Looking for Gift Ideas for Photographers?

Sure cameras, lenses, tripods, etc. are all great gift ideas for photographers, but all of that camera gear is wasted if you don’t know how to use it well!  If you know the important fundamentals of photography, how to best use your cameras and lenses, how to manage light, etc., you will be amazed at what you can create!

In fact, you might find that upgrading your camera is not nearly as important as knowing how to use what you already own!  So, if you have a photographer in your family, consider giving them a gift of a camera class or my book. Or maybe YOU are the photographer! Start dropping hints now that you want to take one of my classes in 2019!

Best gifts of the season and the best discounts of the season!

SAVINGS OF $50, $100, even up to $400!

All of the options below can be given as gifts!

  • Three great options for learning the fundamentals of photography in 2019!
    • Daytime and Evening Weekday Classes, Once a week for 6 weeks
    • Weekend, All day Saturday + Sunday afternoon
      • Photographers Weekend Boot Camp 
        Learn the important fundamentals of photography in one weekend!
        January 26-27, 2019 All day Saturday + Sunday afternoon. 
        Register by December 31st and SAVE $50!!
  • Light & Photography Workshop
    Highly recommended for anyone serious about wanting to improve their photography! 
    This course is a comprehensive look at light in its various forms, both natural and artificial and we look at the many ways we photographers can control and manipulate light to create great photographs! If you have taken Photography 101 or our Photographers Weekend Boot Camp, this is great next step! 
    Daytime class begins February 4, 2019!
    Register by December 31st and SAVE $100!
  • Adobe Photoshop CC for Photographers Workshop
    Begins January 16! Learn this essential powerful tool for editing photographs.  Split into Basics and Advanced options! Total class time is a full 18 hours of very hands-on learning! 
    SOLD OUT! Let us know if you’d like us to add another session soon!
  • Private Instruction 
    Focused on your specific needs!

The Most Perfect Gift You Can Give:
Our 2019 Rocky Mountain Photography Workshop!

(And note spouses/partners can tag along for the entire workshop at no extra workshop charge! See web page for more details.)

My book is NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK AND KINDLE VERSIONS!

30 Practical Tips for Better Photographs by Kevin Gourley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Do You See? – The Wisdom of an Owl

I have taught so many photographers over the years. The first photography class I ever taught was right around 40 years ago. While I teach, I also consider myself a perpetual student of photography as well.  My most important advice I can give any photographer is to “remain teachable,” always strive to learn more.

We photographers face an interesting challenge because the images we create are impacted by three distinct factors:

  • The scene – what we are photographing
  • Our eyes – what we see
  • Our camera – the device we use to create the photograph

The Scene – What We Are Photographing

Whether the “scene” is a person (a portrait) or some mountain (landscape), what’s in front of the camera obviously has a direct effect on the images we create. For portraits, we have decisions to make: who to photograph, how to pose them, etc. For landscapes, we choose the time, the location, and so many other factors. The scene is what is out there in front of the camera.  It is not a camera setting. For example, one question every photographer must consider is whether the light is right.

The quality of the light on a scene, whatever the scene, is a critical consideration for all photographers.  For photographs of people, if you know how to manage light, manipulate it, soften it, diffuse it, reflect it, shape it, you can create better portraits.  If you know how to use electronic flashes / speedlights or studio lighting such as monolights, you open the door to better photographs,   Light is critical for all photography, though.  Not just portraits.  That includes mountain landscapes, nature, anything really.

How do you improve the lighting on a mountain?  Come back at a different time of day, or different time of year. The more you take control of choices involving the scene being photographed and the lighting of that scene, the better your photographs will be.   Note I have a class that takes a very comprehensive look at Light & Photography that will ensure you have the skills to manage light more effectively.

Our Eyes – What We See

We don’t necessarily photograph what is there. We photograph what we see.  If we don’t “see” it, we won’t photograph it. Sometimes we miss the perfect shot simply because we did not see it. 

