My Blog

Fall is About Renewal

LeavesNot quite what you expected?  In the northern hemisphere, Fall is typically about shutting down, about returning to routines that don’t include time at a vacation home or sunlit walks in shorts and a floppy hat.  We begin to cocoon, bringing in our lives indoors, at least more so when it gets dark 4 hours earlier.

But Fall is also about renewal of the craft of photography.  Myriad trade shows, new gear releases, new software releases – everything to tantalize the tastebuds for next season.  I’m less caught up in this than I used to be, but still find some of the new developments fascinating. Continue reading “Fall is About Renewal”

Finding Beauty Where You Live

CompassMany of my generation are travellers.  We have done our bit for job, country and family, and now have the time and the funds to see the world.  Many of us travel to exotic locations, with cultures not remotely similar to ours, to experience all that human civilization has to offer.  I’ve seriously considered joining my friends, especially where the destination offers some unique photography.  But I’ve also come to realize that much of the beauty of life can be experienced right here, in the country where I live, Canada.

Canada is a huge country, with so many diverse environments, providing so many different ways of life.  It has absolutely amazing landscapes, which are routinely explored by residents and visitors alike.  I’ve decided that until I fully explore what’s in my own backyard, travel outside the country will probably be limited.  So here are a few tips on how to get the best out of your local explorations.

Continue reading “Finding Beauty Where You Live”

Photography is a State of Mind

Lake Traverse

I went on a photography retreat a week ago, in a location I had never been to before, with amazing natural features and unique architectural/cultural features as well.  It should have been heaven for me.  In many ways it was, with the most mind blowing feature being the ability to see the night sky without interference from city light pollution.

But I discovered that when some things are not what you expect, or not particularly pleasant, they can affect your entire outlook on an otherwise “stellar” experience.  I didn’t appreciate just how much emotion factors into my photography. Continue reading “Photography is a State of Mind”

Critiquing Photo Critiques

One of the best ways to improve your photography (other than by shooting lots) is to objectively examine your work and let others do so too.

audienceIt seems there are as many ways as there are people to deliver a critique for an image.  Some concentrate on the technical, supposedly objective, aspects that anyone can see; some on the storyline; some on the overall presentation.  Feedback can range from how the image makes the viewer feel, right through to steps to “fix” it.

This post gives you my take on critiques.  It’s my opinion.  My critique of critiques. Continue reading “Critiquing Photo Critiques”

Blend Modes – Learning to Love Them

No matter what editing software you use today, it will likely include layers, masking and blend modes (also known as blending modes).  Everybody’s doing it now – Photoshop and Lightroom, of course, but also ON1, Luminar, Topaz, etc.

orange-translate-buttonAnd the more software that includes blend modes, the more frustrated I get at their lack of ability to explain in plain English exactly what they are.  I’ve read countless blogs, gone to workshops partly to understand them, watched countless YouTube videos looking to make sense of them, and more often than not, the recommendation of the instructor is simply to try them and see what happens.  My brain needs more.  I want to be able to explain them.  This post will try to do that.

Before you run screaming from the room, I’m not going to give you the item by item breakdown of all of the blend modes available in any software.  My intent is to help you understand what a blend mode does generally and how to make a choice among the ones you have available in your software. Continue reading “Blend Modes – Learning to Love Them”

How Important are Megapixels?

Whenever I look at a new camera (purely for interest these days), the first stat I normally read is the megapixel count.  There seems to be a lot riding on this one number, as though it somehow conveys the quality of the images you will obtain and the performance of the camera in different conditions.  We’re also taught generally that bigger is better.

Sony

Sony recently announced its 61 megapixel flagship.  61 megapixels is surely “better” than the 24 megapixels of my Fuji or the 20 megapixels of my aging but trusty Canon.  On all counts, nothing could be further from the truth.  Here’s why. Continue reading “How Important are Megapixels?”

The Changing Face of Photo Editing

A bit late with this post.  It is summer, after all, here in Canada.

A couple of new announcements in July caught my attention because I use both products but also because they are clear examples of the changing face of photo editing.

Attention - Hot NewsSkylum announced the upcoming release of Luminar 4, scheduled for sometime in the fall.  Originally released in 2017, the company and the product have gone through some interesting evolutions.

Topaz Labs released the next version of its Studio software, completely redesigning the interface, and redefining its associated pricing model.

Both products are standalone photo editors.  Both products also provide plugin options for Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.  But that’s not what makes them interesting. Continue reading “The Changing Face of Photo Editing”