Sunday, 31 March 2013

What is making the journey to africa with me in April?

Well, its finally Easter and its just a few weeks before my next International workshop, a Safari to Tanzania. I have developed a close personal relationship with my local courier drivers over the last three weeks. From batteries to memory cards and some new gear, the credit card was humming with activity. A few months ago I sold all my Olympus gear and reinvested the money to make the change from "Olympus" to "Nikon and Sigma". Since then I have been building up my new gear while feverishly field testing it as we go.

Thankfully, everything has arrived as planned; and as I sat and looked at everything laying out on the table; I could not help but wonder if it was all going to fit in my bag... but it did... that Think Tank Airporter V2.0 seemed to swallow up my camera gear as if it had magical powers bestowed on it like it originated from Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

My photo safari in Tanzania is 10 days... for 7 days I will be leading a workshop for my company, The Photographer's Lounge, and for 3 days I will be sitting back with my good friend, Gary Simmons in the heart of the Serengeti for a 72 hour marathon shoot  to capture long exposure night photography, golden hour photos and day time safari drives...

For my ten day safari, of which only those last three days will be dedicated to my own photography as I really do not shoot that many shots when I lead a workshop, here is what the Think Tank roller bag swallowed up for me.

Nikon D7000 crop sensor camera and Nikon D600 full frame camera bodies.
battery grip for D7000
6 Nikon EN EL15 batteries
two battery chargers, a small power bar and international power converter
6 - 16gig Sandisk Extreme PRO memory cards
6 - 8gig Sandisk Extreme PRO memory cards
1 - 8gig eyefi card
Laptop and 1 terabyte external hard drive
Monfrotto 290 series tripod with pano head. (Put into my duffle bag that was checked)
Apex mini bean bag
black rapid camera strap
Remote control for cameras
rain cover for my camera and lenses
Photoflex triton flash for night photography
battery pack for triton flash
2 sets of transmitters and receivers for triton flash
Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 for landscape photos
Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 for walking around and landscape photos
Sigma 70-200 f2.8 for close animals and portrait photos
Sigma 150-500 f5.6-6.3 for the safari drives

Now its a waiting game... the vaccines have been taken, malaria pill prescriptions have been filled and I am proving that watching a clock or counting the days does not make time move faster...

As we enjoy our workshop I will be posting to my blog from various areas such as Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti. You will be able to get a feel for the areas as we experience them first hand. Look for these posts between April 26th and May 4th, and please check out the photos that are posted on facebook and after the workshop...

Sorry you could not make it with us this time, but we are headed back to Africa in 2014. Please check out these African workshops here...
Marrakech with Deborah Sandidge in March of 2014
Namibia with Denise Ippolito in April of 2014
Back to Tanzania in November 2014 with my good friend, Mefi and her company, Journey to Africa... contact me for details as we build and price this workshop

Friday, 22 March 2013

Photography ideas to try this weekend

Capture the beauty of buildings in your area in a single frame.

The subject of your photo doesn’t have to be a monumental cathedral or famous landmark... it could be a building or a favorite building.

Start close to home with your own town and local landmarks, as you’ll be able to be on the spot quickly to make the most of the best light.

Of course, images of iconic buildings are always welcome, but try to photograph them in unusual and creative ways we may not have seen before.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Which Camera Lens Should I Buy?

Each week I usually get an email asking me the same two questions… “What lenses should I buy?” and “what camera should I buy?”

I enjoy taking the time to respond to them because I remember back when I was making that decision for the first time. Heck, I even struggle with what my next purchase is going to be… “should I go with the Nikon D4, or should I stay using what I have… should I invest in that super telephoto lens, or will I not use it like I intend?”

I addressed the camera in my previous post, see that post here…   In this post I want to discuss lenses…

There are a lot of different types of lenses appropriate for so many varieties of different situations… and in reality you could weigh down your pocket book and camera bag with lenses you are rarely going to use. Personally, I find myself relying on four lenses in my bag: a solid wide angle lens (Sigma 10-20mm), a fast general purpose zoom (Sigma 24-70mm), a telephoto zoom (Sigma 70-200mm) and a longer telephoto lens (Sigma 120-300). These four lenses give me the versatility to shoot in almost any conditions. Plus, a variation of each of these lenses is available from any manufacturer, for any camera.

The general purpose zoom

This is the lens that sits on my camera the majority of the time. For APS-C cameras, something between the 18mm and 70mm range is best… I use the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 on both my crop sensor camera and my full frame camera.

This focal range will give you the ability to go fairly wide while also being able to zoom into objects off in the distance. This lens might be your kit lens, but it should preferably be fairly fast (a fixed f/2.8 if possible) to give you greater control over depth of field. It makes a great “walkabout” lens when you aren’t sure what you will be shooting or you are headed to a family birthday party.

My lens … Sigma 24-70 f2.8. Click here to read about this lens.
Here is a sample photo from using that lens.
Click on the image to look at a larger version.
The wide angle lens

The length of this lens isn’t as important as its ability to create a landscape scene or capture the point of view of a taller building. There are ranges of 10mm to 24mm in this category, and for the extreme, some manufacturers push there wide angle lenses as low as 8mm. Personally, I consider that in the fisheye category and the lens that wide will give you distortion you may not want.

I am not as hung up on aperture with this lens as most people are. You will hear from the camp of people that says you need an f2.8, and you will have others that say you do not. Personally, I use this lens for landscape 90% of the time. When I am shooting landscape it is in the golden hour or blue hour… and that means a tripod and an f-stop of f8 to f20… I rarely set my aperture at f4 on my landscape lens as I want the majority of the image in focus.

My suggestion, buy a quality wide angle lens and save yourself the money and do not get that higher priced f2.8 wide angle lens.

My lens … Sigma 10-20mm F4.0-5.6. Click here to read about this lens
Here is a sample image from that lens.
Click on the image to look at a larger version.

The Telephoto zoom

The telephoto zoom should be in the general range of 70-200mm with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 (faster is nice though). This will give you a lot of distance to work with and a very shallow depth of field to bring focus to your subjects. For faster moving objects, the bigger aperture (f2.8) will allow you to shoot at faster shutter speeds which will help capture moving objects (birds, sports) as well. This is also an excellent portrait lens as the focal length minimizes distortion and narrows the angle of view to fill the frame with your subject.

My lens … Sigma 70-200... F2.8. Click here to read about this lens.
Here is a sample image using that lens.
Click on the image to look at a larger version.

Longer Telephoto

When the 200mm focal length will just not do, a longer telephoto is a good option.

The ranges on the top end of the length range are from 300mm to 500mm, and above… but there is a cost factor when you start getting into that range, especially with apertures of f2.8 to f4.0.

One train of thought is to buy in the 300mm range and purchase a teleconverter to increase the focal length… There are 1.4x, 1.5x, 1.7x and 2.0x teleconverters depending on the manufacturer. But be careful, a teleconverter will, in some minor instances, make your automatic lens, manual. It will reduce the aperture by one or two stops… For example, a 300mm, f2.8 becomes a 600mm, f5.6 with a 2.0x teleconverter.

I am lucky enough to shoot with a 120-300 f2.8 and have access to other lenses in the Sigma line-up through my relationship with them here in Canada. I also have a 1.4x teleconverter that increase my 120-300mm f2.8 to a 168-420mm and I only lose one f-stop.

My lens … Sigma 120-300... F2.8. Click here to read about this lens.

Other longer telephoto lenses that I have access to through Sigma are:

Here is a sample image from my last shoot with the 50-500 F4.5-6.3.
Click on the image to look at a larger version.

I am sure many of you reading this have other lenses you would consider essential. A good prime portrait lens like a 50mm f1.8 or a longer prime lens like a 90mm f2.8… and those are great lenses to own also.

However, for someone who is new to photography or who has just bought their first or second DSLR and money is a consideration, these four lenses will give them the versatility to shoot in almost any situation.

Please email me or comment below on this blog if you have any questions, comments or information you want to add.


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

How do you decide which DSLR to buy next?

The BIG question I always hear is, "So who makes a better camera? Canon or Nikon?"

When you think about it, it could be like asking someone, “So who makes the better hamburger? McDonalds or Burger King… or maybe Wendy’s does?”

If you are a gear head and partial to one camera over the next, this article is probably not going to be for you… I respect your in depth knowledge greatly... but a Canon techie patriot will have mostly bad things to say about Nikon and vice versa and I am not going to take this article in that direction... This isn’t a comparison of sensor capabilities, high megapixel counts that will cause the average person to go out and buy a new computer to be able to edit their photos, nor is it a comparison of noise capabilities of the freakishly used, extremely high ISO that the average shooter will never shoot at… this is for the amateur photographer that really struggles with the purchase decision of their first or second entry level or mid level DSLR.

Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to shoot with a variety of cameras. In the Canon line-up I have shot with the Rebel XSi, the 7D, the 5D MKI and 5D MKII and 5D MKIII. In the Nikon Line-up I have shot with the D600 the D300 and the D7000. In the Olympus line-up I have shot with the E420, E520, E30 and E3. And in the Pentax line-up I have shot with the K30, the K5 and the K7. So I have run the gamut a fair bit and tried most cameras in real world settings.

I found features in every one of these cameras that I really liked… and some that I didn't like. One camera had too many features buried in menus, one was too heavy, but most did exactly what i needed... and in fact, photos taken by each brand of camera have found their way into reputable magazines, or showcased on some camera manufacturer sites, or hanging in businesses or purchased from stock photo sites... a good photograph isn’t made by the expensive camera, a good photograph comes from the 6 inches behind the camera, “You”.

The reality check is that for beginners, and for those entering into the phase of intermediate level photographer; you are still learning all the functions of the camera and you are still learning composition and mastering the basics… picking the right camera is about picking the right camera for where your skill levels will be in two years. Once you master that camera... upgrade and go through the same learning cycle again.
But it is true that some manufacturers have better features than others, the sensor size will matter for the elimination of digital noise in low light and it will have an effect on the length of the zoom in your lenses. A crop factor sensor amplifies the length of your lens, where as a full frame camera does not... a 300mm lens on a 4/3rds camera is in effect a 600mm and a 300mm lens on a full frame camera is 300mm. There are pluses and minuses to both, but until you can understand that, well, I would stay away from buying that full frame camera for now... The megapixels will also matter if you are printing larger photos and you want to keep the resolution. It will also help if you are cropping and want to still have crisp photos. The bracketing possibilities will help you ensure you are properly exposing every shot you take. Even the cameras ability to fire multiple channels of flashes simultaneously at different powers will matter if you get into taking photos of weddings, studio work, product, etc.

Even the longevity of the company should matter to you. I shoot Olympus, and I have since I was 13… right now the future of Olympus is in question and I am faced with making the uncomfortable decision of making a complete shift and purchase a complete line-up of a second set of camera gear. This decision is going to run me close to $15,000 and I am flip flopping like a fish on the dock on which way to go… just ask my friend Gary Simmons... LOL
So after you are bombarded with advice, look at what the PRO’s use, you have read review after review, and so on… at the end of the day your decision is a personal one. It comes down to a few basic factors…
~ How much can you afford right now?
~ How good is the warranty and extended warranty offered by the retailer?
~ What is the trade in policy by the retailer you are buying the camera at?
~ How easy is it going to be for you to upgrade your camera in the future without purchasing new lenses?
~ How expensive are the lenses of the camera manufacturer you are considering?  
~ What feels comfortable in your hands?

If you are a family photographer and have no aspirations of selling photos or running workshops, well any entry level camera will do the trick and any reputable retailer will steer you in the right direction.

But if you have aspirations of getting creative and want to learn the art of taking photos like the masters before us... well, as I write this in December of 2012, my personal advice for the amateur photographer is to look at two cameras… both feature rich that you can grow into. They have a good balance of megapixel size, sensor quality, quality of the body, longevity and can produce award winning images…

The Canon 7D… it’s a little long in the tooth as it has been around awhile… but as Canon recently launched the full frame, entry level, 6D and about to launch the 7D MKII, the price will drop to clear them out… you will be able to pick up a crop sensor camera that a lot of PRO’s use as their second camera… and a lot of experienced shooters use as their primary camera. The 7D MKII might also be well priced as Canon will probably keep it under their 6D full frame camera... I would go MKII if you could afford it.

The Nikon D7000… it has not been on the market all that long, but with the recent launch of the D7100 and the D600, an entry level full frame camera, Nikon has been lowering the price of that camera to start to move them again. I have seen it advertised for under $900 with free camera bags and memory cards just to sell them. Just a year ago this camera was well over $1300.

With either of those cameras you will walk away happy with your purchase and own a camera that will produce excellent images now and for many years to come. Both cameras are extremely feature rich and offer you the opportunity to grow into them before you even have to consider to upgrade. You can also purchase most lenses in each manufacturers line-up to be used on those bodies.

If you looking for a camera, I wish you luck in your decision…

Photoflex Triton Flash

Wednesday's is product day on my blog... today I wanted to introduce you to a great portable strobe light...

The Photoflex® TritonFlash™ is the most advanced Lithium Ion portable strobe available. Built to the high standards of Photoflex®, the TritonFlash™ is unique and unmatched by any other battery strobe on the market.

·     The TritonFlash™ delivers where others fall short:

·     The TritonFlash™includes a free extra battery module (a $349.00 value) at no extra cost (for a limited time) and softbox included in the kit.

·     Sturdy, adjustable swivel mount track and connecting hardware is vastly superior to any other portable strobe, enabling users to mount the largest strobe softboxes with ease. No other battery strobe in its class can say that.

·     With more than double the power settings of the competition, the TritonFlash™ has 19 super-accurate settings to match any lighting situation.

·     Color temperature is more accurate and stable across all 19 power settings than other battery strobes in its class.

·     The TritonFlash™ recycles 20% faster than the nearest competitor, making it the fastest battery strobe in its class.

·     The TritonFlash™ can power two strobe heads on one battery and fire them both at full power or articulated individually at any proportional power. The competition either cuts your power in half per head or doesn’t even allow this option.

·     The TritonFlash™ has a more efficient heat dissipating flash tube design, a contributing factor to its ability to fire up to 7 frames per second.

When you compare the TritonFlash™ to the competition, there is no comparison.

Rated at 300 watt seconds with a guide number of 185 and up to 750 full power flashes on a single charge, the TritonFlash™ operates in the power range of studio strobes, enabling photographers to shoot large setups in bright sun without the need for AC power. Fast recycling allows bursts of up to 6 shots per second for capturing fast action at weddings, sporting events, or for scientific purposes.

Our lightweight lithium ion battery pack (22 ounces / 623 grams) is extremely efficient and environmentally safe, representing a significant upgrade from heavier Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) systems. The charger automatically adjusts to AC voltages between 100~240 volts for international use. The TritonFlash battery can be charged while it is connected to the battery pack and the flash can be used while it is charging with no adverse effect. The battery can also be removed from the battery pack to charge, which facilitates charging of a spare while the flash is in use with 2nd battery. These qualities make the TritonFlash™ a smart buy for both studio and location photographers.

The kit includes several essential accessories such as an extra small OctoDome® SoftBox, and a reflector for umbrellas, so photographers have everything they need for location or studio work.

Complete kit includes:
1 - TritonFlash™ strobe head
1 - Power module with connections for two TritonFlash™ heads
1 - Lithium ion battery
1 - Free additional Lithium ion battery
1 - Carrying case for power pack with shoulder strap
1 - Battery cable (4 feet/1.2 meters)
1 - Battery extension cable (9.8 feet/3 meters)
1 - AC powered international battery charger (100~240 volts)
1 - AC power cord for battery charger
1 - AC plug adaptor for European use
1 - 7 inch reflector accessory
1 - Swivel stand mount (all metal)
1 - Flash tube protector cap
1 - Extra small OctoDome® SoftBox in carry bag
1 - SoftBox connector (OctoConnector)
1 - Hot shoe sync cable for direct connection to camera

You can learn more about the Triton Flash and its uses on the Photoflex website,

You can come and use the Triton Flash at one of our lighting workshops...

Where Can You Buy the TritonFlash?

B&H Photo carries the TritonFlash. See the product here

Vistek carries the TritonFlash. See the product here

Monday, 18 March 2013

The new Sigma Lens Line-Up

Starting in 2013 all the newly produced interchangeable lenses from Sigma will be organized into one of three product categories: Contemporary, Art and Sports. Each line has a clearly defined concept to guide photographers towards the specific lenses for their photographic interests.
The concept of these three categories are as follows:
Contemporary – These lenses incorporate the very latest technology and keep size and weight to a minimum, without compromising their advanced optical performance or utility. High-performance, versatile, compact and superbly portable, these lenses will be largely comprised of standard zooms, telephoto zooms and high-magnification zooms for an array of photography, including landscape and travel photography, and casual portraiture.

So far they have launched the 17-70mm F2.8 - F4.0 in the Contemporary Category.
Art – These lenses are developed with an emphasis on artistic touch and are designed to meet the expectations of users who value a creative, dramatic outcome. Along with landscapes, portraits, still-life, close-up and casual snaps, these lenses are perfect for the kind of photography that unleashes the inner artist. Ideal for studio photography, they offer just as much of an expressive scope when capturing architecture, starry skies, underwater shots and many other scenes. This category will be comprised of many focal lengths and designs, such as large-aperture prime lenses, wide-angle lenses, ultra wide-angle lenses, and macro and fisheye lenses.

So far they have launched the following lenses in the Art Category.
19mm F2.8
30mm F1.4
30mm F2.8
60mm F2.8
35mm F1.4
Sports - With their high-level optical performance and expressive power, these lenses can capture fast-moving subjects, even at distance. This line also offers a variety of functions to aid the photographer in challenging conditions and scenarios. Besides sports photography, the lenses are also ideal for nature shots featuring birds, wild animals and other creatures, and for the capture of aircraft, trains, race cars and more. The Sports line is also unique in that users can adjust the lenses’ focus speeds and the focus limiters via a button on the lens. The Sports category will be comprised of telephoto lenses, telephoto zoom lenses, super telephoto lenses, super telephoto zoom lenses, and more.

In the Sports Category they have recently launched the 120-300mm F2.8

Sigma 120-300 F2.8 DG OS HSM

I am actually taking the 120-300mm F2.8 with me on my next safari workshop at the end of April... so watch out for my real world review and some photos from Tanzania.

How did the professional photographer take that photo

On a recent photo shoot I went up near Algonquin Park in Ontario to shoot snowy owls before they headed back to the Arctic for the summer. We were lucky enough to come across a few owls that reside in the area for our winter.

There are many traditional photos you can take of owls... flying in the sky while looking at you, standing on the ground... and if you are lucky enough, flying right at you with wings expanded.

One thing people assume is that you have to shoot at a lower aperture like f2.8 to quicken that shutter speed and freeze the action. What this does though is shorten the focal plane... that is the amount of horizontal plane that is actually in focus.

I was using a 500mm lens... at this distance using a 500mm lens my focal plane would have been less than 8 inches. The wing span of an owl is about six feet... shooting at f2.8 would have put the wings out of focus... the tips extremely blurred.

I was shooting in manual mode and set the aperture at f11, set the shutter speed fast enough to freeze the action, then used the ISO to ensure exposure.

The focus was set on the face and I took the image as the owl made a turn in the sky... I also positioned the owl on the left side of the frame so I gave the photo the perception that the owl has room to fly into.

I hope that helps you on your next photo shoot.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Protecting Your Camera in Harsh Desert Conditions

2014 is the "Year of the Greatest Deserts in the World" for me! I hope you consider joining Jim Zuckerman, Deborah Sandidge and Denise Ippolito when they join me on one of my workshops to three of the worlds greatest deserts in Africa and Asia... the Gobi, the Namib and the Sahara!!!
photo courtesy of namibia safaris

When you are in harsh conditions like the desert you will quickly realize that there is always some kind of suspended material in the prevailing winds. The sand and dust will quickly get onto your lenses and effect your final images... so how do cope with these conditions?

At a minimum you need a good UV filter. A good UV filter can run you as little as $20. I would much rather replace a UV filter than replace the front of a lens... When dust and grit get on the filter, a blower will clear the particles away from the lens. I would not use a cloth... it will scratch the filters.
But the best tip I have read is probably also something we wouldn't normally think about... and that is an underwater housing... Since you’re essentially waterproofing your camera equipment, you can be sure that fine grit, dust and sand won’t be able to get to your precious gear, either. I will say, "It is definitely not as user friendly to use an underwater housing on land but you will have the ability to walk into some pretty harsh weather and get some shots that few others would ever attempt to capture."

As for changing memory cards, batteries or lenses... it is a MUST that you want to do this in a well protected area. You wouldn’t believe the amount of damage a few grains of sand can do to your camera.

When I will be traveling to Namib desert in Namibia, the Gobi desert in Mongolia and the Sahara desert in Morocco I will be bringing two camera bodies, a different lens on each body. One camera will have a wider angle telephoto and the other will have a longer focal length like a 50-200 or 120-300. I will also bring a battery grip to extend the battery life and minimize the need to change batteries. In regards to memory... I will be putting in a 16gig or 32gig card in each camera... all this designed to minimize exposing my cameras to the harsh conditions.

But sand and dust are not the only issues in a desert workshop. The heat and bright sun are also a consideration. When shooting in any hot and sunny situation you should always cover your camera with a blanket when not using it. Or better yet, put it in the shade and cover it. The blanket will help eliminate sand and dust, plus keep the camera cool... and putting it away in your camera bag, or in the shade will also minimize heat stress on the DSLR and lens.

Despite some harsh conditions, a desert photo shoot or workshop can be a very rewarding experience. The images can be stunning, You just have to take more care of your gear in the environment.

Check out these desert workshops that the Photographer's Lounge has planned.

Planning Your Photographic Holidays for 2013 and 2014?

Check out these awesome locations that we will be travelling to in the next 24 months... we would love to have you come with us on one of our workshops and trips... heck, on some of the workshops you can even bring your spouse for free! Ask us for details!  :-)

April 2013 – Tanzania - Come join us on a African Photo Safari in April of 2013. We will be going for a 7 days safari, spending time at Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and the Central Serengeti. Lake Manyara is a beautiful little park and is famous for its tree-climbing lions, elephants and large troops of baboons. The park is home to an amazing variety of birds and animals considering its small size. A short visit to this serene park will greatly diversify your safari experience as the lush green jungle habitat is of stark contrast to the other parks you will visit during your safari. The Ngorongoro Crater, described as one of the wonders of the world, is an amazing natural sanctuary not to be missed. Game viewing here is among the very best Africa has to offer and is excellent at any time of year. The Central Serengeti offers superb game viewing year round due to the abundance of resident animals. Specifically, the Seronera River Valley in the Central Serengeti is a ‘must see’ on every safari regardless of the specific month of travel.

June 2013 – Provence - To start the tour we will bring the white ranch horses to different properties, allowing for a wide range of photogenic backdrops and behaviours. We photograph the white horses running through the shallow water of salt marshes and along the beach in the waves and salt spray. With shots of fighting stallions, mares with their dark foals in the fields or at the ranches, and detailed portrait head shots and guardian riders in their gear. During our first few days we will also shoot greater flamingos feeding, displaying and in flight at the Parc Ornithologique de Pont de Gau. Located in the middle of the Parc naturel rĂ©gional de Camargue, the bird park’s natural habitats primarily include marsh and ponds with remarkable proximity to migratory and resident birds, such as flamingos, herons, storks, ducks, raptors and other small waders.

During our second half of the trip you will stay three nights in the Parc Naturel du Luberon, a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. The Luberon valley is a picturesque landscape of vineyards, lavender fields flanking country roads, quaint delightful villages with local artisans shops, winding alleys and beautiful vistas

To see more details on this workshop with Rick Sammon and Denise Ippolito, please visit,
July 2013 – Mongolia - The Naadam Festival originates from Hunnu era (209BC) and has come to our time through centuries. It consists of the 3 Games of Men, namely, archery, wrestling and horse racing. The Mongols started celebrating Naadam Festival nationwide on 11-12 July each year since 1921. The Opening Ceremony is the most impressive part of this glorious festival, and everyone loves taking part in it. During the Opening Ceremony you will admire the ritual of Genghis Khan’s 9 white flags carried into the stadium by soldiers in the military uniform of Genghis Khan. Hundreds of artists in traditional Mongolian costumes of different eras perform dances and songs for the Opening Ceremony while are parading with hundreds of musicians and Tsam masked dancers. 512-1024 wrestlers take part in the wrestling competition of Naadam for high ranking titles. They dress in traditional wrestling costume, the “zodog”, “shuudag”and “Mongol boots”. Horse racing consists of 6 races with 6 ages of horses. Horses race for 15-30 km depending on their ages and 300-500 horses compete in each race. The jockeys are aged between 6-12 years of age. Archery is one of the oldest sports of the Mongols besides wrestling and horse racing. Male archers shoot for 75m while female archers shoot for 60m with traditional Mongolian bow and arrows. We take part in the Naadam opening ceremony, see the first round of the wrestling, final rounds of the archery competition and enjoy the horse racing.

August 2013 – Kawartha Region of OntarioJoin Deb Sandidge on his first workshop in Ontario. We will be headed up near Minden, Ontario in the Kawartha’s to photograph areas extending up into Algonquin Park.


September 2013 – IcelandJoin Rick Sammon, Kevin Pepper and Tim Vollmer for a tour across Iceland. Tim has been running workshops in Iceland for many years, and in 2013 he has offered to show Rick and I the most amazing locations in Iceland.

October 2013 – Venezuela - Prepare for your first experience of the natural phenomenon of the Catatumbo lightning. This natural phenomenon has existed for centuries, yet many of us have never heard of it. The first written mention of the was in the 1597 poem "La Dragontea" by Lope de Vega, which recounts the defeat of Sir Francis Drake.

Imagine the most intense thunderstorm you may have witnessed in North America... now imagine increasing that intensity for 6 hours of a lightening show. During the first and second night you are positioned to witness massive, arching strikes that can exceed 250 times an hour. Your view will be over a pristine tropical lagoon that offers calm reflections of the action in the skies.

In addition to the Catatumbo lightning we will also head up into the Andes Mountains to see some of the most awe inspiring mountain vistas on the globe.

March 2014 - We are going to heat things up and head back to one of my favorite locations on earth... Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains. I have wanted to head back here for years, and I finally created a workshop that I know you will love. From the Medina to the Sahara desert, the photography opportunities will be fantastic.

To see more details on this workshop please visit,

April 2014 – Namibia - Namibia is a land of endless horizons, where the impossible feels possible. Where you can climb the highest sand dunes in the world. Descend to the floor of the deepest canyon in Africa. Immerse yourself in the past at one of the Africa’s richest rock art sites, and watch wildlife shimmer against one of the most spectacular pans on earth. Explore the oldest, driest desert in the world and take time to listen to the silence and to your soul.

Namibia is home to vibrant cities where people are excited about the future, while remaining deeply connected to their rich, cultural past. A stable, democratic government, infrastructure that allows guests to move confidently off the beaten path and those endless horizons that beckon you to explore define a country, African wildlife such as the "Big 5" and countless other herds of animals and amazing people.

August 2014 – Tofino - Have you ever been to the extreme west coast of Canada? The unique location where you can enjoy the sights of a rainforest one day and be photographing black bears, bald eagles and whales the next... then switch things up and turn inland to photograph snow covered mountains?

Join Kevin Pepper on another "Photographers Lounge" photo workshop to this unique land. August is a magical time of year in Tofino; "fog"ust as it is referred to creates spectacular images along the expansive shoreline in the morning hours, animals like black bears, sea lions and yes, even whales are a frequent part of the days activities in the Tofino area.

I will make sure you have the chance to photograph all of these places you expect to capture, but also take you to little known gems for those unique shots the everyday tourist will not capture.

September 2014 – Mongolia – You will fly with Jim Zuckerman and Kevin Pepper to Mongolia's western-most province - Bayan Olgii. Olgii is home to Kazakh people, who have a rich cultural heritage, music, handicrafts and traditional Hunting with Golden Eagles.

It is here where we will photograph the Eagle trainers that will gather to show their skills and their eagle's abilities. The festival will begin with the hunters displaying their traditional Kazakh dress and their eagle's equipment and ornaments. This is an exciting and authentic event which not only features eagle hunters' competitions, but also other Kazakh traditional games such as Kokbar (goat carcass polo), Kazak archery, etc.

To see more details on this workshop with Jim Zuckerman, please visit,

September 2014 – Paris, France - Experience the "city of lights and love" during a six day workshop in Paris. This is a photo workshop for students interested in exploring the rich traditions of Parisian street photography and capture the buildings that have been synonymous with photography for generations.

Students will spend much time exploring and photographing the daily life of Paris and will visit many of the rich museums housing some of the greatest works of art ever produced. The workshop deals with the humanistic traditions of street photography, and students will be expected to think not only in terms of single images in a fine art sense, but will be highly encouraged to think of the notion of telling a story with a group of pictures.

Students will be encouraged to photograph the life of Paris and accept the challenge of photographing people, as well as the environment and visual landscape of the city. Kevin will help the students with this process and offer tips for overcoming any hesitations or mental blocks of timidity in this process.

To see more details on these workshops with Deb Sandidge and Denise Ippolito, please visit,

October 2014 – Venezuela - Prepare for your first experience of the natural phenomenon of the Catatumbo lightning. This natural phenomenon has existed for centuries, yet many of us have never heard of it. The first written mention of the was in the 1597 poem "La Dragontea" by Lope de Vega, which recounts the defeat of Sir Francis Drake.

Imagine the most intense thunderstorm you may have witnessed in North America... now imagine increasing that intensity for 6 hours of a lightening show. During the first and second night you are positioned to witness massive, arching strikes that can exceed 250 times an hour. Your view will be over a pristine tropical lagoon that offers calm reflections of the action in the skies.

In addition to the Catatumbo lightning we will also head up into the Andes Mountains to see some of the most awe inspiring mountain vistas on the globe.