Photography & Art

Do you make an impact with your Photography?


Photography is a powerful tool for team buildings, trainings, as fine art, as leaning tool, documenting history, as the family memory and in many more ways. With every picture you take you make an impact in some way on people and the world. Never thought about it?

It might sound silly that you make an impact with the picture of a flower or with the hundreds of wildlife photos or with the family holiday photo. But you do. The flower picture might make someone very happy on a birthday. Your
wildlife photography might create consciousness on conservation. And your family photo will tell future generations about their ancestors.

Every photo counts. You can make a difference, just by sharing the image of a beautiful flower.

Happy snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for

Why Genuineness is the Future


Genuineness in photography is something that was almost lost, with all the Photoshop tools and compositions and subjects copied from images taken by great photographers.

One can already predict how the coming winning World Press Photo will look like and also the next winning image of a National Geographic photo competition. They will be heavily photoshopped and the composition will be what we daily see on TV and in the magazines. It has been like that for years and it might be like that for a few more years, but boredom will fall over the images that win competitions today and people will get tired of always the same.

There are several possibilities where the trends will go, but the most likely direction will be the genuineness of a captured moment. Fashion might not fall into that category, but street photography will most likely and
wildlife photography too. People who have been on photographic safaris love their images as they are, because while looking at them, they go back to the precious moment in the Masai Mara, under that tree where the leopard was sitting. They might start thinking when they are back home that they should do something to the photo before showing it online, just because everyone is doing some editing, but by heart they wouldn’t do that. And this feeling, that people just stand to their pictures and love them for what they are will create the change to more natural and genuine photography.

It will be a process and might take a while, but it seems that it has started already. Listen to how you like your photos most.

Happy snapping.

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How to Embed Photography in Your Life


Nowadays the word “embed” is known to us from embedding codes in websites or other digital media we are constantly using. How would it be to embed the code of photography into our lives or did we already?

Embedding a code on a website makes that something beautiful becomes visible when the website is published, like a video, an e-book or an image. Isn’t just the same happening when we embed photography into our lives? Our photography makes visible what we see, experience, feel, wish and love. The image as a print or online medium is the published code of our photography and of our lives.

The social media made it easy to make photography part of our lives with the support of the smart phones, which make it easy to carry a camera at all times. So, do we even need to think about it? Isn’t it just happening? Not always. Think about when are you happily snapping away and when are you hardly touching the camera. What do we need to keep going with our photography?

Nature is always doing the trick, so keep that in mind when photography is some kind of stuck. And yes, doing a wildlife
safari is a real boost, in the forests close to home or on the savannas of Africa.

Happy snapping!

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What is Painting with Light


There has been a great hype about light painting recently and people try to invent constantly new ways of applying this technique. But what is at the bottom of all that? What is light painting?

Photography comes from the Greek and means light drawing. The artist is not using a pen, the camera is the pen with which he/she captures/draws what he/she sees. And it is only a small step from light drawing to light painting. Photography is painting with light and it needs no new techniques to do it, the camera is enough.

But if you like to try the new techniques, do it. Make yourself a painter, creating with one line amazing animals in the darkness of the bush and add an extra dimension to your
photographic safari, wildlife photography course or team building photographic safari.

Keep playing!

Happy snapping!

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Learn from Van Gogh


Vincent van Gogh put all his passion in his paintings, all he felt when seeing beauty in nature, people and anything else that touched him. He did not restrain emotion, he let it all come out and express itself in his paintings.

How would he have experienced what so many people are doing nowadays, the
photographic safaris they go on, the team building photographic safaris companies do and the wildlife photography courses people attend. He most likely would have loved the light and the incredible colors and genuineness of the savannah.

Let your images show your awe and your emotions. Don’t be shy, dare to express yourself.

Happy snapping!

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ePhoto Book: Light Fall


The light on photographic safaris, wildlife photography courses and team building photographic safaris is very different depending on the region, the time of the day and the weather, yet it is in all its appearances beautiful.

Enjoy light fall. View the ephoto book

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Do You Collaborate with Painters?


There are many talented wildlife painters out there, who don’t have the opportunity to go on photographic safaris, team building photography safaris or wildlife photography courses and they need images to paint from. Think about that when you wonder what else you could do with your photographs. Look around in your neighborhood, town or country and you will find people that would love to work with your images. And imagine how great that is to have your pictures painted.

That applies of course also to all other photographs you take at home or on holiday. It gives a new dimension beyond framed pictures and photo books. Try it!

Happy snapping and painting!

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Do You Feel Like Richard Avedon?


Richard Avedon, one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century and worldwide known for his provocative fashion photography and minimalistic portraits said this:

“And if a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it’s as though I’ve neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up. I know that the accident of my being a photographer has made my life possible.”

Does that sound familiar to you or has photography not quite such a place in your life or are you just not conscious about it? Isn’t photography not what we do constantly without even noticing anymore? Often heard comments and thoughts of guests on
photographic safari, team building photographic safaris or during wildlife photography courses are resolutions to do more photography when they are back home, to buy new equipment, to follow courses or even to start reading the manual. But just as often not much happens when they are back home. The daily challenges get hold of them and reading the manual of the camera is the last thing they want to do, but does photography need resolutions?

Don’t make it to heavy, sounding like work. Photography is light and fun and you learn the most by doing it. So just remember you have a cell phone, that enables you to shoot away wherever you are and photography becomes part of your daily life like weaking up in the morning.

Happy snapping!

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ePhoto Book: Black & White


Wildlife Photography from the early photographic safaris where in black and white and they still breath the mystery of the times back then. But maybe its what black and white photography does anyway, it looks mystic, secretive and gentle.

View the ephoto book

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Train Your Eye


There is everyday somewhere news about a new piece of photographic equipment, promising better images and great photography. But in order to create great images one needs to see first and there is no equipment to replace the photographer’s eye.

It is not enough to physically see, it is necessary to see light and composition. The cameras try to help with the grid on the screen to create compositions according to the rule of thirds, but there is a better to learn that.

Just look at the old master and train your eye in seeing light and composition. During
wildlife photography courses on photographic safaris and also during team building photographic safaris, training the eye is part of the photography basics. With examples of paintings the attendees learn to see perspectives and compositions, how the old masters used the light in their paintings and why we love them.

The best way to train the eye is to look at the old masters regularly, that the eye starts seeing paintings everywhere and no thinking is necessary anymore when creating a photograph.

Try it with art books or with galleries like the Louvre on the Internet and experience what it does to your photography.

Happy snapping!

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ePhoto Book: Le Parfum

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The sweet smell of flowers means summer, warmth or a special moment with a special present. This photo book wants to capture this spirit, the perfume of summer, the spectacle of colors.

Enjoy Le Parfum. Click
here to view and download.

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How Wildlife Photography can Benefit from Ansel Adams

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Outstanding contrast and clarity are attributes connected to Ansel Adam’s photography. It characterized his work from the very beginning, although at this time the “Pictoralism” method was popular. And isn’t it contrast that fascinates us in photography, literarily as light contrast and as “contrast subjects”?

Wildlife photography courses can use Ansel Adams’ work to teach seeing and photographing contrast in nature, even in a rock, like he did. On a photographic safari with wildlife photography course or team building photographic safari people often struggle to photograph “rock like” animals like rhinos and elephants. Their body shape and skin color make it not easy to get good photographs, photographs with contrast, depth and a well proportioned body. From Ansel Adams wildlife photographers can learn what angle to use and with which light to photograph to get a nice photograph. Only look at his pictures from Yosemite, the monolith or El Capitan (photograph below). He was a master in creating depth in something big and bulky with an even color.

By studying his work, wildlife photography can improve and rhinos, elephants and thought boring landscapes become fascinating mesmerizing photographs. Try it with simple things at home that resist to be photographed nicely and then take it to wildlife photography.

Learn and benefit from a master. Happy snapping!

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ePhoto Book: Grace

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The Atlantic coast in France is rough, beautiful and elegant. Deauville is the favorite weekend escape of the le chic of Paris. They enjoy relaxing at the beach, shopping in the exclusive stores and the horse races with lots of money involved.

Get a glimpse of this world so different from
photographic safaris, or well it is a photographic experience of its own.


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How Wildlife Photography can be Pulitzer Winning

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Do you remember any wildlife photograph winning a Pulitzer Prize? I don’t. The Pulitzer Prizes honor excellence in journalism and the arts including photography, but photography as part of photojournalism. Images from photographic safaris or wildlife photography courses are not the ones that win the prize unless the safari becomes news or wildlife conservation is the subject. And the last is actually a very interesting thought to follow.

It will need more than a photographic safari to the Masai Mara to make a documentary about conservation. One needs to do already a lot of pre-production work to understand the topic, read a lot, talk to people in conservation and focus on one specific issue to deepen it out in a photo documentary. This will be the base for the photographic safari to capture the images and to tell the story of this specific problem or success.

Practicing this kind of wildlife photography documentaries in wildlife photography courses can be very nice, inspiring and may lead one day to a Pulitzer Prize. Even
team building photo safaris can benefit from this approach, although there will most likely not the prize be the goal. Anyhow, never think never. Powerful wildlife photography telling a powerful story can have the potential to be Pulitzer Prize winning, although it will have to compete with what happens elsewhere in the world. It’s worth thinking about it and one can also start small, growing towards bigger prizes.

Happy snapping and growing!

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How Wildlife Photographers can Learn from William Eggleston

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“I was in Oxford, Mississippi for a few days and I was driving out to Holly Springs on a back road, stopping here and there. It was the time of year when the landscape wasn't yet green. I left the car and walked into the dead leaves off the road. It was one of those occasions when there was no picture there. It seemed like nothing, but of course there was something for someone out there. I started forcing myself to take pictures of the earth, where it had been eroded thirty or forty feet from the road. There were a few weeds. I began to realize that soon I was taking some pretty good pictures, so I went further into the woods and up a little hill, and got well into an entire roll of film.” (from a conversation of William Eggleston with Mark Holborn, afterward from The Democratic Forest)

This might sound familiar for wildlife photographers, being on a
photographic safari or wildlife photography course lets say in the Masai Mara in Kenya, driving the entire morning over the Great Plains and seeing “nothing”. As Eggleston’s story tells, there is always something to photograph, one only needs to start seeing. And well, we are probably sometimes a bit spoilt, expecting the perfect light on incredible wildlife interaction right in front of us and yes, that happens, but there is so much more to see and photograph by just starting seeing. There is landscape, there are beetles, leaves, flowers, grass, soil, rocks, roads and so much more and not only in the bush, start looking out for it in your own garden and hometown. Do not wait for the obvious great shot, start seeing the great photograph in everything and a whole new world will open to a new dimension in photography. Sounds a bit vague? Try it and see the results. During our team building photo safaris we often experience the most amazing surprises when people who never thought of themselves of being able to express something in photos come up with the most beautiful results and they also might have thought at one stage, that this all sounds a bit vague.

Go and try and be surprised by your photography.

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ePhoto Book: Sense Essence

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This ephoto book tells the story of a photographic safari to the Great Migration in the Masai Mara. The day we saw the crossing was a day of drama, you could feel it; it was in the air. The herds were nervous, zebra families calling for each other from both sides of the Mara River. It was a perfect day for a wildlife photography course, demanding for the photographer, yet rewarding at the end.

Enjoy the essence of this day. Click
here to view and download.

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Wildlife Paintings of Wildlife Photographs & vice versa

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When wildlife painters like David Shepherd work on their paintings they use photographs to help them paint animals correctly and to recall certain moments and light. Many use photographs other people took on their photographic safaris and others go on photographic safari themselves. It would be interesting to have painters on wildlife photography courses to see how they work and how they use the camera as a tool. Do they photograph already compositions they paint later or do they capture mostly animals with the idea of being able to paint them correctly? Probably both, yet there could be inspiration from painters to photographers and the other way around.

But there are also photographers that recreate paintings in photographs like Richard Tuschman did with Edward Hopper’s paintings (image below).


What is more difficult, painting a photograph or recreating a painting with a photo? It might all boil down to the skills of the photographer and painter, but I cannot see how to recreate a Van Gogh with a photo or a Picasso. So I think its more difficult to create the photo.
Anyhow, it is a nice thing to try during a painting or photography course with lots of fun and probably funny results.

Try it? Have fun!

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Wildlife Photography Storytelling

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Taking a picture is not just taking a picture. The picture tells the story of the moment and that applies to all pictures, the birthday party pictures, the family shots and the leopard photos from the photographic safari in South Africa.

Lets focus on the leopard for the moment. During our
wildlife photography courses we try to see and photograph the Big 5 and choose the game reserves and National Parks accordingly. But still it can be hard to see leopards and that makes us going to the Sabi Sand in South Africa to make sure we see them.

You might have seen many leopard photographs and think they look quite similar with a leopard lying down in its typical majestic pose or lying on a tree branch and you might think they do not look much storytelling, but they do. It is not easy to photograph a leopard and capturing its entire beauty. The angle, the light, the look, all needs to be right to tell the story and often a leopard photo tells the story of a very lucky photographer, pressing the shutter at just the right moment. Even the blurred images and miss-composed ones are telling the story of the excitement of the moment and the difficult circumstances. Wildlife photography storytelling are not only the spectacular images of a kill or a chase. In every image is a story that makes us look at them.

Pressing the shutter is telling a story and makes photographers storytellers.

Happy storytelling!

Ute Sonnenberg for

Nature's Grace Beautifully Captured

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How long did it take you to see that the glowing beautiful fabric with the stunning light on the photo above is a vegetable?
It took me a moment to realize that this is nature’s beauty photographed like the most beautiful ball gown. The photograph was created by
Edward Weston, the magnificent photographer of the last century. He is well known for his nudes, but the nature objects like the vegetables are just stunning. A simple pepper or crop unfold their beauty under the creative hands of the photographer and become pieces of art.

Sometimes on our
photographic safaris in Kenya or South Africa when we do a wildlife photography course we try to create some play time. It can be really fun to practice “studio photography” in the bush. We take an object like a leave, a fruit or even just something from our bush breakfast and do a photo shoot with it right where we are. The results are often really nice, although we do not have the studio lights Edward Weston used, but working with ambient light is wonderful and inspiring, bringing new and surprising results.

Try it for a start in your own garden. Use the golden hour and see what you can create. If you need some more inspiration have a look at Weston’s books like
The Last Years in Carmel.

Happy snapping!

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ePhoto Book: Aloha

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ePhoto Book: Aloha

Aloha, welcome to Hawaii.

Hawaii is a dream destination for holidays, weddings,
photographic adventures, and wildlife photo safaris under water, surfing and many more. It is a very beautiful place with a magic that makes you wanting to come back again and again.

Get a glimpse of these irresistible islands with this
photo book.

Aloha and Mahalo.

Ute Sonnenberg for

When Your Domestic Cat Goes on Safari

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I’m not a friend of Photoshop for wildlife photography, but there are exceptions and here is one.

What happens when domestic cats go on
photo safaris and do all the big cat things? Then they are part of a Whiskas advertising campaign and a teamwork result of photographer George Logan and retoucher Tony Swinney.

They are done with so nice humor, yet showing that your domestic cat looks and behaves very much like a big cat, although she or he is rather small. Actually the African wild cat has about the size of a domestic cat and does live in the bush.

Well, if you are short of wildlife for your photography course, remember your cat and you have the subject you were looking for. Now only some photoshopping and you can even create the impression that you were traveling with your cat to the bush.

Enjoy these great and funny images!

See more images on the
PetaPixel post.

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The Worlds Oldest Photography Museum at Your Finger Tips

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The world’s oldest photography museum made the step into the digital age. The in 1949 opened George Eastman House in Rochester, New York has become the first photo museum to join Google Art Project.

So far 50 high-resolution images have been uploaded. They show a variety of subjects like Frida Kahlo, Martin Luther King and great photography from the very early years.

The Google Art Project is anyway a good idea to go on worldwide museum photo safari just from the comfort of your home and with no more costs than your Internet connection. It is also a great source for teaching art classes and
photography courses, providing inspirational examples of visual art.

Have a
look and enjoy some great museums from around the world.

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How Far would You Go for a Photo

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Clark Little is a photographer shooting shore breaks on the North shore of Oahu, Hawaii. When I read the PetaPixel interview with him, I didn’t only like the images a lot, I also liked what he said about risks and precaution.

In essence he is saying that his experience of 30 years in surfing is his guard and the knowledge of the risk involved keeps him focused. This applies not only to photographing the big waves of Hawaii, but also all other photographic opportunities from travel photography to photographic safaris and “just” photographing at home. Do not forget where you are and what the risks might be. At home it might be the edge of the veranda you can fall off and in the bush the pride of lion in the open plains.

However, Clark Little never attended a
photography course, yet his photography is what he does for a living and he is very successful and very grounded. The passion for what you do is the key.

Read the full interview

Enjoy where your passion takes you.

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Fairy Tale Star Talers Falling in Chicago

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You might know the fairy tale Star Talers by the Brothers Grim. In all illustrations (at least the ones I know) one sees a girl standing, looking up to the sky, her hands holding her skirt up, collecting the star talers that fall from the sky. The air is full of sparkles and it looks quite magical.

Now there can be star talers sparkling the air even in Chicago. Photography enthusiast Satoki Nagata photographed at night, using an off camera flash that turned the falling rain and snow into stars falling from the sky.

Try it for yourself, go on night photo safari in your hometown or suggest it in your
photography course class, or create a team building experience and see what stars you can illuminate. The light needs to fall in a certain angle on the rain or snow. So don’t give up when the first photo is not a success. Just keep going and it will turn out well.

Happy snapping!

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Bert Stern: Meet Inspiration

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In case the name Bert Stern doesn’t immediately ring a bell, he is the photographer who took the amazing images of Marilyn Monroe shortly before her death. His creative nature revolutionized advertising photographs in the early 60ies and his photographic work seems always to reflect the essence of the subject.

His photographic safaris could happen for example on 5
th Avenue in New York, walking with a Martini glass filled with water, waiting for ideas for an advert. He exposed himself to the inspiration that is surrounding us and waited that it made itself known to him. It is an amazing way to work and it results in intimate and mesmerizing images.

When you would like to experience a
photography course lead by him, just visit the current exhibition at the Stanley-Wise Gallery in New York and watch the just released documentary on Bert Stern Original Mad Man. Read more about Bert Stern and the movie in TIME Lightbox.

Be inspired!

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ePhoto Book: Beauty at Ease

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Meru National Park is a beautiful photo safari destination in northern Kenya. Its breathtaking landscapes and beautiful animals provide ideal conditions for wildlife photography courses. The light is magnificent and the outlooks over the park are stunning.

Meru got also the rare Grevy’s zebras and the gerenuks, also called “giraffe antelope”. It is a place to go to enjoy nature and photography and to be with beauty at ease.

Enjoy the ephoto book
“Beauty at ease”.

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Inspiration: The Art Paris 2013

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How much inspiration does one need? Endlessly much and provided by just opening the eyes. But there are these events that provide a high dose of inspiration and one of them was the Art Paris fair last Easter weekend.

Take only the image above, the flying house. It is a beautiful creation made of a photograph, giving the feeling “The Little Prince” from Saint-Exupéry will look out of the window just now. And there was much more work, just as inspiring and opening new creative perspectives to photography with galleries from all over the world exhibiting.

Ever thought of going to an exhibition and photographing the exhibition’s artwork? It can be an inspiring photographic safari wandering around and capturing the paintings and
photographs of the artists, reflecting by doing that what they do to you and how they can inspire you in your own work. That way you can travel through Africa, America and Europe, art history and old masters while taking the essence with you to make the next steps for yourself.

You can make it even a team building event, visiting with your colleagues an art exhibition, everybody photographing what he/she likes and understand that way how they see things their own way. Or go with your photography course to do the same thing and learn from each other. There are endless opportunities to play with it.

Inspiration is an infinite source accessible to all; one just needs to keep the eyes open.

Happy seeing and snapping!

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Street Photography: A Hype?

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It seems that street photography is currently very popular and appealing. Maybe because of the easy access cell phone cameras, those allow us being on photo safari as soon as we leave home and let us discover the street photographer in us. Or is it the freshness of the moment captured, preserved for the future with often a touch of humor? Our daily life is the inspiration for our photography and one doesn’t need a photography course to do it, enjoy it and produce great photography.

Well, there are two photographers who collaborated to create an awesome street photography book called
Berlin+Wien. The photographers are Kay von Aspern and Christian Reister. Their photographs were recently celebrated at the Burjuar in Berlin and will be shown in a new exhibition in Eigensinnig in Vienna that opens May 1st.

Inspired? Keep enjoying snapping wherever you go and capture wonderful moments of awe and joy.

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LaToya Ruby Frazier: Photographic Social Documentaries

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LaToya Ruby Frazier is from Braddock, Pa, nowadays called a “distressed municipality”, back in time home to one of America’s first steel mills. Her photographic work tells the story of her hometown through the story of her family. Her solo exhibition “A Haunted Capital” runs from March 22 – August 11 2013 at the Brooklyn Museum.

