Oct 14 2016

Canon 5D Mk IV First Impressions

img_7116(Basket of Driftwood, my first Mark IV image)

I am in Bandon, Oregon and have just received my new Canon 5D Mark IV today. I have spent only a few hours with it and wanted to share my very, very first impressions.

First, it’s pretty easy to learn since it’s so much like the Mark III. That’s a good thing.

But they’ve added several new features that will make my life easier, including:

They have moved the position of the remote control terminal to the front of the camera. This means that you can now use the remote cable release and keep the left side connector covers in place. This is important because previous models have had a light leak on the left side when doing very long exposures. I’m hopeful that leaving the covers in place will now block the light leak.

The Camera now has a long exposure timer, something that they introduced on the 5DS.  This means I can use Bulb mode to do very long exposures without a cable release, or more importantly, continue to shoot very long exposures if my cable release fails (as happened when my primary and backup cable releases failed on Easter Island).

A wonderful new feature allows the Mark IV to wirelessly transmit JPEG images to my iPhone. Here’s a Bandon image that I shot on the Mark III and then transmitted with the Mark IV:


My camera is set up to save a RAW and a JPEG, which I then transmit to the iPhone where I can do some minimal adjustments.

And then there’s the Mark IV’s sensor increase to 30 megapixels, which is a 7.5% improvement.  I feel this is a more reasonable and balanced increase than what they did with the 5DSr going to 50 megapixels. 

Which brings me to the real test of the camera (for me and my applications): how much noise is introduced by the new sensor during a very long exposure (greater than 2 minutes).  If you will recall, I had a very bad experience with excessive noise on the Canon 5DS images  

So I had the camera shipped to me here in Bandon, where I was hoping to do some long exposure work and put the camera to the test. However we have had two big storms and I’ve only been able to get out shooting twice.

And now they’re saying the storm arriving tonight will bring 80 mph winds, 40 foot waves and rain through the duration of my trip!

(audible sigh)




Oct 13 2016

Meet Me in Ohio on November 8th, 2016?

2013-5-10 Balance - Final 5-24-2013 750

If you happen to be in the Kent, Ohio area this upcoming Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 please come by to see my presentation “Why Black and White?”

Here are the particulars: 

The NE Ohio Digital Photography Meetup (Ravenna) group is hosting the event

Located at 112 East Main Street, Kent, Ohio 44240

Starts at 6:30PM

There are only 50 seats available and so please RSVP to Jerry Jividen at jividen@att.net

And is my custom, I’ll be giving away three prints in a free drawing after the presentation. 

I hope to meet many of my Ohio friends that evening!


P.S. I’m currently photographing along the Oregon coast and despite the storm, will still be meeting with everyone who comes by this Saturday 10/15/2016 at 9 am in Bandon. For more details see:  


Oct 2 2016

Why I Write (or create)

2016-6-1 Melting Giants No. 43e

A good friend sent me these articles about writing and I thought to myself: the author really isn’t talking writing, but about creating. What he says applies to writing, painting, photographing and every other type of creative endeavour. 

I like what Steven Pressfield says, a LOT.



Why I Write, Part One



I stumbled onto the website of a novelist I had never heard of. (He’s probably never heard of me either.) What I saw there got me thinking.

What if we worked our whole life and never sold a single painting?

What if we worked our whole life and never sold a single painting?

The site was excellent. It displayed all fourteen of the novelist’s books in “cover flow” format. They looked great. A couple had been published by HarperCollins, several others by Random House. The author was the real deal, a thoroughgoing pro with a body of work produced over decades.

Somehow I found myself thinking, What if this excellent writer had never been published?

Would we still think of him as a success?

(In other words, I started pondering the definition of “success” for a writer.)

Suppose, I said to myself … suppose this writer had written all these novels, had had their covers designed impeccably, had their interiors laid out to the highest professional standards.

Suppose he could never find a publisher.

Suppose he self-published all fourteen of his novels.

Suppose his books had found a readership of several hundred, maybe a thousand or two. But never more.

Suppose he had died with that as the final tally.

Would we say he had “failed?”

Would we declare his writing life a waste?

[I’m assuming, for the sake of this exercise, that our writer had been able somehow to support himself and his family throughout his life or that, if he had been supported by someone else (as van Gogh was looked after by his brother Theo), that that was okay with him and with the person supporting him.]

Then I asked myself, What if that was me?

How would I feel about those fourteen books? Would I consider them an exercise in folly? Vanity? Demented self-indulgence?

Would I say to myself, “What’s wrong with you? Why do you continue this exercise in futility? Wake up! Get a job!”

Could I justify all that effort and somehow convince myself that it was worthy, that it had been an honorable use of my time on Earth?

It won’t surprise you, if you’re at all familiar with my thinking in this area, to hear that I would immediately answer yes.

