If you stand there long enough, still your thoughts and breathe—you can almost hear the voices. The real power of photography is it’s ability to isolate and preserve a moment in time. Isolate all the distractions of life in the modern age and not only preserve a moment, but perhaps pull you back in time.

Randy Kepple Photographs San Antonio Texas Mission

There is so much beauty and history all around us. We get distracted with the allure of technology. It’s a real challenge to find any place that isn’t filled with noise. Standing in the middle of a structure that was full of life in the 1700’s, I was inspired to immerse myself in quiet exploration. To visually explore the remaining history and light that was very similar to the way it was centuries ago.

Standing in the middle of these Old San Antonio Missions, I couldn’t help but wonder how different life was back then. So much art and detail in the doorways. The comfort of wood, stone and clay. A life of honest simplicity. The pride of an artisan, the honor of hard work.

I’ve always wanted to see the Missions, and once I saw one, I had to see them all, including the Alamo. Driving around all day long, exploring wherever I was led. Yes, I got lost, but that is the fun in exploring. When it was time to head back to the hotel, I simply turned on the GPS and let this amazing technology we take for granted, guide me home.

This was my first time in Texas. I know— laugh if you will, but it’s true. It reminded me of my hometown, Kansas City (Missouri). Old buildings with wonderful art deco that you’d never see in our modern world. A pastel, desert color palette that is vibrant and drab at the same time. Dusty, hot and rich in history.

All of these images are single exposures (non HDR) RAW files on my Canon 5D camera using my Canon 16-35 II wide angle lens. Post production was accomplished in Adobe Lightroom 3 and minimal post production in Adobe Photoshop CS5.

Visit my Facebook page for Randy Kepple Photographs and LIKE— it’s greatly appreciated. You can also follow me on Twitter @randykepple. Inspire a conversation by leaving a comment. I want to hear from you!

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  • Brian Laurent

    Great shots Randy. I like how your quiet, thoughtful prose matches the imagery. They go together beautifully.ReplyCancel

  • Thanks Brian! There is a sense of stillness when looking at the images, but in some of the Missions, there was a definite urban presence on the other side of the walls. Lots of traffic, buses, trucks. I’m thankful that my camera does not capture sound!ReplyCancel

  • Bob Hackler

    “The angels keep their ancient places,
    Turn but a stone and start a wing.”
    F. Thompson

    Nice shots Randy.ReplyCancel

  • I really like that Bob! Thanks for sharing that with me! I know this is near your stomping grounds, well closer than I am on any given day… I really enjoyed Texas. I hope to visit again sooner than later!ReplyCancel

Randy Kepple Photographs Maui Hawaii Photography

Being married with 3 daughters, it’s safe to assume that when we all gather to watch a movie, it’s not going to be an action blockbuster. Not even a foreign film with subtitles or anything that requires more than an emotional investment. I’m not complaining. I’m more well-rounded and can always blame the girls when I publicly admit to watching romantic comedies.

My oldest daughter is an avid reader. One of her absolute favorite books is ‘Eat Pray Love‘, so it’s no surprise that the movie, based (loosely) on the book, was selected for a holiday movie night. Suffice it to say, the movie did not live up to the book. However, there was a narration at the end that really hit me. A memorable quote of cinematic wisdom.

There is a wonderful Ted Talks with Elizabeth Gilbert on Creativity. It’s hands down, one of the most inspiring creative truths I’ve heard in decades. I encourage you to listen to it. Sadly, my daughter assures me this narration in the movie was nowhere to be found in her book.

On the last day of the year, I’d like to share this quote with you.

In the end, I’ve come to believe in something I call “The Physics of the Quest”. A force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity. The rule of quest physics goes something like this:

If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything, from your house to bitter old resentments, and set out on a truth seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself. Then the truth will not be withheld from you.

This past year has been quite a journey. With winter settling in, there will be lots of time to share highlights from last years travels, professional and personal work. Thank you gentle reader for your continued support. Blessings and peace to you and your family as we close another chapter in the book of life.

Visit my Facebook page for Randy Kepple Photographs and LIKE— it’s greatly appreciated. You can also follow me on Twitter @randykepple. Inspire a conversation by leaving a comment. I want to hear from you!

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  • Ok, 3 women in this house and we like action blockbusters – Ironman, Transformers, that Jason Statham bank heist movie – bring it on. As well as a good romantic comedy.

