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2 years, 4 months ago 3

Scott Kelby has “It’s Free Stuff Thursday!”, so I thought I might institute, (occasionally), Fun Fridays!  I’ve  often said that I’ve never been more excited about photography than I am today. What excites me the most is how much we an do to “improve” our photographs, post capture.  Now before I get into this, some of you may not be very enthusiastic about making these kinds of changes to an image, if so, you are welcome to leave now and come back on another day.  I certainly don’t want to upset you, If manipulating images with Photoshop, or Nik filters or Topaz is not a part of what you would do, good for you, stick by your convictions, just don’t tell the rest of us that we shouldn’t!  Photography is an art form determined by each individual artist. So if you are into this, or even curious read on!!


While shooting in New Orleans I came upon this young man cleaning the side walk with a hose and water. I was shooting with one of my favorite point and shoot compact cameras.  I’ve found that you an do great street shooting when the camera doesn’t look imposing.  As far as your subjects know, you’re just another tourist snapping pictures!!  So below is the original image before I cleaned it up in Photoshop with Content Aware.


As you can see the image is a little messy and doesn’t have much pop!  The shot at the top is the same image cleaned up, and then with some added saturation, and then with Nik Color Efex 3.0 Tonal Contrast filter applied.  Since, to me, the shot is timeless, what if we created an old photograph with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.0? The shot below is with the Sepia filter.



O.K. let’s take it even further by making an Old Photo with the Nik Color Efex 3.0 “Old Photo” filter!


O.K. this is fun, got it, Fun Friday!!  I couldn’t possibly do this without trying Glamour Glow, one of my favorite digital filters from Nik Color Efex 3.0.  The saturation is increased and it exhibits a nice glow that only Glamour Glow can produce, at least for me!



I love this one and the Tonal Contrast, but since we’ve gone this far why not go into Topaz and see what the gritty filter, Spicify does for us!


I could go on, but I hope I’ve made my point.  You can take a simply, o.k. image that has potential and give it new life with some of these great filters.  Give it a try, you might like it!


Before we go off for the weekend let me share this morning’s devotional on the In Touch Website by Dr. Charles Stanley, this is really good, be blessed!


the pilgrim



Set Apart for God


Romans 12:1-3



When a person places his faith in Jesus Christ, he becomes a new believer, and he is sanctified–that is, set apart for God’s purpose. Unlike salvation, which takes place in a single moment, sanctification is a lifelong process. We who are followers of the Savior should be letting the Holy Spirit control our lives. If that is the case, we are currently being sanctified, regardless of what we may feel or how our actions appear to others. In other words, we are progressively maturing in our faith.



And if we are progressing, we must be working our way toward something. The apostle Paul explained the Christian’s mission: “For those whom [God] foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). A believer’s character, conduct, and conversation should be reflections of Jesus, who lives within. On our own, we’d place too much emphasis on behavior and get caught up with following rules and rituals that look Christian without truly reflecting Christ. But God has given each believer His Spirit as a teacher and guide. The Spirit works to transform our minds and hearts so that we are markedly different from our unsaved peers. When we allow the Spirit to control us, we speak and act in accordance with our true identity: God’s sons and daughters.



Our Father wants His children to be living examples of who He is. He doesn’t expect perfection–He knows we can’t be totally sinless in our human body. But He shows us how to think and act so we may “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called” (Eph. 4:1).



2 years, 4 months ago 2

* Before I get into today’s post, let me take  moment to thank Scott Kelby and Brad Moore for allowing me to share some thoughts this morning on Scott’s blog.  Scott certainly gets a lot of hits every day and I am honored that he would let me use his fantastic out reach to share these thoughts, and get the word out about His Light Workshops, please drop by his blog today and check it out!!!


Now, after the two recent posts on mega pixles I got a lot of questions by email and it led to further thoughts.  I am sure the people that wrote won’t mind me sharing their questions and my answers with you!


Tyler wrote;  ”I have a D90 and plan to replace it and don’t know if I should get the more affordable D7000 or spring for a D800?  I do mostly nature, close-ups and travel photography.  I own the 10-24 and a 18-200 lens.”


Tyler, the D7000 would be perfect for you, it is a big step up from the D90, which was already a great camera, which-by the-way, I would keep as a back up camera!    If you go the D8oo route, you will have to start over buying new FX lenses, while your DX lenses would work they would not take advantage of the D800′s full frame sensor.  For now, for what you do, the D7000 is a great choice!  I was recently asked how good the D7000 was at high ISO.  To my shock while reviewing some old shots from Old Car City, I mistakenly had left the camera on ISO 4000 !!!!  I’ll let you judge the results in the HDR shot below! 



Shaun wrote; “I’ve really enjoyed your posts on mega-pixels, I have a question, if I bought a D800 or D4 and the 24-120 AF-s Vr f4 lens that I see you use a lot,  before I make the jump, how would  it compare to my D7000 and my 16-85 AF-S VR lens?  The cost difference is significant!?”


Shaun the difference is a matter of degrees, and the use you will put it to.  If you plan to make very large prints, (over 24X36), and shoot in low light and must often shoot wide open, the edge will go to the D800 and 24-120.  If you usually stop down a stop or two and don’t do a great deal of available light work, you already have a great combination now!


Ellen wrote, ” I see that Nikon just released a new 24-85 and I had been considering the 24-70 f 2.8 how do they compare?


Ellen I have not had the chance to shoot the new lens extensively, just a few quick snaps, which was enough to see it is very sharp.  The 24-70 f 2.8 is legendarily sharp but costs three times as much, I think the decision would come down to budget, I suspect you would be thrilled with either one.


Brad wrote; “When I look at your images on the blog they all look great, even the point and shoot ones, how much does the camera and lens really matter?”


Brad, thanks, however the photographer makes the image, not the camera!  Having said that, for me cameras are a very personal decision, how much do you want to carry?   Is a D4 too big, is a point and shoot not big enough?  Can I afford a $6,000. dollar camera body or is a $1,200. more in line with my budget.  One thing is for sure, if you buy any good camera and lens and you work very hard learning how to get the most out of it, you can make images that will be astounding.  The bad news is that as your skill level grows you will want, and probably need, better cameras and lenses!


Linda wrote; ” If you had to, could you make all your images for the rest of your life with a $500. point and shoot camera?”


Linda, If I had to, I could,  but I’m glad I don’t have to!  The shot below is why I think I could.



John wrote; “Is it true that almost all lenses are equally sharp when stopped down to F8 or f11?”


John, the short answer is yes.  Of course there are exceptions and “all” is a big word, but for the most part most lenses are very sharp at the mid range aperture settings.  All of this is assuming holding the camera steady or even better working  off a tripod, if you don’t do that, no lens is going to give sharp results!



Ron wrote; “You mentioned that you carry a mini tripod, what kind??”


Ron, mine is a set of Kirk Mini pod legs and the Really Right Stuff BH-30 Compact ballhead with LR


Faith quote of the day:


God, the sovereign ruler of this universe, is in control of your life. Don’t make the mistake of thinking He isn’t, simply because He does not operate according to your will and schedule. If you read your Bible and meditate on it, you will find genuine strength in His promises.






2 years, 4 months ago 7

I’ve been thinking about something for a long time, and I wanted to share a thought.  Every time I go through an airport I see lots of service men  and women shipping, or coming home.  I try to walk up to everyone I see in uniform and say, “thank you for your service!”  When we are enjoying the freedom of our country I know that freedom was not purchased without a price, a great price.  I can’t imagine how difficult it is to go to Iraq or Afghanistan and endure the conditions they face.  I want them to  know I deeply appreciate their sacrifice for me, and my family.


This past weekend while up in Roanoke,  Sherelene and I went over to visit some of her family and  her Uncle Earl, a World War II veteran. He took us to the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia.  Like all war memorials it was hallowed ground and I was deeply moved by being there and thinking about how many men gave their lives for our freedom.  It saddens me when so  many Americans do not show appreciation for our service men and women.  I understand being opposed to war, I don’t think any man or woman that has ever experienced combat, is in favor of war!  In spite of our fears, these men and woman keep doing their duty to God and Country.  I just wanted to take a moment today and say thank you.


Blessed to be free,


the pilgrim

2 years, 4 months ago 8

My wife shared a powerful teaching with me.  Now I’m sharing it with you!


“A Trilogy”


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 packs three important commands into three tiny verses. Paul wrote,



16 Rejoice always17 pray continually18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”



What Paul wrote here is more than just three easy memory verses. Paul tells us three things that he expects Christians to do on a continual basis. It isn’t just that Christians need to occasionally rejoice or be “part-time pray-ers” or give thanks under selective circumstances. Paul says these are three things to do always, continually and in all circumstances. Instead of give you more things to think about I want to ask you to do something. I am going to give you three lists to rejoice over, pray over and give God thanks about.




  • That God has created you
  • That God has saved you
  • That God sent Jesus for you
  • That God loves you unconditionally
  • That God has supported you through His church/people
  • For the people God has put in your life
  • What else would make your list?


  • For guidance in your decisions
  • For the church to grow and reach more people
  • For God to keep working on your heart
  • For greater wisdom
  • For greater boldness
  • For the words to say to those who need God
  • What else would make your list?


Give Thanks

  • In whatever circumstances your life is currently in, whether it seems good or bad
  • For the way God has sustained you up to this point in your life
  • That God will continue to sustain your life
  • To God for family and friends
  • To God for whatever blessings you have…they all came from God
  • For God’s patience, mercy, and grace
  • What else would make your list?

It is important we make a regular habit out of doing these three things.




the pilgrim