Greetings folks! I�m writing this newsletter from Galveston, Texas while in-between workshops in Houston and Dallas. Texas is a great state and has earned its reputation for being hot! It is early spring and the temperature is 85 degrees with 95% humidity. All the locals say �just wait until it really warms up�.
Each month this year has brought new and exciting growth to our business. Workshops continue to thrive both in the Pacific Northwest as well as around the USA. April had us leading Photoshop, Digital Workflow, Digital Photography and iTTL Flash workshops in Seattle, Portland, Houston and Dallas. In between those times, I was able to take the family out for some rest and relaxation to the Oregon coast where we played on the beach, swam in the pool and did some photo exploring.
I will be spending the month of May leading workshops as well as working hard to complete the Nikon iTTL wireless flash system book. It is our goal to have this eBook ready for sale by the end of June. We�ll post updates on the book here: www.outthereimages.com/publishing.html.
Also, I wanted to point out that I have posted a link to the iView Multimedia software site on our News page (www.outthereimages.com/news.html). If you are interested in purchasing iView MediaPro 3, you can save 15% by clicking on the link from our site. This is a great cataloging program for all your digital photo needs.
Digital Tidbits: Powerful Black and White Conversions in Photoshop
One of the neatest things about digital photography is how easy it is to convert your vibrant color photographs into compelling black and white photographs (see images at left). There are literally hundreds of programs and methods for converting images into black and white, but those of you who have attended my Photoshop workshops know that my favorite black and white conversion method is using the Channel Mixer tool.
Most of my B&W conversions for portraits and people are done with the Channel Mixer tool, but I also like to use this tool for creating very dramatic �Ansel Adams� type B&W landscape images that evoke power and drama. The starting point for an image to be created in this genre requires that your photo has both a deep blue sky and bright white puffy clouds.
The channel mixer tool allows you to modify the original color image in the background, while seeing the result as a black and white image in real time. In order to use the channel mixer for black and white conversion, it is important that we first understand what it does on a color image.
All digital images that you take with your camera are RGB images. This means that they are a composite of Red, Green and Blue (RGB) pixels. The red pixels in your image constitute the �red channel�. The same goes for the green and blue pixels as. They get their own channels called the �green channel� and the �blue channel.� If you put all three channels together, you get the full-color image.
Now to the �Channel Mixer.� To find this tool, click on Photoshop�s �Image� menu, then click on �Adjustments� then �Channel Mixer.� This allows you to change the ratios of each channel independent from the other channels. Say for instance, you wanted to make the red channel �less red�. You could go into the channel mixer and move the red slider to the left to take out some red (or add cyan).
Now that you see what happens on a color image, it is time to make a dramatic B&W conversion. Open an image that has blue sky and white clouds and then open the channel mixer tool. Next, click the little box in the lower left corner that says �monochrome.� This will change the image to a grayscale image, but will still allow you to mix the ratios of each channel behind the scenes. Try moving the sliders around until you find a combination you like. Traditionally, I mix the channels so that sum total of the three percentages equals approximately 100%.
Creating an Ansel Adams type conversion takes going a little more extreme with the sliders. First of all, take the blue slider and move it down to -150%. Next, take the Red and Green sliders and move them up to about 130% ~ 160%. This new image is very dramatic and results in a dark, ominous sky with incredibly white clouds. The contrast range on this conversion is huge and definitely evokes a feeling of power and awe if you start with the right image. The two photographs I show here are great candidates for this conversion because they started out as blue sky photos with bright white clouds. The end result from each image is much more powerful as a black and white than they ever would be in color.
Try this on your own photos, and you too, can become Ansel Adams for a day.
Photo Techniques:Photographing a New Location
Capturing great images while traveling is always a difficult proposition at best. We all want to come home with amazing photos, but frequently come home with something far less. Like you, there are more times than I care to remember where I came home from a trip empty-handed and wished I could go back to shoot more pictures. What is the secret to getting great travel shots? The truth is, it just takes a lot of gumption � and a bit of planning. That�s the topic for this month�s Photo Techniques article; taking great photographs in new locations (see images at left).
As I mentioned in the introduction to this month�s newsletter, I am writing from Galveston Texas while in-between workshops. I had two days to kill between Houston and Dallas, so I thought I�d spend it in this coastal resort area on the Gulf of Mexico. After all, it just seemed like the right thing to do. Hang out at the ocean in sunny, warm weather and try to take some decent photographs.
I tend to be a �planner� and like to read about a new location before I arrive. One of my favorite methods for learning about places is to go to www.google.com and do a web search about that area. I can usually find just about everything I need, such as paces to stay, places to eat, sights to see and areas to avoid. By reading up on the area first, it helps me understand how I want to photograph it.
After I�ve researched the sights, I find a local map of the area to help understand which way is up. Here in Galveston, I planned my day around which side of the island I wanted to be on for sunrise and sunset. Usually, I want to be on the east side of a location at sunrise and on the west side for sunset. This way, I can capitalize on the golden light for the day.
Once I arrive on the scene, I grab a city newspaper and thumb through it to see what the current events are. I also like to spend some time talking to locals. I�ll go into a coffee shop, a restaurant, or just sit down next to someone on a park bench and pick their brain about the area. You�d be amazed at what you can learn just by having a simple conversation.
Finally, I will take a quick visit to the local tourism office and talk to the volunteers there. I�ll ask them if they know how to access certain spots or if there are any special photographic locations that I shouldn�t miss.
My goal in each new area is to try to photograph some of the iconic shots while also working to capture something new and different. For example, here in Galveston most tourists come down for the miles and miles of beaches, so I will be sure to take some iconic beach shots. There are also thousands of private residences as well as acres and acres of undeveloped wild lands. My plan for photography was to capture beaches, interesting homes, interesting people and wild spaces.
When it comes time to start taking photos, one of the mistakes we all make is being too timid initially. A lot of photographers find that they need to �slowly work into it� by keeping their camera in their bag and only taking it out when a photograph appears. I get over this early inhibition by taking my camera out of the bag right away. This gets my mind into the photographic groove from the get go. Almost always, my initial shots from a trip are weak, so it makes a lot of sense to get those out of the way immediately. My shots invariably improve as the day goes on, so the more I take early in the trip, the quicker I get better photos.
One way that helps me keep my gear out and ready is by using the right camera bags. During this trip to Galveston, I used a modular photo belt system from Think Tank Photo called the Pro Modulus Speed System (www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_product_ProMod.php). It was fantastic to use on the fly, as it allowed me to quickly change lenses between my camera bodies. Also, since it was hot and humid, the light-weight harness didn�t cause me to get sweaty in the 95% humidity.
Along with this approach is another recommendation: Don�t be afraid to use your gear and get it dirty, wet, humid, sweaty and grubby. This week, I took pictures while kneeling down on the beach, standing in the surf, getting bit by horse flies and swatting mosquitoes. Your camera gear is durable and is built to be used. You spent good money on a camera in order to come home with fantastic photographs, so don�t keep it all wrapped up and protected. Use common sense though – if it is pouring down rain, you might want to keep the camera under your coat between photos. However, I�m never afraid to take the camera out and expose it to the elements to get the shot.
I like to photograph in the morning and in the evening. These times of day provide the best light and are also the most active. If the area I�m going to has a nature preserve or a wildlife park, then I�ll go to this spot in the morning. Typically, animals are more active in the morning, so it makes sense to focus my time there. I�ll spend my evenings in the city, photographing people and city life. Typically, beaches and tourist districts don�t even begin to get really populated until after lunch, so it makes sense to photograph these spots in the evening.
During the middle part of the day, when the sun is high and the light is harsh, I�ll generally drive around, scouting for great sunset spots. If it is overcast, then I�ll keep on shooting throughout the middle part of the day.
Great travel photographs incorporate bright and bold colors. I search out anything and everything that has bold blues, reds and greens, and then work at composing that subject into a great photograph.
Taking great photos in a new location can be a bit daunting. However, with a little bit of planning and some forethought, you can go from mediocre to magnificent in no time!
Tips for Photographing New Locations
– Read the local newspapers event pages.
– Get a good map of the area.
– Do internet searches on the area (google.com, yahoo.com).
– Drive around the city at high noon (during the bad light) to scout out sunset shots.
– Get off the main road and onto the dirt roads.
– Get out of the car and walk down the street.
– Smile and talk to people while you are photographing (shake some hands).
– Photograph at sunrise and sunset.
– Look for bold colors to incorporate into the photograph.
– Get close to your subject. Get closer. Closer still.
– Tell a story. Wide, medium and small pictures.
– Spend some time in the region. Three hours won�t cut it.
