Tag Archives: Paul James

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.


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.


The interaction of Aperture/F-Stop, shutter speed and ISO/ASA when Capturing your Images

1st Aperture/F-Stop, 2nd shutter speed and 3rd ISO/ASA

These 3 settings depend on one another and their interaction with light. A photograph is created by a chemical process where light is exposed to film, or a sensor in digital cameras. I always shoot on manual mode which gives me complete control on how I want to capture each image. I usually start my clients on Aperture Priority.

Apature/F-Stop

Apature/F-Stop

F/2.8 is wide open and allows the greatest amount of light to hit the Film or Sensor for your shortest possible exposure in a low light situation. F/2.8 will also give you the shallowest depth of field. When you have a shallow depth of field your main subject matter can stay in focus but your background will become a soft blur.

F/22 is stopped down and allows the least amount of light to hit the Film or Sensor. F/22 if used correctly will give you an infinite depth of field. Stopping down all the way requires a longer exposure which can cause motion blur

When you stop down two stops from F/2.8 to F/5.6   1/4th the amount of light will hit the Film or Sensor if your shutter speed and ISO/ASA remains the same.

You can either decrease your shutter speed by 400%
Or increase your ISO/ASA by 400%

F/2.8 at 1/120 sec with an ISO/ASA 100
F/5.6 at   1/30 sec with an ISO/ASA 100
F/5.6 at 1/120 sec with an ISO/ASA 400

If your exposure is too long you have a chance of motion blur
If your ISO/ASA is too high you will create noise


Smokey Mountain Photo Workshop – Ogle Cabin

The Ogle Cabin is a Photographers paradise. Martha Jane Huskey Ogle, her children and several other family members arrived in a remote locale of the Great Smoky Mountains inEast Tennessee called White Oak Flats in 1807. It was their wish to honor her recently deceased husband, William and settle in the “land of paradise” he had found for them. That paradise  the Ogle Cabin in Gatlinburg which  is one of my all time favorite locations in the Smokey Mountains to work with clients.

Photoshop CS 5.5 - Camera Raw 6.6

Photoshop CS 5.5 – Camera Raw 6.6

After I opened the Canon CR file in Camera Raw 6.6 I made minor adjustments in the Basic Pallet. In the White Balance drop down menu I selected Auto Temperature 4850 Tint +30 and adjusted the  Fill Light to 30

Basic Processing in Camera Raw 6.6

Basic Processing in Camera Raw 6.6

This image opened out of Camera Raw 6.6 would look good if you haven’t  seen the image finished using Nik Software.

Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete - Film Efex - Kodak Portra 400 VC

Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete – Film Efex – Kodak Portra 400 VC

Using Color Efex Pro 3.0 I selected Film Efex 3.0 and selected Kodak Portra 400VC from the drop down Menu.

Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete - Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete – Graduated Neutral Density Filter

Using Color Efex Pro 3.0 I selected Film Efex 3.0 and selected Kodak Portra 400VC from the drop down Menu.

Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete - Tonal Contrast

Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete – Tonal Contrast

Next with Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete I used Tonal Contrast

Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete - Remove Color Cast

Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete – Remove Color Cast

Next with Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete  I used Remove Color Cast and using 50% Opacity in the Blend Modes

Ogle Cabin Finished using Nik Software

Ogle Cabin Finished using Nik Software


Follow the Light – Charleston South Carolina

Follow the Light – Charleston Spring Photo Workshop

Follow the Light – Charleston Spring Photo Workshop

Follow the Light – Charleston Spring Photo Workshop

I arrived home on Saturday from the Charleston Workshop in time to enjoy the holiday weekend with family and friends.

The weather and shooting conditions were great in Charleston and everyone captured some great images. Over the course of the workshop I could see the students grasp a better understanding of how their cameras function, which will allow them to capture better images in the field.

More important than camera functions is the understanding of Composition and use of natural Light to capture an image. By the end of the workshop I was glad to see every one had a better understand of composition and how to use natural light to capture their images.     

