The eyes of a Wolf always see straight into your soul ...

...You can't hide the truth from them


Please visit the main site - www.wolf-photography.com


Monday, 21 November 2016

jAlbum - A very useful tool ... 'watermarking' guide.

If you care about photography as a profession - please watermark all your images and never post full sized images on the Internet.  It doesn't matter whether you want to sell your images or not; the simple fact is that copyright theft and 'royalty free photographs' together with competitions that obtain full rights to submitted images have had a negative effect on photographers that are trying to earn a crust.  Added to which the government changed the laws on images and IP rights on the Internet

Social media sites (eg Facebook, Twitter) assume rights to any media that we upload, as do the BBC, National Geographic and others.  Always check the 'terms and conditions' before you upload images anywhere.  This is my way of submitting images and holding on to my Intellectual Property rights.

This is a quick guide to using a very nifty little program called 'jAlbum' to watermark your image by using presets that you setup on first running the program.  Please be aware that jAlbum is, in my opinion, the easiest way to create web-ready albums of your images - with 'Paypal' support - if you write your own websites and host your own domains.  This article concentrates on 'watermarking' only though.

1.  Create a folder on your C:/Drive or a secondary drive called 'my photos'.  Never save images inside your profile. Follow the guidelines on an earlier post.  Now create another folder within that folder create a folder called 'AA_copyright_only'.  This is where you will copy any images you want to make slides of for Social Media useage - Facebook, Twitter etc.

2.  Visit http://jalbum.net/en/ and download your trial version.

3.  Open the program and select a skin that appeals to you (the options differ from skin-to-skin).  I use 'Chameleon'.  You can select it in the bottom left under 'Skin & Style'.

4.  Now click on 'Settings'.  Point your folder locations to C:\my photos\AA_copyright_only on both boxes.  Ignore the 'Album Thumbnail' dialogue and place a tick in 'Change directory locations'.  You can create a separate output folder if you wish.  Now, using your file manager, copy the images you want to make watermarked copies of into the folder that you have made.  They will appear on the jAlbum screen.  Never work on your original file and this should be a copy of your finished image - just in case something goes wrong.  Click 'Ok' when done.

Now go to the 'Images' tab and select 640x640 for your image size.  Select 90 for thumbnails if you want to use them for .ico files or small profile image files - I leave mine on 120x120.

Now click on the 'Chameleon' tab on the top right and then select  'filters' and 'watermark'.  Then enter ©Copyright (your name).  Play with the other settings to your satisfaction.  I currently use size 11, Horizontal alight - Left.  Margin 20px.  Vertical align - bottom. Opacity 30%.

If you have a business logo - or have made one for fun, simply click 'logo' on the same screen and tell the program where to find it and position it.  It's worth using a logo as part of the image remains hidden for high resolution purposes should you ever need to take legal action.

Once you have done all of the above, save the configuration file and name it 'copyright'.  Now click 'Make Album' as on the first image.  It takes seconds to make 50 web ready images.

To find the images that are now ready for posting, use your file manager and look in the following folder (if you followed the instructions here):  c:\my photos\AA_copyright_only\slides.

There's no point in re-naming your files as Facebook etc strip all of the metadata from uploaded images. This way, you now have a file with your name on and logo if you wish.  Every time you want to add an image for online use - just copy it to the same directory as above and click 'make album'.

The gang at jAlbum are offering a 20% discount on 100 jAlbum licences for members of the WPICC. Just enter "wolf-photography" as the discount code on their checkout page.

All the best

Villayat 'Wolf' Sunkmanitu

Monday, 31 October 2016

Backing up your images

I still hear about so many people losing their images because of hard disk failures, corrupted profiles on NT based operating systems or accidental deletions.

Follow these guidelines:

1.  Create a folder on your C:/ Drive (NOT in 'my documents') called 'my photos'.

Now every time you add photographs, create a folder on that day that you download images from your camera to your hard disk.  If it's a special occasion - add some words too (you may want to add words anyway if it's a work collection) eg 2016Oct31_Attenborough.

That's your basic housekeeping taken care of in terms of file management.

Now buy a backup device.  I recommend the WD Ultra Passport series.  You can buy one from Amazon.

Make sure the advert says it's a new device and don't buy it from some sources like Ebay as it might be a refurbished drive.  To validate the warranty, you'll need to create an account with WD on https://westerndigital.secure.force.com/ind/?lang=en.

After registering the drive and ensuring you have 3 years of warranty cover, run the software on the drive.  It will install a program called 'WD Backup' which comes free with the drive.

Tell the program how often you want the backup to run.  Then select the folder that you created on your C:/ drive called 'my photos'...and it's done.

You can also kick off an immediate backup if you've just got back and downloaded images from a work session.

If you work as a photographer, I recommend that you make a triple copy of your images in the same way.

If you work as a writer, a musician or want to save your music collection or back up any files, use the same process of file management and backup regime.  NEVER store documents in 'my documents' on your PC.  It's the most common way of losing data.

Please share this article around if you found it useful.


Villayat 'Wolf' Sunkmanitu

Friday, 5 August 2016

Creativity for money or for 'Soul Chits'?

Soul Chits is my definition of currency for creatives.  You can't spend it in the shops.  Amazon will you laugh you off the customer services line if you phone up about it and business moguls (including those representing creatives in various ways) will probably just  give you a knowing look and mutter something under their breath that rhymes with 'tanker'.

Creativity is good for the SOUL!

We all need other forms of currency to survive but should it be the over-riding factor in deciding what you create, how you create it and how accessible you make it to the public?  Do we blindly give the public what they want and turn to the money tree or do we keep our soul invested in what we produce and come to some balance within ourselves?

I've been approached by a few people on this issue and my thoughts and feelings on it are simple:  I create because it helps me to cope with my disability.  When I write poetry I can wash out a wound that's festering away with the pain of a past experience (often sub-consciously). When I journey out with my photography equipment, I'm a socially awkward person at times that is scarred by PTSD, but I can hide behind my cameras for a while, get some exercise, immerse myself in the beautiful healing energy of the Earth and, if I'm lucky, come back  with a good photo or 2.

I have to balance the issue of money vs soul chits very carefully because the latter is worth more to me and if I can't feel good during the process, there's really no point in continuing to do it.  So my perspective is that of a disabled artist that needs to interact with the Earth in a healing way. Expressed as a percentage I'm 70% inclined towards soul chits and 30% towards material benefits.  I'm not naive enough to turn down sales though!

The process of creativity as a therapy is to help me to function in human society in some way, in spite of the stigma that I'm subjected to or the political wranglings that I find myself dragged into from time-to-time.  If I didn't create and invest energy into the process in a clean a way as possible, it wouldn't have sustained me to this point in my life.

Art has energy embedded into it.  The energy of the moment, the message being conveyed and a whisper of the creator her/himself ... all coming together to deliver something that, hopefully, touches you in some way as a human being rather than a walking wallet ... whether you're creating with words, cameras, paint brushes, clay or any other medium.

Start creating, even if you're fit and healthy ... you might discover something else about yourself that's very positive.  If you're disabled, give it a go - it can be very therapeutic - but don't be pressured into anything.  Just go at your own pace ... explore and play!

Villayat Wolf Sunkmanitu

Friday, 8 July 2016

The Disabled Artists' Network - an Introduction

It only seems like yesterday that I was planning the 'Living with PTSD' exhibition.  Years can pass so quickly in your advancing years.  A decade can whizz past in what seems moments.  The exhibition allowed me to be open about my life with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the toll it takes on my life, work and relationships.  The exhibition achieved everything I wanted it to ... and it's not over yet as another organisation has requested the exhibition  - watch this space for an update in the future.

Working on negating the stigma related damage caused to people with disabilities - particularly mental health - is a huge issue ... and a time consuming one.  Progress can be nicely summed up in the old lyric 'one step forward, two steps back'.

To people without any empathy it won't mean a thing but from personal experience I know there are people fighting their own battles on a daily basis ... trying to survive from one day to the next with as much dignity as possible.  I also know that there are a lot more of us than the surveys tend to suggest.

With that in mind, I wanted to setup an exhibition venue to give other artists a free platform to show their art and tell their story.  You can look at a painting and think, 'Wow' ... but if you know something about the creator's story, it can add a very different perspective to the viewer's experience as the human element has now been brought into play.

DAN is a free exhibition venue for all artists but you must either be brave enough to write about how your creativity helps you to cope with your disability or if you are not disabled - how your creativity promotes a sense of well-being.  The ICCA Nottingham kindly allowed me to take over the venue from Art Core, who previously curated exhibitions at the space.

The project won't suit all disabled artists - having to be open about their disability could cause them to be subjected to further stigma from family, friends or work colleagues - but if we start to do this, others may open up too ... and slowly we can start to cut down on the amount of stigma that disabled people are subjected to as a whole.

So there you have it.  DAN was opened by the Lord Mayor of Nottingham in February 2016.  The venue is currently packed with excellent art and I'm compiling a waiting list of artists wishing to exhibit with the project.

I hope that you'll add yourself to the network, tell your story and come and exhibit with us in this friendly, caring group that will treat you with dignity and empathy - and will be mindful of your disability and support you through this experience.

In addition to the individual artists showing their creations,  we have two other areas of interest following on from my earlier exhibitions.  The Wolf International Poetry Group exhibits 24 poems from around the world at any time.  We currently have offerings from poets from the UK, Netherlands, Canada, USA and Australia.  Poetry doesn't hit mainstream news but it's a wonderful way of expressing feelings that can be difficult to talk about.

You will find offerings from very talented poets touching upon different aspects of the human condition and some that openly write about their disabilities.

If you would like to enter your poem to be exhibited, please go to the main website, www.wolf-photography.com, and enter your poem in text only please.  This makes it easier for me to copy it and produce it ready for printing.

Please remember that young people visit the venue too, so the content must be appropriate (eg no erotica etc).

The other stipulation is that your poem must fit onto one sheet of A4 using the size Calibri 14 font.

Take a chance, believe in yourself, submit your poem and help to inspire others to write and share their experiences.  Your poem could be the light that pulls someone out of their darkest hour.

You may have guessed by now that my favourite medium is photography, although I can draw a really good matchstick man every now and then (cats and dogs are beyond me).  The third element of the project is the Wolf Photography International Camera Club.

The club has three aims: showcase photography, provide help and guidance to those seeking to improve their photography and to provide some companionship to those that are isolated.

Regular outings are arranged through the project's Facebook page, the exhibition space notice board and the forum.  I have sectioned a space for a rolling exhibition of photography.  Please remember that for the photography club, you do not have to enter any details about yourself or your disability.  Just enter the image on the forum and if it's selected, it will be exhibited at The Atrium, free of charge.  You will retain all of the Intellectual Property Rights; you will only be granting me your permission to display your print at the exhibition and on social media networks to promote the project.  The images will have your copyright notice on them.  I'm looking for images that fit the theme of 'Nature & Spring' for the first photography exhibition.

Last but not least, our first 'Meet n Greet' night is scheduled for  Wednesday 20th July 2016.  I hope that you'll pop in for a free glass of wine or pop and chat with the current artists exhibiting at The Atrium.  I'm sure you'll enjoy their company.

Please spread the word about this initiative and help the project to blossom.  Please also bear in mind that the art work at the exhibition is for sale, so make a purchase and brighten up your home or office space.

If you enjoy a good curry, get there for 12:30pm  - it's traditional, cheap and very tasty! You may also wish to check out the banquet hall on the ground floor while you're at the building. The ICCA rent the space out for corporate events and weddings etc.

Thank you for taking the time to read this piece.  Have a wonderful weekend and I hope that you'll pop in to the Atrium for the 'Meet n Greet'.  The exhibitions can also be viewed Mon-Fri 9:30am to 4:30pm and Mon & Wed evenings from 6:15pm - 8:30pm.

All the best

Villayat 'Wolf' Sunkmanitu
Curator - DAN
Wolf Photography

Osprey - Nature section

Osprey - Nature section
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