Tips for photographing your garden

Couresy of Marty Ross | Keep your camera at hand, and you’ll be able to capture some of the birds and butterflies that visit your garden. This yellow swallowtail butterfly lingered for a while on bright-orange blackberry lilies in the summer sun.

Sunday June 22, 2014 12:01 AM

By Marty Ross – Universal Uclick

Making a habit of photographing your own garden – or gardens you visit – helps you seize beautiful moments, tell stories and bring your ideas >>>>Continue

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Weekly Nikon news flash #268

→ Sony a7s beats the Nikon Df and scores as the best low-light camera at DxOMark.
→ Xtreme Tether is another wireless remote transmitter for Nikon dslr cameras (see previous coverage on the blog).
→ New Nikon Behind the Scenes video – Dramatic Portrait Lighting:

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→ Two new videos on the Nikon 1 V3 and D4s cameras from B&H:
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Night time Landscape Photography Tips

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Tips on taking landscape photographs at night, including capturing star trails and how to photograph star filled skies and the milky way. | See more …

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Apple Might Finally Solve Photo Storage Hell

Editors Note: Brenden Mulligan is a co-founder and designer at Cluster, a web and mobile app which enables users to create private social networks around interests and experiences. 
We take a bazillion photos with our phones and digital cameras. The digital images mostly just sit, clogging up our hard drive(s). This has been a problem for as long as digital photography has existed and it’s getting worse. Camera resolutions are getting bigger and with it, the file sizes of our digital photos are growing.
Although many companies have taken a crack at this problem, I think Apple’s upcoming iCloud Photo Library could be the perfect solution — if they do it right.
Photo storage is still a mess
I currently have a 100GB iPhoto library on my Macbook Air’s 250GB hard drive. I look at the photos approximately never. But I’m not going to delete them. They’re my memories, and even though I don’t look at them often, I want to preserve them.
I could move them to an external drive or cloud storage, but keeping an iPhoto library on an external drive can be messy. I have them backed up through Backblaze, but that requires I still keep them on my computer. Same with Dropbox (without more advanced configuration).
The point is, there isn’t a turnkey solution to:
preventing these photos from clogging up my hard drive
making sure these photos are safe
being able to access them whenever I want
Sure I could design a complicated storage solution for myself, but most users won’t do that.
People have tried to solve this problem

Over the past four years, a bunch of startups have tried to solve part of this problem. Everpix had a nice solution but went into the deadpool last year. Snapjoy was scooped up by Dropbox early and is now Carousel. ThisLife was acquired by Shutterfly. And a few more never made much of a splash.
In my opinion, no one has done it right.
I once started to work on this problem
In 2011, I prototyped a solution. It was called Photobank. It worked by:
uploading the photos from your device(s) to the cloud
removing the local high-resolution versions from your device(s)
replacing the local versions with low-resolution copies
allow any device to access the photo library and download high-resolution versions.
The business model was simple: Users would pay for the service according to how many photos they saved.
I was so compelled by the idea that I put a concept pitch together and sent it to some friends. The feedback on the idea was positive. People agreed the problem existed and this would be a great solution to it, but ultimately I decided to not build Photobank for the following reasons:
People wouldn’t pay. I don’t think people are willing to pay for photo storage on top of their normal file storage. That led me to the conclusion that if anyone was going to solve this problem, it had to be Apple, Google or Dropbox.
Too much upfront load. Users need to understand value from a service in order to pay for it. Dropbox and Evernote users experience the magic of the services slowly and usually only need to pay when they’re already hooked (because they’re using it so much they run out of space). With Photobank, users wouldn’t get it until their entire photo library was imported. This is a huge load for the service for each user and would be really hard to scale.
Crowded space. There were already enough players in the space and I wanted to see how things shook out over the next few months before diving into the idea.
I wanted to focus on collaboration. Personally, the most compelling part of Photobank was the collaboration aspect. But the way I wanted collaboration to work would only happen if a user’s social graph was already storing all their photos on Photobank. That kind of saturation would take a long time, and I didn’t want to wait for that hurdle for users to access the collaboration features.
Instead, I co-founded Cluster to focus purely on aspects of photo collaboration and left solving the storage problem behind.
Apple might finally have a solution
At WWDC 2014, Apple announced a big upgrade to its Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, a service that claims to be the ultimate backup system:

This sounds amazing, but it sounds like it’s limited to iOS devices, which doesn’t solve the problem of my computer being full of photos. However, Apple also announced a new Photos app for OS X, which seems like it’ll eventually be an iPhoto replacement for the desktop. This has me hopeful that they might be closer to building something actually worth paying for.
My iCloud Photo Library dream
Knowing that Apple is moving in the right direction, I wanted to put together a brief wish list for the iCloud Photo Library. As you’ll see, my hope is that the service isn’t much different from what I initially envisioned for Photobank. Here’s how it would work:
I would connect my iPhone, iPad, or Mac (through iPhoto or the new Photos app) to the iCloud Photo Library.
iCloud would move all of my original photos off of my connected device and onto iCloud servers. They would leave a much smaller version of the same photo on my device (optimized for the device, so low res for iPhone wouldn’t be the same as low res on my laptop). If I wanted, it would also save this low resolution version to my other connected devices.
When I opened my photo library on my device, I would instantly see the local, low resolution versions of my photos. I could scroll, swipe, and pinch to my heart’s desire without accessing the network.
If I needed a higher resolution for printing and editing, it would then — and only then — pull down the larger image from the iCloud servers. Once I was done with it, it would save the edited version to iCloud and get the large image off my device.
If they set it up this way, photos would no longer clog up my hard drive, always be safely backed up, and completely accessible whenever I wanted. A dream come true.
As for the expense, Apple has already announced very reasonable new iCloud pricing; $50/year for 200GB is great. For comparison, Dropbox is $200/year for 200GB.
This is my hope for iCloud Photo Library. I have a feeling it’ll be a fraction of this at first, but over time grow into the service I’ve always wanted. Although this would obviously only work for people who have adopted the Apple ecosystem, I think it could be one of the most straightforward, turnkey solutions that could exist, and would be very appealing to Apple’s entire customer base.

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Overview of Some of the New Features of Photoshop CC June 2014

A Post By: Darlene Hildebrandt

Recently Adobe announced their newest incarnation of their flagship product, Photoshop Creative Cloud (CC). Some of the new things look really interesting and I can see a lot of applications for them.
In this video French photographer Serge Ramelli goes over some of the new features that you may find useful including:
selections based on focus area
new spin blur and path blur
content aware fill improvements (added color tone consideration)
warp tool improvements
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For a more extensive list of the new features let’s hear what Adobe instructor Julieanne Kost has to say in this official video from Adobe:
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For a full list of all the new features and changes visit the Adobe website.
When Adobe first introduced their Cloud membership program there was a lot of backlast from photographers. You can no longer just buy Photoshop, you have to buy into the monthly option, and many photographers found it more expensive ($49 USD/month for the whole Creative Suite or $29.99 just for Photoshop) than simply upgrading once every two years, or every second version.
Adobe’s listened and responded with the Photoshop Photography program, which at the time of this article is $9.99/month USD and as of June 18th is available to anyone, amateur or pro. That price will get you both Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5 (the current version).
Where do you you stand on this?
Do you use Photoshop?
Have you upgraded to the Cloud or are you hanging on to an older version? Is there a new feature that puts it over the top for you to take the plunge?
Let us know where you stand on this issue and what software you plan to use moving forward.
More Photoshop tips

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Pin by Vanessa Knutsen on Photography tips…videos…etc.

