Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stroll in the National Museum of Rome...

The National Museum is a wonderful place to visit in Rome. There is much to explore! I liked the woman admiring the artifacts, and it seemed the perfect opportunity to create a black and white interpretation. Black and white imagery has a timeless appeal, and classic traditional look. Converting to B&W can create a more dramatic and expressive image, without the connotations of color. This allows the viewer to take in the wonderful texture, pattern, shape, light, shadow and tonality throughout the image.

Nik Silver Efex Pro is my favorite method of B&W conversion. I use it for my all my infrared photography, and it works perfectly for color images as well. For black and white printing, please check out Digital Silver Imaging. I saw their stunning prints at PDN PhotoPlus Expo in New York. They do beautiful work, and they also convert cameras to infrared! You can use this Deb-IR for infrared camera conversion, and DSANDIDGE for everything Nik. Have fun shooting! ~ Deb

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Creativity with Nik HDR Efex Pro - Upcoming Webinar

Please join me for an exciting webinar on February 16th at 5:00pm EST with Nik Software: Creativity with Nik HDR Efex Pro! I'll be sharing tips and techniques to create inspirational HDR images through multiple and single image HDR processing with landscapes, cityscapes, and more!

The art and technique of HDR allows the photographer to create dramatic story-telling images. From illustrative to photorealistic, you are the artist when it comes to how you wish your HDR image to be defined!

The process of shooting a scene and merging the images through HDR Efex Pro is easily accomplished, revealing incredible detail, color, and definition throughout the highlight, mid-tone, and shadow areas. One of the great qualities of Nik HDR Efex Pro is the ability to use control points to make targeted adjustments to select areas. This is a huge plus for the photographer working with HDR images. 

This is the first in a new series with and Nik Software! I hope you'll join me to see how easy it is for the novice to the professional to easily create beautiful HDR images.  You can download a 15 day free trial from Nik Software, and use coupon code DSANDIDGE for anything Nik. Follow this link to sign up! Hope you can join me! ~ Deb

Monday, January 24, 2011

#South Beach Lifeguard Stands with artistic textures and borders...

This started as a singular long exposure before sunrise on beautiful South Beach in Miami, FL. There are quite a few of these lifeguard stands that are manned during the daytime hours to protect beach goers. Before the sun actually rose, the sky was violet with a pink hue and I wanted to work with this idea a bit in Photoshop to create a fun and painterly look.

I used several layers of texture to create the look in this image. I started with Lavender Skies and a blend mode of Overlay, and used a second texture, Brushed Rose with a blend mode of Hard Light. A Hue/Saturation adjustment layer was added to sway the colors in the texture to a more violet and purple hue, very easy to do from the Adjustment Panel in Photoshop.

The textures were brought out with the various blend modes and complemented the life guard stand nicely. From the Layers Palette, you can scroll through the various blend modes to see the effect each has on your image by making sure the Move tool is active, and holding down the Shift and the plus or minus key. The textures used here are from Flypaper and they are truly one of my favorites of textures to work with. Try them and see why! Click here to visit Flypaper Textures.

This was a lot of fun to create, and the finishing touches work out beautifully by using a canvas looking edge treatment by Jack Davis from OnOne PhotoFrame. This filter set has every edge treatment, border, frame, embellishment, and overlay available, to make the perfect picture.  OnOne PhotoFrame... you can use coupon code DEBSANDIDGE. Interested to know more about enhancing your images? Join me in class next month at  - I hope to see you there!

Friday, January 21, 2011

A new day... a new beginning... and a new webinar with Nik Software!

Sunrise on the beach, what a wonderful way to start the day. Watching the sunrise makes anything seem possible. It's a brand new day - you own it! I grew up on the east coast of Florida, each sunrise is like a poem to me.

What do you need to capture a sunrise? A tripod, cable release, and a graduated neutral density filter can be helpful balancing light in the composition. The sky can be most expressive before the sun actually rises, a tripod is key here. Clouds can make all the difference. Cinematic clouds add drama, an empty sky doesn't have quite the same impact. In that case, the waves and shoreline can be the main subject.

Polarizers work well to darken a blue sky and to reduce glare. Nik Color Efex Pro has a polarizer filter, while it doesn't reduce glare, it works beautifully creating the effect elsewhere as you see here. I also used Viveza on selected areas, so easy to do! (You can use DSANDIDGE your coupon code for anything Nik). Experiment with a few ideas and see what works for you!

Please join me for a webinar with Nik Software! I'm very excited about this, I'll post more soon. Here is a direct link to sign up for the Series: Creativity with Nik HDR Efex Pro. I hope to see you there! ~ Deb

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hope to meet you at Florida's Birding & Photo Fest in April!

Mark your calendar for April 27 - May 1 for Florida's Birding and Photo Fest in St. Augustine, Florida! This is a great event packed with adventure and fun, and it's not just birds... Take a peek at the presentations, workshops, activities and events scheduled in one of the most historic and photogenic areas in Florida.

