November 28, 2011

Cataloging Photos with Adobe Lightroom

I've been reviewing old photos and came across several that I had dismissed initially but are actually some of my favorites in their own series.  Amazingly enough this happens quite often, which is exactly why I never delete photos, always back them up, and continually review old ones.  You never know what surprises you're going to find.  I catalog my photos to keep them organized and filtered.  I use Lightroom for this purpose and I find that it works wonders.  You have to keep up on it, but with the help of a regular routine you'll be thanking yourself later. 

As soon as I am able to sit down with my computer and CF card after a shoot, I plug in my card reader and start downloading images.  Ideally, I am near my external hard drive and can do a back up then and there and forget about it.  No matter when I get to it I will back up my photos.  Backing up your photos may be the most important step, so don't forget it!  I can do this automatically with Adobe Lightroom and kill two birds with one stone on one download.  I've preset mine so that all I have to do is plug in my external hard drive and press OK and it'll automatically back up to my selected hard drive.  If it's not plugged into my computer Lightroom will remind me.  After I get all my photos into Lightroom and backed up on external hard drives, I start to go through and weed out the good from the bad.  I use a 'flag' for the ones that draw an initial reaction and I know are good, and a rejection flag for any overexposures or out of focus photos I know I don't want to keep.  Then, I go through the flagged photos and narrow it down even further to the best of the best with a rating of five stars.  I can filter the photos so that only the flagged photos are showing and develop from there, eventually focusing on the five star images.

When I am satisfied with my selection of "good" photos I start to play around in the digital darkroom.  Does the photo tell a better story in black and white?  Will it look better cropped?  What can I change to express my vision?  Aside from correcting exposure, color correcting and removing dust spots I don't like to "correct" too much unless I'm trying to achieve a certain look.  The point is to try and capture it in-camera as best you can.  Photoshop, Lightroom or iPhoto will only take you so far.  Getting an image right in-camera is the best practice and will improve anyone's photography.  I try to take that to heart.  

Last but not least, I go through my images regularly.  If I missed a back up I get it done as soon as I can. If I haven't gone through and edited dust spots, I'll do it.  Most importantly, I'll look with a fresh set of eyes at all the captures and if there is a photo I think should be flagged or even starred that isn't I'll do it then.  It's amazing what a fresh set of eyes can see.  I often find photos that were initially overlooked and wonder why I hadn't flagged them or given them a better status to begin with.  The best practice is to review, review, review!

November 19, 2011

Location: Big Cottonwood Canyon

ISO 320 40mm f/4 1/160 sec

ISO 200 17mm f/13 1/1250 sec

ISO 100 25mm f/5 1/100 sec Singh-Ray Warming Filter

A drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon is filled with photo opportunities without leaving sight of the road.  You don't have to go far to get some good images.  All of the above were just steps from the road.  It required a bit of venturing through snow, but when you want to get the most out of a couple hours in the canyon staying close to the road is a good option.  It doesn't hurt that Big Cottonwood Canyon offers amazing views throughout.

November 14, 2011

Time Lapse

I've been experimenting with time-lapse videos lately and wanted to share a combination of them in which I took in and around Salt Lake City.

I've really enjoyed making these time-lapse videos.  The possibilities seem endless.  So bear with me and enjoy!

November 09, 2011

Website: is officially up and running!  Click on the link or on my portfolio tab to see collections of my work.  The purpose of this site is to display my portfolio and style of photography.  I would love to hear what you think.  Check it out, leave a comment and enjoy!

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November 04, 2011

Occupy Salt Lake Protests

Nowell lit up his hand-rolled cigarette as he continued to explain his reasoning for protesting outside the Federal Bank Building on State Street and 100 South in Salt Lake City.  There's a handful of individuals at this site supporting the 'Occupy' protests around the nation.  Nowell stressed that getting the word out was his main purpose and the reason he's been sleeping and protesting at this location for the last two weeks.  Cars driving by honked in support, and the occasional passerby stopped with interest.  Others are not so enthusiastic about the idea.  One man confronted a protester by yelling and throwing his hands around.  I thought the tension might rise, but the protester stood his ground with an easy going smile on his face until the man left.  These protesters don't seem to be looking for a fight.  They just want their voices heard.  And as Americans, we all have a right, if not an obligation, to voice our opinions.

I've had to learn, as a photographer, that you have to keep an open mind.  It's best, in order to tell the story, to not take sides.  Sure, I have my opinions, but I don't think they are best spoken here or getting too wrapped up with my photography.  Take these photos as they are.  I'd much rather have my photos speak for themselves than for me to try to explain them, and hopefully they are able to do just that.

November 03, 2011




If you are serious about photography, you should think seriously about shooting RAW.  I wanted to show the difference between RAW and JPEG in the photos above.  They were taken seconds apart, same settings, same light.  This example shows how much dynamic range a RAW image picks up vs. the JPEG image.  The colors are richer and deeper and more is being picked up on the sensor.  RAW takes up nearly twice the digital space, but, to me, it is well worth it.  RAW allows you to process your images without losing quality and provides you more to work with in post processing.  Your photos will be better and you'll be overall pleased with the outcome.  

Sure, there are times when shooting in JPEG makes sense and is sometimes your only option if you lack digital space and/or a RAW processing software.  If your camera does shoot RAW, which many do these days, then your camera should come with RAW processing software.  Having the right cataloging program such as Adobe Lightroom makes it easier to work with RAW images as well.  This can all add up, with new software, memory cards, external hard drives...the truth is, if you want to make photography more than a hobby (and an expensive hobby at that) make the jump and up your game with RAW.