Category Archives: General Commentary

My Hope for You in 2020

To all my photographer friends, students and former students, clients, all of you, I hope you find 2020 to be your best year.

For each of you:

  • I hope you discover inspiration and confidence to be uniquely you, in your artistic expression.  You don’t have to copy others to be good. Be you. Seek inspiration, rather than just imitation.  What you have to offer the world is distinctly YOU, shaped by your life experience, passions, and gifts.
  • I hope you make choices that lead you to a better life.  A life that is truly lived.  Not just “existing.” I have discovered that sometimes we get caught up in just making choices that just keep us in the same routine of existing.  Life is more than just existing.  With each day, choose wisely.
  • I hope you live a life of gratitude because I believe that is the key to a fulfilling life. If we always focus on what we want, we will always be disappointed in what we don’t have. If we focus on what we DO have, we begin to realize we actually have an abundance already.  Never take life for granted.  Even the small stuff, may turn out to be the most meaningful, if we just see it.
  • If you feel that parts of your life are “broken” and that healing from that brokenness is unattainable (hey I’ve been there too), I want you to never give up.  Not ever. Faith, even the smallest amount of faith, can move mountains.
  • I want you all to know how much you have meant to me.  I have been doing “photography” for a lot of years (about 45 years) and made the switch over to pro photography over a decade ago.  What I have discovered over this past decade is that what I have loved the most about this experience isn’t really the photography. What I have loved the most is all of the truly wonderful people I would have never known, had I not made this dramatic career change.  My life has been made better because I know you. I most sincerely mean that.

Bless you all in this new year,

Kevin Gourley

p.s. the photo I attached to this post is pretty old. I created it about 44 years ago back when I first fell in love with photography.


A Caution About “Upgrading” to Mac OS Catalina 10.15.2

I have a MacBook Pro and recently upgraded to the latest Mac OS Catalina 10.15.2 and have been TOTALLY regretting having done so.  I am hearing from several of my former students that they are also running into problems since upgrading to Catalina 10.15.2.

I have personally encountered several problems that I would categorize as SERIOUS and I hope will be addressed ASAP. 

Here’s what a rep at Adobe says about Catalina upgrades on Mac: “You may want to remain on your current version of macOS until these issues have been resolved.”

For me, it was specifically the upgrade from 10.15.1 to 10.15.2 that started causing the most grief.

  • Strange behavior in my Mac Mail app, intermittently not being able to connect to my mail servers, but then the problem goes away, and then comes back again.  Seem awfully coincidental with having just upgraded the OS.
  • The latest version of Adobe Lightroom Classic CC Version 9.1:
    • Tethered capture connecting via USB to any Canon DSLR (I have 3) simply does not work at ALL any more.  Tethered capture is totally broken.
    • The Edit In Photoshop command when using the “Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments” is totally broken.  Now I just get an error claiming there is a “Disk Error” but there is no problem with my hard drive (after scanning with Disk Utility for problems).  The only time I get this error is when doing this one command from Lightroom.  It simply does not work any more, at all.
    • I have heard from a couple of other people who were having problems opening their catalogs, although I haven’t encountered this problem (yet, at least).
  • Canon EOS Utility (3.11.1 latest version)
    • Tethered capture connecting via USB to any Canon DSLR (I have 3) simply does not work at ALL any more.  Tethered capture is totally broken by any means, whether using Canon’s utility or Adobe’s.
    • Canon tech support says 3.11.1 is compatible with the latest Catalina, but I am experiencing results that are contrary to that.
  • My battery on my MacBook Pro is virtually brand new.  I just replaced it a couple of months ago.  I am noticing the power is draining at a much faster rate than it ever did before.  At the moment, my battery is at 50%, but one hour ago it was at 100%.  Checking to see what app has been the biggest power consumer, it reports Photoshop is the culprit.  BUT I didn’t have this problem until I “upgraded” to Catalina 10.15.2.
    • p.s. 5 minutes have passed since I type this and I am already down to 40%

SO the bottom line is unless you have a very compelling reason you just need to upgrade to Catalina 10.15.2, I’d say DON’T DO IT.  

Some people respond saying they haven’t experienced a problem with Catalina, but I am not sure that is relevant because lots of people ARE experiencing problems like this and if you search, you will find a lot of discussion and frustration over the problems.  So if you upgrade, maybe you’ll be fine, or maybe you will totally regret it.  I am in the latter category.  :-/

I guess I’ll have to look into rolling back my MacOS to a previous version.  That’s a pain also though.  I am hoping Apple will make some fixes to resolve these problems OR I am hoping that Adobe and Canon can put out releases that work around these problems caused by the most recent Catalina release.



p.s. If anyone is curious about my particular model of MacBook Pro, here are the specs: Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013 model,2.6 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3, Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2 GB w/Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB; Hard drive: Apple SSD SM1024F


Gratitude – A Note from Kevin Gourley

I have always been a believer that the best way to live life is to focus on what we DO have rather than what we DON’T have.  When we look at life through the lens of gratitude, we see the small things that are most meaningful, and in fact we most likely will find they are not “things” at all.

I am so deeply grateful for:

  • I am grateful for my family
  • I am grateful for my friends (too numerous to count)
  • I am grateful for this life God has blessed me with
  • I am grateful for my Church family
  • I am even grateful for the hardships, because I learned important lessons
  • I am grateful for all my friends who were also my coworkers in my previous career in the Austin tech world
  • I am grateful for my 2nd half of life career in photography (I always, in my heart, knew this was what I was supposed to be doing)
  • I am grateful for all of my clients whom I really see as my friends (you have blessed my life in more ways than you know)
    • I am grateful for our memories on our various adventures on our workshops in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas 
    • I am grateful to have been able to take you on these adventures
    • I am grateful I was able to help you in your photography in some way
    • I am grateful that you have enabled me to pursue my love of photography and teaching as my career
  • I am grateful for our LifeInsights group
    • Our friendships made
    • Our personal sharing of viewpoints, laughter, a few tears
    • Our dinner outings
    • Our adventure beating drums around a campfire
  • I am grateful for all of the incredibly wonderful people I have met through all this who are boldly going out and devoting their lives in making this world a better place.  You all inspire me.  (I think you know who you are.)
  • I am grateful that even though I am not financially wealthy, in other ways I am the richest man in the world.

Bless you all on this Thanksgiving Day

Kevin Gourley

“Life gives us brief moments with another…but sometimes in those brief moment we get memories that last a life time…”  
Author Unknown

“This moment contains all moments.”   
C.S. Lewis

The art of life is to live in the present moment, and to make that moment as perfect as we can by the realization that we are the instruments and expression of God Himself.  
Emmet Fox

Don’t look back on happiness, or dream of it in the future. You are only sure of today; do not let yourself be cheated out of it. 
Henry Ward Beecher

Life is a great and wondrous mystery, and the only thing we know that we have for sure is what is right here right now. Don’t miss it. 
Leo Buscaglia

Living in the moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future. It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift. 
Oprah Winfrey

One day at a time–this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering. 
Ida Scott Taylor

Each moment in time we have it all, even when we think we don’t. 
Melody Beattie

“Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going.”  
Tennessee Williams


So this huge bull elk, stood in the road…

What do you do when a huge bull elk stands in the road, on your only way up a mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park?  (Oh, and by the way, the car that did try to pass was attacked.)

What you do is wait. You put your car in park and wait… and take photos!

We are in Estes Park Colorado for our Rocky Mountain Fall Photography Workshops!  Gail and I come up a couple of days early to scope out the area, check water flow levels in the rivers, look for wildlife, check on the status of the coming Fall colors.  Here are a few pre-workshop photos I took over the past couple of days.