“The owl,” he was saying, “is one of the most curious creatures. A bird that stays awake when the rest of the world sleeps. They can see in the dark. I find that so interesting, to be mired in reality when the rest of the world is dreaming. What does he see and what does he know that the rest of the world is missing?” 
― M.J. Rose

What might you see that the rest of the world is missing? That is actually an intriguing question to ask yourself. In fact, that is an essential question to ask.  Your answer to that question is the key to your distinct view of the world, and is what separates your photographs from any other person’s photographs. I encourage you to spend more time pondering this question and your unique answer. Your photography WILL improve if you do this.

Think about any famous photographer, whose work you admire. Are they really just great because they had a better camera than you?  Not likely.

Our Camera – The Device We Use to Create the Photograph

The camera is the intermediary between your eyes and the world around you. It is the device, though which, you interpret and express your art as you capture images of what you see. 

You can choose to photograph beautiful things, people, and places.  You can choose to add magnificent lighting, but still you have to know how to most effectively use your camera’s many features to create the best images possible.  There is no getting around that.

The fully automatic modes just won’t always deliver the results you envision. Every serious photographer must choose to learn the important fundamentals of photography and the features of their camera if they want to create outstanding photographs. 

Of course I have classes that will help a LOT with that, such as my Photography 101 – Fundamentals of Great Photography class, or my Photographers Weekend Boot Camp.  I also offer Private Instruction on almost all aspects of photography.

Wisdom

Owls are often associated with “wisdom” perhaps going back to the ancient Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena, who had an owl as her symbol. Some say owls came to represent wisdom because of their large eyes and their success in hunting at night and catching creatures that humans weren’t able to detect.

The WISEST steps you, as a photographer, could take are to:

  • Seek out the beauty of the world around you… find those scenes, those places, those moments, those people you find beautiful and photograph them. And I don’t just mean physical beauty.  I mean “beauty” in a deeper sense.  Photograph what you love.
  • Take time to pause and see the world more deeply. If you carelessly rush through life, you might miss out on what really matters.
  • Master your camera skills and light, otherwise you’ll miss so many wonderful opportunities to create your own outstanding images.

What do you see that the rest of the world is missing?  Photograph that, and do it well.

Most sincerely, 
A Perpetual Student of Photography… and Teacher
Kevin Gourley

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Now what do I do?

Have you ever encountered one of those moments, where you just sit and wonder what you should be doing with your life?  We all experience those times.   Sometimes that happens an existential level, how am I going to live?  Where am I heading?  What is the meaning of life?  What do I do next?  Am I in the right job?  Am I in the right relationship?  

Wow, those are big questions.  I am not sure I have an answer for you for that, but I am always happy to have a cup of coffee and talk, if you ever need a listening ear.

But this is a photography blog, and I DO have some answers for what you can do next in your life in photography.  Make a plan to challenge yourself to improve your skills. 

Most photographers find themselves in phases where they feel uninspired.  The best way to move out of that is to take some steps to do things differently.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone.

First make sure you know your camera.  If you don’t, that is the obvious starting place.  Consider either of these classes (and note there is a $50 discount if you register before December 31st!).

If you already know your camera pretty well, then consider improving your photo editing skills.  I offer great classes on Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop CC.  They are currently sold out, but I am happy to add more.  Just let me know you are interested!

I highly recommend you also become a student of LIGHT.  Photography is all about light.  Light is not a camera setting. Light is what is happening in front of your camera!  I am about to add another Light & Photography Workshop in early 2019 (probably February).   Let me know if you are interested!  People who contact me early will get the first chance to register!!  

Or here’s another idea, hire me as your photography coach! We can meet regularly, go over new techniques, help you with your various challenges and take you to a new level in your photography!  I offer private instruction on almost all aspects of photography.

I love to help people step out of their photographic “comfort zones” and push themselves to improve their photography.

Get off the bench.  Let’s do this.

Kevin

P.S.   Want to have a blast on a photography adventure in the Rocky Mountains next year? Check out this FREE EVENT: Learn More About Our Rocky Mountain Photography Workshops
+ Drawings for FREE PRIZES and future class discountsMust RSVP to attend!