Yes, I would consider that hypothetical writer a success.

I might even declare him a spectacular success.

No, his writing life was not wasted.

No, he had not squandered his time on the planet.

And yes, I would say the same if that writer were me.

My own real-life career is not that far off from this hypothetical. I wrote for seventeen years before I got my first dollar (a check for $3500 for an option on a screenplay that never came near getting made.) I wrote for twenty-eight years before my first novel was published.

What, then, constitutes success for a writer? Is it money? Sales? Recognition? Is it “expressing herself?” Is it “getting her ideas out there?”

Or is it something else?

I’m going to take the next few weeks’ posts and do a little self-examination on this subject, which I think is especially critical in this era of the web and Amazon and print-on-demand and instant and easy self-publishing, these days when literally a million new books appear each year. How do we, how do you and I navigate these waters, not just financially or professionally but psychologically, emotionally, spiritually?

[Thanks to our friend David Y.B. Kaufmann for suggesting this topic.]

Why I Write, Part Two


If you’re a writer struggling to get published (or published again) or wrestling with the utility or non-utility of self-publishing, you may log onto this blog and think, Oh, Pressfield’s got it made; he’s had real-world success; he’s a brand.

J.K. Rowling has earned her spot on the Elite List

J.K. Rowling has earned her spot on the Elite List

Trust me, it ain’t necessarily so.

I don’t expect to be reviewed by the New York Times. Ever. The last time was 1998 for Gates of Fire. That’s eighteen years ago. The War of Art was never reviewed, The Lion’s Gate never. My other seven novels? Never.

I’ve got a new one, The Knowledge, coming in a month or two. It will be reviewed, I’m certain, by no one.

If I want to retain my sanity, I have to banish such expectations from my thinking. I cannot permit my professional or artistic self-conception to be dependent on external validation, at least not of the “mainstream recognition” variety. It’s not gonna happen. I’m never gonna get it.

If you’re not reviewed by the New York Times (or seen on Oprah) your book is gonna have tough, tough sledding to gain awareness in the marketplace. No book I publish under Black Irish is going to achieve wide awareness. BI’s reach is too tiny. Our penetration of the market is too miniscule. And even being published by one of the Big Five, as The Lion’s Gate was by Penguin in 2014, is only marginally more effective.

There are maybe a hundred writers of fiction whose new books will be reviewed with any broad reach in the mainstream press. Jonathan Franzen, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, etc. I’m not on that list. My stuff will never receive that kind of attention.

Does that bother me? I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t want to be recognized or at least have my existence and my work acknowledged.

But reality is reality. As Garth on Wayne’s World once said of his own butt, “Accept it before it destroys you.”

On the other hand, it’s curiously empowering to grasp this and to accept it.

It forces you to ask, Why am I writing?

What is important to me?

What am I in this for?

Here is novelist Neal Stephenson from his short essay, Why I Am a Bad Correspondent:


Another factor in this choice [to focus entirely on writing to the exclusion of other “opportunities” and distractions] is that writing fiction every day seems to be an essential component in my sustaining good mental health. If I get blocked from writing fiction, I rapidly become depressed, and extremely unpleasant to be around. As long as I keep writing it, though, I am fit to be around other people. So all of the incentives point in the direction of devoting all available hours to fiction writing.


I asked hypothetically in last week’s post, What if a writer worked her entire life, produced a worthy and original body of work, yet had never been published by a mainstream press and had never achieved conventional recognition? Would her literary efforts have been in vain? Would she be considered a “failure?”

Part of my own answer arises from Neal Stephenson’s observation above.

I wrote for twenty-eight years before I got a novel published. I can’t tell you how many times friends and family members, lovers, spouses implored me for my own sake to wake up and face reality.

I couldn’t.

Because my reality was not the New York Times or the bestseller list or even simply getting an agent and having a meeting with somebody. My reality was, If I stop writing I will have to kill myself.

I’m compelled.

I have no choice.

I don’t know why I was born like this, I don’t know what it means; I can’t tell you if it’s crazy or deluded or even evil.

I have to keep trying.

That pile of unpublished manuscripts in my closet may seem to you (and to me too) to be a monument to folly and self-delusion. But I’m gonna keep adding to it, whether HarperCollins gives a shit, or The New Yorker, or even my cat who’s perched beside me right now on my desktop.

I am a writer.

I was born to do this.

I have no choice.

Sep 28 2016

New Series Announced: Melting Giants


I’ve just released a new series entitled “Melting Giants” from my recent trip to Newfoundland.

I introduce my new images through my newsletter, you can subscribe here:  http://www.colethompsonphotography.com/NewsletterSignup.htm

I hope you will appreciate them!



