Sunday, January 30, 2011


I've been in a bit of a photographic fog lately. (There. How's that for a visual pun?)  I took a pass when last night's dramatic sunset called to me. I ignored the golden hour of morning's first light. But, fog? Fog, I cannot resist.

Winter Reflection
Ingram, Texas
Technical Details:
Canon 20D with EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM @16mm
ISO 100   ~   1/200   ~   f/13

Processed in Photoshop CS5 (Yes, I upgraded!)
--Basic exposure adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw
--Topaz Adjust
--Pioneer Woman's 'Lovely & Ethereal' free action

One more...
The Edge of Sadness
Ingram, Texas
Technical Details:
Canon 20D with EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM @17mm
ISO 100   ~   1/500   ~   f/13

Processed in Photoshop CS5
--Basic exposure adjustments in ACR
--Topaz Adjust
--Curves adjustment (to make the color temp slightly cooler) 

I must send my 5D in to be repaired...
     thank goodness for Canon Professional Services!

Friday, January 21, 2011


It's Fix-It-Friday at! We are all editing the same image in order to learn new tips & tricks from each other. This week's image is by Angie Arthur Photography.

I made two different edits because I couldn't decide which one I liked best. Love seeing everyone's edits and I love constructive criticism! Feel free to weigh in.

Here's the original image SOOC (straight out of the camera):
(This image is not mine! Provided by Angie... thanks Angie!) 
Click on any image to see it larger. 

Here's my first edit: 
Here's how I did it:

I used CS5 (Just upgraded from CS3...yikes! Lots to learn!) and my favorite Photoshop plug-in and actions.

I started with Topaz Adjust. It's a fantastic plug-in. You can download a fully functional 30-day trial for free! (HERE) I ran the following presets in Topaz Adjust:
-Clarity preset on just the boy & masked out the rest of the image in CS5
-Vibrance preset & masked out the boy in CS5

One of the issues I have with my own 'jump' shots is that the background is often distracting. It's difficult to freeze the action and still get a shallow depth of field. Sometimes the deep DOF competes with subject matter for attention. Here's my remedy, which just so happens to be the next step on this edit... 

Add a Gaussian Blur. Next, apply a gradient mask to the GB layer to simulate a more shallow DOF. In this case, I painted out the boy in black on the mask so the GB filter wouldn't effect him. (Remember this when you're masking: black conceals, white reveals.)

Next, I ran The Pioneer Woman's Fresh & Colorful action. (It's free. Download it HERE)

Next, I ran the Fake Blue Sky action from MCP's 'Bag of Tricks' which you can find HERE.
I lightened up his face using a curves adjustment layer in CS5.

Cropped using the Rule Of Thirds. 

Here's the second edit (just because I couldn't decide which one I liked better):
For the second edit:
To the above image (the first edit) I ran the 'Seventies' action from The Pioneer Woman. 
That's it! Let me know what you think.

To see how everyone else edited this image visit:

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Meet Glenn & Olva.  She is an wonderful artist who needed a publicity photo. After taking several shots of Olva alone I decided to make a portrait of the two of them... with a twist. He's her business manager, the behind the scenes guy. So, I wanted to make a portrait where he was out in front, with the focus on him.  (So, yes... she's intentionally out-of-focus. But, I didn't need to tell you that, did I?)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Family Portrait Session

(click on any photo to see a larger version)

More Baby H

And, for the person who asked, "How did you do that?"...
Safety first! Mom was holding the baby, dad was holding the guitar and big sister was trying to get in on the action.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Q & A: Do you use a lens hood?

Q:  I bought a new Canon 24-70mm L lens.  It just arrived and I noticed it has a lens hood included. I was you usually leave that attached to your lens or do you seldom use it? 

A:  A lens hood serves two purposes: First, it prevents side light from hitting the front lens element (which causes lens flare & reduces contrast in the image). Second, it helps protect the lens from damage.

Prime lenses are less susceptible to lens flare than zoom lenses. Of all the lenses in my collection, the 24-70L is the most susceptible to lens flare. Sometimes that's a good thing. If I want to produce an image with lens flare (popular in portrait photography these days), I'll choose the 24-70 instead of my 85mm prime. Ironically, my 24-70 is the only lens for which I don't have a lens hood! And, when I'm using the 24-70mm and I don't want lens flare I find myself improvising by shading the lens with my hand, a hat, etc. Not terribly convenient (or professional).

For more information on lens flare check out this article: Understanding Camera Lens Flare

Honesty, I probably use my lens hoods more for protection than to prevent lens flare. I'm terribly clumsy so my camera and lenses need all the protection they can get! I've dropped my camera and bashed my lenses more times than I care to think about. I'm absolutely sure the lens hood has saved my lens from damage many times.

One more note about protecting your lenses...
I also recommend the use of UV filters on all your lenses. ALL my lenses have UV filters which remain on AT ALL TIMES. If you're paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for a lens it PAYS to have a UV filter to protect the lens from scratches and breaks.

Here's an image with lens flare: