Monday, June 30, 2014

Everyday Actions For Photoshop

The first part of Everyday Actions in Photoshop shows how to create a very simple action to add a Drop Shadow style to a subject, and then separate the shadow and move it to its own layer so you can modify the shadow in ways a Layer Style won’t let you.

"Actions have been a part of Photoshop for decades now, but many people simply fall into the habit of performing the same steps over and over without ever thinking of recording an action. However, short actions are easy to record, easier to run, and automating ordinary tasks leaves you freer to create. Over the next two articles, I’ll show you how to record, edit, troubleshoot, and save the steps you need to take every time you want to transform a common drop shadow into a realistic shadow, such as one that falls on the ground and not the wall. The action itself, though short, demonstrates the basic skills you’ll need to write similar actions that are useful to your way of doing things."

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Behind The Shot

There are basically two ways to take original wildlife photographs:

1. Use your creative vision to pre-visualize an image or a certain look, and then try to create the image in real life

2. Wait for something really cool to happen

A macaque steals and plays with an iPhone in Jigokudani Monkey Park Japan Yamanouchi, Shimotakai District, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

Behind The Shot: ‘Facebook Update’ by Marsel van Oosten – Jigokudani Monkey Park, Yamanouchi, Shimotakai District, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

Saturday, June 28, 2014

How to photograph fireworks

How to photograph fireworks
  • You will need to use a tripod
  • If possible use your remote or cable release
  • Set your camera in manual mode
  • Set your ISO to 100 or 200
  • Set your exposure to 2-4 seconds
  • Set your aperture to f8 or f/11
  • Set your lens to manual and then to infinity focus

Photographing Fireworks!

Photographing Fireworks!

It's almost time to Photograph fireworks -- here are a few tips and lessons

(1) From

Fireworks Displays are something that evoke a lot of emotion in people as they are not only beautiful and spectacular to watch but they also are often used to celebrate momentous occasions. Do you want to know how to photograph fireworks? They give you 10 tips to help you get started.

(2) From

Tripod and cable release required

Photographing a fireworks show may seem like a big challenge, but it doesn't have to be. With the right gear and a few minutes of preparation, you can enjoy a great show for years to come. This lesson covers the traditional way of capturing fireworks that works for both film and digital cameras. Here, we examine the importance of lens selection, camera stability and the proper settings for the camera.

(3) From

PHOTOGRAPHING FIREWORKS (for Film cameras but many tips are universal)
**Inexact recommendations for an inexact shooting situation**

Here are some helpful recommendations, things to keep in mind before you venture out to shoot fireworks. Please remember that these are my own opinions. Every shooting situation is different and contains its own set of variables. The key is to relax, don't get too hung up on exact exposures, and shoot like crazy!


Garry Black Photography -- Photographing Fireworks

There is nothing like experience to gain a better feel of what your pictures will look like when photographing fireworks. Some of them just don't photograph well, either because of the pattern they create or because of their brightness - they end up being over exposed. I have photographed many fireworks displays, here are some helpful recommendations which I have come up with, that should increase your odds of capturing that perfect shot. Remember that every shooting situation is unique and contains its own set of variables. The best advice that I can give you is to go out to a location that has regular displays of fireworks and shoot lots of film. That way the next time you go back to that location you will have learned from your mistakes and successes.

(5) Useful Fireworks Photography Tips from the New York Institute of Photography

How to Photograph Fireworks: Or Have Fun on the Fourth of July, which is intended to help you take some great photographs of large fireworks displays.

Shooting Fireworks with a Digital Camera, wherein our resident digital professional Jim Barthman recounts his experience photographing fireworks for a client that demanded he use a digital camera. He offers some useful fireworks photography tips that you can use with your digital camera.

Photographing Fireworks in Your Backyard offers suggestions for fireworks photos you can make during backyard fireworks displays.

(6) Photographing Fireworks

OK, it's that time of year. The Fourth of July is right around the corner and coming with it is the annual right of fireworks displays.

The first thing you're going to need is a tripod. Well, make that the second thing since I suppose your camera qualifies as the first thing. In any case, you will need a tripod since your average exposure times will range from two seconds on up. If you try to hand hold, you will either end up with blurred pictures or your shutter speeds would have to be fast enough to freeze the action, resulting in, at best, sharp pictures of tiny points of light that look nothing like the experience of fireworks.

(7) Fireworks UK
Techniques for photographing firework displays More on photographing fireworks
Some great links to fireworks photos from the UK; be inspired!

Top Tips for Shooting Fireworks
The usual succinct advice from BetterPhoto.

(9) Digicamhelp Photographing Fireworks With a Digital Camera

(10) Imaging Resource July 4th fireworks tips!
Comprehensive advice from Michael R. Tomkins.

(11) About Photography Shooting Fireworks
Excellent 4-part series of articles - essential reading.

This informative article was written by our own Rick Sereque.

It’s been said that shooting fireworks can be a real blast !

Many towns celebrate with pyrotechnics in the late June, early July period, culminating the day before, and the day of, the Fourth of July. With so many photographers using digital cameras, resulting in immediate feedback, millions of images will be captured via tiny sensors. And don’t forget all the shutterbugs still using film.

Here are tips to help you capture those fleeting moments.

Stabilize your camera.
Use of a tripod ensures sharp exposures. No tripod? Point-and-shoot cameras with anti-shake technology and SLRs with lenses incorporating Vibration Reduction, Image Stabilization, Vibration Compensation, or similar can help an unsteady hand. Look into a Joby GorillaPod, or brace the camera against a tree, post, etc.

Use a low ISO. 
You don’t need high ISOs when using a tripod for fireworks. A film speed between 50 - 100, or a digital ISO of 100 – 200 is sufficient. You’ll get deeper blacks, more saturated colors, and less grain (film) or noise (digital). Film shooters can use either daylight film (will emphasize the warm colors – red, orange, yellow), while tungsten film better shows off cool colors (blue and green). Digital cameras may be left on daylight white balance (or tungsten if you like that look – go ahead and experiment!).

Shooting in RAW gives you the flexibility to change white balance, and allows more latitude to adjust exposure, saturation, shadows, and so on. If you’re hand-holding, you’ll want to up the ISO (the tradeoff being lower quality images). Successful shots can be made with many digital point-and-shoot cameras.

Shutter Speed. 
Again, experimentation is key. If your camera has a ‘B’ (Bulb) or ‘T’ (Time) setting, use a cable release and hold the shutter open for a particular blast or series of blasts. Otherwise try a shutter speed between one and sixteen seconds (yes, that’s a wide range - four seconds is a good starting point to work around). If you’ll be recording a number of bursts within the same exposure, you may need to stop down so as not to overexpose the highlights where bursts overlap, especially at the grand finale. Use of a cable release or electronic shutter release is always a good idea when the camera is on a tripod to keep from jarring the camera.

Because long exposures create digital ‘noise’, you may wish to use your camera’s Long Exposure Noise Reduction function (check your manual to see what options you have). Keep in mind that using this setting will double the amount of time it takes your camera to process the image. Photographer/writer Jim Barthman (NY Institute of Photography) uses this technique for limiting digital noise: Cover the lens and shoot a black frame using the same settings as your fireworks shot. In Photoshop, Shift-Drag the black frame onto the fireworks image (creating a new layer) and set the blending mode to Difference.

A rule of thumb is to use an f/stop close to the square root of the ISO (you paid attention to square roots in math class, right?). The square root of a number is another number that when multiplied by itself gives the original number. Here’s a list of ISOs followed by the nearest f/stop: ISO 50 – 64, use f/8. ISO 100 - 125, f/11. ISO 200, f/16. ISO 400, f/22. If you find the results not to your liking, change the aperture as needed. If you’re a film photographer, bracket your aperture and shutter speeds to ensure you get usable shots.

