Photo of the Month July 2022

At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For July we chose an image from our Glacier Workshop created by Eric Lacey. Eric traveled with us to the North American Indian Days in Browning, Montana. We hope you enjoy Eric’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to July 2022 ‘s featured photographer – Eric Lacey

Portrait of Eric by Kim Lafleur with a f1.2 portrait lens

The Story… 

I was looking for an opportunity to photograph a Native American person. I wanted to minimize all the distractions in the background. I was paying as much attention to what was in the background then to what the boy was doing.

Everyone at the event was phenomenally cooperative.

I took 4 or 5 photos with the boy standing in this position. I liked this one the most. He looks contemplative.

Photo of the Month July 2022

Aperture of f2.8: The tepees in the background give it a sense of place. I wanted enough bokeh in the background to blur it but also I wanted the viewer to be able to tell what it is.

Shutter Speed 1/8000: It was a bright sunny day so I shot at a really high shutter speed (1/8000 sec) This is the highest my camera would allow.

Exposure compensation of -1: I always shoot with some negative exposure compensation if I am shooting in aperture mode. I prefer lightening up an image rather than darkening it down in post process. I didn’t want to blow out any of the highlights.

This was the first time I used my mirrorless for portrait work. I was pleased with how it performed. I just love the EVF info and being able to see the histogram in real time. It simplifies the actual shooting.


EXIF Data:

Canon R5, Canon 70-200 RF 2.8 shot at 95mm

F2.8, 1/8000 sec, ISO 200

Aperture Mode, Exposure Comp of -1


Tips for Portraits:

Keep shooting – you will end up with a lot that aren’t great. Increase your keeper ratio by shooting plenty of frames.

Control the background – I didn’t move around the subject much. I knew I wanted the tepees in the background as a frame behind him.

Control the light – we had strong overhead sunlight, so I had to work with that. I softened the light in post. Luckily his headdress didn’t cast too much of a shadow on his face.


Sunrise at Swiftcurrent Lake in GNP

About Photographing in and near Glacier

Glacier exceeded my expectations photographically.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect because Glacier is less well known as a national park. The vistas aren’t as iconic. Compare it to Yosemite. Everyone knows about Half Dome and El Cap. I was very pleasantly surprised.

As for Browning and Indian Days, I thought it was one of the best parts of the trip. The photography was very different for me. Aside from the photography, I really enjoyed just watching. The remembrance tributes were really moving.

Taking portraits was a great way to expand my photographic check list. It was something we hadn’t done before. I took hundreds of photos and only had two keepers. It was really a blast!

Eric learned his lesson with this image

My Lesson Learned:

We went out the first morning and we had a beautiful pink sunrise. I thought the shoot was over and packed everything up and headed to the car. As I was walking up the hill, I heard Tom say, “Look at the light”.

I ran back down and unpacked everything. I used my ND grad filter to darken the sky in this image.

I learned that you don’t pack up until you’re sure the show is over!


On Eric’s Horizon:

Pantanal in Brazil

Puffins on Machias Seal Island off the coast of Maine

Oregon Coast & Redwoods

Tanzania

Eric and Kim photographing horses on route to Browning, Montana

Where are Tom and Cree?

As you read this we are sailing around the Galapagos Islands with a group on a three masted sailboat. We will be back in the office from August 8-12 and then off to Greenland with Strabo Tours to photograph enormous icebergs in Disko Bay.

Want to join us for an international adventure? We have a few spots open:

New Zealand Sept 22-Oct 3, 2022

Norway Sept 11-18, 2022

Patagonia Nov 29-Dec 9, 2022

We hope you are having a great summer. Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

www.tombolphotoworkshops.com

Trip Report – Brown Bears and Glaciers

We just returned from our Lake Clark Bear Workshop and are already longing to go back next year. The spring cubs were just wonderful. Take a look at our trip report to see the photos and catch up on what Crimp’s Cub looks like this year.

To see the report, click here

Tom has been busy working on articles for Nikon in his spare time. Check out his new piece on the Pre-release Feature of the Nikon Z9. If you are an Olympus user you probably already know about it. If you are a Nikon user, this allows you to record images before you push the button and capture a burst of activity. Great read! Click here. Most of the images for the article were taken on our Texas Birds Workshops in May

Tom and I will be out of the office for several weeks in August with workshops in both the Galapagos and Greenland. We want to be able to answer all of your questions as soon as possible and will check messages whenever we have coverage.

We will be readily available and in the office from August 8-12. We are also around for the next several days (end of July) if you need anything.

Thanks for reading our posts. We hope to photograph with you soon!

Tom and Cree

Can you tell we love Alaska?

Glacier Trip Report

After postponing for two years, our entire workshop group was delighted to be going to Glacier National Park. We showed up in the early morning for our first shoot and an amazing rainbow appeared over Wild Goose Island. It was a spectacular year to be in Glacier!

Click on this link to learn more and to see images from our photo workshop in Glacier National Park.

We have a busy international schedule coming up from now until December. We are traveling to the Galapagos and then on to Greenland next.

Most of our trips are full but there are a few spaces available on our Lofoten Norway Workshop on September 11-18 Learn more This is the perfect place to cool down after a warmer than usual summer!

We also have a few spaces on our Botswana and Zimbabwe Workshop November 10-22 Learn more We visit Victoria Falls, ground level elephant blinds and boat on the Chobe River.

Thanks for reading our posts. Hope you are having a great summer!

Tom and Cree

What is Coming up at TBPW

Greetings Photographers!

We hope your summer is off to a great start!

We will be returning to Alaska next week for an assignment with the Mat-Su Visitor’s Bureau (Palmer, Wasilla and Talkeetna). One of our shoots will be photographing stand up paddle boarding on a glacier pool. It sounds exciting. We are also looking forward to the annual Alaskan brewery photo shoot!

Arches and Canyonlands

New Workshops for 2024

Over the last few weeks we have been rounding out our 2024 Schedule with a few new workshop destinations. We keep adding new destinations in order to give you plenty of options, both international and domestic. We have space available on both of these:

Arches and Canyonlands Nov 3-7, 2024

Details: This is one of our favorite national parks. Tom has been leading photo workshops and doing assignments in Moab for the last 20 years. Photograph striking red rock formations on blue skies. Explore myriad arches against an iconic western landscape. Learn More

Orangutans and Volcanos in Indonesia February 13-23, 2024

Details:  Join Tom, Cree and Phillip Bartlett on a 10 day adventure to the exotic islands of Java and Borneo. These islands are  part of the country of Indonesia – we will be photographing wildlife from a riverboat, landscapes and taking travel portraits. Learn More

Orangutans in Indonesia Photo by Phillip Bartlett

Openings for 2022

Our domestic trips are all full for 2022. We have a few new openings for international trips. We have been traveling abroad since last November and are finding it easier to travel now that the testing requirement for covid has been lifted for re-entry into the US. We are happy to talk more about international travel with you if you have questions. Click on the underlined links to learn more.

Norway Lofoten Islands – September 11-18, 2022

Botswana and Zimbabwe – November 11-22, 2022

Greenland and Iceland – August 12-21, 2022,


We always love hearing from you! creetbp@gmail.com or (970) 631-9383  

Enjoy your summer!

Cree and Tom

Photo of the Month – April 2022

At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For April we chose an image from our Costa Rica Rainforest Workshop created by Joe Campbell. We hope you enjoy Joe’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to April 2022 ‘s featured photographer – Joe Campbell

Costa Rica

The Story … 

I had been sitting on a log having lunch by myself. I looked around and asked myself, “Where is everybody?” The guides said there was an anteater down the road so I decided to mosey down there.

I went down the road and everyone was shooting from the side by the road. Tom was on the beach side so I went and started shooting near him.

The anteater was climbing down the tree and sat down to rest for awhile. It was like I asked him to pose like that – sitting and enjoying the ocean breeze.

I was telling myself, “This is a damn good shot” How can you miss with a pose like that.

April 2022 Photo of the Month

I like using the ring to set the exposure compensation. With the Nikon Z9 you can see it happen right in the viewfinder.

The ISO on the anteater was 2800. I used Topaz Denoise and it worked fine. It does a great job of removing noise most of the time.

EXIF Data:

Nikon Z9 with a 500 mm pf lens

F8, 1/640 sec, ISO 2800, Exposure Compensation +1.3

Manual Mode, Auto Focus Pattern wide-area small

Eyelash Viper shot with a 500 mm pf lens

This was the best shot I got from the eyelash viper shoot. Eduardo was using his hook to place the snake on the heliconia. I used content aware to remove the hook from the photo. I try to walk around the subject to get different angles and shading.