    Gorgeous photo, where?ReplyCancel

  • Colleen… just my luck I suppose. XBox 360 in ‘da house and no one is interested in hunting down terrorists with me! :)

    My youngest is my SciFi buddy. Got her hooked on Fringe and she really likes the SciFi action movies… there is hope yet that I’ll be able to watch more action blockbusters during prime time! Oh, Tammy likes any Jason Statham movie, but I don’t think it’s because of the movie, if you know what I mean!

    I forgot to add that this photo was taken on Maui. I’m planning to post a bunch more, but the post production takes a while and I’ve been trying to stay on top of paying gigs… money trumps personal art these days. Sadly.

    Thanks for stopping by Colleen!ReplyCancel

  • Oh, do tell – pp on this? If you don’t mind sharing.ReplyCancel

  • That’s a great quote. Facing the truth about yourself is always a tough proposition, as I grow older I find I don’t know myself as well as I’d like, I’ve been on my own quest for quite a while.

    Thanks for sharing that.ReplyCancel

  • I LOVE this image. I love your writing. Really looking forward to following your blog!ReplyCancel

  • Randy, these are great images – it’s great to see such a wide range of work and interests – fabulous work!ReplyCancel

  • Colleen,

    Happy to share PP on this image. It’s actually deceptively simple! It’s basically a tripod mounted camera (16mm) of this beach scene in Hawaii. I captured three exposures. (-2/0/+2) set up the conversion information in Adobe Camera Raw and created a single HDR image using Photoshop CS5, HDR Pro. Unfortunately, Adobe HDR Pro does not handle highlight processing or ghosting very well, so I created another HDR composite using Photomatix Pro. Then, using layer masking in CS5, I combined the two images to retain the best of both. That’s basically all I did, aside from some minor dodging and burning and color enhancements (a little desaturation to lessen the cartoon feel). If you are interested in learning more of this technique, I’d highly recommend purchasing the e-book from http://www.stuckincustoms.com/. Best $10 you’ll spend. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer

    Love the quote. I loved the book once I was in the “right place” to read it. Is the quote from the book or movie?ReplyCancel

    • The quote is from the movie. I think I mentioned that in my post. Kara, who’s read the book (her favorite) told me that quote was NOT in the book!ReplyCancel

Randy Kepple Photographs Photoshop Post Production Technique

Meet Dean. Art director for a commercial advertising client. We were scouting a location for an upcoming photo shoot. As we were talking, I turned around and saw this image. Behind Dean was the paint bay for a city transit bus (if that gives you any idea of it’s size). A visual scene taken straight out of a Kubrick film.

If you’d like to read about how this photo was created and the technique used to achieve the look presented in the before and after image, meet me on the other side.

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  • Love the portrait, the location and your post processing. I think I’d also eliminate the hoses and smudges on the side walls.ReplyCancel

  • Thanks Colleen!

    It’s funny you mention that! I was actually going to eliminate the hoses and smudges and decided that it would make it too clinical. May have to revisit that.


  • Jon

    Nice! Can you talk more about your RAW conversion process? How do you do it exactly? I’ve been importing with LR and just going from there. Do you import with CPP?

    Thanks manReplyCancel

  • Please keep the smudges and the hoses… they keep this fabulous face grounded in what might otherwise become clinical verging into Star Trekkkish… I like this very, very much Mr. Kepple!ReplyCancel

  • Jamie… thank you! I really went back and forth with the hoses and smudges. I may do it and post just to see what you guys think. But I like the organic untidiness of it all. I was beginning to feel I’d gone too far already. Definitely thinking of the sterile world of Star Wars…

    Jon… Not exactly sure what you’re asking, but if you’d clarify, I’d be happy to share with you any information.

    Yes, I do import my RAW files into DPP (Canon Digital Photo Professional). There is obviously some proprietary conversion algorithm happening. As wonderful as Lightroom and ACR are with RAW conversions, when it comes to skin tones, the Canon software seems to nail it perfectly with Canon files.

    I was thinking of writing a post on a typical post process workflow. From ingesting the card to final delivery to the client. Is that what you’re interested in hearing?

    I use Photo Mechanic to ingest my cards after a shoot and import them into DPP. For most jobs however, I’ve been using LR3 as it’s the best production workflow solution. There are so many tools in LR3 that just don’t exist with the manufacturers software. If they’d actually listen to the photographers who purchase and support their business, they’d take the time to retool their software. I’d even be willing to pay for it. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jon

    My whole workflow is in LR right now. Would love to see your end to end workflow. Always looking for ways to improve.

