Saturday, February 27, 2010

Crowded Path

Crowded Path

The West Suburban Chicago Flickrers met up at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois on Wednesday, October 21, 2009.

Here are more pictures from this meetup.
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COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See JimFrazier.com for more information.

I now offer photography classes! http://www.jimfrazier.com/photography-classes/


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fabyan Forest Preserve

Fabyan Forest Preserve

Geneva, Illinois
February, 2010
www.kaneforest.com/ForestPreserveView.aspx?ID=18

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See JimFrazier.com for more information.

I now offer photography classes! http://www.jimfrazier.com/photography-classes/

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The First True Sign of Spring

The First True Sign of Spring

Batavia, Illinois
February 23, 2010

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See JimFrazier.com for more information.
I now offer photography classes! http://www.jimfrazier.com/photography-classes/


Monday, February 22, 2010

Les Arends Forest Preserve

Les Arends Forest Preserve

February 22, 2010
Batavia, Illinois
Les Arends Forest Preserve, Batavia, Illinois
frazier-jim-100222c-DSC_9027a-wb

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See JimFrazier.com for more information.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Red Berries



On the east side of Lake Ellyn
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
October, 2009

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See JimFrazier.com for more information.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Duck's Back

Duck's Back

Actually, a goose's back, but pretty much the same family.

Riverwalk
Naperville, Illinois
January 2010

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This is called "ink on paper"

.
This is called "ink on paper"

Frazier Studio
Batavia, Illinois
February 2008

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See JimFrazier.com for more information.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Creepy Guys on Flickr

One of the few ugly things about Flickr, or any type of photo-sharing service, is the creepy guy.

I know several folks who have encountered creepy guys when posting pictures of people. And I myself have posted a few pictures (including one picture of a very athletic guy) that have attracted unwelcome attention.

My comments are going to be oriented towards dealing with this on Flickr. I assume other photo-sharing sites have similar problems and features.

The problems are:

1. Ewwww!
2. The subject's mother looks at the picture and then looks at the people who have favorited the picture or made comments. She gets massively offended and freaks out. Back to ewwww!
3. It violates the implicit trust the subject has put in you, the photographer. They don't want those creepy guys around. Again, ewwww!

Identifying the creepy guys

1. They sometimes make it really easy. I once had a guy comment on a picture and his name was "fetishwink." Duh. It's more likely that the name will not be unusual, but he will make a comment or place a note on the picture that is in some way sleazy. You've identified a creepy guy.

2. If he comments on or favorites a picture, have a look at his photostream and profile. The photostream may display some creepiness. And the profile will show other pictures he's favorited. Look for a pattern. Look at his contacts and what groups he belongs to - creepy guys like to hang out together.

Profiles can be interesting. I've come across more than a few guys who had normal, snapshotty types of pictures in their photostreams, but the groups they belonged to were...unpleasant. I don't think creepy guys are terribly smart, and they may not realize that the profile shows these things. You wonder what their families think when they look at their Flickr pages.

What do you do?

1. Whenever someone comments on a picture that you would consider creepyguyable, check out the person - look at their photostream, favorites, contacts, and the groups they belong to.

2. Block them if they're creepy. On their profile page, you'll see a link that says Block this person. Click and then confirm that you want to block them. By doing this, you will remove all of their comments and notes from all of your pictures, and remove any favorites they've made. It takes Flickr a few minutes to do this, so don't worry if the effect is not immediate. Blocking prevents them from doing any of those things in the future.

Please note that blocking doe not prevent them from seeing any of your pictures, but by removing the comments and favorites, they won't be able to easily relocate your pictures.

Before you block, read number 3.

3. If they're really creepy, consider reporting them for abuse. This link is WAY down at the bottom of their profile page. If you choose this path, do not block them! The Flickr staff have to be able to see the abusive behavior, so you need to leave the sleazy comments and notes, at least until the matter has been resolved. Blocking removes those things, so don't block the person yet.