I'm very excited to be an event speaker again this year. Look for my presentations:  HDR - Creating Dynamic Images, Digital Infrared Photography, and A Creative Approach to Digital Photography. Plus, I absolutely love night photography, so I hope to see you on my Night Photography workshop in beautiful downtown St. Augustine!

There is a bird rookery that attracts hundreds of birds that are easily photographed from a boardwalk at the Alligator Farm. If you like alligators, you are in luck! Last year was a lot of fun and I met so many fantastic photographers. Come on down for photography, friendship, fun and FOOD! Florida has the best seafood ever. I hope to meet you there!  ~ Deb

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cafe in Rome - Create a dreamlike quality with an HDR Image...

For a dreamlike quality evocative of a memory, try using a vignette blur around your image.  The softness creates a nostalgic feeling, and taking away some of the detail makes the image a little more artistic.  The contrasting sharpness and softness adds a little interest and mystery to the composition.

The original image is a 3 exposure HDR 0, -2, +2 processed through Nik HDR Efex Pro. When I came across the scene, I had a general idea of the direction I wanted to take the image, emphasizing the wonderful texture, color and detail of this vintage Italian cafe. The subject often determines how the image might be processed, photorealistic, artistic or somewhere in between. The presets in Nik HDR Efex Pro gives the photographer a variety of starting points and directions to work with. You can experiment with a few ideas without taking up a lot of time. Have fun shooting and try something different!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Venice Gondolas... a painterly approach with Alien Skin Snap Art

Venice is most beautiful, like the rest of Italy, everything is a picture! These boats were right outside my window. They stayed docked most of the time, it was a lot colder than it looks! This photo was taken very early in the morning when the sky was beginning to take on color and a few clouds.  I wanted to create a artistic look for this image, as if an artist in Venice had painted this from the heart. My painting skills are somewhat limited but I truly enjoyed working with Alien Skin Snap Art. Brushstrokes of color and texture brought this photo to life using the Oil Paint filter. It was just what I had in mind when I made the picture! Buon giorno... have a wonderful day! Happy painting and please feel free to use code Deb0902 for anything Alien Skin!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bicycles in Rome... HDR with Nik HDR Efex Pro

The city of Rome is a most exciting place! The cars are mostly small, and so are the motorcycles, actually scooters. I saw one Harley Davidson, and a ton of Vespa's.  I believe people live there by divine intervention. I have lived my entire life without ever getting close to getting hit by a car, but count three times in Rome including a police car while I was in the crosswalk!  I'm not counting the scrapings, and a few near hits (misses?) in taxi's, but, I lived to write about it.  :-) 

There are a lot of bicycles too, including this pair that I photographed in an alley. What attracted me to the composition was the texture of the stone and stucco, and the trio of posters above the bikes. It rained a lot in Italy, creating a look that the world was saturated with color. The bicycles were the perfect pairing for an HDR image. I made a series of three exposures using a Nikon D3s and 24-70mm lens, which is one of my favorites. 

Tips for HDR: Use a tripod, and remote release which is helpful for low light levels to prevent camera shake when pressing the shutter. Check the histogram to make sure there is detail in the exposure for highlights, and also the image for the shadows. You may only need to make three exposures in most cases, however in contrasty situations you may need to make additional exposures. Nik HDR Efex Pro worked beautifully to bring out the color and detail throughout the image. The presets are a great springboard to customize your image, and you can fine tune and save your settings to customize your HDR image. Have fun shooting!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A quiet evening in Rome...

Twilight is one of my most favorite times to photograph - the sky is often the most beautiful blue. The light was balanced between the night sky and all the city lights for just a few minutes. The water under the bridge seemed to soak up the most amazing reflections, creating a very painterly image. Early morning and late evening is the perfect time to walk along this section of the pedestrian bridge. The view is always impressive. Long exposures at twilight paint the water with golden light, giving it an entirely different texture and color than during the day.

I used an inexpensive but sturdy tripod called a Joby Gorillapod to make this picture. It easily holds a heavy camera and lens still during exposure. A cable release or self timer works well to reduce vibration that could be transferred to the camera during exposure. Placing the tripod directly on the widest part of the ledge on the bridge allowed for the best angle.

Another thought is consider white balance settings. A setting of Automatic created a very cool look, while Sunny, which was used here warmed things up bit and made the scene more inviting. If you have Live View on your camera, you can scroll through the various white balance settings to see which one gives you the look that will complement your visual story. Finishing touches from Nik Viveza 2 made it easy to quickly brighten and dark selected areas without complex masking. Your coupon code for anything Nik is DSANDIDGE. Have fun shooting!  Ciao...

PS.. If you want to learn more about twilight and night photography, please join me at Florida's Birding & Photofest in St. Augustine this April. I'll be covering, twilight photography, HDR, infrared and everything creative!