Scenic photographer in his element

KEITH EDMUNDS
2:21 p.m. EDT June 28, 2014Mountain views.(Photo: Keith Edmunds)I began working as an art and scenic photographer over 30 years ago, sometime around my junior year in college, when my wife received a camera as a present. I was living in Burlington at the time. I borrowed her camera to try out some experimental shots like I had seen in some art magazines. A company that used to advertise in the newspaper gave away free film as long as you sent it back to them for processing. I got hooked on photography and spent every penny that didn’t go to food or rent on slide film. I tried all of the tricks and tips and learned quite a bit of fundamentals mostly by making mistakes. I didn’t keep the wife, but I did keep the camera, and up until last year it was still my primary camera body.Keith Edmunds(Photo: Courtesy photo)For over 15 years after that I lived in the Tampa/ St Petersburg, Fla., region where I exhibited and worked. Among other positions there I worked managing photo labs, teaching digital imaging, and as a portrait photographer. Portrait photography is a demanding business. It showed me the value in making good-looking images that people can relate to. Smart and arty pictures are all well and good, but they don’t pay the bills. A picture can be intelligent, but it has to be good looking too. It has to be well-composed, well-lit, and well-crafted or it will have no appeal, and with no appeal it has no viewers. Scenic photography and landscape do not get the full credit and serious treatment that they deserve from the artistic community. To create an image that has an instant appeal is a sign that it is communicating well. It does not need an explanation or a bunch of words to justify it, because it speaks directly.Pond(Photo: Keith Edmunds)Upon my return to Vermont I still do some art and commercial work, but I have primarily dedicated my energies to local landscape, local scenics, and local portraits. Vermont has a strong history of showing support for scenic and landscape photography, and that tradition is still very much alive in the local arts and crafts communities. It’s important for an artist to be a part of a community. If that community provides support and venues for artists, then those same artists should show a commitment in return. They have the ability to express and showcase the community… its land, its businesses, its people.Waterfalls(Photo: Keith Edmunds)Although I have 30 years of work shot with traditional film, the current work that I am now showing represents only local images and are all done since my recent transition entirely over to digital photography. The transition to digital has allowed me to produce a number of images and reach a number of people that would not have been possible in the days of film. A day’s worth of processing and editing with a digital camera that costs less than a dollar in electricity and file storage space would have cost thousands of dollars were I to try to reproduce that with film and labs. There is immediate access to the images right on the back of the camera. If something is going right you can explore that further. If something is going wrong you can see and correct the problem before a once-in-a-lifetime shot is lost forever. While there are many traditional cameras film emulsions that have gone out of production, and while I miss them greatly, the advantages of the digital age cannot be doubted. This truly is the golden age for photography and imaging.You can find most of my work online at www.keithedmunds.com and follow me on Facebook at https://www. facebook.com/rutlandvtphoto. Rutland residents or those who prefer to see prints in person can also find my work at The Purple Chandelier Boutique on North Main in Rutland.Read or Share this story: http://bfpne.ws/1lnvZkU

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17 Websites That Will Make You Smarter

Tired of wasting your time watching cat videos or scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed? Want to be more productive next time you go online?
Here’s a list of websites that will actually make you smarter:
1. digital photography School — Read through this goldmine of articles to improve your photography skills; they’re helpful even if you’re a complete beginner. There’s also an active forum where you can find a community of other photographers to connect with.
2. Duolingo — Sharpen your language skills with this fun, addictive game. It’s a college-quality education without the pricetag. If you’re looking for more free language-learning materials, you can also try BBC Languages.
3. Factsie — Did you know the horned lizard can shoot blood out of its tear ducts? Keep clicking through this site to find unusual historical and scientific facts, along with links to sources. Another great site for fun facts is Today I Found Out.
4. Freerice — Expand your vocabulary while feeding the hungry. It’s the best way to feel good about yourself and learn words you can use for the rest of your life.
5. Gibbon — This is the ultimate playlist for learning. Users collect articles and videos to help you learn things from iOS programming to effective storytelling.
6. Instructables — Through fun videos and simple instructions, you can learn how to make anything from a tennis ball launcher to a backyard fort. You can also submit your own creations and share what you make with the rest of the world. Still wanting to learn more? You can visit eHow and gain a wide range of skills, such as how to cook, decorate, fix, plan, garden, or even make a budget.
7. Investopedia — Learn everything you need to know about the world of investing, markets, and personal finance.
8. Khan Academy — Not only will you learn a wide variety of subjects through immensely helpful videos, but you’ll get a chance to practice them and keep track of your learning statistics, too. It’s a great way to further your understanding of subjects you’ve already taken or to learn something new. Other great learning sites include Udacity, Coursera, AcademicEarth, Memrise, and edX.
9. Lifehacker — On this highly useful site, you’ll find an assortment of tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done.
10. Lumosity — Train your brain with these fun, scientifically-designed games. You can build your own Personalized Training Program to improve your memory and attention and track your progress.
11. Quora — Get your questions answered by other smart people, or read through the questions other people have asked. You can learn anything from productivity hacks to the best foods of all time.
12. Recipe Puppy — Enter in all the ingredients you can find in your kitchen, and this wonderful search engine will give you a list of all the recipes you can make with what you have. It’s a great way to learn how to cook without the hassle of buying everything beforehand. For a more extensive list of recipes, try AllRecipes.
13. Spreeder — This free, online speed-reading software will improve your reading speed and comprehension. Just paste the text you’d like to read, and it’ll take care of the rest.
14. StackOverflow — It’s a question and answer site for programmers — basically a coder’s best friend. Other great sources to learn code are Learn X in Y Minutes, Codecademy, and W3Schools.
15. TED-Ed — This is a new initiative launched by TED with the idea of “lessons worth sharing.” It is meant to spark the curiosity of learners around the world by creating a library of award-winning, animated lessons created by expert educators, screenwriters, and animators. You can create your own customized lesson to distribute around the world by adding questions, discussion topics, and other supplementary materials to any educational video on YouTube.
16. Unplug The TV — A fun website that suggests informative videos for you to watch instead of TV. Topics range from space mining to “How Containerization Shaped the Modern World.”
17. VSauce — This Youtube Channel provides mind-blowing facts and the best of the internet, which will make you realize how amazing our world is. What would happen if the world stopped spinning? Why do we get bored? How many things are there? Watch the videos and find out. 

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Tips for Creating Dynamic, High-Impact Photographs

As photographers, we are always looking for ways to stretch our creative limits. We want to create the most amazing photos possible, but sometimes we lack the motivation. In her lecture “From Static to Dynamic: Creating Photographs with Impact,” This video teaches us how to tap into our creativity, develop a creative vision, and implement a variety of tools and techniques to test drive on the next shoot:
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Can You Learn to Be Creative?
Tharp says this is one of the most common questions asked in her workshops, and her answer is this:
“You can develop creative vision. You can develop your own unique creativity. But, you really have to open yourself up to things. You have to develop that creativity by opening your eyes to see the world around you more deeply.”
How to Develop Your Creativity
Brenda Tharp best describes this technique as “practicing daily seeing,” meaning you should always have your eyes open and be present in the moment. Here are a few of Tharp’s suggestions to help develop your creativity:
Practice “daily seeing” without your camera. When you’re out and about, pay attention to your surroundings and make mental notes of places or situations that would make a great picture.
Focus on your composition. Regardless of the subject, contemplate the placement of the subject in your photograph. Consider the message you are trying to convey, and (as always) make use of the rule of thirds.
Look at the light. Many photographers agree the best natural light occurs just after sunrise and about an hour before sunset. While this does provide you with the nice, warm, diffused light, you should also pay attention to the way the high sun affects shadows, colors and details on your subject. This will help you know what to do to alter the natural light if you do schedule a mid-day shoot.
Believe you are creative. Even if you master the use of natural lighting and composition, you need to maintain the core belief that you are creative. If you lack this belief, you may struggle with making your best pictures.
Fight self doubt. Every photographer is affected by self doubt. When you see an amazing photograph, you may question whether or not you would be able to create the same image. Rather than listen to your inner critic, you should allow yourself to play creatively and snap photos outside your comfort zone. You will probably be pleasantly surprised by the results.
Look beyond the simple subject and find the “hidden gem” of the picture.
“The color palate of the rose was so yummy, but I knew there was something more to it than just the picture of the rose,” says Tharp. She looked deeper into the flower and saw the layers of the petals with this single dew drop.
Be aware of your surroundings and learn to “sift through the chaos.” Tharp suggests that by looking deeply into what you’re seeing, you can take a nice (but chaotic) photo and turn it into something else.
How to Photograph Fleeting Moments
You should have your camera ready to capture these potentially fleeting moments. To practice this style of photography, give these tips a try:
Be on the lookout. While you’re out running errands or taking a walk, bring your camera along. Snap a photo if something strikes your fancy.
Pay attention to the fringes of activity. If you are shooting at an event, most people will be focused on the main performance. You can often get some interesting and insightful photos by snapping pictures of people watching the action, or smaller activities taking place “in the fringe.”
Respond to something specific. Create a little checklist of things to guide your eye when you’re out shooting. For example, you may want to focus on color, shadow, texture, humor, size, perspective, reflection, or lighting.
Pay attention to color and shadows.
Imagination Is More Important Than Knowledge
Tharp suggests asking “what if…” questions to capture a more unusual photograph. Consider panning your camera horizontally while snapping a shot of a sunset with a slow shutter to get a velvety, painted look, or use a slow shutter with a vertical pan in a forest to create an abstract, blended shot of the trees. She says it is still important to pay attention to the composition of the photo and aim to create depth when making an abstract.
This abstract style can give a more “art-like” appearance to an otherwise straightforward shot.
Tharp visited a church that had amazing stained glass windows. She didn’t want to capture the religious message portrayed in the windows, but really loved the colors. Combining the slow shutter with a slight pan resulted in this photo that looks more like a painting than a photograph.
In addition to moving your camera, you can change the texture of your photograph by shooting through fabric, mesh, or wet glass, or by layering multiple exposures of the same location. Let your imagination run wild and play around with any concepts that cross your mind.
Master the Craft
Once you develop a creative eye, you must be able to execute your vision in your pictures. In order to create your best photos, Tharp says you need to understand these concepts:
See the light.
Compose images creatively.
Incorporate visual design.
Create visual depth.
Capture gestures.
Use expressive techniques.
Light Makes Photography
Tharp says “light creates the opportunity,” but you must be able to use it appropriately. As photographers, we often seek angles that put a spot light on our subject. However, alternate lighting (such as back or side light) can give your image an entirely different mood.
Watch for ways to use back lighting and side lighting.
Lighting can give an ordinary object life. The way light casts shadows on your subject or captures a certain feature can make an otherwise ordinary picture into something extraordinary.
Pay attention to how the light illuminates your subject or scene. You may need to reposition yourself or your subject to get the light and shadows you desire. Try shooting with a variety of back, side, and front lighting to obtain the look you imagine.
Use light to create a mood. The color of the light can impact the mood of the photograph.
Wait for the “quiet light.” If you do shoot during full sun, wait for a cloud to pass over the sun to diffuse the light. Tharp calls this “quiet light” and says it’s great for photographing people and capture details in an object.
Tharp waited for a cloud to pass so she could capture the detail of the letters engraved on this old tombstone–something she says would not show up in a photo if photographed in full sun.
Dynamic Compositions
“A strong composition is when the raw materials–light, shape, line, etc.–are arranged in a meaningful way, and so give impact to the photograph.”
Even if you have all the perfect elements to create an amazing picture, Tharp says you must compose them in a way that conveys a specific meaning. The three main points you need to consider when dynamically composing a piece include:
Subject Position and Balance
Proportion and Scale
Counterpoint
Subject Position. Tharp suggests starting with the infamous rule of thirds–a technique that draws imaginary lines through your viewfinder, breaking your image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. This results in four intersecting places where you can place your subject to make your composition more dynamic. To figure out which of the points to use, decide what story you want your image to convey and consider people in this country most often read (and view photos) from left to right.
