Tag Archive for photography

Gnarbox update: The saga continues

This article follows on from the previous article about my experience with Gnarbox, which so far has been terrible and dismal. However, this is the first proper glimmer of hope. The Gnarbox Kickstarter project started in July 2015, and was due to be delivered in March 2016 (twelve months ago). They had made five promises of deliveries, and has failed to fulfill any. They have also blocked me on Instagram, their only channel of communication outside of Kickstarter. They blocked me because I was one of many who complained about the non-delivery in Instagram comments. It should be noted that the blocking occurred days before CES in January, and before Lok Cheung saw them. The community of Kickstarter backers have complained loudly at the consistent failure of Gnarbox to deliver. Then this morning, there was a break in the weather.

The Gnarbox page on Kickstarter.

The Gnarbox page on Kickstarter.

I received an email marked 7.38am this morning (my time) with the first update, first of any kind of communication from Gnarbox that I’m aware of in four weeks. In fact, the last communication from them was on the 16th of February, when in the comments section on Kickstarter they confirmed someone’s address had been received. Otherwise they’ve been ghost, and completely ignoring their Kickstarter backers. It appeared really bad, and it truly seemed like anything could have happened and we were in the dark.

This update is significant. But first I have to remind of you of their previous update on the 6th of Feb. They said that they had started production and quality control testing, and were aiming to get failure rate down, then the next week they’d go into full production and shipping, so we should expect our Gnarboxes by the end of February. Today’s update (16th March) said that they’d completed production, quality control testing, boxing, and shipping of the first 150 units. That is, it has taken them six weeks to achieve this with just the first 150 units, and that they had not completed the remaining 2000 or so units. These first 150 were sent to their friends, family, and “investors”. They didn’t define what an investor is, but backers are investors in Kickstarter language. They also said that assembly of the next 820 units has started and deliveries will begin from the 20th March. Following that, the rest are due to ship on the 3rd of April, which mine will probably be included in that last batch.

Again, what is interesting is what they did not say. They have not explained the four weeks of complete radio silence, they did not explain why they failed to do their production in that time, but could only achieve 150. However, these issues are small and insignificant to the fact that they are still committed to ensuring that from end-to-end they are still rigorously testing all aspects of what they are doing. That is to say, they are still testing their boxing, shipping, and tracking procedures on friends and family, and so this process should happen smoothly for the rest of us. I think it would have been easy for a very demoralised group that has failed multiple times to deliver on their promise just to give up and get it out without much more effort. In contrast, they are still committed to the learning experience and getting the production flow right. This point has to be acknowledged and respected.

Three things cannot be overlooked. Firstly, this is the sixth delivery promise they’ve made. The first being March 2016, 19th September, November, January 2017, February, and 20th March & 3rd April. Secondly, their planning needs improvement, but they certainly should have learnt a lot about this from this experience. Finally, communication, and therefore respect for their backers is in desperate need of improvement. A lot of excitement, enthusiasm, and publicity they garnered in July and August 2015 has been more than spent. Their product is already partially obsolete, especially as the built in wifi in new cameras means the Gnarbox no longer fills a gap in the market (Dan Cook on PetaPixel). Will I use mine? I don’t have a wifi enabled camera yet, but it could happen this year, and my new iPhone does a pretty damn good job for social media use.

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Google offers photo editing software Nik for free now

PetaPixel just reported that Google is now offering photo editing software Nik for free (PetaPixel). Is it just me, or does this seem like a game changer, at least for amateurs? For me, it was a terrible idea for Adobe to move to a subscription charging service. I don’t need a constantly updated LightRoom or PhotoShop, and so monthly and annual subscriptions are bad for me; it would be money lost for no reason. Consequently, I’m using the last versions of Lr & PS that were available with licenses for perpetuity. However, at some point, I’m going to buy a camera that isn’t supported by these versions, and so I need to be on the look out for Adobe replacements.

Adobe PhotoShop LightRoom 3 does not support my new camera.

Adobe PhotoShop LightRoom 3 does not support my new camera.

Now Google does this? Admittedly, I’ve never heard of Nik. Is it any good? I’ve tried other photo and batch editing software before, and always LightRoom has been head and shoulders better than others. Nik? I have no idea. Is it a batch or single photo editing or processing software?

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@500px cutting their payments to photographers is selfish

This is a unilateral decision. A couple of years ago, 500px.com launched their “Market Place”, where photographers could earn money from selling their photos. However, there were two immediate problems. First, they let Pinterest members get and use the photos for free anyway. Subsequently, I have almost stopped uploading photos to 500px, and restarted using Flickr. Secondly, they offered a measly 30% of the sale price. The cost of employing a model, makeup artist, maintenance of photographic equipment, and photographic software cannot be covered by such a payment scheme. Understandably, photographers complained and boycotted. So, 500px bumped up the pay to 70% commission, which is better, but their prices were still kind of low. So, I never joined their market place.

Screen shot of the JapanesePhotos.Asia 500px portfolio.

Screen shot of the JapanesePhotos.Asia 500px portfolio.

 

Now, PetaPixel reports that 500px is again unilaterally readjusting the price. All non-exclusive market place members will have their commissions cut to 30% (again). 500px claims that in order to be competitive, they need to ‘restructure’. For photographers to be competitive, and to create photographs, we need money, and cutting the amount paid is is utterly ridiculous. The quality of product will suffer, and so will 500px’s sales. In any case, it doesn’t affect me, as I don’t take 500px seriously, as they don’t seem to take the whole thing and photographers seriously.

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Gnarbox: Backup and share photos in the field

I’ve never supported a Kickstarter project before. I’ve known about Kickstarter for a few years, and had been tempted by a few projects, but this one hooked me instantly. I have been dreaming of creating a device just like this, but just for storage on the go.

Gnarbox lets you store and back up your memory cards in the field, and a smartphone app lets you edit, process, and then share them right away. It’s simply perfect for travel and adventure photographers and videographers. See Gnarbox on Kickstarter for more details, and for making your own pledge.

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Another #CameraPixo issue published

Thanks again to CameraPixo for accepting and publishing another of my photos in their Exploring Landscapes issue. No Editor’s Award this time (see Poem of a Cacophonous City, & other blogposts), but there’ll be another time. This time is Railway Lines Silhouetted on page 53. This photo is available for licensing via my PhotoShelter Portfolio, Railway Lines Silhouetted.

Railway Lines Silhouetted, in Camera Pixo, 23 Feb 2015

Railway Lines Silhouetted, in Camera Pixo, 23 Feb 2015

Buy this photo 2015 (long) for JapanesePhotos.Asia

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Photography competition Can I drop your name?

Would you mind if I drop your name in a photography competition? The winning criteria is not clear (or stated at all, actually), so I’m not sure if it’s a raffle, or there’s some intelligent selection happening. In short, there is a $5,000 sponsorship for a photo shoot, and a free camera, so a claimed total of $8,000 of prizes for one lucky travel photographer. They want two things. 1. 25 words or less of “Your dream shoot”. 2. A list of email addresses to invite other photographers. I don’t know if the winner will be the one with the best 25 words or less, longest list of invites, the most invites who joined their website and entered, or best 25 words and matching portfolio on their system. Because their winning criteria is not explicit, I’m a little hesitant to just throw people’s names in without checking first. In any case, I’d love to use that money for another trip to Vietnam and get a wider array of great local images of life there, tourism, and more.

A young lady in The Morning Café in Saigon, Vietnam.

A young lady in The Morning Café in Saigon, Vietnam.

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#WPD2014 Quote from Robert Capa

IT’S TODAY! The 175th year of photography is today! Clink your champagne glasses and click your shutters!

This month JapanesePhotos.Asia celebrates the 175th anniversary of photography. For discounts on certain photo purchases see the announcement on the 1st August, and join in with the fun. Wikipedia’s entry for Robert Capa (damn autocorrect changing his name).

Photography quotes for the 175th year of photography.

Photography quotes for the 175th year of photography.

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