When we were not shooting or taking time to exploring Old Charleston we were able to go over some of  the basics photographic software used in processing images.  There are many great programs to choose from to process your images. My preference has always been to open my RAW images in Camera Raw in the Photoshop CS5 or Elements 10 programs for a few basic adjustments. After the basic adjustments I use Nik software to fine tune my images.


Siena Farmhouse – Processed using Photoshop Elements 9 and Adobe Camera Raw 6.1

 

Last fall I spent 2 weeks teaching Photographic Workshops in the Chianti area of Tuscany, Italy. We stayed at a Agriturismo that was  an working vineyard south of Florence, each day we started with a sunrise shoot then head back to the Agriturismo for breakfast. After breakfast we would explore nearby villages for more images and a little shopping. I find that my best images are normally captured at sunrise and sunset except when you are lucky enough to have scattered showers thought the day. When everything is drenched from a fresh rain it enhances the colors. If you are luck enough to have partial overcast, as in this image, your colors are not washed out from the bright sunlight. The mix of blue sky and clouds helped to give this image it’s finishing touch.

 

Raw CR2 File

Siena Farmhouse – CR2 Raw image

Siena Farmhouse – CR2 Raw image

 

This histogram looks good but the image looks a little dark. In the Basics Pallet, I  start with the Exposure slider by moving the slider to +0.20 to brighten the image. This changes the Histogram by shifting the information to the left and created a little clipping in the highlights. To compensate for the clipping, I shifter the Recovery slider to 11 which shifted the highlighted area back to the right and eliminates the clipping.

 

The next step is to adjust for White Balance, this can be done by manually adjusting the Temperature and Tint sliders or using the dropdown menu. Using the dropdown menu to check the presets, with this image I liked the Daylight preset of 5500 Kelvin and +10, this added the warmth you normal see during daylight hours. 

 

The next adjustment I made was Clarity which adjusts midtone contrast. This is a wonderful adjustment which brought out crisper detail in this vineyard image. With the Vibrance slider  I added +40  to bring out the saturation in the midtones. I love this adjustment, it adds a much subtler saturation than you can achieve with the Saturation slider. In this case it enhanced the blues in the sky and richened the tones throughout the image.

Basic Pallet

Siena Farmhouse – Camera Raw 6.1 Elements 9 Basic Pallet

Siena Farmhouse – Camera Raw 6.1 Elements 9 Basic Pallet

The next adjustment I made was in the Camera Calibration pallet, to bring out the colors in this fall vineyard image. Using the Camera Profile dropdown menu I selected Camera Landscape, to bring out all the colors I remembered seeing in this wonderful image near Siena in Tuscany.

Camera Calibration

Siena Farmhouse – Camera Calibration – Camera Landscape

Siena Farmhouse – Camera Calibration – Camera Landscape

The Last adjustment I made was in the Detail Pallet. Right click on your screen and bring the image to 100%. By bringing the image to 100% you will be able to see the effect the sharpening is having on the image. On this image I set the Sharpening Amount at 100 with the pixel Radius at 1.1 and the Detail at 25, which are the setting I use 90% of the time.  With most images I find that if I set the Amount between 75 and 150 with the pixel Radius between .75 and 1.5 and the Detail amount at 25, I achieve my best results.

Detail Pallet

 

Siena Farmhouse – Detail Pallet – Sharpening

Siena Farmhouse – Detail Pallet – Sharpening

 

With just a few minuets of processing in Adobe Camera Raw 6.1 in Elements 9 we have a printable image that will bring out the beauty of  this Siena Farmhouse.

Adobe Camera Raw 6.1 - Elements 9 - Siena Farmhouse

Adobe Camera Raw 6.1 - Elements 9 - Siena Farmhouse

 I will work with this image for several more hours to bring out the colors and clone out antennas and other distractions but for all practical purposes this image is ready for printing.


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