Category Archives: Photography

Photobucket is Charging a Subscription Fee



You might have noticed that some of the photos people have posted on social media are “broken”. Meaning, of course, that what is supposed to be a photo looks like a blank space or a question mark icon. The reason for this is because of a recent change made by Photobucket.

On June 26, 2017, Photobucket posted the following statement on their blog:

At Photobucket, we are committed to providing the best experiences and services for all of your photo image needs. We have updated our Terms of Service, effective June 20, 2017. Please take a moment to review our updated terms and policies as they may affect your account.

The post included a link to their Terms of Service. It is unclear why Photobucket backdated when the new changes would take place. People who use Photobucket, and found that blog post on the day it posted would learn that changes had been made about a week before. This certainly doesn’t leave any room for feedback about those changes.

Part of the Photobucket Terms of Service has details about types of accounts, pricing, and limits. Anyone can visit Photobucket for free. Anyone can register as a Member for free.

A Free Account provides a Member with 2 GB of free storage or space available for their original photo files or videos that are under 10 minutes. A Free account does not allow any image linking or 3rd party image hosting.

That’s fine for people who are brand new to Photobucket, or who have less than 2 GB of content on it. The change affects people who already have been using Photobucket and who have put more than 2 GB of content on it. The Terms of Service says that Members who have Free accounts, and who exceed their content limit, will have their account immediately suspended and will need to become a “Paying Member” in order to continue accessing their account.

This explains why so many Photobucket images “broke”. It also explains why people are upset about this new change. Petapixel included some tweets from disgruntled Photobucket users in their article about the situation.

Photobucket Members who have more than 2 GB on Photobucket will need to pay money for a subscription plan. There are three plans to choose from.

PLUS 50 costs $5.99/month (or $59.99/year). It gives you 52.0 GB of storage. It does not allow linking or 3rd Party Hosting.

PLUS 100 costs $9.99/month (or $99.99/year). It gives you 102.0 GB of storage. It allows Unlimited Linking, but does not allow 3rd Party Hosting.

PLUS 500 costs $39.99/month (or $399.99/year). It gives you 502.GB of storage. This Plan allows both Unlimited Linking and Unlimited 3rd Party Hosting.

In short, some Photobucket Members found that their photos were “broken”, and then discovered they could not access their account until they spent money. Those with more than 102.GB on Photobucket are looking at having to pay about $40.00 a month for a service that used to be provided for free.

Photobucket has every right to charge for their service, but this was not the best way for the company to go about doing it. This situation is a good example of why you shouldn’t host your content exclusively on a site that you do not own.


Nikon Museum to Display Prototype Cameras



The Nikon Museum will be holding a special exhibition called “Prototype Cameras – Developers’ Memories”. It will open in April and continue through July. This is the second special exhibition that Nikon will present in honor of its 100th Anniversary.

The exhibition is called “Prototype Cameras – Developers’ Memories”. It will open on April 4, 2017, and run through July 1, 2017. The Nikon Museum is located in Tokyo, Japan. Admission is free.

In the exhibition, Nikon will showcase approximately 40 prototypes that were made between the 1940’s and 1980’s. It includes interchangeable lens cameras. The “Nikon F prototype” (1957) and “Nikon F3 prototype” (1975) are exhibited with special commentaries by Tetsuro Goto, Fellow and Laboratory Manager of Imaging Product R&D Laboratory, Imaging Business Unit, Nikon.

Each of the prototypes in the exhibit were developed to test and verify new camera designs, functions, and mechanics. Many of the prototypes were destroyed after testing. Only the developers themselves saw the prototypes. This exhibition is an opportunity to exhibit the prototypes that were not destroyed to the general public. This very rare exhibition includes prototypes that never reached the mass production stage.

You can find out more about how Nikon is celebrating its 100th Anniversary at the Nikon 100th Anniversary website.


Polaroid Debuts Polaroid Pop at CES 2017



Polaroid celebrates its 80th anniversary in 2017, and they are kicking off their milestone year with the debut of the Polaroid Pop. It is the latest camera in the Polaroid Instant Digital Print line, and it pairs wireless technology with the iconic Polaroid 3″x4″ print.

The Polaroid Pop instant digital camera combines a sleek, modern design and digital technology with the classic 3″x4″ instant print format that is reminiscent of the brand’s iconic legacy instant print cameras.

Just like the Polaroid Snap and Polaroid Snap Touch instant digital cameras and the Polaroid Zip instant photoprinter, at the heart of the new Polaroid Pop instant digital camera is an integrated printer using ZINK Zero Ink Printing Technology. This gives users the ability to automatically print full color photos in the iconic 3″x4″ format with the Polaroid Classic Border Logo resulting in a 3.5”x4.25” print.

