photographers health exercise

High Intensity Interval Training…

That sounds pretty intense. “No way I want to do something like that!” I know that’s what I was thinking when looking for a workout program that would fit my schedule yet still be helpful in getting me fit.

ALERT ALERT! *Lawyers type notice. I am not a health expert. I didn’t even think about staying in a Holiday Inn Express last night either. I recommend you see a doctor before adding any type of exercise to your daily activities. Also when you first start any new exercise routine you should either get together with an athletic trainer or physical therapist to ensure you are doing any exercises with the proper form. It doesn’t do any good to do the exercises wrong and hurt yourself. Understood?

OK, that’s out of the way I’ll tell you how I’m putting my workouts together.

After poking around the World Wide Web for ideas one kept popping up that seemed like it might be very doable. The Seven Minute Workout. You’ll find lots of variations out there but the APP The Official 7 Minute Workout from Johnson & Johnson is the one I choose.

j&j 7 minute worloutScreen grab from the 7 Minute workout page.
This what your workout instructor looks like on the screen of your device.

Cool part of this system is you don’t need any fancy equipment or go to a gym. You need your body. A room. A chair. Smart phone or Ipad. A clear wall. And, maybe an exercise mat if you have a hard floor. As you exercise with the program it tells you the moves you’ll be making. Times you through 30 seconds of the movements then gives you 10 seconds of rest and moving into position for the next exercise and starts you with a new 30 second clock and repeats until you’ve done the full set of 12 exercises.

7 minutes? OK that sounds a little too good to be true… It is. In order to really benefit from the program you should do the cycle three times in a row. And it will walk you through all of that. It will also track your progress with feedback from you and as this set of exercises becomes too easy it will set you up with more advanced exercises and sequences.

Here’s a link to a New York Times article about the program.

I highly recommend trying this out! (after you have seen your doctor!)

It’s easy. It eases you to deeper levels of workout. It’s super portable and there’s no investment except for the time you put in. I recommend you make it part of your daily routine and pretty soon when you miss doing your morning exercise for some reason, you’ll really miss it. Here’s to your health!

Yours in Photography,      Bob


neon photo heritage boot store austin TX

The salesman for neon signs in Austin, Texas could sell ice to Eskimos in their Igloos!

At the very least he or she is very good at what they do. The neon in and around Austin’s downtown area is very creative and plentiful. When I came to town to meet with fellow Panasonic Lumix Luminaries for a brainstorming session after dark I hit the streets to see what I might capture.

heritage boot neon sign austin texasHere’s the Heritage Boot sign just down the street from my motel.

This was created using three separate exposures and layering them together in Photoshop using masks and blend modes. I really like the feel of this… bright and warm yet it has an old time feel at the same time.

If you are ever in need of some beautiful boots this is the place! They are stunning.

Tripod is from the MAC Group MeFoto backpacker model. Easy to pack and surprisingly stiff with a nice ball head. Goes for around $150 bucks. Folded it’s about 12 and a half inches. (OK 12.6 inches) and will expand to 51.2 inches. Camera Lumix GH4 with 35-100 f2.8 with three different exposures and some zooming for extra interest.

Yours in Photography,       Bob

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black and white image conversion

I was asked the question how do you a black and  white image conversion. To steal a quote from Willy Shakespeare, “Let me count the ways…”

That’s kind of like asking ‘What film do you use?’ Or, ‘What are the settings on your camera?’ I use multiple methods depending upon the image and ultimate use of the image. Is it for a fine art landscape? Portrait of a person? Architecture? What are the different colors within the image? Is it being printed on canvas, photo paper, in a magazine or newspaper” All have a different feel and needs… We can now touch every single pixel in an image and control it’s tone Ansel Adams would have been in heaven!

I have an action that incorporates using the LAB mode. Covert to LAB throw away the A and B Channels. (that’s color info) convert to Greyscale. Convert back to RGB. Add a curves bump to taste.

Black and white converter in Photoshop.

Channel mixer.

Hue saturation.

NIK Silver FX Pro 2. Wonderful software!

Combinations of some of the above methods mixed together for different areas of the image.

Now my Lumix mirrorless cameras have presets that give me results that are repeatable and quite interesting. I shoot RAW plus jpeg to have the information that was presented to the camera and sometimes I will take the camera BW jpeg and also process the RAW and mix them together to get the look I want.

BBQ black and white photoIn Austin Texas with the Luminary team. Went to a BBQ place last night. Illustrative Art setting
pushed to black and white on the Lumix GH4

Don’t forget there are more tweaks that can be made to specific areas of an image by dodging and burning. (avoid using the dodge/burn tool in Photoshop! It mashes up pixels. Instead create a soft light layer and paint with black at a low percentage to burn. Another layer paint with white to dodge)

Their could be a whole field of study here just on this subject. I have a two hour program talking about this and could probably do a two day class on this subject called ‘Inspired by Ansel’

Here is a link to some blog posts on black and white shooting.

sunday photo/art quote 7/19

Is your photography unique?

Do you fully bring your inner self when you create images? If not, then there’s a distinct possibility you are not creating art. You are just making pictures.

oscar wilde photoToday I dug up a quote from poet, playwright Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde Photo by Napoleon Sarony

oscar wilde quote image“A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperment.”  Oscar Wilde

I’ve found my strongest images come forward when I am totally in the moment working on creating an image I really want to see made. Not necessarily because I am getting paid to make the image. But experience that I’ve acquired over the years allows me to bring creative things forward when on paid shoots even though

That’s why personal projects are so important to your growth as a photographer. You get the opportunity to explore, experiment and experience so much more as you create. You then are able to carry those forward into all your photography. I’ve also experienced the cross-pollinating of different genres of photography helping me create better photography. My wedding work helped in the fashion. My commercial work helped inform my wedding images. Playing while creating art images has worked it’s way back into my advertising photography.

So I ask again, “Are you bringing you to your photo shoots?

Yours in Photography,         Bob

estaban & teresa Joy photo shoot

Sound Bites Grill is the new home for Estaban… Turning Sedona into home base is now a reality for guitarist Estaban and his violinist daughter Teresa Joy. They are joined on stage by Percussionist Emilio Santiago. (this guy has the fastest drumming hands I’ve ever seen!)

And they asked me to start documenting and creating images for marketing and promotion. We started out in the Village of Oak Creek about five miles south of Sedona where the red rocks begin. The weather cooperated better than I could have hoped for during our rainy monsoon season. Clouds protected the talent (and me!) from getting overheated, but allowed the sun to keep peaking through to light up the red rocks nicely.


Estaban in front of Courthouse Butte in the Village of Oak Creek Sedona, Arizonaestaban & teresa joy photo shoot sedona, az

Guitar great Estaban & his daughter, violinist Teresa Joy in front of Castle Rock.P1010230_esteban_sed_sign_600_pixGateway to Sedona with Estaban and Teresa Joy showing off the sign to their new home base.P1000828_estaban_band_stage_600_pixThe Estaban show live on stage at Sound Bites Grill with Emilio Santiago on Percussion.

I choose to use the Lumix GH4 for this shoot because I would be working on a tripod. The lens which seemed to work for the entire shoot was the Lumix Vario 35-100mm f2.8 at ISO 200. Aperture for the outdoor images was at f11 because the story we are telling is of Estaban making Sedona his home. If I was trying for more ‘artsy’ images I would have chosen a wider aperture. A lot of noise has been made about the GH4 and the fact that it does 4K video. Well I gotta tell ya it’s a hell of a still camera too. I love the touch screen focus. The screen is bright enough to see in almost any light but it also has a live view eyepiece. It’s picked up and extra stop of density and can shoot RAW files at 12 fps (not that I needed that with this shoot!).

Lighting was supplemented with an Ultra Zap 1600 Paul C Buff flash powered with a Vagabond Mini-Lithium battery. It’s great to have studio powered flash in the field! I added a shoot through umbrella and kept it just out of frame. The shoot-through allows to ht the light source closer to the subject which gives softer shadow edge transitions. Here I was trying to make sure the light on the performers was really clean yet natural.

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Yours in Photography,         Bob

when weather threatens get shooting

Almost blew off my morning hike today.

It looked like it was pretty socked in and grey with a possibility of getting wet but I went anyway and to mis- appropriate a quote from Robert Frost – “And that made all the difference…”

red rock photo sedona arizonaCastle Rock and small group of Red Rocks in the Village of Oak Creek, Sedona, AZ

The sky behind the red rocks with its storm color deep blue and clearing clouds as the sun sneaked a peek at the rocks led to an interesting photo of this formation. Captured with the Lumix GH4 and the 12-35mm 2.8 Vario lens. I’m really liking the extra stop of dynamic range that has made it’s way into the GH4. Makes taming scenes with high contrast easier. Detail in the deep shadows without loosing the detail in the clouds.

Weather coming in or going out? Get your Butt in gear and go shoot!

Yours in Photography,        Bob

sunday photo/art quote 7/13

A hand went up in the back of the room at a presentation and someone asked, “What’s your definition of Fine Art Photography?” As it had been a long day I kind of joked with a line borrowed from the late Dean Collins, “Beauty is in the eyes of the check book holder!”

what is fine art photography signWhat is Fine Art Photography??

Today’s Sunday Photo/Art Quote is a little more introspection and thought about the question as we photographers tend to agonize over it on a regular basis. So here goes….

Let’s start with some semi-official definitions on Art and Fine Art in general. (Thanks to Jerry Burch for theses links from our email conversation!)

Take some time to follow the links for some more in-depth observation on the subject with the links below. Go ahead… I’ll wait and give you my thoughts below after you poke around on the web. If you find something cool others should see bring the link back here and post in the comments section…

From Collins World English Dictionary
fine art
1.            art produced chiefly for its aesthetic value, as opposed to applied art
2.            ( often plural ) Also called: beaux arts  any of the fields in which such art is produced, such as painting, sculpture, and engraving

From Dictionary.Com
fine art
a visual art considered to have been created primarily for aesthetic purposes and judged for its beauty and meaningfulness, specifically, painting, sculpture, drawing, watercolor, graphics, and architecture.

From Wikipedia
Fine art photography
Fine art photography is photography created in accordance with the vision of the artist as photographer.

Chip Jones Fine Art Photography Blog post
One challenge that many artists face throughout their careers is having a brief, but articulate description of their work at the tip of their tongue. You know, like a two-minute elevator speech that can be expressed in a moments notice when asked. For most people, this might seem like something that’s easy to do. For artists though, this can…. See link for the rest of Chip’s post.

The question you ask about Fine Art Photography is one that has been difficult to answer because there are so many facets to it.

There are photographers in the portrait industry that I consider to be ‘Fine Art’ photographers. Much of their work would stand up to the classic portraits created over the centuries that will still be considered beautiful examples of the best of the genre a century from now. People like Tim Kelly in Florida and Tim and Beverly Walden in Kentucky. Their work is exquisite! Does that make all portrait photographers ‘Fine Art’ photographers? Not by a long shot.

Ansel Adams was what was considered to be a ‘Fine Art’ nature photographer because of the detail and techniques he created and mastered for getting the vision from his head onto paper. I see stunning examples of other Landscape photographers that would definitely fall into the ‘Fine Art’ photography category but that doesn’t make every landscape image created a ‘Fine Art’ piece.

There are stellar images made by photographers creating images using multiple elements from different photos in composites that are museum worthy (see the work of Thom Rouse in Illinois as one example).

I guess I’ve been formulating a more concise answer as I answer your question. So here goes…

‘Fine Art Photography’ to me is defined by the mastery of technique to create an image. Do I consider myself to be a ‘Fine Art Photographer’? Yes I do. Is every image that I create ‘Fine Art’? Definitely not. Each individual work should be judged on its own merits as to it worthiness to be called ‘Fine Art’.

Join the conversation in the comments section.

Yours in Photography,        Bob

now i lay me down to sleep

The phone rang. I picked up and it was the hospital calling…

We have a stillborn child and a family that needs your special touch.

