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Welcome! I don't know about you guys, but I plan on having a good time. It's a lot of work putting together each episode, but photography has been in my life — work and play — since I was a strapping sapling simpleton. And that's saying something (especially if you try to say it through thrice).

Connect or comment, please. Each episode will have a conversation, and I'll be glad to strike one up with you, too!

- Mark

Mar 26, 2018

We've reached the double-dozen point in our journey and, like the Buddha said (or maybe it was Buster Brown), a journey of a thousand miles begins with a pair of size 12s. And now that we've come this far, where have we arrived?

The (Copy)Right Way

When you push a shutter button you not only take a picture, you also acquire the rights to that picture, which means the rights to copy or display it. Even if it's not your camera. That's the beauty of a copyright — you get it as soon as you create something.

As I cover in the audio, if it's your camera and you take a picture, or if someone hands you their camera to take their picture, or your photo assistants do every single, little, tiny, and major, thing about setting up models and lighting and the wind machine and fake snow, if you press the shutter button — even without looking through the viewfinder — she who pushes the button owns the rights.

(I'll go ahead and mention that certain business arrangements between a photographer and a client/employer can grant the client/employer those rights, but if this applies to you, you are probably already aware of this fact.)

A copyright holder (that's you, remember) can assign certain rights to others at your discretion, which we all do when we post photos to the web or other social media. We must grant the right to display and copy the image for them to show the image to others. The license you are granting, by the way, is usually for unlimited copy and display, now and forever, in any medium the company chooses, which is a point of contention for many photographers, but you either agree or you don't share.

Home winner

Beyond the web a copyright holder can allow an image to be copied in more restricted ways, such as at only a certain, or maximum, size or sizes, for a limited period of time, distributable in only specified geographic regions, reproduced only a fixed number of times, and generally with no right to extend any rights to another party.

For those rights, broadly or narrowly expressed, money can be exchanged or not, other considerations agreed to or not.

When I made the photo above, which was exhibited in Fort Collins, Colorado, a few years back (without the massive red copyright symbol), there were implied rights granted to the company that made the print and to the gallery to display the work. But neither of those entities was entitled to make additional copies nor to display the work elsewhere. As a matter of fact, the gallery sought to use the image in their promotion of the show in which this hung — an additional right they asked for and I granted. They did not merely assume they could do so. Good people up there.

Listen in for more about copyrights. In the United States you may begin your exploration of copyright registration at

Mark It In Meta

I've covered the topic of metadata previously, to some extent, and I mumble about it this time too. Specifically, I encourage you to dig into the menus on your digital camera to add your copyright notice to the other metadata that is generated and recorded with every click of your shutter. Though you can add the copyright notice later, in your computer, this one-time task means every image is internally marked right from the get-go. So, get going and set yourself up.

How camera manufacturers go about allowing this function, adding a copyright notice, certainly differs, so I shan't attempt to guide you. Poke around in the menus, look at your manual, or maybe even search the web or ask your local camera retailer (where you bought your camera, right?). It should be simple, even if hidden in the rabbit warren that is the modern camera menu system. (It's actually one of the things I like about the more professional cameras — fewer menus and more physical controls.)

 Nikon screen

Here's the back of my Nikon D800E with its copyright screen up for your perusal.

Short Support

The Sunwayfoto T1A20 tripod is short on stature but long on sturdiness, with a price that might seem high until you learn that it's half that of another, nearly identical, product. (And, admittedly, their near identicalness is surely because Sunwayfoto designed theirs based on the other…)

 T1A20 side

Here's the T1A20 in all its upright glory. Well, the legs could have been extended, I suppose, but you get the idea, right? It's just about 30 centimeters, or 1 foot, from its feet to the platform onto which you would attach a tripod head.

Each of the three legs has three angles o' splay, but a single lower-leg extension. Combined, the platform onto which you would attach your head — you need to provide that yourself, and Sunwayfoto will sell you one if you're interested — can reach as high as 42.5 centimeters, about 16-3/4 inches, and as low as 4 centimeters, less than 2 inches. And it will definitely hold any gear you care to hold, with a rated capacity of 25 kilograms/55 pounds.

