Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rocky Neck Goes to Town_Winter Show and Reception

Hope you can attend the reception December 4 from 5 to 8 pm, including a local restaurant tasting.   Should be lots of fun and a great time for holiday shopping. 

Monday, November 8, 2010


Rocky Neck Art Colony is the oldest working art colony in America.
Almost every American artist of note has painted on Rocky Neck at some point in his or her career including Milton Avery, Cecilia Beaux, Theresa Bernstein, Nell Blaine, Stuart Davis, Frank Duveneck, Adolph Gottleib, Childe Hassam, Hans Hofmann, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Fitz Henry Lane, William Meyerowitz, Frederick Mulhaupt, Maurice Prendergast, Mark Rothko, John Sloan, and many others.
Today over 30 working artists display their work in Rocky Neck galleries and studios, exhibiting a wide range of styles and media. In addition to the galleries, area restaurants provide gourmet cuisine, waterfront views, and eclectic atmosphere.
Rainbow over RNAC
The winter show will be:  ROCKY NECK GOES TO TOWN: GREAT ART IN SMALL PACKAGES from November 26 through December 23, 2010 at 130 Main Street, Gloucester, Massachusetts, on the Boston North Shore (45 minutes north of Boston on Cape Ann).   Reception will be held on December 4th from 5 to 8 pm.  Please join us and shop, shop, shop!!  Volunteers welcome. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Showing Motion in Water

Streams and waterfalls are wonderful to shoot especially on cloudy or overcast days. I aim for silky water which requires slow shutter speeds.  It you are faced with a sunny day,  a neutral density filter (my personal favorite is the Singh Ray Vari ND filter) and/ or polarizer will allow a slower exposure even in bright light.  
Examples of Fluid Smooth Slow Motion of Water:  

Start with Aperture Priority and set it to a small aperture such as F 22 or higher.  ISO 100-200 to start.  Look for around 1/2 second Shutter speed. ( Guidelines: around 1/4 if close - up to 1/30 sec if full framed for waterfalls, 1/2 sec if close up to 1/15 full frame for streams and rivers, 1 sec if close up to 1/8 sec full framed for waves or surf). 
The camera will select the shutter speed, so the rest is trial and error to get a slow enough shutter speed for the effect you want while not blowing out the highlights too much (that is more than the recovery slider can fix).  To assess this, look at the blinkies on your LCD or the histogram. 
If you desire the opposite effect, that is to freeze the motion of water, some tips:  To freeze the action of water moving parallel to you, start with the goal of 1/500 to 1/1000 sec or higher.  1/250 sec if towards you. 1/250 sec for waterfalls. 1/30 to 1/60 for waves. To freeze raindrops, 1/60 sec.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fake Double Exposures IN CAMERA with Canon

Canon does not have a setting to allow in camera double exposures like the Nikon.  Tony Sweet's Blog wrote about a work around for Canon that I found interesting.  He uses a single long exposure, such as 2.5 second.. During the exposure he zooms in for a fraction of a second several times along the way for the duration of the exposure. 
I tried this - but not very happy with the results.  See what you think, but I prefer Nikon and the real deal!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Photographing Fireworks_Guidelines

Tips on Shooting Fireworks and the Post Production:
1. Use a tripod.
2. Use a cable release so you can watch the firework rocket trajectory with both eyes on the sky.
3. Use a zoom lens - 70 to 200 mm or more unless you need to capture the background.
4. Put the camera on manual and set the Shutter Speed for around 4 seconds and aperture of f 11.
5. Manual focus to infinity.
6. ISO 200.
7. Take an interesting background exposure - more wide angle. Use this as your background layer in Photoshop.
8. In Photoshop, choose your background image and then the other single fireworks images and adjust each in Camera RAW. Open your background image first. Use the Lasso tool (L) to select areas to use of each individual fireworks images and with the Move tool (V) drag each onto a new layer above your background image.
9. Blend each layer with Lighten.
10. Reposition each display (on it's own layer) with the Move tool (V) as needed.
11. Then use the hi pass filter to sharpen as needed. (Flatten and then Duplicate the background layer, then select Filter, Other, Hi Pass filter, adjust for thin white lines, then select the Overlay Blend Mode).
One is a blend and I'm sure you could tell which one!! Enjoy and have fun. This new technique worked better for me then the bulb with the black card I had used in the past. I will try again over Labor Day and post my new attempts. Share yours with me. Hopefully Earl will not cancel the events all around the coastline.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Double Exposure in Camera

