Recent Posts
6 months ago 8

I woke up to a snow storm this morning and it has continued through out the morning. All road including the interstate are slick and dangerous, so I will not  make it to Pigeon Forge for my 5:30 p.m. program today.  I hope to have clear roads tomorrow for my 3:00 to 4:00 program.  Sorry for the inconvenience.




the pilgrim

6 months ago 2


Join me tomorrow and Sunday in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!  I will be speaking at the Wilderness Wildlife Week Event being held in the new LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge.  It’s a week long festival of mountain crafts, learning opportunities, Mountain Music and Photography sponsored by he Pigeon Forge Office of Special Events.


This great event that is free and open to the public is made possible by hundreds of great instructors that donate  their time to make this annual event successful.  This is the 24th year of the event!


I am doing two programs:


Saturday, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.  Seven Steps to Becoming a Better Photographer



Sunday, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.   Improving Your Photographic Vision


If you are going to be any where near the Great Smoky Mountains come over and say Hi!




the pilgrim

6 months, 1 week ago 1


On my desk I have a Shure Model 55 microphone, it’s a long story!   I  love music and my choice in music is all over the board.  One thing most of  my early favorite artists have in common is they sang into a Shure 55!  Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett, Elvis, well you get it, this mike is a symbol of an entire era of music!


It’s also a test target for me, sitting at my desk trying out different lenses I often photograph it. Today I decided to shoot  with the Fuji X-Pro 1 and three different lenses; the 35mm f 1.4, the 60mm Micro f 2.4 and the 55-200 f 3.5-4.6.  I tried to make the size of the mike somewhat similar in each image, and by increasing the focal length using more distance and narrowing the angle of view to show less and less background.  Here are the other two shots.


60mm Micro f 2.4 @ ISO 1600


55-200  ISO 3200 f 4.8


The point of the exercise is to demonstrate how the subject to background relationship changes as the focal length of the lens increases.  It is one of our bags of tricks as a photographer that we can eliminate or reduce background by narrowing the angle of view with a longer lens.  The background in these shots was my computer desktop.  By positioning the camera to control what colors on the desktop are included, you can further plan the outcome.  This is one reason why interchangeable lens cameras can increase your options in how you capture your subject, changing focal lengths!!!




the pilgrim





6 months, 1 week ago 11


postmortem |pōstˈmôrtəm|noun(also postmortem examination )an examination of a dead body to determine the cause ofdeath.• 


an analysis or discussion of an event held soon after ithas occurred, esp. in order to determine why it was afailure: an election postmortem on why the party lost.



Though the term postmortem is usually thought of in forensic terms, for years I’ve used it for other purposes.  After every workshop during the GAPW years we held a Postmortem after each event to evaluate what went wrong, what went right,  and how to learn from the experience.


I would like to start a series of posts that are postmortems of images.  Let me share what I think went wrong, what went right, and what we can learn from the image and the exercise of taking it.


The image above, we will call “trees in snow”.


How it happened:  I was driving to dental appointment and was early, I always try to be early because the best shots appear when you are running late!!!  I saw the single large tree near the edge of the road and the other trees in the distance behind it.  With the light snow on the branches and the overcast light it just looked interesting to me.  By the time I knew I wanted to photograph it I was past it.  I went down the road and found a safe place to turn around and then went back past the shot and started back down my original path.  Since traffic was light I was able to drive slowly watching for the shot to appear out my drivers window and then drive slowly until I saw the “perspective” that I thought worked best.  I pulled off the road there and put on my hazard blinkers.  There was no safe place to get out and set up a tripod.  I knew it was going to have to be a handheld shot.


Setting up the shot:  My driver’s side rear view mirror was in the way so I pulled forward a few feet so I had a clear shot past the mirror.  I knew that I would need a longer lens so I put my 55-200 on my Fuji X-E2 camera body, I zoomed until I got the framing I wanted.  Since I was sitting in the car it was necessary to hand hold the shot.  I set my ISO at 1600 so I could have a fast enough shutter speed that along with the OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)  in the lens I could get a tack sharp image.   1/1600 sec;   f/9;   ISO 1600


Composition:  I positioned the camera so that the tree occupied the right hand side of the frame with the branches reaching back into the frame.  I was glad the sky was pretty dark and wasn’t drawing the eye away from the branches.  I thought at the time I wish the tree was on the left side of the frame reaching right, so I flipped the image in Photoshop below to see how it felt.  I think it works either way.



Final Analysis:  It was worth stopping, I like the monochrome simplicity but also the complexity of the branches and opposing tones. I’m happy with the shot, but not overwhelmed by it.  If I passed some similar situation I would still stop and give it try!


 Now the fun part, chime in with your thoughts!!  We can all learn from each other here!




the pilgrim