December 27, 2009

I Can't Believe We Moved The Whole Thing

After a month of work it’s finally done… We have moved out of the Atlanta studio. It was quite a project. A month of throwing away a ton of old cameras, computers, enlargers, backgrounds, promo cards and props to get it down to a manageable amount of stuff to move… That’s a joke… It took two full days and 5 truckloads to move the remainder of the studio into our new space in Chamblee (a nice little suburb in Atlanta). The new space is going to be so much nicer. Taller ceilings, a new Cyc wall and bigger offices will make it much more fun to work in. I am sharing it with a long time friend photographer Steve Dinberg, and when it’s all set up, will be a much more efficient workplace for the next decade. We are very excited about the new space. I will post some new photos as soon as we have it all set up. At the same time, we have just finished building a new shooting studio extension to our home in Santa Barbara for Helene’s new studio. She is very excited about her new space as well. Lots of great photography assignments and constant teaching engagements kept things jumping all year long. When you do what you love for a living, it never seems like work…. It’s just a 24/7 lifestyle of creativity and sharing the knowledge. Next year will be more of the same.
I would like to thank all my followers of my blog for making my site the #1 site on the Facebook Blog Network for the subjects of Photoshop, Digital Photography, and Digital imaging. I currently have over 1350 registered followers reading the Blog on a regular basis. I hope to get a lot more tutorials done more often next year. I am taking a long overdue break out in Santa Barbara for the next two weeks to get some rest. I hope everyone will have a safe and happy new year!

November 08, 2009

New Guide To Tutorials and Blog Posts

I always love both receiving and answering questions on digital imaging from everyone, but I sometimes have a hard time getting the answers out in a timely way. Most of the time it’s just trying to reference the right tutorial or blog post to get you the information. The answer… “The List” I have taken the best of my digital photography and Photoshop PDF tutorials and blog posts and created one place to launch them all with a click. Want my formula for changing product color when creating new prototypes? Just click on the link. Want to create a photo-painting? Click the link. Want to learn Merge to HDR, stitch together a panoramic, light painting with layers? Click the link… I have also included links to download a hi res PDF of my twenty page studio portfolio, and my new super reference test chart…. Just download one PDF with all the links on it…. No typing … No kidding!…. Just click and learn at your own pace. I will expand and update it with new links in the future. The address will always stay the same. Just add a “/” to the end of my website address and “The List” will automatically download… The link is

Updates on what’s going on… Just in from Chicago today after giving a daylong “Photoshop For Medicine” program with photographer Mark Maio at the University of Illinois. The week before we did it in San Francisco. Each program we do gets better and better. Our new web site for The Digital Imaging Institute for Science and Medicine will be up soon.

Our first quarterly digital magazine is out. Download the PDF file and give it a peek. Let me know what you think….
I have expanded my color checker chart that many of you have seen over the years to have an Adobe Lightroom to Photoshop number conversion to help us understand where the most important numbers are. Download the new chart and see if it helps…. Just click the link.

October 08, 2009

Photoshop World Las Vegas 2009

Back from another Las Vegas Photoshop World. This was my 18th PSW conference speaking with NAPP. Always a great show! The show started with a keynote from Adobe’s VP Johnny L. and Creative Director Russell Brown showing off some of the upcoming technology we will see in future versions. This year’s theme was football and the Photoshop Guys did a very nice job of entertaining the 3000+ crowd of attendees. There were lots of new faces at this show this year. All the programs went very well. Helene and I had our hands full throughout the week teaching multiple programs. Helene started the week in charge of Portfolio Review where attendees can have a PSW instructor do a 15-minute review of their work. Thursday night is always the big PSW party at the House Of Blues where Scott’s band Big Electric Cat entertained a packed house. On Friday, Helene and I both did live photography shooting classes. Friday night I finished with hosting the “Art Of Digital Photography” panel that had about 2000 attending. Saturday, Helene had a full house for her Creativity and Marketing class out in the trade show stage, while I taught new classes in Photo Illustration and Panoramic Photography. In the trade show Mark Maio and I spent a lot of time talking with representatives of software and hardware companies about our new association, The Digital Imaging Institute for Science and Medicine with lots of great feedback. We ended Saturday night with a nice wrap up get together in Scott Kelby’s suite to say goodbye till next time. It’s just amazing how far this association has gone in the last ten years.

I am always asked when I get back what were the coolest new products in the trade show, and this year is no exception. Anyone who has heard me speak knows than I am a big evangelist for burning files off the hard drive and onto DVD’s. I always get a lot of arguments that DVD’s a based on dyes that will fade in time while I argue about the failure of magnetic media hard drives. Well, things have now changed. A brand new type of DVD burner and disc has arrived that is total archival and will last forever. That’s what I have been waiting for. You need to check out this info at Wouldn’t you pay a little more for a disc that you know as long as you don’t trash it, will always have your most important work permanently stored. I know I would…. Another great product was the introduction of the X-Rite Passport. It is a new color checker that is in a plastic case so it would not get ruined with time. It has lots of cool features including different tones of gray so you can have a warmer or cooler point to set your white balance and has software to custom profile your Raw camera file with. You can fine more info at This along with my trusty Photo Master Target will always assure my color is perfect when shooting….
After returning home from Las Vegas, I get a call from my good friends Jim and Laura Sullivan that they had a couple of U2 tickets for me, so it was off to my 8th U2 show. I didn’t have a ticket for the show and I was not happy about missing it since I missed the show while I was in Dublin Ireland. Show was outstanding. The biggest stage they have ever done. Set list consisted of mostly material from their newest CD, but they had time to fit in many of their classic songs from the last two decades as well…. All in all, a very good show…. Till next time… JD

August 20, 2009

The Tourist Remover in Photoshop CS4 Extended

Thought it was about time for a new tutorial in Photoshop. Have you ever been out photographing, and just when the scene is all set for the perfect image, people start getting into the frame? I really hate that. It’s always that way. I don’t have the patience for this nonsense. Next time you're ready for an Adobe Photoshop upgrade, think about getting Photoshop Extended. There is a great feature hidden deep in this software version that is one of the best time saving approaches to file enhancing ever invented. I like to call it the “Tourist Remover”. Now you might think the Extended version of PS CS4 is for medical and science applications only, but this one feature alone makes PS Extended a must have for anyone who shoots location or travel photography. (Click on any image to enlarge)

This is how it works. When shooting a scene with subjects moving around in the image area, start by setting the camera up on a tripod. Compose the scene, set your exposure, and lock in your white balance. Shoot a sequence of frames of the same scene several seconds a part while the people in the scene are constantly moving into different positions. They can be anywhere in the frame, but hopefully not in the same position. Shoot enough to make sure the unwanted people are moved around a bunch to new positions. Process the group of files as you normally would and put them in a folder. From the Photoshop Menu, choose File>Scripts>Statistics.

A very simple dialog box opens that prompts you to browse for a folder of images to blend. Select the images in the sequence and choose the Statistics mode of Maximum. Think of it as a type of layer blend mode that examines all the images, stacks them, and then looks for anything that is not in all the images in the same place and removes it completely. The results are just unbelievable in some cases.

In this example shot at Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC, I shot several images with a infrared converted Canon digital camera on a tripod as other visitors toured through the middle of the garden scene I was photographing. Photoshop CS4 extended blended all the frames together and removed 99% of all the people saving a lot of needless time cloning them all out individually. This very small investment in software can yield a very large increase in productivity. Check it out......

August 10, 2009

Creative Fine Art Montage Class At The Light Photographic Workshops

Just got home to Santa Barbara from a great weekend teaching at the Light Photography Workshops in Los Osos California. Victoria and Hal Schmitt do a wonderful job of creating a comfortable environment to really let the creative juices flow. This was my first experience teaching at this facility, and I must say it is the most well equipped digital photography workshop training facility I have ever worked in. Most workshops have you bring you own computer with you. The attendees don’t have to bring anything to these classes. Each student has a two-monitor workstation and share large Canon 5100 printer between each station. This is one of the few classes that I have taught where I spent the entire time on creating fine art and illustrative multi-image compositing for the entire length of the workshop. We really had lots of time to explore many different avenues of how images can blend together. I was very impressed with the how the attendees really just exploded with new directions of image compositing with each project they took on. I really like this type of workshop better than the ones where I only cover a small part of image composite training among many others aspects of the digital photography workflow. I highly recommend keeping up with their blog and website for many other creative photography courses in the future.

August 02, 2009

Back From Ireland

Just wanted to post some of the first images I have processed after returning from our two weeks in Ireland. We had a great time with our friends touring around the countryside. We visited lots of historic sites along the way to Westport , Galway, the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher. Killarney, and the Ring of Kerry. We stayed for some extra days in Dublin and visited the Guinness and Jamison Breweries and the Dublin Zoo. Click on any image to enlarge. More to come……