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Photographer Profiles is a regular series on our blog in which we highlight photographers whose works we admire. We will feature photographers from all over the world — award winners, authors, artists, teachers, and more. 

Mohan has traveled to all seven continents and has captured beautiful landscape scenes from every corner of the world. His work is currently on display in our gallery -- large-scale landscapes printed on metal -- and he will be speaking about his work and signing copies of his book on Wednesday, April 23  from 7-9pm. More information and registration for this special event by clicking here to visit our website.

Cherry Blossoms at Sunrise, Yoshino Japan
Cherry Blossoms at Sunrise, Yoshino Japan

1. How did you first get started in photography?

My father was a photographer and I got my first camera as my birthday gift at the age of 8. I’ve been shooting ever since.

2. What is your favorite subject to photograph?

 I am primarily a landscape photographer but I also enjoy people photography.

3. Who are a couple of your favorite photographers (past or present)?

 I don’t have a favorite photographer in mind.  But every photographer from a level of amateur to a professional teaches me something that I don’t know.  I am always willing to learn!

Patagonia at Sunrise, El Chalten National Park in Argentina
Patagonia at Sunrise, El Chalten National Park in Argentina

4. Canon or Nikon?

For my film photography I use the Panorama Horseman 617 and Leica M6.  For my digital photography I use Leica M240.

5. What are three pieces of equipment you are never without (aside from your camera, of course)?

Tripod, my 21mm Leica lens, and extra batteries.

6. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given about pursuing photography?

Use the “golden hour” to shoot your landscapes. The “golden hour” is the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunsets. 

7. What is the most exciting project you’ve ever gotten to work on?

To share my photography, my passion, my experience and my philosophy in all seven continents through the publication of my book, Seven Continents.

Lavender Fields, France
Lavender Fields, France

If you would like to learn more about Mohan's work, stop by our gallery to view his photos in the next two weeks, and sign up to attend his Pro Talk on April 23! Registration and more information by clicking here.

Shooting At Extremes –Photographing Backstage
By Duane Cassone 

I like to push the limits and photography is no exception. From dark sky star trails, to drag racing, to backstage at the ballet. I recently shot a ballet production, and although it was definitely a challenge it resulted in arresting rewards.

Elizabeth

 Here, I had the chance to capture special backstage moments as opposed to the typical shots as seen from the audience. I've always been keen on alternative points of view where special access is required to even have the chance at creating an image with a different point of view. Well, here it was!

I have fond memories of my grandmother taking me backstage during plays at a local theater.  I remember the hustle and bustle as performers silently yet expeditiously prepared for their parts. There were the scene changes, coordination, the curtains, and of course – the lights.  What a challenge the lights are to work with. Harsh, random, ever changing in-your-face-lights! Impossible to keep up with, the lights made exposure control a real challenge.

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Matrix metering, with function buttons set to override to spot meter on demand, made amazing images possible in these extreme lighting conditions. The High ISO opportunities on my Nikon D800 gave low light with no flash a real viable chance to succeed. I shot with the Nikon 70-200mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, and (believe it or not) 300mm 2.8.

This was truly an exercise of equipment and skills and not nearly as possible without quality lenses, a good camera body, and some sense of how to execute these shots. I also realized the limits of the 4 frames /sec limit on the D800 and quickly envied those other bodies with up to 12 fps.

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It’s interesting how the perspective from side stage is so different from the audience view.  Performers are trained to engage the audience, and not the photographer on the sidelines.  The dynamic is different and I had to think about capturing people moments, not show moments.

The largest take-away was how much I had to push my camera to its extreme to capture as many decent images as I did. Hmmm… perhaps it’s time I share my tricks with a course on Extreme Photography! Interested?

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*For more images, visit https://www.facebook.com/CassonePhotography
**D
uane is leading our upcoming Star Trails & Creative Night Photography workshop at Joshua Tree. Click here to check it out. He'll also  be teaching a workshop on Creative Vintage Portraits, and you can read more about that by clicking here.

