Monday, December 12

How to Photograph Lighted Boat Parade

From the Florida Center for Creative Photography ... Photographing a Holiday Boat Parade:
1. Go Manual Mode - use a Tripod
2. Set Aperture as open as lens allows f/4.0, f/2.8, etc.
3. Set Shutter Speed 1/30 sec. or no faster than 1/60 sec.
4. Do not use Auto-ISO
5. Start ISO at 1600 and increase as needed
6. Take the shot, check exposure, adjust ISO (probably higher)

12 Tips for Capturing Holiday Memories

The Digital Photography School offers 12 Tips for Capturing Holiday Memories like:
.. Get the Camera 'at the Ready'
.. Find the Great Light
.. Shoot to Tell a Story
.. more

Sunday, December 4

Photo Critique: New Orleans

Posted on my Facebook page was a photo of New Orleans from our recent excursion Ginger and I went on. I opened myself up to feedback and received the following to my question .. "What would YOU do to improve it?"
1. What's the Subject
2. The sign is distracting - remove it; sign does not add to the photo
3. Are the people the Subject - if so, they should be larger/more prominent
4. Point camera lower and wait for someone walking closer
5. Love plants and trees growing on the street, balconies
6. You captured a 'moment in time'
7. Building in the background adds nothing
8. Need to strengthen the conversion of lines

Notes: a) feedback was sincerely appreciated; b) the photo was a memory for 'a moment in New Orleans - should have provided a caption like 'New Orleans' for the viewer; c) attempted leading lines but they are not strong and moving to the right would add better people perspective; d) captured the sign but if taken more right, sign would have been less distracting

Tried quick adjust - added vignette and caption
New Orleans - a moment in time

Sunday, November 27

Feedback on a Train Photograph

... photo taken at the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish, FL. Three image bracket at +/- 2.0, Nik HDR Pro processed. Feedback comments are:
Positives: Focus; Leading Lines
Recommendations: Move camera lower (2); only Caboose red

Friday, November 18

Macphun's Luminar - a photo editing tool (11/18 Update)

(11/12) I just pre-ordered Luminar, Macphun's photo editing software for Mac. Why? No, it is not to say that I am passing up Lightroom. However, my recent exposure to the Nik Collection by Google and their 'click based' editing/photo enhancing, I recognize that Nik will eventually become non-compatible with system or Lightroom upgrades. and Luminar 'may' be able to fill the gap. Here is Light Stalking's evaluation:

.. "It is a non-destructive RAW image editor that does exactly what it says - efficiently. 
.. Luminar is able to be an all-in-one app. It presents users with a bevy of diverse, powerful, photography-specific tools wrapped in an interface that adapts to each user.
.. Bottom line: It takes the very best parts of the company’s other apps and reimagines them roof. It may be one of 2016’s best image editing options." (See also PetaPixel's review).

Update 11/18/16 (important to note: less than 3 hrs under my belt)
.. Using as a plug-in to Lightroom
.. Editing Presets Basic, Outdoor, Street etc allow 'quick-enhance' without needing several sliders for initial improvement of photo
.. (surprise) Achieves similar eye appealing HDR without HDR and probably a nice tool for enhancing single image editing
.. Workspace and filters not explored so far 
.. Could see this is a feature-packed editing software that I would use initially, for iPhone jpeg's where I do not envision composition would not produce a 'commercial' quality image, but very well acceptable for sharing with anyone. 
.. I can see it fitting well into a Lightroom workflow
.. Two image tests were performed (HDR/Nik Collection versus Luminar single image) that created almost identical outputs. Idea: create bracketed HDR and edit in Luminar (note: my preferred HDR enhancing is NOT to create art. 

Tuesday, November 15

PhotoScan: Scan Old (paper) Photos

PhotoScan is not just a photo of a photo. You’ll snap several shots on a picture, then PhotoScan automatically detects and removes the edges, straightens the image, and removes any glare before turning it into a high resolution file. If you’re using Google Photos, your scans are automatically uploaded to Google Photos. See PhotoScan Review

Update 6:05 PM - It Works !!!!

148 Photo Editing Tools and Apps

Have an interest in exploring photo editing tools besides Lightroom, Photoshop or Others? Check out PetaPixel's review of 148 Tools and Apps. Provided are both free and fee based tools - some long time favorites, and some are 'learning system' beta's.

Tuesday, November 1

Destinations: Florida Lighthouse(s) and Light Towers

There are interesting sites throughout Florida. One challenge Ginger and I set for ourselves was to visit every land-based (accessible by car or foot) Lighthouse in Florida. Here are links and information: 
# Only in Your State Lighthouse Road Trip - Florida
# Florida Lighthouse Association
# Visiting Florida Lighthouses
# Lighthouses of the United States: Eastern Florida and the Keys
# Lighthouses of the United States: Western Florida
# Our Lighthouse Photo Album

Friday, October 28

Capture Mobile Phone Photos Directly into a Lightroom Collection

I often use the Lightroom Mobile Camera app. Recently I read the Kelby Killer Tip that shows how to capture your mobile phone photos directly into a Lightroom Collection. Really cool, since you can access and edit those photos on your Desktop Lightroom application without having to import, copy, or Wi-Fi transfer those photos to the computer. 

Monday, October 17

FCCP Camera 101: Aperture - Shutter Speed - ISO

Members and guests of the FCCP (Florida Center for Creative Photography) have a great opportunity to strengthen their skills and knowledge as Jeff, the Director and Founder of FCCP provides a rare 4-part camera series. Called the Exposure Triangle, we learn the ins and outs in basic terms how to manage and get the best from our photos through proper use of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Below I capture key points, recommendations and links to further resources and websites reinforcing the information shared.


1. Depth of Field (DOF) is refers to the range of distance that appears acceptably sharp
2. DOF is managed by: F-stop, Lens Focal Length and Distance to the Subject
3. Rule: avoid shooting at the extremes of your telephoto lens
4. Typical 'sweet spot' for a lens is 2-3 stops above the smallest F number (desired F8/F11)
5. Diffraction or light diffusion results at F-stops smaller than F11
6. Review Understanding Depth of Field for details on how to control and use Aperture

7. Note: Higher F #'s (11, 16, etc.) forces shutter speed lower and with auto ISO on, you get higher ISO causing additional noise. 
8. For the techie types The Ultimate Depth of Field Guide

Shutter Speed:

1. Shutter speed is the time the camera's shutter allows light to reach the sensor
2. Guidelines (secs. open): 1-30 for night photos using a tripod; 2-1/2 for silky images of waterfalls; 1/2-1/30 to add blur to moving subjects; 1/50-1/125 for acceptable handheld photos; 1/250-1/500 everyday freeze of sport activities; 1/100-1/8000 for shooting extremely fast motion scenes
3. How to Prevent Camera Shake ... especially if you hand-hold
4. Big mistake beginners make 'all photos must be sharp' - not so
5. Shutter speed of 1/focal length provides a guideline for 'minimum' shutter speed one should use to avoid/reduce blur
6. Be aware - crop sensors are more prone to blue due to smaller pixels
7. Each change of shutter speed (faster or slower) either reduces light to sensor by 1/2 or increases light to sensor by 2 times
8. Review Understanding Shutter Speed for more information
9. Although Shutter Priority seems to be the best way to control blur, there are issues and why Aperture Priority is Preferred by Most Photographer
10. Shoot in Burst Mode! Improve your odds on getting a non-blur shot. Take one shot 'it has to be right', take three 'you only have to get 1 in 3 correct'


1. ISO is the measure of a digital camera's sensitivity to light

2. High ISO - more sensitivity - more noise; Low ISO - less sensitivity - less noise
3. ISO is the final leg of the Exposure Triangle we need to understand if we truly want to take photos of proper exposure
4. Noise is a key factor in digital photography and affects your image 5. Ways to Avoid Noise in Digital Photography 
6. Changing one 'leg' of the Exposure Triangle will require another leg of the Triangle to be adjusted to insure proper Exposure.
7. Sunny 16 Rule - On a sunny day you get a proper exposed photo by setting your camera to F/16 and Shutter Speed to 1/ISO

Pulling it All Together

1. The Histogram:
1a. make this an integral part of editing - it's a tool in your toolbox
1b. typically Histogram has 3 zones - shadows, mid tones, highlights
1c. under exposure = many pixels on left; over exposure = many pixels on right
1d. Tones are in the middle of the histogram
2. Human eye vs. Camera; 24 stops of light vs. about 14 stops of light 
3. High key emphasize lighter tones, Low key darker tones 
4. 'Bracketing' useful for larger dynamic range but doesn't work in sports 
5. Only use matrix/evaluative/zone metering, set it, use it, understand it
6. Center weighted meters 80% center/20% edges - good for flash photography
7. Spot is most accurate but inaccurate
8. All cameras measure reflective - you'll need handheld for incident light
9. Exposure Compensation only works in A, S, Program modes and only is applicable 'after' photo is taken and viewed for exposure - then adjusted
10. Can't focus (or camera searches): move focus point to a better contrast area that is the same distance from you to allow auto focus to function
11. Three factors affecting auto focus: contrast, motion, light
12. Image stabilization almost always aids auto focusing
Read:  Camera Exposure

Thursday, October 13

Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom 6

Have you found a 'mess' in your Lightroom photo library? See this video to cleanup and learn some tips by B&H Tim Grey.
1. Use one Catalog for all Photos and Backup at least Weekly
2. In Catalog Settings check Automatically write changes to XMP (Lightroom/Catalog Settings/ MetaData/check box 
3. Perform all organization actions WITHIN Lightroom ONLY
4. Avoid a Date Folder Structure UNLESS it supports the way 'you' think about your photos. Alternately, if your a wedding photographer Couples name is appropriate, if you travel, Location folder structure may be appropriate.
5. When moving photos - move within Lightroom (but author prefers Copy and Paste - then Delete source image(s)
6. When moving Folders or Photos use Select>Drag>STOP>Drop (Stop is important so you can confirm new location)
7. Star Rating: 1= Acceptable; 2 thru 5 = multiple validation/edits ending with #4 and #5 being showcase 'keepers' 
8. Remember Camera File Number Count 0-9999 (see #8a)
8a. Consider renaming images during import with some distinctive context (your name, location, event letters, etc. to reduce or avoid duplicate number of same named file names (i.e. DSC_0001) 
9. Always: whatever works for you - use it!
Source: Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom 6 Video (1:50.00)

Tuesday, September 27

Tele-converter or Digital Zoom

Background: Sony A6000 Mirrorless, Sony 18-200 mm telephoto.
On very rare occasion, I would like a slightly longer reach in my lens and considered buying a basic 1.4 tele-converter recognizing image quality may/would suffer. Then, in researching tele-converters, I found that Sony incorporated 'Clear Image Zoom' into Alpha cameras that provides 2X zoom with little to no image quality loss. For my purposes it fits the bill $0.00). 

Sunday, September 25

Pinterest Collection of Lightroom Tutorial and Tips

Just came across a potpourri of Lightroom tutorials on Pinterest that may be a nice education series you can save in your digital reading library. Lightroom tutorials on Pinterest.

Saturday, September 24

Best Ways to Compose Landscape Photos

Here are some great refresher tips and examples in the Zoner Magazine:
1. Horizon One Third In
2. Place Things on the Golden Crop Points
3. Frame the Landscape
4. Lines Lead Eyes
5. Surface Reflections
6. now ... Combine and Experiment

Sunday, September 18

My Photo Organizing Workflow - Sept 2016

From camera to sharing, the 'correct' import to sharing workflow is the one that works for you. The workflow that seems to work for me is shared below:


.. All photos stored under 'Pictures/All Lightroom Photos' on the computer

.. '00-Transfer' created under 'All Lightroom Photos'  
.. 'JPEG Photosfolder created on the Desktop 
.. High level Collections Sets and Collections in place
.. Collection 'Duplicates' in place
.. Smart Collections 'Star 4 & 5 Rated' and 'No Keyword' in place 
.. Apple Time Capsule (router and hard drive)
.. 2 Tb External Hard Drive
.. Google Photos account with auto-backup
.. Flickr account established and enabled in Publish Services

PP Workflow:
  1. Capture images
  2. (Import) Import images into the designated folder '00-Transfer' (Option; sub-folder labeled with Shoot name (i.e. FCCP Pier 60)
  3. (Optional) Keyword before import - depending on photo shoot content
  4. (Develop) Open images full screen 'F' and delete all obvious non-keepers based on composition, sharpness or just terrible
  5. (Develop) Perform basic PP: auto-level, crop, auto-tone and star rate*
  6. (Develop) Finalize PP: vet, enhance, re-rate and finalize keywords
  7. Move final photos to 'storage' in 'All Lightroom Photos' sub-folders 
  8. Assign Star Rated (4 & 5) photos to Collections

Sharing photos most often requires exporting photos as JPEG's from Lightroom. Also, the Publish Services feature within Lightroom is available for Flickr, Facebook, Instagram and more. Here is a suggested JPEG share/save options:

.. All exported photos are saved in the Desktop folder 'JPEG Photos' 
.. (Option) Create in a named sub-folder
.. Share exported photos via email or on social media sites as desired
.. Use Lr Publish Services


The rule for backing up photos is Backup-Backup-Backup and use different physical locations for the backups. Here is my model for backing up photos: 

  1. Daily - Original photos are saved on MacBook HD after PP Workflow
  2. Daily - MacBook backs up via Apple Time Machine to Apple's Time Capsule
  3. Daily - CrashPlan (3rd party online) backs up designated files/folders
  4. Monthly - Photos are synced to an external HD using Compare & Sync
  5. Auto - Exported JPEG's are auto-backed up to Google photos immediately
  6. On Demand - Photos published to Flickr (4&5 Stars) and Facebook 
Additional Organization Options:
  1. Monthly - a duplicate images scan is performed using Teekesselchen 
  2. Monthly - review No Keyword Smart Collection for photos
  3. On Demand - Save mobile photos to computer via WiFi Photo 
  4. Auto Backup mobile phone via Google Photos Backup and Sync (Note: Desktop version also available)
* Star Rating
(1) a non-keeper that I may want to revisit - probably delete
(2) photo that has potential and needs Basic sub-panel processing
(3) not a bad photo that I will definitely save forever and may share
(4) a 'keeper' that is at a level to share with family and friends
(5) ready for posting beyond family and friends and represents my 'best'
Note: 4 & 5 Star Rated photos are placed in Collections

Saturday, September 17

How to Photograph the Moon

General Settings: 
1. Camera Mode: Set your camera mode to full Manual Mode
2. ISO: Set your ISO to 100-200 (make sure “Auto ISO” is turned Off).
3. Aperture: Set your aperture to f/11 
4. Shutter Speed: Set your shutter speed to 1/200 
5. Lens Focus: Set your lens to manual focus 
Article: How to Photograph the Moon

Monday, September 5

Photoscape X - a FastStone Image Viewer Option

In my pursuit of a replacement photo viewer and fast edit to replace FastStone Image Viewer for Windows, I reviewed an article "Review of Best Free Photo Editors". Photoscape X was one of the five recommended. Bottom line - it works, I like it and right now it will be my 'Go To' viewer/editor when I want a quick edit of JPEG or RAW images (also I do like the Viewer feature. Available for Windows and Mac. Since I drank the Apple Kool-Aid and now a Mac User - check out Photoscape X for Mac. For Windows Folk see Photoscape. Now I am not saying it replaces Lightroom, but once you understand it's navigation and the easy click, click editing ... you may become a believer.

