Wednesday, December 30, 2015


And Happy New Year !  Wow, the last post of the year, and it is one of everybody's favorites:  The Photos of the Week !!  And they are incredible, as usual.  New photographers, new ideas, and from all around the world. Please take a moment to look at these photos very carefully, and see what happened to make these photos so great?  Could you have done this?  Was it just timing?  Being in the right place at the right time?  I am here to tell you, that most of the time, it is skill.  That is why we emphasize the photographer's name so much, because, it has taken years of study, and thousands of photos to learn to take pictures like this.   So, enough said, let's give you this week's "Photos of the Week".

Please turn your device correctly to get the best view of the photos, either horizontal for horizontal photos or vertical for vertical photos. 

Photo Credit: Chad Jones Photography

Photo Credit:  Laurie Excell

Photo Credit: Daniel Tjongari

Photo Credit: Nick Lee Photography

Photo Credit:  Tim Harding

Photo Credit:  Lesa  Corrine


All 6 of these are just great photos.  All very different, and all great skill taken.  Congratulations to these winners.  Please share these photos with your friends and family and pass it on to people who just love great pictures.

******  Starting January 1st, 2016, I will be doing a "Special Edition - Photographers special"  taking a moment to highlight these special photographers who is willing to share their love of photography with the world.  There are truly some great photographers out there, and I want to introduce you to them specifically, to showcase their great work.  And coming this week, on January 1st, 2016, I will highlight the great work of one of my favorite photographers:  FIG SAUVAGE PHOTOGRAPHY.  So, please watch for that.  You will love her work, and the great photos I have discovered.   And look forward to more "Special Edition - Photographers Specials" coming up this year.

If  you would like to have your photography highlighted through the "special Edition" feature of my blog, contact me at :

Sunday, December 27, 2015




Photo Credit: Lanny Cottrell

When you take photos and look at them, do you wish your photos were just different and unique enough, that when people saw them they knew these photos were yours?  How do you develop your own style?  Different than any other photographer that is out there?  It’s a good question isn’t it?  So, how do you become a unique photographer?  Here is an article by Geordie Parkin  that I found that is also unique enough, that I just wanted to share this with you.  Please read through this so that you too may be able to find a way to have your photos be something special.

Article by:  Geordie Parkin

OK, you’ve bought all the right camera equipment. You have three camera bodies, 10 lenses, a stack of lighting gear, all the filters and attachments you can think of. You’ve read the manual and gained some experience in taking different types of shots, but you’re still not happy with your results. You’ve even copied other people’s styles but they’re just good photos and they look the same as everyone else’s. They don’t stand out and nobody would instantly recognize them as yours. In other words, you have no distinct photographic style. What is photographic style and how do you establish your photographic style?
"Summer In London" captured by Jirina Kantova. (Click image to see more from Jirina Kantova.)
“Summer In London” captured by Jirina Kantova
Photographic style is not a destination, it’s the journey itself. You don’t suddenly develop style. It’s the result of your experiences, an extension of who you are and how you see the world. It’s what you evoke in people viewing your work that makes you unique. Photographic style is not copying someone else’s style, but it’s about making your photography an extension of yourself. In other words, don’t just copy the masters, try to be one!
How do you go about developing a personal style?
  • Discover what you’re passionate about. It’s easy to see which photographers are passionate about their work because it shows in many images they capture.
  • Enjoy your photography for the same reason. It will shine through.
  • Try new and different things to photograph subjects that challenge you. Every new challenge adds more skills and more experiences.
    "Bookman-Bookwoman" captured by This Room Became A Hill. (Click image to see more from This Room Became A Hill.)
    “Bookman-Bookwoman” captured by This Room Became A Hill
  • Don’t be afraid to fail by taking bad photographs. Overcoming failures by taking better photographs only makes you a better photographer.
  • Assign yourself projects that you have not attempted before, especially those assignments that you’ve never seen done by others before.
  • Be free to express yourself. Ignore the set rules. (Set by whom?)
  • Be inspired. Attend workshops and seminars. Look at photography blogs, magazines and books.
  • Act as your own critic. Look at your own collection of shots and ask yourself how they could be improved. Is your work exciting to you or just another bird photo?
  • Share your work with your friends and family, or go one stage further and sign up with photo web forums. Attend local meet up groups. Treat all negative feedback as a means to learn. Treat positive feedback as being on the right track.
  • Take a camera wherever you go. That one perfect shot is waiting to be captured by you.
  • Specialize on particular genre of photography, but do it differently.
  • Decide on a medium. Do you want to photograph in black and white only? HDR images? Pick one and be consistent —and I mean 90 percent of the time. There’s nothing worse that browsing through someone’s portfolio to see color, black and white, and some HDR. It cries out that you haven’t developed a style yet.
  • Try to describe your style to others. Do you capture the moment, freeze action, tell a story or do you aspire to being a photo journalist? This will help to define your style by telling others.
"A Day Out" captured by Jay Sadler. (Click image to see more from Jay Sadler.)
“A Day Out” captured by Jay Sadler
Eventually, you will come to realiz what your style really is. One word of caution: don’t over-process your images. Keep it simple and your work will stand the test of time.
About the Author:
Geordie Parkin is a photographer based in Forest Lake, Qld (photopress dot in slash brianparkin).
A special Thanks to PICTURECORRECT for the use of their articles.  

