Thursday, July 21, 2016

Just Want to Share a Secret Tool

My friend, graphic designer, photographer, speaker and author, Mark Heaps, helped develop a brand new plug-in for Light Room that helps with editing your photos.  The plugin, called Reactive Exposure, can be found by going to and it changes the way you edit your images and costs only $29!

The Plug-in is designed to "speak natively with Adobe Lightroom" by adjusting the Luminosity and Tone controls as a response to Exposure controls.

I have been playing with this plug in a lot this past week. I've been going back in my archives finding images that I took a few years back that I probably should have tossed, since they seemed to have very little information in them, but I guess I was waiting for something that "brought them back to life."  I start out the Reactive Exposure plug-in and try to determine how the image looks like it has the "correct" exposure. I then make adjustments from there, opening up shadows, decreasing highlights as I feel the image needs.  Here are some of my before and afters.

As I stated, the first picture is really very blah and probably should have been deleted. The second image still wouldn't win any awards, but look at all the detail I was able to get from it by using the plug in. 
Again, I was able to pull a lot more detail from the landscape above than I had originally been able to get from it. 

The plug-in doesn't work for every single photo but it seems to bring me to a better "starting point" in images that have a very dynamic range and I'm not sacrificing colors or details. I'm going to keep on using this plug-in and I am excited to share my findings with fellow photographers.

Let's all keep on showing the beauty in this world, cause lately all we seem to be seeing is the bad.

Keep on photographing, friends!

Some Inspiring Photographer Heroes

I've been preparing for a Landscape Workshop at Precision Camera in the Fall and getting my PowerPoint presentation ready. I started out with some of my favorite quotes and my friend Stephanie Sharif suggested I add photos of the people who spoke the inspiring words and perhaps an image that person is known for.

So, I researched George Eastman - and I was thrilled to read about his life - did you know that not only did he invent the first roll of film and the first actual camera, he was a major philanthropist, giving money to the arts, music, medicine and education including historically black universities in the south.
“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.” - George Eastman
Wow! I'm impressed!  Another quote I've stumbled on and loved was from Elliott Erwitt:

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place... I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”   -Elliott Erwitt
 Although I didn't learn a whole lot about Mr. Erwitt, besides he was born in Paris and had an amazing career as an esteemed Magnum photographer since 1953. He has captured many of life's most poignant ironies using a touch of humor through his brilliant black and white photography. I encourage you to look at some of his work - it is something I believe we can all immediately identify with.

Dorothea Lange is another important photographer who has influenced my work. It was fun finding a photo of her and reading about the challenges she faced after having survived polio at age 7. It left her leg and foot weakened and yet she was able to make a living documenting Native Americans and folks affected by the Great Depression.

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”  
    Dorothea Lange  

As much as I've loved learning about some heroes, I am also enjoying putting together my notes to tell people about the joy of landscape photography and what they can do to improve their own images.  I hope you might be able to join us in September. Keep an eye out for the scheduling of this class.

In the meantime, keep shooting, friends!
by Chris Davis Cina

Monday, May 16, 2016

Visiting Vivacious Venice

I just returned from an exciting two week tour of Italy. Naturally I am inundated with all of the pictures I took. Thankfully, there are many good ones, and many fond memories of a wonderful trip.
I've spent the day trying to select a handful to make a book.  This was quite a challenge. I don't seem to be able to get past our first three days in Venice. 

We received a Rick Steves book on Italy as a Christmas present from a dear friend who was planning a trip of her own.  While the book was chock full of good information, we were somewhat overwhelmed with choosing which great things to see and do. I thought "I wish this Rick Steves would just offer a tour" and when I googled his name, I discovered that he does. ( Not him personally anymore (although he still does do some tours) but he has a whole big company that provides tours all over the world.

We were serenaded by this gentleman on an evening gondola ride. Everyone sang along.

So we booked ourselves on a tour in the Spring - at first we wanted April but, 8 months in advance it was already filled up. So, we chose the first week in May, and it was just perfect! Spring in Italy where the flowers were blooming and the weather was perfect!

Not sure what is more beautiful - nighttime in Venice or daytime.

Venice is a city that has no cars - everything is done by boat - even trips to the hospital. The city is filled with charming bridges and beautiful architecture. There are so many great restaurants and shops filled with masks, Murano glass, gelatos, pastries and pizzas.

There are more museums and churches than one can see in 3 days, so I'm hoping we get to go back someday.

The Rick Steve's tour included 28 of us hearty souls, who were led by a wonderful guide, Colleeen Schaeffer. Colleen had us hit the ground running with a walking tour and dinner immediately after an orientation meeting.

In the next few days we had local guides show us art and explain the evolution of different art practices. We got another walking tour and visits to St. Mark's Square, the only piazza in Venice and we saw many "Campos" and neighborhoods built around churches. We took a boat ride to colorful Burano where they specialize in lace products.  650 photographs later I am still smitten by Venice. Just thought I would share some with you. Now I've got to move on and sift through the images of Florence, Rome, Naples, Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, Ravello and Capri. Poor me.

St. Mark's Square.

Thanks for visiting - keep on shooting your own special memories!

Monday, March 7, 2016

I Always Learn Something in a Photo Class

I think I was born to be a student - I love learning as much as I can about photography, and, even though I've been practicing the craft for years, and taking numerous classes over time, I still find there is so much more to learn.

Recently I debated taking a Macro Class at Precision Camera with Scott Sitkiewitz. I've been playing with Macro for awhile - I've taken plenty of flower shots and water droplets - so could I possibly learn something new? 

It turns out, yes, I most certainly could.  First of all, Scott is an awesome teacher. He made a point of memorizing and re-using the names of all 12 participants in the class. His enthusiasm was contagious as he showed all of the many things he brought to photograph and showed us a variety of different ways to set up lights and make your own little backgrounds and lighting. Who knew clothespins had a worthwhile purpose? And construction paper can be used to bring color to objects. And there are better tripod heads for macro than the ones you may use for landscape.....

Everyone in the class seemed to be having a good time - no one even wanted to leave during the lunch break. We all enjoyed watching each other's creativity - people focused on different objects and different backgrounds and Precision Camera was good enough to give us each a large print (17" x 11") of one, or a composite of our images. It's always a joy to see something you've worked on in a large print!  Scott was very knowledgeable - he, himself shoots some very fancy watches, and he offered hands-on help to each and every one of us.  I learned that I can add my extension tubes to my macro lens to get even closer in to the subject but it had better be on a tripod with a remote release.

Macro photography is so much fun - no moving subject asking when will you be finished. And you often get to discover things you didn't even see with your eye.

We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to have these kind of local classes, taught by knowledgeable professionals at a very reasonable price.  Try a class if you need some motivation, stimulation and inspiration.

Keep shooting, friends, and growing and learning and inspiring!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Come Join Me For An Artists Reception Friday, Feb 5, 5-7pm

Foggy Morning Gathering, Summer 2015

I've been busy preparing 18 photographs for a February 2016 exhibit at The Old Bakery and Emporium, 1006 Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas. (512 974-1300, Hours: Tues-Sat. 9-4).  It's a beautiful historic building that was formerly a Bakery and has been preserved by the City of Austin as a place for local artists to sell their work. There is also a history museum and an art gallery upstairs.  One has to apply in August for a juried art exhibit and I was honored to be selected as one of the artists that will have my photos hung there from Thursday, Feb 4 - Thurs. March 3rd.  I am sharing the exhibit with Anna Lisa Leal who paints images of the Southwest and Ann Newman whose artwork is entitled Visual Language. 

Frozen Swimming Hole, Winter 2011
My theme is Water - and my photographs are from all over the United States during different seasons, showing our country's diverse geography and awesome beauty.  When I first submitted my list of images, I had some already printed from previous shows, but many still needed to be printed.  I discovered that the photographs would look best as large images but that printing, matting and framing large images is quite expensive.

Low Tide, Maine 2010
So I tried some alternative methods - having canvas's made and having metallic photos created. It was quite a learning process since these methods are not inexpensive either. I discovered that the Canvas images muted my vision for what the photograph should look like.  However, the metallic process made me very happy, the images seem to pop right off the metal.  I have since seen an acrylic process and plan to try that out next.  In the meantime, my images are a mix of different processes and sizes.

After the Storm, Summer 2015, 24x16 Metal

There is an artists reception this coming Friday from 5-7 and I would love if you could stop by and visit. The pictures will be up for the entire month of February, so stop by any time or give me a call and I'll meet you there.

NY After 9/11, Black and White Photo

I've had fun taking all of these pictures. I hope you enjoy them and have fun taking your own beautiful images.  Keep shooting, friends and enjoying the beautiful world we live in!