With a growing audience and a platform supporting both visuals and audio, artists are using Instagram to reach potential fans at a growing rate.

This month, we’re featuring a special interview with New York-based digital photographer Kyle Barden. Check out his Instagram account at @Kyle_Barden_Images and give him a follow if you like his work as much as we do!

Barden’s art will be featured at a Pop Up Art Show in New York on July 29th! (Image: Tori Rodriguez)

From Filmmaking to Photography

“I started out life with a passion for film. When I was younger I would spend time watching movies and making movies with my friends. (I wish I still had these films because they were hilariously awful.)

When I went to college I made a hard choice between studying film or engineering; I chose to major in engineering and minor in film. Studying film gave me a new perspective that I hadn’t had before. Now when I look at films I notice technique, lighting and various other nuances that most people that are simply watching a film do not notice.

This is the effect of studying a craft, and the same thing applies to photography. I’ve been able to apply my experience in film as well as continued research and training in the field of photography to develop my capabilities as a photographer.

Combining this with a passion for travel has allowed me to capture some incredible landscapes from around the world. I am based in Troy, New York, which has a terrific atmosphere for promoting growth in the arts. I receive constant encouragement from my girlfriend, who is an artist herself and is the one that truly inspired me to pursue photography. You can check out her work at @Toridoesfineart on Instagram.”

Always Bring Your Camera Gear Just in Case

“This piece was done on the island of Martha’s Vineyard just off the coast in Massachusetts. I was there for a wedding and brought my camera gear just in case. The night was clear and the stars were out. With no light pollution over the ocean I was able to capture a great shot of the milky way. I then took a second exposure using my girlfriend as a model and used a light-painting technique to light up the circle behind her. I then combined these two images to get what you see here.”

Location Scouting: Not for the Faint of Heart

“This shot was taken on my way back to New York from visiting some friends in New Hampshire. There are some great spots to stop along Route 9 that runs through southern Vermont. This was taken of a river that was flowing along side the road. I was able to pull off the road and carefully work my way across rocks to find the perfect spot in the river. This shot was taken with a 4-second shutter speed with a neutral density filter to get the silky flowing water. This slow shutter speed required a tripod and I was able to work my way to a large enough rock in the middle of the river that I could place my tripod/stand on in order to get this shot.”

Let Your Travels Inspire You

Sun hitting Thingvallavatn in winter

A photo posted by Kyle Barden Photography (@kyle_barden_images) on

“On a recent trip to Iceland, I was traveling through Thingvellir National Park. On my way out of the park I pulled over to take a shot of the epic scene in front of me just as the sun peaked through the clouds.”

On “The Fence” in New York

“I currently have two pieces hanging on display in the ART Center of the Capital Region (in Troy, New York) as submissions for its yearly members “Fence Show.” One of these pieces (above) has been selected as one of the top 50 and will remain featured in the Center through July in a special show called “The Fence Select.”

I will also be a featured artist in a Pop-Up Art Show July 29th in downtown Troy, New York, called “Troy Night Out” at 33 Second Street (just a three-hour commute from our NYU location for anyone interested in visiting!). The show will feature work from local artists and depictions of their “scapes”: landscapes, cityscapes, waterscapes, skyscape, moonscape, escapes, etc.

I take orders for prints by Direct Message on Instagram or through email, and will be setting up a shop on my website,, this summer!”

Every summer, sharks make headlines. Our fascination with these rulers of the deep is even celebrated in the Discovery Channel’s weeklong “Shark Week,” now in its 29th year.

While it’s understandable that we fixate on sharks, it’s also true that you’re far more likely (about 30 times more likely) to get struck by lightning than attacked by a shark.

Shark Week is now a Pop culture phenomenon, and the longest-running annual event in cable TV. (Photo: Discovery Channel)

Now scientists and researchers are using several new cutting-edge technologies together to make beaches even safer during the active summer season, when sharks are most attracted to extra activity in their waters, due to human swimmers.

Jaws on the Brain

No doubt about it, sharks get a bad rap. Ever since a certain summer blockbuster electrified audiences more than 40 years ago, people have spent more time gazing out at ocean surfaces and wondering what might be hidden below in ocean depths.

