Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Magic of Flowers - Afternoon Day 2

Great critters out and about.

We spent a few hours in the digital darkroom yesterday learning techniques from Rob Sheppard.  As the rain cleared we took another quick trip into the field so the class could shoot and practice some more. 

We found some of the most amazing lupine fields I have ever seen.  Pretty amazing when an entire 4 mile wide canyon smells strongly of lupine and only lupine. 

3 Shot HDR overlooking the canyon
Will continue to optimize when I have some additional time.


Topaz Adjust paint demo of the above image for one of the students.
Never hurts to play around a little.

In the lab this morning for Rob to provide some image review and deliver some constructive criticism. 

We will, of course, head back to the field this afternoon to shoot, shoot, shoot. 

Fiat Lux!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wildflowers in the Rain

A very wet lupine.

Driving rain this morning but out shooting and trying to make some interesting images. Canon 7D, EF 180mm f/3.5L, on camera flash at -3.  Clearing up for a little while this afternoon before a big storm tomorrow so we'll go back at it as long as possible.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Back from the Bay Area and Out Shooting Wildflowers Again

Big Pano from our weekend sunset shoot

Returned late last night from a two day HDR Intensive up in Berkeley.  Met some great people, passed on some good information, and shot a few thousand images.  Should be back up there soon for a Lightroom Unlimited course.  I'll put details up here when available.

Couple of demo grungy HDRs

Rob Sheppard is in town teaching The Magic of Flowers and California is not disappointing.  We spent the morning in the lab and then shot for about three hours in the afternoon.  We'll start tomorrow at sunrise and spend the day on an epic wildflower loop. 

With moth

Without moth

I'll try and update tomorrow evening when we get back.

Fiat Lux!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

CS5 Global Online Release Event

Adobe announced the global release of CS5 for 12 April 2010 at 8 AM PDT.  Register for the online release event at the following link.

Once released be sure to check here for the Top 10 Reasons you will love CS5 as well as video demos, tutorials, and more.

Fiat Lux!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Newest Light Family Member

Sorin Marie Schmitt was born at 3:27 PM, Tuesday the 23rd of March.  She tipped the scales at 8 lbs 5 oz and is 19" long.  She has deep blue eyes, dark blonde hair, is amazingly attentive and doesn't seem to cry.

Mom is doing great and both will be home tomorrow.

Thank you to everyone who helped or wished us well.

Fiat Lux!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Days 4 and 5 - Random Images

Finishing up Day 5 here at Light with Jennifer Wu's Macro and Flower Field Photography.  A few random images from the last couple of days.  We'll take a week off then back at the flowers again with Rob Sheppard's The Magic of Flowers.  There are still a couple of spots left so come out and join us.

24mm tilt shift for extended DOF


Macro/flash work in the studio.


6 shot stitched panorama


Pollen covered critter

The old and the new

Fiat Lux!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

2/3 of Day Three - Sunrise and Macro Critters

Some images from day three here at Light.  In class with Canon Explorer of Light Jennifer Wu shooting Macro and Flowers.  As always, I am not a fan of sRGB for sunrise shots.  Fiat Lux!

Looking East - 6 shot stitched pano

Looking West

"Hello, my pretty"

A tasty little morsel

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quick from Day Two - Wild Flowers

Some of the class shooting.  Good living.
4 shot stitched panorama.

A few shots from class today.  Mostly Canon EOS 7 and 5D Mk II with EF 180mm f/3.5L and EF 100 mm f/2.8.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Few Shots from Day One in The Studio

We spent the afternoon practicing macro, lighting, and camera techniques in the lab.  We find it a good exercise and warm up to shoot, learn, and master in a controlled environment before venturing out.

This final shot is done with expanded DOF that I showed in last week's video tutorial.  I combined 7 slices in Adobe Photoshop CS4 to get the desired DOF.

Fiat Lux!

Day One of Flower / Macro with Jennifer Wu (AKA JWU)

Flowers are starting to show up!
10 Shot stitched panorama from a scouting trip yesterday.

In class this morning with Jennifer learning the theory and practice of macro photography.  We're setting up the cameras now and will soon dive into the wonder of Live View.

Friday, March 12, 2010

HDR Photography; Shooting and Processing in San Francisco!

Instructor: Hal Schmitt of Light Photographic Workshops
March 27th and 28th, 2010

Interested in learning how to capture the entire dynamic range of a scene, from brightest highlights to darkest shadows?  It often cannot be done with a single exposure.  By utilizing high dynamic range photography, you can capture all of the detail in a scene.  No more blown out skies!  Hal will teach you how to set up custom camera settings in you digital SLR to conveniently take the multiple exposures you need to capture the complete range of light in any setting.  We will have classroom time to learn how HDR works, and when and how to use it.  We will have some shooting sessions in the field to practice setting up our shots, and to obtain source files to work on back in the classroom.  Hal will show us how to use the Photomatix program, and also how to seamlessly integrate our workflow from Adobe Lightroom or Adobe bridge in Photoshop.  He will discuss the various ways you can process an image, from “natural” to  a more graphic or illustrated look.  You will pick up a lot of information about Lightroom and Photoshop during the weekend.
You should purchase or download a trial of Photomatix before the workshop. (We have a big discount code for Photomatix that Kathleen will email you upon registration)  I recommend downloading a trial of Lightroom, if you do not already have it, but it is not required.  Bring your tripod, camera, favorite lenses and laptop to work on your images.

The course will start at 9:00 AM Saturday morning at the Doubletree Hotel at the Berkeley Marina.  Registration begins at 8:30.  There is ample parking and great opportunities for shooting nearby.  The cost is $225.00 for the weekend with a deposit of $100.00 upon registration. For additional information, call Kathleen at 925-376-7192.  Happy shooting!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Expanded Depth of Field (Video Tutorial link below)

Early morning wildflowers
Canon 7D, EF 180mm f/3.5L, Induro C213, RRS BH-55

Depth of field (DOF), or the area of your image acceptably in focus, is a great tool for photographers.  Through our selection of aperture, focal length, and focal distance (this is a very complicated subject so we will limit to these three variables) we can control the DOF for all of our images.  knowing the viewer's eye is drawn to "in focus" areas of the image we can direct the viewer around the image as we prefer.  In general, landscape photographers prefer a deeper DOF in order to show the viewer the entire scene so they may "explore" in detail.  In contrast, the portrait photographer generally decreases DOF to highlight the subject.

Certain shooting scenarios, such as macro photography, deliver very limited DOF regardless of our aperture selection.  You have probably experienced this effect either when shooting or if you have seen a macro shot of a flower with only one portion of the entire subject in focus.  For most of photography's history, we have accepted limited DOF as a given.  A few years ago with the introduction of digital photography, powerful software tools allowed the photographer to overcome this limitation.

Software such as Adobe Photoshop CS4, gives us the power to combine multiple images (same subject but each with a different focal point/focal plane/DOF) into a single expanded DOF creation.  The video tutorial shows the process using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

To capture the source images I recommend the following guidelines.

1) Shoot from a tripod! At Light we use Induro tripods and Really Right Stuff ballheads and L-brackets

2) Focus on the leading edge of the subject (the nearest part of the subject you want in focus.)

---Bull's Guaranteed Sharper Images ---
If your camera is equipped with Live View, use it!  Bring up the live view screen and then zoom in on the spot you want as the focal point (use the zoom button on the back of your camera with live view enabled and then scroll location with the multi function controller.)  Once you are zoomed in, fine tune your focus manually.  Using Live View and the 5X or 10X optical zoom and manual focus will give noticeably sharper images.  After focus is fine tuned, shoot from Live View.  This, of course, removes the problems associated with camera shake because of mirror movement/vibrations.  For those new to Live View, the mirror is already locked up.

3) Shoot the first image (use a cable release or the 2" timer option.)

4) Without moving the camera or changing composition, refocus deeper into the image.  In effect, you are stepping backwards.

5) Shoot again

6) Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you reach the trailing edge of the subject (the farthest part of the subject you want in focus.)

Now you have the required source files to use the Auto Align and Auto Blend functions of Photoshop CS4.  Follow the video tutorial from here (Blogger's difficult today so I just included the link.)

As always, any questions, comments, or concerns shoot me an email at

Fiat Lux!