friendship centers photo shoot

While on vacation in Sararsota, Florida I was asked by my buddy Skip to help create an image for an ad campaign for the Friendship Centers. The look of the requested image was based on previous photos from the campaign. The speaker would be in the foreground and sharp with the secondary person in the back slightly out of focus. Here’s the resulting ad that will run full page and on their web site…

friendship center ad

Photographed with Lumix GH4 & Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f1.2 lens

Settings – f1.2 ISO 200 1/250 sec Window light from 4×6 ft window with shear curtains camera right

MeFoto Backpacker tripod for support (because I was traveling – came in quite handy because it’s small for packing)

It was a pleasure making the image. I just happened to have the proper tools with me. The Nocticron lens is sweet and allowed me to get just the right fall-off of focus that was needed for the photo. If the MeFoto wasn’t so small and easy to pack I wouldn’t have had a tripod with me on vacation.

Small light and powerful tools are amazing to work with and I’m enjoying photography more every day.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

two minutes

What ties the images below together??

Other than they are of the same subject?

Great white egret bird photo

Great White Egret image.


Great White Egret image.


Great White Egret image.


Great White Egret image.


Great White Egret image.

Well I gave you hint at the answer in the title of this post. All five images were created withing two minutes. How many different looks can you obtain by changing the direction in which you shoot? Look at the different color and feel of each image. The mood is totally different in each capture.

Plenty of options exist in a single situation and exploring the possibilities beyond the obvious help define us as photographers. Next time you are on a shoot circle your subject and see how many different looks come about. After a while you’ll start to pre visualize exactly what you want to show… And I’ll bet it will be different than what you are automatically photographing now.

Images captured with the Lumix GH4 100-300mm f4.0-5.6

sunday photo/art quote 1214

Do you see your image in your mind before you push the shutter button??

Should you?

Probably if you want to create more artistic and impressive images. Today’s photo art quote comes from Painter Diego Rivera

diego rivera quote

“I dream a lot. I do more painting when I’m not painting. It’s in the subconscious.” Diego Rivera

I feel a good amount of pre visualization can move your images to another level.

This brings to mind a thought to spend lots of time with other people’s images and artwork to spark ideas. Just remember that just like a computer GIGO. (garbage in = garbage out) Look to find great imagery and art to study. You will find that some of the ideas will mix and match giving you a whole new way of seeing and creating your photographs.

Arthur Rainville passed on an idea that I try to keep up with. Arthur suggests each night before retiring try to study an artist for about 15 minutes. That could mean quickly reviewing a prolific artist’s entire catalog or studying intimately one or two paintings. You can do this with books, magazines or the Internet. It is amazing how your brain will incorporate things studied just before falling asleep. Arthur is a true photographic artist always trying to push the bounds of wonderful image making. I admire him greatly.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

selby gardens

Flowers of all shapes sizes and colors often make a good subject for photographs. And if you can get to a place like Selby Gardens in Sarasota, Florida, all the better for having a pile of subject matter to pick from.

Since I’ve been all artsy-fartsy with the birds I’ve been photographing I thought it might be time for a little realistic imagery. Here are a few from the Selby Gardens botanical collection…

flower at selby gardens

Not sure of the name of this one but I love the color contrast against the soft background. Natural light filtered through foliage gave the soft lighting against the sunlight falling against the green leaves in the distance.

orchid detail photograph

Orchids are very interesting subjects. They almost look Sci-Fi to me especially when you get in close. Something from another world.

orchid throat with pink overtones image

Another orchid. These are from the Phalaenopsis family.

In order to focus closer to get these details of the throats of the orchids I added Vello Extension Tubes to the 35-100mm Lumix Vario f2.8 lens. Images made with the Lumix GH4

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob

bird images original camera capture

So you want to see the befores?

I received a request to show the images I’ve been playing with the last couple of days how they looked pretty much straight out of the camera. I can do that…

great blue heron photo

Great Blue Heron at the Venice, Florida Rookery. Art Photo here

sandhill cranes photo

Sandhill Cranes, Sarasota Florida.

sandhill cranes photo

Sandhill Cranes behavior images. Art Photos here

sandhill cranes morning silhouette

Sandhill Cranes at dawn Sarasota, Florida. Link to post here

Photo gear used was the Lumix GH4 and the 100-300mm Lumix G Vario f4-5.6 lens. A faster lens would have been better but the reach of this is quite good (200-600mm 35mm equivalent) At just under $500 this is a pretty nice lens to chase down waterfowl.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

still playing with birds in florida

This time I went to the rookery in Venice Beach about a half hour south of Sarasota. Apparently I am a little area for the big nesting season but there were a few Great Blue Herons, some Anhingas and some other smaller birds in the area. Not the ideal time of day to shoot but with a little imagination, a couple textures and some Photoshop Blend Modes I might be on to a little something here…

great blue heron photo art image

Playing around with the concept night and day… Great Blue Heron from Venice Beach Rookery.

Original image captured with Lumix GH4 and the Lumix Vario 100-300mm lens.

Back out to shoot some more… Later!

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

more birds in florida

When photographing birds I always try to spend enough time with them to learn some of their habits and behaviors. Spending time allows you to start to predict different things that will set your images apart. The prediction will be the difference between going, “WOW that was pretty cool!” and wishing you had been able to capture the image and getting the moment in your camera.

