It’s time for a new photo contest. This time, the theme is holidays. Being American, I’m partial to Thanksgiving during this period. For readers from other countries, the photos must reflect some sort of national celebration. The contest is open to registered readers of this site. Registration is free. The contest is open now and submissions will be accepted until December 8, 2009. The winner will be announced in time for them to receive the prize by Christmas 2009 unless they happen to live outside the USA in which case, all bets are off as to ETA.
The prize is a Photoshop World Workbook from Photoshop World 2009 in Las Vegas. It is 800 pages of PS tips, tricks and hints from virtually every class at PSW. For a peek at the contents, see this description on my site. Because the book is heavy, I’m asking the winner to pay US$10 via PayPal for shipping.
Photos will be judged on three criteria:
- Exposure – is the photo correctly exposed. Correctly does NOT always mean right edge of histogram at right side and left edge touching the left side. Many photos look better when one side or the other is pulled in to achieve a specific “look”. Color balance will also be evaluated.
- Focus – is the photo in focus or was blur used artistically. If your portrait has a sharp ear but blurry eyes, it will be noticed. Not only must the important parts be in focus but the unimportant parts must not be distracting. Controlling DoF is an integral part of good photography, it will be evaluated.
- Composition – what is the emotional impact of the photo? Does it tell a story or do the colors/shapes/lines/negative space evoke an emotion? Does the photo engage the viewer? Does it create tension through unanswered questions? More than anything else, I’m looking for photos that have impact, that makes me sit up and notice.
Since I am the sole judge and arbiter, here are some of my biases. As much as you think your kids/grandkids are precious, I rarely find any redeeming artistic value in photos of children or pets. On the other hand, I love landscapes, portraits, wildlife, birds, flowers, still life, architecture, old things, new things, shiny things, rusty things and just about anything. See photos on this site to get an idea of what yanks my chain, floats my boat, tingle my toes and, in general, makes me happy, sad, excited, thrilled, thoughtful or otherwise emotional. BTW, I’m also not a fan of street photography unless your name happens to be Henri Cartier-Bresson.
All photos must be resized to 640 pixels along the longest side and no larger than 1MB. Send it to me via e-mail or post it on your own website and send me a link. If you send a link, it should be a link to one photo. In other words, don’t link to a page with a gazillion photos and expect me to figure out which is your entry. The photo must have been taken with a digital camera (any type, make, model) and the only edits allowed are crop, color correction, levels and sharpen. No composites or collages will be considered. HDR will be accepted but the more it looks like a single frame, the better your chances. Each person is limited to three (3) submissions. Once a photo is submitted, it can be withdrawn but not replaced.
The purpose of this contest is to promote photography as an art. I want people to elevate their photography beyond snapshots of Fluffy & Rover at the backyard barbeque. I want more people to see the potential within themselves. Even if all you ever take are photos of your kids/grandkids, I want you to make them into art, not simple snapshots.
Legal stuff – By entering a photo(s) in this contest, you affirm that you are the photographer with all rights appertaining including, but not limited to, copyright. You agree to hold harmless the owner and publisher of this site and contest promoter from any claims, past, present and/or future arising from any actions related to the photo(s) submitted by you or in your name. By submitting a photo(s), you agree to convey an irrevocable, non-exclusive 5 year license to The Digital Photo Guy (Lee Otsubo) to display the photo(s) and use them for teaching purposes. All other rights remain with you. Any part of this agreement/contest may be modified by The Digital Photo Guy without notice.
Photoshop World in Las Vegas
PSW is just around the corner so I’m making last minute preparations. The actual conference is Thu, Oct 1 thru Sat, Oct 3 but there’s a day of Pre-Conference Workshops on Wednesday and a NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) Meet & Greet on Wed night. If you plan to be at PSW, let me know and we can make plans to grab lunch.
On Sunday, after the conference, there’s a VW show, Bugorama at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway that I hope to walk around for a while. There should be lots of photo ops at that show.
Afterwards, I’ll be driving up to Bishop, CA to photograph bristlecone pines in the Eastern Sierras with Rob Sheppard.
Photoshop CS4 for Photographers with Ben Wilmore
On Monday, Oct 19, at the San Diego Convention Center, Kelby Training will be offering Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers with Ben Wilmore. I’ve never taken a class with Ben but he’s said to be an excellent instructor. Ben drives around the country in a converted bus RV to take photos and teach Photoshop. This class is a fast-paced, lecture in a room for 875 people so don’t expect a lot of hand-holding. Also, CS4 concepts don’t always translate to Photoshop Elements (PSE) and there won’t be any help for that.
Photoshop Elements Webinar with Rob Sheppard
There are still a few seats left for the November 14 Photoshop Elements webinar with Rob Sheppard, editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine and author of dozens of photography books. Rob is working on a book about the newest version of PSE so, if you’re thinking of upgrading, you’ll want to view this webinar before buying PSE.
Someone asked me to describe a webinar. A webinar is like watching TV where you can interact with the people on screen. If you’ve ever watched Jeopardy and shouted the answer at the screen, you’ve experienced half of a webinar. In a full webinar, Alex Trebeck looks at you and says, “Sh-h-h, no help for the webinar audience.”
Anyone who still thinks of PSE is the ugly duckling step-sister of Photoshop needs to take a look at the new PSE. For most digital photographers, scrappers and busy people, PSE will do 90% of what PS CS4 can do. What can’t be done in PSE can be done through low-cost “plug-ins”, handy little tools that plug-in to PSE and acts like an original feature of PSE.
Future Photoshoot Workshops
Planning has started for Desert Wildflowers at Joshua Tree National Park and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in the March-April 2010 timeframe. As always, each workshop will be limited to just 4 students so eveyone gets maximum assistance.
In November, I’ll be going to Salton Sea to photograph burrowing owls. This is a planning trip for future burrowing owl workshops so there won’t be instruction as such but past students are welcome to join me. Watch this site for details.
I’ll be going back to the Deer Park Winery in Escondido, CA for more scouting and planning in the next few weeks. Again, this isn’t a workshop as such but you’re welcome to join me and watch how I set up and devise lessons for my workshops.
Monday Morning Tip
Today’s MMT is a video of my workflow. Workflow is just a fancy way of saying how I do things. The video is about 15 minutes because I’m explaining each step but, in reality, I usually go through this in about 3-5 minutes after I download photos until the first image is done. After that, each image takes as little as 30-90 seconds.
During the Photoshop Elements portion of my Wild Animal Park Hands-On Photoshoot yesterday, one subject that seemed to intrigue the students was the ability to simply fix one RAW photo in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) then drag & drop the same fixes to all the other photos taken under the same conditions. This is a real time-saver that I’ll address in a future video MMT.
Unlike regular MMTs that are behind a password and only available to registered readers, this MMT is open to all viewers.
[swfobj src=”http://www.thedigitalphotoguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/workflow.swf” allowfullscreen=”true”]
San Diego Fair – June 13 to July 5
Since I’m caught up on writing Monday Morning Tips for the next few weeks, here’s a mid-week update for people around San Diego. The Del Mar Fair (aka San Diego Fair) has a whole potful of photography events that you might want to check out. This link will open a PDF listing the dates, times and descriptions.
It’s too late to enter the juried photography competition but try to check out the exhibit when you visit the fair. Looking at others works will often give you ideas for improving your own photos.
There are also four 2-hour Photo Shootouts (2x Daylight, 1x Night and 1x Twilight). Click the links for PDF entry forms. You’re given 2 hours to make a photo and take it to the judging area to be downloaded and judged. If any of my former students wins, I’ll have a prize for them. Just send me proof of your win and the prize is yours.
If there’s enough interest, we’ll organize a GTG (get together) at the fair one Saturday and we’ll have an informal shoot with prizes for the best photos. Either leave a comment below or send me an e-mail. We’ll need at least 6 participants for a contest.
Photoshop World 2009 – Las Vegas, Oct 1-3
Yeah, I know, most rational people intensely dislike Las Vegas but it is what it is. PSW is a great way to flatten your PS learning curve.
Yeah, I know, it’s expensive but if you’re serious about developing your PS skills, it is what it is. A single Photoshop class at UCSD will set you back $595. At PSW, for $500 ($600 if you’re not a NAPP member) you have a choice of nearly 100 classes over 3 days. And, at PSW, a day is NOT 8 to 5.
If you’re still reading, click here to read all about PSW. It’s not training, it’s bootcamp! Failure in not an option, you WILL learn!
If you’re really not able to make it to PSW but want to know what you’re missing, send me an e-mail and I’ll pick up an extra Proceedings for you. These are nearly 1000 pages of notes and handouts from the conference. Please note – these are not free. You will have to pay for me to buy and haul these back.
If you plan to be in Las Vegas but won’t attend PSW, you can get a free ticket to the Expo here. Some of the best free classes are at the Expo where sponsors and exhibiters like Adobe, Epson and Bogen offer short classes on a range of subjects.
Finally, if you plan to attend and want to meetup to exchange notes, leave a comment. It’s always great to have someone you can split classes with when two classes you want to attend are opposite each other. It’s like having a virtual you.
Local San Diego Clubs
There are several informal photography clubs in San Diego that schedule shoots on a regular basis. I haven’t attended any in a long time because 1) I don’t have time and 2) I tend to be a solitary photographer.
This Saturday, May 16, the San Diego Digital SLR Photography Group has a shoot scheduled at Old Poway Park. Check their site for details.
On Saturday, May 23, The San Diego Photography Meetup Group has a shoot at Balboa Park for memebrs who also belong to pBase. pBase, for those who may be unfamiliar, is a very large photo sharing site. When you click on my Photo Galleries page, you’re actually being redirected to my pBase account.
I may attend this shoot since I haven’t been to Balboa Park in ages. If you’d like to carpool from North County, let me know.
On Saturday, March 21, I presented a Photoshop Elements retouching presentation to the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego via webcast. The group was meeting at UC San Diego while I was at Joshu Tree National Park leading a spring wildflower workshop.
I showed how the following photo from the 1950s or 60s can be quickly and easily restored with a few basic tips and tricks. Click the thumbnails to see the BEFORE and AFTER photos.
I then applied virtually the same techniques to another photo and demonstrated how these steps can be used to restore ALL faded, skewed, poorly taken photos.
The next photo was more challenging because of its age and damage. I didn’t fix the entire photo because, as I explained to the audience, much of this is just tedious and time-consuming. The only reasons one would have for spending time on restoring such a photo would be 1) it’s a labor of love involving a photo of a loved one or, 2) you’re getting paid gobs of money.
Here, I demonstrated making a copy of the right eye, flipping it over to match the left eye, moving the catchlight to the correct side and “nudging” the pupil to the right to match the right eye. I also used a gaussian blur to smooth and repair the skin on her left cheek.
You can see a recording of the presentation here. If the audio and video get out of sync (narrative and cursor don’t match), click on the progress bar along the top and drag it back back a few seconds.