Sunday, August 28

Teekesselchen: Duplicate Finder for Adobe Lightroom

Teekesselchen is a fast duplicate finder plug-in for Adobe Lightroom using EXIF meta-data. It is open source (hosted on GitHub) and free of charge. It requires Lightroom 3.x, 4.x, 5.x or CC 2015 and runs on Windows as well as on Mac OS X. The Teekesselchen website has FAQ and documentation. Also a great instructional tutorial is Helen Bradley's Tutorial.

Wednesday, August 17

FCCP 2016 Best Tips

The Florida Center for Creative Photography provides anyone with a passion for photography the opportunity to join an active group of folks with a passion for photographer. Photo walks, tutorials on photography techniques, as well as weekly classroom instruction on using Lightroom is available for anyone whether in-person or online.  This link provides you access to the 2016 FCCP 100 Tips (this will updated weekly until we meet our 100th Tip). 

FCCP Filter Recommendations: Only Two Needed!

Love landscape photos? The first filter to purchase is a circular polarizer filterThe second filter to buy is a neutral density filter.  A circular Polarizer allows you to darken skies, manage reflections, or suppress glare, while the Neutral Density Filter allows you to reduce the amount of light entering the camera, enabling a longer exposure time than otherwise possible. 

Friday, August 12

Not Using Google Photos ... why not?

If you have a smartphone and you take pictures with it, you should be using Google Photos. Using Google Photos means your photos will all be safely uploaded to your Google account in the "cloud" and you can delete them from the phone to free up space. Using the Google Photos app, you will be able to view all of the photos from the cloud.
Not only do I use Google Photos Backup (to save iPhone photos to the cloud), I use it on my computer to auto-save a 2048 pixel (longest side) exported Lightroom image to the cloud (so I have all my exported photos saved in the cloud and not on my computer). Check out Google Photos

Thursday, August 11

Seven Camera Settings for WOW Factor

Here are seven recommended familiar and not-so familiar settings to get the most out of your camera. All worth a try!
1. Back-Button Focus - i.e. dedicate a back button on the camera to set focus ... and free uo shutter release button to only releasing the shutter
2. Auto Exposure Bracketing - getting the right exposure and color when you are not sure what the camera will see
3. Depth of Field Preview Button - to see (and correct) what photo will look like with settings 
4. Use Multiple Exposures - to create movement, ghosts and unique 'layer' effects
5. Use Mirror Lock-up - to get razor sharp images
6. Custom White Balance - get the colors right the first time and reduce post-process steps
7. Intervalometer - a built-in timer for multiple shots
Read more at Seven Secret Camera Settings for a WOW factor

Tuesday, July 12

Lightroom's Quick Develop (in Library Panel)

Explore Quick Develop in the Library Module as a quick and easy Develop post-process option where detailed editing is not critical. Using tabs and preset adjustments, photos can be edited quickly while Lightroom remembers the edit history for future adjustments using the full Develop Module. Here is a terrific 8 minute video for an introduction of Quick Develop.

Sunday, July 3

DSLR Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

Okay, so you’ve just shelled out your hard-earned coin for a sophisticated (codename for “expensive”) digital camera. Even if you’ve done the sensible thing and purchased a quality camera bag or backpack to keep it in one piece when not in use, you’ve only taken the first of two important steps toward keeping your camera in good working order.

Thursday, June 30

FCCP Question: How to Auto Import Photos to Lightroom?

The Auto Import feature automatically imports photos into a Lightroom catalog by monitoring a watched folder for photos and then importing them into a catalog. After you specify auto-import settings, you can simply drag photos into the watched folder, and Lightroom imports them automatically, allowing you to bypass the import window.


Monday, May 23

Quick Tip: Installing Presets in Lightroom

Here are the instructions on how to install presets in Lightroom.
1) On a Mac, on the top menu bar, navigate to Lightroom > Preferences. In Windows, you will navigate to Edit > Preferences.
2) When the Preferences box appears, select the Presets tab.
3) Click on the button labeled “Show Lightroom Presets Folder…”
4) A new window appears in Finder (Mac) or Explorer (Windows). Open the Lightroom folder, then the Develop Presets folder.
5) Copy and paste presets into this folder.
6. Restart Lightroom. New presets are located in the Develop Module under the Presets section, on the left side of the screen.
Source: FCCP - Florida Center for Creative Photography

Monday, May 16

FCCP: Develop Module - Let's Put It All Together

We completed the Develop Module Learning Series and now it is time to put it all together. Here is the Director of FCCP's work flow within the Develop Module.

After importing your images form an CD Card, Camera or other source, select the image you want to enhance and add your initial keyword and then begin:

1. Self Critique: take 1-2 minutes and critique the image by identifying distractions, looking for areas in the image that are too bright or to dark, observing any 'triangles' in the corners, noting if the photo clearly focuses on the subject, asking if there is too much detail or too little and finanally what would make this photo 'pop'

2. Camera Profile: make your first action to select the best Camera Profile by going to Lens Corrections>Camera Profile>Enable Profile Corrections>Select a desired Camera Profile from the drop down
3. Crop: selectively crop out distractions, blown out highlights, consider Rule of Thirds but not a fixed aspect ratio
4. Dehaze: add +5 to +10 of DeHaze (Effects>DeHaze)
5. Remove Chromatic Aberrations: Lens Corrections>Basic>Enable Remove CA
6. Sharpen: add Sharpening as needed (Detail>Sharpening>Radius/Detail/Masking)
7. White and Black Points: in Basic: adjust white and black points using Alt + Slider
8. White Balance: grab the eye dropper and select a white area and confirm White Balance
9. Histogram: balance Highlights, White Point and Exposure to insure no aras are blow out
10. Pop: bring Highlights down and Shadows up to add detail
11. Clarity: in Presence it does not hurt to add a touch of Clarity
12. Brush: view progress thus far and where needed use the Adjustment Brush to blur the background or blur Highlight distractions (Blur Brush - Adjsutment Brush>Clarity down>Sharpness down and noise reduction up with Auto Mask on)
13. Noise Reduction: check ISO - keyboard 'I' if under 200-300 you should be fine
14. Vignette: go to Effects>Post-Crop Vignetting and 'burn in the corners'
15. Final Check: go full screen (keyboard 'F') and do a final critique

That is what I captured from Jeff's workflow. Remember, with Lightroom there is no 'one' way to edit images. Lightroom will apply your edits in the right order from the 'recipe' you created.

As we say, there is no absolute 'right' workflow, but my second best teacher is Anthony Morganti. Check out his workflow in a 26 minute video The Develop Module Workflow

Tuesday, May 10

Photo (Self) Critique Checklist

It has been that said the most difficult thing for man to do is to judge his or her creative work, objectively.
Here is a checklist to keep in mind:

1. Intent – Could any viewer look at this photo and KNOW what you had in mind?
2. Emotional Impact – Can this photo be described with words of emotion?
3. Center of interest – When composing, do you successfully direct your viewer’s attention to a specific point? 
4. Illusion of depth – Have you used framing, balance, contrast, and other artful concepts to make your image jump off the page?
5. Subject/background contrast – Does your subject stand out?
6. Personal style – How will others describe your unique approach?
7. Selective focus – Do you choose where the viewer will look? 
8. Composition – Do you take control of where the viewer’s eyes are most likely to fall in your image?
9. Exposure – Do you always shoot at whatever the camera says, or do you take control of the light?
10. Story telling – Is there a feeling of movement within your image, or does it just sit there?
Read Photographic Standard: How to Critique Your Own Photos.

Monday, May 9

FCCP Suite 4K "Let's Put Lightroom to the Test"

Tonight, we had an opportunity to switch our learning approach - from classroom style - teacher/student to group editing, with attendees making edit suggestions on several member photos. Using the Develop Module, Jane took the helm and began enhancement recommendations 'from the crowd'. Below are essentially tips, hints and suggestions that were shared:
  1. Post-processing steps are not required to follow any specific order. 
  2. Recommendations on the web by varied authors are 'their' preferred approaches, but by no means represent 'the best way'.
  3. When Sharpening always select 1:1 in the Navigator
  4. If you find that you enjoy taking similar photos i.e. birds, landscapes, etc. and make very similar edits most of the time, consider creating a User Preset
  5. The Graduated Filter is a useful tool to improve blue skies and add a graduated tint, color or feature to an image. However, when this line tool goes beyond the area you ant to edit - use the Adjustment Brush - Erase to remove or erase overlapping changes that you do not want to apply features
  6. You can blur the background of a photo by creating a Blur Brush
  7. Note: in the latest Lr CC there exists an Auto Straighten
  8. Setting to Sharpen Birds: Sharpen to 100; Detail to 100; Radius to 0
  9. Photoshop Content Aware (generally understood to be the primary feature of Photoshop that Lightroom Kool-Aid drinkers use) was demonstrated. A great 'free' option within Adobe CC to easily remove distracting elements within your images (and 100% better than using brushes in Lightroom).
  10. Option for those that purchased Lightroom software outright - purchase Photoshop Elements version 12 and later. PS vs. PSE comparison
  11. Tip: complete all your Lightroom edits before sending the image to Photoshop for 'content aware' edits 
  12. Reminder: your primary Catalog and your backup Catalog should be on two different drives (if they are on the same drive and the drive fails = disaster)
  13. Reminder: when importing photos via the Library Module, save them on your computer hard drive and/or an external drive. However, saving them on an external drive where Lightroom knows their location, does not relieve you of backing up your photos to a drive that is in a different physical location. See Backing Up Your Catalog and Images.
  14. For additional safety and peace of mind several members use the online fee-based service called CrashPlan
    My Plan: 1) Import and Save Photos to Computer; 2) Daily Backup of Photos to Apple Time Capsule; 3) Daily (in the background) Backup to Online CrashPlan; 4) Manual Backup Monthly to an external drive of all Photos.

Wednesday, May 4

2016 Lightroom Learning - May 2nd 2016

As we near the end of this Lightroom Learning Series,  Jeff changed the student/class lecture to sharing post-process examples - emphasizing and reinforcing the lessons learned from the past 7-8 classes. It is hard (if not impossible) to capture stroke by stroke work flow steps Jeff shared. However, below I have attempted to provide a summary of those Lightroom 'gems'. Those 'gems' are below with linked references for further individual review. So, as were are still in the Develop Module here are key observations:

1. Graduated filter - Improve Your Images with the Graduated Filter 
2. Always check any Lr tool settings before using the slider(s) since many tools have sticky settings 
3. Radial Filter - Use the Radial Filter Tool
4. Blur the background with the Radial Filter Tool 
    4-1. Apply a Radial Filter around your subject
    4-2. Drop Clarity and Sharpness on the filter to low/zero
    4-3. Choose whether to drop Exposure to low as well (vignetting)
    4-4. Adjust Feather to your personal taste to control how gradual the effect is applied from around the subject matter
5. Pre Post-Process photo examination technique: Jeff shared a teaching approach for self critiquing your own photos - take the SOOC (shot out of camera) image and in 20 seconds list all the edits that would make that image a gallery photo. Now post-process! See 10 Ways to Self Critique and consider using the FCCP quarterly Photo Contest Judging Form on our FCCP Site
6. The Adjustment Brush has several useful properties. See Changing the Adjustment Brush Properties.
7. Lesson Learned: Global edits - use Basic Tools, Selective edits - use Brushes
8. Have many similar images - need to organize them - then why not try out Lightroom's Stacking Feature

Tuesday, May 3

Safety Harbor Photo Walk - Marina and Town

FCCP ran a Safety Harbor Marina Photowalk today. At first there was slight disappointment with the unexpected cloud cover at Sunrise ... but as we have learned God offers opportunities we cannot imagine. The sun came up, the colors shined and we enjoyed the canvas. The walkway photo will find a home in the Lines Collection on my website.

Friday, April 29

Pause: Incorporating Lessons of Feedback

I thought I would pause, and take a few minutes to take a previous 'good' photo and post-process (PP) again using lessons learned this past month. These include: 1) make horizon .. horizontal 2) move horizon 'off-center' (Rule of Thirds), 3) remove distractions (red blanket, boat mast), 4) enhance skies, 5) Dehaze, and 6) finish with post-process vignetting.

Tuesday, April 26



Introduction to the Nik Complete Collection

FCCP Apr 25th Lightroom Learning Series 2016

Nearing the end of the Learning Lightroom Series, Jeff reviewed right panel tools like Effects, Camera Calibration, Brush features and more of the Develop Module while sharing post-processing examples of workflows and tips. Below are meeting highlights and links to all FCCP Lightroom Notes for meetings held at Suite 4K Meeting. So, picking up from Effects/Post-Crop Vignetting:

.. everyone should consider adding post-crop vignetting to focus the viewers eye on the photo's subject (Scott Kelby shared he does vignetting of -17 on all his PP)
.. other sliders in post-crop vignetting become active once the 'Amount' slider is initiated
.. Grain is an effects feature that is used quite often to make a B&W digital image appear 'aged' (like at Civil War Re-enactment)
.. if you print photos, it has been found that adding a 'small' amount of grain actually causes the eye to see a sharper photograph
.. a great feature in Lightroom CC is Dehaze, which Jeff now uses on all photos. Jeff typically adds +5 Dehaze. It does more than add contrast when used in combination with contrast manipulation - check it out!
.. a right panel feature called Camera Calibration was reviewed. Essentially this allows users to apply varied camera JPEG settings to your RAW image upon selection. Read more via Google search but it can provide an effective means to start your PP workflow (see CC Presets).   

.. use Heal in the Spot Removal Tool for spot removal and don't forget to use opacity to blend or feather in the removal ('/' moves selection to another area
.. remember Command or Control Z is undo
.. besides basic spot removal, use the Spot Removal Tool to 'fill-in' or remove the dreaded 'triangle  in the corner' (see item #3 in article)
.. make your own blur tool, using the adjustment brush: launch the Adjustment Brush and 1) bring Sharpness down, 2) bring Clarity down, 3) move Dehaze to -4, bring Noise up and now brush the area. USE CAREFULLY.
.. oh, and don't forget the Red Eye Correction tool Red Eye and Pet Eye (choose the right one)

1. See how Scott Kelby post-processes an image from Start to Finish

2. Lightroom 101 25-Part Series - the Library and Develop Modules 
3. FCCP Lightroom Learning Series Notes - a collection of all FCCP meeting notes (tip: open the link to my Blog, and in the first post click FCCP in Labels, and now browse all the posts having content related to FCCP). Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 19

FCCP 2nd Qtr Photo Competition

The 2016 2nd Quarter Photo Competition was held at Suite 4K April 18th. Print categories were Portrait, Landscape, HDR and Open. This event was an excellent opportunity for members to share their 'best' and receive feedback, as well as a valuable experience for those attending to better understand how photos are judged. My congratulations to the winners and all who participated. I capture some of the judges overall comments and offer those below:
The judge's top recurring suggestions and feedback were ...
#1 focus on the subject and make it unquestionably obvious
#2 avoid capturing distractions - especially bright areas that draw the viewer's eye away from the subject

#3 fill the frame (the rule is 2/3's of the photo should contain the subject)
#4 avoid the 'triangle in the corner' (see tip 3 in Common Mistakes)
#5 avoid centering the subject, repeat avoid centering the subject - ROT

Additional observations (and tips):
.. horizons must be horizontal
.. move beyond being technically correct - capture/make a story or emotion 
.. close your eyes and then open them - do your eyes go directly to the subject?
.. shoot for the image not the frame - aspect ratio does not have to be fixed
.. use and not over-use 'Negative Space'
.. use vignetting
.. when using crop, don't make the crop look like a mistake -and- when cropping it is okay to actually cut-off part of the subject
.. when shooting people, shoot lots of images to capture that 'one' emotion
.. don't shoot food 'head-on'
.. for people and animals - focus on the eyes

Sunday, April 17

Free Zonerama Gallery - A Google Photos Option

How would you like a *free* unlimited, online backup service for your JPEG photos? You can with Zoner's online Zonerama

Background: I was introduced to Zoner Photo Studio several years ago when I was a JPEG 'photographer'. I was using Picasa and needed a better way to view and organize my photos. Installing (Windows only) free Zoner, I found it to be an great photo organizer since at that time I was strictly a folder organizer (today I am a hybrid folder/database guy using Lightroom). Now, Zoner announced a quick and easy feature that is perfect for Picasa folks: a 2-3 click upload of all your Picasa Web Albums before Web Albums is shut down.

So why do I offer this: 1) it releases your dependence on Google Photos for photo sharing, 2) provides backup for your JPEG images you don't have to maintain on your hard drive, 3) allows full resolution backup of your JPEG's where Google Photos limits free backup to 2048 pixels widths and 4) it's cool to have an alternate sharing option (I use Google Photos Desktop Uploader)

Installing the FCCP Photo Export Lightroom Plug-in

A Lightroom plug-in is 3rd party or Adobe software that allows users to perform operations and/or enhancements 'automatically' from within Lightroom. FCCP has a Meetup Plug-in  that allows a member to quickly export photos directly to a selected Meetup event.

Here are some tips that can help make the Plug-in operational.
1. go to the Plug-in file at the link above and download the file

2. open the .zip file and locate the application in a location you file plug-ins
3. once opened, in Lightroom go to Plug-in Manager and open Manager
4. in the Lightroom Plug-in Manager (left side), under the Plug-in list click Add
5. locate the Plug-in you saved in #2 above and Add Plug-in
6. now after editing the event photo(s), use top menu and click File > Export

7. at top of dialog select from drop-down Export to Meetup Event Album 

Thursday, April 14

"If You Don't Like Your Picture - You're Not Close Enough"

Frequently, I capture a shot and then in post-process I see I really don't like it. Distractions, unclear subject ... whatever. Then, at an FCCP meeting, as we viewed documentaries on photographers that impacted the industry, we discussed the Robert Capa expression (post title). Hmmm, "I can buy that". Then, I heard another phrase "fill the frame until you feel something is missing". So, I am in the McDonald's parking lot and decided to take several photos of a 1948 Roadster. You make the call. But, I found those 'lessons' can make a photo that I don't like ... to one I do. Great lesson!

Wednesday, April 13

Burst versus Bracketing Shooting

I had an opportunity to ask a question at a FCCP Tuesday evening Camera 101 meeting this week. "When should I shoot in 'burst' or 'rapid fire' and when do I 'bracket' a camera shot?" Here is my take-away:

'Rapid Fire' is best when shooting a scene where there may be movement, or when the scene/subject is a moment you don't want to miss. Examples include: sports, children running and even family portraits/events where expressions can change in an instant. The no-brainer to me is "why take a chance and only take one shot, when it costs you nothing to take multiple shots where you have a better chance to capture the moment?" More shots - better odds!

'Bracketing' on the other hand is used to take the same photo more than once, using different exposure settings. Typically one takes 3 or 5 shots of the exact scene to capture the full dynamic range of the scene, like landscapes and streetscapes. You then combine the multiple shots (HDR) using Lightroom or 3rd party software like Photomatix. Remember: the eye sees more than what a camera captures and by taking multiple shots at different exposures you are able to blend extreme lights and extreme darks to create an image with 'full' dynamic range.

Tuesday, April 12

FCCP: The Develop Module Continues

At the FCCP meeting April 11th at Suite 4K, we got 'down and dirty' by with the Develop Module. With discussion and hands-on examples in using Sharpness and Noise Reduction features in Lightroom, everyone walked away with more tools in their post-process toolbox. (Note: we want to wish all our Canadians friends a safe travel home. Stay connected with us on the FCCP website and photo Meet-ups)

.. set Navigation to at least 1:1
.. do not globally sharpen people's faces but eyes, lips, jewelry may be appropriate

.. typically there is no need to sharpen the sky, or snow 
.. sharpening bird's feathers and eyes is appropriate
.. use Masking Slider to 'see' Sharpening application: White = everything sharpened; Black = no sharpening
.. to selectively more or a specific area - use the adjustment brush
.. Read more at Learn to Use Sharpening Tools
.. Review: three types of Sharpening Global (Detail Panel), Creative (Adjustment Brush) and Output (for Screen or printing) Note: for Output select 'Standard'

Noise Reduction:
.. two types of 'noise' luminance noise (high ISO) and color (chrominance) noise
.. many cameras allow you to turn off Noise Reduction (Jeff does, but low is OK)
.. See one author's view on a Primer on Noise Reduction

Lens Correction:
.. Each lens can create barrel distortion, vignetting at big apertures, chromatic aberration, and more.
.. In Lens Correction > Basic > Enable Lens Correction and Remove Chromatic Aberration and under Profile lens is selected. 

