5 Tips to Shoot Lightning

lightning_blog

Today, I’d like to share with you the back story and a brief set of details on how to shoot lighting! While en route back to the house the other day, I noticed that the clouds were passing over the mountains and the sun was starting to set.  It had the makings for a really nice sunset.  Never one to turn away the opportunity to capture a sunset, I hurried home and gathered my gear, and took off to my favorite spot near the house for landscape work. Read more

First Looks…that’s plural!

Adobe Reviews

There’s been a lot of screaming press lately in the camera industry, and in typical fashion I am a day late to the party here.  Some really exciting changes in software options have been announced by the Mother Ship (a.k.a. Adobe), and lots of blogs, forum communities, and watering holes for photo-geeks like you and I are filling with fodder.  Is LR4 really the bees knees or is it a little sluggish?  What’s the deal with that Photoshop Touch app for the iPad?  And then yesterday, or is it two days ago… the big guns came out – Photoshop CS6!  We’ve seen a few demos on the high profile blogs already (don’t tell me they didn’t have prior access…no one is that fast and good!  🙂  )along with some flashy promotional stuff and other “thoughts” from industry professionals.  How biased or accurate are they?  Tough call.

Don’t get me wrong though, I like salivating over the tools of the trade just like everyone else, but when someone is a self-professed Evangelist  for the folks at Adobe, it does rather temper the impulses from “ooooh-ing” and “aaaah-ing” prematurely.  Well, the good news is that for the rest of us is that some real reviews are on the way! Yep, yours truly was included in what I suspect is my final year of inclusion in the review membership club for Adobe products.

As you may recall, I was not kind to Adobe a while back when some flack about upgrade policy changes hit on CS6 a while back.  Adobe since backpedaled (although probably not from my voice, because….let’s be serious, it’s just me) but I suspect I ruffled a few feathers.  For now though, my participation in the review program remains intact for another season of Adobe products…and what that means is that for those of us who just want real reviews, real thoughts, and real tutorials on usage in real world scenarios (none of those lab-created scenarios where everything is specifically set up to showcase the best features and minimize things like memory consumption, speed/performance, and the occasional oddities of the programs), some stuff is on the way!

I know – much of this is all last weeks news and some nuggets even older, so apologies are in order, but unfortunately, this blog and my photography are not my primary source of income (I’ve also mentioned this before that there may be a dearth of content periodically…).  The “real job” has kept me busy, and a nasty flu bug also sidelined me for a tad too, so the can went empty yet again.  So, mea culpa for the delayed blogging post, but exciting things are coming.  Next week on the blog we should see three exciting posts:

1.  A new podcast with an amazing Lightroom instructor – Laura Shoe!  She’s got an incredible talent for not only the software, but for the educational value and the quality of her training videos are unparalleled in my opinion!  Look for that on Monday!

Lightroom 4

2.  A first look of my own on the app that has taken tablets by storm – Photoshop Touch!  It’s got a few surprises in there, and certainly nothing you’ve seen from the canned demos on the higher profile evangelist sites, so make sure you tune in Wednesday for that!  (The regularly scheduled Wordless Wednesday will be back the following week…)

Photoshop Touch

3.  Then, of course, (if all goes well)…by Friday I’ll have a few insights and thoughts on the new features of PSCS6 to share with everyone (this of course will be off the publicly accessible beta which anyone can download for free now).  I gotta say in advance though – totally digging their launch splash screen!

Photoshop Cs6

More resources on LR4, Photoshop Touch and CS6 are starting to filter in from many good friends of the blog, so you may also see some blog posts talking about some other eBooks and good learning materials as well, so definitely stay tuned, as a whirlwind tour of products, learning resources and a bunch of stuff is on deck!  So, that’s what’s in store…are you ready for it?  About the only thing more exciting I can think of is that Peyton Manning is now a Bronco!  But that’s a post for another blog…

Playing with the Distortion Filter

Distorted Flower

The NAPP community forums are a great place to challenge yourself both photographically and graphically with things like daily monthly and weekly challenges.  This last week I was reminded of the Distortion filter in Photoshop and decided to take some time as a few ideas sprung to mind.  I posted the results and was asked pretty shortly thereafter what my post production was to yield the effect.  To that end, of course, decided it would make for some good content to share here as well.  So, here’s what you can do with various distortion filters in Photoshop!

The result:

Distorted Flower

The original:

Original Flower

The processing:

I started first with some flowers from the local florist shop (Tracy enjoyed that part!).  Once I got them home and in a vase for her I went to town with my Sigma 70mm Macro!  My camera settings for most shots were in this area:  f2.8, Tv 90, ISO 1250.  After shooting, it was time to import into Lightroom (where I do all my image management from).  Once in LR, the post production began!

Exp +0.87
Clarity +50
Vibrance +15
Saturation +15
Sharpening Amount +95
Luminance +78

I then exported to Photoshop to take some creative license with the distortion filters.  Inside of PS (I am currently using CS5 but these filters are available pretty far back into the CS family), I dabbled with fresco, film grain, polar coordinates, and others, before finally choosing Ocean Ripple:

Ocean Ripple

I believe my settings on the filter were 10 and 9 – but forgot to make note of those for here, so apologies in advance! 🙂  Then, to wrap things up, I saved back to Lightroom, cropped to 5×4 (10×8) aspect ratio and added a hint of vignette to get the final result you saw at the beginning here.

There’s lots of other options to inspire the creative eye though.  Here’s another shot taken to a darker place:

Distorted Moon

Can you guess which filter(s) were used here?  What other filters have made their way into your creative post production – when it comes to creative design inside Photoshop, there really is no limit to what you can achieve! Even taking things for a spin in Photoshop Touch is easy enough (it only costs like $10 and now available on the iPad2 from what I understand) to get the juices flowing.  Share your own thoughts, images, and feedback in the comments!  Lots more coming this week too, so hang on to your seat belts!