I took a very good course on painting pet portraits by Cheryl Butler, called "Fur Babies". It is a five week online course, but you can do it at your own pace. Brushes and techniques are all supplied in the weekly PDF files. To start with you do need a good image. The one above was taken with a flash, so the lighting is pretty good and the background blurred. The background blender brush is worth the price of the whole course by itself. You have to be really committed to doing portraits, because they can take you anywhere form 6 to 8 hours. The hardest part, the whiskers! If you are interested, you can go to www.bellefleurtextures.com, for more information.
I am now selling my work on Fine Art America. http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/jackie-schuknecht.html
Please do drop by and have a look, and consider joining; it is free if you have 25 pictures or less, and has a fabulous community of artists.
Another film recommendation. National Geographic photographer James Balog set out to complete his "Extreme Ice Survey" and his film was presented at the Sundance film festival in 2012. He set up over 50 cameras in 3 continents to measure the retreat of the world's glaciers. After all of the camera's failed he had to set them up all over again. The time-lapse photography records the deaths of this giant glaciers. He also has done a TED talk worth watching. "Chasing Ice" was on Netflix for a while. Mandatory watching for anyone who cares about this planet.
In 2009 John Maloof went to a contents sale in Chicago. He was hoping to find some historical photos of the area, and stumbled upon box after box of negatives, and thousands of rolls of undeveloped colour and black and white film. It was the work of Vivian Maier, an enigmatic, notoriously private person who worked as a nanny. She always had a Rolleiflex twin reflex camera around her neck. Now hailed as one of the great street photographers of the 20th century, a number of books have come out featuring her work. John Maloof is currently trying to get her work included in some of the great galleries, but MOMA for example will not accept her work, as it is being printed posthumously. If you get a chance to see his movie "Finding Vivian Maier", I highly recommend it.
David DuChemin, a world-renowned photographer, sustained multiple injuries in a fall in Italy when he was scouting out a shot and slipped and fell down thirty feet. Broken ankles, fractured wrist, a fractured hip were some of the injuries. He is lucky to be alive. This happened back in 2011, and he is still having surgery.
He has number of wonderful books, some of which I own, and frequently epubs. Visit his site, wish him well !
This makes my broken ankle look like nothing.
More info on what he calls "The Italian Incident".
I think I could make through a metal detector:) Still healing though. Never break your ankle. It is a tough recovery.
This is one of my most recent x-rays. I hope just be able to walk normally, hike, and photograph like I used to! Wish me well!
This started out as a pretty conventional shot, but the flow and the colours were pretty, so it was a good choice to further enhance the image. I must mention I use Photoshop CS6.
First of all I put it through a filter called Fractalius (by Redfield) a very reasonably priced filter, and lots of fun. This gave the flowers edge definition with a white outline. The opacity was reduced.
I then create a new layer using the Control>Shift>Alt>E keys. On this next layer I went to Filter>Filter Gallery>Distort>Glass Filter.
I was lucky enough to witness this beautiful and amazing spectacle in Mexico. The birds arrived just after sunset and just before sundown, like clockwork, everyday. It is like a huge organic wave made up of thousands of starlings. This particular murmuration takes place in the UK. Thanks to George for the video!
Thought provoking video from David Attenborough. Thanks to my friend George who shared this with me.
An important lesson from a National Geographic Editor. Another heads up from my friend George.
I was excited to find out yesterday that my image, "Waiting for the Little Prince", was chosen as the Image of the Year (Out of the Box Category) at BirdPhotographers.net . This is one of my favourite images of all time and there is a tutorial in this blog on how to create a mini-world.
BirdPhotographers.net is a great site and you will improve your photography skills with great critiques, and posts from other members. Also it is only $20 dollars/year. Quite a bargain.
I think a lot of you know about this feature, maybe some don't. Pretty handy feature. Thanks to my friend George who reminded me about this. Note not all cameras have it. Just check and see if you see and AF-ON button on the back of your camera. Here is the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzqQskGoURE
This is something I never knew about before. A good reason to shoot Live View with your Electronic First Curtain Shutter Enabled. (EFCS)
A great read from Robert O'Tooles' January 2014 Newsletter. http://www.robertotoole.com/2014/01/28/electronic-first-shutter-curtain/
It is another dull winter day. I was given these paperwhite bulbs for Christmas, and they have just come in to bloom. So I set up a little indoor shoot using window light and the 100mm macro lens. I used a green matte board for the background and used a silver reflector to brighten up the centers of the flowers. They look like miniature daffodils and have a wonderful fragrance.
I used the image overlay feature of the 5D Mark III and shot one shot with a shallow DOF and the other quite blurry. I combined them using the "average" mode of the camera. After a few tonal tweaks and a little vibrance in Photoshop I added some textures for the final picture. It makes a lovely print on Velvet Fine Art paper. I must say it is one of my favourite images.
Thinking of selling your camera? I found a neat little app that will be able to determine your shutter actuations and help you put a value on your camera when you put it up for sale. It is called EOScount.com It will allow you to hook up your camera via the USB cable that came with your kit. It will read the serial number if it is able to determine the number of pictures taken. Then for a small fee (1.79 via PayPal) it will give you the shutter count. Helpful when determining a selling price for your camera!
From an excerpt from the Ontario Beekeepers Association:
"Ontario's bees are dying in massive numbers due to the pervasive use of neonicotinoid pesticides on our agricultural field crops. Fully a third of our food relies on pollinators: without bees, Ontario's food supply could be in serious trouble. Further, these chemicals leach into soils, groundwaters and waterways, and can persist for years, killing not only bees, but other pollinators, aquatic insects, amphibians and birds.
We already have sufficient evidence to prove that neonicotinoid pesticides are killing our bees.
Canada's Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency has confirmed that last year's widespread bee deaths in Ontario were caused by neonicotinoid pesticides. As well, dozens of independent, peer reviewed scientific research studies have concluded that these pesticides pose a significant threat to bees and other wildlife. Furthermore, science and experience has shown that neonicotinoids don't really increase significant agricultural yield in the long run.
Join Ontario's beekeepers and their agricultural, environmental and scientific partners in urging Premier Wynne to ban neonicotinoid pesticides in time for the 2014 planting season.
Ontario's bees are in unprecedented peril. In the past two years alone, Ontario has seen a 35% decline in honey bees. The time for urgent, precautionary action is now."
For information on the science behind our position: OBABee Cause. Sign this petition and
share with everyone here.
The European Union has banned this pesticide for two years. Also the bees die a horrible
death and become paralyzed and die. I think this is important.
Please sign this petition.
An excellent article by photographer E.J. Peiker in his quarterly "Quack Newsletter", the Summer 2013 edition. http://www.ejphoto.com/newsletter.htm Too long to reprint here, but worth the read.
I found lots of books on how to shoot IR images, but few on how to process your RAW images. I had my old Canon 20D converted to Super Colour IR by LifePixel. Every so often they have specials so check their site. They also have lots of information on infrared photography and video tutorials.
First off I try and shoot a piece of white paper in the light I am shooting and do a custom white balance in the camera. I have heard that shooting green grass works well too, although I have not tried that method.
Also when shooting IR the camera likes sky, water and anything with chlorophyll in it so try and get these elements in your images. Also I bracket expose in camera because it is really easy to blow out the highlights in an image. More often than not the image I choose will be at -2 or -1 when shot in manual mode. I use the 50mm for shooting.
When you have your image in Camera Raw I use the white balance dropper and place it on part of the image that I think that is close to middle green. This will usually change your colour temperature to 2000K and change the tint dramatically (it will end up in the green side). Now open your shot in the editor of your choice. I then run the
image through a noise reduction program. Then I run the photo through an
action from here http://khromagery.com.au/resources.html
You can download this and add it to your actions dropdown menu. (This
site also has an excellent write-up on IR so it is worth
reading. It recommends lenses and cameras that are best for doing
IR. ) The action will swap the red and blue colour channels as well
as adjust contrast, and hue and saturation. Finally if the image
needs a colour boost I adjust in LAB. The more you practice the
better you will get at converting. I find it helpful to have sky in the
image, then I know how far to adjust the hue slider. Anyways, happy
B and H tested a Canon T5i and a Nikon D 5200 with a lens on yesterday and dropped them both from a height of 4 feet to see how they would hold up. The lenses were toast and the Nikon needed some time to recover, but after putting new lenses on they both worked. Canon was declared the winner as it had fewer scratches.
In this same vein, the following is a video of a Canon 7D that was put through various forms of abuse.
You'll be surprised at how durable it really is.
The stamens of an apricot.
Japanese graphic designer turned artist Susumi Nishinaga has used an electron microscope to delve deep into the fabric of the petal, leaves, and pollen. He then colours the scanning electron microscope (SEM) to colour the images using a computer to reveal the building blocks of life.
From an article originally posted on the UK Guardian, May 19/2013.
More images available to view here: http://gajitz.com/look-closer-stunning-up-close-electron-microscope-art/
My apologies for no blog entry as of late. I had a bad ankle fracture and leg break. I have not been motivated or able to do much of anything lately. I hope to be up and running soon.
Worth Watching. Video by photographers Beverley and Dereck Joubert on big cats in Africa and their peril to survive on this planet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ht6TTA8z3MI
Details of a canvas print. For my first canvas print I used Premier canvas, because it came in 17 ' x 22 ' sheets. Couldn't find a colour profile, so I made one up with the help of people on Naturescapes where I post. (Big thanks). I have since switched over to Breathing Color's "Lyve Canvas", it has great colour reproduction, details, and Dmax. Putting on the varnish can be a pain. I may switch over to their Crystalline canvas, if putting on the varnish becomes too impractical ( although the finish is very nice),,,,,,,,,(Crystalline Canvas requires no varnish)
Also the Stick and Stretch bars come in all different sizes. The 1 3/4 inch deep frames look the nicest in my opinion.
You can make all sorts of frame combinations. Panoramic, square, 2 x 3 ratio.........
Adding textures to photos seems to be quite popular at the moment.
There are a lot of different sets of textures which you can use, but Totally Rad Dirty Pictures, and Flypaper Textures seem to be two of my favourites. There are also freebies, and you can also create your own, if you have the time. There is another site called "Texture A Photo" which was featured on a Martin Bailey Podcast, but the bank only goes so far.
You can download it or have it sent on a flash drive.
Totally Rad will add your existing textures to its' library and autofit and rotate the textures to your base image. You can also preview your images with your selected texture, this is a huge time saver! The textures are also in RGB colour space, at 8 bit. If you work in TIFF (16 bit), I just convert the texture to the working space I am in when in Photoshop CS6.
The photo above is a Wisteria seed pod, shot high key on white matte board for the base image. Using Live View gives you a great preview on your camera for exposure, white balance, etc., (Canon cameras) before you press the shutter button. I added lots of different textures, and I will often use poster edges in Photoshop filters as well, to give an even grittier look. It is a lot of trial and error, and I have been working with this technique for about two years, and I can usually get an effect that I like and have in my head. A lot of times too though, it is a work in progress and takes shape as you are working on it. The image above had about 16 layers or so, all with different opacities and blending modes. I think this image took about 3 or 4 hours to complete. It is one of my favourites.
I recently took a workshop with Martin Bailey called Pixels2Pigment. The workshop was expensive (400 for two days), but I thought it was worth it. It was an intensive look into printing, from image to final print. Lots of info was covered, too much to go through here. You can get a lot of the information about printing and lots of other useful information on the Martin Bailey Podcast. Martin will not recommend anything that he has not used or tried himself.
He is currently using Breathing Color's "Lyve Canvas" for printing, and actually perfected the method of putting on their "Timeless Varnish" on the canvas. He followed their initial instructions, but found he was getting flaking (the ink actually coming off the print because too much varnish was applied). Instead he found you need much less varnish, applied rather quickly, in different directions. The first layer has quite a bit of pressure applied, with subsequent layers applied with less and less pressure in different directions.
Breathing Color will be putting out a new type of canvas coming to Canada in November called "Crystalline Canvas", and it will not require a coat of varnish. It will be available at Amplis Photo. You can buy a trial roll, and if you like it, you buy any size in a quantity of three or more, and there is a significant price break.
I must admit putting on the varnish is a bit of a pain. You can do maybe 3 or 4 prints at a time, and your environment and everything needs to be clean and dust free as possible. Use your Rocket Blower to clean up your surfaces!
I have tried applying the varnish, and don't think I applied enough pressure. I only did some test prints as I knew it would be a bit of a learning curve. I think the next batch will be much better. Also I use Hahnemuhle Stick and Stretch System. Pretty easy to use, and much cheaper than having your canvas stretched. It produces a professional looking image.
Also you can use Photoshop to do mirror images of the edges for the canvas wrap. I found an online Photoshop action, only 35 dollars. The program Perfect Resize will do the same thing, but it will cost you a lot more.
Anyways in summary, check out Martin Bailey's website and podcast. You won't be disappointed.
Recently I had to have some camera/lens repair done. I read about Sun Camera . They are an authorized Canon dealer.
I brought in my 50 mm 1.4, and my 580 EX Flash. My flash needed a new pin assembly, and the barrel on the 50mm was damaged. (Knocked off a shelf). They do not have a flat rate bench charge, but they will assess what needs to be done, and let you know the cost. You can decline the repair. You can also mail stuff in if you do not live close-by. They are also open on Saturday for those of us that work from M-F.
Total cost for both repairs was 235 dollars, with tax. Pretty reasonable in my opinion. Might be my imagination, but the 50 mm seems sharper than when I took it in. I think they did a calibration. I am sure I will be back for tune-ups and repair in the future. I recommend Sun Camera.
Nature Images and More!