Monthly Archives: March 2012

Spring Lightroom/Photoshop Workshop

I have been asked by several Islanders when my spring workshop will be….and that’s a good question. There is a need, I think, for a workshop for beginners because I think both Lightroom and Photoshop can be intimidating for the first timers. I’ve heard so many times from folks that to learn them appears to be a daunting task, and something that they just can’t do on their own. I agree on that. I’ve been using Photoshop for 15 years and feel pretty competent, but there is always more to learn.

My idea for beginners is to have two half day workshops. The first 4 hour day would be a hands on lesson on the fundamentals of the two programs. I’m assuming that participants of course have one or the other. Personally, if I were to have only one, it would be Lightroom, because it is the closest thing to the darkroom and designed just for photographers. There are some things that it cannot do, but for beginners, it has almost everything that you’ll need.

The first day will be an introduction on how to take your pictures….understanding your digital cameras and how to set them up for maximum postproduction effect. Then we will focus on the basic fundamentals of how to use the program. Using some of my pictures, I will show step by step how to take the initial image and make it into a photograph with impact/emotion. The task would then be for the participants to take some of their own pictures during the next week (or two), develop them and present them for a critique to the class on the following workshop. At this point, further discussion and “show and tells” would help with the fundamental understanding of these two powerful programs. I’ve always said, that whatever you can imagine, you can make it so.

Photoshop and Lightroom are programs that will actually make you giggle with glee. The basics are easy to learn. If you start with a good image and you understand the step by step method of development, you can make taking pictures a wonderfully enjoyable event.

So, if you are interested in a workshop, probably after May 1st, then let me know. The only requirements would be that you have a camera and hopefully a laptop computer with either Photoshop or Lightroom installed. The workshop will be held at my studio on Bainbridge Island. The cost for the two days will be $90.00.


Pixels Coming of Age

My thoughts today are all about pixels. Lots of them. I was one of the first to sign up for the new Nikon D800 and its amazing pixel count of 36 MP. That is a number that until now was only available to the medium format studio camera for $13-20,000. My 4×5 negative when scanned to 300 dpi would give me a black and white file size of around 100 mb. When opened, the Nikon files at 14 bit will probably give me a 75 mb RAW file. For a landscape photographer this is mana from heaven. I love my 4×5, but at 62 years of age I have to admit that the 30-40 pounds of gear it takes makes going to the Outback an aerobic exercise.

I know that the number of pixels does not necessarily translate into a better picture…take the scores of point and shoots that have been vying for the most pixel count in their tiny sensors. There are pixels and then there are pixels. What we all want are quality pixels. From what I’ve read, and from what images I have seen posted on the internet, I think the Nikon D800 will have both. I hope to have one in my hand within the week.

I still say, though, that the best camera you own is the one in your hand. It is, after all, about vision. So don’t leave home without one.

Snowshoeing The Ridge

Last week my husband and I decided to take advantage of a glorious day after a large front had passed through the region, leaving at least a foot or two of new snow in the mountains. Living on Bainbridge Island, we are only a hour and a half from Hurricane Ridge that is open most every day during the winter months. This must be a lot of work for the National Park Service to plow the road and to keep it free from falling rocks. When we arrived at the summit, we were not disappointed. Fresh snowfall and an almost empty parking lot greeted us – it was midweek and the ratio of Rangers to snowshoers was almost 1:1. Once into the trees, we were in a winter wonderland and we had it all to ourselves. The snow was dry and fresh and the air crystal clear and clean. It was a wonderful mid-week break from the lowland winter gray.

Mountain Light

Driving into the mountains above Santa Fe I was looking for a stand of aspens that I had photographed many years before. There had been a light dusting of snow the night before and the sky was again cloudless and bright. I didn’t remember exactly where I had been, so we were just exploring to see if anything would appear. I was wonderfully surprised by the artistry of the aspens once again. The low afternoon light made the thin, icy branches of the aspens iridescent. Once again, the aspens of Santa Fe had given me a spectacular show.




Painting with Light

One of the fundamentals of photography is the realization that we are painting with light. Our brush is our camera, and the oils are the rays of the sun. Nowhere is this more evident than in Santa Fe, where I was happily visiting last January with my husband, Ellis. Every day seemed to be a gift of light. Visiting the Taos Pueblo I found the local church with the crosses etched against the crystal blue sky. The contrasts were inspiring, as I’m sure they were meant to be. The light seemed to be literally bouncing off the rooftops, making the sky the deepest blue possible.