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A Chance to work with Sports Illustrated, only at the Summit Sports Workshop

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Since its creation in 1954, Sports Illustrated has employed some of the best and brightest photographers and storytellers in the world. The result is a publication that personifies the meaning of award-winning photography and journalism in sports. One of our long-time friends and faculty members, SI Director of Photography Brad Smith, spends his days deciding what is good enough to run in his magazine. At the Summit Sports Workshops, Brad doesn’t simply teach students about the sports photography business, he also brings an exclusive opportunity to our students that can only be found at our workshops. For the student who conveys the most determination and enthusiasm to become a better sports photographer, Brad offers a one-time photography assignment from Sports Illustrated.

Tamela Triplett, left, poses with Brad Smith, right, after receiving the second-annual Bill Eppridge Memorial Award.

Tamela Triplett, left, poses with Brad Smith, right, after receiving the second-annual Bill Eppridge Memorial Award.

 

This award is given out to one student at each years Sports Photography Workshop, and for many it is the ultimate opportunity to get into the competitive sports photography business.

The only thing greater than the award itself is the name given to it. When Brad Smith decided that he would offer this award to Summit Workshop students, he also decided that it would be named the Bill Eppridge Memorial Award. Bill Eppridge was a long-time friend and faculty member of the Summit Workshops.

Bill Eppridge was one of the most esteemed faculty members to ever be a part of the Summit Series of Workshops.

Bill Eppridge was an incredibly talented and inspirational part the Summit Series of Workshops.

 

He was an incredibly talented photojournalist that all of his friends and colleagues admired, but he was also an incredibly talented human-being, who spread his knowledge and experience to those around him. Bill died on October 3, 2013, but his memory will live on through the people that continue to be inspired by him. By naming the Summit Workshop’s top-prize after Bill Eppridge, we hope to show the appreciation for the man that’s taught us so much, and the man that we miss dearly.

Photo Editing – 4 steps to make it easy

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Don't let the editing process get the best of you, simplify your steps. Photo: CGuyTech

Don’t let the editing process get the best of you, simplify your steps.                    Photo: CGuyTech

Have you ever returned to your computer with a memory card full of photos and become overwhelmed at the idea of going through all of them?

The thought of sorting and analyzing so many pictures can seem so daunting it’s sometimes hard to even know where to start! Often we find ourselves copying the contents of our cameras to our computers and letting our precious memories collect digital dust, though we promise ourselves we will get around to organizing them – someday. Modern technology has made this task easier, with various software and cloud-based services even promising to find your best photos for you.

The following tips will help you streamline your photography workflow and make the task of sifting through your images not only easier, but a lot more enjoyable too. These general practices will apply to whatever photo editing software you use.

Step 1: Get rid of bad photos

This is the first thing you should do when sorting throuogh pictures, and it can be hard at times when you want to save everything. But this step will make all the difference in managing your growing photo library, especially if you have never done it before.

Let’s say you went on a summer family trip to a national park, and you returned home with thousands of pictures to deal with. It might be tough, but as you look through them, try to think about what images will matter the most to you a year from now. You might have had a wonderful time at the Grand Canyon during your vacation, but will you really want 50 pictures of your child looking down at the great abyss? What about the ones where he is blinking, out of focus, or looking the other way? It is likely that two or three good pictures are all you need. In this first step, it’s up to you to find the ones that best encapsulate your experience as a whole, and ditch the rest.

This approach might seem coldhearted and cruel, but it’s a necessary step in taming the photo-management beast. When you revisit the pictures from your summer trip a couple years from now, you won’t need a thousand of them to help you remember the experience. A tenth of that will probably be perfectly appropriate. If you hang on to every last one you might find that they become a burden that you’ll be afraid to come back to and revisit.

One nice advantage of using a photo management program is that you can remove unwanted photos without actually deleting them from your hard drive. In Lightroom, pressing the “X” key on a photo will mark it as rejected, so it will no longer show up in your photo library but will still exist on your computer. This helps soften the initial blow, and then you can go back later and actually delete the rejected photos if you so desire. Alternatively, you can press the “P” key to flag a photo as one of your favorites, or assign star ratings to the images you like best. Then you can instantly sort out your best shots later down the line, and delete the rest when you are ready.

Step 2: Basic Editing

After culling your pictures to find the ones you like most, the next step is to perform basic edits and save the real heavy lifting for later. After removing the duds from your recent camera import, go through each of the remaining images and apply the simplest of edits such as cropping, straightening and exposure. Not much else is needed at this stage, as you are essentially preparing your photos for any real edits that might need to be done later. These basic adjustments are very quick, and you can churn through your recent batch of vacation, birthday, or hiking photos in a manner of minutes or hours instead of days or weeks.

You can also copy and paste adjustments, so if you have a dozen similar photos you can edit one and then apply those adjustments to the rest with a simple keystroke. This is also a good time to  apply some rudimentary organization to your photos as well, using tools like keywords, flags, categories, or star ratings. Be careful not to get caught up in editing any single photo in depth at this stage. The goal of Step 2 is to dig a little deeper into the photos you like, which will help you decide where to concentrate your efforts if you do need to do more intensive edits afterwards.

Step 3: Advanced Editing

By this point you should now have a curated set of photos that you really like, with some mild corrections applied to help them look a little more pleasing. Now it’s time to perform the types of more detailed edits that will help your images truly shine. Advanced adjustments to a photo’s white balance, color saturation, contrast, and other parameters, while also applying localized improvements like dodging and burning can take a long time, but the results are well worth it.

It’s important to do this step last, or else you can easily wind up spending a great deal of time editing a single picture early in the process only to realize there are plenty of better ones that should have had your attention instead.

Step 4: Walk Away

This might sound silly, but often the most useful activity you can do when editing your photos is nothing at all. Take a break, get a coffee, head out for a walk, or just go to bed and come back to your pictures the next day with a fresh set of eyes.

 

Following this simple process, and adjusting it to suit your individual needs, can transform photo sorting from a tedious chore into an activity that is enjoyable, relaxing, and fun.

 

[via Simon Ringsmuth at digital-photography-school.com]

2014 Fall Summit (Nature) Workshop – SIGN UP NOW!!

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Our longest running workshop of the Summit Series, the Summit Nature workshop, is filling up quickly! Taking place from September 28 through October 3, this workshop is an exceptional opportunity to learn not only how to shoot nature and wildlife more effectively, but also the journalistic efforts that go into capturing the story of the image.

The Summit Nature workshops brings together a faculty of top international photographers and editors, many from National Geographic. Students have the opportunity to listen to, study with and network with the very individuals who are uniquely positioned to help with career development.

Included in the instructional sessions are lectures on conservation photography, marketing and freelance photography, and software and technology education. Also, what might be the most underrated aspect of our workshops, the networking, comes in all shapes and sizes at the Nature workshop.

To reserve you spot for the Summit Nature workshop (Sept. 28 – Oct. 3), visit:

http://www.photographyatthesummit.com/workshops/nature/

OR email Workshop Director Chris Steppig at:

 chris@clarkson-creative.com

 

5 Photoshop Blend Modes Every Photographer Should Know

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Photographic compositing has been with us since the dawn of photography. The merging of two or more separate images into one is seen as a way of extending our creativity. In the digital age, of course, this has become a whole lot easier with the use of Photoshop’s layers and blend modes. As well as compositing different images, layers and blend modes can be a great way to improve the look of your images. Today we are going to look at five of the best blend modes for a photographer, but before we start we should briefly look at what a blend mode is.

What is a Blend Mode?

In layman’s terms, a blend mode works out specific differences between two layers, the upper layer and the lower layer. Depending on the blend mode, these differences can be in exposure, contrast, color or other factors. The blend mode then uses this information to merge the two layers together.

The blend modes can be found on the top left of layer palette once there are two or more layers available. To use a blend mode, select the upper of the two layers that you wish to blend. Another useful tool to be aware of when using blend modes is the Opacity slider, this is found to the top right of the layers palette.

The whole array of blend modes in Photoshop.

The whole array of blend modes in Photoshop.

1. Multiply

This is an excellent mode for outdoor photography such a landscapes particularly if they look light and washed out. A useful technique is to create a curves adjustment layer to reduce the highlights a touch, then apply the multiply blend mode. This has the effect of darkening the image by the equivalent of one stop. If your image is now too dark, you can back the blend mode off a little using the Opacity slider.

Use Multiply to darken up a flat washed out image.

Use Multiply to darken up a flat washed out image.

2. Soft Light

This is useful mode for boosting contrast within an image. If you have a flat, low contrast image you can get an instant contrast boost by duplicating the original layer and applying the Soft Light blend mode. Again, the effect can be backed off using the opacity filter but if you need a further contrast boost, duplicate the upper layer again, the Soft Light mode will also automatically copied to the new layer.

Image with normal blend mode.

Image with normal blend mode.


Contrast boosted with Soft Light blend mode.

Contrast boosted with Soft Light blend mode.

3. Overlay 

Overlay is in many ways similar to Soft Light in that it is a contrast based mode. One of its most powerful uses is in adding graduated filters to flat skies. To do this, create a blank layer above your original. Using the graduated fill tool with a neutral graduation selected, drag the fill tool down from the top to about two thirds of the way down the image. Apply the Overlay blend mode to this graduated layer and you will see the graduated filter effect darkening your sky. Again, you can back this effect off using Opacity slider. You can also apply the Soft Light mode to this for a more subtle effect.

