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Rolf Hicker Photography
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Crazy days in life of a photographer

What a crazy day today, what a crazy time...in the life of a professional photographer.

Myra Falls Strathcona Provincial Park

Myra Falls, Strathcona-Westmin Provincial Park, Vancouver Island

Gosh, this must have been one of the darkest days we had for a very long time. Seems like "worst scenario" has hit us at to the very wrong time.

What happened?

As many of you know by now, we are expecting a baby in the next few days or couple weeks. Because we are living a bit remote on the northern part of Vancouver Island (heaven for a nature photographer to life) my wife had to move to Courtenay, which is about 2.5 hours south of here by car, she needed to move to be closer to the hospital. The Doc recommended 3 weeks before due day just in case the baby decides to come early. Given the difficulties we had with our first son Daniel, we did not argue with the Doc.

3 Weeks is a long time, we needed to rent a apartment for 3 weeks with option to stay longer, we needed to get a rental car for her and so on. We decided that I will stay home working till I get the call, then I jump in the car and go when things start moving. In addition to the rental car and apartment will be the extra costs to save cord blood (stem cells) from the baby (we believe that this may could saves the health or even life of the baby later so money should not be in the way right now). I'm not even talking about the ongoing costs with diapers, extra food, travel to doctors and so on - I'm sure most of you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, right now at the time were our expenses skyrocket we had to upgrade our main website HickerPhoto.com. We were working to develop a new software, which runs the site, for over 4 years. It took way longer then we ever thought, mainly because the company which developed the software with me did not give me the hours I needed from the programmers and many other problems.

I wanted to switch over now before our baby arrives, simply because I don't know what happens afterwards with my time. We switched a bit over a week ago and started to drop out of the search engines about 4 days ago - I mean dropping hard, traffic is down 80-90% to be exact.

Autsch, about 90% of our income comes today from the Internet and most of it through the site hickerphoto.com, now with no traffic there will be close to 0 income. That is scary, that short before birth.

So here we go - that is pretty crazy to me - to us - and very scary.

The good thing is that I can do now what I want on my website, my search rankings are gone, traffic mostly gone, well, then I can do stuff for my visitors without being scared of getting penalized for too long loading times or what else ever - we lost it all - at least for now.

I will update you over the next few days, weeks what is going on. Is it only a temporary drop or will it stay like this? Many questions right now. I always believed in Google, they mostly always done things "right" - but right now I must doubt it a little bit. I find many of my pictures on google images BUT hardly ever from my own site. Mostly the pictures are stolen, still having a small watermark in them. I created the picture and put it online in the first place and now mostly spam sites getting the traffic with my pictures in Google Images - how sad is that? It is very frustrating. Not that I'm the only one, I'm sure that other well known photographers with websites, like Ron Niebrugge, QT Luong, Guy Tal, Jon Cornforth, Jim Goldstein and so many others having the same problems.

Come on Google, please, you got the smartest people working for you, you always done the "right" thing, please appreciate the photographers a little bit more. They are driving big parts of Google+ too. Please think about us - most of us are extremely hard working - only to survive. Don't give the spam sites credit for that! Give it back to to us. I'm sure you can read exif data and pin it somehow to the original website. Which ever website published the picture first MUST have been the photographers website, or at least the photographers agency, photographers Flickr site or something the photographer would upload the picture for.

None of us is rich (I believe) so please help us at least to survive by giving US the credit for OUR pictures. Without the web, without our traffic from Google we can not survive (I'm sure I speak at least for most of us) - so please, do whats "right" again.

That's enough for that today, there is more coming and I also will update you on other changes I do on the site soon.

The picture I used for this blog was taken 2 days ago. I drove "Down Island" to spend at least Friday evening, Saturday and part of Sunday with my wife and my son. We also have two German friends here right now, so we all wanted to spend some time together. I knew about this wonderful waterfall which somebody was telling me about, Myra Falls in Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, which should not be too far away from the hospital. 

Not too far? I sure under estimated the distance a little bit. Took us almost 2.5 hours to get there but it was sure worth it - it was just simply gorgeous. A few fall colors and a beautiful, I almost want to say, outstanding waterfall and nobody around.

Of course I had my equipment with me. Took a few shot of my wife with her big belly (and I mean it in a good way) and some more photos of the amazing Myra waterfall. We actually stayed a bit longer then planned so I had enough time to photograph it more.

I just grabed a random image of the from Myra Falls on Sunday, just to have a nice picture for a pretty bad day. I will post more over time.

Thanks for reading all this, I only wanted to wrote a sort blog but hey....

Myra Falls, Strathcona-Westmin Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Author: Rolf Hicker - 2011-10-18
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