May 5 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Cinco de Mayo! If the rain would ever stop it might actually feel like Spring! Pretty flowers are in bloom, however. Hope you have time to get out and do some photography!

Last weekend I was teaching at the CanAm Photo Expo in Buffalo. While we were driving to Buffalo the Wed. before, an inspection was being done on a house we were hoping to purchase in TN. Unfortunately, there were some structural issues and we decided not to proceed.

So…we decided to make a bonsai run to TN when we left Buffalo on Sunday! We got to Charleston, WV Sunday night. Then drove to Greeneville, TN on Monday morning arriving just before noon to meet up with our realtor. Spent about 3 hours looking at 3 properties, then hit the road to start home! Stayed in VA and got home early afternoon Tuesday! LOTS of driving for sure! We thought we had a property and then found out they don’t have access to high-speed internet — which, of course, is critical for me!

Sigh…the search continues!

Since there wasn’t a blog post or Sunday Sampler last week, this week we have six textures included – various types of surfaces I’ve been photographing over the past few weeks. Enjoy!

Thank You!

To all those who completed my survey! The results were clear on topics that you want covered – Topaz was a resounding first, with Textures & Overlays a close second. Photoshop techniques – compositing, layers & masks and using brushes were all pretty much tied for third.

The types of photography that you want to learn more about – Flowers/Gardens and Landscape/Nature were almost tied for first; Still Lifes and Abandoned Places 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The majority chose extended videos (10-30 minutes) as the preferred format, with live webinars a close 2nd.

So…stay tuned for some upcoming tutorials! I’ve decided to add a new column to the blog – “How I Did That” (or similar name) – starting in a week or two. I’ll take an image I’ve posted on social media and give you the details of how I did it!

I am also planning some upcoming videos, so you’ve all helped with the direction that those will take.

Just 2 Weeks Away!

May 18-19 is our 3rd Creative Photography Conference! Don’t miss out! Check out all the details on our website at:

LOTS of great info for you this week. There are some Freebies and tutorials as well as some great bundle deals and new products.

1. From – two articles. While there are tons of apps available for iPhones, it’s harder to find good editing apps for Androids. “20 Best Photography Android Apps to Create Awesome Photo Effects” gives you some good ideas. And “Create Awesome Photo Effects with these 20 Amazing Photoshop Tutorials” will get your creative juices flowing! Don’t forget to check out their “Freebies” tab as well!

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2. From – a free “Photo to Line Art” conversion action.

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3. An awesome new bundle from Design Cuts – tailored to photographers! “The Totally Eclectic Photography Bundle” contains TONS of presets, overlays, textures, styles and more! A $900 value for just $29!

CLICK HERE to check out this great deal.
Expires in 8 days!

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4. And from my friends at ThinkTank/MindShift, a couple of new products.

The BackLight Elite 45L joins the BackLight line up as a larger backpack for those longer hikes into the back country.

Get deeper into the backcountry with the BackLight® Elite 45L backpack. 45 liters of available space provides ample room for both camera gear and adventure equipment, such as a length of rope, ice axe, snowboard/skis, laptop, tablet, and of course, a tripod.

Weather-resistant zippers and materials protect your gear when trekking in the elements. And like the other BackLight backpacks, rear-panel access adds security when traveling since your camera gear is protected behind your back.


  • Storm proof construction with YKK® AquaGuard® zippers and waterproof/tearproof Sailcloth
  • Superior Fit: Robust lumbar padding, hip-hugging waist belt, quick-dry back panel, and foam ridges for increased ventilation
  • Back and top panel access to all of your camera gear, allowing you to work out of your bag without getting your harness dirty or wet

CLICK HERE to check out this bag and the full line of BackLight products.

And for a smaller bag, the Stash Master 13L. A travel cube that enables you to expand the photo gear capacity of any large backpack/roller/duffel, or increase personal gear space in the MindShift® Backlight Elite 45L for multi-day excursions.


  • Padded insert allows you to use your own bag or increase personal gear space in the MindShift Backlight Elite 45L
  • Water resistant fabric and DWR coating keeps your gear protected
  • Sized to fit pro gear including a gripped body attached to a 70–200mm f/2.8

CLICK HERE to check out the Stash Master!

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5. And one more bundle offer! From Pixelo, “Mega Illustrator Brushes Bundle”.


But if you’re an Illustrator user, you can grab over 3200 brushes to help with your design work. Value $600 – for just $29!

CLICK HERE for this awesome bundle!

April 21 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all those who celebrate. Today is also our 35th wedding anniversary! Spring is finally springing here in southern CT – the leaves are popping open on the trees and some of the flowering trees are blooming. Lots of rain this past week, so everything has that pretty bright green color!

In honor of Spring and Easter, this week’s Sunday Sampler consists of five pretty pastel textures for you. It started with the Pink-Blue Concrete and then I started modifying from there with Topaz and Smart Photo Editor. Enjoy!

This week, Topaz Labs introduced their newest AI product, DeNoise AI. They have also now discontinued selling AI Clear as a Studio Pro Adjustment. At first I was very confused as to why they would get rid of AI Clear! It was my favorite adjustment and I’ve been using it on EVERY image at the beginning of my processing. However, after reading an article by Dr. Partha Acharjee, I now understand the why, and what is better about DeNoise AI. CLICK HERE for “The Story Behind DeNoise AI.” Another advantage of DeNoise AI is that it is not just a Studio Adjustment – you can access it as a stand-alone or as a plug-in.

If you own the old DeNoise or AI Clear, you should have received an email from Topaz Labs offering you a free copy of DeNoise AI. If you did not receive that email, contact Topaz by opening a help ticket and they will get you hooked up!

If you wish to purchase DeNoise AI, it is on sale until May 3rd for $59.99 (reg. $79.99). Click HERE to go to the store page. You can try it first with a 30-day trial.

If you do not own any of the four AI products, you can purchase a bundle of DeNoise AI, Sharpen AI, Gigapixel AI and JPEG to RAW for $199.99 (reg. $359.96). This sale also ends May 3rd. Click HERE to go to the bundle offer.

And…if you have questions about any of the AI products, there is a helpful Q&A page HERE! This page also gives you the system requirements for the powerful AI products.

Here is an image I processed with DeNoise AI. There is a LOT of noise in this shadowy image at Longwood Gardens:


Topaz DeNoise AI did a great job in getting rid of noise as well as sharpening the image:


Opinions Please!

Thank you to all those who already took my brief survey! If you haven’t yet, I would greatly appreciate 2 minutes of your time (it’s just 3 questions)! I’m looking for input as to what you would like to see in upcoming tutorials – and the formats preferred. Click HERE FOR SURVEY. Thanks!


Don’t miss out on the last New England Conference! The 3rd Creative Photography Conference, May 18-19, 2019 at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center, Southbridge, MA.

CLICK HERE for all the details, speaker info, and schedule!

A great article by Toad Hollow Photography over on Light Stalking – “31 Photography Links to get you Inspired”

From the folks at Design Cuts, “The Essential, Versatile Font Collection” for just $29 (exp. 4/28).

  • 16 versatile and professional font families (featuring a total of 253 individual fonts), perfect for adding exceptional typography to your design work.
  • Many fonts include extra weights, styles and stylistic alternates.
  • Many fonts also include bonus/extras packs, containing additional creative resources.
  • Fonts are organised into carefully labelled folders, including desktop and web versions for all fonts.

CLICK HERE for all the details!

SALE! Save 25% on any bundle over on Pixelo – EXPIRES 4/23, so don’t wait! CLICK HERE, then use the code EASTER25 at checkout!

I’m not sure if I will get a blog post out on Sunday next weekend – I’ll be teaching at the CanAm Photo Expo Friday-Sunday and getting home very late Sunday night. If there’s lots of news to share, I’ll post on Monday, otherwise, I’ll include more info in the following week’s post. Enjoy!

April 14 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! It’s finally starting to feel like Spring – and the Spring showers have been falling. There were some nasty storms in areas this past week – hope you are OK.

Sunday Sampler header and link to textures

This week’s Sunday Sampler will surely make it feel like Spring! A couple of years ago I was at Elizabeth Park Rose Garden and it was a breezy day – not ideal for photographing flowers. So I decided to make lemons out of the windy day and shoot some intentionally blurred florals to use as backgrounds. Enjoy!

Opinions Please!

I sent a newsletter the beginning of the week with updates on the Creative Photography Conference and other upcoming events. I also linked a short survey to see what topics are needed/desired for some upcoming tutorials.

Please take 2 minutes to complete this survey (if you haven’t yet). It’s only three quick questions! Click HERE FOR SURVEY. Thanks!

FREEBIE ALERT! The site has some great Freebies and Tutorials. Check ’em out HERE!

Have a great week!

June 10 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! Finally had a non-rainy Saturday and actually went out to photograph! My hubby, Dave, loves trains, cars – anything transportation related (I do too) and yesterday those were combined at “Steel & Wheels” in Danbury, CT at the Danbury Railway Museum, where they had a classic car show!

Growing up my Dad like auto racing, and we used to spend many Saturday nights at the old Danbury Racearena – there was one of the old racecars there too – brought back lots of memories.

Taken on iPhone 8+. Edited in Snapseed and DistressedFX.


This week’s Sunday Sampler is a variety of textures from different places. The striped rust is from a train car yesterday – the Gray Brick is from Baltimore and the Waves is part of a statue! Enjoy!

I’m always on the lookout for cool things to share – freebies, tutorials, etc. Here’s a couple of good ones!!

From FreeWebTutorials, “101 Best Photoshop Tutorials for Beginner to Advanced”. There are some very creative tutorials for compositing and much more – check ’em out!

From PSD-Dude, “70 Amazing Free Textures for Commercial Use”. Some really nice textures. It is important to be sure you check the “Terms of Use” before using textures (or fonts, etc.) in a project you plan to sell. These state in the headline that they are approved for commercial use.


Last call to take our Survey! We’re looking at heading to Chicago in early Oct. 2019. Where else would you like to see us visit? While we can’t be everywhere, we are definitely going to be moving around the U.S. Suggestions welcomed!


Have a great week!

June 3 – Sunday Sampler

Happy June! Typical New England weekend – hot & humid yesterday, cool & breezy today!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of textures from the Southbridge Hotel where we held our Conference – rug, wallpaper, and some birch bark that was part of photo ops (thanks to Meghan Wakefield for sharing some natural goods from her Maine property).

And speaking of the Creative Photography Conference…

Our Spring 2019 conference will again be held at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center in Southbridge, MA.

Mark your calendars for May 18-19, 2019! And…we will be offering an optional buffet for dinner (no long waits in the lounge and great food like our lunches!)

AND…we will be holding a FALL Creative Photography Conference as well! Tentatively in early October – leaning towards the Chicago area for our first Fall conference.

If you haven’t yet taken our Survey to tell us where you’d like to see a future Conference held, CLICK HERE to voice your opinion.


My next Topaz webinar is coming up on Tuesday, June 19th at 5:00 pm EDT. Join me for some creative projects using Topaz Studio and more. Sign-up is on the website – they usually open registration about a week before the webinars.


I plan to have some new tutorials for you soon! And some new textures in the Peacock Studio. I’ve been busy with both our Creative Photography Conference as well as the NECCC Conference in July at UMass Amherst (getting brochures set up and printed). If you have never attended this Conference, you should check it out. It’s expanded this year to include more than 30 speakers (most of whom have never been at this conference before); more photo ops; hands-on sessions and much more. Check it out at

Have a great week!


Jan. 28 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! As we head to the end of the first month of 2018, I hope you’ve had time to spend photographing and/or processing your images! I’ve been preparing for my next Topaz webinar (see below) and working on end-of-year accounting/taxes (not as fun as editing pics!).

So, if you haven’t signed up yet, CLICK HERE to join me for my next Topaz webinar this Tuesday, Jan. 30th at 5:00 p.m. EST. I’ll be working with Studio and Texture Effects – the latest module to be added to Studio!

If you already own the Texture Effects module, the update to Studio is FREE (just run the update to Studio and you’ll now have Texture Effects in Studio). If you don’t already have this awesome program, it’s on sale now at $20 off – just $49.97. CLICK HERE to get the discount!


This week’s Sunday Sampler is some more grungy textures from Eastern States Penitentiary – cracked paint and rock walls. Enjoy!


I have a fellow photographer who has a new studio space in Hartford, CT, and he wants to schedule photo sessions and workshops. I haven’t done a half-day hands-on workshop in a while so I’m looking to schedule something for late March/early April on a Saturday from 9 am-1 pm. Price would be $89 per person.

What topic would you like to see? Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, Topaz, Textures, Camera Basics 101, or something else? Give me your feedback HERE! has lots of great articles on photographing just about anything – and tips to photograph them well! This week learn “Frost & Ice Photography Tips” , “10 DSLR Camera Features You Should Know” and “How to Emphasize Your Main Subject”.

On find “25 Free Watercolor Brush Sets for Skilled Digital Artists”. While these are geared towards digital painting, I love using brushes like this to create my own textures!

And on, learn to “Create this Stylistic Mixed-Media Artwork in Photoshop”.



Dec. 17 – Sunday Sampler + Final Holiday Shopping

Yesterday Dave & I had the honor of participating in “Wreaths Across America” which lays a wreath on the grave of all of our veterans at Arlington and at Veteran’s Cemeteries across the U.S. We were at the CT State Veteran’s Cemetery in Middletown, CT where 10,000 wreaths were laid. There was a 45 minute ceremony before the wreath laying began. Quite moving including bagpipes playing Amazing Grace, taps, 21-gun salute, and an Air National Guard flyover. Next year we hope to go to the event at Arlington. Thank you to all who have served.



It’s 2 years this weekend that I’ve been doing the Sunday Sampler – WOW! How time flies! This will be the final Sunday Sampler for 2017 – I’m taking the next 2 weekends off to relax a little (yeah right!), celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with family and friends, and get ready for 2018! Look for some new changes and features in the weekly blog!



Thank you to all those who completed my survey and for the nice comments. It closes later tonight, so there’s still time if you’d like to complete it – just 10 quick questions! CLICK HERE!

The favorite topics for more tutorials are textures & Topaz! I am planning to do more on those in my own work as well as some tutorials for all of you! Stay tuned!!



Our friends at Think Tank Photo and MindShift Gear just let me know that they are offering free 2nd Day delivery through next Tuesday, December 19th, so that your gear arrives in time for Christmas. And, as my friend, you will be able to add a free gift to your order! Don’t hesitate to order the best rollers, backpacks, shoulder bags, and accessories for pro/serious photographers and outdoor photographers.

Click here for Think Tank Photo

Click here for MindShift Gear



People are getting frustrated with Adobe and the way they have been updating programs (i.e., Lightroom) lately. I still haven’t loaded the latest version of Lightroom (2018) – don’t trust it yet! There was an interesting article on Peta Pixel  – “I Tested 10+ Photoshop Alternatives to See How They Stack Up”. Quite a good read! And might I add – Topaz Studio is another great alternative to Photoshop!

And if you missed my Dec. 12th webinar – and registered – you will have received the link to the recorded program! Enjoy!

I also gave webinar attendees a discount code to save 25% off all of my Textures and eBooks in the Peacock Studio through 12/23! Use the code TOPAZ25 at checkout and catch the deal!

From Spoon Graphics – 5 Dust & Scratches Textures for Photoshop & Illustrator

Tons of freebies on Free Creatives!

And on Line 25, 20 Brilliant Sci-Fy/Space Photoshop Tutorials.



Have a beautiful holiday season enjoying whatever holiday you celebrate. Wishing you success and good health in 2018!

Thanks for supporting me and the Sunday Sampler!



12-10 Sunday Sampler, Topaz Webinar + Freebies!

Yesterday was our first snow of the year! Now it looks like Christmas in New England! Thanks to my wonderful hubby for shoveling this morning. Our neighbor does an amazing light display with music that you can tune in on your car radio. The lights looked especially pretty in the snow last night.

This week’s Sunday Sampler are more from our Sedona trip – brushed metal, copper ore rock and rusted blue metal building. Enjoy!



I’ll be doing a webinar on Topaz Studio this Tuesday, Dec. 12th at 5:00 pm EST. Sign-up here:

Here’s a synopsis of the webinar:

“Join Hazel Meredith for this workflow and artistic effect based webinar as she shows us how she utilizes Topaz Studio and various Topaz modules to craft her creative images.

From soft florals to grungy old buildings, there are countless ways to craft a photo to your own vision. Hazel will demonstrate ways to combine presets and textures to help you create your own “work of art”.”



If you would be so kind, please take just a few minutes of your time and answer a short 10 question survey about the weekly “Sunday Sampler”. This will help me plan 2018 and give you more information that you want and find useful. Thank you!




From, a collection of Free Handwriting Brushes. I love using handwriting brushes and overlays in my texture work! Check em out HERE!

And from, a collection of 40 Free Label Mockups (PSD & Vector). If you need to design a label or gift tag, this will give you a head start! Click HERE!

From a timely article on Christmas Light Photography Tips. And another good article on The 10 Golden Rules of Wildlife Photography.


And don’t forget yourself this holiday season! Sign up now for our Creative Photography Conference, May 19-20, 2018! Expand your creative horizons with our great line-up of speakers including Tamron Image Master, Mike Moats, an awesome creative macro photographer; Anne Belmont, a Lensbaby partner; and many more!

Topics will cover a wide range of creative techniques – textures, Topaz, iPad and iPhoneography, in-camera techniques, other post-processing, many hands-on opportunities and much more!

We’ll begin posting details of the seminars and speaker bios after the new year, but don’t wait to sign up – you won’t be disappointed!

Click HERE to to go my website for more details and to read comments by some of last year’s attendees!

While the Pre-Black Friday specials were the very best pricing of the year, we will be doing GROUP DEALS so you can sign up with your friends and save some big $$$ ! Check out the details on the website!


Dec. 3 Sunday Sampler + 2018 Planning Survey, Topaz Webinar, Freebies

Wow – December already! Where did this year go? I know I’ve been super busy this year and the days and months have just flown by!

Hard to believe, it’s coming up on 2 YEARS that I’ve been doing the Sunday Sampler of free textures! That’s over 300 free textures – which are all still available if you click through the old blog posts!! CLICK HERE for this week’s textures – 3 warm images from our shopping visit to “Mexadona” in Sedona, AZ.



If you would be so kind, please take just a few minutes of your time and answer a short 10 question survey about the weekly “Sunday Sampler”. This will help me plan 2018 and give you more information that you want and find useful. Thank you!




I’ll be doing a webinar on Topaz Studio on Tuesday, Dec. 12th at 5:00 pm EST. Sign-ups should be posted shortly.

Here’s a synopsis of the webinar:

“Join Hazel Meredith for this workflow and artistic effect based webinar as she shows us how she utilizes Topaz Studio and various Topaz modules to craft her creative images.

From soft florals to grungy old buildings, there are countless ways to craft a photo to your own vision. Hazel will demonstrate ways to combine presets and textures to help you create your own “work of art”.”



Found these cool FREE blended splatter brushes on

From CSSauthor, a collection of 75+ of the Best Photoshop Brushes (mostly free)

From PNGIMG.COM a collection of free PNG files of White Roses

And a couple from Pixel Buddha – If you use Procreate on an iPad, here’s a collection of free Galactic Lens Flare Brushes (only work in Procreate). Second, a collection of Sprayed Vector Textures.

And finally, from Oriana’s Notes blog, a collection of 50 Free Gorgeous Christmas Fonts to help you dress up your holiday correspondence.




Jan. 15 – Sunday Sampler + More!

Happy Sunday! This week’s Sunday Sampler contains more “natural” textures from our visit to the New York Botanical Gardens yesterday. These green leaves are great for hiding a busy background behind a flower or other subject. You can always add a Gaussian Blur to these to soften the effect. And don’t forget about changing blending modes and opacity! Enjoy!



Week 3 – Smoke Art. This week’s is a little less complicated than the last two! This week you actually have several options. While the instructions in the challenge article have you photographing smoke, you can actually also create some creative images using smoke BRUSHES! Scroll down on the link page for more free smoke brushes.

Here are some wildly creative ideas to get you thinking!


THANK YOU to all of those who completed the survey!

I appreciate your time and comments. Overall, you guys like the blog and its content, including the “Sunday Sampler”! In our upcoming “Topaz Corner” columns you’ve stated you would like info on how to use specific Topaz products – so I will be giving you some info on that. I will focus on how the plug-ins work, as well as how you can “stack” them to obtain different effects. I will also give you some ideas as to how I decide which plug in to try on which type of image.

In the “I’m Curious” columns (which start today), you primarily want info on Photoshop & Lightroom, with maybe a little bit on “general” photography. So I’ll keep this column moving between topics and give you info on various subjects, including some of the ones asked for in the comments section of the survey.

In the Peacock Studio shop, you’ve asked for more textures, brushes and word art – a product that I will feature soon. I’ve been working on some great word art for you to utilize in your images. I am also developing more brushes.

In the “I’m Curious” column I will also talk about how to best use the products from the shop!

For the topics of upcoming online tutorials, overwhelmingly you asked for sessions on “working with Topaz products”, and second most popular, “working with textures” – both near and dear to my heart! I will work on those, and in the meantime my next Topaz webinar is in a couple of weeks on Jan. 24th. Sign up over on the Topaz website at: If you can’t make it on the 24th, they do record the webinars and post them on their website.

And remember, any time you have a question, suggestion or comment, I would love to hear from you. Email me at Thanks again!



In this first of our new monthly column, I’m going to answer a question from the survey. A reader stated they were having a difficult time understanding how to apply a “crop shape” or “clipping mask”. This PDF of instructions is what I wrote and include with the “Crop Shapes” for sale in the Peacock Studio.

Click HERE for the instructions.

Anything can become a clipping mask – a shape or even words can be used – like these:





Next week I will begin featuring the work of my speakers for the “Creative Photography Conference”, May 20-21, 2017. I hope you can join us!

Have a great week!