Feb 14, 2011

How Revolution Grows

Egypt's Revolution, Google Earth Tours, Lightroom 3, LR3 videos, facebook, marketing

Egyptian People Revolt
Recent big news centers around removal of Egypt's dictator by peaceful protesters.  But, that's only a tip of this Internet marketing video iceberg...
If you haven't heard of Wael Ghonim, here's his story.  Ghonim (Egyptian; age 30; Google employee) communicated with Egypt using Facebook before the uprising.  Facebook has over 500 million members.  Ghonim oversees Google Inc.'s Middle East and Africa marketing from Dubai. He vanished two days after protests began on Jan. 25.  He was snatched off the street by security forces and hustled to a secret location.
Ghonim's ties to Google and the Internet are part of his appeal. "If you want to liberate a society, just give them the Internet." He helped create a Facebook page devoted to a victim of police brutality. Internet social networking services like Facebook and Twitter are credited with playing an important role in Egypt’s uprising.  They helped protesters organize and communicate.
Internet access was shut down in an early Egyptian protest phase.  Google engineers hacked a way to allow Egyptians to use Twitter by dialing a phone number and leaving a voicemail message.

Facebook’s Contribution to Freedom
Released February 14th, Ghonim gave an interview Monday night. He sobbed over those who have been killed in two weeks of clashes and insisted, "We love Egypt ... and we have rights."
Over the next 20 hours, about 130,000 people joined a Facebook page titled, "I delegate Wael Ghonim to speak in the name of Egypt's revolutionaries."

Video Challenge – Google Earth and Lightroom 3
Well, you ask, "Just how bolthis relevant to trying to sell photography?"
In today's world, you can even do videos with point-and-shoots.
If you're a fine art still photographer, you can put your stills together as a fine art portfolio.  If you're adept in Lightroom 3, you can create a video with audio superimposed over music from that portfolio.
In other words, you are the storyteller.  You can easily market your photos on the Internet.  Create your video and post it on YouTube.  Perhaps, just perhaps, it might go as viral as Ghonim's Facebook page...

While I don't think it'll be quite that fast, the people's revolutionary message is clear, "Let's see what YOU can do...!"  The people use - iPhones, iPad's, iPods, Droids, Motorola's XOOMs, smart phones, laptops, etc. The list grows longer as I write!  Most, if not all devices allow you to see videos!
Last quarter (4th 2010) Apple sold some 20 million iPhones and 7 million iPads.  The recent Consumer Electronics Show had over 100 new tablets and Smartphones coming up as competition.
Videos are just one way to begin your marketing growth.  We created a bold video for nature photographers to make our point.  Take a look at what Google can do with Google Earth 6 beta… for comparison, we show their mathematical restoration of an iconic landmark Ship Rock and our award-winning photo here in a 1 minute narrated video.

We will have much more to say about bold videos and tantalizing workshops later…

Oct 2, 2010

32 Float - Realistic HDR Plug-in for CS5

Maiden voyages in new software usually create challenges!

32 Float, Unified Color, 32 bit HDR, Photoshop CS5

I downloaded a trial version of 32 Float ( from Unified Color. 32 Float installs as a 32 bit HDR plug-in for Adobe Photoshop CS5 (also CS3 and CS4). Sandy Corless recently talked about its strength and ease of use for realistic HDR images. I also installed an NVIDIA GeForce 210 1 GB video card. Dual CPU Windows XP, NVIDIA card, and a Wacom Graphire 4 tablet are my normal HDR workflow environment.

When Installed, 32 Float Didn't Work.
Okay, where was the bug?
I did a detailed bug report, sent it to John Omvik, Unified Color, late Friday afternoon. To my amazement - I got an e-mail within 90 minutes telling me ~ disable Wacom and try it.

32 Float Works!
John's done a good video explaining 32 Float. Combined with a clear user's manual, most operations are easy to understand and perform.
So I began the first trial run of 32 Float - without the Wacom. In a prior step, I had compiled and saved a 32 bit HDR2 file at default values using CS5’s HDR Pro. It became my de facto input for 32 Float...

So, this morning, I sent John on another note indicating we had gained significant traction on my initial bug report.
Unfortunately, I've been using the Wacom since 2007 … it's very deeply embedded in my workflow!

Huzzah, John! Your initial quick bug report response is highly encouraging.
I also began to get the distinct feeling ~ 32 Float is going to become a significant part of my HDR future!

32 Float Flexibility
Because 32 Float allows you to save individual tone mapping steps as separate layers in CS5, you can now adjust highlights, mid tones, shadows, white balance, color tuning, and saturation independently of one another as separate layers.
Talk about real HDR Power...!

32 Float Image Enhancement
For comparison, the top image is a 16 bit HDR file from 32 float with all actions mentioned above under flexibility. No final finishing touches have presently eliminated highlights etc - which might be questioned by some. The bottom is the 16 bit HDR Pro image supplied to 32 Float.
Combinatorial intricacies for tone mapping provided by 32 Float clearly step well past Local Adaptation of a 32 bit file in Photoshop CS5.
And I've just barely begun use of this fascinating tool... it’s like seeing just the very tip of an enormously exciting ‘Artic’ iceberg!

There will be more about 32 Float in blogs to come...!

Sep 2, 2010

Virtual ‘Try Before You Buy’

Google Earth, Google Earth Tours, tour, tours, nature, landscape, photography, Ship Rock, Anasazi Pleasure, Four Corners, 4 Corners

A search on Google Earth, Tour Leaders, photography, and nature provided insight into a breaking new adventure travel trend in online communication. TUI Adventure* has a Passport to Adventure brochure with interesting stats. In an analysis of current and future trends in UK adventure travel market, they show
• Unique visitors to The Adventure Companies’ websites have doubled every year since 2006, forecasted as 50 million unique visitors during 2010.
• The UK outbound tour operator market for adventure travel is currently over 200,000 passengers a year.
• Since 2006, average passenger expense has grown by 21% to £1198.
The next 3 year growth is predicted to increase by category:
• 145% for Special Interest Holiday,
• 181% (double) for Nature and Wildlife Holiday.
• For TUI, it’s a $300 million business projected to double in 3 years.
Typical savvy customers want:
• More than sun, sea, and sand experience.
• An authentic, ‘off beaten track’ skill they can’t find in guide books.
• Geographically and environmentally aware.
• Active (from walkers to full blown mountaineers).
Online networking before and after travel
• Social media networking is increasingly important with customer generated Facebook pages and Twitter campaigns.
• Our brands’ online communities have 30,000 active members regularly blogging, sharing photos, and discussing upcoming trips.
• Growing another way; naturally inquisitive, adapting to new social media world with ease. We talk in their world via Facebook, Twitter, live chat forums, and brand sites.
• Better information; online technology and development give customers a virtual ‘try before you buy’ experience with videos, trekking routes with Google Earth, and customer testimonials and photos.
Now, that is quite a impressive concept – particularly using online communication to enhance adventure travel…

In early 2010, Google Announced Google Earth Tours (GET).
Between 2006 to 2010, customers could only get static pictures - a mountain pass trail shown as a GPS trek. Our Google search had 48 hits.
Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Google Earth 1 1 2 2 5 10? 10? 25? 60?
With GE Tours, online communication becomes an entirely new ball game…
Tours pique customer interest – they show where a trip is planned, provide satellite data of terrain, then create intimacy in a video with pictures and stories.
Tours can:
• Be created in Google Earth (free).
• Contain intimate photos showing unusual scenes.
• Be narrated to stimulate dramatic memories.
• Be shown online as a video 24x7x365 Planet wide!

What Is Our Response to Static Adventure Company Online Communication?
Get up to date by creating dynamic adventure travel videos; use advanced KML technology, provide photos, satellite views, and tell stories to really stimulate, then arouse a customer’s intense, innate desire to go there and see for themselves!
See a Tour for Yourself from the web…
Single tour example – Comb Ridge, Utah
Regional tour example – Photography Tour, Four Corners, USA
Brief How To – Creating Google Earth Tour

Update:  You must have Goggle Earth 5.2 or greater installed to run the 2 tour examples files...4 Sep, 2010