April 5th, 2011
by Chris Klapheke
Congrats to our two winners in our SmugMug giveaway!
Sharon Thomas of Santa Fe, New Mexico
Debra Schmidt of Deltona, Florida
These two photographers win a year of a SmugMug Pro account courtesy of OPG and our pals at SmugMug.
Many thanks to Katherine at SmugMug!
March 31st, 2011
by Mike Moats
One important element that I look for when out walking with my camera is contrasting colors, shades, shapes, and sizes. Interesting variations within subjects play an important part in creating images with character.
This is an agave plant that I found at a botanical garden. You may have seen the work of photographers who have converted a color image into a black and white image and then added a small splash of color in order to create a contrast that pops. This plant reminds me of those images, but this plant’s outer leaves were naturally black and white with the green leaves underneath providing a contrast with character.
March 27th, 2011
Every photographer needs a good camera bag (ideally a few). So when it came time to upgrade my trusty old LowePro shoulder bag, I decided to check out the latest bags by Think Tank Photo. Its not that I didn’t like my old LowePro, but I was wanting a bag that was slightly bigger and one that doesn’t look like a camera bag. This is where Think Tank Photo came in with their latest line of shoulder bags called the Retrospective series.
The Retrospective line are camera bags designed not to look like camera bags, which, if you’re a photographer who has spent any time in crowds or in locations where its best to not look so conspicuous, then you can most definitely understand how valuable a bag like this can be. Think Tank has several sizes and color styles available, but I decided to go with the largest, the Retrospective 30. I also chose the Pinestone color as opposed to the black. I think I like this color primarily because it looks even less like a camera bag and also has a more ‘rugged’ look to it (which should go well with my rugged good looks, cough
Not only does this bag look great, but it has a ton of room! This bag can easily hold 2 camera bodies, multiple lenses (even a 70-200) a flash or two and all the batteries, cables, gels and what not that you can stuff in it. The interior is easily customizable with removable, velcro dividers and can be configured to hold any camera body with just about any lens attached. I like the Retrospective 30 because its size allows you to place a camera with a lens attached in various positions, depending on the lens you use and still have room for various other necessities.
March 24th, 2011
by Matt Dennison
We’ve teamed up with leading photo hosting and sharing provider, SmugMug, to bring you another great giveaway! Win a SmugMug Pro Account for a year—a $150 value—in this new contest. We’re sold on SmugMug, especially their Pro Level. Their Pro level membership lets you proof, archive and sell your photos online. You get gorgeous galleries, full pricing control, unlimited photo and video uploads, full customization options and tools to protect your photos.
We have three easy ways to win, and each counts as an entry!
- Like SmugMug on Facebook.
- Like OPG on Facebook.
- Leave a comment below on this blog article that you’d like to win.
We’ll pick the winners by random drawing on Friday April 1 (no fooling!) and notify the winners by email.
Good luck and thanks to our pals at SmugMug!
March 14th, 2011
by Bret Edge
Last week I read a great article on friend and photographer Gary Crabbe’s blog about the reality of working a photo assignment. Gary’s article, and my own experience last year on assignment in Goblin Valley State Park, inspired me to write about a technique you might try next time your creative fire needs a little stoking.
If you’re lucky enough to land a photo assignment, it means that someone thought enough of your work to pay you to create photos of a specific subject for them. The key word at work in that sentence is photos – as in more than one. Perhaps there are exceptions but every assignment I’ve ever worked required that I provide a healthy collection of images to the client upon completion of the job. Adding to the pressure to deliver is the fact that you are likely given a short time in which to make the images. You’re probably charging a day rate. Unless you’re a brilliant negotiator your client probably didn’t tell you to take as many days as needed and to send a bill when you’re done. No, it is more likely that you’re told that there’s only enough money in the budget for a couple of days. This means that during the “couple of days” you’d better be able to fill some memory cards with enough images to satisfy your client’s needs.
March 11th, 2011
by John Batdorff
Final Edited Image–Varanasi, India
Have you ever had a photo that’s almost there, but just missing a little something? I know I do all the time. I’ve been mining old images lately for my up coming black and white book and I came across this shot from Varanasi, India. I like a lot of things about this shot, but the dull sky ruined it for me. I didn’t want to forsake the image entirely, so I thought this would be a good time to explain how you can enhance an image with a few quick strokes in Lightroom and bring it back to life.
Orginal Raw Image
First things first, let’s get this image into an acceptable state.
March 11th, 2011
by Matt Dennison
Name a distant corner of the world associated with photography, chances are E.J. Peiker has been there, or is heading there soon. Born in 1960 in Augsburg, Germany, and moving to Mansfield, Ohio, in 1969, E.J. became an American citizen in 1975.
E.J.’s photographic journey started when he received his first camera at age 7, while still in Germany – a square-format, Kodak 126 Instamatic. He still has it. At age 12, he graduated to a Yashica 35mm rangefinder and began to take photography more seriously. His favorite subject matter was landscape photography.
In 1990, E.J.’s photographic aspirations came to a sudden stop. While skiing, E.J. suffered such a serious injury that he was diagnosed as unable to walk again, possibly even losing a leg. As it appeared that E.J. would not be mobile without assistance, he sold all his camera gear. However, determination, resolve, several surgeries and painful physical therapy resulted in E.J.’s full recovery 3 1/2 years later.
Even though he did not photograph, E.J. put his recovery years to good use. His interest in aviation took over and provided him motivation during that tough time. He earned his Private Pilot, Instrument Pilot, Multi-engine Pilot and Commercial Pilot certificates, and became heavily involved in advanced flight simulation. He even logged time in American Airline's full motion flight simulators where he learned to fly a Boeing 727!
March 10th, 2011
by Mike Moats
Here is an image I shot while in San Diego early this month, and I had this process in mind for this flower when I shot it.
Here is the original image, I first did some clean up with the specs of debris, and filled in the gaps between the petals showing any background, and did a slight crop.
After doing the clean up in Photoshop Elements, I then clicked on Filters. In the next box clicked on Blur, and then clicked on Radial Blur. In the next box look for Zoom and click the circle next to it. Use the Amount slider to add or subtract the amount of the Zoom you want, and this is what I came up with.
After I got the zoom the way I wanted it, I went into Nik Software Viveza 2, and did some tweaking with the structure slider to bring out the details in the petals, and darkened and added structure in the dark center. Then popped the yellow a little more.
You can visit Mike's blog and learn about his workshops here: Tiny Landscapes
Mike's eBooks are available in the OPG store here: Mike Moats
March 7th, 2011
by Bret Edge
Earlier I wrote about the best advice I’ve received from other photographers during the last 12 years of my career. I thought I’d go the opposite direction and share a few mistakes that, after all that time in the field and great advice, I still can’t seem to avoid. Some are humorous and others are just downright annoying. What mistakes do you find yourself making over and over again?
That Pesky Lens Cap - I can’t tell you how many times I’ll put the viewfinder to my eye only to see…nothing. Yeah, I forget to take the lens cap off all the time. Fortunately, I realize the error before pressing the shutter button. I don’t feel too bad about this as years ago I read that Ansel Adams once forgot to put film in his camera during a workshop he was teaching. Okay, so the great one only made such a silly mistake once.
Invincible Tripod Syndrome (ITS) - We’ve all done this. Some of us learned from our mistakes while others (me) still haven’t. We set up our tripod, mount our camera and expensive lenses to it and then walk away. Do this enough times and eventually gravity will rear it’s ugly head. I’ve had cameras blown over in the wind, knocked over in the water and I’ve even tripped over my own tripod leg. I saved that one from near death. I know the consequences and yet I continue to roll the very expensive dice. That qualifies for stupid, right?
Image Stabilization Times Two - What is a tripod? It’s image stabilization. There’s no such thing as too much image stabilization, right? Wrong. Many lenses that feature built-in image stabilization/vibration reduction are likely to produce blurry images if you leave the IS/VR turned on while your camera is locked tight on a tripod. You see, when your camera is secure in a ballhead and IS/VR kicks on, the movement of the gyro inside the lens is enough to introduce vibrations that may result in blurry images. I’ve blown more images than I care to remember because of this bonehead move. Whether or not the IS/VR will cause blurry images is a function of luck, shutter speed and the lens you’re using. Why chance it? Make it a habit to turn off IS/VR before using a tripod.
March 3rd, 2011
by Mike Moats
Since I had a week in between the two weekend Macro Boot Camps, I let my workshop participants know that if they had some time available I would go out and shoot with them during the week days. One great place where we shot was the San Diego Botanical Gardens.
Even though it was windy during my stay, and we couldn’t shoot the flowers, the botanical gardens has tons of cactus plants, agave plants, etc, to shoot that were not effected by the wind.
Here are two images of a Blue Flame Agave, and I really like the lines and how the tips work out.
Nikon D7000, Tamron 90, f/32
I used the Solarization filter in Nik Software Color Efex Pro 3.0 for this look.