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Iceland loves the iPhone – Year 5

PRO645 6x17 pano w/ flypaper texture

PRO645 6×17 pano w/ flypaper texture

I broke out the iPhone quite a bit on this trip. Rekindled enthusiasm and other worldly subject matter is some powerful ju-ju.

The iPhone is the ultimate sketch pad. Literally, photoshop in your pocket, using apple apps for processing offers unlimited possibilities, and one is only limited by one’s imagination, hence everything is wide open to interpretation. Following is a gallery of images from our Icelandic Odyssey 2015, shot and processed on the iPhone 6+.

The apps listed are the apps predominantly used in most cases. Snapseed is always my first stop, then often I’ll try a Perfectly Clear adjustment to get the ball rolling, especially on low contrast or flat images. In almost all cases at least two different versions were blended in Image Blender.

My 2 primary apps that I use, after Snapseed, are Stackables and Mextures. Both are deep with features that I find suit the distressed look that I like on many occasions. However, my favorite apps tend to cycle out every few months or so.

For longer exposures or for more control and stability, I’ll mount the iPhone on my tripod using the MeFoto SideKick360 (Plus, for larger phones, like the 6plus), and there’s a smaller SideKick for smaller phones. There is a built in ArcaSwiss mount and easily switches from Horiz. to Vert.

Also, mentioned in the image info and highly recommended are the Moment lenses. I use both, the 18mm and the 60mm.

It’s a good practice to find apps that appeal to your subject selection and shooting style and study/master those handful of apps and try to resist the urge to binge buy apps. I know this because, like many serious iPhone shooters, I’ve bought “everything,” but I find that at any given time, I use the same 6-8 apps 95% of the time.

iPhone photography is encouraged during our workshops and special processing sessions are held for iPhone shooters.

That’s about it for our Icelandic Odyssey 2015. Please email Susan if interested in our Sept, 2016 Icelandic Odyssey “Aurora Madness” tour.

See ya online,


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Iceland.6.2015.3 Flatey.2


The skies got really nice at the end. All of the Flatey Island sky images were shot within 24 hours. The colorful seeming dusk skies began at about 0100 and went on for about 3+ hours. I must admit it was a bit weird not having to hurry to get the great light before it begins to fade, but I transitioned to the more leisurely approach quite effortlessly.

The sparseness of the island-scape on Flatey was wonderful and relentless in offering up innumerable compositional possibilities. I photographed the church interior last before leaving the island.

On the way back to Reykjavik, for the “big finish,” we stopped at Mt. Kirkjufell, aka known as The Witches Hat. It’s one of those scenes that I always try to get to whenever in Iceland. It’s not far from Reykjavik and the natural arrangement of elements is really thrilling to photograph. Luckily, the wind was light, so no blowing water on the front element. Also, it’s become so popular that motor coaches show up. There are steps built in to get people to the top of the falls, and gravel on the walkways. Does an area’s sudden popularity and amount of images produced by thousands of people annually diminish the excitement of photographing it? I don’t think so. In this case, the Witch’s Hat image is a 2 minute exposure with a really nice water flow and gently rolling clouds. This is a new image for me, even after being there a number of times. We had a great final supper and everyone seems to have had a great time, and seeing the work on their laptops, came away with excellent bodies of work!

After the workshop, Sue and I rent a car for 24 hours to do our own thing. After a long day on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, we headed back to Reykjavik during a period of very high winds and short periods of intense cold. The B&W clouds image was shot in the aforementioned conditions. Later, the winds and light softened up, then began a very long sunset of constantly changing light, culminating in our final shot of the trip of the snow capped mountains and pastel pink illuminated clouds.

Aside from these three blog posts and collections of images, there is much more, including a lot of iPhone and a few stitch pans, but that’s for another post or two.

Thanks for taking the time and please email Susan for more information and to be placed on our September 2016 Iceland Odyssey “Aurora Madness” instructional photo tour.


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Iceland 6.2015.2 Flatey

pastoral - using 2 textures

pastoral – using 2 textures

Here are a few more images from our Iceland Odyssey 2015 instructional tour. The first 2 images were made in the very picturesque, Hellnar, on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, a place which always holds photographic surprises. The first image was made from the boat dock shooting back in-land. Also, an excellent shot at dawn. The image of the huge arch is on a coastal walk, to the left as you leave the dock. The coastline is incredible. 

Einar of Focus on Nature set up a horses photography session at one of the local ranches. The horses weren’t overly cooperative, but they were cooperative enough for 2-3 keepers. Processed with Topaz adjust and Impression, I’m starting to get psyched for our workshop w/ Bobbie Goodrich this November.

The remainder made on Flatey Island, literally a picture at every turn. Speaking of terns, they are, let’s say, very protective of their nesting areas. Aside from the photo-rich location, Flatey Is. is a major place for birders.

We had one crystal clear day and one overcast day at Flatey, which I would consider being lucky with weather.

All images made with the D810. The ND filter used for the 4 minute exposures is the SinghRay 15 stop MorSlo.  For SinghRay and other software/hardware discounts GO HERE.

We are busy planning our September, 2016 Icelandic Odyssey “Aurora Madness.” If interested in being placed on our email notification list, please email Sue.

Thanks for taking the time and we’ll see ya online!




Black sand beach

Black sand beach

We just got back from our Icelandic Odyssey 2015, and again, was overwhelmed with the landscape, with the people, and with the feel of the country, in general. Being in the 90s at home made being in 40-60F summer temperatures in Iceland all the more enjoyable.

Our workshop clients, in addition to being individually outstanding, bonded well as a group. Our magic week was capped with variable weather conditions, unusual and different photo ops, and the first rate tour by Einar, Raggi, and Siggi (driver) of Focus on Nature. This was our fifth year conducting instructional photo tours in Iceland and every year seems to get better. 

We began with and had excellent conditions to photograph in the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik. The glass structure and reflecting pools are wide open to many interpretations.

After 4 years, we finally got large ice blocks on the black sand beach with the tide coming in. We were lucky to have overcast conditions when photographing water scenes. Again, the even lighting was greatly beneficial.

Here’s the first of several galleries of our fun and productive Odyssey:

The church interior image and the old sheds image are both 5 image HDRs

Vik and the Black Church are 4 minute exposures using the Singh Ray 15 stop MorSlo ND filter. GO HERE for SinghRay and other discount codes.

The rest are normal processing using contrast adjustments to achieve the desired interpretations.

To be placed on our email notification list for our Sept 2016 Icelandic Odyssey “Aurora Madness,”  please email Susan.

More to come.

Thanks for taking the time and we’ll see ya online,



Software infrared

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When I switched from film infrared to digital infrared, it became clear that the effect I was striving for wasn’t going to be created in software, at that time. For example, in software-land, if kelp is dark green, it will render merely black and white. But, when the same image was made in infrared, the dark kelp becomes glowing white. 

Since then I have two converted cameras and a Singh Ray iRay filter (which allows us to use a color digital camera to create infrared files) fyi: discount code for SinghRay is sweet10.

So….has anyone ever come back from a shoot, and only after looking through files, remember that you should have tried a multiple exposure on a subject or a swipe on a particularly colorful subject, or in this case, forgot to shoot infrared. Now, I had an infrared camera with me. The conditions were really great for infrared (bright overcast and light drizzle). However, I shot a bunch of color images only. When I got home and began processing images, it became clear that the lead image would have been an outstanding infrared. 

Here’s the original, shot in the Boothbay region:


Here’s the finished color image, optimized using Perfectly Clear and Tony Kuyper luminosity masks. The detail in the clouds was brought out by dramatically increasing structure using Viveza, which also brought in some dust specs (easily cloned out, along with the wires). This is when I wished I’d broke out the infrared camera (D300 or Xpro).


….but, considering this a “hit and run” image, infrared didn’t occur to me. So, I got home and pulled this up and started thinking of possible digital options for infrared. Of all of the infrared simulation software out there, Alien Skin’s Exposure 7 plugin is my favorite, giving the greatest variety of Kodak HIE looks.

1. I chose the Kodak HIE, Halation OFF preset.

2. Selected and increased contrast on the barn to increase separation.

3. Using the burn tool at 3% opacity and burning all three regions, I burned in the road in PS.

4. I used the Tony Kuyper luminosity masks to adjust and control highlights and shadows, and to add the Orton Effect (slight glow to the highlights), which got me here:

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Although, I would prefer to shoot this with a converted camera, which I will certainly do when we revisit this location during our Maine Lighthouse Tour, I’ve discovered that there is a viable software option to create an infrared image.

Thanks for taking the time and we’ll see ya online!


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