Welcome to (The Occasional) Photo Tip of the Day! Please also visit my main site jeffwignall.com. Text and photographs Copyright 2014 Jeff Wignall.

"Vision without execution is hallucination."


Thomas Edison

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Big Fun! Rhode Island Air Show: June 26 & 27

If you're looking for something really fun to shoot this weekend and happen to be in the New England area, head over to the Rhode Island National Guard Open House & Air Show--one of the best air shows in the country. I spent two days at the show last summer and had the time of my life and took a lot of fun photos. (You can read about my shooting experiences last year here and here.) Shooting air shows is a great way to practice your high-speed photo techniques and to get very close to some spectacular aerial demonstrations. The Blue Angels won't be there this year, but there is a very full roster of amazing acts--including the USAF Thunderbirds--the Air Force equivalent of the Navy's Blue Angels.

The show gates open both days (Saturday and Sunday) at 9 a.m. and the shows begin at 10 a.m. And here's the amazing thing: the show and parking are FREE! There is a $10 requested parking fee, but that money is a donation to the Hasbro Children's Hospital and is completely voluntary. (And if you have an RV there is on-site camping on a first-come, first-served basis.) Cameras and video cameras are more than welcome (and there are lots of static displays to shoot), but coolers are not. There are tons of food vendors right in the show and I had the best burger of my life there last year! (Seriously, the very best burger I've ever had and I've had a lot!)

The weather looks pretty good for the weekend, though there are some showers predicted, but the weather people have no idea what they're talking about, so if you have the weekend free, go see the show! Rhode Island is a beautiful state and you'll have fun rain or shine.

There's a ton of info on the show site, but here are the directions if you want to quickly print them out:

From Points North:
(Providence, Boston) - Take I95 South to Exit 9 - RT 4 South, North Kingstown, East Greenwich (left exit). Off of RT 4, take Exit 7B (Quonset) Stay on RT 403. RT 403 will become Roger Williams Way. After the 3rd traffic light on Roger Williams Way take a left onto Conway Street. Follow signs to Air National Guard Base.

From Points South:
(Connecticut, New York) - Take I95 North into Rhode Island. In RI take Exit 8A (RT 2 South, West Warwick) Stay on RT 2 South until 1st traffic light. Take a left at the light and prepare to stay right. Merge onto RT 4 South. Off of RT 4, take Exit 7B (Quonset) Stay on RT 403. RT 403 will become Roger Williams Way. After the 3rd traffic light on Roger Williams Way take a left onto Conway Street. Follow signs to Air National Guard Base.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Power of Commitment

I was going through some old files and came across this image of a sunset with my favorite Goethe quote that I created a few years ago. This particular quote has meant a lot to me in my writing and photo careers and in my day-to-day life. I have also used it often when fundraising for the noncommercial FM station (WPKN) where I have been doing a regular show for the past 17 or so years--Goethe's words seem to make people take action (like donating to a public station) in a very immediate way. I think the quote is worth reading and please feel free to download and save the file or pass it on to friends. Goethe was quite a fascinating character and you may not know it, but his essay on light and color is considered the greatest foundation on light and color ever written--1,400 pages long and written in 1810.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pico Projector Story in July Pop Photo

If you happen to be at the newsstand this week, check out the July issue of Pop Photo--I have a short article on "Pico" projectors on page 16. Pico projectors, in case you've never heard of them, are teensy (the largest is the size of a Big Mac box, others are much smaller) battery-operated go-anywhere digital projectors. You can hook them up to anything from your iPod to a dvd player or your laptop and project images anywhere you can find a flat white surface. Models like the BenQ Joybee GP1 (pictured here) let you project images up to 80-inches (diagonally). How cool is that? The projectors are quite literally small enough to fit into a jacket pocket (and some, including the Benq, have built-in speakers)  and yet you can show feature films big enough to fill up a wall. How about showing a film on the front of your garage door and inviting the neighborhood over on a hot summer night for a free flick! I'll write more about a few specific projectors in upcoming posts, but in the meantime, if you see Pop on the stands, give page 16 a quick peek.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Magically Change Colors in Seconds!

Have you ever photographed a red barn and wondered how it would look blue? Or purple? Or green? Here's a really simple and fun way to find out using the hue/saturation tool! In fact, this is one of my favorite Photoshop tricks and it's incredibly easy to do--just a few quick keystrokes. By using this technique you can change any color to virtually any other color. And the really cool thing is that it only changes the color you want to change and leaves all the rest of the colors untouched!

Here's how it's done:
  1. Open a photo in Photoshop (or Elements) that has a boldy-colored object you'd like to change to another color. Crop the image first so that you're only working with the composition you're going to keep--no sense getting distracted by image areas you're going to toss later anyway.
  2. Open the layers palette (you should always work with the layers palette open). Now, open the hue/saturation tool in the layers palette so that it opens a new layer (just click on the half-black circle at the bottom of the layers palette if this is new to you--and you will see the hue/saturation tool in the list of options).
  3. At the top of the hue/saturation dialog box, you'll see a pull-down menu labled "Master." Click on that box and a list of the main colors will drop down. Choose the existing color of the object you want to change. In this case, because the portion of the floats that I wanted to change was orange, I chose red because that was the closest color option.
  4.  Now look down to the bottom of the dialog box and you'll see three eye-dropper icons. Click once on the left-most block to tell Photoshop that you'll be sampling a color. Now move your cursor over the color you want to change (again, for me it was the orange area) and click once. If you want to gather more variations of the color, click on the "plus" eyedropper icon (the middle one) and then click as many more times as you want. Each time you click you are broadening the color that Photoshop is going to alter--but you should only click on related areas of the subject. In other words, if you're working on a blue dress, you might see various different shades of blue (because of lighting or shadows, etc) and if you want them all to shift to another color, you have to sample them all.
  5.  Now slide the hue slider and watch what happens! Only the objects that were the color(s) that you sampled will change--but you can alter the hue as much as you like. I could have easily turned these floats blue or purple or green just by sliding the hue adjustment. Wild! 
Finally, you may notice that some parts of the scene other than your intended subject are also changing (look at the buckets in the background in this shot and you'll see some changes in their color, and in the decking, as well), so if you want to do this very precisely, you should select just the parts of the image you want to change using any of the selection tools before you begin changing the colors. In other words, I could have carefully selected just the floats and my hue changes would not have affected the buckets in any way.

Is this a cool trick? Try it! Again, for your first experiments, try something that is obviously one color--like a your yellow car. If you want to see how it would look blue or green or pink--it's just a few keystrokes away. Have fun!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Exposure Book #1 Bestseller on Amazon Kindle

I was happy to learn this week that my book Exposure Photo Workshop: Develop Your Digital Photography Talent was the #1 bestselling photo reference book for the Amazon Kindle. It had been flirting with the top position for several weeks, but about midweek it reached the number one spot. I'm pretty excited that it has reach such a landmark on Kindle because I think that, as much as I love "old fashioned" books (I have a house full of them) and as much as I think some of us will always want to read traditional books, I also think that e-books are fun, convenient and here to stay. By the way, even if you don't have a Kindle yet (I don't!), you can also read the book on your iPad or almost any other e-reading device. My friend Walter showed me how the exposure book looked on his iPad and I was just thrilled to see how great it looked--the color photos reproduced beautifully, even better than in the print book (and you can click them up to full-screen instantly). A great graduation gift! Of course, if you still like flipping through paper pages, you can also get the paperback version of Exposure Photo Workshop: Develop Your Digital Photography Talent. The book has 20 five-star reviews on Amazon--also very gratifying.