Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Trey Ratcliff releases his new eBook

Trey, I hope you don't mind that I reproduced part of your new eBook on this site. I know all rights are reserved but I thought it important to let people, who don't follow your site "Stuck in Customs", that this is now available.

You can tell by the title what it's about. Trey uses his own early photographs as examples and explains the mistakes and corrections. Great stuff. I've got my copy and I have to say that I wish I had the these answers years ago. I've made all these mistakes and a whole bunch more.

For just $9.97, it will save you lots of time and frustration.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another "juried" show acceptance

Click the image to enlarge

I'm really excited about this one. I submitted 5 images to the "Gallery 14" juried exhibition and "the Glass Blower" was chosen. I've always like this image. It was shot just outside of Santa Fe a while back.
It's a single image HDR processed in Photomatix and Color Efex Pro 3. I hope you like it.

Also, I just got a Logan Simplex Plus #760 mat cutter. I took a few practice tries but I have it down now and can cut a great looking mat in about 5 minutes. I would highly recommend it.

International HDR Day

Click image to enlarge
Rick Sammon and Trey Ratcliff, two of my favorite shooters and teachers, have announced that this coming Saturday, June 26, will be designated International HDR Day. Why not. There are so many wacky "Days". You can find the information here.

I love fireworks

Click image to enlarge
My wife and I love fireworks. This is one of the images from our trip to New Hope last Friday night. The sky was clear and it wasn't too hot. Just perfect.

For those interested here are my settings for this shot:

  • Use a tripod

  • Manual mode

  • Set on Bulb mode

  • ISO-200

  • f-8

  • Set lens to infinity
I used a cable release so I could watch and shoot at the same time

Click when you see the rocket start up and hold for one or two bursts

Not every shot will be a keeper but you'll get a few great ones.

I have also tried the following:

  • Auto focus - off

  • Image stabilizer - off

  • Use a tripod

  • Shutter speed - 3 seconds

  • f-11

  • ISO - 200

  • Lens set to infinity
Do some quick test shots and make adjustments if necessary. Let me see some of you images.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Always carry your camera

Click the image to enlarge

I carry my camera with me as much as I can. This past Friday we drove to New Hope, PA for dinner. It's a fun town. Lots of energy and there are fireworks over the river later in the evening. I'll post one of those pictures soon.

After dinner I went exploring on my own for a few minutes and ran into this old barn and this old engine. Man, am I glad I had my camera. I hope you like the image. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why can't we all just get along?

For the last 2 days Scott Kelby has had some pretty cool post about the "HDR wars". His June 14 and June 15 posts continue the discussion from both sides of the isle. You can find the posts here.

Let me know what you think. By this time you all know where I stand.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

NIK Announces HDR software

You can say what you want about HDR but all the big names are getting into the software market. I hear that there is an upgrade coming for Photomatix. Adobe Photoshop has added a new and more powerful HDR Pro module to CS5. And now NIK has announced that they will be shipping a new HDR software package at the end of the summer.

Yesterday I attended a "sneak peek" webinar presented by NIK on their new package. I must say that it looked very interesting. I liked the fact that it will have many presets that will give a good starting point to processing. Their "U-point" technology is in there also and that will add some exciting local control to the processing.

I'm looking forward to the introduction.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lightoom 3 is now shipping

Adobe has announced that Lightroom 3 is now shipping. You can find the information here.

I have use Lightroom from the first release and it's hard to imagine working without it. At the very least, it keeps me organized. But it's so much more than that. The non-distructive editing tools are fabulous and from what I've seen, the new version is even better. My personal favorite is the printing module. You have to try it to believe it. You can download a trial from their site.

At the same time NAPP has announce their Lightroom 3 Learning Center. If you plan on buying Lightroom 3 or just want to see what's new, this is a great site. You can find it here. If your a NAPP member there is a discount code for you to use.

Nik Radio is on the air

I use almost all of the Nik products and just love what they do for my processing.
I'll discuss that in a minute, but first I have to tell you that I download Nik Radio and listen to it every week. The program "delivers a variety of educational programming created to inspire digital photographers of all levels." You can find it on itunes, free. You can't beat that.
The filters in Color Efex Pro 3.0 are great. I use at least 2 or 3 of them on every image and more when I'm experimenting. Tonal contrast touches them all. Vivesa 2 allows me to point, click and slide to make adjustments without the need to make complicated selections. Silver Efex Pro creates professional black and white images using presets and sliders. Sharpener Pro 3.0 uses the same u-point technology as all the other programs to take the guess work out of sharpening individual areas.
U-point technology is great. All it means is that "you point", click and drag to make local adjustments. I suggest that you check out the different products and download the free trials. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Single image hdr



I know that you can process a single raw image in photomatix as well as in CS5 with some good success. I've been trying a new technique and getting, what I think, is much better results. It's simple but requires a few more steps in the beginning.

Shoot raw

Open the Raw image in photoshop. I don't think the version matters.

Save this first image as a tiff. That's your mid-range exposed image

Open an Exposure layer in the layers pallet

Change the Exposure to +2 and save this as a TIFF. Make sure that you give it a meaningful name. "+2" will work

Now change the Exposure to -2 and save as a TIFF. Give this image a meaningful name also.

Do the same thing with -1 and +1.

You now have a single image with 5 different exposures all saved as TIFF files.

Open photomatix and process as you normally would.

Let me know how this works for you.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

No Photo Thursday

So I get a call today from a very dear friend and good shooter. He shall go nameless so he remains my very dear friend. He's on a circuitous road trip down in the southern states of our beautiful country. He gives himself and assignment for the day. OK, it's his time to go out and shoot some of the most wonderful waterfalls around. Being a retired rocket scientist he does all the research. Locations, recommended gear, settings etc. Loads up every piece of equipment he has. Drives for however long. Here is where I don't have all the details, because I was laughing so hard. I think they hiked to the falls. Goes to set up for the great American shot. OK, wait for it. He brought all his gear but one thing, the camera. We both were hysterical. I hope I never do that. He'll never let me live it down. Oh and by the way, I won't let him either.
What a great life.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Scott Kelby takes a walk with Jay Maisel

Click on the image to see it larger

Kelby Training has just released a new class featuring what amounts to a New York photowalk with Jay Maisel. I challenge you to watch it just once. There is so much information and yes, philosophy imparted by Jay, that it can't all be taken in at one time. I have never seen Scott react this way. I tell you that he can't believe what he is hearing and I would wager he changes some of his shooting practices instantly. I know I will and so will you. You can find it here. It's worth every cent.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Photowalk and Fireworks

Click to view image larger

Today it was announced that Scott Kelby's 3rd Annual Worldwide Photo Walk will be held on Saturday July 24th. You can find all the information here. You should check it out. The first 2 were great fun. This year I'm signed up for the New York City Chinatown walk. There are only 50 people at each walk site and I believe mine was filled in one day.
On the fireworks front, Laurie Excell has a great post today about shooting fireworks. It's worth a read. You can find it here.