Photographing a Sailboat Race
Most small business owners will need to do some photography to support their web site and social media advertising. Although my business does not lend itself to a lot of photography, I am a serious amature photographer. Another hobby is sailboat racing. When looking for advice on shooting sailboat regattas; the only things I found were extremely basic discussions of aperture, shutter speed and ISO with minimal discussion of sailing-specific techniques. After shooting a couple of regattas where a professional photographer asked for advice and where I got a lot of requests for images, I decided to write an article. The article is aimed at professional phographers and amature photographers who will be photographing sailing events. It may also be of use for small business owners as a guide to thinking about photo shoot planning.
Equipment for Sailing Photography
The equipment necessary to photograph a regatta is actually fairly minimal under most circumstances. Plan to buy or borrow the following equipment:
- Life jacket that is comfortable. You should wear your life jacket, even if others on your boat are not. When you are shooting, you will have both hands occupied. If you boat driver needs to take immediate evasive action to avoid a competitor who has lost control, you will fall and end up in the bottom of the boat or in the water. Although I have never ended up in the water, I have ended up in the bottom of the boat just about every time I’ve photographed a sailing event. Life jackets make good padding.
- Hat. On a sunny day, this will make you cooler and more comfortable.
- Sunscreen. Waterproof SPF 50 is best.
- Rain/foul weather gear. If there is a breeze, you will get spray, even when it is otherwise a beautiful sunny day.
- A waterproof count-down timer watch (preferrably a yacht timer with 5-4-1-0 alarms and a sync feature).
- Insurance, or an old camera. If your support boat is called upon to do a rescue, it is likely that the boat will spend a lot of time with the stern directly into the wind, which means a couple of inches of water in the boat. Even if your gear bag is waterproof, your gear may get submerged. If you fall in the water, your camera will go with you.
- Waterproof equipment bag. You will probably encounter spray, rain, water in your support boat, or all of the above. A good dry bag designed for canoeing can save the day.
- Camera(s). Any DSLR with auto focus, shutter priority exposure, and a continuous shooting mode will work. For continuous shooting of sequences for use in an instructional article, you will need a camera that can shoot continuously for at least ten seconds without filling up buffers. Unlimited continuous shooting capability is preferred.
- 300mm to 400mm image stabilized zoom lens. For starts, 80mm will probably include most of the starting line. For most other parts of a race, you will want about 300-400mm. With a lens less than 200mm, you will not be able to get close enough to the action without your support boat getting in the way of the competitors. Because your boat will be bouncing around all of the time, all of your shooting will be hand-held; lens longer that 400mm can be heavy to hold and stabilize. Image stabilization is really a must, as your boat will be constantly moving in three axes; without image stabilization you will need to use a shutter speed that forces an ISO that will give you noise problems on all but the most current professional equipment.
- Lens hood. At least some of your shooting will be into the sun, so lens flare will be a problem. A good lens hood is critical.
- UV/Haze filter. Although any filter will degrade lens performance, the certainty of spray makes a filter highly desirable, as they are easier and faster to clean than a bare lens.
- Polarizing filter. If you have a clear day, being able to darken the sky with a polarizing filter can be handy.
- Lens cleaning kit. With 100 percent certainty, you will get spray on your lens. Make sure to have a cleaning cloth and kit available.
Equipment to leave at home:
- Tripod. Your support boat will be moving up, down, forward, backward and sideways. You will not use it, so leave it home.
- Flash. A flash will be useful for trophy presentations, but not for on-the water photography. One exception would be fill-flash for pictures of people on the various support boats.
Planning Photographs for a Race and Regatta
For any event, planning makes all the difference in the world, and photographing a sailboat regatta is no different. Once you have equipment lined up, you should start thinking about the plan for the day of the event, including objectives, the boat from which you will photograph, photographic technique, and where to be as the race unfolds.
Make sure to get a copy of the Notice of Race and the Sailing Instructions. These two documents will give the the schedule for the regatta and diagrams of the courses so you can plan how you want to photograph the races.
Before you go out on the water, think about your objectives for the event. Some common objectives for regatta photography might be
- Photographs for club, national class association or other magazine or web publication. For these, you will want to concentrate on the top finishers in the event.
- Photographs of all participants to encourage participation. If you get a servicable photograph of the last place finisher, you will make this person’s year and probably earn a place as a screen saver photograph.
- Sequential photographs for instructional articles.
- Group and award presentation photos.
