Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday Night Light Recap - Output Action

Enjoy!  Any questions, comments, or concerns shoot me an email Hal@Lightworkshops.com

Fiat Lux!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

In the Vineyard with JWu!

Canon Explorer of Light Jennifer Wu
Jennifer Wu demonstrating fill flash for landscape and macro purposes last night in the vineyards of Paso Robles, CA.  We spent late afternoon and evening in the vineyards shooting the soon to be harvested Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, vines, and rolling hills. 

As Jennifer was demonstrating the flash I was executing.  I attempted to overpower the setting sun with a Canon 580 EX II and a Hanson Fong skin glow card.

We just returned from another 5 hours of shooting this AM.  The weather cooperated beautifully as we shot and watched the fog roll in below us.  More shots up soon.

Fiat Lux!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Canon EOS 5D Mk II, Handheld, 3 shot stitched pano

The often talked about but rarely seen fogbow appeared today in Los Osos' Montana de Oro.  Pictured is Canon Explorer of Light Jennifer Wu shooting the fogbow. 

Up this morning at 5ish to shoot sunrise and then chased the light and fog around Los Osos.  Good living.

Fiat Lux!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Late Friday Post

Good day here at Light.  Jennifer Wu is leading a Canon Field Photography course around the Central Coast.  We worked in the lab for most of the afternoon becoming a little more familiar with our cameras and prepping to shoot. 

The moody atmosphere just begged for some B&W treatment.
Canon EOS 5D, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L, Induro C213, and RRS BH-55
Lightroom, Photomatix Pro, Photoshop, and Topaz Detail
Will most likely reduce the contrast tomorrow :)

We spent a few hours on the beach north of Cayucos working some of the day's lessons.  The fog did not cooperate with us so most of the time was relatively low contrast and moody, but fun nonetheless.

From a different angle color jumped nicely.
Canon EOS 5D, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L, Induro C213, and RRS BH-55
Lightroom, Photoshop, and Topaz Adjust

We'll be up early tomorrow to catch sunrise and then off to a few more spots in and around Los Osos.

Fiat Lux!

Monday Night Light Link and Wacom Winner

Click the following link to register for the best free hour of live, online training anywhere, Monday Night Light with Hal Schmitt.  Come join us Monday 28 September from 6:30-7:30 PM PDT.


Thank you for the huge attendance at last week's Wacom session.  The winner of the free Wacom Intuos 4 tablet is Kay P. from San Luis Obispo, CA.  Light staff will be in touch today!

Congratulations to Kay and thank you to all participants.  Wacom will have the demo DVDs out shortly.

Fiat Lux!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Some of Today's Maternity Shots

Interpretation #1

Interpretation #2

In the studio today with a very pregnant (9+ months) woman shooting some maternity shots.  It was a great day as I had recently set up a Profoto D1 Air system at Light.  We shot and created for about five hours and ended up with some fun shots.  Whether classic or very artistic the entire process was simple with a tremendous model and the right equipment. 

I am not sure how I worked the studio before the D1 Air.  For those who have never used the system, a proprietary wireless system controls all of the studio lights from a simple remote.  I did not have to touch the controls on any of the generators the whole day (a huge benefit especially for the overhead hair light I have mounted eight feet in the air.) 

Tomorrow Canon and Light are sponsoring a talk in San Luis Obispo with Explorer of Light, Jennifer Wu.  Still time to sign up or just meet us at the Monday Club in SLO.

Fiat Lux!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Great American Fish Company - Morro Bay, CA

The image above is from our recent HDR Intensive course.  The almost final product is a combination of many images, programs, and plug ins. 

I shot the scene with a Canon 5D Mk II, EF 17-40mm f/4L, Induro C213, and Really Right Stuff BH-55.  I used the restaurant as a demo for the class and automating the bracket process.  The bread and butter shooting sequence typically calls for three shots of 0, -2, and +2 EV.  This did not work for the restaurant as the shadows needed more light than the +2 EV provided.  I modified the exposure compensation to shoot another series of three shots yielding sufficient exposure of the shadows below the pilings and deck.  Lightroom imported the six shots and I removed one of them before preparing them for the virtual TIFF export to Photomatix Pro. 

In Photomatix Pro I processed twice, once for realism and once for hyper reality.  Both results are shown below.

After reimporting to Lightroom via the plug in, I sent the two shots to Photoshop and created a stack.  I modified the layer blend mode of the hyper realistic interpretation and did a little retouch work.  I stamped the visible layer and then launched Topaz Detail to generate a little extra sharpening for content. 

Back in Lightroom I modified saturation and also did some painting with light using the Adjustment Brush.

On a different note, we'll be announcing two big 2010 projects later this afternoon.

Fiat Lux!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Forest HDR Before and After

We shot yesterday in the Los Osos Oaks reserve.  Found some interesting places to try some HSR subjects I have not yet tried.  The ivy covered oaks were glowing in the late afternoon sun and played well with the orange and red leaves.  Lightroom and Photomatix Pro were the only programs used.

Five shots to cover the range.  Components shown below.

Friday, September 18, 2009

21 Sep Monday Night Light - Photoshop, Lightroom, and More

Click the following link to register for Monday Night Light, the best training around and the most fun you can have with your clothes on from 6:30 to 7:30 PM PDT.

This week we are giving away a free Wacom Intuous 4 tablet to one MNL participant.

See you online.


Fiat Lux!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Monday Night Light Video Recap

Remember to register tomorrow morning for next Monday's session where we will give away a free Wacom Intuous 4 tablet.

Punk Rooster (Thanks Karen!)

Out shooting with the HDR Intensive class this afternoon and caught this little guy strutting around the place.  I normally carry two cameras and today I had one on the tripod for our HDR work and the other set up for action.  When I saw one of the course participants shooting this rooster, I jumped in as well. 

It was an interesting scene with all of us trying to coax the bird into the best light.  Turns out, chickens don't follow direction so well.

Not exactly sure what type of chicken this is but it caught our attention.  Funny we had just discussed how sometimes the favorite shot of the day will be a total surprise and not the intended subject of the shoot.  Great lesson learned, every now and again stop shooting and look around; often the better shot will be to the left, right, or behind you.

Fiat Lux!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

HDR in the Bar

Shooting HDR source files in the Sea Pines bar.  Not a bad way to spend part of the afternoon.  We just finished day two of the HDR Intensive.  We took a deep look into Photomatix Pro and all of what it has to offer when generating and tone mapping HDR images. 

Tomorrow we will start with Exposure Fusion.  We have found that method to work best when you have only one source file and need to process it multiple times with Lightroom or ACR.

Tomorrow afternoon we will, once again, hit one of the most amazing HDR locations I've ever seen, the Duval Ranch. 

Fiat Lux!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thanks for Another Great MNL

Star the Silky
Thanks to all the Monday Night Light participants this evening.  Great discussion of Lightroom and it's resizing and output sharpening in the Print Module. 

Not usually a fan of small dogs but I must admit this little Silky terrier is a cute little dog.  I shot the image in a mobile studio with a Canon 5D Mk II, EF 70-200mm f/4, PW, and three lights.  For the lighting setup, I used a single softbox as a main light slightly above the dog's eyes off to camera left.  There were also two strip softboxes 45 degrees off the dogs tail.  As a follow up to a previous post, the Creative Light softboxes are incredible. The backdrop was a simple black sheet draped down and then over a small grooming table. 

The shot does not show off all of the exact breed characteristics but I thought it was a decent portrait.  If you don't have enough challenge in your life try shooting show dogs in a small, mobile studio, especially big ones!

Kicking off our HDR Intensive here tomorrow morning.

Fiat Lux!

Back from Reno and San Rafael

The Light staff is back down in Los Osos.  We had a great time visiting Reno, Nevada for the TOPGUN 40th Anniversary Reunion, Tailhook, and Great American Balloon Race.  Did a little shooting while up in the high desert.  I did some HDR work with the TOPGUN staff and a Navy F-16.  The shot above is the lone F-16B we used as a backdrop for the staff shots.

On the way home I stopped by San Rafael to work with a Light client and photograph the Sir Francis Drake Dog Show.  A completely new experience shooting show dogs.  As many of you know we often work with dogs here at Light but they are agility dogs.  Shooting action is great fun because you are looking to capture the movement and excitement.  When shooting a show dog it is quite a bit different.  The shots cannot be simply portraits because the specific breed characteristics must be detailed in the image.  Believe me it is very much a challenge to not only create a well lit, stunning shot but to also show the breed per the standards.  My take, what fun would life be without a little challenge?

Working with canvas here today at Light and will kick off Monday Night Light at 6:30, as always.  If you haven't registered yet there is still time.  Visit the link below and follow to join.


We start another HDR Intensive tomorrow morning.  Five days of overcoming our camera's limitations.  Whether realistic, hyper realistic, or anywhere in between we will make it happen.

Fiat Lux!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Monday Night Light - 14 Sep Link

Use following url to register for Monday Night Light our free, live, weekly web seminar! See you online.


Fiat Lux!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Free Wacom Intuos 4! Chance to win heads up!

As a heads up, Monday Night Light participants on 21 Sep will have a chance to win a Wacom Intuous 4 tablet!  During the beginning of MNL all attendees can fill out a Wacom survey,  from those who fill out the 7 question form one lucky winner will be chosen. 

Absolutely no purchase necessary to win since MNL is free every Monday from 6:30-7:30 PM PDT. 

Register here every Friday morning when the new link is posted.  You can also follow us and receive the registration link via Twitter, www.Twitter.com/LightWorkshops

The link for the Wacom night will be up the morning of 18 Sep.  Even though I'm not giving out anything but great free training come check us out next Monday as well.

Fiat Lux!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday Night Light Video Recaps! Yep, plural. Photoshop and Lightroom.

Photoshop version above.

Lightroom version above.

Remember to check here or via Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Lightworkshops for next week's link.  It will be up, as always, Friday morning.

Fiat Lux!

A Submission from SoCal

©2009 Dennis Oliver
Dennis Oliver sent this shot to me last night after Monday Night Light.  Dennis shot this HDR Stitched Panorama during our recent Rick Sammon course here at Light.  Dennis took multiple shots per segment and merged them together with Photomatix Pro.  He tone mapped and then stitched the results with Photoshop. 

To reduce the pano to a manageable size for the web Dennis referenced our image sizing discussion from the web seminars over the last few weeks.  Great job taking a HUGE file and reducing it to a web ready 50K file size!

Always great to see the results of the workshops and web training.  Thanks Dennis and nice work!

Fiat Lux!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Day Two of Lightroom Complete

Lightroom day two is finished here at Light.  Had a great time today finishing the Library module and then attacking the Develop module to optimize our images.  The only bad part of the day was seeing how incredibly beautiful it was outside.  Most of the class took off to shoot for the balance of the evening in order to decompress.

Our courses are intense but the amount of knowledge, tips, tricks, and techniques learned is unrivaled.  We'll start again tomorrow morning to finish our local adjustment discussion and then move on to Export and Output. 

The images are from a recent shooting course with Rick Sammon.  These shots were the second night we photographed horses on the beach at sunset.  Fortunately, nature cooperated and provided some amazing clouds and color.  Both images were shot with a Canon 5D Mk II and an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L.  After capture processing in Lightroom, Photoshop, and Topaz Adjust.

Remember Monday Night Light is still on for tomorrow.  Click the following link to join the Illuminati.  We'll see you online tomorrow.


Fiat Lux!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Just Another Beautiful Evening

A calm Morro Bay sunset. 
Tremendous day here at Light.  Total Workflow with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is in session.  We spent the majority of the day in the digital darkroom discussing the LR interface and Library module features, functionality, and workflow. 

