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Posts posted by johncrosley

  1. <p>Let me be a contrarian here, then a partial optimist.</p>

    <p>All is not lost, and this is not a lost photo. It has one major problem that needs a Photoshop fix, probably because it was a film capture (an old, probably film lens is suggested by the repeating aperture's shape)</p>

    <p>Photo.net is full of lots of photo aficionados who abhor lens flare, but I belong to two stock photo services that absolutely love to see in their briefed photos (some at least) a certain amount and sometimes a lot of lens flare. Lens flare is not the death of a good photo either, so long as the images are roughly viewable and recognizable.</p>

    <p>Photoshop is freely downloadable and usable and in the latest edition, has a slider under Adobe Camera Raw that may even partly or wholly clarify the flare contrast problem and make it palatable or fix it much more to your liking than you'd ever guess.</p>

    <p>And you don't need to use Adobe Camera Raw anymore to make use of the filters in Adobe Camera raw, just convert the photos into 'smart objects' which is easily done. I do not suggest that you do it personally -- it's far to big a task to learn for just a few photos, but anyone minimally conversant in shooting 'raw' photos should be able to download free a trial version of the new Photoshop, identify the new 'haze' (dehaze) filter, adjust the slider and apply it, by moving it left and right to taste. I think it should at least be tried and results might be stunning.</p>

    <p>Although the 'haze' filter was designed primarily to take 'haze' away from landscape shots by removing the bluish haze that occurs when the wind doesn't sweep away the mist, water particles, and the various outgasses from grasses, trees and bushes that gather over any distance of verdant area such as meadows, forests, etc., it can also be used to clarify photos that just are 'hazy', say from solar glare -- here from scattering of the sun's rays on the lens elements caused by aiming toward the sun.</p>

    <p>I haven't tried it with this photo, but if you have the original captures (film or digital or scans), then I'd try to run the digital versions through Photoshop, convert to smart objects (or if 'raw' just process as 'raw' then apply the brand new 'haze' (dehaze) filter and see if it may not perform a 'miracle'. </p>

    <p>I tried it on some old landscape photos of mine from Big Sur that were simply too hazy to be shown, and my stock photo service put them on page one of their examples of best photos not knowing the haze filter had removed all the haze, but the filter does not just remove haze from dust/water vapor/outgassing from plants, and has some mettle in ordinary haze situations regardless of distance.</p>

    <p>Try it; you might just like it.</p>

    <p>And if one judges your post, nothing else yet has satisfied you.</p>

    <p>But remember, although Photo.net places a negative value generally on appearance of solar flare and haze from lack of a lens hood, stock photo services and advertising, book and other clients often demand just the same thing.</p>

    <p>It's all in the eye of the beholder.</p>

    <p>Not all good or great photos are glossy and show everyone's detail perfectly; a little sun peeping over someone's shoulders or head and obscuring detail can greatly help some photos, and lack of a lens hood is not a death knell.</p>

    <p>It took me a long time to learn that, but there it is. Photo.net members are not the ultimate arbiters of good photography, and even if they rate, their rates are given in the fishbowl of the standards of the site.</p>

    <p>Of course there is little excuse for the internal lens flare repeating the aperture -- I note it's an older lens by the number of sides to the 'opening' and thus suggest this was a 'film' capture' and thus because not digital, the photographer could not instantly see the problem with the aperture flare -- a sad problem, and not part of my 'rescue' above, but still fixable by using cloning techniques and a lot less work in Photoshop than would have been necessary two or three years ago.<br>



    <p>John (Crosley)</p>

  2. <p>Lannie, it was sent from them to me in an e-mail. It's authentic. And it's in the news too. No doubt. Details however are gonna be interesting, I'm sure, and some will get kicked; others (lucky ones who have no skin in the game but have bad contracts like me but nothing contributed) may have a chance to renegotiate . . . . or go the high way. Either way is OK with me, as they wanted revolution news and war news photos from me, and that's a strength but I do far more. ;~)))) as you well know. j (Crosley)</p>
  3. <p>Well, Brian, this is fact - based as it comes from the companies in a press release, and I'm at a loss to understand what the rumors are as I infrequently visit fumor mills. I have a personal interest, and my e-mail is under my biography, I'd be happy to get an e-mail outlining 'unsubstantiated but attributed' rumors which you cannot publish here.</p>

    <p>john (Crosley)</p>

  4. <p>Here is a link to a web site announcement issued jointly by Visual Group China with and about their purchase of Corbis and the use of Getty images to take over sales/licensing of Corbis Images outside of China as well as handling the intricacies of who will represent whom, where and at what terms during the transition. It is MUST reading for any pro or stock contributor; the sale was long rumored for Corbis, but I am not so sure about the transfer of sales duties geographically in much of the world to Getty. Interesting reading and begs many questions, part of which might be whether contract terms are now negotiable if you're with Getty and/or Corbis? </p>


    <p>They attempt to explain the issue raised above in the text of the news release, but it may not be the complete or proper answer.</p>

    <p>Here is a quote from the e-mail release: </p>

    <p>In connection with this transaction, VCG is excited to announce the expansion of its longstanding partnership with Getty Images, and, following a transition period (which we’ll explain in more detail), Getty Images will become the exclusive distributor of Corbis content outside China. <br>




    John (Crosley)<br>

    (I was restricted from posting this as 'news' as that's open only to certain members.)</p>

  5. <p>As I recall, California law does not require such registration, or did not when I last looked.</p>

    <p>Practice, when last I was in the Nikon Repair Facility, West Coast, was they were not asking about 'registration within ten days' at least for products carried into their CA facility by customers.</p>

    <p>It may be different if something is mailed in from out of state, depending on what state it's mailed from, and if the New York repair facility is enforcing the ten-day registration period in the above copy, it might behoove a try to send first to the CA repair facility (where they're very nice and pretty liberal.)</p>

    <p>Nikon West Coast repair facility in LA area has a pretty good repair policy or last did several years ago when last I used them; they treated me well, and since I often had to wait for last minute rush repairs, I often let other customers 'go first' so I got a first hand view of their customer treatment policies, and for the most part they were exemplary.</p>

