Free Webinar from X-Rite! Landscape Edits and Enhancements in Lightroom® 4

September 10th, 2012 by Clay Cook

Lightroom 4

X-Rite is offering two free webinars September 11th!

Adobe’s new Lightroom 4 offers new options for editing and output that make this a must-have upgrade for Lightroom users. In this free webinar sponsored by X-Rite, host Joe Brady will explore both basic and advanced image editing techniques in this new update and the importance of solid color managed workflow to take advantage of the new features.

One of the new additions to Lightroom 4 is its ability to soft-proof. Now you can choose your custom printer profile and see what effects it will have on the printed image. This makes monitor profiling and accurate printer profiles an important part of Lightroom 4′s workflow. We will walk you through the process from creating custom monitor and printer profiles to applying them in your Lightroom 4 workflow.  Register now to reserve your spot.

Click here to register!

Check out the great X-Rite color management products we carry HERE

UX for #togs – Why Labels Matter

September 4th, 2012 by Theodore Stark

Remember the first time you jumped off the diving board? One of those pivotal moments where you overcame your angst and (finally) dove into the cool water of the unknown.


In preparation for this seemingly seminal moment, you likely watched others use the diving board, listened to them recount their experience, and, most likely, asked questions of those who used the board. All of this in attempts to better predict what your own experience would be like.

Humans are very inquisitive. Even more so when faced with an unfamiliar situation. Observing, listening, and asking questions enable us to formulate an expectation of what will happen. This baseline expectation plays a large role in what eventually compels us to act. In this case, jumping  off the diving board for the first time.

The same behavior is exhibited in how people use the web. Although surfing the web may play a less pivotal role in your life, people still look to establish an expectation with regard to an action. In this context, one of the most common examples is clicking on a link and/or button.

In terms of how we interact with computers, people look for hints and cues that aid in the development of an expectation based on an action. Most commonly, this is in the text we see in the link and/or button. We commonly refer to this text as a label.

Man Killed While Photographing Grizzly

August 31st, 2012 by Clay Cook

Grizzly Bear

This past Friday, a San Diego photographer was mauled and killed while trekking through Denali National Park. The scene of the attack, a 200 square mile division of Alaska’s backcountry remains closed, this is the first known fatal attack in the park’s history.  Richard White was backpacking by himself, and stood about 50-100 yards from the 6oo-pound bear as he snapped the shutter.

“The photographs in the recovered camera show the bear grazing and not acting aggressively. Spokeswoman Maureen McLaughlin said the bear did not even appear aware of the hiker until the final photos, which show the animal looking toward the camera.”

Read the full story: Fox News

Photo by customer Jason Holzworth

We Have a Winner in our Macro Workshop Contest!

August 27th, 2012 by Matt Dennison

Congratulations to the winner of our Macro Boot Camp Contest!

Kim Doyle Riley won a chance to attend a Mike Moats macro workshop of her choice.  She’ll be attending the Schererville Indiana Macro Boot Camp.

We’d also like to say thank you to everyone the participated and we appreciate your support.

Be sure to keep up with OPG for additional contests and your chance to win great prizes!


For more info on Mike Moats’ macro workshops, click here.

What You Can Do With Your DSLR: Video

August 24th, 2012 by Chris Klapheke

These days, you don’t have to purchase pro video gear to get pro results.  The equipment you already have can give you a heck of a result!  Check out this video that a few OPG staffers helped produce.  What did they use?  A Canon 5D mark II,  50mm and 24mm lenses, an Induro tripod and head and a Westcott softbox.  Chances are, you have most of the gear you need.  Just add creativity!


Free ebook! – Inside the Art and Craft of Landscape Photography

August 17th, 2012 by Robert Rodriguez Jr.

Editor’s note:  Frequent blog contributor and pro photographer Robert Rodriguez Jr. has kindly made his new ebook FREE for a limited time!  See Robert’s post below for a description and for download details.

If you like what you see, check out Robert’s Acadia Autumn Adventure Workshop for 5 days of nature and landscape photography.

It feels great to announce the release of my ebook “Insights from Beyond the Lens: Inside the Art and Craft of Landscape Photography.” It’s based on many of my previous blog posts and rewritten to flow as a single short book. I’ve added new images with background information on how I made them, and an updated resources section that highlights other great books and websites for further reading and inspiration.

Two Versions Available

In addition to a PDF version, I’ve also created an iBooks multi-touch version. It contains full screen views of all the images (compatible with Retina display), interactive galleries, and two videos. You’ll need an iPad (any version) and the free iBooks app to download it from the iBook Store.

I used iBooks Author to create the ebook which was a fantastic experience and lots of fun. I love the interactive capabilities and options to create rich media, and I’m really excited about making new books with it in the future.

Best of all, both versions will be available for free for a limited time as my way of sharing with all of you. Your support on the blog has inspired me to keep writing and sharing everything I’ve learned over the years, so I hope you find it beneficial in your photography and life in general. While I write about photography, I think many of the concepts are universal and reflect my desire to live life as creatively as possible.

How To Get The Book

Both versions of the ebook are available completely free, no strings attached. If you find the book beneficial or useful  1) consider signing up for my newsletter if you haven’t already, and 2) share and pass it along to others you think can benefit from the ebook.

Get the eBook Here

Check out Robert’s website for images, workshops, webinars and more: LINK

Win a Spot in Mike Moats’ Macro Boot Camp!

August 9th, 2012 by Matt Dennison

Win a spot in Mike Moats’ Macro Boot Camp!

