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Old 11-25-2014, 06:58 PM   #1981
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That's interesting.

The original photo of the statue - I probably would not have given it second look but you have processed it into an interesting photo.

Same with the photo of the dog.

I think I need to spend more time looking at my photos and having a bit of imagination.

Time....that is definitely lacking.
Yes it does take a lot of time. My problem is that it always seems that something unsightly is in the way, or I have wrong settings. Fortunately, Lightroom can fix some of the mistakes.

I just took an online corse from National Geographic. The presenter made the point that a photographer should set up the background of the shot before taking a shot. And don't take the shot if the background isn't good. For me, that's a tough concept to grasp.
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:02 PM   #1982
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With the available tools, you can turn a photo into something very far-removed from reality. I like to pore over my photos, looking for cropping and other opportunities.

Here's one from a couple of years ago. The picture-in-a-picture got my attention; I close-cropped it and amped up the saturation to get an almost-cartoon look:
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:22 PM   #1983
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That's a great shot!


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Old 11-25-2014, 08:26 PM   #1984
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Kool photo
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Old 11-26-2014, 01:42 AM   #1985
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Here's another one, my front yard at around sunset. This is a three-exposure HDR, -2, normal, and +2 stops, and the saturation driven WAY up. I combined them with Fusion HDR, a really easy program to use. I think it looks almost like an impressionist acrylic:



Well, back to reality, now...
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Old 11-26-2014, 07:16 AM   #1986
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Nice shot, but too much bright green for me. (But it is great in your yard). Just my personal taste, but I always turn down the greens in all my color photos.
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:09 AM   #1987
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Nice shot, but too much bright green for me. (But it is great in your yard). Just my personal taste, but I always turn down the greens in all my color photos.
We finally got our normal rain this year, so grass and trees were Green, Green, Green. I shot these three exposures looking west in the afternoon, so the light really popped the green. And, I just firewalled the saturation in Fusion HDR. GREEN!

This picture looks better in its original 3000x2000 size, I also oversharpened which gives the details in this particular photo a hand-painted impression.

It's funny, I mainly shoot to capture the moment, but I'll sometimes get going on a particular image with the GIMP filters and it's like a trance: When I come out of it, I've got an image that is interesting, to say the least...
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Old 11-26-2014, 05:31 PM   #1988
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I just took an online course from National Geographic.
How did that work for you? I mean do you think you got your money's worth from the course? Would you take more?

I did pay the annual $99 for two years running now for Kelby Training online tutorials and classes, but they are video only, not one-on-one. They do offer some seminars/classes but you have to travel to where they are, which are always in big cities. I hate big cities so I'll never go to those. And I think the annual subscription is now $250, not the $99 rate I get since I'm grandfathered in at the old rate. No question it's worth $99, I'd hesitate to say it is worth $250. They are all of good quality but you'd have to watch a lot of them to make the subscription worth $250.
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Old 11-26-2014, 06:34 PM   #1989
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How did that work for you? I mean do you think you got your money's worth from the course? Would you take more?

I did pay the annual $99 for two years running now for Kelby Training online tutorials and classes, but they are video only, not one-on-one. They do offer some seminars/classes but you have to travel to where they are, which are always in big cities. I hate big cities so I'll never go to those. And I think the annual subscription is now $250, not the $99 rate I get since I'm grandfathered in at the old rate. No question it's worth $99, I'd hesitate to say it is worth $250. They are all of good quality but you'd have to watch a lot of them to make the subscription worth $250.
I took "The Art of Travel Photography", one of their "The Great Courses" for $28. I did the digital download. 6 Lessons taught by Joel Sartore, one of Nat Geo's contributing photographers. I really enjoyed it. I feel that I got more than $28 worth. Lots of pointers on backgrounds and outdoor lighting.

Their "Fundamentals of Photography" and "National Geographic Masters of Photography" in this series are $70 each or $110 if you get both at the same time. I may do that.

The Art of Travel Photography: Six Expert Lessons
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Old 11-26-2014, 06:55 PM   #1990
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Their "Fundamentals of Photography" and "National Geographic Masters of Photography" in this series are $70 each or $110 if you get both at the same time. I may do that.

The Art of Travel Photography: Six Expert Lessons
I might do the "Masters of Photography" course. I already know the stuff in the Fundamentals course from all the books I've read. Of particular interest to me in the Masters course would be dealing with people and gaining their trust.

That's why I photograph flowers and when I can, dogs. No issues getting along with them.
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Old 11-26-2014, 07:06 PM   #1991
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I could probably get by with the "Masters of Photography" course and not the fundamentals course as well. I took a fundamentals course at a junior college - that should cover fundamentals.

I want to concentrate on travel photography, but we don't travel enough to give me enough subject matter. I can't do flowers and dogs like you. The flowers around here are so-so, and the dogs are always doing something non photogenic - I can't control them. I can do nature photography, but there is not much nature in northern Illinois in the winter. I may turn to street photography occasionally during the winter to fill the void between travel trips.
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Old 11-26-2014, 07:20 PM   #1992
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Uh-oh - The "Masters of Photography" course is not getting good reviews


http://www.thegreatcourses.com/cours...1#BVRRWidgetID
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Old 11-26-2014, 07:26 PM   #1993
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The flowers are ones I bought at the grocery store or were growing nearby. And of course I don't post my awful shots....

But I play around with the lighting a lot. I think I've posted this tulip shot before but it wasn't that hard. The background is the black side of a reflector, I had two SB-900s in umbrellas, and a third SB900 shooting straight hard light from the left. Correcting for while balance you can do the same thing with table lamps and a white bed sheet or shower curtain for a reflector so a big budget isn't necessary. But I probably shot 70 images before getting a few that I liked. Now that I know the setup it wouldn't take that long to do something similar again.

