Every year, more than one million photographs captured in some of the harshest conditions on the planet arrive at National Geographic magazine. From our trials and tribulations, learn how to conquer your own digital photography challenges.

January 2008

Posted Jan 23,2008

About this time of year, the world over, photojournalists are simultaneously struck with a nearly paralyzing affliction. A malady so severe it causes the heart rate to rise, sweating, trembling, weakness, and at times manifests in its victims a near debilitating stupor.

Eoh2008

The ailment: Contest Fever. So called because the most heralded of photo contests, for works created in 2007, all have January deadlines. Like the major presidential primaries, the caucuses first to vote, can set the tone for the preceding competitions.

One of the first to be judged every year is the White House News Photographers Association (WHNPA), Eyes of History contest. For two days, three judges view thousands of images and vote by a process of elimination for what they subjectively consider to be the best images produced by the White House press corps in 2007.

The 2008 overall winner, WHNPA photographer of the year, was Washington Post photographer Jahi Chikwenhiu. If you are interested at all in what it takes to be photojournalist in our nations capital, then browse through winning entries on the Eyes of History 2008 website.

Ken Geiger 

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Filed Under: Digital Photography, Photography Contest
Posted Jan 21,2008

The New York Times is reporting that Getty Images has hired Goldman Sachs to advise on its potential sale, which could fetch $1.5 billion.

From the NYT : Getty, founded in 1995 in Seattle, has grown through a series of acquisitions into a go-to source for visual media, claiming an average service of 3.2 billion images and 4 million unique visitors at its Web site each month. The company’s main selling point is the licensing of high-quality images from professional photographers around the world. Among its main clients are advertising agencies and media companies, including The New York Times. It also offers video footage for use in movies, television and the Internet.

From Photo District News: Getty Images spokesperson Alison Crombie said Monday the company cannot comment on rumor or speculation.

Getty is known for developing innovative products and pricing models, not always to the liking of its photographic contributors.

After creative stock licensing, editorial imagery makes up about 18 percent of Getty's revenues. Getty is especially competitive in sports and celebrity coverage. Its news photographers consistently win awards, boosting the company's reputation, though news coverage has never been a large source of revenue. Getty also licenses stock video, which accounts for five percent of the company's revenue.

Ken Geiger

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Posted Jan 3,2008

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has just issued a revised press release regarding lithium batteries carried by passengers aboard commercial aircraft, “…that offers clearer language and more technical detail.”

“Common consumer electronics such as digital cameras, cell phones, and most notebook computers are still allowed in carry-on and checked luggage.  Moreover, any number of spare batteries for these devices will be allowed in carry-on baggage…”

The full press release is posted after the jump.

Posted by Ken Geiger | Comments (1)
Filed Under: digital cameras, Digital Photography, Travel
Posted Jan 3,2008

Have you noticed that the average time to copy files into a folder increases with the number of files?  You may have if you use a Mac.

Here at National Geographic magazine there does appear to be a difference in how long it takes to copy JPEG photographs into a folder.  My hypothesis was that on a PC (Windows XP) the time to copy each file does not change as the number of files in a folder increases, while on a Mac (OS 10.4) the average time increases as more files are in a folder.  I put this hypothesis to the test and the results are dramatic.  Read the results after the jump.

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Filed Under: Mac OS X, technology, Windows, workflow
Posted Jan 2,2008

Battery_pack_lpe4 It was just a couple days ago that we were warned via a Department of Transportation (DOT) press release that loose lithium batteries would no longer be allowed in checked airline baggage.

According to a DOT spokesman, that wording was a little ambiguous. It seems the checked baggage ban is directed only at large lithium batteries, those in the 8-25 gram equivalent range.

After doing the math you will find even high-end digital SLRs, like the Nikon D3 and Canon 1Ds MKlll, use lithium-ion batteries that are below 2.5 gram equivalent.

The DOT is currently working on a new press release that clarifies what they meant to say in the first release; that release should be out tomorrow.

So what happens when TSA screeners see loose AA lithium batteries in your checked baggage? Nothing. According to TSA spokesman Christopher White, “We are focused on security issues, and this is not a security issue.”

So pack your bags and feel free to take along your extra digital camera batteries, but keep in mind that all batteries are a potential fire hazard. SafeTravel.dot.gov has more information on how to travel safely with spare batteries.

Ken Geiger

Posted by Ken Geiger | Comments (3)
Posted Jan 2,2008

That’s the pessimistic headline of Peter Plagens's recent Newsweek article on the fate of photography. He contends that the digitalization of photography is leading to its demise as an art form.

"Film photography's artistic cachet was always that no matter how much darkroom fiddling someone added to a photograph, the picture was, at its core, a record of something real that occurred in front of the camera. A digital photograph, on the other hand, can be a Photoshop fairy tale, containing only a tiny trace of a small fragment of reality."

Digital photography has leveled the playing field such that a commoner with computer can create art, so if the masses can create faux photographs, then photography must no longer be considered art. Or is photography merely in an awkward adolescence, thrown off balance by a few pixel-grabbing headlines of photo manipulators who tarnish the credibility of reality in front of the lens? 

Perhaps photographers should adapt the brilliant precedent writers set by segregating themselves from the digital masses—cleave off the untrained commoners sitting at home pecking words on a laptop, their grammar and spelling checked only by digital word processing software, daring to publish commentary to the world—by labeling them not writers but bloggers. So that no one is goaded to ask: Is writing dead?    

Ken Geiger

Posted by Ken Geiger | Comments (50)
Filed Under: digital imaging, Digital Photography, photography
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