Around the Web Feb. 25


An interesting article on FStoppers – “One Million Ways to Do Things in Lightroom”.


“20 Outstanding Free Photoshop Text Effects” and “20 Amazing Surreal PS Tutorials” from WebDesignDev. There are other links to more effects on that page as well.

“How to Make Reflections in Photoshop” from PhotoshopCafe.

From ISO1200, “How to Accurately Recolor Your Images Using Gradient Maps”.


From PictureCorrect – “5 Tips for Better Wildlife Photos”, “Macro Photography Equipment Guide and Tips”, and “How to Handle Catch Lights and Eyeglasses Glare in Portrait Photography”.

More on Macro from LightStalking – “13 Extremely Useful Tutorials on Macro Photography”.


“Thick Rising Smoke Brushes” from Creative Nerds

New England Visit!

This coming weekend I head out for a 10-day solo jaunt! First I’m heading to Atlanta for the “Atlanta Travel & Adventure Show”. I attended the Boston show last year, and look forward to meeting reps from lots of Southern locales that I can visit and blog about and write some articles!

From there I head North – stopping in CT first, then heading on to the Boston area. I’m visiting 4 camera clubs over the course of the week.

  • Tuesday, March 3rd, 7:30 pm – Gateway Camera Club in Framingham, “Unleash Your Creativity with Topaz” (visitors welcome – meets at St. Andrews Church, 3 Maple St., Framingham).
  • Wednesday, March 4th, 7:00 pm – Merrimack Valley Camera Club in North Andover, “Unleash Your Creativity with Topaz” (visitors welcome – meets at Trinitarian Congregational Church, 2 Elm St., N. Andover).
  • Saturday, March 7th, two half-day hands-on workshops (pre-registration required) at Greater Lynn Photographic Association. Morning: “Elements Basic/Intermediate” and Afternoon: “Creativity with Topaz”
  • Sunday, March 8th, an afternoon hands-on workshop (pre-registration required) at Duxbury Camera Club, Duxbury. “Creativity with Topaz”

If you can stop by Tues. or Wed. night, feel free to drop in! If you are interested in the hands-on workshops, please email me. Hope to see you in Massachusetts!


I’m planning on some Summer “Intensive” workshops that will focus on post-processing (it’s pretty hot in the Summer, so we can mostly be indoors!). Watch for more info soon!

Also, I’ll be adding Fall dates for “Barns & Backroads” workshops soon! I’ve started a list for notification before they are announced – let me know if you’d like to be added to the list! Email me or message me on Facebook.


Or, if you can’t travel or prefer one-on-one training,
we can work together online with screen sharing!
Limited spots available – book your sessions now!

And don’t forget to sign up for the 4th

GET ALL THE DETAILS as well as bios on our speakers on our website HERE!


“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” ~ Karl Lagerfeld

Tutorial Thursday Oct. 17


Things are getting quick hectic with the final days before moving – and early tomorrow a.m. I head to Cleveland to teach at the Mike Moats Macro Conference!

So…I did not get a “real” tutorial done today, but here is a good article I was just emailed from, “Controlling Color, Exposure and Blurriness in Photography”.

Next week I will do the tutorial for the imaged featured in this week’s banner!

The Sunday Sampler will most likely be combined with Tuesday’s Around the Web.

Talk to you soon!

Tutorial Thursday Oct. 10


One of my blog readers suggested this post. Thank you John W.! As you all know, I love my Topaz, and this article will share my top three tools.

#1 – AI Clear

I use AI Clear on EVERY image! It’s totally amazing and the best thing ever created (in my opinion)! AI Clear sharpens, reduces noise and adds clarity in one click. Of course, you can fine tune it to your image and taste, but the majority of the time, the default settings work for me!

If I start with an image in Lightroom, I do my basic adjustments there, then bring it in to Photoshop. I duplicate the layer and then immediately open Studio 2 and apply AI Clear. Then “accept” and return to Photoshop. I like having things on separate layers, so most often, this is my workflow.

However, if I do take an image directly into Studio 2, I would do my basic adjustments there and then apply AI Clear before any other creative processing.

#2 – DeNoise AI

The majority of the time AI Clear does all I need for noise reduction. But if it’s an exceptionally noisy image (like a concert or especially a cell phone image), DeNoise AI does an amazing job at getting rid of noise.

