Tag Archives: Sunset

San Gimignano, processed using Topaz Clarity

San Gimignano, Topaz Lens Effects, Vignette

San Gimignano, Topaz Clarity finished with Topaz Lens Effects, Vignette

Topaz software

I captured this image of San Gimignano, Italy at sunset in late October in 2012 while teaching a workshop.  The sky that evening had some clouds but not where I needed them and so we waited. The clients had taken some nice images of San Gimignano with  the vineyards in the foreground and a clear blue sky. We had starting the days shooting before sunrise and everyone was getting a little antsy and were ready for dinner. A few had already  pack up and were waiting by the van  to head home for the night.

I knew that the best chance for everyone to get a great image we needed to wait for the light. I had been on location once when the sky was uninteresting and decided to pack up and leave only to see a spectacular sunset in my rear view mirror. There is never any guaranties on what type of light we will have when we are out shooting but I can guarantee that we will be at great locations capturing the changing light and waiting for the  the magic to happen.

San Gimignano, unprocessed image

San Gimignano, unprocessed image

This unprocessed image was captured as the clouds rolled in after sunset with an aperture of  F/11 at .5sec.  After the sun set I was able to eliminate clipping in both the highlight and shadow areas.

Topaz Clarity Color and Contrast Boost II

Topaz Clarity Color and Contrast Boost II

I decided to process this image using Topazes new clarity software. Often I will stack an image in layers and this worked well for this image.  The 1st layer I applied Color and Contrast Boost II and liked the effect but like Oliver Twist I always want a little more.  The next layer I applied CityScape II  and which I liked even more but kept looking at other affects and liked Macro II. All these effects were processed in progressive layers with Topaz’s  Clarity software. But always wanting a little more I decided to vignette this image using the Lenses Effects software by Topaz and was excited with the finished image.

Topaz Clarity CityScape II

Topaz Clarity CityScape II

Topaz Clarity, Macro II

Topaz Clarity, Macro II

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/

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.

Sunset on the Ashley River

The Spring Charleston photographic workshop has ended after our morning shoot on the 9th of April. We started our last morning shoot photographing Rainbow Row, in the historic Battery Park section of Charleston. As the light shifted we zigzagged our way through the narrow streets capturing a few last images before the morning light was gone. After the soft morning light had gone we walked down to White Point Gardens and enjoyed the walk up Meeting St. enjoying each others company and taking a few last images along the way. When we arrived at Meeting St. and Broad St. we found a breakfast spot to have coffee, tea and a chocolate muffin while we spent a little time going over the locations we had enjoyed together before saying our goodbye’s.

We enjoyed good weather and shooting conditions through most of the trip and we were able to capture some extraordinary images. After everyone experienced photographing on a cloudy morning where we have extended shooting time before the morning sun oversaturated the colors they started to understand the concept of soft light.

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,

but by the moments that take our breath away”

One of the sunsets we were able to capture was truly exceptional

  It started out with a subtle beauty that often happens at sunset

Subtle Sunset on the Ashley River Charleston, South Carolina

The reflections in the Water were amazing to watch as the day changed into night

Reflections on the Ashley River

Reflections on the Ashley River

 This sunset over the Ashley River was truly one of those moments for me
       That Took My Breath Away
Moments that take your breath away - Last Light, Ashley River

Moments that take your breath away - Last Light, Ashley River

 I want to thank everyone in the group for their Friendship and the experiences we

shared in Charleston

Sunset-Santa Rosa, Florida-The Gulf Islands National Seashore

Sunset-Santa Rosa, Florida-The Gulf Islands National Seashore

Sunset-Santa Rosa, Florida-The Gulf Islands National Seashore

I processed this image using Photoshop CS5 and the Nik Software plug-in Color Efex Pro™ 3.0.

Sunset-Santa Rosa,Florida-The Gulf Islands National Seashore

Sunset-Santa Rosa,Florida-The Gulf Islands National Seashore

I processed this image using Photoshop CS5 and the Nik Software plug-in Color Efex Pro™ 3.0.

This weekend I am displaying at an art fair in Gulf Breeze Florida. Just south of Gulf Breeze is The Gulf Islands National Seashore a wonderful stretch of coastline in the Florida Panhandle. I will be in the area photographing sunrises and sunsets in the panhandle this week while I layover for next weeks art fair in Fairhope Alabama. This area is great to photograph any time and I hope to find the time to photograph this area in September one year when the Sea Oats are in bloom.

I photographed this image with a 5D Mark II with the 24-105L Canon lens. Using a 30 sec time exposure gives the water a smooth dreamy look. The Aperture was set at F 22 giving me an almost infinite depth of field. F 22 puts everything in focus from your Foreground which is the water and sand and is just a couple of feet away to your Background which is the sky and is several miles away. When I capture images using long exposures I always take multiple images. If the sand shifts during the exposure you will end up with motion blur and the first two images I opened up did have motion blur. Pixels are free so it doesn’t cost us the price of film and developing to shoot the image multiple times and delete the images we do not want to store in the processing stage.

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