On Thursday, December 10, 2020, the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) announced the members of the Team USA 2021. Team USA is comprised of eighteen photographers, who must be United States citizens, who will represent the United States in the 2021 World Photographic Cup (WPC). Founded in 2013, WPC is run by the Federation of European Photographers (FEP) and PPA, with support from additional photographic organizations. Its goal is to unite photographers globally in a spirit of friendship and cooperation via a one-of-a-kind international photographic competition in which teams of photographers battle for the cup.
The 2021 competition winners will be announced in Rome, Italy, on April 19, 2021. Teams enter up to three images in each of six categories: Commercial, Illustrative, Nature, Portrait, Reportage, and Wedding.
Two cubs-of-the-year protected by their mother; one climbing on its mothers back while the other watches in Wapusk National Park near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
My image, titled “Safe”, of a mother polar bear with her two, three-month-old cubs taken in Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada was selected as one Team USA’s images for competition in the Nature category. If you recall, “Safe” was one of two images of mine juried into the 2021 PPA Loan Collection.
This image is a 2 panel mosaic comprising 28 hours of RGB exposures in 20 minute sub-frames. The images were acquired across 8 nights during November December 2018. Processing is exclusively with Pixinsight.
Here are the one more set of 30 photos that accidentally ended up looking like renaissance paintings. With digital cameras available on almost every phone out there, trying your hand at photography has never been so easy.
And even though it might be a little intimidating at first, especially if you compare your photos to those taken by pros, even beginners can produce some pretty stunning images. In fact, there are a lot of great pictures that were captured purely by accident – and the r/AccidentalRenaissance subreddit is the perfect proof.
Scroll down and inspire yourself. All photos are linked and lead to the sources from which they were taken. Please feel free to explore further works of these photographers on their collections or their personal sites.
#1 Woman sits by the window of a Lviv-bound train. AP
Image Source: u/fleece_white_as_snow
#2 The Selfie
Image Source: u/[deleted]
#3 Chef in Siena, Italy 2020
Image Source: u/iskanderthethief
#4 US Men’s Olympic Water Polo Team
Image Source: u/The_Fish_Alliance
#5 Concert Selfie
Image Source: u/ironypatrol
#6 A young man, illuminated by mobile phones, recites a poem while protestors chant slogans calling for civilian rule, during a blackout in Khartoum, Sudan
Image Source: u/Somali_Pir8
#7 Supper at home
Image Source: u/watsin_aname
#8 Evening train
Image Source: u/Panishev
#9 A wild composition
Image Source: u/Subterfug3
#10 Dearly Beloved
Image Source: u/SirBroDude
Image Source: u/throne_johne
#12 Two peacocks fighting like angels
Image Source: u/Pragalbhv
#13 Hasidic Tish during Sukkot, Jerusalem
Image Source: u/adeadhead
#14 Syrians in Al Yarmouk Camp waiting for aid
Image Source: u/Casualte
#15 Renaissance Chickens
Image Source: u/rattechnology
#16 The coffee shop window
Image Source: u/KingofHarts321
#17 Fields of Fire
Image Source: u/rooodney
#18 Fields of Fire
Image Source: u/Vsevolda
#19 A nun at the airport (OC)
Image Source: u/[deleted]
#20 Angela Merkel with fishermen, 1990
Image Source: u/nuniabidness
#21 My son and I caught in a storm
Image Source: u/[deleted]
#22 The dreamers (2008)
Image Source: u/Legumetoxique
#23 Game’s Night
Image Source: u/blakefaraway
#24 VA Tech Snowball Fight
Image Source: u/eggoeater
#25 Cairo, Egpyt. Selling lemonade
Image Source: u/Apprehensive_Guest
Image Source: u/88outtatime
#27 Madonna of Saint Alberdi enjoying the match
Image Source: u/gustavsen
#28 French farmers use fire to try to save their vineyards during cold nights
Image Source: u/QompleteReasons
#29 Ashbourne Shrovetide Football, Derbyshire, England
A few weeks ago Aubrey and I made our way south to explore Gold Butte National Monument. Though it is one of the nations more recently protected areas, established in 2016, what makes the area special is its ancient history. Sandstone sculptures shaped through countless seasons of weathering are scattered about the desert landscape. Occasionally, these natural works of art are further embellished with petroglyphs created by the ancestors of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, aging from 700 to a few thousand years old.