This young artist’s social documentaries show the dark side of industrialization and what happens when industrialization moves on to other places, leaving behind destroyed environments, cities and people. Her photographic safaris capture demolished hospitals and despair, yet the beauty of the photographs seems to promise a future, a future not yet arrived and unknown to the people involved.

Social documentaries can be great subjects for
photography course assignments, long time projects and ways to capture history.

Be inspired and capture your history.

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Happy Easter

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Have a wonderful Easter; lots of fun with your egg hunt photo safari, fabulous light to capture the special moments the way you want and maybe some photo gear surprise “eggs” from photography supporting family members

Happy Easter snapping!

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ePhoto Book: Out of Africa, an unexpected journey

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I’m usually always in Africa, doing photography and photographic safaris with photography courses. But sometimes it can happen that something unexpected happens and one gets asked to be at a very different place. That happened when I was asked to present photography courses in New Zealand. It was an unexpected journey that took me out of Africa and it was full of beautiful landscape and magic.

Have a look yourself

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Christo: Swimming in Light

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Christo’s art might be controversial, but what he always accomplishes is awe, surprise and a new experience. Many of us know his work only from photographs, but if you are able to visit Germany this year make a stop in Oberhausen, where Christo created as they say there, the largest indoor sculpture ever.

The installation is called
Big Air Package with a huge balloon filled with air in a former gas storage silo in Oberhausen. Light shines from the top onto it and Christo self said, he had the feeling to swim in light when he saw it.

So, where is light there is photography. Take on the challenge and capture “light swimming”, get your photography course going there, maybe plan a photographic safari through Europe visiting special art exhibitions or start a photography project around this piece of art and be inspired as photographer for your own work.

Happy light swimming!

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Egene Atget: Nostalgia and Surrealism

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Eugene Atget, French photographer, was born in 1857 and his photography breathes the air of nostalgia, with his images telling the story of Paris at the turn of centuries. He seemed to be a shy man; referring to the photos he took that they would only be simple documents. Nonetheless others noticed their strength and Man Ray, one of the most prominent surrealists of his time purchased several of them and used “During Eclipse” for the cover of La Revolution surrealiste (via Photoblographer). Atget did not want his name on the cover picture. Maybe there was also a bit hesitation with surrealism, but that would be speculation on his thoughts. Yet it’s quite interesting that these nostalgic images are linked to surrealism, when one has in mind e.g. paintings of Dali.

The photography story of Egene Atget is a story like many others of photographers and artists who don’t think too much of their own work and hesitate to be proud of it. One got to start somewhere, with a photography course, a study or just snapping away, nothing is impossible. Just keep practicing and
photographing as much as possible and the next cover photo might be one of yours!

Happy snapping!

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ePhoto Book: Roma

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There is a new pope, pope Francis, and he resides in Rome. Well, the photo book was made long before the new pope came, but it just gives a glimpse into the city’s life.

The photos were taken during a
photography course in November with the warm Roman winter light, masses of people on the streets and the historical symbols of the city.

Enjoy beautiful Rome.

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The Paradox of Photographing People's Lives

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Sebastiãno Salgado is an amazing photographer, traveling the world photographing people’s lives in difficult circumstances. His images go deep, show the people’s struggle and the respect he feels for them. Sebastiãno Salgada is only one of a number of photographers capturing the lives of the impoverished and unfortunate with respect and great artistic skills. And we as the viewer and buyer love the images and admire the photographers.

But what makes the
photographers choose these subjects and what makes us the viewer to love these images?

We want to feel that we live.
In the western world most of the people have a home, work and some sort of security in their lives. For most of the people there is no daily confrontation with danger and death, the own death, which is how we want to live, what we work for, to be safe. Yet it seems that we need the confrontation with death in order to be conscious that we live. One can do bungee jumping or skydiving, do video gaming or embark on adventures themselves and one can also look at art and photographs like from Salgado. I don’t know if people from a dangerous gang controlled city area or an area with no water and food look at and love photographs that show suffering and death like Salgado’s images. They have it themselves, they experience it every day and they are conscious that they live, because they are confronted with the possibility of their own death every day. Or would they like to see the reflection of their own lives?

The paradox is that the need to feel that we live pays the ones who capture the suffering of others well and makes sure they have a secure life, which creates in return the need within them to go out and photograph again. Another phenomenon is that the further away the suffering and death happen the more the viewer seems to be able to love the photographs and to feel the situation of the people there. It seems to be hard to bear when it comes too close and that is completely understandable. The suffering the photographs show is unbearable and hard to cope with and at the end we all want to survive, physically and emotionally.

So, what does that mean? Will photography awards continue going to photographs that show suffering or will happy photos win as well? Will the world sustain its regions of poverty and suffering or will there be a time that efforts pay off and people have food and shelter?

I don’t know, we humans are funny creatures with a very complicated psychological constitution. Maybe it is part of the process of becoming human.

Do we need to feel guilty that we love these photographs? No. We seem to have a very good sense of when a photograph was taken with respect and compassion and the photos keep us aware that there is still a lot to be done in the world.

And how do photo safaris fit in here? Not? What do we experience on a photographic safari that is so addictive? Nature? This is probably something for another post.

Keep enjoying the spirit of photography and its deeper insights.

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image above by Sebastiano Salgado

Street Photography: Inspiration

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As a response to an earlier post about Bill Brandt’s street photography, Steve Kenny and Jeanette DeMain provided some more inspirational street photographers to be worth looking at and they really are.

There is
Jacob Riis, a Danish American who lived from 1849 to 1914. He is also called a social documentary photographer, trying to help the impoverished in New York City with his photographic and journalistic talent. So, he might be best characterized as a social reformer with a camera as his tool. His focus might not have been on composition and light in the artistic way, yet he saw a different light, the light in people and he wanted the light of these hidden away impoverished people and their life situation to be visible for all.


Swiss born and after World War II to the US emigrated photographer
Robert Frank is another inspirational photographer, capturing the spirit of America in his book The Americans. He saw American life as overemphasized on money and America often as a bleak and lonely place (Wikipedia). While trying to capture the soul of America as he experienced it, he wielded a great artistic eye, reflecting in the composition of his photographs.


And then
Dennis Hopper, an artistic multi talent. His snapping away is not only capturing famous people he was socializing and working with, his photographs also capture the spirit of time whenever he saw it. It might be even harder to acknowledge the photographic talent of Dennis Hopper when on most of his photographs are celebrities and one thinks its already a good photo because of that, yet they are also well composed and just taken at the right moment.


Between all these men finally a woman,
Vivian Maier. Maier was a amateur street photographer who worked as a nanny in Chicago for 40 years. Her photographs remained unknown until they were discovered by John Maloof, a historian and collector only two years before she died. He said about Vivian Maier, “She was a Socialist, a Feminist, a movie critic, and a tell-it-like-it-is type of person. She learned English by going to theaters, which she loved. She wore a men's jacket, men's shoes and a large hat most of the time. She was constantly taking pictures, which she didn't show anyone.” Now look at her photos and see how great they are.


All these examples of great photographers, their journeys and their art can be of great inspiration to all of us. They show that art happens just in front of us, on our doorsteps, in our daily lives, we only need to start seeing it. And they show also that street photography is an important part of history, telling the story of time and people and sometimes they change the lives for some people too.

So, as mentioned in the earlier post, go out and snap away, make street photography part of your photography courses, go on photographic safari in your home town and find new Big 5 everyday!

Thank you Steve and Jeanette for the inspiration.

Keep enjoying photography!

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Alfred Wertheimer: Photographing Nina Simon

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Photographer Alfred Wertheimer was hired by Anne Fulchino, the person who hired him already for the famous photo series of young Elvis Presley, in the mid 60ies to photograph Nina Simon, the beautiful and uncompromising singer from North Carolina.

By photographing Nina Simon, Wertheimer employed his famously characterized “available darkness” instead of “available light” approach to photography, a way to approach and create contrast in an image. It is probably an interesting way to capture the soul of the subject in this case Nina Simon and a variation of what one learns in photography courses, yet its part of the same, the relation of light and darkness.

Nina Simon would turn 80 this year. Unfortunately she passed away already in 2003 in the south of France, but her songs are just as great as in the 60ies and the photographs tell a story of a special woman.

Often a photographer’s life and work story gets connected with other artist’s lives and work, like Wertheimer with Elvis Presley and Nina Simon and the Annie Leibovitz with the Rolling Stones.

One never knows for what purpose one is called to
photograph somebody. The person might be the next superstar

Happy snapping.

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ePhoto Book: Middle-Earth

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“Middle-Earth is a far away place where elves look after those who embark on journeys and where nature caresses the courageous.”

The images were taken during a series of
photography courses in New Zealand, which might have felt like an unexpected journey with hobbits about to emerge any minute.

Travel to Middle-Earth and embark on a journey. View the book

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Philippe Petit: When Art Looks Effortless

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Philippe Petit is the high-wire-walker, famous for walking across the void between the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York in 1974.

“I knew as a wire walker, I would be a poet who writes in the sky
. Art happens when you work millions of hours not to make it look hard but to make it look effortless. The beauty for an audience is to be inspired and awestruck because you made them forget that the wire was even there.” Philippe Petit

To make the audience forget that there is a wire, he works incredibly hard before the actual performance, but nobody can see that it is even work what he is doing.

Many great artists create a similar experience like for example the great ballet dancer Nureyev or in music e.g. Sting. Their performances seem effortless.

That can lead to the wrong conclusion that they don’t work and shouldn’t earn money and definitely not those huge amounts, because it doesn’t look like hard work. The same principle applies to any craftsmanship or work that is wonderfully done, from the gardener to the business leader and the painter and the housewife. Behind the appearance of effortlessness hides the most difficult and hard work, making it look effortless itself is hard work.

What does that mean for
photography and photographers? One can often hear opinions that photography is no hard work, because it’s only a click on the shutter. When wildlife photography is presented its quality is often explained with the time the photographer had to spend to get the image and the difficulties he/she experienced in the bush. Other photographic artwork gets explained and valued with the hours the photographer had spend behind the computer to make it look like that and the more hours the more worth. But somehow nobody ever says about a photograph that it is great art, because it looks effortless. Is it, because there is controversy about what is art in photography or because people think that the other photographer only got lucky?

I don’t know, but I do know that every artist goes through a creative process with ups and downs and struggle and hassles, a painter, a musician and a photographer. And one can see the difference in the photographs, the story of the photographer is in them and photography itself is the effortless medium to visualize the efforts of the artist.

A creative journey in short is a photographic safari or a wildlife photography course. It’s the photographer and his/her camera that embark on the adventure and the pictures tell their story. The quality of the photos of the first day is different from the photos of the final day, yet they were taking with only a click on the shutter.

Keep working on effortless looking photography. It is not easy to get there, but when you make it, the results are mind-blowing.

Happy snapping!

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Nikon's Awesome New Photo Gear

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The wildlife photographers who use Nikon camera gear are most likely the ones who had been waiting for years that Nikon comes with a new 80-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 telephoto lens. This lens is very practical on photographic safaris and continuously used during wildlife photography courses all over Africa. It gives the wildlife photographer lots of freedom and flexibility. Ad now the waiting is over! Nikon launched the new lens with absolutely great specs:

    That’s what we were waiting for. Now “only” the money to be able to buy one. The lens is available at B&H for USD 2,696.95.

    Another great new thing to come is the D7100, a very good camera for a reasonable price. Have a look at the specs:

      The D7100 is available at
      B&H for USD 1,196.95. Expected arrival of the camera in the shop is the 14th of March, pre-orders are taken.

      So, now only sun, free time to go on photographic adventures and the fun can begin.

      Happy snapping! Have fun!

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      Annie Leibovitz: Reflection

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      Sometimes a photographer needs moments of contemplation to reflect on the work she/he is doing, the photography she/he is doing and how happy one is with what one does. In this video a young Annie Leibovitz is reflecting on her portrait work, how she feels about it and how she experienced photographing John Lennon on the day he was killed. She expresses the wish to have time to be out, only she and her camera for two or three weeks, just to photograph what she wants, sees and loves.

      Isn’t this exactly the dilemma when the photography business goes well for a
      photographer that suddenly there is no time anymore to just enjoy photography in its pure and essential way, just the photographer and the camera and no clutter around? This might be the moment that photography becomes again a hobby for the photographer, as funny as it might sound. And the photography guide starts craving a photographic safari just for him/herself and a photography teacher wishes to attend a photography course just for him/herself.

      It is probably the danger when making your hobby and passion your work that you might lose the passion and love for what you are doing. I don’t know how Annie Leibovitz feels about this today, yet its great to hear how she felt about it at a younger age.

      Keep having fun and joy when snapping away! Keep listening to your heart.

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      ePhoto Book: Sensation

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      The Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of the most beautiful destinations for photographic safaris. The light is just sensational and even with an entry level photography equipment one can take the most amazing pictures.

      Images from photo safaris to the Okavango Delta can always be identified easily, the light is different from any other place and photographers heaven.

      The images of this book were not taken during a photography course, just when traveling for photo fun to the delta.

      Click for the ephoto book


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      Bill Brandt: Pioneer of Street Photography

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      In the age of cell phone cameras probably all smart phone users are street photographers, snapping around wherever they are, collecting an amazing body of work about our society.

      In the early 30s of the last century when street photography was not known, the British Photographer
      Bill Brandt started documenting British life with his photography. Not only the subjects of his photography have a great value, also his eye for light and composition is amazing.

      Maybe there should be an art-street-photography part in every photography course and should the students go out on photographic safaris through their town or village to capture daily life in a stunning way.

      Be inspired and enjoy snapping arty street photos!

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      How Photography Inspires

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      Photography has become a part of our daily life, to capture snap shots of the children and pets, to communicate, archive, explain and inspire.

      It inspires not only our private life, but also our work life and it will do even more in the future. Leaders will visualize the future of their company, finding solutions by utilizing photography; teams will become more aligned by joining team buildings with photography; communication will be visual and misunderstandings will be minimized and even success will be visualized with the help of photography.

      But there is more.
      Photography is and will be not only our everyday tool, it also inspires us to learn, grow and invent. It is at the root of innovation and images carry innovative ideas. Photography is fun and adventure and photographic safaris might be the only shooting left in the bush and conservation blooming. It is technology curiosity with constantly new evolving photographic gear and photography courses igniting art and joy.

      Photography is inspiration. Let it inspire you!

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      Ansel Adams: On Photo Safari in America

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      Who wants to walk in Yosemite? Who wants to go on a photographic safari through America? Who wants to attend a photography course presented by a great master of photography?

      If your answer is yes, me, then you should visit the
      Ansel Adams exhibition in London. The show is on until April 28th in the Maritime Museum in London. And if the journey to London would be a bit too far, there is a catalog available online to enjoy his great work.

      Learning form old masters is not only beneficial for painters; it is also a wonderful source of inspiration for photographers.

      Be inspired and enjoy learning!

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      Conservation, Photography and Fashion

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      Photographic safaris are helping not only to create jobs and to bring income to communities in Africa; they also play an important role for conservation. Where people go on safari to photograph wildlife, the animals are safe and all is done to protect the wildlife and their environment. The increasing number of guests who do photographic safaris and follow wildlife photography courses helps to ban hunt in precious areas and to increase for example the number of lion in the wild. Ecotourism and photography work well together. They are the future for the wildlife areas, they help to protect and create a nature minding conscious in the communities and in the first world countries. The photo camera replaces the rifle and wildlife is preserved.

      Fashion is not that often mentioned as a major contributor to conservation, but there are great examples like the fashion shoot of
      Shawn Heinrichs and Kristian Schmidt with the intention to help protecting the whale sharks. Whale sharks are endangered, but most people don’t know. These incredible and peaceful animals were posing together with models for a mesmerizing fashion shoot of the most beautiful kind. The community in the Philippines where the photographs were taken has developed a small whale shark tourism. Hopefully they will both have a bright future, the whale sharks protected and safe and the community with a stable income and safe as well.

      Read more about the fashion shoot in the original post from PetaPixel.

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      Gregory Heisler: Master of Portrait Photography

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      Gregory Heisler’s portraits were TIME Magazine covers, show world leaders and in many ways impressing people. What is it that makes his portrait photography different and mesmerizing?

      When you visit his
      website you will see that he categorized the portraits like quiet, vibrant and dynamic. Each word an attempt to reflect the essence of the photograph, the essence of the person photographed.

      Great portrait
      photography captures not only a picture of a person, it captures a personality in all its dimensions. And Gregory Heisler is doing that very well. Look at his images and try to feel how he connects with the person he photographs. Then apply it to your own photography, maybe bring it up in a photography course and practice especially the connecting and personality reading part of portrait photography. You will learn to work consciously with your intuition, creating amazing portraits.

      Happy snapping!

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      ePhoto Book: Lamu

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      The island of Lamu is located just off the north-eastern coast of Kenya. It is the oldest Swahili settlement of the country and with its Arab architecture it is a wonder-world for photographers.

      This photo book lets you travel to Lamu and takes you on a photographic “safari” through the streets of this World Heritage Site, a very special place for photography courses, lovers of colorful cultures and travelers to the tropical regions of the world.

      Enjoy Lamu. View the book

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      Leadership: How to Produce Ideas utilizing Photography

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      James Webb Young published in 1939 a book with the title “A Technique for Producing Ideas”. He was a cross-disciplinary thinker and his book mentions 5 essential steps how ideas are produced:

        All five steps are executed by the brain and at the end an idea rolls out. This process is in its physical being non visible and non physical, because it happens in the maze of our brains. We might visualize material and ideas for ourselves to understand it better, but the images are just in the brain.

        That can sometimes be a problem when working in teams to produce ideas. Words cannot explain what the processes in your brain are doing and what you see, and this is the same for every member of the team. Irritation, frustration and misunderstanding are starting to undermine the process and its getting more difficult to come up with the right ideas.

        This can be changed. Photography is the all-in-one device for producing ideas. Material is captured in images and by capturing it, it is at the same time digested and already processed by the unconscious. Now all images hang on a wall or are lying on a table. After looking at them for a while the people take pictures of the pictures. One or several of them are the a-ha moment and the moment that the idea meets reality at the same time. An idea was born.

        Photography cuts down the process to its essence. By doing that it saves a lot of time and energy, gives leaders quick access to solutions and teams more resources to work with. It works in all sorts of settings like marketing sessions,
        leadership training, innovation sessions, product development and actually anything one is looking for ideas, also little (or not so little) hassles like how should I present myself in the job interview tomorrow.

        Got it? Try it. Enjoy!

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        Read more about Webb’s book

        Mario Testino: In Your Face

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        In Your Face is not only the name of fashion photographer Mario Testino’s first ever photo exhibition in the U.S. that took pace at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, it is also what his photography really is.

        One can recognize his photographs immediately and for my feeling also his Italian descent. The composition, the movement, the beauty, just like energy coming out of the photographs, each one a wonderful piece of fine art photography. They somehow grab you and won’t let go anymore and that’s what art is about. You keep looking at them.

        In your face or rather in your heart, that’s what a photo does, all photos do and what
        photography courses should teach the students, that their photographs touch hearts and mesmerize minds and turn into art.

        Keep going, snapping and having fun!

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        Do we need Fotobars?

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        Polaroid has just opened its first Fotobar retail store in Florida to be followed by more stores in major cities in the US. People can go there and upload their Instagram or Facebook photos to a workstation, edit them and order prints with the choice of several print materials and frames.

        I thought
        photography-loving people are doing that anyway already from home. Upload images, edit and order prints online, if they want their art to be a nice present or for their own home. For what reason a store to go to and do it instead of easily at home?

        I don’t know. There must be some deeper reason behind the store idea that is only known to the Polaroid people. The good thing is that these stores also offer space for photography courses, to display art and for private parties.

        Maybe the parties will be the actual business there

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        Noam Chomsky: What Passion Can Do

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        Noam Chomsky the renowned American linguist turned 84 in December last year and he seems to be as active as always, Gary Marcus is writing for the New Yorker. A man full of passion for what he is doing, not tiring even at an advanced age, an example for all who are about to make choices in their life and the path of passion is one of the options.

        No matter if language, photography or music is your passion, when you really love it, follow its call. It might feel frightening and the mind might be full of doubt, but trust your intuition and all will fall into place. Remember also Steve Jobs words, that you better do what you love to do when times get tough, otherwise you will not succeed.

        Big words and deep in our heart we know they are true, but one still got to do it. Maybe the example of this inspiring personality can be a motivation and assurance that it really works.

        Follow your heart and
        enjoy your passion!

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        ePhoto Book: El Sentimiento

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        Spain is a beautiful country and Andalusia is magic. It is a place of great emotions, history, nature, people, beauty and horses. Traveling for photography is such an amazing experience. It gets to the photographer and to the subject as well and it creates memorable images of special journeys.

        El Sentimiento is a photo book about Andalusia, a journey to special places.

        Enjoy! View the book

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        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.

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        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!

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        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!

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        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

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        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

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        How Intuition drives Photography

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        What is intuition? When you know that you got to go to the park today to get the best pics of the swans or that you move just a bit more further to get the better composition of the house or that you just know that you will see a lion today on your photographic safari. You just know, your gut feeling tells you and it always proofs to be right, doesn’t it?

