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    Welcome to PlumComm. com, the online home of Plum Communications, the premier editorial services resource to the photoimaging industry.

    Plumcomm.com will explore the power of words in communicating and enhancing a company’s brand. Winning marketing strategies, business success stories, and high-impact application stories will be accompanied by proofreading and writing tips, word amusements, and "comfort food”—stories that celebrate industry people who are giving back by paying it forward and those who are finding ways to help our planet.

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  • Why Choose Plum Communications?

    "At YPO, Inc, Alice was the consummate professional. All could depend on her to deliver the highest quality 'Enterprise' issue after issue. This prime communications item was important (era before Internet) in developing the organization and its chapters, especially around the globe. I could always count on having an excellent magazine that excitingly portrayed the purposes of YPO and presented the high quality of its members and their activities in my endeavors to develop chapters abroad. I would not hesitate to use the services of Plum Communications." Robert Black, Executive Ass't to President, SUNY Maritime College

    “Alice Miller is an experienced, knowledgeable, and multi-talented professional. She consistently produces high-quality editorial pieces that are both informative and insightful. I have worked with Alice for many years in the photography and digital imaging industry, and I’m completely confident that her skills are transferable to any industry she chooses to embrace.”Scott Signore, principal, Matter Communications

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Busy Slaying Dragons?

You have always communicated with clients and kept your company message before the public. But with everything on your plate these days, you have less and less time to stay in touch with clients, prospects, and others in your business universe. When the competition notices you’ve let down your guard, it’s only a matter of time before they start courting your clients. You need a plan.

Enter Plum Communications.

We will create compelling materials to help you tell your story. Need online content refreshed . . . application stories and reviews . . . how-to and FYI features . . . company newsletters, marketing brochures, and white papers . . . editing, copyediting, and proofreading? We’re ready to help.

With 30 years of experience in publications—consumer, trade, and association—corporate communications, and agency public relations, Plum Communications looks forward to championing your brand.

Contact us today at info@plumcomm.com or at 516.582.2265.

Plum Communications. When the time is ripe.

To a Fresh Start

I love new beginnings. The potential, the possibilities, the clean slate are energizing and uplifting.

Minutes before ’09 became ’10, I dismantled a pile of miscellany that had grown from a single plastic bag filled with maps, photos, and coupons from a family vacation to Disney World to a veritable tower about to topple.

In the ongoing tug of war between deadlines and wish lists, managing this collection of vacation photos, school projects, home projects, and long-forgotten surprises was back-burnered by short-term goals almost every time.

The unyielding December 31 midnight deadline was reassuring. I knew that monolith of miscellany would be gone before the new year began. And so it was.

I hope the new year clears your decks, lifts your spirits, and opens new doors for you.

And if we have a chance to resolve back-burnered issues together or make inroads in your wish list, it would be a pleasure. A plum assignment.

Welcome to 2010. Welcome to a fresh start.


Grateful to Be Here

In a year that has brought one challenge after another, sharing a Thanksgiving meal with family or friends is a pleasure and a blessing.

In the spirit of the day, please take a moment to read this excerpt of a true story I found on fotolia.com yesterday.

A Las Vegas couple has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving after nearly losing their lives during a recent photo shoot in the Nevada desert. Brian and Vildan Chase began shooting microstock photography as a hobby only a few years ago, but they are putting their daughter through Stanford University from the income they generate through microstock sales on sites including Fotolia.

shoot location

The week before their daughter was to begin classes at Stanford, the Chases embarked on a shoot in the Nevada desert. With their Jeep packed with the essentials—camera and production equipment, wardrobe, water and some emergency supplies—they were on their way. Excitement turned into inconvenience when the Jeep became stuck in the sand. After several unsuccessful attempts to free the vehicle, inconvenience turned into a life-threatening situation.

Jeep stuck

The Chases abandoned their vehicle and started walking in the unforgiving desert heat. After a few hours and what seemed to be very little progress, their daughter became extremely sick. They split the dwindling water supply, as mother and daughter returned to the vehicle for refuge and Brian sought help.

Mom desert walk

Around midnight, a soft echo caught the daughter’s attention. It was a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Search and Rescue helicopter. They found Brian, who had walked nearly 30 miles and 12 hours through the desert to save his family. This Thanksgiving, the Chases are celebrating with a new appreciation for life and for each other.

Photographs © BVDC Stock Photography.

For the complete story and more of the Chases’ images, go to fotolia.com. Happy Thanksgiving.

Website on Your Wishlist?

If you have searched unsuccessfully for a website that showcases your brand without breaking the bank, read this. . .

San Francisco-based liveBooks, recently secured $5 million in funding from strategic and private investors. What’s in it for you? A new liveBooks preDesign website—with all the most popular features—for just $39 per month. Explains liveBooks founder Michael Costuros, “You can go to the new liveBooks.com, pick a website design from our incredible selection of predesigned sites, put in your credit card, and launch a new site, all in as little as 5 minutes.”


Pro shooters who want a well-branded, custom website design can still have premier custom design services. Thanks to the recently expanded design team, there’s no prolonged wait.

And get this: The new funding means interior designers, architects, and graphic designers—basically, anyone who presents a portfolio to get work—can now have a liveBooks website. Says Andy Patrick, liveBooks CEO and president, “This financing allows us to support creative markets where professionals’ business needs are similar to those of photographers. Combined with implementing a more scalable, subscription-based business model, liveBooks is now able to offer customers more affordable options in these difficult economic times.”

Bottom line: You and your fellow creative pros can now have an affordable, distinctive online presence—without getting involved in the mechanics of running a website.

Sounds like good news to me.

Rangefinder November Cover Story

Picture 2

If you haven’t discovered it already , “A Light-Hearted Approach,” my feature article on New Hampshire product photographer and lighting maven Nick Thomas, is the cover story of this month’s Rangefinder magazine.

Nick is that appealing combination of spirited creative, technical titan, and delightful human.

Check out his story.  .  .

Just in Case: OtterBox Options for BlackBerry Tour

My husband, Jon, recently penned this review of the OtterBox cases for his prized BlackBerry Tour. I thought I would share it with you . . . just in case you’re looking for protective cases for your BlackBerry. Here’s his review:

OtterBox Defender™ Series case

As a long-time BlackBerry® user, I’m always on the lookout for ways to protect my phone while keeping it handy. I’ve used leather cases, silicon shells, and plastic cases, which all have their pros and cons. I recently upgraded to a BlackBerry® Tour™, a great new BlackBerry with a host of advanced features, and so it deserves the best protection. Enter the OtterBox series of BlackBerry cases.

The fit of the phone in the OtterBox Defender™ Series case is outstanding. It fits snugly in a two-part polycarbonate case, which snaps together over the phone. The fit is very secure, so much so that you have to hold the case at just the right angle to separate the parts. This process is documented in the instruction sheet, which I had to go online to find. It would have been nice to have the instructions included in the packaging, but in the spirit of saving trees, I didn’t mind the brief de-Tour (no pun intended).

A protective silicon shell wraps around the enclosed Tour, covering all ports and openings. The polycarbonate shell is molded to secure the silicon shell once applied. An integral clear shield protects the Tour’s screen and camera lens. Once assembled, the case is very comfortable in your hand without adding any substantial weight. The microphone, speaker and other openings are protected with plugs, which provide easy access to the headphone and USB ports. As advertised, the sound is clear through the protected earpiece and the people I speak to report no problems hearing me clearly. In fact, the case  actually enhances the clarity of the microphone.

The fit of the case actually improves the tactile feel of the side and top buttons. My only issue is that the keyboard keys along the left and right edge of the case are a little awkward to press, given that my thumbs rest up against the edges. This is a relatively small tradeoff, however, for the protection the raised edges offer.

The Defender comes with a flexible molded keyboard membrane, which wraps securely around the phone, providing an additional layer of protection for the keyboard. The fit of this membrane is snug and secure, offering a good feel of the keys underneath. After a few days of use, I decided to remove it because it seemed to interfere with access to the trackball. If I were working in a harsher environment, I would have left it on for the added protection. The holster is a great feature of the Defender. Combined with its sleeper feature and contoured shape, it conserves battery life while providing a convenient, secure place to keep your Tour. The OtterBox Defender Series case retails for $49.95.


OtterBox Commuter™ Series case

I’ve also used the OtterBox Commuter™ Series case for my Tour. Similar in several ways to the Defender, it is a slimmer, sleeker model with a polycarbonate exoskeleton fitted over a silicon shell. Whereas the more rugged Defender is designed to be kept in the holster, the Commuter slides smoothly into your pocket for easy access. Although similar to other silicon cases, this case fits way better and has the added level of protection from the polycarbonate case. And as for ease of handling, the others don’t come close. The OtterBox Commuter Series case retails for $34.95.

