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 8. Shapes & Patterns.

Oh boy! It’s Day 8 in: “Finding Your Voice… 10 Days, 10 Concepts To Help You Find Your Photographic Voice.” 

Today, we’re going to wrap ourselves around…

Shapes and Patterns

A world without shapes or patterns is pretty much a blob. Ditto bones. 😉

Shapes and patterns are definitely important elements to watch for – and potentially build compositions around. But when it comes to your artist’s voice, you have to take it deeper. What shapes and patterns do you just go nuts over? Any and all? Organic ones? Geometric ones? Shapes and patterns in nature? Architecture? All of the above?

After you work that out – then the even bigger question to ask is why? How do those particular patterns make you feel? What kind of story/statement does that shape make? These answers are important to know, because they’ll tell you how to compose your shot, whether to wait for warm light, pink light or low light. Is the statement stronger in black and white? To know the answer,  you have to know what the statement IS in the first place. And that is all about you and your point of view…  your voice.

My favorite shape or pattern is ________.

Continue reading “Finding Your Voice: Day 8. Shapes & Patterns.”

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.”

Hearing Voices In The Mist

So, this. Voices In The Mist. I recently made it image my new Facebook cover image.  It got alot… and I mean, ALOT more likes, comments and shares than normal.

Think it struck a cord? Or was it just algorithms?
Personally, I’m voting “cord”, for whatever reason it was struck.

I can tell you that to me, this is an illustration in a story about listening, finding your voice, speaking with it with all your heart & soul in your art… and in every thing you do.

Voices In The Mist Continue reading “Hearing Voices In The Mist”

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”

Patience and Mama Birds

New Things

New things are fun, aren’t they? New clothes, new ideas, new days… they make you feel reborn. Although it’s probably dorky to say that out loud. And yet… I just did.

Here’s a new photo. I took it last month, recently processed it. The light was just right to make this row of bright green pine trees look like a welcoming committee against their darker brethren scaling the mountain behind them. So I named this photo that: “Welcoming Committee”. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.

If you click on it, it’ll take you to yet ANOTHER new thing… my revamped photo site, which I’m still tweaking. This is so much fun… creating new stuff and sharing with you first!

WelcomingCommitte

Continue reading “Patience and Mama Birds”

Walk in the Park x 2

There Was This Day…

One day whilst in New York, I had a morning all to myself (shocking!!). I decided to grab my camera and head out. No real goal or plan… just get out there and see stuff. I hadn’t done that yet in the neighborhood where I was staying… and it had easy access to Central Park, among other cool neighborhoodie sights.

It was a frisky-brisk fall day. Whereas back home the autumn leaves had all but fallen – here, they were still heating up. (Let’s hear it for two autumns in one year!). So of course, I ended up in Central Park.

The big elm trees were putting on a show. I can tell you two things: I’m a sucker for elm trees and I LOVE a good show! This particular show moment is brought to you by the friendly-friends who were walking that morning, who so very kindly provided scale for these awesome trees. To me, it was quintessentially Central Park, autumn… and life. Sigh.

WalkInThePark

Continue reading “Walk in the Park x 2”

Wait For It, Wait for Iiiiiiiit…

That Technicolor Time of Year

Earlier this autumn, the hubs and I took a week and bombed down to the Eastern Sierras. Mind you, we didn’t just randomly decide to pack up and go blasting off all willy-nilly, when it was convenient for us. My goodness no! Nature has the upper hand in this scenario. YOU wait for HER! You have to watch from afar… kind of like when you stalk something you REALLY want on eBay, then sign up for the “Watch list” so you know when it’s getting to be time to leap. But hey.. no bidding until the last second! God forbid you start a bidding war!

But I digress… how unusual. heh.

Your life is not your own during this time. You refresh websites like California Fall Color over ‘n over for news that the colors are ready to peak in the places you want to go. You research, snoop, wait, compare… and when conditions are juuuuuuust right.. BAM! You throw your gear in the car and bomb down U.S. Route 395 t’git summa that!

Moments like this one in McGee Canyon (and about a million other brilliantly colored ones) are the reward. It’s awwwwwesome.

Got anything you wait, plan, scheme and get super excited about? Tell me, tell me!

LitUp

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

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

Inspired by…

Inspiration 

I’ve always love those marvelous ancient Japanese paintings of plum blossoms on branches. Sometimes when I’m out photographing, I’ll see scenes that remind me of art from another time, in a particular style… or a movie scene will pop into my mind, I’ll hear music or have other flashes that are like neon signs pointing – not always subtly – to a particular composition. It’s not always quiet in that noggin of mine!

