Using the tools you have handy…


Using the tools you have handy

Answer: A Smart Phone or Tablet !

The “before image”

PT Reyes Wreck_bow

Not long ago I was with a client on a workshop out at one of my favorite locations, Point Reyes National Seashore. One of the first places I take folks is to this old boat, aptly named the “Point Reyes”.

I have been photographing this old boat for almost 20 years now and in the last year it has been disintegrating rapidly. I fear it won’t be long before it is no longer photogenic nor a good teaching tool. I will sincerely miss this “The Old Girl” when the time comes.

The reason I take folks to this location is to discuss various techniques such as composition and looking for textures, shapes, and tonalities. All integral parts of making an image.

As I was talking about this my client was having a somewhat difficult time “seeing” what I was talking about. Which is to say exactly why we were here!

Recently I discovered the usefulness of my iPhone as a learning tool in the field. In fact now I WIFI my client’s images to either my phone of iPad to instantly critique images in the field real time….

In an attempt to “show” what I was talking about, I made an image using my iPhone 6. I did a quick edit in the phones app and showed it to him and “Boom!” he saw what I was talking about. Literally within seconds the concept was delivered.

The rest of the day was fantastic! I watched him make incredible images and gained a faithful client whom I happily consider more a “Friend”

You can use your Smartphone or Tablet as a great in the field tool to not only help you envision a scene but capture a damn fine image too!

Here’s what he was shown…. Note all the objects of the lesson: Shapes, textures and tonality…

PT Reyes Wreck_bowBW








Photography Workshop/Tours for 2015

Bay Bridge Sunset

If you want to photograph beautiful San Francisco, or waterfalls on nearby Mt Tamalpais, or the rugged coastline and wildlife of Point Reyes then you need to join me on my one day excursions. They’re a lot of fun, there’s a lot to see and there’s a lot to learn. To see sample images from Point Reyes, click here

rdwdsIf you’re more adventurous and like to travel then I have a workshop in the majestic Giant Redwoods on northern California’s rugged coast. We also visit just over the border into southern Oregon for some fantastic scenery along the coastal areas. For sample images from this workshop, click here…

Later in the year I will be offering additional workshops in the northern Oregon and Washington areas – stay tuned for more info on these stunningly beautiful locales.

Tranquil StreamIn the fall I offer a one week course in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains. There you will be enthralled by the colorful changes to the Aspen and Cottonwood trees as Autumn works its magic. Additionally we will visit the Bristlecone Pines in the nearby White Mountains. At over 11,000 feet elevation the terrain is hostile yet the Bristlecones are over 5000 years old! We finish at the base of Mt Whitney in its majesty as the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.

So if you’re looking for a great experience with a seasoned photographer and guide, check out my offerings. With small groups of no more than 6 people you’ll enjoy a more intimate and flexible experience.

Visit my workshops pages here

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When nature gives you lemons…make lemonade!


I made this image while conducting one of my photography workshops yesterday at Point Reyes National Seashore. Although I had planned a sunset shot sometimes fog on the horizon nixes what can be a great moment. However all is not lost. Instead you can change your concept during the image taking process and envision it as a dramatic black & white. This was a 30 second exposure using a 10 stop ND filter. I used a limited application of contrast adjustment using dodge & burn techniques. A final step was to add a little vignetting. Keeping detail in the rocks with a smooth silky water was my plan.

I’ll file this in the “When nature gives you lemons, then make lemonade!” category….

Be sure to check my workshop listings for updates on this and other opportunities to learn how to make great images.  Workshop listings…


Point Reyes National Seashore Workshop August 11, 2012

Yesterday I held a one day photography workshop at Point Reyes National Seashore. The five of us visited several locations and even though the fog was heavy we were able to capture some great images. Along the way we saw elk, deer, elephant seals, raptors and an elusive bobcat.

Point Reyes Lighthouse

We started our journey with a brief meeting at the park headquarters then off to our first shoot, the old wreck of the “Point Reyes”, probably the most photographed boat in northern California. The old boat is definitely showing deterioration as compared to my first images from 10 years ago. Still the photographic learning opportunities abound. We took a bunch shots and discussed the various aspects the “Old Girl” has to offer in artistry.

It was then off to the lighthouse. The fog provided almost zero visibility. Although this lighthouse is now automated it stands as tribute to its own history. Inside the apparatus room there are remnants of the machinery needed to “keep the light”. Outside the harsh climate is evident in the rust and lichen growing on the sides of the building. All providing great opportunities for camera work.

Our group then moved on to the old RCA radio station which has an old growth row of cypress trees that have formed a tunnel effect over the driveway leading to the building. There was such a magnificent overcast/fog layer which gave us near perfect lighting conditions and we got some wonderful images. This location is a great place to discuss HDR (high-dynamic range) when it’s a bright sunny day. The hot spots and shadows provide a great range light and challenges on how to capture it.

Next we headed to Pierce Point to see if we could get some images of the elk herd. The fog was getting thicker. While driving, Menno our friend from the Netherlands, spotted a bobcat. He jumped out of the car and ran back a ways and was able to get an image of the elusive cat staring right at him in the fog. Definitely a cool shot.

We poked around the barn area, shot a few trees in the fog, but the light was starting wane and we decided to head back to Drakes beach for some tranquil surf shots on the level beach. Of course right there on the side of the road was a herd of elk. The males “bugling” loudly, rounding up their harems on a Saturday night. We finished on the beach using longer exposures and got some nice images of the low “silky” surf rolling up the beach.

All in all a nice day to shoot. Weather wasn’t perfect but in a way it’s was. The fog gave us some mood to the images, and of course the overcast is natures perfect neutral density filter.

Thank you, Sarah, Menno, Glenn, and Ash for allowing me the opportunity share my thoughts and techniques in a great location with great company!

Next up: Mini Workshop August 18th 3-10pm San Francisco More info…