If you’re looking for a great way to carry and protect your new Tour, look no further than OtterBox.

Not Too Late to Register for PhotoPlus Expo

Good news. There’s still time to pre-register for PhotoPlus Expo (Oct. 22-24) conference sessions. See the complete list and select the conference sessions that are right for you.  Sessions are individually priced, so you can attend just one or as many as you want and save. This year’s expo showcases:

  • More than 100 seminars, panels, special events and keynotes packed into three days with 60 new sessions for this year’s event
  • More than 175 experts and masters in the photography community
  • 11 seminar tracks covering lighting, portraits and weddings, business, digital tools, expanding networks, promotion, technology and more
  • Special hands-on workshops on Photoshop, retouching, InDesign, portraits, fine art and more
  • Live demonstrations of equipment and techniques

Want to experience the show as a VIP? You can get a Gold Expo Pass to preview the show floor beginning at 9 am on Thursday and Friday, an hour before doors open. Other advantages include priority admission, special registration area, access to the Gold Expo Oasis, a Photo District News subscription discount and New York City restaurant and museum discounts.

Click here for more information on the show.

Hope to see you there!

“Speedlights & Speedlites,” by Lou Jones, Is Illuminating

Cover of “Speedlights & Speedlites,” by Lou Jones.

I first became aware of Lou Jones’s socially relevant and often provocative work while I was editor at Studio Photography. His raw, poignant poetry and compelling photography intrigued me. Over time, I developed a couple of articles in Studio around his work—2004 Olympics coverage and a book review among them—and invited him to speak at the PhotoImaging & Design Expo in 2005. Since then, he has continued to send his poetry my way.

In Speedlights & Speedlites: Creative Flash Photography at Flashspeed, just published by Focal Press, he explains what can be done with one simple camera-mounted flash.

“Nikon’s Speedlights and Canon’s Speedlites are modern miracles,” says Lou. ”…but most professional(s) and advanced amateurs are still using their flashes as they have for decades. The computers packed into today’s speedlights have made lighting so much different than in the past,” he adds. Lou’s book makes the transition to new flash technology easy.

So, if you aren’t familiar with his work or if you would like a chance to meet this award-winning, published photographer and author, you can do so at PhotoPlus Expo next week. He’s presenting a workshop based on the new book on Thursday, October 22, at 1:15 p.m. Check the location. He will also be at the Lowepro booth (#818) on Friday at noon and Saturday morning.

Read the book, catch the class, or both. Lou Jones never disappoints.

Hasselblad Soars at Kennedy Space Center

I recently returned from Hasselblad’s 2009 Global Conference in Orlando, Florida. It was an extraordinary event by every measure. As one of the 25-plus international press members who participated in this conference—along with some 200 Hasselblad employees and executives, partners, Masters photographers, astronaut Buzz Aldrin and his wife Lois, and other special guests—I savored every minute.

The masterfully planned and orchestrated event served as a dramatic backdrop for celebrating Hasselblad’s role in capturing man’s first walk on the moon 40 years ago, and for launching the H4D and its revolutionary multi-point autofocus system, True Focus.

H4D True Focus.

H4D True Focus

“True Focus is so new, so big, and solving things no one has solved, so we needed a new camera line,” Hasselblad CEO Christian Poulsen told the group. “This is probably the most important innovation we’ve done at Hasselblad in the past 10 years. Sometimes you need to give it a new name to say it’s brand new.”

The new system includes the 60-megapixel H4D-60—which will ship in January 2010 for approximately USD $42,535—and the 50-megapixel H4D-50, which replaces the H3DII-50—which ships in early 2010 for $29,332. H3D-II cameras purchased between now and 2010 Q1 will be upgraded to the H4D-50, free of charge. Owners of H3D-31 and H3D-39 cameras will have a step-up program to the H4D platform.

Hasselblad product manager Peter Stig added, “True Focus technology helps solve one of the remaining technical challenges that face serious photographers today: true, accurate focusing throughout the image. The new Absolute Position Lock (APL) processor, the foundation of True Focus, accurately logs camera movement during re-composing, uses these exact measurements to calculate the necessary focus adjustment, and issues the proper commands to the lens’s focus motor so it can compensate.”

International press; that's me in the front row, one from the right.
International press; that’s me in the front row, one from the right.

