Lumu Light Meter

If you’re an old-school, ex-film photographer like me, you probably still have a fondness for light meters. These days, with everything being automated, most people don’t carry one around in their camera bag. Luckily, there’s an app for that! The Lumu Light Meter app—from Lumulabs—is well-designed, easy to use and extraordinarily useful. Lumulabs has thought of options that I could have never dreamed up, which help to make it the best incident meter of its kind.

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Fall Foliage Heat Maps

Autumn is one of the best times to be a landscape photographer, with cooler weather, transitional light, and, of course, the amazing technicolor changes of the trees. The challenge is always in trying to time things so you’re in the right place at the peak of the foliage.

Luckily, the Internet is your friend: for the past few years, we’ve seen a few time-based “heat maps” that show the expected peak foliage colors across the US; the best and most reliable has been SmokyMountains.com’s Fall Foliage Map. It has a great map of the US, with a date slider that shows the anticipated foliage gradient (from minimal to past peak) across the country.

If you live in New England, the Disneyland of fall foliage, check out New England Today’s Peak Fall Foliage Map; it’s not as cool as SmokyMountains.com’s, but it does the trick.

[via Kottke]

Moab/Arches photo workshop Nov. 3-7

©Hudson Henry Photography

Our good friend Hudson Henry is hosting a five-day photo workshop in Moab this November, and there are a couple of spots left:

There’s no place like Moab, Utah. This location has something for every photographic style and taste. In this small (10 person) workshop we’ll split time between exploring this epic location and honing your photographic skills and creative vision through classroom training, shooting, editing and critiques.

Moab has it all. Epic desert vistas with deep canyons and otherworldly rock formations, incredible trails for hiking and mountain-biking, bright starry nights with low light pollution, and it’s all within easy striking distance of this great little town with good food and friendly locals.

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The Best Printing Apps for Your Phone

In the last decade, printing your images out on real paper seems to have fallen out of fashion. As digital has conquered the world of film, many photographers–professional or personal–no longer print out their photos. Whenever I tell people about printing out my images, they act confused; “Why would you print them out?” Yet every time I give physical photos as gifts, my friends and family absolutely love them.

Many people don’t have photo printers at home, as they can be pricey to buy and stock regularly. That’s why I’ve fallen in love with the world of printing apps; why pay bucket loads for special paper and expensive ink when someone else can send you gorgeous prints with no hassle?

There are a lot of printing apps popping up, so I’ve compiled my favorites to help you choose the best option for you. Read more »

Photoshop Automator Actions updated for CC.2017

We recently updated our Mac OS X-based Photoshop Automator Actions to Version 5.0.8, to include support for Photoshop CC 2017.

Built-in to Mac OS X 10.4 and later, Automator makes it simple to create sophisticated, complex automations. Out-of-the-box, Automator can’t control Adobe Photoshop, but with the addition of this Photoshop Automator Actions collection, you get everything necessary to drive Photoshop using Automator. Read more »

Quartz Mountain Lightroom workshop, Oct. 5-8

If you’re thinking that it’s time for you to really learn Lightroom, Ben is teaching a Lightroom Deep Dive workshop in early October at the Oklahoma Arts Institute’s Quartz Mountain facility:

While “Photoshop” has become something of a generic term for image editing, these days, most digital post-production is centered around Lightroom. Offering all of the essential image editing power of Photoshop, Lightroom also provides all of the image management and cataloging features that you need to keep your ever-growing archive organized and searchable. In this intensive workshop we’ll go deep into the bowels of this product and explore how you should configure your system to get the most from Lightroom. Lightroom’s editing toolkit provides all of the essential controls you need to make sophisticated tone and color corrections and we’ll look at how to get the most from these controls. Along the way we’ll cover organization, backup and geotagging as well as how to merge Photoshop into your Lightroom workflow. Finally, we’ll go deep into Adobe’s latest addition to the Photoshop/Lightroom family and dive into Lightroom Mobile, which allows you to easily integrate your iOS and Android phone camera images into your regular workflow. Because you’ll need some imagery to work with, and because we’ll want to get out of the computer lab, we’ll be taking time to shoot in the surrounding towns and landscapes. There’s something in this class for anyone who uses Lightroom, regardless of your current skill level, and in this workshop we’ll have a lot of fun exploring those things.

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Photo workshop: August 25-27 in Chicago

Join Ben Long in Chicago next month for a three-day workshop on composition and critique, sponsored by Juniper Workshops:

Through lecture, one-on-one instruction and shooting, we’ll discuss and explore many compositional ideas and examples before going out to try them on the streets. Afterwards we’ll cover some important post-production skills and practices as we select images for group analysis. Online photo sharing sites and forums can be a nice way to get feedback on your images but virtual feedback is a poor substitute for actual in-person group critique and we’ll conduct two of these during this workshop.

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Easy Tiny Planet video

Yesterday I mounted the Ricoh Theta on my motorcycle’s handlebars and went for a spin with a friend. The Theta software has a built-in Tiny Planets feature that is very fun. Sadly, it only outputs a final product that’s 640 pixels wide, but given that it’s a 2-button solution to create this effect, I’m still impressed! Read more »

Recognizing Tonal Potential

Very often, good photos are the result of a photographer being able to recognize the potential in a scene, and very often that potential is one based around manipulating tone. Learning to develop an eye for tone will not only allow you to get better shots, it will open up a realm of subject matter that you may not normally recognize. For example, consider this shot:
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Exercising at Home

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After finishing up a ten-day job last week I came to Oklahoma to visit my parents. Tired from the previous week-and-a-half of shooting, and not wanting to think any more about images, I spent a couple of days ignoring my camera. But, with each day bringing nice afternoon light, I quickly began to worry about falling out of practice. I didn’t feel up to getting out for any kind of big shooting expedition and didn’t have any need for particular kinds of images so I decided that simply doing some exercises was all I needed. It’s often difficult to have a fresh eye in a well-known environment, so goal-driven, exercise-oriented shooting can often get you capturing frames in places where you normally feel there’s nothing to shoot.

Read on for more details about the exercise that I tasked myself with.

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