22 December 2012

Thank You Instagram/Facebook for Taking my Livelihood Away

"Photography is my passion, my calling, and my means of livelihood. It is how I provide for my family and send my children to school. Now Instagram and Facebook want to take my hard earned imagery — imagery that at times, I and others have risked life and limb for — and use it to generate income for themselves. 
What they have done is signaled the end and failure of what could have been a revolutionary social media platform for visual communication. Now, I must take a step back and reassess my place on Instagram. "Benjamin Lowy

22 Dec 2012

Benjamin Lowy could not have said it better.  I want to thank both Facebook and Instagram for taking away the opportunity for me to continue to live my life as I have in the past taking away all the years of training, networking, traveling and risking my own life to tell the stories to the rest of the world and generate an income for my own survival.

I have spoken to those who are not photographers but who are businessmen about the problem with free access to images and its effects on our profession and livelihood.  The response is something like this, "Well, everyone has the right to take photographs and put them online and the companies can use the images if they want.  If they can save money then it is their right to do so."  

This is a reflection of our ever changing world and the effects of technology and social networks generating arrogance with a lack of social responsibility while entire fields of careers are completely destroyed.  In turn, this leaves more and more people out of work and having to change careers with less jobs to find.  Then of course, less money to spend and more businesses closing down.  

Social networking such as Facebook and Instagram actions with usage rights are now slowing dissolving the world of photo reporters and their ability to earn a living.  Not to mention the quality of images in most publications and news outlets has diminished to a simple point and shoot frame.

Instagram had so much flack from hard core users such as National Geographic and leading photographers that they decided to roll back their new terms, but they are not that different than before.  National Geographic has decided to renew their Instagram usage and  That may be fine for someone big like National Geographic or Time, but what about the individual photographer who struggles to make a living?  

I would like the option to post on Facebook or Instagram after I have sold an image to share, BUT if Time magazine wants to put a posted image on the front page, I want to get paid for it.  That is how others and myself survive.  Publishing an image on the front page of Time is a big deal and who knows what the photographer has gone through to get to that point.  Normally, in the photography world we have to work hard for countless hours and climb our way up.  We train, we get wet, we travel, we don't sleep, we watch wars, we stay up all night, and sometimes we become an ear for those who need to talk.  For us, it is not just point and shoot it is our lives and our passions.

How would you feel if driving down the street in Times Square and you see your image on a huge sign and was never told about it nor paid for it?  That image could be worth thousands and they used it for free brought to you by Instagram or Facebook.

In their terms of use they state, "you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service"...

"(iii) you agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owed by reason of Content you post on or through the Service; and (iv) you have the legal right and capacity to enter into these Terms of Use in your jurisdiction."

"you choose to send us content, information, ideas, suggestions, or other materials, you further agree that Instagram is free to use any such content, information, ideas, suggestions or other materials, for any purposes whatsoever, including, without limitation, developing and marketing products and services, without any liability or payment of any kind to you."


This takes away the users power to use legal remedies.

A class action lawsuit was filed on the 21st by the San Diego Law Firm, Finklestein and Krisnk.  They feel that Facebook owned Instagram new terms include unlawful taking of users property rights, unfair business practices, and breach of contract.  

As for myself, I never used Instagram and hardly Facebook to put my images...unless they are watermarked, signed, and paid for.  It is great for spreading the word about my work, and gaining visibility.  But, I don't like to "share" images of my personal life with those out there in the world that I don't know at least as much as many others do.

Now is the time, to be careful and go back to the old days, before there was internet and physically knock on doors to get the work!

"They have just killed Instagram. I will never use it under any circumstance with these terms. "
Christopher Morris

21 December 2012

Vintage Fashion Photos

Susan Brannon

I did some vintage fashion shots in Florence.  Here are a few!

to view more click here

20 December 2012

The Union Newspaper Fails to Credit Photographer

Newspapers, magazines, websites are increasingly omitting giving photo credits.  This is not good, legal or ethical.  If I was not a professional photographer I would be proud to have my image on the front page of a newspaper!  I would safe the clip and put it in my photo album for my grandchildren to see one day.  As a professional, it is an insult because we try to make a real living from our images, we need to eat, have a place to sleep and feed our families.  It's only right for the publishers to ask permission, and more correct to pay a bit for using the image!  As photographers professional or not, we must continue to fight.  This photographer started a Facebook thread.  Story below

