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.

“Pro Photographers” – Yosemite Valley, CA

For the first time yesterday I was able to explore Mount St. Helens and damn is it awesome. We stayed up there for sunrise and sunset as well as the best Milky Way I have seen so far. There will be some pictures surfacing in the coming weeks from the shoot. One is currently sitting in Photoshop ready for a full edit sesh…
For anyone else that will be out taking star pics in the coming weeks, feel free to sit in on one of my Online Star Photography Post Processing Group Workshops where I’ll teach you my entire star photography workflow. You even get a picture to process along with me:)

The Shot
When I was setting up for this shot in Yosemite a few months back a group of photographers came over to me and said. Hey were “Pro Photographers” can you move, we need to run our workshop here! What is a pro photographer I asked? Grumbles. The guy didn’t even accept a beer when I offered, so I kept shooting…

Tip the Scales – Yosemite, California

The clouds are clearing and it looks like I am all set for this weekends Star Photography Workshop at Mount Rainier. Hopefully the weather stays as nice as it is right now and makes for some great shots.
If you can’t make the workshop I would highly recommend trying your hand at star photography this weekend. The moon sets around 11PM making for some really dark skies. Here is my Free Star Photography Tutorial if you decide to give it a shot.

The Shot
I am sure everyone has seen a shot from this iconic spot in Yosemite National Park. When I visited the main goal was to walk away with some shots that didn’t resemble the same shots I see from many other photographers. So far so good, unless someone else snapped this one off in the recent future;)