Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Daily Macro View

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I liked the look of the leaves from a Teasel plant. The problem is the main subject is green and the background is green as well, so not enough pop in this image. It looks just okay, but I wanted a more dramatic feel.

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I thought why not add some nice striking contrast in Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4. I used the “Solarizaton” filter which darkened the background and intensified the plant. The background didn’t totally black out, but when I went back into Photoshop Elements, I used the contrast slider which helped to finish blacking out the background.

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To save 15% on Topaz products click here

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Holiday Inn Pittsburgh/Monroeville

February 6,7,8, 2015

Cost $199

The “MACRO BOOT CAMP” is three days of in depth learning, fun, and entertainment. You will need a camera, macro lens, tripod, as you will be shooting in the classroom. It is for the beginner to the intermediate photographer wanting to learn more about the macro world in nature.

Times for the Macro Boot Camp,
Friday 5:30pm – 8:00pm
Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday 9:00am – 2:00pm

Covered in the Macro Boot Camp:

The Best, Cameras / Lenses / Tripods / Heads / Accessories.
Controlling light with diffusers and reflectors, and LED lights / working with natural lighting

Camera functions for Macro
How to control depth of field with f/stops / macro and ISO / focus stacking with Helicon Focus

Composition
Learn how to compose properly / finding character in nature / elements of design / textures
contrast / lines / light / visual weight / learning to work camera angles for blurred backgrounds / Two Subject Compositions / What not to do when composing.

Finding Subjects
Learn when, where, and how when looking for subjects through out the four seasons.
How to shoot macro indoors.

Post Processing
Learn how to process images with photoshop and Topaz.
Enhancing images using Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro / Viveza 2 and Topaz.

Four hours of shooting in the classroom.

TO SIGN UP FOR WORKSHOPS GO TO www.macrostoreonline.com

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Website, Workshops and E-Books

Macro Courses Online Click Here

You can buy my images from a select group at GreatBigCanvas.com

To save 15% on Topaz products click here

Shooting D-Flies Takes Patience

Posted: August 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

Daily Macro View

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If you like chasing dragonflies in the fields, it takes a lot of patience to find the subject on the right perch with a nice clean background. Sometimes a dragonfly will like a certain perch and keep coming back to land there. If you find that special perch than you can set up your tripod and camera and wait for it to return to that perch.

I was using the Tamron 18-270 lens. With the lens set in the 270mm range, it allowed me more working distance between me and the subject so the dragonfly wasn’t spooked as easily. I set my f/stop at f/5.6 to help blur out the background.

On this overcast day I followed this little guy around the field waiting for it to land on a perch that would allow me a camera angle with the least distracting background so the dragonfly would standout.

This was the first perch I found the subject on. The background was a bit close causing my image to look cluttered. So I will follow it until I have a better background.

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So it moves to another plant and I shoot again. This time I have a seedhead and stems in the frame, so not good.

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I keep following and finally it gives me something to work with. Now with the clutter a good distance away I can get the nice solid blurred background and nothing competing for attention except my D-fly.

 

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Setting up your shot

Posted: August 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Caught In Birch114

When:
Fall

Where:
Wooded Area,
Michigan

How:

I really like shooting the bark of birch trees. It has a lot of character with all the textures and lines. The interesting bark makes for a great background to show off this richly colored fall maple leaf. This is as simple as just finding a nice part of the trunk, and hanging a leaf in the curls of the bark. I placed the main part of the leaf in the upper thirds of the frame and positioned the stem on a diagonal to give it a less composed and more natural look. I shoot these with an aperture of f/32 for maximum depth of field. Be creative and look for other subjects to place in the bark.

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Hampton Inn Brevard, North Carolina.  Just south of Asheville, NC

March 20,21,22, 2015

Cost $199

The “MACRO BOOT CAMP” is three days of in depth learning, fun, and entertainment. You will need a camera, macro lens, tripod, as you will be shooting in the classroom. It is for the beginner to the intermediate photographer wanting to learn more about the macro world in nature.

Times for the Macro Boot Camps,
Friday 5:30pm – 8:00pm
Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday 9:00am – 2:00pm

Covered in the Macro Boot Camp:

The Best, Cameras / Lenses / Tripods / Heads / Accessories.
Controlling light with diffusers and reflectors, and LED lights / working with natural lighting

Camera functions for Macro
How to control depth of field with f/stops / macro and ISO / focus stacking with Helicon Focus

Composition
Learn how to compose properly / finding character in nature / elements of design / textures
contrast / lines / light / visual weight / learning to work camera angles for blurred backgrounds / Two Subject Compositions / What not to do when composing.

Finding Subjects
Learn when, where, and how when looking for subjects through out the four seasons.
How to shoot macro indoors.

Post Processing
Learn how to process images with photoshop and Topaz.
Enhancing images using Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro / Viveza 2 and Topaz.

Four hours of shooting in the classroom.

TO SIGN UP FOR WORKSHOPS GO TO www.macrostoreonline.com

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Share through social media, click links at bottom of this article.

Website, Workshops and E-Books

Macro Courses Online Click Here

You can buy my images from a select group at GreatBigCanvas.com

To save 15% on Topaz products click here

Where Do The Skunk Cabbage Go

Posted: August 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Daily Macro View

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When I started out in photography and searching the swampy wooded areas near my home, I found this great plant called a Skunk Cabbage. That’s a perfect name for this plant because if you rub the leaves with your fingers, the smell left on your fingers will remind you of a skunk, not good.

I’ve found that the large leaves have great deep veined patterns that make for really nice backgrounds and also good as abstracts.

The plants totally engulfs a swampy area in the woods, so much that when the leaves are fully grown you can no longer see the ground beneath them. This was shot in early spring so they are not quite fully grown yet.

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I mentioned they make great abstracts, and when you backlight one of the leaves with the sun, this is what you get. Look how the veins pop.

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I also mentioned that the leaves make great backgrounds for other subjects, and I have used them many times for that purpose.  This is one of my favorites using the Skunk Cabbage for a background.

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One year in the late fall I was walking through an area that earlier had thousand of Skunk Cabbage plants, and I was surprised that the ground was not clutter in the large leaves of the Skunk Cabbage.  We see leaves from trees lying all over the ground but no evidences that the Skunk Cabbage were ever there.  I was quite puzzled by this, so did a little research online and found that these large leaves actually melt or disintegrate away, and leave absolutely no trace. What a cool plant.  Here we are in mid August and the leaves are starting to die off.

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Here are a few of the leaves that are slowly melting away to nothing. If you live near wooded swampy areas, see if you can find the Skunk Cabbage plants.

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Website, Workshops and E-Books

Macro Courses Online Click Here

You can buy my images from a select group at GreatBigCanvas.com

To save 15% on Topaz products click here

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Comfort Inn, Middleburg Heights, Ohio (near Cleveland)

April 17,18,19, 2015

Cost $199

The “MACRO BOOT CAMP” is three days of in depth learning, fun, and entertainment. You will need a camera, macro lens, tripod, as you will be shooting in the classroom. It is for the beginner to the intermediate photographer wanting to learn more about the macro world in nature.

Times for the Macro Boot Camps,
Friday 5:30pm – 8:00pm
Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday 9:00am – 2:00pm

Covered in the Macro Boot Camp:

The Best, Cameras / Lenses / Tripods / Heads / Accessories.
Controlling light with diffusers and reflectors, and LED lights / working with natural lighting

Camera functions for Macro
How to control depth of field with f/stops / macro and ISO / focus stacking with Helicon Focus

Composition
Learn how to compose properly / finding character in nature / elements of design / textures
contrast / lines / light / visual weight / learning to work camera angles for blurred backgrounds / Two Subject Compositions / What not to do when composing.

Finding Subjects
Learn when, where, and how when looking for subjects through out the four seasons.
How to shoot macro indoors.

Post Processing
Learn how to process images with photoshop and Topaz.
Enhancing images using Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro / Viveza 2 and Topaz.

Four hours of shooting in the classroom.

TO SIGN UP FOR WORKSHOPS GO TO www.macrostoreonline.com

129305226.t20WEIxe[1]

Share through social media, click links at bottom of this article.

Website, Workshops and E-Books

Macro Courses Online Click Here

You can buy my images from a select group at GreatBigCanvas.com

To save 15% on Topaz products click here

Photoshop Zoom Blur

Posted: August 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

Daily Macro View

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I was shooting at the San Diego Botanical Gardens when I saw this flower and I thought it was a good subject for using the Zoom Blur filter in Photoshop.

Here is the original image, I started with some clean up with the specs of debris, and filled in the gaps between the petals showing any background, and did a slight crop.

After doing the clean up in Photoshop Elements, I then clicked on “Filters”.

In the next box place your cursor on “Blur”, and then click on “Radial Blur”.

In the next box look for “Zoom” and click the circle next to it.

Use the Amount slider to add or subtract the amount of the Zoom you want, and this is what I came up with.

After I got the zoom the way I wanted it, I went into Nik Softwares Viveza, and did some tweaking with the structure slider to bring out the details in the petals, and darkened and added structure in the dark center. Then popped the yellow a little more.

This effect works best with the flowers center placed in the middle of the frame like you see in these two images.

Here is another example.

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Website, Workshops and E-Books

Macro Courses Online Click Here

You can buy my images from a select group at GreatBigCanvas.com

To save 15% on Topaz products click here

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Hampton Inn, Sterling Heights, Michigan

March 13,14,15, 2015

Cost $199

The “MACRO BOOT CAMP” is three days of in depth learning, fun, and entertainment. You will need a camera, macro lens, tripod, as you will be shooting in the classroom. It is for the beginner to the intermediate photographer wanting to learn more about the macro world in nature.

Times for the Macro Boot Camps,
Friday 5:30pm – 8:00pm
Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday 9:00am – 2:00pm

Covered in the Macro Boot Camp:

The Best, Cameras / Lenses / Tripods / Heads / Accessories.
Controlling light with diffusers and reflectors, and LED lights / working with natural lighting

Camera functions for Macro
How to control depth of field with f/stops / macro and ISO / focus stacking with Helicon Focus

Composition
Learn how to compose properly / finding character in nature / elements of design / textures
contrast / lines / light / visual weight / learning to work camera angles for blurred backgrounds / Two Subject Compositions / What not to do when composing.

Finding Subjects
Learn when, where, and how when looking for subjects through out the four seasons.
How to shoot macro indoors.

Post Processing
Learn how to process images with photoshop and Topaz.
Enhancing images using Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro / Viveza 2 and Topaz.

Four hours of shooting in the classroom.

TO SIGN UP FOR WORKSHOPS GO TO www.macrostoreonline.com

129305226.t20WEIxe[1]

Share through social media, click links at bottom of this article.

Website, Workshops and E-Books

Macro Courses Online Click Here

You can buy my images from a select group at GreatBigCanvas.com

To save 15% on Topaz products click here

Daily Macro View

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Many people use search engines like Google or Yahoo to seek out subjects they are interested in. One of the most popular searches that ends up at my blog is the lily of the valley flower. It seems like I have hits every day looking for this flower. They grow low to the ground and are cluttered with flowers, and what looks like a gigantic blades of grass. I have never been happy with any of my images of this flower as it ends up too busy and distracting.

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A few years ago I finally came up with the idea to simplify this clutter by positioning one of the wide leaves behind this group of flowers. A very simple composition of two subjects.

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Just Walking Down A Trail

Posted: August 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

Daily Macro View

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I went out to one of my local parks to shoot and was heading into the park on a trail that is made up of wood chips.  If you have been following me for a while you know I like to shoot a lot of leaf images.  I found lots of cottonwood leaves on this trail and the night before we had a heavy rain which moved some of the wood chips over the leaves, and I thought it made the leaves a little more interesting with the wood chips scattered over them.  The wood chips also made a nice textured background for the leaves.

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Here’s one that was lying in a puddle of water.

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Sometimes you find nice subjects to shoot in the simplest places.

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Macro Courses Online Click Here

You can buy my images from a select group at GreatBigCanvas.com

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What luck to have such an awesome sunrise on your very first day of shooting.

On a fall November day in 2001, I went out to Stony Creek Metro Park with my newly bought used Nikon N80 camera loaded with Fuji Velvia and Tokina 28-80 lens.

It had to be the very first time I pressed the shutter as the sun hadn’t come up above the horizon yet, so I couldn’t have shot anything before this.

I had no Idea what I was doing with the camera. I just saw this cool sunrise, and the bare tree and set up my tripod and shot. It was on a Saturday and a storm was coming in from the west over top of me and the sky was glowing.

You can see the leading edge of the storm where the yellow band is. I don’t remember anything about the rest of the day, if the storm let loose and I got drenched or not.

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Website, Workshops and E-Books

Macro Courses Online Click Here

You can buy my images from a select group at GreatBigCanvas.com

To save 15% on Topaz products click here

Macro Photography Workshops

Posted: August 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

Macro Workshops are starting to sell out, and the ones not sold out are getting close.  Don’t wait or you end up on the waitlist.

2014 Fall dates for Macro Boot Camps. Cost is still $199 for the boot camps.
MBC – Double Tree Hotel, (SOLD OUT) Overland Park, near Kansas City, Sept. 26,27,28
MBC – Holiday Inn, Martinsville (near Indianapolis) IN. October 3,4,5, Cost $199
MBC – Hampton Inn, Minnetonka, Minnesota, October 10,11,12, Cost $199
Old Car City Workshop – (SOLD OUT) White, Georgia, October 16,17,18 Cost $449
Macro Photo Conference – (SOLD OUT) Massachusetts Oct 25,26, Cost $199
MBC – Buffalo Niagara Marriott, Amherst, NY, October 31st, November 1,2, 2014 Cost $199
MBC – (SOLD OUT) Marriott, Cranbury/South Brunswick, New Jersey, Nov. 7,8,9 Cost $199
MBC – Wyndham Hotel, Glen Mills, PA (west of Philly) Nov 21,22,23, Cost $199

For sold out workshops add your name to waitlist, send me an email, macrogeekmike@yahoo.com

For more info and sign ups, go to, http://www.macrostoreonline.com

If you can’t make one of my macro boot camps, you can sign up for one of my two online macro courses. check them out here. http://www.pbase.com/mgm123/macro_courses

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My Path To Nature Photography

Posted: August 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

For those who may be interesting in how I got started in nature photography, keep reading.

For most of my life I have been addicted to outdoor activities. I started around 18 years old when I was introduced to hunting and fishing. I fell in love with being in the woods, and spent about 20 years hunting and fishing. I decided I had done the hunting and fishing long enough and needed to find some new outdoor activities.

In the mid 90’s I notice that mountains bikes were becoming popular and it looked like fun, and the local park had developed some great trails for mountain bikes. So I bought my first mountain bike and started riding the trails. Lots of fun.

Then on a camping trip to the upper peninsula of Michigan I was at a small park where for the first time I saw a Kayak. Our family rented some and had a blast. So as soon as I got home I found a store that carried kayaks and bought two. I was always looking for new things that would give me an excuse to be outdoors. So than for a few years became addicted to kayaking.

In the late 90’s I started seeing dog sledding on TV and thought that was pretty cool, so found an outfitter up in Canada, and a buddy and I booked ourselves a trip. We each got three dogs and a sled, and off we went, twenty five miles into the bush, stayed overnight in a cabin and then the twenty five miles back then next day. What a blast, and the dogs were awesome.

Still fascinated by the dog sledding, I went to Alaska to see the 1999 Iditarod, the last one of the century. I got to meet the famous mushers I had read about and pet the dogs, which are amazing athletes.

In 2000 I was at an REI store and saw a brochure from a guide service in California that would take you to the top of Mt Shasta. I thought, wow I gotta do that. So talked another buddy into signing up. To get in shape we trained and the same park where I was mountain biking because of the hilly terrain.

While on these training hikes I was starting to pay more attention to my surroundings and thinking about what great photos could be made if only I had a camera, which I didn’t.

In the summer of 2000 I got to the top of Mt Shasta, and had a great time. After that climb I wanted a more challenging climb, and was told that Mt Rainer was the toughest endurance climb in the lower 48. It’s where all the american climbers that climb Mt Everest do their training. I signed up with Ranier Mountaineering Guides.

In the mean time I signed up with my wife to go on an archaeology dig in Canada, and hooked up with a professor that took our group to a farm where the farmer had discovered an Indian midden, which is an Indian garbage dump. We found all kinds of cool stuff like, beads, pottery, bear jaw bone, other animal bones, and I found a small stone with a deer etched in it, which the professor was pretty excited about. All the stuff we found would eventually end up in a museum that in I believe was in, London, Ontario.

During the winter of 2000, I did my first winter backpack trip on the shores of Lake Michigan, even had a snow storm during our trip, very cool stuff. In that same winter I booked a trip with an outfitter in Canada to do some ice climbing near the shores of Lake Superior. Climbed up frozen waterfalls.

In August of 2001 I went to Mount Rainier and did the climb. what a great experience. Got to meet some famous mountain climbers like Peter Whittaker, who is a well known climber and his family owned the Rainer Mountaineering Guides. Peter’s father and uncle were legendary climbers, and his uncle Jim Whittaker was the first American to stand on top of Mt Everest. One of my guides was the well known Dave Hahn, who has nine ascents of Mount Everest, 25 ascents of Antarctica’s Vinson Massif which I believe is the record for accent on that mountain.

On the plane ride home from the Rainer trip I was thinking of new adventures in the outdoors. I started thinking about all those cool things I was seeing on my training hikes at Stony Creek Metro Park, and thought, I’m going to look into nature photography. I did on occasions buy a Outdoor Photographer magazine and was always fascinated by the images.

I bought a book by John Shaw on nature photography to figure out what kind of equipment I needed to buy. I went on ebay and bought a used Nikon N80 film camera and an assortment of lenses, tripod and head. So in late October of 2001 I ventured off to the woods of Stony Creek Metro Park to take some picture.

At first I was interested in being a landscape photographers, but realizing that the area I lived had limited potential for great landscapes, I started to study the macro world, fell in love with the tiny landscapes, and sold my wide angle lenses, and became a macro freak.

