Join us for the annual Bol Holiday Gift Guide and Celebration. Each year Tom and Cree recommend their favorite gifts for photographers. Everyone is welcome to attend. Send a link to your spouse/partner if they are shopping for you!
This online event is Sunday, December 10 at 5 pm. Click here and ask for the Holiday Guide Zoom link.
New this year: send in your favorite image from 2023 for a special Photo Image Celebration: Best of 2023. One image per person to celebrate your best work.
Tom and Cree just finished their Chilkat Eagle Photography Workshop and want to share the highlights with you. They traveled with their group to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve in Haines, Alaska to photograph more than 3000 eagles. Expect to see this trip again in 2026.
To see photos from our 2023 Chilkat Eagle Workshop, check out our trip report, click here
Tom’s recent portrait with the new Nikon Plena Lens from our Route 66 Workshop will be published in the next few weeks. Our two models from the photo shoot should be happy to hear this.
Interested in joining us in Alaska to photograph northern lights? Three spaces on our Northern Lights and Iditarod Workshop in March 2024 are open. Photograph Northern Lights from Talkeetna, Fairbanks and right outside the boundary of Denali National Park. We follow the Iditarod for three days and learn all about photographing sled dogs in action. We even fly out to one of the Iditarod checkpoints to get closer to the action. Learn more
If you are interested in travel and wildlife photography, we have just one space open up for our Orangutan and Volcanos in Indonesia Photo Tour. Learn more
We will be in Monument Valley scouting for future trips for the next week. We already have a record 35 people on the Interest List for this workshop. We are glad so many of you want to join us.
We hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Tom and Cree just finished their Route 66 East Photo Workshop and want to share the highlights with you. They traveled with their group from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Amarillo, Texas photographing people and places from a time gone by. Speedlights, strobe lights and neon lights were all part of the trip instruction. Expect to see this trip again in 2026.
To see photos from our 2023 Route 66 East Workshop, check out our trip report, click here
Tom published another new article for Nikon called Tips for Photographing Fall Color: Click here to read the article. You will see photos from several past workshops like Ouray and Acadia.
Interested in joining us in Alaska to photograph northern lights? Three spaces on our Northern Lights and Iditarod Workshop in March 2024 just opened. This workshop will take you to three different Alaskan towns to photograph aurora as well as to the heart of the Iditarod. We even fly out to one of the Iditarod checkpoints to get closer to the action. Learn more
We will be in Haines,Alaska for the next two weeks to photograph eagles on the Chilkat River. If you are interested in travel and wildlife photography, we have just one space open up for our Orangutan and Volcanos in Indonesia Photo Tour. Learn more
Tom and Cree just finished their Ouray Fall Colors Workshop and want to share the highlights with you. Colors were peak this year on Red Mountain Pass, so we spent several photo sessions on the Million Dollar Highway, driving all the way to Silverton. The trip was so successful that we are offering it again in 2025.
To see photos from our 2023 Ouray Fall Colors Workshop, check out our trip report, click here
Tom just published an article for Nikon called theBear Essentials: Click here to read the article. Interested in joining us in Alaska to photograph brown bears? Three spaces on our Brown Bear Safari in August 2024 just opened. This workshop involves more walking than our Lake Clark trip, but gets us to locations with bears pouncing on dazzling red salmon. Learn more
We will be in Slovenia for the next few weeks with Strabo Photo Tours. If you are interested in travel and wildlife photography, we just had two spaces open up for our Orangutan and Volcanos in Indonesia Photo Tour. Learn more
Tom and Cree just finished their Redwoods and Rocky Coastlines Workshop and want to share the highlights with you. We had a late season rhododendron bloom this year and the pop of colors was beautiful in the foggy forest. Cool, summer temperatures meant we had diffuse light for the trip and this gave the forest a moody feel. This is a great workshop for photographers interested in both landscapes and filter use with seascapes.
To see photos from our 2023 Redwoods and Rocky Coastlines, check out our trip report, click here
Next National Park Opening is Grand Teton National Park: click here
Cree and Tom are on their way to Arizona for the Arizona Hummingbirds Workshopnext. Then they are off to Ecuador to photograph some of the most interesting hummingbirds in the world in the Ecuador Cloud Forest.
Tom will be giving a free online talk on July 13 for Singh Ray Filters called From Sandals to Snowboots: Photographing Easter Island and Lofoten, Norway. If you were on either of those workshops you will see some familiar images. Register online here.
At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images by selecting a Photo of the Month. For June we chose an image taken on the Tanzania Photo Workshop with Strabo Photo Tours created by Joan Carroll. Joan is a well-rounded travel and outdoor photographer. She regularly sells her work through Fine Art America. Check out her numerous online galleries for FAA. We hope you enjoy Joan’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to June 2023 ‘s featured photographer – Joan Carroll
We pulled up to the spot and I do not remember which vehicle got there first. It was a pretty amazing scene.
I went back and forth between shooting the 800 mm lens to get a close up view of the animal leaping into the water, and using the 100-400 mm lens to get a wider view of the scene. I really liked the environmental view with animals in both the foreground and the background.
I am a fan of the environmental view. A close portrait of an animal is fantastic. But putting it in the environment gives it a sense of place and is really important.
I was looking at the photos of this scene. I must have 1000 images of it. At the end of the series a crocodile took down one of the wildebeest and stopped the action. Before that, the wildebeest were slipping in from the side of the pool and leaping over the top of each other.
When I looked back on the series of images, I could see the crocodile lurking in the scene, just waiting for the right moment. This made me wonder if the wildebeest knew it was there. Were they swimming for their lives. Animals are smarter than we think. Did they have the awareness of the wildebeest all along?
All the dust and the whole environment….it’s not something there are really words for.
Of the 1000 images of this sequence, I chose the one where the wildebeest was leaping the highest. He leaped the highest but landed right by the shore where the crocodile was waiting.
Camera: Nikon Z9
Lens: 100-400mm at 240
Shutter Speed: 1/3200 sec
Shooting Mode: Manual with auto ISO
Exposure Comp +.67
About Photographing in Africa
Oh my gosh! The two trips to Africa have probably been the most exciting things I have done….ever.
It is so dynamic. It is always changing. It is not like a landscape where you have time to figure everything out and adjust your settings.
I’d still be stuck there if someone hadn’t said “Let’s move on.” I’d just keep shooting.
I’m paying for that now with 44,000 images from the trip. I was going to be more mindful of how many photos I took this time. But when I got to the Serengeti, all bets were off!
Joan’s Tips for Wildlife Photography
I don’t consider myself any kind of expert.
Stand next to Tom and Cree and do what they do. Keep your ears open for tips and re-evaluate what you are doing.
Be aware of the whole scene and what the possibilities are. Pay attention to the flow of what’s going on. Have global awareness.
Have all the right equipment, batteries and cards.
Get a lot of rest. Be ready to go for every shooting session. I was there to photograph animals and do as much as I could. Know what you want out of a photo trip.
On Joan’s Horizon:
Bears in Lake Clark National Park
Eagles in Chilkat, Alaska
Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands
My all time favorite trip was to the Canadian Arctic. We landed at Grise Fjord on Ellesmere Island and took a sledge out onto the ice to go ice diving. The silence was incredible.
Tom has been doing workshops for Strabo Photo Tours for decades. He likes how trips are well organized and cater to photographer’s needs. Tom and Cree currently do at least one trip per year with Strabo.
Tom and Cree just finished their Louisiana Birds and Bayous Workshop and want to share the highlights with you. The birds and alligators in the swamp were abundant and the flat bottom boats made it very easy to get up close for photography. This is a great workshop for both landscape and wildlife photographers, with very little walking.
To learn more about our Louisiana Birds and Bayous Workshop, check out our trip report, click here
Tom and Cree just finished their Texas Birds in Spring Workshop and want to share the highlights with you. With plenty of rain in April, south Texas was covered in yellow wildflowers. this year. This made for spectacular backgrounds for colorful birds coming in to the 2 bird blind ranches. Cree and Tom are on their way to the Bayous of Louisiana next.
To learn more about our Texas Birds in Spring Workshop, check out our trip report, click here
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 Tucson Workshop created by Suzy Onysko. Suzy is a wildlife and portrait photographer. Her work is wonderfully creative and she often carries an infrared camera in addition to her regular gear. We hope you enjoy Suzy’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to April 2023 ‘s featured photographer – Susan Onysko
Well, this never, ever happens… at least to me anyway. This photograph was taken the first morning of our workshop at Gates Pass. I started out using a wide-angle lens to photograph the yellow brittle bush in the foreground and the stunning rocks, cacti, and clouds in the background. I love color and that was a pop of color in the desert that I didn’t expect. It was pretty windy out, though, and I worried about the flowers ghosting too much in the foreground. I looked for another foreground element and found this stunning barrel cactus.
I took a few shots in color first. They looked nice but with the clouds in the scene and yellow flowers not being an important element anymore, I ran back to the car. I got my infrared camera to see how that would look. I quickly changed my preview screen to show the image in black and white instead of the out of camera red preview. I shot a frame and the infrared image took my breath away.
I will be the first to admit that wide angle landscape photography is not my forte, so when I get an image I like I am quick to analyze why I like it. Hopefully in the future I come to “see” that image a bit quicker in the field. Why do we like the desert? The textures of the prickly cactus is what we are drawn to and what it’s known for. By taking away the color I enhanced all the desert textures and shapes. The clouds enhanced it by adding a bit more mood.
Did I click once and be done? Oh no… I took two hundred images of this scene (no judging, it’s free!) by changing my position mere inches up, down, left, and right until the cactus was just big enough in the foreground but not too big to overwhelm the rest of the scene. I liked how the barrel cactus was the focal point, but by showing some mid-ground I also included some prickly pear cactus which led to some Saguaro Cactus and an impressive rock formation and then those incredible clouds!
Camera: Nikon Z9
Lens: Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S Lens
ISO: 2000 (did I denoise it? Nope – I like the grainy effect for a western black and white image)
Shutter Speed: 1/100 sec
Shooting Mode: Aperture Priority
Shot at 15mm, handheld
About Photographing in Saguaro National Park
I am from the Midwest and love unusual landscapes that I do not get to see at home. Death Valley is another place that I love. I find that the desert and Death Valley both give an other-worldly vibe that I adore. We were fortunate enough to have the yellow brittle bush blooming while we were there which for me added an unexpected element. What a happy surprise!
This trip truly has something for everyone, and the variety helped me and my ADD brain! It offered wide landscape desert views, macro photography, bird photography, and at Old Tucson we photographed some very dashing cowboys. Check on the portrait photography also!
One of my favorite things we worked on was long lens landscape shooting. I often have a hard time seeing the wide angle shot that are right in front of me, sun stars included. It’s like all clutter to me since there is so much going on. Many times in the past I have used a 70-200mm or 100-400 mm to isolate more intimate scenes in a landscape. Tom encouraged me to try using my 600mm to do this and I have to say that I am hooked. I look insane carrying the beast of a lens for a landscape shot, but the images created using this lens have such mood. Cacti framed by yellow flowers look so mysterious and I feel like a spectator viewing and interpreting the relationships between desert subjects as opposed to just pointing and shooting at them.
About the Quail Image
I love shooting from bird blinds – I was hooked after going on the Texas Bird trip. I will be the first to admit I struggle when finding/seeing/shooting birds in the wild handheld. I get too spastic and excited when I see them. Animal eye tracking on the Nikon Z9 is slowly helping with that issue, but being able to slow down on a tripod with a gimbal to help stabilize the camera makes all the difference in the world. If you know me, I am not normally a tripod fan so when I say that it means a lot!
This Gambel’s Quail is probably like a pigeon to those who live out West but for me this little guy had so much spunk and personality. He was my favorite bird I photographed on the trip. I was determined to get a shot that showed more of his personality than just him strutting across a log, which he did a lot! When he paused for a split second on the log and pondered what his next move would be I saw my chance and shot away. I loved the curve of his head and how the log swirl underneath him mimicked his body position. I looked for a photo that didn’t have his tail merging into the log and was fortunate to have one. This image will be hanging in my house and hopefully others.
Suzy’s Tips for Photographing in the Desert with Infrared
Tip #1) IR works beautifully: it gives an Old West feel to the images. If you ever play with IR, do more than just make a preset for it and call it done. I love playing with all the different LR black and white presets. By doing just that with my multiple infrared images here they all take on a different look. Ethereal, contrasty, ghostlike… you have all the control and can change the mood of the image with one click. I recently converted one of my Z9s to a Deep BW IR conversion through Lifepixel.
