New Site Design

After a lot of tweaks and revisions, I decided to change the overall look to my site. As my photography collection got larger, I needed a way to keep things organized and clean. Having a front page of edge to edge photos that you have to hover over was okay, but started turning into a giant jumble of photos.

New Main Page

New Blog Page

My main page is now super organized, the fonts have all been changed to make them easier to read, and my blog has a new sidebar with integrated search, and recent posts and Instagram uploads.

I am still working on a few minor tweaks to the main page, but I hope you like the new layout.

Cloud Types and What They Do for Photography

As funny as it sounds, I love clouds. In my opinion, clouds completely change your landscape photography for the better whether it's helping your composition or enhancing colors in the sky. It may surprise you to know that there are around 10 different types of clouds and each one changes or enhances your photographs differently. Let's take a look at the different types of clouds you may come across and I'll do my best to explain what that particular cloud type does for your photography.

Quick FYI: When I say a cloud type can't help your composition, I'm saying that I wouldn't recommend putting too much of the sky in your shot if that's the only cloud type available. Certain clouds just don't add enough to your shot because they are too thin or boring looking.


Cirrus

Description: Cirrus clouds are thin, delicate looking and white. These clouds look like hair blowing in the wind and are commonly referred to as "mare's tails."

In photography: Cirrus clouds are made up of ice crystals which help enhance the colors in the sky. These clouds will also rarely diminish the brightness of the sun, and tend to stay lit up long before the sun rises and after the sun sets.

Composition Notes: Cirrus clouds are a bit too thin to help your composition on their own. I'd recommend not using too much of the sky in your shot if these are the only clouds around.

Cirrostratus

Description: Cirrostratus clouds are similar to cirrus clouds, but come in thin sheets that usually cover up the sky.

In photography: Due to their thinness, Cirrostratus clouds produce a halo effect when the sun or moon passes behind them. These clouds are often around 12 to 24 hours before it rains or snows. Cirrostratus clouds are great if you can use the halo effect to your advantage otherwise they can be a bit boring on their own.

Composition Notes: Cirrostratus clouds are a bit too boring to help your composition unless you are shooting for a halo effect around the sun. I'd recommend not using too much of the sky in your shot if these are the only clouds around.

Cirrocumulus

Description: Cirrocumulus clouds typically form from Cirrus or Cirrostratus clouds and share many of the same features. These clouds appears are small puff-like ripples in the sky and are usually white or gray.

In photography: Typically occurring in winter, these clouds give off a cold, fish scale like appearance. These clouds let a lot of light bleed through them and also enhance the colors in the sky.

Composition Notes: Cirrocumulus clouds are thick enough to work in your composition unlike Cirrus which are too thin. You can include more of these clouds in your shot without making it too dull.

Altostratus

Description: Altostratus clouds have a bluish-gray color to them and typically cover the entire sky. 

In photography: Even though altostratus clouds look thick, they are actually thin and let the sun shine through in certain spots. These clouds are a bit boring since they come off completely flat, but can look menacing in high contrast black and white or HDR shots.

Composition Notes: These clouds aren't going to help your composition unless you enhance them by kicking up the contrast or by composing an HDR shots.

Altocumulus

Description: Altocumulus clouds look white or gray and are composed of water droplets. These clouds can appear as rolling lines or waves in the sky and often form at night.

In photography: These clouds give your photographs a very unique look. I wouldn't recommend taking too long of an exposure as they could possibly blend into each other.

Composition Notes: These clouds are nice enough to enhance your composition. They help bring the sky to life in your shot. You can include more of these clouds in your shot without making it too dull.

Nimbostratus

Description: The famous rain cloud. Dark, thick, widespread, and gray cloud thick enough to block out the sun. Usually comes with snow or rain.

In photography: Nimbostratus clouds can be a bit boring if the sky is just a widespread gray, but these clouds frequently come with lower rough clouds that can look menacing in high contrast black and white or HDR shots. 

Composition Notes: Great if you are going for a menacing and dark look, but otherwise this sky is rather boring to include too much of it in your shot.

Cumulus

Description: Cumulus clouds (My favorite clouds) are puffy, white to gray clouds that look like fluffy cotton balls. These clouds are usually detached from each other, have sharp edges, and grow in size throughout the day until they dissolve in the evening.

Cumulus clouds in photography: Cumulus are the best clouds for photography. They can add to your composition, make shots taken any time during the day even better by filling the sky, and have a beautiful range of bright vivid whites to dark menacing blacks throughout them.

Composition Notes: Incredible looking clouds for your composition. You can include more of these clouds in your shot without making it too dull.

Stratus

Description: Stratus clouds are low, thin, gray blankets in the sky that usually bring a light mist or drizzle. If these clouds are low enough we call them fog. 

In photography: These clouds can be a bit boring, but if they are low enough you can use the fog to add a great effect to your photographs. During the day, you can usually see a perfect outline of the sun behind these clouds.

Composition Notes: Too boring to enhance your composition unless you are shooting for a fog effect. I'd recommend not using too much of the sky in your shot if these are the only clouds around.

