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Exploring the History of Rural Canada with Sandra Herber

26 April, by Leticia Roncero[ —]

“I shot straight landscape for a long time before I realized that I wasn’t very good at it and it was really the manmade object in nature – the abandoned grain elevator, the ruined Mayan palace – that drew me,” she said. Having lived in large metropolitan areas most of her life, she had never felt connected with the rural part of Canada. “Back in 2012 I saw some fine art photographs of grain elevators by Marc Koegel. I was just getting into long exposure photography and loved the idea of photographing in those wide-open spaces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, so I took my first trip out there in 2013.” Since then, she’s been back in summer and winter a total of seven times.


Sandra has a Master’s Degree in History, so it seemed natural for her to do research on the elevators in preparation for her first trip. “Towns often grew up around the elevators and they became the center of Prairie communities. From the fifties onward, though, there was a radical decline in small-time family farming because of rural depopulation, increased mechanization, improved transportation links, and the abandonment of branch railway lines. Primary (country) elevators were abandoned and now the old wooden elevators number in the few hundreds and they are disappearing fast.” For Sandra, grain elevators are true Canadian icons, as they tell the story of the rise and fall of small family farming on the Prairies.

Besides the historical side of the trips, Sandra is also attracted to the elevators for their pure aesthetic value. “They are the very essence of form following function, and theirs is a form that is wonderfully bold and simple.”


“I love the stark, functional shape of grain elevators, especially when they appear alone under those wonderfully wide-open Prairie skies.”

Another important step of her work process is to plan for the locations where these elevators are, which is hard sometimes, because some of them have been moved or don’t exist anymore. Once on the ground, she likes to take the rural back roads and stumble across other interesting, isolated places that make for minimalist compositions. “I have destinations – destinations which are often far apart – but I am also looking for and hoping to discover other sites to shoot along the way.”

Lone Windmill

But grain elevators and the Canadian Prairies are just one of her many interests. Sandra started photographing abandoned buildings eight years ago, in urban areas such as Detroit and Buffalo. “I connected with other photographers who were shooting almost every weekend and so I did, too. It was great to be part of a photography community, most of whom were on Flickr, and to see my images improve.” She also has a series on Mayan ruins shot in infrared and another series on storm chasing and tornadoes. Night photography is another favorite topic, specifically the technical challenge of composing scenes in complete darkness.

Rancho Perez

Sandra received her first camera as a teenager, an inherited Pentax Spotmatic, and has always loved to travel and take pictures along the way. In fact, her first experiences as a photographer involved documenting people and tribal groups during her trips to Southeast Asia while living in Malaysia.

“At some point, I became very uncomfortable with this dynamic – me, the photographer, with my expensive gear and money and the subject – with much less money and much less power in the relationship.” She says this became clear when photographing the Chin tribal women of western Burma (whose faces are tattooed when they are children). “My guide would stop them in the street and harass them into having their pictures taken. It made me sick – not because of what my guide had done – he was only trying to get me what I wanted – but because I had instigated it. That’s when I stopped photographing people.”

Lightning Strike II

Sandra will continue working on her Prairies series indefinitely and plans to go back to Mexico soon to photograph more Mayan ruins. If you are more interested in her storm images, you’ll like to know that she’s heading back to Tornado Alley next month! Check out her website to learn more about her work and be sure to follow her Flickr photostream!

San Francisco Mission Photowalk

24 April, by Leticia Roncero[ —]

Thank you to all the photographers who came together Saturday morning for a photowalk in San Francisco’s Mission district. The Flickr and SmugMug communities met at Balmy Alley, a great place to see the most concentrated collection of murals in San Francisco.

The murals began in the Bay Area around the mid-1980s as an expression of artists’ outrage over human rights and political abuses in Central America, and remain a major part of the city’s culture.

Flickr/Smugmug/VES/just good to see you Mission+Murals photowalk!

Flickr and SmugMug cosponsored the walk, hosted by photographer and digital artist Bhautik Joshi. We visited some iconic locations, gave away some branded swag, and concluded at Almanac Beer Taproom with drinks and an opportunity to network.

It was delightful to meet up so many friends: hobbyist and professional photographers. A few of you uploaded your photos to Flickr and Facebook, and we’re excited to share some of our favorites here.

Mission photo walk
Mission photo walk
Mission photo walk

To view more of the amazing photos from the Mural+Mission Photowalk visit the San Francisco Flickr Meetups and Flickr Worldwide Photowalks groups. Stay tuned for details of our next photowalk!

Flickr Friday – Round Shapes

24 April, by Marissa Jasso[ —]

The theme of last week’s Flickr Friday was #RoundShapes and luckily only 2 people submitted a photo of themselves. Look at us go. We’re all so healthy.


The shot above had to be included in this collection. Though color is often what makes a flower look so beautiful, flowers are stunning even when all the color is sucked out of them. Great work.


Have you ever wanted to fly? Now you do.


This almost looks too good not to be an advertisement… but we’ll take it anyway! If you want to see more of this #RoundShapes theme, then check out our gallery! If you want your photo to have the chance to be featured on the blog or gallery, be sure to submit them to our Flickr Friday group by Thursday afternoon of every week! Winners are announced every Friday!

Flickr agrees to be acquired by SmugMug – QA

24 April, by Matthew Roth[ —]


As we have announced in this blog post, Flickr has agreed to be acquired by SmugMug. We are very excited by the news and look forward to detailing more specifics as we have them.

After nearly 14 years at Yahoo and Oath, we’re moving to a smaller, more photography-focused family, which we think will be great for Flickr and for you. SmugMug is dedicated to photography and to photographers, and has been since 2002.

Please see below for a Q&A we’ve put together with more specifics on the deal. And feel free to join the discussion on the Flickr Help Forum.

The Flickr Team

What’s going to happen to my Flickr account?
At present, nothing. You will continue to log in with your current credentials and you will have the same Flickr experience you are used to. If things do change in the future, we’ll be as transparent as possible about the process and give you as much notice as we can about the issues that will matter to you.

Will anything happen to my photos or will they be moved?
You’ll still be able to access your photos as you do currently and they’ll retain the same flickr.com URL as always.

Wait, what exactly is SmugMug?
SmugMug is a photography platform dedicated to visual storytellers. SmugMug has a long history of empowering people who love photography and who want to improve their craft, making them a perfect fit for Flickr and our creative community. With SmugMug, photographers can create beautiful portfolios, use a powerful e-commerce platform to sell their photos, preserve their memories, and stand out with great options for showcasing their work.

I got an email saying I have until May 25, 2018 to opt out of SmugMug’s Terms of Service and then my Flickr account will be governed by them. Explain please?
As part of the acquisition, all Flickr accounts will move to SmugMug’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. You have until May 25, 2018 to either accept SmugMug’s Terms and Privacy Policy or opt out. If you do nothing in that time, your account will simply transition from the current Yahoo Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to SmugMug’s Terms. If you don’t want to make this change, you can delete your Flickr account through your Account Settings page. If you want to preserve a copy of your photos, be sure to download them from your Camera Roll first!

We encourage you to read SmugMug’s Terms in detail, as you would with any site where you host your photos. It is worth noting that SmugMug has prided itself on having very photographer-friendly terms without some of the standard verbiage and licenses that many platforms grant themselves to use your data in a way that best suits them. This is one of the reasons we’re thrilled to have found a new home at SmugMug.

What are SmugMug’s plans for Flickr? Will the products be merged?
SmugMug loves Flickr and they want us to keep on being Flickr. There is no plan to merge the products. As we spend more time with the SmugMug team, we hope to find ways to coordinate our development work and provide two great destinations dedicated to visual storytellers and creatives.

Will my Flickr Pro subscription change?
You’ll remain a Flickr Pro member and continue to enjoy all the benefits of a Pro membership. We’ve just started offering a 45-day free trial for new Pros who sign up for a yearly subscription. We’re also extending this offer to folks who may have been Pro in the past and want to come back to give it a try. Learn more on our Pro page.

Will Flickr continue to have free accounts?
Yes. When Flickr joins SmugMug on May 25th, we will continue to offer free Flickr accounts.

Do I still have to log in to Flickr with my Yahoo login?
Yes. During our transition process, you will continue to sign in using your existing login credentials. Over time, Flickr’s sign-in will be separated from Yahoo’s and when that happens, you’ll have the ability to choose how you log in.

I actually can’t remember what my login is — can you help me?
If you are unable to log in to your Flickr account, please start by going through the Yahoo Help Page for Flickr and click the “Contact us” link on the lower left. Follow the prompts there to communicate with a Customer Care agent.

I have a SmugMug account — will my accounts be merged?
No, your SmugMug and Flickr accounts will remain separate and independent for the foreseeable future.

