Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Art Is Where You Find It

Always keep your eyes open to find interesting subjects. Cars, trucks, and motorcycles can be great subjects for artistic images. This image is a tight shot of an old truck retired to a "truck graveyard" near Richmond, Virginia. Look for small areas of interest and zero in on that. Take lots of images from a variety of angles.

Then free your mind, get out of the box, and try many different approaches with Lightroom or Topaz or Photoshop. Allow yourself to play with a variety of options, filters, and techniques.

This image was optimized and saturated in Lightroom, and then enhanced a bit with the Watercolor filter in Photoshop. Tip: In order to access all filters in Photoshop, be sure to change the image from 16-bit to  8-bit. It is easy. Just go to Image > Mode > and click on 8 bit/channel. Then you can go to Filter > Filter Gallery and start playing with all the filter options to see what looks good with your particular image.

Filters will look different on different images, so don't expect the Watercolor filter to look great on every image. You just have to try them all and find the one or ones that work best with each image.

So get your "artsy" on and go play!

1/125 sec., f/8, ISO 200. Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS macro lens on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "A work of art is above all an adventure of the mind."  --Eugene Ionesco 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Honored To Be Asked

I was honored to be asked to be one of a small number of photographers showcased by Hunt's Photo and Video. This is part of an article I wrote for them that appears in a special section of their website. Check out the entire article here

The photographic community thrives when we all help each other. That is a big part of why I love running workshops and tours. I am able to share knowledge and ideas, inspire creativity and enthusiasm, and learn from you as well.

So when a company like Hunt's seeks to help photographers learn more and improve, not just sell products, we all win. For that we owe them a hearty "thank you."

I have purchased many products from Hunt's, and find their knowledge, willingness to help, and customer service second to none. And be assured that when I recommend a company or a particular product, it is based on personal experience. My endorsements are not for sale. I do not get paid for recommending products or companies.

I always deal with Alan Samiljan at Hunt's. If you mention me and Awake The Light, he will bend over backwards to get you what you need as quickly and easily as possible. Email him at or OR call him at 781-462-2383.

At the end of the day, my goal is to help you learn all you can about photography, art, and creativity, and to motivate you to always strive for improvement. Aim for the stars!

TODAY'S QUOTE: "The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement."  -- Helmut Schmidt    

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Selling Out Fast - Creative Flowers Master Class

Only 4 spaces left. Learn how to create more artistic flower images at one of the world's great gardens. Longwood Gardens is over 1000 acres of one photo opportunity after another.

Increase your knowledge, your skills, and your creativity in this full immersion workshop. In addition to learning new ways to photograph flowers, you will also learn techniques in Lightroom, Photoshop, and other software that will enhance the artistic beauty of your images.

This is two workshops in one - photography AND easy, creative image optimization techniques. See details here

To reserve your space, or if you have questions, email Mollie at
Grab your spot before they are all gone. 

1/100 sec., f/5.6, ISO 400. Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS lens on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways."  -- Robert Greene

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Creative Flowers Workshop - Master Class at Longwood Gardens

Immerse yourself in a creative and educational experience. If you love photographing flowers, and want to create more artistic and compelling images, this workshop is for you! It will open your eyes to new and exciting techniques, and you will receive a great deal of personal attention.

The workshop begins with an evening Welcome Session followed by a teaching session to get you primed for the first day of shooting. Then each day will be filled with shooting, helpful critiques, lectures and demonstrations, and personal attention each day. The entire week will be educational, inspirational, and fun!

Throughout the week you will learn a wide variety of things including:
Finding appealing subjects
Recognizing “good” light and how to work with it
Learning the freedom of working without a tripod
Isolating the subject for an artistic effect
Learning how to see with an entirely new vision
Learning how to use line, shape, and color to your best advantage
Using selective focus
Controlling the background
Using Depth of Field creatively
Understanding how to break the rules effectively
Using post-processing quickly and easily in Lightroom
Adding textures and other techniques in Photoshop and other software

This is like two workshops in one –  improve your artistic vision and your shooting skills, AND learn new and easy ways of working with Lightroom, Photoshop, and more to jumpstart your creativity and the look of your images.

More details on the website here

1/640 sec.  at f/6.3, ISO 400. Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS macro lens on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld. BW conversion in Lightroom. Personally created textures and color added in Photoshop.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Creativity is contagious. Pass it on."  --Albert Einstein

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Want Your Opinion

Seeking your opinion on this image. The original image was taken in Alaska on a small rocky island filled with breeding puffins. The image originally had a green grassy background. But I wanted to create a more artistic representation of these two puffins, who were positioned perfectly.

So I used Photoshop to drop out the background and replaced it with an off-white tone.

So the question for you to answer is this:
Does this image look interesting and artsy, or does it look odd because it is clearly not a realistic representation of nature?

It is important to note that this type of image should NEVER be submitted in a nature or wildlife photo competition, and should NEVER be used in a textbook on birds or nature. It is only intended as an art piece, an interpretation of nature, not a realistic representation of nature.

So what do you think? I want to hear from you so please be honest and direct.

1/2500 sec., f/13, ISO 1600. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens with 1.4x extender set at 560mm on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."  --Scott Adams

Saturday, January 13, 2018

LAST CALL - You Could Be Here!

Last chance to grab your spot on this year's 

Denali National Park In Autumn photo tour! 



--  Stay in relative luxury in one of the world's last wilderness areas. 


--  Photograph moose, caribou, grizzly bear and more. 


--  Photograph one of the world's most beautiful snow-capped mountain ranges.


--  Your own window seat in a large private vehicle; we go wherever the action is.


--  See miles of tundra in full fall splendor. 

--  Plus get personal photographic training, critiques, great food, and fun!


Go to for details.

Don't miss this opportunity. 

This unique trip is limited to only 10 photographers, 

so reserve your space now. 

Email me at 

with questions or to register.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Time For Some Sun

With so much of the country under a blanket of white. it is time for a little sunshine. This perfect daisy seemed like the right mix of white to represent snow, and yellow to represent the sun.

Normally I prefer to photograph flowers in open shade because of its soft, even lighting. But this perfect bloom just popped beautifully in the strong sunlight. Taken last summer in Alaska right before a whale-watching trip, this little beauty made me smile.

One of the many rewards of photography is the simple pleasure it can provide. A single flower, a lovely scene, a soaring bird, or a grazing moose can each bring a smile to our lips and a sense of joy to our hearts.

Because this was taken with a zoom lens set at 200mm, the shadowed background went beautifully soft and did not create any distractions. While I often use a 100mm macro lens for flower shots, using a moderate telephoto lens, or even a super telephoto, can add a new dimension to your images.

1/640 sec at f/4.5, ISO 400.  Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens set at 200mm on Canon 7D Mark II body.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: Always have something beautiful in sight, even if it's just a daisy in a jelly glass."  -- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.