St. Augustine

Florida Photo Caravan 3rd Shoot: Horse & Rider

© Rick Sammon
We're just back from the 3rd shoot of my Florida Photo Caravan: Horse & Rider on the beach.

Once again, we had great light - and a great horse and rider. And of course a great group. Who could ask for more?

– Experiment with slow and fast shutter speeds to blur and freeze the action, respectively.
– Shoot on rapid frame advance so you get a shot with the horse with all the hooves off the ground.
– Don't have the horizon line running through the rider's neck.
– Leave some room in the frame into which the horse can "run."

I enhanced this picture with the Pastel filter in Nik's Color Efex Pro. Then I used the Smooth and Flat filter in Topaz Adjust.

To read about the creative plug-ins I use, and to save a few bucks on plug-ins, click here.

Shoot me an email for info about my 2013 Florida Photo Caravan and other workshops.

By the way, when we arrived at the beach, we were totally socked in by fog! No worries. We made pictures until it got a bit brighter. Patience pays . . . .

Explore the light,

P.S. Here's an iPhoine "Behind the scenes by Susan" shot. Read about her cool iPhone lenses here.

4 of my 8 Florida Events are Free!

My Florida Photo Caravan begins with a special shoot: Horses on the Beach.
I have eight Florida events schedule for January 2012. For are for free!

I hope you can join one . . . or two!

St. Augustine
Free Seminar - Exploring the Light. Not part of the Photo Caravan. Not a photo shoot.
January 21 – 4 - 6 PM
Hilton Garden Inn
401 A1A Beach Blvd.
St. Augustine, FL
Register by email

Lots of birds to photograph at Merritt Island.
Four Florida Locations on My Photo Caravan!
January 21 - 28 (Welcome Dinner for Workshop Group Only 7 PM)
One of my favorite hands-on workshops!
St. Augustine, Merritt Island, Delray Beach, South Beach
Click here for info. Only 2 spots open.

Cool HDR photo opportunities in South Beach.
Ft. Laurderdale
Free Seminar - The Camera Looks Both Ways (People Photography). A cool, two-our talk.
February 1 - 7:30 to 9:30 PM
1350 East Sunrise Blvd.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Master HDR on my workshop.
Delray Beach
Digital Delray Days
Hands-on Workshop.
January 30, January 31 and February 3
Colony Hotel
595 East Atlantic Ave
Delray Beach, FL
Click here for info

Seminar and Workshop - Two events.
February 4 - 5
See poster at the end of this post.

Free Seminar. 
People photography: Lighting and Photo Philosophies
A cool two-hour talk.
February 6. 
7 to 9 PM. Doors open at 6 PM for book signing.
Hilton Garden Inn
Tampa Northwest/Oldsmar
4052 Tampa Road
Oldsmar, FL 34677 

Need a hotel room at a discount? Use this code - Sammon Seminar -  at the Hilton.

Rick's On-location and In-Studio Lighting Hands-on Workshop.
 February 7 and 8
Produced by Dave Cross workshops. Yes! Dave will be there, too!

Vero Beach
February 11
Seminar and Book Signing 10 - 3
Kight Center (V-Building ~ On 35th Street On Campus)
     Indian River State College
     3209 Virginia Avenue
     Fort Pierce, FL  34981
Email to register and then just show up!

I hope to see you in the Sunshine State. If not, click here for my other USA workshops.

Explore the light,

P.S. For my Florida Photo Caravan and Digital Delray Days, you need Photomatix or HDR Efex Pro. Get a discount here.

Thursday's Travel Log: St. Augustine, Florida

This is Part II in a new series here on my blog: Thursday's Travel Log.

Destination: St. Augustine, Florida

Photo Tips:

• Lots to shoot: shore birds, pier, Alligator Farm, Old Town and more. Bring lenses from wide to tele to capture it all.
• Sunrise at the pier is awesome, if it's a good sunrise :-)
• Wear sandals or aqua shoes when you go to the pier. You'll probably be walking in the water.
• Bring a flashlight for your sunrise shoot at the pier, as you'll get there when its dark.
• Shoot under the pier and on the pier.
• Shoot HDR and straight shots at the pier. Check out the heart in my HDR shot (opening shot for this post.)

• Get to Old Town early, before a million people get in your pictures. Shoot HDR. (For tips on HDR, see my app, iHDR.)

• Bring your tripod and a polarizing filter for beach shots, and bring your tripod/long lens to the Alligator Farm, which has many cool birds.

Travel Tips:

• Stay at a hotel near the beach, such as the Hilton Garden Inn on A1A.
• Dinner? Sunset Grill - next to the Hilton Garden Inn.
• Check sunrise times the night before your sunrise shoot.
• Check out the Photographer's Pass for the Alligator Farm.
• A great weekend shoot.

We shoot at all these locations on my Florida Photo Caravan. We have our welcome dinner at the Sunset Grill.

Explore the light,

P.S. The first shoot on my Florida Photo Caravan: Horses running on the beach.

From Drab to Fab - with a little help from two cool plug-ins


Next week, we have a sunrise shoot scheduled at St. John's Pier in St. Augustine, Florida – the first stop on my Florida Photo Caravan. (The Caravan is full, but you can swing by my talk in Ft. Lauderdale.)

While preparing an email to the participants about getting ready for the early morning shoot, I thought that other photographers might like some quick tips on shooting a sunrise - or sunset. So here goes.

First, don't freak out of the sunrise (or sunset) is drab. You can turn drab to fab with a couple of plug-ins.

I created the opening image for this post using Nik's HDR Efex Pro and Topaz Adjust (Spicify filter). Click here for a discount on Nik Software's HDR Efex Pro and info on Topaz Adjust.

Here is the original, drab image. It's not the St. John's Pier, by the way. I took this shot near Los Osos, California.

Here is my HDR Efex Pro image.

So, the first tip is: Don't get discouraged when you don't get a spectacular sunrise. Help is on the way in the digital darkroom.

A few more tips:
• Bring a flashlight so you can see what the heck you are doing!
• Don't place the horizon line in the center of the frame.
• Don't place the sun in the center of the frame.
• Check your histogram! Avoid washed out highlights.
• Bring a tripod.
• As the light increases, dial down your ISO.
• Use a foreground element (like a pier) to add interest to the image.
• Be careful when changing lenses around salt spray. 

Here is a cool flashlight for photographers:

Explore the light,

P.S. Horses running on the beach is also schedule. For tips, click here.

Just for Fun . . . Photoshop Fun, That Is

If you wanna have some Photoshop fun tonight, try the swirl technique on one of your images. Here is how to do it.

Open an image in Photoshop. Above is my original shot (enhanced with Topaz Adjust/Spicify to make the colors pop).

Go to: Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates > Polar to Rectangular.

Next, go to Image > Rotation > Flip Vertically

Next, go to Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates > Rectangular to Polar.

That's it.

If you want a square image (opening image for this post), make the height and width even in Image Size.

Explore the light,

P.S. My original picture was taken at the now-closed Magic Beach Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida.