David Lenhert Photography: Blog https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog en-us (C) David Lenhert Photography dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:01:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:01:00 GMT https://www.davidlenhert.com/img/s/v-12/u3494265-o142416065-50.jpg David Lenhert Photography: Blog https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog 120 120 39th Annual Bernardo Winery Art & Craft Fair https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2016/10/39th-annual-bernardo-winery-art-craft-fair

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2016/10/39th-annual-bernardo-winery-art-craft-fair Wed, 12 Oct 2016 19:08:13 GMT
Havasupai Falls Travelogue https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/7/havasupai-falls-travelogue A travelogue of my photography trip to Havasupai Falls in the southwestern area of the Grand Canyon, Arizona.

I’ve wanted to travel to Havasupai in the Grand Canyon and photograph the beautiful turquoise water there for many years, but never seemed to actually accomplish that objective.  It was because I didn’t really relish the idea of hiking over ten miles into and out of the canyon carrying my rather heavy camera gear in addition to all the essentials required for about three days of camping. Navajo FallsNavajo Falls

Recently, my friend Dan, with his daughter and her friend, invited me to go with them on a camping trip to Havasupai Falls, with the promise that we’d helicopter out of the canyon. That made the prospect of carrying all my camping and camera gear only one direction a bit more tolerable. So off we went.

After driving about 7 hours from San Diego to the trail head parking area at Hualapai Hilltop, located in the southwestern part of the Grand Canyon, we began our decent into the canyon. After approximately six captivating miles we come to an intersection with another tributary canyon where we first see that peculiar turquoise water flowing. The color is derived from the high concentrations of lime which liberally coats the stream bed and surrounding pools producing that unique blue green hue.  From here the path generally follows the stream leading about two more miles to the village of Supai.

After checking in at the tribal tourist office and grabbing a quick lunch at the little diner, we hike another two miles to reach the campground and then another half mile before finding a camp site we like along Havasu Creek under cool shade trees.

Once settled in and bereft of our packs, we head off to Mooney Falls for an evening swim and some photography. However, halfway down we discover a rather unnerving near vertical climb down to the bottom which requires the use of both hands and feet. Since our legs were still ailing from our long hike, and I was lugging a tripod and full frame camera, we postponed our decent for the following evening. 

The next day, our legs were still sore but much recovered. Having a friend place my tripod in his daypack for the climb down, I was then able to use both hands to hold onto the chains anchored into the rock for last fifty feet or so to the bottom. (Climbing back up wasn’t nearly as unnerving as the climb down.  Be sure to watch Dan’s video of the climb back up and out, attached here.) Once at the bottom, we were treated to a surreal view of the area.

Havasu FallsHavasu Falls There are four major waterfalls in the Havasupai area. In order of distance from the village, they are: Navajo Falls (and New Navajo Falls a short distance away), Havasupai Falls, Mooney Falls and finally Beaver Falls a few miles further downstream. We didn’t make it to Beaver Falls.

Havasupai and Mooney Falls are best photographed in late afternoon or evening when in full shade, or during cloud cover to minimize the high contrast light of mid-day.  Navajo Falls is in full shade early morning.  A polarizing filter is extremely helpful to reduce glare and enhance color. If high contrast light is present as it was when I shot Navajo Falls, HDR photography is a useful way to rescue the situation.

Our final day we hiked back to the village stopping at the creek and falls along the way to cool off and replenish drinking water. We grabbed dinner at the diner and spent our last night at the lodge so we can get an early start the next day.

Despite pre-registering for our helicopter flight weeks before, and being among the first in line at 7:30am (sign in starts at 8:00am and first flight just after 9:00am), we didn’t get our flight out until about 1:00pm. That’s primarily because the Supai tribe members get first preference despite registration or when they arrive at the helo pad. What took nearly 5 hours to hike in only took about 5 minutes to fly out.

I’m glad I took the opportunity to visit this part of the Grand Canyon.  If you think you’d like to make the trip, I’d suggest brining at least 2 or 3 liters of water for the trip down.  After that , its easy to replenish water by treating or filtering. You’ll want warm weather if you plan on swimming but you’ll probably want to avoid the hottest months and monsoon season. You should also be in decent physical shape for the hike. Even if you plan on staying the whole time at the lodge and therefore won’t need a heavy pack, you’ll have to make a 2 mile hike each way to the falls everyday.

If you found this travelog helpful, please drop me a line and let me know.  As always, remember to keep shooting!

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) Arizona Grand Canyon Havasupai Mooney Falls waterfalls https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/7/havasupai-falls-travelogue Mon, 21 Jul 2014 02:25:50 GMT
What Photography Sells Best? - updated https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/7/what-photography-sells-best Update: 7/12/2014: As mentioned below, this article led to co-authoring a larger article with Joe Nalven and published in the Picked Raw Peeled section of SDVisualArts.net. You can read the full story here.

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I'm way past due for a blog article and I have a number of travels and images that really need to be shared. I promise I'll get some up soon...

In the meantime, I was talking with a photographer friend, Joe Nalven, who writes for SDVisualArts.net. We were discussing things like what kind of photography sells best. As it so happened I had just written a response to another photographer acquaintance, Steve, who had the same question. Joe encouraged me to put my response in my blog. So here it is...

Steve had asked "I was just curious of what your thoughts are on what people like, in general, of photos that they buy. You’ve been selling your photos and you’ve known others that have sold theirs. What seems to be the continual money makers even though they may be cliché or just regular shots to shoot?"

Here was my answer:

Steve,

You'd probably get a lot of different answers from different photographers on this one.  There are lots of schools of thought backed up with real world results. For example, many would say "shoot local."  People buy locally familiar images as well as visitors desiring something to remember their trip by.  Good advise I think; but for me, I'm not really motivated or impressed by what is in my local area (aside from a few things).  My inspiration comes from traveling to other places and seeing new things.
 
That brings me to my world view on selling my photography (ie, my art); which is to shoot what you love.  Regardless of how sellable it might be. There are buyers for every genre of art. If you like to take candid shots of locals in Costa Rica, then by all means do so. And, if you do it well, there'll be someone to buy it.  Anyway, that's my philosophy.
 
As for my practical experience...  I mostly like to shoot Landscapes and Nature.  Next to that, I like to shoot Travel and Architecture. So, this is what I sell.  If it's good, and it resonates with a buyer, it will sell.  Actually, from monitoring other photographer's sales (at the same shows I'm selling at) I'd say that "resonates" is even more important than how good it is.  That's to say, is there a connection with the potential buyer?  A lot of my sales happened because my buyer visited that place and connected with my image (which was better than images they took, if they took any at all). Of course they also had to love that place in the first place.
 
So what makes it good and resonate?  I find the image needs to be both familiar and Iconic. I know that sounds cliche and common, but that's what sells. There's a reason that postcards seem to have the same kinds of images. They're iconic.  I like iconic! That doesn't mean you can't try and also make it yours by changing up a few things--which is a whole other topic of how to do that.  All of this applies equally with nature (plants and animals) and other kinds of images. Does it resonate with the buyer?
Middle EarthMiddle EarthThe title of this image was inspired by the fanciful nature of the place, which reminded my of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth. 3rd place 2014 San Diego County Fair.
I've also discovered that although iconic sells well, it often doesn't win photo contests.  Judges don't seem to care much about iconic or familiar.  In fact, they're bored with the same old stuff, so they look for a completely different set of metrics, like breaking ubiquitous art rules ("rule of thirds" for example). Something that makes it "novel."  Novel sometimes sells, but it doesn't outsell familiar and iconic--at least not from what I've observed.  Then there is stock and photo journalistic images, which is a whole other thing (best for another discussion).
 
When I take my shots of something that really interests me I like to mix things up a little. I'll first shoot for Art, then Contest potential, then Stock potential, and lastly Blog or Journalistic potential.  I say 'potential' because I seldom get around to doing all of it, but I can go back later to an archive to pull from. This forces me to view the subject in different ways. What's good for one isn't necessarily good for the other. This also forces you to have a variety of images and avoid "similars" which can become a licensing or stock problem.
 
So, for the short answer :-)  Since I print images that represent familiar, iconic, landscape/nature, and representative of my best work, then a subset of that is what sells best for me. Which as it so happens, the more familiar and iconic it is, the better it sells.  Kind of circular isn't it? Specifically, I seem to sell landscape and nature images of the southwest and Hawaii; but that is also what I like to shoot.
 
People like pretty images. I like pretty images too.  They want to hang it on the walls of their home.  If you were to buy art, what would you like to hang in your home?  I ask it this way because a few other things will determine what sells.  Will the colors go with their decor?  Will the frame tie it all together?  For example, I have a twilight shot of the Napali coast which is very blue overall.  It generates a lot of interest, but in the end it isn't purchased often because it's too blue to go in the room they're thinking of.
 
Napali EveningNapali EveningNapali coast after sunset on the north shore of Kauai.
I have an image of a Hawaiian Sunrise (iconic) with beautiful colors in the sky.  It is framed by a palm tree and a silhouette of a bench in the foreground.  This sells well for me because buyers have often told me that they see themselves sitting on the bench enjoying the sunrise (could also be considered a sunset). In other words, the image resonates with the buyer.  Similar statements have been made about my other best sellers which include images of Zion, Canyonlands, as well as Waterfalls and Seascapes in general.  Royal SunriseRoyal SunriseExtraordinary sunrise looking east from Princeville on Kauai's north shore.
 
Sorry I couldn't give a short, straightforward answer. I'm not sure there really is one.
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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/7/what-photography-sells-best Sun, 06 Jul 2014 01:00:00 GMT
Torrey Pines Half Day Photography Workshop 2014 https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/5/torrey-pines-half-day-photography-workshop-2014 Our annual Torrey Pines Half Day Photography Workshop is coming up shortly.  Please join Lee Kirchhevel and myself Saturday, May 31st 2014 at Torrey Pines State Park. We'll guide you to and through one of the most beautiful areas in Southern California and help you capture amazing images through the use of good photography practices, equipment, and understanding composition. 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/5/torrey-pines-half-day-photography-workshop-2014 Thu, 22 May 2014 21:17:53 GMT
May Shows https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/5/may-shows It has been a very busy several months and I've been remiss in making updates of classes and shows.  

We have two shows this coming Mother's Day weekend.  First, is the 37th Annual Spring Arts & Crafts Show from 10am to 5pm Saturday May 10th and Sunday May 11th. Bring Mom out for a wonderful day of music, wine tasting, and perhaps find that special gift for mom!

For another opportunity to view fine art, be sure to stop by the Escondido Municipal Gallery at 262 E. Grand Ave where the Photo Arts Group will be showing their latest images of Land & Seascapes. Of course there will be other examples of fine art to view. You'll be treated to complimentary beverages and appetizers while getting the opportunity to visit with the artists.

We hope to see you at both of these exciting events!

LaJolla Sunset

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/5/may-shows Mon, 05 May 2014 18:18:04 GMT
Joshua Tree Photography Workshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/4/joshua-tree-photography-workshop

Please Join Lee Kirchhevel and myself this coming weekend at Joshua Tree National Park. We will capture grand images during the golden hours of sunrise an sunset. Mid-day on Saturday we will critique images and apply post-processing techniques to further enhance our photography with Photoshop and Lightroom.  Skies permitting, we'll take low-light pictures after dusk and capture the Milky Way as background for Joshua Trees and rock formations.

Please send an email for additional details, lodging suggestions or to register.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) joshua photography tree workshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/4/joshua-tree-photography-workshop Sat, 05 Apr 2014 23:46:38 GMT
La Jolla Cove Photography Workshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/2/la-jolla-cove-photography-workshop Here is a short video of highlights from our recent photography workshop at La Jolla Cove. Our main focus was getting shots of the local Brown Pelicans while they are brightly arrayed in breeding plumage this time of year. Of course we also photographed other local sites like the beautiful surroundings, seals, flora, and the ever ubiquitous homo sapien. 

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) Diego Jolla La Photography Photoshop San lions pelicans sea video workshops https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/2/la-jolla-cove-photography-workshop Sat, 08 Feb 2014 17:20:06 GMT
Photography Workshops https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/1/photography-workshops Lee and I started the season with a new series of photography workshops beginning with Balboa Park this past November. The following week we were scheduled to do a San Diego Skyline at Twilight class but it got rained out. We rescheduled for this past Saturday but lost a lot of students due to a variety of conflicts. Although we didn't have rain Saturday, we did get fogged out before the end.  I've attached a couple of videos of the last two workshops.

Our next workshop is this Saturday January 18 at La Jolla Cove from 8:00am to Noon. This is an annual event for us as this is the best time of year to photograph the numerous Brown Pelicans that call this area home, due to their brightly colored breeding plumage. If you're interested in attending, drop me a message and I'll get you all the details.

 

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) Balboa Park San Dieog pelicans skyline twilight https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/1/photography-workshops Tue, 14 Jan 2014 23:29:32 GMT
Photo Arts Group Gallery Hanging https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/1/photo-arts-group-gallery-hanging I thought it would be interesting to capture a time-lapse segment of setting up one of our Photo Arts Group Shows. This takes place each month at the Escondido Arts Partnership Municipal Gallery in our "Inner Space" area of the Gallery.  The video and time lapse were shot with a GoPro. 

We first take down the prior show, patch the nail holes and then touch up the paint. While we wait for the paint to dry, the Show Coordinator sorts and places each picture where he/she thinks it is best represented within the whole. Then, it's a matter of determining the placement of nails so that each picture is centered relative to one another. Finally they are leveled and a little museum putty is placed under the bottom edge to keep them from tilting. The following Saturday evening come the artist reception where we all get together and share our work while enjoying a variety of treats and beverages.

If you happen to be in Escondido, CA on the 2nd Saturday of the month, please stop by the corner of Juniper and Grand Ave between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  We would enjoy meeting you.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) PAG Photo Arts Group gallery time lapse https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2014/1/photo-arts-group-gallery-hanging Sat, 11 Jan 2014 21:32:13 GMT
Photoshop Painting with Light, or Dodge & Burn Technique #5 https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/11/photoshop-painting-with-light-or-dodge-burn-technique-5 In this video I demonstrate how you can use Blend Modes like "Color Dodge" and "Color Burn" to add some extra punch to your images by creating selective local contrast. Unlike other Dodge & Burn techniques I've described before, the goal here is not neccessarily to lighten dark areas or darken highlights. I actually use this technqiue to "paint in" selective light and shadow to add more contrast and drama to an image.