Wednesday, December 23, 2015



This will be a special "Christmas Edition" of  "Photos of the Week".  Format will be the same, I just want to give you more, like Christmas.  And as maybe you get new cameras for Christmas, or think about the beauty that Christmas time is, that you will be inspired even more to take some beautiful pictures yourself.  So, enjoy a few more great photos for Christmas.

Please turn your device horizontal for horizontal photos, and vertical for vertical photos.

Photo Credit: Karezoid Michal Karcz

Photo Credit: Mike Buchheit

Photo Credit: Mila Adams

Photo Credit: Helena Schubach / Photography Group: Dreaming with Colors

Photo Credit: Maria Anadiotou / Photography Group: Dreaming with Colors

Photo Credit: Devin Stein
Please check out his website at:

Photo Credit:  Peter J. Scott Photography

Photo Credit: Worldwide Photography Group - WINNER:  Baldy Patikradja

Photo Credit:  RJ Wilner Photography


There is this week's "Photos of the Week".  10 great photos, instead of the usual 6.  A special gift for Christmas.  A special congratulations to this week's winners.  We are proud of the great gift of art that you bring to the world.  Thank you so much.  And, speaking to all who see these photos, we hope to see more of your great photos again.

See you next Monday for our usual learning session. 

direct correspondence:

Saturday, December 19, 2015


The best Tricks for taking Photos 
during the "Magic Hours"

Photography is all about light, and the quality of light can make all the difference between an average photo and a stunning photo. Magic hour — also commonly referred to as “golden hour” — is the time of day when the sun is low and near the horizon, providing a warm glow. It occurs twice a day, in the hours of dusk and dawn. As the sun is either rising or setting, the sunlight appears as flowing gold light that casts a glow everywhere. This hazy, warm light is why most photographers agree that magic hour is the best time of day to shoot.
magic hour photography
photo by Eugene Romanenko
The direction of light plays a huge part in photography. Thus, this soft and diffused light is preferable for photographing practically any subject. This directional light creates saturated colors and preserves details without creating blown-out highlights. Instead, harsh shadows are replaced with long shadows that provide warmth, texture, depth, and interest to your photograph. These qualities are difficult to attain midday between 10 am and 2 pm, when the sun is overwhelmingly beaming overhead.
golden hour wedding photo
photo by Zoe
Magic hour lighting can be utilized for all sorts of photography, including landscapes, cityscapes, portraits, and still life. If stunning photographs are what you’re after, here are six tricks for making the most out of magic hour.

Always keep in mind that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. This is important to consider when selecting where to shoot.
Also, determine what effect you want to achieve. Do you want a warm glow to shine on a subject’s face or do you want light streaming through from behind the subject’s shoulders, creating a lens flare? There are many scene options to choose, ranging from warm light cast on a wide-open field to warm light seeping through the treetops of a forest. You can even get the benefits of magic hour indoors by shooting the subject near a large window. Therefore, it is important to envision beforehand what type of image is being captured.
magic hour portrait
photo by Zoe
As was stated, there are two opportunities throughout the day to shoot during magic hour. Both sunrise and sunset create beautiful directional light, but there is something about morning light that is less hazy and adds a dewy, soft look to photos. The evening light is still beautiful, though, and it casts a saturated hue on its subjects. But if you are going for pure light that produces soft shadows and total transitions, morning light may be the best choice.
photo by Simson Petrol

Magic hour occurs within the first and last hour of sunlight. This time frame can vary based on location and time of year. It’s useful to determine exactly when magic hour occurs in your region. An app called Magic Hour makes this possible by tracking your location and telling you what time magic hour will occur on a given day. There are also many golden hour calculators available online.
sunrise scotland
photo by John McSporran
Given that you have a rather narrow window to shoot, it is important to plan accordingly. Make sure you factor in the amount of setup time to make the most of this short and sweet, soft light. Also, light sources change rapidly, so the scene may look different between the moment you arrive and 10 minutes later. It’s best to stay the whole hour and shoot photos consecutively to capture as many variations of the light as possible.
You may come across a time when you have scheduled a magic hour shoot weeks in advance, only to find that it’s cloudy. Now what? Like most things in life, not everything can be controlled. The good news is that cloudy weather can actually act as a filter to diffuse the light and create soft, cool, and even light. Even though you won’t get that golden sunlight streaming through, the clouds will still allow you to capture beautiful images.

Usually, auto white balance is the best option for shooting. However, when shooting during magic hour, the best white balance setting is Cloudy. This setting avoids the risk of counterbalancing the beautiful warm glow cast by the sun.

Many artistic effects can be achieved from soft light during magic hour. Lens flare occurs when an excess of light enters the camera and causes the light to be scattered and reflected. This creates the appearance of haze, starbursts, and circles in the image. While lens flare and light leak may not be for everyone, they can be fun to play around with and can add an unexpected flair to your pictures. To produce lens flare, position the shot so that sunlight peeks through the edge of the frame and behind your subject.
Rim lighting occurs when the sun glimmers from behind your subject. It creates an airy effect surrounding the subject that is exceptionally stunning for portraits and close ups. Bokeh, or light specks, is another effect that can also be achieved by shooting at wider apertures.
rim light portrait
photo by 
Sarah Zucca

While it is definitely possible to shoot magic hour by hand, a tripod can also come in handy. As the light begins to fade, your shutter speeds become slower. This is especially true when attempting to capture movement in a dimly lit setting. A tripod ensures that the camera remains stable.
Paris morning light

It is much more common nowadays for someone to have an iPhone handy than a bulky camera in haul. The high-quality lens built into the iPhone is practical for shooting magic hour photos on-the-go. To get the perfect shot, point your iPhone toward your magic hour scene. The picture will mostly likely appear dark on the screen due to the phone’s light balance darkening the picture in an effort to compensate for the sun’s bright light. To fix this, tap on a darker spot of the scene on the phone screen before taking the picture. This balances the light based on the area that was tapped, which brightens up the image. If it brightens up too much, try tapping on a spot that is a little lighter than the last spot. Tap around until you get the perfect balance of lighting.
These sun-soaked images are great for sharing with loved ones via social media or displaying in your home on digital picture frames. However, the magic begins with you and your determination to rise and shine or stay out late. The impacts of shooting during these magical times of day are truly one of a kind. Get out there and try it for yourself and prepare to be amazed.
About the Author:
Daphne Lefran has been producing creative content for many years and currently writes on behalf of Nixplay, the creator of the Nixplay Seed. In her spare time, she enjoys capturing moments through a camera lens, traveling to new places, and cheering on the Florida State Seminoles. Follow her on Twitter @daphnelefran.
Special thanks to and Daphne Lefran for the use of this article.  I have always found that taking pictures during the "magic Hours" was the best time to take pictures.  I also found this article from Daphne to be so perfect, I couldn't help but use the article word for word.  It was perfect.  And the photos used were great examples.
Christmas is coming up this week, so, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  On Thursday this week, I will still have the usual "Photos of the Week".  I will have an expanded edition of "Photos of the Week" so you can enjoy the great photos I have found.  Until then:  Stay safe, and keep taking lots of great pictures.

for personal contact:

Thursday, December 17, 2015


So, where we live has been hit by severe winter storms. Thought I would post just a few pictures of what it looks like around my neighborhood.

