Introducing Pictour

I’m in the midst of developing a brand new photography app that just may change the photography industry . . . and possibly put Maine Photo Adventures out of business!

After my first year in business, I was very excited about the positive feedback I received on my workshops. It felt great to know that I was doing a good job and this business could really grow . . .

But then it hit me. If the business does indeed grow, that would mean I would be spending most of my time during the glorious “good weather months in Maine” working! Granted taking photos for ‘work’ is nothing to complain about, but the spectacular weather up here is short lived and to be honest, it’s hard to commit myself a year in advance to working. How could I solve this problem?

And that is how the idea of Pictour came to be. I started to wonder how I can develop “Self-guided photography tours” where I can do all the work to build a tour once and offer it for sale for people to do the tour on their own, in their own time, whenever they happened to be visiting Maine. So that got me thinking about how many tours I could create in Maine, but why stop there? Maybe I should travel around the world and build tours everywhere!

Hold everything! Now I’m back to working all the time and even worse, leaving the beautiful state of Maine. This idea was clearly getting out of hand. So I pondered some more and came up with the perfect solution – get photographers all over the world to participate. Allow them to create tours and post them for sale. This way we can easily offer tours all over the world and not only give traveling photographers inside secrets on the best places to shoot, but give the photographers that share their secrets some extra income.

We are still in the development stage, but we currently have a working prototype and will soon be looking for beta testers. If you are at all interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity, please click below to watch an informative video that explains the app in detail. And if you’re interested in learning more about when the app will be released, please join the mailing list by clicking the blue button below or by visiting www.pictour.co

Join Mailing List

Google’s Nik Collection Now Free

Google’s Nik Collection, a photo editing software package designed for professional photographers, once retailed for $149 is now completely free. Just a few days ago Google made this incredible announcement and if you haven’t already done so, head on over to their downloads page and get yourself this awesome software bundle. This software works on both Windows and Mac and is a plug-in for both Adobe Lightroom and/or Photoshop.

The Nik Collection is comprised of seven desktop filter application plug-ins that provide a powerful range of photo editing capabilities that can do almost everything including: improving color correction, retouching, creative effects, the ability to make adjustments to the color and tonality of images, and image sharpening that brings out all the hidden details. The plug-ins that are included are called: Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro and Dfine.

From noise reduction and sharpening tools to optimizing color and stylizing options, this image editing suite is amazingly powerful. Imagine going from this photo . . .

Google’s Nik Collection

To this, with just a few mouse clicks . . .

Google’s Nik Collection

This is a deal you don’t want to miss. Who could resist free? The package works with both Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and automates so many of the things that you need to do every day, as well as gives you the power to take your photos to the next level. The tools are so easy to use that you won’t be burdened with a big learning curve. In fact, you can just watch the comprehensive video tutorial below to get you started. It’s a little bit of a time commitment to watch the whole thing, but it will be one of the best hours you’ve spent this year.

Rockland Worldwide Photo Walk Recap

The Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk included its first-ever Rockland, Maine location last weekend. The weather called for wind and rain, but we lucked out and the rain held off all day. The wind on the other hand did not and we nearly got blown away. Just look at my great hairdo in this shot.

DSC_0013

Our group was nice and small so it gave us all a chance to talk and get to know each other. It was surprising that we had folks come from MA and another couple from Bar Harbor. I can’t even imagine leaving Bar Harbor to shoot in Rockland so I was very grateful that they made the trip. Perhaps next year we move the location to Acadia!

kissingboats

We even had an adorable little puppy in our group and it was hard to resist just photographing her the entire time.

puppy

Rockland may not have the same type of beauty that Acadia offers, but like I always say, “there is art everywhere.” Taking a photo walk in Rockland is a particular challenge for me because it’s my “home turf.” I have taken that same walk a hundred times so it can be harder to “see” things. I always find it easy to really see things when I’m in a brand new location. My eyes are wider and since everything is new I’m more observant of everything around me. We sometimes take for granted our home area and we assume that we’ve already seen it all.

covers

Nothing thrills me more than seeing things through other people’s eyes and I got a kick out of looking at the other participants’ photos. Many of them I never even noticed, and certainly never shot before. I have walked under this sign nearly every day and never looked up.

photo courtesy of Jean GrahamPhoto courtesy of Jean Graham.

It was neat to see the sign from this angle and realize that I was blind to it all this time.

I still don’t even know where this bike rack is and loved that one of the participants caught the interesting shadow. Now how did I miss that?

shadowPhoto courtesy of Susan Hurst

And how did I miss seeing this on an outdoor menu? Not something you see every day!

bearmeatPhoto courtesy of Roxanne Gura

This is such a great lesson that there is no location anywhere that you should assume “I already shot it” and therefore there’s no need to go back. Not only do the scenes change daily or even by the hour or minute depending on the light, the weather, the people, animals or other objects that may be around, but you just might see something that you never saw before.

Some of the participants did an amazing job at taking you away from Rockland and transporting you into a whole new world of abstract art. This proves even further that you can create art from anything, anywhere. Just look at some of these shoots.

donkeyPhoto courtesy of Roxanne Gura

abstract1Photo courtesy of Roxanne Gura

One of my favorite photographic idols, Jay Maisel, has been shooting on the same streets around his home in New York City for many many years. He shoots on the same streets every single day and always sees new things. Granted, you can’t compare New York City to Midcoast Maine, but I can guarantee that you can shoot different photos of the same location upon every visit if you really try.