When are you going to fix Explore?
Ha! Nice try. You know the first rule of Explore is that we don’t talk about Explore.

Honestly, though, there are numerous parts of Flickr that we plan to improve and SmugMug supports our desire to make your Flickr experience better. Before making any significant changes to the Flickr experience, SmugMug is committed to spending time getting to know the community and listening to your needs. We will share updates as we map out our future together.

What happens to the Flickr staff that we all know and love?
You can’t get rid of us.

How can I keep up to date on the changes?
For any significant changes to your Flickr service, we will send you a service email like the one we’re sending about the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy changes noted above. For other updates, we’ll make announcements in-product, here on the Flickr Blog, in the Flickr Help Forum, and on Twitter.

Together is where photographers belong!

20 April, by Matthew Roth[ —]


Flickr has always been defined by the strength of our community. We are visual storytellers. We are creators. We inspire each other and the world by showcasing the beauty around us. We share our passions and our perspectives. We transcend boundaries with our art. We find affinity with strangers and create bonds that last the length of our lives. We aspire to greatness and we teach each other what we know.

Over the past 14 years, we’ve embraced our Flickr family and we’ve made Flickr our home.

Now, we are excited to expand our family and our home. We’re thrilled to announce that Flickr will be joining SmugMug to create the world’s best home for photography.



SmugMug is one of the most dynamic platforms for visual storytelling in the world and we share their passionate dedication to photography and photographers.

As we unite with them, we are returning to the focus that made us the world’s trailblazing online photography community. We are reinforcing our commitment to creators and making sure Flickr remains the best place for them to connect, to share, and to develop their passion.

Over the course of the next month, we look forward to providing more details and we’ll keep you informed of developments that will matter to you. In the meantime, please read our extended Q&A and join the discussion on the Help Forum.

~The Flickr Team

Flickr Heroes of the Week

17 April, by Marissa Jasso[ —]

The time has come! I know many of you were waiting on this to get you through your Monday. Let’s make this week a good one, folks!

The Flickr Heroes of the week are ‘Panoramic View of Upper Joffre Lake’ by Pierre Leclerc on Tumblr and Twitter & ‘Baby’s first swim’ by helloandyhihi on Facebook and Google+.

Panoramic View of Upper Joffre Lake
Baby's first swim

Interested in having your photo featured as a cover image on our social media pages? Join the Flickr Heroes group!

The Honorable Mentions for the week are below:

Floating but tied up!
Their Moon

If you want your photo to be considered for next week, submit your best images to the Flickr Heroes group pool by Monday morning. Winners are announced in the Flickr Heroes Group, on the blog, and across our social media accounts. Check them out before they change next Monday!

Flickr on Facebook

Flickr on Twitter

Flickr on Tumblr

Flickr on Instagram

Flickr on Google+

Flickr Friday – Hanging Out Clothes

16 April, by Marissa Jasso[ —]

And what a lovely Flickr Friday it is! Thank you for the #HangingOutClothes submissions from the challenge last week! The real question is how many of you guys actually used this as an excuse to be productive and get laundry done? Yeah we didn’t think so.


As for the picture above, who knew laundry could be an art? Thanks for showing us the beauty in everything.

#HangingOutClothes In this weather!

We may have a recurring theme with these clothes pins… I guess that’s to be expected though!

Hanging out clothes

Interesting perspective to take! It looks like a laundry tree! Nature and domesticity intertwine at last. Can’t get enough #HangingOutClothes themed photos, then check out our gallery! If you want your photo to have the chance to be featured on the blog or gallery, be sure to submit them to our Flickr Friday group by Thursday afternoon of every week! Winners are announced every Friday!

Abandoned Architecture

13 April, by Marissa Jasso[ —]

Matthew also enjoys shooting at old industrial sites. The longer it’s been abandoned, the better. He has always been captivated by the idea of a world without people, and shooting at these abandoned locations truly brings that thought to life. “What the elements and time can do to a building is extraordinary! The textures and colors of peeling paint and rusting objects can be quite stunning, and when plants and nature start to reclaim a building, it’s amazing to see how they transform a seemingly solid structure given enough time.”

Start your engines

The photo above, titled “Start your engines,” is Matthew’s all-time favorite. Shot at the Pyestock National Gas Turbine Establishment, the size of the location left him on a high for weeks. Something else that gets his adrenaline going is trying to photograph these places without getting into police custody. Shooting at abandoned locations is always dangerous, as he has been “chased by dogs, fallen through floors, been shot at, climbed down rock faces in a pitch black cave and spent hours hiding in a multitude of places from security.”

