CreativeLive Photoshop Week Panorama Workshop

Posted February 16th, 2016 by   |  Photography, Software  |  Permalink


New CreativeLive Panorama Workshop

I’ll be teaching a class for CreativeLive during the industry’s biggest event of the year – Photoshop Week 2016. My workshop will be on producing beautiful panoramas using Lightroom CC, ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) and Photoshop CC. During the week, there are multiple instructors teaching in different learning tracks that you’ll be able to watch live for free. Other instructors include Tim Grey, Ben Willmore, Lindsay Adler, Matt Kloskowski, Jared Platt, Dave Cross and many more.

Tune in to watch the live panorama workshop broadcast at 1:15 PM PST, February 22, 2016. For more information on this specific class, check out the workshop page over at CreativeLive: Creating Panoramas in Photoshop and Lightroom – Mike Hagen

Photoshop Week 2016 Full Schedule:

RSVP today to watch live for free. Signing up early also allows you to pre-order the complete Photoshop Week training package for half-price.

More Press from CreativeLive’s Website

Discover the tools you need to remake the world in your image. Learn from some of the world’s most inspiring photographers and retouchers. Unlock the power of Photoshop and Lightroom to transform the images you have into the images you want.

On February 22nd-27th watch the free live stream of the industry’s biggest week. Learn exciting new ways to enhance your work and remake your post-production workflow. Create images that stand out and inspire. No matter how many years you’ve been in the game, find the tools, techniques and shortcuts you need to bring your unique creative vision to life.

This year, you can chose from 4 unique course tracks to find the skills you need. We now have a Beginner’s track and an Advanced track, so you can master the essentials and then graduate to more complex techniques. Get in the habit of shooting with post-production ideas in mind with our Shoot to Edit classes. After you get your skills locked down, keep up to date on the latest Photoshop techniques and designs with the Trends series.

Make the most out of what you learn this week! Our partners at Adobe are offering 20% off the Creative Cloud Photography plan to new subscribers if you join us for Photoshop Week – get access to Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and Adobe’s versatile mobile apps to craft amazing images anytime. RSVP now, and we’ll email you a link to this exclusive offer.

Working the Scene

Posted July 29th, 2015 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink
Bell flowers and Icelandic mountain.

Bell flowers and mountain in southern Iceland. Nikon D800, 14-24mm f/2.8.

When photographing any scene, make a point to always photograph it from as many angles as possible. Working the scene is important, because you’ll never know which photograph looks the best until you get back to your computer.

Mountain and reflection

Icelandic mountain reflected in small pond. Nikon D800, 14-24mm f/2.8, Gitzo carbon fiber tripod.

On last week’s trip through the southern coast of Iceland, my co-leader Tim Vollmer stopped our photo van to photograph this beautiful mountain reflected in the pool of water. Our group took a few reflection photographs at the pond, then started looking around for different photographs in the adjacent field. We found a small cluster bell flowers in the field and used it as a foreground element in our landscape image.

The flowers provided an entirely different look than the reflection and greatly added to the diversity of images we created. It’s a lot easier to spend 10 more minutes at the scene while you on location than it is to try to recreate a photo once you get back home.

To work a scene, consider these options:

– vertical

– horizontal

– reflections

– flowers

– water

– people

– animals

– high perspective

– low perspective

– sunny

– cloudy

Just for fun, here are a few BTS (behind the scenes) pics of our group in action.


Photographers in the dirt

Photographers using the bell flowers as a foreground element in their mountain photograph. Nikon D750, 70-200 f/2.8.

Photographers in Iceland

Photographers shooting mountain reflection in Iceland.

Blue-footed Booby as the Hunter

Posted September 24th, 2014 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink

The Galapagos Islands are known around the world for their diversity of wildlife and unique animals. One of the more unique birds in the area is the blue-footed booby. They are known for their bright blue webbed feet and funny mating dance where they sway from side to side, lifting their feet high into the air. Even though the blue-footed booby has a range extending from the Gulf of California down through Peru, the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador have capitalized on their presence and made the bird species famous.

blue-footed booby on rocks

The blue-footed booby is an impressive hunter. You’d never guess by their somewhat silly looks and their bright blue feet.

Watching a booby hunt is great fun because the entire process is very dramatic. Their hunting method is called plunge diving, which means the birds fly in circles above their fishing grounds, then suddenly turn and aggressively dive towards the water. Immediately before hitting the water, they fold their wings back and plunge into the sea with a loud thunk! They hit the water at speeds up to about 60 mph and can go to depths as far as 80 feet under the surface while chasing their prey of sardines, mackerel, flying fish and anchovies. They often eat their prey under water, then pop to the surface to continue hunting.

Photographing the sequence of a hunting blue footed booby is quite challenging. Since you never really know when they are going to turn and dive, you end up panning left to right with their movement for quite some time. Then, somewhat suddenly, they stop their forward flight and arc over to dive directly into the water below. Their flight pattern transitions from normal forward flight at 15 mph, to almost a full stop, then to rapid acceleration in a vertical dive at speeds of 60 mph. For the shots below, I configured my camera’s autofocus system in continuous servo, then work very hard to keep the main autofocus point directly on the flying bird. Obviously, it is extremely difficult to keep the AF sensor on the bird throughout the dive, so I like to use Dynamic AF (21 point) or Group AF for additional help from the camera’s intelligent AF sensors.

Because the bird moves so fast, I like to frame the images slightly loose in the camera, then crop them later in post processing. In the case of this sequence (below), I shot these with my Nikon D800, Nikon 200-400mm f/4 and Nikon 1.4x TC. I handheld the camera so I could respond quicker to the bird’s movements. I also used a fast shutter speed of 1/3200 second in order to freeze the motion for the sharpest picture possible.


Here, the blue-footed booby has identified its prey below and is preparing to dive.

blue-footed booby arc

Here, the blue-footed booby has arced over and started its dive towards the fish below

blue-footed booby

The dive begins. At this point, the blue-footed booby is flying about 15 mph.

blue-footed booby

At this point in the dive, the blue-footed booby is flying about 45 mph and is still targeting the fish underwater.

blue-footed booby tuck

Just prior to hitting the water, the booby tucks its wings. When it does hit, the wings are fully swept back and the bird looks just like a torpedo. It hits the water at 60 mph with a loud thunk.

blue-footed booby splash

The final image is the perfectly circular splash as the booby disappears under the surface in pursuit of its prey.





Join Us On A Photo Adventure Trip

Posted May 12th, 2014 by   |  Photography, Travel, Wildlife, Workshops  |  Permalink

world travel with Mike

We have a full schedule of adventure photo trips planned for 2014/2015 and would love to have you along. Photography adventure trips with Mike Hagen and Visual Adventures are great fun and very educational. We’ve taken care of all the trip details so you can focus solely on getting the best shot in the best light.

Our Iceland and Galapagos trips for August/September 2014 are already sold out, but we have space available for Cuba in October, Tanzania in November, Iceland in February and India next April. Stay tuned for more 2015 trips to be announced soon!

Tanzania photo safari

Photographing birds on safari with Mike Hagen in Tanzania.

All of our workshops can be found at this link:

Here are our upcoming international trips for the remainder of 2014 and early 2015:

Aug. 12-20, 2014
Iceland Photo and Bird Adventure (SOLD OUT)

Sep. 5-14, 2014
Galapagos Photo Adventure (SOLD OUT)

Oct. 4-12, 2014
Cuba Photography and Cultural Tour

Nov. 4-15, 2014
Tanzania Photo Safari

Feb. 9-15, 2015
Iceland Winter Photo Adventure

Apr. 29 – May 11, 2015
Northern India Tea, Landscape and Wildlife Photo Adventure

Iceland group

Iceland Photo and Bird Adventure.

Galapagos travel group

Galapagos Islands Photo adventure group.

galapagos sea lion

Up close and personal with wildlife in the Galapagos

long lenses

Long lenses and sun hats in Galapagos.




Four New Nikon D800 Features I Like

Posted April 6th, 2012 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink

Here’s a quick video showing off four new Nikon D800 features that I like. Enjoy!

Four New Nikon D800 Features I Like from Mike Hagen on Vimeo.

North Cascades Art of Travel Workshop, Days 1 and 2

Posted October 15th, 2011 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink

A group of photographers and I are up in Washington State’s North Cascades for the Art of Travel Photography workshop. Based out of the tiny town of Mazama, we are exploring the beauty of the surrounding mountains and stunning landscapes. Here are a few pics from day 1 and day 2 of the workshop. Two more days to go!

Season's first snow and yellow larch trees.

Season's first snow and yellow larch trees.

Washington Pass panorama.

Washington Pass panorama.

Early Winters Spires and cirrus clouds.

Early Winters Spires and cirrus clouds.

White trunks and yellow leaves.

White trunks and yellow leaves.

Waterfall on trail to Rainy Lake.

Waterfall on trail to Rainy Lake.

Art of Travel Photography Workshop – North Cascades

Posted September 8th, 2011 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink
Sunrise and clouds from Slate Peak.

Sunrise and clouds from Slate Peak.

Everybody wants to create beautiful images while traveling. We journey to stunning locations because of the beauty and we want to show everyone the gorgeous surroundings after we return.

Every year I run a photography workshop called “The Art of Travel Photography” with the express purpose of working through the process of creating artistic and beautiful images. This year’s workshop is in the North Cascades of Washington State from 10/13 – 10/16. We will be based out of Mazama, WA and will photograph some of Washington’s most scenic areas. Our days will be filled with a mix of outdoor photography, hands-on field work, classroom instruction and the all-important image review/critique.

We’d love to have you come along on this year’s trip. Sign up now at this link:

Methow River at sunrise.

Methow River at sunrise.

Liberty Bell and meadow. North Cascades, WA.

Liberty Bell and meadow. North Cascades, WA.

Old car and garage. Winthrop, WA.

Old car and garage. Winthrop, WA.

Water on grass. Early Winter Spires area, North Cascades, WA.

Water on grass. Early Winter Spires area, North Cascades, WA.

Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 Announced

Posted January 17th, 2011 by   |  Photography, Software  |  Permalink

Nik Silver Efex Pro is one of my favorite programs for creating black and white images. The great news is that Nik has just publically announced Silver Efex Pro 2.  I’ve been using the beta version to create some black and white conversions and can’t wait for the final version. Here are a couple samples.

Leopard in Tarangire. Converted to black and white in the beta version of Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. Original image Nikon D300s, Nikon 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Leopard in Tarangire. Converted to black and white in the beta version of Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. Original image Nikon D300s, Nikon 200-400mm f4, 1.4x TC.

Elephant herd in Tarangire, NP, Tanzania. Image converted to black and white in beta version of Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. Original image Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8.

Elephant herd in Tarangire, NP, Tanzania. Image converted to black and white in beta version of Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. Original image Nikon D700, 24-70mm f2.8.

More info here:


Nikonians Academy Europe

Posted August 31st, 2010 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink


I just returned from Germany, where I have been working with a new team to set up Nikonians Academy Europe.

It is exciting to be expanding the Nikonians Academy to our friends in Western Europe. Nikonians Academy Europe will be run by Hayo Baan from the Netherlands and our first workshops will kickoff in the UK with John McDonald. Our workshop offerings will be almost identical to the workshops I’ve pioneered here in the USA. High quality content, amazing attention to detail, small class sizes and excellent instructors.

Unconscious Competence

Posted June 30th, 2009 by   |  Photography, Uncategorized  |  Permalink

Last week, I was down in Texas running photography workshops and I was talking about the importance of practicing your photography skills. I strongly encouraged folks in the class to get out and take photographs every day until their camera becomes a natural extension of their mind.

All too often, photographers go weeks and months between taking photographs, only to find that when it is time to trip the shutter for real, they are rusty. They aren’t sure if the camera is set up correctly or if the autofocus is in the right mode. Their photographs lack inspiration and become record shots of the event, rather than inspired images.

During the workshop, a participant named Brian Stark suggested that his goal was to become Unconsciously Competent with his camera. In other words, he wanted to become so comfortable with the camera settings, menus, and buttons, that he could operate it without thinking.


That’s what I am talking about. Unconscious competence is the only way to really become a skilled photographer. A great photographer is able to do the following:

1. Look at a scene
2. Visualize an image
3. Configure the camera
4. Take the photo
5. Have the resulting photo match your vision

A master photographer is able to do this all unconsciously. My goal is Unconscious Competence and I’m still working on achieving it. I force myself to take photographs every day in order to keep mentally sharp and creatively fit!

If you’d like to do some more reading on Unconscious Competence, then follow this Wikipedia Link.

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