Subscription Bonus

Quick and Efficient Dust Bunny Clean-Up- an excerpt from my Photoshop Quick Tips File III

Often times when I am shooting pan blurs or creative blurs I need to use an f/22 or f/29 aperture, however, this can show a lot of dust bunnies on your images. I found that dust bunny clean-up on an image can be time consuming, sloppy and destructive if not done well. The healing brush can leave small pucker-like lines and cloning is often messy. I came up with this method after hours and hours of trial and error. I feel this technique works best especially when you have a lot clean-up to do.

First bring your image into Photoshop, duplicate the layer Cmd or Ctrl J, then go to Filter> Noise> Dust & Scratches, when the dialogue box opens apply (14) pixels to the Radius and on Threshold (1) to the level, see screen capture # 3 below.

Once you hit OK, the effect will be your top layer, next add an Inverse Layer mask (an inverse layer mask aka as a hide-all mask is created by holding down the Alt/Option key while pressing on the mask icon at the same time) see screen capture # 4 below.

After your inverse layer mask is set up, select a soft bush at 100% opacity, set to paint with white and brush over only the dust bunnies in the image-it will look like you are erasing them if you are doing it correctly.

*Note if you have just a plain blue sky with no objects or clouds you may not need to use a mask to selectively apply the effect.  Also, sometimes these values need to be adjusted but make very small adjustments to this recipe.

#1 Original Image

#1 Original Image

#2 Close-up of the left top corner of the image-showing all of the dust bunnies

#2 Close-up of the left top corner of the image-showing all of the dust bunnies

#3 Dust & Scratches Dialogue box

#3 Dust & Scratches Dialogue box

#4 Inverse Layer mask/ hide all mask should look like this. Red arrow pointing to the mask icon.

#4 Inverse Layer mask/ hide all mask should look like this. Red arrow pointing to the mask icon.

#5 Final image after using a layer mask to selectively paint the effect only on the dust bunnies.

#5 Final image after using a layer mask to selectively paint the effect only on the dust bunnies.

Two Canadians-Eh!

Laurie Thomson

Image copyright Laurie Thomson - “Early Morning Run”

Image copyright Laurie Thomson - “Early Morning Run”

Two years ago Laurie Thomson attended one of my Camargue/Provence workshops. I am delighted to announce that her high-key capture titled “Early Morning Run” won an honorable mention in a CAPA competition in Canada this May . It was an annual individual competition with the topic reflections. HERE IS THE LINK..

Laurie has been on several of my workshops and tours. Her fun spirit keeps everyone on their toes. Laurie is an exceptional horse photographer and enjoys her time with her camera, travelling the world in search of that special shot.

On Laurie’s website (link below) she displays her prints in a variety of tastefully decorated rooms and the prints on the walls are hers! Very clever and creative!

Laurie’s website

Focus on Frogs-1.jpg

Focus On Frogs

An Illustrated Guide to Great Frog Photography

by Andrew McLachlan

Focus on Frogs is a comprehensive guide to photographing frogs and toads. In the wild; in the tropics; in home-made terrariums; and at set-ups. Andrew covers it all: camera systems, bodies, and lenses (of all focal lengths!), the use of polarizers and graduated ND filters, how to dress for frog photography, the essentials accessories that will save you time and money, the use of flash, keeping you and your gear safe, in-the-field tips and techniques, finding the best perspective, Photoshop tips and techniques, frog conservation concerns, all aspects of froggy habitats, getting the right exposure, frog biology and behavior, creating attractive set-ups, over-under frog photography, and artistic renderings. The book ends with a spectacular Webfoot Gallery to inspire you. This eBook contains 246 pages and approximately 250 photographs and is available for $50.00.

Bird Blast-offs

Years ago I saw a softly blurred image of a flower blowing in the wind. It inspired me to seek out the method in which I could create that kind of art from my camera. I had no idea how to do it but it soon became something that I was determined to teach myself. And I did. I worked hard and just when I thought I had done everything I could, I found that there was even more to explore with this blurring technique. I was hooked!


Bird blast-offs were one of the things that intrigued me about blurs. I experimented with just about everything, moving the camera, holding it still, slowing down my shutter speed to ridiculous speeds, you name it.  I listened to naysayers; I heard just about every negative comment out there. But that just made me even more hooked! I don’t like when others try to infuse their thoughts into mine--that is not what I am trying to do with my art. I want my images to reflect my own personal style.


To this day, even after writing two eBooks on creating blur images in-camera; I am still experimenting every single time I am in the field. I enjoy the challenge of not knowing exactly what I will come up with. It is potluck most of the time but when you get that one that stands out or makes your heart sing—you are hooked.
Join the experiment- Learn some of my techniques to get you started on your own journey. My newest eBook “A Guide to Creative Blurs”, available only through A Creative Adventure has all of my latest tips for capturing and processing pleasingly blurred images.

Saint Paul Island, Alaska - Workshop Announced!

Saint Paul Island - The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska, July 23 – 30, 2020

St. Paul Island.jpg


St Paul Island is located in the middle of the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia. It is the largest of the four volcanic islands which make up the Pribilof Islands. It is also a birders paradise boasting over 240 species of birds. Thousands of nesting Horned and Tufted Puffin will be our target subjects for this amazing wildlife adventure, though Blue Fox (an endemic subspecies of Arctic fox) will be high on the list of must see and photograph!

Remote, quiet, natural-- are all words that will come to mind as we explore this out-of-the-way, isolated location. Our time will be spent in the field photographing and enjoying the sights and sounds of the great Alaskan wilderness. This trip is designed for people that love being out in nature and crave alone time with their subjects.

If you love Puffins and want to expand your portfolio to include Tufted and Horned Puffin than this is the spot you need to be. The cliffs are filled with nesting puffins during the summer months. On St. Paul we will have the ability to get close-up and personal for beautiful portrait shots. Flight photography and behavioral shots will be all around us as we sit among these incredible birds.

We will stay at the only hotel on the island and these reservations have been made in advance to assure we have these great dates! Limit 8 photographers.

Price-$5,795.00 all inclusive from Anchorage/including the flight from Anchorage to St. Paul Island, all meals and lodging, all ground transportation.

Dates- July 23-30, 2020, (7 nights)

Single supplements available $900.00

* Price is based on double occupancy


Flights to and from St. Paul Island from Anchorage. All ground transportation,  local guides, accommodations, meals; coffee, tea, soft drinks and water at included meals, Bottled water during sightseeing. Complimentary Internet access and all entrance fees for the St Paul Heritage Museum and The St Peter and Paul Church. Washer/dryer available —though the price of the laundry is not included.

Not Included

Excess baggage charges (each person will be allowed one checked bag up to 50lbs, one carry-on, one personal bag), gratuities to the Tour Director and drivers-approximately $200.00pp . Alcoholic beverages.and personal items.

*A detailed PDF file will be sent upon registration with a full listing of gear recommendations, clothing, etc…

To sign up for this amazing adventure CLICK HERE.

Species we may see on St. Paul include:


·        Northern Fur Seal

·        Arctic Fox (Blue Subspecies)

·        Reindeer


·        Horned Puffin

·        Tufted Puffin

·        Least Auklet

·        Parakeet Auklet

·        Crested Auklet

·        Common Murre

·        Thick-billed Murre

·        Northern Fulmar

·        Glaucous-winged Gull

·        Black-legged Kittiwake

·        Red-legged Kittiwake

·        Red-faced Cormorant

·        Rock Sandpiper

·        Ruddy Turnstone

·        Gray-crowned Rosy Finch

·        Pacific Wren

·        Lapland Longspur

·        Snow Bunting


Lately, I’ve noticed a resurgence of interest in high key imagery. Thanks Lori Ellis for your recent Facebook posts, they inspired me to publish this!

High key photography has been popular for years and remains one of my favorite techniques. I say technique because how you capture the high key image can dramatically affect the end result. Also, the subject you choose will be a deciding factor on whether or not the image is successful as a high key image.

When trying to create high key images in-camera it is essential to have highlight alert set to “On” or “Enable“. You will also need to know how to properly evaluate your histogram.

To create my high-key looks I expose as far to the right as possible (ETTR) while still retaining detail in my subject. When I view the back of my camera I will see that some of the background is blinking. That means that the blinking areas will render white (without detail). My goal is not to have any blinking pixels on my subject-- just the background.

One reason for choosing this technique is to eliminate distracting backgrounds or foregrounds. Also, it allows your subject to pop from the background. The zebra image directly below depicts two fighting zebra-they are mostly playing. The surrounding area included a road and some nasty dirt patches. I purposely exposed for a very high key look and then brought some detail back to the subjects in post processing. After I brought back some detail by using contrast, clarity and a curve adjustment selectively on the subjects, I used Topaz Glow to add some detailed lines with their “Fur and Feathers II” filter at a very reduced opacity. My thoughts for the image was to create an artistic piece.


When I first arrived at Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Japan, it was in February. Japan can be known for its cold winter weather. On my way to the location I had high hopes of seeing side sweeping snow falling downward. However, it was not snowing and there was no snow at all.

As I walked around, I began to notice cohesive patterns and flowing lines. I felt the peaceful forest surround me with quiet. The words simple and minimal were pouring from my head as I photographed this small section of bamboo. One tree after another gently stroking the next. I was engulfed in an aura of calm delight, my image needed to reflect that feeling. A high key effect was all I could see for this shot (see below).


On one of my France trips to photograph the white Camargue stallions, I used a high key capture to make the muddy horses appear more white (see above image). You see, after the horses run a few times, they often get playful and roll in the mud-there goes the white horses!! We have to keep a close eye on them so that they don’t get a chance to do that in-between runs. So when photography throws you a curve ball, fight back with some photo techniques. Be sure to check out Lori’s Facebook page to see her high key Camargue Horses.


Above is an example of an extreme high key look. I used the almost white sky as a backdrop for this puffin in heaven look. By making sure my exposure was pushed all the way to the right, I was able to retain detail in the puffin and the white wall (foreground) and the white sky both faded away. Check out Rick Beldegreen’s high key Puffin shot on his Facebook page.


The above image was captured in-camera, in-the-field during one of my Swan Island Dahlia workshops. It is one of my favorite techniques for flower photography as there are endless possibilities and looks. Shot against a regular blue sky, I pushed my exposure all the way to the right. Consider joining me on my upcoming Swan Island workshop where I teach this technique and more.

Below is a King Penguin image photographed at Fortuna Bay in South Georgia. By exposing for your subject and letting the background blowout slightly in areas of no importance is a great way to create a high key look.