Ever wonder just what does “taking artistic license” really mean?  If you Goggle “artistic license” you will find over twenty pages with at least 11 definitions on each one.  After wading through several pages, I discovered one I think most closely describes how I view “artistic license.”  It states, “Simply put, artistic license means an artist is accorded leeway in his or her interpretation of something, and is not held strictly accountable for accuracy.”

I consider myself an artist whose tools, among others, include a camera, various filters, tripod, computer and several software programs.  The images included in this blog have all been processed with a dose of artistic license and a dash of my own imagination and creativity to suggest, at first glance, they might possibly be paintings instead of photographic images.

Let’s take a look at the image above as an example.  I captured this image one morning just prior to sunrise in a drizzling rain with gentle winds blowing in the pre-dawn light. I dialed in an exposure of 2.5 seconds in order to smooth out the choppy waves and blur the clouds.  This long exposure resulted in some movement in the leaves due to the wind.  This didn’t bother me as I had an artistic process in mind from the get-go.    A shorter shutter speed coupled with the grayness of the morning and the lack of color in the sky could have resulted in a boring image.   Once back home in Sonoma, I took the image into Lightroom to apply some minor adjustments.  Then into Photoshop where I changed it from a color image to a monochromatic image.  Taking it still a step further, I took it into a Topaz plug-in filter where I created brush strokes and a background canvas which resulted in a “painting-like” finished image.   The name I chose, “Coconut Island Guardian,” came to me when I first saw this tree all alone out on a point blowing in the wind.   To me, it appeared to be watching over the small island.



These two coconut trees growing along the edge of a cliff about 20 or 30 feet above the Pacific Ocean, caught my attention. With their roots clinging to the lava rock, they appeared to be just hanging on.  Could it be, living in paradise doesn’t mean life is always easy?  It did pleased me that the pair seemed to be watching out for each other.




On my first photographic venture after arriving in Hilo, Hawaii, I came upon a small, hidden cove after following a dirt trail down from the main road.  I felt like I had discovered a little paradise that no one else knew about.  While I photographed there for a couple of hours before moving on and saw not another living soul, I later found out that this “hidden” cove was not so hidden after all.  Plenty of folks, both locals and tourists, knew about it – hence the narrow, but well defined, trail leading to it.  I visited here several times during my stay, but my first morning, my first photo shoot in Hawaii, will always remain one of the most memorable highlights of my trip.




Later the same afternoon when the two coconut trees reached out and grabbed my attention, the sky darken, the wind howled and the waves crashed against the rocks.  As I held on to my tripod and captured this image, I thought about fishermen and the perils they faced when the weather would take a turn for the worst.  Knowing my car, parked just a few yards away, offered me a sanctuary from the approaching storm, I could only imagine how the fishermen must have struggled against gale winds and waves, as well as their own fear, in the face of an approaching storm.

A short time after I took this image, I was back at the hotel, had showered and ready for dinner.  The end of another exciting and perfect day in Hawaii.

Hope you enjoyed these images and the “artistic license” I took with them.  I would love to hear your thoughts about photographers taking artistic license with their images.   It is fun to try new things and experiment with various techniques.  The world of photography is as endless as is the universe.  I have barely scratched the surface and am excited about knowing there is so much more I can learn and experience in the future.  What a wonderful time to be a photographer.

Thank you for reading my blog.  If you enjoyed it, please share with your social media.  You can check out my other photographic “paintings” on my website here and my Facebook here.  If you would like to be notified when I post a new blog and haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so here.

Until next time, don’t forget to look for and SEE THE EXTRAORDINARY IN THE ORDINARY!