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Take A Walk – Take A Camera

We’ve all heard the excuses (heck we might have even said them ourselves). I’m just slammed today, maybe tomorrow I’m swamped today, just got buried today can’t get out….. We’ve all felt it and we’ve all lived it, but really, even in the full blown crazy life of an executive there is always time to take a walk. Don’t just sit there get on up and get some exercise, not only for the body but for the mind.

It may only be a 30 minute walk or it could be a 2 hour trek, either way it is healthy for you, will put you in a better state and frame of mind. Here is a new twist to bring you even more benefits. Take A Camera!! One of the benefits of taking a camera along for the walk is that it can free your mind from all of the day to day stresses that seem to occupy much of our days by diverting your focus away from them. Another great advantage is that it will open you up to world that is around you. You will see so much more of the world than those who are just focused on moving forward with tunnel vision. When you are out for however long an adventure, look around and see what the world has to offer, light up the creative side of your mind and take some pictures.

Here is a fun one for the next time you head out, see how many people that you notice walking with their heads down, not smiling and locked into to each step. Make sure to say hello to them and maybe you will break the pattern and bring some sunshine to their day.

Getting out and away from the day to day grind doesn‘t have to be a chore, it can be healthy, fun and lead to some great pictures of things that you never knew were right in front of you.

So whether you are traveling to new places, the same ‘ol places or right in your own backyard, stretch those legs, open your eyes and photograph the amazing world around you. Why not stroll along to the tune of your own inner desires, not only will it bring a healthier more joyous day to you but you just may touch the life of another also.

The Joys of HDR

Trying to capture everything that the eye see’s when you are looking at a scene can be challenging to say the least. The dynamic range of light that a digital camera can capture is somehwat limited when compared to the marvels of our eye’s. Which brings me to the subject line of this post.

The days of taking multiple images and spending countless hours masking in Photoshop have been cut back dramatically with the use of HDR (High Dynamic Range) programs and plugins. Used for many years in the Real Estate photography market and by SciFi fanatics HDR has become more and more popular in the landscape photography arena. HDR, which stand for High Dynamic Range, has been around for many years and is designed to help produce an image with a much higher range of light than digital cameras are currently able to capture with a single image.

Photoshop has an HDR conversion tool, but I found it to be very basic and lacking the control to really bring out a desired look within a photo up until version CS5. The HDR pro in CS5 has gotten much better with several aspects of control to help you bring out the desired effect. If you are looking for a realistic image that has a wide dynamic range the program that I currently use is Photomatix. This stand alone program give you a tremendous amount of control and fine tuning while remaining very easy to learn and to use.

In future blogs I will cover some of the different techniques that I use when capturing the images needed to create a good HDR composite and final print, as well as the process of taking an image through Photomatix and Photoshop CS5.

In the mean time, experiment with HDR to come up with the look that best suits your particular photographic style and desired look you are after.

Photography for Soccer Mom’s

The new educational program from Jock Voelzke Photography. Learn how to take amazing images of your kids playing the sports they love. “Photography for Soccer Mom’s (dads and other sports too). Coming Soon

Nikon Speedlights-Great Location-Amazing Subject

Nikon Creative Lighting System. Power, Flexibility, Creativity, Size and ease of use are just a handful of the benefits of using these incredible lighting tools on location.

Small enough to put in areas not accessible by standard studio type lighting, these outstanding flash units can offer some amazing lighting in tight quarters (no pun intended with the barn shoot). Alright, it was intended, so you will have to indulge me the humor.

Having the flexibility to put your flashes into different groups and channes allows you complete control for creatively lighting a scene. Being able to control the push and pull of the power output of each of the groups right from the master flash on the camera makes the time needed to adjust the light on the subject, background, foreground and accent lighting accent light quick and easy. A defenite plus when working with models. This complete control also allows you to experiment with the lighting which sometimes brings suprising and new results. As the infamous Joe McNally likes to say, it’s fun when you have the “Happy Accident”.

The Nikon Speedlights have become a staple in my lighting bag along with the many different shaping tools and accessories that can be added to these small yet powerful speedlights.

A very special thanks to the incredible Donielle for having the patience and all around great attitude to allow me to push these fantastic tools through their paces. Sure makes a photographers job easy when you have a subject with a great attitude and look.