St. Johns River by Heather Hummel

St. Johns River by Heather Hummel
St. Johns River by Heather Hummel Photography

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Our Obsession With Canopied Trees - A Seasonal Look

Photo Credit: Heather Hummel Photography

Last fall I was driving with a friend up to Wintergreen Resorts near Charlottesville, Virginia. We were on a quest for foliage -- any decent foliage since that year has been rather lackluster in color. As her car straightened out after a turn, a scene in the corner of my eye grabbed my attention.

"Stop!" I commanded. "Go back... that's the shot!"

Moments later I was kneeling down on a dirt road capturing a canopy of trees that was not quite peak, but certainly worthy of my motto, "Spreading Pixel Dust."

Later that night, as I scrolled through images, there it was, what I knew would be a new favorite.
It seems that people are most drawn to images of canopied trees. Admittedly, as a photographer, they are one of my favorite subjects. Whether it was when I lived in California's wine country, Colorado's Rocky Mountains, and now in the Blue Ridge Mountains, these gems have been a find on just about all of my photo shoots. After capturing enough tree-lined driveways, roads and meandering paths, I began to wonder what it is about these images that makes us so drawn to them.

Perhaps it's their fantastical allure that makes it so we can't help but get sucked up in their depth and wonderment. An artist knows that anytime a photograph draws you in by making your eyes travel through the scene, their image will gulp you up like a shark does a minnow.

I believe there is more to it, though. Exactly why does the scene draw us in? Are we hoping for answers at the other end of the proverbial tree tunnel? Does the cocoon of a canopy provide us with a feeling of safe regard? Maybe, just maybe, we are reminded of our childhood adventures of climbing trees and skinning knees? Whatever creates that magnetic pull, that desire to crawl inside the image and relish in the peace and tranquility for a spell, it soothes the soul on some level that keeps us wanting more.

The photographer's choice is how deep to go with the depth of field. To provide insight on how a photographer might think through their captures of canopied trees, I'm sharing three completely different scenes and what went through my mind as I photographed each one.

California's wine country presented the opportunity for this image. Depth of field wasn't my choice in this one since the fog in the distance, by nature, gave the scene a shallower depth. Yet, at the same time, I loved how the fog teases the viewer to come forth.

Photo Credit: Heather Hummel Photography
Winter in the Colorado Rock Mountains is magical. While most were on the famous ski slopes, I was found spreading pixel dust on winter scenes. For this particular shot, I went with a higher depth of field because it was a crystal clear day. It was my goal to give credence to every snowflake. I also wanted to ensure the viewer's peak of Mt. Sopris in the distance, which creates the desire to run down the street to view it in its entirety.

Photo Credit: Heather Hummel Photography
Springtime in the Blue Ridge Mountains is one of the most welcoming experiences. This string of pear trees in Staunton, Virginia, quickly became a fan favorite. Of these examples, this one in particular speaks to the child in each of us. Spring represents rebirth and growth, and these trees make you want to climb them, and if you skin your knee, so be it. You are free!

Photo Credit: Heather Hummel Photography

Want to learn how to master low light photography and to capture your own low-light photos? My book MASTER LOW LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY is available on Amazon.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Life Is Full of Pawsibilities: Celebrating Dogs -- Young and Old

In my last article, "Life Is Full of Pawsibilities: Dogs and Their Owners Tell How They Met," I featured the tales of two dogs and how they met their owners. This time, I wanted to celebrate the opposite end of the age spectrum of dogs young and old. It turns out that one stop at a friend of a friend's house afforded me the opportunity to hang out with 10 puppies under two years old and seven adult dogs.

Photo Credit: Heather Hummel Photography
This little guy, named Pipsqueak, was the runt of a litter of eight black lab puppies. He was more than happy to settle into the warm, fuzzy lining of my boot while I captured his image. What we love about puppies, besides their wet noses and endless licks of affection, is that they have a way of warming our hearts with a promise of joy and unconditional love for years to come.

Photo Credit: Heather Hummel Photography
Pipsqueak and his seven littermates are currently being fostered by a woman named Beth, who also has seven rescue dogs of her own. When we ventured into the basement and she sat down with the litter, it quickly became evident as to why she is the perfect foster mom. From dog beds to water and food bowls to toys and blankets, these puppies are set until they find their forever homes.

