Lewis Kemper's blog

Mid September News

This weekend on the river was very different from most. Due to the fires burning both east and west of Sacramento and some cloudy conditions it never really got very bright out all morning long. While that did eliminate any contrast problems, it certainly made photography more challenging.

Two of my favorite images of the weekend came when I was able to approach a Great Blue Heron standing on the shoreline.  I knew it would eventually fly away, so I anchored my kayak a short distance further back and waited. 

Since this was going a flight sequence shooting, I set the shutter to 1/4000 of a second to freeze the action and set the aperture at f/10 to try and have a little depth of field.

Unfortunately since it was so dim outside (smoke, haze, etc.) that gave me an ISO of 6400 on Auto ISO.  I knew this was the pushing the quality limit of my 7D Mark 2 camera, but opted for the fast shutter and aperture setting, and went for it.

The images turned out, but I’ll always wish it was 1- 2 stops brighter out on that particular morning!




Take and Talk Pics interviewed me yesterday for a podcast. You can check out the interview here:


For a direct link to Stitcher Radio please go to:

For a direct link to iTunes please go to:

If you have a moment, please rate and review the show on iTunes. It really makes a huge difference for the show!


Interested in an incredible, life changing photographic experience?

Join me on one of these: (click the links for more details)


September 26:  Modesto, CA area (Stanislaus County Library in Salida)

 “My Stretch of the River: A Photographer’s Journal”

A live presentation of my multimedia presentation documenting a year on the American River.


November 16- 18: West Palm Beach, Florida

“Create Stunning Nature Images / Everglades Photography”

Learn nature photography with a class that is a combines field and post processing sessions.  


December 11-13  San Francisco, CA

“Sights and Lights of San Francisco at Night”

Spend a weekend doing night photography in San Francisco as it is lit up for the holiday season.  This 3 day session is sponsored by Canon Live Learning and we use their San Francisco classroom for the teaching sessions and then are bussed to locations around the city to photograph at night. Take advantage of the bonus opportunity of Canon’s presence to try out new lenses, cameras and to receive a free print of one of your images!

Looking forward to you joining me for another photographic experience.


Keep on taking great photos,






New Blu-ray DVD - "My Stretch of the River"

In 2013, I moved nearby the American River in Sacramento, CA. I immediately began photographing and documenting my explorations of the river by my home. "My Stretch of the River: A Photographers Journal" contains over 300 images of the scenery and wildlife I encountered over a one year period, narrated with journal entries about my experiences.

Come along on this multimedia adventure of still and video images captured from the land, the water and air. Explore this urban wilderness and learn how the healing power of nature can make a difference in your life. See River Otters, Great Blue Herons, American Mink, Green Herons, Canada Geese, Mule Deer, Egrets and more as I share his year long adventure with you!

                                                       Watch the trailer!




Here are some comments from previous buyers:

"What a wonderful experience this is to share the river with Lewis. This man has such a passion for what he is doing. The energy he has is quite evident. On a daily basis he is there to capture what Nature allows a man to see. So often he is the only one patrolling this unique stretch of water. He certainly has made it his own place and the animals and birds are just so much a visual enhancement. From scene to scene Lewis allows us be a part of these wonderful adventures. I will allow you to follow as well the scripting that leads us through a discussion of the days events. I have watched the piece twice now and know that I will see it many more times and never tire of the experience. Hopefully by the end of the year I will be able to join Lewis and share his stretch of the river."


 "Wonderful video in so many ways; wonderful photography and videography, wonderful nature experience both wildlife and landscape. Lewis' production and story makes it seem like you are on the river with him. It's captivating yet very meditative. I highly recommend this video for photographers, videographers, nature lovers and anyone just wanting a beautiful and peaceful hour of calming relaxation at the end of a busy day. I also recommend buying it vs renting it as you will want to watch this over and over."


To buy the Blu-ray DVD click here.

