Thursday, December 31, 2009

Time Passages

Listening to Al Stewart's popular lyrics of the 1970's, "Drifting into time passages as years go falling in the fading light", reminded me of how fast "time' really does go by. It was just 10 years ago today when much of the free world contemplated the range of potential Y2K disasters. It doesn't seem that long ago.

We're living in exciting and challenging times and we must not lose sight of our focus. I've always believed in setting goals and recently came across this Twitter poll by Jack Hollingsworth with 40 inspiring contributions from fellow photographers. If you are serious about improving your craft as a photographer, I think you might find this survey motivating.

Tonight as New Year's Eve approaches, there will be a full blue moon, which is quite rare. The last time was back in 1990 and the next one won't come again until 2028. Just a reminder there is no time like the present!

I wish everyone a happy and successful 2010 NEW YEAR and a special thanks to all who have supported and encouraged me throughout the past!!

I am now on Twitter and can be found at

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Photographing People in Public Places

As a long haul trucker for many years I have enjoyed the wonderful opportunity in meeting and photographing many people along my travels. I have been asked several times if I ever ask permission before taking street portraits and the answer is sometimes.

It really depends on the feeling I get with each individual. Obviously asking some stranger if they mind if you take their picture will affect the outcome of their expression but I usually talk with the person for a while in a friendly way before asking them, camera in hand. There are times of course, I would have missed a good candid shot had I stopped to ask if they objected.

In my opinion, it's how you carry yourself and your camera that allows your subjects to feel comfortable, or not. I've heard you convey your self image through your lens to your subject and it is this reflected image you receive back on a subconscious level from your subject.

I carry model releases with me and have only used them on occasion. I hand out printed 4x6 calling cards folded in half with varied images including my contact info and where they can view their images in the following week. I show them the in camera image and always tell them how wonderful their picture came out and if they are interested I will happily email them a copy in full resolution. I follow up with all requests.

My favorite work and what I enjoy the most is photographing the landscape of America, particularly the American West, but I will always enjoy the challenge of shooting strangers and learning something new from all those I photograph. Shoot a stranger, make a friend!

An interesting article by Qiana Mestrich titled "Photography Empathy: How you feel is what you get" about how photographers are like mirrors can be read at Black Star.

"As I progressed further with my project, it became obvious that it was really unimportant where I chose to photograph. The particular place simply provided an excuse to produce work... you can only see what you are ready to see - what mirrors your mind at that particular time." ~George Tice

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Inaugural printed issue of "disco underworld"

Congratulations to editor Stacey Childs, for her inaugural printed issue "The Gold Edition" of disco underworld!

Earlier this year I was contacted by Stacey to submit images and a short article which was subsequently published in her digital monthly online zine issue 3.

I am also excited to learn I have been selected from her talented group of artists and photographers to be included in her first printed publication, Gold Edition!

I would  encourage all photographers who are reading this post to consider contacting Stacey with their work for future publications. Below is a recent excerpt from her website calling for submissions.

THE VISION: Each month we will set a theme, it will be displayed in the pretty banner, and all through that month everybody is invited to share articles, pictures, photos, how-to’s, reviews, movies, music… everything…
Then once there is enough content and demand, a print issue will be published, with the most popular posts included. These will be decided by the number of comments on the post, along with a couple of wildcards.
If we use something you sent in (and wrote, this doesn’t count if we interview you) in the print issue, we pay you $30 NZ via Paypal. ~Stacey Childs
So get involved and email stacey @ to contribute something or to find out more visit her at

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Picasa Post Editing Software (Free)

For most of my post editing software I still use Photoshop, 92% of the time. As I have mentioned positive results about the free program GIMP, I still find myself using the more familiar. And besides, I already have a full working version of Photoshop so I return to what I know best.

I do have several other programs that I seldom use but recently downloaded a free edition of Picasa. What I like about this new software is how fast it is for the basics in post editing and a little more.