Eight eye-opening, awesome hours at the Kennedy Space Center began with a three-hour guided bus tour that included stops at the famous Vehicle Assembly Building, Apollo 11 launch pad, the Holiday Inn where astronauts have spent the three days prior to a flight, photographers’ traditional shooting spots for launches, and one of many eagles’ nests. [Did you know the KSC is a preserve? I didn't.] Once off the bus, we had two meetings with Buzz Aldrin—a photo op and an extraordinary presentation at the Saturn V Center during dinner—and exhilarating multimedia presentations that captured the best and worst moments of the space program.

The Saturn V Center, a vast hangar-like room where a behemoth Saturn-V rocket hangs overhead, was off the charts. The sheer magnitude of the rocket—more than 111 yards!—was hard to grasp. It takes three minutes to walk end to end.

Astronaut Aldrin with his book, Magnificent Desolation.
Astronaut Aldrin with his book, Magnificent Desolation.

Adding to the drama of the occasion, Buzz Aldrin shared his post-Apollo 11 challenges and how he overcame them, and where he envisions the space program going from here on in. Autographed copies of Aldrin’s new book, Magnificent Desolation, provided even greater insight. Oh, what a night.

The conference ended as it began: on a high note. During a no-holds-barred press conference with CEO Poulsen and product manager Stig, we questioned them on anything and everything about the H4D, True Focus, Hasselblad’s product strategy, and their plan for positioning a camera that’s big on nerdy mechanics and dreamy possibilities. Once again, Poulsen and Stig amazed and delighted us with their candor, passion, vision, and brainpower.

Dining beneath the behemoth Saturn V rocket.
Dining beneath the behemoth Saturn V rocket.

I went home feeling privileged to have attended this uplifting event. And I understood why all those years ago, NASA chose Hasselblad to build a camera up to the impossible task of capturing man’s first walk on the moon.

For details on the new H4D and True Focus, click here. For details on Phocus 2.0, click here. For more on Hasselblad, Masters photographers, click here.

socialdocumentary.net Announces Archive

SocialDocumentary.net logosocialdocumentary.net logo

I have been a fan of SocialDocumentary.net since it launched in 2008. Driven by the premise that photography plays an important role in educating people about our world, SDN showcases photographers who share a common curiosity about the human condition and a strong desire to communicate their insights through words and photographs.

Exploring topics as diverse as the effects of modernization on Kathmandu, homelessness in the U.S., the consequences of oil exploitation in the Niger Delta, and reconciliation in Rwanda, SDN photographers have built a rich archive in  few short months.

For example, “Make It Stop – Someone’s Child Was Killed Here” is a painful, timely Spotlight that explores the epidemic of teenage murders in Chicago. This poignant story, documented by Sarah Hoskins, is an example  of the significant social role photography can play.  To see her poignant images and read the moving narrative, visit http://socialdocumentary.net/exhibit/sarah_hoskins/535.

Now you can view all the previous Spotlights you may have missed by visiting the new SDN archive at http://socialdocumentary.net/about.php?id=5. If you have been featured in an archive, or want to link to it from your website or FaceBook page, paste the story into your website or send it via email.

Landy’s New Woodstock Book Images Printed on Hahnemuhle Paper


” I love photography. It has taken me to places I wanted to go, helped me meet some of the people I wanted to meet, and allowed me to share with others some of my deepest experiences. I was lucky.”


Cover of Elliott Landy's 40th Anniversary edition of "Woodstock Vision."

Cover of Elliott Landy's 40th Anniversary edition of "Woodstock Vision."


So says Elliott Landy, Woodstock’s official photographer, in the Dedication to his new 40th anniversary edition of Woodstock Vision-The Spirit of a Generation. Featuring some 300 of his classic rock-n-roll images from the late 1960s—printed on Hahnemühle Digital FineArt Baryta inkjet paper—the 224-page Woodstock Vision also includes photojournalism of 1960s peace demonstrations and a series of offbeat, humorous celebrity photographs.

Landy’s photographs of music legends in concert, backstage, and in their homes helped to define the Woodstock Era.  This new collection features images of Bob Dylan (Nashville Skyline), The Band (music from Big Pink) and Van Morrison (Moondance), as well as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and other music legends.

“I am totally in love with the FineArt Baryta and use it for nearly all my digital black-and-white prints,” says Landy. “They look indistinguishable from the silver-gelatin prints and some are even better!”

For more information on Hahnemühle’s Digital FineArt collection, visit www.hahnemuhledirect.com. To see more of Landy’s work, order Fine Art prints, or purchase Woodstock Vision-The Spirit of a Generation, visit www.Landyvision.com.

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