September 12th, 2014

Nikon’s New D750 Brings Several Firsts to the FX Line

D750_24_120_front34l

Nikon rolled out the pre-Photokina red carpet for its newest full frame digital SLR: the D750.

Situated between the D610 and D810, the D750 will have several firsts for Nikon’s full frame lineup including a new 24.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, Wi-Fi capability, a vari-angle LCD and a new build that makes it the thinnest DSLR in the company’s lineup.

According to Nikon, the slender build is due to its monocoque design. The body features magnesium alloy parts integrated with carbon fiber in the front and grip assembly to make a light yet weather-resistant package. The vari-angle LCD screen will be 3.2-inches in size and feature 1,229K dots for high-resolution viewing.

The D750 features a native ISO range of 100-12800 and can extend as high as 51200 or to a low of 50. It uses the same EXPEED 4 processing engine found on the D810 as well as its 91,000 pixel 3D Color Matrix Matrix III metering sensor. There’s also a highlight weighted metering option for shooting spot-lit details against black backgrounds. D750_24_120_top_2

The AF system features 51 points including 15 cross type sensors, 11 of which are compatible with teleconverter lenses shooting at f/8 or faster. The camera’s Advanced Multi-Cam 3500-FX II AF system can track objects in continuous shooting mode at the camera’s maximum burst speed of 6.5fps in either RAW or JPEG. A first for any Nikon DSLR, the D750 can lock focus on subjects in as little as -3 EV illumination.

It features a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000, shy of the D810’s 1/8000 and it’s rated for 150,000 cycles.

Nikon also added a new clarity parameter to its picture controls to adjust mid tone contrast. Like the D810, there’s also a flat picture control to deliver more dynamic range during video shoots (ideal for color grading in post-processing). All the picture controls are adjustable in .25 increments.

As noted above, the D750 is Nikon’s first FX-series camera to offer built-in Wi-Fi. Using the company’s Wireless Mobile Utility App you can  transfer images to smartphones or use mobile devices as real-time viewfinders and/or remote triggers. With the UT1 communications unit and the WT-5a wireless transceiver, you can enable wireless FTP transfers or trigger and operate the camera in HTTP mode through a web browser (where you’ll see a real-time live view preview as well as have the ability to start and stop recording).

D750_back

Video Features

When it comes to video, the D750 borrows heavily from the D810’s feature set. It offers 1920 x 1080 HD video recording with a choice of 60, 30 or 24fps with full manual control over exposure settings. The Power Aperture function gives shooters the ability to seamlessly and steplessly open and close the aperture during recording, another goodie derived from the D810.

Video is recorded to the D750’s two SD card slots and can also be simultaneously output to external recorders and monitors via HDMI.

On the audio front, there’s a built-in stereo mic, external mic input, and a headphone jack for audio monitoring.

The D750 will ship this month for $2,295, body only. A kit including the 24-120mm lens will ship in October, though pricing wasn’t announced.

More Gear

AFS_20_1.8G

In addition to the the D750, Nikon added  the AF-S Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED wide angle full frame lens to its lineup. It’s the company’s first wide angle lens with an f/1.8 aperture. It features a seven blade diaphragm, two ED elements, two aspheric elements and a 77mm filter size. It will ship in September for $799.

Finally, there will also be a new speed light in the Nikon lineup. The SB-500 has a guide number of 24 at ISO 100 and covers a 16mm angle for full frame cameras (24mm for DX sensors) with a head that swivels vertically at a 90 degree angle and rotates at 180 degrees. It incorporates a 100lux LED for video lighting and accepts a pair of AA batteries. It will also ship in September for $249 with a small stand so you can mount it to a tripod or on a table top for off-camera use.

SB500_front34r

September 8th, 2014

Robert Frerck on How to Track Down Copyright Infringements in Textbooks

After publishing our story about the dozens of lawsuits filed against textbook publishers for reproductions of photos that far exceed the limits of usage licenses, we heard from travel photographer Robert Frerck. He won a summary judgment in August on his copyright infringement claim against Pearson Education, and a settlement last May from McGraw-Hill on a separate infringement claim.

“It seems that once a publisher used your image with a valid license, you were fair game for any additional products that they might fancy to produce,” he told PDN via e-mail. In the following excerpt of our exchange with Frerck, he touches on the risk of suing clients, then shares his advice and strategies for tracking down infringements by textbook publishers.

PDN: Was it difficult to bring suit against a client?
Robert Frerck: I had been doing substantial business with all of these publishers for decades, so it was a very difficult decision. I was aware that if I proceeded with this action I might be be putting an end to several profitable client relationships. However I was also very disturbed that these companies had not been truthful in their actions with me. Over [many] years I had met many of their picture editors personally and we had developed a relationship based on trust and I considered many of them to be personal friends. So I felt betrayed when I learned that these companies were knowingly cheating me as a standard business practice. I think that in the end that was the deciding factor in persuading me to pursue legal action.

PDN: What has the process been like for you? Have you ever questioned whether it was worth the headache?
RF:  It has been very frustrating at times. However, it has also been rewarding to see that this information has come out and that my position has been vindicated. The bottom line is that it has been well worth the effort, from both a “securing justice” and a financial perspective.

PDN Are there any particular lessons you’ve learned from your experience pursuing these claims? Any advice you’d give other photographers who might be considering in a similar position?
RF: Fortunately, I still had almost two decades of past invoices and these were coupled with their respective purchase orders and related communications. Most importantly the language of these invoices very clearly stated: what reproduction rights I was licensing and what I was not licensing. So this was sufficient to make a case. However I then decided to expand my data collection in a somewhat different way from other photographers in similar cases. Rather than simply looking at past invoices and making those invoices the substance of my claims, I decided to purchase almost all of the textbooks that were indicated by my invoice record[s].

By actually having the textbooks in my hands, I discovered many things that were not revealed simply by looking at the invoices. For example there were numerous uses of my images that were not mentioned on the purchase orders and consequently never invoiced or licensed. Where only one use was indicated on the purchase order, I might find a second or third use of an image in the actual text (for example, a second use in the table of contents). I also found images that were indicated for use as a 1/4 page on the purchase order but in the text were used as a double page chapter opener, a mistake with a huge impact on the bottom line.

Another interesting thing I discovered – and for this I bless Google and the internet and companies like Amazon: I would find the title of the text that was listed on my purchase order/invoice but then I would also find that there was an “International Edition” of that same title; or a “Spanish Language Edition” or a newer “expanded edition” or a “CD or internet website use” that I had never licensed. Many of my claims against publishers are for uses in products that were never licensed in the first place. It seems that once a publisher used your image with a valid license, you were fair game for any additional products that they might fancy to produce. Unless you were actively spending countless hours researching these titles on the internet you would never have been aware that this was occurring. I guess that is what the publishers were counting on.

In the final analysis, pursuing this type of litigation is not for everyone; first it helps to have reliable records and a lot of patience and perseverance. However, in a way it is like the unraveling of a good mystery and you are trying to discover all of the wrinkles in the plot. You must also be prepared to put up with a lot of BS from the defense lawyers, but my lawyers have been great in countering them. And most importantly, remember that the truth will be found out in the end.

Related:
Has a Textbook Publisher Trampled Your Copyrights? There’s a Solution for That.

September 5th, 2014

Photographers Settle Copyright Suit Against Google. But On What Terms?

A copyright infringement lawsuit against Google that began with a bang in 2010 and plenty of bluster by trade groups about protecting the rights of their members has finally ended with a whimper.

The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), Advertising Photographers of America (APA), Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and several other trade groups representing photographers and visual artists have announced a settlement of their class action lawsuit over the Google Books program on (mostly) undisclosed terms.

“The parties are pleased to have reached a settlement that benefits everyone and includes funding for the PLUS Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping rights holders and users communicate clearly and efficiently about rights in works. Further terms of the agreement are confidential,” NPPA announced today on its web site.

The lawsuit, almost identical to a separate lawsuit filed against Google by the Authors Guild, was a reaction to Google’s Books Search program. Under that program, Google has been working with several libraries to scan books and periodicals and make the content available through its search engine results. The plaintiffs sued in 2010 to stop Google from copying, scanning or displaying copyrighted photos and other visuals in printed publications without permission.

Under the terms of the settlement, NPPA says, Google admits no liability. And with no mention by plaintiffs about how a revenue stream from the Google Books program will be shared with visual artists going forward, it seems unlikely that today’s settlement included any concessions from Google to pay license fees for images scanned as part of its program.

Last November, a federal court dismissed the Authors Guild lawsuit on fair use grounds. That decision likely weakened the hand of ASMP and other photo industry plaintiffs in their claim against Google.

But ASMP and the other plaintiffs launched their lawsuit with high expectations.

ASMP said in 2010 that the goal of the suit was to make sure photographers are “fairly and reasonably compensated” when their works are distributed through Google search results.

When NPPA joined the lawsuit in 2013, NPPA’s then-president said in a prepared statement: “I feel it is the NPPA’s responsibility to protect that principle of ownership, and not allow companies like Google to infringe upon our rights uncontested.”

Advertising Photographers of America also joined the lawsuit in 2013. “Holding Google Books responsible for their flagrant copyright infringement is something APA has been working on and we’re pleased to continue this fight in conjunction with the other plaintiffs,” the APA president said at the time.

Meanwhile, the Authors Guild is in the process of appealing its copyright claim against Google to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. NPPA said in its announcement today, “This settlement does not affect Google’s current litigation with the Authors Guild or otherwise address the underlying questions in that suit.”

Related:
Judge Dismisses Authors Guild’s Lawsuit Against Google
ASMP, Other Trade Groups Sue Google (for PDN subscribers)

September 4th, 2014

Video Pick: Wildlife Advocate’s Story Wins Yale e360 Video Prize

Yale-360-home“Badru’s Story,” a video by the documentary photography/video team of Benjamin Drummond and  Sara Joy Steele about efforts to monitor the effects of climate change on biodiversity in Uganda’s Bwindi National Park, has won first place in a video contest held by Yale Environment 360, the online publication of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. The team will receive $2,000, and their video will be shown on e360.yale.edu for 30 days; the second- and third-place winners will be shown in the coming weeks.

The video follows researcher Badru Mugerwa as he leads a team cutting through the dense forest to set 60 camera traps that will record the movement of wildlife. After making into into the dense growth and painstakingly setting each camera trap, Mugerwa says, “You better have interesting things on this camera after 30 days.” He is part of the Tropical Ecological Assessment & Monitoring (TEAM) Network, a global network of field station which records similar data across the tropics. “Badru’s Story” includes some of the thousands of images the camera traps in Bwindi have recorded, including photos of elephants, gorilla families, chimpanzees (some of whom check out the cameras quite closely), anteaters, leopards, and numerous birds. A representative of the Ugandan Wildlife Authority interviewed in the video notes that Bwindi is one of the few forests in the world “where you find gorillas and chimpanzees feeding together.”

Drummond and Steele, whose work has often focused on the human effects of climate change, also show, in video and stills, the community living around the park

TEAM Network: Badru’s Story from Benjamin Drummond / Sara Steele on Vimeo.

The Yale e360 video contest was judged by editor Roger Cohn; Elizabeth Kolbert, an environmental writer for The New Yorker and e360, and documentary filmmaker Thomas Lennon. Yale e360 supports and publishes documentary work on environmental issues. (See PDN’s article on their support of Evan Abramson’s video about the conflict over water resources on the Kenya and  Ethiopia border.)

Related Articles:
Video Pick: One Family Business Copes with Climate Change

An Under-Reported War Over Water [A Project Supported by Yale e360)

September 3rd, 2014

Mary F. Calvert Wins $25,000 Women’s Initiative Grant

From "Missing in Action: Homeless Female Veterans." © Mary F. Calvert

From “Missing in Action: Homeless Female Veterans” © Mary F. Calvert

Photographer Mary F. Calvert has won the Alexia Foundation’s 2014 Women’s Initiative Grant to fund her project called “Missing in Action: Homeless Female Veterans,” the foundation announced this morning. Calvert was a finalist for the $25,000 grant last year, when it was initiated by the Alexia Foundation to support photojournalism projects about issues affecting women.

The Alexia Foundation says Calvert explained in her grant proposal that female veterans are the fastest growing segment of the US homeless population, and are four times more likely than civilian women to become homeless because of health issues, and psychological and economic stress. Those issues are often exacerbated by the strains of parenthood. But the Department of Veteran’s affairs is ill-equipped to address the needs of female veterans, according to critics.

“Mary Calvert’s project on homeless female veterans in Los Angeles qualifies as the poster story for our mission statement,” Alexia Foundation co-founder Aphrodite Tsairis said on the foundation’s blog. “The stark emotion evoked in her images promises to deliver the raw naked truth about a neglected segment in the military.”

Calvert’s work will focus on homeless female veterans in the Los Angeles area. She will explore the efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs and other organizations to provide services, as well as “put a human face on this neglected crisis” by allowing women to tell their stories in their own voices, according to the Alexia Foundation.

As a condition of the grant, Calvert is expected to submit a project portfolio of at least 60 images by March 1, 2015. The Alexia Foundation expects to assist her in creating a multimedia production of the finished work, according to communications director Eileen Mignoni.

Mignoni says the Alexia Foundation received 400 applications for the Women’s Initiative Grant this year. The foundation’s nine-member Photojournalism Advisory Council selected the winner. The advisory council members include Jim Dooley, Brian Storm, Ed Kashi, Ami Vitale, Pim Van Hemmen, Huang Wen, Whitney Johnson, Aidan Sullivan and Lacy Austin.

