Monthly Archives: January 2015

Gilmore car museum – Lake Michigan Lighthouse workshop Aug 9-12

The hood ornaments of cars has have fascinated me since I was a kid and going to car museums is a fun way to bring back a little nostalgia while I photograph these works of art.

The Gilmore car museum on the west side of Michigan has one of the country’s best collection of antique cars and I am looking fwd to visiting the Gilmore which will be one of the stops on my Lake Michigan lighthouse workshop this August.

Gilmore Car Museum

Gilmore Car Museum

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Captuing the night sky will be part of the Southwest workshop November 7-11 2015

I had a short window of time during the 2014 Zion workshop to capture a few star images last year. During the 2015 Southwest workshop November 7-11 the moon will not be out at night and we will have dark skies which will be perfect for capturing the star filled western skies.

Zion nights Southwest photo workshops

Zion nights Southwest photo workshops

While on location some of the fun in an image is caused by people interacting with the environment. The foreground of this image was lit by the interior lights of a car while a family had their evening meal while enjoying the night sky. The interior lights from their car lit up the foreground hills in my 30sec exposure.

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Madonna’s protect Roman neighborhoods

When I explore the ancient neighborhoods of Rome I am always delighted to find the the lovely Madonna and child that have protect the locals as they travel the streets. Each neighborhood has it’s own unique and beautiful protectors and I have photographed many of them over the years. It is hard to pass them by without taking to enjoy and photograph them.

Madonna and child Rome

Madonna and child Rome

Lightroom is a very efficient processing tool for all my basic processing. After lightroom I used Topaz Impressions to give it a painterly effect and make the colors pop.

Madonna and child raw

Madonna and child raw

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Elegant River Compositions in the Smoky Mountains

Along the rivers and streams in the Smoky Mountains there are elegant compositions everywhere. This simple scene with the water flowing around the two rocks had a nice flow leading you into the picture from the top left across the image to the center right and then back down to the bottom left. It is not you traditional rule of thirds image but it works for me.

Two Rocks along a Smoky Mountain Stream

Two Rocks along a Smoky Mountain Stream

I captured this image on my Canon 5D Mark II at F/16 3.2sec and with an ISO of 200

Two Rocks Raw image

Two Rocks Raw image

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Shake off the Winter Blues!! Plan a Tuscan photo workshop May 4-8 2015

For me January is a cold month in Michigan but it is also one of the only times in the year where I have time to work on Images for the Art Fairs and plan the location workshops which helps keep away the winter blues. This is the image I have as a screen saver that helps keeps my spirits high. It is not one that I took myself yet, it is an image from an apartment that I will be staying in with clients while teaching the Tuscan workshop May 4-8 2015 It might just be the thing to shake off those mid winter blues.

Apartment we will be staying at for the Tuscan workshop

Apartment we will be staying at for the Tuscan workshop

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Traveling takes you to extraordinary places bringing home memories that last a lifetime

When traveling I find what is ordinary for Europeans in their ancient villages, is extraordinary. Often in Europe I have rounded a corner and entered into a wonderful piazza and hear an opera singer or talented cellist playing their instruments. When I enter a piazza where these talented entertainers are performing for a small audience I capture the memory with my cameras and buy their CD’s so I can listen to them while working on images. The performers and beautiful places are more vivid in my memories as the years pass. Having a visually beautiful piazza or fountain combined with the music leaves a lasting memory. The memory of  this young woman singing opera in front of the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence is one the comes back to me often.

Young woman singing opera in front of the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence.

Young woman singing opera in front of the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence.

To edit this image my basic processing was done in Lightroom and then exported file to Topaz B&W Effects 2 and created a black and white image with a look of a hand black and white.

Topaz B&W Effects 2

Topaz B&W Effects 2


Castle of Angels and Bridge of Angels Spring 2015 Italian Photo Workshop

The Castel Sant’Angelo is the fortress near St. Peters where Popes took refuge when Rome was under siege.  Now, as in ancient times, you cross over the impressive Bridge of Angels which spans the Tiber River to enter to the Castel Sant’Angelo.  When I am out photographing early in the mornings with my groups, when most of Rome is still sleeping, it is easy to envision being in ancient Rome.  It is always a treat capturing images in these ancient places before the tourists and locals appear on the streets and remind us that is not 350 AD.

The hotel accommodations I have made for the 2015 group traveling with me to Rome is near the Vatican and a brief stole from the Bridge of Angels.

Castle of Angles and Bridge of Angels

Castle of Angles and Bridge of Angels

I captured this image of the Castel Sant’Angelo at an aperture of F11 and shutter speed of 3 seconds. The color image was processed in Lightroom and Topaz Clarity. The B&W images I processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2

Castle of Angles and Bridge of Angels

Castle of Angles and Bridge of Angels

Anyone visiting Rome and interested in getting to know the city intimately I would recommend taking a personalized tour with Steve and Grazia Andre http://enchantingrome.com/ . Their knowledge and love of the city has always amazed me and delighted my clients.

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Dogwoods in the springtime bring the Smokies back to life

In the spring when the dogwoods are in bloom along the fast flowing rivers and stream the compositions are the best the Smokies have to offer. I used Topaz BW Effects 2 and then blended the image with the original image to give it the look of a hand painted B&W image.

Topaz BW Effects 2 blended with the original image

Topaz BW Effects 2 blended with the original image

Which processed image do you like best. The Color image or the B&W with touches of color?

Image processed with Topaz Clarity

Image processed with Topaz Clarity

Which processed image do you like best. The

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Spring Wildflowers in the Smoky Mountain Workshop

The spring wildflowers in the Smoky Mountains bring splashes of color along the rivers, streams and meadows. The main focus for capturing images during the Smoky Mountain workshop be larger landscapes of the wonderful meadows, mountains, rivers and waterfalls but we will also spend time on the small niches that bring color and character to the landscapes.

Wildflower close up captured during the Spring Smoky Mountain Workshop

Wildflower close up captured during the Spring Smoky Mountain Workshop

This little cluster of wildflowers made a wonderful composition for a close up along a river that we were photographing last spring. I used Topaz Clarity to make this image pop and then used a vignette to bring the attention to the center of the Composition.

Hope that you will be able to join me for the Spring Smoky Mountain Workshop!!

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Clingman’s Dome, Wait for the magic!!

Often when I am out shooting I talk to other photographers as I wait for the light and on a rainy overcast day I am often the last person to leave the location. On a shooting trip 25 years ago to the Dolomites in Northern Italy the mountains were socked in and I decides to call it a night and went back to the lodge where I was staying. As I was eating my meal and looking out the window at the mountains the clouds parted and the most wonderful light hit the top of the mountains. That is when I made myself a promise never to leave until 15 min after the sun has set. I always wait for the magic to happen and I am seldom disappointed.

Clingman's Dome - Gods rays

Clingman’s Dome – Gods rays

Some of my favorite shots are on overcast days when a break in the clouds can give you dramatic effects.

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