Charming New Harmony, Indiana: Photos

Click on the Oakleaf hydrangeas to see this fall color in a larger size.

We spent Friday and most of Saturday in the charming Southern Indiana town of New Harmony. It is a beautiful town, filled with historic buildings and homes. New Harmony is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, a history going back to the Utopian philosophy dreams and plans of Robert Owens. We were treated royally at the New Harmony Inn, and we dined in style at the Red Geranium. If you plan your own trip to New Harmony (and I urge you to consider doing so), these two locations are great starting points. We had a great time, and we came home with some promising images.

Yesterday was our church’s annual Trunk ‘n Treat for the kids, preceded by an all-congregation chili supper. It has been a busy couple of days, and the photo processing had to take a back seat to our other activities. But I did have time to process one, one that caught my eye both out in the field and when I got home. I don’t say this too often – but I really like this one. Others will follow; they have some possibilities. But I thought this one showed off New Harmony’s fall colors perfectly.

Click on the image at the top of the post to see it in a larger size (this thumbnail doesn’t do New Harmony justice). And come back to see more images as we catch up on our chores around the house. It’s Monday for all of us … welcome back.

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Free Halloween Textures. Two Glyn Dewis Videos: How To Make Snow.

Check out the good folks at Shadowhouse Creations for this FREE set of papers.

Halloween is fast approaching. Maybe you have a project in mind; maybe you just on-the-edge textures. In either case, the good folks over at Shadowhouse Creations have some most interesting paper patterns for you … for FREE! They look cool, no matter if you have a current project in mind or not. I have used textures and brushes from this site in the past; they uniformly have been high quality. They don’t take up much room, and they just might be what you are looking for sometime down the road.

Click here to visit Shadowhouse Creations and download this FREE set of papers. At least check them out; they are guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.

Then I urge you to watch a couple of recent videos from one of my favorite retouchers, Glyn Dewis. He is generous and talented and quite the effective instructor. And my dear friend Bill Fortney had a chance to hang out a bit with Glyn at this year’s Photoshop World. Bill assures me Glyn also is very fine man. ‘Nuff said.

How cool is that, friends? I live in what can be snowy and cold Indiana; many of you don’t have that pleasure (you are stuck in those always-sunny places like California or Florida). This video may be just the ticket for creating the look you need in a season that doesn’t really exist. Thank you, Glyn!

And then one other real gem from Glyn. I do a fair amount of compositing, and I always struggle with trying to get my subject to look natural in a new environment. Glyn has a technique for creating a dust effect when you are blending your subject into an uneven surface, a place where some dust or smoke might be kicked up. I don’t know how he comes up with these techniques, but he regularly does. And he is generous enough to share them with us. Check this one out.

Is Glyn good, or what? And generous to boot. Okay, that should keep all of us busy for the coming weekend. And if not with camera in hand, at least with Photoshop in mind. See you back here Monday.

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His Light Brown County: Model A Photos

Click on the Model A to see a few more photos.

My good friend Chris Easton brought his beautiful Model A Ford over to Story while we were there shooting. It fit perfectly into the fall scene, looking as if we all had been transported magically back in time. Everyone enjoyed taking photos of the car parked in several different positions near the inn. We gave Chris the best of what everyone shot; he was most appreciative … almost as appreciative as we were for his generosity in meeting with us.

I have a couple of more photos today from Camp Palawopec, the last of what I shot there last week. And I have just a few images of Chris’ Ford. I hope you enjoy them even a small bit as much as I enjoyed spending time in Story and shooting this fantastic car. Just click on the car at the top of this post to see them. Or you always can just click here.

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His Light Brown County: Color Photos

Kelley Hill barn
Click on this quintessential Hoosier barn to see a few more colorful images.

I didn’t shoot very much during last week’s His Light workshop. Our His Light family members deserved to see the best we had to offer in Brown County, and we were busy making sure they did. And I was having such a great time making new friends and catching up with old ones that the shooting just wasn’t a priority. It was a great time.

But I did take a few shots, mostly those that had so much color in them that they were hard to ignore. Brown County just exploded in color while we were there, the most in quite a few years. My photos tend to reflect that fact; the color you see is the color we saw.

Click on the image of the quintessential red barn to see the images I took. And plan on a Brown County visit of your own sometime.

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His Light Brown County People: Family Photos

Bill tripod-2
Click on the photo of Bill to meet more His Light family members.

Yesterday you saw the group photo from our Brown County His Light workshop. The group is even more impressive up close and personal. They were warm and generous and kind and fun … and extremely talented as photographers. Today you can see them as individuals. And I hope that they get to meet all of you (and you, them) at a future workshop. You’ll recognize each other. You’ll be the ones with the cameras around your necks.

Click on the image of Bill at the top of this post to meet our His Light family. Or just click here.

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His Light Brown County: A Successful Workshop

BEST Group
We are home from our Brown County workshop … and what a great time it was!

What a rewarding experience we have had the past five days. Wednesday night through Sunday morning Sue and I spent most of our time with some of the warmest, most generous, most delightful photographers we have been privileged to meet. We shared prayers and laughs and meals and classroom time and field trips with those new (and in many cases, old) friends. And it was Bill Fortney, master photographer and teacher and dear friend, who was the cherry on top (now, that is a vision!). He even introduced us to another Nikon legend, the near-comparable Fred Sisson. What a great group to spend time with and learn with!

And what another great group of people we were privileged to spend time with – the many hosts we had throughout Brown County. From all those at the Abe Martin Lodge in the park to the warm owner and staff at the Story Inn to Mike and Syd Nickles at Camp Palawopec and Jan Ellis at the Convention and Visitor’s Center … thank you! And a very special thank you to my good friend, Chris Easton. He drove his Model A over to Story Thursday morning and spent time with us. He and his beautiful car made that a very special photo session. We were treated more as family than visitors throughout our stay; it was a great experience.

Now, the Lord blessed us with weather almost perfect for a photo workshop. He furnished us with a park glowing in color, a peak season that only comes around every few years. The training from Bill made each of us a better, more complete photographer. We had all we needed in the way of conditions and accommodations and locations in order to succeed. But it always is the people that make (or break) a workshop event. Our people are not just participants; they now are friends, members of our His Light family.

I didn’t shoot but a few photos last week. But I enjoyed much more than that spending time with old friends and new. I will post what I did shoot later on. But trust me … what a talented group of shooters I was with! I wish I could post some of the images they shared at the end of the week – you would want to sell your own gear (I am tempted). I think we spent the week learning from one another.

I’ve said this many times before … tune in to Bill Fortney’s website regularly; watch for a His Light workshop in your area (or in a location you have been wanting to photograph); sign up; learn; enjoy. Take a look at the handsome group at the top of this post – a family. Join us. You’ll be glad you did.

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Dancing In Brown County: A Slideshow

Wish you were going to be us in beautiful Brown County, Indiana for Bill Fortney’s His Light workshop. Brown County is a delightful place to visit no matter the time of year, but this season adds in the eye-catching colors of the changing leaves. There are rustic charms throughout the county, including the village of Nashville (a must-see destination for artists and shoppers from all over the country).

But if you can’t be with us you still can take a (very quick) look at some of the places our guests will be visiting. Just click on the image of the Bean Blossom covered bridge to take a fast tour. What’s that old postcard saying … “Wish you were here”? We wish you were.

And a big and sincere thank you to my lovely wife and to one of my best friends, Raymond Jabola, for many of the images. You make Brown County proud.

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Mastering Important Photo Skills: Bill Fortney’s New E-Books

His Light
Join Bill Fortney today for an amazing free book offer.

Regular readers probably keep up with the doings of my dear friend and mentor Bill Fortney. You already are up-to-date then with Bill’s latest achievement, his e-book series on the skills and techniques all of us need to succeed in our photographic endeavors. There is no one more qualified, no one more capable than Bill to pass on some 45 years worth of photo knowledge to the rest of us. His books cover the gamut of what we need to learn … basics like exposure and composition to the advanced functions of today’s best cameras. These books have been a long time coming; we all can celebrate their arrival.

And you regular readers also know how thoughtful and kind and generous Bill is as a man and a friend and a mentor. To kick off the opening of his e-store Bill has a special offer for all of us … a free book just for visiting his store. That’s right – free! Just for visiting and exploring the other valuable works he has to offer. Thank you, Bill!

Click here to visit the new Bill Fortney e-store. Order and download your free book by adding The 7 Steps For Taking It To The Next Level to your cart; enter the code FREE4ME in the coupon code box, and finish checking out. Voila! And while you are there be sure to examine the entire lineup of books (and how they may improve your own photography). This is a most generous offer from one of our finest photographers and instructors. Don’t neglect to order your own free book today.

Bill has promised to add to his series on a regular basis. We can look forward to more advanced subjects as time passes – and to more information gleaned from Bill’s 45+ years of photographic experience. Think of it as sort of a perpetual Christmas gift … a gift that just keeps on giving. Thank you again, Bill!

I find inspiration in Bill’s writings about photography. I find even more inspiration in his encouragement about living our faith, a faith that sustains us in this many times discouraging world of ours. Bill Fortney’s website is one to bookmark and check in with daily. You can do so here. Trust me; you will so often be glad you did.

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Ready For The 2014 His Light Brown County Workshop: Some Photos

We have our ducks in a row for Brown County. Click on them for more images.

We spent a good part of the day last Friday over in Brown County, site of an upcoming Bill Fortney His Light workshop. The colors are changing daily; the cooler nights and a bit of rain have turned on the color gene. There is change in the air; you feel it and see it wherever you go in the park and around Nashville. Warm days. Cool nights. Color. God’s creation is on display for our appreciation and His glory.

I took a few photos while we drove routes to shooting locations and finalized some details for the workshop. And we re-discovered the Farmhouse Café, a great little place for lunch on the grounds of the Flower and Herb Barn. The food is fresh and tasty; the ambiance just right for fall. And on the grounds there are flowers and plants and antiques and collectibles for the photographer in all of us (take a look at the café by clicking here). It definitely went on the list of shooting locations and eating places for our workshop. It made for one more place to show off the beauty of Brown County for all our guests.

We look forward to seeing old friends and new workshop guests quite soon. His Light shines on all of us. What’s that old postcard saying, “Wish you were here”? Wish all of you were joining us in Brown County. Life is so good.

Click here to see a few photos I took Friday, attempting to show some of what the Herb Farm offers. Or you always can click on the image at the top of this post. Welcome to Monday!

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Boost Your Fall Photo Colors: Free Matt Kloskowski Lightroom Presets

We are putting the finishing touches on Bill Fortney’s His Light Brown County workshop. The leaves are turning; fall definitely has arrived in Indiana. That put me in mind of shooting fall landscapes, especially those colorful leaves. And shooting them means processing them. So, I was heartened to find out I wasn’t the only one thinking in that direction. My friend Matt Kloskowski, one of the original Photoshop Guys, also turned his attention to fall shooting (brushing up on things we have talked about in the past but don’t use every day). Great minds and all that …. (lol).

I will give you links to a couple of Matt articles. One is brushing up on shooting fall foliage, exactly what we will be doing soon in beautiful Brown County. The other is a freebie – FREE Lightroom presets for processing that same fall landscape. First the article – 7 Tips for Gorgeous Photos This Season (click here for that link). There is some very good advice contained in a quite short article. It never hurts to do a quick refresher before heading out for a shoot. The other link (click here) is for the three FREE presets. They very likely will give you a nice start to your leafy fall shots when processing in Lightroom; you add the finishing touches and Voila!

The fall season is upon us. Brush up on your landscape shooting and head out the door this weekend. Camera in hand. And … thank you, Matt.

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Valuable Lindsay Adler Posing Guide: Half Price

Adler guide
PhotoWhoa and Lindsay Adler have teamed up with a valuable deal for you (and me).

You have 24 days from today (until the end of October) to take advantage of a real-deal deal on posing couples from one of my favorite fashion shooters, Lindsay Adler. Cut to the chase – Lindsay sells this downloadable guide on her website for $30 ($29.99). PhotoWhoa, a website I have recommended in the past, is offering the guide for half that price. Half! That is a deal, folks, a really good deal.

Click here to visit PhotoWhoa and read more details on Lindsay Adler and this product. The guide is downloadable to your computer and/or to your iPad. You can carry it with you to your next shoot and never be without proven poses to make your couple look their best. I recently took advantage of a similar offer from PhotoWhoa to purchase an Adler guide to fashion poses. I know that those poses, fashion shoot or not, will make my subject look her best (that offer, unfortunately, has ended. Sorry). This current guide, advertised for posing bridal couples, will also work on any other couple. Our goal is to pose couples; if you can pose brides and grooms you can pose anyone (just like if you can shoot weddings you literally can shoot anything else). Lindsay knows her stuff. Now you can know it, too.

I have the fashion posing guide, and I also now own the bridal couple posing guide. I can look up a pose for my couple in the field on my iPad and direct them just the way I need to. If I want or need to, I could even show the couple the pose on my iPad so they see exactly the look we are after. I can do the same thing with the fashion guide, posing individuals. How neat (and convenient) is that! The guides also include lighting diagrams and camera settings. Even more handy when you need a bit of a refresher or some bit of assistance while out in the field. And all for $15 (each).

Ever find yourself on a shoot and feeling a bit nervous because you have run out of ideas? Ever find yourself searching for that next pose or look? These guides will fill in the gaps for you. And if you are not familiar with Lindsay’s work, just take a quick look at her website (use this link). She is featured on quite a few teaching videos on KelbyOne. She shoots for all the big fashion magazines. She is a recognized leader in the fashion field. Her guides pass on all the knowledge she has developed to the rest of us. This is not fly-by-night deal; it is a valuable resource for any of us who shoot people.

I am pleased with both my purchases (I’m sorry you missed the fashion posing deal). PhotoWhoa is legitimate and reliable (your download is available upon checking out). If you don’t have a PhotoWhoa account you can sign up for free. They send out offers a few times a month. No twisting of arms or hard sell – if you want the deal, you place an order (don’t want the deal? Just ignore it). In fact, after I was able to purchase the fashion guide at a discount I made sure to wait when I saw Lindsay had a new couples guide published. I thought PhotoWhoa might make it available cheaper … and they did.

As I said at the beginning today, this is a real-deal deal. It is valuable, useful and bargain-priced. If you shoot people, I highly recommend it to you. Thank you, Lindsay Adler. Thank you, PhotoWhoa.

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Reviewing A Mike Moats Macro Workshop

Tiny skiers, watch faces, flower petals … must be a Mike Moats workshop.

Pretty easy job for me today – reviewing the Mike Moats macro workshop we attended over the weekend. It’s easy because the event was so informative and Mike such a fine instructor. There truly was nothing to dislike or complain about (well, maybe the fact that I need a whole lot of practice at shooting macros). If you are at all interested in macro photography, don’t hesitate to find a Mike Moats workshop and sign yourself up.

First of all, Mike. He is extremely knowledgeable. His photography has been recognized as outstanding and award-winning for years. He knows his subject inside and out. And the most important part (to all us students) is that he is equally adept at passing that knowledge on to others. You probably have had an experience or two in your own photo journey with instructors who just aren’t as good at teaching as in shooting. We end up admiring their images for two or three days, but struggling to get the information needed to do the same ourselves. Mike is calm and easy-going in manner, gentle and humble. He is most likeable and fun to spend time with. His presentations are to-the-point and effective at telling you what you need to know and do to get the shots you are after. And he was that way each of the three days we were with him – no ‘off’ days or times. He has the instructor touch.

The workshop is very well organized. The material flows smoothly from the basics of equipment needed to the techniques required to resources for further study to hands-on practice. You could tell Mike had his material down pat, without it ever seeming rote or tiresome for him to pass it on to us. There was an incredible variety of subjects available to us for shooting. Tables were set up around the room, giving us plenty of room to spread out and shoot without being crowded or disturbing one another. And Mike always was available to give personal attention to each shooter, approaching us individually to check on our set-ups and our progress (without being intrusive). He found just the right balance of attention and independence to make each of us feel comfortable. There was plenty of time for taking notes, and there was a CD available (at a reasonable price) for those who wanted to take all the lecture sessions home with them. It’s easy to learn at a workshop this organized.

