Dave Morrow Photography: November 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Planning for New Places

I have a few trips coming up and I always find it hard to sit down and actually plan where I want to shoot. Knowing me, a day or two before take off all the plans will be smashed into a reckless night of internet browsing.... Stuck on Earth and Flickr are always a big help, does anyone recommend any other photography tools?

I just put together a fun list of toys and gadgets over on my Gears, Gadgets & Other Good Stuff page. Hopefully it will help you find some fun stuff, it's also idea for Christmas shopping;)

The Shot
I snapped this one off as some nasty storm clouds rolled in over the Puget Sound. A few minutes later I was running full speed for the car.
Out to Sea

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Gadgets, Gear & Other Good Stuff

Along with a love for travel I also really enjoy tech toys, camera gear and all sorts of different interesting devices. Below I proved a list of fun stuff that is extremely helpful or just flat out fun. If the product is on this page then trust me, I really like it!

There is also a nice list of the gear I use on the What's in My Camera Bag Page of this website. 

You can find all my tutorials at: www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com/learnphotography

I did not include my tripod or ball head in this list, but my Really Right Stuff Tripod & Ballhead Review will give you everything you need:)

I use tons of software when I process photos & two of my favorites are Topaz Labs or HDR Soft the Makers of Photomatix. If you would like a discount when purchasing either of these packages just use the coupon code DAVEMORROWPHOTO when checking out to receive 15% off:) You can use the same code to receive a 10% discount from anything at the Stuck in Customs Store. Most of these packages have Free Trial Versions so I urge you to give them a run before buying! 

Interested in the cameras or lenses listed below? Check out the following links:
Camera Reviews
Lens Reviews

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Photographer's Apprentice

Sitting here at Panera Bread writing this blog post and waiting to take my Macbook Pro over to the Apple store for some work, I foresee trouble in my near future. First off leaving the Apple store without a new toy(s) is next to impossible for me. Secondly, REI is in clear view of all these places. Hopefully I will escape before going broke...

If you missed it, here is my last blog post including the new Post Processing Workflow Video Tutorial!

The Shot
This is a massive pano comprised of 6 different shots taken with my Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G lens, which equates to a massive amount of megapixels. The mountain in the background is Mount Rainier, which reflects into Reflection Lakes, imagine that. Upon completion the photo is 226 Megapixels and more than 125MB in size. If you look closely you can see my "moon" shadow on the bottom lefthand side.
The Photographer's Apprentice

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Dave's Post Processing Workflow Tutorial

Over time I have been able to tweak my workflow which allows me to quickly and efficiently process pictures without any clutter or excess files sitting on my computer.  If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below to allow others to learn from the answers.

I use tons of software when I process photos & two of my favorites are Topaz Labs or HDR Soft the Makers of Photomatix. If you would like a discount when purchasing either of these packages just use the coupon code DAVEMORROWPHOTO when checking out to receive 15% off:)

You can find all my tutorials at www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com/learnphotography.
Here are a few of them.

Want a full in depth tutorial experience that walks you through my step by step star photography post processing techniques? Check this stuff out, guaranteed to light up your nights!


My Photography Workflow Tutorial

Feel like you learned some valuable information? Donations of any size are always awesome!

Here are a few pictures I processed using this specific workflow.
read more at www.DaveMorrowPhotography.comfrom www.DaveMorrowPhotography.comCheck out my FREE Star Photography Tutorial  and  Star Photography Post Processing Video Tutorial  Ready to learn star photography? My summer star photography workshop schedule for 2014 is now up and running.Under the Stars Night Photography Workshops from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.comRead the full blog post here -->http://www.davemorrowphotography.com/2013/11/spires-mount-rainier-washington.html from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.comRead the full blog post here -->http://www.davemorrowphotography.com/2013/11/boats-in-mist-xingping-china.html from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.comCheck out my FREE Star Photography Tutorial  and  Star Photography Post Processing Video Tutorial  Ready to learn star photography? My summer star photography workshop schedule for 2014 is now up and running.Under the Stars Night Photography Workshops Battleship Grey from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.comRead the full blog post & sign up for my 2015 & 2016 Star Photography Workshop Mailing list -->http://www.davemorrowphotography.com/2014/06/2015-2016-star-photography-workshop.htmlIn my opinion this is one of Mount Hood's most under rated vantage points, especially in the winter months. We arrived just after midnight as the rising moon was sitting low in the sky casting shadows and amazing light over most of the landscape.With a tall snow embankment on my left, the moon's light didn't touch the foreground but blazed it's light across the remainder of the landscape. Slight cloud cover gives a nice glow to the stars with Mount Hood looming in the background. When printed full size you can see the snow flakes sparkle in the light, but standing there it almost felt like there were small blinking lights covering the ground.This photo is composed of two shots ( same composition ), 1 at a short exposure time / high ISO to capture the stars without creating star trails. Another shot was taken at lower ISO and longer exposure time to capture the rest of the scene without generating as much noise. These two shots were taken seconds apart to capture what I saw that night. Fresh snow + night skies = Good times!

