The Daily Focal Point

October 20, 2008


Filed under: Week One — cabenelson @ 10:11 pm

Thank you everyone who voted! There was a tie for the Photo of the Week, here they are:

October 19, 2008


Filed under: Week One — cabenelson @ 12:51 am

Okay. so this is the end of the first week and I want to hear from you! Vote on your favorite photo of the week by placing a comment below. If your commenting for the first time you might not see it post right away. Also, feel free to select your top 3 photos if you would like. Just place the names of the photos in the comment box! Don’t be shy… and thank you for viewing this week!

October 18, 2008

St. Thomas

Filed under: Week One — cabenelson @ 11:28 pm


This picture was taken back in 2004 and is still one of my favorites. I took this while I was on vacation with my family in St. Thomas and the surrounding islands. I love it just for the fact that I really didn’t do anything to make it beautiful. Call me a purest but manipulating this photo in Photoshop would have just ruined it.

I shot this using a 35MM (regular film) Nikon SLR before digital SLR’s were widely available. I loved that camera, and shooting with film really forces you to get the photo right the first time. I shot with negatives (black and white mostly) for about 7 years, so needless to say I have boxes and boxes of negatives in storage that I haven’t been able to scan and digitize yet. Since this photo was one of my favorites I made an exception and I couldn’t have it sitting in box under my house. I wonder what other photos I have in those boxes… maybe one day I’ll find some time to scan them all in.

October 17, 2008

Fall Moon

Filed under: Photoshop Tutorials, Rubber Stamp Tool, Week One — cabenelson @ 6:56 am

Winter Moon

Okay, so maybe I use Photoshop to manipulate more of my photos than I had originally thought! Going through my photo album this morning, I realized that in order to get some of the shots I wanted I absolutely had to Photoshop the image. I found a good example of an image that I could envision in my mind completely but I was unable to capture, despite my best camera trickery.

For this photo, I knew that I wanted to frame the picture with both the pine tree and the empty branches. I also wanted to capture the color (or shade) of the gray sky. It was just one of those shades that struck the mood and would have been a photo killer if I couldn’t get it right. I absolutely wanted that feel especially against the main subject in the photo, the moon. The problem was that my camera (or the photographer) wasn’t able to pick up the details in the face of the moon without over exposing the shade of gray meant to establish the tone of the photo. After over 20 shots at different settings without any success, this seemed nearly impossible to do.

I could have one…
Correct Background

Or I could have the other…
Correct Moon

At this point I pretty much knew that in order to get the picture I had envisioned, I would need to do a Photoshop swap. This is where you intentionally take the two entirely separate photos in the hopes of combining elements from both, into one super photo! I simply opened up both photos in Photoshop and moved the moon over to my photo with the correct shades of grey. This was accomplished by lassoing the moon (sounds so stupid) and creating a new layer on my background photo. I simply moved the moon over and rubberstamped the perimeter of the moon to blend it in. 10 bucks says that if you scroll up to see the finished photo again, you see it entirley differnt now that you know the moon was faked.

My point is that sometimes you need to “tweak” the photos that you have in order to create the photo you want.

October 16, 2008

Red Rocks – Lake Powell

Filed under: Week One — cabenelson @ 6:48 pm

Red Rocks

This is why I love Lake Powell…

October 15, 2008

Nothing like mushrooms and a laser show

Filed under: Week One — cabenelson @ 9:44 pm




Timed Exposer! I’ve always loved time lapsed photos especially those that are taken at night. There is something cool in the way that you can manipulate photographs without digital trickery or Photoshop gimmicks. I love the idea of exposing the film in such a way that it makes you look twice and think about how the picture was actually taken. These photos were done on the same night when Kim and I woke up at 3:00 AM or so to see a lunar eclipse. Apparently this type of eclipse was so rare we wouldn’t be able to see another one in our lifetime. Kim and I have always been suckers for these types of events. When we woke up we saw that the lunar eclipse still had over an hour to go before it peaked. Kim went back to bed while I pulled out my Nikon and our tripod and started goofing around. This was done on a 35 second timed exposure while I was holding a small emergency flashlight. What happens is that the shutter inside the camera instead of going “click-click” goes “click…… (wait 35 seconds)……click” This means that the shutter is staying wide open and soaking in as much light as it possibly can. When you have a no light situation and then include a light source (cue our weak-sauce emergency flashlight) the camera will pick up only the lightsource and record each motion you made while holding it. Time lapsed photos can usually only be done with a manual camera that has an adjustable shutter. Your normal “point and shoot” cameras can’t accomplish this as it is always on an automatic setting where the camera’s sensor reads the light available and then chooses the best option for the photo. I’m telling you now, as I will again and again, invest in a Digital SLR camera. IT’S WORTH IT. Even if time lapsed photos is the last thing you’re going to do, having a solid camera to take pictures of kids, family, vacations etc is worth it. These are your memories, make them last and document them as much as you can.

By the way, the “I love you” was directed at my wife who tried to stay awake that night but couldn’t make it!

And I’m throwing in a picture of swirls… because let’s face it, who doesn’t love swirls?

Blue Light Swirel

October 14, 2008

Phelan Good

Filed under: Week One — cabenelson @ 5:08 pm

October 13, 2008

Ocean Sky

Filed under: Week One — cabenelson @ 5:07 pm

In my mind the true form of photography is done in a dark room with black and white film. Shooting in black and white forces your mind to see exactly what the photo will look like even before you press the capture button on your camera. It brings on a changed perspective and allows you to see things differently. I love this photo and interestingly enough, this is not black and white. This picture was taken in color and wasn’t goofed around with in Photoshop.

What is it? It’s a straight downward view of the ocean receding from a dark sand beach. I was about 200 feet above the ocean looking down from a bluff. I watched the ocean suck back from the beach and saw the striking difference in contrasts. It was only there for a split second, so I waited and snapped as many photos as possible. (Again, my statistics rule.) Luckily, I got it.

As you’re taking photos try imagining before you snap away what the photo would look like from a different angle. Up, down, off center etc. Oh FYI, I usually always try avoiding placing my main subject directly in the middle of the frame. Most of the time it creates a flat uninspiring photo- most importantly, view in your mind what that photo will look like from a completely different angle. Simple advice, but if I was staring at the horizion I would have missed this shot entirley. Sharpen that mind’s eye!

October 9, 2008

Birds Eye

Filed under: Week One — cabenelson @ 9:39 pm

Oh the power of Photoshop! This is the extent of how much I will mess with a photo in Photoshop. See below for what the original photo looked like when it was taken. You can accomplish some pretty amazing things with Photoshop but my whole purpose in using the tool is to make the picture as natural as I can (for the most part) start by adjusting the basics: brightness/contrast, levels, and then progress into variations. Variations will provide you with 12 different views of what the photo will look like with added green, blue, magenta, yellow etc- It will also allow you to add different levels of saturation (amount of color). Variations is the most important tool for me. I also use the dodge and burn tool to increase certain parts of the pictures darkens or brighten other subjects without brightening the entire photo. Look closely at the windows in the barracks with the old vs. new photo. They have been darkened and the buildings have been brightened to create a more striking photo.

One thing you’ll notice with my photos is that I love pictures that are dark around the edges and have a lighter center in the middle of the frame. For some reason I feel like this creates a more engaging image to look at, it’s visually appealing to me I guess. I’ll accomplish this by simply burning at different flow levels around the image in Photoshop. I also shoot most times with my Nikor 200mm lens and that creates a darker perimeter around the photo with a lighter center. Mmm I feel like eating Oreos now…


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