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Shaping light

April 15th, 2014

1169159 

I don’t how it works, but if there’s a lull in the action, I’ll start editing through older work and come across an image, maybe not even that good, over exposed, busy, or has my personal favorite: insipid composition. Something in my subconscious seems to stop on the most unlikely image, at least it seems that way to me. But, after a little tooling around to see what direction presents itself, it starts to take shape.

Before describing the  process, here’s the original:

1169159 (1)

 

Step 1 : Curve layer to darken globally

Step 2: Since the top of the image was almost blown out, I used Nik’s Color Efex Pro Graduated Filter, which is the only one of the graduated filters that allow us to affect brightness/ darkness of the upper and lower parts of the image. In this case, I brought the top down quite a bit and brightened the lower part of the frame a little.

Step 3: Applied 2 textures from the Belle Fleur Textures – Vista Bundle (Aged and Weathered Garden Ornaments Collection). The multiple textures are responsible for the, what appears to be, patchy light in the bottom half of the scene.

Step 3: I applied a layer of Perfectly Clear, which handles many adjustments, and is responsible for most of the punch, contrast, and sharpness of the image.

Step 4: Then went to Nik’s Silver Efex Pro for the B&W conversion, using the red filter.

Step 5: Using the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop to  brighten and darken areas to increase depth.

One of keys to success in improvised music is the ability to trust in your subconscious and react appropriately to an ever changing dynamic. To a certain extent, I try to follow that same paradigm in choosing what to process. I’m constantly reminded of something Rod Planck said at a seminar many years ago, to paraphrase, when you stop at a scene, you don’t always see what your subconscious saw immediately. Sometimes, it takes time for your conscious mind to catch up.

Just a quick thought.

It’s spring! Get out there!! We’ll be in the Smokies next week!

We’ll see ya online!

Tony

 

Last day in Charleston, 2014

April 12th, 2014

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Today was “casual day” at Magnolia. With no agenda but to just enjoy our last day here until March, 2015, my day began continuing my multiple exposure series, but got side tracked with infrared and some birds! Sue went off on her own for while to create more stellar images, then Sue and I took the tram around the back part of Magnolia and will bring our bikes next year to ride those back areas. 

After going back to change gear to shoot multiples with my D3X, I ran into our great friend, Jed Manwaring. As usual, we talked for a long time, but he had to go when a client needed his help. A little later we ran into his partner and another great friend, Brenda Tharp! And, as usual, we engaged in another of our long conversations, then Sue joined us! It was and always is great spending time with Jed and Bren and hope that another year doesn’t go by without seeing them again, but it looks like we won’t see them again until Cuba, 2015, when we will both be co-leading groups there at the same time.

Sue and I spent our last hour of so in the Audobon Swamp. Not being a bird photographer, per se’, it’s difficult not to take advantage of bird photo ops when they are flying around, nesting, right in front of us! I shot exclusively with the Fuji X system cameras and the 55-200mm lens. With birds constantly flying around to get sticks to build their nests, or to be more specific, when the males brought sticks back for the females to build the nest, I decided to use the high continuous function, where we have, I believe, 5 shots/ second. There are a couple of images in the gallery captured this way.

Also, adding the Singh Ray iRay infrared filter worked great, and the exposures were much faster, relatively speaking, at one minute. (if interested, call Singh Ray direct at 1-800-486-5501)

Anyway, we leave Charleston with our usual heavy heart tomorrow, but look forward to a week at home then to the Smokies for two workshops. Anyone interested in joining us, email Sue! This is our last spring for a couple of years, as we will be in Portugal next April at the same time! Any interest there, please email me!

Here’s my small gallery from the day:

Thanks a lot for visiting and we’ll see ya online during our drive home tomorrow.

Tony

Multiple exposure day 1

April 11th, 2014

_DSC6879

So, my entire day at Magnolia plantation (well not the enTire day) was dedicated to multiple exposures. Reading our friend, Charlie Needle’s new book based on years of multiple exposure and creative techniques development, got my juices going again. But, you know….as I was going through the book, which is outstanding by the way, and I did learn a few brand new things that I will be incorporating, my memory was jolted to the year 2000. That is the year of my Freeman Patterson workshop, where I was first introduced to multiple exposures and image swipes (my term). The technique absolutely captured my imagination and that’s all that I mostly did for a couple of years, sort of an obsession.  My late, great friend, Babs Williams, and I would go out every day to photograph and would incorporate creative techniques whenever we could.

Then, HDR became the “rage,” followed by infrared, stitched panning, night photography, light painting, iPhone, long exposure photography, software maturity, etc……you get the idea……and my head was spinnin’!! Needless to say, my attention was tugged in every imaginable direction, hence my passion for multiple exposure and swipes went elsewhere for about a decade and a half, but now I’m back! Thanks, Charlie!

Reading every page and looking at every image rekindled the excitement from Freeman’s seminal workshop for me! So, after a full day today, I’ll be back at Magnolia tomorrow fine tuning my multiple exposure and other creative techniques…..and of course, this will be a significant portion of my future work because it’s just so much fun!!

Here’a a gallery from the day:

2014 Visual Artistry Workshops are filling. Only a few spaces left!

We’re off to our other outstanding spring venue, the Great Smokey Mountains, in a couple of weeks. Lots of photography, lots of personal attention in the field,  and lots of software training! 
If you want to “Come on Down!!” contact Sue!

Portugal May, 2015!! Interested? We have an itinerary and a contact list. EMAIL to be placed on the list, or if you have any questions.

TSP-Seminar Sq Logo final

We’re planning our fall/winter Creativity Seminars!

Any location suggestions for our day-long Creativity Seminars would be appreciated and considered!  Let us know! 

Featured plugin – Perfectly Clear, my first-move processing step.
Featured filter – Singh Ray 10 stop MorSlo (CALL directly 1-800-486-5501)

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

 Tony

p.s. Infrared and iPhone blog posts coming soon!

End of Charleston 2014

April 10th, 2014

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We wrapped up our second of two Charleston workshops and I crashed immediately after returning to the room! Now, I’m wide awake at 2130, and should remain so into the early morning hours. As Sue and I are going to spend our remaining two days at Magnolia Gardens, I may as well just stay up until we leave!

As usual, we had a remarkable group of shooters, very interested in the extended software portion of this, our Digital Edge workshop. And…they wanted to get out as often as possible! This resulted in an  informative, image rich, and pretty exhausting experience, but a good exhaustion, one where we felt that a lot was accomplished in a short time!

This time around, I shot the Fuji X system cameras and lenses exclusively in Charleston, and am again blown away by the system and the file quality…..and the weight! However, one of the few limitations of the camera is its lack of a practical multiple exposure function. The cameras can do double exposures, but not the 4 – 10 that I like to use for more creative interpretations. So, after being inspired by our friend, Charles Needle’s new book, Impressionistic Photography, I’ll be back to Nikon-land for my dedicated multiple exposure day tomorrow and Saturday. With the early spring greens, I’ll also be spending time with my infrared converted D300.
Lifepixel infrared conversion discount here (scroll down).

Here’s a small gallery of images from the past 4 days

2014 Visual Artistry Workshops are filling. Only a few spaces left!

We’re off to our other outstanding spring venue, the Great Smokey Mountains, in a couple of weeks. Lots of photography, lots of personal attention in the field,  and lots of software training!
If you want to “Come on Down!!” contact Sue!

Portugal May, 2015!! Interested? We have an itinerary and a contact list. EMAIL to be placed on the list, or if you have any questions.

TSP-Seminar Sq Logo final

We’re planning our fall/winter Creativity Seminars!

Any location suggestions for our day-long Creativity Seminars would be appreciated and considered!  Let us know!

 

 

 

Featured plugin – Perfectly Clear, my first-move processing step.
Featured filter – Singh Ray 10 stop MorSlo (CALL directly 1-800-486-5501)

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

 Tony

p.s. Infrared and iPhone blog posts coming soon!

Kiawah Island, Fuji XE2, and the iRay

April 6th, 2014

iRay on Fuji XE2 w/ 18-55mm

 In between our Charleston workshops, we were invited to present a day long event for the Kiawah Island Photography Club. Driving onto the island, and actually on the way down the peninsula, I was pretty blown away by all of the infrared photo ops. And, of course, I’d left my converted D300 back in the room, only bringing my Fuji X system. I’ve only photographed a little with the X system cameras with the iRay (Singh Ray). I have a pretty predictable exposure system in place for my D800 and D3X, but have only begun to experiment using the iRay with mirror less…..and really don’t like experimenting when time is of the essence. But, as the Stones say, “You can’t always get what you want.” 

Aside from having a great time with the club, during the presentation and in the field, I had literally only a few minutes to photograph on my own.

Now, please know that Kiawah is a gated community, not open to the public, but upon driving down the various peninsulas throughout the area, including Edisto Island will yield similar spectacular IR ops!

 

 Here’s a few shots from the outings and some image info:

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iRay on Fuji XE2 w/ 18-55mm

iRay on Fuji XE2 w/ 18-55mm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those who use digital IR are most likely aware of the infamous “hot spot” using some lenses. As I’m still learning using the Fuji lenses and how they react with the iRay filter, the image series above illustrates that the kit lens (which is outstanding, BTW) 18-55mm creates a huge, dense hot spot with flare. I managed to get it to work to a point, but it was prevalent. Needless to say, I’ll be moving on to test other lenses in the Fuji series for Infrared. Also, the flare is not a function of the iRay filter or a camera conversion. It is a function of the lens. It is not a function of the speed of the lens, which I initially thought. It is purely a function of trying various lenses until you find one that does not flare. In the mean time, I’ll be using my Nikon D300 (converted) and the D3x and D800 with the iRay with the 16-35mm and 28-300 lenses, neither of which flare. For infrared camera conversions, we use and recommend Life Pixel (scroll down a bit).

iRay on Fuji XE2 w/ 55-200mm

iRay on Fuji XE2 w/ 55-200mm

After switching to the 55-200, the flare was not an issue. However, needing a wider lens on the Fuji X system, I will try the 14mm fixed and the newly released 10-24mm to see how they do.

XE2 and 10-24mm

XE2 and 10-24mm

Here’s a black and white version of this great gazebo using the new 10-24mm @ 10mm DX (15mm FX).

XE2 and 14mm

XE2 and 14mm

Here’s the last shot of the day using the 14mm fixed lens and the Singh Ray 10 stop MorSlo filter, creating a 4 minute exposure. The NDExposure app (free!) was helpful in calculating the exposure time. Of course, I can figure it out in my head, too! I only wish that the clouds were more evenly distributed…but….oh, well….For Singh Ray Filters, please call direct – 1-800-486-5501!

We begin our second Charleston workshop in a few hours, this one being with less clients and more class work: software demos, critiques, etc. However, it is pretty much customized to the people. Some want to be out shooting more, some want more software work and critiques. Whichever, the flowers are peaking for this week with considerable overcast! Perfect! A few sky breaks would be nice, too!

Our seminal Fine Art Photography book series has been digitized by Stackpole and Fine Art Digital Nature Photography is available in various digital formats. The other 4 books will be added soon!

CLICK HERE or on the book to get info and to order

FADNP

2014 Visual Artistry Workshops are filling. Only a few spaces left!

We’re planning our fall/winter Creativity Seminars! Any locations ideas? Let us know!

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

Tony