I’m sure we all have a favorite place to visit, vacation, photograph, etc.  Mine is in Maine on Schoodic Lake at the family cottage. Ah,……. I won’t tell you how many years I’ve been going there. My library of Schoodic images includes old 35mm slides and plenty of digital images too.  They all look somewhat similar though. So, this past week I changed it up.  One image is the ‘similar’ one & the other two are new (for me).  The lake is so beautiful and our view is so wide I get clouds.  Boy do we get clouds! So, I find my self going the familar ole….. get those clouds to pop.

If you look at the Black & white images you’ll see I slowed the waves down.  I stacked two neutral density filters on top of each other to get longer exposures and to get that early evening look as well.  I used Nik software to get to my final result after applying some changes & image ‘tuning’ in Lightroom 4.

For the raft I used Color Efx Pro 4 and the glamour glow preset. This was a 25mm, iso100 at f20 with a 30 sec exposure.  The old dock and boat lift was converted to B&W using Nik’s Silver Efx Pro.  Exposure here was 25mm, iso 100, f11 for 30 seconds.

The message here is that one can find themself falling into doing the same ole thing time after time.  Think about your subject & do something diferent.  In some cases you need to start right in-camera.  Don’t depend on post-processing to get to something different.  Look at the subject differently (I never photographed that wharf from anywhere near that angle….always stood on top of it or looked down it towards the lake…..geez).  I’ve never slowed the lake water to get that raft on a nice smooth surface….yikes.

So, change it up on occasion. I’d love to see some of your examples!

Bob Ring


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Push It: Push It Real Good

I want to be a good photographer.  No, actually I want to be a GREAT photographer.  I admit it.  Ever since I bought my first SLR many years ago I have worked hard at teaching myself how to improve my photography skills.  Whether I am shooting an assignment, working on my own, or helping other photographers I do everything I can to create good images.  But, perhaps, I put too much emphasis on HOW to get it good images.  Using good technique and  fundamentals is STILL essential but, rules are meant to be broken and the ability of today’s cameras let you break those rules like never before.


Current digital cameras are loaded with capability and potential.  Yes, potential is a significant part of that equation.  The innovations in DSLR’s give every photographer unlimited potential to make images in a variety of scenarios.  I find it ironic that much of the discussion about new cameras revolves around how good they are at the high ISO settings but, we never really push those limits that much – at least I don’t.  My new Nikon D800 is fantastic at ISO 3200 but, time and time again I am on a tripod shooting at ISO 100 to make sure my image is as sharp as possible, with as little noise as possible, and with the best color and contrast possible.  Good technique and fundamentals are VERY necessary but, they are not exclusive to ISO 100 and a tripod!  One thing I love about teaching is how much I learn as well.  From now on I vow to be, on occasion, a total rebel with my camera.



This past weekend on our workshop in Portland Maine, we had a few occasions to shoot at high ISO’s with NO tripods.  I loved it.  I loved pushing the limits of technology and myself!  One afternoon we walked around the Old Port for a couple of hours and we challenged the class to bring ONE lens and no tripod.  Yup, Bob and I went totally rogue.   With no tripod it was necessary to move your ISO to 400 or 800.  Guess what, people got some great, sharp, colorful images!  Then we ducked into a dahk bah (said in my best Boston accent) and ordered some lunch.  Since it took forever to get some food, I took the opportunity to crank my camera up to ISO 3200 and shoot some portraits in the pub.  I encouraged others to do the same.  In much less time than it took to get our burgers, most of the class was dialing up their ISO’s and shooting snippets of people and things at Gritty’s.  Guess what, people got some great images!  Yup, you heard it here: good, fun, meaningful images can be found at ISO 1600 and above!  Current digital camera’s let us get the shot we want, right NOW!  All three of the images below were taken with my D800 at ISO 3200.










So, never abandon good technique, never ignore the fundamentals, and understand how to create the best image possible wherever you may be but, don’t be afraid to push the limits of your camera – you paid for all of that technology so, use it!



Photograph What You Feel!


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BE A PHOTOGRAPHER: Specializing in certain subjects is fine (macro, scenics, architecture…..). But if you want to learn more about what you really like to photograph shoot something different.  Know why?  It’ll help you in your use of your camera and improving your photography in general.

I went out today to photograph the Jumper Classic in NH and photographed horse jumping.  Now is this something I’m really interested in? No, not really!  Did I enjoy it? Absolutely.  Did I learn anything.  Absolutely!  Checking my backgrounds and using AI servo and not using image stabilization.  The photo here is one of my favorites (I got many by the way).   Look at the rider’s concentration and how balanced the horse is going over the jump.  And check out that little red flag.  I was taking my photos in bursts of three images at a time.  My early photos all showed the horse on the way down.  I had to anticipate to allow time for my brain to say “INDEX finger….take the shot NOW”.
All in all a great experience.  I would recommend something like this to all photographers whether you’re into horse jumping or not as it’s a very worthwhile learning experience for all photographers!
Regards, Bob Ring
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