Digital Scouting

Want to waste less money, time, and effort in your outdoor shooting? Going places that don’t have the right views, wrong light, or the wrong angle of the light and you can wind up with sub-par shots, or missing them entirely. With this post, I will show you how to use some websites and apps to better plan location shoots, so you can better use your time and resources. Let’s take a look at the tools I used to plan this shot weeks before I actually took it. Continue reading “Digital Scouting”

Four Edit Friday 4 – Cave Point

In this episode, we work on a picture I took at Cave Point County Park, in Door County, WI. As usual, the edits are done in Capture One Pro 10.

The initial edit is a standard edit

The second edit has exaggerated color and clarity.

Black and white. This is a higher contrast edit, which I prefer for this image.

Selective reduced clarity for a soft focus effect. The picture takes on a more dreamy quality with the softer focus and muted colors.

Which do you prefer? I think on this one I like the second photo. I would probably not use the soft focus effect much, but it is something interesting to play with.

Which do you prefer, or what would you have done differently? Please leave a comment below.

Four Edit Friday 3 – Bridge

In this Four Edit Friday, we look at a picture of a foot bridge.

The first edit, as usual, is a fairly standard edit, mainly highlight recovery for the sky, and warming the color temperature. The photo is also cropped to 4×5, because I like that aspect ratio, and think it works for this image.

The second is a black and white, adding some contrast to the previous version.

The third one is just a sepia tone of the second, with a couple small tweaks.

The last one goes back to the original crop, and has some tone curve tweaks to give it an old film look.

I think I like the black and white edits, not sure whether I prefer the straight or toned version.

Which one do you like? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Four Edit Friday 2 – Waterfall

In this Four Edit Friday we look at a photograph of a waterfall, and make 2 color and two black and while edits.

 

Edit 1, Standard Color

 

Edit 2, Standard B&W

 

Edit 3, Higher contrast B&W

 

Edit 4, a more movie color graded look, with deeper blue shadows.

Four Edit Friday 1 – Dead Flowers

This is an idea for a series of videos doing 4 edits of the same photograph.

 

Here are the final photos:

Edit 1, lower contrast and saturation
Edit 2 – Color grading
Edit 3 – Higher contrast and saturation
Edit 4 – Black and White

Which do you like, or how would you have edited it differently? Please leave a comment below.

Do you like this format for videos? Would you like to see more?

Life Lessons From a Photograph

Looking at a photograph from a recent trip, I realized something. The photograph shows the Lake Michigan shoreline, and looks very peaceful. As is often the case, looks can be deceiving, as the waves were crashing to the point that I was getting splashed regularly standing 10-15 feet above the water. But a 2 minute exposure smoothed the waves to the point that they look like little more than haze around the base of the cliffs. As big as any wave was, it made only a faint impression, that over time averaged into something serene and beautiful.


In life, we are often battered by the waves of adversity. Problems at work, school, or home can seem insurmountable at the time, but we usually find that with the passage of time the insurmountable becomes a distant memory, and usually even weaves into the beauty that is our life. Just like the photograph, things that look huge in the moment look small and dim in the context of our lives. Looking at your problems in the light of this longer time frame can reduce stress and get you through the challenges of life.

So if you are faced with problems, or are looking at taking a risky step, look at it in the context of this year, or better yet this decade, or your lifetime, and you will realize that problems are almost never as big as they seem, and that risks that won’t kill you.

But as I was thinking about the first part of this, another observation hit me. It may seem contradictory, but I think they are complimentary, and work well together. 

In today’s celebrity culture, it is easy to compare ourselves to TV and movies stars or the latest social media sensation, or even the most popular kid a school or someone at work. Their lives looks so perfect that we can never compete. Just remember that we are seeing photographs separated from reality by plenty of time and distance (and probably some retouching.) The waves are there, too. Don’t ever think that someone famous has it so perfect that your life can never compare. They have struggles too, but the distance masks that. Don’t punish yourself by trying to match something even they can’t.