The Digital Photo Guy

Tag: contest

Cropping Revisited

by on Oct.24, 2011, under Articles, Composition, Lightroom, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos, Photoshop Elements


Andy, a fine photographer who regularly reads my drivel for laughs, caught me cheating on my post about cropping. When I posted those images, I knew the seed head in the background was a problem but I was too lazy to fix it. Andy suggested I blur it with Gaussian Blur  but I felt that would still leave a distracting element. Instead, I recropped following my basic cropping rule, “When in doubt, square it out.” In other words, when at a loss for the right crop, try a square.


The first photo above is the original crop, the second is a square crop and the third has a repaired wingtip. Jill, a long-time reader, friend and competition terror in her local club, pointed out that the main element shouldn’t be touching the edge. That’s what I regard as a “soft rule,” something that depends on the situation. One photo below follows the rule but the other doesn’t. Can you tell why?


San Diego Natural History Museum Contest

The deadline for entries has been extended to November 6, 2011 so you still have time to get your act together and enter a photo. While you’re there, check out the previous winners.

This may not be the London Natural History Museum Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest but it will help you get there. Look at the 2011 winning photograph by Daniel Beltrá of Spain and tell me it doesn’t bring a tear to your eye.

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“Pin-Up” Style Shoot

by on Jul.11, 2010, under Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos, Workshops

Lessons from a Pin-Up Shoot


These are the best from a “pin-up-style” photoshoot with Tylor yesterday. My personal favorite is the first one in the ’57 T-bird with the red interior (all cars courtesy of Deer Park Winery and Auto Museum). A blue 1950 Studebaker is featured in the 2nd and 3rd photos.

All were lit with 3 strobes. The key light was on a stand and bounced off a Westcott 32″ umbrella. A fill light was set low to emphasize her hair in the T-bird and her legs in the Studebaker. The third strobe was used to add “pop” to the interior of the cars.

All 3 photos were touched up with Topaz Labs Adjust 4 to smooth the skin (not like she needed it) and add “pop”. Readers can try Topaz Labs plug-ins for free and, if they decide to buy, use the discount code “digitalphotoguy” for 15% off.

(I have no financial ties to Topaz Labs, they extend this discount to my readers because I am a recognized Photoshop Elements instructor)

I plan to offer a Pin-Up Shoot Workshop in the Fall. If you’re interested in a 4-hour posing and lighting class for $99, post a comment or send me an e-mail to be notified when it’s ready. I need a minimum of 8 students to schedule the class and book the venue.
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Bernardo Winery

by on Jun.20, 2010, under Monday Morning Tips

Monday Morning Tips – 06/20/10

Went to the Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo for my annual “wassup” look-see. There’s always things that I never saw before and this time was no exception. While waiting in the parking lot for the people who had RSVPed for this Meetup, I noticed a row of old tractors and machinery that I had not seen previously. It’s possible they were always there but I had never hung around in the parking lot so it’s also possible I just missed them. Here are some of my favorites from the day.

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The Good, The Bad and the Great

by on Jun.13, 2010, under Monday Morning Tips, Photos

The Good – San Luis Rey Pow Wow

The Mission San Luis Rey Inter-Tribal Pow Wow was a small event but I managed to get some good photos. Having attend a number of pow wows, I had a good sense of when, where and how things would unfold. That allowed me to pick out the best sight lines and backgrounds. Here are some photos:


I used my fallback lens, the Canon 28-135 with a Canon 550EX in manual mode at 1/16.

Also in the Good column, I met Dave Plunkett, the Arena Director who will also be the Arena Director at the Pechanga Pow Wow on July 3-4. Pechange is a huge event with nearly 1000 dancers so knowing Dave will help me get the inside scoop. I also met Al Footracer, the Head Gourd Dancer who allowed me to enter the arena and photograph the Gourd Dance. This is the first time I’ve seen a non-Native American allowed inside the arena so I was thrilled.
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San Diego Fair Entries

by on Apr.22, 2010, under Articles, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos, Photoshop CS2/4

Your Turn to Critique Me

I won’t have time to update the site this weekend so here’s something to occupy you until next week.

Here are my entries for the 2010 San Diego Fair. The juried photography competition draws about 3000 entries each year of which about half are accepted. Just being accepted is the first step. Placing 2nd, 3rd, 4th or Honorable Mention is the next step and winning 1st and/or Best of Show are the ultimate goals. Tell me your opinion in the poll at the bottom.


The first is titled Open. The second is Book of Accounts and the 3rd is Dinner with the President.

All the photos were processed to some extend with Topaz Adjust4. I tried to emphasize what was already there instead of slathering on weird effects or hide some deficiency in the photo. Each was acceptable as-is but Topaz Adjust4 enabled me to oversharpen or soften or saturate without inducing artifacts.
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