Thursday, October 6, 2011

The things I do for Photography

I have a new job and it is a night job, so this is different for me, but it is good pay. So....I am in. I actually like it.
Ok... it is not just for photography and new equipment. I do have to live and pay the mortgage. But it is definitely up there in priority. I mean... I am using a camera that is 4 years old now and I really need a better one. It is not just a luxury. Really. It is a necessary requirement to have better camera equipment for better quality photographs. When someone says it is the photographer not the Camera.. well that is true to a point. But having high quality equipment definitely helps. I have seen the difference when standing next to someone shooting with a newer higher quality camera. It really shows. Having a better camera will help take my photography to a higher level.
So with a new job that pays well....all I can see is new equipment in my mind.... oh and being able to get a gardner.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Topaz Black & White Effects Released

I use the Topaz Adjust 4 plug-in for Photoshop, and they’ve just released a new plug-in
–Topaz Black &White Effects.
The full price is $59.99 but there’s $30.00 off until 9-18-11 if you use the coupon
‘bwandbeyond’at checkout.
Which is what I did. I mean ...$29.99... you can't beat it.  What a great marketing idea for Topaz.
I did download the 30 day fully functional trail to see the features first. I am impressed. It has the classic Topaz interface and in my opinion, is a must have for my photographic digital toolbox.
I tried out this image to see how it performed.
Here’s a before and after of an image of an old abandoned store (which is no longer standing) that I took on 3-3-2010, reprocessed in Topaz B&W Effects.

Check out the new Topaz trial .. after that, I think you will like it enough to purchase it. But hurry the discount is only good for a few days.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's all about Color

 If I had to choose just one thing that I feel is crucial to a good Photograph, it is Light. I am glad that I don't have to choose just one thing, because "Color" to me is almost as important.
Over the last few years I have been told many things about my photography. The most common thing is wow look at that color, or you sure love color.
A response I had when giving a sideshow presentation, was "You can't tell me that you don't saturate your images".

I shoot Raw and I usually don't have my settings on my camera to add color, so my image actually looks bland compared to what I actually saw. But the color information is in that digital file, so by golly
I am going to saturate that image to have it look like it did when I shot it.

When someone shoots from any digital camera set on automatic, that camera is developing the image for you and it is surely adding color to the image.

Of course anyone that knows my photography a little, knows that I shoot for HDR. I bracket everything I shoot. Well.. almost. All Landscapes and Scenes, I bracket at least 3 separate exposures.
When putting the images together in an HDR program the color can really be bold.

The whole reason that I am bringing the issue of color in my images is that I recently overheard someone talking about my Grand Canyon image and how it had so much color. He did not know I was nearby. Fortunately he is a very nice person. I wasn't sure how to feel about it, but I think I definitely made an impression. So this comment really got me thinking about the subject of color.

For me, if the file has the color information there, I will bump the saturation. But... I do this because, to me, that is what the scene looked like when I shot it.

So I wanted to show what the files looked like before and after.... just to give an idea of the process.

Now... as you will see, I definitely work on my images to bring out detail, light and color, but again this really gives that image the "Wow" factor that I felt while I was standing there, shooting off 3 or more bracketed shots at a time.

If the information is not there on the image files, the detail, color and light will not come out no matter what I do.

Does it sound like I am defending myself?  Not really. In photography everything is subjective. I actually apprecate  feedback.

No matter what, I absolutely love color and will continue applying it as well as light and detail to my images. That's my style.

The result of the 3 above images merged together in an HDR program

The final Image with added light, color and detail.
(This shot looks Killer when printed on Metallic Paper)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Grand Adventure

It seems my future, that was wide open. has been narrowed a bit. I have a new job and I start tomorrow. I am not quite sure how this job will all turn out, but I will give it a try. Money is a funny motivator.
I am trying to stay optimistic. I hope to be able to go out and shoot even with the new job.
So I decided at the last minute to take a really short trip to The Grand Canyon. I mean short. I went up Thursday and came back on Saturday.
I woke up at 3 am on Thursday after a pretty fitful sleep. I was on the road by 4am. I was sooooo excited. I love the open road and I was off. I was a little afraid going alone, but was on an adventure to the Grand Canyon... How cool it that?
After a 10 hour drive in which I sang all the way, I got to the Grand Canyon and my camp site.
As I was setting up, I noticed right away that I was really having a hard to me doing the most simple tasks... like walking 10 feet. I would sit to rest and felt pretty funny. But I was in a hurry to get to the Canyon Rim so I pushed on.
Within 20 minutes I was set up, but felt pretty darn bad. I could not figure what was going on.
Yea... it was hot and humid. I had driven with little sleep and had not eaten since morning. Yet, that is not a big thing, I can function like that. I have been out in the sun all day waiting for shots.
I found the Canyon Rim and was in awe. But the whole time I was not feeling well and every step was a struggle. As the late evening progressed the feeling got much worse. As I stood taking shots, I had to sit and even then I felt that I would pass out any second. The feeling never got better and I could not figure out what was going on. Everyone around me was doing ok with the heat. It was really not that bad out. I actually had to leave and go to my car, which the whole way I was thinking....someone is going to have to pick me off the ground any second.
I never leave before a sunset is completely gone. Never ever.. but this time I had too. Noting seemed to help a lot.
It never occurred to me as I was going on this Grand Canyon adventure that the altitude was 7200 feet.
I had no idea that the altitude would affect me this way. But it did... and it affected my whole trip. Who would have thought? Is it that I am older... who knows. But others I spoke with had trouble there too.
I missed incredible shots that normally... I would have never missed. I am really trying to not beat myself up over it, but I really missed some amazing opportunities. I hate to even say this, but for the record, I missed one of the most Beautiful Sunsets ever because I had to leave early. I mean a full rainbow that expanded the canyon with golden clouds on fire. There is more, but it kills me to even think about it.

I am very happy with the whole trip and adventure. I am very happy with shots that I do have. The only thing I can tell myself, is that I will just have to go back and try again for a longer stay, in the off season and be prepared for the elevation change.
The place was crowded, but not too bad on Thursday. Camp was pretty quite and not full. However by Friday afternoon, people were pouring in and it had a whole different feel. No parking anywhere. Camp was so loud until well after midnight. I knew this might be the case, but it was the only time I could go, so I did.
Over all....People were very nice and the whole experience was fantastic.
After a good night's sleep, I am feeling great that I got to go and got some good shots. Not sorry a bit.
There are no words to describe what it is like there, but Beautiful and Awe Inspiring come to mind.
If I could... I would be there right now.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Future is Wide Open

Photo by Lynn Grizzard

I can see the date of my last blog post and it is relative to my life in the last year. My day job really took a lot of my time and energy. I have had many things to post about, but just never did. I always wanted to and meant to, but just never got to it. So why post today? day job has ended. Our department has been outsourced to another company. In fact this is my first day of freedom. So I say to myself what will I do now?
I have no idea what the future holds at this time. I can only believe that something wonderful will happen.
But, for just a little while, I am going to go out on photo shoots to my heart's desire.
Here's to a Fabulous Future......

Photo of me at Oceano Dunes taken by Teddy Lovett

Photo of me at Morro Strand taken by Mimi Dtchie