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If you would like to experience a beautiful vision of a vintage holiday, look no further then this image, “GMC Christmas” by  Dawna Moore.  Part holiday cheer, part nostalgia, it’s a warmly lit scene featuring Christmas decorations along with a nice slice of Americana.  Beyond these elements, the composition and lighting are excellent, from the technical choices with aperture to create the starbursts on the Christmas lights, to the balance of complimentary colors with the reds and greens.  The portrait orientation of the photo helps simplify a busy scene, placing the focus on the wreath and letting your eye travel throughout the frame to take in all the detail.

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I have a new article published today on Photofocus, titled “Photographer of the Day: Mark Meyer zur Heide”. Here’s a sneakpeek… ” …” Check out the rest of the article at this link: Photographer of the Day: Mark Meyer zur

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I have a new article published today on Photofocus, titled “Photographer of the Day: Bert de Bruin”. Here’s a sneakpeek… ” …” Check out the rest of the article at this link: Photographer of the Day: Bert de Bruin

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I have a new article published today on Photofocus, titled “Photographer of the Day: Jim Sollows”. Here’s a sneakpeek… ” …” Check out the rest of the article at this link: Photographer of the Day: Jim Sollows

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Nature is extraordinarily complex and beautiful, it is easy to forget in our modern world just how powerful its forces are.  But, being a nature photographer presents constant, humbling reminders of this fact! A large part of what drives me is wanting to experience every facet of nature, then create and share images of these forces at work.  In doing so I am often going into potentially dangerous situations for me and my gear.  

In my part of the world, wildfires are a necessity to the health of our ecosystems. But, they are, to put it bluntly, scary as @#$%!  Dangerous, fast, and unpredictable, shooting them requires gear and techniques that let you react quickly to the situation to keep yourself out of harm’s way, and out-of-the-way of the responder’s managing the scene.  Here is how I capture images and video of one of nature’s most beautifully dangerous forces, wildfire.

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While Adobe has come to be nearly synonymous with digital photography, their customers are creatives of all types. With the creation of Adobe Stock they recognized that creative people often need the work of other artists to complete their own projects. As Creative Cloud has rolled out, we have seen an even deeper integration of Adobe Stock with their library of software, building access into their products for an easy way to add stock images to projects.

On the flip side, Adobe has also recognized the people who use their products are the same ones who create the content they sell on Adobe Stock. So, they also made it easy for artists to submit their work to this ever growing marketplace of imagery. Adobe Stock is a easy way for image creators to market their work, providing a good resource to learn how to submit quality stock photography with a consistent workflow. This article covers the process for getting your contributor account set up, and ready for you to start uploading images.

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POTD-Dec-2017-Isengardt-Mannaequins-26342810329_ffd1700ea3_o.jpg

The power of photography is its ability to make us feel and imagine from nothing more than a  2 dimensional collection of dots on a piece of paper or computer screen.  “Mannequins” by Isengardt, definitely makes you feel something, the best word I have to describe it is “uncomfortable”.  This is a “rule breaker” image, and why it works so well.  The mannequins have been transformed by the light and composition into something other than the typical figure of glamour we expect.  Messy hair, harsh light, and black clothes create something more out of a Hitchcock movie then a department store. We associate the eyes with life and personality, here they are lifeless, the gaze of each directed somewhere off frame.  This otherworldly scene takes the viewer out of their comfort zone, one of the greatest purposes of art.

“The purpose of art actually is, in many cases, to make you feel quite uncomfortable. Or at least to go to that place that’s already of discomfort inside of you and tap into that.”  – Michael Moore

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There are places that can be too difficult to stay with a camera and shoot, there are events that are too dangerous to be around when they occur, and there are animals that are too shy of humans to ever get near to photograph. This is when photographers turn to using Photo or Camera Traps, a way to capture these types of images or video from a distance by remote control.  

In part 1 of this series, I covered the fundamentals of creating a simple remote camera trap. Now that you have that skill in your proverbial photography toolbox, let’s talk about more advanced setups and how to use the Platypod to support multi-light nighttime photo traps and remote video capture.

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Digging into Skylum’s newest version of Luminar, the first question I had to answer is, “what can it do that will save me time, make my images look better, and not take forever to learn?” Once you open the program up, you find a tremendous amount options for processing. But, it is an easy to learn program that I have found can help you make quick adjustments to get great results.  These tips and techniques will help you sift through the options and features, so you can develop (pun intended) your own workflow, not just for your landscapes, but any type of photography.

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I would say, without a doubt, that Lightroom is one of the most used programs on my computer, second maybe only to Chrome. However, even as a convert from the first version of Lightroom and having logged about a zillion hours using it since then, I am still always learning something new that I can do with it. Partly from the consistent upgrades and improvements over the years, but, also because there are many hidden features for those of us willing to do a little spelunking around the program.

One of these buried treasures is not in Lightroom itself, rather a repository that Adobe maintains called the Lightroom Developers SDK. Short for “Software Development Kit”, this is a library of information and “how to’s” for anyone who wishes to build their own plugins to extend Lightroom’s features. Inside this library is also a selection of sample plugins that you can use as a foundation for building your own. Each of these samples is a fully functioning plugin on its own, offering some feature or functionality not available in the regular program. One of my favorite, and most used, is the FTP sample plugin. This gives us a way to send batches of large images to a file server straight from Lightroom. Below is a tutorial on how to find, install, and use it, so you can get those beautiful images of yours to the people that want them as quickly and easily as possible!

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I have a new article published today on Photofocus, titled “Photographer of the Day: Nic Taylor”. Here’s a sneakpeek… ” …” Check out the rest of the article at this link: Photographer of the Day: Nic Taylor

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I have a new article published today on Photofocus, titled “Get Eye Level to Make More Powerful Animal Photos”. Here’s a sneakpeek… ” …” Check out the rest of the article at this link: Get Eye Level to Make More

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For this composite, my goal was to produce a version of my galloping wild horses image that looks like it’s been drawn and woodburned onto an old board. Not sure why, I just thought it would look cool, the inspiration behind many my composites. Having an idea of what you want to make before you start usually produces the best results. But, don’t be so in love with your idea you can’t change as you create your composite.

At this point, I have my horse picture processed and saved as a high resolution TIF file, and have found a nice wood texture I want to use as the background texture. Ideally you want these texture files to be high-resolution also, so that you can print your finished piece later. Using a 400 pixel wide texture will result in a blurry grainy mess, it’s too small to print it big later.

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In the digital darkroom, we can take two paths with our images. The first is to use your photo processing software to get your image looking as close to what you saw when you took it. This is your standard digital darkroom workflow, adjusting your exposure, getting rid of spots, cropping, etc., with more of a focus on realism.

The second path is to take that photo and transform it into something completely different. It may be combined with other photos as a composite, have various effects applied, and generally will look completely different from what you started with, but in a good way! Here the focus is on creating something new, using your original image only as the first ingredient. This is compositing, combining multiple images and effects to produce an original piece of art. In this article I’ll take you down the second path, introducing how to use Skylum’s new Luminar 2018 to start doing your own composites.  

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The image “1” by Denis Malciu displays a perfect choice of composing in black and white, simplifying what could have otherwise been a very busy photo.  As the crowd stands in rapt attention to the dancer’s performance, they frame the dancers instead of competing with them. Imagine if instead this photo was presented in color.  The dancers could have easily gotten lost against that sea of people and the variety of textures and colors they are wearing.  Instead the photographer works purely with light and contrast.  Though small in the frame, the dancers take center stage in the image, drawing your attention directly to them, captivating you as they did the crowd.  

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