July 23rd – Sunday Sampler

This week’s Sunday Sampler is a littler “bolder” than usual! These three images are from a “hi-jinx” set up at a conference I spoke at a couple of years ago. The were created with black lights and glass. The Rainbow Rays has a white overlay to tone down the color, and Rainbow Swirls has a few Topaz plug ins applied. The Green-Blue Waves was actually more rainbow colored – I applied a hue/saturation adjustment to change the colors.

Remember, one texture can be turned into many with a little Photoshop manipulation! Expand your texture library!

 

Tuts + Freebies!

Several people have been asking online about the best way to photograph next month’s solar eclipse without ruining your camera, or more importantly, your eyes! We know we cannot look directly at the eclipse – you also cannot photograph it without some special equipment. This YouTube video by Tim Grey explains.

Line 25 had a cool post offering “25 Insanely Creative Text Effects You Can Use for Free”. These are PSD files that you can input your own text into. Great for posters, banners, headlines, etc.

Also on Line25.com is a list of “20 Cool Western Fonts for Wild West Inspired Design”. Check them out!

And over on PictureCorrect.com, there’s a great article for “6 Steps to Better Nature Photographs”.

 

2017-18 Camera Club Season

I’ve booked several camera club seminars already for the Fall months. Is your camera club or conference planning speakers for the upcoming season? Shoot me an email and I will send you my full seminar list. I cover many subjects including Textures (of course!); Topaz/plug ins; HDR – the Natural Look; Photoshop; Elements; Lightroom; Camera Basics and more!

Have a great week!

Hazel

July 16 Sunday Sampler + “I’m Curious” column

Hi there! Sorry for the delay – this weekend was the 72nd annual New England Camera Club Council Conference! A wonderful weekend of learning, sharing and socializing as always! Brian Peterson was our keynote speaker this year – extremely entertaining and informative! Mark your calendars now for the 73rd annual Conference on July 13, 14, 15, 2018! And bookmark the website for more info at: http://www.neccc.org/ 

Come share the fun with nearly 1,000 other photography enthusiasts!

 

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This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of a few more textures from the Baltimore portion of our May vacation – a section from an abstract painting in the condo we stayed at; diagonal worn wood boards and a tapestry. Enjoy! And don’t forget to show us your creations on Facebook in our group “Textures: Turn Ho-Hum into a Work of Art”!

 

Macro photography is a popular subject, and I found a few helpful articles on PictureCorrect.com that will help you in your macro pursuits.

“5 Tips to Improve Your Nature Macro Photography”, “10 Macro Photography Subject Ideas”, “Quick Macro Photography Tricks”, and “Do You Really Need a Macro Lens?” all have some great info.

I love shooting macro myself – I have a 90mm Tamron macro lens which I love, but should I not have that lens with me, I still can shoot close-up/macro with just about any lens in my bag. So give it a whirl if you haven’t yet!

Another wonderful resource for macro and creative photography is Charles Needle of Irvine, CA. He was one of the speakers at our NECCC Conference and is an excellent instructor/speaker/workshop leader. He will definitely inspire you and get the creative juices flowing – not only for macro but in many creative techniques.

Check out his website for his books and upcoming workshops at: Charles Needle Photography.

 

 

July 9 – Sunday Sampler + Topaz Corner + More!

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope to see some of you next weekend at the New England Camera Club Council Conference at UMASS Amherst, MA! It’s always a fun weekend to live, eat, & breathe photography and to catch up with old friends and make some new ones! If you’re there, be sure to say “hi”!

 

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This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of a few more scrapbook papers – the blue scratches is a multiple shot on an iPhone! Enjoy!

 

Topaz just released another update to the new Topaz Studio software (1.0.8). Here’s a great video by Jodi Robbins of Topaz on all of the cool features: WATCH HERE

And be sure to check out their Facebook page – there are tutorials on many different tools available in the Studio – FACEBOOK

I’ve had a few people ask how to find the Webinars I’ve done for Topaz. Here is a link that will sort out all of mine — though the last one from March is not on the website yet — the folks at Topaz have been quite busy with the Studio release and are a little behind in editing the webinars! Click HERE and enjoy!

 

TUTORIALS & OTHER NEWS

Find some awesomely creative Photoshop Tutorials from Digital Arts — “86 Best Photoshop Tutorials”

And from Tutorials 411, a cool video on “How to Add Fog & Light in Photoshop”

I read an interesting article online today that I thought I would share. It’s titled, “The Darker Side of Wildlife Photography: Understanding Ethical Practices.” Something we all need to think about.

