Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Los Ososian Vampire

Happy Halloween!  Light is in session again with Photoshop 1 this weekend.  Two fun filled days of learning interrupted by a little trick or treating, of course.

Careful of the creatures out and about this evening, especially around coastal California.  Don't want anyone to get bitten.

Fiat Lux!

Friday, October 30, 2009

In class with Rob Sheppard this week.  The class is putting some end of week slide shows together in Lightroom for a final review and critique.

The image above is from our Digital Figure class a couple weeks ago.  I shot the image with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L, and our ProFoto D1 Air system.  I processed the image in Lightroom and then sent to Photoshop CS4 for editing.  I also brought Topaz Detail into the mix and used some blend mode changes on the resultant layers.

I wanted a high contrast, high saturation, slightly painted look and am happy so far with the results.  Need to work a few more ideas through.  The basic advice of "Don't be afraid to play around" helped me with this one.

Fiat Lux!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

HDR Guidelines Part 3

Took a while but here they are.  The first parts are in August!

After Capture Processing

-Transfer images from card to computer storage media

-Opinions differ regarding processing raw files or processing TIFF.

-My experience is that most simple images will do ok processing the raw files.

-As the scene becomes more challenging, process the raw files and create TIFFs.

-The Lightroom Photomatix Plug-in will create a TIFF

Do not touch exposure when processing the images!
Old School Bridge/Photoshop Method

-Select all source files in Bridge

-Go to the menu bar and find Tools>Photoshop>Load files into Photoshop Layers

-Mask away

Old School Lightroom/Photoshop Method

-Select all source files on filmstrip or Library Grid View

-Right click, scroll, and choose Open as Layers in Photoshop
Bridge/ACR TIFF Creation – First Method

-Select all source raw files in Bridge

-Double click one of them and open ACR

-Hit the “Select All” button in the upper left of the ACR dialog

-Set Tone Curve to Linear and Sharpening Amount to “0”

-Synchronize all images

-Configure full size TIFFs

-I typically save the TIFFs to an“HDR Source TIFF” Folder
Lightroom TIFF Export

-Select all source raw files on the Filmstrip or Library Grid View

-In the Develop module, set the Tone Curve to Linear and Sharpening Amount to “0”

-Synchronize and return to the Library

-From the left panel of the Library module, click Export

-Configure full size TIFF files

-I typically do not reimport the TIFF files

Lightroom Plug-In

-Select all source raw files on the Filmstrip or Library Grid View

- In the Develop Module, set the Tone Curve to Linear and Sharpening Amount to “0” (This is easily set as a Preset.)

-Synchronize and return to the Library

-Right click and scroll down to Photomatix


-I normally reimport and stack the final processed image

-Photomatix Method to Combine

-Open the program and click “Generate HDR image”

-Select the image files and click “OK”

-Select options as desired

-Photomatix will convert

-Save the HDR as a Radiance file

-Photomatix Method to Process

-Open the radiance file

-Click “Tone Mapping”

-Select method

-Tone Compressor for a more photo-realistic look (sometimes)

-Details Enhancer for more control and art feel

-Change sliders to taste

-Click the “Process” button

-Save the output

-Process again as required

-Repeat process saving each time
-Photomatix alternate method to Process

-This works extremely well for single images processed multiple times

-With only one source file process for highlights, shadows, and midtones. Save each version and then continue from here.

-Open Photomatix

-Click “Exposure Blending,” select the source images, and click “Ok.”

-Choose your options and move sliders to taste

-Click the “Process” button

-Save the output

-Photomatix Output is still in a somewhat “raw” state. Take the result back to Lightroom or Photoshop and process.

Friday, October 23, 2009

02 November Monday Night Light Link

Monday Night Light is dark next week as the Light staff is on the road!  Hal will return for a live seminar Monday 02 November.

Please share the link freely.  MNL is growing each week and we want as many as possible to learn from our seminars.  There is no reason Photography, Photoshop, or Lightroom should be difficult so let's get everyone illuminated. 

As many of you know Adobe recently released the public beta test of Lightroom 3.  Hal is reviewing the program thoroughly before making any comments but they will be published here soonest.

Fiat Lux!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day Four of the Digital Figure

Camouflaged with Light both literally and figuratively.

Day four of the Digital Figure is complete here at Light.  Another incredible day of shooting with great students, amazing models, and a ProFoto equipped studio.  Good, good living.

Fiat Lux!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Digital Figure Day 3

Just completed day three of The Digital Figure course here at Light.  The shot above is a straight from the camera (Canon EOS 5D Mk II) shot from this afternoon (of course, I did a JPEG export of the raw file from LR.)  Looking forward to optimizing this image and trying multiple variations in black and white, tinted, and intense color/contrast.

This week, we are concentrating on light, shadow, and the human form.  Tremendous learning curve so far and ramping it up even more tomorrow.

Fiat Lux!

580 EX II Cheat Sheet Part One

Canon Speedlite 580 EX II Cheat Sheet

Bull’s Recommendations
Revised 17 July 09
Basic Functions and Switchology

-Press the “Lightbulb”/C.Fn. button momentarily to activate the backlight

-Press and hold the same button to activate the Custom Function menu (may also be accessed via the camera’s Flash Control.

-Toggle the Mode button to switch between ETTL, Manual, and Multi

-ETTL = Exposure Through The Lens

-Manual = limited communication with the camera (but consistent)

-Multi = think strobe light

-Toggle the “squiggle H”/triangle button to switch between High speed synch, 2nd Curtain, and 1st Curtain.

-High Speed Synch = allows flash to synchronize when shutter speed >1/200 (5Ds, Rebels) 1/250 (most DSLR,) or 1/350 (1Ds.) These speeds are your Max Synch Speeds. Use only when needed. Remember effective flash distance decreases and batteries will exhaust at a faster rate.

-2nd Curtain = Flash fires just before shutter “closes” (great choice!) Not only for “dragging the shutter.”

-1st Curtain = Flash fires as shutter “opens”

-Press the Zoom button momentarily to activate zoom control

-If flash will not zoom, check the wide angle adapter

-Use the adjustment wheel to cycle through zoom levels

-When the “M” is displayed a manual zoom is locked

- Press the Sel/Set button in the middle of the adjustment wheel to exit zoom

-Press and hold the Zoom button to activate the Master/Slave functions

-Use the adjustment wheel to set Off, Master, or Slave

-Off = stand alone flash

-Master = sets flash as the control flash for multi flash ops

-Slave = sets flash as a dependent flash controlled by another master

-Press the Sel/Set button to activate Flash Exposure Compensation (FEC)

-Use the adjustment wheel to cycle through FEC

-Press the Sel/Set button to lock

-Press the Sel/Set button twice to activate Flash Exposure Bracketing

     -Recommend ignoring this function

Speedlite Modifiers and Shaping Tools

The basic Speedlite output may be modified, shaped, or bounced to change the quality and nature of the light. There are many different products available.

LIGHT 1000% recommends the Hanson (not Gary) Fong Skin Glow bounce device. SIMPLY AMAZING performance with only a 1 – 2 stop light loss. Remember the best light is ceiling/wall light. Call or stop by for more explanation.

Careful with some products. LIGHT has received numerous reports of issues with the Whale Tail device. The “tupper ware” like globe/sphere devices do little and lose 3+ stops.

Many additional modifiers are available. If you have a question regarding a specific model contact LIGHT.

Part two up shortly.
Fiat Lux!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Adjustment Brush Before and After

After Monday Night Light finished up (we discussed the adjustment brush in LR and ACR) Sevan Pulurian sent me a before/after series of shots.  Sevan used the adjustment brush to optimize tonality in his image and really brought the scene to life.  Amazing such a dramatic change from a simple, non destructive, and procedural local adjustment. 



Sevan is a talented photographer and more of his work may be viewed on Flickr at

We at Light always love to see your shots.  Send them to if you would.

Fiat Lux!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Graduated Filter - Adobe Camera Raw video recap

The graduated filter in the Adobe camera raw (ACR) interface. 

See you online tomorrow evening.

Fiat Lux!

Lightroom Graduated Filter MNL Video Recap

The graduated filter recap from last week's Monday Night Light.  Adjustment brush tomorrow.

Fiat Lux!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Monday Night Light - 19 October Free Web Seminar

Join us for Monday Night Light, our free, live, weekly web seminar every Monday from 6:30 to 7:30 PM PDT.  The best (and freest) training anywhere.

Hal will continue his discussion of local adjustments in Lightroom and ACR with the Adjustment Brush.

See you online.

Fiat Lux!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Speedlite Immersion 3-Day Workshop

©Jim Johnson

Just finished Day 2 of our 3-Day Canon Speedlite workshop.  Rainy and blustery outside but some great flash photography indoors here at Light.

I attached two shots from Jim Johnson, one of this week's participants.  We spent most of the afternoon working multiple speedlight set ups and this one was a great example of some good flash work and creativity.

©Jim Johnson

Three speedlights were used to illuminate Miss Brittany.  All wireless connectivity was via the built in Master/slave functions and Jim chose ETTL with three groups to make it happen.

Nice work Jim and crew.

Fiat Lux!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Monday Night Light Video Recap

The completion of our discussion of the Sharpening Trinity: input, creative, and output. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Detail Shot

Detail shot from the previous post's pano.