.. In same section Manual allows independent correction See Four Under Used Lens Correction Tools.
 Tips and Answers to attendee questions ...

Question: How do I add the same keywords to multiple images?
   # select the first image of series > hold shift key > select last image of series > enter keywords (applied to all images) -or- 
   # hold down Cmd/Control key and select each image you want to apply Keywords to
   # use the Painter tool or Spray Can  > enter Keywords
   # to de-select an image hold Cmd/Control and click on image

Question: Why are my photos all out of order or not grouped together
   # in the Library Module, Grid view set 'sort' to Capture time or other desired sort order to locate your edited images

Question: How do I remove JPEG images on my drive that I have RAW originals without removing JPEG's?
   # this is a little involved, but essentially we take advantage of the Library Filter > MetaData and adding columns, you can filter by File Type, Camera, etc to define what photos are to be deleted and which are to remain

Question: What are recommended Info (keyboard letter 'I') settings? Jeff's are:
   # Info 1 set as Default
   # Info 2 set as Common Photo, Camera Model, Exposure Bias

Sunday, April 10

Taking an Image from Flat to Fabulous

Scott Kelby ... "something different – it’s a start to finish video tutorial on taking a flat looking out-of-the-camera image and bringing it to life without using HDR, without using any plug-ins, and just simple stuff right in Lightroom. See Flat to Fabulous

Friday, April 8

Lessons Learned: Critiquing My Photos

I shared photos on the FCCP website and to experienced photographers for feedback. Frankly, obtaining feedback probably provides the best way to improve and I hope to look for opportunities for sharing and getting more.

Below are the (my) 'reminders' to keep in mind for future shoots. 

1. separate elements, where it makes sense - don't crowd subject
2. check for distractions
3. horizons are supposed to be 'horizontal'
4. Use subject's lines, geometry, symmetry - when available 
5. use framing to 'aim' the viewer's eye to the subject
6. use grid lines - both in camera and in post-process
7. fill the frame - originally in composition or in post-process crop
8. control depth of field - don't just shoot the subject, take a moment and decide shallow or deep
9. take multiple shots - walk around, change angle and/or elevation
10. go for detail - sometimes you don't have to get 'the whole shot' where there is background distraction 
11. keep borders distraction free - don't 'cut off' heads, photo elements, etc.
12. don't forget to apply 'some' vignetting

Tuesday, April 5

FCCP: Develop Module Review Continued - Apr 4th 2016

The April 4th, 2016 Develop Module Learning Series continued at Suite 4K with Jeff's emphasis on Lightroom's Develop Module - right panel. Image enhancing techniques using the module features provided attendees another opportunity to further visualize the overt and covert features and tips that can make your photos 'Pop'. Key areas explored together were:

HSL - Hue/Saturation and Luminance:  (Tip) Always Use HSL versus options
.. Hue is another word for color. 
.. Saturation refers to the strength of a color (and is not used much)
.. Luminance is the brightness of a color (it has global effects). Only using Lightroom brushes can you control editing specific image areas.

Detail sub-panel - Sharpening and Noise Reduction
.. when Sharpening always select 1:1 in Navigator 
.. most cameras have Anti-Alias filters to avoid wavy lines called moire), all images need sharpening.
.. people photos don't need lots of sharpening (who wants sharp wrinkles)
.. Slider Guidelines (not the Rule)
Sharpening 'Amount': People 25-50; Wildlife 50-100; Landscape 100+ OK
Sharpening 'Radius' (makes darker/lighter edges increasingly/decreasingly thicker). People .7-1.0 max; Wildlife and Landscape 1.5/1.5 Max
Sharpening 'Detail' People 25-50; Landscape ~ 50

.. Q1: Is 16 Megapixel sufficient? Yes - if printing 8x10 or viewing online. No - if printing 16x20 or typically 'fill the frame' by cropping often.
.. Q2: Should I Expose To The Right to avoid/reduce noise?: Yes - 'Noise is in the Shadows' Read: Wiki-ETTR
.. Q3: What is a good lens evaluation website?:
.. Q4: Is there a macro or one-key shortcut to expedite opening imported images at full screen for image vetting?: Almost, use the shortcut features already built within Lightroom. So, 1) hit Tab to hide left and right panels, 2) tap keyboard letter 'L' once or twice to go 'Lights Out' and darken side panel areas, 3) Tap spacebar for sizing -- now vet your images.
Full Screen Photo vetting: seems an uniformed enthusiast asked "is there a preset that allows Lightroom user to quickly 'go full screen' to vet photos?"Shortcut is Shift-Cmd-F (then use 'L' to change Lights). Read Viewing Images Full Screen.