sometimes you just find an environment that is a target rich for making fun photographs. I found one such place while in Albuquerque, New, Mexico while presenting my PhotoSynthesis program for the Professional Photographers of New Mexico.
The decor in this place is a hoot with a painted panorama that is disgorging three-D cows, trucks, and other goodies. Meanwhile other parts of the restaurant display blasts of color and neon goodness. (You know that I like neon right?)
Here are a few images from dinner last night. All were made with the Lumix FZ1000 an east comfortable camera to keep on hand that will cover almost all possibilities. I used the built-in HDR setting to help with some of the challenging lighting situations. The next camera in the FZ line is now out with even more features. FZ2500
Neon rimmed blue light clock face with a red background. Love it!
A mural that has pink and blue cows jumping out of the painted panorama is not something you’ll come across every day.
A highway comes out of the mural with multi-colored painted trucks. Way cool!
Classic neon sculpture is part of te Cafe decor
A restaurant with unique decor, fun furniture, colors that dance and light fixtures that take you to the moon and the stars can be found in Albuquerque. Oh, and I didn’t mention the namesake part of the decor which is antique toy ranges and stoves from the 50’s and 60’s.
Earth Day Photography – Landscape Photography Magazine
Landscape Photography Magazine put out a call to photography artists to create an image of sunrise on Earth Day of this year. The image I created was accepted into the curated collection gathered from that day. Here is my entry as it appears in the Landscape Photography Magazine Earth day PDF. Download your copy for free & get a 60% off deal on a new subscription. If you are a landscape photographer I know you’ll love this. (disclosure: I am not an affiliate of LPM magazine. Just think they do a great job!)
Earth Day Photo – Capture Lumix FZ1000 25-400mm f2.8-4.0 @f8 Multiple Exposures ISO 800
Text from image follows below
“I was traveling and thought I’d miss out on the sunrise opportunity. Arrived at the airport gate and saw this east facing view. Major problems to overcome were minimizing the reflections on the thick plate glass & taming the wide density range of the scene. Used my arm to block as many of the reflections as possible and removed a few of the larger reflections in post-production. I captured a 7 stop exposure and processed 6 images in Aurora HDR *. Managed to hold the camera steady by bracing against the window frame. Timed the shot to capture the movement of the luggage cart.”
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob
*Until July 5th there is a Fireworks Bundle available from MacPhun
Special Bundle price: $99 – Over $300 in Savings
Creative Kit 2016 – 6 Powerful photography apps
Creating Powerful Photos of Fireworks – Video Training from PhotoFocus
8 Intensify presets and 3 Noiseless Presets created especially for fireworks images
PhotoBulk app by Eltima Software – Resize photos and add watermarks
Uplet app by Eltima Software – Upload photos from your Mac to Instagram
Landscape Photography Magazine put out a ‘Day in the Life’ type call for images with people from around the world to capture a sunrise image wherever they happen to be. I found myself bummed. I was traveling and had a flight scheduled to head to New Hampshire to speak and judge at their convention during the sunrise time.
Not much chance of catching a sunrise photo from inside the airport.
Instead of giving in to the inevitable, I tried to think outside the proverbial box. I found that the sunrise was during my waiting time for the flight. After checking in through TSA, I found an east facing set of windows and to my surprise was blessed with a beautiful set of clouds and the sun working its way up to the horizon spreading color through the scene. I framed a scene and waited for a bit of action to help tell more of the story.
The density range of the scene called for multiple-exposures to capture the bright sunlight and the shadow areas of the scene. I was using the Lumix FZ1000 and set the camera to capture a bracketed set for five stops of light. I then had the option of blending the images together for the proper rendering of the scene that was before me.
Here is the sequence of images captured before processing
I chose four of the images and processed them in Aurora HDR software for MAC. I am really enjoying the new HDR software from MacPhun. There are a plethora of settings that allow you to dial in the settings necessary to render the scene as you wish. I prefer to have complete control and try to create a more natural rendition of the scene.
Final Image – submitted for the dawn capture
There were some additional adjustments made to take out the reflections in the glass and add a slight vignette to help steer the eye toward the center of the image and keep the viewers eye from leaving the photo.
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob
PS – When you think there no chance of capturing the photo you are after… don’t give up!
If you look at yesterday’s post you’ll see the capture and processing of an orangutan photographed through a dirty plate glass window which pushed capture and processing skills. Today I want to share an artistic rendition of our countries’ symbol of freedom, the bald eagle.
While we’re looking at this image let’s go back in time with the Steve Miller Band’s Fly Like an Eagle for a little musical accompaniment…
The theme here is to practice skills of photography. What did I get/learn while photographing the eagle that I can carry with me to my regular photography gigs??
Number one – People were moving through on a regular basis, so there were distractions to manage. awareness of surroundings while concentrating of my subject.
Number two – Patience. I wanted the eagle’s beak to be closed and there were only fractions of moments when this was the case. I had to learn this behavior and movement and time it to get the position I wanted.
Number three – The eagle was caged so there was the fencing to account for which meant shooting at a shallow Depth of field and focusing on the eagle and not the fence.
Finally, number four – Processing the image into an art piece that is more than the sum of the parts. Always working on these techniques to improve them. As they say, practice makes perfect…
Original photograph. Captured with Lumix FZ1000 1/400th sec f4 ISO 200 at 420mm (35mm equivilent)
A process through NIK Silver FX Pro 2 gave a very gritty black & white rendition of the eagle. I like the idea of the eagle in a square crop portrait style but not all the cage elements and distracting background.
