The monsoon season in Arizona brings with it many opportunities for photographing dramatic skies. With only a few days to capture the lake, I was hoping to capture some better, crazy, stormy scenes, but I had to take what I could get. This is one of my favorite shots taken right at sunset.
My friends over at Rancho Deluxe sent me some photos of their property to post on their website. The original photos are not bad. The attempt at a starry sky is just a little underwhelming. Using Skylum Luminar AI Sky Replacement I jazzed up the stars a bit and created a more stunning photo set. I used the same sky on both images for consistency. I also added a little bit of warmth to get the barn wood more saturated. Check out a free trial for yourself and see how you like it.
This is going to be the fastest review you have ever read about the Luminar's Skylum 4 AI Sky Replacement tool. The AI Sky replacement tool works GREAT! It has some issues with an original photo with cloudy skies, but It works the best with a plain blue sky. I have had success with clouds. Skylum Luminar 4 still runs slow on my souped up iMac but it works well enough and I still like using it. Check out a free trial for yourself and see how you like it.
I used one of the starry skies built into luminar 4. You can opt to use your own if you like.
Never been to The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, I wasn't really prepared for how massive these dunes are. Looking at photos online, It's difficult to get a feeling of scale, or size, of The Great Sand Dunes. The best way to display scale in a photograph, regardless of your perspective, is to add something to the scene that the brain can reference to find scale.
Usually, I don't like people in my landscapes. I would prefer a wild animal, or a bird, but because this is a pretty busy spot I left all the sand explorers in the shot so the viewer can really get a sense of scale.
Since I have replaced my workflow using Nik Plugins with the new Luminar photo editing tool, I have to say personally, after weeks of review, I am loving Luminar. Coming from Photoshop with Nik plugins background and not Lightroom. I feel like, for some photos, you can't really get there color-wise with Nik. Nik is great but Luminar is blowing them out of the water. I am impressed!
Just for fun I was going through some of my old photos, shot in 2009. These photos I just skipped by because they were shot dark and lifeless. I thought I would run some of them through Luminar to see what it could do with them. See for yourself:
I feel like there was a reason for me to take this photo. I just don't point and shoot just to take a photo. I think the dark, lifeless photo is the result of the raw camera file and just lack of light. I'm sure it looked better in person or I wouldn't have taken the shot.
If you are looking for a great alternative to editing your photos why not give Luminar a try, just download the free trial and see if it works for you. That's what I did!
I have paid for and been using Nik plugins for 15 plus years, I can't even remember when I started. I want to say maybe 2002??? I have used Nik plugins in my workflow ever since. I remember when Google bought out Nik and then gave the software to everyone for free 🤬. Now DxO has purchased Nik and wants me to re-purchase what I already bought years ago. I don't think Nik has changed much by the way.
In my journey to completely replace my Adobe Suite I found Affinity Photo 1.6 to replace Photoshop. It works great, better than Photoshop, for me, I absolutely love it. Affinity Photo released it's update to 1.7 and the Nik plugins don't work in 1.7 which is a bummer. Knowing this before I updated I also found a replacement for Nik.
For around the same price as Nik pluggins I decided to purchase Luminar by Skylum. It's an Adobe Lightroom Alternative. But for me, it's basically 90% Nik software, but better. You are getting Lightroom and Nik all in one. But wait, it gets better. Tooling around inside Luminar under plugins I found my Nik Plugins. THEY WORK inside Luminar. (I am using the latest version of Luminar)
This just might be best of both worlds! If you want to use your older Google Nik Collection Plugins with Adobe Alternatives, check out Luminar by Skylum and see if it will work for your workflow as it does for me.
I upgraded my copy of Affinity Photo today. I had to test out the new features. I was excited to see free stock offerings from 3 different companies built right into Affinity Photo. I noticed the "refine selection" tool is much faster and precise. I was able to find a killer lion photo on the free stock images and decided I would create a cool baseball poster. Upgrading is worth it, it's free if you already purchased 1.6. My AP 1.6 was great but 1.7 is bad ass!
I've never heard of LCD Soundsystem before I saw this video and despite being a pretty good song I was really blown away at the story being told. Why is this important? Story telling is missing in a lot of our photography and videos today. For me, I don't see it a lot. Why? Because I think it's not easy to do. When I do see a great story, whether in a single image or a video, it stops me and makes me think and feel. It's hard to explain but you probably know what I mean. In the music video, oh baby, I feel like I just watched a full blown movie with a beginning and an end and it leaves me wanting more.
Telling a story is easier said than done. I try to apply this in my own work Country Lady, The Prospector, Surfing Santas.
Using a little imagination, thinking about your shot a little more, what do you want to portray/project. What is the story you are trying to tell? How do you want people to think/feel about your work? Try to find elements other than just taking a snapshot makes for interesting imagery and you will make people feel and think too.
Photographing kids with special needs, especially autism spectrum disorder, is very challenging when it come to how to light. These kids are very sensitive to light. Once a flash goes off, that's it! They don't want to open their eyes or they squint, which everyone knows, doesn't make for great photos. Using available light in their comfort zone is the best option. This creates other challenges, but sometimes I just say, any photo is better than no photos. You don't want to go through life wishing you had tried to get more photographs when your kids were younger.
Made in Photoshop: Masked out the individual team members. Create a fancy background. Add a cool quote. Baseball Little League Poster.
A couple weeks ago I was driving down the road, stopped at a four way, and took off when it was my turn to go. My phone was in my front pocket and as soon as I hit the gas it flew out with such force that it broke my screen. What does this have to do with editing photos? Well, with my old phone, I use to have great editing tools that just came with the phone. These editing tools were the same Nik plugins I use in Photoshop. So when I had to get a new phone, those same editing tools were gone. So, I searched out new editing tools in Google playbook. What I found was "snapseed". Google had made an app with those same editing features plus a lot more. I am back in business.
This is such a great tool for when you're on the go, or if you don't have a need for Photoshop. I can even wirelessly transfer my photos from my Sony camera to my phone for editing. This photo example below was shot with a cell phone camera and edited with "snapseed" to create a kind of old African safari postcard. You can download this great app for free. So get it, edit, and have fun with your photos.