bart allen boeckler: Blog en-us Copyright/All Right Reserved 2024 Bart Boeckler (bart allen boeckler) Tue, 02 Aug 2022 17:16:00 GMT Tue, 02 Aug 2022 17:16:00 GMT bart allen boeckler: Blog 95 120 The Social Dilemma Let's get into it....these days we are inundated with social media photography. During the digital photography revolution which started in the early 2000's and is still going on.  Those who would have never thought of spending thousands on a film camera, lens and processing now have the ability to jump onto the bandwagon.  To see their photo before they process it or even click the shutter. The ability to then print it, and retouch it with amazing speed via paid or free software is now all the rage.  

There are dozens of free social photo sharing sites online, you know the ones...Facebook, Instagram, You Tube, Tik Tok, Flickr, Google, SmugMug, PicFair...the list goes on and on.  The ability to sell photos online is endless, along with the billions of photos post by the minute.  Behind all this is advertisers making money, Youtubers making thousands off of promotional fluffy reviews, and then there's the people commenting in and on those social arena's.  It's all big business for sure...But, the real point of this topic is purely the social side...the dilemma of it all. The parts that involve leading you, involving you, watching your purchases, your likes, your conspiracy comments, passive aggressions and most importantly the ability for people to punch below the belt and create tensions and non truths.  "If you build it they will come". It's all a bit crazy that this nonsense has mingled it's way into online photography.  I see so many posts and comments where the person (s) doesn't obviously even take the time to see the photo or read the description. Then there are those who hide locations and editing exif due to paranoia of someone one upping there photo.  It's all a bit childish.  They are just interested in clicking and moving on, hoping you do the same for them, because they are collectors of self gratification. There are the social media cliques where you can never be a part of. The are even group rules made by kings and administrators (actualy just regular people with egos).  So the good comes with the bad in the social arena.   

So the next time you comment on someone's photo in a social media site, be truthful in you critique, stay away from the sneaky underlying comments that hide jealousy, competition between friends or even to hurt someone purposefully. Don't comment just for the sake of a returned accolade or for your own personal showboating.  Photography is like all art forms, subjective in it's critique...there are no real rules in how you take or present a photo or idea....keep it real, keep it kind and keep it truthful.  Self satisfying narcissistic ego's have no place in digital photography or in life for that matter. I say it kind, be respectful and be'll feel better in the end. 

(bart allen boeckler) Tue, 02 Aug 2022 17:15:53 GMT
Photographer Or Illustrator So I've been a photographer for a long time and having been digital for a couple of decades while doubling with film photography up until about 2004. I have been posting images on Flickr and a few other sites since 2005. Over the last few years I've noticed that some of the purity of photography has changed for better or worse. It wasn't until the mid 1940's that photography was recognized as art. This got me to thinking (oh no) how is the expectations of photography changing for the creators and for the viewers. One has but to look on the current crop of photography and social sites to see that imagery has totally changed due to AI and software almost overnight. With the advent of digital movies (AKA Pixar) and digital effects, reality has become surreal and real at the same time. Don't get me wrong, there are still those who keep it as it was, however this certainly may not be as popular with the masses, as capturing the moments as seen by the naked eye.

The line between photographer and illustrator has been crossed.  I often get pushes and emails from the Xbox/Playstation Fantasy Photo groups. It's a whole other world of totally unreal faux created electronic art and it is very popular in some circles. So my point is the digital palette is wide open for creation from the infinite algorithms with the clicks of a mouse or digital pen pad. 

Now the second part of this is the edits that reside in the middle spaces between real and surreal.  It is possible to use software to enhance real scenes through layers of change and enhancement.  This includes, lighting, shadows, highlights, color, details, mystical highlighting, remove digital artifacts and changing or enhancing contrast and softness.  The ability to remove, insert or replace people, skies and objects with software is now easily accomplished. Camera's have built in effects and scene modes. The are thousands of applications for cellphones and tablet cameras.  We can now even see the outcome of the image before we even photograph it. The outcomes are infinite for the ability of photographers to create a totally new scene or to edit the image just this side of a touch of enhanced fantasy. 

The popularity for photographs and photographers that create surreal beauty in the golden age of digital photography has grown abundantly of late. Be assured photography software is a billion dollar money making business. The are thousands of tutorials, teaching and helpers on You Tube and the internet. Over the last decade the thousands of photographers who took up the hobby now trying to make money from their photography is threefold. There are those who are giving their images away to magazine publishers and others in an effort to be published, when we use to get paid for use of our photos by magazines, ads  and publishers.  Ok, so I'm getting a bit off track here, one thing leads to another!

In closing, the upside of all of this is the creativity and awesome surrealism of images being edited and posted on the internet. It's sometimes hard to tell what is real and never hard at all to know that which is not.  I give praise to those who keep it real with minimal editing of their photography, that is the harder part of making stunning photo's in this day and golden age of digital photography.

That being said, reality in photography probably is not as popular!  More so than not, human being have an internal desire to change themselves to be and feel different promoted by what they see.  Fantasy feeds that part of our brains and ego's.

Be well!

(bart allen boeckler) Fri, 15 Jan 2021 14:59:48 GMT
Do You Know How To Work Your Camera...? So in this short burst of a blog I thought I'd touch on equipment and the fact that so many of my students have no idea how to truly operate it to get the most out of it. When to change settings, how to navigate the UI, manual controls for white balance, contrast, color, time lapse, video settings and so on. I implore to get familiar with there camera, sitting down with their manual and camera and learning its menu, buttons, settings, and customizing functions and buttons. You need to know what your camera is capable of!  It's a mini computer, containing features hidden within. Know how to use it to your advantage concerning exposure to achieve the best results for the light and timing. You don't need a highend camera like a Nikon D850 or a 100 megapixel Fujifilm GFX-100, even know how to work that camera app you bought in you iPhone will make for better photos/video's in the end.  You don't always need a tripod these days for captures in low light of even waterfalls, but it helps. As for static images, I often see landscapers who almost never shoot without a tripod. Today's technology, with high ISO noise reduction in-body and lens based image stabilization, and wide aperture lens. We can shoot with confidence that our camera will get it right if you know how to use it to it's fullest potential. I do know many use layers, HDR, focus bracketing, etc, and that calls for a tripod in many cases.

But finally my point is, if you know how to set up your camera, you're familiar with it's operation, settings, modes, kelvin, noise levels and focus your chances of gaining a better outcome are assured. And don't be afraid to use RAW exposure for difficult situations. In the last few years though I will say that the latest crop of mirrorless camera's have excellent JPEG abilities.  I am amazed by the pliability of the files of recent camera's from the big 5 companies, especially Nikon.

So after you get the shot, please don't overwork it in photoshop or lightroom or what ever software you use. Be wary of your contrast, not too much, not too little. I see so many nice images ruined with too little or to much contrast. So all in all get out there, have fun and make sure you know how to get the best from your camera.  It will reward you, it will keep your mind sharp remembering just what you need to do to get the best from that light.

Thanks for stopping in! Cheers

(bart allen boeckler) Wed, 25 Nov 2020 20:23:33 GMT
The Virtual Art of Photography In These Modern Socially Digital Times Sometimes or maybe often photographer’s contemplate a picture in their minds virtually…What happens next is we then to go out and try to make it… often if it doesn’t turn out as we dreamed, we feel the need to enhance it, change it, fix it and expand it to fit our dream. Remember this, “modern digital
photography outcomes may not be as it really was in a particular moment of time”.

I am a teacher of photography, as mediocre as it is for me,  I will always teach the basic premise that a great photograph need not be explained.  A good photograph will always be true to the “actual” moment, mood and scene.  You cannot spin it or remake it into what it was not, “eye candy”. You don't need the histrogram, latest camera, a filter, special lens, super computer filled with fancy software to make a great photograph! As artful as it may be, it's still a photograph or should be in the end.

There will be those who argue that even the great masters of film used tools to enhance the outcomes.  This is true to a certain extent, however the manipulation in the chemical darkroom was very, very limited according to today's standards. The only means being mostly contrast and shades of light.  Later with the advent of color positive and negative film, saturation and the palette of colors became paramount.

Today we have unlimited tools to change, manipulate, reverse, beautify, saturate, sharpen, control gamma, soften, clarify, spot heal, clone, mask, brighten, darken, curves, vignette, add anything, remove anything, change perspective, dodge, burn, layers of change and finally you can completely make a photograph literally out of nothing with clicks on a computer using digital illusion/illustrator software. We now see an entire group / (groupie)  subject of surreal photographs made from PlayStations (search Flickr), not camera's. We’ve got drones, cellphones, apps and the force is endless. Billions upon billions of photographs uploaded of every moment in and out from our lives, both sacred and unsecured all the while everyone is watching. All the good, the bad and the ugly. (Twitter, FB, Instagram, etc.)

We are a world of social media divining our photos daily, tagging, grouping, promoting, commenting, bragging all in the hopes for likes of our unique lives.  We are depressed, excited, surprised, tickled, informed and disappointed all  in the social sharing of our life’s moments.

It’s all a bit overwhelming, so often virtually contemplated in our thoughts.  The fighting, the shouting, the humor, the shame, the opinion, all for us to share with the world like never before.

So this story has migrated from the true basic thoughts on photography to the social monopoly
of our lives…we need it, we want it, we believe it. So the next time you see a beautiful picture that is “too good to be true” it probably is!

So in closing, everyone should watch the documentary on Netflix this year “The Social Dilemma”.  

I know the world is full of too much craziness in politics, environment, financial losses, pandemics and forces of nature…it’s all overwhelming…so walk on the bright side of the street, we will survive. Now go out an take some photographs today, enjoy all we have to play with in these times. Let the moments sooth your thoughts and be not to worry over how many accolades that photo will generate within the social dilemma! And in the end remember, it's a photograph...try and keep it that way. Thank you, as always for dropping by, now back to work.


(bart allen boeckler) Thu, 15 Oct 2020 13:38:53 GMT
A Snapshot or A Photograph So I get the question often in my workshops from newbies and enthusiasts..."How do I really become a better photographer" ?  Well the answer is it's pretty subjective to a certain degree.  Define a snapshot it is considered a cursory image, a quick record of something or someone. Most people take snapshots. A photograph may not be all that much more than a snapshot, but the person is trying to make a better or more meaningful image. Carefully observing the present light, backgrounds, contrasts, compositions, timing, depth or not  and of course knowing where to shoot from or stand.  

Then there are perspectives and point of view, (which are two different circumstances). Point of view is the type of narrative you've chosen to promote in the scene. On the other hand, perspective is about how the process or character shows what's happening in the image. Carefully working these two thoughts in your composition will very much improve the outcomes. There will always be a debate that candid street shooting are snapshots and in truth most are. This may be what makes a moment interesting in a journalistic way.   However it is possible to make a candid street photograph, as opposed to a snapshot by setting up the scene or in waiting for a particular strategic moment to happen in a prejudged composition.

All too often people are taking snapshots only in hopes to get something others will like.  You can see many examples in social media like Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and Smug Mug, Google etc;  where people snap away with cellphones.  In most cases you will not see the outcome as a photograph, but rather resulting in a not so interesting snapshot, which will need to be explained in a narrative. 

Often hobbyist and advanced photographers will promote "location, location, location" OR "travel, travel, travel" thinking and hoping it will guarantee you a stunning and interesting photograph....not always true!  There needs to be careful thought, timing, knowledge of light and camera operation know how.  If you don't know your camera it's modes, compensations and abilities as a tool, your outcome may not be at it's best. 

Finally there is post processing...As you may or may not know there are now labs that process raw images for a fee. This is an area of expertise that needs knowledge, hardware and experience to get the highest outcome, especially for enlarging and printing.  I see far too many photo's where the colors, contrasts, dynamic range and details just don't make the mark. Most often it is the colors and lighting that are wrong.  I believe that often this is due to the use of the auto white balance setting in camera and or monitor calibration regardless of the medium used. This is also apparent in monochrome photo's as well as the overuse and over processing, although such may be intentional by the shooter....that's fine I guess.

So all this is why my workshops touch on all of the above....from knowing and using your camera manually, achieving composition, lighting, perspective, point of view and the eventual processed outcome. 

If you would like to seek help with a photograph that you have taken, you're welcome to send me a large (preferably) raw file for critique (limit 2 images). I will, if possible, reprocess the image and send it back to you for free to see if it can be visually better.  This is offered to you to see if there is room for you to grow photographically. Send to file:

[email protected]



(bart allen boeckler) Wed, 01 Jan 2020 15:38:00 GMT
Overzealous Contrast and Colors Hello photographers and students,

So lets discuss contrast in digital photography, (shortly though). I see many students and some enthusiasts using lets say HDR software to produce unrealistic photographs, which is a process that's over done and a very deep teaching.  Then in post processing they will push the contrast slider too far and on top of the destructive HDR process, especially using plugh-ins.  This has several undesirable effects, especially rendering blacks and shades of black entirely too dark.  Most thinking this allows the colors to stand out and too the eye it will. However one of the negative effects is to push the image into the sort of silhouette looking mode.  My students always ask "should I under-expose or over-expose" ?  Well, that depends on the scene and lighting of course. For landscapes I like to over-expose a tad as not to loose detail in the shadows, then work the image in post, most software will allow control over just blacks/grays, etc.

So my point is don't grab the contrast slider and push it into oblivion !  Use the light, keep it light and get the contrast right in the camera exposure. Also most modern camera's will let you set contrast levels in the camera settings to save specifics for specific types of images.  

We all know many of you use Flickr, Smug Mug, Google and other social sites to post in.  Of course you will get great accolades no matter what you post there by most of your contacts, they want one in return.  However if you look at the really great images on those sites, you will see that blacks and shades of grays are balanced.  Over contrasting  your images in post will actually make you image appear less detailed.

So heed my suggestions, give it a fair try and see if your photo's don't thank you for it! 

Shoot till your cards full and have fun!

(bart allen boeckler) Sat, 23 Nov 2019 17:28:32 GMT
Passion Equals Obsession My passion for photography goes way back to my passion for motorsports and manmade things with wheels goes back further. When I use to get 50 cents for my chores I would ride down to the corner news stand to buy a hot rod magazine. As I got older I got a motorcycle which continued for years and even road racing, flat track, motorcross and drag racing motorcycles in the early 70's and 80's. Had my share of crashes too!  All the while taking photos of motorsports action. A tough scenario with film cameras and manual focus. (WE ARE SO SPOILED TODAY) but that's cool!

Anyway my son and I always bonded and continue to shoot racing action, the drivers, pit action, camaraderie and suspense involved in motorsports. Shooting for several owners and teams over the years and loving every minute of it.

So while I have no one forte photographically and I always never need a reason to go take photographs.  I don't consider myself a landscape photographer, I love just seeing things that surround me everyday! To capture a moment no one else saw and save it....that's the passion, like a song stuck in your head. Obsession....plainly yes! But it is self gratifying, a bit narcissistic, maybe. It does tend to keep the wheels rolling and if I make some money along the way, what's the harm. So I say keep on, keepin on...there's a silver lining!


(bart allen boeckler) Wed, 21 Aug 2019 14:31:17 GMT
The Bigger The Kit I have resigned myself from carrying huge camera kits! Over the years I use to lug around a huge backpack with three Canon bodies and several "L" lenses...I even toted a rolling suitcase for commercial work.  After a day hiking in the mountains with a 45 lb backpack, I was spent.  I always worried when I travel internationally " will I have the right stuff for my exotic escapades" ?

So as I moved forward in photography....because we are always capable of learning no matter the experience.  I sold most of my big bodies and lens, traded a few and now I am traveling light. "what a pleasure it is"  I don't miss those big kits, I don't think my images have suffered and my body thanks me often. I can now carry a few camera's and lenses in a small backpack, a smaller lightweight carbon tripod and I'm set. One drawback....I carry a few more batteries, because as mirrorless cameras have gotten smaller that DSLR's so have the batteries. I can shoot quicker on the run and with IBIS, high ISO, and the super fast burst rates, huge buffers and tracking (no mirror to flip), my motorsports work has gotten better. (nothing static about photographing race cars) !

So when you see me with my tiny full frame Sony Alpha or my APSC Fujifilm...try to appreciate the gist of what I'm saying. The big top camera makers are all in on mirrorless...just happens Sony is way ahead. Check out the Sony A7RIV...While I don't need 61 megapixels (OMG $$ file sizes). At 23 oz with battery and cards it's light and compact. Almost a pound lighter and inches smaller than the Canon 5DM4.

So think about it....your back will thank you in the long run!


Cover photo taken with an 8 mp Olympus.


(bart allen boeckler) Wed, 21 Aug 2019 14:06:38 GMT
Do You Need An Exotic Location So, some of my younger students asked the question...."Do I need to travel to make great images" ?   The answer is no!  Can it help....of course.  However, there have been many, many photographs over many years which are recorded just around the corner.  The greatness of an appealing image is perspective, composition, lighting and the story (mood) it tells.  A great image needs no explanation...I reiterate "A great image needs no explanation" ! Most anyone albeit an enthusiast, pro or beginner can set a modern digital camera (even cellphones)  on auto in front of a spectacular mountain or seaside sunset and snap a photo!   Of course detail, color and lighting exposure (time of day) go without saying, this is part of what I teach.  In reality most photographers capture landscape images to document or journal and to show off their travels "I was here then".  Often without thought. We all see those magnificent locations photographed from some iconic location and viewpoint. Be sure to ask yourself before you click that shutter, will this stand out from the thousands of other photo's shot from where I stand...?

You most certainly can not make a mundane landscape composition better with software (HDR, layers, etc.) The popular use of high dynamic range images are a dime a dozen.  Not that it is possible to help the lighting, but most will over do it crating a surreal scene and completely missing the true majesty that could have been captured. 

The real art of a great image is to create a mood, a story, an emotional bond with the viewer. To touch that button within one's memory. To do this you might setup the scene, arrange the view, create the lighting and manipulate the subject. This will be the true art of photography.  Today modern software allows for composite images created in one's mind.  They create a story, a feeling and interpretation of life at that moment, life in one's imagination. 

The very nature of social media, facebook, instagram, flickr, etc. are littered with such.  Landscapes that create excitement for the purveyor are numerous in the landscape genre.  We see these long descriptions

Is it possible for you to make a great image by what's around you?  Certainly! Just ask Gordon Lang, Bart Raymaker, Steve McCurry, Robert Capa, Alfred Stieglitz and many, many others. See Ansel Adams who mostly used monochrome film to allow you to focus on the composition, lighting and shapes within the image, not just the colors

So the next time you bring out your camera think of an image that is unique, moody and says something.  Avoid the usual landscape that so many others have pursued to no real inspiring interpretation....people and things are unique at every moment in life.

So the next time you stand on the edge of a mountain, along the seaside at sunrise, capture that sunset over a beautiful cascade...ask yourself...what can I do to make this image create a story without words? Am I standing in the best spot, using the right lens, have my white balance creatively set, is this the best time of the day, what will make this photo standout from the seven other photographers on either side of me. Change it up experiment, move around and change your settings...another wards, think creatively, don't just document the scene, imagine it and make it yours, not explanation needed, now click that shutter!


(bart allen boeckler) Fri, 26 Oct 2018 18:52:28 GMT
The Great Sensor Battle I start this post by you need a huge sensor with 45+ megapixels to create stunning digital photos? I have recently run into some locals who had to have the newest Nikon D850.  BTW... SONY makes the D850 sensor! I reveled in the fact that my kit was the size of a lunchbox, while their kits were the size of a checked luggage bag!  They needed a huge tripod, a big heavy lens, it was almost comical on a distant hike. They were struggling... After reviewing their images on Flickr and elsewhere, seeing their photo outcomes, I saw no more detail, dynamic range or stunning colors than from my mirrorless kit. (we were shooting together same scenes) Do you need full frame sensor....not really! There are numerous reviews of D850 vs APSC camera's on You Tube. Although I must say the unrealistic PP of their images was interesting.  DSLR' s certainly cannot match the features of mirrorless camera's, although they are trying of late. And with the news that Canon and Nikon are on the path to try and catch up with Sony's Alpha camera's I predict means that eventually pro's will be using them and DSLR's will go the way of film camera's. Nikon is actually working on a new lens mount for a FF mirrorless camera...WOW

Personally I started my serious photographic pursuit many years ago with 35mm film cameras. Having worked in journalism and as a wedding/portrait photographer. Working partime with larger format film cameras as a second photographer for an established studio in Delaware. I also worked at a camera shop in Dover partime working with a film lab and processing while also doing a fulltime job in CATV with a local origination channel. As time went on I shot with Nikon and Olympus film camera's as well as Yashika, Nikormat, Hasselblad and various 4x5, 120 film formats.

So fast forward to the early digital camera's era...I used Kodak DSC-100 when they first arrived on the scene. Later getting a 3mp Canon for a trip to Oahu, (I still like a few of those 3mp images! I got my first APS-C sensored Konica Minolta (now defunked, bought by Sony) camera in the late 90's with a better auto focus lens....It took me a while to learn to not use manual focus as I was so use to this when shooting.  As time progressed and I went back as a professional photographer partime and building my business doing some commercial work, web work and a few weddings using Canon and Nikon camera kits.  When the Canon 5D's came out I had to have of which I lost on a canoe trip when we capsized on a technical spring river in Florida...(ouch)! Coulda, shouda, wouda! Anyway that's another story.  

So I still had a couple Nikon D200 bodies/lenses and a Canon 40d/lenses in the house but were both APS sized sensors. So I used those for numerous commissions for a couple years with great results.  Along the way I picked up an Olympus PEN for a fun walk around shooter.  WOW I was surprisingly impressed with the results from this fun little camera.  I was very interested and perplexed in mirrorless camera's at this time, which was around 2010. While I did not use it for pro work I was liking the results, control, size, build and retro styling. Moving along I purchased a Sony A5000, then to a Sony A6000....I was now hooked on mirrorless...still having several DSLR from Nikon and Canon, they started collecting dust. However I did start using their lenses on the tiny Sony bodies, (which was available with an adapter) another advantage of mirroless designs. Next I jumped to Sony full-frame Alpha's and Fujifilm's XT models, of which I still have.

I started investigating the Olympus OMD's 4/3rds in 2017...i loved the retro styling, the size and weight as I am much older these days. I found the size and weight of larger camera's to be a burden in so many ways. I was hesitant to purchased Olympus OMD's at first due to their high prices for small kits and the 16mp 4/3rds sized sensor seemed technically undesirable.  But after renting one for a short trip I was blown away by the results, speed and handling...not to mention the features on board. Having been very pro-active to promote small cameras, point and shoots, and cheap digital cameras for years for internet work. It became obvious that many weren't feeling or even aware that these camera's were capable of stunning captures.

In closing I have been very impressed with the capabilities of the Olympus/Panasonic camera's and lenses, not to mention the superb size, quality, styling and weight of everything...smaller, lighter tripods, bags, lenses, filters, etc. There is a huge selection of glass both high-end and enthusiast grades...while Olympus is still a bit pricey they are competitive with bigger kits. 

While I will probably never stick to one camera brand (I love using and playing with numerous brands), I will continue to work with these Olympus and Panasonic models. Will they replace my Sony's....not! But they are really really fun to use!

Have fun and keep it sure to look up some micro 4/3rds images on Flickr and elsewhere!

Here's another perspective and result of the micro four thirds system.

(bart allen boeckler) Sun, 24 Jun 2018 13:14:07 GMT
Over Editing Your Images So, I know its been awhile since I've written anything....I have been super busy the last year with commissions and travels. I wanted to touch on digital post processing this post.  I recently ran into a few locals out shooting, well actually not too local here in WNC that have websites, FB and post images of mostly landscapes.  I was amazed when I visited their web pictures (SmugMug, Flickr and others) that the majority of the images were certainly over saturated and full of artifacts (typical of HDR gone wrong) . They did not look real and were almost cartoonish in nature. It was obvious they were over processed, tonemapped and over sharpened.  I would guess they used multiple images at different apertures/bracketed (typical HDR processing)  Colors tended to be blown out of proportion. One particular photographer had at least $6000.00 worth of new camera and rattled off shots like the morse code....Here I am with my tiny Olympus OMD and a kit lens...When I visited his FB page of which he uses mostly for favorable astonished comment from friends. I certainly would never try any print these and I am not sure other than putting them on the internet what was done with them.  While many on-lookers (social media accolades) may see these types of unrealistic landscape images cool beans, technically good or super artsy, I cannot help but wish they looked real. The compositions were fine and timing was good, but they just do not look properly as seen.  I would certainly rather see a natural looking landscape taken with care and purpose and not twisted outside of reality for the sake of software. Not an over saturated blast of color as nature intended.  Also to remember that the naked eye sees at about 50 mm of width in a fixed scene.

Over-editing in Photoshop/Lightroom is a chronic problem. When photographers first get and learn to use Photoshop, they often are in awe of its capabilities but do not have the skills to use it properly.  As a result, many start out playing with filters and plug-ins and over using them. Sometimes photographers feel Photoshop is all powerful and take images that should have been in a reject pile, and they try to “save” them. As a rule, Photoshop should not be used to save unacceptable photos. If a photo is out of focus, blown out, severely under-exposed, or has really awkward composition, Photoshop will not make it drastically better.  Used in excess, it can actually make the image worse....and some people will just never get it! Oh well I've said my piece and it is what it is.

An image that is captured as it is seen IMO is the way to go...We all do it (over process) at times and there is something to be said for lurid/garish colors in nature, you will never see a Nat Geo professional capture and process landscape images like I describe above.  Now there are uses for HDR certainly, but not so much in outdoors landscapes.  I hope that this photographer (and others) portfolios will show more realistic work in the future and that those that over-process their images will work on controlling their mouse a bit with more constraint! Keep your landscapes looking real as nature intends it to look, that is the true genius in digital landscape photography....and you don't need to spend a fortune on camera equipment to do so, if you know what your doing. 

Please contact me for field workshops, know-hows and monthly classes.

BTW...the cover picture on this post is pretty much over-saturate and was shot through my windshield while driving at 45 MPH...



(bart allen boeckler) Mon, 11 Jun 2018 19:05:23 GMT
Location-Light-Composition Many photographers have heard the cliche "Location, Location, Location" makes the best photos. While this is true mostly for landscape photography, it may not be in the general sense of things.  Location can be an integral part of a great image, it can also be said, you must know where to stand in a location.  The cliche actually represents the scenery (location) which you are photographing. That being said, you can photograph at a stunning location at the wrong time and have a poor representation of the location in your image. You can also miss the focal point of a scene making it dull.  Maybe you have framed the location by not including the most important natural part of the scene. Or you haven't alleviated the undesirable in your composition. Perhaps you neglected the framing that may draw the eye to the most important subject in the scene. You did not use the surroundings to hide undesirable objects in the image or maybe the scene is too busy.  Your image may appear as a snapshot simply because you did not capture the mood present in the scene.  All of these faults can make for a boring view of a stunning location in a photo. Many photographers may try to capture too many images while visiting exotic locations, missing quality by going for quantity. This is a big mistake vacationers tend to it creates a journalistic mood to their photos by trying to document everything while lessening the impact of the location. One superlative image can provide a greater memory for viewers than numerous mundane images!  Bottom line you and the viewers would be better served to capture the mood of a location, rather than numerous journalistic snap shots. You know, more is less!  Take time to think about the location, look for the odd moment or even an emotion in a scene. You may ask how can a landscape image provoke an me it can!  But that's a subject for another discussion. 

So lets talk about timing. This is threefold....Photographic timing in a landscape will include the time of the hour in which you photograph a scene, the shutter speed and the aperture you choose. All of these can have a huge impact individually and as a whole depending on the outcome (mood, remember the mood), you desire.  This is why it is important that your camera can control these elements separately. This is not to say you can't capture a great image by using an auto setting ("P" for professional), but creating the best images by including a mood will usually be captured by manipulating the light and the depth of a scene.  All of these elements will impact the outcome respectively. Taking a different direction in a landscape may make more of an impact to creating a mood in the image.  Another way to look at it is to "break" the so called "rules of photography". You know things such as rule of thirds, over/under exposure, histogram, contrasts, focal points,  etc. Think laterally rather than literally!

All of this finally ties into the final composition of an image.  Many photographers believe a wide angle lens is always the best for a landscape image. While this can be true for the most part, I said can, not always!  I often use a telephoto lens to compose a stunning landscape, control compression of a scene and include small details not otherwise seen by a wide view in a landscape image. This is why I often sacrifice some of the image quality (IQ) in a landscape for the advantages of a wide angle to mid length telephoto lens to create an image I may have missed with a fast prime or super wide variable lens.  You will also have the ability to crop the aspect further. Or to create a panoramic scene by including several smaller images into one expansive view beyond what the naked eye may see in post processing.

There are many other factors which go into creating a stunning and memorable mood in a landscape photo, but we will save that for future l writings.  I will list some ideas below for you to try next time you are out shooting a landscape which may make for a more exciting result in your photography.

*** Turn the camera on its side                                                                                                                          

*** Shoot into the light                                                                                                                      

*** Use color to convey a mood                                             

*** Add a sense of scale for drama by including something of a recognizable size                                

*** Find a focal point

*** Shoot a silhouette

*** Shoot the Golden or Blue hours for impact

*** Shoot a theme

*** Try a landscape closeup 

*** Look for abstracts to create moods  

While there are many details within each of these suggestions you will find they are discussed deeper in my field workshops. Thank you for stopping by and I look forward to hearing from you.  Please contact me for further info on my workshops.


(bart allen boeckler) Fri, 10 Feb 2017 14:39:38 GMT
Real Estate and For Hire Photography I started around 2002 shooting for Keller Williams and several other real estate folks....Also hotel websites, brochures and the likes.  At the same time I was doing weddings, portraits and working for United Way.  As I became busier I had to back off the sparse and random real estate commissions.  I was also shooting for free at my day job Park Ridge Hospital doing directories and wall art.  At the same time supplying The Adventist Health System's intranet based website images and a couple calendars which were national. I shot for the Park Ridge Foundation fund raisers and golf tournaments.

The United Way was also a huge national campaign, which include tons of printed materials, billboards and television stills.  In 2006 my son and I were commissioned by Samax Motorsports from Fort Lauderdale to shoot locally at Virginia International Raceway and Road Atlanta. This led to several motorsports shoot and took me to Daytona and the Rolex 24 Hours and Petit LeMans circuit.

It was a busy time for me working a 40+ hour a week day job and shooting portraits, weddings and real estate.  It was a world of schedules, travel and timing craziness.  While I continued to do some real estate commissions on and off for several reality companies, for the most part I stopped contracting with them.

Some folks recently are using drones for real estate work and video has taken off. I saw one drone flyer who actually flies a drone with a Go Pro around inside a house!  Very cool...

