Now I need a model release??

What a litigious society we live in!  It seems that if I want to take pictures with a cellphone or a Blackberry, no one really cares.  They won’t even bother me if I have a point-and-shoot Coolpix.  But, boy howdy (as my Southern women friends say), just go out into a public place with a DSLR, and suddenly you’re a lawsuit waiting to happen.  And God forbid you should have that DSLR mounted on top of a tripod.  Agghh…the horror!!


I wanted to do a little night shooting tonight, and I wanted to do it somewhere close to home because I was tired, but I wanted someplace that had at least some minimally interesting lighting and architectural features.  So I decided to go across the street to Glendale Community College.  You know, the campus that my tax dollars help support.

I knew they probably had some kind of restrictions about taking photos on campus, but I decided to go for it anyway, especially since I had no intention of photographing any person, at least not close-up or in a way that they would be recognizable.  And I’m certainly not making any money by doing this.

I was able to get a few shots around the Student Union building on their patio.

I liked the way the arches and the awning were underlit against the night sky, and I thought the empty Pepsi cup on the table was a nice touch.  You can tell that someone just left there to go to their night class.

Then I shot this picture of a tree with it’s multiple trunks framing the lighted campus map.  I was shooting bracketed shots at ISO 100, aperture priority, so I had some pretty significant exposure times.  When I looked at the shots, all three of the images in the bracketed series had this ghosted image of the campus map super-imposed on the tree trunk.  Not sure exactly what made that happen.  Any ideas?

Anyway, I walked around campus a little more and when I came to the library, I just couldn’t help myself.  I knew what the answer would be, but I was just too tempted by all those books….I walked in with my camera and went to the front desk where two students were working, and I asked them if it would be okay if I took some photos in the library. (Thud!)

They, of course, had no idea how they should answer my question, so they went and got their faculty advisor.  He was very nice, but let me know in no uncertain terms that I could not shoot in the library, and should not be shooting at all on campus.  He told me he used to be a professional photographer, and then he gave me a (friendly) lecture about the importance of using model releases.

Now, I’ve heard and read about model releases, but being the naive, trusting person that I am, I just assumed that I didn’t need to worry about that since I’m just taking pictures as a hobby.  He assured me that, to the contrary, I need to get a signed release from every person that I take a picture of, or I could find myself in deep trouble if someone ever got upset about me taking their picture.  He said he always carried the release forms around with him when he went out shooting.

I rarely take pictures of people that I don’t know, and I certainly don’t intend to walk around with a stack of legal forms every time I go out to take a few photographs.  But I’m quickly finding out that I can save myself a lot of headaches if I just aim my camera at something that’s non-human, created and built by Mother Nature rather than constructed by man.  Especially if they have a marketing department.


Glendale Main Library at Sunrise

I got my HDR’s of the library uploaded this morning.  Once again, all of these HDR’s were created from series of three bracketed images shot at -2.0/0/+2.0, at ISO 100, aperture-priority.  They were processed in Photmatix, and I did a little bit of tweaking on each one in PaintShop Pro, but nothing major–a little cropping here, a little sharpening there.

For some reason I enjoy the symmetry of architecture, especially when the light creates interesting shadows and splotches of bright color.  My brain likes order, and the 90-degree angles of this building just appeal to that sense of order.  The roof is partially made of copper which has developed that wonderful green patina which complements the reddish glow of the brick when the morning sun hit the building from the east.

The remainder of the set can be seen on my Flickr site in the set “Glendale Main Library“.  I hope you’ll visit and let me know what you think of the set or individual images.

I love the Glendale Main Library.  I’ve done some volunteer work there over the past year or so, and made some good friends who still work there.  I believe libraries are very special places, and deserve to be preserved and supported, so I hope these photos will encourage someone who sees them to visit their local library and see what they have to offer.

I have a few more HDR’s from my shoot, as well as some single-image photos taken while I chased the pigeons and peacocks around the library lawn (very undignified, I assure you!).  I’ll post those later this week.

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Tool shots with the built-in flash

Well, my fifteen minutes of fame are over–I’m no longer featured on’s home page.  It was fun while it lasted, but now it’s back to obscurity.  Sigh.

Once again it was almost dark by the time I left work, plus I had some chores that needed to be done, so my photography for this evening was all indoors with the built-in flash.  I really don’t like using the built-in flash when trying to take close-ups shots of subjects, but I thought I’d give it a whirl just to see exactly how much I didn’t like it….turned out to be quite a bit.

My hubby’s workshop has lots of little odds and ends lying around, so I zeroed on in a few things and took about ten or twelve shots, handheld, on the camera’s Auto setting to see what I could get.  Afterwards, I processed a few of the JPG files in Paint Shop Pro, and here are some of the results:

Not my best work, but it gave me a chance to use the camera today, so what the heck.

Finally!  A book that I ordered about three weeks ago finally came in.  It’s “Digital SLR Camera & Photography for Dummies”, 2nd edition, by David D. Busch.  Unlike most of the books in the Dummies series, this one has tons of full color photos in it.  I’m anxious to start looking through it and hopefully gathering some tips that even a dummy like me can understand!

I’ve also started looking around the Internet for recommendations on a new camera bag that will be large enough to hold my camera and three lenses, my filters, cleaning stuff, and my users manual.  I also want a new flash, a new tripod with a better head, and some more software.  Like I said before, this hobby can be expensive!!

Reading material

Got two new books from today:

  • “Understanding Exposure” by Bryan Peterson
  • “Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques” by Harold Davis

I’ve started reading the first one, and I’ve already picked up some information that is going to be very helpful.  The most helpful thing about the book is the abundance of beautiful color photographs that illustrate the differences in exposure and depth of field that can be obtained by manually adjusting for aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings.  I played around with a few settings by just shooting a few things in the house, but until I can get the camera outside in the daylight, I’ll have to content myself with reading and learning!