Special Effects. 
You might wish to make multiple exposures on the same frame, whether by setting the camera’s multiple exposure function (again, get out that camera manual), or manually covering the lens between bursts. To get wavy lines on the light trails, tap or jiggle a tripod leg during the exposure (if you’re hand-holding, don’t worry - you’ll automatically get this effect). Try zooming in or out during an exposure. Locate a foreground object that would look good silhouetted by the fireworks above and behind.

Digital Image Editing.
The use of programs like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Photoshop Elements; Corel Paint Shop Pro and PhotoImpact; Apple Aperture and iPhoto; and the free programs Picasa and GIMP allow you to enhance your images in so many ways that you’re only limited by your imagination. When making a multi-image montage of fireworks, use the layer’s ‘Lighten’ mode to seamlessly blend the images.

Photographer/writer Jim DiVitale (Photoshop User magazine) has an additional trick to use with fireworks montages: Flatten the image, duplicate the layer, set the layer blending mode to Overlay, and use the filter Other/High Pass to “give the image a lot of pop”. When you drag the Hi-Pass slider, look at the original image (not the filter’s preview pane) and adjust to your liking, then click OK.

Check your local papers and the Internet for lists of fireworks displays, grab your camera, and stake out a location ahead of time that’ll give you a clear view of the display, and hopefully where others won’t trip on your tripod (don’t forget a small flashlight). Have a fun evening of shooting: fireworks and photography!

Tips and Tricks for photographing fireworks...

Tips and Tricks for photographing fireworks... 

It really is much easier than you might think, with the most important tool is a tripod.

National Geographic - Photographing Fireworks

Digital Photography School - How to Photograph Fireworks Displays

Free Digital Photography Tutorial Site - Firework photography

Mason Resnick- Take Pictures of Fireworks You Can Be Proud Of

How to Photograph Fireworks -

And a short video from the Photo Tips podcast-

Friday, June 27, 2014

lens rental

View this email in your browser
Get your July 4th weekend order early, and save 15%. Just set your order to arrive on Monday, June 30th, or Tuesday, July 1st, and get 15% off your total rental fees!
To take advantage, just use the JULY4TH promo code.
  • Order must be placed with an arrival date of June 30th or July 1st, 2014.
  • Not combinable with other offers
Already have an order for July 4th weekend? Simply call or email us to change the order to arrive on an eligible date and apply the discount code.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Seim’s How to Sign and Logo Your Photos – Revised Edition

a good article on signing your prints and watermarking your images.

Seim’s How to Sign and Logo Your Photos – Revised Edition

A Final Recap…

  • You CAN overdo it. Stay balanced.
  • Not knowing what to do is no excuse. Work it out.
  • Keep is classy (simple is always a good place to start).
  • Think like a client buying art (what do they see?).
  • So as a rule do not put a logo on fine prints. These can be a large distraction and they change over time. If you use a logo on a quality print. You’ll probably regret it later.
  • Logo’s are OK for web images, but try not to make it to distracting. Still, you can always change it later if you like. That said, I generally use my digital signature these days. Not my logo.
  • For prints I always use my signature, either digitally or by hand. A signature is not a logo. It’s my written name. I keep it in the corner with a bit of space. Viewers can easily find who made the print and it has a art quality to it.
  • Keep asking questions. Keep experimenting. But always make sure it’s about the image, not the markings.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Beautiful Bokeh E-book

Beautiful Bokeh E-book Bundle + $5

Master bokeh to capture breathtaking images

How do you use bokeh effectively?

A lot of photographers are obsessed with shallow depth of field so they can get "bokeh" (a blur in the out-of-focus areas in the image).
But not all bokeh is created equal.
Too many photographers use bokeh arbitrarily, and the resulting blur is distracting on the image.
In Art of Bokeh you'll learn how to distinguish between good and bad bokeh, but most importantly you'll learn how to use good bokeh to enhance your image.
The book was created for landscape photographers. You'll get to see a variety of amazing works by photographer Chris O' Donnell.
By using a shallow depth of field and thin slices of focus, you can completely transform a landscape, manipulating an environment that usually can not be changed or controlled. You can create a complex or simple photograph by changing your depth, and this guide can show you how.Chris O' Donnell
Here's what you'll learn in Art of Bokeh:
  • How the space in between the elements of your photo affects your depth of field
  • How direct and overcast light can change the effect of bokeh
  • Focal lengths – both long and short, and how to use them to manipulate bokeh
  • Workflow – How Chris approaches a landscape in the field, with tips on how he compose and shoot
  • Case studies – examples of photos and how Chris created them
  • Proper focus for bokeh – advice on how to use your tripod, and a step-by-step guide to getting the perfect focus for bokeh.

The Portfolio of Bokeh

Portfolio of Bokeh explains in-depth 22 of Chris O' Donnell's most striking images utilizing bokeh.
Chris talks about his creative process – how you can find inspiration, how to choose a focal point, and how to apply photography principles in your composition.
You'll see exactly how Chris created his images.
Also discussed is the technical side of each image – what camera settings use, how to compensate for exposure, and how to judge a scene before deciding what methods to apply.
Portfolio of Bokeh is amazing because you get an insight as to how Chris created some of his most breathtaking images. You can use his settings exactly to try and learn how to create amazing bokeh.Kevin Tang
Here's what you’ll get with Portfolio of Bokeh:
  • 22 beautiful shots and in-depth explanations of each shot
  • The "why" of bokeh - Why did Chris use bokeh in several shots of his portfolio
  • Techniques used by Chris to achieve his beautiful bokeh
  • Technical side of bokeh - camera settings & composition
  • Chris' complete photography workflow

$5 Credit Deal: Included with this bundle is a $5 gift credit good for any future purchase on PhotoWhoa.
Expand your knowledge of bokeh today by getting this e-book bundle from Chris O' Donnell.
Buy Now for only $19 for a limited time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Are You Guilty of these 5 Over-Processing Sins?

Are You Guilty of these 5 Over-Processing Sins?

"My most common critique when looking at digital images is that they look over-processed. It is so easy to do this and such a common mistake, that it is important to understand the main mistakes that photographers make when retouching their images. Keep in mind that I am not referring to images that purposely are made to look like fairy tales or use creative color for a specific purpose, but I am referring to heavy handed post-processing when it is not necessary. Good photographs do not make you notice the post-processing first. Good post-processing is subtle, aims to stay out of the way and not become the focal point of the image. But you need to be careful not to overdo it. With a program like Adobe Lightroom, it becomes so easy to move the sliders and increase the contrast and saturation significantly, and before you know it the image does not resemble a photograph anymore. So here are the most common mistakes that I see when people over-process their images."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ambassador Wolf Atka: Enclosure Cam

Ambassador Wolf Atka: Enclosure Cam

"Atka is a captive-born Arctic gray wolf (Canis lupus arctos), the northernmost occurring subspecies of gray wolf in North America. At ten years old, he is a veteran member of the WCC's Ambassador team. As an Ambassador wolf, Atka lives on exhibit where he can "teach" WCC visitors about the importance of his wild counterparts. Although Atka is not the only Ambassador wolf that calls the WCC home, he is by far our best “wolf teacher.” Atka is our only wolf who enjoys traveling with WCC staff to help extend our education programming far beyond the boundaries of our facility in South Salem, NY. Atka embraces new faces and places making him a great educator and unlike most wolves. You never know, Atka may be in your neck of the woods soon!"

Friday, June 20, 2014

Photography In The National Parks: A Wildlife Advocate's View Of Wildlife Photography

Photography In The National Parks: A Wildlife Advocate's View Of Wildlife Photography

What is more important, the animal or the shot?

" I have become an ethical photographer who puts their camera down in favor of helping an animal across the road safely or by removing myself from a situation where the animals are crowded and stressed. And, yes, if need be, I will call upon rangers to come and assist the animals. Yesterday, someone told me that calling the rangers would only ruin things for myself but what they do not know, is that I have to live with myself."

