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.

Rainy Day Photography

Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men go to waste and it rains on your day off; the day you reserve for photography. When that happens, go on a scavenger hunt inside your house and look for interesting subjects to photograph such as flowers, books, and fruit. Arrange the items artistically against a solid color background. This is known as “Still Life” photography. With a bit of effort, you can create some very artistic photos using common household items. Here are a few items from a recent Rainy Day photo shoot.

Enjoy,
Doug

Create Better Photographs by Waiting for the Right Light

Be Patient and Wait for the Right Light

If you don’t have the right light for your photograph, wait. The quality and quantity of light can change quickly, especially in the early morning or late afternoon. Light can make the difference between a mediocre photo and a WOW photo of a scene. If you’re photographing in the middle of the day when the light is harsh, but there are clouds in the sky, wait a few minutes until a cloud eclipses the sun. If it’s a thick cloud, you’ll have soft diffuse lighting. If it’s a thin cloud, the harsh light will be diffused to an extent, and you’ll get a better photograph than you would have without the cloud cover. In addition to buffering the light, a cloud drifting by can add interest to a photo. Clouds can be used as compositional elements as well as light modifiers. Wait patiently until the cloud is in the right position to add interest to your photograph. The next time you arrive at a great scene, but don’t have the right light, wait. In photography, patience and persistence pays.


Books by Doug Sahlin

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

Wave Panning

How to Create Abstract Images of Waves

Wave panning is a wonderful way to create abstract photos. The town in which I live is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico, which can be flat as a pancake until a storm approaches. One windy afternoon when a cold front was on the horizon, I was in the mood to create some abstract images, so I grabbed my camera and went the South Jetty.

Wave panning works best when you’re parallel to the waves. The technique is really quite simple. All you need to do is choose your lowest ISO setting while shooting in Aperture Priority mode. Then choose a small aperture (an f/stop of f/8 or f/11usually works quite well), which ensures a fairly long exposure of around 1.5 seconds. The next part of the technique involves panning the camera with the wave. When you see a good candidate breaking, start panning, and then press the shutter button. I find that it’s easiest to pivot from the waist while panning. Make sure you continue panning until a second or so after the shutter closes to ensure that you get a nice fluid motion.

Wave panning is fun. After you get the knack of the technique, you’ll create some interesting images. I shot quite a few images in the bone chilling wind. Here are some of my best photos from the wave panning shoot.

Cheers,
Doug


Books by Doug Sahlin

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

Photograph What You Know in a Different Way

Photograph what you love, but photograph it in a different way.

Every photographer has his favorite places to shoot. I love to explore old and unique buildings. Fortunately the area in which I live has several to choose from. The Venice Train Station is no longer a train station. The local transit authority uses it as a bus stop, but the old buildings are there.  I go there often. Sometimes the place is empty except for a security guard and other times there are people waiting for a bus ride. The other place I love to photograph is the Lucky Dog Cafe. Some people own closets bigger than this cafe, but it’s colorful and a taste of a bygone era of Americana. They don’t build them like this anymore. The daily specials are artistically written in grease pencil on the windows. Add reflections of a brewing thunderstorm and you have the basic ingredients for a unique image.

Photographers need to do things differently to grow. But you can also grow while photographing things you’ve photographed before. You just need to photograph them differently or with different equipment. Photograph what you love, but put a different spin on it. Then you’ll grow as a photographer.

All of the following images were shot with Lensbaby optics. I used a polarizing filter on the cafe shots. The train station shots were post processed using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and Color Efex filters. The Lucky Dog shots were post processed with Nik Color Efex Pro and Topaz Labs filters. Enjoy.

Train Time

Waiting

Lucky Dog Cafe – Emporium of gastronomic delights.

Todays specials and clouds.

Grilled Chikun!

Things go better with Coke.


Books by Doug Sahlin

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

Pay Your Dues to Become a Better Photographer

“Got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues, but you know it don’t come easy.” That’s the opening line of Ringo Starr’s song, “It Don’t Come Easy.” Well he’s right. No skill or creative endeavor comes easy, especially photography. To become a good photographer, you’ve got to learn how to use your camera. You need to know what each and every control on the camera does, and be able to access them quickly. If you have to think or stop and look at the camera to change or adjust a setting, you’ll loose a lot of wonderful photo opportunities. You can’t ask someone to repeat a decisive moment. You’ve got to be ready when the decisive moment happens, not looking down at your camera fiddling to get the right control. When you transcend technology, then you free up your inner creative child and begin to see what’s around you instead of just looking through the viewfinder and snapping a picture. When you transcend technology, you don’t take a picture, you create an image.

After you learn how to use your camera, you need to put your time in. That doesn’t mean using the camera a couple of times a month. To pay your dues, you’ve got shoot as often as you can. And you’ve got to shoot hundreds of frames to come up with a few good images. Don’t get impatient. Many photographers snap a picture and then move on. Milk the scene or subject you see fit to photograph for all it’s worth. Pick the low hanging fruit first and then move around the scene or object. Can you get a better picture by moving to the left or right? Will the object you’re photographing look better if photographed from a high vantage point or a low vantage point. As you make your assesments, see what’s in the viewfinder. Look at the edges of the frame. Is there anything at the edge of the frame that shouldn’t be in your picture? If there is, move or zoom in until it’s no longer in your picture. Jay Maisel calls this “Border Patrol.”

Don’t be a fair weather photographer. If it’s cold outside, bundle up. If it’s raining, bring protection for your camera and shoot unless it’s a torrential downpour or a vicious thunderstorm. If it’s hot, bring some water and dress appropriately.

Roxanne and I often paid “Sweat Equity” to hone our skills. A couple of years ago, we photographed a WWII ship called “Victory.” When we arrived at the ship it was 93 degrees. And of course the ship was not air conditioned. The metal handrails were hot to the touch. When we knelt down to get a better vantage point, the heat from the deck seared our knees. But we came equipped with water and an adventurous spirit. We wound up with some interesting photographs by paying our dues. Pay your dues and become a better photographer.


Books by Doug Sahlin

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

Long Exposures with a 10X Neutral Density Filter

One of the worst things a photographer can do is stagnate. There’s always something to learn, perfecting a technique you already know, learning a new technique, or experimenting with a new piece of gear. Recently I experimented with a 10X neutral density filter to create images of a lovely beach. The combination of a small aperture and the neutral density filter made it possible for me to photograph the crashing waves with exposures of 25 seconds and longer. This rendered the ocean as a smooth surface with mist where the waves crashed on the shore.

The technique required a tripod for the long shutter speeds. I also had to take an educated guess at the exposure duration. Fortunately most modern cameras give you the ability to analyze a histogram when reviewing an image. In this case, all I had to do was analyze the histogram, adjust the length of the exposure and take another picture. In most instances, the second image was perfectly exposed. The only other difficulty was composing the image. The neutral density filter is almost black, which makes it impossible to see anything through the viewfinder, so I employed LiveView, which rendered a dark, yet recognizable image on the LCD monitor.

I was pleased with the results. I took my favorite images into Silver Efex Pro 2 and converted them to black and white.
Cheers,
Doug

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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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