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It’s All About Gratitude

Seriously take the time to watch these two videos… today… now.

We are all saying “Happy Thanksgiving” to each other today.  Anyone who knows me, knows just how much I believe living a life of gratitude is the key to an abundant life.  

However much or little you have in terms of possessions has little to do with your happiness.  Happiness is an awareness of all of the blessings we have experienced. 

Never taking life or granted. 
Never take the people in your life for granted.

Our friends at SoulPancake share the best insights about this.
I am grateful for these wonderful creative people who are making this world a better place.

Watch these two videos… today.

First watch this one:

Then watch this one:

 

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Photographers: Learn to Use the Tools

I have been into photography for over 40 years.  Starting out back in the days of film as a starving college student, I experimented with all kinds of photographic techniques, and took meticulous notes, learned what worked and what didn’t. 

One thing I discovered was that sometimes my mistakes led to important realizations. They were learning opportunities, where the conclusion was either “wow, I won’t do THAT again” or “I think I just discovered something really cool.”

That perspective has stuck with me over the years, to always be willing to try new things and learn from the process.  Most importantly, learn the photographic tools available and then use those tools to expand you artistic expression.

Most importantly:

  • Learn the fundamentals of photography really well. That will make all of this more “intuitive” to you if you understand what is really happening inside your camera.
  • Learn the specific features of your camera, special modes, unique focusing options, etc.
  • Buy the right gear that will best serve your needs.
  • Be a student of light. Be obsessed with this!!  Seek to know how to best use light to enhance your images.  Light is the essential ingredient in any photograph.  Mastery of light will yield better or more creative images, whether it is portraiture or macro photography or landscapes, light must be considered to achieve great results.
  • Know the software tools available to organize and edit your photographs. Become proficient with tools like Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and other tools, and the various great plugins to enhance images such as tools offered by Topaz Labs or Alien Skin Software or Skylum.

Check out my currently offered classes

This combined knowledge on all of these topics opens the door to do anything you can imagine.  This is what I LOVE about photography. I especially love taking on projects that allow me to be more creative. But even the standard images that pro photographers create are just going to be better if you master the equipment, light and the image editing software.

I create a lot of headshots in my studio. Business professional headshots are usually the most conservative when it comes to creative expression, but even with headshots, it is important to get the right mix of light and shadow for best results.

I also love shooting portraits.  These examples are not doing anything “wild” regarding creativity.  This still requires good posing and lighting techniques.

I love opportunities to use artistic expression and more dramatic lighting options. This is where your skills of lighting become even more demanding.

I have always found dramatic lighting particularly appealing.  

Pushing the dramatic lighting techniques further, I love the interplay of light and shadow.

Or this example goes even further into the realm of “dramatic” to add a sense of mystery.

 Don’t be afraid to try different unusual concepts. Try something unusual, just to make a statement that as an artist, you don’t have to be “normal.”

Try different software tools. For the image below, I used Topaz Glow to add a bit of “surreal” to the image.

In this image, shot in my studio, I added a bit of “fog” at the  bottom using Adobe Photoshop.  I use Photoshop all the time and am very proficient with it.  I urge all photographers to really get to know  Photoshop very well!

This image below is a “composite” image created from two different photographs, using Photoshop. I find projects like this to be so much fun!
And here are couple more examples of “composite” photo editing.

The image below was shot in my studio, with the specific intention to then use Photoshop to put in a different background.

Here’s the final result.

This image was also shot in studio with specific attention to light angles, highlights and shadows, with the intent to replace the background using Photoshop.

And here’s the final result.

SO, the bottom line in all of this is that you will benefit so much if you take the time to learn your camera, lighting, and photo editing skills.

The less you know, the more barriers you are going to encounter, where you just can’t get the shot you want.

I offer a wide range of classes throughout the year.   Check out my currently offered classes but also note that on my web page where I list all my classes, if there is a class that is not currently offered, but you’d LIKE me to add it soon, just contact me.  I am happy to add any class if I have at least 3 students interested!  Plus I also offer private teaching options for an individual or a small group (you and a few of your photographer friends).

