Trip Report: Botswana and Zimbabwe

We had such a wonderful time in Botswana and Zimbabwe last November that we are going back in November 2022. Click here to see the report.

Interested in joining us for this workshop in 2022? We have two spaces that have opened for November 11-22, 2022, click here to learn more.

News flash: we are leaving to scout Route 66 in Oklahoma this week. Our scouting trip to Louisiana in December was wonderful and we have space on our Louisiana Bayous and Birds Workshop in 2024, learn more. Finally, we have space available for our Fairbanks Northern Lights Workshop on February 27-March 5 and would be happy to take you on this bucket list trip, learn more.

We hope that 2022 is off to a great start for all of you!

Tom and Cree

Photo of the Month – December 2021

Tom and Cree Bol celebrate great images created on workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For December, we chose an image from White Sands National Park created by Julie Berryhill . We hope you enjoy Julie’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to December 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Julie Berryhill

Julie in White Sands National Park

The Story … 

The sun had already set. Brian and I were wandering around and we set up our tripods really low. We pushed out the tripod legs and were on our bellies in the sand. It was really fun. We were down and dirty.

We were underexposing because we did not want to blow out the red channel. I was also using focus peaking. After Tom recommended it, I used it throughout the workshop. I would start by using auto focus and then switch to manual to engage the focus peaking. It shows what is in focus in red highlights.

For me the three important elements of the photo are the sand, the yucca and the sky. I used a low perspective to put the yucca higher in the sky. I also wanted to keep some of the sand in the foreground. But what the image is really about is the sky.

December 2021 Photo of the Month

I used the comparison mode in Lightroom to chose the best image. I was looking for the image with the best light in the sky. I didn’t crop the image at all. I was also looking for an image that was sharp. It was windy that day so I made sure that there was not any blur in the plants.

EXIF Data:

Nikon Z7 with 24-70mm lens shot at 34.5 mm

F11, 1/200 sec, ISO 400

Aperture Priority with focus peaking

About photographing at White Sands National Park

You think it is just about photographing sand. But it is amazing how many different shots you can get there.

One day it was windy and the backgrounds became almost impressionist. The down side of the wind is that you can’t easily change lenses in those conditions. The upside is that the wind erases all of the footprints there.

A windy day on the dunes

About the orange photo below: It was a windy evening and there were different things happening in each direction. I turned around from where we were shooting and took the shot. I got down low to get a different perspective of the sand.

Evening skies over the dunes

Using a speed light on the yucca was really fun. I am glad Tom showed us how to do it. I get intimidated by using flash. Flash gives it a whole different look, which I really liked.

Soap Tree Yucca in stormy skies illuminated with a speed light

Julie’s tips for photographing at White Sands National Park:

1) Bring two bodies if you have them. It is often difficult to change lenses because of the sand. This is especially true if you are shooting mirrorless.

2) Get the permit to enter the park early (available on the park website). That way there will not be people in the way.

3) Use focus peaking. It lets you see want will be in focus in the frame.


On Julie’s Horizon

Costa Rica in April

Back to Patagonia – the light is amazing and I love to hike

Eastern Europe – Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary

Julie and friends at White Sands

Space available on our next workshop in Bosque and White Sands – Nov 2023. Click here to learn more

Coming soon: Free Happy Hour in late January -all about the new Nikon Z9. In the meantime we will be off scouting Route 66 Oklahoma and Big Bend National Park. We just returned from Louisiana and have already posted our Louisiana Bayous and Birds.

Ready to travel and looking for a workshop? Space available on our Northern Lights in Fairbanks Workshop in March. Click here for more info. Want a warmer destination? Join us in Ecuador in 2023 to photograph birds in the highlands

Thanks for reading our posts and congratulations to Julie!

Tom and Cree

www.tombolphotoworkshops.com

Bol Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for the perfect gift for a Photographer?

Want to hear the latest about the Nikon Z9?

Join Tom and Cree for their annual Holiday Gift Guide on Zoom. Friday, December 17 at 5 pm MDT (Denver Time). Free and fun. Send us a quick note by clicking here and we will send you the link.

Better yet……send the link to your partner, spouse and friends: click here to leave their email address

Can’t make that time? Send us a note by clicking here and we will send the recording.

Happy Holidays,

Tom and Cree

Photo by Lani Dillon

Trip Report: Bosque and White Sands

We just finished two wonderful workshops in New Mexico at Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge and White Sands National Park. Click here to see the report

Interested in joining us for this workshop in 2023? We just added another session for November 29-December 3 in 2023, click here to learn more.

News flash: we will be scouting several new trips in January including Louisiana Swamps, Route 66 in Oklahoma and Big Bend National Park. Let us know if you would like to be on the Interest List for any of these trips.

Thanks for reading our posts!

Happy Holidays!

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

Photo of the Month – October 2021

Tom and Cree celebrate the great images created by their community of photographers by selecting a Photograph of the Month. For October we selected an image of a classic car at the WigWam Motel created by Gary Taylor on our Route 66 ABQ to WinslowWorkshop . We hope you enjoy Gary’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to October 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Gary Taylor

Gary working the details on a classic DeSoto

The Story … 

I kept trying to shoot from the other direction but the steering wheel was obscuring the dashboard. I tried moving to the front and back windows but that did not help. I realized I needed to move to the other side of the car.

On the other side of the car I had to line it up so I would see the teepees in the background and also get a good view of the dashboard.

Doreen and I were trying to use reflectors, Lume Cubes, even a small LED light to illuminate the car from inside. Nothing was working.

I finally decided to try HDR and hoped it would work. When I got home I did the post processing and it just fell into place.

October 2021 Photo of the Month

EXIF Data:

Nikon D810 with a 24-70mm lens, shot at 31mm

F8, 1/320 sec, ISO 800, exposure comp of -2

About photographing on Route 66 from Albuquerque to Winslow

I took a lot of pictures. Most of them were record shots – to record what I saw.

Some of them were really fun shots…..the type of image I would hang on my wall. The car interior and the waiter at the diner where these type of shots.

I really enjoyed the camaraderie of traveling with a group of people. I enjoyed being able to share what I got and seeing what they captured.

Gary’s tips for photographing Route 66:

For most of the shots I bracketed. With the neon lights this is important so the highlights are not blown out. I learned this by shooting holiday lights in my neighborhood in the Chicago area.

Bracketing also helps if you forget to use exposure compensation. It gives you several images to choose from to get closer to the right exposure.

I also did a lot of panoramas while on Route 66. The Petrified Forest and the Yellow Horse Trading Post were very wide. Shooting a panorama gives you more details in the image, instead of just using a wide angle lens.

Private shoot at the 66 Diner in Albuquerque

More about the image with Miles, the waiter

Many of the shots I got weren’t so great. It was crowded in front of him so I moved in the other direction to work the room. That was the shot that worked for me.

I liked how the blinds ended up creating backlighting on Miles. The broken lights of the Venetian blinds added a lot of interest to the image.


On Gary’s Horizon

Oregon and Washington Coasts

Albuquerque for the Balloon Festival

Ireland, England and Scotland

Gary photographing in the 66 Diner

Interested in joining us on Route 66? We just added another workshop from Albuquerque to Winslow in 2024. Click here for more info.

Want to head out sooner with us? Two spaces have opened up on our Bosque & White Sands Workshops in December, 2021 . Click here to read more .

Thanks for reading our posts and congratulations to Gary!

Tom and Cree

www.tombolphotoworkshops.com

Route 66 Trip Reports

We just finished two workshops on Route 66, one in New Mexico and Texas, the other in New Mexico and Arizona. These are some of our most popular workshops. People often ask about the difference between the two workshops. Which is the better route? Which do you think I would like better?

We decided to post two different trip reports to help you see the difference. Each trip follows a different stretch of Route 66. We photograph different attractions, stay in different hotels and photograph different locals.

The route from Albuquerque to Amarillo has some of the best neon on the route while the stretch from Albuquerque to Winslow has some of the best landscapes.

To see the trip report for our newest stretch from Albuquerque to Winslow, click here

Check out our trip report for our original Route 66: Albuquerque to Amarillo by clicking on this link: Trip Report Link

Interested in joining us for a workshop on Route 66? We just added an additional Route 66: Albuquerque to Winslow, AZ for October 2024, click here to learn more.

News flash: we will be adding a brand new segment, Route 66: Amarillo to Tulsa. Let us know if you would like to be on the Interest List

Thanks for reading our posts!

Warm regards,

Tom and Cree

Photo of the Month – September 2021

Tom and Cree celebrate the great images created by their community of photographers by selecting a Photograph of the Month. For August we selected an image of Crystal Lake outside of Ouray created by Thomas Black on our Ouray Fall Colors . We hope you enjoy Thomas’ images as much as we do!

Congratulations to September 2021 ‘s featured photographer – Thomas Black

Ouray Fall Colors Workshop 2021

The Story … 

I would not have positioned myself where I did if it had not been for Tom’s suggestion the night before. He said to put something in the foreground. I did and it was a big help.

I was able to line up in front of the red grass without pushing anyone into the water. I set up the camera. I used a two second timer. I took a hundred photos and hoped one would work out.

I hate using a cable release. In fact I often forget to bring one, so the timer works well. Sometimes I use the Canon dedicated phone app for remote control of the shutter. There was no cell connection at the lake so I used the 2 second timer instead.

September 2021 Photo of the Month

Of the 100 photos I took of Crystal Lake, I had several that I liked. The one I selected had the most rose color in the water reflection. That was the differentiator.

EXIF Data:

Canon EOS R6 with a 24-205mm lens

F8, 1/60 sec, ISO 100

“Try to find an unusual angle so you don’t end up with a cliche” Thomas Black

About photographing fall foliage in Ouray

In retrospect, it was fantastic! I have never been anywhere with that much fall color.

I have spent weeks at a time in the Northeast. Last year I was on a self-guied photo safari in the Northeast while visiting my daughter. I got some good photos. the timing was good. But there was nothing that compares with Ouray. Yooray for Ouray!

It’s cold there. I brought shorts, sandals and my Speedo. I went out the second day and bought more outerwear. The Ouray merchants were glad I visited.

Thomas’ Start as a Photographer

I got into photography based on a four letter word……golf.

When I retired I went out and bought golf clubs. In five years I never broke one hundred without the use of a pencil erasure on my scorecard. I was horrible. My son said, “Dad, maybe this isn’t the game for you.”

I thought, “Gee, is there some other hobby I can pursue at least as expensive as golf?” I went down to the local camera store and bought a Nikon D60. I needed wall art for a new mountain home, so went around taking photos of local barns. It took off from there….

Fallen leaves near Silver Jack Reservoir

Thomas’ tips for photographing fall foliage:

Have an idea of where you want to go….but pray that you are lucky. The reason I go on workshops with Tom and Cree is that they know where to go.

You could spend days on your own, even on horseback at the True Grit Ranch and not find a wall-worthy photograph

Also, bring a tripod. My hands were so cold they were shaky. Without a tripod I would have had Shake and Bake landscapes.


On Thomas’ Horizon

The Oregon Coast and Redwood Forest

White Sands National Park

The True Grit Ranch off the Last Dollar Road

There are two spaces on our Ouray Workshop for 2023 . Click here to read more .

Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

www.tombolphotoworkshops.com

Ouray Trip Report

The Colorado high country was ablaze in color for our Ouray Fall Colors Workshop. From Owl Creek Pass to Red Mountain Pass to the Dallas Divide, everywhere seemed to be at peak color this year.

Check out our trip report by clicking on this link: Trip Report Link

We have space on our next Ouray Workshop in 2023, click here to learn more.

Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

Trip Report: Elk Photography

We hit the Colorado elk rut at prime time to photograph elk behavior. We saw males fighting, bugling and tossing vegetation on their antlers, all in hopes of attracting females. Check out our trip report by clicking on this link: Trip Report Link

With our 2022 schedule starting to fill we just added 3 new workshops including Hummingbirds in Ecuador and a Creative Portrait Lighting Workshop in Fort Collins coming up soon.

Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

%d bloggers like this: