Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Old Apple Tree ~ Nik Color Efex4 ~ Flypaper Textures

I was very fortunate to attend a photography workshop conducted by Freeman Patterson and Andre Gallant as part of my Fall Odyssey Road Trip. One morning on location in Hampton we had some beautiful fog over the water. I was traveling with Andre's group that morning. When he saw a great scene along the road we were traveling, he made an unplanned stop and we all got out of our vehicles to capture a few foggy morning images. But this blog is not about those's about what I saw as the fog was lifting. As I was walking back up the hill, I noticed this little scene of the apple tree in morning light and the small upturned boat. I made the shot with the idea of processing it with filters. The scene spoke to me. It really felt like the area in Canada I was getting to know; old world-like. While I loved the fog and the beautiful landscape images I made that morning...(that's another post)...I really just loved the old apple tree.
My processing here began with the original raw file below......
making adjustments to the raw file with saturation, levels, curves in Photoshop. I also cleaned up a few straggly apple tree branches in the upper right corner with the content aware tool, but that's about it.
Original image adjusted in Photoshop
 Then I added a fog filter in Color Efex Pro4 making further adjustments in opacity to the Fog Layer.
Layer of fog from Nik Color Efex4

Then I added two texture layers using textures from Flypaper Textures and made further adjustments in Photoshop using the multiply blend mode to arrive at the final image below. I would love to hear your thoughts on the composition and processing!
Final Image with two Flypaper Textures

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Anti-Crepuscular Rays ~ Looking the other way with intent!

f 16 1.6 sec ISO 100 28-300mm at 28mm
This week I am fortunate to be spending some personal time in my favorite place by the ocean and I made a very quick run out for some evening light a couple nights ago. The winds were calm, without any spectacular clouds in the west, so I thought I would grab some low light shots of the ocean...The sea was very flat but I stayed anyway and I made a few images. After the sun was down I noticed the Anti-Crepuscular rays in the! I had a polarizing filter on my lens but rotated it to allow the sea to reflect the pastel light of the sky. I really only got one or two images I liked but that was enough! Hope to do some more shooting this week.........

Check out my upcoming events

I will be presenting at Nature Visions Expo 2014 this year so check out their site for some great photo learning opportunities with some icons in the photo industry.....Click here for a link to their site.

Also check out Capital Photography Center for my upcoming classes in photography...Click here for the link...

And if you always wanted to visit and photograph in the Magnificent Mediterranean, David Blecman and I will be offering a Cruise/Photo tour in May 2015...check out the info here.....Magnificent Mediterranean Photo Tour

Hope to see you in the field! or at the expo!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Serendipity, Giving back...Young Love on Steptoe Butte

On my Photo Tour in the Palouse, visiting Steptoe Butte for sundown is always part of the tour, and always a highlight when the light cooperates! In my welcome presentations on tour, I always speak to embracing serendipity, in fact it is one of the best parts of life and photography! When gifts come your way! So my group was in a groove loving the sunset and beautiful light and as I walked from one participant to another checking their work, I noticed this couple with an old Z28 Camaro T-tops out and the beautiful light on the car with their loving embrace. So I quietly set up and made a quick couple of exposures to capture "their" moment. I moved on after I was sure I got the shot, they were moving, kind of rocking back and forth and the light was low so I was worried about blurring them. When the light was gone I went over to them and showed them a couple images on my LCD. They were ecstatic that I had captured that moment. So after a little conversation, the car was his dad's, we swapped e-mails and I gratuitously sent him these files.
The response I got back was priceless:
"Thank you so much these are beautiful my girlfriend and I love them. It was a great going away present to have as I have gone back to Alaska to work until November." ~ Nick
You never know what will present itself when you are out in the be open to serendipity!! and give back!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Palouse, creative image processing with Flypaper Textures...

Not Exactly Twin Barns...
As I am wrapping up processing my images from the Palouse there were a few that I thought lent themselves to processing with Flypaper Texture overlays. I find in using texture overlays it is important to experiment in Photoshop with many layers, using blend modes, masking, levels and curves, saturation hue etc..while combining several different textures in one image. The folks at Flypaper have some great tutorials on their site which can provide ideas for processing images with their textures. If you want to try using textures and purchase from Flypaper; you can use the link provided on this blog sidebar for a discount on their textures.

Lone trees with lots of sky are great for laying in a couple texture layers as are back-lit soft background teasel. I had a great group of photographers in the Palouse and look forward to doing some personal work in Spring of 2015 with a tour in Spring of 2016. If you would like to be added to the list for a Palouse Tour in Spring 2016 shoot me an e-mail at or join my mailing list for monthly updates.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Palouse in Monochrome.....

Abandoned Grain Bin

The Palouse begs to be captured in color with red barns, brilliant blue skies, yellow fields of wheat and green bean fields woven into a rolling landscape. The colors are so strong that it sometimes overwhelms the image. I picked up a book by a photographer George Bedirian called "Palouse Country" and I thought it was odd to be a photography book of the Palouse, with all the images in black and white, but after turning a few pages I understood why. He captures light and texture so beautifully and black and white allows the viewer to really see what he is enamored with in the Palouse. George Bedirian is the associate editor of Washington State Magazine and long time resident of the Palouse. I was immediately drawn to his images.  So, I began processing a few more of my shots from the Palouse in monochrome, some I used Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and some I simply converted in Photoshop.
The Old Weber House

I was asked today if I ever felt uneasy rambling the Palouse alone and I said no, not even once, even as I rolled down dusty two tracks in the middle of nowhere! It just felt good. When I got out of the car sometimes the only sounds I heard was the wind blowing through the wheat or the bees buzzing the wild flowers! Now that's special!
Barn Grasses

I like textures and the simplicity of yellow grasses against an old red barn were beautiful in the summer light.
Longhorn Bull
I found a ranch with a small herd of Texas Longhorns grazing as the wind blew the grasses and wheat.
Patterns of the Palouse

The texture of harvested crops on rolling hills against a barren sky was perfect for a monochrome conversion!  I will be leading a tour of the  Palouse again in Spring 2016...if you think you might be interested please join my mailing list (you can scan the bar-code on the sidebar of this blog) or e-mail me for updates as plans become finalized. I have left the Palouse but the Palouse has not left me! Its a great place, with wonderful people, working hard to farm the land.

High Tension Wires 


Even high tension wires in the rolling hill landscape made for a good monochrome conversion.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Experience Music Project Museum

While visiting my daughter and her husband in Seattle, my nephew and I enjoyed a day in City Park visiting the Experience Music Project Museum and the Chihuly Glass Garden. I was not carrying much camera gear, just the D4 and the 28-300mm lens a good walk around lens. I enjoyed the museum and making a few shots of the totally rad architecture of the building designed by Frank Gehry.
Friend and fellow photographer John Barclay has made images of this building and I enjoyed looking at them. So it was on my shot list! The building reflects color amazingly but I decided to convert my images to Black and White using Niks SIlver Efex Pro 2. I loved the many values of light the metal reflected. Zooming in to segments of the building thus creating abstract images out ot the shape and design was my goal. While doing that my nephew suggested a few swipes! I made a few and left them in color and converted them into square images. We had a great day we had! I went into the way back machine looking at the Jimi Hendrix exhibits!! What a time that was....I kept saying...imagine what kind of music he would be making now had he not died so young!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wide Angle Close Ups, Serendipity, Breaking the Rules, and Compositional Choices!

Nikon D4 Lens 17-35 2.8 at f16 1/100 sec ISO 100

It has been a busy summer and updating the blog has been challenging, but I have a minute and wanted to share some thoughts and a couple images from the Palouse.

I just wrapped up my Photo Tour in the Palouse and now that I am in Seattle visiting family I have a minute to review some of my scouting images. The first day I was in the Palouse I was lucky to have beautiful Palouse skies! As I was rambling some back roads I came across the scene in this image. The tall pines in the field with great sky stopped me in my tracks. When I got out of the car and observed the scene I also loved the small daisies in the foreground along the road so I chose a vertical orientation for this shot with a wide angle at 17mm. This allowed me to include the daisies along the road and the great developing sky which was circulating above the pines just wrapping them into the image. I enjoyed the distorted effect of the wide angle close up even after applying "Lens Correction" in Photoshop.

Now for breaking the rules..when I reviewed the image above I saw that it was bifurcated...
"split in two visually creating distinct areas horizontally of sky and  land"...but I think it still works, normally for a composition I would try to use the rule of thirds and divide the frame either one third sky two thirds land or two thirds sky and one third land, but with the dynamics of the sky and foreground with daisies, given my low wide angle perspective and lens choice, I enjoyed the resulting image. But I also shot it horizontally!! as I loved the leading lines in the sky and vegetation that draw you into the image.
I am in the process planning a "Spring Green" Photo Tour in the Palouse in 2016. Registration will open in December 2014 so if you are interested mark your calendars or shoot me a note to get on the list....there is no other place in the USA quite like the Palouse!
Also if you are looking for a great photo adventure in spring of 2015 Join David Blecman and myself for a Magnificent Mediterranean Photo Tour Cruise. For more details and information and registration click here. 
As always your comments and thoughts are welcome!!
Happy Shooting!