Monday, December 21, 2015

Season's Greetings


As 2015 draws to a close, I want to thank you for your support, 
your friendship, and your good wishes throughout the year. 

I wish you a joyous and peaceful holiday season, 
and a new year filled with happiness and adventure. 

Hoping you will join me on an Awake The Light 
photo tour or workshop in the coming year!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Northern Exposure

Properly exposing a snowy scene can be a bit tricky, but once you understand the basics it will become easier. Essentially you want snow to appear white in an image. You do not want it to be too gray or dark, or too light so that there is no detail or texture in the snow.

The trick is to first evaluate the scene you are looking at, and the kind of lighting conditions that exist. Exposing for snow in sunlight will be different from the exposure needed on an overcast day. This image was made on a very overcast day at the Grand Canyon with low, even light. In addition, the scene has a mix of dark and light tones. In this kind of situation, the basic meter reading your camera gives you will most likely be close to accurate.

But on a sunny day, OR when most of the scene is snow-covered with very little if any darker tones, the basic meter reading will result in an underexposure most of the time.  Why? Because all camera meters are designed to provide a reading for middle gray tones. Aim your camera at an all-white scene, OR an all-black scene, and the camera's meter will provide a reading of middle gray in both cases. An all white scene will be underexposed and appear middle gray, and an all black scene will be overexposed and appear middle gray.

So what do you do? When shooting a snowy scene on a sunny day, or a scene that is mostly snow, use your exposure compensation dial and set it for a one-stop overexposure. Take the shot and look at the histogram. If you do not have any blinkies, and / or if the histogram is not too far to the left (the dark side), then your exposure is good. If you have blinkies in large areas, go back to zero on the exposure compensation dial. If the histogram is too far to the left, increase exposure compensation to 2 stops. 

The more you understand your camera and how light meters work, the easier it will be to know how to set your camera in a variety of shooting situations.

Shutter Speed 1/100 sec.  Aperture f/10.  ISO 200.  Camera: Canon 5D Mark III.  Lens: Canon 17-40mm f/4L, set at 25mm.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together."  --Vista M. Kelly

Monday, December 14, 2015

Beauty On Ice

These gulls and kittiwakes were cooling their heels on a small floating iceberg in Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. This is an amazing place with its many glaciers, icebergs, and incredibly blue-green water. Were it not for the icebergs and rugged mountain scenery, you might think you were looking at water in the Caribbean.

The glacial water is just one of Alaska's many charms. It provides opportunities to photograph some of the most enticing sea animals like humpback whales, sea otters, and puffins still in breeding plumage, plus those spectacular mountain scenes.

We will be among one of the greatest concentrations of glaciers left on our planet, while comfortably lodged at the edge of one of the last wilderness areas.

This was an incredible sold-out trip last August. And it is being repeated in August  2016. Glacier Bay is a wonderland of whales, sea lions, puffins, sea otters, mist-draped mountains, and a huge variety of wildlife. We will have 3 day trips on the water on boats chartered just for us in search of whales and all manner of sea life. Our naturalist captain knows where the action is and will do his best to get us there. The waters are generally calm and we can easily shoot from the boat.

For more details about this trip, email us at, or call 757-773-0194. Only 5 spaces left.

Shutter Speed  1/1000 sec.  Aperture f/14.  ISO 800.  Lens: Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II, set at 255mm.  Camera: Canon 7D Mark II.  Handheld.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Gift That Keeps On Giving


Family and friends asking for gift suggestions this holiday season? Here's the perfect solution  -  a Gift Card good on any of our Photography Workshops and Tours!

Use Gift Cards toward any of our offerings 
coming up in 2016 or 2017!

Getting a Gift Card is an easy two-step process:

1. Either treat yourself or your photo buddies, or forward this information to family and friends. (Subtle, huh?)
2. The giver can either email or phone us, select an amount, 
and we'll take it from there.

That's it! Simple.

We will email the personalized Gift Card to the recipient in time for holiday giving.

Holiday shopping is done, and the recipient will be on the way toward improved photographic skills, greater creativity, and a super time.

Gift Cards are available in $100 increments up to $5000.

Questions? Contact us at, or 757-773-0194.

Shutter Speed 1/15 sec.  Aperture f/22.  ISO 100.  Lens: Canon 17-40mm f/4L.  Camera: Canon 5D Mark III.  Gitzo tripod with ballhead.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver."  -Maya Angelou