Monday, January 31, 2011

Spring Photo Workshop Announced

We have finalized plans for our spring workshop in California's Alabama Hills on the Eastern Sierra. For more information visit

Mobius Arch

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Winter in Idaho

Soft and Cold

I love winter in Idaho. This is fortunate since we have so much of it. Scenes can vary from stark colorless silhouettes to wonderful soft light and color. It's always a challenge to get out and endure the cold but the rewards are usually worth it! A few Idaho winter landscapes I have shot in the last few years...

Gone fishing

The Triumph of Light

Red Barn on a Foggy Morning - HDR

Welcome Winter


Craters of the Moon

Gilmore - HDR

Along the Coeur d'Alene

Along the Snake

The unique and distinctive light make winter a wonderful time of year to photograph the world around us. So get out there, brave the cold, and enjoy this special time of year.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

As Days Go By

As Days Go By

The ghost town of Bodie, California is a wonderful place to visit and photograph. It is a great place for HDR photography. If you have been wanting to try HDR or if you want to try new tonemapping setting it's hard to go wrong with images from this old place. Go a little wild here, you never know what you will come up with!


Low and Wide

Always Remember

Return to Me

Yard Sale

When you visit Bodie, don't forget your tripod and bracket you shots. That way when you come home you will be able to play for months with the images you obtained from this interesting place!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter Refreshment

Winter Refreshment

I was hoping for a little color this morning as I was exploring the back roads north of Idaho Falls in search of an interesting foreground. I could see the sky brighten but the foreground remained fairly dark even as the sun rose because of the low clouds in the east. I elected to shoot 9 exposures at one EV intervals to assure that I covered the entire range of tones. This is the 0 EV image...


When I looked at the set I could see that 9 images -4 to +4 EV was overkill for this scene. I threw out the -4 EV and the +4 EV images and used the 7 images from -3 to +3 (shown below) for the HDR which was then processed using Photomatix Pro 4.01 to yield the final image. One final processing step was to remove the footsteps in the snow using the patch tool in Photoshop CS5.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Threshold

The Threshold

Isn't photography a wonderful form of art? Really in it's infancy, picture taking has been around for a little over 100 years. Painting, drawing, literature, music and other forms have been around for thousands! I like this quote...

"Never have I found the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold."

~ W. Eugene Smith

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Black and White Conversion - The Flexibility of Digital

The Path Ahead

Bill Wight walks ahead on the boardwalk at the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park.

The black and white conversion was done using the Black & White tool in Photoshop. The upper right portion of the image uses the High Contrast Blue filter while the lower left portion of the image uses the High Contrast Red filter. The two images were layered and merged. The reason for the two filters is that Bill was wearing blue jeans which became totally black with the red filter and I wanted to show some detail here. On the other hand, the red in the spring runoff became an ugly black with the blue filter but show nice light details with the red filter.

I love the flexibility of digital black and white conversion verses using fixed filters which apply the effect globally. Check out the video below for details on the conversion.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reflections on Reflections

In a Hurry

One of the insights I gained from a week long workshop with Jay Masiel a year ago was to use reflections and unusual perspectives to try to fool the eye. This creates interest as we naturally try to figure the image out. I have since looked for opportunities to try this technique of which Masiel and other masters are so skilled at using.

The image above is of a shiny ceiling at an airport which was then inverted vertically so the figures would appear upright.

Below are a few other images where I have tried to use reflections and reflected light to try to create and unusual or interesting effect.

Reflections at the RCA

Gallery Reflections


And of course we all know the power of a good refection in landscape photography...

Wakeup Call

Harbor House

Convict Lake

Keep your eye out for that pool of water or shiny wall or window that you can use to create an interesting and appealing optical illusion.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Restoring the Blacks in HDR

Restore the Blacks - An HDR Tutorial

It was a wet stormy day in the Tetons as we looked for spots to shoot. We came across this little pond just off of the highway just as there was a short break in the rain. The wet conditions made the colors rich and saturated and storm clouds really made the sky dramatic.

HDR can enhance a scene like this by darkening the sky and giving more detail to the reflection and other dark tones. However if we are not careful, the tonemapping can remove black and dark tones from the image making it much less pleasing and dramatic. Check out this tutorial to see how to restore this vital element to improve your HDR images.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Memorable Graduation

Last year I had a proud moment when my son received his PhD at University of California Santa Barbara. While waiting for the graduation ceremony I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures...







Friday, January 07, 2011

Levels Adjustment

Correcting exposure in your image is a critical component of post processing. You can let your software do it automatically or you can let the machine do it when you get your prints...Or you can take control and adjust the levels yourself for your own desired look. See how do this relatively simple but extremely important adjustment in Photoshop in the tutorial below.


Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Straightening Out Parliament

Straightening Out Parliament

Correcting perspective, optical distortions, and leveling can sometimes be a challenging task. This tutorial demonstrates a technique I frequently use to correct strong vertical and horizontal elements of an image which I want to be aligned with the borders of the image.


Watch the video below to see the details...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


It was quiet, calm, and cold (-14 degrees F) when I quickly jumped out of my car to snap this image of a drifted over canal north of Idaho Falls. It was the light that motivated me to get out of my warm car and extend the cold tripod legs! There were thin clouds which diffused the early morning light and cast beautiful glow and soft shadows on everything around. How glad I was that I didn't let this fleeting photo op pass as I wandered the snow covered country roads north of Idaho Falls.


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