Thursday, December 31, 2009

Flapping Your Wings

If you feel like you're just flapping your wings, stop long enough to figure out what you want to accomplish, make an action plan & then follow it. That will help to ensure a sucessful 2010.

Have a fun and safe New Year's Eve.

Catch you next year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ducks In A Row

Each year, as New Year's Day approaches, we often reflect on what has happened during the past year and look to the new year with anticipation and hope. We want to do better, be more successful in our businesses, be a better person, etc. But what is going to make that happen? What is going to help us reach our goals? What is going to make us do better than we did during the past year? We all have things we want to accomplish in life but often, due to unforeseen circumstances, lack of planning or just plain procrastination, we don't get them done. The years go by and we wonder where they went and feel regret that we don't have more to show for them.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer says, "The more you see yourself as what you'd like to become, and act as if what you want is already there, the more you'll activate those dormant forces that will collaborate to transform your dreams into reality."

So, in this new year, set your goals, plan your action steps and see yourself accomplishing those goals that have been so elusive in past years. I'll be right there working with you trying to do the same. Take a look at the picture above and ask yourself if you're ready to start the new year. Have you set your goals? Have you planned your course of action? Do you know where you're going? Or to put is simply, "Do you have all your ducks (or geese) in a row?" :)

I wish all of you a happy and prosperous 2010. Leave me a message from time to time and let me know how you're doing. Perhaps we can inspire one another so we can all reach those elusive goals.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Slow Down

Just slow down and enjoy it all. By Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

When we rush too much, we miss the simple beauties of life. Slow down, pick up your camera and play with it to see what you can create. These picture were taken at Fossil Rim during the Rick Sammon workshop. Rick wanted us to see what kind of creative pictures we could make by "playing" with our cameras. Both of these pictures of a poinsetta plant were made by turning the camera clockwise while holding the shutter button down. The top picture was taken at f/3.5 with a shutter speed of 1/15 of a second & the bottom picture was f/5.6 at 1/10 of a second.

Motion is a powerful source. Moving your camera while the shutter is open produces images that are experimental. No matter how much you tried, you could probably not produce two identical images while moving your camera, even at the same aperature & shutter speed. Trying different things with your camera provides a new prospective to your photography & teaches you about how your camera opeates at various settings. So, if the weather's too cold to go outside, & you're bored sitting around the house, grab your camera, find an interesting subject, and start shooting. You never know what you'll come up with. It might even be a prize winner. Best of all, if you slow down and take a close look at your surroundings, you'll see the beauty that exists and add joy to your life.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cooperation & Love

Cooperation and love - together - make everything go smoothly in this world. By Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Photo tip: I cropped this photo a little to draw emphasis to the affection being displayed by these lemurs. I also used the screen blending mode to lighten the eye some to bring out the catch-light in the lemur's eye. These adjustments only took a couple of minutes, but added life to the photo.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Reflections are pretty in pictures, but they are also useful in "real" life. Use this holiday time to reflect on all the things you have to be thankful for, like your friends, your family, a warm house, enough food on the table, etc. Many people don't have these simple things that we so often take for granted. Let's appreciate the things we have and try to help those who don't have them.

Happy Holidays to all of you. I wish you a happy and prosperous 2010.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pseudo HDR Processing

As photographers, I'd say that we've all encountered situations where, due to shooting at the wrong time of the day, atmospheric conditions, etc., we end up with a wonderful picture except for a blown-out sky. One way to control this is by shooting for HDR. The typical shooting process is to take one picture at the camera's setting, one at -2 and one at +2 & then blend the pictures using an HDR program such as Photomatix. However, maybe you couldn't take three identical shots because you were shooting a moving subject, or perhaps you just didn't use it. What do you do then? Well, you can use a technique called "pseudo HDR" processing. That's what I used for these two pictures. The top picture is the original and the bottom one is the pseudo HDR photo. The program took the completely blown-out sky and replaced it with one that looks like it might have been taken at sunrise or sunset. All you do is open Photomatix and move your RAW picture into the program. Photomatix immediately starts processing. When it's done, you can use the Tone Mapping feature to fine tune your photo. The intensity of the picture increases as you move the sliders to the right. Watch the changes that take place as you move the sliders until you get the effect you want. This process isn't as good as if you'd actually shot for HDR, but if you couldn't, or if you need to fix an old picture, it makes a decent substitute. There are other ways, of course, to do the same thing, but this is probably the easiest and quickest method. So download a free trial of Photomatix and see what you can come up with. Most of all, have fun!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." ~ Albert Einstein

This simple quote helps explain how many of our important inventions came to be. If the inventors had not had the imagination to first dream about electricity, the automobile or the computer, they would not have used their knowledge to create these things that we depend on so much today. Before invention comes imagination. Without imagination, knowledge is like an empty vessel. It's only when the imagination is released that the knowledge can begin to create.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Whispers of Love

We are more than just physical beings, we are whispers of love dancing in the breeze. We are spiritual beings on a path of loving service, where if we pay attention, the sacred earth wisdom within will direct our destinies to a place of peace where joy and love abound. -Micheal Teal

I saw this quote on Facebook and thought it was worth sharing. The picture was taken at the Rick Sammon workshop in Texas. Rick had us make creative shots of a poinsetta that was sitting on a picnic table outside our meeting room. I made this shot by turning the camera as I pressed the shutter button.

Light Painting with Rick

Invest your time, don't spend it. Spend (invest) an hour a day at anything & in five years, you will become a world-class expert. (From Jeffrey Gitomer's "Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude")

This quote can apply to nearly anything you want to do. If you practice enough, and work hard enough, you can become an expert. It's just like with this example of light painting. When I was at the workshop with Rick Sammon last week, we didn't get the pictures we liked on the first try. We had to practice until we got the lighting just right. Anything worth doing, takes time & practice. So, if you're a photographer, turn out the lights, set your camera on 5 seconds or so, turn on a flashlight and paint away. The results can be surprising! If you need more information on light painting, just let me know. I'd be glad to help.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Uncertain Road

“I haven't a clue as to how my story will end. But that's all right. When you set out on a journey and night covers the road, you don't conclude the road has vanished. And how else could we discover the stars?” Author Unknown

I saw this quote on Facebook the other day and thought it was worth repeating. I guess it's true because, if you don't proceed just because you don't know the outcome, you'll miss what you would have found. Think of all the things we wouldn't have if some of our greatest inventors had not continued down that dark and uncertain road. We'd probably still be sitting in the dark twiddling our thumbs, instead of playing on our computers and Blackberrys. So, don't be afraid to try something new, or to go down a new path, just because you don't know what's at the end of the road. Explore, find new things, discover your true self and open up a whole new world.


Great quote: “I see my path, but I don't know where it leads. Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel it.” Rosalia de Castro

Another wonderful quote: "don't dream it, be it" from the mouth of Tim Curry in Rocky Horror Picture Show:-)
I wonder, do animals think about what they're doing or do they always act stricly on instinct? What do you think?

Make a Difference

Live your life as if it mattered, and it will. On the other hand, if you just go along, day by day, and merely go through the motions, your life won't have the impact that it could. Live each day as if it was your last, take care of those you love, help those you can & be the best you can be & then you'll know that you made a difference.

And now for the photo tip of the day: As you probably know by now, I love taking pictures of animals' eyes. They can be so expressive & can give you insight as to the mood of the animal you're photographing. With these two zebra pictures, I like the colors & composition of the bottom one a little better, but I think the reflection in the eye of the first zebra adds interest to the picture & makes it come alive to the viewer. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Here are two pictures I took at the Fossil Rim workshop last week conducted by Rick Sammon. The one on the top is the original picture that was processed with the usual PhotoShop tools. The other picture was modified using Topaz Simplify's watercolor option to give it the painterly effect. Although I like normal shots, it's always fun to see what I can come up with using various PhotoShop tools or plus-ins. If you've never tried Topaz, download a free trial version and play with it. You'll be surprised how creative you can become. By the way, which version do you prefer?

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Professional photographer Rick Sammon always says to "make a picture", not take a picture. What does that mean? On the last day of our workshop, several of us went to the Fort Worth stockyards to make some pictures. In order to do that, you have to make sure you have the right subject, the right lighting and the right background. This Native American looked like a wonderful subject, but the background was all wrong, with cars, people and other modern-day objects ruining the setting. Rick scouted out a good location and then asked the man to move to that spot for some photos. Once he was in the new location, Rick worked with him to get the right poses and the right lighting for some great pictures. This is one of my favorites, because it reminds me of old western movies where the Indians raised their weapons and yelled before attacking. So, remember to follow Rick's advice and "make pictures".

Cheetah Peeking

This is one of my favorite cheetah shots from Fossil Rim, in Glen Rose, Texas, where I've been attending a workshop with Rick Sammon. Sometimes, focusing on part of an animal, instead of the whole thing, can create an interesting picture. You'll see in the next few days, however, how "telling the whole story" involves more than just close-ups. So stay tuned for more of the "Fossil Rim story".

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Mother's Love

A mother and baby zebra share a tender moment. We need love and nourishment and so do they. Without it, neither one of us will thrive. Are animals really so much different than we are?

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Old houses can make interesting photographic subjects, because they just seem to be alive with "character". Although I have pictures of this entire house, I kind of like this one of the little breakfast nook and the side door. It makes me think of the "old" times.
People are like houses, some have "character" and some don't. Remember to live your life as one who does. Also, remember to cherish the day. It's a gift that you've been given, so use it wisely because, as the saying goes, you may not pass this way again.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm Keeping My Mouth Shut!

A wise person once said that if you can't say something nice about someone, then you shouldn't say anything at all. I was thinking about that earlier today and realized that I don't always follow that advice. It looks like I'm going to have to keep my mouth shut more often.

If you have some time, pick up your camera and take a picture of something that you think describes how you view life. Be sure to let me know what it is.

If you look at my website today, you'll notice that I posted an abstract of a Summer lily. With this bitterly cold weather, I thought we needed something to remind us of warmer days.

Have a wonderful day!


This eagle was sitting in a tree with several branches that were obstructing my view and that ruined the photo as it was taken. Since I wanted to salvage the photo, I experimented with various things to try to get the effect I wanted. The final step was to add lighting using the "render" option under the filters menu in PhotoShop. You may or may not like this particular effect but, in my opinion, it gives the image an extra dimension that adds character & a bit of extra interest. Sometimes, by trying various tools in PhotoShop and/or using various filters, you can salvage a photo that would otherwise end up in the recycle bin. So, next time you have a picture that you're not satisfied with, experiment to see what you can create. You'll discover new ways of working in PhotoShop and save a picture that you would have just deleted otherwise. I hope you have fun with your creative endeavors!
Just remember, anything you do in life can be improved if you exert a little more effort. Sometimes it's difficult to do but, in the end, it's worth it. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Until You Start

The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, 'In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!'
John F. Kennedy35th president of US 1961-1963 (1917 - 1963)

I think this same philosophy applies to almost any task we undertake. The final result may take some time to become a reality, but the important thing is that we start. Until we do that, nothing will ever happen. The ship will never sail, the tree will never grow & the cure for cancer will never be found. So, no matter how daunting that task may seem, just start it. For, only then, can it ever become a reality.

I hope you have a wonderful and productive day.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Long Exposure

The "ghosting" effect in this picture was not created by a double exposure or by altering it in PhotoShop. It is merely an example of what you can do by using a long exposure setting. I set my camera on 30 seconds and had my grandson sit on the sofa for 15 seconds and then move to the chair for the other 15 seconds. As you can see, the camera only captured part of him, allowing you to see through him to the surface behind. So, put your camera on a tripod, set it for a long exposure and see what you can come up with. Most of all, have fun with your camera. It can let you do amazing things if you give it a chance.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Branson Lights

I missed a few days of blogging because I was in Branson with a couple of my life-long friends and, unfortunately, the place where we stayed didn't have Internet access. Anyway, here's a quick shot I took of the large tree at Silver Dollar City as it was changing light patterns. I managed to catch the star on the top with all the lights lit, but that was a challenge since it was changing continuously. We all had a good time & I'm sure we'll remember this trip for years to come.
Spending time with friends and family is one of the best things we can do with our time. Sometimes we get so busy with "life" that we don't take the time to treasure those we love. I hope you'll spend some time with your loved ones this week-end.
Have a good one!