Autumn Reflections on Presque Isle River, Michigan




I stood in the shallow edge of the river, watching as the river breathed. Each surge of water over the submerged rock was different, more or less, as it flowed over the submerged rocks, resulting in varying undulations of the surface ‘waves’. I tried to time it right to capture a moment when the water churned back on itself, and chose a shutter speed that would provide some texture in the movement of the water. I captured many variations of this one composition, only moving on to another scene when I felt I had achieved the look I was after. But you never know for certain until you see it large on the computer screen, and thankfully, I have a few that gave me just what I wanted.

Now, as I post this, I am reliving my experience of watching the river flow, hearing it ‘talking’ as it gurgled, churned, dropped and flowed past me. The sound of the water muffled the sounds of everything around me and during the timeI spent photographing there, it was just me, and the river, and the breeze, and it was great. I had been a bit ‘down’ that afternoon, feeling tired, and not having had much luck with the other images I had tried that morning because of the stiff winds and crowds of people on this holiday weekend. But after this photo session, all of that dropped away and I went to my campsite a very happy camper!





Posted in America, Landscape Photography, nature photography, photographs, road trip, USA

Another dramatic view of Lake Superior



Here’s another scene from my last day along the shores of Lake Superior in October. It’s ironic how in the last few days things began to finally come together in terms of cooperative weather conditions, light and color. For the first few days of this journey, I was feeling frustrated with the blustery winds that kept me from creating some of the larger landscapes I had envisioned. I was still having a great time hiking around and seeing new places, even without making great pictures. The very act of being out in nature was uplifting, and invigorating! And all during that time, my eyes were opening up to see so many beautiful things around me. And some of them I could photograph without concern for the wind. So I kept exploring, kept seeing. And little by little, I made a series of images that to me were capturing some of the essence of the area.

On the last full day I was in the Keewenaw region, I was going along the shore southwest of the Portage Canal, and followed a sign to agate beach – hoping I could finally find an agate or two as a treasure. But instead, I was given the treasure of wonderful, dramatic light and beautiful waves. I’ve always believed that we receive our ‘gifts’ by showing up, and being flexible, trusting that the beauty is there. On this last afternoon, this was my gift.

Thank you for visiting, comments are always welcome!


Posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, Landscape Photography, nature photography Tagged , , , , |

New – Topaz Texture Effects Program


Quiet Day, Portmagee, Ireland


My friends over at Topaz have done it again! This stand-alone and plug-in program has an incredible selection of texture effects, and everything in the library is modifiable ‘to taste’. I love programs that give you a place to start with your creativity and then let you take it over from there to create your own look. And you can save those special looks to recall them later to keep your style. Very cool. You can also download effects from the internet, from the Topaz community, when you find ones that others have created that you like. Even better.

I made this image using the Summer Haze preset, and then after exiting the program, blended the results with my original file in Photoshop just a teensy bit. The options are limitless with this program.

This program is on sale from today through November 20th, you can save $20 off the regular price. If you are interested, please use this affiliate link, Topaz Labs Store, and type in the code TEXTUREFX at checkout. You will LOVE this program if you love to apply textures to your images for a fine-art, painterly look.





Posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, creative ideas, Plug-ins, Processing Techniques Tagged , , |

Shadow Man, Cuba 2015

Well, it’s been another whirlwind of 2 months of travel and leading/teaching and I didn’t keep up with posting on my blog very well. But I’m back to it, and look forward to sharing images and insights with you in the coming weeks and months.

The main post image might be considered a ‘lucky moment’ but since friends were involved, I have to come clean on this! But it all started with a serendipitous accident. I was working on the vertical photo you’ll see below, I was drawn to the blue/green and the light/shadow contrast, when someone walked in between me and the wall. But in that instant, I saw a shadow blur by, and I knew there was a fun photo opportunity here. Since his wife was also photographing the grillwork and details we ‘ganged up’ on her husband who had the perfect hat for this, and had him pose in various positions until we found the right profile. Some photographs are seen, some are created, and my motto is “Art is art no matter how it was derived.” Enjoy!!








Posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, creative ideas, general photography, travel photography Tagged , , , , |

Rockin’ around the rocks in Namibia



I love geology, and when I travel to places with weird rock formations, I get excited. Nature’s processes to shape our world never cease to amaze me. I’m also amazed at the transformation an image can have, when it’s converted to monochrome. The image above has the drama that I was envisioning for this area in Namibia called the Giant’s Playground – a region filled with odd-shaped boulders of dolorite. It reminds me of our own southwest USA, yet the rocks have more blocky shapes than our Arizona/Utah area. And, this “playground” has quiver trees, also unique to that area.

After we photographed sunrise in the quiver forest, we went off nearby to explore this rocky playground as the sky was getting more interesting with clouds, and we thought we could make some cool black and white pictures with the contrast of mid-morning light. The reddish rocks looked nice in contrast to the blue sky, but the light was really strong. It’s funny how we accept the strong light in black and white, but not in color always! To find images that would work in black and white,  I switched on the black and white ‘filter’ in my eyes, looking for tonality differences, textures, and shapes to put against the sky. I knew I wanted to bring out the texture of these rocks, too, and it was just a matter of finding things at the appropriate angle to the light to make that happen. A polarizer helped to increase the contrast in the sky. We had a lot of fun scampering around on the rocks making pictures. This was one of my favorites – it looks like a huge earthenware jar with a lid on it.

Thanks for visiting!




P.S. We are going back to Namibia in 2016. Deposits are being taken and we have 3 spaces sold at this time. Please consider joining in the fun! It’s a terrific country with such diverse landscape opportunities combined with the adventure of wildlife and culture.

Posted in Black-and-White, Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, Insights, Landscape Photography, Namibia, nature photography Tagged , , , , , , |

The Power of Gesture



I know we’re not supposed to anthropomorphize wildlife, but how can you not when they do things that are so, well, human-like? Or at least what we think of as human-like, anyway. I couldn’t help thinking “Is this how I do it, Mom?” when I watched this Spring cub eating sedge alongside mom. Several times it looked up to connect with her, and it just felt like the cub was checking in on whether it was eating the right stuff! Probably instinct…

No matter what, the gesture is what counted the most here. And gesture is so important with any animate object. Gesture brings your subject alive, and this little bear was full of gestures as we watched it mimic Mom and toddle alongside. It’s sibling is ‘buried’ behind the mother’s fluffy body. When the two of them got tired of eating, they’d play; and that’s another image of gesture that I’ll share here, too, when I get done editing my thousands of pictures from the trip.

Thanks for visiting, and share with friends!


Posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, nature photography, wildlife photography, workshops & photo tours Tagged , , , , , , , |