Sep 12 2016

Photo Meet-Up in Bandon, OR – Oct 15, 2016


I have been “missing in action” for several months now and I apologize for that! Life has been busy with many family events, a foot surgery, a trip to Newfoundland and some time taken to “regroup” mentally, physically, spiritually and photographically. My sincere thanks to all those who checked up on me during that absence.

Life is good and I’m now preparing for my next adventure: my annual trip to Bandon in October. I’m really looking forward to creating something new in this familiar place.

While in Bandon I would like to invite anyone in the area to come by for a meet-up where we could get to know each other and do some shooting together.

I will be available on Saturday 10/15/2016 at 9 am, I’ll be at the parking lot overlooking the beach where 11th Street SW runs into the ocean, right next to the Bandon Beach Motel.


If you have any questions, please email me at: Cole@ColeThompsonPhotography.com 

I hope you can make it!


May 22 2016

Terra Quantum Interview

2014-2-1 Ancient Stones 23 - Final 3-10-2014 1000

Terra Quantum (https://terra-quantum.net) is a very interesting website. It displays and categorizes landscape images based on geographic location. Choose a country and then explore by location.

It is their 1 year anniversary and you can see the work of 12 featured photographers here: https://www.facebook.com/terraquantum.net/

And they recently interviewed me: https://terra-quantum.net/news/29/



May 4 2016

Some Interesting Woody Allen Quotes


These are some interesting excerpts from a Woody Allen interview featured in The Hollywood Reporter


Do you read about yourself in the tabloids?

I never, ever, ever read anything about myself. Not my interviews, not stories about me. I never, ever read any criticism of my films. I scrupulously have avoided any self-preoccupation. When I first started, that was not the case. [But now I] just pay attention to the work and don’t read about how great I am or what a fool I am.

The enjoyment has got to come from doing the project. It’s fun to get up in the morning and have your script in front of you and to meet with your scenic designer and your cinematographer, to get out on the set and work with these charming men and beautiful women and put in this Cole Porter music and great costumes.

When that’s over, and you’ve made your best movie, move on. I never look at the movie again — I never read anything about it again.

Have you ever watched any of your own movies again?

No. Never seen them again. I made Take the Money and Run in 1968 or so; I’ve never seen it again. Never seen any of them.

Of your films, is there any one that you would erase if you could?

Of mine? Well, I would erase all but a few. (Laughs.) There’s probably six or eight of my films that I would keep, and you could have all the rest.


Apr 29 2016

Put it on your calendar: June 24, 25 & 26

2009-9 Mourning Dove Ranch in the Summer MEDIUM

Each year Fort Collins hosts a Studio Tour where artists open up their galleries and studios to the public. After a two year absence, I will again participate this June 24th, 25th and 26th.

If you’re in the area or planning on visiting during that time, I’d like to invite you to stop by my home and gallery. 

This year I’ll be focusing on showing larger works. Also, I have received back a huge number of framed and unframed images from exhibitions that I’ll be selling at a discount (I have far to many images here and really need the space!)

So, please stop by and say hello.

My house can a bit hard to find the first time, but if you’re using GPS you’ll be okay.

Just be sure to look for the Mourning Dove Ranch at 4780 Totonka Trail, Laporte, CO 80535

Hope to see you!



Mar 31 2016

Fifty New Images

2016-1-7 dunes of nude no 146 - final 3-28-2016 1000

I’ve just released fifty new images from my recent trip to Death Valley, including “Dunes of Nude No. 146” above  

They are included in my April 1st, 2016 Newsletter  

Are you subscribed? If not, you can sign up here:





Mar 30 2016

Denver Presentation on April 26th, 2016

2009-10-21 Diminishing Cliffs - Final 11-8-2009 750Diminishing Cliffs


I will giving my presentation “Why Black and White” to the Broomfield Photo Club on Tuesday, April 26th at 6:30 pm. 

If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you. And if you do attend and we’ve communicated before, please do come up and say hello! At my last Denver presentation there were two internet friends in the audience whom I did not get to meet and I felt bad about that.

What’s the presentation about? Well, it starts off talking about “Why Black and White” and I believe that I make a compelling case that b&w is good for any type of image or genre of photography. But what the presentation is really about, is finding your own Vision, following your Passion, forgetting about what others are doing and creating images that you love.

The presentation is 1 hour and 15 minutes long and as is my tradition, three prints will be given away at the end of the presentation.

Here are the vitals:

  • Who:            The Broomfield Photo Club
  • What:          Why Black and White
  • When:          Tuesday, April 26, 2016
  • Time:           6:30 pm
  • Where:        Broomfield Community Center, 280 Spader Way, Broomfield, CO 80020

Thanks all, I do love giving this presentation because I truly believe in the message I am delivering! 

I am lucky to love what I do and love what I create.