Digital Imaging

Rick's Talk on Digital Photography at the Googleplex - Now Posted on YouTube

My September talk at the Googleplex was just posted. Check it out! Click here. Good fun and good learning.

I want to thank my friends at Google for giving me the on-site experience (Google is so cool) and the world-wide YouTube exposure. A big "thank you" also goes for lunch. Great food at google!

I hope you enjoy my presentation. If you have any questions, please email me at ricksammon @

Keep in touch on my site.

Explore the light - and explore Google!

Quick Digital Imaging Tip 13/101: Include a Person In the Scene

Update 11/12/10: I originally posted this post from Laos. See the last three images. Then read this, which was in the NY Times yesterday.

This is #13 of 101 digital imaging tips I plan to post here over the next few months. Stay tuned.

No matter how small, a person can add interest to a scene – as illustrated by this photograph that I took this morning in Laos.

Bonus tip: You snooze, you lose! Get up early to capture the beauty dawn light.

On another note, what do the three snapshots (taken in a very remote village in Laos) below have in common? Let me know here on the blog, which is easier for me to track than facebook and twitter. Try to be as detailed as possible with your answer. I will respond when a reader gets it right.

Peace, love and joy,

Crop My Pictures and You Are a Dead Man

“Crop my picture and you’re a dead man.” That’s what David Page, one of the contributors to my books, Digital Photography Secrets, said to me in an email when he submitted one of his pictures for publication. After his demand was a happy face!

Basically, David, a heck of a nice guy and former fine art photographer and teacher at Duke University, was asking, in a nice way, that his image not be cropped.

David’s comment was the inspiration for a column that I wrote for Layers magazine.

I agree 100 percent with David's philosophy. To me, and to most of my photographer friends, cropping in-camera and in the digital darkroom is one of the keys to a good image – a good exposure and an interesting subject being among the other key ingredients that make a good photograph.

In fact, when I work with publishers, including my friends at Layers magazine, the only request I have is to please not crop my pictures. It’s a request that surely makes the art director’s job more difficult, and I appreciate their extra effort.

Cropping goes hand-in-hand with composition, because if you have an expertly composed photograph and then it’s cropped poorly, the composition goes down the tubes, or maybe to Davy Jones’ Locker, according the David Page.

Explore the Light,


5.23 Saturday Photoshop Mini-Session: Play With HDR Plug-ins

This week's tip: Play with HDR Plug-ins.

Two of my favorite HDR plug-ins are Photomatix and Topaz Adjust.


Photomatix, a very popular HDR program from HDRsoft, is both a plug-in and a stand-alone application. First, you take several pictures over, under and at the correct exposure with your camera mounted on a tripod (set to the aperture priority mode) and fired with either the camera’s self-timer or a cable release to avoid camera shake.

Then you use Photomatix’s Detail Enhance and Tone Compressor, along with the options in their sub menus, to create images that go way beyond the recording capabilities of a digital camera’s image sensor. I used Photomatix to create the top HDR image.

Topaz Adjust

Enter the Topaz “Twilight Zone.” Topaz is relative newcomer to the world of High Dynamic Range (HDR) image making. It offers an easy, not to mention very effective, method for creating a HDR image.

Topaz Adjust allows you to create an HDR image using only one image (if the contrast range is not too wide), as opposed to most other HDR programs that combine several images over, under and at the correct exposure. I used Topaz Adjust to create the bottom HDR image.

Check out my mini-movie on HDR at the bottom of this post.

Want more HDR info on Photomatix and Topaz Adjust (and on plug-ins in general)? See the Plug-in Experience. Check out the how-to page for info – and discounts.

Love that HDR? I'd be interested to know which HDR plug-is/programs you use – and why.

P.S. If you live in the NY area, I will be giving my full HDR presentation at B&H on June 14 at 1 PM: presentation and demo. Link on my workshops page. Yes! I teach HDR on my workshop. Great fun.

Each week I will try to post:
• Monday’s Inspirational Message
• Two Tips For Tuesday
• Where in the World? Wednesday
• Photo Thought for Thursday
• Friday Fun Photo
• Saturday Photoshop Mini-Session
• Sunday Speedlite Secrets

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