ODTUG Member Series: The Photographer

The “ODTUG Member Series” is a 1-year long installment of articles highlighting the non-technical obsessions of our wonderful ODTUG community members. Blog posts are published monthly and advertised on ODTUG’s News blog. Enjoy!

Digitally Trapped

(“Digitally Trapped”, photo by Jorge Rimblas)

  • Name: Jorge Rimblas
  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
  • Age check box: 45+
  • Current career age: ~21 years
  • # of years involved with ODTUG: ~4 years
  • Company: InSum Solutions
  • Technology identifiers: APEX
  • Twitter: @rimblas
  • Bloghttp://rimblas.com/blog/
  • Oracle Ace Award: Oracle ACE

I met Jorge about two Kscopes ago. At the time, I knew he was heavily involved in both ODTUG and APEX. We became Facebook friends last year and I remember the day that I really took notice of Jorge’s hobby. It was this photograph that he posted during the 2015 winter holiday season:

Famous Christmas Picture

(Marie, Marina, and Marisol – the loves of his life! Photo composition by Jorge Rimblas)

When I first saw this picture, I was amazed, flabbergasted, and overjoyed all at once. I mean, look at that suit! Look at those gigantic ornaments! Look how beautiful and happy the women are in his life! I think it was one of the first times I commented on his Facebook account. I wrote “Fantastic picture! Props on the suit! 🙂” Then I promptly Facebook stalked his photo albums.

At RMOUG Training Days 2016 we sat together at the Oracle ACE dinner and got to talking about photography. Pretty soon we were swapping stories about our camera models and he complimented my baby, my Fuji X100T. I then began a journey to unravel his interesting photography history and tale.

But before we get into that story…a little bit about Jorge.

Interesting Things About Jorge

  • He used to be a karate instructor and he’s a second degree black belt. He stopped teaching in 1995 when he moved to the United States.
  • He’s originally from Mexico City, where he lived until the age of 25.
  • He’s a geek at heart. He learned to code on his own with BASIC when he was 12 or 13.
  • He’s a driving instructor with the North Star Chapter of BMW Car Club of America. His other big hobby is to go to the race track and drive for fun. He likes to teach people how to drive at high speeds. He does own a BMW “but it’s a station wagon”, he laments.

Jorge has a fantastic technical career and has always been a programmer of some sort. He likes to code. He started learning Oracle technologies in 1995. In 2004 he started using HTMLDB (now APEX) and fell in love. In 2008 he decided that APEX was the only thing that he was going to do and he’s been doing it ever since. He credits his technical career journey to: enjoying the process of hearing a problem that someone has, learning how they do their job, and then translating the problem and process into a solution.

Not being in the APEX world myself, I didn’t understand the limitless bounds of Jorge’s love for this technology and his passion for the APEX community. I dropped into the Kscope16 APEX Community Mic Night on Monday night and then refused to leave. The wonderment and joy of their user group is overwhelming. I watched developer after developer go up to the stage and show off their sometimes silly, sometimes brilliant, sometimes über practical APEX solutions while Jorge and Scott Spendolini kept the event in order. It was a pure joy to witness.

Profile Picture

(Taken during Kscope15, Jorge in his awesome APEX shirt, photo by Christoph Ruepprich, design by Jorge Rimblas)

I asked Jorge if he’s ever overlapped his love for photography with his love for APEX. Although it hasn’t happened directly, he can see why there are parallels between these two very important areas of his life. He likes the design aspect of APEX – he puts a lot of emphasis on the way things look in his work. He really cares about colors and the way things are laid out – he gets comments that he really has an eye for things. APEX appeals to his inner photographer and he feels this is where the artistic side converges with APEX.

The Story of his Photography Life and Career

Jorge has always enjoyed looking at pictures. When he reflects back on it, one way or another he’s always had a camera of some sort. He wasn’t as big into the photography aspect when growing up. His feelings changed one day on a trip shortly before his first daughter was born. He and his wife went on a Mediterranean cruise. They brought with them a pocket camera which, unfortunately, took dissatisfying pictures. He remembers feeling disappointed that the pictures didn’t match the memories of his experience. So he started learning about DSLR cameras. From there, his interest escalated quickly. He took online courses, read a lot of books, and even attended a Photoshop World conference. “I have a very obsessive personality – no half measures,” he mentioned.

Taken by wildcurl

(Jorge and one of his first DSLR cameras, photo taken by Wild Curl Photography)

I asked Jorge what his favorite thing is about photography. He remarked, “freezing great moments in time and then sharing them with others. I love to see someone react to my images.”

His Girls

(His two precious girls, photo by Jorge Rimblas)

One of the first photography projects that he undertook was a “Project 365“, where you take and publish one picture a day. (You can see his 365 project photo stream here.)

This project really helped develop his love for photography. “It was amazing because it forces you to look at things differently in your house and all around.” Some days he took fantastic pictures that took several hours to set up, capture, and edit. And some days, due to lack of time, he took “garbage” pictures that took just a minute or two. He even bought props for some of his photos, as well as better lighting. He felt that taking selfies was “cheating” so he decided to make the selfies in his 365 really involved – there is something interesting about each one (for example, using a timer, a trigger release, or a lot of Adobe Photoshop). The practice from this project catapulted his “eye” and experience with colors and design. His oldest daughter was born during this time, so he has some amazing pictures of her first year of life and a time lapse of the pregnancy condensed down to 30 seconds.

Steffi shot

(Steffi the Schnauzer, photo by Jorge Rimblas)

At one point in time, Jorge started his own photography business. He did this while still working as a consultant and learned very quickly that a “side” business is still running a full-scale, real business. He had to do all of the sales and marketing, take the pictures, then edit the photos. He started to get burnt out after a while and realized that he wasn’t enjoying taking pictures anymore. So he stopped the business and made it a hobby again.