But the fact is, in the U.S. you’re more likely to die by getting bit by snakes, bees or wasps than by getting eaten by a Great White.

Grabbing Killer Video of Killer Fish

Still, the thought of any shark attack is plenty unpleasant and enough to motivate cutting-edge research by scientists at Duke University and the University of North Carolina.

The goal: Use drones with mounted cameras to spot Great Whites as they migrate along the Atlantic waters of the East Coast of the U.S.

Tech comes to the rescue as Duke scientists harness the power of drones to track Great Whites.

It’s an idea that’s already been tried with success in California and Australia, and researchers are trying to adapt the technology to the East Coast, where waters are not as transparent and marine creatures are more difficult to detect.

To help cut through the murky waters of the Atlantic, researchers are experimenting with super-cool infrared cameras! (Just another amazing thing you can do with photography.)

Keeping Tabs on Nature’s Leading Predator

Up along Cape Cod, Massachusetts – where much of Jaws was filmed – there have been more reported sightings of Great White during the last few years.

Marine biologists attribute this rise to an increased presence of seals in the area – the preferred delicacy of sharks.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy tries to keep up with the traffic of Great Whites, all the way up the East Coast from Florida to Canada.

The Conservancy is working to track the movements of sharks tagged by marine biologists. It’s accomplishing this with the help of a fantastic new app that lets interested parties follow tagged sharks and even report new sightings of Great White.

The Conservancy encourages the ongoing preservation of these graceful and mysterious creatures. (Photo: Atlantic White Shark Conservancy)

To Prevent Attacks and Encourage Conservation

It’s hoped that this new technology will not only protect humans from shark attacks, but also help oceanographers and marine biologists study and preserve sharks in their natural habitats.

Great White sharks are magnificent creatures that are as fascinating as they are feared. They are mysterious creatures and that only adds to their mystique – and our terror.

She’s that rarest kind of photographer: a famous photographer.

Most of the time, we don’t see the shutterbug behind the lens. But not so with photographer Annie Leibovitz. She’s taken iconic and legendary photographs – and has become nearly as famous as her ‘A’-list celebrity clients.

When the producers of Star Wars: The Force Awakens wanted to show off the cast and locations in new Star Wars photos, Leibovitz was selected by Vanity Fair magazine as the perfect photographer for the assignment.

Leibovitz was chosen to shoot the cast from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, such as this shot of director J.J. Abrams advising actress Daisy Ridley. (Image: Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair)

Because of her groundbreaking work at Rolling Stone, Vogue and Vanity Fair magazines, Annie Leibovitz became the ultimate celebrity photographer, and her work usually transcends simple head-and-shoulder shots. Leibovitz portraits are more conceptual and often developed as art pieces.

And her work pops up everywhere: The cover of Bill Gates’ book The Road Ahead was graced with a Leibovitz shot, as was Bruce Springsteen’s classic Born in the U.S.A. album.

President Barack Obama and the First Family sat for a relaxed Leibovitz family portrait in 2009. (Image: Annie Leibovitz / White House)

Insider Information
Leibovitz started taking photos as a teenager and then decided to learn photography basics while attending the San Francisco Art Institute, where she also studied painting.

Her photos are marked by a creative streak and an impulse to tell you as much as possible about the true character of the subject she captures. Like when she shot legendary actor/rascal Jack Nicholson, who wore a bathrobe and sunglasses while he shagged golf balls from his yard in the Hollywood hills.

Many Leibovitz portraits are like stories told in a single frame, like her 2009 action pose of Lady Gaga. (Image: Annie Leibovitz for Vogue)

Her photos often convey a little story, such as her 2009 action shot of Lady Gaga. Looking like she fell out of a steampunk fantasy, Gaga stands on a table, dressed as some type of deranged chef, beating a soup kettle with a wooden spoon. Your usual celebrity portrait? Not when Leibovitz is behind the lens…

Leibovitz perfectly captured the negative energy of Kylo Ren from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (Image: Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair)

Assignment of a Lifetime
An acknowledged master of advanced photography techniques, her most famous assignment collided with history. In December 1980 she was contracted by Rolling Stone to photograph former Beatle John Lennon, who was making a musical comeback at that time.

