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

Tucson Trip Report

Tom and Cree just finished their Tucson and Saguaro National Park and are on their way to Utah next. There was a spectacular flower bloom this year in Tucson. With plenty of rain in February and March, the Sonoran Desert exploded in color.

To learn more about our Tucson and Saguaro Workshop, check out our trip report, click here

Looking for a trip to join in 2023?. We have a few last minute openings on trips including: Bears at Summer Solstice and Route 66 East and Impressions of France Click on the underlined links to learn more. 

Thanks for reading our posts. Happy spring wherever you are…..Tom and Cree

Old Car City in Spring: Trip Report

Tom and Cree are just back from their East Coast workshop in the hardwood forest of Northern Georgia. They broke out speed lights, strobes and models to make the most of the collection of old cars at Old Car City. The budding dogwoods and red buds were a much appreciated welcome to spring….

To learn more about our Old Car City Workshop, check out our trip report, click here

Looking for a trip to join in 2023?. We have a few last minute openings on trips including: Utah Landscapes Workshop, Bears at Summer Solstice and Ecuador Cloud Forest Click on the underlined links to learn more. 

Thanks for reading our posts. Happy spring wherever you are…..Tom and Cree

February 2023 Photo of the Month

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

The Story… 

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.

February 2023 Photo of the Month

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.

EXIF Data:

Canon R6 with a 70-200mm lens

ISO 100 1/800 sec f8

Aperture Mode

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

Ellie composing her image in Norway

Last minute openings on 2023 workshops:

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!

Tom and Cree

Easter Island and Chile Trip Report

Nothing like a few days on a tropical island in January to shake off the winter blues. We just returned from Easter Island and Chile and could not have had better weather: warm breezes, afternoon clouds and tropical flowers in all the right places.

To learn more about our Photography Workshop in Easter Island and Chile, check out our trip report, click here

We will be heading back to another sunny destination in January 2024. We have three spaces available on our Oaxaca: the Colors of Mexico Workshop. We will be photographing vibrant art, food, people and more with Marcelo along to show us the sites. Read more

Want to learn more about using speed lights? Join us in Old Car City in March 2023 and we’ll teach you to light cars in creative ways and to create portraits with speedlights. Read more

Thanks for reading our posts. Happy photographing from our family to yours…..Tom and Cree

New Zealand Trip Report

Just back from our 11 day photo adventure on the South Island of New Zealand. We explored the mountains and lakes of New Zealand and ended with a spectacular wildlife shoot on the ocean. Take a look at our trip report to see the photos and find out more.

To see the report, click here

Looking for an international photography workshop? Is photographing Northern Lights on your bucket list? We are heading to Lofoten, Norway on February 18-25 to photograph aurora and landscapes in winter. Lofoten is warmer than Alaska and should have plenty of open water to reflect the northern lights. Click here for a link with more info. Four spaces available.

For our next stop, we are headed to Acadia National Park for fall foliage. We will be posting on Facebook and Instagram while on the workshop.

We wish you wonderful fall travels and photography!

Thanks for reading our posts. We hope to photograph with you soon!

Tom and Cree

Photo of the Month September 2022

At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For September we chose an image from our Lofoten Norway Workshop created by Lauren King. Lauren was in the right spot at the right time. As a portrait photographer Lauren immediately was drawn to the couple on the beach. We hope you enjoy Lauren’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to September 2022 ‘s featured photographer – Lauren King

Lauren King in Lofoten, Norway

The Story… 

We were all on the beach. We wanted to make sure we had lined up for the shot without other people being in the shot. I had my super-wide lens on to capture the full arch of the creek.

I have been trying to work on shooting from different angles. I was holding my camera above my head and finger touching on the screen. Then this couple walked into the scene.

I waited for the couple to find their spot. Then…..voila! It just happened.

September 2022 Photo of the Month

I have been working on sunstars and sunstar placement in my images. Getting a sunstar right behind the little mountain with the couple in the foreground was my goal.

I did very little in post process. I smoothed some of the sand in the foreground. I also worked on slightly cropping the image so that the sunstar was in the right place and the couple’s shadow was still in the frame.

