Wildlife Experience

It has been a wild since I last wrote, and a lot has happened since then! I had a very nice time presenting ath Fotofusion, in Florida this year. It was great to see a lot of old friends, and to meet some new ones. I can’t wait till next year! If you’ve never been to Fotofusion, you don’t know what you’re missing. I don’t know too many other events where you can see so many world-class presenters speaking on such a variety of photographic subjects. You can check it out at:

I just recently got back from Kalispell, Montana where I led my first Canon Live Learning program. It was a real blast, and the group was really wonderful. We photographed the wildlife at Triple D Game Farm, capturing images of wolves, red fox, mountain lions, lynx, and coyotes. Click on the image below to see samples from the workshop. After the workshop I went to Polson, Montana to photograph the unusual amount of snowy owls that are there this winter. Click on the image of the owl to see some examples. To see other upcoming Canon Live Learning programs click here.       
Closer to home, I have a pair of mallards that are hanging out in my swimming pool! It does make for some good photographic opportunities.
There are still two spaces left in my trip to photograph the brown bears in Alaska this summer. Click on the image of the bear to find out more information about this trip. Deposits are due March 15.
I hope everybody’s winter is going well, it won’t be long until spring is here!
Take care,


Inexpensive Film Scanner and more

I am frequently asked for scanner recommendations. Up until recently, I haven’t been keeping up with the latest film scanners. But I had a project, come up where I  needed to scan a large quantity of my old 35mm slides. I own a very expensive Imacon film scanner, but to scan 35mm slides you need to remove each slide from its mount, which is very time-consuming. My project was to create a slideshow so I looked into inexpensive film scanners that would be faster and easier to use. I came across Canon’s Canoscan 9000F scanner. It retails for just under $200. It is a flatbed scanner capable of scanning 35 and 120 film. So I decided to give it a try. I’ve been very happy with my results. I can place 4 slides in the film guides and using the software, determine individually how each one gets scanned. In creating the low resolution 4 MB files I need for the slideshow, I am able to scan four images in about 2 min. The software also includes dust removal, fade correction, and backlight optimizing. These options mean that I have very little or no corrections to do after the scanning. The scanner also can scan to a resolution of 9600 PPI which gives me over 300 MB file from a 35mm slide, which is more than twice the size from my expensive Imacon scanner! If you’re in the market for an inexpensive, but very nice film scanner then I recommend the Canon Canoscan 9000F. To see some of the scans click here.
BTW I am scanning for my slideshow at my Canon Live Learning event, photographing wildlife in Montana at Triple D Game Farm. There are still 3 slots open. For more info click here.
I just had an opening for my show “Split Personalities” at the Viewpoint Gallery in Sacramento, CA. It was a great opening, over 1000 people viewed the show. My big panorama images got a lot of attention! The show is until Feb 4th if you are in the area.
Here are some upcoming speaking engagements:
Seattle, WA on Feb 6th
Dallas, TX on Feb 21
Ft. Lauderdale, FL on March 1
Harrison, OH on March 21
North Oaks, MN on March 24
Nevada City, CA on March 26
I’ll be teaching two classes at Palm Beach Photographic Centre, West Palm Beach, Fl
There are still a few spaces left on the trip to Alaska to photography coastal grizzly bears!
Take care,


Creating a watermark with an Action

I had a request from someone to create a video on how I make my transparent watermarks, so I created the video and also show how to make the process an Action so you can just hit a button and make it happen!
Here is the video. I recommend you click on the words YouTube in the lower right to view this on YouTube

and when on YouTube click on the middle icon to make it larger

and when on YouTube also click on the Change Quality setting go to 720p.

I hope you enjoy the video and remember to go to: and check out all my training options!
Happy Holidays,


Random Challenge 12/15/11


I have put a new twist on my Random Challenges! I have made them a video tutorial so you can watch and learn from how I process my images.
In today’s challenge I take this image of a Tibetan dancer
And turn it into this image

Enjoy the tutorial and let me know what you think of the new format.

When watching the video click on the YouTube icon in lower right and on YouTube click the Large Player option  (the middle of the 3 screen sizes in bottom right)



 Take care,




Holiday Lights!


As the year comes to an end picture taking usually gets put on the back burner while we prepare for the holidays. But this time of year offers unique experience of photographing the beautiful holiday lights on display. You should take a few moments out of your hectic schedule and go out with tripod in hand and make some holiday images! Here are a few tips that I think will improve your holiday display photography.
Find a location where they turn the lights on a little early and go out about a half hour before sunset so you can balance the blue sky with the colorful lights. Click on image to see larger view.
Try zooming your lens during an exposure. What I like to do is find an aperture that will give me an exposure of at least 3 seconds, and then zoom the lens part way into the exposure. So for example on a 3 second exposure, I would count to two before zooming the lens. On a 5 second exposure I would count to three or four before zooming the lens. This way your subject gets "fixed" and the zoom adds an accent. The example below is a 3 second exposure where I counted the two before zooming.
Another thing you might want to try is taking a time lapse of the lights. Here is a time lapse I did where I took a picture every 5 seconds for an hour!
Enjoy the season, I hope you make what many wonderful photographs!


