slices of sublime moments

slices of sublime moments

Slices of sublime beauty wait in the wetlands of Sedona. The more time I spend in nature the more gifts seem to come my way. I have found however, that I have to be open to the experience.

Open to the experience

Pursuing dragonfly images in the wetlands is joy to me. Having to slow down and observe moments and behavior allow my brain to take a break. Sometimes I have the end in mind to such an extent that I forget to leave room for happy accidents.

This day was not one of those.

Reeds from the wetlands in Sedona, AZ form beautiful shapes curves and lines


An Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III was fitted out with the new ** M Zukio 100-400mm f/5.0-6.3 lens with an MC 20 2x extender. The long lens compresses the scene and helps create a shallow depth-of-field. The camera rested on a FotoPro Eagle E6L tripod. The built in gimbal head makes it easy to maneuver the camera lens combo.

Back button focus

Because I use back button focus when photographing wildlife the camera only changes focus when it is engaged. Because I have to search for the wildlife through a long lens the focus was slightly off as a scanned the reeds. What I saw was a little slice of magic. That serendipitous moment led me to try this as a technique. Light and shadow in yellows and greens played soft silhouettes in my viewfinder.

I worked the scene and share a couple of the resulting images here.

Post processing

Very little post-production was done on these photos. A little spot cleanup here, a tiny dodge and burn there were all that was needed. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

PS – if you have any questions let me know

** I am testing the 100-400mm lens. Release date is September 15th, 2020

Personal photography projects can help with your business

Personal photography projects can help with your business

My buddy, Kevin Ames an editor of Photofocus, mentioned that many photographers have trouble monetizing their photography, especially when working on personal projects and asked that I share a few success stories. I did some research and found that this was the way I have built my business over the years. Here’s one of the stories on how I accomplished this. My personal projects are centered around learning a skill I was am trying to acquire. I then leveraging the image I’d created by selling, promoting the new skill — entering in image competition or garnering press. I hope you find these ideas helpful.

Once upon a time in a town near Atlanta …

Was on a visit to Atlanta to visit with my friends Ashley and Liz. In their neighborhood was a favorite restaurant of theirs called Manchester Arms. It was an overcast drizzly, dreary day. As I was entering the restaurant I noticed it had a kind of European pub flavor and I thought it would make a good subject for a new art technique I wanted to master. Despite the drizzle, I ran outside to grab a few frames from a couple different angles. For this particular use, the soft, overcast lighting worked well.

Before After

Here are the before and after images to show the results of my post-processing.

Manchester Arms restaurant in the rain – Before image

Finished art processed in Adobe Photoshop with textures, Blend Modes and masks.

Rest of the Story

You can check out this story more in-depth on my Photofocus blog post.

Dinner was just dandy, by the way!

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

vision of vets

vision of vets

Vision of Vets – A Photographer’s Project

I’d like to tell you a story about a colleague of mine. He’s a kind man. A giving man. A selfless man. And, a veteran himself.

bruce roscoe portrait

Bruce Roscoe, Vision of Vets Founder. Portrait courtesy Studio 3 Images

In 2014 my friend Bruce Roscoe (of Aiyana Studio) had a vision. It came on a flight back from Rhode Island after photographing his best friend of 58 years. Doctors had told Bruce’s friend, Joe Rowe, he had only six months to live due to complications brought on by exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. Bruce offered to professionally photograph Joe so his family and friends would have something to remember him by when he was gone.

The Concept

Bruce’s idea was to create a nonprofit organization whose mission was to memorialize the stories of U.S combat veterans and share that history with the family and the world. He envisioned adding a method for bringing photographs of combat veterans to life with the use of Live Portrait technology. Families could now view these after their loved ones had passed.

Bruce gained support for his idea in the local community of Prescott, Arizona. This was no surprise because Prescott and the surrounding towns host the largest number of veterans per capita in Arizona. With a wonderful Veterans Administration (VA) hospital and the large veteran population, he started gathering veteran stories with the help of experts. The helpers are now the Vision of Vets board of directors.

Following three years of continual work, in June 2017, the IRS recognized Vision of Vets as an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and Bruce’s vision became a reality.

vision of vets portraits

Vision of Vets Portraits by Bruce Roscoe

The Vision of Vets team are committed to not only capturing the stories from our country’s living veterans, but also telling the stories of war heroes from the French & Indian War and forward. Vision of Vets hires professional re-enactors to bring the stories of heroism and sacrifice back to life with the use of modern technology.

The Gift

Each veteran in this project receives at no cost, a professional 16×20 framed portrait, prints in different sizes, a DVD of their interview, and an essay summarizing the interview.

You Can Help

You can be part of this story too! Help preserve history and add to the education tools in schools have to teach and remind students that ‘Freedom isn’t Free.’ Click here to learn more or Donate to Vision of Vets.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

PS – Below you can get an idea of how the Vision of Vets Live Portraits work.

tuesday painterly artist kelly schneider

tuesday painterly artist kelly schneider

Tuesday Painterly Artist – Kelly Schneider

PPA – Photographic Craftsman & Certified Professional Photographer

The work in these Painterly Posts are usually a bit more on the obvious painting side using the digital tools we have. Today’s artist is one I’ve been following for a while and while it is not specifically a painting style the work in my opinion transcends photography into a realm of it’s own. I’ll leave you to decide… Let me know what you think of Kelly’s work.

image © Kelly Schneider

Elegant Shades of Red © Kelly Schneider

Kelly’s Start

Kelly got his start while traveling in the US Navy starting a business called Captured Journeys Photography. He shares, “Initially, I knew so little about photography and anyone doing it that I was not influenced except that I wanted to get great images!  After a few years, I realized that if I was ever going to really grow my game and produce good work, I needed to invest in my craft and my skills. That is when I started looking at true professionals who were masters. I realized I knew next to nothing!” Schneider notes an early influence for stepping up his game was Trey Ratcliff of Stuck in Customs fame.

