Focusing on the Vital Few

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First and foremost, thank you for visiting my photoblog where I share my images for your viewing pleasure along with background information on the image.

Previously I mentioned how I increased my overall breadth of knowledge across a wide spectrum of photography (gear, composition, image processing…) followed by targeting the “Vital Few” photographers to increase my depth of knowledge.

1st: Blake Rudis 
(f.64 Academy, PS, Topaz, On1, DZS/CZS)
2nd: Anthony Morganti
(LR, PS, Topaz, On1)
3rd: Matt Kloskowski
(LR, PS, On1)

I’ve used a simplistic photoshop technique to Recover Detail After a Filter is Applied. After a filter (Topaz, …) is added to a duplicate layer of the Background image in Photoshop, then a layer mask is added with a brush used to recover desired details to taste.  Yes, simple yet the featured image for this post shows the possibilities of adding detail back for the windows, doors and signs while retaining the Georgia O’Keefe painted look in the image.

Image 1 – No Filter Applied
Image 2 – Filter Applied and Face Detail Recovered


Here’s a video explanation of the “Recovering Details Back-in After Using a Filter, e.g. Topaz Impression” within Photoshop by Blake Rudis


Finding Your Photography Mentors

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Thank your for visiting my photoblog today.  As mentioned in previous posts I’m an Apprentice in The Arcanum and to supplement my learning, I’ve reached out to multiple YouTube channels in the past.  At first to learn my new (or wishlist) gear and now for image processing.  The latter is the subject of today’s post.

Below are sample images created using Photoshop and the Topaz Labs – Glow plug-in.  As I study a new technique for image processing, I immediately apply it to cement the learning.  Often this takes multiple practice runs as believe me it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks yet the dog keeps trying.

Blake Rudis’ video explains the above image processing technique in clear and precise terms which are summarized to lockdown the exchange between the teacher and the viewer.  This is one of Blake’s forte as an artist turned photographer turned teacher.  Thanks Blake.

VideoBlending Options within Topaz Labs Glow by Blake Rudis

Here are my sample images using the Topaz Labs Glow with its Neon “Glowing Wires II” preset.  As you double-click to assess the inter-workings of the preset,  20+ sliders appear – wow now what.  It’s a learning curve to understand what each slider does so I just throw it to the left then back to the right – okay now I understand.  In the end, adjust to your artistic taste, no right or wrong.


DaShanSheYing-1496 DaShanSheYing-1497

So I’ve told you where I am today but how did I get here.

At first, I needed to expand my knowledge of Photography so I watched many YouTube videos being a visual-learning guy.  This gave me the "breath" of knowledge yet I lacked the "depth" to become effective.  

So I fine-tuned my YouTube channels to a few thus adding the "depth" to execute intermediate to advanced image processing.
My Breadth: Novice to Intermediate Learning Channels.
Mike Browne          Matt Granger    Julieanne Kost

Anthony Morganti  Tim Grey      Gavin Hoey
My Depth: Intermediate to Advance Learning Channels
Trey Ratcliff      Blake Rudis       Matt Kloskowski

Anthony Morganti   Jimmy McIntyre    Terry White

Dave Cross         Greg Benz         Tony Kuyper
Narrowing the Field of Focus

For the last year+ I’ve been studying the photographers / visual artists via YouTube video learning stopping at times stopping to purchase their Photoshop Course, Action Panels and/or Action Sets.

Now I’ve decided to target just a few Photographers to expand my depth in a structured way forward.

1st: Blake Rudis (f.64 Academy, PS, Topaz, On1, DZS/CZS)
2nd: Anthony Morganti (LR, PS, Topaz, On1)
3rd: Matt Kloskowski (On1)

Blake Rudis’ Digital & Color Zone Systems

Dear Viewer,

Thank you for joining my latest photoblog post and I hope you’ll “Follow” along.

I’ve been busy of late expanding my knowledge and skill set around Adam Ansel’s Zone System for B&W and Color images.  Here’s a short primer for an explanation ahead of showing my images.

The Zone System is a photographic technique for determining optimal film exposure and development, formulated by Ansel Adams and Fred Archer. It was a quantifiable way to measure light data in an image.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 6.45.19 PM

Now jump forward to the era of digital cameras and the application of the Zone System using Photoshop techniques.

downloadI’ve been lucky enough to find an excellent Zone System teacher in Blake Rudis and his f.64 Academy video course using Photoshop actions in the creation of  layer masks (10) with curves adjustments. Blake has created Photoshop Actions taking the labor out leaving you to make the curve adjustments to taste.

If you move forward to investigate Blake’s Zone System with an interest to purchase, he’s provided this coupon for 15% off over the next two weeks.
Use this coupon code: Dashan Sheying

Go for it and take you image processing to the next level.

The 10 Zones from Ansel Adams are aligned against the 0-255 grayscale and “stops” of light as we’ve been taught.

zone-system zone1Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 7.57.26 PM

Note:  The Digital Zone System is very different from Luminosity Masks.

Yes they are similar in nature, but different in application.  They both do similar things in essence.  However, the Zone Systems are a much better editing technique.

The Digital/Color Zone system is a selection method which is very different than with Luminosity Masking.  The act of subtracting to create zones is entirely different than the selection of a Zone.  There are also certain fail safes incorporated into the Zone Systems that traditional luminosity masks fail to incorporate by the way they make the selection.

Additionally, I realized that I’ve been leaving on the table in taking my processing to the best image possible by not using Dodge (lighten) and Burn (darken) techniques.  This is now a targeted technique to master.

Here’s a video visualizing what I’ve mentioned above:

Blake Rudis’ Zone System Video – Click Me  Blake’s explanation of the What and How provides the clarity from my attempt above.

Now onto my weekend images at

  1. Tada Falls in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, 3 hours north of Chennai
  2. Kolavai Lake, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India SW 1 hour from Chennai
  3. Traveling back from Yellagiri, Tamil Nadu, India
  4. Kolavai Lake, Paranur, Tamil Nadu, India

As always your comments are welcomed.

Black and White Gallery

DaShanSheYing-1456 DaShanSheYing-1474DaShanSheYing-1465 DaShanSheYing-1462 DaShanSheYing-1450DaShanSheYing-1453

Color Gallery (IR/Non-IR)

DaShanSheYing-1464 DaShanSheYing-1460DaShanSheYing-1454 DaShanSheYing-1473DaShanSheYing-1468 DaShanSheYing-1467

For this last image, I usedUTopaz Impressions and Blake’s Oil Painting preset – sweet.  Blake was first a painter before a photographer, it shows in his photography.