Category Archives: European Images

Sunset in Chianti Tuscany

 

During the Italian October workshop Janice Maguire a portrait photographer from New Jersey captured this image in Chianti Tuscany just south of Florence. Her composition has the grape vine leading you into the picture with the fence poles, road and rolling vineyards draws your eye across the image to the mist. The clouds and light of this amazing sunset was a gift we all enjoyed capturing

Tuscan Mist at Sunset

Tuscan Mist at Sunset

This image was processed using Film Effects in Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro.

Check out Janice’s portrait work at smug mug.  http://jjm7777.smugmug.com/


Sunset Over Ancient Rome

Faye from Australia who joined me for last Octobers Italian Photographic workshop just emailed this image with an inquire as to where we were when she captured this image.

Saint Peters – Rome, Italy

Saint Peters – Rome, Italy

Each year I take clients to this vantage point which allows us to enjoy the changing light of sunset while capturing Panoramic views of Ancient Rome. This image that Faye sent me shows off the elegance that is Old Rome with wonderful balcony gardens and ancient tiled rooftops. Seeing Saint Peters framed between two of Rome’s other domed churches always takes my breath away.


Harvest Time in Tuscany – Tuscan Tractors in the Mist

 

These tractor images were captured by Connie while we were out shooting in Chianti Tuscany last year on one of the early morning shoots. Each morning the group goes out to  photograph sunrise in the vineyards and on this morning we were fortunate to capture this tractor in the early morning mist working its way through the Vineyard.  

Tuscan Tractors in the Mist

Tuscan Tractors in the Mist – 1

I used Film Effects in  Nik Software Color Efex Pro to process these two tractor images.

Tuscan Tractors in the Mist - 2

Tuscan Tractors in the Mist – 2

The best part of spending a week on location capturing images is that it gives you time to become immersed in the local culture while enjoying  the small Villages and Vineyards that most tourist miss because of their rush to try to see it all.


2013 Lucca, Greve and San Gimignano in Tuscany with our final day in Rome

Lucca, Greve and San Gimignano in

Tuscany with our final day in Rome

Oct. 23-29 2013

$775 / Limited to 8 Students

Moonrise over the Curia, Roman Forum

Moonrise over the Curia, Roman Forum

Lucca an ancient Etruscan walled city 20 miles north of Pisa is a great place to spend our first day capturing images. Pisa has an International airport and is a major train hub which makes it an easy entry and exit location. The Etruscan city’s were taken over by the Romans when there influence spread first through Italy and then the known world.  In the Heart of the Tuscan region we’ll be capturing images while staying in the Chianti countryside with time for wine tasting a cooking class and some Photoshop work. San Gimignano built by the Etruscans and known for its skyscraper towers that were built by wealthy merchants during the Renaissance. Ancient Rome beckons to be photographed from the Vatican to the Colosseum and so much more. Our field time will be spent on composition and proper use of light. We will spend some time processing images using Photoshop and Nik Software to help you with your processing skills. There are training video at my website and tutorials at my blog that you will be able to reference when you are processing images at home. Our goal is to teach you how to capture   beautiful images and explore how to create the images that continue to inspire.

• Learn tips and tricks used by the professionals to create impressive photographs.
• Discover new viewpoints, interesting details which might be overlooked, see the
world photographically.
• Learn to sense the direction of light and how to capture the magic moment.
• Improve your photographic technique.
• Learn your camera and how to get the most out of it.
• Have fun!

Brief Itinerary:

Day One: 4pm get together in Lucca, Italy to go over equipment and if time allows Photograph   at sunset.
Day Two: Photograph at sunrise in Lucca then relax over breakfast before heading to Chianti.
Day Two– Five: Photograph at sunrise and sunset in the Tuscany, Italy and when the light is right.
Day Five: Photograph at sunrise in the Tuscany, Italy then relax over breakfast before heading to Rome for afternoon and sunset images.
Day six: Photograph Sunrise in Rome and go over final thoughts over breakfast before saying goodbye.

