Freezing Water

freezing-water-richardson_24344_600x450Contributing editor Jim Richardson is a photojournalist recognized for his explorations of small-town life. His photos appear frequently in National Geographic magazine.

Perhaps unlocking one creative door opens another.

Somehow that’s how I felt dashing back to the Zodiacs to leave Thistle Fjord in Iceland, flush with confidence from my photographic encounter with the bird wing. If I could break through that creative barrier, what other challenges would succumb to me?

Then I remembered the cascading waterfall near our landing site. Nothing huge, just crystal clear waters sweeping past the ancient farm and dancing down over the rocks to the sea. With a couple of minutes to spare, perhaps I could pull off one more image.

First, a bit of photographic background. Waterfall pictures are moving perilously close to being clichés. I say “close” because I doubt we humans will ever lose our fascination with the delights of cascading water plunging dramatically from on high. But … the techniques used to capture waterfall pictures have become standard fare. The most common current rage is to use a long, very slow shutter speed to turn the water into silky, silvery curtains of liquid smoothness. And lovely

Viking Attacks and Group Photos

vikings-group-photo-richardson_33261_600x450Contributing editor Jim Richardson is a photojournalist recognized for his explorations of small-town life. His photos appear frequently in National Geographic magazine.

While cruising the wild Hebridean seas, we were attacked by Vikings. Beset, we were, by wild men—and women—returned to their ancient haunts, and bedecked in their ancient garb.

Otherwise, it was a nice evening.

Touring the Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis had been glorious (as it always is) and the Zodiacs were waiting to take us back to the National Geographic Explorer. Looking like orange-clad doughboys in our life vests, we were facing stiff winds when the Vikings appeared in a side cove. And, glory be, they were a friendly lot, dispensing very welcome hot toddies and looking ever so fearsome in their (plastic) horned helmets. It was a moment that called out for a group photo.

Which brings me (at long last) to my core question: Which is worse, being attacked by Vikings or having to take a group photo?

Being the photographer saddled with group photo duties is made all the worse because many of the hapless subjects feel like they are being subjected to torture and will not go

7 Quick Landscape Composition Guidelines

Landscape DetailsVisit most any photo site on the web, and the vast majority of images you’ll see are of people, nature and architecture. These are the overarching topics that are then subdivided – people in foreign lands, formal portraiture, kids, etc. / landscapes, seascapes, wildlife, etc. / cityscapes, isolated iconic buildings, close ups of buildings and their reflections, etc. While the text and sample images of this article focus on landscapes, the same principles can be applied to most of the listed subjects above. So study the following hints and tips and think how you can substitute Subject A, B, or C into each.

It’s All About the Light: The most dramatic light occurs at sunrise and sunset. The color is warm, it reveals shape and texture due to the low angle, and if there are clouds, the colors can be spectacular. While being out at sunset isn’t much of a sacrifice, getting up at the crack of dawn can be a struggle. But if you don’t, you’ll miss some of the best light of the day.

Think Small: Landscapes are commonly photographed with wide angle lenses to take in the grand scenic.

Review: ‘Donald Blumberg Photographs,’ Observing America on the Streets and From the Sofa

NEW HAVEN — There’s real life, and there’s media; there are the spaces outside we inhabit together, and there is the screen we gaze at alone. Yet the photographs of Donald Blumberg, subject of a large retrospective at the Yale University Art Gallery here, make the distinction between reality and image feel overdrawn. Mr. Blumberg began his career shooting on the streets of New York, but by the late 1960s he had turned his lens away from real spaces, preferring to shoot the television in his living room. As the nearly 200 images here attest, the gap between one and the other is smaller than you’d think. Outside or inside, photographing or rephotographing, Mr. Blumberg observes an America in transition and in crisis, via a medium whose assumed veracity he never stopped questioning.

Mr. Blumberg was born in 1935 and initially trained as a biologist, turning to photography only after a formative trip to Europe. His street photography of the early 1960s consists of fluent, if unexceptional, shots of a demotic New York: passengers on a ferry, apartment dwellers sitting in window sills, a painted sign for a Spanish-language church.

One day,

What Selfie Sticks Really Tell Us About Ourselves

CREMATED remains, xylophones and lawn chairs are not allowed in the Magic Kingdom, and now selfie sticks aren’t either. Disneyland banned the so-called narcisticks this summer following similar prohibitions at the Roman Colosseum, Palace of Versailles and Sydney Opera House. The cited reason was public safety concerns as well as basic propriety.

But this year selfie sticks were also forbidden at the Coachella music festival and Comic-Con — hardly known as bastions of decorum. And you can be arrested for using them in Russia, where the government has recently begun a public awareness campaign about the danger of taking selfies (with or without a stick) after a series of fatal accidents resulting from self-portraits in precarious poses — like in front of oncoming trains.
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Loose Ends: Is This a Selfie?JULY 22, 2015

Since the advent of front-facing cameras on cellphones, selfies have been a matter of eye-rolling and vague embarrassment even among those who take them (often making a pouty lip “duckface” if female or asymmetrically setting the eyebrows if male). Now, though, it seems a line has been drawn at mounting a camera phone on a perspective-enhancing stick — as

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