Thursday, February 16, 2017

A Balancing Act

One aspect of making a successful image is balance. Balancing the elements is not difficult but it can take a little thought. Balance is not necessarily symmetry. An asymmetrical image, like this one, can have good balance depending on the composition.

All the details in the window and the surrounding stonework are balanced by the large off-white blank wall. I deliberately off-set the window far to the right so that the blank wall would balance all the details.

Also notice that the empty space at the top is about the same size as the area of stones below the window. 

There were several different ways to compose this image, including centering the window. But that would have been a less exciting image in my opinion.

1/100 sec. at f/8, ISO 1600.  Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens set at 98mm on Canon 7D Mark II body.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "What I dream of is an art of balance."  --Henri Matisse

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Why THIS Iceland Trip?

If you have been following my Blog, you know that Iceland has become one of my favorite places to go. Its incredible waterfalls, sweeping scenery, huge glaciers, beautiful horses, and charming villages have captivated me. That is why I am going back August 4 - 14.

Today's image is the famous Kirkjufellsfoss triple waterfall with Kirkjufell Mountain behind.  

There is a lot of interest in photographing in Iceland, and I field many questions. Along with other questions, I am asked why the trip is priced as it is. There are several reasons, and today's blog has answers to this and other questions.

Q  -  Why is this Iceland trip more expensive than others I see offered?
A  -  There are several reasons.
            1. All lodging is included, and each person will have their own room with private bath. No one will have to share a room with a roommate (except couples traveling together of course).
            2. All meals are included, and all snacks. Food is amazingly expensive in Iceland, and many other trips offered do not include all meals. Read each trip offering carefully. Food generally costs at least 2 to 3 times more than anything comparable in the US.

            3. All tips are included. It has been a hallmark of Awake The Light photo tours to set fees that are all inclusive. There will never be any hidden fees. Since I hate to be "nickled and dimed" regarding any purchases or when traveling, I do not ever want to do that to anyone else either.

            4. All ground transportation is included.

            5. All guide services are included. We travel with a highly knowledgeable native Icelander who  knows every inch of the country. He also has many contacts all over Iceland who keep us informed on weather conditions, and lighting conditions. We can make spur of the moment decisions and be in the right places at the right times. This is an invaluable element of any photo trip.

Q  -  Are there any pricing specials?
A  -  Yes, there is an Early Bird special price if you register by March 1.  Pricing information is on the website HERE

Q  -  Why is the trip planned for August?
A  -  Summer is when the puffins and other bird life are still nesting there, and the weather is generally more benign. And August is just after the busiest tourist season, so the crowds will be a bit smaller. In addition, we will have nearly 18 hours of daylight, so there will be that beautiful "sweet light" for much of the day.

Q  -  Where will we go?
A  -  Our 10-day adventure begins in Reykjavik. We then travel to many parts of the country including the southern, western, and northern areas. We will also have forays into the central heart of the country. In our travels we will see many iconic waterfalls, impressive glaciers, puffins, famous Icelandic horses, rocky coastlines, quaint villages and farms, and much more.

Q  -  Why do you love Iceland so much?
A  -  Iceland is a captivating and mesmerizing place. The rugged scenery, the welcoming and charming people, the extreme cleanliness of the entire country, and its European charm combine to create a wonderful place to experience. And you will return home with impressive world-class images that you will cherish forever.

You can view images from Iceland and get more details HERE  

Only 5 spaces left, 
so call 757-773-0194 
or email me with questions. 

1/2 sec., f/22, ISO 100.  Canon 17-40mm f/4L lens set at 17mm, on Canon 7D Mark II body. Gitzo tripod with Really Right Stuff ballhead. Black-and-white conversion done in Lightroom.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "In Iceland you can see the contours of the mountains wherever you go, and the swell of the hills. And always beyond that, the horizon."  --Hannah Kent

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Horse Of A Different Color

Icelandic horses are world renown. They have lived on the protected island of Iceland for centuries. They are beautiful, friendly, and enjoy the attention of photographers. And they are extremely photogenic.

Their manes blow artfully in the breezes. Their color combinations are unique and fascinating. And they are very graceful in their movements.

We will have several opportunities to photograph these lovely creatures on the ICELAND - ENDLESS LIGHT photo tour coming up August 4 - 14. We will also visit many of Iceland's spectacular waterfalls, its rugged coastline, and its huge summer puffin population.

If the magic of Iceland appeals to you, this is the trip to do this year. You can read more details here

There is an attractive Early Bird special if you register by March 1. So give me a call at 757-773-0194, or drop me an email for more information. 