Rome is an Ancient city full of history and after breakfast I would recommend taking  a small group tour with Steve and or Grazia after breakfast on October 29 to learn some of Rome’s history. There knowledge of  the history and architecture in Rome is always a treat.  http://enchantingrome.com/


2013 Pisa and Lucca in Tuscany and the Cinque Terre Photographic Workshop

Pisa and Lucca in Tuscany,

the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera 

Oct. 17-23 2013

$775 / Limited to 8 Students

Riomaggiore-Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore-Cinque Terre

Pisa famous for its Leaning Tower and the Piazza dei Miracoli is a great place to spend our first day capturing images.  Pisa has an International airport and is a major train hub which makes it an easy entry and exit location. The Cinque Terre is rich history is the perfect photographic venue with a variety of images that are wonderfully unique. The Cinque Terre is a beautifully rugged stretch of coastline with five tiny villages set like jewels into the Ligurian Coast, we’ll capture it’s charm and beauty. It is one of those places people tend to read about once and then dream about forever. Lucca an ancient Etruscan walled city 20 miles north of Pisa is a great place to spend our first day capturing images

We will photograph sunrise and sunset in these wonderful cities. Our field time will be spent on composition and proper use of light. We will spend some time processing images using Photoshop and Nik Software to help you with your processing skills. There is a training video at my website that you will be able to reference when you are processing images at home. Our goal is to teach you how to capture beautiful images and explore how to create the images that continue to inspire.

• Learn tips and tricks used by the professionals to create impressive photographs.
• Discover new viewpoints, interesting details which might be overlooked, see the
world photographically.
• Learn to sense the direction of light and how to capture the magic moment.
• Improve your photographic technique.
• Learn your camera and how to get the most out of it.
• Have fun!

Brief Itinerary:

Day One: 4pm get together in Pisa, Italy to go over equipment and if time allows Photograph at sunset.
Day Two: Photograph at sunrise in Pisa then relax over breakfast before heading to the Cinque Terre for afternoon and sunset images.
Day Two– Five: Photograph at sunrise and sunset in the Cinque Terre, Italy and when the light is right.
Day Five: Photograph at sunrise in the Cinque Terre, Italy then relax over breakfast before heading to Lucca for afternoon and sunset images.
Day six: Photograph Sunrise in Lucca and go over final thoughts over breakfast before saying goodbye.


Venice Carnival – Sepia Lovers; Processed using CS5 Camera Raw 6.1, Raw Sharpening Pro 3.0 and Tonal Contrast in Color Efex Pro 3.0

Heal and Clone

 Sepia Lovers – Venice Carnival

Sepia Lovers - Venice Carnival

Sepia Lovers - Venice Carnival

Venice Carnival was first started in the 1300′s as a celebration leading up to Lent where nobles and commoners mingled freely while disguised by there masks. Today’s Carnival carries on the tradition where wonderful costumed characters mingle in complete anonymity. For the costumed characters who attend Carnival it must be a wonderful experience to have a few days of anonymity in a world where everyone knows to much about everyone with just a click of a button.

During the workshop I stayed in a lovely Pensione by the Academia bridge. The single room rate ran a little under a $100. It had it’s own semi private piazza where you could  have your breakfasts outdoor on nice days after the morning shoots. For the carnival workshop some of the clients stayed at the Regina & Europa which is a 5 star on the grand canal a 5 min walk from my Pensione.

With this Image I did very little work to the image in Adobe Camera Raw. The only adjustment I made was in Camera Calibration where I selected Camera Neutral.

Adobe Camera Raw - Camera Calebration - Camera Neutral

Adobe Camera Raw - Camera Calebration - Camera Neutral

 

 


Leaning Tower of Pisa – Color Effex Pro, Transform and Viveza 2.0

When shooting in RAW I  process my images in Adobe Camera Raw before opening the images in Photoshop CS5. The tools in the ARC converter represent some of the greatest innovations in photographic technology. There are other programs I could open my images in but my preference for processing images has always been the Photoshop programs.

As you can see when this Raw image is opened even though the histogram is good it is a little dark and a little cool. Both adjustments can be corrected using the adjustment sliders in the basic tool Pallet.

Leaning Tower of Pisa - CR2 Raw image
Leaning Tower of Pisa – CR2 Raw image
 

When you are capturing images whether with film or with RAW digital files the most important elements are proper exposure and composition. If your exposure is good and you have good composition it will only take a couple of minuets to transform a RAW image into a finished work of art.

