The Doug Plus Rox Photography Blog

Welcome to Our Blog

Welcome to the blog of Doug and Roxanne, two photographers who are head-over-heels in love. In this blog you’ll find our musings about photography, camera equipment, image editing programs and more. Roxanne is a talented photographer who enjoys wildlife and landscape photography. Doug is a published author and photographer.  We’re both Canon shooters. Between us we have a bushel full of lenses, and lots of enthusiasm. Currently we’re exploring the area near our home with Lensbaby Composers. Stay tuned for news about our photo shoots and lots of photos. The following image is one of Doug’s Lensbaby captures. He tweaked the image in Photoshop using images of textures on layers with different blend modes.

Learning to See

Photographers see their world through a viewfinder or LCD monitor. But do they really make an effort to create images that show the beauty in their world, or are they merely attracted to all the bells and whistles on their digital cameras? In the old days, just about everything was done manually. You adjusted your exposure manually, and manually focused the lens. Back in the old days, many photographers used prime lenses(lenses with a fixed focal length), and had to walk closer to or farther away from their subject to frame the image. This is known as foot zoom. In the old days, the photographer was in control of the image he was creating. He had to be. Unless he had a darkroom, he had to wait until his film was processed to see whether or not he got the shot he envisioned.

The advent of digital cameras with auto-exposure, auto-focus, and zoom lenses tended to make photographers a little lazy. They saw something that piqued their curiosity, zoomed in or out to pick the low hanging fruit, took a picture and moved on. Photography is so much more than that.

If you consciously make an effort to be in control, you slow down and make sure you’ve got all the settings right before taking a picture. When you slow down, you have the opportunity to determine if what you see in the viewfinder is what compelled you to stop and take a picture. If it isn’t, you can zoom in until you remove objects that will distract the viewer, or move to a different vantage point and then take a picture.

The first picture you take is what caused you to stop. But you’re not done yet. Milk the scene for all it’s worth. Is there a picture within the picture? Can you create a more interesting or different image from a snail’s eye view or bird’s eye view? When you slow down and take multiple pictures of a scene or subject, you learn how to see. You notice textures and patterns. You notice shapes and curves. Instead of taking a picture of an oak tree, take a picture of a pattern of leaves, a close-up shot of the veins in the leaves, the texture of the bark and so on. Think creatively outside the box and you learn to see and put a unique stamp on your photography.

Another thing to remember is that you don’t have to carry every lens you own. If you limit yourself to one or two lenses, you’ll use your creativity to make wonderful images, instead of rummaging through your camera bag and using technology as a crutch. Less is more.

The following images were photographed with vintage manual focus prime lenses mounted to Fujifilm XE-2 with an adapter. I started with a 50mm f/1.4 Pentax Takumar and then switched to a 135mm f/2.8 Pentacon lens.
Cheers,
Doug

Shapes and repeating patterns

Shapes and repeating patterns

Details of a vintage railroad car.

Details

Lines and Curves

Lines and Curves

Details

Details


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

Find the Arrow in the FedEx Logo

One year at Photoshop World, I had the pleasure of listening to Jay Maisel’s presentation. He talked about how he grabbed his camera and went shooting everyday. He told a story about what happened one day when he met with some friends. It went something like this:
His friends asked him, “OK, what did you shoot Mr. Big Shot Photographer?”
Jay replied, “I shot the arrow in the FedEx logo.”
They laughed and said, “There is no arrow in the FedEx logo.”
Jay showed them the photograph.

 

Jay wasn’t looking at the logo as a whole. He was looking for things that interested him and shot the arrow in the FedEx logo.

Shoot the arrow in the FedEx logo.


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

Graveyards

Graveyards are  somber reminders of our mortality. As Jim Morrison once said, “No one gets out of here alive.” But graveyards can be the source for wonderful photographs. Grave markers have interesting inscriptions and sometimes unusual names. You’ll also find statues in graveyards and floral arrangements left by relatives and friends. If you’ve never created images in a graveyard, try it. You’ll find some wonderful source material. Approach the photo shoot with respect for those that have been laid to rest there, a creative mind, and a sense of wonder.



Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

An Alternative for HDR Efex Pro II

Introducing Photomatix Pro

It’s common knowledge that Google is no longer supporting the Nik Collection by Google. This fact left many photographers wondering how they were going to create realistic HDR images. Lightroom and Photoshop have the ability to merge bracketed exposures into an HDR image, but pale in comparison to the power of HDR Efex Pro II. Fortunately, there’s another solution

Photomatix Pro by HDR Soft is a wonderful piece of software that once installed works seamlessly as a plug-in for Lightroom. Select your bracketed exposures, and choose to export them to Photomatix Pro, and you’ll be presented with a wide variety of choices for creating an artistic, realistic, or surrealistic HDR image. You also have the option to tone map a single image. After selecting a single image, or bracketed exposures from Lightroom, the images are prepared for Photomatix Pro and the application opens. As you can see from the following illustration, you have many options for the image you create with the application. I always start with a preset that catches my eye and then fine-tune the image by tweaking the settings on the left side of the interface. It’s all very intuitive. And if you don’t like the results, you can always click a preset to erase your edits.

The following images were created with Photomatix Pro.

Photomatix Pro is an excellent choice for photographers who used and loved HDR Efex Pro II and are looking for an alternative now that Google no longer supports The Nik Collection. Photomatix Pro sells for $99.00, but you can enjoy a 15 percent discount by clicking the “Have A Coupon” link on HDR Soft’s Buy page. You can download a trial version of Photomatix, that does not time out, but will stamp a Photomatix logo on the finished image. To download a trial version of Photomatix, click here: HDR Soft Photomatix trial version.


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

Mystery

Life is a mystery, and so many of the things we take for granted can also be mysterious. Many mysteries are demystified by scientific fact, but as a photographer, it’s a good thing to incorporate some mystery in your life. When you look at a beautiful flower or an awe inspiring landscape, instead of relying on science or education to identify the object, look at what’s in front of you with the eyes of a child and recognize the beauty as one of life’s mysteries that is not to be taken for granted. Then pick up your camera and and use your photography skills to record this mystery in the best way you can to create a compelling picture.


Books by Doug Sahlin

Doug Sahlin’s Lightroom CC books. To learn more about a book or to purchase it, click a book cover.

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