Monthly Archives: July 2014

Artistic License

Artistic License… what does it really mean…?

The freedom to create artwork based on the artist’s interpretation.

Often, photography is not seen as “art”. This is really a tragedy, as photographers spend hundreds of hours honing their craft, learning their tools, improving their skills, understanding light and composition, just as other artists do… yet, they are not given the same respect or credit. How often have we heard… “Wow, great pic, you must have an excellent camera” or “If that were in a gallery, I would buy it”? I personally, need more than two hands to count the number of times I have heard these or similar comments.

Simply put, photography is a form of art and definitely a form of expression. From Photojournalism to Abstract Photography; photography runs the gamut of styles and subjects. I consider my photography art. I consider myself an artist. I consider my medium a camera. I consider Photoshop and its various plugins to be my palette.

Sometimes we exercise our artistic license in how we create images. In this image, I was standing in a grove of Poplar trees. The grove was long and narrow, which to me felt like a tunnel. I tried to convey that feeling by using a telephoto lens, and moving from telephoto to wide angle while the shutter was open. Other than adding some contrast and checking for blown highlights, this image has not been “processed”.



In this next image, I exercised my artistic license in how I processed this image. For this image, I used Topaz Clean 3, and started with the FlatStyle preset. I liked how it flattened and smoothed the image, while leaving the pattern of light created by the moving clouds. This image now conveys the simplicity and peacefulness of the rolling dune-like hills for which the Palouse is known. It takes the focus off the grain, off the labor of the land, and sets a dreamy-mood, in which one can get lost in thought. If you are interested in learning more about Topaz Plugins, click here.



At RRPT, we love to share our passion for all-things photography. If you would like to experience a photo tour that focuses on getting you to the right place at the right time, while in a supportive environment that encourages you to express your artistic vision, then you should check out our 2014 fall tours and newly announced 2015 tours! Click here for more information.

Happy Shooting!

What a Difference a Year Makes…

Twelve months, 365 days, one year… lately one year seems to pass so quickly… I feel like I just took down the holiday decorations and we are already halfway through the next year… time is definitely flying for me…

This past June, RRPT went on its second photo tour of The Palouse region of Washington state. This area is simply extraordinary, presenting so many photographic opportunities. Although it may seem easy to navigate, it actually takes planning and mapping to locate the real gems hidden in the vastness of rolling fields of grain.

Two years in a row, Don and I have continued to populate our maps with all of our “finds”. We use this system to ensure our guests get the most bang for their buck when traveling with us. We usually arrive at a tour destination a few days early and spend long days checking out our favorite spots from the year before to make sure that they still exist, as well as travel new areas to continue to develop our population of subjects. For perspective, in 2013 we did 1800 miles, this year we did 1750 miles.

So this was how we approach this past trip… hit the road, search, map, continue. It is amazing to see the constantly changing landscape. We found abandoned cars no longer existed (likely sold as scrap); regal trees toppled by weather; farm houses that last year were bustling with activity now lay abandoned; barns and other structures that stood proud now felled by time.

Here is simply one example of the toll of time… This was such a find in 2013! A great foreground of wildflowers, a barn sitting right at the top of a ridge, and a vast sky.



Definitely on the hit list this year… we drove up a very tight dirt road and found… planted fields, no wildflowers, not a one, and that time had ravaged the building, leaving only the roof intact.




These experiences really highlight the beautiful of returning to locations time and again. With each successive trip you get to witness change; change made by nature and by man.

Next year (2015), we plan to head back to The Palouse. This time we plan on experiencing the harvest! Fields of grain ready to harvest, so beautifully described in America the Beautiful, “O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties. Above the fruited plain! ” On this trip, we will experience the farmers harvesting and bailing the grain. The winds will carry the dust of longs days of hard work creating rich sunsets. 

If you are interested in being on the mailing list to receive updates on Harvest 2015, Palouse WA, click here and complete the contact form. Please indicate the trip you are interested in.

Below are some additional images from our tour. Enjoy!!

Composite Images

The Palouse is so diverse when it comes to imagery. With this composite image I tried to capture some of this diversity.

The base image is a wall on an old building. The wear and tear of time, weather, and neglect are clearly visible; creating a great tactile feeling. The window is actually a boarded which creates a perfect canvas for another image. The inset image was taken around midnight, using the glow of the moon to light up the rolling hills of grain in the landscape. I wanted the effect to be as if the scene was painted on the boards on the window; essentially bring The Palouse together into one image.