Category Archives: Photography

When Blown Out Highlights Work

Many times in photographs when an area is so white that there is no detail, the photo is not as attractive. In fact, many times, those blown out highlights don’t work and distract from the main subject of the photo.

But sometimes it works.

Sometimes blown out highlights add to a photograph.

When Blown Out Highlights Work

This photograph is of a classic car. I could have easily diffused the light to reduce the highlight. But to me it adds that bit of reality to the photo. Light pouring through the triangle shaped window of an old car.

So remember that blown out highlights can work, if done correctly.


Artistic Expressions Photo Contest

I’m honored to be judging another photo contest at ViewBug.  The topic this time is called Artistic Expressions, and I invite you to join!

If you are not a member of ViewBug then please be sure to sign up here.

Then when ready you can submit your photo to the Artistic Expressions photo contest by clicking here.


The rules for this contest is pretty simple, but can be twisted in any way you can creatively imagine.  Basically you need to show artistic expression within a photograph. It could be a dancer, or someone playing music.  Be creative and have fun with it.

The winner will receive a cool camera bag and some ViewBug points. Submissions end on July 25th and judging begins following after.

Then I will hop on to a webinar with Ori of ViewBug to critique and pick a winner and 2 runners up.

I hope you’ll give the contest a try!

Sign up here and submit here.

The Impact of Simplicity

Like the photos I shared the other day, these are very similar. The difference is literally color versus black and white.

Vineland_BW Vineland_Color

The color photo was cross processed using a white light balance to bring out some of the creepy blue tones you see in the background.

The exposure is also quite dark so you can just barely see the building behind the sign. I did not have a tripod with me, so my exposure could only be so long without going blurry. But I’ll get back there one day and will be prepared for the same subject matter with a fresh take.

I was in Vineland for Passover Seder with my in-laws and family. After sharing this photo with my father-in-law, he posted the color version in the “I grew up in Vineland, NJ” Facebook group. It has over 3,000 members and the Likes and Comments are growing. It’s incredible to see the power of a simple photograph and how it brings back memories from people.

Here was the post:

“My son in law, Scott Wyden Kivowitz was hunting in Vineland for things to photograph last night. He’s from North Jersey and because we were having Passover dinner at my sister (and brother in law’s home) decided to bring along his camera. We suggested that he consider The Ave, the Landis Theatre, the Castle of Depression, the home on Main Road with the Replica of the Statue of Liberty, the Alliance Cemetery and even an old chicken coop. But, having a photographer’s knack for these type of assignments, Scott chose this subject. Though it’s not the Eiffel Tower or Niagra Falls…in Vineland, there probably is no more unique and recognizable landmark. Nice one Scott. Very few cities have their own power plants.”

Some of the comments include:

Lucille: “As a retired employee of the electric utility I’m very proud of that sign.”

Patricia: “I guess I always took this sign for granted because I got a big tug of “home” when I saw it. Your son-in-law has the eye and intuition for an icon.”

Carol: “this says home!”

Over 140 Likes and 22 comments.

So as you can see, the impact of something so simple can really be amazing.

So go make an impact.

WE35 Field Report: The Difference Is Night And Day

The title of this article is meant to be silly and serious at the same time.

Being a part of the WE35 research team is so much fun, and allows me to think about photographing in many ways.

The photographs you will see here were photographed at two different times of day.  One was around 1:3pm and the other around 8:00pm.

The goal was to photograph the same scene during daytime and nighttime.


I know the scene here isn’t the most attractive one, but this article and the photos are more about the point, or lesson, to be learned.

Look at the daytime photo first. The colors are nice because the day was bright. However, it’s bland. There isn’t much to it.

Now look at the nighttime photo and you’ll see a vivid blue night sky and lights streaking past the camera. The shutter speed was long enough to convert a car’s headlights into a beautiful blur of motion.

So which do you like better? Hopefully you said nighttime.

The lesson here is to always consider going back to a location at night. Day is nice, but night can be ten times better.

Think about it.


The Flatiron building in New York City is one of the most iconic buildings in the entire city.

It is one that nearly every tourist visits and looks at with such curiosity.

And the best part is, it’s not flat.

Spoiler alert.. it’s actually a triangle.


This photograph was made during one of my many trips into the city.  I was standing at street level, like usual, just waiting for the cloud to move into the right position.

I love how the light on one side is so much brighter than the other side.

That light really puts the shape of the building into perspective.

The Lookout

Today I wanted to share another photograph from one of my favorite places to visit, ESP.


This photograph of the watch tower was processing using a technique in Lightroom where I darken the sky without using a neutral density filter.

After writing the article, I recorded a video showing the technique (on a different photo), which you can now view here.

So why share this? I guess my point is that if you’re visiting your favorite place and somehow forget to bring that “certain accessory” that there are other ways to get by.


Every year in New Jersey the company QuickCheck hosts a Balloon Festival.

The 1st morning of the festival, they invite media and photographers to come to watch the crews setup and test their balloons.

As long as it’s not raining, you’ll see some amazing and beautiful balloon flights.

Here is one of my favorites from the 2014 festival.


For some reason at the press event that morning, security was turning photographers away stating that press credentials were needed. When the website clearly said otherwise.  Eventually whoever told those people to turn people away were told otherwise and photographers gathered for the event.

Hopefully that doesn’t happen at the 2015 festival.

Free Photography Guides Notebook For Evernote of the not-so-secret tricks I have up my sleeve is constantly compiling and creating charts to have with me at all times.

These charts are not on paper, though.

These charts are in an Evernote notebook I call Photography Guides.

Evernote is amazing software that allows me to stay organized for work, and for personal things.  The mobile app allows me to take individual notes and notebooks offline so I don’t need to wait for data to download or syncing to finish.

One of my uses includes my nodal slide chart for each of my lenses. That comes in handy for panoramic photography.

But today I am happy to share that I have created and compiled 12 guides for a new notebook, available free, for you.

Photography Guides Included


  • Sunny 16 Rule
  • Night Lighting Conditions
  • f/stops in full, 1/2 and 1/3 stops
  • Aspect Ratios
  • Inverse-Square Law / Light Falloff
  • Kelvin Scale
  • General Camera Settings
  • Camera Modes
  • Shutter Speeds & Apertures
  • ISO
  • Neutral Density Filter Chart
  • Neutral Density Shutter Speeds
  • Photoshop CC Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Lightroom 5 Keyboard Shortcuts
  • on1 Perfect Photo Suite 9 Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Long Exposure Photography Checklist
  • Star Trails
  • Photographer’s Rights
  • Social Sharing Timeline
  • Exposure Guide
  • Headshot Words for Reactions
  • Hyperfocal Distance

Visit the photography guides page to grab your copy today!

As I create more guides, people who download the guides and stay subscribed will get the updated notebook – also free!


Sometimes Simple Is Best

Photography can be done in so many ways.

Subject matters can change depending on the photographer, even at the same location.

Sometimes while walking around, doing street photography, it’s important to consider the simple things.


This scene really does not have much going on. It’s a very warm photo of yellows and oranges.

But there is something about the minimalism of a parking meter against a textured wall, with cool shadows.

That’s why I stopped walking to capture this photo.

Sometimes simple is best.

Think about it.


Reflecting With Reflections

I was looking through my photo archives and came across this photo.

While processing the photo it had me thinking about some of the amazing photo trips I’ve had. It also got me excited for upcoming trips.

One of the things I keep thinking about is trying too hard, and thinking too much, about certain photo opportunities.

Instead of just absorbing where I am and being in the moment, I sometimes get sucked into making sure I get “the shot” that I want.


While reflecting on this reflection photo, it made me realize that I don’t have to try, but rather just enjoy the time.

More so, enjoy the photography process. I find myself more recently not thinking about technique or tools or process. But rather just making photos.

So I encourage you to do the same. Learning technique is important in photography. But knowing how to put that behind you as you just take in the moment, is also important.

So stop thinking too hard and just enjoy the photographic moments.