Archive for April, 2009

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A little music goes a long way…

April 14, 2009

Often, when creating presentations of my photos, I love to include music.  You can add another dimension to your art by including a track that compliments the style of your presentation, especially when you just want to show images without any voice-over content.  When you find the perfect musical compliment it can heighten the appeal of the presentation.

Like the images we display, music is a copyrighted work and can’t be included in a presentation without the appropriate licensing.  Using music without permission is like having someone use your photos in a presentation, ad, or other work without your permission.  I do not allow my images to be used without license or permission so I don’t use copyrighted music.

But that’s hard!  It’s so easy to go to iTunes and find an MP3 from my collection of thousands of songs to use in a presentation.  Since I can’t do that, what do I do?  There are a number of online resources that offer royalty-free music.  I sell some of my work through stock agencies and noticed that iStockPhoto is now offering royalty-free music.  Doing a Google or similar search will find a number of places offering this type of music licensing.

I recently became aware of a new site – Stock20.com.  Stock20 has broadcast-quality music of all types available with royalty-free licensing – you buy a song and you can use it over and over again in your presentations, PowerPoint, broadcasts, websites, etc.  You simply can’t resell, sub license or remix any of the songs.  The pricing is straightforward too – $20 a song.  That’s even a little inaccurate as you get multiple versions of the song in various lengths.  That makes it a lot easier to fit into your work without needing to edit down the length of the song.  In fact, most “songs” contain 10 – 15 versions of the same piece.  Their stuff is good too!

If you’re looking for something like this use this referral link and you’ll get a free song when you sign up (a $20 value!).  There’s no credit card or purchase required to get the free song and there’s no commitment.  There’s also no telling when they’re going to end this promotion!  For full disclosure, I get a free song too when you sign up.  Even without this, I’d recommend the site.

Let me know what you think!

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Back from Moab…

April 14, 2009

Wow, what a trip!  After a delayed start due to weather and getting through a significant snowstorm around Vail, CO, my good friend John Clark and I made it to Moab, UT on Saturday, April 4th.  What a place.

If you’re a landscape photographer and haven’t been to the national parks in the Western United States then make it a priority.  The beautiful rock formations, soaring peaks and big skies are worth every penny you spend to get and stay there.  Utah is especially interesting as it is home to five national parks – Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park.  Utah also claims the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, since it is best accessed through southern Utah. In addition, Mesa Verde National Park is just across the border in Colorado, Great Basin National Park hugs the Nevada border and Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park straddles the Utah/Arizona border.  It’s easy to see why Utah is one of the premier places to explore some of the amazing natural resources of this country.

I am lucky to have a good friend in John Clark.  John has logged many hours in the national parks making stunning images and acquiring a deep knowledge to the best places and times for shooting these landmarks.  Up before sunrise and out until after dark, we cruised the roads of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Dead Horse Point, a Utah state park.  At each turn, John knew exactly what was ahead, where the best vantage points were and how to make the “classic” shot.  I couldn’t ask for a better guide!

Here are a few of my favorites from the trip:

Sunrise from Dead Horse Point - Utah State Park

Sunrise from Dead Horse Point – Utah State Park

Mesa Arch - Canyonlands National Park

Mesa Arch – Canyonlands National Park

Green River Overlook - Canyonlands

Green River Overlook – Canyonlands National Park

Tree Near Mesa Arch - Canyonlands National Park

Tree Near Mesa Arch – Canyonlands National Park

Skyline Arch - Arches National Park

Skyline Arch – Arches National Park

Courthouse Towers - Arches National ParkCourthouse Towers – Arches National Park

Shooting the Moon Through North Window - Arches National ParkShooting the Moon Through North Window – Arches National Park

Hopefully, this gives you a feel for the type of photography that is so prolific in this part of the world.  I’m already thinking about taking a couple weeks to explore this area and the rest of Southern Utah in the near future!

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Off again…

April 2, 2009

Tomorrow morning I’m heading to Denver to meet with fellow photographer, John Clark.  From there, we’re driving five and a half hours to Moab, UT and Arches National Park.  Later in the weekend we’re heading over to Canyonlands.  I’ve always wanted to shoot Arches.  It’s kind of a “have-to” shoot for landscape and nature photographers.  So, I’m grabbing that “hat” as I head out tomorrow to see what I can capture.

I’m taking my standard gear, nothing long this time – my 70-200 f2.8 will have to do.  I just purchased the Pixel Racing Harness for my ThinkTank belt system to place more of the load on my shoulders instead of pulling my pants down.  That’s the only disadvantage I see to this fantastic system. Actually, maybe it’s my waistline that causes the problem.  Anyway…

As usual, I’ll attempt to blog and post pictures as I travel.  I can’t promise we’re staying anywhere “fancy”, you know, with wi-fi.  If we do, I’ll be sure to post.

In the mean time send me some suggestions on things to shoot in the comments.  Since I’m new to the area, I haven’t a clue to the things to shoot (John is the expert so I’m following his lead).  Anything unusual or different is always cool.  Send them along!

Be back soon!