You may have heard the news already but if you haven’t, Adobe apps will only be available from the cloud starting in June with the release of new versions of its apps. Here at Create Photographics I have been using Adobe apps via a subscription for several months now. At first I was a bit skeptical when I saw the subscriptions being offer months ago. After using the service for a while now, I’m all for it. I have the full Creative Cloud subscription which means I can use as many of the Creative Suite apps as I want to, for as long as I want to, as long as I keep my subscription up to date.
As a CS3 owner I went to the Creative Cloud for $29.99 per month and I can download all that Adobe has to offer ($29.99 per month for the first year and then $49.99 per month there after). If you don’t need the full Creative Suite of apps then you can choose only those you need at $9.99 per month per individual app. You can even put your subscription on hold if you know that your are not going to be needing it for a while. Say you are like me and probably won’t be buying another laptop, when you travel and are away from your computer, you can save a few bucks by putting your subscription on hold.
Another great thing for those who use PCs in one place and Macs in another, you can have one subscription and use the all the apps on both computers! All you need to do is sign into your Creative Cloud account and download the apps. You can use your Creative Cloud subscription on two computers as long as both computers are running the same apps at the same time. The apps stay on your computer, not “in the cloud” and you don’t have to be online to use the apps.
Until recently Lightroom 4 was not part of the Creative Cloud. Now that it is, its great for photographers that use both Lightroom and Photoshop. No need to purchase both apps plus you get the latest updates as soon as they are ready. I know there will be a lot of discussion about Adobe’s move to Creative Cloud exclusively but for me, I’m all for it!
I have arrived in the Mallee. It is great seeing my mum again and I have 3 days to get lots of photos. I don't know how many I will get this time.
I went out this evening in Woomelang as the sun was setting. I was hoping to get some images of a sunset behind the silos and train station, but the sun was setting in a completely different place this time.
In the world of digital photography is the Sunny 16 method of determining exposure still useful? Sunny 16 was a tried and true method of guestimating exposure by the time I bought my first 35mm SLR. That camera had a very simple light meter at was easily fooled. If you didn’t know that your light meter could be fooled, quite often your exposures would be off. By knowing how the lighting conditions effected your exposure you could tell when your meter was “telling porkies” that would cause you to over or under expose your images.
What is Sunny 16? Sunny 16 is a way of determining an exposure based on the ASA (predecessor to ISO) you were using and the conditions that you are shooting under. Sunny 16 states that on a sunny, cloudless day, with your subject in full sun, your shutter speed will be the reciprocal of your ASA at f16. So, if you were using Kodachrome 64 (64 ASA) photographing cars on a bright sunny day your exposure should be close to 1/64 second at f16. It was also helpful in determining an exposure in other outdoor lighting conditions. Take a look at this chart:
Bright or Hazy Sun on Light Sand or Snow f22
Bright or Hazy Sun, distinct, hard edged shadows f16
Weak, Hazy Sun, soft edged shadows f11
Cloudy, shadows that are barely visible f8
Full overcast, no shadows f5.6
Open shade and sunset f4
With digital cameras is this information still useful? Yes, it can be. With all the technology that now comes packed into your camera, Sunny 16 will still help you out if your camera’s meter has been fooled. Let’s say your subject is a brightly colored wall. If you make an image based on what the camera’s meter said, it will probably come out too dark. Your camera’s meter wants to turn everything the same tone as 18% gray. So how much should you adjust your exposure? If you have already made one image looking at the image information is a good place to start. Lets say your image info tells you the shutter speed was 1/200th of a second and the aperture was f22. The wall is in full sun and your ISO is 100. Well, right off you would know that you are 2 stops under exposed. Sunny 16 would give you an exposure of 1/100th of a second at f16. You adjust your exposure and the next image looks great. Next you want to photograph a dark colored door knocker on a black door that is also in full sun. This time your camera’s meter says you should expose the image at 1/50th of a second at f11. Now your camera wants to over exposed the black door by two stops. Knowing this you quickly adjust your exposure to 1/200th of a second at f11 and the image looks well exposed when you check.
Keeping Sunny 16 in mind while you are making images will help you make better exposures, the first time, because you will know when your camera’s meter has been fooled and the camera is telling you porkies.
For two weeks this summer I taught photography to children grades K-4 at the Fredericksburg Summer Fun Camp. This was the first time that I taught photography to such a young age group. To be honest I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I also did not start the two weeks with any preconceived notions on how successful I would be. In fact I thought it might turn out an utter failure but I’m happy to say it wasn’t!
Over the two weeks I had three groups each day for 50 minutes each. The children were group according to the grade they had just finished in school, kindergarten, first and second grades and third and fourth grades. The size of the groups varied from as few as four to as many as fourteen. Thankfully for the larger groups I did have a helper! Most were eager to learn about photography and they all wanted to have fun. After all that is what Summer Fun Camp is all about!
One thing I had to plan for is that not everyone would be bringing a camera. So I had to be creative and find ways for everyone to make some images or be a part of the image making process. I think the success came from including everyone in the image making process even though they could not all make images at the same time. They made portraits of each other, “ghost” images, light trails as well as making images outside. We talked about composition, some of the images they made as well as a few of my images. I think they had the most fun seeing how their “ghost” images looked.
One thing I like when teaching photography are those “wow” moments when the students learn a new technique or see something they really like. There were quite a few of those moments at camp this year. I have been told that the campers really liked the photography class and are looking forward to next year. I’ll have to make sure to rest up for next year because on more than one occasion I had to take a nap when I got home!
When I started out as a photographer, I didn’t know much. But there was one thing I did know, I never wanted to shoot a wedding. Having seen people turn into the worst versions of themselves around weddings and understanding the complexities the day entails, it was something that I set out to avoid at all costs. Until my sister called.
She explained her situation: she personally knew several photographers around Charleston and asked them to photograph her special day. All of them told her they would rather be a guest to her wedding instead of the photographer and they never mix business and pleasure. Yes, she understood that I was also the Maid of Honor and it might be tight, but she could find someone she didn’t know to shoot the ceremony and the toasts if I would be willing to shoot the rest.
For the month leading up to the wedding, I diligently researched wedding photography with some great results. My go-to resource for photography is creativeLive and started there. Finding videos from Bambi Cantrell, Zack & Jody Grey and Jasmine Star started me on my way of knowing the ins & outs of how and what to shoot. The thoroughness of these sessions gave me the confidence and understanding of how to photograph the story of her big day (it also reinforced my initial decisions of not wanting to shoot weddings for a living – it’s just not my thing.) Other resources included Kelby Training videos from David Ziser and Jerry Ghionis about subtle lighting and posing in wedding photography.
Armed and dangerous, I loaded up my car with lenses, lights, and umbrellas and made the road trip to South Carolina a week early to begin the adventure. My strategy was as follows: since I know the bride and groom more than most photographers (and I’m staying with them), I have access to the couple all week. My goal was to take my time, and photograph a little each day in order to get all the details, which freed me up on the wedding day to do my official duties and photograph the pre-and post-wedding.
This strategy worked really well – each day, I focused on different accessories and decorations in detail, slowly and methodically. This gave me the opportunity to review the photos each evening and the opportunity to reshoot something if necessary (which I only had to do once!) Since my sister didn’t know what she wanted or what wedding photography entailed, I looked like a superstar each evening when I showed her my finished photos from the day.
By the time the day before the wedding came, I had successfully shot everything I could and had time for a relaxing afternoon to help out the gracious couple and regroup about the big day ahead. This entailed a shot list for the wedding party, wedding preparations and bridal party scenarios.
And here it was, the big day. So many levels of nerves pumped through my veins: my little sister getting married, being a Maid of Honor for the first time (and the speech!), and shooting a huge day for the most special client imaginable. I ditched my usual decaf for a half-caff latte and began the journey.
Looking back, the most difficult part of the day was making sure I had everything I needed for the day: dress, accessories, makeup, camera, batteries, flashes, etc. But at the time, acting like I knew what I was doing was essential to my sister’s and my own mental health.
The day was going off without a hitch and my shots were exactly what I imagined: capturing each of the special moments as they unfolded. The photographer for the ceremony showed up and we began the obligatory poses. My sister made a joke about how she needed to remember how I had her pose for her bridal shots a few days earlier (thank you, Bambi Cantrell!) To which the photographer replied “did you just look that up on the internet?” I paused and said nothing, but was reminded of friends who told me about how territorial and catty some wedding photographers can be. I let it go and thought about how much my sister LOVED the photos I had taken so far.
The ceremony was beautiful, but I couldn’t resist using my iPhone to take photos of the wedding from the MoH perspective. Using Hipstamatic, I photographed some lovely shots of the happy couple at close range. A few folks snickered, but I was so enthralled in capturing the moment that I didn’t even care.
Then the part I dreaded, the low light reception. Ugh. I did the best I could with an off-camera SB-900, which wasn’t half bad. As I crouched down to take a shot, I noticed a gentleman walking toward me with a full camera setup – flash brackets and all. As I stood to greet him, he explains how I really need a set up like his and how it would make it easier to shoot with an off-camera flash. At this point, I was exhausted and said some things I shouldn’t have. But I was now upset that two photographers were rude and insulting, instead of supportive and encouraging.
