Pixabay.com: A Powerful Free-Source for the Serious Blog, Tweet, Book or School

Inventers dream of ways to solve problems. Computer Science and IT guys solve problems by building a crowd-sourced website that supports dreamers all over the globe.

Problem: Wizzley.com authors being cited for using copyright protected images found on the web.

Solution: Pixabay.com

As Pixabay’s front page stated for years – it is a ‘repository for stunning Public Domain media.’ (As of this writing the site hosts 500,000 images and 1,000 video clips.)

Crowd-sourced, images and videos are uploaded by members. All media is released under a Creative Commons CC0 license which means that it is completely free for personal or commercial use.

Photo by Deog Yeon Hwang - Pixabay user:lalalife
Photo by c – Pixabay user:lalalife

‘Stunning’ is not an over exaggeration of the media quality on Pixabay – it is first-rate.  

Established in Germany, Pixabay’s worldwide popularity continues to grow. To date, 1.4 million user accounts have been created and over 1,500 new images are uploaded every day. With over 10 million visits per month, the site is outshining competing sites such as fotolia.com and pixelio.de.

Users from the United States account for almost 30% of the site traffic followed by Germany at around 8%. Brazil, Britain, France and Japan are at about 4%.

Income for Pixabay is generated by optional ‘gifts’ from its users and from Shutterstock and Google ads. Site founders, Hans Braxmeier and Simon Steinberger prefer to keep the layout and design of the site as clean and uncluttered (by ads) as possible.

As one explores the site, ‘coffee’ buttons are noticeable. By clicking on these, donations can be made to the image author or to Pixabay. “Coffee” buttons on the artist page go to the artist and those on the download page go to Pixabay.

What keeps Pixabay’s good mojo going? Once the site users discover the outstanding image quality, the plethora of subject matter available and the site’s ease-of-use, they soon find themselves wanting to participate in the global community of sharing.

The Pixabay Founders
Hans photo strip
Hans Braxmeier, Germany

Hans is the founder and CEO of Pixabay. He studied computer science in Ulm (Germany), and has launched several web projects.  He has donated over 18,000 images to the site.

“The main focus of Pixabay was never to make a lot of money. The focus is to give something like Wikipedia back to cool users,” says Hans Braxmeier.

simon

Simon Steinberger, Germany

Simon is co-founder and CEO of Pixabay. He studied chemistry in Ulm (Germany) and finished his PhD in 2011. During this time, he started working in the IT sector and developed various websites.

Editor’s Choice award media is awe-inspiring! These are the best and greatest Pixabay photos, illustrations, vector graphics and videos. Media for this award is selected by our team members.” – Simon Steinberger

Comments from the Pixabay chat forumsdebbies books

“A personal thank you [to Pixabay.com]. I now have two books on Amazon thanks to this site. I always wanted to write books for kids but had the issue of how to illustrate them. Now I am using images from here and a few of my own.”

Debbie Walkingbird, Oregon

“A huge thank you to all of the generous and talented Pixabay photographers! I manage a blog for a small animal welfare non-profit and you make my life so much easier!” – MsLisaJo

“Pixabay gives me a great place to have my work seen and used and hopefully that exposure will lead to eventual sales elsewhere. Taking pictures that I think are great but just sit in a hard drive doesn’t cut it. I would much rather people see, use and enjoy my work.” – Jim

“I find that initiatives like Pixabay (and many others) are a great way to keep culture flowing enabling others to build on and create new exciting works. For me, being in the academic world, this is a great resource to find new images for web design and illustration of work materials.” –José R Valverde

DH allen books“I used Pixabay images and clipart as artwork for book covers and on my blog. Wanted to say thank you to all who images and clipart I was able to use for these ventures. Pixabay and you guys are the best!” Smile – D.H. Allen | Writer, Traveler, Photographer blog

 

 

As Pixabay Member, Steve Buissinne of South Africa puts it, “Across the world people speak in 6500 languages, but we all see in only one. I think that donating images contributes to a more interesting and fulfilling life for us all.”

Related article: Pixabay Member Spotlight

 

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Fishy Sitchy? – Short Fiction

Sadie Bock to wed celebrity photographer Liam Lighthouse

Fishy Sitchy

As Sadie held up her iPhone, she inhaled deeply, trapping the air inside her lungs. She planted her elbows firmly against her ribs and poked a finger at the round dot on the glowing screen. Letting go of the pent-up air, she grinned. Her picture came out sharp! She hit the share button and typed, I just signed on the dotted line for our wedding venue….whooo hoooo :-0

The dimples at the corners of her mouth deepened when she predicted what Liam’s reply would be on the image she’d just posted. He’d say something

like, I must be rubbing off on you. You’re going to make a great photographer’s wife.

