A personal Big Thank You To:

I want to start by giving a big THANK YOU to Coby who works for InMotion web hosting company. I recently went to update my WordPress theme for this blog, and it totally crashed. Of course, I had lost my backup files so I was at a loss as to what I should do. Then I thought I might be able to figure something out by going to my InMotion cPanel. And nothing. So I called InMotion and asked for tech help. Magic – Coby found my Blog, and I am now up and running.

My next big THAN YOU goes to B&H Photo. They are one of those company’s in the photographic industry who not only profit from it, but also contribute to it. I am fortunate to live in New York City, and B&H Photo is located here. They have given up valuable floor space for an area they call The Event Space. This Event Space is solely for presentations by instructors, photographers, and industry leaders who share their knowledge with other photographers (amateur and professional)  at 0 cost to all.  As a struggling photographer I really – really  appreciate this. Since launching the Event Space I know other retailers who have followed suite, but not to the extent B&H has done. In my previous life I owned a camera store in Huntington, Long Island and offered a limited number of free photographer courses, but they were limited to basic photography, and darkroom work – yes it was back in the day of film. Very different today. If you’re in New York City you should definitely check it out.

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Making Something Out Of Nothing

A couple of weeks ago I just had to get out of my house. I live in NYC and between the snow, and the cold I had just simply had-it! So I picked up my camera, and headed into the city for a meetup at Union Square. Problem was the wind was brutal, and I was freezing. I decided to walk back to Penn Station. On the way I past a store called Fish Eddy which is on Broadway around 18th street. If you’ve never been there it’s really worth checking out. Anyway the follow images were taken inside this store. Initially nothing worth saving, but I decided to spend a bit of time working the images – first in Lightroom, and then in Photoshop. Below are the results. Not too bad for a frozen photographer’s efforts.

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20150315

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Seizing The Moment

I recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica with the Sierra Club. It was a interesting trip taking us to a number of different locations, but geared to bird watchers, and hikers – not photographers. So while we drove from point A to point B to point C (and so on) I ended up having to shoot through the window on a moving bus. But I’m so glad I did because some of my favored photographs are the ones I took this way. The lesson to be learned here is even if it’s not an ideal situation – when you see the photograph take it. If it’s not right you can always delete it later, but if you don’t take it you’ll never know if it’s the one you would have loved. Here are a couple of the ones I took.

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Nature Photography

If there’s one thing I feel more passionate about than photography it’s nature. More specifically – animals domestic, and free. I wish I had enough resources to create a protective bubble over all animals to keep them protected from us!

However this blog is about photography, and not my bully pulpit. So let me share some of my images with you. As most of you already know I’m not much on color, but there are some images that need to stay in color, and this is one of them. I really didn’t do very much in my digital darkroom with this. It came out almost exactly  how I envisioned it would look. The overall softness allows the egret (I think it’s an egret) to stand out, and it’s whiteness draws the eye to it. Remember that the eye tends to fist see the brightest part of an images so this works.

In The MeadowsThe next image was shot in broad daylight – a typical grab shot from a open car window. So no time to wait for the kind of lighting I wanted.  This was the original before I took it into my digital darkroom.

orig herdIn Lightroom I made my overall adjustments before moving into Photoshop, and creating masks to work on specific areas of the image. Finally I went to Nik software for my black and white conversion. This is the final result.

The Herd

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New Website

It’s been a while since I posted anything on this blog – and this is the reason why. Please take a look at my redesigned website and let me know how you like it.
My website had been created using dreamweaver (a HTML site), but over time I found it increasing time consuming to update – enter WordPress. So I have now redesigned my site which should be easier (and faster) to update. It’s the same address:
www.mostcool.net
so please check it out.

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Simple Edit

I know I’ve been remiss in posting a new blog, but I’ve been a bit under the weather – so haven’t done much in terms of photography. However, I recently decided that I might as well take a look at some of my images I hadn’t thought very much of. It really is amazing (at least to me) what a little bit of editing can do to an otherwise plan photograph.

This was a photograph I took of one of my two cats – let me introduce Clyde to you. By The way his sister is Bonnie so you can image their personality. I keep all my images cataloged in Lightroom so it’s easy for me to view, and edit my images. I opened this image in Photoshop – and yes – I’m using Photoshop CS6 beta which I think is awesome. I did a slight crop, and then went to Nik Vivasa filter to adjust the image. And that’s it! I don’t think it took me longer than 3 minutes to bring the image to an acceptable photo. Well, at least Clyde likes it now. Hope you do, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photoshop Magic

 

I am totally in love with Photoshop. It is an amazing program that gives todays photographer creative tools that wasn’t even imagined ten years ago.