Preventing the creepy guy problem, or at least mitigating it

1. Post a picture that is no larger than 500 pixels on the longest side. This lets people see the picture (which is the point of a photo-sharing service), but makes it less interesting to the creepy guy because it's so small. By the way, I've read about hacks that allow people to see larger sizes, even if you have set things up so that people can't see them. So only upload a 500 pixel picture.

2. Consider putting a sizable watermark on the picture...not just one in the corner, but at least one more in the middle of the picture. See the pictures below.

3. Never provide any identifying information. Other than fellow Flickrers, I almost never identify the person in any of my photos, other than with an occasional first name.

4. Consider whether you want to use tags that might attract the creepy guys, like cheerleaders, teen, girl, etc. You know what I'm talking about. Obviously, you may want to use them, but recognize what the tags will attract. And be prepared to take the action as discussed above.

Shamu and Friend

For example, this picture has received over 2,000 hits. When I started writing this article, I happened to come across it in another search. I discovered that one of the reasons for all of the views is that people are searching for wetsuit and girl. Makes you wonder doesn't it?

5. As mentioned above, whenever someone comments or faves one of your creepyguyable pictures, quickly research the person's profile and block if necessary.

6. Make the picture private - viewable only by friends, family or friends and family. This limits the fun because it's nice to get comments from new folks. But it is safe.

7. Make the image public for only a short time, say two weeks. Then make it private. This lets the public see the picture, but only for a short time.

It's not really a general solution, but it may give you some ideas. I administer a group on Flickr called West Suburban Chicago Flickrers. People join the group at a manageable enough pace that I can review all of the new members pretty quickly after they join. I take a look at their profiles to check the things I've mentioned above. If they're creepy, they don't get to stay in WSCF. If you belong to a group like that, you can add private pictures to the group and only members of the group can see them. And since creepy guys can't be in the group, you have a measure of protection.

This is all very depressing. Let's brighten thinks up around here. Flickr is supposed to be a happy place!

Autumn Fairy Makes Memories

But it's good to know where the potholes are.




Jim Frazier

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Autumn at the Morton Arboretum

Autumn on the East Side

By Meadow Lake

Lisle, Illinois
October 2009

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See JimFrazier.com for more information.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Tin Car

The Tin Car

At the Amtrak Station in Mendota, Illinois
February 2010

Kate and I were driving around last weekend and saw these cars. I was in Mendota a few years ago and they weren't there - obviously a recent addition.

I used to ride the IC to school (I commuted to downtown Chicago from the far south suburbs). The IC (we didn't call them ICG) had old, heavy "iron" cars with wicker seats and they were slowly converting to these new tin cans (they were called Highliners). I remember that we liked them, but they were a little too "clean." This was a long time ago.

in 1972, I was in Accounting 201 in the Loop when someone from the school office came to the classroom and asked for "Jim Frazier." She told me she had a message for me. I was supposed to call home, right away.

It turned out that there had been a train wreck during rush hour that morning after I had gotten to school. It was the worst commuter train crash ever in Chicago. And my Mom had seen the news and was worried about me. I didn't even know about it, so I had no clue that there might be a problem.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1972_Chicago_commuter_rail_crash

One of the old, heavy, single level cars had slammed into the rear of one of these Highliners. It tore through the car to just about the center doors. The pictures I saw looked like the car had indeed been opened like a tin can. 45 people died and there were stories about horrible injuries (decapitations, lost limbs, etc.).

After the accident, the ends of these cars (which were gray) were painted to make them more visible. And I never rode at the end of one of these trains ever again.

frazier-jim-100207c-DSC_8671a-wb

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See JimFrazier.com for more information.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Try Black and White

I went cruising around the area yesterday looking for some fresh snowfall shots. I needed some winter content for a couple of blogs that I do. I pulled into Ferson Creek Park in St. Charles and this shelter looked interesting. Not very interesting, but as blog fodder, I thought it was at least worth taking a picture.

frazier-jim-100210c-DSC_8689a-wb-color

Looking at the picture later, I knew I had to at least fix the horizon, which is pretty standard for me anyway. But I also thought I'd try it in black and white...