I wanted a larger portrait rendition so I choose a larger crop and started adding my art embellishments.
The artwork is accomplished using photographs of textures and colors combined together using layers and Blend Modes. Utilizing Layer Masks on the texture layers allows for control of specific effects in certain areas of the image.
I thought the eagle was just holding it’s wing up when I photographed it, but it was bothering me. Then my eagle-eyed wife Holly came in and liked the art treatment but also spotted that the eagle’s wing was probably broken hence the residence at the zoo. I did a little plastic surgery for the final image you see below.
The last bit of work was accomplished with Adobe Photoshop. I copied the broken wing onto its own layer. Then repositioned it as if it was folded in its normal place. Using a layer mask to blend it into place.
I do! I always try to improve my skills by pushing out of my comfort zone and create different images from different places.
I always try to improve my skills by pushing out of my comfort zone and create different images from different places.
So how do you do it? One of the best ways is to continually practice and expand your skillset. Anyone who is at the top of their game in any sport, yes I consider photography a sport as well as an art form, practice daily. Why do I consider it a sport? Depending on your photographic genre you need coordination, timing, and stamina. This goes for shooting sports, weddings, wildlife or other fast moving situations. Why art? Art because you need to create or recognize wonderful lighting in order to have your images rise above the ordinary. Both the ‘art and sport’ parts of your work can be improved by working on your muscle memory. And, you guessed it, that takes practice.
Guess what? Your composition gets better when you practice too.
You also need to practice your post production as well… And the more you do it, well you get the idea.
I always try to improve my skills by putting myself in different situations and today I’ll share some images from the Phoenix zoo. For a little accompaniment push the button to listen to Paul Simon’s song ‘At the Zoo’.
Paul Simon with Garfunkle “At the Zoo’ from around 1967. (am I showing my age here??)
Orangatang at Phoenix Zoo. Captured with Lumix FZ1000 1/40th sec f4 ISO 200 – With a range of 25-400mm the FZ1000 is a very handy lens covering a wide variety of situations.
“OK Bob, so how is this zoo practice good for practicing other types of photography?
I’m fighting crowds to get the angle I want. Looking to capture expression which happens very quickly. In this instance, I am also going to be working hard in my post processing because this image was made in less than ideal lighting conditions through a thick, colored, and dirty pane of glass.
Did I say it wasn’t an ideal situation? That never happens on a regular photo shoot… (cue the laughter bouncing off the walls!)
Here is the final image I was able to pull from the original capture.
A couple of post processing tips I picked up from working on this photo of the orangutan. Adobe Camera RAW has a feature called DeHaze. This was quite helpful in getting a lot of the reflections and dirt on the glass to disappear. Did a much better job than I thought it would!It was designed to help with scenics to take some of the blue out of a landscape image but it worked very much like a Polarizing filter in this situation. I will be revisiting this filter more in the future. I love how tools and setting designed for one thing can be leveraged to do more.
After the initial processing in Photoshop I moved over to my favorite black and white conversion tool NIK Silver FX Pro 2. I made my black and white selections in the filter. These process out onto their own layer, and with a Mask, additional adjustments can be made. One more time back into Silver FX Pro 2 (it’s free now!) and I made some adjustments to the Structure, dialing in very strong enhancements to the mid tones and the fine structure. I changed the Mode of that new layer to Luminosity and filled the mask with black. Then I was able to paint with white on the mask to selectively sharpen specific areas of the image.
Last on the list was a Soft Light Mode Layer to dodge and burn.
Always fun chatting with Skip Cohen about the photography business. This is a chat about Embracing new tech in photography. Being a Lumix Luminary has moved me from being the last to jump into new technology to getting to try out new things that are changing faster than you can imagine.
Embracing new technology. Weekend Wisdom with Skip Cohen Listen here
With new ways of processing and capturing images in camera there are more tools at our beck and call then ever before. If you aren’t checking out some of the new ways to leverage these tools in your business you may be falling behind… Many cameras are now more like a computer with a lens attached. Time-lapse captures have never been easier with in-camera processing. 4K video allows you to capture video and pull still frames that can easily be printed to twenty inches. Again the 4K video can be leveraged to give you the opportunity to choose your focus point after the fact. I’m sure there are a number of cameras capable of many of the things I’m sharing here but, I’m familiar with the Panasonic Lumix cameras. The GH4, GX8, G7, FZ1000, LX100 and others are changing the way photographers work and the way photography is growing into the future.
Check out the podcast and let me know what you think…
Occasionally I'll send out a digest version of the blog posts on Successful-Photographer. I'm not a fan of Spam and I'm sure you are not. Your Email address is safe with me. Bob
For infrared conversion of my cameras I use LifePixel. Infrared allows you to put an older camera to use and opens up a new time time of day for productive image creation.
Learn Photoshop in a fun environment. Aaron Nace applies the right amount of fun with easy to understand and follow tutorials. Actions and brushes are included with lessons!
Luminar 4 and LuminarAI software from Skylum are creative tools. In addition to being a stand-alone program, I often use it as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop. Full of creative possibilities! Find all of the Skylum products by clicking on this link.
By using the COUPON CODE COATES you'll save 10 bucks or get the best deal going on Luminar. Click on the logo for more info.
Luminar 4 and LuminarAI
Best embroidery ever. Give Queensboro a try, get a $20 instant credit to get started by clicking on the logo! They specialize in great quality custom logo apparel and promotional products with the best customer service.
Lightning, waterdroplets, sound, time-lapse, HDR sequences, smiles and much more control for your camera!
Cameras Get Smarter -
A High Speed Smart Camera Remote