Author: Kevin

Lets learn HDR.

HDR has really taken off. When I first started taking HDR photos, it was a minor niche and Trey Ratcliff had the best tutorial out there. Fast forward 3 years, and Trey STILL has the best tutorial, there are not more options than ever. I think everyone that is looking to learn HDR to read Trey’s tutorial. After that, I highly recommend his book, A world in HDR. The next book I recommend, and would honestly, highly recommend getting them together at once, is The HDR Book. Trey goes in-depth on using photomatix, and how to make his HDR shots. RC goes into the basics of the big three (Photoshop HDR, Photomatix, and HDR Efex Pro). He then goes into the post-processing AFTER the HDR merge. Of the books I own on HDR, I believe these are the two very best I own. Trey is a master at inspiration. Inspiring you to create your own art. RC is a master instructor. When you bring these two books together, you get the absolute best HDR experience. As for me, I have Adobe CS 5, Photomatix (the original software I used), and now HDR Efex Pro. Along with these three programs, I also have Topaz Adjust which brings a pseudo-HDR effect to 1 exposure shots, or creates a deeper, more surrealistic view to photos already processed in HDR. Here is one...

Read More

Quick photo edits using Picasa.

I’ve had the opportunity to help judge the Idaho Public Television, Outdoor Idaho photography contest since its inception. I see a lot of photographs come through that are very close to amazing, but fall short because of lack of “post processing”. Whether done in your camera, or on your computer, every time you click the shutter, post processing occurs. I prefer to do my post processing on my computer, because it is far more powerful than the little one in my camera. Post processing can be as simple as cropping out an errant distraction on the corner up to changing colors and turning your photograph into something else entirely. Post processing has been occurring since the dawn of photography. Dodging and burning has been part of dark room photography as far back as darkrooms go. Ansel Adams is widely considered the father of modern photography, and he spent many, many hours in the dark room taking his digital negative and turning it into the words of art that we are familiar with. With digital, the tools of prost-processing have changed, but the fact that it needs done has not. This tutorial is aimed at the armature photographer. The one that doesn’t have a lot of time, nor money to allocate to the hobby of photography. I am using the free tool, Picasa for this tutorial. In my experience the...

Read More

What photography books should you read first?

I love to read. I don’t do it enough, but I truly do. When I first get into a new hobby, or get a new interest, I have a voracious appetite for knowledge. I make a sprint to the 3rd level of learning, Conscious Competence. So, when it comes to photography, I get asked fairly regularly, about what books I read/recommend. A while back, I posted a very long list of books I have read. That is all fine and dandy, but it is too much for the average person. This post, is meant to boil down the books I have read, into just a few recommendations. Lets start out with Understanding Exposure. If I could recommend JUST ONE BOOK, it is this one. It is the one I tell people to look at, buy, and understand. It explains the exposure triangle, gives you some basic assignments meant to make it stick, and all in all is a GREATLY way to learn to see creatively. So, the second book (or set of books in this instance) would be Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography books. They come as a set. These books tell you more of WHAT to do, and a lot less of WHY you do it. It makes it easier for a new photographer. The reason that I suggest Understanding Exposure first, though, is so you know how to...

Read More

How to: Tight macro of a Crocus.

I had a question about how I got a REALLY tight shot on a Crocus.   So, first the set up: There were two Foam Boards. The black was used as a background and the white was used to help reflect the light a bit. The white also worked as a wind-break at the time. I used the fill-in reflector (Silver) to add a bit more natural light on the flower. To get right up-close to flower, I used this computer wrist rest. This wrist rest has little micro-beads that allow you to adjust the camera location. I have found it makes a GREAT on-the-ground rest for my camera, especially for doing macro shots. To capture the image itself, I used a 50 mm Canon macro lens with an el-cheapo extension tube set. That site, Deal Extreme, has a lot of amazing deals on REALLY cheap camera items. Remember, you get what you pay for… but, these deals are hard to beat. Also, I think with my original order, it took about 2 months or so for all of the parts to come in… but the prices really are great. I have included links to where I bought all of the items, too. I hope this helps...

Read More

A rainbow over Boise.

Yesterday, I was running out the door, and happened to toss my camera in the car… when it was raining? What was I thinking? Well, I was thinking I should have my camera with me, just in case… and I am VERY happy I did that! As I was driving away from the house, I saw this rainbow. I ran to this vantage point to capture it. Here are the results. I am VERY happy. I took a bunch of pictures, and will probably put more through post processing in the coming weeks. Here are two standouts. -Click on the images for higher quality versions – Rainbow over Boise in HDR: Rainbow over Boise in...

Read More