Rad A. Drew Photography: December 2018

Continental Divide at Dawn

Continental Divide at Dawn
Continental Divide at Dawn

Monday, December 31, 2018

UPDATE! on the Free SnapSeed Webinar to Benefit Drew

Drew, at home in NYC, November 2018 


We held the SnapSeed Webinar yesterday, January 8, and it was a tremendous success! We had 200 people register for the webinar. You were all so supportive of Drew, offering encouragement and making donations to her medical fund. We can't thank you enough!

For those who missed the SnapSeed Webinar, you can view a recording of it here for free: https://attendee.gototraining.com/r/2675120982502151938

The webinar is free to view, but if you would like to make a much appreciated contribution to Drew’s medical fund, you may do so here: https://www.gofundme.com/p24rw5-drews-medical-fund.


Meet my niece, Drew! She is bright, beautiful, courageous, ambitious, loving, playfully chic, talented, kind, and hilariously funny! 

These are just a few of the adjectives that her friends use to describe her. She is one of the strongest, most giving people I know and a great friend to those she cares about.

She was happily living her dream working and living in NYC last November when a cancer diagnosis rudely barged into her life!

So, what can an uncle do to offer support when cancer barges in? 

The reality is, not much! Especially when much of what Drew needs is resources for mounting medical bills. 

But THIS is what I CAN do!

Offer a Free SnapSeed Webinar for Mobile Photographers! 

When: January 8, 2019, 5 PM EST
Cost: Free!
Contribution: Optional!

There is no obligation to contribute to Drew's GoFundMe Medical Campaign, but those who would like to, may do so by clicking HERE

Tip: Register for the webinar even if you can't attend the live session. You'll get a link to the recorded webinar to watch at your convenience.

About the SnapSeed Webinar

SnapSeed is one of today's most powerful tools for editing and stylizing mobile phone images. It's a free app that runs on both the iPhone and android phones.

In the hour-long webinar, I'll share a killer SnapSeed workflow that you can use to craft your mobile images, and I'll cover details of masking, and a whole bunch of other SnapSeed "secrets" that will help you make your mobile images SING!

There is absolutely no obligation to contribute to Drew's fund, but those who would like to, can contribute directly to her GoFundMe site.

Whether you choose to contribute to Drew's medical fund or not, you are welcome to participate in this SnapSeed webinar!

Drew, last summer post chemo therapy

About Drew

Here's a synopsis of Drew's story. You can learn more on her GoFundMe site.


When Drew was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer just over a year ago, it was a shock to say the least. “How old are you?” her doctor asked? Drew’s answer? “29.”

Today, after 15 rounds of chemo, surgery to remove her right breast, and multiple radiation treatments, Drew is optimistic about being cancer free! After that she’ll begin addressing reconstruction surgery.

Drew’s physical and mental health is most important without a doubt. 

But her fiscal health has taken a huge hit, even though she’s done all the right things. Like having a great job with insurance. Like living within her means. Like squirreling away a savings.

Still, it took very little time for the mounting medical bills to overwhelm her. Much of the treatment she's needed has not been covered by insurance, and she earns just enough to make her ineligible for other forms of assistance. At one point Drew said worrying about the money was "almost as bad as the cancer."

Shortly after she was diagnosed, a friend of her mom's started a medical GoFundMe campaign so family and friends could help Drew with her mounting medical expenses. 

People have been very generous! Many of you reading this have been incredibly supportive. Thank you! Your support has been a tremendous gift!

Drew Last Summer after 15 rounds of chemo

Through all this, Drew has continued to go to the job she loves with Managed by Q in New York City. She's participated in activities to support the Susan G. Komen foundation, and worked to raise awareness of how surprisingly common cancer in young women is today. 

With fellow survivor and Managed by Q alum, Helena,
at Susan G. Komen’s Race For The Cure September 2018

You can read her blog post, How Managed by Q Saved My Life, in which she shares a bit of her experience, reveals surprising statistics about cancer in women under 40, and offers suggestions for workplaces and for young women on how to become more aware and proactive.

Thank you so much for your support! 

I hope to see you on line for the SnapSeed webinar next week!

Register HERE
Contribute Here (if you choose)

In the meantime
Happy New Year!

Photo Credit: All of the images used here were provided by Drew and her friends.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Photographing Waves on Papohaku Beach

My First Wave at Papohaku Beach on Moloka'i

Last month I had the privilege and pleasure of co-leading the Creative Photography for the Soul Workshop with my friend and great photographer, Jack Davis. It was my first time on Moloka'i and my first time in Hawaii, so everything was exciting. I was a kid in a candy store!

Our group was extraordinary as was the entire week in so many ways, but of all the things we saw and did, photographing waves at Papohaku Beach truly captured my imagination.

Having seen images of these waves made by other photographers, I was looking forward to being on the beach and experiencing the waves for myself. 

When we arrived, it was late afternoon. The sun was getting a little low in the sky and the waves were rolling in. Being a landlocked landlubber, I am unfamiliar with the behavior of waves. I was surprised to learn that they came in, well, waves!

About every 5 to 10 minutes, there'd be another wave of waves. After a while I learned to watch them form and anticipate when they would break. It was in this window between swelling and breaking that the best formations were created. Like snowflakes or finger prints, each wave was unique and no two broke in the same way. Some rolled in on themselves, while others created rows of curls, or spewed spray in a multitude of directions. 

Then there was the light! Each wave not only behaved – performed? – differently, but each danced differently with the light. Sometimes the light shown through the waves, sometimes it created reflections, and sometimes it turned the droplets of spay into golden pearls. 

All this diversity meant that I could have stayed for hours!

The photography challenges were several. 
  1. The waves were far off, so a long lens was necessary. I used my 100-400mm on my Fuji X-T2.
  2. Because of the way the waves moved and the need to follow their movement, I found that I couldn't use a tripod; I had to hand-hold my long lens.

  3. Part of the goal was to stop the movement of the waves, so, I worked in shutter priority and set a fast shutter speed of 1/2000 of a second.
  4. Finally there was the ISO. Because the light inside the wave was always changing, and because the wave happened quickly, leaving no time to adjust settings on-the-fly, I set my ISO to "float." This is a custom setting on most cameras. On the Fuji, I set the ISO to float with a maximum sensitivity of 5000.

  5. I set the Fuji to shoot low continuous. I find that (with the Fuji anyway) high continuous will fill the buffer and you'll be waiting before you can take the next shot. 
My best images ended up being made with settings in this ballpark:
  • Focal length 400mm (in 35mm: 600mm)
  • 1/2000 sec
  • f/9
  • ISO 5000
Rarely is an ISO of 5000 desirable, but it was necessary under these circumstances. Fortunately, the Fuji does a great job of handling noise caused by a high ISO. What little noise there was, I eliminated by running Topaz's AI Clear on the file with great results.

Here are a few more of the images I made that day. I process all the RAW files in Topaz Studio using a variety of Topaz adjustments. I find the waves to be somewhat miraculous, liquid sculptures that could be the inspiration for so many forms of art created by humans. Chihuly glass comes to mind. I can't wait to be in the presence of this magnificence again next year!

Jack Davis and I will be co-leading the Creative Photography for the Soul Workshop again next year and would love to share this experience with you. You can read about it here

Until then, Happy Holidays, and keep on creating!