Those of you who regularly follow my newsletter you may have noticed a lull in publication over the last several months as I have been traveling extensively. The frequent flier and driver miles have been building up. The good news is that I have a bevy of new images for you to review and enjoy with this edition!

So, where exactly have I been traveling over the last few months? Well, I bicycled 250 miles down the Lake Michigan shoreline for an upcoming Adventure Cyclist magazine article; I led a really great photography workshop in western Colorado where our group relished the colorful vistas at the peak of fall color; and I finally checked the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta off my “bucket list”. To top it off, we are still in the midst of an amazing autumn here in Montana, so needless to say, the camera shutter has been clicking away. So, here is the fruit of all of the labor and travel. Three viewing platforms worth! Take some time and enjoy.

Lake Michigan, bicycling, rainbows and amazing scenery.

Western Montana, BC and San Francisco from late summer into autumn season.

Western Colorado. If you like aspens in autumn, then please check out the new images from here.

Tip of the month – Enable the shutter speed to dictate an entire mood.

I recently hiked down to a small creek near Nelson, BC. I was looking for the classic shot of water rushing over small rocks with autumn hues along the bank. I really didn’t find what I was looking for, so I sat for a minute and stared at the colorful needles and fallen leaves that were rotating in a circle in a small eddy below a waterfall. By taking the time to slow down and take long look, I realized that what I was looking at was cool. Maybe there was a picture there somewhere. First, I took the static shots to freeze the floating leaves on the water at 1/80th of a second. Not bad, but not terribly exciting either. What if I slowed down the shutter speed of the camera to emphasize the movement of the water carrying the autumn leaves in the circular motion? Next, I tried a wide shot of the scene with the shutter open for an entire 6 seconds and with this long period of time I could now see the circular motion of the water that I was looking for. To achieve this “slow” shutter speed, I added a polarizing filter and stopped the lens down to f22 at ISO 100. This combination gave me the slowest shutter speed I could achieve on the overcast day. Taking it further, I thought, what if I zoomed in on the motion itself with a much longer lens? I affixed a 400mm lens and stopped it down to f32 which allowed me to shoot even longer at a whopping 15 seconds. Between the telephoto look and long exposure, I now had an artistic swirl in the water and a completely different look and feel compared to what I originally shot. This is the creative beauty of manual exposure photography! Taking a rather mundane subject and creating something unique by creative use of shutter speed in manual mode. Lesson here: Don’t settle; think of the possibilities and experiment. Don’t be afraid to fail. Often the most creative shots come from inside an open mind.

Next up;

November is a month for me to finish up with fall shooting and start to prepare for the upcoming winter season here in northwestern Montana. Thankfully, no long trips on the horizon until next spring. A time to re-charge the batteries and reflect on a busy and eventful 2015. Last winter, I updated my website and learned about working on images using luminosity masking techniques. This winter the emphasis will be on increasing my footprint on social media. I do this somewhat begrudgingly as I worry about image theft and quite frankly, I already spend enough time in front of a computer screen each day.

I have two upcoming shows scheduled in December. I will be doing a show for the Northwest Montana Nature Photographers meeting in Kalispell on December 15th. Then I will be celebrate Winter Solstice on December 21st by doing my annual end of the year benefit for the local Food Bank in my hometown of Whitefish. If you’re in the area, please plan to attend as it will be an eventful evening. I’ll post more details next month.