Aloha, from Oahu!

This week, I’m checking in from the Hawaiian Island of Oahu! We flew here after moving the bus back to Las Vegas, where it will stay while we’re on the islands. The main reason for my visit here was to teach a two-day course at the University of Hawaii for Pacific New Media. Karen and I are even staying right on the campus, which is less than 10 minutes from Waikiki and downtown Honolulu.

Mai Tais at the Hula Grill in Waikiki

On the day we arrived, we landed around noon and immediately went to pick up our rental car, which happened to be a lime green Volkswagen Beetle. Karen really got a kick out of this. Since I was starving, I did a Yelp search for a nearby food place that was fast and had good reviews. What I came up with was Helena’s Hawaiian Food. It not only had amazing ratings, but we later learned that it had been featured on some food-related TV shows. The place was small and very “no-frills,” but it is a local gem, for sure. Everything on the menu is very Hawaiian, and there was a line out the door to get a table. We took our food to go and ate in the car at a parking locale that overlooked the city of Honolulu. Not a bad intro to our stay in Hawaii!

After lunch, we explored the eastern side of the island for a bit and then checked in at the hall we would be staying at on campus. For our first evening, we went down to Waikiki for drinks and dinner. I first did a Yelp search for local happy hours and found a place with wonderful reviews called Bacchus. It was supposed to be a wine bar. When we arrived, we thought it was a little odd that there wasn’t much of a wine selection, and the music was louder than we’re used to for a wine bar. This didn’t bother us too much though. It was a fun place and the bartender was really friendly. I went up to get drinks while Karen got a table. When I got back to our table, Karen gave me a funny look, leaned in, and politely informed me that I had taken her to a gay bar and she was the only female in the place. When I looked around, I noticed that the place was full of very “affectionate” guys. Now gay bars don’t bother us one bit, but the fact that this was totally unintentional on my part made the first part of our night VERY amusing. After leaving Bacchus, we walked around for a bit in the downtown Waikiki shopping area and then eventually ended up at the Hula Grill for dinner. There was live Hawaiian music, our table was on a terrace that overlooked the beach, and the food was amazing.

Karen got this shot at the Pipeline surf break on the North Shore of Oahu.

On our second day, we decided to drive around the island, starting in Honolulu and heading up counter-clockwise. We first stopped at the easternmost point, Makapu’u, where we hiked to the lighthouse there. It was a good workout, and the route was scenic. Part of the walk overlooked a sanctuary for humpback whales where you could easily see dozens of spouts and tail fins. When we got back to the car, we continued the drive, stopping at any place that looked interesting. We spent a good amount of time on the North Shore, stopping at many of the popular beaches up there. This place is a surfer’s paradise, for sure. Karen really wanted to find the famous Pipeline break, which could possibly be the most famous surfing spot in the world. (We didn’t see it that day, but she eventually found it when she returned alone during a day I was teaching) We stopped for dinner in Hle’iwa, a town on the western side of the island, where we had some excellent curry food. By the time we got back to the university, we were both pretty beat.

My Photoshop Mastery class at the University of Hawaii Campus

On Saturday and Sunday, I taught my two-day class called Photoshop Mastery on the University’s campus. Both days went really well, and I think the students got a lot out of it. On Saturday night, Karen and I went back to Waikiki for a night on the town. We started off with a happy hour in a rotating bar that overlooked the city and the ocean. What’s funny is that we didn’t realize that the place was rotating until at least 15 minutes after we arrived! For dinner, we went to a place called the Genius Lounge, which also had amazing ratings on Yelp. We got a table outside and the food was both delicious and unique. I had Pumpkin and Bacon along with breaded deep fried hamburger on rice topped with a fried egg and Demi glacé sauce. Karen, of course, had two salads. We always like going to places with interesting menu items.

On our way back to the car, we noticed a lot of activity in Peter Lik’s photography gallery, so we decided to stop in and see what was going on. It turns out, there was an open event going on where servers were handing out wine and appetizers. Nice way to end the night!

We have one more day before we leave Oahu and move on to Maui. I will be teaching another two-day class there and I also have some great friends to visit on the island. More to come!

Upcoming Workshops & Events

Hi everyone! I’ve got a lot of great workshops and events going on in 2012 and would for you to join me on some. Here’s what’s coming up:

Discover Iceland: A Photographer’s Paradise

June 24-30, 2012

Get ready to discover one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Iceland features black sand beaches, waterfalls, geysers, volcanos, geothermal features, glaciers, icebergs, lighthouses, turf houses, storybook horses and interesting architecture, all packed into a country that is 1/95th the size of the United States. Its unspoiled countryside offers breathtaking vistas, dramatic weather and such a diversity of subject matter that after a week’s time, you will feel like you’re just scratching the surface. You’ll see so many waterfalls (including the largest in all of Europe) that they’ll become ubiquitous enough that you might even start to ignore them. This will be my fifth visit to Iceland in the last seven years!

Click HERE for more information and to register.


Photoshop Mastery: A two-day workshop in Honolulu

February 25-26, 2012

Master the creative tools of Photoshop . . . in Hawaii.
In the first day, gain a deep understanding of the fundamental foundation of how Photoshop’s adjustments work. See how you can substitute curves for almost half of Photoshop’s adjustments since many of them use curves behind the scenes. Learn what’s special about camera raw and find out how to best apply adjustment layers and layer masks to make your adjustments more versatile.

In the second day, learn how to creatively alter your images to make them look more appealing. Topics covered include blending modes, working with color globally and selectively, colorizing B&W photographs and learn to apply antique color, soft contrast and painterly effects. Learn how to Influence what a viewer is attracted to within your image, stylistically unify a group of photos, and apply certain tricks to help your viewer stay with your image longer. Employ unique effects to help develop your own personal style.

Click HERE for more information and to register.


The Peoria Camera Club: From Capture to Wow

March 17, 2012

Learn to make better captures – starting with equipment choices and camera settings. In this jam-packed day of photography and Photoshop, I’ll share my techniques for quickly evaluating shooting locations and creating compositions that are dynamic and interesting. You will learn how to think about post-processing techniques in the field to capture the most ideal images for later digital enhancement. Then, I will demonstrate my favorite post-processing techniques for enhancing and fine-tuning images on the computer. You will learn how to use digital processing tools to create images with more visual impact so you can develop your own style and take your creativity to the next level.

Click HERE for more info and to register.


Photoshop World

March 24-26

The must-attend conference for photographers and Photoshop Users
Designed to help you boost your skills, Photoshop World offers three days of pulse-pounding training with classes from renowned experts in the fields of Photoshop, photography and lighting and a once-in-a-lifetime experience guaranteed to enhance your skill set and help your work soar to new heights!

My Photoshop World sessions are: Mastering Adjustment Layers, Understanding Color Adjustments and Panorama Stitching.

Click HERE for more info.


Page, Arizona

May 10-13, 2012

Page, Arizona is a little-known spot with great photo opportunities. This small town, located on the Colorado River and overlooking the Glen Canyon Dam,  will be base camp for our photo adventure. During the course of the workshop, we will photograph the Slot Canyons, Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend and Lake Vistas, just to name a few.

Our location is ideal for exploring many of the American Southwest’s renowned national parks and monuments, and discovering the unique culture of the Navajo Nation.

UPDATE: As a special bonus for attending this workshop, OnOne Software is giving each participant a FREE copy of their award winning software, Perfect Effects! (a $99.00 value)

Click HERE for more info and to register.


The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Oct. 4-7, 2012

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a world-renowned attraction and destination for balloon pilots and photographers. For more than three decades, the first week in October brings the smell of roasting chiles and the beautiful, magical moving picture show of hot air balloons sailing silently through the crisp fall air.

The colors and textures will boggle your senses and you will come away with some of the most incredible images you have ever taken. We’ll throw in enough HDR training if you want to get a bit crazy with your creativity.

Be overwhelmed by this seldom experienced spectacle and you’ll be amazed at the photos your creativity will find.

UPDATE: As a special bonus for attending this workshop, OnOne Software is giving each participant a FREE copy of their award winning software, Perfect Effects! (a $99.00 value)

Click HERE for more info and to register.


Zion National Park

October 18-21, 2012

Massive canyon walls ascend toward a brilliant blue sky. To experience Zion, you need to walk among the towering cliffs, or challenge your courage in a small narrow canyon. These unique sandstone cliffs range in color from cream, to pink, to red. They could be described as sand castles crowning desert canyons. We will be experiencing the beauty of this tranquil place when the trees are the most colorful.

UPDATE: As a special bonus for attending this workshop, OnOne Software is giving each participant a FREE copy of their award winning software, Perfect Effects! (a $99.00 value)

Click HERE for more info and to register.