Have a great week!

July 2 Sunday Sampler

Happy Independence Day! Sorry for the delay in this week’s blog post – got involved in cleaning up my craft room yesterday (for my “other” hobbies!).

 

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of scrapbook papers that I photographed at our Creative Photography Conference. A great way to get some cool textures for your library! Papers can be found at most craft stores.

 

MORE NEW GEAR FROM MINDSHIFT! NEW PhotoCross Adventure Photography Bags!


Adventure photographers need a camera bag that’s as tough as they are. With its rugged materials and faceted design, MindShift Gear’s new PhotoCross sling bags protect a photographer’s gear from punishing trips into the wild. The PhotoCross is built to withstand the elements, yet comfortable enough to wear on long days in the field. These sling bags stay out of the way when scrambling but offer quick camera access when ready to take the shot. They feature weatherproof zippers and abrasion-resistant materials, plus a carrying system for tripods or jackets.

The PhotoCross comes in two sizes and colors, Orange Ember and Carbon Grey.  The PhotoCross 10 fits an ungripped DSLR and one to two lenses, plus a 10” tablet, or a Mirrorless body and three to five lenses, plus a 10” tablet.  The PhotoCross 13 fits an ungripped DSLR, two to four lenses, including a 70–200mm f/2.8, and some 13” laptops.

“The PhotoCross sling bags are significant because they meld two concepts that are often in conflict in outdoor gear design:  protection and comfort.  An example is how we’ve integrated the waterproof Tarpaulin bottom panel with a body-conforming design, wide shoulder strap, and stability wing for superior comfort,” said Doug Murdoch, MindShift Gear’s CEO and Lead Designer.  CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WEBSITE.

 

PHOTOGRAPHING FIREWORKS

I’ve seen several people on Facebook over the past week questioning the best way to capture fireworks during this festive time of year. Tamron pro, Jillian Bell, has this great free eBook – sponsored by Tamron and Macphun – that gives you all the info you need! Check it out HERE!

 

PHOTOGRAPHING LANDSCAPES

Another popular subject for photographers is landscapes! Here’s an article for “12 Ways to Improve Your Digital Landscape Photography” from PictureCorrect.com.

Have a great week!

 

June 25 – Sunday Sampler – Tutorials – Topaz Corner

Another beautiful day here in CT! Low humidity – bright sunshine! Went to the Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market in New Milford, CT this morning – haven’t been there in years! Looking for some new props and items for Meredith Images as well as props for food photography for hubby’s new blog, “Bare Buttz BarBQ”!

If you like smoking or grilling meats, check him out at http://www.barebuttzbarbq.com/ and sign up for his new blog. He’ll be sharing tips and tricks for cooking your own delicacies as well as reviews of BBQ restaurants we visit. We stopped at one today after the flea market – watch for a review soon!

 

Some recent finds from vacation included this silver pitcher and some old books and glasses. This was processed with several textures, word brush, and a crop shape frame from my store, the Peacock Studio!

 

 

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This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of more textures from our recent vacation – these are from several spots in Virginia.

 

Recently I found this great article on PictureCorrect.com about Polarizer Filters: What are They and When Can They Be Used in Photography? It’s a pretty good overview of what they are and when they should be used – check it out!

And another good one that covers some basics of composition, also from PictureCorrect.com is “Simple Yet Effective Photography Tips”.

 

New Products from ThinkTank

ThinkTank Photo recently formed a partnership with hard-case manufacturer SKB. ThinkTank has developed dividers, organizers and a backpack specifically designed to fit within 10 SKB hard case configuratios. The result is the best of a hard case with the best of internal organization. Check them out HERE!

AND in other news from ThinkTank, they’ve just added a bunch of their favorite gear to the Outlet Center. Summer Savings of up to 30%. And don’t forget, by using my affiliate link, you get free gear for purchases over $50 plus free shipping! Check it out HERE!

 

TOPAZ UPDATE

If you haven’t yet downloaded the new Topaz Studio – do it now! They released version 1.0.7 just a few days ago and Studio now has a healing/cloning tool! Woo hoo!! The basic Studio is free to download, and you can add the 14 Pro Adjustments for a special price of $99! This sale ends June 30th!

