tuesday painterly art – elias

       Tuesday Painterly Art – Kristi Elias

I have watched Kristi grow and set her work apart from others on so many levels. It has been an amazing journey to watch. Here is some of Kristi’s work and words to inspire you in your artistic quest in photography. While Kristi’s images do not involve painting per se they have a distinctive art feel to them. I turn this post over to Kristi.

image © kriti sutton elias Look carefully at this image and check out the background build.
(not to mention the build and definition on the fighter) – image © Kristi Sutton Eliasimage © kriti sutton eliasOriginal capture. Note the kicker lights that help with background separation and extraction.
image © Kristi Sutton Elias

“I am a fine art portrait photographer, a good portion of my work is conceptual composites. I create between 40-over 60 composites a week for client orders, some are more involved than others. The amount of time to create the composite varies depending on if I am reinventing the wheel and creating a new concept and artwork from scratch or re-creating a piece that I have created for another client before.

image © Kristi Sutton Elias After processing. image © Kristi Sutton Elias

image © Kristi Sutton Elias Original capture. image © Kristi Sutton Elias

“Most of my backgrounds were taken during our vacations, I pick vacation spots based on images I would like to create. Medieval and abandoned castles are my favorite, this year we are going back to Europe and I already have a shot list of where I want to go.

image © Kristi Sutton Elias Original captures. See the final below. (I merged the three images original for this illustration: ED.)
image © Kristi Sutton Elias

Kristi Elias-14_600p Final image © Kristi Sutton Elias

“After I shoot a session, I upload my images into lightroom and cull through them rating my favorites. After that, I will open my selected image into photoshop and create the composite. Sometimes my composites could be 5 images put together to create the final image and sometimes just 2 images. After I have created my final composite, I use NIK Software Color EFX Pro 4 to create my final vision. I have a few go-to tools that I like to use, but overall each image is treated differently as its own piece of art. Some of my go-to’s are dark contrast and bleach bypass and darken lighten center. The best thing to do is go through all the filters and see what each one does and play with all the levels. Before I start an edit I look at the image and decide what color pallets, hues, and mood I want the final image to portray. I have created hand-painted backgrounds that I photographed and use for textures in my work.

image © Kristi Sutton Eliasimage © Kristi Sutton Elias

image © Kristi Sutton EliasStarting with a well-lit capture that has depth and dimension makes selling the final image that much easier image © Kristi Sutton Elias

“Another important part involved in my editing, I listen to Love songs or country love songs on pandora while I edit.  Mood music :).”

www.KristiElias.com (Masterpiece Portraits)
www.KristiSuttonElias.com  (Editorial and Advertising)

Kristi will be teaching a week long class on “The Fine Art of Portraiture” at Texas school this year. Click on the link to learn more about the class. It will be a very creative and fun class!


Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob



panoramic photography – one more time

Panoramic Photography – One More Time

Here’s one more use of panoramic photography that I haven’t mentioned in previous posts. Change the number of Mega-Pixels in your camera.

“Say what?” You ask? “And once you explain, tell me why I want to try that?”

Ok, here goes.

You can expand the number of pixels in an image in order to be able to make a larger print by making multiple images and overlapping the capture. After you get back to the studio move those images into your favorite photo stitching programs like Adobe’s Photoshop or AutopanoPro and put the images together. Photoshop has gotten very good at merging images together including a new feature called Content-Aware Fill that can automatically clean up the blank space that can sometimes surround your image.

This morning I had my Lumix LX100 with me. I call this the professional’s point and shoot because it has fast glass and is quite versatile with all important controls on dials just like the old days. No need to move into electronic menus to access your settings. All of this is in a quite small package. But the camera is only 12.1MP which yields a 36-megabyte file. In today’s example, I shot five exposures overlapping each by 30-40 percent. After merging the photos I ended up with a 97-megabite file. 97 divided by 3 equals a 32MP capture.

example of 5 images in Adobe bridgeHere is a screen capture of the five images when highlighted in Adobe Bridge.

sedona photoAfter the images above were assembled in Photoshop and massaged with Luminar from MacPhun.*

With this technique, you can get file sizes you have only dreamed about with a little extra work. Remember if you want to really make a huge file you can use a long lens and do row after row of images and blend them all together. Make sure you capture each row the same way. I always go left to right and top to bottom during my captures.