Photo Credit: Heather Hummel Photography
Outside in the backyard were Joan and her granddog, Bella Mia (aka Bell). In many families where sons and daughters are delaying (or foregoing) having children, "granddogs" have become a booming concept supported by an industry that caters to them with everything from bumper stickers to refrigerator magnets to t-shirts. Make no bones about it, dogs are the new grand(fur)kids for a lot of families. I know this truth firsthand as the frequent recipient of phone calls from my parents requesting a visit from their granddogs, Julie and Stephan. We have even been known to FaceTime so they can see their granddogs, much to the confusion of Julie and Stephan who look quizzically at the screen when they hear the high pitched voices calling their names.

In Joan's case, she shares custody of Bell with her daughter. "Bell was the runt of her litter, and the only brown one. Her siblings sported black and white coats, but Bell's cocoa color caught our attention," says Joan, who had by her side a bag filled with sweaters, treats and toys for Bell.

Photo Credit: Heather Hummel Photography
A different kind of bond occurs between those who give their time to training service dogs for those in need of assistance and companionship. Lauren took Dillon, a female black lab, into her home when Dillon flunked out of service dog school. Dillon now spends her days chasing balls and swimming in the lake while Lauren trains other service dogs for the Service Dogs of Virginia. Much like fostering, it's always bittersweet when it comes time for a service dog trainer to part ways with their crew. Knowing the dogs are going to help people in need and to their forever home makes it a bit easier to say goodbye.

Photo Credit: Heather Hummel Photography
It's the elderly dogs that pull at our heartstrings in a different way. Their soulful eyes remind us of the shared years of life and memories they've given us. We worry and wonder when their last moments will be, while appreciating each day and each moment that they're still in our lives, wagging their tails when they greet us at the door or putting their heads out of the car window catching what could be some of their last breaths of fresh air. We can't imagine replacing them, because we know we never can. For some, the idea of a new puppy helps while others grieve for long periods of time before welcoming a new four-pawed family member into their home. Beth has a few elderly dogs of her own, specifically Minnie and Mousie. Shown here with 19-year-old Mousie, it's evident on Beth's face that she is grateful for every day Mousie is still in her life.
Note: The Charlottesville, VA SPCA is a no-kill shelter. Several years ago I was a volunteer photographer who helped photograph and name the incoming pups. It was the most rewarding volunteer work I've done. I encourage you to visit your local SPCA or other facility to see how you can help save a dog's life.

The Service Dogs of Virginia raises, trains and places dogs to assist people with disabilities. Highly trained dogs perform a multitude of tasks that allow greater personal freedom and independence. They serve clients residing in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and are based in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A Dog's Purpose

A Dog's Journey: A Novel

Sunday, June 28, 2015

In the Field with Heather Hummel Photography: Charlottesville Parking Garage

In the Field with Heather Hummel Photography is a series of 2 minutes videos that take viewers behind the camera on photo shoots with landscape photographer Heather Hummel.

In this edition, Heather Hummel takes viewers on location at the top of a parking garage. Learn why parking garages are great locations for photo shoots!

Want to learn how to master low light photography and to capture your own low-light photos? My book MASTER LOW LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY is available on Amazon.

Q&A With Boudoir Photographer and Author Jen Rozenbaum

The genre of boudoir photography had quietly been on the rise until lately. Now a booming industry, and although the term boudoir means "a woman's bedroom or private room," both photographers and clients are overcoming fears and inhibitions to indulge in bedroom photo shoots.

Photo Credit: Ali Dudley

One photographer in particular is at the forefront of the industry by utilizing a significant campaign that helps women feel femininely inspired, all while guiding other photographers into this frontier. Jen Rozenbaum, author of The Boudoir Photography Cookbook: 60 Recipes for Tempting Photos understands both women and the industry. Sharing ideas in her quickly ranked #1 in New Releases on Amazon, due to her ever growing devoted following, Jen continues to spark interest in the genre.

Fascinated by Jen's appeal and approach, I reached out to her for some answers. True to her nature, she was happy to respond.

HH: What is the origin of your Shamelessly Feminine campaign?

