digital darkroom, instructional, photography, workshop

Remastering An Old Favorite // Lightroom Tutorial

I’d like to think my style has changed… become more refined over the years.  So I wanted to show how I process my images now.

And what better way than working with an old favorite that needed a little “remastering”?

I hope this Adobe Lightroom 5 tutorial is helpful… please feel free to let me know in the comments, and tell me what else you’d like to see.

~ andrew


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
Standard
photography, random thought

Top 10 Photography Gadgets

Your camera and lenses are the most important tools in your bag.  Hands down.  But there are so many more helpful instruments out there, that sometimes choosing what to pack and what to leave behind is overwhelming.  Here are my top ten, don’t leave home without them!

10.  Filter Holder

Filters help us achieve the look and feel we want in camera.  I hear the excuse all the time, “Why use that when you have photoshop?”  But to put it bluntly, getting it right in camera the first time is where we get the latitude and quality that makes professionals stand out from the amateurs.  Though I often handhold my 4×6″ ND filters, my Cokin Z Pro Series Filter Holder allows me to hold my filters (up to 3 at a time) in one consistent place, making it easier and more accurate to shoot long exposures and time lapses.  The downside though, is at super wide focal lengths, the edges of the holder are visible in the frame.

9.  Velcro… Yeah, You Heard Me… Velcro.

How did people live without velco??  On most trips I carry a 15ft roll of the stuff.  “Why?”, you may ask.  Well, I can tell you many uses, but I seem to find more on nearly every trip!  Right now I use Scotch Self-Stick Reclosable Fasteners on my tripod legs to fasten my intervalometer and cable releases.  When shooting long exposures and time lapses, you don’t want them flapping around in the wind messing up your shot.  I also use it on my pocket wizards to fix them to whatever I need; the power packs, stands, flashes, etc.  There are so many uses, I could hardly name them all…

8.  Filter Pouch

My Lowepro S&F Filter Pouch 100 allows me to keep all of my filters in one place, where I can access them conveniently.  It clips around the neck of a tripod, and can hold several circulars, 150mm x 100mm NDs, and even a filter holder.

 

7.  Multi-tool

It’s hard to argue this one.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had emergencies where I’ve had to tighten crews on my lens in the field, or cut something, use my players to fix a wayward piece of metal, etc.  No matter where you are or what you’re shooting, you’ll thank me if you take your multitool, I promise.  And I recommend the Leatherman Wave.  It has just about any and every tool you would ever need in the field to fix any problem… you could even field dress a deer with it.

6.  Small Stand

The Manfrotto 5001B 74-Inch Nano Stand fits in a standard size suitcase.  When space and weight are a premium and I’m traveling around the world, this little bad boy gets packed first.  It folds down to less than 20 in, and can easily support speedlights and boom mics.  When full size stands won’t do, this compact solution will save the day for you.

5.  Geared Tripod Head

It’s an obvious and necessary accessory… a good tripod head.  But recently I’ve been introduced to the Manfrotto 410 Geared Head.  It was love at first use for me.  It’s heavy and meaty, which I love for it’s stability when shooting long exposures.  Now I’ll admit, it’s not the best for mobility with video, but I rarely shoot anything but handheld or static shots anyway in video.  Its precise controls, and super fast yet secure quick-release plate keep me loyal.  It’s perfect for landscape, long exposures,  and architecture… the majority of my work.

4.  2X Tele

A good 2X teleconverter is a must for nature shooters.  It’s all fine and good to have your 500 or 600 f/4, but let’s face it, they are beasts.  And sometimes a 5 or 600 isn’t even enough.  A good 2X like the Canon EF 2X III Extender will give you what you need with minimal image degradation.  I often use it just in conjunction with my 70-200/2.8 so I can have a 400mm reach without the bulk of a prime, when hiking or backpacking.  It’s not better than good prime glass, but it’s a supremely valuable tool when space and weight are a premium.