While wedging the phone into the snug back pocket of her jeans, she returned her attention to Ken, the facilities manager, with an apologetic look.

“As I was saying,” he continued in clipped tones, “you will have use of the hall and dressing rooms for two hours prior to the ceremony time.”

Sadie startled as the phone buzzed against her behind. “Sorry!” she exclaimed while reaching for it.

Ken turned away so Sadie wouldn’t see his eyes roll upward.

“Liam would have been here, but something come up,” she mumbled as her fingers slid over the phone in a dance that looked like a new form of sign language. A tiny frown appeared between her brows as she read Liam’s text out loud. “He wants to know if you are going to let him use that thing that Justin Bieber left in the dressing room.” When Sadie glanced up wearing a quizzical expression, she immediately became alarmed.

Ken’s eyes were wide; his face was the color of a Tic Tac. Through a mouth that opened and closed like a dry fish gasping for a breath of water, he croaked, “I’m so sorry! I didn’t realize until this moment that you are Liam Lighthouse’s fiancée!”

five minute ficiton

This short fiction was created for a      Weekend Write-In (Kindle Write On website)Writing prompts:'photographer' and    
 'disturbing development.'

Train Tunnels, Chinese History and Urban Art at Donner Summit

Train Tunnels, Chinese History and Urban Art at Donner Summit

Explorations Around Donner Summit (California)

Research for an upcoming book prompted a plan to hike to the China Wall at Donner Pass. Mom must be humored at least one day a year (Mother’s Day). Driving an hour to Donner was an opportunity to get the family out of the house and learn some local history.  Other than me, the dogs were the only members of the family who were truly enthusiastic about the outing from the get-go.  But as the day wore on, everyone found something interesting to capture their imagination.

Donner_Lake_as_seen_from_Donner_Pass

Taking in the expansive views overlooking Donner Lake and trekking over gargantuan, sun warmed slabs of granite, one can not help thinking about the ancient hands that pecked away at the rock faces some 1,500 to 4,000 years ago. Nomadic bands of Great Basin Indians spent many pleasurable hours here. They quenched their thirst from the streams that burble their way down to the lake below as they labored to record their thoughts and ideas in stone. The exact meaning of the 200 rock art designs has been lost in the annals of time. Today’s viewers are left to fill in the blanks in an attempt to guess at their story.

Not far above the petroglyphs, and in more recent history (just a meer hundred and fifty years ago), another story with blank pages exists – the names and personalities of the people who built the China Wall and train tunnels.

In its day the railroad moved people and products faster than ever. This new mode of transport was responsible for booming business and for populating the west. As one historian put it, the railroad would be comparable to the internet today.

Charles Crocker was in a hurry to make progress on his section of the railroad. Government incentives offered sizable rewards for the company that could lay the most track in the shortest amount of time.

Facing the problem of getting his project over Donner Summit, Crocker wondered if the Chinese, who’d invented fireworks and built the Great Wall, could help. Starting off with only 50 workers, Charles soon discovered that his guess was right. Determined, dependable and with specialized knowledge of nitroglycerine the Chinese proved that they were the right people to accomplish the task. Within a year, 8000 pioneering immigrants were hard at work tunneling through the rock. Granite is one of the hardest minerals on the planet. Progress consisted of making their way through the span of a large man’s hand (14 inches) per day. With wages at $28 per month, these workers were a bargain, even by 1850 standards.640px-Chinese_railroad_workers_sierra_nevadachinese built trai tunnel

Donkey steam engines lowered men in baskets down along the steep rock cliffs. (*see below for update) Holes were drilled, filled with black powder, packed and tamped. Men scrambled for safety as fuses were lit. Once the air cleared after the blast and the debris was moved away, men went back down to repeat the process.

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9-2015 update – additional research has pointed out that the artist rendering of the baskets lowered over the cliffs may have been ‘railroad hype’ to entice train travelers. Bosuns chairs, similar to what tree climbers and sailors use, were likely employed to gain access to the steep cliff faces.

baskets and bosuns chairs

cape horn plaque cropped
Near Donner Summit is Cape Horn – another treacherous cliff face that Chinese railroad workers tamed.