I recommend changing your position until you find something that works.

I had never really shot snakes before. I plan to do it again.


About photographing in the Costa Rica jungle

It’s hot. It’s sweaty. And it’s worth it.

I like the variety. Without the guides I would not have seen anything. I do not know how they drive and see things way up in a tree at the same time.

The same was true of the river guides. The boat driver would stop and say, “There is a boa in the tree.” How the hell did he see that. I look over and it looks just like a bee’s nest.

The Sierpe River is where I learned that toucans eat more than fruit. We heard a lot of noise up in a tree. We saw several great-tail grackles chasing a toucan. We saw that there were actually 2 toucans. One was distracting the grackles while the other stole a baby grackle from the nest.

It flew off and I was lucky enough to get a shot of the chick in its beak.

I thank the Z9 for that.

A Bare-throated Tiger Heron in the Jungle

On Changing Positions:

We got a lot of shots of the Tiger Heron from right below the tree branch. Jose, the guide, suggested we move to the other side of the tree.

It popped. That was the place to be.


On Joe’s Horizon

Rookeries in New Jersey at Ocean City and Cape May (great egrets, white ibis, night herons)

Machias Seal Island for puffin

Alaska for Grizzlies

Norway for Northern Lights

Joe in Fairbanks – not dressed for the Costa Rican jungle

We are off to South Texas next for two bird workshops at Laguna Seca and Santa Clara Ranch. After that we are headed to to Southern Spain with Strabo Photo Tours – space still available.

We will add another trip to Costa Rica in April 2024 and have a similar workshop in 2023 in the cloud forest of Ecuador, click here to learn more.

Enjoy your spring and thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

www.tombolphotoworkshops.com

Trip Report – Death Valley

Just back from a terrific workshop in Death Valley National Park. Right before the workshop began, two days of wind wiped the sand dunes clean….the only footprints we saw were from a fox the night before. Click here to see the report.

News update: with omicron numbers declining, more people are interested in traveling internationally. Our upcoming trip to Sicily in March is full, but we have space on our Spain Workshop in May. Two spaces just opened up for our Costa Rica Workshop on April 4-11, 2022.

We hope that 2022 is off to a great start and you are finding time to get outside and create photos!

Warm regards,

Tom and Cree

Photo of the Month – November 2021

Tom and Cree Bol like to celebrate the great images created by their photo community by selecting a Photograph of the Month. For November we chose an image of a Sandhill Crane at the Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Refuge created by Riley Brissey . We hope you enjoy Riley’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to November 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Riley Brissey

Riley Brissey on location

The Story … 

This was day one in Bosque. That evening we had crazy clouds. The whole time we were there cranes were flying in from the left and the right. They never stopped.

Most of the people were photographing birds in flight. I felt like I should be doing the same. I kept looking at the reflections in the water and was thinking how beautiful it was. I wanted to get something in there too.

I started focusing on the water. I was sitting in the grass beside the road, looking for a cool pose or something really neat that would be worthy of putting on the wall.

This crane was a bit further away, probably 12 yards from me. I saw it walking towards the golden light of the reflected clouds and knew I needed to get ready. I was also watching several other cranes and their position. This was the one that was right where I wanted it.

I lowered my exposure to keep the red channel from blowing out. Tom had mentioned this earlier. Because it was a moving subject I kept my shutter speed relatively high for the light conditions. I always like to shoot birds at wide open apertures and I just let the auto ISO do its thing…..

November 2021 Photo of the Month

EXIF Data:

Nikon D850 with a Nikon 500mm PF lens

F5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO 2000, exposure comp of -1

Manual mode with auto ISO

About photographing on at Bosque Del Apache in New Mexico

It is a very interesting place. The way the refuge managers have handled the drought is great. They adapted to the conditions this year and still kept it a beautiful place to photograph. They gave the cranes new places to feed and roost.

If you go there any other time of the year, it would not look nearly as beautiful. I came back to Washington after the sunshine in Bosque and it was cloudy and forecast to rain for the next week and a half.

