Sept. 18 – Sunday Sampler

Hi everyone,

Just a real quick post for the Sunday Sampler. Crazy busy weekend – Dave & I co-chair one of the photography divisions at the Durham Fair here in CT. Yesterday was drop-off day, today is judging, tomorrow night enter results online, Tues. night hang 385 8×10’s! Whew! Fair starts Thursday night-Sunday. We’ll be there all day Sunday at the Photography building – stop by and say “hi”!

This week’s textures are more from one of our trips to Chevy Auto Supply – rusty cars!!

Don’t forget to check out the latest texture packs in the Peacock Studio Shop – the new ones are on sale through the end of Sept. for just $4/pack of 6 textures!

Have a great week!


Great New Deals!

Hi everyone,

I don’t often do a mid-week post, but between yesterday and today I received emails on several new products and I wanted to get the word out to you.


You’ve seen the great deals in the past from this talented bunch from the UK. Today they released “The Enormous, Authentically Illustrated All-in-One Toolbox” from Lisa Glanz, one of the best designers around today. AND just until tomorrow, the bundle is HALF PRICE – Reg. $39 on sale for just $19 (51% off). Don’t hesitate on this one! These illustrations are great if you are a scrapbooker, designer or anyone who loves beautiful illustrations and cool fonts! GO HERE for the deal!

And their current “regular” deal bundle is “The Essential Hand-Made Vectors Collection” – worth $4668, deal price $29! This one expires in just over 6 days from now. CLICK HERE!




On Sunday I mentioned the updated Airport Advantage Roller Bags. The designers at Think Tank have been very busy and they now offer a new bag to carry your Drone and all the extra gear you’ll need!

Think Tank Photo’s New Lightweight

Airport Helipak for 3DR Solo

Offers Maximum Capacity, Comfort and Portability

Drone users can now carry their 3DR Solo, 15” laptop, controller, GoPros, charger, spare rotors, extra batteries, jacket, tools, and more in a robust and yet lightweight new backpack, the Airport Helipak for 3DR Solo from Think Tank Photo.  Unlike rigid hard cases that lack extra carrying capacity and comfort, this new backpack is designed for 3DR drone enthusiasts who want to be able to carry all of their gear with them all the time.

“The number one complaint of drone users about their bags is that, after just a few hours, their bodies are rebelling from the pain,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank’s CEO and lead designer.  “For a decade we’ve released photography and outdoor backpacks designed to hold expensive and extremely heavy photographic equipment.  The very same principles we used for them have been integrated into the Airport Helipak for 3DR Solo backpack.  Now they can venture deep afield with all of their gear and no concerns about comfort.”

Click HERE for all the details.




If you do not already calibrate your monitor, you should be! I’ve been using Datacolor Spyder products for years. I have the current Spyder5ELITE+, which now has a free update if you already own the product.

New Features Include:

Automatic Room Light Switching – automatically changes your profile as light conditions change

Soft Proofing/Device Simulation – simulate how your photos will look on any printer or device

Updated StudioMatch – make all connected displays look the same

And much more!



And a great place to buy a new ThinkTank bag or Spyder5Elite+ is at Hunt’s Photo and Video! Gary Farber and his staff are fabulous and will answer any questions you may have on this product or anything that they sell! Check them out at




Sept. 11th – Sunday Sampler + New Think Tank Bags

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some “soft” textures. These are great to add some color to a blah sky or add a subtle hint of color to an image (remember – change blending modes & opacity to get the look you like). One of these is actually a sunset that I blurred by turning the focus of my lens out of focus. The other two are rust – softened for the “look” of this weeks textures. Enjoy!


Think Tank Photo Releases Third Generation of
Award-winning Airport Rolling Camera Bags


My friends at Think Tank Photo just released new versions of two of their popular “Airport” bags. Just click the names in red and it will take you to the page for details. Remember, when you use my links to Think Tank, you will earn free gear with your order!

The best rolling camera bags just got better. Based on input from professional photographers, Think Tank Photo’s newly released Airport International™ V3.0 and Airport Security™ V3.0 rolling camera bags feature improved handles, greater durability, and dedicated laptop and tablet compartments. These new features, in addition to their airline carry on compliance, TSA approved zipper locks, tripod mounts, and Lost & Found registration system make them the gold standard for photo transport cases.
The Airport International V3.0 holds two gripped DSLRs with lenses attached, plus two to four additional lenses, a 15” laptop, and a 10” tablet. The roller fits up to a 500mm f/4 detached or 400mm f/2.8 attached (hood reversed). The Airport Security V3.0 holds two gripped DSLRs with lenses attached plus four to six additional lenses, a 17” laptop, and a 10” tablet. The bag fits up to a 600mm f/4 detached or 500mm f/4 attached (hood reversed)
“Photographers deserve rolling camera bags that are as high in quality as their photo gear,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank Photo’s CEO and lead designer. “Take something as simple as the wheels we use. Ours are custom-designed, high-performance, 80mm wheels with sealed ABEC grade 5 bearings for quiet rolling. If we took so much time perfecting something as simple as wheels, one can sense how much care went into the designs of each roller.”
Key Features
• Specially designed interior to maximize gear for carry on: the Airport International meets international carry on size requirements; the Airport Security meets U.S. domestic and most international carry on size requirements
• Dedicated padded laptop and tablet compartments located in a lockable pocket
• TSA-approved zipper locks for the main compartment, and high-strength coated cable and combination lock for the laptop compartment and securing your bag to an immovable object
• Custom designed retractable handle with inset channel on aluminum tubing for added strength and durability
• Quick and easy access to the retractable handle
• Tripod mount pocket on side (additional straps included for larger tripods)
• Expansive top compartment cradles large camera bodies for the perfect fit
• Unique serial number for Lost & Found registration
• Interior zippered pockets for batteries, memory cards, filters and accessories
• User-replaceable retractable handle, wheels, wheel housings, feet and kick plate extend product life
• Extra tall wheel housings protect your bag from scrapes and scratches
• Seam-sealed rain cover included
• Stretchable front pocket
• Handles on three sides ensure rapid and easy retrieval from overhead bins, car trunks, etc.
• Reinforced dividers support heavy gear and maintain strength over time
• Hypalon reinforced rear corners for increased durability
• Business card holder on top for easy identification


Exterior: For superior water-resistance, all exterior fabric has a durable water repellent (DWR) coating, plus underside of fabric has a polyurethane coating. The roller bags are also constructed with 1680D ballistic nylon, YKK® RC Fuse (abrasion-resistant) zippers, custom designed extra tall skid plates, high performance 80mm super quiet wheels with sealed bearings, SpanKodra front pocket, rubberized laminate reinforcement, nylon webbing, and 3-ply bonded nylon thread.

Interior: 210D silver-toned nylon, polyurethane backed Velex liner and dividers, 2x polyurethane coated nylon 210T seam-sealed rain cover, closed-cell foam and reinforced

Airport International V3.0
• Interior Dimensions: 13” W x 18.5” H x 6.5–7.5” D (33 x 47 x 16.5–19.1 cm)
• Exterior Dimensions: 14” W x 21” H x 8” D (35.6 x 53.3 x 20.3 cm)
• Tablet Compartment: 9.4” x 10” x 0.5” (24 x 25.5 x 1.3 cm)
• Laptop Compartment: 10.6” x 15” x 1.2” (27 x 38 x 3 cm)
• Weight: 9.6–11.5 lbs. (4.4–5.2 kg)

Airport Security V3.0
• Interior Dimensions: 13” W x 21” H x 7–8” D (33 x 53.3 x 17.8–20.3 cm)
• Exterior Dimensions: 14” W x 22” H x 9” D (35.6 x 55.9 x 22.9 cm)
• Tablet Compartment: 9.4” x 10” x 0.5” (24 x 25.5 x 1.3 cm)
• Laptop Compartment: 11.4” x 16.1” x 1.2” (29 x 41 x 3 cm)
• Weight: 11.1–12.9 lbs. (5–5.8 kg)

Sept. 4th – Sunday Sampler + New Items in the Peacock Studio Shop

Hi everyone,

Yes, today is Monday, not Sunday! We were away for a couple of days in Pennsylvania – photographing more textures of course! (And a couple of other items too!)

Saturday we hit Steamtown for Railfest and also checked out the Electric City Trolley Museum next door – we went in there first so we wouldn’t run out of time like we usually do when we’re at Steamtown! This week’s SUNDAY SAMPLER consists of some rust and a stained glass window from the trolleys. We took a ride on a trolley too – nicely restored – as well as on a train behind the Baldwin #26, the steam train that restoration was completed on last year. Nothing like the sound of a steam engine!

Sunday we checked out some new spots in another area of PA – can’t tell you just yet, but be on the lookout for a cool workshop soon!


Peacock Studio at Meredith Images

Be sure to check out the SIX new texture sets over in the “Shop”! They are quite detailed – I think you’ll love them! The beginnings of a couple of new “collections” – Cosmic and Seasonal – a set of Galaxies and some Autumn colors. And some neat new sets created with all kinds of brushes in Photoshop (and many then modified with Topaz plug-ins). The six new sets are on sale now through the end of September for just $4 each (reg. $6).

I hope you like them as much as I do! Remember, if you like the “texture” of something but don’t want to add the color to your project, you can create a black and white from a texture, or use a hue/saturation adjustment to change the color to the perfect one to coordinate with your image.

And, I’m almost finished with some new products for you – brushes and overlays of the words “Post Cards” (taken from some early 1900’s cards, as well as postmarks from that era too.

In addition, there will be “crop shapes” that will let you frame your images with some cool borders. Instructions will be included!


Have a great week!

Aug. 28th – Sunday Sampler + Topaz Info

Summer is just about over…kids going back to school…Labor Day next weekend…heading into my favorite season…the cooler days of Fall! Bring on the Pumpkin Spice coffee!

This week’s Sunday Sampler is made up of textures from our trip this summer to the Strasburg Railroad in Lancaster, PA. The wood and rust textures have been modified with Topaz products (Impression and Simplify). The wood shot was taken indoors, hand held, and was a little blurry. Never fear – textures to the rescue!! I used Topaz Impression to blur it some more to turn it into a useful texture! The rusty ones weren’t blurry to start with, but I did soften the look – Simplify on one and Impression on the other. SO many possibilities!

And speaking of Topaz, if you haven’t yet grabbed the sale deal on TOPAZ GLOW 2, the sale ends Friday, Sept. 2nd. If you don’t already own the program – click HERE to go to the website, then use the code GLOW2 to save 30% (reg. $69.99, on sale for $48.99).

If you own the original Glow, this is a FREE upgrade – just log in to your account and go to the downloads page. I’ve been told that right now you will only see “Glow” on the downloads page, but if you download it you will get Glow 2.

Over 30 new presets – I’ve been playing quite a bit with them to create some new textures for the Peacock Studio — will be releasing some new items THIS WEEK! Watch for the update!


Our Facebook group, “Textures: Turn Ho-Hum into a Work of Art” broke the milestone of 500 members today! Woo hoo! There has been lots of great work being shared – if you haven’t joined us yet, please do – we’d all love to see what you’re working on!


If you didn’t see my Facebook post yesterday, this is an image I worked on last week. Used Topaz Simplify and Topaz B&W to soften the colors, my own texture in the background. I’ll be showing how I did this (along with some other projects) in my next Topaz Webinar on Nov. 15th. All of their old webinars (including mine from December, March and July) are on the website at:



If you are thinking about joining me and Dave for our Sedona Workshop, October 15th-18th, we have just 3 spots left! If you have never been to Sedona, you MUST see the beautiful Red Rocks – gorgeous! And if you have been there, you KNOW you want to return!! Click HERE for all the details!

Downtown Pano for canvas - 36 x 9


Aug. 21 Sunday Sampler, Upcoming Events, Tutorials


Happy Sunday! Our Sunday Sampler textures this week is a combination of two textures — wood and old paper. I then created three versions of the texture for you – greys, sepa, and grungy browns. I can’t wait to see your creations! If you haven’t yet joined our textures Facebook group, please do! And then post your creations with my textures or others!



Are you familiar with the Out of Chicago Photography Conference?  They’ve put together the most amazing, inspiring, and fun photography conference for 3 years now downtown Chicago.  It’s gone so well, they’ve decided to expand this amazing event by bringing it to New York City.

As the “Shooting-est Photography Conference on Earth”, not only will you learn in a classroom setting with photographers like Lindsay Adler, Bryan Peterson, Rick Sammon, Valerie Jardin, and MORE, but they’ll also take you on the streets of Manhattan to use what you learn!  One of the many reasons for its success is the smaller, more intimate class size.  You will be in a classroom with no more than 40- 60 people (other than the keynote speakers), and you will be able to interact with your favorite instructors!

Out of New York is set for Friday and Saturday October 14 and 15, 2016.  Included in your fee is 2 full days of classes along with many social photowalks to choose from.  There will also be opportunities for educational, smaller photowalks for an additional charge.  Check out the Sunday, full day on-the-street workshops too!  In honor of Hunt’s Photo as one of the sponsors, please use code Gary50 for $50 off the $299 price.  Sign up at or email for more information. The full schedule is about to be released, and if you sign up soon, you will be able to choose classes before it’s released to the public.

Here is what attendees from the summer Out of Chicago 2016 event had to say:

Attendee Jessica Zoller Kaplan posted in the 2016 Attendee Facebook group…

“As I continue to process the many amazing moments of this weekend, I’m feeling inspired, motivated and grateful to have been a part of something so special. Thanks to Chris, Malinda, Michelle and the whole team for your work on this incredible conference. (I’m already signed up for OOC2017 – are you?) Thanks in particular to Angie, Ron, Levi, Bryan, Valerie, Tim,Ken, Steve, Steve, Eugene, Corwin, James, Rick and Scott for your wisdom and encouragement. My feet and shoulders were aching last night, but the view from Maggie Daley Park made it all worth it.”

Per Bette J. Kauffman, “Thanks to Chris Smith and the ‪#‎OOC2016 team for a terrific experience.”

From Jim Jones

“HUGE thanks go out to Chris Smith and the entire army of volunteers and speakers – Out of Chicago 2016 was phenomenal! It was fun, educational and inspiring! Grateful to have met so many great people and to have learned from so many awesome photographers and instructors. You guys are awesome!!!”

We look forward to seeing you in New York City!!

Chris, Malinda, and Michelle, The Out of Chicago team



Also be sure to check out all of the classes, photo walks, and events at Hunt’s Photo –



I love to share cool sites and “stuff” that I find with all of you guys, and this bunch of tutorials is way cool! has a great bunch of 27 Photoshop tutorials sure to challenge your skills – check em out HERE! Be sure to poke around on the site – there are LOTS more cool things to discover.


And over on SpoonGraphics’ blog, he has posted a video of 25 Photoshop Tips Tricks & Shortcuts you probably didn’t know. Chris Spooner has a great blog – be sure to sign up for it as well.


Have a great week everyone!

Aug. 14th – Sunday Sampler

Hi everyone,

I’ve been hiding out indoors all weekend – it’s TOO hot/humid out there for me! Yep, I’m a wimp! But I have been working on some new goodies to be released soon! New textures, and some new brushes/overlays of Post Cards, Postmarks (early 1900’s) and more! Stay tuned!!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of cracked and peeling paint from an old door, window and train car. Remember, if you like the texture but not the color, change the image to a B&W so you only get the effect of the texture.



On Friday I sent a post that Glow 2 would be available Tuesday — guess what? It’s available NOW! Be sure to grab your discount if you don’t already own the program – click HERE to go to the website, then use the code GLOW2 to save 30% (reg. $69.99, on sale for $48.99). The sale price runs through Sept. 2nd.

If you own the original Glow, this is a FREE upgrade – just log in to your account and go to the downloads page. I’ve been told that right now you will only see “Glow” on the downloads page, but if you download it you will get Glow 2.

I really like the new presets (over 30 new ones). Many of them are very subtle looks – that, of course, you can modify as desired.

Have a great week!

Topaz Glow 2 Update – Coming Tuesday!

Next Tuesday (8/16/16) Topaz will be releasing Topaz Glow 2, an updated version of their electric lighting and glow effect software, complete with new features. As always, the update is free to anyone who already owns Glow. And for those who don’t own it, Glow 2 will be on sale (30% off!) from August 16th – September 2nd. Click HERE to go to the website, then use the code GLOW2 to get the discount! Reg. $69.99, sale price $48.99.

