Back into the Field

Tom and I have plenty to be excited about this month. We just finished our first two sessions of the new online Advanced Landscape Class and the second session of Adobe Portfolio. We will have a list of upcoming classes in October and new classes for November below. To see Tom’s latest work for Nikon on multiple exposures click here

Our biggest news is that our first workshops in the field since the co-vid outbreak start next week. We have two Colorado getaway workshops starting this Sunday. Both of these Elk Rut Workshops are full. We are offering shorter trips, closer to home with fewer people on them (only 6). In October we have our second set of getaways with space available on the Oct 10-13 Rocky Mountain National Park: Night Skies and Elk. At just $999 we expect it to fill soon.

We wanted to share some of the new practices we will be using on these upcoming trips to make sure that our entire group stays safe. We are using these “best practices” after plenty of discussion, research on CDC guidelines and coordination with the National Park Service. These practices will likely change as the health situation changes in the next few months. Before each workshop we have started holding online Zoom pre-trip meetings to discuss which practices are in place ahead of the start of the workshop. We want all participants to feel informed and comfortable with their choice to participate on our workshops.

How we’re addressing COVID-19 at TBPW 

First, we would ask anyone who is feeling sick to stay home. Also, anyone who has had contact with anyone with Covid in the last 14 days we would ask to stay home.  Pretty obvious, but we want everyone feeling healthy before the trip. 

-We will have all meetings and shooting sessions outdoors.  We have decided to only meet outside during these workshops, and won’t be having any lectures indoors during these short workshops.  Outside fresh air is safer than being indoors in groups.

-We will ask everyone to wear a mask, and we will be wearing one as well. 

-We will maintain social distancing as much as possible.

-We won’t directly touch anyone’s camera. 

-We won’t ask anyone to carpool together unless they are with family or close friends and make their own decision to ride together.

-We will do morning temperature checks. Get ready for ‘doctor Tom and Cree’!

-We won’t plan any group dinners at restaurants.  Participants can choose how they plan to eat meals: at the hotel, take out or at local restaurants.

As always, if you have questions about upcoming workshops, please get in touch at

Upcoming Classes

October offerings

Creative Camera Craft: The perfect class for the well rounded photographer who wants to try something new. October 26-Nov 6 Click here to see more. Cost $349

PhotoShop 1: From Lightroom to PhotoShop: The perfect class photographers who know Lightroom and want to start using PhotoShop. October 26-30 Click here to see more. Cost $329

PhotoShop 2: Applied Layers: Learn to use smart objects, blur filters and convert color into compelling black and white images. Nov 2- 6 Click here to see more. Cost $329

PhotoShop 3: Beyond Applies Layers: Our newest class: learn to create painterly images, advanced skies and how to use the blend if function. Nov 2- 6 Click here to see more. Cost $329

All About Texture Overlays: Join Cree for a two day class on making creative images in PhotoShop using your own texture images. This is a great way to practice simple layer use with later masks October 27 & 29 Click here to see more. Cost $149

New Classes:

Look for new online classes in November including:

Bird Photography

High Key Low Key: editing , lighting techniques and more

Photo of the Month – August 2020

Tom and I celebrate the great images being created by our community of photographers each month by selecting a Photo of the Month. For August we selected Lynn Satterfield’s image from our online Texture Overlay class
. We hope you enjoy Lynn’s images as much as we do. 

Congratulations to August’s photographer – Lynn Satterfield

Lynn at the Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina

The Story … 

The wagon was at the estancia where we stayed in Patagonia. It was at sunset and the light came in really nice on the wagon. I took the photo handheld. It was a pretty good photo before I did anything with texture layers.

I asked myself can I make it look rustic, like it was old and wearing down. This concept just seemed to go with the wagon.

The August 2020 Photo of the Month

To create the texture image for the overlay, I just went into the kitchen and pulled all the pans out to see what I had. I used the Nikon Z6 to photograph it because it’s so light. I turned the pan right side up first. Then I turned it over and the back side was even better.

