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A Good Session and a Question

Posted by Tom Benedict on 05/08/2011

A whole slew of recent obligations have made it increasingly difficult to get out and do KAP. I griped enough about this in previous posts, so I won’t repeat it here. It’s all downer stuff, and things have changed since then.

Some time off, some much-needed kicks in the seat of the pants, and a new outlook on photography got me past the photographer’s block I hit about a month ago. In particular an article by James Gentles helped me to see with new eyes and enjoy getting out with kites and camera. Last weekend I took my gear to Hapuna Beach and played around. The wind was great, the clouds looked nice, and dang it if James’s article wasn’t right on the money when it comes to KAP and sunlight. I had a great time.


On a whim I took my gear for a walk down the beach toward the State Park end, and made a number of panoramas that worked out well.

Hapuna Beach State Park from North End

I was curious what the view was looking back the other way toward the Hapuna Prince Beach Resort, and was impressed with how it came out. In the foreground is the northern pavilion in Hapuna Beach State Park, and in the background is the Resort.

Hapuna Beach State Park and Hapuna Prince Resort

I’m still trying to do photography for sale through Getty Images, so I was trying to make good, technically solid photos that would meet their requirements. As I walked back toward the spot where my family was playing, I remembered something a fellow photographer and Getty contributor said: It’s very hard to sell a vertical panorama. He’s tried over the years to make vertical panos that sell, but without much luck. Two of my kids were making a big sand pit that I figured would look nice from a high angle, and the line of the waves on the sand looked good, too. So I made a vertical of the beach with the kids in the foreground, the surf in the midground, and Hualalai in the background.

Hapuna Beach South VPan 2

When I got home and processed everything, I was really happy with how the session had turned out. I got solid panoramas with few to no errors, and a number of good single-frame images as well. It was a good day of KAP.

A couple of days later I put together a set of photos and submitted it to Getty Artist’s Choice for review. I didn’t have enough from the Hapuna flight to fill out a full set, so I included a couple of Halemaumau erupting at night, one from Akaka Falls, and a photograph of the stream running through Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Gardens at Onomea Bay. To my delight they selected one of my images for sale in the Getty Flickr Collection. But to my surprise it wasn’t any of the aerial panoramas. It was that stream in the botanical gardens.

Stream in Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens

I almost didn’t include it in the set. I figured it was too tropical island cliché to be of any interest. How wrong I was!

So I sent email to the editor in charge of the Flickr Collection at Getty Images. He’s busy, so I don’t know when, or if, he’ll be able to reply. But I had to ask: What Hawaii imagery are they after?

I know Getty is interested in low altitude aerials because other KAPers list photos on Getty. I know it’s not a people vs. no-people because none of my photos with people were selected. I know people use Hawaii imagery because I’ve seen other photos from Hawaii in their catalog. And it can’t be a resolution issue since most of my panoramas are at least 10k pixels wide with decent noise. But I’m obviously missing something. The last thing I want to do is waste the editors’ time. I hope he has time to reply. It will do us both a favor.

Regardless of his answer, I don’t think this will change how I do photography in the field. When I found out that Getty Images needed photos of people in public places, I submitted more of the people pictures I’ve already been making. When I found out that more pixels is better, I started submitting more panoramas and bought a higher resolution camera. I’m still doing the same photography I like to do. I’m just choosing different photographs to share.

– Tom


One Response to “A Good Session and a Question”

  1. Bill Blake said

    Interesting Tom, I have a suspicion that low level aerials may not always give the revealing viewpoint we expect. I have often wondered about this, many times I have looked at what I see from the kite and think: how would anyone know it’s an aerial view?

    You are quite correct in realising its foreground detail that makes the viewpoint ‘readable’ to the viewer but this doesn’t always make the KAP viewpoint as dramatic as we would wish.

    It’s great to know you are back in the sky and enjoying it too…may the wind rise with you!

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