With this images I shifted the Exposure slider to +1.10 to lighten the image a little. If you look at the histogram on the top right it has shifted the information to the right without creating any clipping in the highlights. I also moved the black slider from 5 to 8 which gave me a little depth in the shadows. With the White Balance I selected Auto which warmed the image. Then I brought the recovery sliced to 31 which brought a little more detail to the clouds. There are many other wonderful tools that I have spent hours on in ARC but I seldom use them since I have started using Nik software. I will use a few of the  tools in the Nik software suite to finish this image after I open the Raw CR2 file in Photoshop CS5

White-Balance in ARC
White-Balance in ARC

The perspective of this image is off and there are two ways to correct this. One is to get out my 4″x5″ camera out and make the adjustments to straighten the angles out before shooting by making bellows adjustments or use the transform tool in Photoshop when I get home. A good amount of my shooting time is spent teaching digital classes and I seldom bring my film cameras while I am teaching so I spend the extra time making the perspective adjustments using the transform tool after I get home.

Before you use the transform tool you must first create a duplicate layer of your images you can do this by going to the top Menu bar to Layer > New > Layer via Copy or use the shortcut Ctrl J to create a duplicate layer. Once you have done this go back up to the top Menu go to Edit > Free Transform. If you hold down the control key you can drag the corners to correct the perspective of the image. When I want to make precise adjustments I will create a grid by going to View > Show > Grid. After you have transformed the image, hit enter and you have transformed the perspective to the image.

Free Transform
Free Transform

When I have finished some basic adjustments I decide on which of the Nik software to use. With this image I have decided to use Film Effects in Color Efex Pro. On the right hand side there is a dropdown menu that has 33 different film types to chose from. When you scroll over the film type with your curser it will show you a preview of what that image would have looked like if you had captured that image with that type of film. For this image I selected Kodak Ultra Color 400UC. In the past I would have been limited to the types of film I had brought on location. This one tool in Nik Color Efex Pro opens up endless possibilities. 

Film Effects in Color Efex Pro

Film Effects in Color Efex Pro

The next tool I decided to use is VIVEZA 2 which is also a Nik software tool. By dropping in a control point in the blue sky I moved the warmth slider to the right to give the sky a nicer blue. I then duplicated this control point by holding the Alt key and dragging a duplicate control point to the left and right. To avoid any overlap of the blues I had just enhanced I dropped in neutral control points into the clouds. In this case there was some overlapping and the neutral control points eliminated the blue overlap and put the original warmth back into the clouds. You can try Nik software for a 15 day trial and when you buy Nik you can use my discount code “EuropeanImages” for a 15% discount. 

Viveza 2.0 - Leaning Tower of Pisa
Viveza 2.0 – Leaning Tower of Pisa

By using ARC and Nik software I have transformed a finished image into a printable file in just a few minutes. I usually find that I will go back and tweak an image in a day or two, so I am viewing the image with a slightly different perspective.

Leaning Tower of Pisa - Printable Image

Leaning Tower of Pisa - Printable Image


29 avenue Rapp, 7th Arrondissement

On one of my photographic trips to Paris I spent some time strolling the side streets near the Eiffel Tower. Just a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower is 29 avenue Rapp, 7th arrondissement built by Jules Aimé Lavirotte in 1901 which is my all time favorite buildings and I think the most unique of the Art Nouveau Period.  

29 avenue Rapp, 7th arrondissement built by Jules Aimé Lavirotte in 1901

Art Nouveau - Paris, France

After making a few adjustments in Photoshop I used Nik software HDR effects Realistic (Subtle) and then I used Nik software RAW Presharpener on all three images.

Art Nouveau - Paris, France

Art Nouveau - Paris, FranceArt Nouveau - Paris, France

 
 
29 avenue Rapp, 7th arrondissement

29 avenue Rapp, 7th arrondissement


Vernice Carnival – Photographic Workshop Tour Febuary 12-16

       Carnival – Venice, Italy

                 February 12 – 16

                 $750, Limit 5 students

Gondolas - Piazza San Marco

Gondolas - Piazza San Marco

 The rich colorful palette of Venice with its canals, bridges and the amazing architecture of San Marco Piazza and the Rialto bridge provide some of my favorite compositions to photograph. This February during historic Carnival I will be taking a small group to capture the architectural images as well as a the historic costumes of Carnival. The Colors of the and medieval architecture that Venice provides for our backdrops will give you breathtaking images, some of the best images you will ever capture. This Island City is a great time to shoot through the year. Capturing images during Carnival when residents and visitors compete with each other for the most authentic and sometimes the most outrageous costumes is a must for every photographer.

• Learn tips and tricks used by the professionals to create impressive photographs.
• Discover new viewpoints, interesting details which might be overlooked, see the
world photographically.
• Learn to sense the direction of light and how to capture the magic moment.
• Improve your photographic technique.
• Learn your camera and how to get the most out of it.
• Have fun

Brief Itinerary:

Day One: 5 pm get together in Veniceto go over equipment and if time allows Photograph at sunset.
Day Two– Four: Photograph at sunrise and sunset and when the light is right.
Day six: PhotographSunrise and go over final thoughts before saying goodbye.

A Journey shared is truly a Journey remembered


Venice, Cinque Terre and Pisa Oct. 18-24 2012

      Venice, Cinque Terre andPisa 

                 Oct. 18-24 2012

                 $750.00, Limited to 8 Students

Gondola waiting to go our for Sunset Tour

Romance Awaits-Venice

The colorful palette of Venice, The Cinque Terre and Pisa with there rich history is the perfect photographic venue. In Venice the Piazza San Marco and the Canals offer a variety of images that are wonderfully unique. The Cinque Terre a beautifully rugged stretch of coastline with five tiny villages set like jewels into the Ligurian Coast, we’ll capture it’s charm and beauty. It is one of those places people tend to read about once and then dream about forever. Pisa famous for its Leaning Tower and the Piazza dei Miracoli is a great place to spend our last day capturing images. Pisa is a wonderful hub where you can catch a train for Florence or Rome, or a flights home. We will photograph sunrise and sunset in these wonderful cities. Our field time will be spent on composition and proper use of light. We will spend some time processing images using Photoshop and Nik Software to help you with your processing skills. There is a training video at my website that you will be able to reference when you are processing images at home. Our goal is to teach you how to capture beautiful images and explore how to create the images that continue to inspire.

Brief Itinerary

Day One: 5pm get together in Venice to go over equipment and if time allows Photograph at sunset.
Day Two: Photograph at sunrise and sunset and when the light is right.
Day Three: Photograph at Sun rise in Venice have breakfast and Travel to Cinque Terre for afternoon and evening images.
Day Four and Five: Photograph at sunrise and sunset and when the light is right.
Day Six: Photograph at sunrise have breakfast and Travel to Pisa for afternoon and evening images. .
Day Seven: Photograph Sunrise and go over final thoughts over breakfast before saying goodbye.

• Learn tips and tricks used by the professionals to create impressive photographs.
• Discover new viewpoints, interesting details which might be overlooked, see the
world photographically.
• Learn to sense the direction of light and how to capture the magic moment.
• Improve your photographic technique.
• Learn your camera and how to get the most out of it.
• Have fun!

Workshop Information

In these workshops we will capture landscape images that excite and move, images that trace where the mind has been and form a unique vision that will last a lifetime. These workshops are about applying new skills learned daily and sharing our collective knowledge to take that next step in a supportive environment. We hold a deep passion for the places we travel to, and will help you explore how to create the images that continue to inspire. What takes time to create, time respects, good images don’t just happen. Most often, our best images lie just beyond our greatest failures. We believe through photography and an open mind the best is yet to come.

Paul James is a published, award winning photographer from Southeastern Michigan who offers the best in personalized photographic instruction on every level; whether you’re just beginning or a seasoned veteran. Paul takes great pride in his work, and this translates to some great teaching techniques. He has vast experience in both the artistic and technical aspects of photography; he is adept in Digital, Medium and Large format Cameras, which includes a large range of camera brands and models. He welcomes photographers of all formats and skill levels; however, this class will be geared for the digital photographer.

The October – November 2011 Florence Tuscan and Roma photographic workshops trips were a great success. Each groups came home with some wonderful images and some wonderful memories. I have been posting some of the new images on the website and hope that you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed taking them. Many thanks to my two wonderful friends Steve and Grazia who helped make the Rome workshop very special. For anyone traveling to Roma for a holiday, taking one of their personalized day tours is a must.


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