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In the Tunnels Today

My dogs were surprisingly sedate, while we strolled through the cool, dark and dripping, tunnels. A quiet hush permeated the space even though plenty of visitors were never far away. Did the dogs sense something that I could not?  As I gazed up at the high jagged walls antiqued with residue from the coal smoke that spit from the mouths of long retired locomotives, my thoughts reached back to span the years between then and now.  Grasping at unknown stories of the men responsible for this feat of engineering, I anticipate the time when I am ready to sit across from my keyboard to tap out a tale that gives definition back to the blank faces that ignorance and prejudice caused to slip into historical obscurity.

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0510151350The photographer in me, delighted at the colorful urban art along the smooth walls of the snow sheds. Does it connect in some way to the Native Americans and Chinese people who occupied this place?

The mom in me cringed as my 10 year old son stood reading some of the uncomfortable statements that were written five feet tall. Like any art form, it moves us to think outside of our respective boxes… This is usually a good thing.0510151318

Protected from the fading rays of the sun, these ever changing urban designs remain vibrant and saturated. I wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself coaxing photography clients to join me and my camera in this fascinating spot filled with so many intriguing layers of history.

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donner summit tunnel

If you’re going:

Map of the Donner Summit Area

Donner Summit Historical Society -Tunnel 6 – PDF

Donner Pass History –  Blog – On the Summit

Chinese History Videos:

Positive Gifts from the County Go Beyond Doctors and Medicine

It can start as a cry at a higher than normal pitch, a raging fever that won’t come down, bruises that appear for no reason. A parent, consumed with worry seeks out help. The Pediatrician makes a preliminary evaluation and orders more tests.

Then the moment arrives…words, delivered with professionalism and care from the doctor;  everything has changed for the family and the child with the difficult diagnosis.

For nearly 300 families in Nevada County (California), these experiences are part of their story. But that’s only the beginning. A new reality sets in—one that involves long drives to special care units at UC Davis, San Francisco or Stanford and physician specialists, dieticians, nutritionists, social workers and rounds of medication.IMG_1555-web

Maryellen Beauchamp has a special connection with these families. She is Nevada County’s Public Health Nurse Case Manager for California Children’s Services. 53 webCalifornia Children’s Services is operated by the State of California. Over 80 years old, it has an office in every county. Maryellen acts as the conductor in an orchestra that encompasses multi-faceted medical assistance for children with severe health issues. These issues can range from growth plate or skull fractures, endocrine, neurological, orthopedic, and metabolic disorders to Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy and premature infants.

This type of work comes with a heavy weight and knowledge that is often difficult to leave behind at the end of the day.  On her desk, Maryellen keeps several inspirational quotes that remind her to remain grounded. One of them reads; Today, I am fortunate to have woken up. I am alive; I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. –H.H. the XIVth Dalai Lama

Maryellen recently had the opportunity to incorporate something important into her program—a sense of positive empowerment for her young clients. It came in the form of a beautifully illustrated book, Toby Bear and the Healing Light.  It is the story of a stuffed bear who teaches a sick child the power of affirmations, meditation and visualizations in the healing process.

Toby Bear and the Healing Light was created by author, Lisa Boulton while undergoing cancer treatments, as a gentle way to help children going through difficult illness. Boulton enlisted photographer and artist Lisa Redfern to create the photo-illustrations. “I wanted the story to feature local people, places and businesses as a way to express my love for our community and for the outpouring of support and caring that I received when I was sick,” says Boulton.SNMH Approved 12-14-12

Maryellen says, “I like that the story features Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital—the place where the journey with California Children’s Services begins for many of our families. It is also a plus that the Nevada  County Public Health Department could partner with the local women who created the book.”

As Maryellen puts it, “You can’t get well with doctors and medicines alone…it takes the right attitude to make it all work.”  She’s excited about the books because she plans to give them as gifts to the age appropriate children in her program. “It is a positive message and gift from Nevada County Public Health Department to the children (and their families) who need it most.”

Read more about this topic at The Union.com.

Toby Bear and the Healing Light

IMG_1563-1web

Good Morning Aboard Caralee – Short Fiction – Romance

 five minute ficiton
[reddit writing prompt]

A married couple start another average morning on an average weekday. No one dies. No twist. Show their overwhelming love for each other without them speaking a single word.

Their movements were automatic with a choreograph-like smoothness.  In a galley smaller than most American coat closets, this was an accomplishment. The 45 foot Caralee housed all of their worldly possessions and had transported them to exotic ports all over the globe.

