News and Views from Dave Wilson

Archive for January, 2011

Rites of Passage

by on Jan.31, 2011, under Photography


Arrow_of_Light-9187.jpg, originally uploaded by wilsonloftin.

Last week saw an important event for Cameron, our 11 year old. On Thursday night, he was awarded his Cub Scout “Arrow of Light” badge. This is the highest award that a boy can earn as a Cub Scout in the US and represents the culmination of 5 years’ work in scouting. Next month, he will officially cross over to Boy Scouts and start the next chapter.

The ceremony also marked the end of an era for me since, as the leader of his Webelos den, I will now be dropping out of leadership. I’ve been either an assistant den leader or den leader for 4 years and, to be honest, I think I’ve enjoyed it more than I enjoyed being a cub scout all those years ago in Scotland! It’s been great to get to know the boys in the den and see them growing up and developing from a rabble of screaming 7 year olds to a somewhat more organised, distinctly quieter, and definitely more mature 11 year olds. I’ll now be donning my civvies again and moving back to the role of parent to help Drew, our 8 year old, get through is Wolf badge by the end of the academic year.

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Unpleasant Surprises

by on Jan.27, 2011, under Photography

Wow - talk about blatant IP theft! These guys will be receivi... on Twitpic

Most of my images are licensed under a Creative Commons license which allows non-commercial use without people having to contact me to ask permission. This has worked pretty well but occasionally I have to send letters to folks who are using pictures for commercial use – real estate agents and come to mind. In most of these cases, the infringer decides to remove the image rather than pay for a license and in all of these cases so far, the infringement has been on a web site. Tonight, however, I experienced my largest and most blatant example of image theft.

On arriving home from work, I picked up a telephone directory that had been left at the end of the driveway and was amazed to discover one of my pictures on the front cover. At no point had I licensed this image to anyone for commercial use – it’s been sold as an art print a few times but not as a stock license. Looking through the directory, I found the same image used twice more in advertisements for the directory company. I have to assume that they found the image on Flickr and decided to use it in the hope that the owner would not complain. They made no attempt to contact me prior to using the image despite the fact that my contact details are clearly advertised on Flickr. Tomorrow, I’ll give them a call to check the circulation (probably around 100,000-150,000 given the number of households in the 4 counties they distribute the directory to) then invoice them for the usage. If they choose to ignore my gentle reminder, we’ll see where it goes after that.
Hamilton Pool near Austin, Texas

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Good News for Architecture Photographers

by on Jan.27, 2011, under Photography

I’ve had run-ins with security guards in pretty much every city I’ve taken photographs in (oddly, though, not in Austin). Although I’ve never been stopped by a federal officer, I was rather happy to find this information on the net today (courtesy of Thomas Hawk). The linked document details the rights photographers have to take pictures of federal buildings and appears to be intended to stop Federal Protective Services officers from overstepping their authority when approaching people legally taking pictures outside their buildings.

This is one to print and keep in your camera bag if you are likely be be shooting near federal buildings, I suspect.

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Austin PhotoWalk next Wednesday

by on Jan.26, 2011, under Photography

If you fancy a chance to catch shots like this one, you may be interested in a photo walk that’s happening next Wednesday evening (February 2nd) in Austin. We’ll be meeting at the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue on Auditorium Shores at 5:45pm to capture some sweet dusk skyline shots (the image above was taken from there) and then wander into the town for an hour or so taking pictures of whatever takes our fancy.

I have no idea how many people are planning to show up next week but we typically get a dozen or two so come along and hang with the rest of us photo geeks next week.

Remember a tripod, of course, since it will be dark for most of the walk!

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A Busy Week

by on Jan.22, 2011, under Photography

It’s been quite a week. Lots to do at work, judging the Dripping Springs School District elementary science fair, getting ready for David Nightingale’s upcoming visit to Austin and, of course, Thursday’s highlight, getting sworn in as a bona-fide US citizen.

After having lived here for 16 years and after Nikki having threatened to sell all my camera equipment if I didn’t get a move on and finish filling in the form (which I’d been delaying for about 5 years since I couldn’t get motivated to research the answer to the question which asks you to list every trip outside the US you’ve made since first arriving), I finally did the paperwork back in August and, after a couple of visits to various immigration offices, was approved for citizenship back in November.

On Thursday, myself and 227 other folks from 53 different countries gathered at the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio to be sworn in. You couldn’t ask for a better venue. The Institute is a museum documenting the countries whose peoples populated Texas in the early days of the state and the displays beautifully echoed the eclectic mix of nationalities represented at the ceremony.

For the ceremony, the location was temporarily declared a federal courthouse and a judge administered the oath en-masse after which we were all handed our certificates of citizenship and given the opportunity to have our pictures taken. Green cards were exchanged for voter registration cards and passport applications and the overall atmosphere was great. As the judge mentioned, this was a very enjoyable experience for him since it was the only time he performed official courthouse business in which everyone involved left happy πŸ™‚

So I’m no longer a foreigner and will now have to stop making jokes at the expense of my American friends. Well, maybe that’s going a bit far – perhaps I’ll just try to poke fun at particular Americans rather than American society in general.

I also now need to pick out a Republican friend and let them know that their vote is officially canceled out….

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Pale Blue Dot

by on Jan.19, 2011, under Photography

I’m a fan of Carl Sagan so had to share this video that I found on the “A Photo Editor” blog today. If you click through to the original blog post, you’ll also find another version with the same soundtrack but different video and it’s worth a look too.

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New SmugMug Site

by on Jan.16, 2011, under Photography

Hamilton Pool is a popular and spectacular swimming hole in western Travis County near Austin. The location is dominated by a huge rock overhang formed when the previous cavern roof partly collapsed.

I was fortunately enough recently to win a 1 year subscription to SmugMug, the photo sharing and print-selling site. I had been thinking about joining for a while since the features offered appeared to get round some of the limitations of the printing services I currently use (ImageKind and Fotomoto) and I’m pleased to say that this does indeed appear to be the case. In particular:

  • I can set prices for commercial licensing of images. Up until now, I’ve had pictures on ClusterShot and Getty Images but both of these suffer from problems. ClusterShot gets practically no traffic and I’ve sold only a single image in the whole time I’ve had an account there. Getty, on the other hand, sells images regularly but the photographer payout on each sale is only 20%. SmugMug allows me to set my own pricing for various different types of license and takes only a small commission on each sale. I expect, however, that I will still do most of my licensing “manually” based on email from people who find images on my photoblog or on Flickr but enabling licensing direct from the site is a nice additional offering.
  • I can choose the printing lab I want to fulfill print orders and have choices that are suitable for fine art prints as well as cheaper, higher volume printing for any events I may cover. ImageKind and Fotomoto both price their prints based on a fine art model (which is fine for the majority of the images I want to sell) but don’t offer a cost-effective way for me to publish 500 images of kids’ sporting events and allow parents to buy a couple of dozen 6″x4″ prints.
  • I can upload images into private and public galleries. Images in a private gallery don’t appear on my homepage but I can provide a URL allowing access. Once again, this will be a great feature for any future event photography I do.
  • I can offer a far wider range of print sizes and finishes than with the other providers. This includes larger panoramic sizes which provides me a chance to offer some of my panoramic landscape images for sale.
  • I can offer other interesting products such as mugs, mouse pads, T-shirts, jigsaw puzzles and fridge magnets at reasonable prices.
  • On top of all these benefits, the SmugMug site management features are great. I can upload directly from within Lightroom (as I do for Flickr already) and the site customisation is very straightforward indeed. Finally, my initial experience with their technical support department has been excellent – they got back to me within 30 minutes when I emailed a question last weekend.

    Overall, I’m delighted with the SmugMug experience so far and I invite you to take a wander over and let me know what you think. Alternatively, click the image at the top of the post since it is hosted on SmugMug and links to the same image on their site.

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Top 10 Family Pictures of 2010

by on Jan.15, 2011, under Family, Photography

I’ve already posted my favourite art images of 2010 but here are my top 10 family shots from the year. I counted a picture as a “2010 photo” if I posted or processed it last year which explains why the first picture makes the list (it was taken in 2008 but I just processed it last month).


Cameron during a summer boat trip on Lake Austin.


I’ve been using fill flash outdoors a lot more over the last year and this is one picture taken with it. It was taken the weekend after Thanksgiving while my Dad was visiting from Scotland and we took a trip to Johnson City to see the lights outside the Pedernales Electric Company headquarters.


