My Photographic Journey

Where does this photographer’s evolution begin? Actually, not at all with photography. There are multiple facets of my life that influenced my current passion for travel, photography, and art in general. Read on to learn my story.

Humble Beginnings

As a child and early teenager, I loved to doodle and draw, particularly airplanes. Unfortunately, since my parents weren’t artistically inclined, my creative side wasn’t particularly nurtured. And while I had an interest in drawing, I can’t say that at the time I was really passionate about it either. I was equally interested in electronics and the mechanical workings of anything I could disassemble. So then, and even now, my brain is split down the middle as far as “analytical” and “creative”.

While in high school, I had the opportunity to travel with the Polish Youth Association – basically boy and girl scouts – from around the country on a two-week adventure to Colorado. I wanted to document the experience so I got my first camera, a basic 35mm film point-and-shoot. Again, since I was more interested in capturing memories than creating art, the equipment didn’t really matter. Even if I had better gear, I knew nothing about composition or light for it to matter. Still, hiking in the wilderness of Colorado, it was difficult not to capture a beautiful landscape.

Hikers - San Juan Mountains, CO

Hikers – San Juan Mountains, CO (35mm point-and-shoot)

Unfortunately, after high school the camera was tossed into a drawer and rarely used during my college years, other than during the occasional spring break getaway. I was too busy with my studies to travel or shoot. In my spare time, I did however, gain an interest in graphic arts and this amazing new thing called the World Wide Web. Thus began a new melding of multiple interests.

Stoking The Flame

Near the end of my college career, developing my website spurred the desire to show off my digital artwork. This quickly reignited my interest in photography, and I soon purchased my first SLR, a Canon Rebel 35mm film camera with the included kit lens. The camera was fairly basic, but had both automatic and manual features, and built in light metering.

Around the same time I gained some opportunities for travel, which became a complementary passion with photography. Over the next few years, this basic kit and additional Sigma 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens exposed film in the US Virgin Islands, Cozumel, Bahamas, a return to Colorado, and road trips to the northeastern and southeastern extremes of the United States.

While I was trying to learn about composition, light, and proper exposure, it was a challenge because there was no immediate feedback. I had to wait until my film was processed before realizing how many mistakes I made. I also read some books like Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Exposure and Learning to See Creatively which helped immensely.

Sunset at Siesta Key, Florida (35mm film SLR)

Sunset at Siesta Key, Florida (35mm film SLR, settings unknown)

The Digital Revolution

By 2002, I was ready to jump into digital. I started with a point-and-shoot again – a 4mp Canon Powershot S40. This great little camera had all the features of my film camera, including manual shooting capability. For the next year, I shot with this camera almost exclusively. Being able to shoot and learn from countless frames without wasting film was a wonderful learning tool. Being small, it was also the only camera I took on a three week tour of Europe. Thus began my “shoot everything” phase. Since I was no longer paying for film and processing, I could now afford to snap everything in sight. Though instant feedback was great, it made me think less about each shot, so I came away with a lot more throw-away frames.

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica – Rome, Italy (Canon S40, f5.6 @ 1/200s)

The next year, I decided to retire my film camera for good and start my collection of digital gear. My first DSLR was a Canon (notice the trend here) EOS 10D. Since I already had a few Canon mount lenses and was familiar with the brand, it was an easy decision. This is where I got even more serious about learning the art of photography. I studied technical aspects such as use of all the features of an SLR – shooting RAW, manual and program controls, and proper exposure. I read more books and learned more about creative exposure, depth of field, composition, light, and seeing creatively. I also started thinking more about every exposure, trying to plan ahead for the look and feel I was trying to accomplish in the final image.

The Addiction

What comes next? More gear of course! The more you learn about your craft, the more you want to refine or upgrade your tools. First upgrades were lenses of course. I still had my 28-80mm kit lens, but I wanted something wider so I bought a Sigma 17-35mm wide angle zoom. Then I felt the 28-80mm wasn’t sharp enough so I upgraded to the Canon 28-135mm, which became my new go-everywhere lens. Next on the list was a better zoom, since my old Sigma didn’t cut it for airshows. I bit the bullet and bought my first piece of “L” glass – the Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM.

Cuddling Zebras - Tanzania, Africa

Cuddling Zebras – Tanzania, Africa (Canon 10D, 400mm, f5.6 @ 1/250s)

This is about the time I started hearing people on the street say “Hey, nice camera, you probably get some great pictures”, which still makes me cringe. Good equipment does not make a good photographer. A good photographer can use the cheapest or simplest camera and still capture a beautiful moment. So my education continued through books, magazines, workshops (RMSP), forums, and lots and lots of practice and experimentation.

And…. more gear! As the years drag on, more and more pixels are packed into the same amount of space. Naturally, at some point I had to grow into a better DSLR – first, a Canon EOS 40D and eventually to my current camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and 24-105mm lens. I also travel with a point-and-shoot when I want to go light or just be inconspicuous – the amazing Canon G7x. My cell phone is always with me, even when my cameras are not, and although I won’t be making large prints from a cell phone camera, I still take the opportunity to be creative.

Smith Barcadere Sunset - Grand Cayman

Smith Barcadere Sunset – Grand Cayman (Canon 5D MkIII, 24mm, f8 @ 1s)

Like camera technology, processing capability has advanced an incredible amount since I first started shooting digital. Techniques for increasing dynamic range, shooting ultra-long exposures, and stitching panoramic images have improved. Technology also fosters new creativity, and as more and more people jump into this art, photographers need to continue evolving and coming up with fresh ideas.

My journey and evolution as a photographer continues. I’m always trying to learn and practice new techniques both in the field and in the digital darkroom. I love to experiment with Photoshop, new shooting techniques, and upcoming or revolutionary gear such as mirrorless, micro four thirds, or light field cameras. There’s also a new camera technology emerging from a company called Light that uses 16 lenses and sensors to capture an image. It’s really fascinating where photography is going, and I’m glad to be along for the ride.

Parting Shot

Shops at Crystals - Las Vegas, NV

Shops at Crystals, Las Vegas, NV (Canon G7x)

Canon 5D Mark III Light Leak Fix posted today their assessment of the 5D Mark III light leak fix, based on a new set of bodies that have been shipped by Canon.  Naturally, they opened it up to see the fix, and below is what they found.  While not exactly elegant, the simple electrical tape apparently does the job blocking stray light from the LCD display from hitting the metering system.  Many folks are in an uproar about this simple solution, but quite frankly, those folks need to just chill.  I, for one, think the issue is completely over blown.  Who goes around shooting with their lens cap on and their LCD lit up anyway?  I can see how this would potentially be an issue for someone doing long exposure night photography with auto-metering, but I can’t say that I’ve ever auto-metered a night shot. I see the point people are making about this being a $3500 camera, and issues like this being unacceptable. And while I agree to some point, I’m still very much enjoying my 5D and don’t plan on sending it back.

Pre-fix 5D

Post-fix 5D


New Canon Rebates Starting April 29th

From Canon USA: Canon USA will be launching new rebates starting on April 29, 2012. They will run through until June 2, 2012. This rebate program is a “double up” program. Your rebate will double if you purchase a 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 7D or 60D. For example, if you buy a 5D Mark III and a 14 f/2.8L II, the actual rebate would be $320.00.

The prices shown are current prices, rebate prices will be shown April 29th.

EF-S Zooms (Rebate Amount) Adorama Price | Amazon Price

EF Prime (Rebate Amount) Adorama | Amazon

EF Zooms (Rebate Amount) Adorama | Amazon

EF Macro (Rebate Amount) Adorama | Amazon

EF Tilt Shift (Rebate Amount) Adorama | Amazon

Teleconverters (Rebate Amount) Adorama | Amazon

Speedlites (Rebate Amount) Adorama | Amazon

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Review

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Jeff Ascough, one of Canon’s Explorers of Light, seems to have had his hands on a pre-production model of the new EOS 5D Mark III long enough to post a fairly extensive review. The following quote from Jeff sums it up quite nicely:

“So are there any negatives to owning this camera? Maybe just one. You will lose the ability to blame the camera for any shortcomings in your own photographic ability. The camera is what every Canon user has been waiting for and then some.”

Read Jeff’s full review.

Canon 5D Mark III with 24-105mm f/4L Lens

In the mean time, has some great deals going for the 5D Mark II, which officially dropped in price.

Exciting stuff!

Canon EOS 5D Mark III – Finally announced!

It’s here! Well, almost. The Canon EOS 5D Mark III has been announced, with many of the expected specs:

  • 2MP full frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-25600 standard, 50-102,800 expanded
  • 6 fps continuous shooting
  • Shutter rated to 150,000 frames
  • 1080p30 video recording, stereo sound via external mic
  • 61 point AF system
  • 63 zone iFCL metering system
  • 100% viewfinder coverage
  • 1040k dot 3:2 LCD
  • Dual card slots for CF and SD

Several camera outlets already have it available for pre-order, get yours from Adorama or today!

Also, find the hand’s on preview at

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

It appears there’s a new 5D coming out, most likely being announced this Friday, March 2nd. I’m really stoked about this, as my 40D might be starting to fail. Going to need a new body soon, whether it’s the new 5D or something similar. Stay tuned, as soon as more information is posted, I’ll pass it along. Here are the current rumored specs:

  • 22mp
  • 61pt AF
  • 100% VF
  • 3.2″ LCD
  • Dual CF/SD Card Slots
  • Price: Around $3500 USD

Speaking of my failing camera… if you enjoy my photos and would like to keep my art dreams alive, please consider contributing to my camera fund! Thanks in advance!!

Canon 5D Mark III images leak, Launch on March 2nd!

I’m really excited about the launch of Canon’s next huge DSLR, the 5D Mark III, set to launch this Friday, March 2.  Some images were leaked and posted on, and they definitely don’t look fake.  Here’s a few shots:


Official specs have not yet been revealed, but this ultra powerful camera is rumored to offer a 22-megapixel sensor, 61-point auto-focus system, 6.9fps capture rate. It will also feature 100% viewfinder coverage, 3.2-inch LCD screen, and dual card slots: CF and SD. 

The sensor resolution spec is lower than the 36-megapixel Nikon D800, but Canon has explained before that this successor to the 5D Mark II isn’t attempting to compete on megapixels and is designed based on the needs of professional photographers. The body itself will cost around $3,500 and the camera will likely ship in late March or early April. Official details to come on March 2.

Canon 5D Mark II

Well, Canon finally announced the long awaited and much anticipated 5D Mark II Digital SLR. This camera has some fantastic new features that make me foam at the mouth..







Here’s a short list:

  • 21.1 MP Full Frame CMOS Sensor
  • 1080p HD Video!
  • Digic IV processor
  • 14-bit A/D
  • 3.9 fps continuous shooting
  • Improved weather sealing
  • 3″ 920,000 dot high resolution LCD
  • 50-25600 ISO (w/ expansion enabled)
  • Live View with face detection
  • Higher capacity battery
  • AF micro-adjustment for up to 20 lenses
  • Sensor dust reduction
  • the list goes on….

All this and more for a palatable price of $2700! The camera should be available for purchase sometime in November. has posted a preview of the camera here.

Also recently announced was the Canon EOS 50D Digital SLR, which I’m somewhat disappointed came out just 12 months after the release of the EOS 40D, which I purchased. While I’m very happy with the 40D’s performance, it is somewhat aggravating that many of the features introduced in the 50D should have been included in the 40D.

Canon EOS 40D

Canon today announced the long anticipated 40D DSLR. This camera has been on my wish list for a while now, and boasts a slew of exciting new features, including:

  • 10.1 MP APS-C sensor
  • Digic III processor
  • Integrated Sensor Cleaning System
  • Improved 9-point auto focus
  • 3 inch LCD screen
  • 6.5 frame per second shooting
  • Custom shooting modes
  • And a whole lot more…

The camera starts shipping sometime next month, but can be pre-ordered on Amazon. I know I’ll be ordering mine shortly!