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Film days are over…not.

Film days are over…not.


Like many of us, when we fully moved into digital, followed by an inundation in processing software and techniques, I forgot I ever took a transparency, although I have numerous filing cabinets filled with pages of slides (approx. 300,000). I always felt that film was too noisy and blocked up, even during film days. But, I’ve recently had another look…

I really loved the clean sharpness achieved in Digital, but began to have the same  feeling as film producers and video producers. There is a feel with film that is more organic.  Now, I’m not returning to film shooting. Not going to happen. Besides, I’ve been there and done that. The issue with film scanning was the laboriously long process and the immense amount of dust, resulting in a LOT of cloning. I am currently having great success and fun reviving and rediscovering my transparencies through what I call, for the sake of brevity, CameraScans. It’s a made up term that is easier than constantly saying, “Using the D810 to photograph transparencies with the use of a copy stand.”

During photographing transparencies for a current book project, I went back to some of my favorites. 

Here’s my set up: Copystand (check any used equipment seller), Lightbox, D810 and 105mm Macro, Macro rail to fine tune camera height. Slides on a few chocks to elevate and backlight the transparency and to not pick up imperfections on the lightbox surface, and cable release. I use Live view for composition. Pretty basic and the files are 70mb.



Here’s a few befores afters:

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Most of the time, average processing will get the job done, depending on how good the capture is.

The final image of the Swirl had some major work done: I used Edit > transform > warp to reshape the bottom edges of the frame. I then increased contrast and saturation for more drama. Afterwards, I fine tuned the shaded and sunlit areas using selections and luminosity masks.

So, for those of us with  filing cabinets, shoe boxes, drawers, paper bags, loose slide pages….whatever your chosen method of slide/ negative storage, those images can be salvaged, scanned (photographed) with a hi res camera and simple set up, to resurrect old work, which may be much better than you remember. As I look back, some of my best work is on slides. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat. So, consider taking a winter walk down memory lane and create and reinterpret digital files from your slides.

Let me know if you have any questions.


From the Dept. of Shameless Self Promotion:

Check out our 2017 Visual Artistry Workshop series

Finishing work on my ebook, Fine Art Nature Photography, vol. 2
Please email me to be notified when available.

Our Ellis Island Photo Tours will pick up again Spring, 2017
Please email me to be placed on our notification list (and for details).

That’s about it!

Have a great Thanksgiving and be careful out there!

Thanks for taking the time,





Acadia Fall 2016 epilogue

• Acadia Fall 2016 Epilogue

Acadia lake

We took a hiatus from Acadia for the past three years, opting for different venues. Returning to Acadia to conduct our workshop, one of my first locations when I started in this business, felt great. The color was excellent and still coming in when we left. I wish we could have stayed a bit longer, but we had to be elsewhere for a presentation the next day.

The subject material is varied and endless, and the weather tends to be a bit volatile, giving us some nice breaking waves, blue skies, and puffy white clouds.

The national park’s centennial brought a bit more people than usual, so we looked around for some off-the-beaten-path locales. Although, not having been to Boulder Beach for many years because of the large amount of people being there at dawn, I went down at 0430 to, hopefully, be the first one down there. I was, but was quickly followed by large group 5 minutes later. It will probably be a little while before venturing down there again.

In any event, everyone had a great time. We avoided the crowds a great deal of the time, and were lucky with light and with wave action.

Here’s a small sampling (more to come) from our week in Acadia:

Random thought: It appears that through the years, the emphasis has changed. Initially, nature photographers enjoyed being out in nature, being alone and undisturbed. With the advent of digital photography and the internet, hoards of camera owners, iPhone owners, and iPad owners come to these great places for the sole purpose of getting an image to post on Instagram. That’s all fine, but it makes being at these spiritual locations for solitude and spiritual recharging a bit difficult.

One of our missions on this and other workshops in national parks is to out maneuver the crowds to give our clients the best, uncluttered nature experience possible.

On this workshop, we found solitude for our group in a few out of the way places, like small, hidden blueberry areas and less frequented coastal areas, and more remote parts of Cadillac mountain.

We look forward to sharing this great place with our clients again next year.

