Thursday, June 29, 2023

Time's Running Out.


Stranger Things, Deming, ©Daniel Gauss/Shot On Site

Hey friends, the big Luminar Neo Summer Sale ends really, really soon. Like tomorrow, (6/30/23) at 7:00AM EDT! Reminder: Best prices on the most fun, creative editor since Black Friday last year. If you, like me, find Adobe too technically challenging (and expensive!), you owe it to yourself to go give Luminar Neo a risk-free try! And don't forget, you can save an additional 10% with my special code, 


when you check out. Time to finally have fun with your photography! Click below:

Huh. It doesn't look so scary in the daytime.

Un-strange Things, Deming ©Daniel Gauss/Shot On Site

Fine Print:

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these, I may receive a small commission at no increased cost to you. Thanks.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

It's Your Choice


White Sands Golden Hour ©Daniel Gauss/Shot On Site

As a photographer, I tend to classify myself as an "opportunistic generalist". What does that mean? Simply that I'll shoot anything! Landscape, wildlife, street, portrait, pet, event, ruins, whatever. There's a hashtag on social media: "ipulledoverforthis". That's me in a nutshell. That doesn't mean I don't have my favorites, landscape photography being probably at the top of the list.

Baker Blue Hour ©Daniel Gauss/Shot On Site
That said, it's uncommon for me to actually plan out a photo shoot. I've done it a few times, possibly the first being the HDR session in downtown Deming, NM that resulted in one of my most commercially successful images (a framed enlargement hangs in a villa in the south of France!), that being the Baker Hotel sign in blue hour. This was planned out weeks in advance. 

But for the most part, I'll just grab the camera and go. Oh, there's a car show in town? I'm on that. Full moon coming up over the mountains in the back yard. I'll shoot that. Look! Look there at that old car in the yard of that abandoned house. Get the shot! 

You getting the picture? 

So anyway, some time back in January, I decided I wanted to shoot the full "Snow" moon rise, and I wanted to use the PhotoPills app to get the right time and location.. and that location was going to be White Sands National Park! In other words, a meticulously planned photo shoot! It happens sometimes.

Photo Bro Dale and I got a late start on February 5, but it didn't matter much... everything we were going for was happening late in the day. The moonrise for me, and a very short time before, the sunset for Dale. I was planning on getting some sunset images myself.

Typically, there wasn't a cloud in the sky when we arrived. We hung around the visitor center for a while, flirting with the ranger on duty, then headed out to stake out our spots. I tried out a couple dune tops, took some basic White Sands landscapes, but I didn't like the way the light was going to act when the sun started to set. I hiked to the hill Dale was set up on about the time the sun began to dip. 

There was still almost an hour before the moon would show itself above the Sacramentos, so I set up my tripod and aimed the camera towards the a notch in the San Andres Mountains where the sun would descend. I decided on portrait mode because it accentuated the layers of dunes between my location and the mountains. Then, well, then I just shot the hell out of it while the sun did its disappearing act.

Being a little unprepared clothing-wise for nighttime in the desert, we decided we couldn't stay where we were to shoot moonrise. We rushed back toward the parking lot to set up there.

But hey, if you looked at the image that leads off this post, you've probably figured out by now that this isn't about the moonrise. It's about the sunset, and what I chose to do with it.  

Back home again the following day, I opened up Luminar Neo on the ol' desktop and commenced to editing. When I got around to the sunset shots, I chose the image at the top of this page. I only needed basic edits.. a little masking to bring out the pinkish tones of the dune ridges, brought up the whites in the develop tool. A very minor vignette to direct the viewer's eye. And that was pretty much it. Or was it?

Revisiting the image a day later, I decided that while it was a nice landscape, it was pretty pedestrian; certainl y not one I would put on a notecard and sell at Readers' Cove (our used book store), or the Arts Center.  But I had a plan...

One of the things I really like about Luminar Neo is that I can create fantasy images, and do it way easier, and more intuitively than with those other guys.  More than a year ago I'd gotten this PNG butterfly layer as a gift from Luminar, for completing a survey or something. I tried it out. I liked it, but I wanted to fill the page more, so I loaded another copy and added it, then flipped it so it wouldn't be an identical duplicate of the first layer. I then lightened up the top third of the layers using the mask tool, so it appears the sun is shining through the wings. I sat back feeling pretty damn satisfied with myself.  When printed on metallic surface paper this should pop! I'll know this week when my latest print order arrives at the Homestead.

White Sands Golden Hour Fantasy ©Daniel Gauss/Shot On Site

I didn't have to do it this way, but I chose to. It was my choice. You might not do this with your images. I know a lot of my friends have no interest in these flights of fantasy, and that's their choice. Just like it's your choice. What would you do if you had these creative tools at your fingertips?

Right now, is the very best time to find out, because Luminar Neo Summer Sale is on till the end of the month! These are some of the lowest prices since way back at Black Friday in November. There's no risk.Try it, and if you don't love it like I do get your bucks back. And I can sweeten the pot, because I've got a special code you can copy and paste at checkout, and get an additional 10% off! 

Here's the code right here: AFS-rdFDRy

Just click the ad below, or any of the other links in the post to hit the info page. It's time you tried it, guys. Prices probably won't be this low again... new features are coming later this year!

Oh! And what of that full "Snow" moon rise that was the whole purpose of this "Photo Bro's Roadtrip"? I got it. And you can see it on my Instagram, when you  go there to follow me. 😎

Fine Print:
Posts may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these, I may receive a small commission at no increased cost to you. Thanks.