I still have space on my trip to Alaska to photograph the bears. For more info click here.
Give the gift of knowledge this holiday season by giving you or your loved one a Digital House℞ Call
Take care,


Random Challenge #2







(click on image to see larger view)
 Before                                                                           After
I guess some Random Challenges are going to be easier than others. This one turned out to be fairly easy. I spun through my Lightroom library and ended up in Tibet 2010! Interesting enough it was a group of images that I hadn’t done much with before. So I picked this image of a man plowing a field with his horse. It was pleasant enough but I wanted to add a bit more impact. So the first step taken was to crop the image and remove the distracting rock wall behind the horse. Then I enabled the lens profile, which corrected for a bit of distortion (not sure why that didn’t happen automatically since it is in my Develop Preset). The next step was to use a little Luminance Noise reduction since it was shot at 1000 ISO. The next step was to go into the HSL panel and add a little saturation to the Yellows and Greens and some luminance to the Yellows. This helped a lot with the color. My last step was to use the adjustment brush to lighten up the horse a bit and to darken the foreground dirt and add a bit of a vignette to the image. And that’s all there was to that image!
Have a great Thanksgiving,


Random Challenges


I decided to play a new game today that I am calling “Random Challenges.” Every so often I am going to open my Lightroom library and just randomly scroll through the grid view without looking at the screen and then just stop somewhere among the images. The challenge will be to pick one out of the 40 images that appear on screen and try to create a worthwhile image! Today’s challenge was difficult. I was tempted to cheat and scroll some more but I decided to be honest and stick with the plan!
Here is the group of images I had to work with.  (click on image to see larger size)

They were all taken at Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach. I visit this area frequently when I am teaching at Palm Beach Photographic Centre. This wasn’t one of my most exciting sequence of images but I did pick out one of a Purple Gallinule, one of the prettier birds in the area.
I also decided I could only use the tools available to me in Lightroom for this exercise. My normal workflow is a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop, but by restricting myself to just Lightroom I am hoping to get more creative in the Lightroom portion of my processing. So I cropped, I burned using the adjustment brush, and I tried a few variations where I kept the bird in color and reduced or removed the color from the rest of this image (I didn’t like these attempts!). I even used the spot removal took which I totally dislike! While it is not the best picture I have ever made, I do think I made it better. Hopefully by trying this exercise on a regular basis, I will improve both my editing skills and my Lightroom processing skills! I’ll share my successes and failure here.
Here is the before and after image:
       Before                                                               After
Let me know if you have any suggestions!



Working on Panoramas!


I have been working on several panoramas, getting ready for a show in January. It has been fun picking images and reworking some of the older ones. I have settled on 9 images ranging from 20” x 109” to 20” x 41”
I’ll be ready to start printing tomorrow!
Here is an older one that I have improved upon. Click on the image to see a larger version and when you get to the web page click on the picture and you will see an even larger image. Come to the show in January and you can see it almost 6 feet long!
The image is made of 10 verticals taken with a 24-105mm L lens at 105mm on a Canon 1Ds Mark 2 camera.
Don’t forget I’m teaching “Getting the Most Out of your Digital SLR Camera” this weekend at Viewpoint Gallery in Sacramento. For more info click here.
And I still have a few spaces to photograph the bears at Lake Clark National Park in Alaska. For more info click here.
My Lightroom and Photoshop classes Nov 9th at for more info click here.
Take care,


23 foot long pano!


This is the biggest pano I have ever attempted! It is made of 31 vertical images taken with my Canon 1D Mark 4 (16MP) camera with a 100-400mm L lens at 250mm. The camera was set to manual at f/8 and .3 sec at ISO 100. I leveled the camera with my Feisol 3372 tripod with the leveling base and then leveled my Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head with a bubble level mounted on the camera.
I did not do a great job of overlapping the images so Photoshop refused to stitch them together in Photomerge, therefore I need to put them together manually! I used a combination of layer masks and auto-blending to merge the images once I aligned them. The whole process took about 10 hours! The completed file is almost 1.63GB in size and will print at 24 x 281.816 inches, that is 2 feet x 23 feet long! I do have a show coming up in January and I may include this image but the longest wall at the gallery will only allow me to print it to 16.5 feet long! Now I have to decide if it’s worth it!



Stars over the Sierra Panoramic

I have taken several star images in my life but I never have created a panorama of star images before. The light for this sunrise over the Sierra mountains was perfect for such an attempt! The exposures were fairly short, 10 seconds at f/4 at 2500 ISO so getting consistent exposures was easy. The worst part was it was 26 degrees outside and I was cold! In fact too cold to think straight and I did not do a good job of leveling my Canon 1D Mark 4 camera with the 17mm TS lens. This caused a real problem when I tried to stitch these images together in Photomerge within Photoshop. The program just couldn’t do it! The perspective was way off and everything was distorted. But I really wanted this pano so I had to resort to the old fashioned way and put it all together manually with layers, layer masks and adjustment layers to get the parts to blend because for some reason Auto-Blend would not work when I created the layers. It was a bit labor intensive, but I am glad I took the time! Notice the constellation Orion just left of center! I was so amazed how much detail the camera was able to pick up on the mountains, because my eyes could not see that at the time. It was worth every finger-numbing minute!




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