Monthly Archives: January 2015

New eBook demystifying Lightroom 5!

Denise just completed her first eBook – Lightroom 5!  The book demystifies Lightroom, from setting up preference for optimal functionality to importing images and organizing your workflow to developing images to their full potential to creating watermarks and exporting images to share.

This eBook is 65 packed pages of information on how to best use Lightroom in your workflow. With lots of step by step instructions and illustrative images to guide you!

http://roadrunnerphotographytours.com/educational/e-books-2

The book is priced at a very affordable $5.99 and payments are handled thru PayPal.

If you have any problems downloading the book please send me an email

don@roadrunnerphotographytours.com

Thanks,

Denise and Don…

Moonrise Over DC

In a very perfect photographer’s world, the photographer would be the only one to capture an image, to witness a scene, or experience a setting, thereby allowing that photographer to share that one of a kind shot… well, we all know that as photographers we live in a far from perfect photographer’s world! Even if in the moment we stand alone, we tend to trend the same hallowed ground as our friends and compadres. Therefore, to truly “own” an image, especially of iconic places, we have to try to find a way to “see” it differently.

Last year, I had the privilege of shooting the moonrise over Washington, DC with many close friends and at least a hundred acquaintances ;-)… We all saw the same stunning, crystal clear, huge orange moonrise over some of the most iconic monuments in the country, if not in the world. Within hours, many people had posted their images and at first I felt there was no need to add mine to the bunch… but I had finally gotten to see this seldom scene alignment of moon and man, and I wanted to work on my images and share them… so I spent some quiet time contemplating… how I can do this differently… then it dawned on me… the color of the moon it what took my breath away… so that would be my focus. The resulting images can be seen below.

_DSC4073 2013-02-25

 

_DSC4099 (3) 2013-02-25

 

It took me time to “see” these images in this way, but I like the result and I appreciated the challenge. Even though I fantasize about the perfect photographer’s world, I will always choose to go out shooting with friends, as the companionship, encouragement, and down right ribbing is a gift; and the challenge of creating images that are competitive with their talent and art keeps me trying!

To see the rest of the set from the moonrise, please via my Flickr set by clicking here.

This opportunity is presenting itself on March 5, 2015. The full moon will rise over the monuments at 6:18pm. The alignment shown here is from the Netherlands Carillon in Rosslyn, VA. RRPT will be holding a Meetup at this location that evening. Click here to learn more about this and other Meetups we have schedule. 

 

Epic Iceland! 2015

There is really no way to describe… with words… the majesty of Iceland. This country is like no other! With incredible light and impressive landscapes, Iceland is a photographer’s paradise. Join us as we explore all of its nature wonders! For more information on our 2015 Epic Iceland tour, click here. Only 1 Spot Left!

Sharing the Experience

Shared experience, unique perspective.

Some people feel that going out to shoot with friends means that everyone will have the same image, so they avoid it. What I have found is that exactly the opposite happens. RRPT has been going strong for just over a year and thousands of shutter clicks later after dozens of Meetups and photo tours, I am still amazed and impressed at how differently we all see the world.

Each of us see the world differently. We focus on different things, different nuances of the same scene. We perceive what is around us differently and therefore, we capture different images, even when we are standing right next to each other. Geff’s creativity and unique vision challenge me, as mine do him. We are competitive, yet encouraging. We razz each other when the other gets the shot and one of doesn’t. We talk about camera settings to ensure that each of us has the best opportunity to make images. We make sure the other doesn’t miss out as well. Lastly, we process our images differently as well. We each experienced a different emotion and demonstrating that emotion in our process adds to differentiation in our work.

To demonstrate, here are some examples of images captured side by side.

Denise’s

Geff’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see full sets, for Geff click here and for mine set click here.

Moral to this story, shoot with friends. They help you, support you, encourage you, protect you (safety in numbers), and challenge you to do your very best work. If you are interested in shooting with us and others, click here and check out our Meetup Group.

Processing Infrared Images

Today I want to share one of the methods to transform an infrared image from a RAW file to various stages of a final image. The actual final image chosen is about preference and totally up to the photographer.

That is the reason I will show each stage of the process, as each result could have been my final image. Enjoy!

RAW image

I converted my camera to infrared through Lifepixel. The provide many conversion options, so you are likely to find one that suits your preferences. I chose Super Color, which provides the most flexibility and can easily achieve a blue sky.

