News from Rod Barbee Photography
May 2011 Rod Barbee Photography Newsletter
Happy spring? Hmm. Still feels like winter around here sometimes. In fact, just last week we had gloppy wet snow falling. To be fair to Mother Nature, we have had a nice day or two sprinkled in and the cherry trees in our yard are blooming and some of the flowers in the yard are starting to pop up. But really Mom? Snow in late April?
New Blog!
I've started a blog on my website! It should be a good place for me to post quick updates, deep thoughts, not so deep thoughts, gripes, pictures of Bailey or Parker (the dog and the grandson, respectively), or whatever else. I'll try to post something every week, maybe more often. But you know how things like that go. You start out with grand intentions, you plan on writing that movie script or remodel that bathroom, and then other things intrude and pretty soon you're not working on that grand project as much. Instead you're writing blog posts about how that bathroom remodel is coming along just fine. And you post that month after month after month. But I wouldn't know about that. Would I?
Tony Kuyper's tutorials
I've written about Tony Kuyper's Photoshop tutorials and actions before. He's got a new tutorial outlining some advanced masking techniques to help bring the most out of an image. Check out his "Triple Play" tutorial.
And while you're at his site, take journey through his image gallery. When you think about great photography from the southwest, particularly the Four Corners region, you usually think of names like Tom Till or Michael Fatali. I gotta tell you, for my money, Tony Kuyper is easily right up there with the best of them.
I've been visiting and exploring Olympic National Park for going on 30 years and have been leading photo workshops there for the last 10 years. So it's not surprising that I get asked about the best times to visit the park for photography. So that's the subject of one of my latest blog postings. Oh, did I mention I had a blog? Well I do, and it's new. Go take a look.
And while I'm on the subject of Olympic National Park, I still have about three spaces remaining in my semi-private tour this July 12-17. This trip is limited to only seven so it's a great chance to get some personalized help and to photograph without the big workshop crowd.
Arches report
Our recent Arches National Park Digital Workflow workshop went quite well, considering the disaster that it could have been if the government had shut down. Actually, it wouldn't have been a disaster; there are other sites to see and photograph in the Moab area. We just wouldn't have been able to see the arches and towers and balancing rocks in the National Parks. But disaster was averted and we got to play in the park.
After the workshop, Victoria and I and my friend Dick stayed on a couple extra days to see what else we could find, but the weather didn't really cooperate. On our last night in the park the dark clouds gathered and thunderstorms threatened. So we walked a little ways up Park Avenue where we could see Courthouse Towers and the Three Gossips with a background of scary and ominous clouds. And the occasional lightening strike. I found a nice spot where I could photograph a wide expanse and set up hoping for dramatic light and perhaps some lightening to go along with those towers and dark clouds. It was a little breezy but I managed to get a few long exposure shots off (hoping for that lightening strike during the exposure). Before long I saw a haze in the distance moving toward us. It was dust. And wind. And dusty wind.
I managed to get the camera protected and stowed in the bag before it started to get really nasty. My tripod had blown over by this time. Then the rain hit. And it was a cold driving rain, with big fat drops.
By that time I figured I wasn't going to get any more pictures and started heading back. By the time we all got to the car we were soaked through everywhere that wasn't covered by Gore-Tex. And I mean all the way through.

Due to the wind and the vibration it caused during 30 second exposures I don't think I got anything useable from that outing, but the experience of being out in that weather was worth it. Pretty invigorating, really, and it's one of the reasons I photograph. Because even though I might get skunked, I'm outdoors and seeing and experiencing things I otherwise might not.
The picture attached is from that evening. It looks fine in this small form but doesn't hold up when viewed at 100 percent. That's what you get with long exposures and wind.

Printing problems
Are you're prints coming out too dark? Take a listen to some of these tips from the 18 Percent Gray Matter podcast. It includes a great idea for printing out a stepped tonal scale and then remapping your output levels to get the most out of your printer.
This month's quick photo tip: Shading your lens
Do you know where your lens shades are? In the bottom of your camera pack perhaps? Or stuffed in the back of a closet? Lens shades are perhaps the most under rated and under used photo accessory you own. They can protect your lenses and any filters on the lens from accidentally bumping into things. They can help keep rain off of the front element of your lens. And they can shade the lens from direct light sources to help eliminate lens flare.
  Tour starting to fill
In case you missed it, I'm leading a trip to Iceland next year!! Pretty cool. And if you haven't missed it, you probably know the trip is limited to 12. I know it's still early and the trip is 16 months away, but five of those spaces are already spoken for so I'm fairly confident that this trip will fill. In other words, if you're seriously contemplating this trip, drop me an email so I can get you on the list.
Until next month
That's all for now. Since I have a new blog (did I mention that?) I'll probably be posting more stuff there. That is if I can find the time between that movie script and the bathroom remodel. Oh. I finished with the bathroom? Guess I'll have time then.
So if you've nothing better to do, take a look.

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Rod Barbee Photography | 172 Robin Lane | Port Ludlow | WA | 98365