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

November Photographer of the Month

Tom and I celebrate the great images being created by our community of photographers each month by selecting a Photo of the Month. For November we selected Dianne Biddison’s image of a reddish Egret from our Bird Photography Class. We hope you enjoy Dianne’s images as much as we do

Congratulations to November’s photographer – Dianne Biddison

Dianne in the lavender fields of Provence, France

The Data: ISO 1250 500mm 1/1250 f f13

The Gear: Canon EOS 6D with a 150-500mm lens

The Story … 

I signed up for Tom and Cree’s online Bird Photography class, and knowing there would be assignments, I planned to take a Friday off work to go to Fort DeSoto State Park. I had been there before with a local photography group. The park has a website with a list of birds that have been seen there by season and where to find them. I also used eBird hotspots to see what birds had been seen recently.

The Reddish Egret was very interesting. There was a photographer walking 30 ft ahead of me photographing the egret. I slowed down so I wouldn’t spook the bird. When the photographer left, the Reddish Egret almost seemed disappointed that his audience was gone. I moved in closer and started taking photos of the bird and his behaviour.

The November 2020 Photo of the Month

The sun came out from the clouds just at that moment to light him up the right way. I chose to go to the North beach because I anticipated that the sun would come from the east and look best.

I used my new tripod with a new Neewer gimbal head. It was the first time I had used either. This made it very easy to move the camera. I could manipulate my movement easier as the bird changed his position.

I found that shooting 3 ft off the ground was ideal. Because the beach was uneven, I did not want to get too low.

After photographing the egret, I turned a corner and found a sandbar with 100 American White Pelicans. While other photographers were waiting for them to fly and hopefully come in closer, I started looking around. I found a pair of American Oystercatchers and photographed them.

On my way back to the car the Whimbrel appeared. The birds at the park are used to people and don’t get scared. I lowered the tripod more and it started walking towards me.

I was able to get both a profile and a straight on shot. I like them both. The straight on shot helped me identify the bird because I could see the darker eye band.


Dianne’s Whimbrel on the beach at Fort De Soto State Park


About Photographing Birds:

It’s fun! Being down here in Florida, I can usually find a bird. I like watching what they are going to do and how they interact with each other.

Bird photography is a challenge, especially getting them in flight. But it is a fun challenge!


American Oystercatcher

Tip from the Photographer

Keep looking around you when photographing birds. You never know what is watching you.

When everyone else was watching the pelicans, the oystercatchers were creeping up behind them.

Get as many shots as possible from different angles. Even if the image is blurry, it may help you identify the bird.

Dianne roaming the beaches of Tasmania with her Canon in hand

On Dianne’s Horizon

The Winter Yellowstone Workshop in January

Going back to Fort De Soto. This time I plan to go in the evening. I want to photograph Roseate Spoonbills in warm evening light.

I have plans to put in a backyard bird habitat, after I cut back some Elephant Ear Philodendrons from my pond and waterfall. This will clear the way for birds to take a bath. We have Red-Shouldered Hawks, Cardinals, blue jays and finches regularly in this area. It will be exciting to see what other birds are around here, too.


Our next online Bird Photography class starts this Monday. Learn more about our upcoming classes, including Power Workflow, Advanced Landscape and PhotoShop 1 Click Here

You are also invited to join us for an online Happy Hour on Friday Dec 4 at 7 pm SMT to see a virtual gallery of images from our latest classes. Leave a comment below to receive an invite.

What’s Coming Up at TBPW

Greetings Photographers!

We hope you are enjoying the cooler temperatures like we are in Fort Collins, Colorado! Tom and I have been busy teaching online workshops these last few weeks. As we move towards the holidays we wanted to let you know what is happening at Tom Bol Photo Workshops

Holiday Gift Guide

We always get questions about what to buy for photographers this time of year. To make it easy to answer all of your questions, we are offering a free online Holiday Gift Guide on Tuesday, November 24 at 5 pm SMT. Join us for a list of cool items to buy for photographers and we will save plenty of time for your questions as well. Tom just bought the newest Nikon Z6 II camera. I am sure he will have plenty to say about it online. To receive a Zoom invitation to the session, just leave a note in the comment section below.

New and Upcoming Online Classes

New Class: Power Workflow:  Overwhelmed with your photography workflow? Want to learn how to get your images from the field to ready to use” as efficiently as possible? Join Tom and Cree for three ninety minute sessions of tips and techniques for maximizing your workflow efficiency. We will cover 1) Workflow Overview and Shooting Habits 2) Reviewing and Choosing Images and 3) Editing and Backup Strategies Nov 30, Dec 2, Dec 4 MWF from 5-6:30 pm Cost $249

New Class: Bird Photography:   If you have traveled with us in the field before, you know that Tom and Cree have a life long fascination with birds. We have been photographing birds ever since we first picked up a camera. We want to share with you what we have learned through the years about photographing birds from the Arctic to the Antarctic and all points in between.  Nov 30-Dec 4 from 10-11:30 am Cost $349

Cardinal in the Texas bird blinds at Laguna Seca

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.  January 11, 13 and 15, 2021 from 2-3:30 pm SMT Cost $249

PhotoShop 1: 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. January 11-15 5-6:30 pm SMT Cost $329

PhotoShop 2: 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. November 16-20 from 10-11:30 am SMT Cost $329

See all of our online classes by clicking here

Update on Workshops in the Field

We were very pleased to be able to run three field based workshops in September and October. Unfortunately we had to cancel our November and December Workshops due to rising covid numbers. We are optimistic about our workshops in the begining of the next year. We will continue to monitor the news and make decisions on a trip by trip basis. We will continue to hold meetings on Zoom before trips to discuss our safety guidelines and recommendations before trips depart.

Click here to see our trip report for The RMNP Elk Rut Workshops

2023 Workshops

We have started getting inquiries about our 2023 schedule. It is wonderful to hear that people are eager to sign up so far in advance. We have already begun working on the schedule and hope to have it posted before the end of the year. Continue to check these newsletters for more information. If you are receiving this newsletter, then you are already on our most current mailing list. This means you will receive updates before anyone else. We appreciate you following us!

Camera Club Presentations

Camera Clubs across the country are busy looking for online content for their members. Tom recently spoke with Carl Volpe’s Camera Club in Southern California and will be speaking to Roberta Kanye’s club in Ohio in January. Send us an email if you are interested in having Tom present to your club. We can also set up an online class exclusively for your club.


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

Warm regards to all of you!

Cree and Tom