Monday, February 18, 2019

Exuberance


Animal behavior is a wonderful thing to watch. While animals cannot communicate via speech that we humans easily understand, we could say that their actions speak louder than words.

This breaching whale in Alaska is a prime example. Experts have no clear explanation why whales breach, but when they do it certainly appears to be with gusto, and unrelated to feeding, mating, or dominance behavior. They seem to do it for the sheer joy of it.

Most breaching whales are teenagers, full of energy. Often when you see a whale breach, it will do it several times in a row. That helps us photographers have a ghost of a chance of getting the shot. The first breach generally comes with no warning. But when you find a breaching whale it is best to keep an eye on it and hold your position in hopes that it will happen a few more times.

Your best chance of getting a sharp image is to pre-focus in the area of the previous breach, but be ready to re-focus when the action begins since often the whales will have moved a bit from the last breach. It happens fast, and I have many shots of just the splash that remains after the breach is over.

It is exciting to watch these huge creatures launch themselves almost completely out of the water. Whether they truly feel a sense of exuberance or not, I certainly do when I see this action. It is exciting beyond compare.

We hope to see breaching whales and more on the 
Glacier Bay National Park trip coming up June 25 - 30. 

We stay in a beautiful lodge and will take day boat trips 
on three separate days to see whales and all the 
other wonders Alaska has to offer. 

Only a few spaces left. Complete information here  http://awakethelight.com/glacier-bay-national-park/ 

I hope you can join me! 
Email or call to register, or if you have questions.


TECH SPECS
1/1250 sec at f/8, ISO 400.  Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens with 1.4x teleconverter for an effective focal length of 560mm on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "The animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they are more finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not underlings, they are other Nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."  -- Henry Beston

Friday, February 8, 2019

Lightroom, Butterflies, & Flowers - CORRECTED DATES May 14 - 18


This workshop was announced about a week ago, and today's Blog has additional information. If you are not familiar with the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, Virginia, you owe it to yourself to get on their website, and get ready to be impressed. It is a superb location with acres and acres of beautiful flowers, plus the gorgeous Conservatory (a smaller version of the Longwood Gardens Conservatory in Pennsylvania).

The Conservatory houses not only a spectacular orchid collection, but many other flower species as well. And the crowning feature is the large indoor area dedicated to a wide variety of exotic butterflies.

The Conservatory has huge windows with beautiful light, perfect for photographing butterflies. There is plenty of room to move around and get wonderful images. It is one of the best butterfly venues available.

And if that is not enough, the workshop will also provide in-depth Lightroom training. Even if you feel you know all about Lightroom, you will be surprised by all the new techniques you will learn. Whether you are a basic Lightroom user, or an experienced veteran, you will learn easier, faster, and more foolproof ways of working with it. It will save you time and aggravation, and you will come away from the workshop knowing how to create much more beautiful images. The images above are just a small example of how powerful Lightroom can be when you know the tricks. The lower image is the original RAW image, right out of the camera. With just a few tweaks, the image at the top was created. Quick, easy, painless.

NOTE that the dates have changed slightly - the workshop will run from May 14 - 18.

Each day will be a mix of flowers and butterflies, plus Lightroom. Learn how to successfully photograph butterflies, and learn creative macro techniques for artistic flower images. Plus an added bonus - time each day will be devoted to improving your working knowledge of Lightroom, with a little Photoshop tossed into the mix.

WORKSHOP INCLUDES

- mastering butterfly photography

- learning creative macro flower techniques

- daily sessions on Lightroom, with a touch of Photoshop

- image critiques

- personalized attention each and every day

- both in-the-field and classroom training


WHERE:  Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia

WHEN:  May 14 - 18

LIMIT:  10 photographers

FEE:  Special early registration fee of $1995 if you register by February 15. After that date the fee is $2495.  Fee includes all garden entry fees, personal and classroom training on photographing butterflies and flowers, creative camera and digital techniques, Lightroom training (suitable for all levels from novice to experienced), image critiques, and a fun time! (Not included are meals, lodging, or transportation.)