Once you start to study the birds behavior you start to see tell tale movements that will cue you in on the bird getting ready to take off or stretch or any number of things that will lead to more interesting images than a simple bird at rest. Here’s a couple examples of my Sandhill Cranes in motion.

sandhill cranes in motion

Sandhill Cranes in Sarasota, Florida.

sandhill crane art photo

Here the Crane is reaching for some seeds at the top of the vegetation.

Of course, once I get the raw photos it’s time to apply my ‘Photo-Synthesis’ technique to add texture, color and depth to the images. I use Photoshop. Add layers of texture and change Blend Modes to create the look.

Check back one post to see yesterday’s Sandhill Cranes in silhouette  and more ideas on photographing birds in nature including equipment used and getting set.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

photographing birds in sarasota

I’ve always had a hankering to photograph birds… Not sure where it comes from. Perhaps the thought of the freedom of being able to fly away at a moment’s notice. I know I always enjoyed going fast. Loved windsurfing and the freedom that gave… It was on a par with flying. in fact sailing uses the same physics as flying. But, I digress.

Went out to photograph the Sandhill Cranes this morning.

sandhill cranes feeding silhouette

Feeding as the sun rises. Sandhill Cranes in silhouette in Sarasota, Florida

sandhill cranes silhouette with wings

A couple cranes dancing with each other in the sunrise in silhouette. I often look
for a bit of behavior other than feeding or standing to add some action to the image.

Tips on photographing birds…

Arrive about 45 minutes to 1 hour before sunrise. The birds will start to become active a little after first first light. If they see you coming in they will tend to split.

Try to set up so you are downwind of the birds or at an angle to the wind so they fly across your field of view. They are going to take off flying into the wind. If you are upwind you’ll get lots of bird butts.

Try have the sun behind or slightly to the side of you for best light on the subject. (or prepare to work with silhouettes as I’ve done here)

Of course a long lens is very helpful. For these I used the Lumix GH4 and the 100-300mm Lumix G Vario f4-5.6 lens. A faster lens would have been better but the reach of this is quite good (200-600mm 35mm equivalent) At just under $500 this is a pretty nice lens to chase waterfowl with…

More bird stuff tomorrow.

Your in Creative Photography,      Bob

sunday photo/art quote 12/7

Happy Sunday!

Let’s talk about a mindset for creating photographic art courtesy of Henry David Thoreau in the book Walden.

walden quote from thoreau

“Only that day dawns to which we are awake.” Henry David Thoreau

Why do  pop into philosophy when talking about creating art? I believe to create the best work, or to see many things to which we are exposed that could become art, we have to live and be in the moment. Many times in our lives we tend to miss out on many opportunities because we are living either in the past or the future.

“What the heck are you talking about Bob???”

How many times in the day do you put yourself in automatic mode? By that I mean as you do things are you aware that you are doing them while you are doing them? Or, are you thinking about something that happened yesterday that was a problem or worried about something that hasn’t happened yet that MIGHT be a problem? Ever driven home and wondered how you got there? Do you always brush your teeth exactly the same way? Eaten a meal but not tasted the food? These are all signs you are not in the moment and might be missing out on your life.

It is the brain’s job to create thoughts. Tons of thoughts. When chatting about this with another photographer she said, “I know what you mean! I call it my ‘circus’ when I can’t get my brain and inner voice to be quiet!” It’s also the brain’s job to do things automatically for us like regulate our heart. Make the lungs take in air and expel it. All that is great, and quite wonderful, until we allow the brain to control too many things without being in the moment concouisly thinking.

How can we start to take back the brain and make it help us better?

Learn to meditate.

Here are some simple ideas for getting into meditation. Brush your teeth or shave with your opposite hand. Take a different route to and from work or the store when driving your car. Concentrate on one thing at a time. The idea of multitasking is a misnomer. Your brain can not do multiple things at one time it must switch modes and it will actually take longer to do the tasks.

SIT for a little while and be here now. What sounds do you hear? Take control of your breathing and be aware of it. When a thought comes unbidden let it go. There is a book that I found helpful on learning how to meditate by Jon Kabat-Zinn called Wherever You Go – There You Are It gives you exercises and ideas on learning to quiet to mind so you are here now.

Ever notice when you go on a trip you find a lot more photo opportunities? That’s an example of leaving our automatic self behind and seeing what s right in front of you. That’s what I’m talking about!




As a friend of mine used to say, “I have an extremely busy day today! I better meditate for an hour rather than for fifteen minutes…”

Seems counter-intuitive but she accomplished an awful lot on a regular basis!

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

texture collection

I love textures!

If you have followed me for any length of time you know I use textures as elements in creating my photography based artwork. I started collecting textures long before I ever began using them. I would find the ‘found’ collection of elements like piles of leaves, nature grasses, peeling paint and the like and make a photo and save it to the pile. Now I have a rich stockpile of textures to choose from when creating using the process I call ‘Photo-Synthesis’.

While strolling on the beach on Anna Maria Island I happened across this sand formation. Photographed it many different times because even a small difference in the layering of the sand granules or the pattern made by the ridges can make a difference in how the texture will play with the layer below it when using Blend Modes in Photoshop.

sand texture photo

Fine sand patterns built by the sea…

fine sand with crab skeleton

While scouting and collecting the sand patterns I found this crab skeleton and there’s something about it…

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob