Tag Archives: photography lesson

Don’t Throw Those Dud Photos Away Just Yet!

Looking Out Into The Evening – Original (Glacier National Park, Montana)

I was wandering through my Glacier National Park photo archives, looking for a particular shot, when I spied an original, unedited image I’d not touched. I remember exactly where I was when this shot was captured. I stood at the Wild Goose Island view area at St. Mary Lake, and turned to the side to photograph the scene there as the sunset afterglow turned the sky and clouds into a bright, fiery display.

You can tell that from this photo above, right?

It was the very first photo workshop I’d ever attended, back in 2008. I’d just purchased my first full frame camera: a Canon 5D with 12 huge, magnificent megapixels. I was still learning how to use it because I’d never heard the advice about knowing how to use your camera before you set off on a photo adventure. I pretty much knew zilch, to be honest (although I learned so much from that one workshop). Oh, I was not a newbie to photography; I’d photographed with SLR cameras since high school, but always using that Auto mode. I never really used the Manual mode in depth until I purchased that full framer. And, as you can see, I failed miserably at capturing that evening vista. The ISO was 100, shutter speed was 1/100 of a second, and the aperture was f/4 (although I think that was the widest aperture I could get with that particular lens, having never heard of a “fast lens” before). I can’t remember if the camera was on a tripod or not, although I might have been handholding it – the ostensible reason for using such a fast shutter speed.

You’ve read this from me before: the camera always has the data, it just needs to be brought forth with proper editing. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to not throw this original image away, which is surprising. Probably I just saw it, didn’t know how to work it, and just moved on to the next shot on the memory card. Hell, I was still trying to wrap myself around this new program called Adobe Elements – I had not even graduated to Adobe Photoshop yet.

Now, segue to 2022. I returned to the archives and picked up this original to start working on it for yucks and giggles.

Looking Out Into The Evening – Revised Image (Glacier National Park, Montana)

Quite the difference, huh?

Oh, I wouldn’t try to make a print out of this shot, because it’s still pretty grainy even after using noise reduction to the scene. But it definitely looks like the view I witnessed, with the fiery sky and the inner glow to the landscape as the evening settled in.

This, folks, is a great example of why you should NEVER immediately throw out a shot you think is a dud the first time you look at it. Unless it’s totally blurred or unfocused, there is always the chance that image can be rescued. It might take a few weeks or a few years or even a decade of learning new editing skills before you touch that “dud” image, but as you can see here, the beauty of that evening has been teased out for all to view.

Twelve megapixels back then was quite a feat. Now, I work with cameras possessing between 50 – 102 megapixels. Like editing skills, camera technology has come a long way in 14 years.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Glacier National Park MT, National Parks, Photography

A Lesson In Composition

The Evening View From The Gazebo

A Kalaloch Beach sunset from the gazebo, Olympic National Park

Good morning, class. Today’s lesson will be in composition: as in, what to try and avoid when composing your image.

Now, the image above is lovely, or rather, is looking upon a lovely scene. At the time I captured it, I know I wanted to get the scene below framed by the gazebo structure. However, I must have suffered a bit of a brain fart, because the composition did not come out as I’d hoped. What I should have done (and don’t know why I didn’t), was include at least a portion of a third post into the left side of the photo. Right now, in this image, things look a little weighted and not quite right. There is part of a post on the far right side, and a post in the middle, but absolutely nothing on the left side.

So, the moral (lesson) of this story is to try and make certain that, when looking through the camera viewfinder, your images are evenly weighted with regard to natural frames (like the gazebo posts).

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Canon, Composition, Lessons, National Parks, natural frames, Olympic National Park, Photography

A Clever Way to Catch Those Pesky Sensor Spots

6-1-2014 12-43-34 PM

Oh, those pesky sensor spots!  I’ve had my share of sensor spot issues lately with my Canon 1DX – primarily because of my constant use of the Canon 100-400mm telephoto lens with this camera body.  This particular lens has a stupid push-pull zoom ; WTF was Canon thinking ?  If you own one of these, put your fingers near the rear of the lens and feel the rush of air as you pull out, then push back the zoom mechanism – air carries dust particles which attach themselves to your camera’s mirror and ultimately the sensor – bleah.  I hear, though, a rumor that a new version of this lens *may* be coming out and it *won’t* have that push-pull thing…..of course, it will be more expensive, what else is new?

Anyway, I digressed.  Sorry.  Back to the sensor spot problem.

I was reading a past issue of the NPP (National Photoshop Professionals) magazine and one of my favorite sections in that publication consists of photo editing tips and tricks in which regular people/photographers like you and me send in helpful hints for various editing processes.  The one tip that stood out in this edition was how to easily spot hard-to-find sensor spots for cloning out of the picture if you are working with Photoshop.


That’s it.  That’s all there is to it.

Ctrl-I makes your image into what looks like a negative or x-ray.  It can emphasize those sensor spots that are very faded, but still present within the photo – sensor spots you may not be able to distinguish by looking at the photo in its original view.

Ctrl I

If you are not working with layers at all, simply Ctrl-I and then utilize your “band-aid” tool of choice to clone out the sensor spots.


If you *are* working with layers (which is what I do), then you must first create a new layer (Ctrl-Alt-Shift-E) and rename that layer to something recognizable (like “sensor spots”).


Now, this isn’t to say that you will see every single sensor spot in this mode.  It’s just a help to spy any spots you may have missed looking at the original photo.  I always switch back and forth.

Sensor Spots

It’s a nice little technique for helping you make your own photo look as fantastic as possible.

Morning In The Park

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Filed under Lessons, Photography, sensor spots