This technique is quite easy and can be used with most versions of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. The video assumes you already have basic Photoshop skills like how to duplicate a layer, use a brush, etc. I would be interested to hear back if you found this tip useful and how it helped you process your images.

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Photography Photoshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/11/photoshop-painting-with-light-or-dodge-burn-technique-5 Fri, 15 Nov 2013 22:25:54 GMT
San Diego Photography Workshops https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/10/san-diego-skline-photography-workshop We have a couple of photography workshops coming up in San Diego in the next several weeks.

First is a half day workshop at Balboa Park Saturday November 16 from 8am to noon.  Lee Kirchhevel will guide us to several hand picked locations taking advantage of gardens and unique architecture through out the park.  Emphasis will be on camera and photography basics including composition. This is a great opportunity for aspiring and intermediate shutterbugs!

Our next and last workshop opportunity for 2013 will be photographing the San Diego City Skyline, Saturday, December 7th, 2013 near the Ferry Landing at Coronado Island. We will meet at 4pm and finish around 8pm. For those who'd like to stay and continue the discussion we will have dinner at one of the nearby restaurants. This class is aimed at intermediate level photographers, but all skill levels are encouraged to attend from beginner to advanced. A standard to medium telephoto lens is ideal for this class.  Be sure to bring a tripod and some warm clothing!

Please contact us for additional information or to register. 

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) Balboa San Diego photography skyline workshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/10/san-diego-skline-photography-workshop Mon, 28 Oct 2013 22:04:06 GMT
Spirit of Hawaii Photography Workshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/10/spirit-of-hawaii-photography-workshop  

 

Kauai, Hawaii

Spirit of Hawaii
Guided Photography Workshop

October 2 - October 4, 2014

 

 

Join me, David Lenhert, for a photographic journey to one of the most beautiful places on Earth, the garden isle of Kauai, Hawaii!  This intimate hands-on guided workshop (limited to a maximum of 6 participants) will provide plenty of personal instruction and opportunity to capture the best of Kauai’s extraordinary scenery.

 

Although we will be based out of Princeville on the north shore of Kauai, strategically located near the famed Na Pali coast, several beach parks, Hanalei Bay & taro fields, we will have opportunity to explore the forests and waterfalls of inland Kauai, as well as, the west side of the island where we will capture colorful images of the back side of the Na’Pali cliffs and peer into Waimea Canyon (the Grand Canyon of the Pacific).

 

For early risers, we will meet Friday and Saturday before sunrise to capture the first sweet light of the day.  As it frequently rains on the north shore of Kauai, there may be opportunity to capture rainbows as well.  During the day, we will develop our images in Adobe Photoshop, capture & practice HDR processing, and create panoramic scenes. You will have time to explore the island on your own before reconvening in the late afternoon for sessions on photographing sunsets, low-light and night photography.

 

We will meet together Thursday afternoon in Princeville for orientation followed by an evening shoot on nearby Anini Beach. Emphasis will be placed on being on-location each dawn and sunset. Will have a waxing moon in the evening, so we may be able to capture some creative night shots as well.

 

List of planned locations:

Anini Beach

Ke’e Beach

Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Valley Taro Fields

Haena Beach

Waimea Canyon

Na’Pali Coast State Park

Opaekaa Falls

Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve

Queens Bath (if there’s time & depending on tidal activity. Requires short moderate hike)

Wailua Falls (if there’s time)

 

We can suggest flights and assist you in finding affordable accommodations and car rentals on the island. We can also help you prepare your equipment list.

For more information, please contact David or Karen Lenhert at 760-443-6865.

 
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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) hawaii photography workshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/10/spirit-of-hawaii-photography-workshop Fri, 18 Oct 2013 16:34:00 GMT
36th Annual Fall Arts & Crafts Fair https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/9/36th-annual-fall-arts-crafts-fair You're invited!  Please stop by and visit with me at my booth this October 19th and 20th at the Bernardo Winery's 36th Annual Fall Arts & Craft Fair. Parking is free and there will be a variety of cuisine to sample, as well as great wine tasting selections. You may even wish to do a little Christmas shopping from among the many artisans who will have their hand crafted treasures on display.

 

I'll have many new images on display from recent trips, so even if you're not in the market for fine art photography, please stop by for a viewing or just to say hello!

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/9/36th-annual-fall-arts-crafts-fair Wed, 25 Sep 2013 21:58:11 GMT
How I Spent My Summer Vacation https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/8/how-i-spent-my-summer-vacation This post is titled "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" 
or
"10 Days, 6 National Parks, 3,268 Miles and over 1900 Images."

Actually it was 4 National Parks, 1 State Park, and 1 National Monument. This was a trip long in planning and something I always wanted to do, but never seemingly getting around to do it. I got to visit and capture images of places I'd always wanted to visit, covering a lot of ground (by foot and automobile) and doing it all in very short time.  The first half of my trip I was alone, driving and hiking in some of the most remote country in the western United States. 

The solitude of being alone in such remote places was an exciting, unique and largely spiritual experience. At other times and places, like Yellowstone, it was a rare occasion to find oneself alone.   With regards to photography, the only disappointment I had was that nearly the entire trip was under flat, overcast cloud cover. The first and last evenings were the only exceptions to completely flat lighting.  I had been hoping for classic southwest monsoonal thunderhead cloud formations providing interesting compositions to the spectacular canyon and mountain scenery. 

Owachomo BridgeOwachomo Bridge The first part of my trip took me from home in San Diego to Sedona & Cottonwood, Arizona over night for some unrelated business. The next morning I was headed north to Natural Bridges National Monument in southern Utah. Since time was short, I didn't bother stopping at any of the many wonderful places I had already photographed like Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, or Monument Valley. Arriving after 5pm I was fortunate to secure one of the last first-come-first-serve campsites left at the only campground. This was one of the only evenings there was color in the sky and I was able to get a nice shot of Owachomo Bridge.

House on Fire RuinsFire House Ruins

 

 

 

The next morning I headed to the nearby south fork of Mule Canyon in Cedar Mesa to hike the relative easy 2.5 miles roundtrip to an Anasazi ruin commonly known as "House on Fire" because of the distinctive appearance of its rock overhang which resembles flame when sunlight striking nearby red rock is reflected back toward the ruins. This of course presumes it's mid morning (which it was for me) and clear skies (which there weren't).  However, even in rather poor lighting the rock striations still provide enough variance to produce a nice image with some contrast adjustments in post processing.

False KivaFalse Kiva Next stop was Moab, Utah for a late lunch and then onto Dead Horse Point State Park to make camp and then move on to a late afternoon hike to "False Kiva" in Canyonlands National Park.  This was one of my priority destinations from the outset and I was a little apprehensive as it a somewhat strenuous and remote, but relatively short, 3.2 mile round trip hike. Some light scrambling is required and footing in places can be rather treacherous. False Kiva is a man-made stone circle of unknown origin and purpose, which is not an actual kiva--thus its name.  It is also a Class II archeological site of semi-protected status, which is not listed on any of the park service maps.  Park rangers will tell you how to locate the trail head and give directions if asked.  However, for now they prefer it be kept something of a secrete to minimize traffic to the site.  This is one of those very special, spiritual and eerily quite places. Several outstanding photographs have been made by exceptional photographers like Tom Till, Peter Lik, and Wally Pacholka. Late afternoon is the best time to photograph this site. Ideal skies would include clouds with some low angle specular light hitting the buttes and Candlestick Rock in the distance.  I did what I could with filters and HDR processing.  I also attempted to make a video introduction. However, not bringing a remote microphone I relied instead on the camera's built in mic. Unfortunately, and unknown to me at the time, an insect kept buzzing next to the camera rendering much of the audio useless.

Dead Horse PointDead Horse Point The same evening after returning from False Kiva, I visited a few overlooks to grab some captures of the canyons and Dead Horse Point. Getting up the next morning around 4am, I made the mandatory visit to Mesa Arch in Canyonlands for Sunrise along with the usual dozen plus other photographers. Unfortunately, overcast monsoon clouds obscured the coveted sunrise through the arch. Still, Mesa Arch always seems to make for a great composition regardless of conditions. A quick trip back into Moab for breakfast and fuel, I stopped by Tom Till's gallery hoping to see some of his outstanding photography of the area. Unfortunately, the gallery was closed and waiting for it to open wouldn't fit in with my schedule, so on to nearby Arches National Park. 

Mesa ArchMesa Arch Arches was the first place in my trip where it got crowded--really crowded!  It honestly reminded me of being at Disney World. Cars, buses, and pedestrians were everywhere. To get some breathing room, I headed to the furthest points in Arches and then worked my way back toward the park entrance. Since my schedule didn't allow for morning or evening golden hour photography, the overcast conditions actually provided reasonable mid-day shooting opportunities. I tried to hit the main sites and then by late afternoon, headed to Green River, Utah for dinner and a night in a motel, before heading onto Salt Lake City.

 

 

After an early afternoon pickup of my wife Karen at the airport, we headed on to Jackson, Wyoming. Apparently, Jackson is like the La Jolla  or Malibu of Wyoming with prices for lodging to match. It makes a great entryway to the nearby national parks and other outstanding recreation.  I'd like to have spent more time in Jackson and around the Jackson Hole area. However, keeping to schedule we get up around 4am to head to Morman Row about a dozen miles out of town hoping to photograph sunrise on the classic John Moulton's Barn with alpine glow on the Tetons in the background.  Although the soft diffused light made for a nice image, the heavy clouds prevented the hoped for light on the mountains.  After a trip back to Jackson for checkout and breakfast, we head out for Yellowstone via Teton National Park.

John MoultonTeton Barn

August is the most visited time of year to Yellowstone and this year was no exception. Most areas we visited were quite crowded, however, it was possible to carve out times and places where some solitude was possible. Best advice is to get up before dawn and head to sites of interest.  Our first night we stayed at the Old Faithful Inn.  Of all the lodging available in the park, this is the one place you really want to try to get into. We were able to get a reservation, with some persistence, just a couple a weeks before. Dinner reservations for the Inn's Dinning Room are also mandatory. 

Lower Yellowstone FallsYellowstone Falls I had no real itinerary for Yellowstone other than a plan to see as much as we could in the short time we were there.  In two days, we were able to circumnavigate the park visiting the typical highlight locations; including Old Faithful Geyser, Upper, Midway & Lower Geyser Basins, Grand Prismatic Spring, Mammoth Hot Springs, Lamar Valley, Haden Valley, Yellowstone River, Canyon and Waterfalls. Also Yellowstone Lake and the West Thumb Geyser Basin.  We found lots of Bison to photograph, and although we were always on the look out for Wolves and Bear, we saw none. We did see some Elk, Pronghorn Antelope, Osprey, Hawk and other fowl, most of which were often too distant to photograph well. Bison on the other hand were very plentiful.

A Bison emerges from the mistBrush Adorned Bison One early morning we headed north along, and then miles beyond, Yellowstone Lake traveling along the river to a place the day before we had noticed Bison grazing in an area off the road and across the river where few people seem to have noticed. We followed a small road down to a picnic area by the river. A lot of fog was steaming off of the river obscuring our view and providing a surreal backdrop to the place. We could hear the Bison grunting through the fog that was just beginning to lift. As the fog dissipated, we suddenly found ourselves nearly surrounded by Bison.   At times a little too close for comfort and often no clear escape route. We kept our distance and slowly moved away, at times into the river to avoid close contact. Many more had started crossing the river from the other side in large numbers. It was an astonishing moment we got to enjoy in privacy for nearly two hours. Although well hidden from the the main road several hundred yards away, only one other photographer had joined us part way through this incredible event.

There is a lot more I could write about. Each location is a destination in and of itself, deserving much more time and consideration than I could possibly give it in such a single short visit. I hope someday to go back to each place and give it the full attention it deserves. 

If you enjoyed these images and the video, be sure to Like it on Facebook and +1 it on Google+.  Your comments are also much appreciated.  I'll be uploading more images to the Utah and Wyoming Galleries so be sure to revisit occasionally to see what's new.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) Arches Bison Canyonlands National Parks Southwest Tetons Utah Wyoming Yellowstone https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/8/how-i-spent-my-summer-vacation Wed, 21 Aug 2013 01:31:57 GMT
Updated: Oceanside Sunset Photography Workshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/6/oceanside-sunset-photography-workshop The Oceanside Sunset Workshop was a big hit.  Here is a new video and some photos from the event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get ready for an exciting new photography workshop coming up Saturday June 29th at the Oceanside, California Pier.  We're hoping that we'll have a great sky for the class, but even if we don't I'm sure you'll come away with some great shots, especially of our model Kelsey!  Lee, Kelsey and I did some scouting and preparation a few days ago, and since I'm starting to work a little with video, I put together a short trailer to give you an idea of what you might expect.

Email us to register or get additional information.  
We look forward to seeing you there. 

David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) Oceanside photography video workshops https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/6/oceanside-sunset-photography-workshop Sat, 15 Jun 2013 21:47:48 GMT
General Update https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/6/general-update It has been a busy few weeks, both personally and professionally.  A couple of art fairs, a workshop production and new one coming up, launch of the Land & Sea show at the Escondido Municipal Gallery, and of course the San Diego County Fair Photography competition.

Of the three images I submitted to the fair this year, I was very pleased to receive a 1st place (see below) for the Color Scenic Fall category and an Honorable Mention plus a Donor Award in Color Scenic Spring.  I'm also getting ready to submit a piece for the Photo Art's Group showing at Gallery 21 Spanish Village in Balboa Park early July.

Please stay tuned and visit back often for Workshops, Photography Tips and new images.

David

West Fork Reflections

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/6/general-update Sat, 15 Jun 2013 19:23:09 GMT
Photo Arts Group's Land & Sea Show Reception https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/6/photo-arts-groups-land-sea-show-reception The Photo Arts Group is now exhibiting their Land & Sea photography show.  The reception will be from 5:30pm to 8:00pm Saturday June 8th at the Escondido Municipal Gallery on Grand & Juniper in Escondido.  

Besides the Inner Space Gallery of photography, there will be lots of other fine art on display in the other gallery sections.  You can find out more about the Escondido Arts Partnership Municipal Gallery at: http://www.escondidoarts.org/

There is plenty of free parking, and there will be appetizers and beverages for your enjoyment at the reception; so come on out and visit with the photographers and artists.  

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/6/photo-arts-groups-land-sea-show-reception Sat, 01 Jun 2013 23:17:15 GMT
Torrey Pines Photography Workshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/6/torrey-pines-photography-workshop

We just wanted to thank everyone for a great time at the Torrey Pines Photography Workshop.  We had a few last minute cancellations due to illness, but we still had a very active and rewarding class. 

If you attended the class and would like to post some of your pictures, email them to me and I'll add them to this post.

Attached is a short video of some the spots we visited along with a few stills taken the week before in preparation for the class.  Although I'm an old had at still photography, I'm still learning how to capture and edit video, so be kind!  Additionally, I'm just using Photoshop CS6 to create the video instead of a dedicated application like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premier. I'm actually impressed with the new built in video features of CS6.  Please post comments and let me know what you think.

Our next local workshop will be in the evening at Oceanside, CA on June 29th. We'll have a model and are looking to get sunset and sillouette shots.  Look for details in an upcoming blog entry.

Keep shooting!
David

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) Landscapes Pines Torrey photography workshops https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/6/torrey-pines-photography-workshop Sat, 01 Jun 2013 23:00:57 GMT
Bernardo Winery 36th Annual Spring Art Show https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/4/bernardo-winery-36th-annual-spring-art-show I have another art show coming up Mothers Day Weekend May 11th & 12th at the Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo, California.

There will be over a hundred artists and craftsman selling their personal creations. I have many new fine art pieces from Hawaii, the American Southwest and Pacific Northwest.  Please stop by my booth to take a look and visit if you can.  

There will also be entertainment, food, drink, and of course wine tasting.  Admission is free and there is ample free parking and a shuttle for those who desire it.  

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/4/bernardo-winery-36th-annual-spring-art-show Wed, 01 May 2013 21:30:00 GMT
Columbia River Gorge https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/4/columbia-river-gorge I've always wanted to visit the Columbia River Gorge in northern Oregon, especially to photograph the many waterfalls that abound in the area.  In particular Multnomah Falls ever since I had seen a beautiful scene captured by another photographer a few years ago.  So, when the chance came recently we went out of our way to visit this exceptionally beautiful place just an hour outside of Portland.

Enjoy the images in my first published attempt at a video blog.  You may also view them in my Oregon Gallery.

Multnomah Falls

 

 Multnomah Falls Middle Earth

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Fairy Falls Landscapes Multnomah Oregon Photography Video https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/4/columbia-river-gorge Wed, 24 Apr 2013 15:29:26 GMT
Art in the Pines https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/4/art-in-the-pines I'd like to invite you to visit me at the Art in the Pines Spring Art Festival and Sale, Saturday & Sunday May 4th & 5th located in beautiful Torrey Pines State Beach Reserve.  

There will be over 50 artist in a variety of mediums, as well as other activities including demonstrations, live music, an auction and more.  You will find me in Booth #16 across from the Guided Nature Walk area.  I hope to see you there.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/4/art-in-the-pines Sun, 21 Apr 2013 20:35:47 GMT
Grand Falls Arizona Photo Op https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/4/grand-falls-arizona-photo-op Grand Falls Over the Easter holiday I had the chance to visit Grand Falls about 35 miles NE of Flagstaff, AZ on the Navajo Reservation. It's more commonly known by photographers as Chocolate Falls because of the color of the very muddy water flow.  It's really worth a visit, however the flow only occurs during the spring melt and sometimes during a summer monsoon (which I wouldn't recommend).  At present its flowing nicely as you can see in the attached HDR images taken with a Nikon D800, 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and a 3 stop GND filter.

I had only recently become aware of this place despite having lived in northern Arizona for nearly four years.  In the past week I asked several life long residents of Arizona if they knew of this place and the vast majority had never heard of it before despite their considerable travels.  Even though its not well known, you will likely encounter a fair number of visitors (many with tripods) on any given day when the spring melt is in progress. The Thursday evening I was there there were about a half dozen others still present just before sunset.

Chocolate Falls It's about an 8.5 hour drive from San Diego.  Look for it on maps about 30 miles north east of Flagstaff.  Once arriving in Flagstaff via I40, locate well marked Leupp Rd and proceed to Indian Route 70. Continue on Route 70 for about 9 miles and look for a dirt road on your left with a sign for Grand Falls Church.  Proceed about 6 miles on this dirt road.  There will be a dirt road/trail on your left a few hundred yards before the main dirt road ends at the Little Colorado River. The turn onto this last section is extra rough. A high clearance vehicle recommended especially in this section. If necessary walk quarter mile to the falls.  There are picnic kiosks and plenty of places to park at the falls.

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Landscapes Photography South West Travel https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/4/grand-falls-arizona-photo-op Sat, 06 Apr 2013 18:26:04 GMT
Anza-Borrego Photography Workshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/2/borrego-springs-wildflower-photography-workshop

Update: March 12 2013 -- Alas, the Big Horn Sheep didn't make an appearence but we had a nice turn out with some great fellowship and fun.  

Update: March 2nd 2013 -- Just got back from a scouting trip to Anza-Borrego State Park. Sadly, there just aren't the wildflowers present as in past years; and it doesn't look like a couple more weeks will help. We did locate small patches here and there (see pictures below).

We ran into dozens of Big Horn Sheep and other intersting photo opportunites, so we will still be heading out March 9th anticipating a fun and rewarding class.

 

Please consider joining Lee Kirchhevel (trackerleephotography.com) and myself for a half day Nature Photography Workshop Saturday March 9th from 8am to Noon in Anza-Borrego State Park.

Of course, we'll be photographing more than just wildflowers. There will be opportunity for image making of other plants like local cactus, closeup/macro, panoramic landscapes, and perhaps slot canyons. Participants are welcome to join Lee and I in town for lunch afterwards where we can discuss the day's accomplishments.  Lee has a lot of experience with this area and photographing wildflowers, so I'm sure I'll be learning a lot from him myself.

Suggested equipment to bring:

  • DSLR with a User's Guide (so we can locate menu settings)
  • Wide Angle Lens, Macro or close focus lens, Zoom Lens
  • Extension tube for macro (optional)
  • Graduated Neutral Density Filter
  • Polarizer filter
  • Tripod
  • Easy to carry Camera Bag or Backpack
  • Comfortable sturdy Shoes or Boots
  • Water, Snack
  • Sunscreen )for skin & lips), Hat

We'll provide more information when you register.
You can register by emailing David or Lee at:
trackerlee@cox.net
dlenhert@sbclgobal.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Photography wildflowers workshops https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/2/borrego-springs-wildflower-photography-workshop Thu, 28 Feb 2013 18:52:13 GMT
Winter/Spring 2013 Photography Workshops https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/2/winter-2013-photography-workshops I have been remiss about making timely posts to my blog.  I have dozens of reasons, but most are uninteresting.  Therefore, here is a quick update of what's been going on and some information on upcoming workshops and photo shoots.  

 

First, the La Jolla Cove workshop went well.  We had enthusiastic students. Not as many as we had hoped. Several had to cancel because the original date was rained out, so we moved it to the following week. This season the Pelicans were not as active as in past visits, but we had a lot of fun with our group and covered a lot of material covering everything from camera controls to wide angle landscape composition and of course Pelicans in flight and posing in their colorful annual breeding plumage.

 

La Jolla Cove near Children

 

 

There are some great cliffs and caves along the La Jolla coastline.  Following the class, I explored further down the coast aways during low tide and discovered some really interesting caves at Windansea Beach.  I had packed away my wide angle lens which would have been best, but not being detoured, I made the best of the 80-200mm f/2.8 I had with me.  I plan on going back with the right gear soon.

Windansea Caves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are gearing up for our half day Anza-Borrego Nature Workshop Saturday March 9th from 8am to Noon.  Lee Kirchhevel and I will both be leading the workshop with a maximum of 12 participants, so there will be lots of attention to each person's needs.  The cost is only $50.00.  If interested, please email me at dlenhert@sbcglobal.net or Lee at trackerllee@cox.net.

 

I'll be in Death Valley in a couple weeks trying for some personal portfolio shots of Bad Water Basin.  Then off to northern Arizona where I'll be leading a one and two day photography workshop. Our focus will be Lower Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend followed by a visit to iconic locations around Sedona.

 

Then in May, I'll be at two Art Shows in San Diego; Art in the Pines at Torrey Pines followed by Bernardo Winery. After that another half day workshop at Torrey Pines.  Stay tuned for details and please consider joining us for one of our workshops.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Nature Photography photography workshops https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2013/2/winter-2013-photography-workshops Thu, 28 Feb 2013 02:17:17 GMT
La Jolla Cove Half Day Photography Workshop January 26, 2013 https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/12/la-jolla-cove-half-day-workshop Award winning photographer and author Lee Kirchhevel will be leading a special half-day guided photography workshop, along with myself, at La Jolla Cove Saturday, January 26 from 8:00am to noon. We'll be focusing (pun intended) on the Brown Pelicans nesting along the rocky California shoreline.

This is the best time of year to capture stunning images of these large marine birds as they will be in full display of colorful breeding plumage.  Of course, there will also be other creatures to photograph like seals, as well as the spectacular shoreline and backdrop of La Jolla cove.

The cost is just $50.00 per person and will be limited to a total of 12 participants. You'll be sure to get plenty of hands on instruction as there will be two of us teaching the workshop.  

We suggest brining a DSLR with burst mode capability and a reasonably fast telephoto lens.  There will be panoramic landscape photography opportunities as well, so be sure to bring a wide angle lens if you have one.  It likely be chilly so you'll want to bring a jacket and sturdy walking or hiking shoes.  A tripod is good to bring if you have one.  You may wish to arrive early to ensure a parking space nearby. Additional information and suggestions will be provided to participants prior to meeting at the cove.

For more information or to sign up, please contact me at dlenhert@sbcglobal.net or Lee Kirchhevel at trackerlee@cox.net.

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Update 01/19/2013:

 

Hi Everyone,

 

We still have a few spots open for the La Jolla Cove photography workshop on Saturday January 26th.  If you’re interested, please call or email Lee Kirchhevel or David Lenhert at the one of the contact numbers below.

 

For those attending, here is how you can prepare.

 

First, plan on meeting at Children’s Pool near La Jolla Cove by 8:00am.  Parking is usually not a problem at this hour, but the earlier the better.  Be sure to park north of Jenner street to ensure longest parking times (note parking signs).  We’ll be walking a little more than 1 mile round trip.

 

Plan on staying until 12:00pm. You’re welcome to join us afterwards for some lunch and perhaps a tour of one or two nearby photography galleries.

 

Things to consider bringing with you (if you have them).

 

  1. Your DSLR Camera with a fully charged battery and freshly formatted memory cards (extras if you have them).
  2. A Telephoto lens. 200-400mm focal length is desirable (35mm effective*).
  3. A Wide angle lens optional for some panoramic landscape shots. Under 24mm is desirable (35mm effective*).
  4. Your camera’s User Guide, so we can help you with certain settings on cameras we’re not completely familiar with.
  5. A Tripod, if you have one, can be very helpful.  A monopod will work nearly as well.
  6. A speedlight flash if you’d like to try some fill lighting.
  7. Consider bringing a Polarizing filter and/or Graduated Neutral Density filter, if you have one.
  8. Lens cloth, microfiber cloth to keep equipment clean and dry.
  9. Bring a light jacket, comfortable shoes with good traction, and perhaps thin gloves in case its chilly in the morning.
  10. Water, hat, and sunscreen incase it gets hot & sunny. Snacks or a sack lunch if you like.  You can also join us for lunch at a nearby restaurant. 

 

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.  We look forward to seeing you at La Jolla Cove.  I know you’ll come away with some great pictures and have a good time learning how to get the most out of your digital camera.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) La Jolla pelicans photography workshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/12/la-jolla-cove-half-day-workshop Mon, 31 Dec 2012 23:58:03 GMT
IEPC Night Photography Workshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/12/iepc-night-photography-workshop I had the pleasure of leading the Night Photography Workshop on Coronado Island for the Inland Empire Photo Club this past Saturday evening.  We had a nice sized turnout. A few were only able to stay for a short time, while other adventurous spirits braving the cold stayed late into the evening and for some pizza afterwards.  I think everyone had a good time and learned something new.  I know I did, especially regarding some confounding equipment problems which always only seem to show up in the field. For example, IS (Image Stabilization) turned on while on a tripod (causing noticeable blurring) was quite perplexing until discovered; as was, strange extraneous lights being recorded in the night sky.  The later, as it turned out, was apparently being caused by an uncoated uv or protective filter.

I've photographed the San Diego Skyline from Coronado Island many times.  Each time, I seem to come away with something unique.  Sometimes its the different skies, seasons, moonrise, action of the water, etc.  This past Saturday offered different results again.  The air was exceptionally still and clear following a storm the day before, there were the addition of Christmas lights to the scene, the water was more calm than usual allowing for great reflections from city lights.

I've included a couple of my shots from the workshop. The second shot I've shown three different ways.  First as a color shot, then black and white via Nik Silver Efex Pro plugin.  The third example is adding back just a touch of color, which I may like best of all.  Let me know what you think!

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Night Photography workshops https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/12/iepc-night-photography-workshop Mon, 17 Dec 2012 18:58:44 GMT
Natural HDR Processing https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/11/natural-hdr-processing  

HDR: The Science, Art and Philosophy of High Dynamic Range Imaging

(Prepared for the December 6, 2012 IEPC meeting in Temecula, CA)

 

There is much already written about High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging, especially the science of it, so I won’t go into that too much here. Essentially, the purpose of HDR imaging is to expand (or contain if you prefer) the range of light in a scene from the brightest areas to the darkest areas.  That is, to retain the details in both the very bright and very dark areas at the same time in a single image. This will approximate what our eyes are capable of seeing. Generally, if you shoot in full shade or at dawn or dusk, HDR imaging isn’t generally necessary because the camera can usually render the detail in the bright and dark areas--the scene’s range of contrast.  

 

Before HDR software like HDRSoft’s Photomatix or Nik’s HDR Efex Pro, (and now many others) we had to control capture through the use of graduated and split neutral density filters, or bracket our shots and then manually mask multiple layers to show all the detail in a single image.  Today we have the availability of sophisticated software tools that can do much of that for us; including Adobe Photoshop’s ever improving HDR capability.  Even camera manufactures have started implementing HDR functions within the camera and applied at time of capture.

 

In a nutshell, HDR software compiles all the data from bracketed images into a single image. In fact there is so much data that output devices are unable to display it all.  The HDR software then Tone Maps it so output devices like your LCD monitor can display it. In a sense, we are tone mapping when we mask multiple bracketed shots. However, HDR software is essentially capable of mapping at the pixel level.   At this point all of the data is present in memory and is available for selective manipulation through the HDR software interface. Most HDR programs have various pre-set starting points, usually shown as thumbnail images for you to select from.  I find most of these basically unsatisfactory for final use, so just consider them as settings to start from.

 

Unfortunately, but perhaps expectably, HDR imaging has become synonymous with a “look;” the HDR Look.  I say its unfortunate because it is a tool capable of much more than its ubiquitous illustrative look.  A lot of my photography includes some HDR workflow in it, but it’s not often obvious that it does. To be fair, sometimes I do create an image that has the look, and I think there’s a definite place for it.  However, as my skills and tastes have evolved, I’ve been moving back towards a more natural photographic result, but I still utilize bracketing and HDR tone mapping at times to provide the detail I desire in the bright and dark areas.

 

I first started using Photomatix in 2007 and I was enamored with the look. So much so, that I, like many others, was a bit heavy handed.  I could make a photograph stand out (where it wasn’t going to on its own) by giving it the HDR Look.  I found this very satisfying, at least until it was no longer novel since so many others had started doing the same thing.  As I improved as a photographer my tastes changed.  I also became more sensitive to a significant downside of poorly administered HDR imaging.  That is the tendency of HDR applications to create halos around areas of strong contrast, over saturated electric colors, muddy whites, dull blacks, and unacceptable levels of noise.  The good news is, most of these issues can be overcome with knowledgeable and discriminating application of the software’s controls.  This is where the art and philosophy of HDR imaging really comes in.  Before I share my personal preferences, let me reiterate that I think there is a place for the HDR Look, but preferably without the unpleasant aforementioned artifacts. First off, much of photography is art and thus subjective.  As art, there is no real right or wrong.  If you like it, then by all means go for it.  However, I believe that there is a universal aesthetic that governs what we perceive as attractive.  In the same way that music can be either pleasant or just noise. 

 

Fig-1. My early first attempt and example of a bad HDR image

 

For some good examples of images successfully utilizing HDR technique, take a look at www.stuckincustoms.com.  Trey Ratcliff, in my opinion, has mastered HDR imaging.  Some of his images are subtle, while others are much more severe in result.  Who’s to say you can’t do both?  Trey’s blog is a great resource for all kinds of things photography so be sure to visit it when you have the chance.

 

I like to employ the HDR Look in situations where the photo on its own will look rather boring.  I especially like what HDR does to wood like in old barns, or its effect on rusty cars, or where things are overly busy, even ugly, like junk yards or construction sites.

 

Most of the time my preference for HDR is to expand the detail in the contrast range of my photographs.  This is especially true in landscapes and architecture. I’ve tried several HDR applications, but my preference is still for Photomatix. Perhaps because its the one I first used and am most familiar with.  For that reason I’ll use Photomatix in my examples.

 

Before you can load your 3 to 5 or even 9 or more image files into HDR software, you need to properly capture bracketed images with your DSLR camera.  It’s at this point someone wants to know if you can just take one image file and save it back out over and under exposed to put through HDR software.  You can certainly do that to get something similar to the Look, but its not really HDR because dynamic range of data just isn’t there.  You can get similar results with in Photoshop or a plugin from someone like Topaz Labs.

 

 

Although others may have some different advice, I find the suggestions below to work well and not be overly complicated. 

 

  1. Shoot RAW!  There’s no point trying to expand the amount of data with anything less.
  2. Select the minimum acceptable ISO to minimize noise and provide the best quality.
  3. Be sure to set your camera to Aperture Priority.  Its faster and easier than Manual mode.  If you were to choose Program mode, the camera may adjust aperture between shots changing depth of field focus.
  4. Use a tripod.  I know its possible for the software to align the images, but your results will be much better if you’re using a tripod.  Also, a tripod will give you the ability to use a slower shutter speed for situations like smoothing water.
  5. Set the camera to fastest burst mode available.  This will keep trees and other objects influenced by wind relatively unchanged between shots.  Although its now possible to select a single image to minimize the effects of moving object ghosting, small details like moving leaves are often difficult to solve. A fast shutter speed with little lag between shots will help alleviate those situations significantly. 
  6. At a minimum, select a bracketed range of at least 3 frames and 2 f-stops apart. For example, the equivalent of EV-2, EV0, EV+2.  Some cameras can’t spread the values two f-stops apart in one frame.  If your camera can only spread stops by one between frames, then set the bracket to at least five frames: EV-2, EV-1, EV0, EV+1, EV+2.  I find Photomatix works a little better with smaller jumps between frames. Although the software will except an even number of files, I prefer to always provide an odd number as this gives me an equal range of under and over exposed images.
  7. If the contrast range of the scene is really great, increase the frame captures to 7, 9 or even more. If you wish to be precise, you can use the light meter in the camera to determine the distance between the brightest and darkest areas. Don’t forget to take advantage of the histogram as well.  In most cases, 3 frames two f-stops apart will deliver satisfying results.
  8. When your done, don’t forget to reset your bracketing or you may ruin your next non-HDR shooting.

 

Now that you have your 3, 5 or more RAW files, what do you do with them?  If you have the stand alone version of Photomatix (my preference) you can select the group and just drag and drop onto the program’s icon.  Without going through every step, you’ll end up with something like Fig-2.

 

Fig-2. Photomatix Pro Preprocessing Options Screen

 

Once you Preprocess the images, you’ll end up with a screen similar to Fig-3.  You can explore different settings by clicking on the Preset Thumbnails. You can also choose from two different Processes: Tone Mapping or Exposure Fusion, as well as different Methods for each.  I generally stick with the Tone Mapping Process and Details Enhancer Method.  However, different images may work better with one of the other selections.

 

Fig-3. Main Photomatix Processing Screen

 

The biggest problem most beginners have with HDR processing is over doing it and not knowing how to deal with the inherent artifacts like halos and muddy whites.  With regard to the first issue, there is a tendency for new users to want to go stronger.  The idea being if a little looks good than more ought to look even better.  I like to think of it like a lady’s makeup, where as a little can make a women look beautiful, but too much makeup can make her look clownish (or worse).  To moderate my impulse to go too strong, I like to toggle back to a copy of the neutral exposure of the original image.  

 

Fig-4. Original EV-0 Image.

 

It’s surprising to see just how far the HDR version has actually come by comparison and helps keep me from going overboard.

 

How I approach the second issue of tell tale HDR artifacts, I usually start with a preset I saved that often gives me a dynamic yet reasonably realistic look.  From there I make adjustments based on my image desires and on controlling artifacts.  

 

Here is the basic group of settings I generally start with:

 

Process = Tone Mapping, Method = Details Enhancer

Strength = 62

Luminosity = 6

Detail Contrast = 6

Lighting Adjustments = +2

White Point = 300% or greater

Black Point = 10% or greater

Micro Smoothing = As needed; usually 8 to 20

 

Fig-5. Developing the HDR Image

 

All other controls are left at the startup default, and I only change them if it seems really necessary.  An example would be color and temperature.  I find the Photomatix setting of 46 is plenty saturated and is on the cool side temperature wise.  I much prefer to make these adjustments in Photoshop or Lightroom.

 

I make adjustments to my preferred preset as the dictated by the image. There is no one good formula that works for all images despite what some have published.  It’s just a place to start from. Additionally, I don’t begin to try to do it all in Photomatix. Once I think I’ve gotten all I can from Photomatix I save it and then open the file in Adobe Camera Raw, make some adjustments and then complete my work in Photoshop. That part of the workflow is better left for another discussion.

 

Lets get back to dealing with those troubling artifacts I mentioned earlier. Here is where, in my opinion, some of the philosophy of aesthetics comes in.  HDR software does a brilliant job of mapping the wide range of available levels of contrast and tone.  In so doing, it tends to spread or flatten out the tonal detail in all parts of the image, which often leaves it looking rather dull or flat.  We need to restore some of the contrast, especially in the middle tones. That also often means we need to add some brightness to the now muddy whites and add some deeper tone back in the shadows but still keep as much of the detail as possible.  Perhaps you can begin to see how philosophy and artistic choices come into all of this.  

 

When it comes to muddy whites, try increasing White Point and Smooth Highlights values.  For a final touch try increasing Micro-smoothing.  To improve dull shadow tones, increase the Black PointShadow Smoothness can also help.  Luminosity and Detail Contrast settings will help improve middle tone contrast.

 

Halos around areas of strong contrast, like trees and the roof lines of buildings are a dead give away of poor HDR processing.  Often the only way to deal with it, is lowering (moving the slider to the left) the overall Strength setting.  Increasing the Lighting Adjustment slider to the right will help smooth out the transition.  Increasing Micro-smoothing can also be a benefit. These same controls can also help the noisy areas, especially found in the shadows.  

 

Finally, what we can’t do in Photomatix, we will do in Photoshop or Lightroom.  If I can’t quite handle the full range of things like halos, color shift or noise, I’ll make those repairs in ACR, Photoshop or Lightroom, and with applications like Nik Software, Topaz Labs or other 3rd party software.

 

Fig-6. Final Image after ACR and Photoshop CS5 adjustments

 
 

Fig-4. Original EV-0 Image for comparison to Final Image in Fig-6

 

My personal philosophy and goal regarding HDR, is to produce a final result that other photographers familiar with HDR suspect, but aren’t sure if, I’ve used actually used HDR software.  In those instances I’m content that I’ve accomplished what I had intended to.

 

A final word on HDR imaging...

 

If your goal is to produce images that have increased dynamic range but desire to keep the final result quite realistic, there are other methods worth considering.  For example, layer masking bracketed shots or double processing RAW files using Smart Objects with Layer Masking.   These methods, however, are best discussed in another article.

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) HDR High Dynamic Range Photomatix Photoshop imaging photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/11/natural-hdr-processing Sat, 24 Nov 2012 00:37:29 GMT
35th Annual Fall Arts Show at the Bernardo Winery, Rancho Bernardo, CA https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/10/35th-annual-fall-arts-show-at-the-bernardo-winery-rancho-bernardo-ca Stop by my show booth next Saturday & Sunday October 20 & 21 at the Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo, CA.

I'll be exhibiting my photographs and digital art including new 2012 releases. I'll have some exciting new images from my recent trip to Hawaii.
 
Please tell family and friends to join us for local foods, wine tasting, arts, crafts and entertainment.  Attendance and parking are free and you'll surely discover great gift giving ideas for the holidays.
 
For you early bird holiday gift buyers, I'm offering a no cost lay-a-way plan.  We can produce any of the images you see at my booth, or in my online portfolio to any size and on any material you desire including canvas, metal, acrylic face-mount, crystal and more. There are a variety of framing and no-frame options to choose from as well.  
 
Remember, all purchases and orders placed at my booth will receive discounted pricing and no sales tax (I pay the tax).  Included is free local delivery anywhere in San Diego County for orders placed at the show and discounted shipping to areas beyond southern California depending on destination and package size.
 
So, please stop by to discuss you're decorating or gift buying ideas, or just to visit for awhile.  I love to talk photography and share my image making knowledge and techniques.
 
I hope to see you there!
 
 
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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) art art show crafts fair photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/10/35th-annual-fall-arts-show-at-the-bernardo-winery-rancho-bernardo-ca Thu, 11 Oct 2012 22:41:49 GMT
Shutterbug Magazine October 2012 https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/9/shutterbug-magazine-october-2012  

For the first week of October 2012...  

I'm pleased to announce that my Monument Valley at dawn photo was selected as the primary shot for Shutterbug's October "Picture This" assignment.  http://www.shutterbug.com/content/deep-depth-field

It's also received quite a bit attention in Capture My Arizona. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I had the opportunity to meet up with Gary McCarthy and John Moore for some photography on Harbor Island for the full moon rising over the San Diego Skyline.  Here's a shot below.

San Diego Moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currently, the Photo Arts Group "Out of the Dark" exhibition is on display at the Vista Chamber of Commerce at 127 Main Street in Vista, CA where I have one piece on display.  This follows a month long showing at the Innerspace Gallery.

 

Following the Kauai Landscape workshop beginning the end of this month, I'll be displaying my fine art photography at the 35th Annual Fall Arts & Crafts Fair Saturday and Sunday October 20th & 21st from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. I hope you can come out and visit with me.

http://www.capturemyarizona.com/photos/692817

 

 

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/9/shutterbug-magazine-october-2012 Thu, 06 Sep 2012 23:58:38 GMT
Photographer's Rights https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/8/photographers-rights  

When it comes to photographer’s rights, there is actually quite a bit shutterbugs need to know.  For example, when it comes to providing images to stock photography sites, it's important to provide model and property release documents if there’s a recognizable person or product in the photo.  

I recently submitted a young couple repelling down the side of a cliff in the Valley of Fire State Park just north of Las Vegas, Nevada.  I thought I had my stock submission covered since I had gotten a model release from the both of them, but the image was sent back; not for any reason to do with the people in the picture but rather because the logo on their tennis shoes, which were just barely discernible.  Keep in mind I had to zoom into the image 200% to actually see and then edit out the logo.  In another stock submission, I had some images rejected because I had not provided a model release.  I hadn’t thought I needed one because their faces were not recognizable, either by the angle of view, or the fact that they were darkly silhouetted against a sunset background.  Nevertheless, they were rejected, no doubt out of concern of potential law suites.  This has understandably become the standard operating procedure for stock agencies to protect themselves.  

In some cases a model or property release is not required for publication, or stock use, if is restricted to “editorial” usage.  This, among other things, is what allows photographers, journalist, and others, to print pictures of people, product logos, etc. without permission if it is news worthy or of general interest to the public.  It can also often be used for educational purposes.  A key test as to if something is editorial or commercial is whether or not it is intended to induce profit (receive commercial value) from its usage.

 

 

There is significant case law dealing with privacy, intellectual property, fair use, and copyright leaving little gray area to contend with, though situations still frequently go through litigation, often due to ignorance or just plain greed. In this day of Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, et al, all photographers (especially pros) need to know about the laws that affect them.  A good source for this is book written by Leonard D. Duboff called “The Law (In Plain English) For Photographers.” 