While my sister was on her honeymoon, I set up a nice gallery for her on PASS (a suggestion from Jasmine Star) to allow her to see and show all the photos from her big day. When she arrived home, a link was in her email box and shortly received a call from her on the verge of tears. “They are beautiful. I had no idea you were THIS good!”
Preparation and research really won the day on this one. Having gone to reputable online resources to find out what the trends were and how to shoot them was the most invaluable thing I could have done. Sure it took more time than I had, but hands down, it was worth it. Hope this serves as an inspiration to all of you who get asked to shoot something out of your comfort zone.
p.s. – photographer #1 emailed my sister to explain that some of the really cute photos she took of the bridesmaids didn’t come out because she hadn’t changed her settings in camera.
p.s.s. – photographer #2 sent my sister some of his photos – most of which are too dark, have a big exit sign over her head, and no retouching at all.
If you missed the 2nd Annual Celebrate the Summer Solstice, you really missed a great time! I drove up to the Springfield Metro Station and hopped on the train with much anticipation of the night that lay ahead. As I walked from the Smithsonian Metro Station toward the Washington Monument, I walked past tents and exhibits being prepared for this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The festival starts at 11am today, by the way. The group was scheduled to meet at the Sylvan Stage near the Washington Monument at 7:30pm. We had a full night in front of us and everyone was in good spirits. The weather was great, clear skies, nice breeze and the evening sun kept it warm enough so that the breeze felt nice. The forecast called for a clear night with a low in the mid 60′s. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.
Our first stop of the evening was the World War II Memorial. I didn’t realize when I planned the route that the Navy Choir would be at the memorial for an evening concert. That was an unexpected treat. I’m not a photographer that likes to photograph crowds of people so I was looking for other things to photograph when this bus came along.
Like me, most of the group didn’t want to photograph the memorial with all the people in it so we moved on to the next stop, the Lincoln Memorial. The old Reflecting Pool is being replaced and is a bit behind schedule. I’m looking forward to when they have all the work done and fill it up with water again. There was a little bit of water in the pool and it gave a hint of the photos that will be possible when all the work is finished.
Once we left the Lincoln Memorial we headed over to the United States Peace Institute. As we walked over we could see the lights making the translucent domed roof glow. I was looking forward to making some nice images of this building. But by the time we got there the lights had been turned off. Just our luck, well my luck actually. So we did what we could with the building and started working on getting light streaks from the car on the road in front of the building. Many of the new members of the group had never tried to get light streaks from cars so they were having fun with that.
Our next couple of stops included the Einstein Memorial and the Ellipse. Since it was getting late the lights had also been turned out at the White House so we all gathered around a fountain and started making some photos. The Uniformed Secret Service took an interest in what we were doing but when they figured out we were just a bunch of nutty photographers they relaxed a bit but still kept an eye on us. From there it was off to the Metro station at Federal Triangle for a short ride to Union Station. Half the night was done and it was time for a snack. The group was now less than half the number of photographers when we started but I expected that. Not many people made it all the way through last year so I knew many might leave when we got to Union Station. After a rest and a snack, we were ready to head out again. After some photographs around Union Station we went to the US Capitol. We spent some time photographing the Capitol from the north side and then moved to the east side. By this time I was anticipating dawn and thinking about where I wanted to be when the sun came up. After a leisurely walk to the west side of the Capitol we all split up to find a spot for sunrise.
I have always liked the colors of the early morning light. Back in the day when Kodachrome was king, the colors that it gave you from a sunrise were amazing. With longer exposures, reciprocity failure and the saturated colors of Kodachrome, if you exposed correctly you would get some wonderful colors. This image of the Capitol reminds me of the colors you could get from Kodachrome.
For the last stop of our journey, I planned on being at the National Museum of the American Indian just after sunrise. I knew I wanted to get an image like the one below when the sun was just coming up over the horizon. The sun has to be a just the right angle to get this image because the light has to get under a very large over hang.
I left the spot at the Capitol a little early so that I could be in place when the sun did its thing and I wasn’t disappointed. What color! I love the curvilinear lines of this building. The design of this museum is one of my favorite of all the buildings in DC. The more I look at it, the more I find to like about it. As the light changes, the building changes, accentuating different feature as it moves.
After spending the night walking, talking and making images, it was time to say goodbye. At 6:45am. only 6 of us that started our adventure more than eleven hours before made it through the night. We all had a great time, as did everyone else in the group that didn’t make it all the way through. I’m already looking forward to next year and the 3rd Annual Celebrate the Summer Solstice.
My boyfriend announced we were headed to Bar Harbor, Maine to spend the weekend with his parents (who were there for the month from Baton Rouge.) So my first reaction was – Great! A new place to shoot (and shooting gets me out of having my entire schedule planned by my very well-meaning future mother-in-law.)
We arrived in Bangor on Thursday afternoon, which, by the way, has one of the smallest international airports I’ve ever seen- two and a half gates. My boyfriend’s father picked us up and off we went on the hour drive to Bar Harbor. But not without a stop at Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound – the freshest lobster on Mount Desert Island.
The Pound is a quaint red and white building with six boilers outside to cook your lobsters after you choose them. The owners are friendly and were ready for us to pick up dinner. Everything is extra – butter, sauce, spices – so you should know how you like to eat your lobster and order accordingly. There’s even a grumpy old guy sitting outside the building on occasion giving you the stink eye (kinda like Popeye) if you look like a tourist.
The hearty New England meal was all we could take for the day as we retired to the Bar Harbor Inn to settle down. It’s a beautiful property located right on the ocean front, with well-manicured lawns and gorgeous flora which are well tagged with the name of each plant (very handy for macro photographers!)
The first full day brought in a cold front to the point where I was wearing seven layers of clothing (almost everything I brought with me!) and, of course, we had reserved tickets for a lighthouse boat tour for the coldest day of June. We walked the block down to the pier and met up with the tour boat to get a view of history.
Of the five lighthouses we visited, most were visible on this chilly day, except for the Great Duck lighthouse, which was so foggy, we could hardly see it 200 yards away. Unfortunately, most are not well taken care of and a few are privately owned and in the process of restoration. Our tour guide informed us that a bald eagle has taken up residence on the railing of one of the lighthouses and as we approached very quietly, we were able to spot the living symbol of our country. Unfortunately, I was only traveling with my Sigma 18-250mm lens, so no close ups for me, but I did get a decent shot of the eagle on the lighthouse rail.
After our three hour tour, it was time to eat again – this time we opted for Gully’s, a local establishment with all the Bar Harbor delicacies and chowed down on chowder, lobster rolls, and fish and chips. The touristy interior was a bit over the top, but the food made up for it and my soon-to-be-in-laws appreciated the LSU baseball game being broadcast on the many flat screen tv’s in the dining room.
One of the first things one notices about Bar Harbor is the lack of chain anythings – no Starbucks, no fast food (with a notable exception of a locally owned Subway), and the abundance of local breakfast joints serving popovers and blueberry pancakes. Though my Starbucks mug collection will have to go unfilled this trip, I thoroughly enjoyed the lack of corporatization as well as a brief conversation with Adam, owner of the Trailhead Cafe, a local coffee joint with free wi-fi and assorted hiking items. He isn’t understating when he says he has the best coffee in Bar Harbor.
Saturday brought our trek to the top of Cadillac Mountain in the Acadia National Park – the first point in the US to see the sunrise. Though I couldn’t get myself up at 4am to catch the 4:43 sunrise this trip, we did get there early enough in the morning before the crowds arrived. It was “National Outdoors Day” when all the national parks waive their entry fees. We leisurely stopped at most of the lookout points and drove slowly around the copious numbers of bikers (of both kinds) making the journey to the top of the highest point on the eastern seaboard.
The breathtaking scenic views are well worth the trip and luckily for us, the fog had burned off by the time we arrived. The clear view provided a nice shot of the Porcupine Islands, the man-made jetty that Mr. Rockafeller built, as well as a birds-eye view of the low tide sand bar from Bar Harbor to one of its smaller, neighboring islands.
Our leisurely descent found us at Jordan Pond House, just in time for a lunch pit stop (it gets crowded early, so make reservations!) We opted to sit on the lawn with the gorgeous view of Jordan Pond and the surrounding mountains. And the food wasn’t bad either!
We finished just as the wind picked up and we headed back down to town for an afternoon siesta. But with such beautiful surroundings, I couldn’t sleep. So I walked around the five main roads that make up this quaint resort town to take it all in.
Sunday morning began with my final coffee at Trailhead Cafe, and a breakfast filled with popovers and blueberry pancakes at the Cottage Street Cafe. By far the best popovers in the area, and a plate of goodness that held me over until we arrived back at DCA.
And there it was…the entire trip was shot with two cameras – my D7000 and my iPhone (using Camera (!) Awesome and various filters, except for one photo where I used HDR xx.) I only brought my Sigma 18-250mm with me and that served me well.