Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Palouse Barns and SnapArt3

SnapArt 3 Version Pastel

Today on the Alien Skin blog, I received a mention for images I made recently using their SnapArt3 software. Thanks Alien Skin! I really enjoy using the software, giving me just one more option for processing my work.
Last night I was exploring the software a bit more using the pastel filters.  Here is a little before and after on a couple barn shots. I made many images of barns in the Palouse but these two were different. On my last evening there, I had a full moon and clouds in the evening sky, while there was still a fair amount of light in the western sky illuminating the front of the barn, so I stopped and made the Red Barn image. The following morning while heading out I found this green barn,  the only one I saw like this the whole week. It was a great week in the Palouse, just wish there would have been a few more cloud filled summer skies, but I am not complaining! Now I have to get busy making prints for my upcoming November show in Seattle at the Baas Art Gallery.
Original Shot

SnapArt 3 Version
Original Shot

Monday, August 29, 2011

St. John Grain Growers, Inc.

While in the Palouse it is hard to miss the agriculture storage buildings that dot the landscape. One of the more interesting structures I saw was across from the Dahmen Barn and called the St. John Grain Growers Inc. After making images of the barn and the famous wheel fence I turned my attention to the storage buildings. The afternoon light was still bright accentuating the shapes and casting wonderful shadows on the storage buildings. All the images here were processed with Nik Silver Efex Pro2, and Photoshop. Shot from across the highway with a 70-200 mm lens. I wanted to shoot these from the other side but as I was heading over the rest of the group was heading back...so I 'll have to go back one day! The elevator building on the left of the opening image intrigued me most with its wacky lines, reflecting surface and textures.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Palouse, Red Barn

One evening  the group with John and Dan made a run to the "Red Barn". I liked this barn best in pieces. I particularly liked the way the wheat fields reflected in two of the three windows.
I also liked the green/gold wheat fields that were blowing in the wind this particular afternoon.

We had bold blue skies wih no clouds, but I liked the simplicity of the barn roof against the late afternoon sky.
And if three windows are good then one must be good too! Odd numbers of important subjects in the frame are better than even in most cases, but that's just a guideline I try to work with.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

SnapArt 3 Pencil filter and a few more Palouse images

Well what else is there to do when waiting for a hurricane to strike! Exploring new software is fun! The opening image was made using Nik's HDR EfexPro from bracketed images. I have a couple spots left in my HDR workshop at Second Chance in Baltimore..if you want to learn how to shoot and process images like this. Check the sidebar of my blog under Penn Camera Workshops to sign up. After processing the image in Nik I ran it through SnapArt3 from Alien Skin for a pencil look. I finished it off with an acid burn edge from PhotoFrame Pro.
This image was processed in Photoshop and then processed in Alien Skin SnapArt3 Pencil filter. I am really enjoying the new features they added including a layer option for selectively adjusting elements of the image.

Palouse, Essence of Place

August in the Palouse, is about the harvest of golden wheat fields, farm equipment, tractor trailers and storage bins. As I review the images I captured the first two days of my visit, the amazing golden colors of rolling hills and fields dominate my work. I truly had never seen the vastness of the farm fields, as in the Palouse, nor the stretches of dusty dirt roads disappearing into the landscape that weave them together.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Port Ludlow, Port Townsend, SnapArt 3

Three weeks ago I left for Seattle to visit with my daughter, her husband and my grand pets, Eli, Cheyenne and Muddy Bones. It was a super visit! One day Mike and Rachael had planned a day long boat trip to Port Ludlow on a friends boat. It was a great trip. The "Marine Layer" was very thick half way out in the morning, such that visibility was only about 50 feet. At times we were all watching for other vessels identified on the radar. When we arrived in Port Ludlow the layer was lifting. I made a few shots from the boat as we were docking. Today,  I had some fun today experimenting with the new features in SnapArt 3 from Alien Skin.  They really have added some great options for processing your work..in an artistic way. All the images here have been processed using SnapArt 3 and Photoshop. My friend, Annette says I must be a frustrated painter!
After we docked in Port Ludlow the guys went to play golf and Rachael and I took a cab ride to Port Townsend.  Which I don't recommend at $50.00 a one way fare, but we had fun looking in the shops and grabbing a bite to eat. It was a great day...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Palouse Swipes

In camera swipes of the rolling landscape is one of the photo ops that presents itself in the Palouse. I love to make swipe images and the colors of the Palouse hills make wonderful abstracts. Swipes can be made in any light so even if the light is bright a swipe can be wonderful but they are best here when the hills are defined by rim light in the morning or evening. I'll be posting images from my trip over the next few days.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cowboy Mounted Shooting and SnapArt 3

Boy I loved the action of this event! Dirt flying, powder popping, legs flying, horses snorting...western gear, what fun to try and photograph! I had downloaded SnapArt 3 before traveling but never had much time to process images. Today I worked with the new program and it is super!!! All the images here have been processed first in Photoshop then in SnapArt 3 for the painterly effect. Since arriving back home in Baltimore I have experienced the largest earthquake ever recorded here and now we are supposed to have a strong hurricane hit this weekend...I hope everyone in the path of the Hurricane fares well.
When the event was over I noticed some chinks hanging on the saddle and loved the image I saw so I made a composition focusing in on the chinks and saddle.
In the Towsend corral were many ponies. This one was so friendly and I just loved his colors. 
If you have not tried SnapArt 3 by AlienSkin there is a trial version available for download on their site free for 30 days.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Montana Cowboy Mounted Shooting

Yesterday my friend Chris and I visited the Townsend Ranch to watch the Cowboy Mounted Shooting event. It was a blast, literally! The shots here were made during the event yesterday. We are going back tomorrow to see the last day of the event....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I arrived in Missoula, Montana late Sunday night and spent the night there. Yesterday I drove south to Hamilton to visit with my girlfriend Chris and her husband Rod for a week. They both work in the Bitterroot Valley selling real estate at Exit Realty. Today was a work day for them and I needed a catch up day. So I have spent some time processing a few images and updating some workshop info.
The images here are from my first day in the Palouse atop Steptoe Butte and a couple shots made later in the day. I had seen images of the Palouse before, but it is just an amazing place. The sunrise was bland but the light illuminated the land as the sun rose above the horizon and cast beautiful light on the wheat fields and farmlands below.

As we were wrapping up I noticed the dust rising up from the farm road below and made a couple shots. At first I thought it might be steam off a river, but then realized, it's dust! And whao, what dust there is on the farm roads through the landscape I was soon to find out. There is even a town not far from Colfax, called "Dusty".
Mid day shots were fun too, looking at the landscape as a patchwork of fields tied together by tracks of farm equipment and power lines.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Last day in the Palouse

Today started out with a trip north of Colfax, to shoot this really beautiful old tree, just that the sun did not post as there was a pretty good layer of clouds....so...work with what you have! I loved the shape of the tree, I loved the cloud structure...just the wonderful illumination of the land did not appear...so ... work with what you have I kept saying to myself.....a little work in PhotoShop and a Black and White conversion in Nik Silver Efex Pro and you have the image here. After that I had a nice breakfast at the Top Notch with a few of the remaining workshop folks, Dan and John. After breakfast I needed to get some laundry done and then headed out in the afternoon, with no certain plan, but a ramble north into the dusty back country. The farmers were working and I came across a fire in the fields. This farm work is fraught with troubles and today was one big one for one farmer. It appeared as though a truck caught on fire and then the grasses went. As I pulled up three fire vehicles came racing down the dirt road.

I shot until the blaze started to get under control, but the site remined me its not all beauty here, there is danger too! I continued to ramble and ended up doing some iPhone work on old cars again. As I drove back I saw some combines harvesting and I stopped to shoot, realized my tripod was not in the car...a moment of panic struck...where did I leave it?? What was my last stop...I quickly remembered and rushed to the spot...well there it was sitting in the field with three parked combines just where I left it two hours ago!!! Whew....OK...well then as night was falling on my way back to Colfax, an owl flew out of the edge of the road and flew right into the car...I felt bad...but what could I do? I was certain it would be a coyote's dinner tonight or a raven's breakfast in the morning. My plan was to get back to Colfax and hit the car wash so that I could load my suitcases tomorrow without getting all dirty, so I did just that....then a problem happened, the car locked itself as I was washing it! Everything I had was locked inside...cell phone...wallet....keys. I found the Colfax Sherriffs office walking through town and they called a local tow service and they opened the car. So an hour later and $107.00 it was unlocked again....
I thought I should get back to the hotel fast before anything else happened! Now its lights out!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Its been a fast week and today I had to do some laundry, so I took the opportunity to process a few images, as I have not been able to do any processing, just downloading and shooting. We said goodbye to the group this morning it was a fun week with John Barclay and Dan Sniffen. The opening shot is representative of the amazing acres and acres of wheat fields...and the big open skies...well there was one day we had a few clouds, but mostly its been bright blue skies and harsh sun.
Yesterday we made some images at the Dahlman Barn, but across the street was a co-op for grain and I found many shots there, but my favorite was of this young man. I processed it as an HDR stack in Nik HDR Efex Pro because I needed detail in all areas to make the shot what I saw.  However, the young man had moved slightly and the HDR stack was slightly blurred on his person, so I had to get a bright file and paste over the HDR blend and then mask out the bright areas of the silo leaving just the door way bright and that worked. Then I added a touch of Topaz Adjust and blended back with the original to get the effect I wanted. I just loved this scene! Time to hit the road and made a few last shots in the Palouse!

Palouse Sunset

Yes, its been a while since I last posted, but I have really been having some fun. One week with my daughter and son in law in Seattle and this week in the Palouse.  Tomorrow is the last photo day here before getting on a plane Sunday, to Montana, my final stop on my summer vacation. ; - )
I have lots of shots to share and will get to processing when I get home. I wanted to share this shot tonight, as this is the first sunset we have had with any clouds and grand colors! This was shot from Kamiak Butte. Its been a fun week in the Palouse...an amazing place. Now I have to get some rest!