Today's Guest Blogger: Linda Cullivan

I met Linda Cullivan – and her husband, expert Maine lobster chef and boat captain Mike – a few years ago at a seminar in Plymouth, MA. Since then this dynamic duo have participated (and I use the word participated because they really participate) on my Alaska, Iceland, Bosque del Apache and Florida workshops  – and they are coming to my "Croton Creative Workshop" this fall.

Like many of my workshops participants, Linda and Mike have become my friends. These guys are not professional photographers, but they sure do make professional-quality images.

When Linda casually showed me the last photograph you see in this post, I asked her to write a guest blog post – because I wanted you to see her work. Here goes and thank you Linda!

My friend Rick Sammon asked me to write about an image I recently took of a pileated woodpecker family.  I love birds, and pileated woodpeckers are one of my favorites.  

In the seven years I have been photographing, I did not have any good images of this beautiful woodpecker. 

When a friend called to tell me of a pileated woodpecker family two hours south of where I live, there was no hesitation.  I hopped in the car and drove down to find the nest.   

The directions were good and it didn’t take long to find the site.  I set up my tripod with my camera and Canon 500mm lens with a 1.4x extender and waited. 

There were three young woodpeckers in the nest, and I took a number of shots of them. The day was bright although there were plenty of trees for shade.  I set my ISO to 400 and shot in aperture priority at f/8.  I wanted to make sure I had all the birds in focus and those settings gave me enough of a shutter speed to accomplish that.

It wasn’t long before one of the parents flew into the seen to feed the young.  I managed to get a nice shot of one of the parents flying in to the nest, as well as a nice image of the father feeding the young birds.

There was a group of about a dozen photographers and we "chimped" and showed each other our best images.  It was a great way to spend a few hours.  It wasn’t until I got home and downloaded my card that I found what turned out to be my best image of the day – the image you see below, which is the image Rick "flipped out" (his words) over. 

I’d been happy with everything that I had taken but this image really made my day!

Here is my advice:  Learn from the best, shoot as much as you can and follow your passion.  Combine practice and hard work with a bit of luck and you can get an image that makes your heart sing. It happened to me!

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Thank you Linda for sharing your work. Until the next lobster dinner!

Explore the light,


P.S. Here's a photo of Linda and Mike that I took on my Iceland workshop. Great couple and great fun!