Getting on the Right Support Boat
For good photographs you need to be close to the action; getting on the right support boat is key.
- Most “spectator” boats are big and must stay a long way from the competitors to stay out of the way. It will be very hard to get good photos from the spectator boat.
- The signal boat (AKA “committee” boat)is a the absolute best location for photos of the start, but is the worst location after the start as it is usually stationary or keeps well away from the competitors.
- A mark set boat or rescue boat a good photography platform, up until the principal race officer decides to do a course change or a competitor capsizes and needs rescue.
- A dedicated photography boat is best, as long as the boat is small and nimble enough to get close to mark roundings.
Recruiting a Boat Driver
A good boat driver can make a mediocre photographer shoot outstanding images, while a bad driver can prevent an excellent photographer from shooting even mediocre images. The credits for regatta photographs should really go to the boat driver not the photographer. Look for a driver who can operate a boat well, but who is also an accomplished sailboat racer. A driver who is also an active helmsman can anticpate the action and get you in place before the really cool action happens, and tell you what is coming up so you can prepare.
With an image stabilized lens, ISO 200, 1/400 of a second and f5.6 to f11 has worked well. If your camera’s sensor has low noise at ISOs above 200, by all means use higher shutter speeds.
This is counter-intuitive for sports photography, but single-shot autofocus mode generally works best. Although continuous focus works well for other moving action, it generally does not work well in sailing. Because the shooting platform is moving in three axes and the subject is moving in three axes, continuous mode will frequently lose it’s lock on the subject and go through the process of re-acquiring a focus lock. Since the subject is relatively slow-moving, a focus from a half-press of the shutter is good for several seconds, and is much more reliable.
When to Shoot Single Photos
When you are trying to get photographs of all competitors, use single shot mode.
When to Shoot Sequences
If you are shooting to get photos for an instructional article on rules, tacking, jibing, or some other subject by all means use continuous mode, but recognize that on older or consumer grade cameras, you will fill up the buffer and may not be able to photograph the exact part of the sequence that you want to capture. If you are using a camera that cannot shoot an unlimited number of continuous photos, you may be able to extend the number of exposures by changing from RAW to JPEG, and by reducing the JPEG image size.
Photographing a Race
Pre-start and Between Race Photographs
This is the time to work on photos of every competitor; encourage people to sail by, look at you and mug for the camera.
Photographing the Start
If you are not on the signal boat, you will need to be below the lay line outside the signal boat and the starting mark (“pin”). Usually, the port or pin end of the line works best. Make sure that the stern is toward the wind, so that the driver can power to leeward to get out of the way of the competitors. If you have a second camera, this is the one time that you will want a lens of less than 80mm. For a 15-boat fleet, you can probably capture the whole starting line with an 80mm, but for larger fleets you will need shorter focal lengths.
Photographing the First Windward Leg
For the first windward leg, you can either follow the fleet up the leg and get stern-on photos of boats sailing upwind, or do a high-speed circle around the fleet to get photos of the windward mark rounding. Windward mark photos are good for publication photos; this can also be a good place to capture an image of each of th competitors as they round the mark. If there is very little wind, the wake generated by speeding to the windward mark will anger the competitors, so windward mark photos are only good when there is enough wind to generate waves that are equivalent to you support boat›s wake.
Photographing the First Run
If you take windward mark photos, you will only be able to get stern-on photos as the fleet goes down wind, and you will not be able to get leeward mark rounding photos. If you stay at the bottom of the course for the windward leg, you will be able to get leeward mark rounding photos, which can be exciting in a breeze.
Photographing a Leeward Mark Rounding
For leeward mark rounding photos, the best place to be is probably directly leeward of the mark about three to four boat lengths away. Unless they are out of control, you will not be in the way of any competitor, and you will be very close to the action for some very good photos.
If you are doing multiple races, you should shoot one rounding from a point slightly below the port-tack exit from the mark, but about ten boat lengths away. For this, make sure that the driver keeps the stern to the wind, so that you can power downwind to get out of the way of competitors, since you will be directly in their path. For publication photos of regatta leaders, this is the best location.
Photographing an Upwind Finish
The finish is an excellent place to capture images of each of the competitors, as this is the time when they will be the most spread out. The best position is about five boat lengths directly upwind of the port end of the finish line; from here you can capture bow-on photos of the boats approaching the signal boat on starboard tack, and upwind photos of boats approaching the pin on port tack.
