photo tours

It's Macphun Friday! Tonality Pro Can Take You Back in Time

Yesterday, I made quick visit to the Wings of Freedom tour , which was in Pompano Beach, FL. Today the tour is moving to Ft. Lauderdale. The opening image for this post is the ONE shot I envisioned before I set out for the shoot – the one image I wanted to make.

Envisioning the end result is often the key to making a good image, and it's the title of my next book, Creative Visualization for Photographers, due out in April.

Knowing in advance that I wanted to capture as much of the plane's cockpit as possible, I shot with my Canon 15mm fish-eye lens - which is discontinued and is replaced by the 8-15mm lens. I shot with my Canon 5D Mark III.

I also knew that in order to capture the entire dynamic range of the scene, I needed HDR. Above is the seven-shot bracketed sequence I used to create my HDR image. It's a hand-held sequence processed in Photomatix.

Hands down, Photomatix is the best HDR program out there. Why? Three reasons:
1) You can create realistic-looking HDR images;
2) Image alignment is awesome, even for hand-held shots;
3) The Program is easy to use.

You can get a 15% discount on Photomatix when you use this code upon checkout: ricksammon.

I liked by HDR color image, but I wanted to create an image with the feel of yesteryear - the feeling that I get when I watch old movies. To reach that goal, I used Macphun's Tonality, and selected the Great Depression filter in the Vintage Collection.

Yes, the Tonality Pro is fun, but it also offer dozens of creative options to help you awaken the artist within.

You can get a 10% discount on Tonality Pro and all the MacPhun products by using this code upon checkout: RICKSAMMON.

Click here to read another post I did on Tonality Pro.

Above is my color HDR image. I like it, too.

Check out my Save on Plug-ins page for more discounts on plug-ins and stand-alone digital imaging products.

We have fun playing with plug-ins on all my digital photography workshops. I hope you can join one someday.

Up, up and away,

7 Tips for Photographing Running Horses - which you can use on my Provence Photo Workshop

As a prelude to my June 2015 Provence workshop (my second trip to Provence), I thought I'd share some tips for photographing running horses. 

But first: Planning on a Provence workshop - any workshop? My advice: Only go with a pro who has been there. Also, compare costs. As you will find, my workshop is the best-priced workshop around.

OK! Here are my tips!

1 - When photographing groups of horses, try to get as much separation as possible between the horses.

2 - Set you camera to the fastest frame rate to capture the action. A split second can make the difference between a good shot and a great shot.

3 - If a horse is running across the frame, leave some room in front of the horse into which the horse can run. If you frame too tight, the horse will "get stuck" in the frame.

4 - Use the focus-tracking AF system in your camera - AI servo in Canon cameras. Make sure the focus point stays on your subject.

rick sammon provence.jpg

5 - When framing your picture, leave some extra space around the subject so you don't cut off part of the tail, ear or hoof.

6 - Try panning, as illustrated above. You need to get lucky or take lots of shots to get a good pan. Try different shutter speeds, from 1/60th to 1/ 15th of a sec.

7 - Note the position of the horse's legs in your photograph. You want the legs in a position that says "action."

My lens recos for photographing running horses on my Provence workshop:
Canon 24-105mm IS lens
Canon  70-200 f/4 IS lens
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS lens


Landscape photography is also a part of my Provence workshop. My favorite lens for landscape photography is the Canon 17-40mm lens.

I hope to see you on my Provence workshop.

My co-workshop leader, Patrice Aguilar (above right), and I will help you make great pictures - in the field and in the digital darkroom. We'll also take you to the best paella dinner you have ever had!

Finally, on the workshop you will hear me say, probably more than once: If you are not having fun, you are doing something wrong. We make it fun!

Explore the light,

P.S. Yes, we'll do street shooting, too!

Out of Africa - and into Texas - Canon Destination Photo Workshop

Registration is open for my Canon Destination workshop at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas – where I took all the photographs in this post.

Dates:  May 27 to 29.

Register Here!

NOTE: CPS Gold and Platinum members get $100 off any Canon Destination workshops - like this workshops and my Atlanta Old Car City/South East Railway Museum workshop.

We booked the entire camp - and we have special photo tours.

Tip: You can stay in the Lodge, but the tents give you a real safari experience. About the tents: they have hot and cold running water, a shower, a hair dryer and AC – same as the lodge.

Small group, big fun! First come, first serve. 

rick sammon.jpg

I've been there five times (once teaching a photo workshop where I took these images) and still enjoy the experience - and that is after going on safari in Kenya four times.

See some of my Africa photo safari images here.

If you are planning a photo safari, check out my KelbyOne Wild Safari class.

Here is a Fossil Rim video of a younger Rick Sammon discussing daylight fill-in flash. And here is a Fossil Rim video on composition.

One more video: A Quick Look at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.

As illustrated in the videos, you can see how long I have been going there. :-)

Explore the light,

P.S. Yes! We will have plenty of time for digital darkroom work, too.

Seven Reasons to Attend My South Beach Speed Learning Photo Workshop

Each year, for the past four years, I've run photo workshops in Miami's famed South Beach in January. This year I am doing something a bit different: I am offering a small group speed learning class from January 15  to 17.

Have a non-photograph spouse? No problem. No charge. He/she can attend the photo and processing sessions as our guest. Fun dinners, too.

If you have never been to South Beach, and want to learn a ton – and have a ton of fun – in a short time, here are seven reasons to join the workshop. Another idea: give the workshop, or any of my workshops, as a gift.

1) Above: You will shoot at night and learn about long exposures - and how to get the very best in-camera exposure.

2) Above: You will learn about seeing the light, composition and creative visualization, the key to getting a good photograph.

3) Above and Below: I will show you how to enhanced your images in Photoshop and in Lightroom.

3a) Did I mention that l like to make learning fun? :-)

4) Above: You'll learn about HDR. I recommend downloading Photomatix for your HDR image processing. Learn about HDR in advance with my iHDR app.

I will also teach creative plug-ins, which you can download here.

5) Above: We'll shoot at sunrise, and work on our images during our download session.

6) Above: We'll photograph sun worshipers, and learn how to work with people, reflectors and diffusers. You will also master daylight fill-in flash - I promise you. So bring your speedlite.

7) Above and Below: At the end of the workshop you'll reflect on how much you learned and how much fun you had.

If you can't make South Beach, my other workshops are listed here.

If you like to learn at home, I also offer on-line training,

Explore the light,

P.S. The image below illustrates a good reason for snowbirds to register for the workshop. :-)

Explore the Light with Me in Bosque - on my workshop and/or with my app

Bosque del Apache, New Mexico is one of the best places in the world to photograph birds – especially at sunrise during the "Blast Off" that occurs late in the year.

Sure, there are no "Great Blast Off" guarantees, because the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is not a zoo - but when the light and birds come together (as they have for me for three years), it's an amazing experience – and a fantastic photo opportunity.

I'm running a small-group photo workshop to Bosque in 2015: November 18-22.  We'll shoot and process and have a ton of fun from dawn to dusk. Shoot me an email for info.

All my 2015 photo workshops are listed here.


If you can't make the workshop, or want some pre-workshop info, check out my app, The Beauty of Bosque on my iPhone and iPad Apps page.

Quick lens tip: Have your wide-angle and telephoto zoom lenses handy. You always want to be ready to capture the telephoto and wide-angle shots.

Quick photo tip: Always have your highlight alert activated. You do not want any part of the bird overexposed and washed out – which is easy to do when it comes to white feathers.

Quick travel tip: Pack hand- and toe-warmers. It can get cold in the morning. However, it warms up quickly - sometimes to t-shirt weather.

I hope to see you in Bosque, one way or another.

Explore the light,