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The No Camera Weekend

So I tried something new on my trip back to the east coast this past weekend, what was it you ask? Well, I decided to leave my camera in Seattle and see how things went without it following me around everywhere I go. The truth is I'm gonna pull this stunt more often, it allowed me to do some fun stuff I wouldn't normally have done, along with providing an awesome mental break.

The Shot
The newest edition to my PACNW Top 50 Set on Flickr, if you are in the area this set will help you find a ton of great spots to shoot. Every picture is geo-tagged with the location so have at it:)

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dare to Dream

In the past month I have sold over 250 of my Under the Stars Lightroom 4 presets. For 4.99$ you get 48 presets guaranteed to blow you away & change how you process star pics forever.

Want to see how other photographers reviewed my presets or buy them for yourself? Just follow the link: Under the Stars Lightroom Presets for all the answers...

Interested in learning how to take some star shots or Milky Way photos? Click on my FREE Star Photography Tutorial.

Want a full in depth tutorial experience that walks you through my step by step star photography post processing techniques? Check this stuff out, guaranteed to light up your nights!

The Shot
For me this shot is different then most of my star shots, and I think that's why I like it so much. For me it brings back memories of the summer & warm nights shooting the stars. Sit back relax and enjoy the show...
Dare to Dream

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Snapshots in Time: Down the Rabbit Hole

There are so many moments I capture while traveling through cities and different interesting locations around the world, using my camera I try to capture the "heartbeat" of these places.
The following picture represent those feelings and moments in time, these are my Snapshots in Time.

You can find more of these shots at my Snapshots in Time Gallery

The Shot
This was taken early one morning near the top of Mt. Hau which is located a few hours by high speed train outside Xi'an China. There are tons of wild Youtube videos of this place that are very interesting to check out.

Down the Rabbit Hole

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Losin' My Religion

I have been thinking about how much popularity certain pictures get compared to others. A funny thing also happens to me on a regular basis. The pictures I love, don't get nearly as much attention as those that I don't like as much. I guess everyone else is wrong and I'm right? Has anyone else ever had this happen? Strange things I thinks I thinks.... :)

The Shot
When I go to a big city to shoot there are a few guarantees. One, I will walk my ass off to get everywhere, why you ask? Cause there are lots of neat sights along the way you would miss out on otherwise. It also ensures you get some unique shots. Two, sleep is at a minimum and Three.... People will come up and look right in my camera and ask what I am taking a picture of. This I always find intriguing. This was taken one late night walking the streets of San Francisco btw:)
Losin' My Religion

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Locals VS Lupines

The first day in Iceland after picking up our Happy Camper we headed off toward the West Fjords. I found it immediately hard to keep my camera in the bag with beauty all around. The air was perfectly warm, the sun bright and we had 10 days of unknown adventures to come.

PS I just added a new feature to the website called Insta-Stream. My Instagram photos now show up on the side bar about half way down the page on the right side. I usually post shots there when I am out shooting:)

The Shot
30 minutes into the drive we saw a beautiful field of blue lupines & I had to grab a shot. The funny part is, lupines are everywhere in Iceland and most of the locals consider them to be a weed that destroys everything. Personally I love the flower and took a million and one pictures along the trip.
A Day in the Sun

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

On the Road in the West Fjords of Iceland

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately on what does & does not bring inspiration into my life. I feel that social networks for the most part destroy my inspiration on a daily basis due to the fact that there is so much “junk” included in most posts.  On the other hand they are a great way to promote photography and see a few good pictures. As a photographer what would happen if you completely quit the social networking sites you currently use and put all that time directly into your work? I bet great things would happen, but less and less people would see those great things. I guess we have to pick a middle ground and enjoy what we have.

The Shot:
This is more of a fun/travel shot than anything, I processed it with Lightroom 4.
When in Iceland, days/nights seem to run together, so it's hard to pin down when and where this picture was actually taken, but it was somewhere in the West Fjords... 
On the Road in the West Fjords of Iceland

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Needle at Night

Do any of you photographers ever feel guilty when the sun is starting to rise or set and you’re not out shooting? I do, and personally I think it’s a terrible habit that I need to work on. Just checking in to see if I am the only crazy one out there:)

The Shot
Here is a different view of the city from one of the many overpasses that criss cross over interstate 5 going through Seattle. Nearly all of them have some fun compositions that are worth shooting in the early morning as well as sunset.
Another Night

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Good Mornin' Xi'an

What a day, got lots of work done on the up and coming star photography post processing tutorial. Time to escape the computer for the remainder of the night...

The Shot
Here is the lastest addition to my Snap Shots in Time Gallery. This shot was taken a few years back while on some travels in Xi'an China. It was always great watching the sun rise through the smog, this particular morning I was to lazy to go out and shoot so I grabbed a shot from the hotel room.
Good Mornin' Xi'an

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Exploring the Big Apple: Free HDR Photography Tutorial Included

Ready to step your your post processing and HDR skills? My free video tutorial might be just what you're looking for & you can find it HERE!

Well I made some plans for Christmas Break, looks like Maui Hawaii will be my home for 7 days of sun, shooting and drinking. Should be a great time. Does anyone have any suggestions for great spots to shoot on the island?

You can find all my tutorials at: www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com/learnphotography

The Shot
NYC is filled with non-stop excitement for a photographer. After 3 days of going all out I was ready for a break. On my walk back to the hotel I saw this cool little cathedral. I had to stop and snap off a few more....
Exploring the Big Apple

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Dave's Free HDR Video Tutorial

Update, October 2014: I like to be completely transparent on this website and wanted to let you know that I no longer use the post processing techniques shown in the HDR Tutorial below.

There is still some content in the tutorial which may be helpful to you, so I can't say it's not worth watching, it's just no longer the post processing workflow which I practice:)

Here are a few of my latest video tutorials which may also be helpful!

Dave's Free HDR Video Tutorial

I just recorded a new & free HDR ( High Dynamic Range ) Video Tutorial for 2013, it contains step by step voice instruction as requested by many of you on the last version.

The video contains my post processing technique from start to finish on a picture I took last summer in Iceland. I chose to use a picture that was not overly technical, but complicated enough to show a few different processing skills and techniques. The best way to learn using this video is watch a small part, see what I am using/doing, then try it for yourself. 

It may also help you to watch my Free Post Processing Digital Workflow Tutorial where I'll teach you how to load your RAW files into Lightroom.

Here is a short overview of the work flow going on in the video. 

In the Field

I normally shoot anywhere from three to nine bracketed images, starting at a low EV(exposure value) and working my way up. For example nine bracketed shots would start at -4 EV and end at +4 EV capturing all the stops in between. The key is to capture the entire range of light over all the shots. The dark exposures will correctly expose the bright areas of the composition, while the light exposures will cover the dark areas of the composition. For Photomatix to nicely process these exposures it is necessary to ensure that you have no areas of data loss. By data loss I mean completely black or completely white areas. If you want the picture to have dark and light areas, I would suggest adding them yourself in photoshop. 

On the Computer

Lightroom 4:
Adjust RAW files to nicely expose different parts of each of my pictures. 
Sharpen the picture.
Export to JPEG.

Moving the sliders around as seen in my video I try to get 60-80% of the picture to look "GOOD". The rest I take care of in Photoshop, so plan accordingly. 

Photoshop CS6:
Blend Photomatix picture with how every many other exposures I used to process it.
Topaz Adjust for sharpness and saturation.
Nik Color Efex adjustment.
High Pass Filter or Nik Sharpener to selectively sharpen.

After I feel that the picture is done, I know there will be a few other things that I would like to change later on so I save it in a folder and let it sit for 3 days. This allows me to step away from the picture and correct any small mistakes later.  Ater this time has ended I put the finishing touches on the picture and save it to iPhoto. Want some more info on the reasoning behind this? Check out this amazing post on artistic workflow by Klauss Herrmann called, Why You Need an Artistic Workflow. It helped me a lot in knowing when it's finally time to show my picture to the world. 

Here are a few more tips to keep in mind when learning the Photoshop or post processing technique.

1) It's not easy learn and may take you a ton of time to start getting results that you like, so keep working hard and don't give up. I have processed a lot of pictures over the past year and there are still days when I work on a picture for 2 hours, then throw it in the trash. 

2) If you don't feel like processing pictures or are feeling uninspired, get away from your computer, it should never be a chore:)

3) Play around with all of the different functions in all of your photo editing programs and become familiar with what they can do. It's like a bag of tricks, you may not always use them, but you never know when something might pop up and become useful. 

Leave your questions or comments below the post. Enjoy!

If you want to watch the video in 720P click the small "gear" on the bottom of the screen to adjust resolution.

Here is the first version of my Free HDR Tutorial, I figured there was no reason to take it down since it still contains some very valuable info. The JPEG files for this one are free. Enjoy!
Click Here to Get the JPEGS |

Here is the final product....
The Gorgeread more at www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Long Walks in the Woods

Want to step your composition game up & learn to shoot perspectives that you never thought possible? Grab your camera gear and take a walk in the woods somewhere around sunset or sunrise. When the light is nice we often find ourselves looking for spots where we can actually see the sun dip below the horizon. This sometimes limits where we go and what we shoot. The light and colors are just as fun to take pictures of in other locations and there are many different interesting things to shoot besides massive land & cityscapes.

2 more days til my free HDR tutorial is released:)

The Shot
I went out to shoot sunset at Snoqualmie falls and decided in needed some new flavor in my portfolio. Instead of shooting the falls in wandered into the woods. There are a ton of different shots from that night on my computer that I am excited to process in the coming "wet" months.
ReachRandom wanderings in the woods around sunset, strange colors and light. Overall good times...


Friday, November 9, 2012

Favorite Places to Shoot

What are your favorite places for HDR Photography? For me landscapes are awesome, but old churches and cathedrals are some of my favs. During the day these places produce some awesome dynamic light and color which provide for fun shooting and challenging post processing.

On a side note, I just finished recording my FREE HDR Photography Tutorial last night. It will include the first steps of my post processing technique using Photomatix and Photoshop masking. Check back on Monday for the release. 

The Shot
I snapped this one off in the Capitol Hill District of Seattle. It is open til around 8PM so going late always ensures you don't run in to many people.
Mindlessly, With No Question, She Said

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Really Right Stuff Tripod, Ball Head & L-Bracket Review

A few months back I took a leap of faith and made an investment in Really Right Stuff products. Here is what I got:

BH-55 LR Ballhead 
TVC-34L Versa Series 3 Tripod 
BD800-L: L-Plate for Nikon D800/800E

If you are going to buy a ballhead and tripod the package deal will save you some money.

So what do I think about these products? So far I am blown away by the top notch quality and customer service. If you have any questions about the products RRS will answer them right away. You always deal with a real person at the other end of the line.

Let's start with the the ball head. It is easy to use, has 3 adjustable knobs and the ability to turn in any direction. The strength of this thing is amazing as well, it handles the Nikkor 14-14mm wide angle lens with no issues and could easily hold a lot more weight. I decided to go with the L-Bracket attachment for the head which easily grips my Nikon D800 L-Bracket. This set up gives unprecedented control over my camera and compositions.

The carbon fiber legs of this tripod are amazing and sturdy as well. RRS did not take any short cuts when laying up this composite. It is strong and can beat out any weather conditions you may throw in front of it.

Depending on the model of your RRS tripod each of the leg segments extends with an easy twist. Mine came with (3) extendable segments and can reach up to 72" inches tall with ball head included.
Here is a close up view of the "twist to extend" length control devices at the end of each composite leg.

The last notable features are the multiple configuration leg angle adjustments. Each adjustment is spring loaded for ease of use. Each leg can be adjusted separately which allows the tripod to operate in nearly any situation and any angle. 

For more information check out www.ReallyRightStuff.com


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Alone in the High Deserts of Iceland

If you missed my last post on Awesome Tutorials & Useful Links make sure to check it out after your dose of the Icelandic picture below. I think you will find the links helpful in your photographic journey. Not a photographer? Pass it on to your photo-crazy friends:)

The Shot
Traveling through the West Fjords of Iceland is an amazing experience. At times you are completely alone for a day or two. It's an erie feeling at times, but something I really enjoyed. Something about beautiful landscapes, with no one to bother you for hours on end is hard to beat. I took this shot just after escaping the Fjords and making my way to higher ground. 
Alone, in the High Desert

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Awesome Tutorials & Useful Links

Since picking up photography in January of 2012 I have been working non-stop to learn and improve my skills. Included in the following pages are the links to tutorials and other information that I could not have done without.

