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

wineaux wednesday lensbaby photos

Went to dinner with my lovely wife Holly at Sound Bites Grill last night and Wineaux Wednesday was on in full force in Sedona, Arizona. The deal is $10 bucks and allows you taste wine with friends while enjoying live music and Tapas from 5PM to 7PM.

But what does that have to do with photography Bob??

Glad you asked! I also brought along my camera with a funky lens to play with from LENSBABY. They sent me the f3.5 5.8mm, 185° Circular Fisheye lens to check out.

sound bites grill wall of fame photo

Here’s a capture of the SBG Wall of fame. I create images of the performers for posterity (and decor!) in an
artistic fashion for the restaurant. Here it is in all it’s micro 4/3rds Fisheye glory.

eric miller guitar image

This lens is made for getting in close. Make sure your performer knows they’ll have a camera really close in their face. it helps to be
the house photographer to have the access to performers during live stage shows. Don’t try this without permission.

eric miller guitarist

Using the ‘Flairability’ of the Fisheye to add some interest to this live stage shot of Eric Miller guitarist extraordinaire.

sound bites grill wednesday promo photo

“OK Bob, how can this lens make me money?” In my case I grabbed the owners and set them up
on stage with Eric to create an image to help promote the wine and entertainment event at the restaurant.

You need some time with the 5.8mm Fisheye to learn to see how it sees. It is quite unique and takes a bit of getting used to to know when it might be just the ticket to set something apart. I mounted this on the Lumix GH3. With the micro 4/3rds sensor size we loose just a bit of the fisheye circle which I actually like. If you get this lens for the full frame DSLR cameras you’ll have the complete fisheye circle.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

PS – If you want to hear some wonderful guitar playing and are not near Sedona you can find out more about Eric Miller’s music here. (I highly recommend hi CD ‘Eclectic Vibe’ subtitled Elevator Music for Cool People. It’s awesome. You have to email Eric to get it. It’s not on his web site right now…


monument valley weekend

Bruce Roscoe is a wonderful, gentle and caring human being. And it shows in his actions…

Here’s a link to a story about a portrait Bruce flew across the country to make to help a fellow veteran. This story helped raise money to build schools over in Vietnam and bring some healing to those who had served there. And that led to a project Bruce is starting to tell the stories of our veterans that often get lost. Many people know only of the stories they read in the newspapers and magazines but miss the personal stories and revelations of the people behind the stories.

Bruce is working to rectify that. He has begun a portrait project offering professional legacy images to veterans. The vets also share their story in video and will be featured in a new veterans portrait museum Roscoe is working to put together…

But wait! I was only telling you about Bruce’s kind heart to begin to explain a wonderful photographic weekend the Arizona Professional Photographers Association had in Monument Valley this past weekend. Through being the kind of person Bruce is he’s forged an extended family relationship with the Yazzie family in Monument Valley. In order to help the Yazzie’s raise money to help them through the winter months Bruce leads tours a few times a year for photographers to experience the Navajo Way. This is a peek into the culture of the Navajo and includes storytelling, weaving, horse run, sheep herding, traditional food and exploring the back country of Monument Valley’s private areas and more. Bruce leads these tours gratis.

I’ll be sharing some images and stories from the trip and a bit more in subsequent days. Here’s a couple for today.

horse in monument valley

From the parking lot overlook this white horse managed to find some scrap plants to snack on…

azppa past president bob zimmerlich

Past President of AZPPA Bob Zimmerlich. Is that a Lumix GH3 camera I see??

effie yazzie on horse at monument valley

Effie Yazzie on horse at Monument Valley on dune in front of the Ear of the Wind.

All in all the weekend was a roaring success thanks to Bruce. In addition Bruce had suggested photographers bring dog food to help feed the animals through the winter and the AZPPA came out in force. Almost 1000 pounds of dog food made it’s way into storage for the winter. Way to go AZPPA photographers!

These images were captured with the Lumix GH4 and the 35-100mm f2.8 Vario lens.

More images from MV soon.

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob


tom shondra sound bites grill sedona

Stalwart entertainers Tom and Shondra did a show at Sound Bites Grill here in Sedona, Arizona. These guys (I use that term loosely) do a highly energetic show that the audience really gets into. Steve asked me to photograph them for the ‘Wall of Fame’ and it was my pleasure to do so! Even though it is only two performers I thought their energy needed more than just one photo to help tell the story… This is what I put together.

tom and shondra in sedona photo

Tom and Shondra on stage at the Sound Bites Grill Wall of Fame image.

The Lumix GH3 worked well for capturing Tom and Shondra’s performance. Because their expressions changed quite rapidly during the live performance I used the 5 frames per second bursts to have choices. I used the Lumix GH3 for this shoot because I sent the Lumix GH4 in for service… not that there was anything wrong but more of a precautionary measure.

I was photographing along Oak Creek and went to cross the creek and slipped on the rocks and the GH4 was submerged while I was trying to right myself which took long enough to put water into every available opening in the camera. I dried it off as much as possible at the scene and then headed for home. I dried it more. Got out the hair dryer and searched for moisture in every compartment. I kept rotating and finding more water but with the heat on medium and I made sure I got every drop I could. The camera turned back on and operated wonderfully. But I sent it in for a chek-up and all was well. The weather sealing on that camera is better than I thought. I still don’t recommend submerging your camera to test it like I did. But it showed me we should be pretty good in a moist environment…

Multiple images were put together using Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 using blend modes, textures and masks. I also added some smoke with brushes that I obtained from Woody Walters who is an amazing Photoshop artist and instructor. Go check out his stuff. (I don’t receive any commission from Woody but I can save you 15% if you decide to sign in for more than his free Photoshop tutorials use coates15) He has amazing info to share with you!

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

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ppa diamond and silver photographer

I compete to stretch my photography skill set in order to keep growing and to get some feedback from my peers on how my work is stacking up.

This year I received a more than pleasant surprise as my most successful ever in imaging competition at Professional Photographers of America International Photographic Competition. I will be awarded the Diamond Photographer of the Year for my Master Artist entries and The Silver Photographer of the Year for my entries in the Photographic Open case.

I also inadvertently answered another question that comes my way from fellow photographers when referencing the Lumix line of Micro 4/3rds mirrorless cameras… Is the chip big enough? Is there enough quality to use this camera for professional work? The answer is a resounding, “You betcha!”.

I entered eight images overall. Seven were captured with various Lumix cameras. Five images were accepted into the PPA’s prestigious Loan Collection. Variety was the watchword with the entries including a portrait, art images, architecture and a scenic.

Here are the images from the Master Artist case in which judges are looking for the skills involved in post production. Guide images are used to show some of the process going from RAW capture to finished product. These images earned the Platinum Photographer of the Year designation which will be awarded in Nashville at the PPA convention.

horn in f ppa loan collection image

‘Horn in F’ original image captured with Lumix GH2. Textures with Lumix GH2 &  Lumix GH3.
Used my ‘Step & Repeat” Photoshop action to make multiple copies of the French Horn. Images were copied, rotated and multiple texture layers in various blend modes were used to complete the art.


‘Musical instruments Museum’ original image captured with Lumix GH2. See above description for technique.


‘Nautilus’ original captured with the Lumix GX7. The blossom was isolated and
copied, resized and manipulated multiple times to create the Nautilus shape.


‘Thistle’ image captured with 5D Mark II using Helicon focus and focus stacking then worked with textures and color.

Here are the Four images submitted in the Photographic Open category. Three were accepted into PPA’s General Collection with one image admitted into the Loan Collection leading to the Platinum Photographer of of the Year Award which will be given at the PPA annual convention in February. If you a not already a PPA member it’s a great idea. If you join you can go to the convention for free in Nashville next year.

Photographic Open PPA image

‘Rooftop View’ captured with Panasonic Lumix GH2. NIK Color FX Pro was used along with textures, blend modes and layer masks.


‘Sedona, Arizona Panorama’ Captured with Lumix GH3. Multiple images stitched together in AutoPano Pro then some NIK Color FX Pro to enhance the depth and dimension.


‘Still the One’ Captured with Lumix GH3. Converted to sepia tone with partial spot color mask for the flag.

santa fe street portrait photo

‘Santa Fe Street Portrait’ Captured with Lumix GX7 a great street camera with a very low profile and lots of features I really enjoy. It’s my favorite “With Me” Camera.  Converted to Black and white using NIK Silver Effects Pro 2.

When I first started working with the Micro 4/3rds format I was a little concerned about sensor size but as the new Panasonic cameras and pro glass were introduced I was able to put those fears aside and now I’m exclusively using the format for all my commercial and fine art work including architecture, product, portraits, fine art imagery and more.  Is this the be all and end all format for every photographer and every need?? No, of course not! I’ve found it fits my working style and as long as my customers and I are pleased with the final results that’s what matters.

Questions? Give me a shout.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

PS Just in case you haven’t read my disclaimer section I am a Panasonic Lumix Luminary and I travel around the country teaching photography with them as my sponsor. If you would like me to come teach at your photography organization get in touch my contact info is at the top of the page.



az roller derby girls

Fun shoot!

The Arizona Roller derby girls came to the the Arizona Professional Photographers Association meeting to add a little color for the photographers to shoot. A studio area for attendees to shoot during the convention was set up. The Roller Derby ladies got images to use for their promotion and the photographers got great animated models to put in front of their lenses.

Originally it was scheduled that the derby girls were going to have individual head shots for their promos but I wanted to take it a step further an see what kind of action we could put together. I think we got some ‘Bigger than Life’ images for them to use to promote their sport as well as some individual head shots… Wanna become an AZ Derby Skater? get more info.

Arizona roller derby photoAnita Alibi Poses for a head shot.

Arizona roller derby photoDucky Norris enjoys the spotlight.

Arizona roller derby photoSimulated action is when the fun begins… These girls know how to put on a show!

Arizona roller derby photoMore showtime from the derby girls.

Arizona roller derby photoTeammates!

It was a pleasure working with the AZ Roller Derby Team. They were really ready to put on a show and I’m certain that translates into great theater and sport in their matches! I’d love to do a full-on marketing shoot with the team!

What are you doing to stretch your education and practice of photography???

Wanna become an AZPPA Member? Get more Info

Yours in Photography,         Bob