Garden of the Gods with the MHWPC

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods is one of the local, natural icons around Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Donated by the heirs of Charles Elliot Perkins in 1909 to the city of Colorado Springs so that it would remain as a park to share with all.  It is truly a magnificent site with the rock upheaval and the splendid Pikes Peak in the distance.

Having been there a few times now, I wasn’t going to miss another opportunity to visit it with the Mile High Wildlife Photography Club (MHWPC) for a sunrise shoot.  We met at 5:30am at the Garden of the Gods main parking lot all caffeinated up.  After everyone got their photo equipment ready to go, we started to hike around to the eastern side of the park to hopefully shoot the rising sun on the rocks, which makes them glow a brilliant red, with Pikes Peak in the background.

The Photographers Ephemeris (TPE) for our shoot

Disappointingly, the sun stayed behind a cloud covered sky to the East for most of the morning, which didn’t make for the most beautiful sunrise.  But, there aren’t too many sunrises that one can complain about, so it was still worth the trip.

All in all though, it was a great morning with some decent shots that I wanted to share below.

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods

Members of the Club Shooting Sunrise

 

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods by Neal Fedora on 500px

 

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods (Black & White)

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods by Neal Fedora on 500px

 

“Kissing Camels” on top of the Garden of the Gods

 

“Lone Tree” just Northeast of the Garden of the Gods

Lone Tree by Neal Fedora on 500px

Members of the Club Shooting Geese

 

“Geese on the Peak” on top of one of the formations within the park with 14er Pike’s Peak as the backdrop

Geese on the Peak by Neal Fedora on 500px

 

 

Lunar Eclipse – April 14/15 2014

Lunar Eclipse

During the early morning hours of April 15, 2014, the world was exposed to the amazing sight of a total lunar eclipse.  This was the first of four lunar eclipses (April 15th will be followed by another on October 8th, and again on April 4th and September 28th of next yearthat we will have the pleasure of witnessing over the next year and a half.  Never shooting the Moon, let alone a lunar eclipse before, my brother and I decided to brave the cold and sleep deprivation to enjoy this wonderful event.

It was really windy, so long exposures weren’t really possible unless you timed it right between the strong gusts of 20+ mph.  As a result, the typical recommended small apertures for sharpness wasn’t possible if I wanted to keep the noise to a useful level.  So, smaller F-stops it was!  Up until the main full lunar eclipse time at ~1:45 am local time, it gradually got more windy as the front rolled in which caused my earlier photos to be more in focus.  And here’s the best one of the lot at my full zoom…

Trying to shoot the Lunar Eclipse (aka Blood Moon) for the first time, it was a cold, windy night in Colorado. Although my fingers froze (I have a problem with that), I did manage to get a few shots in acceptable focus anyway. Wouldn't have traded a thing, a really amazing sight that used to awe our ancestors. The bottom right is the bright double star Spica.

Lunar Eclipse – April 14/15 2014 Canon EOS 7D, Focal Length 448mm (200*1.6 crop * 1.4 tc), Shutter Speed 1/3 secs, Aperture f/8, ISO 1250

 

It got to the point that my phalanges were getting too frozen and rather unusable, so I wanted to make the most of the rest of the functional time that I had.  Seeing Mars so bright that evening was really disturbing to me as odd as that may sound.  I found myself constantly gravitated towards it and really wanted to include it in a photo with the amazing lunar eclipse that we were witnessing.  So I did (it’s the bright one on the far right)…

 

Trying to shoot the Lunar Eclipse (aka Blood Moon) for the first time, it was a cold, windy night in Colorado. Although my fingers froze (I have a problem with that), I did manage to get a few shots in acceptable focus anyway. Since Mars was so close, I really wanted to capture the Moon with Mars in the same frame capturing the contrast of the two this cold evening/morning.  The bottom right of the Moon is the bright double star Spica.

Lunar Eclipse – April 14/15 2014, Canon EOS 7D, Focal Length 136mm (85 * 1.6 crop), Shutter Speed 1/2 secs, Aperture f/4, ISO 6400

It wasn’t long before I honestly could not do much with my fingers, even with the hand warmers.  So, I just couldn’t take any more pictures, but I felt I captured the ones that I wanted anyway.  Thus, I resorted to sitting back, stuffing my hands in my pockets with the hand warmers and enjoying the rest of the eclipse.  I hope you had a chance to see it.  If not, I hope that these pics help and that you take advantage of the upcoming ones.

Information on the photos above:

  • Canon 7D
  • Canon 70-200L F4
  • Kenko 1.4x Teleconverter (Photo #2)
  • Benro Tripod
  • Mirror Lockup used
  • Canon RS-80N3 remote switch used
  • Nik software used to denoise the image, increase warmth and contrast and moderate the extreme dynamic range exposure of the Moon

References:

  1. Great photography guide from Mr. Eclipse
  2. Useful photography tips and explanations from PhotographyLife.com
  3. Some information on the lunar 2014 eclipses from io9.com

Photography Guide: Night Photography

Milky Way Zoomed 100%  - 36 sec @ F3.5, ISO 3200

Back in August 2013, the Mile High Wildlife Photography Club (MHWPC) hosted acclaimed photographer and planetary scientist Dr. Roger Clark.  With his presentation on astrophotography tips and the annual Perseid meteor shower taking place on August 10-13, I was really inspired to take night photography more seriously and really see what I can do with my current equipment.  Unfortunately Dr. Clark’s MHWPC meeting was moved a week and I was unable to attend his lecture.  I did have several exchanges with him afterwards, however, and his insight was vital in improving my understanding and learning of nighttime photography.  As a result, it is the intent of this article to share my lessons learned, tips and other less common useful information to assist other photographers with their night photography.  Successful night photography, like most photography, is comprised of preparation, execution and post-processing.

I’ve found myself on many occasions outside at night witnessing a wonderful night sky, wishing I had a camera or alternatively sitting there with my camera and wishing I had a clear sky.  Although you can’t always predict Mother Nature, good preparation can increase your chances that she’ll help you get that perfect shot.  So, here are some useful links to assist you with your pre-night shoot preparation.

  • The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) to determine the Moon rise / set times and relative location in the sky.
  • ClearDarkSky is a really useful website for predicting the cloud cover, transparency, seeing and darkness.
  • Stellarium is a planetarium desktop software, which is great for searching the night sky, seeing where the Milky Way will be, planets, constellations, nebulae, etc.
  • US Navel Observatory provides a searchable moon and sun database, which is handy for researching the moon phase and set to obtain the darkest night possible
  • NOAA Predicted Geomagnetic Index is useful to check on the probability of seeing an aurora.  If the Kp turns up above 5, then there’s a good chance you may see an aurora. (Thanks Dr. Clark for this site)
  • POES Aurora Satellite Image is useful to check on the position of current aurora oval.  (Thanks Dr. Clark for this site)

Taking wonderful night images comes down to the same photography basics as any photograph; aperture, ISO, exposure and focus.  It’s the trade off of these that the photographer is faced with in order to capture their desired image.

Not surprisingly, a fast lens (F2.8 or less) is ideal for enabling the photographer more flexibility in trading off ISO and/or exposure to capture their desired image.  A fast lens is especially required to effectively capture meteors, where you only have a fraction of a second worth of light available for the exposure.

Full frame DSLRs are inherently better at minimizing the noise at high ISO’s when compared to cropped DSLRs because of their large pixel and sensor sizes, however. all exhibit an amazing ability at capturing images with high ISO’s.  Regardless of the DSLR used though, they should be capable of taking good photos at ISO 3200, 6400 or even higher.  With the advances of noise reduction software, such as Lightroom, Topaz DeNoise or Nik Dfine, photographers can really push their ISO settings and still produce really high quality results.  In addition, the built in camera long exposure compensation can be useful for reducing noise.  Using this feature typically doubles the processing time, but can greatly reduce the noise in the recorded image.

I have found that the exposure trade-off is the most important one, with many misconceptions on it.  Too short of exposure, then you aren’t able to acquire enough light to effectively capture all of the stars, stellar dust, airglow, etc.  Too long of an exposure, then your image will have star trails.  This is obviously sometimes a desired effect, but if you are trying to photograph the Milky Way for example, then this may not be desired.  Short star trails just make the stars look blurry since the stars appear larger than they should be.  An example of this is shown below in the following figures.

Milky Way - 36 sec @ F3.5, ISO 3200

Milky Way – 36 sec @ F3.5, ISO 3200

 

 

Milky Way Zoomed 100%  - 36 sec @ F3.5, ISO 3200

Milky Way Zoomed 100% – 36 sec @ F3.5, ISO 3200

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, how long can you expose your image before star trails are visible?  You may have read about recommendations of 30 seconds or the 600x rule, which states that for a full frame camera if you multiple the focal length used times the exposure and the resultant value is less than or equal to 600, then the stars should appear without trails.  This ‘rule’ is misleading however, which after discussing it with Dr. Clark, he clarified that the real limiting factors are the focal length, exposure and camera sensor pixel size, also known as the pixel pitch.  During long exposures, the light received on the sensor from a star will transition from one pixel to the next as Earth rotates relative to the stars.  With a recommended maximum pixel drift of 2-3 pixels, the sensor pixel pitch has a direct impact on the useful exposure duration for images without star trails.  Dr. Clark has a great overview of the impact of pixel sizes on his website.  Astropix has a detailed table of the pixel pitches, sensor sizes, etc. for numerous Canon and Nikon cameras which is available here.  The following table captures the estimated exposure times with respect to sensor pixel pitch and focal lengths for a few common Canon and Nikon cameras.

Camera Pixel Pitch vs Exposure Comparison

Camera Pixel Pitch vs Exposure Comparison

Additionally, unless intended, what good is an out of focus photograph?  Using mirror lock-up, a remote shutter release and a sturdy tripod are essential tools to help mitigate against camera movement impacting the recorded image.  However, focusing on the stars at night can be a bit tricky as well given the limited light available.  Because of the reduced light available; auto-focus really doesn’t work very well.  As a result, using manual focus is recommended.  Switch off auto-focus on the lens and then use live-view to manually focus on a bright object in the distance, such as a star, planet, the Moon, a street lamp or city.  Every lens is a bit different, but generally starting your lens depth of field just outside of infinity is a good place to start.  It’s a good practice to make note of the resultant depth of field setting to quickly focus in the future with that particular lens as well.

If longer exposures are desired, but star trails are not, then additional equipment such as the AstroTrac or another astrophotography stabilization tripod mount may be used for accurate exposures of 5-minutes or more.  Alternatively, star trails can be a very creative lighting technique making for wonderful photos.  Instead of very long exposures of several hours, these long star trail photographs are usually stitched together using 100’s of 30-second exposures with software like Adobe Photoshop, Startrails.exe or Image Stacker.

Finally, post-processing.  This is very subjective, but if you want to keep the photograph white balance accurate then know that the sky is really ‘warm’ because of all of our dust in the atmosphere and that the green air glow really should be there.  If you shoot RAW, then it’s easy to change this after importing your photographs.  If shooting JPEG, then it’s worth spending sometime in the field adjusting the white balance.  Some great examples can be found on Dr. Clark’s website.

Regardless of the photography equipment you have, you can still take exciting nighttime photos.  So go out there, try to capture the night and have fun with it!

Useful Links:

1)  dpBestFlow detailed information on sensors.  Provides a good overview of terms and information relating to sensors.

2)  I encourage the reader to visit Dr. Clark’s website Clarkvision, which is full of detailed photography tips, information and of course his wonderful images.

3)  A couple informative links for How To Photograph Star Trails and from Petapixel, How to Create Star Trails from Start to Finish

4)  A very thorough guide for Astrophotography from Astropix.com

Measuring the Shutter Count

My Canon EOS 40D Shutter Count from EOSInfo

At some point, you may need to know how many times the shutter of your Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) digital camera has been opened and closed.  Sure if you bought your camera new, then you may be able to look at the number of pictures on your PC and guess roughly how many times the shutter has been triggered.  But this method is crude at best.  This information is logged however in the camera and certain utilities can be used to access it.

After having my Canon EOS 7D for over a year, I decided to sell my Canon EOS 40D.  Great camera, but it ended up just sitting on my shelf for too long after having the 7D and I came to the realization that I just didn’t need it now or in the near future.  So, I decided to sell it through Amazon.  As part of that though, I did feel that it was important that I accurately present the usage of the camera, specifically the shutter count as the body was in good shape.  Thus, I sought out a program that could read the shutter count of the Canon EOS 40D (review from DP Review).

After a good deal of research, I found the program EOSInfo which works really well with the older camera bodies, such as the Canon 40D.  The Canon 40D has an estimated shutter life of 100,000 cycles, which is a ton of captures.  My Canon 40D came in at less than 8% of that with a shutter count of 7411.  Sadly, I thought I took more pictures than that.  Here’s a screenshot of the EOSInfo program though.

My Canon EOS 40D Shutter Count from EOSInfo

My Canon EOS 40D Shutter Count from EOSInfo

 

After selling the Canon 40D, I was a bit curious if there was a program that also worked with the Canon EOS 7D.  The DP Review mentioned EOS Count as an online alternative for measuring the shutter count of some of the newer EOS bodies, such as the 60D and 7D.  I have not used it personally at this time, but it may be worth checking it out if you are interested as the reviews did indicate success with them.

You would think that this information would be available through the camera, so hopefully this helps you obtain the shutter counts of your digital SLRs.  Happy shooting friends.

 

 

Canon 7D Firmware Update

Confirm the Canon EOS Firmware Load

The much anticipated Canon EOS 7D firmware 2.00 update is here!  Released on August 6th, 2012 for download, this firmware update delivers several enhancements to the already very capable Canon EOS 7D.  The Canon EOS 7D Update delivers the following new features, improvements and capabilities.

1)   Shooting up to 130 JPEG Large/Fine and 25 RAW images at 8.0 frames per second (fps), which is up from 126 JPEG Large/Fine and 15 RAW images at 8.0 fps.

2)  Compatible with the Canon GPS Receiver GP-E2 for instant geotagging of your photos instead of post-production geotagging using Lightroom or external GPS logs.

3)  Enables manual control of sound recording levels. The recording level can be manually adjusted to one of 64 levels, for full control of your audio recording for your high definition videos.

4)  When using M, P, TV, AV and B modes, users now have a choice of setting the maximum allowable ISO, up to ISO 6400 so that your Canon 7D can optimize your ISO settings to ensure that your exposure ideal for your given user settings.

5)  Improved EOS 7D’s RAW image processing for your P, TV, AV, M and B modes.  The improvements include RAW optimization in the Canon 7D without a computer of White Balance, Picture Style, Auto Lighting Optimizer, High ISO Noise Reduction, JPEG Quality, Color Space, Lens Peripheral Illumination Correction, Distortion Correction and Lens Aberration Corrections.

6)  The Canon EOS 7D can now resize your JPEG “L” and “M” images and save them as separate JPEG “M” and “S” images, thus saving time in post production conversions.

7)  Users can now add 0-5 star ratings to their pictures within the Canon 7D, which again saves time in post production when reviewing and rating your photos after the shoot.

8)  The  Quick Control has been updated as well, so users “can quickly access a number of features during playback via the Quick Control button. Images can be protected, rotated, resized, highlight alert and AF point displays can be accessed, and image jump can be accessed via the main dial, which are significant time-savers.”

9)  Users can now customize their file names by specifying th efirst 4 characters of each file name, replacing the default ‘IMG_’ that we have all grown used to.

10)  Finally, changing the time in your camera is as easy as just selecting the specific timezone that you are shooting out of.  A very useful addition and one that I could have used a few times.

11)  You can now scroll through your magnified photos much quicker.  “This increased speed makes it easier to confirm expressions, details and sharpness, or whether recomposing, refocusing or reshooting is necessary.”

