Lightroom

Building My Youtube Channel in 2019

One of the creative projects that I have planned for myself in 2019 is to create more Youtube videos for my Youtube Channel. I want to create content that I would like to share with others and hopefully, they will enjoy. My main objective is to create informative and entertaining content without repeating the same old content you see from other channels. It will be almost impossible to not cover some of the same subjects and materials like other creators. My main objective is to give my own spin and comments on the subjects I find interesting. People that know me understand that I am pretty straightforward and honest in my opinions and that includes my opinions on many creative subjects such as photography, videography, blogging, and business. I don't want to offend anyone. I just want to create my own content for my Youtube Channel. I am looking forward to reading my subscribers comments and replies. 2019 should be pretty fun. But first I need to set up a productive workstation and studio for my Youtube video recordings and photography post-processing.

Setting Up My Work Station

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Setting up my workstation is not really a challenge. For my work, besides having a nice camera and a variety of lens, I only need a few items and most of them I already have. My first task for setting up my workstation is to make sure I have all the lighting resources needed for the Youtube recordings. I want videos to have the appropriate lighting for my videos. Some of the best Youtubers I follow are very good at having the proper lighting that is not distracting to the viewer. The good thing is lighting devices and products are pretty inexpensive. I have 2 soft-box lights and 2 small LED panels that will work very nicely when recording in my office. The LED lights are very easy to use and they are portable. I can attach the LED lights to light stands and even on my camera shoe. I really enjoy the LED lights because the lighting devices are adjustable.

When comes to sound I have the option to use a RODE mic or lapel mic. I have tested the two devices and I can tell a big difference in the quality of the sound when using a good microphone. I could use the camera microphone but it is not as good as the RODE or lapel mic.

I have a dependable tripod for the recordings. Many people don't understand how important a good steady tripod is for photography and video recordings. My tripod has many adjustment options and allows me to adjust not only the camera but the camera's height. I can adjust the tripod to even shoot over my photography softboxes. I have found that very helpful when shooting my Youtube videos.

Establishing a Schedule

Part of being a Youtube creator is having good content and uploading your content on a regular schedule. I watch a variety of creative Youtubers that release content on a variety of schedules. Some release content every couple of weeks. Some release content weekly. Some of the hard-core Youtubers even upload content daily. Those Youtubers are nuts, but they do have some very entertaining content. For me, I plan to release my content at least once a week. I am looking for quantity, my goal is quality. I do understand that if I do not upload content on regular basis, no one will subscribe to my channel.

Plan and Create Good Content

My content will vary and will continually change based not so much on what others do, but what I want to talk about, what I am doing, where I go, and things I find interesting. I don't want to cover photography gear or a lot of techy stuff. I will not be looking for sponsors because sponsors seem to have their own agenda that I may not agree with. I will be doing some limited reviews on products that I use. If I dislike a product I will let my audience know. Most of all I will be honest. I see a lot of creators that started out with great content and as they gained more fame their channels became huge advertising channels. From comments I have read, many subscribers don't like that. I understand the importance of getting paid for reviews by sponsors. However, making money will not be my main objective for building my 2019 Youtube channel. It is all about the content for me. I also plan to do some interviews with subscribers and other creators. I am really looking forward to that.

I just want to create a Youtube channel that hopefully others will find interesting. I am planning for 2019 be to a great productive year.

Until next time!

Roger 

The Power of Post-Processing

In this post, I want to talk about post-processing images. In today's world, everyone is taking photos and doing some type of post-processing of their images. Today it is very easy to use some free or cheap post-processing apps or software to edit your photos. Some apps are very powerful and easy to use. However, it is important to understand not all post-processing apps and software is not the same and you can use a variety of combinations of software to get some amazing effects. The bottom line is, photo post-processing is very important for any photographer. 

