Essays and Insights

Musings, thoughts, short essays, where the words are at least as important as the photos.

Using Generative AI to Create Variations of Your Photos
I am a photographer who is also a frustrated illustrator; simply put, I can't draw my way out of a paper bag. I have great respect for those who can make amazing photographs and paint or draw beautiful artwork, like Victoria White. So, when the new Structure Reference feature went live in Adobe Firefly, I was bolstered by the content I saw others creating, even from simple pencil sketches or line art. What does it do? Well, it helps you create new imagery based on your own imagery as the baseline, generative matching, if you will. Read on to learn how using a simple slider, you control how closely Firefly matches your original image as it riffs off variations based on your text prompt.
March, 2024
The Human Element in Gen AI
If you follow me on Behance or Instagram, you know my professional background in and personal passion for photography. I love to write, as well.  There have also been many times when I wished I had the discipline or innate skill to draw or paint, to create something visual from nothing. While that talent has eluded me, the introduction of Generative AI technology has opened creative doors for me that I had always thought closed. Presented in this article are a few recent projects made in conjunction with Adobe Firefly, then further enhanced or altered to suit my needs. It's important to remember that Firefly and other Generative AI tools are just Unlike humans, who create when inspired, bored, or driven to make, Generative AI makes nothing without our active engagement. Firefly doesn't sit back when it's bored and starts making things up on its own, just for fun. It patiently waits for us to invoke it into action. Read on to learn more.
March, 2024
First Impressions of a New Camera
Very recently - as in the day before writing this article, recently - I made a substantial upgrade to my camera gear. For the first time, I purchased a flagship camera body - the new OM1- Mark II - and a seriously powerful 150mm-600mm zoom. Read on for my first impressions and see some example photos from my first couple of days with this new gear.
March, 2024
Spark Photo Festival 2024 - The Creative Drive
It's that time of year again! The Spark Photo Festival is returning to the Kawartha region this April and I'm excited to once again be exhibiting with my cousin and fellow photographer, Stephanie Lake. Our theme this year is The Creative Drive, and we've painstakingly curated our work to a maximum number of 8 prints each. This year, we've opted to go bigger than usual (16x24) and to print everything on canvas, for a more seamless, blended look to the exhibition. The larger size and limited number of images promise to result in more visual impact, while still being portable enough that an interested buyer could make a purchase and pop it in the car on their way home.  The limited number of prints will also (we hope) encourage users to take the time to look deep into the scenes and - accompanied by our story cards - give the viewer more insight into the creative drive of each photographer.
February, 2024
Life in Blurred Motion
or nearly as long as I've held a camera, I've been fascinated with how a still image can represent motion. In the early days, shooting film, I had to trust my knowledge of the exposure triangle (ISO, aperture and shutter speed) to capture the image and then wait days or longer to see the physical results in film and prints. While I no longer have to wait to see my captures, that awareness of the exposure triangle - especially that of shutter speed - still pays off when it comes to capturing motion.  Join me on this blurred trip down memory lane and hopefully become inspired to test out long-exposure photography for yourself.
December, 2023
Using Generative AI to Illustrate a Short Story
In the past, I have illustrated my Christmas story with images from Adobe Stock and composites created in Photoshop; I've also converted it to an audio podcast, complete with music and sound effects. And I've shared my process for creating both versions through articles on Behance. This year, I've turned to Adobe Firefly to generate most of the storytelling imagery. As I've done in the past, I want to break down my process for you. Much like other recent creative projects and articles I've written on Generative AI (specifically, Adobe Firefly), I will share how this new technology fits into my creative workflow, assisting me in making my dream a reality, not replacing my creativity.
December, 2023
Generative AI (Adobe Firefly) Comes to Photoshop!
Confession: I have been trying to write a new article about Firefly (Adobe's Generative AI set of tools) for a few weeks now. However, every time I sat down to start this piece, the wizards at Adobe released something new! Case in point... have you heard the news? It's all over town...people talkin... Adobe announced May 23, 2023 that Generative AI is now part of the current public Photoshop beta. That's right... Adobe Firefly is now integrated right inside of Photoshop! Just as the recently-released AI masking was the biggest thing to happen to Adobe Lightroom in more than a decade, Generative Fill is the biggest thing to happen to Photoshop since the introduction of layers.​
May, 2023
AI & Adobe: Putting the New (and Cool) into Adobe Tools
I published this article for a recent presentation, using Adobe Express. With all the recent updates and news about AI magic at Adobe, I've updated it and thought I would share it here as well. We're seeing the rise of the Creative Co-pilot, in my opinion. And that's not a bad thing.
