Monthly Archives: April 2014

Bonaventure Cemetery Captured by Elizabeth

After leaving the Charleston workshop Elizabeth spent some time in Savanna honing the skills that she had learned during the workshop to capture this image at the Bonaventure Cemetery. She used Topaz B&W effects 2 to turn this image into a black and white and then used the masking in the software to bring back the color into the Azalea bushes. 

Bonaventure Cemetery

Bonaventure Cemetery

It is great to see clients taking their photography to the next level and creating wonderful works of art.

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Chasing White Rainbows in the Smoky Mountains

When out photographing we should always look for the elements in a composition that will make our images stand out from the ordinary. It is these subtle differences that make our images special to us and others. On one of the morning shoots during the Smokey Mountain workshop the group was composing images at Cades Cove in the early morning fog. The area we were focused on started to brighten and we realized that a fog bow was forming. 

Fog Bow - Cades Cove

Fog Bow – Cades Cove

When out capturing images I look for the best composition of the location and then for a difference that will make it stand out from other images that have been taken at that location. After walking around looking at every angle at every height and taking test image I find that it is often the soft morning light that makes an image special.  Soft early morning light has always been the most important element in my images. The soft light only a few photographers are out enjoying and on this morning it was the combination of the way the light interacted with the fog to create the seldom seen fog bow also known as a white rainbow.

fog bow is a similar phenomenon to a rainbow but it appears as a bow in fog rather than in rain. Because of the very small size of water droplets that cause fog—smaller than 0.05 millimeters (0.0020 in)—a fog bow has very weak colors, with a red outer edge and bluish inner edge. When the droplets are very small the fog bows appear white, and are called white rainbows.


Smoky Mountain Dogwoods

I arrived in the Smoky Mountains for sunset along the mountain rivers tonight and captured this image of dogwoods with a 4 second time exposure giving the river its fluid motion.

When I am on the road I use my laptop to process images which has a nice screen but is hard to calibrate and should be recalibrated periodically. The two images below are an example of what an image will look like on a properly calibrated monitor and what one looks like if the screen density shifts. The density shift on the laptop was probably U. E. User Error.

Smoky Mountain - Dogwoods

Smoky Mountain – Dogwoods

Smoky Mountain - Dogwoods

Smoky Mountain – Dogwoods

The Dogwoods are in great bloom and the weather predictions are good. It is going to be a great week!!


Morning Reflections – Charleston

One of the best parts about teaching is seeing the enthusiasm the students have especially when they are capturing great images. This images from the morning shoot at the Audubon Swamp during the Charleston workshop was captured by Elizabeth. Still morning reflections have always been one of my favorites and it was fun to see everyone capturing great images.

Swamp Tree-Charleston

Swamp Tree-Charleston

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Wildflowers in Cades Cove

While in Cades cove a couple of years ago I captured this wild pink Aster at F5.6 to keep the majority of the blooms in focus while fading out the background. The image was nice but I did not want to spend time cleaning it up so I let it sit until a couple of days ago when I decided to run it through Topaz Simplify 4. 1st I creating a layer and then in Effects I selected Painting in Presets then I selected Impressions Color. After Simplify made its changes to the layer I changed the opacity to 35% to soften the effect and this gave the image the a nice look and color boost without healing areas of the flower that I would normally.

Aster using Topaz Simplify

Aster processed using Topaz Simplify

This weekend I will be heading to the Smoky Mountains to arrive a day or two ahead of my workshop group which starts on the 21st of April. The wildflowers are in great bloom in the park and the shooting will be amazing. We will have partially cloudy skies with some chance of rain with temperatures will be from the low to high 70’s during the day and drop down to the 50’s at night.

Aster Raw image unprocessed

Aster Raw image unprocessed

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Sunset at Foley Beach – South Carolina

Over the last 20 years I have been able to spend a week or two capturing images in Charleston on my way home from the Florida art shows and each time I find something new to photograph or something old that stands out for me.

Foley Beach Pier Processed using Topaz Clarity and Topaz Clarity

Foley Beach Pier Processed using Topaz Clarity and Topaz Clarity

This year the light at sunset at Foley beach pier was exceptional. There is always something special about capturing an ocean pier at sunset but there was a little nicer glow and I enjoyed the motion of the water in the longer exposures at the end of the day.

Foley Beach unprocessed

Foley Beach unprocessed

To process this image I used Topaz Clarity and Detail to make the image look as close to how I had remembered it.


Sunset on the Ashley River

Pick your location for sunset. When you are composing your images walk around and enjoy the area where you are capturing images. Check out the angles and enjoy each location and plan out where you will want to be at sunset. There were compositions I wanted to capture in the gardens close to the Ashley River and had noticed Wild Roses in bloom along the water’s edge that I wanted to capture at sunset.

Sunset on the Ashley River

Sunset on the Ashley River

This hedge of Wild Roses went on for over 50 yards and it was easy to find a section for the foreground that flowed nicely.  Often the best light of sunsets only lasts 10 to 15 minutes when the setting sun lights up the clouds.

Sunset on the Ashley River, Unprocessed

Sunset on the Ashley River, Unprocessed

To process this image I used the white picker in CS6 camera raw and then use Topaz Clarity to enhance the Colors and Contrast.

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