8/20 Sunday Sampler + Recorded Webinar

Happy Monday!

Sorry I’m late this week! Was away in PA this weekend at “Bead Fest”! One of my other hobbies is making jewelry. Took some classes and learned new techniques plus did a LOT of shopping!

Hope you had a chance to view the eclipse today! Here in CT we weren’t in the path of totality, but some of us went outside at work and did the pinhole in the plate technique and someone let us all borrow their glasses to get a direct glimpse. Cool!



This week’s Sunday Sampler is textures from “Victory Theater” in Massachusetts that we visited in 2015. Old buildings are GREAT for textures!

No one guessed the answer to last week’s “what was this original image”! The original was a quilt of fabric circles found hanging on a wall in an antique consignment store! Here’s the pic:

So those who guessed a rug weren’t TOO far off the mark!


NPEG Topaz Webinar — it WAS recorded!

Last Monday I did a webinar for NPEG (National Photograpy Enthusiasts Group) that they graciously let me invite my readers to. I didn’t think it would be recorded, but it was! So if you missed the live event, here is the link to watch on YouTube: http://bit.ly/2impNoC

Thanks to Mark Perry for having me do another webinar for NPEG and for allowing us all to watch and share.

If you’d like more info on NPEG, here is their website: http://www.npegroupusa.org/



The months keep flying by and before we know it, it will be October and time for our Sedona Workshop! It’s not too late to sign up – 3 spots available. Click on the flyer below for all the details!

I also have several camera club seminars scheduled for the fall – click HERE to go to the full list. If you’re in the area feel free to stop by – camera clubs always welcome guests!



8/13 Sunday Sampler + Webinar + Tuts

Happy Sunday! Hope you are enjoying this beautiful day!

This week’s Sunday Sampler is something a little different. I’ve given you some images you can use to replace or blend with a blah background, especially florals. BONUS! If you are the first one to email me this answer — what was the “Soft Floral Bkgd” original image? Hint – no it’s not flowers! Send the correct answer and win a set of textures from my online shop, the Peacock Studio!


Some of you have downloaded the free Topaz Studio, but may not be sure of what it can really do. Or if you don’t have it yet, why should you get it? What does it do? Does it work with Lightroom? Is it compatible with the rest of the Topaz Suite?

Tomorrow night, Monday, Aug. 14th, 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, I am doing a live webinar for NPEG – the National Photography Enthusiasts Group – and they have graciously allowed me to invited you, my dear reader! It is FREE to register.

Click here to register:

I hope you can join me as we explore a little bit of what Studio does and how I use it in my workflow. (This is a one-time presentation and will not be recorded.)

From Lightstalking, “5 Freebies to Help You Get Creative with Your Photography”.

From DIY Photography – an article on a subject my students ask about all the time. What is the best way to format your memory cards? (And, what else to do or not do with them!). Check it out HERE.

And from Ken Hubbard at Tamron, a good article on “How to Photograph Night Skies in the National Parks”.


Aug. 6th – Sunday Sampler + More!

Happy August! Wow, summer is just flying by! Today is a beautiful day in CT – 70’s and a nice breeze with low humidity! Love having windows open instead of the air conditioning!

Yesterday my hubby, Dave, and I visited the Danbury Railway Museum in Danbury, CT, for their annual “Rail Days”. He signed up to do a “hands on the throttle” session where he was able to actually control a train within the rail yard! He had great fun!

So this week’s, Sunday Sampler consists of peeling wood from some of the old rail cars in the museum.



Denise is retiring some of her collections to make room for new items! You can grab one or more of these collections for just $8 (originally $24 or more) but only until Tuesday when she changes her website page!!! So don’t wait – head over there now to check them out! Click HERE to visit the site and add to your collection (or start a new collection!).



I always like to share resources that I find – especially freebies – and PhotoshopCafe.com offers some great tutorials and videos on techniques in Photoshop, Lightroom and more. Check it out HERE!



