Dave Morrow Photography: September 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

FROST - Palouse, Washington

Every week or so I go through the website here and clean up random odds and ends, add new content to the static pages, and provide newly learned techniques and other fun stuff like that. Yesterday new content was added to the About Me Page, including some pictures, music, quotes, and books that I like. I find it fun to see what others like, especially for inspirational purposes, so providing everyone with the same sort of content seemed like a good idea.

It's less than a month til we go live for the ( $40 ) Online Star Photography Post Processing Group Workshop. During the session I'll be teaching 9 students my full star photography post processing workflow. You even get a RAW file to work along with me at home and the added bonus of all my video tutorial downloads for free ( 45$ value ). Sign up today! There are 3 spots left.

The Shot
Every time I go to Palouse Washington it seems like a last minute idea. The high speed 5 hour drive through Eastern Washington that follows always knocks me out and makes one wonder why they went through with such an idea. Leaving at 10 PM from Seattle puts you @ Steptoe Butte right as the blue hour light starts to hit the endless abstract fields of color. On this particular day there was a solid frost covering everything and the light refracting through it created an amazing glow over the entire visible landscape.

Post Processing Info ( Grab some discount codes to the programs below at bottom of About Me Page )
Processing Time: 35 Minutes
Music: Kaskade - The Grand Live Set
Drink: Alaska Brewing Company Winter Ale

Lightroom 4
  • Single RAW file
  • Adjust white balance to accentuate the blues
  • Adjust highlights and midtones to bring out the "frosty glow"
  • Minimal sharpening and clarity adjustments

Photoshop CS6
  • Apply Tony Kuypers Luminosity Masking Actions & Techniques using curves adjustments to selectively increase contrast throughout the image and provide nice glow to the "Bright Lights" selections of the picture. 
  • Apply color balance to select areas of the picture. 
  • Make the highlights GLOW with Nik Color Efex. ( I only selected the very bright parts of the picture to apply this adjustment using Tony's Actions mentioned above. )
  • Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast
  • Nik Output Sharpener ( selectively )
  • Noiseware Professional by Imagenomic, the best NR software out there...
  • Slight global vignette application
  • Save to JPEG.
from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Painted Valley - Yosemite National Park, CA

Although most of the processing that takes place on my computer these days is digital blending involving one or two RAW files using Lightroom 4 and PhotoShop CS6, I do revert to Photomatix here and there for some HDR Processing. Why you ask? Well there is just something about dynamic situations such as the one below that really beg to be processed this way, or at least I think so. All the skills used here are covered in my Free HDR Video Tutorial and the video included below. There are a bunch of other fun and free videos on my YouTube Channel.

I still continue to buy and watch other photographers tutorials as much as possible. Even if you get a few tips here and there it's worth the time and money. Chip Philips has a really good one by the way, so check that out!

The Shot
While wandering around Yosemite Valley you have a few things going for you, first, the "nice soft light" seems to last forever before the sun finally peaks over Half Dome and illuminates the valley in the early morning. Two, there are beautiful sights, sounds and smells coming from all directions, especially in the Autumn months of the year. Third, they have awesome coffee in the little lodge that sits quietly at the foot of El Capitan, but it doesn't open til 7-8AM, which is a bit late for us photographers so bring a backup. We stayed in the park for 3-4 days doing some "car camping" and scouting out different locations to shoot. Sleeping in your car with minimal comfort levels is good for one thing, you're ready to get up at 5AM and get the hell out of the vehicle.While scouting the day before I took a mental note of this location, "Come back when the sun is rising through the trees in the early morning", and so I did... ha!

Post Processing Info ( Grab some discount codes to the programs below at bottom of About Me Page )
Processing Time: 40 Minutes
Music: Old School Tiesto Live Set ( YES!! )

Lightroom 4 
  • 5 Exposures from -2EV to +2 EV. 
  • Adjust RAW files for white balance, contrast and clarity. 
  • Export to JPEG
Photoshop CS6
  • Digitally blend PhotoMatix JPEG with the (5) JPEGS exported from Lightroom. 
  • Mid Tones, Lights and Darks adjustments using Tony's Presets.
  • Apply selective saturation and vibrance masks. 
  • Add texture to the sky. ( I created 200 or so textures I will eventually release to everyone as a digital download. )
  • Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast.
  • Nik Output Sharpener
  • Noiseware Professional for noise reduction. 
  • Slight global vignette application using Nik Software.
  • Save to JPEG.
from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Fire & Ice - Mount Rainier, Washington

This past weekend was my first experience traveling ( armed with a camera ) to the Southern Oregon Coast. We hit some great Oregon locations along the way such as Lost Lake, Crater Lake, Bandon, Cannon Beach as well as my personal favorite Samuel Boardman State Park. Now that all the new pictures are uploaded to the trusty iMac it's back to the road and off to Eastern Washington for the weekend.

For any newcomers to the website I keep a running diary of "On the Road" pictures including iPhone uploads and random pics taken behind the scenes... here are a few from my last trip, taken and processed with my iPhone 4. Feel free to click on any of them for a gallery view. 
Soft Blue Light Paints the Layers of Southern Oregon's Coastline / iPhone + Snapseed
Greg Annandale & Conor MacNeill Shooting Sunrise at Cannon Beach / D800
Hanging On The Edge @ Crater Lake / iPhone + Snapseed
Ok, hopefully you weren't bored by the travel pictures, I personally love seeing the shots people take while out traveling. On to the real deal...

The Shot
During one of this summer's star photography workshops, Jason Williams gave me the great idea to bring some steel wool up to the mountain.  Well that was an easy decision and it seemed to go over really well at the next group of workshop students. If you are interested in doing it on your own I found this article by Photo Extremist to be very helpful. Here is one of my favorites from the night... and if you're into learning how I process or take this type of shot my Free Star Photography Tutorial & Star Photography Post Processing Video Tutorial should be right up your alley. Enjoy!
from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com Click here to buy a print of this picture

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Omega - Goðafoss, Iceland

Does anyone ever feel that they nail a picture on their nice & calibrated home monitor then look on another computer and see that is has completely destroyed the work of art? None the less it's always good to calibrate your computer screen for the sake of prints even tho most people only view pictures digitally these days. I personally use the Spyder4Elite Calibration System once a month and find it to work really well. This is the only sure fire way to make sure your clients will receive a print that looks the same as what's displayed on your home screen. There are also some other calibration options such as the X-Rite ColorMunki which comes at almost double the price point. It's doubtful that it's double as great, can anyone out there confirm, I would be interested to in knowing?

Just another update, there are now 2 spots left in my Online Star Photography Post Processing Group Workshop, where we will cover my full post processing workflow from start to finish. I even provide you a RAW picture file to work along with me:)

The Shot  ( Head on over to the Learn Photography Page for all my tutorials )
Traveling to Iceland on a yearly basis is always a really nice escape. This past year was the first time that we made it over to Goðafoss which has been on the top of my "To Do" list for a while now. Needless to say, this waterfall and the surrounding location are beyond beautiful. There is really nothing to describe the feeling I had while shooting a 3 hour sunset at the location, maybe it was the litter of rum Meghan and I had been toting around that day? 

Post Processing Info ( Grab some discount codes to the programs below at bottom of About Me Page )
Processing Time: 90 Minutes
Music: Knife Party 2013 Week 2 Ultra Music Festival Set ( One of my fav sets from the weekend )
Drink: Tanqueray & Tonic w/ some lime.... mmmm

Lightroom 4 
  • This shot comes from a single RAW file. I rarely capture more than (2) exposures anymore.
  • Carefully adjust white balance, this took about 10 min to achieve what I wanted.
  • Bring out the shadows in the rocks a little. 
  • Clarity brush for the foreground water detail only.
  • Global sharpening.
  • Export to TIFF
Photoshop CS6
  • Apply Tony Kuypers Luminosity Masking Actions & Techniques using curves adjustments to selectively increase contrast throughout the image. 
  • Apply slight color balance using the gradient tool to select parts of the image. 
  • Detailed luminosity adjustments using Tony's Presets to make the foreground water detail really POP. This took around 20-30 min of the post processing time.
  • Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast and skylight filter applied selectively throughout the image. 
  • Nik Output Sharpener
  • Nik Define
  • Slight global vignette application
  • Save to JPEG.
from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Lucy in the Sky - Palouse, Washingon

As of Sunday morning group star photography workshop season is now over for 2013, thanks to all of you that helped to completely sell out my first season of workshops. It was a blast meeting 90+ new photographers, and learning a lot along the way. The 2014 schedule will be released in the next 3 or 4 months. If you would like to be added to the mailing list for the new workshop schedule & locations please enter your email below ( And no I won't SPAM you;)). Thanks!

My Online Star Photography Post Processing Group Workshop still has 3 spots left for anyone that's interested:)

Now it's time to head out on some of my own adventures. The look ahead report says 5 days in Oregon with Conor MacNeill & Greg Annandale starting this weekend, then 11 days in China with Paul Weeks. After that it's off to the East Coast to do some scouting for dark skies, and new locations to fill all those requests I got for star photography workshops all over the country. December brings more adventures of San Francisco and the Southern California coast, but hey, busy is never a bad thing right?

The Shot ( Processed using the skills shown in my Star Photography Post Processing Video Tutorial )
My buddy Connor and I pushed through the 4.5 hour drive out to Palouse Falls and arrived just in time for an amazing sunset. By amazing I mean one of the best I have seen since picking up a camera. After enjoying the nice color and vivid blue hour, we packed up and went looking for some dark skies. Driving through the Palouse in the middle of the night is always fun, here is one of the shots I captured. On a side note, would you rather scroll through a large picture as seen below, or be able to see the full image on your screen? For the later of you just click on the picture and head on over to the portfolio view.
from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Moody Blues - Selfoss, Iceland

Has anyone read the book "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac? It's one of my personal favorites, almost a travel bible of sorts. Last night we watched the movie On the Road and it was no where near as good, but hey, books are usually better anyway right? Currently I'm reading two new "Nook Books" which are pretty good. The first is ISLAND by Aldus Huxley & the second is a Wise Man's Fear which is almost done, both are good so far if you're into reading and all that good stuff:)

Fingers crossed for clear weather, it's time for another star photography weekend!

The Shot
The latest Iceland trip was amazing, but it takes at least two trips to get a feel for the place and find out which locations you would actually like to shoot. This being my second I was much more at home. The endless beauty makes it hard not to constantly pull over to the side of the road and take pictures, but over time you will learn to hold back. We arrived at Selfoss very early one morning and hiked out to the falls. It's really hard to get a feel for how tall this thing is from a picture but the internet told me it's at least 40 ft high.

Post Processing Info ( Grab some discount codes to the programs below at bottom of About Me Page )
Processing Time: 45 Min
Drink: 14 Hands Wine / Hot to Trot ( Yeah I'm classy ;))

  1. (2) Exposures, one for the silky smooth water and another for the rocks & sky.
  2. Adjust WB & fine tune in Lightroom 4
  3. Export to (2) TIFF files ( yes I'm trying TIFF )
Photoshop CS6
  1. Apply Tony Kuypers Luminosity Masking Actions & Techniques using channels to selectively blend the two files into one well exposed file.
  2. Add some color & apply color balance using OnOne Perfect Photo Suite
  3. Selectively adjust contrast and vibrance using luminosity masks.
  4. Top secret cloud movement tricks...
  5. Nik Output Sharpener applied selectively along w Nik Define for noise reduction.
  6. Apply slight vignette with Nik Color Efex Pro 4, Darken / Lighten Center preset.
  7. Use spot brush to remove sensor dirt and fix up a few messy spots.
  8. Final touches using hand brushed masks and curves.
from www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Endless - Vik, Iceland

Do any of you Nikon D800 owners get a bunch of strangely colored pixels when you take long exposure ( 30 seconds+ ) + high ISO star shots? I have been seeing a bunch showing up in the lower ( foreground ) part of my Milky Way shots. Checking back to some older shots from last year I did not notice the issue... Interesting.

Who is interested in learning my Star Photography Post Processing Workflow, I have a new group workshop date that recently opened up. Full details and signup at my Online Post Processing Group Workshop Page.

The Shot
For all you world travelers out there, if you ever decide to head over to Iceland and want to avoid the Rain and nasty weather, stay away from Vik. It seems to be raining there every time I drive through, on the other hand it's an awesome town that I highly suggest everyone visit. The black sand beaches and beautiful fog are worth your while. I like driving through this part of Iceland late at night when the weather is really moving around and the ocean waves are rising and falling just over the hill you can see in the distance.

Post Processing Info ( Grab some discount codes to the programs below at bottom of About Me Page )
Processing Time: 15 minutes
  1. Single Exposure at -1EV / f/11 / 1/6th of a second / ISO 100
  2. Adjust RAW file in LR4 bringing out shadow details and highlights along with a small increase in vibrancy and decrease in saturation.
  3. Export to JPEG.
Photoshop CS5
  1. Midtones curves adjustment & bright highlights curves adjustment
  2. Sharpen & noise reduction using Nik Software
  3. DONE!
read more at www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com

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