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.
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.
As part of my free monthly photography seminar series, here is Printing Your Photos.
From my monthly photography seminar series, this video is about focusing your camera. It sounds simple, and it can be, but when you dig deeper into your camera you’re able to tweak settings and get better autofocus performance. During the hour we talk about autofocus modes, areas and techniques along with back button focus and how some lenses perform better than others.
One of the techniques I enjoy doing with my photography is light painting. Much like it sounds, I illuminate subjects in a similar way as painting a wall. But I use a flashlight, sometimes a big one. During my Vermont Fall Foliage Workshop I like to take people to Chittenden Reservoir and light up an island that is about 250 yards from the shore. I have a big 18 million candle power flashlight that does a great job on the island. The best shots come 20-30 minutes after sunset when there is still some light and color in the sky and it is dark enough that the background is dark. We use a 30 second exposure which gives me time to light up the island. Just like painting a wall, I don’t try to cover the whole island in one splash of light, I paint across it so any one area may get only 5-8 seconds of light. When the conditions are right, it can be a fantastic photo.
Let’s Talk Filters is a fun video is part of my monthly photography seminar series.
As part of my monthly online seminar series, I did a session about tripods. I think for most things, a photographer should always use a tripod, of course there are times when you can’t but being lazy isn’t one of those times. I also talk about the types of tripods, heads and features, including monopods and traveling with a tripod. Enjoy the video.
One of the most common questions I get during workshops is What lens should I use? Most photographers make their lens choice based on how far away they will be from the subject or how much of the scene they can get in the shot. But the creative use of lenses is based on the foreground/background relationship. I explain it all in this video.
I spend a lot of time in Vermont, though not nearly enough. It seems like whenever I’m here there are plenty of clouds so I can’t go out to make photos of the stars. The reality is there are plenty of clear nights but I’m probably too lazy to stay out late! I usually like to shoot sunrise and I can no longer burn the candle on both ends so I pick mornings over staying out late. Yesteday the sky was perfectly clear the forecast for the next few days was for rain starting this morning, so it was the perfect time to stay up late.
I wanted to shoot a covered bridge during a long exposure and put some light on the bridge to make it stand out. The trick is that there can’t be any other lights nearby or they will ruin the shot. Middle Bridge in Woodstock is only a few blocks from my house but it is right in the village and there is a ton of light hitting it, so that won’t work for stars without a lot of work in the computer. I didn’t want to make a computer generated photo so I went to the Taftsville Bridge on the east end of Woodstock town. It was severely damaged by the remnants of Hurricane Irene a few years ago and they added lights inside it during the renovation. There are also lights on both ends so that didn’t work. I went to Woodstock’s other covered bridge, Lincoln, west of the village.
Lincoln Bridge is pretty secluded although right off Route 4, a major road through the middle of Vermont. There is a nearby hotel that has some lights but I knew if I got on the opposite side I could block out those lights and be in darkness. There is a path down to the river below the bridge and I went upstream a little ways and set up my tripod. The stars were shining bright but I could see clouds moving in quickly. I used my headlamp to illuminate the bridge and tried several shots. I went back up on the gravel road and shot from there but the clouds were coming fast and it wasn’t long before I wasn’t capturing many stars and I was done.
Workshops are just plain fun! It is great to get out with people, think only about making images and enjoying wherever I am. Today wasn’t the greatest weather for my Cape May Photographic Creative Workshop but that doesn’t matter. I started a the day before sunrise with a small group on the beach again. I decided to shoot the same pilings I did yesterday and try to see how I could make the same object look different. It was mostly cloudy as the sky got some light but they were pretty cool clouds. I tried some shots of the piling to emphasize the clouds and then changed my settings to make the pilings the center of interest. The photos looked completely different but I didn’t move the camera. It was a fun experiment in creativity.