New features in Glow 2 Include:
– Over 30 New Presets – That brings the total to over 100 included effects to amplify your images or give you a boost creating a personal look you love.
– New Masking Module -You no longer need a host editor like Photoshop to create masks on your images! Now, you can open Glow 2 and mask areas of your image directly from the application using luminosity, color selection, a spot mask, or a traditional brush mask, and yes it’s color aware🙂
– Unlimited Undo/Redo – That’s right! As long as you don’t close the program you can now undo or redo to your hearts content (as far as your system memory will allow.)
– Topaz Community Integration – Topaz Glow 2 is the 3rd of our products to include the Topaz Community, an easy way for users to search save and share custom made presets with other Glow 2 users around the world. Surf an ocean of hand crafted presets, then download and apply with a click. Or share your custom presets for other users to try.
– Automatic Preset Backup – as long as you’re signed into your account when you save a preset, that preset will be privately uploaded to the community then synced on any other machine you sign into.
Here are some images I created with the new software:

New York Central HDR+Topaz Glow 2-Wonderland-web

Sunflower Field-Glow II - Fur & Feathers II

AND…As I’ve demonstrated in my Topaz Webinars, you can take a texture and modify it with Topaz products as well:


Texture 1

With Topaz Glow > Afterglow > Darkening

Texture 2

With Topaz Glow > Afterglow > Wanderlust

Texture 3

You can continue to expand your library of textures by modifying with Glow, Impression, Texture Effects, Simplify and more!


There have been some compatibility changes to the program as well. Glow 2 requires Windows 7+, Mac OSX 10.9+, and a GPU with OpenGL 3.3 or higher (this replaces the older requirement for OpenGL 2.1). Be sure that your computer is able to handle these requirements so that the program will work!

Aug. 8, 2016 Sunday Sampler + Think Tank new products

Today Dave & I visited the Danbury Railroad Museum for their Railroad Days. We both love photographing trains, especially the older ones, and of course, rust and peeling paint! So this week’s Sunday Sampler is 3 textures from today’s shoot! Shades of blue – rust, scratches and flaking paint. The “scratched” image has some texture from Topaz Glow. And although we typically like even lighting when photographing textures, the Flaking Paint image shows that bright sun can create interesting shadows as well. Click here to grab this week’s textures.

Here is an HDR image from today as well – 3 bracketed shots processed in Photomatix Pro. I then took it into Photoshop and added Topaz Detail, masking it away from the sky so only the train and ground were affected.

New York Central HDR-web


New Gear from Think Tank Photo:

“Think Tank Photo to Release Complete Video Bag Line for ‘Run & Gun’ Assignments and Larger Video Productions

If you are a pro videographer who is tired of having to reassemble your video rigs between locations, Think Tank Photo has just released seven new professional video gear options.  In addition to being lighter weight and more features than traditional hard cases, the Video Rig Rollers enable you to hit the ground running by leaving your camera rigs fully assembled between shoots. For traveling videographers, the Video Transport Rollers allow you to carry on the maximum amount of gear on the plane with you.

Finally, designed for everyday use, the three new Video Workhorse shoulder bags are your on-the-go toolbox for professional video.  Don’t forget that with my special arrangement with Think Tank you receive a free accessory and free shipping with your orders of all of their gear.

Click HERE to go to their website check out all the goodies!

Video Rig

24 Launch Special at Design Cuts – 2 Lil’ Owls Textures!

Hi Friends,

Most of you know that I love the textures by Denise Love of 2 Lil’ Owls. Design Cuts has launched a new bundle of tons of NEW textures, borders, masks, and some tutorials — but the launch price of $19 is only good for 24 hours! Don’t miss this one!



Do you love textures?

Well it’s time to get excited, as you can now access the biggest ever collection from texture legend Denise Love, the mastermind behind 2 Lil Owls.

After months of preparation, the Totally Hand-Crafted Texture Toolbox is here – bringing you 400+ hand-made textures, tons of creative bonuses and in depth video workshops! You’ll learn exactly how to work with your new textures, and even how to create your very own from scratch!

To celebrate this launch, the Totally Hand-Crafted Texture Toolbox is available for 51% off for the first 24 hours only. After this, at 3pm GMT, August 3rd the price will return to $39. If these textures and workshops were sold at Denise’s usual price point, they would cost over $400!