It’s mating season up here, and you’ll see the male elk gathering females into their individual ‘harems.’  And the males exercise their “manhood” around other males, to get them to keep their distance.

Big bull elk in the upper elevations, at 11,000 feet.

Magpies taking flight in Moraine Park

The Fall colors are just barely starting to “turn” in the park.  You have to know where to look to find them!  The colors will continue to turn over the next couple of weeks.  

We had a close encounter with this big fella.  In fact we were out looking for him, but he found us first!  He was upon us before we even saw him, so we moved to a safe distance quickly and cautiously.  This is not his best angle, but you can at least appreciate the size if this bull moose. Bull moose can weigh as much as 1500 pounds! 

Looking forward to leading our 2019 Fall Workshops over this next week!  Our 2019 Rocky Mountain Workshops have been sold out for months!  Registration is now open for 2020!  Note that our 2020 workshops are already half full with some options already sold out! So, now is the time to register, while also taking advantage of early registration discounts that can save you up to $400!

Happy Picture Taking!

Kevin Gourley


Reason to Think About Summer 2020 NOW!

Yes indeed there are reasons to be thinking about Summer 2020 NOW!

Our 2020 Rocky Mountain Photography Workshops are now open for registration!  All 2019 options for Summer and Fall have been sold out for months.  Now is actually the time to be thinking about 2020!  In fact our 2020 workshop options are already almost half full, and some options are already sold out!  So don’t wait until it’s too late!

Summer and Fall are both fantastic times to join us in Rocky Mountain National Park on our fun workshops.  In this blog post, I just wanted to mention some of the reasons to consider the 2020 Summer options.

  • Before all options fill up, you could plan the trip where several of your photographer friends all join you.  It is an especially fun group experience!
  • The weather is spectacular in the Summer!  
  • Planning ahead ensures you get the best options for the workshop date choices and lodging options. (Remember this is also a popular vacation spot.)
  • Wildflowers!  Popping up everywhere, lots of wildflowers and grass is green as the park awakens from its snowy Spring.
  • Wildlife are up in the higher elevations and you can get some great shots in the early morning light.
  • We have a lot of experience in going to the right places at the right times of day to get the best light for photography and increase the chances of encountering wildlife.   Also, we tend to find more moose in the Summer. We see them in the Fall, but even more in the Summer. We’ll also see elk, deer, marmots, pika, chipmunks, squirrels, possibly big horn sheep, a variety of birds, and although less likely, you might see a bobcat, or coyote, or bear!
  • Waterfalls and cascades will be flowing more heavily in the Summer due to the snow melting in the mountains.
  • All roads are likely to be open because there is less chance of having an early snowfall in July, and roads have been cleared of any remaining snow from the late Spring.
  • Sunrise happens early in the Summer, and we go out very early (before sunrise).  Now you might not think getting up early sounds all that enticing, but hey you can take a nap in the afternoon.  By getting out really early, the lighting is gorgeous, the wildlife are out, and we almost have the whole park to ourselves while the crowd of vacationers are still asleep in their cabins back in Estes Park.  Also it is typical to have rains come over the mountains in the early afternoon. We are back to the cabins by the time the vacationers start crowding into the park AND before the rains happen.  This is one very attractive feature of the Summer workshop simply because sunrise happens so early.  Believe me, this is a REAL benefit!  You’ll see what I mean!

Here are some photos from our previous Summer workshops in Rocky Mountain National Park:


Yes,this is in July!


Ready to Embark on Our Fall Rocky Mountain Photography Workshop!

We’ll be heading off to Colorado next week for our Fall Rocky Mountain Photography Workshops!

I am really looking forward to meeting up with all our great participants for our Fall adventures! We’ll be photographing landscapes, waterfalls, beautiful Aspen as they turn yellow/gold/orange, and wildlife. 

What makes this an “adventure” is always just the unpredictability of the weather and wildlife and nature.  I know we’ll find wildlife, but can’t say where until we are there!  I know the places and times that will give us the highest likelihood of great wildlife shots, but we won’t know what we’ll get until we get it. This element of unpredictability actually makes the whole experience that much more fun!

Each year, Gail and I head up early and check out various waterfalls, just to see their current condition, looking at water flow levels, whether there has been any major impact to the falls from heavy water flow during the Summer, or a random tree that might have been pushed over the top of the waterfall, etc.  Again, it’s that unpredictability that makes this an exciting adventure.

And then there are the aspen. Each year the colors are a bit different, and the exact time when they “turn color” in various areas is a little different each year. So, we go out before the workshop starts and check out the various areas that are the most productive locales for great aspen shots, and plan the trip around that.

Finally, there is the weather. That’s the big unpredictable factor. We plan this trip more than a year in advance, with absolutely no way of knowing what the weather conditions will be a year later. I know the general weather patterns of the area in this time of year (I was a bit of a weather /meteorology nerd in my younger years). I know generally what we might encounter, but we won’t really know what we’ll be dealing with until we get there.

I plan the activities of our workshop totally around the weather conditions.  Our prime concern is safety, and mountain weather must be respected.  It is a powerful force.  Weather is also a wonderful factor that totally impacts the images we create, so we’ll plan our endeavors around what will likely produce the best images, based on the clouds, sky, rain, sun angle, (snow?).  Whatever we get, we get. We make the best of it.

Ultimately, this whole trip is more than just about photography.  The experience in this incredible national treasure called Rocky Mountain National Park is always remarkable. The camaraderie and friendships developed as we all experience this together is a part of what makes our trips especially memorable.  As I often say, “we go as photographers, we come back as friends” and that really is true.

In the many years we have been doing this, we have made great friends, and have so many wonderful memories.

I’ll try to post some photos while we are up there over the next few weeks, as I find time (but I will be pretty busy). 🙂

If you have an interest in joining us in 2020 (2019 has been totally sold out for months), go to our web page and read more about it!

We have early registration discounts in effect right now that can save you up to $400!  We just opened registration to the general public a few days ago and we already have 5 people registered, and 3 more who have been talking with me about signing up.

If you have any questions about the trip, don’t hesitate to ask!  

Kevin Gourley

P.S. Here are a few photos from previous trips…


Photography Myth vs Fact – Uncovering the Truth

I have been a photographer for quite a few years, and I have taught photography classes to a wide range of photographers, from beginner to advanced, with almost every camera on the market.

Over the years, I have occasionally discovered various myths photographers sometimes believe and are perpetuated in the photographic community.

I’ve noticed the reason behind the photography myths are varied:

  • They just  “guessed” something to be true and never tested their assumptions.
  • It might have been a standard practice that was relevant back in the old “film” days but is not relevant today.
  • Everybody in their camera club does it this way, but no one knows why.  (“Hey if everybody’s doing it, it can’t possibly be wrong.”) 😉
  • They had an instructor who taught them incorrect information. 
  • They read it in a camera user manual or photography book.

Believe me, this isn’t an exhaustive list. These are just some “off the top of my head” I am writing down on a Saturday morning.  I won’t bother with photograph illustrations of each, but if any of these don’t make sense, just ask and I can add an example.

Uncovering Some Myths I Have Heard… Here are 10:

  1. Myth: Some people are “just not creative.” 
    Truth: Brene Brown said it best:  “There is no such thing as creative and non-creative people, only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.” So don’t give up too soon by believing the myth that you just can’t be creative.  (I have a class that would help.)
  2. Myth: The purpose of Neutral Density Filters is to cut down on glare.  
    Truth: I hear this a LOT from people who were mistakenly told to use an ND filter on bright days to reduce glare. The purpose of Neutral Density Filters is to enable the use of slower shutter speeds.
  3. Myth: Keeping a Polarizing Filter on your lens all the time will make your photographs more colorful.
    Truth: Actually if you adjust a polarizing filter on a per-shot-basis, you might be able to get richer colors in blue skies and eliminate some glare and reflections, BUT you really should not just keep a polarizing filter on your lens all the time. Only use it when you need to. For removing reflections, it is great! For just enhancing the colors in the sky, you can do that easily in post processing without using a polarizer. Negative side effects you’ll get by shooting with a polarizer all the time is slower shutter speed or unnecessarily high ISO values just adding digital noise to all your shots. Only use it when you really need it. Otherwise, take it off!!
  4. Myth: The key to a more perfectly exposed photograph is to have a histogram that is a nice bell-curve in the middle range. 
    Truth: I actually read this in a camera manual, but that is not at all a universal truth. For a dark image, the histogram should have a hump on the left. For a bright image, the histogram should have a hump on the right. For an image that has both bright and dark areas, the histogram might have a hump on the right and left like an inverted bell curve. There is no one “right” histogram for all photos. It depends on each individual shot, and most importantly pay attention to the left and right sides to make sure you are not having the dark areas fall off into blackness (clipping) or bright areas blowing out to pure white.
  5. Myth: You should never use higher ISO values.
    Truth: While higher ISO settings do result in higher digital “noise” (a graininess), keep in mind that modern digital cameras are offering better and higher ISO ranges.  On a camera that goes up to 102,400 ISO, a value of 1600 is not bad and you can always apply noise reduction in post processing. If you have an older camera that only goes up to 3200, though, 1600 is not going to be very good. So it really depends on the camera you are using. Twenty years ago, I had a camera that was terrible at 800. Most modern cameras do much better, and note there is a REASON camera manufacturers are pushing their technology to higher ISO ranges. Higher ISO values allow you to take photographs that were much more difficult in “the old days.”  Higher ISO ranges allow you to ensure the shutter speed is fast enough to freeze action. If you are so afraid of high ISO that you don’t use it, you’ll get motion blur that might ruin the shot, and that is not nearly as fixable as simply applying a little noise reduction. The main point with ISO selection is do not be afraid to use higher ISO when needed, but don’t use it if you don’t need it.
  6. Myth: The best camera exposure mode to use is P (Program) Mode.
    Truth: I noticed a pretty prominent online photography instructor was saying this, and his reason was you don’t have to do any thinking and that the camera chooses the “best” settings for you automatically. That’s just not true.  It has no way of knowing what’s “best.” The fact is, the two most important settings that give you the most creative control in photography is the aperture (which controls depth of field) and shutter speed (which controls the freezing or blurring of motion). Program Mode surrenders those important decisions to the camera which has NO idea what would be the best choice for any shot. So actually it is not the best camera exposure mode at all!  Of the four modes, Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, or Program Mode, I’d say Program Mode is the one you should use the least if at all!
  7. Myth: When using a tripod, always make sure to extend the center shaft all the way up before extending the legs, to achieve greater stability.
    Truth: I started hearing this myth coming from various photographers a couple of years ago after a pretty prominent photography instructor at a well-known school was telling his students that. I heard this from multiple sources and was truly baffled. All I can say is that’s just wrong, completely wrong. I am not just a photographer, I have two engineering degrees, and speaking as an engineer, that’s wrong. And just because it was so startling that anyone would make such an erroneous claim about how to best use a tripod, I contacted the well known professional tripod manufacturer, Manfrotto to see what they said. They agreed with me.
  8. Myth: A good hand-held incidental light meter is essential for studio photographers.
    Truth: While it is true that they will give you very accurate information for adjusting lighting and camera settings, their greatest value was back in the “old days” of film where they were pretty necessary.  These days, with digital cameras, you have the ability to simply take a shot and look at the image on the back of your camera and check the histogram and that gives you even more valuable feedback than just a digital display on a light meter. So, I’d say you should save the $500-$600 you might spend on a light meter and instead put that money into quality lighting instead.
  9. Myth: You need a top-of-the-line camera to get the best quality photographs.
    Truth: You need to know how to use the camera you have really well. That matters much more than upgrading to the most expensive camera.  Your choice of camera settings, managing shutter speed and aperture, ISO, etc. is really the key.  I laughed one time when I saw an ad on Craigslist that said: “Camera for Sale – Takes great photographs.” That is like saying “Paint Brush for Sale – Paints great paintings.”  What matters most is how you use the tool you have. You’ll see that some pretty outstanding photographs out there on the Internet were taken with less than top-of-the-line cameras. Granted the higher end cameras may have better features, faster frame rate, more sophisticated auto focus capabilities, more durable, etc.  Still, the real key is you and how you use the camera.
  10. Myth: You need more megapixels to get sharper shots.
    Truth: Unless you are always cropping way in on the photos you have taken, OR you are making extremely large prints, several feet in width, you don’t really need all those extra megapixels in the 50MP and up range. If you make 16×20 prints, you would be hard pressed to even see any difference.  Instead pay more attention to ensuring your shutter speed is fast enough to eliminate any slight blur caused by hand vibration, and use IS/VR to further stabilize, and make sure you manage depth of field and focus carefully. If an image is not sharp, having 61 megapixels to record it won’t help at all. Besides, you’ll be filling your memory cards even faster, and you’ll have higher demands on card speeds since it takes longer to transfer from the camera to the card with large images, and then transferring the images to your computer takes longer, and you’ll fill up your hard drive faster. So you pay a real price for those extra megapixels. I am not saying the high megapixel cameras are useless. There are times when they are the right answer. But most folks simply don’t need them at all.  Oh and one other point about “sharpness.” Sharpness is really more about edge contrast than it is about megapixels.  You could just apply a little sharpening in post-processing your images and people will think you upgraded your camera. 😉