I cropped the texture layer a bit because the edge didn’t add anything to it. I put a bit of gold color in it to warm the image up. I added texture and clarity as well. That was about it, really.

Lynn’s texture layer created by photographing the back of a baking pan with her Nikon Z6

The Data: .

ISO 400 35mm 1/125 f 16

The Gear: Nikon D500 for background, Nikon Z6 for texture

About Texture Overlays:

Doing texture layers helped me understand layers and blending modes in PhotoShop. With the layer masks, it just seemed to click that you could use them to bring out parts of the texture and hide the texture in other parts.

Texture layers give you a feeling of creating and being an artist. Taking a photo anyone can do. This technique makes the image your own vision.

A goose texture overlay image from Lynn Satterfield
The golden pond texture Lynn chose for her goose image

Tip from the Photographer … 

Don’t be intimidated by layers. Experiment. Put different textures on and see what they look like. the wagon texture was about 46% opacity. I used the lighten blend mode after going through all of them.

Lynn experimenting with a second texture on the Patagonian wagon

On Lynn’s Horizon

Bears and Glaciers Workshop and Australia/Tasmania Workshop in 2021

She also wants to work more with speedlights and editing in PhotoShop.

Lynn in action in the bird blinds at Laguna Seca Ranch in South Texas

The Patagonian wagon image was taken on a workshop with American Nature Photography Workshops Click here to learn more

There is another Texture Overlay class starting at the end of October. To see a schedule of online classes with Tom Bol Photo Workshops Click Here

What’s Coming Up at TBPW

Greetings Photographers!

Happy summer from Fort Collins, Colorado! Tom and I just returned from a short trip to Utah to photograph landscapes and the night sky. Tom will be using some of those images in his brand new class Advanced Landscapes. We saw very few people in Capitol Reef National Park or Escalante National Monument during the height of summer. We especially loved having the place mostly to ourselves at night.

Online Classes

Our first round of speedlight classes in early August was a big success. Students used gels and softboxes to photograph everything from stemware to film noir in a phone booth in Iowa. If you are looking for ways to stay creative and learn something new, it is not too late to get involved. We have five online classes coming up via Zoom in the next few months. To read more or sign up, just click on the title of the class to learn more:

All About Speedlights:  Whether you own a dedicated speed light or are brand new to flash photography, we will teach you all about speed lights! Even better, we’ll show you how to get started for less than $100 in gear. Transform flat gray urban scenes into moody, compelling photos using a single speed light. Create a compelling travel portrait in 5 minutes. August 24-28 M-F 4-5:30 pm Cost $329

Advanced Landscapes:  Ready to take your landscapes to the next level. This class targets advanced concepts that are not normally covered during our workshops. Learn to create emotion, meaning and purpose in your landscapes while also learning new technical skills like focus stacking and maximizing acuity in your images.  Sept 14-18 MWF from 5-6:30 Cost $249

PhotoShop for Landscapes and Travel: From Lightroom to PhotoShop:  Learn the basics of PhotoShop for photographers in just 5 days. We will spend 1.5 days reviewing tools to remove objects. We also cover working with layers, layer masks and changing backgrounds. Oct 26-30 from 2-3:30 M-F Cost $329

PhotoShop for Landscapes and Travel: Applied Layers:  Interested in moving beyond using simple tools in PhotoShop for your landscape and travel images? This class is the perfect progression from our ” PhotoShop for Landscape and Travel Part 1″ class. We will take your understanding of tools, layers and masking in PhotoShop and apply it to new ways to take on landscape and travel images.  Think of this as an applied PhotoShop class. Nov 2-6 from 2-3:30 M-F Cost $329

Creative Camera Craft:  Learn to transform the ordinary to the extraordinary with your camera. Whether you are an engineer or an artist, this class will offer new camera tips and creative solutions in your photography.  Technology has changed what camera settings we use, and how we shoot.  New creative styles are evolving with this new technology.  This class will show you how to approach a variety of subjects, and how camera craft will bring your vision to reality. Oct 26-Nov 6 from 5-6:30 M-F Cost $329

Not what you are looking for? We also offer Private Editing Lessons if one on one is more your style!

