March 31 – Sunday Sampler

The end of March already – just WHERE does the time go these days?! Don’t get fooled tomorrow! Happy April Fool’s Day!

For this week’s Sunday Sampler, I took a slightly blurred wooden plank shot and gave it four other treatments – so a total of 5 textures this week! Enjoy!

This week Topaz Labs released an update to Gigapixel AI. If you already own the product, the update is free. If you don’t already own it, you can save $20 on the price of $99.99 until April 5th – CLICK HERE!

“Gigapixel AI allows you to enlarge images up to 600%! You can create beautiful 80 x 60 inch prints from a simple iPhone photo. Or transform your DSLR photos into sharp and ultra-detailed 100MP images.

After being training with millions of sample images, Gigapixel can now enlarge your images with a surprising level of quality.

Gigapixel performs around 2 million operations per pixel to get you results with as much detail and sharpness as possible.

No matter why you’re enlarging your photos, you always want the best possibly quality for your results. Gigapixel AI is currently the only photo enlargement product available that can actually add detail back to your upscaled photo.”

Check out more samples and grab your copy HERE on the Topaz site!

If you have a smartphone and want to learn more about apps and how to use them, check out The App Whisperer for some great info! http://theappwhisperer.com/

Jane Driscoll does some great tutorials in some of the iPhone Facebook groups…AND…she’ll be one of 8 presenters at our Creative Photography Conference! Check out info on Jane and our other speakers on the website and join us May 18-19, 2019 in Southbridge, MA for our 3rd Conference!

And join me and a great line-up of speakers at the CanAm Photo Expo, April 26-28, 2019 in Buffalo, NY. I’ll be doing multiple sessions on “HDR – The Natural Look” and “Creativity with Topaz & Textures” along with sessions in the Macro Lab helping you create some textures of your own!

Feb. 24 – Sunday Sampler

Lots of nasty weather across the country this week! Snow in Las Vegas and the Sonoran Desert; flooding in Tennessee and other states…stay safe everyone! I drove to TN and back this week myself. We’re looking to relocate later this year. Luckily we had an inspection done on the property. Too many issues to make it worth it. The home/property search is back on!

This week’s Sunday Sampler starts with a moss-covered board in FL. I modified it three other ways with Topaz. Feel free to take the original and create some new modifications of your own! Enjoy!

If you are looking to expand your font collection, my friends at Design Cuts have a beautiful new font bundle for you! The “Font Lovers Versatile Library” . This collection has a wide variety of styles, from display, sans serif, serifs, vintage, and more. If you purchased individually, the value is $1750. The Bundle price is just $29! CLICK HERE to visit the Design Cuts page and check it out!

A New National Park

Press release from the National Park Foundation:

“Chances are, when you think about the National Park Foundation, the first places that come to mind are the largest national parks we protect and support.
However, the National Park System consists of over 400 national parks, large and small, from coast to coast. These places honor the battlefields, historic homes, birthplaces, forts, and other landmarks where pivotal events happened — events that deserve to be remembered and understood as American history moves forward.
I’d like to take the opportunity to share with you one of the newest national monuments in the country — one of the few to commemorate the history of organized labor, and the first-ever national park in Chicago.
If the name “Pullman” rings a bell, you might be a railroad buff. “Pullman cars” transformed rail travel by introducing sleeping accommodations to make long-distance travel on America’s burgeoning railroad network more comfortable for those who could afford it. Virtually all of the Pullman car porters and maids were African Americans, some of whom were emancipated slaves who migrated north. Though they worked largely for tips and had to pay for their own meals, uniforms, and lodging, employment on the trains was considered an elite and symbolically important position, opening the door to economic advancement. But the wages for all Pullman workers were sharply cut during the Panic of 1893. And though their paychecks dropped by 25 percent, rent and other costs within the factory town stayed the same. Pullman workers walked out on May 11, 1894.
The events at Pullman, including the historic strike which started there and lead to over 250,000 workers striking nationwide, happened over a century ago. But, the site’s influence as a catalyst of labor organizing and a source of African American opportunity has endured for decades.
We have a vision to help the National Park Service open a vibrant new National Park Service Visitor Center that offers unprecedented opportunities to step inside one of Pullman’s historic structures and be immersed in the town’s many stories.
The Visitor Center and the surrounding area will be a gateway to broader exploration of the entire Pullman Historic District. Local events and partnerships, alongside National Park Service programming, will bring lively activities to the site. New walking paths with interpretive signage will give visitors the opportunity to explore Pullman’s stories at their own pace, from quick circuits around the Visitor Center to longer walking tour experiences.
Exhibits, interpretation, and signage will provide families, school groups, and adults with the opportunity to examine our nation’s history from a variety of perspectives — those of immigrant workers; African American porters and maids; Pullman himself; and company managers, government officials, and observers including contemporary journalists and politicians.
It will be extraordinary.”

I’ve added this new park to my “to visit” list!

Upcoming Event

In late July I will be speaking at the Southwestern Michigan Council of Camera Clubs Summer Weekend of Photography (SWMCCC). The event will be held at Hope College in Holland, Michigan July 26-28, 2019. CLICK HERE for their website. They will be posting more info on the 2019 event shortly.

I will be doing two sessions on “HDR – The Natural Look” and two sessions of “Creativity with Topaz & Textures”.

Don’t Miss Out! Last New England Conference!

May 18-19, 2019
at the
Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center
Southbridge, MA

Join us for the 3rd Creative Photography Conference! 
We have EIGHT wonderful speakers
covering a variety of creative topics:

Anne Belmont (Chicago) – Lensbaby Specialist 
John Barclay (PA) – “Creativity with Topaz” & “Dream, Believe, Create”
Mark Bowie (MA) – “Envision: The Art of Seeing Creatively” & 
“Multiple Exposures for Maximum Landscapes”
Betty Wiley (Cape Cod) – “Get Creative with LR”, “Creative PS” & “Luminar”
Hazel Meredith (CT) – “Textures: Turn Ho-Hum Into a Work of Art” &
“Creating Your Own Textures in PS with Brushes featuring Grut Brushes”
Jane Driscoll (CT) – “iPhoneography + Apps” & “iColorama”
Loretta Paul-Goldin (CT) – “Create Your Own Textures with Alcohol Inks”
Jan Doyle (CT) – “Creative Projects with Your Photos” &
“Get Your Name Out – Free Publicity with YouTube”

ADDED FOR 2019…

Friday – 2 Pre-Conference Hands-On Workshops
Join either John Barclay or myself for an afternoon of hands-on learning. Bring your laptop (or follow along if you prefer) and work along with John (Topaz) or me (Textures). We will provide images so we can work together. These sessions are limited 24 people each. $69 for either session. (You must be registered for the Conference to attend these sessions.)

Friday & Saturday Nights – Optional Dinner Buffet
Southbridge is a small town – why wait somewhere for dinner? Join our speakers and other attendees for an expansive dinner buffet. Sit, relax and chat a while! $20

Special Offer! 

While our Early Bird pricing was the best deal for our Conference – and we did say there would be no further discounts – we added a special code for students and friends of each of our speakers (including me). Save $25 on your registration with the code meredith25. This code expires on March 31st and will be your last chance to save $$ on registration.

GO TO OUR WEBSITE TO SIGN UP!
https://www.meredithimages.com/creative-photography-conference/

Stay tuned tomorrow!

A new product release coming from Topaz!

Feb. 17 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday & Daytona 500 Day if you like auto racing as we do! Looks like some Winter weather finally moving into our area this week. In Southern CT we’ve been pretty lucky so far. Most storms were rain or a mixture. Not much snow (which is fine by me!). Stay safe out there.

This week’s Sunday Sampler is some nice bokeh images of morning dew on grasses. I took these a couple of years ago when I was in Florida teaching at the Spacecoast Birding Festival. These were taken near this Great Blue Heron who was fishing for his breakfast! There were some razor sharp teeth on the alligator gar fish he caught! Taken hand-held with my Canon 70D and Sigma 150-500 at just over 400mm. 800 ISO helped as did Topaz AI Clear!

Organizing Design Assets

A comment and question was posted on last week’s blog about using all of the fabulous resources that are available in the bundles that I mention here. Mainly, how to utilize them, and even more importantly, how to organize and find all of the items! It’s definitely something I’ve been trying to work on.

I’ve started some new files by category for all of the Illustrations-Vector Art. These are mostly items I have downloaded from various web sources. This is what I’ve come up with:

I still have many “Zip” files to open up and save in appropriate folders. I add folders as needed.

My textures folder needs some work! Right now I have a main Textures & Backgrounds folder, then some are by the company purchased from (like Design Cuts, 2 Lil Owls, French Kiss, etc.). Other miscellaneous textures are filed by style (Bokeh, Chalboard, Concrete, Metal, Grain, etc.) like this:

My biggest issue right now is I’m not sure if I want to keep, say, Design Cuts all in that folder, or separate the items into easier-to-find folders! I may keep the original folders and copy items into other folders by subject. It is a hugely time consuming project since I have so many assets and have not kept up with sorting as I purchase more. So if you are in the same boat, you’re not alone! It will be an ongoing project for sure.

Upcoming Event

I’ve been invited to speak at several conferences around the U.S. this year. First up is the CanAm Photo Expo in Buffalo, NY, April 26-28. The event will be held at the Buffalo Grand Hotel, which is completing renovations and will be a beautiful new facility.

They are keeping me very busy that weekend. I will be doing two sessions on “HDR-The Natural Look”, two sessions of “Creativity with Topaz & Textures” plus a Topaz lecture in the Macro Lab on Friday afternoon as well as some hands-on photo ops in the Macro Lab on Sunday morning. Whew!

They have various options for registration – you can check the details on their website at: https://www.canamexpo.com/

I mentioned above about filing your design assets. Here’s another big bundle that you’ll need to file!

From PIXELO, the Mighty Design Bundle, 4900+ Design Resources! Value $2521 if purchased individually, just $39 for the bundle!

What’s included in this bundle?
* 51 font families with 87 unique fonts
* 67 mind-blowing Photoshop actions;
* 19 Photoshop mockups; 9 Photoshop tutorials;
* 500 premium backgrounds;
* 2987 unique vectors; 70 beautiful text styles;
* 512 textures; 681 Photoshop brushes;
* Commercial License;
* Lifetime download access;
* Unlimited and quick response.

Check out the details of all the cool products included HERE on the website.

And from Light Stalking, “Our 113 Most Useful Links for Photographers”

They have a really good list of all kinds of topics. Tutorials, Magazines, eBooks, Software, Buying Gear Online, Social Media sites to follow, and much, much more.

Have a great week!

Jan. 6 – Sunday Sampler

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and a joyous New Year! We had some quiet holiday time just the two of us at home. Nice to just relax a while. I made it to midnight on New Year’s Eve, but hubby did not! We got up early on the 31st and did a sunrise shoot with about 20 other photographers at the beach. It was a beautiful morning – great sunrise and not too cold either. Dave left to go off to work and I joined the group for breakfast. Good times!

For today’s Sunday Sampler I took the barn wood image from last week’s Sampler and ran it through some presets in Smart Photo Editor. This is a very cool little program (and inexpensive – just $29.95!). There are THOUSANDS of presets you can apply to your image, mostly contributed by users of the product. So everytime you log in there are new presets that get added to the library! I first saw this software at a seminar that macro photographer, Mike Moats did. He uses it all the time. Check it out at: https://www.smartphotoeditor.com

I’ve had several requests for private tutoring from those outside of my local area. However, I CAN tutor you ONLINE! We’ll use GoToMeeting and we can screen share so I can help you learn new techniques or assist with issues you may be having with software! Call or email me to discuss or if you’d like to review what you want to learn.

My next webinar is this Tuesday, January 8th at 5:00 Eastern time. Click HERE to sign up! I’ll be showing some various creative techniques using Studio, Texture Effects, Impression, and will do a short demo on AI Gigapixel and how I use it to enlarge my images. See you there!

Upcoming Seminars/Workshops

The new year starts a new schedule of seminars at camera clubs and conferences. If you’re in the area, join me at one of the following club seminars:

  • Feb. 13 – Milford Camera Club (CT) – “What’s New in Topaz”
  • March 5 – North Haven Camera Club (CT) – “Advanced Techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop.
  • April 1 – Greater Lynn Photographic Society (MA) – “Creativity with Textures”
  • April 12 – Westchester Photographic Society (NY) – “Topaz & Textures”
  • June 20 – Photographic Society of Chattanooga (TN) – “Topaz & Textures in Photoshop & Topaz Studio”

CONFERENCES:

  • April 26-28 – CanAm Photo Expo, Buffalo, NY – https://www.canamexpo.com/
  • And, of course, I will be a speaker at our Creative Photography Conference, Southbridge, MA, May 18-19. Join me and seven other talented speakers for a great weekend of creativity and learning! Details and sign-up on our website HERE.
  • July 26-28 – Southwestern Michigan Council of Camera Clubs Conference, Hope College, Holland, MI. https://www.swmccc.org/. They haven’t posted the 2019 info yet, but you can see what last year’s conference offered!
  • Oct. 19-20 – And speaking of Mike Moats, I’m pleased to say I will be one of the speakers for the 5th Macro Photo Conference, in Cleveland, OH. I was a speaker at the first conference in Seekonk, MA – it will be fun to visit a new location and meet some other speakers that I haven’t worked with before. There are seminars as well as lots of photo ops with all the speakers assisting. The conference is $199 and limited to 100 people. They always sell out early, so don’t delay signing up. Check it out HERE!

With the new year comes photo “challenges” – 365 days; 52 weeks, etc. While I don’t know that I will complete one myself, this article from the Photo Argus has a 52-week challenge with some great ideas and info even if you don’t do it weekly.

Photographing the moon can be tricky. Here’s a great article with helpful info from Light Stalking.

Have a great week!