12 Google+ Headers (Thanks a Million Part II)

I recently passed one million views on Google+, a number that doubled in the past year. This is the second time I have passed a million views on a social network this year, the other being Flickr.

During this time I shifted content production from multiple blog posts a week to produce photos via my 365 Full Frame project, and that has been the primary driver of this grown.

To thank folks for continuing to like and support my photography interests, please find below 12 free Google+ header images. These pictures are my most popular 365 Full Frame photos so far, as rated by 500 Pixels. If you like my photography and want to support the 365 Full Frame Project, please consider a contribution.

And with that, here are the 12 free Google+ headers for your use. Cheers.

1) Las Vegas Strip at Night

Las Vegas Strip at Night for Google+ 2

Grab it!

2) The Lotus Giant

The Lotus Giant for Google+

Grab it!

3) The Queensboro Bridge

Queensboro Bridge for Google+

Grab it!

4) Fire Ball

Fire Ball for Google+

Grab it!

5) Purple Zinnia Gets a Visitor

Purple Zinnia Gets a Visitor for Google+

Grab it!

6) Bridge Over the River Cuyahoga

Bridge Over the River Cuyahoga for Google+

Grab it!

7) Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for Google+

Grab it!

8) From Dawn to Sunrise

From Dawn to Sunrise for Google+

Grab it!

9) Waterfall Way

Waterfall Way for Google+

Grab it!

10) FDR East River Drive

FDR East River Drive for Google+

Grab it!

11) Three Bridge Sunrise

Three Bridge Sunrise

Grab it!

12) Sunset on the Pentagon Marina

Sunset on the Pentagon Marina for Google+

Grab it!

I hope you enjoy your Google+ header. No attribution is necessary, but it’d be fun to know if you used tone. Cheers!

Launching the 365 Full Frame Project #365FF

A couple of weeks ago I asked folks to consider the 365 Full Frame project. Today the project offically launches as a photo blog.

The project began publishing on Friday to help populate the site for today’s launch. The featured image for this post is today’s photo, a shot of McWay Falls in Big Sur. For the remaining 361 days starting tomorrow, the project will publish one high resolution full frame photo a day at 4:00 p.m.

Generally, these photos will be posted on the 365 blog, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter and a cropped version on Instagram. Facebook friends will only see some, but not all posts.

You can see the site has a minimalist blog design. It pretty much is all about the photos, and works well on mobile. That’s what made the most sense to me. Frankly, it’s nice to post because the images are worth sharing and for no other reason, a refreshing return to the old days of social media.

More on #365FF

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In all, 12 supporters came together to raise $2700 to fund the purchase of a a Nikon Df sans the lenses. Each of them has select licensing rights.

Anyone can share the images. Folks that purchase licenses for the photos will help buy more equipment. Rather than become a true professional photographer, I’d rather trade photo rights for more gear. Seems like a fair trade to me, and it helps fuel my hobby.

Thank you to everyone who helped get me here, from supporters to good pals like Richard Binhammer (who may guest photoblog on 365) and others who encouraged me along the way. It’s cool to have an outlet for my photography.

Again, thank you for encouraging me!

Light Is Everything

I am really looking forward to Wednesday morning’s Cherry Blossom photoshoot with Ann Tran at the Tidal Basin. It’s really my favorite photoshoot of the year because of the incredible light options you can see.

Shooting manually on a DSLR teaches you that light is everything when it comes to photography.

Whenever I take a photograph my first concern is lighting, especially since I prefer shooting manually sans flash. As important as storytelling and framing are to a photograph’s success, nothing matters if the lighting is off.

David Young said it best, “It is the photographing of ordinary things, in extraordinary light, which results in extraordinary photographs.”

Sunrise

Sunrise at the Cherry Blossom Festival offers a confluence of light options. First you have the sunrise itself. This is the golden hour, that first hour of light after sunrise or the last hour of light preceding sunset. The light refracts perfectly, producing a soft golden hue that illustrates gorgeous canvasses, and offers great contextual shadows. In particular, dawn is nice during the Cherry Blossom Festival because the Tidal Basin is less busy and you can still walk around.

We’re starting at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, but I’ll probably get down there early to watch the sun rise on the basin. The rising light offers incredible possibilities. You can take standard shots like the classic sunrise photo with burned yellows, oranges and reds. The above featured photo was a shot I took at the 2010 festival from the Jefferson Memorial (which is the dark shadow reflected in the Tidal Basin foreground).

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The Cherry Blossom Festival photo shoot includes the water contained within the Tidal Basin, which when still mirrors light perfectly. Finally, you have the cherry blossoms themselves. Because they are white and soft pink, they reflect the light, too. As a result, they can look white, vibrant pink, soft yellow, or even light blue depending on the time of day and hour.

The above shot combines all of these elements. First of all, it should be noted that the blossoms are backlit by the sunrise as opposed to have the light reflect on them directly. This breaks “the rules” a bit, but because they are cherry blossoms they absorb the light and still show well with a blueish yellow tinge.

Second, even though the shot faces the sun directly, the Jefferson Memorial blocks the light enough that it is not harsh. Rather it is perfectly golden, a result of that first hour of light. Finally, the water reflects the memorial perfectly, allowing you to see that sun is indeed rising. Thanks to the framing, the sun appears to rise between two pillars.

This shot is one of my all time favorites because it captures every light element the Cherry Blossom Festival has to offer. It has layers of subjects and light fields, which makes it fun to look at.

Manipulating Light

When you come to understand how a camera takes pictures, you can figure out how to capture a subject with the right lighting. You understand how shutter speed can be delayed to capture continuous light. You may decrease light sensitivity (ISO) to allow for a longer shot. Finally, you may (or may not) increase the f-stop to open the lense and take in a wider field of light, which in turn creates depth of field.

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I took the above photo of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge portion of Capital Beltway (I-95/I-495) earlier this week from the George Washington Parkway overpass. It was taken at the low ISO setting of 100, which is the minimal light sensitivity. The shot also was taken with the maximum f-stop of 32 (as wide as the lense could be opened). Both the ISO and f-stop settings were the opposite of what an automatic setting would take at night.

To compensate for these sacrifices, I also turned the shutter speed settings off, and manually shot the photograph for two minutes and six seconds. The camera was “mounted” between two poles on the overpass, assuring that there would be no vibration.

The result was a time lapse that fails to capture a single image of a car on one of the country’s busiest highways. Instead it captures the head and tail lights of many cars, coming and going, creating an incredible representation of speed and traffic.

You’ll see photos like this periodically, but they are not easy. I thought about how to take this shot the entire day prior to actually walking on the overpass.

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This next shot uses the opposite camera settings. The f stop is minimal creating a very shallow depth of field. Only the gentlemen’s face is completely in focus, in turn creating a cool effect with his index finger in the foreground.

The ISO setting is very high at 5600 and the shutter speed is fast (1/80th of a second), which allowed me to shoot manually sans flash or tripod. On the left side you can see a green screen, and that is lit by a professional photographer’s lighting rig on the right. This created a rich lighting scene with deep shadows.

I do think that whenever possible, flash-free shots feel more natural. I still have much to learn about flash, but my attitude remains the same about it. A shot should seem naturally lit and flash should augment the subject, not dominate or alter a scene.

Overall, you can see that light shapes everything that happens with a camera. It is the paint that makes the portrait.

What do you think?

14 Inspiring Love Photos

It’s Valentine’s Day and Hallmark has won again, though if you are alone there are plenty of companies hunting for your dollar, too! Rather than write a Valentine’s Day post — which would likely come off as cheesy or stiff — I decided to hunt for some love photos on Flickr.

Here are fourteen that I found inspiring. The featured image is one I took of my daughter Soleil. The other thirteen are others fine work. I hope you enjoy!

love
Love by Yoann Jezequel.

Love
Love by labspics

Love Love Love
Love Love Love by Gregory Jordan

Book Of Love
Book of Love by h a m i d j a h a n g i r ©

Gay Marriage - Gay wedding planner
Gay Marriage by Gay Travel Advice

african american pregnant woman
Pregnant woman by Baba Zuwa

Candid Station Kiss
Candid Station Kiss by Mikael Colville-Anderson

Friends
Friends by floridapfe

Holding hands
Holding hands by Jaymal

Hug
Hug by Namor Trebat

Passionate tango
Passionate tango by Willy GS

Dogs Can Hug!
Dogs Can Hug! by OllieSteiner

Kiss
Kiss by [fotogranina].

24 Free Twitter Header Images

As an amateur photographer nothing makes me happier than giving my photos away so people can use them. This holiday season I reedited 24 of my photos, cropping them to fit your Twitter header image.

None of the photos have watermarks, none of them require attribution. If you like any of them, click on the link located below these images to download on Flickr.

If you are looking for my sweet Patagonia pics, find them towards the end of the post.

Thank you for spending time on this blog. I really appreciate your time. Happy holidays!

First Presidential Tweet
The First Presidential Tweet

Hang Gliding in Hawaii
Hang Gliding in Hawaii

Continue reading “24 Free Twitter Header Images”