Monthly Archives: July 2010

Keeping it Simple – In color or B&W


You may have noticed that I like to work (play) with a lot of  different techniques in my photography; both in the capture and post-processing. However there are times when keeping everything simple just seems best. This is one of the reasons I like a lot of William Neill’s images. The blog image is one example of my keeping it simple. I have also included it in Black and White.


One of the keys to “simple” is simply great light. Another is just simple composition – think simple graphics.

So if you are like me, and like to push the limits, step back now and then and keep it is simple.

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Take Along a Friend


Photographers often shoot alone and I know we may often prefer it that way, but next time you go out consider bringing another photographer along with you. You not only keep each other company, you get so see how someone else sees the same subject in a different way. I think this is one of the appeals of a photography workshop or a photography club, but you don’t have to wait for a workshop or a club outing, just give someone a call, email  or twitter before you head out. I think you will be glad you did.




Blog images: Here are a couple images I took on an evening drive out to the coast with a couple friends. The lead blog image is a 15sec exposure taken using a vari-ND to soften the water. The second image is an HDR image taken near dusk. The third image used the vari-ND again with a bit of Nik Soft fog added to create yet more mystery and depth. The final image was created using the “Holga” preset in Nik Soft SilverEfx Pro with some minor adjustments

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Just Say No?


Do you find it hard to resist shooting a subject even when all the conditions are "wrong"? Bright sun, wind, wrong lens, wrong camera, etc. I do. While this can force you to be creative in your handling of the subject and sometimes that works. Most of the time it may just be best  to come back and shoot later when conditions are more favorable. Now I know this may create some arguments, but the reality is we only have so much time and isn’t it better to invest your time when the odds of getting strong images are most favorable. I am not talking about being a fair weather photographer – I personally would view inclement conditions as generally favorable. But there are times like Sunday when the sun was just plain harsh, I accidently forgot one of my camera’s with my mid-range zoon, my wide angle was in the shop and the wind was blowing. Not exactly prime conditions to shoot images of lavender with a macro or long lens. Did I try to shoot? Yes. Should have I, I don’t think it was a good use of my time. I did do some multi-exposures, swipes and long exposures (multiple seconds with my Vari-ND), but nothing really came out strong because the light was just inappropriate for the subject. Was it a good exercise? Maybe. What are you thoughts on this? Are you driven to shoot when you know it probably won’t be worthwhile?

Blog_20100712_1-2 Blog image: I did try to shoot some classic lavender images with my long lens. A cloud did pass over now and then so I waited for one, upped the ISO and waited for lulls in the wind. The image was still very flat and unsaturated (RAW image on left). In post processing I adjusted the white balance, added saturation, contrast and then applied the Orton filter effect which is good on low contrast images.

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A Different Texture Overlay – How To


You may have noticed a lot images using texture overlays as of late. You take two images overlay them and blended them together – a nicely textured rock overlaid and with a flower for example. But if you go back to the writings of Freeman Patterson, he discovered that you could create textured images using multiple exposures where you mix  images of different subjects along the way. This is probably best explained through an example – like the opening blog image.

Two types of flowers have been combined via multiple exposures to create the blog image. A total of seven exposures went into this image. As in the past, this has all been done in camera (a Nikon feature, but you can recreate this using layers in Photoshop).

Blog_20100706_2 First a background pattern or texture if you will was laid down by taking the first five exposures of the Blue Star Thistle shown on the Blog_20100706_3left. The five images combine  into a background image that  looks something like the next image. Note that you can create texture images like this Blog_20100705_1-2and use it to blend with other  images you may already have.

Second,  two additional exposures were take of the Helen’s flower shown here. Note that you may need to up the EV +1 for these last two exposures to bring them out a bit more.


  1. Choose the colors of your material carefully so they work together. Here we have a classic blue/orange combination. 
  2. For the background (thistle in this case), try to create a nice even texture by thinking ahead about the framing of the multi-exposures.
  3. Post process for contrast, saturation, etc as desired. I did little to not adjustments on the blog image.

Have fun!

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More on Editing


Two blogs ago I talked about the need now and then to stop and clean up your image library or archive. Here are some additional suggestions on deciding which images to keep or reject:

  1. Exposure – is it so off you can’t hope to get a good print. Blown out highlights, blacked out shadows (not recoverable), etc.
  2. Sharpness  – this covers out of focus images or images with camera or subject motion. Inspect the image at 100 percent. Is it sharp where it needs to be? If not toss it.
  3. Composition – is the subject clearly defined? Are there distractions that can’t be readily cloned out?
  4. Light – is the light dull or inappropriate for the image?
  5. Impact – does the images say more than “I was there”. Is it creative?
  6. Comparison – do you have better shots of the subject? Does this add a new perspective? A better one?

Here are some other questions I ask myself.

  1. Would I ever print this?
  2. Would I show this to another photographer I respect?
  3. Does this image make me look like a better photographer?

Blog image: A container of geraniums shot using 3 exposure HDR. Processed with Photomatix and Nik Soft Color Efx Pro plugins.

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