In what became one of Pop culture’s most defining images, Leibovitz instructed Lennon to remove his clothes, and lay near wife Yoko Ono, who Leibovitz instructed to remain clothed. Leibovitz snapped the photo while standing over the pair and looking down at them.

Leibovitz captured Kim and Kanye’s engagement. (Image: Annie Leibovitz for Vogue)

Lennon loved the shot, telling Leibovitz that she had fully captured the essence of his relationship with Ono.

He made Leibovitz promise the photo would appear on the next cover of the magazine. She shook his hand in agreement and the session ended. Only five hours later, Lennon would be shot dead while returning from a recording session, sparking international mourning.

Leibovitz’s most famous photo graced the cover of Rolling Stone, with former Beatle John Lennon lying next to his wife Yoko Ono. Now regarded as one of the most iconic images ever captured on film. (Image: Annie Leibovitz for Rolling Stone)

True to her agreement with Lennon, the picture ran on the January 22, 1981 cover of Rolling Stone, becoming an instant sensation because of its bold honesty and riveting emotion.

Make Your Mark in Photography!
There’s a great professional future waiting for someone with a photographer’s natural instinct for shooting great photos. All you need is some practice and expert guidance from amazing photographers. That’s what kids and teens get at Digital Media Academy photography and graphic design tech camps.

The world needs creative photographers like the great Annie Leibovitz. DMA can show you how.

In DMA’s summer photography courses, the instruction is tailored for different age groups, so kids as young as 6 can enjoy the summer experience of their lives, just like the teens (12-17) get to have.

In a blog post published in late March by photo-sharing website Flickr, it was announced that new licenses would be available to users – Public Domain and Creative Commons 0 – and Elon Musk’s space-exploration company, SpaceX, was one of the first accounts to get on board.

A world of free images awaits users on Flickr and Creative Commons 0.

Flickr’s default license when publishing media like photography and graphic design remains “All Rights Reserved,” meaning the owner of an image retains every legal right of ownership allotted him or her.

What is Public Domain?
By marking a piece of media as a part of the Public Domain, it essentially has no copyright, and is therefore “free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.”

If you’re looking for rights-free images, there’s also Creative Commons Zero, or CC0. CC0 is like signing a waiver that moves currently copyrighted media into the Public Domain. It takes a piece of media with “All Rights Reserved” and changes it to “No Rights Reserved.”

The goal of CC0 is to place a piece of media “as completely as possible in the Public Domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.”

Now users have the option, or rather the right, to share their intellectual property for free. So what do these new Flickr licenses mean for SpaceX?

Outer Space is Public Domain, even without Public Access
By placing SpaceX media in the Public Domain, anyone will be able to see space from a private point of view for the first time in history.

A view of Falcon 9 carrying the satellite DSCOVR for SpaceX’s inaugural deep space expedition. In the bottom-right corner of the image is its status as Public Domain on Flickr’s website.

NASA is known for keeping nearly all of its media in the Public Domain. Federal/federal employee work isn’t copyrightable.

So all that time spent on engineering and rocket science isn’t to make as much money from photos of beautiful galaxies and distant planets, but rather to educate and share the universe with as many people as possible.

Amazing outer space images are already available on Flickr and the potential of there soon being even more excites both scientists and kids who want to explore rocket science.

Elon Musk stands in front of a SpaceX rocket.

Tesla Motors & SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, is an architect of the future, a real-life Tony Stark, and Musk is following in the footsteps of our national space program, even though he runs a private spaceflight company. This makes SpaceX, a private for-profit company, somewhat unique and tech nerds worldwide are thankful SpaceX is now carrying the torch for space exploration.

Ready to make a big splash in the world of design? Get your best and most creative design noticed in the Adobe Design Achievement Awards (ADAA) 2015.

Adobe-Design-Awards-package-designCecilia Uhr’s clever package design for Whitebites dog chews was a 2014 finalist. (Rawhide chews are “teeth,” while the dog’s “ear” is used to display the package at retail.)