He reached for bowls while she filled a pot with water. He struck a match to light the flame on the stove as she pulled out spoons from the drawer. She placed the pot on the burner while taking a box of oats out of the cupboard.

When hands were not occupied with tasks, they would glide across or alight upon the other’s body; a brush down the back, coming to rest upon a shoulder, a hip or making a light tap on the behind.

Oats were added when the water boiled, the pot covered and the heat turned down. During the brief pause in their morning dance, their eyes lingered upon each other; they smiled.

He enjoyed watching the light play across the pink facets of the pendant that always hung around her neck. A gift he’d presented to her some thirty-five years earlier on the day that Asmara was born. Their only child had been conceived above deck, on a warm night, under a ripe Sri Lankan moon.

Sitting hip to hip at the tiny table, they held hands as they ate. Her nervous fingers twisted his wedding ring around and around on his finger. She paused occasionally to rub her fingernail over the smooth mound of rose quartz that she’d found in Brazil.

Before taking that first sip of coffee, they clinked mugs together softly. A tradition adopted from their time in the British Isles.  It signified ‘a robust day and a tender heart.’

Photography by: Mark Pepall
Photography by: Mark Pepall

Bundled in coats, they went topside to welcome the sun as it crested the horizon. Elbows resting on the rail they let the cool breeze flow across exposed skin. Smiling, she turned to him, observing the lines on his face and the wiry gray hair that steadily overtook the brown along with the passage of time.  She thought that he looked as good as the day they met…even better. She mouthed the words, ‘olive juice.’ This was a family joke; these words look like something else if one is lip reading. A chuckle from deep in his chest echoed across the water.

 

Cinque Terre Art Series at ASiF Smallworks Show

Cinque Terre Art Series at ASiF Smallworks Show

A series 8 x 10 art pieces inspired by hiking the mountain trail between Vernazza and Corniglia (in Cinque Terre, Italy) will be showing at ASiF’s 6th Annual Smallworks in the Foothills Holiday Show from November 8th, 2012 – January 11th, 2013.

Vernazza web

While on the path, the sparkling waters of the Ligurian Sea ever draws the eye outward to their azure depths. 

locks web

Locks, carried in pockets by hopeful lovers, securely proclaim emotions so strong and real in that space and time.

A colorful place of repast, sitting high on the hill, welcomes all who begin or end their trek.

olive grove web

A shady olive grove quietly grows tucked into a remote crevasse of the steeply sloping terrain.  Entrance and egress…so far in either direction….can only be by foot. Baskets of olives balanced on heads destined to grace tables with fruited spendor.

A break in the vegetation reveals a jeweled sight….Corniglia!

Manarola perched on the following point.

chores web

Grapes grown on the terrace greet weary feet. Promises of thirst and hunger quenched soon to follow.

A sleepy little local town, not thronged by hoards, goes about her daily chores.

Ahhh…La Spezia! A place to return.

All of these art pieces above can be ordered, in a multitude of sizes, on Fine Art America.

ASiF’s 6th Annual Smallworks in the Foothills Holiday Show

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Opening Reception: Friday, November 8th, from 5-8pm

940 Idaho Maryland Road, Grass Valley, CA 95945  530.274.7000

http://www.asifstudios.com/ASIF_Studios/Exhibits.html

From ASiF Artits’ Studio:
For this show the gallery walls come alive with hundreds of original, one of a kind works of art by over 70 local artists… paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, mixed-media art, jewelry, mosaics, glass and sculptural & functional works of art, all under twelve inches in scale – and perfect for holiday gift-giving!

 This is a fantastic opportunity to buy unique one of a kind holiday gifts while supporting your local community of artists! Each wall at the center is a work of art in itself – and each carefully composed gallery wall consists of several of each of the seventy-plus participant’s-up to twenty art entries!

Over the fifty-day course of the exhibit, art works are continually sold “off the wall” and replaced daily with new artists’ artworks – creating an ever-changing show. Last year the center sold and replaced so much work that a completely different show was in place just one month after it opened!

How to Modify Gorilla Tripods

At this time of year when new life is exploding all around,

geese

chickSpring Ladybug 2013a girl often needs an extra hand to modify the light, hold things still or …. just keep the cats from napping on her laptop.

cats in love

The images that follow, are visual notes on how to construct an extra hand out of two Gorilla Tripods, some alligator clips, 5 Minute Epoxy, and a Dremel tool.

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