Monthly Archives: September 2012

LOOK FOR added interest in your Landscape Photograph

or any photograph really.

Here we have a scene that is in itself beautiful. The magnificent sandstone cliffs above the beach and ocean at Torrey Pines State Beach – La Jolla California

Just on it’s own it’s a beautiful scene to photograph and makes for a nice shot

But simply by stepping 30 feet to my right ( and getting my sneakers VERY wet, I was able to add a ton of interest to the scene by adding the reflection off of the wet beach sand and also some of the movement of the water itself

So don’t get caught up in a scene before you and just fire away, move around look for different perspectives, things of interest, foreground subject all the little things that add up to a more complete and pleasing image for the viewer.

Sometimes we get so excited by the beauty we see we forget to look for more…LOOK


Stop Buildings from Falling Over with your Bare Hands

Or …your mouse 

Many times when we shoot architecture, if we don’t have our camera perfectly level to the building, either shooting up on it or possibly down on it, we will get some geometric distortions or ”keystoning” effects to our image. This at its extreme may look like buildings leaning in on themselves or each other. Or it could just be an element of the building like a door or window that don’t appear square.

Possible fixes are to; well shoot with our camera level – which of course isn’t always possible. Or, we could shoot with a Tilt-Shift Lens( a specialized lens that the barrel twist and turns so the camera stays level but the lens itself points up at a building) But not many people have these expensive lenses in their kit (ha-ha I love to sound British and say “Kit” instead of Bag)

So the other choice is to use software instead. In this exercise I will show how top do it in Photoshop and also Lightroom/Adobe Camera RAW.

Continue reading »

HDR isn’t always Necessary OR Better

I’ve said this before when we talk about measuring the dynamic range of our scene. ‘If you don’t need HDR don’t use it”

It can be simply just an waste of time and Hard Drive storage space or it may even be detrimental to your final image.

Sometimes we just need to be reminded of this

Last weekend down at the Harbor I was shooting some buildings, mid-day, bright sunny mostly cloudless day. Measuring the dynamic range it really wasn’t beyond -2,  + 2 of the meter. But for a couple of the buildings I shot an HDR  3 exposure +2, 0, -2 series  just to see if something interesting may come of it. Well it didn’t

Here is one building in particular. One image is the HDR, one is just the 0 exposure. Continue reading »

Finding the Light. Hurry up and wait

 With  natural light photography here is the typical scenario…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go…

Go home

Continue reading »

Quick Tip of the day – Landscape Photography

If you have a boring sky without clouds for drama or much interest, minimize it in your composition to 1/3 to 1/4 of the total space. This is not the time to go all Big Sky in your image.

Here we have a clearly defined forground subject, adding  BIG Sky would have done nothing for the image. Continue reading »

Using Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 (or any Filter) as a Smart Object in Photoshop

Nik BannerUsing Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 (Or any Filter) as a Smart Object in Photoshop 

How many times have you finished tone mapping an image and made your final Tiff or Jpeg image only to think that you wish you would have done things differently in your HDR program when tone mapping or adding adjustments during the HDR process? 

Do you wish that you could just go back to where you left off in that process and make any change you wanted? 

Well of course you could just merge the images again and yeah you were smart enough to save the recipe you used as a preset. But what about the 20 control points you added to the image. Plus all that time spent remerging and aligning the initial images. There has to be a better way. 

There is, using HDR Efex Pro 2 as a Smart Object/Smart Filter in Photoshop.  Continue reading »

Turn Down that NOISE! – Topaz DeNoise 5

Noise: The digital age equivalent to “Grain” when we shot film. Although it’s somewhat popular now, film grain wasn’t always the welcome trendy thing that it is today.

Maybe 40 years from now we will look back and be putting noise into our images remembering it with the rose color fondness that film grain has and debating whether Nikon noise or Canon noise looked better. 


What is Noise? 

Just what is “Noise”? Where does it come from, how can we prevent it and how do we get rid of it if we can’t?  Continue reading »

Shooting in Aperture Priority Mode

So of course I recommend that people serious to photography learn to shoot in manual mode. It helps them to better understand the Exposure Triangle, the workings of their camera and locks the exposure giving you full control over everything. But once you fully know and understand all of that, the truth is 80% of the time I shoot; I am using one of the Semi-Auto modes; Aperture priority or Shutter priority. Today we’ll talk about shooting in Aperture Priority or AV mode in Canon and Pentax, A mode in Nikon, Sony andO lympus  Continue reading »