One has to wonder if there was planning behind the clothing selections of some of the Rolex competitors...
Winter is the time for me to catch up on the work that has fallen through the cracks and improve my workflow. Last year I moved my database back to Photoshelter, the team there has made a ton of improvements on the backend since I last used it. That combined with the ability to batch edit and keyword in Lightroom, I have a huge project in front of me bringing the archives up to date.
While I was going through images Dressage at Devon I found this file. (The walk down memory lane...) I love the big white blaze, and I too would hate to cover it up, so BOOM, awesome fly bonnet to match the marking!
12 hour days at the paper this week have put a crimp in my editing, but I am finally getting the last of Stephanie's senior portraits uploaded for her to see. This was my one preconceived image. I've learned over the years to not force these images to happen. If you do you tend to lose site of the big picture and miss some great organic opportunities.
That being said, I had mentioned this idea before even meeting our equine subject. For those who aren't horse people, this is a well known thoroughbred breeding stallion. Stallions can be aggressive, explosive and unprecdictable. So having Stephanie kneel in front of him and put her head close to his teeth was a bold proposition. And then I met Harry, and realized we could have put her whole head in his mouth and he would have accepted it and stood with his ears pricked, standing square and looking every bit the handsome, well behaved gentleman he is. (FYI, his babies have the same temperament!)
I am working on a basic edit for proofs from my senior portrait shoot this afternoon, and I have run into a terrible problem. THERE ARE VERY FEW TO CULL! Stephanie says she hasn't modeled before. I call BS on this statement! I will post more soon, but for now you will have to suffer with this sweetness.
As I drove to Saugerties for the Pfizer Million Grand Prix at HITS horse show, avoiding NYC bridges and tunnels and all the 9-11 retrospectives on the radio, the photo from a decade ago that has stuck with me the most is one from the American Gold Cup just days after.
My September 11th started with a sick dog so I was awake with the TV on for the break in the morning show for the first reports of the first crash. I called the newsroom and actually told those in the office what had happened. After the Pentagon I called my parents and told my father how much I was glad he had just retired, and was no longer in a federal building. Much after that was a blur, or just not memorable.
I appreciate being an American, but I don't believe we are the, "greatest county in the world," as so many tout us in jingoistic songs and bumper stickers. I enjoy the feeling of patriotism, but it is not something that only Americans feel. I like our flag, but don't care for the commercialism of slapping it in different manifestations on every surface that can hold color.
So I think what I like about this single grabbed frame from 10 years ago, is the subtle, personal patriotism.
Many of my fellow equestrian photographers have been in discussion lately about the rights awarded to the official photographer at a competition, credentialed media photographers, how to deal with poachers, copyright infringers...basically all things business.
While I made rookie mistakes at the beginning, once I became a member of the professional ranks I have always done my best to respect the official photographer(s). Digital has made it very easy for anyone with a camera to set up a website and sell prints.
I walk both sides of the line, I have shows where I am there to sell to the participants, and I have many others that I cover as a working member of the media.
My distinctions between my stock and my participant photos are 1. the location were they are hosted, 2. the access, 3. consumer product prices are only listed on images for sale from event where I am asked to be there.
While I am there to cover the competition with the "standard" shots I am also there to add to my stock database. All my images will go into my stock galleries (which are password protected, and access is limited to editors and ad agencies).
Here is a sample of what I am shooting in addition to the "knees to the nose" frames.
I had a request recently for some help adding a logo to a photo. With Photoshop, like any program, there are more than one way to skin the cat. Here is one of the methods.
1. Open the logo you are wanting to add. This is a jpeg. If you save the logo on a transparent background (the checkerboard background) and save it as a .png or .psd you can just jump to the dragging to the photo.
2. Select the MAGIC WAND from the tools and click on the solid background.
3. Control click to add to your selection. Use this for the centers of round letters or other fully enclosed spaces of background.
4. Select the inverse. This means instead of the background you are now selecting everything solid which you haven't selected prior.
5. With the photo open you want to add the logo to, select the MOVE tool.
6. Click and hold on the logo, and drag it onto the photo.
7. Make sure the little box "Show Transform Controls" is checked. This will give you the white boxes which allow you to adjust the size of the logo. Make sure to hold the Apple key to keep the perspective the same as you play with the size.
8. You can also move the logo around on the image for a placement you like. Once you start adjusting the size of the logo notice the bar where the Transform Control box has changed.