I was thoroughly impressed by the improvements.  It’s an evolutionary transition where the consumer can expect more enhancements than ever before as more features are implemented in software.  So you have the Canon EOS 7D, now how do you update your camera firmware?

First, you need to download the Canon EOS 7D Firmware Update.

Next, you can either copy the firmware to either the Compact Flash (CF) card or install it from the computer using the Canon EOS Utility.  Since I was working on some studio shooting using the tethered Canon EOS Utility, I preferred to install it through this utility instead, which was an easy install with no issues.  Just follow these steps from my install, or take a look at Canon 7D Firmware Update – English.

1)  Start the Canon EOS Utility software.

2)  Go to the ‘Camera settings/Remote shooting’ option.

3)  Select the Setup menu by clicking on the wrench/tool setup tab.

4)  Go down to the firmware, in this case Firmware Ver.1.2.5 below the ‘Live View/Movie func. set.’.  Click on it the Firmware text.  At which time, you will then have an option to update the firmware if your firmware is older.

Confirm the Canon EOS Firmware Load

5)  Select OK and then browse to the firmware you downloaded earlier.  Select the updated firmware version.  The current version is 1.X.X (mine was 1.2.5).  Select the Canon EOS 7D 2.00 firmware 7D000200.FIR from the download folder on the Windows PC.  Select ‘Open’ and start the installation.

Firmware 2.00 Select

6)  Then follow the instructions on the pop-up, as shown below.  Press the ‘Set’ button on the Canon 7D, which is the round middle button on the control disk.  You are then asked if you want to confirm, click ‘OK’.

Start Load from EOS Utility

7)  It then proceeds to update the firmware.  The installation of the firmware from the PC via the USB cable took just over 7-minutes to copy and install the firmware on the Canon EOS 7D.

8)  After the installation, power off your Canon 7D and remove the battery for several seconds.  I left them out for a few minutes just to ensure that any stored capacitance is discharged.

9)  Install the battery and power the camera back on.  In the Canon EOS Utility you can confirm that the firmware has been successfully updated as shown below, which is now Firmware Version 2.0.0.

Canon Firmware 2.00 Updated

10)  You installation is now complete!   Now, just enjoy these great improvements to your already fantastic Canon EOS 7D camera!

[Update on 01 October 2012]   Since the 2.00 Firmware release, Canon has since released a few updates.  The current latest is 2.03, released on 12 September 2012 and contains a few bug fixes only.  There are no new features.  Information on the update can be found on the Canon Rumors Website in the Canon EOS 7D Firmware 2.03 article or Canon’s 2.03 Release Notes Website.  You can download the latest Canon EOS 7D firmware from Canon’s 7D Support Website.

Photography Backup Process

myFedora Backup Process

Oh, the devastating scenario of loosing all or even some of your hard work!  I don’t know what I would do if I were to loose all of my pictures and documents.  However, it is a necessary evil when being so dependent upon personal computers (PCs).  As an aspiring photographer, you would think that I would be on top of backing up and protecting my images.  Nope.  I neglected this incredibly important workflow step for far too long.  Thus, I spent a good deal of time in early 2012 researching various processes of backing up your data to find a method that works best for me.  The most important requirements for me were, ease of integration into existing workflow, cost and 100% protection of my files.  I finally settled on one pretty common, simple, reliable backup process that will guarantee file security without breaking the bank.  This article shares my current backup process at home, my backup process in the field and verification plan for verifying the integrity of my data for years to come.

My goal is to ensure that I am protected from loosing my important pictures and documents, as it would be impossible for me to replace them.  So how do I implement a process that is reliable, simple and equally important, affordable?  Let’s discuss what I already had available to start off with:
  • My laptop running Windows 7 64-bit
  • (1) 2TB networked Western Digital external hard drive
  • Read/Write DVDs, which I was burning my original JPEG + RAW files to.

Not a bad setup, had I been using it properly.  I could easily make a simple backup from my laptop to the external hard drive on a routine basis (riskily I wasn’t even doing this).  Using both the (1) external hard drive and DVDs, they would give me potentially (2) layers of backup protection.  However, I was not addressing my operating system backup, nor was I even copying the same files to the external hard drive that I was to the DVDs.  Yes, I know I was setting myself up for failure and I knew it.  Researching both what others are doing and what the recommended ‘best practices’ are, I found one process from American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) that I felt could be manipulated to fit into my workflow and utilizing my existing equipment.

The one consistent recommendation I found was that everyone should practice a backup process with at least (3) layers of protection.  The most common instantiation of this is:

  • (2) External Hard Drives
    • (1) External Hard Drive for local backup
    • (1) External Hard Drive for offsite storage
  • (1) Disc copy (DVD or Blu-Ray)

Made sense to me.  So, all I needed was an extra external hard drive to implement the infrastructure to support a reliable backup process.  I ended up buying a 2TB Western Digital USB 3.0 External Hard Drive so that I could back it up locally and have the option to put it in a safety deposit box or fireproof safe for offsite storage.

Now that I have the (3) layer backup protection hardware infrastructure implemented, how do I make it work in practice?  This is easier said than done because of the variables that I had, which were the fact that I am using a laptop so it’s not always home, no backup software chosen, I was undecided on what exactly to backup, and I had different external hard drive interfaces (1) network drive and (1) USB drive.  Since I travel with my laptop half the time, a regular scheduled backup isn’t really practical.  So, I required software that permits me to schedule backups to both the network and USB external hard drives either on a regular schedule or manually.

I asked Tom Bourdon, a fantastic professional travel photographer, about his travel photography backup process and he uses SyncToy from Microsoft.  ASMP recommended SyncBack for PC users and ChronoSync for Mac users.  Reviewing them, I felt SyncToy (FREE) worked better for my simple process.  Although I am a PC user, ChronoSync is operationally similar to SyncToy.  So, the backup concepts presented herein are synonymous for Windows and Mac users.

Using SyncToy, I created folder pairs to backup specific folders from my laptop to the target external hard drives.  Folder pairs, set as ‘echo’, are used to generate exact copies of my laptop folders on the external hard drives.  This is used for my Working folder, which contains my plethora of images to be edited, and specific folders from my laptop Users folder.  In addition, a ‘contribute‘ folder pair, which only appends files, is used to copy my laptop Transferred folder to an archive folder on the external drives.  The Transferred folder contains finished images that are archived to DVD(s) before removal from my laptop, thus continually maintaining (3) layers of protection.  Presently for offsite storage, the archived DVD(s) are stored in a local fireproof safe; however a safety deposit box or online storage is very effective for addressing this requirement.  The below Figure depicts SyncToy and the folder pairs utilized either individually or all at once.

The Microsoft SyncToy software with the folder pairs used

The Microsoft SyncToy software with the folder pairs used

In addition to SyncToy, I use Windows Backup and Restore (In Windows 7 for under Control Panel -> System and Security -> Backup and Restore) capability for backing up my System Image should my Operating System (OS) experience major problems.  The entire backup process implemented is shown in the below Figure.

This describes the backup process performed at my home office for my System Image, User Files and both Working and Archived Pictures.

 

Equally important is having a process for backing up your images in the field and verifying the integrity of your images years in the future.  On travel, I use a 160GB HyperDrive COLORSPACE UDMA from B&H Photo and Video for backing up my CompactFlash cards.  It can perform some integrity checks as part of the backup process, in addition to quickly downloading your pictures.  As a nicety, you can view your photos as they are downloaded or after they are downloaded on its mediocre screen.  A very handy device for backing up in the field.  My only complaint is that it does not backup video files, only pictures files (RAW, DNG, TIFF, JPG, etc.).  Not that I shoot a lot of video, but that would be useful as I do use video to capture moments.

