CLCrow Photography Blog

Capturing Life At Its Best

Honesty and Integrity Part 2

Three days before the runoff election between Tim Scott and Paul Thurmond, my mother received a postcard from the Scott campaign – one of many that were arriving in her mail box on a daily basis.  As usual it was hatefully attacking Paul. Although, unfortunately this was politics as usual, this postcard had a picture on it of Paul that the Scott campaign had no right to use.  The picture was one that I, as a professional photographer, had taken of Paul during the Tri-County Debate aboard the U.S.S. Yorktown in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. on May 18, 2010.

In case many of you don’t know, the use of someone else’s photographs without their permission is a copyright infringement.   It doesn’t matter that my picture was posted on Paul’s Facebook page – they never asked for my permission nor did they ever offer to compensate me for the use of that picture.  Unfortunately for them, my mother recognized the picture right away as it was a very unusual angle that could not even be duplicated by someone standing right next to me.  But to be sure, she and I compared the two to make certain that it was my photograph.

I am a professional photographer and photography is my livelihood.   Because of that fact, I sent a letter, an invoice, a copy of the flyer and a copy of the photograph to Tim Scott asking to be compensated for my work.   Three days later I received a call from his campaign manager telling me that they received the letter and that they were forwarding it on to their attorney.  No big deal, I was expecting that.  A week later I received a letter from the attorney asking me to call him at my convenience, which I did.   However, he wasn’t in so I left a message on his voicemail.   Needless to say, I didn’t hear back so for the following two days I called him again – both times leaving messages.  On the third day, in my message I told him that if I had not heard from him or the campaign by September 15th,  that I would take my case to court.  Ironically, I got a phone call that afternoon.

It was the longest 6 minute phone conversation that I’ve ever had.  It was not a pleasant one as the attorney was determined to bully me but I answered all of his questions.  He then told me that he would confer with his client and get back to me.  That was on August 26, 2010 and I have yet to hear back.   I left one more message on the 14th of September stating that they had until the next morning to get this issue resolved.  Otherwise I planned to hire an attorney to take this issue to court.  To this day, I still haven’t heard anything and doubt that they have any intention of getting back to me.

This was not the outcome I had hoped for.    I tried to get this matter resolved without involving the courts or smearing Tim but it appears that Tim and his representatives have no interest in working with me or are taking this matter seriously.     As a result I have been forced to file paperwork with the federal court.

Is this the type of politician that we want representing us in Washington?

September 30, 2010 Posted by | Experiences | , , | Leave a comment

Honesty and Integrity – Part 1

How is it that honesty and integrity and the word politician don’t seem to go together?  Yes, many politicians may start off being idealistic but somewhere along the way they change and become interested in only what being in power will do for them.  No longer do they seem to care about the people that they are supposed to represent or are concerned about making this country a better place.

Unfortunately, I believe that we are already seeing this trait emerge in the Republican candidate running for the SC 1st District Congressional seat – Tim Scott (@votetimscott).

During the Republican Primary I was hired as an independent contractor to do photography and videography for the Paul Thurmond campaign.  It was a fascinating opportunity to work behind the scenes of the race.   I got to know almost all of the candidates pretty well and, for quite awhile, I had a great deal of respect for all of them including Tim.  In fact, my early impression of him was extremely favorable.

However, as time went by I started to see and hear things that I didn’t like.  The major one was that some very influential people in the National Republican Party decided to get involved in a state’s primary and not allow the people to make their choice of who they wanted to represent them.  However, it was until the run-off that I realized how bad the situation was.