I think it’s a great exercise to do this. It takes a little bit more thought and effort to reshoot the same places and therefore it pushes your creativity a little further each time.

throughtheholePhoto courtesy of Roxanne Gura

Thanks to everybody that came out for our first event in Rockland, Maine. It was great to meet you and hope to shoot with you again someday.

To view more photos from this walk, please click the button below.

More photos

 

Worldwide Photo Walk in Rockland

It’s official! Rockland is now on the map for the Kelby Worldwide Photowalk. Maine Photo Adventures will be leading the walk on Saturday, October 3rd. This Worldwide Photowalk is a social photography event where photographers get together to walk around, shoot photos, and generally have fun with other photographers. These walks will take place in hundreds of locations all over the world.

The walk will start by meeting with the other fellow photographers at a central meeting point. In Rockland, we will meet on the pier that leads to the Pearl Restaurant at 275 Main Street @ 11AM. We will then take a leisurely paced stroll along the harbor and down Main Street, stopping to take lots pictures. Photo walkers  can chat with other folks (photo walkers are very friendly by nature); laugh, enjoying being outside with a group of like-minded folks; and then after about 2-hours we will wind up at a local restaurant where we can have a meal, maybe a snack, and some drinks. It’s a social event where we can make some great photos and possibly new friends.

The best photo in each city (voted by the group of walkers) will get the ebook edition of Scott Kelby’s bestselling book — The Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers” (it lists for $39.95) and their winning image is also entered into the main photo competition vying for thousands of dollars in prizes. From those local walk winners Scott will choose 10-finalists, who all get tons of great prizes, and then one Grand Prize winner who just gets even more cool stuff.

The event is totally free. But if you’re feeling charitable, each year we “Walk with a Purpose” to raise money for the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Nakuru, Kenya, to help them feed, clothe and care for some very wonderful children who need our help. When you sign up for a walk, you’ll have the option (it’s totally optional), to donate just $1 to the orphanage via Paypal. 100% of your donation goes directly to the orphanage, and last year the walks were able to raise more than $37,000.

Register for the Rockland Walk Here

The Art of Blurry Photos

I consider some blurry photos art. My husband doesn’t agree. He just doesn’t get it. “Why on Earth would you take a blurry picture?” he asks, “Let alone admit to it by showing it to anyone.” I keep trying to explain that if you mean to take a blurry photo than it’s art. If you do it by accident, on the other hand, it’s just a bad photo!

blurry rocks-3

There’s just something about the softness that the blur creates, the blending of the lines between the rocks that is appealing to me. Granted it’s not for everybody, but then again, no art is. What is beautiful to one is terrible to another. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I thought these rocks were pretty when I saw them laying on the ground and now, with the intentional shutter drag and slight camera movement, I think they are even prettier. Do you agree or disagree? Is it art or is it just a bad photograph?

 

Making Memories

I read a very interesting article on www.fastcompany.com. The article was called “The Science Of Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, Not Things” and much of this post was copied from that article.

I just loved this article so much because I’ve recently come to this realization on my own. Moving forces you to take a good close look at all the stuff you own and the more times you have to pack it and move it the most closely you begin to analyze it. Do I really need all this stuff?

90% of all my belongings stayed in storage for 9 months this past year. I only had essential things in my possession and those included: a fraction of my wardrobe, my computers, and (most importantly) my cameras. It was such an amazing and refreshing experience to realize that I didn’t miss anything (well maybe some mittens during the cold days in Maine) but I couldn’t believe that I was content with less than a quarter of my clothes and shoes. As far as all of my other material possessions, I think I forgot what I owned by the time I unpacked it all.

I’m to the point in my life where I don’t want more “stuff.” Every year for my birthday I forbid my husband from buying me presents. The only present that I ever ask for is that we go somewhere and “make a memory.” The only thing I want to come home with is a memory card filled with photos. Those I will treasure forever.

When most people spend money on “stuff” they assume that a physical object will last longer and therefore keep them happier longer. I myself fell into this trap and always told my husband not to buy me flowers on our anniversary. Why waste money on something that will die in a week? Instead, I used to say “buy me jewelry that I’ll have for a long time.” I may have the object for a long time, but how long does it keep my happy is the question?

Most of the rest of this post is all taken from the article posted on www.fastcompany.com . . .

“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University. ”We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”

So rather than buying the latest iPhone or a new BMW, Gilovich suggests you’ll get more happiness spending money on experiences like going to art exhibits, doing outdoor activities, learning a new skill, or traveling.

It’s counterintuitive that something like a physical object that you can keep for a long time doesn’t keep you as happy as long as a once-and-done experience does. Ironically, the fact that a material thing is ever present works against it, making it easier to adapt to. It fades into the background and becomes part of the new normal. But while the happiness from material purchases diminishes over time, experiences become an ingrained part of our identity.

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” says Gilovich. “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”


 

So what is the point of all this? I encourage you to think twice about buying another new camera body or lens, or designer bag, or big screen TV. When you think about how to spend your extra cash this year consider taking a trip (to Maine) to make some memories and go back home with your own camera chip filled with beautiful pictures and new experiences.

 

We Secured Our First Local Sponsors

hillsseafood Coastal-Popcorn

So very excited to announce that Maine Photo Adventures has secured its first two local sponsors . . . A great big thanks to Hill’s Seafood Co and Coastal Maine Popcorn Co for helping to support this local start-up. Workshop participants can look forward to an awesome dinner at Hill’s Seafood Co and some delicious popcorn from Coastal Maine Popcorn Co. More to come soon . . .

Shiny New Web Site

Wow a great feeling of accomplishment to build this new web site. Not only am I building a new site, but I’m turning a long-standing dream into a reality.