Cumulonimbus

Description: Cumulonimbus clouds are thick, heavy clouds that can be as large as a mountain. These clouds bring thunderstorms, and are around during hail or tornadoes. 

In photography: Cumulonimbus clouds can completely change your composition due to their size. If these clouds are further away, they make the sky look fantasy-like and can almost be photographed by themselves. These clouds can also bring lightning along for the ride so try long exposures if you see any.

Composition Notes: Incredible looking clouds for your composition. You can include more of these clouds in your shot without making it too dull.

Stratocumulus

Description: Stratocumulus clouds are low-flying, gray, and lumpy clouds usually showing up in waves or roll-like pattern. These clouds have shades from bright, vivid whites to flat grays.

In photography: Stratocumulus clouds are my absolute favorite clouds to see hanging around during a sunrise or sunset. These clouds enhance every color in the sky and hold colors for a lot longer.

Composition Notes: These clouds can greatly help your composition during a sunrise or sunset. You can include more of these clouds in your shot without making it too dull.


So how does knowing this help you when you can't control the clouds? Well if you look out your window and see a certain type of cloud, you can get a better idea of what to expect out of your shot. If you are already out and ready to shoot, seeing what cloud types are in the sky may help you compose your shot differently since you have a better understanding of how light interacts with them.

Hope that helps! Any questions or comments, please let me know below!

My Trip to P-Town

Provincetown in Massachusetts is one of my favorite towns to visit. Everything from the food to the shops is incredible, so it only makes sense that there is a lot to shoot as well. From the piers to the sand dunes, you have more than enough to explore.

If you have a chance to go up to P-Town, look up the sand dunes tours. Unfortunately trying to sneak into the sand dunes area gets you in a bit of trouble... not that I would know. And while you're there go to the Lobster Pot. It's one of the most iconic restaurants there.

I was only up in Provincetown for the afternoon but took hundreds of photos. I am slowly getting to them, so I am sure the gallery below will be updated in the near future with more and more images.

Why I Switched from Lightroom to Capture One

I starting using Aperture from Apple back in 2005 because it offered an incredible way to organize and edit your photos. Since that day, I said goodbye to my old organizational methods and haven't looked back. In 2007 Adobe introduced Lightroom which, at the time, was a replica of Apple's Aperture. However, over the years, Aperture slipped away, and Lightroom took off to become the most used photo editor and image organizer.

Since the introduction of Adobe CC in 2013, every Adobe application has become less and less stable. I can't tell you the last time I went a week without having multiple files crash and corrupt while doing something as simple as adding a curve modifier. There are countless threads loaded with complaints about Adobe's issues. Their response has been lackluster; delete your preference files or reinstall every app. I have tried both and yet still have issues every week. I vowed never to use another Adobe application after I lost a project I spent three weeks working on.

Fortunately, a company called Serif has released alternatives to Photoshop and Illustrator with an InDesign alternative coming out very soon. The only issue has been finding a better alternative to Lightroom. That is, until now. Capture One from Phase One has been around since 2002 and has only gotten better with time. Version 9.2 is out now and is leaving Lightroom in its dust.

 
 

Capture One offers unbeatable RAW image handling, incredible color editing, and even better organization than Lightroom.

RAW image handling: You would think two professional photo editing/organizing applications would handle RAW images the same, but there is a huge difference between Lightroom and Capture One. Capture One handles RAW images in a much more realistic way. The colors are much deeper and more accurate which makes editing RAW images even better since the colors are as accurate as they will ever be.

Color Editing: Capture One offers one of a kind color editing tools. You can always do basic edits like you can in Lightroom, but you can also do VERY selective color edits. Color balance allows you to add color to your overall image, shadows, midtones, and highlights. The color editor allows you to modify colors ranges, accurate colors, or general skin tones. Lastly, the black & white editor lets you selectively convert your image to black and white, but also add an overall color scheme such as sepia tone.

Organization: While the organization seems vastly familiar to Lightroom, you can organize your photos even further with albums, smart albums, groups, and projects. You can also organize by folder structure. Click my Capture One screenshot above and you'll see how I organize my photos. I use my folder structure to organize by location and my groups/projects to organize by date. When I'm looking for an image I took in Cape Cod that I don't remember the date of, I can click on my Cape Cod folder to see every photo I have ever taken there. The same can be done with smart albums, but there something about manual organization that I like better.

Oh and one last personal reason I love Capture One. When I was learning photography, I ended up with a library of over 500 presets. These presets range from color overlays to HDR-effects. While presets are a great way to play around with your images, I ended up relying on them far too often. I would find a photo I liked and then click through presets until I found one good enough to export. It made me lazy and made my photos seem less like they were mine. Capture One, with it's incredible RAW details and color editing, allows me to play with my photos in a unique and personal way. My photos mean more to me now than they ever did before and I couldn't be happier with the results.

Use Capture One? Let me know your thoughts below. For everyone else, download a demo HERE.