For the first time in the history of this blog, I have professional level equipment on all fronts. I am the proud owner of a brand new Asus N56 laptop with high definition display and quad-core processing. My camera (as you regular readers know) is the Canon 5D Mark 3 and I’m shooting with L glass or prime lenses. I’m not putting this out there to brag — I don’t like when photographers list their equipment. No, I am not bragging. I am just extremely happy about the state of my kit. Photography isn’t all about equipment. This blog is a testament to that — it was mostly created with a discount laptop and an outdated camera body. But, after acquiring all the latest toys, I’m discovering that things run a lot more smoothly when you have great tools to work with.
My last computer was bought during my family’s time of financial crisis. Continue reading “The Summit of Technology Mountain” »*David is an San Francisco Bay Area Photographer . You can order prints of the photos featured on this blog by clicking on the image or visit our website at raboinphotography.com Support this site by using one of my links to Amazon.com. Thanks!
Nine tenths of photography is simply being there. Bring your camera and an open mind — the pictures will come to you. Sunday morning I woke up early and caught a city bus to Santa Monica. When I arrived at Santa Monica Pier it was quiet, just after sunrise. The ocean slurped at the pilings beneath the boardwalk. A lone surfer works the break. Continue reading “Sunday Morning in Santa Monica” »*David is an San Francisco Bay Area Photographer . You can order prints of the photos featured on this blog by clicking on the image or visit our website at raboinphotography.com Support this site by using one of my links to Amazon.com. Thanks!
This photo is a photographer’s Rorschach test. Tell me… What do you see when you look at this photo?
Your answer might be, “a nondescript building, an ugly fence, and a fire hydrant.” Maybe you think this photo is ugly and boring. That’s a valid answer, but chances are you are not a photographer, or you haven’t studied composition, or maybe you are a photographer and you don’t believe in the rules of composition. Part of me sides with this answer.
Those of you who study the black arts of photo composition and color theory probably have an entirely different opinion of this photo. You right away notice the strong horizontal lines. I count seven edge to edge horizontal lines in this photo. You also probably notice all the groups of evenly spaced vertical lines. There is a rhythm to all these vertical lines, like notes on a musical staff. Also, if you have a sensitive eye, you might even notice that the red bricks and green grass are complimentary colors. Also, the bright yellow hydrant and deep blue sky are almost complimentary colors (close enough for me).
After years of practicing photography, my eye locks onto these scenes almost instantly. For example, when I was walking past this building I knew I saw a photo before becoming continuous of all the elements. As I was bringing up the camera to my eye my conscious brain was just catching up to my subconscious. Through the static of thoughts I heard, “yellow plus blue, red and green, parallel lines, look at those perfectly spaced shrubs!”, but I wasn’t thinking in words, I was thinking in pictures.
For a shot like this one, instincts aren’t very important because nothing is moving. I had all the time in the world. But, for a scene that is changing quickly, instincts make all the difference. How do you hone your photographic instincts so you are always ready to make a photo, even in challenging conditions? The answer is practice and study. Take photos of everything. Get to know what colors and shapes pop.
A good place to start is The Photograph: Composition and Color Design by Harald Mante. This book won’t blow you away, the pictures are kind of boring, but if you read Mante and practice his techniques, your photography will become more visually appealing. I like to think of these geometric photos as calisthenics, it’s the workout that gets you ready for the big game.
*David is an San Francisco Bay Area Photographer . You can order prints of the photos featured on this blog by clicking on the image or visit our website at raboinphotography.com Support this site by using one of my links to Amazon.com. Thanks!
This lesson is the continuation of my series about Photoshop Layers. These lessons are meant for beginners and Photoshop users who are having a hard time understanding layers. You can read the first three lessons here, here, and here. In this lesson, I’m going to show you a great way to edit your photos using Adobe Camera RAW in combination with Smart Objects. I know that may sound daunting , but don’t worry, it’s much easier than it sounds. And, trust me, the rewards are worth the effort.
Before we begin though, I have to give you a little back story. About a year ago, I decided it was time to update my workflow. I invested in some new Photoshop textbooks and got busy studying. After much reading, I came up with an entirely new workflow. I now do almost all my editing in Camera RAW. To those of you who are new to digital photography this might not seem like much of a revelation — Lightroom and Adobe Camera RAW are the obvious choice for most photo edits. But, to me, and a lot of long time longtime Photoshop users, using Camera RAW instead of Photoshop as the primary image editing tool is a major shift. The reason for making the switch is obvious when you see how gracefully you can manipulate pixels in the latest versions of Camera RAW. The adjustments to a RAW file are smoother than similar adjustments inside Photoshop. Also, working in RAW is a huge time saver. I like it.