So what is photo post-processing? According to Improved Photography, photo post-processing is "When shooting JPEG the camera is doing this for you in a pre-determined way that can't be reversed. When shooting RAW the photographer has to (or gets to) do this on the computer. This cooking of the RAW image using the software on a computer is one form of post-processing". So what can of software can you use to post-process your photos besides smartphone filters? The reality is there are a variety of software products you can use, like Photoshop, Lightroom, Luminar, Arora, etc... Most software products can make a big difference in most images. However, it does take patience, the willingness to learn the software and be willing to invest in some more advanced post-processing software. 

Presets can be very helpful when it comes to improving your images. According to According to Verno Ho Photography,  "a preset is a pre-configured look that you can apply to any number of photos with one click. If you're familiar with using filters in Instagram, VSCO, or any other photo editing application, then you're already familiar with using presets". The great thing about presets is you can get many great presets packages from very experienced photographers and companies. One of my favorite resources for presets bundles is Sleeklens. Sleeklens offers and wide-range of packed presents for Lightroom and Photoshop. They even have training courses to help improve your photography skills. To learn more about Sleeklens presets you can visit Sleeklens . I highly recommend their preset packages and training courses. 

So is there a big difference when you use post-processing software? Why, yes there is. Take a look at this photo of the USS Battleship North Carolina I edited. The image was shot in RAW and edited with two different software post-processing products; Lightroom CC and Aurora HDR. As you can see from the initial original photo the image has no detail and the image is basically a flat unimpressive image. However, if you apply some of the features using a great software program you can dramatically improve the image and make the image come alive. With presets, you can experiment with a variety of looks for an image. If you maintain the original RAW image you can re-edit the image as many times as you like. That is the fun part of post-processing your images. 

Initial RAW Image

Initial RAW Image

After Post-Processing

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Photo-processing can make an image so much better. Filters on smartphones are cool, but nothing compares to software designed specifically to improve your photos. Keep in mind that it is a good idea to try a combination of software programs. It can greatly improve your images. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

 

 

Portraits Sessions With Kids Can Be a Challege, But Rewarding Too

I have stated in the past I believe it is a good thing if a photographer branches out and photograph a wide variety of subjects. I enjoy trying new things that I feel will improve my photography skills no matter what the subject is. Even though I don't do a lot of portrait photography shoots with kids I do enjoy the challenge of photographing them and sometimes the images are awesome. What makes my photo shoots even more challenging for me is I don't like to carry around a lot of gear to do my portrait shoots, especially when trying to chase down "Little Johnny". Kids don't like to sit down to get their photos taken. So, I have to go mobile when photographing kids. That is where the challenge starts. 

I don't mind chasing kids down when photographing them. Walking around observing them and trying to capture unique and unstaged portraits is my main goal for children portrait images. My goal is to get at least one special image for the photo shoot. Sometimes, I may only get one or two special images and sometimes I may get really lucky and get more. Below are four images I took during a photo shoot of a beautiful little girl that was not staged and each photo was taken on her grandparents front porch in the Spring. I believe the photos are unique because they captured the little girl emotions and her expressions were priceless. The cute and colorful outfit was a plus as well. 

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There is a little history behind the images. The images were shot about 7 years ago and taken with my old trusty Canon 60D camera. I wanted to go back and re-edit the old images since my photography post-processing skills have improved over the years. I knew when the images were taken it was important for me to make sure I shot my images in "RAW" which would allow me to work with all the data from each image if I needed to in the future. It is important for any new photographer to remember to shot in RAW when possible. It is always important to save all your images and back them up. You never know when you may want to go back and revisit them and improve the images. You can do that if you shoot in RAW and don't lose them. 

For me, portrait images of little kids can be fun but it requires me to be observant and ready at all times. Kids photo shoots can be short or take longer than most portrait shoots. I always remain myself that I have to disregard time when it comes to photographing kids. I am on their time, not mine.