The Buffington Pockets and Muddy Mountains
We started our trip at the Buffington Pockets, a little outside of the monument. Here we found strangely colorful sandstone sometimes rivaling the best abstract art you might hope to find in a modern art museum. While wandering the canyons we found several mylar balloons, likely having found their way here after escaping from parties in Las Vegas. In our desert adventures we’ve found quite a few of these flying pieces of trash, however, there is often story associated with them that is fun to ponder. On our last trip we found one celebrating someones 100th birthday. This time, we found a remarkably well preserved Woody balloon.
After a night at the Buffington Pockets, we made our way across the desert landscape towards Gold Butte, taking the scenic route. We made a little detour to visit the Muddy Mountains Wilderness Area, on foot. Here we found a secluded valley decorated with colorful sandstone mounds. Near one of them we first smelled, and then saw, several recent animal carcasses including a bighorn sheep and fox. We suspect a mountain lion must have had a nice home there, but didn’t stick around long enough to find out. The following morning we were greeted by our campsite by a band of hungry wild horses.
A tiny shrub, from the right angle, looks like a lonely tree in this surreal sandstone landscape.
Strange colors and patterns in the sandstone abound in southern Nevada’s sandstone country.
The Muddy Mountains
Gold Butte National Monument
Our first few stops in Gold Butte were to explore some of the many petroglyph panels adorning the sandstone outcroppings. I was, however, equally intrigued by the natural “art” consisting of impossibly crisp lines of color cutting through the otherwise light pink stone.
Enjoying the views and wondering what was on the minds of the people who created these petroglyphs.
Seven of the ‘twenty-one goats’ petroglyph panel in Nevada’s Gold Butte National Monument.
Mother nature is the original modern artist, and sandstone is her favorite canvas.
That evening we returned to an area we had visited several years ago, known as little finland. Having little to do with Finland, I imagine the name stems from the strange and fragile sandstone fins that decorate the area. Many of these larger shapes likely started out as small pockets like in this image, resembling the tafoni found along many coastlines. The white residue found in the area is consistent with the hypothesis that these structures likely formed, and continue to evolve, through salt weathering.
Overnight a significant thunderstorm moved through the area and listened to the pounding rain and crashing thunder from the comfort of our bed in the truck. The following morning Aubrey got to enjoy her coffee in bed while taking in the lovely scents of a wet desert.
Weathered sandstone takes on strange shapes, almost like chocolate melting in the sun. Found in Gold Butte National Monument, NV.
Morning coffee in bed.
On our last day we explored a few other sandstone outcroppings in the landscape, finding several more remarkable petroglyph panels. Although people have no doubt written theses about the meaning of these panels, I myself wonder if some of them weren’t simply the works of young men and women looking to make their mark on the world.
The spiky green Joshua Trees contrast beautifully with the sensual and smooth red sandstone found in Nevada’s Gold Butte National Monument.
Petroglyphs adorn the walls of this narrow sandstone canyon in Nevada’s Gold Butte National Monument.
Protrusions of colorful sandstone adorn the wide open country of Nevada’s Gold Butte National Monument.
The goat men. What do you suppose they are up to? Who made this “drawing”, and why?
Tags: desert, gold butte, gold butte national monument, red rocks
Cliff de Wit, a former Microsoft South Africa director and now chief technology at Altron’s Netstar, is passionate about many things: skills development, the internet of things, artificial intelligence … and even astrophotography.
He joins TechCentral’s Duncan McLeod in the TC|Daily studio for a wide-ranging — and fascinating — discussion on some of the latest technologies Netstar is exploring that take the company’s offerings well beyond the traditional tracking and recovery of vehicles it’s traditionally known for.
Well known in developer circles — he maintains a keen interest in software development as well as in education and skills development from his Microsoft days — De Wit chats about how Netstar is taking the vast amount of information the company collects daily, and refining it into something forward-looking, useful and actionable.
He also takes us into the world of astrophotography, and much more besides.
Don’t miss the discussion — and do subscribe to TC|Daily if you haven’t already done so (details below). The full-resolution Milky Way image taken by De Wit that he speaks about in the interview can be found here.
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As a teenager growing up in Peckham, an ethnically diverse area of London, the photographer Nadine Ijewere observed the way that the women around her dressed. The neighbourhood “aunties”, as all older women were known, paired Nigerian patterns with Gucci handbags and Burberry motifs; they would style their afro hair in a way that was almost sculptural. Ijewere was interested in fashion photography, but she began to notice that the prints and hairstyles she saw everyday didn’t appear in magazines. She didn’t understand why these “pieces of art in themselves” were not more visible. At weekends, she would take photographs of her friends, many of whom were of mixed heritage like her, in the local park.
In 2018, at the age of 26, Ijewere became the first black woman to shoot a Vogue magazine cover, featuring the singer Dua Lipa draped in white feathers. Ijewere soon became known for her ethereal backdrops, her work with mixed-race models and her meticulous attention to black hair. In 2020, she did another photoshoot with Vogue, which accompanied a piece praising Nigerian “aunties”. The women in the shoot wore traditional head wraps and metallic floral and chequered prints in clashing colours. “I looked at those photographs and saw the women I grew up with,” Ijewere said. “I saw my heritage. And it was special.”
Almost 50 years before Ijewere’s “auntie” shoot, another black photographer, Armet Francis, took a photograph in Brixton, a neighbourhood not far from Peckham. In the picture, a stylish young black woman wearing a lilac suit leans back on a wooden chair in the middle of a road, an umbrella in hand. She looks aloof and carries herself with confidence, seemingly oblivious to the dreary weather and the workaday setting. Francis had been commissioned by a fashion magazine, but wanted to be subversive: instead of shooting in a studio, he went to Brixton Market, in an attempt to record the “proper reality of everyday black life”.
Since the mid-19th century, black photographers have sought to capture images that reflect the lives, preoccupations and personalities of black subjects. In the process, they have worked to rectify centuries of hackneyed representations. Francis was one of a small group of photographers to do this in Britain. In the 1960s, he moved away from the fashion industry towards a lifelong project: documenting the experiences of the African diaspora in the Americas and Britain. He had been struck by the fact that one rarely saw black people featured in magazines, beyond reports about famines in Africa. He wanted to photograph the black diaspora in all its vibrancy: “to me, they are home pictures,” he said.
In 20th-century Britain, black photographers were seldom published widely, and discrimination against them was common. James Barnor, one of Francis’s contemporaries, only attained mainstream recognition as an octogenarian. Now his work stands as a vital historical document of black societies as they changed. In the 1950s, Barnor witnessed Ghana’s independence movement; during the swinging Sixties, he photographed members of the African diaspora in London.
Both Barnor and Francis explored black identities as they fractured, shifted and evolved across continents. Many of today’s black photographers draw on their work, consciously and subconsciously – especially those working in the fashion industry. According to Antwaun Sargent, the curator of an exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery about a new generation of black fashion photographers, these young artists are attempting, like Barnor and Francis, to “make beauty from their real, if once unseen, reflections”. Sargent believes that “these image-makers are in the best position now, over any generation that came before them, to make a lasting impact.”
Before British-Ghanaian photographer Campbell Addy first encountered Barnor’s work in 2018, he had only seen photographs that looked at Africa through a white lens, focusing on poverty, slavery and war. Barnor’s photos were different. They showed contemporaries of Addy’s grandmother in Ghana and of Ghanaians moving to London. Addy hadn’t seen anything like them before: “It was classy, it was fashionable. It was beautiful. It was modern.” Barnor made Addy feel seen “in a way that only those who have been detached from their culture can understand”.
As a child, Addy moved from Ghana to south London. For a while after his arrival, his new friends would make fun of his accent. Eventually, the accent disappeared, but the feeling of difference remained. He was also frustrated when he visited Ghana: he didn’t know Twi, the main language spoken in Accra, well enough and couldn’t quite grasp the cultural nuances.
Addy’s dual identity has helped him draw on different cultural traditions in his work. “Ignatius”, an early photographic series, pays homage to Ignatius Sancho, the first known black Briton to vote. But elements of the styling and set design nod ironically to the British royal family.
In 2019, aged 26, Addy shot Naomi Campbell, one of the world’s most-photographed black women, for the Guardian. Later, reflecting on the shoot, Campbell noted that it was the first time she had been photographed for a mainstream publication by a black photographer in her 33-year career. To her, “there was something in that moment that felt sacred.”
Addy and Ijewere are just two members of a new generation of black photographers opening up opportunities for black artists working in fashion. Ijewere is establishing her own studio in south London, where she hopes to give younger photographers the space and equipment they need to start out. Addy knows that there is much work to be done. “Black photographers are doing well right now,” he said. “But I sometimes fear we will get smudged out of history. And I don’t want to be a trend.” The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen? “We need to keep on being visible,” he said. “People will look at our work and know that we exist.” ■
The exhibition “The New Black Vanguard” runs from October 28th to January 22nd 2023 at the Saatchi Gallery in London. It features the work of 15 young black fashion photographers, including Nadine Ijewere and Campbell Addy
In his latest column for AP, nature photographer Marsel van Oosten reveals how facing his fears and leaving his comfort zone led to success
I often hear that I have a very recognisable style. When asked what it is, people often use words like ‘simple’, ‘clean’, ‘graphic’, ‘uncluttered’, and even ‘sterile’. I agree with all those words because they perfectly describe the artistic form that I am trying to create in my work.
As a photographer, you not only need to decide what you want to photograph but also how you want to photograph it. Every photographer has his own preferred way of shooting – one that gives the best and most pleasing results. For me, that means simple, clean, graphic and uncluttered images. As a result, I always find myself drawn to subjects with a strong, graphic shape, in a habitat with as little distractions and visual clutter as possible. For that reason, I prefer photographing deserts over grasslands, and dead trees over live ones. I didn’t always know this.
Golden snub-nosed monkeys, Qinling Mountains, Shaanxi, China. Nikon D810, AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, 1/125sec at f/11, ISO 3200
If you have a particular style, it’s usually the result of certain preferences you have as an artist. Then, once you’re very comfortable with that style, you become extremely efficient and almost go into autopilot. Everything is easy because you’re in an environment that fits your photographic style, so you immediately know what to do. You work fast and efficiently and become very productive. Whereas if you’re suddenly in an environment that you are not very familiar with, or even dislike, that’s a whole different ball game.
Abandoning the comfort zone
Many years ago, my wife Daniella and I went on a trip to Costa Rica. We both love the wilderness and a rainforest is as wild as it gets. I had just started in photography and was excited to photograph the wildlife. But, as much as I enjoyed the experience, I wasn’t inspired to take any photographs. I checked my Lightroom catalogue to see how many images I shot on that trip: ten. It was a pivotal moment in my development as a photographer as it forced me to figure out why I was not inspired. Conclusion: too much visual clutter.
Self-portrait in Shaanxi, China, at the exact location where Marsel van Oosten shot the award-winning ‘The Golden Couple’ image
For the next ten years I stayed far away from forests. The ‘cleaner’ the landscape, the more inspired and happier I was. But, after a while, my decision started bothering me. Every now and then I saw beautiful images taken by other photographers in dense forests and realised that I was running away from a challenge. Years later, I saw a very bad photograph of golden snub-nosed monkeys, in a brochure, somewhere in China.
They were the most fascinating looking monkeys I’d ever seen, and when I learned that they were endangered I knew I had to photograph them. Lichens are the main staple of the monkeys’ diet, and dead trees have the greatest lichen coverage. Unfortunately, those are being taken by the timber industry. The monkeys are also eaten by the local population. Anyhow, the problem was: they live in dense forests.
I absolutely love forests from a nature-loving perspective, but a forest is nothing but clutter. For the first time in my career, I had to think long and hard about how to face my fears, and how I could overcome my ‘clutter-phobia’. No more relying on intuition… it was time to get way out of my comfort zone.
