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

Click image to view larger
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.