Basic Photoshop Skills – Layer Masks

I used to consider the use of Layer Masks in Photoshop to be an advanced technique, but it has become such a commonplace and important part of post-processing photos, that I now think of it as a basic skill that all Photoshop users need to have in their arsenals. It can seem a little confusing at first, but once you understand how it works it is really quite simple and powerful. Continue Reading

What to photograph during a winter with no snow.

Dawn over the Atlantic, Rye, NH.

Dawn over the Atlantic, Rye, NH.

If you live in the northern U.S., you are probably experiencing a low snow winter this year. In Portsmouth, New Hampshire where I live we haven’t had any appreciable snow since before Halloween! The gray and brown hues of a snowless landscape can definitely make it hard for a landscape photographer to be inspired enough to get out there and shoot. I feel fortunate that I chose his winter to start a new project I call 0630, where I go out every morning and make a picture at 6:30 (you can read more about the project in this post I made over at the Outdoor Photographer website.) The project has forced me to get out and shoot, when I normally would have stayed in bed, and it’s really getting my creative juices flowing and giving me good practice on techniques I don’t always use on a regular basis. For most of the last 6 weeks, I’ve been shooting primarily 30-45 minutes before sunrise, so here are some tips on what to do when it’s winter, it’s dark, and there’s no snow. Continue Reading

Winter Photo Tips

Fall Snow.
Fall Snow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I posted this on my other blog back in October, but given the season, it seems appropriate to post it again here. Winter is a great time to get out and make some photos – if you’re prepared for the cold and snow. Continue Reading

Outdoor Photo Tips from Acadia National Park

In February I’ll be launching a new series of photo tips based on my book The AMC Guide to Outdoor Digital Photography. I’m planning it to be a ten week free, on-line course where you’ll get assignments and be able to upload photos for critiques. In the meantime, you can take a look at this video where I describe three tips for improving your outdoor photography. Enjoy!

Dawn in Monument Cove in Maine's Acadia National Park.

Rainy Day Photo Tips

Many people keep their cameras in the bag when the weather turns bad, but that’s a mistake. Stormy weather often results in dramatic photographs, and the diffuse light of misty and drizzly days is ideal for shooting forest and waterfall scenes. In this video, I describe the techniques and gear I use when shooting in the rain. By the way, many of these ideas work well in winter too.

Rainshowers in the distance as seen from Long Beach in Stratford, Connecticut.  Adjacent to the Great Meadows Unit of McKinney National Wildlife Refuge.

Rainshowers in the distance as seen from Long Beach in Stratford, Connecticut. Adjacent to the Great Meadows Unit of McKinney National Wildlife Refuge.

Kayaking Photography Tips

Here’s a video tip I made last summer about how to keep gear safe while shooting from a kayak. If you’re comfortable paddling in a kayak, but uncomfortable taking your camera out, hopefully this will inspire you to try shooting from the great low-angle perspective you get while paddling.

Paddling Mud Pond in Granby, Vermont.  Nurse Mountain is in the distance.  Northeast Kingdom.

Paddling Mud Pond in Granby, Vermont. Nurse Mountain is in the distance. Northeast Kingdom.

Photo Critique – Rainy Morning by John Rowe

Rainy Morning by John Rowe.

Rainy Morning by John Rowe.

I’ve selected the above photo, Rainy Morning by John Rowe, as the first photo to critique as part of my Flickr critique group. Thanks to all who have joined the group thus far! We have 24 group members now and I really enjoyed looking through the 35 images posted in the last month or so. It was a real challenge to select a photo. Several immediately jumped out at me as excellent photos, and in the end I selected John’s shot of cascades on the Cold River both because I like these kinds of shots and because I felt it would make a good image for the group to learn from. For having his image selected, John will receive a copy of a book of his choice from our website. Continue Reading

Thinking about texture.

Patterns in the snow on Second Connecticut Lake in Pittsburg, NH.

Patterns in the snow on Second Connecticut Lake in Pittsburg, NH.

I’ve had a hard time getting motivated to post to this blog lately because I’m in the process of writing two books this winter, and it really is taking up every free minute of the day. However, with the recent snows here in New England, I’ve had a few chances to get out and shoot. One aspect of winter photography that seems to really resonate with photographers is the incredible textures found in fresh snow, wind blown snow, frozen snow, any kind of snow. I’ll be talking about this in detail in one of the books I’m writing (The AMC Guide to Digital Outdoor Photography,) but I thought I’d briefly discuss it here today. The texture of snow varies of course, but when photographed properly, the viewer feels like he or she can almost reach out and feel the individual snow crystals. When the snow is blown into ripples like in the above photo, the texture itself becomes an important compositional element. Continue Reading