Photo Essay: Where the Amish Go on Vacation

This week, The New Yorker has an absolutely delightful photo essay, “Where the Amish Go on Vacation,” with photos by Dina Litovsky (and text by Alice Gregory) that capture a “place of brief leisure for people who consider work to be sacred”:

“Each winter, for close to a century now, hundreds of Amish and Mennonite families have travelled from their homes in icy quarters of the U.S. and Canada to Pinecraft, a small, sunny neighborhood in Sarasota, Florida. Arriving on chartered buses specializing in the transportation of ‘Plain people’ from areas such as Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Holmes County, Ohio, they rent modest bungalows and stay for weeks, or sometimes months, at a time. It’s vacation. For many, it’s the one time of the year that they spend with people from communities other than their own.”

Litovsky doesn’t gawk at or exploit her subjects; instead, she tells this story with respect and care, capturing her subjects as they are in this world. (My favorite photos are the shots of the volleyball game at night, but the entire piece is wonderful.)

The photographer, originally from the Ukraine, is now a resident of the U.S., and has a great eye for people in their environment. Her work has been in National Geographic, New York Magazine, The New York Times, and more. Her website is well worth perusing, especially if you are interested in telling stories through photography.

Lightroom CC, Classic updates add profile enhancements

Adobe Lightroom profiles menuAdobe released simultaneous updates this week for Lightroom CC (desktop and mobile) and Lightroom Classic, with a number of new features and enhancements. The biggest feature is an expanded set of profiles for rendering raw files with camera-specific styles and artistic effects.

At their simplest, profiles are the initial transformation of tone and color characteristics to a raw image (before editing), and Adobe historically has applied a default profile (Adobe Standard) to every raw image processed in Lightroom. If people knew about profiles—which was rare—it was most often to apply a camera-specific profile to a photo inside Lightroom. These additional profiles would correspond to the image settings you would find in your camera; my Sony A7RII, for example, has built-in profiles, with names like Deep, Clear, Portrait, Landscape, and I could apply those profiles either in-camera or in Lightroom Classic. Adobe would add those profiles to Lightroom as part of regular Camera Raw updates, and those profiles were tied to the camera used to take the photo.

Profiles have been around for some time, buried at the bottom of the Lightroom Develop panel, in the Camera Calibration pane. Read more »

Using DNG Converter with Lightroom 6 (and Elements) and new cameras

Lightroom 6 has reached the end of its road, so it’s all gravel lane from here on out. The last perpetual revision, Lightroom 6.14, was released on December 19, 2017, and Adobe isn’t going to update or support it going forward. The app still works fine, however, so if you’ve chosen it over Adobe’s subscription offerings (Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC), you shouldn’t see much of a difference for the time being.

Unless you buy a new camera.

If you’re shooting with a camera released after that date, Lightroom 6 won’t recognize those raw files. Camera manufacturers tweak the raw recipe for each camera model, which is why you frequently see updates to Adobe Camera Raw, Photoshop and Lightroom that add new raw formats. Since Adobe ended support for Lightroom 6 at the end of 2017, the software will no longer receive those updates. Read more »

Landscapes in red: the work of Melissa D. Jones

Golden Moment, ©Melissa D. Jones (all rights reserved)

Start with a landscape, and then throw in a shock of color—something bright and contrasty to arrest the eye. It’s an easy way to get attention, but pull the same technique too many times and it can become a gimmick. If you’re a photographer with the skill of Melissa D. Jones, however, you use it to display the world in a unique and different way.

Many of the photos on Jones’s Instagram account, @rouxroamer, feature herself in various bright red (“roux,” in French) articles of clothing—a gown, hat, jacket, heels, umbrella—but they never come across as contrived or cheated. Her appearance in each shot deliberately works with the rest of the scene.

Read more »

Photoshop Elements 2018 on sale through Feb. 20

We’ve long advocated Photoshop Elements as the ideal non-subscription image editing app: it is cross-platform, has a decent Organizer, and almost all of the features found in the full version of Photoshop. Right now, through Feb. 20, Photoshop Elements is on sale for $70 on the Adobe site, which is 30% off the list price. And, if you’re interested in video editing as well, the Photoshop Elements/Premiere Elements bundle is priced at $100 (it is normally $150).

With all the brouhaha over Lightroom CC from the fall, one message was clear: that many hobbyists don’t wish to spend anything on a subscription plan. And, at, $70, this is clearly a good deal on the latest version of Elements.

On Joel Meyerowitz

Joel Meyerowitz is one of the true giants of 20th century photography. His career has moved from street photography to impressionistic landscapes to portraits to still life subjects and more. His series of images taken in and around the World Trade Center site in the wake of 9/11 was wrenching, poignant and authentic: a brutally honest collection that captured the horror and sorrow of those terrible times with compassion and respect.

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Matt K on advanced brush settings in Lightroom & Camera Raw

Oneonta Falls, ©Matt Kloskowski (via 500px)

If you’re using adjustment brushes inside Lightroom (Classic or CC) or Adobe Camera Raw, check out Matt Kloskowski’s latest video tutorial, Advanced Brush Settings in Lightroom and Photoshop, which talks about how to use the Flow and Density settings to get better targeted adjustments during your editing sessions. Matt’s explanation of why you want to play with those (rarely discussed) settings is spot-on, and he even includes a sample file for you to follow along with his edits.

Matt is one of the best post-processing and photography instructors out there—as well as an excellent photographer, workshop leader and all-around good guy—and he’s worth following, especially if you’re inside the Adobe ecosystem. He regularly posts great short videos on his site and his Facebook page, and his Photoshop System and Lightroom System courses are the best comprehensive video courses in the market.

Upcoming workshops with Hudson Henry

Our friend Hudson Henry is hosting two upcoming workshops, one a five-day excursion in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina, the other a three-day workshop out on the Oregon Coast. If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to study with Hudson, these are perfect opportunities to deepen your photo skills with an expressive and eloquent teacher, one with a fine eye, a keen understanding of photographic history, and an easygoing manner. Hudson’s workshops are extensively researched and planned to help you get great shots, and the small size of his workshops guarantees plenty of one-on-one time in the field and in the classroom.

Charleston (April)

The Charleston workshop runs for five days, from April 13-17, and includes class time and excursions throughout the historic city center and many of the natural wonders around the area:

There’s good reason for Charleston, South Carolina’s rapid rise as one of the United States’ premier tourism destinations. Food, history, architecture, and beautiful wetlands full of birds and wildlife—this amazing city has something for every photographic style and taste. In this small 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.

We’ll be basing our workshop in the heart of historic Charleston, within easy reach of its culinary and historic treasures. We will also take excursions outside the city, to such locations as Bull Island, the Magnolia Plantation, and Audubon’s Francis Beidler Forest.

Read more »

Take Control of Lightroom CC ebook

Amidst the fury that surrounded Adobe’s fall Lightroom announcements (see The Cost of Software for details), it was easy to miss the fact that there are people who actually want to use Lightroom CC, especially for its promise of a cloud-based, device-independent workflow.

We honestly remain on the fence about the bifurcated Lightroom platform, but we’ve also run into more than a few people who expressed interest in—and asked questions about—Lightroom CC. Most of the questions are about the future of CC, especially since the core app’s feature set at launch was anemic in places. That said, Adobe has posted one major update to Lightroom CC since its release in mid-October, adding curves-based editing and split tone controls, as well as a new Auto image enhancement feature (which also was added to Lightroom Classic in December).

Read more »

January 26-28: Fine Art Printing Workshop in San Francisco

If you’ve ever tried to print a digital photo, then you know that an image that looks good on-screen won’t necessarily look good on paper. In this three-day, intensive workshop—from January 26-28—you’ll learn how to get great-looking prints from an inkjet photo printer. Through lecture, demonstration, and lots of hands-on work, Ben Long will guide you through the process of editing your images for print. In addition, you’ll learn about configuring printer drivers, using color management tools, and choosing a printer and paper. Most importantly, you’ll begin the process of developing an eye for image analysis and print aesthetics. Though this isn’t a shooting class, you’ll have some time for shooting in beautiful San Francisco, and we’ll devote a little class time to image evaluation and group critique. If you’re unsatisfied with the quality of your digital prints, and frustrated by how much paper and ink you consume to get a good print, then this is the workshop for you.