The Making of “Clear Water, Hudson River” Panorama

Clear Water, Hudson River

Clear Water, Hudson River

I received a few emails with questions about January’s wallpaper photo “Clear Water, Hudson River”, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to write a “Making Of” article for the benefit of all readers. Continue Reading

Large Format Printing and Paper Selection

Choosing the right paper for your prints can be overwhelming these days given all of the choices available, and especially critical with large print sizes. Recently I had to make 17 large prints for two corporate customers, NYU Langone Medical Center in NYC, and Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, a suburb of NYC. I strive to provide the best possible product and experience for all of my customers, (which for me means going way beyond what is expected, and choosing the best materials and tools available) so I thought I would share some info on my paper choices and printing workflow. Continue Reading

Five Things Every New Lightroom User Should Know

Early morning mist rises from the crystal clear waters of Reflection Lakes as Mt. Rainier towers overhead, Washington. Copyright Bret Edge.

I’ve been using Adobe Lightroom as my RAW converter and photo editor of choice since version 1 launched a few years ago.  Until last year I still relied on Photoshop to complete the bulk of my editing work.  Why?  Because I was stubborn – an old curmudgeon who didn’t want to change.  Looking back, I wish I’d taken the advice of my friend and Lightroom guru Nat Coalson, who for years has been extolling the virtues of completing as much work as possible within Lightroom. Continue Reading

Developing in Lightroom 4.

If you follow photography at all on-line, you probably have noticed that Adobe released Lightroom 4 today. Surprisingly, they’ve lowered the price dramatically from when Lightroom 3 was originally introduced (from $279.00 to $149.00!) The upgrade price is down to $79.00 from $99.00. (By the way, if you’re a member of the North American Nature Photography Association, http://nanpa.org/, you can get a 15% discount on all Adobe products.) If you are already a Lightroom user, you’ll notice two new modules in version 4 – Map (which lets you view GPS encoded images on a map), and Book (which lets you design books using some pre-loaded templates, and then export them to a pdf or publish them as Blurb book.) I can see myself using the Book module more than the Map module. The new feature I am most excited about at this point is the ability to now preview, trim, and color correct video clips in the Library module. This should be a big help to me as I’m shooting more and more video. However, in this post, I want to describe a few of the differences in the Develop module between versions 3 and 4, because anyone making the upgrade from Version 3 is going to notice these changes immediately. Continue Reading

Color workflow – Image Editing and output

In the previous segments, we have discussed color spaces and profiling your monitor. Now we will discuss how to set Photoshop and Lightroom for best color space use.

First, Lightroom. Lightroom actually doesn’t use a colorspace profile for an image until it is exported to a different image editor. So the setting of a profile is actually which profile will be assigned to the image when it is sent to an external editor.

To set this up, we go to Lightroom> Preferences Continue Reading

Lacking Clarity.

By applying a negative amount of clarity to this image in Lightroom, I achieved a soft, ethereal look in this photo.

For most of my career, I was an Ansel Adams devotee with my landscape photography, almost always striving for tack sharp images from front to back. I’d step away from this look for a lot of my adventure images, as well as wildlife and flower portraits, where a shallow depth of field was warranted for making my main subject stand out from the background, but even in these images if I did my job, the main subject was tack sharp. During the last two or three years I’ve been experimenting with different looks to my landscapes where large portions of the image were not sharp. I now purposefully blur photos by moving the camera during exposures, using a post-processing technique called the Orton effect, and shooting with a Lens Baby – a little lens that blurs and distorts much of the image. Continue Reading

Add Blacks to Give Low Contrast Images Some “Pop”.

Shot in low-contrast, overcast light, this colorful scene lacks pop, but that can easily be fixed in post-processing.

If you shoot photos in even lighting situations (like on a foggy or overcast day), you will probably end up with a lot of low contrast images. These photos may have good colors and textures, but they’ll seem a little flat or drab. Continue Reading

Basic Photoshop – Create a Split ND Effect with a Layer Mask

This is a composite of two images, combined using a layer mask in Photoshop.

The graduated split neutral density filter has been a must-have filter for nature photographers for years.  The filter basically has a dark gray top half and a clear bottom half, with a gradual transition from gray to clear, and comes in a variety of strengths and gradations.  Placed in front your camera’s lens it allows you to capture detail in the bright highlights in the top half of a scene (usually the sky) and still capture detail in your shadow areas (I’ll be explaining how to do this in Week 9 of my on-line course.)  With the advent of digital photography, photographers are able to simulate this effect using a variety of techniques, from HDR processing to the shadow/highlight adjustment in Photoshop to liberal use of the recovery and fill light sliders in Adobe Camera Raw.

Continue Reading

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

How I Shot The Snowshoeing Photography Assignment

I am lucky in that I have had a client for 10 years. In fact I have had many clients just as long, but this one is always a lot of fun because it is always outdoor related subjects.

The client is a tourism alliance and I started by selling them outdoor stock imagery which later evolved into assignments resulting in many of them over the years.

In this recent post here: The Future May Be the Commercial Nature Photographer, I suggested that outdoor and nature photographers may need to expand into commercial type subjects as the markets change. There may be more work and income generating opportunities for those who provide more services from video to assignment photography.  And I bring this up because I got this client from marketing my outdoor stock.

I recently completed a winter activities assignment for them in February and we covered a lot of territory from snowmobiling to inter-tubing, the bar in the warming hut to snowshoeing, and more. I plan a few posts the next few weeks to share some of these images with you. Continue Reading