Tharp wanted to convey the story of “old and new,” so she wanted the viewer’s eye to travel left to right along the branch, out to the seed pod, then follow the pod down the right third of the photograph.
Here are a few other tips to compose more interesting pictures:
Compose in a way that feels comfortable. Don’t force the subject to be in a location that feels awkward or unnatural.
Consider negative and positive space. More negative space will force the focus onto your subject, while filling the space with your subject often gives a more intimate feel. The story you’re trying to tell will help you determine how much negative space you should use.
Allow space for moving objects to “move.” If you photograph a running horse, allow more space in front of the horse for it to run. This helps portray the action and looks much more natural than a photo that captures the horse running out of the frame.
Get one axis off center. If you are photographing a subject that could be completely symmetrical (a reflection, a face, flowers, etc.) you need to make sure that one axis is off center. The reason being that as humans, we like to look at something that is asymmetrical rather than something symmetrical.
Tharp framed the image to move the horizontal line of reflection above the midline of the photo to make a potentially symmetrical image asymmetrical.
Proportion and Scale. In a photo with several potential subjects, you should draw the viewer’s eye to the intended subject by making it larger. Tharp says this can be done through the use of perspective, by putting your subject closer to the camera.
Counterpoint. Sometimes you need additional information in the scene to convey the full context. By adding small counterpoints to your photograph, you can better tell a story without drawing the focus away from the subject.
Without the hanging meat in the background, the viewer would never know this man is a butcher.
Angles. “Setting up a tripod at shoulder height is static,” says Tharp. To create a more dynamic image, you need to change the angle from which you shoot. Most commonly, this means you either need to get down on the ground and shoot upward, or find a way to elevate yourself (or at least your camera) to aim downward and capture the image using an elevated approach.
Tharp got down on the ground to capture this low angle of this car and its reflection to produce a more dynamic photograph from an otherwise stagnant, static situation.
Leading the Eye. As a photographer, you are a storyteller. Therefore, you need to create a complete story within the confines of a single image. Ideally, you want to compose your picture so you lead the viewer’s eye through the entire photograph, telling the story along the way.
Tharp admits to missing the moment between the two men because just before she took this shot, the man getting his shoes shined was looking down at the man shining them, so you could see more of a moment between the two. Instead, she captured the man looking down the street, so the viewer’s eye naturally follows his glance, looking down the street to where nothing is going on.
“Where humans are looking, you tend to look as well.” Tharp says this is also true for animals in photographs because wherever the subjects glance is going, the viewer will naturally follow their line of sight to another point in the picture.
Elements of Design
Several design elements can be used in photography to make an otherwise ordinary photo into something special. Such elements include:
Lines
Shape
Pattern
Texture
Lines. Repetitive lines in a photograph make an image more interesting. Lines can be created through shadows (light coming through blinds), or natural (water falling over the edge of a rock ledge).
Tharp combines the scalloped edge lines of the rock with the repetitive lines in the water as it flows over the edge.
Shape. Since photography is a two-dimensional medium, every object is viewed as a shape. Combining contrasting shapes in a single image allows for an interesting juxtaposition that can create a more dynamic photo.
Tharp shot this photo because it was chalk full of a variety of shapes in an interesting combination. The circles of the bike tires, the rectangular doors, and the sharp edges of the stairs are all emphasized by the reflection.
Pattern. Repeated patterns can be soothing, invigorating, or add interest to an otherwise static photo. Tharp says a key to capturing a pattern in a picture is to fill your frame so the pattern spills out the edges of your viewfinder to emphasize the ongoing nature of the pattern.
Tharp thought the image of the fish in the baskets would make an interesting picture as a single subject, but found the repeated pattern resulting from showing all the baskets created a much more dynamic photograph.
Texture. Crisp, sharp images of subjects with specific textures add an interesting and dynamic element to your photograph. Tharp suggests focusing on something with a texture that makes you want to reach out and touch it.
Creating Visual Depth
Ultimately, photography distills a 3D world into 2D. “Despite it being a flat photograph, we need to create an illusion of depth,” says Tharp. To do this, you need to use depth of field, perspective, and selective focus. Tharp reminds us that all these aspects will shift based on how and where you, as the photographer, move when taking the photo.
Near/Far Relationship. Often used in landscape, this relationship is all about perspective.
Selective Focus. This technique is used to make a single element stand out due to its sharpness compared to everything else in the picture. Tharp explains that “other elements may tell you the story of the picture, but only one single item is deemed ‘important’ using this technique.”
Tharp tells us that the focus is on the single guard. She visually tells us this by ensuring he won’t blend in with the rest of the guards, keeping his uniform and facial expression in focus.
Gesture. The moment when there’s an expression in the body language or face of the subject is referred to as “gesture.” Often seen with animals and small children, gesture can be captured with nearly any subject in non-posed situations. One piece of advice Tharp shares is that “you must be ready to capture these moments because they are fleeting.” She goes on to say “if you are going to take a little while to photograph people, talk to them. This keeps them engaged. Otherwise, they will start to feel uncomfortable and their expression and body may freeze, resulting in an uncomfortable, unnatural photo.”
Tharp shares one of her photos capturing the gesture of a wave in nature.
Expressive Techniques
You can use a combination of the techniques listed to convey a certain mood or expression in your photographs.
“I asked, ‘what if I slow the shutter speed down?’ to capture the energy and frenzy of the market. Some people are frozen in time, others are moving to abstract the moment.”
Tharp used a slower shutter speed to capture the chaotic scene in a shopping market.
Ultimately, you want to create photographs that convey your own personality, tone, humor, and vision.
“Open up to seeing without question and taking in the wonderful, beautiful things that are around us. Take these things in and add to it the mastery of your craft to create amazing, dynamic images.” –Brenda Tharp

