03 February 2013

On Photo Safari: The Beanbag

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The beanbag is an item made of fabric, looking like a small pillowcase, and is filled with beans, at least it was.

Nowadays beanbags can be filled with rice or lighter synthetic fillings and can have several shapes. There are beanbags that stay nicely on the sill of car windows on metal bars in safari vehicles or on the knee of the photographer. They are multifunctional and extremely helpful on photo safari.

We photographers are not able to hold our camera (with or without zoom lens) steady enough to create shake-less images. We need help. For night photography it has to be the tripod, but on
photographic safaris the tripod is not very practical. The beanbag is much better. You can put it everywhere, it keeps you completely flexible and mobile and the images will be sharp. Just rest the camera lens on the beanbag and shoot away. Well, we seem to like to have control about our camera and it is always an item during the photography courses that it is difficult for us to let go and trust the beanbag, but we can. The beanbag is doing the job just great. Try it. It works perfectly.

Beanbags can be bought in all sizes and shapes. They are also easy do be made at home from a small pillowcase or a piece of clothe.

Happy beanbagging!

Ute Sonnenberg for

How Intuition Training Helps

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Being a leader in business is a lot about spreadsheets, meetings, challenging decisions, guiding and success, yet it is also is a lot about intuition. Intuition is even an essential part of leadership and the most charismatic leaders like Steve Jobs work(ed) consciously with what intuition tells them. But how do they know that the information is genuine and not noise steering them in the wrong direction?

Some of them learn by doing, taking every now and then the wrong turn and go back onto the path, knowing better next time. Others turn to psychics to get confirmation of what they sense themselves. But there is another way of learning to utilize intuition and being able to get trustworthy information. The reliable tool is photography.

Photography visualizes and materializes what intuition as something on the non-visual and non-physical energy (or intuition) level offers us as enormous information resources. One learns how to tap into this information resource and extract the information needed for a certain business task. Photography is the easy accessible tool to do that; one needs only learn how to use it.

Intuition training helps with that. It works like an incubator and allows within a short, yet intense session to get the basics and to apply the learned immediately in daily work and life. It might sound in the first place like a photo safari with photography course, but this is only how it appears at first. It is an amazing process of gaining access to the immense resources of the intuition level, ready waiting there for us to use them.

Sounds a bit vague? Possibly it does, but it is not, it is very real and we are using it everyday mostly unconsciously. Got a gut feeling?

Ute Sonnenberg for

Don McCullin: Photographing Hard to Face Reality

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How must it be to be Don Mccullin, photographing hard to face reality, capturing iconic images that go under the skin and stick with you for life? Don Mccullin reflected earlier on how it is to have a photography career filled with haunting images and now there is the documentary “McCullin” with insights on his life as a war photographer. Have a look at the official trailer here.

Can a photographer learn to do what he did? Can a photography course prepare the students for what they need to do this work? Maybe not. Maybe there is not even a photography course that can prepare one for what one might see on photo safari during the Great Migration in the Masai Mara, yet we manage when facing these moments of life and death. Maybe the camera helps to create a distance and at the same time to capture the moment in all its dimensions. We can give what we saw a place and that makes it bearable, although the moment is captured forever in the picture and in us.

Ute Sonnenberg for

Photography: Camera Gear's Worth Life

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What are you? An early adapter or rather waiting and see what happens? It is easy to be carried away on the hype over a new camera model or fantastic new gadgets of camera gear. Photography offers so many opportunities to play and one just wants to have the thing everybody is raving about. But does that make sense? Or rather doesn’t that hurt your wallet?

Have a look on what Roger Cicala has put into a graph about the worth of camera gear during its lifetime:

“For several years now, my occupation has been to basically read everything written about new equipment
. In order to help everyone save time, and to save the Internet millions of electrons, I have developed a concise method to summarize all such discussions for all newly introduced imaging equipment.
I modestly call this Roger’s Law of New Product Introduction and have summarized it in the graph above
. You will notice there are two possible paths a new product may follow. To date, these two paths accurately describe every introduced product. It is possible, depending upon which forums you visit, that a product follows both paths simultaneously – for example a new Canon camera will often follow path A on a Canon board, while following path B on a Nikon board. I suggest we refer to this as The Fanboy Uncertainty Principle.” (via PetaPixel)

So, maybe next time something exciting new comes out we wait a bit. It will give a better idea what the new camera can do and will be friendlier for our wallet. And if you are desperate to take it with you to the next photography course or on photographic safari, check if you can rent one and decide later.

Happy snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

Annie Leibovitz Vogue Photo Shoot: Newsjacking gone too far?

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Annie Leibovitz’s recent fashion photo shoot for Vogue stirred anger and irritation among the Vogue readers. The photo shoot shows models posing with rescue workers of super storm Sandy. Vogue’s intention was to put a spotlight on these important people who did great work during the disaster Sandy brought onto the Eastern coast, but it might be tempting to see a clever newsjacking by Vogue to put a spotlight on the magazine. Was it?

Maybe it was, nonetheless it brought people into the picture who deserve acknowledgement for their great work and having a famous photographer like Annie Leibovitz doing the shoot, adds even art to it.

So, maybe it is a nice idea to integrate photographing people who do great work for the community into our everyday snapping or into photography courses we attend.

Lets take the positive from this fashion photo shoot and let it go viral to honor caring people.

Ute Sonnenberg for

Be Fast: New York Times MIght Review Your Photography

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How would it be to have your photography portfolio reviewed by probably the most influential newspaper in the world? Scary?

Yes, most likely, but it would be great, wouldn’t it? Now is the chance that this can happen. If you think you don’t have yet the portfolio you could show them, get your camera and go quickly, maybe a speed photography course as well, some advise what the journalists might like to see (probably not the lion from the photographic safari … but who knows), probably some though moments of choices to be made and here you go. As long as you submit your work before the 13
th of February you are in and stand a chance to get reviewed by the New York Times.

Click for the details of the professional portfolio review
here and sign up on their application page.

All the best and good luck!

Ute Sonnenberg for

ePhoto Book: At the Edge of Light

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Being on a photographic safari can teach one sometimes more than simply photography. A photography course might bring one to see more than only a wildlife sighting and sometimes the impressions are deep and make one think about life.

Travelling to the Masai Mara can be traveling into the essence of creativity, stimulating whole new insights.

See what a zebra can tell.

View & download ephoto book

Ute Sonnenberg for