The Digital Photo Guy

Everything but the Junkyard Dog

by on May.10, 2012, under Articles, Lightroom, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing

Exploring Arizona

Finally getting around to exploring some locations for shoots. So far, I’ve found a lumberyard that’s also home to an artist so there’s a rich mixture of working tools/equipment as well as objet d’art. It’s a cool place but a little out of the way. Near town, there’s a riparian nature preserve administered by the Nature Conservancy. It’s very well managed and will probably become one of my favorites for hummingbirds and macros.

My latest find is a junkyard (auto recycler for the PC) that’s a free-fire zone for photographers. Here are some recent photos. These were all “pumped up” to some degree with Topaz Labs Adjust 5. TLA is one of my favorite PS/PSE/LR plug-ins but, as I gain more experience with it, I’m beginning to be much more selective about its use. In the beginning, I slathered it on everything but, these days, I can tell where it’s going to add “punch” and where it will look amateurish.

Junkyard-1   Junkyard-5   Junkyard-3

Junkyard-4   Junkyard-6   Junkyard-2

I’m planning a shoot at the junkyard in a few weeks so if any AZ readers would like to be a VAML (voice activated manual lightstand,) drop me an e-mail. All you have to do is hold a reflector, scrim or remote flash. I’d prefer a female assistant to put the young, aspiring model at ease. The theme will be Pin-Up, an American Icon. If we have time, I also want to photograph the model in a bikini against the pickup truck tailgates titled, “Arizona Surfboards.”

Portrait Professional

In my last post, I touted the speed, ease of use and wonderful results from Portrait Professional but forgot to provide a link. I know most of my readers are smart enough figure out the URL but, just in case you’re having a senior moment or brain spasm, here’s the link: LINK

Monitor Calibration

Lately, I’ve noticed the LCD monitor on my laptop is getting darker. In the past, it was reasonably close to what I saw on my calibrated 22″ external monior. This is a function of an aging LCD. There’s not much you can do about it except to be aware. Properly adjusted images on an old LCD monitor may appear dark. Other than buying a new laptop or monitor, the only solution is to increase the screen brightness.


8 Comments for this entry

  • Andy Kliss

    Hi Lee-

    Good to hear that you’re settling in your new digs and finding fresh foto subjects to shoot.

    About your dimming laptop screen: have you explored the option of purchasing an inexpensive monitor calibration unit, such as the Spyder4express? It lists for $119 (list, mind you)and should calibrate it vs. compensating via manual adjustments, plus, you can use it on a desktop setup also. It would be extremely groovy if it worked on iPads also…

    • Lee

      “Groovy”?? Geez Andy, I thought you were a young kid but anyone who says, “Groovy” has got to be as old as dirt. 😉

      I have several monitor calibrators but every LCD eventually wears out, sort of like how my body is wearing out. Even with calibration, the LCD on my laptop is beginning to grow dark.

      Not so fast about fresh subjects. I had a pin-up shoot scheduled this week with two young, aspiring models and they both flaked out. At least one had the courtesy to let me know (after I sent a confirmation email) but the other just vanished after initial enthusiasm. I’m beginning to think anyone under the age of 30 can’t be trusted (remember that pearl of wisdom?)

      You need to come out to AZ (during the winter) to shoot some ghost towns and landscape.

      • Andy Kliss

        Would love to come out and shoot some Arizona stuff with you… and yes, I’m an O.F. (Old Fart). Got my O.F. card when I turned 60 back last October.

        I wanted to hitch up with you on your burrowing owl shoot. Man, the older one gets, the more time it takes to do chores, errands and honeydews. Are you planning on photographing them out by Salton next nesting season? I would love to meet up with you on that one also.

        • Lee

          Welcome to the OF Club! You’ll soon find that various body parts are wearing out and warranty has expired on almost every component. 😉

          You didn’t miss much at Salton Sea. As soon as I got there, I was reminded of why I go in Feb/Mar, the weather is infinitely more pleasant. It was hotter’n a $2 pistol and the owls weren’t cooperationg. I got a few blurry shots of one on a wooden post, yawning at the fool in the truck struggling to get his 600 into position.

          I just got an Epson 7800 for free! A fellow I met here had started a photography business that eventually folded so he gave me the printer. It’s just 5.5 y/o and has less than 400 prints through it. It was clogged when I got it but a few power clean cycles and it’s printing beautifully. It’s loaded with MK so I’ll just use it for BW until I need more ink. Somedays, the stars are just aligned in the right places!

  • Juan Ramirez

    Wow! Love the shots! Especially the tail gate one, that one grabbed my eye. Do you know if Topaz has any specials on their software right now? I have been loving my Canon 7D and still renting from!!! Thanks for your class, I still use my notes and handouts as reference!


    • Lee

      Thanks Juan,
      It makes my day when students tell me my classes and materials have helped them become better photographers. As far as I know, TL still offers a 15% discount when using the code “digitalphotoguy” If not, e-mail Nicole Paschal at TL and tell her you want a Friend of Lee discount. She’ll probably charge you 50% more! LOL

      Your site is da bomb! Please join us on June 10 at Deer Park Winery for a mini-concours de elegance with pin-up models.

      • Juan

        Thanks for the info! I got Topaz with the discount! Yes, I am into vintage cars (bombs). I will let you know if I hit up the winery! Hope all is well, thanks.


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