 It is great to have your own studio to photograph kids and have all the gear you need to take awesome well-planned images of the kids with fancy props, but what is the fun in that? I like the challenge of sneaking up on the kids to get my shots and using the natural environment around me. That is more fun for the kids and a big kid like me. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Preserving Your Old Photos is So Important

I have always loved old photos. The types of photos where there is only one original copy that still exists. One-of-a-kind photos are special and many times are irreplaceable if they are lost or damaged. The sad part is many people don't think about very old photos until they are lost or damaged. Many historic and family photos are usually located in old boxes or still in an old glass frame where the old photo is usually stuck to the glass and can be damaged if you try to remove it. Believe me, I have had my share of photos that were difficult to remove from an old glass frame and several times the print was totally destroyed. 

Today, people don't think too much about photos because we live in a digital world where current photos are easily taken and shared. But for many old photos that are printed and where is only one copy that is not the case. Old photos need to be taken care of, restored (if possible) and most importantly digitalized. If an old photo can be digitalized it can easily be shared and treasured for years to come. Sadly, some people don't think about it until an old historic or family photo is lost forever. 

Below is an old photo I restored for a friend that is no longer with us. He was a mayor of a small town in North Carolina who truly wanted to help preserve the town's history and had me restore several very old photos that were over 75 years old. He only had the originals and wanted the old photos digitalized so they could be shared for many years to come. He understood the importance of restoring old images of the past and took steps to do that. If you look at the old photo and think about it, those people are gone forever and that photo help preserves their life's history and legacy. That is a power of an old image one-of-a-kind image. 

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Do you have old images that need to be restored and digitalized? If you do I suggest you take the time to gather up those old images and have they scanned, enhanced, and stored away. It is important to take the time to do that. I personally gathered up every photo I could find and scanned them so I could preserve them. The tasked took me over 5 days to sit down and scan every image I could get my hands on. It was tedious work but it was worth it. Now I have all my photos backed up and I can share them. Just remember, once an old image is damaged, destroyed, or lost you can never get it back. 

If you have old images you would like restored or if you have old photos that you would like scanned just let me know I can do that for you. I would love to help you preserve your photos and history. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Restoring Faded Memories

Let's face it, everyone these days has a camera and millions of photographs are taken every day. Many photos are forgotten over time and some special photos can become damaged, faded, even worse, lost. Many people fail to remember how precious old photos are. Sadly, many old photos are usually stuffed away somewhere and forgotten. When they are found, that is when reality sets in and some smart owners of the image realize I have on one copy of the image and they need to get their photos restored and digitized. 

Just recently, I was given a couple of photos to restore and to see if I could bring back a little life to the old images. Both photos were over 20 years old and there was only original image for each photo. I really enjoy restoring old images. It is always a fun challenge to make an image better and it is a joy to see the clients or customer's reaction to a restored photo. Now I have to admit that in today's digital age and with access to cheap editing software, it is much easier to make an old photo look a little better, but it often times requires a level of skill, great post-processing software, and a "creative eye" to give an old photo some real life. That is where a good and talented photographer is needed. 

Many people that take photos think that what makes a photo look great is the camera. With today's cameras that is sometimes true. They think the free filters on a phone or iPad is all they need. In most cases, that is correct. But when it comes restoring an old image a little more work is sometimes required.  Old images did not come from a high-quality camera. Many times an old image may have come from a film camera or even worse a camera that would spit out an old paper image you had to shake the image to see it. Who remembers those? 

When I receive an old image it is usually the original print of an image. I actually prefer the old hard copies of images. For the two images, I needed to restore, I needed to scan them. One of the best investments I ever made was the purchase of my own flatbed scanner. As a photographer, I could not work without it. I always scan all old images at 300 dpi. After scanning old images, the real creative process begins. 

Restoring an image requires great software. Most people are only aware of filters they see on their iPhone or iPad. People are not aware of the types of great software that is available to help them enhance a photo. Let's face it, some people could care less about software. They are content with applying some weird filter to an image and passing the work off as a photo restoration success. That is not photo restoration! Understanding how to use post-processing photography software is very important in editing any image. Just ask a photographer. 

