I've had the good fortune to participate in some epic photographic adventures in 2015. Here's a quick slideshow of some of my favorite moments of the past year.

Happy New Year everyone!



I used Lightroom 6 to blend 3 exposures of this Image of Italy's Amalfi Coast.

I’m enjoying Lightroom 6 on this Europe trip. It’s dehaze filter has surprised me, and I’ve found the new panoramic photo-merge engine works well for many simple panoramics (stay tuned for more on that in my forthcoming panoramic merger book).

The new feature I like best is Lightroom 6’s built in merge to HDR. Finally an automated HDR solution for me. In the past I have avoided automated HDR software because the results were invariably too otherworldly for my style. I’ve been hand blending multiple exposures since the days of film, but I’m always seeking a subtle extension of shadow and highlight detail. A way to get the camera closer to my visual perception of the scene. Modern digital sensors are amazing, but they still can’t capture the dynamic range possible with our own eyes.

Now with Lightroom 6 you can blend bracketed RAW images like these three -- taken 2 stops above the meter, on the meter and 2 stops below the meter (I used my tripod to keep them all perfectly aligned) -- to create a single RAW image with dramatically increased shadow and highlight detail. It doesn't add any neon looking effect, halos or otherworldly colors. It simply opens the shadows and preserves highlights. 

Three D810 RAW files 2-stops over, on meter, and 2-stops under.

To try this yourself, select some bracketed RAW images in Lightroom 6. Control-click (or right-click) on them. Choose "Photo Merge -> HDR." If you've used a tripod, you only need to Auto Tone, not Auto Allign. The Deghost controls are for objects moving within the scene between frames like a wave or people.

The result is a new RAW image to edit with insane dynamic range. Not only is this fun, it's changing the way I approach high contrast scenes.


EUROPE 2015 SLIDESHOW PART II: ITALY (Stromboli & Amalfi)


I'm writing this from a cozy rooftop Airbnb flat across the street from the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. Italy is in the rear view mirror.

What a fabulous time Stacey and I had there. The beauty, the craziness, the food... Pizza in Naples, adventures on busses on insanely narrow mountain roads, climbing Stromboli, the shellfish linguine in Amalfi, hydrofoils and hiking the Sentieri Degli Dei (Pathway to the Gods). Looking back -- the past week feels like a lifetime; it will take more than 1000 words to tell the tale. Instead I'll leave you with these snapshots while we explore France...



Yep, this is taken in my new studio with the big epson in the background.

Stacey and I are gearing up for a Europe trip to Turkey, Greece, Italy and France next week while working on a book about the art of travel photography. It’s always a balance between traveling light and comfortably and having the gear you really need get the images you envision. For this trip I’m limiting myself to a 10kg carryon and 20kg checked bag. Here’s the list of what makes the cut.






Sony A7s with Sony 24-70mm F4 

Stacey will be shooting video and stills with this little lowlight monster. I may play with it in some dark situations as well... :-)