Mike’s Macro Boot Camps offer three days of intense instruction on how to be a successful macro photographer.

These fun and informative workshops also include shooting time. Mike brings his favorite macro subjects for you to shoot, so you are sure to get some great macro images.


Here is the Macro Boot Camp schedule, and the winner can pick a seat at any one of these!

(FALL 2012)
2012 Macro Boot Camp – Concorde Inn, Rochester Hills, MI September 14,15,16
2012 Macro Boot Camp – Hilton Garden Inn, St Louis, MO area, September 28,29,30
2012 Two Day Macro Seminar – Wingate Hotel, Blue Ash, Ohio (north of Cincinnati) October 13,14
2012 Two Day Macro Seminar – Courtyard Marriott, Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 20,21 – Cost $139
2012 Macro Boot Camp – Hampton Inn – Woodbridge, New Jersey, October 26,27,28 – Cost $169
2012 Macro Boot Camp – Fairfield Inn – Toledo, Ohio, November 2,3,4 – Cost $169
2012 Macro Seminar – Hampton Inn – Grand Rapids, Michigan, December 8,9 Cost $99

(SPRING 2013)
2013 Macro Boot Camp – Wingate Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky, March 8,9,10
2013 Macro Boot Camp – Cambria Hotel, Morrisville (Near Raleigh), North Carolina, March 15,16,17



You can enter this contest three ways (each way counts as an entry, so try all three!):

  • Leave a comment on this post below.
  • Leave a comment on

Fun With Oil and Water

August 9th, 2012 by Mike Moats

I’ve seen many images posted in various websites of mixing oil and water and always thought they were really cool images. For what ever reason I never took the time to photograph oil and water. So I finally decided to take some time and give it a go.  Here’s how to do it with simple basic household items.

What’s needed

1) Clear glass pie dish or clear baking dish.
2) Cooking oil
3) Water
4) Multi colored photo, fabric, wallpaper, etc.
5) Two tall drinking cups
6) Butter Knife

I filled the clear glass pie dish with about an inch of water and add maybe a half cup or oil.  I used a stool to set up my system on, but a small table will also do.  The two tall drinking cups are placed underneath the pie dish at the outside edges to support the dish.  You can see that below the pie dish I have a print of one of my fall multi colored leaves.  You can also use fabrics or wallpapers that have lots of colors.  I set up inside next to a window for lots of light, but you could do this outside as well.

Set up your camera overhead, and get the front of lens parallel to the water.  I used an f/stop of f/8 and my shutter speed worked out at 640th of a second at an ISO of 1600.  I wanted a fast shooting shutter speed that would help stop moving bubbles.

You can pour the oil on the water and get lots of bubbles.  But in my case I only had grape seed oil on hand, and when I poured it on the water it just created a slick on top of the water, but not a lot of bubbles.  I used a knife to swirl the water fairly hard to help create some more bubbles and create a swirl of lines and bubbles.

I would start swirling the water with the knife in a fairly quick whirlpool motion, and then pull out the knife and look through the cameras viewfinder and study as the swirling bubbles and lines passed through the frame.  The bubbles and lines will be going pretty quick at first, but just wait and the movement will slow down.

I’m looking

To Use Filters or Not, And When I Wish I Had

August 9th, 2012 by Robert Rodriguez Jr.


I’m often asked whether I use filters on certain images, this one is no exception. The honest answer for this specific image is I didn’t use any, but I wish I would have! I didn’t specifically head out to shoot this particular evening, so I just had my smaller bag with minimal gear. Which filter would I have used? For sure a ND filter to slow down the shutter speed and create more of an ethereal effect. The shutter speed here was about 1/4 sec. With my 4 stop ND it would have dropped to about 4 sec – much better for creating interesting water effects and get the “serene” mood I was in. Why not more stops? I don’t think I would have wanted to lose the details in the cloud formations, and anything above 10-12 seconds might have blurred them too much.

Often there are compromises, and so I have to think carefully about what will happen with certain filters. I could have used a polarizer to slow down the water (which I did have with me) but I don’t always like the saturation effect with polarizers in twilight conditions, plus with a wide angle lens, you frequently get that uneven look in the sky. Remember polarizers are most effective at 90° to the sun, and with a super wide angle lens, you’ll be covering varying degrees of the effect, hence the uneven color in the sky (darker in the middle, less towards the edges).

As for color in general, there were more than enough that night – no need to enhance what was already spectacular. Natural light can provide more than any filter or Photoshop effect can offer, it’s just a matter of patience, study, and understanding how light interacts with the atmosphere, clouds, humidity, etc. I’m still learning for sure, yet each time I go out to the same locations, I learn something new, see something that adds just a little bit more to my understanding and visual vocabulary. And of course, I urge you to do the same.

Go out and enjoy your own backyard, but stay curious, interested, and  aware of what’s happening to the light. Then you can apply that to your “real” shoots and spend less time trying to make an average photo into

A Lemon, A Glass, And Some Sparkling Water

August 6th, 2012 by Mike Moats

This macro shot is a trick that I’ve seen before but forgot about it until one of my photo friends mentioned it.  I thought I would give it a try and see what happens.

I went to my local store and bought a lemon, a glass, and some sparkling water.

I sliced the lemon to about a quarter inch think, wedged it down into the cone-shaped glass and then poured in some sparkling water.  The sparkling water makes tons of bubbles and they stick to the lemon.  You will have too many bubbles when you first pour the water in, but they will start to disappear if you wait awhile.  The front of the glass will also accumulate some bubbles, so I just took a knife and scraped them off the glass.