Monday, July 28, 2008

Canvas Printing and Finishing Workshop

This past weekend saw our first LIDI staff instructed canvas workshop. The two days were spent learning all of the required techniques and procedures to print and complete your own canvas gallery wrap.

Saturday, we discussed the required considerations and options when working with canvas. After that we selected the images we wanted to work with and then optimized, sized, and mirror extended all of the images in Adobe Photoshop CS3. We then printed some soft-proof test prints of each image. The test print served two functions, to ensure our color managed workflow was on and also to give us a canvas print on which to practice our coating techniques. We finished the day by constructing our stretcher bars.

Sunday was all hands on. We sanded and coated our stretcher bars and then prepped the Premier Art Eco Print Shield coating. Everyone practiced their coating technique on the test print and then we moved on to our larger images (most everyone printed either a 16x24 or 18x24.) While our coatings dried it was time to learn and practice hand stretching as recommended by the Institute. After a few tries everyone had the hang of it and we started on the big prints. One by one the gallery wraps came together and were finished beautifully. We ended the day with a demonstration of a stretching machine and talks about signing and marketing the fine art canvases.
Thanks again to Premier Art ( for their gracious support of our program. When you the absolute best canvas and coatings on the market, use only Premier products!

An additional description and photos of the workshop may be read and reviewed at


Marc Muench Workshop

Finished the Unusual Landscapes course Friday. Great shooting, excellent critiques and image optimization, as well as huge amount of printing rounded out this workshop.

After our final shoot we started the push to optimize our images and produce a gallery quality finished product. Whether a 16" x 60" panorama or a simple 16" x 20" print, everyone left with some great prints.

After a solid workshop from Marc, we had no time to rest as the weekend was all about canvas. As soon as the last client left Friday, we began the prep. Our next post will show some of the results of the Canvas Printing and Finishing weekend workshop.

Friday, July 25, 2008

This Morning

We shot above the fog again this morning. Our vantage point was from the southwest side of the Los Osos Valley. I attached a couple quick snaps I took while out and about. Not much time to write as the printers are starting and our final day of classroom instruction begins.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Steve's Shot

The shot above is from Steve Sieren, one of the Unusual Landscape participants this week. An outstanding example of late evening shooting and light painting.

Out Late and Up Early

Shooting above the fog.

Staying out late last night shooting on the coast just north of Cayucos did not stop us from pushing out at 5 AM this morning. We travelled east and up to about 2400 feet so we could get above the fog. What a spectacular scene. The Los Ososo Valley is often filled with fog for a portion of the day and it becomes absolutely beautiful when seen from above.

"'s off to shoot we go."
The sun finally came up just after six and was slightly filtered by the smoke in the air from the Big Sur fires to the north. We shot for about another hour and headed back for breakfast.

Sunrise shooting

Last night was more tilt-shift and light painting work along the scenic coastal area north of the school.

Bob looking west

The rest of the day we'll be in the lab working our end to end workflow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More Shooting

Light painting HDR by Steve Sieren

The class was out shooting again yesterday afternoon and evening. We visited the Los Osos oaks nature preserve and practiced more tilt-shift and light painting. With almost 20 people set up around the preserve, the locals were beginning to wonder why so many photographers were out. Especially photographers waiting for the sun to set.

Look But Don't Touch 2 (Poison Oak- one of the few risks shooting here)

The oaks are a beautiful and somewhat eerie place. With a canopy filtering the light, low, twisted branches, and Spanish moss hanging it is a perfect location to find some unusual shots. As the light faded, the flashlights came out and we painted for a good hour and a half. Walking through the paths was interesting since around each bend were two to three flashlight beams dancing through the trees.

This morning we just started a review and critique of yesterday's work. We will work some more optimization in Photoshop and start the print workflow later today.

Take care.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Unusual Landscapes

Marc delivering some tilt-shift guidance.

Class is in session this week with Marc Muench and his course, Unusual Landscapes. Been in the lab and out in the field learning and practicing the tilt-shift lens and also "light painting." You may have seen light painting here before but we typically paint models. Last night our models were the waves and rocks of the California coast.

Geared up and ready.

We shot last evening and night for about 3.5 to 4.0 hours, starting with tilt-shift and finishing with light painting after sunset.

A quick sunset and splash.

As always, the course and instructor are hands on and the results are good so far. I will try and post some student work tomorrow.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Ning site

Add to Technorati Favorites

We just launched a new Photography Workshops site on the Ning network. For those who have not heard of Ning, it is a new and improved social networking site. Our intention is to use the Photography Workshops network to share photos, tips, techniques, and information. In addition, the network allows you to upload photos to share with the community. We have found sharing a photo and allowing others to constructively cheer or critique is an excellent source of feedback.

The site is just up today and we will continue to build and add functionality. I would love to hear any suggestions you might have.

The link to the network is

Hope to see you on the site.


Weekend Class

Enjoyed another Beginning Photoshop 1 class over the weekend. We had students from across California here to learn the fundamentals required for future Photoshop greatness.

Although many of our clients are more advanced PS users, the basics of the program are always useful to revisit. We spent time with the PS interface, the bridge, image navigation, layers, and selections. The highlight of every Beginning Photoshop 1 class is the creation of what Julieanne Kost calls "Mr. Melon Head." Although a somewhat silly exercise, if you can create the semblance of a human face from a blank melon and numerous fruits, vegetables, and fungi you can do most things in Photoshop.

Looking forward to this coming weekend when we finish the Beginning Photoshop series. It is always very rewarding to watch clients optimize their images with the full power of PS after only four days of training.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bottle Shots

Another work week here at the school. Spent some time yesterday in the studio shooting wine bottles for Midnight Cellars. I will say even with great gear bottle shots are some of the most challenging images to capture properly. I think yesterday's turned out alright. Fortunately, the learning curve was steep so it won't take nearly as long next time. A couple of the shots are attached here.

We are preparing for a busy time here as the next three weekends have classes. In addition, Marc Muench will be here in a couple of weeks for Unusual Landscapes. The course has only one spot remaining so it will be a good week. Always fun when we take a large class on location.

Hope your 4th of July went well and you got some great shots of fireworks. Unfortunately, this year we were about 5 miles from the nearest display, fun to watch but hard to shoot. Victoria and I are thinking next year we will have to perch on Black Hill and shoot the Morro Bay show.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Fourth of July

We had a great class over the weekend! The DSLR basics course was a hit as we learned the fundamentals of digital photography and practiced with four different shoots.

We spent a few hours discussing exposure and, more importantly, how we as photographers can control exactly how we arrive at a specific exposure. Once the basics are understood, you can easily modify one or multiple variables to arrive at not only the perfect exposure but also the desired composition and artistic impact.

On Saturday we shot at Sweet Springs and on Sunday shot at Montana de Oro, in the gallery, and in the studio. Between these four shoots class participants were able to master available light and fill flash and experiment with perfectly controlled studio lights. Although it was a basic class, it is always fun to put the Pocket Wizard wireless transmitter on your hot shoe and sync up with a studio lighting system.

On an equipment note, we received a new Cintiq 12" display/pad. For those who have ever wanted the Cintiq but have been intimidated by cost or size, the new model is awesome. Stop by and check it out!

We also have two new Induro tripods set up and ready for demonstration. Induro is making some great products and we are happy to use and feature them here at the school.

This week we have been processing images and doing some print work. Nothing too exciting but good living nonetheless.

We'll take a day off tomorrow and enjoy the Fourth with family and friends. Hope ya'll do the same.