Ode to Ephemeris____2015/10

Photographically, September was a good month. In part this was due to The Photographer’s Ephemeris, a free and popular outdoor photographer planning software. I’ve written about Ephemeris before, in 2012. It’s since evolved to be web browser and app-based, no longer a desktop download. Below are two instances where The Photographer’s Ephemeris contributed hugely to […]

Night Sky Focusing ____ 2015/09

Like many photographers, I’ve had some difficulty photographing the night sky with my dSLR. Focusing the lens is an omnipresent concern. It’s dark as pitch when the Milky Way is out in all its glory. Autofocus doesn’t work. Looking through the viewfinder, it’s difficult to compose, let alone manually focus. You can twist the focus […]

Patterns in Nature ___ 2015/08

Photographs of patterns in nature compel, soothe and mystify. Well-executed, they capture our attention. They trap our gaze, like Escher does, in endless loops. Examples are everywhere: bird flocks, butterfly wings, fish scales, animal hides, beach pebbles, snowflakes, bubbles in ice, gnarled wood, smoky hills, lichen close-ups. Armed with a telephoto or a macro lens, […]

Creating Starbursts ____ 2015/07

Starbursts are light rays emanating from point light sources — from the sun, moon, streetlights, sunlit waterdrops or reflective surfaces. They are creative photographic elements that can enhance an image — adding drama to a dull sky, a focal point to a silhouette or waterdrop, a twinkle to street lights. Starbursts are created where light […]

Lightroom 6 Panoramas ____ 2015/06

I enjoy creating panoramas, but I wasn’t excited about the new Adobe Lightroom 6 (and CC) Merge Panorama feature. I get great results from Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor), which creates pans from TIFs or JPGs at a quality better than I generally need. So why change? The case for Lightroom’s Panorama Merge are speed, […]

Lightroom 6 HDR ____ 2015/05

I upgraded to Adobe Lightroom 6 with some trepidation, after reading about and not being impressed by the new features. Adobe touted HDR and Panorama Merge especially, and my thought was “so what?” I’m no HDR fan, and for panoramas I get great results with Microsoft ICE. What I wish for in Lightroom is more […]

Lightroom 5 HSL Panel: More Pop and Mystery ____ 2013/12

Last year (2012/09 Photo Tip), I wrote about using Lightroom Development tools to create Pop and Mystery in a photo. The gist: darken skies, selectively increase color saturation and increase contrast. Ansel Adams famously said the negative is the score, the print the performance. The RAW file you create in camera is a digital negative; […]

Photo Tip: Microsoft ICE for panoramas ____ 2013/09

For Windows users—Vista, XP, Windows 7 or 8—Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor), version 1.4.4, generates single or multi-row panoramas with a speed and accuracy that leaves Photoshop eating dust. It’s a free, no-frills, stand-alone application. I downloaded it last month after having some difficulty with Elements 10’s Photomerge Panorama. Re-loading Elements 10, as well as […]

Photo Tip: Foreground Elements _____ 2013/03

Image 6. Here the leaf provides an anchor, adds depth and leads the eye into

In the field, I often stalk through a potential photo op with the viewfinder glued to my eye, seeking just the right composition or perspective. If I plan well, I’m scouting before the light gets good—in the afternoon for a sunset shot, or the day before for the sunrise. What I’m scouting for is foreground. […]

Lightroom 4 Spot Removal Tool Tutorial ____ 2013/02

Image 6. Male Flicker at the nesthole, after branch removal and dust spotting using the Lightroom 4 Spot Removal tool (plus prior adjustments).

I had an excellent photo op last spring: a flicker nest only fifteen feet above the ground, with a clear view, and just two miles from home.  Because I was wary of disturbing the skittish birds, I photographed just a few times, in good light only, for periods no longer than an hour. Each visit […]