Republished from: Jeff Pelline's Sierra Foothills Report

Photo by: John M. Daly

The Union is painting itself as a hero amid charges of copyright infringement involving a giant centerpiece photo it ran on the front page on Tuesday without crediting the photographer, with a headline “Thanks to John Daly for one stunning shot.”
In fact, the newspaper was the goat, having put itself at risk legally as a commercial venture — and on top of that, it omitted all together how the controversy arose in its own watered-down version of the incident — an episode that was slap in the face to local artists.
“As rain came to an end and clouds parted from this weekend’s storms, Nevada City photographer John Daly headed down to the Highway 49 bridge and captured both the natural beauty and ferocity of western Nevada County’s beloved South Yuba River — beneath a double rainbow, no less,” reads the article this morning by Managing Editor Brian Hamilton (on an inside page; the photo was on page 1).
“Daly shared his stunning shot with the community through The Union, which published the photo on the front page of Tuesday’s edition. Unfortunately, proper credit was not provided to the photographer in the print edition. The Union regrets the error, as Daly certainly deserves recognition for a piece of art so well received by our readers.”
“Unfortunate?” That’s an understatement — both on ethical and legal grounds.
“Daly’s South Yuba shot drew rave reviews on The Union’s Facebook page,” the article continued, “where by noon Tuesday more than 1,700 people had viewed the photo — of which 90 had shared it elsewhere, reaching an unknown total number of Facebook users — and several expressed their gratitude for Daly’s work:”
But here’s what The Union left out: — sharp criticism involving charges of copyright infringement, including from the photographer himself — on another Facebook page, “Nevada County Peeps.” It’s a very valid concern, based on routine journalistic standards.
“It is nice to have the photo on the front page of The Union Newspaper in Grass Valley, CA,” the photogropher wrote in the “Nevada County Peeps” page on Facebook. “But The Union is well-known for being unreliable. I gave them the photo on the proviso that I would have credit on the photo and they even said they would mention my photography exhibition in Nevada City. They did none of this. They literally stole the photo by simply saying ‘submitted photo,’ no mention of my name. .
•”That’s why we don’t get the local paper,” wrote one reader on the Facebook thread, which generated 33 comments.
•”Glad I didn’t send my photos there..I wondered whose photo it was. A lovely photo indeed!” wrote another.
•”The Union’s policy on giving photo credits is highly irregular,” wrote another reader. “As someone who has submitted dozens and dozens of photos over the years, I’ve learned they usually will not credit the photographer. I have no idea how they get away with it, but they do.”
•”The Union unfortunately does not serve the people or the community – only business, and even that is questionable,” said another.
•”Yes, there have been many askew articles printed in The Union and it has been very disrespectful and like most media had a huge influence on people’s opinion — true or not “as they read it in the paper,” said another. “Add on the typos and the grammatical errors over the years, I gave up subscribing.”
•”John, I’m really sorry to hear this,” I wrote after noticing the controversy. “As you know, we were glad to pay for your large-size photos of the Yuba River and give youcredit by name in the current issue of our FoodWineArt magazine and on the companion http://www.SierraCulture.com website. We’re also going to restock Java Johns with our magazine that carries your photo and credit, and we have publicized your show at Java Johns on our Facebook page. Be assured that the journalistic standards in our community are not all the same. Have a great day and thanks for such a lovely photo!”
When the Facebook posts and comments appeared in droves, Daly did hear from The Union:
•”OK, The Union just called me and apologized for the mistake,” Daly wrote. “They are going to republish in tomorrows paper with full credit and pay for the photo. And mention my Photo Exhibit currently at Java Johns. I will have to print this photo and put it up in the Exhibit.”
“Wondered how that happened- glad they took responsibility,” one reader reacted.
What remains unanswered is:
1. How did such an egregious error happen in the first place? Copyright infringement puts the newspaper at legal risk — well beyond “doing the right thing” to credit an artist’s work in a giant front-page photo.
2. What are The Union’s practices and policies when it comes to photo credits? Why wasn’t the photographer paid in the first place (instead of as an afterthought)? Is anything going to change?
3. Why did The Union omit how the controversy arose in the first place — in social media on a page created by a grassroots effort in the community, called “Nevada County Peeps.” Was it embarrassed to give the full account?
Daly concluded: “I am glad this has developed such a lively and needed debate in our community. Thanks for all your support.” Amen to that!

Man Dies Falling Into Chimney while Photographing

You can get some really nice shots from high places, but it is always important to watch your step while shooting from the rooftops.

Reposted: PetaPixel  DL Cade · Dec 14, 2012
Less than a week removed from the train photographer tragedy in Sacramento, California, another sad story has made its way across our desks. A 23-year-old man named Nicholas Wieme died in the pursuit of a “rooftopping” photograph yesterday after he fell into a building’s smokestack in Chicago.

After eating dinner with his girlfriend in a restaurant at the InterContinental Hotel, the couple decided to climb to the top of the 42-story building, check out the smokestack, and shoot some photos from the high vantage point.
When Wieme reached the top of the smokestack he lost his footing and fell in, plummeting 22-feet down the scorching chimney before getting stuck in a small bend two stories below the roof.
The fall itself didn’t kill Wieme, who was able to send a text to his girlfriend asking for help; however, it took Chicago firefighters 4 hours to reach and safely extract him from the smokestack. And although he was rushed to a local hospital, he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

09 December 2012

Wedding Fashion Show in Florence, Italy

This is cool!  I am learning things on how to embed my own slideshow of images!  Now I can strut my stuff...

