Earth Day and Public Domain Photo Resources

earth day image NASA 2014

Happy Earth Day — Photo source: NASA

Recently I’ve written a couple of posts that involve the use of public domain photos.  And I just published my second newsletter in a row that was focused on delivering resources for children’s books or children’s products from the public domain.  So it seemed that delivering some resources for great public domain photos of the earth — and even the rest of the universe — would be just the right touch for Earth Day.  Following are two amazing sources of PD photos for your creative projects: NASA and the US Geological Survey.

NASA Photos:

First, I want to recommend NASA as an outstanding source of mind-blowing photos, particularly the galleries at the HubbleSite.  The one above is pretty tame compared to the richly colorful and exciting space photos available in their galleries.  Just be sure to read their terms and disclaimers. While most of their photos are PD, some are not and you need to contact the copyright owners for permission.  Check every one you use to make sure it doesn’t have a copyright on it.  It should be marked.  And don’t forget that it is customary to credit the photographer and source of your photos.  They’ll tell you how on site.

To give you an idea of how beautiful the photos are, here are some examples:

Spitzer and Hubble Create Colorful Masterpiece

The Cat

Spiral Galaxy M83

US Geological Survey Photos:

Next, I recommend the US Geological Survey for its highly professional offerings of photos, especially its landscapes. Many of its pictures will be immediately usable without any editing.  Of course, any public domain photo can be customized and used as you like.  Even if you properly credit the photo, remember to add credits and descriptions for yourself as well if you do substantial editing, remixing or derivatives.  And remember my recommendation of IntensifyPro as a standalone or plug it for rapid editing.  Since many of these photos are ripe for being backgrounds for quotes and other inspirational text, don’t forget that you can upload photos to your account at and make them into great social media shares.

Here are some examples of USGS public domain photos for your inspiration:

How about a sunset on a California beach:

Sunset on a beach in LaJolla

Photographer: Guy DeMeo , U.S. Geological Survey


A rainbow over the Yukon river:


Photographer: Mark Dornblaser , U.S. Geological Survey

Or a gentle forest stream:

Gentle forest stream

Photographer: Cynthia L. Cunningham , U.S. Geological Survey


Go get some of your own.  Make your website beautiful.  Create inspirational posters. Illustrate your ebooks.  Let the government help you be more creative and productive.



Hope is A Productivity Tool

In both children and adults, there can be a hard-to-deny link between a robust sense of hope and either work productivity or academic achievement.

Photo Credit: Tiago Gerken — Source:

What makes hope a productivity tool?

I found the quotation in the image above on a quotes site.  I liked it, but I wanted to see it in context.  A bit of search located it for me in a Time Magazine article. The article was a review by Jeffery Kluger for a book called Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others, by Shane J. Lopez,Ph.D.  The book is a look at the psychology of hope and how it affects productivity, performance, achievement and success.  Whether in your business, career, education or relationships.

I’m glad I found it because that article and some of the articles on Lopez’ web site are excellent explanations of how hope can lead to better performance and productivity. I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve ordered it as a result of reading the review by Jeffery Kluger and Lopez’ articles, as well as seeing some of Lopez’ videos.

For example, the Kluger review mentioned Lopez’ finding that “hope accounts for about 14% of work productivity and 12% of academic achievement.”  Naturally, I wanted to know more.  I found it in an article Lopez wrote that was published in the Huffington Post: “Why Hopeful Employees Are 14% More Productive.

In the article Lopez explains that various studies have shown that hopeful employees:

  1. Show up for work (have far less absenteeism)
  2. Are more engaged
  3. Are more creative
  4. Are more resilient in times of change or adversity
  5. Are happy

Acquiring your own hope tools for productivity.

I suggest you go read the Kluger review and the Huffington Post article. Be sure to visit Lopez’ site for more articles, videos and a self-test for hope.

Here’s a sample video of Lopez speaking on instilling hope in others.

Performance and Productivity Tool for Website and Social Media Engagement


I found a first-rate performance/productivity tool for you to increase user engagement on your blog, site or social media.  Look at this: Isn’t that a smashing photo?  I created the text/photo combination in a couple of minutes and downloaded it for this blog. You could have it on your own blog.  Or as a visual tweet.  Or on Facebook.  Or whatever.  It’s pretty well-known that visuals create greater engagement than text alone.  Much, much greater.  It’s also well-known that visuals communicate a considerable amount more than text.  That visuals keep your reader’s attention better than text alone.  That visuals get […] Read more »

IntensifyPro, Public Domain Images and Productivity


We need images, but is public domain worth the trouble? Images are difficult to do well and fast.  And we need lots of images for the best and most engaging articles or posts.  Or for our ebooks.  Or for games and apps.  Or…lots of other info, education or entertainment products. One of the most popular suggestions I’ve heard is to get free images from public domain and use them to at least round out our content, if not as the complete content.  Right. That is neither fast nor easy.  Using the public domain is most often a tedious search process, […] Read more »

Making more productive changes.

Portrait Of Girl Pouting

Do you have great ideas for self-made changes that seem like they should work but don’t when you try them?  Are you puzzled by resistance you have to your own choices? The most difficult part of change management is resistance to change.  It applies to your own personal choices of performance and productivity tools as well. Many years ago, I developed a system for myself I called “pagers,” which were one page writing forms.  The idea was to write a simple one-page article, essay, letter or other document. A pager document could stand on its own or be combined with […] Read more »

On the subject of don’t sweat the small stuff.


One of the biggest contributing factors to poor performance and productivity is stress.  And one of the biggest contributors to stress is office and inter-office rivalries.  Rather than write a long post on the subject, I thought that today I’d just offer the poster below as a reminder of a better attitude. Please feel free to print copies for personal use and to pin it or share the poster on Facebook.  I got the photo from, a great source I use frequently.  I modified it in Photoshop, including a bit of embellishment with the new IntensifyPro from MacPhun.  To […] Read more »

Have A Heart On Valentine’s Day


On Valentine’s day we think more of romantic love than other kinds.  But, when you were a kid in elementary school, you probably participated in Valentine’s card exchanges with all the other kids in your classroom. When we were young we were taught to think of Valentine’s cards as sort of friendship cards. Let me add another kind of love — another kind of friendship — to the mix.  I want to encourage you to think of the kind of caring for your fellow man that leads to supporting everyone’s well-being.  Most of us call it charity. The “Great Recession” […] Read more »

Happy Birthday to All My Macs

I’m a die-hard Mac fan. You do not want to get me started on the virtues of Mac. Especially if there’s another Mac enthusiast nearby who can join me. I could go on for hours, with someone else to share the enthusiasm, I could go on for days. I got my first Mac in March 1985. It was called a “Fat Mac” or a Mac 512K. Not to brag too much about the durability of Macs, I have to tell you that the last time I powered it up to see if it still worked was in 1995. It did. […] Read more »

Video on Writing Good Posts

I found a helpful YouTube video: “Business Blogging Tips: Writing Quality Business Blog Posts Every Time.” It falls in neatly with my ongoing post series on writing faster and better. The video is from and they have more than fifty videos on their YouTube Channel at If you like this video, you might want to check out the rest of their channel for other practical ideas. Enjoy. Read more »

Productivity Product Recommendation: Comic Life 3


Comic Life 3 is a productivity tool. Yeah, I know it’s kind of fun and kids like to use the iOS app version to convert pics to comics to send to their friends.  Sure, you can use it to create comic strips and comic books. But really, it’s a serious desktop application for entrepreneurs.  And ebook writers.  And bloggers.  And graphics artists.  And makers of infographics.  And marketers.  And, well, once you “get it,” you’ll think of more. Don’t be fooled by its intuitive interface and ease of use.  Don’t be seduced by the fact you’ll actually enjoy what you’re […] Read more »