Image in Normal blend mode.

Image in Normal blend mode.


The same image with a graduated filter added in Soft Light mode.

The same image with a graduated filter added in Soft Light mode.

4. Lighten 

Lighten is an excellent mode for merging identical shots with different exposures. For example, if you took a series of identical shots of a cityscape through sunset and wanted to merge a night image with an earlier, lighter image that had more detail, Lighten would be the mode to use. It works by removing all the dark areas from the upper image and bending purely the lighter areas into the layer below.

Here the Lighten mode has allowed me to add light trails from a darker image to a lighter image.

Here the Lighten mode has allowed me to add light trails from a darker image to a lighter image.

5. Luminosity

This mode is extremely useful for boosting contrast without affecting saturation. Normally, when you boost the contrast of an image using either levels or curves, the color is also boosted, often leading to an over saturated feel. To avoid this, create a duplicate adjustment layer, either curves or levels, carry out your contrast adjustment, then switch the blend mode to luminosity.

A curves contrast boost in Normal mode over-saturates.

A curves contrast boost in Normal mode over-saturates.


Using Luminosity blend mode reduces that over saturation.

Using Luminosity blend mode reduces that over saturation.

The combination of layers, adjustment layers, blend modes and opacity combine to make the layers palette in Photoshop one of its most powerful functions. They give us the ability to work on specific elements of an image such as contrast or luminance without affecting other elements. Although they might seem a little daunting at first, blend modes, and in particular the five listed above, are a powerful tool in the photographer’s post production workflow.

[via Jason Row at LightStalking.com]

Three Uses For High ISO You Might Not Know

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The ISO setting  is used to control your camera’s sensitivity to light. When you use a high ISO setting essentially you are telling your camera to become more receptive to the available light. This is most often used when you are photographing in low light situations in order to maintain a proper exposure. However, there are at least three other reasons you might consider using a high ISO setting when you’re either in a good light situation or on a tripod.

1. Freezing fast motion

Use a high ISO setting to freeze fast motion – 1/8000th ISO 1,000

Use a high ISO setting to freeze fast motion – 1/8000th ISO 1,000

The only way to freeze fast motion, like the wings of a hummingbird moth, is to shoot with an extremely fast shutter speed. The above photograph was shot with a shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second in order to freeze the insect’s wings. However, even in the bright mid-afternoon sun, a shutter speed that fast required bumping the ISO setting on the camera to 1,000 to maintain an even exposure.

Below, is an example of why shooting at 1/8000th of a second was necessary. Even at 1/800th of a second the insect’s wings were barely visible. In order to ensure that the motion was frozen it meant that more light was needed in a shorter amount of time and the only way to get this (without a faster lens) is to bump up the ISO on the camera.

ISO 500 1/800th – even at that speed the wings are blurry.

ISO 500 1/800th – even at that speed the wings are blurry.

2. Night sky photography

Many different techniques come into play when you want to photographing the stars, but one of the more important things to remember is to increase that ISO setting. The reason you want to photograph the stars with a higher ISO, even though you’re using a tripod, is that as the earth rotates, the stars move across the sky and you don’t want to capture that movement in your photograph (unless you are doing star trails)

Use high ISO to capture stars in the night sky.

Use high ISO to capture stars in the night sky.

Many different techniques come into play when you want to photographing the stars, but one of the more important things to remember is to increase that ISO setting. The reason you want to photograph the stars with a higher ISO, even though you’re using a tripod, is that as the earth rotates, the stars move across the sky and you don’t want to capture that movement in your photograph (unless you are doing star trails)

By using an ISO in the 800 to 1,000 rang,e with a fast wide-angle lens, you will be able to capture enough stars to fill the sky.

3. Hand-holding a long lens

If you’re shooting handheld with a long lens, you have to remember the shutter speed rule: 1/focal length (35mm equivalent).  This rule basically means that if you’re using a 300mm lens on a 1.5x crop factor DSLR then the minimum or slowest shutter speed that you can use is 1/450 (1/300 on full frame).

Use high ISO when shooting handheld with a long lens

Use high ISO when shooting handheld with a long lens

The bald eagle above was shot at a 450mm equivalent focal length using a shutter speed of 1/500th of second and an ISO of 1,000. Any slower on the shutter speed and you begin to run the risk of introducing camera shake.

 

[via digital-photography-school.com]

DH3Q1101

Clarkson on the first remote cameras

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Remote cameras are seemingly everywhere today.  Everywhere for the most part where a person could not get, but sometimes for other reasons — such as a high risk location.