9. Select the MOVE tool again.
10. Once you have the logo the size and location you want it click APPLY. If you dont the logo will go back to the size and location you first dragged over.
11. In LAYERS flatten the image and logo. This makes them one image. You can save them without flattening them, but the file types are limited.
I have spent the past few hours dealing with a number of cases of people taking images of mine and placing them on their FaceBook pages. FaceBook is very quick to respond by removing the images, which I very much appreciate. Since this is an on-going problem I'm going to spell it out, this time with photos. Your ability to access my proofs of your competition is a privilege not a right. Me putting them on-line is a contract of trust that you will respect that there are my property, and that you have the ability to license a digital file or purchase a print from said proofs.
There are many photographers who make you pay for proofs, or for them to photograph you at all. I feel punishing the many for the actions of the few will affect my business.
And while we are on the subject of business let me spell this out for you. To cover two phases at the Plantation Field Horse Trials I have to hire a second photographer which mean I am out-of-pocket their day rate, travel and meals before the first horse enters the dressage ring. I shoot with at least two cameras and have four spares for remotes (how to you think I get those shots underneath the Weldon's Wall) and back up. Not to mention telephoto lenses that are fast enough to shoot in pouring rain (if you show jumped in the April 2011 horse trial I shot you), fog and impending thunder storms. And I do stay out there in the pouring rain, exposing my equipment, albeit under a $300 lens specific raincoat. And there is all the superfluous equipment, monopods, tripods, remotes, cables, computers, storage, etc.
And let me toot my own horn here. If you were running in any of the recognized events this year I also volunteered as a fence judge for a number of your fences too.
You all received an e-mail from me from the June event alerting you to your proofs. This note also informed you that 20% of my profits are going to the True Prospect Recovery Fund. So not only are you stealing from me, you are stealing from a donation to a charity!
The landing page of my proofing site spells out exactly what is allowed with proofs, and the penalty for stealing them.
The image we contract for will not bear the watermark that is on my proofs.
I hate that this watermark is so obliterating of the image. But it has developed over the years from a simple © in response to those who have stolen my work. And yet it continues. (Photographing your proof with your cell phone or screen shoting and/or cropping the image are still infringements.)
So let me spell out what happens when I catch you.
1. I screen shot your page(s) of images.
2. I report you to FaceBook or the web host.
3. I lock your folder of proofs so you cannot get to your images, and explain why it is locked.
4. I keep your name on file.
At this point in time there is no argument for "I didn't know better." There have been discussion threads on popular equine websites, there have been articles in national equestrian magazines, there have been public international lawsuits regarding music and other intellectual property. Oh, and my damn watermark spells out that, "IF THIS IMAGE IS BEING VIEWED ANYWHERE BUT AKDRAGOOPHOTO IT HAS BEEN STOLEN, AND PENALTIES WILL BE APPLIED!"
Crazy week here in West Chester. Perhaps you've seen some of the coverage of the "Jackass" star Ryan Dunn's fiery death. Well, I've been covering it since about 10am Monday morning. His memorial service yesterday was attended by fellow cast members, celebrities, friends, family and media.
Here is a slideshow of some of the websites I've come across today with my photos picked up from the AP wire. (No money for me, as the paper is a member.) Though other images from the week can be found at both Polaris Images and Zuma Press.
@The Whip Tavern donated half their sales to the True Prospect Fire Recovery Fund last night. The local equine community came out in force to support Boyd, Caitlin, Lillian and Ryan. Donations can be made directly to a number of funds or at the tavern.
In addition the equine community around the country are donating proceeds from sales.
Amy Dragoo/ AK Dragoo Photography "20% of all my print sales this year will go toward the True Prospect Fire Recovery Fund. I will be Plantation Field international Horse Trials each trial this year and Brandywine Polo Club. I also have a number of weekends still free, so please feel free to contact me about other events."
Here is a link to all the images from the evening.
Spotlights, USEF president David O'Connor striping, @Ecogold's Hamish beauty shots, a French Appaloosa, a QH with a fro, @Ariat Gina Miles in helmet and spurs that jingle-jangle, a beer run and sliding stops in a flat saddle. It's not what the tornadoes blew in, it's just the freestyle @NRHA class at @Kentucky Reining Cup! @FEI and @USDF dressage riders take note, the @Alltech Arena was PACKED, and the crowd loved it!
(click image for slide show)