Our budget has been revised

I was contacted last week by a representative of an “international press renowned for our fine art and photography publications” that wanted to include some of my photos in a publication. Wow!

Hi Mike,

XXX Australia are publishing a small format gift book (100 mm x 100 mm) on Australia for the tourist market and we are currently sourcing images to be included in the publication. As you may know, XXX are an international press renowned for our fine art and photography publications. We came across your work and feel your photographic style would be perfectly suited to this project. In particular, we are interested in using images from your Manly on a Sunday and Sydney Here we Come collections. However, we would also be very interested in any other images of iconic Sydney locations and wider NSW if you have any in your archives.

The publication will have Australian and NZ distribution so exposure to a large audience is guaranteed. We would love to include your work in this project and hope we can arrange permission with you to do so.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Kind regards,

Tahlia

Of course, I got back right away.

Hi Tahlia,

Thanks for getting in touch – it sounds like an interesting project. I have a number of photographs you may be interested in, both of Sydney landmarks and the Three Sisters.

Could you send me some further details on the terms and conditions and rates?

Kind Regards,

Mike.

I must say, I was very excited by all this. I was also contacted by Getty Images in relation to licensing some of my images I have on Flickr. The name looked familiar enough that I was sure it was the same company. The process of registering with Getty took a while (those agreements are pretty lengthy, and I wanted to make sure I understood what I was in for). I went through my photographs of Sydney, and selected a number of photos that I thought they might be interested in, and awaited a reply.

Hi Mike,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

Unfortunately after discussions with my boss, our budget has been revised and we will not be able to renumerate contributors for any images used. We would of course offer a photo credit but I understand if this is not a suitable arrangement for you.

Kind regards,

Tahlia

Great. So, this “international press renowned for our fine art and photography publications” had sent someone on a fishing expedition, to make a commercial publication filled with photos they wanted to get for free.

Oh well, this does give me an excuse to show a gratuitous photo of the Sydney Opera House – one of the photos they were interested in, and which I publish under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Sydney Opera House

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

Just a few short months after we met, my wife-to-be and I escaped for a week on the Isle of Skye. Skye is as beautiful as you might imagine, although if you are planning a trip around September, make sure you take plenty of spare clothes and waterproofs.

We took the ferry to Raasay, a small island between Skye and the mainland one Sunday. It seemed…quiet. Which was wonderful. We seemed to have the whole place to ourselves. What I hadn’t realised, was the religious traditionalism that is woven into everyday life on the west coast islands included shutting everything on a Sunday. We did eventually find a hotel to get some food at, but if we’d wanted a go on the swings…

No Playing on a Sunday

Mount Wilson

I took a trip up into the mountains last Sunday, to check up a couple of places for some photography and to get some “shutter therapy”.

As I climbed the mountains, the temperature dropped several degrees, and I ended up at Mount Wilson, as I’d been told the trees were particularly good during Autumn.

Alas, I was a couple of weeks late, and most of the trees were bare, although there were some particularly beautiful Japanese maples that had retained their foliage.

Mount Wilson 1

Mount Wilson 2

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Mount Wilson 7

Autumn

Autumn has slowly pushed aside summer. The temperatures are dropping, along with the leaves.

We took a trip up to the Blue Mountains National Gardens at Mount Tomah, which along with the native trees, hosts pockets of European and North American flora. There is something reassuringly familiar about seeing conkers on the ground, and I have flashbacks to my childhood.

When I was a little older than my son, my brother and I would collect conkers, pierce them with a skewer, and thread a length of string through their core, creating an instrument of playground competition. These were great battles when you were seven years of age, which would be settled with one competitor’s dreams ending shattered on the floor, along with his weapon. Your status was entwined with the fate of your conker. Did you have a lowly ‘oner’, or had you vanquished your classmates and reached the heady heights of a ‘fiver’, or more?

These delights await my son, but for now he is content to climb trees.

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Autumn-9

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Autumn-1

After the fire

After the fire-2

The smell of smoke had long subsided, and we took a trip into the forest to see what effect the back-burning of ground litter had had.

There’s something beautiful about the red dust that our vehicle kicks up, as we go deeper and deeper into the forest. Nowhere in the UK has earth this vibrant colour.

We pass fire trails as we reach forks in the track. “Left or right?” I ask our son. “Left, we’ve never been there”, he says. And so, we end up at Mount Portal, looking out over the Nepean river, Sydney in the distance.

We are heading into autumn, and the light is low, casting long shadows through the forest. The ground is burnt, covered in a layer of ash, and the smell of smoke is still noticeable. Here and there, green shoots are rising out of the ground. The forest is renewed, and life is taking hold again.

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After the fire-5

After the fire-4

After the fire

Morning Smoke

I woke to a strong smell of smoke.

After an initial panic, I realised that the back-burning of fuel buildup in the forest around us must have started. The summer months are a time of caution in many parts of Australia. Many of the eucalyptus trees shed their bark annually, along with leaves, leading to a buildup of dry, tinder-like matter on the forest floor. Combine that with temperatures that have reached 47 degrees Celsius (117 Fahrenheit) this year and lightning strikes or careless people, and you have a recipe for serious fires.

The smoke plus the morning mist we get up here in the Blue Mountains, led to pretty low visibility as I made my way to the train station for work.

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Morning Smoke

Morning Smoke