        Where would we be in
        photography without our gut feeling? Would we even go on photographic journeys or to photography courses without it? What makes us creating art? Isn’t it all intuition, our gut feeling?

        When do we have success in art and photography? It is the image that you very clearly remember taking in a split of a second and something made you taking it. And you love the image forever, isn’t it that way?

        Trust your intuition and keep going.

        Happy snapping!

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        How Photography will be the Innovation Tool of the Future

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        At the time that quantum physics was evolving and the scientists were wondering what the discoveries they made would mean for humanity, one of them, David Bohm, started collaborating with Martin Buber, the Austrian philosopher. Bohm wanted to find answers in philosophy how discoveries like “everything is made of the same energy” and “everything is connected to everything else” explain the universe and our role in it. He worked with Buber on his book “I and Thou”, yet he realized that he didn’t find all answers he was looking for. David Bohm concluded that it needs the arts to find comprehensive answers, that it would need the triangle quantum physics, philosophy and art to answer the questions of the universe.

        The answers he was looking for might be on their way. Back in his time art was something few people did; nowadays art is something billions do. With a camera in every cell phone pretty much everyone is doing art through photography. It doesn’t need any photography course to wield this amazing tool, one only needs to press the shutter and it goes. By having a broad majority of people doing it, photography has become the connecting art, producing images and answers continuously.

        Now, one only needs to learn to read the images to find the answers, connecting quantum physics, philosophy and art in an innovative synergy to conquer the
        challenges of leadership and life. Visualizing quantum physics and philosophy is innovation at its best, unique, powerful and ready to serve humanity. Next to numerous possible scientific and everyday life applications, photography becomes the key to continuous success in business.

        Photography is what David Bohm was looking for. His intuition was right, that the arts were the link.

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        Eames: Power of 10 - An Art Project

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        In 1977 Ray and Charles Eames created the incredible video Powers of 10 and unfolded for the viewer the gigantic dimensions from the universe on the widest scale to the inside depth of a cell on the smallest scale. This iconic video sparked 40 artists to create a 21st century version, each artist creating a segment in his/her own way.

        The project is close to conclusion and promising a very inspiring result. Its going to be interesting what innovative approach was chosen by each artist and what role photography is playing in the result. It must be in, no question, but how and how can the project be used in art classes and photography courses, what will it contribute to photography and what will it
        teach photographers.

        Read more about the powers project
        here. Watch the iconic video from 1977 here.

        Be inspired!

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        Carl Zeiss Lenses - A Treasure Passed On

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        Carl Zeiss Jena, this magical company of incredible camera lenses in the middle of Germany, surrounded by beautiful forests and touched by the arty spirit of Weimar, where Geothe, Schiller, Liszt and Bauhaus had their home. Their lenses must be magic.

        And they are. One of the very famous camera lenses made by Carl Zeiss is the famous Planar 50mm f/0.7, used by Stanley Kubrick in Barry Lyndon, designed by Dr. Erhard Glatzel. Dr. Glatzel passed away and his grandson inherited his camera bag, with a content no camera bag in the world has and with a big surprise.

        There where suddenly two lenses that nobody knew about, the Distagon 25mm f/1.4 and the Distagon 18mm f/2.8. They are prototypes and never went into production. Example images can be seen on the original forum post and images of more lenses are available via PetaPixel.

        Well, the lenses are not very practical on photo safari, but it would be just amazing to work with them during
        photography courses to see their magnificent qualities in the challenging light of the bush. Maybe one day the grandson will take them there to give it a try, who knows.

        Anyway, its great that there are still surprises in camera gear and special lenses evolve from somewhere.

        Keep enjoying photography and maybe have a look into old boxes on the attic, a surprise could be waiting there for you.

        Happy snapping!

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        How to Learn from Manuel Rivera-Ortiz

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        Manuel Rivera-Ortiz is a photographer known for it’s intriguing documentary style photography one connects with the Magnum Photographers.

        He was born in Puerto Rico and came with his father and siblings to the United States when he was still very young. Rivera-Ortiz was a good student and worked for years as a journalist for newspapers. Not that long ago he caught the photography bug and since then he inspires with his fine art photography work to address social issues with the camera in a beautiful way.

        Rivera-Ortiz only surrendered to photography in 2001 and in 2010 he started the Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for Documentary Photography and Film, what a wonderful success story.

        What does that teach us? Live your dream.

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        ePhoto Book: Leopard Land

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        It is a place like in a fairy tail, yet it is real, leopard land. This place in the South African bush is heaven for photographers, wildlife lovers and an ideal destination for photographic safaris.

        Curious? Have a look

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        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.

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        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!

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        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.

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        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!

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        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

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        The Rise of Fine Art Photography

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        “Great art is great art, whatever the medium.” said Arthur Goldberg, a major US collector of contemporary photography for the last 40 years. (via Forbes)

        Some of the fine art photography “top on the list” are Andreas Gursky, Richard Avedon, Irvin Penn, Helmut Newton and Cindy Sherman. The markets are willing to pay lots of money for their art and this is only good. These artists are stimulating young and emerging photographers to follow their example and do what they love to do, photography.

        With or without photography study or courses, one can be successful and be a great artist. Intuition is the main resource of creativity and one simply got to trust it. Well, that trusting might be the difficult part when bills are piling up and the rent is due too, yet it’s the way it goes. Helmut Newton was struggling until his early 40ies. Going to Paris made all the difference for him and his career took off. Often it is patience and trust in the passion that bring success.

        Keep going and enjoying what you do. Immerse in the love for

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        Self-Published Photo Book Library - The Indie Library

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        Larissa Leclair started The Indie Photobook Library in Washington D.C., giving a home to rare self-published photo books hoping that the collection will be preserved for future generations to see what great work photographers did, although they might not have been officially acknowledged by publishing houses.

        The books in this library are physical books and its great that there is a place to keep them safe for the future, but what about the ephoto books? Wouldn’t it be great to have an ephoto book library instead of ephoto books scattered over the internet with several online publishing platforms? How would it be to have an online library of online ephoto books accessible for anyone from the photography lover to photography teachers available as “text books” during photography lessons?

        Imagine photographing during travel, lets say in France or on photographic safari in Africa or on a cultural trip to Asia and uploading right away your on the go ephoto book to the online library and also to find inspiration and tips while creating your photo book from the online library. It could be some kind of itunes “store” for ephoto books, but then free access.

        Inspired? Someone should do it and make the photography community happy.

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        Oscar Niemeyer - Inspired by Nature

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        Oscar Niemeyer, Brasilia’s famous architect and co-creator of the city Brasilia, is well known for his creations made of concrete. In the case of Brasilia I find it personally a bit too much of his design in one place, a bit too much concrete, but nonetheless one can see clearly that Niemeyer was inspired by nature when creating his abstract formed buildings.

        He wrote in his memoirs:

        “I am not attracted to straight angles or to the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. I am attracted to free-flowing, sensual curves. The curves that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean, and on the body of the beloved woman. Curves make up the entire Universe, the curved Universe of Einstein.”

        One could say he created concrete art inspired by nature and concrete was an ideal medium to mold pieces of modern architecture.

        For those of us who love photographing architecture, his work is a great subject and also a challenging one, making good examples for photography courses. How to photograph this modern architecture? What is the right angle to capture the spirit of it and not to distort the design? Probably by capturing the spirit of nature he put into it, focusing of dynamic parts of the buildings and one would actually capture the essence of his work.

        Well, architecture
        photographers, take on the challenge and be inspired by a great man.

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        Image via Co.Design article on Oscar Niemeyer, read

        ePhoto Book: App Art

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        Photography has become something for every day with the cell phone camera always with us, and a variety of photo apps at hand. The great filters of the photo apps give a boost to creativity and allow easy playing with artistic photography. No photography course needed, only the creative flow and there you are, creating art on the go.

        App Art is a selection of app images, even from a wildlife sanctuary in Nairobi. View and download

        Happy snapping!

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        Photography and the Money

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        Collectors are usually careful or even skeptical with regards to fine art photography. A photograph might be reprinted in the future and the investment would be lost. But confidence is growing and experts think that the modern and contemporary photography art market will grow. Within the last year, new heights in fine art photography auctions were achieved and high prices were paid.

        What does that mean? With photography now being an everyday part of life for billions of people around the globe its fine art is also more recognized and valuable for collectors. And photography itself has become big business through the cell phone market and camera equipment and it will be even bigger in the future. Photography is the future and that reflects in the art market as well with rising prices for fine art photography.

        But how will photographers benefit from that? This is hard to say. Maybe a comparison from hospitality business can shed a bit light on that. Imagine you have a bar in a street where no other bar is. You think that’s great, because there is no competition, but that means also that the customers need to come especially to this street to visit your bar. How many people will do that? Some, but not many. Imagine you have a bar in a street where many other bars are. You might think that’s tough, because there is lots of competition, but it is the opposite. People know that there are many bars in the street and they have a choice, they can move around between bars the whole night if they want and that makes them come to this street. And where many customers are there is a chance that they will visit your bar too. The same works in photography. Many photographers make lots of photography and lots of photography makes lots of people interested in photography and the chances that people love your photography is higher than in times that only few people were doing photography.

        Confused? Don’t think too much about it, just enjoy photography and follow your passion. The rest will come.

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        Camera Oscura - Old Masters and Photographers

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        “The camera obscura is an optical device that projects an image of its surroundings on a screen.” (via Wikipedia)
        It is thought that old masters like the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer used it to create their paintings. British artist and art historian David Hockney did intensive research on the subject and concludes that the great masterpieces were created with the help of optics and lenses. (read the article on

        Knowing this doesn’t make their work less amazing. One can use optics and lenses and still doesn’t know anything about composition and light. One needs to be able to see first and that explains even more why a photographer can learn composition from looking at their masterpieces. They used
        photography tools the same way photographers are creating their compositions nowadays. So, going to a museum and looking at the old masters is a great photography lesson. Do the Louvre and you have a whole photography course, add a photographic safari and an intensive course in natural light will finish it up. And as a result your photographs are paintings with light, maybe even masterpieces of light and composition. You actually learned from old masters.

        Surprising? Check it out. You can also visit the Louvre online. Here the link:

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        What is Success in Photography?

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        “As a self-taught filmmaker who spent the last year trying to get his first real project up and running , I've come across my fair share of disappointments, near misses, and financially tight times. As with any startup or personal project, finances are scarce and it's often your passion for the project and support from family and friends that carries it through. For all entrepreneurs (especially those on the artistic side, like me), creating something of your own isn't about making money--it's about being successful in the way that you personally define it.” (from article by Kerrin Sheldon)

        Kerrin Sheldon’s definition of success is doing something that you love. In his case its filmmaking and it applies just as well to many photographers. Some are self-taught
        photographers, others did several photography courses or studied photography, yet it’s the passion and love for photography that connects them. They succeed in doing what they love to do and that makes them happy.

        And isn’t happiness what we are looking for in life? Well, maybe a new camera or two contributes to happiness too, but the love and passion are the real fun.

        Happy snapping!

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        A Story of Disruptive Innovation and Photography

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        Good ideas often come while we are doing something very boring like driving on the freeway, washing the dishes, doing ironing or other monotone work. We get in some kind of a trance and our thoughts start wandering away and sometimes to places where ideas wait to be discovered. Our mind gets somehow switched off and the intuitive level takes over. In other words our usual thoughts are put to sleep.

        Now we got this amazing idea, we quickly finish the dishes and go straight behind the computer to work the whole thing out for implementation into practice. Lets say the idea is a new kind of team building that uses photography to align the energies of the individual team members in order to accomplish the team goals. This might sound complicated, but it is not, its only photography and it will feel like a normal photography course, only the results will be more beneficial for the team. Lets call it an innovative application of photography for business.

        How do others experience this innovation? Some will see immediately the fun of photography and will be curious to discover new exciting things. Others might be skeptical and might feel a bit uncomfortable, not knowing how the whole thing will work. For them it might feel disruptive, different from the usual team building they always had and reluctance might creep up, tempted to reject the innovative approach of the team building.

        What will win, the reluctance or even rejection or the curiosity, fun and excitement? This is the moment when leadership is needed. At the end the leader guides the team to new success and sometimes something has to disrupt the routine to achieve new levels of achievements.

        Another example: Who remembers the Reebok Pump? Here what happened when the innovation was introduced to the responsible people:

        “When Continuum pitched an idea to Reebok for a new basketball shoe that would use inflated air to better support the ankle, thereby reducing injuries, the brand manager for basketball shoes said he wasn’t interested because he had never heard about a need for that from a focus group. When we proposed the idea to a high school basketball team, the response was even worse--the players openly laughed at the concept.
        But when the team members actually used an early “experiential model” of the shoe during practice, they were won over by how cool it was to have a shoe form-fitted to their feet. Over time, they were even more enthusiastic as they realized they could play more confidently without fear of injury. Like that, the Reebok Pump was born.” (via Co.Create, read the article
        The Reebok Pump could be called a disruptive innovation. It obviously disrupted the usual thinking and doing, yet when eventually tested all were happy.
        There are plenty of examples like the Reebok Pump, also in art and photography. People disliked the painting style of Van Gogh. It was different from the style of other successful painters at this time and Van Gogh’s style might have been experienced as disruptive.
        Long story short, disruptive innovation is something revolutionary and photography is a wonderful
        medium for innovation, within photography and beyond. Use it and be not discouraged when some people might feel disturbed. You might be a new Van Gogh or Rembrandt!
        Keep snapping!

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        How to Learn from Sting

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        How do you create albums and photo books? How do you choose an image from a whole lot of photographs? How do you choose a photography course or art class out of the broad spectrum of choices? How do you choose your travel destination for your holiday?

        I might sound far fetched to through together photo books, albums, photographs, holidays and photo courses, but they got one thing in common, the question how you start creating or making a choice. It is in essence the same intuitive process no matter if you are creating a photo book, a holiday, choosing a course or a photographic safari, your intuition makes the choice and takes the lead. And this creative process often includes a technique called semantic intuition, a brain storm technique.

        Sting said in an interview that the song title comes first and then he writes the song and so do more famous writers as you can read below:

        “The oddly named, but extraordinarily powerful technique was invented by Helmut Schlicksupp, an employee of the Battelle Corporation’s office in Germany. Semantic intuition is a word-combination technique where brainstormers name an idea first, and then try to figure out what the new idea might be, given its name. As counterintuitive or even as impossible as this group idea-generating strategy might sound, there’s actually a precedent for it in the creative arts.
        It was in an interview with Larry King many years ago that Sting revealed that he will often get a title for a song first, and then he will go ahead and write the song
        . Neil Simon, in his second autobiography, revealed that he came up with the name for the play The Odd Couple first, and then wrote the play. And legendary screenwriter William Goldman adopted a similar name-it-first creative strategy when he asked his younger daughter what she wanted him to write a story about. She said “a Princess.” Then he asked his older daughter what she would like him to write a story about. She said, “a bride.” He put them together, and we got his novel--and then the movie--The Princess Bride.”
        (read full article from Fast Company

        Does that sound familiar to you? Don’t you have an idea for a
        photo book first and maybe even the title and then you start choosing the images and layout?

        Think about it. Maybe you are very strong in semantic intuition. Use your strength and create amazing art.

        Enjoy your intuition!

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        ePhoto Book: Contrast - The Light of Darkness

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        Photographic safaris bring you to the most beautiful wildlife destinations in Africa. Their beauty is striking and they teach the visitors not only about wildlife and nature, they also teach about light and contrast and sometimes light and contrast are mirrored in what the bush and the animals are experiencing through life and death.

        Contrast makes us see and is what makes a photograph striking.

        View & download the ephoto book

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        Photography for Thought Leaders

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        Thought leaders are the men and women who guide whole nations and economies into the future, only think of Steve Jobs and his visionary spirit. There is a common sense that visual content, visualizations and pretty much everything will have a virtual existence in the future and that can only mean that photography will play a major role also for thought leaders. How are they communicating in a visual age? Most likely through images and even being not a thought leader one takes rather a photo of a house than trying to explain the husband which house could be a possible home and why. Thought leaders will communicate with their teams through images, team buildings will use photography to align the team members and successful leadership will be measured on how good a leader can communicate with visual content and visualize goals.

        Well, none of the leaders needs to be a photographer to be able to communicate through photography, a cell phone is enough, yet there might come a big increase of hobby photographers out of it as well. And that would be great. Photography is just magic.

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        Picasso: Painting by Heart

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        Light painting has become a very popular kind of photography nowadays and there might be even photography courses in light painting to learn the technique. Only as a side note, photography itself is painting with light, but we understand as light painting now, that somebody holds a light source and paints with it while a camera captures the process.

        It turns out that light painting is not new.
        Picasso did it already in 1949. The Albanian photographer Gjon Mili introduced him to it and Picasso was thrilled. Read here what Mili and Picasse created for Life magazine:

        “So Picasso did his thing, in various darkened rooms of his studio
        . He drew a centaur, the figure of a woman, an elephant, and various faces using a small pen light. “He was so fascinated by the result that he posed for five sessions,” wrote Life magazine, for whom Mili was freelancing at the time. “Mili took his photographs in a darkened room, using two cameras, one for side view, another for front view. By leaving the shutters open, he caught the light streaks swirling through space.” The resulting images were published in a 1949 issue of Life, recently resurfacing after the magazine published about the archived images.”
        (read the complete article from Co.Design here)

        There are other images showing Picasso creating paintings with one stroke and they are already impressing, but this is just stunning. Be aware he doesn’t see what he is painting, at least not with his eyes. If there is any proof necessary, this shows clearly that painting was in his heart.

        Wanna try yourself? Paint with your heart!

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        Photography: Aspiration vs. Inspiration?

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        What are your resolutions for this year? Do more sports, eat less and healthier and spend more time with family and friends? What are your resolutions for this year regards photography? Do photography courses, travel to photograph more of the world, get a new camera, make more photo books or learn how to photograph at night?

        What came first, aspiration or inspiration? Did you cherish the hope of becoming a visual artist and you happened to have a camera at home or were you inspired to capture moments and you developed the hope of winning an award?

        Does it matter? As long as you enjoy photographing, you will be inspired to achieve great things in life, in arts and elsewhere. Take your camera and snap what you see, share it and enjoy the captured moments forever.

        Be inspired to achieve what you wish to achieve.

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        How to Do What You Love

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        Photography is probably one of those things one dreams of doing for a living, but struggling to find a way to do it. But how does one know what one loves and wants to do and if this thing is really photography?

        This is most likely the most difficult part of it, finding out what you really love and want to do in your life. Photography is often thought to be the most desirable thing to do, but is that really the case? Maybe one would be completely happy by repairing cars or teaching children or being a farmer. But how to know when being completely suffocated by the daily routine of a not loved job one does to pay the bills? Photography seems to be the escape and the desired job, far away from dull routines. It might be for some people, but some people might just love teaching, but don’t know yet. In any case photography is the escape for the dulled mind and the craving heart. Photography can be the tool to find out what you really love to do and can help you to find a way of doing it.

        Your photographs tell what your heart knows and your mind fails to see. Look at them, make albums, photo books, calendars, presents and whatever you can think of making from photographs and a pattern will rise and show you what you love in life. And then, just do it. Your life will be most likely happier and if photography is not your dream job, it can still be your beloved hobby.

        Happy snapping and life loving.

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        P.S. Guidance for this kind of processes is available.

        How NOT to Clean Your Camera Lenses

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        Isn’t it sometimes tempting just to breathe on your camera lenses and wipe it with a tissue to get some disturbing stains off? Done that? Don’t do that anymore.

        Nikon’s support website answers the question “How do I clean the camera lens?” that way:

        “The best way to clean a lens is to use a piece of lint free lens cleaning tissue and a small amount of Lens Cleaning solution. Do not use anything containing abrasives or solvents, only use Lens Cleaning Solution.
        First we recommend taking a small blower brush to blow off or brush away loose dust or debris.
        Next, place a drop or two of cleaner on the tissue (never directly onto the lens) and then wipe the lens in a circular motion, beginning in the center and working your way outward, removing any marks or smear.
        If the above supplies are not available a clean, dry, soft, lint free cloth can be used to clean the lens. Do not breathe on the lens to fog it for cleaning. There are harmful acids in breath that can damage lens coatings. Just use the blower bulb, then brush, and wipe the lens in a circular spiral from the center outward.”

        I remember hearing that advice from
        photographers of the old days and admit that I didn’t take it very serious, but obviously they were right. Maybe they didn’t know about the acid, but in essence it was valuable advice.

        Wisdom seems always to come in combination with the word “old” and it does no harm to listen. And sometimes wisdom has the name Nikon

        Happy snapping!

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        2012 National Geographic Photo Contest: Cynical?

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        Photo awards have proved many times that they are questionable in their motives and results and the just announced winner of the “nature” section of the National Geographic 2012 Photo Contest is only another example how cynical awards have become.

        The winning photo is a photo of a tiger, taken in a zoo. One can just imagine what kind of wildlife photography that is in the comfortable security of a zoo with an ice-cream stall conveniently at hand. Not a photographer out in the bush where it has 40 degrees Celsius, covered in dust and sweat, facing possible danger behind every corner and trying to be patient to get that one special shot. No, conveniently with a trolley for the equipment and a foldable chair and umbrella to wait if necessary comfortably for a while, probably being very annoyed by other visitors flocking around the same cage or enclosure.