18 November 2012

Sell Prints

SELL PRINTS -- 7 Ways Erica Siciliano: “One of the biggest challenges for photographers is getting their work seen by people who are interested in buying it. Online galleries and marketplaces offer a number of benefits to photographers including reaching a new audience, and printing, packaging and shipping the work after it's sold. Check out seven websites that help both up-and-coming and seasoned shooters reach buyersaround the world.” http://www.pdnonline.com/features/7-Ways-to-Sell-Your--6935.shtml 

David Byrne had his award Revoked

Landscape Photographer Has Award Revoked For Excessive Editing - Tim Barribeau: David Byrne had his title of Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Yearstripped after his images were shown to be edited beyond the rules of the competition. Earlier in 2012, photographer David Byrne was awarded the title Landscape Photographer of the Year by the organization Take a View, but it has since come out that the shots that Byrne took were so heavily edited — and potentially even plagiarized — that the title has been stripped and awarded to another photographer. The image that won Byrne the prize is above, and the takedown of the photographer has been widespread. A lot of it started with Alex Neil, who posted about how the winning photograph was heavily influenced by other work. The allegations of heavy handed editing started to pop up in discussion forums, and Tim Parkin did an analysis of how the light sources inside some of the photos were inconsistent. As debate spread, it became clear that Byrne was heavilyediting/compositing the images. If you hit that Alex Neil link, and head to the section "Updated again!", there's a particularly damning animated GIF that shows just how heavily things were altered in another shot that Byrne entered.
Note: Byrne later reported that he “didn’t thoroughly read the ‘Take A View’ rules."

28 October 2012

Watch Out For the Photo Contests!

Photo by Susan Brannon

Susan Brannon
28 October 2012

I have always wondered about many of the photo contests that I see advertised and to be honest, I hardly ever enter any of them.  There are a few reasons; I don't have enough time to enter, I don't want to pay to enter and sometimes when I have tried many of the sites interface is quite difficult to navigate. Some of the contests that I viewed even had dead links...now is that professional for a contest?

My first thought was why would I have to pay a company to enter into a photo contest?  My logic is that just having a contest creates visibility to the company and I can imagine the click ratio increased dramatically.   If a company charges lets say, $25.00 to enter a contest and 250 people enter they have made that is $6,250 in additional income!  Okay, should I have a photo contest?  I could sure use the money to support the Crossing Borders Project to keep it alive.  Let's see, I can offer the photographer a  top spot on the contest web page, showing the wining image and the second and third place will get free spots below!  I can also offer a small tid-bit on the photographer and the image with a link to their website.  Wow what a deal!  With that, I can even afford to offer the 1st prize winner $500.00 the 2nd $250.00 and 3rd $100.00 and I would still be one happy camper.

What about the images that are submitted?  Well, normally when someone signs the agreement upon entering, they agree that the company gets all rights to the images submitted to use for promotional purposes, publications on their website (with credits of course) without any compensation to the photographer.  What a deal for the company and the photographer?  Well, they would hope to get some type of recognition for their wonderful images.

It was not that long ago that contests were to recognize new talent, in the pursuit of the hobbiest and the pleasure of the craft.  Today is a very different story.  it has become a "rights grab".  Imagine if you are an environmental NGO needing some images to fill your publications and website, not including exposure and have a photo contest.  Imagine how many free images you would get to use.  Humanitarian images are actually hard to come by and very expensive to hire a professional to go out an about to take real images of the projects.  When the NGO uses the images from the contest most people do not know (the donors for example) that they are not actual images of the NGO's work and projects.  So instead of the NGO paying let's say 1,000 for two days of work, they receive money and get all the free rights to an image.

Here is an example of the "small print" for a well known non-profit organization (which is another story as far as non-profits are concerned):
     "By entering (reference to contest deleted) the contest, you retain the rights to your works while granting XXX (sponsors name deleted) the unrestricted, royalty-free, perpetual right to use, reproduce, communicate, modify and display the works (in whore or in part) for any purpose without any fee or other form of compensation, and without further notification or permission.
     By participating in this contest, you release and agree to indemnify and hold harmless XXX (reference to contest deleted)  and its employees, directors, officers, affiliates, agents, judges and advertising and promotional agencies from any and all damages, injuries, claims, causes of actions, or losses of any kind resulting from your participation in this contest or receipt or use of any prize."

Let me explain, there are copyright laws in most countries when a person snaps that shutter, the image by default is copyrighted in your name as the author of the work. Furthermore, you have the right to have your name associated with that work.

"Royalty Free" means that the publisher is only compelled to honor you with a "reward" just one time.  Read the fine print, because you may be giving them permission to re-use or any other company to re-use, publish your image without any compensation.

"Royalty Free in Perpetuity" means that the company the sponsor will gain something tangible from the use of your free image for many years to come.  In my opinion, this term should be avoided.

Which term should send off the biggest red flag of them all?"Forever hold harmless and indemnify" means that they can do whatever they want with your image without your knowledge or consent.  They can sell that image to someone else for a purpose that you do not agree with under a false context, such as using the image to represent what it was not intended to represent such as an image of a person who is condemning a political candidate and that image is your neighbor!  Imagine if that image was blasted all over the main stream news on the front page!  Imagine what your neighbor would say to you the next day and hands you a lawsuit.

With this term, no matter how they decide to use your image you are responsible and the publisher is free from all legal recourse.

In the end, when you are thinking of entering into that cute contest of baby pictures, read and re-read the agreement and be aware of the terms used.  It may just be a great contest where fellow photographers can view each others work and get some credit for it.  My advise?  Just be careful.