Finally, how do you verify the integrity of your files for years to come?  If you shoot RAW and convert them to Digital Negatives (DNG), then all you have to do is convert your DNG files through Adobe’s DNG Converter (FREE) and it will automatically check to ensure the integrity of the file by checking that no bits have changed.  The reason for this is that DNG files, besides being 0-20% smaller than proprietary RAW files, it also stores an MD5 hash for the raw image contained in the DNG.  The MD5 algorithm can also be used for validating the integrity of all of your other files and/or folders full of files.  I settled on the MD5 Checksum Verifier utility from FlashPlayerPro ($15) because this program can quickly generate a separate MD5 hash file for an individual file or an entire folder full of files that I can keep with the files and folders.  In addition, you can then at some later date recheck the file(s) for comparison against the MD5 hash stored for verification that nothing has been modified in the file(s).  Because my working pictures are, well, being worked I only use this on my archive pictures.

With a few external hard drives and some free software, you can easily have a reliable, simple backup solution at your home office.  In the field, it can be a bit more costly but there are some very effective solutions such as using your laptop and external hard drives.  Then for future verification, a simple MD5 hash checker and DNG converter works out great for validating the integrity of your backup files.  Here are a few references to assist you.  Hope this helps saves you from loosing your data in the future.

A revision of this article was published in the Mile High Wildlife Photography Club (MHWPC) May 2013 newsletter.

Group Photo Registration Pilot Project Instructions for Published Photographs

Copyright

As most photographers do, they submit their photographs to the U.S. Copyright Office. During my most recent submittal, Kathryn, the Registration Specialist with the U.S. Copyright office was kind enough to communicate to me the proposed changes for artists submitting published works. I thought it was interesting and very useful so I wanted to share this information with you. The below text is quoted from her email to me.

The first submission is limited to no more than 250 photographs. Remember for published photographs you can only submit photographs that were published in the same calendar year.

TYPE OF WORK: select Work of the Visual Arts.

TITLE: Title of work being registered should be the collective title for the group – such as “Davis Hawaii Photo 2011.” If the photos are published the alternative title (ALT space) must begin with “Group Registration Photos”, then range of publication dates must be included, as well as how many photographs are in the group. The dates of publication must be complete dates – day, month, and year. EXAMPLE: Group Registration Photos, , published Jan. 1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2009; 250 photos. Unpublished groups just need the group or collection title.

CONTENTS TITLES: After you have saved the main title you must enter the contents titles. Click New, then select Contents titles for title type, then add the titles of the photographs. Published photos must include the complete date of publication after each title. It is probably best for a larger group to enter the titles in a string. Separate these titles with a semicolon space. EXAMPLE: Diamond Head, Feb. 14, 2009; Pear Harbor Mar. 2, 2009; etc. For each Contents titles box or line enter no more than 1900 characters (spaces are counted as characters). The system will let you add more than that, but not all titles will show up in the cataloging record and for the pilot we want all titles in the catalog record. You can have multiple boxes/lines of contents titles.

Note: you may want to enter the titles in a word document or similar program that can tell you how many characters you have so you can try to cut and paste.

You can also enter each contents title on a separate line.

PUBLICATION: For published works, enter the earliest date of publication. The date must be complete: day, month, and year. Give the country the photographs were first published in, in the appropriate box. Give the year of completion in the appropriate box.

For unpublished photo collections you will only give the year of completion. The year of completion is for the collection which is the year the last work was completed in.

AUTHOR. All photos must be taken by the same photographer.

Select “Photograph(s)” for Author Created.

CLAIMANT: the claimant must the same for all the photographs.

RIGHTS & PERMISSIONS: optional.

CORRESPONDENT: required.

MAIL CERTIFICATE: required.

SPECIAL HANDLING: not for the pilot program.

CERTIFICATION: required.

REVIEW

DO NOT HIT SUBMIT. Save the information and E-mail me the Service Request number so I can look at it and let you know if changes need to be made before you submit.

DEPOSIT REQUIREMENTS: Be sure the files you wish to upload are on the list of acceptable files. As stated above the first submission is limited to no more than 250 photographs. We are requiring that you include a titles list as the first upload. For published photographs the list must include the complete date of publication for the titles.

For some additional information on copyrights and the law, check out Ken Kaminesky’s Copyright Posts.