Friday, November 5, 2010


I have recently been experimenting with adding texture layers to photos, and I am finding the different looks I can create quite interesting. This can be done with images of texture that you have photographed yourself, or you can purchase them thru many online sites, and even download freebies from Flikr.

The textures I prefer to use are "Dirty Pictures" from Totally Rad (  The interface is incredibly easy, just a few clicks and I have an assortment of 21 texture choices added to my image, viewable in a thumbnail collection. I can scroll thru the samples and choose the one that best suits my vision. I can then customize the image to my liking, tweaking opacity, blending mode, etc. I downloaded the software, tried it on one image, and was hooked--- I sent Totally Rad a fan letter right away! The texture is added as a separate layer, so I can set up layer masks to control or remove the effect in certain areas if I choose to.

 I am working on a collection of  my own texture photos, (rust, peeling paint, moss, tree bark...) which I can add to the software. How cool is that? The software can also be personalized with my choices in defaults, favorites, previews... If you are looking for a simple way to add texture layers to your photos, you really need to try this. The wonderful people at Totally Rad have given me a 15% discount code to share with you, just use ppsop when ordering.

I love the way textures can add interest to photos, giving them a different mood and feel. Here are some before and after images:

Happy Shooting!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lensbaby Scout

     Earlier this month, I beta tested the newest gem in the Lensbaby collection, the Scout. Scout is Lensbaby's first non-bending lens, and comes with the Fisheye optic installed. Because the lens doesn't bend like traditional Lensbaby lenses, fisheye images are always perfectly centered. The lens can focus as closely as 1/2 inch away from subjects,  and has a very smooth focus collar. It works with Lensbaby's unique optic swap system, so you can change optics for different effects. I love testing new products, and this lens was no exception. It's fun, easy to use, and a great addition to the Lensbaby lineup.

    Here are some of my test images, these were at f/4, which is wide open on the Scout, no aperture ring.

    These were all shot at f/16 for greater Depth of Field:

Happy Shooting!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I spent most of last week in Acadia shooting with some great friends. It was wonderful to relax, laugh and take in the beauty of the area. After a busy summer, a few days with no responsibilities, surrounded by amazing scenery was just what I needed. Here are a few of my favorite images from the trip.

Before he flew back to Washington, Ron Goldman was kind enough to pose for a few genuine Fisheye shots. I used the new Lensbaby Scout, it's awesome!

I definitely need to spend much more time in Acadia, the park is huge, I am already thinking about my next visit!

Happy shooting,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Little "Me Time"

Last week was incredibly busy, so much to do with very little "me time".  Tuesday was a gorgeous early fall day here in Maine, and since I knew I'd probably not have any shooting time the rest of the week, I grabbed my camera and headed up the road to a garden of Cosmos plants.  I love shooting Cosmos, they always look like they are dancing on the slightest breeze, they are such beautiful and graceful flowers. It was 7AM, just after sunrise, and the light was warm and lovely. There was a slight wind so I did have to wait for lulls to get the shots I wanted, but I am a patient photographer! I shot with my Lensbaby Muse, single glass optic and the  +4 macro diopter.

 I shot for about an hour, and came home with some keepers and that wonderful, peaceful feeling that time with my camera always brings to me.

Wishing you some "me time" this week!

Happy shooting,

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Photographing Spider Webs

Autumn in Maine brings amazing foliage, but it's also a time when the spiders seem exceptionally busy constructing their intricate webs, and I love photographing them!  Early morning is the best time to shoot these webs for several reasons. Because the webs are so light they will move easily in even the slightest breeze and mornings are usually the calmest time of the day.  Morning dew adds jeweled orbs to the webs, and low light really makes the webs stand out.

I find webs everywhere in the fall, from fields to my garden, on fences, in trees, I have even found them on my mailbox and on the side view mirror of my truck!  Before you start shooting, really examine the web. Look for the most interesting lines and patterns, and decide how much of the web you want to include in the frame. Look at what is reflected in the dew drops,  an interesting reflection can really add to the shot. 

Look at the way light hits the web from different angles and check for distractions in the background too. A plain background will make the web stand out. If you can't find an angle that eliminates the distracting elements, consider replacing the background, as I did here simply placing a blue jacket behind the web.

A red vehicle at a distance beyond this web created a great background.

