One and Two-Day "Rick's Backyard" Digital Photography Classes in Croton-On-Hudson, NY

If you like travel and outdoor photography, as well as Lightroom and Photoshop, I offer two ways to explore your creative vision in Croton-on-Hudson, NY - just about one hour north of New York City.

My one-day workshop on May 25 offers fast paced learning and fun.

My two-day workshops in June and October offer much more in-depth learning at a slower pace and with more time for personal attention – in the field and on your computer.

I hope you can come to Croton for what I call my "Rick's Backyard Workshops."

Explore the Light,

Awaken the Artist Within at Photoshop World – with Plug-ins & Some Basic Photoshop Enhancements

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I'm a big fan of plug-ins, because then can transform an OK image (below) into a much more creative image (above). Combined a plug-in effect with some basic Photohshop/Lightroom enhancement and you are on your way to awakening the artist within.

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I teach plug-ins on my workshops - and I am giving a seminar on plug-ins (Nik Sofware, onOne Software, Photomatix and Intensify Pro) at Photoshop World 2014 in Atlanta. So yes, HDR will be included. Sign up for Photohshop World today!

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Above, after. Below, before.


I am looking for 10 or so original images (straight shots) to play with during my plug-in class. I set up a new Google+ Community – Awaken Your Inner Artist – for just that purpose. Check it out, and post a picture if you plan to attend PSW.

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Hope to see you at PSW in Atlanta.

Until then, below is another before-and-after example of how a plug-in (Nik HDR Efex Pro) and few Photoshop enhancements turned a dull shot into a cool shot.

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All the plug-ins I use are on my Play and Save on Plug-ins page.

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Topaz simplify, just one of the plug-ins I use, is on sale for 50% off until the end of February. Use this code - febsimplify - and this link. I used that plug-in to create the image below.

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It's amazing how much we can pull out of a RAW file, and how plug-ins can be used to enhanced an image.

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The above image is the result of using some of the controls in Camera RAW and Nik's Color Efex Pro. . .  and then mostly the Spicify filter in Topaz Adjust. The image below is a screen shot of my RAW file in Camera RAW. If you don't have the Topaz Labs plug-ins, you can save a bundle on a bundle. Again, info on all my plug-ins here.

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Explore the light,

We Make Pictures on My Workshops

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Interested in making pictures rather than just taking pictures? Then I hope you can join one of my 2014 digital photography workshops. I can help you with composition and exposure and processing. What's more, we shoot in great locations and have a ton of fun. 

I made the images in this post on my 2013 Oregon Coast Photo Caravan workshop.

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Seems as though horses running on the beach is becoming a regular on my workshops. :-)

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Explore the light,

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P.S. Never miss another sunrise/sunset again. Check out my Photo Sundial app!

Try Topaz DeNoise: A noise-cancelling plug-in

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I'm on the plane (again!!), playing with plug-ins in Photoshop, while wearing my noise-cancelling headphones. Ahhhh, the peace and quite. 

As you may know, noise-cancelling headphones don't totally cancel all noise. They reduce noise, to different degrees, depending on the noise level and your definition of noise. A baby crying, for example, is not considered noise. :-)

While thinking of noise, I opened a picture that I took with an early iPhone in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. That image, with a fair amount of noise, is below.

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To cancel the noise (actually greatly reduce the noise), I used Topaz DeNoise. I first used the sliders on the left to select the amount/type of noise to reduce. Then I used the slider on the right to fine-tune the noise reduction, in particular, in the shadow and highlight areas . . . somewhat independently.

By the way: all images have noise, even images shot at ISO 100 on a sunny day. 

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The result of using Topaz DeNoise is the image that opens this post. As you can see, the noise is greatly reduced.

Topaz DeNoise is only one of the plug-ins I suggest to my workshop students who want to improve their images. All the plug-ins I use are listed on my Save On Plug-ins page.

Explore the light,

Get Inspired, Set Goals & Make Awesome Images on My Digital Photography Workshops

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For the past 15 years, I've been helping photographers at all skill levels make better pictures through my digital photography workshops. I've met some amazing photographers and wonderful individuals, many of whom have become my friends. What's more, I've also learned a lot from the participants, which is kinda cool.

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All are welcome on my workshops. We all work together - in the field and in the digital darkroom. We all set goals and make awesome images. And we have fun, illustrated by the group picture above that was taken on my Oregon Coast Photo Caravan.

Because "my specialty is not specializing," I help photographers with their individual interests, including: landscape photography, wildlife and nature photography, fill-in flash, HDR, action shooting, people photography, Lightroom, Photoshop and so on.

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Here is my advice to the photographers who come on my workshops:
"Stick like glue to the instructor." 
"Don't be shy about asking questions."
"The more you put in, the more you'll get out."
"Don't wait until the workshop is over to make a suggestion."
"Don't miss happy hour and our fun dinners."


Usually, we have daily photo processing sessions. We always have a group slide show at the end of a workshop. That group slide show is a great way to see how the photographers have grown - and to see how we each see and picture the world differently.

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Speaking of processing, I also teach plug-in on my workshops. I used several filters in Nik Color Efex Pro to create the image above from the image below. All the plug-in I use and teach are listed on my Save on Plug-ins page.

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All my 2013 workshops are full, but I have spaces on my 2014 workshops. 

Click here to see my 2014 workshop lineup.  While you are on that page, scroll down to read the New to My Workshops articles. They will give you a look at my teaching philosophy.

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I hope to see you in 2014 on a workshop - around the country, around the world – or in "my backyard," where I took the above photograph on my Rick's Backyard Workshop.

If you can't get away for a workshops, I offer several on-line classes. Check 'em out and learn at your own pace. 

Explore the light,

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