Golden snub-nosed monkey with baby. Nikon D810, AF-S VR 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, 1/250sec at f/5.6, ISO 160
In an effort to get control over the immense clutter in the backgrounds, I decided to use a polariser to limit the amount of reflections off the leaves, and to use flash to create separation between the subjects and the forest behind them. Flash enabled me to control the ambient lighting and get sufficient light on the monkeys while, at the same time, being able to underexpose the backgrounds using polarisers, decreasing the amount of reflections.
This proved to be the recipe for my project, and many of the images I shot there are among my favourites. One of them even won me the grand title Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Had I decided to stick to my standard routines, and comfortably continue on autopilot, this would never have happened. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
Marsel van Oosten at work in China
As told to Steve Fairclough
Featured image: ‘The Golden Couple’, overall winner in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition in 2018. Nikon D810, AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, 1/320sec at f/8, ISO 1600
Marsel van Oosten
Marsel van Oosten was born in The Netherlands and worked as an art director for 15 years. He switched careers to become a photographer and has since won Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Travel Photographer of the Year. He’s a regular contributor to National Geographic and runs nature photography tours around the world. Visit www.squiver.com
Whether you’re new to wildlife and nature photography or looking to improve your skills, we have plenty of tips and techniques to help you on your way. Take a look here.
See more of Marsel van Oosten’s columns:
You need better backgrounds
Why scale is important
How to pre-visualise a photograph
Making the most of bad weather
Why planning is important in photography
Why you should photograph wildlife at low angles
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Bruce Presents Astrophotography – Virtual Zoom Webinar
The night sky has long held us captive with its beauty and wonders, only to disappear with the coming of the sun. But photography, beginning with the first pictures of the Moon in the 1800s, has enabled us to see into the dark reaches of space, capturing a moment that can be shared anytime. Advances in photographic technologies have given way to Astrophotography, the imaging of astronomical objects, celestial events, or areas of the night sky. Modern Astrophotography is not only dazzling to behold, but also provides important data and research support on objects invisible to the human eye such as dim stars, nebulae, or galaxies.
Reservations at Brucemuseum.org
Carina Nebula, photo by NASA’s James Webb Telescope
Support for Bruce Presents is generously provided by Berkley One. Learn more here
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) – Lorain Fought – or “Rain” as she prefers to be called – is a four-time breast cancer survivor, two of those times with breast cancer and she is currently battling lung cancer.
Despite the many different bouts with this disease, Rain doesn’t let any of this stop her from continuing to enjoy her life.
As she continues to take up many of her passions, including one that has garnered her both local and national attention.
“I just don’t want to sit around the house,” says Fought. “I want to do something. I got to keep busy. I want to enjoy everything that’s on this Earth, one way or the other.”
After multiple fights with cancer, Fought is not letting this disease wear her down.
She continues many of her passions. One of them being photography.
Something she got back into when she got on Facebook and her friends told her how good she is at it.
Fought says, “And I’m like, ‘You know, maybe a calendar. Maybe make a calendar.’”
And since then, Rain has been churning out a calendar almost every year.
Rain says she provides roughly 150 calendars each year and they go out fast, as people love her wildlife photos.
“I love wildlife. I love nature. I love everything, I think,” says Fought. “So, I’ll go out in the woods and like – for this calendar here – some of the pictures, I sat for probably 10 hours.”
Rain’s photos are not just for calendar use though.
As her work has been featured on many publications and media. Both locally and nationally.
“And I’ve been published in ‘Birds and Bloom,’ ‘Wild and Wonderful West Virginia,’ the bird digest out in Marietta. Also, the Chicago Tribune, the Columbus News,” says Fought.
Rain says that the calendars are also more than a hobby, as she uses these for herself to track her treatments.
“If you look through mine, which you did, you’d see CAT scans, doctor appointments, blood work. You’d see all of those appointments in there,” says Fought. “And I know people do it on their phones, but I’m old school. I use a calendar.”
Fought says that the photos found in these calendars will also be used in “thank you,” “get well,” and other greeting cards at Memorial Health Systems.
The Top Ten Aaron Reed Photography Blogs of All Time
Is Aaron Reed’s Fine Art Photography Blog the most interesting of all time? Do you think blogs are a waste of your time? No one reads blogs anymore right? If you answered yes to any of these questions you need to heed the famous words of ICE CUBE and Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself.
Currently, roughly 409 million internet users read about 20 million blog pages monthly. 53% of marketers prioritize blogging as their primary content marketing strategy. When it comes to fine art photography, EVERYONE knows Aaron Reed is the business, even the most interesting man in the world.
Searching through an extensive catalog of blog posts can be quite boring though, so I have gone the extra mile (I’m always looking out for you guys) and have created this list of my top ten photography blog posts of all time. No time to read? Too Tired? No problem, I’d be happy to read them to you for $250 an hour. Call it the worlds most expensive bedtime story.
Okay, without further ado, the moment you have all been waiting for, here is my top ten list as determined by you, the sad lonely people who actually read my blog posts.
1. Fine Art America? I Don’t Think So.
Fine Art America is a POD (Print On Demand) company and online marketplace that sells the work of more than 500,000 artists around the world. Fine Art America offers various forms of art including wall art, prints, posters, tapestries and apparel. Have you been looking for a shower curtain with a boat powered by butterfly wingsfor your newly renovated bathroom? You got it! A rainbow zebra coffee mug? Of course you can, go treat yourself!
2. Aspen Tree or Birch?
Where do we come from? What is the meaning of life? Is it an aspen tree or a birch? These are the questions that have plagued mankind since the dawn of time. Without a doubt, both are beautiful trees, loved by nature photographers, hikers and all seekers of fall color around the country. But what is the difference? Is it the way they taste? The sound that each makes when they fall in the forest and no one is there to hear their cries? Let’s dig a little and see if we can find out.
3. What Are Peter Lik Style Prints?
In reality, there is simply no such thing as Peter Lik Style Prints. There are acrylic face-mounted photography prints, produced by thousands of photographers around the world and there are acrylic face-mounted photography prints produced by artist Peter Lik. These truths are separate from each other, as one style does not belong to the other.
4. Ansel Adams | Black and White Photography
Ansel Easton Adams (February 20, 1902 – April 22, 1984) was a landscape photographer and environmentalist known for his black-and-white images of the American West. He helped found Group f/64, an association of photographers advocating “pure” photography which favored sharp focus and the use of the full tonal range of a photograph.
5. Imitation Is Not The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Flattery, is often used in a dishonest way, as a means to achieve what someone wants for themselves. An employee, hoping for a promotion, may compliment the bosses new suit. A waitress, may use flattery to increase the chances of being tipped. Even laughter, when used correctly can flatter and therefore influence a person’s opinion of you.
6. My Scandalous Affair With The Sony A7RIV
As described in my previously released, highly debated and riot inciting story about the FUJI GFX100 and Sony A7RIV, I explained my history with the Canon EOS system and a little bit about myself as a landscape photographer. I have been a Canon shooter since I began my adventure with photography, beginning with a Canon 40D, then a 50D, a 5D2, a 5D3 and finally a 5DSR.
7. How To Light Artwork In Your Home
You have a fair amount of choices when it comes to lighting, each having its own set of benefits and considerations. The best lighting enhances the artwork, without distracting from the rest of the decor in your room. Before we go any further, lets discuss the various types of lighting available to you.
8. Creating A Custom Las Vegas Photography Gallery
Since then, Helga & Vlajko have continued to add even more fine art pieces of mine to their collection. Now with 35 total pieces of mine on the walls of their home that really does rival any Las Vegas fine art gallery. Please have a look below at some of their choices for this project!
9. The Great American Landscape Painters
Many landscape photographers today, including myself, have found beauty and inspiration in the works of these masters. The composition, light and overall mood created in many of these paintings hold the same allure to landscape photographers of today. Please read on to learn more about the Hudson River School, the movement itself and more about three of the painters who helped cement these works into history.
10. The Best Fine Art Print Mediums Explained
These days, you can have your photographs printed onto almost anything. Care to see your photos printed on a natural plank of wood freshly cut from a tree? No problem. A slab of cold steel? You betcha. How about a t-shirt, coffee cup or a backpack? Consider it done my friend.
You did it!! You have officially wasted a signification portion of your day today reading this blog post and I just want to say thank you! Now grab another cutoff coffee and get back to work!!!