Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas 2010

That's my 94-year-old grandmother (right). She's the BEST.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby H

Awww... isn't she cute?

Babies require lots of patience! She was awake and alert and did not want to go to sleep so we could get those all important sleeping baby photos. Consequently, this photo shoot took about three hours! Eventually, our patience paid off... I'll post those photos later. In the meantime, here's the photo mom & dad chose for the baby announcement.

Technical details:
Canon 5D with EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM @ 34mm
Manual mode
ISO 100   f/3.2   1/200
AB400 strobe with umbrella

Digital Darkroom:
CoffeeShop Baby Powder Room free action
CoffeeShop Creamy Chocolate Black & White free action

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Workshop: Natural Light Outdoor Portraits

I conducted a mini-workshop for our local camera club this morning. We had a good crowd especially considering the chilly weather!

I was so busy talking I almost forgot to take any photos for myself. When I went to review my images there were only TWO! (Worse yet, they were identical & not very good.) Since I asked the workshop participants to email me their photos I guess it's only fair that I post mine here.  So, here it is... warts & all.

A little background on the shot: Showing them how take an overhead shot, I hopped up on a park bench to demonstrate. Obviously I didn't give much thought to the actual image (with regard to my camera settings, the model's hair/clothing, etc.)!

Here's the image SOOC (Straight Out of the Camera) with only a few minor adjustments in Camera Raw:
Yep. I shoulda fixed her shirt, re-arranged her hair, and had her lift her chin. 

Also, I did what I told everyone else not to do: I had my aperture set at f/1.8... much too wide for this particular shot. Consequently, the left eye is in focus but the right eye is not. Probably not an image mom's gonna want to buy... at least not as it is right now. On the other hand, look at those eyes! How could you not love those sparkly eyes? So, the good news is: we've got something to work with.

First, I ran CoffeeShop's Perfect Portrait free action & tweaked it to my liking. (Mainly, I warmed up the image & used the color pop, brighten, and eye enhancement in this action.)

Next, I removed the red color (caused by the chilly weather) above her mouth & on her lower cheek. I added back a tiny bit of rosy-ness to her (upper) cheek to give a little shape to her face. (It was a bit 'flat' looking after removing the reddish color on her lower cheek.) I also diminished the purple-ish color in the inside corner of the left eye (without completely removing it). 

And probably most noticeably, I 'combed' her hair. 

Here's the result:
Looking better but it could still use a little work!
Next, I ran The Pioneer Woman's free Lovely & Ethereal action and lowered the opacity to 40%. Subtle but effective. I like the additional warmth & depth it adds to the image. 
Here's the result:
Almost done...
I ran Boutwell Magic Glasses (from Totally Rad Photoshop Actions) on the eyes, brows, and mouth. The effect is subtle but it really helps sharpen up her features.
Here's the result:
Much better!

Here's a side-by-side comparison of the before & after:
As you can see by the side-by-side comparison, I could have saved myself about 15-20 minutes of post-processing time if I had taken a few seconds to notice & fix problems with her hair, clothing, and pose.

And here is the final cropped image:

Here's a black & white version:

Canon 5D with EF85mm f/1.8 USM @ 85mm
ISO 100  f/1.8  1/160
Spot metered (on her skin)

Thanks again to our lovely models. You guys did a great job! I hope the photographers had fun & got some useful information out of the workshop. If you have any questions or suggestions please let me know. And, I look forward to seeing your images from the workshop!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tall Grass

Tall Grass
Kerrville, Texas

Technical Details-
Canon 5D with EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM @35mm
ISO 100  f/5.0  1/100

SOOC shot (okay, not exactly SOOC... this is after a few very minor adjustments in Camera Raw):

Post Processing in Photoshop...
1)  Ran Topaz Adjust (a Photoshop Plugin from Topaz Labs) to bring out the detail in the grass & boost the sky. Here's the after:

2)  Ran Creamy Chocolate B&W - a free Photoshop action from CoffeeShop
       Layer opacity-
           Lighten 50%
           Creamy 60%
           B&W 100%
           Chocolate 70%

3) Cropped

4)  Ran Quick Edge Burn - a free Photoshop action from The Pioneer Woman - & reduced the layer opacity to 50% 

Here's a side-by-side of the before & after:

Now you know.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10/10/10 @ 10:10

10/10/10 @ 10:10am
Kerrville, Texas

I tried to think of something really creative (photographically speaking) to do on 10/10/10. Nothing came to mind. Coyne, however, had the idea to aim his camera bearing: 10-degrees, 10-minutes, 10-seconds & altitude: 10-degrees, 10-minutes, 10-seconds, then take the photo at exactly 10:10:10 a.m. So, I took a picture of him taking his photo.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Reception & Judge's Commentary

Please join us Saturday, October 2 from 1-3pm for the PhotoQuest 2010 reception at KACC. Meet the photographers. Enjoy the art, food & wine.

 Edge of the Storm
PhotoQuest 2010 - Best of Show

Here's what the PhotoQuest judge, Joe Walsh, had to say about the show:

 "Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed."
- Garry Winogrand             

Dear HCCC members,

Last week it was my honor and privilege to judge your annual PhotoQuest show.  If you have already seen it you know how difficult that task was... the standards were quite high and I enjoyed seeing your work.

Cynthia Hurayt's "Ill Wind" was the third place winner. In addition to the craftsmanship evident in the quality of this black and white print, it contains a rare and intriguing attribute:  a photograph that asks questions rather than provides answers. 
Like a still from a film noir, it draws us in.

Second place went to Vicki Gibson's "Last Night".  Beautifully composed according to the Rule of Thirds with perfect subject placement it also benefits from highly directional and dramatic warm light. The shutter was released at precisely the right instant to capture the bird's gesture as well as the emphasis provided by the concentric circles in the water.

The first place winner was Mack Barham's "Egrets in Fog."  Those of us who have photographed -or attempted to photograph- birds in flight know how difficult it is.  The more there are the more can go wrong yet the placement left to right and the front to back overlap of birds' heads and bodies work quite nicely. Remarkable.  The muted light and pastel color created by nature's diffuser create a soft, quiet atmosphere.  This is a large print, a size usually deemed impractical for small cameras but one which works here, "grain" and all,  because of those atmospherics. The background is wonderful. Don't notice the background?...that's what makes it wonderful.

Best of Show was Vicki Gibson's "Edge of The Storm."  Landscape appears to be the perennial favorite among amateur photographers as this year's PhotoQuest  demonstrates.  What distinguishes one landscape photograph from another?  How is John's cypress lined creek different from Jane's cypress lined creek? 
Having taken a picture of snow capped mountains is there any point in taking another---ever? 
Well, yes.

To me, landscape is all about time...what year, what time of year, what day, what time of day,  and, of course, weather.  Always the weather. 
Although we have no control over the weather we can continue shooting the same subjects in different conditions.
After that, the crucial decision is "Where should I put the camera?"  Over here or over there?  Higher or lower? And wedo have control of that.
The least important factor is what and where we photograph. IMO, the Grand Canyon holds no more inherent photographic promise than the road to Hunt. 

Case in point: "The Edge of The Storm", a remarkable photograph of an unremarkable location.  The title is revealing...edges of fronts are usually the most visually interesting.   The photographer recognized these circumstances and acted.  Camera placement is flawless...composing left to right and up and down is done well but also the more difficult front to back arrangement is well seen and organized.  Colors are muted yet strong, textures and shapes abound. There is much to be seen in this little photographic rectangle! 

There is much to be seen in the other 99 photographs hanging at KACC this month.  Honestly, if there were more ribbons to distribute I'd have felt justified awarding them, also.

Special thanks to Cheryl Gochenour for her assistance with the tallying of scores et al. and to Lanza Teague of the Arts and Cultural Center for judging preparation.

Regards and congratulations to all,
Joe Walsh
Here's a link to the Kerrville Daily Times article: Hill Country Camera Club hosts PhotoQuest reception

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Best of Show!

PhotoQuest is the Hill Country Camera Club annual juried membership exhibition.  I entered four photos and two of them won an award!

"Last Light" won 2nd Place and "Edge of the Storm" won Best of Show! Also, Coyne won a "Special Award" ribbon and all four of his photos sold! (Scroll down to see our entries)

If you're in the area be sure to visit the Kerrville art museum and check out the show! Click HERE for details.

Here are my four entries...

Winter Cypress
Ingram, Texas
16" x 24"

White Roses
Zilker Botanical Garden - Austin, Texas
9.5" x 16"

2nd Place - PhotoQuest 2010
Last Light
Ingram, Texas
10" x 20"

Best of Show - PhotoQuest 2010
Edge of the Storm
Ingram, Texas
10.24" x 18"

Here are Coyne's entries:

Jupiter and Sagittarius
by Coyne Gibson
11" x 14"

Western Veil
by Coyne Gibson
11" x 14"

Special Award - PhotoQuest 2010
Seven Sisters
by Coyne Gibson
11" x 14"

Silvery Moon
by Coyne Gibson
11" x 14"

Prints are available for purchase. For details contact: 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Misty Morning

cross posted at my La Lomita blog...

Misty Morning
Kerrville, Texas

My full-frame sensor Canon 5D camera is temporarily out of commission (in need of repair... boohoo!) so I'm using my backup camera, a Canon 20D.  I had to stitch two photos together in order to get this composition because even at 16mm the cropped-sensor of the 20D was not quite wide enough to capture the whole scene.