But the real innovative breakthrough came not so much with motorized cameras such as the Nikon SP and the early Nikon Fs, but with a highly portable battery pack invented, manufactured and sold by California photographers Larry Schiller and Jay Eyerman.  For those power packs holding penlight batteries made the whole camera compact enough to fit in many tight places.

Thus it was in 1957 that I mounted a camera looking through the glass backboard at a college basketball game.  At the Topeka Capital-Journal, we had two machinists whose job it was to keep the presses and Linotypes working, but were always eager to work on something different.  That was when I asked them to make a bracket to attach to the outer frame of the glass backboard.  They came up with a great bracket with three tightening bolts that bore small pins on the other side of the metal so there could be no slippage — the pins worked right into the backboard frame.

With a ball and socket head that was tightened with a wrench, I installed the rig on a backboard at Kansas State University — and then showed it to the two coaches for permission.  They could care less and I loaded the Nikon with a roll of film and waited for the tipoff.  At halftime, I climbed the stepladder to get the film and raced for the darkroom.  When I looked at the film,  the first frames shot before the game were fine — but as the roll progressed into the game, each subsequent picture was more and ,ore out of focus.  There was nothing that could be used.

That’s when I learned the vibrations were so extreme that the lens focus slipped with each bouncing ball.  For the second game, I learned to tape down the focusing mount so it couldn’t slip.  Then came lesson number two.

The reflection of the basket’s frame went right though the center of the picture.  Black masking tape applied to the one frame and bracket was lesson number two.

So two games later, I had my first picture through the backboard — and one of them was very spectacular.  I thought I was very cleaver.

Until later that same season, I saw another picture just like mine.  From Los Angeles where Life magazine photographer John G. Zimmerman had crafted a similar mounting— with very similar pictures.

In the years since, Zimmerman , myself and other photographers continued to mount cameras on the backboards, the standards and wherever else you could get a bracket out of the way. And as part of our 20-year contract with the NCAA, we have mounted the cameras for every Final Four since, pooling the pictures to everyone who wants them as the NCAA was willing for two cameras — but no more on the backboards.  It could look like a forrest of cameras — which you occasionally see at some arenas where there are no rules restricting the numbers.  Our four remote cameras are all hard-wired to the workroom where an Associated Press editor edits and passes the picture on to whoever is in the pool.

Prior to those days, I had never met Zimmerman — who was not only one of America’s pioneering and great sports photographer, but was the nicest person you would ever meet.  Along the way, we met and worked on assignments together for Life and Sports Illustrated many times.  When the 1980 OLympics came along in Montreal,  John Durniak (Time’s picture editor) assigned me to be the Time magazine photographer after I had done the Munich games for him four years earlier.  I did those as the only Time photographer and with all the news that broke there, I was stretched to say the least.  Olympic credentials were very hard to get then, but I was able to get a second credential for Montreal and Durniak said I could select anyone I wanted to share the assignment for Time.

I picked Zimmerman.

Gillette Gives a Behind-The-Scenes Look at the Making of Their “100 Years of Hair” Stop-Motion Commercial

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Gillette, founded in 1901, has been around for just over 100 years now. To celebrate, they recently put together a genius stop-motion video showing the evolution of men’s hair during that time. This video takes us behind the scenes of the four-day production and shows the painstaking level of attention-to-detail involved in creating an animation of this magnitude. And here’s the final result:

[via fstoppers]

Christmas LED Lights on Budapest Tram Make For A Great Long Exposure Shot

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budapest train

Photo: Viktor Varga


What do you get when you add 30,000 twinkling Christmas lights to a tram car? An oppurtunity for spectacular pictures. If you ever find yourself in Budapest, Hungary for the winter holidays, don’t miss the wonderfully festive decorates trams.

Started in 2009 by the Budapest Transport Company, the festive tradition is a delight for locals, citizens and chlidren. Best of all, anyone with a regular ticket or public transport travel pas can ride the Christmas trams, making them a fun and budget-friendly way to get around Budapest while enjoying some holiday spirit.

More Photos >>

[via mymodernmet]

Adobe Teases New “Focus Mask” Feature For Photoshop

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Adobe has released a video sneak-peek of a new feature due to be introduced into Creative Cloud which the company is calling ‘Focus masks’. In the video, Zorana Gee, senior Photoshop product manager explains that with focus masks, Adobe is ‘adding a new way to make an automatic selection based [on] pixels that are in focus versus out of focus’. Judging by the very quick walkthrough provided in the video, this feature should be a powerful addition to Photoshop CC’s suite of editing tools, especially for fans of shallow depth of field work. 

Adobe is also teasing an announcement event for more Photoshop CC-related news on June 18th with the enigmatic tagline ‘everything new is new again’.

[via dpreview]

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