    Something like?
    1. Import from card to computer using DPP
    2. Add to LR catalog
    3. Export to JPEG?ReplyCancel

  • Brian Laurent

    Killer, great example of taking a good image and making it that much better. I’m particularly amazed at how you were able to pull all those top-of-head-hairs out of the highlight/blur spectrum and burn and sharpen them into the visible one. You might not be giving him a Cover Girl complexion, but at least he got some Hair Club love.

    About the workflow, I’m so curious. As a Nikon shooter, I’ve been reluctant to add their proprietary Capture NX2 to the flow, since batching appears to be a pain and it’s a whole other big step, but I see the problems with skin tones in LR2 (I know, there’s a 3). I end up using downloaded profiles for my camera and also boosting orange luminance while dropping saturation on orange, red and magenta. It’s like everybody defaults to “spray tan sunburn” or something. Steve Z out in Colorado wrote a good blog post about the same thing, so I took a similar approach that’s been good enough to get me to PS with a workable image. Is it really impossible for The Camera Companies to play nice with Adobe? I mean seriously, I have a hard time imagining that their software realm could even pay for itself given the R&D it must take vs. the market share.

    Thanks for sharing your techniques and thought process. Keep the smudges and hoses, hoseur!ReplyCancel

  • Jon… After the holidays have passed and I’m sitting here with nothing to do… I am planning to share my entire workflow. I hosted a “Production Summit” a couple of years ago for a group of local professional photographers. I discovered that nearly everyone is struggling with the technology and managing their post production time more efficiently. My workflow is a bit more involved than yours! :)

    Brian… I agree. I wish I could talk to someone deep inside Canon and find out what the real issues are. I keep hoping that change will happen, but it always ends up being about corporate issues and making money. I guess the professional photography market is a small part of the overall machine at Canon and Nikon. From our perspective, it seems huge, but it’s not. More on that later. Thanks for the comments! Back at ya hoseur!ReplyCancel

  • Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Actually, I’ve discovered your secret ingredient Randy – it was the Cabernet all along!ReplyCancel

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” —Albert Einstein

The only thing more fleeting than your 15 minutes of fame is your 3 nano seconds of E-fame. When I posted my article on creativity, 8 Bad Habits that Crush Your Creativity and Stifle Your Success, little did I know what was about to happen.

Hacker Monthly article by Randy Kepple

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  • Jason Liske

    Nice post, needed sustenance —ReplyCancel

“There are no days in life so memorable as those which vibrated to some stroke of the imagination.”— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Standing in front of this massive banyan tree on Maui, I was inspired to try something new. I had a vision in my mind’s eye of this tree. And Maui will definitely vibrate the imagination of a creative artist. But such vibrational creativity can be elusive more often than not.

Artistry and Creativity are two words that work hand in hand. Artistry is defined as an expression of creative skill. Creativity is defined as the creation of artistic work using the imagination or original ideas.

As a artist, the hardest block to overcome is the beginning. Finding inspiration. The imagination can get paralyzed by fear. Trying to create something original. Something that is authentic, yet unique enough to be recognized as original.

I was fortunate to attend a fantastic workshop on Maui this year as a teacher and a participant. The Tropical Island Boot Camp hosted by Randy Jay Braun on Maui. As someone who primarily specializes in photographing people, it was inspiring to push myself to see in new ways and try my hand at expressing my vision in a different way.

At the end of the workshop exploring creative techniques and sharing a life changing experience with my new family, it made me think about the process of creativity. Something I actually think about quite a bit. Why is it so hard to break through the barriers of creative block? Could I be doing this to myself? In my ongoing series of the artistic process, I’d like to share with you an article about breaking through developed habits that crush creativity.

Maui Hawaii Banyan Tree HDR by Randy Kepple

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  • Hey Randy, cool shot of the tree – very creative! If you like that sort of writing you’d really enjoy some books by David duChemin – another Canadian! I’ve got two of his books and he has got me thinking about WHY I take an image, not just HOW. Makes a huge difference if you think about the message before you click the shutter – not just composition and lighting. What do you want to say with your image?

    He’s got actual books and ebooks – check them out, I think you’ll relate to his writing. He also talks about how to find creativity and keep it going. That’s in his ebook The Inspired Eye – it’s only $5.

    His books—I have Within the Frame, and Vision Mongers – love them!ReplyCancel

  • Thanks Randy, enjoyed the article.
    I’ve come across many of your suggested stifling points before. I have trouble creating focused time to pull things together. It takes me a few hours of relaxed browsing and reading before I dig in and work some new code together. Blogging I find comes naturally while I’m out walking, but is almost painful if I’m sitting in front of my computer. This lead to the last 500 or so posts made while out walking.ReplyCancel

  • Helen

    Hi Randy! I loved the post and the pictures are fantastic!
    Love the one of the Banyan Tree. It reminds me of the beautifully
    fantastic tree in Avatar.

