Friday, November 28, 2008

Quick Shots from Kevin Ames' Class

The Art of Photographing Women went extremely well. Talk about an education in lighting, composition, posing, interaction, etc. Great stuff. We are extremely excited to have Kevin on our list of instructors again for 2009. If you are interested in any of the above topics do not miss Kevin next year.
We will also be offering a couple of weekend workshops concentrating on basic lighting in the near future. Look for the course list updates.
The attached shots are from different shoots during the week.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Evening

We just finished a full weekend of High Dynamic Range (HDR) shooting, processing, and printing. We had a great time whether in the field or learning in the digital darkroom. It is always fun to watch people experience how shooting for HDR can take them beyond the limitations of their equipment.

We processed all images using either Photomatix Pro, Photoshop, or a combination of the two. The image above was generated from three images each shot 2 stops apart. The resultant radiance file was processed twice in Photomatix Pro, once for photorealism and once for a high texture, art effect. Both images were stacked in Photoshop and ultimately converted to black and white with Nik's Silver EFX. I printed this one BIG and it is awesome.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

More Examples

©Gero Heine

From the same assignment, Gero Heine shot these images, creative, fun and well lit with a single Speedlite! Great job!

© Gero Heine

The class is reviewing yesterday evening's shoot now. We will discuss some additional techniques and then shoot some more with models and flash modification techniques.


Couple Pictures

© Cheryl Strahl

Here are two quick shots from Cheryl Strahl. She is here this weekend taking the Flash Demystified course. Cheryl used a single, off camera flash for these shots. The assignment was not about subject but light.

© Cheryl Strahl

Flash Demystified

Rob Sheppard is back this weekend with Flash Demystified. We have learned a huge amount and are shooting like crazy, 3 shoots yesterday!

Flash can sometimes be very intimidating but Rob makes it so much easier. His exercises not only teach the technical side of flash and light but greatly stimulate the creative process.

Next post we'll put up some of the exercise shots. The attached pics today are from yesterday's second shoot. We set up many small, quirky items and experimented. Great stuff.

Duane Hall "Mighty Oak"

Here is one of my favorite student images from last week. Great light.

Nice job Duane and Seven Peaks Photography! We will try to get this printed out and hung on our student wall soon!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Seán Duggan's Black and White Class

Last week Seán Duggan taught Creative Digital Black and White. Though we had a small class the information was in abundance and each student had a one on one experience all week! We started out shooting at Spooners Cove out at Montaña De Oro state park. The students did some wonderful long exposures and explored some great textures with rocks and water. Below is an image by Michael Cryer who used a wide angle and played around with the split toning in Lightroom 2.1.

We took the images back to lab the next day where Seán showed many examples and techniques on how to turn images into rich black and white images.

We also visited The Oaks and learned about setting up and visualizing a shot for black and white. I was able to use an IR camera with a fisheye and got some very unusual images.

We heard that a life-size replica of La Niña was docked in the Morro Bay marina so naturally we saw a great opportunity to find some great textures and some interesting silhouettes from the late afternoon light. We also learned to create starbursts using a small aperture (f/16, f/22 etc.).

Seán is a beta tester for Adobe so we were fortunate enough to see some really nice previews of the next version of Photoshop CS4.

Stay tuned to see what we are up to this weekend! And remember we have a great discount right now for the Intermediate Photoshop class next week! Call the office! 805-528-7385.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Finishing up Rob Sheppard's course today early enough to have some Halloween fun later.

Take care and have a great day.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


©Chris Tenney

©Cynde Herman

Day four of Rob Sheppard here at the Institute. We have been exploring color and light for the last two shoots, yesterday at the pumpkin patch and this morning at the SLO Botanical Gardens.

©Jane Delvecho

©Margaret Brown

The class is reviewing both shoots right now but I wanted to shared a few of the pics before they finish.

©Jane Delvecho

We'll be off later this afternoon to shoot some more.

©Jeremiah Hansen

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cool Shot

©Marion James, 2008

Marion James shot the photo shown above this morning in the hills south of San Luis Obispo. We thought it was a great shot and wanted to share. Just another beautiful day on the Central Coast. See you here soon.

Sunrise Shoot

Up early this morning to shoot an assignment on light. The class spent a few hours starting just before sunrise exploring light and shadow.

Everyone is busy now editing the shoot and we will review and critique again this afternoon.

We had a great time last night shooting a playground scene using the "light painting" technique. Ambient light was very low, so Rob and Hal provided almost all illumination with a few flashlights. It was a good shoot with everyone very surprised and inspired by the results. We've found that once you are exposed to light painting you will want to try it more and more.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rob Day 2

Curlew prowling!

We met early this morning for an assignment on composition. The class shot for about 2.5 hours and then returned to the digital darkroom for review.
After a few more Lightroom lessons from Rob and Hal, everyone edited their images and optimized five for a critique from Rob.
The class is in the middle of the critique right now and the discussion is going very well. Rob's constructive criticism really gets everyone thinking about what and how they shot and, more importantly, how they would do it differently and better the next time.
We'll be heading out again to shoot soon so there will be plenty of opportunity to improve.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rob Sheppard is Here

Long time Editor of Outdoor Photographer is here this week teaching Building Blocks to Better Photography.

We spent most of today reviewing images and discussing techniques to improve our photography.

The day finished with a good discussion of Lightroom 2.0, one of Rob's favorite programs for his aftercapture workflow.

Tomorrow we'll be out shooting. Stand by for the images.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's Been Awhile

Harvest is finally winding down and it is time to get back into the swing of things here on the blog.
We've run a few classes over the last month but most of our time has been spent up at Midnight Cellars winery working the 2008 vintage. It was an interesting year as yields were down but quality was surprisingly good. The final grapes of the season will come in next Monday. I'll miss them as Rob Sheppard is here teaching Building Blocks to Better Photography.

We haven't been shooting a whole bunch but Victoria recently shot a promo for Brian Benson Cellars' Ed's Red wine. The composites below were some of the better ones.

Take care and we'll be updating often now.



Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Quick pic from a wolf shoot Victoria and I did earlier today. A handheld three shot HDR of two living, moving subjects is always a challenge.

The three wolves we photographed are part of a wolf rescue program. They are currently in the Five Cities area but are moving north to Oregon very soon.

The shots from this morning will be used to create a calendar in hopes of raising some much needed funding.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

To the Dogs

Victoria thought "Heck, if the Papillon can do it..."
Just finished up day four of the Best of Lepp Institute. We have been shooting like crazy. I think all the students are worn out since the lab is empty right now. Of course, we were out shooting horses at sunset on Pismo Beach until 8:15!

We'll give a more detailed run down of the week later. Wanted to put up a few pics of our agility dog session earlier today.


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Vegas Baby, Vegas!

From a recent studio mini-course with a local client

Off this week to Las Vegas for the Photoshop World convention. The trade show is put on by the Scott Kelby and his team at NAPP (The National Association of Photoshop Professionals.) Every conference is a tremendous experience as the industry leaders, movers, and shakers are all in one spot.

Similar to last year, we will have a large booth on the tradeshow floor featuring demos, tutorials, and talks from our staff as well as our instructors. If you are heading to the show, stop by and say hello.

We will also publish our 2009 schedule at the conference and will push it online as soon as we return. Some good stuff next year from the best bird photographer in the US to masters of wedding photography.

Take care and hope to see or hear from you soon.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Hal finished up our second Canvas Printing and Finishing Techniques course about an hour ago. Everyone did well as we printed and finished over eight canvas gallery wraps. As always the class produced some incredible work and learned a huge amount. Even Reagan got into the mix with her little 11 x 16 canvas.

From canvas selection to print optimization to coating to stretching, we did it all (by hand.) With that said, Hal did demonstrate the canvas stretching machine to show some speedy stretching.

We'll do another canvas course next weekend after we finish up with Fay Sirkis' Corel Painter class.


Thanks Charlie and See You Next August!

Friday saw the end of Charlie Cramer's Digital Printing for the Fine Art Photographer. We spent the first three days learning to optimize our images. The class became very familiar with every use of the Curves adjustment layer. In addition, there was a daily critique of student work led by Charlie himself.

Thursday and Friday were all about optimization of the students' images and printing, of course. We fired up the Canon 5100s and 8100 printing 8.5 x 11, 13 x 19, 16 x 20, and larger. All in all there were some tremendous images and impressive prints.

We just booked Charlie again for next year so we will do it again relatively soon.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Digital Printing Party

Just another Thursday night wine and cheese party at the Lepp Insitute. Rough living here in Los Osos, optimizing images and printing all day with a little relaxation in the evening.
Charles Cramer has shared his expertise with the class for the last four days and we are seeing some great prints as a result. Tomorrow we will fire up the Canon ipf 8100 for some larger prints. Looking forward to what we get.
As you may or may not know we tend to print quite a bit at the school. We are fortunate enough to have Canon sponsor us with equipment, ink, and media so our clients can learn to print properly here before wasting any of their time or assets at home.
We'll finish up tomorrow and kick off again Saturday morning with another Canvas Printing and Finishing Techniques course, nothing like working with canvas.
Take care and hope to see or hear from you soon.

Monday, August 11, 2008

LR Class Photo

Friday finished a great Lightroom 2.0 class. We were very fortunate to hold the class immediately after the release of the latest version. It was a long week with multiple photo shoots and plenty of time in front of the program but well worth it.

Charles Cramer is here now teaching Digital Printing for the Fine Art Photographer, always a fun class.

I'll put a new post up later detailing our huge wine in the 10th Annual Paso Robles Winemaker Cookoff!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Interesting LR 2.0 Work

After 2 Graduated Filter adjustments in LR 2.0

Before any processing/straight from the Canon 40D

We were out this morning shooting the sunrise from my new favorite location just south of San Luis Obispo. It was absolutely beautiful. We even had Reagan out to see her first sunrise!

The two shots above are an after and before comparison of one of the images I shot this morning. The intent of the shot was to use it as a demonstration in our current Lightroom 2.0 class. There is a new tool called the Graduated Filter and it may be used for local adjustments to an image (vice the global adjustments LR has.)

The change in the images is the result of applying the Graduated Filter twice; once to darken the sky and again to add a tint of gold to the foreground. Not a perfect shot but it served the purpose of showing how powerful the very simple Graduated Filter tool can be.

The class is becoming much more familiar and comfortable with LR 2.0. We're even finding certain little bugs that seem to stop the program (will send to Adobe soonest.)

I am a little biased but I am very happy to have the release timing work where we at the Lepp Institute run the first LR 2.0 week-long training workshop anywhere!