Friday, June 10, 2011

Photo Security for the Clueless

Let me tell you, when I started this whole photo blog thing, I was in a bit over my head. I may be resourceful, but I am not most tech savvy person on the planet, and nothing can be more frustrating sometimes than struggling with the formatting of a blog. (I come in almost every other day and even question the design of my blog! but I digress...) The security of my images was a big concern to me. I've right-clicked myself in the past, I'll admit, and copied a few images for the sake of a school presentation or something... but the whole copying and printing of somebody else's images is nails on a chalkboard to me. I'm a teacher, too, so it's right up there with plagiarism and tying kittens to the railroad tracks. Blogger, as you may have already discovered, allows for a simple right click of your images and voila! you can save whatever you want, and at a pretty decent size, I might add. Big enough for a decent-ish print if you wanted. Or a re-posting to another site. Are you posting pictures of your family that you don't want random strangers saving to their hard-drives? YUCK. Think about it! (or don't...) I am just not down with having my photos out there for anyone to take, but neither was I on the up and up with keeping my images safe...

It took me a while, but I finally figured out how to thwart the copiers and savers of the world. And now, I'm a-gonna share that information with you. Yep. Big of me, I know. But I'm a giver. Here we go.

First of all, you need to add an html gadget to your blog. You can put it anywhere you like; it matters not. Don't give it a title or anything like that, and then it won't show up on your page. It'll be a little secret gadget, like an invisible force field ensuring the protection of your rights. Yes, your html gadget will stand for justice. Just paste this whole thing into the gadget box:

<script language=javascript>
<!-- -->
    var message = "No Copying Please!";
    function rtclickcheck(keyp){ if (navigator.appName == "Netscape" && keyp.which == 3){    alert(message); return false; }
    if (navigator.appVersion.indexOf("MSIE") != -1 && event.button == 2) {    alert(message);     return false; } }
    document.onmousedown = rtclickcheck;

What that does is prevent folks from right-clicking your images. It even pops up a message telling folks that they can't copy. Fun. (You can even customize the message with something more rude if you like, or with quotes from Gandhi, lines of poetry, Japanese kanji. Up to you.) But we're not done yet, because all people have to do is click on the image to open it in another window, and then they can copy or save. We need to prevent that, too.

So, now that you've added your html, you're going to go in to edit your post. Select (click on/grab) the picture you've added to your post. Remove the formatting on it. That would be the little icon in your editing menu that looks like a T with a red X next to it. What this does is allow you to change the web address your picture links to when people click on it. That option will now be available to you on the same bar that allows you to change the size of your image in the post. You can put in a whole new website if you like, or link the image to your e mail address. Want to confuse people? Link the image to your blog's web address. People will be running around in virtual circles. Either way, people can no longer steal your images.

Does this seem like a lot of work? It ain't. It really ain't, especially if you're posting things you sell, or images of your precious kids. Consider how much time goes into watermarking images or reducing their quality. Who wants a low-quality image on a photo blog? Not me, folks, not me. You want to show off your work, not cheapen it. No, forget watermarking. It's a waste of perfectly good computer space and a waste of your time. If you manage to follow my instructions, you're on your way to safe and secure photo posting.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gallery Update

Good news! Aimless Photography has just opened its first 'artsy fartsy' collection; that is, a set of photographs that have magically been transformed into art prints. Titled Artsy Japan, it's the first of many sets to come. This one happens to feature some fantastic kagura images taken at a festival in rural Hiroshima. Unfortunately, the shots were taken on a 6 megapixel point and shoot from the back of the amphitheatre, so they make for rotten photographs. They do, however, look fantastic as art
prints, and in my mind, really capture the movement, colour, and pizazz of kagura.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Feeling Festy

Every year (I say every year like we've been doing it for decades... let's try again...) Every year since we moved here we've gone to the Japanese cultural festival. The Kurimoto Garden is crawling with people, which is nice, but inevitably makes it difficult to photograph. I hate seeing so many people in a garden like that. It inspires the same feeling I get when I espy somebody with greasy fingers going to touch a painting or something. People are going to chide me, I know, for the unrealistic-ness of it, but I want my garden shots sans people. In fact, I want all my landscapes and (shock!) cityscapes to be without people. Or, at least if I'm shooting the city, with nondescript people. This, of course, did not happen at the Japanese cultural festival, and you'd think after three years trying, I'd give it up and go on a sleepy Monday afternoon or something. At least then I could snag the bridge shot without people hanging off it like a celebrity they didn't expect to see buying coffee at Tim Horton's.

One of my favourite parts of the festival, other than all the white folks walking around having conversations in Japanese with one another, is the taiko drumming. I swear there's an intrinsic response we all have to the banging of a drum. C'mon, you can't tell me some part of you doesn't respond on some primal level to the timpani banging away George of the Jungle. The thing is about taiko is it's not just about the drumming (which is wonderfully tribal), but that it's a performance. Tres Japanese, no? Getting involved in taiko, at least in these parts, is no easy task. It's not like joining up with some music group and learning how to bang the drum. No, it's pretty serious stuff, and they only accept you if you are already drumming at a particular proficiency. Lord knows how you're supposed to get to that proficiency without joining the group, but there goes a circular logic that is beyond me. Perhaps you're meant to play one of those taiko games at the Japanese arcades to get your start... All I know is, the taiko is pretty spectacular, and I do not encourage you to buy the CD. Hit a live performance if you can.

You can also catch taiko drumming at performances of kagura, which is a folksy version of kabuki, only way more entertaining to watch. More exciting. Lots more movement, speed, colour, masks, dragons and demons, costume changes, action, love, hate, betrayal.... not to mention the drumming! although I am uncertain if there are any kagura (or kabuki) performances in this corner of the globe. Perhaps a trip to Japan is in order for you folks?

In any event, to avoid the t-shirt and shorts wearing crowd at the festival ending up in my shots, I find myself taking snaps of pieces of the festival-- the collar of a kimono, the spokes of a rice paper umbrella, hands writing calligraphy the carving on a great iron bell... I'm hoping over the next year to put together a rather substantial Japanese-inspired photography collection... food, origami, tea, dishes, kimono, obi, lanterns, shoji, shrines.... If you're into that sort of thing, it might be worth a visit to the gallery over the next six months as it's updated to see what I've been up to.

What are your favourite parts of a festival to shoot?