Too Hot for the Birds!

Here in St. Louis, we're going into our second week of 100°+ temperatures, and even the birds are doing all they can to keep from burning alive! Case in point:

Too Hot for the Birds - Robin sunning wings
Nikon D7000 - 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 1/4000, ISO 800

This robin was sitting splayed out like this for at least five minutes outside my window. Another robin came over and started to do the same thing, but they both flew off after I accidentally hit one of the window blinds and they noticed my hulking 70-200mm lens.

Hummingbirds are also constantly popping back to the feeder my wife has very kindly kept full and fresh for the past couple weeks; I'm amazed these birds aren't just dropping dead in this crazy heat wave!

Beautiful Flower at the Cathedral

During today's Mass of Priesthood Ordination at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, I was waiting for the procession to start outside the entrance, and decided to stand in the garden between the Cathedral and the rectory for a few minutes, even though the sun was beating down (93°F in the morning!).

I was rewarded with a wonderful shot of this interesting little bug:

Daisy Bug

I haven't done a lot of flower/closeup photography in a while, but it seems this picture turned out just right, without any work. It was a nice little moment in a rather hectic day.

I'll be posting tons of pictures from the Ordination on Flickr soon. Working on processing them now (I've already whittled down over 1,000 photos to 450ish).

Photography book – thoughts and questions

I recently told my Facebook friends that I was thinking of writing a book to help people get better photos with their fancy cameras, and received a lot of positive feedback.

Jansen Baby Birthday
Getting consistently sharp, vivid, interesting photos doesn't have to be hard.

Some of the things I want to write about include:

  • Getting photos that aren't too bright or too dark.
  • Getting photos where people aren't blurry.
  • Making people look great.
  • Taking pictures that are beautiful, more often.

I don't want to be technical in this book, other than introducing people, slowly, to important concepts in photography. I want to show people through example and experience exactly what's going on when they snap a picture that they later find to be ugly, horrible, or too blurry or bright/dark to use.

Ethics in Media Use: Catholics are NOT Excused from Licensing, Copyright

As a Catholic who's worked in many different media fields (newspapers, photography, video production, and web development), I've seen a very wide array of copyright violations, improper media usage, and misuse of licensed assets. This seems to happen more in the non-profit world, where there is little or no budget for acquiring stock images, etc.

I'm extremely generous with my licensing for photos and other media I produce; typically, if someone asks to use a photo of mine, I'll send them a full-resolution JPEG and a license that allows them to use it for any non-profit cause.

However, what really gets under my skin is when I find my photos (especially) used in YouTube videos, for articles, and on posters, when I have never even been asked for permission, and when the photos clearly have 'All rights reserved' or some form of Creative Commons license.

Priest at Prayer
The lifted photo.