 

CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY CONFERENCE – PROMOTIONS EXPIRING JUNE 30TH!

Just a reminder that the coupons and special deal promos you received at the Creative Photography Conference last month are expiring June 30th! Don’t miss out on all the great deals!

And be sure to mark your calendars for May 19-20, 2018 for the next Creative Photography Conference in Southbridge, MA!

 

June 18 – Sunday Sampler + Tutorials, Freebies + Sedona!

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there! Hope you had a special day with family.

 

This week’s Sunday Sampler is a few textures from restaurants we visited on vacation and one this past week! Marble and laminate countertops make great textures as well as decorative peeling painted wood!

In this image from Virginia, I used the Marble textures as well as a couple of others from Flypaper Textures and some cool stuff from Topaz Textures!

 

Tutorials + Freebies from the Web

This article is titled “40+ Beginner Photoshop Tutorials”, but I think they are for more than beginners. Even for those of us who know Photoshop, there are many ways to get a result and there are always new tricks and tips to learn – check it our HERE!

Freebies! A new site I found is Creative Nerds! Check out the Freebies HERE!

 

SEDONA WORKSHOP

Just a reminder of our Sedona Workshop, Oct. 21-24, 2017. We offer something for every type of photography! We’ll cover the natural beauty of Sedona’s red rocks as well as animals at Out of Africa, rust (textures!) and old stuff at Gold King Mine/Ghost Town, private access to the Sedona Heritage Museum (Historical Society), as well as sunrise and sunset!

Workshop fee of $450 per person includes a welcome dinner Sat. night at Javelina Cantina (Yum!), admission fees to the Heritage Museum, Out of Africa and Ghost Town, as well as water/snacks, photographic and post-processing instruction. There is a $50 discount for attendees of last year’s workshop (two are returning so far!). Limit of 8 attendees – 3 spots are filled. Don’t delay! Email me with questions at Hazel@MeredithImages.com.

Sunday Sampler + Tutorials + Freebies

Happy Sunday everyone! Looks like Summer has finally arrived!

Yesterday Dave & I visited our friends at Chevy Supply of Assonet (MA) to see what new beauties John has restored! He had a couple of sweet rides ready to cruise!

Of course, I also visited the “parts yard” in search of some great rust and textures….which is where I got this week’s Sunday Sampler! The one of the red scratched metal was shot at a fairly low f-stop so only the center is in focus. Enjoy!

 

TUTORIALS FROM THE WEB

I came across this cool article from CreativeNerds.co.uk – “80 Amazing Modern Photoshop Text Effect Tutorials”.

Be sure to poke around the site – they have LOTS of great tutorials as well as Freebies (brushes, vectors, textures, actions and more)!

 

While Lightroom is pretty intuitive to learn and use, have you ever wondered what the real difference is between the Shadows Slider and the Blacks Slider? I found this great article on ImprovePhotography.com – “Shadows vs. Blacks Sliders: How they affect photos differently” that explains the differences in a very clear way with great screen shots to illustrate the points.

 

Have a great week!

 

June 4th – Sunday Sampler + Freebies + ThinkTank Bags

Hi everyone,

We’re back from a great vacation with friends. Visited Baltimore, Washington, D.C. (was at Arlington on Sunday and various memorials on Memorial Day – VERY moving and emotional), Shenandoah Mountains/Skyline Drive, and Cass, WV, and the Cass Railroad for a steam train ride! Lots of photos to sort through!

This week’s Sunday Sampler is textures from Baltimore! The boat hull is from a display at a restaurant on the Inner Harbor; the Crackle is a wall in the Ladies’ Room at the Hard Rock Cafe (yes, I took photos in the rest room!); and the Tiffany lampshade was at an “antique” (i.e. junk) store! You can find textures anywhere!

 

FREEBIES & TUTORIALS

On WebDesignDev.com, I found this tutorial for “10 Best 3D Photoshop Text Effects”. 

Over on Line25.com, there is this article with 20 Free Brick Wall Textures and this one for 25 Unique Pattern & Texture Designs. They also have “20 Fancy Old School Fonts You Can Download for Free”.

 

NEW CAMERA BAGS FROM THINK TANK

The innovative folks over at Think Tank Photo have two new lines of camera bags.

