Thursday, December 6, 2007

Elephant Seals and HDR

Jon Canfield led the class about 30 miles up the coast to the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery. If you have never seen these unbelievably large marine mammals, it is time to visit. Great information may be found at

It is still early in the "active" season but we witnessed multiple battles between Alpha bulls, juveniles playing, and a whole bunch of sleeping.

The images displayed today are high dynamic range (HDR) shots of the seals. I took three exposures of each subject (0, -2, and +2) with a hand held Canon 40D and 100-400 lens. The shots were combined to a 32-bit HDR file and processed with Photomatix Pro. After processing, the resultant 16-bit TIFFs were returned to Photoshop for additional work.

We are back in the digital darkroom today covering the Lightroom print module. By later in the day, the lab's 2400s, 3800s, 4800s, and 7800 will be humming.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Got Waves?

Jon Canfield is here this week shooting and teaching RAW Workflow in Photoshop and Lightroom. Huge winter swell hit and Los Osos had waves breaking from 15-25 feet. We, of course, had to take advantage of the elements.

There has been a large amount going on in and around The Institute. The studio space is painted and waiting for the flooring experts. Jon Canfield is here now and Ben Willmore was around last week. Lewis Kemper will be here next Monday.

This week, Jon is focusing on the RAW format. Why to shoot it, how to shoot it, and how to process it effectively and efficiently. We are spending a part of each day shooting (yesterday was sunset, today huge waves, tomorrow elephant seals and winery, Thursday who knows.) When we return to the digital darkroom all images are imported, rated, sorted, and the processing starts. So far we have spent a majority of our time in Lightroom. I'll update you later in the week with developments.

This past weekend, we held a successful "Finishing Touches" course. The FT, for short, course covered sizing, resolution, multiple sharpening techniques, over a dozen different border options, and print optimization. With our extensive print lab we made sure all participants took some great final products home. The course went very well and we look forward to holding the FT course about once per quarter.

Ben Willmore spent last week with us teaching "Advanced Photoshop for Photographers." Yet again, Ben wowed the class with unequalled knowledge and skill. Ben will be back at least twice in 2008, once in May (tentative class is "The Digital Fine Art Nude") and once in October ("Advanced Photoshop for Photographers.) Check out Ben's blog at He also has his new photo website up at

Well, that's all for today, back to class.