Lifeguard Chair

Lifeguard Chair

Have you ever felt really excited about your photography while you are in the middle of taking the photos only to feel disappointed when you get home and look at them? Sometimes we have an imagined image in our minds eye. We think we captured something special in the moment, but later it seems boring. It is not unusual to feel this way. I remember having the same feeling when we would shoot with film and send the roll of 36 away to be processed. The pack would come back in the mail and I would shuffle through the deck only to find two or three that were interesting. 

Now  in a day shooting digital I might have 200 photos to look through and find two or three I feel satisfied with. But there is another step you can take if you really want to learn how to take better pictures. After you find 2 or 3 you are happy with, also find 2 or 3 that you are disappointed with. Now try to be specific about what you thought you captured and why this image is not really working. What would you do differently if you could do it over? Would you get closer? Shoot from a different angle? Change your depth of field? Imagining how to make it better will help you next time you are in a similar situation. So look at an image that disappoints you and imagine what it would take to delight you.

Photography as a creative act.



As a photographer, you can use visual language to express the essence of an experience. Just like a poet who combines the verbs,adjectives and nouns in a certain way to evoke a knowing, and awareness of our inner experience of a moment, we use color, light, texture, combined (composed) in a particular way to express the experience we have and want to translate into a photograph.

As said Robert Henri said in The Art Spirit, "Do not paint the night, paint the feeling of the night." And this is true with your photography, you do not photograph night, you photograph those things that evoke  the feeling of the night. I did a series of trees at night and had the revelation that they have a whole other live at night, one we do not see. That is what I wanted to photograph. I stood there in the dark with them and wondered what was it like to BE a tree in the night. Only when I FELT a connection to the trees did I click the shutter. If you don't connect, don't click.

Photography is a creative act of discovery, transformation and revelation when we are fully present to what we encounter.  Summer is the perfect time to stay out after dark and discover how to capture the feeling of the night.  Give it a try. I would love to see some of your night photos.

Letting go of expectations

I just returned from leading a three day Curious Soul Photo School Retreat. It was the Spring Retreat and I had lots of expectations. I expected there to be a beautiful sunrise each morningso we could capture soft dawn light, but we had fog and rain and snow. I expected to take the group on long, slow walks along the beach relaxing to the sound of the sea. Instead we had to scurry out and shoot what we could whenever there was a break in the wild gusting winds.

Nothing went quite as I had planned. Instead, it was more wonderful than I could have imagined. The group created magical, mystical, moody images. We spent long hours by the fire looking at our photos quietly discussing our work as the storm raged outside. We relaxed deeply with guided meditations and enjoyed just being in the company of others who love photography, beauty and creativity.  

I plan to organized a Summer Retreat so will let you know when and where. For now, see if you can drop an expectation next time you take your camera out for a walk. You may be surprised what beauty comes your way when you least expect it.

Wareham MA. Spring Curious Soul Retreat 2016 Walk on the Beach.


You just never know what you will find while out for a walk. I started to notice how much furniture is abandoned out on the streets of Boston. With little effort you could furnish your apartment. But there is some strange sad feeling that comes up for me when I see furniture out on the street. I am not sure if it is because it feels like we are providing furniture for the homeless who sleep on park benches or under cardboard boxes in alleys and doorways. Or something else. I just know I always feel compelled to photograph these furnishings. If I figure out why I will let you know. 

You never know what you're going to see so have your camera ready.  

You never know what you're going to see so have your camera ready.