Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Awake Photography Magazine

I am pleased that one of my images from the Cathedral of Learning was published in the Awake Photography Magazine. The two magazines published by Sebastian Michaels, “Awake Photography” and “Living The Photo Artistic Life” are both wonderful magazines loaded with fantastic imagery, and I was glad to have my image selected. “Awake Photography” (published quarterly) deals with ‘straight’ photography while “Living The Photo Artistic Life” (published monthly) is dedicated to digital artwork. Moreover, both are completely free in digital format…..I give the download links below the photo.

Cathedral of Learning © Howard Grill

Cathedral of Learning © Howard Grill


Download the current issues, as well as any or all back issues, at no charge. I think you will enjoy both.

AWAKE Photography

Living The Photo Artistic Life

Happy Birthday!

It is really hard for me to believe, but as of January 14th I will have been writing this blog for SEVEN years!  This is mind boggling to me, as I started it as a quick decision 'let's see what happens' sort of thing.....before blogs were 'big', before they were actively used as marketing tools.......back when they seemed to mostly be used for sharing.  Here is a link to that very first post. This year I have decided that from now on that on the blog birthday I would flip through the posts of the last year and pick one to repost that was the most.....the most something.....whatever that is to me.

So here is this year's repost.  It isnt the 'best' or even my 'favorite' picture of the year.  Not at all.  But what it represents to me is something that I believe is important in art and photography.  Actually, it is important in life! It represents a willingness to go out on a limb, to risk, and possibly to fail.  So here we go (there were comments on the original post, but they didn't come along for the ride with the cut and paste...the original post with comments can be seen here):

The post was titled "Unfocused" and ran on March 12, 2013.

I was photographing some tulips at a local botanical garden's spring flower show this weekend.  While doing so, and surrounded by orange tulips, I thought that the feeling I would like to convey was that of a dreamlike state, surrounded by flowers, shapes, colors and smells.  As I was trying to do so, I realized that, to me, having the flower out of focus seemed to do so the best.  So I took a number of images of one of the tulips in various stages of blurriness by unfocusing the lens.  Going through the results, I actually liked the 'blurriest' one the best, as it seemed to most clearly convey that stuperous dreamlike state I was after.

The problem is that, although to me it seems to convey the message, the two or three people I have show it to simply do not like it.  And so I ask myself, is that because I am not conveying the message well or is it because the message is conveyed but the viewer but simply don't 'like' what it says.

And so I am posting the image here in order to get some feedback on what the photo makes people feel and whether they like it.  Does it convey what it was intended to or does it simply give a headache because it is out of focus?  Or perhaps both?  Or perhaps something else?

I ask these questions with the full knowledge that this type of image can simply not appeal to everybody.  But does the image 'work' for anybody?

Copyright Howard Grill

Photoshop MSVCP110.dll Missing Error Message

By Howard Grill A note to my blog readers who use Photoshop and Nik Plug Ins and are now experiencing the error message upon starting Photoshop that says there was an error and that file MSVCP110.dll is missing.  Apparently a lot of people are getting this error message out of the blue.  Not to worry.....the fix is easy.

Apparently it is caused by a Nik update which was unannounced and 'forced' to the computer (which, by the way, now includes Nik Analog Effex) a few days back.  It has nothing to do with Photoshop so don't uninstall and reinstall.  It has to do with the update assuming that all computers already have the .dll in question installed.

The fix is very, very easy.  There are several ways, but the easiest is to download the Nik Collection trial from their website and install the trial version (should be v  If you already have the Nik Collection on your computer the trial version will simply overwrite the old files and you will not have to reactivate or retype serial numbers etc.  It will just work.  This newest version has the .dll files in it and they will be installed with the Nik Software.

Got this info when I went searching because I was getting the error message.  I had the same error.  I have done the above myself and can verify it worked.

Anyway, hope this is helpful to some folks out there.

Carrie Furnaces: Contemporary Views

I am pleased to announce that one of my Carrie Furnace images (below) was chosen as part of a multi-artist show entitled "Carrie Furnaces: Contemporary Views" at the Silver Eye Gallery in Pittsburgh.  The show opens on the night of August 2nd and will run until the end of the month. To celebrate the event I am going to offer my Carrie Furnace eBook, available here, for 50% off at just $4.00.  At check out simply update the cart with the discount code SHOW

Copyright Howard Grill

PhotoPlace Gallery Show

I am pleased to announce that one of my images was selected by juror Emma Powell for inclusion in the "Online Gallery Annex" for the exhibit entitled "Visions: Dreams, Fantasies, and Mirages" at the PhotoPlace Gallery in Vermont.  There were 40 images selected for placement in the show gallery and an additional 35 selected for inclusion in the published show catalog.  Mine was one chosen for inclusion in the catalog alone, but still an achievement as far as I am concerned. The image, posted below, is one that is part of my Dreamscapes Portfolio and was taken with a zone plate, as opposed to a glass lens.  All of the images selected for the exhibit and catalog can be seen here.

Dreamscapes #1

Copyright Howard Grill

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday.  Well, not to me....not really.  My birthday is in March.  But it was 6 years ago to the day that I came home from work with the idea of starting a photography blog.  At the time, I am not sure how long I really thought I would be able to keep it going. But here it is, 571 posts later and still going strong. To reiterate my original 'Motivation' for the blog, I thought I would put up a link to that original  post from January 14th, 2007 that started this journey.