The Polaroid Pop also featured a traditional camera experience. The camera includes a 3.97-inch touchscreen LCD for framing shots and navigating the camera’s menu, a 20-megapixel CMOS sensor and dual LED flash for high quality images, image stabilization, as well as 1080p full HD video recording capability. All images and video are stored on a micro SD card (up to 128GB).

The Polaroid Pop can quickly and easily connect to a mobile device using a dual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip, transforming the camera into an instant photo printer. Via the Polaroid print app, available free for iOS and Android, users can edit and enhance their prints with a number of creative filters, digital stickers, effects, and controls. No matter what device they use to capture images, users will be able to share the fun with their own creative flair. The Polaroid Pop is ideal for today’s selfie shooters thanks to a self-timer. Additionally the Polaroid Pop has three color modes – black and white, color, and vintage sepia to give users that iconic Polaroid look and feel.

Visit Polaroid at CES 2017 in Central Hall at the Polaroid booth #16614.


TIME’s 100 Most Influential Images



Time 100 PhotosAs it’s still early Advent, it’s not quite that period between Christmas and New Year where “The Best of 2016” features grace the front page of every media outlet. Still, that hasn’t stopped TIME announcing its 100 Most Influential Images of All Time. Fortunately, TIME has done a much better job than most and this feature explores the background and impact of iconic photographs, from “The View from the Window at Le Gras” by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce to “Alan Kurdi” by Nilüfer Demir. These are the images which define the human experience for nearly two centuries; too many of the pictures show suffering and pain, but others will reassure and confirm the amazing achievements selflessly done for the benefit all.

Pillars of Creation

Pillars of Creation” by NASA / ESA / STScI / Arizona State University

Take some time to review the pictures, dig into their history and understand how that captured moment changed the world and perhaps directly affected you.


A new unique way for people to take selfies



coke-selfie

When it comes to selfies mobile phones created a phenomenon. People even began buying accessories for the job such as the selfie stick which allows the phone to be extended out and apps were created for the job.

But you have never seen a method for getting that picture quite like this one. Coca Cola has created what is probably the world’s first selfie bottle. Yes, you heard that right, a soda bottle that snaps an image of you each time you take a sip of your drink.

It’s a fairly normal looking Coke bottle, except for the camera attached to the bottom. The image was created by an advertising firm in Israel and will be spread via social media. The company hopes that people also spread images of themselves drinking a Coke.

There is no word on if the bottles will be available worldwide or of the price. They may catch on, but it seems more likely a novelty item.


The New World of Machine Photo Recognition



Red DogBack in 2012 Google announced that its computers learned to recognize pictures of cats.

Technology doesn’t stand still. Today in 2016 Google’s computers can now recognize many other things besides disinterested feline faces. What comes from this machine recognition ability goes far beyond facial recognition.

About a year ago, I uploaded my entire library of photos and many of my videos to Google Photos as a supplemental photo backup system. I am using the free version, allowing Google to compress images as they see fit to save space. Over a period of time my thousands of scanned 35mm negatives finally uploaded. I install Google Photos on all of my mobile devices so any photos or videos I take will automatically be uploaded.

I was looking at Google Photos as just a convenient photo/video backup insurance plan. As it turns out, I’m getting a lot more than I bargained for. The ability to search my personal photo collection is nothing short of remarkable.

Who has the time to enter keywords into photo management systems? Like most other people with large digital photo collections, I’ve never bothered.

Machine learning now renders labor-intensive keyword entry unnecessary.
Though the current level of machine learning isn’t perfect, it is more than good enough to be extremely useful. It is now possible for me to quickly find specific photos or types of photos from my massive lifetime image library.

For example, I take search for “zoo” and photos of animals in cages plus various animals that can be found in zoos pops up. If I type in “rodeo” a massive number of rodeo photos will pop up, not surprising since I spent years photographing my youngest brother, who used to be a rodeo bull rider.

If I search for “dog” all manner of dog photos I’ve taken over the years show up.

If I search for “cup” all kinds of photos will show up, including photos of different types of cups, people holding cups, etc.

If I type in people’s names, chances are I will get photos of them. I’m not surprised by this since when I scanned in a number of old print photos I named the files with the names of the people in them.

Searching on adjectives such as “cold” or “hot” may or may not yield image results. Using search words such as “blue” or “green” can result in images that have blue or green objects in them, or they may have an overall blue or green cast to them, such as images taken without flash under different colors of florescent lights.

Over time the machine learning is bound to improve and the search results will become even better than they already are.


Facebook and Twitter are Making Images More Accessible



image by Redd Angelo from StockSnapIt has been said that adding an image to your post in social media is a good way to get more people to look at it. People who are blind or visually impaired might not be able to see those photos. Facebook and Twitter have made changes that are designed to make the images more accessible.

Facebook posted a blog that explains the change they are making. “With more than 39 million people who are blind, and over 246 million who have a severe visual impairment, many people feel excluded from the conversation around photos on Facebook. We want to build technology that helps the blind community experience Facebook the same way that others enjoy it.”

Facebook has introduced something called automatic alternative text. It generates a description of a photo using advancements in photo recognition technology. People who use screen readers on iOS devices will hear a list of items a photo may contain as they swipe past photos on Facebook. The change is a big one. Facebook states that before, the screen reader would describe a photo as “photo”. Now, the screen reader might say something like “image may contain three people, smiling, outdoors.”

This change was made possible due to Facebook’s object recognition technology. Facebook has launched automatic alt text on iOS screen readers set to English, and plans to add this functionality to other languages and platforms soon.

This follows a change made by Twitter that was designed to improve accessibility. As of March 29, 2016, people who use Twitter’s iOS and Android apps can add descriptions (also known as alternative text) to images in Tweets.

Users can enable that feature by using the compose image descriptions option in the Twitter app’s accessibility settings. The next time you add an image to a Tweet, each thumbnail in the composer will have an add description button. Tap it to see the image, and then add a description (of up to 140 characters). Doing so will help people who use screen readers to “see” your photo.


Vivitar Gets More From Life at CES



PrintVivitar has a long history in photography and cinematography going back to the middle of the previous century. Constantly reinventing itself, Vivitar’s latest iteration is to focus on the fun side of consumer electronics. Marlo and Todd enjoy the new cameras from Vivitar with Director of Marketing, Melissa Hoistion.

First up is the Vivitar DVR988HD 360 Cam which will feature two 180 degree lenses on the front and back of the camera, taking a full 360 degree view. Built-in video stitching software merges the two views into a seamless panoramic image of the journey, whether on a roller-coaster or a scenic bicycle ride. The 360 Cam will record full HD 1080 x 1080 pixel video at 30 frames per second, capture still images at 12.1 MP resolution and shoot about four hours of video on a single battery charge. There’s 200MB of internal storage and a micro SD slot for an additional 256 GB. The Cam will be US$169 when it comes out in Q2.

Next is the new Vivitar MicroCam Air DVR939HD is a miniature life-blogging camera with a 160-degree lens and records full 1080p HD video and 10MP still photos. With very simple controls, the resulting footage can be viewed using a free companion app on smartphone or tablet and there’s a range of clips and mounts to attach the camera to clothing, bikes and helmets. Expected on sale in Q2 for only US$79, I could see myself getting one of these as the MicroCam can record key moments without intruding on the experience.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com and Marlo Anderson rounds up the latest technology news at The Tech Ranch.

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IK’s iKlip Grip is a Pro Selfie Stick



IK MultimediaIK Multimedia‘s iKlip Grip shows the clear difference between a professional monopod and the much maligned selfie stick. IK’s Starr gives Daniel a demo of the Grip and shows why it deserves to be in your travel bag.

The iKlip Grip is a multifunction smartphone video stand that can work as a monopod or trip, can hold smartphones either vertically or horizontally, or can hold any camera with a standard screw mount, such as a GoPro. There’s a complementary Bluetooth shutter remote control.

It’s all very well done; for example, the tripod feet fold up neatly into the handle, and whatever your feelings are about vertical video, it’s great to have that option in case it’s needed.

The iKlip Grip is available now for $69.99. Much better value than that no-name clone selfie stick!

Daniel J. Lewis is the host of the award-winning podcast about podcasting, The Audacity to Podcast. Daniel helps others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and finding success.

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Panasonic Lumix ZS100 4K Camera



Panasonic LS100The new Panasonic Lumix ZS100 comes with a raft of features that make it a little bit different from the average pocket snapper (and a price to match). Daniel chats with Darin Pepple from Imaging with Panasonic to review the ZS100’s features.

To start with, the ZS100 has a 1″ 20 megapixel sensor, which is huge for a camera in this class and gives good depth of field control. And then there’s a whole bunch of tricks such as taking a still from a 4K video or a post focus mode which captures a series of apparently out-of-focus shots from which you then choose the feature to focus on and everything snaps into focus on that point.

The camera comes with a companion app for smartphones and there’s wifi connectivity built in, so you can see on the smartphone (or tablet) what the camera sees.

Available in mid-March for US$699 online and from good photography stores. Outside of the US, the camera may be called the TZ100.

Daniel J. Lewis is the host of the award-winning podcast about podcasting, The Audacity to Podcast. Daniel helps others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and finding success.

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