Travel Photography

It's Travel Destination Thursday. Today: Croton-on-Hudson, New York

Every Thursday I post a favorite picture or pictures from one of my favorite travel destiantions - along with some photo tips. If you have been to the location, add a tip or comment in the Comments section.

This week: Croton-on-Hudson, New York - just one of the shooting locations on my Rick's Backyard Workshop.

There are two major photo locations in Croton-on-Hudson: the New Croton Dam and the river walk.

Dam Photo Tips:
• Bring your wide-angle zoom. Also pack a tele-zoom for close ups.
• A ND filter is necessary if you want to blur the water. Use shutter speeds from 1/5 of a second to several seconds.
• Yes! Bring your tripod.
• Shoot from the top of the dam, the side of the dam, and down near the water. Be careful when you are shooting near the water. It can be slippery.
• Try painting with light at night.
• You'll need a lens cleaning cloth to wipe the spray off your lens.
• When shooting from the lower bridge, be aware of vibrations caused by moving cars. Those vibrations can cause blurry shots at slow shutter speeds.
• As always, expose for the highlights. More on exposure in my

I shot the opening and close for my Photo Philosophy video at the dam.

River Walk Photo Tips:
• Sunset is the best time to shoot, as the sun sets on the opposite side of the river.
• Include an object in the foreground to give your photograph a sense of place.
• When shooting into the sun, try HDR - but know that HDR can ruin the mood of a scene.
• Remove all filters when shooting into the sun to avoid a ghost image of the sun.

Enjoy travel photography? Check out my digital photography workshops.

For more travel and photo tips, subscribe to my blog.

Explore the light,

Find the best light for your photographs and videos - anywhere on the planet - with my Photo Sun Dial app.

For the iPhone and iPad.


What To Expect on My 2014 Iceland Workshop

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I can't wait to return to Iceland this year for my third digital photography workshop with co-leader Tim Vollmer. We have one room available. Shoot me an email for info.

The basic info on this awesome adventure is listed under the Iceland Workshop on My Workshops page. For those new to my Iceland workshops, I thought I'd put together a list of what to expect.

But first, check out my Iceland Adventure Photo Gallery. We will make photographs in many of these locations.

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You can expect to:

• Explore one of the most picturesque destinations on the planet - with a small, intimate group of dedicated photographers.

• Make awesome pictures of ice, waterfalls, scenery, Icelandic horses -  and hopefully the Northern Lights, which is why we scheduled the workshop for this time of year.

• Have hands-on, in-the-field photo guidance by Tim and myself. We will be teaching composition and exposure, topics I cover in my on-line classes. We will also help you with daily image processing, so you have awesome images for the group slide show at the end of the workshop. I can also help you with plug-ins.

• Have some downtime in the vehicle as we move from location to location. That's a good time to ask more questions and to get to know your fellow workshop participants. Me? I have been known to nap. :-)

• Hike with crampons for a few hours on a glacier. It's an awesome experience, and you need to be in good physical shape. It's really not that difficult. Everyone in our group participated in this activity on my last trip, but you can keep warm in the van if you prefer. I took the picture below on the right on that hike.

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• Shoot in a glacier lagoon, which is what I am doing in the top left image, and where I took the opening image for this post. For these shoots you'll need waterproof boots - if you want to get in the water, which is not necessary. I recommend NEOS. I also suggest a camera cover and rain pants. You can get all this gear at You may also need your NEOS when we are photographing waterfalls. So, keep your NEOS in the van at all times.

• Have great meals in Reykjavik. Tim knows awesome restaurants. The food in the lodges is good, too. For those who like to have happy hour in their rooms in the field, we'll make stops at local shops.

• Have some jet lag if you are traveling from far away. That is why I get there the day before the workshop actually starts. If you come a day early, I am sure we will meet up for a meal and maybe a nature walk by the hotel, which is what we did last year. Some folks stayed a day after the workshop to relax, but most of those folks were ready to come home.

• Have your tripods packed in one area of the van. That is why I require that you mark your tripods - so they do not get mixed up and are easy to find. I use small, ID sticker from In fact, I mark every piece of my gear, even my lens caps, so there is no mix-on site.

• Get warmer as you move around outside. Dressing in layers is the key.

• Have the lamb hot dog, which is an Iceland treat. I had a few on our last workshop, but they were nothing compared to the fresh fish we had in Reykjavik.

• Leave Iceland probably wanting to return. . .

Explore the light,

It's Travel Destination Thursday. Today: Fez Tannery, Morocco

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Starting today . . . Every Thursday I will post a favorite picture, or pair of pictures, from one of my favorite travel locations - along with some photo tips. If you have been to the location, add a tip or comment in the Comments section.

This week: Fez Tannery, Morocco.

Photo tips:
• Shoot from the roof, where you'll find the best shooting location, along with a gift shop.
• Shoot at an angle to create a sense of depth in your photograph. In the photograph on the left, notice how the vats go from corner to corner, which creates a more interesting image than the image on the right, where the vats basically go up and down in the frame.
• RAW files need sharpening. I sharpened the photograph on the left. I also increased the contrast.
• Don't over-saturate areas of an image. If you do, you can lose detail in those areas.
• Compose carefully - here I used the "rule of odds" (three men) to add interest to the image.
• Check your aperture. Here I used a small aperture to get the entire scene in focus - which is how it looked to my eyes.

Recommended gear: 24-105mm IS lens or 70-200mm lens.

Here is a link to a 2001 column I wrote for the Associated Press. Kinda old, but still good info.

Enjoy travel photography? Check out my digital photography workshops.

For more travel and photo tips, subscribe to my blog.

Can't make a workshop, travel and learn virtually via my KelbyOne classes.

Explore the light,

Find the best light for your photographs and videos - anywhere on the planet - with my Photo Sun Dial app.

For the iPhone and iPad.


Photo Sundial - a Must for Any Photographer


I have received tons of "thank you" emails and have seen many positive links and posts about Photo Sundial, my iPhone and iPad app for finding the best light - anywhere on the planet. 

Here's a Facebook note from Kevin Wyllie. Follow the dude on Facebook. His work is awesome.

Thank you Kev!

• • •

Hi Rick, I just wanted to let you know that your SunDial app has been an incredible aid to my wedding business. I used Sunseeker before, but find that having the ability to set any date as well as the venue has enabled me to actually discuss how I'd shoot a wedding when a bride is making an inquiry!

I've used it at weddings and have had several brides actually book me when they see how much care I put into the details like this. One bride has booked a remote castle for late-2015 and her mother wasn't too keen on using me as I hadn't shot there before, and she kept reminding me about another tog who she liked and who "has shot there lots of times and always takes a lovely shot on a bridge over the river" 60 seconds later I was showing her why that particular shot wouldn't work on her daughters wedding day, as it would be in deep shadow from the surrounding woodland. I then showed her the time it would work for her (a 30-minute window, much later in the day than they had wanted a photographer there).

"If you want that shot, you MUST be on that bridge at that time, irrespective of who your photographer is."


Please make sure you tell this to whoever you book" needless to say, this level of planning and detail, almost two years from her daughters date, melted her and I got the booking.

Thanks, Rick - SunDial is a must-have for ANY photographer!

All the best,

• • • • •

All my apps are listed here. Enjoy!

One Spot Open On My January 2014 Tampa Action Photography Weekend Workshop

Photograph by Rick Sammon.

Photograph by Rick Sammon.

If you love fast-paced action photography and photographing the beauty of subjects in motion, please join me or my Action Photography Weekend Workshop in Tampa, Florida, January 17 to 19, 2014.

Photograph by Kathy Porupski.

Photograph by Kathy Porupski.

The workshop is designed to challenge photographers to capture creative images of fast- moving subjects.

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Participants will need to think fast and shoot smart.

Photograph by Jim Sykes.

Photograph by Jim Sykes.

I am working with my friend and local shooter Kathy Porupski to set up unique locations and special access to speeding motocross bikes, twirling dancers and running horses. Another friend and local shooter, Jim Sykes, will also be on hand to help us set up wonderful images like the one directly above. My friend Glenn Taylor is a guest instructor. What could be more fun!

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I will be on hand to offer tips for capturing and processing high-impact images - like the one above. Kinda cool, don't ya think?

The weekend will include shooting sessions, post-processing sessions and a group slide show – plus tons of fun!

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For more information and to sign up for this action-packed workshop, see my 2014 Workshops page. 

Explore the light,