See all of our online classes by clicking here

Update on Workshops in the Field

Like many of you, Tom and I can hardly wait to get back in the field and teach workshops in person. We have been continuing to monitor the news on covid19 and are developing our own covid protocol for trips. We plan to hold meetings on Zoom before trips to discuss our safety guidelines and recommendations before trips depart.

Colorado Getaways

We launched our first “Colorado Getaways” Workshops last month. These trips are designed to be shorter, less expensive and have fewer people on them. Both sessions of the Elk Rut in Colorado filled within two days of our last newsletter. We will be adding a new set of dates for the elk workshop and 2 Colorado Getaway Night Sky Workshops in the next few weeks.

We love hearing from you and seeing your work on social media. If you are a facebook user, please consider joining our private group called Photos for Inspiration TBPW at We encourage our supporters to use this site to share their current work and receive supportive feedback from the TBPW community. We feel very lucky to have your in our community!

If you are signed up for a workshop and have any questions about it’s status, please get in touch at or (907) 631-9383  

Warm regards to all of you!

Cree and Tom

Photo of the Month – July 2020

Tom and I want to celebrate the great images being created by photographers each month. For July we selected an image from one of our online classes – Creative Camera Craft
We hope you enjoy Sue’s images as much as we do. 

Congratulations to July’s photographer – Sue Wolfe

Sue in Roussillon, France

The Story … 

The assignment was black and white conversion.   

I have struggled with this in the past because what draws me to a scene is color.  I cannot visualize in black and white.  I usually edit in black and white only if there is a color issue with my image. 

In addition, I am always concerned about over-cooking images.  I occasionally see images on Instagram and think “Beautiful pic but pull back those sliders!” 

This was always in the back of my mind when editing in black and white.  I usually stopped short of true black and white and stuck with the “safe” gray mid-tones.  Tom and Cree pushed me to go further with my color range especially with the Tiger’s Nest image from Bhutan. 

When trying to choose the image for this assignment I ran through my pics and hit the black and white conversion button in Lightroom to get a preview.  I thought the monk images would be the right choice but they did not excite me – too much mid-tones. When I selected the portrait of the old woman and hit convert, the picture immediately popped.  At that point the light bulb went off.  She had white hair and a very dark dress – the perfect combination and high tonal range for the image to really work.  That was what they were talking about in class and I finally grasped the concept from editing this one image.

Sue Wolfe’s Photo of the Month

The Data: .

ISO 250 85mm 1/4000 f 1.4

The Gear: Nikon D4S, Nikon 85mm f1.4 lens

About Learning Photography Online:

I purchased a recorded online class several years ago. That worked well because I was still working then and could watch small bits of it after work. The problem for me was that you can’t ask questions.

Tom and Cree’s classes are online and interactive. That was what was missing. I love that part – the interaction with other people participating. I like to hear their questions and see their perspective on the assignments we turn in.

I like learning about a wide range of topics. Because Tom and Cree have traveled with me, they know how I shoot and what my style is. I am a documentary shooter. It feels like the classes are tailor made to my needs as a photographer. I know that what I’m learning I am going to use in the future.

Tip from the Photographer … 

My tip is to watch the video after class and take detailed notes.  I might listen to a clip 5 times to get it all down but this helped me commit the information to memory and the notes will be a good reference tool. 

I took two Photoshop classes this summer.  Before the workshops started, I could correct building skew and use content-aware.  Now I can do all these other cool things.  I have definitely learned a lot of helpful processes to make my images better both on a creative and technical level. 

The Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan – black and white conversion

On Sue’s Horizon

In 2020: Colorado Elk & Bosque del Apache

In 2021: Easter Island, Northern Lights, Bears in Alaska, Botswana

Bucket List: St. Petersburg, Russia and South Georgia Island

Sue is never seen with just one camera body and lens!

These images from Bhutan were taken on a workshop with Tom and Cree organized through Strabo Tours. For more information on upcoming workshops with Strabo Photo Tours Click Here

What’s Happening at Tom Bol Photo Workshops

Greetings Photographers!

Tom and I have been busy taking photographs here in Colorado. It is the height of wildflower season and we have been getting up at 3:30 in the morning to drive to the high country for sunrise shooting. This morning we took the cover photo in Rocky Mountain National Park at Bear Lake – only 90 minutes from where we live.

Colorado Getaways

International travel is at a stand still right now and we have postponed many of this year’s foreign trips until 2021 and 2022. This has created a few opportunities for us to add new trips to our workshop schedule.

Since we live in such a stunning place, we thought we would offer workshops close to our home and call these “Colorado Getaways”. We want to provide a few, new short trips with less people so that it is easier to keep our distance while in the field. Our first is scheduled for September 20-23 in Rocky Mountain National Park and will only have 6 participants. We will be there in time for the peak of the elk rut and fall landscapes. Our first session filled in a day, so we added a second with space still available. Here is a link to the web page – Click here

We will offer other Colorado Getaways in the fall where the focus will be landscape and night skies – capturing the Milky Way in beautiful places. We also plan to add a wildflower workshop in Colorado’s high country. After teaching 5 sessions of macro photography online, we think this will be a popular workshop!

Alpine sunflowers in Rocky Mountain National Park

Online Classes

These have been a real success for us in the last 3 months. Our class participants say they are happy to be learning new editing techniques and trying new things with their cameras. It is not too late to get involved. We have six different online classes that we teach via Zoom now. The next set of classes starts on Monday, July 20. Our goal is to teach topics that we usually don’t have the time for on our workshops. Click on the title of the class to learn more:

All About Lightroom Classic:  Most of our workshop participants use Lightroom for editing. Now is the perfect time to learn about new features like range masks, work on your file organization and even jump in as a beginner. July 20-24 M-F Cost $329

Creative Camera Craft:  Feeling like your creativity is in a rut? Each day in this class we offer different topics to get you trying new things with your photography. Have you ever composed an image using the Fibonacci spiral? Can you use multiple exposure to tell a story? Learn 10 different ways to add dimension to your photos and how to create powerful black and white images. July 20-31 MWF Cost $329

From Lightroom to PhotoShop:  Learn the basics of PhotoShop for photographers in just 5 days. We will spend 1.5 days reviewing tools to remove objects. We also cover working with layers, layer masks and changing backgrounds. July 20-24 M-F Cost $329

See all of our online classes by clicking here

Update on Workshops in the Field

Our first field-based workshop since February is just around the corner. At the end of August, Tom will lead our popular Brown Bear Safari (if all goes as planned)! This workshop is designed for 4 participants so it is an ideal choice for safe distancing. We are both looking forward to teaching in person again. This workshop is SOLD OUT.

Our Badlands Workshop was postponed until September 9-13, 2020 and is scheduled to go as planned. There is only one space available – Read more

Other trips this fall include Old Car City (one space left – Read more), Route 66 West (SOLD OUT) and Bosque del Apache (SOLD OUT)

Finally we want you all to know how much we appreciate you. Your patience with workshop postponements and your willingness to try our online classes has been tremendous. We feel very lucky to have your support!

If you are signed up for a workshop and have any questions about it’s status, please get in touch…..we always enjoy hearing from you: or (907) 631-9383  

Warm regards to all of you!

Cree and Tom

June Photo of the Month

Tom and I want to celebrate the great images being created by photographers each month. For June we selected an image from our new online workshop Creative Camera Craft
We hope you enjoy Stuart’s images as much as we do. 

Congratulations to June’s photographer – Stuart Litoff

Stuart in urban Tokyo

The Story:

The assignment was to capture motion.

I live in Washington DC and it’s summertime. The thought of going out in the hot and humid weather wasn’t very appealing so I started thinking about what I could do in my apartment.

I was looking for something manageable from the technical aspects of shooting. I asked myself, “What do I do a lot of? Sitting at my desk and typing on a keyboard. That’s how the idea came to me.

What would I need for the shoot? A tripod. I needed the keyboard to be rock solid and my hand’s needed to be free. I focused on the keyboard and framed it the way I liked it. And then, I used a remote with a ten second delay to take the picture.

I experimented both with being in front and behind the tripod. I found being behind the tripod and reaching around it worked better. The angle of where the camera was worked better.

Next, I experimented with the shutter speeds – I was trying to see how much blur looked good. The shutter speed I chose was faster than I thought it would be. It was just .8 seconds.

I realized it was important to keep my hands apart and not use the middle keys. I learned this by reviewing the first set of images in the l.c.d.

Once I had it I did minimal post processing – even though I do love to move those sliders!

I knew it was a successful image for the assignment. I wouldn’t have thought to take it on my own. That’s one of the fun things about taking a class. I transferred the idea into something that looked clever. It wasn’t a blazing sunset, but I do like it.

Stuart Litoff’s Photo of the Month

The Data: .8 sec, f4, ISO 200

The Gear: Fuji X-T2 with a 16-55mm lens

About Learning Photography Online:

Taking classes online is very stimulating. They have me looking around the apartment and out the window for things to photograph.

Tip from the Photographer: 

The pandemic is dominating everyone’s lives, including photographers. Up until the pandemic, I took 90% of my pictures on workshops. I live in Washington DC. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but I just don’t go out and photograph it much.

The class I took was perfect for me. My advice is to look around where you live. Follow the light for interesting photographs. If the photographs don’t come on their own, take an online class.

On Stuart’s Horizon

I keep thinking there will be a photo travel trip in the near future…..but I don’t see it. I will apply what I learned in class around here and see what new courses come up.

Stuart in the Redwoods

For more information on Online Classes with TBPW Click Here

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

May Photo of the Month

Tom and I want to celebrate the great images being created by photographers each month. For May we selected an image from our new Online Macro Workshop. We hope you enjoy Diane’s images as much as we do. 

Congratulations to May’s photographer – Diane Lowry

Diane Lowry on Zoom with Cree

The Story:

I was trying to replicate Tom’s water droplets on a dandelion seed. It was harder than you might think!

I had a syringe and wanted to put a drop of glycerine on the seed. I would try to drop precisely and it would roll to the other side. It was not going as I had hoped.

I was staring at the drop while I was holding my syringe horizontally. I am a physician’s assistant and syringes are normal for me. The drops were falling off the syringe and I noticed that I could see the background flower in the drops. This didn’t tell the right story.

I decided to put the American flag back up. That to me tells the story. I hope that people will make up their own story about the image.

Diane Lowry’s Photo of the Month

The Data: .5 sec, f/7.1, 200 mm, ISO 200

The Gear: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF 100mm 2.8 lens

About Macro Photography:

With macro photography there is a whole other world out there if you look. You don’t have to travel. You can go into the backyard and work with what you have.

Learning to do macro makes you a better photographer. As with all photography you have to work with light.

I like to challenge myself with lighting. For the bubble image I decided to use my studio lights. I don’t do portraits unless my family asks me to so this was a challenge for me.

Macro Photography Tip from the Photographer: 

The best thing you can do is look at other people’s work. It gives you new ideas. Go online and look at what other people are doing.

On Diane’s Horizon:

My trips to Italy and Iceland were canceled – so I hope to fit those in.

I also want to visit the Badlands either on my own or on a workshop.

For more information on Online Classes with TBPW Click Here

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    

  • 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

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:


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