I typically spend much more time on an image in my electronic darkroom but this image of Harrah's RIO taken out in Vegas was completed in less than a couple of minutes. Compare that to the sometimes "hours" I have spent using Photoshop and you can see why this could be just the right tool when your time is limited.

Without going through all the options Picasa has available, I will say the "straighten" function under the basic fixes and the "graduated tint" including sliders for both feathering and shade under special effects are my favorites. They are fast and effective.

I also like the histogram and camera information box at the bottom of the left corner that includes camera type, focal length and apertures used when looking through your archives.

So if you're looking for a free good post-editing program with an easy and intuitive interface, check out Picasa. It won't replace my Photoshop but I will use this program again in certain situations.

As always, if you have any questions please let me know and I will try to answer them, but I think you will see from the beginning this is an easy and fun program to use as soon as you open your first image!

Disclaimer! I do not receive any compensation from Google or Picasa for this recommendation, but maybe I should be..... :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tags, labels and image descriptions

Recently after logging into my Flickr account I discovered an option I found interesting under the stats tab. I've long been aware of the importance "meta tags" have been in bringing traffic to your website, although in the early years these simple and not so commonly known inserts were abused by redirecting irrelevant content responses through search engines.

Flickr's stats page shows the domains from where traffic has come from and the keywords used, including other useful data as well. You can review your current and previous day's worth of activity but are limited to only the prior 28 days of statistics. To find this information you can type in the desired date in your location bar. It would be nice if Flickr would archive a longer time frame. :)

Listed below are some of the more commonly used search phrases to find my images via Google. Many of these were obvious, however some of the keywords used to find their way to stats were befuddling to say the least.

Random order: Harley Davidson, Harly Bikers, Bikers, Trucking in the USA, Trucking, Ronnie Van Zant, Lynyrd Skynyrd, RVZ, 50's Rock, Black and White Highways, Trick my Truck, Highway Horizon, Little Cowgirls, Wyoming, Nascar, Vegas in Black and White, Rocky Mountains, I-80, Trucking Logo and Truck Stops round off the top 20.

Today the use of tags, titles and image descriptions are all important in the indexing for search engines so it seems as much as ever. The downside I suppose to some photographers, would be your images can be viewed and downloaded in larger formats than you may want to be available.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Intense Attention

Intense attention and an everyday obsession with photography is what drove the late Richard Avedon in capturing some of the most interesting and provocative personalities in his portraiture works.

In this video, photographer Richard Avedon speaks with Charlie Rose dating from 1993 through 1999. He discusses how a visual sense and a total concentration of his subjects were always so critical to his success. It is soon apparent how articulate and attentive Avedon is in these segments and how special he really was, not only as a photographer but as an intellect as well.

I discovered some new and interesting ideas in this video interview to be informative and thought provoking. Here you have view two top professional in a fun tribute to one of America's greatest photographers!

If a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it's as though I've neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up.

A portrait is not a likeness. The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion. There is no such thing as inaccuracy in a photograph. All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.

I don't really remember the day when I stood behind my camera with Henry Kissinger on the other side. I am sure he doesn't remember it either. But this photograph is here now to prove that no amount of kindness on my part could make this photograph mean exactly what he.. or even I.. wanted it to mean. It's a reminder of the wonder and terror that is a photograph.

A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he's being photographed, and what he does with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what he's wearing or how he looks. He's implicated in what's happening, and he has a certain real power over the result.

A portrait photographer depends upon another person to complete his picture. The subject imagined, which in a sense is me, must be discovered in someone else willing to take part in a fiction he cannot possibly know about.

Photography has always reminded me of the second child.. trying to prove itself. The fact that it wasn’t really considered an art.. that it was considered a craft.. has trapped almost every serious photographer.

I know that the accident of my being a photographer has made my life possible.

~Richard Avedon 1923 - 2004
A special thanks to Aline at Lenscratch for her recent post!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

One step at a time

Photographers who haven't heard of and their help forums, I would recommend this site! You will have access to currently 38 photography forums with more than 3,000 new posts added daily including great tips on a wide variety of topics and also post your images for a critical review from some very talented photographers.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What's one more image!?

Recently I came across an interesting statistic regarding the voluminous number of pictures uploaded to the top image warehouses across the web.

ImageShack appears to be in the lead with a reported 20 billion images, followed by Facebook with over 15 billion, Photobucket 7 billion and Flickr with over 3 billion. Who can comprehend such numbers as these??

I know statistics never lie, only reporters of statistics do, but I have no reason to doubt these figures. I researched several sites and found only a relatively small percentage difference in all the data, plus or minus a few hundred million.

With all the images to be viewed, one must certainly be discriminating when going through all of the selections we have at our fingertips.

I enjoy viewing photographer's images marked as "Favorites", both on Flickr and JPG magazine. You can discover some of the most interesting works under this topic. I believe the images photographers select as "favorites" helps in filtering through this selection process for a shortcut in time management.

"StumbleUpon" is also a good filter in helping to find the very best in high quality digital images on the web. You make category selections and "Stumble Thru" your way in discovering some of the most fantastic photography!

“Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees.” ~Paul Strand

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You've Got Mail!

Just last week, a little passed midnight on June 11, after logging in to my JPG account, I realized there was something odd and peculiar looking about the site's interface. Whenever I made a comment on any of my contact's images, it appeared as if the photographer of that image had made the comment, including their user name and icon. As it was later discovered, read and write permissions were inadvertently made available to all users who were logged on during this brief time period.

JPG Magazine is one of my favorite online photo sharing sites which I've had the privilege of having my work published, both in their online and print media, but this breach is scary. Devin Hayes of JPG recently blogged about the hard drive on the application server going bad and also mentions about a "fairly critical bug in the server configuration that allowed a user to view another users messages."

To be fair, this can happen on any server and has happened to the best of them. The lesson learned is to remember every email and comment you make online, regardless of the site, can become public information. My advice to any one concerned is to delete personal email in your inboxes that you deem private or would not want to share outside of the sender and yourself. If the messages are important enough you can always print and hard file the old fashion way.

I came across this YouTube lecture between Google authors and internationally famed photographer "Joe McNally." It's much more than a video clip, extending an hour and 10 minutes, but if you have the time I'm sure you will discover something new and exciting and maybe inspirational from one of America's top shooters!

“There are no rules and regulations for perfect composition. If there were we would be able to put all the information into a computer and would come out with a masterpiece."

Shot at the Ronnie Van Zant Park in Lake Asbury, Fl

We know that's impossible. You have to compose by the seat of your pants.” ~ Arnold Newman

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ansel Adams and PS Calculations

In 1966 while I was in the 5th grade, I recall a weekly current events assignment I read to my classmates on Ansel Adams. Our school was quite advanced for the day, relative to the other government schools in my area.

We enjoyed a typing class, which I was the only boy in the room, a chess class, a cool science room where we watched films on the universe including "Mr. Sun" and his cartoons on the dilation of time, and last but not least, my favorite, a once a week hour on photography!

About 3 years ago I shredded my first black and white prints from this early time period of my life while "weeding" out a closet. I don't know what I was thinking and it is quite regretful every time I think about it.

For those photographers new to Photoshop, there is a built in "Ansel Adams" tool. Well it's not really called that, but it is amazing the AA look and feel you can attain by using "Calculations" located under the "Image" tab.

There are many different options you can play with and can start by changing channels and blending modes. A much greater range in depth of creativity and some cool effects can be accomplished by using the Calculations tool, much more than by just removing the saturation out of a color image! Warning: This can be addictive. :)

A dear photographer friend sent me this Ansel Adams YouTube video. A soft spoken and brilliant minded photographer in his own few words shortly before his death. Thank you Laurie!

We must remember that a photograph can hold just as much as we put into it, and no one has ever approached the full possibilities of the medium.
~Ansel Adams

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Photomontage using the Clone Stamp

Creating a Photomontage in Photoshop is fun and easy using the Clone Stamp tool.

This collage was created using multiple images I have taken over the past several years using only the Clone Stamp tool in Photoshop.

I have discovered several different composite methods but have found the Clone Stamp tool works the best for me. After choosing a theme, I searched my archives for images that matched that idea and added all those files to a working folder.

I began with a new canvas on black and added my first subject near the center of the frame. It then became a processed that evolved around the"Highway Scene" with a continuous focus on images I took between the years 2006-2008.

To select the Clone Stamp in Photoshop press the "S" key. Open up an image that you would like to clone from and choose the desired brush size. Simply hold down the "Alt" key and click on the selection you want to copy. Return to your blank canvas and start drawing while holding your mouse button down. That's all there is to it!

A photographer is at a dinner party, the guests are looking through his portfolio. The host comments, "These pictures are wonderful! You must have a great camera!"
Photographer replies, "Thanks. This dinner is delicious. You must have really great pots..."
~Author Unknown

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Digital art using the clone stamp tool

Recently I was sorting through a large inactive archive I periodically review in the process to maintain a manageable number of images. I remember when I could fit all my work on one CD. :)

The first picture below was taken while driving down the freeway in Los Angeles. I was drawn to the shape and design of this structure. The angles and the black bridge had an aesthetic appeal, but the image was incomplete and was buried in my "trash" archive.

This second image was created from the above, using only a few tools and several images from other shots I took, using the "Clone Stamp tool" in Photoshop. Listed below are the steps I used.

  • Create a copy of the original file and rename this file
  • Rotate and flip the canvas to the horizontal position
  • Using the Move tool drop the copy image on top of the original
  • Add a Layer mask
  • Use the Gradient tool to align the 2 opposite images to appear as one
  • Merge the layers and save
  • Open up an image you would like to add a selection to the saved image
  • Select the "Clone Stamp tool" and place your cursor on the desired selection holding down the alt tab and single click
  • Move back to the original and hold down the mouse button over the area you wish to apply the clone
  • Try different brush settings starting off small until you get the right size. For this image I used a Normal and Vivid mode with Opacity set at 100% and a Flow of the same.
I also used the Magic Wand and the Elliptical Marquee tool to isolate some areas where I wanted to clone --not necessary, but will help in situations where you want to be more precise.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Backing up our memories

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why, because your hard drive will crash when you least expect it and need it the most!

I typically maintain a monthly differential backup for my work, however, I procrastinated a couple of months and in effect have lost hundreds of digital images that I will never see again. These "lost" files included all of the images I have taken in the past 8-10 weeks including my grandson's first birthday party, not to mention several special images that I was currently working on.

On the bright side, all was not lost as I have rediscovered images I deleted on another drive from several years ago -- like finding old rolls of undeveloped film back in the old days you long forgot about. :)

I have also talked with my daughter about contacting others who attended my grandson's birthday who were taking pictures and hopefully will find some cherished images of that memorable and special day!

I have subsequently installed Norton's "Ghost" program which can back up not only your important images and files but your entire drive, including operating system! Hopefully this new process will increase speed, efficiency and the obvious redundancy will be comforting. I will review Norton Ghost in a future post for any who may be looking for more protection with their digital images.

Keeping Perspective: Thanks to my friend Stacey Childs for the above reminder. For all who need an inspirational boost, watch the video.... you'll be glad you did.

Stacey is editor of the online digital magazine "Disco Underworld"; a wonderful online digital magazine for both the artist and photographer alike. If you haven't seen Disco Underworld you can check them out at

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Alternative use for the Gradient Tool

In a recent post I refer to the use of the gradient tool as more of an art form than a science. I recently began experimenting with this fun and powerful tool and have discovered another way to enhance an image to bring out richness in a sky that may have been lacking in the original.

The first image shown was taken of an old bridge crossing the North Platte River in Nebraska. As can be seen, the image has a washed out look and an absence of contrast. There are several other means of improving upon this shot but I wanted to see what could be done using the gradient tool in Photoshop. The results are similar to what could have been accomplished shooting with a polarize lens, however you will lose a stop or two of light and some other adjustment or modification would have to be made, not to mention you may not have access to one.

Here are the steps I took in this new process to enhance the first image. As always, it's a good habit to back up your image prior to any post-production work.

  1. Create a layer copy using the shortcut Control-J on a PC.
  2. Add a layer mask located on the pallet box, second icon on the bottom.
  3. Go to the blend mode and check Multiply. This will darken the entire image. The sky now looks better but the foreground will be darkened as well.
  4. Go to your toolbox and select the Gradient tool. Start from the bottom of the image and drag the gradient slowly upwards ending at the section you want to lighten. You may want to make several passes before you find the right balance you like.
  5. I used the Dodge and Burn tool to add additional touches of light and shade to the foreground. Had the subject been a face I probably would have used the Brush tool instead. Just make sure if you brush, that you have the Black over White selected in your toolbox to lighten.
  6. Go to the top of your toolbar and select Layers and then move down to Flatten Image.
  7. Save your file and that's it! I did remove a few small unwanted items using the Patch tool, but that's all it took to pickup at least one full stop of light, if not more, for this blue sky.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Photographer Vivian Bedoya

Vivian Bedoya is a New Jersey based photographer who shoots purely for the freedom of expression it allows her and for the joy of getting close to nature and beauty. Vivian has shown her beautiful work around the "Garden State", including an art gallery, the New Jersey’s Somerset County Park Commission, and at a public library. She has published images online and print media as well.

One recent example is a photograph, "Portal", currently hanging in a gallery at the Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ which received a "Honorable Mention Award: Focus On Sculpture, 2009!"

During a recent park visit, Vivian was encouraged by an employee of the grounds to enter an image in their competition, "Focus on Sculpture." Vivian had exhibited work before, but she never considered entering a competition. Now came the arduous task of selecting the best image to submit for this contest.

"Choosing a subject for exhibition can be very difficult," she recently wrote. "It often comes down to trusting your intuition. For this competition, I chose three images, had them printed and framed, then compared the results. In the end, the choice I submitted was based on instinct. It was the one photo that had the elements they were looking for, it featured a detail of one of the works at the sculpture park and it also had something else, which at first seemed intangible. The park is known for its combination of man-made and natural art; it combines beautifully landscaped grounds and interesting pieces of sculpture of all styles into one cohesive and mutually enhancing whole. My photograph did the same. It showed the detail of the sculpture, through which could be seen a tree, blooming bright red with berries. I thought it was the perfect representation of the theme and my “critics” (family and one trusted friend) agreed."

With over 200 entries considered for this competition, only 33 were chosen for exhibition. Vivian said "I would have been happy with just having my photo hang in their gallery but I was elated when I was notified that it had won Honorable Mention. Along with a cash prize, a gift, a certificate, an artist’s reception and a three-month exhibition, it went beyond my wildest expectations."

She went on to say "There’s only one problem, though… how do I top that next year?"

I have no doubt Vivian's lovely work will be greatly admired and considered highly in next year's competition!

You can learn more about Vivian Bedoya and follow her work at the following links!

Vivian's Website
Flickr gallery
Wall Street Journal

All of the images included in this post were taken by Vivian Bedoya and are copyrighted © Vivian S. Bedoya.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Photoshop post-production example

I receive a lot of mail regarding images I have posted on my JPG Magazine and Flickr accounts. The two most frequently asked questions I get are what kind of camera do I shoot with and what software do I use. I thought I would answer those questions in this post.

I own a Nikon D70 with an assortment of Nikkor lenses and use a SB-600 flash as a slave. I don't put a lot of faith in brand names like I use to and I'm more of a believer in the photographer's "eye" than the camera's make or model. My first 40 plus images uploaded on Flickr were all taken with a Kodak EasyShare CX4200 2MP camera.

As far as post-processing is concerned, I use Photoshop 7 on the majority of my images. I also use Paint Shop Pro for pixel pushing any images I plan on selling or printing in large format... just a personal preference.

I also have the program GIMP but have not used it much lately. I can accomplish much of the same results using GIMP as I do in Photoshop but prefer the latter. I enjoy experimenting with different editing software, but we are creatures of habit and find my working "comfort zone" in Photoshop.

For example, here is a shot I took in Nevada. I show the before and after images using a few common tools and methods in the post production process with Photoshop.

Driving in Nevada with a speed limit of 70 mph in an 18-wheeler can present some photographic challenges. The above scene was shot without any filters, and camera movement is obvious in the above foreground. Incidentally, camera settings included 1/320 sec. exposure, an aperture of f/9 at a focal length of 100mm. I will mention here as well I almost always shoot landscapes with a white balance in "shade" mode with a fine tune of -3.

As you see there is big difference between these two images. The post-processed one includes the following procedures:

  1. Light Levels were adjusted for correction in the darker areas.
  2. A duplicate layer was created to include a hard overlay and a high pass filter was applied followed by a merge of the background layer.
  3. After saving the changes, a copy was made to a separate directory.
  4. Another totally different image was opened of a sunset sky I had in my archives and was added to the active shot by using the move tool. Proper alignment of this procedure in my opinion is crucial.
  5. A layer mask was added.
  6. The gradient tool was used next and this is more of an art than a science. Play with this for awhile until you feel comfortable and you will discover many amazing results.
  7. Using the clone tool I added the little truck in the far left corner and added another mountain to the background for aesthetics and balance.
  8. Next I added a small degree of saturation to the full frame.
  9. And finally before saving the file to a jpg format, I applied the gaussian blur to the sky scene using the magic wand isolating this area to reduce unwanted noise.
This may seem like a lot of work if you are new to post production work, but once you become familiar with a few tools it becomes much easier and faster. The order of sequence is not too important, as the above is only my example. Master a few tools and you will develop your own style and techniques.

A special "Thanks" to Anna Theodora for her recent tip on the use of the gaussian blur tool! And I might add, truly one of my favorite photographers!

To the "purist" who feel post editing is somehow "cheating" in the world of photography--dodging, burning, super imposed exposures and cropping have been performed in the old school darkroom for ages, I leave with this quote in the words of photographer Duane Michals.

"Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be."

Have fun and if you have any questions about the above images contact me at slimeface2009[at] and I will try to answer them.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Annie Leibovitz and Royalty

I always liked Annie Leibovitz, going way back when she was chief photographer for"Rolling Stone". I like her even more after watching the above video of her photographing the Queen of England.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Trucker Photographer Bethany Nabb

Bethany Naab has been trucking for over 16 years and lives in southwestern Minnesota. She owns her own truck and like many professional drivers today, carries her camera with her wherever she goes. I interviewed Bethany recently after she returned home from a California run.

How was your trip to California?
California was great! I really have missed being out there and it was good to be back. It smelled so good, as the flowers and shrubs were starting to bloom!

How long have you've been trucking?
I've been licensed for 16 years, but had a few years off in between and drove "teams" before the license, so I guess it probably evens out one way or the other.

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Minnesota. I still live in the southwestern part of the state.

How far do you drive from your home base of Minnesota?
As far as I can get away with! I generally run within 500 miles of home.

What are the reasons you entered this profession?
I love to drive! I have been in love with trucks since I was a kid. My grandfather was a trucker along with my uncle and dad. But I think it all started when my dad helped me write a poem in 3rd grade about a purple Peterbilt. It's been all I could think of ever since!

Is trucking today what you thought it would be when you first began 16 years ago?
Yes. Even with all the changes, I have loved every second of it. For me, ever since I was a kid I've always wanted to run away to someplace new, yet be able to come back home and trucking gives me that.

I know you own your own truck. Can you describe the make and model?
"Rosie" is a 1999 379 Peterbilt and she's powered by a 550 Cat.

Where did you get the name "Rosie"?
Rosie's name comes from my middle name, which is Rose.

What made you choose on becoming an owner-operator opposed to driving for a company?
I used to be a company driver, but owning my own truck enables me to be home when I need to and run my equipment how I see fit which is something I really like.

As an owner-operator, how severely has the increased price of diesel fuel affected your bottom line?
It hasn't hurt me too badly, but it has made me run a lot smarter. I have always shut my truck off when parked for loading/unloading and sleeping. In the long run fuel prices have made me a better business owner. I try to run fewer miles for more money and a lot slower, which is better for my truck and nerves!

Do you feel you are treated equally to your male counterparts in today's industry?
For the most part, yes. I still run into a handful of guys now and then that think I'm just a dumb girl in a truck and have no business out here, but they usually find out in talking with me I know what I'm doing. I'm willing to get dirty or unload a trailer right next to them and I can say I've never had to have anyone back a trailer for me. I'm tough and don't give up and that gets respect out here. For the guys that have given me a hard time I will say that they have made me one hell of a better driver.

What one thing would you change in the trucking industry if you could?
Get rid of the large companies that are bringing in inexperienced drivers. I would also make it mandatory that the "on the job training" was done by someone with at least 10 years experience.

What advice would you give to those who are interested in becoming a trucker?
Talk to an old timer with experience and really listen to them! They know what they are doing, and they are still out here for a reason!

What is your favorite subject to photograph when on the road?
The land is what I seem to be good at. My truck and any other fancy trucks would be a close second.

Do you have a favorite picture?
My picture of a Texas back road is one of my favorites.

What camera do you shoot with?
I have a Canon Rebel XT and I'm looking to upgrade soon.

Besides trucking and photography what are your other hobbies you enjoy when you’re at home?
I love to garden. We put up a good portion of our food each year. I also have a horse, 18 chickens, 2 dogs, and 4 cats that keep me pretty busy!

I always like to ask, "what is your motto"?
In trucking it would be "More money, less miles." In life, it would be "Everyone has their own truth." It makes life so much easier to go through when you can understand why someone else thinks the way they do.

And finally Bethany, what would you say is the most rewarding part of trucking?
Seeing Mother Nature at her best and worst! Some days it's the same old road or freeway but like my grandfather use to say, “if you look close enough you will always see something new and exciting every day.”  I can honestly say I never get bored.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Highway Junkies" by Joe Thomissen

A few days ago I was contacted by Joe Thomissen, who goes by the handle "664FREEDOM" on YouTube, about using some of my images for a new trucking presentation he was putting together for his YouTube site.

Thomissen is a trucker, musician, web master, photographer and composer from Maastricht in the southeastern part of the Netherlands and still shoots old school, with his Canon 500n film camera.

Thomissen is multi-talented when it comes to the visual arts and is a natural for choreographing music and images, including some very creative and exciting photo art designs!

I would like to thank Mr. Thomissen for selecting 12 of my images and the time and effort he put into producing "Highway Junkies"! I also appreciate the other photographers who submitted their beautiful trucking images!

Learn more about Joe Thomissen:

Mr. Thomissen email

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Branded Loyalty

Living only 75 miles from my front door and the world's most famous "Daytona Beach" in Northeastern Florida and host of the annual "Daytona Bike Week", I have the pleasure to photograph hundreds of beautiful bikes thundering through town on their way to arguably the most popular bike event in America!

