First Images With My New Fujinon XF50-140mm lens!

It just arrived. My brand new Fujinon XF50-140mm f/2.8 lens and 1.4x teleconverter. Giddiness has ensued. I’m like that.

A brand spankin’ new lens is always exciting. It usually makes my heart go all a’flutter, I even get a little nervous. It’s kinda like a blind date:
“What if I don’t like you?”
“What if you don’t like me?”
“What if you’re too big and heavy?”
“Will we see eye to eye?”
“If I like you now, will I still like you a month from now?”
“What if we break up?”

Like everyday life isn’t enough to worry about! Continue reading “First Images With My New Fujinon XF50-140mm lens!”

Finding Your Voice: Day 5. Element.

Welcome to Day 5 of our fun series: “Finding Your Voice… 10 Days, 10 Concepts To Help You Find Your Photographic Voice”

My Favorite Element is _______.

Let’s talk elements. I don’t ONLY mean the natural elements of wind, earth, fire and water. I mean MANY other elements that might be part of what you’re drawn to – that all contribute to finding your Artist’s Voice.

Moods Like This Continue reading “Finding Your Voice: Day 5. Element.”

NYC & Photo Plus Expo

I’m in New York City! Woot! I’ll be here for 10 days.

What brings me here is Photo Plus Expo. Ever hear of it? It’s the largest photography conference and expo in North America. Yep, she’s a big’un.

Even more specifically, I’m here to speak as part of the Fuji-X Photographer team. Exciting!

By the way, I believe Fuji is printing this image for the show… and I suspect it may be fairly big. I haven’t been over to the Javits Center yet to see everything, so we’ll see! You know I’ll share that with you. We do, after all, have that ongoing conversation about the Fujis and large prints. Will they or won’t they? (I suspect they will, just fine.) 😀

Continue reading “NYC & Photo Plus Expo”

A New & Stormy Piece

A Stormy New Piece

I thought I’d keep it simple today. Simplicity is goooood. Simple for me today is posting one of my new pieces, taken a couple of weeks ago as the waves of thunderstorms we’ve been having lately first began streaming through. They’re the ones that make for BOOMING sunsets… and they only happen in just this way once a year. It’s been a particularly awesome season so far (it’s been RAINING! Yay!)… some say it’s because of El Niño and that we’re in for a record-breaking winter. True or not true? I dunno. But it makes me want to start battening down the hatches NOW!

This moment happened at Donner Summit in Truckee, California. It sums up how much I love it here… the expansive, soaring, so-glorious-it-makes-your-heart-FULL feeling I get whenever I’m home in the mountains. A single frame just wasn’t going to scoop it all up… so I created a pano image with right around 8 frames of super boomin’ sunsetty goodness. Even at that, there alot was left over. Hey, I’m not that greedy! Hope you enjoy…

California's Donner Summit, Donner Lake down below. Summertime thunderstorm pattern. Sunset. If anyone wants to know why I love living in these mountains, this would be my answer. Questions?9-shot panorama, Fuji X-T10

9-image panorama
Fuji X-T10
16-55 f/2.8 lens.

Yes! You can buy this print… just click on it to learn more.

And yes! You can have a site like mine… just click here and get 20% your first year’s subscription to SmugMug!

Time for a Me-Set

Ever want to just have a break, take a step back, reboot your brain and have everything in your noggin just heave a big sigh and let go a little? Or a lot?

Me too.

That’s why I make photos like this, by the shores of Lake Tahoe in the morning.

They’re like a “me reset.”

Wait… I’ve got a word for it: a Me-Set. Or shall I say… “We-Set”, since we can all do this. Yup. That’ll do. 😀

What’s YOUR Me-Set?

TahoeCords

The Landscape of Life

Me Loves Options

Sometimes I don’t know if I love black and white or color better. Or… big, open space epic photographs or macro. Or… chocolate or really ripe raspberries.
Then I retrieve my senses and remember that I don’t have to choose! In this lifetime, on this planet – we get options and choices. I treasure that to my very core.

(SIDEBAR: I created this one in Macphun Software’s Tonality Pro. I love how fast it is – and how you can bring back color selectively like here, or split tone in the blink of an eye. Should I tell you that all of Macphun’s software is 40% off until Nov. 29? I think it’s fair… cause maybe you love a discount as much as I do and want the option to git one!)