So, after just 2 days, we have about 15 inches (381mm) of snow at our house.  Nevertheless, it has been a few days of hard driving, and yet the beauty of winter comes through.  We are privileged to live in an area that has 4 seasons, although, some of the seasons are very hard to get through.

Thought you would enjoy seeing some of my pictures from where I live.


Photo Credit:  Paolo Bolognini

So, what would prompt me to do a special edition on BIRDS?  I do this for two reasons:  1-  I learned a valuable lesson in my own life that we often miss the beauty around us.  And some of that beauty is the birds that fly around us.  And then 2- Birds are really beautiful creatures, and we are missing some real photo opportunities, if we do not take the time to take pictures of them.

I am going to start off with a story of mine.  I grew up here in the Rocky Mountains of the United States.  I saw birds around me all the time.  I knew of only a few birds that flew around our yard, and that was taught by my father.  The birds were the starlings, which my father did not appreciate much, and the sparrow, and the robin, and the seagull.  That was the main birds in our neighborhood.  As I grew older, I noticed that the smaller birds, that I assumed were all sparrows, had different colors.  There were some with red on them, some with yellow on them, some with even blue on them.  I was finally noticing that the sparrows came in different colors.  Then I noticed a store that specialized in taking care of wild birds.  So, my wife and I went into this store and got a book about the different birds that are in this area.  I found out that all these sparrows that were different colors were not sparrows.  They were finch's, they were "blue buntings", and then we did discover different kinds of sparrows.  We found Towhee's, Blue Scrubs, and other beautiful birds that would come down and feed off of our feeders.  Hummingbirds also arrived and entertained us with hours of magic.  We were fascinated with the colors, their attitudes towards each other, and yes, even the "sparrow hawk" made it's appearance.  So, now as I was working in the Photo Store, I see photographers taking pictures of these beautiful creatures, and I am fascinated with the art of capturing these beautiful creatures that are all around us.  So, then as I started this blog, what do I see?  Many photographers who have taken up the hobby of bird photography.  So, with that, let me introduce to you some remarkable photos of birds that have come across the internet, that I have captured to share with you now.  I hope you take the time to enjoy these, and try to do it yourself, as well.

Photo Credit:  Laurie Excell
Photo Credit:  Pedro Juarez Castano

Photo Credit:  Isak Pretorius

Photo Credit: Sukla Senai
Photo Credit:  Gary Clarke

Photo Credit:  Jamie MacArthur

Photo Credit:  Larry Jernigan / Trumpeter Swan - from Portfolio of Global Photographers

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There you have 12 different types of birds that you may have in your own backyard, or not.  This post is just hoping that you will look around you and SEE the beauty of the birds that are around you, and notice their color, their personality, and see what nature has to offer you, the photographer.  

Hope you enjoyed  this "Special Edition" of photos.  There will be more to come for sure.  Some of the "Special Edition" features have been a big hit, so, I look forward to presenting more.  

Thank you for your support, and pass this on, and share it.

Any correspondence:  contact:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015




Wow, we are about to end the year 2015!  And what a better way than to do this week's winners of "Photos of the Week"!  I have collected a lot lately, and may have to do more than one a week next week, because there is so many good ones that have come through lately.  So, anyway, let's do this weeks "Photos of the Week":

Photo credit:  Lin Mingren

Photo Credit: Hannes Becker / Instagram

Photo Credit:  View Bug Member:  J. Day

Photo Credit: Xueping Zhang / Light From Clouds group

Photo Credit: Vy Van Bui

Photo Credit: Stephen Emerson

Wow !  That is a group of photos that I think are just amazing. Each so different, well composed, and inspiring.  The whole purpose to having the "Photos of the Week" is to have each of us look for photo opportunities like this, wait for the right lighting, people picture, or best scenery shot, that will truly inspire us all. 

Hope this has helped us all.  We will see you next week, on Thursday for another edition of "Photos of the Week"  

Also, watch for "Special Edition" publishings.  Some extra photos that will highlight certain photographers or subjects.


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