Friday, July 3, 2015

Photograph fireworks like a professional

4th of July, Philadelphia, PAThis week in the United States we'll celebrate our nation's birth. In Philadelphia, America’s birthplace and it's first capital, that means after a concert at the foot of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with more than a half million people in attendance, all will also enjoy one of the largest, most spectacular fireworks displays in the nation, with many more watching on television.

If you're in Philadelphia, look for me shooting the festivities and fireworks, just southeast of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Here are some of my tips so you can photograph the fireworks near you, like a pro, using your digital camera:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The photography ban during White House public tours has been lifted

The White House, Washington, DC - South Lawn, photo by Peter GriffinDuring the presidency of Gerald R. Ford (1974–1977) photography by White House public tour visitors was banned and stayed that way for about forty years.

The ban on photography, according to White House historians, was put in place to due to a range of concerns. Those entrusted with maintaining the White House's historic artifacts, artwork and the White House itself were concerned with the damaging effects of flash photography at the time. Others were concerned that visitors constantly stopping to take photographs would disrupt White House tours and could allow some visitors to become separated from their tour group and stray from the tour route itself.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Financial tips for travelers to Greece in summer 2015

The Parthenon temple on the Athenian Acropolis in Athens GreeceIt's not often I write an article in this blog, which seemingly has no link to photography at all, but the finance situation Greece finds itself in, as it approaches national default on its debt is most definitely affecting travelers, including those in Greece primarily for photography. For travelers, Greece's financial situation has been sometimes perplexing, sometimes disruptive, and this week very difficult to overcome.

Greece closed their banks this week, but they are expected to open on Monday, July 6. At this time the ATM's throughout Greece are being refilled, but they are being emptied by travelers and Greeks as fast as they're being filled. Many travelers are reporting they have had to try as many as ten ATM's before they could obtain any cash.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Museums fed up with travelers' selfie sticks

Self Portrait in the plaza/garden passage at Walt Disney Concert HallThey used to be called self-portraits. Today they have a shorthand name; “selfies.” With selfies becoming more and more popular, a piece of gear designed to help make selfies, the “selfie stick,” has emerged, and is causing major concerns and consternation at museums across the globe.

While smartphone selfies are a 21st century phenomenon, the first selfies appeared more than 33 centuries ago. Archaeologists, discovered a selfie made in 1365 BCE by Pharaoh Akhenaten's chief sculptor Bak. The great Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn is the all-time king of the selfie. He painted self-portraits from the time he was a young man, until shortly before his death in 1669.

During the first half of the 19th century selfies became a photographic staple. Robert Cornelius, a life long Philadelphian, is reputed to have made the first photo selfie in 1839. The famous US Civil War photographer Mathew Brady made many self-portraits.

Travelers have been making selfies in front of favorite sights such as the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, at the edge of the magnificent Grand Canyon, or while just having a meal on a cruise, since photography became mainstream.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Is Taylor Swift a hypocrite?

Taylor Swift in Concert - Copyright © 2015 GabboTOn June 21st, music superstar, Taylor Swift wrote an open letter to Apple Inc. explaining why she was holding back her album “1989” from Apple Music, the new Apple streaming service.

In her letter, Swift decried Apple Music's free three month trial policy, during which they were not going to pay royalties for playing any music. Apple is offering the free trial to entice users to sign up and eventually pay for the streaming service, but weren't going to pay the musicians, writers, producers and others who would be owed royalties, during the trial.

In her letter to Apple, Swift said of Apple's decision,

“I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company [Apple].”

Swift went on to say,“Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing.”

Monday, June 8, 2015

New bird ID website and smartphone apps have been released

Female red-winged blackbirdI don't know about you, but when I post an image in my galleries, Facebook, when published in a magazine or on the web, or even just printed, I want to be able to tell viewers exactly what they're seeing in the image.

Perhaps it's part of my engineering background or the journalist in me, but I'm always drawn to answer the “Five Ws and How” questions, “who, what, when, where, why and how.”

In journalism, the questions constitute the formula to obtain a complete story on a subject. Hermagoras of Temnos (1st century BCE), an ancient Greek rhetorician (an expert in the use of using language effectively) is apparently the originator of the “Five Ws and How.” He defined seven “circumstances” which describe an issue as, “Quis, quid, quando, ubi, cur, quem ad modum, quibus adminiculis,” translated as “who, what, when, where, why, in what way, by what means.” (This is from Halm's edition of “De rhetorica” as Hermagoras's precise original quote hasn't survived the ages.)