This day, I couldn’t help thinking about those Japanese blossom paintings when I spied this splashy display in forest next to the Buddhist Temple near Croton-on-Hudson, New York.

VibranceIsAHabit

Listen

My mother used to say “There’s nothing new under the sun”. Which was her shorthand for the idea that rather than spending time running around trying to come up with the ONE thing that no one else has ever thought of… go ahead and be inspired by what’s in front of you, what has moved you, what you love. If you truly listen (or SEE, to put it in photographic terms)… you’ll hear something unique, because YOU are unique. Spirit moves in its own way through you… and when you listen through its filter, a truly unique expression occurs.

I find that idea relaxing. It takes away the tension of worrying whether something I’m doing or creating is ‘good enough’. Just getting quiet and listening to that one, true voice on the inside – is the one, true thing in this world that I know for sure is worth paying attention to. It’s a lifelong journey… full of wonder and miracles. I’m glad I signed up for that ride!

The Veil Between Worlds

I knew this image would turn out impressionistically when I shot it. Mostly because when I saw it, it reminded me of a photographer whose work I just love: Philippe Sainte-Laudy.

I’ll admit I thought I might do some motion blur. But the quality of light that came out as I pleased my muse was what soared to the forefront instead. My muse needed pleasing, because we’ve been taking care of business – ALOT – lately! That’s important and all good… but she was definitely feeling neglected. So I let her play. We’re much happier with each other now. 😀

Sunburnt

The forest itself absolutely magical in the late afternoon light. But I wanted it to feel a little surreal – like the same forest, but as if it stood just on the other side of the veil in a different reality selection, on another world. One that’s similar to ours, just altered in certain mystically beauteous ways. I’m betting you’ve been by those thin-veiled moments. They stop you in your tracks, you gawk and whisper “That’s just unbelievable!”. Yep… you’ve just seen a reflection of that world.

This was that.
I just made the veil a little thinner is all.

Lines, Contrast, Patterns = Monochrome

 My, What Strong Lines You Have!

This is a brand, spankin’ new photo. I haven’t posted it anywhere, except here. ‘Cause my blog gets first crack at everything. I’m partial that way.

It DID appear in a recent webinar I did on Tonality Pro for Macphun Software, because that’s how I processed it. This particular photo is just such a great example of how you can work with selective colors in Tonality Pro.

I do love this one… single shot, hand held… I found it while I was waiting for sunset at Donner Lake one evening this summer. I still remember the sound of the mosquito I was dodging at the time.

The little boat rental outfit was closed for the day… and all their boats were tied up, but this one was just as you see it. Such a classic set up – and perfect for a monochrome approach. The strong lines make it so; the verticals of the trees, the horizontal of the boat and dock… accentuated by the vertical orientation.

It’s a good thing to remember, should you wonder if a subject would make a good black and white image. Does it have strong lines, contrasts and repeating patterns? Then it’s probably a shoo-in for monochrome.

MyRedCanoe

 If You Like Learning…

On a whole other topic (but still related to learning)… remember last week when I said “Something Big is Coming?”
It starts tomorrow. I can’t give you the complete lowdown on the rundown until then, but I do get to say this much… Wow!

Yeah. Check in tomorrow… I’ll have the entire thing all laid out for ya. It’s COOL!

Facebook-Sale-Teaser-1

The Harvest of Gold

Harvest… It’s Only PART of the Story!

Autumn is harvest time.
And personally, I like the idea of harvesting gold.
It doesn’t have to be literal gold… although… wait, give me a moment.

[She pauses. Muses.]

Yep, kinda love that idea too.
But there’s more to this ‘golden harvest’ notion that I like…

GoldenGrove

(Photo story: taken in Truckee last year – but I never posted it on my blog. The nicest man in town was generous enough to let me venture into his amazing yard. It was breathtaking! I gave the best ones to him to thank him for the unfettered, exclusive access. His family made a Christmas card out of one of them. It was all so cool.)

Continue reading “The Harvest of Gold”

In A Monochrome Mood

Thinking in Black & White

Today dawned bright and clear.
But I digress… already! You’ll see this is a theme in today’s post…

Yesterday here in the Eastern Sierras (where the hubs and I are running around photographing the INCREDIBLE  fall colors), it was rainy… and snowy at the upper elevations (8000 feet and up). Which meant for an AMAZING sunrise!! Now I’m ahead of myself (akin to digressing).

By the time I downloaded my photos of so much grey, misty, mysterious light last night… I couldn’t help but think in monochrome.

SticksInAField

Continue reading “In A Monochrome Mood”

Simple Pleasures

I’m Not Particularly Simple. But Sometimes...

Simple is good.
Like a pat on the back, a refreshing minty drink – or staring at the sky when the sky is on fire whilst out for a walk.
The latter was my reality selection a couple of weeks ago, when I wanted to get awaaaayyyyyy from the computer for a bit.
Warm, summer evenings are so irresistible!
And so are skies like this one, which felt like it was sent just to me.

I expressed my deepest gratitude. 😉

AtFirstFlare

Summer, Clouds & New Collections!

But First, A Question…

Where DID the term “banner year” come from, anyway?
We all know what it means, the dictionary defines it as if it has always been… but anybody know where it actually came from? I was just wondering. But I digress (and I haven’t even started!)

It’s been one (a banner year, that is) for skies and sunsets this summer up in my neck of the woods. Lots of thunderstorms – which means lots of awesome sunsets and amazing colors/designs in the sky. I never get tired of looking at them!

Coming This Fall
(sneak peak, only for us guys right now)

This ties in nicely to one of my projects for my new website under construction… cloud packs. “The Heavenly Cloud Collection” to be exact. I’m making packs of cloud images for use as background, sky replacement in composite or design work, which will sell on my site. When I first started working in composites and textures, I looked high and low for good skies. They were not to be found, the little scamps – so I decided to make my own!

Now I’ve got over 3000 images! Some are compositional variations, but even at that there’s a lot. And this year being what it’s been, the collection is growing! So I decided to pack them up and make them available in what will be my new store! I’m just now culling, gathering, prepping (cleanup, sizing – but no processing.) and generally making the groups. Then I’ll do some videos to share ideas on how to use them. Fun! That’ll be coming in November, shortly after the site launches.

That’s just a little sneak peak I’m only sharing on my blog right now… and is one of many projects I’m working on as we speak! So much more to come. 😀

In the meantime… enjoy an evening from a couple of weeks ago. I sure did!

You'reHotAndCold

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”

The Hurricane Ridge "A-ha!"

Happy Accidents

It happened on Hurricane Ridge. A completely unexpected outcome that resulted in ONE of my new directions, photographically speaking.

I do love happy accidents. Y’know… those little events that you didn’t intend to have happen, but when they do, they open your eyes to something new. Such was the case with these two images. Really, they’re the same image… one I left in its original color state… the other is a black and white conversion. Just for fun.

HurricaneRidge
Continue reading “The Hurricane Ridge "A-ha!"”

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”

The Color of a Mood

I Love Color!

It’s no secret that I love color! I know a lot of people feel the same way I do.
As I was processing today’s photo, I was thinking about how color is such an intricate part of our lives that we even use them to describe feelings. What’s more, everyone knows exactly what you’re talking about even if they’re color blind!

Color As Emotion

The speaking of a color is so powerful, in fact, that you only need  few words to be crystal clear:

I was in a blue mood… (sadness, melancholy)
Alt: I feel blue… (sad, off, melancholy)
He was so mad he saw red… (extreme anger)
Everything’s golden… (everything’s terrific)
She was green with envy… (extreme envy, jealousness)
She looked at everything through rose-colored glasses. (she only saw the good in things.)

So when you process a photo and use color grading, cross-processing or color in some way to set the mood you want viewers to feel when they look at your photo – you’re tapping into a powerful, primal mechanism!

Set Your Viewers’ – Or Just Your Own Mood with Color

You can also use color to satisfy your own mood, or the vision you have for a piece.
I did a fairly extreme “processing two ways” combo the other day, which I thought was an interesting way to show you what I mean. Truly, the possibilities are endless!

Here’s where I ended up on the first round of processing:

AKindOfHush
Continue reading “The Color of a Mood”

Portrait of a Lady… er, Lake

Whenever I post a photo of Lake Tahoe on one my social streams, there’s this one fella who always pipes up, “You sure like to photograph that lake!”
Now I ask you… wouldn’t you, if this were 30 minutes from your home? I mean, seriously!

I consider myself blessed. When I’m home, I actually DO go lots of other places around Tahoe area to shoot… but there’s just something so otherworldly and awesome about catching Lady Tahoe herself bejeweled in her aquamarine finest.

Aquamarine
Continue reading “Portrait of a Lady… er, Lake”