Life Happens – Even in Photography: Part 2

Author: Pam Henrichsen

Today I have 13,038 memories in my camera roll. This gives me an opportunity to be creative when I am looking to personalize a gift for that special occasion. Like everyone else I am busy and full of good intentions and all of a sudden Life Happens … However, I love that I have access to my photos on my iPhone when I am crunched for time. So let the creating begin.

One of my favorite photography apps is called Simple Life. It allows you to create calendars, prints, canvas prints and books. The perfect solution for my gift giving needs. Let’s begin and create a personalized book …

Once you have downloaded the app simply start a new album.

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Now simply chose the photos that you would like to include.

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After the photos have been selected just arrange them and insert text.

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Before you finalize your product make sure to preview your book. Look for anything that needs to be edited: spelling, poor photo quality, cropping, just to name a few.

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The last step is to select your cover and spine.

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You are now ready to check out and ship your thoughtful and creative gift.

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This is just one idea to personalize your photos from many of the apps available. Some other apps that I find fun and easy to use are Shutterfly, Flipgram and Ink Cards.

Enjoy your photos but also get them out of your phone because we all know that Life Happens … Even in Photography.

Pam Henrichsen is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

Fast and Easy Photo Editing using Snapseed

Author:  Joanne Shipman

For those quick gotta-post-this-shot for my friends and family, I turn to my iPhone as well as a practical but fun and intuitive photo editing application called Snapseed. This free application can be downloaded to both an iOS or Android mobile device and includes editing features in an easy-to-understand format. Once downloaded, all you have to do is know how to swipe.

To get started, select the Snapseed icon on your mobile device. In order to upload the photo, click Open in the upper right and find your photo saved on your mobile device that you would like to edit. From there, click on the pencil icon in the bottom right. At this point, you will see two sections titled Tools and Filters.

Within Tools, click the Tune Image tool first and adjust Brightness and Contrast for example. Swiping up and down on the photo will allow you to highlight various editing features. Swiping to the right will increase the selection, and likewise, swiping to the left will decrease the selection. Note the number at the bottom of the screen along with the ‘+’ or ‘-’ indicates degree of editing with your selection. The Details tool will allow for sharpening or clarity while Crop and Rotate can align the horizon or skew a photo to give an edgy look.

Snapseed offers many Filters with numerous options within each filter selection. For this Jackson Lake photo taken at Grand Teton National Park, the Drama 1 filter was selected with an adjusted Filter Strength from a preset 90 to 80. Finally, the finishing touch could be a Frame. In this photo, Frame #8 was chosen with a white border and inner ‘choppy’ black border. An additional feature is Frame Width in case you want to increase or decrease the border.

In all cases, after editing click the “Checkmark” at the bottom right of the screen to save your edits and continue with more tools if desired. Alternatively, you can always click on the ‘x’ at the bottom left in order to cancel that tool or filter and go back to the photo with last saved edits. Fortunately, all edits are non-destructive to the original photo saved on your mobile device.

Once editing is complete, click Save at the top of your screen. You will find your photo in Photos for iOS or Gallery for Android then within the Snapseed folder. You’re ready to post to social media or text your family and friends with your photo.

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Now if that isn’t a “snap”, I don’t know what is!

Joanne Shipman is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits of Facebook Photography Groups

Author: Amy Novotny

Photography workshops and classes are a great way to learn general photography and various types of photography, such as landscape, macro, portrait, etc., in a condensed period of time. Arizona Highways Photo Workshops hosts many workshops that provide this service as well as help people meet other photographers that they can later use as resources or as buddies to go out shooting. At times though, it is nice to learn little tidbits of information on a daily basis or to seek out opinions of other photographers who have “been there and done that.”  Social media is a great way to achieve this goal.

Two social media groups on Facebook provide a great resource for photography information. Both the Nikon Digital Camera and Photo Enthusiasts and the Canon Digital Camera and Photo Enthusiasts groups allow for great discussion of photography or camera gear for their respective brands. As a Nikon user, I belong to the Nikon group and peruse the group site daily. There are strict guidelines for posting on the news feed including limiting photo uploads to three per day, listing the shooting details of each image and providing respectful comments and criticism. The site monitors do a great job in removing visitors who violate these rules.

This site has served me in several ways: providing me ideas on composing photos, helping me learning camera settings for different types of photography outside of my comfort zone, and helping me choose new gear to purchase. Originally, I joined the group in hope to hone my skills in various types of photography since I started out learning landscape photography. A friend had recently asked me to take senior portraits of her daughter and my brother’s wedding was fast approaching. I needed ideas on lighting, location and camera settings. The site contained many photos from contributors all over the world for senior portraits both indoors and outdoors as well as other creative portrait photography.  I came away with many ideas and had success.