"So, the next time that you go to photograph an animal, ask yourself, is this animal safe or am I causing it harm. Then, ask yourself, will I enjoy looking at this shot later, knowing the full story about how it came to happen. "

Alternate Text

Alternate Text
Jockeying for that perfect photo/Deby Dixon

Read the whole article here: 

Photography In The National Parks: A Wildlife Advocate's View Of Wildlife Photography

more cool features in the recent Photoshop update

Two more cool features in the recent Photoshop update!

How to Add Realistic Spinning Motion Blur Effects in Photoshop CC

Big Summer Sale at Totally Rad! Inc 30% off "Dirty pictures"

Big Summer Sale at Totally Rad! Inc

30% off coupon code "TRSUMMER

I especially love their "Dirty pictures" for textures and I use their Photoshop Actions and their Lightroom presets

Dirty Pictures features 21 custom-designed image overlays that add dimension, grit, and depth to your photos. Its included library of high-resolution textures was designed from over a thousand source images, and each texture was created to blend seamlessly with your photos. Dirty Pictures provides a clean interface that delivers just the tools you need in an organized and intuitive way. Select textures, tag favorites, tweak settings, and set defaults– all from a single window. All you need to do to apply a texture is to pick one and hit ‘ok” – Dirty Pictures takes care of the rest. We’ve even include a handy layer mask, so you’re in control of where and how much the texture is applied.


Includes the following textures:
  • Booty LaRue
  • Maxi Mercer
  • Gemini Dolce
  • Candy Beaver
  • Cherry Amore
  • Dixie Mimosa
  • Foxy Laurinda
  • Bubba Wildcat
  • Destiny Starr
  • Lola Lovespell
  • Lex Drillington
  • Queenie Madison
  • Sapphire Velvet
  • Starla Fontaine
  • Ginger Savannah
  • Cinnamon Windsor
  • Mercedes Diamond
  • Montana Starfire
  • Roxie Glitterhips
  • Johnny Thunderpants
  • Crystalniqua Delicious

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Big Summer Sale at Totally Rad! Inc

Big Summer Sale at Totally Rad! Inc

30% off coupon code "TRSUMMER

I especially love their "Dirty pictures" for textures and I use their Photoshop Actions and their Lightroom presets



Photoshop CC (2014)

Photoshop CC (2014)

Smart Object improvements

Maintain the links to external files by automatically packaging them in a single directory. You can also convert your existing embedded Smart Objects to linked Smart Objects.See how it works

Improved Layer Comps

Save time now that you can change the visibility, position, or appearance of one layer in a Layer Comp and then sync that change to all the others. Plus, easily see the attributes of each Layer Comp, and toggle a Layer Comp within a Smart Object.See how it works

Blur Gallery motion effects

Use Path Blur to add blur along any path and Spin Blur to create circular or elliptical blurs. The Mercury Graphics Engine makes all Blur Gallery interactions fast and fluid.See how it works

Focus Mask

Let Photoshop help you start a mask by automatically selecting the in-focus areas of your image. Focus Mask works great with potraits and other images that have shallow depth of field, and the Mercury Graphics Engine delivers fast performance.

Improvements to Content-Aware technology

New technology in Content-Aware Fill, Move, and Patch smoothly blends areas containing gradients, like skies, so you can create seamless, realistic results like never before.See how it works

Smarter Smart Guides

Forget trying to align multiple shapes or objects at exact distances from one another on canvas. Now you can quickly see the distance in pixels between objects so you can lay out content with precision.See how it works

Desktop fonts from Typekit

Choose the fonts you need from the Typekit library, sync them to your desktop, and get immediate access to them in your Photoshop font menu. Photoshop will even automatically replace missing fonts in your documents.See how it works

Font Search

Search for fonts by name, and see instant previews of each font to zero in on the perfect one.See how it works

Expanded 3D printing capabilities

Now you can see exactly where and how Photoshop repaired your 3D meshes so it's easy to refine your designs in third-party 3D modeling apps. Get more accurate renderings of your models prior to printing thanks to WYSIWYG previews. And get support for more 3D printers and service providers.See how it works

Adobe Generator enhancements

Simplify the process of naming Generator assets and get greater flexibility in organizing the output from Generator by setting document-wide defaults, and by specifying subfolders for exported assets. Generator also offers new APIs so developers can create even more powerful plug-ins.See how it works

Adobe Camera Raw 8 enhancements

Heal images, fix perspective distortions, and create vignettes with greater precision. Plus, access an interactive histogram, before/after previews, and more.See how it works

Improved Windows 8.1 stylus support

Get to work quickly and comfortably with your stylus on Windows 8.1 devices, and enjoy smoother brush strokes thanks to higher-frequency sampling.

Expanded Mercury Graphics Engine support

Upsample images up to 15 times faster (depending on file size and video card configuration) now that the Mercury Graphics Engine delivers an OpenCL performance boost. The engine powers new Blur Gallery motion effects and the Focus Mask feature, too.

Experimental features

A new preference setting allows you to test drive and help shape new Photoshop features before they’re officially released.

Intelligent upsampling, even faster
Enlarge a low-res image so it looks great in print, or start with a larger image and blow it up to poster or billboard size. Upsampling preserves detail and sharpness without introducing noise, and now you get even more immediate results thanks to an OpenCL boost from the Mercury Graphics Engine.See how it works

Workflow Enhancements

Work faster and smarter thanks to new feature enhancements throughout your workflows. Now you have access to an expanded Color Panel; you can access your most recently used brushes, sync your workspaces, keyboard shortcuts, and menu customizations with Sync Settings; and more.

06/26/2014 1:00 PM EDT - Get The Best Images In Any Weather

06/26/2014 1:00 PM EDT - Get The Best Images In Any Weather
Lee Varis
Lee Varis
Join me Thursday next week Jun 26 for a webinar where I share my landscape photography techniques, including post processing in Lightroom+PS- register here:

Join host Joe Brady as he visits with renowned educator, author and photographer Lee Varis. If you have ever traveled to a wonderful location and the weather won't cooperate, you’ll want to see this show as Lee and Joe explore options to getting great images in practically any conditions.
Covering a two-day visit to the Scituate Lighthouse on the Massachusetts coast, Lee shares his approach to exposure and composition as the weather varies from picture-postcard perfect, to cloudless blue skies to overcast drizzle. He’ll then take us through his unique and powerful editing style using both Lightroom and Photoshop to enhance and polish his images.
For any nature, travel or landscape photographer, this will be time very well spent!

Get The Best Images In Any Weather

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

OnOne Suite -- great for Lightroom (and PS)

Suite Summer Bundle
Special Offer with 3 Free Gifts
Get all 8 apps in the new Perfect Photo Suite 8.5 for Adobe® Lightroom® and save big! Buy now and you'll receive the entire Summer Bundle with 3 free gifts! Learn more »
Suite 8.5
onOne Endless
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250-page Photography eBook:
Light & Process

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Bundle Offer Expires June 26th, 2014

Add Powerful Effects

Finish your Lightroom images with a library of over 300 presets and filters. Learn more »

Create Layers without Photoshop

Combine and blend multiple images directly from Lightroom. Learn more »

"This package should be in every visual artist's toolkit. It's fantastic."

Doug Landreth,

Enhance in Seconds

Instantly fix color and vibrancy.
Learn more »

Erase Distractions Easily

Retouch, clone, and erase in minutes. Learn more »

Replace Backgrounds

Remove backgrounds with simple tools. Learn more »

Find & Organize

Super-fast image browser!
Learn more »

"Suite 8 makes editing images simple, intuitive, and fun!"

Jacob Lucas

Enlarge and Prepare for Print

Resize images up to 1000%. Learn more »

B&W Looks

Suite 8.5
onOne Endless
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250-page Photography eBook:
Light & Process

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Bundle Offer Expires June 26th, 2014