Friday, May 30, 2008

Dark Forest

"Dark Forest"
Nikon D200, 70-200mm, raw capture at ISO 100

I wanted to share an image I made this past winter while leading a photo workshop in West Virginia. We found ourselves high in the mountains and it was very cold and foggy. The thick moisture from the fog and the extreme cold caused ice to form on everything. Our bodies, the trees and the road were all covered in the slick stuff. Dark Forest is an image that has been manipulated in post processing. I first started by loading the original file in Photoshop CS3.

Step 1: I created a duplicate layer and apply Motion Blur Filter ( 90degrees at 450 pixels). I then reduced the layer opacity to 90% and applied a mask at 60% over the tree trunks to allow some of the detail to shine trough.

Step 2: I created a second duplicate layer and applied a Gaussian blur at 25 pixels. The opacity of the layer was reduced to 25%. There was no masking done on this layer.

Step 3: I applied a Channels Mixer layers adjustment to the image. The settings were at Red(+80%) Green(-20%) and Blue(+40%)

Step 4: I made 2 more layers adjustments. First, a levels adjustment. I slid the sliders together to create more contrast and the 2 layers adjustment was color balance. I increased the blue channel at +9.

That's it. Here are the before and after photos.

Original Capture

Edited Image

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Workshop Images

Just returned home from finishing my last lecture at the Memorial Day Workshop Weekend with Corey Hilz, Bill Folsom and Mark Dilallo. I am exhausted and really looking forward to spending tomorrow with Amber and Phoenix doing absolutely nothing. Here is a collection of images I managed to squeeze out while doing field demonstrations for the group. Enjoy the holiday and be safe, Joe.
click on any image for a larger view

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Baltimore Camera Club Lecture and Memorial Day Workshop

Springtime along Hog Camp Branch, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Hello everyone,

It has been a very busy week. I have been stuck in my house prepping images and getting together lectures and presentations for summer workshops as well a processing images from this spring. All in all, I have had some great shoots in April and May and am very excited about this summer. The Shenandoah Workshop should be excellent this year with all the rain in the past couple of months. After that, I have a few local shoots lined up and then it is off to Mount Evans and Rocky Mountain National Park for a private location tour.

Tonight I will be speaking at the Baltimore Camera Club at 7:30. The BCC is a well known and prolific club here in Maryland. I am very excited to able to present to the group some of my work and talk about the creative process behind the making of the images.

The Memorial Day Workshop is of course this weekend, and I will probably spend the better part of Friday putting together images and lecture notes for the weekend. Then it is off to Vienna, Virgina to meet Corey, Bill and Mark for the opening night meet and greet.
Saturday and Sunday will be full of presentations and field sessions. I am sure to be completely worn out by Monday.

Look for the Mountain Trail Photo Portal site in early June. This site will feature the work of the Mountain Trail Press photographers. I will be busy at work next week getting images ready for Ian Plant and writing a few more articles for the launch of the site.

Look for a post on Monday w/ some work and stories from the weekend.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Scotts Run, Difficult Run and Great Falls one day Nature and Landscape Photography Workshop

Our Grand Landscape and Nature photography workshop was yesterday and it was a great time. We had some really nice weather and equally good light throughout the day. We started at Scott's Run Preserve and shot reflections, stream scenic and waterfall images. After that is was over to Meadowlark Gardens for 3.5 hours of class time. We discussed composition, exposure, filters, special techniques, abstract images and post processing techniques.

After finishing up at Meadowlark, we headed over to Difficult Run to have a session on shooting reflections and cascades. Difficult and Scott's Run were really nice after all of the rain we have had lately here in the Mid Atlantic. After a couple of hours and many images, we packed up and quickly shot over to Great Falls to finish the day at my favorite overlook for sunset. The light was sweet and we all had chance to make some really nice images. I instructed each student on the proper use of their graduated neutral density filters and spot metering to balance the light.


Thanks to everyone who joined in for the day. I will be leading a workshop next weekend with Corey Hilz, Bill Folsom and Mark DiLallo at Meadowlark. I need to get on the ball preparing some new images for my lectures. I have to start getting all the last minute preparations for our Shenandoah National Park workshop on June 6 -9. There are still 2 spots available to any one who is interested. Email me or call amber at 410-919-8001 to register.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dogwoods and Rustic Fence

Dogwood and Rustic Fence, Southern Maryland

I spotted this scene while dropping my 2 dogs off at the kennells. I decided I needed to return the next morning before the dogwoods went past peak. I was blessed with no wind and a little fog which perfectly complimented the scene. The fence really pull you through the image and the soft light and peak blooms really make this image special to me.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Shenandoah One Day Private Workshop and Scouting Trip

I spent Friday scouting and shooting in Shenandoah National Park for a spring workshop in 2009. The weather was challenging with thick fog, occasional downpours and windy conditions. With so much rain over the past week and all the fog, I decided to focus my attention on shooting waterfalls and forest scenes. The conditions were absolutely perfect for these subjects on Friday. The hardest part of the day was keeping my lens from fogging up and continually wiping a layer of moisture and rain drops of the front element. I used a garbage bag and umbrella to shield my equipment from the elements. I ended up scouting many locations along Skyline Drive for good locations for a group of 8 -10 clients and then spent the remainder of the day in Dark Hollow Canyon shooting waterfalls, stream scenic’s and inner forest scenes.
After finishing up after dark, I strapped on my headlamp and made the hike out of the canyon and headed over to Big Meadows Lodge to check in and dry off. I didn't do any post processing as I had to get up the next morning at "O dark thirty" to meet the group of clients for the private scouting workshop on Saturday morning.
we had no luck at sunrise, thick heavy fog and heavy rain. We retired to the lodge for breakfast and to wait out the weather. After breakfast we braved the elements and the rain let up, but the fog remained. i decided to take the group down to Dark Hollow Falls. The weather and light conditions were perfect and we all got some really great images. After Dark Hollow, we headed down another trail near Big Meadows to Lewis Spring falls. Lewis Falls drops off into a very deep canyon and can only be photographed from above on a narrow stone ledge. I do plan on making the hike up to the base of Lewis Falls later this year or in the fall. It is to far and grueling of a hike to bring in a workshop group, so I will be going it alone on that one.
After finishing up at Lewis Falls and everyone sufficiently tired from the morning hikes we spent the remainder of the afternoon shooting forest scenic’s and grand scenes from the many overlooks in the vicinity of Big Meadows and Skyland. Around 2:30 in the afternoon the sky began to clear a bit and the fog broke up. We were treated to some really amazing clouds and light for the remainder of the day into sunset. I would like to thank my workshop clients for being so positive and enthusiastic even with the cold, wet weather and challenging conditions. I know everyone came away with some great shots of this beautiful park.
Here are some of my Top Selects from Friday and Saturday. Enjoy, Joe.