Give a Mother’s Day Gift that’s Truly Touching

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching. If you’ve been searching for the perfect gift, you can find inspiration from AARP The Magazine’s Gift Guide. ScanMyPhotos.com is on this list (read by 37 million subscribers) and among the latest tech gadgets to “convert old photos to digital files.”  Now, ScanMyPhotos Egift certificates are also easily ordered online to give to all the mom’s in your life.  It’s an easy way to help mom preserve precious memories and a lifetime of love.


Flowers have always been a great accompaniment to Mother’s Day gifts. 

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Mother’s Day Flower Sale, Carrick neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA along Brownsville Rd. ca 1993


Photography Tip


The best way to photograph flat artwork is to use natural light. If possible, bring the piece outside and find an open but slightly shady area. The shade helps protects the artwork from sun damage or curling. Read more…


Artwork Idea


Have a picture that lights up mom’s life? Your scanned photos can be used to make a glowingly beautiful candle votive that will light up with fond memories.  Learn more…


 

“Very quick service. Easy instructions to follow as far as sending the photos in. Received notification of receiving my photos, then when being processed, then when shipped out with tracking. Great job.”  Read more…

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5 Tips for Taking Photos in the Rain

Cherry blossoms in spring rain from Pinterest. Photo by Kujio Tomisha

By Vanessa Mallory Kotz

 

As spring finally starts to show its lovely face here in the Mid-Atlantic, people are coming out of their apartments and houses with joyful expressions and lighter outerwear. Dog walkers have an extra pep in their step. Children tiptoe through the tulips and their parents take dozens of photos of the cherry blossoms right as they are about to fade. The last few days, however, it has rained. A lot. Staring out the window at the overcast skies and thinking of all those tourists at the Tidal Basin makes me wonder—what is the best way to take photos in the rain? I scoured the Internet for tips from the pros. Here are five of the best.


 

 

 

 

 

1. Protect your gear
Look for shelter (a store awning, parking garage or porch. Also, carry an umbrella and a raincoat. “Not necessarily for yourself — nobody cares if the photographer gets wet. I mean a raincoat made specifically for cameras. These are available from a number of manufacturers in a variety of shapes and sizes, capable of covering not just the lens and camera but an attached flash as well. You can find a decent one for not a lot of money. If you’re more of the DIY type, you can use a plastic bag — preferably a clear one.” –Jason D. Little for Light Stalking 



2. Pay attention to reflections
“One of the great things about reflections is that they tend to help lighten up an image –especially if it’s night, and you have a light source, such as streetlamps, that are reflecting off of the water. While most people think of crystal-clear water when reflections come to mind, ripples at the surface can add some unique texture to your composition, and the result will be more abstract than a mirrored image.” –Christina Harman for Loaded Landscapes 


 

 

 

 

 

3. Be patient
“As many landscape photographers will testify, a great time to shoot is immediately after the rain stops. Rain enhances colors, and as the sun emerges you’ll see some great opportunities, possibly even a rainbow.” –Staff Writer for Amateur Photographer

 



4. How to shoot from your car
It you are trying to get a picture during a downpour, trust nature photographer Art Wolfe. Park at an angle that will keep the weather out of your open window. It also helps to know the behaviors of your subjects, which for one shot were a herd of Impalas in Kenya. ‘“The rain was so heavy,” he says, “that the animals stopped and stood facing away from it. The impala just stopped moving, because, in that type of rain, they assume that the rainstorm will be over in 20 minutes. It’s not worth moving during that time into uncertain territory when they have marginal visibility. There could be lions waiting for them. They just waited out the rain, and I was able to position myself and get that shot.”’ –Jack Crager for Popular Photography


 

 

 

 

5. Be on the lookout for joy or misery
“Rain transforms people. We react to rain with a gamut of emotions, from the sullen dread of rain-drenched commuters to the wondrous joy of children. Capture those emotions and you’ll have a great rain picture.” –Jim Richardson for National Geographic

 

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Why Preserving Photographic Evidence of Climate Change is a Priority

Photographic preservation of climate change data is a priority at ScanMyPhotos.com and why digitizing government agencies’ pictures are being provided without charge


glaciers

This photo of disappearing glaciers was captured by Ameer Boii

(Irvine, CA) Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Climate change is real.


As Andrew Freeman at Mashable explains:


For the second time since 2000, the U.S. is poised to pull out of a major climate treaty that the country itself fought hard for. Unlike the last time this happened with the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, however, the Paris Climate Agreement, which President Donald Trump is preparing to pull the U.S. out of, is widely viewed as the last, best chance the world has to avoid potentially catastrophic global warming. Also unlike Kyoto, the new agreement is entirely voluntary, making a withdrawal even more extreme. Scientists think that global climate change if left unchecked, could bring withering droughts, more intense storms, devastating sea level rise, and more frequent and severe heat waves to many parts of the globe.


Alexander C. Kaufman, climate reporter at The Huffington Post wrote:


Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed a new rule Tuesday to overhaul the way science is used to write regulations at the agency, disqualifying huge amounts of peer-reviewed public health research and giving favor to industry-funded studies. The new rule, widely condemned by scientists and environmental groups as an “attack on science.”  In a twist for an event billed as a step forward in transparency, Pruitt took no questions, and the EPA did not invite reporters from major news outlets to attend. The agency did not immediately release a copy of the proposal or respond to questions about when it would become public, issuing only a press release containing seven soundbites praising the rule.


UPDATE:

  1. Trump Signs Executive Order Unwinding Obama Climate Policies.
  2. Our response to why the coal industry has been replaced by cleaner and newer renewable energy technologies.
  3. White House official: Trump plans to pull the US from Paris deal

Beyond words, what are you doing to protect and support science – showing that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming? Decades of scientific data may be destroyed due to the Trump administration’s dowdy demands that politics quash facts.


Recently, the White House was looking at having the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) take down its website with educational resources and links to climate-change data. This vital data from the EPA and other federal agencies – charged with safeguarding clean, livable air and water – have a reservoir of research which may disappear. There are millions of analog photographs from research into the effects of climate change on public health, the environment, and natural disasters. The pictures don’t lie, but they represent a treasure trove of essential information on how our world is changing. Archived analog photos are used by scientists and educators worldwide, yet they are at risk of being literally destroyed.


As the Trump administration seeks to tighten controls and discourage dissenting views on climate change, American businesses are raising their voice and responding. Scanmyphotos.com is now providing free photo scanning for preserving these records. Details below.

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“3 Best Ways to Scan Your Old Photos (And Why You Should)”

With 177 thousand followers on Twitter and a web ranking under 1,000 as the most popular sites, MakeUseOf a top tech site for trending articles, tutorials, and reviews.just published the ultimate primer on how and why to digitize your photos.


Are you staring down at boxes in your attic filled with old photos? The memories are priceless, but the practical aspects of keeping, maintaining, and sorting through old photo albums can be daunting.


Thankfully there are a number of great solutions out there for digitizing prints. But what’s the best way to scan old photos? Well that depends on the number of old photos you have, your budget, what you intend to do with the photos, and how much free time you have.



Among the recommendations are at home and using an app to help digitize your pictures. With one billion photos ruined just from last year’s hurricanes and wildfires, this preparedness advisory is extra timely. As the average household has 5,500 pictures to scan, the arduous DIY project can become nightmarish. The article also profiles bulk photo scanning services, including ScanMyPhotos.


Option 3: Photo-Scanning Services: Of course, the easiest way to tackle this project is to simply hire a photo-scanning service. While this is an amazing way to decrease the amount of time involved in this project, it does come with some downsides.

 


ScanMyPhotos

Cost per photo: 16 cents per photo, but additional services (e.g. image rotation, higher dpi, color correction) are extra.

Formats Supported: Printed photos, film, negatives.

Additional Services: Option to pay $145 for a prepaid photo scanning box, international shipping, rush services.


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A Primer on Tagging People in Pictures for Photo-Sharing Apps

Unlike anything we’ve seen since the convergence of digital photography, an historic threat is underway. It is causing the leading photo-sharing apps to be embroiled in, and under fire by tagging people in pictures. Facebook ‘faces’ an escalation in the multi-billion dollar class action lawsuit over whether the photo-sharing social media app illegally violated users’ privacy by sharing pictures without explicit consent. 


As a nearly 30-year technologist innovator and disruptor in the photo imaging industry, ScanMyPhotos champions the need for MORE data collection restrictions, algorithmic controls and auditing transparency requirements for Facebook on how it harvests photo data [“Why Not to Upload Pictures to Facebook]. But, in the case of photo-tagging, we stand with Facebook. 



ScanMyPhotos

ScanMyPhotos.com digitized more than 400 million pictures, many are uploaded to the popular photo-sharing sites

ScanMyPhotos.com supports the benefits and legitimacy of biometric image-recognition tools. This guest commentary in Adweek by ScanMyPhotos’ CEO, Mitch Goldstone explains in detail why this matters.


Storytelling cannot be accomplished without implementing photo-tagging, image recognition technology.  This technology is the lifeblood and centerpiece of sharing and tagging pictures.


Since the dawn of photography, analog photo tagging predated biometric facial-recognition.


While the practice of “photobombing” has become a social and cultural phenomenon lately, the practice itself isn’t anything new. Since the advent of the camera, people have either intentionally tried to appear in someone else’s photos or have accidentally stumbled into the frame. Now, with biometric facial recognition (BFR) algorithms, companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook are able to identify these “photobombing” faces across the web—yet, this smart way to organize and share pictures is dredging up privacy concerns.


Peter Blumberg and Stephanie Bodoni at Bloomberg wrote: “Facebook Has a Long History of Resolving Privacy Claims on the Cheap.”


“When you consider the 3.5 trillion analog photos and billions of more recent digital pictures in existence, our images—in some form or another—may be entrapped in a stranger’s photo album without consent. If a person walks through the background of a tourist’s snapshot, facial recognition software may recognize the face and tag the person’s name to that picture. That photo can then be shared across the internet—with the person’s name attached, and without their permission to share it,” said Mitch Goldstone, president & CEO, ScanMyPhotos.com.



Many countries are already using deep data collection using facial recognition without the risk of litigation. Take the surveillance cameras sitting atop over 100,000 lampposts in Singapore to instantly recognize faces in crowds, or similar systems in place at casinos, yet privacy concerns abound.


While the privacy implications are concerning, there are also more incontrovertible benefits to this technology. The ability to detect a person’s image in the background of a photo could help historians make a number of connections. If, for example, an individual is researching his personal family ancestry, facial recognition could help him find photos of his great, great-grandmother smiling in a (seemingly) complete strangers’ photo.


“Helping to electronically organize photographs is a critical issue. It is enjoyed by millions, and the benefits are staggeringly beneficial. With facial recognition technology, we can vastly improve tracking history through photos. This is why we are rallying consumers, the tech and photo industries to also support this advocacy campaign,” said Goldstone.


This (Sept 21, 2017) Chicago Tribune story by Ally Marotti, provides smart insights and an update on the litigation against Shutterfly. Excerpt:


That has been one of the most-watched suits taking on the biometrics issue. Three Illinois men allege Facebook was collecting, storing and using biometric data without consent. Facebook’s attempt to get the lawsuit dismissed was denied. Some say these types of lawsuits allege damage without evidence of actual harm.


As these antiquated privacy laws are being challenged, leading tech-industry giants like Facebook and Google Photos hail new facial-recognition tools to help identify pictures. Restricting this collection and storage of biometric “faceprint” data falls outside the margins of intellectual property rules. The image-recognition tools are scanning photographs, not actually biometric face and body scans. It is just identifying people, places and things within vintage photographs.


This is different from other uses of biometrics, such as iBeacon which uses smartphone transmissions to identify people and send them marketing messages. Tagging a person in a photograph should not be considered in violation of privacy rights. There is no malice or intent to harm anyone by identifying physical characteristics, but rather a fun and easy way to organize your lifetime of photo memories.


Yet, while we could argue both sides of the debate, there are several smart solutions that could be used to protect people’s privacy.



5 Solutions to the Photo-Tagging Controversy




1) When collecting and retaining biometric identifiers, people should have an easy way to opt-out. A simple one-touch button should be accessible on every electrically stored picture to permanently and universally remove and untag your images if identified within that photograph.


2) Strengthen the terms of service and privacy policy and transfer any obligation to those uploading pictures rather than the utility hosting them.


3) Have a manual, rather than automatic opt-in/opt-out enrollment policy for people to easily select using a facial-recognition program.


4) Prohibit the trading, selling or profiting from any biometric information that violates Terms of Service privacy provisions.


5) From the new class-action litigation regarding photo-tagging, Facebook and others must provide an option for free data wiping to resolve this photo tagging issue.


While we are advocates of biometrics and the capabilities it has to offer—particularly in terms of photo organization and history preservation—we are opening up the dialogue so others can voice their support as well.


About the author: ScanMyPhotos, founded in 1990, is an e-commerce photo digitization service that scanned more than 500 million analog pictures. To help organize and identify these lifetimes of newly digitized pictures, people are widely enjoying photo-sharing services and the magic-like assistance from image-recognition tools, and which we fully support its use.


It is nearly magic as we digitize upwards of 300,000 each day. Here is how our banks of professional photo digitizing equipment scans your photos from our Irvine, Calif headquarters. Click to watch.


 

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