"Become aware what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it, produce it and give birth to it." - Meister Eckhart

21 June 2018

My 10 favourite FREE photo download sites

Do you often wish you had a great photo to illustrate a particular idea, theme, or story your writing about? Wouldn't some professional-looking photos spruce up your website? But you don't have the cash to hire a photographer?

And you wouldn't lift photos straight out of Google, would you? Confused about copyright?

Well, you don't have to worry anymore. You can have access to beautiful photos with a click of a button . . . and it's all for free.

Here are 10 of my favourite free photo download sites. All photos are free although you can show your appreciation by donating to the contributor in some cases.

1. Pixabay www.pixabay.com This one is a favourite of mine and I visit it frequently. Put in your search term and voilà -- up come a number of photos to fit your criteria. If at first you don't succeed, try another related search term.
 
2. Pexels  www.pexels.com   Similar to Pixabay. Includes free stock photos, profiles of their contributing photographers and even an opportunity for you to reciprocate if you choose by uploading your own photos.

3. Unsplash  www.unsplash.com   Another free stock photo site with good quality photos. New photos are added daily.

4. Freeimages  https://www.freeimages.com/   The title of this site says it all -- free images for personal or commercial use. Claims to have more than 300,000 images in its vaults.

5. Gratisography  https://gratisography.com/   This site claims to be "the world's quirkiest collection of free high-resolution pictures." If you can't find it anywhere else, you might find what you're looking for here.

6. Canva  https://www.canva.com/photos/free/   Canva has been a useful time-saver when it comes to putting together flyers, social media adverts, and other forms of advertising. It also offers free stock photos. It's relatively easy to use and you can even upload your own photos for use in your own creations.

7. StockSnap  https://stocksnap.io/   I haven't used this one yet, but it looks similar to the above. Lots of free stock photos free from copyright restrictions. New photos are added weekly.

8. PicJumbo  https://picjumbo.com/   Similar to above -- offers free stock photos for personal and business use. Also has a "premium" option which I imagine gives you access to even more beautiful photos.

9. Death to Stock  https://deathtothestockphoto.com/   With a name like "Death to Stock" how could you resist. While not claiming to have as many photos as other sites, Death to Stock prides itself on offering photos that are a little more unusual yet human. I'll let you explore and decide for yourself.

10.  Flickr  https://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/  You may know Flickr as a useful storage site for your photos (if you didn't know that, you should). However, many of the contributors on Flickr offer their photos on a Creative Commons licence which enables you to use them free, albeit with a nod (i.e. a credit) to the photographer.

As with any site, you should be warned that it's easy to get lost looking at reams of photos. Best to know what you want and go looking for it. Pretty well all the sites offer search facilities. This is by no means an exhaustive list. A Google search for free photos will throw up many, many more sites to explore. These ten are ones I've used at one time or another, some more than others. There's more than enough here to keep you busy and supply the perfect photo for your needs.

Have fun.

19 March 2018

Vast online resource for Irish folklore, customs, and superstitions

A new online resource is now available that anyone interested in Irish folklore, customs, and superstitions will be eager to peruse. It can be found at https://www.duchas.ie/en/tpc/cbes.

The National (Irish) Folklore Collection has digitized more than 100,000 pages of material known as the Schools' Collection, collected by more than 100,000 children between the years of 1937 and 1939. Children were tasked with finding the oldest person in their communities to discover the "darkest, oddest and weirdest traditional beliefs, secrets and customs". There are stories and recollections here covering every conceivable belief from fairies and leprechauns to witches and banshees and more. There are more than 3000 entries referring to butter and churns, more than 12,000 on folk medicine, and references to such individuals as the Hag of Beara, Fionn MacCumhaill, Brigid, and Myles the Slasher.

Searching the archive is helped by the division of the material into topics or categories such as "activities", "agents", "events", "genre", and "objects" among others. Look up "shoes", for example, and you'll find more than a 1000 results. Each entry consists of a digitized copy of the original handwritten account as well as the author, his or her age, and their home county.

The Schools' Collection is an ongoing project with a team of volunteers continuing to scan and digitize more than 700,000 pages of material.

In reporting on this treasure trove, the Irish Times suggests that on this St Patrick's Day, instead of waving a shamrock or downing a pint of Guinness or two, why not "consider delving into this vast online knowledge bank of national consciousness from a time when ambiguity still played a key role in life and when the unbroken connection back to Pagan times was still strong and clear." I couldn't agree more. In fact, I may do both.

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Discover the Schools' Collection of Irish folklore, customs, and superstitions at https://www.duchas.ie/en/tpc/cbes


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