Masai Mara

What Are Your Favorite Photoshop CS6 Beta Features?

Composite, drop shadow, canvas size and type created in Photoshop CS6 Beta.
If you are a serious photographer, you should download the Beta version of Photoshop CS6. Hey, it's free, fun and fantastic.

There are lots of new features (more than 20), including my favorites, which are listed below.


Create a spotlight effect with Lighting Effects for a more dramatic portrait.
- Dark and cool-looking interface;
- Updated icons, buttons and dialogs;
- New Camera Raw 7;
- Re Camera Raw... they don't call me Rick "Raw Rules" Sammon for nothing:
- New Crop Tool (more on that toward the end of this post);
- New Content-Aware Move, Extend and Patch tools;
- New and improved Lighting Effects (see end-result above on the right, which is just one of many lighting effects effects);
- New Blur Gallery (see title-shif effect below).

Tilt-Shift blur effect can create miniature-looking images. Selective blur is also possible.
Tilt-shift effet in Photoshop CS6 Beta. 
Like my friend Dave Cross, I use Photoshop more than Lightroom, although I teach both application on my workshops - as well as plug-ins for both programs.


Another one of my favorite features in Photoshop (CS6 Beta and CS5) is Shadows/Highlights.

Check out the before-and-after set of images below. With a quick adjustment using the S/H sliders, I was able to see more details in the birds without blowing out the sky. You might want to try this feature on your high-contrast images before going to HDR.

After Shadows/Highlights.
Before Shadows/Highlights.
You probably noticed that the above picture is cropped from the standard format. Photoshop CS6 Beta also has a new Crop Tool - which offers non-destructive cropping.

Hey, if you are into shooting HD video, Photoshop CS6 Beta also supports video. If you want to get into HD video with your SLR, check out the DVD that Juan Pons and I produced.

I'd love to hear from you. What are your favorite PS6 Beta features? Please leave your comment in the Comment section here on my blog.

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. If you want to spend less time in Photoshop and Lightroom (that is getting the best possible in-camear exposure), check out my apps. They are packed with how-to info.





Virtual Photo Safari: Part I - Behavior Shots


Each day this week I will take you on a daily virtual photo safari to Kenya's Masai Mara. Each post will feature a travel tip and a photo tip - or two. 

I took the images for the posts on a recent trek to the Masai Mara. The entire trip was organized by &Beyond, a leader in African adventure tours.

I used my Canon EOS 7D and Canon 100-400mm IS lens for most of the images in the posts. The wider-angle shots were taken with my Canon 24-105mm IS lens. All hand-held.

Safari Tip: You'll need three ingredients to get good photos: patience, luck and time. A great guide is also important. I was very lucky to get most of my keepers (80 percent) on the first four days of the photo safari. I also had a great guide!

Photo Tips: Go for behavior shots in addition to taking portraits. 

Use plug-ins to change the mood and feel of a picture. Above: I used the Full Dynamic Range Soft filter in Nik's Silver Efex Pro. Below I used the Yellow 1 filter in the same plug-in. I also added the image borders in Silver Efex Pro.

Remember, when you remove the color from an image, you remove some of the reality. When you remove some of the reality, your picture can become more artistic and creative.


Check out my plug-ins page to save a few bucks on Nik Software and other plug-ins.

Below is my original photograph.


If you'd like to join one of my travel tours/workshops, see the Workshops page of my site. Also, if you are interested in an exclusive, 4-person workshop to Tanzania in 2012, shoot me an email.

I will be giving a presentation on photo safaris at the Explorers Club (where I am a member) in NYC in the spring of 2012. Stay tuned for the date.

To see more pictures from Kenya, check out my friend Andy Williams' SmugMug site. Nice work, Andy!

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. If you plan on going to Kenya, have been to Kenya, have dreams of going to Kenya, or simply want to read about a wonderful adventure, check out West with the Night.

One Week Virtual Photo Safari: Preview

 

Starting Monday here on my blog, I will take you on a daily virtual photo safari to Kenya's Masai Mara. Each post will feature a travel tip and a photo tip - or two. I can't wait to share the photographs with you! It was truly an amazing adventure, from start to finish.

I took the images for the posts on a recent trek to the Masai Mara. The entire trip was organized by &Beyond, a leader in African adventure tours. Bateleur, which is adjacent to Kichwa Tembo, was our base camp for the eight-day trip. The camps have, what many feel, are some of the best guides and service in the business. Our guide was Moses Kibet, who gets part of the credit for my photographs, because he got me into position to get the shots I wanted. Thank you Moses!

I used my Canon EOS 7D and Canon 100-400mm IS lens for most of the images in the posts. The wider-angle shots were taken with my Canon 24-105mm IS lens. All hand-held.

Speaking of Kenya, my friend Scott Kelby has a favorite charity, Springs of Hope Kenya. It's a worthwhile organization. You can make a donation - and a difference - by clicking here.
 
As a preview of photo safari week. . .

Photograph by Susan Sammon
Safari Tip: Go on a walking safari. It's a totally different experience from riding in and shooting from a safari vehicle. Here I am hanging out with Francis Nkulet (left), who was on the constant lookout for hungry animals, and Jackson Tunai, our Masai guide for the two-hour trek.

Photo Tips: Focus on the eyes. If the eyes are not in focus, you've missed the shot.

To sharpen this shot, I used Nik Software's Sharpener Pro. Check out my plug-ins page to save a few bucks on Nik Software and other plug-ins.

If you'd like to join one of my travel tours/workshops, see the Workshops page of my site.

Finally, thanks to entire &Beyond staff for making our trip a memorable experience!

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. If you plan on going to Kenya, have been to Kenya, have dreams of going to Kenya, or simply want to read a wonderful adventure book, check out West with the Night.