all the world is a stage

All the World is a Stage


Welcome to the catskills resort ladies and gentlemen. On my way over here tonight, I overheard two elderly ladies in the restaurant. The first lady remarked "The food here is terrible" and the second lady replied "And the portions are so small". I tell you , I am killing it. Did you hear the one about the orangutang that walked into an Irish bar with a unicycle and a violin? …

This one was shot on my iPhone and processed in Photoshop. Sometimes you have to work with the equipment you have on hand and then get creative.

Thank you Larry Coressel for the joke.

waiting in the wings

Waiting in the Wings


Do you think you can handle one more dance recital photo? This one is a crop from a much larger image. However, I fell in love with the light and decided to see what I could do with it. Before processing, the image had reall noise issues and was very dark. First task was to re-size the photo and tackle some basic spot healing and cloning to remove a few odds and ends. Next came curves adjustments. I also used some selective sharpening, blurring, and dodging to bring the image to where it is now.

I kind of like the resulting impressionistic feel of the final image.


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show me what you can do

Today's post is an opportunity for you to show off your photoshop skills. I will provide the photo and your job is to tap into your creativity and process the photo any way that you feel. Want to change the colors? Go ahead and do it. Want to composite in some people in the window? Go for it.

 Fire Escape SOOC

The image shown above is your challenge. Just to give you an example of some of the possibilities, here is my take on the scene as though it was taken at night.

Fire Escape Mod 1

Show us what you can do. Simply download the image and have fun. Post a link to your creative take on the scene int he comments. Good luck!



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the evolution of a great image


Step one: take the picture. I saw Debbie standing at this window and knew the scene would be a great image. So, I adjusted the camera and took the shot. I wanted to have some sense of what was outside of the window and also wanted to use chiaroscuro in the image. It’s helpful to have an idea of what results you want before you press the shutter button. I find it’s much easier to make the heavy adjustments in the camera than in post processing.



Step two: post process the image. My typical process with an image of this kind is to convert to black and white, so that I can get a handle on the tones. I can see them better without the distractions of the colors. I then switch back to color to make my initial adjustments. I could tell that I would have to lighten up the image quite a bit. I made my initial adjustments in Aperture. On the Mac.



Step three: step back and re-evaluate the image. In the case of this photo, I thought the brightness and contrast still needed adjustment. I also sought the advice of some fellow photographers. I was unsure of how far I should brighten up the image. Advice in hand, I had another go at the image. This required me to switch to PhotoShop. I would need the power of adjustment layers and layer masks.



Here, you can see the final image adjustments. I’ve significantly brightened the image overall, especially on her back. However, I was sure to keep the dark shadows under the window. This was done to force your eye upwards and away from the floor. I did leave the highlight on the floor to give some balance, I just didn’t want your eye to stay there. Notice that I used the contrast between the shadows on the wall beyond her body and the highlights on the front of her to make her stand out from the background.

I think the result is an effective image. We can’t see what she is looking at, leaving the subject of her gaze to our imaginations. We get to interpret the image, making up our own story.



I applied the same process to a second image from the same shoot. Getting two nice images from the same moment is as successful as you can hope to be. As much as I like the resulting images, I enjoyed the collaboration with other photographers even more.

You should take part in your own photo community. Chances are that there is a photography group in your area. Chances are even better that you can join a vibrant community online. Give it a try.

Also, don’t be afraid to re-visit an image. I slept on this one before making the final adjustments. Sometimes having a fresh look at the picture is what you need to take your work to where it needs to be. Most importantly, have fun all along the way.



the photographic mindset

Morning Cloud Scape

I took this image Sunday morning during a dawn drive through our local farm country. When I saw this cloud formation, I stopped the car and got out, camera in hand. The contrasting tones and the shape of the cloud front were what impressed me.

However, being a photographer, I couldn't settle with the beauty that I was looking at. The colors and light were not enough. I wasn't satisfied.

Morning Cloud Scape B&W

I wanted to see it in black and white. I knew that those tones would be spectacular in B&W. Sometimes color can get in the way of a great image, even when it is gorgeous. So, as soon as I downloaded the pictures, I made the conversion.

What do you think? Have you ever looked at a scene and just knew that it would make an impressive B&W image?


dc picture show

Washington Monument

J. Edgar's Treets

Postal Façade


Reflecting Ceremony

The Extended iPad Community

Fifth and H

Fountain Pool


My trip to DC was a photographic experiment. I travelled without my laptop and retrieved, processed, and up loaded my images using only my iPad and the camera connection kit.

For image processing, I used an app named snapseed. The best $4.99 I ever spendt. The app has a remarkable collection of editing tools.  I highly recommend it for those of you in search of a powerful app that can handle almost everything you will need while travelling.



The Great Wheel

Walking the Great Wheel


This is Sheep to Shawl weekend at Carriage Hill Farm. That means that the sheep are being shorn, some of the ladies are spinning the merino wool into yarn while others are weaving the yarn into shawls on the loom.


At the Great Wheel 2


My good friend Debbie told me that she would be working her great wheel and asked me if I would like to come in early to take photos before the public arrived. I was pretty excited because I had never seen the great wheel in use and we would be shooting in the natural morning light from my favorite window.


Searching the Basket


The challenges started very early. The morning turned out to be rainy and the light from the window was weaker than normal. I had to run back to the car to get my tripod. I had hoped to shoot a little more agile, but I would rather be tied to the tripod than get shaky shots. I really don't like to shoot handheld slower than 1/30th of a second.

While Debbie prepared to spin, I set up the camera gear.


At the Great Wheel


The great wheel is also called a walking wheel because the spinner walks back and forth while spinning the wheel by hand.




The larger wheel causes the spindle to spin very fast, adding a lot of twist to the yarn, perfect for wool.


One Skein Finished


Debbie made fast work of the wool and before long, she had a skein ready to go. For me, the shoot was as much about post processing as it was about taking the photos. I converted the images to black and white and thought they looked pretty good, I decided that they could use a little warmth. I decided to then add a little sepia tone, finally deciding on only 15% level. I didn't want the images to be brown.

Finally, I wanted to throw the viewer back in time and anchor them there. So, I added a vignette to each of the images.

I hope you like the images. Drop me a comment to let me know what you think.



sisters redux

Sisters 2


Sometimes I just can't let go of an image. I know that someplace inside of the photo I took, there is a better image. In the case of Sisters, i knew that the real picture was located around the horses heads and the wonderfully contrasting light.

After allowing my thoughts to steep in my head for a couple days, I cropped the photo into a portrait aspect ratio instead of a landscape image. The photo now tells a different story, one that I prefer over the wider landscape shot.

What do you think? Is this an improvement?