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Workflow Series Macro

eBook: The Workflow Series – Details and Macro

Workflow Series MacroPrice:  $6.00

Format:  eBook, PDF format, 29 pages

Size:  16.4 MB

Requirement:  Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.0 or greater


Description

This is the fourth eBook in our wildly popular Workflow Series. Join professional photographers, Varina and Jay Patel, as they discuss their vision, their thinking process, and the post-processing workflow they use for six of their most popular macro images.  Learn about circular polarizers, focus stacking, depth of field, and so much more! The pros will show how you can use a wide variety of techniques to create stunning macro and detail photographs!

The Vision – Varina and Jay invite you to join them in the field as they explain their thought processes and the challenges that arise when they are shooting. You’ll find tips and suggestions for improving your own photography! This is the next best thing to learning on location!

The Process – Take a look at rarely seen, un-processed images, and pick up tips and hints as the pros walk you through the process of preparing and finishing a photo!

The Result – When all is said and done, take a look at the finished product. Compare it to the original, scrutinize the changes that were made, and think about the decisions the photographer made in the field and while processing the image.

Check out the sample pages below!


Once in a Lifetime

Is it ok to “Manipulate” your Photos?

Long Shutter Speed creates surreal effect, and a color enhancement in Photoshop mimics Velvia film.

In the days of film photography, photographers manipulated their images in the darkroom. Ansel Adams himself was very accomplished in the darkroom – and he wasn’t afraid to stretch the boundaries of possibility. I think we take ourselves entirely too seriously if we aren’t willing to let photography be the art form that it is. Of course, there are limits to what I believe is acceptable. First and foremost – I believe in honesty. If I adjusted an image in Photoshop, I believe it’s important to be honest about the changes I’ve made. And if I am presenting an image for documentary purposes – newspapers etc – then I need to make sure my photograph is true to the reality of the original scene. That said, as far as I’m concerned… there are no limits to what is acceptable when it comes to your art work.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that a JPG image directly from your camera is also a manipulation… it’s just manipulated according to the settings you select in-camera, and the algorithms that the software developers choose.

Film was very different… there were no built-in, digital algorithms. No JPG or RAW or PSD… and yet, photographers used colored filters to produce effects that are similar to what we can achieve in PS. They dodged and burned and cropped and rotated. They chose Velvia film to produce saturated colors. They used circular polarizers to enhance colors and reduce reflections.

A circular polarizer filter helped remove distracting reflections from the wet surface of the rock. A wide-angle lens makes the rock appear large and adds depth to the image.

They used kaleidoscopic lenses to create bizarre manipulations, and fish-eye lenses to create extreme distortion, and wide-angle lenses to mess with perspective, and long lenses to get close to faraway objects, and macro lenses to make little things look big. They created double exposures.

Double Exposure created in Photoshop from two images taken within minutes of one another.

They used soft focus, or a long exposure, or a narrow depth of field to change the look of the scene they were photographing.

A narrow depth of field eliminates distracting details from the background.

And they even used masks – carefully cut from dark paper, or even created with the help of a microscope – to build images that were not so different from what we can do with Photoshop today. If photography is art – then who decides what is right or wrong? The artist, of course!

To learn more about processing and capturing photographs check out our ebooks below:

Calf Creek Falls, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Utah (UT), USA

Photo Processing: Specialization vs. Basics

‘Why should I learn to use Layers and Masks? Can’t HDR software do all that for me?”

Well… if somebody will hand me my soapbox, I’ll go ahead and answer that…

Here we are in the digital age. It’s an era of high-speed internet, smart phones, and instant gratification. It’s tough to remember that sometimes you have to slow down and think about the details. We want quick solutions. Click-of-a-button answers. But photo processing isn’t always that easy.

More and more photographers are abandoning the art of Photo Processing and going directly to the plugins or specialized programs that process images with the click of a button. Just pick your preset and whamo. It’s all done for you. Cool stuff! Varina and I even use some of it! But what if you want to create something specific? What if your artistic vision falls outside the scope of the software’s ability to create a finished product for you?

When you get to the point where presets aren’t enough, you need to chose a program and learn to use it. Take the time to really learn how to use the software – we use Adobe Photoshop – and you’ll find that you are no longer limited.

Consider the High Dynamic Range (HDR) software that’s available today. It’s incredibly easy to blend images into a single finished image with a broad dynamic range. The photographer doesn’t have to do a lot of thinking. You play with the sliders until you are happy with the result. Easy enough, right?

But what if you want to blend images where half the scene was in shade and the other half in the sun? Now you are dealing with different white balance settings on top of dynamic range problems. What if you want to blend a polarized lake with an unpolarized sky? In the image above, I used layers and masks in Photoshop to blend two images. Take a look at the original shots…

I took the first image (below) without a polarizer. Notice the clear reflection in the water. I took the second with a circular polarizer. Notice the rich tones in the rocks and trees behind the pool. To get to the final image, I selectively blended the two images below using photoshop layers and masks.

With a working knowledge of layers and masks, I can blend dynamic range like most HDR programs do, but I can also do so much more. I can blend image with different color balances. I can work with polarized and non-polarized images. I can target adjustments to specific areas so that my adjustments only effect the areas where they are needed.

To learn more about photography check our our eBooks and webinars below:

Prelude to the Light, Glacier National Park, WY

Is it “Photoshopped”?

Sometimes when people look at our photographs, they ask if the colors are manipulated. Have people told you your photos look “fake”, “too HDRish”, or that you used too much “photoshop magic”? One of our personal favorites is the assertion that “Photoshop ruined photography.”

Believe me, we’ve heard it all. So, what’s our answer to all this? When someone asks if we photoshop our photos, we simply say “Yes”. The fact is, we use Photoshop for every single image we take because we shoot only in RAW. We need to choose the proper settings in Adobe’s RAW converter.

But how much manipulation are we really using? Each image is different, but here’s a typical photograph – and the settings we used in Adobe Camera RAW. (Click on the image to see it at a larger size.)

The most important setting is color balance. The wrong color balance will make the whole image look weird. Jay chose a setting that showed the colors as he remembered them. He also bumped up the color saturation by about 4%. (Varina often leaves this setting at zero.) Straight-out-of-the-camera images shot with Velvia film will have far more saturated colors.

In many cases, we’ll use manual blending to bring out details in over or under exposed areas. And we may use targeted adjustments – similar to the way Varina used to use burning and dodging in the darkroom. We use Photoshop to help us bring out details in areas that the camera can not handle properly because the range of light in the image.

So, what’s the secret to getting those brilliant colors? Look for conditions that produce intense colors (like sunrise and sunset), get your settings right in-camera, and follow up with subtle processing. You can find more about capturing brilliant colors in these eBooks.

Workflow Series Collection

The Workflow Series

Price:  $21.00 (10% Discount)

Format:  eBooks, PDF format

Collection:  Waterfalls, Coastlines, Mountains, Details & Macro

Requirement:  Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.0 or greater


Description

So, you want to learn from the pros – but you can’t afford pricey seminars or on-location workshops? Then this collection is for you! The Workflow series is the next best thing to shooting on-location with Varina and Jay Patel. These eBooks are meant to provide real-world examples and clear explanations for photographers who want to learn from professionals. In each eBook, Jay and Varina present six images. They explain their thought process in the field, the techniques they used in-camera, and the post-processing work they used to produce the finished product. The result is an in-depth look at the reality of landscape photography – the vision, the process, and the result.

The Workflow Series: Waterfalls

Shooting waterfalls can be a challenge, but water is one of the most captivating subjects in landscape photography. We are enthralled by trickling cascades, and awed by thundering water and rising mist – but it’s not easy to capture the beauty of a majestic waterfall and create an image that conveys that same sense of wonder.

So, take a walk with the pros. We’ll visit six waterfalls, and listen in as Varina and Jay explain their thought process in the field. We’ll watch and learn as they process their favorite images in Photoshop. And when they’re finished, we’ll get a good look at the finished products – six images that capture the beauty and personality of some of nature’s most inspiring features… waterfalls!

The Workflow Series: Coastlines

Join Varina and Jay as they visit six stunning coastlines – from Bahia Honda in Florida to the Makawehi Lithified Cliffs in Hawaii! Coastlines are some of the most dynamic and beautiful places on earth. Join Varina and Jay as they discuss the challenges they face as they shoot. Examine the decisions they make in the field… and on the computer during processing. Take this opportunity to climb inside the mind of professional wilderness photographers.

The Workflow Series: Mountains

With this third eBook in the wildly popular Workflow Series, join the pros as they photograph six mountain locations – from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah to Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies! Mountains present some of the most grandiose and majestic scenes on earth. Follow Varina and Jay once again as they walk through their entire workflow for shooting in the mountains – from fieldwork to post processing!

The Workflow Series: Details and Macro

This is the fourth eBook in our wildly popular Workflow Series. Join professional photographers, Varina and Jay Patel, as they discuss their vision, their thinking process, and the post-processing workflow they use for six of their most popular macro images.  Learn about circular polarizers, focus stacking, depth of field, and so much more! The pros will show how you can use a wide variety of techniques to create stunning macro and detail photographs!

Check out the sample pages below!


Apprentice-Series-Collection

The Apprentice Series

Price:  $27.00 (includes a 10% Discount)

Format:  eBooks, PDF format

Collection:  Learning to See, Vibrant Colors, What the Heck is a Histogram?

Requirement:  Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.0 or greater


Description

So, you don’t know which eBooks to start with? Or maybe you are looking for the perfect gift for your photography-loving friend? Well, here’s your solution. The Apprentice Series is a bundle of our three most popular eBooks – Learning to See, Vibrant Colors, and What the Heck is a Histogram? These three books are the perfect place to start learning. Together, they offer a broad and inspiring overview of some of the most important concepts in photography – from field work and creative techniques to histograms and bracketing… and so much more.

Become a better photographer with this starter collection. The Apprentice Series includes these popular books:

Learning to See: Simple Ideas for Creative Photographers

Learning to see creatively is about thinking outside the box. Professional photographers, Varina and Jay Patel have expanded and improved their original eBook to create a fantastic, in-depth guide for any photographer who has ever felt uninspired by light, subject, or location. There are more than thirty brilliantly colorful pages filled with examples of creative compositions, unique perspectives, and unusual techniques. Varina and Jay work hard to make the most of their time on location. Discover the tricks they use to capture beautiful images in any conditions, and build up your own collection of creative options. Get ready to exercise the right side of your brain and expand your photographic vision!

  • Every page offers new ideas and suggestions for expanding your creative repertoire. More than 15 brand new pages offer even more depth and knowledge!
  • A dynamic collection of original photographs by Varina and Jay Patel provide real-world examples for each technique – with detailed explanations to help you use the ideas in your own work.
  • A detailed “field guide” pulls together the most important points for easy reference when you need inspiration or ideas.

Vibrant Colors: A Field Guide

Varina and Jay can’t count the number of times they’ve been asked about the vibrant colors in their photographs. People ask if they “crank up the saturation” in Photoshop or use special film to create an enhanced “effect”. Although they don’t believe there’s anything wrong with adjusting colors in Photoshop – artists should feel free to use whatever tools they choose – they rarely think about enhancing colors in Photoshop. For Varina and Jay, the art of capturing a colorful image begins in the field.

This eBook isn’t about photo-manipulation. It’s about capturing vibrant colors through the lens. The Patels discuss eight important factors to consider in your search for intense colors – from geology and weather to exposure and white balance. This eBook is strikingly beautiful as well as useful – showcasing the stunning photographic works of award-winning photographers, Varina and Jay Patel. Their clear, down-to-earth teaching style makes this an excellent learning tool for amateurs and professionals alike!

What the Heck is a Histogram?

This in-depth guide to histograms provides all the information you’ll need to learn to make the most of one of the most powerful  - and often overlooked – tools in digital photography. A quick glance at this little graph on the back of your camera can tell you if  you have captured detail in the shadows, if your highlights are blown, if you need to bracket your images, and if your image is properly exposed. Professional nature photographers and accomplished teachers, Varina and Jay Patel will walk you through the process of reading, interpreting, and using histograms – while you are in the field and during post-processing in Adobe Photoshop. They use simple language and a wealth of real-world examples to teach you how to use your histogram.

You can purchase these books and others from our collection individually here: http://www.photographybyvarina.com/learn

Click on the thumbnails below to see sample pages from these eBooks.



Complete-Collection

The Complete Collection

Price:  $75 (A $89 value!)

Format:  eBooks, PDF format including some Flash videos

Collection: Every eBook in our Collection

Requirement:  Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.0 or greater


Description

The Complete Collection includes every single ebook we’ve written up to the time of purchase! We’ve even included the free ones so you don’t have to download those separately. And to sweeten the deal, we’ve taken 10% off the top, so you’re saving a bit of cash as well.

(Please note that eBooks released after your purchase are not included in this collection.)

Here are all the titles you’ll receive with your purchase of The Complete Collection:

  • Building an Image from the Ground Up: Lessons in Basic Composition and Perception
  • Perception: The Gestalt Principles and How our Brain Interprets What We See
  • The Photographer’s Companion
  • Masks 101: An Introduction to Masks in Photoshop
  • Basic Blending: Blending Images Using Simple Masks in Photoshop
  • The Workflow Series: Coastlines
  • The Workflow Series: Mountains
  • The Workflow Series: Waterfalls
  • The Workflow Series: Details & Macro
  • Learning to See: Simple Ideas for Creative Photography
  • What the Heck is a Histogram
  • Vibrant Colors: A Field Guide
  • How to Choose a Tripod: Choosing the Best Tripod for Your Unique Needs
  • What Happens at a Workshop Stays at a Workshop
  • Exploring Iceland
  • Following the Light: Glacier National Park
  • Death Valley: A Land of Extremes
  • Photographing France
  • Hiking Havasu

You can purchase eBooks individually here: http://www.photographybyvarina.com/learn

Please Note: Our Masks 101 and Basic Blending eBooks include embedded video. Flash videos require a flash player and will not play on mobile phones and tablets.

An Important Note for Mac Users: MAC users tell us that PDF files sometimes open in the default MAC PDF reader, rather than Adobe Acrobat Reader. The default MAC PDF reader may not play the videos embedded in PDF eBooks. Please open these files with Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.0 (or greater) for smooth video playback.

Click on the thumbnails below to see a few sample pages from this Complete eBook Collection.



Nature Photography and iHDR Workflow Recordings

Photoshop How To: Layers and Mask

St. Mary Falls, Glacier National Park, Montana (MT), USA

Here is a photo of St. Mary falls in Glacier National Park. You can see exquisite details and vibrant colors in every part of the image. But did the image come out looking like this, or did we have to make adjustments to the original? Most landscape photographs require some amount of post-processing for a natural look, and this photo was no exception. I made selected adjustment to the image using layers and masks in the photograph. The video below explains the adjustments I made and why I felt they were necessary.

Layers and Mask are valuable tools that have the potential to dramatically improve your photography. To learn more about Layers and Mask check out our webinar below:

St. Mary Falls, Glacier National Park, Montana (MT), USA

Why do you need Photoshop Layers and Masks?

St. Mary Falls, Glacier National Park, Montana (MT), USA

We are often asked why we need to understand Layers & Masks in Photoshop? After all, we can always blend or adjust images using HDR software, right? Here’s a quick explanation.

Overexposed Highlights

After iHDR Blend

Take a look at the two images above. Notice that the highlights in the image on the left are overexposed. You can’t see any detail in the white areas in the water. In the second image, I corrected the overexposure with our iHDR workflow. I can create a similar blend using an automated HDR tool. But this is not a finished image. I want to take it further. I think the image needs some corrections to improve the contrast in the rocks, and to help focus the viewers attention on the water itself. To accomplish this, I used different layers and masks to limit each adjustments to a specific region. The image below show all the layers and masks I used, and the areas I targeted with each adjustment.

Adjustment Layers and Masks

It is true that I can accomplish the same adjustment without layers and masks in Photoshop, but adjustment layers combined with masks allow me a lot more freedom. I can fine-tune the adjustments I made on each layer without destroying the other layers. I can make adjustments to a single layer without having to retrace my steps. I can turn layers on and off to see what effect they have on one another. And I can add to or subtract from each mask to refine it at any time during the workflow.

I often save the image as a PSD file – with all those layers and masks intact – and return to it a few days later. In this way, I can keep track of all the adjustments I’ve made.

So, layers and masks let me take my blended image to the next level, and they allow me to preserve the processing steps I used to create the image. As my workflow gets more complex, layers and masks allow me to keep track of each adjustment, and gives me much greater control.

To learn more about Layers and Masks, check out Session 2 of our Nature Photography and iHDR Workflow Recording: Histograms and RAW Processing

Histograms

eBook: What the heck is a Histogram?

Price: $10.00

Format: eBook, PDF format, 37 pages

Size: 21.9 MB

Requirement: Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.0 or greater


Description

This in-depth guide to histograms provides all the information you’ll need to learn to make the most of one of the most powerful  - and often overlooked – tools in digital photography. A quick glance at this little graph on the back of your camera can tell you if  you have captured detail in the shadows, if your highlights are blown, if you need to bracket your images, and if your image is properly exposed. Professional nature photographers and accomplished teachers, Varina and Jay Patel will walk you through the process of reading, interpreting, and using histograms – while you are in the field and during post-processing in Adobe Photoshop. They use simple language and a wealth of real-world examples to teach you how to use your histogram.

Click on thumbnails below to see sample pages from this eBook: