The Calm Before The Storm

Calm Before The Storm

I’m about to head up the coast tomorrow, to show my friend around Big Sur for the first time. I think we’ll hit keyhole arch, since the sun is setting through the arch at this time of year. Of course, that means there should be a crowd of people out trying to take pictures of it.

This image was taken with a super wide angle iPro lens and the native camera app. Then, I edited with Snapseed and Tangled FX. Next, I took the edited version into ImageBlender with the original shot, and blended the two together using the screen blending mode to let the lights shine through on the tree. I adjusted the opacity until it looked just how I wanted it to.

Felicia’s World

Felicia's World

The original photo was a little bland because it was a foggy day at the beach. I decided to start out by creating a pseudo HDR from a single RAW file. Then, I went into matte painting mode and added the island, fireworks, buildings, and painted in the fog. Finally, I used color efex pro 4 to change the color of the sky.

The idea behind this was to show what I imagined she was looking at in the distance.

App Review: ShockMyPic for Mac

I recently reviewed the ShockMyPic app for the iPhone, and they were nice enough to offer me a promo code for the desktop version. After someone else told me they really liked the Mac version, I jumped at the offer.

I’ll start this review off with exerpts from the ShockMyPic help center because I think they sum up their app really well.

ShockMyPic is an image filter to create a Van Gogh like image. It enhances flow-like structures like hair.

At first you have to know that ShockMyPic is only one piece of your image processing workflow. Thus, you should use it with other programs – at least an image resizing application – to get your desired effect.

They make a great point, ShockMyPic is just a filter, and they don’t intend on adding any features you’d find in an editing program. You shouldn’t expect it to turn every image into an amazing work of art. Remember, garbage in, garbage out. For the best results, you should touch up your images before running them through ShockMyPic.

There are two modes to ShockMyPic, and they’re both simple. The basic mode allows you to adjust the filter width with a slider. Small numbers make for fine/smaller swirls.

The larger widths make for a very different style.

The Professional mode is kind of a funny name to me because it only adds one more slider, to adjust iterations. As far as I can tell, it darkens or thickens the lines between the swirls.

Here are some examples I’ve created in just a matter of minutes. I recommend clicking on the landscapes to see more details. The effect is much more noticeable on the larger version. The file size definitely played a part in how the effect was applied.

One thing to remember, the larger the file size, the longer it takes to render the effect. If you know you’re not going to print it, and just post to the web, resize your image before you apply the filter.


ShockMyPic is a great filter that can change your photos into art in about a minute. I find that the smaller widths tend to look best to me, but you should definitely experiment. I don’t see a need to use the professional mode myself, the basic mode does a great job. If you have this app on your iPhone, the Mac version is just as good as the iPhone version, but its much nicer being able to work on a monitor instead of a tiny screen. For this price, why wouldn’t you get this app?

Rating:  5/5

Price:    $2.99

**Full disclosure, the developers of this app gave me a promo code to review their app. I’m not receiving any compensation for this review.**

Shocking Yosemite

I’m playing around with the ShockMyPic Mac app. Above is a photo I shot about 7 years ago with my old point and shoot canon. Yes, I was shooting canon until a few years ago. Before that, I was using a 35mm Olympic. So much for brand loyalty.

The original image was very bland. Just for laughs, we’ll blame Canon. I did quite a bit of work in photoshop just to get it looking the way it does above. Then, I thought I’d try shock my pic to see what I could come up. To my surprise, on the low settings, it didn’t look too much like a painting. It had a slight painterly feel when you look at the larger version, but theres also added clarity.

Go ahead and view both of the large version at the same time to see the difference. In this case, it appears subtle until you zoom in, but if I had used different settings, it would be obvious that I used ShockMyPic.

Salt Creek Falls

Salt Creek Falls HDR

My aunt took me on an adventure last fall when I visited her in Eugene, Oregon. We got lost a couple of times, but thats what happens on a real adventure right? We eventually found Salt Creek Falls near Oakridge, OR. This beast is the second highest waterfall in Oregon with a 286 foot drop.

The lighting wasn’t pretty when we got there, but I made do with what I had. Thats usually what happens when non photographers show you around. They don’t know that lighting is very important and think you can just go out and shoot any time of day.

I ended up painting in some light and shadows on a layer of soft light to make the lighting more interesting. Thats something I recommend trying sometime on a boring picture. Use a brush at 10% opacity and paint on a new layer set to soft light using white or black…or you can get creative and use colors.

Lowell Covered Bridge

Lowell Covered Bridge

Oregon has the largest collection of covered bridges in the West and one of the largest in the nation.

The covered-bridge-building tradition in Oregon dates from the 1850s. Out of necessity, pioneers built with the materials at hand. Douglas fir was abundant in western Oregon and well-suited to bridge construction. To increase their useful life, houses were constructed over the timber trusses to protect them from the damp western Oregon climate.


According to the above source, there are 50 covered bridges in Oregon. I’ve seen only two so far, unless you count viewing some on google maps street view. I’d like to hit the road and check out some more when I have the time. I have a feeling none of them will be in settings as nice as this one though.

A Fork In The Tracks

A Fork In The Tracks

Photomatix struggled with my bracketed shots. The sky was too nasty to use, so I ended up taking two exposures and blending them together in photoshop. I used one for the sky and one for the land.

Don’t worry, that train hasn’t moved as long as I’ve seen it there. I wasn’t diving out of the way of an oncoming train after I got the shot.

The Right Path


Something seemed a little off to me with the regular HDR processed version above. The problem was this was a quick bracketed shot as I was moving between different vantage points for the McWay Falls shot. I only got 3 exposures with +/-1 EV and the scene clearly needed at least 6 stops.

If the problem of not enough exposures wasn’t bad enough, the 3 I had came out pretty nasty in photomatix, so I only ended up using 2 of them. Definitely not my typical workflow for HDR.

I hate blown out skies, but I thought I might be able to get away with it because of the golden rays. After a nap, it still didn’t look right, so I tried using Shock My Pic on the Mac (look for the iphone and mac review soon.) The result was kind of cool. Then I remembered Pixel Bender has a great oil paint filter. I think it put the finishing touches on this one.

What do you think?

The Right Path

Sean Bagshaw

Oops, its been a while since I shared a photographer that I find inspiring.

Today I’d like to introduce you to the work of Sean Bagshaw, who is an amazing nature, landscape, and travel photographer located in my future home of Ashland, Oregon.

The amount of high quality images he produces is impressive. I wish I could post 50 of them for you, but you’ll have to settle for a handful and go look at his websites at the end of this post. I’ll add some quotes from his website, and others, in between the photos.

“Sean Bagshaw is a widely recognized photographer…[he] has made his mark by taking steps away from the more staid, traditional landscape scene…The torch is passing.” -Outdoor Photographer Magazine

Shasta Lavender


Twilight at Big Sur

Twilight at Big Sur

I actually ended up with more quality long exposures than I could submit for this long exposure challenge with Shannon and Nick. This one didn’t make the cut, but I like it enough to share here.

After the sun had disappeared, these golden rays of light burst out from the horizon. It was pretty cool to see in person because the rays were much more defined.