Saturday, May 27, 2006

Lake Malawi Calendar

Photograph Stephenie Hollyman Copyright 2006
So here is my third calendar, for June. This time it is sized to fit inside a CD jewel case. You can download this file at Flickr and print it out and then display it a nifty re-purposed CD jewel case, as described by Flagrant Disregard.
To download the customized calender created with the photograph I took in southern Africa last Spring of a young boy at dawn along the shore of Lake Malawi, click here and then go to the link above the photo for " all sizes". On the next page, choose " Normal size".

I used the Flagrant Disregard's Photo Calendar Maker to create this customized calendar from this photograph taken while I was documenting malaria for my project " Fever Zone."

Photo Flagrant Disregard Calendar Display Case Instructions

  • To display your calendar in a CD jewel case
  • Obtain a CD jewel case. You can buy empty jewel cases at your local computer store or order them online. Or you can recycle one of your existing jewel cases and store the CD it contained someplace else.
  • Prepare the jewel case. First, gently remove the door of the jewel case, flip it around, and put it back on
  • Then remove the cover insert. You can remove the back insert by gently prying up the disc tray.
  • Print the calendar. Save the calendar image to your computer desktop. Then print it however you normally print images. Print it so that it is 4.75 inches wide (12 centimeters). This is 150 PPI if you savvy PPI. Calendars look best when printed on heavy matte photo paper.
  • Final assembly. Cut out the printed calendar and insert it into your jewel case.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

White House Photo Op

Have you ever wondered what it's like to cover the Whitehouse or the United Nations as a photographer? If you think it's exciting, you're wrong.

Play Pete Souza's great slideshow that brings you inside the Oval office with the addition of audio. Hear the cameras clicking.A White House Photo Op , online at the Chicago Tribune, surely proves that when natural sound is added to photographs it brings a story to life.

In my previous post Netizen Poynters Ken Irby Speaks, Kenny Irby of the Poynter Instutute answered my query about the power of audio when used with photography to tell a story.
The authenticity and emotional factors are increased by blending natural sound with still photographs. People are attracted by quality integration of audio and photojournalism. Both audio and still photography are powerful story telling structures, together they are extremely powerful and effective journalistic tools. The combination of a compelling photograph complimented by the natural voice of the individual explaining the context of their situation is arresting.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Of Bearded Tugboat Captains and Lighting

Photograph Copyright Stephenie Hollyman 2006

The bane of any photographer's existence is direct flash. Most of us like to shoot natural light during what Jay Meisel calls the "sweetlight" time of day.

But living in an imperfect world, most often we have to pop in a light or two. We then may have to break out lights, softbox, umbrellas and stands.

Sometimes we don't even have time for that, like in this picture I took last night of Captain Brian McAllister, standing in front of his company's 105 year old tugboat, the Helen McAllister at the South Street Seaport Museum. A real dynasty, McAllister Towing & Transportation is the only family-owned company remaining in New York harbor.

I used a nifty new gadget on my flash to take this picture. This Light Sphere II Inverted Dome Diffuser, invented by Gary Fong, which really does a pretty good job.

But if you're shooting with a Canon, people do seem to turn reddish. So Gary Fong tells you to switch your camera's parameters to:

Gary's recommendation for all Canon 10D/20d for greatest midrange detail and optimum workflow up to 10x15" prints is:
Parameter 1: SETUP:
  • SIZE - Medium Stairstep




  • FLASH - E-TTL with no exposure compensation

  • METERING MODE: Multizone (eyeball with two parenthesis)

Brian likes the way his new beard makes him look like his great great grandfather, James McAllister who arrived from Ireland in 1864 and founded this company with a single sail lighter. Brian's wife, Rosemary, doesn't like his beard.

Brian called me to take this photo before he shaved it off.

Brian's a friend and client for whom I have worked off and one over the years a freelance basis, writing and researching a book on his family's five generations in New York harbor. It's finished now, some 250-pages. In a later post I will give you chapters to download in PDF.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Quicktime What Gives?

Here are two clips encoded on a Mac. Compare this clip Hollyman CNN Story Encoded using Flip4Mac

I am in the process of re-encoding and posting some new video clips on my website. Crunching the clips I just re-encoded this story I did for CNN as a one person team, using Flip 4 Mac. It looks prettty decent except for the color cast. Compare it with the older funky encoded QT clip,against this one encoded two year ago for Quicktime to see how quickly codecs have advanced. Quicktime 7 still rocks supreme as the player war rages on.

But Apple has just programmed in some new predatory code which seems to make Quicktime take control of your browser. So if you want to play a .smil just get that Big Q for Quicktime instead of the Real Player.

Peru CNN Hollyman story encoded with QT5

But Apple is suddenly sitting smug with Quicktime...I just reinstalled Quicktime Pro a night back after it reverted to a basic player, all by itself. Quicktime support was no help, telling me that all tech support for Quicktime is done by e-mail.

Once the key finally took ( you have to quit the player to do so) I suddenly found big Q's within pages on my Firefox browser where other players should have played. Evidentally Quicktime has taken over as my default player without my agreement.

In the old days one could set the default browser manually.

I just spoke with my video host Playstream and they were as baffled as me. They told me that many users were complaining that Quicktime, once installed, now seems to be taking control of their browser.

" It's a war zone out there," the rep told me at Playstream (now renamed Vital Stream). He says that the stakes are now higher than usual along the front lines of the player battlefields. Microsoft is teaming up with MTV to offer an I-Tune-like service for downloading music that can be played on a $50 MP3 player.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Learning Digital Video Editing Online

There's nothing better than the spoken word combined with a visual demonstration to help us process information. Teachers in classrooms used chalkboards for a good reason. Now Powerpoint and white boards take their place.

In fact if you ever are trying to learn a new program by yourself go to one of my favorite sites and sign up for one month's unlimited usage of their spiffy Quicktime tutorials. It will set you back $20
but offer a wealth of information. I brushed up on my Final Cut Pro skills this way last Spring, before heading off to Africa and Cambodia to produce my cross-media project on malaria, Fever Zone. Seated on my couch with my laptop I played the Quicktime clips, pausing them to try the lessons for myself in real-time Final Cut mode. Sure beats reading a book.

You can also access Reno Marioni's tutorial on Digital Video editing, here on WebMonkey. Reno describes himself as living in
...jolly ol' London as a technology and digital media consultant. In the past he's worked for Sun's Object Products group and Java-based startup Marimba. He also founded the Adventure Zone Network.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

HD Video Cameras Compared

Photo Copyright

Confused about which HD camera to buy or trying to decide whether the time is ripe? No doubt we all will need one by next year.

From what I hear.... New technology needs a shakedown cruise.

DV Magazine tested 4 low-cost HD cameras so click here to read their findings.

On January 11th, filmmaker Barry Green organized a side-by-side comparison of four low-cost HD camcorders: the Canon XL H1, JVC GY-HD100U, Panasonic AG-HVX200, and the Sony HVR-Z1U. Barry was prompted to do this by rampant speculation and widely varying reported performance figures for the various cameras; he wanted to know what the cameras did relative to each other. For reference, he added two "real" HD camcorders to the mix: the Panasonic HDC27F Varicam and the Sony HDW-F900/3 CineAlta.

Rowy Sailor's Ball Pix

Photograph Copyright Stephenie Hollyman 2006 All rights reserved

Here's a mini-Slide show with 20 images from the 198 I posted on Flickr from the Eleventh Annual Sailors' Ball which I photographed last Friday night.

See Yourself & E-Mail Your Photo To Friends...
Click here to view and download pix from the Sailors' Ball set I created at Flickr. You can see the rest of the pix as a slideshow or thumbnail after clicking on the link. If you want to e-mail an image from Flickr to family or friends, click on the photo which will take you to the next page where you will find the commands to do so.

Don't click on the images on this ticker below to get your pictures or you will be transported to a whole other realm..


If you want any photos of yourself taken down from this public set, let me know at Give me the file number for the photo and I will remove it from public view ASAP. Money raised from this event goes to the non-profit New York Harbor Sailing Foundation.

To take these pix I donned one of the many hats I wear, this one as official photographer for the Manhattan Sailing Club, to shoot this raucous event. Hosted at the venerable Downtown Association, the black-tie soiree features at least five bars on four different floors. After shooting the pro-forma awards at the beginning of the event, one of the members, a photo rep, kindly suggested I shoot the rest of the evening like a journalist a la Larry Fink". "So I took her advice.

