Ice with a tail: Take a look at these three pictures of the Comet Pan-STARRS over the skies of Kansas, by razor2277 on Dpreview. (Thanks to Rick for the tip.) I'm going to make a WAG and say that this comet will be better documented than any in history so far...so improved, and so much more ubiquitous, are our methods of image capture nowadays. These were taken with a NEX-5.
Dead not forgotten: Carps Carpenter found this lovely 1966 Grateful Dead concert on the Internet Archive, there for the streaming. Allegedly from Avalon Ballroom on 16 September of that long-ago year, although there is some dispute about that. A veritable time capsule. And I trust those of you who like licorice have perused this? (Explanation of that cryptic reference at the link.)
Will No One Buy a Forlorn Weston? The indefatigible and elusive Richard B. Woodward writes, and, having writ, moves on. Funny where he turns up. Here he surfaces on Artinfo (from Art+Auction) writing about the photography art market in the light of the savior pre-Christmas Sotheby's show, in an article called "Zooming in on the Trends That are Reshaping the Market for Photography" (not a very Woodwardian title; I smell an editor). (Chambers sent this in. Thanks.)
Who Pays Photographers? (From John Hogg.)
Without too much talk surrounding: Quietly continuing an expansive career as one of the most interesting of American photographers, Nicholas Nixon has given a pellucid, pinpoint interview to Ahorn Magazine. One could wish the questions a little shorter and the answers a little longer perhaps. Ken Tanaka told me about this.
By the bye, I recommend Family Pictures in the "Photographers At Work" series as a good starting point if you're not familiar with Nick Nixon's work. Here's a man who is due for a retrospective book, edited by someone outside his circle. Are Keith F. Davis and Richard B. Woodward available, by any chance?
The best book possible: Speaking of Ahorn Magazine, that's where Eric Marth's comparison of the image quality in all the various editions of American Photographs was published. Many readers emailed to tell me about this! It was a TL;DR for me, but then, I have two editions of the book already and already-formed opinions on the matter. Eric's article is called "Printing American Photographs." The current iteration of the book is still available here. (And here's the U.K. link.)
Nikkor 28mm ƒ/1.8G verdict: This might be out of place in this post, but I should have added it to my recent post about this lens and it has to go somewhere. Full-frame 28mm's of this speed (I mean ~ƒ/2) have a long and storied history, with many stellar offerings providing a plethora of high points along the way. The one I coveted in the 1980s* cost no more in absolute dollars than Nikon's newest, which means, when you factor for inflation, that this one is a good value. It's an excellent lens with many fascinating foibles, none of them fatal. Keeps me interested. Historically I'd give it a solid B+, and, by today's risen standards, still a B–. (I'm a strict grader, so B is high for me.) Here's the link to the lens; "Instant Savings" of $100 are currently in effect.
Picture elements revealed: For those of you with a digi-phototechnical bent, here's a cool thing. Landingfield, an astrophotography site, looks deep into innerspace with a number of photomicrographs of a CMOS digital camera sensor. The article is called "Peeping into Pixel." This is the equivalent of understanding the chemical constituents of a plating-out developer—i.e., not pertinent to photographs. But strangely fascinating anyway! (This one came from Ken T. too.)
Hold that pose: This is a weird one—the photographer who took the famous (well, American sports-world famous) picture of Desmond Howard imitating the Heisman statue is suing Howard, among others, for using the picture without permission. Howard, understandably, is saying "Huh?!? It's a picture of me." Of course, as we all know, Desmond doesn't have, uh, a leg to stand on...legally. But this might be the most direct clash between intuitive ideas of fairness and copyright legality we've come across.
Desmond Howard. Photo by Brian Masck.
Ironically, we have the right to show the photo here. The lawsuit means it's news; thus we can publish it under Fair Use. But I don't have the right to show a picture of the Heisman Trophy that the post mimics, because, for any given picture, I'd simply be using the content of the picture as an illustration.
Thanks to Steve Rosenblum for this.
It's coming, and we're watching: Dewi Lewis, of Dewi Lewis Publishing, tells me they're still planning a reprint of Pentti Sammallahti's Here Far Away, our Photobook of the Year 2012, but that there's no ETA (estimated time of arrival) yet. I'm still on sentinel duty, hoping I won't miss it when it happens.
Famous last words: "My computer problems are solved." Knock on my wooden head, and hope I won't have to eat those words. But everything went well. AppleCare was stellar. My AppleCare contract lasts until next February 3rd, which means I will be getting a new computer on that date. AppleCare is a must-have accessory, if you ask me.
Thanks to everyone who ever sends in tips! I appreciate them all, even the duplicates and the ones I don't end up using. Thanks to one and all.
*By the way, I never once heard that lens called the "Hollywood 28" back in the day. And I would have. I think that's a recent Internet meme rather than legitimately an historical nickname.
Original contents copyright 2013 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Jamie Pillers: "Thanks for the link to the Nicholas Nixon interview. I love hearing what rumbles around inside the head of someone working passionately, like Nixon."
Tom Kwas: "...As a 'Zeiss-o-phile' and Contax user in the '80s and '90s, I never heard that lens called a 'Hollywood' either, by anyone, anytime, and I even met the reps and talked to them extensively about the system. I also never saw the thing, as the ƒ/2.8 was half the size and the difference in price was not worth the money...I also wasn't a 28mm 'guy,' and owned the very nice 25mm and ditto 35mm, both ƒ/2.8's, both wonderful...as for 'Hollywood,' that's some Internet smoke-blowin' there...."
hugh crawford: "The NYC area is pretty much all clouds or rain or snow for the next 10 days, pretty much the same as it was for Hale-Bopp in '97. The last time I put film in my Nikon F was for Hale-Bopp, when a friend and I got so frustrated that we drove for a few hours on the Interstate hoping for a break in the allegedly scattered clouds. The film is still in the camera. Maybe Pan-STARRS will still be happening when I'm in California on the 29th."
