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 people to stop long enough to actually read your text.

But, back to the photo above. If you got it from the same source as I did, you could put your own words on it.  Or a great quote.  You could modify the photo.

You could do many things with this and hundreds of thousands of other photos, vector drawings, textured backgrounds, color backgrounds, etc.  And you can do that in minutes.

You can then share it directly to social media and/or download it to use on your site or blog. has a little web-based tool that lets you put some attention-getting text into a background and automatically share it.  They provide the backgrounds and the text-creation device.  So, for example, it you wanted to share a quote or create a quote from some article you were reading online, you’d just clip the text, hit the bookmarklet for ShareAsText, pick a photo or other background, paste it in, adjust the text block, hit the share or download button and be done.

Boom! You’ve created a tweet with an image.  Which will be more likely to be noticed and retweeted than simple text.

But wait.  For a couple more days, AppSumo is running a special on the Pro version of ShareAsImage for $25 for a lifetime membership.  Considering that at this time it costs $8 per month for the Pro version, that’s an outstanding bargain.  (There is a free version that you can try out.)

Go try out and if you like it, buy it at AppSumo.  But you need to be quick to get the $25 price.

P.S. Although the photo was marked as public domain, I like to give credit when I know who the photographer is. The photo was by Fré Sonneveld