Are You a Cast Member?

Making the rounds this week on various WDW-related blogs and forums, Cast Members OnlyYou know you’re a Disney cast member when…

There are a couple that I know apply, and bug the heck out of my sons:

  • You have the overwhelming urge to offer to take people’s pictures
  • When you go on vacation, you say hello to Housekeepers in the hallways
  • You have an overwhelming sensation to pick up trash on your off time

I’ll add a couple myself:

  • You know the schedule for the boats to Old Key West
  • You greet anyone with a nametag by their name

A Photographer

I walk around Walt Disney World and take pictures. I hang out with the kids playing lacrosse or marching in the band and take pictures. I find things I think are interesting along the side of the road or in my backyard and take pictures of them.

But Michael Kamber

I got up and ran to the captain and told him that I had permission to be there and that I was going to do my job. I said they could seize the photos later if they wanted to. He nodded to me. I ran back and knelt by the medic and began to shoot as he checked vital signs and searched for puncture wounds.

Delgado asked me to help him again as he bandaged the wounded man’s arms. I was glad for the request and put down the camera. Helping bandage the soldier made me feel like less of a vulture.

he’s a photographer.


Another Walt Disney World Panorama

Also from last week’s lunchtime visit, here’s an almost 180-degree view of Village Lake.

Village Lake

That’s a really tiny view, you really need to click through then hit the “all sizes” button. Similar to the last posting, I used hugin to assemble this pano, this time from 7 images. The pictures were taken with a little Point&Shoot camera sitting on the handrail on one of the boats, similar to the one seen on the right-hand side of this panorama.

A Disney Pano

Saratoga Springs

A panorama shot of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, made of three pictures taken from Downtown Disney. The pictures were taken with a Kodak EasyShare CS4230 and combined with hugin. In the foreground are part of the Lego brick dragon that lurks along the shore.

I’m pretty impressed with hugin. These were taken with a simple P&S camera on all-automatic settings, handheld (no pano tripod) — against almost all the normal advice for panorama stiching… Hugin did a darn good job at putting them together anyway.

For Cameras, This Building Doesn’t Exist

Whatever you do, don’t take a picture of this building.

Washington Post, Secret Buildings You May Not Photograph, Part 643:

The only antidote to this security mania is sunshine. Only when more and more Americans do as McCammon has done and take the time and effort to chronicle these excesses and insist on answers from authorities will we stand a chance of restoring balance and sanity to the blend of liberty and security that we are madly remixing in these confused times.

Another Photographer-Unfriendly New York Law

First it was rules against photography in subways, then of bridges. Now you’re going to love this beastie:

New York City May Seek Permit and Insurance for Many Kinds of Public Photography.

New rules being considered by the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting would require any group of two or more people who want to use a camera in a single public location for more than a half hour to get a city permit and insurance.

Under the rules, the two or more people would not actually have to be filming, but could simply be holding an ordinary camera and talking to each other.

Rather than actually define things “ostensibly to avoid creating loopholes that could be exploited by professional filmmakers and photographers,” they leave the rules vague enough that average Joe Tourist or Jane NY Resident can be pestered by semi-knowledgeable cops, thereby furthering the idiotic idea that photographers’ rights on public property should be limited.

That’s right — you and your friend could be waiting in line to get in the Empire State Building elevator or mourning at Ground Zero, and just happen to have cameras in hand… and now you’re a criminal.

And of course some officers will try to blame terrorism, and some people will buy that, when the whole thing just stinks of a government trying to find a way to make a buck off citizens using public property.

Note that it’s not being done by any security agency but rather by the Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting – a group that you’d think would understand the need for creative rights. You know, just like the RIAA Companies care about the rights of musical artists.

This thing is vague enough to be both a money grab and a tool to randomly hassle anybody with a camera.

Geo-Tagging Inaccuracies

Here’s a little something I noticed while wandering around the maps on flickr… either some people aren’t being terribly exact when they’re geo-tagging their pictures, or some data’s being lost somewhere along the way. There are a bunch of pictures that are obviously in the “wrong place.” This is a cool picture, for example, but it wasn’t taken at EPCOT. And this one‘s even titled Animal Kingdom at Disney, but on the map it shows up in Disney-MGM Studios instead. Some of the things I’m seeing are “errors” of only a mile or two, some are as much as five miles off.

It’s probably not a big deal for most people, but as computers are used more and more for photo-mapping and such, small errors add up.

Avoiding Photographic Regrets

Jim Goldstein writes in If I Only I Knew Then What I Know Now:

The art of improving is by harnessing ones frustration, dissatisfaction and/or curiosity. Pushing oneself to not just practice, but research and experiment is the key to mastering photography… technically in camera or with post-processing. With that in mind the one piece of advice I will give is technical mastery will go a lot farther giving your earlier work a longer lifespan. One can always rework post-processing years down the road.

Baby BirdsFrustration when looking back at past mistakes is something we all go through as we improve on our hobby, art or profession – no matter what that might be. The hardest for us in the Digital Photography realm is that in many cases we can’t go back and use our learnings… but only because of the mistakes we’ve already made.

When I made the move to digital, I — like most people, if forum postings are accurate — shot in JPG mode. Not a big problem, though the compression does hurt. But then I committed the ultimate sin. I edited my original files. Now that I know more about post-processing and want to go back and start from scratch, I can’t. The originals are gone. Ouch.

So here’s my advice to every fledgling that asks about getting a digital camera: Shoot at the highest resolution and lowest compression your camera will allow, learn as soon as practical to work with the RAW format, and above all else… When you pull your images off the card (a job for which I recommend Photo Mechanic, at a minimum for its automatic renaming and tagging capabilities), be sure to save a copy off to CD or another drive before you start any editing. That way you will be able to “rework post-processing years down the road,” and you’ll end up kicking yourself a lot less too.

On Photo Retouching, a Third Time

Steve Crandall, quoted in 2004: “It may be that independent cooberation of photos (several images taken from different cameras) are required to give a warm feeling of truth.”

This week in Toledo, when several pictures of the same event were compared one was different: “Each paper had its own similar Bluffton picture. But The Blade’s picture was the only one with the mysterious blue-jean clad legs missing.” Somebody got a warm feeling of truth, but one photographer had a completely different feeling, as his retouched photos were exposed.

I’ll disclose it freely: I sometimes clean up images, removing blemishes on people’s faces and minor distracting background items — my goal for non-newspaper images is to give people a pleasing and reasonably accurate photo; nobody wants to look back at their high school prom pictures and see a big zit on their nose. But I do not edit photos that I submit to newspapers.

see also Jim G’s Ethics of Photography: Career Suicide by Photoshop.