The response to Getty's shocking announcement nearly broke the internet. 40 million historic photos, all available to embed on blogs and websites for free. The stated terms allow for editorial purposes only (no commercial use). Considering the size and importance of this catalog, this shift in policy has the potential to redefine the way images are shared across the web.
Wasting no time, I immediately plunged into the archives in search of public figures interacting with cameras. The fascinating photos span many decades, and absolutely reveal the universal appeal of the medium. Also on display is the never-ending evolution of technology.
No matter when we were born, our fascination with images has never swayed. For this reason, I welcome Getty's decision
People sometimes ask if I'm worried about being replaced by automatic-everything cameras and advancements in technology like the iPhone. I guess I'm not the only photographer who gets this question. In this interview by Oscar Rickett for VICE, he asks Michael Christopher Brown "Do you think the rise of citizen journalism is endangering your profession? Are you worried at all that people can just record what's happening on their phones?"
Brown's response is well thought out, and I couldn't agree more:
"Anybody, at the right place and time, is able to make a great picture, and even mechanized photography like Google Street View is able to capture great street scenes. But consistency is important if it is to be a profession, so the random great images Joe Public takes will never add up to the legacy of good pictures left by a professional." - Michael Christopher Brown
Enjoy the entire interview here.
Also, be sure to check out Michael's outstanding body of work on his site.
Imagine living in a Florida condominium with a pool and a sports car, and then moving into a log cabin in the middle of the woods in upstate New York. That's the decision John Coffer made, commenting how the former lifestyle "wasn't really very fulfilling". This short film offers an intimate look at a simpler way of life with 50 acres, cattle, chicken, and a log cabin.
Coffer is also a photographer who chooses to shoot large wet plate tin types. He explains that "In this day and age of digital where it is so easy to just shoot thousands of pictures in a day, each individual picture becomes rather insignificant. Whereas with the tin type, it's very intentional and you're not going to make very many in a day. They become valued objects, not just an image. Each image is absolutely unique like a painting."
Watch the entire 6 minute film by Ben Wi and David Usui here.
1) To find the sunrise & sunset times in any area. This is a worthy bookmark for nature photographers.
2) The website of the late Galen Rowell who embodied the spirit and adventure of what outdoor photography is all about. By far, my favorite nature photographer. Galen was also a gifted writer. His book "Mountain Light" is a must read.
3) How to Find the Perfect Tripod - a detailed piece I wrote for the New York Institute breaks down all the considerations when deciding on the best tripod.
4) John Shaw's Nature Photography Field Guide is a wonderfully written, informative book which covers advanced photography techniques, and also features a beautiful selection of his world renowned work.
5) If you are just starting to get into off camera lighting, check out this informative link.
6) For even more off camera lighting fun, check out Lighting 101 at the Strobist blog.
7) The website of Pulitzer prize winning photographer, Vince Laforet. Recently recognized as one of the "100 Most Influential People in Photography".
8) An interview with the thought provoking photographer, Duane Michaels.
9) For technical reviews on cameras and lenses, there is no better resource than dpreview.
10) I often use Exposure 5 from Alien Skin to achieve a "signature look" in post production with just a few simple clicks.
12) Think you have a great bird photo? Enter it into the Birder's World weekly photo contest.
13) I use the Kirk BH-3 ballhead. They also sell quick release plates, window mounts, and other various accessories.
14) Here is a terrific pdf magazine "Clarity" to learn about, and appreciate the art of photography.
15) For high quality prints from your digital files, try adorama.com. You can upload uncompressed tiffs, and choose several custom options.
16) The Sports Shooter website features in depth monthly newsletters, daily topics, and active forums geared towards working Photojournalists. They occasionally post informative videos on advanced situations like setting up remotes at sporting events.
17) People often ask me which camera they should buy. Here is an interesting article which discusses why your camera choice may not be as important as you think. Read this, it could save you some money.
18) If you haven't already, check out your local camera club. It can be a great way to share information and tips with other photographers.
19) This blog provides a look into the mind of a Photo Editor.
20) The company I've been using to host this website and blog is Squarespace, and I've been very pleased with them.
21) "Chased by the Light" is an inspirational DVD about photographer Jim Brandenburg's personal assignment to take just one click of the shutter each day for 90 days. The results may surprise you.
22) Every week you can compete in the "Thursday Challenge". It's all about fun and learning.
23) The Photographer's Ephemeris is a useful app to determine the exact location of the sunrise/sunset and moon. I use this to plan my shoots with their nifty iPad app but they also have a free desktop version.
25) This map gives details and directions on natural areas all over Long Island. It's a great site for finding new places to explore and photograph.
I refuse to complain about the weather and add to the array of commentary that already exists on the train, in the streets, riding the elevator. Does it make life harder? Absolutely. Yet, I'm finding something metaphorical in this wicked season. When life takes its shots you have to hit back with positivity.