Post processing in Photoshop:
  1. Slight adjustment of the exposure using levels
  2. Ran Topaz Adjust (a PS Plugin) & fooled around with it until I got the details to pop
  3. Ran Pioneer Woman's Lovely & Ethereal Action and lowered the opacity to 50%
  4. Added 2 texture layers. (free.... downloaded from Flickr)
  5. Changed the Blend Mode on the texture layers to 'Hard Light' and lowered their opacity to 50%

Technical Details...
Camera: Canon 20D
Lens:16-35mm 1:2.8 USM @ 16mm
ISO 100     f/5.6     1/125

There.  I've shared all my secrets with you.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Just to prove that I am actually working on them!
Tomorrow: Emily

Monday, July 26, 2010

Coming Soon: Austin Landmarks Photo Shoot

I ♥ Faces Contest Entry - July 26

I Faces ( is a great website with a weekly photo contest. This week's theme: PURPLE

Now for the story behind the photo...

Lisa grew up in Austin and just graduated from the University of Texas.  The next phase of life would take her to a new city.  She decided to celebrate the transition and mark the occasion by visiting her favorite Austin landmarks and having some photos taken. This particular photo was taken on the playground in the neighborhood of her childhood home. It's my personal favorite from the day & one that came immediately to mind when I saw this week's theme:  Purple.

Technical details:
Canon 5D w/ EF85mm f/1.8 USM @85mm
ISO 100   f/2.0   1/100
Post-processing was done in Photoshop. Basically, I just did a little color correction on her skin tone so she wasn't too purple.  (I wanted the purple cast to look natural, not like she was a space alien.) I also used CoffeeShop's Eye Bright action to bring out her eyes.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


My entry won First Place in the Photography Division. The judges also awarded special ribbons to three entries they deemed exceptional and mine was one of them. 

Kerr Arts & Cultural Center's
10th Annual Judged Membership Show:
A multi-media exhibit featuring the best artists in the Hill Country
Avery Gallery       July 15 - Aug 15, 2010

Winter on the Guadalupe
Ingram, Texas

9.5 x 16

This photograph was taken on a cold, damp winter afternoon at By The RV Park & Campground in Ingram, Texas. The calendar may have said March 1st but it still felt like the dead of winter. The image was digitally manipulated in Photoshop by overlaying various colors and textures to make it look more like a painting than a photograph.

This print is a real photograph - NOT an inkjet print.  It is printed by a professional photo lab on Kodak Professional Endura Metallic Paper -  created with printers that expose light sensitive paper that is then run through a chemical process.  Mounted on 2mm-thick styrene which is considered one of the best mounting substrates available.

Technical Details:
Canon 5D with EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM @35mm
ISO 100   1/200   f/7.1

Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing a print:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

PhotoQuest 2010

Presented by the Hill Country Camera Club

September 23 - October 17

PhotoQuest 2010

Juried Exhibition of Photographs
from Amateur & Professional Photographers
in Kerrville and the surrounding area

Showing at the Kerr Arts & Cultural Center
228 Earl Garrett Street, Kerrville Texas 
(across from the County Courthouse)
10 am - 4 pm  Tuesday - Saturday, and 1 - 4 pm Sunday
*Free Admission*

Meet the photographers and enjoy wine & refreshments
at our PhotoQuest 2010 Reception
on Saturday, October 2nd from 1-3pm

Thursday, July 8, 2010


My photo Bluebonnet Sunrise won Hill Country Camera Club's monthly print competition.  The theme this month was wildflowers.  If you're in the Kerrville area stop by the KACC museum & see it. It will be hanging there for the next 30 days.

Bluebonnet Sunrise
Willow City Loop, Texas
10 x 15

This is a real photograph - NOT an inkjet print.  It is printed by a professional photo lab on Kodak Professional Endura Metallic Paper -  created with printers that expose light sensitive paper that is then run through a chemical process.  Mounted on 2mm-thick styrene which is considered one of the best mounting substrates available.

Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing a print:
(The print you receive will not have a watermark.)

Technical Details:
Canon 5D
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM @ 16mm
ISO 200  1/250  f/7.1

Monday, June 28, 2010

I ♥ Faces Contest Entry - June 28th

I Faces ( is a great website with a weekly photo contest. This week's theme is "Pets" -  Okay, so this is not exactly a pet but I currently don't own a pet :( so this will have to do!

Now for the story behind the photo...

I was out for my evening walk when I happened upon this little guy - so well camouflaged by his white spots I nearly stepped on him. He was so still - obviously, he didn't hear me approach. Thinking he might be dead, I instinctively said aloud, "Awww," (as in, "Awwww, poor thing!"). The fawn immediately sat up, momentarily frozen in fear. I don't know who was more startled - him or me! I managed to snap just one photo before he ran away. It's one of my favorites.

Technical details...
Canon EOS 5D camera with an EF 70-200mm /2.8L IS USM lens. Focal length: 78mm. Exposure: ISO 100, 1/100,/3.5.

Processed in Photoshop CS3.  I did a little bit of exposure & color correction, cloned out an unsightly concrete curb that was in the top left corner of the photo, and ran Pioneer Woman's 'Lovely & Ethereal' action on it.