Our 3rd Creative Photography Conference is in the books! What a great weekend of inspiration, creativity, learning, friends, food and fun! Here are a couple of comments from our attendees:
“The Conference was “Over The Top Good”! You two (and helpers) made it the Best. Met many fine people, learned from Best In The Business, Great Meals & Fantastic Discounts… (Hunts came through for me)…..Best To You Both for doing so much for so many.” ~ P.M.
“Thank you, it was a wonderful workshop, well organized, great lecturers and photographers. I learned a lot and was inspired by the Creative theme. Being there with like minded folks was so much fun.” ~ E.S.
“Just wanted to say thank you for a great conference! I really enjoyed the Friday workshop and all of the presenters. Having known nothing about textures, I finally have a good starting point after your class.” ~ K.C.
Due to the Conference last weekend and a trip to TN this coming weekend (yes, we finally found some property that we are purchasing!!), I’m doing a combined blog post with six textures!
This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of textures from hotel rooms!! Five of them were taken this past weekend at the Southbridge during our Conference stay. The “Geometric” is the lampshade; “Marble Simplified” is the bathroom counter; “Rug Geometric B&W” is the rug; “Swirls with Spatter” is the drapery; and “Wallpaper leaf print B&W” is the wallpaper in the bathroom!! The “Abstract Circle” was modified from a framed print in another hotel. Textures are EVERYWHERE!! Enjoy!
The new “Inside the Peacock Studio” column will begin soon (after I’m done with Conference craziness!). Watch for tutorials/videos on “how I did it”! The teacups & lilacs image above will be one I will be demonstrating.
Happy Cinco de Mayo! If the rain would ever stop it might actually feel like Spring! Pretty flowers are in bloom, however. Hope you have time to get out and do some photography!
Last weekend I was teaching at the CanAm Photo Expo in Buffalo. While we were driving to Buffalo the Wed. before, an inspection was being done on a house we were hoping to purchase in TN. Unfortunately, there were some structural issues and we decided not to proceed.
So…we decided to make a bonsai run to TN when we left Buffalo on Sunday! We got to Charleston, WV Sunday night. Then drove to Greeneville, TN on Monday morning arriving just before noon to meet up with our realtor. Spent about 3 hours looking at 3 properties, then hit the road to start home! Stayed in VA and got home early afternoon Tuesday! LOTS of driving for sure! We thought we had a property and then found out they don’t have access to high-speed internet — which, of course, is critical for me!
Sigh…the search continues!
Since there wasn’t a blog post or Sunday Sampler last week, this week we have six textures included – various types of surfaces I’ve been photographing over the past few weeks. Enjoy!
To all those who completed my survey! The results were clear on topics that you want covered – Topaz was a resounding first, with Textures & Overlays a close second. Photoshop techniques – compositing, layers & masks and using brushes were all pretty much tied for third.
The types of photography that you want to learn more about – Flowers/Gardens and Landscape/Nature were almost tied for first; Still Lifes and Abandoned Places 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The majority chose extended videos (10-30 minutes) as the preferred format, with live webinars a close 2nd.
So…stay tuned for some upcoming tutorials! I’ve decided to add a new column to the blog – “How I Did That” (or similar name) – starting in a week or two. I’ll take an image I’ve posted on social media and give you the details of how I did it!
I am also planning some upcoming videos, so you’ve all helped with the direction that those will take.
CLICK HERE to check out this great deal. Expires in 8 days!
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4. And from my friends at ThinkTank/MindShift, a couple of new products.
The BackLight Elite 45L joins the BackLight line up as a larger backpack for those longer hikes into the back country.
Get deeper into the backcountry with the BackLight® Elite 45L backpack. 45 liters of available space provides ample room for both camera gear and adventure equipment, such as a length of rope, ice axe, snowboard/skis, laptop, tablet, and of course, a tripod.
Weather-resistant zippers and materials protect your gear when trekking in the elements. And like the other BackLight backpacks, rear-panel access adds security when traveling since your camera gear is protected behind your back.
Storm proof construction with YKK® AquaGuard® zippers and waterproof/tearproof Sailcloth
Superior Fit: Robust lumbar padding, hip-hugging waist belt, quick-dry back panel, and foam ridges for increased ventilation
Back and top panel access to all of your camera gear, allowing you to work out of your bag without getting your harness dirty or wet
CLICK HERE to check out this bag and the full line of BackLight products.
