Photography topics in the headlines this week: shooting in ugly locations, winter-warming neon light, and the Our Vision Project. Read on for more of the Very Important Photography Topics currently on our minds at 500px.

1. Is Instagram killing New Zealand’s iconic tree?

Golden Icon by Dylan Toh & Marianne Lim on

National Geographic reports that New Zealand’s “insta-worthy” Lake Wanaka Tree is in danger of being destroyed, thanks to recent receding water levels that have allowed tourists to reach and climb the tree, which was previously surrounded by the lake. The Queenstown District Council has been forced to place signs warning tourists looking for the perfect ‘gram not to mess with the tree.

Here’s what 500px Photo Editor Janet Weldon had to say about the story: “As photographers we have to be aware of the impact we have, not only through the subject matter we present but also through the physical action of taking the image. To destroy the very object of beauty you are trying to capture is selfish and a tragedy.”

2. Ugly location challenge strikes gold again

Remember the “ugly photo challenge” photographer Jenna Martin did in November, when she did a photo shoot in a Lowe’s? Well, another photographer picked up the challenge to great success: National Post reports that photographer Kelsey Maggart took to KFCs, gas stations and more in search of beautiful photos in unlikely places.

Here’s what 500px’s Director of Marketing Rommil Santiago loved about the story: “You don’t need a high-end studio to take amazing photos. This inspires me to shoot near dumpsters.”

3. Creatives: allow yourself to suck

YouTuber and photographer Peter McKinnon posted the video all creatives need to see: “it’s okay if you suck”. It features YouTuber and artist Stefan Kunz, both of whom share their thoughts on why you should create every day, even if the result sucks sometimes.

500px Content Strategist & Social Media Manager Sarah Robinson loved the video: “As a creative, I waste so much time trying to perfect my ideas, vision, execution, etc. instead of just doing the thing. This is a fantastic reminder to focus on the process, not the product (à la Inky Johnson).”

4. Neon signs that’ll light up your winter

It’s winter, and basically every evening could be narrated as “it was a dark and stormy night.” Enter: this quirky gallery of neon signs, curated by 500px Designer Stephanie Juliet Algieri, to swaddle you in a soft glow. See the full collection on the 500px blog.

Which do you like ? by masahiro miyagi on

???? by Daniel Hadfield on

Caught in the limelight by Johnny photography on

neon by Nick Skvortsov on

Pizza by Trevor Dernai on

Liza by Ivan Karpov on

An extra photo for an extra day by Rémi Carreiro on

5. Using art to help the visually-impaired

Last, but not least, check out the win-win proposition Duncan Nicholls posted on the 500px blog earlier this week: the Our Vision Project. It’s an opportunity for creatives to showcase their work, as well as help fight avoidable blindness. Learn more and find out how to get involved here.