A True Professional

When asked what makes a true professional photographer Kelly said, “I think being a true professional has little to do with how many hours or if it is a full-time thing. A true professional is someone who has dedicated and committed themselves with all facets of a skill or craft and invested in both time and resources to grow and develop their knowledge, skill, and ability to be recognized for their work. Being a true professional and doing it full time is another layer. It is just a measurement of how much time you are doing it, not how much of a master you are while doing it.”

© Kelly Schneider

KS Fine Arts Portrait

Changes in Photography

Changes in professional photography are coming fast and furious and while Kelly recognizes the single most impact in photography comes from those photographers who can leverage the changes.  “The single most impacting element in learning photography (outside of the core ability to “SEE” light and render wonderful and powerful images, is the capacity to learn and use more complex and advanced technology in your photography.” According to Kelly. “Those who have a natural and gift for awesome photography will find themselves fading into the “non relevant” layers of photographers if they don’t embrace and learn how to bring new and exciting technology into their game. From the expanded things a photographer can do with such little effort with lighting and tech, is making it harder and harder to separate yourself from the over 44 million practicing photographers in the USA.

image © Kelly Schneider

Elegant Stylized Portrait © Kelly Schneider

To be Continued

I’ll continue this post with Kelly next week when we find out why Kelly teaches other photographers his techniques and where he sees photography going in the next ten years…

KS Fine Arts Web Page

Kelly’s Bio

kelly schneider portraitBorn and raised in Coronado California he joined the US Navy in 1980 and served for 29 years. During his US Navy travels including 137 countries, he began “capturing” life around him. In 2010, Kelly began his pursuit of professional portraiture, growing and developing his skills in creating “salient” portraits focused on weddings portraiture and boudoir.

Over time, Schneider has become passionate about teaching others. He earned a Master’s degree in Human Systems Integration from the Navy Post Graduate School in Monterey California. He completed the Executive leadership course at both UC Berkeley and Duke University and is a MDPPA Board of Directors member for 2019.

Kelly and his wife Kalina (also a gifted photographer and active PPA member/Maryland PPA member) have been hosting workshops both in the US and in Europe. Kelly Schneider Fine kalina schneider portraitArts focuses on Boudoir and Fine Art portraiture and workshops.

Schneider is writing his first book “The Salient Portrait – the science behind it and how to achieve it” and it is a core element of all his workshops and training events. He earned the Best Portrait of the Year award in 2017 for MDPPA and Best Portrait Photographer for the State of Maryland for 2017 and 2018 and Wedding Photographer of the year for 2018 as well as earning two Fujifilm Masterpiece Awards in 2019.

Kelly is married Mrs. Kalina Schneider from Katowice Poland. Kalina and Kelly currently call Accokeek, MD home with their two kids – a beagle and a terrier!



book review – duChemin

book review – duChemin

Within the Frame – David duChemin

I’m a fan

I am a big fan of books. Well, not all books, but good ones. The book I wish to share with you is definitely better than good. I’ve been following David duChemin for quite some time. I enjoy his writing style and sense of humor. He has a way of sharing some big ideas in an understandable way without being ‘preachy.’

As you may have already guessed, I am particularly a fan of David and his writing. His latest book is Within the Frame – The Journey of Photographic Vision. It is a 10th anniversary edition and I’m glad he brought it back. This is a book that can be a help in getting your creative butt in gear whether you are a newbie photographer or a seasoned veteran such as myself. (I suppose you can read that as old, but I digress)

book cover duChmenin

Within the Frame – The Journey of Photographic Vision David duChemin

Creativity and Vision

David talks about vision and creativity in most of his writing. I enjoy his introspection and dedication to the photography world and the creative vibe therein. He shares ideas on how to accomplish some inner thinking in bite sized pieces that can be practiced and digested in as small or large a helping as one would like.

An Example

Here’s one paragraph from the book that appears on page 79 in the chapter titled The Artist and the Geek.

“The first thing to realize is that the creative process is not so simple that it can be reduced to a formula-go here, wait for muse, shoot brilliant image. It is not a reactive process dependent on a magic fairy appearing and beating you with an inspiration stick. Creativity is something you can actively work at, and the more closely you know your own process, the more reliably the muse appears. Having said that, I think we all know that some days just do not got he way we want, and we often chalk that up to being uninspired, or bored, or lazy. Probably the latter two.” – David duChemin


The paragraph above has so much about which to think, you can imagine how much you will get from the rest of the book! duChemin’s book is a winner on so many levels. I think it is the kind of book that will earn a long stay in your regular reading table. And, will also have a place of honor in your permanent photography book collection for review on a regular basis.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

PS – Get the book. you’ll be glad you did. Within the Frame – The Journey of Photographic Vision