Monday, January 10, 2022

Winter Stream


This winter image was taken in southwestern Ohio just a few days ago with my cell phone. I had not expected to find anything so I had not carried my normal camera gear. All of a sudden this image jumped right out at me. 

This just goes to show that the composition is much more important than the gear used to capture the image. 

I hope that all of you are staying safe and warm this winter.

More later.......

Tuesday, July 16, 2019


 Things that beginning photographers could do better! 

Around here I see a lot of beginners. You know, the folks that just bought the camera or have had it for years and never really learned how to work with it. They go out to the woods expecting to return with something great and are disappointed with the results they obtain.
So, just to help you along, here are some of the common things that can go wrong when you are out with the camera.

1)  There is no plan! Don't just jump out of the car and start shooting. Walk around a bit, without the camera,  maybe the best image is four feet away. It seems that if you have a camera, you will take a photo without much thought. So, start without the camera and just LOOK at what is there. Begin to plan your image. Where are the darkest parts? What is the lightest thing in the image? How do these look in reference to each other?
What are the dominate shapes? The subordinate shapes? Do they help support each other? Make a plan for your image!

2) The colors clash! Now, sometimes clashing colors can be a good thing but mostly nature has harmonious colors.  Do your colors harmonize? Try shifting the image just enough to allow the colors to work together.

3)  The image is over-processed! The post-processing should be done very subtly and not be glaringly obvious. Most beginners go a bit wild with the post-processing software. Around here we work with the students a lot with Lightroom, Photoshop and On1 software and we do it very lightly. It should look very natural and not show that any processing was used.

4)  Out of focus backgrounds!  Utilizing the depth of field that you have available will give you a much more cohesive image, even in portraits. One or two wide-open shots are sufficient to establish the tight headshot of the subject. The rest should be more inclusive and show the surroundings, placing the subject in a space that emphasizes their connection to the location. We recommend using color, shape, and lighting to distance the subject from the background.

Friday, May 4, 2018

A New Era Begins

A New Year Begins 
Due to the many attacks the blog has moved to this location:

In 2017 the site had problems with downtime. Multiple hacking attacks and ransom ware issues took their toll. It required a lot of time and effort to reclaim, repair and rebuild everything.
During the process of recreating the site, I had plenty of time to think about ways to make it not only more secure but to improve the content as well. I have given a lot of consideration to my goals for the site and how best to achieve them.
So much of what you see in the world these days is negative. We go about our lives with a list of worries too long to recite. Most of the things on that list are outside our personal control, which only adds to our distress.
In my view of the world, I prefer to focus on the things that are Right vs. Wrong. I choose to see the Beautiful vs. the Ugly and to think about the Best, not the Worst.
As part of this philosophy, I would like my site to be a source of positivity and beauty. A place where people may come to view images of natural wonder, think a few uplifting, positive thoughts and move on feeling refreshed not distressed.
With that goal in mind, in 2018 I am taking the blog in a new direction. My focus will be more on creativity and beauty, less on technical and commercial issues.

As you may know, I am a professional artist working in several different mediums, including photography, stained glass, and painting. I have found that there is a commonality to all these mediums and in my opinion to all art forms.
You must first learn to master the basics, the mechanics if you will, of your chosen medium before you may then strike out on your own to express your unique vision of the world.
There are many places where you can learn these basics, things such as how to use a camera on manual settings, how to cut and grind glass, or how to mix almost any color from a limited number of paints on a pallet.

The “ART” part is what’s different.
How do I learn to see what would make a captivating photo? How do I make it look so natural that people feel as if they were standing inside the scene?
What subject can I paint that has not been done before? What vision of reality can I conjure with oils on a canvas?
What glass panel design can I produce that is not already in a pattern book? What pattern of transmitted light can I use sunlight to create?

To paraphrase Edgar Degas, “Art is easy until you know how.”
The easy part of ART includes the tools and equipment. All these physical things can be purchased, owned and used.
The difficult part of ART is the emotion and vision. These intangible things cannot be bought and are best when shared with others.

So… In this New Year, the focus of this blog is changing in form as well as location. It will speak much more to the ART side of things. We will discuss beauty, vision, creativity, emotion, elegance, grace and the journeys these elements take us on.

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Creativity in 2018

“Great art picks up where Nature ends.”     – Marc Chagall

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Creativity in 2018

1) Purchase a yearlong calendar and plan your creative year.
Buy a month by month calendar that displays beautiful, inspiring photographs. As you flip through the scenes consider what creative goals you would like to work toward this year. Would you like to travel to places you have never been and record new sights? Are you interested in working with night time photography? Would you like to record every sunset for an entire summer? Are there skills you need to develop or improve to attain these goals?
Once you have determined your goals, break them down into small manageable pieces. Do you need to purchase supplies, adjust your schedule, obtain education or coordinate with others in order to make things happen? Set a time table to achieve each of these pieces and use the calendar to mark down your “Complete By” dates.
For example – If you need to purchase an art tool, break the cost into monthly increments. Mark your calendar to save that amount each month. Set your Completion Date for the purchase and mark that date as well. Once the tool has been purchased, mark your calendar with the dates you will use it.
You might decide you would like to photograph every full moon for the entire year. Use your calendar to record the full moon rise time and dates. Plan your schedule to be available at those times. Decide what location would be best to shoot from and list that information as well.
Remember the age-old axiom, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

2) Be In the Now
After all of this far ahead planning, you must remember to Be In the Now. 
We can only live life in the present, but because the world runs at warp speed with so many things going on all at once, we miss much of it. A customer once asked me where a photo was taken. When I told him he said, “I drive past there every day and have never seen that.”
Today’s accepted focus is multitasking. We try to accomplish three times the chores in half the time. Haven’t we all seen the person driving down the highway while talking on the phone and eating a sandwich? Did they even taste the food?
We must learn to turn off the “autopilot” setting of our life, slow down a bit and PAY ATTENTION to what is going on right NOW. Once we slow down enough to perceive our surroundings, we suddenly notice the striking way the sun highlights those simple trees we drive past every day.
3) Learn Something New
When we do the same thing the same way every day what happens? We take things for granted. We get stuck in a rut. We stop growing. We lose our creativity. How can we become a better artist if we never challenge ourselves to improve by learning a new technique, changing our tools or experimenting with new methods?
Stimulate creativity by learning something new. Try traveling a different route to and from work. Go driving in the countryside and take random turns down side roads to see where they lead. Have you always used Lightroom to process your images? Experiment with On1 Raw or Photoshop instead. Have you always used a three light set-up in the studio? What can you do with only one light? Shoot twenty photos of a coffee mug that are all different. By number twenty I guarantee you’ll be getting creative!

4) Let Go of Negativity
Have you ever said, “I can’t do that?” I bet you have.
The problem is, when you say, “I can’t do that,” you are self-sabotaging. You are taking careful aim and shooting down your creative goals before they even have a chance to blossom.
I’m telling you Of Course You Can! 
The first time you try something you may not be an expert, but how do you think the expert became one? Being an artist is about the ongoing process of creating art. There is a development curve involved. When you first begin your art it will look a certain way. After you’ve spent some time working it will become more polished. Every time you create you learn and grow. The only way to fail at creating art is to stop trying! Can you try? Of course you can!
Another potential pitfall with negativity… other people. Who in your life is whispering into your ear that you won’t succeed? Maybe they don’t whisper, but say it directly to your face or in front of all your friends? Have you been told, “You can’t do that?”
Don’t listen to them! Let go of or avoid anyone who tells you that you can’t accomplish your goals. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who encourage you to be your best.

5) Revamp Your Space
When you walk into your creative space it should make you sing with joy. It should support and stimulate your creative juices. The space should say to you, “Create something!” It should not make you feel tired, overwhelmed or leave you thinking, “Geeze, I really need to clean up this mess.”
If your space is cluttered, clean and organize it. If it is dark, add lights. Fill the space with things that inspire you to create. Hang some photos of your creative heroes. Post some beautiful images you admire and wish to emulate. It is not about getting it “right” because there is no “right” way to design this space. It is all about customizing a work space that inspires you to do your best creative work.

Apply these five creativity basics and make 2018 your New Year to Create!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Why take a photo class?

Do you own a digital camera but are so overwhelmed by all the bells, whistles, and buttons that you give up and leave it set on automatic?
Would you like to be able to make excellent images instead of the average snapshots you get from the automatic settings?
On the first night of one of my beginning classes, a student expressed the opinion that he took good photos. After 3 lessons the same student stated that he now realized what a good photo looked like and that his work was greatly improving.
One of the primary reasons to take a photo class is to learn to appreciate and identify a quality image. This gives you a tangible goal to aim for.
A second reason is to learn the technical information required to create a quality image. An excellent result is based on proper knowledge and correct application of photographic principles.
A third reason is to receive feedback and support as you develop your photographic talents. A good instructor will guide you to create your best work.
The last but not least is to HAVE FUN!  Enjoy and share your photos of family holidays, reunions, friends, your pets antics, vacations,  and gorgeous sunsets.
The next session of classes begins March 5th. You may sign up by using the Paypal link in the right sidebar. I hope to see you in class.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Cedar Falls- A Study in Black and White

Cedar Falls a Study in Balck and White

A well-recognized waterfall in the Hocking Hills region of Ohio.
Sometimes things just look better in  B and W. This is a case in point.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Backyard Flower

Sometimes you do not need to travel very far to find a good subject for photography. This was in the back yard about 4 feet from the door. The light was right for a good image. The new class term starts on Aug 21st. You may sign up in the right side bar here on the site.