Viveza 2 – Great Selective Tool

Morning Light on Rolling Hills - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2008 - All Rights Reserved

Last month I attended a convention in Reno where Nik software was being displayed and demonstrated. After attending the session, I purchased Viveza 2 which is designed for precise selective photo editing.

The software uses control points that select based on color, tonality, and texture of the object they are placed upon. Several control points can be used and they communicate with each other so a precise and natural selection is obtained.

The selective process is simple, fast and accurate. It makes it unnecessary to create complicated masks and selections. Some of the new features in this version include shadow adjustment, structure and levels and curves.

The images below show a before and after example based on using the program.

Flowers on a Hill - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2008 - All Rights Reserved

Before

Flowers on a Hill - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2008 - All Rights Reserved

After
I highly recommend this product and it can be used with Photoshop, Aperture and Lightroom.

Adding a New Perspective to Your Landscapes

Rosalia Railroad Bridge - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2010 - All Rights Reserved

A few weeks ago I was mentioning to my mentor Scott Bourne that I would like to purchase a fisheye lens to add a new perspective in some of my images.

He asked me if I had used the Lensbaby with its fisheye attachment. I had to say that I hadn’t used the Lensbaby at all. My feeling was it just wasn’t my style. He suggested I try it with the fisheye attachment if I wanted to capture that look. I decided to try it out on my next trip to the Palouse actually believing it probably wasn’t what I needed.

The picture at the top of this post shows one of the images that I took with that setup. I was presently surprised as it definitely gives the perspective I was looking for. I am very happy with that setup for fisheye images. I might mention that it is not useful for all shots but from time to time it does provide an interesting perspective.

Let Your Phototography Show Your Passion

Moon above the Wheat Fields - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2008 - All Rights Reserved

I spent the last couple of days at a workshop presented by author Terry Gogna who wrote the book “How I Can Get Myself to Do What I Need to Do” . He was a very exciting speaker and gave much advice. I was especially intrigued with his thoughts on motivation and transferred his ideas to my photography.

He discussed 3 types of motivation. External motivation can come from rewards like money or praise. Internal motivation is intrinsic and comes from needs within us. Both of these types of motivation are standard topics whenever motivation is discussed.

The third classification is what really intrigued me. He called it spiritual motivation. This is what really stirs our soul and what we are very passionate about. I feel this passion as I photograph in the Palouse. Its natural beauty and the sculptures that are carved by the farmers really stir my inner soul.

As you are photographing remember this third area of motivation and develop a project that allows you to get to you inner soul. Your images will convey that passion and will be more effective.

Mild Winter in the Palouse

Glowing Fence Posts - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2010 - All Rights Reserved

As I visited the Palouse today, I was surprised at the look of winter in the area. Typically at this time of year there is snow on the ground and the temperatures are very cold. As you can see from the image at the top of this post there was no snow and the temperature was very moderate.

The winter wheat is showing through the ground and as I spoke with a couple of farmers in the area they mentioned it almost seems like spring has come. Also I was able to drive to the top of Steptoe Butte in my car. I haven’t been able to do that for several years during January.

With the mild weather and some clouds in the sky, I had a great time visiting and photographing the area. Once again, it seems the Palouse is a great region to photograph at any time of the year.

In a Rut?

Deserted Barn - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009 - All Rights Reserved

I was sent an article a couple of days ago by a friend and I thought I would share it with you. It is entitled “Choose Your Rut Carefully” and it was written by Lori Woodward Simons. The article deals with how an artist gains a following and becomes known for a particular style or subject.

I have been enjoying photographing in the Palouse for the last few years and that subject has been something I have been known for. As I read the article it made me think about that subject matter and how it fits into my overall work of photography.

I think as you read the article, it will make you do some thinking about your style and how you want to be known. Being in a “rut” can be good or bad depending on your interest and goals.

Photographing from a Hot Air Ballon

Balloon over Countryside - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2005 - All Rights Reserved

I have had the opportunity to photograph several times from a hot air balloon. It is a thrilling experience that can give a very different perspective to your images. Photographing the Palouse really allows you to take advantage of the high view as you look to the beautiful landscape below.

Rich Earth - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2005 - All Rights Reserved

The first time I rode in a balloon and shot I was very apprehensive but I quickly realized it is a very calm, quiet ride that makes photographing very enjoyable. Hopefully you will get the opportunity for this exhilarating experience to give a different view to your images.

A few suggestions that I would offer as I have learned from experience. Take equipment that you can handhold because there is not much room for a tripod. When I have been in the balloon there have always been several occupants. If you are alone with the pilot there would be more room. Take at least two lenses, one being a wide angle and the other a telephoto so you can cover all possible views.

Red and white Balloon - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2005 - All Rights Reserved

The photos in this post were taken around Walla Walla, Washington during the annual balloon stampede which takes place on the second weekend of May each year. Visit that festival and you will be entertained by the color of the balloons as well as the beauty of the Palouse region.

To be Simple

To be Simple is to be Great!

While on Christmas vacation, this sign caught my eye in a restaurant. It isn’t a great image but I liked the message. This is a meaningful message to me in life as well as in photography.

I have posted messages about simplicity before but the sign at the top of this post reminded me again of the importance of simplicity in your photos. The picture below is very simple but allows me to wonder what is the story behind this deserted homestead. I ask questions like “did anyone ever live here?’, “where did they go when they left,?”, or “do their descendants live in a newer house and farm the land in the background?”

Deserted Homestead - Copyright Gary Hamburgh 2009- All Rights Reserved

In a simple photo, the viewer gets the message of what you feel is important in the image. If they want to they can fill in the blanks or read between the lines. When you look for simplicity many times it is just as important to know what to leave out of the composition as it is to know what elements to include.

Remember, keeping the concept of simplicity in mind as you create your compositions may provide you with stronger message in your images.