The Digital Photo Guy

Cibola NWR

by on Jan.31, 2010, under Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos

Catching Up on Post Processing

Between classes and workshops, I haven’t had time to work on photos from Cibola NWR so I decided to roll both this week’s MMT and post-processing Cibola photos into one task.

     I was ready to give up on sunrises when this popped up to the east.


I saw the green and red navigation lights on the bridge when I parked my RV along the bank of the river. It was originally in landscape mode but I thought it looked better as a vertical. Other that cropping and slight levels adjustment, this is pretty much SOOC (straight out of camera).

The next morning, I was at Cibola NWR at Oh-Dark-Thirty for sunrise photos. The orange sky was to the south and looked like many other sunrise photos. I was ready to give up when the second sunrise popped up to the east. I pumped the colors a bit with Topaz Adjust 3 but, otherwise, it’s just as I remember the colors.

All the usual suspects were hanging around (sandhill cranes, Canada geese and snow geese) but I was after raptors and burrowing owls. There were lots of female American Kestrels but I didn’t see a single male. The female on this post kept flying just out of range of my 70-200/4L with a 1.4TC at 280mm. This is a heavy crop (about 20% of the original) that I ran though Topaz Adjust 3 to smooth out the noise and add back some blue to the sky. She’s obviously unhappy that I kept following her around.

There were large flocks of yellow hooded blackbirds with a few red winged BB mixed in. I pumped the background colors to make the birds stand out better. In the process, mountains went blue but I thought that looked cool. Let me know if you disagree.

Finally, I was really excited when I saw this brown bird near a culvert, a favorite haunt of burrowing owls. I wrestled my 600mm into place and peered into the viewfinder only to find an annoyed Western Meadowlark staring back at me. From that distance, facing away from me, it looked like a burrowing owl. This has had minor levels adjustments but it’s pretty much SOOC except the heavy crop.

Free Flash Photography Workshop

The free trial run of the Flash Photography Workshop went well. Rather than try to explain the science behind concepts like inverse square law of light fall-off, I demonstrated how to quickly dial in desired light ratios by using the flash in manual mode and then adding or subtracting light by simply getting closer or farther from the subject. Of course, we did all the usual bounce lighting stuff as well as tips for reducing specular highlights and isolating foreground subjects.

The Deer Park Winery in Escondido has agreed to let me park my RV in a large parking lot at the rear of the winery so I can conduct Photoshop Elements sessions after the flash class. This will make it easier tie together flash photography and photo editing in the same workshop.

In the future, I’ll include a session on flash portrait lighting as suggested by the particpants. Also, it turns out flash workshops require, at least, 3 students to reduce the amount of needed gear. This allows everyone to shoot with VAMLS (voice activated manual light stands, eg other students). Otherwise, multiple lightstands are needed which might damage the antique cars in the museum.

The 3 hour Flash Photography Workshop including Photoshop Elements session will be US$89.95 and the first class is scheduld for March 6, 201o from 10AM to 1PM at the Deer Park Winery in Escondido, CA. A PayPal link will be set up later. If you’re interested, send me an e-mail from the contact page.

Palomar College Webinar – Digital SLR for New dSLR Owners

Next Saturday, February 6, I’ll conduct a 3-hour dSLR class for Palomar College. You can register from anywhere in the country as long as you have a high-speed Internet connection, a standard browser (MS IE, Safari, FireFox) an working speakers. Click HERE for more details.

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