6 Nuggets of Brain Fuel From 5 Top Pros That’ll Expand Your Mind

Each of the people I talk about below have many things in common, but there’s one thing that strikes me personally as most interesting – They were here once too.

As I sit here writing this post I’m realizing that each of these people have been here before. They each started somewhere, as I am and as you are, they each worked hard and made waves to get to where they are now. What’s even more interesting is that they don’t know I’m writing about them, or that they’ve taught me so much.

And on top of all that – They may never even see this post.

But, I’m okay with that. It doesn’t change the fact that I want to share what they have shared with me –  with you.

These names, their websites, and even the links that I’m sharing today might be familiar to some, but that doesn’t change the underlying purpose of this post. If I can introduce just one person to one of these five people I’ve done my job.

So, here we go!

3 Nuggets of Brain Fuel for Your Photography

Trey Ratcliff – Stuck in Customs

Trey is an interesting, outspoken, yet still a very humble fellow. He’s been someone that I’ve followed from the very start of my photography career and has always been an inspiration. I love his photography, and because he’s kind enough to offer it for us bloggers to use under creative commons, I’ve included a photograph of his in this post – Don’t you just love it?

Courtesy of Trey Ratcliff – Stuck in Customs through Creative Commons

What I’ve learned from Trey has been two fold.

  • Early on he taught me some of the basics of good HDR techniques. He has an amazing free HDR tutorial which is a great kickstart in the right direction. He also has a collection of helpful eBooks to push you a bit further. On top of that his daily photographs can be inspiring enough to motivate you to get out and start shooting for yourself!
  • As time went on, the second area where I really started to learn a lot from Trey has been on his youtube channel filled with awesomeness. While he covers a great deal of stuff in his Variety Hour series, and he showcases some inspiring behind the scenes stuff in his how-to videos all of which have helped me learn… It’s his creative stuff that I enjoy the most.

 Like this one – it’s absolutely stunning!

If you’re looking for some inspiration definitely check Trey out and he might just help you find it!

Thomas Hawk – Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection 

Thomas Hawk is another great photographer and a very different style from Trey’s. He is someone who I’ve only recently started to follow and I have already found him to be an exciting voice in the field of photography. I love his Photo Talk Plus series which is similar to that of Trey’s Variety Hour, but different enough to be its own thing.

I really love the fact that his photography is so much different than that of Trey’s. One of my main goals in my photography career is to take inspiration from a variety of sources and discover my own style as a mixture of all that incoming inspiration. I urge you to do the same.

Darren Rowse – Digital Photography School

No photography leader round up would be complete without the mention of the Digital Photography School founder Darren Rowse. I mean, this place that he has created is thriving with people willing to help you fine tune your skill behind the lens.

If you’re new to the photo world and haven’t found DPS yet you should definitely head over to the forums and start browsing around. I’d suggest that you go so far as to even sign up and ask questions or maybe take part in their weekly photo challenges if you’re up for it! (but please don’t stop with Phogropathy’s Photo Shares I love seeing your shots).

Darren has posted some amazingly helpful articles on his site, but some of his most helpful posts come from the community itself, in fact I’ve posted there twice! Here and Here.

Overall it’s impossible to pick just one post that truly helped me become the photographer I am today, but this post about how to photograph Fireworks should be relevant to those in the States in a couple of weeks ;).

2 Nuggets of Brain Fuel for Your Blog

Darren Rowse – Problogger

Okay, even if you know Darren from DPS, you might not know that he also runs a blog about blogging – and it is an awesome resource. Again, similar to DPS, this site is community driven with guest authors submitting the bulk of the content. I really like this model as it gives the readers a lot of diverse opinions and perspectives on common problems.

However, something that really showcases his thoughts on building a blog and growing it into a business isn’t actually from Problogger at all, but is found in this post from the soon to be mentioned Brian Clark. This post features an interview with Darren about how he’s brought DPS to where it is today – A multimillion dollar a year business!

Brian Clark – Copyblogger

Do you do any kind of marketing? Well you better bookmark Coppyblogger.com because this resource is amazing!

Copyblogger is a site that will help you up the anti when it comes to creating an online persona and of course, driving sales. Combining what they are doing here with all the information on Darren’s ProBlogger you will have a great head start when looking to create an amazing content rich website that builds a relationship with your readers.

Brian has not only taught me how to become a better writer…

10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

But he’s taught me how to solve some common problems as well.

In this article – The 5-Step Process that Solves Three Painful Writing Problems – Brian illustrates how we, the blogger, can get those first words written, cut the fat, and finally finish the article and publish it to your growing fan base. It’s a great read, as are the many other articles over at Copyblogger, do check them out if you’re a site owner or if you just want to improve your writing.

1 Nugget of Brain Fuel About Being a Better Person

Leo Babauta – Zen Habits

Leo is an inspiration in and of himself. His site is amazing and should be read by everyone, but one article that stands out for me is How to Live Well. Here Leo talks about how we really don’t need much in life to be happy, so long as we are happy with what we have. We tend to live an a world that always wants more in life. We want more things, more money, more anything, but if you’re always wanting more can you ever truly be happy?

That’s the question Leo raises, and tries to answer, within this post and it’s definitely worth the read if you have the time.

It’s good to have goals, and wants, but it’s also good to put things in perspective and to be happy with who and where you are. I’ve started to really take this to heart and am extremely grateful for all that I have today and I hope that you too are grateful for who you are and where you’re going.

Okay, Your turn! What Nuggets of Brain Fuel Have You Taken From the Pros?

I’d love to here who you follow out there in this big interconnected world of the internet and what you’ve learned from them! Please take a moment to share some thoughts below and of course, share this post with friends and strangers alike so everyone can learn and contribute to the discussion as well.

Thank you for reading!


  1. John Davenport Post author

    You’re very welcome Darren – Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment here definitely made my morning to see that!

  2. Dan Bailey

    I’m with you, John, Darren Rowse and his generous sharing of information about photography and blogging has made a huge impact on me as well.

  3. John Davenport Post author

    Thanks for stopping in Dan! Yeah Darren is an amazing person and all of his sites are informative and useful.

    And he even commented on this post. 🙂

  4. Jai Catalano

    I love that DR builds his brand organically. He comes in at the right time, grows slowly (or fast) and learns from all of those that are around him. Genius.

  5. Declan O'Neill

    Hi John. Just wanted to thank you for taking the trouble to comment on my 10 tips for landscape photography on Darren’s site. You are quite right to trip me up on the tripod thing! I think I was probably thinking about all the stunning photography I have seen from phone cameras but you are, of course, right about the basics. I guess also I find the constant pressure from manufacturers to upgrade is dispiriting for a lot of people who cannot afford all the latest gear!
    You are also right about having the freedom to make the photograph what you want it to be. I’m sorry if it sounded like I was laying down the law! I know everyone has their own personal philosophy of what they want to do with their photographs. For someone with a lot of grey hair like me it’s a bit like a fight to see if I can take a minimalist approach.
    Your site is great by the way!

  6. John Davenport Post author

    Thanks for the compliment on my site and I’m glad you took the time to respond here!

    I know exactly what you mean on both of those points and I was sort of playing a devils advocate because I wanted to leave a comment that got attention rather than just another “awesome – such an insight analysis of the topic” comments 🙂

    You have valid points that gear isn’t important if you don’t know how to use it. And some people do certainly take the processing to a point where I myself wonder if they’d gone too far.

    That being said I think both of those topics are widely open for opinion and we could each argue our points till the cows come home.

    Anyways thanks for stoping by my little slice of the web! Best wishes! 🙂