One of my favored features is contact aware which can be used with a variety of tools. I use this to spot retouch my images, or to sometimes manipulate an image to create the look I wanted, but wasn’t able to capture. This was true of the example below. I had an assignment in Italy, and spent a very, very short time in Venice. I wanted to show the wonderful cancels in a classic way. Unfortunately a power boat sat in the middle of the image, but I took the shot anyway. When I got home I opened my digital darkroom and simply (well, with a bit of work) removed the offensive boat.

To accomplish this I used the lasso tool, the magic wand, and the patch tool. First I created a duplicate layer. Then working at 100% magnification I carefully made my selections, and then shift/deleted the selection I had made – each on a separate layer to give me an escape plan. Occasionally you have to redo the deletion. Each time you do it will be somewhat different until you get what you are looking for. Anyway this is the before and after images.

If you found this helpful (or just interesting) please [like] it, and share it with others.

Canel In Venice, ItalyCanel in Venice, Italy

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When One Isn’t Enough

I recently started looking at ways to combine images to create unique photographs that either tell a story, or that make a somewhat uninteresting photograph something you might want to look at twice.

The first example is a series of four shots I took at the US Opens of Novak Djokovic playing tennis. In reviewing my shots I saw that I had been able to capture his serve. However, each individual photograph didn’t really convey what was happening. So I decided to combine the four shots in order to tell the story. To combine the four images I brought them into Photoshop from Lightroom, and sized the images so that they all were the same. Then I opened a new file (File > New) at the same resolution of my images with the size that would accommodate all  four images with a little extra white space. I copied, and pasted each image into my new file, and adjusted the placement so I had just a slight white space between each. I than cropped the final image, and made my final image adjustment – saved – and done!

 

 

 

 

The next example is a photograph I took on a trip to the Finger Lakes region. I liked the lines in the image, but it really wasn’t as interesting as I thought it would be. So from Lightroom I opened the image in Photoshop and flipped it horizontally. and saved it. Now I had one image going left, and the other image going right. I than opened both images, and again, made a new file that would hold both images. I than copied and pasted the images to create the ‘V’ shape and saved it. Once I had my completed image I used Nik filters to enhance the colors. By the way I always sharpen at the end after I’ve determined the final size of the image. Hope this post inspires you to take a second look at your images, and see if there are images hidden in them you can expose.

 

 

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Retouching A Portrait

In this post I though it might be interesting to share with you how I go about retouching a portrait photograph of a woman who doesn’t want to look her age. Truthfully, that’s how I feel, but this isn’t about me. For this example I’m using a photograph I took of Judy Collins at an outdoor concert on Governor’s Island a couple of years ago.

This is the before and after:

Before

 

After

 

The first thing I do is soften the focus on the entire image. I use Nik Sharpening Plug-In, but you can use your own method. With Nik I soft focus everything, click on the ‘brush‘ which creates a layer mask, and simply apply the filter exactly where I want it to be soft.

Then I work on the eyes, and mouth. There’s an excellent ‘how to’ article in the October 2011 issue of Popular Photography (pg. 42) which gives you the step-by-step – this is an overview.

All of these directions are done on selections that you first make using the Lasso tool.

  • 1) First work on the eyelashes by using a very tiny brush, and drawing them so they are very clear, and sharp.
  • 2) Now you can work on the eye-shadow area using Hue/Saturation in a adjustment layer.
  • 3) Add contrast to the eye with a Curve Layer, and then using the Soft Light Blend Mode via the opacity to create the look you want.
  • 4) To brighten the whites in the eye use another Curve Adjustment Layer.
  • 5) Finally go back to your method of sharpening and sharpen the eyes.

Please let me know if this was helpful, and, please share other methods you may have discovered with me.

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Sharing Your Images With The World

Most passionate photographers want to share their work with others. Truthfully, I never did till 2005 when I decided it was time to start leaving footprints. So I joined photography groups, submitted images to juried shows, and created a website. And this is where my story begins. I used Dreamweaver to create my site because I wanted to have a specific look, and control over the entire pages. The challenging part was creating the portfolios that contained my images, and giving it the same look as the rest of my site. Not an easy task, but I did it. Only problem was that when I wanted to update my portfolios with other images it was very time consuming.
Enter into my life Lightroom 3 with its wonderful web module. But how to move the page Lightroom created into Dreamweaver, and still maintain my website look. Then I got an email from NAPP announcing a free video from the Kelby Training site which showed you how to do this – well almost do this. The video was great, but didn’t cover the issues involved with doing this with a hmtl portfolio – only flash. Because Google isn’t ‘flash’ friendly I want my images to be in a hmtl page. But it did give me a jumping off point, and after a week of hair raising fiddling I did it – and it’s great!
If anyone out there needs help please get in touch with me, and I’ll do my best to explain how I did it.

 

 

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