And over at PhotoshopTutorials.com, you can download “18 Electrifying Lightning Strikes”! They also have a package of 180 different ones for just $5 (scroll to the bottom of the article). Be sure to click on the downloads at the bottom of the article and not the advertisments to the right (not for the freebies!).



I’m excited to announce that Tamron Image Master, Mike Moats, will be joining the line up for the Creative Photography Conference, May 19-20, 2018 at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center!


July 30th – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! We got back this afternoon from a nice trip to Upstate/Western New York! Stopped the first night in Ithaca and on Fri. morning went to Taughannock Falls – beautiful and BIG! You can see in this pic with hubby just how small he looks next to the falls! I didn’t get the “silky” water look in this shot – didn’t think I’d be doing much photography this weekend and didn’t bring a tripod for the long exposure. But this shot actually shows the power of the water better!


This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of textures from this weekend’s adventures – cool tree bark from the trail to the Falls; a blue table top from a 1950’s table at “Found” Antiques in Ithaca; and a ceiling tile from our hotel room! Yep – textures are EVERYWHERE!! 🙂 Remember, you can always use a part of the texture or change the color with a hue/saturation adjustment.



Hard to believe we’re heading into August in just a couple of days – our Sedona Workshop will be here soon! Join us in this most gorgeous location for a variety of photographic opportunities. Click the flyer image below to get all the details!



It’s official – I signed the contract on Thursday! Our 2018 Conference will be May 19-20 at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center in Southbridge, MA! Mark your calendars and stay tuned for details on our speaker line up! We’re planning to add even MORE seminars and hands-on sessions! 

July 23rd – Sunday Sampler

This week’s Sunday Sampler is a littler “bolder” than usual! These three images are from a “hi-jinx” set up at a conference I spoke at a couple of years ago. The were created with black lights and glass. The Rainbow Rays has a white overlay to tone down the color, and Rainbow Swirls has a few Topaz plug ins applied. The Green-Blue Waves was actually more rainbow colored – I applied a hue/saturation adjustment to change the colors.

Remember, one texture can be turned into many with a little Photoshop manipulation! Expand your texture library!


Tuts + Freebies!

Several people have been asking online about the best way to photograph next month’s solar eclipse without ruining your camera, or more importantly, your eyes! We know we cannot look directly at the eclipse – you also cannot photograph it without some special equipment. This YouTube video by Tim Grey explains.

Line 25 had a cool post offering “25 Insanely Creative Text Effects You Can Use for Free”. These are PSD files that you can input your own text into. Great for posters, banners, headlines, etc.

Also on Line25.com is a list of “20 Cool Western Fonts for Wild West Inspired Design”. Check them out!

And over on PictureCorrect.com, there’s a great article for “6 Steps to Better Nature Photographs”.


2017-18 Camera Club Season

I’ve booked several camera club seminars already for the Fall months. Is your camera club or conference planning speakers for the upcoming season? Shoot me an email and I will send you my full seminar list. I cover many subjects including Textures (of course!); Topaz/plug ins; HDR – the Natural Look; Photoshop; Elements; Lightroom; Camera Basics and more!

Have a great week!


July 16 Sunday Sampler + “I’m Curious” column

Hi there! Sorry for the delay – this weekend was the 72nd annual New England Camera Club Council Conference! A wonderful weekend of learning, sharing and socializing as always! Brian Peterson was our keynote speaker this year – extremely entertaining and informative! Mark your calendars now for the 73rd annual Conference on July 13, 14, 15, 2018! And bookmark the website for more info at: http://www.neccc.org/ 

Come share the fun with nearly 1,000 other photography enthusiasts!



This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of a few more textures from the Baltimore portion of our May vacation – a section from an abstract painting in the condo we stayed at; diagonal worn wood boards and a tapestry. Enjoy! And don’t forget to show us your creations on Facebook in our group “Textures: Turn Ho-Hum into a Work of Art”!