BlueBoatWhiteSand

Continue reading “The Landscape of Life”

Short Story, Big Memory

Not so long ago, the hubs and I stood here on the shore of Silver Lake in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.
We took a week, got away from the hum of computers, emails and the madding crowd.
Went into nature.
Got up at 5am and beat the sun to the day. More than once.
Hoped for golds, pinks, purples and brilliance, but got mist. Magic, flirtatious mist though… so all was well.
Had breakfast at the oldest trout fishing retreat in the Eastern Sierras. Last seats, end of the counter. People watched.
Followed whims.
Captured starlight.
Breathed.
Came home. (Reluctantly)
Remembered.
Still do.

MistOverSilverLake

Lake Crescent Shorelight

Leaving Washington

The day we left the Olympic Peninsula was bittersweet. While my pal Laurie Rubin and I had had a magnificent week and were so grateful for the experience – we were also loathe to leave!

Driving by Lake Crescent for the 2nd time, we were treated to some really fun conditions. The first time by was on our way out to the coast. We spent a night at Lake Crescent Lodge. Now, THAT’S something I highly recommend, if you ever get the chance! Then, it was sunny and warm. This time… rain was due later that day and the skies were covered in clouds. They were beautiful though… and shafts of light would spear through now and again, lighting up the new springtime growth in a verdant green glow. I wanted to stop every time that happened!

As it was, it was the perfect combination of a fabulous farewell… and a pinkie promise to visit again!

At Lake Crescent, Washington... the light likes to play amongst the treetops. So do I... :D
Continue reading “Lake Crescent Shorelight”

Sunsets, Art & The Masters of Painting

The Power of Exploring One Area

I found a new vantage point! Lake Tahoe is a HUGE lake (72 miles around)… but only offers a few spots where you can get a great shot. The east side is one of them. I love going back under different lighting and weather conditions – because it’s just never the same from visit to visit.

Sometimes I think that in an effort to always have that NEW experience, a lot of photographers run all over the world trying to one-up each other with even MORE danger, even MORE extreme conditions, MORE exotic locations and… well, you know the drill. But I don’t always see them exploring one area deeply. And I think that’s a shame. Not to say traveling the world isn’t awesome… but a sense of deepening is often underrated, IMHO. I’m trying not to make that same mistake – especially given that I live a mere 30 minutes from one of the most wondrous jewels of the world!

Sunset: That moment when we wave good-bye to the day, and light bathes us with the soft caress of infinite blessings. I love that moment.
Continue reading “Sunsets, Art & The Masters of Painting”

Sunset at Bendemeer

Bendemeer Estates

A year ago, I went to New Zealand to help teach a fabulous workshop given by Trey Ratcliff. It was his first New Zealand workshop – and my first visit to Hobbitland. I pretty much walked around the whole time with my mouth hanging open at the postcard views EVERYWHERE!

We visited lots of different places and scenes, not all of them reminiscent of “Return of the King”. One was at a new housing development called “Bendemeer Estates.” I use that term loosely, since there were no actual houses built on the property; a fact that made me chuckle (to myself, of course) as we wandered about the golf course, golf cart paths and lovely little lake that you see here.


Continue reading “Sunset at Bendemeer”

The Age of Panoramas

It’s So Simple On a Mobile Phone Nowadays

Panoramas photos are becoming all the rage now. On many mobile devices, you just hold up the phone and follow its direction to create them. They’re getting better all the time! However, at 72 ppi – it’ll look great on your computer monitor – but you won’t be printing a big one for your entryway anytime soon. For a mondo printable panorama, you really need to use a big-girl/boy camera.

A Little Trickier With a DSLR

With a DSLR, it’s not quite as simple as with your camera phone. You have to take impeccably framed multiple image, then “stitch” them together later in Photoshop using Photo Merge (or some software that specializes in panoramas), then clean up any aberrations, balance any lighting variations – and process the photo (if you so choose). It’s quite a process! You’re talking hours. Many photographers do them with 10, 20 or even more images – some of those guys are at it for days.  I tried doing couple of panoramas a few years back… they didn’t turn out well at all. They actually stunk quite badly. But this day I was in the mood to give it a shot. Well, four shots. That was about all I was willing to commit to, just in case it blew. Keep it simple!

Continue reading “The Age of Panoramas”

Where The Heavens, Art and The Imagination Meet

The Splendid Sunset

It was a magnificent evening in Queenstown, New Zealand high atop Deer Park Heights. DPH is no longer open to the public, but the intrepid Trey Ratcliff had, of course, found a way to bring the entire group of us up there for a sunset shoot. It was a photo adventure workshop, so we were traveling in a pack.

The awesome thing about New Zealand sunsets is that they go on… and on… and on! Here in California you have to be all set up and ready for the bloom of the set, because BAM! it’s over and done with in about 5 minutes. Over there… we had upwards of an hour and a half of gorgeous light to enjoy, frame, reframe, hike over there, stand over here, check out that knoll – for several compositions in one splendid sunet. It was amazeballs!

QueenstownDusk
Continue reading “Where The Heavens, Art and The Imagination Meet”

Changing Moods

Monochrome on the Brain

I’ve had monochrome on my mind lately. Not really sure why, I suppose it’s like anything else that floats through your muse’s consciousness for consideration.

I’ll be honest and say that I did shoot this auto bracketed, imagining it might end up as a color HDR image. I shot a whole series this day to great success that way. But I was struggling with it, since I didn’t like the way the colors looked, the textures responded… it was kind of strange, actually. And annoying, since I couldn’t seem to get fresh eyes on the situation. I loved the image, just not where it was going.

Then, since I just posted yesterday about playing with monochrome, I decided to find my fresh eyes with a black and white conversion. I was completely surprised by the result! In particular, I loved what the light did.

TheHush
Continue reading “Changing Moods”

Feel It. Now.

The Moment of Shift

I have a photographer friend (thank you for letting me name names, Michael Bonocore!) who’s apartment hunting in a REALLY tight housing area and market. He has a specific idea of what he wants, is super busy with limited time to hunt and is finding the whole search really stressful. Just today, he missed the perfect place by mere moments. “GAH!” I said… “But breathe. The perfect place will appear right when you let go and least expect it.”

That’s what this image reminds me of… that moment where you take release on the inside and suddenly everything shifts.

Cairn Reflecting
Continue reading “Feel It. Now.”

Icons and Perspective

Let’s Go Shoot An Icon!

A photographer friend was in town, so we headed out to Bonsai Rock at Lake Tahoe to shoot some sunset action.
Bonsai Rock is a bit of an icon. Google it and you’ll see what I mean.

We’re having an incredibly dry winter in the Sierra Nevada mountains… which means no snow where there should be MANY feet of it! It also means that Bonsai Rock and other locations around Tahoe are unusually accessible right now in winter. Which further means… we had LOTS of photographer company one Thursday night in January at Bonsai Rock. They were a quiet, tense, kind of cranky and definitely territorial bunch. Hey, I wished we’d had the place to ourselves too… but what the heck. Roll with it! There’s plenty for everyone. Sigh.

But Don’t JUST Shoot An Icon

My friend Lisa Donchak and I tried to lighten up the mood. Said hello as we moved about making multiple compositions amidst the “butt campers” as I like to call them.  I refer to the practice of finding a spot, setting up camp and possessing it like you own the very air molecules surrounding it. But I figure, why go to all the trouble of getting there only to walk away with one shot? Oh well, I’m sure they have their reasons.

This was one of my non-Bonsai blue hour images. I love the way Tahoe light and color is so blocky and clean at that time. And the moon! Cool.

Sierra RocksLake Tahoe, NevadaThe big rock shining above the little ones below.It was a rocky night... but oh-so-gorgeous!
Continue reading “Icons and Perspective”

Shoot While You Can!!

This image looks so calm and serene, doesn’t it? Well I shot it at Donner Lake, California, which is in the Sierra Nevada Mountains – and it WAS serene – at that moment. And that’s my very short and pithy point today… if you go out seeking sunset on a sketchy weather day, shoot while you can! Especially if you’re ever in the mountains or anywhere that weather conditions are in “quick change mode”.

Twice
Continue reading “Shoot While You Can!!”

Peaceful, Easy Lagoon

Lagoonia Reflections

I named this “Lagoonia”. Ha! So silly. It means “the land of The Lagoon”, which I also made that up. But I like it. I tend to like reflection photos… they always calm me. I don’t know what the brain actually does when it sees a mirrored image, but whatever it is must involve endorphins. That’s my guess, anyway because of how peaceful and easy it makes me feel. Wait. Not EASY… oh for pete’s sake, you know what I mean!

This was a lovely spot on the Castello di Amorosa grounds… just up from the castle itself. We were there in fall, obviously – but what a gorgeous summer’s afternoon spot to take a break from the world! Just wanted to share this moment of “breeeeathe”:

On another note..

2 New Chats Coming Up!

You know how I recently said I was going to go on a bi-monthly basis with “The Chat”? Well, for the next two weeks, I’ll be running brand new episodes! ‘Tis the season, I suppose. But on Dec. 16 & 23 you can tune in and be inspired by two fantastic photographers who each approach their photo world and lives very differently. And they’re both equally awesome.

The past couple of “off weeks” where I DIDN’T post new episodes… granted, I loved the breathing room. And needed it! But dang, I missed airing the show.  It felt like a big gaping “empty Monday” instead of Chat Monday! So I’m excited that I’ve been able to get these two ready to go.

Stay tuned for those… and OH so much more!!

 

 

Perfectionism, Art and Life

Perfectionism and Rejection

Wow, I just named this post in a way loftier manner than perhaps this photo warrants. Then again, it helps make my point. Which is…

“Perfectionism” is a slippery slope when it comes to both Art… and Life.
Dictionary dot come defines perfectionism this way: “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.”

My perfectionism rejected this photo for about 6 months.
It’s also rejected any number of impulses, ideas, experiences, personal self worth more times than I can count.
Good thing I’ve got longevity in my family! I’m quite determined to outlive and give the ultimate boot to the demon Perfectionism!

SunsetOverYonder
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Making Post-Processing Decisions

Decisions, Decisions

I love post-processing photos. Since my approach to photography means creating my own vision or “take” on what I see, I have no problem processing a photo in dramatic directions and find it all incredibly satisfying. I was raised in an artistic family, so I guess that just got baked into me. By the same token, I was trained classically in photography, revere Nature and have learned that sometimes Nature does all the work for you. When that happens, you really shouldn’t mess with perfection.

Such was the case on this day:

Nature is such a drama queen sometimes.
Continue reading “Making Post-Processing Decisions”

I’ll Take Mine Inspired, Thanks.

Creating Our World

I have a deep belief… certainty, even… that we create our worlds with the power of our belief, faith, knowledge, wisdom, discernment, actions. I’m not here to debate whether or not you think that is true… I’m simply going to show you two photos. One represents my world when I still had doubt about what I just said. The second: well, perhaps you’ll say it’s the view through my very own rose colored glass. My mom used to be accused of wearing rose-colored glasses… but she didn’t care, she just went about her business of creating her world just the way she wanted it. Like the soul artist she was. She also laughed a lot more than other people did.

Doubt

So. Here’s a representation of a world-with-doubt:

TheDistantMountain-RAW
Continue reading “I’ll Take Mine Inspired, Thanks.”

From Steampunk to Dreamy in One Fell Swoop

This photo surprise me, fo’sho! I started out going for a  sci-fi, kind of steampunk effect in my processing… and ended up with surreal, dreamy, otherwordly. Go figure! The thing that got me going in the first place – and I mean when I photographed this – were the roots. They just looked so strange. I went to this spot on a thunderstormy evening hoping for a rad sunset… but that never happened. So I focused on shapes and foreground – and went vertical because of how the tree so nicely framed everything.

WhereDreamsTakeRoot Continue reading “From Steampunk to Dreamy in One Fell Swoop”

Present Your Photo Vision

You’ve got a pretty photo. Maybe a beautiful photo. You’ve taken the time and thought to take the shot, process the thing and share it with your world on the social site of your choice. But have you really presented your vision? Now, call me crazy (or don’t. I really won’t mind if you don’t.), but if you’re really trying to stand out from the madding crowd – folks really do appreciate a good presentation . Meaning, a clear representation of the thing that quickened your heart, made your eyes pop a little – and made you want to capture that awesome frame in the first place.
MyKeyLight Continue reading “Present Your Photo Vision”