For the basics, I offer Photography 101 or the Photographers Weekend Boot Camp.

Especially take note that I am thinking about adding another Light & Photography class soon. I think every photographer would benefit from taking this class. If you are interested, go to that web page and let me know what works best for you (weekday daytime or evening) or weekend!

Happy Picture Taking and Never Stop Learning and Try New Things!

Kevin Gourley

P.S.  Check out this FREE EVENT on January 9th: 
Learn More About Our Rocky Mountain Photography Workshops

+ Drawings for FREE PRIZES and future class discountsMust RSVP to attend!

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An “Unforgettable Experience” in the Rocky Mountains

As one of our recent 2018 Rocky Mountain Photography Workshop participants said, it was “truly an unforgettable experience.” 

We hosted a potluck slideshow last night, where 17 of us all got back together to reminisce about the experiences from this year’s adventures, and we enjoyed looking at everyone’s best photos.  It was great to see everyone again, at least those who could make it. (We also have numerous people participate in the workshop who don’t live near Austin.)   

Sure we went to a lot of excellent photography locations at the best times when the lighting is optimal and when wildlife photo opportunities are most likely, but also a part of the fun is simply being around others who love photography.

We had a great time together!  The shared experience of getting up early and going out into this magnificent Rocky Mountain National Park, hiking together, photographing wildlife, waterfalls, mountains, and sunrises makes the experience truly memorable.

We go as photographers and we come back as good friends.  It happens every time!  Many choose to return and do the workshop a 2nd or 3rd time, or more! 

I have included a few photographs (below) of our 2018 participants.  

I hope you’ll join us in 2019!   The 2019 Rocky Mountain Photography Workshops are already close to half full, so now is the time to be thinking about signing up! 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask, or make plans to attend this event on Wednesday January 9th to learn more about it.   

CLICK HERE to learn more about the workshops and to register.

  • “The workshop was outstanding because we had total access to Kevin and Gail’s knowledgeand experience in photography. We were presented with multiple shooting locations and lighting situations from which to learn. Kevin was always available to provide advice and help resolve any problems with camera settings or answer questions. The availability of daily photo reviewspermitted one to make any adjustments to shooting techniques before the next day. This was the most hands-on learning experience I have had and I look forward to more with Kevin.”

“A 5 star experience from beginning to end…”

  • “This workshop provided a broad depth of experiences in the RMNP because Kevin is so knowledgeable about the area and about the best way to photograph it. I really appreciated the care given to maximize each student’s experience, no matter their skill level. I will definitely consider taking other trips with Kevin and Gail.”

  • “Could not be happier with how the workshop turned out. Everyone involved was so nice and easy to get along with. Kevin was an excellent teacher – patient, explained well, relaxed and never felt rushed or that I may be holding others back. It was very rewarding and would highly recommend Kevin’s workshops!!”

  • “Kevin is a natural-born teacher and superbly facilitated the group while providing one-on-one attention. I learned a lot without feeling overwhelmed with technical details and had fun in the process. I highly recommend this workshop!”

  • “This exceeded all my expectations!”

  • “The natural beauty of RMNP was enhanced by Kevin’s knowledge of the park and locations that were custom picked for great photographic shots. Kevin’s calm, patient and knowledgeable teaching style meant that everyone, at whatever level they were at, felt comfortable asking questions, making mistakes, learning from them and then getting immeasurably better pictures as a result. The improvement in my photography from Day 1 to Day 4 was unbelievable. I came thinking the auto settings on my camera really took better pictures than I did, and I left seeing and believing that the pictures I now understood how to take were vastly superior to anything the camera could capture in auto mode. It was a 5 star experience from beginning to end.

  • “This is a workshop you can’t afford to miss! I came to the workshop with a goal of never using Auto settings again… I achieved that and more. Kevin is such a great teacher and is able to work with photographers of all levels. He made everyone comfortable, I am from Virginia and did not know anyone in the group (as were several others) by the end of the work shop I had made a group of new friends! We were able to get so many landscape and wildlife pictures. The whole experience was amazing. I’m ready to sign up for the next workshop! Thank you Kevin” 

  • “The Rocky Mountain Summer Photography Workshop was an amazing experience! The success of the workshop begins with the organization and preparation of the instructor. Kevin and Gail were superbly organized and prepared! It was a treat to be lead to the best spots at the optimum time of the day to photograph the spectacular beauty and wildlife in the park. They demonstrated great flexibility and adaptability in meeting the needs of the group with the ever changing clouds, weather, and wildlife. It was also an incredible learning experience having a photography professional available to coach and instruct on the best methods for creatively composing a scene, capturing stunning images, and the correct use of a wide range of photographic equipment. Not only can I wholeheartedly recommend this workshop, but I’m already scheduled for a Rocky Mountain Fall Photography Workshop with Kevin!”

  • “Thanks for another spectacularly successful workshop in Rocky Mountain National Park! The conditions were even more challenging than last Summer, yet everything progressed flawlessly. We were at the right place at the right time to capture some incredible images. Thanks for everything!”

  • “I am a true beginner to photography. I took Kevin’s Photography 101, which I highly recommend for beginners, which explained a lot of the technical side of photography. I am a hands on/visual learner and being able to apply what I had learned in the 101 class at this workshop really helped me be able to take better/sharper pictures. Kevin is an extremely thorough and patient instructor. This workshop provided fantastic learning opportunities everyday with breathtaking views. I look forward to the next workshop.”

  • “Attending a workshop with Kevin is absolutely wonderful… so wonderful in fact that I did the same workshop twice. Kevin is very knowledgeable of the park as well as techniques to make us capture the best photos we possibly could. Kevin is very patient, kind, funny, passionate about teaching others how to take the best photos, considerate, extremely organized, etc. You won’t find a kinder, patient, and talented person to not only plan an awesome itinerary for the group, but to also be a tour guide of the park and provide facts about the different sights… AND provide constant photographic tips and instructions and reminders that were extremely helpful. Thank you Kevin. The workshop is worth the expense.”

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Featured Photographer: Jennifer Fooshee

In our Featured Photographer series, we highlight the work of our former and current students!

Your Name: Jennifer Fooshee

Type of Camera:  Sony a7RII

What do you love to photograph the most? My very favorite things to photograph are landscapes and night photography. I spend about half the year in Utah, so the possibilities are endless! I love streams, the red rock formations, waterfalls, and the milkyway! It is truly amazing what nature has created for us to enjoy. And I feel compelled to capture it in photos as best I can.

What is one thing you have learned that has improved your photography?  The one thing that has helped me improve my photography skills is to step out of my comfort zone and try new techniques that I have learned from fellow photographers and instructors.  Traveling to different time zones, different places, and asking questions on how to accomplish certain looks/photos have resulted in some of my favorite photographs. I probably would have never set out at 5 AM to capture a sunrise or stay up until 3:30 AM to shoot the milkyway by myself, but encouraged and accompanied  by fellow photographers it was fun!

Advice you’d give to others wanting to grow in their photography skills:    Never stop learning from fellow photograhers, classes, videos, reading, etc.  I am continually fine-tuning my skills in photography and editing, and am learning how much fun this form of art is.

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Learn More About Our 2019 Rocky Mountain Photography Workshops!

You Are Invited to Join Us
For a FREE Event:

What: 
Learn more about our
Rocky Mountain Photography Workshops
Plus: Drawings for free prizes and future class discounts!!

When:
Wednesday January 9th, 2019 at 7pm

Where:
Our Studio, 11740 Jollyville Rd. Suite 400, Austin, TX

RSVP Required:
Space is limited!  Mark your calendar and RSVP to: 

If you have been considering joining us in 2019, come to this free event. Pro photographer, Kevin Gourley, has years of experience in photographing Rocky Mountain National Park and leading workshops there. Kevin will share photos, explain more about the Summer and Fall workshop experiences, and tell stories about the various trips we’ve led there.

