Archive for October, 2008

Server Problems – Here’s What Happened

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Yesterday we were facing yet another gloomy day with a server outage. We apologize for this.

Here’s what happened.

Four weeks ago we had to move to a complete new server as the old system was running on the same sturdy Linux box since August 2004. The operating system was outdated and apparently an invitation for hackers. And indeed someone had gained access to the system and tried to attack other computers from our system. This was spotted and interrupted by our Internet provider, and we agreed to move all sites to a new server with a current operating system.

Unfortunately, this brand new server is not as solid as the old one in terms of reliability. Two weeks ago, just after two weeks of operation, the server stopped serving pages – due to a harddisk failure! It had to be replaced by the provider, and then the O/S had to be re-installed, the accounts had to be configured again, and the backups had to be put into place.

Yesterday, like two weeks ago, the hard disk of the server was giving us error messages AGAIN. But this time our administrator, Dennis, was clearly on top of the situation as he spotted the issue prior to a total breakdown. We reported the problem to our provider, and -yep- the harddisk had to be replaced again, the O/S had to be re-installed, the accounts had to be configured, and the backups had to be put into place.

While the support team of the provider is, well, engaged it clearly does not understand the situation of the business. No sorry, no explanations, no timeframe until resolution. They just seem to be like on autopilot, sticking to their processes and rules.

This positively sucks. Big time.

We’re now working on an alternative hosting strategy. The next harddisk failure -not all that unlikely to happen within a few weeks time- will see us definitely moving to another company. I’ve had enough of this already.

Ah, in case you are wondering: this site is hosted by Server4You.

Golden Autumn II

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

What do photographers do when they have some time on their hands? Duh! They take photos, they go to their archive, they re-master old slides, and they write blog posts about it. :-)

So I put together another set of nice shots about “Golden Autumn” in Munich. Here are some older shots from 1999, and some brand new ones. Hope you like ‘em.

Taking a nap under the tree on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Mark Zanzig/zettpress (Archive Photo)

Grass at Munich’s West Park.
Mark Zanzig/zettpress (Archive Photo)

Munich West Park.
Mark Zanzig/zettpress (Archive Photo)

Perlacher Forst in Munich.
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Bright yellow contrasts well with the dark background.
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

The absence of green results in a very abstract image.
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Grass swaying in the wind, with a beautiful bokeh.
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Fine Art Photos

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

As someone who has his roots in press photography, I never cared enough about fine art photography to really explore it. In addition, I never had enough time to fiddle around with the settings to create stunning black & white photos from color images.

But recently I had a bit of time on my hands and did a few experiments with black & white stuff in Lightroom. Guess what? I love the results – they certainly qualify for the huge poster print (as you can imagine, all the beautiful details do not stick out on the small previews below).

Cinema Pellegrini – I found this entrance to an abandoned movie house in the small town of Luino, Italy. It triggered visions of the past. I envisioned people queueing in front of the entrance gate, maybe waiting to see a popular Nouvelle Vague film. Boys and girls excited to find the protection of the darkness of a cinema, a protection the local church would not provide. Yet, all that’s left from these times are closed gates and a damaged neon sign with the name of the cinema.
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Cappuccino – the classic Italian refreshment.
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

+++ Market Panic +++ Ship Sinking Fast +++ Photographers Affected +++ Future Uncertain +++

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

With stock markets around the globe panicing, I thought it would be okay to dig up a photo of the Titanic ship’s bell I recently took (a replica BTW).

I guess we have hit the iceberg already -economy wise-, but what’s coming up next?

  1. How will this global market downturn affect us as photographers and how will it affect our business?
  2. In a tightening economy and ad market, will the migration towards a new photographic business eco system happen even faster?
  3. Will marketing departments try to further save money for professional photo productions by utilizing “user generated content”?
  4. Are there ways for photographers to bypass this crisis?
  5. Is there possibly an opportunity for photographers? Which?

Questions, questions, questions.

I provided some of my thoughts earlier this year in the post Photographers are like typesetters – bound for extinction. Today, I very much stick to the view expressed in that article, but I think the “evolution” will happen faster, mostly due to the economical crisis. The need for enterprises to reduce cost will certainly affect many pro photographers in 2009. High-value photo agencies like Getty Images or Corbis will be affected, too.

In addition, photography as a consumer service (e.g. for weddings and private venues) may become a luxury for many in 2009. Therefor, I expect that part of the business to go down as well. If you have significantly less money than you had a year ago, you won’t be spending it on a wedding photographer. You’ll be asking a friend of the family to do the shooting for free. The amount of photos (prints) will probably remain the same, but the percentage of professional photographers being part of the value chain will decrease.

Interesting times, but not in a positive sense.

Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Titanic survivors on way to rescue-ship Carpathia (1912)
Bain News Service/Library of Congress