The ends of the legs have steel spikes, for a sure stance in rough terrain. Or pull the lower legs and shove 'em back into the uppers the other way around and get, instead, rubber feet for harder surfaces. And if you splay the legs flat, to get your camera as low as it'll go, there are rubber feet on the bottom edge of the legs to cushion their stance that way, too.

T1A20 leg tips

Here are the two tips, one at each end of each flippable lower leg section. The big knob unlocks the leg for extension/retraction, while the slimmer knob engages a short screw into a shallow channel in the leg to retain it until, by loosening the knob, you can pull the lower leg out, do the flip thing, slide it back in, then engage the shallow channel retainer knob and lock the whole thing down with the big knob.

The tripod is available through, which is where you'll wind up if you click for more info on the web site. The price, at the time of this podcast, is $199 and it comes with a six-year warranty. (And did you know the words warranty and guarantee are not just cognate, but basically the exact same word that has changed in spelling to reflect the change in pronunciation that developed between central, what is now known as France, and the coastal Norman region? Guard and ward changed in the same manner, and as we are familiar with the term wardrobe, there was the matching term guardrobe in the past, though it has fallen out of usage. Isn't language interesting?)

T1A20 standing

The legs of the T1A20 can angle out at one of three settings including, as seen here, at different angles, one from the other. (The far leg is angled out more to account for the slope on which the tripod is resting.) Here, too, we see the tripod topped with the Demon DB-44 ballhead which I reviewed in Episode 15.

T1A20 splayed

This arrangement of the legs shows just how low you can go. Sure, while the platform on which the tripod is resting is not, itself, in the dirt (4 centimeters/<2 inches above), and the head adds a few more inches, if your target is something on the ground, as soon as you tilt your camera you can pretty much shove the front of your lens right into that dirt.

Speaking of Metadata

I reviewed Photo Mechanic software, from Camera Bits, in Episode 19 and since I like it so much, I decided to get the inside low-down dirt on the place. Or, rather, I asked them if I could have a conversation with someone there and they didn't say "no." It was Mick Orlosky who got the call and we spoke about not just the company and its software but, of course, we chatted about his background in and out of photography too.

Mick Orlosky

Mick Orlosky, director of marketing for Camera Bits. We spoke of his photography work and you can see some of it at and at by John Keel.

Always the Twain Shall Meet

I turned to Twain to add a dash of humor to the mostly humorless world of copyrights and metadata and he, again, did not disappoint. Starting with, "You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." Below, in the center of this little tête-à-tête, is Samuel Clemens, AKA Mark Twain, photographed by the well-known Civil War photographer Matthew Brady. Despite my intention of quoting Twain to remove us from copyright as a topic, I'll instead use this image as an example of it!

First, the other two men: on the left is Civil War correspondent George Alfred Townsend, on the right is editor of the Buffalo Courier, David Gray. Townsend and Clemens are playing footsie, but each seems more interested in Gray's gaze than where Gray is gazing.

On the copyright front, I'll point out that the photo might not have been made by Brady, but by his partner Levin Handy. The image was made in 1871, six years after the war, and would have been afforded copyright protection by dint of a law passed only the year before. Prior to 1870, paintings and statues (and I presume photos) had no such protection. If copyright had been claimed, then, those rights would have been held by either Brady or Handy, apparently, and since Brady passed away in 1896, Handy in 1932, even if the latter were the author of this work, U.S. Copyright law states, if this image were published (versus shot and never shown to the public, and I don't know if it was), since it was made prior to 1923 it would be considered, by law, to be in the public domain. If unpublished, the copyright would expire 70 years after the author's death which, if Handy tripped the shutter, that time passed in 2002. So, whew! I seem to be in the clear, copyright-wise, in using this photo.

Twain et al

L-R: George Alfred Townsend, Samuel Clemens, David Gray. Photo by Matthew Brady or Levin Handy.

Run, Don't Walk

Thank you for spending episode 24 with me. If you find a moment, please leave me a question or comment in the comments section, below. If you have a couple more moments, it would be greatly appreciated if you could clamber on over to iTunes and rate the show. Every little bit helps me to achieve world domination, or at least more listeners, whichever happens first.