The Easter Bunny Family

(“The Easter Bunny Family”, photo by Jorge Rimblas)

Being a beginner photographer myself, I asked him what he does with his pictures. “This is one of the downsides of digital photography,” he remarked. “In this day and age everyone has a camera.” He explained that when he finds a winner he prints a large copy of it or shares it on Facebook. One of the mistakes that he tries to avoid is oversharing. He only picks the high quality ones to share and he might just pick one.

I also asked him how his family embraced his hobby. Although his wife and daughters are extremely supportive and good sports about being photographed, it did come to a point where people expected him to be the event photographer. This got old and took away the joy of photography so he started “forgetting” the camera at home.

Jorge likes to photograph anything. He really enjoys product photography – where you photograph a single object. He laughs as he tells me that he can be very anal about it, however. Sometimes it takes him hours to photograph one thing. He told me a story of one of the pictures in his 365 project. There’s a picture of a wasp that he spent hours taking photos of. He had a glass on top of it so he spent a lot of time just waiting for it to do something. Then, when it finally did something interesting he would lift the glass, take the shot quickly, and then put the glass back down. “It’s quite a striking image, but it took 2 hours just to get to this point.”

He also enjoys portrait photography – when you take pictures of people. He has tons of photos of his girls, but he says that he’s shy about taking pictures of strangers. He’s wanted to do a project where he takes a weekly picture of a new person, but he knows he won’t finish it because he doesn’t enjoy approaching strangers.

Hanging out with Myself

(“Hanging Out with Myself”, photo by Jorge Rimblas)

Jorge’s most famous picture is one that is available for licensing. It’s of three hands – his nephew’s, sister’s, and brother-in-law’s. The concept of the photo came from his brother-in-law and Jorge designed the specifics. As his nephew was only a week old at the time, it was challenging to take. However, the proportions of all hands were perfect – “everything about that picture was magic”.

The lighting, especially, in the photo is amazing. It’s one of the areas that I struggle with most personally as a beginner photographer. “People say that photography is about ‘chasing light’,” Jorge advised.

The Dangers of Photography

Eventually, our conversation turned to some of the more controversial topics about photography: privacy, licensing images, copyrights, and the actual physical perils.

Jorge believes that, in general, taking photographs of strangers is an invasion of privacy, although when done in public spaces it doesn’t technically break any laws. He said that if you’re going to do this, “the goal is not to be sneaky about it. It’s courteous to create a quick rapport with the person and then ask politely if you can take their picture. If they say no, you can’t take it personally – just say ‘thank you’ and walk away to be respectful.” He said that it’s always tempting to take a picture of someone striking looking, but he doesn’t try to publish those pictures.

Some of Jorge’s photos are available for licensing on Getty Images, one of the largest online stock photo websites. Licensing pictures is a bit more complicated when it comes to pictures of strangers. For instance, if you use an image of a person you have to provide a model release. You can’t legally sell an image of a person without their express permission – stock photo websites won’t accept them. In addition, there are objects that are licensed – there might be rights on a building (e.g. the Eiffel Tower) that require a permit. You can’t profit on those types of photos without paying royalties.

Ephemeral Lady - Playing with Smoke Art

(“Ephemeral Lady” – playing with smoke, photo by Jorge Rimblas)

I asked Jorge to comment on copyright infringement issues with photography. “By law, any image you take has a copyright and you don’t have to do anything about it legally. However, there is a process by which you can register an image with the Library of Congress and get an actual copyright document, which you can then use to pursue legal action.” He commented that if an online image doesn’t say anything about its license or use rights, it is copyrighted by default and should not be used without permission. He said that it’s a shame that people don’t realize this, but with the number of pictures floating around he understands why people believe online images are free.

“What’s interesting about this”, he explained, “is that there are now companies out there profiting on copyright infringement. They are waiting for people to grab images from their site so they can slap a lawsuit on them. As an individual, you’re probably not in danger, but if you’re a marketing person that works for a company you can get into big trouble”. He mentioned that this is a very complex topic but that most people can find “creative commons” images and use them for free. They can also license an image “for less than the cost of a McDonald’s Happy Meal“.

After recently reading about another person who died from taking a selfie due to not watching where they were stepping, I touched on the direct physical dangers of photography. “I have been lucky – no harm has come to me. However, the human factor is always there and we all make mistakes. It’s easy to place yourself in dangerous situations, from getting too close, to falling off a cliff, to photographing a dangerous situation. When you’re looking through the viewfinder, you don’t get to see what’s around you,” Jorge remarked.

Escape from the Land of the Giants

(“Escape from the Land of the Giants”, photo by Jorge Rimblas)

Advice for New Photographers?

Jorge adamantly stayed away from questions related to recommending specific camera models. “The best camera is the one that’s with you,” he said slyly. However, he did offer the following advice:

What’s up Next for your Photography Hobby?

“I often feel like ‘if I only get this one more thing I could (insert blank)’. The truth is, you need to keep exercising your vision and learning from other people’s perceptions. There are hills and valleys and you have to climb out once in a while”. Jorge’s mission is to keep cultivating his eye. “Two people can arrive to the same place and take very different pictures based on their eye.”

Thank you for sharing and keep chasing that light, Jorge!

image

(Myself and Jorge at Kscope16 – selfie taken by Jorge on Opal’s iPhone)

4 thoughts on “ODTUG Member Series: The Photographer

  1. rimblas says:

    OMG Opal, this is the bestest and most awesomest write-up anyone could ever wish for. I think I figured out your superpower; to make anyone sound uber cool! Thank you!

    Like

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