Remember When?


Can you remember gas for under a buck a gallon?

I was digging through a shoebox of old photos looking for one of me with a mullet to show my daughter (that’s another story), and I came across this one. Think about it – I could fill up my Saab for around $15.

Nikon FM2, Vivitar Series I 70-210 f/2.8 lens – Exposure unrecorded

July 31, 2008 at 2:34 pm by | Categories: Post

I Hear the Ocean

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Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L lens – 1/125 second, f/5.6, ISO 100

July 30, 2008 at 9:46 am by | Categories: Post

Calling Photoshoppers II – The Results


Last week I put out a second call for readers who would like to put their photo editing skills to work on one of my images (original post). Within an hour I received email from four volunteers wanting to take on the task.

I have since received the four edited images. In addition to doing a great job applying their editing chops to the image, they each wrote a narrative on what they did and why they did it. While the results are similar in many ways (no one cropped the shot?), they each added a little variation.

Each person was provided with an unedited JPG and RAW image (shown above) of the model standing on the rock at the Great Salt Lake. The only guideline given was that they could do whatever they wanted. Here are their results in no particular order.

Jake Spurlock

Calling Photoshoppers 1

I was really excited when I saw that this was going to be the photo to work from, especially after I was unable attend the Photowalk at the Great Salt Lake a few weeks ago, and was further depressed when I saw the breathtaking images that came back to Flickr as a result. So, how cool is it then to get the chance to edit this image, and get to put a little bit of Jake Spurlock into it.

To Start:
I do all of my processing by starting with Apple Aperture. Beginning with the RAW 2.0 processing, I delved into the levels adjustments. I pulled black to black, crushing the blacks a little, created some highlights in white, and the made a nice midpoint. I did this on all three of the color channels respectively.

After levels, I moved into contrast, definitions, saturation, and vibrancy. When I take pictures, and then edit, reality isn’t at the top of my list of rules to follow. If I was going to make movies, 300, Batman Begins, and Speed Racer would be the inspiration. That being said, this photo evokes the idea of a warrior princess, standing guard over a kingdom. So, contrast is pushed, super saturation, and the image gains a lot of character.

One cool Aperture feature is the shadow recovery tool. Basically, it selectively adds some gain to the black areas of the photo. For video people, similar to setting the knee level for broadcasting equipment. Boosting this brought a lot of detail in from the rocks, and really shows off their awesome texture.

With these adjustments, I was really satisfied with the clouds, rocks and water. Yet, the warrior princess was a little dim, and lacking the glow that she deserved. So, I created a new version from the master, and went to work again creating the same look for her. When I was content with how she looked, I exported versions of both images, and brought them into photoshop for some blending.

This was a pretty simple, yet laborious process. I am sure that everyone reading this has had to do this before, so I won’t go into to much detail. I had my darker layer as the background, and then pasted the other on top. I went to work with the eraser/lasso/marquee tool getting rid of the excess. If you look at my image and contrast to the original, she is clearly a blond in the original, but I really like the look of her with dark hair and used the darker background source for that.

When all of the erasing was done, I used the dodge tool around her outline on the background layer to give her a little bit of an angelic glow. Followed up with spot healing brush for some legs, arm and face. I don’t bother too much, after all this is a warrior, not a cover model. ;) After that, save as a .PSD, and reimport back into Aperture.

Once back in Aperture, I added another round of vignette. It created those dark and foreboding clouds, and added to the rock detail at the bottom. Part of the post process is to send revisions back and forth to my wife who has a great eye for detail. Wrote up a summary, and off to Rich for posting!

Thanks, what a fun process!

Visit Jake’s Flickr stream at

Jeremy Hall

Calling Photoshoppers 2

How I Did It:

1. Adjust the RAW image using Adobe RAW for white balance and contrast. Most of this was done in the basic panel of sliders. Some additional HSL panel adjustments for color, especially the skies. Opened in Adobe Photoshop CS3.

2. Placed a second copy of the same image as a layer with RAW exposure adjustments for the model (ignoring the background). Masked this layer to block everything but the model. Rasterized this layer.

3. Made a copy of the second layer and changed to “Screen” mode for even more lightening of the model. Adjusted opacity of this layer to 27%.

4. Added a layer for cloning and healing tools. Used the “sample all layers” option to adjust the models dress to hide the seam in the middle. Felt like the leg showing and uneven shadows of the dress were distracting. I also removed some of the brighter splotches of white on the rock for the same reason.

5. Added a “Dodge & Burn” layer, which is a new layer filled with 50% gray. Using a larger brush set at 8% brushed in white and black alternately in varying places for contrast and emphasis. This was mainly used to darken the rock base and even out the exposure on the rest of it. I also increased the cloud dramatic contrast.

6. Added another masked dodge & burn to give a glow around the model for a kind of other-worldly glow, like the heavenly lights are pouring down on her. Cheesy I know, but it seemed to fit.

7. Added a photo filer layer to warm up the image a bit overall. Default warm (85%) color with a little added density.

8. For the web resized image, I downsized, added some Smart Sharpen filter on a copied layer (72%, 0.3 radius). Masked the layer and brushed on where I wanted the selective sharpening applied.

Visit Jeremy’s blog at

Patrick Fata

Calling Photoshoppers 3

Thank you for the chance to work on this challenge. As a beginner, I appreciate the opportunity to concentrate on the post-processing only, while knowing that the result will be critiqued by a gifted and experienced photographer.

The picture has a very interesting composition and a lot of detail. This abundance of detail, especially in the rock, made me decide to go B&W. I also liked how the model’s dress stands out in the original, so I ended up going with selective desaturation.

To obtain the B&W, I output the red channel to gray using a channel mixer layer. I also added a Curves layer to darken the shadows a bit. Still wanting more contrast in the rock, I isolated it, copied it onto a new layer, and applied an overlay blend mode.

The red dress was isolated using a color range select, and then tweaking that selection with mostly the eraser. I then brightened the red a little by turning the cyan down in the red channel of a selective color adjustment layer.

I hope to have done justice to your great photo.

Visit Patrick’s blog at

Seva Seetharaman

Calling Photoshoppers 4

The original image itself had a very nice contrast to it so I decided not to tamper with it too much. To me, this was one of those images that needed very little modifications to make it look the way it should. So below are some changes that I thought would make the image look better.

1. I started off by adjusting the color curves in GIMP to enhance the overall temperature of the image.

2. I then adjusted the color levels to enhance the contrast of the models bright red outfit to the cloudy background.

3. I sharpened it to make the image crisp.

Thanks for giving me this opportunity and would like to participate in another one if possible.

Visit Seva’s blog at

And there you have it, the four edited images. If anyone else would like to take a shot at this image, grab the original from and post a link to your edited version in the comments.

July 29, 2008 at 2:30 pm by | Categories: Post


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July 28, 2008 at 12:58 pm by | Categories: Post

Save the Date! Photowalking Utah: Ogden

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The next Photowalking Utah event has been set. It will be an evening ‘walk around the downtown area of Ogden. Here are the details:

Date: Saturday, August 16, 2008
Time: 5:30 pm – ?
Where: Downtown Ogden

The group will be rendezvousing in the lobby of the Union Station located at 2501 Wall Avenue (map). For the photographers coming from the Salt Lake area, riding the UTA Frontrunner train is a great alternative to driving.

These events are open to photographers of ALL skill levels, from first time shooters to seasoned pros. This is a great way to meet other people that share your love of photography.

For more details (and to announce your participation), drop by the event discussion by clicking HERE.

Canon 5D, Canon 70-200 f/4L lens – 1/160 second, f/8, ISO 100

July 25, 2008 at 9:44 am by | Categories: photowalking

Photographing for stock with the end user in mind


When I plan a stock photo shoot, I always think about how designers/advertisers/editors can use the images I create in their work. Chances are, if I can’t think of multiple uses for an image then it won’t end up selling very well. This is sometimes hard to come to grips with. Early on in my stock shooting, I had some pretty artsy shots that I really liked and thought would be big sellers. To my surprise and disappointment, many of these images ended up not selling at all.

Today’s image is an example of shooting with the end use in mind. Since the passing and implementation of California’s new cellphone usage law on July 1st (link), I figured that there would be a need for fresh images portraying cellphone use while driving. With this in mind, I took one of my models to an empty parking lot earlier this month and photographed several scenes of her using a cellphone while driving.

In this case it worked. This morning I awoke to find one of my preset Google Alerts had located multiple uses of my image of a driver texting. The Christian Science Monitor provides content for television station websites throughout the country and for their story on texting-while-driving they purchased this image from my iStockphoto portfolio.

As John “Hannibal” Smith said, “I love it when a plan comes together”.

July 24, 2008 at 6:34 am by | Categories: tutorial

If you could only use one lens, which one would it be?


If you could only use one lens on your camera, which one would it be?

We all tend to have our favorite lenses. Anyone that has read the exif data on my images can easily spot that my “go-to” lens is the Canon 24-105 f/4L IS. For my style of shooting, the range of focal length on this lens is ideal (especially on my full-frame 5D). I have wondered if a 24-70 f/2.8 would be equally as good for me though.

I’m curious which lens other photographers would choose. Would it be one with some reach like a 75-300? Or maybe something that can get really wide like a 17-40? Or are you a ‘Prime’ shooter like Thomas Hawk and want to stick with a 135mm?

Is the focal length more important to you or the speed? Do you stick with your camera manufacturers models or go third party?

Let’s hear what you have to say…

Canon 5D, Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens – 1/50 second, f/1.8, ISO 800

July 23, 2008 at 10:47 am by | Categories: Post


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Today’s capture is another example of the cross-lighting setup detailed in yesterday’s post.

Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L lens – 1/160 second, f/4.5, ISO 100

July 22, 2008 at 11:04 am by | Categories: Post

Cross Lighting In Studio


I spent some time yesterday with a couple young men in the studio. My goal going in was to shoot them with serious expressions against a dark background.

In today’s image of Ryan taken during the session, I used a cross lighting type setup (diagram below). The arrangement consisted of a of a softbox camera left lighting the model’s right side and a second softbox on the opposite side of the model lighting his back and left side.

Picture 6

I like the results achieved. If I were to do the shoot again, I would lower the power on the back light a small amount. Even though the detail was retained on the side of Ryan’s face in the original image, I lost detail and blew out the highlights a bit in processing.

Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L lens – 1/160 second, f/4.5, ISO 100

July 21, 2008 at 8:30 am by | Categories: tutorial


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friend (frěnd)
1. A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
2. A person whom one knows; an acquaintance.
3. A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade.

Canon 5D, Canon 24-105 f/4L lens – 1/126 second, f/5.6, ISO 100

July 19, 2008 at 9:03 am by | Categories: Post