Related Articles:
Anatomy of a  Successful Grant Application: Tim Matsui on the Women’s Initiative Grant (for PDN subscribers)

Tim Matsui Wins Alexia Foundation Women’s Initiative Grant

September 3rd, 2014

Photojournalists Launch “Selfie Against the Death Penalty” Campaign

Documentary photographer Marc Asnin and VII Association, a non-profit organization founded by VII Photo Agency, have launched a social media campaign that advocates for the abolition of the death penalty.

The “Photographers Selfie Against the Death Penalty” campaign is part of a collaboration between Asnin’s Neverland Publications and VII Association on Final Words, a book and traveling exhibition that presents the final statements of 515 inmates executed in Texas since 1982. The aim of the project is to focus on “the humanity at the center of the death penalty in America,” the organizers said in a statement.

To participate, photographers are being asked to upload an image to the Final Words site, and to finish the statement “I stand against the death penalty because….” Among the photographers who have participated so far are Larry Fink, Rudy Archuleta, Anthony Barboza, Sim Chi Yin, and several members of the VII Photo Agency.

For full instructions for how to participate in the campaign, visit the Final Words site here.

September 3rd, 2014

Russian Photojournalist Missing in Eastern Ukraine Confirmed Dead

Andrei Stenin, 33, a photographer with the Russian state agency RIA Novosti, who had been reported missing in the eastern Ukraine August 5, has been found dead, his agency confirmed today. In a statement, Dmitry Kiselev, the head of RIA Novosti, said Stenin had been traveling in a convoy of vehicles carrying civilians fleeing the fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops.  “His car was hit by shots and it had been burnt on the road close to Donetsk,” a stronghold of pro-Russian rebels where Stenin had been reporting before he disappeared. An autopsy confirmed a body found in the car was Stenin’s.

After his disappearance, RIA Novosti published a report, based on an anonymous source, that Stenin was being held by the Ukrainian security service (SBU). Though SBU denied the allegation, RIA Novosti, Russian media organizations and international press freedom groups around the world had advocated for his release. Kisolev told press today, “It turns out he was not a prisoner, he has been dead a month.”

The Russian foreign ministry called on Ukraine’s government to conduct a “thorough and unbiased investigation into the murder of Andrei Stenin and severely punish those responsible.”

Related article
Photographer Reported Missing in Eastern Ukraine

 

August 28th, 2014

Want to Buy a Drink for the Photographer Who Delivered James Foley’s Last Letter?

www.davidbrabyn.com/buy-daniel-rye-a-beer

www.davidbrabyn.com/buy-daniel-rye-a-beer

After the murder of journalist James Foley by his captors in Syria, his parents released to the public their last communication from him. Because all of Foley’s letters were confiscated by his captors, he asked a fellow captive to commit to memory a letter for his family.

Photojournalist Daniel Rye Ottosen (known professionally as Daniel Rye) had been kidnapped in May 2013 by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and was held with Foley for 13 months. When he was released in June, he called Foley’s parents and dictated the letter from memory. Foleys thanked him “from the bottom of our hearts” on the Free James Foley Facebook page where they shared the letter.

When photojournalist David Brabyn, a friend of Foley’s, heard about Rye’s message, he recalls, “I thought, what a thing to do! I wish I could buy him a drink.” Brabyn figured out a way to do that, and he’s offering others a way to thank Rye, too.

Brabyn has set up the Buy Daniel Rye a Beer web page, with a Pay Pal account where people can chip in beer money. (In addition to being a photographer, Brabyn is also a website consultant at digitaltechparis, and has experience at charity fundraising:  He and Foley worked together organizing the Friends of Anton benefit photo auction, which raised over $135,000 for the children of photojournalist Anton Hammerl, who was killed in Libya when Foley was captured and detained the first time, in 2011, along with two other journalists.)

Brabyn got in touch with a friend of Rye’s who will make sure someone picks up the photographer’s bar tabs while the funds last; friends who treat Rye will be reimbursed from the money collected through the website. Brabyn acknowledges that Rye may have need for more than beer, but says the Buy Daniel Rye a Beer effort is simply a way to say thanks. “This isn’t about turning his life around. It’s just a friendly gesture from people who think he did something great,” Brabyn says. “If he wants to order wine or anything other than beer, that’s fine.”

Given the number of people around the world who have been touched by the letter Rye delivered, there might be a lot of people thanking him. “I think what he did is an astonishing achievement: to be locked up in terrible conditions, in a war zone, for so long and yet manage to memorize this long text,” Brabyn notes. “On top of that feat of the mind, he delivered this moving letter that is obviously so hugely meaningful to Jim’s family.”