Most experienced photographers know they cannot enhance any photo without great software. I use a variety of software applications to enhance all my images. My primary post-processing software is Lightroom. I take advantage of many presets from Sleeklens. I have hundreds of them and I use many of them depending on the look I want for an image. Sleeklens presets gives me a great starting point for my editing process and saves me a great deal of time. Sleeklens is also are a great educational resource to help any photographer improve his or her skills as a photographer. To learn more about them visit presets, products, services, and resources visit;

Below is the original images I worked on and the enhanced versions. Since the original images were over 20 years old I wanted to keep the nostalgic feel of the images, enhance the colors and apply some much-needed sharpening. The best part about providing photo restoration and enhancement services for my clients and customers is the process of providing a digital image for them after the work is done. A digital image of a restored image can then be shared with others and can be available for many years to come. 

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My advice is to find all your old images and a scan them and make sure all your old images are stored in a safe location, preferably, off-site. If you find a nice old image that could use a little work, find a great talented photographer to restore the old image and don't rely on some cheap filters or no-named software to do the job. Remember, one-of-a-kind photos are "priceless". 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Stabilization is Kind of Important for Sharper Images

Every photographer knows that there is more to taking a photo than just clicking a button. There are so many elements to keep in mind when it comes to taking a photo. But, one thing I find not mentioned enough for beginner photographers is the need for stabilization and why it is important to keep in mind when planning a photo shoot. In this post, I will explain how I forgot to keep stabilization in mind on a recent photo shoot at a car show in Greensboro NC called "Cars and Coffee". 

I decided to attend the car show for the first time even though I have lived in Greensboro many years. It is that time of year when I look for photo opportunities and like to photograph beautiful cars. So, I decided to attend the Cars and Coffee event. The event was a pretty big event. When I arrived I had no idea the event was that popular. There were cars and trucks of all types and it was interesting to see the cars and the size of the crowd. 

Prior to my trip, I had to decide what gear I would need for the event. I felt it was important that I took my wide angle lens, new Canon 80D, cell phone for taking a quick video, and my tripod. I even took my 50mm lens. I felt that was all gear I would need. I knew that I would need the wide angle lens and I would have to get fairly close to each vehicle to get a decent shot. My original plan was to use my tripod to help me get some very sharp images. But that did not happen. I decided when I arrived at the location that I was not going to have the luxury to set up for my shots and set a 2-second timer like I normally do. There were way too many people and I knew they were not going to cooperate with that plan. So, I decided to leave my tripod in my vehicle and just shot "hand-held". 

Here is why it is important to remember the type of gear you have and do a little additional planning for any photo shoot. In my case, I had no stabilization. My new Canon 80D does not have stabilization. I knew that. However,  I thought my wide angle lens did. I was wrong about that. You are probably wondering if my tripod would have helped. Yes, it would if I could have used it. The problem was there were too many people around for me to set up properly. That is why I left it in my vehicle. 

So, whose fault was it that I could not get the sharp images I wanted to get? Why that would be me. I did not take into consideration stabilization. All of my lenses have "stablization", except for my wide-angle. I forgot that little detail. So, what did I learn from my experience? I learned I need to do a little more in-depth planning and take into consideration all the obstacles I will have when I get to a location. A car show sounds like it can be an easy location to shoot but it is not. Every car show I have ever attended was very difficult for me and I can imagine it is for many photographers. The conditions can be very challenging. 

I learned that no matter how bad I want to use car photos for my gallery it is not going to happen. There are too many people getting into the shots, many times the sun is directly in your eyes, vehicle's glass causes a great deal of glare, and most car shows are pretty unorganized. The Cars and Coffee Car Show was very unorganized. 

With all that said, there really is no excuse for not properly planning for the car show. I learned a valuable lesson about the need to plan for stabilization issues. I can not blame anyone but me for not getting sharper images from the car show. Below is just one of the images I was able to salvage from the photo shoot with a little help with some Sleeklens presets and Lightroom. It is not a great image but the best one I got. I will do better next time. 

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Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Paper Print vs Metal Print

Have you ever considered a metal print for your home, office, or as a gift? Metal prints are a great option and many people are unaware of how unique metal prints are. Let’s look at what makes metal print a better option over a paper print for an image. 

When it comes to deciding to print an image on metal there are some important factors to consider. The most important thing to consider would be, is the image good enough to be a high-quality metal image? It is a good idea to use an image that was taken with a good camera or have a photographer take the image for you. A good photographer can use post-processing software like Photoshop or Lightroom to make an image detailed enough to put on metal. Plus, a good photographer's skills can come in handy by enhancing an image and making the image quality better for a metal print. The last thing you want to do is put a bad image on metal. 

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Regardless if an image is a beautiful landscape image or portrait image, a great image should contain a high level of sharpness. If an image is not photographed properly and is not sharp the image will not be worth printing on metal. The level of sharpness is very apparent for metal prints. It is important to keep in mind that the level of sharpness should be based on image and the effects used to create the image. It is important to be selective in what images you want to put on metal. Sharpness matters!

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The colors, contrast, and expose of an image is very important. The reason why the three elements are so important is because you want your image to really “pop” and you can make a great image come alive if you have the proper colors levels, contrast settings, and proper exposure for your image. Another factor to consider when printing on metal is the size of the image. Where do you want to hang the image? What should be the appropriate size? As with any image, the quality of the image is affected by the size and detail is lost if you attempt to print an image too large. That is true for any print option. However, many metal images do retain their quality and clarity up to some impressive size options.  

There are some great advantages for printing on metal. One of my favorite things I love about metal prints is they don’t have to be framed and they ready to hang up right out of the box. Framing can be a hassle for some people. Framing a paper print requires finding or ordering an expensive frame, selecting the proper glass, matting, and selecting the right hanging option. Metal prints do not require a frame (but you can frame them), do not require glass and ready to hang up where ever you like. Since you don’t have to frame a metal print, metal prints are lighter in weight. Metal prints are much more durable than other print options. Metal print do not break or bend and they are scratch resistant. Unlike paper prints, metal prints are even waterproof. 

Paper prints and metal prints do differ when it comes to cost. Metal prints do cost more. However, framing a paper print is not cheap. When you factor in the cost of framing, glass, matting and hanging options, the price of a metal print is not so costly. You save time and money in the long run by purchasing a metal print. When I talk to my customers and explain the cost differences between a metal print and paper print, most of my customers go with metal prints over a paper print. 

Metal prints can make a great addition to one’s home decor or office. They also can make a great gift. There are a variety of sizes and shapes to choose from when selecting a metal print. If you have any questions about metal prints, would like one of your images printed on metal, like for me to photograph an image for you, or would like to order a metal print from "The Store" or my "SquaredUp Store", feel free to contact me. Once you see a metal print, you will never want to print on anything else. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce

 

A Beautiful Beaufort Sunset

One of my favorite things about photography is the opportunity and many times luck of capturing a photo when it was not expected. Part of capturing a great image is capturing the correct light without to use of external man-made lighting. As most photographers know the best time to capture beautiful light is usually in the morning or at sunrise. I watch a lot of photography videos and it is funny to me to see a photographer spend all day talking about capturing a great image and he or she actually waits until sunset to take the image. There is a good reason for that. Sunset can provide the best lighting for an image. 

One of my favorite images was taken on the coast of North Carolina in Beaufort, North Carolina. The image was taken right before sunset near a dock with sailboats. My original plan was to take some photos of the boardwalk and the bridge in the area. I was set to take some photos of the bridge and happened to look behind me and noticed a very beautiful yellow and golden sunset behind the sailboats. The reflexion of the boats in the water also made the view very special. I learned a long time ago to always look around for unique images. I learned to always look behind you to see if a nice image is there. Actually, some of my favorite images came from looking behind me and was not my original goal for some photoshoots. 