I don't get to do dogs very often but the key to them is just relaxing so they're relaxing with you and know you're not a threat of any sort. Better if they think you want to play. And they usually bribe easily with a piece of cooked hamburger or something. Just be ready with the camera and hold a bit of one near the lens and you get a look of intense interest.
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Old 11-26-2014, 07:34 PM   #1994
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Uh-oh - The "Masters of Photography" course is not getting good reviews
Wow, I don't see reviews like that about Kelby's courses. I think he and his team do a great job and I've learned a lot from them and his books. The worst thing I can say is that one instructor, Tim Wallace, has a strong British accent that I sometimes find hard to understand but he knows his material and teaches it well.

Kelby's classes are the reason I sprung for a Wacom tablet and I'm so glad that I did! I even bought a second smaller one to pack with the notebook computer. Of course I waited until it was on sale.
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Old 11-26-2014, 07:59 PM   #1995
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The flowers are ones I bought at the grocery store or were growing nearby. And of course I don't post my awful shots....

But I play around with the lighting a lot. I think I've posted this tulip shot before but it wasn't that hard. The background is the black side of a reflector, I had two SB-900s in umbrellas, and a third SB900 shooting straight hard light from the left. Correcting for while balance you can do the same thing with table lamps and a white bed sheet or shower curtain for a reflector so a big budget isn't necessary. But I probably shot 70 images before getting a few that I liked. Now that I know the setup it wouldn't take that long to do something similar again.

I don't get to do dogs very often but the key to them is just relaxing so they're relaxing with you and know you're not a threat of any sort. Better if they think you want to play. And they usually bribe easily with a piece of cooked hamburger or something. Just be ready with the camera and hold a bit of one near the lens and you get a look of intense interest.
Nice shot! I never thought of buying some flowers. I need lighting - I now use a few construction reflector lights with a black sheet. No reflectors - just a white poster board. I do have a home made light box. We did a little with lighting in the intro course I took. I should take the junior college lighting course.
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Old 11-26-2014, 08:27 PM   #1996
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I should take the junior college lighting course.
If at all feasible yes you should.

Lessee, books that I liked about lighting:

Any book by Joe McNally. The guy knows lighting all around.

Light Science & Magic by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver and Paul Fuqua. This is a college-level textbook on photography lighting. I found it fascinating.

Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers Using Photoshop by Scott Kelby. It is mostly about retouching but you can't discuss portraiture without also discussing lighting.

Painting with Light by Eric Curry. It is about nighttime photography and painting light with a flashlight but it really got me thinking and understanding a lot about how to use light.

Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. A classic, and for good reason.

Layers, by Matt Kloskowski. This is primarily about using layers in Photoshop but he also gets into compositing photos and that lead to a discussion of lighting so a composite "looks right".

Photoshop Compositing Secrets by Matt Kloskowski. About compositing, but you can't discuss that without discussing lighting.

Creative Lighting by Harold Davis. Lots of examples of what good lighting can do.

Photoshop Masking & Compositing byt Katrin Eismann, Sean Duggan and James Porto. Again, more about compositing but you have to know lighting to pull it off.

Lighting and Photographing Transparent and Translucent Surfaces by Dr. Glenn Rand. Photographing glass is a bear.

On-Camera Flash and Off-Camera Flash by Neil Van Niekerk (two separate books) Both get into lighting.
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Old 11-26-2014, 08:31 PM   #1997
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Wow - that's quite a list. Thanks. I have some reading to do.


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Old 11-26-2014, 08:35 PM   #1998
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Get a daylight balanced light bulb, and just use that. Bare bulb with no metal reflector or anything else as the key light. Then use white cardboard as a fill - to bounce a little bit of light into darker areas. Cheap, and you'll learn more by laying with angles, moving the light or reflector further back or closer. You don't need flash, don't need soft boxes. Try using natural light from a window as your key light.

Expensive equipment can make your photographic process easier, but it won't make your photographs better.


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Old 11-26-2014, 08:50 PM   #1999
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Get a daylight balanced light bulb, and just use that. Bare bulb with no metal reflector or anything else as the key light. Then use white cardboard as a fill - to bounce a little bit of light into darker areas. Cheap, and you'll learn more by laying with angles, moving the light or reflector further back or closer. You don't need flash, don't need soft boxes. Try using natural light from a window as your key light.

Expensive equipment can make your photographic process easier, but it won't make your photographs better.
Exactly. There's nothing wrong with those construction light as long as one is aware of the white balance issue. And I do use a couple of white foamboard reflectors too.

Oh, and I left out a book: Scott Kelby's Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it.

A point he (and every other photography book I've read) makes is that the more you get right in the camera the less work there is to do later.

For example one book on portraits mentioned that if there is an obstruction, like a table lamp that is a distraction in someone's home, just ask if you can move it out of the frame. No one has ever said "no". That way he doesn't have to clone it out in Photoshop later.
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Old 11-26-2014, 08:51 PM   #2000
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I do have daylight balance bulbs in my construction reflectors. They work fairly well. I do need to get a speed light or 2. And a lot of reading and practice. I don't intend to buy much lighting equipment.

Almost all my shots are taken outdoors, so I have a lot to learn on indoor photography. I plan on doing a lot of woodworking projects that I need to shoot, so I need to get up to speed quickly. Just finished off a section of basement for a "studio"- this will be fun.


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