It’s Summer at Tom Bol Photo Workshops

We are looking forward to getting back into the field this summer with workshops coming soon. In the meantime, we hope you will consider joining us for our upcoming online classes (links below). This is the perfect time to learn new editing skills in Lightroom or PhotoShop, improve your camera craft or learn how to take captivating macro photos.

Here is what people are saying about their experience in our classes:

I just wanted to drop you a note to say how much I enjoyed your macro workshop. I learned a lot from a technical point of view — from camera settings to how to set up a shot (even the dreaded focus stacking!).  But principally, I really enjoyed your personalities: you have a winning team between the two of you that is very engaging to your audiences (even remotely): I felt like I was working and playing with friends, rather than with some daunted instructors.

Michele Egan

“Time and money incredibly well spent. Your insights into technique, composition, processing, details, and even marketing choices are incredibly helpful and apply to all aspects of the photographic process. All the while, you’re also planting ideas about exciting new ways to apply these techniques and knowledge as starting points for raising the level and quality of my future photography shoots.                         

Stuart Litoff

Upcoming Classes – New Shooting Techniques

Creative Camera Craft – June 22-July 3

Are you in a creative rut? Learn new, creative ideas about how to take photos and use the modern features in your camera. Click here to read more

Macro Photography – June 22-July 3

Do you have a macro lens and barely use it? Learn to take compelling photos of water droplets, flowers, bubbles and more. Click here

Coming in August – Speed Light Crash Course


Upcoming Classes – New Editing Techniques

Lightroom Basics – July 20-24

Is your photo collection in disarray? Learn how to organize and edit your photos in this ground up introduction to Lightroom Classic. Click here to read more

From Lightroom to PhotoShop – July 20-24

Are you a Lightroom user but want to learn some key features in PhotoShop? Learn how to remove objects, edit in layers and create masks. Click here to read more

PhotoShop for Landscapes and Travel – July 27-31

Ready to use your knowledge of PhotoShop layers, masks and tools to take your landscape and travel images to the next level. We recommend this as a follow up to our Lightroom to PhotoShop class. Click here to read more


Happy Summer!

Tom and Cree

Online Classes for June

Ready to get creative at home? 

Learn new photography skills from the comfort of your own kitchen table. Our first two online macro classes are half way finished and we are having a great time sharing technique demos, editing tips and seeing each other’s work in image critics.

We have added a new session of the macro class from June 1-12 and it is filling fast. Here is a link to learn more about the class:

June Macros  Read More


Interested in becoming better at editing?

How many times have you wished that you could learn to edit better, but just didn’t have the time? There is no time like the present. If you are new to digital editing or not confident in your skills, we recommend the first class below. If you are adept at Lightroom and want to learn key skills in PhotoShop, we recommend the second. Both classes are only $329 and run for 5 days in a row with interactive 90 minute sessions on Zoom. Even better, take both classes back to back and get the benefit of improving your skills in both programs. 

Basic Lightroom                      Read more

  • Daily classes M-F from June 1-5
  • Library and develop models
  • Organize your images
  • Edit with sliders, brushes and filters

From Lightroom to PhotoShop     Read more   

  • Daily classes M-F from June 8-12
  • Removing large and small objects
  • Texture Overlays
  • Portrait editing
  • Selections and specialty filters

 

Photo of the Month April 2020

Tom and I want to celebrate the great images being created by photographers each month. For April we had to get creative with travel restrictions. We selected an image from our new Facebook Group instead. We hope you enjoy Kimberly’s images as much as we do. 

Congratulations to April’s photographer – Kimberly Shadduck

KS1
Kimbeely on the Sedona 2019 Workshop

The Story:

I stumbled upon a webinar by Harold Davis that he was doing for a photo club. I started watching it and was star struck. I realized that this was something I could do during the lock down. The weather was really bad outside and I craved something colorful.

I had my husband build me a 3 ft x 2 ft lLightbox. I knew I needed a big one. I went to You Tube and looked for a video on how to build a lightbox. The lightbox has 2 pieces of glass with a piece of white material in between. It is lit by a strip of l.e.d. lights.