We often have aspiring photographers come into the store and ask for help designing a curriculum to fit their particular photographic interests. A popular request is landscape photography — what types of classes can you take to become a better landscape photographer in 3-4 months?

Here’s a recommended schedule of classes and workshops, starting you off with the basics and ending up with an amazing photo trip that will get you out in the world and inspire you to put your new skills to good use.

Where to start? If someone came into the store right now and asked me for a recommended schedule, this is what I would offer them:

The "WOW!" Pictures

landscape photography

This is our most popular beginner level class. It doesn't focus specifically on landscapes, but it's an excellent introduction to thinking like a pro and stepping up your photography from "good" to "GREAT." It will put you in the right mindset to start taking better landscape photos in your everyday life.

Upcoming sessions: Sat, October 19, 9-11am.

Photo Walk: Polarizing and Gradient Filters at Signal Hill

landscape photography

A photo walk is the perfect opportunity to practice landscape photography. It gets you out of the classroom and in the middle of actual landscapes, which is pretty helpful. During this particular walk, learn about how filters can drastically improve the quality of your photos. Filters can add color, create depth, and add richness to otherwise washed-out photos on really sunny or gloomy days.  Learn about polarizing filters, gradient filters, color filters, and more!

Upcoming session: Saturday, October 19, 1-4pm

HDR Photography

hdr photography

This class is for anyone ready to take their landscape photography to the next level. Instead of choosing between exposing for highlights or exposing for shadows, HDR lets you have the best of both worlds. Create an HDR image from several different images taken at different exposure levels and stitch them together to create a scene that more closely resembles the image you imagined taking in your head.

Upcoming session: Wednesday, October 16, 7-9pm

Mastering Lightroom or Getting Started with Photoshop Elements 11

landscape photography

A solid editing program is essential to any photographer's repertoire. Many photographers use both Lightroom and Photoshop Elements, depending on what they want to accomplish with their photos. We have two separate series running on different days of the week so that you don't need to choose which program to learn -- you can easily master both! Each series is broken down into four classes.

Upcoming sessions:
Photoshop Elements: Thursday nights, 7-9pm, October 10, October 17, October 24, November 7
Mastering Lightroom: Saturdays, 10am-1pm, October 26, November 2, November 16 (2-5pm), November 23

Yosemite Fall Photo Adventure

landscape photography

What better place to find inspiration for beautiful landscape photos than one of the USA's most beautiful national parks? Photographers of all skill levels are welcome on our fall photo trips, where we take advantage of the colorful fall foliage and moody weather to capture some really captivating shots.

Upcoming session: November 14 - 17, 2013

Ireland Photo Adventure

landscape photography

Now that you've gotten some practice during one of our "local" photo trips, come abroad with us as we experience one of the most magical and enchanting landscapes of all: Ireland. We'll spend equal amounts of time in the city and countryside, soaking up as much culture and history and scenery as we can. Be one of the first photographers to come with us on our first ever trip to this wonderful country!

Upcoming session: May 28- June 6, 2014

**Click on any of the class titles for more information or to register

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The end of the year will be here sooner than we think, and our 2013 series are wrapping up.

October and November are your last chances for photo classes before the holidays, as many of our series are over by December. If you have a camera that you don't know how to work but want to be able to take pictures of your family over the holidays, hop into one of our popular Beginner series classes before it's too late!

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Our First Look classes are designed for beginning photographers with either pocket cameras, Canon DSLRs, or Nikon DSLRs. Bring your camera to class and we'll show you how to get started.

Our Getting Started classes are organized by genre: portrait photography, action photography, travel photography, and so on. Once you've taken a First Look class and have learned the basics of your camera functions, try a few Getting Started classes to learn the techniques behind each type of photography.

October Schedule

Thursday, October 10: First Look: Digital Canon SLR. 10am-12pm. Learn to set up and shoot your Canon DSLR camera. Bring your camera to class and we'll go over all of the settings, functions, and terms associated with taking good pictures.

Thursday, October 17: Big Game Hunting With Your Camera, 7-9pm. Get started with the basics of animal and wildlife photography! The perfect class to get you prepped for joining us at the LA Zoo Photo Day on November 3 and our Photo Safari in Kenya in August 2014.

Thursday, October 17: First Look: Digital Pocket Camera, 10am-12pm. Bring your camera to class and we'll show you what each button does, which settings are important, and how to make the most of your camera's functions.

Saturday, October 19: The WOW Pictures, 9-11am. This is one of our most popular Beginner classes and it will give you a few key tips for turning your pictures from just "ok" into stunners that will impress your friends and family.

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Sunday, October 20: Capture the Action, 10am-12pm. Get started with sports and action photography! You may be sitting on the sidelines but that doesn't mean you have to stay outside of the action.

Monday, October 21: Faces, Family, and Friends, 7-9pm. Learn to make incredible portraits of friends, family, and even strangers! We'll share a few easy secrets that will put you on track to take awesome photos of family and friends this holiday season.

Saturday, October 26: First Look: Digital Nikon SLR, 9-11am. Learn how to set up and starting shooting with your Nikon DSLR camera. We'll go over the basic settings and functions and prep you with everything you need to know to break out of "Auto" mode.

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We often have aspiring photographers come into the store and ask for help designing a curriculum to fit their particular photographic interests. One of the most popular requests is portrait photography -- what types of classes can you take to become a better portrait photographer in 3-4 months?

Here's a recommended schedule of classes and workshops, starting you off with the basics and ending up with an amazing photo trip that will get you out in the world and inspire you to put your new skills to good use.

Where to start? If someone came into the store and asked me right now, this is the schedule I would offer them:

Faces, Family, and Friends

portrait photography

This is one of our most popular Beginner level classes, and that's probably because it covers one of our universally favorite topics: our loved ones. Learn how to get started visualizing a great portrait shot and becoming comfortable with having real, living people as your subjects. Sometimes we can get shy behind the camera, especially when our subject seems uncomfortable, and so this class will help you start to become more comfortable in your new professional portraiture skin.

Upcoming sessions: Monday, October 21, 7-9pm.  Monday, November 25, 7-9pm.

Alternative Portraits Series

vintage portrait

This series is excellent for beginners trying to figure out which type of portrait photography most interests them, or more advanced photographers trying to learn a new skill and challenge themselves creatively. Classes occur once a month and focus on a different type of photography each time: vintage portraits, kids portraits, group portraits, business portraits, romantic portraits, and pet portraits.

Upcoming sessions: Classic portraits on Saturday, October 12, 9am-12pm.  Kids Portraits on Saturday, November 9, 2-5pm.  Group Portraits on Tuesday, December 3, 7-9pm.

Intermediate Indoor Portraiture

indoor portrait

Our Intermediate series breaks down some of the most popular genres of photography into easy to learn, manageable sessions. Each session usually has four classes, and each class occurs once a month and lasts for two hours. Our Intermediate Indoor Portraiture series covers topics like Natural Lights Portraits, On-Camera Flash, and Studio Lighting. Look out for tips about candid portraits, wedding photography, fashion photography, and more coming to the 2014 Intermediate calendar!

Upcoming sessions: Mondays: October 7, November 4, December 2. All from 7-9pm.

Creative Light Workshops with Glynn Lavender

glynn lavender

These are three in-depth, hands-on, and extremely fun workshops that will be exciting and challenging no matter your skill level. Our workshops are usually longer than classes, anywhere from 3-8 hours, so that you can really spend some time focusing on a specific skill or technique until you're sure that you've mastered it. Often our workshops are taught by guest instructors, as these three will be -- Glynn Lavender is coming in from Australia to bring us his decades of experience, his unbeatable eye for the creative, and his sometimes irreverent but always entertaining humor.

Upcoming sessions: Creative Light at Sunset (photo shoot at the beach) on October 11, 5-8pm; Natural Light Portraits on October 12, 1-6pm; Creative Flash Workshop on October 13, 12pm-5pm

LA Arts District and Craft Beer Tour

portrait photography

Learning a new skill is one thing, but integrating it into your life on a regular basis after you've learned it is another. Join us for one of our Photo Adventures either at home or abroad and see your new hobby in action. On November 10 we're heading to downtown Los Angeles to photograph the lively and colorful streets, and it will be the perfect opportunity to get some practice with photographing people going about their daily business. You'll also be able to borrow and test out equipment from Zeiss, Sony, and Fuji, to prepare you for the next stage of your portraiture education: upgrading to all of the fun accessories.

Upcoming sessions: Sunday, November 10. 1pm-8:30pm

**You can click on the title of any of these classes for more information and to register.

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Photographer Profiles is a regular series on our blog in which we highlight photographers whose works we admire. We will feature photographers from all over the world -- award winners, authors, artists, teachers, and more. 

lynne eodice

Photographer Profile: Lynne Eodice

Lynne is a photographer, author, and former editor hailing from southern California. She is the former features editor for Peterson's PHOTOgraphic and has contributed her photos to a variety of publications: DoubleExposure.com, Rangefinder, California Tour & Travel, and Family Photo magazines, and to takegreatpictures.com.

She was very kind to take a moment and answer a few questions for us so that we can learn about her process and use her experiences as inspiration for our own photos! Lynne will be teaching two classes at PAUL'S in October: Architectural Photography on Tuesday, October 2, from 7-9pm, and Road Trip America on Saturday, October 19 from 10am-12pm.

1. How did you first get started in photography? 

My husband gave me my first SLR camera for one of our anniversaries back in the '80s. (His actual motivation was to use it, because he thought that I never would.) Later that year, we went on a road trip and I fell in love with travel photography. I've been hooked ever since!

2. What is your favorite subject to photograph?

I have several favorite subjects -- landscapes, architecture, and animals.

lynne eodice

3. Who are a couple of your favorite photographers (past or present)?

I admire a great many photographers, but my current favorites are Joyce Tenneson for her intriguing portrayals of women and William Neill for his beautiful landscape work.

4. Canon or Nikon?

I shoot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

5.  What are three pieces of equipment you are never without (aside from your camera, of course)?

My Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom, a 20mm f/2.8 prime, and Tiffen Skylight (protective) filters.

lynne eodice

6. What is the best advice about pursuing photography you've ever received?

The best advice I've been given about pursuing a career in photography was to also sharpen my writing skills. Writing and photography has led to editorial jobs with several magazines, as well as free-lance assignments where text and photography were important.

7. What is the most exciting project you've ever gotten to work on?

One project that stands out is when I hiked and photographed "The Wave" at Coyote Buttes North in Utah. I was an editor for Petersen's PHOTOgraphic at the time, and had a how-to story published in the magazine on "Photographing Canyon Splendors."

lynne eodice

To learn more from Lynne, check out her workshops coming up at the Creative Photo Academy this October. You can also visit her website and view more of her photos by clicking here.

Lightroom: The Photographer’s Tool
Mark Comon & Michael Pliskin

Editing your photos in the digital age is a necessity.  Photographers have many choices in editing software, from Lightroom to Photoshop to Photoshop Elements, and even more! It's hard to keep all of these programs straight and figure out which one is the best for your particular style of photography.

Lightroom is an extremely popular choice among many established photographers. The interface is quite intuitive, yet it offers the power to accomplish so many things with your photos in just one program: you can store, sort, edit, add captions and watermarks, and share your photos online or prepare to share them in print.

Lightroom is broken down into a few basic modules, or sections. Library Module is ideal for importing, filing and sorting your photos.  You can create a database of your photos.  The Develop Module is all about “darkroom” work.  Cropping, exposure and color corrections, plus selectively lightening & darkening your photos to make them perfect.  The Map, Book, Slideshow, Print and Web modules are all about sharing your photos… whether in print or on the web.

lightroom tips

 

Lightroom Tips for Beginners & Advanced Photographers from Michael Pliskin

For Beginners: Since I started using Adobe Lightroom for my Digital RAW photo workflow, I rarely need to use Photoshop for most of my work.  Lightroom creates a searchable, visual library-database of my photos and allows me to easily process and enhance the raw images with the Develop module.

I can then make prints, proof sheets, package prints (like the old school photos with a large image and a bunch of wallet size ones), greeting cards, photo books, web galleries and slideshows directly from within Lightroom. I can export jpgs to Facebook, Flickr or other online social media with ease and relative simplicity.

For more advanced photographers: Did you know that you can easily and automatically create a sharpening mask in the Lightroom Develop Module's Detail panel to limit sharpening to only the edges of the objects in your photo?  By doing this, you will also not  be sharpening unwanted noise and grain.

1. In the Navigator window in the upper left of the screen, select the 1:1 view mode to enlarge your image to fill size.

2. Hold down the Option or Alt key while moving the Masking slider in the Detail panel. You will see the smooth or solid color areas of the image turn black, while the detailed areas and edges of details remain white.

3. Stop moving the slider when all the solid color or non-detailed areas of the image are black. (Usually when the sliders is somewhere between 40 and 60.)  The sharpening will then be applied to only the areas in white on the mask.  (The basic rule of Masks is "Black hides; White reveals")

Get started with Lightroom on September 8, 15, or 29 in one of our in-depth workshops with Michael Pliskin. For more details and to register, click here.

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Black and white photography is, in a word, elegant. It's a particularly nostalgic form of photography, reminding us of a time when black and white was the only option for photos, before digital cameras, HDR, photo-editing software, and iPhones were around. Here instructor Mark Crase explains why we still choose to create photos in black and white instead of (or in addition to) color, how certain photographers have inspired him personally, and what exactly photographers today should keep in mind when they decide to venture into the world of black and white.

1. Why choose to make a photo in black & white as opposed to color?

Black & white reduces the image into its essence: subject, composition and light.  There is no color to dazzle or distract from those basic elements.  It forces the photographer to clearly identify the subject, see and understand the light, and create strong compositions.  Ironically, for that reason, creating black & white images can also be quite liberating.  When the colors in an image are off, they can become a distraction.  When working with black, white and all of the shades of gray in between, the photographer/artist has more freedom to create the image they want, and not be limited by needing to match what looks "natural."

Oh, and it's just fun to look at the world in a different way!

black and white photography

2. Which black & white photographers have had the biggest impact on your work personally?

Since color was not a practical option for photographers until the mid-1930's, and color printing was not widely affordable until the 1980's, black & white was the de facto standard, and a massive body of work was created.  Because of this, many black & white photographers were positioned to influenced those of us that have followed.  For example, masters such as Henri Cartier Bresson, and Ansel Adams are universally acknowledged as important.  However, two have resonated with me on a more personal level...

*   Dorothea Lange.  Her work photographing the victims of the Dust Bowl and Great Depression was compelling both artistically and as social commentary.  Just as important to me, was her acknowledgement that such photography was somewhat unnatural, put her in difficult, uncomfortable situations, and had to be worked at.  Additionally, she recognized that "the camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."  Both of these sentiments have been true in my experience, and she has inspired me to work harder to get past the same challenges.

*   Julius Shulman.  I enjoy photographing architecture, and Julius Shulman was a master of it.  He shot in both black & white and color, but he created a number of iconic B&W images of Mid-century modern architecture right here in Southern California.  He was also still shooting well into his 90's (he died in 2009 at the age of 98).  How can one not be impressed by that?!

black and white photography

3. What is one tip for photographers trying to achieve expert black & white photos?

You will be shooting in color, and converting to black and white later on your computer so...

Slow down, and think about the image you want to create.

*   Consider your subject.  How is it lit?

*  See the light.  What direction is it coming from?  Are the transitions between light and shadow harsh or soft?

*  Compose with a purpose.  Where is the subject?  Where are the shadows and highlights?  Where do you want to show detail?  Where will shadows and highlights without detail be acceptable?

*  Then expose with care so you capture the image you have in your mind's eye!

 

Mark Crase will be teaching an Intermediate Black & White series beginning Saturday, September 7 and continuing one Saturday per month until December. Details and registration information can be found by clicking here.

Creating depth in a scene is essential to mastering landscape photography. Here Mark Comon uses his annual trip to Monument Valley as an example of choosing the perfect location, creating depth with light and perspective, and ultimately coming away with great photos every year. 

Monument Valley

Creating Depth in Landscape Photography
Mark Comon

We have all seen great landscape photos…. Which is your favorite famous scenic photo? Ansel Adams’ Half Dome, Merced River, Winter comes to mind. That photo and most of your favorites will have one common bond, the creation of depth in the photo to draw the viewer into the scene.  A photograph is two dimensional and we have to build the illusion of the third dimension with the use of light, lens and aperture.

Monument Valley

In a stunning location like Monument Valley, many people think it’s simple to create stunning photos.  Use of light to create a deeper picture is paramount.  Using the shadows on the dunes and sunlight on the Totem is a classic technique.

From Hunt’s Mesa it’s imperative to build a foreground and background.  From a great distance a telephoto lens is used to stack the elements into an effective composition.

Monument Valley

The Ear of the Wind is an impressive feature, but when the rider and sheep are included the photo can become quite special.  Controlling the amount of focus (depth of field) by choosing a moderate aperture gives you  the three dimensional effect you're looking for.

**Mark and the Creative Photo Academy will be headed back to Monument Valley this October. You can read more about that trip by clicking here

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Wouldn't it be lovely if there was a button you could press to go back in time and fix any mistakes you'd made at some point in your life? Until that time comes, we can practice with the Undo History palette in Photoshop Elements 11. Here instructor Michael Boeger explains how to make the most of this function when you think you may have edited the photo a little too much.

Use the Photoshop Elements Undo History Palette to Revert to a Previous State in Your Image
By Michael Boeger

photoshop elements paul's photo

The Undo History palette can be a lifesaver if you realize you made some changes to your current image that you want to get rid of. Of course, if it was just the last change you made, you can press Control+Z (Mac: Command+Z) to undo it.

But if it's a few changes back you would have to start all over again -- unless you were familiar with the Undo History palette. You access the palette when in Full Edit by going under the Window menu and checking Undo History.

Each time you perform an operation that actually changes the pixels of your photo it gets added to the bottom of the Undo History palette. So your most recent change is at the bottom and your oldest change is at the top. Photoshop Elements won't add things like changing tools or changing zoom which don't affect the pixels.

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To go to a previous state, just start pushing up the slider located on the left of the palette until you get to where you want to revert to. You can also just click on the state you want to go to. When you go to a previous state all the states below it will be grayed-out. You can return to any of those states by clicking on it or by using the slider. Once you perform a new operation you lose the option to return to a grayed-out state and you will begin from the currently selected state.

Notice at the very top of the palette is a thumbnail of your image as it appeared when you first opened it, with its name next to it. By clicking on the thumbnail and then on the bottom state you can see the before and after of your image. If you click on the thumbnail and then perform an operation without returning to a previous state it will be like starting all over because your previous actions will be lost.

Become familiar with this feature as I guarantee you will use it often. It's a great tool to help go back in time and correct any mistake you may have made.

Have fun!

**Looking for more help with photo editing? Michael will be teaching a Photoshop Elements 11 workshop series here at PAUL'S on Monday evenings from 7-9pm starting August 19. Click here for more information.