Our 2017 Acadia Fall workshop dates are Oct. 10 – 14, 2017.

Please email Sue to be placed on our notification list and to register.

Watch for our latest newsletter coming soon!

Thanks for taking the time and we’ll see ya online!

oh, yeah, almost forgot…all long exposures are made using Singh Ray filters: 5 stop Mor-slo, 15 stop Mor-slo, VariND (when purchasing, use the discount code sweet10). Singh Ray. More discounts are HERE.


p.s. It’s a beautiful fall!! Get Out There and make some Gr8 pics!


Iceland in infrared

Iceland in infrared

lava field

Lava field

Our Icelandic “Aurora Madness” Odyssey lived up to its name, with seeming non stop auroras, but I had a second agenda on this trip, and that was to shoot a lot of infrared. Rather than using my Singh Ray 690 Infrared filter, which I enjoyed on our July trip, I opted to bring my 720nm D800, which renders a higher contrast file.

Iceland is another world and the infrared interpretations added to the other worldliness.

Following is a gallery from the trip;

We’ll be conducting 2 workshops in Iceland (July and Sept.) in 2017. If interested in either of these great trips, please contact Susan

We cover infrared shooting and processing tips and techniques in all of our workshops.

Thanks for taking the time and we’ll see ya from Acadia next week!







Iceland Aurora Madness Epilogue


Our Iceland – Aurora Madness fall workshop was beyond all expectations: non-stop photo ops!

To begin with, we had auroras at least 5 nights, 4 of which we were able to capture!

The fall color throughout the island and in the craggy lava fields was pretty unbelievable.

Now, to be fair, we were a bit lucky. Normally, one has a 50/50 chance of seeing an aurora in a short 2 week window and the fall color window can even be shorter, depending on the wet spring, just like in our northeast.

Keeping with our policy of keeping away from the crowds, Einar, from Focus On Nature, was able to find tremendous aurora locations where we were the only people there, for four aurora sessions. In fact, we didn’t run across any other group of photographers the entire week, with the exception of the black sand beach and at one of the glaciers.

Here’s a gallery from our 2016 Aurora Madness Photo workshop: 

We are currently working out dates for our September, 2017 Aurora Madness, as well as our July, 2017 Summerama workshops and will be available for registration soon. Email Sue for more information and to be placed on our notification list. 

We look forward to being in Acadia for our final workshop of the year next week. See you in the blogosphere from Acadia!

It looks like a good fall is shaping up! Hope to see you in the field.

Thanks for taking the time and we’ll see ya online!


PS…..Oh yeah!! We’ll be conducting a Creativity Seminar and following day workshop on St. Simon’s Island, GA, Nov. 12-13. Hope to see you there! Details HERE

PPS…..Coming blogs are Iceland Summerama 2016 and Iceland in infrared!

Ellis Island Photo Tours- a look to 2017

Empty Sky memorial

Years ago, when I would tell my mom that I was going to photograph at a local venue, her reply would always be, “Haven’t you been there before?” And my reply to her reply would always be, “Well, yeah, mom, but it’s always different.” This went on for years.

After visiting Ellis Island 8 times now, I’m more excited than ever to go back and to share this historic place with others. Our tours for 2016, except for our October photo tour, are full. And we are planning dates for 2017, beginning in April.

Here’s a gallery from our July and September tours….oh yeah, and the really cool thing is that we are allowed to bring tripods and shoot at our leisure for an entire day in the non-public areas of the old hospital (accessible on Hard hat tours), including areas that are not at all accessible to the public. Pretty cool. The artist JR has an installation, which adds greatly to the experience!

The hours are from 0700 until one hour before closing.

The price for photographing in this totally unique place is $750, 70% of which goes to the Save Ellis Island foundation, and is deductible. A letter is sent out at the conclusion of the event for tax purposes. So, we have a nice trifecta: Get great and unique images; support and help restore a piece of our history; and get a tax write-off!

If you want to get in to our October 23, 2016 (next month) tour, email me.

If you want to be placed on the notification list for 2017, email me.

Please forward to anyone who you think may be interested.

Thanks for taking the time and we’ll see ya online!


p.s. oh yeah, check out our previous Ellis Island blog post

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