Filoli iPhone 12 Pro Max Photography

That Camperdown Elm

One of my favorite trees in Filoli is the Camperdown elm that sits between the Pool Pavilion and the base of the tennis court. It’s at the end of a long grass lawn across from the west side of the Garden House.

Here are a couple of earlier posts I’ve shared about this tree including one from 2013 when I first began noticing this tree. I had mistakenly called it an oak tree originally but was quickly educated to learn that it’s really a Camperdown elm.

During a recent visit, I was patiently waiting for some folks to get out of the image I was trying to make when two kids walked into a sunny spot on the edge of the image – and one of them was wearing red. Talk about the decisive moment!

I’ve had fun post-processing the image in different styles all on my iPhone. Here’s the original image shot with the Camera app on my iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Here’s the first processed version – with a lot of white balance tweaking and cropping done using both the Photos app and Snapseed.

Finally, here’s a painterly version – created using Adobe’s Paint Can app on my iPhone and then processed in Snapseed to brighten up a bit and add a border.

Photography Zines zines,mini-zines,mini-portfolio

Zine Day

This morning I got one of Austin Kleon’s weekly emails (every Friday morning) which triggered an interest in experimenting with ‘zines as mini-photography portfolios.

Experimenting with ‘zines seemed like something that might help distract me from some of the endless negativity from the current coronavirus pandemic!

Thanks to Austin’s post, I used the PDF file from this post on how to make mini-comics. After watching Austin’s quick video, I printed the mini-comic example and created my first mini-zine.

When it came time to try to create my own mini ‘zine using some of my content, I experimented with two approaches: using Word and using a custom print template in Lightroom Classic.

In Word, I modified an example file I found here on the web to use US Letter paper (instead of A4 that it’s setup for). One of the things that’s tricky is that you need to rotate four of the images/text blocks on the page so that it works correctly.

In Lightroom Classic, I tried two approaches using the Print module. One was using the contact sheet approach and the other was setting up a custom template – which worked better as it gave me better control over the image block sizes, borders, etc.

In Lightroom, I created a sample collection of eight images, sequenced them appropriately (also a bit tricky as the order isn’t what you might think – see the mini-comic example, and then brought them into the Print module using the custom template. From their I printed the page – being careful to use the print setting on my particular laser printer that avoids any margins or scaling.

After that it’s a simple matter of folding the page, making one cut, and then folding the book. It take a bit to get the hang of it, but the result is fun – and charming! See examples below:

All in all, this project proved to be a good distraction to take my mind away from the coronavirus happenings today!

Update: Near the bottom of his post, Austin Kleon shares a template for helping kids make their own gratitude zine.

Filoli iPhone 11 Pro Max Photography

The Pool at Filoli

The swimming pool at Filoli is beautifully situated in the garden – behind a high hedge that provides isolation from the traditional part and sets the pool and the pool house in a lawn area up against that trees.

Here’s an aerial view of the pool and the gardens from Apple Maps:

Photos made with my iPhone 11 Pro Max at a recent visit to Filoli in Woodside, California:

iPhone 11 Pro Max Palo Alto Photography Stanford

Stone River

While heading to the Anderson Collection at Stanford I stopped by Andy Goldsworthy’s sculpture Stone River which lies in the field just across the street. Built from fragments from Stanford buildings damaged in the 1989 earthquake, it’s beautifully crafted and well worth a visit. All of these images were made with my iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Fujifilm X-E2 Lightroom Photography Photography - Fujifilm X-E2 Photoshop CC

No Parking in San Francisco


While walking along Pine St. in San Francisco, I captured this image with my new Fujifilm X-E2 of this guy and his elongated “Texas-size” bicycle frame. He was here for a moment and then gone. Fun street photography!

Post-processed in Lightroom and Photoshop CC with a bit of an oil paint filter applied to make the textures of the light more interesting.

Black and White Cuba Monochrome Photography Nik Software Photography Photography - Black & White Photography - Nikon D600 Travel

Magic Man at the Tropicana in Havana

Magic Man - Tropicana Club Havana - 2013

Here’s another image from our evening out in Havana at the Tropicana Club. This was near the end of the floor show – shot with my Nikon D600 and the Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 prime lens, ISO 3200, 1/250 at f/4. Post-processed using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 and a number of other tweaks in Photoshop CS6.

Black and White Nik Software Photography Photography - Black & White Photography - Canon 5D Mark II

Launch for Hire at Inverness

Launch for Hire - Inverness - 2012

While heading out to Point Reyes last Saturday, I took a couple of shots along the highway through Inverness. The first stop was the FV Point Reyes – run aground behind the Inverness Store. See my post “Photography Explorations: Filling the Frame” for more about that shot.

The next step, just a bit further west, was to take this shot of the Launch for Hire building and pier on Tomales Bay. I have a large version of an image of this building that I bought from Chris Honeysett years ago – it hangs in my home office. It’s a beautiful image taken from the other side of the building.

For this image, I used by Canon 5D Mark II and my 70-200mm f/2.8L lens – at 70mm. The image was post-processed using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro with the final toning added in Lightroom 4.

I love the circle of rocks in the lower left hand corner, the pier at low tide and the contrasty clouds in the sky. There are elements of layers in this image that cause my eye to wander back and forth within the frame – trying to take it all in.


Just Back from the TDS Fall Photography Workshop

White Rhinos

I’m just home after spending yesterday and today at Derrick Story’s Fall Photography Workshop up in Santa Rosa. Derrick – who has a delightful photography blog at The Digital Story and a great weekly podcast available in iTunes – spent these two days taking a group of eight students through a wide variety of photography topics.

This was my third or fourth photography workshop in the last year – and it was far and away the best. Derrick’s hit on a near perfect combination – setting, topics, involvement with other students, unique photographic opportunities – along with some great instruction. Yesterday, for example, we spent about 4 hours in class and then left for a 3 hour photo shoot at Safari West – here’s my Flickr set from that adventure – and see the pair of white rhinos above kicking up some dust! Click here to see our group after our safari (that’s me on the left)!

Today, after a few hours of workshop instruction on portrait photography and the use of flash, reflectors, diffusers, etc., we set out to work with two models who helped us learn much more about outdoor portrait shooting. This was a really unique and valuable experience for us – as we put our new skills to use out in the field.

Somewhat amazingly, all of us in the class were Canon shooters – and we were all roughly at the same level – which made for a near ideal instruction environment. We were also all Mac users – and although we split between Aperture (most) and Lightroom (a few), again we were roughly at the same level.

If you’re interested in a photography workshop that’s among the best, you might want to sign up to be on Derrick’s reserve list for future workshops. He’s planning several for 2011 – and I can’t recommend them highly enough! To be added to the notification list, contact him via email:

Living Photography Photography - Canon PowerShot S90


Many have commented privately to me about the photo above – which I have titled “Bookends”. Here’s the story…


Sometimes I come across a scene that’s just right. But, that’s a rare event. Most other times, there’s just noise in my eyes – and I’m frustrated about shooting.

You know that feeling. You look and look – but don’t see anything. Nothing. Nothing interesting. Nothing compelling. Just noise. More noise.

Why do we do this to ourselves? In spite of it, we pack our camera and head out – looking for that decisive moment, even as it continues to elude us. Camera at the ready, we continue scanning for the right opportunity.

Our eyes are amazing sensors. We humans are so gifted. As we scan, back and forth, we begin to get inside the frame. If we’re lucky, we start to have “camera eyes” – seeing in that special new way. When the light is just right, we see whole new scenes. And, if we slow down – so important – we begin to see so much more.

Last April, I came across one of those frames – tucked away in the heart of the Brooklyn Bridge subway station in New York City. After a long day of walking and exploring, we walked down the stairway into the underground canyon of the station. We were dog tired – looking forward to an express train ride up the backbone of New York to get home.

As we sat down to wait for our train, I looked across to the other platform and saw an amazing scene. Quickly grasping my camera, I struggled to fire off one quick shot – as that one guy was looking right at me.

Turns out he looked away – up and away just as the shutter snapped. Perfect.

When I finally got a good look at the image, a title immediately came to mind: Bookends. Like an overstuff bookshelf, the two folks on each end of the image each flared out away from the rest. Bookends. A wonderful memory of a springtime street scene underground in New York City.

Health Living

My Life in a Sling! – Rotator Cuff Surgery

Update: See my note about personal journaling and how it’s been valuable to me. If you’re heading to surgery, think about how you’re going to capture your feelings afterwards!

Two weeks ago, I had surgery on the rotator cuff in my right shoulder. A few months ago, I took a nasty fall in the dark and managed to do some serious damage to a couple of tendons in my shoulder. Apparently, they were in rough shape to begin with and, according to the Doc, the fall just finished them off.

After learning more than I ever cared to about shoulder surgery (and surgeons), I finally went under the knife two weeks ago. It was an outpatient process – I showed up for the prep at 9:30 AM, the surgery began about noon, and I was waking up in recovery about 2:30 PM that afternoon – shortly to head home.

The worst pain of the whole experience was definitely in recovery – as I was learning to grapple with what hurt. After that, the pain abated – within a few days it was gone completely – replacing the dull ache pre-surgery. For the first 72 hours after the surgery, I used an ice machine while awake to help with the healing. It was a painless affair – not even feeling cold in the shoulder.

Scott in a sling

Learning to live my new life with my right arm in a sling is the rest of the story so far. I shed the sling 2-3 times each day to do the “elephant trunk” passive therapy exercise – designed to help ensure the joint remains flexible. I also am able to shower without the sling – but all of the rest of the day (and night!) are spent with my arm in the sling. No driving, rough sleeping – I’ve got a whole new appreciation for what arms are for!

Fortunately, I’m able to use my right hand to type even when the arm is in the sling – so my computer work has not been impacted at all.

My sling needs to stay on for another four weeks – it’s scheduled to end on Dec. 7. Between now and then, learning how to best sleep (Tylenol PM seems to help a lot!) remains most challenging. I used to prefer sleeping on my right shoulder – the one that had the surgery – so I’ve had to learn to sleep on the other side. Sleeping on my back, the only other option, is just not comfortable for me.

By the way, my surgeon was Dr. Colin Eakin at Palo Alto Medical Foundation. As I learned and appreciated (!), he’s extremely skilled at this kind of arthroscopic surgery!

One more thing. It’s fascinating how when something like this happens to you that you learn just how many other people have been through the same experience! Have you had rotator cuff surgery?