April, 2023
Adobe Photo Educators Workshop 2022
It's been a quiet 2 1/2 years in terms of work travel. But this last week of July 2022, I found myself doing exactly that; travelling for work. I was fortunate enough that this first work-related trip was for the Adobe Photo Educators Summit (AES) in Seattle, an event I am very passionate about. This was the first time in two years that the AES workshop would be live and in-person. Read on to learn more about this amazing week of photographic learning and inspiration.
August, 2022
Build a Recurring Passive Income Stream
Passive income is cool. My photographs are making me money while I sleep. While you won't get rich quickly, it's pretty easy to set up a recurring income stream using a service like Adobe Stock. Read on to learn more about my experience.
February, 2023
The Best of 2022
2022. The year when the world began to truly reopen - for better or worse.  As pandemic restrictions lifted and people cautiously - or excitedly - returned to the office, or started gathering together socially - heck, even just going to the movies - I we…
December, 2022
Legend of the Fall - A Sabbatical Photo Journal
October, 2022
Respectful Rural Photography
A recent Twitter post by the Ontario Provincial Police (and subsequent news story from Global News and other local outlets) brought to light a serious issue in Ontario’s rural areas; agricultural trespassing. I had never considered this term before - but since have also never considered walking into a field crop to get a great photo, either. There are many things you can do to capture a magical image, that don’t involve trespassing and/or damaging a food crop in the process. Read on for my suggestions. Reading the news story, I was shocked by the lack of consideration of these people in search of the “perfect selfie.” I say this because I photograph many rural landscapes around my cottage and other Ontario locations and not once have I ever stepped into a farm field to make a photo, unless I had permission to do so. I have always stayed on the road, or shot from the road side edge of the fence or field to capture these beautiful vistas.
July, 2022
Serenity - A New Photography Exhibit
I will be hanging a new show at Elmhirst's Resort, along with two like-minded colleagues. We've chosen the theme and title of Serenity, something we feel the world could use more than a little of these days. We decided on the title of the show very quickly - it seemed to be in tune with what the craft of photography meant to us. Serenity is the state of mind that the act of photography puts us into. This group show is part of the annual SPARK Photo Festival which runs in the Peterborough area from April 1-30.
March, 2022
A Midnight Clear
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. I'm sharing with you a Christmas story I wrote a long time ago, but recently revived with illustrations created with Adobe Stock assets. You can learn more about my process in another project, but for now, please sit back, read and enjoy.
December, 2021
A Puzzling Opportunity
A few months ago, I clicked on a link in Facebook. This may sound like the beginning of a slippery slope towards disaster, but in my case, it was not. The link was to a Canadian jigsaw puzzle company called Puzzquest. And they were looking for contributors to their fine art collection of puzzles.
September, 2021
A Decade at Adobe
May 24, 2021, marks my 10th anniversary of working at Adobe, as a Solutions Consultant (SC). 10 years…wow. And what a decade it has been.
April, 2021
My 2021 Summer STAYcation
I've just recently come off two weeks holidays, most of which were spent at the lakehouse (cottage, cabin, camp, take your pick of terms). We had a great time and I've documented that staycation in the Spark Page you see at the end of this project. But for those of you who prefer to see the pictures without my ramblings getting in the way, I'm sharing the photos here in this Behance project. Enjoy!
July, 2021
Springtime in the Backyard
It was a beautiful weekend for the first one of spring; blue skies, sunshine, mild temperatures. We had some backyard clean up to do and I also decided to fill the bird feeders, in the hopes that I might be able to practice with my new lens.  I was fortunate enough to not only get the opportunity to photograph some birds, but also one of the feral cats we care for. Read on for the story, including a personal opinion on digital noise!
March, 2021
Zooming into a New Lens
My Olympus Zuiko 100-400mm arrived on Friday! I took it out for a test drive on the weekend and I was very impressed from both landscape and wildlife perspectives. I need to do more testing hand-held at slower shutter speeds to really see how well the IS holds up for me, but I definitely came away with some shots I'm pleased with. This is by no means an in-depth technical review. There are many of those already out there on YouTube, if you want to get all the specs. What you will get here is my first-hand experience using this new lens, along with some other musings, no doubt.
March, 2021
Digital Storytelling - A Curation of Personal Works
Digital Storytelling. The phrase is commonplace these days, more so since the Covid 19 Pandemic has put so many into remote working and learning scenarios. A situation that is not likely to fade quickly back to its former, alternative/optional designation. For many, it could be the way things will be for their foreseeable futures. I believe it is critical that students and professionals from all walks of life become at least comfortable - if not adept - at using this form of communication. We all have stories to tell; sharing our experiences can enrich the lives of others, help those close to us celebrate events, achievements, the lives of ourselves and others.
January, 2021
Autumn at the Fortress of Moderate Solitude
While I haven't published many projects from the summer, I have definitely been making photographs and sharing them via social media. I thought as things wind down, and we head into what looks to be a Covid-controlled winter, it might be nice to share my autumn with you.
October, 2020
The Gut
Over the summer months, I have been treated to images from one of my photographer friends Russ Higgins. One area, in particular, is a conservation area known as The Gut, named after a 230-metre long, 30-metre deep gorge on the Crowe River. It's about an hour from the cottage to the turnoff that leads to the Gut, which is somewhat near Apsley, Ontario.
September, 2020
Outward Bound - A Sunrise Photo Shoot for Stock
This article talks about a recent sunrise photoshoot I did to build up my AdobeStock portfolio.
August, 2020
Spark Photo Festival 2021
As all Spark Photo Festival events have been postponed until the fall of 2021, I thought I would share my planned collection of prints here on in my Portfolio. This virtual gallery is here for you to enjoy, and if you are interested in purchasing a traditional framed print, or an image printed on canvas or metal, please reach out to me using the contact link. You can also view the Current Exhibit page for an up to date visual listing of what is currently hanging.
March, 2020
Being Creative in the New Normal
More than ever, it's important to consider your personal mental health. It's important to take breaks away from your computer screen. Why not use one of those breaks to visually explore the familiar? Stretch your mind and your creative eye using your smartphone? Read on for some tips on being creative at home.
March, 2020
Go Tell it on the Mountain
I recently travelled to Lehi, Utah for a team meeting and brought along my new Olympus EM5 Mark III to field-test it. I bought this camera specifically for travel purposes, where I didn't feel there was a need to carry my larger and heavier Nikon D750. I shot indoors and out, in bright light and low light and often high contrast scenes. This is a somewhat technical review, so for those who are more used to just viewing my work and (hopefully) enjoying the story I add to the project, please forgive me. Soon, I'll be back to a more storytelling mode.
March, 2020
The Excellent Adventure 13
This is the 13th year of the Excellent Adventure. We've been to many places over those years, camping, cottaging and the like, everywhere from Lake Superior Provincial Park, to Newfoundland, to California wine country and the Kawarthas in Ontario. Regardless of the location (which have all been fantastic experiences), it's the fellowship and camaraderie of the group that makes each trip so successful and leaves us yearning for the next adventure. We have such fun, laugh all week and share thoughts and ideas about pretty much anything that comes to mind.
August, 2019
Adobe MAX 2019 - Vignettes
Once again, I had the privilege of attending and participating in Adobe MAX. With approximately 15,000 attendees, it's got to be one of the largest creative-focused events of its kind. There is so much excitement and energy at MAX each and every year.
November, 2019
Adobe Stock in Education
Stock imagery has become an essential part of visual communication in design and in businesses large and small, used in everything from company websites and advertising, to financial reports and mobile applications. It’s affordable and can help bring just the right image into a communication piece. Four years ago, Adobe introduced a new service, Adobe Stock, to our customers, giving them access to millions of high-quality visual assets, instantly. From a commercial perspective, Adobe Stock has been very successful. You might wonder how can Stock content can fuel university digital literacy initiatives. Well, read on through the Spark Page essay below and see for yourself how important quality imagery can be when more impactful communication is critical.
November, 2019
I Shoot Horses, Don't I?
The second weekend in June brought gorgeous weather, and the annual Kawartha Regional Appaloosa Horse Club (KRAHC) summer horse show. I spent the weekend photographing the event in Bethany, Ontario. Check out my story and photos from the event.
June, 2018
Getting Schooled at Penn State
It was an information-packed three days at Penn State, with the undisputed star of the event, Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Evangelist Julieanne Kost, sharing tips, tricks, insights and inspiration with faculty, students, staff, as well as me and a couple of my colleagues from Adobe
September, 2018
Assault on the Fortress of Moderate Solitude
The 12th annual Excellent Adventure happened in early August. As is my practice, I've put together a Spark Page with lots of photos and commentary about the trip. Feel free to scroll through the page here or you can get the full screen experience. 
August, 2018
I am a Rock
Photographing a chain of rocks near my cottage is something I do on a regular basis. Like photography in general, I find it relaxing, but to me, this set of boulders is also iconic of my cottage experience.
May, 2018
What is a Photograph?
While recently touring an Ansel Adams exhibit at the University of Arizona, I was struck by the concept that there is no such thing as the "final" image. Read on in this Spark Page story to learn why.
March, 2018
Photography and the Zen of Seeing
This ad-hoc, irregularly updated journal is where I’ll put down some thoughts - and not a few photographs - throughout the month of my sabbatical.
September, 2017
Excellent Adventure V.11 - Return to Cali
I've just recently returned from yet another successful Excellent Adventure, now in its 11th year. I'm telling most of my story using Adobe Spark in this project.
August, 2017
Horsing Around - Again
This past weekend, my wife and I once again had the opportunity to attend the Kawartha Regional Appaloosa Horse Club (KRAHC) annual show, hosted at the beautiful Saddlewood Equestrian Centre, in Bethany Ontario. Normally, I do take pictures at these events for fun, because, well, horses are just plain gorgeous animals, and this event would have been no different, save for one significant change. This year, the club hired me to take photos at the event.
June, 2017
Taking Stock at Full Sail University
I recently participated in a two-day student workshop at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida, created and run by the Adobe Stock team. This was an incredibly valuable event from both student and teacher perspectives, giving them not only theory and practical advice about creating stock content in general, but also in practice, in the form of a hands-on live photo shoot on-location in Florida.
May, 2017
The Ghost Ship of Jordan Harbour
Recently i had the opportunity to photograph this shipwreck, which sits in Jordan Harbour, south of the QEW. I've passed this hulk many times miles while enroute to Niagara wine country, but never had the time to stop and make photos. On my way early Sunday morning to the Canada/US border, I promised myself I would stop on my way home to capture this decrepit structure.
February, 2017
Downtown Santa Fe
This summer, I had the first-time privilege of participating in Adobe's Photo Educators Summit. Now in its tenth year, the summit moves around the U.S. This time, much to my delight, the event was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a place I had never been.
August, 2016
A Three Hour Tour
This past Sunday, we had the opportunity to travel a small part of the 386 km Trent-Severn waterway, including a ride up Lock 21, the world's largest (and oldest) hydraulic lift lock. Opened on July 9, 1904, it leaves a dramatic and lasting impression on Peterborough's landscape.
June, 2016
Adobe - 5 Years and Counting...
I’m hitting a milestone in the next few days; May 24 marks my fifth anniversary of working at Adobe, as a Solutions Consultant on the Enterprise Education Sales team. As you might have noticed from my last post, I’ve been in somewhat of a reflective mood, recently. Perhaps it’s this 5-year mark that has brought it on; perhaps it’s a confluence of the anniversary and other things. Regardless though, I’ve definitely been thinking about my personal history of late, and about my personal future.
May, 2016
The Creative Drive
I catch myself musing at times, what created this drive inside me? The one that must be fed with a regular diet of imagery? I find myself reflecting on this creature inside me, and recognize its always been there, in one form or another.
May, 2016
Decompressing at Rouge Beach Park
It had been a fairly stressful work week, where I was mainly glued to my office chair. Sure, I was able to get out and run a few errands, attend a meeting, but it was one of rare weeks where work - and things about work - consumed most of my thinking, and not always in a positive fashion. So, by the weekend, I was in critical need of some "me time". And in my case, me time generally means me and my camera. Join me on my walk along the Rouge Beach.
April, 2016
Canadian Canoe Museum
On Saturday of Family Day weekend, we decided to visit the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough, Ontario. Little did we know just how much of an impact the canoe had on the growth and settlement of Canada.
February, 2016
Social Media Imagery with Adobe Post
A few months ago, Adobe released a new and free mobile app called Adobe Post. Simply put, Adobe Post is a fun and fast way for anyone (and I mean anyone) to create stunning social graphics. You pick a photo, add text, and apply some design filters to instantly create beautiful designs. 
February, 2016
Wild, wild horses...
Our friends, Liz and Doug, owners of Mileham Show Horses, recently invited us up for dinner, and to meet the newest addition to their stable, a pretty little filly named Eve.
January, 2016
New Year, New Camera
Just after Christmas, gift card at my side, I checked out the Henry's web site to see what sort of Boxing Week sales they had for a compact camera. What follows is my experience so far with the Panasonic Lumix GF7, a Micro 4/3 format camera that I'm testing out.
January, 2016
Adobe - it's about more than pretty pictures
Each year, Adobe brings together over 4,000 of its worldwide sales team for a week of analysis and celebration of the year behind us, and seminars and training to prepare us for the year coming. It's an opportunity for what is largely a force of remote workers to network with colleagues and share stories, inspiration catch up with each other. What follows are my images and thoughts of both the event, and the company.
December, 2015
MAXimum Impressions
October, 2015
Same image, 7 years apart
August, 2014
Before and After - Revisited
September, 2014
Adobe Education Exchange Professional Development
March, 2015
From the Mind's Eye
June, 2015
What I did for my Summer Vacation
July, 2015
Farmville for Real's
August, 2015
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