I take pictures. Nothing more. Nothing less. 

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  • Top of the World

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    This was taken on Top of The World in Alaska from my first trip there in the 90's. I rented a 4-wheeler in Vancouver and drove all the way thru beautiful British Colombia, then the remote Yukon, and on the rugged Alaska Highway the entire 1500 miles. 

     

    I have been back to Alaska 7 more times (2 of them this past year), but I never have been as excited as this first time. After the Alaskan Highway, I drove this rough 4-wheeler to Fairbanks and above the Arctic Circle, 400 miles above the highest paved road in the world on the oil trail road alongside all the oil trucks. Glad it wasn't my vehicle as I returned it much later in Vancouver with three cracks in the windshield .... not rare in Alaska! Took a small bush plane to the town of Barrow, which was the Northernmost point in the USA.

     

    It was a grand long trip that I would recommend to anyone who has that crazy adventurous spirit. Not for the faint-hearted tho, as the frost heaves are many and can break an axle if you drive too fast over them. Then of course, there can be bears present whenever you stop by the road -- I learned quickly to blow the horn loudly to scare them away. You do NOT want to be surprised by these bears! And you buy gasoline when you are at 1/2 because the stations are few and FAR between!

     

    This picture really shows the joy of being on "Top of the World". The world, and it's many adventures, awaits anyone with the spirit to explore our planet. My suggestion --- Go For It!

     

     

  • Shooting the Greatest Fighter Ever

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    In about 1976 or 1977, as a photographer just really starting my career, I was given an assignment to fly down from New York to Miami Beach to shoot all day at the famous 5th Street Gym. Not just to shoot any boxer, I might add, but to photograph The Greatest... Mohammed Ali. It was quite a treat for me then as it was one of my most important assignments to that date.

     

    Hiding my admiration and trying to look more "seasoned" on the job, I spent the day shooting with Ali and his trainers. He was such fun to work with that I forgot how raw I was and just interacted with him.

     

    I wrote later about working with Ali in 1989 in my first book, "Clicking The Shutter Is The Easy Part". "The person I think who was the most animated would have to be Mohammed Ali. I worked with him in Miami toward the end of his boxing career. He was such a study in contrasts. He would change so quickly to the camera. I shot so many sides of the man... parts that he wanted to show to the world. He was the greatest then, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to portray him on film."

     

    I have had hundreds of celebrities in front of my lenses since then, but he remains the most fun to work with. (so was Shaquille O'Neal, but that is another story and another day). I have had 14 more books published since that first book, and it is fun to go back to that dusty 1989 book and read what I wrote from time to time. 

     

    Someday, I plan to do a book I will call "Retrospective" of all of my work types-- 
    including many of my past assignments and stories. I will show my early, early photos, then my starting editorial news assignments, and then the many fashion assignments with models, etc. Then I will end with my advertising & travel work which I am more known for now. I just don't feel really old & "retrospective" enough in my career yet!

     

    I will say one thing: it has been a fun, fun career! Hope you enjoy Mohammed Ali today.

     

     

  • 6 - Day B & W Challenge - Day 6

    This was fun converting my images to B&W to post for this Challenge. Hope you all have enjoyed it.

    Here is an environmental portrait taken three years ago of a Muslim man in the Sahara Desert border town of Douz, Tunisia. I wanted to "lead into" him for this portrait, so I used fabric as the leading line. Loved the country of Tunisia and of course so enjoyed camel rides into the Sahara. That African desert is so magical. I just returned two weeks ago from the Sahara again, this time in Morocco.

     

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  • 6 - Day B & W Challenge - Day 5

    This is the type of face that I search for when traveling. It has character, pride and humanity. I found this gentle man in a market in the fabulous little town of Antigua, Guatemala. He was almost blind, but his spirit came thru the lens. I usually don't zoom this close, but this time I wanted to show him boldly in front of the camera.

    I'm glad I met him.

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  • 6 - Day B & W Challenge - Day 4

    In the isolated mountains of the Sacred Valley of the Incas of Peru, I found this wonderful woman plowing fields by hand with her oxen. She had all of her seeds wrapped in front of her skirt as she slowly worked the fields in her town of Chinchero, near Cusco. Elevated at about 11,500 feet, they live a rural & lonely life, but that did not dim her zest for life one bit.

     

    My goal was to get her laughing and this photo was the result. I love experiences like this in meeting locals more than any other part of traveling. Two photo tips for you in travel photography: First, try to never 'center' your pictures, and then also include a lot of the surroundings for what I call environmental portraits -- giving the viewer a sense of how & where your subject lives/works. This brings the audience into the real world of your travels.

     

    The goal I have in the rest of my life now is to perhaps in some small way inspire people who see my pictures to go out and explore this wonderful planet with a sense of awe & respect. That would make me proud indeed.

     

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  • 6 - Day B & W Challenge - Day 3

     The world may not always "get" us, but we do rejoice in traveling our planet and seeing things & places that make our hearts sing! Our images help to make the world understand different cultures and, hopefully, our work makes others appreciate this exciting & diverse planet we all live in.

     

    Today's B&W Challenge photo was taken in formally horrible Hanoi, Vietnam. I have toured Vietnam twice and it seems to be getting better and warmer to outsiders now, long after the horrible war. They are starting to trust Westerners again.

     

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    I could not resist taking a picture of this man's flowing in the breeze beard. That made the image to me and I am glad that he said yes to my request. Remember to always take the chance & ask people to take their photo.... many of us have images in our head that we did not take because we were afraid to approach people in foreign countries. As the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said, "You miss every shot you don't take!"

  • 6 - Day B & W Challenge - Day 2

    I call this graphic image "Double Cross". 

     

    This Fine Art image shows absolutely no nudity, but I love the careful rim lighting and the graphic lines. I guess I just love the double crossing. Shot this probably 10 years ago and I envisioned this image before I even arranged her body this way. Some of you may remember I also shot my "Pasta Special" image with her. 

     

    Hope you all enjoy this capture. As most of you know, I rarely use any PhotoShop techniques or corrections .... I try to see & capture my images as they are. (Comes from my old film days when you HAD to capture an image in camera!) Nude art does not even have to show any nudity to be effective. It is all about what the vision you see in your head, whether it be Commercial Photography or Fine Art. It's all about impact & the WOW factor to me.

     

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  • 6 - Day B & W Challenge

    For my first day, I choose a B&W Infrared image of zebras in Tanzania, Africa. I am in Africa often and I just loved the soft feel of this image -- especially that old tree with so much character! More to come each day now.

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  • Christmas Sale on Posters!

    You want a unique Christmas present idea??? For Christmas, I am discounting all of my signed Gallery Posters 40% for you to give as gifts. I have 3 award-winning posters at the top of this link and many signed & numbered nude posters to give to friends and family that would appreciate fine art photography as a gift. 

    Here is the link. You can order from the bottom of this link by sending a check thru the USPS to the address shown. Offer ends December 18th, 2013 in time to receive before Christmas. You can click on any of the posters to enlarge it to see it more clearly.

    http://www.billbachmann.com/posters.html

     

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  • Tunisia-- Gateway to the Sahara Desert

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                                I'm not sure who hated the other more. On my camel "Charlie" riding in the Sahara Desert. Tough ride!

     

    I had a great opportunity three years ago to shoot a camel safari in the Sahara Desert for a good, regular client. Needless to say, I jumped (literally) on it!

    Tunisia is a the smallest country in Northern Africa, and much of it’s border is the mysterious Sahara Desert. I had been to the Sahara before, but this trip really showed me what it is like to travel and even survive in this dry and forbidden land.

    Tunisia became somewhat famous recently when it started the so-called “Arab Spring” by overthrowing the corrupt government. This encouraged several other Arab countries to also rebel from long standing rulers. I would wait for awhile until Tunisia settles into a more stable environment before traveling to the places I mention on this blog. Just to stay safe.

    I am glad that I had this Tunisia opportunity before the government changed so radically. So put this trip in the back of your mind for “Someday soon”.

    The capital of Tunisia is Tunis, a thriving and modern city. It is mostly painted white and is bright, busy and sunny. The entire country is HOT in summer – especially the Sahara – so I went in December and it was really pleasant and livable. I do not know how the local people survive the tremendous heat around the Sahara in summer, but somehow they have adapted. They farm and survive with almost no water, comforts or luxury in the summer months.

    My trip for my client took me almost around the entire country. I visited the ruins of the famous city of Carthage, where the Roman bath ruins still survive. The city was so special and has existed since the 9th Century B.C. It is in the Bible and that is old!

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                                                 A "Big Ben" in traffic cirlce at night in the modern capital city of Tunis. 

     

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                                                       Roman baths from Biblical times in the ancient city of Carthage. 

     

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                                                                 Forbidden photo in the Grand Mosque prayer room in Kairovan.

     

    What I liked photographing the most were the many faces of the local people and then, of course, the Sahara. Everywhere I looked I saw men and woman who I wanted to take images of for publication. Unlike some other Muslim countries I have worked, the people here were willing to pose and also sign my model release. Many of you have traveled with me, so you know how I loved that!

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                                                           Just one of the many fabulous faces I photographed in Tunisia. 

     

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                                                                                        In the tough, unforgiving desert. 

     

    They even have a copy of the Colosseum of Rome in the town of El Djem. This amphitheater is almost identical and you can tour it and shoot images. It remains more intact than the Roman one.

    But, of course, the MAIN reason I took this safari assignment was to experience traveling in the Sahara Desert by camel and even later riding mighty 4-wheelers & crazy dune buggies in the sand dunes. Went into the Sahara proper from the Gateway city of Douz. I am an adventurer at heart (surprised?) and the part of exploring both the desert by camel and all the surrounding towns was too much to pass up. And I get paid for this!! I do have a blessed occupation.

    The picture at the beginning of this blog shows me on my camel. His name was Charlie and I am really not sure which one of us hated the other more! I put pillows on both sides of the saddle (experience does help!) and off we went, him hissing & spitting and me rocking with the flow.

    Camels are not what you would call “nice” animals – I’m not sure I would be any different if people rode me across hot deserts with no water for days either! I wished he were sweeter and nicer…. he wished he had a smaller passenger! But we survived together somehow, out of necessity I am sure. The camel photo above has me with my turban, which helps with wind stirring the sand dunes. It was my Christmas card that year.

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    Met a friend in Tozeur. People were terrific and curious.                        The shopping streets are called Medinas. Here many unique shoes for sale. 

     

    The life around the desert sand dunes is tough and unforgiving. But I loved it, the stops, the music we played, the food we ate. It was made for someone who wants to enjoy part of the world that few see. I felt the same way in the ever so tough trip to the Antarctica. Not made for the timid!

    I hope you will store this country away to visit when they settle down politically. If you love adventure, circle Tunisia sometime and you will agree it is a cool place to visit but “don’t want to live there!”

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                                                    Stumbled in the desert onto two men playing instruments in the sand.

     

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                                                                 Local man at 2nd Century Roman Theater in town of Dougga.

     

     

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                                                                             Beautifully preserved ruins in town of Sibeitia.  

     

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                         Spices for sale in town of Gabes.                                                        Another character face along the Tunisian journey.