JR: #ShamelesslyFeminine was a hashtag and message I started last year. It was a cumulation of a few years of digging deep. I wanted to understand why boudoir was so important to me, and why I do what I do!! I discovered that it was really important for me to give women a space to be who they truly are without judgement. In this day and age there aren't many places like that. I want women to feel accepted for exactly who they are. That might mean lingerie, combat boots, nudity, or really whatever they want. It's about shedding your clothes along with your inhibitions. By doing something daring and out of your comfort zone you grow and it reaffirms the woman that you truly are. So many of my clients are finally able to stop apologizing for who they are after a session with me. It builds confidence, self-esteem and self-awareness.

HH: How do you make a nervous woman feel comfortable in front of the camera?

JR: Every client is nervous. We talk. A LOT! Being a photographer isn't really my job, I am what I consider a "photogratherapist." Women tell me about their lives. Their ups and downs. I celebrate with them, cry with them, and sometimes even give them permission to do things that they really want to do. I also share my thoughts, feelings and life stories. What I do is not about the photos and all about the moments in between. The photos are the souvenirs.

HH: It's Friday night - what are you usually doing?

JR: Friday nights are the night that my family and I reconnect. I have two elementary school aged children that have VERY busy schedules. Along with my husband's and my schedules, family dinners are tough. So on Friday nights we try to fit in dinner, family time and some fun. It's a time to forget work, put the phones and computers away and reconnect.

HH: What are the biggest technical challenges in creating boudoir images?

JR: I am not sure if this is a "technical" challenge, but I find that most photographers don't know anything about lingerie and how to guide their clients into what the proper thing is to wear for their bodies. Clients know even less than we do. Wardrobe is the foundation for good posing. If you have an outfit that flatters, you can put women in almost any pose. If the outfit isn't flattering, it makes posing more limited and less flattering. I created a guide for photographers to learn about lingerie to help them. If you shoot boudoir it's very important to get out there and educate yourselves about what is in the stores and how it works.

What advice do you have for other pros?

JR: My advice would be that being a photographer is hard work. It's something you consistently need to work at. We really run two businesses. The first is the business end of things and the second is the artistic end. We have to keep working to get good at both of them. Don't be afraid, take calculated risks. Try something, if it doesn't work, try something else. Have faith in yourself and follow your passions!

HH: What #1 takeaway do you want photographers to gain from your workshops?

I want them to feel shameless. Shameless in expressing themselves as artists and really truly finding their own way. I want them to leave my workshops with a sense of confidence and excitement to take what they learned and make women feel #shamelesslyFeminine too!

Thank you, Jen!

Jen actively engages with her over 10K followers on her Facebook business page. Additionally, her website invites both photographers and clients into the world of boudoir photography.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Photographers, Don't Think You Need to Register Your Copyrights? Think Again

"Summer Sky"
Photo Credit: © Heather Hummel Photography

So many people get caught up in the fact that "you don't have to register the copyrights to your work because it's copyrighted the moment you create it." True. Anything you create is protected by copyright the moment you create it. HOWEVER, if you want real protection and legal hold when it comes to your work being stolen (copyright infringement), it's worth the few minutes and few dollars to register it.

Last spring when I discovered eight of my own images had been copyright infringed, I became particularly passionate about the legal rights of artists. I was fortunate that I had done a few things to help with protecting my work. One step was including a copyright statement, which is clearly stated, on my website. But, the most important step I took was not only registering my copyrights, but doing so in a timely manner. As such, several of my images that were stolen had already been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office upon infringement. I can attest that it was worth the few pennies per image to do so.

For example, the fee for me to register 184 photos for 2013 and 134 photos for 2014 was $55 per batch. That was done via an online registration form with the U.S. Copyright Office. Note that the limit per batch is 250 photos for $55 and batched by calendar year. The $110 to register several hundred photos was the best insurance policy I've ever bought. I will also add that the people I spoke to and e-mailed with from the U.S. Copyright Office were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable.

So,why does registering matter? Since I'm not an attorney, and in order to shed legal light on the topic, I reached out to copyright attorney Carolyn E. Wright, who specializes in protecting photographers via her law firm, found online at Photo Attorney. She is not only a photographer herself, but she is incredibly knowledgeable in the field and was willing to answer some questions on the topic.

Carolyn E. Wright 
HH: Why should an artist copyright register their work?

CW: When a photo is not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office prior to the infringement, or within three months of the first publication of the photo, a copyright owner may recover only "actual damages" for the infringement (pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 504 (b)), instead of statutory damages. Courts usually calculate actual damages based on your normal license fees and/or industry standard licensing fees. You also may recover the profits the infringer made from the infringement if they aren't too speculative.

If your photo is timely registered for an infringement, you will be eligible for statutory damages of up to $150,000 for a willful infringing use. See 17 USC §504(b) and (c). You also may be able to recover some of your legal fees and court costs from the infringer. See 17 USC §505. Additionally, you need to have received your registration certificate to file a complaint for a copyright infringement lawsuit in most federal courts.

HH: With so many artists posting their work online, how important is it to use the © symbol, and what is the proper format? 

CW: Including a copyright no¬tice is no longer required for copyright protection, but it is a good idea to use it. When the copyright notice is used, it may stop someone from stealing your art, either because it serves as a reminder that the work is protected or because the notice interferes with the use of the work. When you post a copyright notice along with your registered images, then the infringer cannot claim that the infringement was innocent (reducing the damages to as low as $200 per work) and a court is more likely to find that the infringement was willful, supporting the maximum in infringement damages.

The official copyright notice has three parts: the first part is the © (the letter "c" in a circle), the word "Copyright," or its abbreviation, "Copr." The second part notes the year when the work was first published. The third required part of a copyright notice is the name of the copyright owner. For example, the final format looks like this: © 2014 Carolyn E. Wright.

Carolyn E. Wright: Photo Credit © Kristen Boyd
HH: What immediate steps should an artist take when they find their work has been copyright infringed?

CW: Many people think that they have a right to use your photos or they won't be caught if they do. When you find an infringement, make copies of it. Once the infringer realizes that she is caught, she will do what she can to get rid of the evidence of the infringement. Check whether your copyright management information (such as your name, contact information, and copyright notice) is included in or has been removed from the infringing use.

Fortunately, there are many tools to battle copyright infringement. Three steps include:

1. Prepare a DMCA Take-Down Notice. Thanks to the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") enacted in 1998, the Internet Service Provider ("ISP") that hosts a website is not liable for infringement only if the ISP removes the infringing materials from a user's website after receiving proper notice of the violation. The notice must: be in writing, be signed by the copyright owner or the owner's agent, identify the copyrighted work claimed to be infringed (or list of infringements from the same site) and identify the material that is infringing the work. Additionally, the notice must include the complaining party's contact information, a statement that the complaint is made in "good faith," and a statement, under penalty of perjury, that the information contained in the notification is accurate and that the complainer has the right to proceed (because he is the copyright owner or agent).

2. Another option is to prepare a "cease and desist/demand letter yourself. When you don't want to alienate the infringer (the infringer is a potential client and/or appears to be an innocent infringer), you may want to contact the infringer to explain that the use is not authorized and either request payment of an appropriate license fee, a photo credit with a link to your website, or that the infringer cease use of the image. It's best to do this in writing--a letter by surface mail seems to have more clout than email correspondence.

3. The most aggressive option is to pursue legal remedies by filing suit. Unless there is a breach of contract or some other state claim, infringement claims are filed in a federal district court. To file suit, it is best to hire an attorney because the legal procedures are complicated. Note that you have three years from the date of infringement to sue for copyright infringement.

"Madison County Cows"
Photo Credit: © Heather Hummel Photography

I often hear that "there's nothing you can do if you post images online, expect to have them stolen." In fact, there are plenty of steps an artist can take to protect their work. Start with registering copyrights at

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Inspirational Photography and Quotes

Introducing Heather Hummel's
newly launched Inspirational Photography and Quotes
line on RedBubble

Inspired by both nature and human nature, all photography is Heather's original work and all quotes are her original thoughts, except for one, which is her grandmother's, Dorothy Crispo (as shown on the left).

Besides immersing herself in photography, Heather Hummel is a ghostwriter and an award-winning, best-selling author. Her published works include:
Journals from the Heart Series:
Whispers from the Heart (2011)
Write from the Heart (2011)
GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe (2011)
Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age (McGraw-Hill, 2008),
Messages of Hope and Healing ( Sunpiper Media, 2006)
Blue Ridge Anthology (Cedar Creek, 2007) with David Baldacci and Rita Mae Brown
2009 Mature Media Awards, Merit Award
2009 New York Book Festival, Honorable Mention

Heather's books have appeared in newspapers such as: Publishers Weekly, USA Today and the Washington Post; and in magazines that include: Health, Body & Soul, First, and Spry Living, a combined circulation of nearly 15 million. A graduate with High Distinction from the University of Virginia, Heather holds a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree with concentrations in English and Secondary Education. She is currently earning a Ph.D. in Metaphysical Sciences.
Visit Heather’s website at
Follow Heather on Twitter:!/HeatherHummel
"Like" Heather's Fan Page

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

An HDR Photo Expedition - Cottonwood Pass, Colorado

Few days go by that I don't spend time writing or editing balanced with capturing images. It's why I'm a self-titled PhotoNovelist! After several hours of editing a client's manuscript one morning (a very funny and well written manuscript, I'll add), I loaded my dogs up in the car and headed toward Cottonwood Pass near Carbondale, CO.

As mostly a landscape photographer, I started to dabble in HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography. It intrigues me because of the art of it. With HDR a lot of thought goes into an image capture both during the shoot and in the post-processing.

Composition is still always at the forefront of my mind. It's the first thing I look for, even before lighting. I then consider lighting, but in a different way than non-HDR photography, such as traditional or black and white. Since HDR's role (simplified) is to address shadows in an image, as I'm capturing one I consider how the shadows are going to work to my advantage (or disadvantage).

In the picture of the 1888 schoolhouse, I used a polarizing filter to enhance the sky and the clouds, all the while considering the sunlight on the fields behind the schoolhouse and how that would play into the end result.

For the fence image, I waited several minutes for the sun to come out from behind the clouds so it would highlight the fence and not wash out the sky.

I was thrilled to see the reflection of the barn on the pond in the next image. The polarizing filter would have removed the reflection, so I used it to once again enhance the sky and to allow the reflection on the water.

The three at the bottom are additional favorites from today's shoot. Each one reminds me how amazing and what a beautiful place Colorado is!

Visit my photography website at for more photos!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The New Way to License Photographs: A Q&A with ImageBrief Co-Founder Simon Moss

Imagine if you had a project that required a certain, even specific, image and rather than pool through thousands of images in a stock library, you could personally describe the photo you have in mind in great detail to a pool of professional photographers. And, imagine if these photographers would then present, for your consideration, their professional images that match your description. You don't have to imagine anymore. This is how photo licensing is done in this new age of the arts. This is how licensing is done through ImageBrief.
Photo Credit: Michael Kraus
This new licensing concept is the brainchild of Simon Moss, co-founder of ImageBrief. I was intrigued by the business model, both as a photographer and a book cover designer who often needs specific images for my own projects. As such, Simon was kind enough to answer my questions in this one-on-one interview.
HH: What did you do before launching ImageBrief?
SM: I ran a stock library with Meg, co-founder of ImageBrief - and more importantly my wife. It was a traditional photography site.
HH: What was your motivation for launching a crowdsourcing platform for photographers to sell images?
SM: The way buyers used our original stock photography platform gave us great insight. Although we'd invested heavily in the search capability of our original business, we still received emails from buyers requesting very specific images that we couldn't easily provide.
But we knew the content was out there, sitting on the hard drives of photographers around the world. We'd share requests with photographers we thought might have the shot. They would respond with images that matched the brief perfectly and were able to monetize work that hadn't yet been made available online.
We knew connecting buyers and sellers in this way would change the industry for the better. That was when ImageBrief was born.
Photo Credit: Michael Kraus
HH: What are the biggest trends that have changed the photography business in the past decade?
SM: So much has changed, but the place it starts is simply the tools available. Photography became a business that was "end-to-end digital" - from the moment a shot was taken to its final use. Like all media businesses, new tools suddenly emerged that made the production of content - in this case a photograph - easier than ever.
Cheap digital SLRs flooded the market and, good or bad, there was an explosion in the volume of photography from amateurs suddenly competing with professionals. I really think you can trace everything back to that.
With this came millions of images from people willing to charge much less per shot. This facilitated an explosion in lower-cost stock libraries like Shutterstock, while the higher-end of the market retreated to Getty. Not the most effective solutions for marketers or photographers.
We created an infographic that explains this in greater detail.
ImageBrief sourced, licensed, and obtained model releases for this candid image used on Facebook's own page to promote their new Nearby Friends feature.
Photo credit: Jazzmine Beaulieu
HH: With the increased popularity of Instagram, Flickr and others, user generated images are everywhere. How can photographers survive when competition for sales has skyrocketed?
SM: You're right about the competition sky-rocketing, but that has less to do with platforms like Instagram than with the means of production so widely available.
The majority of amateur user-generated content is not sufficient for commercial purposes. Resolution, image sizes and similar quality factors are an issue. But beyond that, brands, publishers and agencies still require model-released content they're confident won't show up in a competitor's marketing. ImageBrief alone connects buyers directly to photographers who can fulfill these needs. It will always be hard for most artists to earn a living from their craft, but we're giving photographers better opportunities to succeed.
HH: What is the coolest use of an image sold via ImageBrief?
SM: We've facilitated so many wonderful images it's impossible to pick one. It's like choosing a favorite child! What gets us really excited is where our photographers' work is seen, including a national social campaign for Land Rover, the cover of Travel + Leisure, on Facebook's own page, and images featured in the rebranding of a global pharmaceutical company. It's very rewarding.
Photo Credit Ian Maclellan
Photo Credit Ian Maclellan
Photo Credit: Chip Kalback
Photo Credit: Chip Kalback
HH: Do you dabble in photography? If so, have you ever sold any images?
SM: My background is in technology. Coupled with Meg's experience as a photo editor and licensing specialist, we are the perfect team to provide a platform where photographers can build their business. We leave the actual photography to our fast growing network of 20,000+ phenomenal photographers!
HH: How many images has ImageBrief sold for photographers since it launched?
SM: Since our official launch last year in New York we've sold thousands of images. However, the impact we're having on the professional photography community extends beyond sheer volume. Images on ImageBrief sell for anywhere from $250 to $30,000, and we pay our photographers up to 70% of every sale, more than double the standard industry commission. In addition, we recently began enabling buyers to hire photographers directly through ImageBrief. When a photographer books a job through ImageBrief, they keep 100% of the fee. So, these combined opportunities make for a very happy photographer community.
Chef Uri of Uri Buri Restaurant in Acre, Tel Aviv. This specific request sourced through ImageBrief for a magazine editorial.
Photo Credit: Yadid Levy
HH: How do you see photography changing over the next decade?
SM: We see photography becoming more competitive, more social and more mobile. Possibly the biggest change will come from mobile phone cameras taking SLR-quality images. Once that happens it levels the playing field even further, and it comes down to the talents of the person taking the shot. There will always be a market for the photographer who has an "eye" for seeing what no one else can.
HH: Since everyone loves to "right click and save" images online - how can photographers protect themselves?
SM: At ImageBrief we take all the standard precautions such as watermarking the shots on our site, not being able to right-click and save a shot, all these kinds of things.
We are also looking at implementing technology that allows us to track images that are used without permission. This generally doesn't happen with the work we sell, but we acknowledge that on occasion work will be stolen. Therefore, we are putting measures in place to identify who is responsible and ensure our photographers are appropriately compensated.
At the end of the day, photographers should only do business on platforms and with people they trust. We're working hard every day to achieve this so that we're the platform of choice for the world's most talented photographers.
Thank you, Simon!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Q&A With Retired Firefighter Doug Bailey, Lightfinder Photography

Photo Credit: Doug Bailey

Last year Doug Bailey, a Southern California firefighter, put down his firefighting gloves and jacket one last time. Now, as a retired firefighter, Doug spends his days capturing breathtaking images. In this compelling interview, Doug shares the struggles and the poetic similarities of the two different careers.

HH. Describe the feeling when the alarm sets off at the firehouse.

DB: I was a firefighter for 25 years, first as a reserve and then full time. I prepared myself for any situation that may arise, but never knew what those situations may be. So when the alarm sounded my feeling was anticipation suffused with happiness. I knew that by the end of the day I will be deeply satisfied by having done something I was created to do. And always, there was a deeply rooted sense of joy.

Photo Credit: Doug Bailey

I was fortunate enough to have worked in a seaside location in Southern California, so what began as a small hobby of taking morning and evening surf photos and posting them to my social media friends, turned into a real passion. When I think about it, going to work at the fire station was a lot like going on a photo shoot. I have much the same feeling of joyful anticipation. You never know what you may find! There is also a similar sense of deep satisfaction. I believe knowing one's life purpose allows for the deep satisfaction in job or photo shoot.

HH: Are there any similarities between firefighting and photography?

DB: On first thought it would seem that the hurry, pressure, high stress critical choices and controlled efforts used in fighting fires has nothing to do with photography. But I am a strong believer that one's life is built much as a house. First the foundation, then the walls, next the roof, etc. So each life experience builds on what has gone before. So, do I use my fire experience when I take photos? Yes, in a thousand intangible ways. From sizing up a fire scene to sizing up a landscape scene. From quickly establishing an emergency strategy to quickly composing a photo before the light fades. The same hurried, but not rushed, feelings and skills emerge. And humility surfaces, knowing that few are so privileged as to make such a difference in other people's lives.

Photo Credit: Doug Bailey

Saving lives or property is deeply satisfying and humbles my spirit. But so does touching someone's life with a beautiful photo that reaches their soul. For instance, right now I am texting with a major hospital chain's bio ethicist. His job is to help families make life or death decisions about their loved ones. He watched my YouTube photo video "Journey" and wanted me to know how much it helped him after a hard day. He is forwarding the video to his Chief Operating Officer for evaluation in their work. Now, that is very cool, and humbling.

HH: What is it about landscapes versus portraits or fine art that you prefer?

Photo Credit: Doug Bailey

DB: I shoot landscapes for a couple of reasons. First, there is a certain feeling of adventure and discovery whenever I set off on a shoot. That very much attracts my attention. Next, there is the feeling of being lost in time and moment while composing a photo. My friend calls it the "Zen Moment" of photography. Time stops and I become lost in the scene, I could be there five minutes or five hours and that feeling of time suspension is always with me. Very relaxing. Third and most important, I believe we are made to enjoy and celebrate the beauty of creation. To capture and share just a bit of that beauty makes my life full, and to be in touch with the creative part of my being brings me close to my Creator. That is not to say I am above a great portrait session or fine art, I definitely have not finished growing yet!

HH: Which of your images is your favorite?

Photo Credit: Doug Bailey

DB: My first concept of photography was as a journey, and I was greatly inspired by Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". You know, the one that begins "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both..." I had a definite choice to make when I left the fire service, and I chose photography as my life's pursuit and passion. Not exactly an easy road! So my development as a photographer has been very much like a journey. I have to say my favorite photo would be the original Lightfinder signature self portrait where I am standing on a misty hilltop with my hiking staff and hat and watching the rising sun. That photo is my touchstone, the one that will always point me back to myself if I wander too far afield.

HH: You're known as the "Lightfinder." What is your thought process when analyzing light?

Photo Credit: Doug Bailey

DB: It is the light, always the light, that first attracts my eye. Everything flows from finding that sweet light, and I have had the good fortune to find more than my share of that pure, beautiful light. So I look for light crossing in front of my lens and try to shoot a close into the sun as I can. In my mind I think of it as sailing close to the wind.

Photo Credit: Doug Bailey

I need to say here that another important and tangible component to my personal style is my love of music composition. One of my earliest childhood memories is that of looking at the family piano and wanting to create music just by placing my fingers on the keyboard. At the age of twelve I began to study music seriously, first as a classical pianist and then as a composer and singer/songwriter. I have never stopped. I find a natural connection between composing music and composing a photo. I look for the light, subject, lines, and harmony in every photo I take. Since I love a simple, uncomplicated composition with a pure melody and sweet harmonies, I see that translating into my photo style, which is why I came up with the term "Lyrical Photographer" So, the light begins the composition, the lines and melody, lyrics and harmony completes. That is the essence of "Lightfinder."

HH: Where have your images been, or will be, on display.

Photo Credit: Doug Bailey

June-July 2012, San Diego County Fair
June-July 2013, San Diego County Fair
November 2013: Metalography Gallery, Temecula California
December 2013: Calumet Photo San Diego
June 2014, Temecula Art Festival
June-July 2014, San Diego County Fair
March 2015, City of Temecula Featured artist in the Old Merc Theater.
Youtube video Journey

Photo Credit: Doug Bailey

Thank you, Doug for sharing your wisdom and images!