Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Printing and Shooting

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Day 2 with George Lepp is now finished. We started this morning at 8 AM with a download and review of yesterday's afternoon session. After about two hours of discussion with George, Hal took over and gave a print tutorial on the Canon ipf 5100. Fortunately, the new print plug-in makes the whole process much more intuitive and efficient.

Since we had a little time before the afternoon shoot, Hal covered some tried and true Photoshop techniques to make images pop and prepare for printing. We started with a discussion of "painting with light," non-destructive dodge and burn options. Whether using a single layer set to Overlay blend mode or using a "blank" curves adjustment set to Screen or Multiply blend mode, the end process is still the same.

We then talked about a few border options including the world famous "George Lepp Border" and the often used Drop Shadow Border. To make things easier Hal demonstrated a couple of times and then distributed a detailed set of notes.

We finished the Photoshop work with a sharpening discussion. The highlight for most of the class was learning how to make a Luminance mask to apply targeted sharpening. Once again it was a demonstration and then follow along with Hal.

After a quick lunch, the critters showed up and George led a discussion of macro and flash photography. Everyone was anxious to start shooting so we didn't talk long. Hopefully, tomorrow we'll have some images up from today's shoot. The shooting continued for a few hours and then we downloaded and started to optimize and print.

The print workflow worked for everyone and just under a hundred prints were finished by late in the day. As we were printing we had about 10 pizzas delivered so we could eat and work through the standard dinner hours. Always good to have a little social time with the class in addition to the normal course work.

Early tomorrow we are off to Shell Creek for the abundant wildflowers. Will let you know how it goes.


Monday, March 24, 2008

George Lepp is Back for Flower and Macro

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George is back in Los Osos again teaching a Flower and Macro course, as always it's a full house. The weather and wildflowers are beautiful so it is shaping up to be a great week. We spent a majority of the day in the digital darkroom with George instructing on the tools, techniques, and procedures required to optimize macro photography. The classroom discussion continued until about 2 PM at which time we packed it up and went to the field. We visited a local hotel with beautiful, native wildflowers as their landscaping. The plan was to ensure the class was comfortable with their equipment and techniques before heading east to shoot the expansive plains of wildflowers about an hour from the school.

The shoot started with George repeating and demonstrating the material from earlier in the day. As the class began to shoot on their own, George and the Institute staff made the rounds to ensure everyone was doing well.

We are also fortunate this week to have another Canon Explorer of Light with us. Vinnie Isola drove down from the bay area to shoot and provide his expertise. Two Explorers of Light for the week is awesome.

Tomorrow we will review and critique our shots from today and prepare for an afternoon, in house shoot. We are bringing in numerous critters to work macro and flash. We never know exactly what is coming but I expect there to be numerous snakes, large insects, and interesting reptiles. Should be fun!

Take care and we will update again tomorrow.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Finishing Up with Rob Sheppard

Photo by Dave Lawrence

Day five with Rob Sheppard is coming to a close. Today's challenge was to select five more images and prepare/print as if they were to be featured in a gallery show. Most of the pictures are on the wall and the last few should be up soon. Most of the class chose to keep 13 x 19s but some have ventured into the larger prints that both the ipf 5100 and ipf 8100 are capable of. Rob will lead a final critique of the "show" later this afternoon.

All in all it has been a busy week printing. I can state without any doubt there is no other training facility in the world that could do what we did this week. For every student to have the luxury of printing and taking home over 25 gallery quality prints (of at least 13 x 19) is awesome. Because of Canon and the help of the Lepp Institute Staff, we do this on a regular basis. George built the best facility around and we feel proud to carry on his tradition of excellence. Of course, every now and again we try to raise the bar wherever possible.

George will be here next week leading a Flower and Macro class. Expect to see some great images from that. We also have Vinnie Isola, another Canon Explorer of Light, dropping by for a few days. In addition, Canon reps have loaned us even more Macro equipment and a Canon Print rep will be here all week. I am, once again, looking forward to a tremendous experience.

Take care and Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Rob Sheppard Day 4

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Been another heavy print day here at the Lepp Institute. Rob discussed a few creative and enhancing border techniques this morning. He covered Layer Styles extensively and some other more intricate border options. After these tutorials, he challenged the class to print five of their images for a critique in the afternoon. We finally put the 13 x 19 prints on the wall about an hour ago and the review is ongoing. It is great to see such a dramatic improvement in print quality and impact after only four days.

Victoria's Vpod Advertisement

Once the review is complete, we are off to shoot again. The wildflowers are blooming all over so we have great macro and landscape opportunities. We are going to visit the "Elfin Forest" on the north side of Los Osos overlooking the estuary. The forest is a very interesting place as most of the trees are dwarf oak. On clear days, the whole forest, the estuary, Morro rock, and over a hundred bird species may be seen. Should be fun.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Flowers and Printing

Most of today was spent in the digital darkroom optimizing images to print. Rob had everyone in the class select one image and work on five different interpretations. When complete, we all printed the images at 13 x 19 on the ipf 5100s. After some quick rearranging, we hung all of the prints on the wall for discussion, critique, and review. There is nothing like having your work displayed for all to see and then allowing the former Editor of Outdoor Photographer to offer goods and others. Overall it was a great exercise. (Two of my interpretations accompany this entry.)

We shot a little bit around the school but everyone wanted to get back in and work on printing. There are many great things about the Lepp Institute but one thing everyone absolutely loves is our printing. We teach workflow and that includes printing. The end to end process is key and we will not send a client home without having mastered the essential art of printing. We are fortunate to have Canon as a sponsor and with their generous help we are not afraid to print and learn. It is not uncommon to leave the Institute with 10 - 20 finished prints ready for finishing and display.

If you do not receive our newsletter please sign up on our homepage, www.leppphoto.com/. In today's newsletter we announced two exciting new programs, a Referral Credit program and a Short Notice Open Seat policy. If either of these pique your interest, please give us a call at 805.528.7385 or email us at info@LeppPhoto.com.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Out in the Field with Rob Sheppard

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Rob Sheppard, long time editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine, is here this week and we are splitting our time between the classroom and the field. Rob covered many great Photoshop techniques to make your print pop and spent huge amounts of time today with image sizing, print resolution, and sharpening.

The poppies are out.

Just prior to leaving the lab, we fired up the Canon ipf 5100s and learned an effective, efficient, and color managed print workflow. Fortunately, the ipf 5100's print plugin makes the process quick and easy. In no time, the class produced some great prints of the images they shot yesterday down at Montana de Oro State Park.

Unfortunately, so is the poison oak.

The wildflowers are blooming so we shot up the coast to photograph steep, verdant hills covered in lupine. It was an absolutely gorgeous setting scouted by Rob and Victoria shortly after sunrise this morning. The weather is tremendous and the shooting is great.

We'll spend most of tomorrow in the lab optimizing and printing. Hopefully, we will start into the bigger prints of 13 x 19 or 16 x 20 tomorrow afternoon. The goal is for each workshop participant to have one image ready to print on the 44" wide Canon ipf 8100 by Thursday afternoon. It will be great sending everyone home with some HUGE prints of their work.

Take care and shoot well!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Recent Classes

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Been a great few weeks since we last posted. We hosted Fay Sirkis, Jack Davis, and Tim Grey in addition to all of the normal happenings around the school.
Fay taught a Corel Painter X class focusing on Landscape photography and painting. It is truly amazing the art you can create with Corel and Fay's instruction. It is always great to watch people who think they cannot paint on Monday walk out with stunning fine art prints by Friday. Check the schedule as we are currently arranging more dates with Fay later in the year.

Last week, Jack Davis brought his WOW style to the Institute for the first time in a few years. We went deep into Adobe Camera Raw 4.3 and CS3 Smart Object functionality. I am fortunate enough to have a different instructor each week but Jack was amazing. His corporate knowledge of any and all things Photoshop was only outdone by his comments and advice on photography and art. When Jack visits the school again, this is a must attend class!

Over the weekend Tim Grey came back to his old stomping grounds and taught Total Control. As some of you may know, Tim is a former manager of the Lepp Institute and helped George build the school into what it is today. His knowlegdge, wit, and teaching style made for an excellent weekend of CS3.

This week Rob Sheppard, long-time editor of Outdoor Photography, is here. The course "Going from Good to Great Prints" is off to a nice start with Photoshop work this morning and shooting this afternoon. Fortunately, the Central Coast weather is cooperating. It is absolutely beautiful, relatively warm with light clouds and a light breeze. All in all not a bad day to be alive.

Take Care!