Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great Fourth of July Weekend! I spent the past week parked a little north of Spokane, Washington, doing a mixture of shooting and event prep. You may be confused by the title of this post, because “in the field” and “on location” sound like the same thing. To clear things up, I have named my current bus “Location” so that when people ask me where I am, I can say that I’m “on Location.”
If you read my last post, you saw lots of images from our shoots in the Palouse area. Well, I was so happy with that area that I went back to spend more time there this past week. Karen spent the week at her parents’ house in NJ, so I was exploring on my own. I managed to get some really nice light, as you can see in the shots below.
I shot this pano near the top of Steptoe Butte in the Palouse.
Lone tree in a wheat field with Steptoe Butte in the background.
As I mentioned above, I also spent a lot of time this week “on location” getting ready for this week’s training event. I am teaching a 2-day class at creativeLIVE called “Photoshop Mastery: Creative Explorations.” I’ve been teaching the Photoshop Mastery series for several months now and this is the newest segment. As with all creativeLIVE online classes, when the class is live, it’s totally free to watch. After it’s finished, you can buy the class to watch any time you’d like. When you buy the class, you also get all the supplemental material that goes with the course, such as the course handbook and practice images. The class is today and tomorrow (July 8-9) from 9-4 PST.
Here is a rundown of what the “Creative Explorations” class is covering:
Explore the creative side of Photoshop. Take a walk down the filter menu and learn what’s lurking in the not-so-obvious filters like Displacement Maps and Lighting Effects. See how the simple text and shape tools can be taken to the next level by incorporating layer styles, clipping masks and more.
• Learn which filters have a special relationship with Photoshop’s Blending Modes, which allows for unexpectedly creative results
• Start to use Photoshop’s 3D features to add dimension to otherwise flat imagery
• Create animated slide shows that better keep your viewer’s attention
• Add texture to your images to give them more personality
On Wednesday, I’ll be teaching an additional class at creativeLIVE called “Image Ambulance,” where you’ll learn how to deal with the most difficult problem images. Techniques will include:
• Removing dust and scratches
• Extreme color correction techniques
• Tonal Rescue Techniques
• General Repair and Restoration Techniques
• Unifying skin tone and color
• Eye and Teeth Tweaking
• Red Eye Removal
• Removing Lens Flare and glasses glare
• Whatever else you can think of and have an example image to submit
Hi gang! Get ready for a very photographic post! We’ve spent the past week photographing the beautiful Palouse area in south-east Washington. We had originally only planned to spend two or three days in the area, but life got in the way a bit, in the form of bus transmission issues. Because we had to have the bus at a diesel shop in Spokane for several days in a row, we took the extra time to drive the mini down to The Palouse. This actually worked out really well, from a photographic standpoint, because we got to photograph in all kinds of weather/lighting scenarios.
This image was shot from near the top of Steptoe Butte in the Palouse.
The Palouse is basically wheat country. The area is covered in beautiful, rolling hills covered with wheat and canola. When the canola flowers are in bloom, and they were for us, it is pretty spectacular seeing the sweeping expanses of yellow flowers. In exploring the area, we knew there was one place we had to visit, and that was Steptoe Butte. From the top, you have a great view of the rolling hills, and if you get good light, sunset is a great shooting time. From this point, you want to be using a pretty long lens to pick out barns and really emphasize the shadows & highlights. The photo above was shot from Steptoe Butte around sunset.
Aside from that one spot, the rest of our shooting locations were really found by exploring. We’d just get in the car, head into the Palouse area and see what we found. There were many small dirt roads we followed, seeking out good photo opportunities. Most of the time, we found them! While driving around, we were looking for one of two main things: Nice light hitting the rolling hills, and lone barn structures to use as subjects. The area has loads of spots like this, so it often took us two hours to go two miles because we would keep stopping to get out and shoot!
We found this barn near sunset while we were just driving around. This is an iPhone shot I took, processed with Snapseed.
I obviously did a lot of shooting this past week, but in addition to my usual DSLR shots, I did a lot of iPhoneography as well. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve been seeing tons of my iPhone shots from the Palouse. The effects you can get with minimal editing on the iPhone is just amazing. I used Snapseed to edit most of those shots. I also took a lot of panoramas. I love printing big, and always shoot panos, but this place was just begging for it.
Here is a pano from one of the canola fields. That’s Karen in the middle doing a yoga pose.
A fun circular fisheye shot
Here is another pano of a barn we found just by driving around the area.
While we were out exploring the Palouse, the shop managed to fix the issue with the bus’ transmission. I am going to be hanging out in the general area, making sure that the problem has been fixed (If it occurs again, I want to be able to easily get back to the shop). Karen is flying over to NJ to spend a week with her family and attend her brother’s graduation party. When she returns, we will meet over in Seattle for my next creativeLIVE event.
Speaking of creativeLIVE, I’ll be teaching my Photoshop Mastery: Creative Explorations class on July 8-9, 9-4 PST. As always with creativeLIVE, while it’s live it’s totally free to watch, so tune in and learn how to add some awesome sauce to your images!
In last week’s post, we had just finished exploring the Columbia Gorge area, which runs along the border between Oregon and Washington. This week, we continued on to Walla Walla, Washington, which also happens to be Washington wine country. Now, if you read this blog regularly, you’re probably thinking, “wait… weren’t you just in wine country a few weeks ago?” And the answer would be yes! Only that was the Willamette Valley in Oregon, which specialized in Pinot Noirs. While Karen and I enjoyed our time in the Willamette Valley, pinots just aren’t our thing. We like BIG reds, and that’s exactly what Walla Walla has to offer. We tried lots of tasty cabernet and syrah there. Before we got to Walla Walla, we contacted our great friend Carl “The Wine Wizard” to ask for recommendations. Carl’s knowledge of (and taste in) wine is just spectacular, and he directed us to many fantastic wineries. Two of our favorites were Pepper Bridge and Woodward Canyon. We also loved Long Shadow, which is kind of an interesting place because they bring in a different wine maker for each wine they offer, so their wines were all very different, but the quality was there in all of them as well.
We also happened to be in Walla Walla for my birthday! It was nice to spend a birthday driving around vineyards and tasting wine! Karen also took me for an hour-long massage at a spa in downtown Walla Walla.
Me and Karen at Pepper Bridge (I’m sporting my new bespoke hat). This may have been my favorite winery in Walla Walla. Their bottles are quite spendy, but I ended up getting one as a birthday present to myself.
After spending three nights in Walla Walla, we continued on to the Palouse area. The Palouse is in Washington as well, and it’s basically a big wheat-producing area. The draw for us as photographers is that the area is covered with green, rolling hills… similar to what you would see in Tuscany. Very beautiful. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate at all while we were in the area, so I really don’t have any photos to show for it. When we saw that the rain and clouds weren’t going to clear up, we took the drive anyway up this tall butte that overlooks the area, just to see what we could see. We saw clouds. The top of the butte was literally IN the clouds. Karen got a kick out of a photo she took that is completely white. Lovely shot of the Palouse, right?! Even though we didn’t get any good images, we could tell how beautiful it was, and how spectacular it must be on a partly cloudy day, with the shadows and sun spots dancing on the hills.
While the bus was parked in the Palouse, I also took a drive to the middle-of-nowhere, Washington to photograph another little gas station. The rain made it tricky here as well, as I was only able to shoot from the car window.
This is the little Texaco I shot in middle-of-nowhere, Washington. It’s just an iPhone shot I snapped while sitting in the car hoping the rain would stop.
While we were driving to the Palouse, I had noticed some transmission issues on the bus. It was acting odd in first gear and I began getting error codes. This made it so that our next stop was Spokane, WA where there is a diesel shop that can work on the kind of transmission that’s in my bus. They concluded that the issue was likely caused by a bad sensor. They replaced the sensor and we were on our way. Before leaving, though, we explored town a bit and paid a visit to the largest wagon in the world! Exciting stuff!
If you look close enough, you can see Karen standing next to the world’s largest wagon.
En route to Spokane, we went a little out of our way so that I could photograph another vintage service station.
Once the bus issue was seemingly fixed, we headed east into Idaho and spent the night in Coeur d’Alene. Our goal is to make it to Glacier National Park as soon as possible, but when we left Coeur d’Alene in the morning, the bus issue came back. It hadn’t been fixed after all. Considering it was a transmission problem, and those can be ugly, we opted to turn around and go back to the diesel shop that had worked on it in Spokane. Bummer, huh? Luckily, they were able to get us in on a Sunday and after a bunch of testing, it turns out that three parts need to be replaced in the transmission. The shop has two of the parts in stock and we hope another shop in town might have the last part needed, but we won’t know until Monday rolls around. Ah, the joys of bus life!
A few more fun things:
I had mentioned in a recent post that I just bought a Brompton folding bike that fits in the bay of the bus. I had been eyeing them up for a while, and I’m really loving it. When I ordered it, I added an after-market electric conversion, which means that I can pedal like normal, I can do a mixture of peddling and electric, or I can just use the trottle on the handlebars to go all electric. Below is a rough iPhone video of me unfolding the bike.
A rough video of my new Brompton folding bike.
Since this post includes a few vintage gas stations, I wanted to throw one more in there. This isn’t a new image, but it’s one I’ve been working on for a while. When it comes to these gas station images, I often end up doing some serious retouching work. Check out the before and after versions of this one by dragging the slider left and right:
Ben: I'm a traveling Photoshop guru who loves to explore everything unique and extraordinary. I'm a photographer, former graphic designer and world traveler. Back on March 14th of 2006, I got sick of sitting still and waiting for my next vacation, so I sold 98% of my material possessions and started living on a tour bus and the rest is history.
Karen: I’m a photographer and graphic designer with an aptitude for anything involving pixels. I love being on the move, exploring the world and capturing it all with my camera. I joined Ben living on the road January 24th, 2010. For more on my work and play, visit my web site.