Many photographs since my last post. Looking back over the past year, I was fortunate to be able to photograph a number of subjects ranging from portraits and an opera to weddings, family get-togethers, concerts, and a museum exhibition. As with any skill, doing something regularly improves quality as does working with others in the same field, along with continuing education. In my other profession, gynecology, I always learn when working with other physicians in the operating room. The same thing applies to photography. A few times a year I try to attend photography workshops, forums and meetings.

My first workshop last year was in California with a world-renown portrait photographer, Greg Gorman, who is known for his celebrity photography. We spent the week photographing two models along the dramatic backdrop of the Northern California Coast. I must say the food and wine in the evenings was a great way to end the long days – Greg has his own personal chef, owns his own winery. There were 10 photographers attending the workshop with skill levels from advanced amateur to professional. We were divided into two teams of five photographers, to assist each other with lighting and setup. My wife and I were in a team with a husband, wife and daughter. The husband was Thomas Knoll; for those of you not familiar with Thomas, he wrote the original programs for Photoshop and Lightroom. He was very laid back, quiet, and fun to work with (as were his wife and step-daughter). As if that was not enough “celebrity among us,” Yaniv Gur was on the other team. Yaniv is the Senior Director of Engineering for Apple. A really fun and educational week! These are a few photographs of mine from the week. The first is of Thomas Knoll, then a few of the models, having fun at a winery, and finally an evening at Greg’s home.


The next workshop we attended was The D-65 Lightroom Workshop. It is put on by Seth Resnick and his wife, Jamie Spritzer. Seth was the second pro presenting at the portrait workshop with Greg Gorman in California. Although most photographers find Lightroom much easier to use than Photoshop, using Lightroom correctly requires more knowledge than meets the eye. Internationally-know portrait photographer, Gregory Heisler, calls the D-65 Workshop a must do. I humbly agree with Greg. There were a total of 9 photographers attending this workshop, one for the fourth time. I could see going back for a refresher in a few years. By the way, Seth is quite a wine connoisseur and knows his way around the kitchen. The next to last night night, he and Jamie presented an elegant, delicious, and decadent dinner – need I say more. This is a photo I took of Seth, along with one of the many dishes presented that evening.



















Copyright Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2016


The majority of photographs taken today remain in the dark vaults of a hard drive, never to see the light of day. A relative few are posted in various places on the internet, most soon to be forgotten.  A privileged number end up on photographic paper, and even a lesser elite few are framed to be displayed on a wall or placed in a prominent place.  Such a waste!

My two jobs, medicine and photography, are distinct and separate but occasionally cross paths. Recently, I was chatting with a new gyn patient in my office, when all of a sudden she appeared to become upset. I asked what was wrong, and she stated that a photograph leaning against the wall in my office ready to be hung reminded her of her childhood in Jamaica. She wanted to know where I had taken the photo, and I responded in Viet Nam. She recounted that the primitive stove looked exactly like the one on which her mother cooked when my patient was a child. We both agreed that it was amazing that two distant and distinct cultures would use the same appliance. This teapot on a wood-burning stove caught my eye in a market in a remote part of Viet Nam.



Copyright Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2015



Travel photos can be easy or a challenge. My wife and I were fortunate to recently go to northern Scotland, a destination to which we had not previously traveled. In writing this blog, my initial plan was to describe history and details about the locations, etc. Since this is a photography blog, I thought this would be BORING.  This is an abbreviated account of the trip. By the way, over time I will be printing and framing select photos from the trip to hang in my office and make available for sale. Come by and take a look.

The first few shots were street scenes in Inverness where the trip began. The River Ness can be seen in several. The river is connected with a series of locks to the Loch Ness, the home of the famed Monster. Just for fun, I took a double exposure (in the camera, not manipulated in Photoshop) of ornamental branches decorated with holiday lights superimposed over bottles of scotch whisky on glass shelves; the location was a restaurant where we had lunch. The best way to see the photos is to click on the first and use the “right arrow” to view at your own pace. If a gallery contains more than 20 photos, close the last photo and go to the next section in the gallery – a little bit of trouble but worth the effort.

The Lord of the Glens, a small passenger ship was our home for the next part of the journey. At the end of Loch Ness, our next overnight stop was in Fort Augustus. Then, we sailed through Loch Lochy, south of Loch Ness, before going into the North Sea with stops in the Inner Hebrides, islands off of the northwest coast of Scotland. The photos show the scenery as we passed, as well as other passengers and crew on board the ship, and a few local animals. We docked every night affording opportunities to see local attractions. Some destinations did not have facilities to dock, in which cases we rode local ferries.

Comments about a few of the photos: One photo is taken from the interior of the ship looking out into Loch Ness. The next is of Castle Urquhart, a favorite spot for Nessie sightings. One of the crew celebrated his birthday during the trip and got kisses from two of his attractive crew-mates. At one of the many castles we saw, a group of children were playing, and I could not resist a photo of this darling. The photo of a man cutting the grass is boring except for the fact that he had on a tie. Pictures of food (this of a delicious dessert on board ship) can always add interest to documentation of travel. I had to include a photo of a scotch whisky distillery in Scotland. A couple of things about scotch – the first is that it is called whisky and not scotch in the British Isles. The second is that it is enjoyed with just a wee bit of distilled water added and not over ice.

Comments about travel photography: it is hard to travel with and use off-camera lighting such as big studio strobes, and photos taken with popup flash usually look like a flash picture – not desirable. The best alternative is to use available light which means having a camera with a high speed sensor (I shot some photos at ISO 6400) and/or having a light-weight tripod. Another concern when doing travel photography is what lenses to bring. On a trip a few years ago, my photo backpack weighed 45 pounds – I will never do that again. A mentor of mine, Jay Maisel, famously states “the more lenses you have, the fewer pictures you will take.” On this trip, I had a 27-300 mm f3.5-5.6 lens and a 45 mm f2.8 tilt-shift lens. I used the second lens very little.

Back to comments about photos: some photos should document location. The Old Forge Inn in Inverie is the remotest pub and restaurant on the British mainland. Marshall and a number of other passengers (including me) on the ship enjoyed the refreshments and comradery the inn had to offer. The only way to and from the location is by boat or a 16 mile hike from Kinlochourn. The only photo in this series I did not take was one of me and my wife when I asked a passerby to take the photo. On the next leg of the trip, a Viking Longboat from Denmark crossed our bow.  Then, the trip onboard the ship was celebrated with a farewell dinner. We were served haggis; the rest of the meal was delicious. If you are not familiar with haggis, it is a combination of sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs with onion, oatmeal, and a few other ingredients that is encased into the stomach and cooked for several hours. The photo with the knife shows it being sliced in a celebratory fashion to serve at our dinner.

A photo taken in a restaurant in Edinburgh shows the beginning of the last leg of the trip. There are a number of photos of the famed Edinburgh Castle, both from a distance and on the castle grounds. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an annual celebration of music and entertainment that brings together thousands of people from all over the world with no lack of pomp and ceremony. It concludes with a phenomenal fireworks display. The remaining photos were taken in Edinburgh, including the one of the bow of The Royal Yacht Britannia, shot through a “porthole.” Enjoy!

All photos copyright  Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2014

Need A Camera To Take A Photo

I cannot count the number of times I have seen a photo but did not have my camera – no photograph.  One of my mentors, Jay Maisel, always has his camera. A friend of his and also very well know photographer, Gregory Heisler, on the other hand frequently does not have his camera unless he is involved in a shoot. Gregory’s thought process is that he cannot enjoy the moment (like children growing up) if he is always looking for a shot. I agree with both approaches and often have difficulty deciding which is best.

A friend of mine, Vince Lucente, invited me and several others to go fishing at Edisto Beach (SC) this weekend. A great time was had by all. I did take my camera when we went out for a drink (first photo) before a sunset cruise (second photo) and then the next morning when we went fishing (other photos). By the way, the Bull Red (fish) was put back into the water after photos. At a point, Vince asked me if I was having fun – maybe (or not) I will leave the camera in the bag for our next fishing trip.








Tibetan Mandala

Recently, on my daily afternoon walk, I gazed down the street and thought I was seeing an illusion. We occasionally get some interesting characters, but a Tibetan monk on Isle of Hope? Long story short, it was a Tibetan monk. Gary Butch, from Elizabeth’s on 37th, is working to help raise money to help build a clean water system at the Drepung Loseling Monastery in India ( for more information). A group of monks were staying at his home on Isle of Hope while they were working on a Tibetan Mandala. The Mandala sand painting creates a sacred space around the area of the painting. There is an opening ceremony with chanting, of which you see a photo, and a closing ceremony, after the work is completed. This Mandala took 6 monks a total of 8 days to complete. You can see the monks using long cylindrical metal cones to precisely “paint the picture” with grains of colored sand. During the closing ceremony, the sand is placed in a box and wrapped in silk. The sand is then dumped into a river, signifying the transitory nature of material things. Speaking of Tibetan tradition, one of my favorite quotes is from His Holiness The Dali Lama. “As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery…We have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace. The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as anger, attachment, fear and suspicion, while love and compassion and a sense of universal responsibility are the sources of peace and happiness.”

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All photos copyright  Dan Biggerstaff Photography. All rights reserved © 2011.