    <p>Oh, the 'ESC' is in my opinion, a warranty no matter how it's named, but I am sure it's easier on the bookkeeping to not to have to set aside assets on the books (probably) in the same manner as they must for a 'warranty' if Nikon were to admit their ESC was in fact a legitimate 'warranty'. (I practiced law in CA for nearly two decades, but it's been about a quarter century ago; however I'd be surprised if the law has changed, but I cannot be cited as authority and do not provide legal advice).</p>


    <p>John (Crosley)</p>

  6. <p>It's 2015.</p>

    <p>I just had a re-read.</p>

    <p>This remains one of the all-time great forum postings.</p>

    <p>And in my opinion, street is far from dead; it occupies the greater part of my life. If it has a smaller part now, in 2015, on Photo.net, it may be in large part because of its great ascendancy on FLICKR which has a Huge street following (and a free storage cloud of 1 Terabyte plus no membership fee -- though no real good way to download those photos, so that terabyte is mainly 'for show' and 'for advertising purposes'.</p>

    <p>I shot street all day and will be up all night processing it, then for the next years processing and reprocessing and discovering and rediscovering from past shots the ones I missed that I shouldda seen but just didn't until I got a better exposure to both photography and the street genre).I</p>

    <p>I keep learning from my initial, naif approach to street, even from that first roll which produced one 'good one, a keeper', to today's several keepers, including maybe a lifetime best.</p>

    <p>Who could ask for more?</p>


    <p>John (Crosley)<br>


  7. <p>From what I wrote above about Nikon USA's West Coast repair, one might assume I'm a big fan.</p>

    <p>I am.</p>

    <p>But I'm an extremely difficult customer to please.</p>

    <p>When treated badly or with disdain, I know how to complain loudly and long. I know how to tell other people of bad experiences, and I sometimes do in a way that costs that company money.</p>

    <p>But incumbent with telling others of bad, rude, or incompetent service or encounters with those who represent companies, such as Nikon (or perhaps a cable company), in my view comes a personal view that it is important to tell people who give outstanding service that they are giving good service, and acknowledge it.</p>

    <p>It's sort of karmic in a way, as little as I believe in that. It's just fair play.</p>

    <p>People who only complain are 'cranks', but those who just spent a half hour waiting to praise a phone worker to his boss and then makes another call and gets treated like dirt, has something to say to the worker who treats him like dirt -- or to that person's boss. It's 'I'm not a crank, and here's proof', telling the story of why not.</p>

    <p>You can't criticize all bad things people do and never reward those who do an excellent job as though it's just the way things are normally --- there's too much lousy service out there not to give encouragement when someone gives you good service.</p>

    <p>Nikon USA, West Coast Repair has consistently given me good service, otherwise, you'd be reading something different entirely.</p>

    <p>When I get outstanding service, I will often tell the person to mark the time on their tape (most such calls to customer service centers are tape recorded 'for training purposes') so when they ask for a raise, or are criticized, they can point to one very demanding customer they treated well and with respect. 'Just mark the time, date and write it down, and maybe pass it to your boss. 'I'm very demanding and don't suffer fools lightly, but you gave me outstanding service, and deserve to be told that and have your boss know," I might say.</p>

    <p>I've been known to wait 20 minutes just to talk to a boss about some excellent employee's good work, even if it didn't result in some special favor to me, but was in some way superior.</p>

    <p>I feel I earn the right to complain and complain and be listened to when I do, and not be labeled a 'crank'.</p>

    <p>When I am treated with disdain, miserably, or my needs are wantonly ignored or disregarded BY SOMEONE WHO OBVIOUSLY SHOULD KNOW BETTER, NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE JUST STUPID, I can bellow with the loudest, and be the first to call for a supervisor, and instead of complaining loudly and long to the supervisor I just explain quietly to the supervisor as a fellow human being (if given the chance) that I know what kind of a position a supervisor is in, and that the person I dealt with may (in that instance) be a 'problem' and suggest they 'listen to the tape' to verify my description of my problem before taking action. I often tell them if they apologize quickly, 'Don't trust my version, listen to the conversation yourself, and then make up your mind,' knowing of course that the employee has cooked his/her own goose in treating me badly.</p>

    <p>I know for a fact at least one employees of Social Security have been fired after giving me a hard time, and at least one or two have been 'retrained', though such information is supposed to be 'secret'. 'Word' got to me anyway, though I've forgotten how. </p>

    <p>Bosses (most of them), want to give good service, but some don't give a damn, and if an appeal to them doesn't work, then you have a choice whether to deal with that entity - if indeed there is any choice.</p>

    <p>With the US government there often is no choice, but Congressmen are there for making your complaints and giving them weight. In one instance, powerless after a turndown and a bad decision, I made an inquiry/complaint on behalf of an immigrant friend through a Congressman and the INS regional director, and later when that person and I arrived at the local INS field office for a 'hearing' it took place in three minutes. </p>

    <p>We were told the 'pink folder' around that person's file meant 'Congressional interest' and that basically guaranteed a favorable outcome and that we were treated with greatest deference and politesse. Nobody else in that office got so much as the time of day, but we got treated like royalty and were done with our business, in and out, in less then 15 minutes, though my friend did have to wait with others the morning in the waiting room to be called.</p>

    <p>I learned from that experience that even the US government can be 'got to' in certain instances when one has a complaint or needs assistance and when the people in charge of giving satisfaction are giving you the middle finger.</p>

    <p>Not everyone wants to help, but a certain number of those charged with aiding you rankle when you or anyone seeking their help starts off with an obvious 'attitude', so even when 'escalating' a problem from a bad or obstinate worker to a supervisor, I always try to establish some accord or rapport with the supervisor before describing the problem, and appeal politely to the supervisor's reason. </p>

    <p>People react instinctively to attacks they feel in others' voices and manners even if not directed at them, and the same is true if the 'attack' they feel is directed at their employer if they are loyal employees. </p>