And for a smaller bag, the Stash Master 13L. A travel cube that enables you to expand the photo gear capacity of any large backpack/roller/duffel, or increase personal gear space in the MindShift® Backlight Elite 45L for multi-day excursions.
Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all those who celebrate. Today is also our 35th wedding anniversary! Spring is finally springing here in southern CT – the leaves are popping open on the trees and some of the flowering trees are blooming. Lots of rain this past week, so everything has that pretty bright green color!
In honor of Spring and Easter, this week’s Sunday Sampler consists of five pretty pastel textures for you. It started with the Pink-Blue Concrete and then I started modifying from there with Topaz and Smart Photo Editor. Enjoy!
This week, Topaz Labs introduced their newest AI product, DeNoise AI. They have also now discontinued selling AI Clear as a Studio Pro Adjustment. At first I was very confused as to why they would get rid of AI Clear! It was my favorite adjustment and I’ve been using it on EVERY image at the beginning of my processing. However, after reading an article by Dr. Partha Acharjee, I now understand the why, and what is better about DeNoise AI. CLICK HERE for “The Story Behind DeNoise AI.” Another advantage of DeNoise AI is that it is not just a Studio Adjustment – you can access it as a stand-alone or as a plug-in.
If you own the old DeNoise or AI Clear, you should have received an email from Topaz Labs offering you a free copy of DeNoise AI. If you did not receive that email, contact Topaz by opening a help ticket and they will get you hooked up!
If you wish to purchase DeNoise AI, it is on sale until May 3rd for $59.99 (reg. $79.99). Click HERE to go to the store page. You can try it first with a 30-day trial.
If you do not own any of the four AI products, you can purchase a bundle of DeNoise AI, Sharpen AI, Gigapixel AI and JPEG to RAW for $199.99 (reg. $359.96). This sale also ends May 3rd. Click HERE to go to the bundle offer.
And…if you have questions about any of the AI products, there is a helpful Q&A page HERE! This page also gives you the system requirements for the powerful AI products.
Here is an image I processed with DeNoise AI. There is a LOT of noise in this shadowy image at Longwood Gardens:
Topaz DeNoise AI did a great job in getting rid of noise as well as sharpening the image:
Thank you to all those who already took my brief survey! If you haven’t yet, I would greatly appreciate 2 minutes of your time (it’s just 3 questions)! I’m looking for input as to what you would like to see in upcoming tutorials – and the formats preferred. Click HERE FOR SURVEY. Thanks!
LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY!
Don’t miss out on the last New England Conference! The 3rd Creative Photography Conference, May 18-19, 2019 at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center, Southbridge, MA.
SALE! Save 25% on any bundle over on Pixelo – EXPIRES 4/23, so don’t wait! CLICK HERE, then use the code EASTER25 at checkout!
I’m not sure if I will get a blog post out on Sunday next weekend – I’ll be teaching at the CanAm Photo Expo Friday-Sunday and getting home very late Sunday night. If there’s lots of news to share, I’ll post on Monday, otherwise, I’ll include more info in the following week’s post. Enjoy!
Happy April! It’s finally starting to FEEL like Spring out there! Crocuses are starting to pop and the leaves of daffodils are poking through!
I purchased some tulips at the grocery last week and spent a little time photographing them this week. These were done at the kitchen table – I use a tri-fold foamcore board for a backdrop, draped an old lace tablecloth over it, and used some props I’ve been collecting. And so many editing possibilities! These are just 2 of the versions I created – opposite extremes! Processing in LR/PS & Topaz.
This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some rattan seating from old subway cars at the NY Transportation Museum in Brooklyn. I especially like the ‘bokeh’ image – I sat the camera on the seat and got a pretty cool vantage point! These would also be great to turn into B&W and just utilize the texture of the rattan and not the color. Enjoy!
JUST SIX WEEKS AWAY! Don’t miss out on the last New England Conference! May 18-19, 2019
It’s coming up quick! If you want to expand your photographic creativity, then you don’t want to miss this event! Join me and 7 other speakers for a weekend of learning and fun! Seminar topics include: Topaz, textures, creative LR/PS, creative landscapes, LensBaby florals, iPhoneography & apps, multiple exposures, Luminar, creative photo projects, and much more! There will also be photo ops, loaner lenses, and photo walks. And Hunt’s will be here for your shopping pleasure!
