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Slide Shows by the Travelin’ Man

If I am traveling and not on assignment, I rarely stay for more than two nights in the same town. Because the friend I travel with is gracious, I do have some time to photograph, but it is difficult to come up with cohesive stories about the locations we are visiting. Normally, the resulting images are a series of one-shots – interesting photographs, but of disparate subjects.

One way I can display them is to make “travelogue” slide shows, where I group the photographs visually and somewhat chronologically and then add music.

In this blog, I am not covering technical aspects of slide show construction or the programs that create slide shows, such as Microsoft Windows Live Photo Gallery, PowerPoint, Google Picasa, Apple iPhoto, etc. That blog is for another day. Here, I want to address the treatment of the subject matter.

Since I want to feature the still images, I do not use “Ken Burns” moves, or dissolves such as “ripple”. I use my own title slides, created specifically for that particular slide show, The music is usually one piece, hopefully establishing a mood or theme. Note: If you are presenting your slide show commercially – even as part of your portfolio, you must purchase the rights to the music, and this does not mean just paying for the track on iTunes.

The programs for organizing the shows are pretty sophisticated at this point in time, and the producer can time slide changes to musical beats, “clip” the music so that there is no dead space between tunes, etc. However, for better organization of the music and the images, you should leave the slide show programs and make a movie. Final Cut Pro and even iMovie are much more sophisticated and can create a professional product if you are interested.

The most important tip I can give in this blog is to edit, edit and edit some more. A five-minute slide show is a L-O-N-G slide show.

Here, I am presenting three “travelogues” that I produced in 2012. Note that the “key frame” presented for each show was not my choice, but established by YouTube. The show itself remains intact.

Hit the “full screen” button in the lower right on the tool bar to get the best effect. Also note that persons subscribing to the blog’s email feed will need to cut and paste the URL for each slide show into their browser to watch it.

The first show is on China, but not really. We only visited Beijing and the Yunnan Province, where we hiked for four days. The title slide helps clear up where we were.

The second show is about a week in Colorado, where we hiked several mountains in preparation for hiking up Mount Meru, a 15,000 ft. mountain in Tanzania. This slideshow has captions placed on some of the pictures to identify who the participants are for those who were not on the hike.

Lastly, a slide show on four weeks in Tanzania and Zanzibar, where we did get to see most of the country.

I have also included two stills from a memorial slide show for my mother. Slide shows such as these have captions on every picture, adding contextual information. I have done several of these shows for others. Also, for friends, I put together award presentation shows, etc.





Slide shows are a great way to feature my photography – and yours too!

Traveling Around the Internet

Photography websites can be good, bad and indifferent. I recently was trolling for photographers to do work for an interactive app featuring travel guides to various cities of the world

I used Craigslist to place ads in a number of cities, and asked the photographers to put in the subject line the city that the ad appeared. In the body of their return email, I asked for a link to their work. I received hundreds of emails in return. I organized them by city and then opened the emails, immediately looking for the link and going to the images.

NGS Stock Sales

Even though I had specified that it was an editorial job, I received wedding sites, fashion sites, vacation picture sites on Flicker and Picasa, etc. Some played music, some took ages to load, some had slide shows, etc. Most had galleries, a biography and a contact page. It was a sobering experience. Reminds me of the joke: “What is the definition of ego? It’s the little bit of photographer that everyone carries down deep inside.”In my net travels, I have come up with a few photography-oriented sites that I thought I would share.


Above is the link to my stock images at National Geographic. Note that these pictures are editorial in nature and are quite different than the images on These images are placed there for commercial sales, and deals with consumer sales. Once on the NGS site, under “Quick Explore” type in robert (space) madden and you can search my images and buy them.

Photo Society

Another site that aggregates like-minded photographers is The Photo Society whose mission statement reads “We are a group of contributing photographers for National Geographic Magazine, committed to telling the world’s stories through pictures” Again if you click on the logo when you are in my area of the site, it will take you to the home page. This site is extremely valuable to me, as all of these photographers shoot high quality images the world over. A client can get right to my site and me with one click, or browse through pages such as “Vignettes” or “Why We Do It”.

Burn Home Page

An interesting aggregation site is burn magazine, and the mission is “an evolving journal for emerging photographers.” Started and curated by David Allan Harvey, this site features photographic essays from all over the world and has a lively forum for comments/criticisms.


James Nachtwey Home Page

Individual photographers have compelling sites as well. One that is powerful and disturbing is James Nachtwey’s. His mission is described on his home page as follows: “I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated.” It’s hard to forget these images.

Can you see a pattern here?  Mission. Purpose. These sites are more than the massaging of a libido.

Steve McCurry Home Page

Now, I would like to direct you to Steve McCurry’s site. His images are breathtaking and each is a jewel of color, composition and subject matter. The blog is different, as it is made up of images and poetry. Unexpected, but gripping.

Finally, if you are aware of any extraordinary photographic websites out there, please send me the URL and I will amend this blog to include them (Not YOURS silly. Remember the joke about ego?).

At the Workshop – It Didn’t Rain on Our Parade

At my fall Horizon Workshop October 28 – 30, the weather turned real nasty on Saturday, with temperatures in the mid-thirties, winds and driving sleet, which does not photograph. We saw it coming, and through emails during the previous week, the workshoppers and I discussed what to wear and what to bring in preparation for the inclement weather (e.g. no umbrellas, as it is hard to hold an umbrella and a camera at the same time).

I shifted some of the events planned for Saturday to Friday and Sunday and hoped that on Saturday we could proceed with Plan B. Photojournalists on assignment often need to do this, as the landscape changes regularly. The projected title of my fantasy book is, “You should have been here yesterday, we had a parade and a big rainbow, and today it’s raining.”

On Saturday, after a breakfast powwow, we went to Winbak Farms ,  a horseracing operation near Chesapeake City. Upon arrival, we asked if they would be working the horses on the track, and the answer was that “This kind of weather makes both horses and people sick.” But they graciously said that we could photograph in the barns.

On Friday night, we had photographed the Ghost Walk in Chesapeake City that is held on the weekend near Halloween. Knowing the Saturday Ghost Walk would literally be a washout, I gave a crash course on Friday night on how to change the exposure for the student’s flash so that they could do combination available light/flash pictures (right). This technique came in handy in the dark barns at Winbak.


The students did an excellent job of “seeing” and went beyond the obvious fact that the barn held approximately 40 trotters and pacers. They focused on the details, producing surprising pictures that give great insights on the horses and the operation.







One warning I passed on was that extreme wide-angle lenses were not the best to photograph horses as it distorts their bodies and you can see why in this picture, where the horse’s head is larger than his withers.

By talking to the horsemen at the farm, the workshoppers learned many fascinating details about the business of breeding horses. The best comment was when one student confided afterwards that she had always been afraid of horses and now that fear was in the past.

Students for the Fall workshop were: Lori Weber, Robert Ullrich, Jamie Simpson, Frederick Gantz, Virginia Phillips and Angela Oates.

These workshops are a revelation for me as well. I look forward to teaching the one in April 2012.