Happy birthday Zoe & Flame!

My, how time goes by! Zoe is now six years old (!), and Flame is a big four! Happy birthday to my “kids”!

Jeff vs. Stanford University

If you’ve been reading my Digital Camera Resource Page website in the past month, you probably know about my recent battle with Stanford University over the right to take my test photos there.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then I suggest reading this first for some background.

In a nutshell, because of wedding photographers and people using Stanford’s image to make a profit, I am no longer permitted to take the same five test photos that I’ve been shooting for 10 years.  They gave a variety of reasons why I was no longer welcome, and I tried to address each of them in a recent letter to the President of the University (which was ignored).  Here they are, with my response:

Them: We don’t want to give the appearance that the University is endorsing your commercial website.
Me: Okay, though I doubt anyone thinks there’s some kind of endorsement, I’ll add a disclaimer on the gallery page.

Them:  We want to protect the privacy of our students, faculty, and staff
Me: I’ve always strived to keep peopel out of the photos, and will redouble my efforts.

Them:  I may be disrupting school business or endangering the safety of the students/faculty/staff.
Me: Okay, I’ll leave my tripod at home so nothing’s in the way (even though I bring it like twice a year)

Despite my willingness to work out a compromise, the University has been completely inflexible. “We’re really sorry, but don’t let the door hit you on the way out” has been the message I’ve received from them. Even with the bad PR generated by this story, they’ve shown no interest in supporting a local business that, if anything, has shown the school in a positive light for the last decade.

Naturally, the University does make exceptions for commercial photography. If you’re having a wedding there, or if you’re someone with a Stanford connection who is having wedding pictures taken, that’s okay. In other words, if you’ve paid them, that’s okay. But everyone else can take a hike.

In the meantime, I’ve been unable to find a suitable replacement for the most beloved of all the Stanford photos — the purple fringing tunnel of doom.  I’ve found something decent, but it’s on private property, so I might be setting myself up for trouble all over again.

SJ Mercury News article - click for larger

The next adventure

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog, and I don’t think I’ll be doing a lot of regular posting anytime soon. That said, I did want to mention my next big vacation. It’s still a year away, but I’m thinking that it’s going to be the biggest adventure yet. If all goes as planned, I’ll be taking the second-to-last “big ship” cruise to Antarctica:

Credit: Holland America Line

As you can see, the cruise goes around the bottom of South America, with several days spent cruising along the edges of Antarctica. You don’t actually set foot on land.

Why is this the last cruise? New regulations that start in mid-2012 essential ban large ships from getting near Antarctica. Only ships that hold under 500 people will be allowed, and given the notoriously rough seas down there, I don’t think I want to go on one.  We will be sailing on the ms Veendam, which holds about 1250 passengers.

There is one problem, though. This trip is during the Consumer Electronics Show, which is a new camera bonanza.  If this was a trip to anywhere else I wouldn’t go, but seeing how it’s the second-to-last big ship cruise down there, I’m doign it.  So, I need to find some way to getting the news updated in my absence, probably by hiring a freelancer.

Naturally,  I’ll be taking a ton of pictures on this trip, and they’ll be posted on this very blog.  But it’s still a year away, so it’s a big early to get excited.  Here are some photos taken by some other folks:Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

The Prinsendam (different ship, same cruise line) in Antarctica / Photo credit:

These last two were taken on the very same cruise, last week:

Lemaire Channel / Photo credit:

Huge iceberg / Photo credit:

Gems from the SkyMall catalog, 2010 edition

Two-and-a-half years ago I picked out the dumbest products from the SkyMall catalog that you’ll find in the seatback pocket of most airplanes.  Here are my new favorite dumb products that I found while flying to Denver and back a few weeks ago:

Yosemite in winter

This week my friend Amit and I took a quick trip up to Yosemite to enjoy the winter scenery. It had just snowed last weekend, giving everything a fresh coat of white.  Thankfully, the weather was mostly clear (but cold) during our visit. Here are my favorite photos, taken with the Canon EOS-60D.