Registration includes morning snack, lunch, all Sat./Sun. seminars and other sessions, goody bag, and door prizes!
And added for 2019 – 2 pre-conference workshops and optional dinner buffets on Fri. and/or Sat. nights.
CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT ALL THE DETAILS ON OUR WEBSITE…AND TO REGISTER!
I have extended my discount code meredith25 until April 15th – save $25 on your registration!
The guys & gals at DESIGN CUTS have put together another fabulous bundle of TEXTURES!!! (You know I’m grabbing this one!) “The Exceptional Textures & Patterns Bundle” sells for just $29 (value $3683). This deal expires in 8 DAYS, so don’t wait – grab your copy now!
It contains hundreds of textures, backgrounds, masks, patterns and more!
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!
When we’re all “Irish for a Day”! Enjoy the festivities!
For this week’s Sunday Sampler, I took a colorful sunset reflected in water and created three more versions that will make great overlay/textures for your photos. And remember, you can change up the colors or even use as B&W to just get the effect of the texture. Enjoy!
3 NEW TEXTURE SETS!
I JUST added 3 new texture sets to the Peacock Studio store. Bokeh 2, Galaxies 2, and Grunge 1. These 3 are on sale for 25% off for one week only, till next Sunday 3/24 (no code needed).
These will make great backgrounds or texture overlays to your photos, for scrapbooking or other digital creations.
Check them out on our website HERE! (Just click on the Textures group)
And don’t forget – the “pre-sale” of “Working with Textures & Overlays: Turn Ho-Hum into a Work of Art – Book 2” ends tonight at midnight EDT. Save $5 with the code preorder5. And if you still don’t have Book 1, you can also save $5 on that one with the code firstbook5 (you can use both of these codes at checkout).
If you order the electronic version of book 2 I will send the link by return email. If you order the DVD, those will be shipping right around the end of March (they are in production now).
Think Tank Photo’s New “Vision” Shoulder Bag Series Blends Form with Function
Great Photography Begins with a Vision. The ability to visualize a picture before you release the shutter is essential to getting that perfect shot. With the Vision Shoulder Bag Series, you can get all the right gear to the right place, so you can turn your vision into a great photo. Sized for professional lenses, the Vision Shoulder Bag Series is designed not only for capacity but also for security. With its zippered top closure, your gear will stay safe and in place. This Internal zippered flap also provides a secure closure for additional weather and theft protection, and tucks away when not in use. The Vision series fits wide variety of DSLR and Mirrorless camera kits in a customizable padded divider system, providing ample room for pro-sized lenses and hoods. The shoulder bags also feature dedicated pockets for smartphones, 10-inch tablets, and laptops up to 15 inches (Vision 10 = 10” tablet only, Vision 13 = 10” tablet + 13” laptop, Vision 15 = 10” tablet + 15” laptop). All three shoulder bags offer tripod attachment straps, which attach to web loops on the bottom of the bag. A luggage handle pass-through and reinforced top grab handle make the Vision a versatile traveling companion when attached to your roller. Other standout features include a comfortable shoulder strap, waterproof tarpaulin bottom, expandable water bottle pocket and a rain cover. Constructed with durable yet stylish weather-resistant materials, the Vision offers access, security, and the quality you’ve come to expect from Think Tank. “Great photography begins with a vision,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank Photo’s President and lead designer. “The Vision shoulder bag series is designed to fit DSLR and Mirrorless camera gear with pro-sized lenses and hoods, making an ideal carry solution for professional and aspiring photographers alike.”
GEAR CAPACITY Vision 10: Fits one standard size body with a wide or short zoom plus 1–2 small extra lens, 10” tablet. Fits 24–70mm f/2.8 detached. OR fits a Mirrorless kit with 3-4 lenses including the 50-140mm Vision 13: Fits one standard size body with a 24–70mm attached + 1–3 extra lenses, and a 10” tablet. Accommodates 70–200 detached. Vision 15: Fits one standard size body with a 24–70mm attached, 2–4 extra lenses, flash, a 10” tablet and a 15” laptop. Accommodates 70–200mm detached.
Click Here to visit ThinkTank’s website for all the details!
Don’t Miss Out!
May 18-19, 2019 at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center, Southbridge, MA
The clock is ticking! This is our last New England Conference! And our hotel room block is only guaranteed until mid-April – the Brimfield Antiques Weekend is the same weekend as our event this year and the hotel will sell out!
