25 November 2012

Safari Story: Skimmer Male being Naughty

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Duba Plains is an island in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, famous for its lion and buffalo encounters. Over years the “Duba Boys”, two lion brothers, were the dominant males of the local pride, but times got difficult when a buffalo killed one of the brothers. That meant for the remaining brother that he had to control the entire territory by himself and this was a difficult task. Male lion walk the borders of their territory to make sure there are no intruders to maintain their authority. But when the territory is a bit big for one male lion the intruders can slip through. And that is what “Skimmer Boy” from the neighboring island did.

We found him one day mating with one of Duba Boy’s females. He didn’t get to that point easily, like his face showed. There was obviously a heavy fight between the two male lion, which the intruder won. He was at last happily mating with the female for days. That was definitely a sign that change was coming upon the pride, the remaining Duba Boy was not strong enough to control the territory without his brother and Skimmer Boy had made his move.

Let’s hope that the situation was cleared before the new cubs were born. Otherwise the naughty move of Skimmer Boy might be not so smart for the newborn cubs. Male lion do not accept cubs of another male and kill them.

Being a lion is not an easy life, although we might think that when seeing them snoozing for the whole day.

Ute Sonnenberg for

Andy Warhol: The Visual Arts and Photo Apps

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When Andy Warhol created these images nobody even thought that there would be a thing like Instagram one day. He brought the visual arts to new heights by playing with “filters” and color distortion and created the most appealing pop art paintings millions still love today.

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Nowadays we all can be Warhols by using apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic to give our images the on the snap arty touch. Would he have liked it? Most likely he would have wielded the apps like nobody else, creating visual art at its best. So what can we learn from him? Probably the use of yellow, a color that screams at you and yet you keep looking. It’s that unrestricted use of color that strikes and that might also be the secret behind the success of photo apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic. You can go wild!

Keep enjoying it and add some Warhol to your

Ute Sonnenberg for

How Photography can Accelerate Innovation

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Many things were said about Steve Jobs and probably the most significant was that “he saw things”. He had the ability to see what can be done and what people would love to have and use. He saw innovation.

Not many people are as gifted as Steve Jobs, yet there are many people working on innovation and developing fascinating new things without probably having the ability to “see” like Steve Jobs did. It might be a disadvantage not to see the innovation, because we understand much easier where we are going and for what we are going when we see the goal, visualize the goal.

That’s the moment when photography comes in. Now you might think how can one photograph something that doesn’t exist yet, an innovation, an idea. Well it is possible to visualize ideas through photography and even the way to achieve the goal can be photographed. One simply got to learn how to read the images.

It’s probably the way Steve Jobs saw “it”. He saw devises, software, nature, people, actually all around us and he had the ability to see beyond it and visualize the innovation. We see also all what is surrounding us, yet we might need a little help from photography to see beyond it and to learn how to use the information we gather that way.

No worries, it is easier done than to talk about it. Like with anything else, pictures are saying more than words and training is available to learn how to utilize photography for innovation. Ask for them, if you are interested.

Keep your vision inspiring your everyday doing and innovation will come.

Ute Sonnenberg for

Creative and Experimental Ways of Exhibiting Your Photographs

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With billions of photographers out there one needs to be inventive in finding a way to stand out in presenting one’s photographs to the public. The classic album and photo book are always good, if it is the touchable paper version or the viral digital version, they are all beautiful. Besides that it is an exciting thing when a photographers can do an exhibition. Not only the stress in choosing the images for the show, also the presentation of the images itself and the theme of the exhibition can cause some headache. How can you make people come to see your art?

This is the moment when an inventive spirit is needed and there is no harm in looking what others do and get some inspiration.

Why not do a “Garage Sale” like exhibition and of course sell your photographs? The
MoMA is doing it and so you can. At the moment the Martha Rosler’s “Meta-Monumental Garage Sale” is on at the MoMA until November 30 and it seems like a very clever idea. It feels more informal to the people and who does not like to sniff around a bit in the casual atmosphere of a flea market to unearth treasures.

Another genius idea is the
“Steal My Photography” exhibition of Denmark-based photographer Lukas Renlund. He hung up 40 framed photographs outdoors and invited passersby to “steal”-take any single photograph they wanted. There was only one condition. They had to hang the photo up, wherever they wanted, take a photo of it and email the photo to Renlund. This is such a fantastic interactive and viral idea with benefits for all, photographer and photography lovers.

These are just a few ideas of experimenting with art exhibitions and maybe they are an inspiration to create your own creative and experimental art show.

Think different and let your art spark!