He elaborates on one particular experience:

“At one industrial site in Italy, we spent about an hour getting into the site by climbing a large wall with the aid of some trees, then edged our way down the side of a river, climbed another wall, got into the building only to set an alarm off after being in there for about 5 minutes! We then had to do everything in reverse with a lot more haste with alarms ringing and sirens wailing. When we got out, the police were looking for us through the woods, so we had to trek about a mile through the trees and try and find another way back to our car without being seen.”

Powerplant VV

Matt is self-taught and only got a camera because it came for free with his first PC. Little did he know it would turn into such a passion. After watching a ton of youtube tutorials, reading many photographer features and swapping tips and tricks with other photographers, his skills rapidly improved. Soon enough, he was spending hours driving to these places, sometimes over 1,300 miles in a three-day weekend plus a ferry or Eurotunnel crossing. The locations are a prime element in his work, so they’re worth the search.

Staircases have always been central in his photography due to their naturally photogenic form. “From the simplest stairs to the grandest of staircases, they all seem to have a real beauty. I think because they are the focal point of so many buildings, the architects always seem to try and make the most of them, making them great to photograph.”

No congregation

This deteriorated Welsh chapel is the merging of 3 different shots, manually stitched together in Photoshop. Matt elaborates on the technical process in explaining: “I took the highlights from the darkest exposure for the windows. Then used the mid tones and shadows from the other lighter exposures. When I first started with this type of photography, I did a lot of HDR with various programs, but much prefer to get a more natural looking image by doing things manually now.”

If Matt could change a few things, he would have shot much less with his fisheye lens. When he first acquired it, he was just starting to explore abandoned buildings and looking back he wishes he would have had more “straight shots.”

Mutli storey

The photo above is of an old slate mine that is no longer in use. “The local council got rid of cars that had been involved in accidents by dumping them there, and it slowly got filled up over the years, and was then forgotten about until a good friend discovered it many years later.” Although it remains in the UK, Matt would discourage people from visiting, as it’s a dangerous place. Arriving at the place where Matt got this shot involves traveling through a “partially collapsed tunnel half full of water and a long climb down a rock face in the pitch black.”


Matthew’s work is on display at a local gallery in the UK, so if you’re in the area be sure to check it out! Come fall, Castle Galleries will begin to sell a limited series of his photographs, but as for right now, you can purchase his work on his website or see it for free on his Flickr Photostream.

Flickr Heroes of the Week

10 April, by Marissa Jasso[ —]

Another Monday, another fun day!  

The Flickr Heroes of the week are ‘San Manuel’ by john vermette on Tumblr and Twitter & ‘Whale Shark’ by Elyssa Drivas on Facebook and Google+.

San Manuel
Whale Shark

Interested in having your photo featured as a cover image on our social media pages? Join the Flickr Heroes group!

The Honorable Mentions for the week are below:

Yellow Stairs
Pasque flower at sunset

If you want your photo to be considered for next week, submit your best images to the Flickr Heroes group pool by Monday morning. Winners are announced in the Flickr Heroes Group, on the blog, and across our social media accounts. Check them out before they change next Monday!

Flickr on Facebook

Flickr on Twitter

Flickr on Tumblr

Flickr on Instagram

Flickr on Google+

Flickr Friday – Dream

6 April, by Marissa Jasso[ —]

Flickr Friday has arrived. Thank you for your fabulous #Dream themed submissions from the past week’s challenge! Shout out to the people who just submitted photos of their loved ones asleep on the couch. You’re the real MVPs.

blue dreams at longwood gardens

We’re not sure where this photo came from, but it really blew everything out of the water. It superseded every other photo in this week’s challenge by almost 20x the amount of faves. Its color is absolutely stunning, and it definitely has that dream-like quality.


The title of this piece is called “Portal,” supposably because dreaming can feel like a sort of transportation. This was so creative, abstract, literal, all simultaneously. The Flickr team is astounded by the effort of the composition.

Dream, baby, dream.

How could we resist a puppy shot? Do we really need a reason for this? Just look at that pupper go.

If you’re interested in more #Dream themed photos, then check out our gallery! If you want your photo to have the chance to be featured on the blog or gallery, be sure to submit them to our Flickr Friday group by Thursday afternoon of every week! Winners are announced every Friday!

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