The awards cover three major design areas and 13 award categories. Grand prize winners in each design segment will receive cash awards of $1,000 or more, while winners can also receive Adobe software or mentorship awards, in which the winner gets free career advice for a year from a noted industry pro.

The contest requires that 50 percent of the project work be completed with an Adobe software program. Interested designers should get going: The first deadline is April 17, 2015. The top three finalists in each design group will be announced on August 28, 2015, with a final Grand Prize Media Segment Winner for each design group announced by October 8, 2015.

Visit Adobe’s website to enter the 2015 Adobe Design Achievement Awards ADAA 2015.

Interactive Media Experience

Web and Application Design: Show off your design skills with a website or app.
Video Game: Game designers are judged on game concept and design.
Exhibition: Interactive conference exhibits or kiosks.
Digital Publishing: Online magazines, electronic newspapers and ePortfolios.
Social Media: Social media campaign or design.

Animator Nai Wei Liu’s prize-winning “Something Important” shows that animated images don’t have to be artistically complex to carry an enormous impact.

Motion and Video Media

Animation: Character-based animation produced with CGI or visual effects.
Post-production and Editing: Video editing and production.
Motion Graphics: Film trailers, animated still images, commercials and PSAs.

Traditional Media

Illustration: Editorial illustrations, book illustrations, and scientific or architectural drawings.
Packaging: Showcasing inventive ways of packaging products.
Photography: Entries can be one picture, or up to 10 related images.
Advertising Photography: Submit up to 10 images, all designed to sell a product or represent a company.
Print Communications: Brochures, catalogs, posters and books.

Adobe-Design-Awards-photographyPart photo, part optical trick: Jingjing Shen’s “To Invent” won the 2014 ADAA Photography competition. Which examples of photography and design will win this year’s contest?

Adobe products cover many areas of creative expression, from photo editing with Adobe Photoshop to graphic design with Adobe Illustrator.

Remember the last great selfie you took? Was it at the beach? Maybe it was at Comic-Con with Wolverine? Selfies have found their way into almost every part of our lives. 2014 was the year of the selfie, so it’s no wonder 2014 produced some of the best selfies to date.

Presidential Selfie
President Obama gets a better angle using a selfie stick.

Not only is President Obama the first U.S. president to participate in the Hour of Code, but he may also be the first president to take selfies in the White House.

Top-of-the-World Selfie
Dave Carriere atop Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest peak.

A selfie captures the moment forever. It wasn’t enough for Dave Carriere to reach the top of Mt. Everest; he had to have a selfie to prove it (i.e., “Picture or it didn’t happen”). Shortly after posting this selfie, the image went viral, flooding social feeds and timelines around the world.

Fighter Jet Selfie
The view from above is provided by a Royal Air Force selfie.

As a pilot in the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, you may find yourself flying daring and dangerous missions, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a selfie. This RAF pilot snapped a selfie with the airliner he is escorting to safety.

Out-of-this-World Selfie
“Houston, we have a selfie.” NASA astronaut and flight engineer Mike Hopkins captures the moment.

A NASA astronaut managed to capture a once-in-a-lifetime selfie while on a mission at the International Space Station. Astronaut and flight engineer Mike Hopkins took his selfie while making a space walk outside of ISS.

Robot Mars Rover Selfie
NASA’s Curiosity Rover takes a break from collecting samples to take a selfie.

NASA loves selfies. This one is possible thanks to robotics and electrical engineering and it comes from NASA’s Curiosity Rover. The rover poses on the Red Planet as it collects data from the mysterious Martian surface.

Step Up Your Photography Skills

#CreateTheNext award-winning photo or even a social-share selfie with DMA’s Academy for Digital Photography, which is designed to show you how to take great photographs. Through expert instruction and hands-on fieldwork, master your camera’s aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings in order to capture amazing shots (and selfies) in any situation.

Name: Ben D.
Age: 15
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Future Occupation: Filmmaker
Course: Visual Effects for Filmmaking
Campus: Filmmaking Camp at Stanford

“The Canon T2i is an amazing camera—as are its successors, the T3i and T4i. The price point is awesome and if you’re a beginning filmmaker, or a filmmaker looking to upgrade from a camcorder, the Canon Rebel series is a fantastic place to start.”