Let me know if you have heard other myths I should add to this list.  I am SURE I have heard others I am just not remembering at the moment.

Happy picture-taking my friends!



Tips for Photographing Your Kids Going Back to School!

NOTE: “THANK YOU” Shoutout to KXAN:
Many thanks to Stephanie and Larissa for having me on The CW Austin and KXAN to talk about photographing kids as they go back to school!          See the Video

It’s that time of year again, when kids are heading back to school.  Remember these moments with photographs!  Here are some suggestions that might help!

The most important considerations are not really technical. 

  • You can do this with any camera! Actually a smartphone/iPhone can really help because it is convenient, and allows for more spontaneous capturing of a moment in the midst of getting your child ready for school.  The best camera is the one you have with you when you need it! 
  • Try to think about the future, years later, after the kids are grown:  What will you want to remember about this moment with your photographs? Or even beyond that, what will your kids wish you had photographed, years later, after YOU are gone?  Let that inform you as to what to photograph.  Include mom or dad in the photo.  Include the front of your house, or their bedroom, a beloved pet, or their favorite backpack. Maybe have them hold a small sign or chalk board saying what year it is (“Starting First Grade!”, etc.) Get photos of them getting ready, putting things in their backpack, walking down the street to the bus, etc.   Remember you are not just photographing your child.  You are photographing a special moment in time, a context in life that will be ever changing. 
  • Change your perspective. See the world from different fun angles, to make a photograph more interesting. Try photographing looking down, or up, or photograph from your child’s eye-level perspective.  If you think about it, if your child is still little, their view of the world and memories may be a different perspective from yours!
  • Composition – Think about placement of visual elements in your photos. You don’t have to always put the subject in the center.  There is a popular guideline called the Rule of Thirds, where you divide the scene into thirds and place the key subject at one of those thirds divisions.  (see examples below)
  • Get to know your camera’s features beyond just the basics. This allows you to have more creative control. Learn how to choose where your camera focuses, or to lighten or darken the image. Some iPhones have advanced features such as Portrait Mode or Portait Lighting options. Did you know on an iPhone, in the Camera App, the volume up button will cause it to take a photo without having to click on the round circle button on the screen?  That can be really convenient for more spontaneous shots!   The more you take the time to learn how to operate your camera or a smartphone, the better your pictures will be!

