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Exciting landscape workshop in Lake Powell

I'm delighted to collaborate with my friend Joel Belmont on a landscape photography workshop in Lake Powell, May 27th-June 2nd.  This 7 day guided tour will take you to some the best landscapes of the Southwest.  You'll see and have the opportunity to shoot red sandstone canyons, beautiful rock arches, slot canyons and Anasazi ruins.  

For detailed information and to register, go to The Dynamic Landscape Photography Workshop website.


Adobe changes plan for upgrades to Photoshop

Adobe had a plan in place that in order to upgrade to Photoshop CS6 you would have to be on CS5.  Under pressure, the company has changed its policy to the benefit of those still on CS3 or CS4.

See the full story on Adobe's change of upgrade options for Photoshop.


Winter gloves for photography


Every year, I go through the ritual of searching for the perfect glove for shooting in winter.  In the old days of film cameras, especially large format models like my 4x5 Graflex or Linhof Technikardan, a little bit of bulk was not a huge issue.  But now, with digital cameras and the tiny buttons we need access to, thinner is better.  My fantasy is surgical gloves with a heating element to keep the figures toasty on those cold days in the mountains.

In the past few years, my best solution was thin polyester glove liners with latex dots on the fingers as my first layer, and convertible fleece mittens that could be opened up to reveal the fingers.  Here are a few resources.

This year, I've purchased Seirus All Weather Gloves, but am looking to bring in samples of other models from other companies to do an extensive test.  Stay tuned.


Photographing Christmas Lights

Photographing Christmas Light displays can be lots of fun.  There are lots of creative variations on a theme in play here, so go out and explore your neighborhood.  Or, plan ahead for your next year’s Holiday card by shooting your own display. Here’s what you need to know. 


Generally, people wait to shoot until it is dark out, but that is too late.  The lights may reproduce well in the photograph, but all the other detail in the image will be lost.  The goal is to match the correct exposure for the lights with the ambient light at dusk so there is detail in the lights, and detail in the buildings and sky as well. That means that you want to get to your location right around sunset, do your scout, and find the spot you want to shoot from.  I’d suggest bringing a tripod, since the exposures can be from 1second to 5 seconds long, depending on the situation, with an ISO of 100.  If you don’t have a tripod with you, you could hand hold, but be sure to use a high ISO so you keep your shutter speeds up above 1/60 second.  Maybe look for a surface to brace your camera against, like a wall or tree.


Frame the picture so you include some environment.  A snow covered lawn creates a wonderful foreground that can reflect color, and the sky can give you a wonderful rich blue to compliment the reds and yellows of the bulbs.


You have a couple of choices for setting white balance.  You could go with daylight balance, and let the image take on a warm glow.


 Or you could set the camera to tungsten balance, which would make the sky go much bluer.  This is a time tested approach to shooting at dusk, most notably practiced by the legendary photographer, Pete Turner.


Either way, start to shoot maybe ten minutes after sunset to see what the ambient light balance is.  Look at your histogram to see how you are doing. 


As it gets darker, increase the pace of shooting, as the window for when the correct exposure for the lights, and the correct exposure for the ambient light will only be about ten minutes at most. 


You’ll know you are done when the sky is black, and the separation between it and the buildings are lost.


Great Adobe Camera Raw Tutorial

I came across this excellent tutorial by Francesco Marzoli about Adobe Camera Raw at the x-rite website.  Adobe Camera Raw is the engine that converts Raw files from Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and other camera manufacturers.  Knowing the subleties of making the conversion can make all the difference in your final image.


Whether you are a newbie to shooting in Raw or an accomplished photographer, there's lots for everyone to learn on this x-rite tutorial.