January News


I just got back from a wonderful week at Fotofusion in West Palm Beach Florida, sponsored by the Palm Beach Photographic Centre. This is my 19th year doing this event and it is one of my most favorite things all year! Besides getting the opportunity to see some of the world’s best photographers and view their work, there are classes and field trips too. There was a great exhibit of work from seven National Geographic women photographers, a wonderful evening of presentations out on the lawn from some of the world’s best photojournalists. In fact there were seven Pulitzer Prize winners at the banquet dinner! Besides photojournalists there are fine art photographers, iPhone photographers, wildlife photographers and many more! It is an amazing place to meet such talented people!
I also get to attend lectures and classes. I like to extend my photographic experience at these events and I usually try and take a class or attend a field session on a topic outside my norm. This year I took classes and went on field trips covering infrared photography (camera converted by LifePixel - use coupon cde lkir to receive priority service) with Russell Hart and night photography with Matt Stock. I had a blast as you can see from the images below.
And if you were walking Clematis St., down by the arts district,  you may have seen these banners! It was great to be in such good company. Some of the other banners were by Joyce Tenneson, Rene Beyer, John Isaac and Vincent Versace to name a few!
I will be teaching two classes at Palm Beach Photographic Centre in March. The first, “Create Stunning Nature Images, Everglades Photography” and the second, “ Mastering the Color Print”, I hope to see you at one or both!
I also want to point out that time is running out to sign up for “Land of Tiger” to travel with me to two national parks in India to photograph wild tigers! This will be trip of a lifetime photographing tigers and visiting the holy city of Varanasi.
And don’t forget next week’s webinar is “Lightroom Track: Taking advantage of the Library module to find your pictures! Unleash the power of Lightroom by learning keywording, rating, editing and searching images.“
And the following week is “Photoshop Track: Using the Local Adjustment Tools to take your images beyond ordinary. Learn how to use the Graduated Filter, Adjustment Brush, and the Radial Filter to set your images apart from the crowd."
Take care,


My 25 Favorite Images of 2014


I am excited about starting off the new year. This year I will be teaching a series of webinars on Lightroom and Photoshop starting next week. In January I am also leading a one day American River Adventure in Sacramento and teaching at the 20th Anniversary of Fotofusion an International Festival of Photography and Digital Imaging, this will be my 19th year! I have two international trips planned, so you can come with me in April to photograph tigers in India and also join me in Myanmar and Angor Wat in October. Also in October I will be leading a workshop to Triple D Game Farm in Montana to photograph wildlife models including wolves, mountain lions, bobcats and more! I will be leading a sold out tour to Alaska to photograph brown bears again this summer, it is too late for 2015 but you may be interested in 2016! Hopefully you will be able to join me for one of these events!
At the start of each new year I look back and the past years images and pick some of my favorites. This year I decided to share 25 of them with you! I have arranged the images chronologically (except for the last one) and included pertinent metadata so that hopefully you will find it educational as well as enjoyable!
Happy New Year!


1. Sacramento Skyline, Sacramento, CA

I was hired to make a time lapse movie of sunset over Sacramento.  While one camera was

recording the images for the time lapse I shot a few versions of this panorama as the sun was going


Made of 9 vertical images stitched together in Photomerge in Photoshop.

.6 sec; f/7.1; ISO 200; 24mm

























2. While walking my kayak back from the river, I spotted these magnolias in the fog on one

of my neighbors trees!

1/10 sec; f/22; ISO 100; 220mm



3. Sunrise, American River, Sacramento, CA. One of many beautiful mornings I get to

experience when I go out kayaking!

Made from 9 vertical images stitched together in Photoshop.

1/200 sec; f/5; ISO 500; 45mm



4. Cormorants at sunrise, Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray Beach, FL. I love working the

backight of sunrise at this location!

1/2500 sec; f/6.3; ISO 160; 500mm lens plus 1.4x extender



5.  Aerial of trees and water, American River, Sacramento, CA

Taken from my DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter with a GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition camera

1/125 sec; f/2.8; ISO 136; 2.8mm



6. Common Merganser and chicks, American River, Sacramento, CA   Finding the chicks riding

the mom's back was one of my favorite things to see in the spring!

1/500 sec; f/7.1; ISO 320; 275mm



7. Sunset, American River, Sacramento, CA  -  I usually go out photographing at sunrise, but I

could tell this was going to be a great sunset, so I grabbed the kayak and went out. This  was

the highest the water had been in a while and I was able to easily go to a location that I usually

do not get to.  It was the right decision!

1/25 sec; f/7.1; ISO 640; 24mm



8. Cowgirl, Blue Moon Rodeo, Columbia Falls, MT. I really enjoyed panning with the riders at

the rodeo. I did some "extra" processing on this one with Topaz Adjust to add the gritty feel.

1/160 sec; f/7.1; ISO 1250; 135mm
























 9. My Kayak, Sunrise, American River, Sacramento, CA. One of the reasons I get up so

early to go kayaking!

Made from 3 images taken two stops apart and merged with HDRSoft Merge to 32 bit plug in for

Lightroom - f/14; ISO 400; 24mm



10. Sow and Cub, Coastal Brown Bears, Lake Clark National Park, AK - Seeing scenes like this

is one reason I keep leading my tour to Lake Clark every summer!

1/400 sec; f/16; ISO 800; 329mm



11. Aztec Dancing, Southside Park, Sacramento, CA. I was always intriqued with Ernst Haas' color

in motion images, so I thought I would give it a try!

1/10 sec; f/22; ISO 100; 75mm



12. River Otter, American River, Sacramento, CA. The otters are my favorite creatures on the river!

1/640 sec; f/8; ISO 1000; 552mm



13. Great Blue Heron, American River, Sacramento, CA. I spotted this heron in front of the glowing

grass 75 yards up river and paddled as fast as I could to get there in time to make this image!

1/500 sec; f/11; ISO 640; 483mm




14. River Otter, American River, Sacramento, CA. I can never resist an otter, especially in great light!

1/250 sec; f/10; ISO 1600; 600mm























 15. Palm Frond, Sacramento, CA. I was trying out my new macro lens in the backyard!

1/50 sec; f/13; ISO 1000; 180mm



16. Great Egret, American River, Sacramento, CA. Everytime I see a Great Egret like that I am

reminded of my friend Deb Sandidge's eloquent black and white image of this bird and I try

to do as well as she did.  I haven't succeeded yet!

1/400 sec; f/9; ISO 200; 600mm





















17.Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Baker. Taken on one of my "San Francisco Night" photo tours.

30 sec; f/9; ISO 400; 32mm



18. Black Bear, South Lake Tahoe, CA. It was fun to see black bears fishing for salmon!

1/640 sec; f/5.0; ISO 8000; 173mm



19. Jeep Trail, Ranthambore Tiger Preserve India. Just one of the great sights of India!

1/30 sec; f/13; ISO 1600; 35mm



20. Women bathing in the Ganga River, Varanasi, India. Watching the people experience the

Ganga River is one of the most fascinating things I have ever seen!

1/250 sec; f/11; ISO 1250; 329mm



 21. A Log Full of Otters, American River, Sacramento, CA. Otters!  What more needs to be said?

1/500 sec; f/6.3; ISO 800; 350mm



22. Waterdrops on leaf, Sacramento, CA. We had a rain so I decided to play with the macro lens. I 

loved the little tiny snail on the stem.  I didn't see it until I processed the image!

1/5 sec; f/32; ISO 500; 180mm



23. Canada Goose Bathing, American River, Sacramento, CA. I spotted this goose splashing in the

water from about 50 yards downstream, so I hurried over to put myself in position to get the

back lighting with the dark shadow and took whole lot of pictures!

1/640 sec; f/16; ISO 5000; 600mm



24. Sunrise in Fog, American River, Sacramento, CA. The foggy days of winter are my favorite!

Made of 7 vertial images stitched together in Photoshop. f/8; ISO 640; 24mm



25. Bear and iPhone. I just had too much fun doing this one!


I hope you enjoyed the images!  Let me know.




Happy Holidays and New Webinar Series

Happy Holidays Everyone!

I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and a very Happy New Year!


I will be teaching a series of Lightroom and Photoshop webinars, each on a very specific topic. These are information packed, hour-long sessions geared to making you more proficient in either Lightroom or Photoshop. Each webinar is only $8.95 and will be recorded giving you freedom to access at anytime. If you cannot make the live date you can still sign up for the live class and you will receive the link to the recorded session. You just won’t have the opportunity to post any questions. I am going to do two tracks. A Lightroom track, and a Photoshop track (For Elements users 90% of what is covered will apply to you). For more infomation click here.


