sunday photo/art quote 11/28

It’s the Sunday Photo/Art Quote with a bit of a twist… In support of PPA Charities I turn this space over to Giving Tuesday. But I can’t do that without a chat about a quote so let combine the two!

As photographers we have the unique opportunity to use our photo skills to help out the community. Giving back is a chance, as Winnie says, to help ‘make a life’ rather than just a living. Being able to combine our photography and service to the community is a win-win. And you know how much I like win-win scenarios!

PPA charities quote

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

All the details are below. I’ll be doing my Periscope at 11AM Eastern time. Hope to see you there!

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob


On Tuesday, December 1st, log in to Periscope, Twitter’s live broadcast partner, to join Professional Photographers of America Charities in the first ever #GivingTuesday fundraiser. From 8:00am until midnight, eastern time, we will be broadcasting every half hour. Join in as each of our guests does a five minute presentation on a variety of subjects. Everything from photography to marketing, or even some human interest or general information will be shared. Find us at @PPACharities

Scheduled to appear are (in order): Bert Behnke, Gary Hughes, Mary Fisk-Taylor, Melanie Anderson, Jamie Hayes, Trish Gilmore, Susan Michal, Kay Eskridge, Trish Logan, Bob Coates (hey that’s me!) Jeff & Lori Poole, Carl Caylor, Lori Nordstrom, Trey Homan, Beth Marshall, Bry Cox, Roch Eshleman, Beth Forester, Don Dickson, Tina Timmons, Elizabeth Homan, Michael Timmons, Travis Gugelman, Deanna Duncan, Al Behnke, Cindy Behnke, Cris Duncan and more.

At the end of each segment, feel free to hit the Donate Now button on Home Page if you feel inspired. Then change your profile pic on Facebook or Twitter to one of our icons and challenge others to participate in #GivingTuesday for PPA Charities. If you miss the Periscope broadcast, go to our Facebook Facebook/PPACharities and see the recorded versions.
Find us at @PPACharities

Please donate what you can and mention why you are donating if it is to honor one of the presenters or to help PPA Charities meet our end of year goals. Then remember to ask your  friends and tag them when asking on Facebook or Twitter. For every dollar you pledge we have matching grants, two for $2500 and one for $1000! So that is $3-$4 earned for every dollar you donate. Thank you Mike Hanline of WHCC and Roch Eshleman of Romaguera Photography for your matching funds, and also to our Anonymous friend!

Let’s have some fun and help PPA Charities support our charitable partners like Operation Smile, Dando Amor, the PPA Affiliate Schools and others in need.

Join in on Periscope for live feeds and Facebook and Twitter for updates on Tuesday, December 1st, #GivingTuesday, #PPAGives. Find at @PPACharities

ppa charities

ppa charities banner

PPA Charities.

Professional Photographers of America charity arm is putting on an all day set of Periscopes around photography education on Tuesday, December 1st. Photographers will be volunteering to present 5-10 minute mini sessions on many photography subjects including posing, lighting techniques, marketing and more. Periscopes will be presented every half hour from 8AM EST to Midnight EST.

11AM EST I’ll be sharing information on how PPA’s Imaging Competition can help your photography career from an education and marketing standpoint.

Sessions will be going on all day on Twitter’s Periscope Platform with the address @ppacharities. There’s no charge for any of this education but a donation to PPA Charities is encouraged.

Here’s a list of some of the other professional photographers volunteering their time. Kay Eskridge, Carl Caylor, Lori Nordstrom, Elizabeth & Trey Homen, Beth Forester, Don Dickson, and many more. Bert Benke is heading up this event doing a couple presentations and scheduling and organizing all the photographers.

See you on #GivingTuesday!

