October 31, 2015

30 Day Project #14

30 Day Project #14
Frenchtown, Montana

October 30, 2015

30 Day Project #13

This morning a mushroom appeared in my flower bed.

30 Day Project #13
Frenchtown, Montana

October 29, 2015

30 Day Project #12

Mostly my pictures were made from found objects, but occasionally I created something to photograph. Here I collected dried petunia blossoms to make the wreath.

30 Day Project #12
Frenchtown, Montana

October 28, 2015

30 Day Project #11

30 Day Project #11
Missoula, Montana

October 27, 2015

30 Day Project #10

30 Day Project #10
Frenchtown, Montana

October 26, 2015

Adobe Announces Elements 14

At the end of September, Adobe released a new version of its introductory photo editing program Photoshop Elements 14. Reviews are mixed on whether or not you should upgrade if you have an older edition of the program. Most agree that the improvements are minor, so if you already own Elements 12 or 13, you may want to wait for the next version (probably within a year).

Adobe Photoshop Elements 14

For the $99.99 price tag (on sale for $69.99 at Adobe until October 26, 2015), Elements is a great value, capable of many advanced editing tasks. Also, Elements is still a perpetual license product, so if you buy it, you can use it as long as you want.

Raw image straight from camera
Nine Pipes Wildlife Refuge
Charlo, Montana

Image after editing with Elements
Nine Pipes Wildlife Refuge
Charlo, Montana

However, as several reviewers have pointed out, for that same $100 price you could be subscribing to the Photography Bundle of Lightroom 2015 and Photoshop 2015. These are more advanced programs and take more time investment to learn to use well. In addition, since it is a subscription, if you stop paying, you stop being able to use the software bundle. So it depends partly on your philosophy about software subscriptions. (Note that Lightroom 6/2015 is still available with a perpetual license.)

For a more detailed discussion of the new features in Elements 14, see this article.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 Review by James Paterson

30 Day Project #9

30 Day Project #9
Frenchtown, Montana

October 25, 2015

30 Day Project #8

30 Day Project #8
Frenchtown, Montana

October 24, 2015

30 Day Project #7

30 Day Project #7
Missoula, Montana

October 23, 2015

30 Day Project #6

30 Day Project #6
Missoula, Montana

October 22, 2015

30 Day Project #5

30 Day Project #5
Missoula, Montana

October 21, 2015

30 Day Project #4

30 Day Project #4
Frenchtown, Montana

October 20, 2015

30 Day Project #3

30 Day Project #3
Missoula, Montana

October 19, 2015

Getting Better Quality Photos from Your Smart Phone Camera

I recently saw a post on Facebook in which professional nature photographer William Neill mentioned a new app he was using on his iPhone to get better quality picture files. That led me on an internet search for information about other apps for iPhones as well as Android models.

Restaurant Shadow
Florence, Oregon

Android Phone Camera


What did I find? For one thing, it depends on the platform of your cell phone what options are available to you. If you have an iPhone, you cannot actually save a raw file. With an app, however, you can save a TIFF format picture which is not compressed. (See "A little background" below.) If you have a high-end Android phone running version 5.1.1 (lollipop), the camera has raw capture ability, but you need an app to "unlock" it. These Android phones do save an actual raw file in the DNG format provided by Adobe (the same company that gave us free PDF format). This means there are lots of raw processing programs that let you edit these pictures on your computer.

Here are some links to web sites that I found most informative.
DISCLAIMER: My Android smart phone runs version 4.1.2, so I have not tested any of these apps.

Read more...

30 Day Project #2

30 Day Project #2
Frenchtown, Montana

October 18, 2015

30 Day Project #1

I recently completed a project to make photographs every day for 30 days in a row. I could use a cell phone camera or a simple point & shoot model. And I could make multiple pictures a day but only choose one of them. It was all about practicing seeing and photography every day, even if just for a few minutes.

Because the camera in my smart phone makes low quality images, I made nearly all of my photos with my compact digital camera set to Program mode. I allowed myself to adjust ISO (Auto or Hi), White Balance and Exposure Compensation because those controls were available on my phone, but that was it. I did allow myself to crop and adjust exposure and color as needed before sharing them (because I'm compulsive that way).

So for the next month, you'll see the pictures I made in between regular life and traveling to the Oregon coast. I highly recommend such a project! It has developed my "reflex" of seeing pictures all the time.


30 Day Project #1
Frenchtown, Montana

October 17, 2015

Sunset #16

Sunset #16
Frenchtown, Montana

October 16, 2015

Sunset #15

Sunset #15
Frenchtown, Montana

October 15, 2015

Sunset #14

Sunset #14
Frenchtown, Montana

October 14, 2015

Sunset #13

Sunset #13
Frenchtown, Montana

October 13, 2015

Sunset #12

Sunset #12
Frenchtown, Montana

October 12, 2015

Making Exposure Choices Easier

Rob Sheppard recently posted an article on his blog that describes a simple way to choose your camera settings for nearly any situation. He recommends first selecting an aperture for your desired depth of focus. Then select a shutter speed for the proper exposure. (In Aperture Priority exposure mode, the camera does this for you.) If the shutter speed isn't what you need, adjust the ISO to achieve it.

In the photograph below, I selected a aperture of F/16 for lots of sharpness front to back down the row of trees. This left my shutter speed at 1/15 second, too slow to stop the motion of the falling leaves in the slight breeze. So I raised the ISO from 100 to 400 which allowed me to speed up the shutter to 1/60 second.

F/16, 1/60 second, ISO 400

While Sheppard's focus is on nature photography, his suggestions will work well for portraits, still life, nearly any type of photography. If you understand the basic relationship among aperture, shutter speed and ISO, then you will find this article helpful. In fact, the approach he describes is one I've been following myself ever since I learned manual exposure photography with film in the 1990s! It works!

Simplified Exposure Choices by Rob Sheppard

October 11, 2015

Sunset #11

Sunset #11
Frenchtown, Montana

October 10, 2015

Sunset #10

You don't have to travel far from home for amazing sky shows at the end of the day. I frequently am treated to great light on the hills and wonderful clouds as I drive home at the end of the day.

Sunset #10
Frenchtown, Montana

October 9, 2015

Sunrise #5

Sunrise #5
Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge
Stevensville, Montana

October 8, 2015

Sunrise #4

Sunrise #4
Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge
Stevensville, Montana

October 7, 2015

Sunrise #3

Sunrise #3
Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge
Stevensville, Montana

October 6, 2015

Sunrise #2

Sunrise #2
Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge
Stevensville, Montana

October 5, 2015

Lightroom Is Not Saving My Changes

When you install Lightroom, by default any changes you make to your images are saved only in Lightroom's catalog, not with the file itself on the hard disk. You may have noticed a small icon in the upper right of the image cell in the Grid display of the Library module. It has three lines beside a down arrow. This symbol indicates that you have made changes to the image that have not been saved.

Metadata Needs Updating Icon
Read more...

October 4, 2015

Sunrise #1

Mist greeted me this sunrise at Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge near Stevensville, Montana.

Sunrise #1
Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge
Stevensville, Montana

October 3, 2015

Sunset #9

Eventually the sun slid behind the mountains, ending a spectacular show.

Sunset #9
Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge
Charlo, Montana

October 2, 2015

Sunset #8

Sunset #8
Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge
Charlo, Montana

October 1, 2015

Sunset #7

And then the full moon made an appearance....

Sunset #7
Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge
Charlo, Montana