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Improving on Reality Using Digital Tools

Across River at Dawn, Prague
written by: Dan Burkholder

Many photographers take pains to make their prints an accurate portrayal of the scene they photographed. For me, taking three-dimensional space and putting it on a flat piece of paper is already a huge departure from reality. That’s why I have zero qualms about taking any and all steps to make the final print emotionally honest as opposed to literally honest. It goes without saying— though you will note that I am saying it anyway—that I can take these liberties because I fall into that least lucrative of all photographic realms: the fine-art photographer. (Photojournalists play by a very different Read more »

Burkholder_ND_2008_2

Using HDR to Craft a Waterfall

written by: Dan Burkholder

No camera technique or Photoshop trick is ever as good as having a subject that is beautifully illuminated in the first place. But just because the light is beautiful doesn’t mean that our sensor will translate that quality to the final print without some—ahem—creative intervention on our part. I was reminded of these challenges recently when photographing a waterfall set deep in the woods. The overhead light, while giving a wonderful glow to the flowing water, also made for extremely dark shadows that detracted from the gentle, peaceful feeling of the setting. Film shooters have the Zone System; digital camera Read more »

Burkholder_MJ_2008_1

Pocket Pixel Power

The Quest for Big Image Quality in a Portable Package
written by: Dan Burkholder

Even the most seasoned pro or devoted amateur occasionally longs for a small, light camera that yields great image quality.At times, a DSLR is a physical burden, a social inconvenience, or simply too much camera around your neck.Vacations and other carry-everywhere opportunities cry out for smaller cameras that fit in your pocket yet provide image quality rivaling that of their larger and heavier digital siblings. For photo enthusiasts, a run-of-the-mill point-and-shoot simply won’t do. They want an easily transported camera that holds its own for tasks like capturing family outings or settling down to serious landscape photography; the only catch Read more »

Burkholder_MA_2009_1

Photoshop’s Layer Stacks

Using th Wrong Tools for the Right Reasons
written by: Dan Burkholder

If you’ve ever mixed a can of paint with a screwdriver, you know there’s something innately satisfying about using the wrong tool for the job. Perhaps this illogical feeling of satisfaction harkens back to our days as primitive beings, when a thighbone could both kill our prey and stir the succeeding meal. This gratifying rebellion can be claimed in Photoshop too. I found that there were multiple tools we could misuse in our quest for image control and creative discovery. One of my more recent discoveries is that HDR processing can be used creatively. I’ll also cover using the Stacks Read more »

BurkholderiPhone

Photo Manager Pro to the Rescue!

written by: Dan Burkholder

Keeping the right photos on your iPhone can be a challenge when you’re using it as your pocket camera. Dan Burkholder shows you how to use an app called Photo Manager Pro to keep important Albums on your iPhone, keeping your digital portfolio and family photos safe from being downloaded into oblivion! To view more of Dan’s “Tiny Tutorials” visit his website.

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The Modern Digital Negative

A digitally produced negative can mean better, easier darkroom prints
written by: Dan Burkholder

Recently I was invited to address a regional photographic organization on the hows and whys of digital negatives. One participant—a film-based photographer who didn’t use Photoshop—was puzzled as to why you’d want to make another negative if you already had one from the camera in the first place. I fumbled through multiple attempts at explaining how I’d exploited digitally produced negatives for the past 16 years, using them to print on materials ranging from silver gelatin to cyanotype to platinum/palladium. I could see that I wasn’t getting through to this fellow for whom photography and computer had nothing in common. After Read more »

Burkholder4nd9

Always Watch Your Back

written by: Dan Burkholder

I’m not sure who said it first, but the advice, “When you think you’ve found the best shot, turn around and look behind you” was the wise counsel that left me with a keeper during an early morning shoot in the Catskills. I’d stopped to photograph a waterfall from a stone bridge when a cloud blew in silently but with amazing swiftness. Suddenly, the friendly upstate New York mountains felt more like a spooky English moor. The mist was so thick that the waterfall below the bridge utterly disappeared in the haze. Thinking that the best shooting for this location was Read more »

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Focus Stacking

written by: Dan Burkholder

Have you noticed? Photographers are combining images in all sorts of new ways. They use HDR (High Dynamic Range) to combine bracketed exposures, stitch wide panoramas with overlapping images, and shoot multiple images of a scene, changing the focus between each exposure to increase depth of field… this technique is called focus stacking. Lens aperture is commonly used to control depth of field (DOF). In this article, I’m going to explore ways to monstrously increase DOF for landscape or macro photography using focus stacking. If you’ve dallied in HDR imaging you know that shooting a bracketed series of images−from light Read more »

dan burkholder, micro four thirds, wireless transfer, ios workflow

Micro Four Thirds Meets Wireless Transfer to iOS Workflow

written by: Dan Burkholder

“Connected,” that’s the word we’re hearing more and more in our digital lives. Connected via email, Facebook, Twitter, the Cloud…you know the drill. Most recently, Samsung has begun hinting that an explosion of cloud related storage and sharing options might accompany new cameras with built-in WiFi and 4G protocols. Yep, it’s not hard to envision the day when we can permanently retire sync cables and card readers from our photographic lives. But why wait? We crave smaller−but full-featured− cameras now. And we want to move images from our cameras to our iPhones and iPads now, with currently available technology. The Read more »

perfectly clear app, dan burkholder

Perfectly Clear App for iPhone and iPad

Has Automated Image Editing Come of Age?
written by: Dan Burkholder

In this continuing series of iPhone Artistry articles, we’ve discussed valuable−and sometimes wonky− issues surrounding using your iPhone and iPad for honest-to-goodness image capture and editing. In this particular article, we’re taking a detour (well, on the wonkiness, anyway) to examine an app that promises to lead us into the mythological land of decision-free photography. Many of us fancying ourselves “serious” photographers and image editors display an open contempt for software claiming to be automatic and foolproof. We eschew the idea behind automated things, like the “green rectangle” on our camera’s mode dial, even calling that auto-everything mode the “PHD” Read more »