Vision and Perception

Ted Talks has some extremely good discussions that relate to photography.  One of my favorite videos there is by Beau Lotto and has to do with how we, as  humans, perceive color.  We are incapable of visualizing absolute color values, everything that we see is contextual.

Beau demonstrates how our brain compensates for color casts and changes in luminosity to make us see what we expect versus what is actually in front of us.  It can be frightening to see how easily the brain is convinced that we are seeing the same color when they are drastically different hues, or different tones when they are exactly the same.

The video is as fun as it is educational.

Blogs I Read

Here is a list of photography blogs that I read on a regular basis.  Maybe not daily, but they are all linked to my  Reader so that I can easily read every post that they make.  Some post more frequently than others, and some post more on the art, business, technique or state of photography.

Blog Name Subject Matter Work Safe
Andy Beel Black & White Photography Yes
Art In Nature Beautiful Nature Photography Yes
Awake the Light Nature Photography with an Artistic Flair Yes
Beautiful Landscape Fine Art Photography, Business Yes
DIY Photography Do-It-Yourself photography accessories Yes
Fotoblur The Best of No
Inside Glamour The Business of Photography Yes
Joe McNally’s Blog Joe’s Life and Times Yes
Joshua Taylor Photography Gardens and Landscapes Yes
The Joy of Photography Matthew Jordan Smith’s Life Yes
Lighting Essential for Photographers Photography as a Business, Home of Project 52, a 52 Week Online Photography Business Course Yes
Photography Improvement Photography Technique Yes
Pretty Girl Shooter Glamour Photography No
The Slanted Lens Jay P. Morgan’s Blog on Lighting. Videos are VERY ad heavy Yes
Smoking Strobes Portraiture and Lighting No
Speedliting Syl Arena’s Blog on Canon Speedliting Yes
Strobist David Hobby’s Blog on Off-Camera Flash Yes
Zen Through The Lens Tuan Pham’s blog on Zen Insights and How They Relate to Photography Yes


Some of these, like Andy Beel, Joshua Taylor and Ed Knepley I read primarily because they are friends or acquaintances whose work I like and I read their blogs to keep up with them.  I also read a lot about lighting and portraiture, some of which includes nudes, like Pretty Girl Shooter and Smoking Strobes.  Read at your own risk.

Tim Grey

Tim Grey is responsible for accelerating my grasp of Photoshop.  He does a good job of identifying common issues that people have with photo processing in Adobe’s applications and writing well thought out answers to address the problems.  His Digital Darkroom Quarterly (now called Pixology) and his Ask Tim Grey newsletter provide easy to understand answers to questions you might not have even thought to ask.

Tim is an expert in Photoshop and Lightroom, with extremely good access to Adobe for questions that involve “why does this Photoshop filter work this way?”  He is also a published author, with several books on color management and digital darkroom workflow, including both Photoshop and Lightroom workflows.

Zack Arias

Zack is famous for his OneLight portraits.  I read about Zack in someone’s blog a long time ago and followed his blog for quite a while.

In this video from Creative Live, Zack discusses the relationship between flash power and aperture.

Zack and Creative Live have produced a series of videos that can be purchased based on his 3 day workshop.  Almost like being there, but you get the added flexibility to repeat any portion of the workshop that you didn’t quite catch, or that you are having difficulty grasping.

“Illuminating Creativity – A Photography Seminar”

I just received the following email from the Baltimore Camera Club:

Nationally acclaimed photographer John Paul Caponigro is conducting his unique one day photography seminar

“Illuminating Creativity – A Photography Seminar”
Saturday March 9, 2013 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Kelley Hall on the Goucher College Campus, Towson, MD
sponsored by the Baltimore Camera Club.

You can see more information at

For more information please contact: Karen Messick at 410-337-2939 or karenskier AT aol DOT com

Information about John Paul Caponigro is available at:

You may or may not know, the BCC had scheduled John Paul last year, however he had to cancel at the last minute due to a family emergency. The BCC rescheduled him again this year.

Dean Collins

Also known as the “Dean of Photography” was the very first person to present lighting in a way that I could grasp.  His explanations of 3 Dimensional Contrast lighting, describing specular, diffuse and shadow areas of the subject got me thinking in whole new ways about photography and how the light affects what we are seeing.

Sadly Dean was gone before I had ever heard of him, but his videos are still available from Software Cinema and I have watched a number of them.

His videos allowed me to develop new ideas about how I might light and shoot different subjects.  It was amazing to me how he would produce drastically different images outdoors by simply using a reflector and a scrim.  Subject on one side you get a high-key image, move to the other side and get a low-key image.

He also wrote a booklet about Do-It-Yourself scrims, reflectors and flash modifiers using schedule 40 PVC pipe called Tinker Tubes.  I have seen this booklet on the web, but it is copyrighted work so please do not download it illegally.  There are plenty of copy-cat productions on the web like this, but Dean’s designs are better, in my opinion.

It is well worth your time to watch more of his presentations, especially if you are trying to learn lighting and exposure.

Scott Kelby

kelbytraining_titlelogoScott Kelby is quite the entrepreneur.  He turned a graphic arts business into a multi-million dollar per year enterprise, largely by working closely with Adobe to develop extensive training videos on nearly all aspects of photography and Adobe’s products all available at Kelby Training.

He also created the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, a professional organization of graphic designers and photographers where people share tips and effects that can be accomplished with Photoshop and its associated Creative Suite applications.

I initially purchased a few of the Kelby Training videos on DVD, which I loaned throughout my camera club for a couple of years.  This was shortly after Photoshop CS4 was released, and the CS3 videos all went on sale for 1/2 price.  But they convinced me that the video training would work for me, and that I had a tremendous amount still to learn.  For a couple of years I used their online training videos.  At $200 per year, it was about what I expected to pay for a 2 day seminar with no personal interaction.  This gave me access to the hundreds of videos that Kelby Training offers, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Over those couple of years I learned a great deal about Photoshop, Camera Raw and Lightroom, as well as watching numerous photography oriented videos from people like Joe McNally, Frank Doorhof and Jay Maisel.

I have also read a number of Scott Kelby’s books, however I found them to be somewhat trivial for my taste.  Everything that I have read by Scott is a cookbook photography methodology.  That is, you are given a recipe of such and such a lens, at such aperture and exposure.  If you have a reasonable grasp of exposure, depth of field and focus I believe that you will find them too basic as well.

But give the Kelby Training site a spin, I think that you will find at least something that piques your fancy.

Alain Briot


Alain Briot runs Beautiful-Landscape, a site that promotes photography as fine art.  Alain writes on many topics, including running a photography business and the fallacy that many starting photographers deal with, believing that if they work for less, they will sell more.

I stumbled upon Alain’s writing when I was reading a posting on Luminous-Landscape, a website where there are numerous excellent articles on photography, product reviews, tutorials, essays, etc.  I still subscribe to Alain’s blog, but frankly I don’t spend a tremendous amount of time reading it any longer.

Alain and his wife Natalie run workshops through Beautiful-Landscape, mostly in desert southwest.

Mary Lindhjem and Mollie Isaacs


I met Mary and Mollie through Joe Miller and NVPS (my camera club) shortly after Mary and Mollie began working together and created Awake the Light, where they both teach and mentor photographers.  I have been to several of their presentations and they are always informative and fun.  Their take on photography, that it should be fun, comes out in their presentations and in their work.

Joseph Miller


What can I say about Joe that hasn’t already been said?  Joe is my photographic mentor and good friend, founding member of the Northern Virginia Alliance of Camera Clubs, frequent speaker at local camera clubs, preacher of the 4C’s (Composition, Craftsmanship, Creativity and Communication) and Visual Communication, and promoter of the abstract photograph.

Joe has contributed more to the development of photography in the Northern Virginia region than any other individual.  In 1997 NVACC published its first Directory of Speakers and Judges, and currently maintains that directory for use by member clubs and the general public.  Joe also began providing a seminar for those who are interested in becoming a camera club judge, to increase the pool of people who could be chosen for each competition.  In the early 2000s, Joe began publishing photography booklets through NVACC for a small fee.  All of those booklets are available for download on the NVACC website now.

Two years ago Joe started an Annual Abstract Photography Exhibition and has worked tirelessly to make it successful, year after year.  He just began accepting entries for the exhibit this past weekend.

If you ever get an opportunity to attend one of Joe’s classes, seminars or presentations, I strongly suggest that you take advantage of it.