..an incredibly talented individual, co-host of Layers TV, Photoshop World instructor, one of the most creative guys you'd ever want to meet, as well as one of the most genuine, my good friend and general boy wonder, "RC Concepcion." RC is so good at so many things (from photography to Photoshop, from Dreamweaver to Flash, from Web Design to Illustrator), that I have no idea what he'll show up with tomorrow, but I can tell you this---I can't wait to read it. Make sure you check back tomorrow to see what RC has up his sleeve.

...and a couple of bug fixes, too! Here's a list (from Nikon's support site) of what's included in this free downloadable update, which was released on Friday: The Highlights playback option has been moved from Display Mode > Basic photo info > Highlights in tthe playback menu to Display mode > Detailed photo info > Highlights. The size and color of "Demo" displayed in the monitor with playback when No memory card? in the Custom Settings has been set to Enable Release have been modified. The range of settings available for ISO sensitivity settings > ISO sensitivity auto control > Minimum shutter speed in the shooting menu has been increased from 1/250 - 1s to 1/4000 - 1s. When shooting in hand-held live view mode and the frame is magnified prior to autofocusing, operation has been modified so that display returns to the magnified…

Here's Joe like you've never seen him before, 'runnin' and gunnin,' with on-location small flash, in this very cute teaser for his new "Light Shaping Tools, part 2" online class at KelbyTraining.com. In his class, he shares his thought process for lighting and shooting in a mix of indoor and outdoor locations with small off-camera flash (after you watch the short video---and you gotta watch the video--here's the link to his class, and the full course outline). {module:video_otrelease_oct30}

Happy Halloween everybody!!! Here's some quick news nuggets: If you're in New York this weekend, check this out; Jay Maisel is giving his incredible talk on "Light, Color, and Gesture" at 1:00 pm on Sunday, Novemember 2nd, at B&H Photo's Event Space, in their Headquarters at 420 9th Ave. in New York City. The talk is free, but space is very limited. More info here. Matt and I have been "gently teasing" (wink) our Photoshop User TV co-host and good friend Dave Cross, because he's uses the Bridge rather than Lightroom. We're totally (mostly) kidding him, but he got us back this week by creating a "Bridge Rocks" t-shirt for Adobe Bridge users that is actually very cool (that's it shown above), and best of all; you can actually order one yourself through Cafe Press. Here's the link to Dave's daily blog with more…

Happy Thursday everybody! Before we kick into this, I want to thank Tim Grey for his inspirational Special Guest Blog post yesterday. I love reading the comments posted by readers, and if you read the one's posted for Tim's post yesterday, you can see that his creative insights got a lot of people thinking. Well done, Tim! :)  Now, onto the news: First, thanks to everybody who came to spend the day with me in Orlando yesterday learning Lightroom 2. I was up late the night before tweaking every aspect of the workshop, and it really paid off, as I was able to cover more ground, and actually only ran over by 3 minutes. The crowd in Orlando was just a blast to present to, and I was also very lucky to have both Matt Kloskowski and RC Concepcion there helping me field one-on-one…


Adding Mood to a Photograph

This may sound a little silly coming from a certified Photoshop junkie, but my tendency when optimizing a photo is actually to try to make it look as close to reality as possible. Sure, I'll add a slight touch of "what I remember" to take it beyond "what it really was," but by and large my aim with Photoshop is to produce an image that accurately reflects the beautiful scene I chose to photograph in the first place.

But sometimes that just doesn't cut it.

I find the desire to push a photo beyond reality usually occurs when I'm a little disappointed with a photograph that I really thought would turn out better. Most often that disappointment is a result of having had an emotional response to the scene that can't adequately be captured in a simple photograph.

A recent trip to Japan provides a couple great examples of this. I started off in Tokyo, and was fascinated by many of the sights. I found myself particularly drawn to the small temples and shrines that hid behind and between large buildings on major streets in some of the busier parts of Tokyo. These temples and shrines provided a remarkable sanctuary, and some great photographic opportunities.

In one case there were three shrines that shared a courtyard, and a small cemetery adjacent to the courtyard. I'm always intrigued by cemeteries, particularly to learn about how different cultures honor those who have passed on. In the corner of this cemetery a collection of wooden planks with Japanese writing on them caught my eye. I was later told these were "prayer sticks" that would be placed at the gravesite by family or friends. I captured an image, confident it would convey the solemn tranquility of this place.


Somehow the image simply didn't elicit the feeling I was expecting. Sure, it is always a very different experience to view a photograph compared to the actual scene. So I started working with the image in Photoshop to see what I could come up with. I tried various adjustments, and then ventured into slightly more creative areas. I tried a black-and-white conversion. That helped. Then I applied a sepia-tone effect. Better. A boost in contrast and a vignette effect, and I was much happier with the image.
My next stop was Kyoto, and I knew I was in for a treat. This is a city with over 2,000 shrines and temples, 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a tremendous amount of history. It also contains many wonderful Zen gardens, and it seemed each one I visited was more calming than the one before it.

One garden in particular got me clicking the shutter more than usual (and "usual" is still