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Reviewing the Loka UL Adventure Backpack from F-Stop Gear

A Post By: Jeff Guyer

The new Loka UL backpack from F-Stop Gear combines lightweight rugged protection for your camera gear with the space you need for other outdoor essentials.
Among the many life lessons learned from my father was the one about always making sure you have the right tool for the job. I think we all do our best to apply this wisdom to the gear we pack inside our camera bags, but I’ve always felt that it’s just as important to apply it to the bags themselves. For starters, the bag that gets you to the gig isn’t always the best bag for getting you through the gig. I have a lot of bags. A lot. Until recently, though, I never had a bag that adequately combined protective storage for the gear with room for other essentials like a jacket, food, or other hiking gear for when an assignment– or life– takes me off the beaten path. The just-released Loka UL (Ultra Light) from F-Stop Gear not only combines those elements for me, but does so in one of the more innovative ways I’ve seen in a while.
First Impressions
Fresh out of the box, I was impressed with the high-quality construction and attention to detail. Modeled after F-Stop’s original Mountain Series Loka pack, the Loka UL has been stripped down to the essentials.  More than a full 1/3 lighter than the original, this newer version has been simplified in the interests of weight reduction and better freedom of movement. Those goals have been achieved without any compromise whatsoever in the build quality. A ripstop nylon water-repellent shell, internal aluminum frame, and a new ergonomic harness provide the lighter weight, as well as a more even distribution of the load.
Specs and Features
Height:  22 inches (55.9 cm)
Width:  12.5″ (31.8 cm)
Depth: 11″ (27.9 cm)
Volume: 37 liters
Weight empty:  2.25 lbs. (1.02 kg)
Price: $249.00 (USD)
DWR (durable water repellant) treated, 210D Ripstop Nylon with PU2 (Urethane moisture curing) coating
EVA (Ethylene vinyl acetate) padded hip belt, EVA-padded shoulder straps, and internal aluminum frame for easier handling of heavy loads
Jersey laminate EVA-padded back panel for ventilation and comfort control
YKK brand reversed zippers for extra weather protection
ITW brand buckles
Easy-to-reach side mesh pocket with ripstop nylon base and elastic cuff for water bottles
Drainage weep holes on sides and front pockets
Rain cover pocket in base of pack
Organizer pockets in top lid for batteries, memory cards, smart phones, etc.
Front panel pocket ideal for jackets, extra layers, ground tarp, etc.
Internal nylon sleeve fits up to a 13″ laptop, or doubles as a hydration bladder pocket
Quick-release side compression straps can secure tripods, ski poles, skis, etc.
Sternum strap includes integrated whistle for emergencies
Belt and shoulder suspension straps help adjust load for optimum weight distribution
Several exterior D-rings and attachment points for accessories
An integrated hydration system (bladder not included) will be a plus for outdoor photographers.
Internal Camera Unit (ICU)
The heart and soul of the F-Stop Mountain Series is the Internal Camera Unit (ICU). Available in ten different sizes, the ICU lets you select the ideal-sized padded insert for your camera gear, while balancing available space between camera gear and other essentials like clothes, food, camping equipment, etc. Like other bags in the Mountain series, the Loka UL can accommodate one or more ICUs, depending on the size selected. Pictured here is the Shallow Medium ICU– one of the three recommended ICU sizes for this bag. Six of the 10 available ICUs will fit the Loka UL, but the other larger ones would seriously cut down on space available for non-camera essentials, defeating the entire purpose of the bag. The ICU rests securely in the bottom of the Loka UL and is kept in place with four Velcro tabs around the internal aluminum frame. Camera gear is accessed through the back panel of the pack.
Gear stored in the ICU is accessed through the back of the pack.
Every ICU is made with double ripstop nylon and a polyurethane coating.  High-density cross link foam dividers and side walls keep gear secure and protected. The ICU also works well as a modular storage system for your gear. The foam lid protects your precious cargo when used for storage or transport, and can be folded back and out of the way for easier access to gear when it’s in the pack. The dimensions of the ICU shown here are:
External:  5″ (L) x 11.5″ (W) x 11″ (H) (12.7 cm x 29.2 cm x 27.9 cm)
Internal: 4.5″ x 10.5″ x 10″  (11.4 cm x 26.7 cm x 25.4 cm)
Weight Empty: 0.95 lbs (0.43 kg)
ICUs also work well as modular storage systems when the bag’s not in use.
It’s worth pointing out that the Loka UL makes for a great all-around backpack with the ICU completely removed, for those unheard of situations (GASP!) when you might actually leave the photo gear at home. Note: If this happens to you, seek help immediately.
Hitting the Trails
Stabilizing straps on the shoulders and at the waist help maintain a comfortable, even distribution of weight.
Summer has already hit here in Georgia (USA) with all the grace of a runaway freight train, so I’ll have to get back to you on how the Loka UL performs in cold, snowy conditions. But I can say that it did great in the heat, humidity and rain while hiking through paths, hills and riverbeds. Obviously, comfort is the #2 priority when choosing a camera backpack. I say #2 because let’s face it– protecting the gear is #1. But comfort is key and the Loka not only met my expectations, but vastly exceeded them. By biggest complaints in the past about camera backpacks has been the comfort issue. I’ve never doubted their ability to protect the gear. Sometimes, though, it’s their unfailing gear protection that makes them too heavy or unwieldy for actual hiking or camping. The fact that the Loka has been designed specifically for hiking, camping, skiing and other outdoor activities helps ensure that it strikes a great balance of form and function.
I was very impressed with the wide variety of pockets on this bag. Someone was obviously paying attention to the real-life needs and concerns of outdoor photographers. Features such as a pocket perfectly sized for a protein bar on the harness straps, as well as drainage “weep holes” at the bottom of some exterior pockets all add up to maintaining what you need and discarding what you don’t. There’s an old saying when it comes to hiking– “Take only pictures and leave only footprints.” This bag even has multiple pockets available for responsibly taking your trash with you.
With stabilizing straps at both shoulders and each side of the hip belt, adjusting and readjusting distribution of the load was extremely easy. Obviously, the bag alternates between getting lighter and heavier over the course of the day. The camera goes in and out of the bag. You stop to eat. Put on or take off a jacket. Being able to make those adjustments quickly and easily takes one more item off the list of things you need to worry about. The stabilizers and harness straps work well together to keep any potential back strain to a minimum.
We did encounter some light to moderate rain while testing the Loka. I opted to skip the rain cover, and was pleased to see that the water-repellent fabrics did exactly what they were supposed to do.
What I Packed in Mine
The image below breaks down the camera gear I packed in the ICU. Other items packed in the remaining areas of the bag included: Jacket, hat, towel, dry shirt, bug spray, two water bottles, lunch, and a few snacks.

Wrap-up and Recommendations
Variety is the spice of life and that same philosophy can (and should) apply to camera bags. I have bags that I only use for storage. I have one that’s been configured for nothing but lighting equipment. I have “everything but the kitchen sink” bags for commercial shoots, and small shoulder bags that won’t hold much more than a camera and two lenses. They all serve their specific purpose and the Loka UL is no different. It’s the first bag I’ve had that can carry not only the right amount of gear, but the other essentials needed for a day on the trails. Outdoor photography is both a challenge and an adventure. The Loka UL from F-Stop Gear helps you meet those challenges head-on and I highly recommend it for whenever adventure comes knocking on your door.

I try to steer you guys towards Amazon as much as I can, but the Loka UL backpack is currently available exclusively through F-Stop gear. That’s actually a good thing, insofar as configuring your bag and ICU combination is a lot easier when you have every possible combination in one place. Prices for the bag and ICU as shown in this review: Loka UL Backpack ($249.00 USD), Medium Shallow ICU ($79.00 USD). Click here for more information. As always, feel free to post any questions you have in the comments.
SummaryReviewer Jeff GuyerReview Date 2014-06-29Reviewed Item Loka UL Adventure BackpackAuthor Rating

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Famed Photographer Sally Wiener Grotta Will Offer a Series of Exclusive Photography & Imaging …

(PRWEB) June 28, 2014 To be mentored by one of the “Greats” is the dream of all serious hobby photographers, as well as entry-level or mid-career photographers. Sally Wiener Grotta will be offering a series of exclusive photography and imaging Master Classes that will be kept so small that each student will have the opportunity for one-on-one guidance and mentoring with Sally. However, given her busy schedule of American Hands exhibits, photo shoots, personal appearances and lectures, the Master Classes will be only a couple of weekends a year, when she can find the time.
Covering one to four days, the Master Classes will include:

Photography Immersion Workshops
Fine Art Printing Workflow
Adobe Photoshop Immersion
Mastering Adobe Lightroom
Developing Your Grant Proposal
Seeing & Using LightGiven how few Master Classes Sally can offer per year, she has posted a survey on her website, so prospective students can vote on what she will teach next. In addition, Sally will be accepting Mentoring requests on a hourly basis.
Each Master Class will be limited to only a handful of photographers, allowing each student private mentoring time with Sally, to address his or her specific interests and needs. Computer-based classes (such as photo editing in Adobe Lightroom) are limited to four students. Other classes (such as on lighting or model portraiture) are usually limited to no more than six to eight students. To get a sense of what a Master Class with Sally is like, check out the video of John Iasiuolo’s interview with Sally.
To be put on a waiting list for the next Master Classes with Sally Wiener Grotta, use the Contact form on her website.
ABOUT SALLY WIENER GROTTA
Every once in a while great artists are able to transcend… Sally’s vision is grand… [and] … reflected in the warmth she portrays in the people she photographs and the world she captures. ~Steven Rosenbaum, President of SIR Communications and former Editor of Modern Photography.
Recognized as “one of the world’s top photographers,” such is Sally’s renown that she is generally referred to by her first name. A pioneer in digital art, Sally developed new creative techniques and styles in the medium when it was still in its infancy. Numerous other experts in digital photography and imaging have acknowledged that they first learned the basics from Sally’s books, articles and/or lectures.
Sally is credited with a number of “firsts” in the field of photography and digital imaging. These include a major one-woman art exhibit at the Apple Market Center in New York City, which was the first all-digital show at the Center. (Some say it was the first all-digital art show in Manhattan.) The creator of the American Hands photo project, her exhibits have been seen and admired by hundreds of thousands of individuals.
A former chapter president of American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and Contract Shooter for The Stock Market photo agency, Sally has traveled on assignment all over the world, to every continent (including three trips to Antarctica), plus many exotic islands (such as Papua New Guinea and Madagascar). Sally’s photographs and articles have appeared in many magazines and books, including: Islands Magazine, Réalities, Parade, San Francisco Magazine, Showboats International, Newsweek, Lear’s, The Robb Report, Popular Science, Woman’s Day, American Heritage, and scores of others. She has also authored hundreds of articles and numerous books on photography and imaging, and is a popular guest for radio and TV interviews on the subject.
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11982189.htm

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Improve your vacation photos after digital camera workshop

SHOW LOW — You’ve “read” the manual that came with your digital camera. But what do all of those icons, ISO settings, Fn, A/V and AEL buttons really mean or do?

In Gerry A. Good’s “Let’s Learn to Use Your digital camera!” Northland Pioneer College noncredit workshop (reference STC 099x-81333), you’ll learn how to use the full capabilities of your digital camera to improve your photography skills and boost your creativity just in time for graduation ceremonies, nature shots, travel and family vacations. The three-evening workshop also covers the fundamentals of exposure, f-stops and shutter speeds, and composition.

The “Digital Camera!” workshop costs $49 and meets Tuesdays, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. July 8, 15 and 22, in the Aspen Center, room 110, on the Show Low – White Mountain Campus, 1001 W. Deuce of Clubs. Students should bring their digital camera and manual to the class.

Good is an experienced action sports, fine art, landscape and nature photographer and is the owner of Arlen Good Photography. He has spent many years following rodeos, cowboy action shooters and mounted cowboy action shooters, as well as kids sports and adult adventure events. He is a contributing photographer for the Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson and the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens.

His journey with photography began in 1967 and includes institutional and private instruction, and commercial photography. He has written dozens of “How To” articles about cameras, photography equipment and photographic techniques. He also worked as a science show producer at the Santa Fe Planetarium, producing deep-sky astro-photographs, as well as teaching astrophotography.

Sign up for the “Let’s Learn to Use Your Digital Camera!” workshop at least three days before the class starts to ensure it is not canceled due to insufficient enrollment. Register at any NPC location or by phone, (928) 524-7459 or (800) 266-7845, ext. 7459, during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, or 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays.

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At Your Library: Interested in photography? Library can help

“1, 2, 3, say cheese! Wait, let me get another one .” I’ll bet this is a phrase that you will either say or hear a few times this summer as you capture moments of your vacations and cookouts with your camera.

In my family, two of my brothers-in-law and I are always taking pictures of people, events and places. All the children in the family are so used to our taking pictures that they immediately pose whenever they see our cameras.

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Weekly Photography Challenge Hills and Valleys

A Post By: Darlene Hildebrandt

Earlier today I shared a collection of images of hills and mountains. Now it’s your turn.
This week’s photography challenge is to get out and do some landscape photography. Specifically hills, valleys and mountains – get out into some natural landscape.
Some ideas to get started:
By Centurion
By rachel_thecat
By Justin Brown
By Earthwatcher
By arbyreed
By *Light Painting*
By Daniel Peckham
By Mark Wassell
For tips on landscape and nature try these articles:
Show use your mountain and hill images
Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section as pictured below) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer upload them to your favourite photo sharing site and leave the link to them. Okay, ready to impress us?