Nikon allows you to produce double exposures in camera!! Find this under Shooting Menu> Double Exposures.  Just choose the number of exposures you want and check Auto Gain On.  Then press OK and quickly shoot the two exposures. 
That's the easy part.  Remember to pre-visualize what you are shooting.  Choose the background or surface texture shot carefully.  Note where the different surfaces will overlap your image.  Adjust as needed.  Shoot the main subject first and then the background or surface texture shot.  The main subject needs to have a simple background to work.  Here are some recent examples taken during a workshop up in Maine on Nudes in the Landscape with Karin Rosenthal.

See what can be done without Photoshop! In Camera!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Just completed my move to Gloucester, Massachusetts, 45 minutes north of Boston, on Cape Ann (with neighboring town of  Rockport)  and location for "The Perfect Storm", "Grown Ups" and "The Proposal".   Filming is again taking place in Gloucester for "What's Your Number?", a 20th Century Fox picture directed by Mark Mylod, and starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans.  They will be shooting at Good Harbor Beach this weekend. Enjoy the great weather!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Yosemite Snow Storm

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls above.
Enjoying the wonder of Yosemite and a great mix of weather.  Even a Spring Snow storm!
Sun and great clouds have returned however!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


NIK has some pretty terrific plug-ins that are worth exploring.  Also, NIK has developed U point technology to allow global and selective control of filters without masks and layers. More info at
The plugins interface with Photoshop as well as Lightroom and Aperture.  My personal favorite is NIK Silver Efex Pro for B&W and toned images.  Silver Efex also gives you the option of adding grain to mimic film types as well as Holga, pin hole and Infrared filters. Color Efex Pro 3.0 is also fun to play with for classic to wild color filter effects.  Sharpener Pro 3 provides the ability to selective or globally sharpen or soften images with soft proofing cabability with improved control of the print. One I have not worked with yet, but plan to, is Viveza-2.   Here is a great review of this newly revised Viveza-2 Plugin from NIK with links to other reviews and tutorials:
Capture NX for Nikon users provides limitless control of raw processing that is said to be superior to Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) but I still prefer the additional features and workflow of Lighroom to process my RAW files.
MY WORKFLOW includes downloading my images into LIGHTROOM from the memory card as a DNG file under the date with my custom re-naming format (YYYYMMDD_custom  text_3digit sequence#) and with a backup RAW file (I keep for one or two months only until my archiving is complete) while adding my copyright metadata and some general keywords.  I then do most of my global and selective RAW processing here (since the same as ACR). I may apply a NIK filter here or go on to edit in Photoshop as a Smart Object (Open as a Smart Object in Photoshop as a TIFF file or PSD with maximize compatibility selected in PS preferences - hit the down arrow with copy file options or set this up in advance under preferences).  NOW this is important: When the edit is completed, I use SAVED AS and save it back in the same folder where the original is stored (DNG is my preference over NEF).  Then if this image needs to opened through Lightroom and re-edited, the layed and editable RAW file is available.  Remember, however to edit now in Photoshop CS4 (NOT as a smart object) but EDIT the Original (lowest checkbox on the list).  If these steps are followed exactly, you will have a completed processed file (Derivative) that is still layered and available for further editing whenever needed stacked with the original image.  This has always been a perplexing problem for many requiring them to save multiple copies of these large layered files. The solution was given to me courtesy of Tim Grey's newsletter at Sign up is free and highly recommended.
I hope this helps!  More tips to follow.  Next to tackle is HDR processing workflow via Lightroom and Photomatix Pro.  I welcome questions and comments here or email me at
Visit my website at

Happy clicking and remember you are making a photograph not just taking one.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mixed Media Photography by Guest: Andy Mars

Mixed Media Photography
Tips for Hand-Coloring

by guest photo artist ANDY MARS

List of recommended supplies: Chalk Pastels (Prismacolor Nupastel)
Pastel Pencils (preferably Conte)
Kneader Eraser
Acrylic Paint
Watercolor Paint
Gouache Paint (pronounced gwash - opaque watercolor paint)
Pigma Micron Archival Ink
Paint Brushes
Matte photo paper (Highly recommend Epson Radiant White Watercolor paper- absorbs colors well)

The materials I use in hand-coloring an image depend on the subject matter. For example, shooting
flowers using a slow shutter speed or shallow depth of field to create blurred soft images can become
a one-of-a-kind piece of art work using pastel chalk and watercolor. Outlining a sharp image with a
sharpie will define the image and add contrast, thus creating an interesting effect in the outcome.
Sometimes I'll overexpose a print so I will have more control on how much I will "hand-color" it,
sometimes with bright acrylic paint, other times with just a touch of watercolor. I also may achieve
what I want by using a combination of materials including acrylic & gouache paint, pastel chalk
and/or pencils. Your photograph is your palette. The rest is up to you!
Andy Mars also gives private lessons - in the New York City area.
See her blog for a great creative promo piece idea as well at :

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I found this old newspaper clipping and felt it worth reiterating the simple message it told.  "Dogs have the right idea.  They know how to enjoy life and they appreciate the simple things, like good food and a cozy place to sleep".  If only we humans could learn from these lessons. Sad to say, I do not know the source.
"1. Offer comfort to those in need.  Sit next to them silently and listen to what they have to say.
2.  Go outside at least once a day and let the fresh air rejuvenate you.
3.  Run and play every day.
4.  Find joy in taking a long walk, perhaps with a friend.
5.  Eat when you're hungry, sleep when you're tired, and stretch before you rise.
6.  If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
7.  Be loyal to people you love.
8.  Be true to yourself.
9.  When loved ones visit, rush to greet them at the door.
10. Take every opportunity to do something that brings joy to others."

February is Heart Month.  Share your life with someone.  Be a best friend. Love what you do.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Februrary Assignment on Flickr

February assignment is SHAPES!  Starting with circles, explore simplifying an image into one of the key elements: shapes.  Log onto the flicker group to add images to this group for review.

How does color add to this image? The odd number? Background?

Monday, February 15, 2010

High Pass FIlter

With Hi Pass

A good review by Stobist of the High Pass Filter in Photoshop to add pop and mid range contrast to your photos. After making a background copy, you will find this filter under filter; Other; High Pass.  I use overlay or soft light (instead of hard light) to merge these layers and then adjust the opacity for the effect I want.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


KARIN ROSENTHAL WORKSHOP: Transforming Realities: In-Camera & In Photoshop, Karin Rosenthal & Fran Forman, Instructors, Weekend of March 19-21 .

This weekend workshop is designed for photographers who want to portray intangible worlds of concepts, memories, and emotions, either by direct shooting or by combining layers of images. Drawing upon the experience of two established (but distinctly different) fine art photographers, this class is an opportunity to stretch and experiment with many new approaches and techniques.

Friday, January 1, 2010


SWANSONG ART FLICKR PHOTOS is a new group established to help review images from my blog assignments and other postings.  Hope you sign up and join the fun!  Here is the Link:


I have been working on my New Year's Resolutions and Plans.  January will be for finishing my 2009 copyrighting, keywording and setting up my 2010 catalog in Lightroom as well as streamlining some business and accounting issues. Starting in February:
A. I hope to refocus my blog on education.  Sign up for:
Monthly topics will include bi weekly segments to rotate among the following:
1. Lighting tutorials on topics such as glass and flowers still life portraits, people, nudes and general principles to include metering, color and white balance calibration, strobes and flash.
2. Basic to Creative photography exploring LR, PS, and plug ins.
3. Monthly assignments that will help us explore a theme or technique in more depth.

B. Shoot daily.

C. Set up my photography studio in Gloucester, MA -for portraits, commercial work and corporate clients.  We'll see!

D.  Teach always, whenever I can. I hope to set up monthly teaching sessions with plans for quarterly longer workshops - In Gloucester, MA or in AFRICA. Discounts for adults over 55 or those out of work always.
Plans for future Golden Oldies Boot Camp Safari's with equipment and technical support.

Email me your ideas, questions.  I will link to great sites and teaching opportunities.  Share templates for Lightroom.  Answer Lighting questions.  I will see the way it flows.  Help guide me.