[unable to retrieve full-text content]101 Family Picture Tips & Ideas! Everything from choosing your props, poses, and clothes…all the way to tips for looking good and getting your kids to …

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Free mirrorless photo workshop this week with Fujifilm

Anyone in Joburg fancy picking up a few tips for getting the most out of a modern mirrorless camera? Fujifilm South Africa is hosting an evening of talks this coming Thursday 26th June at its offices in Waverly, with tips and advice from four to pros who are using mirrorless cameras in their day jobs already.
Obviously there’ll be a bit of a slant towards Fuji’s own X-System (all the photographers are unpaid brand ambassadors), but it looks well worth going along to, especially if you’re currently deciding whether to buy a traditional dslr set-up or a lighter mirrorless system.
Established snappers are set to talk on Thursday night include commercial photographer Pierre Van Der Walt of, US-based author and photographer RC Concepcion, Gus Waschefort and environmental portrait photographer Neill Soden.
Things take place at Fujifiln SA House, 17 Scott Street in Waverly, Johannesburg at 7pm. Admission is free and you can book your place by calling 011 430 5400. More details on the FujifilmZA Facebook site too.
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20 Years Ago, Apple and Kodak Launched the Digital Camera Revolution

Back in Apple’s dark ages — during Steve Jobs’ interregnum in the mid-1990s — the company experimented with some strange products. Everyone remembers the ill-fated Newton PDA, for instance, which was considered ahead of its time. Less memorable was the QuickTake 100, the first mass market color consumer digital camera.
First unveiled at the Tokyo MacWorld Expo on February 17, 1994, the QuickTake 100 went on sale 20 years ago from yesterday — June 20, 1994. It was priced at $749 and initiated the age of consumer digital photography.

One reason why the QuickTake 100 is not often mentioned as an Apple breakthrough — other than the fact that Jobs’ himself had nothing to do with it — was that it’s one of the few non-computer products Apple produced and one Apple itself didn’t design.
The QuickTake 100, which captured and stored eight 640 x 480 pixel (or 16 320 x 240 pixel 24-bit color images) was the product of the inventor of the digital camera: Kodak. Afraid of jeopardizing its film business, Kodak didn’t want its own name on its own creation, just one in a long series of digital camera history ironies.
What’s even less known is how that first binocular-shaped digital camera started out 20 years earlier as a toaster-shaped device.
The accidental chip
There would be no digital camera or no digital imaging of any kind without the charged-coupled device, otherwise known as the CCD, that was invented by a couple of Nobel prize winners completely by accident.
As the story goes, Dr. George E. Smith wandered into the office of his boss, Dr. Willard Boyle, at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ, on Sept. 8, 1969, for their usual brainstorming session. Smith and Boyle convened that warm but drizzly fall afternoon to talk about semiconductor integrated circuits. Their boss asked them to examine if it was possible to devise a form of bubble memory using semiconductors.
George E. Smith, then 79, receives a congratulatory telephone call at his home in Waretown, N.J. in 2009, after it was announced that he had won the Nobel Prize in physics. Smith, along with Willard S. Boyle, were honored for inventing the eye of the digital camera, a sensor able to transform light into a large number of pixels, the tiny points of color that are the building blocks of every digital image.
Image: Mel Evans/Associated Press

Smith had been involved with an effort to create an electron beam imaging tube for Bell’s Picturephone, having a target consisting of an array of silicon diodes. After jotting some notes on the blackboard, Smith realized what they were devising could store data, but also could be an image sensor.
The CCD takes advantage of the solid state equivalent of the photoelectric effect that won Albert Einstein his lone Nobel Prize in 1921. Amazingly, it took the pair only an hour to sketch out what would become the first digital imaging chip.
“[We] knew we had something special,” Boyle, who worked both on the laser and helped choose landing sites for the Apollo mission, later understated. “We are the ones who started this profusion of little cameras all over the world.”
Boyle died in 2011 at age 86.
The CCD was announced early in 1970 and was quickly picked up by several companies including RCA, which marketed the commercial TV chip Fairchild that made an aerial camera for the U.S. Air Force, Texas Instruments, and, of course, by Bell Labs for its Picturephone.
In 2009, Boyle and Smith were awarded the Nobel Prize for physics for their invention of the CCD. But it took a gangly young fresh-faced Kodak engineer to give the CCD its true purpose.
Part-time work
While Boyle and Smith were creating the CCD, Steve Sasson — who later became known as the inventor of the digital camera — was still in college. Soon after earning his bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Renesselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY, in 1973, the 23-year-old Sasson joined nearby Kodak as an junior electrical engineer working in an applied research laboratory in the Apparatus Division.
Steve Sasson holds his creation.
Image: Stewart Wolpin

In early December 1974, Sasson’s boss stopped the young engineer in the entrance to his office and told him about these new-fangled CCDs. “Why don’t you see if you can do some imaging with this device?” his boss casually suggested.
While capturing a digital image sparked Sasson’s curiosity, he had a plethora of projects on his plate. He noodled about this CDD imaging idea in his spare time.
“I started to look around how these things worked and read whatever I could about them,” Sasson told me eight years ago during an interview. “Then I thought about how to capture images, then maybe building a camera. It became really came clear to me that if I could digitize an image, freeze it and hold it and analyze it and store it and look at it, that was sort of the goal.”
First, he ordered a two 24-pin dual inline Fairchild type 201 100 x 100 pixel CCDs for about $500. Inside the box were handwritten instructions that described the dozen clock setting and matching voltage variables.

A look inside the camera.”Each device would work only if each voltage was set at a certain value,” he told me. “These things were very experimental, and it only took one of these voltages to be off and you wouldn’t get any output. Then at the bottom was written ‘good luck.’ I remember looking at this and saying, ‘boy, I’m in trouble.'”
Getting the CCD to work required a lot of trial and error: “There was a plan, you do the plan and you think everything’s right and there’s no signal coming out, so what do you do? In addition to getting all the clocking signals generated, the output of the CCD is just little pulses of voltage,” Sasson said. “A volt for each pixel in the image is represented by a short pulse of voltage that appears at the output terminal. I had to build all the clocking in order to see these little the pulses that represent the output of the charged coupled device when it’s working correctly to see if the device was operating properly.”
“We got to the point where we shined light on it, we knew that the pulses of output voltage represented actual light that was being seen by the device,” he added. “We were very happy when that was working. But that was only the beginning of the story.”
Sasson needed more than a chip, of course. He needed a lens, an optical assembly and exposure control — all of which he eventually salvaged from a Kodak XL55 movie camera.
Winter turned to spring then to summer and then to fall again. Sasson worked to integrate the CCD with a Motorola A-to-D converter and a dozen 4096-bit dynamic memory chips. He built and debugged the circuits, and designed and constructed the digital circuitry from scratch. He also toiled on the CCD timing, the playback timing, the data boards and the power supply.
To store the captured images, Sasson used a 12-volt portable Memodyne Model No. 300 data cassette recorder.
When it was finished, Sasson’s prototype looked like something a kid would have built with an Erector Set. It weighed eight-and-a-half pounds, ran on 16 AA batteries, and, at 8.25 x 6 x 9 inches and was about the size of a toaster.
“It’s an odd-looking beast,” Sasson chuckles. “Odd today and really odd in 1975.”
The first picture
Without a PC, all of Sasson’s CCD experiments were measured on an oscilloscope. Finally, in December 1975, he was ready to take an actual picture.
He and his assistant asked lab technician Joy Marshall to pose for them. “She knew us; the weird guys from the back lab. She didn’t know what we were doing, no one knew. So she said okay and I took a head and shoulder shot.”

This photo of Joy Marshall is a replication of the original shot.With a resolution of 100 x 100 pixels – .001 MP, it took 23 seconds to record the black and white digital image to the cassette tape. But when they connected their contraption to a lab TV set, the picture looked weirder than the camera. Her hair looked right, while her face was just static. Standing behind Sasson and his technician, Joy remarked “needs work,” and wandered off. It took Sasson a couple of hours, but he discovered the problem.
“When I designed the playback unit to read it off the tape, I somehow flipped around the bits to read the most significant bits first instead the least. Everything that was really white and really dark was correct, but anything with greyscale was flipped. We switched some wires around, waited the 23 seconds and up popped her image. I think we called [Joy] back. She was happier.”
Electronic? Digital?
Sasson’s part-time project was nowhere near ready for prime time. Once Sasson proved the concept, the rest of Kodak started work to develop what was clearly a breakthrough product. Kodak researcher Kenneth A. Parulski, for instance, led the successful development of a color CCD.
But Sasson and Kodak were beaten to the filmless camera market by Sony, which marketed the Pro Mavica, the first commercial electronic still camera, in 1981. But the Mavica was an analog electronic still camera that used a proprietary two-inch floppy disc to store images. Several other companies announced similar electronic still cameras, but these cameras were either too expensive or their images of insufficient resolution – often both – to crack the consumer market.
In the mid-1980s, several camera makers introduced multi-thousand dollar electronic still cameras for the professional market, including Canon with its RC-701 and Nikon with its QC-1000C. In mid-1987, Sony unveiled a consumer version of its Mavica, the MVC-C1 Hi Band VF Mavica, which was an analog still camera, not digital, that stored images on two-inch square discs. In September 1988, Fuji unveiled the DS-1P, the first electronic still camera that recorded images digitally on a 16MB internal memory card developed with Toshiba, but it was never sold in the U.S.
None of these were true digital cameras.
In the early 1980s, Kodak senior project engineer and the chief designer of the company’s professional cameras, James E. McGarvey, led a team at Kodak that included Sasson to develop a megapixel digital camera. The first prototype appeared in 1986 and the first commercial model, the Kodak DCS (Digital Camera System) 100, a 1.3 megapixel CCD fit into a Nikon film camera body, in 1991. The DSC 100 is often cited as the first true commercially available digital camera, but it was sold only to well-heeled photojournalists for $10,000 to $20,000, such as to reporters covering the first Gulf War who were forced to lug around an 11-pound accessory pack.
Also in 1991, Dycam launched the Dycam Model 1, a $995 palm-sized all-digital camera that took black & white photos. Dycam licensed the technology to Logitech, who sold the camera as the Fotoman the following year. But the camera was aimed not at the consumer market but to real estate agents, insurance companies and other businesses requiring quick images.
Kodak saw the consumer commercial possibilities of a film less digital camera connected to a computer and began working with Apple to create the QuickTake 100.
The combination of Kodak and Apple has produced several paradoxical ironies. The first was Kodak’s attitude toward its invention. The company was afraid the new invention would cannibalize its foundational film business — and they were right. But instead of controlling the cannibalization, Kodak allowed other manufacturers to steal their thunder. Under the relenting pressure, Kodak declared bankruptcy in January 2012.
And now we are seeing the demise of the digital camera as a standalone product. Digital camera sales started to seriously slide three years ago because of the quality of the camera found in smartphones, which started when Apple introduced the iPhone. So, in the final irony, Apple both initiated the digital camera revolution 20 years ago and helped end it as well.
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5 Creative Ways to Process Infrared Photographs in Photoshop

A Post By: Alex Morrison

digital cameras have made the process of infrared photography relatively simple and very accessible, compared to the days of shooting with infrared film. No darkroom is required and all you need to get started is an infrared filter on your lens (click through to read my article on How to do Surreal Digital Infrared Photography Without Expensive Gear or Camera Conversions) and to mount your camera on a tripod. Maybe you’ve tried digital infrared photography already. You’ve learned all the correct infrared shooting and compositional techniques so you know you have great images in your camera, but how do you transform those strange looking red or violet frames into stunning infrared photographs?
Here are 5 creative ways to process your digital infrared images in Photoshop to create arresting photos in color, and Black and White.
1) Color infrared one-click post-processing method
As shot, before Auto Tone
This is the quick and instant method. Open your image in Photoshop and go to Image> Auto Tone. Look at the difference this one click makes! In fact Auto Tone should be the first thing you do to all your infrared images.
Same image after Auto Tone has been applied
This has become a perfectly delightful infrared image. It has a variety of textures and colors for interest. However you may want to further process it to add more WOW and impact. The next step adds a few more tweaks that will help you do this.
 2) Color infrared gradient method
After you apply Auto Tone, you can also apply a Gradient Layer and set the blending mode to Soft Light, or Hard Light – you’ll need to experiment a bit depending on the tonal qualities of your original image. You can also adjust the opacity of this gradient layer.  If you are familiar with layer masks, you may want to mask out any areas where the gradient might be too strong.
Here is the same image with the Gradient Layer added. Can you see how it adds a little more depth and drama?
Infrared Image with a Gradient Layer Added
To add a Gradient Layer, go to your Layers palette, and click on the new layer icon at the bottom (it’s the one that looks like a sheet of paper with the corner turned up) or you can use  the keyboard shortcut Shift+Ctrl+Alt+N.  I find it quicker to use the icon in this case. While this new layer is active, go to the Tools palette and select the Gradient tool. On the context menu on top of the window you’ll see the Gradient library and you can select your pre-set gradient from there.
Now, back on your layer, drag your mouse to get the gradient on your image.  Select the blending mode to soft light or hard light and then adjust the opacity. This is where your artistic eye comes into the picture.  Play around with these settings until you have something you like.
Here is another infrared image processed the same way. You don’t have to use the same gradient each time – experiment a bit and see how things turn out. It’s art after all!

3) Using the Camera Raw filters and the Channel Mixer
One of the key concepts in infrared photography is to have a very distinct separation of color tones between the sky, and your high infrared reflecting subjects. This is usually the grass and foliage in your scene, or it could be buildings or other subjects that reflect infrared light because of their paint or construction materials.  But it’s important to have this separation because you need the sky to be dark, and you’ll want the foliage to be light, if not pure white.
Happily, in Photoshop you can give a tonal boost to your images in a couple of way,s in addition to the Auto Tone setting.  After you’ve applied Auto Tone, look for the Camera Raw Filter under Filters. If your image is not a RAW file you can still use these adjustments, although it is best to shoot RAW when capturing infrared photos.
In the Camera Raw Filter, to get this color separation between the light and dark areas of your image, use the the Basics filters and  HSL/ Greyscale Slider to adjust the colors until you get a clear difference between the cyan and red shades.
 Original image as shot:

After applying Auto Tone and Using the Camera Raw Filters:

Notice how these adjustments bring out the red in the sky and the blue in the leaves.
Now to the Channel Mixer
Go to Image>Adjustments>Channel Mixer
Here we will “swap” the channels to get a nice  blue sky and red or purple, and in a few quick steps, white foliage. Your Channel Mixer will look like this:
In the Red Output Channel, change the Red slider from +100 to 0, and the Blue slider from 0 to +100. Change the Output Channel drop-down to Blue, and make the Blue slider +100 and the red slider 0.  Your image will look something like this:

There is a clear color difference now between the blue sky and the red foliage.  It doesn’t matter if the foliage of your image is purple and  the sky blue, as long as you can see a clear difference in colors with the sky having some shade of blue.
Now the last part. Go back into your Raw Filters, and in the Basic panel, move the White Balance Color Temperature slider to the left to get a nice blue sky.  In the HSL/ Greyscale tab, use the sliders in the Saturation tab to desaturate the colors of your foliage.  Your image should have a blue sky and white leaves and grass. Gorgeous!
The final image

 4) Instant Black and White infrared processing
This is a “quick and dirty” method for getting the classic infrared look from your captures. You’ll get the tell-tale light colored foliage, and dark skies. For best results your image should have a clear sky with some clouds for effect. Overcast skies detract from the image, leave things without enough contrast, and very flat. No clouds make the sky seem like a vast black void – not too interesting.
Classic black and white infrared images tend to be non-contrasty, so from an artistic perspective a blue sky with wispy or puffy clouds can really add interest to your image, create a powerful story, and keep that soft contrast intact.
Open your image in Photoshop
Go to Image>Auto Tone
Next go to Image>Adjustments>Channel Mixer>Black and White with Red Filter (From there you can adjust the sliders to get the effect you want)
To get the classic infrared glow, check to make sure that in the Tools palette the colors are set to the default – black foreground and white background. To be sure, a simple way to set this is to hit the letter D to reset the colors to the default state.
Then duplicate your layer (Ctrl J), and go to
Filters>Filter Gallery>Artistic>Diffuse Glow
In the Diffuse Glow filter, set the sliders so you can see some halo glows around the white areas of your image. You will have to adjust these to suit your image but it will create the classic graininess and glow of film infrared photos.
If the glow amount is too strong and you’re getting blown out highlights, you can decrease the opacity of your glow layer in the Layers Palette. A little experimentation goes a long way. Remember your History palette in case you want to go back a few steps.

5) Advanced Black and White infrared processing
This is the method I use most for processing Black and White infrared images. It’s easy and it gives you far more control of your final result.
Open your image in Photoshop
Go to Image>Auto Tone
Now create an adjustment layer for Color Balance.
Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Color Balance
Again, the idea is to get as much color distinction between the sky and any foliage. Color Balance provides an addition method of doing this – in Black and White processing, as well as for color.
Move the sliders for Midtones, Shadows and Highlights until you have a nice, distinct separation of your color tones betweeb your foliage and your sky.
Finally add a new adjustment layer for Black & White
Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Black & White
Now use the sliders to get the full range of Black and White tones, paying special attention to maintaining detail in the white highlights in the trees, while making sure that the dark areas also have some detail
To apply the infrared glow, follow from Step 5 in the first method.
This image is called CREEP. Can you see why?

I love the softness and translucency of Black and White, infrared photography. Post-processing really brings out all the infrared characteristics that draw viewers in, and gets the emotions flowing. Using these five processing techniques will get you off to a fine start, but these are only five of many ways you can process your digital infrared images in Photoshop. If you have a favorite post processing formula I’d love to see how you do it. Post your infrared shots too.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Photographing Flowers

Summer’s here and flowers are blooming everywhere — it’s time to go outside, grab your camera and capture the beauty surrounding us. For those who aren’t experienced photographers, it’s just as important to understand how time of day, lighting and depth of field affect your photographs as is finding the right kind of equipment.

In order to strengthen your artistic eye and truly magnify the delicacy and boldness of certain flowers, photography experts say that practice makes perfect. Here are some tips and tricks to guide you as stop and shoot the flowers.
Time of day matters
When thinking about when to take your photos, it’s important to consider the specific look you’re aiming for. For a softer setting, shoot in the late afternoon where there aren’t many harsh shadows, photographer Kurt Johnson says. “The colors are a bit more saturated. This is commonly referred to as the “golden hour” or National Geographic light.”
Another approach would be to shoot in the early morning, when dew droplets still appear on the edges of petals and blades of grass, as shown in photographer Kate Terhune’s image below.

Take advantage of natural light
It can be beautiful to capture a backlit flower with light coming from behind it. This is especially powerful when the sun is on the horizon — perhaps you’re even able to catch rays through the trees. Some of the best light for floral photography actually occurs on overcast days, as there are no harsh bright spots or shadows, leading to great exposure.
Laney Crowell, blogger at Downtown Romantic compares photographing floral subjects to actual people, and notes, “You want a lot of natural light, which is not the case with people. People look best in the shadows, when it’s a little overcast because you don’t want to see all the details.”
The same flower will appear completely different in various lighting environments. SmugMug photographer Ann McRae compares a branch of apple blossoms when backlit (on left) to the same flower under direct sunlight.

“The morning light streaming from the side of the blossoms creates a softer photo and more pleasing background. The blossoms on the right were photographed in the early evening, and while the light is softer than midday light, it comes from directly in front,” she notes. The result is not as pleasing as when the same blossoms were photographed in the morning with back-lighting.
Don’t forget to focus
It’s important to always have a focus, too. Whether you’re choosing to capture a bed of blossoms or just one flower, know what you’re photographing. “When shooting large fields of flowers or interesting foliage, I like to use a selective focus to draw the eye to a certain point, rather than seeing a sea of flowers all in focus,” Johnson says. Choosing where you want viewers to look is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

And if you are going to show an entire field of flowers, think about having an interesting background. “Just a field of flowers is pretty … but a field of flowers in front of a mountain range is spectacular,” Rocky Mountain Conservancy nature photographer Don Mammoser says.

If you’re shooting just one flower, isolate your subject, photographer and graphic designer Lauren Powers says. “Shoot on macro mode and move the camera around until you get just the right focus. Also, don’t be afraid of taking a lot of photos. Take five in the same place until you get the focus just right.”
You can also isolate your subject by setting a contrast with its background. “If your flower is a rich, vibrant color, move your camera around until the background is plain — a dirt ground, blue sky or green grass.”

Get up close and personal
Flowers won’t bite — don’t shy away from getting too close. Sometimes filling the frame with one flower can be quite magical. But as David Burckhard, photographer and owner of PicturePoint On-line, points out, “The closer you get, the more critical focus becomes, and it might be challenging to decide on which part to show sharply.” When choosing to narrow your depth of field, he suggests focusing on the stamen and pistil, the reproductive parts of the flower. That way, the center of the flower remains crisp while the petals appear blurry.
“Use a selective depth of field, normally a large aperture like F/5.6 or F/2., to create an artistic impression of how beautiful flowers are, and show interesting lines and curves,” Mammoser says.

Think about your angle
When you’re focusing on just a few flowers, aim to “be on the same level with your subject,” says Elena Elisseeva, a photographer from

The flower can’t move around, but you can. Change up your positioning and get down on the flower’s level. Some of the most interesting floral pictures are ones taken from strange angles, the ones that truly make a viewer think about what he or she is looking at. Here, McRae shoots a bloom from underneath, capturing the contrasting primary colors of the yellow lily and blue sky.

It’s fine to go inside
Sometimes the windy weather may deter you from venturing outside, and in that case, try setting up indoors. Gina Gelo, blogger at Pumpkin + Rose, says that when inside, shooting near a window with no artificial or fluorescent lights is best to avoid a glare. Indoors, you have most of the control — use this to your advantage. “Style your flowers at different heights, so the look is textured, natural and not so stiff. Shoot against a white or light colored background, so that the flowers stand out,” she says.
Use your surroundings
Taking photographs in a natural environment offers a great opportunity to flex your creative muscle, to truly frame the world in a unique way. Including someone’s hand or arm with a flower can be very beautiful. Further spice up an image by encompassing other parts of nature in the frame, like dangling vines or crawling insects.

“Flowers are normally surrounded by pollinating insects, and all flowers will eventually turn to seed. Show these stories when you take photos,” Mammoser says.

Ultimately, don’t be afraid to experiment, mess things up and try again — that’s the beautiful thing about photography. It’s a way of expressing your perspective and capturing what’s appealing to you. You’ll never know when the ‘perfect shot’ will appear, so keep your camera ready at all times!
Have any other tips to add? Share in the comments.

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