Naiad’s Ghost – Spirit Falls, Washington

Last night I was on Drink and Click with Lotus Carroll and Juan Gonzalez along with some other great photographers discussing star / night / Milky Way Photography. I have included the YouTube recording below for anyone that missed out. There were some really nice pictures shared from everyone on the show.

During the show I also make an announcement about a special project Michael Shainblum and I have been working on for a while. So tune in!

UPDATE: I’m holding an Online Star Photography Post Processing Group Workshop this Sunday for anyone that wants to follow along as I process a star shot from start to finish. Full details, and sign up HERE.

The Shot
This was another one of those shots that I just couldn’t get right. Going back and back again to make more final adjustments it just wasn’t happening. After a month of sitting on my computer I opened it up today and decided it was done. For anyone that hasn’t been to Spirit Falls yet it seems to be getting much more popular. The location really isn’t hard to find, but the hike down can be a bit tricky / dangerous. TJ Thorne did a nice Behind the Scenes Write up and Video that I looked at before venturing down there on my own.

Since I’ve seen so many pictures coming out of the area, many of them being vertical compositions, I wanted to try the horizontal view. It took some hanging off ledges and setting up my tripod in some strange configurations, but I finally came away with this shot that I snapped off  an hour before sunset as the light painted the trees in color.

Here are the post processing details for anyone interested!

Post Processing Info ( Grab some discount codes to the programs below at bottom of About Me Page )
Processing Time: 1 hour
Music: Lee Burridge Burning Man Set
Drink: A few different Ninkasi beers

Lightroom 4

  • Two RAW files were used to make this picture. One for the full scene and then one for the water movement.
  • Lighten up the shadows and blacks
  • adjust white balance
  • + Vibrance & – Saturation 
  • Sync both RAW files for all settings
  • Final adjustments using clarity brush on the “water” RAW file.
  • Export both pictures to TIFF

 Photoshop CS6

  •  Blend both picture files together using layer masks.
  • Apply Tony Kuypers Luminosity Masking Actions & Techniques to bring out the “mid-tones” and “highlights” in the water and color in the trees 
  • Curves to selectively balance light across the entire photo.
  • Apply color correction using “Color Balance” adjustment.
  • Apply selective color balance to the water and the trees.
  • Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast, Sunlight, and warmth / glow selectively through out the photo.
  • Nik Output Sharpener ( selectively )
  • Noiseware Professional by Imagenomic, the best NR software out there…
  • Slight global vignette application
  • Clone stamp tool on a bunch of sensor dirt and little things that annoyed me;)
  • Save to JPEG.


Click here to buy a print of this photo

Sucker Punch – Eagle Creek, Oregon

Along with the new design of my Smugmug Portfolio, I have introduced some new print options. Head on over that way or check out my Buy Prints Page for more details. PS: There are some really nice new prices;) 
And on to post processing & the world of Photoshop. Emails constantly come in, many star photography related, but overall post processing related, asking me how I process the shots on this website. Well there really isn’t a straightforward answer. Most of the time it’s a new creative process for each picture. I do provide some tutorials on my Learn Photography Page which covers a bunch of this stuff, but why not provide some more info from time to time with the actual pictures? Well here ya go… 
The Shot

Punch Bowl Falls located a few miles up Eagle Creek in the Columbia River Gorge is an amazing place to capture some nice photos. Just remember, bring your chest waders. I was able to capture the full dynamic range of light with three bracketed RAW files then blend them together in Photoshop using the process below.

Post Processing Info

Processing Time: 2 hours

Music: Miles Davis & Thelonious Monk Playlist
Drink: Ninkasi IPA
Lightroom 4 
  1. RAW file adjustment for each of my 3 exposures at -1EV, 0EV, and +1EV.
  2. Export all (3) files as JPEGs.
Photoshop CS6
  1. Hand blend (3) JPEG files using Tony Kuypers Luminosity Masking Actions & Techniques to create (1) well exposed .PSD file.
  2. Apply color correction
  3. Apply overall contrast adjustments and glow using Nik Color Efex Pro 4
  4. Apply selective color, contrast and glow adjustments using OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 7 ( Love this program!! ).
  5. Luminosity adjustments once again using Tony’s Actions
  6. Apply final vignette using darken/lighten center in Nik Color Efex Pro 4
  7. Final curves / lighting adjustments, and painting out a few pieces of sensor dust using clone tool.

read more about my trip to Eagle Creek at

Star Photography Workshop Free Give Away Contest

This coming weekend is a new moon, and great for star photography so I decided to open a contest giving away one free admission to my September 6th Star Photography Workshop at Mount Rainier National Park. The winning photo/photographer will also be shared on my Facebook and Google+ pages. Please follow all rules and guidelines listed below to enter.

The Shot
Every year I see so many “flower shots” from Rowena Crest Park in Oregon, so I had to venture up there and see what all the fuss was about. Prior to going I promised myself not to take any sun star or sunrise flower shots that constantly swamp the internet. I hope you enjoy something a little different from this well known location, if you don’t to bad:( If you want to learn how I processed it head on over to my Star Photography Post Processing Group Workshop page and I would be happy to teach you!
Star Dance - Rowena Crest, OR