Post a Patriotic Picture - Win Two of My Books

Many of us are getting ready for Memorial Day Weekend BBQs. Great fun.

However, let's keep the true spirit of Memorial Day alive. 

To celebrate Memorial Day, I am doing a book give-way (if you live in the US).

Post a link in the Comments here to a patriotic picture - and tell me a bit about the picture. 

I'll pick my favorite, and send the photographer autographed copies of my books, Exploring the Light and Field Guide to Digital Photography.

Once I select the winner, you'll need to send me your real name and address. 

Deadline is noon (NY time) on Tuesday. 

Good luck and keep the spirit alive.

Explore the light,

P.S. I made this HDR image in Miami's South Beach during my 2011 Photo Caravan workshop.

Pick a Plug-In to Play With - and Save On - This Weekend

Topaz Adjust/Portrait Smooth
Plug-ins expand the capabilities of Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, etc. They also expand your creative horizons.

Plug-ins are relatively inexpensive - and you can even save a few bucks by using my special codes below.

Here are my favorite plug-ins, favorite plug-in images, and favorite plug-in tips. 

For my picture, "Girl with a Pearl Earring," I applied Topaz Adjust/Portrait Smooth on the top layer (the original was on the bottom layer) and then I faded the Opacity to reduce the effect.

Photomatix Plus Topaz Adjust

HDR Efex Pro

My latest, favorite plug-in: Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro. Save 15% if you use this code: RSAMMON upon check-out on the Nik web site. Actually, you can save 15% on all Nik plug-ins - including Color Efex Pro! Just use the same code. 

HDR Efex Pro tip: Use the Control Points and Curves to fine-tune your image – and to save time touching up your images in Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture.

 Photomatix Plus Topaz Adjust
The image above was created with Photomatix - with a touch of Topaz Adjust. You can save 15% when you order Photomatix by using this code: ricksammon. 

Photomatix tip: Adjust the White Point and Black Point sliders first. If your highlights are washed out with even with the White Point slider moved all the way to the left, you missed capturing the entire dynamic range of the scene with your original HDR sequence. 

Topaz Adjust

Topaz Adjust is just too cool. Above I used the Spicify Effect. Below I used the same effect, but greatly reduced the noise. Click here to order Topaz Adjust. Hey, save a bundle when you order a Topaz bundle.

Topaz Adjust tip:  Press the Reset tab each time you work on an image - unless you want your previous effect applied to your current image. 
Topaz InFocus

Topaz InFocus is a relatively new plug-in from Topaz Labs. Click here to read about InFocus.

InFocus tip: Don't over-sharpen your images. The more you sharpen, the more noise you'll get in your images.

Check this out. Want to turn a picture like the one on the left into a picture like the one on the right? See below.

It's fast and easy with Alien Skin's Bokeh 2. You can save 15% when you order any AlienSkin plug-in by using this code upon checkout: RSA0901.

Bokeh tip: Spend the time in Photoshop making a VERY careful selection.

 Aline Skin makes more cool plug-ins. Click here for info.

Nik Silver Efex Pro
Hands down, the coolest way to create a black and white digital images is with Nik Silver Efex Pro. Save 15% off if you use this code: RSAMMON upon check-out on the Nik web site.

Silver Efex Pro tip: Experiment with the different color filters to see how they can enhance the tones in your images.

Life Lessons We Can Learn From Mother Nature - An Inspirational and Educational iPad App

Hey, if you need some inspirationn (and some tips on nature photography), check out my iPad app, Life Lessons We Can Learn From Mother Nature.

A photography tip and camera info is included for each photograph.
The app features my favorite wildlife and nature photographs, accompanied by inspirational quotes that relate to the photographs.

I've also included my favorite Photoshop tips.
Keep inspired and motivated . . . it's the only way to live.

Explore the light,

5.24.11 Tuesday's Talented Twitter Find: Tom Baker

This Week's Tuesday's Talented Twitter find is Tom Baker.

Follow Tom on Twitter to keep up-to-date with what he's doing.

About My Tuesday's Talented Twitter Find: Each Tuesday (when I am not traveling) I will pick a talented photographer I find on Twitter - and promote the talented photographer here on my blog and on twitter, etc.

Nice work, Tom.

Explore the light,

P.S. If you are not following me on Twitter, click here to keep up to date with what I'm doing. And, keep posting interesting photo stuff on Twitter!