 

Another, less defined, area of concern for photographers has come about as a result of terrorism.  At least this is often the excuse given when law enforcement officers try to  prevent pictures from being taken of public buildings, bridges, government offices, etc.  Keep in mind it IS perfectly legal to take pictures of people and property in public areas, from public areas. Of course, without release forms such images can only be used for non-commercial purposes.  Nevertheless, law enforcement officers often, even using force, will try to prevent people from taking pictures or video of such areas, and especially when it involves their public activities, even when it has nothing to do with terrorism. In some cases, this can get way out of hand as was reported in PopPhoto.ocm March 21,2011 by Dan Bracaglia where a woman “was allegedly beat up and arrested by police after they realized she was photographing an arrest with her camera-phone.”  The woman in question filed a law against the city of New York for $24 million.  

 

Although this was an extreme case, such incidences are not uncommon and have been unfortunately on the increase, largely due to ignorance of federal and state laws and the lack of established local law enforcement policies.  Fortunately, there are some law enforcement agencies which have recently set forth clear guidelines to their officers on these matters.  An excellent example of this is the recent General Order put out by the DC Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, entitled: “Video Recording, Photographing, and Audio Recording of Metropolitan Police Department Members by the Public.”  I encourage you to read the entire online document which plainly states that “photography, including videotaping, of places, buildings, structures and events are common and lawful activities in Washington, D.C.” and that “a bystander has the right under the First Amendment to observe and record members in the public discharge of their duties.”  It is a very well thought out and written set of guidelines which goes into considerable detail. Apparently, this action was largely taken as part of a settlement which grew out of an incident where DC police had ordered someone to stop taking pictures of them. 

 

Additional articles on this can be seen here and here.

 

It's up to all of us as photographers, journalists and citizens to know and exercise our rights, in order that we not loose them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/8/photographers-rights Mon, 20 Aug 2012 21:41:32 GMT
Nikon's New D800 https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/7/nikons-new-d800 Once again, I've been so busy that I've neglected keeping this blog up with fresh content, so I thought I'd better address something while sitting in front of my computer this weekend.  

There are so many things I could write about, but since my Nikon D800 finally arrived a couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd share some of my impressions.  There's already a lot of content flying around on the web on this game changing camera so, I'll just hit the highlights of my initial observations.

There are some things I will miss about my D700 which I sold (in large part to help pay for the D800). That would primarily be its incredible low-light capability and fast burst rate.  

A few days after I got the D800, I headed off to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park for a little workout.  When I photograph animals I nearly always put the camera on CF (Continuous Fast) burst rate mode to record an optimum frame of the creature's expression or behavior.  The D800's burst rate is noticeably slower.  It seems to me that its CF speed is about that of the D700's CL (Continuous Low) speed.  I guess that's the tradeoff one must endure for writing image files more than 3 times larger.  Which brings me to my next reality check; the files are huge! Not just in pixels, but even more so in disk size.  My 8GB San Disk Extreme III card was only able to record 101 images. Transferring a card full of RAW images to my computer, which once took only seconds, now takes several minutes.

As soon as I returned home from the park, I ordered both a 32GB SD and CF San Disk Extreme Pro cards. The D800 has slots for both. The reason for the Extreme Pro version is the ultra fast 95 to 100 mb/sec write speed capability, which should help during those shutter burst situations.

Aslan Obviously, the reason I bought the D800 was so I could print much larger.  What I hadn't given much thought to at the time, however, was that the images are so much bigger, I feel (for the first time really) that I can now crop my images. This has allowed me to produce different final images from just one RAW capture and has opened up all kinds of various creative possibilities.  For example, in the attached image of Izu, the lion, while editing close on his face I realized a much better picture was produced by cropping in tightly, eliminating the distracting background.  The cropped shot was still larger than the output from my D700. 

There are of course some other observations I have regarding the D800, but I'll save that for another time.

 

 

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) Nikon D800 Review https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/7/nikons-new-d800 Sat, 21 Jul 2012 23:11:09 GMT
RAW Blog Interview https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/6/raw-blog-interview  

Tristan Jud just posted the interview he did of me on his Blog "RAW."

http://raw.tristanjud.com/2012/06/interview-with-david-lenhert/

Be sure to "Like It" on Facebook!
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1220605905

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) Blog Interview RAW https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/6/raw-blog-interview Mon, 11 Jun 2012 16:47:32 GMT
This 1st Week in June https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/6/this-1st-week-in-june This first week in June is, and has been, pretty busy for me. The Introduction to the Landscape & Nature Photography class I co-taught with Lee Kirchhevel went very well.  There continues to be a lot of interest by those who wish to advance from taking just snapshots to something they are proud of hanging on their walls at home. It's very satisfying for me to share what I've learned with other's so they too can create engaging imagery for themselves.

 

Earlier this week I was interviewed by Tristan Jud of RAW, an online photography magazine/blog site in Australia. Once Its published, I'll be sure to post a link.

 

This evening (June 6) I'll be giving a presentation on landscape fine art photography to the South County Photo Club in Aliso Viejo.

 

Tomorrow evening I'll be attending the Artist Reception in the East Grandstand at the San Diego County Fair where I have three photographs being judged this year.  I'll followup on the results as soon as I know something.

 

Finally, this Saturday June 9th from 5:30 to 8:00 pm, I'll be attending the Artist Reception at the Escondido Municipal Gallery on Grand Ave.  The Photo Arts Group's theme this month is "Out of the Dark".  Please join me there if you can for conversation, appetizers and beverages--all free!

Genesis

Update: The results for the San Diego County Fair Photography competition are in…  My image “Genesis” displaying the glowing Kilauea caldera under the southern Milky Way received a 4th place in the the Night Photography category.  The quality of this year’s entries are the best I’ve seen.  It seems each year the bar get raised a bit higher. I’m not sure what I’ll need to do next year to get a ribbon. 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/6/this-1st-week-in-june Wed, 06 Jun 2012 16:35:04 GMT
A Busy May https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/5/busy-may It's been a very busy few weeks.  The Bernardo Winery Spring Art & Craft Show was a big success.  I met lots of people excited about photography and had a financially successful show as well.  The week before I was in southern Utah and a visit to the Wave in Coyote Buttes North.  Although the hike was a little more demanding than I had originally thought it would be, it was a great experience.  One I'm sure I'll repeat again sometime.  My only wish would have been to have some cloudy skies. Even though we got an early start, we still arrived with clear skies and harsh sunlight. Some areas provided shadow which produced the best images.  Visitation to this area of the Paria Canyon wilderness is restricted by the BLM to only 10 online lottery winners and 10 day-before walk-in lottery applicants.  I had won my permit online back in February.  On my designated day, there were 83 lottery applications for the 10 walk-in spots.  What's next?  I'm teaching a Landscape & Nature Photography Class at the Escondido Municipal Gallery on June 2nd.  You can sign up here:  http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/250095  if you're interested.  

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Landscapes Photography South West https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/5/busy-may Sat, 19 May 2012 00:42:57 GMT
35th Annual Spring Arts & Crafts Fair https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/5/35th-annual-spring-arts-crafts-fair
I'll be showing and selling my latest prints this Mother's Day weekend at the Bernardo Winery's 35th Annual Arts & Crafts Fair in Rancho Bernardo, CA.  If you're looking for something to do or perhaps find a nice gift for Mom, please stop by.  I'll be in my usual location in the shade on the grass. In addition to traditional matted photographic prints, I have several in frames, on canvas, on metal, and acrylic face mounts. In addition to other photographers, there will be painters, sculptors, glass blowers and a variety of other artists and craftsman.  Some tasty food booths will be there as well.  Stop by for a visit or just a quick hello!

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Art Photography Show https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/5/35th-annual-spring-arts-crafts-fair Wed, 09 May 2012 17:19:24 GMT
Antelope Canyon 1-Day Workshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/4/antelope-canyon-1-day-workshop There is still room!  Contact me as soon as possible to attend.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) Antelope Canyon photography workshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/4/antelope-canyon-1-day-workshop Fri, 27 Apr 2012 17:04:29 GMT
“A Place of One’s Own” Art Show https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/4/-a-place-of-one-s-own-art-show

If you are in the area, please be sure to drop by the Escondido Municipal Art Gallery on Grand and Juniper in Escondido, CA and look at the Photo Arts Group new showing called “A Place of One’s Own.”

And don’t forget to keep Mother’s Day Weekend (Saturday May 12 through Sunday May 13) for the 35th Annual Spring Arts & Crafts Fair at the Bernardo Winery.  I’ll be there along with over a hundred other artists. Bring mom out for some wine tasting, local foods, art and fun!

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) art escondido gallery photo arts group show https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/4/-a-place-of-one-s-own-art-show Mon, 16 Apr 2012 23:12:04 GMT
Monument Valley https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/4/monument-valley Glory, aka Eternal Dawn  Just got back from Monument Valley in the Arizona, Utah area of the country with a few pictures worth sharing.  Unfortunately, the storm that blew through created a lot of dust and sand in the air. The sky and light were not as good as I had hoped for, but all in all we had a good time capturing images from sunrise to after sunset.

Monument Valley Sunrise

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) arizona landscapes monument valley south west utah https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/4/monument-valley Mon, 16 Apr 2012 23:00:01 GMT
Why I Use Filters On Digital Cameras https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/3/Why-I-Use-Filters-On-Digital-Cameras In these days of digital post-production software like Adobe Photoshop, is it really necessary to use filters?  After all, I can always add that effect in the computer later, right?  Well, the answer to that question is: On-camera filters are indispensable! First of all, a better image accomplished in-camera will always provide more latitude in the post-production digital darkroom. In this article I want to discuss just neutral density filters, in particular Graduated Neutral Density (GNDs) filters. That’s not to say that other filters like polarizers aren’t important--they certainly are, but that’s a subject for another day. The main purpose of a graduated neutral density filter is to control the dynamic range of light in the scene.  Ideally, in just one exposure, although a GND filter is still quite useful in bracketed shots, even those used in HDR imaging.  Whether capturing an image on film or on a digital sensor, photography is all about recording light. If the range of light is too great, and the highlights are blown out loosing detail, how can applying a digital filter to darken the sky (e.g., using Photoshop) going to bring back detail that was never recorded?  Getting the best image we can at time of shutter release will go a long way to getting the best possible results. Graduated Neutral Density filters come in a variety of sizes and densities (opaqueness), and are typically capable of controlling anywhere between 1 and 3 stops of light. Their light controlling ability is usually expressed as ND 0.3, 0.6, or 0.9, which translates as 1, 2, or 3 stops of light loss respectively.  GNDs come in a Soft or Hard Edge transitions of density to fully transparent.  The line of transition from dark to clear is placed over the horizon, thus darkening the sky and brining it into an acceptable dynamic range for the scene. The sky is often as much as 2 or more f-stops brighter than the foreground, so I prefer the 0.6 density with a soft edge.  However, it’s best to carry a variety. To get the best image possible in a given situation, you may need to go lighter or darker, or even stack more than one filter together.  Although GNDs come in the screw-in variety, its best to avoid these as you have no control of placement within the composition.  That is, the horizon would always have to be placed in the center of the image, which is usually not desirable. I prefer the 4x6 inch square filters that fit in a holder which screws onto the len's filter threads.  These holders allow you to move the filter up and down, as well as rotate, allowing you complete control of placement.  The larger filter size also allows you the flexibility to just hand hold the filter in front of the lens for quick and temporary use. Here is an example:

Without GND Filter With GND Filter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Both pictures above were taken at dawn less than a minute apart.  Because the dynamic range of light was actually close to that of the foreground a GND filter would not normally be required. However, as you can see, the picture on the right was improved by the use of a soft edge 0.6 GND filter. Similar results could likely have been obtained in post editing since the dynamic range was not a problem here. Thirty minutes later and detail in the sky would have been lost altogether without the filter.

Besides using Graduated Neutral Density filters, I also frequently pull out one of my solid neutral density filters.  Although I generally prefer the large square type filters, when it comes to a solid ND filter, I'm partial to the screw-on 'fader' types like Singh-Ray's Vari-ND.  These filters allow you to dial-in the desired amount of density by rotating the outer ring of the filter, anywhere from 2 f-stops to as much as 8 or 10 f-stops.  The main reason I like to use a solid ND filter, is so I can slow down the shutter speed enough to let moving water blur.  There are times of course when freezing water action is desirable, but most of the time I prefer to let the water take on a silky smooth appearance, which I can only get with a slower shutter speed.  A variable ND filter gives me the ability to control the amount of light reaching the sensor and thus slow the shutter more than I could otherwise.      

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/3/Why-I-Use-Filters-On-Digital-Cameras Mon, 19 Mar 2012 14:15:18 GMT
Dealing with Len's Flare https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/3/Dealing-with-Len-s-Flare Following the recent Sunset Workshop, I got a question about how to  deal with annoying sun spots (i.e, len's flare) that occasionally show up.  This is something I have to deal with all the time when I shoot 360 degree panoramas, which I do on a nearly daily basis for real estate virtual tours.

Len's flare is a result of the scattering and reflection of a bright light source within the optics of the lens, usually at near direct or oblique angles. Manufactures of lenses coat them to minimize these flares, and that helps a lot, but it doesn't always prevent them.
Filters often add to the problem, so it's important to use a quality coated filters, whether polarizers, NDs, UV or other protective filters.  Sometimes removing the filter altogether will help as a filter may be providing that one additional optical element scattering the light and introducing flaring. However, even the best optics and coatings can't eliminate flares in the more extreme situations.  Often the best solution is to simply change your viewing position and therefore the angle relative to the light source and see if that will work.

Adding a lens hood is often an effective and practical means to shield the objective lens from a flare inducing angle.  In my situation of shooting panoramas, there are still required shots that are within the family of angles that produce lens flare.  In these situations, I try to use my my hand like a larger lens shade to shield the lens.  This usually works pretty well.  If the sun is right on the edge of my shot, I'll sometimes use my finger to blot it out entirely and then use Photoshop to paint it away.  I'll also try to select a camera position where the sun is fully or partially obscured by an object like a tree branch, roofline or other available foreground structure.

There is no one perfect solution. Sometimes a flare is not very noticeable at the time of the shot, but then becomes more prevalent when contrast is applied in post production.  Often a combination of these techniques will give satisfactory results, but its important to be aware of the situation at the time of the shot, otherwise you may not notice it until post-production and then it may be to late to salvage an otherwise great shot.  On the other hand, maybe lens flare actually makes for an interesting image. Just do an Internet search on "how to make lens flare in photoshop" to find plenty of examples to accomplish this artificially.

So the short answer to prevent Len's flare is: Buy quality lenses. Use high quality coated filters or remove them altogether. Use a Len's Shade. Employ your hand or other shield to shade the lens. Change your angle of view relative to the sun. Block the sun with a foreground object. If you have a favorite technique that works for you, please share it me.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/3/Dealing-with-Len-s-Flare Sat, 17 Mar 2012 11:39:32 GMT
Tips for Shooting Sunsets https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/2/Tips-for-Shooting-Sunsets Images of Sunsets are one of those iconic American landscape scenes that seems universally pleasing to just about everyone who looks to the evening sky.  I think one reason is that each sunset is so unique and yet so pleasingly familiar all at the same time. Like any great photograph, the image should invoke an emotional response in the viewer.  Sunsets and cloud laden skies seem nearly always to do that.
 
I heard it once said of Ansel Adams that  he made images of dramatic skies with interesting landscapes beneath them. Which brings up an important point.  If “light is everything,” composition is “everything else.” That’s just an odd way of saying that whatever else is in the picture is just as important as the sweet hues of celestial light.
 
So here are some specific suggestions for shooting sunsets, or sunrises for that matter.
  1. During the day, try to scout locations for your sunset shots, specifically looking for interesting foreground elements like rock formations, trees, piers, boats, bridges to name just a few. Keep in mind that you may want to use these objects well lit or to provide silhouettes.
  2.  
  3. Arrive about a half hour before sunset.  Early sunset shots can be quite nice depending on the clouds.  A clearing storm almost always adds pleasing drama, color and texture to the scene.  For advanced planning you can use an online sunset calculator to determine actual sunset time for any location or day of the year.  Here is a good one here: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/sunrise.html
  4. Bracket your shots.  Camera meters are often confused when the sun is in the scene. By bracketing your shots, you can usually come up with a usable image. The resulting experience gained from this exercise will help you anticipate your camera’s response.  You can usually get good results by metering the sky about 30 degrees distance from the sun. I also like to slightly underexpose which helps saturate the colors.
  5.  
  6. Since the sky will almost always be about 2 fstops brighter than the landscape, a graduated neutral density filter is a huge benefit. These square filters can be positioned so that just the sky is darkened leaving the lower foreground unaffected.  They come in different densities with a hard or soft transitional edge.  I suggest a 0.6 (2-stop) soft-edge filter for your first purchase. Although you can just hold the filter in front of your lens, a Cokin P series holder is a cost effective way to get started.  Be aware, however, a holder may cause vignetting with wide angle lenses.
  7.  
  8. Before the sun goes down try using a foreground element like a tree branch, or other object, to block the sun. This will also help even out the exposure range. Also, get close to foreground elements. Let them lead you into the picture.  By using an f-stop of f/16 or higher and focusing about one third of the way into the scene, you can keep most everything near to far in sharp focus.  Another option is to use a method championed by Bryan Peterson, Founder of PPSOP.com, which is to use an f-stop of f/22 and set focus manually to 3-feet/1-meter.  This should work well with wide angle lenses in the 14mm to 24mm range (full frame equivalent).
  9.  
  10. Stay well past sunset for the best color.  This is when the real magic happens. Often people leave right after the sun goes down.  While the sky can often go flat and uninteresting in the first few minutes following sunset, a little patience will nearly always yield the best, most dramatic colors of the day.  Of course, a tripod is a must as your shutter will likely be open for several seconds and the light fades.  Just keep shooting.  You’ll no doubt be quite surprised what the camera records versus what your eyes perceive. And, don’t forget to turnaround.  Often some of the best light will be right behind you.
  11.  
  12. Auto White Balance is usually a good starting point, but don’t forget to experiment a little with some of the other white balance settings which can have a dramatic affect on certain colors, especially reds and yellows.  My advice is to always shoot in RAW. That way, you can easily and non-destructively change the white balance in post-processing.
  13.  
  14. A few last words about composition. Be sure to keep your horizon level. This is especially important for ocean shots.  Also keep in mind the Rule of Thirds.  If the sky is a significant part the story being conveyed, I find putting the foreground element in the lower 1/3 part of the frame and giving two thirds to the sky usually works best.  Why not try it different ways and decide for yourself?  Finally, for a beautiful sunset image to be successful it absolutely requires a secondary story element.  This goes back to the Ansel Adams comment I made earlier. That secondary element can be a silhouette of person, interesting trees, animals, just about anything.  Just don’t make it only about the sunset.

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/2/Tips-for-Shooting-Sunsets Thu, 16 Feb 2012 19:12:00 GMT
IEPC Field Trip Workshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/2/IEPC-Field-Trip-Workshop Although we had to postpone our first field trip workshop attempt due to bad weather, we were eventually graced with a spectacular afternoon and evening photo shoot this past Saturday at the Oceanside Harbor and Pier, followed up with a great dinner and conversation at the Jolly Roger.  Lee Kirchhevel and Dick Cronberg, two of my favorite wildlife photographers, joined me in leading the field trip workshop for IEPC (Inland Empire Photo Club). A big thanks also goes out to Akiko Cronberg for organizing the event. After meeting at the harbor about an hour before sunset, we shot well in to the evening taking advantage of the wonderful twilight colors.  The photo challenge was to capture some images with silhouettes and reflections in them.  From the few I've seen so far, it looks like everyone had a good time and got some great shots. Some more of my shots can be seen here.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General Images Landscapes Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/2/IEPC-Field-Trip-Workshop Mon, 06 Feb 2012 15:49:03 GMT
Timing is Everything https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/1/Timing-is-Everything Although I haven't traveled afar this week, it has been a busy and rewarding one. Last Thursday I had the privilege of giving a presentation of my landscape photography at the Inland Empire Photo Club (IEPC). This is one of the most enthusiastic photography groups I've seen.  As a followup I'll be leading a field trip for the group on Saturday January 21st at the Oceanside Harbor during the Golden Hour and Twilight.  If you're interested, shoot me an email at dlenhert [at] sbglobal.net for specifics. (email address obscured to avoid auto-spammers). 

My good friend Dick Cronberg, who often leads the IEPC and is one of the best wildlife photographers I know, pointed out that the Brown Pelicans were in breeding plumage and was a great time to capture their color and behaviors as they gathered around the cliffs of La Jolla Cove.  Last Saturday there was also very high surf due to a storm off of Japan the week before; and of course, the ever present seals at Children's Pool. So, Lee Kirchhevel, another great wildlife photographer, and I headed out at sunrise to see what we could capture. I find wildlife photography more challenging than landscapes, which require more patience than I typically have. Even though I was using a fast lens, I still found it difficult to keep the focus sharp in the mere micro seconds it took between autofocus and shutter release.  There were a couple of reasons for this.  First, I was shooting wide open at f/2.8 or f/3.5 in order to blur the background so my depth of field was very narrow.  Secondly, I was using my Nikon D90 body to get the benefit of the 1.5 crop factor out of my 200mm lens. My D700 would have given me continuous focus capability, higher burst rate, and faster response, but I wouldn't have gotten the extra 100mm reach from the lens.  This isn't something I have to worry about when shooting landscapes.  In the end, Lee and I came away with some images we were pretty happy with.  Here are just a few...

 

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General Nature Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2012/1/Timing-is-Everything Thu, 12 Jan 2012 08:56:20 GMT
Twilight, Dusk, & Night Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/12/Twilight-Dusk-Night-Photography

For some reason I've had several inquires lately about how I do Twilight and/or Night Photography. Perhaps it's all the colorful Christmas lighting and decorations, which do add a lot interest.Most of the questions have been coming from Realtors and homeowners wanting something special and different to market their homes. Last year I even had a real estate virtual tour company out of Los Angeles contact me asking how I produce my twilight shots. I was a little surprised since this was a rather large company already providing that same service (among many others) to their clients.  After I related my work flow, he responded with "that's not at all how we've been doing it, but I like your results better."  I never did find out how he was doing it, but I thought I'd share how I do it.

First of all when it comes to commercial twilight photography of homes, shopping centers, resorts, etc. I keep it as fast and as simple as possible; for two reasons. First, I generally don't get paid enough to have assistants and special lighting to move around.  Secondly, the window of opportunity for the best light of the evening is very brief.  If I'm going to get more than a couple of unique shots from different viewpoint locations, I have to work very fast. I've read the steps other photographers take and most get outstanding, perhaps superior results, but the time it takes is far too long and it can take multiple nights to get the assignment done. That's okay for a lot of them as they can often command large fees for their services. The most common question is "when is the best time;" meaning how dark out should it be.  And the answer is, like so many things--that depends!  It depends on the season, clouds, weather conditions like fog, environmental conditions like pollution,  your compass direction relative to the Sun, and more.  It's nearly impossible to predict where and when the sweetest light will occur but you'll know it when you see it.  I've been hired to do dusk shots only to have the client select the sunset shots because of the color in the sky. We should probably define a few words like what exactly is twilight and dusk.  Dusk occurs after Twilight and is the beginning of darkness in the evening but before the blue disappears. Long exposures at this time can produce beautiful deep indigo blue. Twilight is the time between Sunset and Dusk (or between dawn and sunrise) where sunlight is scattering in the upper atmosphere and illuminating the lower atmosphere and land features.  The sky can be too bright during early twilight, especially if there are few or no clouds, in which case I often use a Graduated Neutral Density Filter. In addition to the occasional use of a GND or polarizer filters, a tripod is an absolute must since this is low-light photography.  Its also a good idea to have a shutter release cable.  There is one other piece of equipment I find essential for dusk and night photography and that is a high power flashlight, preferably one with a warm or yellow hue to "paint with light."  I like to use Surefire flashlights as they are lightweight, small and put out a lot of candle power.  Since we're on the subject of equipment, I'll also mention that its quite helpful to have a camera with a large, sensitive sensor which can keep the noise down with high ISO settings.  Quality glass is also important, but that's generally true in any light condition.  I use a Nikon D700 for most of my low light photography projects and I always shoot in RAW as I'll need as much leeway as I can get for color balance and other post production. Here is the basic workflow I use for twilight, dusk and night photography:

  • First I determine when Sunset is and arrive on location about 20 minutes before. I scout the location to determine the best angles to shoot from.
  • If it is a home, I note which sides will receive the most and least light as the Sun goes down. This will determine which side of the building I'll concentrate on first and last.  I'll also make sure all the inside and outside lights are on including landscape and pool lights if any.
  • Although I'll be making adjustments to my camera settings throughout the evening, I generally start out with lowest ISO possible and in Aperture Priority.  For architecture and homes, I want a sharp focus from foreground to background so I typically start out with an aperture around f/16 and let the camera select the shutter speed. This will give a good sense of what to set when I eventually change to full manual mode as the light becomes scarce.  Also, small apertures can produce a nice flare on small artificial light sources.
  • I start composing test shots from each location. If I think there are some good sunset shots I begin to capture those using a NGD filter to darken the sky while waiting for low light.
  • As an area becomes darker, and the scene becomes illuminated primarily from artificial lights, I'll pull out my Surefire flashlight and will quickly use it to paint light on darker and/or more interesting surfaces of the building or landscaping while the shutter is open. During late twilight and dusk my shutter is usually open about 10 to 15 seconds.  If necessary, I'll raise the ISO to keep the shutter in that range, but I try not to go over an ISO of 800 or 1600 to keep the noise down.  When doing low light landscape photography I'm willing to go longer if necessary [See Inset-1].
  • It's during this time I move as fast as I can from each previously scouted location capturing a series of shots.  There will become a time when the light reaches a range of contrast that becomes too great.  That is the shadows become black and the artificial lights begin to blow out.  This is when I usually quit for the evening.  I say usually, because I recently discovered its possible to get very satisfactory results using HDR for night shots; but that's topic for another time.
  • The location captures was half the work.  Next, I take the images to the digital darkroom for post production editing.  Generally, all I'm trying to do here is balance color, dodge and burn the shadows and highlights a bit, and correct for lens distortion. Since I don't have PC (Perspective Control) lenses, I rely on Photoshop to straighten my verticals.

A one evening commercial photography session of a home, complete with post-production editing, will take me about 4 to 5 hours and produce about six unique images for delivery to the client. Inset-Left. If the landscape includes the night sky I use a shutter speed as long as possible without creating star trails, unless of course I want star trails.  How long that is depends on the focal length being used.  Some time ago I came across a helpful formula to determine what that was.  You take the number 700 (I don't know why) and divide into it by the focal length of the lens.  Don't forget to take the crop factor into consideration.  You want to use the effective focal length.  For example, an 18mm lens mounted to a DSLR with a typical APS-C sized sensor and a crop factor of 1.5 would have an effective focal length of 27mm. 700 divided by 27 equals approximately 26 seconds.  This is the maximum amount of time the shutter can be open without clearly discernible star trails.  This is obviously a big advantage for wide angle lenses. Telephotos and telescopes will require a mechanism to compensate for the Earth's rotation.  If more light is needed, raising the ISO or increasing the aperture size will be necessary.  Although HDR in night photography can further extend the dynamic range in a scene, it is not a realistic solution when movement, including Earth rotation, is present. 

 

 

 

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/12/Twilight-Dusk-Night-Photography Thu, 29 Dec 2011 15:38:40 GMT
December 2011, Week 3 https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/12/December-2011-Week-3

On one hand, commercial shoots are down due to the holidays.  On the other, I've been busy developing some photography classes and workshops for next year, printing and matting fine art prints for customers, not to mention my own personal holiday shopping and other Christmas activities.  So, its busy-ness as usual! I don't often see where (or when) my commercial photography gets published.  Most of the time it is in newspaper advertising and, of course, on the internet.  When its on the Internet, I generally don't get photo credits. This is usually the case even for my stock photography (see my blog entry on Stock Photography).  

Printed newspapers and magazines (apart from ad copy) are usually very considerate about getting permission and copyright credits.  In which case, I'm contacted and I get to know where and when its published.  What artist doesn't like to hear their music on the radio or see their art in publication?  I know I do!Such was the case last week.

