Category Archives: photography

Generic terms of service

I’ve written in the past about Facebook and Picasa and their (IMHO) ridiculous terms (at least at the time, I haven’t reviewed them lately). Now twitpic, a site that we all use used to upload pictures to show on twitter has decided that they are more than welcome to sell our pictures. They even tried to say “everyone does it” with the new, improved, “you own the copyright but we’ll still do whatever we want” terms. Luckily, we are welcome to switch services, and I suggest you think about it if you care about this sort of thing.

More generally, to solve this whole TOS problem, I hereby propose two sets of terms of service agreements, and a company can just pick one and put it on their web site. They’re even short enough to put on the front page, instead of behind the tiny link hidden below everything else. Short enough that *gasp* people might even read them.

Option 1: (e.g. twitpic, along with twitter and many others)

We provide a service. You upload your stuff. Don’t upload porn or illegal stuff. Once you upload it, we own it as much as you do, and we’ll do whatever we please with it. You promise to defend us from anyone who doesn’t like that.

Option 2: (e.g. yfrog, smugmug, and others)

We provide a service. You upload your stuff. Don’t upload porn or illegal stuff. We’ll put your stuff on our web site like you asked.

Add something to both of those like “we won’t tell anyone your email or contact info” and I think the terms would be pretty much complete.

Project 365

Well, it’s been 6 days now, so it seems I’m committed enough to tell you all about this. :-)

Many of you have seen my photography work…however, what I’ve found is while I do take a lot of photos, they’re generally part of some sort of fashion-related shoot, and there’s at least as much (often more) time in setting things up and logistics as there is in actual photography. I don’t really seem to just get out and take pictures just for the fun of it – so this year I’ve decided to change that.

Inspired by this Project 365 article at Photojojo, and many other related posts, I’ve started a Project 365 of my own. I’ll be taking a picture every day in 2010, and posting them on my new site (Greg’s Daily Photos). No particular theme, just whatever strikes my fancy that day. Or whatever I see on the drive home. Or whatever’s in the airport while I’m waiting for a plane!

So today is day 6. To get you caught up, here are thumbnails of the pictures so far:

#1 - A splash after work #2 - shakin' it #3 - It will warm up eventually
#4 - Speedy, watch out! #5 - Pink and Gold #6 - North Woods Inn

I have some local friends who are doing this too, and you can see lots of folks on Twitter as well!

Lightroom and Mac Pro performance – part 2

Back in February, I wrote about the performance I was seeing with my Mac Pro, and compared it to several other machines. My intent was to compare performance between various different machines and configurations…but it had the unexpected side effect of giving me a baseline with which to measure new versions of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

This data proved to be quite useful when Lightroom 2.0 was released, and I could test the 32-bit build against the 64-bit build. What I found was surprising.

Just like last time, the basic test was generating 1:1 previews for 211 raw images (compressed NEF format from a Nikon D200), about 1.75GB of files.

First, Lightroom 2.0 32-bit:

Mac Pro, 2 x 2.8 GHz Xeon, 8 cores, 12GB RAM, OS X 10.5.5
CPU utilization between 350-500% throughout
Total time 4:57, average 1.41 sec/image

And Lightroom 2.0 64-bit:

Mac Pro, 2 x 2.8 GHz Xeon, 8 cores, 12GB RAM, OS X 10.5.5
CPU utilization between 500-550% throughout
Total time 7:06, average 2.02 sec/image

So the 32-bit version on OS X 10.5.5 was actually a bit faster than my previous tests of Lightroom 1.3.1 on 10.5.2, which could be due to either the Lightroom 2.0 upgrade, or 10.5.5 changes.

But the 64-bit version of Lightroom 2.0 totally blew chunks, as you can see. Pretty disappointing, and totally reproducible for me, so I opened a ticket with Adobe. They got back to me saying they could reproduce the problem, and also had a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about how there is more overhead in accessing memory in 64-bit mode (which I’m not sure I believe, but I’m not up to speed enough on the Leopard 64-bit implementation to know for sure).

Well, Lightroom 2.1 was recently released, and here is the data:

Lightroom 2.1 32-bit:

Mac Pro, 2 x 2.8 GHz Xeon, 8 cores, 12GB RAM, OS X 10.5.5
CPU utilization between 350-500% throughout
Total time 4:55, average 1.40 sec/image

Lightroom 2.1 64-bit:

Mac Pro, 2 x 2.8 GHz Xeon, 8 cores, 12GB RAM, OS X 10.5.5
CPU utilization about 400% throughout
Total time 4:05, average 1.16 sec/image

Wow – obviously a big change; the 64-bit version now totally rocks. There was something in the 2.1 release notes about enabling SSE extensions in 64-bit mode – sounds like that might have been the bug!

I didn’t record the memory usage numbers, unfortunately…but I remember watching during the runs, and the 64-bit version seemed to be using about twice the memory that the 32-bit version did.

Amy Davis – American Idol

For the first time ever, I’ve started watching American Idol this year. And imagine my surprise when I see that Amy Davis is one of the final 24 contestants.

Just over a year ago, I spent a week on a small island near St. Thomas, doing a series of photo shoots. One of the models was Amy Davis. I remember thinking wow, beautiful and talented model…but then I heard her sing – and omigosh, I was at a loss for words. :-)

Anyway, Amy’s a sweetheart…and I’ve got literally hundreds of photos of her. So in the interest of helping her win, I’m going to post one previously unpublished photo here every week she stays in the competition. Vote for her, and you get another photo. :-)

Here’s the first one of Amy, wearing a NewsGator shirt, of course using NewsGator Go! on her Treo (this was shot as part of a shoot for a potential ad campaign which we never ran):


There are a couple more shots (swimwear, fashion) of her in my photography portfolio – go take a look if you’d like!

Facebook’s crazy terms of use


About a year and a half ago, I wrote about Picasa Web Albums, discussing their terms of service and explaining why I couldn’t use it. Basically, those terms said that Google could help themselves to your photos if they wish, and if they wanted to put them on a Google billboard in Times Square, that would be just fine with you, thanks.

Well, Facebook is also helping themselves to your content. From their terms of use:

By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing.

This is just nuts. Basically, they’re welcome to take your stuff, make a copy, and use it for a multi-million dollar ad campaign if they want. Or, they could license YOUR photo to someone else to do the same.


If you’re thinking “hey, I don’t care” – read the part about you having the right to grant this license to Facebook. It’s possible you don’t – read my previous post about Picasa for details.

So other than my profile pic, which I suppose they can use for whatever they like, I’ve removed all of my photos from my Facebook profile. My profile is now pretty bare – not a lot of exciting stuff there. I’ll just point people to other places where I actually share some of the things I’ve done without worrying about some company helping themselves to whatever rights they want.

Facebook, you convince your partners to help you help yourself to my private information. You blatantly help yourself to whatever rights you want to everything I put on your site. What’s next? I shudder to imagine.

[via CBC News]

Virgin Mobile and Flickr photos

Wow. I’m pretty much the last to hear about this, but it’s truly hard to believe. Virgin Mobile has an advertising campaign out at the moment, which uses photos from Flickr (Creative Commons licensed), but doesn’t have model releases for the folks in the photos. Google it here.

Molly Holzschlag was one of the people depicted in the photos, in an arguably negative light. If I were her, I’d be pretty mad.

Truly amazing. This is certainly not editorial use – this is commercial use, which requires a model release. And depicting anyone in a negative light, or showing them endorsing a product, even in editorial uses, usually requires a model release also. The fact that someone on Flickr says a photo is ok for commercial use (via a CC license) really has no bearing on whether they have secured releases (both model and property as necessary). And while your average Joe might not realize this, the folks at an ad agency responsible for acquiring artwork should definitely know it.

Virgin, I’d think about shopping for a new ad agency if I were you…

My new photography blog!

As many of you know, when I’m not in the office here at NewsGator I’m usually doing photography. I started out photographing just about anything, but I’ve more recently been focusing on fashion work (and a bit of glamour as well).

I’ve got a lot to say about all of that, and I agonized for a while about where to write about it, whether it should be here on my personal blog or on a new blog. I ended up creating a new blog, Greg Reinacker Photography – Blog, part of the larger Greg Reinacker Photography site, which focuses on my photography work.

So go take a look, and don’t forget to subscribe to my new blog! I have the feed links below…see you there!


Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Why I can’t try Picasa Web Albums

Almost a year ago, I reviewed a few photo hosting sites.  After that, but quite a while ago, I got an invitation to try out Picasa Web Albums, and I just now got around to clicking on the link to try it out.  But I didn’t get far…here is an excerpt from their Terms of Service (emphasis mine):

Google claims no ownership or control over any Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through Picasa Web Albums. You or a third party licensor, as appropriate, retain all patent, trademark and copyright to any Content you submit, post or display on or through Picasa Web Albums and you are responsible for protecting those rights, as appropriate. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Picasa Web Albums, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, distribute and publish such Content through Picasa Web Albums, including RSS or other content feeds offered through Picasa Web Albums,  and other Google services.  In addition, by submitting, posting or displaying Content which is intended to be available to the general public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, distribute and publish such Content for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting Google services. Google will discontinue this licensed use within a commercially reasonable period after such Content is removed from Picasa Web Albums. Google reserves the right to refuse to accept, post, display or transmit any Content in its sole discretion.

Hmm…this is a problem for me.

I have some images of people with whom I have a model release, and some of those releases cover self-promotional use only.  So I can (and do) put these images on my web sites (available to the general public) for the purpose of promoting myself and my photography, but I can’t allow someone else to use it to promote themselves or their service.  I own the copyright to these images – but I don’t have the usage rights required to do what Google is talking about.  If one of those images wound up on a billboard in Times Square, promoting some Google service, I’d be potentially liable for a lot of usage fees.

As another (possibly more common) example, I have some images from the San Diego Wild Animal Park.  On the back of my entry ticket, it said none of my photos taken there could be used for commercial purposes without express written permission from the park – which of course I don’t have.  So I again don’t have the usage rights to grant Google the license they are looking for for these images – promoting Google services is clearly commercial use.

One more example – do you have a photo that happens to have a recognizable face in it?  You know, like a passer-by?  You will, in general, need a model release from that person before you can use that image for (non-editorial) commercial purposes.  Or before you can grant Google the license to use it in this manner.

Images of the Eiffel Tower, that are taken at night when the lights are on, apparently require permission from someone before they can be sold.  I can’t remember where I read that…but if you search on, say, istockphoto, you’ll notice there are no Eiffel Tower pics for sale with the lights on at night.  Again – you can take the pictures, and you can put them on your web site, but no commercial use.  So you can’t upload those either, because you can’t grant the license necessary.

IMHO, there is a difference between a service that lets me share and distribute my content to others (like many other photo sharing sites), and a service that helps themselves to a pretty much unlimited license to my content (eek).  I did a search before posting, and was surprised to only notice one other blog that had mentioned this…

In Google’s defense, this probably isn’t the spirit of the agreement…but when I read the words, this is my interpretation – so I’m going to have to pass on trying out the service for now.

Color calibration – not for the night owl

Colors.  Who knew they could be so tricky.

One night, a week or so ago, I was making a print of this photo on my photo printer, a Canon iP6600D:

Simple enough, you’d think.  I even was using Canon’s specific ICC profiles, based on these instructions for Photoshop, for my specific printer and paper combination.

The colors weren’t even close.  The white was white, but the green background was very yellow-ish brown…to the point that it pretty much killed the picture.  I held the print up to the screen (I was using a Dell 2001FP display), and the print was much more yellow/brown than the nice green-ish color on the screen.

Hmm.  Maybe the printer profiles were off, I thought.  So I uploaded a copy to, and the next day I picked up the print at a Wolf Camera store near my office, after asking them to turn off all of their auto-levels and color correction.  I took the picture home that night, and compared it to the screen and the other print…it, too, was very yellow-ish brown, nothing like the screen.  It was actually pretty close in color to the print I made on my own printer.

Well, it must be that my monitor needs to be calibrated, I thought.  No problem.  The next day after work, I stopped and picked up a ColorVision ColorPlus colorimeter for monitor calibration.  Got home that night, ran through the setup and calibration, looked the before/after on the screen (there is a button you can press at the end of the calibration to do this), and saw that there was indeed a difference…although it was subtle.

So then I made another print of the photo above.  Why, exactly, I wasn’t sure…but maybe there was some kind of interaction between the monitor and printer ICC profiles, right?  Well, I held the new print up to the screen, and it was pretty much the same old yellowish-brown, compared to the nice green on the screen.  Crap.

Two more calibrations, and 5 more prints, and still no love.  I did discover the “rendering intent” feature in Photoshop, which is a very nice tool to know (had to do some research, but I think I understand what it does now), and that affected the output colors quite a bit…but not enough to get it close to what I saw on the screen.  Sigh.

About now, it’s about midnight, and I’m ready to punt on the whole thing.  The 2001FP has independent RGB gain controls, and I’m thinking I can eyeball this thing better than the colorimeter can do.  So I download and print Smugmug’s calibration print.  Using that, and my own print of the photo above, I adjusted the gains on the monitor until it just about matched.  Woo-hoo!  Or so I thought.  The one thing I noticed after doing this is all of my windows were kind of reddish where they used to be white…kind of annoying for reading your email.  But at 1:00 in the morning, I no longer cared too much, and went to bed.

The next morning, I was quickly checking my email (yes, I know), and the reddish color everywhere was really pronounced – and really annoying.  Annoying enough that I reset the monitor back to its default settings, which were the same settings that I used when running the calibration the night before…so we were now back to the calibrated settings.  Ahh, the email window looked white again.  Whew!

Just for giggles, I opened Photoshop and pulled up the photo again.  Not sure why…just seemed like the thing to do at the time.  Ahh, nice and green.  I reached over and grabbed one of the prints I had made the night before, and held it up to the screen.  Man, this looks…


The colors matched almost perfectly.  WTF?

Turns out it was the light in the room.  Under daylight conditions, during the day, the colors on the print look almost exactly like the screen.  But at night, with my “regular” incandescent lighting, the prints look different.  WAY different.

Sheesh…there went 4 hours I’m never going to get back…but in the glass-is-half-full department, I won’t soon forget the effects of different-colored light.  And hey, turns out my monitor is calibrated pretty darn well now. :-)

Full-spectrum lighting, here I come!  Either that, or leave work earlier when it’s still daylight… ;-)