By 2004 I was starting to make a little money with my macro images, and in 2008 I gave up my Painting Company and was able to make it as a full time nature photographer. The business grows bigger with each year. Unfortunately the nature photography business consumes so much time that I don’t get as much time to do my other interests that I’ve been involved in, but it’s okay because the photography has become my favorite of all the activities I’ve been involved in.

If you made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read my story.

Tomorrow I will post an image from that first fall morning I went out to Stony Creek with my new camera gear.

Mike

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Website, Workshops and E-Books

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You can buy my images from a select group at GreatBigCanvas.com

To save 15% on Topaz products click here

Photo Contest

Mike Moats is graciously giving away entry to one of his Macro Boot Camps to a lucky Acratech fan!

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To Enter Contest:

Email your Macro image to: info@acratech.net

Subject line: Macro Contest: first name & last name

All submissions must be submitted by Wednesday, 10/01/14, 5:00pm PST

The Macro Boot Camp (http://tinylanscapes.wordpress.com/workshops/) is a 3-day event filled with in-depth learning and fun, designed for the beginner to intermediate photographer wanting to learn more about the macro/close-up world. One winner 18 years+ will receive entry into one Macro Boot Camp (choose from currently scheduled or future locations; travel expenses not included). Our second place winner will receive a $100 Acratech Gift Certificate, and third place will receive a $50 Acratech Gift Certificate! All winners will be notified by email.

See schedule and more info at: http://tinylanscapes.wordpress.com/workshops/ 

** By submitting an image you are saying that you personally took the image and own the rights to it, as well as granting Acratech permission to feature your images on our website and other social media platforms. **

 

Acratech makes my favorite ballhead for macro work.

Birds of a Feather

Posted: August 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

Daily Macro View

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Went the a local nature center and photographed some of the stuffed birds on displayed. This a great and easy way to shoot cool bird feather abstracts, they stay still unlike the ones in the wild. ;)

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Guess what this is

If you guess right, you will be entered into a drawing to win one free entry into your choice of any of my Macro Boot Camps.  You have no time limit on when you use the prize.  Two guesses per person.  Send your guess along with your name and where you live to macrogeekmike@yahoo.com

Winner drawn on September 1st

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Website, Workshops and E-Books

Macro Courses Online Click Here

You can buy my images from a select group at GreatBigCanvas.com

To save 15% on Topaz products click here

Daily Macro View

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What do you feed your camera? 

This sounds funny and you are thinking what is Mike talking about, you don’t feed food to your camera.  Maybe not food, but we do feed images through the lens into the camera, so we are feeding our camera. If you are feeding your camera with good subject matter that people can connect with, have composed properly, focused, set the right exposure, then your camera will take care of the rest.

Do you add make-up to your images? 

Again you are thinking I have lost my mind, adding make-up to our images?  Just like the ladies do by enhancing their faces with make-up, lipstick, eye liners, we have to add  enhancements to our images by finishing them through all the great software programs.

New-Tulip

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Website, Workshops and E-Books

Macro Courses Online Click Here

You can buy my images from a select group at GreatBigCanvas.com

To save 15% on Topaz products click here

Topaz Sale 50% off Adjust

Posted: August 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

Check out the great processing software from Topaz, Adjust.

Topaz running a 50% promotion on Topaz Adjust. 50% off regular price of $49.99

Adjust is an image enhancement plug-in designed to make your photos pop.

The 50% coupon code is: augadjust

You can create stunning images with dramatic contrast, incredible detail and vibrant color with award-winning Adjust. Preset options range from subtle, realistic enhancements to artistic HDR-like presets. In just a few clicks, it’s easy to produce a truly eye-catching look in a single image.

For instance, see how the “before” image below looks a little flat. By using Adjust, variations in tone are uncovered and the perceived depth is enhanced — giving it the punch it deserves!

adjust-before-after

See more info or to purchase check this link.click here

 

 

 

 

Tamron Tailgate

Posted: August 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

Got a chance to head over to CameraMart in Pontiac, Michigan, not to far from my home, to visit my Tamron friends.  They are on a country wide tour with this big van full of lenses.  Some of my photography buddies and followers showed up to hang out and talk shop. I also got a free lunch that Tamron provides to all who show up.

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My buddy and national Tamron tech rep Jillian was on hand to teach some classes.  If you are lucky enough to have the tour come to your local camera store, stop in and check it out.  I believe they were heading next to Columbus, Ohio.

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Website, Workshops and E-Books

Macro Courses Online Click Here

You can buy my images from a select group at GreatBigCanvas.com

To save 15% on Topaz products click here