Yours in creative Photography,       Bob

PS – * Luminar software is currently only available for the MAC platform but from what I understand they will be releasing a PC version later this year. Luminar can be used as a stand-alone processing program or as a Plug-in. There’s a sale on ’til the end of the year the link above will take you there.

PPS – The MacPhun software Aurora 2017 HDR is also on special until the end of the year. I’m enjoying the creative processing from MacPhun products.



lets talk panoramic photography part 2

Let’s Talk Panoramic Photography – Part 2

In looking through my files for some examples of in-camera panoramic photos I came across some more examples I wanted to share. I feel the format adds another arrow to the creativity quiver. Here’s a few made with the Lumix GX7.

lumix gx7 2013 panorama photoOutside Salt Lake City – Panorama format is perfect for telling the dramatic landscape story.

utah panorama photoAnother from the Salt Lake City Trip.

guardsmans pass panoramicA different way to share a scene.

As I was going through my photos, I realized I didn’t share a slightly different idea to leverage the in-camera panorama feature. Sometimes the resulting photo just doesn’t quite cut it as far as capturing the scene. Or you want a file that will have a different aspect ratio but is still a panoramic image. Or, you need more pixels but don’t have time to create a full set of images for future stitching. So here’s two rows followed by the final.

panorama stripShowing the dome.p1060488_600pShowing the base.

stitched panorama salt lake cityHere’s the final with the two stitched in-camera panorama images using Adobe Photoshop.

red butte arboretumFrom the Red Butte Arboretum in Salt Lake City.

red butte arboretum panorama photoOne more.

Think about the ways you can use the panorama feature. I don’t have one at my fingertips, but you can also make the panorama vertical.

Yours in creative Photography,      Bob


a lot of words

Writing for Successful-Photographer

354,115. That’s a shitpot of words. Just received a year-end review from Grammarly which is a service I subscribe to check my work before I publish my posts and information on the Internet. Hopefully, it makes it a bit more readable for you. They tell me they also helped me find, and fix, about 1,200 writing errors of one type or another. That’s 0.21 percent of mistakes per written word.

grammerly graphicGrammarly Graphic Report

They tell me they also helped me find, and fix, about 1,200 writing errors of one type or another. That’s 0.21 percent of mistakes per written word

That’s 0.21 percent of mistakes per written word. Not bad for someone who needed some serious tutoring in English when he started writing books.

As a reference to how much writing this is a typical magazine article is between 1,500 and 2,500 words. Books average between 25,000 and 50,000 words.

All the words written leads me to a question.

Who’s reading? And, does it help you?

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

lets talk panoramic photography

Possibilities of Panoramic Photography

Let me put this out there if you don’t already know. I love the panoramic format!

red butte arboretum salt lake cityRed Butte Arboretum – Salt Lake City Utah. In-Camera Panorama Lumix GX7 Shot a few years ago.

Panorama images are not the be all and end all they are there to tell a story that can’t be told in the two by three or three by four ratio. Sixteen by nine is becoming a more ‘standard’ image size to our eyes because we see it more often in movies, television, and our phones.

This post was triggered by a question about the in-camera panoramic photos vs. shooting individual images and stitching photos in post production. Here was the question, “When I use the Lumix G7 it does a Gatling gun shoot as I shift the camera left to right and we all know you shouldn’t be moving a camera when shooting a landscape. I’m curious the quality difference between one shot at a time and stitched in an editor vs. the G7 spray technique.”

in camera panorama lumix gx85Courthouse Butte in Sedona – In-Camera Panorama. Print to about 27 inches.

Great question. We have different tools for different jobs. The in-camera panorama feature is a tool for the convenience of capturing a scene quickly and being processed for output immediately. For example, you want to share a scene on social media that is panoramic in nature. The camera will produce a completed image that can instantly be uploaded via the camera’s built-in Wifi. It is also a fine way to capture a scene as a memory that will only live in the digital world where higher resolution is not a necessity. That’s not to say you can’t make a beautiful print from the in-camera pano, I’ve made some beauties.

Advantages of in-camera panoramic photos. Immediate gratification. Ideal for web presentation and medium sized prints.

Now to the advantages and drawbacks of a stitched image.

In the capture of individual images to create a panoramic in post-production, you can shoot in the RAW format which will give you a larger file and the ability to finesse the most quality from the file. The larger size files when combined allow for printing very large size images. The only down-side is that post-processing is necessary before you can share the picture as a panoramic.

sedona arizona panormaSame scene as above. Ten frames stitched in Adobe Photoshop. Easily print to about Seventy-eight inches. Note the details and color were more available from the RAW file information.

