Hudson River Photography Workshops Officially Opens

Week one of our Hudson River Photography Workshops officially opened tonight with a welcome dinner at
Samurai Sushi and Hibachi Steakhouse.

To start the photo fun, we did some painting with light. We asked one of the friendly servers to be our model, posing right next to the hibachi table after we turned off all the lights in the room.

Here is Don Elmendorf's painting with light photograph. It's a five second exposure. The light source was a small pocket flashlight - aimed above and directly at the subject, so as not to illuminate the background.

Nice job Don!

Try painting with light. It's fun. You'll need a tripod and a flashlight. Start with your ISO set at 400, your aperture at f/8 and shutter speed at 5 seconds. That's only a starting point. Adjust your exposure accordingly. And... use your camera's self-timer or a cable release.

We also covered HDR, panos and flash photography. And the fun has just begun.

Explore the Light
P.S. I soften the server's skin in the picture using a technique I'll cover in a later post.

Are You Experienced?

When I give a presentation, one of the first things I ask the audience is, "How many of you use plug-ins?" I am always surprised at the response: only about 10-15 percent raise their hands.

Plug-ins expand the capabilities of Photoshop, Aperture and Lightroom - and they expand your creative horizons. If you have not experienced plug-ins, visit the site - Plug-in Experience - that I set up especially for these digital darkroom wonders. You will find some cool how-to info on the site, as well as discounts on Photomatix, Nik Software, Lucis, Alien Skin and onOne Software plug-ins. What's more, if you have a great plug-in image, I'll publish it on the site. See the Jump In page.

Here are a few examples of plug-in effects (clockwise from top left): original, Antique Plate in Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro, Golden Hour Enhancer in onOne Software's PhotoTools, and Portrait Drama in Topaz Labs.

Explore the Light,

Take Your Time, Take a Slow Walk Before You Take a Picture

Here's a very simple outdoor photography tip, but one that can be very effective.

When you see a potential subject, take a deep breath, relax, and take a nice walk around the subject. You may be surprised at new photo possibilities when you look at a subject from different angles (and with different lenses).

After two short walks . . .

The top right image was a surprise! It looks as though the kestrel has eyes in the back of its head (to ward off predators, no doubt.) I had never seen a photo like this before.

The bottom right picture was also a surprise. I noted an interesting rock formation while hiking in the Alabama Hills, CA, but the foot did not reveal itself until I followed my own advice about walking around a subject.

Explore the Light,
P.S. If you play golf: Playing golf is a great way to ruin a walk on a nice day :-)

Guest Blog: David Stearn's "Sunny's Portrait" Keeps It Simple

Here's a good lighting tip from photographer David Stearn: Keep It Simple. The tip and David's photograph are featured, along with the work of some top professional photographers, in my new book, Studio and Location Lighting Secrets.

Take it away David Stearn!

My advice is to start with a simple setup – and to keep it simple. Here I used one light basically positioned in front of and above the subject. I then placed a gold reflector on a table at waist level in front of the subject to bounce some of the light into the shadows on the model face that were created by the main light.

That’s it!

My background was a gray paper sweep. I positioned the model away from the backdrop to maintain the color tone of the gray.

I post-processed the image in Lightroom and Photoshop CS4.

Finally I used Portrait Professional to retouch the image.

Credits are as follows:
Model - Sunny Dayz Sunny's portfolio on Model Mayhem.
Makeup Artist is Celestine McGee.
David's Web site.

• • •

I've known David for about eight years, simply calling him David. Well, I know another David, David Stern, and unfortunately, I used Stern rather than Stearn in my book. Sorry David (Stearn).

Nice Froggie and Horsie...

Well, by now all of you have seen the horse in the frog image. All you had to do was to tilt your head to the right.

The image was reprinted from my favorite book, Perception and Imaging - Photography, A Way of Seeing by Dr. Richard D. Zakia.

Throughout his book, Dr. Zakia offers ideas on how we perceive images - and ways to look at our world, and our photographs, differently.

Thank you Dick for sharing all you know.

A must read.

Explore the Light,