Related articles

Danish Photojournalist Released After 13 Months in Captivity

Print Sales, Web Site to Benefit Anton Hammerl’s Children

August 26th, 2014

Upcoming Grant Deadlines for Emerging Photographers, Photojournalists and First Photo Books

Cover of "Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene" by 2013 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography winner Gerard H. Gaskin. Published by Duke University Press, 2013.

Cover of “Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene” by 2013 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography winner Gerard H. Gaskin. Published by Duke University Press, 2013.

Three major photography grants have rapidly approaching deadlines in early September: burn magazine’s Emerging Photographer Fund; the First Book Prize in Photography, offered by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and the Honickman Foundation in Philadelphia; and the Carmignac Foundation’s Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award.

Burn magazine—curated by Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey—has extended the deadline for their annual award to 6:00 p.m. EDT September 2, 2014. The grant supports the continuation of a personal project, whether journalistic or artistic, and is funded by anonymous donors. This year’s jurors will include The New York Times’ Lens Blog’s James Estrin and the photojournalist Donna Ferrato.

The competition is open to emerging photographers of any age, and the entry fee is $25. The major prize is $10,000; several smaller, minor prizes have been awarded in recent years. Four grants were awarded in 2013—one major to Diana Markosian for her essay ‘My Father The Stranger,’ and three minors, to Iveta Vaivode for her essay “Somewhere on Disappearing Path,” Oksana Yushko for her essay “Balaklava: The Lost History” and Maciej Pisuk for his essay “Under The Skin. Photographs From Brzeska Street.” To enter, visit burnmagazine.org.

The First Book Prize in Photography is a biennial grant offered to North American photographers who have yet to publish a book-length photo project, and “use their cameras for creative exploration” to make work that is “visually compelling, that bears witness and that has integrity of purpose.” Past judges include Robert Adams, Maria Morris Hambourg, Robert Frank, Mary Ellen Mark, William Eggleston and Deborah Willis. Past winners include Gerald H. Gaskin, for his book Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene, and Jannette Williams for The Bathers.

The prize includes $3,000, publication of a photo book, inclusion in a website showcasing finalists and a solo exhibition at the Archive of Documentary Arts in Duke’s Rubenstein Library. Entrants must submit 40 photos with captions, a one-page artist statement, a one-page CV and $70 by 11:59 pm, September 15.

This year, Joshua Chuang—chief curator of the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona—will confer with a selection committee of accomplished photographers, editors and publishers to choose between 12 and 20 finalists, who will then be asked to submit ten sample prints by December 1, 2014. Sandra S. Philips, senior curator of photography at SFMOMA, will review the finalists, select the winner, and write the introduction to the winner’s published book. To enter, visit firstbookprizephoto.com.

The Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award is a competition begun in 2009 to support and promote investigative photography. The Carmignac Foundation hopes to bring light to areas and issues that have not yet captured the world’s attention, but are nonetheless crucial to geopolitics and global freedom of speech and human rights. This year’s theme is “Lawless Areas in France,” focusing on “political, legal or socio-economic no man’s land subject to deregulation—where the authority of the French Republic is challenged.”

Funding in-depth photographic reportage, this year’s prize includes €50,000, financing for a monograph, a touring exhibition through France, Italy, Germany and the U.K. and a guaranteed purchase of four prints by the foundation from the winning photographer. A preselection committee will shortlist between ten and 15 candidates, who will be sent to a jury that will convene in Paris on October 30. The deadline to apply is midnight, GMT, September 28, 2014; the name of the winning candidate will be kept confidential (for security reasons, according to Carmignac) until July 2015. To enter, apply online here.

August 26th, 2014

Free Seminar Alert: David McLain on 4K Video Workflow

David_McLain2(Sponsored) Come see why 4K video is quickly becoming the new standard in video capture and learn about workflow options at this free seminar being conducted by National Geographic veteran photographer & Sony Artisan of Imagery David McLain.  At this seminar (one of three at a day-long event), you’ll experience how McLain used the Sony a7s full-frame interchangeable lens camera to cover the World Cup in Brazil and learn why professional photographers and videographers alike are moving to 4K video. August 28, 2014, 11:00 a.m. at the B&H SuperStore in New York City.

More information at: www.bhphotovideo.com/find/eventDetails.jsp/id/1879

For more on McLain’s filmmaking, see PDN’s “Frames Per Second: Documentary Film Traces the Roots of Play.”