The Power of Selections
Selection Tools are among the most powerful in the Photoshop (PS) and Photoshop Elements (PSE) toolboxes. Selections enable the user to isolate an area to limit changes and edits. The first thing most new users think of is cutting a person or object out of a photo and moving it to another photo.
There are several selection tools in PSE and most have various options. This Video Monday Morning Tip (VMMT) gives you a glimpse at the Quick Selection Brush used in conjuction with the Elliptical Marquee Tool to select an object.
[swfobj src=”http://www.thedigitalphotoguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Selection_Tools1.swf” allowfullscreen=”true”]This video requires Adobe Flash. Download a free copy at www.adobe.com.
Escondido Street Fair Photos
I spent a few hours at the Escondido Street Fair on Sunday, May 15. The food was terrible but the ligt was wonderfl. It was overcast and drizzly, perfect conditions for beautiful light. Many amateurs are afraid to take their gear out in wet conditions but newer digital SLRs are pretty robust. For Canon shooters, the 7D has weather seals that offer a modicum of protection. That doesn’t mean one can take it snorkeling but a little drizzle certainly won’t hurt it. (This is not a guarantee on my part, any experimentation is at you own risk.) Having said that, I’ve had all my Canon dSLRs out in some pretty severe weather from rain and snow in the Pyrenees to the Eastern Sierras. I’ve photographed sports in a steady rain with nothing more than a plastic trash bag over the body.
The (Short) Life of Hummingbird Eggs
Last week, I wrote about my excitement over a Rufous hummingbird that built a nest in a potted ficus tree on my front patio. On Day 2, the first egg showed up. Two days later, right on schedule, a second egg was deposited. Mama got down to business and spent hours on the eggs. This morning, Day 6, I found both eggs smashed on the tiles below the nest (photos too graphic for family web site.) I can only surmise a gust of wind blew the ficus branch violently enough to toss the eggs out of the nest. Mama is no where to be seen. As I get older, I find that I mourn more for the little creatures than Homo (not so) Sapiens. Although I’ll miss her, I hope Mama builds her nest in a more secure location next year. RIP little hummingbird eggs.
More Photography, Less Teaching
As I alluded in my post of April 10, 2011, my business model is changing. Starting on July 1, 2011, my focus will be 1-on-1 classes/workshops and special webinar events. Group classes, webinars and workshops will no longer be offered although I will offer $3 Webinars from time to time. These are short webinars covering specific topics.
The intent is to spend more time teaching a few select students and making more and better personal photos for myself. In order to do this, I need to drastically cut back the time I spend maintaining and marketing this site. Past students will be given preference in booking classes and events. To book a class, see the Workshops & Webinars page. As currently scheduled classes expire, they will be rescheduled “on demand,” i.e. when a student requests.
Composition Clarified in Three Hours
In just three short hours, Gloria Hopkins explained the ins and outs of composition in clear, concise, succinct terms that everyone understood. As a confident artist, Gloria used both her award winning photos as well “cutting room floor” dregs to demonstrate photographic composition. It’s a rare artist that allows others to see her failures as well as her winners. The entire webinar was recorded and will be made available for viewing in a few days. Stay tuned for details.
HDR Tools, Tips and Techniques Webinar – May 7
Rob Sheppard is on tap in two weeks to present his HDR Tools, Tips and Techniques webinar. Any photographer who hasn’t been sleeping under a rock knows that HDR (high dynamic range) is the hottest thing in photography. Many have seen works by early HDR pioneers like Ben Wilmore and Rick Sammon. Many have also been waiting for HDR to mature into “real” art that accurately reflects the grandeur of nature without the garish, cartoon-like effects of early HDR tools.
If your idea of HDR is like the photo of the cars immediately to the left but you’d like to produce HDR like the sunrise in the Eastern Sierras (far left,) then this is the webinar for you.
Rob Sheppard has been working to develop a natural HDR style that complements rather than exaggerates nature’s beauty. Rob will tell us about his favorite tools as well as tools that failed to make the cut. Rob will demonstrate techniques for creating HDR photos that have the look and grace of an Ansel Adams without hauling a 65lbs view camera and glass plates into the wilderness. While demonstrating tips for optimizing these techniques, Rob will explain the process on your screen.
You’ll actually watch Rob develop an image on your monitor. Everything he does will immediately show up on your monitor. If you have a question, he can stop, backup, restart or otherwise redo the step to answer your question. Don’t miss this webinar. It’s not everyday that you can sit with a National Geographic photographer.
Another Good Year for Butterflies
Yesterday, I led three great students on a 3-hour macro photography workshop through the Butterfly Jungle at Wild Animal Park (WAP). As usual, the butterflies were gorgeous, flitting from one flower to the next like colorful miniature dancers. During workshops, I generally don’t have much time to shoot because I’m busy assisting students and answering questions but yesterday I was able to make about 60 photos. Of those, about 15 turned out to be keepers so I was pleased. Typically, handhelding macros is a fool’s game and not much good comes of it. WAP no longer allows tripods so I used a monopod to make these photos.
If you’re interested in butterflies and macros, there’s still time. Butterfly Jungle is open until May 9. You can also photograph butterflies at the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert, CA. I’ll be there Saturday, April 16 from 7AM until about noon.
Don’t Forget Gloria Hopkins’ Composition Webinar next week
You still have time to register HERE.
Why Manual Flash is Sometimes Easier
This past weekend, I photographed Celestina, Pinup Model, Makeup Artist (MUA) and Hair Stylist. This was the third time I’ve photographed her and I should have the lighting down pat by now. Yet, I still managed to make rookie errors that ruined many images and will require a reshoot. BTW, notice the cool NBA blouse. That’s Natonal Bowling Association, not basketball.
First, the excuses. We only had two hours so I was rushed. Celestina was delayed getting there so now we only had 90 minutes. I tried two poses which required moving the backdrop and wasted more time. And, the biggie: I took a shortcut and let E-TTL handle the intricacies of a four-flash set-up. This isn’t to say E-TTL couldn’t have handled it but it takes a lot more smarts on my. I would have been better off manually setting each flash instead of letting E-TTL try to figure out what I wanted.
Here’s a finished photo of Celestina striking a pinup pose. I wanted a white background in the tradition of true pinups. The BG isn’t pure white as I wanted but it’s better than the original (after the jump.) My first thought was to mask Celestina and drop in a white BG. I immediately realized that was a dumb idea because of the fine hairs where I was backlighting her beautiful red hair. More