With that call my stomach falls and I realize I will be photographing a very emotional situation. So why do I also feel a bit of smile and good feeling? Because I’m going to be creating a family portrait with very special meaning that there will never be the possibility to photograph again. These images will help the family through their grieving process.

How can you know that, Bob?” you might be asking. I know because I’ve done it before and the notes that come from my families letting me know how much comfort they receive from having beautiful photos of their child.

It’s not easy, by any stretch, but being able to give back through the photography medium that has been so good to me is incredible.

Why am I telling you about this? It’s not to brag. It’s to hopefully inspire you to consider performing this service in your hometown. Please click on this link to find out more about becoming an affiliate photographer with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. There is a tremendous need as there are approximately 25,000 cases of pregnancies ending early each year in the United States and currently NILMDTS is only able to serve a relatively small portion of those families. We need photographers. And, as many hands make for a light load, the more photographers available the better.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep logoNILMDTS logo.

Won’t you at least take a few minutes and head to the web site for more information? If you are like me your first thought would be, “I could never do that! I’m too emotional…” Thank goodness I found out I was wrong. It’s a wonderful way to give back to your community.

Yours, In Photography,         Bob

cloud photo files

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now…” Judy Collins Play this while you read the post for some ambiance…


cloud photoPopcorn Cloud formation.

During monsoon season here in Arizona we get cloud formations to beat all… The three images that accompany today’s post were all photographed during one morning hike… and I probably could have gotten more cloud combinations it I tried a little harder but I was out for the exercise after all.

wispy cloud imageWispy cloud formation.

Why cloud photos? I shoot them for the files to create artwork. The right set of clouds can make or break a scene when you are working on images as art pieces. I have a pretty large collection of cloud images that convey all kinds of emotion. Angry clouds. Popcorn clouds. Soft wispy clouds. Colorful sunset clouds. Ominous clouds. You get the idea.

open clouds photoFull sky of combination clouds.

You  need to think about clouds quite a bit when adding them to photos. A good selection along the horizon is imperative. A bad selection screams “DROPPED IN CLOUDS!”. If you want to make sure they are believable you need to have the clouds fit the scene. The light on the clouds needs to be from the same direction as the foreground scene. Lighting needs to be correct in the scene. If you are working on a sunset scene and drop in some clouds that are firing off in oranges and magentas you will need to add some of that color to your scene as the color of the landscape will reflect the color of the light on the clouds. As you drive around study the clouds and grab photos but also study the effect of the clouds on the landscape so you can recreate a believable look.

Now if you are trying to create an image of discordance you can throw most of the information above in reverse. Just know what you are creating and that it conveys the mood you are trying to create.

Images captured with Panasonic Lumix GH4 and 12-35mm f2.8 Lumix Vario Lens.

Yours in Photography,       Bob

meet my new car photo

My wife has bee driving a Prius for the last three years and while I really like the gas mileage she’s been getting (about 54 MPG) That model didn’t have enough room for hauling photo gear. Also wasn’t real pleased about the visibility with some of the blind spots created in the design of the body.

Enter the Prius V (for Versatile) and I am a happy camper. It has a much bigger body, roomier design and visibility is just about perfect with large windshield and a clear view through a large back window. The gas mileage isn’t quite as good as my honey’s car but 40-44 MPG is nothing to sneeze at either.

P1000460_car_600_pix The new BCP photo car.

This time I opted for the magnetic signage instead of the more permanent decals. (boy was that a pain to remove!) I am often asked if I worry about marking my car as a photographer’s vehicle. I always answered no but being able to remove the signage at any time can be an answer to those who might be nervous having their car in a certain area and not wish to be advertising the fact that it may have photo gear inside. I believe the signage to be of great help in marketing my business especially as I’m in a small town. If you live in a large metropolitan area it might be less effective… Or maybe more as the possibility for more impressions is there.

Note that the graphic design of the signage is very clean and simple making it easy to read. Logo, web site and phone number. Easy ways for people to contact me… Also kept the Lumix G Changing Photography sign.  A word to the wise, As you are planning your signage make sure that where you intend to hang your sign is metal. Car bumpers, and some bodies are no longer metal and other places you might have thought were metal are now molded plastic.

Yours in Photography,         Bob