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