Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

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I would like to wish all my followers a very Happy and Healthy New Year. I do have some photography related resolutions. In no order but I hope I can keep them.
  • Blog more
  • Shoot more
  • Take a workshop
  • Teach more HDR workshops
  • Go to Photoshop World in Washington
Wish me luck.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays to all

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I've written about Farbspiel (plays with light) before.  Klaus has a new site with an amazing amount of HDR information, all free.  I highly recommend you taking a few minutes to visit, here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

HDR Workshop - Sold out

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Today photo is another from my Asbury Park, New Jersey photowalk

I'm pretty excited. Today I got the word that my HDR workshop, to be held in Princeton, sold out in just 2 days. WOW.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Craft & Vision releases a free ebook

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Today's photo was shot in Asbury Park, New Jersey
Craft and Vision has released their latest ebook, CRAFT & VISION: 11 WAYS YOU CAN IMPROVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY, a collection of articles from proven Craft & Vision authors on a variety of topics photographic. You can find it here. The download is quick, easy and FREE.
Craft and Vision was started a few years ago by photographer, author and workshop leader David duChemin. The entire series of ebooks are really well priced and contain great information. His blog, pixelatedimage is always a great read.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Should we laugh or cry?

Take a look at this video. "how to lose $2400 in 24 seconds".
Let me know which one you did.

Friday, December 2, 2011

B&H has some great deals on Canon products

I just received a notice that B&H is having a one day sale on some great Canon products. B&H is my favorite place to buy gear. I can tell you that they are reliable and offer great prices all the time. Check out these deals :
   Speed Lights
or click on their name under Resources to get you to their home page.
Have fun.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"HDR Spotting" is a great place to visit on the web

HDR Spotting is sort of a social network for photographers to share their HDR images.
It's really amazing how the site has grown over the years. If you like HDR, you should take a look at the site. You can find it here. Yes, I do have a bunch of images posted. To post, you'll need a invite code. I've been a member since the beginning , so I have plenty to give out. Just email me at and I'll send one along.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving in the US. I have much to be thankful for but my thoughts go out to those who have had a tough year. I can hope that the next will be better for all. Enjoy the day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My "Really Right Stuff" 2012 catalog just arrived

This year the quality of the catalog matches the fine quality of their products. I'm not a big gear head as you know. However, I must admit that a few years ago I bought a RRS BH-40 mid-size ballhead with a quick-release clamp. It has been great. I coupled the ball head with L-Plate that allows me to change from horizontal to vertical without having to recompose and it keeps the load centered. It was a financial commitment, but one that was well worth it.  You can find Really Right Stuff here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Adobe is out to screw Photoshop users...

I read Scott Kelby's open letter to Adobe Systems today (Nov. 21, 2011) and I just want to say "thank you, Scott". Thank you for sticking up for all us Photoshop users.
It looks like Adobe has a new marketing plan that will screw it's long time users of Photoshop when their upgrade comes out early next year. If I understand it correctly, if you do not own CS5 or CS5.5 already you will have to repurchase the entire product for about $699.00 US if you want to upgrade. What??? Are they nuts. Talk about "Occupy Wall Street". Do they have their heads in the sand?
Please read the entire open letter on Scott Kelby's blog, here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The "Lighting Effects" filter in Photoshop... you should give it a try

I shot this Monk in Bhutan a few years ago. There was not a lot of time to do anything but capture the moment. My vision was a bit different than what I got. Vincent Versace, in his books Welcome to Oz and Welcome to Oz 2.0, teaches a great way to express your vision using light in Photoshop. To that end he teaches the use of the Lighting Effects filter. It's got to be one of the best yet under used filters in Photoshop.
You get to the filter by opening your photo in 8 bit. Command or control + J to make a duplicate layer. Right click on the duplicate layer and click "convert to smart object". (Converting to a smart object allows you to go back into the filter interface and make changes.) Click "filter" > Render > Lighting Effects. The interface sucks but if you play around with the menus and sliders a little, you'll get the hang of it. You can also find additional information if you type Lighting Effects Filter into Google.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

All new Topaz Adjust 5 released

Topaz has announced the release of it's all new Topaz Adjust 5. It features the same dynamic color, detail and exposure control plus they have added some new features. A simplified 1-click workflow, an intuitive 4-in1 brush used to dodge and burn among other improvements.
Topaz is offering this upgrade free to current users along with some other discounts on their complete collection.
You can find more information here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

HELP-PORTRAIT - It's time to give something back. . . .

It's the holiday season and as photographers we have a great opportunity to give something back to those less fortunate then ourselves. The following is from the "help-portrait" website. I hope you click the link and take a look at the fantastic job they do and join up.

Founded by Celebrity Photographer Jeremy Cowart, Help-Portrait is a community of photographers coming together across the world to use their photography skills to give back to their local community.

In December, photographers around the world will be grabbing their cameras, finding people in need and taking their picture. When the prints are ready, the photographs get delivered.
Yep. It really is that easy.
This is about GIVING the pictures, not taking them. These portraits are not for your portfolio, website, or for sale. Money isn’t involved here. This holiday season, you have the chance to give a family something they may have never had before—a portrait together.
Our mission? Our mission at Help-Portrait is simply to equip and mobilize you, the photography community. We want to make sure you have all the information that you need to successful participate in Help-Portrait on 10 December 2011. We want to help you find other people in your area that are wanting to be part of Help-Portrait or have already begun to plan the event. We want you to have the opportunity to give.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Color, Light and Gesture. Thank you Jay Maisel

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This is a great tip from a wonderful New York photographer. It may sound a bit weird but when I'm walking around New York, or for that matter any city, I keep saying these words over and over in my head. No kidding.  I have to tell you that it works for me. Try it the next time your doing a photo walk. I bet you start to see more opportunities to get a great photo.

You can see some of Jay's work here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Trey Ratcliff talks philosophy at Google

As you know, I'm a big Trey fan. On Nov. 10 he gave another talk at the Google headquarters
titled "Artist and the Internet. Trey gives some interesting tips about being found on the web along with his philosophy about art and photography. I think you'll find it very interesting. You can find the talk here. You can also find his blog here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Lesser Photographer - A Manifesto

Today I listened to an episode of "Tips from the Top Floor"(tfttf523) 
Chris Marquardt interviewed C.J. Chilvers about an ebook he published for photographers call the Lesser Photographers Manifesto. Chilvers offers some very interesting incites into what should be really important to the photography. You can find it here.  You may not agree with everything they discuss, but it's worth a listen and a read.  I think you'll like them both.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Topaz Adjust update coming very soon

Topaz Labs has just sent me information about their up-coming release of Topaz Adjust V5.
Here are some of the features it will contain:
  • Auto-create layers. Create a new layer when saved
  • Apply button. Stack multiple effects during the same workflow
  • My Collections. Save pre-sets
  • Local adjustments. Intuitive selective adjustment brush
  • Histogram
  • Curve tool
  • Finishing touches tab. Features options for diffusion, grain and borders among others.
The official review date is tentatively scheduled for Nov.15. I'll let you know if they hit the date.  The upgrade will be free for those who own the program now. You can get a 10%  discount by using the code "alan8686".  I think you should give it a try.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Don't be affraid to move the "Black" slider in ACR

Just a quick tip. The next time you have a photo in "Adobe Camera Raw", move the black slider to the right and see what it does to the image.  Don't be afraid to move it to an extreme position and them move it back until you like the look. Give it a try.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Occupy Wall Street" Needs You...

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We were in New York City last week and made our way down to the financial district to see what was going on in Liberty Square. Occupy Wall Street was in full swing with music, signs and a lot of people telling their stories. The area is clean and seems to be will organized but they need our help.  Winter is coming and they need supplies. You can find all the information here. Scroll down to the Oct. 31 post.

We took some supplies and gave them to the folks manning the supply area.  They were friendly and very thankful for the donation. Whether you support their efforts or not, they are Americans trying to make their point in a nonviolence way. It's their right.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Power back on after 3 days

Another freak storm on the East Coast. And there are those out there who still don't believe in "Weather Weirding" as Tom Friedman calls it.  I hope they wake up before it's too late.

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Yesterday was Halloween.  I hope you all had you fill of sweets and captured some great images.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Check out 500px

They say that they have the the most beautiful photos on the web. I don't know about that, but I can say that there are some really great ones. You should take a look. They will inspire you to either trash your camera or go out and take better pictures.  My vote is to keep shooting and improve your craft. You can find it here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Photos from Scott Kelby's photo-walk are on-line

This is a must. Take a look at the photos from the Worldwide Photo Walk that Scott has put up on his blog. He announced the winners on Friday, but today he put up some of his personal favorites. WOW!  You can see them here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Color Efex Pro 4 is out

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I've mentioned many times before that Color Efex Pro 3, from NIK software, rocks. Everyone of my photos is touched by one or more of the filters inside it.  Tonal Contrast is a favorite. Now NIK has introduced Color Efex Pro 4. The changes and additions are extraordinary. If you don't believe me, go to their site and take one of their free webinars. You'll be blown away.  Here's the link. You can also get a 15% discount, if you decide to buy it, by adding the code AKESS.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Canon introduces the new EOS-1D X

Yesterday, Canon released their new EOS-1D X.  The specs sound great but at an estimated $6,800 I won't be ordering one any time soon. I'm really not a gear head. I still have my Canon 50 D that has served me well for the type of photography I do. To be honest, I'll probably take a very hard look at the replacement for the 7D whenever that comes out. Take a look at the Canon press release here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trey Ratcliff talks about how he gets photos without people in them

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In his video, Trey shows one of the techniques he uses when there are lots of people and he doesn't want them to appear in the photo. I've tried something similar and it really works.  Take a look at the video here. You may find an increase in "Noise" with these long exposures. You'll have to deal with that in post.

In the photo above, I actually wanted the people.  I think it adds to the excitement of the location.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I've decided to add back in as many photos as can

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I don't know how long this will take, but I'll do my best.  I have them all in one file but it will still take some time. The photo posted today was taken in  Berlin,Germany at the Sony Center. What a great place for a beer and photo ops.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm getting there

I think I now know what happened with the blog. When I signed on to Google + I had to do something with Picasa. That may have thrown the whole thing off. I haven't decided if I'll go back and try to insert all the photos again. What a pain. I'll let you know.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I don't know what's going on

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Something has gone terribly wrong with my blog. I have been trying to get it back on track but no luck so far. I'll keep working on it now that I'm back from Germany and Belgium.

I'll get to post some photos soon and some other interesting things that are going on.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ibarionex Perello interviews Scott Kelby

Ibarionex Perello, the host of "The Candid Frame", interviews Scott Kelby on his latest show. I have heard many interviews Scott has given. This is the best ever. Ibarionex ask very thoughtful questions and Scott gives some very thoughtful and informative answers. You can fine it here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Scotte Bourne Has a FREE ebook

Scott Bourne has written 9 essays over the years. His hope was to give photographers the motivation they need to succeed in photography. They're a worth while read. You can find the ebook here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Do you like street photography?

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I love spending time in cities doing street photography. I've enjoyed and learned much watching the 2 videos Scott Kelby made with Jay Maisel. They can be found at Kelby Training.

Now here is a free, yes free, 96 page ebook written by Thomas Leuthard that will blow you away. It's an "Everything you wanted to know" book. Not only that, but his photos are fantastic. You can find it here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Scott Kelby's 4th Annual International Photo Walk

It's official. His 4th Annual International Photo Walk will be held this year on Oct. 1 and Oct 2. He changed the date to a bit further in the year because of the heat during the summer. Good move. Last year, in New York City, the temperature was almost 100 degrees. Bad news.
Scott has also given the leaders their choice of days. Sat. or Sun. Another good move.
I won't be able to go this year. I'll be in Berlin visiting my son. Maybe I'll look for one there.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

David duChemin On TWIP

As you may know, David had a terrible accident while in Italy teaching a workshop. In the latest episode of "This Week In Photo", he talks with TWIP host Frederick Van Johnson about the accidence and much more. It's worth a listen. You can find it here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Joe McNally's "Faces of Ground Zero"

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For those of you living in the New York area, Joe McNally's renowned "Faces of Ground Zero, Portraits of the Heroes of September 11, 2001" will be on display at the Time Warner Building in New York City from Aug. 24 to Sept. 12. I saw the original exhibit after 911 at Grand Central Station then and plan to visit it as soon as it goes on display now. It's a must see. You can find more information here.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Into the clouds

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 In my last post I told you about the hike down the mountain in Iceland. This is where it all started. We tuned left and down we went. All 2000+ ft. (about 610 meters) No fun.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Iceland, it was wonderful

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 Iceland is absolutely a wonderful place to visit. Everywhere you look is an opportunity for a photo and I came back with plenty. I carried my tripod on every hike we took, even the one that had us climb 2000' in little more that an hour. We were with about 50 other people from this tiny fishing village at the very top of Iceland. Most of the hike was at a very steep angle, on shale. Not only that but a cloud bank moved in and we could see very little until we got to the top. I'll post a picture of that soon.
Getting down was an adventure in itself. We couldn't see more than a few feet in front of us. My wife was a little behind me, stepped on a loose rock and fell, tumbling down until a snow field stopped her. She was shaken and with some help of others we got her down. The next few hours were spent in the local hospital. Bumps, bruises and a ruptured tendon in one finger. It could have been a lot worse.

Both of the above photos were taken after mid-night. Cool.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Off to Iceland today

I've been wanting to go to Iceland for a very long time. My wife and I am leaving today. It's going to be great even though the weather report for the next 10 days doesn't look good.

Our plans are to rent a car in Reykjavik and travel the west coast and then up north. To save time, we'll fly back to Reykjavik for some site seeing there. I'll have a full report when we get back.

I'm traveling light on camera gear because we plan to do a lot of hiking even if it rains. Yes, I will carry my tripod and a rain jacket for my camera.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Check out the "HDR Cookbook"

I found this site a while back. Klaus Herrmann (alias Farbspiel) not only does beautiful work but he also shares his entire workflow. He shows before and after pix and goes into great detail as to how he got the finished picture. He has also posted some videos. Very cool stuff. You should check it out, here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

RC's new "The HDR Book"

I just finished reading "RC" Concepcion's (one of the Photoshop guys) new "The HDR Book" and I have to say it's great. The book is like holding a workshop in your hands. For the beginner, it takes you through all the steps required to produce wonderful images. For someone more experience with HDR, there are more than enough exciting tips to make your images even better.

Put it on your list to read.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Standin' on the Corner

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Whoever thought that I would be Standin' on the Corner in Winslow, Az. I must have been a site to see out there in the cold with all my camera gear. The song Take It Easy, written by Jackson Browne and Glen Frey, was made famous by the Eagles. It has put Widslow on the map. There's not much to the town other than this corner and the La Posada Hotel. The hotel , the last great railroad hotel, has been completely renovated and has a world class restaurant. We had a great time singing and clicking.

The presentation to the Sedona Camera Club went really well. I guess there were about 40 to 50 members in the room. After the presentation there was time for questions and I think some who haven't shot and processed hdr before are going to give it a try. Cool!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Off to Sedona, Arizona

Today we're leaving to fly to Sedona. I have been invited by my friend to give a lecture at his camera club. The subject is "An Introduction to HDR". From what he tells me, a good part of the members have never heard of hdr or think it's the work of the devil and has no place in photography. It should be interesting. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

John Paul Caponigro has written a wonderful article

John Paul is one of my favorite photographers and teachers. Over the years I have learned much from his wonderful style of teaching and his deep incites into the "Why" of photography. This time I think he has outdone himself with a wonderful article posted on Scott Kelby's Guest Wednesday blog post. You can find it here. His thesis is Personal Projects. It's clear message will push you into planning yours.

I have had a few ideas for personal projects that have not yet taking shape. This article will help in moving those along. I'll keep you informed as they do.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

To our followers in Japan

I have seen the devastating videos and find it hard to comprehend the tragedy. I know that all that can be done is being done to help in the recovery efforts. I wish you well.

Trey Ratcliff's 9 HDR tips, a must read

A friend asked if he would contribute to her blog. He wrote these nine tips for HDR but they are tips for photography and photographers in general. There are some very interesting thoughts in this short piece. It may shake up some of your own thinking. Let me know what you think. You can find it here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kelby TV Introduces a new show, "The Grid" is on the air

Yesterday, Scott's newest show made it's debut on Kelby TV. "The Grid" is a new weekly talk show hosted by Scott and Matt Kloskowski about Photoshop, Photography and everything else in between. It airs every Monday at 12:30 pm EDT and will feature a different guest each week. You can watch the first show here. I think you'll like it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Catching up and a NIK announcement

I apologize that I haven't posted in a while, but I'm back now and plan to post on some kind of regular schedule. No excuses to offer other than sometimes life goes by too fast.
On a much more important note, NIK software has announced the shipping of their updated SilverEfexPro2. If you have never used Silver Efex Pro for your black and white images, you don't know what your missing. Now they have added some additional very cool features that give you more control.
I know I have mentioned this before, maybe many time, but you should take a look at Trey Ratcliff's blog. If your in to HDR, StuckInCustoms is absolutly the best place to find information on how to use the HDR process correctly.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thomas Hawk - WOW!!!!

A self proclaimed photography factory, this guy does outstanding work. I heard the interview he gave on TWIP, he is dynamic. You should read some of his comments here and you should definitely listen to the TWIP interview, here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Silver Efex Pro 2 announced by NIK Software

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Today NIK Software announced Silver Efex Pro 2. If you are into Black and White photography and have never use Silver Efex Pro, you're really missing something. It helps to produce outstanding B&W images using their patented "U" point technology. So simple and intuitive that it gives you the feeling of working in a darkroom (for those of us old enough to remember those days). You can find more information here, and don't forget to use the discount code they supplied for my readers. You can find it under Discounts to your right.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Welcome to OZ 2.0 - Vincent Versace's new book

"Welcome to Oz 2.0" is a must read for those who want to take their processing to a higher level. "Welcome to Oz 2.0" is not just a quick update to his original book "Welcome to Oz". This is a completely re-written text moving way beyond the first book. In 3 of the chapters he uses some of the same images as in the first but his workflow has expanded. He explains in great detail the path to a great print starting with the concepts of pre-emptive photoshop and image harvesting. For those of us interested in HDR photography, Vincent expands the whole concept to what he calls ExDR. This expands dynamic range to include time, blur, color etc. For me, one of the most fascinating sections in each chapter is his use of the lighting effects filter in photoshop. (Filters>Render>Lighting Effects).

100 pages longer than the first volume, the book also includes over $230. worth of NIK and onOne software, free.

You can find here.