Final thoughts. Use the best of both worlds. Make an in-camera pano to make a quick record of your scene. It can be utilized as a reference for the future building of your panorama or quick sharing of your view in social media. Make your individual images for large format printing.

Yours in creative Photography,       Bob


stop motion video

Stop Motion Video – Aloy Anderson

Through the Internet, I have met an avid advanced amateur photographer/videographer named Aloy Anderson. Aloy is always pushing to learn new and creative ways to use his cameras. I have never attempted stop-motion video myself even though it is a capability built into the Lumix Cameras. When Aloy shared his project with me, I asked if he’d mind sharing some of his thinking and his process with me. And now with you.

I invite you to check out his stop-motion video called Jungle Movie “Be Brave” and turn the rest of the post over to Aloy. Enjoy!

Jungle Movie “Be Brave” from Ray Anderson on Vimeo.

“My name is Aloy; I’m a photographer and Youtube content creator from Miami. From an early age watching Sesame Street, I’ve always been curious about how to make stop-motion animation films. In those days it took a 35mm camera with “miles” of film to develop which was out of my reach. When I realized my new Lumix G7 had the feature built in I was pleasantly shocked. I had to give it a try. My video “Jungle Movie” my first attempt at a storyline video.      

When you enter the stop motion menu on the Lumix camera choose whether you will snap each shot independently with the shutter button or the camera can be set to shoot at your preset interval. I do a little of both to give me time to reposition the set pieces and camera placement. For simplicity, I chose 5 seconds between each shot to give me time to move the characters quickly and get out the way.             

Stop-motion can be very tedious and time-consuming, and it’s tempting to take the easy way out by leaving the camera on a tripod in one spot. That would be a mistake akin to watching a whole movie from one angle. I suggest different scenes and locations for variety, using a wider lens to show establishing shots and standard lenses for shallow depth of field moments. Before you begin, have a definite storyboard in mind. I like to use manual focus and exposure for each shot.

Here are some tips.

1) Don’t to move each piece too far between each shot as I did in some of my Jungle Movie. The resulting video will have choppy movement. A few centimeters is a good start.

2) Keep the camera on a tripod or table-top to maintain a solidly grounded scene.

3) Every few shots check to make sure your exposure or focus point hasn’t changed.

4) As you improve, you will know what not to do next time and come up with more complex ways to tell your story.

5) Imperative before you begin, set your camera’s aspect ratio to 16:9 which will allow it to play back full widescreen rather than a smaller 4:3 photo size.

6) Finally, have fun!

I guarantee your first 10-second video attempt may look like a five-year-old did it but you will have a good laugh watching it play back with all its faults.

The good thing about the Lumix is when you’re finished making captures the camera will ask you how to customize your video rendering such as how many frames per second it will be and at what resolution. It will then stitch all those photos together into an MP4 file. The only downside is it will be a “silent” movie. In my case, I imported the MP4 into my video editor and added music and text titles to polish it off. It is crucial to add some form of audio to keep your video engaging. This information is not an exhaustive tutorial by any means, but the fun is learning as you go.

I invite you to visit my Youtube product review channel and my Flickr Photography album. Most importantly I would like to thank Bob Coates for inviting me to write this piece. Hopefully, you will have a good time learning this type of creative way to use your camera.”

Aloy Anderson.

Thanks to Aloy for sharing his first foray into stop-motion.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

PS – Most Lumix cameras have the stop-motion and time-lapse features built into the camera. If you have any questions about which camera might be best for your needs let me know.




sunday photo/art quote – white

Sunday Photo/Art Quote – Minor White

Minor White was a black and white photographer who was at the forefront of pushing boundaries of what photography was all about. Abstract images of landscapes which had a tendency to disorient a viewer were among his gifts to the photographic world. In addition to being a ground-breaking photographer, he was an educator and editor of Aperture Magazine.

As they might say on CBS Sunday Morning, ‘Here now is today’s quote.’

minor white photo art quote“One should not only photograph things for what they are, but for what else they are.”  –  Minor White

We should spend time reviewing those photographers who came before us for education and inspiration. As in the fashion industry, we might mine the past for ideas, not to copy, but to build upon in taking our photographic work to new levels.

