The Painted Valley – Yosemite National Park, CA

Although most of the processing that takes place on my computer these days is digital blending involving one or two RAW files using Lightroom 4 and PhotoShop CS6, I do revert to Photomatix here and there for some HDR Processing. Why you ask? Well there is just something about dynamic situations such as the one below that really beg to be processed this way, or at least I think so. All the skills used here are covered in my Free HDR Video Tutorial and the video included below. There are a bunch of other fun and free videos on my YouTube Channel.

I still continue to buy and watch other photographers tutorials as much as possible. Even if you get a few tips here and there it’s worth the time and money. Chip Philips has a really good one by the way, so check that out!


The Shot
While wandering around Yosemite Valley you have a few things going for you, first, the “nice soft light” seems to last forever before the sun finally peaks over Half Dome and illuminates the valley in the early morning. Two, there are beautiful sights, sounds and smells coming from all directions, especially in the Autumn months of the year. Third, they have awesome coffee in the little lodge that sits quietly at the foot of El Capitan, but it doesn’t open til 7-8AM, which is a bit late for us photographers so bring a backup. We stayed in the park for 3-4 days doing some “car camping” and scouting out different locations to shoot. Sleeping in your car with minimal comfort levels is good for one thing, you’re ready to get up at 5AM and get the hell out of the vehicle.While scouting the day before I took a mental note of this location, “Come back when the sun is rising through the trees in the early morning”, and so I did… ha!


Post Processing Info ( Grab some discount codes to the programs below at bottom of About Me Page )
Processing Time: 40 Minutes
Music: Old School Tiesto Live Set ( YES!! )
Lightroom 4 
  • 5 Exposures from -2EV to +2 EV.
  • Adjust RAW files for white balance, contrast and clarity.
  • Export to JPEG
Photoshop CS6
  • Digitally blend PhotoMatix JPEG with the (5) JPEGS exported from Lightroom.
  • Mid Tones, Lights and Darks adjustments using Tony’s Presets.
  • Apply selective saturation and vibrance masks.
  • Add texture to the sky. ( I created 200 or so textures I will eventually release to everyone as a digital download. )
  • Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast.
  • Nik Output Sharpener
  • Noiseware Professional for noise reduction.
  • Slight global vignette application using Nik Software.
  • Save to JPEG.

Sixty Six North – West Fjords, Iceland

Sifting through emails and comments is seemed like everyone liked the post processing info last time, so  I’ll include some more every now and then. It’s really nice getting responses and emails from everyone here and there, especially when they come in from all over the world. I read each and every one, and try to answer them all as well:) 
There are 7 more days for you to enter in the Star Photography Workshops Free Give Away Contest, it’s free and the grand prize is free admission to my last star photography workshop for the summer. 
The Shot
After devouring one of the best fish dinners of our lives in Ísafjörður, we loaded up the camper and headed for a 2 day trek even deeper into the West Fjords. This part of the island is my favorite, and at times, you don’t see another person for days. Every now and then we would stop, or swerve down one of the little roads that jut off of main road. This shot was captured at the bottom of a pretty steep hill, needless to say the camper had a pretty hard time making it back up. 
Post Processing Info
Processing Time: 1.5 hours
Music: Deep House / Electro Playlist
Drink: Sailor Jerry Rum, on the rocks w/ lime.

Lightroom 4 
  1. Single RAW exposure taken at 0EV. ( Always watch the histogram to make sure no data is dropping off the light or dark ends when shooting a single exposure )
  2. Adjust file within LR4 Develop Module to bring out all the colors and details.
Photoshop CS6
  1. Apply Tony Kuypers Luminosity Masking Actions & Techniques adjusting Light, Mid-tone, and dark regions of picture for contrast and color balance. Note: This is not an HDR brush through masking technique using channels like the last post, but a curves adjustment confined by luminosity masks.
  2. Slight color adjustment with color correction function in OnOne Perfect Photo Suite
  3. Apply Jaime Ibarra’s Color grading techniques + a few of my own to obtain a unique overall look and feel for the water and the sky.
  4. Final curves / lighting adjustments, and painting out a few pieces of sensor dust using clone tool.
  5. Apply slight vignette with Nik Color Efex Pro 4, Darken / Lighten Center preset.

read more about my trip to Iceland at

Rollin’ – Palouse, Washington

My new website is getting closer & closer to being completed which is really exciting. The only issue is that I nitpick way too much and stress my stuff out about non-sense for no reason. None the less, when it’s done, the results are gonna be awesome! Well at least I think they will;)
I have not announced it on here yet, but there is a new Online Star Photography Post Processing Group Workshop opened up. In these workshops you will learn exactly how I process all my star shots from beginning to end. Just head over to that page and reserve a spot. 4 have sold already and there are 5 left.
The Shot
The D800 first landed in my hands a year and a half or so ago, a few days after that I snapped this shot in the Palouse Region of WA. The rolling hills and colors bring photographers from all around the world to this area in June and July.