One of my favorite things to do in photography is use a flash light to light paint objects. They can be small objects like flowers or big things like bridges or waterfalls. In this one hour seminar, I show the techniques I use and how the results can be rather surprising.
There are times when we just can’t get rid of obstacles in our photos and that is when Photoshop comes to the rescue. In this online seminar I show some basic ways to use Photoshop to eliminate things that just don’t belong in our photos.
There are times when you can get everything in focus that you want, especially when shooting macro, you can’t get the depth of field that you want. Photoshop to the rescue.
Make a set of photos focusing on different areas within the scene.
Bring your images into your computer. It is easiest if you put all your images to be stacked in a separate folder.
In Photoshop on the “File” menu, go to “Automate” and then choose “Photomerge.” This opens your images in the same Photoshop document.
When the Photomerge options pop up, point it to the folder where the images are stored. Leave the option on the left set to “Auto” and then uncheck the option to blend images together. After pressing OK, Photoshop will go to work aligning and putting the images into the same document.
This might take Photoshop a few minutes, but when it completes, you should have a new document that has all of the images open in the layers palette. There’s just one more step to get your images focus stacked.
On the layers palette, select all of the layers. You can click on the top layer, hold down the shift key and then click on the bottom layer to select them all. Once all the layers are selected, go to the “Edit” menu and choose “Auto Blend Layers.”
On the Auto Blend Layers menu choose “Stack Images.” Press OK and Photoshop will work do the focus stacking. After Photoshop completes its work, you can see the results both in the form of the final image and the layers palette on the right side of Photoshop. You’ll see that the masks have automatically aligned and that Photoshop intelligently sampled which layers to mask into the final image.
There doesn’t seem to much more confusing when dealing with digital files than image resolution and pixel sizes. When you are posting, sharing or printing your photos the proper resolution is key to getting the look you want and speedy transmission. In this online seminar I talked about image resolution, knowing how big your files are, what size they should be and how to make them that size. Enjoy the video.
During my workshop in Cuba last month I was lucky to have Beth Payne as one of the participants. Beth retired from the State Department and now does training to help people become more resilient in their lives. As the covid-19 crisis was shutting down the U.S. and creeping into Cuba, Beth provided valuable assurance to the group, both in dealing with what was unfolding back home but also that we would be able to get home. I asked Beth if she would do a session for photographers, thinking it might be kinda nice. It turned out to be great. While working in Iraq, Beth’s hotel was bombed and she risked her life to help a co-worker and as a result had PTSD. Beth used photography to get through it and still finds photography to be a valuable to deal with life’s stresses and tribulations. I appreciate her sharing her knowledge with us. Check out Beth’s blog at payneresilience.com/blog.
Using Lightroom to convert photos to Black & White is a great way to add drama, depth and power to your images. During this one hour seminar you’ll see how I use many controls in Lightroom to make my Black & White image pop!
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Lightroom has become the dominant photo organization and editing program. Its ease of use and power make it essential for most photographers. Here is a two hour overview of what it does.
As part of my free monthly photography seminar series, here is Exposure Modes.
So much happened in Cuba with the coronavirus hanging over our heads, even there was very little evidence of it in Cuba but there was the constant concern that we may be delayed coming home. But the week was magical and we made some great photos. I didn’t do a great job editing, so here are a bunch of photos I shot. If you click on one it will bring up a larger version and then you can use the arrows on the extreme right and left to scroll through the images.
As part of my free monthly photography seminar series, here is Printing Your Photos.
I have to admit that before I went to Iceland I was thinking that maybe I have been there too much and had seen it all. This was my sixth trip in the last two years and I take new workshop participants to the same places, knowing there will be exciting photos there for the photographers. My main goal for workshops is not to make pictures for myself, it is to help others make great images. But I like to get a good shot once in a while too. That sure wasn’t a problem on this trip, the beauty of Iceland is astounding and we were treated to a wonderful display of the Aurora Borealis. To see colorful lights dancing in the sky is beyond words and I may have sounded like a little kid giggling while we were standing out in the dark capturing the beauty with our cameras. We did an early morning hike back to an ice cave and got there before the tourists showed up to crowd the cave as they took selfies. It was a beautiful cave and created unique images for everyone. Even the places I’ve been to several times made for fun, new shots. A favorite place is Diamond Beach where pieces of blue glacial ice wash up on the black sand beach. The sun was low in the sky and the scene was magical as the light creeped into the ice releasing the blue colors. I look forward to returning in August and again next year.
Iceland is full of wonder, maybe one of the most amazing is ice cave in the glaciers. The caves are formed by rivers flowing through the ice in the summer, carving out tunnels during the annual melt. Once winter arrives with colder temperatures, the hollowed out ice becomes a special place. I’ve been in several caves during my Iceland journeys but the one we went to today was a special one. I hired a private guide for our group, which is the only way to get there. We rode 45 minutes in a van with huge oversized tires to traverse the bumpy road to the glacier. We then hiked a little over a mile to get to the cave before the sun rose. The hike was long but pretty easy and the scenery on the way was special. There were other photographers at the cave, it is impossible to go to an empty cave. But the photographers worked together to not get each other in the photos. Once the regular tourists appear, the caves become crowded and making good photos are tough with everyone trying to make selfies.
The glacier glows a wonderful blue as light makes it way through the ice. I moved to the side of the can and used an extreme wide angle lens as one of the other guides posed with an ice axe. The person in the shot provided a sense of scale and helps the scene make visual sense.
We walked farther back in the cave where there were fewer people and the pictures were equally cool. Again, having a person in the photo made the shot. It was a special day and one I’ll remember forever.
Nature is amazing and one of the most unique sights is the Aurora Borealis – the northern lights. To see them in full fury is a thrill and we had a great display tonight in Iceland. It takes the right combination of dark skies, sun spot activity and no clouds. There is a scale of 1-9 that rates the solar activity and they predict it three weeks in advance. Last week it was showing that we would only be at a 2 all this week, so I sent a note to my Iceland workshop participants not to expect much in the way of aurora.
Then two days ago when I checked tonight’s rating was 3, which isn’t bad. We had dinner and then went out of town to an area I know would make a good foreground. As we were driving the aurora was glowing bright on the horizon. Once we parked we were treated to an amazing show of light. We had a small mountain in front of us and the green light started on the right side. Then it started appearing on the left side of the mountain. I was doing a happy dance as the aurora danced across the sky. After a while a hook of light appeared on the right side creating a classic Icelandic aurora. We stood out in the dark for over two hours being amazed by what we saw. It finally diminished and we went back to the hotel with a special memory.
There is something special about a snow covered landscape. The world becomes much simpler looking, everything is clean and free of distractions. I love making images that are simple and minimal and winter is the best time to do that. Before the workshop I drove past a pretty little white barn sitting up on a hill. There was a pure white blanket in front of it and a single white birch off to the side. The scene is one that I am always looking for, simple, clean and pretty. I was pretty happy with the shot and the others I made during the weekend.