sunday photo/art quote 3/1

Dean Collins was a lighting master extraordinaire and wonderful educator. If you have the chance to study his old videos you will learn a lot. Purchase here.Yes, he was still based in film but the lighting techniques don’t change. You’ll have to watch several times because he’ll probably be talking over your head until you expand your vocabulary and put some of his ideas to work. (pause buttons work great with Dean’s videos ’cause you can take time to absorb before moving on)

Dean mentioned one thing that really sticks in my head and leads to today’s Photo/Art quote and that was to break down your lighting equipment every night. Put away your lights. If you leave them in the same positions that they were in the day before chances are you’ll be making the same images you did before…

berenson quote

“Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.”  Bernard Berenson

Bernard Berenson was an historian that dealt with art so we let him in to the Photo/Art quote on Successful-Photographer. You know I don’t need a heavy connection to photography to bring up a point or two in these Sunday conversations…

Anyway, I digress. The point is I’m a firm believer in education and experimentation. I believe it was Einstein that said, and of course I’m paraphrasing here, ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same things the same way and expecting different results’. We need to attend lighting programs, sales programs, read books, magazines and scour the Internet and try new things if we are to grow as image makers. I see many photographers stop attending workshops and monthly photo meeting and I quickly see their image making skills grow stale.

Seek. Practice. Play. Become a stronger image maker. I dare you.

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob


chattanooga photo programs

At the end of the week I’ll be winging my way to Tennessee to present a couple all day programs on my techniques for creating fine art painterly images called Photo-Synthesis.

photo seminar flyer

Get more info here

The first day will be in-depth starting with the basics in Photoshop and is hosted by the Photographic Society of Chattanooga and sponsored by Panasonic and the Lumix line of cameras and is $20 Contact the society to sign up and pay. Day two will be more in-depth and hands on. We’ll hit the streets to capture images to work with then go to our individual computers to create artwork with me stepping you through the process… That class will be $49. Get in touch with me to sign up and pay.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

black and white photo conversions

Take away the color!

Let the shape, form and tones come forward… Simplify.

It’s easy to do but not necessarily simple.

Making black and white conversions of our images can give a whole new level of depth to our image making skills. With the ability to touch every single pixel we have more control than ever before. Ansel Adams would have been in Heaven to have this level of control to achieve the image he saw in his mind. That was what the Zone System and his special ways of exposing the scene and processing film not to mention choosing paper, light source and dodging and burning in the darkroom to pull the print he wanted.

Today’s subject is a green bloom from a Gopher Plant. Lots of green tones from light to dark are represented in the capture. By the way I used the Lumix FZ 1000 in Macro mode. When zooming in to 400mm you can fill a frame pretty well with it’s minimum focusing distance of 3.3 feet. If you shoot wider you can focus down to 3 centimeters but without adding supplemental light I find I have too many shadows to deal with so photographing from a distance can be helpful. In this case I was back just a bit with a 27mm equivalent setting.

gopher plant

Original capture.

black and white conversions of gopher plant

Different settings and conversions to black and white.

You may or may not like the one I choose which is a combination of some of the settings seen above. The point is through experimentation and using different ways of stripping color from an image you can create many different feelings from the same information. One of my favorite programs for converting to black and white is Google’s NIK Silver FX Pro 2. By the way if you own a license for almost any NIK product Google will hook you up at no charge for the full NIK software suite. If you don’t have a current one you can get the suite for, I believe, $149. This is some solid software with lots of creative possibilities.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob



sedona film fest party at sound bites grill

The parties move around to a different restaurant each night during the Sedona Film Fest and last night it was Sounds Bites Grill playing hot with a great spread and music by Ralf Illenberger on guitar and Troy Perkins on his handmade bass. Just seeing the work Troy did on his bass guitar shows me he’s a pretty incredible carpenter! (missed the name of the drummer… sorry about that!)

Michele asked me to stop by to create some stock advertising images for future promotion of the restaurant showing how they take care of biz for group events. Here’s a few.

chef making bananas foster

Chef kicking out the Bananas Foster

behind band on stage at sound bites

Capturing the crowd from behind the stage

Band with crowd at sound bites grill

Looking round from the regular direction, crowd to band photo.

stage art image

A little slice of the stage with the Sound Bites logo lit on the wall.

Images were captured with the Lumix GH4 and a bit of on camera fill flash. Always try to not make the flash apparent by dragging the shutter (slow shutter speed) to allow the background to register with the ambient light and then a kiss of flash to freeze and fill the foreground.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

lumix fz 1000 on hand

While at the Virginia Professional Photographers Association Convention in Richmond I tended to have the Lumix FZ 1000 in hand. The more I use this the more it seems to want to become my second camera. It weighs just under 2 and a half pounds but has a huge zoom range. 25-400mm at f2.8-4.0. The optical stabilization is pretty darn amazing and it handles quite well. It’s not a pro camera but has a ton of pro features.

I like to have a camera with me almost all the time because you just never know what you want capture at a moments notice. Here is a hallway captured in two different ways at the same time using a preset and using the RAW plus jpeg setting.

hallway photo

Liked the lighting in the hallway with the father and son walking…

hallway photo black and white

Caught this rendition of the hallway scene at the same time using a preset that I tweaked to black and white.

lighting class with Jeff Dachchowski

This lighting class with Jeff was shoot in a completely darkened room. Opened the RAW file and pulled up the shadow slider a bit and pulled down the highlights slider and was able to tame the contrast.

Word is ‘proper tool for the proper job’ and I find the Lumix FZ 1000 camera under at $895 MSRP and available on Amazon for $717 to be an amazing deal…

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

PS – remember if you like the info being presented here using the links (like to Amazon) help support the web site with small affiliate fees.

vppa quick portrait

When fellow photographers ask for a quick portrait even though lighting conditions are less that ideal and time is very short you take a crack at it. This is Kathleen and Marc who were kind enough to pick me up at the airport when I went to Richmond, Virginia to speak and judges images at the annual convention.

marc and kathleen image

Kathleen and Marc Busch. Fellow photographers from Virginia after a little Photooshop photo.

kathleen & marc photograph

RAW capture of Kathleen and Marc

As you can see even a quick photo grab can turn out quite nice. Never pass up the opportunity to capture a memory. Photo made with the Panasonic Lumix FZ 1000 a bridge camera. 25-400mm f2.8-4.0 4K Video. Not quite a pro body but has amazing features that take it way above an advanced amateur camera! Becoming one of the cameras I like to have with me all the time to cover my butt when I see something cool but can’t have the entire pro kit with me.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

sunday photo/art quote 2/22

Imaging Competition… and becoming a better photographer.

“The judges were really hard this year!” “They weren’t there so they can’t see how hard I had to work to get that photo!” “My client loved that image and paid a lot of money, what do those judges know?”

I hear this call from almost every group during and just after the competition. (as a matter of fact, I remember saying these exact same words to myself when I first started competing) It echoes. And repeats as photographers who have not done so well in the scoring commiserate with each other. Until… Those photographers who want to grow speak to the judges one-on-one following the judging to get feedback on why their image did, or didn’t, do so well.

I was in Richmond, Virgina this past weekend working with photographers who are trying to up their game… And, it was a wonderful experience. These photographers heeded the call to improve their work through having peers examine and rate their imaging skills. They followed up and after hearing the comments on what could be improved and what the judges saw in the photo, as presented, the lights started going on with smiles as they realized how they could become better image makers.When giving critiques it’s great to see a makers eyes light up as they find out what the judges felt they did right in the image, and even more important, what they could to improve their photography. Whether it be improving lighting skills, composition, subject matter, color harmony, story-telling, technical excellence, image presentation and more.

If you are looking for some information on how to do better and what judges are looking for you can find more resources on the PPA web site. Pay particular attention to the ’12 Elements of a Merit Image’.

Which brings me to today’s Photo/Art quote…

competition quote

“I am in no competition with anyone else, I am in competition with my Yester Self, and I am winning.” Anonymous

While it’s great to win awards it’s even greater to realize that they have already won just by being in the game of improvement through participation. It’s never comfortable hearing that your image is not the best in the world.

I can’t wait to see what these photographers will create in the coming years because they cared enough to put their work out there for the world to see in imaging competition.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

PS – FYI. I’ve been entering competition since 1999 at State, District and PPA International. I still do. Why? Because I want to continue to push my imaging skill to a higher level. And, every time my image spins so does my stomach. When that stops happening I’ll probably retire cause it will mean that I no longer wish to improve.

virginia professional photographers association convention

I’m here in Richmond, Virginia at the Four Points Sheraton for the Virginia Professional Photographers Association Annual Convention (VPPA). Thanks to Panasonic and the Lumix Mirrorless line of cameras for sponsoring me to be here. It looks to be a really great turnout. I’ll be speaking tonight (Friday) from 6-8PM and judging with a fine panel tomorrow. If you are in the area you might want to come on by to see my program called Photo-Synthesis on creating painterly artwork using your photographic images.

Lots of other great speakers for the next few days too.

virginia professional photographers association convention speaker badge

Here’s my speaker badge. First time I’ve seen the new designation M.Artist. in my credentials. Way cool!

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

marley taylor trio wall of fame


What an entertainer with solid stage presence. Marley Taylor really rocked the house at Sound Bites Grill last Friday night. She was there with her Marley Taylor Trio. Marley, originally from Pittsburgh, grew up singing professionally in Houston at age 12. In 1994 after spending a few years in Nashville, she was signed to Sony Publishing for a songwriting contract. She also appeared on The Nashville Network TV show series Riders In The Sky. After moving to Arizona a few years later, Marley became a staple in the Scottsdale/Phoenix music scene with the popular act Zowie Bowie. The group became a hit at Scottsdale’s premier nightclub, Barcelona, later signing with Station Casinos in Las Vegas for a lengthy contract.

marley taylor trio

Image from behind the stage at Sound Bites Grill with the Marley Taylor Trio

marley taylor trio black & white photo

When prepping images for newspaper releases I will often make the conversion to black and white to get the best quality possible. Often the graphics people will just push the greyscale button which doesn’t give the best contrast for the image. I will also over-sharpen the image so that when printed on newsprint and the ink spreads the image will still appear sharp.

marley taylor trio wall of fame image

And of course the Marley Taylor Trio made it to the ‘Wall of Fame’

Images were captured with the Panasonic Lumix GH4 and the 35-100mm Lumix Vario f2.8 lens. With the density range this camera has there are less problems with capturing the LED lighting that is used exclusively on-stage.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

kazm radio interview lumix FZ 1000

I do a monthly radio show on KAZM Radio in Sedona, AZ. This episode of Tech Talk with Mike Tabback we talk about the convention Imaging USA in Nashville where I was fortunate enough to receive my Professional Photographers of America Master Artist Photography Degree and Imaging Excellence Award along with the American Society of Photographers Bronze Award…

lumix fz 1000 photo

In the second half of the show we chat about the Panasonic Lumix FZ 1000 and it’s 4K video capabilities. This camera has an amazing range and wonderful Imaging Optimization Stabilizer… (if you don’t want to hear about the awards part of the show pick up at around minute 13 for the Lumix camera conversation)


Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob