Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Workshops Portfolio Reviews at B&H During Photoplus

SEPTEMBER 23, 2008

In This Issue:
Workshops Portfolio Reviews at B&H During Photoplus

PhotoPlus is just weeks away. We always look forward to this time of year - heading to New York to visit with industry sponsors, photography faculty, and alumni, and to meet potential new students.This year we’re also hosting photography portfolio reviews in the Event Space at B&H – just two blocks from the PhotoPlus’ home at the Javits Center.Workshops master faculty are generously giving their time to meet one-on-one with photographers for 20–minute review sessions

Thursday, October 23 from 1 – 3PM, and Friday, October 24 from 10AM – Noon.

Portfolio ReviewersThursday, October 23
Portfolio ReviewersFriday, October 24

Jean Miele
Sean Kernan
Arlene Collins
Karen Marshall
Stephen Johnson
Jill Enfield
Sean Harris
GALLERYYvonne Gomez
Kate Izor
Keith Johnson

To register for this free event, visit the B&H Event Space website by October 8th and sign up for a one-hour review time-frame of your choice. Once you have registered, you will receive an email from the Workshops with the name of your reviewer and your 20-minute timeslot for that hour. On the day of your review, please bring a current print or digital portfolio of your work. If you bring a CD of images, you must also have a laptop to display your work. We look forward to seeing you in New York!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Eddie Tapps' Pro Techniques

The Rebel - Something had to be done...

At the age of 16 he ran away from home to try and find what would make him happy. While searching for the meaning of his life, he found the hospitality of the Mobile, Alabama police department. When he was returned back to his parents, they sat him down with a guidance counselor and discussed what happened. It appeared he seemed happiest when he was photographing the snakes and turtles in the woods near his house, but can you make that into a career? The flash bulbs went off, he should be a photographer. So did this teenage rebel actually go on to live his dream and become a photographer?Yes… his name is Eddie Tapp.

To say Eddie Tapp is an accomplished Photographer is an understatement. Most people would get tired trying to read the list of his honors and achievements. In reality, you probably already know Eddie, because he tours all over the world teaching photographers about digital imaging. He was one of the first to teach Photoshop, and he can teach you a thing or five about it.

So for all you creative rebels out there. We are offering Eddie Tapps' Pro Techniques at its lowest price yet. It is chock full of the Photoshop techniques you absolutely need to know, like retouching, and creating soft focus, and color management (you know you need it). You will get to see why Eddie is one of the most in demand speakers in the industry.

For just one week you can get 30% Off. That is Pro Techniques 1&2 for under $132. Or get the whole shebang which includes Color Management for under $195. Just use the code REBEL when you check out, and remember if you ever are looking for something, Mobile is as good a place as any to find it.

Pro Techniques 1&2 >>
Pro Techniques 1&2 with Color Management >>

Here's what it's all about...

CLASSIC Pro Techniques 1

Working in Adobe Camera RawLearn how to use this powerful processing interface for RAW and Jpegs along with using the tools, adjustment tabs and controls, establishing important preferences and processing techniques.

Creating Custom Logo BrushesYou can learn how to create a custom logo brush.

Controlling Digital NoiseSee how to control digital noise that is caused by high ISO settings or under exposed images using the powerful Reduce Noise filter in CS3 along with Adobe Camera Raw.

90% Method of Color CorrectionLearn the best method of removing a color cast from an image by the numbers and how to keep the pixel data's integrity at its best.

Additional Color Correction TechniquesYou will learn color correction techniques from the simple method a histogram search to a more advanced masking technique.

Creating Subjective EnhancementsLearn techniques for subjective color and tonal enhancements.

Matching ColorsSee how to use the Match Color command in Photoshop CS3.

Shadow/Highlight & Exposure ControlsImplement the powerful Shadow/Highlight and Exposure controls in CS3.

RAW vs JPEGSee the difference between raw and jpeg when your white balance has the wrong setting.
and much more...

CLASSIC Pro Techniques 2

Color Borders & MoreLearn to make single and double color borders along with additional controls. Also included are multiple image borders and creating Actions.

Edge EffectsLearn how to create custom edge effects for your images by recording an Action and how to modify the Action for different edge effects.

Dream GlowMake great enhancement techniques by creating the Dream Glow action for Red, Green and Blue and various options for a beautiful enhanced image.

MZ Soft FocusCreate a beautiful Soft Focus filter that rivals soft focus from many years ago. Creating an Action for the enhancement technique also gives you many options and controls.
Cookie LightingLearn how to create very effective yet simple to do lighting techniques with any image.

Zoom EffectsSee a wonderful and effective enhancement technique to bring out different feelings from the same image. Advanced masking is also covered.

Rebuild TechniquesYou can learn how to create rebuilds from the very simple to more advanced methods with a series of image challenges.

Multi-Layer ProjectLearn a variety of multi-layer techniques including grouping, clipping and layer properties.

Smart ObjectsUse Smart Objects and gain much control with a variety of different projects.
PhotomergeLearn how to use a variety of Photomerge options in creating panoramas.
and much more...

Get the Tapp CLASSIC Combo setThis includes the above mentioned Pro Techniques 1 & 2plus

Classic Color Management
CLASSIC Color Management CS3with Eddie TappCoauthored by Rick Lucas (digital color expert)

Learn about all aspects of Color Management including Color Spaces, Color Temperature, White Balance, Device Calibration, creating Color Profiles, Managed Workflow, Actions, Camera RAW, Preferences and even working Color Management Scenarios.
Setting Color PreferencesLearn how to set up Color Preferences in Photoshop & Adobe Bridge along with managing various color spaces and profiles.

Introduction to Calibrating and Profiling DevicesThis session is the introduction of the two steps in stage 2 of a color managed workflow.

Calibrating and Profiling Input DevicesLearn the means and importance calibrating and profiling input devices, scanners and digital cameras.

Calibrating and Profiling Monitors and ProjectorsSee the techniques of calibrating monitors and projectors and how your profile becomes your System Profile.
Calibrating and Profiling Output DevicesIn this session you will learn how to calibrate and profile output devices such as printers.

Editing ICC ProfilesLearn how easy it is to edit the tone and color and output profiles.
Converting Profiles for OutputUse soft proofing in Photoshop along with the various options for converting your files for output profiles, including page layout, PDF files and the Internet.
and much more...

Pro Techniques 1&2 >>
Pro Techniques 1&2 with Color Management >>
All our titles carry a 20-day, unconditional satisfaction guarantee.Disc and On-Demand offer valid from Sept 22 to Sept 30, 2008.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Butterfly Conservatory

Opens Saturday, October 11
They're back!

Meet 500 beautiful, free-flying butterflies and moths from Central, South, and North America, Africa, and Asia, settling in for the season in a lush, tropical vivarium that approximates their natural habitats.

This exhibition reopens on October 11, 2008.
Tickets for The Butterfly Conservatory may be purchased in advance through our online ticketing system.

Also lizards and snakes alive
The squamates return in this popular exhibition showcasing more than 60 live animals representing 27 species from all over the world.
Timed entrance to The Butterfly Conservatory is available every fifteen minutes from 10:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. The last timed-entry to the exhibition is at 5:00 p.m.

The Museum is open daily, 10:00 a.m.—5:45 p.m.-->The Museum is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Easter Holiday Weekend Hours-->
Click here for information on current Museum exhibitions.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

5 More Elements of Composition in Photography

Digital Photography School - Daily Update

5 More Elements of Composition in Photography

Yesterday I shared 5 ingredients of composition that I consider when setting up a shot. Today I’d like to talk about 5 more.

Image by foreversouls
Most of us use ‘frames’ to display our images when we hang them on walls for viewing - however ‘framing’ can be used within the composition of a shot to help you highlight your main point of interest in the image and and/or to put it in context to give the image ‘depth’.
Learn how to use framing as an element of composition.

Image by fensterbme
The perspective that a shot is taken from is another element that can have a big impact upon an image.
Shooting from up high and looking down on a subject or shooting from below looking up on the same subject drastically impact not only the ‘look’ of the image, emphasizing different points of interest, angles, textures, shapes etc - but it also impacts the ’story’ of an image.
Read more on photographing people from different angles.

Image by .robbie
There can be a fine line between filling your frame with your subject (and creating a nice sense of intimacy and connection) and also giving your subject space to breath.
Either technique can be effective - so experiment with moving in close and personal and moving out to capture a subject in its context.
Sometimes it is what you leave out of an image that makes it special

Image by *L*u*z*a*
The positioning with elements in a frame can leave an image feeling balanced or unbalanced.
Too many points of interest in one section of your image can leave it feeling too ‘heavy’ or complicated in that section of the shot and other parts feeling ‘empty’.
Read more about balance in photography.

Image by baboon
The colors in an image and how they are arranged can make or break a shot.
Bright colors can add vibrancy, energy and interest - however in the wrong position they can also distract viewers of an image away from focal points.
Colors also greatly impact ‘mood’. Blues and Greens can have a calming soothing impact, Reds and Yellows can convey vibrancy ad energy etc.

What have I missed?
Between yesterday’s post on composition elements in photography and today’s I’ve covered just 10 things that photographers consider when composing a photo. What would you add?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Connecticut Renaissance Festival

The Connecticut Renaissance Festival starts this Saturday, 9/27/08 and continues weekends (and Columbus Day) thru Sunday Oct. 19 in Hebron CT.

Their website is .

Congrats to Rick Sereque!

Congrats to Rick Sereque!

The website won 2nd place in the PSA website competition for large clubs.

Rick did also credit Bill Barnett with this accomplishment... "Bill provides me invaluable aid in the design and look and feel of the pages."

Rick ALSO I won 2nd place in a photo contest for the annual NJ Hot Air Balloon Festival sponsored by Unique Photo and won a Canon PowerShot digital camera.

Way to go Rick!

Photoshop CS4 is the 11th version of Adobe's

Photoshop CS4 is the 11th version of Adobe's venerable and industry-standard imaging application. It's hard to imagine that Adobe can continue to make large changes to Photoshop. It seems that just about everything but the kitchen sink is already in the application, but once again, Adobe has found ways to take a mature application and improve it. In this review, I'll give you a first look at the new features you'll find in Photoshop CS4.

Free Adobe Photoshop CS4 Tutorials For CS4 & Photoshop CS4 Extended

Whenever a new version of Photoshop comes out I am initially very excited. Yet, after the hype settles, I tend to ask myself, "Ok, what's the real (i.e. non-marketing) scoop here and is this version worth the upgrade?" Well, after having used CS4 for months now, I can truly say it is an excellent release and I'm still excited about it! Adobe has once again provided a tool that helps me to be more efficient, more productive and more creative. You'll have to make the decision for yourself, yet below are a few of my thoughts/highlights on a handful of the new features. This list is in no way exhaustive, yet it will get you started. In addition, there is one new feature that isn't on the list because it is hard to verbalize. And that is the overall improved experience of using CS4 - it is so much better! Again, you'll have to discover that for yourself. For now, I hope these new feature highlights help you get the most out of CS4.

Cheers, - photography portfolio - chris orwig's video training - chris orwig's adobe press books - where i teach

Performance and Navigation
I'm a bit of a functionalist and I'm happy to say that Photohsop CS4 runs fast and furious! Part of this is how the application runs, another part is how Photoshop takes advantage of and taps into the power of the Graphics chip (i.e. the whole GPU acceleration deal). In sum, the new performance features in CS4 help you do what you need to do... and do it much more quickly.
Here are a couple of noteworthy performance and navigation features. For starters, you no longer have to zoom into 25%, 50% etc to get an accurate view. Everything looks great at any magnification! In addition, zoom in past 500% you will see a little grid that separates the pixels. This helps achieve pixel accurate editing. You can also zoom into 3200%.In addition, you can navigate with new fluidity. Take advantage of "Flick panning" which allows you to "hand toss pixels" and across your images with incredible speed. Or try this one, press and hold the Zoom tool for a new fluid zoom.

In closing, here is a bonus "Bird's eye view" navigation tip. Have you noticed that the navigator panel is now hidden by default. Well not to worry. Press and hold the H (Hand Tool) key + click and access a navigator rectangle that works exactly like the navigator panel (see screen grab below).

Camera Raw
I'm a photographer, and as a result I spend a lot of time in Camera Raw (whether in Lightroom or Photoshop). The new Camera Raw features are epic. The Adjustment Brush allows you to "paint" in adjustments to specific areas - think burn/doge, whiten teeth, smooth skin, etc. The Graduated Filter works great when you need to darken skies or brighten the foreground. Previously, you were not able to view the crop until you exited Camera Raw. Now press Enter/Return to view the new crop. Next, you can add a Post-Crop Vignette darkening or brightening effect.

Mask Panel
The Mask Panel opens up a whole new way of working with masks. For example, you can now change the Density of the mask. Think of this control like overall intensity. Or if you know a thing or two about masks, think of this as a way to change the brightness/darkness value of the mask. In addition, you can enhance your mask edges with the new Feather control.

Adjustments Panel
The new Adjustments Panel will transform how you work in Photoshop. The idea was to create a way to access the adjustments quickly. The adjustments are grouped into Tone and Color, Color and Specialty adjustments. Click on an icon to create an adjustment layer.

With the release of Lightroom, the Adobe Bridge has taken a bit of a beating. Yet, the new Bridge is solid. The interface has been redesigned, it runs more quickly and it works better. In addition, there are some new/or improved features like Fullscreen mode, Workspace Customization and the Bridge review mode (see below) to name a few.

Content Aware Scaling
The is the new "wow" feature that gets the crowds to applause when they see it. Basically, it is a way to scale your images without loosing quality or "structural" integrity of the image. In the example below I scaled the height and width of the photo without any loss of important detail or background degradation.

Dodge and Burn Tools
These two tools have been completely overhauled with the new "Protect Tones" option. Turn this on to maintain color relationships while brightening or darkening areas of your image. Long story short, these rock!

Live Brush Preview
Cloning and Healing just got easier with Live Preview. Now you can actually see what you are going to clone/heal inside your brush. To toggle this off press option/alt.