The Art of Travel Workshops
Want to learn how to take great travel photos? Attend the Art of Travel Workshop this September. Our premier Art of Travel workshop will be located in Mazama, Washington in the North Cascades from September 21st – 24th, 2006. Our focus will be on creating stunning travel photos in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. We’ll be staying at the beautiful Mazama Country Inn (http://www.mazamacountryinn.com/index.htm) and will divide our time between classroom study and outdoor photography field sessions. We�ll cover digital workflow, field photography techniques, printing methods, and much, much more. Go here for more details: www.outthereimages.com/travel_workshop.html
Our 2006 Nikonians workshops are more popular than ever. The workshops we held in Houston and Dallas were great fun. Sign up now while there is still space available because many have already sold out. We’ll be offering four different workshops in major cities throughout the USA. To sign up for a workshop, follow this link: www.greaterphoto.com. Our workshop offerings will be:
– Photoshop for Photographers
– Nikon Capture
– Nikon D70
– iTTL Flash system.
The dates and cities will be:
Apr 20-23 Houston
Apr 27-30 Dallas/Fort Worth
May 25-28 Ft. Lauderdale
Jun 8-11 Phoenix
Jul 20-23 Vancouver BC
Jul 27-30 Seattle
Oct 5-8 New York
Oct 12-15 Philadelphia
Oct 19-22 Washington DC (at Penn Camera)
Nov 2-5 Chicago area
Our next Photoshop workshop dates are May 19, 20 in Portland. We have additional Photoshop workshops in Seattle during September 7th – 9th. These workshops are a great way to learn Photoshop while using practical, real world examples that photographers face each day. We have three levels of Photoshop instruction � Photoshop I, II, and III. Take them one at a time or take them as a group of two or more and get a 10% discount. Go here for more information: www.outthereimages.com/photoshop_workshop.html (Note: If you can�t make the Seattle/Portland workshops, then you might check out our Nikonians Photoshop workshops around the country at www.greaterphoto.com.)
Nikon D200 Workshops
We�ll be offering workshops on this camera beginning on June 3rd, 2006 and extending into 2007. This new digital camera from Nikon is a fantastic professional system. Its image quality is superb and it has an unparalleled feature set for the price. Nikon has truly hit a home run with the D200. Come to our workshop to learn all the important features so you can optimize its performance to your shooting style. Follow this link for more information: www.outthereimages.com/D200_workshop.html
Nikon D70 Workshops
The Nikon D70 and D70s cameras continue to be big sellers and so we continue to run these very popular workshops through 2006. We offer two days of training on the D70: a D70 Level I workshop and an Advanced D70 workshop. Updated schedules and course outlines are posted here: www.outthereimages.com/D70_workshop.html
These workshops cover topics that every digital photographer struggles with. Questions such as how to manage those thousands of digital photos, how to profile and calibrate your system and how to automate your workflow so you don’t spend so much time at your computer. This workshop provides great “nuts and bolts” tutorials in a hands-on environment to make sure you learn the topics. We�ve just entered into an agreement with iView Media to provide their new digital asset management software at a reduced price. I guarantee you’ll enjoy this day of learning. Go here for more details: www.outthereimages.com/D70_workshop.html
Nikon iTTL Flash Workshops
If you’ve ever been frustrated trying to get your flash photography to look natural, then you need to attend this workshop. We spend all day learning the ins and outs of the Nikon’s SB600 and SB800 flashes. You’ll never again have to struggle with these flashes. More info at: www.outthereimages.com/ittl_workshop.html
Nikon’s flagship cameras are marvels of engineering and capable of amazing results. We have created these two-day workshops to cater to those of you looking for professional level instruction on these incredible cameras. Learn how to use the outstanding white balance capabilities, multiple exposures, in-camera photo overlays and its lightning fast autofocus system during this feature packed two-day event. More info is posted here: www.outthereimages.com/D2_workshop.html.
Each month, more and more of you are signing up for private workshops. These are becoming very popular and are an affordable way for you to learn specifically what you want to learn in a one-on-one environment. During these sessions, we are able to work specifically on your own photographic needs and at your own pace. Available topics are Studio Lighting, Nature Photography, Wedding photography, Photoshop, color management, digital workflow, flash photography, portraiture, etc. Many of our customers have requested specific topics and we have tailored our private tutoring to their needs. Call (360) 750-1103 or email ([email protected]) if you have questions about this option.
Thank you very much for reading this month�s newsletter. I sincerely appreciate your support and I hope you will be able to apply some of these learnings to your own photography. Keep shooting!
Out There Images – “Get Out And Learn!”
PO Box 1966
Gig Harbor, WA 98335