wizard academy chapel dulcinia

Architecture here at the Wizard Academy is quite distinctive and a bit on the Old World side. I like it.

As always I create a self assignment to create some art from the places I visit. Here is Chapel Dulcinia. It’s a place to have a wedding if you are in the Austin, Texas area. It’s beautifully appointed and in a very wonderful quiet area on the Academy grounds. By the way, did I mention there is no charge?? Last year there were over 800 ceremonies on the property. This year they are on track to have over 1000 weddings here.

chapel ducinia art image wizard academy

Chapel Dulcinia at the Wizard Academy. The texture for creating the art came from a photograph of the elevator floor…

Captured with the Lumix GH4 and the 35-100 f2.8 Lumix Vario lens.

Any idea where the name for Chapel Dulcinia originated?? If so comment below…

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

wizard academy video class

HI Ho Hi Ho it’s off to school I go…

For the next couple days I will be at the Wizard Academy here in Austin, Texas learning about using video on the web to promote your business. Last night there was some informal conversations among the business people attending and I gotta tell ya there’s some stimulating conversation and ideas are already starting to flow. This is a business class unlike any other and I can’t wait.

prosser room at wizard academy

I’m staying on campus and here’s a quick shot of the room. It’s called Prosser and it’s quite comfortable and well appointed!

Everywhere you turn at the Wizard academy there’s an art touch, a nook with a surprise and little pockets of magic.

angel statue photo

There be angels and more here…

If you want to give your marketing a seriously creative push find a class here at the Wizard Academy. I’ll fill you in later with some of the rest of the story of my stay…

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

 

sunday photo/art quote 8/17

That’s what I love about the art and profession of photography. There are so many different ways to think about how you work and present your work to the world… Today’s quote comes from National Geographic photographer Sam Abell. He has said that he could be perfectly happy with his photography even if his only subject was light itself. Here’s Sam’s quote which references a different way of thinking about photography than I do.

sam abell photographer quote image

As I have practiced it, photography produces pleasure by simplicity. I see something and show it to the camera.
A picture is produced. The moment is held until someone sees it. Then it is theirs.”   Sam Abell

When you see light as well as Abell does, as well as knowing how the camera sees and interprets what our eye sees, you can make fabulous images without supplemental light. I often see and hear people say these days I’m ONLY a ‘Natural Light’ photographer. While there are some fabulous exceptions like Abell that phrase is mostly code for, “I don’t know how to use flash or other supplemental light and can’t be bothered or am too scared to learn my craft.”

All light is useful in creating the best image of our subject. In the case of natural light it often means returning to a place or scene when the light is more favorable to show off the scene better. many times especially when working against a time constraint like a deadline for a commercial project, or ‘the family will only be together for this date and time’ or other such reason. The true pro will still create a beautiful image because he or she will be able to use all of the tools available including flash and additive or subtractive lighting.

Want to be a better photographer? Study light in all it’s forms and permutations. You’ll be glad you did!

Here are two head shot portraits of Sam Abell. Tells of two different sides and conveys different messages. What’s the major difference? Light.

sam abell head shot photographsam abell head shot photo

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

PS I am still learning light and it’s language every chance I get attending as many conventions and seminars as possible. I’ve been doing this for about fifteen years.

Maybe I’m a slow learner.

Or maybe there’s a LOT to learn.

photoshop extraction tutorial

I often have to remove subjects from basic white backgrounds and thought I would share a technique using the Channels Palette to create the Alpha Channel to separate the subject very cleanly from the background with little fuss and muss. There is some Photoshop Magic involved. If you haven’t seen this technique before you will be pleasantly surprised by how much of a time saver it is!

Special thanks to my subject Tom Tayback of Tom Tayback and the Daddy O’s who does a 50′s & 60′s Graffiti Gold Show that is pretty darn cool. If you are in Arizona and see the show will be playing, go, I know you’ll enjoy it!

band photography daniel and the lion

Sound Bites Grill hosted Daniel and the Lion in the show lounge last Tuesday for Dance Night. There were quite a few people out on the dance floor and I’m pretty sure I heard talk of them coming back for another performance. Make sure you watch out for it if you are in the Sedona, AZ area! Or check their web site for other dates. BTW they are opening for the Counting Crows this summer.

If you follow my blog you know I create art images of the performers at Sound Bites Grill here in Sedona. Here is the image that made it to the ‘Wall of Fame’…

daniel and the lion art photo

I capture all the musicians individually and try to get their personality worked into the photo.

The individual musicians are selected in Adobe Photoshop then composed into the art piece adding drop shadows and others effects. Different texture images are also layered over the master with different Blend Modes applied. The signatures are done with black Sharpie on white paper. Then the signatures are scanned and laid out individually. I Invert the color and change the Blend Mode to Screen and the black disappears leaving just the autograph.

band photo of daniel and the lion

This is more of a straight capture of the performance of the band. Lumix Vario lens 12-35mm settings 15mm f2.8 1/30th sec at 3200 ISO

I’m using the Lumix GH4 which makes it easier to capture the large range of lighting that occurs in a live venue using LED lighting. This is a single capture. The image was then taken in to Adobe Camera RAW. Highlight slider was brought down to tame the blown out areas and the shadows slider was brought up to bring some detail out of the darker areas. This camera has a tremendous density range. If I was going to really work this image to control the light even more I would have blended bracketed photos together for even more range of density. It is very possible to accomplish this in one capture because the camera shoots at 12 frames a second and can bracket up to seven stops of light with one push button of the shutter.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

4K video still capture

Finally started playing with the 4K video capture to make still images on my Lumix GH4.