By late afternoon, we were ready for a quick change of scenery so down to the water we went.  A relatively slow day because of the low tide, not much wildlife or anything too exciting.  I will say it did not suck just relaxing and watching a nice sunset. 

We'll kick off tomorrow morning with a review of the standard digital workflow and then import, sort, and manage all of the images we shot this afternoon and evening.

Fiat Lux!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Her Name Was Lola, She Was a Showdog

Spent the afternoon with Lola, the number five French Bulldog on the U.S. show circuit.  This was the first time we brought a dog into the studio and it was a great experience.  We used four lights to try and make Lola look her best.  There was a fill light provided by a ProFoto head and a small Creative Light Softbox.  A main light from the dog's right was a 580 EX II and Westcott softbox.  The two rim lights set approximately 45 degrees off Lola's tail end were also ProFoto/Creative Light combos.  We used a black backdrop and had Lola on a black velvet covered table.   

I used the Canon 5D Mk II with the EF 70-200mm f/4L and a Pocket Wizard. I had the rig tethered so we could see the results of the shot on a 17" laptop screen. Shooting tethered provides some great benefits as you can immediately use either ACR or Lightroom's Develop Module to verify and fine tune your exposure and lights.  Working a tethered system is surpisingly easy.  For Canon shooters the software comes with your camera and all you need to connect is a USB cord (get a long one.)  For Nikon shooters you do need to purchase additional software but the setup is just as easy. 
We look forward to working with Lola again and any other showdogs and pets out there.  OBTW, we also shot in the studio this morning, radically different subject matter though.  An example is shown below.
This is, of course, not Lola but another tremendous local model. 
Have a great Labor Day Weekend.  We here at Light will be in class with a full digital darkroom learning Total Workflow with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. 
Fiat Lux!

7 Sep Monday Night Light Link

The following link will take you to the registration page for one of the most interesting and definitely the most free online, Photoshop, Lightroom, and digital training.


Fiat Lux!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another Submission from the HDR Intensive Week

"Saddle Up"
 ©2009 Kathleen Brennan
Kathleen Brennan submitted these images she took while here at Light for the HDR Intensive week.  Kathleen took several source shots and then merged them to HDR and tone mapped the image a couple of times.  She stacked the different results in Photoshop and then went to work.  Looks like some blend mode changes, adjustment layers, and good masking.

Nice work, Kathleen!
OBTW, HDR Intensive again later this month.

The two, differently tone mapped versions.

Monday Night Light Video Recap

Here is a quick 10 minute recap of our discussion from 31 Aug.  More next week on sizing for web, projectors, and more.

Link/invite for next Monday's Free session will be up here Friday morning.  S

As always, any questions, comments, or concerns please email me at Hal@LightWorkshops.com

Fiat Lux!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

One More Interesting Note on Gear

From a shoot this AM for a local ranch. Straight from LR.  Yep, the sky was that blue.
Canon EOS 5D Mk II, EF 24-70mm f/2.8, 580 EX II, Hoodman RAW CF, handheld
Thanks to everyone for a great Monday Night Light.  Expect the video recap up tomorrow AM.

As many of you know, I shoot Hoodman RAW cards exlusively. I did a lot of research before deciding to go with Hoodman and I am very happy I did.  The main reason I chose Hoodman was for reliability, these cards do not fail!  Operating the Institute and Light now for almost 2.5 years I've recovered (or tried to recover) files from every card manufacturer except Hoodman.  They are slightly more expensive but I think worth every penny.  We spend a lot on our camera kit, travel, etc., too much to have a card go bad and lose images.  I also chose the Hoodman card for their speed.  I could never quantify exactly how fast until I read the attachment below.

I received this article from the September issue of Rangefinder magazine describing the Hoodman CF card speed and performance compared to many other brands.  Please take a minute to read the article and get to know the CF card a little better.

Hoodman Speed Article