Lightroom: Painting with Textures

One of the great challenges of photography is to add range and dimensionality to 2-D digital images — and more challenging, to Raw images that already have a flat appearance. I have a whole section on how to add dimensional complexity to landscape photos in my new book, Photographing Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef National Parks. And I’ve continued to explore this tool set…

Sand Dune and Manhattan Beach Pier

A South Bay Sandblaster

The South Bay part of LA, Manhattan, Hermosa, Redondo beaches and Torrance can have annoyingly nice weather. The 72 and sunny thing happens quite often. So when a big storm comes it, that’s one thing that makes my local photo spots worth another visit. And the wind and sand storm that swung through the bay a week ago definitely got my creative juices going. This was just after a…

Night Photography: People Watching at Union Station

LA’s Union Station is a great spot to shoot architecture at night. But it’s equally good for photographing people. There are two elements I look for, someone who’s immersed in a personal moment and the way the person gets woven into the environment. Union Station is the busiest train station in the West. And there’s something about folks who are traveling that makes them interesting as…

Night Photography: Seeing the Art of Union Station

In a recent Paul’s Photo trip, me and 20+ other photo enthusiasts did a night expedition to Chinatown and Union Station in Los Angeles. Union Station was built in the 1930s in a style that’s part Art Deco, part Mission Revival, part Raymond Chandler Hollywood. The place is the largest rail station in the Western US and gets over 100,000 passengers a day. …And…

Night Shooting: Chinatown, Olvera Street

I did a night shoot in downtown LA a couple of days ago. The session was organized by Paul’s Photo and about twenty photographers at all skill levels descended on Chinatown, Union Station and Olvera Street. As you might expect, night shooting requires a different skill set from normal photo work. There’s far less light so you end up treating the pools of light…

The latest

Lots happening right now. In October, I did a research trip for a new book idea that would cover the classic Navajo Nation parks, Monarch Valley and Canyon de Chelly, and several Pueblo reservations in New Mexico. Going in the October/November time frame allowed me to get shots you can’t get at any other time of the year: But in the middle of that work,…

Walkabout in Paris

My earlier post was about photo “walkabouts” — an approach to photo shoots where you allow inner instinct to take over. Here’s a walkabout in action. In Paris this last summer, I played around with the walkabout process I’ve been trying for the last year. And at that point, my latest trick was to book a hotel or AirBNB in a few (photographically) fun neighborhoods– specifically Montmartre….

A Visit to Taos

Driving to Taos, you get a wonderful sense of why the town attracts artists. This part of New Mexico is 7,000 feet high, part of the Colorado Plateau.  It’s high desert and mostly flat. But out of the plains, the Sangre do Cristo mountain range rises up, to over 13,000 feet at Wheeler Peak. And the landscape, the backbone of mountain, shapes the town and the…

Walkabout: A Photographer’s Creative Path

The more I explore Photo Universe, the more I know that often my best work happens when I leave the structured trip mindset behind and Go Walkabout. Walkabout. The word really entered the collective consciousness in 1997 when Nic Roeg’s film of that name was released. With my interest in meditation and spirituality, I totally got the message: be in Nature, listen to your own instincts and find your place in…

Paris Candid Shots: Thinking About Backgrounds

One of the great disappointments after your trip — you look at your photos and none of the magic you felt is in the images. Painful. That’s why photo books and classes were invented, to show people how to add that magic. I’ve been doing my own personal exploration of that mystery, what makes one image great and another just so-so, here with a focus on candid…