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Invest In Your Creativity

Workshop Discount For My Readers!

You probably know by now that I believe one of the most important things we can do as a creative person is to invest in our own creativity. Whether it is a workshop, an eBook or creating with others it is important to your growth as an artist. With that in mind, I wanted to let you know about this cool workshop from Trey Ratcliff.

I opted to take this course

  • because I dig Trey Ratcliff’s work
  • because I believe you need to invest in learning to improve your own photography
  • and to see just how beautiful New Zealand is

Click Here to get it for $89 instead of $99!

This workshop checks all the boxes! It’s cool that they let me offer it to you for a pretty good discount. If you are looking to attend a workshop in NZ this year, but can’t fit it into the budget, this is a pretty cool option.

i-hw4TFRG

Click Here to get it for $89 instead of $99!

Here’s what Trey has to say about it….

This Landscape and Travel Photography Course includes over four hours of step-by-step instruction that will be helpful to any skill level, from beginner to advanced. Note: The tutorials are downloadable videos that you can watch at your own pace.

  • Approximately 2.5 hours of post-processing where I illustrate my latest techniques
  • Roughly 1.5 hours of live-action in New Zealand where you will see how I set up my camera in different locations and weather conditions
  • My RAW image files so you can follow along in the post processing if you wish
  • BONUS 2 hours of Q&A with Trey Ratcliff
  • Access to the private Stuck In Customs clubhouse

A Few Of My Favorites

Here are a few of my favorite images I have made using techniques I have learned from this video as well as other videos from Trey over the years.

Elcoa State Park

Mountains And Clouds

Vail Pass Summit

This is the view from the summit of Vail Pass. Whenever we drive west, we usually go over it. Whenever we do that, we always stop to make a photograph. Every time it’s different but always beautiful. I shot this with the new Fuji 55-200mm telephoto. I’ve put together the beginning of a review for it over here.

The Watchman

This image was a lesson in paying attention. I was up shooting close to the Twin Peaks overlook (you can find it in my travel guide) and I thought to myself…”self, next time you are up here you will have to coordinate with another person to stand on top of that hill down there.” Just as I said that, myself quickly said…”hey, quit talking to me and pay attention. Someone is standing on top of that hill!” The light wasn’t great, but I had enough shape and contrast in the scene to make it work.

Photographer’s Note: I shot this image using my trusty Nikon 28-300 VR. It really is the ideal travel lens. I actually ran it through a field test in San Francisco. If you are interested in the results you can read my review of it here.

Continue for Capture/Processing Notes…

The Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake At Sunset

Ahhhhh…..The Great Salt Lake. It’s that little sliver of light at the bottom. A friend of mine told me that the sunsets in Utah are a product of both the dust from the Salt Flats to the west and the reflective qualities of the Great Salt Lake. After witnessing a few of these this summer, I would tend to agree!

Gear Update & Mini Review

My Think Tank Retrospective 10

This summer I was looking for a more discrete camera bag for travel, exploring cities, and photo-walking. I ended up picking up the Think Tank Retrospective 10. It has served me well now for several months. I just received word from them that they are running a special holiday promotion on all their retrospective bags so I thought I would share it with you. If you buy any of the Retrospective bags, you will get $20 back. If you use this link or my affiliate code on checkout (434) you get to choose from 1 of 11 free bags.

Here are my findings after a couple months of use.

  • It is pretty discrete.
  • I feel like it might be something Indiana Jones would use if he was into photography.
  • It fits my iPad in the front pocket, so it is a viable travel companion.
  • The shoulder strap is super comfortable.
  • Although I don’t normally carry a flash with me, it has to dedicated internal pockets that can fit your flashes if need be.
  • The ‘stuff’ organizer is really well thought out.
  • I think it is cool that my bag has velcro silencers.
  • The front pocket can easily hold my GoLite Gortex jacket and some snacks.
  • Yes, you can put a bunch of stuff in this bag, and this is the 10. I can’t imagine what you could put in the 20 or the 30? That being said, be honest with yourself, just because you can fit it in doesn’t mean you are going to enjoy carrying it for a full day. No matter how comfortable the strap, more gear means more weight. More weight means less fun.
  • Also, be aware this is a soft sided bag. It does a good job protecting gear from most stuff, but if you drop if off a building, there are no guarantees.
  • Because it is a soft sided bag, it kind of collapses on itself a bit so you might end up digging around for stuff if you have it packed to the brim. But we don’t want to do that because more stuff equals more weight, and more weight equals less fun!

Here is a look at my ‘street/travel kit’. This is the kit I carry around when I’m out about exploring cities, photo walking, etc. I carry the second body for portraits. This is the kit I was using when I shot the image above.

Think Tank Retrospective 10 Review

If I’m only carrying a single body, but I want the best image quality/versatility I can manage, this is what I carry. All of it fits nicely inside and is pretty easy to work out of.

Think Tank Retrospective 10 Review

Think Tank Retrospective 10 Review

Need to be quiet? Just put it in stealth mode!

Think Tank Retrospective 10 Review

Nik Snapseed (iPad Drivers Rejoice!)

First there was the wheel, then sliced bread, followed by the iPhone, and now Snapseed. Nik Software’s ‘Snapseed’ for the iPad is my new favorite photo editing tool. This toolset is only $4.99 and it makes photo editing and sharing super easy and fun. You will need to warn your Facebook friends because you are about to unleash a torrent of hyper creative and beautiful images on them. You can continue reading my review, however for $4.99, you might as well download it, change your status to “Channeling the muse”, and start getting creative.

Just click the icon to download it.
Snapseed for iPad - Nik Software, Inc.

As you can see below, you can quickly (and I mean quickly) use a variety of tools to enhance your images. Everything from simple adjustments like brightness, saturation, and contrast to applying a retro vintage vibe to your photo. All of that power is literally right there at your finger tips. No mouse required. Snapseed photo editing is Minority Report style. Just swipe, pinch, and touch your way to glory! (hmm…that probably didn’t sound right, but you get the picture…it’s and iPad!)

Nik Software Snapseed

Nik Software Snapseed

The app is simple to use, so I won’t go into great detail about the ‘how-to’, but basically you choose your effects, swipe up and down to select the enhancement you want to make, and then swipe left and right to control the intensity of it. If you get confused, just click the “?” to get a description of the gestures.

Nik Snapseed Review

Just click the ? to bring up the help screen. This will get you going quick!

A Quick Work-Flow

Here are the steps I followed to make this image of Hippo, the guest relations manager at the l’Hermitage hotel in Vancouver.

Nik Software Snapseed Review

Nik Software Snapseed Review

The first thing I did was a few global adjustments to Color, Contrast, and Saturation. Just a couple swipes and I was done!

Nik Software Snapseed Review

Next, I cropped the image to my liking. Just a quick pinch and I was done.

Nik Software Snapseed Review

This is the coolest feature! Nik Famous U-Point technology has made it to the iPad. Just drop a point on the photo, change its size, and selectively control things like brightness, saturation, and contrast. You can cut/paste/copy/delete as many points as you want. In this image, I just brightened Hippo's face up.

Nik Software Snapseed Review

Lastly, I used their cool focus feature to blur the background a bit and add a vignette. A couple swipes, pinches, and touches and I was done. I think I had it finished and ready to share in under a minute.

Nik Software Snapseed Review

Speaking of sharing, you can pretty much send your photos anywhere. Even the printer...wirelessly!

The Travel Challenge

Snapseed, coupled with a capture device like an iPhone, has revolutionized my travel photography. Most of us aren’t shooting for magazines. We are just trying to connect to the moments in our lives and share them with friends. I’m in the same boat. When I’m traveling I just like being out and about, making images, editing them as quickly as possible and sharing with others. If that sounds like you, Snapseed is your Huckleberry. On a recent trip to Pennsylvania and Niagara Falls I decided to see what I could do armed with only an iPhone and Snapseed. Here is what I came up with.

Photo Transfer – I use a cool little app that lets me transfers photos between all my iDevices wirelessly. You can download it here.

Photo Transfer App - Enrique Rodriguez

The following images were all captured via an iPhone 3Gs and edited in Snapseed. Now that beta-testing is over, I can finally share them….lookout Facebook friends!

Nik Software Snapseed Review

Nik Software Snapseed Review

Nik Software Snapseed Review

Nik Software Snapseed Review

Nik Software Snapseed Review

Nik Software Snapseed Review

Nik Software Snapseed Review

Before And Afters

Snapseed doesn’t end with the iPhone. It is a fulled featured, super efficient, digital darkroom. To prove it, and let you see the the variety of creative tools you have at your finger tips, here are a few images (from various cameras) edited exclusively in Snapseed.

White Tip Reef Shark Molokini Crater Maui, HA
Camera: Nikon Coolpix 5100 and iKelite Housing

Before

Nik Software Snapseed

After

Denali National Park
Camera: Nikon D700 / Nikkor 80-200 AFD

Nik Software Snapseed

Before

Nik Software Snapseed

After

Jan Ulrich 2004 Tour de France
Camera: Nikon D1x / Nikkor 80-200 AFD

Nik Software Snapseed

Before

Nik Software Snapseed

After

Me (in a very back-lit dark photo)
Camera: Nikon D5000 / Nikkor 16-85 VR

Nik Software Snapseed

Before

Nik Software Snapseed

After - Wow, look how much detail Snapseed was able to recover with a selective adjustment. It totally saved the photo!

Conclusion

It is pretty clear. For $4.99 you can’t go wrong. This app is amazing. Actually, it’s more than that. In my book, Snapseed is a game changer. It is that innovative.

Just click the icon to download it.
Snapseed for iPad - Nik Software, Inc.