When I decided to upgrade my camera from a Nikon D5500 to something with more versatility, I debated going to a full frame or remaining with a cropped-sensor camera.  Since many people had posted questions regarding this, I searched the group site and found many posts on the pros and cons of each camera type from users in addition to academic articles about the differences.  Once I narrowed down the sensor type I wanted, I had to decide on the best camera for my needs and budget. I posted a question on another user’s post for the first time and received a nice response. This was encouraging, as the turnaround was quick from a couple photographers who had both cameras that I was interested in and could easily offer advice on each.

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Lastly, I wavered on a lens and had read many technical articles on the old and new version of the Nikon 24-70 mm lens. I still couldn’t decide, so I posted the question on the group site to see what photographers had found through their experiences. The response was wonderful and informative. I felt no hesitation in the decision I made after that and greatly appreciated the service this social media site provided.

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The benefit to this site is that I can interact as much or as little as I want and still learn.  While I still feel that in person workshops and classes are the best way to learn a type of photography or learn how to photograph a location, these social media groups are a great supplement to further anyone’s photography.

Amy Novotny is a Volunteer Trip Leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

Twitter: @amynovotnyaz
Instagram: anovotn

The Beauty of Grand Teton National Park

Author:  Joanne Shipman

When you mix mountains and photography, there’s always that potential for the most beautiful moments. For me, I love the crisp, cool morning air and that feeling of being so small amongst such grand mountains. Hiking on a trail that leads me deep into a forest with blooming wildflowers, rambling streams, breath-taking waterfalls and perhaps an unexpected animal or two.

Recently, I was a volunteer on the Spring in the Tetons workshop with Professional Photographer Henry Holdsworth. With Henry’s long-standing in-depth knowledge of the park, he led our participants to areas such as Schwabacher Landing and Jackson Lake where we captured incredible photographs. Some of those exciting moments included famous Mama bear “399” swimming across the river, an adolescent moose foraging for food, a red fox feeding its kit and a beaver out for an evening swim near its lodge. One of our participants made a fitting comment that, “Henry would need to bring back an extinct animal” to really top off the entire workshop.

Grand Teton National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming outside of Jackson Hole and is a one-of-a-kind place that should not be missed whether you visit to relax and take in the clean air or photograph moments in an awe-inspiring location complete with alpine terrain, lakes and Snake River. The park is open year-round with varying daytime temperatures from 26 degrees in January to 80 degrees in July.

Be sure to check out future workshops at this location: Fall in the Tetons scheduled for October 2-6, 2016 and Spring in the Tetons scheduled for June 3-7, 2017.

What do you love most about the mountains? I’d love to read your thoughts.

For now, let me leave you with a few inspirational quotes to ponder with photos of a Bison, Yellow-Bellied Marmot, Horse and landscape in Moose, Wyoming taken using a Canon 5DMIII and 28-300mm L lens…

Happiness is having a scratch for every itch - Ogden Nash

Happiness is having a scratch for every itch – Ogden Nash

Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon - Charles M. Schultz

Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon – Charles M. Schultz

There on the tips of fair fresh flowers feedeth he How joyous is his neigh There in the midst of sacred pollen hidden all hidden he How joyous is his neigh -Navajo Song

There on the tips of fair fresh flowers feedeth he
How joyous is his neigh
There in the midst of sacred pollen hidden all hidden he
How joyous is his neigh
– Navajo Song

It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves - Sir Edmund Hillary

It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves – Sir Edmund Hillary

Joanne Shipman is a Volunteer Trip Leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.
Twitter: @Telluride_Bride
Instagram: telluride_bride

When the photo opportunity is right…..

Author:  David Halgrimson

One thing I have found is that when a photo opportunity is right, it hits you like “Wow this is good”, right then is the time to drop everything listen, observe, take your time if possible and get the shot. We all see things whether it is a planned shoot or just something spontaneous but it grabs us and we feel it in our bones. It does not happen every day, week, month but when it happens we just know. It’s not because of owning great equipment, it’s not because we got it technically, it is just that gut feeling, that “Wow”. If it has not happened for you yet, keep at it, it will come, just beware it does not happen often but the more you work at it the more chances you will have. I have been on week long shoots where nothing has inspired me but then that one shot comes up and your whole being lights up and you can’t wait to get home and see the image large on your computer screen. That’s what keeps serious photographers going and if you play golf it is the same thing as getting that one shot out of eighteen holes that brings you back. It can’t be beat!

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© David Halgrimson

I have worked with and watched many professional photographers and I can see the excitement in their eyes, actions when that, “got it” hits, the energy changes not just for them but for everyone around them. I have had that feeling and it is unexplainable, beautiful and powerful and I could see others with me when they see what I got.

If it hasn’t happened for you yet, just keep shooting, keep looking, where ever you are there are things of beauty waiting for you to capture it for yourself and others.

Here are a few of my trophies two of which were winners in high profile magazines and the others winners in competition.

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© David Halgrimson

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© David Halgrimson

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© David Halgrimson

David Halgrimson is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.

I have Lightroom and Photoshop – Why Do I Need Plug-ins?

