Friday, May 23, 2008

Competition Winners Announced... I'm In!

Home sweet home... flew back from yesterday, arriving back on Maui late in the evening. As hard as it was to leave the Island of the Gods, it's always great to get back home. Checking email this morning, I find a note from Cynthia Pegolo, Publisher/Editor of 35mm Magazine in my inbox. Great news!. The above image has been selected as first place winner in the magazine's photo contest.

As first place winner, I get a spread in the upcoming issue in addition to a free 1/4 page advertisement. My work will also be included in an art exhibition slated to take place at the Haiku Town Center in late July.

What a nice way to return home.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Back After A Few days Absence

It's been quite a hectic week since arriving in Ubud. Ceremony, ceremony and more ceremony. Add in taking time to catch up and spend time with resident expat friends and the old plate has been very full, which hasn't been easy considering that I've been down with the flu for a few days now. So far, there have been many highlights of the week... in fact, highlights have been too numerous to write about given the infuriatingly slow internet connections available in Indonesia. I will mention one evening that really stands out and that was spending time meeting and making family portraits of my friend Nyoman Eri's family at their family compound in Kedewatan. Everyone showed up in the ceremonial finery and represented every bit the beauty and grace of the Balinese living on this island. Above are a couple of photos from the afternoon:

(top) Me, Komang (Eri's youngest son and my new best friend) and Eri's beautiful neice, Sita

(middle) "Kumpi", Eri's Grandfather, reported to be approximately 105 years old and me

(bottom) The Family, dressed to the nines

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Adventure Tours for Couch Potatoes

Sign as seen in Ubud, Bali. For those of us that don't already know our way around the couch.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Getting Around

Pura Tanah Lot

After three days in the south part of the island, I've made my way to the interior mountain village of Ubud, often referred to as Bali's Culture Capitol. The temperatures here are cooler, the pace slower and considerably less trendy. Much of my time so far has been spent catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. By chance, I joined friends at the Fly Cafe the day before yesterday where I met travel photographer extrodinaire and Getty contributor Glen Allison,,founder of the Stock Artists Alliance (SAA). Greg is building a fantasy home on the ridge overlooking the Tjampuan River just on the outskirts of town. We talked for quite a while as he showed me photos of the construction progress, discussed the state of the stock industry and the wretched Orphan Works legislation about to be debated in Congress.

There have been a couple of other chance encounters too strange to go into here, at least not until I can wrap my own mind around them. Suffice to say that magic is in the air and things unexplainable are happening all around me.

The above photograph is the temple Pura Tanah Lot, one of Bali's four protective directional temples, guarding the southwestern coastline from the forces of evil. A popular destination for tourists who come for dramatic sunsets, the place was a crawling with tourists, most of them from the Island of Java and taking their holiday in Bali.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Bali High

It's 5:15pm friday afternoon Bali time, 11:15pm thursday nite back home. Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine & chemistry I managed to spend most of both flights in dreamland. The downside was that I didn't sleep a wink last night after checking in at the hotel. It was a very long night of channel surfing as I flipped the dial between BBC News and several really cheesy Indonesian TV dramas. Think Bolliwood films without the dancing, without the music & singing, add transparent martial arts effects and you start to get the idea.

Today was spent getting my bearings, taking care of business, changing dollars into rupiah, visiting my village here and fighting an extereme case of jetlag. The sun is less than an hour from setting over the Indian Ocean as I type from Legian Beach where the beautiful people are slowly dragging themselves off of the sand and into the cafes for the cocktail hour. The island is busier than I have seen it in years, at least since post-bomb #1. Traffic is madness, urban sprawl is sprawling at an exponential rate since last year, while the infrastructure is still for the most part in a very sad state of disrepair.

Still, it's good to be here. The surf is crashing with head high close-out sets at low tide. My main man & chief fixer, Ida Bagus Adi, picked me up this morning as we did our business in town then headed up the coast to Tegalmengkeb to check on the progress of the rice harvest in my village here. Stopping at our favorite warung & eatery on the way back to town, we gorged on balinese roast suckling pig, rice, jackfruit soup & a lawar made of unripe papaya. Four hours later, I still haven't had the runs and life is good. Back at the hotel, two drunken aussie gals were singing Fleetwood Mac songs at the top of their lungs as they finished off their 5th glasses of the potent palm liquor Arak for the afternoon.. Songs from "Tusk" were on the playlist.

The internet connection here is slow, so I will not attempt to upload any pics from the day's outing. Maybe tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Away From the Blog

I will be traveling for the next couple of weeks and away from the studio and blog. Tomorrow morning I fly to Honolulu, then on to Guam where I land just long enough to pass thru immigration and reboard another flight to Denpasar, Bali. All in all, about a 13 hour stint cooped up in a metal tube speeding thru the ethers before I reach the Island of the Gods. I hope to be able to post pics and entries during my travels providing I can access the internet from time to time. Stay tuned... I'm sure I will have an opportunity at least when I'm in the south to make an entry or two during breakfast in Blue Ocean Cafe on Legian Beach, where the food is good, the coffee strong and the wi-fi fast and free.

The above photo was taken in August 2006 during the cremation of the last living king of Batubulan. The burning sarcophagi, a magnificently constructed Banda Naga, representing a mythical snak/dragon creature along with an equally ornate Bull sarcophagus representing the high status and caste of the deceased (and also containing his remains), gave off such an intense heat that my polyester sarong began to melt even when standing 50 or more paces away.

Digital File Delivery & Orphaned Works Legislation

At the time I converted my image capture techniques from film based capture to digital, I spent a great deal of time learning from publishers, graphic designers & pre-press operators how to best deliver the new digital based images. Getting information like optimum colorspace for reproduction when preparing files for delivery helps to insure accurate reading and color reproduction once the files leave my hands. Basic color corrections, cropping, sharpening are all part of the new digital workflow now done in house by most photographers prior to delivery.

In my queries to designers and the rest, I was amazed the learn how often image providers deliver files without basic information regarding copyright, photographers contact information, etc. embedded in the meta-data of each file they deliver. More than once I have received calls from publishers or designers wanting to know if a certain photo they are intending to run was mine. It seems there was no attribution or copyright information attached to these files and they were now attempting to track down the source of that photo before sending it to press.

Now it seems the need for we, as photographers and image creators, to identify ourselves as creators and copyright holders of the images we make and deliver, publish on blogs, transmit via the web (email, ftp, etc) is even more urgent. The pending "Orphan Works" legislation would make available  to image users any photographs, text, or other copyrightable material when the owners are difficult or even impossible to find. As I understand it, when a work is difficult to attribute to a creator, any potential user of that image need only to register their intent to use the work with the copyright office, placing the onus of proof of ownership on the creator to check with the copyright office regularly to review literally tens of thousands of descriptions of "orphan" photographs submitted each week. After registering intent, infringers then need only to pay an orphan works search service to run an automated query of the available registries. This dilligent search will take only minutes, after which the search service will provide the intended infringer a certificate of a failed search for attribution of that image. The infringer will then be free and clear to make any and all uses of unattributed images they either found on the web, in their file drawers, or scanned from books or magazines where your name was either lost from the meta-data, cropped when scanned, etc.

Now comes the tricky part. I have learned that many website hosting services, image sharing sites like Flickr & Photobucket will strip meta-data from image files when they are uploaded to the various servers. Rule of thumb when using these services are to carefully read the Terms of Service before joining and uploading anything. I would also suggest that we all contact our web hosting providers to ask whether or not they make use of the practice of stripping meta-data from files. If, in fact, your web host does strip meta-data, it is important for you to let them know why it is so very urgent that they discontinue the practice. Contact Adobe and encourage them to create a meta-data lock which would prevent that information from being removed once the information is attached and locked within the image in any of their image processing software.

Be sure to include copyright information along with your contact information, any rights & use restriction info, even use license information in all files you produce and especially to all files you deliver to clients. Make it part of your standard workflow along with raw file processing, color-correction, sharpening... Your doing so proves your intent to protect your work and should the image be found elsewhere, your original file containing that information could very well save your ass by proving the end user willfully stripped that info from your file. Do this for each and every image you distribute! It's important!

The easiest way to embed your information in your image files is using Photoshop (I haven't really spent any time using Adobe's Lightroom or Apple's Aperature software, but assume these programs also contain tolls for attaching meta-data infor to these files). Go to File>Info and then simply fill in the data in the provided fields. There are windows there for all of your contact info, camera data, exposure data, license info, copyright notice, etc. Using CS, CS2 & CS3 Bridge, there are simple tools for creating meta-data templates to save and then batch attach to large numbers of files with a simple keystroke.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday/Personal Work

             Father & Friend   ©2001 Tony Novak-Clifford
                         #106   ©2008 Tony Novak-Clifford

                         Wailuku Train Trestle  ©2008 Tony Novak-Clifford

 Kula Agriculture Station Specimen   ©2007 Tony Novak-Clifford