17 February 2013

On Photo Safari: Sunset and Sunrise

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The moment the sun appears on the horizon and the moment the sun disappears on the horizon are magical moments of a photographic safari. Sunrise and sunset are the moments we love to capture, but sometimes they are also the moments that frustrate us the most when the image is not what we wanted it to be.

Photography courses teach us about contrasts and that we need them for great images and that applies to sunrises and sunsets as well. The best sunsets and sunrises are the ones with clouds. The sun (the light) needs something to shine on to be seen and clouds are ideal. They become the carrier of the sunlight and the light can display its amazing colors that make the event so mesmerizing.

Another great “tool” to create a beautiful sunset photo are trees. That makes photographic safaris in the Masai Mara so fascinating with their single umbrella trees dotted over the Great Plains. The sun setting behind such a tree is just amazing.

But what works in the bush works also at home. No matter if you are in a big city or in the countryside, choose a spot where the sun can shine on something, a cloud, a tree, a building, a person or on water. As long as there is a medium to carry the light, you can create great pictures.

Seeing it already in front of you? Try it and enjoy the magical moment.

Ute Sonnenberg for

How Management Teams can Benefit from Photography

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Communication can be a challenge even when all speak the same language, work in the same team and on the same project. Misunderstandings occur constantly, because words are the poorest kind of communication. Body language is telling already more than words, but how to communicate business information through body language? Pretty much impossible, but probably looking quite intriguing when watching people trying it. What else can be used? Well images, visualizations and photographs are an amazing tool to communicate without misunderstandings.

It works for families and it works for management teams. The wife is looking for a new kitchen. She goes to different stores and from the kitchens she likes she takes a photo with her smart phone. At home she shows it to her husband and together they make a choice which what kitchen to proceed. It would have been impossible for her to explain her husband with words how the kitchens look like. He would have created images in his mind not matching the actual kitchen, but with the images it was clear immediately.

The same process works for
business teams even if the subject is a situation within a team. Everything can be visualized and captured in photographs. Teams start understanding each other and misunderstandings become rare. Energy and time is saved, no endless and tiring discussions with no result, time is used efficiently and clear results offer solutions not more problems.

Photography for business is a strong tool and it is the future.
The future is now.

Ute Sonnenberg for

How to Use Intuition in Photography

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It is most likely an open door to say that intuition is the heart of photography, but it’s sometimes good to have a reminder.

Where the ones are who easily enjoy intuition and photographic heights there are also the others who get lost in technical details. Not that the technical side of photography does not involve intuition, but it is mostly the arty part that requires it for compositions with light.

Photography courses pay attention to composition and working with light, explaining the rule of thirds, but might not explicitly mention the important role of intuition in this process or just assume that photographers are using it anyway, which is partly true. So, how can a photographer consciously utilize intuition to create great images? Very simple, by following the light. The light does not only determine the camera settings it also creates the compositions. And if you struggle seeing compositions just look out for the light, what it’s pointing out for you and right there it is, the composition you were looking for.

One might think, but this is just looking for the light and got nothing to do with intuition, but this is not quite true. Intuitively we are looking for the light and it goes wrong with our images when we try to ignore what the intuition is telling us. Imagine you are out in the bush on photo safari. It is about 9 am and the best light is already gone. Now the light is bright and harsh. You remember what you learned and you try to photograph with the light, but your images look dull. Suddenly you have the feeling to turn around and photograph into the light and yes, there are still contrasts and your images look much better. So, most likely not consciously you followed a feeling triggered by the light and you got it working. And this is just one small example how intuition can make a day photographing in the bush a great one.

Inspired? Try it and enjoy snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

How Your Camera is Your Grounding

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It might sound a bit spiritual when talking about grounding, but well photography is something that takes you to high spirits and in order to not get lost up there, grounding is very important.

Do you know of these moments of frustration when you tried to photograph something and your camera didn’t do what you thought it should do? In those moments unfortunately very often not the camera is the problem, but the photographer. Your camera only brings you back into reality and tells you that it needs light to see and focus, just as your eyes, but you had just forgotten, because it looked so great.

Your camera gear makes sure you stay in touch with the reality of the environment you are shooting in. It tells you through the images what’s going on and even includes advise what to do to make it work. One just got to see and listen. Well that sounds easy, but it is not. You got to know your camera to understand what it’s telling you. So a photography course with the basics can do no harm. Better to learn how to operate your camera at home than missing great shots while traveling or when being on photographic safaris. Imagine a lion kill and you don’t get it right.

Ground yourself in photography and learn about your camera. A good grounding is the solid base for soring in photographic heights.

Happy snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

Photo Safari: Hunting Banned in Botswana

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In November 2012 Botswana’s President Ian Khama, gave a speech wherein he announced that by the end of 2013 trophy hunting would no longer be allow allowed in Botswana. He said that "Next year will be the last time anyone is allowed to hunt in Botswana and we have realized that if we do not take care of our animals, we will have a huge problem in terms of tourism."

Great. Photography won from trophy hunting.
Photo safari won from hunting safari and it was about time. The number of lion had dropped dramatically and other animals like leopard and elephant were also only to often licensed to be killed. But the peaceful adventure of photographic safaris and the worldwide photography enthusiasm of billions of photographers had turned the table on the hunt. Photography has become a peaceful force of conservation. Cameras replace the rifle and the animals stay alive. The photographer goes home with great image-trophies and

And other countries seem to follow Botswana’s example. Zambia has banned trophy hunt, but so far temporarily and Zimbabwe is considering doing the same until final decisions are made. The fine print of the Botswana ban on hunt is not known yet, but it is a major step in the right direction.

Thanks to eco tourism and photography lovers wildlife is preserved. Photography has become a movement.

Keep moving!

Ute Sonnenberg for

Cindy Sherman: Self-Portrait of a Woman

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Who is Cindy Sherman?

Cindy Sherman is a photographer, a very successful photographer with a unique style. She steps in front of the camera and takes self-portraits, yet it’s hard to know how she looks like, because she transforms into stereotypes of women in everyday situations, yet the women are not Cindy Sherman, or are they?

There is always the
photographer in the picture, if he/she stands in front of the camera for a self-portrait or behind the camera, the photographers energy is there and therefore the images carry a photographers signature … even if hey are not signed.

Cindy Sherman is a remarkable person and photographer as her images show and art collectors seem to love it. The image above called “Untitled #96” was sold in May 2011 for USD 3.8 million.

Maybe the secret of her photography’s success is the mystery of who is Cindy Sherman? that every image seems to ask.

Read more about her in

Ute Sonnenberg for

ePhoto Book: L'Amour Provence

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The Provence is probably the most beautiful part of France.
Enjoy a
photographic journey through this intriguing region of stunning nature, traditions, people and the horses of the Camargue.

Be inspired. View the book

Ute Sonnenberg for