I’ve been invited by Nik Software to present a free, one-hour webinar on processing landscape photographs using Capture NX2. I’ll be presenting the webinar on Tuesday, June 15th at 2:30pm PDT and again on Friday, June 18th at 2:30pm PDT. Registration is free. If you have been reading my new Landscape Guide, here’s an opportunity to reinforce some of the post-processing techniques I describe in Section III.
Remember, you can get a 15% discount on any NIK Software (USA) purchase by using the discount code “JODELL” in the NIK online shop.
The components of great landscape images, and what you can learn from film
My online workshops have been very popular this year. I’ve got two more scheduled for June, and then it’s time for a brief summer break. If you want to get in on one of my classes, this is the time to do it before summer vacation!
I currently teach two classes online. My Capture NX2 Advanced Imaging course is intended for photographers of all levels. In this four-hour course, I explain not only the fundamental tools for making selective adjustments in Capture NX2, but also the thought process behind using each tool. I also help the class explore the concept of “previsualization” in post-processing. For example, would you use the same adjustments for a portrait as you would for a landscape? Probably not. Learn what works for each type of image so that when you do edit your images you spend less time making adjustments and more time getting results.
My other workshop is for Capture NX2 users who are trying to optimize their end-to-end workflow. With my NEF-Centric Workflow course, you’ll learn how to drastically streamline your overall workflow so that you spend less time in front of the computer and more time behind the camera. The Nikon NEF file is fundamentally flexible, and has some distinct advantages if you use software that can take advantage of them. In this class, I will show you how to use the powerful workflow hub, Photo Mechanic, as the core of an incredibly fast and powerful workflow that lets you take advantage of everything the NEF file has to offer.
To participate in my online classes, you’ll need a high-speed Internet connection and either a telephone (USA toll number) or a headset microphone to use with your computer (free). Attendance is limited!
After what has seemed like an eternal winter, the weather here in Colorado is finally warming up. Moreover, we seem to have shaken the 60 mph winds that made photography difficult last week. I finally got out to attempt a project that I’d been previsualizing for some time; lightpainting the Siamese Twins formation in Garden of the Gods.
I’ve photographed this formation before during the daytime; it’s a popular spot to catch the juxtaposition of the twin rock towers with the summit of Pikes Peak between them. But I’d never hiked to it at night.
Lightpainting is a technique whereby you artificially illuminate your subject with a flashlight or lantern. This technique enables you to control the exact placement of light in the scene and you can use it to selectively illuminate subjects of interest. I headed up to the Siamese twins with my gear in a Think Tank “Streetwalker Pro” bag. I had my D3s, 16-35/4, 24-70/2.8 and a 70-200/2.8 VR II. I also had my Gitzo tripod and a couple of strong flashlights. I reached the formation about 20 minutes after sundown and I set up.
I’m pleased to announce the release of my newest eBook, The Photographer’s Guide to Digital Landscapes. I wrote this book to provide photographers with a modern-day assessment of the fundamental techniques for capturing fabulous landscape images. Of course, some of these techniques apply to everyday photography, too. I’ve got a lot of books on landscape photography, and they are all very good. But many of the “classics” don’t have anything to say about modern DSLR photography– even the books that say “updated for digital.”
So, I present to you, The Photographer’s Guide to Digital Landscapes. A three-part book that covers:
Back in the film days, workflow was pretty easy. Shoot a roll of slides, send it in for processing, and then put the results on my light table and pick out the select few images to scan and print. With film, many creative decisions were made for you. Each film type had a particular look and feel to it; the color palettes and contrast responses varied between emulsions. With film, what you saw in the slide was pretty much what you got out of a scan. Moreover, with film, I shot far fewer images than I do now with digital. The tangible cost component of film shooting kept the number of images down for most casual shooters. Shoot a couple of 36-exposure rolls, pick the keepers, scan ’em and you’re done. Scanning slides was a tedious enough process that I really only chose the best images to scan.
Today, we shoot hundreds or even thousands of images with our DSLRs and high-capacity memory cards. Transferring these images to your computer only takes a few minutes, and there is no agonizing wait for film to return from the lab or the scanner to scan the slide/negative. That means we’re quickly filling up our hard drives with images that may have never even made it into a slide sleeve in the film days. Moreover, unless you shoot only JPEG, you are now the photo lab. Instead of choosing a film type to get a particular “look,” we have to process our own RAW files to achieve a desired result. The prospect of processing thousands of files is intimidating, to say the least.
If you shoot for your own personal pleasure, I’d like to recommend simplifying your workflow. Don’t put yourself into a position where you must process EVERY SINGLE FILE. Simply put, you don’t need to. Start by trying to get things right in your camera. Choose the right white balance and get the exposure right. Use camera settings that are appropriate for your subject– don’t shoot a portrait session using “VIVID” mode; you wouldn’t shoot a wedding with Velvia film, right? Once you’re back from your shoot. be picky. Choose the select few images that you really want to share, and only process those. Not only will you save time in post, but your friends and family will appreciate that you didn’t bombard them with every variant of every shot in a 100MB email bomb!
For more on my workflow and how I have integrated modern tools with Capture NX2, sign up for my NEF-Centric workflow workshop!