Something New

I love to experiment with my photography.  And if you follow my blog you know one of my favorite spots to spend my down time is in the beautiful Florida Everglades; so why not combine the two?  I was there over Memorial Day weekend and invited my camera buddies down, however I know this place isn’t for the faint of heart, the elements (hot & humid) and the bugs (mosquitoes) are voracious.  The ones who showed up are not fearful of the elements and wanted to learn something new, as this adventure is definitely not for those who are intimidated by the outdoors. We met up around 7pm and took off down a very long dusty road within the Big Cypress National Preserve.  The temperature was quite warm and humid due to the rain earlier in the afternoon, however the sky was clear unlike earlier in the day when I had scouted out the area.

Memorial Weekend 2016-6

We arrived at our destination, and proceeded to set up “shop” with tripods, remote triggers and this wonderful object called a Thermacell!  The Thermacell was our lifesaver when it came to being basically mosquito free for the entire night.

As the sun set and the stars began making their first appearances, those who had never seen this site were in awe of the majesty it provided. Then came the Lightning Bugs; in a few of my photos you can see them skittering across the grasses.

We knew the direction of the rising Milky Way Galaxy  because someone in our party had an app which told us when and where; of course this is why we were there, to photograph the Milky Way in complete darkness. We almost accomplished that feat except it’s rising in the south, south west sky and Miami was throwing off quite a bit of ambient light.

While waiting for the galaxy to rise, we did a bit of light painting and my photographer son Tommy Owen wanted me to photograph him with a really bright flashlight and we came up with this Star Wars type image.

Memorial Weekend 2016-10

I’m not entirely sure what that yellow streak is toward the left of the photo, possibly a plane heading for Miami International Airport.  The orange glow is the aforementioned Miami.

I learned a lot as did my photographer friends.  None of us had ever attempted astrophotography and we found it quite a challenge.  We found in the dark we really needed a red gel flashlight to see our settings and we need to find a way to turn off our backlit screen.  We also found that too long of an exposure (over 30 seconds) would create the beginning of star trails, and make our stars appear more blurry.  We all did concur in the end that it didn’t feel as if we were out there for four hours and we all want to return in the fall/winter when the humidity will not require us to wipe down our lenses every few minutes and the sky will be crystal clear.  It was a fun evening and we were able to come up with some usable images, but will still need a bit more practice.

My take away on all this is to keep growing and practicing and learning new techniques.  It will keep your mind active and improve your creativity and it’s FUN.

Memorial Weekend 2016-15

Thanks for stopping by!


Canon 70-200 f2.8

Here I am with the box!
Here I am with the box!

I purchased this lens a few months ago and have had adequate opportunity to use it.  I have shot several concerts local venues and national acts, I’ve photographed a night wedding and I have taken portraits with it.  I am going to approach this with the Pro/Con format.


This is a sturdy lens (see con’s) with 23 elements and an all metal body which is dust & element resistant.

The lens is fast, with that f2.8 I am able to shoot in extremely low light situations;  with my Canon 6d I can successfully photograph in near darkness with little noise  at an ISO between 800 – 1600.  The wedding was a late evening outdoor wedding with very little lighting or should I say very little good lighting.  However with the help of the videographer (always make friends with the videographer!) I was able to have enough light to focus and pull some great images,  even with the ambient light as long as I had enough to focus with I was golden.

Focusing is quick and tack sharp and extremely fast with a manual override even in auto focus mode. It comes with a removable tripod collar, a hood and a beautiful carrying case.


This lens is HEAVY.  3.28 lbs before you attach it to your camera body.  It’s not your day-to-day knock around lens that’s for sure and it requires a steady hand.  For such a large lens the telephoto is only up to 200mm on a full frame camera, so if you are looking for something to get the wildlife that’s far in the distance, this would not be the lens to grab.

This lens is not cheap.  The starting price is around $2500.00, but it is an “L” lens and it’s one of Canon’s top of the line and premier lens so is it worth the price? That’s for you to decide.

My Recommendations

I highly recommend this lens for those who are portrait or wedding photographers.  I do photograph portraits and weddings from time to time, but my most of my work is events and large venue concerts.  This lens is perfect for those dark venues, with bright lighting.  I have had some great results with this lens.

I hope this helps anyone who may be on the fence about making this large of a purchase.  Maybe if you are not sure if you want to spend the money, then  borrow the lens for a few days, see if it’s what you are looking for.  This is exactly what I did, I have a photographer friend who owns this lens and I was able to use it and well, I knew I needed to have it.

The Prize
IMG_1251 The Prize

My Mission

I have been seriously at this photography thing for several years now, and decided I needed to come up with a mission statement of what I am about and what I want to provide to clients.  It took me several months to think about it and to actually put pen to paper and to develop it exactly how I feel; finally I wrote it out; so here it is:

“I aspire through my photography to empower my clients to look and feel incredible, to create beautiful images, and to build lasting relationships with those who step in front of my camera.”

I feel this statement really epitomizes who I am as a human and what I want to portray as a photographer.  I realize I will not get every client who inquires about my services and I’m ok with that, because it only means they were not the client for me.  My style is easy going, yet in control of my environment and can handle the most stressful of situations.  I know how to make people feel comfortable around me and in doing so I get the responses I’m looking for through my lens. My belief is you reap what you sow and if you are comfortable, your client(s) will be as well.

You have to genuinely love people and they have to feel this about you to be completely comfortable.  I see beauty in each of my clients (male & female) and I get so excited when I know I have taken beautiful images.

I’ve seen photographers take on projects they should have never jumped into, because either they have not developed enough skills or the right attitude or they simply are not aware of what it takes to provide great customer service to the client.  I have actually seen client bashing and that is unacceptable to me.  My clients are incredible and I love each and every one of them.  I treat them with respect and give them more than they expected.  I know what it takes to be in front of a camera, it’s not easy because you expose your entire self to the world.  The photographer’s job is to capture the beauty that is truly you.  Be it bride, groom, families, or individual portrait; male or female.

To those I have had the privilege of photographing, thank you and to those who have yet stepped before my camera, I look forward to meeting you and thank you for trusting me enough to show the world your beauty.

Early Christmas!

I am a naturally happy person. Things are not what make me happy, too many things clutter my simple life. I don’t need people around to be happy either, but I love my family and friends and I feel much more than happiness being around them, I’m joyful.  As it goes, if I get something new it’s not to make myself happy it’s because I know I will enjoy using whatever it is I have received.  However, last night I received an early Merry Christmas to me present; the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 USM II lens.  I have drooled over this lens for a couple of years and have even had one on my camera, which really increased the feeling of want and need.  As a photographer who works with portraits and weddings and large venue concerts this lens is the industry standard and I now own it.  To say it makes me happy is an understatement, it makes me ecstatic!  It simply proves that good things come to those who wait and I have waited and it’s my time enjoy what this lens can do for my photography.

I have read all there is to read about it, I’ve used it on my camera so I know first-hand what it will do for my craft and how with my skill I can create amazing images. I didn’t make this decision on a whim, I thought it through and had an opportunity that I could not pass up and I bought it.

Photo Credit to Photographer Sam Arnold

Here I am with the box!
Here I am with the box!
Next is opening the lens case to expose the goodies inside.
Next is opening the lens case to expose the goodies inside.


As I use this lens in the next few weeks I will write up a complete review……for now I am going to go and enjoy it; with a huge smile on my face!


I know many are wondering why I titled a photo blog ‘Education’. I titled it as such because no matter what we do in life, we should continue to learn and grow and make ourselves better and more educated. It’s the same for the photographer. Maybe you went to school to become a photographer, or you studied design and/or art years ago and you think “well that’s all I need to succeed” true it may be, but in our ever changing world of technology there is always so much more to learn. I have found the simple act of getting a new camera or new software challenges my brain and I am constantly searching for learning opportunities to improve myself, my software use and my overall photography.
Even though I have been taking photos for well over 25 years, I still want to learn new techniques to make myself better and more marketable. I read everything I can get my hands on and I am constantly searching YouTube, books and the internet for instructional videos and articles. I’m not afraid to talk to other photographers, most are willing to help. I have my own style of photography and love looking at the styles of other brilliant photographers work. I have taken Photoshop classes to be able to quickly enhance my photos if needed; recently purchased Adobe Lightroom and I’m slowly learning how to use it to best meet my needs, so far I love it and it does make processing my photos a lot faster, even though I am pretty quick with Adobe Photoshop Elements. Last year I upgraded my camera and I am still learning what it can do outside of what I use it for. This week, I found a free 2 day class (has turned into a 3 day class), on photographing and empowering women in portraits. The class is live and already I have learned so much, especially when it comes to social media and how to get the word out and followers and keeping them engaged in my page. I am on the right track and it’s been my intuition which has guided me in this area. I was also challenged to think up a few ideas upon which I am going to pursue and I’m excited about offering something to a specific group of women that may have some self- esteem/self-worth issues and will be partnering with a local business to accomplish this. I am passionate about my choices in life and photography is simply one of those choices. I have a full time job and for right now photography is only a part time business, but who knows what the future may bring, if I want it bad enough it will happen.
I am getting ready to hook up with day two of my online class and I am looking forward to it. So this morning while waiting I set up my new home studio. I have plenty of room to work and lots of natural light along with my shoot through umbrellas. I will use this studio set up for late evening work and on days I can’t take my clients out-doors.
So to you that are fence sitting about learning and growing, jump off and jump in, you never know what you may find that will inspire, create and motivate you into doing something you have always wanted to do. Get an education, it doesn’t have to cost anything, nor does it have to be in a classroom. And of course most of all enjoy your passion!

A Day of ‘Shooting’

First 100

Second 100

Great Egret 2

American Bittern 1

Gator 2

I made the decision this weekend that I would spend a day ‘shooting’.

Last year at Christmas I was gifted with a gift certificate to attend a Conceal Carry Weapon class, I did this and sent my paperwork off to the state to obtain my permit.  It took about twelve weeks to arrive, but it felt so good to put that in my wallet.  Shortly after, we went gun shopping at a gun show and I picked up a small 22 caliber handgun.  I wanted something small and lightweight to get comfortable with, since I’ve never handled a firearm before.  I have found a new hobby and new enjoyment in my life.

What does this have to do with photography? Well, The area I go to shoot is a preserve/hunting area with an outdoor range, so today I took my camera and not only record my progress with my progress, but also to take a drive and ‘shoot’ some wildlife with my camera.  After hitting my target with about 200 rounds, I got into my car and started driving, my first stop was a beautiful Great Egret, however that was not the only bird in view, for a few years I have wanted to photograph an American Bittern, sitting looking as if he were part of the reeds was this beautiful American Bittern.

Driving a bit further I pulled over in a picnic area and saw what I thought was a couple of Alligators. It was and as I turned my back briefly one jumped out of the water and grabbed something.  I’m not really sure what he was after, but I have a photo of it.

All in all it was a great day.  Having a hobby or two is so good for the heart and soul, it gets you out doing what you love and enjoy, and it also gives you something to look forward to. Even if you only have a cell phone with a camera, get out this week and experience the world, you never know what else may be in store for you.