litra light kit Platypod

Platypod Litra Close up kits

Platypod is down to just a couple of dozen Litra Torch 2.0s in their Litra Clearance Sale. Great savings if you’re looking for some terrific gear and lighting, especially for close-up and macro – it’s worth checking out.

Here’s how I set mine up for some up, close and personal images of this studio floral.

floral image bob coates photography

And, here’s the Behind the Scenes.

platypod litra kit set upThe goose-necks screw right into the Platypod and make it easy to position your lights.

These lights are also great as quick a hand-hold fill when on location. They take up minimal space in your camera bag. They also have a magnet on the bottom. Get ’em before their gone. Free shipping on orders of a hundred bucks or more. Only while supplies last.

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob

International Photographic Competition – IPC

International Photographic Competition – IPC

International Photographic Competition (IPC) starts on Sunday.

If you have an interest in photography and would like to see some incredible work this is the place for you. Starting Sunday September 12 at 9AM EST through Wednesday you’ll have the opportunity to see the scoring along with comments when the judges challenge the results.
The header image above was titled ‘Taking Flight’ and was awarded LOAN Collection status two years ago.

Professional Photographers of America (PPA)

IPC is presented by PPA. It’s the chance for makers to have their work reviewed by trained judges. The resulting scores are part of the PPA Master of Photography Degree system. The degrees are designed to recognize above average work by above average photographers. This is also part of the initial selection process for Team USA in the Photographic World Cup as images are selected from the Image Excellence Award winners for the International Competition.

‘Orange Outburst’ is a water droplet photo made it into the PPA LOAN Collection last year. The LOAN Collection name will be changed to Image Excellence Award this year.

PPA image makers work all year to prepare their work for this event.

You can watch

While the competition is geared toward professional photographers and PPA members you are welcome to pull up a chair and join in the learning. You can stream IPC live from Sept 12–15. Judging starts each day at 9am ET. if you are not a PPA member? Create a free account to watch live.

Review of Macro Photography Book by Don Komarechka

Review of Macro Photography Book by Don Komarechka

Macro Photography: The Universe at Our Feet by Don Komarechka

Gotta tell ya, if you are wanting to start macro photography, or want to improve the macro work you are now creating, get this book. I’ve been a fan of Komarechka’s work ever since I saw his first snowflakes photos. He’s a master at his craft with a healthy curiosity that has him pushing the limits of the medium.

The layout is clean and easy to read with clear illustrations. © Don Komarechka

Worth the price

When I first saw the price on the book I was a little hesitant. So glad I pulled the trigger and got it. This is a solid reference on macro photography that beginners and experienced photographers will enjoy. I wrote a more in-depth review over at PhotoFocus. You can check it out here.

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob

See more of Don’s work here.

You can order a copy of the book here. Remember I am an Amazon affiliate and will receive a small fee if you use this link.

Zen and the art of camera care – Lets Develop Webinar

Zen and the art of camera care – Lets Develop Webinar

I’ll be chatting with Chris Wooley about tips and tricks for taking care of, and supporting, your camera and computer gear. This will be a webinar packed with information. I’ll also be sharing a resources file with links to the material covered including some discounts I have worked out. Link below to sign up at no charge. See you there!

ZEN and the Art of Camera Care with Bob Coates is coming up on Wednesday! Registration is now live on American Color Imaging‘s website.

Bob is going to share his tips and tricks for taking care of your camera, workstation, and enhancing your workflow. Wednesday Aug 4. Free Registration Required:

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

review – universal video microphone kit

review – universal video microphone kit

Here’s a pretty handy little kit for setting up your video station using your phone. Vitopal Universal Video Microphone Kit can be used with phones and cameras for vlogging. I got one of these to test.

Video Kit

For only 36 bucks you get a pretty darn good microphone, cables and lightweight stand.

The design of the stand is nice in that it can support the phone and microphone while sitting on a table. The legs also fold to be held comfortably while doing a walk and talk or using it to record others on the move.

Set up your phone or small camera using the stand make sure one leg is directly behind the weight. Especially important if you are tilting the ball head toward the rear.

microphone media kit review

All the gear in the kit. (iPhone NOT included) ; )>

The very directional mic can be shielded from the wind with the included foam or dead cat cover. It can be left uncovered if you will be a little distance from the mic indoors.


Cords are included for connection to phone or camera with 3.5mm ends. One little heads-up. If you have a newer model iPhone you’ll need a headphone adapter. Then you can plug in the included 3.5mm cord to the Lightning connection of your phone.

Traveling or storing the kit? It all packs conveniently into a compact case.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob

Buying things through Amazon links helps support this website. Thank you.

dreamer – escape from confinement

dreamer – escape from confinement

It’s been and interesting year and a half. No doubt about it. I’m watching people start to come out from their cocooned lives and make their way to interaction with others. For many it was as if they have been locked in a cage.

Dreamer – Escape from Confinement

I had the pleasure of working with my muse, Pash Galbavy, on a video project where using her many skills of dance, mask making and visual storytelling. I’ll let the video tell you the rest of the story….


You can find more work and information about Pash on her unmask it site. Her work is inspiring.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

Infrared increases your chances of coming home with a midday photo

Infrared increases your chances of coming home with a midday photo

Infrared photography

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but using an infrared converted camera increases your chances of coming home with a solid image when shooting in the middle of the day. I upgraded my infrared camera from a Lumix G6 to a Lumix GH4. If you have a camera languishing on the shelf not being used I recommend sending it off to LifePixel Infrared for a conversion. I know I was glad I did!


Those hours between 10AM and 3PM can be brutal on your images due to the high contrast. Infrared images thrive in that environment. I quite enjoy extending my keeper rate by working with infrared imaging.

Platypod Ultra

From Sedona, Arizona, Cathedral Rock during midday. Renders in an interesting way using an infrared converted camera.

Another tool I find helpful is being able to easily have my camera low-to-the-ground in the Platypod camera support. I can hang the Platypod from my camera bag and since it is very light I hardly notice it’s there until I see a need for it. The Platypod is extremely helpful, especially if you have a flip screen on your camera. The flip screen allows you to be able to frame and focus the scene without having to get down on your belly. Bonus!


Here are a couple articles I wrote for Photofocus dealing with and expanding the uses of an infrared converted camera. Enjoy! Toning infrared images for a different look Infrared and summertime.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

writing a book? – now get it published

Having written a few books in the past I know that the actual text is only part of the story. If you aren’t working with a publisher a big part of the job is still to be done.

Meet Sara

My friend, Sara Frances shared some ideas in some posts here on successful-photographer. You can read up on those five posts starting here.

If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty of getting your book to market, Sara is now providing an all day virtual class through Professional Photographers of America. Here is her description.

Sara Frances signing books prior to the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, NM group show which opened March 11, 2021

Virtual event

Virtual event to allow distant participation. Monday May 10, 9-4:30pm

Turn dreams of a published photography book into affordable reality. Whether for an intimate friend-and-family distribution of 10, or 100, or 1,000 and more, Sara will show how to build on your existing skills in capture, edit, and layout to create a legacy that is also very salable. Creating a book project can augment your reputation and open possibilities for gallery exhibitions and talks.


The publishing world has shifted to a majority of independent publishing. Arts, poetry, memoir, and hybrid content image and text books are all experiencing an upswing. In readership as well as buying. Previously the effort typically encountered in technical aspects, but also including concept development and production. And always sales and distribution can be a bit daunting.
All will be demystified in this class with interactive worksheets, numerous tips, and sources for choosing the right printer and distributor to have everything “your way.” Projects at any stage of development welcome.

Register here

Instructor Contact: [email protected]

Instructor Website:

photo book publishing path – part five

photo book publishing path – part five

The fifth, and final, installment of a five-part series on getting your photo book into print from my photographer friend Sara Frances. Start with Part One.

Getting your Book Out There

Thought you were done, once You’ve done a great design and edited away any little errors?! To make your book findable on the web, on Amazon, in libraries and stores you must have an ISBN (with barcode for the cover) and preferably also a Library of Congress number. The LOC is a free sign-up on line, the ISBN will cost $35 as of last report at Don’t forget to copyright!

John Fielder is a star with his extensive line of fine landscape books and accessories; this image from Colorado Black on White. Note this is a chapter heading page, reading like a story.

Warehousing, distribution, wholesaling, fulfillment

You’re ready for the next part of the game: warehousing, distribution, wholesaling, fulfillment, and PR. Unless you have a huge garage, insured, heated to accommodate several pallets of heavy, bulky boxes, you need a distributor. And are you planning to take orders, pack and ship, take returns, vet stores for their business licenses and payment, collect and report sales taxes, keep track of inventory? Not a wrong answer; especially for a limited, short run doing this yourself makes sense.

Here’s the reason I enjoy John’s work so much: he writes little experiences about his hikes, the weather and unexpected things he encounters in nature. Not just picture books!

A possible distributor

My distributor, Thin Air Collective is run by Melissa Serdinsky (formerly of Perseus and Ingram). She’s decided to go the small business route to help artists, photographers, memoirists, and poets in particular. She’ll do it all the warehousing, order taking, credit card orders, store vetting, fulfillment, and accounting for you for a minimal fee, and I tell you she knows everyone and everything in this highly volatile industry. Both wholesaling (to an outlet that offers books from many difference publishers as a convenient on-stopper to stores) and special purchase sales (bulk purchase to a library system, non-profit, or corporate incentive gift) are under her purview as well. Tell her I sent you: [email protected].

Early on, John decided to fill a niche with a series of self-published, regional interest books. He does everything, including high profile web sales and in-person appearances at special interest events, not just book stores. He’s a consummate promoter.


But you can’t just rest and expect the orders to come in. PR on virtually all books, even by high profile authors, require a hands-on approach by you! Gallery events, gallery or bookstore or other venue talks (don’t expect a fee, and some venues require a minimum guaranteed book purchase or an organizer fee.) Facebook and Instagram are essential. Blog and postings weekly to lure readers with extra content are essential. No, you don’t continually ask, “Buy my book!” You give readers tips and anecdotes and insider information they can’t get elsewhere. Your public wants a connection. Start a mail list for your book: ConstantContact or iContact seem to be favorites. Offer gallery prints as a special deal along with a signed copy of your hard bound edition. Have links that make it easy for people buy. It’s a continuing job, but the public will love you for the value they receive!

Marty Knapp is another fine promoter. He emphasizes fine art print sales, but books and accessories help support his gallery. His email list is probably equal to John’s—and the model for the rest of us as we get started!

Sara Frances

author photo sara francisSara is a many-decades Master Photographic Craftsman out of Denver whose artistic focus has always been book making with images. Her albums won PPA merits starting well before digital capture, as well as for what is believed to be the first ever awarded portrait album. She has evolved from daily, shorter-term studio photography into exclusively special projects of long commitment. Her second hybrid photo/memoir art book, Fragments of Spirit, now published under her own mark, Photo Mirage Books, is available mid-December 2020.

Renewing her lifelong interest in creative writing, she was recently was accepted for Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Poetry Collective, graduating a year later with a forthcoming hybrid work marrying over 275 manipulated iPhone images with 120 poems: What to Wear to Paradise.

Her three-year quest to learn all facets of the art book industry has influenced her to give back with hands-on publishing classes. She is a judge for the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and for Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA.) She teaches for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Denver, for PPA Super One Day seminars, and also mentors hybrid image/text projects.

To find Sara on social media search SaraFrancesPhotographer or email – [email protected]

platypod deal

platypod deal

You’ve probably heard me mention the Platypod as a camera support tool I’ve been using. They liked my stuff I shared with them so much they made me a Platypod Ambassador. As such, they share the cool deals and there’s one going on for the holidays.

Here’s the skinny

This is the Platypod Max Macro bundle. (link includes other Black Friday deals still available as well). It starts with the Platypod Max. It includes Litra lights and ways to get them into position with goose-neck arms. Leveling screws and ways to attach your Platy to railings and trees. All you need to add is a ball head which is easy using the built in 3/8’s threaded post. In addition, you get the Platypod Ultra which is great for getting stability out on the trails hiking when weight is a concern or when you are on location.

The $279 deal has all of this included so you can start to McGuyver too! Save $148

I wrote an article about McGuyvering with this stuff earlier this month. Check it out.

By the way, you save $148 bucks with this package.

If you have any questions give me a shout!

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob