Reaching The End of Sphere 1 – What?

Dear Viewers,

I have been in “The Arcanum” since August 2015 as an eager Apprentice in Les Saucier‘s Cohort.  Les is a fine Master teaching us how to visualize the final image first in camera and through the image processing workflow.

Red Colored words are hot links for you to gain further information on a particular topic, person, website...

Although the Cohort specializes in Landscape Photography, we cover Macro, Infrared, Gear, Software Processing… you name it.

I’ve learned a lot, a lot and feel I’ve notched it up in the images I present to you.  Of course, my bus doesn’t stop here given I have so much more to learn and experience.

During “Image Critiques”, Les wears two hats seamlessly:

One hat he wears is that of the “Viewer” to state
  • what he sees.
  • what holds his attention.
  • what's the perceived subject.
  • where his eye goes.
  • what may be distracting him from the subject and why?
A second hat he wears is one of a “Teacher
  • On what he would do differently in holding the viewer's attention, i.e. add to it or take it away.
As Visual Artists, we use our cameras, skills and craft to emphasis what we want the viewer to see and in the end be entertained.

In our Cohort, there are many talented photographers where we share and learn together via on-line Cohort Hangouts courtesy of Google+.  Take a look at their amazing images.

Mary Presson Roberts     Douglas Sandquist

Richard Barrow     Ron Santini

The initial foundation is Sphere 0 with ten challenges (C1-10) followed by another 10 challenges in Sphere 1 (C11-20).   I’m now nearing the end.

For Sphere 1 - Challenge 19, I present to you ten (10) images from which I need to whittle down to the final five (5) images which Les will formally critique in Sphere 1 - Challenge 20.

Critiques in The Arcanum are a painless event – no worries mate.

Really – painless?

  • If you did something not quite correct – you learn.
  • If you did something correct but could do it better – you learn.
  • If you’re way off, you’ll be pulled back in – you learn.

In the end it’s all about learning to level-up your skills, techniques with a personal artistic expression.

Here are my ten (10) images which I’d like you the viewer to tell me which ones hold your attention and tell you a story in the comments.  Feedback is a gift so thank you.

Image 1

Arcanum S1-C19-1

Image 2

Arcanum S1-C19-2

Image 3

Arcanum S1-C19-3

Image 4

Arcanum S1-C19-4

Image 5

Arcanum S1-C19-5

Image 6

Arcanum S1-C19-6

Image 7

Arcanum S1-C19-7

Image 8

Arcanum S1-C19-8

Image 9

Arcanum S1-C19-9

Image 10

Arcanum S1-C19-10

If all goes well, I move on to Sphere 2 in the Arcanum with a new Master and Cohort taking me to the next level.


Rice Paddies With an IR Faux Color Mix

Thank you for stopping to view my latest post and hope you begin to "Follow" me on my photographic journey of discovery.

Yesterday we headed 2.5 hours north to “Tada Waterfalls” in AP in hope of shooting long exposure photography.

No luck as of course given 42 deg one should know it’s not winter anymore and waterfalls are most likely waterless.  Well, we did have water but it wasn’t falling – see you again in the monsoon season (Nov-Dec).

All was not lost as photographic opportunities often present themselves during the journey and not at the destination.

In my case, it was the 3x per year planting of rice that presented itself.  I took off my shoes and walked in mud calf-deep having the time of my life take photos.  I’m sure the farmers, men harvesting rice seedlings and the women planting the paddies thought these photographers were nuts.

Here are some IR images in Faux Colors..  What do you think, let me know.DaShanSheYing-1454
DaShanSheYing-1460 DaShanSheYing-1463 DaShanSheYing-1467

Here’s another one thrown in for Tada Waterfalls.


Still many images left to process using my newly learned Digital and Color  Zone System following the teachings of Ansel Adams, courtesy of Blake Rudis.  I will cover this in detail for my next post.

Thank you and keep stopping by to visit.

Infrared Image Gallery

I’m amazed at the ease of using an IR-converted camera.  Sure a little extra processing in Photoshop for white balance and color swap yet in the end well worth it.

Nikon D300S Infrared Converted Camera – 1st Image


Out of camera the IR image is fairly bright red in color as one would assume given it’s IR at 720nm.  This above image is after I applied an Adobe DNG (RAW) file profile change in Lightroom to extend the range of the white balance temperature slider.


Next, the image is taken to Photoshop where a Channel Swap is performed, i.e. Red and Blue channels exchanged.  Have a photoshop “action” already setup to make it happen automatically. I could have stopped here with Faux (False) colors yet took it to B&W.

The featured image is now the B&W conversion processed in NIK Silver Efex Pro, love the high contrast and detail.  Many more to process yet thought I’d stop and share.

Yes this is the second to last step in getting a rice paddy ready for planting the seedlings, i.e. cultivating the mud.  Look at those add-on metal frames over the wheels for traction.

Polambakkam – Bullock Power

Stopped on the way back from Polambakkam to witness rice planting and tree (Tamarind) cutting. Always an adventure.

Rice paddies can be planted 3x per year if there is ample water while ten women can plant rice seedings in a 100 x 150 yard paddy in one day.  Back-breaking work.  The man is using his bullocks to complete the final leveling of the paddy ahead of hand planting seedlings.  Another hard-working job in the mud.

The Tamarind trees along the road plus others are numbered and controlled by the Gov’t requiring permission to cut and delivery for Gov’t auction.  Apparently this wood is used for heating, nothing special like furniture…