Rainbow Rock

Captured on a desert hike in March, this was shot with my iPhone in the middle of the day. I was really attracted to the varied color in the rock. There are many places on the planet with colorful rock like this, and I think they are very photogenic and make great photos. This was captured in Western Arizona.

My approach is all about color and not about great light because it is not that great, rather composing based on those lines and cracks and the colors.

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I opened in in Photoshop and added some contrast. While the sun was out and there was lots of lighting contrast, the light was flat and that is the reason I punched up contrast slightly. Then because it is all about color, I added a small amount of saturation to make the colors pop some more.

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There are Marketable Photos Everywhere

If you are in the business of marketing your photography, then you no doubt are always on the lookout for great images that are marketable. What makes a marketable image? One that is strong on concept! So why would this be marketable? Because it exemplifies the concept of Drought, Lack of Water or Water Shortage, and more.

I was really surprised to stumble on this and it is one of the best examples I have come across for good cracked mud. In fact it might be the best example of cracked mud I have captured and I say this due to how large the cracks were and how deep they were in the mud. But better yet, you may be surprised where I found this.

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It’s not in the middle of some desert wash or a slot canyon in Utah, but instead a storm water collection ‘system’ in Yuma, Arizona. I was out for a long hike/walk with my wife and dog, following a bike/walking path when I happened to look inside this water collection basin.

It is about the size of a football field and completely enclosed to prevent access. When the monsoon rains come the flowing water collects in here and slowly dissipates, and I guess that keeps the water from flooding streets and neighborhoods. I am guessing after years of collecting that water it has accumulated about 1 foot of silt or mud so when the rains stop, it dries out and created this.

I had my iPhone (as always) and stuck my hand and phone through metal fence and began going crazy clicking away and this is one of many results. I captured various different perspectives that all used the lines flowing in various directions. I will definitely be sending this to my stock photo agent.

So the lesson is to always have a camera with you no matter what. You may just discover something unique and marketable.

If you want to learn more about selling photography, check out my online class: How to Be a Professional Outdoor and Nature Photographer

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The Amazing Colors of Mexico

The colors of Mexico always amaze me as they are pretty much everywhere. Saturday we walked into Los Algadones, MX for the Gringos Go Home celebration. I should mention: that is not what it sounds like.

Yuma, AZ is the highest rated Snowbird destination during the North American winters and Los Algadones is right across the border from Winterhaven, CA, a few minutes from Yuma. So you can see the importance of Snowbirds to Los Algadones and their economy.

They local community is so appreciative of winter visitors they put on the Gringos Go Home party on Saturday where there was festive music, free beer, and free food. It was great!

Like other locations in Mexico, Los Algadones is quite colorful and perfect for my obsession with iPhone ‘Happy Snappin.’ As I wandered the streets I was not disappointed. That led me to this wall tucked in between street vendors.

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I love these types discoveries and the photos I create of them. The vendor next to this mentioned that the wall was 30 years old and hand prints had been added over the years by school children. It is a great story, but the wall says it all to me.

This file is from my iPhone and I then used Adobe Photoshop Mix (the app) to add contrast (make the whites whiter and darks darker) and added some saturation and slight sharpening.
Viva Mexico!

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The Next Photographic Expermient

I just joined Stockimo which is an online agency for smartphone photography. I have learned to love ‘happy snappin’ with my iPhone for quite sometime.

I usually snap away where ever I am and then later open them in Photoshop and play around with the images, simply for fun. I am addicted to shooting on the fly like that. 

Then Alamy launched Stockimo and it got me thinking that while I will continue having fun shooting, I might make some money. So I got busy.

The difference between Stockimo and traditional agencies is that you cannot upload regular stock images from your dslr, they can only be from a smartphone. 

Knowing full well, that I cannot let any digital capture pass by unprocessed, I wondered how I would process the images, so I dug into the apps. There I found Mix by Camera360 and it is quite cool as well. Adobe Photoshop Mix is another app I am playing with. 

I am just now uploading pics to Stockimo to see how it goes and if I make any money I will be sure and write another post stating as such. For now here are a few of my first experiments with Stockimo. 

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This is a lot of fun! 

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Master Back Lighting in Landscape Photography

Back light in nature and landscape photography is very effective lighting technique. When a subject is back lit the sun is in front of you or very close. I like to reference the Lighting Clock as example.

The camera is at 6 o’clock and the subject is in the middle of the clock. If the light is to either side, then it is at approximately 9 or 3 o’clock. I generally think of back light as anywhere between 10:30 and 1:30.

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In this example from the Anza Borrego in CA, the sun is in that zone of 10-12 o’clock. What I love about this photo is that back lighting adds amazing definition to the cactus and especially the Chollas. It looks like fuzz. This approach works on many subjects, even ones that dont look so great side lit.

For processing I added a hint of contrast to make the shadows touch darker, a bit of saturation, and the sky went white which is common in back lit images due to haze and such. So I added a touch of blue back in. Then sharpened a hint as well.

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