Macro photography is a popular subject, and I found a few helpful articles on PictureCorrect.com that will help you in your macro pursuits.

“5 Tips to Improve Your Nature Macro Photography”, “10 Macro Photography Subject Ideas”, “Quick Macro Photography Tricks”, and “Do You Really Need a Macro Lens?” all have some great info.

I love shooting macro myself – I have a 90mm Tamron macro lens which I love, but should I not have that lens with me, I still can shoot close-up/macro with just about any lens in my bag. So give it a whirl if you haven’t yet!

Another wonderful resource for macro and creative photography is Charles Needle of Irvine, CA. He was one of the speakers at our NECCC Conference and is an excellent instructor/speaker/workshop leader. He will definitely inspire you and get the creative juices flowing – not only for macro but in many creative techniques.

Check out his website for his books and upcoming workshops at: Charles Needle Photography.



July 9 – Sunday Sampler + Topaz Corner + More!

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope to see some of you next weekend at the New England Camera Club Council Conference at UMASS Amherst, MA! It’s always a fun weekend to live, eat, & breathe photography and to catch up with old friends and make some new ones! If you’re there, be sure to say “hi”!



This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of a few more scrapbook papers – the blue scratches is a multiple shot on an iPhone! Enjoy!


Topaz just released another update to the new Topaz Studio software (1.0.8). Here’s a great video by Jodi Robbins of Topaz on all of the cool features: WATCH HERE

And be sure to check out their Facebook page – there are tutorials on many different tools available in the Studio – FACEBOOK

I’ve had a few people ask how to find the Webinars I’ve done for Topaz. Here is a link that will sort out all of mine — though the last one from March is not on the website yet — the folks at Topaz have been quite busy with the Studio release and are a little behind in editing the webinars! Click HERE and enjoy!



Find some awesomely creative Photoshop Tutorials from Digital Arts — “86 Best Photoshop Tutorials”

And from Tutorials 411, a cool video on “How to Add Fog & Light in Photoshop”

I read an interesting article online today that I thought I would share. It’s titled, “The Darker Side of Wildlife Photography: Understanding Ethical Practices.” Something we all need to think about.

Have a great week!

July 2 Sunday Sampler

Happy Independence Day! Sorry for the delay in this week’s blog post – got involved in cleaning up my craft room yesterday (for my “other” hobbies!).


This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of scrapbook papers that I photographed at our Creative Photography Conference. A great way to get some cool textures for your library! Papers can be found at most craft stores.


MORE NEW GEAR FROM MINDSHIFT! NEW PhotoCross Adventure Photography Bags!

Adventure photographers need a camera bag that’s as tough as they are. With its rugged materials and faceted design, MindShift Gear’s new PhotoCross sling bags protect a photographer’s gear from punishing trips into the wild. The PhotoCross is built to withstand the elements, yet comfortable enough to wear on long days in the field. These sling bags stay out of the way when scrambling but offer quick camera access when ready to take the shot. They feature weatherproof zippers and abrasion-resistant materials, plus a carrying system for tripods or jackets.

The PhotoCross comes in two sizes and colors, Orange Ember and Carbon Grey.  The PhotoCross 10 fits an ungripped DSLR and one to two lenses, plus a 10” tablet, or a Mirrorless body and three to five lenses, plus a 10” tablet.  The PhotoCross 13 fits an ungripped DSLR, two to four lenses, including a 70–200mm f/2.8, and some 13” laptops.

“The PhotoCross sling bags are significant because they meld two concepts that are often in conflict in outdoor gear design:  protection and comfort.  An example is how we’ve integrated the waterproof Tarpaulin bottom panel with a body-conforming design, wide shoulder strap, and stability wing for superior comfort,” said Doug Murdoch, MindShift Gear’s CEO and Lead Designer.  CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WEBSITE.



I’ve seen several people on Facebook over the past week questioning the best way to capture fireworks during this festive time of year. Tamron pro, Jillian Bell, has this great free eBook – sponsored by Tamron and Macphun – that gives you all the info you need! Check it out HERE!



Another popular subject for photographers is landscapes! Here’s an article for “12 Ways to Improve Your Digital Landscape Photography” from PictureCorrect.com.

Have a great week!


June 25 – Sunday Sampler – Tutorials – Topaz Corner

Another beautiful day here in CT! Low humidity – bright sunshine! Went to the Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market in New Milford, CT this morning – haven’t been there in years! Looking for some new props and items for Meredith Images as well as props for food photography for hubby’s new blog, “Bare Buttz BarBQ”!

If you like smoking or grilling meats, check him out at http://www.barebuttzbarbq.com/ and sign up for his new blog. He’ll be sharing tips and tricks for cooking your own delicacies as well as reviews of BBQ restaurants we visit. We stopped at one today after the flea market – watch for a review soon!


Some recent finds from vacation included this silver pitcher and some old books and glasses. This was processed with several textures, word brush, and a crop shape frame from my store, the Peacock Studio!




This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of more textures from our recent vacation – these are from several spots in Virginia.


Recently I found this great article on PictureCorrect.com about Polarizer Filters: What are They and When Can They Be Used in Photography? It’s a pretty good overview of what they are and when they should be used – check it out!

And another good one that covers some basics of composition, also from PictureCorrect.com is “Simple Yet Effective Photography Tips”.


New Products from ThinkTank

ThinkTank Photo recently formed a partnership with hard-case manufacturer SKB. ThinkTank has developed dividers, organizers and a backpack specifically designed to fit within 10 SKB hard case configuratios. The result is the best of a hard case with the best of internal organization. Check them out HERE!

AND in other news from ThinkTank, they’ve just added a bunch of their favorite gear to the Outlet Center. Summer Savings of up to 30%. And don’t forget, by using my affiliate link, you get free gear for purchases over $50 plus free shipping! Check it out HERE!



If you haven’t yet downloaded the new Topaz Studio – do it now! They released version 1.0.7 just a few days ago and Studio now has a healing/cloning tool! Woo hoo!! The basic Studio is free to download, and you can add the 14 Pro Adjustments for a special price of $99! This sale ends June 30th!



Just a reminder that the coupons and special deal promos you received at the Creative Photography Conference last month are expiring June 30th! Don’t miss out on all the great deals!

And be sure to mark your calendars for May 19-20, 2018 for the next Creative Photography Conference in Southbridge, MA!


June 18 – Sunday Sampler + Tutorials, Freebies + Sedona!

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there! Hope you had a special day with family.


This week’s Sunday Sampler is a few textures from restaurants we visited on vacation and one this past week! Marble and laminate countertops make great textures as well as decorative peeling painted wood!

In this image from Virginia, I used the Marble textures as well as a couple of others from Flypaper Textures and some cool stuff from Topaz Textures!


Tutorials + Freebies from the Web

This article is titled “40+ Beginner Photoshop Tutorials”, but I think they are for more than beginners. Even for those of us who know Photoshop, there are many ways to get a result and there are always new tricks and tips to learn – check it our HERE!

Freebies! A new site I found is Creative Nerds! Check out the Freebies HERE!



Just a reminder of our Sedona Workshop, Oct. 21-24, 2017. We offer something for every type of photography! We’ll cover the natural beauty of Sedona’s red rocks as well as animals at Out of Africa, rust (textures!) and old stuff at Gold King Mine/Ghost Town, private access to the Sedona Heritage Museum (Historical Society), as well as sunrise and sunset!

Workshop fee of $450 per person includes a welcome dinner Sat. night at Javelina Cantina (Yum!), admission fees to the Heritage Museum, Out of Africa and Ghost Town, as well as water/snacks, photographic and post-processing instruction. There is a $50 discount for attendees of last year’s workshop (two are returning so far!). Limit of 8 attendees – 3 spots are filled. Don’t delay! Email me with questions at Hazel@MeredithImages.com.