Tag Archives: Photography

On The Move!


It just occurred to me the last time I blogged was almost a month ago after wrapping up our Charleston Tour.  Since then I have been super busy with our Meetup Group, and traveling the camera club lecture circuit.  No complaints, it’s always a blast getting out and meeting new people who share this passion we call photography!

The image above is the latest in my Motion Abstracts Series.  I prefer a cloudy day for this type of work and of course try to keep the sky out of the image.  Even though the tree does a nice job breaking up the boring gray sky, I decided a couple Flypaper Textures were just what I needed to take the problem with the gray sky “out of the picture”, so to speak.

If you want to learn more about Textures, my partner Denise regularly lectures on textures to camera clubs in the Mid-Atlantic area. Her next lecture on Textures will be at NIH Photo Club on June 14th.  If you want to check out Flypaper Textures, be sure to use our discount code to save a few bucks.

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No Words and Not Enough Cameras!


Just returned from a successful Alaska Aurora Adventure workshop. It is almost impossible to describe this type of trip… epic, amazing, relaxing and exhausting at the same time… these terms only touch on it. However, there are those moments that make you realize that life is simply good and every day above ground is a gift. This trip was one of those moments.

When the sky came to life, the only thought I had was “no words and not enough cameras”. With two cameras running, set on interval, I still could not capture the activity in the night sky.

We are running another workshop in Alaska next March, for more information and to register, click here. In addition to aurora photography, the tour features attending the official start of the Iditarod, the Reindeer race, and more! Register before May 31, 2016 and receive a 15% discount! Register between June 1 and November 30, 2016 and receive a 10% discount!

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Third Party Printing


If you are like me, you don’t have a photo quality printer at home, so you use a third party printer, such as Costco. Our particular Costco does a great job, but tends to print a full stop darker than what I want in my print result. So this tip is how to deal with this, without having to alter your base image.

The features discussed here can also be used to brighten up or add contrast to your images when printing at home as well. But the likeliness is, if you are printing from Lightroom, you already knew this.

For folks like me, who print outside of their home, we normally Export a .jpg to a file, then upload the .jpg via an online portal to our printer, then pick up the images when they are ready. This method works just fine, but there is no way (that I have found) to imbed a development rule in the Export presets.

So how do we get around this… use the Print module in Lightroom!

The Print module can be used to print to your home printer or to a .jpg. So for those of us who use a third party printer, we just need to modify the settings in the Print module to print to file and create a preset for the settings that work best with our third party printer and each time we want to print and image, we will be set.

Click here for a video that will take you through the set up instructions.

While you are there, remember to subscribe to RRPT videos and check out the over 2 dozen videos already available in our library!

Win a Trip!!




Since the inception of Road Runner Photography Tours we have frequently raffled spots on some of our tours. This May however, we are doing something we have never done and frankly have never seen anyone else do either.  We are planning a weekend photo tour in one of our favorite areas of West Virginia and the only way you can attend is to win a spot on the tour.  That’s right, every spot on the tour will be given away to randomly selected winners.

If you want to enter for a chance to win one of the 6 spots on the tour you need to head over to this page;  www.RoadRunnerPhotographyTours.com

If you want to increase your chances of winning a spot on the tour it’s easy.  You just need to share the custom link that will be made available to you after you enter.  You can share this link with friends directly via email or you can use the buttons to post the link on your favorite social media site.   Each time someone enters using your link, you will get an extra entry into the contest as well.

Let’s just imagine for a moment, that you don’t want to win. I know I’m having trouble imagining that you would not want to win.  But you can still help your friends win by registering and sharing the link with your photo friends.  Imagine how grateful they would be if they won a spot because of your help!

Full details are available on the contest page.



Sharing the Experience

Shared experience, unique perspective.

Some people feel that going out to shoot with friends means that everyone will have the same image, so they avoid it. What I have found is that exactly the opposite happens. RRPT has been going strong for just over a year and thousands of shutter clicks later after dozens of Meetups and photo tours, I am still amazed and impressed at how differently we all see the world.

Each of us see the world differently. We focus on different things, different nuances of the same scene. We perceive what is around us differently and therefore, we capture different images, even when we are standing right next to each other. Geff’s creativity and unique vision challenge me, as mine do him. We are competitive, yet encouraging. We razz each other when the other gets the shot and one of doesn’t. We talk about camera settings to ensure that each of us has the best opportunity to make images. We make sure the other doesn’t miss out as well. Lastly, we process our images differently as well. We each experienced a different emotion and demonstrating that emotion in our process adds to differentiation in our work.

To demonstrate, here are some examples of images captured side by side.










To see full sets, for Geff click here and for mine set click here.

Moral to this story, shoot with friends. They help you, support you, encourage you, protect you (safety in numbers), and challenge you to do your very best work. If you are interested in shooting with us and others, click here and check out our Meetup Group.

Shooting with Friends

I have heard people saying that they don’t like to shoot with other people… that everyone ends up with the same images or that folks photo bomb or… whatever.

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Actually, I find that shooting with friends is more often than not a great experience (photo bombing and all). We laugh, we compare, we encourage, we share, we assist, we teach … each other. The featured image is a great example of how we do not get the same image… taken by a great friend Jon J., this image is just one example of what we do naturally… look around, look behind, look for our own perspective.

Not only do these simple strategies ensure different images, but so does:

  • Our height
  • Our lens choice
  • Our camera body
  • Our chosen filters
  • Our chosen mm length and f/stop
  • Our shutter speed
  • Our post process visualization

Each of these things allows us to create our own unique images and art work.

RRPT is all about shooting with friends (old time friends and the new ones we make during each outing). RRPT offers tours and Meetups to meet the varying needs of folks. For more information on Tours, click here. For more information on our Meetups, click here.

Come out and experience the fun and camaraderie of shooting with folks with the same photographic passion! See how it will enhance not only your experience, but your work!

Big Sur and San Francisco

Big Sur and San Francisco are two of the most iconic locations in Northern California and we are headed there. Join us as we explore these amazing locations from January 22 through 26, 2015. Guided by Denise, who grew up in the Monterey Bay Area, as well as lived and worked in San Francisco for decades; her expert local knowledge will guide us to all the coolest spots!

So many people travel to Northern California in the middle of summer and are shocked to find the San Francisco Bay Area cold, rainy, and miserable… that is summer in San Francisco. One of the reasons that San Francisco is like that in the summer is the oppressive heat in the central regions of the state pull the fog in off the ocean on to the coastline, resulting in shocking cold temperatures. Locals know this. That is why we are visiting this area in one of the two best times of year, January.

To learn more and register for this trip, click here. Early bird discounts for this trip end November 16, 2014 at midnight.

Learn low light and evening photography while capturing stunning images of the iconic bridges spanning the Bay:



Visit classic neighborhoods like Chinatown, Little Italy, and Fisherman’s Wharf:


Be there for that special moment (which only happens two months of the year) when the sun glows through the archway in Big Sur:

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Capture sunset on the rugged coastline of Northern California:

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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!!

2015 Photo Tours Announced!

RRPT is happy to announce 2 NEW Photo Tours for our 2015 Calendar Year!

Currently available for registration!

For those early planners, now is the time to act. We are offering special discounts on both tours. When you click through to the registration page, you will see this special pricing discussed below.

2015 Epic Iceland!

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With a total of 6 trips under our belts, Don and I can provide you with our local knowledge of this amazing country. We not only know where to shoot, but when to shoot it. This photo tour will be chock full of epic scenery and more fun that you can image. For more detailed information on the trip, including a basic itinerary and to register, click here. For Epic Iceland, if you book before November 16, 2014, you will receive Single Room Supplemental Upgrade for FREE! That’s a $750 value!


2015 Big Sur and San Francisco CA! 

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As a California native, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Big Sur/Monterey regions are my back yard. I have spent more than 37 years in Northern California exploring these areas and still consider this area home. I look forward to sharing two of my favorite places with you. For more detailed information on the trip, including a basic itinerary and to register, click here. For Big Sur and San Francisco, if you book before November 16, 2014, you will receive a 15% discount when you pay for full registration! That’s a $173 value!