Photographing a Downwind Finish
When the finish is downwind, you can get closer to the competitors than you might otherwise try to do; you know exactly where they are going and can get close without getting in the way. This offers some good crew-work photos of downwind sailing.
Post-processing Sailboat Photographs
The post-processing for regatta photos is similar to most post-processing but there are a couple of things that will require special attention: white balance and value, and figuring out the horizontal.
Maximum White Value
Because sails are white, some automatic exposure and white balances can be off. Sails may not be overexposed, but can appear so without some attention to maximum white levels. Spend some time working on this so that the very white sails have detail.
Horizontal is a Flexible Concept in Sailing Photography
Figuring out the orientation for sailing photos can be a challenge; the boat is almost never level, the shoreline may not be level if you are shooting on a lake with an irregular shoreline, and the horizon may not be level if there are hills around the lake. Since you will be shooting handheld and quickly from a platform that is bouncing around, is unlikely that many of your images will be perfectly level. If you shoot more than one day, look at your images for a common clockwise or counter-clockwise bias, and work to correct for that in the next day’s photos.
If you really want a laugh, try the auto leveling transformations in Lightroom.
- Written by Bruce Moore
- Hits: 2358
House Resolution 3072 is Poorly Conceived and Written
US House Resolution 3072 would increase the minimum size of banks that are subject to direct examination by and reporting to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from $10 billion in assets to $50 billion in assets. As of June, 2017, this would exempt about 80 banks from the examination and reporting rules and leave about 40. I am opposed to this legislation for three reasons:
- A $10 billion bank is not a small bank without the compliance resources to handle examinations and this exempts banks that are big enough that when they do something problematic, the scale is large enough to cause regional problems. The $10 billion threshold represents 2.8% of all banks, while the proposed threshold represents 0.6% of US banks.
- Arbitrary asset limits of either $10 billion or $50 billion do not adjust for inflation, and moving the threshold from $10 billion to $50 billion does nothing to fix this problem. Neither inflation nor the deposit flood that occurs during a panic should push a bank into a different regulatory realm. For the businesses serving banks, regulatory instability is a bigger problem than regulatory burden, and this type of threshold legislation leads to legislative churn and regulatory instability.
- It does not address the different business models employed by banks over $50 billion. There are banks over $50 billion with business models that do not require much CFPB oversight and banks between $10 and $50 billion that should probably receive significant oversight.
Although I am opposed to this legislation, I am not strongly opposed for the simple reason that most of the mischief during the financial crisis occurred at the “too big to fail” banks, and this does not exempt those banks from CFPB examination.
These are Not Small Banks
The current $10 billion threshold is about the 98th percentile in assets ($10.7 billion), while the proposed $50 billion threshold is above the 99th percentile ($30 billion). These are not small banks with a small staff. Figure 1 shows employment by bank as a function of asset value. There are few banks of $10 billion with fewer than 1,000 employees, so these banks already have full-time compliance staff; this does not present the disproportional regulatory burden that it would for banks with less than 1,000 employees. Although this legislation would remove some oversight for some arguably large banks, it leaves in place oversight for the largest banks in a system that is badly skewed to very large banks. To understand the relative size of of banks in the US, Figure 2 shows the asset size distribution–even though it represents more than 5,800 banks the chart looks like an error due to the vast empty space in the right 90% of the histogram. Figure 3 shows only banks larger than $10 billion (about 120 of 5,800) and points out the dramatic skew in bank size.
Arbitrary Dollar Thresholds are Bad Legislation in the First Place
When legislation is written with arbitrary dollar limits as this bill uses, it means that normal inflation will push banks (or taxpayers in the case of the Alternative Minimum Tax) over the threshold when nothing has changed in terms of bank operations. Inevitably, the legislature is slow to reset the threshold, and institutions and consumers struggle to deal with a regulation that was never intended to apply to them. This legislation perpetuates that problem. It guarantees business for lobbyists, but is not a good way to write laws.
For businesses serving the banking industry, regulatory instability is probably a bigger problem than regulatory burden. If regulation is stable, you can automate the solutions, and banks can buy an inexpensive solution. If regulation is unstable, it cannot be automated and the management burden at a bank prevents the bank from innovating any way; the focus is on how to stay in compliance in a changing compliance world. This type of regulatory threshold is ultimately unstable for a larger number of institutions than other approaches.
There are at least two better threshold-based approaches:
- A percent of the total number of banks, such a bank being in the largest 2.5% for three consecutive years. This would present uncertainty for a small number of banks as the industry consolidates, but would not create inflation creep problems due to legislative inaction at some point in the future.
