12.03.13 - House Keeping

I am so bad at keeping my tears.

Those of you who know me know I I have a touch of the goofball. I enjoy being the backseat heckler.

This may come as a surprise, but I am an introvert. And I think this actually carries over to the fact that I don't keep track of my published work for a brag file.

But there comes a time when one has to justify their existence, like applying for credentials to major international events, and you must prove you are not there to get free passes (there is no such thing), hobnob with celebrities (who cares), undercut the official photographer (I am an OP on occasion, so, do unto other as they would do unto you) or when your memory starts to go and you don't know what you have done with your life.

Tonight I started grabbing the few files I have saved over the years, and man do I have SO much more to get through.


09.10.11 - A Decade

As I drove to Saugerties for the Pfizer Million Grand Prix at HITS horse show, avoiding NYC bridges and tunnels and all the 9-11 retrospectives on the radio, the photo from a decade ago that has stuck with me the most is one from the American Gold Cup just days after.

My September 11th started with a sick dog so I was awake with the TV on for the break in the morning show for the first reports of the first crash. I called the newsroom and actually told those in the office what had happened. After the Pentagon I called my parents and told my father how much I was glad he had just retired, and was no longer in a federal building. Much after that was a blur, or just not memorable.

I appreciate being an American, but I don't believe we are the, "greatest county in the world," as so many tout us in jingoistic songs and bumper stickers. I enjoy the feeling of patriotism, but it is not something that only Americans feel. I like our flag, but don't care for the commercialism of slapping it in different manifestations on every surface that can hold color.

So I think what I like about this single grabbed frame from 10 years ago, is the subtle, personal patriotism.



09.05.11 - Stock

Many of my fellow equestrian photographers have been in discussion lately about the rights awarded to the official photographer at a competition, credentialed media photographers, how to deal with poachers, copyright infringers...basically all things business.

While I made rookie mistakes at the beginning, once I became a member of the professional ranks I have always done my best to respect the official photographer(s). Digital has made it very easy for anyone with a camera to set up a website and sell prints.

I walk both sides of the line, I have shows where I am there to sell to the participants, and I have many others that I cover as a working member of the media.

My distinctions between my stock and my participant photos are 1. the location were they are hosted, 2. the access, 3. consumer product prices are only listed on images for sale from event where I am asked to be there.

While I am there to cover the competition with the "standard" shots I am also there to add to my stock database. All my images will go into my stock galleries (which are password protected, and access is limited to editors and ad agencies).

Here is a sample of what I am shooting in addition to the "knees to the nose" frames.

09.06.11 Ludwigs



06.27.11 - Copyright

I have spent the past few hours dealing with a number of cases of people taking images of mine and placing them on their FaceBook pages. FaceBook is very quick to respond by removing the images, which I very much appreciate. Since this is an on-going problem I'm going to spell it out, this time with photos. Your ability to access my proofs of your competition is a privilege not a right. Me putting them on-line is a contract of trust that you will respect that there are my property, and that you have the ability to license a digital file or purchase a print from said proofs.

There are many photographers who make you pay for proofs, or for them to photograph you at all. I feel punishing the many for the actions of the few will affect my business.

And while we are on the subject of business let me spell this out for you. To cover two phases at the Plantation Field Horse Trials I have to hire a second photographer which mean I am out-of-pocket their day rate, travel and meals before the first horse enters the dressage ring. I shoot with at least two cameras and have four spares for remotes (how to you think I get those shots underneath the Weldon's Wall) and back up. Not to mention telephoto lenses that are fast enough to shoot in pouring rain (if you show jumped in the April 2011 horse trial I shot you), fog and impending thunder storms. And I do stay out there in the pouring rain, exposing my equipment, albeit under a $300 lens specific raincoat. And there is all the superfluous equipment, monopods, tripods, remotes, cables, computers, storage, etc.

And let me toot my own horn here. If you were running in any of the recognized events this year I also volunteered as a fence judge for a number of your fences too. 

You all received an e-mail from me from the June event alerting you to your proofs. This note also informed you that 20% of my profits are going to the True Prospect Recovery Fund. So not only are you stealing from me, you are stealing from a donation to a charity!

The landing page of my proofing site spells out exactly what is allowed with proofs, and the penalty for stealing them.

Screen shot 2011-06-27 at 10.22.08 AM


The image we contract for will not bear the watermark that is on my proofs.

Screen shot 2011-06-27 at 10.25.24 AM

I hate that this watermark is so obliterating of the image. But it  has developed over the years from a simple © in response to those who have stolen my work. And yet it continues. (Photographing your proof with your cell phone or screen shoting and/or cropping the image are still infringements.)

Screen shot 2011-06-27 at 9.57.31 AM

So let me spell out what happens when I catch you.

1. I screen shot your page(s) of images.

2. I report you to FaceBook or the web host.

3. I lock your folder of proofs so you cannot get to your images, and explain why it is locked.

4. I keep your name on file.

5. Any current or future images will not be available to you until you pay for the infringement.

Screen shot 2011-06-27 at 10.23.04 AM

At this point in time there is no argument for "I didn't know better." There have been discussion threads on popular equine websites, there have been articles in national equestrian magazines, there have been public international lawsuits regarding music and other intellectual property. Oh, and my damn watermark spells out that, "IF THIS IMAGE IS BEING VIEWED ANYWHERE BUT AKDRAGOOPHOTO IT HAS BEEN STOLEN, AND PENALTIES WILL BE APPLIED!"

06.02.11 - Benefit for Team Martin

04.30.11 pt. 2 - A Hootin Good Time

Spotlights, USEF president David O'Connor striping, @Ecogold's Hamish beauty shots, a French Appaloosa, a QH with a fro, @Ariat Gina Miles in helmet and spurs that jingle-jangle, a beer run and sliding stops in a flat saddle. It's not what the tornadoes blew in, it's just the freestyle @NRHA class at @Kentucky Reining Cup! @FEI and @USDF dressage riders take note, the @Alltech Arena was PACKED, and the crowd loved it!

(click image for slide show)



04.29.11 - Pardon the Interruption

Celebrities are what so many organizations and events trot out to try to drum up coverage. I work in the newspaper industry, I know. Politicians, names that were D-list before you were born, etc. Celebrity does nothing for me, I didn't have teen stars on my wall as a kid, I don't understand screaming and fainting in the presence of 3D persons. Everyone is human. Those that I respect are those that (seem) to have kept hold of that.

I will admit I know nothing about the specifics of reining, but I will say I was impressed by Lyle Lovett's commitment to the sport. His horse Smart and Shiney was ridden by Italian Marco Ricotta at the World Equestrian Games. Lovett played the closing ceremonies of the WEG to a very appreciative crowd of volunteers, riders, and journalists!

Six months later he was back with his horse at the Kentucky Horse Park riding himself in the 1st Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup. I admit I know nothing of the specifics of reining. But I can tell you I was impressed by his...seat. Go ahead and laugh. He rides quite well. I have seen many who flop in the saddle at best. Lovett is sequre in the tack. He really rides. His leg is secure, his body is with the motion, that is something you can't fake. No matter he finished last. He was up against the members of the gold medal team from WEG. But he was there, he was open to all interviews and he was as uncelebrity as he could be. I listened to the two albums I had on the iPod on my drive home.

(click image for slide show)


Rolex Kentucky CCI****

04.28.11 - Take a ride round the course

Sorry for the delay getting the slide show loaded. I began the blog and the files were moving, but then lost connection, had to shower for the annual Alltech Press Dinner (not to be missed) since it was the night we were getting out A+ Awards for the coverage of the World Equestian Games.

I am now back in the campground, in my truck, still in my dress, moving the show for a second time. Enjoy!


04.27.11 - Rolex Kentucky, Day 1

Spring in Kentucky is green grass, Rolex and tornadoes. Did I mention I am camping in a tent this year? Last night I did sleep in the truck due to the warning. And my tent was still on the hill this morning. The jog was moved up due to the weather forecast, and then moved back because the cell that moved through came for the inspection. All the horses were evacuated to the reining indoor, sorry no pics, that was not a story I was willing to chase. You will have to make due with the jog images. Everyone passed, though two were held. The weather shifted so fast it looks like it could be two different days!


02.11.11 - bookings, the first sign of spring

Winter is always a slow time in terms of shooting. I am at the paper during the week, and I am always on the look out for equine stock, so I rarely go a day without a camera in my hand at some point. But scheduled work for my clients slows down in the cold.

This week was like the first robin of spring. I am making a run to Aiken, SC next week for a training still and video shoot for Practical Horseman (and have made queries to other clients about any needs they might have), I have booked a PR job for April, I chatted with an old contact in her new job about a training DVD production, I am editing the requests for stock that flooded my in-box today, I am roughing out an idea for a self-service photo booth for my weddings, I am headed down to a friend's to help her with using my studio lights for an upcoming job she has, I need to send my credential application for Rolex Kentucky.

This all means I have to clean out my car, clean my gear, pack...

Wait, did I say winter is slow?