22 September 2012

A propaganda video: photography taking

Susan Brannon
22 September 2012

A video to tell us what to look for in suspicious situations for terrorism implementing fear.  People taking photographs which is often used to prepare for a terrorist attack.  Telling you to make the call.  Don't rely on others to take action.  The video is put out by the department of homeland security.

These things are concerning and leads towards increasing fear in just about everything and everyone.

Taking images?  really?  You can clearly see in the background the suspicious person taking images.

"Every U.S. resident should be aware of the threat of terrorism and how to handle this threat. Such knowledge is all the more essential when you live in a major metropolitan area. Large, heavily populated urban centers all over the world have long been the favored targets of terrorists. If you see suspicious behavior, Make the Call."

21 September 2012

Photojournalists as Terrorists in the U.S.A.

Susan Brannon
24 September 2012

There has been a lot of talk lately regarding our freedom of expression and speech in the world of photojournalism.  Last year when the Occupy movement started many journalists were reported as being arrested, some have been arrested four times.  It is our job as photojournalists to tell the story and it our job as journalists to let the world know and judge for themselves what perspective they want to take.

It is becoming more and more difficult to tell the news through the world of images.  The police hit you on the head with their batons, they block your lens they tell you to go away or they simply drag you into the back of a van for arrest.  They do not like images being taken of some of the abuses that occurs during the protests because it is proof of their uncivil behavior.  Are we as journalists supposed to tell lies through our lens?  I don't think so and that is not what journalism is all about.  Or, shall I say that is not what we are supposed to stand for ethically.

The last thing that I want to do when catching "action" and news is to ask the policemen to stand and shake the hands of a protester with a smile on his face for the camera.  That is not the reality that I hear and read about.

For me as a photojournalist, this is scary and very much so.  Not in terms of my own physical safety but in terms of our country becoming fascist in the direction of Hitler or Mussolini or even the current Berlusconi who controls almost all of the Italian media.  This is the police state that people are talking about or have been talking about in the years past.  This is not a conspiracy, this is a reality. Our country was founded on these simple freedoms, we even had street corners where people could stand and voice their opinions to those who were willing to listen.

This is a larger part of the anti-terrorist concept taken to the extreme. Democracy is denied these days.  We need to be careful of "fear", because when there is "fear" then we change our free ways.  After 9/11 it gave an excuse to change the laws.  Photographer Chris Miller who has been arrested three times said, "They’re recording us, they don’t want us recording them,” said Miller. “They really want to put a scare factor into us,” he added.

These photographers even ask if they are using their images to send to the Al Qaeda. "NPPA  responds to the LAPD special order that equates photography with criminal activity" reports that "The LAPD recently issued guidelines instructing their officers on “behavior/activity that may reveal a nexus to foreign or domestic terrorism.” Such behavior listed includes:

“Taking pictures or videos of facilities/buildings, infrastructures, or protected sites in a manner that would arouse suspicion in a reasonable person.  Examples include taking pictures or videos of ingress/egress, delivery locations, personnel performing security functions (e.g., patrol, badge/vehicle checking), security-related equipment (e.g., perimeter fencing, security cameras), etc”

The NPPA responded, "“Photography is protected by the First Amendment, subject only to reasonable time, place and manner restrictions. Unfortunately the reliance on policies such as the LAPD’s as the basis for law enforcement officers to question, detain and interfere with lawful activities by photographers under the guise of preventing terrorist activities has become a daily occurrence.”

On the "Lens Blog with the NY Times" in their article titled, "Criminalizing Photography" Through an interview with Mickey H. Osterreicher with the NPPA he says, "It’s not just news photographers who should be concerned with this. I think every citizen should be concerned. Tourists taking pictures are being told by police, security guards and sometimes other citizens, “Sorry, you can’t take a picture here.” When asked why, they say, “Well, don’t you remember 9/11?”

I remember it quite well, but what does that have do to with taking a picture in public? It seems like the war on terrorism has somehow morphed into an assault on photography."

The advise that I would give is to be polite, ask for permission to cross that "crime line" get to know your local police officers and don't argue. Just walk away and try to see if you can get that "breaking story" from a different angle.

Today there is a bombardment with citizen journalists, using their camera phones as the source.  In Libya or Syria the camera phone is useful to getting the news out and even then they are risking their lives.  The problem is that today, the photojournalists are also risking their lives but in a different way, they risk getting arrested or even beaten up.

Every day a photojournalist is getting arrested in America and that is something that all of us should be having a problem with.  Photographers today are being charged with disorderly conduct, trespassing and the obstruction of governmental administration for doing their job.  Most of the time, the charges get dropped but in the meantime the photographer did not get the news.

The point is that if you are on public property, you have every right to take a picture.  Of course there are differences between taking photographs and the use of the photograph.  Unfortunately, it is the press that is not having as much "free will" with their image taking than the normal John Doe who is photographing a local fire.  It is the press that will be told no and the John Doe can continue. Even then, it is the police in many cities that want to decide what images the photographer can use.  They want to serve and protect by deciding what images to use.  It is not their job and as Osterreicher said in his interview, "Just as a news photographer's job isn't to direct traffic, or collect evidence at a scene…"

Legally, here are some of the sited cases:

Channel 10, Inc v. Gunnarson, 337 F. Supp. 634 (D. Minn. 1972)
"… employees of the news media have a right to be in public places and on public property to gather information, photographically or otherwise."

Schnell v. City of Chi., 407 F.2d 1084, 1085 (7th Cir. 1969)
(reversing dismissal for failure to state a claim of suit claiming police interference with news reporters and photographers’ “constitutional right to gather and report news, and to photograph news events” under the First Amendment (internal quotation mark omitted)

Cape Publications, Inc. v. Bridges, 423 So.2d 426, Fla.App. 5 Dist.,1982.
"the right of privacy does not necessarily protect a person against the publication of his name or photograph in connection with the dissemination of legitimate news
items or other matters of public interest."

"...where one becomes an actor in an occurrence of public interest, it is not an invasion of her right to privacy to publish her photograph with an account of such occurrence. Just because the story and the photograph may be embarrassing or distressful to the plaintiff does not mean the newspaper cannot publish what is otherwise newsworthy."

13 July 2012

Poor Customer and Repair Service at Nikon

In light of the petition that I requested for my readers to sign, I thought that I would provide a link to the high amount of complaints regarding Nikon's service:


just keep scrolling down until you see the comments.
This is no joke.

Nikon Repair Parts Petition for USA

This is vital folks.  Nikon wants to stop selling Nikon camera parts to small mom and pop camera repair shops and would rather have the camera folks, send their cameras to Nikon for repair.  I can't stand this corporate money making plan that will destroy tons of business from the good ole folks who have been already struggling to stay open.  Just think, we will loose the good service that we receive from our fellow camera repair guys, the shops will start to close down and we will have to pay more to repair any problems with our Nikon lens's and camera's.  Not including extra payments for shipping, the extra time needed for the repairs and most likely shipping again because the problem was not really fixed...you know how we have to get things done two or three times these days with the large companies and the item just never comes back right?

Please sign this very important petition:


Thanks and oh! Please pass this on...there is a close deadline...like now!

29 May 2012

National Press Photography Association Membership agreement

Susan Brannon
29 May 2012

I feel that it is my proud duty to share with you the requirements and expectations that the National Press Photography Association has on their photojournalist!

Personally, I adhere to these concepts and I am very proud of doing so.  Journalism is a responsibility to the public, to report the news and events as they occur in the least bias form as possible.  It is important for us to remember not to become involved one way or the other, in spite of our personal opinions and this is the challenge.  We submit raw images, we do not alter or take away wires, add colors, or crop.  This is our art and considering these concepts, I am always challenged to try to gain the best perspective possible to reflect the subject at hand.  I am always challenged to remain as objective as possible and it is my passion to try to represent our events and people with kindness, respect and consideration.  After all, we are all human beings on this wonderful planet!

Below are the guidelines:

Photojournalists and those who manage visual news productions are accountable for upholding the following standards in their daily work:

1.  Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects.
2. Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.
3. Be complete and provide context when photographing or recording subjects. Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups. Recognize and work to avoid presenting one's own biases in the work.
4. Treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration to vulnerable subjects and compassion to victims of crime or tragedy. Intrude on private moments of grief only when the public has an overriding and justifiable need to see.
5. While photographing subjects do not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.
6. Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images' content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.
7. Do not pay sources or subjects or reward them materially for information or participation.
8. Do not accept gifts, favors, or compensation from those who might seek to influence coverage.
9. Do not intentionally sabotage the efforts of other journalists.

Ideally, photojournalists should:

1. Strive to ensure that the public's business is conducted in public. Defend the rights of access for all journalists.
2. Think proactively, as a student of psychology, sociology, politics and art to develop a unique vision and presentation. Work with a voracious appetite for current events and contemporary visual media.
3. Strive for total and unrestricted access to subjects, recommend alternatives to shallow or rushed opportunities, seek a diversity of viewpoints, and work to show unpopular or unnoticed points of view.
4. Avoid political, civic and business involvements or other employment that compromise or give the appearance of compromising one's own journalistic independence.
5. Strive to be unobtrusive and humble in dealing with subjects.
6. Respect the integrity of the photographic moment.
7. Strive by example and influence to maintain the spirit and high standards expressed in this code. When confronted with situations in which the proper action is not clear, seek the counsel of those who exhibit the highest standards of the profession. Photojournalists should continuously study their craft and the ethics that guide it.

19 May 2012

Haiti: Quick Facts

Susan Brannon
19 May 2012

Haiti Quick Facts

The Crossing Borders Project is going to Haiti, to see what life is really like over there.  The different sub-cultures explain Haiti Today (2012) with different perspectives.  The Crossing Borders Project wants to know what is "really" going on.  First we have what I call the large corporation type aid workers, who received a ton of money and people are wondering where the money went.  (More of this on a different post) Second, we have the Haitians who's problems are never ending and not getting much better; HIV is at a height, recent outbreaks of Cholera at an increasing level and is feared to increase during this years rainy season; (more on this is a different post) water is scarce, and many homes have not been rebuilt while crime is rising. 

I have listed some quick "getting to know Haiti" facts

Total population 10,033,00
Life expectancy m/f 60/63
probability of dying under five (per 1000 live births) 87
80% of the Haitians live below the poverty line
Half of the population can be considered "food poor or insecure" and half of the children are under developed as a result of malnutrition.
Less than half of the population has access to clean drinking water
43% of the target population receives the recommended immunizations.
Half of the population can be considered "food poor or insecure" and half of the children are under developed as a result of malnutrition.
Haiti ranks last in the Western hemisphere
The ratio of nurses and physicians are 11/25 per 100,000
Most of the rural areas do not have access to health care, making them susceptible to treatable diseases.

There are over 600,000 Haitians living in tents and temporary structures.  Port-au-Prince is still the most affected area in the center and through the south of the city to the Carrefour, Leogane and Petit Goave district.

Cholera had entered the Artibonite River, Haiti's longest, 60 miles upstream รณ most likely from a leaky latrine at a United Nations camp for peacekeeping troops, who carried it from Nepal.

This is a country only a few hours away by plane from the United States.
This is a country where billions of dollars have been donated and much of it used to support the aid agencies. 

The Crossing Borders Project only has two weeks to let the Haitians tell their stories through the visual image so we can see their lives through their eyes.
Related Links:
The Crossing Borders Project
The Crossing Borders Facebook Group
The Crossing Borders You Tube Page
The Crossing Borders on Idealist  Looking for volunteers worldwide

18 May 2012

crossing borders project: Crossing Borders Book in Digital!

Finally, the book is in digital format...what work!  This is about the West Bank
crossing borders project: Crossing Borders Book in Digital!

03 May 2012

This is much better than war! Nice images! I had to share this.

22 April 2012

Want to Promote Your Business?

For all photographers in the world, and other businesses. I found a very creative way to promote your business. Can you think of something like this? Wow. Check this out! This is a news agency.

18 April 2012

CISPA and Journalism

18 April 2012
This is not about photography, per se..but the CISPA bill will effect us all and if any of you out there want to be a photojournalist then your ability to "report" will become more and more limited.  You will loose your "freedom" to create documentary photography stories that you may want to create.  Your work will become limited.  I remember when I was working during the Bush administration, covering the conflict in the Middle East, I could not publish many realities in American news outlets.  We could not publish images of American soldier coffins with flags,  no one would purchase photo stories about the defense contractors in Iraq, or the gas lines.  My images and stories were published all over the world, except for in America.  I became black listed for such behind the scene stories.  I was relieved when Obama took office, and I would have the ability to tell the American people and survive, behind the scene stories once again.  Well folks, CISPA will change all that, and more forever...and it could get much worse.
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act is a bill that would allow companies doing business in the US to collect records of American citizens online activities, worldwide.  This includes all American journalists, photographers, investigative journalists, news agencies, associations, You Tube and bloggers.  This is a bill in my opinion, is very serious indeed. 

It was developed to help stop "cybersecurity threats" and for "cybersecurity purposes"  The bill is weak in definition, and it does not narrow the categories that the companies are to report to the American government.  This leaves the door open to any kind of interpretation, censor any speech that a company believes could "downgrade the network."  It is supposed to "protect theft or misappropriation of private or government information."  This includes intellectual property.  This gives a powerful weapon to close websites that provide important information to the American public and to the world.  The New York Times, could face problems with this bill because they published information from WikiLeaks.  They could censor international sites from American view who has information that the government does not want the American people to know about.

It reminds me of the European history pre-WWII, or the American Japanese scare and arrests on American soil.  I don't want to be forced to "wear a star" so others can identity me as a "cyber terrorist", or a "propaganda terrorists", (a new term that I read about lately, more on that later) and an American enemy, because I am writing this article.  As far as I am concerned this is the next step towards Fascism, by controlling the people, controlling the media and inserting fear that you may just get arrested the next time you cross over into American borders. 

How does the CISPA effect journalists? 
The bill disregards our Fourth Amendment rights as they apply to journalists and documentary filmmakers working on subject matter related to US military operations, foreign policy and other subjects that the Homeland Security finds offensive. 

Wait, what does homeland security have to do with CISPA the "internet eye in the sky?"  It has everything to do with it, when a person writes "keywords" that are a concern to American homeland security, that person is added to a "Homeland Security watch list" and if that person is researching, investigating, photographing, filmmaking on any of these subjects, then they will be added onto this list.  When someone is on the list, then the government, Homeland Security will have the right to arrest, question, or detain that person without any explanation, rights to make a phone call, for any amount of time and without any legal representation.  Now that is a hard call and a scary one.

The fourth amendment reads: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Is not the passing of CISPA creating the legal ability for the government (what ever branch) to follow citizens actions, opinions, online published papers, published articles, images, or emails and conversations using the written word or even voiced such as on Skype or Google, against the fourth amendment?  This action will Kill the Forth Amendment. 

In the end, it boils down to who is reading the key words and what kind of mood they are in that day if they report you or not. If anyone in the corporation feels that the citizen in this case, journalist, is approaching information that concerns the said "national interest, sensitive, secret or protected from disclosure then that information," journalist will be considered a "threat".  Remember it is the government or "homeland security" that can distinguish which materials are public or protected from disclosure not the companies.