        Is this the new
        photo safari wildlife photography experience honored by the leading wildlife photography magazine of the world?

        I hope not. There is nothing like the real thing and a photo shows that.

        Read more on the subject from PetaPixel

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        Annie Leibovitz: Ups and Downs

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        In 2007 Annie Leibovitz had to put up her entire work and future work as collateral for a $24 million loan and now she put her NYC compound of three townhouses on the market for $33 million.

        Lets see it as a smart move to get the rights of her work back. She is one of the most sought after commercial photographers and did only last year the great photo shoot with the American Olympic team for

        There can be ups and downs for
        photographers, but it might be a consolation that a photographer can even reach those heights as getting a $24 million loan for ones work.

        Keep shooting!

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        Where to Find Your Life's Quest with(in) Photography

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        You might plan to watch the new larger than life epic movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey or you have seen it already, just like many of us saw The Lord of the Rings and often more than once. What draws us to these kind of movies?

        These movies are about a life’s quest, about someone who embarks on a journey, often not consciously, but ending up perseverant following the quest. Maybe we all would like to embark on such a journey as in the movies, but are we not doing that already? Well the wizard’s name is most likely not Gangalf, but maybe George, your neighbor, and you are most likely not called Bilbo, but isn’t Frank an even better name? You didn’t notice that you were on a journey?

        Ask your camera about that. Go out (or just stay at home) and shoot away, with all your questions in mind, just shoot. And then look at the images. What do you see? Whom do you inspire with your work and care? How does your photography make people happy? Where is your
        photography going?

        If photography is your life’s quest, photography itself will guide you and it will also reveal, if your quest is a different meaningful purpose. The images tell.

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        Featured: Canon 6D

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        It is about 10% smaller and between 10 % and 20 % lighter than its brand siblings, does that make the Canon 6D a good alternative?

        The photo above shows a lineup of the Canon 5D Mark III, the Canon 6D and the Canon 5D Mark II. See the larger image on the original
        PetaPixel post here.

        But there is more. The new Canon photo printers can print directly from the camera, the Canon 6D. Read more in PetaPixels review here.

        Interested? There will be more reviews coming from the actual use of the new camera, but it seems that it is an interesting devise for several reasons. So far also from comments of Nikon D800 users,
        photographers seem to enjoy that the camera is light, not so much to carry around when being on holidays or struggling with luggage allowances on safari flights.

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        The Infinity of Photographs for Music

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        An image is endless. A photograph is a captured moment, yet a moment of infinity and so is the photo, infinite. No rewind, no replay button, its doing it all by itself.

        With music one had to rewind and/or press replay to listen to the favorite song again, but not anymore. For those who cannot get enough of Gangnam Style or other persistently for replay asking hits
        Infinite Jukebox has arrived.

        Read how it exactly works
        here and experience the infinity of a song, just like the infinity of a photograph.

        Or are photographs a bit different infinite?

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        Happy New Year

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        Popular Camera Settings 2012 & Their Meaning(lessness)

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        Reuters made a list of what they think the best photographs taken in 2012 with a whole range of information including camera settings.

        Now the photography enthusiast and Reddit user
        hallbuzz made a list of all the camera settings of the 95 images from the Reuters list including camera brand, lens type, shutter speed and f-stop. Then another Reddit user mathiasa turned all this information into charts. See the charts on petapixel.

        When looking at the charts one could be tempted to think that in order to be one day on the list of the 95 greatest
        photographs of the year, chosen by Reuters, one just can buy the equipment mostly used and the settings mostly applied. But is that so?

        How often do you shoot a sports event like the Olympics? Are the best photographs shot with a Canon, rather than with a Nikon?

        What are the charts tell? Photographers of press agencies get equipped by their employer and the employer chooses a camera brand of good quality he can get a good deal with. Same for the lenses, reflecting also in the f-stop stats. And from there it’s a bit of everything, depending on subject and location.

        So, what does this example of stats of popular settings tell us? There is nothing like a popular setting one can just use, because others do. Camera settings always depend on the light and nothing else.

        Happy snapping!

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        Sony A99: One of a Journey into Still Photography

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        For some reason Sony seems to me rather the excellent video camera brand than a still photography brand, although more and more of my photo course safari guests have Sony cameras and I get to use them in order to help and explain. Somehow they don’t feel “ripe” yet and functionality, menu and displays seem influenced by video cameras. But maybe that is something one got to get used to, I don’t know.

        Well, there is the new Sony A99 and when I read the review from
        Phoblographer I get the impression that they had a bit the same feeling about it. Please read yourself and experience the camera yourself, if you can. They are doing great work and who knows, maybe one day they will overtake the Nikons and Canons.

        Lets see how it goes.

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        Photography Rankings and What They Mean

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        “Ten percent of all of the photographs made in the entire history of photography were made last year — an astounding figure. More than ever before, thanks in part to cell phone technology, the world is engaged with photography and communicating through pictures. Nonetheless, a great photograph will rise above all the others.”
        This quote comes from
        TIME Picks the Top 10 Photos of 2012.

        But what is a
        great photo? Somehow the first image they choose with the man from Ghaza reminds me very much of the winning photo of Word Press Photo 2012. Are they playing safe by choosing what won an award elsewhere or do they really find it one of the greatest photos of 2012?

        The problem is, that all rankings and awards are subject to the subjective judgment of the jury. They have an idea what they want an image to look like and the one that gets the closest to the idea is the winner. But what a jury likes is not necessary what you like and find a great image.

        A great image is an image that appeals to you, an image you love and can’t stop looking at. A great image draws you into it and makes you discover new things all the time. It lets you experience the feeling it captured and takes you on a journey.

        A great image, is an image you love.

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        The Power of Surprise in Photography

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        We don’t like unpleasant surprises, we like nice surprises; yet both ways, surprises have the power to make us more creative. When you plan to photograph your friend’s birthday party you will get from one surprise into the other, because the people will just not do what you as the photographer want them to do. You got to come up with creative solutions to get some nice pictures anyway. And at the end your own photographs will be the surprisingly good.

        When you walk through your town, garden, in the woods or in the park, with every step you might be surprised by new photographic opportunities. And you will try to capture them the way they surprise you. Lets not mention walking in the bush and being surprised by an elephant, well then there is no time for photo safari snaps, then its time to run.

        But isn’t it always the surprise of beauty that makes us snap? The moment of awe we capture and go back to when looking at the images. Surprise can reflect in the images in many ways, from the blurred photo, because we were surprised by that photographic opportunity coming along just now and we were not ready, to the building that surprised us with its beauty.

        Look at your images and see how they surprise you, again and again, every time you look at them.

        Keep being surprised and capture the awe!

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        The Story of Joseph Woodland & It's Meaning for Photographers

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        Joseph Woodland died this month at the age of 91 and he is the man who invented the bar code as we find it on anything we are buying nowadays. The invention was made in the late 1940ies and patented 60 years ago. Woodland, a graduate student, worked together with his classmate Bernard Silver on the technology, but it was Woodlands experience as a boy scout and sitting for months on the beach in Miami what brought the breakthrough.

        When the work didn’t progress at university he quit and spent a winter in Miami Beach where he was sitting the whole day on the beach thinking. And then suddenly the puzzle fell into place. The knowledge of the simple Morse code, he learned as a boy scout, and running his fingers through the sand made him suddenly draw lines with four fingers, realizing that these lines could be wide and narrow depending on the information they carry and the bar code was found.

        Woodland and Silver were ahead of their time and the scanning technology was not yet ready to apply the invention for mass production. They sold their patent for USD 15,000. That was all what they got for it ever, besides the honors from the academic world.

        But what is the essence and what does it tell
        photographers? Your way of photographing might be different than what anybody else is doing and what no photography course is teaching, but it doesn’t mean that it is no good. You might just be creative and ahead of your time. As Woodland did, be yourself and follow your intuition, your path. There might be a point that all puzzle pieces will fall into place. Well, and don’t give away your art to quickly and to cheap, at least if you are in the position to wait. You are creating something with every photo you take, worth attention and respect.

        Keep going!

        Source: The New York Times, read the full article

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        How to Photograph on Christmas

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        Billions of photos will be taken on Christmas around the world, billions of videos will be shot and Youtubed on Christmas and billions of people will look at them and watch the videos. It will be mostly the same objects like Christmas trees, families at their Christmas feasts, families unpacking presents, Christmas decorations, children playing and people partying.

        There are only few images taken at such an event that are interesting for a broader group of people (also those who don’t know the people in it) and these images are the ones that enable the viewer to become part of the family he/she is actually not part of in real life, but learns about them in an intimate way through the photographs.

        How can those images be taken? First of all
        just shoot away without thinking too much. Then add to your focus of seeing (not on your camera) “motion” and from there go to photographing “emotion”. Your photographs will gain depth, what makes one keep looking at them and constantly finding new things in them.

        This can be applied to any photography, yet Christmas is a good point to start.

        Enjoy it and be surprised by the results.

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        Surprising Photography: It's Real

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        This monk traveling the sky on magic powered, red smoke exhausting, like roller blades looking devices might be very tempting to be thought being photoshopped, but its not. It’s real. This is what the Chinese artist Li Wei performed at La Villette in Paris in March 2012.

        And this one, president Obama holding a crystal ball in his hands looking for the future of the world, which could be a typical example for photoshopping, and its not. Also this one is real.


        These two
        images are from the TIME Magazine’s TIME Picks of the most surprising photos of 2012. They are a wonderful example how real moments hold the most beautiful surprises and one only needs to see them, well and press the shutter at the right time. But they are there and it’s again a pure question of seeing.

        Keep your eyes open and look for the surprise and captured it.

        Happy snapping!

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        The Downside of Photo Apps: Instagram

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        It was so much fun, snapping away with Instagram, having fun choosing a fancy filter and sharing it right away with your social network. That was almost a year ago and many has change since then.

        It started with the photo app getting slower with every update. Somehow they managed to make the app more complicated with the same features. Just so many steps have to be completed and decisions to be made before being able to shoot the next photo.

        Then Facebook bought Instagram for an astronomic amount of money and the updates felt more and more like Facebook strategy of tightening up the service for total control and merger with the social network. Now the next step was taken with the new user terms and conditions with as a result a huge outcry of the Instagram users from photo journalists to
        National Geographic and everyday snappers. Instagram can sell your images without telling you for advertising, and you won’t see any payment, you won’t even know.

        It is a very confusing and disturbing matter. National Geographic as paused their Instagram account and might erase it, if the terms are indeed of that meaning. People went onto the streets to protest against it and a whole wave of blog posts is trying to explain what’s going on.

        Most worrying is also the mention that the Instagram terms are pretty much the same now as the Facebook terms, which would mean that Facebook can sell you photos without telling you and mostly using them as they wish.

        Where is this going? It is like anything people like, enjoy and love is kidnapped, held hostage and abused by greedy powers or going more the psychological path, narcissistic powers?

        Read more about it in the listed blog posts below:

        Instagram changes terms of service, but will pro photographers flee anyway?


        No, Instagram can't sell your photos: what the new terms of service really mean

        Why I Quit Instagram

        Instagram Clearly Hates You, So Quit

        New Terms of Use for Instagram: Selling Your Photos Against Your Will 

        Why Instagram is Great for Photographers, and Why You Shouldn’t Use It

        Facebook Poisons Instagram For Its Most Valuable Users: Real Photographers

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        Bringing Back the Magic and Finding the Awesome

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        One might be tempted to say that photography has become hyped up as a technical spectacle of megapixels and Photoshop features, with little magic left. Technology enthusiasts might disagree and say that the technology is magical and fascinating, yet that is a car too. What is the magic of photography?

        Imagine you are walking the path you walk everyday, the route to your work, to the bus, to the subway or to the mailbox and you thought you have seen all what is to see on that path. But one day you take your camera and you photograph while walking that so familiar path and suddenly you start seeing again. There might be little flowers in your neighbor’s garden, a broken wooden chair in a driveway creating interesting patterns on the tarmac or a cat spying on you every morning from behind the curtains.

        Photography makes us seeing and appreciating the beauty in little things we usually pass unnoticed. Photographs are moments of awe that brighten up our days. Maybe the magic of photography is simply the “seeing” with little technology needed, although technology can add lots of fun.

        Keep looking for the awesome and find magic.

        Happy snapping!

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        Beck Hanson: Inspiration for Fun Photography Experiment

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        Singer-songwriter Beck Hansen has just launched his 11th album “Song Reader” and it’s an album you can only listen to when you play it yourself or others do it for you. This album comprises of 20 full-color booklets of sheet music!

        What an idea! Can there be anything more inspirational and stimulating engagement and creativity like that?

        Imagine “sheet photography”. How would that be? You take a photograph and instead of showing your photograph, you tell how it looks and feels. You describe what is on the photograph, the subject, the colors, the surroundings and then the people who want to see it photograph it. That allows the viewer/photographer to add his/her personal dimension to your picture, just like when playing
        Beck’s songs.

        Want to give it a try? The photo is a vase on a coffee table in a private home lounge with a bouquet of wild flowers with the smell of late summer. If you would like to try it, just add a link to the image you took as a comment to this post and all images will be posted lets say before the end of this year.

        Let’s go and
        keep snapping!

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        Louise Dahl-Wolfe: Natural Light

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        It might not be a model’s favorite thing to do, getting up at sunrise for the photo shoot at Miami South Beach, just because the photographer wants the best light. But isn’t natural light anyway the best light?

        Louise Dahl-Wolfe was the pioneer in outdoor fashion photography, doing fashion photo shoots with natural light and inducing a whole movement, called Environmental Fashion Photography.

        Some might prefer studio light, because it can be controlled completely, but natural light gives photography the authenticity we seem to be longing for in all we do and love. It is the ideal partner for great design and helps when the design is not so great by adding the splendid beauty of nature.

        Louise Dahl-Wolfe understood the natural light very well and created the most beautiful fashion photography.
        Her work was and is inspiration to team up with the ambient light and encouragement for photographers to go outdoors!

        Plunge into the natural light and see where it takes you.

        Happy snapping!

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        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

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        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!

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        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!

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        Wantful Christmas Presents

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        Wantful, isn’t this a wonderful word? It doesn’t exist officially, but it should.

        The word reflects our desire to want something in a gentle way. Its not that rough “I want it and I’ll get it no matter what”, it’s the gentle desire of something very beautiful and precious, like for example great design, amazing art, fabulous quality or impressive craftsmanship.

        When you look at your
        photographs do they feel wantful? Try it and make a Wantful Catalog your loved ones can choose from for their Christmas presents. Of course you can include also all the other things you make and that are wnatful to others. Just make it as an online catalog and send it around to your friends and family and see how their wantfulness emerges.

        Happy wantful gift giving!

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        Living Pictures with Light Field Camera Lytro

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        Photos we take with our “normal” cameras are 2D images and nothing is wrong with it, yet there is more what one can do with a camera and this is when Lytro comes in.

        The Lytro camera is a
        light-field camera. That means the camera captures the 4D light field information of a scene and by doing that, the images can be refocused and even the perspectives can be shifted afterwards. Ever had that moment that you wished you had taken the photo with a different angle, different point of view? You can change your point of view now with the new Lytro feature from December 4th just at your computer after the image was taken, well when the image was taken with a Lytro camera.

        Comes pretty close to our human eye, doesn’t it?

        Happy snapping and playing!

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        Image above by Greg Tokarski

        David Hockney: Seeing the World through a Wide Angle Lens

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        What struck me every time I looked at a David Hockney painting is the depth in them. This great perspective seeing and view line conscious eye of him, only matched by excellent wide-angle lenses we use in photography.




        He paints like a wide-angle lens does when we photograph a sky with clouds or a landscape with a road. Well, that also means that we are little Hockneys as well, because one needs to see it first, the lens is only as good as the photographer that wields it. Yet Hockney’s paintings are wonderful to train your eye for perspectives and view lines. Look at them and your eye will learn. That’s enough, just look at them.

        seeing and shooting!

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        A Photograph is what Your Subconscious Sees

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        While reading an article by Roger Cicala on The Camera versus the Human Eye I realized that we humans seem to tend to see the products we once created as superior above nature’s creation. At least I got the idea when reading the article, like the eye gets compared with the camera and has to make up to the expectations in matching the camera specs.

        Its rather interesting that we approach it like that and not the opposite way, that the camera is an attempt to copy the human eye. Nonetheless the article points out that the human eye has an incredible number of megapixel, 130 million, from which 6 million can see color, yet the article goes further into every comparable detail with a camera, weighing the pros and cons of “technical” specs.

        I think comparing the two like that is like comparing apples with peers. The human eye evolved over millions of years with a functionality to serve survival. A camera was created with a different purpose. It is supposed to capture what we see and not so much in order to survive, but to show and share what we see with our subconscious.

        And here it comes.

        “Unlike the intermittent shutter clicks of a camera, the eye is sending the brain a constant feed video which is being processed into what we see. A subconscious part of the brain (the
        lateral geniculate nucleus if you must know) compares the signals from both eyes, assembles the most important parts into 3-D images, and sends them on to the conscious part of the brain for image recognition and further processing.” Roger Cicala

        The subconscious makes the choice what we see consciously and because the human eye is made to help us survive it will provide our conscious with images like face recognition and alike. But our subconscious receives all we see, also what is not essential to survival and the information sits there with the subconscious and it does not even create the 3-D images for us, it just keeps the information and although it’s subconscious, we know that there is more.

        Roger Cicala was wondering why he often likes more what he captures with the camera, although it’s not what he saw with his eye.

        “But I guess my only real conclusion is this: a photograph is NOT exactly what my eye and brain saw at the scene. When I get a good shot, it’s something different and something better,…” Roger Cicala

        No, a photograph is what your eye saw. The photograph captures the information that was sitting unprocessed to the brain with the subconscious. It creates the images of this unprocessed seeing or in other words, a photograph is what your subconscious sees and when taking it a step further, your subconscious was seeing for you all along. And that makes you connect with your photographs so deeply and liking them dearly.

        Keep seeing, keep snapping!

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        How to Photograph like Francis Bacon Painted

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        Bullfight by Francis Bacon

        What do you see when looking at a Francis Bacon painting? Essence.

        Yes, there is still recognizable shape, yet no disturbing details. The subject’s essence is captured in the painting and without seeing the bullfighter’s face we know it’s the bullfighter. The painting is condensed essence and when looking at it we can feel the energy between the man and the animal, the power of the moment the tension, the fear.

        How can a
        photographer paint like Bacon? By daring to shoot away and simply following the energy of the moment.

        Imagine a horse race. The horses are coming with such a speed that there is no time to think at all. You got to shoot away, just follow with your camera the energy of the racing horses and you will get the most amazing photographs. You will feel the energy and there is no choice, it lasts only for seconds, so just let go and shoot. The horses are faster than you and the camera, so probably most of the image will be blur, but the essence will be in focus and the blur rest of the image shows the dynamic of the moment. The viewer will feel it, just like in a painting from Bacon.


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        Romance: Karen Blixen & Peter Beard

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        Do not jump to conclusions, romance is not an intimate relationship, romance is a strong connection sometimes people have, like mothers with children, siblings, soul mates or like we sometimes call them “like minded people” or rather “like hearted people”.

        Peter Beard visited Karen Blixen at her home in Denmark. This was in the early 60ies and Beard was at that time a young man who had just started exploring East Africa and had been very much drawn into Blixen’s book “Out of Africa”. Well, a lady from Blixen’s household said that he seems to remember Karen Blixen of her big love Denys Finch Hatton, yet the connection the two was most likely the love and fascination for Africa.

        Beard took some great
        photographs of Karen Blixen and probably even the last one ever taken of her, she died in 1962. Quotes from Out of Africa are on many of Beard’s photographs and it seems that they saw Africa the same way, had the same connection with the continent and its people and wildlife, shared the same fascination and loved it deeply. What Blixen was saying with words, Beard was saying with photographs and Blixen’s words on Beard’s photographs are an overwhelming combination.

        Find a selection of Peter Beard’s work on his
        website or in the book Peter Beard Trade Edition or get in the car and drive to Arles in the Camargue in Southern France. Hotel Nord Pinus in Arles has an impressing small collection of original Peter Beard photographs, including a Karen Blixen portrait.
        What fascinations are you sharing? Even thought to capture them in photographs?

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        photo above: Peter Beard photo of Karen Blixen, shown at Hotel Nord Pinus in Arles

        Refreshed Nikon DSLR Range

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        This year Nikon did quite a revolutionary refresh of its DSLR line with the release of the flagship camera D4 and the high-megapixel cameras D800 and D800E, leaving some professionals with the dilemma to choose between the two of them.

        But it seems that they are not done yet.
        Nikon Rumors reports that within a few weeks the new D5200 will be announced. This camera will replace the D5100 as a mid-range DSLR for consumers and enthusiasts.

        In case its getting a bit confusing with all the different
        cameras, here a chart with the Nikon DSLRs for a better orientation. (via PetaPixel).


        Will this be the last announcement of a new camera for a while? Sometimes big companies breath in for a few years and then breath out also for a few years, meaning it takes a while to develop new products and then release them in a big wave.

        Lets see what comes next, maybe a few new lenses?

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        Striking Photo Stacking Technique

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        There are many ways of painting with your camera and there are probably even more ways of painting with Photoshop, but this one is really a nice one.

        Matt Molloy’s photo stacking technique cloud images look just amazing, like big rough brush strokes have set the clouds on the pictures.

        Here is how Molloy does it:

        “To make these ‘photo stacks’, I first shoot a timelapse, taking a photo every 5 seconds or so. (Settings differ depending on the subject and lighting conditions). I then merge several photos into one image using Photoshop. I start with the first image from the timelapse as a normal photo and then blend the rest of them with the ‘lighten’ blending mode. This only adds things that are brighter than what was in the first photo, and so you can see things like the paths of stars as they move across the sky. (The movement of the stars is actually from the earth’s rotation).”

        It sounds like a lot of work, but it looks like being worth trying.


        Find more of his work can be found on
        Flickr and 500px and good luck with playing with light.

        Happy brush stroke setting!

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        The New Yorker's Wild Dogs

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        There seems to be no place in the world without dogs. Even in the bush everything is dropped when wild dogs are spotted and the game vehicles race to the sighting. They are so rarely seen and they are endangered in many areas, that seeing them is a very exciting experience.

        Spotting dogs in big cities is not quite a rare sighting and dogs in general are an essential part of our lives. They seem to help us with all sorts of things, even with writing.
        The New Yorker just released the The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs by Maria Popova with dog themed pieces of literature. Interested? Be careful, its about dogs and only about dogs, as Malcolm Gladwell says in the foreword:

        “A few words about you. You bought this book: several hundred pages on dogs. You are, in other words, as unhealthily involved in the emotional life of dogs as the rest of us. Have you wondered why you bought it? One possible answer is that you see the subject of man’s affection for dogs as a way of examining all sorts of broader issues. Is it the case of a simple thing revealing a great many complex truths? We do a lot of this at 
        The New Yorker. To be honest: I do a lot of this at The New Yorker — always going on and on about how A is just a metaphor for B, and blah, blah, blah. But let’s be clear. You didn’t really buy this boo because of some grand metaphor. Dogs are not about something else. Dogs are about dogs.”


        Well, I think dogs are more than dogs, even in the bush and the excitement of so many savvy bush people and guests can’t be wrong, they are something special. When you see a pack of wild dogs on the go, how they interact and how they hunt, it’s really something special.

        Keep being inspired by dogs and photograph every now and then your own dog. They are great subjects for awesome photography.

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        People behind Photographers like Steven Meisel

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        Steven Meisel a press shy and amazing photographer from New York is famous for his fabulous fashion photography. He draws fantastic expressive compositions with his camera and his images have been many times on the covers of major fashion magazines.

        Yet, behind a great photographer are also great people, like for example
        Pascal Dangin, the founder and chief of Box Studios in New York. Some people say he is the most sought after retoucher in the industry, others call him the Godfather of Photoshop. The world of a retouch studio is somehow mysterious, because we usually only see and know the photographer. Get an insight view of Box Studios with the video Mike Saunders shot and if you would like to learn more about Pascal Dangin read here:

        How is your postproduction doing? Yes, most of us are doing it all ourselves and maybe we can learn something from the specialists.

        Happy learning!

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        Hone your instincts: Joel Meyerowitz, Photographer

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        A remarkable story to encourage all photographers and almost photographers: the life journey of the New York City–based photographer Joel Meyerowitz.

        In 1962 Meyerowitz was working as an art director at an advertising agency when he watched photographer Robert Frank working on an advertising photo shoot. It proofed to be a cathartic moment for Meyerowitz. Back in the office he told his boss that he wanted to be a photographer.

        “On the way back to the office, Meyerowitz walked the streets of New York for more than an hour. “I felt like I was reading the text of the street in a way that I never had before,” he says.
        When he returned to the office, Meyerowitz told his boss, Harry Gordon, that he was quitting. He wanted to be a photographer. Gordon then asked him a crucial question: did he have a camera? The answer was no, so Gordon lent him a 35mm camera and Meyerowitz embarked on the great journey of his life.
        That first day with Robert Frank served as more than just a catalytic inspiration; it laid the foundation for how Meyerowitz would record street life. He bobs and weaves through the throngs of people, searching for that serendipitous moment that becomes a great photograph. 

        When he is shooting on the street, there isn’t much time to contemplate each moment. “Photography takes place in a fraction of a second,” Meyerowitz says. “There isn’t a lot of time to think about things. You have to hone your instinct. You learn to hone that skill and timing so you’re in the right place at the right time.” Although he has made images that have moved audiences for decades, that has never been his true motivation. “I’m not out there to make another ‘great picture,’” he says. “I’m really out there to feel what it feels like to be alive and conscious in that moment. In a sense, the record of my photographs is a record of moments of consciousness and awareness that have come to me in my life.”” (
        via Time, by Nate Rawlings)

        This life changing moment happened 50 years ago. For this anniversary Meyerowitz compiled hundreds of images into a two-volume book, Joel Meyerowitz:
        Taking My Time (Phaideon Press).

        From November 2, his work is been displayed at the
        Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York.

        Be inspired!

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        Photography before Photoshop: How Image Manipulation was Always There

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        Photoshop is the tool that makes the sky bluer, the model slimmer, the skin flawless and that puts things in the picture that weren’t there before. But image manipulation is not new. It existed before Photoshop was invented.

        The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is hosting an exhibition devoted to manipulated photography before the digital age. The exhibition is called Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop and runs from 11
        th October 2012 – 27th January 2013. It shows fantastic examples of image manipulation from before digital tools and can make one laugh when seeing the beginnings of this nowadays-advanced tool.

        The companion book is available on
        amazon and probably a nice Christmas gift for the photography lover.

        Happy creative faking!

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        How to Use Photo Apps in an Intuitive Way

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        How many photo apps do you have on your iPhone and how do you use them?
        Lets look at I
        nstagram, Hipstamatic, 645 Pro and Polamatic. From the technical-practical point of view I must say that the process of finalizing an image in Instagram takes to long for my taste and in Hipstamatic the preparation process of choosing a film, lens and flash is rather complicated. Both technical aspects are somehow disturbing for the intuitional and creative workflow. Yet the filters are a highly intuitive tool, expressing how the photographer experiences the moment.

        645 Pro



        By observing myself in using the different photo apps I realized that the choice of the app depends on the subject and how I see and experience it. Already the choice of the app is intuitive, connected to the feel and look of the photographic subject. Imagine you are walking through a big garden with different sections. One part is forest like with huge trees, another one is with ponds and water features and again another one is a rose garden. For the forest like and open sections I tend to use 645 Pro with the different ratio options. Only occasionally when some objects in the garden asked for attention I changed to Instagram. The rose garden became an entirely Hipsatmatic experience, giving it the old English rose garden feeling. I did not use the Polamatic app, although it is a great tool to create images with descriptions in the old Polaroid style. Probably it’s the right tool when one needs additional words to say something.
        Anyway, when using Instagram and Hipstamatic I preferred to choose one setting for all shots, because otherwise I couldn’t just shoot away and let the seeing of subjects flow. At least Hipstamatic lets you shoot away once you choose your settings. Instagram asks processing decision once you took the image and I find this disturbing, which makes it not an easy to shoot away tool.

        So, how to use the apps the intuitive way and how to make the right choices? First of all know your apps and what they can do for you. Be familiar with their workflows and know what which setting means for your photographs. Then tune it to the place where you are and understand how you feel about it. Then choose the app that can translate your feeling the best way. And now shoot away.

        Happy intuitive app snapping!

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        The Year of Storytelling … for Photos too?

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        Direct Marketing News forecasted this year would be “the year of the story” and big brands like Nike, Google and Kimberly-Clark use storytelling as a means of communication and leadership. (via Fast Company).
        How do we fit in? Which role play stories in our lives? We write blogs, we
        photograph and we make photo books. We all got stories to tell and digital media allows us to share them with the world and anyone who wants to read them. Imagine only a few years ago. Who was writing a blog? Who was making photo books? Digital photography and social media created easy tools and platforms for expression and suddenly stories were told in words and pictures. Storytelling became accessible to anyone. No publisher would decide if a story was good and allowed to be told. The people are now deciding which story they like. It is amazing how many great storytellers are out there, only browse on this platform and you find the most talented people.
        What I would wish for an easier storytelling with pictures is an online tool with templates for photo ebooks, you know just like the Apple photo book templates, but then online and postable to all social media platforms and blogs. The photo ebooks would appear then as small flipbooks, just like blog posts and you click on them to leave trough. Or am I just living under a rock and this tool is already there? If yes, please let me know! It would be so much fun to make easily and quickly online photo ebooks, but just as beautiful as the gorgeous Apple photo books.
        Or is this just the idea photo storytelling needs?

        Keep telling your stories! Happy creating!

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Magic to Share: Photographs Out of Time & Space

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        Joe Berkowitz unearthed for Co.Create amazing photographs that play with time and space.

        Have a look and enjoy his article and the incredible photographs by Jay Mark Johnson. (photo above)

        Read the article here and get your head spinning.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Another Found: Ansel Adams Prints Found Sitting in a Box

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        Only last week we learned about the never seen before Rolling Stones Images found on a flea market and now there are Ansel Adams prints found sitting in a box at UC Berkeley Library.

        San Francisco Chronicle writes that dance professor Catherine Cole made the discovery after following a trail of documents:
        “I kept seeing the name Ansel Adams and thought ‘what the heck is he doing all over the UC archives,’ ” says Cole, who followed this lead to the Bancroft Library, where 605 signed fine prints by Adams sat in a box, among the university’s rare collections.
        [...] “This is an extraordinary resource that has been buried like a time capsule,” says Cole, 49, who discovered the prints while doing independent research on the California Master Plan for Higher Education. (via PetaPixel)

        Did you start diving into your boxes on the attic already? Again, who knows what’s sitting waiting there to be unearthed … and what about all the
        virtual boxes?

        Happy diving!

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        The Bleeding Edge of Abstraction - Mondrian

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        Piet Mondrian started as a landscape artist and arrived at abstraction. Maybe he actually made a journey into the essence of landscape or the essence of things we see as chairs and trees. When seeing fabrics, blood, skin and cells under the microscope they appear to be patterns of shapes and pretty close to Mondrian’s artwork.

        How does this journey go in
        photography? Maybe a good example is the work of Andreas Gursky, yet also in his work the grass along the Rhein is still recognizable as grass and houses as houses. A camera can produce abstract images, yet we tend to photograph things in their normal being and not as essential abstract patterns of light and matter. Why is this? I don’t know. Maybe Photoshop will be more likely the tool to create “Mondrians” with our photographs, extracting “abstracts” from them, transforming it into artwork. Photoshop is just great for that, our electronic brush.

        For those who like Mondrian, there is a nice book
        “Coppernickel goes Mondrian”. Check it out.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Photography for Business: One-Day Acceleration Sessions

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        Kimberly-Clark is doing collaborative innovation sessions for specific problems and opportunities. They recruit outside “mentors” that come in for a day to help solving specific problems and to explore opportunities the company is looking at. The outside-in view of the mentors allows a deep dive into the issues with strategic and practical insights as the result, that otherwise would have taken weeks to gather.

        Now imagine you add photography as an accelerator to this process and you get One-Day Acceleration Sessions for various business purposes. From innovative leadership sessions to brand innovation, product development and all in between, acceleration sessions with photography are the insular-mind-blowing incubator that saves time, money and resources.

        And how is this possible? It is common knowledge that our conscious is only the tip of the iceberg sticking out of the water and our subconscious is the huge rest of the iceberg under water. Our subconscious knows much more than our conscious, we just struggle to get access to its enormous source of information, at least we did. Photography is the key to open this immense resource to us and allows us to benefit from it. By adding photography to for example leadership sessions it allows us access to these resources of knowledge, speeds up the process and lets us gain insights and ideas we otherwise would need months or even years.

        All Innovation and knowledge is in us. Photography makes it visible, physical and ready to use. A click on the shutter is the key to innovation, leadership and success. It’s as simple as that.

        Photography, the business tool of the future and the future has started now.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        What would You Do in Photography, if money would matter?

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        Vincent Van Gogh must have had a real passion for his vision, continuing with his art, although he never sold one painting. And now his work is the most desired and most expensive in the world. People in his time might have felt disturbed by his new way of seeing and painting. They rather wanted it like it was and the new way only would stir something in them they didn’t want to feel, change. Innovation always causes first rejection and repression, because it means change, even in art and the one thing people resist the most is change. Other genius artists like Picasso saw Van Gogh’s strength, learned from him and honored him, yet the big public needed more time and the masses only join when something is already announced great by other famous people. Van Gogh didn’t have the breath to sit that out. Do we?

        Maybe not many of us can be a Van Gogh of photography, but there are certainly many great photographers out there who do not dare to make the move, because of the fear of ending up like him. Would you do it, if you wouldn’t have to worry about money? Would you choose
        photography as your full-time passion? Can one choose a passion or chooses the passion you?

        Many great people are doing talks on that matter and always say that you have to follow your heart and you will be excellent in what you are doing and then the money comes as well. And the people saying that are the
        Steve Jobs. They embarked on that path and excelled, went through the painful times and arrived at great success, admired for who they are and what they do. The great ones did it despite that money mattered, just like Van Gogh and they are the ones that are innovative, the ones that bring change.

        It’s a tough and scary call to make. Only your heart knows the answer.

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        Discovered Treasure: Never Seen Before Images of the Rolling Stones

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        When did you last go through old boxes on the attic or through the drawers in your study? We probably all have lots of beautiful things buried under all sorts of “rubbish” and we just don’t see them anymore by looking only at the surface of our homes.
        A guy at a flea market in California had an amazing photographic treasure at his stand, not realizing its value and he sold it to a lady who also needed some time to find out what she bought, it were never seen before photographs of the Rolling Stones in their early years in the 60ies.

        Here the story told in an interview with
        Cool Hunting and the lucky finder/buyer Lauren White:

        “I feel lucky. I really didn’t expect to find them at a flea market. Basically, a guy who runs one of the stands called me over because I “looked like I would like rock ‘n’ roll”– and he was right. I don’t know what was lost in translation, however. He obviously didn’t know what he had. To tell the truth, I didn’t either. I obviously knew it was the Stones, but it took about a week of looking them over to realize that this was really a very unique circumstance. After extensive research, I came to find that these are unpublished, never-before-seen photos of one of the most legendary bands in rock ‘n’ roll history. Not only that, they are beautifully composed, candid, raw and perfect in every way. They really convey a band innocent to their destiny.”

        The images of the Rolling Stones are on show this month at the
        Dilettante gallery in Los Angeles. You can see the images also on Found: Rolling Stones.

        Maybe it’s time to start our own discovery tour through our boxes and drawers. Who knows what comes out of it.

        Happy discovering!

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        The Megapixel Race: Sony's 50 Megapixel Sensor

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        We are all anxious to finally see what Canon is coming up with towards the end of this month and if it’s true that it will be a 46 Megapixel camera as rumors saying. But there is a new rumor and this time from Sony. sonyalpharumors writes that a 50 Megapixel sensor is in the make and will be released sometime between May and June 2013:

        “The camera will be more “
        photographer” oriented. There are currently a couple of different prototypes. One we heard of has a 36 Megapixel sensor (same as Nikon D800) and built-in vertical grip. Priced well above the current Sony A99. A second prototype has a new 50 Megapixel sensor which goal is to go as close as possible to a “medium format” quality.”

        So first it was
        Nikon with the D800 and 36 Megapixel, then probably the Canon with 46 Megapixel and now Sony with 50 Megapixel. Where is this going? What do they think to achieve with this Megapixel race?

        All contemplation on this matter might be just as speculating as the megapixel numbers. Lets see what is actually really coming and what it adds to photography.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Felix Baumgartner's Space Jump & It's Connection with Photography

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        After a first canceled jump, Felix Baumgartner successfully did his Red Bull Stratos - Space Jump yesterday, arriving in one piece and well back on earth. He didn’t traveler faster than sound, but he definitely made the highest jump ever, a new record.

        How do we know about a new record and thrilling new things people do? We can see them happening, because photography is where the action takes place and somehow it always did. All moments of history are captured in pictures, all records are captured and all attempts and events are captured. The camera is always there, even at places people can’t go by themselves, but the camera can. The camera became us outside us, a third eye we can send anywhere in order to see for us, share for us and proof for us that something was really there or proofs that we were really there.
        Way forward in future the images of Felix Baumgartner jumping from space will still be there, but he won’t. Images make immortal and always did, from the cave drawings of the first humans to the high-resolution images of today. We obviously like to see to believe, even our own existence.

        Watch the video of the
        Red Bull Stratos - Space Jump. The camera lets you be there in space at the edge of the capsule and its quite a feeling to look down from space like Baumgartner did when he jumped, not suitable for people with fear of height

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Send Yourself a Photo to the Future

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        There is the iPhone photo app One Momento, an art project that allows you to take only one picture. This picture is uploaded to a gallery with all one-image-photo-app-images, aiming on 250,000 images, in a way a collage of images from 250,000 photographers.

        That one image idea is quite interesting and can inspire more art applications. How about taking one image today, saving it in a separate folder on your computer or cloud and making a note in your calendar to open this image on a certain day in the future? What will the image tell you? It is like writing a letter to yourself, posting it and receiving the letter on a certain date in the future and it most likely will give you exactly what you need at that very moment, some encouragement, consolation, joy, congratulations or support.

        Wanna try? Take a photo or choose one from your image gallery, seal it in a folder on your computer, pick a date in your calendar and make an appointment/note with notification. Then let go and forget about it. It will make itself know when its time to open it again.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Infinite Light - Inspired by John Lautner's Architecture

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        American architect John Lautner was portrayed by the amazing documentary Infinite Space, which could easily has been named Infinite Light, because his architecture allows infinite light in all his houses by connecting them to the natural environment they are located in on the most beautiful places in the world.

        What does his infinite space approach mean for
        photographers? In the first place think infinite, allow your imagination infinite space and in the second place use the infinite light available to all of us. Play with it and explore how light creates infinite spaces within spaces. Interior photographers will be conscious about that, yet it is an excellent tool for all photographers to learn about light. How light makes spaces infinite although they have real walls and how light can create smaller spaces within infinite spaces like nature.

        Get a glimpse of infinity from the
        Infinite Space trailer and for the complete experiences get hold of the documentary dvd.

        Explore your spaces.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        MoMA's New Photography 2012 - Emerging Photographers

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        The annual photography exhibition New Photography at the New York City Museum of Modern Art MoMA has started on the 3rd of October and runs through to the 4th of February 2013.
        The exhibition wants to showcase emerging photographers and sees itself each year confronted with a bigger challenge with all the images taken by millions of photographers on all the social networks. According to the
        New York Times more than 380 billion photographs were taken in 2011 alone.

        So, it must have been a hard job to decide on 5 photographers to be featured on the New Photography 2012 exhibition. The artists are Michele Abeles, Birdhead (Ji Weiyu and Song Tao), Anne Collier, Zoe Crosher and Shirana Shahbazi. Detailed information is available on the exhibition site and in the Time Magazine article by
        Erica Fahr Campbell.

        Isn’t it an incredible inspiration that any of the photographers showcasing their work on social media could be one day the emerging photographer of New Photography?

        Keep shooting!

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Stanley Kubrick - Candlelight Filming an Inspiration for Photographers

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        In 1975 Stanley Kubrick directed the three-hour movie Barry Lyndon with its famous candlelight scenes, filmed only with ambient light and in this case, candlelight. For this amazing movie he used the NASA Zeiss f/0.70 lenses with some of the fastest apertures ever made.

        In the Stanley Kubrick documentary
        A Life in Pictures a section is dedicated to the making of Barry Lyndon and these amazing lenses, originally coming from photography and not cinematography. Kubrick with his still photography background just put them on a film camera and made this incredible movie. See here a fragment of the documentary on the Barry Lyndon movie.

        Ok, we usually do not have access to these high-end lenses, but when did you for the last time experiment with lenses and ambient light? One big takeaway from Kubrick’s movie is also that less is more and genuineness is unbeatable. No studio light setting would have given the movie that genuine feeling of a candlelight evening than a real candlelight evening.

        Is there any better light than
        ambient light?

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        121 Autofocus Points from Sony vs. High-MP from Canon

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        The numbers get higher and we tend to thing that the higher the numbers the more we get for our money. And yes, we get more megapixels and more autofocus points, but does that also mean we really need it?

        The Canon High-MP rumors persist and new information has just been posted on
        Canon Rumors that says it would be the Canon EOS-1S with a price of about USD 9,000. A specific number of megapixel was not mentioned.

        As said in earlier blog posts on this subject, a decision on purchasing the high megapixel Canon needs some contemplation. What are you doing in photography and how do you use your images? Do you want to crop a fly out of an image of a building or will your images be printed in billboard size? Do you need speed when photographing; are you photographing moving objects? Think about it and definitely when the expected price is right, a wrong decision can be painful.

