Recent News and Publishing
-April 2013: Publisher Dorling Kindersley (DK) will release a major book Back Roads California in its lovely, graphic, Eyewitness Guide/Back Roads Travel series. Lee was assigned to write and photograph 1/3 of the book.
-February 2013: Lee will talk at the February 16-17, 2013, Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show in Santa Clara on Sunday 17 about Northern California: Worth the Drive. The illustrated slide show will parallel Lee’s new book, Northern California Travel: The Best Options, which has a release date of February 15, 2013. The book’s 30 chapters exist on Lee’s website for consumers who Search “Norcal.” The book will be released as an ebook through BookBaby and a print-on-demand book with Amazon CreateSpace.
-February 2013: Lee will talk at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference. His subject will be Traditional vs Independent Book Publishing: What’s Best For Your Book?, reflecting articles on his website at www.fostertravel.com under Community, Travel Journalism Instruction.
-November 2012: Alamy stock photo agency is reporting to Lee about 15 sales per month from about 4,000 images Lee has uploaded to Alamy. Lee’s other agencies are now Photoshot London, Age Fotostock in Spain, and Danita Delimont.
-October 2012: Lee talked at the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Publish and Profit from Your Own Travel Apps and Travel Ebooks and The New Travel Journalist Entrepreneur: Discovering, Mastering, and Monetizing New Outlets for Travel Journalism.
-October 2012: Lee’s three travel apps with Sutro Media have been re-released with a new “freemium” approach to publishing. A consumer can now download the apps for free, but is encouraged to “upgrade” with a $2.99 purchase to avoid the ads, get offline content such as maps, and participate in deals-of-the-day and other content as the system goes forward. The apps are San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide, Washington DC Travel and Photo Guide, and Berkeley Essential Guide. Lee reports that a slightly larger number of sales are occurring each month with “freemium” than were evident in the earlier approach of direct-buy only. As the installed base of “freemium” users increases, it is expected that paid sales will increase because with each use of the app the freemium downloader gets a coaching recommendation to upgrade.
-October 2012: Lonely Planet Images reported to Lee for Quarter 2 2012 another 150 placements on his photos in major media. Lonely Planet Images has now closed its doors and shifted all marketing of its images to Getty. Lee has preferred a non-Getty approach to future marketing of his work, so has declined to participate in the new LP-Getty venture. Lee plans to sell his photos directly through his own PhotoShelter site at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com and in four agencies (see above item about Alamy and other agencies).
-September 2012: Lee’s New Zealand photo about Wearable Art won a Silver Award in the Portrait category in the Muster Photo Showcase at the annual Society of American Travel Writers’ conference, this year in Indianapolis, in September 2012.
-August 2012: American Parks Network licensed two photos this year from Lee for its annual parks books. At one point APN was licensing about 40 photos a year from Lee, but the proliferation of free crowdsourced photos of public parks, from sites such as Flickr Creative Commons, has cut into the commercial viability of the APN-Foster partnership.
-August 2012: Uniglobe marked the end of the first year of its two-year license of Lee’s travel writing content for his 200 worldwide articles at www.fostertravel.com. The license may be extended, but is set to expire on August 1, 2013 unless the parties agree to an extension. Lee has updated about 100 of the 200 articles on his website and fed them into the system for Uniglobe, which is a worldwide travel agency system. Lee’s essence-of-the-destination articles are meant to provide inspirational thoughts about travel to about 400,000 worldwide customers of Uniglobe.
-July 2012: Impact Photographics continues its pattern of licensing several photos per year for its postcard needs from Lee’s website at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com.
-June 2012: Washingtonian magazine, the main DC area magazine, published Lee’s photo of Kramerbooks in its Travel Guide.
-May 2012: Islands magazine licensed one of Lee’s photos of mule ride on Molokai for its magazine from Lee’s website at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com.
-May 2012: California Humanities Council licensed a Chinatown San Francisco article from Lee’s website at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com for its promotional needs.
-May 2012: Six Red Marbles licensed photos for its textbook needs from Lee’s website at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com.
-May 2012: The French travel magazine Ulysse licensed a Yukon Alaska photo for its publication from Lee’s website at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com.
-May 2012: Lee’s talk about the current travel publishing scene is now available for all to see on YouTube. Lee talked in April before three Bay Area groups about “Entrepreneurial Travel Publishing.” The video noted below is Lee’s talk to the Bay Area Travel Writers. Lee also talked in April to the American Society of Media Photographers and to the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association.
Here is the announcement about the YouTube capture from the BATW event:
Bay Area Travel Writers Event Featuring Lee Foster Now on YouTube
YouTube hosts a video capture of Lee Foster’s talk on “Entrepreneurial Travel Publishing” to the Bay Area Travel Writers at Berkeley’s David Brower Center on Saturday April 21, 2012.
The video is now up at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4ikVKnvfTI.
Viewers of the video will want to enhance the subdued audio by turning the audio output on their device to 100% and perhaps by using earbuds or earphones.
A single recording presents the hour-long event in its entirety.
Travel writer Georgia Hesse, founder of the Chronicle/Examiner travel section many years ago, summarized the day’s event for the BATW website (www.batw.org) in her remarks at
The talk parallels an article “Entrepreneurial Travel Publishing” on Lee Foster’s website at
-May 2012: Islands magazine will run one of Lee’s photos of the mule ride on Molokai, Hawaii.
-May 2012: As of this date, Lee will have completed two years of monthly columns on apps/ebooks for the Rohn Engh PhotoStockNotes website, going each month to his 9,000 subscribers.
-March 2012: Lee’s three travel apps are slated for conversion to Android, making them available to audiences beyond the Apple iTunes App Store. First to be released in Android was Lee’s Washington DC Travel and Photo Guide. Coming soon will be San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide and Berkeley Essential Guide. The apps are available in the Android Market App Store.
-March 2012: Lee’s article “A Website Built to Make Money” ran on pages 12-15 in the March issue of the magazine Independent, a publication going to the 4,000 publisher members of the Independent Book Publishers association.
-March 2012: Impact Photographics licensed three of Lee’s California images for its postcards and calendars.
-March 2012: As of this date, Lee has reviewed and updated 70 of the 200 travel articles on his website at www.fostertravel.com for their licensing and appearance in the Uniglobe travel agency website.
-February 18: Lee talked on “Apps and Ebooks: The Frontiers of Modern Travel Communication” at the Bay Area Travel & Adventure Show in Santa Clara.
-February 2012: The California Council of the Humanities licensed one of Lee’s Chinatown San Francisco lanterns images for use in its publications.
-Ongoing 2012: DK, aka travel publisher Dorling Kindersley, continues to edit one of its major 2013 books, titled Back Roads California. Lee had the assignment to write/photograph 1/3 of the book, work that was completed in 2011.
-January 2012: Lee talked on “Entrepreneurial Travel Publishing” before 98 members of the Freelance Council of the Society of American Travel Writers at a meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel.
-January 2012: Lee’s work in travel photography was the subject of a 30-minute webinar interview conducted in Washington, D.C., by Lynford Morton for fans of his PhotoTourDC and Shutterbug programs. A video of the webinar, which covers Lee’s DC book, DC app, and website article/photo coverage of DC, can be seen.
-January 2012: First Light Photo Research licensed one of Lee’s Musee Mechanique San Francisco photos for its book project Museum Full of Surprises.
-January 2012: Via magazine ran Lee’s photo of Tahoe Snow Play on p 30 of the Jan/Feb issue.
-January 2012: Photo agency reports for 2011 showed that the Alamy agency licensed more than 150 of Lee’s photos to various worldwide book and magazine clients. Lee’s other agency, Lonely Planet Images, reported more than 600 licenses of Lee photos to Lonely Planet Books and to worldwide third-party clients, primarily magazine, book, and website customers.
-Ongoing: Lee’s accumulating monthly columns on the subject of “apps and ebooks” can be accessed for free by anyone. Lee publishes these columns on Rohn Engh’s photo marketing site, PhotoStockNOTES. . Lee’s columns are gathered, upper right, at the “APPS/Ebooks” tab. The most recent column appears first, with columns then going progressively back to June 2010. On the first Thursday of each month Lee discusses some new aspect of the unfolding drama around us in app and ebook publishing.
-2011: Lee has written seven drives and photographed eight drives for the 24-drive travel guide titled Back Roads California (Dorling Kindersley, 2013 release date). DK is one of the leading worldwide travel book publishers, known especially for their highly graphic presentations.
-October 2011: Ski Magazine ran one of Lee’s Wyoming photos.
-August 2011: APN (American Park Network) uses Lee’s photos as illustrations in their annual parks books, which are distributed in various parks. For 2011, they used Lee’s photos in their Utah, D.C., and Death Valley books.
-Ongoing: Impact Photographics used Lee’s photos in their postcard, calendar, and product (such as photos on coffee mugs) mix. Typical recent uses have been images of Yosemite and of Liberty Bell Philadelphia.
-Ongoing (from June 2010 to June 2012): Lee’s accumulating monthly columns on the subject of “apps and ebooks” can be accessed for free by anyone. Lee publishes these columns on Rohn Engh’s photo marketing site, PhotoStockNOTES. Lee’s columns are gathered, upper right, at the “APPS/Ebooks” tab. The most recent column appears first, with columns then going progressively back to June 2010. On the first Thursday of each month Lee discusses some new aspect of the unfolding drama around us in app and ebook publishing.
-2011: Lee’s website won a Gold Award from the Society of American Travel Writers. Lee’s website at www.fostertravel.com won the Gold Award for Revenue Producing Website in the SATW Western Chapter Awards in Spring 2011.
Judge Jodie Bissonette, Gaslight Media, wrote, “This website is an excellent directory resource of travel related information, and includes well placed banner advertisements and Google ad sense campaigns. The shopping experience has good containment within the website to review items that can be purchased…From a perspective of revenue producing items–this website has a good blend of advertisements and products (App Store) that are generating revenue resources.”
-May 2011: Lee led a tour of 24 international travel journalists in San Francisco for Pow Wow, the travel market event. Lee’s tour combined land and helicopter elements on “How To Photograph San Francisco.” Each participant received a copy of Lee’s book, The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco (Countryman Press).
-2011: Lee was interviewed extensively about how he survived “cloud failure” when Digital Railroad died, and how in an ongoing manner he prevents a possible future cloud failure from damaging him. Comments by Lee conclude an article on this subject in the national ASMP Bulletin, pp. 27-29, Spring 2011 edition.
-2011: Lee has ongoing publication of photos in major magazines, such as a Florida Everglades image in Backpacker Magazine in May, a Wyoming image in Ski Magazine in October, and a Yukon photo in the French magazine Courier International in June.
-2011: Lee is writing seven drives and photographing eight drives for a 24-drive travel guide titled Back Roads California (Dorling Kindersley, 2013 release date).
-2010 Sutro Media released three travel apps by Lee in the Apple iTunes App Store. They are San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide, Washington DC Travel Photo Guide, and Berkeley Essential Guide.
-October 2010: Westways AAA magazine ran a review of Lee’s book The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco (Countryman Press) on p 24.
-Spring 2010: The ASMP Bulletin ran a review of Lee’s book The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco (Countryman Press) by Elizabeth Barragan on p 10.
-2010 IndiaNIC released an ebook version of Lee’s award-winning 2005 travel literary book, Travels in an American Imagination: The Spiritual Geography of Our Time.
-2010 Getty, Alamy, and Lonely Planet Images published a range of Lee’s photos in their collections in various media in 2010.
-2010 Lee continued to add blog posts, articles, photos, and updates of earlier articles to his website at www.fostertravel.com.
-Lonely Planet Books, December 2010, ran one of Lee’s photos as the cover of its new Las Vegas Encounter book. As of 2005, Lee had photos in more than 225 Lonely Planet books. The number has continued to grow from 2005 to the present.
-Backpacker Magazine, November 2010, ran Lee’s photo of Yosemite.
-National Geographic, November 2010, used one of Lee’s photos in an Arizona book.
-Arbor Day, November 2010, used one of Lee’s Costa Rican Rain Forest photos in its annual calendar.
-Impact Photos, October 2010, used Lee’s Liberty Bell and Yosemite images in their postcard lines.
-Whitecap Publishers, October 2010, used one of Lee’s photos in its Maryland book.
-Costco Magazine, August 2010, commissioned and ran Lee’s article on New Brunswick, Canada.
-American Parks Network, June 2010, used Lee’s photos in six of their annual National Parks books.
Lee Foster’s life as an author is the subject of a half-hour TV show in the Get Lit TV Series hosted by Peter Crooks, editor of Diablo magazine, for Walnut Creek TV. The program airs locally in California and can be seen on demand via computer. (Note: The TV station streams the video for Windows Media Player, so it reads readily on PCs. Crooks begins by leading Foster through his boyhood in Minnesota to the publication of his first book, a novel, during Foster’s Stanford years in the 1960s. Crooks then explores Foster’s travel books and pioneering online and Internet publications, starting in the 1980s, bringing the story forward to the author’s work in travel apps today. Foster and several other Bay Area authors in the Get Lit TV Series were honored November 13 at a gala dinner, fundraiser, and book signing event titled Authors Under the Stars: A Literary Affair at the new Walnut Creek Library. Foster’s 10 books and 3 apps can be seen on his website at www.fostertravel.com.
Two of Lee’s photos won in the annual 2011 Muster Photo Competition event sponsored by the Society of American Travel Writers. Lee’s “Balloon Man” photo of the Gay Pride Parade won in the People category. “California Poppies” won in the Natural Scenics category. Click here to see a post on these awards.
Lee was appointed as a Director of the SATW Foundation, the entity that manages the Lowell Thomas Awards. Lee has been an eight time Lowell Thomas Awards winner, including being named Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year (Silver Winner).
Lee Foster won four awards in the Society of American Travel Writers recent writing competition for its Western Chapter. The awards were announced at the Boise, Idaho chapter meeting in July 2010.
Here are the four awards and comments by the judges:
Western Chapter Writing Award Recipients 2010
Category: Guide Book
*Bronze: Lee Foster: The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco, Countryman Press
Judge Christine Delsol wrote: “Travel photography guides that scout out the best vantage points in a photogenic destination have proliferated since the advent of the digital camera. Some are aimed at photographers who view the place as a subject, and are dense with tips on technique, equipment, and the physics of light. This one, instead, is for the traveler who owns a camera. It offers some technical advice, but the point is to experience San Francisco in a new way. The author managed to whittle the photo ops down to 74 sites, ranging from such icons as the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and Victorians to celebrations such as the Gay Pride Parade and Chinese New Year. It also squeezes in 15 sites outside the city. Few can be called unknown; the author’s talent, applied with evident love and ample humor, is steering the reader toward discovery. Reading the book will reveal much about the city—how the Transamerica Pyramid acquired its distinctive shape, where to find the world’s largest atrium, the origin of Nob Hill’s name—even if you never pick up a camera. But that would just be wrong.”
Category: Internet Travel Article
*Silver: Lee Foster: Five Tips for Photographing San Francisco: PeterGreenberg.com
Judge Jeanne Cooper wrote: “When I search the Internet for travel stories, it’s usually for practical advice—not reveries, not book reports, not narratives of 50th birthday trips that transformed lives and ended up in group hugs. And it helps that advice is not only credible but concise, well-organized and distinct from the endlessly reposted Wikipedia tropes. That’s why I decided to honor this story with a silver: It’s eminently useful to a broad audience, but very specific, judicious, and well-considered…Now I know, among other tips, that I should shoot Crissy Field in morning light (and bring a plastic bag to keep the blowing saltwater mist off my optics), that Chinatown is better to shoot in the morning (and exactly where I can find those iconic ducks hanging in windows) while North Beach is better in the afternoon, and that the best seasons to visit Muir Woods (bring a tripod and shoot at high ISO) are Sept./Oct. and April-May…OK, I confess I won’t remember most of the tips the next time I have visitors who want to go take pictures in San Francisco (which happens several times a year), but thanks to the Internet, I can do a search and find this handy guide.”
Category: Revenue Producing Website
*Bronze: Lee Foster: Foster Travel Publishing: www.FosterTravel.com
Judge Jodie R. Bissonette wrote: “This Web site has the most ‘volume’ of revenue items displayed. No matter where you look there are ads comingled top to bottom, sides and in between.”
*Silver: Lee Foster: Lee Foster Blog: Foster Travel Publishing: www.FosterTravel.com/category/blog/travel
Judge David Molyneaux wrote: “A well written, well researched, guidebook-style blog. Lee Foster is informative and easy to read.”
June 2010: Lee Foster’s travel app on San Francisco recently sold 957 units in a month, 5-20-10 to 6-20-10. The app is San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide (Sutro Media, $1.99) in the Apple iTunes App Store under Travel. The record sales resulted from Lee’s publicity efforts and from Apple choosing the app as a Staff Favorite for the front of the App Store. The app ranked for awhile between #40 and #50 in sales among all paid travels apps, of which there are now more than 11,000. Lee’s royalty on the app is 30% of the $1.99 list, or 60 cents per sale, or $574.20 for 957 sales. More of Lee’s observations on the challenges and opportunities in app sales can be seen at http://bit.ly/cD3vc6.
Lee won several awards in the biannual Bay Area Travel Writers Awards, known as the BATW Best.
Lee was awarded the “Outstanding Achievement” award known as the Rebecca Bruns Award.
Presenter Lee Daley commented:
“The Rebecca Bruns Award is awarded biannually by Bay Area Travel Writers to one of its members whose dedication, both personally and professionally, has had a significant influence on fellow travel writers and their profession. Naturally, outstanding success is part of the equation, but it is not enough to say that the individual’s professional achievements are laudatory. More than that, the award recognizes originality, individuality and most of all, generosity in giving back to the writing community.
The 2010 Rebecca Bruns Award recipient is longtime BATW member Lee Foster. Lee’s forward thinking, his dedication to professional development and education and his generosity as a teacher and mentor place him in the forefront of travel journalism today. BATW honors Lee with this recognition for his many contributions to the BATW membership and to the travel writing industry.
Congratulations, Lee Foster.”
– Lee Daley
Lee also won several individual awards:
*Bronze for Newspaper or Magazine Travel Photograph of “Man on Log at Rialto Beach, Washington” in AARP The Magazine.
*Silver for Magazine Writing/Photography Travel Article for “San Luis Obispo, a Wine Lover’s Delight” in Distinctly Northwest Magazine.
*Bronze for Internet Travel Photograph for “Kenya Thorn Tree” in National Geographic Traveler.
*Bronze for Magazine Travel Article “Let’s Go To The Movies: California as a Movie Backdrop” in Rand McNally 2009 California Travel Atlas.
Lee talked on “Apps and the Future of Travel Journalism” before delegates at the NATJA conference in Reno and the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers in Portland.
Lee was on the faculty of the 15th annual Institute for Travel Writing and Photography, sponsored by the Society of American Travel Writers. Lee helped found the Institute years ago and has recommended it for anyone, whether a novice or pro, who wants to have a weekend immersion with six talented travel journalists. The past Institutes covered all aspects of the current travel publishing scene.
Lee had an appearance at the Book Passage San Francisco store at the Ferry Building. Quoted from their November/December newsletter: Lee Foster talks about the adventure involved in photographing or viewing our San Francisco Bay Area, the subject of his new book The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco: Where to Find Perfect Shots and How to Take Them ($14.95). Lee is a veteran travel photojournalist with a parallel new book on Washington DC and photos in more than 225 Lonely Planet books.
Lee launched this totally new WordPress version of his web site for www.fostertravel.com, which has been around since 1995 and has won seven Lowell Thomas Awards for itself and its individual content elements over the years. Lee discusses the strategy of his new web site in some detail at Visions of a Modern Travel Journalism Web Site.
Lee appeared on John Hamilton’s KGO radio program On the Go to discuss his new book, The Photographer’s Guide to San Francisco: Where to Find Perfect Shots and How to Take Them ($14.95, Countryman Press/Norton). For this book and his parallel new book on Washington DC, see Books.
Each month (June 2010 to June 2012) on the first Thursday Lee had an article on Ron Engh’s PhotoStockNotes on Apps, Ebooks, and Your Photography. Accumulating past articles can be seen upper right on the page as Apps/Ebooks.
Efforts are ongoing to augment the more than 5,000 travel images in Lee’s photo collection on PhotoShelter at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com.
Each week Lee does one blog posting at http://blog.fostertravel.com and announces this on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/leefoster), Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/fostertravel), and LinkedIn (http://linkedin.com/fostertravel). Become a Friend, follow Lee, or link to Lee to see this. You can also sign up for a weekly email notice of new blogs and articles, see right side of this page.
Past publishing in more detail:
-Via AAA Magazine, January-February 2010, used one of Lee’s Lake Tahoe winter photos full page on p. 16.
-Rand McNally, commissioned and ran Lee’s article for their 2009 California Atlas on “California as a Movie Site.” The article won an SATW Western Chapter writing award.
-Distinctly Northwest Magazine, March-April 2009 issue, ran an article and cluster of photos on Washington, D.C.’s Cherry Blossom Festival. The September-October 2009 issue ran Lee’s writing/photo package San Francisco Through the Lens.
-Budget Travel Magazine, July 2009, page 37, ran a full page photo of Arches National Park.
-USA Today Weekend Magazine, May 17, 2009, ran a photo of Spoonbridge sculpture in Minneapolis.
-Smithsonian Magazine ran a Skagway, Alaska photo in the November 2009 issue.
-Ulysses Press, Spring 2009, used a photo for the cover and chose several interior photos for the new edition of Ray Riegert’s Hidden San Francisco & Northern California.
Ongoing Publishing Credits:
Lee has published in almost all of the major U.S. travel magazines and newspapers at one time or another. A partial list of his clients in recent years includes:
AARP The Magazine
American Parks Network
Brown & Bigelow art agency
Budget Travel Magazine
California Travel & Tourism Commission
Conde Nast Traveler
Distinctly Northwest Magazine
Elle Decor Magazine
Family Fun Magazine
First for Women Magazine
Home and Away Magazine
Lonely Planet Books
Moon Travel Guides/Avalon Travel
National Geographic Adventure Magazine
National Geographic Traveler Magazine
National Wildlife Magazine
New York Times
New Yorker Magazine
Outdoor Life Magazine
Travel + Leisure Magazine
Via AAA Magazine
Woman’s World Magazine