Why would you want to do that? Well having access to 30 fps images allows you to capture micro expressions during a fast moving shoot of a baby or if you want a photo from a video you made and couldn’t grab stills from. I didn’t realize how useful this could be until I started trying to photograph hummingbirds at the new feeder my wife put up. This is a pretty good image that will print fairly large. If you are using the entire frame you can grab an eight megapixel image from 4K video.

After grabbing the Frame for the video I opened the file in Adobe Camera Raw so I could use those controls by highlighting the image in Adobe Bridge and hitting Cmd R (Cntrl R for PC users). After some additional adjustments for color and sharpness and removing the bird feeder in Adobe Photoshop here’s the still photo result.

 

hummingbird photo

This image came in at 15 MB after cropping. Depending on the output media this could easily make a 20 inch or larger print.

Here’s the video.

YouTube Video on the original 4K video capture.

I’m thinking that his has more applications than I originally thought. When I first heard about this idea I was thinking there’s no way I’d want to dig through that many images for an expression or specific moment. Found out it wasn’t that hard stepping through the frames in Adobe’s Premeire Pro CC.

The photography landscape is changing as the lines between video and still capture get closer together.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

sunday photo/art quote 8/10

It’s my opinion that having fun has a lot to do with being creative. If you are mentally constipated because you are taking things way too serious you are not leaving room in your little grey cells for happenstance and that makes for less than original work.

Today’s quote comes from Comedian Jerry Seinfeld and gives you some thoughts on how to live life. I do not recommend this all the time or you may end up in an early grave like writer Hunter S. Thompson. I suggest at least you give it a shot at least once a week.

jerry seinfeld quote image

Life is truly a ride. We’re all strapped in and no one can stop it… I think the most you can hope for at the end of life is that your hair’s messed up, you’re out of breath, and you didn’t throw up.” Jerry Seinfeld

While researching a bit for Jerry Seinfeld information I came across this Leadership blog by Kevin Kenberry on what it takes to be successful. Take a look I think you’ll like it. http://blog.kevineikenberry.com/leadership-supervisory-skills/what-leaders-can-learn-from-jerry-seinfeld/

Here’s a bonus quote from a very successful, and one of my favorite actors, Alan Alda, “Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.

Yours in Creative Photography,         Bob

child blue eyes photo

On the riverboat cruise at the TNPPA Convention last week I happened across these blue eyes of a child sitting on his father’s lap. I was breaking in my use of a new lens to me, the Lumix G Leica DG NOCTICRON 42.5mm/F1.2 Lens. It is a sweet piece of glass. Enjoying the shallow Depth of Field These images are pretty much straight out of the Lumix GH4 camera with a small exposure adjustment. Be aware of beautiful light moments with wonderful subjects… But remember to ask if it’s OK to make the image.

blue eyed child photo
Dad’s blue shirt and his plain grey shirt along with the tight crop allow his eyes to take center stage.
blue eyed child image
He was getting a bit of extra direction from grandpa and others so we started to loose expression but I still think it’s cute.
Childs blue eyes photo
He was very cooperative but I’ll bet he was a bit on the tired side. He enjoyed seeing his photos on the back of the camera.
Yours in Photography,        Bob
PS I’ve lost my formatting on the upgrade to the latest version of WP. I’ll work on getting the old look back ASAP.

underwater photo

Pierre Stephenson was presenting a program on photographing underwater portraits. So being the shy guy that I am I asked if he could grab one of me cause I was looking for something different… And boy did I get that.

Pierre immediately said, “Yeah that would be great! I see you in a cross legged Buddha pose.” I’m all over it so off to the pool we go…

photo of Bob Coates underwaterBecause it was very hard to hold position this is two combined photos. One for the legs and lower half of the body and one for the upper half and reflection. Image © Pierre Stephenson used with permission.

When I showed Pierre the image (he gave me the files to play with) He said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if you were in a grotto?” I remembered a photo in my files of a set of arches from a shoot in Tuscany and started work blending it into the underwater photo image.

underwater photo of BobAdded the ‘Grotto-ish’ background using masks and blend modes in Adobe Photoshop.

Bob float photoWith a bit more Adobe Photoshop tweaking and color work this is pretty close…

This is a case of playing with an idea and developing it through playing with ideas. Is this complete? Not yet. It needs some refining as most of this was done on small files with very quick selections. I’m going to check in and see if Pierre likes the direction I hope he likes it…

Yours in Photography,      Bob

sarah in chattanooga

I was working with a new lens the Lumix G Leica DG NOCTICRON 42.5mm/F1.2 Lens and is it sweet and fast. In this play session after a couple days of judging and presenting at the Tennessee Professional Photographers Association convention thought I’d try some fun stuff with Sarah Wykhuis. She was a great subject. It started in the hall when she was standing near a light. I set the camera for a high contrast black and white look.

sarah photoSarah in the hall. Kind of a Julia Roberts look don’t you think?

sarah photographThen we went outside to shoot in the dark to see what we could see. It was pitch dark so we used the building lighting and fellow photographer and presenter Pierre Stephenson used his IPhone to add a bit of fill light.

sarah imageI shot in RAW plus jpeg so I could get to all the info presented to the camera and was surprised at how much detail I was able to pull form the file. Camera was Lumix GH4.

I always advocate getting out to play. You learn the limits of your equipment, sharpen your skills and discover new ways of doing creative imagery.

Yours in Photography,       Bob