For the sharpest results, use your tripod, you don't want any camera movement blur and I always use manual focus for my web images. Choose an aperture that blurs the background, yet gives you enough detail in the web. Sometimes I choose a large aperture and focus on just a small part of the web, sometimes I stop down quite a bit for greater depth of field, depending on background simplicity and the look I am going for.  Experiment, work your subject with a variety of apertures.

If the spider is still in the web, you can include it if you want, but remember that the image will become more about the spider than the web pattern if you do.

Happy shooting!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Who Are You Shooting For?

“You will never make a photograph that everyone likes, so make sure that you like every one of your photographs.”      ~Oliver Gagliani

A few months ago, I posted some images I'd made of some abandoned train cars in Bartlett, NH. Soon after that, I received a note from a fellow photographer that said in part,  "...You're going to have to sell me on those train shots."  My response? It was immediate and direct:  "No, I don't."  I love the images, they are a departure from what I usually shoot and were a fun challenge. I enjoyed the process and am proud of my results. I have no expectations that everyone will love everything I shoot.  I shoot for myself, for the joy that it brings to my life. If other enjoy my work, that's even better! If not, that's okay too, we all see the world in different ways.

In that spirit, here are a few more fun images from that shoot:

So, who are you shooting for?  ;)  Let me know your thoughts.


Saturday, April 24, 2010


I bought a new scanner this week, and couldn't wait to try it out on some scanography. What is scanography? It's making images right on a scanner! I have seen some amazing examples of this type of image making, and was anxious to see what I could do with my scanner.

I started with some daffodils from my garden, and had fun arranging them in different ways on the scanner bed. My first scan was pretty awful! I had too much stray light hitting the scanner, so I used black foam board to surround the scanner and eliminate the problem.

Once I had the daffodil shot I wanted, I experimented with  a few other items. Had some fun with a trio of peacock feathers (feathers are tough to scan, they do not stay put!).

I then moved on to a nautilus shell. I loved the way the shell looked on the scanner, so I added another, and was quite pleased with the results.

 I converted the image to black and white with my Nik Silver Efex Pro software (love all of my Nik filters!).

Have I mastered this technique? No, far from it! But I can see some potential here, and will continue to experiment. I do love a challenge, and am looking forward to seeing what I can create with this technique as I learn and experiment more. I'm already envisioning scans using ferns, tulips, poppies, callas, so many ideas!

Happy shooting (and scanning!)

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Last weekend I traveled to The Butterfly Place ( in Westford, MA with a group of friends to photograph butterflies indoors, something I had never done. Photographers are allowed in an hour before the opening time on the first Saturday of every month, and my friends and I basically had the place to ourselves for part of that time. It was wonderful to see the butterflies flying about, and challenging to shoot them as well. Most of them didn't stay still for long!

The Butterfly Place had just opened for the season, so the plants were quite small, making attractive backgrounds somewhat difficult. I shot with my 180mm lens in the beginning, making some documentary style images.

I knew that blurring the background was essential, as some of it was distracting and not very attractive, so it didn't take long before the 180mm went back in my bag, and out came my Lensbaby Muse with the Soft Focus optic and +4 macro diopter. It wasn't easy to get as close to the butterflies as I needed to be, but I was patient, moved slowly, and came home with quite a few images that better represented what I was trying to capture. Here are some samples:

Happy Shooting!

Monday, February 22, 2010

February Orchids

If you are a flower lover and are ever in New Gloucester, Maine, you really need to check out Woodsprite Orchids ( I spent yesterday morning shooting and mentoring a group of photographers there. Shooting orchids in a greenhouse in Maine in February was absolutely heavenly! The owners were kind enough to open the greenhouse just for us, and the 3 hours we were there absolutely flew by! For me, it was like a morning at Disney World! Richard and his partner grow an amazing variety of orchids, my favorites were the Lady Slipper orchids.

Orchids are a complicated flower, and not an easy subject to photograph. I shot most of my images with my Lensbaby Muse, using the Soft Focus optic, and was quite pleased with my results. Here are a few favorites from the shoot.

Also, Lensbaby turns 6 today! To celebrate, they are giving away some fantastic gifts! Read all about it here:

Happy Birthday, Lensbaby, and thank you so much for the joy you have brought to my life!

Happy Shooting!