Saturday we spent the day with some great folks looking at light. We went to the Great Falls, NJ to take advantage of this little slice of nature in the middle of industry to play with light. We worked with nature and with models, this is the very lovely Olena. This first photo was taken in broad daylight at highnoon! Can you tell? Shot with the D4 and 50f/1.4AFS (@ f/2.8), there is a Lastolite 1 stop Trigrip diffuser literally resting on the lens barrel just out of frame. This is right out of the Joe McNally magical world of great lighting play book that I learned from him. It’s real simple, big, wrapping light source in relationship to the subject. The light is the sun, a small light source far away. The Lastolite makes that light much bigger and wrapping. And Olena, well what a great subject to wrap in light!
Then I saw this killer stairway and at first, shot it as just a cool stairway. Then the top that Olena was wearing got me thinking and you see the outcome. I would have love to had more light shaping tools to make more of the situation. What we did was a real simple click shot with D4 and 70-200VR2 (@f/11) and the light falling on the sign. Really doesn’t do justice to Olena but she had fun working it.
I was very fortunate to co-led the teaching with my good bud Jeff Cable. During his session, he had Olena working this large wall in the shade. I mean, deep shade! Using though a Soft Gold Lastolite Trigrip again just out of the frame even though it had no direct light hitting it, you can see how it opened up the shadows and lit up Olena’s gorgeous brown eyes. The background is very important to me, so Olena was leaning in a specific spot and the Lastolite was not flat but bent and curved to sculpt the light to wrap it around Olena’s feature. What we did was a real simple click shot with D4 and 70-200VR2 (@f/8)
It was a great day exploring light. We started with fall color, then worked with our models and then finished up with Great Falls. The whole time, we were looking at light which, not matter if your subject is a leaf, rock, person or critter, you learn light and you can apply it to anything to tell it and your story. Thanks to all for a great day!
K&M Adv Me begun with our taking our new friends to meet some of my old friends. Unbeknownst to anyone, arrangements had been made at the beginning of the year to be Wacasset for the “airshow” featuring my good friends at the Texas Flying Legend Museum. We got the field before anyone else and found Cub (what I think of as a happy little plane) parked on the grass. We had a lot of fun with it to start. Then I popped open the doors on the boys B-25J “Betty’s Dream” and they got to go inside one of the nest restored planes and shoot till their heart’s content! Smiles all around!
Now this is a different way for sure for folks to experience fall color (or lack there of). I come to find out that only 1 of our adventurers had ever been to a airshow before! Ralphie put us all to shame by shooting 5400 images! He said in true Ralphie fashion< "It was all right!" Of course, being spoiled by the TFLM boys made it all that more special for these first time airshow shooters.
The best part was it was really fun learning for all! They learned about photography, things like panning and planning and placement to how planes move and the best part, about our aviation heritage and the men who flew these magnificent craft. It was a great day and great start to our ME adventure!
15-17 Feb, 2013 we’re pulling a couple of all nighters as we stare at the heavens and photograph the stars. We’ll meet in Lone Pine, CA on Friday evening to go over strategies, gear check and howdies and then head to the Alabama Hills for our first all nighter. The next day we’ll meet up long after the sun is up and go through our images, look at the different methods of assembling our previous nights work and get ready for Saturday night shooting. After grabbing an early dinner, we’ll go out for sunset and getting into position for a fun night of shooting and ghost stories. We’ll finish up after breakfast on Sunday morning. The price is $495 which includes preclass materials, instruction and guiding only. This is one workshop where bringing a sleeping bag might just be a must. Look forward to shooting the stars with you! 760.924.8632 / 661.204.1506 9-5 M-F. (no cancelation, refund for bad weather)
Just finished another great, fun Photoshop for Shooters class this past weekend with some great folks. They had some great questions, these are the top ten from the written ones they had to turn in at the beginning of the weekend.
If you bought a digital camera, why not let the camera do all the work and shoot in P Mode?
