The View Up Here

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Keep Your Source Images!

Posted by Tom Benedict on 11/12/2010

Out of the blue, I got five requests for photos to be licensed through Getty Images.  Hot diggity!  As I watched each request come in I was getting more and more excited.  Some were obscure images, some were ones I’d pitched to Getty in the past, hoping to get into their program.  Most were panoramas, and several were really really big (60MP +) panoramas.  Yahoo!

As I started pulling up the high resolution versions of each of them, though, I realized there was a problem:  I’d done most of them well before I picked up my license for Autopano Pro.  That meant I’d stitched the panoramas on software that I didn’t have a commercial license to!  The real culprits, for me, were the ones I did using Microsoft ICE.  It’s a very capable package, it’s easy to use, and it does an outstanding job.  But it also comes with a license that strictly forbids commercial use of the resulting images.  I had a couple that I’d made with Autostitch, but most of them were ICE images.  DANG!

Most of the time I’m a packrat, especially when it comes to computer files and photographs.  I save everything.  Most of the time, anyway.  On a couple of occasions in the past I’ve listened to other people who said there’s no need to save originals if you have your finalized version on disk.  Ok, whatever you say…  And on more than a couple of occasions I’ve gone back to try to re-work an image or a panorama and cursed my name for ever erasing the originals!

This fear was clutching my heart as I raced through my hard drive, DVD file, and personal memory in search of these images.  I found the originals for all but one.  And as I flipped back and forth through my photostream on Flickr trying to figure out when exactly I’d done the photography for the panorama in question, I got that sinking feeling of remembering dragging that folder to the trash.  GAAAAH!

But as I pointed out I’m a packrat.  Several years ago I set up a pretty noxious cron job on a pair of Linux computers that periodically did a disk sync using scp.  Cringing, and knowing what the answer was likely to be, I logged onto one of them and poked around.  Lo and behold, there was a directory dated right around the right time with the right location on it!  I looked inside, and there were all the images from the flight, from the hike to get there, everything.  YAAAAY!

It served as a lesson to me:  Keep your source images!  Always!  No matter what!  As soon as I get a chance to sit down for any length of time, I’m going to burn this set off and put it in the DVD file with the other shoots from the same time period.  Never again…

– Tom


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