Ben D. is a DMA alumni. He likes to use the best gear he can get his hands on and he’s serious about his cameras. A videographer since age 9, Ben has posted more than 80 short videos to YouTube, and now runs his own video production studio. At 15, he’s built up an arsenal of outstanding cameras and he knows how to use them – skills he got in part, from attending DMA. We caught up with Ben to talk about how he captures action on film.

You’re a young filmmaker but you’ve already witnessed considerable technological change, haven’t you?
“Yeah, it’s weird to think that in the course of a couple of years we went from being able to fit an hour of standard-definition video on a little tape to being able to fit hours of full HD video on a tiny chip that’s barely bigger than a quarter.”

Tell us about your cameras. Which models give you your best results?
“My Canon T2i is my main camera. I’ve been using it heavily since March 2011. I recently got a Glidecam HD-1000, which is a camera stabilizer that attaches to my T2i, it allows me to get smooth shots that look as if the camera is flying. Glidecam’s HD series is great for DSLRs and I would highly recommend it!”

Ben’s main camera – this Canon T2i, is equipped with a GlideCam for extra-smooth camera movement.

Why do you like Canon cameras?
“As far as the T2i goes, it’s an amazing camera—as are its successors, the T3i and T4i. The price point is awesome and if you’re a beginning filmmaker, or a filmmaker looking to upgrade from a camcorder, the Canon Rebel series is a fantastic place to start. Its large sensor allows for a very shallow depth-of-field, along with great Canon EF and EF-S lenses.”

Tell us about your experience at DMA.
“I first attended DMA film camp in Summer 2011 when I took Visual Effects for Filmmaking at Stanford. In that class I expanded on what I already knew and got a chance to create films with other teens from all over the world who had similar interests. I made friends I still keep in touch with today. I then took the Pro Series course, After Effects CS6 Studio – Advanced Techniques, where I learned a lot of new techniques, all of which I still use today.”

Ben in action. He has already posted more than 80 videos to YouTube, using his trusty Canon T2i for almost every project.

What did you value most about DMA?
“The best part of my DMA experience was the ability to work with other teens who are also interested in filmmaking, along with knowledgeable, skilled and fun instructors. I would definitely and highly recommend DMA for other teens passionate about filmmaking. I’m hoping to go back again this summer, both as a TA and to take a class.”

Ben has used his DMA experience to help him excel as an online filmmaker. Now he depends on Canon cameras to deliver excellent results, no matter the shoot or location. To see more of his work, check out Ben’s YouTube channel or Ben’s website, which contains links to sites with his films.

DMA provides something for everyone but we’re most excited when we provide a platform for a career or educational path for a student. Students from all over the globe visit DMA every year and those student campers get many things from DMA…like a fast track to college.

Tilt-shift photography is just one of the many techniques photogs learn at DMA.

Getting Accepted
College applications are probably one of the most stressful times of a teenagers life. At DMA we try to help with this process however we can, for example, DMA instructors can provide recommendations for college applications but the project work students complete while at DMA can also really help impact a college application.

In fact, many DMA alumni have told us that the skills they learned at DMA helped them get into college. With alumni going on to UC film school and other great instituions of higher learning.

DMA provides a place where students can develop a professional body of work that could help them start a career, a business or even get into the college of their dreams. Recently we got an email from a high school student that followed her passion for photography, taking Digital Media Academy’s Introduction to Digital Photography and Photoshop summer camp course:

“I just wanted to let you know that I was accepted into the school of Photographic Arts and Imaging at the Rochester Institute of Technology!” For those not familiar with RIT, it is one of the top three photography schools in the world. This student used a portion of her portfolio from her Digital Media Academy photography camp for her college submission.

Skills for Any Scenario
With over ten different photography camps and photography pro courses, DMA offers a photography course for every age and skill set. Covering everything from outdoor portraits, close-ups, tilt-shift & macro photography. What’s tilt-shift photography? We can teach you! Want to know what a the difference between f-stops and auto focus? DMA can teach you that too.