You’re telling a story about a time in your life and in your child’s life that you’ll want to remember years later.  Rather than just one photo of them heading out the door, let your photos tell the story.  That story will change as they grow older.

Here are some examples:

Time to Wake Up!

Getting Dressed

Brushing Teeth
Try interesting angles, get the camera down lower to their level.  Even try unusual angles!

Get Your Shoes On!

Time to Brush Hair
Include Mom or Dad in some of the shots!  Years later, your kids will really appreciate this.

Get Your Backpack Ready!
Maybe include some shots with a favorite book or toy.

Framing Up the Shot
Consider using the ‘Rule of Thirds‘ when framing the shot.  Instead of placing your child in the center of the shot, imagine a ‘tic tac toe’ grid dividing the scene into thirds and use those lines as a guide to where you place them in the photo.

The Rule of Thirds says, don’t place them in the center.  So, the photo below is not obeying the Rule of Thirds.

The photo below is more in line with using the Rule of Thirds concept.  This is not an absolute rule!  It is just an alternative that sometimes helps.

All Ready to Go!

Note that most of these shots were all taken at the child’s level.


It’s tempting to just take the photo at the doorway. You might also want to include a shot where you see a bit more of the house. With time, memories fade. Many years later, your child might want to remember what the front of their house looked like.

Dad and Daughter, on their way to school!



  • I teach photography classes for all skill levels, ages 13 – adult!
  • ALSO photography is actually more than camera features and settings.  It is truly about how we see the world around us!  Something I started about 18 months ago is a group that meets at my studio on Monday nights just to do different book and video discussions and share from our life insights, and we intermittently have some pretty amazing guest speakers.  The topic is actually not specifically “photography.” The topic is life and how we can make our lives better and make the world better!  We’d love to have you join us.  It is ALWAYS TOTALLY FREE TO ATTEND.  The group is called LifeInsights.   Click Here to Learn More and see our current schedule!

P.S. A “THANK YOU” Shoutout to KXAN:
Many thanks to Stephanie and Larissa for having me on The CW Austin and KXAN to talk about photographing kids as they go back to school!  See the Video






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We’re Back from our Rocky Mountain Summer Photography Workshop!

We’re back from our Rocky Mountain Summer Photography Workshop!  What a fun time!

They say “a picture is worth a thousand words” so rather than writing at length about what we saw and experienced, here are a few shots from the trip!  Note all the landscapes, scenics, waterfalls, wildflowers, and wildlife (including elk, moose, marmots, squirrels, birds, muskrats, bobcats, and coyotes).

You can read more about the 2019 workshops CLICK HERE

2019 options are all sold out, but we will be announcing our 2020 options soon!   

INTERESTED IN 2020?  Click here if you’re thinking about maybe joining us in 2020.  We want to know!  You’ll get a special discount if you get on our “early interest” list AND you will get an early chance to register.

  • Participant Comment: “This workshop is great for photographers with any and all skill levels. Kevin and Gail not only knew exactly where to take us for the ideal pictures, but were also available at all times to help us. Taking this workshop from someone who knows the park as well as these two do, makes for the perfect photo opportunities, and an all around incredible trip.”

  • Participant Comment: “What an amazing trip! My daughter and I had a wonderful time meeting new friends, experiencing RMNP with such a fun and knowledgeable guide, and of course, taking loads of gorgeous photos. It doesn’t really matter what your photography experience level is, Kevin leads you step by step to producing fantastic photos. The itinerary is set up so there is plenty of time to enjoy the park at a leisurely pace without the crowds, free time in the afternoon, and optional dinner with your new-found friends! Kevin is such a patient instructor and is available for individual help as needed throughout the workshop. Highly recommend!”

  • Participant Comment: “This workshop includes two can’t miss parts, Rocky Mountain Natl. Park and Kevin Gourley. On one hand, there is the natural stunning beauty of the park and on the other Kevin. The trip is designed to place the students in the right spot at the correct time which is essential. Kevin’s is available for help or suggestions at all times including editing during our breaks. He can help you with any brand of camera. It is a very complete package.”


Reflections of an Old Photography Teacher

The first time I ever taught a photography class was in 1978.  That was back in the days of film. (Some of you remember those days.) Well, over the years, I have been involved in, supported, and founded numerous photography groups/clubs.  I have loved working with so many truly beautiful individuals who have a common interest in photography.

I don’t like to describe myself as an “old photography teacher” but when I look in the mirror, with each year that passes, I am discovering an older guy looking back at me. (And that annoys me just a bit.)

The older I get, the more I find myself reflecting on all of my wonderful experiences with so many of you.  In fact, I think I am coming to realize that even though I LOVE photography, what has really been the most meaningful thing to me really is YOU.  All of you. 

When I think back to all of our various experiences in the various classes I have led over the years, wow, what a wide range of incredible experiences we have had.

I have stood in a frigid wintery 30mph wind on the side of a mountain photographing the sunrise while everyone in my group  shivered and grumbled about the cold, but it was a fun experience we still talk about.  I have run through a forest in the rain with fellow photographers as we all sought shelter from a sudden rain storm. We have spent time in classes together talking about all aspects of photography. We have hiked miles and miles of trails together.  We have shared a few beers or cups of coffee and talked about life. We have had a few exciting close encounters with wildlife. We have stayed up very late under a cold dark sky photographing the stars.  We have photographed mountains and portraits and water droplets.  We have eaten burgers by a mountain stream. We have laughed and shared many many smiles, and we have cried together.  We have experienced life together.  And THAT is what I am finding really matters the most to me.

I have found that in the midst of the diverse group of people who have come my way and have taken my many classes, I am overwhelmingly grateful to know each of you.  I don’t mean that as a simple platitude.  I really mean that with all my heart. (I mean to the point that I have a tear in my eyes when I think about all of you.)

I believe it is really important to stay in tune with what matters in life.  The pursuit of fame and fortune sometimes sounds attractive, but actually none of those things really matter as much to me.

As I reflect on all the ways all of you have blessed my life, I realize I have so many people I would truly call “friend,”  I figure I am wealthy beyond measure.  Thank you all for being “you.”

I tried to give you all some small bit of photographic knowledge, but I think what I got back from you was far more valuable.  You may not have even realized just how much you mean to me.

The main reason I created the LifeInsights group that meets intermittently at my studio on Monday nights is really an affirmation of just  how much I think our relationships with others around us matters immensely.  It is a way to genuinely go a little “deeper” into sharing our life experiences and insights.  In a sense I am pushing back on the trend of social media that is causing our relationships to be more superficial. So the LifeInsights Monday night group is simply meeting and discussing various books or videos or we go out to dinner. 

I am on a mission to make the world a better place.  Granted my small actions won’t change the whole world, but perhaps our small actions matter more than the bigger ones. When I think back on who had the greatest impact on my life, it was not big name celebrities or politicians or famous people.  It was people like my 1st grade teacher.  I figure we ALL can do something to rebel against this polarization of society and harm being caused by social media becoming way too anti-social (some irony there).

Maybe we can make the world a better place by simply taking the time to know people around us a little more. Take the time to listen to their stories, and show a little more love and patience. If we all did that just a little bit, maybe that is enough to change the world.

Thank you for making my world so full.

Immensely grateful for each of you who has taken any of my photography workshops over the years.

Kevin Gourley