Glacier Photos: The Before & After Versions

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been posting a lot of images that I shot in Glacier National Park. I thought you all might like to see what the “before” versions looked like before I made my edits. Use the sliders on the images to see the before & after versions.

Enjoy!

* Drag the slider handle to see the before & afters *

[beforeafter]

Fall1-beforeFall1-after

[/beforeafter]

This image was difficult to capture because I had to have my tripod planted right at the centerline of the Going to the Sun road at a skinny spot where nobody could get around me. There was also no shoulder at all on the edge of the road… just a tiny stone wall and then a huge drop off… that meant that I had to keep popping back and forth between the stone wall/ledge to let a car go by and the centerline of the road to get the shot. Using the manual focus tilt/shift 17mm lens made it a more laborious process as well. Finally, the sun was shining directly onto the falls, which made nailing the exposure that much more difficult (I prefer to shoot waterfalls while they’re in the shade).

[beforeafter]

 scene-beforescene-after

[/beforeafter]

This was optimized from a single raw capture. The contrast range is somewhat extreme, which made it essential that I shoot in raw format to capture the most information. There was a real delicate balance in trying to achieve good contrast while retaining shadow detail in the lower portion of the image. It was processed using only Lightroom.  If I were to further refine it for printing, then here are a few things I’d do to finish the image: 1) remove tiny glowing edge in the U-shaped area of mountain near the center of the image. A curves adjustment layer and mask would do the job. 2) Darken the dark areas of the mountains on the right half of the image above the large shadowed area that dominates the bottom of the photo. Another curves/mask combo would do it there as well.

[beforeafter]

tree-beforetree-after

[/beforeafter]

I love when the sun just skims the top of the trees here in Glacier National Park. Underexpose enough and that’s all you’ll get… where the sun kisses the landscape.

[beforeafter]

Fall2-beforeFall2-after

[/beforeafter]

 Just another waterfall from Glacier. This is a panorama stitched from five captures. I had to keep the exposure consistent, so I pressed the * button on the back of my Canon 5D Mark III to lock the exposure settings before swinging the camera to make the pano. I shot this 1/4 second exposure at f16 and ISO 50. I’m assuming I had my neutral density filter on the lens, but I don’t know for sure.

[beforeafter]

Bus-beforeBus-After

[/beforeafter]

This bus is from the vintage fleet that Glacier National Park uses for public transportation. The most difficult part of this light painting was dealing with all the black areas on the vehicle. Those areas either absorb all the light falling on them and become a black hole, or reflect light of a certain angle back into the camera like a mirror. I had to light the black areas from odd angles to pick up the texture of the material, or light the ground surrounding it to get an interesting reflection. The same is true of the front bumper, which would have come out black had I not strategically lit the ground and other areas to produce a nice reflection to define its shape. It doesn’t really get dark until close to 11pm this time of year in Glacier. That’s why I chose to capture this image in a barn where darkness could be achieved while the sun was still up. 

[beforeafter]

boat-beforeboat-after

[/beforeafter]

We took an hour long cruise on Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park in this 1929 wooden boat. I thought an antique treatment was appropriate. This isn’t a “true” before and after image because the color version is a merged panorama where I made pre-merge adjustments. This slider shows the before and after of the vintage effect I applied using OnOne Software’s Perfect Photo Suite 7. 

[beforeafter]

trees-beforetrees-after

[/beforeafter]

I love when the sun just skims the top of the trees here in Glacier National Park. Underexpose enough and that’s all you’ll get… where the sun kisses the landscape.

waterfall-animationThis isn’t a before and after. It’s just a fun gif I made out of two waterfall images.

creativeLIVE & the road to Glacier

Hi gang! Here’s the weekly recap. We started the week off in Seattle, where I was teaching my “Photoshop Mastery: Creative Explorations” 2-day online class. We covered everything from filters, to brushes, to panollages, and all kinds of fun creative techniques. If you missed it, you can still get the class HERE. Immediately following my Creative Explorations class, I did a one-day “Image Ambulance” class, which covered all kinds of retouching and restoration techniques. This one was really interesting because all of the images were submitted by viewers and I only started working on them during the live class. No pressure! It actually turned out to be great, and we had a nice array of “problem images” to deal with. If you’d like to grab the Image Ambulance class, you can do so HERE.

BenCL-JulyMe and my in-studio students at creativeLIVE.

Karen and I always love hanging out in Seattle. Not only is the creativeLIVE team amazing to work with, but the city is pretty awesome itself… especially in the summer months when it’s actually sunny! We always find great places to eat, and this time, we checked out the Collections Cafe, which is located inside the Chihuly Garden of Glass Museum. The cafe is pretty interesting in that it’s full of interesting… you guessed it… collections. Each table is a shadowbox full of unique vintage things. Cameras, wind-up toys, you name it. Hanging on the ceiling are dozens of old accordions. All in all, it makes for a pretty funky atmosphere. We also stopped at Pike Place Market before we left, and that’s always an adventure in itself!

Ben-CollectionsCafeKaren got this shot of my at the Collections Cafe in Seattle. There are dozens of old accordions hanging from the ceiling.

After we left Seattle, we spent a night in the Spokane area before heading east towards Glacier National Park. We did stop for a night in Sand Point, Idaho on the way and spent the evening hanging out with Karen’s friends Wendy and Sean, who live in town. What’s funny is that the RV park we stayed at was directly across from Laughing Dog Brewery. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a bit of a beer snob, and love stopping at breweries along my travels. This place had at least five different IPAs (India Pale Ales) and that’s my favorite kind of beer. Karen also loved the place because to say it was dog friendly would be an understatement. There were at least five to six dogs running around the place at any given time.

BenKar-LaughingDogKaren and I striking one of our signature poses out front of Laughing Dog.

The next day, we made it to our Glacier rv park, which is only a few miles from the entrance to the national park. So far, we’ve only gotten to explore one day so we were really just getting the lay of the land, driving from one side to the other to see what it was like. I haven’t been to this park since I was in college and Karen has never been before. In fact, this is her first time in Montana! From what we’ve seen so far, the park is beautiful, and we’re bound to have a great week of exploring and shooting here. More to come!

BenKar-GlacierSignThe mandatory tourist shot.

GlacierNP2013-706-EditHere I am with a fleet of vintage busses used by the national park for public transport. I would LOVE to get to lightpaint one of these!

In the field and “on Location”

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.

PalouseLandscapePanoI shot this pano near the top of Steptoe Butte in the Palouse.

1013163_10153420865980355_292144191_nLone 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

CreativeExplorationsSlider

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

Click HERE to learn more and to enroll for free!

976540_10153428575930355_824597638_oI shot this image last year on the road to Taos, in New Mexico. I used Photoshop’s Oil Paint filter on it, as I was finalizing the creative techniques I’ll be covering in this week’s class. 

Karen and I will be in Seattle until Thursday, mostly immersed in creativeLIVE workshops. After that, we’ll head back to the bus near Spokane. More to come!

Back in Explorin’ mode

If you follow this blog regularly, you know that, while we’ve been doing a lot of air travel, our motorcoach has been parked between Portland and Eugene, Oregon, for quite some time. This is because I’ve been monitoring the progress of my vintage bus project, which has been going on in Eugene. This past week, we nailed down the designs for the interior, so the project can now go on autopilot (meaning the guys at the shop no longer need my input) and we’re free to roam the country again!

First things first, though. I started out the week in Seattle, where I presented my online class on Photoshop retouching & collaging at creativeLIVE. This class is part of a larger “Photoshop Mastery” series that I’ve been teaching once a month for the past few months. Next month, I’ll be returning to teach “Creative Explorations” in Photoshop. If you missed the recent classes, or want to enroll (for free) to the next one, visit my instructor page here.

BenCL-JuneOn the set of my creativeLIVE class.

cL-BenRickMy friend and fellow photographer Rick Friedman was teaching a creativeLIVE class right after mine, so we got to meet up in Seattle!

After leaving Seattle, we returned to the bus in Eugene, Oregon and spent one night there before hitching up and heading out. We headed north through Portland, where we made a quick stop to pick up my new, custom-made hat! I’ll post pics of that soon. We then headed east along the Columbia Gorge, on the Oregon/Washington border. We had spent several days exploring the gorge area before, but there is lots to see there, so we spent a few nights near the town of Carson, which is right on the gorge, on the Washington side.

This area is just beautiful, and there’s lots to photograph. I am currently working on an e-book for shooting waterfalls, so that’s what we focused on. There are so many waterfalls in this area that you could literally spend weeks shooting them all. We had heard good things about Panther Creek Falls, so that’s the first one we hit up. It was about a 45-minute drive from Carson and a really short, easy hike to the falls. It was pretty spectacular, and we actually returned twice to shoot it in different light.

2013_06_15_173057_Panther Creek Falls WA_0118My shot of Panther Creek Falls. This is just a detail shot. The whole falls is shown below.

PantherCreekFalls-36Karen got this shot of me near Panther Creek Falls. The red light on my camera looks so bright because it was actually the brightest thing in the scene. This was pushing 8:30 at night and it was actually quite dark. 

2013_06_14_203638_Panther Creek Falls WA_0052-EditThe entirety of Panther Creek Falls.

2013_06_15_173825_Panther Creek Falls WA_0127Some of the rapids leading up to the waterfall. 

2013_06_15_174222_Panther Creek Falls WA_0137I got this shot of Karen shooting near the falls.

We also drove out to see Lower Lewis Creek Falls, which was a longer trip from Carson (1.5 hours) but totally worth it because of the scenic drive and the beautiful weather. The waterfall was great, expanding a wide area. It was, however, in direct sunlight so it was hard to get any really nice shots of it. This is one of those waterfalls you really need to shoot on a cloudy/foggy day. It was still nice to see, though, and we enjoyed the exploring aspect of it. While we were driving to Lower Lewis Creek Falls, we also got several great views of Mount Saint Helen, which was an added bonus.

Lower Falls-23-EditKaren’s shot of Lower Lewis Creek Falls. It would have been much better on a foggy day, but it was still nice to see.

After exploring the gorge area a bit, we continued eastward toward Walla Walla, Washington. We’ll spend a few days here visiting some vineyards (this is wine country) and celebrating my birthday! More to come.

Here’s a video Karen made from our time near the Columbia Gorge. 
Also, click HERE for Karen’s post on the Columbia Gorge area

Another kick-butt creativeLIVE course in Seattle

BenCreativeLIVEA little pre-show goofiness. Here I am with my studio audience, about to kick off my Color & Tone class.

Hi everyone! I hope everyone had a good a week, and for all the moms out there, that you had a great Mothers Day! For me, it was another week and another city. This past month has just been crazy travel-wise. We’ve hit all four corners of the country and the middle as well! This week, it was Seattle, as I was presenting my Photoshop Mastery: Color & Tone class at creativeLIVE. This was a two-day course that is part of a larger series designed to make you efficient in Photoshop. The first part of this series, which I presented last month, is called Photoshop Fundamentals, and is designed to give anyone a solid foundation with the program. This week’s Color & Tone class, covers just that: How to enhance, and even fix, the color and tonality of your images. If you missed the live broadcast and would still like to see it, you can purchase it HERE. When you buy the class, you also get the training materials, including my practice images and the handbook that goes with the course.

If you’re not familiar with creativeLIVE, here’s how they work. They broadcast all kind of classes live, every day, and while you watch them live, they’re free. If you decide that the class really resonates with you, you can purchase it to watch any time, and you will also receive the bonus material that comes with the class. I’ll be returning to creativeLIVE next month to present the next part of this series, Photoshop Mastery: Retouching & Collages. Click here for more info or to register for the free broadcast.

As always, my time at creativeLIVE was excellent. They’re such a fun gang to work with, and Karen and I really enjoy being there. We also really lucked out with the weather in Seattle while we were there. It was in the 70s and 80s, and the sun was out! For some of you, this might not seem like a big deal, but if you’re used to rainy Seattle, it’s huge!

BenKarCreativeLIVEKaren and I on the creativeLIVE set

After wrapping things up at creativeLIVE, I flew back to the bus in Eugene, Oregon. It had been nearly a month since I’d last been “home.” Since my vintage bus is also being restored near Eugene, I was able to collaborate a bit with the shop that is working on creating the interior of that bus that we will eventually call home. Unfortunately, I must have caught the bug that seems to be going around, so the last part of my week was shot. I feel tons better now, which is good, because tomorrow, I need to fly to Columbus, Ohio to present my Kelby Training seminar, Photoshop Artistry. If you live near Columbus, I hope to see you there!

And last, but not least: This week, the schedule for this year’s California Photo Festival was posted! The California Photo Festival is five days of digital photography immersion. Intensive workshops, seminars, lectures, shooting, parties, and more with over 15 industry leading photographers and digital industry gurus designed to boost your creativity, spark your passion, and take your photography, art, or business to the next level. This year, it’s Oct. 7-11 in San Luis Obispo, CA. Learn more about the festival and schedule here.

CAphotoFest2013