Teaching, celebrating & shooting

Hi everyone! we’re currently in the greater Tampa area and I just wrapped up a fun week, which started all the way across the country in Seattle! Last week was Creative Cloud Fundamentals Week at creativeLIVE, and I was teaching the Photoshop segment of it. This was just a one-day class, and if you missed it, you can get it HERE, or get it as part of the whole CC Fundamentals bundle.

While we’re still on the topic of creativeLIVE, I’m excited to announce a new class I’ll be teaching next month, July 21-23. It’s called Post-Processing for Outdoor & Travel Photographers. This topic is extra special to me because these are two of the main types of photography I do. We’ll be using both Lightroom and Photoshop in this class, and you can learn more about it or enroll for free HERE.


I arrived back to the Tampa area after a redeye flight and landed the morning of my birthday! Aside from a much-needed nap, Karen had some fun things in store for the day including breakfast at one of our favorite places in the area, a cake she made completely of fruit (because that’s my favorite!) and a visit to a local brewery. (I’m a huge fan of craft beer and love to visit different breweries as we travel about.) Near the end of the day, we embarked on a sunset cruise that left from Clearwater Beach. While the actual sunset wasn’t overly spectacular, the sky put on quite a show for us afterwards. It was a great mix of storm clouds lit by what was left of the golden light. We even got to see a waterspout (a water tornado) nearby. Pretty cool! At the end of the night, we had dinner at a tapas place we like in Clearwater Beach.

BenSkyPanoAn iPhone pano I shot of the post-sunset clouds in Clearwater

BenKarBoatKaren and I on the sunset cruise

As implied from the title of this post, I also got to do some shooting this week. If you read this blog often, you know about my service station project. I have researched and located over 250 vintage service stations around the country and my plan is to photograph each one. I had been conversing with the owner of this Polly Station in the greater Tampa area and we finally set up a time this week for me to head over and shoot it. The shot below is just an iPhone shot that I also processed on the iPhone. The actually shots will take much longer to process.


Well, that’s it for now folks. The upcoming week will be more on the mellow side, where I’ll be catching up with work and some image processing. More to come!

Vintage service stations & art deco cars

If you keep up with this blog, you probably know that I love all things vintage. This week has been full of vintage things so I’ve been pretty darn happy! I’m going to start with the cars. I absolutely love the design of the classic art deco style cars, but it’s hard to see many of them in the same place all at once. When I learned about the Sensuous Steel event, in Nashville, TN, I knew I had to go. The problem was that the bus was in Minneapolis. Well, I wanted to see these cars so bad that I got on a plane, went to the show, and flew back the same night! Ya know… just a 1,000-mile day trip to Nashville. No biggie.

It was totally worth it though. The cars were stunning, and I learned that seeing them in photos doesn’t do them justice. You really need to be able to walk around them and see all those sexy curves! The show was located at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. I was also able to visit the  Lane Motor Museum, which had some cute smaller cars, so that was a bonus for the day.Unfortunately, my phone’s battery died early on, so the only other shots I have are on my DSLR and I haven’t off-loaded those yet.

DecoCarOne of the beautiful cars at the Sensuous Steel show.

So back to Minneapolis: One of my personal projects has been to go around the country shooting vintage service stations. Here is one of my more popular images from that series:

Petrol Paradise-afterPetrol Paradise

I have an entire database of service stations that I want to shoot and they literally span the country. My goal is to travel around, shooting as many of them as I can. After we wrapped up Photoshop World in Las Vegas, we returned to the bus in Minneapolis and I started checking off a bunch of stations on that list.

My_places___EverplacesThe map that goes along with my vintage service station database. I have just a few dots on it!

We spent a few days in Minneapolis, where there were a few nearby stations, and then we began moving eastward, stopping in Des Moines and continuing east from there. I am, of course shooting these stations with my DSLR, but I’ve been loving the immediacy of being able to create images on my iPhone and immediately share them with you all. So without further ado, here are the stations that I’ve shot this past week:

CarverMNThis one was in Carver, MN

NewUlm-MNStation in New Ulm, MN

1upStationThe mushroom station in Dassel, MN. Karen calls this one the 1-up station because of the mushrooms in Super Mario Bros.

Shell-IAGreat looking Shell station near Cedar Falls, IA

OpalinestationWaterloo, IA station


I was bummed that this station had many broken down cars parked there and the sign had been removed. I’ve seen photos of it from a few years ago when it looked much better.

PhillipsPetroleumPhillips 66 station near Massena, IA

BridgewaterOilWasn’t expecting to run across this Sinclair station… Found it by chance!

PhillipsIA2An IA Phillips station


Was bummed to find that the station I was searching for has been destroyed.  Someone told me about this station in the same town… So I didn’t leave I empty handed!

ColoIAstationStation near Colo, IA

CollinsIAstationThis was a bonus station I found that wasn’t in my database! (Near Colo, IA)

SullyStationStation in Sully, IA

ServiceStdOilProductsLove the look of this one and just wish they had pumps from the 50’s instead of 70’s. But, they still serve gas here!

YoungvilleStationThis one is more a restaurant that happens to formerly serve gas.


Work & Play in Portland

The Work

This past week has been a busy one, and my time was mostly occupied with work engagements. For three full days, I did some corporate training for a local company. What does that mean? Well companies can hire me to teach private events or do custom training sessions with their staff. This often times works out for groups with really specific needs. This way, they’re not stuck with the generalized sessions you’d receive at one of my public events. If you’re ever interested in private Photoshop or photography training, check out the In-House area on this site.

I also presented one of my 1-day Photographic Artistry seminars in Portland. Usually, I fly to all of my Kelby Training events, but for this one, we just happened to be in town! If you haven’t been to one of these one-day events yet, I’ve got more coming up in the next month in Denver, CO, Columbus, OH, and Boston, MA. More dates will be added as well. I’d love to see you there!

The Play

There is a vintage service station south of Portland that I have been wanting to shoot for some time now. After all the work events this week, I finally made my way down there to go shooting. This one is an old Flying A station. Below is an iPhone shot I played with a bit. I haven’t had time to process the RAW files yet.

BenFlyingAStationThe vintage Flying A station I shot the other day. This is my iPhone image.

This week, I also bit the bullet and ordered the new bike I had been planning on getting for a long time now. It’s a hybrid (paddle and electric) folding bike. This is the smallest and lightest folding bike you’ll find. It can be folded/unfolded in about 15 seconds and will easily fit in the boot of our Mini Cooper as well as in the storage area under our bus. I’m adding an electric conversion from NYCEwheels.com to help me up the hills and boost my speed when peddling as well.

BenBikeThis is the bike I just ordered. I had been eying it up for a while!

Lastly, Karen and I paid another visit to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, and were actually able to make it on a sunny day! As I mentioned in my last post, it’s just a color explosion, and very much worth going to if you’re a photographer or photo enthusiast. Despite the weekend crowds, I was able to get plenty of shots without loads of people in them. I played a lot with my circular fisheye lens, placing it in interesting locations, including underneath the tulips.

TulipFest-BEN-138One of my circular fisheye shots from the Tulip Fest.

This coming week, we’re in Orlando for another Photoshop World Conference and Expo! More to come…

One week, 12 states, 3,000 miles

If you know me at all, you know that my life is pretty much one big road trip. Well, that’s been especially the case during the past week or two. I just finished driving my vintage bus from Chattanooga, TN to Coburg, Oregon, where it will be getting its new interior installed. Right now, the engine/transmission is all new but the interior is gutted. By the time it’s done, it will have a modern/streamline design look to it. The bus is now at Paradise Coach, in Coburg, and what’s nice is that this will probably be the bus’ last stop before it’s completely restored. I’ve had the bus since October, 2009 and the restoration project has had a lot of setbacks. You can read the whole story on the Creative Cruiser site, but lets just say that the bus has traveled over 8,100 miles during its restoration alone.

This is a map of travels my vintage bus has taken during its restoration alone! It’s gone over 8,100 miles, and we haven’t even begun living in it!

When I finally arrived at Paradise Coach, I handed over the keys to Larry, who will be in charge of creating the bus’ new interior.

If you read my last post, you saw a lot of iPhone shots from the stops that I made during the trip. I love to shoot vintage gas stations, and there were several of them on my route. You can see a few of those shots below. I only had two breakdowns during the course of the trip and they were both due to the same thing… some loose tubing that will eventually be fixed permanently. No big deal at all. I had anticipated some breakdowns because the bus has just been given a new engine and transmission. I knew there was bound to be a few kinks to work out.

My vintage bus at Twin Arrows, a famous stop along Route 66.

The bus at a vintage Skelly service station.

I was really eager to shoot the bus at this vintage Conoco station, but I was pretty bummed to show up at dawn and find that the neon lights had been turned off!

The timing for my Oregon arrival was pretty good, because Karen had just flown in from New Jersey. While I was driving the vintage bus, she was out visiting her family on the east coast. She drove down from Portland to Coburg to pick me up and get another look at the bus. She hadn’t seen the bus in a year and a half, and she thinks it’s adorable.

Karen and I both returned to the current bus in Portland, and plan to stay in the area for the next few months. We’ll also travel to Coburg/Eugene to keep up on the vintage bus project. More to come…


Explorations in Washington & the Columbia Gorge

Hey gang! This past week has been jam-packed with photography, and as a result, this post is going to be very photo-rich. In fact, I’m going to make this more of a “photologue” type of update. Here goes:

In the beginning of the week, we moved on from Seattle and headed toward North Cascades National Park. Now that I’ve knocked off all the 50 states, I’m trying to visit all the national parks as well. North Cascades is just south of the Canadian border and is full of snow-capped mountains. There is one main road that goes right through the park so we took that and made various stops. I’ve got to say, even though the drive was gorgeous, the area didn’t “sing to me” photographically. Now, that’s just me. It could be completely different for you.

I took the above pano from the Washington Pass overlook on the east side of the park. I still have to fine-tune it. We parked the bus a few miles outside the park entrance in a tiny town called Marblemount. From there, we would go exploring. We also attempted to enter the park on a more primitive road, but the washboard bumps ended up being too much for the Mini. It wasn’t a failed journey, though, because we found this nice waterfall on the way (shown below) and we ended up spending a while shooting it.

In the shot below, Karen demonstrates how to shoot a roadside waterfall when it’s cold out. She parked the car next to the falls and is sitting on the heated seats! Her tripod is set up on the ground next to the car.

The next stop in our travels was Ellensburg, WA. I wanted to photograph a vintage gas station there, and we ended up over-nighting in that area as well. The town is really nice. There are lots of old buildings with character that are also well-maintained.  The station I photographed was part of the Red Horse Diner and you can see me shooting there in the photo below.

The Teapot Dome Service Station is another building that’s been on my shooting list for a while, and it’s located in the town of Zillah, WA, which is about an hour south of Ellensburg. When we arrived in Zillah, we literally had to track the building down. When we arrived at the first address, we saw this:

It was as if the darn thing got up and walked away! We later learned that it didn’t actually walk away… it was rolled away, and moved to a new location closer to downtown. We finally found it and spent about an hour shooting this little gem. Karen shot the image below, and she captioned it “Where is Ben?” Can you find me in the shot?

I shot the image below with my new fisheye zoom lens.

We continued south to the border between Washington and Oregon and then spent a few days exploring the Columbia Gorge area. There is lots to shoot in this area and it’s one of those places we’ll probably revisit again and again. During this visit, we focused on waterfalls. Both of the falls we shot were located inside John B. Yeon State Park, which is on the Oregon side of the gorge.

The first of the waterfalls was Wahclella Falls, and it was about a mile hike to get there. The whole area is beautiful, with vibrant foliage and moss-covered trees. Karen shot the pano below of me shooting the falls. Because of her angle, it’s hard to tell how big the waterfall actually is.

In the shot below, I have Karen in the frame to show the scale of the waterfall. In this one, you CAN tell how big it is!

The second waterfall we photographed was Elowah Falls, and it was a .8 mile hike to get there. This one was much taller and narrower, with nice moss-covered rocks to use as a foreground. The fisheye shot below is of Elowah Falls. (As is the header of this blog post)

Finally, we spent a bit of time exploring the towns along the gorge. There are lots of nice little restaurants, wineries and breweries. It was great to wrap up a day of hiking and shooting with a wine tasting or a local beer! Our next stop will be the Portland area, but we’ll most likely be making day trips back to the gorge area to hit some waterfalls we missed, including the spectacular Multnomah Falls. More to come…