Lightbox Set Up Small Web
Kimberly’s lightbox and camera set up

Next I went to the fabric store to buy a white cloth with a fine weave for the white background. I also purchased tweezers and museum glue – I didn’t even know what that was! Finally I went shopping for live flowers.

To create the image I started by removing the flowers from the water and laying them on the box. I tried several different arrangements until I got the right one. Harold Davis recommends taking a flower arranging class online. I couldn’t find one so I just dove right in.

The tulip in the middle was actually closed when I laid it down on the light box. I started peeling back the petals with my tweezers to have the inside exposed. The white lily is a Sonata Lily. I thought the white color would really make the image pop. I couldn’t get it to lie flat on the lightbox at first. It made me wonder whether I should start pressing the flowers for future projects.

For processing I start by merging several frames in Lightroom. I export the merged file to PhotoShop to make my adjustments. I focus on making the image as vibrant as possible. I use a Waucom tablet to hand paint the image, mostly using dodge and burn. The last step is to add a texture background to give it a painterly look. I purchased a few textures from Florabella for this purpose

The Data: 1/500 sec, f/2.8, 200 mm, ISO 500

The Gear: Nikon D850 with a 55mm macro lens; Manual mode f22, ISO 200

Photo Tip from the Photographer: 

If you can get a lightbox and go to the store for flowers, this is a great project for you. It is the perfect way to let your creativity go. I will start on a new piece and look up and 5 hours have passed without me even knowing it.

I like hanging my stuff on the wall. I want it to be pretty – that’s what motivates me.

Blue Hydrangea Small Size Web
Hydrangea by Kimberly Shadduck
 

On Kimberly’s Horizon:

KS2

Our May Photo of the Month will be selected from our Macro in May Online Workshop

New Online Class – Macro in May

Want to take your MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY to the next level?

We know that many of you are at home looking for ways to be creative with your camera. We have a new solution for you….and it should be a lot of fun! We are offering our first two week macro class, and it is completely online. This is the perfect way to improve your skills while waiting to get back to more exotic locations. We will meet from 10-11:30 am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from May 11-22. We will be photographing objects that you can find right at home. Limited to 8 participants.

What is included?

  • Six 90 minute online sessions on Zoom conference, including technique demonstrations, editing and photo critique
  • A FB group page for participants to post their work
  • A private 30 minute follow up critique with Tom and Cree to review your new macro work.
  • A small group setting to support your learning and connect with other photographers.

What do I need?

  • Desktop or laptop with Zoom – a free program
  • Tripod
  • Macro lens or 70-200mm with an extension tube
  • Small reflector, small diffuser
  • Optional: speed light, studio in a box

How much does it cost?

$329 per person Pay by PayPal here to sign up

Read More

 

Trying Something New

Greetings from Tom and Cree!

Like many of you, Tom and I are spending plenty of time at home right now. We are focused on learning new shooting and editing techniques and have heard that many of you are as well. We want to encourage you all to share your results, so we can stay in touch with you. Read on…..

I just purchased a Fotodiox Studio in a box and have been using it inside to photograph macros as Colorado decides whether it is Winter or Spring! I took the photograph of the tulip above on my second day of practicing with the box. Lani Dillon just told me she ordered one too. I cannot wait to see what she creates when it arrives. Here is what the studio looks like in action:

studioinabox

I have also been seeing some great focus stacked florals from Lee Brissy and Dennis Garrood!

Have you tried something new in the last few months?

We encourage everyone of you to take out your cameras and stay creative! We also want to see your results. We have received very positive feedback on our monthly Photo of the Month post. We want to continue this feature even without workshops in the field. That is where you come in! For the April Photo of the Month, we would like to choose an image created by one of our workshop clients who is trying something new.

How do I show my results?

I have created a Facebook Group for those who use Facebook and would like to share/submit their images. Click on the red link here to join the Facebook group. Even if you do not have a photo to share, we encourage you to join and post positive comments on others’ photos. Community support goes a long way with so many of us working in near isolation!

If you are not a Facebook member, please send your photos directly to me at creetbp@gmail.com

Anything else?

