Excerpt #3: Creative Visualization for Photographers

This week on my blog: I am running excerpts from my latest book, Creative Visualization for Photographers. Both the paperback and Kindle versions are now available!

Excerpt #3

“Photography and the death of reality” is not a new topic, but as we move more and more into digital darkroom enhancements, the topic becomes more and more important.  

Since the early days of photography, people with cameras have made images that don’t represent reality, even when they tried. That’s due, in part, to the way cameras record light, and how lenses bend light and compress or widen a scene or subject – not to mention that we see in 3D and camera see in 2D, and that our eyes have a dynamic range of about 13 f/stop compared to the  six f-stops or so our digital cameras see (in a single exposure without digital enhancements).

A chapter in the book, Photography and the Death of Reality, has three main messages:

One, to encourage you to make your most creative images ever, and not to be afraid to follow your heart when it comes to making digital enhancements.

Two, it’s important to consider the reality of your photographs and the photographs of others.

Three, photographers are somewhat like magicians, or illusionists, if you will. The creative process of image making is like the art of doing a magic trick. If you don’t know the trick, the tick is amazing. If you know the trick, you know that it’s a relatively simple procedure.

I took the opening photograph for this post on my Provence, France photography workshop. On site, I liked the way the horses were running through the water, but the light was dull and flat. Rather than increase the contrast and sharpness of the image in Photoshop, I soften it using the Pastel filter in Nik Color Efex Pro.

 If you go to Provence, you will not see horses running through the water at the beach – unless you have an assistant who will release them upon your command . . . so you can create your own reality.

Click here to order Creative Visualization for Photographers.

Explore the light,


Excerpt #2: Creative Visualization for Photographers

This week on my blog: I am running excerpts from my latest book, Creative Visualization for Photographers. Now, both the e-book and paperback editions are available!

In music, there is a big difference between listening and hearing. You can hear a song, but you may not pay attention to the words, how the musicians are playing their instruments, if the song changes key, if there is two- or three-part harmony, and so on.

Listening gives one a much greater appreciation for a song or piece of music.

The analogy for photography is that there is a big different between looking for a photograph and simply seeing a scene. To find pictures, we often need to look for them. Carefully. Creatively. Thoughtfully.

In the book I share with the reader some images that illustrate the difference between looking verses seeing.

Looking for pictures while motoring around in a zodiac (inflatable boat) in Antarctica helped me find the interesting subject that opens this post. To me, the ice formation looks like a polar bear resting on its back. If you don’t see a polar bear, what do you see?

While I was looking for pictures, rather than just enjoying the view, I noticed the interesting iceberg. It was an okay shot, but nothing to write home about. I asked the zodiac driver to move around the iceberg so we could see what it looked like from different angles.

I was pleasantly surprised when the shape of a polar bear came into view. Thanks to my effort to look for pictures, I was able to make an interesting photograph.

Click here to order - and to start your journey on creative visualization!

Explore the light,

Excerpt #1: Creative Visualization for Photographers


This week on my blog: I am running excerpts from my latest book, Creative Visualization for Photographers.

Excerpt #1

Photographers, myself included, usually photograph what we recognize, consciously or unconsciously. What’s more, some photographers specifically travel to popular locations to get the “iconic” shot, the same shot that a million other photographers on the planet have taken. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It can be fun and rewarding.

Thinking about what others will see (recognize) in our photographs often influences our decision of what to photograph, how to photograph it, and what images to show and share. 

I recognized a human face in this image.

The technical term for seeing a human face in an image is anthropomorphic, which stems from the Greek word anthro, which means man, and morph, which means shape or form.

I have many pictures in which I see faces, profiles and suggested faces. I took this one in Antarctica. The profile is easy to see. It is an anthropomorphic image.

Both the paperback and hard cover editions are now available!

Click here to order.

Explore the light,


Photograph the "Old West" on My Casper, Wyoming Photo Workshop

I am gearing up for my "Old West" photo workshop in Casper, Wyoming later this year. Can't wait, and I hope you can join the fun.

Fun? I run a lot of workshops, but this one will be a ton of fun, as illustrated in this video.

I took the opening image for this post on my previous Casper photo workshop. Yes! We got a horse in the Wonder Bar, and we'll do it again - for you!

In going though my files, I came across some of my favorite Old West images (from a shoot in Spearfish, SD) along with some captions. Enjoy.

Reflecting on the day. The most important element in a photograph is the mood, feeling or emotion. I created the mood in this photograph by “painting” the cowgirl with the light from a $5 flashlight. My goal was to create an image with dramatic shadows. Shadows are the soul of the photograph.

Lone rider. I like the feeling of  freedom that this image captures. That’s part of being a cowboy.

Looking for her. I am drawn to faces. It was the intense look on this cowboy’s face that inspired me to make this photograph. To add to the artistry of this image, I removed the color. When you remove the color from a photograph, you remove some of the reality.

Best friends. The eyes are the windows to the soul. It was this cowgirl’s beautiful eyes that first drew me to make this photograph, but then I noticed the look and “feeling” in the dog’s eyes. Both subjects seem to be having the same feeling, so I included both of them in my frame.

Daybreak on the range. I like shooting at the crack of dawn, capturing dramatic silhouettes against the rising sun. I like to challenge myself to make pictures in these high contrast situations, as the light changes very, very fast.

Good morning, pardner. The perfect silhouettes of the horses and cowboys drew me to make this photograph. Silhouettes add a sense of mystery to a photograph.

After the storm. I like the way the dark clouds create the mood in this image. Not every picture needs to be taking on a bright, sunny day.

Heading home. This cowboy was riding as fast as he could. To convey the sense of speed, I used a photographic technique called panning, which blurrs the background but keeps the rider in sharp focus.

Ride 'em cowboy (and cowgirl),

My New e-Book – Get Motivated and Stay Inspired – is Here!

My new e-book – Get Motivated and Stay Inspired – is now available for direct download to your tablet or computer. I'm very excited about this e-book, because I think we (and that includes me) all need some inspiration and motivation from time to time.

The cost for the 195 page e-book is $4.95. Click here to download from my on-line store. Here's the scoop on the book.

Throughout the year I enjoy giving seminars to audiences around the county. Most of my talks are how-to photography talks, during which I share my favorite photographs from around the world – each image is accompanied by a photo or Photoshop/Lightroom or travel tip.

One of my favorite seminars is Get Motivated and Stay Inspired. It’s not a how-to, technical seminar. Rather, it’s a seminar on how to get inspired and how to stay creatively motivated.

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The talk is about an hour and a half long. I have taken the highlights of that talk – My Top Ten Techniques to Get Motivated and Stay Inspired – and put them into an easy-to-read e-book (just a few of the 194 pages shown here) with the same title, which you can read in less than ½ hour.

Although the e-book is photography-centric, I feel as though all creatives can benefit from reading it.

Yes, I hope the photographs (some of my favorites) themselves are inspiring, but my main goal with this e-book is to encourage you to be as creative as possible while getting motivated and staying inspired. Hey, I figure if I need inspiration and motivation, there are others who feel the same way!

I think you will enjoy learning about the Four Levels of Learning – levels we all go though. I also think you will find inspiration in the quotes, which include: "When you are though changing, you are through.” And, “If you think you can you can, and if you think you can’t you can’t.” And, “It’s never too late to be who you could have been.”

I also think you will enjoy learning about my “Six Steps for Creative Visualization” process, and the difference between seeing and looking. Big difference.

You will also find short assignments in the e-book. It's good to have assignments, and to challenge yourself to be as creative as possible.

I hope you enjoy the e-book - which looks great on the iPad. As with everyone who takes one of my classes, when you purchase the book you become a student for life. That means you can email me questions for the rest of my life.

Good luck with your photography and with your art!