At Thanksgiving, I took advantage of a captive family to take some portraits after dinner. I especially liked this picture of my wife. Nikki, and mother-in-law, Rae.


Here’s another shot from the Thanksgiving set showing Nikki.


Moving back to Halloween, here’s a somewhat less flattering image of Nikki dressed as a “Mombie” during our neighbourhood hay ride.



White Sands was one of the highlights of our fantastic summer road trip to New Mexico and offered another great opportunity to play with fill flash at dusk.


Of the pictures I took of the boys this year, this picture of Cameron looking goofy in a Santa Fe restaurant stands out as one of my favourites.


My favourite “solo” picture of Drew was taken at a pool party held by some friends. Thankfully, he didn’t decide to shoot the water pistol at me and the camera.


The last image in the set dates back to February when we had an almost-unprecedented 2 inches of snow in Austin and the boys had just enough time to gather it and build a snowman before it all disappeared.

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162 “Best of 2010” Posts

by on Jan.13, 2011, under Photography

Each year, San Francisco-based photographer and blogger Jim Goldstein compiles a list of photographers’ annual “Best Of” posts. Here’s this year’s list. From the sites I’ve looked at so far, it’s been a good year. You can see Jim’s original post here.

  1. Best Photos of 2010 by Jim M. Goldstein – JMG-Galleries
  2. Best Photos of 2010 by Matthias Wassermann –
  3. Exploring Light -Top Photos 2010 – Chris Moore
  4. My Top Ten Photos for 2010 – Tom Varden
  5. My Top Ten Photos of 2010 | Craig’s Musings – Craig Vitter
  6. Top 10 Photos for 2010 | Dobson Central – Ken Dobson
  7. Best Photos of 2010 – Carol Bauer
  8. My Best photos from 2010 – Janis Janums
  9. My Best Photos of 2010 – David Daylor |
  10. 2010 – Year In Review – Jon McCormack Photography – Jon McCormack
  11. S Zacharias: Best of 2010 – Stephen Zacharias
  12. 2010 Photos – David Hernandez
  13. Iceman Photography – Top 10 in 2010
  14. Best of 2010 – Dave Wilson
  15. Skolai Images – Bears of 2010 – Carl Donohue
  16. My Best Photos From 2010 – Art Kuntz
  17. 2010 in Review – Jay Goodrich
  18. My Favourite Images of 2010 – Sven Seebeck
  19. Lunchisoptional: Favorites of Year: 2010 Edition — Ken Trout
  20. My ten favorite photos of 2010 – Stefan BΓ€urle
  21. Top 10 of 2010 – Behind The Clicks – Mohammad Noman
  22. Top Ten Photos Of 2010 – Jed Link
  23. 2010 in Review – kRiZ cPEc Photo Blog
  24. Best Photos 2010 – Chuq Von Rospach
  25. My Favorite Photos of 2010 – Ed Rosack
  26. 2010 Favorites – Pat Ulrich | Pat Ulrich Photography
  27. Favorites of 2010 – Kevin Moore
  28. Top 10 of 2010 from BlazingB Photography – Bill Pennington
  29. My Favorite Photos of 2010 – Mike Criss
  30. My faves from 2010 – Matt Smith
  31. My favourite shots of 2010 – Catalin Marin | Momentary Awe
  32. 2010 a Year in Review, My Top 10 Memorable/Favorite shots – Mike Criswell
  33. Craig Ferguson Images – A Year In Photos – Craig Ferguson
  34. Top 50 Images from 2010 and Goal Setting – Mike Cavaroc
  35. Jim’s Photography – Jim Wheeler
  36. – The best of 2010 – David Sharp
  37. StephenWeaver Photography/Earth Systems Imaging-Stephen G. Weaver
  38. Best of 2010 – Changing Perspectives – Jenni Brehm
  39. – best of 2010 – Thomas Kneppeck
  40. 2010 Favorite Images – Alpenglow Images – Greg Russell
  41. Best Images of 2010 – Peter Cox Photography – Peter Cox
  42. Best of 2010| Simon Says – Simon Ponder
  43. My Favorites Shots of 2010 – Fine Art Prints – Jeff Colburn
  44. Mountain and Climbing Photography – Alexandre Buisse
  45. Siam In Contrast 2010 – Adrian Young
  46. 2010 in review (colour)– Olivier Du TrΓ©
  47. John Dunne Photography | My Top 10 Favourite Images of 2010 – John Dunne
  48. Best of 2010 Flickr Set – Tony Rath
  49. Top 10 from 2010 – Behind-the-lens-lukey – Luke Weymark
  50. Evan Gearing Photography’s Top 10 of 2010 – Evan Gearing
  51. 2010 Photos in Review: Water – Rebecca R Jackrel
  52. Justin Korn [dot] com – Best of 2010 – Justin Korn
  53. My Best Photos of 2010: Learning and Growing> – D. Travis North
  54. Uncommon Depth – Roberta Murray
  55. Organic Light Photography Best of 2010 – Youssef Ismail / Organic Light Photography
  56. The Best of 2010 – – Neil McShane
  57. My Best of 2010 – Larry Rosenstein
  58. Will Wohler Photography: 2010 A Year in Review – Will Wohler
  59. digitizedchaos – best of 2010 – rian castillo
  60. My Top 10 from 2010 – Chaz Curry Photography
  61. – Suzy Walker
  62. Favorite Photographs From 2010 – Fine Art Landscape Photography of Seung Kye Lee
  63. Best photos from 2010 – Amanda Herbert
  64. Wrapping Up 2010: My Favorite Photographs – Ivan Makarov Photography
  65. Graf Nature Photography | Reflections on 2010 photographs – MARK GRAF
  67. Pat O’Brien Photography – A Look Back at 2010 – Pat O’Brien
  68. G Dan Mitchell – 2010 Favorites – G Dan Mitchell
  69. Favorite Photo of 2010 – –Derek Griggs
  70. Crest, Cliff & Canyon – Jackson Frishman
  71. 2010 In Review – – Peter McCabe
  72. Favorite Photos from 2010 – In the Field Photo Blog – Richard Wong
  73. Year in Review Best Photos of 2010 – Matt Graham Photo Blog – Matt Graham
  74. Elizabeth Brown Photography PhotoBlog: Ten Favorite Photos of 2010 – Elizabeth Brown
  75. My Top Photos of 2010 – Jonesblog – Bryan William Jones
  76. latoga photograph: My Favorite Photos of 2010 – Greg A. Lato
  77. Best of 2010 Images – Rob Tilley
  78. Living Wilderness: 12 Best from 2010 – Kevin Ebi
  79. Highlights of 2010 – TO KNOW MORE WEB JOURNAL – KENT MEARIG
  80. Michael Russell Photography
  81. Best Photographs of 2010 – Chuck Goolsbee
  82. Favourite Photos from 2010 – Tim Smalley
  83. My Best 10 Photos 2010 – A Reconnection to Nature – Mark Fenwick
  84. Best of 2010 – Quotidian Photography – Jessica Sweeney
  85. My Top Images of 2010 – ANDREW KEE
  86. A Photo A Day… Done! – WelliverPhotography – Beth Welliver
  87. Batsto Village – Louis Dallara Photo Blog – Louis Dallara
  88. Best 10 of 2010 – John Wall’s Natural California
  89. 10 from 2010 on the Ann-alog – Ann Torrence
  90. Favorite Photos from 2010 – My Photo Blog – Ron Niebrugge
  91. My favorite photos 2010 on Flickr – Markus Heinisch
  92. My best photos of 2010 – Mike Hellers
  93. Dave Reichert’s Best Of 2010 – Dave Reichert
  94. Photographs: 2010 Revisited – Joseph Szymanski
  95. Best Pics 2010 on Flickr – Michael Rubin
  96. My 10 Best Shots of 2010 – ROBIN BLACK PHOTOGRAPHY – ROBIN BLACK
  97. Top 10 from 2010 – Anne McKinnell
  98. Vanilla Days – Best of 2010 – Pete Carr
  99. Top Photos of 2010 – Gary Crabbe / Enlightened Images
  100. Top Images from 2010 – Russ Bishop | Nature Photo Blog
  101. Favourite photos from 2010 – Bryn Tassell
  102. 10 Best Photos of 2010 by Scott Thompson – Scott Thompson
  103. My Top 10 photos of 2010 – Alexander S. Kunz
  104. My 10 Best for 2010 – Dan Baumbach