The TurnStyle V2.0 Camera Bags offer greater stability and allow photographers to move and shoot freely. The updated versio of this popular series offers a new stabilizer strap that holds the bag steady while actively shooting or tucks away when not in use. Think Tank’s sling bags’ design promotes easy rotation for rapid access to gear and accessories. They come in 3 sizes to accommodate cameras from a mirrorless to a full size DSLR plus one to three lenses and a 10″ tablet. They come in traditional Charcoal or new Indigo Blue. Check them out HERE!

The other new and updated product line is the StreetWalker Rolling Photo Backpack and upgraded Class Street Walker Series Backpacks. 

Legendary durability and award winning comfort have made Think Tank Photo’s StreetWalker® series one of the most sought-after products in the photographic world. Now Think Tank announces the new StreetWalker Rolling Backpack V2.0, featuring the ability to switch from a backpack to a roller. Also released are upgraded versions of all three classic StreetWalker backpacks. Photographers get the same comfort and quality as the original series but with new features such as increased depth for modern DSLR systems, and dedicated pockets for both tablets and smartphones.

The new StreetWalker Rolling Backpack V2.0 is so spacious, it will fit two DSLR bodies with lenses attached (including a 200-400mm f/4), and a 15” laptop. The StreetWalker HardDrive V2.0 backpack fits two bodies with lenses attached or a gripped body with a 200–400mm f/4 attached, a 15” laptop and a 13” tablet. The StreetWalker Pro V2.0 backpack fits two bodies with lens attached or a 400mm f/2.8 unattached, and a 10” table. And, the StreetWalker V2.0 backpack fits one gripped DSLR with 70-200mm f/2.8 attached, one standard DSLR with 24-70mm f/2.8 attached, a 16-35mm f/2.8, and a 10” tablet.

“With the release of the new StreetWalker Rolling Backpack and the new versions of the three classic StreetWalker backpacks, we made three of the best pro-level backpacks in the photo industry even better,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank Photo’s CEO and lead designer. “The one thing we’ve heard over and over since they first launched is how comfortable and durable they are.

Now, with the hybrid rolling backpack and the upgraded core backpacks, we’ve integrated even more photographer feedback to expand their functionality.”

Check them out HERE!

 

Have a great week!

Topaz Studio is HERE!

Hi everyone,

You all know I love my Topaz – well now there is a cool new way to access all of your Topaz products in one place AND make all your basic adjustments. Topaz Studio is a stand-alone product so you don’t even need to be in Photoshop to fully edit a photo!

“We are excited to announce our latest product Topaz Studio. A photo editor, extensive effect toolbox and powerful creative playground, Topaz Studio gives you fast results with Topaz’s exclusive image processing technology, in an intuitive, affordable, easy-to-use application.

Fast
Achieve amazing results with Hundreds of 1-click effects, RAW image support, automated lens correction, and other integrated tools.

Powerful
Achieve professional results with Topaz’s exclusive image processing technology in compact easy to use effects and adjustments. Each adjustment is a plugin unto itself, from adaptive contrast, to unique color controls, more powerful than Photoshop’s adjustment layers.

Easy to Use
Topaz Studio is built to be flexible. Effortlessly create an endless variety of looks by adding, blending, masking, rearranging, and replacing adjustments to create drastically different effects in an instant.

Want to know more? You can watch an intro video that covers all the major aspects of the new product and gives you insight into the Topaz Studio Workflow: https://youtu.be/ch_z3ieKxXw

You can also checkout the partially completed Topaz Studio website here: http://web.topazlabs.comThere’s even a quote and tutorial from yours truly!

Here are a couple of my before-and-afters:


As always, the creations are only limited by your imagination! So download the Topaz Studio and give a whirl!

Delayed “Sunday” Sampler

Good morning everyone!

As you know, this past weekend was our Creative Photography Conference. Everyone had a fabulous time – the feedback was amazing as were our speakers who did a great job! We’re already looking forward to next year! Stay tuned…..

 

This week’s Sunday Sampler is 3 textures that Dave photographed during the conference. They are the “swipe” method that Tony Sweet likes to demonstrate. The actual images were rust and peeling paint. Remember, you can always change the colors of textures or even turn them into B&W to get the texture without adding color to an image. Enjoy!

We’re heading out for a little vacation time this weekend, so I won’t do a blog post this coming Sunday. I will, however, be sending you another note on Friday with some news from our friends at Topaz!

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day. We’ll be in Washington, DC then, so it should be quite amazing.