So finally allot has changed as the digital photo age progresses.  Where will it all be in the near future?  Only time will tell!


Happy shooting and thanks for stopping by.  Now booking for spring workshops.



(bart allen boeckler) Wed, 08 Feb 2017 16:18:59 GMT
Are Photographers A Dime A Dozen ? Hey everyone....I recently saw a You Tube video from a fairly well known photographer (I'll leave his name out) who said that photographers these days are a dime a dozen and on every corner.  Well, I tend to agree with him!  The subject has come up many times in discussions among us old timers who started professionally in the film days.  Yes,  digital cameras started becoming popular around the late nineties. By mid year around 2005 everyone jumped on the boat.  They started Googling, "How To Become A Photographer"  They purchased a kit, got a watermark, and a, "I feel like a pro"! (insert smile).  Is this a bad thing?  Not really? However many of them started under cutting prices for pro's, who were doing portraits and weddings and getting paid well for our time.  Eventually this forced us to give printing rights to clients to further diminishing profits. This reeked havoc among us pro's.  At the same time landscape photographers began flooding and selling their work at basement prices. Art show clients would pass over prints they liked because they were too expensive, settling for the lesser stuff both artistically and cost wise. Yes, people buy prints based on pricing!

As we skip forward to the next decade we see hundreds of website companies selling quick site builds to further entice the newbies to promote their stuff. Is this a bag thing?  Not really?

However, now we have thousands of photographers who feel like pro's but really aren't, sorry but true. Not all of them, but certainly many. They submit work to magazines "FOR FREE"! In the past pro's got paid for images published in magazines! That is nearly impossible today with all the newbies sending in shots. So, then they take a shot of the magazine page and post it on social media "Look at Me" ..."I'm published"!  Never realizing they just cut out those making a living in photography. Congrats!

Now the second phase comes for those of us who teach,  and get paid for their years of expertise are now crowded out again...Example: there are a few locals who never really picked up a pro camera till the year 2000 are now providing photo workshops to amateur's (aka photo buffs) who are unskilled folks who have no clue what to do with that $3000 camera kit! They wannabe pro's or at least feel like they are! Not to mention the You Tube workshops and teachings who provide workshops for free online. Many are of whom never shot will film, but easily jumped on the bandwagon because they knew it was easier now! Software, camera's can now take an image into the realm of the unreal and the unknown this a bad thing? Not really? It is what it is....!

So life goes on...! Are the new breed of photographer better or worse....I leave you with this to ponder.  Look up some of the old film masters and see what you think! I believe there is allot still to learn from them!

So this is a bit of a rant.....truth often becomes just that and a personal perspective is not legitimate if you change the facts.  Here is a stunning fact as of the writing of this, there are at last count 3.5 million pictures uploaded to Flickr daily. That is just one of the photo sharing sites for hobbyists and amateur photographers.

So you may say, all this is not such a bad thing unless you are a real working professional photographer caught among the millions of photo enthusiasts around the world who strive to become such.  With all the software and stunning digital equipment it's pretty easy to process, post and be  great.  But just remember those who started when you had to develop an image before you could see it....we are still around!


(bart allen boeckler) Mon, 09 Jan 2017 15:27:25 GMT
Upcoming Studio/Outdoor Lighting Seminar Many of you have asked when I would do a lighting seminar....well please email me for the dates and locations.  We will show you how to use remote lighting, both low and high key backgrounds, light reflection, light directors, Wescott Scrim Jim filter fabrics, high speed sync, on camera flash triggers, constant studio lighting, white balance techniques for stunning color portraits and a variety of other artificial lighting techniques.  Having used artificial lighting for over 30 years I will teach you some of the idea's/tricks I've learned both in the studio and on site mobile lighting.  This seminar/workshop will be in two parts and is for only the serious willing to invest the time and money to move forward with their portrait work. It takes a dollar investment for equipment and I will direct you in getting what you need according to your desired outcome.  If you are serious about lighting either in the studio or on remote locations this is the seminar for you.  All you need is a camera with the ability to shoot manually, must have a hot shoe. You will get the opportunity to use real studio and remote lighting, with your camera both in studio and on site with real models.


Please email me for further info and pricing.

(bart allen boeckler) Sat, 19 Nov 2016 12:45:10 GMT
You can view some of my recent non-professional work here:

(bart allen boeckler) Mon, 15 Aug 2016 18:51:14 GMT
Why Mirrorless Camera's Can Replace Your Full Frame DSLR So you may ask...why would a professional choose a small mirrorless camera over a full frame Nikon, in this day and age...which I have been using since the 70's, with a shot jaunt with digital Canon 30D to a 40D to a 5D Mark ll! Otherwise I have been with SLR's and DSLR's from Nikon, Canon and Olympus for 40 years.  However about 6 years ago right here in my blog I reviewed a new camera I purchased as a walk around and for video, the Sony NEX 6. After using it for a few years I was very impressed with it's auto focus and IQ...I predicted then that mirrorless cameras would progress technologically in the near future! Well zoom ahead 3 years. Sony has continued to evolve their mirrorless line and in 2014 came out with the first full frame, small bodied, mirrorless, inter-changable lens camera, (milc or ILC for short). Sure Leica had a ICL rangefinder back in 2009 or so, but it was $5000.00+ and was lacking in "many, many" areas compared to DSLR's.

Sony's A7-A7r upset the entire full frame DSLR world by all major brands including Nikon and Canon. BTW Sony makes all Nikon sensors! There are now 6 versions of the A7 and many professionals have started using the A7r Mark ll for weddings, studio and even some sports events. Sony's video 4K is spectacular and all the A7's are feature laden, handle well, half the weight and size of any other full frame camera with spectacular glass available to use. As a side note you can use any...I say "any lens" on the A7's with an can also use any flash as well!

These cameras take stunning noiseless pictures at super high ISO's. The have WIFI and NFC, focus peaking, Zebra, Eye Focus, and full customization control. Electronic viewfinders that see in the dark and allow you to see what you compose realtime, unlike mirrored reflex cameras! They are quicker and more accurate to focus, video competes with high end strictly video cameras and certainly as good or better than Canon or Nikon's DSLR's.

And to top it all off, are much less expensive compared to the big boys toys. Some reviews are surmising the latest A7 approaches medium format image quality!

Bottom line....The Sony A7r Mark ll competes and betters the Nikon's D5 in many areas, Sony $2500.00 Nikon $6500.00, do the math! Anything below that there is no competition...Sony rates better in every area!

Other makers have mirrorless camera's; Fujifilm, Olympus, Pentax, Nikon, Canon...but most fall short of the Sony A7's due to sensor size!

Well, I could go on and on raving about the Sony A7's, but I think you get the picture. I could enclose a list of bullet points here, but have instead included a link to pro Jason Lanier's reasoning as to why he switched for what it's worth. Also a link to Flickr Sony A7 photo's from around the world....enjoy and happy shooting!

(bart allen boeckler) Wed, 11 May 2016 13:32:48 GMT
Dramatization of Landscape Photography   Dawson's PondDawson's Pond So....lets talk about photographic drama or the art/task of reconstructing an image with software beyond what is actually capture in the original image.  Years ago before the digital age came upon us photographers had much less abilities to manipulate images in the darkroom. Although there was some leeway for adding drama in contrast, lighting and grain/textures mostly. Take Ansel Adams for instance, he often spent hours even days in the darkroom playing with solutions and outcomes of his prints.

Today many photographers change images so much they become unrealistic....this is neither good or bad,  just outside reality.  There are literally hundreds of software's containing thousands of devices for changing, even creating complete digital images of fantasy without the use of a camera and only a computer. As seen in movies and still photography.

So addressing lets say "landscape" photography. A touch of betterment is easily done to images using say Photoshop, Lightroom or Topaz.  As talked about in one of my previous blogs "Luminosity Masking".  Some recent enthusiasts who have taken to digital photography will manipulate their images beyond what is actually captured. This often hides the essence of a photo....remember the best landscape photos capture the scene as it was meant to be viewed by the naked eye...your eyes have the best lenses in the world!

I often see images of fantastic scenes that have been so reworked they appear to be unrealistic and garish.  Often I see images with strong use of high dynamic range (HDR) software we get sidelined with the abundance of unrealistic drama.  Although some have chosen to completely go in this direction, I feel they are missing the pureness of photography. To create an image that is just not there belies our senses with false representation. Is it art...?  Is it real...? Yes and no! We are seeing the scene, but know as it really appears.  Great images will closely capture the reality of life and the world is full of them. Just look at some of the National Geographic landscape images over the years! These are images of places as they appear with your eyes. 

So is it possible to capture things with a camera that may appear unreal but are actually real...Yes! Lets look at star trails. A technique of timing an exposure for a period which shows the travel or movement of things on earth creating stunning images of the night skies stars and cityscapes. Images will be of actual events just slowed down and compiled for our viewing pleasure. So there are some legitimate uses in landscape photography. Another being slow shutter speeds for capturing images of flowing waterfalls, rivers, or car lights flowing in the city etc.


So my point behind all this is the greater great images will be real, not scenes of fantasy or of simulating life through software. A well known photographer once told me the trick to great photography is location, location...where you are, where you stand and what you see! This still holds true today with all of our modern software and digital craziness these days. The soul of a great still image must be presented as life itself and they are captured, not made behind a computer.

In closing I must reiterate that landscape photography needs to be real and within the parameters of what we see through the lens. We are all mostly guilty of changing what we see at sometime or another with software. We are certainly looking to create interest in the end product....but the bottom line is unrealistic photography is a dime a dozen....the greater good will be timelessly real. I ask you to now check out some of the worlds best through the link below.


(bart allen boeckler) Mon, 11 Apr 2016 13:22:43 GMT
Upcoming Macro & Fall Workshops Hello fellow photographers!  Just a reminder for my upcoming workshops....there will be one on October and two in November.  Please contact me for details.


October: Macro Photography will learn the basics of achieving macro photos. You will need a tripod and lens and or a P&S camera available to take a 1 to 1 image for best results.


November: Fall colors and wildlife workshops...these may be separate do to class sizes. A wide angle and 200mm+ lens is best served for these classes.

These will also include an optional after session hands on processing seminar...please bring a laptop/ipad when attending full class.


Sign up now space limited and are almost full as this is a hands on workshop designed for a limited group.

(bart allen boeckler) Tue, 29 Sep 2015 13:36:15 GMT