The Nifty Fifty and Creative Techniques

Episode Links

Exposure Averaging Video:

Segmentation Series Video:

Soft-proofing Analysis Video:

Online Print Course:

List of available workshops:


I talk about the process covered in my recent YouTube videos. They are Exposure Averaging, Segmentation, a series I started several years ago, and expectations about color and a calibrated system for our printing process.


This is the 50thepisode. Wow, what a milestone. Just a brief history about the show in case you’re a newer listener and you are interested in these things. This show actually started as part of the Improve Photography Network. In April 2018 the founder of Improve Photography gave the other contributing podcasters the various shows. The main show is now Master Photography Podcast and is owned by five of us. Each “side show” as it were, was given to the primary host. This show was my baby from its inception and was originally co-hosted with my friend Brian McGuckin. With the changes that happened I assumed full control of this show and he decided to one day resurrect Thoughts on Photography. So, I relaunched this show with the first episode publishing on May 4, 2018. So that’s where the count “50” is coming from. If I were to count the shows I did with Brian we’d be at over 60 or something like that. But this is a count from when I rebooted the show. In this timeframe I think I’ve only relied on one Latitude Replay where I republished a show with Brian. 

I put a question out in the facebook group on what I should do, if anything, for episode 50. One suggestion was to give an account of what I’ve learned/gotten/achieved in this timeframe. The biggest thing really, is the friendships, relationships and connections I’ve been able to make. I’m sure you can probably tell, but I can talk about photography until I’m blue in the face, and that’s just getting started. I can’t do that with most of my friends, if I did they probably wouldn’t be my friends anymore. To actually have people who are just as interested in this field as I am and to hang out with them and talk shop with is just amazing. I’m loving every minute of it.

I’ve also gotten to talk with a lot of great photographers. I think of the episode where I talked with Ashley Tinker about photographing Provence, Dan Bailey came on twice to talk Fujifilm gear with me, Brian Pex talked with me about photographing the Palouse which is just a couple hours north of me, but he’s from Boston so it was good to get on outsider’s perspective there.

Quite possibly the most moving and sobering episode was with Randy Narkir when we talked about the March of the Living which is an educational program bringing individuals from around the world to Poland and Isreal to study the history of the Holocaust and to examine the roots of prejudice, intolerance and hatred. 

I even had Ted Meister on from ThinkTank Photo, maker of some fine camera bags and then there’s David duChemin who took over a year to schedule. But it was worth the effort!

Fellow teacher Mary Malinconico has been on a few times to talk about workshop expectations and we also discussed the book by Ibarionex Perello called Making Photographs. Oh, and I had Ibarionex on too! And I can’t forget Chris Marquardt, host of Tips from the Top Floor, the longest running photography podcast. There was also Timothy Allen, photographer for the BBC series called The Human Planet. 

OK, I think that’s enough, I just have to bring back a few of these top episodes and replay a bit of them for you here. 

The first one comes from Ibarionex. If you haven’t listened to this episode please do so. He’s got some amazing insights. I asked him what advice he would give someone who wants to try street photography but is feeling intimidated. Let’s listen to his response:

And now let’s listen to Chris Marquardt talking about a time when he just had to stop and soak in the experience before he could start making any photographs.

In this next section David duChemin is talking about principles learned in the book Art and Fear, every creative needs to hear this.

And here’s David again talking about the importance of the print. I couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s so true!

And here’s Timothy Allen on the hazards of the job in Africa.

There’s plenty more I could draw out but I’d better leave it at this. Many thanks to all the special guests I’ve had on the show and I look forward to the next 50 episodes and the next guests I’ll have on. Some of which will be repeats I’m sure, though there’s so many great photographers out there. If you have ideas of who you want to hear on the show please do let me know.

In the last episode I asked for feedback and it didn’t take but a couple of hours for Paul from Minnesota to reach out and share some thoughts. This is another incredible perk of being a podcaster. I mentioned earlier the connections I’m afforded, hearing from listeners is absolutely a huge part of that and I’m grateful. Paul writes that he knows the basics but still struggles to put it all together to “make photographs.” He then described some of his pain points which I’ll not get into, but I know I can certainly resonate with him on that. Getting to know you and knowing who my listeners are helps me create a better show. Either writing a direct email like Paul did or being involved in the facebook group is wonderful and I appreciate any interaction I have like that. 

Let’s get on now to the main topics I wanted to discuss. These are three of my recent videos I posted to YouTube. The first is called Exposure Averaging with windblown foreground elements.

I was in the Denver area for several days and on the Tuesday we left town I got up early and went out to shoot sunrise at Roxborough State Park. We were staying at an Airbnb in Littleton so the drive was actually not that long. I walked around a bunch and finally found a composition I liked. The sun was just barely up and it was striking the rocks nicely. I had some evergreen trees in the foreground but my goal was to emphasize the clouds in the sky, I really wanted them to go all blurry and smooth. I could have achieved this by attaching my 10 stop ND filter and getting a several minute exposure. But this can build up a lot of digital noise. I shoot the 5d4 by Canon so it wouldn’t have been too bad, but still, I didn’t want to run that route on this shot. Besides, I’d have to blend at least two exposures together anyway so I could get a solid shot of the foreground tree that I’d framed up. The trees in the mid ground were fine with me if they were blurry, but that one if the foreground needed to stay solid. So the wind was blowing and I had a bit of movement in that tree. 

Explain the rest of the process here

The next video shows the process of putting together a series of images I’m working on called Segmentation. It’s a long running series that I do every time I am moved by a particular subject. Usually that subject is a tree or shrub of some sort. The main point of this project is to capture the subject in pieces and then assemble it together in Photoshop later. I’ll zoom in to isolate a part of the subject and then work around the subject so that I can have some overlap between frames. Usually in post-production I’ll crop the sections to be square. And the pieces rarely overlap perfectly. I’m often on a tripod when I do this, but with lens distortions and other perspective changes the items just don’t line up perfectly. And that’s OK. That’s part of the fun of a project like this. I’ll then take each square and put a white stroke on it so that each segment is clearly separated from the others. 

The fun of this project is that when you’re viewing it the eye has to fill in the rest of the details. And it has fun doing so, at least for some. I shared this out in the facebook group and I had two fellas comment how they will try this next time they’re out there. I’m anxious to see their results. But I remember one time I shared one a while ago and someone replied something along the lines of “why don’t you just shoot it in one shot?” They kind of missed the point I guess. 

And finally, my third video has to do with soft proofing in photoshop. I titled it “Recalibrating your expectation for print color accuracy.” 

As far as the show notes are concerned I’ll leave you with a video link. But I’ll continue describing it here in the episode.

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