The Top Travel(ing) Photo Bloggers on flickr Who Use Creative Commons

Downtown Beijing After RainDowntown Beijing / Photo by Trey Ratcliff

Call them the best, most generous photo bloggers on flickr. These are photographers who not only take incredible photos but they post their work online for others to use and share through the Creative Commons licensing system.

All of the photographers on this list use Creative Commons to some extent to license their work. For bloggers, like me, that’s a wonderful thing because it means there’s a treasure trove of high-quality free content available to use on this website (see my recent post on this subject ).

Perhaps not coincidentally, most of the photo bloggers listed below are HDR practitioners and self-described techies. To me, it makes sense that this new wave of photographers would embrace an “open source” ethos of sharing their work.

To make my list, the photographer had to have a flickr account with the majority of their posted photos licensed through Creative Commons. I only selected photographers who regularly maintain some sort of blog, loosely defined. As a result, several excellent photographers who license their work on flickr with Creative Commons aren’t on this list.

Keep in mind that the various Creative Commons licenses that these photographers use have different requirements. So be sure to check the license of each individual photo to see how the photographer wants to be credited and to what extent you can use or alter his or her photo.

So here’s my list of the Top Travel(ing) Photo Bloggers Who Use Creative Commons listed in order by the number of photos they’ve posted to flickr.

Thomas Hawk | Thomas Hawk’s Digital Collection |@thomashawk | flickr

Coachella 2013 -- Indio, CA Coachella 2013 — Indio, CA. / Photo by Thomas Hawk

Hawk is at the top of this list because he has posted 83,000 photos to flickr, no one else is even close. He’s a blogger, photographer, neon-sign aficionado and one of those guys in the middle of the digital revolution. He took the photo above of Coachella festival goers in 2013 in Indio, Calif.

imgresFrom his flickr profile: “Sometimes I like to think of myself as a photography factory. I see my photographs mostly as raw material for projects that might be worked on at some point later on in life.

We all have but a short time on this earth. As slow as time can be it is also fast, swift, furious and mighty and then it’s over. Jack Kerouac is dead. Andy Warhol is dead. Garry Winogrand is dead. Lee Friedlander, Stephen Shore and William Eggleston are not dead yet, but probably will be at some point. Charles Bukowski once said that endurance was more important than truth. Charles Bukowski’s now dead.

When I’m not taking or processing the pictures I’m mostly thinking about the pictures. I’m trying to publish a library of 1,000,000 finished, processed photographs before I die.”

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David Yu | David Yu Photography | @davidyuweb | flickr

The bridgeThe bridge / Photo by David Yu

David Yu

Yu is a prolific flickr poster (say that 10 times real fast) whose work mostly features scenes from his home city of San Francisco, including several stunning perspectives of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. He updates his Facebook page regularly, often posting insights on how to photograph the sights in San Francisco. He writes that the photo above was a “very luck snapshot” that caught the “evening glow moment.”

imgresFrom his flickr profile: “My passion for photography consumes my weekends and what little free time I have. I am drawn to the rich multi-culture of the Bay Area, and I love to shoot the various parades and street fairs in the city. Over the years there have been some improvements in my work, but I’m inspired by the diverse cultural mix of San Francisco to better my artistic vision. I hope you will enjoy my lucky snap moments, and thanks so much of your visits!!!”

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Trey Ratcliff | Stuck in Customs | @TreyRatcliff | flickr

Still Waters in the Old Town Still Waters in the Old Town / Photo by Trey Ratcliff


Ratcliff wrote the book on HDR photography. Actually, he’s written several books on HDR photography that are available on his extremely popular website, Stuck in Customs. His photos are stunning.  The featured photo at the top of this post is one Ratcliff took of downtown Bejing. Here’s what he says about it: “Just about the only time you get a break from the smog is after a good rain. I’m sure all that nonsense just ends up down on the ground and soaks slowly into the groundwater. Anyhoo, this is the CBD (Central Business District) of Beijing.” The photo directly above of the skiff was taken in Feng Huang, China in 2011.

imgresFrom his flickr profile: “Photography is my right brain activity to keep myself balanced. I have a unique approach to photography because of my computer science and math background, and I seek to use cutting edge software technology to change the way people’s brains process pictures and pattern-match.”

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Dietmar Temps | Dietmar Temps Photography | flickr

Ethiopian Tribes, Suri Ethiopian Tribes, Suri / Photo by Dietmar Temps

Dietmar TempsTemps describes himself as a media designer and photographer who studied photo and media technology at the Cologne University of Applied Science. His travels have taken him to Africa, Asia and South America and it’s clear his passion is capturing the faces of the people he encounters. He was also one of the first photographers on this list to embrace flickr, joining the still fledgling photo-sharing site in February 2006. Of the picture above, he writes “These are kids from the school in Koka on my first trip December 2011. We stayed almost one week on the compound in front of the school.”

imgresFrom his flickr profile: “Accomplished media designer and photographer Dietmar Temps lives in Cologne, Germany and has amassed almost 20 years in the media business. His first professional position as a photographic assistant took him through whole Europe and across the pond to America. After that he studied photo and media technology at the Cologne University of Applied Science. Currently he mainly realizes communication media and internet projects with the focus on social networking and video streaming.”

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Kim Seng | HDR Photography | flickr

White-Heron-During-Foggy-Morning-Sunrise-at-Viera-Wetlands White-Heron-During-Foggy-Morning-Sunrise -at-Viera-Wetlands / Photo by Kim Seng

Kim Seng

Seng, as you might have guessed by the name of his website, specializes in HDR photography. You might know him better on flickr by his nickname “Captain Kimo.” He describes himself as a “professional photographer, coffee connoisseur, techno geek and world traveler.”

imgresFrom his website bio: “I am as much an artist as I am a photographer. As an artist I strive to capture images that stimulate the imagination. My style is far from realistic or traditional. I would consider it to be more Impressionism because I enhance the color and detail of my photos for greater visual effect. The goal to my art is to instill a dream like response. Where your perception of reality is questioned. In other words… “Wow, is that real?” Whatever my style is… I owe it to technology for getting me there.”

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James Wheeler | Souvenir Pixels | @PhotoWheeler | flickr

Niagara Falls Super MoonNiagara Falls Super Moon / Photo by James Wheeler


Wheeler’s landscape photography is dazzling, yet subtle, if that’s possible. He says his interest in photography began in 2003 after he purchased a Canon PowerShot S230 before before moving to Taiwan. He stayed abroad until moving back to Canada in 2009.  Of the photo above, he says, “When I was at Niagara falls I did not realize it was a super moon but it was a bit bigger and more impressive than normal, still not as impressive as the massive falls.”

imgresFrom his flickr profile:  “I try to post 3-4 images every week because I find it is a good way to keep learning and moving forward with my photography. As you will see if you spend some time checking out my portfolio or photo collections, I like taking photos of beautiful things, mostly landscapes but anything else that catches my eye is also fair game.”

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Moyan Brenn | Earth in Colors | @Moyan_brenn |flickr

Hot air balloons Hot air balloons / Photo by Moyan_Brenn


I first came across Brenn when I was searching for a gargoyle photo to run with a blog post on the best places to photograph the Paris skyline. He’s a fabulous photographer who blogs at Earth in Colors. He took the photo above of hot air balloons preparing to take off in the “desert of Goreme, Cappadocia, heart of Turkey” in the summer of 2011.  And while Brenn, a native of Italy, uses a Creative Commons license, he has specific requirements that he details on his flickr profile page.

imgresFrom his flickr profile: “What pushed me to my knowledge level was my curiosity, i think the same thing which pushed Steve Jobs to become what he was til some time ago…..I didn’t follow any manual, i didn’t follow any trend nor any particular technique…..i just liked to discover, to try something new and to acquire a personal technique by experimenting and writing down day after day all my mistakes to avoid to do them again.”

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Werner Kunz | Werner’s World |flickr

The Garden of the Emperor The Garden of the Emperor / Photo by Werner Kunz

Werner Kunz

Kunz describes himself as a marketing professor with a passion for photography. He lives in Boston and says he created his blog to illustrate his journey to become a better photographer. He took the photo above during a trip to Seoul, South Korea in 2012.

imgresFrom his flickr profile: “I’m on a continuous journey to improve my photography. Thus, I try a lot of different photography as well as post-processing techniques and continuously looking for new techniques and inspirations to improve my photo work.”

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Chris Schoenbohm | Lost Man Project | @lostmanproject | flickr

'A Foggy Empire', United States, New York City, 5th Avenue & 20th St., Cold Spring Night A Foggy Empire’, United States, New York City, 5th Avenue & 20th St., Cold Spring Night / Photo by Chris Schoenbohm

Christopher Schoenbohm

Schoenbohm was traveling the world when he says a photographer in Thailand let him borrow a DSLR to take street life pictures in Bangkok. After that, he was hooked. Along with stunning HDR landscapes, his work can be evocative like the shot above he took in New York City, where he resides when he’s not traveling. Of the picture, he writes “I was walking back home from an event last night here in New York City. The weather has been terrible the last 2 days – rain and even snow has fallen on the city. I froze my hands off while taking this photo, but I cannot pass up an opportunity to shoot a nighttime photo when the city is all wet and shiny.

This photo was taken on the corner of 5th Avenue and 20th street looking north at the Empire State Building. The fog also creates a very ‘New York’ like mood that you find in classic hollywood videos that take place in this city.”

imgresFrom his blog: “For me, photography has become the perfect medium. It allows me to recreate place and time not only visually but also by adding a dimension of emotions and feelings I experience at that place in time.”

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Daniele Zedda | Daniele Zedda | @DanieleZedda |flickr

Luca / Photo by Daniele Zedda

Daniele Zedda

Zedda doesn’t have a lot of photos on flickr but the ones he does post — a mix of portraits and landscapes — are dreamy. The portrait above is from his work shooting bands on the rock-pop scene in Rome. “I really love this portrait, it just works in so many ways for me: the subtle colors, the way the whole pic leans to a side and the relaxed (stoned??) expression on the dude’s face,” Zedda writes.

imgresFrom his flickr profile: “I feel like I am born every day, each moment I learn something new, something beautiful and unique. ‘This’ is how I work, how I see the world, how I feel it, how I live it. On the side I am also a teacher, I love to teach, love to see people grow under my eyes through my imputs and learn from other’s progres. Most of all, as I said, I am a never done studying student, always opened to suggestions and ideas.”

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All of the photos that appear in this post are used under Creative Commons licenses.

Joe Newman

I'm Joe Newman, multi-media story teller, non-profit do-gooder, international street photographer, serious poker player, intrepid traveler. Bourbon drinker.

1 Comment
  • James Wheeler

    July 19, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Joe, Thanks for including me in this list! I never thought I would see myself in a list with such amazing other photographers. I am glad you enjoy my work!