For at least ten years I have been converting my oldest camera to infrared through Lifepixel and I am always thrilled with the results. I went mirrorless last year and had to upgrade all my gear. Instead of using my oldest camera (that didn’t exist) I purchased an already converted Nikon Zfc through Lifepixel. I chose the Zfc because it was only ½ lb. It worked well, but it ended up being the only camera in my bag with completely different controls. To make things easier on myself last month I decided to convert a Nikon Z9 body so that all my controls were the same on all my camera bodies. I was thrilled with the results. My fingers knew the controls by heart and I was no longer fumbling, trying to learn a new camera body. As an added bonus the 45 megapixel infrared files are stunning compared the 20 megapixel images of the Zfc!
Tip #2) Bring every focal length: 14-840mm. I did for this trip (my family thought I was insane) and used every one of them!
Tip #3) Mind your body in the field. Jumping Cholla (look them up) are not to be messed with. A week later and I still have bruises where I was nailed by two little balls.
On Suzy’s Horizon:
Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya in June
Hummingbirds in Madera Canyon, Arizona and Ecuador in July
At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For February we chose an image from our Norway in Winter Workshop created by Ellie Burns-Brookens. Ellie is new to Tom Bol Photo Workshops and recently traveled to both Patagonia and Norway with us. We hope you enjoy Ellie’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to February 2023 ‘s featured photographer – Ellie Burns-Brookens
We walked through a little gate and could see this amazing color down the fjord. It was a lovely fjord with a beautiful view, but it was the color that first caught my attention.
The challenge for me was deciding what to include. What was my composition? What was my subject? The little town on the fjord caught my attention. There were so many beautiful things in the area.
I decided the color was the most interesting thing about the scene.
I had my 24-70mm on the camera to capture the entire scene. But I decided the mountains, the orange light and the sun were the real subject of the photo.
I switched lenses in the freezing cold, which I never do, so I could zoom in more on the mountains.
Then, I noticed that there was a very large dynamic range to the scene. I asked myself, “What do I do now?”.
I decided to wait for the sun rays to peak through the clouds and then take 3 different exposures. I did this manually and shot at 0, then -1, then -2. I blended the 3 images in Lightroom. I wanted to bring the direct sunlight down and get some more definition in the brighter areas.
We saw this combination of orange and blue light several times in Norway. It almost did not look real, but that was the color it was. It was so stunning.
Canon R6 with a 70-200mm lens
ISO 100 1/800 sec f8
Shot at 138mm on a tripod
About Photographing in the Lofoten Islands
Every time I turned around it was “Oh my god!” It was so beautiful everywhere we went. There were small villages, tall mountains and stunning fjords.
I loved the snow. I really like the constant contrast of the orange, blue, read and yellow with the snow.
I think the Lofoten Islands are the most beautiful place that I’ve brought my camera to.
Ellie’s Tips for Travel Photography
Tip 1: Research in advance to figure out where to go. I often look at 500px. I like to know where other people have shot.
Tip 2: Then look for what is interesting when you get there. I look for curves, angles and leading lines.
Tip 3: Remember what your subject is. Try to tell a story with an image.
On Ellie’s Horizon:
Lake District in England – big rolling landscapes
Highlands in Scotland – old castle ruins
Faroe Islands – quirky cousin of Iceland
Last minute openings on 2023workshops:
Louisiana Birds and Bayous, May 10-14, 2023 – 2 spaces available. Photograph wading birds in the beautiful cypress swamps of Cajun Country in Louisiana Click here
Bears at Lake Clark, June 18-23 – 1 space available. Photograph grizzly bears with cubs in Alaska Click here
Ecuador Cloud Forest July 30-August 7, 2023 – 1 space available. Photograph exotic hummingbirds with long tails and beaks, toucans, barbets and more: Click here
Where are Tom and Cree?
Next stop: We are headed to Alaska next for an assignment with the Matanuska-Susitna Visitor’s Bureau. We’ll be photographing the Iditarod start in Willow, snow machining, skiing, snow shoeing. If we are lucky, we will find some aurora at night as well.
We hope you are enjoying the winter photography in your area of the world. Thanks for reading our posts!