I approve each one of these tutorials and find them to be great learning tools. Some are free some cost a little bit of money. The ones that  cost a few bucks are well worth it and provide massive amounts of info at little cost. Upon using each of these tools to learn the techniques, you will have enough info to start building your own style, for me, that's when things really started getting fun.

I use tons of software when I process photos & two of my favorites are Topaz Labs or HDR Soft the Makers of Photomatix. If you would like a discount when purchasing either of these packages just use the coupon code DAVEMORROWPHOTO when checking out to receive 15% off:) You can use the same code to receive a 10% discount from anything at the Stuck in Customs Store. Most of these packages have Free Trial Versions so I urge you to give them a run before buying!

Along with the following links I provide a ton of my own material at www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com/learnphotography

Want a full in depth tutorial experience that walks you through my step by step star photography post processing techniques? Check this stuff out, guaranteed to light up your nights!

Tony Kuyper’s Lumonsity Mask Tutorial Package ( Free / 30$ for Photoshop Actions)
This is an awesome set of tutorials which contain massive amounts of information. I would say it is for intermediate Photoshop users, but beginners could also master the techniques in a few days of solid learning. I purchased the actions package as well and found it to greatly improve my learning experience.

I consider Photoshop Luminosity Masking to be the most powerful post processing tool in the world. In my tutorial I will walk you, step by step, through my entire workflow showing the tips & tricks I use along the way...

Chip Phillips Landscape Photography Tutorials ( 39.00$ )
These are hands down my favorite tutorials I have ever paid for. For 39$ you really can't go wrong. Chip is an awesome photographer and just as good of a teacher!

Trey Ratcliff’s HDR Video Tutorials (97$ for the Full Package)
Just learning about Photoshop and HDR Photography? These videos will help your learning process to speed up immensely .  All aspects of the photographic process are covered in these 9 classes. I have watched them several times and always pick up something new. Click on the graphic below to find out more.

This is less of a tutorial and more of an example of the different techniques used. If you are familiar with Photoshop and masking this will be highly informative. If not, I highly suggest learning these different processes, they will greatly improve your skills;)

Slowing down these videos and closely watching how the pictures are processed again and again provides to be highly helpful. Klaus is a Photoshop  master and provides many different tricks within each one of his videos. His website has a ton of other great information.

For the longest time I refused to learn about blend modes, then one day I finally decided it was time. Upon learning all of these techniques my photography improved and the time required to process pictures decreased! Trust me, this stuff is a must:)

And some pictures....
from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com
read more at www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com
from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com
from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com
from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Seattle Light Speed

I am quickly filling up my new website with all the shots that already exist on my Smugmug portfolio, so if you see a few pics here and there that you already saw in the past... that's why. Along with lots of photos, I add some new informational/learning material on a weekly basis. So stay tuned....

The Shot
This one taken on one of the many overpasses that run East/West over interstate I-5 near Seattle. There are multiple different locations you can get a shot similar to this, but I prefer this one the best. Check out the geo-tagged info if you would like to shoot from this location:)
Last Stop, The Edge

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ruby Beach & Beyond

I just returned from an 8 day road trip to Yosemite meaning tons of new pics to add to my ever growing backlog. Thankfully Seattle winter weather has arrived which gives me the time to catch up on all that picture processing.  Besides the upcoming star photography tutorial for Photoshop, I would love some ideas on other tutorials you guys/gals would find helpful? Leave your thoughts in the comments section or shoot me an email.

The Shot
Besides being a great place to take star photography, Ruby Beach Washington is also great for sunsets and rises as well as relaxing. This shot was taken an hour before sunset which allowed for some great light and amazing colors.
Rock Bottom

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Exploring the Gorge

Headed back from 7 days of shooting in Southern Oregon and California with lots of new content that I am excited to share with everyone. I will also be releasing my Star Photography for Photoshop tutorial in the next month so keep an eye out!

The Shot
The Columbia River Gorge is a place full of beautiful sights, waterfalls and powerful landscapes fun for photographers and travelers alike. I took this shot at the Women's Forum Overlook on a gloomy night in May. The Vista House is also a great place to shoot & can be seen on the right side of the shot.
The Vista

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