Friday, May 07, 2021

iPhone Photos from a North Shore Trip

I shared some photos last month shot with my Holga from my North Shore trip in late March. Here are a few (shown chronologically) shot with my iPhone 12 and the "silvertone" filter.

[click each image to enlarge]

A beach in Two Harbors

Two Harbors

Just below Gooseberry Falls

Black Beach

Black Beach

Sugarloaf Cove

Sugarloaf Cove

Sugarloaf Cove

Near Artist's Point in Grand Marais

Grand Marais

Grand Marais

Grand Marais

Back at Sugarloaf Cove (the back side)

The back side of Sugarloaf Cove

The back side of Sugarloaf Cove

A gale warning in Grand Marais

Hwy 61 from the Cascade River

Cascade Falls

Pools of water below Cascade Falls

Related: check out my first test of the "silvertone" filter and the wide angle lens along the Mississippi River from just after I got my new phone 2 months ago. And here are more North Shore photos that I shot with my Holga.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

An Instagram Experiment

I started my Instagram account about 4 years ago. About 2 years ago, I had 400 followers. And as of a few months ago, I had 800 followers. (So it's grown pretty linearly long-term over these last 4 years.) I mainly used it as a place to dump images, and I wasn't really active at all on Instagram. Around March 20th, I thought I'd try to be a bit more engaging and see "where that got me." So I started clicking on hashtags randomly and would "like" many photos from strangers (not people I had already followed).

Doing that just off-and-on for a bit gained me 100 followers in 20 days.

And then another 100 followers in the next 20 days.

So I was up to 1,000 followers on May 1st. Throughout this process, I would "like" more than I would comment (by FAR), but if I liked a photo enough to want to leave a comment, I made sure the comments were specific enough to not seem like a copy/pasted comment that I could be leaving on hundreds of photos. I found myself following more local people who made interesting photos. And I enjoyed tunneling through all kinds of hashtags and following them down random rabbit holes - especially locally based hashtags.

After posting something specific, I made sure to interact with similarly tagged images over the next few days. So that meant a lot of "North Shore"-based hashtags after have 3 posts about Lake Superior. And then a lot of Minneapolis-based hashtags after posting some images from downtown. That way, people who I were interacting with who were curious about my page would come see things that might be interesting to them.

I discovered something everyone knows: smaller/local hashtags appear more infrequently, but might get you to something more interesting to you. And larger hashtags are so broad and so very commonly used that you might be seeing everything.

But I've noticed that I've gained more followers while interacting with "bigger" hashtags, like #photography #photographer #nightphotography and #longexposure for example.

However, I ENJOY looking at work with "smaller/local" hashtags, like #minnesotaphotographer #minnesotaartist #northshoremn #captureminnesota etc.

Just for fun (and because I had a number of car appointments, vet appointments, and lots of extra time spent waiting around), I hit Instagram extra hard over the last few days. So hard that Instagram "stopped" me 2 times for a bit thinking I was maybe a bot:

I think that just happens when you hit up ONE hashtag too much. If you keep looking through (and liking) different hashtags, it doesn't seem to happen. I could still use the app normally during that time, but I just couldn't keep liking images. I was good to go again after an hour or two.

After being much more active, I was up to 1,138 followers as of last night:

I gained 138 followers in less than 4 days by just being active on Instagram. (Overall, that's nearly 250 followers gained in less than 2 months of this down-time experiment.) There's no secret. Comment on images you like, "like" posts with hashtags that interest you, and people might come see what your page is all about.

The PRO of these last 6 weeks are that I've stumbled across more local photographers that I've followed. (I wish I knew how many people I followed before starting this, because I wonder how much that has risen... maybe by 20-30 people?)

The CON of doing this over the last 6 weeks is that Instagram has started to feel like a bad moblie game. It has the feel of a game where you don't really get anywhere, but you're still spending time to get there. Like a game where you keep playing to keep upgrading so you can keep playing. And there's a percentage of people who only follow you with the hopes that you will follow them back - if I'm off Instagram for a few days, my follower count will drop a bit as those people have given up on me.

So, if you're interested in gaining more followers on Instagram, just be active. After searching for a topic, refresh the "recent" tab of hashtags to see brand new images waiting for likes and comments. And then interact! Happy scrolling!

Oh yeah, and follow me on Instagram at photostenzel.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Virtual Exhibition Closing Party

A few weeks ago, I posted about the juried exhibtion I was a part of at North Central University. Recently, they held a "closing reception" for the artists. Being they are still only letting faculty, staff, and students in to see the work, they hosted a virtual closing reception.

Here's a photo of me attending from my dining room as Elizabeth was showing the work to everyone watching:

Yep that's one of my pieces.

It was great talking to the other artists! Honestly, this virtual closing reception was more fun than I thought it would be! Thanks Elizabeth, Judy, and North Central!

Again, if you missed it, here's the post showing the work.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Payment for Creatives

A bit of humor from The Oatmeal:

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Nude Model

This takes me back to Drawing III in art school:

I know... I know... this is some kind of "Boomer Humor." I must be getting old...

Sunday, April 18, 2021

North Central University's 2021 Juried Art Exhibition

Recently, I had a few pieces accepted into a small exhibition at North Central University. I saw the flier around campus asking for work:

I dropped off 3 pieces:

I use quilts to transport work. The middle piece is under the blanket.

Here are a few images from the "2021 T.J. Jones Library Juried Art Show:"

[click each image for a larger version]

My pieces on the middle of that wall.

A final shot of my 3 photographs.

Friday, April 16, 2021

"Be an Artist!"

The Warhol quote... ha!

Friday, April 09, 2021

North Shore Holga Photographs

It had been nearly a year and a half since I last got out my Holga. But when the boys and I took a drive up the North Shore 10 days ago, I had to pack a few rolls of film. Here are some images made as we headed north along Lake Superior.

[click each image to enlarge]

Gooseberry Falls.

Black Beach (with my boys climbing those rocks back there...)

Sugarloaf Cove.

The backside of Sugarloaf.

A windier day at Sugarloaf Cove (we stopped there twice).

A gale warning in Grand Marais

A few waterfalls along the Cascade River.

My Holga all taped up between outings at our Airbnb.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Photographer's Copyright Case with the Met

A lot of photographers have strong opinions about this. An old image by photographer Lawrence Marano was used in an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and now 2 courts have ruled that the Met can use Marano's image without his consent.

The "Frankenstein" guitar used by Eddie Van Halen. Photo: Don Emmert / AFP via Getty Images.

Here's more on the issue from ArtNet:

A panel of judges has ruled in favor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a copyright case over the institution’s use of a photograph of Eddie Van Halen.

A 1982 concert image of Van Halen shot by Florida-based photographer Lawrence Marano was used by the museum in an online catalogue for the 2019 exhibition “Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll,” which featured the late musician’s famous “Frankenstein” guitar.

Marano sued the institution for copyright infringement that same year, arguing that he never granted permission for the photograph to be used.

In July 2020, the lawsuit was dismissed by a U.S. District judge who ruled that Marano and his attorney “failed to show why the Met’s use of [the image] is not protected by the fair use exception.” Because the museum employed the photograph for educational purposes, it did not violate copyright law, according to the judge.

Marano appealed the case, but last Friday, three judges in New York’s Second Circuit court upheld the previous ruling.

“Whereas Marano’s stated purpose in creating the photo was to show ‘what Van Halen looks like in performance,’ the Met exhibition highlights the unique design of the Frankenstein guitar and its significance in the development of rock n’ roll instruments,” the judges wrote in a five-page summary order.

They further decided that the Met’s use of the image could not “in any way impair any other market for commercial use of the photo, or diminish its value.”

“The Second Circuit’s decision in the Marano case is an important one recognizing that museums, as cultural institutions, have the freedom to use photographs that are historical artifacts to enrich their presentation of art objects to the public,” Linda Steinman, an attorney for the Met, said in a statement.

“The Metropolitan Museum of Art values the contributions of all artists, including photographers, and also appreciates that fair use is a key tool for the visual arts community.”

“The mission of the Met and all museums,” Steinman continued, “is to provide the public with access to art—and this important decision protects, indeed strengthens, this important societal role.”

Marano’s attorney did not respond to Artnet News’s request for comment.

In both decisions, the ruling judges looked to the 2006 Bill Graham Archives v. Dorling Kindersley Ltd., case for precedent, Courthouse News points out.

In that case, which had to do with the republication of decades-old concert posters in a coffee table book about the Grateful Dead, the Second Circuit court ruled that the publisher reprinted the posters as “recognizable representation” of the band’s concerts, saying the case fell under fair use doctrine.

There's a lot of gray area in here, but I would agree with the ruling in the end. The US Copyright Office defines "fair use" as "a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Section 107 of the Copyright Act provides the statutory framework for determining whether something is a fair use and identifies certain types of uses — such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research — as examples of activities that may qualify as fair use."

Here's the court's ruling for the July/Aug 2020 dismissal if you'd like to read their words.

My biggest issue is that after all of this, Marano's name still does not seem to appear next to his photo in the exhibition. You would think the Met could at least acknowledge that they are using his photo, but as of this moment, they don't seem to be doing that.

Saturday, April 03, 2021


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Mississippi River Photos from the iPhone 12

I recently got an iPhone 12 Pro. It's the first time I've really had "new" and "current" equipment - my normal camera is about 15 years old, and I'm generally a "use what you've got" sort of photographer. When I was out along the banks of the Mississippi River with my boys last week, I started playing with the wide angle lens and a few of the effects.

Here are a few images that are straight from my phone. I always at least gently edit my images, but these have not been cropped or had any density/contrast adjustments. The most I did to them was adjust the exposure as I was in the process of making the photo; I did nothing in post.

[click image to enlarge]

River Tree

Rail Bridge

Washed-Out Ash


Rain-Splattered Beaches

Tiny Waves


Driftwood and Ice

Frozen Pebbles


The "silvertone" effect in these images makes the images a little too painterly for me: click on and zoom in to some of the larger images to see the over-sharpening happening at the edge of higher contrast areas. But I like the overall contrast it provided, although the middle values get a little lost (which kills me a bit as a photography professor who's always preaching about proper tonal range).

We'll see if I end up playing around more with my phone in a professional manner...

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