Vibrance Adjustment
Just like in Lightroom and Camera Raw Vibrance allows you to make non-linear saturation adjustments. In other words, it only saturates less saturated colors. For example, add color to a photograph of a person without their skin tones becoming over saturated.

Target Adjustment Tool - Hue/Sat, Curves and Black and White
This is another one of those "Oh wow!" new features. Click on this tool while using Hue/Sat, Curves, Black and White and then click and drag on your image to change that particular area. Once you start using this tool it will be hard to imagine life without it!

Rotate Canvas
This is another one of the GPU improvements. It's called rotating canvas. Hold the R key and drag. You will see a compass and the whole canvas rotates. This is helpful when you want to work on specific areas of an image. It also makes Photoshop feel a bit more freed up and less locked into the horizontal or vertical layout.

There is a new brush preview, and a new way to resize brushes by dragging. This will speed up your brush selection and modification by leaps and bounds!
Control + Alt (Mac) or Alt + Right click (PC) and drag and you will see the brush tip change size. Drag to the left or right to change the size. In the screen grab below the brush preview size is shown in red.Control+Alt+Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (PC) to change the softness.

Tabbed Documents
Tabbed Documents will help you work more efficiently when you have multiple documents open at one time. Press Control + Tab to toggle through the open documents or simple click on a tab to view an image.

Spring Loaded Keys
This is actually one of my favorite improvements. Now you can press and hold a shortcut key to temporarily select a tool. For example if you have the Brush tool select and you make a brush stroke that you want to move. Press and hold the V key, move the brush stroke, let go of the V key and it toggles back to the Brush tool.

Combine Multiple Images
In CS4 you can combine multiple images to create panos or layered extended depth of field images. For starters, Auto - Align works better for regular pano or for images shot with wide angle and even fish eye lenses. In addition, you can now combine multiple images with different depth of field to "extend" the depth of field.

Color Range - Localized Color (spatial awareness)
The Color Range tool has become much more important in CS4 as you can now access it from inside of the Masks Panel in order to modify, enhance, revise your mask. In addition, the new Localized Color Clusters option prevents the color range selection from going overboard and selecting pixels in different areas. Again, the long story short is that this makes Color Range immensely more precise and helpful.

Adobe Photoshop CS4 Learning Center

Most Comprehensive Adobe Photoshop CS4 Learning Center Launched by the National Association of Photoshop Professionals
Adobe Photoshop CS4 Learning Center Offers Tutorials, New Feature Overviews, Exclusive Interviews and More for the Newly-Released Adobe(R) Photoshop(R) CS4

Last update: 9:05 a.m. EDT Sept. 23, 2008

TAMPA, Fla., Sep 23, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Today, the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) has launched its new Adobe(R) Photoshop(R) CS4 Learning Center covering the new exciting features of Photoshop CS4 as part of the much anticipated Adobe(R) Creative Suite(R) 4 announcement. The NAPP Adobe Photoshop CS4 Learning Center is the most comprehensive Photoshop CS4 learning experience available today jam-packed with video tutorials, interviews, helpful information, and more at

"I am really impressed with how Adobe has been listening to their users, and CS4 is proof of how tuned-in they are to what their customers want next in Photoshop," said Scott Kelby, founder of NAPP, editor-in-chief of Photoshop User magazine, and president of Kelby Media Group. "While there are a lot of new features (including some darn-right amazing new technology), beyond that, this is just flat-out a better, smarter, more elegant and easy-to-use version of Photoshop than ever before, and I think that's what has me excited the most!" commented Kelby.

The new Adobe Photoshop CS4 Learning Center is loaded with 17 video tutorials created by industry's top Photoshop experts and led by Scott Kelby and the NAPP education and curriculum team of Dave Cross, Matt Kloskowski, Corey Barker and RC Concepcion. NAPP's Adobe Photoshop Learning Center features an exclusive interview with John Nack, Adobe Photoshop senior product manager; an insider's look at the favorite features of Photoshop CS4, and a special episode of PhotoshopUser TV with the Photoshop Guys. Visitors to the learning center will find video tutorials that highlight improved features like Camera Raw, the adjustment brush, the graduated filter tool, 3D improvements, Bridget updates, adjustment layers; plus, dodging, burning, and sponging tips.

Photographers, graphic and web designers, art directors, video producers, teachers and Photoshop users of all interests and skill levels will have access to NAPP's free Adobe Photoshop CS4 Learning Center for a limited time, then only NAPP members will have access to the learning center. For more information about becoming a
member of NAPP visit

About NAPP
The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) is an accredited, dynamic trade association and the world's leading resource for Adobe(R) Photoshop(R) and Photoshop(R) Lightroom(R) training, news, and education. An award-winning team of Photoshop experts, authors, consultants, and trainers lead the association, keeping its members on the cutting edge of Adobe Photoshop techniques and technology. With more than 71,000 members in 106 countries, NAPP is the largest digital imaging and graphics association worldwide. Visit for more information.

SOURCE: National Association of Photoshop Professionals
National Association of Photoshop Professionals, Tampa
Mary Laurinaitis, Media Manager, 813-433-5006, ext. 162

Copyright Business Wire 2008

Adobe® Photoshop® CS4

Put Adobe® Photoshop® CS4 software in your hands and see what you can create. The new Adjustment panel and Masks panel give you more intuitive access to unrivaled editing power. Experiment freely with nondestructive adjustments. Explore your creativity by compositing images, text, and graphics. And work at peak efficiency in a streamlined, flexible work environment. With accelerated graphics handling, precise color correction, efficient image management, and powerful raw image processing, you can do more, faster than ever before.

Get 30% off Lightroom 2 when purchased with Photoshop CS4 software
Purchase a full or upgrade version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2, along with a full or upgrade version of Photoshop CS4, Photoshop CS4 Extended, or Creative Suite® containing Photoshop CS4 or Photoshop CS4 Extended. See offer terms below.


Microsoft has announced that Photosynth, its stunning three-dimensional photo display technology, has moved beyond the demonstration stage and is now available for photographers to process and upload their own Photosynths. The free service works only on Windows XP and Vista, both for preparing and viewing Photosynths, though Mac compatibility is promised in the future.

Photosynth is a potent mixture of two independent breakthroughs: the ability to reconstruct the scene or object from a bunch of flat photographs, and the technology to bring that experience to virtually anyone over the Internet.

Using techniques from the field of computer vision, Photosynth examines images for similarities to each other and uses that information to estimate the shape of the subject and the vantage point each photo was taken from. With this information, we recreate the space and use it as a canvas to display and navigate through the photos. Photosynth was inspired by the breakthrough research on Photo Tourism from the University of Washington and Microsoft Research. This work pioneered the use of photogrammetry to power a cinematic and immersive experience

Providing that experience requires viewing a LOT of data though—much more than you generally get at any one time by surfing someone’s photo album on the web. That’s where our Seadragon™ technology comes in: delivering just the pixels you need, exactly when you need them. It allows you to browse through dozens of 5, 10, or 100(!) megapixel photos effortlessly, without fiddling with a bunch of thumbnails and waiting around for everything to load.
More information on the history of Photosynth is available here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

Create your own.

Here is one of the wordles from this Blog

Monday, September 22, 2008

photo tips

Thank you Wayne for passing along this site:

It has all kinds of tips

Master single light studio portraits in photography

Take pictures of lightning with a Nikon DSLR

Set up with four lights (This video segment discusses adding a hair light for portrait photography)

Create Your Own Planet Shaped Amazing Circle.

Create Your Own Planet Shaped Amazing Circle. First create a Full 360 Degrees Panorama (Tips&Tricks), or download example file.

-- Load the file in Photoshop.

-- Change the Image Size.

-- Set width to the same size as heigth (uncheck 'Constrain Proporties') to create a 1:1 square. (example file: change 8000x2000 into 2000x2000 pixels).

-- Rotate the image 180 degrees.

-- Use the 'Polar Coordinates' filter (Rectangular to Polar) to create the planet.And now you'll understand where the Polar Coordinates filter is meant for ;-)

Note: if you skip the rotation of 180 degrees you'll get the Wheel Shaped Amazing Circle (on the right).

Discussion and more great ideas here.

Make a Photoshop Planet
Helen Bradley

Whatever you call them, mini planets, amazing circles, 360 degree panoramas or spheres, Helen Bradley shows you how to make them - step by step.

This last photograph is mine. Vic Krasenics showed this neat trick to us at the NHHC when he presented his awesome panorama program to us last year. It is not a 360 degree photo, but I do find that this technique works on most panoramas. The bride loved it. Lisa

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Quick and dirty color cast removal

Quick and dirty color cast removal

I love quick and dirty solutions and this one is just that. Got an image with a color cast that needs removing?

Here's a Photoshop solution worth looking at:
Open the image, choose Image > Adjustments > Color Match and click Neutralize.

It's a fix that neutralizes the image and, if it's too much of a fix, drag the Fade slider to the right to get a balance between the original and the fixed version.
Simple huh?

I found this on Projectwoman a website with lots of great tutorials, check it out!

You Suck at Photoshop

Photoshop World instructor David Ziser did an interview with Donny Hoyle (the guy behind the popular “You Suck at Photoshop” series on Take a quick moment and check out what David found out. (Here’s the link to it on David’s “Digital Pro Talk” blog).


From DIY Photography and Studio Lighting

Attending a great software conference like the Agile 2008 conference does have its perks. Aside from the great lectures, fantastic food, and excellent developers to hang out with, you have your freebies. Freebies are the cool little things that vendors will give you to make you come to their booth, and listen to what ever it is they have to offer.

It is only natural that in a software conference you'll get your USB mini-hub, cool agile poker cards, snoot, assorted candies ... did you say snoot?!?!?

Well, not at first sight. One of the Agile consulting companies, Improving Enterprises, was giving away free blue beer holders. Yes, software developers do drink beer hold beer holders. Now, let's see: made out of foam? Check! Will fit a Nikon SB-800? Check! Black interior? Check! Will look professional on a set? Check!

There was no way I could resist this. After taking the bottom off I got a perfect snoot - and it said "Improving" in large bold font. How can you not love this?

I could not find any corrugated plastic signs, otherwise I'd be back with a gridspot too :)
See this image for a lonely snootless flash (and please ignore the piles of laundry on the sofa).

And this is the snooted Nikon SB-800. (It is harder to see the mess now)

Make sure you don't miss out on the next article - Register to the RSS feed or the newsletter.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Adobe announces Lightroom 2.1 update...

From Adobe labs:"Welcome to the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.1 release candidate on Adobe Labs. The ‘release candidate’ label indicates that this update is well tested but would benefit from additional community testing before it is distributed automatically to all of our customers. The Lightroom team would like the community to help verify the quality of this update through normal usage as this will ensure that the application is tested on a diversity of hardware and software configurations not available internally at Adobe."

You can download the update/release candidate here.

Jerry Monkman: Learn Lightroom and Photoshop.

For those of you who have never met or heard Jerry he is wonderful as a photographer and as a person! Lisa

From Jerry Monkman

In my three to five day workshops, we focus on getting out in nature and taking the best photos we can find. In these one-day Photoshop and Lightroom seminars, we'll hunker down indoors and learn how to take those image captures and turn them into stunning images for your website, digital presentations, or fine art prints. These digital skills are a must for photographers today, and once you've mastered a few basics you will revel in the power you have to create the photos you imagined when you pressed the shutter. In the Lightroom seminar, you'll also discover how to manage your image workflow efficiently. As a full-time photographer, I'm using photo software almost every day of my life, and I've found that the computer work can actually be fun once you cut through the complexity of the software.

These seminars will be held in beautiful downtown Portsmouth, NH, just a few minutes off of I-95 at the Hilton Garden Inn. Basic Photoshop for the Outdoor Photographer will be offered on Saturday November 8.Learn Adobe Lightroom in a Day will be held on Sunday November 9.
Our Price: $95.00 per seminar
Read the details here.

This fall we are beginning work on a companion road trip guide to our photo book, The Colors of Fall. While you'll need to wait until 2010 to see that one, we have plenty of copies of the original in stock (as well as the rest of our books). If you would like a signed copy to use as inspiration for your own fall photo trip, just surf on over to
Our Price: $19.95 plus shipping.
See a preview of Colors of Fall here.
Jerry Monkman
phone: 888-705-8274

Friday, September 19, 2008

create frames for your images in Photoshop

Guest blogger, Helen Bradley from ProjectWoman shows you -- STEP BY STEP -- how you can create great looking frames for your images in Photoshop.

When you’re displaying your photos on a blog or a website you’ll want them to look as good as they would if you had them framed on the wall. Here is a Photoshop technique for adding a frame, complete with your name and photo details, to a photo. The frame gives the photograph a very smart and professional look.

This was also presented at the recent Scott Kelby seminar in Hartford. See our post here:

My example below...

hard to find Canon and Nikon OEM small parts

Great website for hard to find Canon and Nikon OEM small parts like lens caps, eyecups, etc, as well as lower priced third party copies of the OEM parts.

Thank you Gary for passing this along!

4 Days until Autumn

New England Fall Foliage Reports on the Net

Yankee Foliage

Daily Color: See the color changes and submit your reports for Interactive Foliage Map

Foliage Forums: Join the foliage discussion year round!

Foliage Blog: Plan for fall with Jeff Foliage's advice

Scenic Drives: Our best drives in New England

Peak Map: Choose dates from the calendar and see the color prediction

Foliage Forecast


Last week in September: north
First week in October: north central
Second week in October: south
Foliage Web site: Vermont


Color changes west to east
Beginning of October: Berkshires
Mid-October: Cape and Islands
Foliage Web site: Massachusetts


Color changes north to south; best color mid- to late October
Foliage Web site: Connecticut

Rhode Island

Color starts mid- to late September and lasts through November, moving east
Foliage Web site: Rhode Island


End of September: extreme north and northwest
First week in October: east and central-western mountains
Mid-October: south and coastal
Foliage Web site: Maine

New Hampshire

Last week in September: far north
First week in October: White Mountains
Second week in October: south
Foliage Web site: New Hampshire

Why leaves change color:

Preserving leaves:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

EOS 5D SLR digital camera for sale

I am interested in selling my EOS 5D SLR camera which has 12.8 megapixels with a full-frame sensor, and is in excellent condition. Here is an opportunity to upgrade to a full-frame sensor SLR camera at a reasonable price. I paid $3000 for it 2 ½ years ago. My selling price is $1350.

If anyone is interested, please contact me at:

George Fellner
chairman/program director
CT Valley Camera Club

recent photoshop disasters

Those of you who saw our program at NECCC know that I collect "photoshop disasters" and I even have some of my own!

This photographer/editor is definitely not a "leg man":-)

and lastly, this poor model trying to sell skirts for the GAP so that she can have surgery...

New from Canon 5D Mark II.

Here is the press announcement from Canon about the 5D Mark II.

Amstelveen, The Netherlands, 17 September 2008: Canon announces the full frame, 21.1 Megapixel EOS 5D Mark II: the first EOS with full High Definition video capability.

Compact, lightweight with environmental protection, EOS 5D successor boasts a newly designed Canon CMOS sensor, with ISO sensitivity up to 25,600 for shooting in near dark conditions. The new DIGIC 4 processor combines with the improved CMOS sensor to deliver medium format territory image quality at 3.9 frames per second, for up to 310 frames.

Triggered from Live View Mode, HD video capture allows users to shoot uninterrupted at full 1080 resolution at 30fps – for amazing quality footage with outstanding levels of detail and realism.

The integration of HD movie capability into a high-end 21.1 Megapixel camera opens a multitude of new possibilities for photojournalists and news photographers. With its full frame CMOS sensor and outstanding ISO performance, the EOS 5D Mark II will appeal to any photographer in search of the finest camera equipment available – from studio and wedding to nature and travel photographers.Other improvements to the EOS 5D include

  • Addition of Canon’s EOS Integrated Cleaning System, with a new Fluorine coating on the low-pass filter
  • Larger 3.0” Clear View LCD with VGA resolution, a 170° angle of view and anti-reflective coatings
  • Improved menu system including Quick Control Screen for more direct access to common settings
  • Automatic peripheral illumination correction, utilising detailed EF lens information to optimise JPEG images straight out of the camera
  • Magnesium alloy construction with additional environmental protection
    UDMA memory card compatibility.

“Professional photojournalists and wedding photographers already choose the EOS 5D for its discrete size and outstanding image quality,” said Mogens Jensen, head of Canon Consumer Imaging. “The addition of HD movie recording opens a new chapter for EOS. It creates new possibilities for EOS photographers to capture and share their stories and to stay relevant in a rapidly changing digital landscape.”

Key Specifications:

  • New 21.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor with improved EOS Integrated Cleaning System (E.I.C.S.)
  • New Full HD 1080 resolution movie recording
  • 3.9 frames per second continuous shooting
  • High performance DIGIC 4 providing superb image quality
  • Maximum 310 large JPEG images in a single burst with a UDMA card
  • 3.0” VGA (920k dots) Clear View LCD
  • ISO 100-6400 (expansion from 50 up to 25,600)
  • 9 AF points + 6 Assist AF points

Additional information

New CMOS sensor

The EOS 5D Mark II’s newly designed full frame 21.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor features ISO sensitivity from 100-6400, expandable to 50, 12,800 and 25,600. Large 6.4µm2 pixels have been redesigned to capture more light and yield a better signal to noise ratio to ensure lower noise images throughout the ISO range. The full frame sensor has the same dimensions as a frame of 35mm film. This means that wide-angle lenses stay wide, without the change in angle of view associated with smaller sensor cameras. As well as benefiting from finer control over depth of field, photographers moving up to the EOS 5D Mark II’s full frame format will find the newly designed wide, bright 98% coverage viewfinder on a joy to work with.

New DIGIC 4 processor

A new DIGIC 4 processor combined with 14-bit analogue to digital conversion provides smooth gradations in mono-tonal areas such as skies, and highly accurate colour rendition. As well as HD movie shooting, DIGIC 4’s high speed provides for long uninterrupted continuous bursts of large JPEGs, near-instant start-up times and immediate and fast review after shooting. DIGIC 4 also provides for improved noise reduction algorithms, complementing the already low noise images from the EOS 5D Mark II’s CMOS sensor.

HD video capture

The EOS 5D Mark II is Canon’s first D-SLR to incorporate full HD 1920×1080 video capture. Once filming is started from Live View mode, photographers can fire off either single of continuous stills, with video capture continuing after the final frame is captured.

See everything

A new 3.0” VGA resolution LCD provides a wide 170º angle-of-view, providing plenty of clarity for accurate focus checks in playback. The screen brightness can automatically adjust to suit viewing conditions, extending battery life in low light and improving viewing in bright conditions. A new dedicated Live View button switches modes to display a real-time image on the LCD. This allows EOS 5D Mark II photographers to enjoy simplified shooting from awkward angles. Simple connection to a PC provides easy remote shooting.

Precision focus and metering

A 9-point auto focus system is supported by 6 additional invisible Assist AF points, located inside the spot-metering circle to optimise subject tracking performance in AI SERVO AF mode. For accurate exposure readings in tricky lighting conditions, the spot metering circle covers just 3.5% of the frame.


The EOS 5D Mark II’s redesigned menu system includes a new Quick Control screen, for instant access to the most commonly changed settings. A new Creative Auto mode allows photographers to cede control of key settings to the camera, while retaining control over creative variables such background blur, drive mode and image brightness. Custom user settings allow photographers to switch between two completely different camera setups. This is ideal for changing quickly between two different environments, such as switching from working inside a church without flash to outdoors with fill-flash at a wedding.


Shooting flexibility is enhanced with a range of new accessories. Shooting capacity can be extended with either the high capacity 1800mAh lithium-ion Battery Pack LP-E6, or Battery Grip BG-E6.

A new optional Wireless File Transmitter – the WFT-E4 – offers external HDD and GPS compatibility along with ability to transmit images direct to computer or FTP server, or operate the camera wirelessly. Both the BG-E6 and WFT-E4 feature a vertical orientation shutter release and other key controls for comfortable portraiture work, with a substantial grip to help balance the camera when used with long lenses.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

“An Introduction to Photography Composition”

Most of us are familiar with the rule of thirds, here is a very visual and appealing (rather than just clinical) explanation. Check it out!!
An Introduction to Photography Composition
Published by Yanik at 9:48 pm

Here’s my first comprehensive article part of my Intro to Photography category. This article on the introduction to photography composition is actually a brief summary that’s part of my workshop called: “Introduction to Photography”.

Creating a beautiful photograph isn’t as difficult as one might think. Some people can instinctively compose their images without any knowledge of photography composition rules. Others might need a little help and think things through before it becomes second nature.We’ll look at some basic composition techniques that will dramatically improve your images. By applying one or many of the following rules, your photos will go from looking amateurish to professional. You will also understand why some of the previous images you took work so well and why you and other people like them so much.Before we get started, let me point out that these rules are only guides to help you create beautiful images. You can apply more than one rule in your photos…. or none at all! Remember that rules are made to be broken… sometimes. Here are the photography composition rules what we’ll look at in this article:- The Rule of Thirds - Simplicity - Leading Lines - The Natural Frame - Contrasts - Point of View - Rhythm

The Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is probably the most popular rule out there. It’s based on the Golden Mean (or golden ratio). Simply put, you draw 2 imaginary lines (both horizontal and vertical) at equal distances from each other essentially dividing your image into thirds, hence the rule of thirds. Basically, the rule is based on the theory that the eye is naturally drawn to those “thirds” and the points at each intersecting line.Here is an example:

As a rule, you should use these lines to guide you in composing a photograph that may have horizontal or vertical lines. A good example of this are landscape photographs. Most landscape photos will have a horizon (horizontal line). Try to compose your image without placing your horizon in the middle of your image but instead on either the top or bottom third as shown here.

Here is an example using it on a vertical line.

You’ll also be using the rule of thirds at the points where the lines intersect with each other as seen here:

This applies very well for portraits or when you have a clear distinctive subject. Here are a few examples.

Even before the rule of thirds, I personally think that simplicity should be the first thing you think about when composing a photograph. Try to keep you image “clutter free”. Remember that you want to draw your viewer to the main subject of the photo as quickly and instinctively as possible. Here are 2 tips to help simplify your composition.1- Get in close. To easily remove some of the distractions around your subject is to zoom in on it. Once you think your close enough, zoom in even more! This is a simple yet very effective way to simplify your image. Here’s an example.

Simplify your background.

You don’t always want to get in really close to compose your image so the next thing to do is to remove the “clutter” from your background so that the eye isn’t distracted away from your main subject. You can do this with 2 different approaches. The first one is to choose an even background. This could be a single-colored piece of fabric or paper or an even-textured surface like a brick wall.

The second technique is to have a blurred background where all the elements blend into each other to form a blur of colors. A blurred background is created by using shallow depth of field (DOF). Here’s an example.

Leading Lines
There are many reasons why we can use leading lines in our composition. Let’s look at the 3 major ones.1- Creating Depth. Using leading lines like a road or a path for example, can add a 3D effect to an otherwise 2D image. It will create the illusion of depth like in this image of a road in Western Canada.

Focus on the Subject. You can use leading lines in your image to lead the viewer towards your main subject; basically guiding the eye to the focus of your image.

More Dynamic. Leading lines also make your images more dynamic. Usually, that will be achieved with diagonal lines like the image above or this one of my “Mafioso Birds”.

The Natural Frame
You can also use an element inside your frame to act as a frame. To be considered a frame, the general consensus is the the framing element should cover at least 2 sides of the photo. It could be on either sides or in a L or U shape. It could be be almost anything. Most commonly used are trees or window frames.The natural frame will bring depth to the photo as well as bring emphasis on your main subject.Here are a few examples.

If you want to make your main subject sand out, it needs to be different from the rest of the image. It can be different in many ways. Most commonly, you’ll find a lightness/darkness contrast and/or strong color contrasts. To help with lightness/darkness contrasts, you could convert your file into black and white or a single color. As for color contrasts, complementary colors work really well. Here are 2 examples.

Contrasting subjects could also fit in this category, This is more of a psychological contrast than a purely visual one.

Point of View
A very important technique in composition is your point of view. Where are you taking your photos from? As human beings, we’re lazy by nature and this laziness also transposes in the way we take pictures. Most of us will be standing up and all we’ll do is rotate or bend our knees a little. Now if everybody does that, do you think your image, taken the same way, will stand out? You reduce your chances greatly. Take the time to observe your subject or your subject’s entourage.Here are the 3 most common points of view for you to try.1- From Above. Get as high as you can over your subject. Look at it from above. If you can’t get above it, bring it down. Use what you have around you like a ladder, a chair or even your rooftop. In this image, I was standing on a pik-nik table.

From Below. Now do the opposite. Look at your subject from below (if possible) or put it up high above you. If you’re fast enough, you could even throw it in the air above you (do not use heavy or sharp objects ;)). The first image shows a typical shot of the spider sculpture and the second one is taken underneath it at dusk.

At Subject’s Level. So you’re shooting this cute docile chipmunk in the park. Yes you could do a shot from above but do you think that’s original? How about getting eye to eye with your furry friend? Yes, that takes a small effort and you might get dirty a bit but you’ll see, it’s worth it!

This is the last composition technique we’ll look at in this photography tutorial. Rhythm is basically a repetition of a subject. This technique is used to create a dynamic impact in your image. The eye will follow the repeated subject throughout the photograph. Here’s an example.
I have pasted the advice here but the photos can be viewed on the website.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Understanding blending modes

Understanding blending modes

The way that layers interact with other layers in the stack is determined by the blending mode of the upper layer.

By default the layer’s mode is set to Normal, which causes the picture content on the upper layer to obscure the picture parts beneath, but Photoshop has many other ways to control how these pixels interact. Called blend modes, the different options provide a variety of ways to control the mixing, blending and general interaction of the layer content.

The layer blend modes are located in the drop-down menu at the top left of the Layers palette. Blend modes can also be applied to the painting and drawing tools via a drop-down menu in the tool’s options bar.

Blending modes are split into 6 different sections. The Basic ones replace the base pixels, the Darken ones darken the base pixels, the Lighten ones lighten them, the Contrast ones increase or decrease overall contrast, the Comparative ones invert the base colour and the HSL modes apply a specific colour component. Some blending modes need a bit of opacity tweaking in order to get the best effect. As with a lot of Photoshop’s options, experimentation is the only real way to get a thorough understanding.

Photography Competitions

Test Your Photography Skills with These 5 Great Photography Competitions
Posted: 11 Sep 2008 07:01 AM PDT

Christina N Dickson is a portrait photographer and instructor for The Institute in Photographic Studies. Her work can be found at

You are a budding photographer in search of expanding your influence and getting your name out into the photographic world. Photo contests are a great way to gain experience with submitting, evaluating, and constructively comparing your quality of images with others who are at your level or more mature in their shooting. Unfortunately, many photo contests are hardly worth the time it takes to upload your photo, or placing the stamp on the envelope.
Here are some photography contests with varying levels of notoriety to get you off your feet, and your photo’s into the limelight!

1. The International Aperture Photo Competition

Pros: Copyright of the images remains property of photographer. Open to all photographers of any age. International exposure. Review of work by 100 notorious professional photographers.

Cons: Monthly entry is free to members only. Entry fee $290 per series of 4 images.

2. World Traveler Photo Contest

Pros: Entry fee is free. International exposure. Open to amateurs or professionals. Publishing of work in American Photo. Grand prize winner awarded air and hotel package.

Cons: Submission conveys all rights of the photo to Northwest Airlines. Only photographers from the US.

3. American PHOTO Images of the Year

Pros: Open to professional and amateur photographers. Entry discounts to students work. International Exposure. Large prizes packages.

Cons: 18 years and older. Open to US residents only. Entry fees per single or series entries.

4. Travel Photographer of the Year

Pros: Copyright remains property of photographer.

Cons: Limited to amateur and professional photographers based on submission categories. Ages 17 and older. Entry fees 15 pounds per image.

5. National Geographic My Shot

Pros: International Exposure. No submission fees. Open to all persons.

Cons: No prizes. Only two shot submissions.

Happy submissions!
PS: Don’t forget our recent post - How to Win a Photography Competition

Monday, September 15, 2008

Kodak's new Ektar 100 print film boasts high color, minimal grain.

Kodak intros new film!

Kodak's new Ektar 100 print film boasts high color, minimal grain.

By Peter Kolonia September 10, 2008

Kodak's first significant new print film in several years, Professional Ektar 100 is also the first color negative still film to incorporate recent Kodak advances in motion picture films. That technology, known as Kodak Vision, gives the new Ektar 100 print film a new level of fine grain, rich saturation, and resolving power said to equal that of E6 slide film. In fact, with its combination of superior grain, color saturation, and resolution, Ektar 100 is expected to draw converts from the E6 world.

Kodak's original Ektar C-41 color print film hit stores in mid 1988 to great acclaim. The finest-grain color negative film available at the time, its primary limitations were its slow speed (ISO 25) and extremely narrow latitude. (For optimum results, users had to nail exposure more or less exactly.) The new Ektar 100, offers additional speed, and even finer grain, but is much more forgiving of minor exposure deviation, able to deliver top results even with slight under- (to -1 stop) or overexposure (to +2 stops).

The film's extremely fine granular structure incorporates a hybrid of T-Grain and, and in the slow-speed layers, cubic-grain (i.e. conventional silver grain) technologies. Compared to Kodak's other fine-grain print film for professional photographers, Portra 160, Ektar 100 is said to deliver finer grain and noticeably more vivid color.

Designed for nature, travel, fashion and product photography, 35mm Ektar 100 should be in stores by November, 2008, with prices somewhat higher than those of Portra 160. For more information, visit

polarizer for point and shoot cameras

Sunglasses Polarizer

If you really want to add some punch to your images, then get your hands on a polarizing filter. A polarizer is the one filter every photographer should have handy for landscapes and general outdoor shooting. By reducing glare and unwanted reflections, polarized shots have richer, more saturated colors, especially in the sky.

What's that you say? Your digital camera can't accommodate filters. Don't despair. I've been using this trick for years with my point-and-shoot cameras. If you have a pair of quality sunglasses, then simply take them off and use them as your polarizing filter. Place the glasses as close to the camera lens as possible, then check their position in the LCD viewfinder to make sure you don't have the rims in the shot.

If your camera doesn't accept filters, then you can still achieve the effects of a polarizer by placing your sunglasses over the lens.

Figure 2a is shot normally without any filtration. Figure 2b is shot during the same session, but with sunglasses placed over the lens. Notice the enhanced colors and deeper sky tones. (Canon PowerShot S200, Program mode)

For the best effect, position yourself so the sun is over either your right or left shoulder. The polarizing effect is strongest when the light source is at a 90-degree angle from the subject.

The Nikon D3 from ISO 200 to 25600

hard to believe that I used to shoot Velvia ISO 50 film and now we are talking about ISO 25,600!

The Nikon D3 from ISO 200 to 25600 -- check out the full resolution photos!

The Nikon D3 from ISO 200 to 25600About the photographers
Nikon has taken a grassroots approach to marketing their upcoming D3 digital SLR, putting it in the hands of professional photographers far and wide in the months leading up to its expected late-November release. And while this practice isn't new, it is uncommon to allow those same photographers to use and distribute the files freely, especially from bodies running relatively early firmware. Such is Nikon's confidence in their first full-frame offering.

We've gathered files from three such photographers - Tony Bock, Nick Didlick and David Einsel - as well as photographer/author Peter K. Burian. From ISO 200 to 25600, here are full-resolution examples of what Nikon's new flagship is capable of.

Full resolution photos

Links next to the thumbnails below are to full resolution files shot with preproduction Nikon D3 bodies. All photos are in the Adobe RGB colour space and include an embedded ICC profile. To get a proper look at the photos, download and open them in Photoshop or another image viewer that enables you to magnify them fully and that will display the shooting data that has been placed in the IPTC Caption field. While some of the thumbnails are cropped, unless otherwise marked the downloadable files are uncropped.

To download, right-click on the link and select your browser's option for saving the photo to your hard drive. If you view these photos in your browser, be sure to use one that supports colour-managed image viewing or they'll look flatter and less saturated than they actually are.

All of these photos are for personal viewing and printing only. They may not be republished in any form without the permission of the copyright holder; this includes the posting of photos downloaded from this page onto another server.

Things to note:

Most of the photos are in their original form, as they emerged from the camera as a JPEG or from the RAW converter (which was a beta version of Nikon Capture NX in most cases, though we processed one file using Phase One's Capture One 4 Beta 2 also).

There are a mix of unsharpened, in-camera sharpened and Photoshop sharpened photos here. The Caption field in each photo notes whether sharpening was enabled in the camera (along with Active D-Lighting, High ISO NR and other key image processing settings), while the filename indicates whether Smart Sharpen was applied in Photoshop (a guide to the naming convention we used is just ahead). None of the files have been double-sharpened.

Thanks to all who've written in requesting a comparison of the D3 and Canon EOS-1D Mark III for night sports and other low light photography. We were given a preproduction D3 in late October, but in making the body available, Nikon USA stipulated that we not publish pictures from it. If that weren't the case, we'd show examples of how the D3 stacks up against Canon's EOS-1D Mark III at higher ISOs, and those examples would reveal that, while there are differences in the appearance of image graininess - Canon's grain pattern is tighter - there's no doubt that the D3 produces a less noisy, higher quality file at ISO 3200 and beyond. This is an incredible achievement on Nikon's part.On the other hand, EOS-1D Mark III files at any ISO - especially CR2s processed through Canon's Digital Photo Professional - are generally slightly crisper and more detailed. This could be because we're looking at photos taken with preproduction Nikon equipment, but experience has taught us that production gear is likely to show the same image quality traits.More about all of this, and other comparisons, including how the D3's autofocus system stacks up against an EOS-1D Mark III with the recently-announced sub-mirror fix in place, will come when we have a production-level D3.

Some of the photos are available both unsharpened and in an alternate version that has been treated with Smart Sharpen to counteract the softness introduced by the camera's low-pass optical filter.

All of the photos were taken with preproduction bodies and, in some cases, preproduction lenses too. As such, the image quality delivered by full production cameras and lenses may be different. Though, as noted above, not too much tends to change usually in image quality between late-stage preproduction pieces and shipping units. The one notable exception to this are dead pixels and related sensor defects that haven't been mapped out in preproduction cameras, and which can show up as brightly-coloured dots and lines in photos. It's comparatively rare to see these defects in shipping bodies.

Understanding the filename The filename, and shooting data in the Caption field, together provide information that's important to the understanding of how the photo was taken and processed. The shooting data is self-explanatory; the filename is explained below.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Northern Lights

Sigurdur H. Stefnisson is considered to be Iceland's foremost expert in photographing the northern lights. Siggi, as he is known by his friends, has been involved with photography as a principal hobby for almost 30 years. He specializes in nature photography - birds in particular. His other hobbies, hiking and exploring the highlands, fit in nicely with his picture-taking, providing him with unique opportunities to shoot in isolated locations. Look for his pictures in the November, 2001 edition of National Geographic magazine. His photographs of the northern lights appear in the article entitled "Auroras - Heavenly Lights" that starts on page 48. For a look at Sigurdur's own collection of exceptional aurora borealis photographs, visit his web site at: Northern Lights.

The Northern Lights
by Sigurdur H. Stefnisson
Northern lights 1
Northern lights 2
Northern lights 3
Cracked glacier
Northern lights 4
Eagle profile
Toadstool sentries
Gull's nest
Ice bridge
Click on a link above to view it.

Perhaps astonishingly, he is an amateur photographer. But, his actual profession is another side of the same coin. He has been operating his own photo lab since 1986, and his services are highly regarded among professional photographers who rely extensively upon his expertise and high-quality standards.

In 1985, Siggi began to photograph the northern lights. Over time, he developed specialized techniques for beautifully capturing this difficult-to-photograph phenomenon on film. He works both in medium format, using a Pentax 67 system as his main weapon and also Pentax 645N. The technical quality of his work is on par with his high professional standards. For transportation into difficult-to-reach places during the winter, he uses his specially-modified Nissan "super truck."

Although not pursuing a professional career in photography, Siggi could easily hold his own in that arena, as his northern lights and other excellent images demonstrate.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

CAP November Seminar

Plan now to attend an all-day seminar on Saturday, November 15, 2008, featuring Adam Jones and Onne van der Wal.

The seminar will be held at the Holiday Inn in North Haven, CT and is presented by the Connecticut Association of Photographers and Canon. Both of these excellent photographers and speakers presented at the NECCC Conference this past summer. The programs at this seminar will be different and varied from what they presented at Amherst. Both speakers had packed houses and received standing ovations for their work. Don’t miss this informative and entertaining day!

The cost will be as follows:

o CAP Members: $25 pre-registered; $30 at the door.

o Non-members: $33 pre-registered; $38 at the door.

o Non-members - SAVE $$ -- pre-register and your $33 includes one year of CAP membership!

Click this sentence to download a flier with a coupon to use in registering for the day.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike Continues On an Erratic Path

Wow, you really get a perspective of the massive nature of the hurricane from this perspective! Thank you Wayne for sending this to me.

For the full story and more photos:

Making Photos Look Like Sketches

There seem to be a million special effects filters in Photoshop, and they all do what they do very well, but sometimes they look a little too… generic. When it comes to making a photo look like a sketch, for example, readymade filters do a good job of offering a lot of options—filters like colored pencil, dry brush and smudge stick, all found under the Artistic section of the filters menu. To do a great job, no matter what effect you’re after, there’s nothing quite like a custom do-it-yourself approach.My favorite DIY sketch effect goes like this: first, desaturate the image you’re working on. (As always you should first duplicate the file you want to work on in order to keep a pristine original, then desaturate the new image.) It helps if you’ve started with a contrasty shot, and if it’s not contrasty enough, feel free to boost it with contrast or levels controls before you begin. Once you’ve got a bold, desaturated (grayscale) image, duplicate it onto a new layer.

AfterNext, invert the new layer and set the blending mode to Color Dodge. You’ll see a mostly white layer with a few black smudges on it. These smudges are crucial; in the next and last step they’ll become the lines of your sketch. To create those lines simply use the Gaussian Blur filter to enlarge the smudges. Adjust the radius, depending on the size of image you’re working on, until the effect you see is exactly how you’d like it. When you’re happy with the sketch look, flatten the layers and save the file.

For further tweaks you can also add grain to the image. I prefer to do it after blurring the top layer, but it can also be done before for a more subtle effect. Either way the additional texture helps make for a more interesting, sketch-like photograph. For an even different look, don’t desaturate the layers before you begin. The end result will have a slightly wild, colored pencil effect.

Set up for a big splash


The calendar says September and for most of us that means the normally sunny days of summer will soon give way to the howling winds, rain and snow of winter. So I thought, what better time to share a really fun, easy to set-up, yet quite challenging photography tip that is guaranteed to end your summer with a "splash"!

Truth be told I have never been a big fan of flash and it all goes back to my early years as a photographer. I just found the use of flash not only unflattering to my subjects but for years, I could never fully understand how flash 'worked'. That of course had to change, and it did, since it was an absolute necessity to succeed as a commercial assignment photographer, but whenever possible, I will still always opt for AVAILABLE LIGHT!

And one of my favorite set-ups finds me in the great outdoors, taking full advantage of MID-DAY light! Yes you read that right, Bryan Peterson shoots during that God awful time of day called high-noon. Yep, these words of 'wisdom' about shooting in the mid-day light is coming from a guy who is quoted as saying that "the only reason to be out and about during mid-day light is to work on your suntan" but you know what? You can actually get some really cool "studio flash-like" exposures when shooting at mid-day, and you can still work on your tan while doing so! Now that's some darn good management of time!

In the first example, you will see my set up for shooting 'food photography". Along with a simple glass vase, filled with bubbly mineral water, (which is sitting atop a small table and an open 5-in-1 reflector, silver side up), I have added a 'seamless' colored backdrop of blue, (nothing more than a large piece of colored poster size paper found at any art supply store).

My camera, along with the macro lens is mounted on tripod, set to focus close on what will soon be fruits falling very fast through this water, (strawberries in this case). Set your ISO to 400, I assuming it's a sunny day, you should be able to record a correct exposure at f/8 at a 1/200 or 1/1600 second, both plenty fast enough to freeze the falling strawberries. Also, before you or your assistant start dropping the strawberries into the vase of water, manually take one of the strawberries and hold it up near the glass in the same area where you wish to photograph it as it drops through the water and now focus on that spot, making certain to leave the focus of your camera in manual focus mode.

Now that I was all ready to go, I simply asked my daughter Sophie to drop a single strawberry into the water and fire away with the camera also set to Continuous Mode, (rapid fire mode) and after shooting for just a few minutes, I would stop and take a moment to review what 'luck' I was having and sure enough, I discovered that I recorded far too many images where the strawberry was either not far enough into the composition or it had dropped to far near the bottom of the composition, BUT by golly, in and amongst all of these missed opportunities, 87 missed opportunities to be exact, I found several jewels, one of which you see here.

Why stop at one strawberry when you can try three at a time? (I love the power of THREE which is why I chose three). And after several additional attempts, an image of three falling strawberries was also recorded as they broke through the surface of the water.

Note the lighting in both of these exposures. The strawberries are lit both from the sun above as well as from underneath due to the sunlight hitting the reflector and bouncing up from below. Who says you need strobes? Obviously too, this set-up is NOT limited to strawberries! Let your imagination run wild and soon you will be dropping most anything that will fit into your vase and IF you can find a large enough vase, try dropping a slice of watermelon!


Bryan F Peterson