Wales Sunset

Canon EOS 1 Ds Mk III, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L, Induro C314, RRS Bh-55
16 shot stitched panorama

In class with Jack Davis today and stitched a 16 shot panorama while learning with the class.  This is from a trip I took with Infinity Photo Tours to Wales last year.  Check out the girl sitting on the rocks.

The Welsh landscape and wildlife were amazing and I cannot wait to get back next year. 

Fiat Lux!

12 October Monday Night Light Link

Click the following link to register for Monday Night Light!  The best weekly, live, web seminar found anywhere on the web!

Monday 12 October from 6:30-7:30 PM PDT! 

See you online!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Back Button Focus -Hop Onboard for the Big Win

Back from Photoshop World Vegas and I wanted to take a quick post to describe one of my favorite shooting tips/techniques.  I demonstrated this post to about 20 folks at the convention and thought I should share with everyone.

Most SLRs are equipped with an "AF-On" button on the back of the camera.  For Canon users this button first appeared on the 40D.  If you have an earlier model Canon you can easily program the AE lock button (the star button on the upper right of the camera's back) by swiching Custom Function 04 (Shutter/AE Lock)  to option 1 (AE lock/AF.) This is Custom Function 10 on the new Rebel series.

Per default settings the AF On button will initiate auto focus (as long as the lens' autofocus is enabled) and metering.  The ergonomic and control benefits of using the AF On button for focus should be immediately apparent when you press the button with your thumb.  It feels very natural, comfortable, and simple to press with the thumb when holding the camera body in your hand.  This makes sense as the button actuation is a normal extension of the gripping action. Beautiful to have an opposable thumb, don't you think?  You should also notice there is no intermediate step for pressing the AF On button; it is either depressed or not, unlike the shutter release. 

Adjusting to use of the AF On button for focus/metering takes a little time but the benefit is felt almost immediately.  The simplest and fastest method for switching your technique is to divorce the shutter release button from anything but releasing the shutter.  Focus/Meter = AF On and Shoot = shutter release. 

The only gotcha in this process is if you release the AF On button once focus is achieved, metering is complete, and exposure is set (in Manual by your input of shutter speed and aperture / in Av by selecting an aperture and then alllowing the camera to set the correct shutter speed with AF On depression) and then continue to shoot the image by depressing the shutter release.  Does not seem like this should cause a problem but it does!  By default settings the shutter release controls auto focus, metering, and releasing the shutter.  So when you press the shutter release the camera will also focus, meter, if in Av change shutter speed, and shoot.  This is a major issue for the photographer as our desired focus and, potentially, exposure as set by the AF On button are changed at the last millisecond.

The fix is to not only think in terms of divorcing the shutter release from anything other than releasing the shutter but also to reprogram the camera via custom functions to disable focus from the shutter release button.  As a Canon shooter I will describe the method to set the appropriate custom function.  Would love to have input from some of our Nikon shooters as to the correct method to do this on the Nikons.

In order to reprogram the shutter release do the following on 40D,50D, and 5D Mk II.  Go to the Custom Fucntions tab (Orange) on the menu display and select c. Fn IV: Operations/Others.  Use the secondary control dial on the back of the camera to find the first function or 1 called Shutter button/AF-ON button.  Hit the set button and then scroll down to select option 2:Metering start/Meter+AF start.  The options describe what function will be set to each button shutter first and then AF-On button.  So with option 2, the shutter release only initiates metering and shutter release not focus and the AF-On button does focus and metering.  As you have probably noticed this isn't exactly what we want but it is as close as we can get.  I will describe the potential gotcha in a minute. 

For 7 D users, follow the same procedure until you get to the first function of c. Fn IV:Operations/Others.  Your first function will show a list of programmable buttons on the camera.  Select the upper left icon for the shutter release and program it for "metering."

20D, 30D, and Rebel users do not need to perform this additional reprogramming. 

With reprogramming complete, you now have no focus actuation with the shutter elease.  For Manual shooters, the shooting process is simple.  Depress the AF-On button for focus and metering.  Adjust exposure as required and ensure focus locked at the appropriate point.  Release the AF-On button and shoot. 

For Av shooters, a slight modification is needed.  After locking focus and exposure by pressing the AF-On button continue to hold the button down.  Fortunately, this is easy to do since our natural grip allows/encourages keeping our thumb down.  This prevents the shutter button from remetering and modifying exposure if we recompose.  As always, remember friends don't let friends shoot aperture priority.  Of course, there are always exceptions :).

After a few shots using this technique you will never want to go back.  Whether locking focus and then recomposing or continually tracking a target in motion, the back button focus WILL improve your photography. 

Fiat Lux!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Monday Night Link

The following URL will take you to the Monday Night Light registration page. Hope to see you online.

On the road at Photoshop World in Vegas!

Fiat Lux!