Ute Sonnenberg for

What to Think Of When Photographing from a Plane or Helicopter

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Besides photographing from a hot air balloon, photographing from a plane or helicopter is probably the most exciting way of capturing the beauty of Africa. To make your photographic bird view adventure a success, think of the following simple tips when going air born.

Make sure that you are not shooting through a window! There are helicopters without doors and for the rest with lots of glass for the perfect view. They are the perfect match for your bird view photography. If you are choosing for example a Cesna, make sure you can get the door on your side removed for the flight. Usually sky diving planes have the door already removed and otherwise ask the pilot, if he/she can arrange that the door gets removed for the flight.

If you can, choose a helicopter. Helicopters are steadier in the air for photography. A plane can be bumpier depending on the weather. Helicopters are also more flexible and can stand still for you, if needed.

Take off or secure everything you could loose easily during the flight like earrings, shawls and other loose or possibly getting loose things. Try not to wear glasses/sunglasses while photographing. It is disturbing your photography and you might loose them. Secure your camera, but do NOT hang the strap around your neck. The gravity will pull your neck down, you will get tired very quickly and it might slide over your head and then the camera is gone. Have the strap diagonal over your shoulder like you would do with a shoulder bag (the way it doesn’t slide from the shoulder).

Don’t be afraid. Although there is no door, you won’t fall out, unless you want it. But don’t do it when you are afraid of height, you will not be able to control the fear in that situation and you might fall. It is all more a question of psychology, imagination and having seen to many Hollywood movies. Secure yourself on your seat and relax.

Now shoot away!

Ute Sonnenberg for

Send Love for Christmas

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With Black Friday just behind us and Cyber Monday still in full swing it might be a good idea to think of the essence of giving. Isn’t it all about love?

Well, if we can make somebody very happy with a new set of coasters or the newest electronic gadgets, just do it. Yet there is a way to send love in a more intimate and lasting way. Send your images as a loving Christmas card.

Use for example the marketing tool
Mailchimp for your very private Christmas cards to family and friends. Mailchimp is usually used by companies for their email marketing, but of course it can be used for anything else. It is for free, offers plenty of customizable templates and you can import your email address list and send it out at once to all. You can create your own Christmas card with your own photographs, sending the message you want your friends and family to receive in a stunning design. It is a great tool to express your creativity and love at this magical time of the year.

If you wish to employ somebody else’s design abilities, a very good place to go are the
Jacquie Lawson e-cards. It is not possible to integrate your own images, but the design and animations of the cards are truly lovely and touching. It costs only a bit to join this website, but its worth it. They offer for all sorts of occasions really loveable cards.

And of course there are still the probably most desirable real hand made cards with hand cut
pictures, ribbons and hand written words. Nothing can beat that. They are treasures, kept forever in lovely boxes to be unearthed years later to remember the moment of received love.

Send your love too!

Ute Sonnenberg for

Travel Memories: On Safari in Africa - Day 13

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Amboseli was very dusty, windy, flat and breathtaking beautiful. It looked like a moon landscape with craters of swamp where the animals meet and enjoy a day at the pool while it’s hot, dusty and windy around. The wind and the dust were challenging. The dust was everywhere. When I was lying on my mattress in the tent I had to close my eyes because of the dust coming in. It felt very much like Lawrence of Arabia. Alex and Paul took it like the Masai did and the animals, they accepted. I watched and learned. 

Ute Sonnenberg for

Safari Story: Desperate

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It was in the Sabi Sand in South Africa that we followed a young male leopard. He was not from the area and he had to be very cautious, because he was on the territory of an older strong male leopard. One could see that in his behavior. He was nervous, moving constantly and he was hungry. We followed him during a couple of game drives and he became more and more desperate. He probably hadn’t had a kill for a few days now and that didn’t help him with his concentration on the hunt. At one stage he just ran right into a herd of impala, not even trying to stalk, just hoping to snatch one, which of course didn’t happen. On the same morning he was in a tree when an antelope walked passed underneath the tree. The antelope saw him and was gone in a flash, he still on the branch, just looking frustrated. We started feeling desperate as well. He must have food now. The leopard continued moving through the area and he came pretty close to a house where a guy was working outside. We gave the guy a warning that a hungry leopard was around, but he seemed not impressed. Well, we took a break and went for lunch back to the lodge. When we went out again after lunch we heard that “our” leopard had finally made a kill! Our thought was immediately, did he get the guy from the house? Well, he did not. The leopard was happily sitting in a tree with his kill, a nyala, and enjoying his meal. We were happy too. He made it. Once again a leopard’s perseverance had won from bad luck, hunger and difficult circumstances on enemy territory. They are survivors, the leopards.

Ute Sonnenberg for