There is however one big caveat (the reason for this lesson) when editing RAW editing files: RAW adjustments are all global. What does this mean? In RAW, when you make an adjustment, the adjustment affects the entire photo. There is no way (no simple way at least) to adjust one part of the photo without making the same change to the entire image. That’s what is meant by the term “Global”, as in “globally” affecting the entire image. So what’s a photographer to do if he wants to lighten one part of the image and leave the rest of the image untouched? Is this possible? The answer is: yes!! And, it’s easier than you think. This is where our lesson begins. Continue reading “Using Adobe Camera RAW, Smart Objects, and Layers — Not as Difficult as it Sounds” »*David is an San Francisco Bay Area Photographer . You can order prints of the photos featured on this blog by clicking on the image or visit our website at raboinphotography.com Support this site by using one of my links to Amazon.com. Thanks!
I do a lot of traveling. From time to time my path crosses a news worthy or historic event. That’s one of the reasons I always travel with a camera. You just never know what you’re going to see. For example, yesterday I was on a long overnight in Los Angeles. While working out in the Hotel’s gym I saw a TV news story about the Space Shuttle Endeavour being transported across the city to a museum. It was a two day event. Roads were closed. The city was chopping down hundreds of trees. When I got back up to my room I looked it up on my computer. Sure enough, the shuttle was actually close to my hotel. I went to the window. I could see a swarm of helicopters circling about a mile away. I grabbed my camera and headed for the door.
Walking fast down Sepulvada Boulevard I was thinking about how I wanted to photograph the event. I knew I wasn’t going to get anything that could compete with the local press. They had access and equipment that I could never keep up with. I decided I wasn’t going to fight the situation. My goal would be to capture the irony of one of mankind’s greatest achievements being unceremoniously tugged through the hodgepodge of urban Los Angeles. I kept thinking about my all time favorite Space Shuttle picture. It was taken by Joel Sternfeld. In his photo, the Space Shuttle is relegated to the background. In the foreground, a tired looking middle aged man is standing alone on a sun-baked rooftop. I love that photo – the cutting edge of technology (at the time) and a human who is sort of falling apart all organized in a simple rule of thirds composition. It’s a much more complex photo than, “Oh look! Here’s a spaceship!”
So I know what I’m after. Time to find this Space Shuttle.
I know I’m getting close to the event when I start meeting other people running up the street with cameras. There is a crowd gathered at a blocked intersection. The shuttle is coming this way. An Australian Tourist helps me climb onto the back of a large city truck for a better view. And, here it is – the surreal sight of a spacecraft rolling up the street. I keep my wits about me. Balanced on top of a tool crib, I make sure to get both the 7-Eleven sign and the less obvious cowboy hat into the frame. There it is — three icons of America all captured on one frame.
…and there it goes. As the shuttle passes I have plans for shooting the other direction down the street. Continue reading “Only in America” »*David is an San Francisco Bay Area Photographer . You can order prints of the photos featured on this blog by clicking on the image or visit our website at raboinphotography.com Support this site by using one of my links to Amazon.com. Thanks!
At the back of the park there is a dirt trail that leads up into the hills (I can’t say which park — sworn to secrecy). Around the bend, at the top of a rise, is a huge oak tree. Continue reading “Up the Trail” »*David is an San Francisco Bay Area Photographer . You can order prints of the photos featured on this blog by clicking on the image or visit our website at raboinphotography.com Support this site by using one of my links to Amazon.com. Thanks!
Here’s the view from the top of Mount Diablo. I think there’s an ordinance requiring every office in the east bay suburbs to display a painting of Mount Diablo. Our dentist, the doctor, and the school district office all have a mount Diablo painting hanging in their lobby. Even the DMV has a Mount Diablo painting. While driving around town you always know where you are based on the peak looming in the distance. Since moving to East Bay in July I have been itching to climb the peak that dominates our landscape. I knew I would climb Mount Diablo as soon as the opportunity presented itself.
All the online hiking guides advise against attempting the hike in summer, but I am pretty sure most those trail reports are written by aging hippies. How hard can it be to climb a 3800 foot hill in summer? On the way to the trailhead I stopped at CVS and bought a couple big bottles of water and a Gatorade. I was also provisioned with a half a bag of ginger snaps and a granola bar. I also carried a space blanket – just in case. Continue reading “Climbing Mount Diablo From the Regency Gate” »*David is an San Francisco Bay Area Photographer . You can order prints of the photos featured on this blog by clicking on the image or visit our website at raboinphotography.com Support this site by using one of my links to Amazon.com. Thanks!