Yours in Creative Photography,          Bob

macphun software

luminar software logo holiday slaeMacPhun Software – Luminar & Aurora

What are we going to do when our software updates stop allowing us to use Google’s NIK Software? Right now it’s free for download if you want to use it! I highly recommend if you haven’t already taken advantage of this deal get to it. It’s good stuff! I even paid for it originally and was happy to do so.

But it won’t be around forever.

It may be Adobe or it may be our computer operating systems that will make the software no longer usable. For Apple computer users one answer lies with MacPhun Software. Some of the folks who were at NIK Software before Google bought them out have been working on some solutions at MacPhun.

At first, they came out with some stand-alone solutions for handling noise and adding creativity. They bundled them into a nice package called Creative Kit which had six different software solutions usable as plug-ins for Photoshop and Lightroom. Next came Aurora HDR software.

Here are a few images I dressed up using the software and since it’s a holiday promotion here you go.

holiday photo by bob coates photography holiday photo by bob coates photography holiday photo by bob coates photographyNext came Aurora HDR software followed by Aurora 2017* (see the deal below!). I like Aurora 2017 because it allows me to get the HDR process to increase the density range of an image but without the images screaming ‘HDRRRR!!!.’ And I still have the creative possibilities available. It is also a stand alone program. I have been fortunate to be able to work with MacPhun’s new software as it becomes available and I’m having a great time playing with the possibilities. I think you’ll like it too.

There’s a new stand-alone product that has just hit the market combining the software that is called Luminar**. Learn more about it below with a special deal until the New Year.luminar software logo holiday slae

* Check out the Aurora 2017 Deal Details
Aurora HDR 2017 + Bonuses for only $89. Total value $175. Savings of 49%
Give your holiday photos a truly unique look this year with Aurora HDR 2017 and our new Winter Preset Pack. Plus, improve your photography with training from Nature Photography Guides and Trey Ratcliff!

You get:
Aurora HDR 2017, the world’s #1 HDR software for Mac photographers
2 eBooks by Nature Photography Guides: “Forever Light: the Landscape Photographer’s Guide to Iceland” & “Iceland: Black & White Photography Portfolio by Sarah Marino” will inspire your photography to new heights.
Creative HDR Presets Pack: Use these exciting new presets to stylize and experiment with your photos.
20-minute Deep Dive video from Trey Ratcliff: Learn from the most influential HDR shooter of our generation, and co-developer of Aurora HDR 2017!

** Check out the Luminar Deal Details
Luminar + Bonuses for only $59. Total value $319 Savings of 80%
Celebrate the holidays with an incredible deal on our most popular photo editor to date and a host of bonuses sure to put a smile on your face!

You get:
Luminar, super-charged photo software for any Mac photographer
3 eBooks from Andrew S. Gibson: Mastering Photography, Mastering Composition & Mastering Lenses. The “Mastering” series is designed to help improve the creative aspects of your photography. They are aimed at intelligent and creative photographers who understand that light and composition are just as important as knowing which buttons to press on the camera.
Over 300 high resolution sky overlays: Use Luminar and this set of warm, blue or dramatic skies to enhance any image. Perfect for any photographer who has photos with dull or lifeless skies – bring them to life with this exciting collection!
Creative Portraits Preset Pack for Luminar: Make even more amazing photos with this speciality pack of presets ideal for improving any portrait.
How to Shoot Sandscapes by Baber Afzal: In this video, you’ll learn pro techniques for capturing the best sandscape photos possible.

Lots of good things for you. Happy Holidays!

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob



sunday photo/art quote – bullock

Sunday Photo/Art Quote – Wynn Bullock

His work can be seen in over 90 museums around the world and I’ll bet you don’t know the name, Wynn Bullock. (check out some of Wynn’s work) I came across his name while keeping my eye out for quotes from photographers and artists for this blog. This was the quote I choose for this morning.

wynn bullock quote on photography“When I photograph, what I’m really doing is seeking answers to things.”   Wynn Bullock

I am always checking into what photographers are thinking about on the ‘why’ they create images. What got you started? What drives you to continue?

And the variety of answers astounds me.

So I’ll ask you. What do you get from photography? Why do you do it? How did you get started?

Share your answers here. The best reply (in my opinion) gets a half hour consulting session with me on the subject of your choosing.

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob

wynn bullock photo by todd walkerWynn Bullock photo by Todd Walker – 1967