You want to apply enough to reduce the noise, but not go too far with the settings to make your image look out of focus.

Here is an example. Original Concert photo taken on iPhone 8+:

After DeNoise AI:

Close Up of before and after:

#3 – Gigapixel AI

Gigapixel AI lets you enlarge a digital file without losing resolution and having the image get “pixelated”. I find this comes in handy when someone sends me a file to edit and it’s small and low resolution. It is also great if you have a smaller image (say, saved for posting to social media), and need to enlarge it for a print. Optimally you would use the original larger file, but if that file were not available, Gigapixel AI to the rescue!

Example. This original image is 4″ x 6′ for posting to Facebook. I enlarged it at 600% to 24″ x 36″. I think the enlargement looks even better than the original! If this image looks familiar, you may have seen it as the Gigapixel AI product image on the Topaz website!

Original 4″ x 6″:

Enlarged 600% with Gigapixel AI:

Closeup of enlarged image:

Impressive to be sure!

BONUS – #4 – Textures!!

How could I not mention Textures as a favorite tool! As you know from my work and webinars, I often begin with a “Look” (formerly called “Preset”) and then modify it by adding and/or deleting textures, borders, scratches, etc.

The most important part of any creative editing is to have fun, explore, and find your own creative style.


We are in the beginning stages of planning the next Creative Photography Conference! This will be our fourth year coming up in Spring 2020. We had hoped to do a Fall 2019 event, but with the way things changed this year and relocating, it just didn’t come together. However, watch for a Fall 2020 event if all goes as planned!

We’re looking at April 25-26 in Northeast Tennessee for the Spring event. This is a beautiful time to be in TN with all the bright Spring greens and wildflowers. I am also planning an add-on workshop after the main conference to explore the beautiful countryside. Working on some barn and antique workshops as well. Stay tuned for details soon!

Tutorial Thursday Oct. 3


In Sunday’s post I shared a canvas I created for our new TN house. Word Art can be created in conjunction with a photo, or as in this case, just words and vector or clip art.

I knew I wanted to print this on a 16″ x 20″ canvas, so I began the project with a new file (File > New File) and set the size at 20″ x 24″ to allow for the canvas to “wrap” around the sides. Background white at 300 dpi.

In Photoshop, I set up guidelines for my 2″ margins. To get these, click on the ruler, hold and drag down. These lines will not print – they are just on-screen guides.

I wanted this piece to look “rustic”, so I began with a wood texture that I had photographed and turned into a black and white.

I also knew I wanted blue tones throughout this piece as that will be the main color in the new house. So I added one of my blue bokeh textures over the wood, changing the blending mode to Multiply and the opacity to 93%.

I though the wood was too “heavy”, so I lowered the opacity of the wood layer to 72% and got this:

Much better! Now I needed some mountains! I searched my library of art and found this image:

A beautiful mountain view illustration

I liked the shape and trees, but wanted it to be blue. So, Topaz ReStyle to the rescue! by using two presets of blue tones (Endless Polar Lake and The Blue Calm), I changed the art to this:

A beautiful mountain view illustration

Next, back in PS, I selected the sky and lightest mountain layer and deleted those:

I saved this as a PNG file to maintain the transparency of the sky, and brought this file into my project (just like you would drag in a texture). I positioned it and changed the blending mode to Overlay (I wanted it to look like it was printed on the wood), and the opacity to 85%.

Now I was ready to add my words! After testing several fonts, I went with Rebel. I used a font size of 230 pt. since this is a big canvas, and typed my words. I angled them a bit as well.

I like using layer styles on type to help it “stand out” from the background and give it some depth. To get to the Layer Styles panel, just double click on the type later over towards the right in the blank area.

For this type I added 3 layer styles – Bevel & Emboss; a Stroke of 15 px in a darker blue; and a drop shadow in white at 28%. Of course, settings will depend on your particular project and how you’d like it to look.

Here is the finished image ready for printing:

And this is the finished image:

I received the canvas in the mail already and I love it! Can’t wait to hang it up in Tennessee!!

P.S. I use Canvas on Demand for my canvas prints. They always have great sales and their quality is fabulous – and quick service!