ITINERARY:  Workshop begins with an extensive evening training session on Tuesday, May 14. Each day will be a combination of shooting butterflies and flowers, learning creative techniques,  Lightroom instruction, image critiques, and much more. The workshop ends after breakfast and a wrap-up session on Saturday morning, May 18.

I am happy to answer your questions and to provide more details. 
Send me an email at awakethelightphoto@icloud.com  
or  call me at 757-773-0194. 

To register,  please email me and a Registration Form 
and lodging options will be emailed to you.

I hope you can join me!

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young."  -- Henry Ford

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Butterflies & Flowers, Plus Lightroom Bonus


Two of nature's most beautiful creations, butterflies and flowers, come together in this exciting workshop. Join me at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, rated among the Top 4 Most Beautiful Botanical Gardens in the U.S. by Conde Nast, USA Today, The Travel Channel, and the BBC. It is truly a hidden gem, located in Richmond, Virginia.

The butterflies are housed in the beautiful Conservatory with wonderful light. Dozens of species will flit past us in a constantly changing air ballet. Many consider butterflies to be flowers that fly.

In addition to these winged beauties, there are acres and acres of tended gardens all around us. Each day will be a mixture of flowers and butterflies. Learn how to successfully photograph butterflies, and learn creative macro techniques for artistic flower images. Plus an added bonus - time each day will be devoted to improving your working knowledge of Lightroom, with a little Photoshop tossed into the mix.

WORKSHOP INCLUDES

- mastering butterfly photography

- learning creative macro flower techniques

- daily sessions on Lightroom, with a touch of Photoshop

- image critiques

- personalized attention each and every day

- both in-the-field and classroom training


WHERE:  Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia

WHEN:  May 13 - 17

LIMIT:  10 photographers

FEE:  Special early registration fee of $1995 if you register by February 15. After that date the fee is $2495.  Fee includes all garden entry fees, personal and classroom training on photographing butterflies and flowers, creative camera and digital techniques, Lightroom training (suitable for all levels from novice to experienced), image critiques, and a fun time! (Not included are meals, lodging, or transportation.)

ITINERARY:  Workshop begins with an extensive evening training session on Monday, May 13. Each day will be a combination of shooting butterflies and flowers, learning creative techniques,  Lightroom instruction, image critiques, and much more. The workshop ends after breakfast and a wrap-up session on Friday morning, May 17.

I am happy to answer your questions and to provide more details. 
Send me an email at awakethelightphoto@icloud.com  
or  call me at 757-773-0194. 

To register,  please email me and a Registration Form 
and lodging options will be emailed to you.

I hope you can join me!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers & Wildwater Workshop


JUST ANNOUNCED!

Wildflowers & Wildwater 

Great Smoky Mountains Workshop

April 15 - 20


The Smoky Mountains in springtime is bursting with beautiful wildflowers and fast-running streams. This is THE time to be in the Smokies. For a short time each spring the mountains are alive with world-famous wildflowers like dwarf iris, columbine, lady slippers, and more.

Learn artistic macro photography of flowers in this amazing place. Close to the flowers are dramatic rocky streams, filled with spring melt waters where you will learn creative techniques. And all around us are the beautiful Smokies.

Each day will be a combination of flower photography, moving water, scenics, Lightroom and Photoshop tips, and image critiques. This will be an inspirational and educational week, with personal attention every step of the way.

This popular workshop includes:

-  mastering macro flower photograpy

-  learning the secrets of photographing moving water

-  Lightroom and Photoshop tips to improve the look of your images

-  learning creative techniques for impressionist and unique images

-  spectacular sunrises

-  personalized attention each and every day

-  image critiques to help you improve each day as the week progresses


WHERE: Great Smoky Mountains National Park (the Tennessee side, the most beautiful side of the Smokies)

WHEN:  April 15 - 20

NUMBER OF PHOTOGRAPHERS: Workshop is limited to 10 photographers

FEE:  Early sign-up fee is $2195, in effect until February 11. After that date the fee is $2695. Fee includes all group and personalized instruction, guide service, image critiques, and snacks. NOT included are meals, lodging and transportation.  

ITINERARY: Workshop begins in the late afternoon on Monday, April 15. Specific time and location will be provided when you register.
Each day will cover a variety of shooting experiences including creative macro of flowers, artistic rendition of moving water, mountain vistas, and possibly bears, deer, coyote, wild turkey, and more. Most evenings will include image critiques.
The workshop ends at approximately 9AM on Saturday, April 20.

I am happy to answer any questions, and provide more details. Please feel free to phone me at 757-773-0194, or email me at  awakethelightphoto@icloud.com 

To register, please email us and a Registration Form will be emailed to you.

I hope you can join me!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

NEW Workshop Just Announced - Florida's Beautiful Birds, St. Augustime Florida


BRAND NEW WORKSHOP JUST ANNOUNCED! 

 

Join me in St. Augustine, Florida, March 13 - 18 for some of the best bird photography anywhere. This is the time of year when some of the most beautiful birds like Roseate Spoonbills, Great Egrets, and several species of Herons, arrive in their breeding plumage. They will be nest building, mating, and laying their eggs, and all of this will be happening close to us and at eye level.


We will be in a private rookery that is beautifully designed with walkways that put us at tree-top level with the birds.  This provides photographers with the best chances of getting close-up shots of adults and perhaps some of the newly hatched babies as well. You will not need a very long lens to get great shots - lenses in the 300mm range will be fine. All birds are truly wild, but are not bothered by our presence.

We will have special early access to the rookery before it opens to the public. And it is a short, easy walk into and around the rookery. Superb bird photography doesn't get any better, or any easier, than this.

In addition to the birds, there will be shooting opportunities in the historic areas of St. Augustine, which bills itself as America's Oldest City. It is the home of significant landmarks like Castillo de San Marcos, Flagler College, the Lightner Museum, and more.

And there will be a half-day special private boat trip to view water birds, dolphins, and the city from a different perspective.

This unique photo workshop includes:
-  Private time photographing birds in the rookery
-  Personalized instruction to make your bird photography the best it can be
-  Private half-day boat trip
-  All rookery entry fees
-  Boat trip fee
-  Independent walking tours of historic St. Augustine
-  Image critiques
-  Lightroom and Photoshop tips                  

WHERE: St. Augustine, Florida

WHEN: March 13 - 18, 2019

NUMBER OF PHOTOGRAPHERS: Workshop is limited to 10 photographers

FEE: Early sign-up fee is $1995, in effect until February 1. After that date the fee is $2495. Fee includes all entry fees into the rookery, boat trip, extensive personalized instruction, image critiques, both in-the-field and classroom training, Lightroom and Photoshop tips. (Not included are lodging, meals, transportation, and personal incidentals.)

DEPOSIT: A $500.00 deposit will reserve your space. The balance of your workshop fee will be due no later than February 15, 2019.

LODGING: Lodging is not included in the workshop fee. Lodging suggestions will be provided when you register.

HOW TO GET THERE: If you are flying, both the Jacksonville, FL and the Daytona Beach, FL airports are about 1 hour from St. Augustine. You may rent a car at either airport.

ITINERARY:
Workshop begins in the late afternoon on Wednesday, March 13. Specific time and location will be provided when you register.
Each day of the workshop will be a varied combination of bird shooting, historic architecture, training, and critiques.
The workshop officially ends after a morning rookery visit on Monday, March 18. If you are flying, it is best to not schedule your departing flight any earlier than mid-afternoon that day.

 I am happy to answer any questions, and provide more details. Please feel free to phone me at 757-773-0194, or email me at awakethelightphoto@icloud.com

To register, either email or call and a Registration Form will be emailed to you. 

I hope you can join me!


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Glacier Bay Alaska - 100 Million Years In The Making!


Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska is a superb location for photography. Join me this summer to revel in this exciting place.  It is the summer home of whales, puffins, moose, mountain goats, brown bear, and much more. Plus its glaciers, sweeping mountains, and incredible waterways round out some of the best photographic opportunities anywhere in the world. 

Our 5 days there will be filled with several day-trips on our large private yacht exploring Glacier Bay in search of whales and an array of water birds, plus land mammals. We will stay in one of the loveliest private lodges in all of Alaska. All our breakfasts and dinners will be at the lodge, prepared by a world-class chef.

This trip checks all the boxes for everything a photo trip should have  -  a wide variety of incredible photo opportunities, water-based and land-based shooting locations, lovely lodging (double occupancy), fabulous meals, all ground transportation, personal photographic instruction, local guides, image critiques, and personalized attention every step of the way.  This is a trip not to be missed!

Fee includes all lodging and meals at Glacier Bay, 3 full-day private boat trips, round trip flight from Juneau to Glacier Bay, all ground transportation in Glacier Bay, personal guide, image critiques, personalized photographic instruction, and tips.  This trip has it all!

Just a few spaces left. For all the details, click on this link   http://awakethelight.com/glacier-bay-national-park/

I am happy to answer any questions you have by phone or email. Call me at 757-773-0194. Or email me by clicking this link here  

TODAY'S QUOTE:  "Whales live enigmatic lives, in a realm that is impenetrable to our gaze. Small wonder they've seemed magical and strange. In rare privileged moments we enter their world."  --Diane Ackerman

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Start 2019 right. The words below were on a sign in a restaurant, and I thought the lesson was appropriate for the New Year.

"Do not -
Undermine your worth by comparing yourself to others.
It is because we are different that each of us is special.

Do not -
Set your goals by what other people deem important. Only YOU know what is best for you.

Do not -
Take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life. Without them, life is meaningless."

I don't know who wrote it or when, but perhaps the words will help you get a positive start to a brand new, fresh year.

Let 2019 dawn bright and beautiful in your heart.
Mollie

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Greetings Of The Season


Wishing you the happiest of holidays! 

 

At this time of year it is good to take a step back to

Reflect on the past year AND

Consider how to make the next year better than the last. 


In this season of PEACE, may you find TRANQUILITY.


In this season of JOY, may you find CONTENTMENT.

 

In these troubled and divisive times, may we all find UNDERSTANDING and TOLERANCE. 


I wish you a holiday season 

filled with love, laughter, and warmth.

 

See you in the New Year!

 

Mollie

 

TODAY'S QUOTE: " The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others' burdens, easing others' loads, and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes the magic of the holidays."  ---W.C. Jones



Saturday, December 15, 2018

Sky Drama


Dramatic skies are always an exciting photo subject. These kinds of sun rays often occur at the beginning or end of the day when the clouds are just right and there is moisture in the air.

This was a mostly lucky shot. The clouds and rays had been shaping up for awhile to create this look, but the drama was just not there. It took about 15 minutes of waiting, watching, and hoping for this combination of clouds and sun rays to come together to form a powerful shot.

Several elements came together to help make this image  -  the three layers of clouds that allowed the rays to streak through in several places, the strong contrast between the dark clouds and the small slits of bright sky, and the rays that angle to the left and to the right as your eye scans across the image.

When optimizing this image in Lightroom, I could have lightened the Shadows to allow some texture of the ground to show, but I wanted a dramatic look so I decided to darken the shadows to add more punch. Using this approach helped convey what I felt when I viewed the scene.

It is OK to use some artistic license to create an image that shows not only what you SAW but also what you FELT. That makes for more powerful images with more appeal.

TECH SPECS
1/500 sec. at f/11, ISO 400.  Canon 17-40mm f/4L lens set at 40mm on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Drama is very important in life. You have to come on with a bang. Everything can have drama if it's done right. Even a pancake."  --Julia Child 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Brand New Brown Bears Album posted on Facebook


Check out the new Alaska Brown Bears album posted on Facebook. This spectacular trip for both brown bears AND puffins is already half full, so it is time to register soon.

Limited to only 8 photographers, we will see brown bears every single day!

This adventure takes you to an area with a large concentration of brown bears. We photograph them safely, yet at fairly close range. We are driven from our lodge to where the bears are in an ATV, and all our gear is transported as well. No long marches, no slogging through hip deep water to get to the bears.

We'll see moms and cubs, and a few boars as well. There is always lots of action including play fighting, frolicking in the stream and along the beach, feeding, nursing, and more.

And the comfortable lodge is all ours. We are the only group there, and we have our own guide, our own chef, and everything runs on our schedule. This is by far the best brown bears trip in all of Alaska!

Please call or email me with questions, or to register. 

 

Details and fees are at this link 

http://awakethelight.com/brown-bears/