The San Diego Union Tribune needed high resolution copies of some images I took for a home builder last August as they were writing an article on the rebuilding of a home that had burned.  I was happy to provide them and they were happy to give photo credits.  This essentially happened because the images I provided the client had become misplaced; otherwise I would probably have never known they were published.  Although I provided several images, only three were selected to run with the article.  While I read the article and skimmed the paper, I also came across several other of my images in a real estate advertisement, but no photo credits though.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/12/December-2011-Week-3 Mon, 19 Dec 2011 14:01:30 GMT
Photoshop Dodge and Burn Series, Tip #3 (Easy) https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/11/Photoshop-Dodge-and-Burn-Series-Tip-3-Easy In this Dodge & Burn tip, we are going to use a very simple technique to paint with light via a Photoshop blend mode.  That's not to be confused with other "Painting with Light" techniques during image capture, some of which I may go into in another series. Although you can "shape the light" as though it were coming from an unseen light source, this example is just going to apply the technique to the dark areas that are a underexposed.

This image was exposed for the windows which left the interior of the room too dark.  Here is a simple technique to brighten (Dodge) the dark areas, as well as darken (Burn) the bright areas. Step 1. Duplicate the Background Layer by selecting Control-J on Windows or Command-J on Mac. Step 2. Change the Blend Mode to Overlay (see Fig2). Step 3. Fill the layer with 50% gray by going to Edit and Fill. Select 50% Gray from the drop down box and click OK. Step 4. Select a soft brush and lower the Opacity less than 10%. Step 5. Set your Foreground/Background colors to Black & White by typing Control-D (Command-D on a Mac). Step 6. Make White your foreground color to lighten or switch to Black, by typing X on the keyboard toggle back and forth, to darken an area.

With a low opacity, you can gently "build-up" the effect. Of course, it works even better if you use a pressure sensitive pen and tablet like a Wacom. Here is the final result after just clicking and painting into the Overlay layer (Fig.3).  In addition to brushing over most of the interior areas to lighten the room, I concentrated the dodging around the fireplace and chairs.  I then switched my foreground color to black and burned in the landscape outside the windows. In the next Dodge & Burn Tip (#4) we'll continue this technique using a couple of additional Blend Modes. 

 

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Photoshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/11/Photoshop-Dodge-and-Burn-Series-Tip-3-Easy Wed, 30 Nov 2011 18:41:00 GMT
Night HDR Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/11/Night-HDR-Photography Last night's (November 16 2011) Night HDR Photo Shoot of San Diego's skyline, hosted by Stephen Burns, was a great success.  Lots of fellow photographer's sharing tips on photography, and afterwards, good conversation ensued over pizza at a nearby restaurant by the ferry landing on Coronado  Island.  Here is quick image I got processed today. This was composed of 5 bracketed shots 1 f-stop apart.  

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Architecture General Night Photography Twilight https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/11/Night-HDR-Photography Thu, 17 Nov 2011 18:34:00 GMT
Gallery 21 at Spanish Village Art Center https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/11/Gallery-21-at-Spanish-Village-Art-Center Update: We finished hanging the show Tuesday evening, and it looks great!  The Artist Reception is this Friday November 18th, 4:00-8:00 PM, so please come visit.  There will also be appetizers and good conversation.  Here are some details about the show:

PhotoArts Group at Gallery 21
Spanish Village Art Center
1770 Village Place
Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101
November 16th - 29th, 2011
Artist Reception Friday, November 18th, 4:00-8:00 PM
Gallery Hours: open 11 am – 4 pm daily Closed Thanksgiving

I will have two images on display in Gallery 21 at the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park this November 16 through the 29th.  There will also be additional photographic works by other members of the Photo Arts Group (http://pag-gallery21.blogspot.com/).  Please come by for a viewing and also take in the other great things to do at Balboa Park.  
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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/11/Gallery-21-at-Spanish-Village-Art-Center Thu, 17 Nov 2011 15:13:01 GMT
34th Annual Fall Arts & Crafts Fair This Weekend https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/10/34th-Annual-Fall-Arts-Crafts-Fair-This-Weekend Please join me at the 34th Annual Fall Arts & Crafts Fair being held at the Bernardo Winery, from 10am to 4pm this Saturday and Sunday, October 15th and 16th.  There will be lots of food, drink, entertainment and over a hundred artist & craft vendors. I'll be there displaying and selling some of my fine art photography along with a few other photographers.  There will also be painters, glass blowers, sculptors and many other artists and craftsmen. I’ll have several new pieces from my recent trip to Hawaii on display. Prints are available in a variety of sizes and budgets, including some giclee on canvas and prints on Fujiflex Supergloss which really makes the colors pop with spectacular detail. Parking is free!  I hope to see you there.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General Landscapes Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/10/34th-Annual-Fall-Arts-Crafts-Fair-This-Weekend Thu, 13 Oct 2011 16:47:59 GMT
Genesis https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/10/Genesis---Eternal-Beginnings I just returned from a vacation and photography trip to Hawaii where I took over 2 thousand images.  Most were on the Big Island and a fair number on Kauai.  It will be weeks before I'm caught up and can edit the selections. With each trip to the Big Island I hope to be able to fill my camera frame with red lava from Kilauea.  Either dripping into the ocean or bursting forth like a fountain.  Kilauea has been somewhat active this year, but unfortunately not that much while I was there.  There was a small spill out from the Pu'u'o'o vent, but the only way to see it was from a helicopter.  It didn't seem spectacular enough to justify the added expense.  Instead, we went to the Jagger Museum lookout at sunset and stayed for a couple of hours shooting the glowing crater.  

The caldera floor was filling with lava giving off a bright orange glow.  Since it was a moonless night, I was rewarded with a beautiful view of the southern Milky Way when the clouds parted for several minutes.  I had already planned on shooting the Milky Way while in Hawaii since there is little light pollution and the skies there are nice and dark. I was able to balance the foreground light of the Kilauea caldera and still capture the Milky way in the sky.  I had recently read about a recommended formula for determining how long I could leave the shutter open before star trails would become apparent: Start with the number 700 and divide it by the focal length of the lens.  In my case, it was: 700/24mm=29.17 seconds.  I went for an even 30 seconds with my lens wide open at f/2.8 and an ISO set to 1600 on my Nikon D700. After downloading the raw file to my computer, I adjusted the white balance a bit to take some of the magenta out of the sky, performed a slight amount of noise reduction, and then used a curve adjustment to strengthen the contrast a bit. If you plan a visit to the Big Island of Hawaii, be sure to set aside a day for a visit to Volcano National Park and stay after sunset for some of the best views.  Don't forget to take some warm clothes as it can get chilly in the park which is some distance above the normally warm beaches.  In addition to some charming bed and breakfast places in nearby Volcano Village, it is a special treat to stay at Volcano House, the lodge inside the park run by the National Park Service.  We stayed there two years ago and can confidently recommend a stay there.  It offers great views, good food and a cosy relaxing setting.  This year it was closed due to the the proximity of high levels of poisonous gases escaping from around the caldera which could cause health problems for guests if the winds shift in the direction of the lodge especially during the night while everyone is asleep. Over the next few weeks I'll try to get some more of my Hawaii pictures into the Gallery section. Aloha!  

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General Landscapes Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/10/Genesis---Eternal-Beginnings Thu, 06 Oct 2011 17:02:39 GMT
Shapes of Nature Show & Reception https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/9/Shapes-of-Nature-Show-Reception Please join me this Saturday September 10th from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Shapes of Nature Innerspace Gallery Reception located at 262 E Grand Avenue in Escondido, CA. The PhotoArts Group will be displaying the Shapes of Nature show through October 1st, 2011.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/9/Shapes-of-Nature-Show-Reception Fri, 09 Sep 2011 11:33:23 GMT
Turning Photos into Paintings https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/8/Turning-Photos-into-Paintings I love creating art (ie, paintings) from photography, although arguably photography is art.  This can be as simple as applying some filters, or as elaborate as using an electronic tablet and brush, like a Wacom, to paint over an image, or create something entirely new from scratch.  Besides software applications like  Corel Painter, Adobe has added several features and custom brushes to Photoshop CS5.  There are also a variety of 3rd party plugins for Photoshop that can automate some of the painting process.  I have experimented with several applications and techniques, from quick and simple allthe way to entirely manual techniques requiring some level of painting skill. Although I consider myself an artist, I'm certainly more of a photographer than a painter, and probably always will be.  Nevertheless, I certainly enjoy taking one of my photographs and us ing it as the foundation to create a unique piece of art.  That is to say, a "painting"  for lack of another word.  This idea of paintings from photos has, of course, created a lot of controversy as to what is art, whether is it derived or "pure", etc.  This is really nothing new.  This kind of debate has actually been going on for centuries.  Each time a new technique or material is introduced the debate rages anew.  Currently, new electronic technologies are making it easier than ever to create artwork at levels requiring less traditional skill.  I say traditional skill, because these new technologies still require considerable learning and practice to effectively create art that is, in its final analysis, appealing.  At least commercially appealing.  In other words, will it sell, and for how much? How much art (or photography for that matter) will sell for depends on a number of factors.  Is it aesthetically appealing to a large audience of buyers?  Is it a limited edition (ie, degree of its rarity)? Is the artist famous or a celebrity? Is the work difficult to create or re-create? What materials (and material cost) was it created with? How large is it?  How is it presented; on canvas, in a frame, etc.? 

As the population of artists and photographers grow, and technology makes it easier to capture or create new images, the price that art can demand generally goes down.  See my blog entry on Stock Photography.  Exceptions to this would be historic and rare artwork.  The price of a Rembrandt is not likely to go down, is it? This by no means diminishes the need and desire for an artist to create.  Some of my motives in creating a painting from a photograph comes from the need to alter an otherwise interesting image into a great one, or at least a better one.  For example, there may be too many things preventing a good photograph from being a great one.  There might just be enough going for it that with some editing it becomes special.  If it requires too much editing, why not use it as a foundation for a "painted" version that can be giclee printed onto canvas (or other substrate) for framing. Here are a couple of before and after examples of "paintings" I created from photographs.  At this size, some can still look like photographs. Printed at full size, the brush strokes become quite apparent.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Landscapes Photoshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/8/Turning-Photos-into-Paintings Tue, 30 Aug 2011 18:35:04 GMT
August 2011, Week 2 https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/8/August-2011-Week-2
 I thought I'd post some results of my last Zion trip.  Unfortunately, I didn't achieve my goal of getting shots of the Subway.  The morning before the hike, I was able to secure an additional back-country pass for my wife.  Since we were carrying a lot of photo gear, and having little experience in repelling, we chose to start and return by way of the Left Fork trail head.  Although being able to avoid some repels and a deep swim using this route, it meant climbing down, and then returning the same way, over a steep 400 ft elevation section of the trail. The picture at left is looking down at this section from the top. The entire hike would be about 10 miles with the return trip in the hot afternoon and temps reaching around 100 degrees.  Not too bad, except for that last mile which included the return 400 ft climb against a black basalt rock cliff face which has absorbed the day's heat.  Karen had just come off of working a 20+ day trade-show in Texas and although she thought she was up to the adventure, once we were down the cliff and a mile or so beyond, she decided she couldn't do the whole hike.  She wanted me to go on while she stayed and enjoyed relaxing by the river.  Reluctantly, I went on with the intention of traveling as fast as I could.  After about a half mile the river split in two directions and the trail was lost to me.  Up to this point there had been plenty of Rock Cairns (mostly unnecessary) pointing the way. Once needed, they seem to disappear.  Foot prints were everywhere in all directions along both streams, but no obvious trail; mostly because it was all river rock.  I spent some time exploring both directions and check my location via a map and my gps.  I was pretty sure it was the fork to the right, but wasn't sure (turns out that was correct).  Following some prayer I decided to abort the hike.  Too many things were pulling me back including some guilt leaving Karen behind.  Additionally, the entire time we were in Zion, there was not a cloud in the sky all week.  The light was extremely harsh, even in the early mornings and evenings, making it difficult to capture exceptional images. Perhaps next year I'll make it to the Subway. I did have a chance to try out a new pack from Mile High Mountaineering.  I was very pleased with the pack.  It is comfortable, well adjustable, and nice looking to boot.  To serve my purposes as a backpack and a camera pack, I found a camera insert unit that fit nicely into the pack.  Fstopgear.com have the best internal camera units 

(ICUs) but they have been sold out for some time.  I found a cheap knockoff on ebay that works well enough.  All of mhmgear's expedition backpacks are top loading but also have a zipper down the front enabling easy entry anywhere into the pack to access gear. Be sure to check them out online at: www.mhmgear.com.

 

 

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General Landscapes Photography South West https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/8/August-2011-Week-2 Sat, 20 Aug 2011 13:24:50 GMT
Zion National Park https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/8/Zion-National-Park It's hard not to take a great shot in Zion National Park.  Perhaps that's one reason I like going back there so often.  I'm preparing to make another visit in the next couple of weeks, this time heading to the section of the park known as the Left Fork of North Creek to a spectacular formation of the canyon called the Subway.  It requires a permit as it is one of the most popular backcountry hikes in the park. I've planned a trip to the Subway for sometime, and the Lord willing, I'll make it there and back with some new publish worthy images.  It's always possible that a flash flood advisory could cancel the hike in which case I'll visit less dangerous areas of the park. Last year's trip into the Narrows produced two award winning images for me. Recently, while surfing the web for lodging at the park, I came across the webpage shown at left with one of those images from last year.  Look for new images in a few weeks.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General Landscapes Photography South West https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/8/Zion-National-Park Mon, 01 Aug 2011 14:50:42 GMT
Photoshop Dodge and Burn Series, Tip #2 (Advanced) https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/6/Photoshop-Dodge-and-Burn-Series-Tip-2-Advanced This tip, using Smart Objects, is just awesome; and I owe thanks to Theresa Jackson of The Photo Arts Group for sharing it with me.  As soon as she explained it, I understood immediately the power and implications of this technique, and kicked myself for not having thought of it before.  I'm sure others have been doing this for years, but I've never personally seen it published anywhere.  Besides being useful as a dodge and burn technique, and for creating natural looking high dynamic range images, it can be used for countless other effects while maintaining very high quality, and avoiding much of the noise and artifacts often seen when stretching the boundaries of other editing tools.  Another great example is mixing color balance which I'll give an example of later. For this to work properly, you must record your image in RAW and open it in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw). At this point we could do some editing, but the beauty of using Smart Objects is we can return to ACR as often as we like. At the bottom of the ACR screen, there is some text in blue. In my example it reads: Adobe RGB (1998)/ 16 bit; 3872 by 2592 (10.0MP); 240 ppi, (and is no longer in blue).  Click on this text and the Workflow Options dialog opens (shown at left).  Be sure to check the box: Open in Photoshop as Smart Objects.  Then click Open Object.  

