Using Photoshop and Camera Raw to produce HDR images

I have had a few requests asking me to show you how to use Photoshop and Camera Raw to create great HDR images, like I showed with using Lightroom. (click here if you missed that!)

So I have made a new video tutorial for you.

I suggest you follow these steps to get the best viewing experience for the tutorials:
1.Click on the movie and immediatley hit the pause on the lower left
2. Go to the "gear" icon and change the quality setting to 1080p
  3. Go to icon in lower right and click Fullscreen - the movie will now fill your screen in HD

 4. Click the Play arrow in lower left

 5. When done hit the Escape key

 6. Enjoy!



Using Lightroom to Tone Map your HDR Images


In this video blog I am going to show you how you can use Lightroom to process your HDR images! As you may know I am a big fan of using PhotomatixPro to process my HDR images, and I have done tutorials and articles on how I do this using the “Black and White Method” (see the article “Using Photomatix Pro HDR software from NANPA Currents” found on, but the controls in Photomatix are hardly intuitive. And if you have tried using Photoshop's built in “Merge to HDR Pro”, you know those controls are not a lot better! A lot of us are familiar with the processing tools found in both Photoshop’s Camera Raw and Lightroom. Now with the update to Lightroom 4.1 (not 4.01 like I say in the movie!) and higher you can now process 32 bit TIFF images using Lightroom’s controls. This will change the way you process HDR images, but I must tell you, you can only use this method if you want to get realistic looking images. If you want the more illustrative look you will have to go elsewhere. So sit back, relax and watch this 13 min tutorial on how to use both PhotomatixPro or Photoshop to create HDR images that you can then tone map with Lightroom!
Please watch this short movie to see how to best view the tutorial – it will help!!!

Using Lightroom to Tone Map your HDR Images


Adobe Offers!

I want to inform you of two offers from Adobe that you may not be aware of, the first is Adobe Cloud ( and Adobe Painting Assistant.
The first offer, Adobe Cloud is a service where you purchase a membership as either a month to month plan or an annual subscription and have access to all the programs available in the Creative Suite along with Lightroom 4 and other programs. Adobe describes Creative Cloud as “Adobe Creative Cloud is a digital hub where you can explore, create, share, and deliver your work using any of the Adobe Creative Suite® desktop tools, Adobe Photoshop® Lightroom® 4*, and new applications like Adobe Muse™ and Adobe Edge preview. Creative Cloud also includes new Internet-based services† and enables the delivery of high-impact content experiences such as interactive websites and stunning digital magazines. By offering connectivity with Adobe Touch Apps‡, headlined by Adobe Photoshop Touch, Creative Cloud enables a mobile workflow, from ideation to publishing, to bring the power of Adobe innovation to iPads and Android™ tablets. Creative Cloud gives you freedom to create, offering immediate and ongoing access to industry-­defining tools and technologies, to serve a vibrant worldwide community of creative talent.”
Until Aug 31st you can join for just $29.99 a month with an annual subscription if you have a qualified registered CS3, CS4, CS5, CS5.5, or CS6 individual product or suite edition and sign up through Adobe directly. I think this may be a good option for some of you so check it out at the link above!
The second offering is even better because it is free!! Russell Brown, Senior Creative Director at Adobe has released the Painting Assistant Panel, which is a Panel that takes you through a series of steps and makes it easy for you to turn photos into painting! One note, you really need a graphics tablet to make this work and ideally a Wacom tablet.
One word of caution – Once you download this you will spend a lot of time playing! It is way too much fun.
Here are some examples I have worked on in the last few days. Needless to say, work has suffered! Enjoy!  To see more click here.


Fireworks Fun!


In the spirit of 4th of July I thought I would make a little movie showing you how to composite fireworks images against new backgrounds. That way if you get some good fireworks images this holiday, you can then go photograph some good night scenes in which to place the fireworks. So watch the movie to learn about Blend Modes, Free Transform and Layer Masks for compositing fireworks images!
Happy Holiday!
Here is the video. I recommend you click on the words YouTube in the lower right to view this on YouTube

and when on YouTube click on the middle icon to make it larger

and when on YouTube also click on the Change Quality setting go to 720p.


All training DVDs updated to current versions!