1/250 sec. at f/5.6, ISO 400. Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens with Canon 1.4x extender for a focal length of 241mm on Canon 7D Mark II camera.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Horses are the dolphins of the plains, the spirits of the wind...."  -- Lauren Salerno 

Monday, January 30, 2017


Successful wildlife images require a healthy dose of timing and luck. Plus a bit of knowledge and experience. This image of two sparring male moose, taken in DENALI NATIONAL PARK, was a combination of both. When photographing in Denali, it helps to know prime wildlife locations, and the best time of day to find animals where you hope they will be.

Moose, caribou, and other mammals engage in dominance battles each fall in order to claim breeding rights. While these battles sometimes are fierce, more often they are like a slow dance of butting antlers and careful footwork. It is exciting to watch this behavior in action. We were fortunate that this particular battle took place close to the road and was relatively easy to photograph. 

On my annual photo tour to Denali, we always travel with an experienced naturalist driver. Naturalists know the area like their own backyards, and have extensive knowledge of where animals are likely to be and when. I trust them to help us find the best shots possible, and most of the time that pays off with great images. It was our naturalist who helped get us in position to capture this dominance display.

It is best to travel to Denali in the autumn when the animals look their best, and the fall colors are at peak. The great colors provide strong backgrounds for wildlife photography.

So I am excited to be taking a group once again to DENALI NATIONAL PARK this fall. The trip is September 2 - 8, and has 2 spaces left. Group size is kept to 10 so that everyone can get individual attention and personalized guidance.

On this trip you will learn how to best photograph wildlife, sweeping scenery, macro, and more. We are out everyday from morning 'til evening shooting, sharing, and learning. And after a full day of capturing exciting images, we return to our comfortable lodge for a chef-prepared dinner, image reviews, Q and A sessions, and great conversation.

Alaska is truly the Last Frontier, and now is the time to explore it with me and a small group of like-minded photographers. Reserve one of the last remaining spaces while you still can. Call me with questions at 757-773-0194. Details here

1/400 sec at f/5.6, ISO 1600. Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens set to 200mm on Canon 5D Mark III body.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Never stop exploring. With Mother Nature by your side, the possibilities are endless."  --Cheryl Aguiar

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Going, Going, Almost Gone

The Denali photo trip, coming up September 2 - 8, is going fast. Only 2 spaces left. If you have been thinking about an Alaska photo trip, now's the time to snag one of these last 2 spots.

Why do I lead trips to Denali each year? Because it is a stupendous, spectacular, exciting, unique place to be and to photograph. I absolutely LOVE Alaska. I lead three different trips to Alaska each year, and one of those is always to Denali.

This scene is one of my favorites. On calm days Denali (formerly called Mt. McKinley) and the beautiful sweep of the Alaska Range reflect in the appropriately named Reflection Pond. Autumn is the best time to be in Denali, when the colors of the tundra and trees rival those of New England. Rich reds, yellows, oranges, and golds are everywhere across the expansive landscape. It is also the best time to photograph the wildlife since they sport their full winter coats and mature antlers.

This was shot just before sunrise. The cool mist was rising from the water, rich warm fall colors lined the pond, and the cool blues of the snow-capped mountains combined to create a spectacular scene.

This is a scene that very few photographers ever get to experience. Located only a few minutes drive from our lodge deep inside Denali National Park, we will pass this location several times during our stay and will have the unique opportunity to photograph it at different times of day and in different types of light.

Of course we will also have many other photographic opportunities including grizzly bear, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, and much more.

Each day you will capture wonderful images of wildlife, scenery, and macro of tundra and other plants.  So if Alaska interests you, if you have always wanted to go, or even if you have been before, this trip is truly the Trip of a Lifetime. Call or email me with questions. I would be happy to fill you in on the details. Read more about the trip HERE 

1/60 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400.  Canon 17-40mm f/4L lens set at 24mm, on Canon 5D Mark III.  Gitzo tripod with ballhead.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere, the dew is never all dried at once. Eternal sunrise ... each in its turn, as the round earth rolls."  --John Muir

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Expreience The Grandeur and Adventure of Denali National Park

Join me for a rare opportunity to photograph deep inside Denali National Park in autumn. Autumn comes early to Alaska, and we will be there September 2 - 8 to catch the best of the wildlife, the fall colors, and the snow-capped Alaska Range. And of course we will see Denali, the highest mountain in North America.

The tundra spreads out before us for miles in shades of red, gold, and orange, and the wildlife are easy to find. We will have our own vehicle with a naturalist driver and will roam each day in search of moose, caribou, grizzly bear, and Dall sheep like this one resting on the tundra.

We will also photograph the sweeping landscapes and mountains from viewpoints that very few people ever have the opportunity to see.

Each evening we return to our well-appointed lodge for a chef-prepared dinner, photographic education, and image critiques.

We'll be in the best locations in all of Denali National Park, and will be there for several days. It doesn't get any better than this.

Even if you have been to Alaska before, you have never experienced it like this. So take advantage of this rare opportunity to really BE in Denali, truly our last frontier.  More details here

A deposit of $1595 will hold your space. To protect your security, all reservations are taken by phone. So please call 757-773-0194 with questions or to register.

1/1250 sec at f/6.3, ISO 800. Canon 5D Mark III body with Canon 400mm f/5.6L lens. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them."  --William Arthur Ward

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Smokies Sunrise

Springtime in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Spectacular sunrises are made even more photogenic with mist in the valleys. It's what the Smokies were named for - the famous and beautiful "smoky" look of these mountains in the early morning. When conditions are right, with warm days and cool nights, the mist hangs in the valleys and provides us with inspiring images.

These conditions are generally present in the spring and fall, and the upcoming spring trip, April 17 - 22, is timed to take advantage of this opportunity.

In addition, the wildflowers are in bloom everywhere, including rare lady slippers, dwarf crested iris, trillium, and so much more. And the flowing streams give us great opportunities for soft moving water shots.

To sweeten the pot, there is a $300 Early Bird discount if you register before February 1.

So if you love the mountains, wildflowers, fast moving streams, and a fun group to travel with, this is the trip for you! Details here, or contact me for more information.  

1/100 sec. at f/4, ISO 100. Canon 70-200mm f/4L lens set at 70mm on Canon 5D Mark III body. Gitzo tripod with ballhead.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Be thankful for every mountain, because it's the mountain top that will give you the best view of the world."  --Gugu Mona

Friday, January 13, 2017

Special Early Bird Discount Extended!!

Join me in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park April 17 - 22 for a spectacular wildflower display. And register NOW to take advantage of the special Early Bird discount which has been extended. Register before February 1 and take $300 off the workshop fee! 

The Wildflowers and Wildwater trip to the Smokies has great opportunities to photograph some of the most beautiful wildflowers anywhere. We'll also photograph the fast-running streams and waterfalls that the Smokies are known for, plus lovely mountain scenery. We'll photograph in some well-known spots, plus several tucked away secret places known only to a few. Top that off with spectacular sunrises and you have the perfect photo trip!

The workshop includes personalized instruction, educational information on macro, moving water, and more, plus creative techniques, image critiques, and some Lightroom instruction. And every day we will have a great deal of fun!

For details, see the Awake The Light website, or call me at 757-773-0194 for more information. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have.

Today's image is of the delicate bluebells that bloom in the Smokies for a short period of time in only a small handful of places. When fully open they are their famous blue color. They are small and require a few special techniques that I will teach you so you can get the best shots. We will also photograph trillium, dwarf iris, and dozens of other flower species that are great for macro.

So take advantage of the $300 discount while there is still time. Contact me soon with questions or to register.

1/320 sec. at f/3.5, ISO 400.  Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS macro lens on Canon 7D Mark II body.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light."  --Theodore Roethke

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!


As the sun rises on New Year's Day, 
may 2017 dawn bright and with great promise for you. 

May it provide you with peace, contentment, good health, 
prosperity, love, and a large helping of fun. 

I hope to see you at a photo tour or workshop in the New Year!


1/15 sec at f/22, ISO 100. Canon 17-40mm f/4L lens set at 40mm on Canon 5D Mark III body. Gitzo tripod with Really Right Stuff head.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.  --Oprah Winfrey


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Don't Miss This Trip!

Autumn in Denali National Park in Alaska is the best time to be there. This trip, coming up September 2 - 8, is one of our most popular, and with good reason. The wildlife is in perfect condition, after a productive summer of feeding and bulking up. This male caribou was in prime shape with a full set of antlers and a superb coat.

Autumn is mating season for caribou in Alaska, and this guy was searching for mates. He was sniffing the air, and strutting his stuff. He was in a beautiful location, surrounded by colorful tundra. That's another prime reason to visit Denali in the fall - the autumn colors are spectacular, often even more colorful than the New England leaves.

In addition to the beautiful colors and the abundant wildlife, there is of course the spectacular mountain scenery. Snow-capped mountains, including the lofty Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley) are almost constantly in view as we travel around the park.

Only 5 spaces left on this trip, so call or email soon for more details. More information here

TECHNICAL DATA: 1/1250 at f/8, ISO 800. Canon 400mm f/5.6L lens with 1.4x extender for an effective focal length of 560mm on Canon 5D Mark III body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile."  --William Cullen Bryant