Finished Image: Before & After

Finished Image: Before & After

Hi gang! I’ve been bouncing around between different events and projects lately, but I have also been trying to create time for working on some images. A couple months ago, I took a little road trip to photograph a bunch of service stations in the mid-west. I have a huge list of stations that I’ve researched and want to shoot, and I’ve slowly been checking them off over the years.

In order for a station to make it onto my list, it has to have the building, the pumps and the sign. After shooting, I do a lot of work on each image in order to give it a timeless feel. I just wanted to share the most recent image with you, and you’ll see that there is a little slider over the image that will allow you to view the before and after versions.

 






Two new training courses

On a different note, I’ve got two new training courses up in the CreativeLive library. The classes went live a few weeks ago, and if you missed the live broadcasts, you can snag them now to download or stream at your convenience. Click on the links to learn more and purchase the classes:

Ben_Willmore_Photoshop_and_Lightroom_TEXT_1600x900Photoshop & Lightroom Creative Cloud Additions for 2015

RetouchRestorePhotoshop Mastery: Retouch & Restore

Recent & Future Events

Recent & Future Events

Hi gang! I just wanted to post a mini update on where I’ve been, and what’s coming up. The annual Photoshop World Conference & Expo just wrapped up in Las Vegas. As usual, it was a great event, loaded with lectures, workshops, demos and other fun stuff related to photography, Photoshop and other photo-related software. I was really excited to be able to teach two classes on Adobe Lightroom this time around. I just love Lightroom! It’s so powerful and is where I spend most of my photo-processing time, by far. The classes I taught were “Up to Speed with Lightroom 6/CC” and “Organizing Photos with Lightroom.”

If you love photography and have never been to Photoshop World, I highly recommend it. It’s not only full of educational events but the KelbyOne team really puts together a fun learning environment, hosting parties and other after-hours shenanigans.

psw2015The entrance to the conference & expo at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

PSW-Epson1My image, featured in the Epson booth at the trade show.

Upcoming training events

I’ve got two classes coming up at the end of the month, and the great news is that they are both online classes, and they are free to watch during the live broadcast! As with all CreativeLive classes, they are free to watch during the live event, and then you can purchase the course to download or stream at your leisure and get access to the class handbooks and other bonus materials. The two classes are one-day each and cover photo restoration and the latest Creative Cloud updates to Photoshop and Lightroom.

Here are the details:

Photoshop Mastery: Retouch & Restore | Aug. 27, 9 am-4pm PST

RetouchRestore

Class Description:

Photographs are among our most treasured possessions, but not every photo was shot under optimal conditions or preserved in an ideal way – making photo restoration a big business opportunity for skilled photographers and retouchers.

If you want to answer every, “can you fix it?” with a resounding “yes,”  Photoshop Mastery: Retouch and Restore with Ben Willmore is the class for you. You’ll learn:

  • Advanced color correction and enhancement techniques
  • Retouching and scratch removal strategies
  • Detail enhancements
  • Folds, scratch, mildew, ink and water stain repairs
  • Reconstruction of missing pieces such as torn corners and rips
  • How to make fix faded images and make skin tones more lifelike
You’ll learn what actions to take, the optimal order to perform them, and which tools are right for the job. Ben will share time-saving tips and offer insights on the corrections that create the biggest impact.
***

Photoshop & Lightroom Creative Cloud Additions in 2015 | Aug. 28, 9 am – 4 pm PST

Ben_Willmore_Photoshop_and_Lightroom_TEXT_1600x900
Class Description:

Technology is always evolving – make sure you keep pace with it. Join Ben Willmore for Photoshop and Lightroom Creative Cloud Additions and get up to speed on 2015 updates from Adobe.

In this comprehensive class, you’ll learn about all of the changes Adobe made in 2015 and how to integrate them into your daily workflow. You’ll learn about:
  • Raw high dynamic range
  • HDR + raw panoramas
  • Dehaze Adjustments
  • Retouching tool changes
  • Face Detection and Recognition
  • Blur Gallery changes
  • Rendering trees and flames
  • Local adjustment additions
  • Radial and gradient brushes
  • Hidden and hard to find additions
If you’ve watched any of Ben’s previous courses, this will be a great way to update your knowledge and ensure you know about all the latest features.
***
More to come!
Road trip between speaking events

Road trip between speaking events

Hi gang! I’ve been zipping all over between different events lately, and I even managed to get some shooting in. As you may know, I have an ongoing photography project that involves shooting a bunch of vintage service stations all over the United States. When we’re living in the bus (our RV), this is a lot easier because we’re constantly on the road. Lately, since we’ve been temporarily staying in one place, the project hasn’t seen much progress. However, I had a few speaking events in the midwest this month, and instead of flying between them, I decided to rent a car and check off some of the service stations that were on my list. In just a few days, I shot nearly a dozen stations and put about 1,000 miles on my rental car!