We offer both 4-day and 9-day workshop options.
Special bonus: Register early and save up to $400!

NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO MAKE YOUR PLANS TO GO:
We already have 10 photographers registered for 2019! Register soon to get the best lodging options and ensure you can sign up for the dates that work best for you (some options are almost full)!

If you love:

  • Photography
  • Wildlife
  • Waterfalls
  • Landscapes
  • Mountains
  • Nature
  • and having fun

The advantages of joining us on this fun photographic adventure are many!

  • Pre-trip meetings to prepare you for the experience (including online info if you can’t attend the pre-trip meetings)
  • Photography assistance to help you know the best settings to use and more effectively use your camera
  • We try to arrange our trip to optimize being at the right places at the right times to get the best light, weather conditions, and wildlife photo opportunities
  • Kevin has years of experience leading photographers on these adventures in Rocky Mountain National Park
  • This is a great opportunity for photographers of all skill levels and regardless of your skill level, Kevin is always ready to help.  All questions are invited and welcome. Kevin will never “speak down to you”.
  • This is a FUN experience to share with other photographers
  • You’ll experience Rocky Mountain National Park in ways typical vacationers will never experience it
  • Small group sizes
  • You can bring along a non-photographer spouse-partner on our adventures in the park for no additional charge!  (They can use an iPhone, but if they use a fancy camera, they’d need to register as a participant.)

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO AND TO REGISTER FOR THE WORKSHOP

Here are a few photos from our most recent trip a couple of months ago. Scroll all the way to the bottom for some recent student comments about the experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A 5 star experience from beginning to end…”

Student Comments: 

  • “The workshop was outstanding because we had total access to Kevin and Gail’s knowledge and experience in photography. We were presented with multiple shooting locations and lighting situations from which to learn. Kevin was always available to provide advice and help resolve any problems with camera settings or answer questions. The availability of daily photo reviews permitted one to make any adjustments to shooting techniques before the next day. This was the most hands-on learning experience I have had and I look forward to more with Kevin.”
  • “This workshop provided a broad depth of experiences in the RMNP because Kevin is so knowledgeable about the area and about the best way to photograph it. I really appreciated the care given to maximize each student’s experience, no matter their skill level. I will definitely consider taking other trips with Kevin and Gail.”
  • “Could not be happier with how the workshop turned out. Everyone involved was so nice and easy to get along with. Kevin was an excellent teacher – patient, explained well, relaxed and never felt rushed or that I may be holding others back. It was very rewarding and would highly recommend Kevin’s workshops!!”
  • “Kevin is a natural-born teacher and superbly facilitated the group while providing one-on-one attention. I learned a lot without feeling overwhelmed with technical details and had fun in the process. I highly recommend this workshop!”
  • “This exceeded all my expectations!”
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Discuss Creativity and Passion – Join Our LifeInsights Group

FREE: Join Us Monday November 12th 7pm
Mark your calendar and RSVP to: 

Let’s watch a couple of great TED Talks about Creativity and Passion and then discuss…

The talks are by Sir Ken Robinson who shares some excellent insights in how we are stifling creativity and can do so much more to affirm multiple types of “intelligence.”  He also speaks about how finding our unique passions can change our whole outlook on life. While our education system has strived to focus on conformance, our true creative selves may be found when we break out of that conformance.

  • TED Talk: Do Schools Kill Creativity? Sir Ken Robinson
  • TED Talk: Bring On the Learning Revolution Sir Ken Robinson

Think of this as MORE than just a discussion about how our current eduction system is teaching our kids today.  While that is the direct topic of these talks, it is worthwhile to consider how our education system has taught US to conform and stifle our OWN creativity.  As photographers, as artists, this especially is worth considering!

Here are a few quotes by Sir Ken Robinson:

  • “Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it’s produced the most extraordinary results in human culture.”
  • “I believe this passionately: that we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it.  Or rather, we get educated out of it.”
  • “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
  • “What you’re doing now, or have done in the past, need not determine what you can do next and in the future.”
  • You create your life, and you can recreate it, too. In times of economic downturn and uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to look deep inside yourself to fathom the sort of life you really want to lead and the talents and passions that can make that possible.”