    Thanks and blessings to you in your work,


  • Great post. And good timing for me.ReplyCancel

  • That was very well said. I have now snapped out of “analysis paralysis”, thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Joe Thomas

    Seems like these are the 8 things the educational system is designed to teach.ReplyCancel

  • Creativity is a slippery slope to stay on. Some times you can into the zone on purpose. Most of the time when working on a problem I get hit out of the blue in the middle of conversation on completely different subject by ideas. The hardest thing then is to blurt the idea immediately before it gets lost. As you say don’t prejudge the idea just let it flow out.

    Sometimes dumb ideas aren’t dumb. It is easy to discard half baked ideas without thinking them through.Sometimes within the basis of the dumb idea lies a real gem. It may be an offshoot of the original idea that would never get explored unless you start from the core idea.

    Ideas in the rough are very fragile things. They can be extinguished by a small distraction never to reappear.ReplyCancel

  • Alexandra

    Excellent. I am very guilty of the creating/editing at once syndrome.ReplyCancel

  • Wow… thanks for the comments and show of support!

    Darlene… thanks for the links! I am downloading Volume I and II as I type.

    Mark… I’m the same way. Especially when it comes to blogging which requires great effort on my part. Many times, I know what I want to write about but it takes me another week or longer to formulate the ideas and flesh them out. Then when I start to write it all comes together, mainly because I’ve let my brain work on it for a while.

    Helen… that’s what I thought when I was standing there. I’d love to see a tree like the one in Avatar. Now THAT would be a challenge to capture!

    Roger… slippery slope indeed! One of my favorite thoughts on nurturing creativity come from a 2009 Ted Talks presentation by Elizabeth Gilbert. If you have not seen this, go watch it right now!

    It’s amazing that we all struggle so much with creativity.

    Thanks for your support and comments!ReplyCancel

  • I love the idea that creativity is only limited by how creative you allow yourself to be. For example, it is absolutely impossible to be creative when you are worried about what people will think of it. Creativity can only be from your heart.ReplyCancel

  • SJ DUI Lawyer…

    That was a point I wanted to make, but felt my post was getting a bit long winded. We are only limited by ourselves. So many times, we look around us to see what others are doing. We use their success to determine our limits. Many times, NOT knowing where the boundaries are allows you unlimited success. There is nothing to stop you but yourself! :)ReplyCancel

  • These are amazing and so very NEEDED today! Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • excellent article. to sum it in one word i would say that to be creative think with a free mind. freedom breeds creativity….ReplyCancel

  • Let me know what you think after you’ve read them. I know you’ll be getting his printed books too. This is his site BTW http://www.pixelatedimage.com/fluid2/
    and blog http://www.pixelatedimage.com/blog/ – I follow it often but I’m adding yours to my list too!ReplyCancel

  • Great post you have here, Randy. As a graphic designer, I really value the points you’ve stated because a lot of us could be guilty of all these bad habits that inhibit our creativity at one time or another. It is great to have your post as an eye-opener. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Zoran

    This is very brave approach from your side and i really enjoyed reading it.
    I just don’t know if there are any limits ever, except those that we define ourselves.
    I intend to turn every bad thing into motivation more, it’s a good practice and the result is very good, but i also find motivation into something nice too.
    The important thing is to be very honest with yourself, even when it’s hard to admit it.
    Thanks for the post!ReplyCancel

  • Zoran… I don’t know about being brave. I just resonated with the article and felt my readers would too. I’m glad it’s hit a nerve.

    I agree that the only limits we face are self-imposed. By constantly looking around at what others are doing, it’s easy to never reach further.

    Being creative is frustrating on those days when you want so badly to express an idea you have and feel like you hit a brick wall. It doesn’t turn out the way you wanted or it just feels lackluster.

    However, I feel that the discipline of showing up puts you in a much better position to be creative than being paralyzed by your fear of NOT being creative. We need to give ourselves permission to fail. Creativity and art are a journey, not a destination.

    At least for me… it’s a constantly changing, shifting and oft times elusive journey.ReplyCancel

  • Zoran

    It’s definitely a hit nerve, talking about human psychology with so much certainty, field that brings out so many questions, since different people feel different way about this, but that’s why I like your post.

    I like your approach about being flexible with own self and allow to ourselves a failure and learn from it.
    I am very good web developer and decided to learn web design as well, learned all the photoshop tools, but when it comes to draw something nice, I just feel stuck with ideas, mostly cause I have drawn a straight line in my brain that good designers were born like that and they don’t become that good with just work.

    It’s not an easy fight to win, cause the opponent is myself from the other side, strongly determined that I cannot be good web designer. It’s also about being strong enough to recover from a big lose or disappointment, which is also not so easy. After all, I agree with your statement that creativity and art are a journey and not destination.

    Thanks for the answer Randy and I am glad I found your website.ReplyCancel

  • Love it! This article is spot on. Thanks for the words of wisdom, I’ll try and keep working on improving these areas. You keep writing and I’ll keep reading.ReplyCancel

  • Pawel Pachniewski

    All of this is true. I’ve read tons of self-development and success materials, and this list, especially for creatives, is what it is about. As I said in my tweet about this post: read, print & hang it up on your wall…ReplyCancel

  • A tweet made me come here to see what were you talking about and I have to say it’s so true to me. The 7th item completes my “thinking way” and I really have to improve this aspects on my working routine.
    Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Love the banyan tree. Don’t agree with some of the points. I don’t think creativity means coming up with something original even though I’ll bet most readers will agree that it does. To me artistic creativity is what you use to solve the problems of communicating your message.

    The “message” doesn’t have to be metaphorical or profound or even anything big. It could just be “look how yellow these flowers are”. But without a message what do you have to be creative about?

    You don’t have to be original. Look at popular music. There is very little originality. That isn’t a criticism. If you are too original you run the risk of not being understood because you are too far out. I ponder some the same kinds of questions on my own blog.ReplyCancel

  • Amber

    HOLY CR*P that tree photo is amazing!!

    As you know, my parents lived on Maui for several years, and I have been there many, many times… but I’ve never seen a banyan tree in “randyvision” before today when I checked your blog.


    As always.

    Loved this post, the photo and the article…

    As always.


  • Hi Randy,

    I love your work! That tree image is beautiful, and I totally agree with the article. I’m not yet engaged, but searching out photographers to be prepared. 😉ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Veltri

    This is great Randy! I absolutely LOVE the image of that tree! I was trying to figure out how to shoot it but ended up giving up because too many people were around and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do it any justice. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica,

    Thanks! As you very well know, that tree was massive! And there were a LOT of people hiking and climbing on the tree. The most difficult part was finding a spot to capture the mood and feeling of standing there in front of that masterpiece. Once I did that, it was frustrating to sit there for 10 minutes and wait for people to get out of the tree or stay out of the frame long enough for me to capture a few exposures!

    On top of that, it’s beyond frustrating that Canon cameras only allow you to capture an exposure bracket of three images at a time, while Nikon cameras allow you to capture a 9 exposure bracket! Trying to set up my camera to shoot a 9 exposure spread, wait for people to clear and just let go of the fact that the wind was blowing the leaves around and there was no way to fix that in post when layering 9 images…

    The ghost removal capability in CS5 HDR PRO needs to be worked on a bit. It was less than desirable on the final image, but works for web. :) Your Hawaiian images are stunning Jessica!ReplyCancel

  • Thanks for a good article and some great pointers to avoid to be more creative. :)

    I also like the image of the Banyan tree a lot! Very distinct look to it.

    It reminds me a little of some digital art I have seen, or even a drawing.

    Looking forward to browsing more of your blog.ReplyCancel

  • Thank you Berit! That banyan tree does have an illustrative feel to it. I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment and stopping by. Look around, enjoy!ReplyCancel

  • Joe Hilton

    I love reading up about all of this kind of stuff because it fills you with the drive, confidence and self-belief that you CAN actually accomplish things from within, just by believing in yourself and shifting your emotions and trusting yourself.ReplyCancel

  • Erin

    Every day I think of what E.M. Forster wrote: “Only connect.” And every time it happens, every single time, I am amazed all over again. That what one person says can angle out onto a slender thread, the other end of which is inside another mind. Thank you for taking the time to write this. I really needed to read it tonight.ReplyCancel

  • Erin… that is absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing that and taking the time to share your thoughts. Your comment completely made my day!ReplyCancel

  • I love this post Randy. It has helped me and the team I lead as much as anything we have read this year thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Very inspirational. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • This is awesome! I’m gonna make a nice poster out of these points :)

    Thanks a lot for sharing.ReplyCancel