Riley’s tips for photographing Sandhill Cranes:

All these things I managed to catch came down to being observant. Blink and you miss it.

On the first morning, I missed the mating dance of two cranes in good light. I was looking to the right and completely missed it.

Keep an eye out all of the time. Put the camera down and look around. There’s only so much you can see from the viewfinder.

Be really attentive and observant of the moment.

Sandhill Crane portrait in the new crane pond

On Riley’s Horizon

Lake Tekapo in New Zealand. I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan

Iceland

Backpacking in Germany

Riley getting close at White Sands National Park

Ready for a bucket list photo adventure in the United States? We have a few spaces open for our Northern Light in Fairbanks Workshop. Click here for more info.

Or check out our 2023 and 2024 Workshops

Thanks for reading our posts and congratulations to Riley!

Tom and Cree

www.tombolphotoworkshops.com

Photograph of the Month May 2021

Tom and Cree celebrate the great images being created by our community of photographers each month by selecting a Photograph of the Month. For May we selected an image of a black bear created by Bruce Moore on our Yellowstone in Spring Workshop. We hope you enjoy Bruce’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to May 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Bruce Moore

Bruce and his Imperial Satellite 127 camera

The Story … 

I have been taking photos since I was ten years old. My first camera was an Imperial Satellite 127. I sold flower seeds door to door to earn points. When I had enough points I picked the Satellite camera.

I love cameras. They are like art pieces to me. I have about 50 lenses and 30 cameras in my home. I learned more about my camera on this workshop than any other I have taken. Learning to adjust exposure compensation and ISO quickly on the top of my camera helped immensely.

I also learned to try and get as low as possible when taking wildlife images. It looks like I am eye level with the black bear (photo above) even though I am 20 ft above him. The bear helped a lot. He looked right at me. That really made the picture.



May 2021 Photograph of the Month

I heard Tom clicking away next to me – his camera sounded like a Gatling gun. So I took about 18 photos of the bear and I have three that I really like.

Each camera only has so many pictures in their life. I take every click seriously. Besides, I don’t have the patience to look through 5000 photos.

EXIF Data: Nikon D800 with a 150-600mm Sigma lens

Aperture Priority mode f11, 1/640 sec, ISO 4500 Exposure Compensation -.03



Bruce’s tips for shooting wildlife photography:

Make sure you have the right lens on for the subject matter. When we were photographing the wolf on the bison kill, I noticed that several people in the crowd had the wrong lens. One person was using a 100 mm lens and they would have to crop too much to be able to see the animal.

I had just bought a 150-600 Sigma lens for the trip. It was worth it for the wolf shot alone. When I returned home, I went right out and got the teleconverter to go with it.

On the Madison River in Yellowstone



About Yellowstone National Park

I signed up for Tom and Cree’s Yellowstone in Spring Workshop because I had never been to Yellowstone before. I learned it is very spread out.

It is an amazing place. You can be an amateur and take really phenomenal photographs in Yellowstone with just a little bit of knowledge…..and the help of really good guides who know where to put you.



Bison calving season is in May in YNP

On Bruce’s Horizon

Grand Teton National Park in September – in search of grizzly bears and moose



Bruce on the boardwalks with one of his cameras

Tom and Cree are headed to Madera Canyon in Arizona for new hummingbird workshops in July – 1 space left: click here.

For a full listing of upcoming workshops, including our Easter Island Workshop in January 2022: Click Here

www.tombolphotoworkshops.com

Photographer of the Month – March 2021

Tom and I celebrate the great images being created by our community of photographers each month by selecting a Photographer of the Month. For March we selected a travel story created by Melissa Stanton using Adobe Spark. We hope you enjoy Melissa’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to March 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Melissa Stanton

Melissa photographing Red-crowned Cranes in Hokkaido, Japan

The Story … about Adobe Spark

I always love reading the trip reports and seeing all the images that were created. I decided to look at the software and found it was so simple to use:

Plop the images in there, write a few words and it works like magic!

I learned to code in high school and created web pages. It was nothing like Adobe Spark. It took me longer to figure out what images I wanted to use, then it took me to design the pages.

To view Melissa’s Spark on the Japan in Winter Workshop: Click here

About Japan

I loved the Japan trip. It was my first time to Asia. There were so many things we saw and did.

I really liked the look on Tom’s face every time they brought out another course of food. My favorite page from the Spark Story is the Octopus page. I can just imagine Tom’s face looking at it. We all want our photographs to evoke emotion. The emotion can be disgust. Photos can’t all be pretty flowers!

The local fish market in the town of Kushiru, Japan

On this page I loved her gold shoes. They thought I was taking a full body image and were happily waving at me. I just wanted her shoes.

The Geisha district in Kyoto. Japan

The Cat Cafe in Tokyo was intriguing. You go in and play with the cats. I have visited a Cat Cafe closer to home in Cleveland. You make an appointment, get yourself a cup of coffee and play with the cats with an eye towards adoption.

I think a wine bar would be better….a few glasses of wine and the cat is looking pretty cute.

The Cat Cafe in Tokyo caught Melissa’s eye

A Tip for using PhotoShop:

Start your Spark by adding all of the photos. I hate writing. To be able to create this and just throw in a few sentences here and there was perfect. I would rather just have the photos tell the story.

Give me a blank page and I’m just going to stare at it. When you already have photos with great backgrounds added, it is easy to write a description.


On Melissa’s Horizon

Brown in Alaska at Silver Salmon – I cannot wait!

Lofoten, Norway with those crazy Bols

Dubai with a friend to see the World Expo

Melissa in her element – Fairbanks, Alaska

If you would like to learn how to use Adobe Spark , we have a one session class this Thursday, April 1 at 5 pm for just $59. Click Here

We are excited to be headed into the field this April and May for workshops in Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Yellowstone National Parks. For a full listing of upcoming workshops: Click Here

Photographer of the Month January 2021

Tom and I celebrate the great images being created by our community of photographers each month by selecting a Photo of the Month. For January we selected Jen Turk’s image of a frozen flower from our Macro for Cabin Fever Class. We hope you enjoy Jen’s images as much as we do

Congratulations to January 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Jen Turk

Jen on our Sedona Workshop

The Story … 

One of the class assignments was to photograph with a different kind of light. I wanted to work with ambient light for the assignment. I usually work with a Studio in a Box. For this image I didn’t want to get the Studio in a Box wet, so I moved to a different location.

Jen’s Studio in a Box set-up

To create the block of ice I used several fresh flowers from a bouquet. I put them in a Tupperware container that I use for my son’s lunches. I put the flowers in upside down and covered them with a half inch of water. After letting that first layer set in the freezer, I added another half inch of water every hour until I got the thickness I wanted.

To set up the shoot, I took the block of ice out of the freezer and suspended it between two stacks of textbooks. This allowed light to come in underneath the ice. I also put down a white kitchen towel as a lighter colored background.

The flower that caught my eye was showing through the side of the ice block. I shot it from the side by getting eye level to the flower. One of the cool things about this technique is that the image changes as the ice melts. To make the ice melt faster, I rubbed the edge of the ice with my thumb to let the details of the flower come through.

The January 2021 Photo of the Month

I did very little to this image by way of editing. With this technique, what you see is what you get. It was just what I wanted right out of camera. I love that. I love the painterly effect you get even with out a specialty lens like a Lens Baby.

Why Macro Photography:

If you really look at a macro subject, you can see so much. I think of each macro subject as it’s own entity. If I am walking around on a photography trip and something catches my eye, I move in closer. The crack in the wood, the color in a flower, the broken down cars in Jerome, Arizona. I wonder about the life of each of these things.

The flower that I photographed above was once a seed. I try to be mindful about my macro subjects. I ask, what are the different textures of what I’m looking at. What are the colors?

For me, macro photography is showing curiosity about the smaller things.

A Tip for Macro Photography:

When you find something that catches your attention, move around the object to get different perspectives. Change your camera angle. Try moving the object around. Keep doing this until you get an image that speaks to you.

Step away. Come back. Shoot it again and you may get something completely different.


Textures and colors

On Jen’s Horizon

Hawaii – to photograph textures and native plants

Ouray – to photograph fall leaves on the ground

Jen creating macros of cactus spines on our Sedona Worksho

Our next online Macro for Cabin Fever class starts on February 8. To learn more about our other upcoming classes, including Bird Photography, Speedlights and PhotoShop 2 Click Here

Check out our new class for March: Travel Photography Click Here

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