Member, Professional Photographers of America

Welcome to my Snethkamp PhotoArt Blog.  The Blog posts you find here will cover a variety of topics, mostly on photography but I’ll include anything that I find worth sharing.  Please visit the links I include and feel free to share your thoughts with me.  I’ll post your comments as long as they are productive to the conversation.  Enjoy.

Dawn Over Snowy Austin

Drowning a Wedding Dress

January 11, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

This was fun, at least for me. It was a bit scary for Anne Shackelford.

I'd wanted to do an underwater shoot for some time and things finally came together when Anne volunteered. She said she had a wedding dress that would could look great underwater because of it's variety of fabrics and the way they would move in the water. However, some of the fabric would be quite heavy once water laden and we were both concerned for her safety once she was in and weighed down and her movement restricted.

We gathered a few friends, one of which would be Anne's "lifeguard" right by her side throughout. Good thing too as he came in handy pulling Anne from the deep end to safety on several occasions. Don't try this at home kids!

Then we headed to my brothers pool. My brother Christian lives in San Antonio and built this pool in his back yard with a great medium grey color bottom. That color helped a lot in creating the look of deep open water. It doesn't hurt that it's a fairly large and deep pool but the color really made it amazing.

The dress, in several iterations of fabric layers, worked well after overcoming some issues and we ended up with several shots that I like a lot.

As for how I shot these? I'd like to say that I used my high end camera gear with underwater lighting and expensive underwater camera housings. However, I like saying even more that I shot these on two simple point and shoot cameras that can be used in water as deep as 10-20 feet. These cameras can be bought at Best Buy for a couple hundred bucks. Thanks to Christi Douglas Ford for lending them to me.

That being said, the images certainly don't come out of the camera looking like this. There is a lot of artistic PhotoShop work in these images.

So, who is Anne Shackelford? Anne is a friend I've shot with before. You'll see some of her and her work in my "Queen of Hearts", "Body Painting" "Boudoir" and yoga images. You can see those images in the "People" gallery however the "Boudoir" gallery is only viewable by it's participants. Anne is an incredibly talented artist specializing in hair, body painting, clothing / costume design, yoga instruction, and a variety of other arts. Here's a link to her website Chrysalis Austin:


January 04, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Jellyfish make great photography subjects. I shot these while my wife Michele and I were visiting the Monterrey Bay Aquarium in California. Their slow, steady and almost predictable movement lend themselves to great compositions. A place like the Monterrey Bay Aquarium has a number of different jellyfish exhibits and some of them use variable colored lighting. The primary difficulties with shooting in these conditions are dim lighting and the people traffic. However, if you can shoot at a high enough ISO and kindly convince people give you a few seconds to shoot you can capture some amazing images.

Photos like these make incredible statements when they're displayed at very large scale. They almost transport you into the ocean environment.When standing in front of one of these you can almost hear the sound of being under water and smell the ocean. The captivating depth of color and the strange yet comforting forms of the jellyfish can be mesmerizing.

Real or fake? The Chrome Tree.

December 30, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

What is it?

That's the most common reaction from people. A lot of people have told me they thought it was a computer generated image or some kind of painting rather then a photograph.

What you're seeing is a photograph of life size sculpture of a tree. I came across this sculpture at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. It's really impressive in-person. Even more so on this day when a storm was quickly approaching. That storm rained and hailed on us just minutes after this photo was taken. It did create an incredible backdrop complimenting the natural shape and highlighting the shiny surface.

The artist is Roxy Paine and the sculpture is called "Graft" from his "Dendroid" collection.

Here is a description with a link from the museums website:

Overview: At 45 feet high by 45 feet wide, Graft (2008–2009) by American sculptor Roxy Paine stands out among the trees in the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Art, one-half mile from the United States Capitol on the National Mall. The Gallery commissioned Paine to make a "Dendroid," as the artist calls his series of treelike sculptures, for the Sculpture Garden. The newly installed work is the first by Paine to enter the Gallery's collection, as well as the first contemporary sculpture to be installed in the Sculpture Garden in the 10 years since it opened.

Made from more than 8,000 components, the stainless steel structure—which weighs approximately 16,000 pounds—was installed the week of October 26–30 by Paine and his crew. The 43-year-old artist has shown his other Dendroids on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), in the Olympic Sculpture Park (Seattle), and outside the Museum of Modern Art (Fort Worth, Texas), among other locations.

And, here is a link to Roxy's website and his "Dendroid" collection:


Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy at Circuit of The Americas

October 27, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Here is one of my favorite shots from my time volunteering at Circuit of The Americas. This very tough to capture image of the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy #12 Porsche driven by Dan Weyland with St. Mary's University decals on the doors came out especially well. The photo was taken as the cars are flying through the high speed S's of turns 2,3,4 and 5 at well over 100 m.p.h. From the vantage point of the inner track road it's like watching a fluid back and forth dance at the limits of what's possible. In the car it's a g-force filled side to side roller coaster that seems to go on for ever. Did I mention that Dan was 73 years old at the time of this photo?

The HDR Master, Trey Ratcliff

July 11, 2013  •  Leave a Comment


This is going to be a special blog post for me.  It’s special because of who i’m writing about, Trey Ratcliff.  Those of you who are familiar with my photography know that I am a big fan of HDR photography when it is done correctly.  And by that I mean done with finesse and not ridiculously over processed.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for extreme processing and it can create a wonderfully artistic image, but I appreciate the use of restraint with HDR.  My ideal use of HDR is to create images that are more “ultra realistic” than they are “surreal” or “cartoonish”.  HDR is a tool a photographer can use to create images that are simply impossible to capture with current camera technologies.  It gives us the ability to share more of “what it’s like to be there” than what we traditionally see with a single photo.

That brings us to Trey Ratcliff.  The vast majority of photographers who know of Trey would agree that he is the father of modern HDR photography.  He is also the leading teacher of HDR techniques in the world and one heck of a nice guy.  Trey is the reason I'm so fond of HDR photography and the driving force behind my continual quest to hone my skills.

Trey began his HDR journey here in Austin, TX but has recently moved to New Zealand for the seemingly unlimited number of incredible landscapes to photograph.

One of his early HDR images “Fourth on Lake Austin” was the first HDR photograph to hang in the Smithsonian Museum:

Image result for trey ratcliff fireworks

Trey does as much teaching as he does photography and his web site Stuck In Customs has become a veritable encyclopedia of HDR knowledge, instructional video’s, product reviews, social media and photography networking info as well as consistently updated photographs created by Trey.  If you are a photographer or simply appreciate incredible imagery you owe it to yourself to explore his site, sign up for his newsletter, watch his podcasts and learn more about Trey Ratcliff and his talents.

Here is the HDR photo I shot overlooking the bridge that Trey shot his fireworks photo from:

Dawn Over Snowy Austin

"Snowy Austin", "360 Bridge", "Pennybacker Bridge", "Austin Landmarks", HDR, photography, photographs, photographerDawn Over Snowy Austin

This HDR image of a snow covered Austin 360 Bridge looks fantastic printed on aluminum. It is has been on display in my exhibit at the Duchman Family Winery as well as other Austin establishments and I receive tons of comments and questions about it printed on aluminum. The aluminum gives it a very 3 dimensional quality and brushing the aluminum makes the image very dynamic as it's viewed from different angles. This is a limited edition when printed on aluminum and will only have a total of 100 reproductions for each size regardless choice of finish. 

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