The Path You Choose Is Your Own.
The Path You Choose Is Your Own.
About a month ago the good people at Sleeklens asked me if I would be interested in trying out some of their workflow products for Lightroom and Photoshop. I figured anything that could speed up my workflow was worth trying, so I agreed to take a look at their Through the Woods collection of presets and adjustment brushes.
Due to the hectic Holiday Season being upon us this is just a brief overview and my initial impressions. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review.
First a few words of disclosure. I am not in any way affiliated with, nor do I receive any monetary gain from using/reviewing/promoting their products, however I was provided the Through The Woods workflow bundle free of charge.
The Through the Woods bundle consists of 50 landscape presets and 30 adjustment brushes that can greatly speed your image enhancement workflow.
The presets are divided into 7 separate categories, All-In-One, Base, Exposure, Color Correct, Tone/Tint, Polish, and Vignette. The majority of the presets are stackable, allowing you to globally add effects to your photos.
The 30 adjustment brushes ranging from Add Golden Sun to Darken Shadows can be used to further enhance your images in a more selective fashion by controlling the size and opacity.
Below are a few before and after images, none of which took more than a few minutes to go from the straight out of camera before to the finished after.
Even though I haven’t had a chance to really dig into these presets and brushes, so far I’m impressed with the results I was able to get with just a few clicks and a few brush strokes.
For more information on the workflow products offered by Sleeklens you can visit them at the following links.
Through the Woods Workflow This is the one I used for the above images.
Lightroom Presets Here you’ll find a complete collection of the workflow products offered by Sleeklens.
Image Editing Service If you’re too busy to enhance your own photos, or maybe you’ve got a photo you’re having a problem with, let the experts at Sleeklens handle the task for you with their image editing service.
As with any other Lightroom presets the presets offered by Sleeklens don’t all work perfectly on every image. Once applied you may need to go to the adjustment panel and play around with the sliders a bit in order the fine tune the preset to each individual image.
Are they worth it? To that I answer your question with a question, what is less time behind the computer worth to you? The Through the Woods collection sells for $39, and based on the time I can see the presets saving me is quite a deal.
For this week the Weekly Photo Challenge theme is good old H2O. As a landscape photographer water is the prevailing theme in many of my photographs. When looking through my photos trying to decide which photos to include in this post it appears that roughly three quarters of my photos contain water in one form or another.
Here are a few wet examples, followed by a few tips for making your own watery photos.
1 ~ First and foremost, use a good quality circular polarizing filter, or CPL. If you only ever buy one filter make sure the CPL is it. It’s the one filter that cannot be duplicated digitally. They’re great for reducing or eliminating unwanted glare and reflections from wet rocks, leaves, and the surface of the water, thus allowing you to see through the surface of the water to what’s on the bottom.
2 ~ Don’t be afraid of a little rain. Most camera, whether they are listed as “weather sealed” or not are quite capable of withstanding a sprinkle or two. I always carry a small pack towel in my camera bag on the days I venture out when theres wain in the forecast.
Speaking of towels, dab don’t wipe the water off of your camera. Wiping could force the water into places that won’t make the camera happy.
3 ~ If it’s raining out use a lens hood to help keep raindrops from landing on the front element of your lens. Even when using a lens hood you should check the front element often and carry a clean microfiber lens cloth to wipe away any raindrops.
4 ~ When photographing water in its frozen form be sure to acclimate your camera slowly when you bring it inside after being out in the cold. The condensation that can form on, even worse in your camera again won’t make your camera very happy. I use two methods to deal with this. One is to put your camera in a large ziplock bag. Force as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing it. This way condensation will form on the outside of the bag, not your camera. The second is to simply put your camera in your camera bag and close it up, this is the method I use most. The padding on the camera bags act as insulation allowing the camera to slowly acclimate. Of course take your memory card out before hand so you do’t have to wait to upload your masterpieces.
Note: Tip #4 also applies to taking your camera from an air conditioned space out into hot humid weather.
You’ve bought a new camera, spent a boat-load of money on it too. You’ve studied every last thing you can find on how to use it. You can change camera settings like ISO, shutter speed, and aperture pretty much blindfolded. You’re a master of your new toy.
However your photos are still missing something. Ok, lets be honest, they’re boring.
Here’s my super secret tip that is guaranteed to take your photos from Ho-Hum to Oh My!
It’s so simple you’ll wonder why you never thought of it.
Are you ready for it?
It really is that simple.
You know your camera inside and out, you have at least a basic idea of how to compose a decent photo, so what else is missing?
The right light. Dramatic weather. Both at the same time! These are the things that can add greatly to the quality and impact of your photos.
This means being on the seacoast for sunrise at least 30-45 minutes prior to actual sunrise. So sleep becomes a casualty in your pursuit of great photos. No more showing up at 9 a.m. to that scene you’ve seen in so many photos and wondering why your photos don’t even come close.
It means long early morning hikes in the dark so you can be on that mountain top for sunrise or equally long and dark hikes down after sunset. Better get a good headlamp. Make that two, just in case.
It also means freezing your butt off and often coming away with nothing because the forecast was way wrong. It means getting rained on because you gambled, and lost, on the sun coming up before the approaching storm clouds reached the horizon to block it out. You will get blown by high winds. You will suffer.
And when you make that amazing dramatic photograph, you’ll forget all of that. You’ll only remember the light, the drama, the magic.
Somewhere right at this moment Mother Nature is putting on a show, are you missing it?
Due to last years overwhelming demand I will be leading two Fall Foliage Workshops this year in the beautiful picturesque White Mountains of New Hampshire, home of some of the most spectacular scenery and “leaf peeping” to be found anywhere.
This year the workshops will be held the weekend of September 30th – October 2nd and again the following weekend, October 7th – 9th.
During each of these 2+ day workshops we will travel the White Mountains and north country of New Hampshire in search of the best fall color and scenic views. From waterfalls bordered by the reds, yellows, and golds of a New Hampshire autumn, to scenic mountain vistas overlooking remote mountain ponds, you’re sure to come away with many colorful autumn images.
Friday evening there is a short meet and greet and if time allows we’ll get out and get some photos! But not too late as we will have two very full days of photography ahead of us on Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday morning we will start out before sunrise in order to capture the best morning light. After each mornings shoot we will return to the White Mountain Hostel were we will have an image review and post processing session, going over the mornings photos. After the image review session there will be a couple of hour mid day break to relax, recharge, and get a bite to eat. Then we will meet at the prescribed time for the afternoon/evenings shoot.
After a good nights rest, we will do it all over again on Sunday.
Transportation throughout the White Mountain area for the duration of the workshop, where I will take you to some of the most popular, with good reason, White Mountain locations, as well as many off the beaten path “secret” places.
Tips, tricks, and techniques for capturing beautiful fall foliage images. Workshops are kept small with no more than 3 participants so I’m able to provide the best and most personal instruction possible.
Daily post-processing/image review session.
Transportation to the North Conway, NH area.
Meals and lodging. For lodging I highly recommend the White Mountain Hostel in Conway for its clean rooms(several of them private), friendly staff, and extremely budget friendly rates. For those not interested in the “Hostel experience,” there are numerous lodging options in the North Conway area. I do recommend booking your lodging early as rooms fill up quickly, especially during the second workshop weekend which falls on the Columbus Day holiday weekend.
The cost for these 2+ day workshops is $725.
For more information, cancellation policy, or to reserve your spot use the Contact Page.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the expression about “Being in the right place at the right time.”
Recently I had an instance of being in what turned out to be the wrong place at what turned out to be the very right time.
While out on a commercial shoot for a high end landscape design company I had been given directions to a lake house on Lake Winnipesaukee here in New Hampshire. As it turns out the directions were extremely vague, the house wasn’t numbered, it was located on a small unpaved camp road, and the road I was supposed to be on was chained off at one end. Based on the description I was given, “XX number house, on such and such road. New construction, boat house, guest house,” and with a bit of searching, eventually I was pretty sure I found the place.
To make a long story short, I was partially right, the new house and boat house were part of the property. The “guest house” was not(even though the color scheme/style matched the boat house almost exactly).
As Luck would have it the view from the beach and dock at the wrong house was quite spectacular!
*Note: I do not advocate trespassing in order to get a photograph. Regardless of how spectacular the show going on over the lake was at the time, had I known I was on the wrong property at the time I would have left to look for a view from the correct property.
One of the questions I’m most often asked when it comes to photographing waterfalls is what camera settings I use, particularly what shutter speed.
And my answer is always the same, “It depends.”
It depends ~ On the look I’m going for. If I’m trying to capture the shapes and swirls created by bubble caught in an eddy, I know I’ll need a longer exposure time. The image above required 8 seconds to achieve the look I was after.
It depends ~ On how fast the water is flowing. The stronger the flow the shorter the shutter speed required to capture the silky smooth look on the water.
A few weeks ago Mossy Glen was flowing very quickly due to recent spring rains, therefor I only needed a half second exposure time when making the above photo.
It depends ~ On the amount of ambient light you’re working with. This next photo, of Middle Ammonoosuc Falls in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest, was made well after the sun had gone down. It was getting quite dark in the deep gorge the falls flows through so I knew I was going to need a very long exposure. The exposure time on this photo is 180 seconds.
So as you can see there is no one set rule I follow when deciding on what shutter speed. Generally speaking I do try for at least half a second, but if the light is right or I really want to capture bubbles or leaves swirling on the currents I’ll experiment until I’ve captured the look I want.