I used a relatively simple method in Photoshop to bring out highlights that would have been lost in the original shot of this Harley Davidson. Here are the steps I used after I desaturated the image of all colors and deleted the background:
  1. Backed up original image
  2. Duplicated layer under the 'layer' tab (not the image tab)
  3. Added an 'Overlay'
  4. Ran a 'High Pass' under the 'filter' tab of 10 pixels
  5. Merged down under the 'layer' tab
  6. Saved image as
Don't worry too much through the process if your image looks a little strange. After you have saved the file your image will look much better. And of course do number one first.

Half the fun using post processing software is in the experimentation of different settings. Other variations and effects can be achieved by using soft light and hard light in the overlay and altering the high pass radius value.

Congratulations to John Adams aka ThePres6 as this year's artist to be featured in Easy Riders and V-Twin Magazines March issue! I have read and enjoyed both these publications for many years. John's work will be seen by more than 1.5 million viewers world wide!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dale Clemons

Recently I met up with professional photographer Dale Clemons now living in Middleburg, Florida; a man who redefines the meaning of "Passion", not only for his love of photography but in many walks of life.

In spite of a menacing first impression, standing over 6 feet tall, weighing 250 pounds, shaved head, goatee and massive tattoos on both arms, Clemons is a generous and kind man with only an intimidating image in wolves clothing... but make no mistake, his 18-wheeler is not the only thing he can back up.

Living an action-packed lifestyle many of us only dream about, Clemons' photography skills are just the 'tip of the iceberg' in talents and the many adventurous occupations he has experienced. You can add paratrooper, firefighter, biker, bouncer, trucker, bodyguard, EMT, scuba diver, certified computer repairman, and carpenter to his colorful resume of accomplishments.

With so many interesting and provocative professions to enjoy it would be hard to narrow down the most rewarding, but Clemons has. Trucking and photography are his top favorites and with good reason. He is good at both with almost 35 years of experience under his belt.

Clemons was born in Metter, Georgia in 1955. Fast forward 16 years and he found himself as a very young recruit in the United States Army. Full of bravado and energy he quickly became part of the elite group of the 101st Airborne Division --the "Screaming Eagles" which took him to many parts of the globe.

Shortly after leaving the military in 1975 with nothing but a restless and kindled spirit, Clemons taught himself how to drive a tractor-trailer. Armed with his strong will and determination to succeed, he sought out to discover the American dream. This career move was the beginning of a lifelong affection for photography which continues to this day.

Trucking has been very exciting for Clemons, however it hasn't always been easy. He has been shot in the leg, stabbed in a place he rather not mention, robbed in Wheeling, West Virginia, run over on a loading dock in Vegas, had a serious motorcycle accident, has broken more bones in his body than he cares to remember and has been recently diagnosed with Peripheral Artery Disease.

With a beautiful new bride, 7 lovely children and 11 grandchildren you won't find Clemons complaining though. He is as passionate about life as he was three and a half decades ago when he was jumping out of perfectly good airplanes and has recently purchased another new Nikon.

"Life is good, I live today like there is no tomorrow" he said as he headed off for Daytona Bike Week 2009 on his new Harley Ultra Classic with his new Nikon D80 in tow.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Photographic Style and Inspiration

In the words of photographer Duane Michals, "Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be."

It has been written how Michals's unconventional approach to photography set him apart as a photographer. This may be true but I believe all serious photographers are unique in style and perspective to all astute observers of the art of photography.

Just as we can learn something new from everyone we meet if we listen more than we speak, we can also learn from each photograph if we just really look and "see".

I have a little game I play when I am viewing images from my friends and contacts on Flickr ( where I cover up the name and see if I can identify the photographer to the image. Many times I am successful at this because I know my favorite photographer's "style".

This site is dedicated to the photographers I have discovered over the past few years. Their stories, their lives and their images continue to be an inspiration and influence to my work!