Saturday, February 27, 2010

Important Safety Tip, Thanks Egon.

Unimpressive image but the warning is definitely a "good to know" when out shooting.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Allow Yourself Some Time to Play

Sitting up here in extreme northern Alaska the other night in the middle of a blizzard, I had some time to play around with my images and Photoshop.  I find allowing yourself to play and experiment with different tools and techniques a great boost to my creativity (not to mention becoming much more familiar with my image optimization software.)

I try not to start a "play" session with any specific goal in mind.  I'll pick an image and try things out.  When something looks interesting I continue.  If it doesn't, I'll switch gears.

For this last exercise, I grabbed a shot of a model from a recent studio course here at Light shown below.

I tried a few things and settled on the image you see below.

After that I thought why not mirror the image?  That took a little time and I ultimately built four actions to mirror anything I wanted.  Shoot me an email and I'll send you the mirror actions (

After some mirroring I tried some interesting lighting and filter techniques.

Ultimately, I probably won't use my results for anything but the exercise was great and now I have some killer Mirror Actions.

So here it is, "I give you full permission to play around.  No specific goal in mind.  Just play around, have some fun, boost your creativity, create, and learn."

Fiat Lux!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Adobe Photoshop Turns 20!

Sign up for a free, live, streaming celebration of Photoshop's 20th year!

7:30 PM PST, 18 Feb 2010

Fiat Lux!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Updates at Light

First of all, if you've been to our website you will see that we have a first annual California Photo Festival planned for this September. We now have 12  top of the industry instructors confirmed for group portfolio reviews,  workshops, seminars and lectures to fill the 5 and a half days of learning on the beautiful Central Coast.

Interested in learning photography in Japan? Hal is going to be a guest instructor at the first annual Japan photo Fest in late June! He is one of three instructors including the DPExperience gurus Rick Sammon and Juan Pons. (Both instructors at our Photo Fest as well)

Well, with the little time I had to get Hal out of the classroom when he was here last week, we were able to get a good idea about the wildflower explosion that we are anticipating. Old creek road is starting to get colorful already and there are reports of Poppies and Lupin already making their way across the valleys. We are even expecting more rain to come which just makes things better for these classes coming up!
To make this year an incredible capture year, this March we have Jennifer Wu and Rob Sheppard coming in time to photograph the wildflowers and teach some interesting topics to go along with them! We have a few seats left and we have been speaking with some Canon reps about getting some pretty cool equipment sent over for the macro sessions.

Look for our newsletter this week that will feature a great deal by signing up for 2 classes this March. It will be a retrospective deal so you can sign up for one now and get the same deal later on if you choose to take us up on it.

Hal is currently on a flight to Alaska again so expect to see some more blog posts on camera equipment in sub zero temperatures and interesting photos of the north slope. But never fear! I am not alone here keeping up the fort with a very large and pregnant belly. Hal and I have officially hired two incredible women to join our team to help out with keeping the school going forward and going strong. Many of you have met Becky, as she has been our lab assistant for many months. She graduated from Cal Poly last year and I'm honored to have her on our team. Tracy will soon be your main point of contact here. She is incredibly competent, energetic and more to the point organized! Everything an artist needs by their side! 
Let us know if there is anything we can do for you. We look forward to seeing each of you here soon!

As Hal likes to say...Fiat Lux!

No MNL Tonight

For those of you who have been patiently waiting for our free MNL sessions to start up again, I must apologize for the wait! Hal has been traveling quite a bit between Alaska and Hawaii and teaching successful classes as well.  Though we do plan to restart the free sessions again we do not have a planned date for its startup at this time.
Until then there will be another blog post later tonight to get you up to speed with a few things that we have going on here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oh the Horror! HDR withoutTripod and a Moving Subject

On the way to the beach for sunset the other day we saw this scene in Maui. Although on a timeline we decided to stop for a quick five minute shoot.  The dynamic range of this composition was about 13 stops.  Handheld with a pro-sumer camera to cover a 13 stop range can be a little challenging.  To increase the difficulty the location is directly under the approach corridor for Kahului Airport so airliners are always overhead.

I grabbed my Canon 5D Mk II and EF 24-70mm f/2.8L to try the shot.  I shot on my User Setting C3 which is optimized for HDR.  You can learn more about user settings by looking at the following link from this blog (Custom User Settings)  With such a range I needed to shoot my first series exposure compensated to -2 E.V.  After the three shots, I held very still and then ran up to +2 E.V. for the second three shots.  This gave me shots at -4, -2, 0, 0, +2, and +4 (obviously I rejected and deleted one of the 0 shots.)

I used Lightroom to prep the files then exported to Photomatix Pro for processing.  Back in Lightroom, after tone mapping, I stacked the tone mapped TIFF and the best single shot of the airliner in Photoshop.  After some quick masking, the airliner was there.  It's good to always remember that you have access to each of your exposures even after you tone map.

I did a quick black and white version and will play with these a little more when I get back to Light and Cali.

Fiat Lux!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Full Moon Set Pano

A full moonset from the other morning here in Maui.  We set out for a great sunrise but were surprised with a beautiful moonset first.  I'll get some of the sunrise shots up as well.

Shot at Secret Beach, Maui with a Canon 5D Mk II, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L, Induro C313, Really Right Stuff BH-55, and RRS pano kit.  Two shot pano optimized with Lightroom and Photoshop.

Still here in Maui shooting and printing, coating, and stretching canvas gallery wraps.

Monday Night Light will broadcast again next Monday evening!

Fiat Lux!