Edge of The Woods – Nature and Wildlife Photography

art photography, art shows, photography, photography tips

If you love nature, landscape and/or wildlife photography, then this guest photographer feature will catch your eye.

Bernadette Chiaramonte-Brown edited by her daughter

I met Bernadette Chiaramonte-Brown, this past December when we were participating in The Crary Art Gallery’s, first PA Wilds Invitational Show.  I was amazed by the rich textures and colors in her photography and started to follow her on her Facebook page, Edge of The Woods Photography, where almost  daily she has something new and beautiful to share. I am in awe of her wildlife photography, I would love to watch her shoot some day. But for now, she will share some tips at the end.

And YOUR challenge for National Photography Month will also be at the end.

Bernadette’s photography life in her own words:

“Waking up in the morning with excitement for the day….how many can relate?

The Edge of The Woods Photography

That sun that has been hiding all night is now just calling my name! All of life seems to feel the same way at sunrise! Birds, flowers, insects, bees, frogs, dragonflies….are all waking up also!

As I jump into my car all equipped with my camera gear, I proceed to take on the early morning world!

Quietly and slowly I start hiking through the woods, towards the streams, search the trees…the skies….all in search of the best surprises of the day!

The Edge of The Woods Photography
Black Bear

Being retired I am so excited to share the beauty and excitement around us.  I know people are usually so busy and just making a life!

Working as a Critical Care Nurse on the night shift for many years has given me an appreciation for doing what you love, NOW,  before a life changing event turns your world upside down!

Anyway, I have a tendency to perhaps see beauty that others overlook! I see every photo as a blank canvas.  Composure is the most important component for me personally. Every photo must tell a complete story in a very short glimpse! With the digital age, everyone has the opportunity to document what they feel is important without worrying about the cost!

I personally have a tendency to shoot many photos at different exposures not only to get it right but a good scene is like a great dessert! You just don’t want to stop enjoying it! When I finally return to my art studio, I delete, delete, delete…only leaving the best!

The ability to lift someone’s spirit or evoke a favorable emotion from my photos is my goal and the reason I use photography as my medium! It is an immediate gratification! I also oil paint but find it difficult to sit for hours/days to complete my canvas. Being a self-taught photographer has afforded me a blank slate to experiment, break the rules and learn in the field.

I also would like you to see the photo that “started it all”! People told me they loved this photo and the rest is history as they say!”


Bernadette Chiaramonte-Brown Photographer
Sunflowers and Church



The photograph that she is most proud of is this one, which I was lucky enough to see in person at The Crary Art Gallery when we were in a PA Wilds Invitational show together.

“I spotted the Amish Loggers working and drove by about 3 times before I got the courage to ask to take this photo. They were very accommodating as long as I didn’t get them in the photo! It has won many contests and has even been made into a puzzle. Right place…right time!!! ”

by Bernadette Chiaramonte
Amish Logging Horses by: Bernadette Chiaramonte

What is on your photography bucket list? “My bucket list includes Alaska, Yosemite Park and Glacier Park. I would love to visit and photograph all the National Parks because of their extensive history and the wildlife they have.”

BEST TIP: “start early out in the morning. Be quiet and patient. Carry the least amount of equipment….”

Favorite Lens:  Tamron 150mm-600mm

Camera: Nikon d800E


The Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania

The Edge of The Woods Photography

Edge of the Woods… online gallery to shop

NOW YOUR CHALLENGE: Find your favorite nature or wildlife photography piece that YOU have taken OR a nature or wildlife photograph that you would like some pointers on and share it on the facebook thread

Concert Photography – Jeane Pifer

photography, photography tips, photojournalism
Jeane Pifer Concert Photography
Jeane Pifer Photographer

Today please welcome our first guest photographer, Jeane Pifer. Jeane is a personal friend, she is gentle and sweet but a bit of a rebel because where you will find her most comfortable with her camera is up close to live bands shooting concert photography or at the track getting up close and personal creating racing photographs. As I write this, I realize I forgot to ask if she carries ear plugs in her gear bag. Today, she shares some of her work and tips at the end for shooting any type of stage situations.

Why Concert Photography and why is it appealing to you?  I chose to pursue concert photography because of the excitement and the feeling you get when you nail an amazing shot. It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had as a photographer. Everything is constantly moving. It’s a challenge compared to portrait shoots where you have more time to pose your subjects. It’s great to look back on my first shows compared to where I am now.

Jeane Pifer Photographer
Family Force 5 Concert Photography
Jeane Pifer Concert Photographer
Joel Smallbone – For King and Country

How have you grown as a concert photographer?  When I started I was only using the action setting on my simple DSLR. Now, I feel confident in being able to successfully set up my camera to manual settings to handle any lighting situation.

Jeane Pifer Concert Photography
Tate Olsen from Skillet

What are the biggest challenges in shooting concert photography?   Arriving at any show, you never know the lighting situation. Luckily, I have found with post editing I can make the best out of every image.

What type of venues do you enjoy shooting in the most?   In the sense of lighting, I always prefer the large concerts. However, smaller shows are much better for getting up close and personal with the bands which can also result in better shots. Shooting outdoor festivals during the day is my absolute favorite. There’s something about being able to capture the emotions of the crowd better with the blue sky in the background. 

Jeane Pifer Photographer
Benja Creation

Do you go into a concert with a clear mind about what you are going to shoot or do you have some dream ideas you are wanting to create?   Normally I go into a show with the mindset of just shooting. If  I’m seeing the same show- band more than once and I know what moves they will make on stage, I will then be able to picture the images I want to take.

I know bands have used your photographs, how did that come about?  Most of the bands that have used my images were from festivals. At the festivals, they normally have a meet and greets with the bands and I take the opportunity to hand out my business card. You never know what opportunities will come from marketing yourself. Other bands that have used my images have been from just finding me on social media.

And now for some tips from Jeane, that don’t only apply to concerts. You can use these tips and tweak them for upcoming dance recitals, children’s plays, parades, festivals and much more.

And after reading the tips, come join the conversation and share your photos here.

LENS:  I use 15-85mm f/3.5. Although the zoom quality of the lens is amazing, the aperture is something that I’m constantly fixing.  A low aperture lens is definitely something you need.

FLASH: Most places don’t allow flash photography so I normally don’t. Depending on the show size and the amount of lighting, a flash is not normally needed.                                                                                     Molly: I would add this is where Jeane’s suggestion of the low aperture lens is important and a tripod or monopod when you are able is great if you will be standing in one place.

SETTINGS: Experiment with different settings on your camera. Every show will be different, you never know what lighting situation you’ll be in so you can always learn from them.  I would definitely recommend a simple setting that you’re comfortable with. I started off with the action setting, but I also know of people who have used creative auto, auto, and aperture priority. I think starting out on one of the simpler settings gives you practice of how to focus on whats going on on the stage instead of stressing about your setup right off the bat.

ISO: I usually keep my ISO high and my Shutter low. Although that does occasionally leave the grainy look, I find in post editing it’s easy to cover up and really bring out the colors of the lights.

Concert etiquette:  Although a lot of famous concert photographers have lists of etiquette, I have had to worry about other photographers around me. But always be cautious of who’s around you. So many people just want to camp out in the same spot the whole night which is not only rude to the other photographers, but you also won’t get the best images if they are all from the same angle.

BIGGEST TIP: Just keep shooting. You never know what surprise shots you’ll get.

Follow Jeane on Social Media




















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Photographs or Virtual Photography

photography, photography tips, Uncategorized

Did you know May is National Photo Month? I didn’t know until this week. How did I find out? QVC was using the opportunity to sell more cameras. It makes sense, photography has been the #1 hobby in our country since the 90’s. In the 90’s and prior to that, anyone with a SLR camera, had a bit of a mystique to them.  For the most part, people with nice cameras knew how make photographs with their cameras and had an understanding of what photography was and how it worked.

Black and White Vintage Photograph with Large format camera
Professional Portrait Photographer

Are you making photographs or just experiencing virtual photography? Unless you are a photographer by trade or an artist, I am betting you are what I call a virtual photographer.

The definition of photography that I  like best, “is creating an image with light.”  Millions of people take pictures and don’t even know that. The light doesn’t matter. “Virtual Photographer’s, ” as I call and define them seem to think photography is “the act of pushing a button to make and record what they see.”  Nothing tangible, just a snap, possibly a share and then forgotten.

Prior to the new millennium, the average person didn’t even try to take a photo. And it wasn’t really their fault, there was no instant gratification. They were snapping a photo with a hope and prayer that it would look good; that they didn’t cut someone’s head off and hopefully not discover their thumb in front of the lens. Now those same people can take photo snaps the same way they did before and know immediately that they cut a head off and quickly re-snap. 


I know YOU virtual photographer’s can do better.

In the past,  photos were sent off (when I was a wedding photographer I literally had to wait 2 weeks to see how my film photos came out…. Stressful) Some people couldn’t stand to wait and would go to a “photo matt” or a one hour photo lab. But even then, the moment’s they were trying to capture had passed by and there was no way for a do over if the pictures, “didn’t turn out,” as they used to say.

Things have changed, we have 2 different groups of people. The people with the fancy cameras and the cell phone snapper. There is also some overlap, some people have a nice camera but choose to only snap photos on their phone.  

While we are going to get into more specialized photography in the rest of May with guest photographers, today is all about the basics…. I want you to think about what a photo means to you?  And are the pictures you capture important? And if so, how many did you actually print in the last year.

In 2015 nearly a trillion photographs were taken with nearly 80% captured on a cell phone. WOW! And the majority were not printed.  It is predicted nearly 5 Trillion photos will be stored somewhere by 2017. Cool graph info here. And the majority haven’t and never will be printed.

Photography used to be a physical  thing. Even for the person who only got the camera out at Christmas, the roll of film was touched between the fingers, loaded in the camera and then taken out. The majority of people would take their film out to be “developed or processed.” Sounds so fancy now. And then they made prints, many times, “doubles.” One for you and one for me.

We had a physical piece of the moment to hopefully put in an album, or in a frame. And baby boomers that have a drawer full of photographs in a lab envelope that were never looked at again, don’t feel bad, you are doing better than this generation and BONUS, you most likely have the negatives with them. Where are your photos? What are you doing with them? Do you have a back up copy?  If you are not printing your photographs, I say, you don’t really have ANY photos!

Your CHALLENGE, go to your big box store and spend 20 minutes plugging your phone into the mini lab. Pick the images you want and print them. This Weekend!  Delete the ones you didn’t print and back up the ones you did when you get home. And please go over and like Facebook Page where all of the interaction will be this month, including “call outs,” where you can share a photo with everyone. To not miss anything on facebook, you will want to do 3 steps, LIKE, Hover over the arrow and click SEE FIRST and then Notifications ON. I don’t want you to miss out.

I can help you take less shots in the future, not have less moments, but take less shots down the road with some tips. But for NOW, we will deal with what we have. And if you don’t want to miss a blog post, subscribe by email in the upper right hand corner of this page.


Is Art a Luxury?

fine art, galleries, jack welpot, limited edition prints, luxury items, museums, photography

artist:MariaWojtiuk Poland

IS ART A LUXURY? This question was posed today by scoutiegirl, a blogger that I follow faithfully.
As an artist, but I feel more IMPORTANTLY as a LOVER OF ART, the answer has to be yes.Art is luxury because it is something to be breathed in, tasted, swallowed and savored. I know if I was a bazillionaire after giving lots of money away, I would have a house full of ART, why because it makes me feel good. Art that I love inspires me, changes my mood, makes me think and is a momentary visual vacation.
I also love the idea of being able to help support artists and I don’t think people who are not active art collector’s or artists themselves realize what they are really paying for when they buy original art from an artist. There is a perception that it may be too expensive. For me, I never judge a piece to be too expensive, I know that it takes hard work, skill and talent to create a piece and more importantly if it is something I would like to own, then that artist has become a kindred spirit to me through their work:)
I only know that many times I cannot afford it now, rather than thinking it is too expensive.
That being said, for people who live in cities there are amazing FREE resources to look at beautiful works of art…. they are called MUSEUMS… I could spend all day there. And just visiting a museum feel like a luxury to me. My favorite museum that I have visited is The Legion of Honor. I am actually a little teary thinking about it because I had the HONOR to visit it twice with my mentor and dear friend Jack Welpott, who passed away a year ago. His birthday would have been yesterday. He brought me to this amazing place in San Fransisco and we saw everything from Van Gogh, Monet, Manet and Bourgerau. The second time I visited we went and saw the exhibit of Georgia Okeefe. I can feel the whole experience again right now just thinking of it.
Another free place to enjoy art is to visit galleries. Take it all in and see what you connect to and fall in love with.
And of course there is lots of free window shopping online for art now. Including on of my favorite sites ETSY. I love it because I can talk to the artists directly without a middle person.
Remember just because you don’t have the money now, you can enjoy the arts and let it be a part of your life and if you are an artist or gallery owner, don’t take for granted the shopper who windows shops often, they are appreciating what you have to offer and they very well someday may come and make a purchase.
Some Fine Photographers I am following right now:
Brett Edge