Read the bios and see examples of wonderful photographs by our talented line-up of speakers over on our website.
Special offer! I gave each speaker a discount code to use on social media and at other events they teach at. MY code is Meredith25 – save $25 on registration. This code expires March 31st and will not be extended! Take advantage to save some $$.
FREEBIE ALERT! I get an occasional newsletter from Designer Candies where they share some cool Freebies! This week’s newsletter included: “Free Seamless Grass Patters and Textures”. Also available are Concrete Textures and Animal Pattern Textures. Check the website for lots of other goodies.
Happy Sunday! SPRING AHEAD! Hopefully you remembered to set your clocks ahead last night (except for our friends in Arizona)!
This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of rocks! I took a very “grungy” rock (actually almost looks like tree bark) and gave you several versions and colors. Enjoy!
THE EBOOK IS DONE!! It’s heading to the printer tomorrow to have DVD’s made (it’s too big for a CD!).
I will begin emailing links later this week to those who purchased the Electronic Version. The DVD’s should arrive right around the end of March and will be mailed as soon as I get them.
I’ve extended the $5 off Coupon for pre-order of the 2nd eBook till 3/17 (CODE: preorder5), and I’ve added a $5 off Coupon for Book 1 (if you don’t have it yet – CODE: firstbook) which also expires 3/17. You CAN use both of these coupons at checkout if you’d like to order both books.
I’m very excited about this new book – it has twelve projects that take you through various ways of working with textures, overlays, gradients, type and layer styles, brushes and much more. It’s 117 pages chock full of creative inspiration! All images and textures used in the projects are included so you can work along with me. And there are bonus sets of textures and brushes as well as a list of my favorite resources!
And while you’re in the store, be sure to check out my texture selections – I am working on some new sets and plan to have them added in the next week or so.
And while you’re over on the website, be sure to check out the upcoming Creative Photography Conference, May 18-19, 2019 in Southbridge, MA.
I’ve posted bios for each of our speakers as well as the seminars they will be doing and some examples of their fabulous work. Also posted is the Conference Schedule.
This will be the last New England Conference – don’t miss out!
I have several half-day hands-on workshops coming up – here is where we’re at with space availability (they are limited to 6 people per session):
March 24 – Photoshop Beginner – FULL! If you are interested in this workshop please email me your name to be put on a list for the next session. March 31 – Creativity with Topaz – 3 spaces left April 7 – Elements Intermediate – 5 spaces left April 14 – Photoshop Intermediate – 3 spaces left May 5 – Textures & Composites – 4 spaces left
Workshops are hands-on with a laptop (or you may follow along if preferred). I will supply images to work on together as well as notes.
Each session is just $69 and will be held at CT Band Instruments at 1 Church Street, Stratford, CT, 1:00-4:30 pm.
And there are a couple of active promotions for bundles of goodies! If you can’t get enough fonts, check out the GRADIOSE SCRIPT FONTS BUNDLE consisting of 84 script font families with a total of 130 unique fonts – just $29!
And…still an active promotion is the AGELESS VINTAGE BUNDLE This one contains 55 font families; 176 retro designs and much more! Also just $29.
All of their bundles come with a full personal/commercial license.
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!
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
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.
This eBook has lots of useful information for working with textures, overlays, compositing and more. Review blending modes; learn to create your own brushes then create textures of your own; composite several images into one new project; and twelve projects to practice your skills. Included are all of the images, textures, and brushes to complete all of the projects as well as some bonus goodies!
Don’t miss the last Conference in New England! Join us May 18-19, 2019 at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center in Southbridge, MA, for the 3rd Creative Photography Conference!
Join me and 7 other creative photographers to learn creative landscapes & multiple exposures; post-processing with PS, LR, Topaz & textures; iPhoneography/Apps; Lens Babies; plus: loaner lenses; shopping with Hunt’s Photo; hands-on photo-ops; lots of door prizes; a goody bag and MUCH more!
JUST ADDED – On Sunday we will have two photo walks with one of fabulous Tamron Tech Reps! Borrow a Tamron lens and do some shooting around the beautiful hotel grounds.
New for 2019 are two options for pre-conference hands-on workshops (John Barclay teaching Topaz and me teaching Textures); and optional Fri. and/or Sat. night buffet dinners.