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How an eyewear e-retailer saves time and money on product photography

FrancisDrakeEyewear.com took images for 42 eyeglass frames in three hours, which would have taken two days with traditional digital photography equipment.

Photographing 42 pairs of frames with traditional digital photography tools for Francis Drake Eyewear’s launch this week would have taken Tyler Evans two days, he estimates. But, with new photography software, it took him just three hours.
Online eyewear retailer FrancisDrakeEyewear.com launched this week, and it is the first foray into consumer sales for the Evans family, which started eyewear wholesale company J&K Optical in 1988.
For the wholesale business, product images were not particularly important, Evans says. But consumers buying online rely on images to see exactly what they’re getting, he says. “Obviously, price and quality of the product is going to play a factor, but you have to have nice images,” Evans says. “Consumers think that what they’re seeing on the screen is exactly what they’re going to get. With wholesalers, it’s a little different. They have an idea what they’re getting quality wise.”

So, for the launch of FrancisDrakeEyewear.com, it was important to take high-quality product images, but the e-retailer didn’t have thousands of dollars to spend for professional photography. Evans turned to Shutter Stream, a photography software developed especially for e-commerce product images.
Evans says the software allowed him to take three shots of a pair of glasses in one or two minutes—compared to the 15 minutes it would have taken him with traditional digital photography tools.
With Shutter Stream, a photographer can send images from a digital camera to a computer through a USB cord, then see what each image looks like on the computer screen rather than having to look through the camera’s view finder. The software also turns the mouse into a shutter button, allowing the user to take images with the click of a mouse.
The software also features an overlay option that lets the photographer see the previous shot, which allows for consistency if the photographer needs shots of a product from multiple angles and so similar products have the same framing. That lends a professional look to the images, Evans says.
An editing interface is included with the software and allows for batch editing, which means the same edits can be applied to multiple photos at one time instead of having to make individual changes. For example, if each image needs to be cropped to a square size, that can be done with one edit and applied to all selected photos.
Many smaller retailers use images provided by vendors or manufacturers, but having unique images can also boost a retailer’s position on search engine results pages, says Michael Atman, the CEO of IconaSys Inc., the developer of Shutter Stream. Atman says retailers can distinguish their unique product images by using alt text, the text that appears when a browser can’t display an image; matching image names to focused keywords and product names; and keeping the background consistent throughout all products images, regardless of manufacturer.
The software retails for $349. IconaSys also offers free trials of the software.

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Rome man captured tornado on digital camera

ROME >> A man in East Rome unexpectedly snapped the only known photo of the tornado that hit Verona last Tuesday while testing out the settings on his new point-and-shoot camera.

Daniel Mizer, 53, said that he purchased his new camera while it was on sale, urged by his son to pick up new equipment. Mizer said that he picked up the camera to test some settings and try to capture a few shots of the lightning outside of his fifth-story apartment and didn’t even realize that he had captured to the funnel cloud forming.

It wasn’t until the next day when he was freeing up space on the device that he saw the tornado, which he initially thought was part of a tree.

“I thought it was a tree branch, but then I realized I was way too high up to get one in the shot,” Mizer said.

Mizer recently settled into what he considers an early retirement after he injured his back during a construction incident. Mizer said that doctors have told him he cannot return to work without extensive surgery. For years, he has worked as a caregiver, moving from the ARC to a maximum security hospital in a local correctional facility. He spent several years as a drug and alcohol abuse counselor in Florida before moving back to New York.

Mizer’s interest in photography is nothing new.

“I always liked taking pictures,” Mizer said. “From throw-away cameras to Polaroids, I’ve always taken pictures of fishing trips and other outings. I like to keep memories of things.”

Mizer said that he considers the picture a “stroke of luck” and does not consider himself a photographer. He spends his time behind the camera taking photos of wildlife around his apartment complex and neighborhood, in between coffee breaks and visits with neighbors. He used to hunt, but he said he can’t sit for prolonged periods of time anymore because of his back.

“I was just so excited,” Mizer said. “I was messing with different timing settings and other features and I got a picture of a tornado.”

Mizer said that he plans on spending more time developing his photography skills. His most recently accomplishment, however, was becoming a grandfather– he said that he is looking forward to making a trip to Tennessee soon to meet the newest member of his family and make some new photographic memories.

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