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Suess Photo Textures and Backgrounds nears release

I am almost ready to launch my new set of Suess Photo Textures & Backgrounds.

Later this week you will be able to purchase and download up to 162 high resolution photo textures and backgrounds from a collection of photos I have been working on for the last four years.

There will be over 50 cloud backgrounds and over 100 textures to choose from in 7 different sets. Each texture and background image was photographed and enhanced/optimized by myself so that you are working with a great looking texture or background “right out of the box”. Files range from 6,000px to 7,500px in the longest dimension – some of the highest resolution textures available online!

Take a look and see what Christine Hauber did with one of her black and white infra-red photographs and a stone texture from Stone Set 1.

ChristineStoneTree

Christine created a wonderfully toned final photo by starting with an infra-red black and white image. She used Stone-02 in the Stones Set 1 texture collection. She used it twice, flipping one of the layers. She modified layer opacities and blend modes until she got the look she wanted. A final vignette and soft edges were added and all of the work was done using Perfect Photo Suite.

Here are the textures in Stone Set 1:

Stone Set 1

Stone Set 1

Follow this blog for news later this week when you can purchase this and other photo textures & background sets.

The making of my blood moon lunar eclipse photo Part 2 of 2

This is part 2 of how I photographed the blood moon lunar eclipse on April 15th.
For info on how I photographed it with camera settings visit part 1. Here in part 2 I talk about how I enhanced it on the computer.

Following the 5 hours or so of sleep I got after photographing the lunar eclipse till 2:45 in the morning I began to create the final image on my 15″ MacBook Pro laptop.

The saguaro cactus scene that was photographed with my Sony a7 and Sony FE 35mm f2.8 lens was processed in the RAW converter Capture One Pro.

Looking at a before and after photo of the enhancements made in Capture One Pro.

Looking at a before and after photo of the enhancements made in Capture One Pro.

In the above screen shot you can see a before (bottom photo) and an after photo in C1. I made a number of slight tonal adjustments and color/saturation adjustments. I also corrected the perspective of the photo to remove distortion brought on by the wide angle lens, and corrected some lens vignetting. Notice the shadow detail I was able to bring out of the original photo. I have found I can pull out a great deal of shadow detail from the Sony a7/a7R cameras and Capture One Pro.

I exported the processed file as a tiff file to my computer, then opened it up in Perfect Layers in Perfect Photo Suite 8. While Perfect Photo can be opened as a plugin from Photoshop, I prefer to use it as a standalone program.

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The making of my blood moon lunar eclipse photo Part 1 of 2

In part 2 you can read how I enhanced and built the composite photo using Capture One Pro and Perfect Photo Suite 8. Read it here.

Overnight on April 14 through early morning April 15th we were treated to a wonderful total eclipse of the moon that at it’s peak turned the moon a blood red color. The eclipse was visible to most of North and South America – at least visible to those of us who had clear skies that night.

Suess Lunar Eclipse over Phoenix web

“Lunar Eclipse Blood Moon over Phoenix”
North Phoenix, Arizona
Purchase prints of this photo right now during a special limited time promotion.

The event is rare, with the most recent total lunar eclipse happening on December 21, 2010. However we are in for a treat as we will have 3 more total eclipses in North America within the next 1.5 years: October 8 of 2014, April 5 of 2015, and September 28 of 2015. After that we will have to wait another 3 years before another one happens.

Some pre-planning first

I knew of the April 15th eclipse a few weeks prior to it happening, which gave me plenty of time to prepare. I was still going to be in Phoenix which was great as the weather is usually perfect and rarely cloudy & rainy. So I started planning my final image and what I needed to do to create it.

Right off the bat I knew I was going to somehow incorporate saguaro cacti in my photograph, as they are a unique feature here in the Sonoran Desert. I have been spending numerous evenings photographing sunsets this winter out in the desert where my RV is parked here in North Scottsdale and knew the location would be perfect for the eclipse.

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Sony a7R Field Report #2: Sports Action

This is an ongoing report that I started on February 15, 2014 following my purchase of the new full-frame mirrorless 36.4MP Sony Alpha a7R digital camera.
You can view the entire report here.

The other evening I brought my Sony a7R camera to a youth soccer game to see how the camera responds to sports action photography.

It has been a number of years since I photographed any sports action. Being a former photojournalist for 17 years I had the opportunity to photograph countless sporting events from youth to professional sports and everything in between. Being a number of years removed from those days, the rust was evident the other night while shooting as my timing was terrible.

Sony a7R with Metabones adapter and old Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L lens at ISO 10,000 at 1/400s at f3.2

Sony a7R with Metabones adapter and old Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L lens at ISO 10,000 at 1/400s at f3.2

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Sony a7R Field Reports

On February 14, 2014 I took delivery of my newest camera body – the recently released full-frame mirrorless 36.4MP Sony Alpha a7R digital camera.

Photo Feb 15, 12 35 18 PM

I purchased this camera expecting it to be a replacement to my old Canon 5DII digital SLR camera body. As a fine art photographer who specializes in primarily landscape photography printed large (currently up to 10 feet) resolution and image quality are among my top requirements for a camera.

I passed on the Canon 5DIII when it was released a few years back, finding it not too much more impressive spec-wise than the 5DII. Not wanting to wait any longer for Canon to release an update to the 5DIII I decided to jump ship to Sony, who seems to be innovating at a breakneck speed these days.

What follows is a collection of field reports as I learn how to use this camera and incorporate it into my fine art photography. 

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How to get natural looking HDR photos from a single image with Capture One Pro 7 from Phase One

Photographing fall foliage using HDR techniques can be quite challenging.

Hundreds to thousands of tiny leaves and branches dance and move in even the slightest of breezes. Using a small aperture for maximum depth of field means using slow shutter speeds, potentially causing blur and additional leaf and branch movement.

Combining these multiple exposures – even with the best of ghost reduction in your favorite HDR program – can often cause errors and problems that can sometimes be seen even without zooming in. Sometimes these effects can be minimized by maxing out the ghost reduction, although at the expense of increased halo’s.

Notice the problems shown in this 100% view after I used HDR Efex Pro 2 with ghost reduction.

Notice the problems shown in this 100% view after I used my favorite HDR software – HDR Efex Pro 2 with ghost reduction.

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