Best Wishes,


Happy Thanksgiving


Hi Everybody,
I hope your autumn was a good one.   I spent the bulk of autumn in India, so I really never had an opportunity to take advantage of the fall foliage, but I hope you did!
I have 2 upcoming events I want to share with you before the Thanksgiving holiday. First I am leading a one night tour/workshop San Francisco Night – Holiday Lights on December 6th for anyone who want to photograph the holiday lights of San Francisco. For more info click here.
And second I am pleased to be the judge for the next Chasing the Light Juried Photo Competition. It is now open for submissions and you can enter for a chance to win some prizes and have your images viewed by over 1000 photo buyers.  CTL is an opportunity for photographers to have their photos seen by the photo community and photo buyers. The top 5 outstanding images will be promoted to over 1000 photo buyers. 
Chasing the Light is open to all photographers and our next theme is WINTER HOLIDAY. Any image captured in winter and/or the winter Holidays qualifies for this juried competition. So upload your best images today for a chance to win. The deadline is December 15th, 2014.
You can view the recent winners on the Chasing the Light website: http://www.chasingthelight.info
If you are thinking about taking a photography class or traveling to some exotic location next year, don’t forget to check out my schedule here. Maybe I’ll see you at Fotofusion in January or one of my classes in March for Palm Beach Photographic Centre. Or perhaps you’ll think about joining me on an exciting trip to India to photograph tigers in April. We will be visiting two of the best tiger parks in India, Kanha and Bandavgarh during the best season for tiger viewing, spending several days at each giving us plenty of time to find tigers. And we have made special arrangements in both parks to offer you a full day tour instead of the normal morning and afternoon tours offered to the general public. This option is not offered by most tours. Click here for more info.
And if scenery is more your style than join me in Myanmar and Angor Wat in October. For more info click here.
And before I say goodbye I’ll share a few of my latest images from the American River in Sacramento!
Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday,


May News!


It certainly has been a while since I wrote! I hope everyone is recovering from the long winter and looking forward to some warm weather photography. I have been busy photographing two of my favorite locations, The American River, here in Sacramento and Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach, Florida. These represent two totally different environments, but both places of great photographic potential in the springtime. Along the river we are experiencing the greening of the vegetation, new flowers and the birth of baby waterfowl. While in Florida this time of year is all about the baby birds! (although I chose to show adults here!) Here are some examples of what I saw!    (Click on an image to see it larger)

I am pleased to announce that I am working with ImageEssence Multimedia to create a DVD of my American River work including stills, video (from both the dSLR and from the GoPro attached to my DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter or attached to the kayak) and original music by Mark Heggen, which will hopefully be released in June! I’ll keep you posted!
In the meantime I am planning for some upcoming seminars, workshops and tours. In May I have a two-part Nature Photography Workshop here in the Sacramento area at Effie Yeaw Nature Center on May 8 and 10, and on May 13th I am giving a lecture for the Coastal Carolina Camera Club in Shallotte, NC.
On June 3rd, I am presenting at Canon’s Live Learning Center in San Francisco, and leading a Canon Live Learning workshop at Triple D Game Farm in Kalispell, MT.
And in July I look forward in returning to Lake Clark National Park, AK for my sold out (maybe you can come next year!) “Bears, Bears and Bears, Oh My” tour.
Meanwhile I have picked up several more subscription clients for my Digital House℞ Calls℠  private online lessons. It is fun having such a diverse group of students. I have been working on workflow, Lightroom, book projects and more!
I have had several people inquire about how I protect my camera gear when I go out in my kayak and the basic answer is I don’t! Which means there are some products I use that minimize my risk, but in the case of a catastrophic accident I am relying on insurance. But while in the kayak I do keep one camera body, with a wide angle zoom, in a dry bag between my legs (of course most of the time the bag is not properly closed, so I can get the camera quickly) the bag protects the camera from splashes and rain. I wear a Cotton Carrier vest harness to secure my camera with the longer zoom to my body. And both cameras have Expert Shields LCD protectors (great idea for all Canon owners and I use them on my iPhone as well!) to keep me from scratching the LCD and to keep water off the LCD area of the camera. It does help that I am using pro bodies and L lenses that come with extra sealing and weather proofing for the occasional splashes!
I hope you are all finding great spring subjects to photograph and that you are creating some wonderful images!
Take care,


Is it finally spring?


Welcome to Spring!
I know some of you are not experiencing real spring-like weather, but I hope it comes soon! We are actually getting some much-needed rain!
As you know I have been doing a lot of photography from my kayak on the American River, so I made a little video of a kayaking experience, by mounting my GoPro camera to the kayak! This is my way of taking you all on ride with me! Here is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7yGB5mWZ3s
Here are a few recent images from the river:
Marv Miller and I taught a very successful “San Francisco Night” workshop a few weeks ago and everyone had a great time working on long exposures, shooting panoramas, etc. We will do a few more of these in the coming months. Here are a few samples of what we did!
I also went to Florida to visit my parents and had a great time shooting some images at Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach. I had an interesting experience there, as I photographed in the mornings. There are a large number of locals that photograph there on a regular basis. When I arrived, at sunrise, there were already at least 20 photographers on the boardwalk. As I walked in, I lingered to take in the sights and access the situation. I noticed most of the photographers had all walked to the east side of some trees that served as a rookery for Anhinga, and Great Blue Herons. I knew I could join the throngs, and I too would get some nice front lit, record shots of the various birds. But I noticed the warm colors in the sky to the east, and realized if I stayed on the west side of these trees that I would get some beautiful backlit and silhouette images. I felt like I was doing something wrong since I was the only photographer on that side of the trees for the next 3 days, but I think it was worth it. Sometimes it pays to be different and to think outside the box! You be the judge:
Here is a list of some upcoming events I will be doing; I hope to see you there!
In April, I will be giving a presentation at the Harrisburg, PA Camera Club’s “Light and Creativity” workshop. May takes me to the Coastal Carolina Camera Club in Shallote, NC, June takes me to the Wasatch Wildlife Weekend in Heber City, Utah and to Kalispell Montana for Canon Live Learning event Wildlife Photography: L Lens Extravaganza
 SPACE AVAILABLE - Due to a cancellation there are 1-2 spots left for this trip - call or email me if you are interested.
Once again I head north to Alaska in July for “Bears and Bears and Bears, Oh My!” an exciting trip to photography coastal brown bears up close! This is my favorite trip of the year and an experience of a lifetime!
Take care and I hope you get spring-like weather real soon!


Winter News


Hi Everybody,
Lots has happened since I last wrote! I just got back from an East Coast swing (managed to go in between all the storms! – no problems or extreme cold) where I gave a presentation for the Coastal Camera Club in Lewes, Delaware, to a great bunch of folks. Plus they bought a bunch of my Lightroom Training DVDs!
But the best part was my high school photography teacher lives there, and I got to spend a night at his house, and he got to attend my presentation. This will be one presentation I will never forget!
Then I went down to West Palm Beach, FL for the 19th annual Fotofusion event. I have been to 18 out the 19 years! It was great to see old friends such as Dan Burkholder, John Isaacs, Rob Sheppard, Janice Wendt, Barbara Ellison, Arnold Drapkin and more, but I also made some new friends and got to meet Ben Lowy, Matt Stock and Alison Wright. (you should check them all out!) Also check out Palm Beach Photographic Center, I am teaching two classes there in March (get away from the cold!) Creating Realistic HDR Images and Exciting Digital Techniques.  I am also leading a trip to Yellowstone for them in September.
I went on a fun night shoot with my friend Marv Miller (we are working on a March workshop night) to photograph San Francisco at night with the holiday lights!
I also have two exciting pieces of news to share and one serious piece of news.
First I got a DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter and I am flying a GoPro camera to take pictures from a new perspective! It is a lot of fun, but I sure need practice with my flying skills!
Here are a few examples:
Yesterday I worked with fellow Sacramento photographer, Pat Livingston, on a time lapse project for a local business and was able to make a cool time lapse of sunset over the Sacramento Skyline.
Check it out here!

And as you know I have been photographing the American River by my home since the summer. And the serious news is due to the drought in California, the flows released into the river (it is dam controlled) have been cut in less than half! I will continue to document how that effects the landscape as well as the wildlife.  Wish for rain and snow!











I hope everybody is having a good winter and the weather hasn't been to harsh for you!

Take care,






Top 20 for 2013 and Holiday Discounts!


2013 is coming to an end and I went through the pictures I took this year and picked my favorite 20 images! (So far – who knows what the next 3 weeks will bring!)  Let me know what you think!
I am also in the process of creating a new, large album of my work on the American River, near my home. This album will continue to grow, so check back often. To view the images click here.
I want to wish everybody a happy holiday season. I know many of you purchase gifts and have been overwhelmed with all the sales between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and that is why I am taking the pressure off. Between now and Dec 23rd I am taking 20% off all training DVDs, cloud based apps, posters, and limited edition prints found on my website. The coupon code:  LKHoliday20  will work on my website and on the Fulltouch website for the cloud based apps. 
Fine prints may not arrive in time for Christmas as it takes time to print and mat the images, but I will do my best. If it won’t arrive in time, I will send you gift certificate you can print out to present on Christmas and the print will arrive as soon as possible!
I also have one space left for my trip to Alaska to photograph the bears. For more information click here.
To check out my Photoshop CS6 training DVDs click here.
To check out my Lightroom 5 DVD click here.
To access my Lightroom training as a cloud based app that you can view on any Internet connected device click here.
To access my Light, Color and Composition app click here.
For posters click here.
For limited edition prints click here.
You may also want to buy your loved one, or yourself, 5 hours of one-on-one Photoshop, Lightroom or photographic training. For more info click here.
Enjoy your holidays!  May they be safe and happy!


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