- An asset threshold set as a percentile of asset values. The 98th percentile of assets would currently be approximately $10 billion, while the 99th percentile in assets would be approximately $30 billion. Under normal inflation and consolidation conditions, this would minimize the effects of inflation creep.
A Business-model Approach Would be Best
Some banks just do not touch consumers, and examinations by the CFPB just do not make sense. Table 1 shows the banks that were above $10 billion at the end of June, 2017. There are clearly some banks in this list that have wholesale models where the word “consumer” just does not apply. Figuring out legislation that would take this approach is probably beyond the capability of any legislative body in the United States, so this is probably not a realistic approach, though it would be the best.
|Table 1. List of Banks with Assets Greater than $10B|
|Bank||City||State||Assets ($1K)||Deposits ($1K)||Employees||Web Site|
|WELLS FARGO BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||SIOUX FALLS||SD||1,673,246,000||1,237,791,000||237,944||http://www.wellsfargo.com|
|JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||COLUMBUS||OH||1,631,896,000||1,270,117,000||189,315||http://www.jpmorganchase.com|
|BANK OF AMERICA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||CHARLOTTE||NC||1,611,631,000||1,270,151,000||143,354||www.bankofamerica.com|
|CITIBANK, N.A||SIOUX FALLS||SD||851,012,000||474,780,000||175,473||www.citibank.com|
|U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||CINCINNATI||OH||448,673,608||329,468,253||70,522||http://www.usbank.com|
|PNC BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||WILMINGTON||DE||357,293,517||257,675,713||51,679||www.pnc.com|
|CAPITAL ONE, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||MC LEAN||VA||280,164,033||220,751,261||30,163||www.capitalone.com|
|TD BANK, N.A||WILMINGTON||DE||268,184,699||227,051,124||25,096||www.tdbank.com|
|BRANCH BANKING AND TRUST COMPANY||WINSTON SALEM||NC||215,064,000||163,093,000||35,503||www.BBT.com|
|HSBC BANK USA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||MC LEAN||VA||188,763,813||128,153,520||5,708||www.banking.us.hsbc.com|
|BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON, THE||NEW YORK||NY||175,879,000||126,191,000||41,578||www.bnymellon.com|
|CHARLES SCHWAB BANK||RENO||NV||175,657,000||162,367,000||612||www.schwabbank.com|
|STATE STREET BANK AND TRUST COMPANY||BOSTON||MA||156,181,432||79,114,517||31,940||http://www.statestreet.com|
|GOLDMAN SACHS BANK USA||NEW YORK||NY||151,219,000||105,886,000||992||www.gsbank.com|
|FIFTH THIRD BANK||CINCINNATI||OH||138,297,752||104,809,057||17,695||https://www.53.com|
|CHASE BANK USA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||WILMINGTON||DE||134,893,661||41,856,629||9,492||http://www.chase.com|
|KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||CLEVELAND||OH||133,501,414||105,344,214||19,017||www.key.com|
|MANUFACTURERS AND TRADERS TRUST COMPANY||BUFFALO||NY||120,357,682||94,979,081||16,039||http://www.mtb.com|
|CITIZENS BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||PROVIDENCE||RI||120,137,787||87,914,988||14,828||www.citizensbank.com|
|MUFG UNION BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||SAN FRANCISCO||CA||116,550,535||86,832,006||12,221||www.unionbank.com|
|MORGAN STANLEY BANK, N.A||SALT LAKE CITY||UT||116,382,000||100,032,000||344||NA|
|CAPITAL ONE BANK (USA), NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||GLEN ALLEN||VA||107,203,368||66,210,077||22,446||www.capitalone.com|
|BMO HARRIS BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||CHICAGO||IL||106,192,025||76,880,136||12,277||http://www.bmoharris.com|
|HUNTINGTON NATIONAL BANK, THE||COLUMBUS||OH||101,280,420||77,936,696||15,070||www.Huntington.com|
|NORTHERN TRUST COMPANY, THE||CHICAGO||IL||87,267,889||36,878,232||17,292||www.northerntrust.com|
|BANK OF THE WEST||SAN FRANCISCO||CA||86,911,273||64,078,723||10,094||www.bankofthewest.com|
|FIRST REPUBLIC BANK||SAN FRANCISCO||CA||80,978,231||63,293,706||3,881||www.firstrepublic.com|
|USAA FEDERAL SAVINGS BANK||SAN ANTONIO||TX||80,557,577||72,000,203||7,295||www.usaa.com|
|SANTANDER BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||WILMINGTON||DE||79,360,980||57,291,082||9,448||www.santander.com|
|ZB, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||SALT LAKE CITY||UT||65,276,867||52,785,401||10,007||http://www.zionsbank.com|
|MORGAN STANLEY PRIVATE BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||PURCHASE||NY||60,560,000||49,564,000||610||NA|
|UBS BANK USA||SALT LAKE CITY||UT||52,817,587||46,982,008||341||http://www.ubs.com/cefs/en/ubs-bank-usa/ubs-bank-usa.html|
|AMERICAN EXPRESS BANK, FSB||SALT LAKE CITY||UT||49,860,950||40,485,436||106||http://www.americanexpress.com|
|CITY NATIONAL BANK||LOS ANGELES||CA||46,210,687||40,770,707||4,305||http://www.cnb.com|
|SILICON VALLEY BANK||SANTA CLARA||CA||46,102,989||39,843,834||2,310||www.svb.com|
|NEW YORK COMMUNITY BANK||FLUSHING||NY||44,762,686||26,330,850||2,022||https://www.mynycb.com|
|DEUTSCHE BANK TRUST COMPANY AMERICAS||NEW YORK||NY||44,195,000||32,634,000||585||http://www.db.com|
|PEOPLE'S UNITED BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||BRIDGEPORT||CT||42,705,802||32,064,694||5,233||www.peoples.com|
|CIT BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||PASADENA||CA||41,181,081||31,912,428||3,699||cit.com|
|SIGNATURE BANK||NEW YORK||NY||40,718,610||33,173,195||1,251||http://www.signatureny.com|
|AMERICAN EXPRESS CENTURION BANK||SALT LAKE CITY||UT||37,010,205||19,283,445||294||http://www.americanexpress.com|
|CITIZENS BANK OF PENNSYLVANIA||PHILADELPHIA||PA||35,666,791||30,178,882||2,885||www.citizensbank.com|
|FIRST-CITIZENS BANK & TRUST COMPANY||RALEIGH||NC||34,599,352||29,483,243||6,665||https://www.firstcitizens.com|
|EAST WEST BANK||PASADENA||CA||34,024,016||29,489,477||2,872||http://www.eastwestbank.com|
|BOKF, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||TULSA||OK||32,318,943||22,549,197||4,680||www.bokfinancial.com|
|BANCO POPULAR DE PUERTO RICO||SAN JUAN||PR||31,585,000||26,777,000||6,539||http://www.popular.com|
|BARCLAYS BANK DELAWARE||WILMINGTON||DE||30,811,587||21,369,027||3,387||www.barclaysus.com/deposits|
|FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF PENNSYLVANIA||GREENVILLE||PA||30,561,411||21,229,104||4,321||www.fnb-online.com|
|FROST BANK||SAN ANTONIO||TX||30,227,278||25,665,873||4,253||http://www.frostbank.com|
|ASSOCIATED BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||GREEN BAY||WI||29,703,427||21,867,226||4,365||www.associatedbank.com|
|FIRST TENNESSEE BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||MEMPHIS||TN||29,176,534||22,621,047||4,112||http://www.firsttennessee.com|
|BANKUNITED, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||MIAMI LAKES||FL||28,909,570||20,949,969||1,686||http://www.BankUnited.com|
|WEBSTER BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||WATERBURY||CT||26,167,932||20,554,212||3,256||http://www.websteronline.com|
|COMMERCE BANK||KANSAS CITY||MO||24,970,053||20,955,595||4,705||www.commercebank.com|
|INVESTORS BANK||SHORT HILLS||NJ||24,324,696||16,352,535||1,943||www.myinvestorsbank.com|
|VALLEY NATIONAL BANK||PASSAIC||NJ||23,413,583||17,303,067||2,902||valleynationalbank.com|
|BNY MELLON, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||PITTSBURGH||PA||23,272,288||18,930,200||1,958||www.bnymellon.com|
|TEXAS CAPITAL BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||DALLAS||TX||23,109,493||17,506,254||1,501||www.texascapitalbank.com|
|PROSPERITY BANK||EL CAMPO||TX||22,286,297||17,101,925||3,037||http://www.prosperitybankusa.com|
|PRIVATEBANK AND TRUST COMPANY, THE||CHICAGO||IL||22,284,353||19,255,774||1,358||www.theprivatebank.com|
|PACIFIC WESTERN BANK||BEVERLY HILLS||CA||22,223,332||17,366,146||1,696||https://www.pacificwesternbank.com/|
|TD BANK USA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||WILMINGTON||DE||22,215,091||18,872,549||75||http://www.tdbank.com|
|TCF NATIONAL BANK||SIOUX FALLS||SD||21,756,559||17,655,784||5,889||http://www.tcfbank.com|
|BANK OF AMERICA CALIFORNIA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||SAN FRANCISCO||CA||21,567,000||17,719,000||0||NA|
|RAYMOND JAMES BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||SAINT PETERSBURG||FL||20,101,873||17,418,199||212||www.raymondjamesbank.com|
|UMB BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||KANSAS CITY||MO||20,081,185||16,240,966||2,787||www.umb.com|
|BANK OF THE OZARKS||LITTLE ROCK||AR||20,068,595||16,241,570||2,395||http://www.bankozarks.com|
|MB FINANCIAL BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||CHICAGO||IL||19,874,009||14,281,176||3,478||www.mbfinancial.com|
|FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF OMAHA||OMAHA||NE||19,518,079||16,159,398||4,667||www.firstnational.com|
|FIRST HAWAIIAN BANK||HONOLULU||HI||19,497,364||16,143,601||2,191||http://www.fhb.com|
|SALLIE MAE BANK||SALT LAKE CITY||UT||19,335,095||14,307,988||1,485||www.salliemaebank.com|
|WESTERN ALLIANCE BANK||PHOENIX||AZ||18,748,070||16,082,923||1,647||http://www.westernalliancebank.com|
|STATE FARM BANK, FSB||BLOOMINGTON||IL||17,203,912||11,507,096||2,390||www.statefarm.com/finances/banking|
|SCOTTRADE BANK||TOWN AND COUNTRY||MO||17,008,138||15,592,844||143||www.scottrade.com|
|BANK OF HAWAII||HONOLULU||HI||16,456,854||13,859,935||2,142||www.boh.com|
|FLAGSTAR BANK, FSB||TROY||MI||15,890,503||9,023,774||3,432||www.flagstar.com|
|STERLING NATIONAL BANK||MONTEBELLO||NY||15,344,598||10,567,551||997||www.snb.com|
|WASHINGTON FEDERAL, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||SEATTLE||WA||15,084,501||10,667,533||1,815||www.washingtonfederal.com|
|OLD NATIONAL BANK||EVANSVILLE||IN||14,863,415||10,797,561||2,411||www.oldnational.com|
|MIDFIRST BANK||OKLAHOMA CITY||OK||14,547,409||7,829,551||2,479||www.midfirst.com|
|ASTORIA BANK||LONG ISLAND CITY||NY||14,068,775||9,078,423||1,364||www.astoriabank.com|
|CATHAY BANK||LOS ANGELES||CA||13,933,869||11,235,245||1,127||www.cathaybank.com|
|STIFEL BANK AND TRUST||SAINT LOUIS||MO||13,926,601||12,057,553||176||http://www.stifelbank.com|
|TRUSTMARK NATIONAL BANK||JACKSON||MS||13,907,101||10,439,499||2,858||http://www.trustmark.com|
|BANK OF HOPE||LOS ANGELES||CA||13,852,962||10,968,853||1,378||http://www.bankofhope.com|
|FIRST MIDWEST BANK||ITASCA||IL||13,776,789||11,080,838||2,113||http://www.firstmidwest.com|
|RABOBANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||ROSEVILLE||CA||13,660,000||10,381,000||1,532||www.rabobankamerica.com|
|THIRD FEDERAL SAVINGS & LOAN ASSOCIATION OF CLEVELAND||CLEVELAND||OH||13,488,146||8,264,611||1,030||http://www.thirdfederal.com|
|APPLE BANK FOR SAVINGS||MANHASSET||NY||12,850,974||11,662,658||847||www.theapplebank.com|
|BREMER BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||SAINT PAUL||MN||11,786,183||9,709,206||1,692||http://www.bremer.com|
|FIRSTBANK PUERTO RICO||SAN JUAN||PR||11,699,027||8,584,845||2,579||http://www.1firstbank.com|
|GREAT WESTERN BANK||SIOUX FALLS||SD||11,460,391||8,978,245||1,629||www.greatwesternbank.com|
|FULTON BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||LANCASTER||PA||11,262,145||8,431,272||1,287||www.fultonbank.com|
|SOUTH STATE BANK||COLUMBIA||SC||11,151,597||9,063,129||2,260||www.southstatebank.com|
|UNITED COMMUNITY BANK||BLAIRSVILLE||GA||10,817,173||8,820,998||1,922||www.ucbi.com|
|COMMUNITY BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||CANTON||NY||10,643,289||8,703,618||2,087||www.communitybankna.com|
|BANC OF CALIFORNIA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION||SANTA ANA||CA||10,356,655||8,104,994||811||www.bancofcal.com|
|CAPITAL BANK CORPORATION||RALEIGH||NC||10,101,534||8,164,389||1,691||WWW.CAPITALBANK-US.COM|
- Written by Bruce Moore
- Hits: 1833
Test Your Template and Framework Before Upgrading to Joomla 3.8
Joomla 3.8 was released a few days ago and offers a number of improvements, but it is primarily a release to give extension developers tools that they need to prepare for some changes in PHP. It has a couple of security fixes, but they probably do not apply to the way many webmasters have configured their sites. You need to move to 3.8, but you do not need to move today.
Moving three sites from 3.7.5 to 3.8 was uneventful, but it is clear that the changes in 3.8 will require testing for templates and the frameworks upon which they depend. All of my sites upgraded without issue, but I had to update one template’s framework and another template suddenly started working properly in one area. My experience for upgrading the three sites and my recommendations for migration follow.
Recommendations for Upgrading to Joomla 3.8
- More than previous releases, you need to do some research and testing for templates and their underlying frameworks before upgrading a production site. Two of my three sites had recent upgrades to their underlying framework, and the third site is Protostar-based which probably got upgrades as part of Joomla 3.8.
- Do not put testing for this upgrade off indefinitely. There are changes to the router that generates URLs and changes to prepare for upcoming PHP encryption support changes. Some extensions and templates will break in the future, and you probably want to learn about problems now rather than at a point when you absolutely need to upgrade immediately for security patch reasons.
- Read about this release. The router/URL generator and encryption changes will require some planning. The compatibility mode for the router works just like it always has but you will probably want to change to the new mode in the future, but this will require planning.
- If your ISP offers PHP 7.2, do not upgrade to 7.2 at this time. Akeeba Backup and Akeeba Admin Tools only support PHP 7.1, and they do not work on 7.2. I tried. That said, PHP 7.2 appears to offer signficant performance improvements over 7.1, so I plan to move as soon as Akeeba supports 7.2.
Upgrading ProtoStar-based Site
My Protostar site upgraded with no changes in behavior or problems.
Upgrading Rocket Theme Afterburner2 Site
My RocketTheme written Afterburner2 template site got an upgrade to the Gantry framework upgrade a couple of weeks ago, but did not change behavior at that time. When I upgraded to Joomla 3.8, the most recent article that was supposed to show up above a static page started working correctly for the first time ever. It always worked for https://hillcresttm.org/home but this is the first time that it started working properly for https://hillcresttm.org/.
For me, I always considered the previous behavior broken, but any change in behavior is something that means you need to test.
Upgrading a Shape5 Forte Site
My Shape5 written Forte template site upgraded with no error messages, but menus did not appear on when displayed in a desktop browser. Menus worked fine in mobile browsers, just not desktop browsers. An examination of the template showed an available upgrade to the Vertex framework upon which Forte is based. Upgrading from Vertex 4.1 to 4.2 fixed the menu display problem.
The old Joomla router had a defect where it would generate multiple URLs with a
canonical attribute, a big no-no for search engine optimization (SEO). sh404SEF and other Joomla extensions provided alternative routers that fixed this problem. As you upgrade to Joomla 3.8 and various extension developers upgrade to support the new router, you will need to test for compatibility if you have used an alternative router. In particular, I found a problem where the OSMap site-map plugin fails to generate a usable URL when set up with sh404SEF as the router, but works fine with the Joomla router. The old non-search engine friendly (SEF) URLs that I have registered with Google still work fine.
If you use sh404SEF and have problems with a particular component, you can try using other routers for that component by specifying the router for that component within sh404SEF, as shown in Figure 2, the dialog for sh404SEF->Configuration->By Component.
Other New Features to Enable
The default session handler uses the database for your Joomla site, but the PHP handler can be noticeably faster. To enable it, go to Global Configuration and change the settings as shown in Figure 2.
Joomla 3.8 is an important upgrade, but it is not an urgent upgrade. You should spend some time testing your template before upgrading your production site.
- Written by Bruce Moore
- Hits: 1986
Negative SEO Attack–What Do You Do?
A couple of years ago, I (and all webmasters) got a lot of Google Analytics referral spam. It really angered me, so I wrote an article about every referral spam attack, and they actually ranked well when you did a Google query for these sites. Apparently, this annoyed someone in the referral spam world, as they mounted a negative search engine optimization (SEO) attack against my site. They put a couple of hundred spammy links out on a couple of web sites that have a low reputation and which have probably gotten manual penalties from Google. I honestly have not been paying attention to SEO for a while, and did not notice it for several months. In any case, it looks like Google’s algorithms are in fact pretty good at detecting negative SEO, because my site has not experienced a drop-off in search traffic that I cannot attribute to not putting new content out on a regular basis and a falloff in searches for the keywords that drive traffic to particular articles.
What Is a Negative SEO Attack?
A negative SEO attack is the process of trying to lower the Google ranking of a web site or a web page. Usually, this is done by putting a lot of low-quality links to the victim’s page in places that Google will penalize. Marie Haynes has a great Moz article negative SEO attacks and what to do; I won’t rehash it here, but I will show you what it looked like for my site.
What Does a Negative SEO Attack Look Like?
I recognized the attack because recognizing and recovering from a negative SEO attack was discussed at one of the Dallas Interactive Marketing & Internet SEO/SEM Meetup that I attended on Keeping Google’s Fluffy Animals (and their Algorithmic friends) From Your Door.
Google Search Console is the place where you will see the attack when you look at the listing of links to your site. Figure 1 shows some of the links aimed at my site; how did I attribute these to a Negative SEO attack? First, all of the links in Figure 1 are all images copied from various web sites with links back to my site and the site itself appears to be aimed at people who mistype “blogspot” and instead type “blogqpot” for the URL. TCPIPutils.com shows private ownership, that the domain was in September, 2016, and that it expired on September 15, 2017.
The other site contained links that appeared to be machine generated blog posts that combined several blocks of standard text in different combinations, but with identical link text for all of the links to my site. The domain was private, but redirected to a domain that is registered in Egypt. The links to my site did not make sense, especially in the jumbled context of the “articles.”
One of the links to my site actually appears to be a blog where attackers are discussing sites that have posted articles about referral spam.
None of the spam links generate actual traffic to my site.
Google Link Disavow Tool
Google Search Console has a tool through which you can disavow links. Use it wisely, as you could accidentally tank your ranking if you disavow a really good link. Before disavowing links, I made sure that I did not get any traffic from any of the spam links. In Google Search Console, I exported all of the links that I wanted to disavow–about 15 files and then concatenated them with
cat *.csv google_disavow_2017-09-27.txt
and then manually removed the “Link” headers embedded in the file. Next, I uploaded the list to the Disavow Link Tool in Google Search Console. Figure 2 shows the Disavow Link Tool, while Figure 3 shows the results of a successful submission.
Keeping up with Google Search Console backlinks should be at least a weekly part of your site maintenance work.
- Written by Bruce Moore
- Hits: 1854
Adding Structured Data to Your JEvents Calendar Entries
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important part of any website’s design. Structured data is an important part of a basic SEO program, but unfortunately, many Joomla extensions are well behind the state of the art when it comes to implementing structured data, even though Joomla itself has made great strides in recent releases.
Calendar plugins are an important part of most web sites, and Schema.org implements a very rich Event tag should be implemented by all calendar plugins. Many do not implement it, including the JEvents extension.
The article that follows describes how to use the custom template feature in JEvents to add structured data to your calendar.
HTML Implementation of Event Tag Structured Data for JEvents Event Detail
Because of the difficulties in script authorization, I have chosen an implementation that does not use scripting, but instead uses HTML microdata. It is harder to read and is more cumbersome but does not require special permissions management.
To add the structured data, go to the “Custom Layouts” section and select the “Event Detail Page” entry. Add the highlighted tags to you entry and publish the page.
Testing Your Structured Data Markup
To test your structured data markup, use the Google Structured Data Testing Tool
Adding Event-specific Structured Data
JEvents (at least the free version) does not allow you to specify offers or many of the other Event tags that Google recommends. You add them as a part of the event detail with some additional work, as shown in the code listed in Figures 2, 3 and 4.
To see how this is interpreted by Google, look at the results from the Structured Data Testing Tool.
- Written by Bruce Moore
- Hits: 2219