3.  PocketWizards

If you shoot portraits, these are a must.  Whether you’re using strobes or speedlights, PocketWizard Plus III Transceivers are the best solution to consistency and stability in communication between your camera and lights.  But something that most folks don’t know about these little magic machines… you can also remotely trigger your camera.  It comes in really handy for wildlife and sports photography.  They run on two AA batteries, and they’re quite small, so you don’t have to worry about them taking up valuable space in your bag.

2.  Intervalometer

I really don’t know how I lived without this for so long.  Seriously.  My work was so much more difficult and time-consuming without the Canon TC-80N3.  It will control long exposures and time-lapses like a boss.  You can tell it exactly how many frames at what intervals… I mean.  Remember the days of the cable release with your 35, medium, or large format camera?  Yeah, this totally kicks their butts.  And what it does most valuably for me, is that it allows me to get a little shuteye when I’m shooting star pictures and night time-lapses.  I really cannot say enough about this genius, little gadget.

1.  Graduated ND Filters

Again, it’s only been the last few years since I’ve really seen the necessity of my Singh Ray Graduated Neutral Density filters.  I’ve already talked about “getting it right in camera”…. well, this is how you achieve that.  Have you ever been shooting a scene and not been able to balance the amazing sky with your perfectly composed landscape?  Well sometimes these shots would be impossible without grad and reverse grad nds.  There is no Lightroom or Photoshop equivalent, though one can achieve decent results in post.  You really can’t argue the difference in quality once you start using the appropriate filters.  And it opens your ability to convey the emotion and drama you envisioned for your image without it looking too “photoshopped”.  Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Lightroom and Photoshop, I use both everyday for very single image I shoot.  What I want to do though as I grow as an imaging professional, is to minimize the distraction to my viewers.  I want them to get lost in the fantastic beauty of my image… and I don’t want them seeing the tell-tale signs of having to use Photoshop salvage an image.

673494

The fact is… there are so many wonderful little gadgets that help us take our images to new heights of creativity.  I would love to hear which I’ve left off the list that are true must haves.  I know there are plenty out there with which I am not yet familiar.  Thanks in advance!

— andrew


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
Standard
art, photography

Buy Local // BUY ART

The “buy local” movement has gained considerable momentum in the last few years.  And there are many great reasons to support your local economy.

etsy-print-ex

But I’d like to see a movement in the art community to encourage people to buy local art specifically.

As the Christmas and holiday seasons approach, artists could begin promoting the idea that locally produced art is the perfect gift.  Because it is.  Where would be as a society without art?  Music, painting, sculpture, theatre, film, photography, culinary art, fashion, architecture, etc.  It’s a seriously sad prospect to consider.  So we as creatives have to find a way to continue living and producing.  And that involves the very important roll of the art patrons.  The art consumers and appreciators.  Everyone, no matter how cynical, is an appreciator of art.

So how do we as producers turn the casual appreciators into patrons?

I think one way is for us to encourage patronage of art in general.  When the population becomes great appreciators and consumers of art, we all benefit.  And it starts in our local communities.  That’s not to say that buying art around the country or around the world is bad.  I frequently sell around the U.S. and internationally, but it should all start at home.  Appreciating and buying art locally = a broader base of more informed consumers/ patrons.

We as artists should be supporting and promoting each other’s artwork.

Let’s start a movement.

Let’s help the arts everywhere by buying local.  Buying art.

~ andrew

BLBA-2


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
Standard
photography, travel

Telluride Photo Fest // Preview

_MG_4218FF

I have had the pleasure of spending much time in the incomparably beautiful Telluride, Colorado.  But never in the Fall.  So the fact that I’ll be attending the 2014 Telluride Photography Festival in October has me really excited.

With Joel Sartore, Barbara Davidson, Aaron Huey, Ian Shive, and Jennifer Wu as the lineup of speakers, a lot of photography wisdom will be at the helm, ready to be gleaned.  And I’ll be ready.  In the past, I didn’t follow many photographers… But Joel has been on my radar since I was very young in my work, because of the amazing stories he has shot for Nat Geo.

_MG_6905F

There are workshops, seminars, panel discussions, a photo contest, portfolio reviews, and all of the other usual convention perks.  Not to mention the opportunities to network with industry professionals and other great photographers.

But perhaps what I’m still looking forward to the most, is the fall colors.  I can’t believe that in the last 18 years of frequenting the town of Telluride, I have never personally seen the amazing explosion of color that is Autumn in the southern San Juans of the Rockies.

_MG_8756AS

If you have a chance to make it this year, please drop me a line, I would love to get out there with all of you and shoot some of the spectacular vistas of the surrounding area!

~ andrew

_MG_6580F


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
Standard
photography, random thought

Autumn Rules // Top 10 Reasons Why Photogs Agree

I love summer, but in my opinion, nothing compares to the Fall.  Here are my Top 10 Reasons why professional photographers are salivating over the return of Autumn…

ARS_WY_0912_0122

10.  No Mosquitos… Okay, less mosquitos at least.

Depending upon where you choose to go this Fall, mosquitos could be the least of your worries.  Due to lowering temps, unfavorable for mosquitoes, they tend to hide in the autumn and winter.  They’re still there, but mostly inactive.  If traveling to more tropical locals, like the Florida Everglades, Fall could be the wet season, creating perfect conditions for the tiny insects to ruin your day.  Choose wisely, my friends.

green treefrog  mosquito on human hand

9.  Cooler Temps

It’s the reason for the lack of mosquitoes and other annoying bugs, but it’s also a welcomed relief to folks like me that appreciate the cool, dry air.  Whether you’re in the Smokies or the Rockies, the air begins to teem with a new, crisp energy starting in September.  It’s the coming of winter and the first snow that seems to charge the air with a sense of purpose, unlike the relaxed feel of Summer.  And the animals feel it too…

ARS_WY_0909_0015

8.  The Animals Are Active And Energized

The inevitable coming of Winter that is marked clearly by the changing from Summer to Fall, is perhaps the alarm clock for most animals, especially in the mountains and forests.  They come alive with the urgency of the moment.  Realizing they must feed as much as possible before the unforgiving Winter, they become bold and are easily viewed and photographed during the Fall.  And that’s not even to mention mating season… I’ll get to that later….

ARS_WY_0912_0023 ARS_WY_0912_0064

7.  Less Crowds

I do enjoy people (sometimes), but when I’m on one of my nature/ landscape trips, I prefer to avoid crowds.  So if you’re like me, Autumn is the time for you.  The crowds of the Summer months dwindle away with the start of new school years, less hospitable weather, and reduction of seasonal services.  All is quiet.  And peaceful.  The way nature should be appreciated!

ARS_WY_0907_0040

6.  Catching The First Snow Is Exhilarating

Ah, the first snow.  It is something I strive to catch every year in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.  There is something so magical about it, and as mentioned before, it is the first real indicator of the coming Winter.  The animals get energized and a beautiful dusting of contrast is added to a yellow and sleepy landscape.  Which brings me to my next point…

ARS_WY_0909_0024

5.  Dynamic Weather

With the colder air from the north and first snow comes weather and dramatic clouds.  Those bluebird Summer days feel long gone, and the beautiful “drama queen” that is nature, peeks out to show you her moody side.  The light becomes magic as it penetrates small openings in the clouds, kissing the land.  I’m getting giddy just thinking about spending a month in Colorado and Wyoming this Fall!

ARS_WY_0912_0115

4.  Longer Nights…

I know, I know, this seems weird, right.  But let me just say, if you’re a seasoned photographer, you’ll know what I’m talking about.  We are often slaves to the light.  And during the Summer months, the days are so long.  We must rise before the sun to capture the gorgeous pre-dawn and dawn light (4:30-5 AM), and then we cannot truly rest until the sun has again hidden itself from our little part of the earth (9-10 PM).  It’s exhilarating, but exhausting.  So when the shorter days, longer nights of Fall come, it’s a nice reprieve.  Well, okay, let’s be honest; I still spend the same amount of time shooting, it just allows me to also capture the night shots I so love to shoot.  And thankfully, I still get a solid 5-6 hours of sleep.

ARS_WY_0909_0131

3.  Better Light = Better Photos

What is it about the Fall light?  Well, for one, the sun is lower in the sky, so the angle of sunlight is generally prettier and softer.  But also, as I mentioned before, the weather creates a situation for the light to be filtered and fantastically interesting.  There’s a harshness to the summer sun that fades away with the advent of Fall.

ARS_WY_0909_0112

2.  The Rut… And the Animals Get Crazy

If you’ve ever hear elk bugling, you’ll know what is so entrancing about the rut.  The rut is the mating season of many mammal species, including deer, elk, sheep, moose, pronghorn, caribou, etc.  The shorter day lengths of Autumn are the trigger for many of these animals.  And the side-effects of the increased hormones are what make this time of year so exciting and interesting for wildlife observers and photographers.

Males often rub their antlers or horns on trees and shrubs, fight with each other, wallow in mud and dust, self-anoint, and herd estrus females together.  Bull elk, in particular,  will loudly and frequently bugle.  A bugle is a vocalization made exclusively by bulls and can be directed toward other bulls or toward cows (female elk). A  bull will direct his bugle toward his cows while gathering them or while chasing a cow in estrus.  A herd bull might also direct his bugle toward another bull to express his dominance over the herd, while a satellite bull may use his bugle to challenge the herd bull.  Yelping also known as “grunting” is usually only made by herd bulls when they are excited. Seeing the steam from the cold air streaming from the nostrils and gaping mouth of a massive bull elk grunting and bugling is truly amazing.  But it’s the haunting bugles in the distance that one wakes to that heighten your senses and keep you coming back to the mountains in the Fall every year.

ARS_RMNP_0613_0249

1.  Fall Colors

What can I say?  This is self explanatory.  The colors of the fall just can’t be beat.  The deep greens and blues (to borrow from James Taylor) of Summer are magnificent.  Totally.  But the colors of Fall, almost exclusively during a few magical weeks each year, awaken my soul.  Red, orange, yellow, and every hue in between.  It’s earthy and warm, but those old familiar cool toned skies and purple hued mountains make for supremely balanced images.

ARS_WY_0909_0141 ARS_WY_0912_0124

Sometimes as I drive down the road to Cora in the Winds, the leaves fall and dance in front of my car, and I feel like I might be in heaven.  Or some cheesy car commercial.  But it’s amazing and I really can’t get enough.  I miss Fall as soon as it’s gone, and I can’t wait until it arrives again…  Every.  Single.  Year.

If you don’t believe me… join me this Fall for my Grand Teton Workshop!

~ andrew


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
Standard
art, photography

So, What’s In A Print?

etsy-print-ex

It occurred to me recently that many “new” photographers are greatly undervaluing their prints.

Now, it may be that the quality of materials and processes are lacking, or that they are selling open editions (no limit to quantity), but I think I know the most harmful culprit.  I believe the market is being set by people that may not fully understand what goes in to the production of a great print.

So, I had the idea to shoot an entertaining and factual video that follows a photographer (me… surprise, surprise) from start to finish, including what it takes to capture a photograph worthy of printing and selling.  Then, of course, the less-than-glamorous process of locking oneself in the isolation of the digital darkroom to fully realize the original intent of the image.  And so on.  I’m sure you get it, but I really do hope to create a visually compelling story of the birth of a great photographic print.

I aim to do this for all of us.  All of us photographers out there that sometimes struggle with how to price our work.  All of us that struggle with a largely uninformed public as to what we actually do.  “You just bought a nice digital camera and go take pretty pictures, right?”  Or my favorite… “You are just better at photoshop than most, so you can make really cool pictures.”

I have a trip to Wyoming coming up in October that I hope/ trust will be the perfect backdrop for this short film.  I hope to have it ready just in time for Christmas…

Please feel free to comment and let me know what I need to be sure to convey through this video.

~ andrew


 
Take your photography to a new level… check out my new workshop dates:
 
Grand Teton Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2014
More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2014
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // andrew r. slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2014
Standard