    <p>It's just human nature.</p>

    <p>If you treat most people well, you often get good treatment in return.</p>

    <p>Some companies thrive in giving bad treatment in order to satisfy 'goals' such as for 'keeping call times' short,' or 'not giving refunds, no matter what the advertised policy' and so on, and I have little patience for such things. </p>

    <p>When I recognize someone trying to 'dump' a call or duck an issue without trying to resolve it, I emphatically refuse to let them. It helps I practiced law for nearly two decades over a quarter century ago.</p>

    <p>In dealing with Nikon's West Coast Repair facility (before their recent move), I had one or more run-ins, with them, but we reached accord. We shook hands as they recognized I was a good customer, and they were in the business to please their customers. </p>

    <p>In turn, I tried my very best to behave well; I was a frequent visitor at one time, and it would have been counterintuitive to be otherwise. I always moved aside for the busier customers, so I would have time to speak throoughly to them about my equipment's problems when it was complex, for instance, and thus never kept any line waiting. In return I got superior service, always.</p>

    <p>Nikon West Coast repair tried hard to earn my trust by doing their job well.</p>

    <p>They did that, and in doing so, they earned my respect; my participation in this thread is 'payback' they know nothing of but they earned it.</p>

    <p>I can still yell at the cable company or the mindless computer techs in India, Philippines or elsewhere who start every conversation with a 'script' that assumes I'm an 'idiot' and maybe starts with the words 'Is Your computer plugged in? even though I just told them I was reading messages on the screen. </p>

    <p>Yes, my blood boils, and I ask for a supervisor.</p>

    <p>I learned one thing in a long life. </p>

    <p>People often like to please other people; if they like you, they'll often go out of their way to help you, even if it means they take a chance. It's not always so, but as a rule of thumb in the USA particularly, it's a good practice. It may not work in certain other countries I won't name, but in the USA, it's yielded me excellent results over a lifetime. Attacking others armed with an attitude generally, though has resulted in poor results.</p>

    <p>[i once was kind to an airline 'sales' executive (now retired or dead), and without even knowing the guy or even what state his office was in, for a decade and a half, he got into my flight records and upgraded me to business or first class for each flight I took, though I was traveling on absolutely the cheapest fare.<br>

    We never had more than two or three conversations, but he took care of upgrading me until he left the company when he retired and the mechanics of doing it were automatically handled through his secretary</p>

    <p>This was all because of some nice words I once said in a conversation with him long ago, in reward for my 'pleasant manner'. So, on the absolute cheapest fare, I found you can drink a bottle of (complimentary) Dom Perignon slowly and get sober on the way to the equator, and do it again the rest of the way on the long journey before landing in Sydney all while luxuriating in a First Class seat that sold for $8,000 I bought for $600. (I don't drink at all generally, but I do like Dom Perignon).</p>

    <p>Sometimes it's not 'bad service', it's the customer.</p>

    <p>Good customers have a way of finding that even 'problem companies' can give good treatment sometimes, and good companies can give outstanding treatment at times from time to time.</p>


    <p>John (Crosley)</p>

  8. <p>I've dealt for years with Nikon's West Coast service center, though not since it moved to Wilshire Blvd.<br>

    <br />I would fly in from Europe, on my way to Northern California or Seattle, LAX area hotels cost about $100 a night, and I needed to get my camera/lens or whatever fixed immediately, or I would run up an unconscionable hotel bill before I took off again for the return trip abroad.</p>

    <p>It wasn't long before Nikon service not only understood my need, recognized I was a dedicated Nikon user, but became friendly with me. I always came to the counter, and always stepped aside while some customer or another brought in their lens or camera for repair or came to pick one up. In short, I then had time to talk to them without (I hope) making a terrible nuisance of myself.</p>

    <p>I was rewarded with simply outstanding service.</p>

    <p>Twice I came in with cameras (a D90 and a D300) that had intermittent issues with functioning. One was fixed after Vic, chief technician, was urged when I was told it was functioning fine and I said 'now, but not last week', so he took it and found small cracks in the electrical connection to one battery terminal connector inside and replaced it. It never malfunctioned again. He needed some prodding, but it's the same the world over with 'intermittent' problems.</p>

    <p>I had a similar problem that just could not be found on inspection, it was intermittent, and shut down my D90 several times. There were sometimes months between malfunctions, but the camera would go dead with a good battery, and not just one but several were tried. </p>

    <p>Eventually, one of the 'bosses', a female, took my D90 out for a weekend of shooting and the camera seized up on her. It was a similar problem but not visually or electrically viewable or even reproducible. One had to actually go out shooting with the camera to experience its intermittent malfunction before it could be diagnosable, then fixable which was done forthwith. </p>

    <p>I am a very satisfied customer of Nikon's West Coast Service Center.</p>

    <p>Since I have almost always gone to the counter and seen them work, I suggest that some people may think those at the counter are clerks: nothing could be further from the truth. They are highly skilled persons (at least last time I was there). They could look at just about any camera and get an idea what was wrong with it, whether it had been mishandled or not, and usually diagnose it, then take it in. I am pretty sure some or all of the counter people (they were women I dealt with, but that may have changed) also worked on cameras, and certainly hung around with the (other) techs. They were not 'girls' or 'clerks' but highly trained and very smart individuals who really knew lots about just about any Nikon product -- very valuable people.</p>

    <p>They were college trained, smart, and with the customers very lenient with the warranty.</p>

    <p>It also helps that California (among the various states) has a very liberal warranty law, so some of the rigamarole that Nikon might put people through in some states seems might not be required in California from California customers or those who bring their equipment into the California facility -- in my past experience (which ended before Nikon West Coast moved to Wilshire Blvd.).</p>

    <p>I watched many, many customers being handled and also watched work that a lesser company might have said 'out of warranty' by a few days or a few weeks, get warranty repair with no argument at all -- not even for asking -- I think it was Nikon's policy to extend warranties a little to avoid 'issues' and arguments. </p>

    <p>Also, I think under California law (I haven't reviewed it lately), it may not even be necessary to 'fill out those forms', but don't, don't, don't depend on my long ago review of that law.</p>

    <p>I do note that the so-called 'service contract' for 'four years' is basically an invention. It is simply a 'warranty' under another name, in my estimation. I believe it is named that way for accounting and bookkeeping purposes so that Nikon does not have to set aside assets on their books to offset future 'warranty' repairs by calling this (what I call 'extended warranty') a 'service contract' or similar, when in fact it's really no different at all other than different words used to describe it and a so-called 'qualifying step' -- filling out the card - which may not even be necessary in CA for CA customers under liberal CA warranty law . . . . but then it's been a while, and there may have been intervening cases, or I may need to read that law again.</p>

    <p>In any case, I didn't see quarrels at the Nikon West Coast repair facility counter over the 'service contract' extension if one could prove purchase . . . even if Nikon had a 'legal right' to demand that. That was my experience in personally having spent numerous hours there, waiting for things to be fixed or waiting for them to clear an hour's load of customers before I let them get to me.</p>

    <p>I learned a lot from watching, and I learned respect for these people.</p>

    <p>And I also got great service.</p>

    <p>(I would never depend on their 'telephone service' which last time I called them was 'offshore'.)</p>

    <p>As to buying Nikon products 'offshore', good luck. <br>

    Your Nikon USA warranty is good worldwide, but the reverse is not true.<br>

    Nikon USA will NOT work on any Nikon product not officially imported by them. All Nikon products are marked OR their serial numbers are encoded so Nikon's USA repair facility knows if your Nikon product came through Nikon USA or not. Your Nikon product purchased offshore with a 'worldwide warranty' does not include Nikon USA (formerly Ehrenreich Photo-optical, Inc.).<br>

    It's been that way since I bought my first Nikon in 1967.<br>

    I had one experience with a Nikon facility 'offshore', an official facility, and it was 'horrible'.</p>

    <p>It made me understand and value even more Nikon USA's West Coast repair facility. (I know nothing of their East Coast repair facility.)<br>

    You can get somewhat better prices if you buy through Hong Kong sometimes, but what if the product has a fault? Nikon USA won't work on it, so there's Mack and who else in the US, or send it abroad . . . . have you checked the air express prices one way lately -- from Europe for a simple one page letter it can run well over $100 on two of the three air delivery services 'next day' and that's about all those two offer. Another will do it for about $55, for one page or so and only offers 'next day' delivery too.</p>

    <p>I haven't tried sending a camera or lens from, say, Minnesota to Japan or Hong Kong, but I'd hate to foot the bill for air freight, or wait weeks while it floats over on a boat with container loads of other packages . . . . and what if the problem is intermittent, and doesn't show up when they see it . . . . then the problem recurs when they send it back?</p>

    <p>I'm a little easier on my equipment now . . . so there are fewer repairs.</p>

    <p>I'm hoping Nikon West Coast on Wilshire has the same people they had in El Segundo; they saved my bacon many times.</p>

    <p>And did so gracefully.</p>


    <p>John (Crosley)</p>

  9. <p>Jochem,</p>

    <p>A quick followup. Although English is taught in many Ukrainian schools, functional English is relatively rare in Ukraine, except for a percentage of University students and more recent graduates and those in business.</p>

    <p>Such a business need not even have a presence in Ukraine at all; it could be based wherever or in as many places as individuals can be found who would do the necessary work of finding, scheduling, remitting, and as important as anything, either translating and interpreting and or finding capable and reliable translators and interpreters.</p>

    <p>Theoretically, such a business could be started and run from Iceland, Brazil, Australia, Japan, or any state in the United States, (e.g,, almost worldwide) so long as the necessary connections were in place and local law and customs were not violated.</p>

    <p>It would be best to form and maybe run such a company from a business-friendly locale, of course, just as most of 'big business' has taught us and continually teaches us.</p>


    <p>John (Crosley)</p>

  10. <p>Jochen Schrey,</p>

    <p>I'm very appreciative of your feedback. </p>

    <p>My question is merely exploratory, and is nothing I'm definitely committed to. </p>

    <p>I've used local Ukrainian photoshoppers, usually 'local' in terms of geographic proximity, at times past ten years now off and on, and sudden hyperinflation has made this seem a more viable alternative than before because then it was fairly expensive though not compared to US prices.</p>

    <p>The local currency started out last year at 8 to the $1 and now it's 16, a devaluation of 50%. Prices are not going up nearly to keep pace; at the same time Russia also has hyperinflation (But a huge surplus to keep things 'stable' for the consumer, and Russians are experienced in economic catastrophic happenings and don't faze too easily. Ukrainians just 'make do', and grind along.</p>

    <p>For many Ukrainians at least in bigger cities, dial-up and 'slow broadband' speeds often common in many parts of America in my experience, are becoming a thing of the Ukrainian past. The fastest service I've ever used regularly is in my quarters I stay when I'm in Ukraine/not in the USA.<br>


    I just now ran a speedtest.net analysis of my Ukrainian broadband (now called an Ookla site), and found my speeds just after midnight are Download 35+ mips, and Upload (not able to pause simultaneously uploading 680, 24-in., 16-bit TIFFS roaring down the pipeline) and still have 41+ mips of Upload left. That's pretty fast.<br>


    Other, major urban parts of Ukraine offer similar speeds, and don't charge (most of them - or at least the 'right' companies) for excess use, so this $7 a month 'basic Internet' offers something that would sell for a big price in the USA, and allows for stunning speeds. Movies download in minutes many times and simultaneous, multiple Internet tasks at these speeds (on a laptop no less) are no problem, depending on time of day, as it's cable.</p>

    <p>It seems that transmitting files by CD might be a major problem, given that Ukraine uses the Cryllic alphabet and the Ukrainian language (and also in some ways/parts, the Russian language) so addressing letters could be a problem, if one relied on the postal system. Parcel service is outrageously expensive through FedEx, UPS, etc., over $100 to the US for just a single letter.<br>


    Also the method of placing addresses on letters and packages is different (one puts the country first, then the city, then the addressee). Not all postal carriers speak/and/or understand well the Western system or they can't read the writing (Roman alphabet) well, and mistakes are sure to happen.</p>