I used long shutter speeds to burn in the ambient light and fired my flash off-camera remote with Gary Fong's Light Sphere. It was fun.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Patrick Kennedy

Photograph Stephenie Hollyman Copyright 2006

I photographed Patrick Kennedy when he first ran for congressional office in Rhode Island some long time ago... was it 1988? So you can imagine how saddened I was to follow the story of Patrick's latest relapse and accident last week and his confession on Thursday that he was addicted to prescription pain killers. He claimed full responsibility for his actions and decided to bring it out in the open. For those of us who have watched friends suffer as they tried to overcome addictions, Patrick's story is so familiar.

" I struggle every day with this disease, as do millions of Americans, " this six-term Congressional representative from Rhode Island told the press on Thursday.

I immediately flashed back 18 years to the sticky torrid day I was assigned by Marcel Saba, then at Picture Group, to spend a Saturday with Patrick as he campaigned for his first term for the office of Congressional Representative for Rhode Island. Backed with a gurantee from Newsweek (or was it Time?) I followed Patrick in Providence, Rhode Island, while he pressed the flesh with voters accompanied by his father Teddy. I covered Patrick's back-yard birthday party that evening. Patrick told me he has severe back pain that day, and was tired. You can catch a glimpse of it in this photograph I took before he jumped into a public pool, this swimming ritual he performed daily as physical therapy.

Respecting Patrick's privacy I have never told this story except to a few close friends. But I feel it is now the time, after reading Patrick's public confession. He's very much his mother's son.

Patrick Kenndy: 1988

I arrived early at Patrick's house that morning in 1988 and quickly experienced first-hand the Kennedys' renowned ability to make members of the press feel as part of their extended family. Patrick put me at ease and we quickly bonded as we chatted about the gaff-rigged sailing boats we had both once owned called Beetlecats, his back pain, and my recent photographic work covering America's displaced homeless. My book, We the Homeless, Portraits of America's Displaced People ( Philospohical Library 1988)was going to press and I showed Patrick its cover. Patrick's mother Joan soon arrived and we were introduced.

The party that evening was going to be Joan Kennedy's first public appearence since she had ran her car onto a sidewalk while under the influence of alcohol, a few weeks earlier. Senator Kennedy had just announced that their marriage was over and that he was seeking a seperation.

Before the party, in Patrick's small dining room, Joan took me aside and told me that she planned to speak to the press about her problems with alcohol, if they attended Patrick's party. She asked my advice and I told her I really had none to offer other than to " tell it like it is."

Her eyes were clear and she was resolute. She spoke of the support she had received from her friends in the " rooms" to go public. Knowing that was how AA folks refer to their meetings I nodded. I really felt quite out of my league.

She then changed the subject, and asked me about what I had seen in Appalachia while traveling to finish up my book. She told me about her trip through the region with President Kennedy and his deep desire to begin breaking the cycle of poverty endemic to that hilly terrain.

Senator Kenndy Arrives

Senator Kennedy left the room as quickly as he had entered when he saw his soon to be ex-wife was in attendence. We moved out into Patrick's small back yard where his neighbors and other family members gathered.

A small band was playing. It was a strained but civil party. I took some pictures. But whenever Senator Kenndy was within the radious of a 24mm lens of Joan, he quickly moved away.

Joan told me that Patrick had insisted she attend. She looked relieved when no press appeared. She asked me to approach Senator Kennedy on her behalf, to request a family portrait.

Senator Kennedy was flushed when I approached him. He embraced me with his arm at first which he quickly dropped when he heard Joan's request. He swore mightily under his breath, "XXXX, she asked that?" breaking away abruptly to storm into Patrick's house. The screen door slammed shot. I looked across the yard and saw Joan quickly turn away from watching. She headed for the electric piano used by the party's band and quickly began playing "Happy Birthday."

Then in a scene only out of Fellini, a cake, Patrick and the Senator emerged from the house. The Senator was all smiles. After the singing died down and the cake was cut the Senator approached me. He put his arm around me again. He was sweaty and his shirt unbuttoned. He apologized for his reaction to Joan's request and said that Patrick had told me all about me. " Patrick told me all about your work with the homeless and even showed me your book. Powerful pictures inside. Terrific work."

There was no book by me in Patrick's Patrick's house. Just one picture from the cover.

Fast Forward

Picture Group began to fall apart for reasons better left alone. I joined Gamma-Liaison. Marcel has already left to start up an agency on his own. I thought Picture Group had returned all my pictures and was completly out of business until I received a message on my answering machine late one Friday afternoon. The William Kennedy-Smith story had just broken and Picture Group told me they had sent the photo of Patrick Kennedy with bath towel to People and several news magazines.

I called them back. They told they had already sent dupes to major publications and were lining up some big guarantees. I said I did not want the photo released as Patrick was not a suspect. This picture with a bath towel could place him in the public's mind on the beach in front of the clan's Palm Beach compound where the alleged rape occurred. I remarked I was puzzled that Picture Group still had the originals on hand.

They reminded me that I was a journalist and I needed to be more objective. I reminded them of my warning upon joing the agency that "I don't do paparazzi". I told them, " You'll just have to call the magazines and tell them the photos are embargoed. "

Career suicide? Perhaps.

Do I regret my action? No way.

Good luck Patrick.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Larry Fink Beneath the Surface

Photo Copyright Larry Fink 2006

Photograph Copyright Larry Fink All Rights Reserved 2006

At the website for Larry Fink's agent, Bill Charles take a look at Fink's Oscar night party pix.
Under The Surface The Stephen Cohen Gallery website also shows some of the photos taken by Larry Fink, whose snooted flash lighting and Dutch tilts transcend the conventions of event photography.

Lurking in the Shadows With Lethal Flash

Photo Larry Fink Copyright 2006

Lurking in the unlit fringe of society functions, Larry Fink captures photographs that can sometimes startle and illuminate. Oh so cruel or just brutally honest?

I leave that for you to decide.

The Stephen Cohen Gallery website describes Fink's work as:

... a thought-provoking social commentary that demonstrates Fink’s ability to reveal the intimate in the most crowded of settings and the flaw in the most perfect of scenes. The images are iconic black-and-white photographs of American VIPs, Hollywood players, boxers, runway models and blue collar workers. In a photo of George Plimpton blowing smoke rings to the amusement of a young Ivanka Trump and her model friends, and in a surreptitiously captured shot of rising starlets just outside the glow of the red carpet, as in all his images, Fink illuminates the private and unexpected moments we would otherwise rarely see. A master of the “snapshot aesthetic,” Larry Fink is in the esteemed ranks of Diane Arbus, Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand.

Fink reflects on his work,“Some people mistake my work for satire. I don’t object because satire is a powerful force, so if the work is seen that way it serves one function. But I don’t agree. The pictures are taken in the spirit of finding myself in the other, or finding the other in myself. They are taken in the spirit of empathy. Emotional, physical, sensual empathy. This work is political, but not polemical. There is potential for the formation of an underlying theme in how the system suppresses and distorts both the rich and the poor, but it is not Marx who chooses the characters in this book; it is lust, attraction, and destiny.”

Friday, May 05, 2006

Crossing Media: Choose Your Language

Thanks to the benfits of an Avant Guild membership at Media Bistro , last night I was able to attend the premiere North American screening of Snowcake, at the Tribeca Film Festival. It's a haunting indie film, with Sigourney Weaver playing the role of an adult functioning autistic mother. Sounds grim perhaps? Not really. This moving story made me think a lot about language and what medium we favor to express ourselves.

A lot of how we like to tell our stories has to do with the hard-wiring in our brains. Each media we choose to, audio, writing, animations, graphics ... is almost like a seperate language. Perhaps we gravitate towards using the media that best suits our neurological hard wiring. Sigourney Weaver's character, Linda, is dazzled by snowflakes, certain sounds, and flashing lights. Dancing and bouncing on a trampoline is her favored language of expression.

Last week I spent an hour on the phone with a charming and very bright Apple Tech support rep as we attempted to reconfigure my home office wireless set-up. While we waited for modems, Airports and computers to re-boot, we chatted about multimedia story telling and bloggers. He told me he had ADD and that most of the bloggers he knew did too. For these deep-layered and multi-faceted thinkers, blogging becomes a language which allows them to communicate thinking that can not be easily verbalized in a focused conversation.

Bird Motifs: Patterns Become Language

In today's NY Times, reporter Carl Zimmer writes about language and the process of recursion in Starling' Listening Skills May Shed Light on Language Evolution . (While reading Zimmer's story online, scroll down the page to play the multimedia sound files on the same page) The scientists are now studying the ability of starlings to recognize song patterns and develop new " motifs" that are very much their own. He explores Noam Chomsky's contention, in part, that language is a set of rules for stringing words together, linking symbols with meaning, relying on so many other things as well.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Download May Calender

Click here to download a calender for May that can be folded to stand on your desktop like this:

Seal the two yellow flaps to each other with tape.

The calender includes two photos from my ongoing multimedia work in progress on malaria called Fever Zone.