 

Some cameras allow you to set a custom white balance. That is the case with my camera, so this is the “out of camera” result. For cameras which do not allow custom white balance settings, the image will start as fuchsia; which can still be processed to the final image you will see at the end of the blog.

The next step is to swap the RED and BLUE channels. To do this, open the “channel mixer” in Photoshop. Choose the RED channel from the drop down menu. You will see that the RED channel is set to 100% for RED and zero for GREEN and BLUE. Put a zero for the RED channel and 100% for the BLUE channel. Next select the BLUE channel from the drop down menu. You will see that the BLUE channel is set to 100% for BLUE and zero for GREEN and RED. Put a zero for the BLUE channel and 100% for the RED channel. Hit enter and you should see the following:

 

Since I have the Super Color conversion, my sky will go from “orange” to blue and the colors that represent “green” foliage turn a varying degrees of yellow.  This is image can be considered final and is often referred to as “false color.”

If you are working your way to Black and White infrared, you can continue to process the image. For me, the next step is to remove the Yellow cast. To do this, first flatten your image and then select Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Choose Yellow from the drop down menu. Then select the dropper+ icon and click on an area of the image that is yellow. I try to click on an area of deep yellow. Now, drag the saturation slide all the way to the left and you will see the yellow foliage turn grey/white. You may need to select additional areas depending on whether the white balance was accurate. If your white balance is off, you may find the “green” foliage is more of a rusty color, in which case you may need to desaturate red and yellow. Here was my resulting image:

 

Again, this image can be considered finished. You may get to this stage and want to add some contrast and “glow” to deepen the image. In this case, because I was moving towards black and white infrared, I did not process the image further at this point. I wanted to complete my transformation, then adjust contract and “glow.”

There are a number of ways to get to black and white infrared:

  1. Create a black and white adjustment layer in Photoshop.
  2. Create another Hue and Saturation layer and desaturate with RGB selected (a step that could have been done above).
  3. Use Macphun Tonality Pro (discount code: ROADRUNNER), TopazLabs B&W Effects (discount code: roadrunner), or OnOne Perfect B&W (contact us here for the discount code).
  4. Other software.

 

 

I also added a “glow” effect, typically associated with infrared images. I did this through an action I created. However, you could also achieve “glow” with various Photoshop plugins.

For those folks new to Infrared imagery, now is the time to convert that old camera body sitting on a shelf. If you wait until spring, any of the conversion companies will be busy and waits can be long, so act now! When spring returns and the leaves pop out all great and lush, you will be ready!

To see a demonstration of these techniques, click here for our video tutorial.

Quality vs. Quantity

_XT11802

I’m going to start with a question. What is more important, quality of work or quantity of work? What I mean by this is what if you took a week long trip and only got one portfolio quality image? Would the trip be a failure or a success? The answer to this question of course depends of your point of view.

Sitting on this side of the computer I have a front row seat to the internet just like you. Now you can look at websites like 500px and generally you will see examples of stunning work from a variety of photographers. Or if you go over to Flickr you might see someone post dozens or even hundreds of pictures from a particular trip or event. There is no right answer to this question, its like many things in life, a matter of opinion.

As I finish my 2nd decade as a photographer, with a 20 year break between decades, I find that I value quality. In my mind this is the only possible choice. When you go to a gallery or art show you see a few pieces from a particular artist at best. Artists have always been forced to be selective when it comes to showing their work. But with the advent of the internet and nearly unlimited online storage, it takes us back to the days of sitting in front of a slide projector as your neighbor shows you 200 shots from their vacation. Did you fall asleep before the show was over? You have to be older than 40 to appreciate the comparison.

It’s not my intent to be critical of others in this space but let’s think a minute. If you post 100 pictures from a particular place or event, how many people will loose interest before looking at all of your images? Or how many will judge your ability as a photographer not by your best image, but by your worst? The fact is we all take lousy images. I could show you thousands, but then you would not be inclined to return to my blog. I think it helps if you can develop the ability to be your toughest critic. That does not mean that you should not show your images and have pride in your work. You should! I think the art of photography is a journey and not a destination. Personally I hope to be a better photographer as time progresses. Part of that process is being critical of my work and introperspective on how I can strive to improve.

In regard to the blog image above.  It was the only worthy image from a full a day of shooting motion abstracts.   The rest were just not that good.  But my happiness with the one image far overpowers any possible disappointment with the hundreds I had taken that day that no one else will ever see.