  105. Unified Photography – Best Photos of 2010 – Ken Snyder
  106. 5 From 2010 – Contemporary Wildlife Photography – David Lloyd
  107. Top 10 Photos of 2010 – Steven Bourelle Digital Arts
  108. 2010 Top Ten Photos – Andrew S Gibson
  109. 2010 Reflections – Dru Stefan Stone – Dru-Color My World
  110. Best of 2010 – Dave Hammaker
  111. Top 20 of 2010 – Jenna Stirling
  112. Top Travel Photos of 2010 – Matt Long
  113. Best of 2010 – Stephen Davey
  114. Landscape Photography Blogger My Favorite Photos of 2010 – David Leland Hyde
  115. Views Infinitum – Best of 2010 – Scott Thomas
  116. One Per Trip – Favorite Travel Photos From 2010 – The Carey Adventures – PETER WEST CAREY
  117. I Love It, SF – Kara Murphy
  118. My top 10 pictures from 2010 – Duffy Knox
  119. Burrard-Lucas Photography – Will & Matt Burrard-Lucas
  120. Hank Christensen Photography Top 10 2010 – Hank Christensen
  121. My Best Photos from 2010 – 365-1/4 Sra
  122. Top Ten Images of 2010 – Michael Frye
  123. Jono Hey’s Best of 2010 on Flickr – JONO HEY
  124. My Favorite Photographs from 2010 – Stories From Home –David Patterson
  125. My 2010 Best Images of California and Arizona – Steve Sieren
  126. My Top 10 Landscapes of 2010 – Andre Leopold
  127. Best of 2010 set on Flickr – Erik Turner
  128. This was 2010 on Flickr – Jeffrey Van Daele
  129. Top 10 of 2010 – Brian Mangano
  130. Best Photos of 2010 – KBTImages – Kevin Thornhill
  131. Best Photos of 2010 – The Sun Shines & The Igloo Melts
  132. Top 10 of 2010 – Chad Griggs
  133. Best Photos of 2010 – WASEEF AKHTAR
  134. My Favorite Images from 2010 – Outdoor Exposure Photography by Sean Bagshaw – Sean Bagshaw
  135. My Best Shots of 2010 – Annika Ruohonen Photography – Annika Ruohonen
  136. Top sights from 2010 – Mariana Travieso Bassi
  137. Year 2010 in Korwel Photography – Iza Korwel
  138. WISCONSIN SUMMER – Jarrod Erbe
  139. Best Photos of 2010 – Jim Stamates
  140. Top 10 of 2010 – Younes Bounhar
  141. Light on the Landscape Photoblog/My Favorite Images of 2010 – WILLIAM NEILL
  142. My Best Photos of 2010 – Itsa a greyt day for a photo – Terri Jacobson
  143. Listening to Nature Photography Blog by Rhoda Maurer – RHODA MAURER
  144. My favorites of 2010 – David Richter
  145. Best of 2010 – View from the Little Red Tent – Edie Howe
  146. tmophoto best of 2010 – Thomas O’Brien
  147. Best Photos Of 2010 – Dawnstar Australis – Daniel McNamara
  148. Top 10 of 2010 – Cranial Aperture – Jeffrey Yen
  149. 10 Best Favorites of 2010 – Sudheendra Kadri
  150. Flickr – Best of 2010 – Chris Arts
  151. Flickr: Best of 2010 – Heidi Donat
  152. Best Photo of 2010 – Anton Huo
  153. Best of 2010 – Travel & Landscape – Eugene Cheng
  154. Preetalina Photography: 2010 Favorites – Preeti Desai
  155. Hidden Light Photography 2010 Favorites – Alan Williams
  156. 5Mae 2010 Favourites Flickr Set – Sarah-Mae
  157. Best Photos of 2010 – John Fujimagari
  158. Best of 2010 – Paavani Bishnoi
  159. Best Photos of 2010 – Phil Colla
  160. 100 Favorites from 2010 – Patrick J. Endres
  161. Top Ten Of 2010 – Steve Cole Photography
  162. Some of My Favorite Images From 2010 – Clark Crenshaw Photography
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Accent Problems

by on Jan.05, 2011, under Miscellaneous

If you’re wondering what it’s like to live in the US while having a distinctly different accent, you may like this little video.

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