P Mode can be a great mode when you’re just goofin like at a party and you don’t want to think about photography, just capture the fun. But when you’re using photography to tell a story, you want to be in control of depth of field. The depth of field or better, depth of focus is a powerful tool in visual communicating and you want to use that to tell your story!
Could you explain layer mask and when you use it?
Layers are one of the most powerful and yet flexible tools we have in Photoshop. The mask permits us to add or subtract important subtleties to that layer and the image. When we make an adjustment with a layer, often it affects the entire photo, what we call a global change. There is nothing wrong with this. But when we want to target just a portion of an image, the layer mask is our tool.
When you are trying to capture moving water, what techniques do you find beneficial?
My general MO when wanting to communicate “flowing water” is to use a slow shutter speed. The question is what speed? Flowing or blurry water is a function of water speed vs shutter speed. I generally shoot at shutter speed between 1sec to 8sec. I get to those low speeds by a combination of lower ISO and filtration (Polarizer, Big Stopper). Once I determine the shutter speed I want for the effect I want, I rip off 30-50 frames. That because no two images will be the same and the blur of the water creates a pattern and not until I see it in the image will I know the exact one that I will like.
Do you have any tricks for keeping your bracketed photos for HDR together?
Whenever I do anything out of the ordinary in my photography, an experiment, a pano, a HDR series, the first and last picture will be of my hand. Just like in the movies that use a clacker, I take a photo of my hand, do the experiment, pano or HDR and then finish with a photo of my hand. That way when I look at my images either later that night or a year later, when I see my hand, I know something different will follow and will end with the photo of my hand.
How do you know when a photograph is worth editing or simply stands on its own?
This is a great question! And it’s a question not for Moose to answer about anyone elses photos. Photographs are a very personal thing, often a record of a memory or an expression of art. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to that. For me for example, my wildlife images must always stand on their own since I won’t “edit” this in Photoshop. On the other hand, my landscape images often see Photoshop to finish those elements that I could not finish at the time of capture. We should all strive to create images that can stand on their own yet not be afraid of finishing in post. When we push our photography to be its best, we always advance our photography!
I struggle with what photos to delete. I delete out of focus photos, poorly composed photos, and photos that don’t capture the moment—do you save only what you think are great photos?
If I saved on the images I think are great, my files might only contain 1 or 2 images at best! Since I personally don’t think I’ve taken my best images yet, I keep on shooting. The images I do delete though are only those that are not sharp. Every other image I take, I keep. But here’s the deal. After shooting for over 30yrs, I tend to only take those images I like. This makes the deletion rate a whole lot less than perhaps you. You are your own best teacher! You teach yourself by keeping those images and than going back after time and looking at your images. Look at what works, what doesn’t work, what you want to explore later with your camera. Keeping those files will push your photography forward.
Do you still use external filters when filters are easily available in Photoshop?
Oh heck ya! The subtleties in light and gesture you capture the moment you go click using a filter cannot be reproduced the same in post. The magic of light is best captured real time. Now is there time when filters at the point of capture can be replaced by post? Ya, either because you forgot your filters back in the car or simply too lazy to carry them (that’s me). While you can come close in post at times to mimic that real time filter, it is never though, truly the same.
When you approach shooting, do you have in your mind what you want the shot to be or does the shot evolve as you are shooting frames?
In the perfect world, ya, I head out and what I envision appears in my viewfinder. I tend to never shoot in that real world so I approach a photograph with an idea yet with the tools to be flexible to go with the moment. Within that frame work, incorporating your own style I think is a must and that’s where the challenge begins. We would love to be in control but we often are not. As long as you ask yourself, “What’s the subject” and than work the elements in your viewfinder, you will comeback with the best images the situation had to provide.
Was there a single thing that you did to improve your photography?
What are the pitfalls of all the processing power we have?
Oh, we could a write a book in answering this question. The biggest pitfall is giving ourselves an easy out in pushing our photography. When you have the mind set of “I can fix it in post” then you don’t push your photography. When you don’t push your photography, your interest and love for it will soon fade.
Argh Matey!That’s right, with pirate hate, sword and eye patch and camera in hand, we’re doing a 3hr Cruise on Circle O with the B&H and Lexar crew on 18 Oct! They are not only crazy enough to let me on board, give me a pirate sword but I also get a mic so you can hear me all over the boat! How sick is that?!
A whole lot of folks have been asking if we’re coming back to New York this fall. I am most happy to say we most certainly are. While everything is in place, plans made and logistics dealt with, details won’t be broadcasted until 8 Sept. I can tell you we’ll start the fun 17 Oct at Calumet, then B&H and finish up at Unique on the 20th with a WHOLE bunch in between. I’ll be doing formal presentations and shoots the like you’ve never seen done by me or in NY before and if all goes well, I’ll have an informal photo walk as well. So stay tuned, we’ comin back to the Big Apple..Yahooooo!
Photoshop World is just such a kick ass experience on every level! Sharon meet up with one very generous gentleman who has made available a number of scholarships to our workshops folks in the past. He was moved by his experience at Photoshop World and is offering another scholarship for our New Hampshire K&M Adventure. While I have two folks in mind, I wanted to open up this generous offer to a little wider audience. You would be responsible for your getting to and from NH, lodging and meals, but the rest is covered. If you are interested, you need to give Sharon a call 661.204.1506 (9-5 PST) and have a conversation. This is a marvelous opportunity for a photographer and want to thank our anonymous sponsor for once again reaching out to help another shooter! That is what Photoshop World is all about!
Ya! Winter Yosemite Workshop in 2013…can’t wait! The dates are 14-17, March 2013. You would arrive on the 13th for our evening get together and plan on leaving after sunset (dark) on the 17th. The price is $1695 which includes the workshop packet, transportation once you’re at Yosemite Valley and instruction. Once signed up you would get more info in regards to lodging.
We are talking about a lot of photography (not a bunch of hiking) and some of the best and least known locations. If we’re really lucky, we’ll have the snows and a winter storms that blow in great clouds and create gorgeous landscapes. We’ll photograph everything from critters, waterfalls, granite, trees and whatever stops in front of our lenses in color and black and white. We’ll spend time in the digital darkroom answering those kinds of questions and hopefully we’ll get an opportunity for a star trail or two.
Hope you can join us, we look forward to sharing our decades of wanderings with you. To register, call Sharon at 760.924.8632 (9-5) PST. You will need to pay a deposit of 50% to reserve your spot!
Many ask if I will be taking photographers to photograph Grizzlies again. I’ve not take photographers to AK for Griz for many years for many reasons. An opportunity has come our way that might make it possible for us to do this again. Part of the equation is you and if you would want to join us. And the big issue there is price and I more than realize this is not inexpensive but it looks like a participants price would be around $6k for 5 nights (In Sept) and that does not include transportation to AK (but does include everything once you get to AK). If this is of interest to you, give us a call 760.924.8632. Not taking sign up yet, just seeing is there is enough interest to pull the trigger.
We are constantly being asked business questions, I mean a lot! There is a whole lot that goes into a photography business, much of which is basic common sense. a whole lot is very specific to just photography. Many simply send an email looking for a one sentence answer to, “How do get my photography business started?” Or more commonly of late, “How do I make money from my photography?” They see all these statements about how you can make money on the web with your photography and while it is true you can make sales, this is a far cry from a sustained income or business. When I talk about business and selling images, I’m talking long term, longer than 1 day or 1 month or 1 year. This requires more than a 1 sentence answer.
Can you have a photography business in this day with our current economic trends? I believe so but it requires you observe the number one tenant in the photographic business. The image is everything! And I’m not talking about 1 image or 100 or 1000 but a continual creation of a body of work that is always growing. Not talking about 1 image processed 100 ways in Photoshop either. I’m talking a continual growth in your photography creating an inventory your can pull from when you need it. There is a very old business adage, You Can’t Sell from an Empty Cart. There are a lot more sayings I pile on during our Biz Class, but everything comes back to this basic cornerstone concept. The image is everything!
Saturday night we had the makings of a thunderstorm actually producing some much needed rain. By sunset, nothing. Then I thought I saw a flash but never heard any thunder. Forty minutes later the fast moving storm had gone north past us. Using the iPad app Radar, I saw the track of the storm to be right over the house so I grabbed the D4, 24f1.4 AFS and tripod and went out on the deck and waited. I got outside and just set up when the first “close” claps began. Just then it started to pour so wimping out, I went inside.
Once inside (and back to the Olympics) I switched out lenses to the 50f1.4AFS because I could see less of the sky. My settings were basic night lightning settings, ISO100, 8sec f/4 – f/5.6, Manual Focus, Flash WB (so the house lights would be warm). I attached the MC-36 and while watching the Olympics, every time I heard the shutter close, I depressed the shutter release. And as fast as the storm started, it was blown past us. What you see here in the video is the start of the storm, the meat of the storm and then the last downpour light up by car lights. In one of the last frames, while there is no bolt of lightning, dead center you’ll see a Big Brown Bat flying by.
When it comes to creating the video, that’s a snap. I took all the images and had them in a folder. Launched Photoshop > Time Line > Add Media and selected all the images. I put a Cross Fade between each image and then Export > Render Video and upload. It was that simple! I like the video presentation for the storm rather than the stills you see here (my favorites from the shoot). And if I could, while you’re watching the video, I’d be right be hand your chair yelling, BANG!
This is the closest we’ll ever get to racing at Reno. In Sept, 2011, my dear friends permitted me to place a GoPro in the cockpit of #74 Super Corsair to create an amazing video. What I have here is just 15min of the 208min process of getting an Unlimited up on the course and back down again.
Just what are you seeing here? The video starts with my bud Casey turning on the GoPro just at the start of the process of getting #74 ready for racing. You see Brady getting in #74, #74 being pulled out, gassed and placed on the ramp prior to the race (in the skies is a L-39 show). You’ll then see Robert Odegaard, one of the best pilots out there, get in #74, do the preflight and then taxi. #74 will take to the skies (you can see the GoPro in the still capture above and me taking the photo on take off in the video) and get in place with the other Unlimiteds prior to jumping on the course. You’ll see a T-33 Jet, that’s the pace plane. You’ll see the Unlimiteds jump on the course and then Robert take #74 around on three laps. You’re watching one of the best behind the stick. It’s a great show! Enjoy!
And if you’re wondering why I’m just posting this now, it’s because I’m behind! I have 980GB of video shot during the last year that I’ve not edited and posted. This 15min comes from 5.98GB, 208min of video and even though I edited it in Photoshop CS6, still took 2hr to get done. But I think you’ll find it worth the wait.
Photoshop World is just over a month out and we can’t wait. There simply is nothing better, funner or down right more energizing then PSW! I’ll be there doing all sorts of fun. The PreCon will be a ton of fun, it was sold out the day it was posted. Be sure that you make it to the Art of Digital presentation where eight of us share nothing but our photographic passion with you. Emails have started to come in asking what I’ll be teaching, here ya go.
Dang, I want to Get Started in Wildlife Photography!
If you read my book, Captured, you probably got disappointed when you read my statement, “If you want to play with the big boys, you gotta have 600mm!” But I started with a 400mm and that was my longest lens for my first 5 years. That focal length taught me all the main lessons I depend upon today to be successful. You have a basic DSLR and a 70-300 or a 100-400. I’m going to share with you all that my 400mm taught me, permitting me to get where I am today. These are all techniques, tricks and tips you can apply to your photography to get you way beyond “started in wildlife photography.”
The Art of Aviation
There is an art of flying metal. These speed machines that defy gravity bend light just as gracefully. But how do you take these gas fueled machines and make them a piece of art? This is basic photography of light, exposure, focal length, moving the viewer’s eye around the image, manipulating it while you tell the story. The subject might be “just” a plane, but the techniques, tricks and final results must make the heart fly. Don’t let the title fool you. There is a lot more to this than just airplanes, we are talking romance!
I’m very grateful to all of your who get up early and join me in class, I have new programs and plan on entertaining you at the very least. I’m really excited to play Santa as I’ll be giving away subscriptions to our BT Journal iPad version during the entire Photoshop World as well. In fact, the entire Peterson Herd will be in Vegas, I can’t wait! But more importantly, I’m there FOR YOU! SO if you see me, stop and introduce yourself, say hello and if you have a question, ask it. Look forward to meeting you all!
I had the honor of being asked to be on Shutter Time with Sid & Mac last week. It was fun to and Sid & Mac got me a talkin. In fact, it’s a L O N G interview, so grab a couple bottle of Merlot and give it a listen. Thanks again Sid & Mac!
Brent has been real busy and has BT Journal vol15.1 Monument Valley back issue (not included in a subscription) now available for purchase. Brent had me jumping writing 36 new, expanded captions, creating not 1 but 2 pg28 Digital Darkroom lessons and much more. I don’t know how many Monument Valley time lapses are in this issue but I do know one of the DD lessons on pg28 is how to assemble one in Photoshop.
Brent had a lot of fun assembling a lot of new Monument Valley images of mine into a number of slideshows. Those have captions as well. At the same time, we have updated the navigation of the Journal with the new tools available from the publisher. Be sure to check out the updated instructions on page 2. If you’re already a subscriber, you’ll see the option to purchase this newly released back issue (not included in your subscription) when you launch the BT Journal in the Newsstand. If you’ve not subscribed, you can find it at the top of our app’s Main Screen.
BT Journal Premiere Digital Issue - FREE!
Ipad version released 03.30.12 – FREE! (click on icon) Subscriptions like anything iPad is purchased through iTunes. At this time, subscription to hard copy will not include digital copy. Back issues and issues released before the start date of your subscription not included.
Fall conjures up a nostalgic photographic time in my mind. The light is mellow, the color is everywhere and there is a nip in the air signalling a changing of seasons. It also brings up thoughts of youth, trick-o-treating, Thanksgiving, football and traditions. If there is one region in North America that brings this all together at one place and celebrates fall, it’s Maine! We’ve been venturing to ME for fall every year for over the last decade and we simply can’t get enough of this magical region this time of year!
The best part about going to Maine and neighboring New Hampshire in fall is the photography. Now just shooting fall color for me gets old after a while. But it never gets old when you can photograph an old truck, ice house, lobster boat, fishing pier, railroad, quaint seaport village and eat great food! That’s why we keep traveling back to the region in fall, it’s never the same and there is such variety. Did I mention the great food!
I know I didn’t mention lighthouses, but there are some gorgeous, romantic and unique lighthouses to explore as well. And when you’re on the coast in ME in the fall, there is great lobster. Did I mention the great food!
We are going back again this fall, taking our K&M Adventure there. Our Fall Tour is Oct. 6-14, 2012. We’re going to be in ME & NH spending half the time out of Freeport, ME and the other half out of Mt Washington, NH. We’re going to check out them lighthouses, the great food, fall color, history and just about anything else the lights takes us to. It’s a marvelous adventure in some our most gorgeous country!
We have a space for YOU! We’ll be picking you up and dropping you off in Portland, ME. You have the option of signing up for one week or the other or, if you’re adventerous enough, join us for the whole time. The price for just one week is $1995 and for both, $3550. We actually have a couple of folks who have signed up for the whole thing (they’ve traveled through eastern fall color with us before) so we only have 3 seats left (the max we take is 8). The price includes transportation to and from the airport and during the adventure, our wit and instruction and one helluva good time. If you’re interested in going, give us a call at 760.924.8632 / 661.204.1506. We look for to adventuring with you!