Author:  Joel Wolfson

I spent 5 minutes using Topaz Glow to augment the sense of wonder by this child in a museum. This requires at least one hour in Photoshop with advanced expertise to accomplish a similar look.

I spent 5 minutes using Topaz Glow to augment the sense of wonder by this child in a museum. This requires at least one hour in Photoshop with advanced expertise to accomplish a similar look.

The title of this article poses an excellent question. If you aren’t familiar with plug-ins, they are mini imaging programs that work in conjunction with Photoshop, Lightroom, Elements, and other mainstream programs to accomplish various common and creative tasks.

Photoshop can pretty much accomplish anything with an image and Lightroom also has a lot of adjustments available for editing an image. I have been using Photoshop  and Lightroom on a daily basis since their very first versions. My level of expertise is high with both of these and I can do just about anything I want with these two programs whether precise adjustments with luminosity masks, conversion to black and white, special effects, or just everyday raw processing.

Why I Use Plug-ins

The short answer to why I use plug-ins is they’re efficient, save time, easy to use, and can encourage creativity. This provides some critical benefits: They leave me more time to spend behind the camera or with my family, instead of being in front of the computer and still accomplish the tasks I need or want to without the extra time in Photoshop. I also like experimenting with the one-click presets in plug-ins because it sparks new ideas and is a quick way to see different treatments of an image.

In 8 minutes using Topaz Adjust, Clarity and BW Effects I converted a raw capture and created a black and white image with depth, shadow detail and accentuated clouds for drama in the sky. The equivalent in Photoshop requires advanced expertise and takes about an hour.

In 8 minutes using Topaz Adjust, Clarity and BW Effects I converted a raw capture and created a black and white image with depth, shadow detail and accentuated clouds for drama in the sky. The equivalent in Photoshop requires advanced expertise and takes about an hour.

Efficiency in Learning

The other thing to consider is that the learning curve on most plug-ins is shorter than the amount of time you have to invest in attaining a similar result in Photoshop.

For example, if you learn one Topaz or Nik plug-in it’s easy to learn another that accomplishes a completely different task. Let’s say you start with learning Topaz Adjust, which does an amazing job equalizing exposure. You can go to B&W Effects plug-in, see a familiar interface and tools and do great black and white conversions. Similarly, fire up Topaz Clarity and add a sense of depth to your images. Accomplishing these 3 vastly different tasks in Photoshop would require learning a number of different advanced techniques. Add to this the fact that plug-ins tend to have dozens of presets (one-click shortcuts) with which you can accomplish the task you want plus some fantastic results you never dreamed.

It took me about 12 minutes using Topaz Adjust, Clarity, and Detail to process this raw image to one with proper detail, a sense of depth and a natural feel. It takes 45 minutes for a similar result in Photoshop (expert level in Photoshop)

It took me about 12 minutes using Topaz Adjust, Clarity, and Detail to process this raw image to one with proper detail, a sense of depth and a natural feel. It takes 45 minutes for a similar result in Photoshop (expert level in Photoshop)

Hands On Workshop for Plug-Ins

Because I get a lot of requests to go beyond my one hour webinars on using plug-ins I’m offering a two day hands-on workshop with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops in November. It’s called Capture to Masterpiece Workflow: Picture Perfect with Plug-ins. I’ll take attendees through the whole process starting with a photo shoot in the Superstition Mountains through final results incorporating plug-ins. We’ll learn how to optimize raw images, add a sense of depth, convert to black and white, and create some images that are just pure fun where your imagination is the limit!

Take a look at the examples in this post and read the captions for the time it took using plug-ins versus the time to get a similar effect in Photoshop. Most of the Photoshop work would require an advanced to expert level.

This is a preview mode for looking at a collection of presets in Topaz B&W Effects. As you scroll you see dozens more options. There are also numerous collections of these presets, all of which offer one-click processing of your image.

This is a preview mode for looking at a collection of presets in Topaz B&W Effects. As you scroll you see dozens more options. There are also numerous collections of these presets, all of which offer one-click processing of your image.

Happy Shooting Everyone!
Joel

headshotJoel Wolfson is an Arizona Highways instructor/photographer. Here is Joel’s bio.
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Website: www.joelwolfson.com
Email Joel info@joelwolfson.com

Do we really need to carry that tripod?

Author David Goodell

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Technology has advanced digital photography on all fronts, but an area that has shown one of the greatest leaps is image stabilization.

_1050291My camera, the Lumix GX8, has a dual image stabilization system which takes advantage of both the in-body image stabilizer as well as the optical image stabilizer in the lens. Reviews have reported sharp photos at one half second shutter speed.
Last week I took a Jeep trip in Colorado with a friend. All of these photos were taken while being bounced around the Jeep on roads which were rougher than any I have ever driven (or hiked). As we bounced my seat belt kept getting tighter and tighter.
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Given the sharpness of the images, which were taken at ISO 200, I wonder if, in the near future, advances in image stabilization (and ISO) will allow us to leave our tripods at home when we do daylight photography.

David Goodell is a trip leader for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops