Lessons I Didn’t Learn In Photo School
Syl Arena’s LIDLIPS started as blog posts on Pixsylated. They were so popular he’s collected them in a book.Syl delivers common sense wisdom that refreshes, provides a useful perspective, and brings you back to center.
Here’s one.
36. Make photos even when you don’t have a camera
Photography has way more to do with seeing than it does with driving a piece of hardware. Practice your skills as a photographer even when you don’t have a camera. Make mental pictures anywhere at anytime. Study the light around you. Watch the gestures and expressions of people across the restaurant. Look for geometry in the surfaces and shadows around you. Pick a word. Say it to yourself every time you take a mental picture. “Snap”.
Here are 9 more topics.
Don’t confuse distraction with creativity.
Embrace stress as the opposite of apathy.
Making yourself vulnerable is a sign of strength.
Listen for answers to questions you didn’t ask.
Look along the edges to find the in betweens.
If your camera were a pencil or a crayon it would be easy to understand it’s limitations.
Make photos even when you don’t have a camera.
Creativity comes as a breeze before it comes as a gale.
Be prepared for your dreams to come true.
Find all 100 LIDLIPS and the book here.
Find LIDLIPS on Amazon here.
Find my creatvity Lessons here.


James Cameron’s Avatar. Stunning special effects. Green message celebrating cultural diversity. Critique of western expansion and materialism. Resolution through violence leaves you with lots of troubling questions relevant to our world today.
Want a more sophisticated anthropological exploration? See Wade Davis below.

Wade Davis on Endangered Cultures

Cultures are disappearing at a rapid rate. Of the 6000 languages spoken today only half will be passed on to the next generation. Cultures are the rainforests of civilization. They show us the full spectrum of what it means to be human and how richly diverse human experience can be. No one makes this point better than Wade Davis.
I highly recommend his book Shadows in the Sun.
Find his books here.


“I didn’t know it then, but it was the beginning of a whole new series. I knew it after it began happening repeatedly. The process had led me to a new point of departure. The work was a surprise. I hadn’t planned on doing it. It came to me. I had planned to do another body of work, but this one seized me and asked me to stay with it while it was fresh. I listened. I have a feeling that if I had ignored that voice I would not have been able to return to it later, certainly not with the same intensity or understanding …”

Read the rest of this Artist’s Statement here.

What to Look for in HDR

Chris Alvanas’ image (above) is an excellent example of heavy HDR.
Last week I taught my most advanced Fine Art Digital Printing Advanced workshop ever. We talked not only about how to use HDR tools but also the visual effects they produce. HDR processing creates several identifiable artifacts. Going to extremes will help you identify the possibilities and the artifacts more clearly. After that, you can better decide just how far you want to go. Clearly identifying these artifacts can help you control them and craft your own HDR style.
1    Full detail in shadows and highlights
This is the reason special software was invented.
Pushed far blacks and whites can get gray.
2    Accentuation of contour
Images look sharper and clearer. It’s Clarity on steroids.
Pushed far this leads localized vignetting.
3    Accentuation of texture
Talk about detail.
Pushed far it gives objects a stained (“grunge”) appearance and boosts noise.
4    Distortion of relative saturation relationships
Sometimes it’s beautiful, sometimes it’s unnatural, sometimes it’s beautifully unnatural.
A little post-production work will help you get the balance that’s best for you.
Learn more in my free Lessons.
Learn more in my HDR DVD.
Learn more in my Workshops.
Next FADP Advanced workshop 2/1-5

Seth Resnick – The Vanishing Continent Antarctica

Seth Resnick talks about his new Blurb book The Vanishing Continent Antarctica on Blurb.
“The irony is that Antarctica is anything but white. The light is incredible and sunsets there can last for hours, not just minutes. The ice itself is so dense that red and green can penetrate it, but not blue, so the ice is almost a fluorescent blue. It’s otherworldly. The blue in the cover photograph for my book was really that intense.”
Read the interview here.
See more of Seth’s Antarctica images here.
Find out more Seth Resnick and D-65.
Save your spot on our upcoming Antarctica 2011 workshop here.

Exploring HDR Styles

Last week I taught my most advanced Fine Art Digital Printing Advanced workshop ever. A number of the participants work with HDR. So we explored a variety of HDR styles.
Chris Alvanas likes heavy HDR processing to give his contemporary portraits a grittier look.
Jim Hooper likes to blend normally processed Raw files with HDR processed files for a blend of classic and contemporary.
HDR techniques can be used to generate many different effects. They’re useful techniques every photographer should know about.
Learn more in my free Lessons.
Learn more in my HDR DVD.
Learn more in my Workshops.
Next FADP Advanced workshop 2/1-5

The Art of Interpretation – Dodging & Burning

Last week I taught my most advanced Fine Art Digital Printing Advanced workshop ever. We delved deep into the art of dodging and burning, learning not only how to do it but many interpretive strategies for applying it in different ways to a variety of images.
Soren Lindqvist’s image drawn from the rocky coast of Maine demonstrates just how far you can go with dodging and burning. He turns an image with dark lines on a light ground into one with light lines on a dark ground. It’s a fine example of the art of interpretation. Available light may only be a starting point.
See more of Soren’s work here.

Learn more in my free Lessons.
Learn more in my Drawing With Light DVD.
Learn more in my Workshops.

Adobe Shortcut App for Creative Suite

“Can’t remember your shortcuts? No worries. Introducing the Adobe Shortcut App, an amazing new tool from Adobe that lets you find and gather the shortcuts you need on your desktop. So they’re right where you need them, when you need them, allowing you to create your masterpieces with ease.”
You get a full list. You can make your own lists. I don’t find a list of shortcuts I already know useful. But I do find a list of shortcuts I’m currently trying to commit to memory very useful.
Get this application here. It’s free!
Learn more with my Lessons, DVDs, and Workshops.