If you want to learn the new features in Lightroom and Photoshop, now is the time! I have finally finished updating all my Lightroom and Photoshop training DVDs to the latest version of Adobe products, making it easier for you to master the ins and out os the new verions. Lightroom is current to version 4 and the all the Photoshop discs are CS6. 
Most of the new features in Photoshop are found on the second set of discs including Video Editing, Content Aware Move, the changes to the Patch Tool, Oil Paint, Adaptive Wide Angle, Blur Gallery, and more. The interface changes, new Preferences and changes to Adobe Camera Raw are covered in the first set, disc one. For more information go to:
In celebration of completing the discs I am offering a 20% discount through June 30th! The coupon code is: cs6intro
Take care,


Artistic License


When I go around the country giving my lectures, as a Canon Explorer of Light, one of my topics is Light, Color and Composition. During the talk I mention how your light meter is just a guide, and that you, the photographer, is in control over how your image should look. I show examples of what happens when you purposely under and over expose your images to achieve certain results. And now with the digital darkroom we have even more lead way for controlling that exposure after the fact. So as I was preparing some images for my first ever wildlife image gallery exhibit, I took my own advice. I was working with an image I took of an arctic wolf this past winter, while I was leading a Canon Live Learning workshop to the Triple D Game Farm to photograph captive wildlife.
While I was processing the image of the white wolf against the white snow, I wanted to push the exposure and blow out all the detail in the snow and most of the detail in the wolf. When I got the exposure to + 4 stops I turned my arctic wolf into of a high key line drawing of the wolf that just accented the eyes and nose of the animal and used the shadows and whiskers as accents and forms that sculpted the shape of the head. (See screen shot of settings used) To me this image held more of the “essence” of the wolf then the “normal” conveyed. It just reminded me to heed my own advice and remember that I get to be the one that decides how my images will look. I hope you follow that advice as well!
On another topic, I am almost finished updating all my Photoshop training DVDs to CS6. I have finished 6 of 8 discs and hope to finish the rest next week! I’ll keep you posted.
Tech info on picture: Canon 1DM4, Canon 100-400mm L lens @360mm, 1/250 at f/9, ISO 400, Cotton Carrier Steady Shot, Lexar CF card.
Here are the processing settings:
 Take care,


Lightroom 4 DVD complete!!!!!


The marathon is over!! I have been working 15 hour days since the release of Lightroom 4 to complete my training DVD and I am now finished!
The new “Photographer’s Toolbox for Lightroom” is now complete with over seven hours of video training on all aspects of the program including the new features found in the Develop, Map and Book modules. Learn how to set up your preferences, create a Develop Preset, Import, Export, keyword, search, map, build a book, create a slideshow, build a custom print layout, and create a custom web gallery and much more!
I am having an introductory sale from now through March 31st, 2012. Get 20% off with the coupon code LR4INTRO (Case sensitive) on my website. Click here to order.


Creating a watermark with an Action

I had a request from someone to create a video on how I make my transparent watermarks, so I created the video and also show how to make the process an Action so you can just hit a button and make it happen!
Here is the video. I recommend you click on the words YouTube in the lower right to view this on YouTube

and when on YouTube click on the middle icon to make it larger

and when on YouTube also click on the Change Quality setting go to 720p.

I hope you enjoy the video and remember to go to: and check out all my training options!
Happy Holidays,


Random Challenge 12/15/11


I have put a new twist on my Random Challenges! I have made them a video tutorial so you can watch and learn from how I process my images.
In today’s challenge I take this image of a Tibetan dancer
And turn it into this image

Enjoy the tutorial and let me know what you think of the new format.

When watching the video click on the YouTube icon in lower right and on YouTube click the Large Player option  (the middle of the 3 screen sizes in bottom right)



 Take care,




Random Challenge #2







(click on image to see larger view)
 Before                                                                           After
I guess some Random Challenges are going to be easier than others. This one turned out to be fairly easy. I spun through my Lightroom library and ended up in Tibet 2010! Interesting enough it was a group of images that I hadn’t done much with before. So I picked this image of a man plowing a field with his horse. It was pleasant enough but I wanted to add a bit more impact. So the first step taken was to crop the image and remove the distracting rock wall behind the horse. Then I enabled the lens profile, which corrected for a bit of distortion (not sure why that didn’t happen automatically since it is in my Develop Preset). The next step was to use a little Luminance Noise reduction since it was shot at 1000 ISO. The next step was to go into the HSL panel and add a little saturation to the Yellows and Greens and some luminance to the Yellows. This helped a lot with the color. My last step was to use the adjustment brush to lighten up the horse a bit and to darken the foreground dirt and add a bit of a vignette to the image. And that’s all there was to that image!
Have a great Thanksgiving,


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