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The Beaufort Sunset in one of my favorite sunset images. It is not the traditional sunset image but it is very special to me. I love the boats, reflections in the water, and beautiful colors of the sky right before sunset. If you are interested in ordering a metallic paper print or metal print visit “Beaufort Sunset” on my website. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce

Enhancing a Special Image for an Old Friend

One of my favorite things to do in photography is to help an old friend with an old photo. Recently, an old friend sent me an old photo he has taken and wanted to know if the image could be blown up and asked if the quality of the image good enough to have it printed so he could hang the image in his office. He stated the image meant a great deal to him so of course I wanted to help my old friend out. Below is my friends story behind the image;

On my first trip to Amsterdam last April I was able to see some great sites; the famous channels, the thousands of bicycles, buildings, tulips and of course the home of Anne Franks. But it was my excursion to the northeast town of Volendam that made the trip. Volendam is a Dutch town on the Markermeer and is well known for the colorful wooden houses, traditional clothing worn by some of the residents and the old fishing boats in the harbor. The waterfront of the town is packed with seafood vendors, souvenirs shops and restaurants and let me just say the food is awesome. After my meal, I was walking along the waterfront and I wondered what it must be like to sail the open water and what that freedom must feel like. I was also impressed with the many old fishing boats that I had seen and when I saw this particular boat pull into the harbor after a day of fishing I was struck by its beauty and elegance for its age. Much like me this ship is old and still functioning in order for that family to keep fishing. An old boat is still very much the backbone of the family so they are able to provide that daily haul of fish. I took some pictures of the boat as it pulled in because it looked cool in the lighting and moved through the water like it had a purpose. This boat reminded me that even the old have a place in the world – we just have to keep moving with a purpose.  

As I looked at the photo I felt that the image needed some work. My friend sent me an image that had been edited and it had a moody feel to it. So I decided to do some work based on what had already been done. His edited image provided me with a starting point. I knew I was going to start by using some of my favorite presets in Lightroom to begin the editing process. I like to use presets because I feel they give me a quick start to the creative process of editing an image. I have hundreds of presets and my favorite presets are those available through Sleeklens. Sleekens has a variety of great presets for just about any effect I could ask for. I started the post-processing by finding a nice moody preset that would bring out the clouds in the image. The image also needed come clarity, sharpening, exposure corrections, color enhancement, lens corrections, and leveling of the image. My friend also wanted me to suggest what would be the best size for the image. I suggested a 10x20 print so the image would not have to be cropped and so the smaller boats would remain in the image. I also suggested that the image should be printed on metallic paper to bring out the moody colors of the image, depth, and details. Below is the original image and the edited moody image. 

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Original Image

Edited Moody Image

Edited Moody Image

I truly enjoy enhancing old images. I understand that images that may not be a big deal to others are many times very special and have special meanings for others. It was an honor to help out an old friend and I believe the new and improved image will look great in his office. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce

 

Never Stop Learning!

I have always been someone that likes to study others and try to figure out how those that are skilled in a particular art become so highly skilled in their craft. What I have noticed is that many outstanding photographers seem to have a couple of unique qualities; a desire to learn more and drive to become better at their craft. What I have also noticed is great photographers are never really satisfied with their work. I know for me, I continually go back and work on old photos that I took many years ago. I want to make them better. By the way, if you want to go back and work on old images, make sure you shoot in RAW.

It all goes back to never stop learning. For photographers, it is much easier today to improve one's skills. I continually seek to study other photographers to get inspriation and to find out how they created a beautiful or unique image. Today there are so many great photographers who specialized in a variety of styles and I really enjoy that. I enjoy studying photographers who specialize in nature, landscape, and wildlife photography. I even look at wedding photographers work even though I have no desire to photograph a wedding. I don't have the patience for that. For me, it is all about learning and I learn a great deal from other photographers. They do inspire me to do better. 