    <p>Also vandalism of mail boxes or simple lack of them is a major problem; large apartment buildings have banks of mail boxes, and their reliability is uncertain -- also boxes are small -maybe wrong dimensions for cds with packing.<br>


    Mail is not 'air mail' like it generally is in the US (admittedly some is trucked even long distances, but lots of it goes air mail, even though the designation as a separate service has lost its once premier meaning).</p>

    <p>Also, Ukrainians are suspicious/secretive people when it comes to their personal addresses, and for good reason. A large percentage of them are 'registered' as living at addresses they haven't seen for years, such as their parents' address, and get benefits for that residence (maybe for mom who hasn't any money except a small pension) as a discount on heating and/or electricity/water.<br>


    They are very conscious that postal workers are government workers and in some future time might be 'helpful' to the government, if the government gets serious about tracking down the 'real' residency of each and every Ukrainian. That might have a reason if the government tried to 'rationalize its electricity/gas/water and heating billing, which often depends on the number of people 'registered' as living at a certain residence. (it's complex, and I won't try to explain, and no one in Ukraine wants to talk about it)</p>

    <p>However, passports, even of foreigners, are not required every day to be carried like in neighboring Russia. The 'registration' system is a sorry leftover inherited from Soviet days and little attention is paid to it, normally, but suspicions engendered by living for decades under Soviet rule taught Ukrainians to be very cautious -- who knows what the future may bring.</p>

    <p>Use of mails is a difficult thing to consider in a business context where there is mail (which may very well be inspected, too), going regularly back and forth from one country to another.</p>

    <p>The Internet, however, is just to great too great to police, not meaning however, that anything illicit is intended or would be going on, but the law(s) of entropy suggest, that at least while the country gets a new government together, fights to keep its monetary house in shape, fights a 'shadow war' in the East (far from most Ukrainians other than those who live on the Russian border), there probably is little interest in policing the Internet. Also, the present government is more interested in keeping internal security from so-called 'fifth columnists' than from keeping photographers from their photoshoppers. However, who knows what the future will bring? The country's collective memory is rich with tales of misuse of government power. The Internet is seen as being pretty free of seriously organized snooping other than for state security.</p>

    <p>For reasons of the residence registration laws alone, I think many Ukrainian photoshoppers would be reluctant to reveal their real residence addresses to unknown foreigners with physical CDs containing gigabytes of info that might be inspected, albeit randomly.</p>

    <p> Some would not mind of course, but some (I know this as a fact) would refuse to disclose their addresses to all but best friends.</p>

    <p>Right now, there's no good reason, or presently foreseeable consequence about such disclosure. <br>


    In all probability these 'residency' laws will be liberalized greatly or just done away with, but their presence is acknowledged by most smart Ukrainians, as a potential tool of anybody in government who in the future might want to make trouble for them. (Think of how J. Edgar Hoover in the US as leader of the FBI misused his office continually to smear certain individuals and groups, kept illicit files, snooped wrongly on certain people and groups (e.g., Martin Luther King, etc.), and so forth, and that in the USA -- land of the free and a country that follows the 'rule of law'.<br>

    Except we read in the NY Times or even the newly arch conservative Wall Street Journal, how things we thought were sacrosanct parts of a 'free' nation, aren't really. The Snowden disclosures didn't help.</p>

    <p>Ukrainians are fighting for those freedoms; they NEVER had them before, but they know the consequences of not having them, and the same with photoshoppers you might want to write and send CDs to. Also, Ukraine has an ill-defined anti-pornography law, a consequence of its once being the porno capital of Eastern Europe. Now the law is so ill-defined that serious artists pre-Revolution at least, had doubts about creating nudes and trying to exhibit them . . . . and that law is still extant. Why send your images through customs inspection, where it might be chosen by some religious officer to test that law or maybe just someone opportunistic who might create a little trouble. There's presently no word of that law's enforcement, but who knows? Also, the police (militia) in general, so far as one can observe only and publicly seem quite well behaved since the revolution of last year, so things are looking up quite nicely, but again, why ask for trouble.</p>

    <p>(Sorry for the long essay, but what seemed like such a simple solution (mail CDs) actually is not a very good one, in general, for sending any images into and out of Ukraine, especially in the age of the often extremely high-speed Internet, which every photoshopper has access to. I felt that had to be explained.)</p>

    <p>Ten years ago, there were Internet cafes everywhere; nowadays, they're somewhere, but you'd have to look hard to find just one, and many restaurants (and every McDonalds) has wi-fi, while a good percentage of homes are wired for cable and Internet -- and that's basically required for photoshoppers doing any pro work, and especially those living remotely in such a huge country.</p>

    <p>Ukrainian customs has a history of even not being thought of favorably. </p>

    <p>I've not had dealings under the new administration/government (or even the old), but the idea of sending something with data on it past 'inspectors' who often drove high-priced vehicles on small salaries was a little galling - I knew one at one time, and he seemed incredibly well off for a lowly government employee. He 'inspected' freight trains. Nice guy, but he just seemed very wealthy for a lowly government worker.</p>

    <p>Serious reforms are under way, and they are serious; Ukraine's future (financially and otherwise) is not only what the Maidan fighters fought for, but once allied with Europe, Europe won't help or even pay attention to Ukraine unless Ukraine undertakes serious anti-corruption reforms, which I understand it is doing. (I have no personal knowledge of such things, as I have not done business in Ukraine and never paid a bribe to anybody anywhere in the world, despite entreaties from time to time -- some implying danger if I didn't.)</p>

    <p>But old ways die hard; I'd hate to be in a business receiving tens or hundreds of CDs every week, or routing them to photoshoppers even if not physically handling them.</p>

    <p>Under the 'old regime', I (or whatever business did that) might have expected to become an economic target of some official with hand out and power to cause trouble.</p>

    <p>But things are changing, and the Internet basically avoids most of such problems; Internet businesses don't have to have a 'base of operations' other than ability to 'sign on', 'transmit', and, and maybe -- for certain purposes -- a place to collect mail plus a banking account or payment system, which can be done on-line.</p>

    <p> All voice communications can be carried out over the Internet now (as many major companies do, say, for reservations, customer service, etc., when they 'offshore), even from 'mobile phones'. My photo agency says on its letterhead 'Paris' (among many of the world's major cities, but I find the 'editor' often is in a city on the Mediterranean in that person's home.</p>

    <p>The rules of business have changed.</p>

    <p>Even now in Ukraine.</p>

    <p>Thanks Jochen. </p>

    <p>I try to think things through in depth.</p>


    <p>John (Crosley)</p>

  11. <p>Hi Lex, thanks for responding.</p>

    <p>It's been years since I read the PN rules and they may have changed. I recall at one time either reading the rules or an interpretation or reiteration of the rules from a prior administration long ago that you had to image edit your own photo if it were image edited. I get your point about someone else scanning it, and what about that giant Noritsu processor that made computer generated decisions about how to print film that might be scanned -- somewhat akin to the software in cameras nowdays ( think) that tells each camera how to render its information into a jpeg -- e.g., what interpretations and/or compromises to make and assumptions to follow, many of which may be right 'on the money' and others of which may be way far away from your 'artistic vision' which is the reason 'camera raw' is so valuable because it lets you make so many of those decisions or override camera assumptions (Even image editor assumptions about what it thinks is 'right'.), so I get your point. Nevertheless, I have a long memory, and it may have been as long as ten+ years ago that I thought I heard or learned what i thought was the 'no one else image edits for you' supposed rule.</p>

    <p>If I'm wrong, thanks for setting me straight. </p>

    <p>With thanks.</p>


    <p>John (Crosley)</p>

  12. <p>Ellis V.</p>

    <p>I'm very interested in learning the name and contacts for this 'retouching firm in India' even if only for my own benefit. I'm not affixed to the idea of having Ukraine photoshoppers do work if it can be done cheaper and of same quality in India.</p>

    <p>My experience so far with Ukraine photoshoppers I worked with, was I gave them general instructions about images, left interpretation to them, and some specific instructions, and asked them for certain things, and if they wanted to deviate, also asked them to send me the deviation in case I liked it better than my own, as an 'alternative solution'. In a few cases I was greatly surprised.</p>

    <p>I suppose a responses generally would be best by Photo.net messaging system or my e-mail here: jcrosley@photo.net if you wish to reply (which I hope you will). I'm very curious. I'm signed with a giant agency but so far have sent them nothing as I have no time to 'image edit' what they want, and if I can do so at small expense it might make a good investment.</p>


    <p>John (Crosley)</p>

  13. <p>I spend a great deal of time in Ukraine from my US home, and have had numerous occasions to use Ukrainian photoshoppers (but not for my images uploaded to PN as that's against the rules -- I Photoshop all my uploaded images personally).</p>

    <p>I don't have a commercial business, but it occurred to me that Ukraine's economy is not in good shape, salaries are quite low, the education level in general is extremely high, the photographers in Ukraine who do weddings often do stunning work, many now are starved for work and must rely on other income sources and would jump at a chance (I think) to do photoshop work for others for much smaller remuneration than is standard in the USA or Europe, if they had such work to do.</p>

    <p>In times past, I've hired Ukrainian photoshoppers, and after giving them a test run, have found some good ones, and some extremely good ones -- ones that would satisfy the needs of a high quality glossy magazine or even museum exhibition, on just about any subject, and some of these people are so starved for work they're working (some) at other pursuits, but love images and even Photoshopping.</p>

    <p>How many readers of this forum or this question have ever used, I wonder, off-shore photoshoppers or other image editing? I'd like to know if there is a viable market to serve such as with cost-conscious, overworked heavy American shooters who don't want to be involved quite so much with Photoshopping to free them up for shooting more.</p>

    <p>For your information, most of the time where I stay and in more than one place in Ukraine I can get Internet speeds, especially at night on cable (daytime in the USA) at up to 25 mps, upload and download). Most photoshoppers have latest software and high quality computer hardware,and calibrated screens. I've seen their work done for me (not for Photo.net) and some of it's been stunning, and at quite low cost. Many Photoshoppers are photographers who produce stunning wedding images for their countrymen, but that market is pretty dampened right now and of course quite seasonal as usual.</p>

    <p>(By the way, there's conflict only in the far East of Ukraine, and aside of drastically slowing the economy by draining the treasury and inflating the currency, and aside from leaving people feeling pretty much poorer, you'd be hard pressed to know there is hostilities if you visited Ukraine. You'd be quite safe in 80-85% of the country, and a fool if you went to the other 15%-maybe 20%. Ukraine (until loss of Crima) was Europe's largest country -- it's huge -- and the hostilities are hundreds of miles from the bulk of the populace other than those living next to the Russian border.</p>

    <p>Ukrainians in general seem to LOVE photography, too, and place photography and photographers in high esteem. Most also seem to like, envy, and/or love America and/or Americans and Canadians and many hold the same feelings toward Western Europeans.</p>

    <p>Are any of you wedding (or commercial) shooters so overloaded (even during some seasons only) that if the price were right, you'd offshore your work, by fastest Internet if the image editing were trusted, guaranteed, and handled professionally by a native English speaking staff?</p>

    <p>Do you do that now to someplace else or some other business -- and if so where? Do you reliably know of someone who does?</p>

    <p>I repeat, I do not own a company or business in this area, I am NOT a wedding or commercial photographer, and presently do not have a business interest, but wonder if there's a need . . . if done properly. </p>

    <p>I'm open to any suggestions or discussion on the topic of offshoring in general and your experience and/or problems you might have experienced or might foresee.</p>

    <p>(Major companies send their computer software development to Ukraine, and save megabucks -- I meet the programmers who do the work from time to time, and they work for small wages by US standards, but have a most satisfactory standard of living in Ukraine). </p>



    <p>John (Crosley)</p>

  14. <p>My folder thumbnails don't show. I show placeholders only and can click through to the photos. Nothing has changed since I shut down my computer. I have run special 'repair' software on it to see if I could identify/fix the problem but fear it originates from PN.</p>

    <p>With 2,000+ photos, I use this as a map to find photos for various uses.</p>

    <p>Other sites, FLICKR, Pogoplug, Photobucket, etc., show photos with no problem.</p>

    <p>Please respond.</p>

    <p>Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. I looked for prior posts about this problem and found none.</p>

    <p>Yes, I have restarted, etc., and all the usual 'bug fix' and restoration type aids before posting.</p>

    <p>TNX again.</p>


    <p>John (Crosley)</p>

    <p> </p>

  15. <p>When I received Photo of the Week earlier this year I was not even aware it still existed, since it had disappeared from prominence, and the e-mail that was said to have informed me it was coming my way somehow never made its way into my e-mail in-box even though I get all other PN missives and none go into my SPAM folder.</p>

    <p>In any case, I found the response substantial, but mainly limited to die-hard Photo.net regulars who had a particular point to make -- mostly critical. That was not a problem and probably their criticism had a point, but having had two prior photos named Photo of the Week and featured prominently, I found the response in views almost totally anemic which belied the number of critical responses I got.</p>

    <p>Frankly, I only found out about this Photo of the Week by trolling the 'commented on photos' feature which I do very regularly -- otherwise it might have completely slipped my notice.'</p>

    <p>That never would have happened before, as even if in prior times though I didn't always open to the PN main page, I did open it several times a week, and it would have been hard to miss a photo of mine. In the two prior cases, that's how I found out a photo of mine had been chosen Photo of the Week, and I found out quickly.</p>

    <p>The initial two photos of the week got overwhelming 'view' responses with the first from eight or so years ago (under a different counting system) received an overwhelming response, but that response included 'thumbnail views' as well as 'clicked views' which means its 'view' count can't be compared to anything since the count system changeover eliminated 'thumbnail' views.</p>

    <p>In the second Photo of the Week's choice a number of years later, the response in views was still above 12,000 clicked views, I think, with somewhere over 30 ratings. The previous Photo of the Week had over 50 ratings.</p>

    <p>Now I realize that each photo is unique and that comparing one photo of the week with another is 'apples and oranges' to some great extent, but when I try to find some way to compare the three, I suggest the most common indicator of interest and viewership is not just 'views' but also ratings. </p>

    <p>The first received over 50 ratings, the second over 30 ratings and the third 21 ratings but while the first received record views, the second (clicked views only) received about 12,000 clicked views (now 16,000+), the third Photo of the Week received 21 ratings and views that still number (clicked views) less than 2,000 even today. </p>

    <p>Clearly something has changed even accounting for the 'apples and oranges' issue.</p>

    <p>Granted the third Photo of the Week was what I consider the weakest of the three, but there is a substantial difference between over 10,000 'views' and far fewer than 2,000 views, and I attribute that difference to placement of Photo of the Week to a 'minor' place on the 'forum' jump - a place so minor that I was not even aware it existed.</p>

    <p>Now, I obviously don't live for Photo of the Week, but I enjoy the feature. If I truly quested for Photo of the Week, I think my first post on this service might have qualified for Photo of the Week, but I did not seek critique which was required for eligibility. I knew that photo was my best and didn't need to be told. I still think so.</p>

    <p>I offer my views because I've been here now just over 10 years and have had my photos chosen three times, so I have some perspective, and perhaps through my experience have formed a qualified point of view.</p>

    <p>That point of view includes this: </p>

    <p>Photo of the Week, for all its numerous flaws, for the many years I have been a member here was a much-awaited feature. Like the chosen photo or dislike it, there was something to discuss, and discussion is what critique is all about.</p>

    <p> Attaboys were discouraged and even essentially banned from comments in Photo of the Week discussion after passage of time, so the discussions over time tended to the more serious as the rules got stricter, and that was for the better.</p>

    <p>Again, just as there is no true comparison of my three chosen photos, there was no easy comparison of the photos chosen each week, but one thing was certain, there was something that bound Photo.netters together -- common awareness by most of what photo was chosen, and a viewpoint by a great number of members of whether they liked or disliked the chosen photo or had some other viewpoint.</p>

    <p>That worked for the benefit of the community, as it was a strong community feature. It bound the community together. </p>

    <p>Photo of the Week identified in large part Photo.net.</p>

    <p>Sure, some people took Photo of the Week to be a 'prize' - and in some ways it was, and in other ways it was not. My last Photo of the Week (if one reads the critiques) was more of a punching bag than a prize, but that's part of what happens when one exposes one's work to critiques, and I had a good share of able critiquers who one way or another happened to find my last Photo of the Week, despite its less than optimal placement.</p>

    <p>It is a cardinal rule of the Internet that with each 'click' one loses viewers, and placement for optimal viewership involves the least amount of clicking, which means that if one wants optimal exposure, one chooses the 'main page' or 'front page' for exposure and 'high up' at that.</p>

    <p>Removing Photo of the Week from the opening PN page -- a feature I looked forward to every week for enjoyment and curiosity -- was, in my view, a mistake.</p>

    <p>By doing so, PN lost a strong identifier. Like it or hate it, Photo of the Week was Photo.net.</p>

    <p>Moving the feature caused mainly die-hards of the feature to make extra clicks to locate the feature to find the photo, and in doing so, many, many viewers were discouraged and didn't follow through, or like me thought the feature had been eliminated. Newer members didn't know it existed or thought it of minor importance - and that probably was by design.</p>

    <p>I suggest that someone in Administration made the decision to kill off or diminish the feature, and that certainly appears to be what has happened -- ratings appear to be down for chosen photos, and I am sure that views are way down too.</p>

    <p>I value the feature and would restore it to prominence, but this is a private site, run by entrepreneurs who have total and complete control over placement of everything on their site (not our site but theirs) and it is totally within their purview where to put a feature.</p>

    <p>If they ask me, I would restore Photo of the Week to prominence by placing it on the main page in a place of prominence, and ensure that the 'elves' (whoever they are) remain in control of the choice or be restored to the choice. My last Photo of the Week, I felt was far from my best work, and although worth critiquing, I had other work that might have been a better candidate for my best and still offered a good opportunity for critique.</p>

    <p>I'm a strong advocate of this site, but I sense that viewership and membership is dropping off (you can write me privately for my views on why, as I won't put them in print), and that worries me.</p>

    <p>I suggest restoral of Photo of the Week to its former prominence might be part of the process of re-invigorating Photo.net, especially to those members who might feel that something of the spirit of Photo.net has disappeared as the feature was one of THE MOST FAMILIAR OF ALL PHOTO.NET features.</p>

    <p>I feel its removal to the site hinterlands has been a test that has not worked out well and now that removal should be reviewed, and my view is it should be reversed.</p>

    <p>I note that in my last Photo of the Week, discussion was dominated by long-term members, and that I was not well aware of the presence of new members at all. Photo of the Week has proved to be of such strong potential that it can draw in both new and long standing IF they are allowed easy exposure to it.</p>

    <p>Coke tried ditching Coca Cola and introduced 'New Coke'. </p>

    <p>Look what happened.</p>

    <p>Photo.net exiled Photo of the Week and left many members feeling rudderless and feeling dispossessed, I think.</p>

    <p>By the way, I NEVER aspired to be a Photo of the Week recipient or even get high ratings. I view this as a 'fun' site and a sharing site, and my low rate average would tend to bear my rating statement out.</p>


    <p>John (Crosley)</p>

  16. <p>Here is the third photo, a man behind Kyiv, Ukraine's protester barricades, the barricades that helped bring down Ukraine's last leader and precipitated the current war with Russia. This photo, © 2014,was taken at a relatively short extension, ISO 2,500 after sundown in summer, hand held, with V.R. on, one of a series of about six taken as a rapid-fire series. I was so far from the man he did not know his photo had been taken, but close enough to fill the frame. I never spoke to him and don't think he realized his photo had been taken, only that I was 'interested' in taking a photo but took it so fast I just walked away within two or three seconds, and so did he when he saw I was not coming to meet him.</p>


    <p>John (Crosley)</p><div>00cnvb-550869784.jpg.06a0a62c662ac06c4c031bce279375c5.jpg</div>

  17. <p>Here is the second image, taken with a 55-300 'kit' zoom, a lens with a factor of '6' at nearly 240 mm extension, hand held at a very low shutter speed. Refugees from Ukrainian Russian war. Posted ('New' folder) Does the 'factor' cause a problem with this lens? Personally at 800x blowup in Photoshop I can tell if EACH of the individuals whose nails show needs a manicure. How much sharper do you need to be?</p>


    <p>John (Crosley)</p><div>00cnvY-550869684.jpg.52273d6b3176baabb5993ab01db1a26e.jpg</div>

  18. <p>For a long time I felt that in order to make superior images I needed superior, pro style lenses. I had a giant theft, replaced all my stolen lenses with superior, pro lenses. But I also backed up with some 'kit' lenses on the side, and also, a year or so ago, I decided to just shoot for a year with an 18~55 f 3.5-5.6 Nikkor V.R. zoom --- the 'kit' lens that is the 'cheap' lens option they sell with every new Nikon dx format camera to make the price the cheapest with the other focal lengths being optional (usually) at an additional price. (usually) Often this lens sells for $100 or even less refurbished or thereabouts, so one would guess that with its factor and its plastic construction it might produce 'cheap' results.</p>

    <p>I'm going to post one photo taken with this lens and two photos taken with the $200+ (refurb) 55~300 f 4.5~5.6 zoom which also has a factor of six and ask you if you can find any fault with the photos taken. They've all been posted on Photo.net and uniformly received high ratings.</p>

    <p>The first is from the 18~55 f 3.5~5.6 V.R., a man with a beard I stopped literally 'in the street' just to take his photo and never saw again.</p>

    <p>I can only post one photo per response, so I'll note that all photos are copyright John Crosley/Crosley Trust, all rights reserved, no reproduction or other use without express prior written permission from copyright holder. </p>

    <p>The first post (here) is Bearded Man, taken with 18-55 f 3.5-5.6 V.R. which by your friend's advice should not be a very good lens at all. What do you think about this photo? I just stopped this man in the street, said 'I'd like to take your photo, because your face and beard are very interesting to me,' and two minutes later, I had my photos and he left, never to be seen again.</p>

    <p>It's nice to post 'opinions' but better to let you make your own.</p>


    <p>John (Crosley)</p>


  19. <p>When I'm looking at a scene that begs to be recorded, ANY CAMERA that will do the job that is in my hands, around my neck or within easy reach.</p>

    <p>All the rest is nonsense.</p>

    <p>I like Nikon and shoot Nikon, because I've got over 40 years experience using their 'system' and about ten years using their digital menus, which is a substantial amount of muscle and brain memory, but when it comes to aesthetics, I just don't care -- I think any camera that will adequately record the scene that I am faced with and is in my hands (or within reach) is a beauty. It helps if the thing is workable -- has good ergonomics of course.</p>

    <p>All the rest is useless to me. I hope one fits my hand better, one weighs the right amount, another doesn't have a detracting color, and a choice -- one may say 'professional' when I want to be thought of as 'skillful' but another may say 'I'm just fooling around' when I don't want to be thought of as being too intrusive or 'official' in my photographing -- sometimes you want it different ways for different situations.</p>

    <p>Just give me any old camera that will do the job (and the time and 'muscle memory' of mastery), and I care very little how it looks.</p>

    <p>If you want a 'fashion accessory' that's one thing, or a winner in a design competition, that's another, but I just want something that works NOW when I need it.</p>

    <p>For me, the camera that gets the job done NOW is the most beautiful camera in the world.</p>


    <p>John (Crosley)</p>

  20. <p>I made my first post on this on the 15th and also wrote Glenn.</p>

    <p>To date I have received no letters, no messages, no posts in this string (or the related string), and the problem is not fixed.</p>

    <p>I am wondering, has anybody at PN Administration/programming even acknowledged to themselves that a problem exists - -if so, they have not acknowledged that to me, let alone let me know they are trying to address it.</p>

    <p>I am open to suggestions on what step to pursue next after five posts and one letter, all unacknowledged.</p>


    <p>John (Crosley)</p>

    <p> </p>

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