Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Epic Light Gallery Opening Ceremony

Tonight was an "Epic" night of photography, wine, good friends, and great fun.
The Official SLO Chamber Ribbon Cutting!
Thank you Amanda (second to left) for hanging the ENTIRE gallery!
Light Photographic Workshops celebrated our opening of Epic Light Gallery tonight with a great turn out of local photographers, students and photography/art afficionados -as well as our students participating in Jennifer Wu's workshop this week!

Hal Schmitt giving his intro to the gallery and school

Bob Canepa showing his work to Jennifer Wu

Mike Baird and his lovely Wife
Thank you To SLO Chamber for joining us and presenting us with their ribbon cutting ceremony to help us become an official part of the SLO Chamber. You will be able to see the ribbon cutting photo posted on their website within the week.

Bob Canepa

Mike Baird and Dan O'Donnell

We launched our gallery with two incredible local guest photographers in the area, Mike Baird and Bob Canepa. Bob brought framed prints and Mike went the "technology" route with a slide show on his brand new HD TV screen with Cd's of the images for sale and 2 gallery wrapped canvases printed by Light.

We had live music performed by local singer/songwriter Reese Galido  Reese will be joining us again next month for our showing with her stand-up bass player who compliments her style of music beautifully.

We, of course, had to have wine and cheese! Volatus 2005 was debuted at this wonderful event as well! Volatus 2005 will be labeled early April and will be available for $30 a bottle through Light and a few select carriers in the area.
Fiat Lux!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 1 of our Wildflower Intensive

 The fully laden bee butt shot.

Another great day at Light.  Hal's Wildflower Intensive is in full swing.  We spent the morning in the studio, gallery, and around the school perfecting our techniques of live view, expanded depth of field, flash, multi flash, reflector, diffuser, and more.

After a quick break we took off for a few acres of poppies.  Weather cooperated beautifully with full sun, blue sky, and cool (but light breezes.)

Deep cover.

Five and a half hours in the field with the flowers was incredible photography.  Off early tomorrow morning to do it all again with different subject matter (ok, I'll probably sneak a few poppies in.)

Fiat Lux!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Poppies are Here

 Happy as a bee in pollen (a little more blog friendly than the other expression.)

Out scouting again today and found huge fields of poppies.  I am always impressed by the intensity of the orange.  I am always underwhelmed by the sRGB conversion for web.  Hope to see you out here for a wildlfower excursion. 

All shots today were handheld with a Canon 5D and EF 180mm f/3.5L macro. 

Fiat Lux!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Welcome to Wildflower Season

Out scouting today to locate the first wave of wildflowers.  The storms of the weekend parted just as we, Reagan and I, began some quick shooting.  We visited a huge area so we only took a shot or two here and there.  Cannot wait to get out there and do it right with tripod, live view, flash, multi flash, diffuser, reflector, and more.

Looks like a good start to the season. 

Had to add an 8 shot IR pano as well.

Fiat Lux!

Hard to find pink out there so I had my daughter put her foot behind the flower.
Fun use of pink rain boots!

Friday, March 18, 2011

2011 California Photo Fest Site and Registration are Live!

Black Hill sunrise pano!  Come shoot it with us!

The 2011 California Photo Festival site, schedule, and registration are up and live! 

We have assembled a group of 17 talented instructors, over 170 courses, and some really cool events.  Even though it's live, we will continue to add instructors, courses, sponsors, and more as we get closer to the fest.  Our goal is to make this the best photography and digital imaging immersion available anywhere.

Follow the link below and check it out.  I will warn you, block off an hour or so to check out all of the classes.

2011 California Photo Festival

When you register you will create an account and then build your schedule.  At any time you can log back in and modify your schedule as desired.  Hopefully, a tremendous improvement over last year.

Fiat Lux!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Magic of Wildflowers with Rob Sheppard now only $595!

Rob Sheppard is coming back to Light April 11-15, 2011 to teach you everything you need to know about creating beautiful and unique photographs of the Central Coast wildflower bloom!
We've just lowered the price for our Magic of Wildflowers workshop from $895 to just $595!
This class is one of our favorites and now we're offering it for a killer deal. This offer is only good for 1 week, so get your spot before March 18th!

You can register online at or call the office 805-528-7385.

Fiat Lux!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Day in the Life

A quick slideshow of images from one day's shooting up in Alaska.  Pretty amazing the different subjects, lighting, techniques, and more you can encounter in one day. 

Shot with the  Canon 1D, 5D Mk II, and 7D with lenses from the EF 15mm f/2.8 fisheye to the EF 800mm f/5.6L.  Slideshow from Lightroom with music from Victoria.

You should join me up there sometime!

Fiat Lux


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Embrace the Group

As many of you know the power of Photoshop is found in the layer.  Taking that a little further, it is found in the combination of many layers to achieve just the look or design you are going for. 

Some users are hesitant at first but soon find themselves adding layer after layer in order to perfect an image.  As I walk around the classroom looking at people's work it is not unusual to find images with 25+ layers! 

With all those layers, things can get a little bit confused and cluttered.  We recommend two simple tips to help keep everything logical and organized.

A mess of layers.

1) Name every layer.  Of course, Photoshop does this for us but the auto generated layer names do not always tell us exactly what the layer is doing.  Try to name each layer with something simple that tells you immediately what the layer does for your image.  The simpler and more meaningful the better as you might revisit the image a day, a month, or a year in the future and will want to know quickly what each layer does. To rename a layer just double click on the current layer name and an editable text box will pop up.  If you happen to click in the wrong spot and the Layer Styles dialog opens, no worries.  Just close it and try again.

Layers with meaningul names but still cluttered.

2) Use groups!  Groups are like parent folders on your hard drive.  A parent folder may contain dozens of files.  When you want to see them all you expand the folder, when you don't collapse.  A group works the exact same way.)  When the layers start piling up see if there is a way to group them together.  For example, if you have five layers to optimize the sky put them into a group.  To create a group, highlight the layer or layers you want together and then position your mouse over any of the layer thumbnails.  Click, hold, and drag to the Group icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.  The group icon is the one that looks like a small folder.  It is the third from the right directly next to the create new layer icon.  Once you have a group remember to give it a meaningful name.  You can easily expand or collapse the group by clicking on the small triangle to the left of the group thumbnail (a folder icon.)

With properly named groups it is much more logical and organized.

You can have as many groups as you need or want.  Once you have a group you can also add  a layer mask to selectively reveal or conceal the effects of the entire group.

Try these two techniques and see if they help manage the possible confusion and clutter that comes with a multi layered document.

Fiat Lux!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Aurora Revisited and Cold Wx

After my disappointing aurora shoot last week, I decided to try again.  The goal was to modify the shots and try and make them interesting and have a little impact.  I tried three techniques.  Let me know if they worked.

Although there are limited foreground elements where I currently am (arctic tundra -think barren, frozen plain) I tried to align the aurora with a ground element.  I found this to add a little interest as it appears at first glance the aurora could be coming from the ground station. 

Second, I tried to fill the frame with the subject.  Negative space in the earlier images did not work. 

Finally, I am presenting the images as a series to show action/progression.  These four shots are taken in succession showing the initial contact through dissipation.  Much like a wave the shots progress from break to backwash.

I have been fortunate to see some amazing things in my life.  Last night was near the top (only outdone by the birth of my daughters.) The lights were incredibly strong for about three hours and visible from dusk to dawn.  OBTW, it was about -45 during the shoot. 

As I have previously discussed, the camera (5D Mk  II) did great in the cold weather.  Ambient temperature was about -16.  The battery was fine even though it had been cold soaked for about 36 hours previously.  The only issue I ran into last night was my tripod.  For the Benro travel angel temps below about -15 give it some issues, either freezing the joint "locks" or thermal contraction problems. 

For temps below about -25 the limiting factor on most SLRs is the LCD. In my experience, the back LCD goes first, then the top, and finally the viewfinder.

Fiat Lux!