Shelter

Whoa! I'm not sure you're seeing what I'm seeing, but I sure do like this one a lot better. That roof really stands out against the trees and dark sky. And I love the texture in the trees. OK. That worked out well.

I don't always check the monochrome version. But I usually do, particularly with shots where:
  • there is interesting lighting,
  • the subject has some texture,
  • the form of the subject is more important than the subject,
  • the subject is historical where black and white would be part of the picture's story, like a Civil War reenactor,
  • there aren't many colors, or
  • the colors aren't particularly interesting.
This picture met some of those criteria. Two clicks with my mouse and I had a much better picture (to me, anyway).

Converting the image to black and white is my favorite way of solving problems (in other words, it's easy). I took some pictures of New York bridges on a blindingly sunny day. In many of the shots, they already were pretty much monochrome, just blue and white as opposed to black and white. Black and white is much better

So, the next time you're working with a photograph that isn't setting you on fire, try those two mouse clicks.

Here are some of my better BW shots, by the way.




Jim Frazier

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Time Exposures

These shots had been rattling around on my idea list for a while. WSCF had a meetup last weekend at an office in Carol Stream and I convinced the folks to help me with these shots. Thanks, you guys!

The idea is to take longish, "time exposures" to get interesting blurred subjects. When you're taking shots of a couple of seconds, you have to set a pretty high f/stop to compensate. You're hitting the sensor with light from the image for a long time. So you have to reduce the volume of light by "stopping down" the aperture to a higher f/stop.

Scott and I decided to try an exposure of 10 seconds at f22.

frazier-jim-100206c-DSC_8615a-wb

As you can see, the effect is pretty disappointing. My vision was that you would actually be able to tell someone had walked by. In this shot, if you weren't looking for it, you might think it's a hallway with a shadow on the wall.

Nagood.

So we adjusted the exposure 2 seconds at f16.

"Have you seen the network guy?"  "Uh, I thought he was just over...where IS he?

That's the ticket. Now you can see Scott, and he's nicely blurred and ghostly. Technically, we reduced the time that the sensor sees the image, but we've increased the volume of light hitting the image. So Scott becomes visible.

So after the testing was successful, we went with the shot I had envisioned...



I love it when a plan comes together.

One thing that should be obvious, but I'll mention it anyway. Ya gotta use a tripod and, preferably, a remote shutter release as well.




Jim Frazier

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Look Up (and Look Down)

When you're out searching for pictures, you're usually looking around. But remember to look up. You'd be amazed by what you'll see. I don't do it enough myself, but I've found a few nice shots.

Atrium of Embassy Suites in Chicago

Chandelier

Ceiling of the Round Pagoda

And of course, you should be looking down too...

View from My Room

Snow and Mulch

Wet Leaf

Look up and look down. You may not find anything, but at least it gives you two more places to look.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Red Dumpsters in the Afternoon Light

Red Dumpsters in the Afternoon Light

Kate and I were stopped at a light when I saw this vision on the left. I grabbed the shot before the light changed. Such beauty! I don't know why Kate was rolling her eyes though.

Along Harlem Avenue
Oak Park, Illinois
January 2010
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COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See JimFrazier.com for more information.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thanks, Everyone!

Jim's Photography Presentation

With less than two hours notice, I made a presentation at the Fox River Camera Club, in St. Charles, Illinois tonight. It was a "whiteboard" program about common mistakes. Thanks to everyone who was there and helped out.

February 3, 2010

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See www.jimfrazier.com for more information.

Monday, February 1, 2010

McCormick Mansion

McCormick Mansion

Robert R. McCormick Museum
Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois
January 2010

COPYRIGHT 2010 by Jim Frazier All Rights Reserved. This may NOT be used for ANY reason without consent. See JimFrazier.com for more information.