        Sony’s A99 SLT offers 19+102 autofocus points, in total 121 and at first sight that appeals more to me than the probably 46MP. Especially when capturing moving objects the high number of autofocus points is very helpful and every wildlife and sports photographer would love to have them, but unfortunately until now there is a downside to it. According to The Phoblographer you can use the feature so far only with 6 lenses, which hopefully will change soon. Yet it is a great feature and probably with more broad use than an extremely high number of megapixel.

        Well, it’s always a personal decision depending on the photographic purpose one is pursuing and sometimes its just too tempting.

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        Take a Dose Steve Jobs and You are Ready to Change the World

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        Yes, he is not with us anymore, at least not in person, but his spirit is here and ready to give us the push we might need to continue with our photographic journey, changing the world or whatever other creative passion is leading us.

        Need a dose “Steve Jobs” today? Here some treatment proposals


        Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. (Steve Jobs)

        Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. (Steve Jobs)

        The only way to do great work is to love what you do. (Steve Jobs)


        Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005

        Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at D5 Conference

        Steve Jobs talks about the Crazy Ones- who think different

        Better? Enjoy moving forward.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        While Talking about Photo Books - The Ai Weiwei Photo Book "Becoming"

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        The blog post on Monday was about sought after limited edition photo books and today Mutual Art announced the Ai Weiei artwork “Becoming”, a limited edition photo book with images taken by this amazing Chinese artist. The price is in line with the other books, USD 10,500 per copy.

        Read more about this doubtless amazing artwork

        But there also nice new things to do with photography that cost nothing or close to nothing. The iPhone app
        Mixel allows you to make great collages of your images and to send them as real postcards to your friends and family. The app is for free, only the stamp will make some costs.

        Photography really does offer fun for all budgets and that makes it such a great art form to enjoy.

        Happy snapping, mixing and sending!

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Neil Gaiman's 8 Rules of Writing Translated to Photography

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        Neil Garmain’s 8 Rules of Writing were published in The Guardian in the winter of 2010 and they have a lot of analogy potential for photography.

        Here some proposals for photography translations:

        1 –
        Write (Gaiman)


        2 -
        Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down. (Gaiman)

        Keep shooting away. Connect with the moment, follow the light and shoot away.

        3 -
        Finish what you're writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it. (Gaiman)

        The moment you think this would be a great shot, it will be a great shot, take the shot and don’t think I can shoot it later, it won’t come back.

        4 -
        Put it aside. Read it pretending you've never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is. (Gaiman)

        When you feel tension while photographing or in post-production and you start moving restlessly on the spot, put your camera down or leave the computer for a while. Have a coffee and look at something different. Then come back and carry on. Your view will be fresh again.

        5 -
        Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. (Gaiman)

        When you show your images to people expect that each of them will see something different and they are right, because each person has its own personality and point of view. Nonetheless their feedback always gives you insights and learning opportunities.

        6 -
        Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving. (Gaiman)

        There is nothing like a perfect photo. And there is nothing like a photo everybody likes. Keep learning and growing in photography and your images will show an amazing process of working with light and composition.

        7 -
        Laugh at your own jokes. (Gaiman)

        Relax and don’t be to hard on yourself.

        8 -
        The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it's definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter. (Gaiman)

        Be genuine in your photography and photograph the way YOU photograph, however this is. Let your signature in photography evolve and embark on your own process of growth in this fantastic art.

        Enjoy photography!
        (P.S. feel free to come with your own translation!)

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Review Time: Photokina's New Cameras

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        All big camera brands announced their new models at the Photokina and now the first reviews are available.

        The most interesting reviews might be the ones on the full-frame entry level Nikon D600 and Canon D6, just good to have them to compare the two “similar” new camera models of the two big brands. Check out PetaPixel’s Hands on with the
        Nikon D600 and Hands on with the Canon 6D.

        Of a different league is the Leica M. Also here a
        Hands on with the Leica M by PetaPixel to get to know her better before making a decision to buy one.

        Also available so far the PetaPixel hands on review of the
        Fujifilm X-E1, the Fujifilm XF1 and the Samsung Galaxy Camera.

        Surely there will be more reviews coming during the following weeks and if you think about getting one of the new camera models, try to test them at your camera store before buying one. The camera needs to suit you and no review can tell how the camera will feel for you. Only you know, if a camera works for you and what you want to do in photography.
        The new camera models are definitely an inspiration and make one wondering how
        cameras will be in the future. Until future arrives lets enjoy what the present offers.

        Happy testing!

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Are all Photographers Don Quixotes?

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        Don Quixote: Dost not see? A monstrous giant of infamous repute whom I intend to encounter.
        Sancho Panza: It's a windmill.
        Don Quixote: A giant. Canst thou not see the four great arms whirling at his back?
        Sancho Panza: A giant?
        Don Quixote: Exactly.
        Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes )

        Have you ever experienced being with friends on a trip, watching a sunset and all of you are photographing the beautiful cloud formations. Each of you will have different photos and you might find yourself explaining your friends that you see a face in the clouds or a lamb or an old man. It might need some efforts to show them where you see it and then in return they start telling you what they see. At the end all of you see the faces and shapes in the pictures of the clouds all of you captured.
        Imagine you are by yourself
        photographing the clouds in sunset and you post it to your social media pages. How many people will see the face and the lamb in the cloud? And how would you be surprised what else they see in your photo? They might not see the lamb and the face, yet all would see the photographer, the moment, the creativity and maybe a giant.

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        The Joys of Macro Photography

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        How often do you do macro photography? You probably answer, not often enough, and that might be a pity. We walk passed flowers every day, our houses and gardens are full with all sorts of little things and creatures (the creatures should be in the garden ) and we miss these opportunities for great photography. Did you ever take a good look at the pattern of the blanket you cuddle in when you watch TV or the colors and shapes of your herb jars?
        Macro photography is fascinating and it doesn’t need much to do it, even the iPhone lens can be turned into a macro lens and off you go. See how to do that with this
        Snapguide and keep in mind the water goes only onto the lens!


        More sophisticated and with beautiful result is the work of David Chambon. His insects look exactly like jewelry insects, only that the dew is then made of diamonds or crystals. Most likely the dew came first and was the inspiration for the jewelry artists, however, the images are stunning and very inspiring.
        Lets get the lens out
        shoot macro!

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        In the Ray of Light: Nick Ut & Kim Phuc

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        Their lives are connected; maybe even before Nick Ut took the iconic photo of the Napalm Girl, definitely since he took the image that helped to end the Vietnam War.

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        And now they are here, together in this ray of light at the Exclusive Leica Launch Party on the Photkina last week, the
        photographer and his “subject”, Kim Phuc, the “Napalm Girl”. How must that feel standing there together after all these years? Does one relive the moment of the initial contact? How must it be for the photographer, looking at the woman he photographed as a child in a very traumatic situation. How must it be for Kim Phuc, looking into the eyes of the man who captured her in a very vulnerable situation with dignity and respect?
        Only they know the answers. But maybe all of us have moments we remember, taking a photo that touched us deeply and how we felt or would feel to meet the “subject” again.

        Imagine your ray of light.

        Ute Sonnenberg for
        Photo from photokina:
        Michael Zhang
        Photo Napalm Girl:
        Nick Ut

        Photokina: Camera Giants & Their News

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        It is over for this year. The Photokina has closed her doors and photography lovers are still breathless from al the camera news that came over them, maybe secretly thinking already of buying one of the new models.
        Probably the most bespoke new cameras are the
        Nikon D600 and the Canon 6D. Both are entry level DSLRs with a full-frame sensor and it makes complete sense to give them almost the same name. If you doubt which one to prefer, have a look at the sensor test from DxOMark and you will see that the result is not surprising.
        While the Nikon D600 and the Canon 6D still have a reasonable price, other brands like Leica and Hasselblad introduced more pricy new camera models. They are the
        Leica M and the Hasselblad Lunar. Well they are great cameras, with an even great price.
        For a nice overview and to compare the new camera models from the Photokina, have a look at the
        WEX page. More detailed tests will only be executed now, so more information on the new cameras will be available soon.

        Fortunately Christmas is coming soon and Father Christmas might make one or the other camera dream come true.

        Happy snapping!

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        On Photo Safari in the Serengeti: Lions on Warthogs

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        We were on a morning game drive on the Klein’s Concession in the Serengeti. It had rained and the moisture was still hanging in the air when we drove through the forest just behind our camp. Our Masai tracker Steve spotted lion, feeding on a kill. As we came closer we saw that it were all young lion, sub adults, probably on an expedition not far from the main group of the pride. They were feeding on a warthog and we could see that they had dug out the warthog from his burrow, lots of earth had been moved and there was a big whole.
        After a while watching them, one lioness went into the warthog’s burrow and came out with a young warthog, still alive and screaming. She was looking like she didn’t really know what she was doing, following more an instinct then being hungry or wanting to hunt. The young warthog would die without its mother, either starving to death or being killed anytime later by other predators or scavengers. It was better to make it short and that might have been the silent assignment of nature for this lioness. She killed the young warthog and ate it and she went back to the burrow and came back with another one and another one. There had been three young warthog without mother and the young lioness did what she had to do, although she didn’t do it fast. Our Masai tracker Steve couldn’t watch it, because the youngsters were still alive for a few moments. He wanted her to do it fast and easy for the little ones, but maybe the lioness was just too inexperienced to understand that.
        It was an impressive sighting, showing the innocence in the face of a young lioness while holding a struggling young warthog in her mouth, causing it pain and stress, before eventually doing what she is supposed to do. Nature is pulling the strings.


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        Photography: An Eternal Romance with Light

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        What is romance? “Romance is more an inner state of being emotionally open without expectations and conditions towards people, animals, plants, things”, anything, it’s a state of unconditional love. (José Stevens, Tao to Earth)
        Photography is working with light and all in
        photography is determent by light, the settings on the camera, the composition, the colors, contrast, depth, just everything. Sometimes the light “isn’t so great”, yet photography is capturing the moment beautifully, with some efforts, but it does. On other occasions the light is “perfect” and photography happens effortless. Whatever it is, photography manages to work with light, under any condition, taking the light as it is or creating the light as it is. Photography loves light unconditionally, well maybe sometimes a little curse slips the tongue, but this is only part of the process.
        Photography and light are a romance and as long as photography will be done the romance will be there, maybe for eternity.


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        Steve McCurry: The connected Eye

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        When looking at Steve McCurry’s photographs it feels like tapping into the soul of the moment or person he captured, like in the image above from his series “Food for Thought”.
        Repeatedly occurring words in his quotes are “soul”, “grounded” and “hope” and yes, they are in every image, almost penetrating the viewer while looking at them.
        Obviously Steve McCurry has the deeper connection with his subjects, capturing souls and hopes, yet his solid grounding makes these deep insights possible. Soaring on soul level requires grounding, just as artistic heights in photography require a solid technical grounding.
        He got both and well balanced. His photography is food for thoughts.


        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Susan Sontag & Goethe: Photography & The Sorcerer's Apprenctice

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        “Recently, photography has become almost as widely practiced an amusement as sex and dancing – which means that, like every mass art form, photography is not practiced by most people as an art. It is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power.” (Susan Sontag, On Photography, in 1971)

        Photography is part of our daily life. It gives us joy, lets us express our creativity and makes us grow as artists and persons. It captures moments for us and lets us relive them when we would like to experience them again. It captures the love for our families and visualizes our dreams. Photography is magic, accessible to everyone.

        Magic needs to be wielded with care and responsibility. Like in
        Goethe’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” it can go wrong and the magic tool gets out of control. One of the recent examples is the death of the American ambassador in Libya. When his body, most likely already dead, was held up and about to be carried away, bystanders took photographs of him in this vulnerable moment and the New York Times seemed only be too happy to publish them.
        In the Netherlands paramedics have problems doing their work, because bystanders interfere with them in order to take pictures with their cell phones from, for example car accident victims. And they even get violent when police or paramedics try to keep them away.
        On the other side of the scale the topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge are silly (who hasn’t seen a pretty young woman topless on a beach) and intrusive to the private life of a person.
        And now with all these “sorcerer’s apprentices” around how do we stop this?
        Most likely there will be no easy way to stop this. It will take time to create a general consciousness of respect and dignity, a consciousness that something powerful as photography needs the “master” and not the “apprentice” to unfold its entire beauty and strength to serve mankind as a tool of growth. And yet, photography itself is the tool to enable people to develop exactly this consciousness. One got to drive a car in order to learn driving and one got to practice photography in order to become a “master”.

        Happy growing.


        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Seeing New York Fashion Week with Google Eyes

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        The New York Fashion Week is always a mega event for photography, of course fashion photography, but this year not only the photographers took photos, also the models did. They even made a documentary while walking on the show.
        Diane Von Furstenburg embarked on an experiment and had het models wearing Google Glass. Not only did it look fancy, they also made a film of the show. Watch it here.


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        Photography is Visual Poetry

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        Poetry is something beautiful, but unfortunately not all of us are able to wield words in a way that they fall into poems. Yet we all got poetry in us and we all can press a shutter to create visual poems. Words unfold by looking at an image and a poem takes shape and we all understand without any actual word.

        What would be the seal’s poem?

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        Photography Genre Philosophy

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        We know several genres of photography like editorial, nature, landscape, wildlife, fashion, interior, photo journalism and more, yet there is one that comes back in all of them and is one of its own, the photography genre philosophy.
        The photography genre philosophy is determent by the depth of thought, the depth of consciousness and the depth of connection. It includes also images that might under different criteria be considered as not perfect, yet one gets drawn into them. There is no wrong or right, all is relative, all authentic. The images visualize the underlying dimensions of the moment, allowing viewers to tap into non-physical levels as thoughts and emotions.
        Reading images that way makes them a powerful tool for all kinds of purposes and the photography genre philosophy “The Glass Bead Game” (Herman Hesse) of photography.

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        Visualization: Businesses utilizing Photography for Communication

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        How often does it happen that we talk to somebody and can’t get our message through to be understood? How often are we saying something and the person who listens hears something completely different? You might know the old game of whispering something in somebody’s ear and this person whispers it into the next person’s ear and at the end of the chain of people the message isn’t at all what it was in the beginning. Talking is such a poor communication tool

        Poor communication can lead to difficult situations in personal life and in business. Especially in business with work teams of completely different personalities and backgrounds, communication can be a real challenge. It starts already with getting to know each other. How would it be, if we just could let images speak for us and tell our colleagues who we are and what we need to be happy at our work place? Photography visualizes what we try to tell and everyone can understand it. Even uneasy situations of “how to tell my colleague that I need some silent moments to focus on my work” can be visualized and will not be experienced offensive by others.

        Photography is the easy access key to visualization of about everything for easy and clear
        communication in business and at home.
        Try it

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        How to make an Infographic

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        In case you are wondering how people make these awesome infographics you can see on Pinterest and other social media, here are a template, an example and a guide how to do them.


        The template is from Hubspot and available here. And a step by step Snapguide can help you to get it easily done.

        Enjoy making your own awesome infographics and get your message out.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Peter Beard & Francis Bacon - Photographer and Painter

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        “Sometimes there is nothing better than a bad exposure.” said Peter Beard about photography during an interview with Steven M.L. Aronson and he meant to explain that lots of his photographs happened just by accident, and he was hoping for really good accidents and it turns out his photography is really great.
        Beard studied art history at
        Yale and took color courses with Josef Albers, Neil Williver and Al Katz, but as he says, Richard Lindner and Francis Bacon were his real art teachers later in life.
        Peter Beard met Francis Bacon at a presentation of his book “The End of the Game” in London. Bacon had just purchased the book and invited Beard immediately into his studio. Beard took polaroid photos of Bacon’s work. The polaroids became a source of inspiration for Bacon regarding colors and shapes in his paintings and in return Beard learned from Bacon essential things like looking at old masters to learn about light and composition.
        A friendship had developed and Bacon painted Beard several times. I dare to say that Bacon’s way of seeing art, reflects in Beards work and is one of the reasons of the mesmerizing impact Beard’s artwork has.

        Read more in Peter Beard Trade Edition, available at
        Taschen and get insights in this creative friendship of two amazing artists.
        Image above via
        HH Fine Art.

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        Travel Memories 2008: On Safari in Africa - Day 2

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        It was a good first night in the bush. The sleeping bag I had brought with me was to warm, but that was little concern. Everything else was fine. It hadn’t rained that night, so the tent was dry too.
        We got up at 6 a.m. and had a quick breakfast. We planned to stay in the bush for the whole day to see a crossing at the Mara River and it’s quite a long drive to get there. Alex made us a packed lunch and we were off.
        We drove to a part of the river where wildebeest had been seen and that meant there could be a crossing. Very few vehicles were waiting in a safe distance from the river to give the animals the space to gather together and get ready to go. It’s all about patience. They start moving and everybody gets excited and then they change directions and the waiting starts again. After a while we thought, just let’s try another usual crossing spot and we headed further up the river.
        On our way we heard about a leopard in a tree and we went there first. A female leopard had a kill and was feeding on it. Only three other vehicles where there and it was a relaxed sighting. The female was a bit restless and annoyed by birds that were shouting at her. She went off and on the tree, getting a drink and thinking what to do next. She decided to stay in the tree and to have a nap. The birds carried on with their noise and her ears were flat in annoyance. We enjoyed being with her for hours. The other vehicles had gone to their lodges for breakfast and we stayed alone with her, enduring the increasing heat and the camera always ready in case she was going to move.
        Our only source of electricity during the safari (also in the camps) was the vehicle. An inverter transformed the power from the cigarette lighter into power to recharge the laptop and batteries. That meant one had to be very conscious about using battery powered equipment. When and for how long do I need the laptop? When can I recharge the laptop again? The laptop couldn’t be recharged while being in use and only when the vehicle was driving or the vehicle’s battery was full after a longer drive. It would drain to much power from the vehicle’s battery and the inverter switched off automatically when it became critical. For that reason any chance of battery power had to be used wisely. That made me setting up “office” while we were with the leopard. A couple of memory cards were already full and it wasn’t even lunchtime. I had to upload them to the laptop. So while I watched her and had the camera ready to shoot, the laptop was running and the processing had to be watched too. I was tired by noon. We decided to leave her alone and carried on to the river.
        Paul and I had different opinions on where a crossing would be possible. I thought let’s go to the main crossing where they usually gather and he thought let’s check first other possibilities. So we first checked on other spots and got to the main crossing as the last option. There were probably about 12 vehicles and they had the good news for us: just half an hour ago about a thousand wildebeest had crossed. We stayed to watch the last 5 or 6 to cross the river and Paul became cross with himself. It made no sense to get angry. It was gone and that’s just how it is with looking for wildlife interactions, you never know for sure what and where it’s going to happen. It’s on their terms.
        We started heading back to the camp, a long drive and a thunderstorm building up at the horizon. It started bucketing in an instant. You could hardly see the road and Paul got nervous. He told me later that he panicked a bit, because the road had a couple of deep dips and getting stuck was the last thing you want. When the rain stopped we were on safe roads and were rewarded with the sighting of a big pride of lions. The light just after the rain was soft. The playing cubs and mums looked smooth. A serene scene of family life.
        From the lions it was just a short drive to our camp. It was about 6 p.m. when we arrived and still raining there. I fetched toilet paper and dried my tent, organized the luggage that I could remove it easily if it would start raining hard at night, had a shower, a quiet dinner and wanted nothing more than to sleep. I was so tired. 

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        How a Leopard Family works

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        The Sabi Sand in the greater Kruger National Park in South Africa are famous for their leopard sightings. And because one can see leopards pretty often, it is possible to follow their family life quite good, especially when working as a ranger and being out in the bush every day.
        Leopards have territories. The female territories usually do not overlap, but the male territory overlaps or rather covers the territories of a couple of females. These are the females he is mating with. Often female leopards stay close to their mom and set up territory next to her. Leopards are not as solitary as one might think, they usually only don’t want to be seen and that makes that we can’t follow their movements. But in the Sabi Sand we can. They let us often see what they are up to and this is very interesting. Don’t get me wrong, they are wild animals, trusting that they will be left alone and not threatened by humans.

        There was this one family, a male leopard, an older female, her daughter and the two cubs of the daughter. The older female, lets call her granny was already pretty old, but a strong spirit. She was more or less allowed to pick a bit more from the male leopard’s kills and also the daughter was looking after her. And granny did what grannies do. The daughter left one of her cubs with granny and granny raised the little “boy”. That gave the daughter more freedom and strength to raise the other cub and to hunt. Some days the daughter left even the cub she had with her with dad, just to check out something. And dad was staying with the cub, looking after it until it’s mother came back. It was observed that the cub thought to test daddy and slapped him with his little paw. Daddy showed the little one that he can do that too and the cub was rolling all over the place.
        When observing these beautiful interactions one learns to understand leopards so much better, their close relationships and family dynamics. The little “boy” raised by granny is now a big boy and still tolerated by dad in his territory. It might be not for nothing that he looks a bit like a spoilt boy, raised by granny and having the sweet life of being allowed in the save territory of dad. He is the one on the picture above.
        Granny doesn’t live anymore. She became 17 years old, a great age for a leopard in the wild. She was a very special and strong spirit.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        How Photography Identifies Talent in Work Teams

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        Talents in companies are in human resources language called high potentials. The companies do a lot of work in identifying and supporting their high potential employees in order to secure the company’s future and to continue success. This process is complex and often not easy. Who is the right person for what is the major question. There are several personality tests, role plays, analysis and assessments, but still about 30-40% of the choices turn out to be the wrong choices. Next to unforeseen life events as a reason for dropouts, people are able to pretend to be the right one despite all the tests. There are books that analyze personality tests and assessments, and the tested persons can learn in advance what the expected answers are for a certain position in a company and just fill it in. So, how can one get to the essence, to the real potential in relation to a certain company position? The answer is photography. Photography always shows also the photographer and the photographer’s potential in relation to a defined purpose. Photography is a very powerful tool in the process of identifying high potentials. It needs to be wielded with care and knowledge. And it can make the life of human resources a lot easier.

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        How to Re-Imagine Photographic Opportunities

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        Have you ever had moments that you felt the urge to photograph, but had the feeling that there is nothing around? Like days without sun, again the same garden, not the right equipment to capture that or thoughts like ‘this is anyway not going to be good”. In these moments we might do a lot of imagination, but not the kind of imagination that stimulates us to see and shoot. We might imagine only the downside of everything.
        How can we change that? Well, simple enough through photography. We just need to get through this wall of negative imagination and it doesn’t need to be an effort. Just take your cell phone, most likely you don’t even have to move for that, because it’s always with you and start shooting away. Maybe choose one of your photo apps and click and see what comes out of it when photographing your TV. Without even noticing you will be drawn into your photography and the silliest subject will become highly interesting and arty. You just started seeing again and your imagination will be stimulated to artistic heights.

        Try it, also when being in the office

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        How to Photograph Love

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        We might first think of symbols like roses, a sunset, a puppy, a baby or simply beloved family members. Yet we don’t need symbols to photograph love. Love is in all our photographs; love is the connection we have with our photographic subject.
        But we might think, I don’t love this tree, yet you photograph it, yet it does something to you, maybe the light, the reflections, the movement of the leaves; it induces something that makes you photographing it, ending up telling everybody how you love this picture. The picture shows your love for life, light and whatever love wanted to express itself the moment you saw the tree. And now it’s captured in the image, inducing love every time you look at it again.

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        Annie Leibovitz: A Dance with Light

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        Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy - your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself. Annie Leibovitz

        Maybe the strongest and most powerful nature is the African bush. Photographing its essence is an intense experience, unleashing energy, imagination, inspiration and creativity. Being on a Photographic Safari is an incredible photographic discovery. It brings us back to our origins and induces strengths we didn’t know we have. And from these places within ourselves it brings us back into daily life radiant and strong. And when a bad day at the office drained this energy, we just look at the images and restore.
        And we dance again with light.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Copyright & Pricing in Photography

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        The question of copyright and prices in photography can be a very confusing matter. What are the laws, what rights do I have in the digital era, how can I deal with infringements, who can help and what can I charge for my photography? There are many answers from different sources and there are a few professional sites that really help.

        Have a look at the website from EPUK, the platform of the Editorial Photographers United Kingdom & Ireland. Below is a link to their write up on copyright, from the beginnings until today.

        EPUK Editorial Photographers United Kingdom & Ireland:
        Copyright in the 21
        st Century:
        Let’s start with a brief history. Copyright began about 300 years ago with the Statute of Anne. This law for the first time turned something made of thought into an object that could be owned and traded and which could be regulated by the government and courts.
        Read more

        On the pricing FotoQuote is the tool professional photographers consult for their pricing. It allows easy Rights Managed calculations for all regions in the world and is also used in the
        Photoshelter galleries.

        Here the link to Foto Quote:
        fotoQuote Pro is a photo price guide that provides pricing and negotiation information for stock and assignment photography.

        Read through it and find what suits you and your photography purposes best. These tools can be very helpful when suddenly asked for an assignment

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        How a Male Leopard Played Cool for too Long

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        We were on a morning game drive when we approached a tree where a leopard was seen earlier that morning. When we came closer we saw that there was a kill in the tree and a male leopard lying underneath in the grass. He was lying on his side, eyes closed, but probably not sleeping.
        We watched him and suddenly another leopard approached the leopard in the grass from behind. It was a female leopard. The two knew each other well, but she was very cautious. She was trying to steel his kill (he had stolen the kill earlier from another female leopard, actually her daughter). When she knew where he was she retreated back into the bush, all happening without any sound. He stayed the whole time lying on his side in the grass, pretending not knowing that she is there.
        Then out of nowhere the female leopard climbed the tree in the back of the still in the grass lying male leopard. At that moment the male leopard jumped from lying on his side in the grass into the tree in less than a second (didn’t manage to get a photo of that), chasing the female leopard up into the very top of the tree.
        The female leopard was sitting in the treetop with a leg of the kill in her mouth, shaking from the stress and urinating on us in the vehicle under the tree. The male leopard growled at her, she growled back and he wouldn’t let her come down. After a while the male leopard chose to have a look at the kill to see what the damage is.
        At that moment the female leopard took her chance and jumped past him down the tree and ran off, with the leg from the kill! The male leopard was not happy, rearranging his kill and by doing that angrily, he dropped it. Now he had to watch how a hyena took off with his kill. She had been sitting under the tree waiting for the moment the kill would fall. The hyena had the biggest portion of the kill, the female leopard had al least something, the male leopard was still sitting in the tree and had nothing.
        He had played cool for too long.

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        How to Utilize Photogrpahy in Team Building

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        Many companies organize team buildings to create opportunities for their teams of employees to bond in an informal environment away from their usual workspace. To enhance the informal character mostly some kind of activity is chosen that allows interaction like carting, rafting, other sport activities or special experiences like a balloon ride. People usually love it. It gives the opportunity to interact in a different way with your colleagues and to get to understand each other better.

        How would it be to add photography to team buildings and what would be the benefits? Nowadays with the smart phones and tablets, photos are taken all the time and also during team buildings, but mostly like on a holiday as memories. But photography can offer more and add extra benefits to the team building.

        Photography can become the bonding tool of the team building and the anchor of the achieved result at the end. By making photography part of the activity through assignments involving the sport, the experience or even wildlife it adds extra stimulation, motivation, fun and understanding of each other. And at the end it can be utilized to anchor the groups experience through images that reflect the purpose of the team building.

        Photography can be a vital source of fun, insight, stimulation and motivation for something important as a team building. With the side effect that its results last forever. … and its easy too!

        Tell your boss!

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Photokina rumors: The Canon 46MP monster

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        It seems like the megapixel monster was unleashed and Nikon and Canon are chasing Hasselblad. For a long time Hasselblad was the one with the monstrous amount of megapixel cameras, but recently Nikon caught up with them with their D800 and will Canon eventually race past both?

        There are rumors that Canon will launch a DSLR with 46 megapixel at the
        Photokina in Cologne in September. But will it or will it rather stick to 22 megapixel? One needs the right lenses in order to get the best out of such a megapixel monster. Users of Nikon’s D800 are already carful with yielding this amazing camera.

        We will know soon. Do we need
        such a thing?

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        The Only Limitation for Your Photography is You

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        What do you think about your own photography? When you show your images to others, do you immediately start commenting them why you did this and this and excusing something you think could have done better?

        Our photography shows always something of us and it is for ourselves like looking into a mirror when looking at our images. And if we do not like certain sides of ourselves, we might start limiting ourselves in our freedom of photographing what ever comes up or we wish to retouch our photographs in order to cover the flaws we think we have. But like with thinking our nose is skew and everybody will notice, we might be the only one seeing a flaw in the photograph. And what is actually a flaw? Nobody notices a skew nose in a fascinating personality and a blur photo can be the most fascinating image, magnetizing a room.

        When you love a photo, it is a great photo and your heart is always right. Listen to it and you will enjoy the freedom photography has to offer.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        How to Visualize Your Gut Feeling

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        Have you ever had the feeling that something would happen, like your best friend would get the job he was so worried about and then he did or you did get the questions in the exam you were so afraid of getting, but refused to listen and learn for it? A typical reaction is that we say: I knew this would happen. So when you knew it would happen, why didn’t you do anything with that knowledge?

        Our gut feeling is not something we can touch, smell or taste and it is not visible either. That makes it difficult for us to rely on it and trust it. Photography can help us a great deal in making it touchable and visible. We can photograph our gut feeling, not by photographing ourselves, but by just shooting away when we have the feeling that our gut feeling wants to tell us something and we don’t get it. It will make us photographing exactly the subjects that represent what it is trying to tell us. We just need to learn to trust, see and read the information in the image.
        The image is the visualization of our gut feeling and when we print it, it becomes touchable as well.

        When you try it, do not think about the photo or subject, thoughts will distort the visualization. Shoot with your gut or better call it heart. Be cautious with quick interpretations of what is in the image, distracting thoughts might do that. You will rather feel what you see. If you wish to learn how to use this tool for daily decisions, a training called
        Intuition Training is available.

        The difficult part is not the
        photograph or the gut feeling or the heart. Thoughts can be a distorting factor and it is the art of clearing the channel from these kind of thoughts one got to learn.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Henri Cartier Bresson: A Photo Offers Itself.

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        A photograph is neither taken nor seized by force. It offers itself up. It is the photo that takes you. One must not take photos. (Henri Cartier-Bresson)

        You might have experienced walking with your camera in a forest, on a beach or in a city and suddenly you see it, take up your camera and shoot. It’s like a composition hits you. Or you suddenly have the feeling you need to turn around and there it is, the photo, the wonderful sunset that made you turn around, although you didn’t see it, it made you turn around, the photo tapped on your shoulder, it offered itself to you and you love it. Its that kind of photo we call a “perfect photo”.

        Essentially it is the light that creates the photo and your role is to listen, see and press the shutter.

        Sit still and sense what photo is tapping on your shoulder right now. Look at it.

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        A Leopard's Struggle with His Kill

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        It is already very fortunate to be close to a leopard and able to photograph this incredible animal, but this leopard sighting was of a magical kind.

        We were on a game drive on Londolozi Private Game Reserve in the Sabi Sand (Kruger National Park) in South Africa when our tracker spotted a kill in a tree just of the road in the bush. We pulled over and found an the foot of the tree a male leopard, not to happy with us at first, but quickly focusing again on his prey up in the tree. His kill was a nyala and the tree was not really ideal for a hoisted kill, but it would do one could think. The leopard was not happy with the position of the kill and went up the tree to rearrange his kill. What happened then you better see in the video. Words cannot match that.


        A Leopard in Perseverance

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Would you like to do a Webinar?

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        Photography is an inspiring medium and we all seem to love it and do it almost every day. There seems always to be some kind of discussion going on around photography, questions asked and opinions shared. How would it be to do that during a webinar?

        If there is interest in doing a photography webinar, just leave a message to this blog post.

        And if yes, what would you like the webinar to be about? What kind of photography subject would you like to hear and talk about?

        You are welcome to share your thoughts and to inspire. Thank you!

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        How to Do Marketing for Photographers

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        Marketing is often something photographers are struggling with, because they usually focus more on the artistic and photographic skills to develop and grow in. But we all got to live and pay for our groceries, so some money needs to come in as well.

        There are great marketing blogs to help understanding how marketing works, like the
        Hubspot blog, but this is a general blog for marketers and not specific for photographers. A very good source of knowledge and advice for photographers are the Photoshelter Free Guides on a wide range of marketing and business subjects especially for the photographer’s needs. They translated the general marketing tools into photography specific tools, suiting the small size photography business as well.

        Check it out; they are great.

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        Olympics Emotional Analogy in Photography: Victory

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        Victory has many faces. For some athletes it might be already a victory to be part of the Olympic Summer Games in London, for others a place in the finals is a victory and for others the winning of the gold medal is the victory they came for. All of them experience that feeling only a victory or success can give, like being on the top of the world.

        Fortunately in
        photography victories can be experienced more easily and more frequently. Every image we love is a victory. It gives us joy whenever we look at it, it can hang on the wall like a gold medal and tells others about our love for photography.
        Enjoy snapping your victories.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Olympics Emotional Analogy in Photography: Perseverance

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        All athletes at the Olympic Summer Games in London must be perseverant; otherwise they wouldn’t be there. They managed to set aside everything else, trained hard and conquered challenges in order to participate in this amazing event. And if they didn’t make it this time they have to wait for another four years for the next Olympics.

        How perseverant needs a
        photographer to be? Although photography is easy accessible for anybody and a photo is taken with a quick click on the shutter, becoming a professional photographer, a photo artist or growing as a hobby photographer demands a high amount of perseverance. It can be a process of insecurities, doubts and setbacks before improvement and success arrive. The photographers at the Olympics might be just as perseverant as the athletes they are photographing.

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        Olympics Emotional Analogy in Photography: Resilience

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        Isn’t it very interesting watching the more technical disciplines at the London Olympics like long jump, high jump and discus? The participants have a number of attempts for their jump or throw and they seem to need them. How must that feel having 4 invalid jumps and only 2 more attempts left? The most resilient athletes are able to cope with such a situation. They accomplish to focus again and throw out an amazing jump.

        Photography is often like a 100-m final with no more attempts left, but there are plenty of situations where resilience is an important ability to have. Think of the simple task of
        photographing your dog. How much resilience does that demand? He is looking away, running off, putting his nose on the lens, biting the lens, biting in your trousers, putting his ears flat or closing his eyes and to make it worse he is enjoying the whole excitement and attention too. Well, this is a moment to practice resilience. Sit down, put the camera aside and let the whole situation calm down, for yourself and your dog. Let him go and he will start doing his normal thing, that what you actually wanted to photograph and then calmly grab you camera, stay in the background and shoot away.

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        Olympics Emotional Analogy in Photography: Pain

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        It is very sad to see when a player from the Dutch women hockey team gets injured during the first training at the Olympics. Knee injury, over. All the training, commitment and sacrifices for nothing. At that moment there is not only physical pain, there is also a lot of emotional pain. The world seems to end at that very moment.

        Is there a way to compare this situation with any situation in photography? There are no Olympic medals in photography, but there is also a lot of commitment, sacrifices and work done to create great images. And there are also moments of great pain, when all the efforts seem to fall into nothing. Finally being on the Galapagos Islands, these incredible animals eventually right in front of you and the camera is not working, broken. At that moment not only the camera is broken, but also the
        photographer. What to do now?

        Allow the pain to be there, give it space and a moment to be. If you don’t, it will push through when you don’t want it to. By giving it a moment it will disappear quickly and you will have all your energy to borrow a camera from another photographer, put in your memory card, take some shots and explore the opportunities to repair or replace your own camera.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Olympics Emotional Analogy in Photography: Disappointment

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        The short cut to disappointment goes through unrealistic expectations. When you are a man and you need 10.5 seconds to run the 100-meter and you expect yourself to be the gold medal winner at the Olympic Summer Games in 2012, you will be disappointed at the finish. Even if Usain Bolt falls ill that day, there are still others to beat you by lengths.

        When you experience the feeling of disappointment in photography, ask yourself what you expected to happen and if this was realistic. Did you buy a new camera, expecting everything would go by itself now? Or did you photograph a house in the style you saw in a magazine, expecting that your image would be on the next cover? Reflect on your thoughts that lead to the expectations, what were they based on and what was the outcome. By doing that your disappointment will be converted into realistic plans to accomplish your
        photography dreams.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Olympics Emotional Analogy in Photography: Trances

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        Some of the Olympic athletes look like they are in a trance when getting ready for the start. Swimmers wear already their goggles and headsets with music to induce an even deeper focus trance, blocking out all possible disturbing factors.

        How about photographers? Isn’t a photographer in a trance like state when being connected with what he/she is photographing? This state of forgetting the world around you and focusing on the subject and light, walking around it to shoot it from different angles, discovering new perspectives and moving with the light. Photographers can enter this trance like state easily and that makes them vulnerable for dangers like cars approaching, balls flying around and more serious things, just because they wouldn’t notice. Be conscious about that and cover your back before you surrender to the pleasant trance of
        photographing great subjects.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Olympics Emotional Analogy in Photography: Expectations

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        Over 14,000 athletes are competing at the Olympic Summer Games in London to win one of the 906 medals. How many of them might have arrived with expectations to win a medal or even a gold medal and how many of these expectations were proved not to be realistic? Not all 14,000 participants can win a gold medal and expecting one can spoil the fun and great experience.

        How many people are doing photography and how many of them can have their image on the cover of a magazine? Don’t spoil the fun and great joy of doing photography through the pressure of unrealistic expectations. Enjoy your photography and show how you see the world through your
        amazing work.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        What the Olympic Sports teach Photographers: Diving

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        You probably associate immediately diving with depth, depth of field, depth in the picture. Yes, photography has a lot to do with depth. In psychoanalysis diving into the ocean is associated with descending into the subconscious. As a photographer we are surfacing the colorful under water world all the time by visualizing emotions, feelings, moments and ideas. A photo is always a dive into the soul of whatever moment is captured.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        What the Olympic Sports teach Photographers: Beach Volleyball

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        Don’t forget to play. Photography’s strength is playing. Play supports creativity and lets art evolve. Play inspires and opens space for innovation.
        Rest and relax. Recharge creative energy for exciting photographic events to come, although you might not know about them yet. Wouldn’t it just be to bad being too tiered to photograph the Olympics when suddenly asked to do so?

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        What the Olympic Sports teach Photographers: Athletics

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        Some assignments might be like a 100-meter race, others like high jumping and others like a marathon. Find out what kind of athlete you are. Don’t try to run the marathon when you are a sprinter and don’t do high jumping when you are afraid of height. Find your strength and go for it. You wouldn’t do underwater photography, if you couldn’t swim, would you? Unless you want to learn how to swim.

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        What the Olympic Sports teach Photographers: Cycling

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        You might feel sometimes like being on an endless climb, followed by a scary decent into endless roads through boring landscapes. Endurance on physical, emotional and mental level is needed to make it to the finish. Keep your spirit high and listen to your body. Maintain your bicycle, your physical health and have a spare wheel. Find likeminded to make a great team.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        What the Olympic Sports teach Photographers: Canoe Slalom

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        Photographer’s life can be a wild river, fast and with obstacles hidden in the waves. Hold the paddle steady in your hand. Steer your canoe through the stream of challenges with a sharp eye and don’t panic when you go head under. Use your strength to surface again and steer past all the obstacles into calmer waters.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        What the Olympic Sports teach Photographers: Archery

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        Be focused on what you are aiming for. Set yourself a goal, focus and go. When you feel your hand shaking when pulling the string, take the bow down and rest. Then focus again and shoot.

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        What the Olympic Sports teach Photographers: Boxing

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        Don’t you feel sometimes like boxing your way through thick walls to success? Think of your footwork and stay flexible and be fast in response, move quickly and protect yourself. Don’t give up to easy, you can get up and win. Be careful with your health and don’t take unnecessary risks. A picture of people shooting with guns looks the same 50 meters behind the front line. You don’t want to be famous, because you were knocked out.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Who Inspired Who - Intellectual Property in Photography

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        Have you ever asked yourself when seeing art who might have been the inspiration for this artwork? Was there somebody who did something similar before this artist picked it up and created his/her artwork? Pablo Picasso paid respect to Vincent van Gogh in one of his early paintings by painting in Van Gogh’s style. He had seen the greatness of Van Gogh before others did.
        An interesting “couple” are also Charlie Chaplin and Stanley Kubrick. There is a great documentary about Stanley Kubrick called
        “A Life in Pictures” from 2001 and another great documentary about Charlie Chaplin called “Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin” from 2003. I watched first the Kubrick documentary and it was absolutely amazing and impressive. Only later when I watched the Chaplin documentary I was surprised how influential Charlie Chaplin was and how much of his artistically groundbreaking film work could be found in Kubrick’s work.
        The same happens in
        photography. One of the photographs above is from Peter Beard, “I’ll Write Whenever I can” and shows him with a dead crocodile in the typical Peter Beard style of presenting his work. The other photograph is from Helmut Newton, “Crocodile Eating Ballerina” from 1983. Seeing the age of Peter Beard in the image, it looks like he was first with the crocodile posing.
        How often does the same as with these two pictures happen? In this Internet social media age probably a million times. We just don’t know, because not every artwork becomes as famous as the art from Beard and Newton. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t care about the intellectual property of others, only because they might never find out. Treat them the way you want to be treated. Credit your sources and protect your creations.

        Happy sourcing and creating. Be inspired.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        How to Photograph Leopards

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        It might sound far-fetched, but Quantum Physics is the starting point to understand and photograph leopards. Everything is made of the same energy and everything is connected to everything else is an essential lesson from Quantum Physics, that applies to us as it applies to leopards, a coffee mug and the car we are driving in. Because we are all made of the same energy, we are also all connected and communicate on the energy level all the time, mostly without being conscious about that, although we use phrases like “we are on the same wavelength” with somebody or not. So somehow we know that we are communicating on frequencies like radio channels and some people can receive the signals and some don’t or receive only distorted messages. That means that the energy we are made of vibrates or moves in different frequencies, higher or lower frequencies, faster or slower. We might experience situations where we immediately have a good “click” with somebody. Most likely this persons communicates on energy level on the same frequency as we do. When we experience a situation that we find it difficult to be in the presence of a certain person for too long, because we start to feel tensed and restless, like pressure is building up, we might have an encounter with somebody of a high frequency energy and our energy frequency finds it hard to adjust to the same level. In the other direction to a lower frequency the adjustment is easier and mostly not experienced as demanding or unpleasant. But what does all that have to do with photography and especially leopard photography?
        An easy answer could be, wait until you look one into the eyes, but it is helpful to know what happens when you are in the lucky position to be near a leopard and able to spend time with the animal. The difference in
        photographing wildlife in general and leopards in particular is the very high frequency energy this incredible cat has. Being conscious about that helps a lot when photographing them.
        Imagine you are on a game drive and suddenly there is the leopard you were looking for already for days, right in front of the vehicle on a termite mount. Now just shoot away. Don’t think. Let the adrenaline from the excitement out and also take the pictures you can get, before the leopard possibly disappears. This moment might take a minute or two. You will feel when the excitement has settled and you will sit more relaxed in the vehicle. First thoughts of how to photograph the leopard properly will pop up. The next thing might be a feeling of impatience and negative thoughts about the light, the not doing anything animal, chaos with the camera settings, maybe a bit cursing, annoyance and eventually anger why we are still here with this leopard, enough leopard. This is a very important moment. When you decide to leave the sighting, you will miss the chance to connect with the animal and to get the most beautiful photos. All the negative thoughts and the physical reactions of feeling uncomfortable are caused by the difference in energy vibration/frequency. The leopard as a high frequency animal is just sitting there and doing nothing, only sending out on his/her frequency and your energy is trying to tune in to the leopards energy frequency. This tuning process causes the uncomfortable feeling. It will disappear as soon as you are tuned in and from there its as easy as what to photograph this amazing animal and to get the most beautiful leopard images.
        Be patient. Stay with the animal and give yourself the time to tune in. As soon as you are tuned in on the leopards frequency the whole “energy situation” on the sighting will calm down and all present parties will connect on the same level. The leopard will start doing his/her thing and the most incredible photo opportunities will occur.

        Try it at home with your cat and get trained for the big cat!

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Recipe for a Soul Feeding Photo Adventure

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        1 or more camera(s)
        1 or more lens(es)
        1 or more fully charged battery(ies)
        1 or more memory cards/films
        1 laptop or other backup medium
        1 or more power adapter(s)
        1 card reader or cable for image upload
        1 or more places to stay
        1 or more reliable guide(s) depending on destination
        1 or more camera bag(s)/backpack
        comfortable clothes for all possible weather conditions
        food & beverages
        well planned logistics and accommodations
        visas and permits if necessary
        maps/GPS for navigation
        well considered security preparations and backup plan
        plan B if plan A cannot go through
        emergency plan
        passion, inspiration & a high spirit

        Listen to your heart when deciding on the destination of your photo adventure; the park in your town, your grandmother’s garden, the beaches of Hawaii or the African savanna, no matter how close to home or how far away, follow the choice of the heart.
        Take all technical ingredients, check them, clean them and decide on the cameras and lenses depending on the destination and subject. When you made your choice put the technical equipment in the camera bag or backpack.
        Add the environmental ingredients. Make sure that everything is organized and set in a way that you are safe and comfortable.
        Finish with putting the cherry on the cake; the ingredients passion, inspiration and high spirit.

        Enjoy your soul feeding
        photo adventure.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        How to Organize Your Loads of Photo Safari Images

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        Digital Photography is a great thing. It makes us shoot away, not thinking and worrying too much, just snapping and enjoying this incredible hobby or profession. But there is a little downside. How to handle all these images?
        Many of us are struggling with this part of photography and when you’ve got down the road for a while with now good idea how to do organize your images, it becomes more and more frightening to start doing it properly and organizing the archive.
        Here some tips that might help getting some structure into the huge amount of images we are taking and taking away the fear of doing it.

        Reflect & Anticipate.
        Before you even start taking images think of how you want to find them back and/or think of how you usually find things back. Everybody has got his/her own way of thinking and remembering, the way we go through the drawers of our brain for all sorts of things. Some have a photographic memory others are good with numbers. There are plenty of different ways of thinking. Reflect and identify your way of thinking and remembering. You might like to store the images chronologically by making folders like “day 1 of photo safari”, “day 2 of photo safari” or you rather like to make folders per subject like “lion”, “leopard”, “cheetah” and “landscape”. Only you know what suits you best and fits your thinking patterns. Reflect on that and make an important first step to organize your images.
        Then anticipate. When you are for example very lucky and on a game drive where you see five different leopards, you want to be able to know afterwards which images where of which leopard. Take an image of the sky or another landmark that does not fit into the sequence of the leopard shots before you start photographing the next leopard. It will tell you later that this was the other leopard, leopard number two and you can put him in his dedicated folder. It works also very well when photographing for example dog shows or horse sports events. It will save you lots of time and nerves when going later through your images to find the one your friend is asking for.

        Structure the image upload to your computer.
        When the moment comes to upload your images to your computer you know already how you want the images to be organized, because you did the reflection and the anticipation beforehand. Now comes again a bit anticipation. Before you start uploading your photos, make the image folders on the computer first. That will prevent the leopard images going automatically into the big folder of all holiday photos, but directly to where you want them. When you have a folder “photo safari”, make a subfolder “leopards day 1” or only a subfolder “day 1”, whatever suits you best to have the structure to find them back later set.

        Upload and backup.
        Your images are on your computer, nicely organized and you can find everything easily when you need it. Now comes the next and final step, the backup. The general rule is that you should have 2 backups and one backup off site. The backups are usually done on an external hard drive, to prevent image loss due to computer problems or theft. Create the same folder structure you use on your computer on the backup hard disks, because your thinking stays the same and you want to find things back. The off site backup can also be a hard drive with your images that you store in a safety deposit box at your local bank. An alternative is to store your images off site is the cloud, but when you shoot big files that will only apply to your very best images. Otherwise it will take forever to load them to the cloud and take a lot of space.

        Now you are all set and organized. No worries anymore and free brain space to think about nice photography opportunities instead of how to organize and find your photos again.

        Easy software for organizing images is
        Aperture. I don’t know how it works with Lightroom, but its also used by many people.

        Enjoy a photo database without worries and keep snapping away!

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        The Mourning of a Lioness in the Masai Mara

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        It was on a morning game drive in the Masai Mara when we spotted a lioness lying on the grass and holding something between her paws. It looked like a small animal and we thought it might be a hare or other small animal she was feeding on. But she was not feeding. She was holding it and looking around as in despair. As we came closer we saw that she was holding a little cup between her paws and the cub was not moving, it was obviously dead, only a few weeks old. The lioness started licking the cub, moving it with her paws, trying to revive the little body, but it wouldn’t come to life. Between her attempts to revive her cub she was looking up, opening her mouth as if she wanted to scream, but no sound was to be heard, it were silent screams of sadness and pain of the mother of a lion cub.
        After a while she stood up, grabbed her cub with her mouth and carried it into higher grass. There she put her cub down and stood there looking at it until she moved away to a nearby tree. The lioness lay down under the tree, closed her eyes and rested. She stayed there for hours. In the late afternoon she got up and walked back to her dead cub. Then started eating her cub, maybe in some attempt to make sure that it goes back to where it was safe. After this final act of mourning the lioness left the site and walked back to the rest of the pride that had been waiting for her on a close by clearing. They had respected her need to mourn and she had taken the time she needed.

        Nature will bring her straight away into estrus and she will have new cubs with hopefully a happier ending.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        How to Create an all Senses Photo Experience

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        In earlier blog posts was explained how an image captures a moment with all what’s in the moment. It allows us at any given time even years later to recap what we saw, felt, smelled and thought. We can immediately tell where the photo was taken, who the people in the photo are, how we felt when we took the photo and a lot more what happened at that time. How would it be to intensify this memory by enhancing the aspects of the image with real smells and touches?
        Print the photo from the holiday in the Provence, put some lavender in the room, play music from the region, make yourself comfortable on the sofa and have a glass of rosé while feeling that holiday again, 10 years later at any given place.

        Sense photography with all your senses and enjoy travelling back in time to the moments you enjoyed.

        Happy sensing.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        Real Photos vs. Digital Photos, What Do We Want to Feel?

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        Not that long ago we usually came back from a holiday with a couple of film rolls, carrying them to the photo shop and wondering what would be on them. It was an exciting moment when we went back to collect our printed photos, leafing through them quickly; looking for that one image we definitely wanted to be a good one and being surprised what we all had photographed, because there was some time between taking the photo and holding the print in your hand. That has all changed. Nowadays we take a digital photo and look immediately on the screen of our camera how it looks like and quickly erase it when we think it’s not good enough to be seen by anyone else. Then we get home (or to the hotel), upload the images to the computer and some of them make it to be printed or even become part of a photo book, but most of them remain digital files.
        Will some day the printing disappear completely? I don’t think so. Even Instagram images can be printed as stickers, small art prints and little books. The service is called
        Prinstagram and booming. It is just such a completely different feeling holding the print in your hand, putting the sticker with your own artwork on the fridge, giving a birthday card with an image you took to a friend than grabbing the smart phone and looking at the digital file. With a digital file only our eyes are feeling, with a print also our hands feel and the image becomes a multi dimensional sensual experience.

        Happy feeling.

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        How to Show and Sell Your Photos and Artwork on the Internet

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        We all know about the obvious photo sharing options like facebook, Flickr, other social media and portfolio sites, but what if you want to sell your images as posters, postcards or other products? Maybe we need only to wait long enough and facebook will do that as well, but maybe not. There are websites that offer this service already and here are 2 of them.

        The first is
        PhotoShelter. Photoshelter is as its name says a shelter for photographers. Not only can images be sold as prints and products, you can also have your own stock photo gallery and sell digital image files. The clients go to your website, browse the images and buy directly online. Photoshelter takes care of the financial part of the transaction and the copyright safety of your images. The services of Photoshelter are not for free. You pay a monthly or annual fee depending on the storage size you choose. Their services are open for professional photographers.

        The second service provider is
        Artflakes. Artflakes is open to all artists and photographers. They are based in Berlin and offer great print services in good quality for deliveries all over the world. As a photographer you can sign up for free, upload images and set the price you wish for prints and products yourself (also in photoshelter you can set the price yourself). Artflakes is also a kind of artists network with following options and likes, but you don’t need to go around and like if you don’t like, but there are interesting artworks to discover.

        Maybe these two websites can open new fields of activities for you. Have a look.

        Happy discovering!

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        How to Make a Photo eBook that Looks Like Made by Apple

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        About 6 years ago Apple started offering the photo book feature in Aperture, that enabled users to create their own photo book, looking like a real coffee table book. It was like a revolution. All photo lovers could make their own book instead of the traditional photo album. It looked like a professionally published book, yet for an affordable price.


        Only about 4 years later the iPad came out and its beautiful ebooks stole our hearts. Ebooks were nothing new, but these iPad ebooks were of a differnet kind. One could leafe through them like through real paper books and they would even make the sound of paper pages being turned. How great would it be to make your own Apple alike looking photo ebooks for a much lower price than the real photo books or even for free. With how many people could you share them simply on the digital way and on the go on their mobile devices. The developers were not sleeping and there are great websites that provide exaclty that service, creating your own beautiful photo ebook and of course also any other book you wish to create.

        It all starts like any other book creating process with the book idea, writing what you want to write and choosing the images you want to publish. From there you can take different roads to the finished photo ebook through differnet online publishing services.

        One of them is
        Blurb. Blurb allows you to make real paper books and iPad ebooks simply with templates, InDesign plugin or other bookmaking tools Blurb offers. Until now their iPad ebook service works like that. When you have already created and printed a paper book with Blurb they convert your book for free into an iPad ebook and you can even sell it via their book store. If you don’t have yet a paper book made with them, they request that you print one copy and the conversion into an iPad ebook is also for free. Check out their website. They are doing great things.


        Another service provider is
        issuu. Create your book in word or as a power point presentation and save it as a pdf file. Then upload the pdf and issuu will create a beautiful online Apple lookalike readable ebook. The eBooks can be downloaded, if you alow that and the person who wants to download the eBook has to sign up with issuu. Signing up is for free and so is the eBook publishing service from issuu. You can use issuu to publish your photo books, amnuals, papers and other sorts of documents you wish to present in a beautiful way. Here some examples from my own website where I use issuu for itineraries and other documents.


        A third option is
        überflip. Uberflip makes great eBooks from your pdfs of all kinds of books including photo eBooks, which work on all digital devices, even with the page turning sound from the iPad. They offer a 60-days free trial and after that the service is not for free anymore. The basic subscription is $29.95 per month for a monthly upload of 5 eBooks. Here an example for an uberflip eBook. Readers of the book can download it as pdf without having to sign up before. Sharing tools for the most popular networks are integrated in the book-viewing page.

        uberflip screen shot

        Have a look. Maybe you will find some inspiration for publishing your own creative work and sharing it with more people.

        Happy eBooking!

        Ute Sonnenberg for

        5 Tips for Choosing the Right Photo Course

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        Fortunately we live in times of blooming creativity and plenty of opportunities to learn creative crafts like painting, sculpturing, cooking, photographing, gardening, app creating and many more. But it’s sometimes hard to find the right course and setting to learn and to get the most out of it. Here some pointers to help identifying a good course. They apply not only to photography, but also to courses in general.

        • Make sure the course is about the students and not about the teacher. That means it stimulates the creativity of the students and enables them to develop their own style, guided by the teacher.
        • Make sure the group is not to big or even go for individual training if it suits your purpose. Small groups provide more attention and space for individual questions and needs.
        • Make sure you feel safe in the group. It’s a creative course and you will show yourself through your work. You will flourish and grow, if you feel safe to show your work and ask questions.
        • Make sure you like the course environment incl. location, people, services and other facilities. That will stimulate your creative work and growth.
        • Make sure it is fun. Fun makes us learn easier and learning enjoyable.

        You might think, but I will know all these things only when I’m already in the course. Think back when you did courses in the past. Didn’t you have the right feeling about it already from the moment you booked it? Trust your intuition and you will have a great photo course, cooking classes, painting sessions or any other creating adventure you want to embark on.

        Enjoy creating!

        Ute Sonnenberg,

        How Many Photo Equipment does One Need on Safari

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        Many people go ones in their life on a safari and want to make sure they come home with lovely images. That puts a lot of pressure on the one who is responsible for the photography and one can easily end up buying all equipment possibly necessary, just to make sure to have it in case they need it. There is an overwhelming amount of equipment available and its really hard to make the right choice, but you got to make a choice and if its only for the luggage allowance on the flights.
        If you are an entry-level hobby photographer, the best you can do is having a bridge type of digital camera with you with a good zoom and a relatively good speed. The biggest problem of the point and shoot cameras is their speed. They are often to slow to capture the moment and the animal is gone. Bringing that good bridge model to start with is a good choice for the less ambitious hobby photographer. No further photo equipment needed.

        The more ambitious photographer with an entry level DSLR and interchangeable lenses gets already confronted with more choices. There are flowers and small animals that make great subjects, there are landscapes and there are the elephants on the water whole. For all three different situations are different lenses and the best thing to do would be to bring a macro, a wide angle and a zoom lens. But in reality one ends up not really using the macro lens when focusing on wildlife, unless macro is a specialty of the photographer and he/she will focus on small animals and objects. So, in general the wide angle and the zoom lens will be enough to bring. This lens choice can also apply to the more advanced and ambitious photographer. The next question is the tripod. A tripod is great for low light situations or night photography, but not essential for wildlife photography. A beanbag is the better choice. There is limited space in the vehicle, one needs to be flexible for the always-moving objects and night photography is not really happening. Get a

        The photographers with the more advanced cameras and lenses have a difficult task in making a decision. The beautiful fixed 400mm/500mm/600mm lenses are great, but they are also heavy, not flexible, need a tripod or monopod to be handled and require space. Already the transport on the international flight and definitely on the safari flight is challenging. But the main concern is their flexibility. In many places the animals are very close to the vehicles and the big lens cannot be used. So, one needs at least two cameras to have a more flexible lens on the other body to capture also these moments. If you want to bring all this great equipment, be prepared to have a private vehicle in order to manage it while being on safari. Also special arrangements for the transfers and flights might be necessary.

        Whatever your choice will be, keep in mind to have a fast camera with a fast processing memory card, a minimum 400 mm zoom lens when shooting full frame and a beanbag. These essentials will serve you well when going out to shoot great photos of wildlife, yet having a relaxed safari and easy transportation.

        Enjoy preparing for a great trip!

        Ute Sonnenberg,

        What to Think of When Photographing in Adventurous Places

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        One doesn’t need to go on a photo safari in Africa to end up in adventurous situations. A big event in your hometown can be already enough or a sports event with mountain bikers flying around your head. Actually photographing in familiar places and situations can sometimes be even more dangerous than on exotic locations or in the bush. Familiar situations let us drop our guard easily and then we step backwards into a gutter, fall of a wall, get equipment stolen or misjudging how many things we can do at the same time and loosing it. Well, making mistakes of this kind can be annoying, inconvenient and sometimes painful, but not so quickly life threatening. Making mistakes in the bush and in unfamiliar cultures can have larger consequences. But all boils down to watch your back and if you can’t do that yourself, get somebody to do it for you.
        When we look through the viewfinder or on the screen of our camera we get drawn into the photo we want to take. All our attention is on photography and we hardly see and hear what is going on around us. We somehow block out the world in order to focus on what we see and capture. The situation is similar to listening to the iPod while riding a bicycle on the streets or sending a sms while driving a car.
        For that reason, photographers in war zones and other dangerous places have guides with them and sometimes security guards to make their work possible. In the bush, one if not familiar with the environment, has a ranger and often a tracker with them. They find the animals and they take care of the safety. It might sound silly to remind people of “do not step out of the vehicle”, but unfortunately they forget and do it to get closer to the lion for a better shot. That only provides dramatic photos to the people who witness the moment and often ends the life of the other person. One might be tempted to think, how can you be so stupid, but be aware that being in the bush and seeing these animals can mix up very much someone’s mind and emotions. People don’t realize at that moment where they are and the animals look just like on TV and reality and fiction become one and fatal.
        Always be conscious where you are, what is going on around you, have somebody to cover your back and have a guide when unfamiliar with the surroundings. Listen when the guide tells you to stay in the vehicle. Walking the streets of New York is different from walking the roads of the Masai Mara. Both are safe as long as you know the rules and follow them.
        Be conscious and mind your guard. Bring jaw dropping beautiful images of your trip home and not images of yourself that could make the front pages.
        Happy snapping!

        Ute Sonnenberg,

        How to Plan and Book Your Photo Safari

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        First things first, how do you know you want to go on a photo safari? Did somebody ask you to join them or did you think lets do something different this year or were you always interested in wildlife and now you can’t wait to see it yourself? By answering this question you set the first step to choose the right destination, accommodation and mode of transport.

        When you join somebody everything is usually already decided and arranged. You only step in.
        When you think of doing a holiday just in a different way, than you should make a list what you want to see, experience and what is important to you regarding standard of accommodation and transportation. You might like to do a combination of safari, culture/lifestyle and beach to get an impression of Africa’s diversity. For that purpose you should choose a safari destination that offers excellent sightings, easy access and comfortable accommodation. You will travel quite a lot during that holiday to see and experience all the different places and activities, so easy access is important to not loose time and energy. The safari will be only one activity you are doing during the trip, so you want the best, preferably seeing the Big 5 within a few days before moving on to climb a mountain or to enjoy the beach. For that purpose a fly in safari to a Private Game Reserve or great areas as the Masai Mara and the Okavango Delta will be the best options. Check what vehicles the camp/lodge is using and if trained drivers/rangers are available. Be aware that travelling in Africa is different from other places. If you think about booking it yourself on the Internet you can make big misjudgments in planning distances, travel time, accommodation and game drive quality. Rather get somebody to help and advice you with that.

        When you want to go on safari and only on safari to enjoy photographing the great wildlife, your photo safari options get broader. You can choose for a variety of wildlife areas, even with different countries in one trip, depending on the time you have available. There is no need to rush things and plenty of opportunity to see the very diverse national parks and reserves with different and rare animal species. For this kind of photo safari it is great to have your private 4x4 Jeep with an allocated driver/guide for the entire stay. It provides the ultimate bush experience and allows you to go on game drives when you want and for how long you want. You got the freedom to make your own plan. Also for this kind of safari the same advice applies. Get somebody to help you with the planning and booking. Distances in Africa are measured in hours, not in kilometers and not knowing the rules of the bush can get you in difficulties. Having your private vehicle can be combined with simple camping or 5 star lodges, depending on the budget for the trip. It demands more time through travelling by car between the wildlife areas, but with the opportunity to see more of the country.

        Last but not least, ask yourself what animals you want to see. In some areas it’s easy to see the big cats in others to see elephant. Think about it when you plan the trip, that you don’t end up in an area where leopards are hardly see with the idea to photograph them.

        Happy planning.

        Ute Sonnenberg,