CISPA puts the companies into the position of becoming "informers" with the promise of shielding them from any legal responsibility.  The government and these companies, (see supporters of CISPA list) tell the citizens that the law protects the populations and tech companies from cyber attacks.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers"

That freedom was suppressed in Germany by President Paul Von Hindenburg, as Adolf Hitler was coming into power.  Hitler suppressed press freedom through the Joseph Goebbels' Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda where which the government acted as a central point for all media, issuing orders as to what stories could or could not be told. In this way, important realities were kept from the citizens and the journalists did not have a choice to take action in fear of execution. 

This bill instills increased fear among the American people.  I always hear people say, "Well, I'm not doing anything wrong, they can do what they want.  I have nothing to hide."  Wait a minute, does this mean because you are a "good person" that you will watch our civil rights drift away?  What happens when you become really angry about what can most likely happen in America's future when our freedoms are really gone and you want to say something or do something about it, like create a petition?  If the CISPA bill passes, you will be faced with the fear regarding, your postings on Facebook, web searches, sending emails, writing blog posts, any communication online...for fear that someone could "come knocking" on your door.  This has already happened to over 50,000 American citizens, and some of them have quietly been deported.

If "they" don't like what you are doing, they will have the right to: shut you down, your website, your blog, your business, and your existence.

Reporters Without Borders put it this way, "The definition of potential threats is even broader. It targets ‘‘efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy” a system or network, the “theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information”.  CISPA in its current form is written in broad scope.  The information that the companies share is not narrow and limited.  Information sharing should be about increasing Internet users' security, not government surveillance.

Related Articles:
Stop the Cyber Intelligence Sharing Protection Act

CISPA Supporters List
True America: Where Lies Become the Truth
Procedures for handling Assemblies and Mass Demonstrations in D.C. 

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA)

18 April 2012
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) would allow companies doing business in the US to collect exact records of all of our online activities and hand them over to the US government, without ever notifying us that we are being watched. No warrant, no legal cause and no due process required. To make matters worse, the bill provides the government and corporations with blanket immunity to protect them from being sued for violation of privacy and other illegal actions.

The bill’s supporters claim that consumer information will be protected, but the reality is that huge loopholes would make everything we do online fair game -- and nowadays, from banking to shopping, our private information is all stored on the Internet.

CISPA is being moved forward in Congress and will be voted upon in days. Let’s raise a massive outcry to stop corporations from giving the US a blank check to monitor our every move.

Right now, the US is poised to pass a new law that would permit US agents to spy on almost everything we do online. But we can stop them before the final vote.

Companies that we trust with our personal information, like Microsoft and Facebook, are key supporters of this bill that lets corporations share all user activity and content with US government agents without needing a warrant in the name of cyber-security -- nullifying privacy guarantees for almost everyone around the world, no matter where we live and surf online.

If enough of us speak out, we can stop companies that profit from our business from supporting cyber-spying. Sign the petition to these key net corporations now:

Click below to take action:


This year, we helped stop SOPA, PIPA and ACTA -- all dire threats to the Internet. Now, let’s block CISPA and end the US government attack on our Internet.
Related Articles:
CISPA Supporters List
 CISPA and Journalism
True America: Where Lies Become the Truth
Procedures for handling Assemblies and Mass Demonstrations in D.C. 

16 April 2012

Olympus E-510

I had a client the other day for my photo tours (a plug) and she had an Olympus E-510 that I could not figure out how to use in "manual mode"  I like my clients to use manual mode when they are learning how to use the camera and take images.  I believe that working in manual really helps the photographer to understand the technical side so that they can become as creative as they want.  They will learn to "rule" the camera, rather than the camera being in charge of what style of images they take. 

I felt sort-of "bad" because I did not know her camera and I was there to teach.  Usually, I can take a digital like canons, nikons and pentax digital cameras and figure them out quickly so we can run around and take images.  It was a very rainy day and the client decided that she wanted to sit down and learn the functions of her camera.

The Olympus brand has some of their own "Olympus lingo" and we did not have a manual so we had to play around with it.  We ended up taking some nice shots and I can't wait until she gets back home to send some to me.  I will put them online, with her permission, of course! 

The Olympus E-510 is actually a nice camera once you figure it out.  It has some options that some of the others do not have; you can take images in "live view" mode, meaning that you can view your image through the LCD rather than the view finder.  This is what makes the camera work a bit differently than most.  The other nice option is when you want to view your image in the LCD, the image rotates according to how you are holding your camera!  It also has four different "play" view modes, single shot, thumbnails multiple shots, a slide show and a calendar.  The camera automatically sorts the images by dates, so in calendar mode you can click the date and view the images taken on that specific day. 

Below are some bullet points of what we discovered, in case it can help any of you:
    * the "sswf" on the top of your camera, blinks when you turn it on.  This means: that the dust cleaner is active.  it means: super sonic wave filter (Olympus terms)
    * P on your dialer means program mode
    * S means shutter mode
    * A means aperture mode
    * M means manual mode
    * To change settings:  click on info you will see that screen that we kept looking at;  here is where you can change your ISO, and other setting:  click okay (in the center dial on the right) and the ISO page will show up, press the arrows to change that setting. 
    * White Balance (WB) click okay after you change the ISO, then the arrow until the WB setting is highlights, then okay;  here you can change it to overcast, auto, sunny, inside etc...scroll to the desired setting and click okay.
    * You can do the same with metering (area, spot etc), HQ and SQ means high quality and standard quality.
    * Flash: you can set the flash manually in the same way that you change your other settings above: 1/4;  1/16 and 1/64
    * Your camera is one of 4 digital that lets you take live view: this is that button we would press to see the image on the screen when taking photos.  (I will try to describe it here: the small button on the right side that has the screen icon, near just below that IS button) when you press on that, it goes to live screen.  The mirror in the camera flips up (that noise that you hear) and the view finder blacks out.  This is when you get all that stuff you don't like onto your LCD screen.   (Now we know)
    * You can use that "display mode" with all the icons, and switch between them by pressing the info button.
    * Here is something important:  In live view mode your camera will not autofocus when you press the shutter button 1/2 way; BUT you can press the AEL button to autofocus.
    * You will hear the mirror (That sound you kept hearing) when taking a picture in live view mode; the mirror will open, focus take the picture and snap up again.
    * IS button means: image stabilization. there are two settings:  one for static subjects(IS2)  and one for subjects moving horizontal. (IS 1)  This stabilizes your camera, while shooting in live mode to reduce the camera shake.
    * When taking a shot in live view, you can magnify the view by clicking on the Okay button. to remove the magnification, click okay again.
    * You have different "play" modes:  standard one photo view, multiple image view and slideshow view.  To change your view:  press menu > scroll to play (the play icon) scroll to click the views. click okay.

14 April 2012

Canon vs Nikon? Which Camera to Buy?

Susan Brannon
Entry Level Camera's

For starters, I use the Nikon.  Why?  Through the years, I have seen tons of images from friends, online, at exhibitions and after a while I noticed that the quality of images that I liked and choices of lens's was from a Nikon.  In the end, that is all that I purchase.  The newer Digital camera's have a nice feature that you can interchange the lens (of certain type) from a Nikon or a Canon

So, who am I go write an article on a Canon vs Nikon camera?  Well, in my work, I have had many clients in my workshops that have Canon's and I have had to become familiar with them.  Don't get me wrong here, they are nice camera's and take wonderful images.  I think that in the end, it really depends on your "style" and taste. 

Both the digital SRL Nikon and Canon cameras are "user friendly" easy to navigate and quick with the shutter speeds.  I have noticed that each type of Nikon or Canon, has a different interface.  It sounds like I am talking about computer's and software, which in reality, that is what these digital camera's are.  So, if you are not tech savvy, trying to decide on what camera to use can be a bit challenging. 

If you walk into a real camera store, you know the ones that only sell cameras and the equipment that go with them, not the Targets or other retail stores, the salesperson will sound like me.  He or she will gear you towards the camera of their choice.  This is why I say that it is a matter of taste, in the end.

Okay, so in reference to my last article, "Photography: Getting Started: What Camera to Buy?"  I will go into some more detail.  I don't want to overwhelm a new photographer, so I like to make things as simple as possible.  Nikon and Canon are always in competition with each other, when one company comes out with a new camera, the other company announces a camera that is competitive.

What a Nikon D3100 offers:        What a Canon T3 (1100D) offers:
cost: $550                                                $500
Megapixels:  12.2                                     14.2
Stabilization: In lens                               In lens
Memory Card: SD/SDHC/SDXC           SD/SHC/SDXC
Max. Shutter Speed:  1/4000                    1/4000
Max. Photo Capture:  3 per sec.                3 per sec.
ISO Range:  100 to 6400                        100 to 12800
Movie Modes:  Quicktime MOV               H.264
              1280 x 720p(30fps)                   1920x1080p; 1280 x 720; 640x424
LCD:  Static 2.7in                                  Static 3in
Viewfinder: Pentamirror (95%)               Pentamirror (95%)
Autofocus:  9 point                                 11 point
Face Detect AF: No                               Yes
Sensor Dimensions: 22.2 x 14.8              23.6 x 15.7
                   (1.6x crop)                         (1.5x crop)
HDMI Port: Yes                                   Yes
Live View:  Yes                                      Yes
Built in Flash: Yes                                Yes
Compatible Lenses: All Canon EF        Nikon AF-I and AF-S
           and EF-S
Demensions: 5.1 x 3.9x 3.07 in              4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in
            129.5 x 99 x 76 mm                124 x 96 x 75 mm
Weight:  17.46 oz (495g)                      17.8oz (505g)

You will notice that there is not much of a difference in the camera's.  The one difference is the Rebel T3 and the Nikon D3100 is that the Nikon D3100 is NOT 100% backwards-compatible with older Nikon lenses -  while the Rebel T3 works well with large number of Canon and third party lenses.

You can look at the "image quality" by searching for image reviews and view the image differences and see which ones you may like best.  In the end, a lot will be decided on how you intend to use the camera, and how you plan to upgrade.

Related Articles:
Photography: Getting Started