Word Art is so much fun. Here are a couple of other pieces I created a couple of years ago. I saw the quotes online and created my own versions:


I will be one of the speakers for Mike Moats’ Macro Conference on Oct. 19-20 in Cleveland, Ohio (yep – the week before we’re moving!). I will be doing a seminar on “Topaz & Textures”, my two favorite subjects! I believe there are just a couple spots left – check it out HERE. Hope to see you there.

Sunday Sampler Sept. 1

September already? How did THAT happen? The summer flew by for sure! Hoping house will be placed on site by Tuesday or Wednesday, then I’ll head to TN on Thursday! They needed to bring in truckloads of dirt to make a wider landing area for getting the house on site (the left side of the property was a bit of a drop off).

This week’s Sunday Sampler is thanks to my hubby, Dave! These textures are an old baking sheet that he used as a drip pan in his bbq smoker! I was getting ready to throw it out, but of course, had to take some pics first of that lovely grunge!!

Photography Organizations

I recently became aware of the group, “Nature First”. Their principles are things I have already been practicing.

Nature photographers are increasingly becoming a liability for the beautiful environments they cherish and photograph.

Nature First is built on seven core principles that help communicate how each of us can enjoy nature photography responsibly. The Seven Principles of Nature First Photography were developed to help educate and guide both professional and recreational photographers in sustainable, minimal impact practices that will help preserve nature’s beautiful locations.


  1. Prioritize the well-being of nature over photography.
  2. Educate yourself about the places you photograph.
  3. Reflect on the possible impact of your actions.
  4. Use discretion if sharing locations.
  5. Know and follow rules and regulations.
  6. Always follow Leave No Trace principles and strive to leave places better than you found them.
  7. Actively promote and educate others about these principles.

Membership is free. Check them out at:

If you are a USA-based photographer (any skill level) and you are looking for a group of like minded photography enthusiasts to TEACH, LEARN, SHARE and SOCIALIZE, then NPEG is for you!

The founder of the group, Mark Perry, is holding a free, informative webinar on “What is NPEG” on September 15th 8 pm EDT. Sign up HERE!

And on November 10th, I will be doing a webinar for NPEG, “Topaz Studio 2 – Navigating Your Way Through”.


I have already scheduled several clubs for the upcoming season (most clubs meet Sept.-June).

I will be doing a program at my own club – the Greater Bridgeport Camera Club – on our first meeting night of the season on Sept. 4.

Oct. 5 or 12 (TBD) – Westchester Photographic Society 1/2 day workshop on Topaz.

Jan. 23, 2020 – Webinar for the Charlotte (NC) Camera Club

March 7th – Hands-on seminars for the Greater Lynn Photographic Society (Lynn, MA). Morning – PS Elements; Afternoon – Topaz. And possibly a program Mon., March 9th at their club meeting (tentative).


Sunday Sampler Aug. 25

Happy Sunday! The weather this weekend is glorious! Warm, breezy and much less humidity! I’m ready for Autumn for sure!!

Tennessee update: just waiting for the house to be placed on-site. Hopefully right after Labor Day – which means I’ll be making another trip to TN (will be the sixth so far this year!).

We have another “guest contributor” to this week’s Sunday Sampler! Thank you to Steve Watson for some cool Florida seashell images! I took one and modified three ways – one a straight shot; the second with Topaz Impression; and the third with Smart Photo Editor. Enjoy!

New Product!

Meredith Images and Layercake teamed up to introduce you to the New! Photoshop Grafix Brushes. All FUN – No Mess!

The Grafix brushes load your photo into the custom brush. You can create unlimited photo designs. Works great for all types of photos. You can use the brushes as a clever framing effect or for photo edges. Also great for creating unique greeting card designs.

Over 700 custom brushes which have been carefully organized for you. Concise movie tutorial included!


Grab this huge package of 700 brushes (includes 10 sets) – Reg. $190; on sale for just $47!

Or get the Brush Set PLUS 50 LR & PS presets PLUS 200 textures for just $10 more = $57 (save 80%)!


I have already scheduled several clubs for the upcoming season (most clubs meet Sept.-June).

I will be doing a program at my own club – the Greater Bridgeport Camera Club – on our first meeting night of the season on Sept. 4.

Oct. 5 or 12 (TBD) – Westchester Photographic Society 1/2 day workshop on Topaz.

