Recent Posts
2 years, 12 months ago 6

Today’s entry will be short.  It’s a shout out of praise to my heavenly father.  Of all the blessings He has bestowed on me, one of the greatest is fellowship with brothers, sisters and friends.  On Saturday morning I will be flying to Detroit and then on to Bangor, Maine to meet up with my team and our friends for a great tour of New England, ending in four days in Acadia National Park.  I am just as excited as some of our participants.  I’ve been to Acadia over 20 times!  I do love Maine, but I love the fun of this group even more.  The image above is our group formthe Shaker Village workshop in April of this year, many of them will be with us again in New England.


Father, thank You for your great blessing of these wonderful people in my life, please bless us, protect us, and help us to make the most of this precious opportunity.   Amen

2 years, 12 months ago 4

When I get close to the opening days of a workshop or tour I do the most important thing I can do to assure a successful trip, I pray.


1 John 5:13-15   New Living Translation (NLT)

 13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.



My most important responsibility to my friends and Guests when I run a workshop is to prepare the way for a great event, and I can only do that with God’s direct help.  Before I pray I have to examine several things to be assured that I will get the answer I desire;


1.  What is my motive?  Is my request self directed or directed outwardly to those that will be in my care during the workshop.  My motives have to be pure in that I am more concerned for the welfare of the guests than my own.  God honors a heart that reaches out to others, he abhors a heart that thinks only of itself.


2.  Does my request line up with what I know is God’s will.  That one is simple, learn from the Word what God expects of us and pray in accordance with those desires of His.


3.  Is my Pride under control?  is God increasing in my life as I am decreasing?  If not I need to re-examine my heart.  Zig Ziggler said, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care!”


If I have those three things in order then I can ask God’s blessings on my activities and those of my friends and expect a great outcome to my prayers.  So what do I pray for?  Here is my list:


A. Safety.  I pray for every person involved to arrive safely, travel safely during our time together, and return home safely after the workshop is over.


B.  That each participant and leader will arrive with the right mindset; excited, expectant, ready to learn, make new friends, and enjoy the workshop.


C.  I pray that the conditions, (color of leaves),  and weather will help us have lots of great photographic opportunities.  I further pray that when conditions are less than perfect we will lean how to make lemonade out of lemons!


D.  I pray that our team will arrive prepared and ready to share valuable information with our Guests.  I pray our critiques will be gentle enough, not to offend, but strong enough to help our fellow photographer’s improve their work.


E.  I pray that the Guests arrive ready and able to receive the teaching we will share.  If a student thinks they know everything already, or they don’t think that know enough to be able to learn, they are wrong in both assumptions.


F.  I pray for warm and wonderful fellowship.  In over 35 years of leading workshops I’ve learned that people matter most, and that people that are laughing and having fun, learn more, and gain more from the workshop experience. I pray that we allow no one to ever feel left out.


G.  I pray for the opportunity to witness to my faith.  I don’t evangelize in words, but I pray my conduct, my demeanor, my actions speak loudly about what I believe, and Who I serve.  I pray that I never judge another, but love them right where they are, and trust God to provide for them, what they need.


I have been often asked by participants before a workshop how they can prepare to have the most fun and success possible at a workshop, here is my list of suggestions:


First:  Pray the prayer above!

Second avoid these pitfalls, the 5 things that can ruin a workshop for you and others:


1.  Unreasonable expectations.  Not every moment will be perfect in terms of weather, conditions, traffic, parking, etc etc,  Take a deep breath and know it will get better,


2.  Reacting badly to circumstances.  You dropped your lens, you forgot to pack your cable release, you locked yourself out of your car, your room was cold, your bed was too hard, and on and on.  Things happen, learn how to take a deep breath, get over it, accept the help of your fellow travelers, and laugh it off, you’ll laugh later, might as well start now!


3.  Not Leaving your cares behind.  You go on a workshop to immerse yourself in the here and now, as much as it possible leave, home, office, cares, and concerns at home and use this time to concentrate on your photography and fellowship!   Trust me those cares will still be there when you return from you trip……


4.   Avoid centering on the big three (Me – My – I).  Take a break from pure self interests and see what a wonderful difference it makes in your ability to learn.  When I first started out trying to become a good shooter, I was crushed by everyone’s work that was better than mine, so, I stayed crushed a lot!!!  Get over it, even if you were the best photographer in the world at this moment, that moment won’t last very long, so don’t sweat it!  Work hard at being better than you were yesterday……


5.  Fatigue.  If you are tired you won’t function well.  Take breaks, carry some snacks to keep up your energy, try to get some good sleep every night.  If you feel you’re running down, let the leaders know, and take some time to catch up on your rest.


Come to a workshop, excited, ready, focused and expectant, and go home thrilled that you came………







2 years, 12 months ago 7

Beyond crazy……..

Getting ready for a trip always gets me thinking about how best to carry the load for the upcoming adventure.  The image above is, sadly, only a portion, probably less than half of my camera bag collection!


For years I’ve been a bag of the month club member, meaning I’ve owned or tried almost everything anyone has ever made!  I love them all, for a while, but these are the ones that have endured the test of time.  Currently I have bags, packs, cases, or other carrying devices from; Lowepro, Think Tank, Lightware, Pellican, Tenba, Maxpedition, Domke, and others.


These are the ones I use most often.  Why own so many bags?  That is actually a really good question.  For me it’s all about the right way to carry gear for the specific kind of trip.  Are you flying?  Are you driving?  Are you hiking?  Are you canoeing?  How much gear are you needing to take?  Once you arrive how much will you actually carry on your back or shoulder?  To break it down a little, well hidden, on top of the giant Pellican case (I have 6 others as well), are a Lowepro Pro Runner X450 AW and a Think Tank Airport Security 2.0 my two favorite for getting stuff safely to my location when flying.   On the top right is a tan colored Lowepro Nature Trekker 300 AW, my favorite moderate sized backpack.  It’s sitting on top the Lowepro Stealth Reporter 400 AW, my favorite shoulder bag for most trips.  I’ve topped it off with the Domke shoulder pad they made for the U.S. Postal Service letter carriers.

Two the left is a Tenba shoulder bag that Nikon gave me (you can see the Nikon Logo)  It is great for taking show gear, but is fairly large to actually carry over the shoulder unless your younger and stronger than myself.  Sitting on top the Tenba bag is one of Lowepro’s Sling bags, this one is the  smaller one that is easy to throw over your shoulder with a smaller amount of gear.  The very small one in the middle top that says, Galen Rowell on it, is a long since discontinued chest bag made to Galen’s specifications by Sundog, a bag manufacturer no longer in business, I just keep it in in warm memory of Galen.


Sitting directly on top of the Pellican case are, left to right, the (khaki) Maxpedition S-Type Bag, ruggedly made and perfect for one camera with a lens, a short zoom and a few accessories, I love it for walk abouts, it’s made to Mil. specs.  Two the right of it is a Lightware long lens bag for my Nikkor 400mm f3.5, it is circled by my favorite belt pack unit made my Think Tank, and to the far right is the Think Tank Speed Changer side pack, topped by a Nikon fanny pack that was given away at the LA Olympics some years ago.  In the front on the floor is one of many Lightware cases I use to transport safely all kinds of photo and AV gear when traveling by air or shipping UPS or Fed EX.  Sitting on top the Lightware case is a small Domke shoulder bag when is ideal when you wan to carry a very small amount of gear, it is very well made of treated canvas.


For people that haven’t lost their minds, a backpack, shoulder bag, belt system, and a rolling bag for air travel should more than cover your needs.  Fortunately, today we have a wealth of brands, sizes, and types of bags and cases to carry our gear.  The most important questions are:


1.  Is it well made and will it protect your gear?


2.  Does it feel right when you carry it and can you work out of it easily?


3.  When filled up can you lift it?


4. Can you afford it, or more importantly can you afford to fill it up??!!


Good luck in making your camera bag decisions.  Anyone looking for a good used bag?????????




3 years ago 2

I don’t use really long lenses very much.  I don’t do much sports anymore, and my big mammal wildlife days seem to be be in my rear view mirror as well.  I do however love the compression effect of big lenses.  I recently picked up a sweet old Nikkor  400 f 3.5 IF-ED manual focus lens for just that use.


The rule goes something like this, the longer the lens the more compression affect.  I shoot the D7000 a lot and being a DX  sensor camera my new 400 will be the equivalent of a 600!!!   That plus the fast wide open aperture of f 3.5 make for a very exciting optic for separating the foreground from the background.  This is one of my favorite techniques from the old bag of tricks.  It a great way to do a visual change up while maintaining the same relative position to the subject.  Another example below.




Always use your lenses to give you the visual effect your looking for.  Remember telephoto glass is not just for bringing things closer in the frame. It can make a big difference in how they appear as well!!!