The primary race between the nine candidates running appeared to be pretty much above reproach.  Overall, the candidates treated each other with respect.  It was very refreshing not to hear a lot of nasty innuendos being hurled out trying to hurt each other – in fact it was refreshing to have people running that seemed to genuinely like and respect each other.  However, once the primary was over and the run-off was between Tim and Paul, things started to change rapidly.  Paul wanted to keep the campaign clean – Tim (after stating to Paul he wanted to do the same) was determined to make it as dirty as possible.   Nasty insinuations were made about Paul that weren’t true.  Tim got well over $100,000 in donations – much of it from out of State – Paul borrowed money to keep his campaign going and yet Tim accused Paul of being the “establishment” candidate being backed by special interest groups.   Mitt Romney, Eric Cantor, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee all backed Tim saying he was the true conservative.  I know for a fact they never interviewed Paul and doubt very seriously that they did Tim either.  It came down to the fact that Tim fit the Republican agenda – Paul didn’t.   Did they even do any research on either candidate before making a choice?  I seriously doubt it.

September 29, 2010 Posted by | Experiences | , , , | Leave a comment

Copyrights

I recently had a photo of mine pulled off Facebook and used without my permission so I decided that I would do a blog on Copyrights.

Copyright is a form of protection, authorized by the United States Constitution, that gives photographers, artists, authors, musicians, choreographers and architects the exclusive right to use and reproduce their works. Essentially, all original works can be copyrighted. This includes photographs, art works, sculpture, writings, music and computer software. Virtually all works created or first published after January 1, 1978 are protected by copyright. Many works created prior to 1978 are also protected.

A copyright is secured automatically when a work is created. This concept is frequently misunderstood. Some people still believe that there are formalities required in order to create a copyright. This is not true. Under the latest version of the Copyright Act, neither publication nor registration with the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress is required in order to secure full copyright protection. When a work is created, it is automatically copyrighted.

The owner of the copyright generally has the exclusive right to reproduce the work in copies, to prepare derivative works based on the work, and to distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership.  The owner of the copyright generally has the exclusive right to publicly display and perform the work.

Permission to use a copyrighted work is called a “license.” A license must be obtained from the owner of the copyright prior to using the work. The license can be oral or written. Obviously, the use of a clearly written licensing agreement will avoid confusion. The writing does not have to be detailed to be effective. A simple letter or invoice is usually sufficient. For example, ‘one-time usage rights for photograph in brochure with press run of 5,000 copies and regional newspaper use for six months – $2,500.”

COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

The unauthorized use of a copyrighted work is called an infringement. The Copyright Act provides stiff penalties for infringing copyrighted works. Under appropriate circumstances, penalties can include monetary damages, all profits earned by the infringer from the unauthorized use of the copyrighted work and attorneyís fees. A court can also order the destruction of all infringing copies.

For more information check out: http://www.photolaw.net/faq.html


July 7, 2010 Posted by | Experiences, Photo Tips | , , | Leave a comment

Our Nation’s Capital

I was an army brat growing up so I have lived in a few different states and even a foreign country but I spent most of my life living in Maryland.  Being only about 45 minutes away, many of my school field trips to were to Washington DC.  I have always loved wandering around downtown DC. I am a history buff, was an American History major in college so Washington DC is the perfect place for me to go especially because I am such a huge admirer of President Abraham Lincoln.

You do not realize just how big the National Mall is until you walk from end to end.  The National Mall extends from the U.S. Capitol (with the idiots that occupying the building now) to the Lincoln Memorial.  In between the Capitol and Lincoln Memorial is the Reflecting Pool, The Jefferson Memorial, The Tidal Basin (which in late March, early April is surrounded by beautiful Cherry Blossoms), The White House, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, the Vietnam War Veterans Wall, Korean War Veteran’s Memorial,  Constitution Gardens,  FDR Memorial, the Museum of American History, Museum of National History, National Gallery of Art, National Air and Space Museum, The Smithsonian Castle, African Art Museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, American Art Museum, American Indian Museum, and the National Archives.  The Smithsonian Institution makes up for 19 Museums (most of which are listed above), 9 research centers and the National Zoo which is in the Woodley Park. To make up for their horrible traffic that DC has, it has a wonderful Metro System.

I try to make it up to DC at least once a year just to wander around the city and take photographs.  This year I was lucky enough to go when there was still a significant amount of snow on the ground so I got some great photos, the downside of course was it was rather cold.  You can check out my photos at my website:clcrowphotography.com The photographs are in the gallery labeled Washington DC – Winter.  As I said before I am a huge admirer of Abraham Lincoln so a majority of the photographs are of the Lincoln Memorial.  It was a great trip but I walked the full length of the national mall twice in one day and half of it twice so I virtually walked the entire length three times so by the end of my trip, my legs were feeling it.  If you have never been before, I would definitely recommend going but try to stay for a few days because there are so many things to do.

May 5, 2010 Posted by | Experiences, Walkway Into History | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beach Portraits – Fun in the Sun

Eleven days ago I had so much fun taking beach portraits for a small family. I am a member of Independent Networking Group (ING) that meets once a week and this beach portrait session was for the family of one of the other members. Each week everyone stands and gives a minute elevator pitch on what kind of referrals they are looking for in their business and one member stands up and gives a ten minute presentation on their business. It was the day that I gave my ten minute presentation that Chad gave me a referral to do his family’s beach portrait.

On the day of the shoot, Chad called me and left me a voicemail message telling me that something happened and they might need to reschedule the shoot. I called him and he told me that one of the girls had cold sores on the outside of her mouth. I told him that it was not a problem, getting rid of cold sores is a two minute fix in photoshop so we did not have to reschedule the shoot.

One of my favorite locations to shoot is Huntington Beach State Park because it has plenty of beach and an area in the dunes which is perfect to set up a small family to shoot with the dunes and the ocean in the background. The one problem with Huntington is that it is a State Park so you need either a pass to get in or pay for each person. I meet with my clients at a grocery store a few miles down the street. I usually have a pass for me and an extra pass for my clients but because the season hasn’t really started yet, I haven’t gotten my extra pass yet. But since I knew Chad personally, I rode with their family over to the park and I left my car at the grocery store.

We arrived at the state park and after the youngest had to take a potty break, we headed to the beach to take the photos. For the next hour, I took all kinds of photos. I took photos of the entire family, just the parents, just the kids and each kid individually. For the last group of photos, I had the kids lay on their stomachs in the sand bend their knees so that their sand clad feet could be seen behind them and had their hands framing their faces. Then I did that for each child as well and it was some of the best photos I’ve ever taken. Chad then commented that he and his wife could do the same thing. Sam’s response was, “Cathie, please tell him that it is mainly for the children and adults don’t do it.” Not realizing that she wanted me to agree with her, my response was “No, parents can pose like that as well.” So they ended up laying on the sand as well and the photos turned out great. However, I got sand everywhere including inside of my belly button.

It was a great photo shoot and the photographs turned out great.

April 28, 2010 Posted by | Experiences | , , , , | Leave a comment

Living in Iran

My first day of my Western Civilization class at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Professor Robert Porter had has go around the room and tell everyone our name, year, major, hometown and an interesting fact about ourselves.  Luckily he started with the other half of the room so I was able to think of what I was going to say.

At first I thought I would bring up that I am an avid movie fan and at the time I owned over 250 movies but then I realized that it was not interesting enough especially after one guy got up and told the class that he was in New York City on September 11, 2001.  I could have told the class that I had gone to Yosemite National Park in 1997 and took 9.5 roles of film or that I attended the games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on the two nights that Cal Ripken tied and broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game streak.

But I had a truly unique experience, one that probably no one in the class had ever experienced, let alone most in the class were not even born at the time this happened to me.  I stood up, gave my name, year, major, hometown  and then “my family and I were evacuated out of Iran in 1978.”  There were a few gasps around the room.

I remember bits and pieces of our time in Iran. My mother kept a journal which she recently turned into a blog: http://americansiniran1978.com.  The United States really let Iran down in the late 70s and we are all paying for it now.

An interesting twist happened a few semesters later when I took another class with the same professor.  In the class were two Iranian girls (their parents were Iranian) but they had never been to Iran.

March 26, 2010 Posted by | Experiences | , , , , | Leave a comment

Yosemite – Part 3

After taking a water/rest break, I decided to continue the hike up to the top of Nevada Falls which round trip is 7 miles from Yosemite Valley.  The hike to Vernal Falls is a moderate hike, continuing on to Nevada Falls makes it a strenuous hike.  I was really starting to feel it in my legs when I got to the top of Nevada Falls.  After taking a break, I prepared to head back down to the valley by way of the John Muir trail.  Two cute guys that I met on the trail tried to talk me into continuing the hike with them which would end at to top of Half Dome.

The thing about the Half Dome hike besides it is a long hike (10-12 hours round trip) to reach the summit, to be able to reach the summit, the cables (ladders) have to be in place because it is the length of 4 football fields at almost 90 degree angle. This is a hike that is best started at sunrise.  Hikers/climbers also need to be careful for thunderstorms in the area because Half Dome gets hit by lightning frequently.  I found out when I got back to the valley that the cables were not in place yet so it wouldn’t matter.  As much as I would love to see the incredible views from the top of Half Dome, I don’t think I could handle it due to my intense fear of heights.

By the time I made it back down to the valley, my legs were like jelly.  I couldn’t wait until I got home and developed the rolls to see all the photos I had taken.  About an hour or two later I decided to push myself and made the hike over to Yosemite Falls. It’s an easy short hike to the tallest waterfall in North America so it is always crowded.  One thing that surprised me was how loud the falls are.    I took a few photos and used up that role of film.  The next roll that was put in the camera was my b/w roll.  Halfway back down the trail I stopped turned around and took a photo of Upper/Lower Yosemite Falls. This was by far the best picture I took from my trip.  I have had visitors to my apartment think that it is an Ansel Adams print.  The highest compliment this nature photographer can receive.

Deciding to treat myself, I went over to Ahwahnee Hotel restaurant and had prime rib.  Overpriced but it tasted good. Just as I made it back to my tent, the skies opened up and it started to pour.  I read for a few hours and then went to sleep.

Coming up tomorrow ….. leaving the most beautiful place on earth, The Presidio, Alcatraz

December 7, 2009 Posted by | Experiences, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yosemite – Part 2

I woke up Saturday morning at 5:30 – the joy of being in a different time zone .  Knowing I would not get back to sleep I gathered my things to head down to the shower.  However, a big surprise awaited me.  When I opened my tent flap there was a black bear cub less than 100 feet from where I stood.  I looked around and saw mama and two more cubs not far away.   Deciding it probably wasn’t very smart to go up against a full grown black mama bear protecting her cubs, I closed my tent flap and waited a little while before heading out. I must admit that I prefer to have some sort a fence between us if I am that close to a bear.  I will say that the bear cubs were awfully cute though.

After getting ready and having breakfast I headed out on my hikes.  My first hike was to Mirror Lake which was a good distance from my campsite. Mirror Lake is perfectly named – there was a perfect mirror image of the mountain in the lake which I was able to capture in a photograph.  Then, deciding that I needed to save my legs for later hikes, I took the tram back to the main part of the valley.

I pulled out a book of Yosemite Valley Hikes that I had purchased before my trip to determine my next hike.  I decided that the Vernal Falls would be next. The good thing about that particular hike (which is 3 miles round trip) is part of the it consists of the Mist Trail (Yosemite’s signature hike) which is aptly named because  you get hit with mist from Vernal Falls.  Wearing shorts and a tee shirt, my hair in a pony tail with my baseball cap and my Rayban sunglasses,  I put my camera strap around my neck, and grabbed several rolls of film along with my trusty water jug and I was on my way.

My first stop to take photos was the foot bridge where I used two different vantage points for my photos;  one was for taking photos of Vernal Falls and the other was while I had my back to the fall when I took some photos of the canyons.  I then continued on my way by way of The Mist Trail.

The last few hundred meters of the Mist Trail hike up to Vernal Falls are actually stairs cut in the side of the mountain. This happens to be where the mist is the heaviest.  This also is the most dangerous place because one slip can cause you to fall in the river where the current is often too strong to overcome.  It is on the Mist Trail where most Yosemite’s deaths occur.  I found myself starting to panic due to my fear of heights.  This actually was  not because of the climb up but because I was afraid I was going to have to return the same way.  Luckily, I ran into some very nice hikers who told me about taking the John Muir Trail down.  Now that my panic had subsided I  was on my way up the trail to the top of Vernal falls. I was surprised when I got to the top of Vernal Falls because it was large and flat with a railing overlooking the falls.

From the top of the falls I took a photo of people coming up the Mist Trail.  In that photo I was fortunate enough to catch half of a rainbow.  (At present time I only have two  photos from my trip that were made digital, I haven’t digitalized the remaining photographs yet).

Coming up ……Day 2 continued….the hike up to Nevada Falls, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls

December 5, 2009 Posted by | Experiences | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yosemite – Part 1

I am a big admirer of Ansel Adams and had a few of his photo books on Yosemite National Park.  Because of that, in May 1997 I decided to use my free airline ticket to anywhere in the continental U.S. to fly to California and go to Yosemite for a long weekend.  I love hiking and camping so I have all the necessary equipment.  I reserved a camping site in Lower Pines campground.  I flew out from Charlotte, NC on Friday morning and came back on the Red eye on Sunday night/Monday Morning.  In my backpack was all the supplies that I would need except food including tent, sleeping back, cooking tools, enough clothes for the trip. Although in typical female fashion, I took more clothes than I needed.   I arrived in San Francisco early afternoon and headed to Yosemite in my rental car.  I made it to the entrance a few hours later. Quite the drive up the mountains especially when you get behind an eighteen wheeler on the two lane road.

It took me three times as long to get from the entrance of the park to Yosemite Valley because I kept stopping at the scenic overlooks to take photos.  I finally made it into the valley and checked in.  I found my campsite and pitched my tent.  I then headed to the Valley store and picked up some groceries. When I got back to camp, I locked up the groceries in a bear proof container so the black bears would not get to my food.  My timing of my trip was perfect since due to the fact that Yosemite had almost record snow falls during the winter, the waterfalls were abundant.

After making sure everything was done and secure, I grabbed my camera and an extra role of film as I had time before nightfall for a short hike. Since I had a poster of Ansel’s Adams Bridalveil Falls hanging my living room at home, I decided that would be my first destination as I had always wanted to see it in person.  It was even more breathtaking than I had imagined.  My only complaint was since, surprisingly I know, I was not the only one there I had to patiently wait to take my shot.  Patience is not normally one of my virtues but for once since I was in one of the most picturesque places in the world so I didn’t really care.

When I got back to the campsite I was starving which was not all that surprising since it was 6 pm local time which made it 9 pm EDT and I had yet to have dinner.   After dinner, I walked around the valley taking in the views and taking photos of El Capitan and Half Dome.

Once the sun went down I climbed into my tent and decided to make some Jiffy Pop Popcorn with my little camping stove.  Believing it couldn’t be that hard to make the popcorn, I didn’t read the directions…..Big Mistake.  By the time I realized that I had to continuously move the container while it was heating, a good portion of the popcorn had burned – thank heavens I was able to savage some of it.  I learned an important lesson about following directions.

Even though it was only 9pm local time, my body was on east coast time, so I climbed into my tent and turned in for the night.

Coming up……encounter with black bears and my hike up to Nevada Falls.

December 4, 2009 Posted by | Experiences | , , , | Leave a comment