Private Photography Lessons

Learn & Master your craft…

Offering private lessons in the greater San Francisco Bay area, join me for a fun and informative session tailored to you.

I always learn better by “doing” rather than reading or just watching a video and I know many of you do as well. Sometimes we just need to have someone show us the “how-to” of photography. Learn tips, techniques and the “wow, I didn’t think of that”, suggestions which can accelerate you in your photography and are of substantial benefit and often priceless.

From day ‘one’ of owning your camera on to advanced topics and planning your photo trips, you should take a consider the sessions I offer. We can cover a lot of ground. Not only will you gain valuable experience, you’ll likely save money going forward in your journey.

Because my private sessions are tailored specifically to you, as such, they are more relevant and comprehensive since you have my complete attention. We will cover the many aspects of photography at a pace most comfortable for you.

When you select a session, you can: pick a convenient date, location, even specify particular subjects. Best efforts are made to make learning convenient for you.

Visit my Private Lessons page for more information on topics and session availability.

Learning your camera

Learn how to set up your camera. From image formats, color space, and all the controls.

The Exposure triangle

Shutter Speed, Aperture, and ISO. It’s all about controlling Light…


If your Composition is the song…sing it well.

There is an incredible difference between a snapshot and a work of Art.

Here is where you learn the difference…

Advanced Techniques

It all comes together here. Whether this is the “next step” in your journey or revisiting an old passion, you’ll love what we do here…



This is where you decide a direction…let’s start your journey!

Don’t Miss

News And Events

Accepting new Private Session Sign-ups Beginning in Late May 2021!

On-Line Sessions are available now

Information on photography topics; discussions, tips and more…
“Gotta have those megapixels…” Really?

“Gotta have those megapixels…” Really?

Recently a camera was announced having 64-megapixels. 64 MEGAPIXELS!!!! Each RAW image will be 64 megabytes - are you kidding me? Oh, I'd love to have one... That's going to take a wee bit of computer processing, especially when you have a whole card (or cards) full...

Hard Life

Hard Life

Sometimes we need to pull ourselves back a bit from our frenetic "modern life" it is for me when I am in the White Mountains just south and east of Bishop California. Known for the famous Bristle Cone Pine trees growing at 11,000' feet elevation, life is harsh....



For the last few years I have been using iPhones as my Smartphone and for making images. It started out simple enough, a snap here and there when visiting friends and such...  But then one day I had an idea. I would use it when scouting locations for workshops and...

Please drop me a line if you have any questions

“Gotta have those megapixels…” Really?

“Gotta have those megapixels…” Really?

Recently a camera was announced having 64-megapixels.

64 MEGAPIXELS!!!! Each RAW image will be 64 megabytes – are you kidding me? Oh, I’d love to have one…

That’s going to take a wee bit of computer processing, especially when you have a whole card (or cards) full of images from your recent shoot.

So that brings us to the topic of  “All the other stuff you’re going to need…seriously. (Caveat: We’re talking about your enthusiast or semi-pro photographers needs)

We are talking about a whole new game when it comes to processing those sizes of files. I mean imagine the power it takes to process 8 or 9 images of that size and make a pano! You either let your old computer “cook” while doing the laundry, roast a turkey and drink a six-pack or whatever, until those files are processed.  Your two year old laptop is going to “Freak!”

Processing power, we’re talking the latest multi-core processor, mega amounts of memory (RAM), super video cards, and motherboard installed solid-state drives. Don’t forget storage and if you use the “cloud”, upload times. And if you build your own computers (Windows) we’re talking thousands of dollars just in components…Even your Mac is going to struggle at some point sooner than later. I’m all for progress especially when it comes to technology, but for the average photogrrapher there are limitations in my humble opinion. (Does not apply to Lotto winners etc…)

My go-to camera is my trusty Canon 1Ds mark II circa 2006. Yeah, there it is…a dinosaur, like me. But I make stunning 36 inch wide prints with only 16 megapixels. So how big do you really need? Yes, I must admit that I wish I had a bit more MP, but realistically around 24 is plenty for most folks. And at that size, you’re average 2 year old computer can render those files.

So now we get to the point of “what do you really need to convey your artistry”? I’ve been professionally doing photography for the last 20 years now and I am starting to have some very real questions. Not being uber-famous or rich, do I really need this new stuff to keep up? My answer to me is NO!

In fact most people I talk who attend my training surprisingly don’t really do anything with their images later on. Except for posting on-line, many don’t print them even for their own viewing satisfaction in their homes.

Make no mistake, I would love to have a camera with a higher ISO capability and a few more MP, but my old Canon is still pumping out really nice stuff.

So the question remains… do you really need 64+ megapixels, or should you spend your money on getting to those places on your bucket list of photogenic places…?


Hard Life

Hard Life

Sometimes we need to pull ourselves back a bit from our frenetic “modern life”…so it is for me when I am in the White Mountains just south and east of Bishop California.

Known for the famous Bristle Cone Pine trees growing at 11,000′ feet elevation, life is harsh. Surprisingly dry…how it survives in the jagged rocks is in and of itself a wonder of nature. This tree is likely only several hundred years old whereas others in the area have been dated to over 5000 years of age. They may grow only a few needles a year…maybe…

Yet in the near distance, no rocks, and instead, dirt, with only scrub brush and a few trees. For me the contrast was amazing.

This scene humbled me…

Note: This image was taken on a bright, sunny, blue-sky day. I elected to create it in black & white to fit the mood and beauty in which I envisioned it.



For the last few years I have been using iPhones as my Smartphone and for making images. It started out simple enough, a snap here and there when visiting friends and such… 

But then one day I had an idea. I would use it when scouting locations for workshops and private lessons that I conduct. Sure beats lugging my backpack with gear around. Then I found use for showing clients a visual demo of what we were discussing in the field. It didn’t take long before I was using wifi to transmit images from my clients camera to my phone or iPad for real time review and critique. (My clients love that!). So I really starting finding a real use for the camera both for the convenience and certainly Apple’s product quality.

 Not only are many images on my website produced with my iPhone but I am furthering my own skills so I can pass them along to clients during their training with their DSLR’s.

 Case in point is the photo used in this post. It was captured and edited using only my iPhone 8 plus. I used the native camera “Live” to capture the image as a long exposure and then used the in phone editing software and Lightroom CC to put some final touches on the image. All using the phone!

 Now is it as good as I can do with my Canon 1 series camera, desktop computer and Photoshop – probably not, but it’s definitely usable for my purposes.

I believe it won’t be long before technology steers us away from the large DSLR’s to tools such as the smartphone or something like it . It’s already occurring with the mirrorless and other more diminutive cameras. Don’t get me wrong the big guns will be around for awhile but I believe in more specialized circumstances going forward.

What do you think? I’ll appreciate a discussion….

BTW  do you see the little sea lion taking a nap?

Till next time…Happy Shootin’

“I love you, you old Boat!”  I really do…

“I love you, you old Boat!” I really do…

Out in the little hamlet of Inverness California, behind an old market, sits an old fishing boat aptly named the “Point Reyes”.
When I first laid eyes on her back in early 2001 she showed signs of neglect and to the untrained eye looked like she could actually go to sea once again with a little TLC.

From her layout and rigging style she looked to have been a Salmon trawler/rockfish rig typical of the California coast. Numerous legendary stories surround her mysterious beaching, but one thing was certain, and as time has shown true, it is her final resting place.

If you’re a “Daydreamer” you can imagine her life along with her owner and crew plying the coastal waters and delivering her bounty to restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m sure she has plenty of stories of her own…

When I first came across her I was just starting to “play” with photography. The first image you see here was taken in January of 2001 when at that time, I found her to be a curious object to photograph. I thought it was “cool” that Ravens were
alighting from her signifying what was to become a long slow process of decay.

Over the years every visit to the Point Reyes National Seashore brought me to her and I would photograph her each time, noticing with increased sadness her decline.

However, just as she had brought healthy and fulfilling nourishment to diners her in heyday, she wasn’t done…


She’s still beautiful…

In the following decades she has garnered an incredible amount of attention from visitors all over the world. Google her and you’ll see thousands of images of her – more than many runway models!

As if Mother Nature’s way wasn’t harsh enough on her, ‘ignorants’ have abused and vandalized her and most recently, set her afire. Thus hastening her demise.

She was built to withstand the wild Pacific Ocean and even through all these years beached, still she gives it her best smile. Tough but in a strange way elegant. Maybe that’s why sailor’s love their boats? (maybe photographers too…)


PtReyesBoat2015a 1


Over the years a lot has changed and nowadays I take my workshop clients to her first thing, to discuss shapes – textures – and tonality.

PtReyesBoat2015b 1

I will be hard pressed and quite sad when she’s gone.

She has contributed greatly to my evolution as a photographer and to many others as well…and that’s why I love her.

For more information on my photography workshops and training please visit my website at


On-Site Workflow

On-Site Workflow

On-Site Workflow

A while ago I did an article on Pre-Shoot Workflow…well that’s all fine and dandy….Pretty straight forward.

But what do you do on scene? What do you do and what do you look for?

It’s one thing to research your trip from your nice chair in your office or wherever, but once you’re there maybe it doesn’t look quite like you thought it would.

Here’s what I do.


Usually the first wrench in the monkeyworks is weather…if it’s too bad but worth waiting, have a cup of coffee and hang out. Kind of like fishing…
If its just uncomfortable, well then, put on your best “uncomfortable weather clothes” and get out there!

I first think, ‘well if its gray and gloomy – black & white images might be the order of the day’

Storm clouds can add incredible drama to many images…Quite often you also have wind. So the consideration is shutter speed. Long slow speeds get those dreamy, ethereal images. (Man, I love my 10-stop ND) Otherwise super fast speeds will stop most any action such as trees or grasses, or waves or anything else blowing around. Just remember, the faster stuffs moving the faster your shutter speed needs to be. If 1/8000 sec doesn’t do it – go back and enjoy that coffee you were nursing…
Tip: if it’s really howling wind – maybe there’s something nearby that you can use as a shelter and can still get a nice composition from that place.


Is it just me or are there more tourists messing places up? (and I mean REALLY messing places up – no regard for the environment)
My friend Andy used to say “there’s too many people suckin’ up my air” – well said Andy (R.I.P.)
We’ve all been there, but what do you do? Well, you can ‘try’ and nicely ask them to step 3 feet to the left so they’re not in your shot. That don’t work…

Here’s my suggestion. I know we all have time issues as to when we can get away but I make sure I don’t go out until 2 weeks AFTER Labor Day and 1 Week BEFORE Memorial Day (USA)  That way the crowds (most of ’em) have gone back to wherever they came from and there’s less pressure on the location.
Tip: Check with the local Rangers or coffee shop waitress and see when they say they can catch their breath – wait a couple of days and then go.

Okay here’s where I get a bit serious…

When you’re on site and looking for your composition here are some things to consider.  Aside from what you have researched and why you’re there in the first place…

Look for shapes – not only shapes that might be interesting but how they jive with other shapes.
Look for patterns – check for repetitious patterns. Maybe you find a nice abstract image.
Look for textures – texture brings detail to your images – definitely use them
Look for tonalities – Look for lights and darks and how they relate, particularly to the fore mentioned.
TIP: I like to include a strong element in my foregrounds. I like to anchor my image and then have something else lead the eye to the main subject of the image.

When you’re scoping out the above don’t forget to get low, get high (you know what I mean – bring a ladder – seriously I have a step ladder in my truck) go left, go right, check your best aspect for your compostion.
And don’t forget to look back over your shoulder from whence you came – it’s amazing sometimes what compostions are laughing behind your back…

So you see? it’s not rocket science…but coming from an “Old Guy” whose made many mistakes, well, this is what I’ve learned…

Hope it helps.

Cheers and Happy Clicks!


Pixel Trippin’ on the Lost Coast

Pixel Trippin’ on the Lost Coast

  Yesterday I got out of town and did a bit of “pixel trippin'” along the Lost Coast up in Humbolt County, Northern California. My main objectives were to photograph the “Candelabra Trees” and the abandoned lighthouse at Punta Gorda. One down, one still to do…I’m sure most of you have been there and had your objectives thrown arry. No problem, I’ll be back! For those of you unfamiliar with the Candelabra trees, they are a unique growth of “ancient redwoods shaped into grand candelabras by fire, salty air and coastal winds. Instead of growing into massive straight columns, stressors caused these trees to sprout branches near the ground”. It is truly a mystical area of forest. I let you research the area on you own. It’s pretty easy. By the way, bring a very wide angle lens… Getting there is not quite so easy however. The road is not well maintained (gladly) and I would definitely recommend a high clearance vehicle and 4 wheel drive. I know, you’ll some little Prius there but I’m telling you that area is risky and professional assitance is NOT just around the corner. So being prepared is of high priorty. I digress a bit…the Lost Coast has no cell service, not even much AM radio reception. It gets remote and very fast! After a stint in the Candelabra forest I headed north to my next objective. I harken to the old Super Tramp song “take the long way home” so I happily follwed my TomTom along the dirt, rocky, rutted, washed out, downed trees Humbolt highway for 67 miles. I think I topped out at 6 MPH. It was a mistake time wise and by the time I reached the turnoff for Punta Gorda Lighthouse the day was long in the tooth (like me). I decided it was best to leave it for another time as I didn’t want to trapse back to my truck in a unfamiliar area in the dark. Instead I went up along Ocean Drive and poked along the beaches looking for images to make. I took some long exposures around the rocks (my favorite lately). I was beat from the Humbolt highway experiece so I called it and headed home to the Bay Area. It was just a day trip. The Lost Coast is a pixel fantasy land for sure. It’s also probably one of the best named places around as you do really feel lost very quickly. Its definitely one of the more remote places to be found in California and I’m sure the locals would like to keep it that way. Not far away the Redwoods National Park is host to plenty of tour buses and crazies who have no concept of forest manners. I recently heard Fern Canyon is rediculous now with disrepectful tourists. In fact its pretty much a no go zone for photography workshops (if you apply for the required permit) as per the Forest Service. So although its not a secret I prefer to let more dedicated folks do a little research to find the Candelabras. It’s worth it. ’till next time Cheers! ps: I am thinking of making a Workshop up this way. If you are interested let me know…and maybe I’ll put it together.
LostCoast beach