The Digital Photo Guy

Tag: Joshua Tree NP

San Diego Photo Ops

by on Dec.26, 2010, under Composition, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos

Wild Animal Park Workshop
Pin-Up Shoot – Sock Hop Theme
Flash Photography in a Flash
Palomar College – Spring 2011
Spring Desert Wildflowers, late March 2011

Photography In & Around San Diego

As my students know, I drive an RV to photo workshops. The RV is my on-site digital darkroom where I teach Photoshop Elements as part of the workshop.

Here’s Arbey (RV, get it?) in early evening light at Joshua Tree NP. Notice the moon just above and to the left of the rock. I keep telling myself I need to substitute a larger moon into this photo.

Anyway, I belong to a forum of similar RV owners. They plan to meet (Rally in RV jargon) in San Diego in May 2011. In a moment of weakness, I volunteered to teach a digital photography class at the rally. Since these rally attendees are more snapshooters than photographers, I thought a guide to San Diego area photo opportunities might be useful to them. And, what better way to develop such a list than through Monday Morning Tips?

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Monday Morning Tip – 09/21/09

by on Sep.20, 2009, under Monday Morning Tips, Photoshop Elements, Webcast, Workshops

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.

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Monday Morning Tip – 04/06/09

by on Apr.04, 2009, under Monday Morning Tips

Seems my best MMT topics come from readers’ questions. Last week’s MMT about creating a “poor man’s macro lens” created more questions. The most popular question was about the macro focusing rail I mentioned at the end of the article.

Today’s MMT covers macro focusing rails and how to use them. While they look deceptively simple, knowing how to use them ahead of time will make life a lot easier.  As always, the full MMT is located here. If you need a password, register for my MMTs to receive one via e-mail.

About 60 MMTs have now been uploaded as well as about 11 videos. Once all previous MMTs and videos are uploaded, I’ll be able to concentrate on producing more new material. In the meantime, keep sending those questions because they’re the best source of ideas for me.

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Desert Wildflowers Are Blooming or Maybe Not…

by on Mar.07, 2009, under Articles

I’m writing this update from Anza-Borrego Desert State Park where I’m getting ready to go look for wildflowers. Yesterday, on my way back from Arizona, I stopped by Joshua Tree NP and drove as far north as Conttonwood campground. There are definite signs of a spring wildflowers but they’re still pretty scrawny. The desert lupines are sparse and standing about 4″-5″ tall where past displays have been thick and lush, standing 10″-12″. There were lots of chia that looked as if they had been killed by a frost and the live ones seemed pretty forlorn.

A weathered, leathered desert rat of the female variety flagged me down and told me the road ahead was washed out. She and her older but very well maintained RV were camped just outside the south entrance to Joshua Tree NP. By her reckoning, the full spring wildflower display wouldn’t happen for for another 2-3 weeks.

To the east of JTNP, below 2000′ elevation, the bloom was in full swing. Along the freeway, I could see bladderpods, brittlebush, sand verbena, chuparosa, desert lupines, California poppies (in AZ they’re called Arizona poppies, duh!) and other SCBs (small colorful bushes).

Here are some lupines I found just outside my RV this morning as I made photos of the sun rising over the mountains to the east. The sand verbena and desert gold were along Henderson Canyon Road in Borrego Springs.

Lupine    More Lupines    Sand Verbena   Desert Gold    Desert Gold    Carpet of Desert Gold

I removed a dead stalk in front of the lupines using the Clone Tool and cropped to remove the RV parked next to me. Otherwise, I just adjusted Levels. I didn’t even have to remove dust bunnies. The sand verbena and desert gold were cropped, levels adjusted and sharpened.

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Joshua Tree NP Wildflower Report

by on Mar.01, 2009, under Articles, Schedule

On my way to Bosque del Apache, NM, I stopped by JTNP to check wildflower conditions. At the southern end, most of the vegetation is nicely turning green with spots of early bloomers such as this bladderpod.


On the way home, I came across  I-8 along the southern route through Tucson. That route was already in full bloom with lots of brittle bush, sand verbena, Arizona poppy and others that I couldn’t identify at 65MPH.

Some recent reports say Anza-Borrego State Park has already started peak bloom and anyone waiting much longer may miss it. Bottom line, it looks like Joshua Tree NP around the middle of March will be perfect for that area.

If you can’t go to Anza-Borrego, consider my JTNP Spring Desert Wildflower Photoshoot on March 21 or 22.

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