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Archive for December, 2013

Motivation By Connection

Anyone who follows my blog will know I often talk about the importance of individuality, creative vision and uniqueness when it comes to photography. I always find it fascinating to hear from other photographers about their discoveries regarding both self and practice as they advance throughout their career. Being able to form a connection with others regarding similar thoughts and experiences motivates me by reminding me that I’m not alone in my struggles and that this does in fact not come easy to anyone.

It’s funny that we have to remind ourselves constantly about things like that. It’s pretty simple to understand, yet it’s all to easy for us to assume that others produce their best work straight away. To be honest, this is a large part of what motivates me to write this blog; Being able to share experiences, struggles, discoveries and change with the hope that others can both relate and be motivated in their endeavours.


Shoreline Details - Killarney, Ontario


I came across this Ansel Adams interview done by the BBC the other day and wanted to share it here on the blog. Among many things throughout the interview, I found it very interesting when Adams talks about and shows examples of his prints including multiple variations of the same one created over a number of years. Adams talks about how his feelings change throughout time which contributes heavily to different choices made when printing. He refers to his famous line “The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways”.

I’m sure that we all can relate to these thoughts in a sense that images never seem to be complete. I know that at any point, I can look back at older work and find specific details that I now would approach differently. It’s embracing these moments with the realization of our progress that is the important thing; not stopping to get frustrated with ourselves for the so-called “mistakes” we made. It’s exciting to think about what lies ahead in this journey, and how our values, vision, likes and dislikes will change over time. Photography teaches us not only to see the world around us more clearly but also ourselves.

Click here to watch a video of Ansel Adams.  There are countless other great interviews with Adams to be found on YouTube.  Being able to hear the thoughts and opinions from one of the masters is extremely interesting and exciting. 


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Kyle McDougallKyle McDougall is a landscape photographer/workshop leader based out of Ontario, Canada.  He specializes in creating fine art images that touch on both a visual and emotional level.  When not outside exploring the land you can find Kyle online sharing his images and helping others through his instructional articles.  In 2012 Kyle was chosen by Photolife Magazine as one of Canada’s Emerging Photographers.  To view more of his work please visit his website:





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Managing Light

Recently another photographer was kind enough to rework one of my photographs. I learned through him that Photoshop CS6, specifically ACR, was a game-changer.  Why? Because one can manage light much more effectively when opening a RAW file.

Soon thereafter, I upgraded from CS5 to CS6. I am glad I did!

One of the single most difficult issues in processing digital images is the continuing issue of highlights and shadows. If one exposes for highlights, shadows overpower the photograph. If one exposes for shadows, highlights are almost always blown out.

Photoshop CS6, specifically when working with ACR, one gets the following options, which differ dramatically from what one sees in CS5.


Note the “Highlights” and “Shadows” sliders. These differ from CS5 where one has options for “Recovery” and “Fill Light.” The new sliders in CS6 make a world of difference in containing highlights and pulling details out of darks.

Here are some examples, click on any one of them to see a larger image:

Cheetah in Grass

In the original image of the Cheetah, the whites were very bright as were the highlights in its body. Using CS6 I was able to save the details of the whites while pulling out more detail in the Cheetah’s body.

A Different Point of View

In the image of the four Giraffes, the lone Giraffe was blown out and when trying to compensate by changing the exposure the details in the foreground Giraffes were lost. Now both are saved.

Two Cheetahs

In the above photograph, the Cheetah on the left was overexposed as were the highlights on the Cheetah on the right. Using CS6, I was able to recover the whites and pull out more of the details in the shadow areas.

Grazing Cape Buffalo

In the last example, I was able to pull out more details of the Cape Buffalo’s dark skin yet keep the highlights of the grasses in check.

OK Bill, show me an original shot and how CS6 changed it.  Here we go:

Original Shot


After Editing in CS6 ACR

After, Edited With CS6

Kinda cool huh?

What has me excited is that I can now go back to old photographs I shot years ago and pull out details I never thought were possible. As in this shot of a Big Horn Ram, photographed in Glacier National Park.

Eyes on Me

In sum, as software continues to improve, many of our older photographs can be revisited because what was not possible two years ago is today.

If you haven’t bought or upgraded to Photoshop CS6, I highly recommend that you do so. Please note that I do not use the Creative Cloud, I simply upgraded CS5 to CS6 for $200. It was well worth the price. Hopefully, Adobe will allow users like myself to upgrade from time to time without getting into the Creative Cloud concept. I detest the new Adobe business model, but I do have a great deal of respect for Adobe’s engineers, they are the best in the world. Too bad Adobe does not match its engineers with good managers – I know, that is too much to ask.

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Bill LockhartBill is a retired Courts Administrator of one of the largest trial courts in the United States. He is also a retired Lieutenant Colonel, US Army National Guard, in which he served for 30 years.  He holds a BSJ from the University of Florida School of Journalism, is a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management, a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College, and the US Army Inspector General School.  His photographic experience spans four decades; his photographic awards are too numerous to list, but include well over 100 photographs of the day, photographs of the week, and photographs of the month, at many Internet forums.  He travels extensively throughout the world, his most recent trips include journeys to South Africa, Tanzania, Alaska, Scotland, the Farne Islands, Poland, the American North West, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Slovenia, and Orkney.  From the jungles of Panama and Honduras, to the mountains of Europe, to the awesome islands of Scotland, to the islands of the Galapagos, from the coastal regions of Alaska,  to the intense heat of tropical Africa, Bill constantly searches for the “light that dances.”

Click here to visit Bill’s website. 

All photos and content Copyright © 2013 Bill Lockhart Photography, all rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication of photos and content is strictly prohibited.


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