Lightroom 4 Beta

Another week of announcements:  The long awaited Lightroom 4 Beta is out and can be downloaded over at Adobe Labs for those of you that are willing to accept working in a Beta environment.  If you decide to download and install this Beta, please be sure to read all of the fine print associated with the using the Beta (there is always some level of risk in using Beta software, so plan accordingly).

After a fast review of the new features in LR4 (Beta), I can once again say that Adobe has done things right!  Several of the new features in LR4B are ones that I have been hoping to see in LR for a long time.  The most critical improvements for me include a local development brush that has gone crazy with enhanced adjustments,  the ability to create photo books directly from a dedicated module, a wonderful soft proofing capability as well as the ability to match your print brightness and contrast to that of your monitor, tonal adjustment controls are designed to extract the entire dynamic range from cameras for shadow details and highlights, and enhanced support for video including the ability to develop the video.  Lastly, there is a wonderful way to now email images directly from Lightroom using any email account, including Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo! Mail. All pretty slick, if you ask me.  If Adobe sticks to their normal release schedule, I would expect to see LR4 ready to release in late spring or very early summer.  Yes, I’ll be standing in line.  Meanwhile, spend some time over at Adobe Labs or over at National Association of Photoshop Professionals’ Beta Launch Center.

Cheers and happy photo’ing.

New Safari Dates Just Announced for 2011

I will be leading two safaris into Tanzania during 2011.  These will offer two distinct seasons of Africa and both will feature opportunities for viewing and photographing one of the great wonders of the world, the great wildebeest migration (as long as Mother Nature cooperates).  We will also pursue photography of Cheetahs, Lions, and Leopards as well as huge elephants herds and the incredibility wildlife rich and scenic Serengeti Plains.   February 2011 will  offer that magic splash of green that comes after the fall rains, while August brings the classic African tans and browns in the landscape.  As with all of my Tanzanian safaris, I will be using Thomson Safaris for my logistical and travel support. I have used Thomson’s since my very first adventure into Tanzania and the are simply the best of the best.   The proof of this is in the numerous awards that they receive and their ever-constant commitment ecotourism as well as their commitment to the indigenous people of Tanzania.  Their most recent awards include the National Geographic Best Adventure Outfitters on Earth for 2008 and 2009 and the Conde Nast World Savers Award for 2008.

Jan 27 – Feb 8, 2011

Aug 14-26, 2011

Lady Washington Again

The Tacoma Waterfront Association selected my print of the Lady Washington sailing on Commencement Bay, as the anchor image for their new banner.  The 90 x 30 banner will be seen throughout Tacoma as the Tacoma Waterfront Association aligns with the Tall Ships for future events.

During the last Tall Ships Festival, I served as the Photography Pro and photography coordinator for the week long event.  Coordinating some 20-30 photographers from sun up to well beyond sun down for the entire event was a very rewarding as well as challenging at times.  Without a doubt, a great time was had by all.  Should you get the chance to volunteer for future Tall Ships events, I would certainly encourage you to do so.  You will have a chance to work with some very professional and dedicated individuals; plus you will learn a great deal about the ships as well as event organization.



I thought I would start the first post of the New Year off with a short recap of 2008:

  • I started 2008 off by spending some 29 days in the bush of Tanzania.  My first safari was with my friend and African safari expert Andy Biggs, who gets the credit for introducing me to Tanzania and costing me lots of money.  This safari was followed by a 5-day private safari and then leading my own photo safari of 12 days for 12 great travel and photo clients. From planning to execution, I had outstanding support from Kathy.  Special thanks to Kaki, Gregg, Kelio, and the entire Thomson Safari Team for making my safaris a wonderful success.
  • The month of April turned out to be both difficult and joyous with the passing of my mother and the birth of our first grandchild, all within the same week.  Strange what life hands us to deal with from time to time.
  • In May, I gave away my youngest daughter in marriage to a really great young man, Paul Adams.
  • June and July were filled with planning and managing the photo pool for Tall Ships Tacoma.  What a great event.  Several of my Tall Ships photos were selected as promotional items, book covers, and gifts for VIPs.  I also landed the cover photograph of the Tacoma Business Directory and the Tacoma Pierce Transit Directory.  The Transit Authority told me they had a bus wrap of the Lady Washington but I was never able to photograph it on the road.  At this point I have to consider it a ‘vapor bus’.
  • In the fall I treated myself to a quick trip to Zion National Park. Sort of a scouting trip for a more serious trip next fall.  Although the weather was hit or miss, I was able to pull out several good images from the area.  I hope to hike deeper into the Narrows during my next trip.
  • With my 2009 African safari full, I completed my winter Feb 2010 trip plans to Tanzania.  Much to my surprise, this trip is already more than half full.
  • Nearly filled up the wine cellar.  Time to start drinking some of those hold-backs like the 1998 Silver Oak.
  • In early December, I presented a lecture on photographing in Africa to a filled room for the ‘Tacoma Travels’ series at Far and Wide.
  • And on the more serious side, our son-in-law headed to Afghanistan with the Army so our prayers are for his safe return to our daughter and new grandson.

Alexis, Kevin and Cole - "Departure Good-Byes"

So what is up for 2009?

  • Starting in early February, I’ll be leading another photo and wildlife viewing safari to Tanzania.
  • With my winter safari for 2010 is already scheduled and the itinerary set, I am in the early planning stages of offering an Aug 2010 trip on the heels of another adventure to South Africa with Andy Biggs.
  • In Aug I’ll be leading a photo safari to Iceland – the island of fire and ice.
  • In November, you can find me in Hawaii, New Mexico or Mexico – it all depends on the weather and the winds.
  • With the recent release of some new Nikon products such as the D700 and the D3x, no doubt Nikon will continue to get more of my money in 2009 than I desire to part with.  Some call this problem, NAS (Nikon Acquisition Syndrome).  NAS is a very dreaded syndrome with no real cure other than spending far too much money on camera equipment.

And now for those New Years’ Resolutions (at least the ones that I am willing to make public) that we all have and try to maintain:

  • More frequent postings on this blog site.
  • Continue my professional photography training and start trying to get my hands around Photoshop CS4.
  • Learn to harness the power of the Nikon Creative Lighting System by doing more on-location portrait work.
  • Sell more photographs and lead more safaris.
  • Shed 15 additional pounds and improve my overall fitness.

So there you have it; a little bit of the past and a glimmer into the future – at least as best I know it.

Now, go make a difference in the world:

  • Tell someone special that you love them today.
  • Do a good deed more frequently than not.
  • Be kind to Mother Earth.

Cheers to all and enjoy all of that surrounds you.

The Mother of all updates

Fighting Hippos, Seregneti National Park, Tanzania

Nikon D300, 200-400mm f4.0 VR

Well, the winter, spring and summer seasons have just flown by with very little time to get those routine chores accomplished, such as keeping this blog up to date.  So consider this the marathon blog update.  My winter started by spending 29 days in the African bush of Tanzania.  Across three safaris, I can think of two great highlights that I will remember for a long time.  First was spending hours with a cheetah mother and her six cubs on the plains near NDutu.  I would estimate that her cubs were not more than 6 weeks old.  It was during this time that I also witnessed and photographed my first cheetah chase as the mother attempted to bring down a young wildebeest calf.  Despite missing the calf, the chase was exciting to see unfold before my eyes.

Mother and 6 week old cubs

Ngorongoro National Park near NDutu, Tanzania

Nikon D300, 500mm

The next memorable event happened during the second safari at Lake Manyara.  At the end of the day, I had positioned myself at one of the pull-outs near the shore of Lake Manyara in hopes of photographing a large heard of elephants.  My guide, Kelio – the “Master of the Serengeti” – had received information that a massive herd was on the move from Tarangire to the northern end of Lake Manyara.  As luck would have it, more than 100 elephants emerged from the dense underbrush making their way along the shoreline.  One tiny baby elephant dwarfed by the large males and females was a treat for the eyes and made the photograph.

Elephants on Parade

Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania

Nikon D300, 70-200mm VR

My spring started off with the death of my Mother, and the birth of our first grandson, Cole Alexander.  Demonstrating that life goes in circles, Cole was born the morning of the funeral.   He arrived healthy and complete with a pair of killer blue eyes.  The proud parents, Kevin and Alexis, currently reside in Texas which makes for a slight challenge to visit Mr. Cole.  Kevin and Alexis are both Army Officers and face those difficult career challenges that all young Officers face as they begin to build a family.

This past May I did what all fathers of daughters do, I gave away my last daughter in marriage to Paul Adams.  Paul is a great guy with an incredible family.  We are very proud to have a new son in the family, as well as being a part of the extended Adams’ family.  The wedding was held on the grounds of Lakewold Estates in Tacoma, WA with the reception following at the Tacoma Yacht Club.  A simply gorgeous wedding followed by a marvelous time for all at the reception.  Coogan and Paul are both Air Force Officers, currently stationed at Los Angeles Air Force Base.

The Longest Walk

Introducing Paul and Coogan Adams

The Dance

Family Fun

All wedding photos by Paul Dudley Photography

On the heels of the wedding was the Tacoma Tall Ships Festival in which I was the photo pool manager.  In this position I managed some 25 photographers charged with documenting the entire 7-day event.  My previous image, “Lady Washington Returning to Port” was featured as the cover shot for the Tacoma, Pierce and King County Business Directory.  At the end of the festival another shot of Lady Washington silhouetted by storm clouds was selected as a special gift for VIPs.  All in all, more than 22,000 images were shot by the photo pool staff.  What a great group of guys and gals to work with!

Now with summer almost gone, I have found time to publish my new web site and setting things in place for the 2009 and 2010 safaris to Tanzania.  I am also in the early stages of planning an Iceland photo safari.  Keep checking back for more details on this safari, if you are interested.  Also give the new web site a look and let me know what you think.

Cheers and best Photo’ing to all.


Lady Washington Graces Charity Event

 Lady Washington Returning to Port

Nikon D2H, 80-200 VR, July 4th, 2005

This past weekend, a 30×40 print of “Lady Washington Returning to Port” was featured as the ‘fine art’ print at the Tacoma Yacht Club Charity Auction. Proceeds from the auction went to local maritime non-profit organizations and the Tacoma Yacht Club- Pierce County Junior Sailing program. The “Lady” will grace the main entry area in a Tacoma office building that is currently under construction for Darren Buck & Associates. Darren stated that he was proud to be the new owner of the photograph and added that timing was perfect with the arrival of the Tall Ships fleet this summer and the opening of his new office complex. Special thanks to all that made this charity event a success for the Tacoma community.