Friday, August 28, 2015

Lightroom Unleashed - Boston, MA October 13, 14, 15



The popular "Lightroom Unleashed" workshop is coming to Boston! Presented by experienced Lightroom instructor Mollie Isaacs of Awake The Light Photo Workshops and Tours, this 3-day workshop is scheduled for Tuesday & Wednesday, October 13 & 14, plus an extra optional day on Thursday, October 15. It will be held in Melrose, Massachusetts, just outside Boston.

This in-depth workshop will be filled with instruction and hands-on training. It is a carefully designed, customized workshop for photographers who are interested in taking their image optimization skills to a higher level. This class will help you jump start your skills, regardless of whether you are new to Lightroom or a seasoned veteran. You will learn how to use this software easily and simply. The class takes you step-by-step through all the controls available, the proper order in which to use them, and what each one does.  It also includes some creative options that will allow you to create more artistic images.

Class size is kept small so that each participant can receive personalized attention. While you will learn a great deal, the atmosphere will be light and easy-going.

In addition to working on images along with Mollie, you will also work on your own images as part of the training, and will come away with a fresh, polished portfolio. The goal is to build confidence in your ability to use Lightroom to enhance your images long after the workshop is over. You will learn the best and most foolproof ways to improve your images beautifully and quickly. You will also learn unique ways of working not taught anywhere else.

The fee is $975, and the Optional Extra Day is $150 additional. Because of the popularity of this workshop, you must pre-register and pay in advance. The fee is payable by either credit card or check. To guarantee your personal security, payments are not made online. Please email, or call them at 757-773-0194 to register and to arrange payment.

This is one of the most beneficial Lightroom courses available anywhere. Here is what others have said:

"I can't say enough good things about this workshop. I went to the class feeling that Lightroom would be impossible for this non-techie to use. But Mollie is an outstanding instructor. She broke things into small pieces, going over each piece a few times in different ways, demonstrating how it works, and then having us try it on our own computers. Then she went around the room making sure each of us really "got" it, and we did. She also makes the class fun with lots of laughing. I recommend this workshop without reservation!"   D. E.

"Thanks, Mollie, for your excellent teaching style and your ability to make learning fun for all of us. Your grasp of the finer points of Lightroom, as well as your step-by-step approach to teaching the class were very impressive."  J. C.

"The Lightroom workshop was absolutely wonderful. Mollie is such a great teacher. She not only took the time to help anyone who needed help with Lightroom, but she also helped people with their computer problems. The class followed a logical workflow which made learning easy. The hours went by quickly, and the hands-on approach was so helpful. I highly recommend Mollie's Lightroom workshop." R. S.

"I've always admired the fine quality of Mollie's images and wondered how they were achieved. In this workshop she shared her techniques by guiding us through the wealth of Lightroom tools while making sure that each individual understood how to apply them. By the end of her workshop I had gained a solid understanding of using a smooth workflow to bring my images to a new level."  H. E.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Touchdown Alaska

Ahhhhhhhhh.......  Alaska. We have arrived to begin an epic 3-week journey in Alaska. This view is from 20,000 feet as our jet was making its final approach into Anchorage, courtesy of fellow traveler Jane Clements, made with an iPhone 6.

Fresh snow was on the high peaks, and the view was serene and pristine. What a wonderful welcome to this incredible place.  The crisp white snow and clouds, offset against the brilliant blue of a clear sky made for a very striking image.

Part One of this journey begins Friday and takes us to Glacier Bay National Park, a waterworld which is home to humpback whales, puffins, sea otters, and many species of seabirds. Part Two, with a different group, takes us to the home of brown bears fishing for salmon and enjoying the last few days of summer. Part Three will bring us north of the Arctic Circle in hopes of chasing the Northern Lights. And Part Four, with yet another group, brings us deep inside Denali National Park, a section of the park where few have the privilege of going.

Throughout this journey internet access with be sporadic, but I will post blogs as often as the digital world and time allows.

Alaska is one of my favorite places. The light is different, the air is different, the feel is different from anyplace else in our country. And the variety of photographic opportunities is unsurpassed.

iPhone 6 auto settings  -  Shutter Speed 1/4000 sec.  Aperture f/2.2 (yes, 2 point 2).  ISO 32.  iPhone standard camera lens 4.15mm (yes, 4 point one five).

TODAY'S QUOTE: "The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them."  --Margaret Atwood

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Simpler The Better

Regardless of subject, sometimes the simplest approach is the best. It is often said that the difference between a painter and a photographer is that the painter starts with an empty palette and adds, while the photographer starts with a full palette and has to decide what to eliminate.

Deciding what to eliminate can be daunting. How much is too much? Is what you are eliminating a benefit to the image? How do you decide what to do?

The simple answer is trial and error. Try many different views, and look for a line or a shape or a color combination that pleases you. After surveying the subject from a variety of angles, take many images and then decide later what works best for you. Often it is easier to determine the best shots only after you have downloaded them onto your computer and can review them at your leisure.

In this image, notice how the elements are arranged. The red center of the hibiscus becomes the center of interest, and is placed far to the right and low in the frame for impact. The gentle curves lead the eye toward the center of interest, and add an overall flow.

Also notice that this is a minimalist image  -  only 2 colors, a few curves of the petals, and a semi-circular "starburst" of red. Less is more, and when composed effectively, a small handful of elements can make for nice images.

Shutter Speed 1/640 sec.  Aperture: f/3.5.  ISO 400.  Lens: Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS macro.  Camera: Canon 7D Mark II.  Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Simplicity is the glory of expression."  - Walt Whitman

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Small Fish, Big Mouth

Egrets are beautiful birds, and skillful fishermen. They can easily spot fish, both big and small, in all kinds of water and in all sorts of lighting conditions. This one, and several of his buddies, found good fishing in shallow waters.

Look carefully to see the fish in his mouth. You can see the image larger by clicking on it.

While this is a very simple image, it has a few characteristics that help give it interest and punch. First, notice the contrast between the dark blue water and the bright white feathers. Then see how the  orange bill provides a pop of color, and is similar in tone to the remnants of breeding plumage near his tail feathers. Also, the reflection is subtle but adds some brightness to the water. And finally, the square-ish crop eliminates extraneous background and focuses attention on the action.

So when shooting any subject, always pay attention to the little things that can help make an average image more visually appealing.

Shutter Speed 1/1250 sec.  Aperture f/14.  ISO 400.  Lens: Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS with 2x extender for an effective focal length of 800mm. Camera: Canon 5D Mark III.  Gitzo tripod with Really Right Stuff ballhead and Wimberley Sidekick.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "The little things are infinitely the most important."  --Arthur Conan Doyle

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Go With Your Gut

As I have said so many times when speaking to groups and individual photographers, when deciding which images to enter into competition, use your best judgment based on the judges and the venue, but ultimately enter the images that move YOU the most.

I don't always follow my own advice, but thankfully I did in this case. Every year I enter images in the Professional Photographers of America worldwide annual competition. The competition is going on now, and I just received word today that this image did well.

This is one of my favorite places, Antelope Canyon in Arizona. It is a special and magical place, sacred to Native Americans, with beautiful light and an unending array of rock formations. I have visited there several times at different times of year, and each time the canyon provides compelling images with lovely colors and sweeping lines.

I was not going to enter this image because often in this type of competition, scenics of places that the judges have seen many times before do not stand out enough to get their attention. But because I love this place, and love this image, I decided to go ahead and enter it anyway. I fully expected it to be rejected, so I was thrilled when I heard that it had done well.

As many of us who have entered photo competitions have experienced, it can be a blow when a favorite image gets slammed by the judges. It can leave us feeling inadequate and makes us question our photographic worth. But regardless of what the judges say, we should not allow the results to make us doubt our skills. Just because a judge does not respond well to one of your images, YOUR love of the image is still important and should not be jeopardized by the judge's opinion.

To boost the chances of an image doing well in competition, here are some tips to enhance its impact:
1. Make sure there are leading lines or other strong compositional elements.
2. For color images, complementary colors or warm against cool can provide more impact.
3. For black-and-white images, good contrast with strong blacks and bright whites do best.
4. Do not over-sharpen or over-saturate.
5. Use images that have been properly exposed and well-focused.
6. Select images that create a mood, or have emotional impact.

When all is said and done and the competition is over, never let a judge's rejection of your image or thoughtless comment have a negative effect on you. Yes, it can be crushing, especially when you have not entered very many competitions. But ultimately it is your opinion that counts the most.

Shutter Speed 13 seconds.  Aperture f/20.  ISO 400.  Lens: Canon 17-40mm f/4L, set at 29mm.  Camera: Canon 5D Mark III.  Gitzo tripod with Really Right Stuff ballhead.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Don't lose your perseverance and always trust your gut instinct."  --Paula Abdul