March 3 – Sunday Sampler

Happy March! Now that it’s almost Spring we’re actually getting some measurable snow in Southern CT! Luckily with the warmer sunshine, it’s melting quickly. About 4 inches yesterday, 4-8″ coming by tomorrow morning!

This week’s Sunday Sampler is a morning sunrise sky (that I softened with a Gaussian Blur). I then created two other versions with Topaz ReStyle. The B&W version can be used to lighten or darken another photograph. The Multiply Blend Mode will darken; the Screen Blend Mode will lighten; then reduce Opacity as needed.

The new eBook is just about done!!! I promised to deliver the new eBook by April 1st, and we will meet that date! The book is complete and is now being proofread by a few people. Hubby is testing the projects, and my friends Antoinette and Loretta are proofing and checking technical info. It will be going to the printer for DVD’s within the week (this one will be a DVD rather than a CD as there is more info than I can fit on a CD!). This book is 114 pages; 12 projects (including the images, textures and brushes so you can work along with the instructions); and lots of other info including bonus textures and brushes. For those that pre-ordered the electronic version, you will be getting an email from me later this month!

If you haven’t yet pre-ordered a copy, you can grab a copy now for $5 off the list price of $25. Use coupon code preorder5 at checkout – expires midnight 3/9. Click HERE to go to the Peacock Studio store!

I also have some new texture sets in the works that will be released later in March. Check out the current selection while you’re in the store!

A couple of cool Freebies I found this week:

From – “Free 50 Vibrant Swirl Texture Pack” – pretty swirled designs.

And from, “41 Free Photoshop Texture Packs to Make Your Design Complete”

And for just $29 a new bundle from Pixelo“The Ageless Vintage Bundle”. Contains 55 fonts and 100+ Unique Retro Designs! Both Personal & Commercial License included.


July 29 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! Hope you had a great week!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some floral images that you can use for backgrounds. To soften the effect you can blur them (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur > amount you desire). Enjoy!


On Thursday, I did a seminar for StudioMagic (by LayerCake), demonstrating how I’ve used some of the functions of the program. If you didn’t sign up and missed the webinar, here is a link to the recording:

You can also still take advantage of the special pricing – they’ve let me extend the offer until Monday evening – check it out here:’ll save 85% on the deal of StudioMagic I & II, plus 500 skies and cloud overlays – for just $95!

Here’s one of the projects I did in the webinar:


And another great deal just released this week – Lightroom Presets & Brushes package – contains 200 LR Presets and 30 LR Brushes – Save 80%, just $59! BUT…at checkout use the code HAZEL35 and save another 35% making the package total price just $38.35!

Check it out here:

Here’s a couple of before-and-after examples:


Free Textures & Brushes! Shadowhouse Creations is one I had come across in the past. It appears the blog hasn’t been active in a few years, however, there are a TON of textures and brushes you can still download. Check it out HEREAnd, you can use them for personal or commercial use with no attribution.

From Pixel Surplus – a great deal on their “Summertime Font Bundle” (affiliate link) – Just $29 for 29 high quality full license fonts. Check it out HERE!

And they also have some great freebies on their site – check em out!

From Picture Correct – Still Life Photography Tips & Tricks and Sunrise Photography Tips for Beginners.


Have a great week as we welcome August!!




Feb. 11 – Sunday Sampler

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some images that will make nice backgrounds. I took grasses and flowers and blurred them a bit (you can always blur more with a Gaussian Blur adjustment). The third image is silhouetted branches against a pale sunset. Enjoy!


This week we are featuring speaker, Anne Belmont, who hails from the Chicago area.

As a nature photographer specializing in flower photography, Anne’s greatest passion lies in seeing and capturing the beauty of flowers and other botanical subjects up-close. It is the small, often unnoticed details that draw Anne to her subjects. It is her belief that if we slow down and look at nature in a more contemplative way, we will find subjects that convey impact and emotion, causing the eye to linger a little longer. A life-long involvement in the arts and a first career as an art therapist have shaped the way that she views art and the creative process and have reinforced her belief in the healing power of both art and nature in our lives.

On any given day you will find her in her favorite place to photograph, the Chicago Botanic Garden, a place with bountiful subjects and an ever-changing palette of color and light. She was commissioned by the Garden to do a solo exhibition of her orchid photography, displayed in 20 larger-than-life panels during the 2015 – 2017 Orchid Shows. Anne is a staff member and presenter for Out of Chicago Photography ( and partners with Lensbaby to spread the love and creativity of their lenses.

Anne’s Conference Programs

Unleash Your Creative Spirit: Creating Beautiful Flower Portraits with Lensbaby

Learn to see and photograph flowers in a whole new artistic way. We will explore ways to unleash the creative spirit, find a vision and style in photography, and follow your heart in shooting in a way that brings joy. Anne will share her unique way of looking at flowers, helping you to see and isolate beautiful, interesting and often unnoticed details. Along with learning some tips and tricks for capturing flowers, we will also explore ways to create more artistic images through the magic of Lensbaby lenses, creating evocative and beautiful portraits of flowers.

Hands-On Sessions – Shooting with Lensbaby

Bring your Lensbaby and learn from a pro how to get the creative effects you desire! I’m trying to get some loaner lenses from Lensbaby as well – stay tuned!

Lensbaby has donated a “Composer Pro II with Sweet 50” as a door prize!


If you don’t already own Topaz Adjust (one of my favorites), it is on sale through tomorrow, Monday, Feb. 12th. Save 20% (Reg. $49.99, on sale for $39.99).

This is NOT a Studio addition – at this point – but a chance to grab this great program on sale. And when it does move to Studio, you will be able to get that upgrade for free.

“With Topaz Adjust you can give your images the soul and character you envisioned in the field! Unlike our eyes, a camera lens can’t compensate for all the tonal values we see right in front of us. If you shoot something bright, you’ll lose all the details in the shadows. If you shoot something dark, the highlights will be blown out. You can try to correct contrast, details, and vibrancy yourself, but it’s difficult to make images pop like you want.

“Topaz Adjust is designed to enhance three characteristics: contrast, detail, and color. Specializing in producing vivid images, Adjust uses Topaz’s adaptive exposure, adaptive saturation, and even includes our cutting-edge detail enhancement algorithms to give you the secret “oomph” ingredients that make your images stand out.”


And watch for a post on Tuesday about the next Topaz deal!

Next week I will answer a few more questions from the webinar!

And…if you missed the webinar a couple of weeks ago or want to watch it again, it is now posted on the Topaz YouTube Channel:

We’ve scheduled my next webinar for Tuesday, March 27th. I’ll be showing more advanced techniques with masking and compositing multiple images in Studio! Stay tuned for sign ups!


There is SO much great info on the web! I’m always stumbling across awesome tutorials!

From – a post from 2008 had “50 Excellent Digital Photography Photoshop Tutorials”. While they may be older, I think they still have great info. There are LOTS of links on the site to many other tutorials – take a look around!

Have a great week!


Feb. 4 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! I live in New England, but I’m not rooting for the Patriots – I’d like to see someone new win – Go Eagles!


This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some mossy rocks! Remember – you can blend more than one texture and change the color or desaturate to add only texture and no color. Enjoy!


THANK YOU to everyone who watched my webinar on Tuesday! We maxed out at 1,000 people – over 2,100 signed up – WOW! If you were not able to join on Tuesday, you should have received an email with the link to the recording. And if you didn’t sign up, you’ll be able to watch the recording soon on, and scroll down to the recordings.

There were so many great questions being asked in the chat box that we just don’t have time to answer them all during the webinar. Heath Robinson of Topaz sent me the dialogue of the chat box so I can answer some of the questions here in the “Topaz Corner”.

Here we go…

In this webinar I was featuring Texture Effects in Studio, the latest of the presets to be added to Topaz Studio.

A couple of people asked, “Is Texture Effects stand-alone and Texture Effects in Studio the same thing?”

Answer – Yes, but the Studio version offers even more presets than TTE2. And there are more functions coming in upcoming releases – like 20 more textures from yours truly; Digital Frames (which I was able to demo in the beta version during the webinar); and a few other goodies! f you already own the Topaz Texture Effects Plugin, you get the upgrade to Texture Effects in Studio for free, just follow the steps here:  If you don’t yet own Texture Effects, you can save 20% on that or any other Topaz product or upgrade through Feb. 5th with my webinar code Hazelweb8.  Shop here:

Question – “What is the difference between the textures on the left panel and the texture function under Adjustments on the right panel?”

Answer – The “textures” you see on the left in Texture Effects are presets which contain multiple adjustments and/or textures. The texture adjustment on the right lets you add a single texture of your choosing. You must own Texture Effects to see the texture adjustment on the right as well as the presets on the left.”

Stay tuned to future “Topaz Corners” for answers to more questions!

We’re just over 3 months away from our 2nd Creative Photography Conference! Our speakers are lined up and we’re getting the details of their presentations and hands-on sessions dialed in. I’m going to being featuring our speakers in the Sunday Sampler, and we’re going to start with the amazing macro photographer, Tamron Image Master, Mike Moats.

“Mike Moats is an award-winning, professional macro photographer from Sterling Heights, Michigan. Mike’s love of photography, which started out as a hobby in 2001, has since evolved into a full-time business. In addition to creating his own images, Mike added Macro Boot Camps into the mix in 2006, and he now also makes speaking appearances at photo conferences nationwide, and now has an online Macro Photo Club to assist photographers with their macro goals.

“Recruited as a member of the Fuji Pro Talent Team in 2006, Mike is also honored to be a Tamron Image Master, and a Vanguard Pro. He has won numerous local, national, and international awards. Mike’s first book, Tiny Landscapes, was released in 2008, and his images and how-to articles have been published in various magazines, including Outdoor Photographer, Nature’s Best Photography, Shutterbug, PC Photo, Nature Photographer, Photo Life, Whisper in the Woods, and Michigan Fish and Game Finder; in photography collections such as the North American Nature Photography Association’s (NANPA’s) Expressions book and the Pure Michigan tourism companion; and in various corporate collateral, including on the Tamron USA blog and in Fujifilm newsletters.”

Mike will be doing a lecture-style seminar and several hands-on sessions. His lecture will be “Creating an Award-Winning Macro Image”. With Mike’s successes as listed above, he has analyzed what makes his images successful and will teach you how to take your photography to the next level, and how to create your own personal style.

Mike will show you how to creatively look at your macro photography and finish off the images with a little bit of post-processing.

His hands-on sessions will be, “The Properly Equipped Macro Photographer” where you will learn what are the best cameras, lenses, tripod/head, accessories, and camera functions for the beginner/intermediate macro photographer. Also covered, working with depth of field. And he will have a “Macro Shooting Gallery” set up for some photo ops – bring your camera, macro (or short) lens, tripod, and join the fun!

Don’t miss out on our “group specials” on registration! Go to our website at

And if you attended the 2017 Conference, you can save $25 on registration! Email me at for the secret code!

A great round up of articles over on – “The Coolest Photography Links of the Week”

And on, “20 Amazing Free Photoshop Text Effects with Tutorials”


Jan. 6 – Sunday Sampler +

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year! It’s VERY cold this weekend in Connecticut and New England – way below our “normal” after the big storm on Thursday. Hope you are all safe and warm indoors!

It’s always exciting to head into a new year with a clean calendar, though I do have a few camera club seminars scheduled – I’ll be at the North Haven Camera Club on Jan. 23rd doing a seminar on my favorite topics, “Textures & Topaz”.

On Jan. 30th I’m scheduled to do my next Topaz Webinar. I will be featuring Texture Effects in Studio (yep, that’s the next module to be added to the Studio platform). Can’t wait to try it out!

My project this Winter is to put together the sequel to my eBook, “Working with Textures & Overlays: Turn Ho-Hum into a Work of Art”. There are so many different ways to work with textures – and create them – that I couldn’t possibly fit them all into one book. Stay tuned for release by late April/early May.


And speaking of May, our 2nd Creative Photography Conference is coming up on the 19th & 20th. Over the next few weeks and months I will be posting bios on our speakers, as well as details on the seminars and hands-on classes they will be doing. We will be offering many more opportunities to do some hands-on photographing and editing throughout the weekend. I plan to have at least two things going on every session so you’ll have even more choices this year.

We have our Registration Group Specials still going on – sign up with a group of 4 or 6 and save everyone some $$$ on your registrations. Go to the website page HERE for all the details. And if you attended the 2017 Conference, you can get a $25 discount on registration – email me for the code. (Sorry, offers cannot be combined.)


It’s the beginning of the 3rd year of the “Sunday Sampler” free textures. Click HERE for this week’s Sampler. These images are from our Sedona Workshop and our visit to the Sedona Historical Society.

If you are a newer subscriber to the blog, I’ve made it easier to get all of the “old” textures. I put together 3 bundles with 78 textures each for just $15 a bundle — AND they are on sale till the end of January for just $10 a bundle! It will save you a ton of time so you don’t have to go back through every old blog post to download them. Click HERE to go to the Peacock Studio and pick up your bundles!

PLEASE NOTE: Because these are HUGE folders of full-sized images (600+ MB of data), I could not load them directly to the website. So I will send you a direct link to download from Dropbox within 24 hours or less of receiving your order. Thanks!

Textures from July 2017 till now are still available to download through the blog posts if you’ve missed any of those.




A big THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to answer my survey questions! I truly appreciate all of the feedback, and I must say it was very positive and encouraging. It’s nice to know that you like most of what I’m doing here on the blog.

Everyone likes getting the textures (90% Yes – 10% Kind of) and the subjects most requested for tutorials are Textures & Topaz! I’m putting together a step-by-step tutorial of how I did the “Dream Butterfly” image below – I will have it posted in next week’s blog.


There are SO many great resources on the world-wide-web. I like to share some of my finds, especially when they are FREE!

Here is a post from Photoshop Website with links to 700 Musical Photoshop Brushes. If you have seen any of my recent Facebook posts, you’ll know I’ll be adding some of these to my collection too.

From Web Design Dev, an article with 20 Brilliant Photoshop Video Tutorials to Improve Your Skills. Be sure to check out the “freebies” section of this website as well for more goodies.

And from, their freebies section has lots of good links to tutorials, fonts and much more.


Thanks for taking the time to share part of your day with me. I sincerely appreciate every one of you. If you have any questions, ideas or things you’d like to see featured in the blog, please email me at I love to hear from you!

Have a great week!

Sept. 3 – Sunday Sampler + Exhibit + Seminars + Tuts

Happy September! Where did the summer go?? Every month flies by these days and Sept. & Oct. are exceptionally busy for me this year!

Yesterday we headed to Scranton, PA to Steamtown National Historic Site for “Railfest 2017”. We weren’t going to go this year, but when they added a Night Shoot, well, we were IN!

Unfortunately we had some rain to contend with, but got some cool shots. Here’s one of my faves – those white dots are not stars, but raindrops!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of – what else?  – but rusty textures from some of the old trains in the rail yard. Next to the steam engines, my favorite part! Enjoy!



The columnist for the PSA book review column had asked for my eBook to review about a year ago. It takes a while for reviews to be scheduled into the Journal, and I was surprised to see my eBook in this month’s column – and in a nicely accented boxed format! Thanks Marie!

I am planning to have the “sequel” done by Spring!



Yesterday morning before heading to Steamtown, we hung 20 of my “creative” images at the Bethel Public Library, 189 Greenwood Ave., Bethel, CT.  I’m having an artist’s reception on Sat., Sept. 23rd from 2-4 p.m. I will also have cards, bookmarks and my eBook for sale at the reception. Please stop in and say “hi”!



I have several camera club seminars scheduled for Sept., Oct. & Nov. If you are in the area, please stop by! Even if you are not a member of the club, guests are welcome!

Sept. 6 – Greater Bridgeport Camera Club, Stratford, CT – “Getting Started with ProShow Gold”

Sept. 18 – Island Photo Group, Farmingdale, Long Island, NY – “HDR/Topaz/Textures”

Sept. 27 – Merrimack Valley Camera Club,k Andover, MA – “Calibrating Your Monitor”

Oct. 17 – Castle Craig Camera Club, Meriden, CT – “Photoshop Elements Basics”

Oct. 21-24 – SEDONA, AZ – Our Workshop! See for more info!

Nov. 18 – Bronx Photographic Society, Bronx, NY – “Textures & Topaz”



Some cool techniques – 20 Double Exposure Tutorials

And on Light Stalking, 30 Photography Tutorials and Links that You Will Love


Have a great week!

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

And over on, 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: 

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 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 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

Have a great week!


Sunday Sampler + Tutorials + Freebies

Happy Sunday everyone! Looks like Summer has finally arrived!

Yesterday Dave & I visited our friends at Chevy Supply of Assonet (MA) to see what new beauties John has restored! He had a couple of sweet rides ready to cruise!

Of course, I also visited the “parts yard” in search of some great rust and textures….which is where I got this week’s Sunday Sampler! The one of the red scratched metal was shot at a fairly low f-stop so only the center is in focus. Enjoy!



I came across this cool article from – “80 Amazing Modern Photoshop Text Effect Tutorials”.

Be sure to poke around the site – they have LOTS of great tutorials as well as Freebies (brushes, vectors, textures, actions and more)!


While Lightroom is pretty intuitive to learn and use, have you ever wondered what the real difference is between the Shadows Slider and the Blacks Slider? I found this great article on – “Shadows vs. Blacks Sliders: How they affect photos differently” that explains the differences in a very clear way with great screen shots to illustrate the points.


Have a great week!