Excerpt #1: Creative Visualization for Photographers


This week on my blog: I am running excerpts from my latest book, Creative Visualization for Photographers.

Excerpt #1

Photographers, myself included, usually photograph what we recognize, consciously or unconsciously. What’s more, some photographers specifically travel to popular locations to get the “iconic” shot, the same shot that a million other photographers on the planet have taken. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It can be fun and rewarding.

Thinking about what others will see (recognize) in our photographs often influences our decision of what to photograph, how to photograph it, and what images to show and share. 

I recognized a human face in this image.

The technical term for seeing a human face in an image is anthropomorphic, which stems from the Greek word anthro, which means man, and morph, which means shape or form.

I have many pictures in which I see faces, profiles and suggested faces. I took this one in Antarctica. The profile is easy to see. It is an anthropomorphic image.

Both the paperback and hard cover editions are now available!

Click here to order.

Explore the light,


Photograph the "Old West" on My Casper, Wyoming Photo Workshop

I am gearing up for my "Old West" photo workshop in Casper, Wyoming later this year. Can't wait, and I hope you can join the fun.

Fun? I run a lot of workshops, but this one will be a ton of fun, as illustrated in this video.

I took the opening image for this post on my previous Casper photo workshop. Yes! We got a horse in the Wonder Bar, and we'll do it again - for you!

In going though my files, I came across some of my favorite Old West images (from a shoot in Spearfish, SD) along with some captions. Enjoy.

Reflecting on the day. The most important element in a photograph is the mood, feeling or emotion. I created the mood in this photograph by “painting” the cowgirl with the light from a $5 flashlight. My goal was to create an image with dramatic shadows. Shadows are the soul of the photograph.

Lone rider. I like the feeling of  freedom that this image captures. That’s part of being a cowboy.

Looking for her. I am drawn to faces. It was the intense look on this cowboy’s face that inspired me to make this photograph. To add to the artistry of this image, I removed the color. When you remove the color from a photograph, you remove some of the reality.

Best friends. The eyes are the windows to the soul. It was this cowgirl’s beautiful eyes that first drew me to make this photograph, but then I noticed the look and “feeling” in the dog’s eyes. Both subjects seem to be having the same feeling, so I included both of them in my frame.

Daybreak on the range. I like shooting at the crack of dawn, capturing dramatic silhouettes against the rising sun. I like to challenge myself to make pictures in these high contrast situations, as the light changes very, very fast.

Good morning, pardner. The perfect silhouettes of the horses and cowboys drew me to make this photograph. Silhouettes add a sense of mystery to a photograph.

After the storm. I like the way the dark clouds create the mood in this image. Not every picture needs to be taking on a bright, sunny day.

Heading home. This cowboy was riding as fast as he could. To convey the sense of speed, I used a photographic technique called panning, which blurrs the background but keeps the rider in sharp focus.

Ride 'em cowboy (and cowgirl),

My New e-Book – Get Motivated and Stay Inspired – is Here!

My new e-book – Get Motivated and Stay Inspired – is now available for direct download to your tablet or computer. I'm very excited about this e-book, because I think we (and that includes me) all need some inspiration and motivation from time to time.

The cost for the 195 page e-book is $4.95. Click here to download from my on-line store. Here's the scoop on the book.

Throughout the year I enjoy giving seminars to audiences around the county. Most of my talks are how-to photography talks, during which I share my favorite photographs from around the world – each image is accompanied by a photo or Photoshop/Lightroom or travel tip.

One of my favorite seminars is Get Motivated and Stay Inspired. It’s not a how-to, technical seminar. Rather, it’s a seminar on how to get inspired and how to stay creatively motivated.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 9.40.21 AM.png

The talk is about an hour and a half long. I have taken the highlights of that talk – My Top Ten Techniques to Get Motivated and Stay Inspired – and put them into an easy-to-read e-book (just a few of the 194 pages shown here) with the same title, which you can read in less than ½ hour.

Although the e-book is photography-centric, I feel as though all creatives can benefit from reading it.

Yes, I hope the photographs (some of my favorites) themselves are inspiring, but my main goal with this e-book is to encourage you to be as creative as possible while getting motivated and staying inspired. Hey, I figure if I need inspiration and motivation, there are others who feel the same way!

I think you will enjoy learning about the Four Levels of Learning – levels we all go though. I also think you will find inspiration in the quotes, which include: "When you are though changing, you are through.” And, “If you think you can you can, and if you think you can’t you can’t.” And, “It’s never too late to be who you could have been.”

I also think you will enjoy learning about my “Six Steps for Creative Visualization” process, and the difference between seeing and looking. Big difference.

You will also find short assignments in the e-book. It's good to have assignments, and to challenge yourself to be as creative as possible.

I hope you enjoy the e-book - which looks great on the iPad. As with everyone who takes one of my classes, when you purchase the book you become a student for life. That means you can email me questions for the rest of my life.

Good luck with your photography and with your art!

August 2016 Mt. Rainier Landscape Photogrpahy Workshop Planned

I'm planning my August 2016 Mt. Rainier, Washington landscape photography workshop. I took the photographs in this post on my two previous visits to Mt. Rainier.

I'll cover using ND filters to create the beautiful flowing water effect, as well as how to get everything in the scene in focus.

If you need advice in advance on composition and exposure, check out my KelbyOne classes on composition and light.

We will get up early to catch the beautiful predawn light.

I'll teach HDR - and when not to use it. New to HDR? Click here to get a 15% discount on Photomatix.

If we are lucky, we'll see some great sites in the evening sky. I took this shot from the gas station that is next to our hotel.

rick sammon mt rainier 5.png

I'll teach Photoshop, Lightroom and plug-ins, and how to create dramatic black-and-white images.

I hope you can join me and a small group of dedicated photographers in August 2016 in Mt. Rainier, where photographer Kevin Brown took the above photograph of yours truly.

Like landscape photography? Check out my on-line class: Master Landscape & Seascape Photography.

Explore the light,

One Bird Photo - Ten Bird Photo Tips

As an instructor, I try to give as many tips as possible on my photo workshops. I like to do that on-line, too.

Here's an example: one photo - ten quick tips. You will find more detailed tips in my on-line class, Master the Art and Craft of Bird Photography.

1 - Expose for the highlights - shoot with your highlight alert and histogram activated.
2 - Look for separation - isolate the subjects in a scene.
3 - Focus - make sure the eye is in sharp focus.
4 - See the light - make sure the eyes are well lit.
5 - Use the AI Servo (focus tracking) mode - this mode tracks moving subjects for sharp shots.
6 - Set your shutter - for birds-in-flight photos, use a shutter speed of at least 1/1000th sec. For swimming bird photos, use a shutter speed of at least 1/250th sec.
7 - Pay attention to your aperture - make sure what you want in focus is in focus.
8 - Sharpen selectively - don't sharpen the entire image. Sharpen only the main subject (s) in your photograph.
9 - Crop creatively - crop out boring areas of the scene.
10 - Know your subject - knowing/understanding animal behavior will help you get great shots.

Explore the light,

What's New?
My 36th book:
Creative Visualization for Photographers.