Wednesday, September 30, 2015


photos of the week
October 1st, 2015

Here we go with this weeks edition of "Photos of the Week".  I think this has become the article to look for.  Don't you just love looking at the most incredible photos found throughout the world?  This is the  place. I have tried to do a real variety in the photos this week, so, this should inspire all types of photographers this time.  I have found photographs from different Photographers, both amateur, semi-pro, or even some professionals who have just put their talents to work to come up with some incredible photos.  So, here we go:

Photo Credit:  Nestoy Simoes

I think this is the first time I have posted a portrait as Photo of the week.  But, really, how adorable!  The composition is perfect, the background and foreground blurred out, and the subject, with this portrait, has something to look at.  A truly great portrait.  

Photo Credit:  Jeremy Kapell

This is the time of year  when the storms we get are a little more serious.  And I would say, this is being at the right place at the right time, and not being too scared to get the perfect shot.  The lighting on this makes this water spout seem even more ominous.  Great photo Jeremy.

Photo Credit:  Fabio Malloggi

Now, I don't often post photos like this, but, this one I found really unique, because as I looked at this, I thought this was a really unique tree, that both sides are so identical.  I am going to not spoil how this photo was done, but, I think the magic of this creation is incredible and worthy of Photo of the week.   

Photo Credit:  Wanderlust Art by Hollynn

There are a lot of autumn pictures out there right now, and there was a lot to choose from.  Scenery by the bunches, but, this one just caught my eye by the way it was composed.  The foreground had the old wagon cart in the front, just made the picture more unique than just a scenery picture.  So, this got my vote this week.  There will still be lots of time for more great fall photos that are all over the internet, but, this is the choice today.  Great composition.

Photo Credit:  Chris Asche

And finally, speaking of great autumn pictures, here is one that had so much different colors, this one just had to be my vote.  My wife and I went out to take some photos this last weekend, and we struggled to find some good ones this year.  Found out that many of the trees were infected by some kind of virus, and were all but dead.  So, I love to see some good autumn pictures this year.  This is what I like to look for in a good autumn scenery, is some good variety in color.  Congratulation Chris on finding the perfect balance in this photo.


Congratulations to this weeks winners of  "Photos of the Week".  It just inspires me to want to take the time to go out and find some more great things to take pictures of.
A reminder that this coming Monday, October 5th, is the weekly learning subject on candid portraiture.  This should be a fun topic.  These are the most memorable pictures of all.  


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Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Photos of the week

FOR September 24th, 2015

So, I am really proud of those photos I have found this week. These are taken by people from all over the world, and deserve some special recognition.  The quality of the photos, the composition are all just outstanding.  I take a week to find just these 5 photos, and it took all week to find these.  These, I found, just took my breath away as I saw them.  Just outstanding art, and well thought out, and being at the right place at the right time.  And, obviously great skill in seeing how to compose the picture, and waiting for the right moment.  Congratulations to these fine, skilled artists who we would like to recognize at this time.  I hope these pictures inspire all who see them, to go out and take pictures as well, and work hard to earn a spot in the "Photos of the Week".

A special note:  most of these photos should be viewed horizontally.

Photo credit:  Micaela M. Bayon

Note how this just seems to capture such a wide area.  Definitely caught with a super wide angle lens, and the lighting on this is just perfect.  Couldn't find anything wrong with this at all.

Photo credit: Chu Hua Chang / FOTOLIBERAMENTE

This photo grabbed me because of the lighting, and how your eye leads to that red bike.  I am guessing that this was taken with a yellow filter, but, still that brought this to a special mood that made it just that much better.  A great photo with leading light.

Photo Credit:  Lisa Holloway

Sometimes, when a picture is this good, it's not a bad idea to put your name on the photo and give it a copyright to it.  Plus, it puts your name out there even more.  This photo looks like something you would only see in a fairy tale.  Could it be true?  I don't think this was a fixed photo.  This is just innocence brought together in a very special soft lighting effect that makes it just perfect.

Photo Credit:  Amazing Colors

I know we get a lot of pictures of sunsets.  I try not to be showing too many of those, but, this one caught my eye, not because of the sunset, but, because of the foreground.  It seems so hard to get a good forelight situation when the background is so well lit.  So, my hat is off to this photographer for capturing light in the foreground and background so well.  Anybody want to go there?  Nice, eh?

Photo Credit:  Peter Andriowan

I studied this photo for a few minutes and realized the just how much went into this.  It is a perfect photo for this week's subject:  "Action Photo's".  But, there again, the mood that is created by blurring out the background, and the foreground.  The depth of field in this photo is very narrow.  You only focus on the girl, and her hat.  What great care to make sure that the subject is so centralized and in our eye.  Perfect photo.  

Congratulations to the five winners this week.  Pass this on to your friends and let the world see how beautiful photography can be.  


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Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Here is this week's "Photo's of the week".  I think it takes me a week to find these pictures now, because I just don't look for ordinary pictures.  I want to find those really rare photos, that when you see them, you go, "Oh, wow".  So, with that in mind, here is this week's photos:

I think it is hard not to get a good picture in Japan.  But, to get the lighting just right, makes this picture even better.  I am a firm believer that clouds in the sky make a scenery picture much better.

This again is a scenery picture where clouds play a part in the overall part of the picture.  Plus, the backlight was used to some great advantage.  Absolutely making a desert scene into something really, really beautiful.

This  one just caught my eye, because it has special meaning to our family.  Our middle son climbed this big mountain, and it is a big one.  Mount Shasta in California.  I think these big mountains look much more impressive with just a snow cap on them, and here again, with just those few clouds again, just add to the picture.  Beautiful.

This is just one of those pictures where lighting is the key to making this just a beautiful picture.  If  you recall I mentioned that sometimes to become a great photographer takes great patience.  This is one where you wait for the proper lighting to get the scenery picture just perfect.

Some pictures are taken just to tell a story.  Where would you ever find a picture like this?  And how could you describe this?  You can't.  You have to be there, take the picture to explain this to people.  A truly moving picture of how some people live in the world.  A truly priceless picture that tells a perfect story.


So, that is our 5 photos of the week.  I want to mention that I have a new email address.  I opened up this email address so that you, the reader, could make suggestions, ask questions about photography or just comment on my blog.  I will use some of your questions on future blogs.   So, don't be shy, I will be glad to respond to them if you have questions.
Go to:

And remember, next Monday when I discuss how to take great action photos, including sports photography.

Lanny Cottrell

Sunday, September 13, 2015


Today's subject should be divided into two parts:  Pet Photography and Wild animal photography.  Taking pictures of pets certainly has it's challenges, but, in some cases is fun, depending on the personality of the pet.  But, I had for some time, been a portrait photographer, and people used to bring their pets into our studio for pictures.  I learned that the customer wanted to capture the "personality" of their pets, but, once they got into the studio, it was much more difficult to capture that personality there.  I often remember that we have had dogs that as soon as you point something at them, like a camera, they thought you were pointing a gun at them or something bad, and they would go into some fetal position.  That was not what I wanted.  But, in the studio, I found that once we got the animal in position, if I made some kind of weird whistle sound, or some sound that would distract them, they would perk up their ears, tip their heads to their side, and "click" I got the perfect photo. 

Now, I will be honest, I don't think I could do that with a cat.  And cats are certainly as popular as dogs in the home.  But, their personality is of such that you can't just bring them into a studio and pose them, and tell them to sit (usually).  Cats just don't tolerate people so much, so the best advice, I think to get a great picture, or memory of your precious cat, is to catch them in the moment of their fun life.  They have their own personality, but, you can't generally get them to pose for you like you can  a dog.  So, try to get down to their level, kind of like you do children, and see if you can't get a picture of your cat doing something funny, something memorable.  That will be what you remember the most about your cat:

If  you have more than one kind of pet, or a few pets that interact together, again, get pictures of them interacting together.  I would find it impossible to bring them into a studio and get a serious photo of them.

But, don't forget to take pictures of your pets.  How many times have you heard that your pets are like your kids.  You will miss them when they are gone, so, get pictures of them in their best moments.


Now, Wildlife photography, is a different animal (pun intended).  To get real good at wildlife photography takes great patience, skill, lighting, and patience, and tenacity, and patience, and, oh, did I mention patience.  But, most of us will just take a quick snapshot of the wildlife that we see, rather than try to become professional at it.  So, I just want to give you a few good points to help you, maybe become aware of how to take real good wildlife photos, that might be something you could be more proud of.  I don't really count this as going to the zoo and taking pictures.  They are making zoos to look more like the animal's habitat, and that is great.  But, I am talking about being in the real wilderness, no bars, no people, in their real natural habitat. 

Number 1-  Do not get close to the wild animals, especially the ferocious ones.  You never know if they are going to be protecting a young one.  I live just one state away from Yellowstone National Park in the United States, and it is crazy to see how close people get to the wild animals, just to get the perfect picture.  And, we always here of some tourist who gets gored, or hurt, or even killed by an animal protecting his "space" by some tourist who just got too close.  My rule of thumb:  If you can see their teeth, you are too close:

Number 2:  If you can, get a telescopic lens, or telephoto lens, or zoom lens to get your picture.  This is not something you should be taking with your small snapshot camera or cell phone camera.  At least a close-up of an animal.  This type of photography is for the more serious photographer:

Number 3:  As I mentioned before, be patient, and wait for the perfect shot.  They don't pose for you, but, if you wait for the right moment, you will get the right shot.  So, if you want the photo that you will be proud of, wait, and look for the time when the animal moves or positions themselves for the right pose:


That's it for this this week.  I want to introduce you to a professional photographers web site that has made his living on taking pictures of nothing but wildlife and nature photographs.  His work is incredible, and is worth for you to look at.   Please go to:
And check out some real good photos and notice the type of equipment he uses, and the hard work he does in order to get that type of photos.  It is good stuff.


Don't you love the photos I find in this learning segment of my blog each Monday?  I think they are just some of the greatest photos.  But, remember on Thursday, I spend all week to try to find 5 of the photos that I find worthy to call the "PHOTOS OF THE WEEK".  So, look for that to be published on my blog each Thursday as well.  


My subject for next Monday:  Action Photography.  How to take pictures of things that are moving fast or show a lot of action.  Sports photography will be included in this, as that is where this falls.  See you next week. 

Lanny Cottrell

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Most of this weeks photos will be based on this week's subject, which is "Close-up" photos.  I have been looking around the world from various artists to find some truly great close-up photos, and I think I have found some truly great, outstanding close-up photos.  I am hoping I give the proper credit to those whose pictures I have found, because they truly have come from all over the world.  This blog now has been going a little over 6 weeks now, and already is being viewed in over 10 countries, and I hope this becomes the place that photographers come to learn, send their friends to learn about photography, and get inspired by the beauty that is in photography. With that being said, let's show you my picks for this weeks "PHOTOS OF THE WEEK":
Remember cell phone viewers, turn your camera horizontally to get the full proper view of these photos.
Photo Credit: Enchanting Exposures w/ Click Pics
(Note:  Love this close-up for the dark background.  Makes the plants stand out so vivid)

Note:  Love the composition to this photo.  Great color, balanced nicely.
Photo credit:  Unknown at this time.

Photo Credit:  Siyong Lee
(Note:  Talk about being at the right place at the right time.  Good photography takes great patience)

Photo Credit:  Sandra Cottrell
(Note:  Love the contrast of the seasons:  Winter and Spring together and the colors and the contrast of it all)

(Note:  I love the detail.  The polen on the bee and the flower is so sharp.  The rich color of the flower)


Hope you enjoyed the "Photos of the Week".   And be sure to check out my blog next Monday, as we look at "how to take great Pictures of Pets and animals".

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Ooops, I forgot on my last blog to include the photo of the week.  So, I think it will be fun to separate that anyway.  So, from now on, I will send out the photo of the week on Thursdays.  That way, as I connect with photographers and such, we can actually do a gallery of some of their work as well.  But, for today, I will just put up a few of some of the most incredible photos I have found for the week.  I hope you enjoy them.  Don't forget our topic of learning next Monday on Close-up Photos.  I think you will love it.

Note: all these photos are horizontal PHOTOS. So, turn your phones horizontally to enjoy them correctly.


Photos, all courtesy of National Geographic.