Category Archives: Photo Techniques

New and Old Friends

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of catching up with some old friends, and meeting some new colleagues, on a couple of projects I’ve been working on these last few weeks. I’ve learned a lot from these guys and I recommend hitting their websites/blogs for some excellent inspiration and instruction.

Reznicki Rules–I’ve known Jack Reznicki for years and long admired his people photography, but I had never heard him speak until I caught him at a recent conference. Wow, his talk was funny, informative, and just loaded with terrific images!  He is one of those rare shooters who not only makes great pictures, but he’s able to break it down and teach the process as well. His books and website are highly recommended.

Dynamite Dave–Veteran sports shooter and speedlight maven Dave Black is a delightful guy, major talent, and great teacher. He regularly runs  “Workshops at the Ranch” which are always popular. I had a chance to watch Dave at work recently. Although Dave is famous for his sports photos (and rightfully so) I love his feature work and the stuff he’s done with lightpainting and speedlights, especially at Arlington National Cemetery….haunting and beautiful.

Corey is Cookin’–I also recently met Corey Rich , and he is a one man visual dynamo as well as an articulate teacher. Long known for his outstanding adventure and extreme sports photography, Corey has made the transition to video and has made it with a bang. I admire him not only for his eye, but for what he’s had to climb (hint: El Capitan, for one) to get that eye in the right place at the right time!

Also posted in Career issues, Destinations, Lighting, Photo Gear, Technology, Travel, Workshops & Seminars

In Praise of Pea Soup
Also posted in Destinations, Multimedia, Photo Gear, Travel, Workshops & Seminars

Wicked Good Workshop Week in Maine

Photo © Lottie Hedley

Just finished up my annual Maine Media Workshop class, called “Digital Travel Photography: A Sense of Place,” and it was a great week. I had 13 diverse and talented students from as far away as New Zealand, and by day two, we all felt like family.

Everyone was pushed beyond their relative comfort zones in photography and broke new ground in their development as visual storytellers. I learned as much as the students did, and went away envying their talent and great eyes.

I’ve been teaching up here for about 20 years now, and it never ceases to amaze me  how students can surprise me in a place I know like the back of my hand.

So hit the jump for a gallery of the student’s work, including the above shot of Marshall Point lighthouse from our Kiwi classmate, Lottie Hedley. Continue reading »

Also posted in Destinations, Travel, Workshops & Seminars

The Road is Truth

Somewhere near Mexican Hat, Utah.....

Ah, the lengths we go to to gain inspiration on an assignment. Whether it’s staying out even though the skies are cloudy and pouring rain, or channeling Navajo spirits near Monument Valley, the wise shooter will leave no stone unturned in the quest for the photographic Holy Grail, a great picture.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to share the results of this shoot in the Four Corners until the publication drops in late September. But in the meantime, I can share with you some valuable truths I learned (or actually re-learned).

One of the immutable truths of good travel photography is to find knowledgeable local help…folks who know the area well and can help you make interesting pictures. To that end, here are a few folks who helped me out bigtime on the assignment.

If you want to beat the crowds and the forest of tripods at the famous Antelope Canyon, the popular slot canyon, try visiting another, slightly smaller but no less spectacular slot canyon located on private property and solely accessed by the folks at Overland Canyon Tours.

These small private tours give you plenty of time to explore the rooms, with few, if any, other shooters getting in your way. If you get Charley, the owner, as your guide, you’ll even get expert photographic advice and a great stories to boot.

For touring Lake Powell, contact Steve Carrothers at Antelope Point Lake Powell marina. Steve can set you up with a comfortable boat and captain who will take you to some spectacular places to see and photograph beautiful Lake Powell.

And if you want an insider’s view of Monument Valley, try Harold Simpson’s Monument Valley Trailhandler Tours. Owned and operated by Navajo people, the sunrise and sunset photography tours will put you in the right places at the right times to do justice to this magnifcent landscape.

Ask for Richard Frank as your guide, and be prepared to be blown away by his portfolio of stunning photography shot on his little Sanyo Xacti hybrid still/video camera.

Richard’s work proves once again that being out there day in and day out is worth more than all the expensive photo gear in the world when it comes to capturing magic moments!

Also posted in Career issues, Destinations, Photo Gear, Travel

Bokeh in a Box

Photo © Bob Krist

Photo © Bob Krist


Ordinarily, my clients don’t let me mess with reality, but I had a shoot last weekend for the Arthritis Foundation‘s annual report cover that was clearly considered to be a “photo illustration,” and as such, I had more than the normal leeway.

The AD wanted a shot of a remarkable guy named David who cycled across country to raise money for the foundation, despite the fact that he’s pretty heavily laden with arthritis. And the concept was to get him moving along on his bike—trying to keep him sharp but getting a sense of movement to the rest of the shot.

So we popped open the trunk of my car and I got in, rigged up an SB800 on the lid, put my trusty 20-year-old KenLab KS 6 gyro stabilizer under the D300s and 24-70mmf/2.8, and had David trail the car (which was piloted by my good buddy, photographer Jerry Millevoi) at upwards of 20 miles an hour down a country road near New Hope. I tried a variety of shutter speeds, some resulting in very dramatic blurs, but for the cover purposes, just the hint of movement seemed to do the trick.

The 1/30th of second shutter speed picked up a nice bit of blur, the flash froze David (an excellent and fearless cyclist who tracked the car without breaking a sweat!), and the shot worked nicely. But the trees and the road behind him didn’t fall off a lot because we were down at f/11 or thereabouts. So if you wanted to run a cover headline and cutlines, the foliage would be pretty defined and distracting. But how to soften that background after the fact?

Cue the software cavalry…

Aaand bingo! A program called Bokeh, from Alien Skin, comes riding to the rescue.  Hit the jump to find out how. Continue reading »

Also posted in Photo Gear, Technology