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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!


OPTIC 2015


So, we took our favorite mode of mass transit (Amtrak) to NYC to present my iPhone Imaginarium program at OPTIC2015, sponsored by B&H and Nikon (as I was also illustrating the excellent and easy wifi capability of the D750. Normally, I bring a small camera rig, but thought it fitting to bring only my iPhone 6PLUS to see how liberating or constraining it was…The Verdict: Liberating. It’s liberating to feel free to try anything when shooting and processing an image and the iPhone/ apps combination is particularly fun, creative, and powerful. Here’s a few shots from the day. Listed under each image is the primary app or 2 involved in shooting/ processing each image. 

What one gets out of the iPhone/Apps is directly proportional to how much time one puts into learning the apps and going out and photographing with the iPhone only, as the prime capture device. The file quality and file size are easily printable to at least 13×19 with good capture and sharpening techniques.

Some very cool iPhone news coming soon…but, in the mean time, check out some process videos:

iPhone Creative Techniques #1

iPhone Creative Techniques #2

iPhone texturing

New Offering:  For information on iPhone Imaginarium Private Sessions or book an iPhone presentation, please Contact Susan. 

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


p.s. Please Share…..thx.







A morning in the valley

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We have been traveling and teaching pretty relentlessly for a few years now, and this year being one of our busiest, I was surprised that I had a free morning. I played a hunch and returned to Worthington Valley. This is one of my favorite places to photograph locally, as we live 15 minutes away. I’ve been using the Nikon D750 recently and like it a lot. It’s a lightweight D3X (24.5MP) and the wifi capability is the easiest I’ve used to date. When using the D750, I don’t shoot any iPhone at all, as I just wirelessly transfer images that I would like to tweet, Facebook, or process using apps to the 6+. Pretty cool.

Here’s a small gallery from the morning. I’ll be returning to the valley after we get back from our “iPhone Imaginarium” presentation at OPTIC in NYC tomorrow from 2-3 at the Endeavor Theatre. The images in the gallery are presented in the sequence taken during the morning.

When going out locally, I’m always amazed at the wealth of material right in my backyard. After being away so long, I began taking new roads and looking for images different from my previous 12 years photographing in Worthington Valley.

Thanks for taking the time and we’ll see ya online…..or in NYC tomorrow.



B&W…..how do you know?

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“How do you know when to convert an image to B&W,” is an often asked question at workshops, and my normal reply is, “I don’t know.” Although, basically true, this image made me aware of a thought process that I can share.

As I was going through images for a presentation, I came across this image from Magnolia Gardens and remember, when taking the image, thinking that this could make a nice B&W, but wasn’t sure why. The first thing I noticed was how the shadow areas separated and pushed the trees and moss forward, creating a great sense of depth. Then after trying various B&W filters, discovered that this could have a very silvery look. Coupled with the tonal separation from the background to the foreground, this became a B&W rendering. After achieving a ‘big picture’ image, I fine tuned the image with dodging/ burning, and some luminosity masking.

Our workshops in Charleston and in the Smokies, with a quick 2 day seminar to Burlington, ONT, were great fun, although “a bit” tiring.

We had all of the spring weather variations, which stoked my imagination and sparked my image making on this particular trip. I used my Nikon system, including the new D750 (24.5MP) w/ excellent wifi capability to my iPhone 6+, and my infrared converted D300. 

Here’s a few from Charleston:

We had great variable weather and clouds for our 2 Smokies workshops:

Here’s a partial list of upcoming events:

May 4, OPTIC, NYC sponsored by BH and Nikon, “The iPhone Imaginarium”

May 11-15, Cape May Shoot Out, Visual Artistry Workshops ONE SEAT REMAINING!    

May 17, Cape May Camera Club, “Compelling Composition.” 7:30pm at the Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes Street, Cape May. $15.00 donation at the door. 

May 23, Orlando Camera Club, Creativity Seminar

May 29-31, RA Photo Club, Ottawa

June 18-28, Iceland Odyssey 2015, 3 SEATS AVAILABLE!

2nd Half of 2015

July 17-18, NECCC

July 19-24, PPSNY, Photo Imaging workshop

Aug. 24-28Madeline School for the Arts, Wisconsin4 SEATS AVAILABLE!

Please check here for more

Thanks a lot for taking the time and we’ll definitely see you online!

Busy year ahead!

Have a great spring/summer!


Please share!







2015 Visual Artistry spring/summer updates

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 After a long, hard winter, and ours wasn’t remotely as bad as further north, we are ready to head south to begin our 2015 Visual Artistry workshop season, conducting 2 consecutive workshops in Charleston, our perennial, and incredible “opening” venue. The lead image is a 1 second swipe from Folly beach at dawn. It’s always a good practice to shoot a large number of swiped images, as they can all be slightly different.

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April 4-19: There’s seldom a bad day in the Smokies and this spring is our 20th year exploring and teaching there. We have a software intensive Digital Edge workshop limited to 5 people. We had a full house, but had an emergency cancellation, so if you’d like to join us, please email Susan. The image is from a particularly soft dawn on Foothills Pkwy.


May 11-15: Cape May Shootout. By definition, more of an instructional tour: 95% photographing in Cape May and along the Jersey shore. One critique session. ONE SEAT REMAINING. Please email Susan if interested.

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 June 16-28: We have ONE spot open for our 2015 Icelandic Odyssey Tour, Year 5. Consider joining us for one of the world’s most photogenic locales with the premier Tour company, Focus on Nature. DEADLINE for registrations is APRIL first (April 1, 2015).
The image is from one of the many geo-thermal areas in Iceland.
Click here for details and/or to register.

It should be a great spring. Get out there!

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










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