Photoshop Tutorial DVD

Many have seen my photoshop handiwork on my website, of my renaissance faire images from the summer of 2010.  Well, some of the skills used to create those images, are found on tutorial DVD’s from Michael Barton of Indigo Photographic.  I own his entire Barton Booty collection of Photoshop tutorials, actions, and textures.  Michael has updated his website, so that you can now purchase this collection directly.  I highly recommend this collection to anyone wants to expand their Photoshop knowledge.  Below is a description of the collection taken from Michael’s website, as well as the link to the website where you can purchase it. 

1 Image DVD with high-res images needed to complete assignments

1 Tutorial DVD compatible with standard DVD players

10 assignments in all including:

Black and White Conversions, Black and White Toning, Blemish Retouching, Object Removal, Eye Retouching, Soft Focus, Vignetting, Texture Overlays, Black and White Layering, and Montage Creation.

Over 1 hour of running time, teaching you 10 essential techniques that will make you more effective and more efficient in Photoshop.





Where should I host my photos?

There are many sites all over the internet that will allow you to post photos and share them with the world. There are less that allow you to price your photos and sell them as a pro. When I did my research a few years ago, I picked SmugMug to host my photos. They’ve never dissapointed me. SmugMug has the best support team of any company I’ve ever done business with. Simply the best. (Cue Tina Turner song.) They have more help pages than I can even remember. They have an active community. Most importantly, the photos look outstanding when displayed on SmugMug, and the prints look just as good when you order them. I can’t say enough good things about SmugMug, for hassle free, customizable, professional image hosting.



My Last Day at Calumet Photographic

Yesterday was my last day at Calumet Photographic in Oakbrook.  Although I’m happy to leave, I’m also sad to leave the team of people I worked with.  I worked there for 2.5 years, and learned an insane amount of knowledge in my tenure.  My photography would not be where it is today, without that experience, and without the open sharing of knowledge by the Oakbrook team. 

My studio skills were improved by Roy Fleith and Steve DePaul, my Photoshop skills were cultivated by Jon Shaver and Michael Barton (not an employee, but a trainer who is in the store frequently), my speedlight knowledge was advanced by Barrett McGiveny, my minescule knowledge of video was increased by Ross Zuchowski, and the rest of the staff helped every day with tips, tricks, advice and so much more. 

One thing I liked about working there was teaching customers how to improve their photography.  One thing I hated about working there, was teaching customers how to improve their photography.  Often, I’d have to teach idiots how to improve their photography, so they could take business they had no business getting.  (“I’m doing a wedding tomorrow and I’ve never done one before.  Can you teach me how?” or “I bought this camera yesterday and I have a gig to do 50 headshots today.  I’ve never done that, can you teach me how?”)  About 80% of my work day, was spent teaching, over the counter, which I both enjoyed and hated.  I’ve taught countless people basic focusing skills, basic studio techniques, the fundamentals of aperature/iso/shutter speed/white balance.  You have no idea how many people own cameras that cost thousands of dollars, and have no idea how to use them.  Just because someone is holding an expensive camera, doesn’t mean they’re a professional.  P-MODE DOES NOT STAND FOR PROFESSIONAL PEOPLE!  Ok, I guess I ranted enough there.

So anyway, a benefit of working there was being surrounded by photography every day.  All aspects of it too.  Meeting photographers from all areas of the industry was really cool.  Talking to nature, wildlife, wedding, portrait, event, photojournalism, and every other aspect, was pretty neat to do.  I’ve met National Geographic photographers, Pulitzer Prize winning photographers, Master photographers, and so much more. 

Oh!  I also wanted to give a shout out to the manufacturer reps who helped train us, and who have supported me and encouraged me over the last couple of years.  Alan Gelman (Uncle Al), Mike Romeo, Dennis Nervig, and Steve Ostrander.  All of which were in the store frequently, and have always complemented my work, and encouraged me to advance my photography.  Thanks guys!

If you’re looking to make a photography purchase, no matter what type of equipment it is, buy it from the guys at Calumet Oakbrook.  You won’t find a better team of photography PROFESSIONALS anywhere.  The entire sales team are professional photographers.  Each has their specialty, but if you have a question about photography, someone in the store can answer it.


Texture & Treasure Hunt

Today I went on a texture hunt.  Now, you might wonder what that means?  It means that I went out with my camera, taking pictures of boring things no one would ever take pictures of, . . . . . unless . . . . . you’re an avid Photoshop artist.  Textures are used to make pictures look more interesting.  Textures can be pictures of brick, stucco, gravel, bushes, wood chips, etc.  When used properly in Photoshop, they enhance the appearance of an image.  Like the one below:

So while I was out on my texture hunt, I walked past an antique shop. I walked past lots of shops today, but the antique shop called to me. Guess what I found in that shop? Antique Nikkor prime lenses! What a treasure to stumble upon! I can’t afford them right now, but they are affordable, and they’ll work on my camera. I just hope they don’t get sold before I can buy them. There was a 58mm micro, and a 105mm micro, as well as some wide angle primes which would be perfect for fall foliage this year.


The word is getting out there . . .

I’ve been getting quite a few friend requests from people on Facebook, who specifically ask to be on my list, so they can see photos they’ve been told about by friends.  It’s nice to know that people are so interested in seeing my photography, that they go looking for me.

Venom the Crone<br>www.nightowlphotography.comOne of those friend requests was from a gentleman who teaches Photoshop and Digital Storytelling at Marquette University in Milwaukee.  That was pretty cool.  I asked him to check out my Medieval Character Study gallery and tell me what he thought of my summer project in Photoshop, and he said he was pretty impressed, especially with “Venom the Crone”.  A pretty cool thing to hear from a university instructor.  Another friend asked me to do some Photoshop work on a special photo for her family, that she’ll use on a memorial DVD she’s creating for a passed loved one. 

I’ve already looked into becoming certified in Photoshop, and the weird thing is that when I looked at an example cert test, the questions I didn’t know the answers to were mundane questions about pallettes, and brushes, and keyboard shortcuts.  I could answer the advanced questions, but not the easy ones!  I think I might still do this soon though.  That would be a certification that might actually help me a get a cool job years down the road.  In the mean time though, I have a BIG Photoshop project brewing in my head.  One that might take me months to complete.  More on that later. 

Oh, and the other day in my website stats I got the weirdest hit on my website.  Someone Google’d “richard nagle princess leia”.  Sometimes my Google stats amuse me.  🙂

Bristol Renaissance Faire Pictures – Labor Day 2010

2010 was a good year at Bristol Renaissance Faire for Night Owl Photography.  I was able to attend much more often that I was able to last year, and got some incredible photographs of rennies, actors, and performers.  I took a journey into photo alchemy, and achieved some success in developing new photoshop skills.  When I started the season, I wanted to do something different, something that would elevate my photography, and make people say “wow, how did he do that”.  I think I can safely say I accomplished my goal.  🙂 

The last day of the Bristol Renaissance Faire in 2010 was an active day for me.  On Labor Day at Bristol, I was running all over the faire, taking action shots, courtly shots, portrait shots, just everything.  I took over 1000 pictures, most of which were auto-shutter photos, that got deleted anyway.  So after picking out all the “good ones”, I edited those 1000 shots down to about 230.  Of those, I picked a handful to perform some medieval photo alchemy on, and have posted those in my Medieval Photo Alchemy gallery on my website.  Below are some examples for you:

Bristol Renaissance Faire 2010
(click photos to see gallery)

The Charm of a

I’d like to find out what you think of the 3 new courtly pieces in my gallery (the first 3 in the gallery). I’m not sure I like them, but that usually means everyone else will love them. So please comment on the photos with your opinions, even if you don’t care for them. Oh! You’ll notice that under each photo is a button for “liking” each photo on either Twitter or Facebook. If you’d like to share the images with your friends list, just click the buttons. 🙂

The photo above is definately my favorite photo of the day, after having worked it up in Photoshop. It’s a combination of so many different effects, and it turned out wonderfully. There’s Dave Hill, Dragan, textures, grain overlay, and more. This will be one I print for my home I think.

And this photo is of my friend Kirk, who is an avid drummer at drum jam, and for various belly dancers around the faire. At this moment, he was drumming for my friend Heather who was dancing behind me when I took this shot. I think maybe he saw me point my lens at him, because he stayed with that pose while drumming for quite a few seconds, as if to pose for me. Thanks Kirk!!!

One of the joys of posting these in this gallery, is coming up with the titles for them. I’ve never been one to title my images, but I wanted to do that for this gallery. I’ve discovered that the thesaurus is your friend when working on titles for your images. Sometimes I get a little goofy with my titles, like the image called “Renaissance Hustle”. *grin*

Anyway, I hope you like the new images and my Medieval Photo Alchemy gallery. Enjoy!!!

Blog Sharing

Just a quick note that I have enabled a cool service I just discovered on WordPress that enables sharing buttons at the bottom of a post, so you can quickly share something you like on my blog if you choose to.  You can share on sites like Facebook,  Twitter, and on many other social networking sites.  Oh, and if you’d like to get updates to this blog in your email, make sure to subscribe in the upper right hand corner of the blog.  Just enter your email address, and you won’t miss any of the updates.  So share away minions!