“Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.” – John Cleese

Among the many gems John Cleese shares, he outlines “The 5 factors that you can arrange to make your lives more creative.”

1 – Space

“You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”

2 – Time

“It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.”

3 – Time

“Give your mind as long as possible to come up with something original.”

4 – Confidence

“Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”

5 – Humor

“The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.”

View more creativity videos by John Cleese here.

View more creativity videos here.

Learn more with my creativity resources.

Learn more in my creativity workshops.

Huntington Witherill offers quick candid answers to 20 questions.

Here are some highlights.

How do you know when an image doesn’t work?
It will fail to communicate anything beyond the fact that it is a photographic record.

How do you know when an image doesn’t work?

It will fail to communicate anything beyond the fact that it is a photographic record.

How do you know when an image is good?
I know an image is good when it exhibits the following three (3) attributes:

#1- An interesting and effective use of light has been captured.

#2-  A visually stimulating and well-balanced composition has been employed.

#3- The technique and craftsmanship used to render the photograph itself demonstrates sufficient proficiency  so as not to disrupt or distract from either #1 or #2.

How do you know when an image is great?
I know an image is great if I am brought to tears.

How did photography change your world?
It caused me to view myself, and the world around me, in a much more personally effective and fulfilling way.

What are your answers to these questions?

Read the rest of his short Q&A here.

Read our extended conversation here.

Read more of Huntington’s favorite quotes here.

Find out more about Huntington Witherill here.

Huntington Witherill shares his favorite quotes.

This is my favorite from his selection.

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique… just like everyone else.” – Margaret Meade

Which is your favorite of his selected quotes?

Read more of Huntington’s favorite quotes here.

Read his short Q&A here.

Read our extended conversation here.

Find out more about Huntington Witherill here.

Combining images of music with other images has added a rich new dimension to my creative life and thinking. I don’t mean sequencing a soundtrack to a slideshow; I mean adding the graphic notation found in sheet music.

So that I can make these types of images on the spot, I’ve gathered a collection of photographs of music that I can draw on at a moment’s notice.

Doing this has not only yielded a growing number of compelling images, it has also raised a generative set of questions. In particular, the question of what’s missing or has been eliminated in still images and how that can be either more strongly felt or implied leads to many new ideas and insights.

I find that because I’m engaged in this experiment I notice the ambient sound of the places I’m photographing in more frequently and even photograph different things. My perception of the world becomes richer because I’m paying closer attention to it and to my responses to it.

What experiments will help you add a new or missing dimension to your images?

Read the full article on The Huffington Post.

Visit my iPhone learning center here.


Different sharpening techniques make the world look different. A world of difference can be seen between the thin hard line of Unsharp Mask and the broad feathered line of High Pass Sharpening.Can you choose a combination of both? Yes, you can! You can choose the texture of one, the halo of another, and the line of yet another, applying them either globally or selectively. You can customize the look and feel of detail in any image or image area with astonishing precision and flexibility.

Double Pass Sharpening

Results will differ if you filter the same image layer twice. Why? First, either the technique or the settings can be varied. Second, having been filtered once, the state of the pixels will have changed before a second pass is applied, generating a different final effect. Consequently, not only the type and amount of filtration matters, but also the order in which the filtration is applied.

Are there benefits to filtering more than twice on the same layer? Maybe. Maybe not. You get diminishing returns with each additional pass of filtration. You may also run the risk of producing more unintended artifacts. Furthermore, as complexity rises, your ability to both predict and interact with the final effect diminishes. In general, I recommend you to be cautious of highly complex routines and urge you to ask yourself if you derive significant benefit from them.

Hybrid Sharpening

Sharpening results also will differ if you apply varied filtration techniques to separate layers. Here, the order of the layers in the layer stack matters.

To combine the effects of the different layers, use Blend modes. Darken will display the only values on a sharpening layer that are darker than values on layers below it, such as the dark line. Lighten will display the only values on a sharpening layer that are lighter than values on layers below it, such as the halo.

High Pass sharpening layers (or any technique that reduces an image layer largely to gray values) combine easily with other layers using Blend modes (typically, Overlay); they do this so well that many times it doesn’t matter whether they’re placed above or below other sharpening layers.

Read the full article on Digital Photo Pro.

Find more sharpening resources here.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

Sometimes you find your own voice through observing your responses to other people’s work.

One of my visual journals is a collection of images that I appreciate. When you bring enough images together new patterns emerge. This was certainly the case for me when I sifted through my favorite photographs of nudes and found a thread that tied together works by Jerry Uelsmann, Emmet Gowin, Harry Callahan, and Ruth Bernhard. All four of the photographs I had selected used double exposure to merge the figure with the landscape. It wasn’t that these works were typical of each artist’s work; Jerry Uelsmann who would be best know for this kind of work offers many such images; Harry Callahan was highly experimental and offered only a handful of these kinds of treatments; Ruth Berhard produced fewer; Emmet Gown only produced even fewer. What had been revealed through the process of creating this collection was my own interest in a specific kind of imagery and a particular theme.

Overtly stated in my own photographs of nudes in varying degrees of transparency, the theme of man and nature as one runs through all of my work. Whether subtly or dramatically, directly or indirectly, I’m interested in all types of imagery that challenges conventional notions of separateness and offer a vision of unity.

What shared themes can you identify when observing your own influences?

Read more about my influences here.

Earth Day 2012

April 22, 2012 | Leave a Comment |

It’s Earth Day 2012!

Find out more about Earth Day here.

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed. Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.
But Earth Day Network does not stop there.

Read more

Top climate scientist James Hansen tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. In doing so he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future.

James Hansen has made key insights into our global climate and inspired a generation of activists and scientists.

Find resources on climate change recommended by top scientists here.


Both NIK’s Viveza and Color Efex Pro offer useful additions to a digital artist’s set of detail enhancement tools. Viveza provides Structure while Color Efex Pro provides Tonal Contrast. Consider them both useful variations of the types of effects you can produce with Photoshop’s High Pass filter. So what specifically are the visual differences?

Like Photoshop’s High Pass filter, Viveza’s Structure provides a single slider but offers more options with the inclusion of negative values for soft focus effects. In contrast to High Pass, Structure enhances contours with a line that is not as pronounced as Unsharp Mask (Structure is almost incapable of producing artificially hard contouring.) and thinner than High Pass (Structure can’t be used for enhancing planar contrast like high values of High Pass.). Structure accentuates texture somewhat, which can enhance noise as well as detail, but not as much as Unsharp Mask. When Structure is applied, luminosity contrast increases, more so in shadows than in highlights where very high values stop just short of compromising shadow detail. Think of Structure as occupying the visual territory that lies between Unsharp Mask and High Pass.

Color Efex Pro’s Tonal Contrast offers the most control with four sliders; Highlight Contrast, Midtone Contrast, Shadow Contrast, and Saturation. Tonal Contrast is less like Photoshop’s Unsharp Mask and more like High Pass with a touch of Shadows/Highlights thrown in for good measure. Particularly excellent at enhancing highlight detail, Tonal Contrast can go far beyond Photoshop’s Shadows/Highlights and produces more contour targeted effects similar to NIK’s Structure. If used aggressively Shadow Contrast can run the risk of obscuring shadow detail. Highlight Contrast and Midtone Contrast accentuate noise far less than Structure, but this is not true of Shadow Contrast. Tonal Contrast’s greatest strength is its ability to target specific ranges of tone with only lesser effects in adjacent tonal ranges. In the final analysis, Tonal Contrast produces detail enhancement effects that are similar in many ways to processing files with HDR algorithms.

NIK’s algorithms are different than Photoshop’s the so they produce a different look and feel. What could be more important in creative sharpening? Add NIK’s effects to Photoshop’s Unsharp Mask and High Pass and you can choose to play detail in your images with a solo, duet, trio or quartet.

Get 15% off NIK all products with this code – JPCNIK.

Find out more about NIK here.

Read more about digital sharpening here.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.


Vincent Versace shares his favorite quotes.

This one’s my favorite from his selection.

“Stop taking pictures. Be taken by your pictures.” – Ernst Haas

Which is your favorite?

Read his collection of quotes here.

Visit Vincent Versace’s website here.

keep looking »


Get the RSS Feed  

Subscribe by Email