The image is brought into Photoshop as a Smart Object which can be edited multiple times.  Here is what makes it so powerful.  From the menu, select Layers, Smart Objects, and then New Smart Object via Copy.  Now you have two identical smart object layers in your Layers Pallet. As you can see in the image at the left, this image was taken of a beach from within a grass hut.  The result is an overly bright beach and sky and an underexposed interior.  A very common problem in home interior photography. We will be making adjustments to both layers and using layer masks to hide and reveal what we wish.  In my example, I'm going to under expose the bottom layer to bring back the highlight details and over expose the top layer to reveal the shadow details. By double clicking the bottom layer, we reopen ACR.  From there we can use the Exposure, Recovery and Brightness sliders to adjust where we like the highlights.  When satisfied, click Done to return to Photoshop.  Now, double click the top layer to open it in ACR.  Using Exposure, Fill Light, and Brightness sliders (there are other ACR tools that can be used here as well) to reveal the shadow detail.  Click Done to return to Photoshop when satisfied. Next, add a layer mask and fill it with black to hide everything.  Using a soft brush with the foreground color set to white, paint over all of the dark areas to reveal the detail we just made to that smart object layer.  How careful you need to be in your masking depends on the image and other factors.  Make your brush smaller as you paint in detailed areas where critical areas meet, but you should already know how to do this if you been using Photoshop for very long. Here is the final result.  Essentially a high dynamic range image from a single exposure without some of the un-natural HDR look, all under your personal control and vision.  This technique isn't always the best one for every situation, but it is a powerful tool at your disposal when needed.   Here is another great use for this technique.  I recently got back from a trip to Lower Antelope Canyon. This was my third trip to Antelope Canyon and I was hoping to get some shots that included deep purples and blues that I've seen in some pictures from this canyon.  Although the sandstone canyon is very red in color, the purples and blues can only be captured  in the deep shadows, while still being able to record the reds and oranges and even yellows where the brighter light is found.  To do this it is best to be there in early morning or late afternoon.  The popular light shaft images are best captured near noon when the sun is directly overhead and entering the surface crack of the canyon.  It was 10 AM by the time I had gotten there and the deep shadows were disappearing, so I was having difficulty in capturing the deep purples and blues that I wanted. 

Here is where this ACR Smart Object technique comes in.  Using the steps outlined above I created two smart object layers in my Photoshop Palette.  Using the first layer, I open ACR and change the White Balance Temperature and Tint to the desired effect I'm looking for.  In my case, the Tungsten preset produced a great starting point. From there, I created a black layer mask on the second layer. Then, using a soft brush with a foreground color of white, I paint in the shadow area to reveal the blues and purples of the layer below it. 

Although I really liked the original Before image, I was able to accomplish what I was after using Adobe Camera Raw and Smart Objects.  If you decide the effect is a little too strong, you can always lower the Opacity of the second layer to blend back in some of the original color.      

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Photography Photoshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/6/Photoshop-Dodge-and-Burn-Series-Tip-2-Advanced Wed, 15 Jun 2011 05:29:00 GMT
Dangerous Beauty https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/6/Dangerous-Beauty I love to photograph waterfalls; especially with a neutral density filter which allows for longer shutter speeds to blur the water.  I've wanted to photograph Burney Falls for sometime and I had the chance this past week as I passed through Redding, California on my way back from Oregon.  These falls are located in McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, about an hour east of Redding, not too far from the north entrance to Lassen National Park. This is probably the prettiest of all the waterfalls in California.  Besides the main falls, spilling from the river above and dropping 129 feet to the pool below, its beauty (in my opinion) comes from the cascading fingers of water discharging from an underground spring as it flows out from the porous rock on the face of the falls.  Similar to several waterfalls in northern Oregon like Proxy and Ramona Falls, which are also on my list of places to photograph. Burney Falls can be viewed safely from a lookout point above, or at near pool level below, on a one mile loop trail. The water averages a very cool 47 degrees.  While we were there, the water was a frigid 41 degrees.   Although there hadn't been a death at Burney Falls for over 30 years, shortly after these pictures were taken, a 16 year old teenager fell in and drowned.  Allegedly, he went into an out of bounds area on the far side of falls trying to make his way down to the pool, where he slipped, hit his head, and went under the turbulent water beneath the falls.  I didn't personally witness the accident as we had moved away from the pool, hiking on the trail loop, climbing up to the top of the falls on the other side.  Apparently, the accident took place just moments before and below where the last picture (through the trees) was taken.  It is a somber reminder that nature's beauty can come with a sudden dose of lethal danger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Landscapes Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/6/Dangerous-Beauty Sat, 11 Jun 2011 11:12:17 GMT
Stock Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/6/Stock-Photography Micro Stock Agencies have forever changed the stock photo industry in may ways.  On the positive side, it has opened up considerable opportunity, especially for young photographers interested in getting their foot in the door. It can be difficult getting an account with one of the big (Macro Stock) agencies.  On the other hand, micro-stock agencies like IStockPhoto, ShutterStock, etc., have driven prices down so far it is hard for a photographer to expect a reasonable return on their efforts.  And while it has made quality photography available to more consumers, there is the risk that usage won't be unique.  That is, the same image may be used by others in various publications and formats.  Prices have also come down on the macro-stock agencies due to the pricing pressures from the micro-stocks.  Whether you are for or against micro-stock agencies, they are here to stay. It always gives me pleasure to see one of my photos published in a printed magazine.  This past week while on a Southwest Air flight from San Diego to Sacramento I was flipping through the pages of their in-flight magazine, "Spirit" when I notice a familiar picture mixed in with others in an article of things to see and do in California.  It took me a few seconds to realize that it was one of mine.  Although no credit was given to me specifically, it did mention IStockImages as the source (another drawback to micro-stock and a pet-peeve of mine).  Had I not been on a Southwest flight this May and read through the magazine, I never would have known of its usage.  IStock does not provide contributors any details of who or how their images are used due to privacy agreements. It was a very well done article by Kristin Luna, and a good example of how stock photography can be used by writers and publishers.  You can read the full article online at: http://www.camelsandchocolate.com/2011/05/spirit-of-california/

My image is of Yosemite Valley in the lower left of page 162 and can be seen in more detail below. I have been a contributor to IStockPhoto.com for several years now.  However, I only have a few dozen images uploaded as I just haven't had the time to prepare, upload, keyword and be approved for each image.  It is not unusual to have a large percentage rejected for various reasons, which can be frustrating and time wasting.  Even so, revenue trickles in at a steady rate, 24-7.  Given a thousand or more desirable images on one or more micro-stock sites and you could potentially have a nice revenue stream each year. If you are interested in learning more about the business of Stock Photography, I highly recommend taking a workshop by David H Wells.  You can find out more about the subject and Mr. Wells at: http://thewellspoint.com/ .

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General Photography https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/6/Stock-Photography Sun, 05 Jun 2011 02:29:00 GMT
Photoshop Dodge and Burn Series, Tip #1 https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/5/Photoshop-Dodge-and-Burn-Series-Tip-1 One of the reasons I wanted to start a photography blog was to share with family, friends and others, some of the techniques I've learned in photography and photoshop to take their pictures from ordinary to extraordinary; or at least salvage an otherwise important image (every time we press the shutter is important, right?). This series is about Dodging and Burning. I'll start out with basic techniques and get progressively more sophisticated with each tip.  That is not to say that a more elaborate technique is always better than a more basic one. That depends on the image. In order not to get to bogged down, I will assume you know at least a little bit about Adobe Photoshop and the use of layers. Basically, to Dodge something is to lighten it., and to Burn something is to darken it.  Dodging and burning go all the way back to the chemical dark room days and was used during the printing process to manipulate the exposure of selected areas.  Today, we have similar techniques at our command within the digital darkroom of photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop. In my opinion, it is always best to control lighting (or take advantage of natural lighting) during the capture process.  I whole heartedly recommend the use of filters.  For example, the use of a graduated neutral density filter to darken a bright sky above a darker landscape.  Even if Photoshop can improve the captured image, getting the best image possible during the capture, will always produce better final results.

Having said that, let's move on to Tip #1 for Photoshop Dodge and Burn... First of all, forget about the actual Dodge & Burn tool in Photoshop.  There are only few occasions when I actually use this tool.  It has its uses, but for most part, we can get better results with other simple techniques.  I have included a couple of images below to demonstrate Tip #1.  The first image shows a classic problem with shooting the interior of a room on a bright day.  The window, and the area just inside are too bright, so we need to Burn it down.  The area to right is too dark by comparison, so we need to Dodge it some. First, click on the lasso tool and quickly (no need to be precise) draw around the bright area of the image.  Next, from the menu bar, click Select, and Modify, then Feather.  Enter the maximum value of 250 pixels.  This feathers and smooths out the marching ant selection as seen to the left. Next, select the Levels tool and move the center arrow to the right until you have lowered the brightness to the desired amount.  Be careful not to go overboard so as to make the image look unnatural.  If you know Levels or Curves, there are additional adjustments we can make here to dial in even better results. Now repeat the same steps above on the right side of the image, this time move the center arrow in Levels to the left to brighten (Dodge) the selected area.  I repeated this one more time around the fireplace with a smaller selection and this time a feather value of only 120 pixels.  Although 250 pixels is the maximum value you can enter in this dialog, with the selection still active you can select/modify/feather the same selection again with up to another 250 pixels.  Generally, I find once at 250 is sufficient. If there are surrounding areas that have some undesirable darkening (or brightness) you can paint out the effect on that layer, as I did around the door and window frame. Here are the final results.  Although additional off camera lighting would have been best for this shot, a little work in Photoshop can go a long way in salvaging or enhancing an otherwise important image. This was the very first Dodge & Burn technique I learned.  I have to give credit to Tom Pappas of Calumet Escondido for sharing this with me several years ago.  It's quick, basic, hard to mess up and therefore remains a useful and frequently used tool in my digital toolbox. Next time, I'll go into a simple Dodge and Burn technique for what is sometimes called "Painting with Light."  

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Photoshop https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/5/Photoshop-Dodge-and-Burn-Series-Tip-1 Thu, 12 May 2011 02:28:00 GMT
34th Annual Arts & Crafts Fair this weekend https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/5/34th-Annual-Arts-Crafts-Fair-this-weekend If you are in the San Diego area this Mother's Day Weekend, May 7th & 8th come visit the 34th Annual Spring Arts & Crafts Fair at the Bernardo Winery, from 10am to 4pm.  There will be lots of food, drink, entertainment and over a hundred artist & craft vendors, including yours truly. I will be displaying and selling my fine art photography along with a few other photographers.  There will also be painters, glass blowers, sculptors and many others. I'll have several new pieces on display, in a variety of sizes and budgets, including some canvas prints.  This year, I'm not in the Gazebo as in past years.  You should find me somewhere out on the back lawn.  For more details and directions, visit: http://bernardowinery.com/

 

Update: The show went well.  I got to visit with past and new customers, as well as other show vendors.  Lots of great comments and feedback.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Art General Show https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/5/34th-Annual-Arts-Crafts-Fair-this-weekend Fri, 06 May 2011 02:25:00 GMT
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/4/Grand-Staircase-Escalante-National-Monument

Inspired by a photo in the May 2011 issue of Outdoor Photographer magazine by Michael Frye, I traveled 500 miles out of my way to eastern Utah from California on a Easter vacation trip to visit family and friends in Arizona. My intended destination was to Lower Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. After arriving at the trail head it is a moderate 3 mile hike to the falls.  Once there, you are rewarded with a shady, refreshing place in which to relax and cool off from the hike.  The water is still too cold in the Spring months to venture in.  However, in the Summer, where the temperatures can exceed three digits, the shallow pool at the base of the falls would be a welcome treat. I spent a couple of hours at the falls photographing the scene from a variety of angles, using different shutter speeds, apertures, white balance settings and filters. I've yet to study the results of all the different settings and filters.  In addition to using a polarizer, I also tried an 8 stop B+W neutral density filter I carry for long shutter speeds, mainly for the purpose of blurring running water.  The falls flow is fast enough that little difference is discernible using a shutter speed much longer than 1 second. Normally, I shoot with a Cloudy White Balance in shaded areas like this one.  However, I found it was warming the image too much and overwhelming the beautiful greens and blues present in the moss.  I really like the combination of complementary cool and warm colors in the same image.  In the final analysis for this location, I preferred the results of a White Balance setting of Sun or Auto.   In post production I followed up with some Photoshop Curve adjustments to strengthen the contrast and colors. Since I usually shoot in RAW, changing my mind about what white balance to use is easily done in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw). If you are ever in south eastern Utah, I highly recommend a visit to Lover Calf Creek Falls.  

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Landscapes Photography South West https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/4/Grand-Staircase-Escalante-National-Monument Fri, 29 Apr 2011 02:23:00 GMT
San Diego County Fair https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/4/San-Diego-County-Fair The deadline is approaching for submitting images to this year's 2011 San Diego County Fair Photography Competition and I'm having a hard time deciding which images and how many to submit. Last year, I only submitted one image and I knew it was my best available. This year it's tougher to decide. Last year this image won 1st place for Color Scenic (Landscapes) class.  Since this category has the largest number of submissions, this year the color landscapes division has been expanded into four classes: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. The judging process is considerable.  David Poller made an interesting video last year of the process.  Check out the video below.

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dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All General https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/4/San-Diego-County-Fair Sun, 17 Apr 2011 02:20:00 GMT
April 2011, Week 2 https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/4/April-2011-Week-2
The number of real estate virtual tours are up considerably, unfortunately the number of sale closings haven't improved.  I sometimes do some twilight shots of homes for sale.  Here is one I did a couple of weeks ago in North San Diego County. The last several weeks have been very busy.  A lot more work is needed on this blog site and I need to get images submitted to the San Diego Country Fair, as well as the Gallery 21 Fall Show at Spanish Village (in Balboa Park). I also need to start getting ready for the Bernardo Winery's Annual Spring Artist Show.  This year you'll find me out on the lawn instead of under the gazebo.     ]]>
dwlenhert@gmail.com (David Lenhert Photography) All Architecture Twilight https://www.davidlenhert.com/blog/2011/4/April-2011-Week-2 Fri, 15 Apr 2011 09:46:59 GMT