and thoughts.

Thank you!

Thankfully, I did not delete my jpeg files that I had generated for JPGmag, so now I just need the time to start some more posting!

– Andrew
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Additional References

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Blogging Online Life Photography Reviews Web

Joined JPGmag.com – A First Impression

JPGmag.com logo
alseymour on JPGmag.com

I had been following JPGmag.com on Facebook for some time now, and earlier in the week, I posted a link to some of the contests that they offer, and finally, yesterday, I spent some time investigating what else the site had to offer.

Signing Up

JPGmag is similar to Flickr, in that anyone can join, and for $25/year, you can get unlimited uploads to your Profile, and a number of “Spotlight credits” which are all purchased via PayPal. (One should also be aware that you are enrolled into an automatic yearly renewal, which can be disabled within your preferences.)

Your Profile

Like any other website, you are given an area to create your profile so others can learn more about you if they wish.

There is an optional field that allows one to enter their website, but I have not been able to get it to work or see where the information would be located on the Profile.

I have also tried to add an active link to my website, but the Description field does not seem to recognize the HTML code for a link.

Update – I have been able to get both the Optional Website link and some basic HTML to work within the Description area.

I was very surprised that one can include their Google Analytics code to track your views!

Uploading Images

JPGmag encourages Users to upload images at a minimal of 1000px long-side, and is done via a clean easy to use web-based interface.

After files have been up-loaded, but before Posting, the User is presented with a three tabs to enter Details (Title, Description and Tags); Categories and Geo-tagging.

JPGmag also offers an online editing package, Express by Pixlr, which I have open, but have not used yet.

“Places/Map-It” – Needs improvement

The “Places/Map-It” tab is connected to Google maps, and does leave much to be desired.

You find your location by zooming in/out and panning. There is no place to search by address or enter in GPS coordinates.

I have also tried to edit my “Places” after posting, but have not gotten my place-markers to stick yet, which needless to say, is a real pain.

Flickr definitely has the advantage here.

Now What?

Once you have images on your profile, you can then submit them to the various Themes, Challenges and Contests. (At the moment, there does not appear to be an Adobe Lightroom plug-in, which would be nice.)

JPGmag has many Themes, Challenges and Contests area, that seem to be Member based suggestions versus the “Anyone Can Create a Group” model that Flickr uses.

Theme or Challenge (JPGmag)

One does seem limited to posting one image per Theme or Challenge, and depending on which Flickr group, is rather low, which does reduce the tenancy for someone to ‘spam’ a group with images, but makes it difficult if you have an image that could be submitted to several Themes or Challenges.

Contests (JPGmag)

The Contests on JPGmag are very different from Flickr in that one can actually win cash or prizes!

There are Entrance Fees, but there seems to be a high Entrance Fee to Award ratio – i.e. $5 Entrance Fee for a $1250 Award, then on other internet sites.

Groups (Flickr)

There also does not appear to be nearly as many “Groups” as there on Flickr (“Anyone Can Create a Group” model), and I have not run into a “Post/Award” restrictions, both of which can easily overwhelm a new contributor to Flickr.

100203 Struble Trail 023 (Updated)
100203 Struble Trail 023 (Updated)

Conclusion

I am still within my first 24-hours of starting my membership, and so far “things” seem to be going well.

I have uploaded 22 images, submitted to 3 Themes and have already gotten several nice Comments and Favorites, as well as an “Active Spotlight”.

There is more for me to explore, and I will continue to do so.

In the mean time, I invite you to visit my JPGmag profile to see that I have posted!

– Andrew
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