Jan. 23, 2020 – Webinar for the Charlotte (NC) Camera Club

March 7th – Hands-on seminars for the Greater Lynn Photographic Society (Lynn, MA). Morning – PS Elements; Afternoon – Topaz. And possibly a program Mon., March 9th at their club meeting (tentative).


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!

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!

Jan. 6 – Sunday Sampler


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:

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”


  • April 26-28 – CanAm Photo Expo, Buffalo, NY –
  • 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. 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!

Aug. 26 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! Finally, a gorgeous weekend and not humid! Of course this week is a different story (90’s+ and humidity returning), but I’m happy for 2 beautiful days. We had a neighborhood picnic yesterday at our house – so much food left we’re doing lunch again today!!


This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of brick textures from Fort McHenry in Baltimore. A great place to visit when you’re in the area.



Most camera clubs meet from September through May/June and are busy setting up their schedules for the upcoming 2018-2019 season. I’ve been asked to speak at several clubs already this year, with a couple more pending. If you’re club (or group) is looking for speakers, let me know!

Confirmed at: 

Oct. 25 – Judging at Cape Cod Art Association (MA)

Nov. 4 – Webinar for NPEG “What’s New in Topaz”

Nov. 7 – Southeastern CT Camera Club (CT) – “Topaz & Textures”

Nov. 12 – Charter Oak Photographic Society (CT) – “What’s New in Topaz”

Jan. 2 – Judging at Stamford Camera Club (CT)

Feb. 13 – Milford Camera Club (CT) – “What’s New in Topaz”

March 5 – North Haven Camera Club (CT) – “Advanced Techniques in Lightroom & Photoshop”

April 1 – Greater Lynn Photographic Society (MA) – “Creativity with Textures”

April 6 – Judging at Bronx Photographic Society (NY)

May 18-19 – Creative Photographic Conference, Southbridge, MA


From – 350+ Free Handwriting Photoshop Brushes and with the Fall season coming, 20 Creepy Halloween Photoshop Tutorials (VERY creepy!)

On they have tons of bundles of textures, fonts, mock-ups and more at very reasonable prices. Check it out HERE!


Have a great week!


Sept. 3 – Sunday Sampler + Exhibit + Seminars + Tuts

Happy September! Where did the summer go?? Every month flies by these days and Sept. & Oct. are exceptionally busy for me this year!

Yesterday we headed to Scranton, PA to Steamtown National Historic Site for “Railfest 2017”. We weren’t going to go this year, but when they added a Night Shoot, well, we were IN!

Unfortunately we had some rain to contend with, but got some cool shots. Here’s one of my faves – those white dots are not stars, but raindrops!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of – what else?  – but rusty textures from some of the old trains in the rail yard. Next to the steam engines, my favorite part! Enjoy!



The columnist for the PSA book review column had asked for my eBook to review about a year ago. It takes a while for reviews to be scheduled into the Journal, and I was surprised to see my eBook in this month’s column – and in a nicely accented boxed format! Thanks Marie!

I am planning to have the “sequel” done by Spring!



Yesterday morning before heading to Steamtown, we hung 20 of my “creative” images at the Bethel Public Library, 189 Greenwood Ave., Bethel, CT.  I’m having an artist’s reception on Sat., Sept. 23rd from 2-4 p.m. I will also have cards, bookmarks and my eBook for sale at the reception. Please stop in and say “hi”!



I have several camera club seminars scheduled for Sept., Oct. & Nov. If you are in the area, please stop by! Even if you are not a member of the club, guests are welcome!

Sept. 6 – Greater Bridgeport Camera Club, Stratford, CT – “Getting Started with ProShow Gold”

Sept. 18 – Island Photo Group, Farmingdale, Long Island, NY – “HDR/Topaz/Textures”

Sept. 27 – Merrimack Valley Camera Club,k Andover, MA – “Calibrating Your Monitor”

Oct. 17 – Castle Craig Camera Club, Meriden, CT – “Photoshop Elements Basics”

Oct. 21-24 – SEDONA, AZ – Our Workshop! See for more info!

Nov. 18 – Bronx Photographic Society, Bronx, NY – “Textures & Topaz”



Some cool techniques – 20 Double Exposure Tutorials

And on Light Stalking, 30 Photography Tutorials and Links that You Will Love


Have a great week!