I have found that a great resource for learning and improving my photography skills is through the use of Youtube. Today, photographers on Youtube provides so much information on products, equipment, software, tips and tricks, webinars, online classes, free tutorials, and so much more. Just this morning I found some great tips and tricks I could use when using Lightroom. The video was from photographer Jamie Windsor who demonstrated 10 great Lightroom features that I could use in the future to help me with my post processing workflow. If you would like to see the video check it out at 10 Lightroom Features Tips. They are pretty cool and can be very useful.

For me, photography is an art form that has no ending and I will never learn everything about photography and that is great. For me, my journey in photography keeps me wanting to learn more and to find out how much I can improve my skills. I have seen over the last few years that my photography has greatly improved. I look back at the images and I had taken in the past and they really were pretty bad compared to what I do now. I want to improve my skills as a photographer. I know to do that requires me to never stop learning and enjoy my journeys as a photographer. That starts will a continued desire and a strong drive to learn more.

Until next time, keep shooting! 

Roger Younce

The Little Things

Over the last few week's I have been exploring and studying other photographer's work and have become very inspired. I have seen photography videos and images showing photographers in beautiful locations all over the world. The images were amazing and I would love to have been able to travel and have the opportunity to take the same photos. Then reality set in. It got me thinking that there are many times things I can shoot that are small, beautiful,  and many times overlooked. We all have a tendency to walk right past very beautiful things with very pretty colors. This past week I set a goal to seek out photo opportunities right in my own back yard. I wanted to see if I could find colors and details in small little things that would make a great image. I wanted to also test out my new Tamron 18-400mm telephoto zoom lens. I was not disappointed. Below are a couple of photos that I shot of very small flowers found locally. I love the detail, colors, and clarity of the images. 

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The reality is, there are so many beautiful images you can shoot right at home if you can't travel. You just need to take the time and make the effort to go explore and get the shot. 

Roger Younce 

Reediting a Not-So-Old Image

As most people know I love waterfalls. I can't get enough of them. When I can't photograph a beautiful waterfall I do the next best thing; I reediting the ones I have. Today was a great day to look through some of my favorite waterfall photos to see if I could work some creative magic on an old image. I decided to work on a small but beautiful waterfall called the Mountain Meadows Falls. My objective was to use a combination of Lightroom CC and Luminar to edit the image. Here lately, I have started my editing process by beginning with Luminar. Luminar provides me with a nice baseline to start my edits. Some of the presets are great for landscapes and provides some creavity options to work with. 

Mountain Meadows Falls is a simple waterfall in North Carolina and the location provides a nice hidden type of mood to the image. I wanted to focus on the rock formations and the beautiful flowing water from the falls. After I found a nice preset in Luminar I exported the image to Lightroom and used a couple of my favorite presets from Sleeklens. Sleeklen presets are awesome and there many preset packages to choose from to get the look I wanted for the waterfall. I think the image turned out great and judging from the positive feedback from my socials media channels, the image was a hig hit.  

 

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Mountain Meadows Falls. 

Until next time, keep shooting. 

Roger  

Photography is All About Trying New Things

When it comes to growing as a photographer it is important to remember that you are never as talented as you think you are. Being a master photographer is not possible because being a master means you make no mistakes and requires perfection, which doesn't exist. Talented photographers want to become better at their craft. Growing as a photographer requires the willingness to try new things. Trying new things can mean trying new gear, learning from others, learning new techniques, using new software, taking an adventure, etc...Basically, trying new things can be an endless task and that is alright. It is all about the journey and the destination is just a bonus. 

In my journey as a photographer I have realized that I make a lot of mistakes and I know very little about photography. Do I want to know everything about photography? The answer to that is, no. What I do know is I enjoy learning new things and trying to make my old work better. Believe me, I really hate a lot of my old images. I look back at my images and can see just how terrible my photos were. I am glad that I am able to see some improvements of my work every year. The key for me is to keep shooting, try new things, and learn from my mistakes. 

In a recent photo shoot at Hanging Rock State Parkway in North Carolina I wanted to see if I could get a better image of the Lower Cascade Falls. I have been there several times and I really enjoy visiting the waterfall. However, I have never really liked the images I had taken there in the past. My goal was to take several images of the waterfall and try some new workflow ideas with the newest images. I had a pretty good idea or what style of image I want to create. However, as with all my post processing sessions, I have no idea how the photo is really going to come out. For me, that is the fun part. 

The Lower Cascade waterfall is a small one but the amount of water was very good due to recent heavy rains. I wanted to get to the waterfall before the visitors started showing up and trying to swim at the base of the falls. You can see by the image that the waterfall has a lot of rocks that visitors love to climb, which is not a very smart idea. Luckily for me, the water was too cold and no one wanted to take a quick dip.

I decided to take most of my gear in my new camera bag and my tripod for the shoot. I wanted to make sure I had all the gear I needed for any shot. I took a variety of shots but my composition choices were limited. I was able to get a couple of nice images I could work with. After returning home, my objective was to work on a completely different workflow to see if I could produce a better image than I had taken before. That is the trying new things part.

Part of trying new things in photography for me consisted of doing some irregular post processing. I shoot all my images in RAW and on this occasion I did some bracketing. My post processing consisted of using Lightroom, Photomatic and presets from Sleeklens. I am a big fan of presets and collect as many as I can. Presets saves me a lot of time in processing and gives me a great baseline start to work with. For my image I used bracketed photos of the waterfall, used Photomatic to get a slight HDR effect and then applied a nice preset. My goal was to create an image that had an artistic feel to it. I wanted clarity, sharpness, and color. Below is the before and after photos of the Lower Cascade WaterFall. The first image is straight out of the camera with no possessing. The after photo was the look I was going for.  As far as I am concern it turned out pretty nice.

Lower Cascade Falls (Before)

Lower Cascade Falls (Before)

Lower Cascade Falls (After)

Lower Cascade Falls (After)

Photography is all about trying new things and finding out what works for you and your style. I feel one should work on developing a style that is all your own and never listen to critics. Better yet, don't be a critic. I feel it is very important to continue to learn something new whenever you can. You never know how much better you will be next year by trying something new, so keep shooting.

Roger  

Sometimes You Have to Go Back

As a photographer, I have not always liked the photos I have taken. I actually delete a lot of my photos and I am not one to keep thousands of photos that I will never use. Telling people I have thousands of photos is not a "badge of honor" for me. To me, I would rather have 100 great photos than 10,000 worthless photos. As I sometimes review my past images I have a great desire to go back and conduct another photo shoot at the same location. I want to see if I can produce a much better image than the last time. In most cases, I do.   

One reason I am able to create a better image is through the process of time, study and experience. I look back at some of my old images and I have to admit, most were not that great by my standards. Luckily for me, my standards have improved and that is a good thing. I have learned more about photography over the years. I have learned more about my camera, composition, lighting, post processing and how to use some important accessories like filters. My photography has improved because I have taken a more proactive approach to studying other photographers work, listen to photography podcast and even taken advantage of a endless access to photography channels using Google and YouTube

What I have learned over time is sometimes I have to take the time to look back at my work and ask myself, can I do better with the knowledge and experience I have now, and can I capture a better image I can be satisfied with? The answer to that question for me is, yes and no. Yes, I can create a better image and no, I will probably never be really satisfied. If I was satisfied I would not try to improve my photography skills even more. That would not be a good thing. Let's face it, most photographers are never really satisfied with their images. 

For me, I will be going back to some locations to get a better image. I have actually started creating a list of places I need to go back and visit for another photo shoot. I need to. Frankly, I am tired of looking at the same old images and the ones that are not up to my standards. The only way to get a better image is go back and do it all over again. Not as a task I feel I have to complete, but as one I want to complete for myself. So, if you find yourself not liking your old images or tired of look at images you took years ago, think about going back to some old previous visited locations to get more images. It may do your photography soul some good. 

Roger's Tip: Stop telling yourself you need to take more photos. Tell yourself, I will go get more photos. 

Until next time, keep shooting,  

Roger