Preserving Memories

gandyshack redo

Living close to the coastal areas of our state provides us with a multitude of opportunities to explore and capture many marshland images. The wildlife, structures and coastline itself are ever changing. This is both a good thing and a bad thing at the same time.

On the good side we are given new subjects and scenes to interpret. As a fine art photographer it allows seemingly endless inspiration, and true freedom of expression, new thoughts, and visions. On the bad side, we are losing so many of those subjects that have served us so well. Storms have taken away our favorite piers. Time and weather have leveled structures that had so much character. In the worst cases, entire communities have vanished.The passing of time takes its toll.

I’m sad to see these subjects leave us, but so glad that we had the opportunity to record them and add our vision to the memories that we have of those subjects. They will be missed, but as the area changes, others will take their place.

Perhaps you have a relationship that is similar with an area, or subjects, near you. I’ll encourage you to get out there and preserve those memories. Add your interpretation or vision. Maybe you’ll just document them as they are. In any case, keep those memories alive.

Till next time take care and be creative


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Changing Times…..Changing Weather

aclightning lt

I have seldom, if ever, done a statement piece. For the most part my images are interpretations of a scene I have witnessed, or interpretations of thoughts that I have had. In effect, they are just nice pictures that I love to share. Let me take just a moment of your time to briefly tell you about the image that accompanies this post. It started out innocently enough as an interpretation of a comment that someone made to me. “Don’t you wish you could just turn the page on this weather?” That comment started thoughts running through my head for a new and different image.  The seed had been planted.

I thought about the idea of turning the page on the weather and how I could convey that through a photograph. I chose to use a panorama of Atlantic City and that’s where things started to snowball. As I progressed through the creation of the image, I started to notice a bit of a correlation to the plight of the nearby resort of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Those in this area are well familiar with the history, and status of this resort town. The good times, the boom times, the bad times, and the ugly times are well documented. Recent efforts to revive and transform the city may, or may not, pay dividends. Only time will tell.

So this brings me to the image itself. As stated, I started out wanting to show the idea of turning the page on the weather. Turning the page, and peeling back the stormy past and present to show a new dawn with soft calming pastel color, and the hope that a new day brings. This was my goal. I will let the resulting image will speak for itself.

Will Atlantic City also turn the page to see a new dawn? I can’t answer that. I hope so. I hope you also see the correlation between the image and the city. Or, at the very least just enjoy it as another nice picture. I know it was much easier for me to accomplish this digitally than it will be for Atlantic City to accomplish in real life.

Please feel free to leave a comment (there is a link in the post info below to do that). Also please share the post if you feel the urge. You can follow my ramblings by using the “Follow via email” link in the right column. You can follow my photography page on Facebook at this LINK.

   OK, now all the commercials and shameless self promotion are taken care of. I wish you well. Take care and till next time I’ll encourage you to be creative.


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A Floral Texture Overlay


I haven’t done a straight floral image with texture overlay for quite some time. I was first introduced to, and learned, the process many years back by creative photographer Denise Ippolito. Denise travels the world leading photo workshops and creative processing seminars. She also has numerous DVD’s that are available on creative techniques. Needless to say she has had a strong influence on the direction of my images. Look her up online or on social media. It’ll be worth your time. I have been fortunate to go on to teaching several classes on the texture overlay process myself, and it’s always rewarding to see what the classes will come up with.

As I said though, I haven’t done one of these for quite some time. While preparing some flower files recently , one orchid image got me to thinking of doing an overlay. Now, the general, process usually goes something like this. I have an image and I see, in my mind, a finished textured image. I’ll then begin the processing steps to bring that mental image to life, prepping the original image, choosing a texture overlay, masking, and tweaking as I go. Sometimes though, as I go through those steps, the processing itself will start to tell me where it wants to go. Such was the case with this image.

I had this image of a pastel pink orchid that I saw in my mind with a soft flowing pastel overlay. As I tried several textures that seemed soft and pleasing, I just couldn’t come up with a color combination, or feel that pleased me, let alone fit the end result I wanted. One texture had a vein of grayish monotone flowing through it. As I looked at the image with that overlay, that’s when the processing started talking to me. It was calling for black and white texture.

I searched my texture library and found one that resembled a black and white rubbing. I laid it over the orchid and did a bunch of adjusting. I liked the feel, but the pink orchid, and black and white texture just weren’t quite right together for this presentation. The processing had told me that I needed to go with little to no color for a texture, so I felt I needed to take the next step and go all gray tones. I converted the original orchid file to black and white and applied the new black and white rubbing texture. The image began to come alive.

After much adjusting and masking, along with generous dodging and burning, I arrived at the image you see above. You will need to decide for yourself whether you like it or not. It does seem to me though that this is where the processing wanted me to go. It just felt right.

So my message today would be don’t be afraid to let the processing, or image itself, talk to you and tell you where it wants to go. Don’t be so driven in your thoughts as to not hear what may be a viable alternative. It’s at least worth a look. Don’t ya think?

Please share this post with others to help get more thoughts and possibly some discussion. It’s always obvious that tastes in images vary wildly and that’s a great thing. It’s always fun to also share with you what I’m up to. Till next time, take care and as Denise always told me, be creative.



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Self Assignments……


“Floral Study”

Self assignments can serve many, many purposes. They can serve as a path out of a funk, or creativity block. They can spur learning, and growth, in a new style or technique. They can open your eyes to a different approach to your photography. Whatever the end goal is, a self assignment can be fun, challenging, enlightening, and most of all, rewarding.

One of the secrets to a successful self assignment is to be honest with yourself. I would encourage you to give careful thought when creating the assignment. Don’t make it so easy as to make the effort just an extension of your current skill set, or the results may be meaningless. Choose a challenge that will provide a positive result, or stretch your abilities. Possibly, it could move you in a whole new direction.   These self assignments can be effective whatever your medium is. Be it photography, watercolor, sketch, sculpture, oils, or any other medium, challenging yourself with a good self assignment can be a natural growth enabler.

I am currently putting together ideas for a couple of gallery shows that I will be involved in this fall. This would be a perfect opportunity for an assignment that might allow me to offer something different for those shows.

The image that accompanies this post is an example of a self assignment. I had read an article a while back that addressed using shadows as an integral part of the composition. We’re not talking just light and dark, but using the recognizable shadow of a specific article, or element, as a major component of the composition. In this case, a flower bloom and its shadow. So we have our assignment.

Could I develop a composition that would prominently feature the shadow of a specific object in the scene (the bloom) and have it fit and be coherent with the feel and flow of the image? In other words, would it make sense. I’m happy with what I achieved. You will have to decide for yourself whether you feel I was successful in the assignment and whether or not I achieved my goal. Either way, the assignment got me shooting in the studio, and after the capture, spurred some real thought on processing. The composition called for the use of some previously untried processing techniques.

All in all the assignment ended up being fun and has me looking at other similar opportunities for created images. Perhaps I could explore a series of shadow images.

Thanks, as always, for reading my ramblings. I certainly hope they will, at the very least, cause some thought or instigate an assignment of your own. I’m pretty sure you will enjoy the process. Don’t forget to visit my web galleries at and also don’t be afraid to share this blog post with others.

Take care and as always be creative


Lancaster County PA. (A joy for photographers)


Lancaster County Pennsylvania, what a place. The Amish folks and their, so different, lifestyle. The small communities with peaceful, pleasant names like Bird in Hand. The horse-drawn buggies mixed in with modern autos, the stone mills, the lush rolling countryside, and farmlands, are all inspirational subjects. A ride on the Strasburg steam train, and the chance to hear the whistle of the ghost train echoing across the valley, is a thrill.

A few days in this environment will inspire any photographer to kill off a multitude of innocent, unsuspecting pixels. The big draw for many is the dozens and dozens of covered bridges dotting the landscape throughout the region. Some are easy to find, while others offer the thrill of the hunt. There are actually maps that you can find at various tourist stops the show the location of many of these statements of a time gone by. Many are still in daily use.

I chose this file, from inside a covered bridge, to be the base for my interpretation of the mood and feel of our trip. I felt a watercolor look with minimal detail would convey my vision nicely and set out on my processing journey. After much trial and error, and refining my feelings on the look and feel, I have arrived at this presentation. You may like it or maybe not so much. That’s fine, you will certainly have your own feel for the mood of the area.

I wish I had completed this early enough to include in a gallery exhibit that I am currently involved in at the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts in Millville, NJ. It would have fit in nicely.  I may consider it for a show later this year.

I hope that you might be able to share in the experience of Lancaster and the Amish area of Pennsylvania some day. You certainly will remember it for a lifetime.

I’ll also invite you to follow this blog by using that feature in the right column of this page. The more we have here, the better. Thanks for reading and as always, be creative.


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Am I A Frustrated Painter At Heart?


Photography has been good to me. I became involved in photography early in my life, and it has allowed me to see things that have truly amazed me. It has allowed me to meet people I have admired, and also allowed me to express myself in ways that I never dreamed I could.

So why do I ask if I’m a frustrated painter at heart? I have always admired painters for the skills they possess in creating their art. Whether it is abstract, hyper realistic, or any other style, the ability to control those brush strokes and create a vision purely from the mind is just most impressive to me. I have never managed to personally develop those skills.

As I look over my image catalogue I find many instances where my images mimic the look of painted images. This style shows up mostly after my entry into the digital age. I certainly won’t make any apologies for being a photographer. I love the medium.  Maybe the tools that we photographers now have access to give us more freedom of expression than I had previously imagined. Are the mediums more closely related than we care to admit? Are more galleries accepting photography as “fine art”?

Certainly, just as in painting, there is good and not so good. At the same time, at what point is a photo lifted from snapshot to fine art? So many questions.

Photography has been good to me. At the same time, I will happily thank all of those painters who have inspired me to search for that painterly feel to some of my images. They have created a drive in me to express my own vision in the images I create. You can decide for yourself whether it is art or just a pretty picture. I’m just happy to have created it.

Take Care


I still love black& white….


Yes, it’s true. There’s still something about a good black and white that gets me a bit excited. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a well composed and processed color image. The varying hues of red, blue, green, and yellow can be very dramatic in telling the story in many cases. Whether I shoot an image with a black and white presentation in mind, or I convert a color image to a monotone presentation, there’s just something about reducing that image to nothing but a single tone that gets to me.

A black and white image strips away all those varying color tones that can compete with, and steal away from, the essence of the subject itself.  Here’s a quote that might explain my feelings a bit better.

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!”
Ted Grant

I think this can hold true for any subject.

We all know of Ansel Adams’ mastery of black and white darkroom techniques, and his skills with composition. I’m also very fond of Edward Weston and his pioneering vision.

I won’t profess to be any sort of famous black and white shooter, but I will share a link that might give some insight into a few of the greats, and inspire you to experiment with some monotone images.

Here is the link that will give you a little insight into some of the great black and white photographers of our time.

Of course the best presentation of a black and white, or any image for that matter, is the print itself. Sadly in today’s digital instant access world, the print is a disappearing art. That’s got to be a subject for a future post.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings. I’d love for you to share this post. I’d love it even more if you felt moved to follow this blog via email using the follow feature in the right column.

As always, take care and be creative


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