EXIF Data:

Nikon Z6ii, Nikon 14-24 lens shot at 15 mm

F22, 1/100 sec, ISO 100

Manual Mode

Lauren’s Tips for Photographing Travel Images:

Tip 1: Think outside of the box. Think about what people are not getting. What can you shoot that is not right in front of your face? What is not obvious?

Tip 2: Use the reticulating screen. If you use the screen when shooting people, they may not realize you are taking a photo. This means they will be less self-conscious in the image.

Fall color on a Norwegian Fjord

About Photographing in the Lofoten Islands

Oh my goodness, it was amazing!

I felt like we were lucky with the weather. I expected a lot of greens from Norway. I did not expect all the reds and yellows at ground level. We photographed at a small lake one day and I could have stayed there all day.

Lofoten is very pristine. It was nice to be out in the fresh air. From the grand views to the tiny flowers – there was always something to shoot. There were worlds within worlds.

Looking for what is not obvious in Nusfjord

Cabin Shoots:

Everybody was at Nusfjord and went up the hill above the yellow cabin. It was muddy and I did not think I would make it up there.

I told myself to go back down and find something that no body else had seen. I went in between the buildings and this is what I found (image above).

I did very little in post process for this image. I cropped a small bit. I also removed a person who was standing below one of the windows in front of the yellow cabin.

In my mind this was a modern take on Norway even though they are old cabins.

At Statles Rorbuer, where we stayed I went out by myself on an afternoon break. Even before I got to Norway, I knew I wanted to try selective color on the cabins. I saw the line-up of cabins and knew it was the right one for my image. I used a color range mask to select the cabins and worked with Cree on the editing.

Selective Color at Statles Rorbuer

On Lauren’s Horizon:

Inagua Island, Bahamas for flamingos

France near Paris

Route 66 West

Austria and Switzerland

Everywhere else without snakes!

We are headed back to the Lofoten Islands in Norway this winter on February 18-25 for snowy landscapes and the Northern Lights. Space is still available. Click here to read more.

Where are Tom and Cree?

We are looking forward to our next photo adventure in Acadia National Park. Mid-October is the perfect time to be in Maine for red fall leaves and we are headed there next week with a full group of photographers.

To see our 2023 schedule, click here

We hope you are enjoying a great fall. Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

Photo of the Month – December 2019

Tom and I want to celebrate the great images being created on our workshops by posting a photograph each month from one of our workshops that best captures the environment or people of that location. With so many great images from Patagonia, it was hard to choose. We hope you enjoy Patricia’s image as much as we do. Please let us know what you think about our Photo of the Month posts!

Congratulations to December’s photographer – Patricia Solano 

Patrica using a low perspective for the iconic landscape

The Story:

I was really nervous and excited for the shoot with all the horses. I was excited about what it may look like. I was nervous because I was surrounded by a lot of talented photographers. In a group I knew I would be vying for space and I am a small person.

I remember asking myself, “Holy crap! How am I going to shoot this?” Because I have done trips with Tom before, I knew I had to be on continuous (auto-focus) and shoot at a high shutter speed. I always shoot in manual so I was not thinking about aperture. I chose the 70-200mm lens to get the vista, but also to be able to zoom in as the horses came running at us.

Pics for Tom Bol Photo of MOnth-2
Gauchos and horses running through Lago Argentina by Patricia Solano

The Location: 

As soon as I got to El Galpon, it spoke to me. It was a combination of the vistas, the horses and the macho men.  The remoteness of the estancia made it peaceful and I just loved the spot. I love Patagonia and El Galpon was my favorite place in Patagonia.

Of course, the gauchos helped!

Patricia taking a portrait of Pablo with natural window light

The Data: Sony ILCE-7R, 70-200mm lens 1/1000 at f6.3 ISO 1250 manual mode

Photo Tip from the Photographer: 

I am on a steep learning curve as a photographer. I have learned that if you screw up, just forgive yourself. Even if it is a once in a lifetime shoot like we had at El Galpon.

On the Horizon:

  • Return to Cuba – outside of Havana
  • Return to India – the south this time


To learn more about the El Galpon Estancia in Patagonia where this photo was taken click here

To learn more about auto focus modes click here



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