In total, I’ve found over 200 service stations that I want to photograph. My criteria is that they have to be vintage and that they must still have the building, pumps and sign. Many people ask me whether the stations are ever still in service and 99% of the time, the answer is no. Some of them have been preserved, some have been restored and converted into something else (office, pizza parlor, etc.) and some are in various stages of deterioration.

When I photograph the stations, I always take an iPhone shot first and then spend more time creating an image with my “big boy camera.” It’s nice to have the iPhone shots so that I can share them immediately, whereas it takes me a very long time to edit all of the raw files.

Here is a visual recap of my road trip and the service stations I photographed. These are all iPhone shots. More to come!

2015_08-Vintage-Service-Station-Route

This is the route I drove to capture the stations between events.

The first station was in Madison, Kansas.

The first station was in Madison, Kansas.

 

Second service station in Kansas.

Second service station in Kansas.

 

This was a bonus station right around the corner from another one I shot in Wetmore, Kansas. I didn't have this one in my database.

This was a bonus station right around the corner from another one I shot in Wetmore, Kansas. I didn’t have this one in my database.

 

I captured this one, in Wetmore, Kansas, in the evening and then returned for the morning light, which is what you're seeing here.

I captured this one, in Wetmore, Kansas, in the evening and then returned for the morning light, which is what you’re seeing here.

 

Captured this little beauty, which is hidden on private land that you have to hike to, in New Cambria, Missouri.

Captured this little beauty, which is hidden on private land that you have to hike to, in New Cambria, Missouri.

 

This one, in Macon, Missouri, had too new of pumps and wasn't in the best shape, so I disguised it with a heavy texture treatment here.

This one, in Macon, Missouri, had too new of pumps and wasn’t in the best shape, so I disguised it with a heavy texture treatment here.

 

This one, in Centerville, Iowa, took a while to capture since there was a pick up truck parked out front and it took almost an hour to find the owner and get them to move it.

This one, in Centerville, Iowa, took a while to capture since there was a pick up truck parked out front and it took almost an hour to find the owner and get them to move it.

 

This one has too much junk covering up the essence of the station so it also gets a heavy texture treatment. This one is a barbecue joint these days, in Lees Summit, Missouri.

This one has too much junk covering up the essence of the station so it also gets a heavy texture treatment. This one is a barbecue joint these days, in Lees Summit, Missouri.

 

After presenting a seminar all day in Kansas City, I hit the road to capture more stations. Here's the first capture, in Clinton, Missouri.

After presenting a seminar all day in Kansas City, I hit the road to capture more stations. Here’s the first capture, in Clinton, Missouri.

 

Got to this location after dark and had to wait until morning to capture it. It's a cute little station, but it felt odd spending an entire night in a town where my cell phone indicated "no signal". (Stover, Missouri)

Got to this location after dark and had to wait until morning to capture it. It’s a cute little station, but it felt odd spending an entire night in a town where my cell phone indicated “no signal”. (Stover, Missouri)

 

I was happy to get to this nice little Texaco station right before the rain hit. I was able to get my shot and the moment I started to drive away the rain started to fall! This is in De Soto, Missouri.

I was happy to get to this nice little Texaco station right before the rain hit. I was able to get my shot and the moment I started to drive away the rain started to fall! This is in De Soto, Missouri.

 

I was big-time bummed that the sign was missing here! It's located inside the building, but is not currently hung. I've shot this station before, but didn't have an ideal shot. I returned with my tilt/shift lens hoping to get something better, but that will have to happen another day. This one is on RT66, in Mount Olive, Illinois.

I was big-time bummed that the sign was missing here! It’s located inside the building, but is not currently hung. I’ve shot this station before, but didn’t have an ideal shot. I returned with my tilt/shift lens hoping to get something better, but that will have to happen another day. This one is on RT66, in Mount Olive, Illinois.

 

New Travel Photography class coming your way in July

Hi gang! I wanted to give you all a heads up on a new class we just announced. I’ll be teaching a 2-day course called “Travel Photography: The Complete Guide” on July 6-7 at CreativeLive. This is an online class that will go live from 9 am to 4 pm PST and it’s completely free to watch while it’s live! If you want to watch and re-watch the class videos at your leisure, you can purchase the course to stream or download the files.

This class will cover a subject that is near and dear to my heart: travel photography! After all, my lifestyle is such that I travel full time, whether on the road in my motor coach or at sea on a ship that I teach on. I chose this lifestyle so that I could photograph all over the country and all over the world. My photo library contains images from all 50 states and dozens of countries and I would love to teach you everything I’ve learned along the way!

Thailand-KoSamui-27Here I am shooting at the Big Buddha Temple in Ko Samui, Thailand.

Here is the class description at CreativeLive:

It takes the perfect combination of gear, exposure, and creative thinking to produce travel images that stand out from the rest. Learn the how to bring the critical ingredients together in Travel Photography: The Complete Guide with Ben Willmore.

Fresh off a seven-country, two-month international trip, Ben will share everything it takes to create exciting and memorable travel images. You’ll learn how to:

  • Deal with everyday tourists in your shots
  • Select the best lens for each situation
  • Organize the chaos of a scene into a compelling image

Ben will cover everything you want to know about selecting, packing, and protecting gear. You’ll also develop an efficient digital workflow that fits the fast-paced lifestyle of travel shooting.

Don’t go on your next travel adventure without the insights and skills you need to capture high-quality images, fast processing – join Ben Willmore for Travel Photography: The Complete Guide.

I hope you’ll join me online (or in the studio audience in Seattle) on July 6th and 7th! You can learn more about the class and register for free HERE.

 

Kicking off summer with new seminar & more shooting

Hi everyone! Here is a little update on what has been going on here in Ben land. We’ve been working on getting caught up and back into the swing of things after our long international trip, and we’re enjoying being land-based again. On May 29, I presented my first event of the new seminar tour, the Lightroom & Photoshop Creative Integration Tour, in San Francisco. There was a little scare with delayed flights, but I got there on time and the event went really well! We’ve got several more cities lined up, and you can see those HERE. Next up is Seattle on June 19th.

Here is the seminar description:

Ben Willmore is back with a brand new tour for 2015 that shows how best to integrate Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. He’ll show you how to take best advantage of the new features in Lightroom 6 as well as how to move beyond its limitations by taking advantage of Photoshop’s advanced image processing features. You’ll learn how to get the most out of Lightroom by utilizing many hidden features that require the intimate knowledge that only an expert can provide. He’ll share the best methods for organizing your images, show you how to push your image optimization abilities beyond what you thought was possible and then show how to best integrate Photoshop into your workflow. Ben has been using both programs since they were introduced and is known for pushing them beyond what they were originally designed for to get more out of them than what anyone else can teach you. Don’t miss your chance to learn from a digital imaging legend… you’ll be amazed at what you can learn in just one day!

Ben-SanFran-smallThe welcoming crowd at my San Francisco event on May 29. 

Back in Florida, where we’ve been hanging out these days, we’ve been doing a little exploring and shooting some more images in my yoga photography series. After seeing how popular the images have become, I’m constantly keeping my eyes open for new and unique locations to shoot more photos. One of the locations we visited was the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. This place is more that just a museum, and you could easily spend an entire day there. The grounds alone are beautiful and expansive. We really enjoyed the museum and the house tour, but the architecture was where it was at, photographically. I found lots of great locations to place Karen and ended up with seven or eight strong images from here. Here are a couple (The header image for this post was also shot there.):

Yoga-Dancer-Ringling

Yoga-ForearmStand-Ringling

 

We also drove out to Bok Tower and Gardens in Lake Wales, FL. This is a historic landmark featuring a large and ornate tower that houses a set of carillon bells. The grounds are also very extensive and include gardens, trails, a beautiful estate, cafe and visitor center. We took a tour of the estate and spent a good amount of time wandering the grounds. It’s a nice place to visit if you’re ever in the area.  We shot the following yoga image here:

11312854_10156194887110355_8628317629660653560_o

Finally, we did a little shooting at the beach. The sunsets over Florida’s gulf coast are especially spectacular this time of year, and lend themselves to some nice silhouette images. Here is one I shot at Indian Rocks Beach:

Yoga-crescent-IRB-sm

I’ve been posting all the images in this yoga series in an album on my Facebook page, and you can see those HERE. More to come!

Recent travels spark a yoga photo series

Hi all! After two months of international travel on a ship, I’m happy to say that we’re finally land-based again. The journey was fantastic, but it’s good to be back and getting into our groove again.
The recent trip took us to Hong Kong, China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. After about six weeks of Asia ports, we then cruised over to Alaska and down the west coast of the good old U.S. of A. When we’re on board the ship, we’re teaching a class. When we’re at port, we’re out exploring and shooting.
2015Route
This was our complete route, starting in Hong Kong and ending in Los Angeles. 

 

When we are out and about with our cameras, Karen and I usually find it pretty easy to “get into the zone,” so to speak, in our shooting endeavors. This trip, however, was a little different. We’re not sure why, but despite our engaging surroundings, we had a hard time getting into shooting mode. This isn’t an uncommon thing to happen to photographers, and it can be hard to figure out how to get out of a photographic funk. So how did we do it? By starting a photo series.
One of our early ports was in Keelung, Taiwan. We had been exploring for a while when we came across this shrine. It was pretty quiet there and we were sitting on an elevated platform when Karen asked me to take a quick iPhone shot of her. She’s a yogi and wanted to do a yoga pose in front of the unique building. I took the photo and then edited it in the Snapseed app while we sat there. I ended up liking it so much that we did another shot at that shrine with my “real” camera. I ended up liking this even more. We both decided that this would make a great collaborative series and that we could seek out interesting backdrops all over the world.
Yoga-Taiwan-sm
   The first iPhone shot that sparked our photo series. Tree pose in Keelung, Taiwan.
Yoga-Taiwan2-sm
This was the second shot we did at that same shrine. These red doors were begging for a photo! Wheel pose in Keelung, Taiwan.

 

Having a series that you’re working on changes the way you approach shooting, especially when traveling to new and unfamiliar places. Instead of simply wandering about looking for interesting shots, you’re exploring with a purpose. We would still take our normal travel photos, but we would constantly keep our eyes open for interesting locations to make a yoga image. We found that the spots that worked best were ones that were fairly simple and that incorporated shapes, colors or textures. The shape aspect is especially critical because it would have to complement whatever pose Karen is doing. Over the course of about two months, we would try to take at least one (sometimes more) yoga shot in each location. It has evolved into a fantastic collection that we’re both really proud of.

 

The challenges: Aside from the challenge of actually finding the locations, there are lots of other variables/challenges that go into creating these images. First of all, there’s the communication. I’m not a yogi, so Karen has to show me what the pose is going to look like and then teach me what to look for and how to correct her if necessary. I also need to convey to her what needs to be tweaked or moved so that she is perfectly placed within the chosen environment. After all, she can’t see what I’m seeing and often times, just moving her an inch or two will line things up in the way I want. There are also times where she has completely rejected an image that I thought looked pretty good. That’s because there was something about her form that wasn’t ideal. The other challenge is the crowds. It turns out that when she strips down to a tank top and bare feet and then contorts in some crazy and beautiful way, people want to watch. Most people are very considerate in that they don’t walk in front of the camera, but it can be disconcerting for her when there is an audience and she can hear the mobile phone cameras going off behind me. It’s totally expected, and we’re not bothered by it, but it does add another factor when creating these shots.

 

As I said before, we’re really proud of what this series has become, and it’s something we plan to continue. We’re not sure if we’ll use the images for anything in particular in the future, but it’s definitely a possibility. (Lots of folks have said that they would like to see this turn into a book.)

 

I am keeping an updated gallery of these images on my Facebook Page, and have included a few more below. Enjoy!

 

Yoga-Peakock-Kodiak_sm
I love that she appears to be diving into the water in this image. This was in Kodiak, Alaska and Karen’s palms were numb from the cold! The pose is called Peacock and she said it’s one of the most physically challenging poses in the series (so far.)
Yoga-Updog-Aomori_smThis pose is called Upward Facing Dog, and we took a taxi to this museum because we knew this sculpture was there. This is the art museum in Aomori, Japan.
Yoga-BusyTokyo-smHere is an instance where we WANTED the crowds! This is the busiest intersection in Tokyo, Japan. We found the spot for her to stand and as soon as the traffic lights turned red, she would get out there and hold this. I had to use a really slow shutter in order to blur out the people, and she had to hold very still. We stayed here for several traffic light cycles, taking lots of shots in order to get different variations on the blurred crowd.
You can see the rest of this series HERE.