As I said, Mike is an award-winning macro/close-up photographer. His work has been featured in countless publications and media sites. He is good, folks. But he is the first to tell you that his success rate for great macros is low (maybe 1% or so). He shows you what he shoots with, and it is not the most expensive and latest of all kinds of gear. He finds inspiration and opportunity in everyday places and subjects. What I am saying here is that he is just like you and me when it comes to buying stuff and going places and trials and tribulations. He becomes inspiring when he explains all that and goes on to demonstrate that we, too, can make great images. You find it easy to relate to what he does and how he does it. That is the hallmark of a very fine instructor and a very good workshop (just keep in mind that not all of us are blessed with what I like to call an artistic eye. I can attest to the fact that Mike Moats has been blessed with that quality).

Then there is the question of cost. If you give photo workshops from well-known instructors even a cursory look online you will discover that they are not cheap. In fact, most of them are pretty pricey. We paid only $199 for three days with Mike, a bargain for what he presented and what we learned. And he didn’t keep the price low by filling a room with a hundred or so attendees. There were only 20 of us, and the space was plenty large for all our shooting. And the number was low enough for Mike to spend ample time with each of us, assisting in setting up shots and answering questions of all kinds. This is a most reasonable price for this workshop.

I mentioned that Mike doesn’t shoot with the latest and most expensive of gear (camera, tripod, accessories). He has the equipment he needs to get the job done – and done well. For anyone who needs that (relatively) inexpensive gear, Mike brings along a selection of items you can purchase and use during the workshop. And before you start thinking “Aha! I knew there was a catch.”, this is the age of the internet. I saw lots of people checking the prices Mike had versus what could be found online. And then they went ahead and bought things during the workshop, because he wasn’t trying to gouge anyone on what he was selling. In fact, Sue bought a(nother) tripod and ballhead while we were there. And I am not one to spend more money than I have to on items. Don’t buy more than you need to get the job done, but do buy the equipment that you need.

We got to know many of the others at the workshop. So you have the benefit of their opinions about Mike and the workshop, also. I did not hear anything but praise for the material and the instruction. People were learning exactly what they hoped to when they signed up. You know that old saying that there is always one in every crowd? Not in this crowd. People were really pleased with our time with Mike. That is another indicator of a really good workshop.

Whenever I do a review I try to find something that you might be concerned about if you bought the same gear or went to the same event. I don’t take any ads or receive compensation for any reviews. I don’t owe anyone anything, except to be fair and honest. I just don’t have any downside to tell you about in this case (not that I wish I did). It was a great experience, a valuable learning experience. Even if you are not a full-time, dedicated macro/close-up shooter there is a ton of good information on composition and viewer psychology that will make you a better photographer. This is a workshop that every shooter could benefit from. Yes, it was that good.

Thank you, Mike Moats. This was a fine, fine workshop put on by a very fine man. For a most reasonable price. You don’t find that often enough in this photographic world of ours. If you ever get a chance to attend one of Mike’s events, don’t hesitate. You’ll be glad you did.

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Photos From A Mike Moats Macro Workshop

Moats macro
Click on this close-up image to see other shots from our Mike Moats workshop.

Sue and I and other friends from the Bloomington Photo Club attended a Mike Moats macro/close-up workshop this past Friday through Sunday. I will have a lot more to say about the experience very shortly. But let me just say today that if you have a chance to study with Mike for a couple of days, grab it. He is much like my dear friend Bill Fortney – warm, kind, humble, talented and an incredible instructor. And a very fine man, to boot. The workshop was a major success (based on the information we were given and the hands-on instruction we received). I am posting some images from Sunday; don’t blame Mike or judge him for the quality or composition of those photos.

We were given plenty of time to set up images and practice techniques as part of the workshop. Mike was there to offer advice and instruction to all of us, instruction that reinforced our classroom lecture time. I learned a great deal; all the other BPC members there agreed that they did, also. As I say, more to come on that soon.

To see what I came up with Sunday, click here (my original, Saturday photos are destined never to see the light of day). Or you can always click on the image at the top of this post. It was a really good weekend, one spent with camera in hand.

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Fuji Long Eyecup For X-T1: Installed And Improved

Fuji eyecup

The Fuji replacement eyecup just may make you a better shooter with your X-T1.

Yesterday Adorama sent us two Fuji eyecups for the X-T1. We had been waiting for a bit, as this item was slow in being released to the public and sold out originally as soon as it hit the shelves. We got in on the second round of shipments. As far as I can tell there are plenty in stock now at B&H, Adorama and Amazon. All cost the same ($14.99 each), and there are no free shipping deals I can find (unless you combine this item with some other things you need). But the eyecup is a welcome addition to my camera and my style of shooting.

The eyecup is made of pretty soft rubber; not as soft as the Hoodman line (if you are familiar with their hoodcups), but softer than the original eyecup that ships with the X-T1. When not on a tripod I tend to press my cameras hard against my face to get as steady a hold as possible. I have the Hoodman models on my DLSRs; until now the Fuji could leave a sore spot just above my eye after a day of extended shooting. This new eyecup will cure that. I also find that the softer rubber makes shooting with my glasses on just a bit more comfortable. I always am leery of pressing the original eyepieces hard against my lenses. This new eyecup is smaller than the Hoodman models, but the X-T1 is smaller than my DLSR, also. This one is a good fit for the mirrorless X-T1.

And speaking of fit, installing the eyecup is a no-brainer. Fuji sends a drawing of how to do the installation – you won’t need it. Use both thumbs to gently press upward on the original eyepiece from the bottom corners. The piece will lift straight off. Then just position the new eyecup directly over the viewfinder opening and exert downward pressure with both thumbs. The eyecup will slide right into place, and that is that.

This is a small accessory that you wouldn’t think would matter much to a small, lightweight camera like the X-T1. Trust me, you still want to get a steady grip on your camera to get the sharpest image possible. This eyecup will allow you to do just that more comfortably – especially during an extended shooting session. For $15 you can’t go wrong. And you really don’t change the look of your camera at all; this eyecup blends right in. If you didn’t know you had installed it, you never would notice the change.

Now, if you don’t own a Fuji X-T1 you can pay no attention to my advice. But if you do – and an awful lot of you do – seriously consider one of these eyecups for yourself. Comfort is important while shooting, and I believe you will make yourself more comfortable with it installed. And if you can hold the camera just a bit tighter to your face when shooting you may just find yourself getting consistently sharper photos. This little add-on makes both possible.

That’s it for this week. The weekend (and a Mike Moats macro workshop) are upon us. Enjoy the beginning of the fall season. Camera in hand.

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onOne Perfect Photo Suite 9: Getting A Lot Closer To Photoshop

onOne 9

onOne is at it again. Check out what they can do in version 9.

I’ve recommended you check out onOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite lineup several times in the past. I’ve owned and used it since version 6 (this month’s release will be version 9). And I gotta tell you one more time … they are getting closer and closer to Photoshop. For everyone who objects to Adobe’s subscription requirements? Perfect Photo Suite 9 just might be your way out from under the Adobe thumb.

I watched a couple of short YouTube tutorials yesterday from onOne. And one of them really caught my eye – the new Lens Flare filter. It really changed the look of the demonstration image, easily and convincingly. Now, I know the software companies make sure they find just the right photos on which to demonstrate their products. But this one is cool. Period. Cool enough to justify a purchase (given all the other included modules and features)? I won’t spoil your conclusion. But it is worth checking out. And you can do so right here:

How cool was that? Cool enough to imagine using on your own photos? I easily can imagine what it might do with mine.

And then there was one on compositing, layers that made me think I was setting up in Photoshop. That’s why I am saying that onOne is getting mighty close to doing all the things we usually do in Photoshop. Think onOne and Lightroom together … Adobe better be paying attention. Take a look at this video on compositing:

Look familiar, all you Photoshop fans?

I’m not an onOne salesman. And I receive nothing if you ever decide to buy a copy. In fact, I haven’t pre-ordered a copy of version 9 for myself … yet. But I am paying close attention to what they are doing. How about we do it together?

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