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

PS – In 2005, PPA Charities named Operation Smile as it’s charitable partner. A perfect fit for photographers, whose daily business is creating smiles for their clients, Operation Smile’s mission is repairing childhood facial deformities including cleft lips and cleft palates. In 2014, PPA Charities also partnered with Dando Amor, a non-profit organization founded by photographers that is dedicated to improving the quality of life of orphans living in third-world countries.

happy thanksgiving – gratitude

In keeping with the holiday idea I’ve decided to share a post from Jack Canfield on how to put gratitude on the front burner everyday. I found Jack’ writings to be inspirational and helpful in my life. Especially the Success Principles. First I’ll wish you the best of the Thanksgiving holiday and hope that you carry the spirit with you throughout the year.

I now turn you over to Jack’s post…

6 Daily Gratitude Habits That Will Attract More Abundance and Joy into Your Life


6 Daily Gratitude Habits That Will Attract More Abundance and Joy into Your Life

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”
– Mother Teresa, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

With the American Thanksgiving almost upon us – and Hanukkah and Christmas just around the corner – we are officially entering into “peak gratitude season,” when we celebrate our thankfulness for all the good things in our lives.

But wouldn’t it be wonderful to experience that level of joy, love, and appreciation every day of the year? How would it change your life if you did?

Gratitude attracts more good things to be grateful for

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
– Oprah Winfrey

Appreciation is one of the highest emotional states you can experience. When you cultivate gratitude, you’re able to feel true joy and contentment, no matter what you have or don’t have in your life. And since the Law of Attraction states that like attracts like, when you’re grateful for what you already have, you will naturally attract more for which you can be grateful.

However, many people find that it requires great diligence to cultivate a persistent attitude of appreciation. That’s because we’ve been culturally conditioned to focus on what we don’t have, rather than appreciating what we’ve already received or achieved.

To help you combat this conditioning, here are 6 simple tips on how to make gratitude a natural part of your daily routine, so you can attract more joy and abundance into your life all year long:

1. Take 7 minutes each morning to write down everything you appreciate in life

Starting your day this way primes you to be receptive and grateful for everything your day will bring. It also helps you cultivate an air of positivity that makes you naturally more attractive to other positive people – and inspires them to want to help you achieve your goals.

2. Make a conscious effort to appreciate at least 3 people every day

By letting people know how much you appreciate them, you increase their own sense of appreciation and self-worth, and encourage them to pay this positive energy forward to other people.

While most people enjoy receiving verbal appreciation, written notes are also nice because they can be saved and re-read. (For ideas on expressing appreciation, grab your copy of The Success Principles and review Principle 53: Practice Uncommon Appreciation.)

3. Play the Appreciation Game

Set a specific time each day to consciously appreciate everything you encounter. An ideal time to do this is on your way to or from work. Appreciate the people you pass, the road you walk on, the cars that let you merge into a different lane, the street signs that make it easy for you to know where you’re going, the rain that’s nourishing the plants and trees, and so on.

Look for the good in all situations – even those you would normally view as negative. As the saying goes, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” For example, when my wife was in a car accident a few years ago, she could have chosen to berate herself or question her judgment. Instead, she focused on her gratitude for suffering only minor injuries and for the help she received from other drivers.

4.  Carry a physical token of gratitude in your pocket, such as a heart-shaped stone, crystal, or some other small item

A physical reminder can bring you back to your practice of gratitude when your mind has drifted elsewhere. As you reach into your pocket throughout the day and feel the token, use it as a reminder to stop, breathe and take a moment to fully experience the emotion of gratitude. The more conscious effort you put into seeking it out, the easier it will be to find it – and the more powerful your experience will be.

5. Remember to appreciate the smallest blessings

The best way to activate your gratitude is by acknowledging the gifts most people take for granted. If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes in your closet and a roof over your head, you are better off than 75 percent of the world’s population.

If you eat three meals a day, you are far better off than the 1 billion people on the planet who eat once a day at most.

Do you have a phone?  How about a car that allows you to travel to work or to explore the country? Is your family healthy? Do you have a computer and Internet access to stay in touch with the world, get access to education, and perform work for which you are paid? Do you have clean water to drink?

Celebrate these simple blessings. These daily conveniences are gifts that most people in the world do not enjoy.

6. Appreciate yourself

Finally, don’t forget to appreciate your OWN positive qualities and accomplishments. In addition to celebrating your big successes, acknowledge your small daily successes too. We all need acknowledgement, but the most important acknowledgement is that which we give ourselves.

One of the most powerful ways to acknowledge and appreciate yourself is by doing the Mirror Exercise. This powerful exercise requires you to appreciate yourself for the day’s accomplishments while talking to yourself in a mirror. For detailed instructions and guidance for the Mirror Exercise, see page 199-201 of The Success Principles.

It may not feel natural at first to focus on appreciating what you already have, but by faithfully practicing the Daily Appreciation Habits outlined in this article, you’ll begin to change your conditioning.

To kick-start your daily gratitude practice, take a few moments to share at least three things for which you’re grateful for in the comments. Even the smallest act of gratitude will have a positive impact on your life.

Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul® and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:

– See more at:

ottmar liebert sound bites grill photo art part two

Photoshop Tutorial Creating Photo Art

Let’s go into a little more detail on the creation of the photo art for the Sound Bites Grill ‘Wall of Fame’ with guitarist Ottmar Liebert as the subject.

The process is one I’ve dubbed Photo-Synthesis taking multiple images and using Blend Modes, Layers, Masks, Fx, Adjustment Layers and more to create the final piece. First here is the final piece as it now hangs at Sound Bites…

final photo art

Finished ‘Wall of Fame’ image featuring Ottmar Liebert

starting images for photoshop tutorial

Raw materials for the final photo art.

layers palette for photo art

Here’s the Layers Palette with Layer Modes and Opacity Levels indicated. I recommend reading from the bottom to the top to get a better feel of my process.

I usually start with the base Layer and add a texture I feel will blend well. Then I experiment with different Blend Modes and Opacities to get the effect for which I am looking. On the MAC if the Move Tool is highlighted then holding the Shift key and hitting the + & – keys you can scroll through the various Blend Modes seeing their effects in real time.

This should give you an idea how I work with Adobe Photoshop in creating photo art projects.

Have any questions?? Let me know.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

PS – Textures are available everywhere. Even from fellow photographers. I have a large library of different kinds of texture but for some reason I found myself attracted to two textures from one of the people who inspire me, Thom Rouse. That’s a link to some amazingly fantastic images. Thanks Thom!! BTW if you ever get the oppourtunity to see Thom speak don’t miss it. It’s a fabulous walk through the art world



ottmar liebert sound bites grill photo art

Been a little bit since I’ve photographed a new artist for the ‘Wall of Fame’ at sound Bites Grill in Sedona, Arizona.

Had the great pleasure of capturing fabulous guitarist Ottmar Liebert who sold out the house and ended up performing again tonight (Monday) because he was such a popular artist.

Here’s the art piece I assembled using my Photo-Synthesis technique using Adobe Photoshop and multiple images blended together.

ottmar liebert guitarist photo

Performing live at Sound Bites Ottmar Wall of Fame Photo Art image

Initial image was captured with the Lumix GH4 and the 42.5mm f1.2 Nocticron lens. 1/60 sec 3200 ISO I love the density range that the GH4 can hold even under the LED stage lights. Three additional images were pulled from my files and using Blend Modes, Layers, Fx and Adjustment Layers came up with the final art.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

canyon creek ranch

Dusty western streets lined with aged buildings hinting very strongly at a bygone time.

Characters in period dress move through the streets as if they’ve returned home from the present day. That was the Arizona PPA Fall Fest this year organized by AZPPA and headed up by board member Bruce Roscoe of Alayna Photography. Bruce created a calendar with this great bunch of actors and arranged to share their talents during this event. There were five instructors, ten actors and thirty-five photographers in action, learning, sharing and generally having a good time.

I gotta tell you if you live in Arizona, are a photographer and not a member of Arizona PPA you are missing out on education, networking and building lifelong friendships with those of a like mind.

But, I digress just a bit. Here’s an image created after the sun sank (sunk?) below the horizon of the ‘haunted church’ done at the end of the street.

haunted old west chuch image

This was ‘Filo’ one of the actors posing during a light painting exercise held at the end of the day. Lumix GH4 with a 12-35mm f2.8 lens was mounted on a tripod and a series of bracketed exposures was made of the church scene followed by Filo being lit in various positions. Images were then striped together to have our actor studying up on his ethereal image inside.

If you are not in Arizona there is probably a Professional Photographers of America Affiliated group not too far away from you. You can check the list. I travel around the country and have spoken to many of these groups and I can tel you that the education acquired from being a member and participating as a volunteer can help you grow your photography business.

Lots of photographers suggest that they can get all the photo education they need from  the web and online tutorials. I beg to differ there’s no beating live in person education and if you are not already a member of one of these organizations I encourage you to at least visit for one or two meetings. You be glad you did!

Yours in Creative Photography,    Bob

PS – The event was help at Canyon Creek Ranch and should you find yourself in central Arizona it’s a place you might want to check out!

sunday photo/art quote 11/22

I went down to authorville today to find a quote for this Sunday. John Steinbeck. You may have heard of him. He wrote over twenty-five books. Some of them pretty well known!  He also penned this quote and I think it speaks volumes to something we photographers need to spend time thinking upon.

john steinbeck quote

“In art the subject upon which you concentrate is unimportant; it is only the quality of your concentration that counts.” John Steinbeck

Spend some time with this thought.

OK. Welcome back and here are some ideas from me.

We photographers take a shit-pot (please excuse my french) of images and find ourselves disappointed that we don’t have a really strong body of work. I feel it has to do with the ease of being able to make a picture these days and the ease of being able to share them, And, the lack of time and energy we spend on creating any single image. I see many photos posted receiving comments like ‘Fantastic!’ ‘Beautiful!’ And one of my favorites, ‘Amazing!!’

When in reality the image is nothing more than an OK snapshot.

I feel the best images I have been able to create are the ones that have involved planning, thinking, and yes, some serious concentration. I hadn’t realized it quite so clearly before. Thanks Mr Steinbeck for bringing a little clarity to my thinking and my art!

What do you think? How’s your concentration??

Yours in Creative Photography,    Bob

cow skull fun

I’m a fan of some of Georgia O’Keeffe’s art and with her inspiration I am using multiple images and this cow skull on the fence that I photographed at the last Arizona Professional Photographers all day event where I was teaching at a Western set town called Canyon Creek Ranch… (should you ever be in the area it’s a fun place to visit with history, jeep rides, horseback riding and more)

cow skull art

Inspired by O’keeffe

I call this process Photo-Synthesis whereby I use multiple images and blend them together to create something that I believe is greater than the sum of the parts.texture on the fence was created with two leaf images and a sheet metal image using differing Blend Modes in Adobe Photoshop.

This image is part of my ‘play to learn’ time. ‘Play to learn time’ is important for growing your skills and stretching vision.

What have you done lately to push your skills to another level??

Yours in Creative Photography,    Bob

PS – If you would like to have me come speak to your local photography group or set up one on one lessons let me know…

aurora HDR

If you follow Trey Ratcliff you probably already heard about the brand new MacPhun plugin/app AURORA HDR. Well I can’t wait to try it out when it becomes available for download tomorrow but here is a sneak peek video by Trey show you some possibilities…

trey ratcliff image using aurora HDR software

Trey Ratcliff image using aurora HDR software

Trey’s Vid.
If you are looking to learn more about the HDR software click below.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

more sky ranch lodge

More images from the Sky Ranch Lodge photo shoot in Sedona, Arizona. If you would like to see details about the shoot and additional images you can check them out here.

sky ranch lodge room sedona

King Fireplace room.

 pillow detail at sky ranch lodge

Pillow & headboard treatment detail.

kitchenette and Fireplace room sedona arizona

Kitchenette and fireplace room.

reat property with wonderful grounds and spectacular views. Coming to Sedona? Check it out…

Yours in creative Photography,       Bob