We meet at 7pm Monday November 12th at my studio at 11740 Jollyville Rd. Suite 400, Austin, TX.

What is this LifeInsights group all about?

As some of you may have known, we recently decided to open up my photography studio as a place to connect with each other beyond “just photography” and get to know each other more and share in this experience we call “life.”

Community leaders (Austin’s Mayor Steve Adler, for example) have been saying we should do more to get to know our neighbors, to connect with one another in the community, and engage in dialogue and friendship.  So I decided to do my part, and with the help of  friends, we started a book discussion group at my studio in NW Austin.  After our first book discussion, we enjoyed it so much we started talking about doing another book study, as well as going out to dinner as a group to celebrate completion of our first book study.

We have since done more book studies and discussions and plan to continue, mostly on Monday evenings (but not every Monday Evening)!

If you think you’d like to join us, just send me an email (and I can add you to a new google group we set up to keep in touch with each other. .

Our little group is called “LifeInsights” since that is what we are doing, exploring and sharing about meaningful life insights.

By the way, what does this have to do with photography?  I mean, I am doing this at my photography studio, so what’s the connection? Well, my studio just seemed like a good place as any to do this since it has a classroom space. But yes there is a connection to photography. The images we create are influenced tremendously by how we see the world around us. In fact how we see the world around us influences our photography way more than the particular make and model of camera we own.  So why not spend some time exploring meaningful insights about life?  It might just affect your photography, and you will likely make some new friends along the way.  And if you are not a photographer, you are definitely welcome to join us also!

Interested?  Let’s talk.  🙂

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Never Take Life for Granted

I know, this is supposed to be a photography blog.  You’ll find all kinds of blogs out there where they’ll try to convince you that if you just buy this camera, this lens, this fancy piece of photography gear, your photographs will be so much more amazing.  I am finding, at this time of my life especially, that the most important “tip” I can give you is to cherish each moment in your life, and take photos along the way to remember it all.

Sometimes (actually all the time) we take so much for granted in our lives.  You woke up this morning.  You opened your eyes and could see.  You got out of bed. You spoke to someone you love.  You heard their voice. You held your child.  You fed your pets. You stepped out into this amazing world for another day.  We actually take for granted most all of these things, and yet any one of those could have NOT happened today.

The “routine” of it all gives us a familiarity that leads to an assumption it will all still be there tomorrow, and we instead focus all of our attention on the stresses of the day, the outrageous political fighting, social media, worries about our finances, petty differences with others, all the while ignoring those things we are most familiar with and matter the most to us.   They can be so close to us, we don’t really see them. 

For many people, there are those moments where the “routine” comes to a very abrupt, harsh, unavoidable STOP:  “you have cancer”, “your son has cancer”, “your child was in a severe accident”, “I can’t move my right arm”, “I just found him lying there”, “I don’t love you any more”, “I hit the brakes but couldn’t stop in time.” …

We take so much in life for granted, and even when we start focusing very intently on being thankful for everything in our lives as a gift, we still end up taking so much for granted.

It’s those darn distractions about what is wrong with our world that keep us from seeing all that is right in our world and being thankful for those things, even the smallest of things.  (And in most cases, they are not “things”).

I urge you to take time to practice a life of gratitude. Love the people in your life a little more.  Wake up each day with a little more appreciation that you have one more day on this amazing planet.

Make each day a great day.  It won’t be perfect. Not everything will go according to plans. That’s ok. Don’t lose sight of what REALLY matters, and choose to live this day, not just exist in it.

And back to photography… how you feel about this world around you totally shapes how you see the world, and how you see the world totally shapes how you photograph it.  Practice your photography with a sense of wonder and gratitude for each and every moment.

Take more time to just sit on a park bench and reflect on this amazing life you have been given. Do it now.  Not tomorrow.

All you really have is now.

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