  • Post anything that you created that is new to you: new editing, new technique, new concept. Add a few words about what you tried. We will choose one of these to be featured as the April Photo of the Month for Tom Bol Photo Workshops.
  • Please post images that are 72 dpi.
  • We will select our Photo of the Month on April 30.
  • Anyone who has been on one of our workshops or is signed up to attend one can submit
  • Add as many photos as you would like!
  • If you have behind the scenes photos, please add those too (see sample)

Thanks for participating!

Here are some previous Photo of the Month posts if you missed them:

Photo of the Month for March

Photo of the Month for February

Photo of the Month for December

Cree & Tom

Patagonia 2019 Workshop

Photography Resources

Greetings from Tom and Cree!

Like many of you, Tom and I are spending plenty of time at home right now. We wanted to share some great photography resources with you. We also wanted to update you about how the coronavirus restrictions have been effecting our workshops. Thanks for clicking on our link and following us.

Resources

  • Tom’s Blog – Tom is blogging daily now on photography topics like: Workflow, Focus Stacking for Landscapes, Sharing Photos Online with Lightroom. Tom’s mailing list for his blog is separate from our workshop news blog.
  • Both Scott Kelby and Matt Koslowski are offering free webinars on photography topics. Tom and I have recommended their courses on  Lightroom and PhotoShop editing for years. Kelby One is offering free access to some of their most watched classes at this time. I have been watching Matt’s Photo Makeover videos in his series called Stuck Inside and am amazed at his before and after images. He also has a blog on how to use Adobe Spark for photo bags – this is what we use for our TBPW Trip Reports
  • One of Tom’s favorite Adobe instructors is Julieanne Kost. She calls herself a Digital Evangelist for Adobe. She is offering a free course on workflow in Lightroom and PhotoShop for the next 24 hours on her blog.
  • Nikon Learn and Explore has a number of free articles on their site. they are currently featuring Tom’s recent article on Creative Photography at Home
  • Both Tom and I have been using all the spring flowers in our yard to work on macro photography and focus stacking. The day lily image above was made in our backyard with 30 layers. I just bought a new “Macro studio in a box” from B&H and am looking forward to it arriving. I will be posting inside macro images soon on social media.
  • Tom has set us a backyard bird studio. After returning from our Texas Birds Workshops, we wanted to try our hand at perches in our own backyard. He is working on an article for Lightroom Magazine on that right now.
  • Adobe Creative Live has made all of their articles and videos free to the public. I have been watching videos on Lightroom techniques and learning how to use programs like Adobe Portfolio. Perfect time to set up your own website with images from your trips!

Workshop Updates

We have postponed our March and April Workshops to dates in late 2020 thru 2022. We are very thankful that participants have been willing to postpone their plans for a later date.

May Workshops: Both our Yellowstone and Badlands Workshops are scheduled for this coming May. The National Park Service has decided to consider closures for their parks on a case by case basis. Yellowstone is currently closed and Badlands is currently open. We are watching the news carefully and plan to make decisions about whether to offer each workshop or to postpone within a month of the start date of each trip. We will let all of our participants on these trips know as soon as a decision is made.

Future Workshops: We are carefully following the news and will continue to do so as travel restrictions, and new developments occur. We are eager to begin offering workshops again when restrictions are lifted and it is safe to travel. In the meantime we have been working on our 2021 and 2022 schedules. We have added several new workshops to national parks including Acadia, Death Valley and Utah Landscapes.

We also have space on destinations farther afield including Nome, Fairbanks, Australia, Chile and Costa Rica

If you would like more information we are happy to chat at creetbp@gmail.com or (907) 631-9383  Stay well!

Cree and Tom

Patagonia 2019 Workshop

Photo of the Month March 2020

Tom and I want to celebrate the great images being created on our workshops by posting a photograph each month from one of our workshops that best captures the environment or people of that location. We decided to return to one of our three February workshops since we postponed our March workshop . We hope you enjoy Greg’s images as much as we do. 

Congratulations to March’s photographer – Greg Ness 

Japan

The Story:

Every trip I go on, there are a few iconic photos I want to get. We’ve all seen snow monkeys with snow on their head…..that was what I had in my mind for this shoot.

The day before, we went up to the monkey pool and I got a good idea of what I needed to do for the shot. Tom and Cree took great efforts to make sure we were the first ones up at the pool. I knew I wanted a water-level photo….one were I was staring right into the monkey’s eyes.

I squeezed myself into the corner right on the lower platform near the pool. It was very uncomfortable. I stayed right there for two hours in the snow.

I used my 70-200 f/2.8 to blur the background. The shot settings worked great because the monkey was a little further away. I am used to shooting people’s faces with the 70-200 at f/2.8. There is a lot more depth to a monkey’s face with their deep-set eyes, and for some of the closer monkey photos, I wish I had shot more images at f/4 or f/5.6.

I got a lot of nice photos. This one spoke to me the most. It was the picture I had in my head.

Snow Monkey Photo
 Photo of the Month – March 2020

The Location: 

My goal a few years ago was to visit all 7 continents and I have done that now. On this workshop, the combination of wildlife, people, landscapes, with cranes, monkeys and people photos peaked my interest. I knew I would get bored with just one or the other the whole time. I thought, “I’m going to stay engaged the whole time.”

It was end to end fun. It was so enjoyable. Japan impresses me more than any other country I have visited…..the locations and the efficiency. It is a big, beautiful world out there.

The Data: 1/500 sec, f/2.8, 200 mm, ISO 500

The Gear: Sony A7R IV, Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS;

Photo Tip from the Photographer: 

Photography is such a personal thing. I never criticize other people’s work. I do not know what they want because I am not inside their head.

My tip is to know what you want to accomplish before you walk out the door. Your best chance of shooting good photos is to minimize the time you spend taking ordinary photos.

A recent example of this came up one morning in Torres del Paine in Chile. We were with a ranger looking for pumas and the weather was perfect for wildlife. Along the way we passed some wildflowers and two members of the group wanted to stop and take macro photos. That was the ordinary photo. To get the really good photo, we needed to stick with the plan we started with. We saw the pumas from far away, but were not able to get good photos. After you pursue the image you have in your head, there is plenty of time to shoot whatever you want.

 

Imperial Palace
Imperial Palace in Tokyo by Greg Ness: 1/400 sec, f/7.1, 70mm, ISO 200

 Greg at the Imperial Palace:
This is a gorgeous scene, but I really wanted to emphasize the Imperial Palace in the photo. This is facing west. I had tried morning images, but because the sun was lighting up Nijubashi Bridge in the foreground, it really emphasized the bridge instead of the palace. I went to this location several times this day to check the lighting conditions. When I went at 3 PM, the light was perfect. The bridge was still beautiful, but the face of it wasn’t directly lit up by the sun.
After I took this photo, I decided to walk around the whole palace complex. It is about three miles around it from outside the moat. About halfway around, I noticed another bridge going over the moat with police and security people there. I saw that they were putting on formal white gloves, so I figured something was up. It was just a couple other people and me standing there, as this was not a typical tourist location. A short time late, ex-emperor, Akihito, was driven out of the palace complex with his rear window rolled down. I smiled at him and waved, and he waved back at me as I took his picture.

 

To see Greg’s photo on FB of former Emperor Akihito   click here

On Greg’s Horizon:

  • Africa – Morocco
  • South America – coastal Brazil, Bolivia
  • Asia – Tibet

To see upcoming international photography workshops with TBPW  click here

Olympic Rings Tokyo Harbor Night
Tokyo Bay with Olympic Rings by Greg Ness: 1/100 sec, f/2.8, 58mm, ISO 400

 

 

 

 

Japan Trip Report

Hello Photographers!

We know that many of you are home like we are, looking for ways to stay busy. Please take a look at our trip report from early February from Japan. Click on the lantern image below or the link to see highlights of our photo workshop in Japan. This was the perfect blend of wildlife and travel photography  in the Land of the Rising Sun.

https://spark.adobe.com/page/SbkFFmzlM2i4j/

For our next available international trips check out:

Costa Rica 2020

Easter Island 2021

What’s Happening at TBPW

Greetings from Tom and Cree!

We know many of you are at home, watchings the news and waiting to hear when the world will get back to normal. We are staying active here at Tom Bol Photo Workshops. We have postponed a few workshops and are busy posting new workshops for 2022. Here are a few things we thought you would want to know about:

2022 Workshops

Death Valley National Park: We just added this landscape workshop in the “Land of Extremes”. February is the perfect time to photograph at night, sunset is early and there is almost no light in such a remote area. Daily high temperatures are in the mid 70s.

Nome: Arctic Birds and Musk Ox: This small group workshop is designed for the adventurous photographer that loves remote Alaska. Join us for the height of spring bird season on the Bering Strait. Have you ever seen a wild musk ox?

Norway – Lofoten Islands: This workshop is perfect for landscape photography. We have timed the trip in September for fall color and the possibility of seeing northern lights if the skies are clear. Just 3 spaces are left.

Texas Birds in Spring:  Our February trips were so successful that we have added a new season for 2022. We time this trip for late April and early May to have a chance to photograph Painting Buntings – one of the most colorful birds in North America. There are 4 types of orioles near the blinds this time of year. There are 4 spaces left.

Postponed Workshops

So far we have not had to completely cancel any of our workshops, instead we are postponing them for future dates. Thanks to all of you who have stuck with us! We have had a few spaces open up on these new dates and would love to have you join us if interested.

Costa Rica December 2020: Join us for this tropical get away to de-stress before the holidays, December 8-15, 2020. The Costa Rican rainforest is drier and has plenty of sunshine in December. We will be at the Crocodile Bay Resort – the perfect place to bring your non-photograph spouse, friend or family member,

Spain 2022: We will be heading to the Andalusia region of Southern Spain to visit the birthplace of flamenco. This workshop is hosted by Strabo Tours and has a few openings available for these new dates: May 12-26, 2022

If you would like more information we are happy to chat at creetbp@gmail.com or (907) 631-9383  Stay well!

Cree and Tom

Photo of the Month February 2020

Tom and I want to celebrate the great images being created on our workshops by posting a photograph each month from one of our workshops that best captures the environment or people of that location. With so many great images from Japan and our 2 Texas Birds Workshops, it was hard to choose. We hope you enjoy Alfredo’s image as much as we do. 

Congratulations to February’s photographer – Alfredo Fayard 

Badlands Workshop 2019

The Story:

I love wildlife and photographing birds in particular. When I am photographing birds I usually use my Nikon D500 and a 200-500mm telephoto lens for birds in flight.

This workshop was my first time photographing from a blind. I drove down from Houston so I brought everything with me including a 500mm f4 lens and my new Nikon Z7. I had never used the Z7 for wildlife photography before. The pictures I loved the most came from this combination 500 F4 and the Nikon Z7.

I set up the camera in the blind at Laguna Seca Ranch with this new combination. I took my first pictures and fell in love with the color of the holy berries. I thought “That would be beautiful with cardinals.” At the time there were Green Jays and a few other birds on the perches so I waited for the cardinals to show up.

_LAS6250
Green Jays on the holy berries

I saw that the backgrounds were disappearing (because of the f4 aperture). It reminded me of drawings from naturalists in the 1900’s before there were cameras. The drawings give the sense that there is nothing in the picture except birds and berries. I knew that when the cardinals came in that it would be beautiful.

 

_LAS5590-2
Photo of the Month – Alfredo Fayard

The Location: 

I loved the variety of birds we saw. Laguna Seca Ranch was the most pictorial of the two ranches. The backgrounds just disappear because of the location of the vegetation. I would like to go back at another time of the year with different flowers and birds.

The roadrunner experience at Santa Clara Ranch was beautiful.

raptorbling
Alfredo at left photographing at Laguna Seca Ranch

The Data: Nikon Z7 with 500mm F4 EXIF F4 1/1250 ISO 720

Photo Tip from the Photographer: 

I went to the location with one idea of what equipment I would use. But I tried something different. The Nikon Z7 is not known for its speed as a wildlife camera. However, the resolution and details it produced were incredible. I did not realize this until I saw the images on my computer.

On the Horizon:

  • Costa Rica – I have been there several times before. Now I am looking forward to applying what I learned on this workshop to the jungles of Costa Rica,

 

To learn more about the Laguna Seca Ranch  click here

To learn more about the Santa Clara Ranch  click here