September 2023 – Photo of the Month

Tom and I celebrate great participant images by selecting a Photo of the Month. For August we chose an image taken on a Strabo Photo Tour, the Impressions of France. The image was taken by Cheryl Sackett in the Loire Valley town of Chedigny. Cheryl is an avid travel photographer and did a masterful job capturing the elegance of the French countryside.

Congratulations to September 2023 ‘s featured photographer – Cheryl Sackett

Cheryl in the Priest’s Garden at Chedigny

The Story… 

I love table settings and have photographed them before. I liked the lighting in the area and the small set of stairs in the background. It was very elegant the way they had it set up.

This scene is from the restaurant in Chedigny, France where we ate lunch, La Clos des Roses. It felt like a very private restaurant with the number of people in it.

The food was excellent. it was probably the best meal of the trip. I remember the main meal was two types of veal. The meat was very tender and both versions were delicious. We also got to meet the chef and she was very cute.

We were already sitting down at lunch and my cell phone was the only camera I had at the moment. I looked over my shoulder, saw the scene and wanted to capture it.

La Clos des Roses restaurant in Chedigny, France

EXIF Data: Apple 11 Pro – we were already sitting down at lunch and my Canon camera was put away. All of my other photos were taken with my Canon.

Monet’s Garden at Giverny

About Photographing in France

I loved seeing the iconic Paris sites like the Eiffel Tower and the Seine. I also liked getting out of the city. The small village of Chedigny was beautiful and takes you back in time.

The grandeur of the chateaus in the Loire Valley was amazing. The architecture was wonderful. We stayed in a castle called Domaine de la Tortiniere. It was an old chateau with modern settings like a pool and conference center. I stayed in a very quaint annex overlooking the chateau.

Hot air balloon photography over the Loire Valley

Cheryl’s Tips for Travel Photography

Tip 1

I travel very simply with my Canon camera and one or two lenses. For this trip I mostly used my Canon 18-400 mm. It covers just about everything.

Tip 2

I try to get the big picture first and then go for smaller details.

Tip 3

In Chedigny I was looking for interesting scenery and the smaller pictures. I loved the shutters and flowers near the windows. I like to capture people in the background. It was great that there was nobody there but us.

Vin rouge

On Cheryl’s Horizon:

Ouray, Colorado



Oaxaca, Mexico

Costa Rica

Antarctica and South Georgia

Cheryl – the French Chef

Tom and Cree will be closer to home for their next tour, Ouray Fall Colors. In October they are headed to Slovenia with Strabo Tours again. Slovenia is known for its striking variety of landscapes: coastal Mediterranean towns, rolling foothills like in Tuscany and charming mountain towns like in Switzerland. Take a look at other Strabo Tours here.

We hope you have some good Fall trips planned!

Tom and Cree

June 2023 – Photo of the Month

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

The Story… 

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?

June 2023 Photo of the Month

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.

EXIF Data:

Camera: Nikon Z9

Lens: 100-400mm at 240

ISO: 5600

Shutter Speed: 1/3200 sec

Aperture: f/11

Shooting Mode: Manual with auto ISO

Exposure Comp +.67

Elephants wrestling at sunset in Serengeti National Park

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!

Zebra herd at the waterhole

Joan’s Tips for Wildlife Photography

I don’t consider myself any kind of expert.

  1. Stand next to Tom and Cree and do what they do. Keep your ears open for tips and re-evaluate what you are doing.
  2. Be aware of the whole scene and what the possibilities are. Pay attention to the flow of what’s going on. Have global awareness.
  3. Have all the right equipment, batteries and cards.
  4. 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.

Joan and er husband Benny enjoying an African sunset

Why Strabo?

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.

Current opening: Impressions of France Sept 9-17, 2023 Space Available!

Tom and Cree are headed to Alaska next for a Bear Workshop in Lake Clark National Park and then for a tourism shoot for the Mat-Su Visitor’s Bureau.

Enjoy your start to summer!

Tom and Cree

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