Perspective once seemed like a simple word to define one's point of view. Yet, each day I spend on this earth it takes on new importance. While it would be an oversimplification, it is fair to say perspective is everything, both in life and photography.
I know some of you live in a true arctic climate like Wisconsin, Minnesota, and well, Atlanta. The worst winter I ever experienced was in the Great Lakes region, not far from Chicago. The shores of Lake Michigan were actually frozen with waves seemingly suspended mid-curl. It was around this time I was first introduced to the Windy City face mask. Without the proper apparel your face can literally chap (see Tom Coughlin). So today, with real feel temperatures around 6 degrees, I'm once again resorting to these methods. The goal is to cover the most possible flesh while leaving slits just large enough to see the path ahead. Peripheral vision is overrated, at least for now.
No matter how bitter it is, one can always fall back on indoor photography. What better way to beat the deep freeze than lingering in a climate controlled arboretum. These daffodils were in full bloom surrounded by colorful fauna and a shadowy background. These types of high contrast scenes are ideal when you want the subject to stand apart rather then blend in to the scene. The photo is a reminder that despite the current deep freeze, Winter will soon lose its grip and make way for the inevitable start of Spring.
Controlling the aperture is one of the most powerful ways to improve your images. It's also the topic that continues to perplex photography students everywhere. Rather than unnecessarily complicating matters, I prefer to demystify the subject. In this tutorial, I'll reveal how a wide aperture can be used to create artistic effects. Click the photo below for the entire piece.
Composing with your feet means moving about, and searching for the best perspective. With so many cameras on the market today, it's imperative that we work harder to find a unique angle. I often find myself on the ground looking for something interesting to add to the foreground. The warning sign helped to emphasize the perilous condition of these ruins, closed since 1862.
Of course good light helps, and I try to time my excursions to take advantage of the morning or late afternoon sun. This isn't limited to just "the magic hours" of sunrise and sunset. This was approximately one hour prior to the setting sun, but the warm tones are clearly evident.
When traveling I also like to take quick record shots of landmark signs that I can later refer back to when writing captions. This sign says "The Copper Mine was declared a National Park due to its importance as the only known historical site of this type representing the British industrial revolution within the West Indies. The Amerindians were the first people to mine copper on Virgin Gorda in the late 1400's by digging tunnels into rock. The copper was used to make tools and jewelry which was traded with people on other islands. The majority of structures at the site are remnants of mining activity by the Virgin Gorda Mining Company that operated between 1835 - 1862, shipping copper ore to Wales in the United Kingdom for smelting. The mine was operated by approximately two hundred people, including managers, women and children.
The mine was a rich source of mineral but there were high operating costs and it was a long distance to ship ore to Wales. The fortunes of the mine varied and in 1861 it appeared to be flourishing. However, in 1862 the mine ceased operations and 20 years later it was sold by the government to a Cornish company to recover outstanding taxes.
After 1862 the mine had varied history, as reports of other minerals such as molybdenum, gold and silver attracted miners from England and America. There was activity at the mine as recently as the 1970's when exploratory drilling was undertaken."
When conditions are favorable as they were on this day, I typically scurry about the site, and explore it from all angles. This led me to a vantage point behind the Copper Mine, yielding a totally different look. I also got right up next to it, and craned the camera towards the sky to emphasize the height and texture of the weather surface.
This unspoiled view is the same landscape the Mine workers saw each day before heading underground to work. Viewing it through my lens, and exploring the area with my camera gave me a deeper understanding of what their life must have been like so many years ago.
People often ask how I got started in the photography industry. The journey began long before landing my first paid gig. Each weekend I gave myself unofficial assignments, showing up at local sporting events with two cameras dangling from my neck. These uncrowded sidelines were an ideal place to practice, build my skills, and assemble a portfolio. This collection of prints would ultimately be presented to a newspaper editor who decided to hire me. While I was now "official", it was really just a continuation of what I was already doing. This made it easier for the editor to take a chance on me. I believe it's best to create your own opportunities rather than waiting for something to happen. Ultimately, the work you put in now, will be rewarded later.
I just added several new photos to my Tuscany in Autumn gallery. The images were mostly captured on and around the magnificent Villa Dievole. It was Allan Sichel who said, "Wine is a living thing. It is made, not only of grapes and yeasts, but of skill and patience. When drinking it remember that to the making of that wine has gone, not only the labor and care of years, but the experience of centuries."
Still life subjects are a terrific way to practice your photo skills in a controlled environment. With this rose, I used an aperture of f22 for maximum depth of field. This kept all of the petals sharp, even those to the outer edges. Then, using the rule of thirds, I placed the center spiral off to the left side to avoid a bulls-eyed composition. This was shot with a 100mm macro lens and I carefully arranged the scene so nothing but the rose was showing. Filling the frame with your subject can be an effective way to eliminate distracting backgrounds.