sunday photo/art quote 10/4

In seeking inspiration I will often head out of the photography realm and today is no different. Marcel Proust was a French writer of novels and essays. His quote that I share today has a lot to do with observation. And if we are to become excellent photographers we have to do more than just see what is around us. We need to be aware of possibilities that live around us all the time.

Many times when we travel we will get more creative because we are being exposed to new stimuli. What will help us be more effective image makers is being able to see the new among the apparent mundane around us all the time…

marcel proust quote

“The journey of self discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”    Marcel Proust

Proust’s quote obviously doesn’t deal with image making but I feel the sentiment that he expresses for self discovery can be applied to our vision.

Remember, there is looking.

There is seeing.

And, then there is vision.

Go deeper.

Yours in Creative Photography,    Bob

airline to atl and back part two

Yesterday I shared a few images from the window seat and today here are a few more. As a Panasonic Lumix Luminary (check out the Lumix Lounge) I get to work with a lot of different pro and advanced amateur camera gear. On this trip it was going to be very quick run to Atlanta, and back to Sedona, through Phoenix within 72 hours so I wanted to travel light. Camera-wise I couldn’t get much more compact than the camera I’ve dubbed the ‘Pro’s Point & Shoot’ the Lumix LX100. Lot’s of powerful features in a solid, easy to use piece of machinery. All images were captured with the LX100.

sunset window view

You need to change the exposure compensation quite a bit to make this sunset image work. Easy to do as the Exposure compensation is on a metal knurled dial right by your thumb. Up to three stops under or over.

cloud vista from above

I like this view of clouds from above. The layers feel like it might be some kind of lunar landscape. And who knows? It just might turn into one in an art piece…

jet wing over clouds with sun

Working the wing to silhouette over a cloud back with flare from the sun.

Sometimes you just need to push yourself by limiting yourself to find the capabilities of a camera. I hadn’t spent any quality time with this camera before this trip cause I had some other favorites always at hand. Because of this if you have any questions about which Lumix camera might be the best for your needs get in touch and I can share some ideas.

Yours in Creative Photography,          Bob

airline to atl and back

Love looking out from the window seat at 33,000 feet. The views and cloud formations can change at a moments notice! I am inspired now that I am flying quite a bit to capture images. Main inspiration comes from Julianne Kost and her book Window Seat – The Art of Digital Photography and Creative Thinking

On this quick trip to Professional Photographers of America headquarters in Atlanta for a committee meeting I was able to grab some pretty interesting images. Some can stand alone but I have a feeling that most will enter my files as textures and forms and vistas for my art creations.

Here’s a few of the captures…

sun rays over clouds at 33,000 feet

Sun rays over clouds

jet wing over clouds

Jet wing over clouds

 phoenix skyline from airport at sunset

Phoenix skyline from airport at sunset


I used the Lumix LX100 which I have dubbed the “Professionals Point & Shoot” camera. It has fast glass opening to f1.7-2.8. 25-75mm Leica DC Lens. Full video capability including 4K Photo capture. I really enjoy that all camera controls are ‘Old School’ in addition to the menu capabilities. All settings are available via dials on the exterior of the camera including aspect ratio, exposure compensation, focus settings, aperture and more. It’s a rugged little camera that is almost pocket size.

The LX100 was the only camera I brought with me on the trip and I wasn’t disappointed with what I was able to capture. It’s a sweet little machine.

Yours in Creative Photography,    Bob

jeordie at sound bites grill

I always enjoy the challenge of photographing musicians live on stage and the additional challenge of turning the images into art for the ‘Wall of Fame’ at Sound Bites Grill. Last Saturday night it was Jeordie and the Mixology Project. Mix together a sweet voice with some fun, and moving, original music, fine musicians and you end up with a great evening’s entertainment.

Heeere’s Jeordie and the band.

jeordie & the mixology project band

Jeordie right there front and center. Doktor Mo on drums. Chad on lead guitar. Philip on flute. Tony on bass.

Each musician was selected from their photo and placed in the frame. Adobe Photoshop was used for the extractions. Drop Shadows, Inner Glow, Textures and Layer Bend Modes were incorporated in creating the art look for the WOF image. Autographs and the message were signed the night of the performance with black marker on white paper. These were scanned then imported and sized. The signature layers were inverted then the Blend Mode of those Layers was changes to Screen to allow the black to disappear and allow just the ‘white ink’ be left for the viewer.

All images were captured with the Lumix GX8 and the 35-100mm f2.8 Lumix Vario lens. (That’s the 70-200 35mm Full Frame equivalent)

jeordie on stage at sound bites grill

A similar treatment in Photoshop of Jeordie by herself.

I also produce ‘straight’ images of the artists for marketing to the press in color with no artwork. I make the conversions to Black and White so there will be good solid contrast and definition. I’ll show you a couple of those tomorrow.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

sunday photo/art quote 9/20

Wanna be a better photographer?

Don’t show people your less than stellar images.

Here’s the quote from John Sexton that inspires today’s photo/art quote…

john sexton quote

“A photographer needs to be a good editor of negatives and prints! In fact, most of the prints I make are for my eyes only, and they are no good. I find the single most valuable tool in the darkroom is my trash can – that’s where most of my prints end up.” John Sexton

I agree with this quote 100%! in places where you are trying to entice clients, or buyers of art to your work. The exception is in an instructional situation where you are looking for feedback. You can’t learn if you are not willing to make mistakes and learn from them. And many times there are mistakes to be made. Lord knows, I’ve made them and continue to do so. Where the problem is when you step out of the educational realm and share almost every thing you shoot with the world. For example, blog posts sharing a session with 20 images trying to show everything rather than 1-2 fabulous images from that shoot. Or web sites that have just too many examples of what you are trying to share with people. Volume does not necessarily equate with quality. As my friend Skip Cohen always coaches, “If an image is not an image that would get you a job all by itself it shouldn’t be on the web page.” OK that was loosely quoted but you get the idea! (check his web site for lots of marketing and photography ideas!)

Remember I said I still make mistakes??

Time for me to tear apart my commercial web site apart and start tossing older and not the best images I have to offer.

How about you?

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

PS – John Sexton is a wonderful Black & White image maker. If you’d like to see 17 more quotes by John Sexton curated by John Paul Caponigro look here

wall of fame times two

Here are the ‘Wall of fame’ images for Sound Bites Grill from last Saturday night.

leroy miller wall of fame image

Leroy Miller Blues rocker

grant ferguson bues guitar

Grant Ferguson Blues guitar.

All files were captured with approximately the same settings on two different cameras with the Lumix 35-100mm f2.8 lens. Even though I worked with the Lumix GH4 for most of the captures I had brought the new Lumix GX8 to test in these lighting conditions and both of these were captured with the GX8… HMMMM food for thought.

Camera settings. 1/80th to 1/100th sec. f2.8 ISO 3200 Aperture Priority – 2/3 stop Exposure Compensation. Files then opened in Adobe Camera RAW and shadows opened a bit and highlights pulled down just a bit. The art effect was created using multiple texture images, Blend Modes and Layer Masks in Photoshop a process I call Photo-Synthesis.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

hdr lumix gx8

Went to Sound Bites Grill, my favorite restaurant, to see some of my favorite musicians play and was not disappointed on either case. Food was great and the entertainment of Miller, Martin and Ki was stellar as usual.

And also as usual, even though I wasn’t working I brought my Lumix GX8 with the 20mm f1.7 lens to the party to try to push some features. The table I was at had a very tough view of the stage as far as the camera goes. Deep shadows in the corner and Sunlit rocks out the window behind. I thought I’d try the HDR setting to see how it would do. There are menu choices of bracketing by one, two or three stops but there’s also an automatic setting. Now there’s an additional part of this challenge we have moving people. I made a number of exposures with a few distorting features until I realized I needed to bump up the ISO to get faster shutter times and watch for moments ‘between the movements’ of the performers.

musicians live on stage

Finished image. But, what I’d like you to do is compare the two images below to see the difference.

musicians photographed in HDR

Straight out of Camera – 20mm @1.7 ISO 1600 Aperture Priority with auto setting for HDR capture


SOOC – 20mm @ f1.8 400 ISO Aperture Priority

Call for some more experimentation but I think the camera HDR setting handled a very difficult scene extremely well. A little additional processing in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop could tweak the HDR image to be somewhat better in taming the saturation and working tones a bit but I’m happy.

“Wait a minute Bob I thought the HDR feature saves images as jpegs. How are you going to process the file in ACR??”

If you have the image highlighted in Adobe Bridge using CMD R (mac) or Ctrl R (pc) will open the jpeg image in Adobe Camera Raw allowing you to use those controls. Very handy!

I also captured some 4K video that I haven’t had time to process. That will have to wait for another post…

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob


silver medalist ppa

Received a nice piece of mail the other day celebrating the images from my Artist case at Professional Photographers of America (PPA). It was the certificate indicating that I was named a Silver Medalist in the International Imaging Competition.


The Silver Medalist certificate from the Artist Competition

There’s a new triangle on my ribbons. Once you have earned a degree from PPA you are charged to wear the ribbons and degree designations to all PPA and PPA Affiliated events. As former President Ralph Romaguera once said. “When you see people wearing these ribbons and medals don’t be intimidated, they indicate permission to ask questions and talk about photography!”

Earning the Silver Medal also made me an Elite Photographer for the following year because I have earned and Imaging Degree along with a Photographic Craftsman Degree and earned the Certified Professional Photographer designation. The Elite Photographer Award is only given to a few photographers in any year. I find myself extremely fortunate and thankful…

Here are the images from the submission…

 polo magazine art proofs

Sarasota Polo Magazine Designs

PPA image results

Keeping Watch


One Point One Five Seconds


Sandhill Cranes

photographers health back part three

I’ll remind you that I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I am just sharing ideas that have worked for me over the years. Please consult a health professional before trying anything shown here…

Back pain can put a real hitch in your giddy-up! It can make work miserable if you can even do it depending on your injury.

In the first installment Photographers Health Back Part One we talked about learning, or at least reviewing, the proper way to pick up, carry or move heavy objects. We also discussed proper shooting form to prevent injury. Lastly we looked at an exercise program to strengthen your body to help prevent injury.

Photographers Health Back Part Two I introduced you to Pete Egoscue. He developed a series of exercises and stretches into a program to help you become, and stay, Pain Free. I highly recommend checking out his programs. If you have severe problems he has clinics available to test and give you very specific instructions on how to get back into shape. I have never used the centers but the books have been a real help to me.

 miracle ball method

The Miracle Ball Method kit.

Today I want to share one more alternative exercise idea. And maybe exercise is the wrong word to use for this. It’s called The Miracle Ball Method by Elaine Petrone. It uses squishy balls placed properly while your body sinks into them. Using your body weight and proper breathing are the keys to helping your body realign itself. The kit contains two Miracle Balls and an exercise guide that runs you through steps. Elaine was a dancer who suffered debilitating pain in her back and injured a leg. After trying all the traditional methods including chiropractic, accupuncture, doctors etc she was getting no relief. After research she came up with this program.

Here’s a description in better words than I have… “The work itself is simple. Take a sore back: By resting your aching back on the grapefruit-sized balls and letting your body sink into them, you’re unworking the muscles that hurt. Pain and tension drain out of the body. Petrone shows how proper breathing (which she demonstrates) works in conjunction with a range of unexercises that call for placing the balls under the back, head, knees, hip, elbow-wherever there’s pain-and then resting, rolling, or rotating on them. She points out that relief can come in surprising ways: Lower back pain may be helped by placing the ball under your neck, or a bad knee might be helped by hip work. It’s a revolutionary program of relief, from head to toe.”

Your in Creative, and Healthy, Photography,        Bob

live music capture

Last Saturday night I was on hand to photograph not one but two wonderful artists at Sound Bites Grill in Sedona, Arizona.

Part of my job there is to capture the musicians live on stage and create artwork for the Sound Bites Grill ‘Wall of Fame’. The other part of my gig is to create ‘straight’ photography images to help in promotion and things like press releases for when the artist returns for a future performance.

Here’s a few from each of the performers…

First up was Grant Ferguson

Here’s a description from his web site where you can check out his music. (I particularly like ‘Everlasting Desire’!) “Propulsive, melodic rock guitar in the hands of Grant Ferguson is a powerful reminder of the instrument’s glory days. Influenced by some of the great axe masters: Jeff Beck, Gary Moore, The Edge and others, Ferguson is pushing his all-instrumental sound toward a new rock vision.”

guitaritst grant ferguson

Grant Ferguson makin’ some beautiful sounds flow from his guitar. – Camera Lumix GX8

grant ferguson guitar musician

Live on stage at Sound Bites – Camera Lumix GH4

ferguson live on stage at sound bites grill

Grant captured with the new Lumix GX8. All images used the Lumix 35-100mm f2.8 lens

Following Grant’s set there was a break and we heard from Blues guitarist Leroy Miller.

A little about Leroy from his web site. Check his music (Try Over You from the self titled album) “Los Angeles blues sensation Leroy Miller has worked on countless recordings for music’s brightest stars like John Mayer, Macy Gray and Smash Mouth.  Leroy has toured all over the world as a supporting act for bands such as Aerosmith and the Dave Mathews Band.”

leroy miller on guitar and vocals

Leroy Miller got the crowd up and dancing with his high energy rock guitar. Camera GX8

leroy miller on guitar

Leroy Miller – Camera Lumix GH4

sound bites grill entertainment leroy miller

Leroy Miller wailin’ it! Camera GH4

In putting the images together I make conversions to black and white for all of the press images. This guarantees the best look when printed on a press. If someone just converts a color image to grayscale the reproduction of the detail can get lost especially in newspaper reproduction. I often use Google’s NIK Silver FX Pro 2 for making the conversions. It gives me lots of options to make the Black & White have tones from light to dark without getting muddy or flat.

On this shoot I tried out the new Lumix GX8 for the first time under LED stage lights to see how it held up to the dark shadow areas and the lack of full spectrum in the stage lighting. I was impressed. While I would replace my GH4 camera with the GX8 I wouldn’t hesitate to use it as a back-up or grab it in a pinch. The quality of the images wouldn’t suffer one bit.

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob

PS – I’ll show the Grant and Leroy’s ‘Wall of Fame’ images in a couple days.