Armand: "I have the Nikkor 28mm ƒ/2.8 AIS and I love it. Great lens for pixel peeping I suppose. I am not sure how it compares to the Nikkor 28mm ƒ/1.8G."
Mike replies: That lens is one of the high points of Nikon lens design and manufacture. It is highly corrected with eight elements and a floating group. It was introduced at just the right time: in 1981, Nikon was indisputably the no. 1 cameramaker for pros, had some very talented lens designers, was optimizing its lenses for performance and robust build quality rather than price...and it was just before the "zoom era" really got going, and the slower 28mm was still a commercially very important lens specification. (In the '70s, the 28mm ƒ/2.8 prime was sort of the default wide angle for most SLR photographers. Lenses of that specification sold by the boatload and every cameramaker and independent lensmaker offered a version of it. By the time the AF lens came along, that ship had sailed, and the AF lens was actually based on the cheap "budget" E-Series lens.)
Your lens was a particularly successful design. It's small and light, handles well, and is particularly well balanced in performance, with all aberrations well controlled, very little distortion, good sharpness across the field, and balanced performance across the aperture range. And it's well coated. A premium camera lens in every respect, usability not least. The only possible cavil is that the out-of-focus rendition is not quite as good as that of the AI, but even that's not bad—and with a WA you seldom see much of it anyway. (And the AF-S ƒ/1.8G is not stellar in that respect either.) And a few samples could show decentering.
Not only can you still find the lens used fairly easily, it is also one of the few manual-focus AIS lenses you can still buy new from Nikon. The price is a bit higher now than it has been historically, but it's still a good bargain considering what you're getting. The lens works well on Nikon DSLRs in manual and aperture-preferred modes if your eye is up to focusing manually.
My advice: hang on to that.
Carl Blesch: "So if I gave you a link to a photo I shot of a Heisman trophy in a showcase at Ohio State's student union, you couldn't post it here because that violates copyright? Does that mean I'm violating copyright by posting my photo, taken in a public place of an openly displayed item, on my photo sharing web site? Is this like the story I once heard of the cypress tree at Big Sur being copyrighted, so no one is allowed to take pictures of it or show those pictures to anyone?"
Mike replies: No, then I could probably post it—as I have done, above—because then I have a reasonable expectation that I have your permission to do so. (But see below.)
The point of copyright is that you own your photo. The people who own the Heisman trophy don't own your photo of it, just like Desmond Howard doesn't own Brian Masck's photo just because it's a photo of him. You can do what you want with your own photograph.
There are exceptions, however. "Fair Use" allows me to publish pictures owned by others without their permission, but only under certain conditions—if I'm commenting on or critiquing the picture or if it's news, mainly. It does not allow me to use pictures belonging to other people just because I want to. So I can't steal your picture and use it in my advertising, pass it off as my own, or use it to illustrate my article or as the cover of my magazine. To do those things, I have to get your permission—you have to grant me the right.
In many cases, this "permission" or transfer of rights becomes a commercial arrangement: if I want to use your picture on the cover of my magazine, you might agree to give me the right to do so if I were to pay you a certain amount of money, for instance. That's the basis for professional editorial photography.
By posting your picture above, I'm acting in good faith by presuming that, because you're a TOP reader and you left a link to it as a comment on my blog, you won't object to me posting it. But I still only have the right to do so because you've (implicity) granted it to me. I post a lot of pictures on TOP because I assume, according to my best judgement and "best guess," that the rights owner won't mind. But that's often just a guess. If you now send me an email saying, "Hey! I never explicitly gave you permission to post my photo. Remove it from your website right now," I would do so.
In my years of writing TOP, I've only received requests to remove pictures twice. In both cases I complied.
Where people go astray in copyright is usually because a) they think the photographer's or rights holder's rights are unlimited, or b) they think the photographer doesn't have (or shouldn't have(!)) rights he or she does legally have.
An example of the first: let's say I find a picture by a stranger on Flickr. It's labeled, clearly, "Copyright 2103 by Joseph Blow, all rights reserved." I then copy that photograph, post it on TOP, and write a three-paragraph critique of it. The photographer finds out, is furious, and contacts me stating in strong terms that I've used his photograph without permission, that it's copyrighted, and that I must take it down immediately.
Guess what? Legally, he does not have the right to force me to take it down. Fair Use allows me to reproduce or publish other peoples' work for the purpose of commentary or criticism. I have the legal right to post his picture on my blog if I'm writing about it and discussing it directly. (As a practical matter, if someone is angry and threatening legal action, I'd probably take the picture down, but that would just be to avoid legal entangement, not because I don't have the right to do what I did.)
In this case, the photographer has assumed his rights are unlimited, and trump every other legal consideration.
In another case, say I took a portrait of a kid down the street for pay. Her parents paid me for the portrait shoot and bought two prints. A year later, I become aware that the parents have let their best friend use the portrait for a cover of a brochure advertising his business. When I request payment for this additional use of the picture, they become outraged and claim I am extorting their friend. In their view, they paid for the portrait, they paid for the print, it's of their daughter, and they assume they own it, lock, stock and barrel.
As you probably know, they are wrong—the photographer still owns the rights to the picture, even when it was taken on commission and even if the parents bought prints. In this case, they have assumed the photographer does not have rights he in fact has.
The cypress tree thing is a different issue altogether—trademark, not copyright.
Disclaimer: I am not a copyright lawyer or an expert in copyright law.