Shooting RAW in CS5: What I learned in Photoshop Class

I took beginner Photoshop at the start of April. My CS5 was a gift from Christmas and I had not even cracked the box open. MY ADD and HIC (head-in-clouds), a much too strong of a contender, to learn anything from a book or videos. So, I took the class and learned the basics.

My aversion to CS5 and the “art”, and the “creativity”, suddenly had a completely different perspective.

It was a whole new world opening up for me. So much so, I signed up for the next set of classes taking Advanced Photoshop. I am happy to say, it was just as hard, and I learned just as much.

I am FAR from an expert in Photoshop, but I am now a believer. Yes, I want to shoot pictures and have that “perfect” shot, but I also love to play and create.

We learned RAW and I took my first photographs using RAW.

Then? I created.

Then? We learned HDR and panoramic (also shot in RAW).

Then? I learned and I created.

But rather than talk about my new-found love, I will show you my first images, shot and edited in RAW, then tweaked in Photoshop. I will show you why I get so wrapped up in the world beyond SOOC and how I lose my time to editing.

Photo By Lindsey MIller

This original photo of glass jars was taken by my instructor Lindsey. It was only two glass jars and they were blue. We made a collage in class, then I added edits to it. I just love how effects made it turn out to look like a reflection.

HDR Cowboys Stadium at Sunset

HDR photograph of the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. You take three photos and merge them into one for the perfect exposure.

B&W Panoramic of the Rangers BallPark and Six Flags

My first panoramic shot. I could tinker with this one some more, but love the perspective.

Rangers Stadium and Six Flags

One of my favorites, the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington with Six Flags over Texas next to it. You can hear the screams from here. This was taken at twilight.

HDR from the Park Pillars

This last photo is also HDR with the detail pumped up and probably what most of you are used to seeing HDR looks like. I am not a huge fan of the HDR-ish photos, but love the texture of this one.

So there you have it, from RAW to rich, and a newly turned fan of CS5.

It’s stunning what you can do when you open your mind to the limitless possibilities.

If you chase a storm, be prepared to catch it.

Tuesday night in Texas, the weather spiraled out of control. Dark descended during the daylight hours. A tornado watch was in effect, and to Jason and I, it appeared to be just a wee bit to the North of us. By wee, I mean, across the freeway. But we were totally safe from that, right?!? We decided to pick up some BBQ a few miles from the house. We kept our eyes on the dark, and noted the wind whipping the trees leaves, uh, up – straight up.

The dark and light wanted to mix, but it wasn’t quite there when we entered the BBQ place. However, the news on inside big screen showed several rotating masses a little north, and a little west. TORNADOES! Whoa.

We weren’t too worried. I grew up in Oklahoma. I knew tornado skies. As a child, and young girl, I had made many runs to the cellar, and even saw one touch down from a hill about five miles away. This was close, but outside was not green, nor tinted in any way. It was dark across the street, but not a funny color.

After getting our order to go, I noticed the outside coloring had changed. It was GREEN. It was tornado color. The clouds were churning above us, but still the black stuff was a road away, however the light poles in the parking lot shook, and creaked with the straight winds. I would not want to be parked under those.

The feeling in the air was just eerie.

We checked the sky again. We checked the radar on our iPhones. It was incredible to be this close, and on the edge of such a massive storm that developed out of nowhere. And it was mean.

Tornado clouds

I did not have my big guns camera, nor my big guns lens. I had my first DSLR and it had a 35mm prime lens on it. I carry it, because it’s small and light.

Tornado Clouds

That said, the pictures really don’t do it justice. There was so much more detail with the eye. You could see clouds moving west and the clouds moving north at the same time.

What happened next, I really can’t explain. We got in the car and drove toward it.

Driving into the storm

Marveling at the colors and the air; marveling at the storm that was right there. We could have turned around and headed towards home (run to the light!), but we didn’t.

We kept going.

Just to see.

See what?

The light. The clouds. Maybe a tornado?

Jason took this picture out the car window. It’s not the best photo, but does represent what we were seeing as we traveled into the storm.

I’ll admit. We felt like storm chasers. We watched the sky. We watched the road. When I asked if we should turn around, he said to keep going just a little farther. That’s when we saw a cloud start to knit together – right in front of us. Slowly, it churned as it built a funnel wall. A tornado was descending before our very eyes (and car). I was so busy watching that, I didn’t notice we drove into a debris cloud. I didn’t notice other swirling masses going vertical. Don’t worry, I was definitely turning around at that point. We were in dangerous territory. Thing is, there wasn’t a PLACE to turn around. I was officially FREAKED out. A funnel was over our heads, dirt and trash, flying all around and above us. The air looked like we were in a war zone. You could barely see in front of the car.

We got to the turn around in the median, at this point, my hair was standing end. We drove (quickly) the other way about a half mile and stopped with the other crazy people storm chasers. All of them were on their cell phone taking pictures.

We found the tornado(s).

Funnel Cloud

I was a little shocked we did. I mean, we haven’t storm chased before. I don’t even watch that TV show. Although, the movie Twister was one of my favorites. But we caught up with it – for real.

Funnel Cloud

These were not well-organized or large tornadoes (they were trying). They were over the city dump and picking up a lot of junk (heh!).

Funnel Cloud over dump

And don’t get me wrong, I was glad to be south of them and not UNDER them.

After they moved on, the masses departed from our storm watching party. As we headed home, the rains came. When you see live tornadoes and raging skies of hot and cold, you get something else……hail.

The raindrops were HARD on the car and i knew it was coming. We pulled into driveway (with our BBQ) and ran for the door.

Not much after that, a few minutes, we get these raining down, and thankfully, they were very small compared to other parts of town that got baseball to softball size hail (broken windshields and all).

Hail Storm

Our backyard in the hail storm.

Hail Storm

The storm moved on after the hail. I believe it’s the same system that gained steam and hit Oklahoma. We were very lucky. I have never seen anything like it.

These storms systems and weather patterns seem to be getting worse and worse.

Is mother nature taking revenge? Did the Japan earthquake shake her up?

All I know is, if you chase a storm, be prepared to catch it. I think we may eat-in next time.

Valentine’s Day Weekend Wedding

I’m not gonna lie. I was a nervous wreck. I panicked and went auto a few times. I was in the way. I wasn’t in the way enough. I scrambled. I used wrong settings. Forgot to change settings. Completely lost all ability to use my camera controls correctly. I questioned everything and most of all???? I LOVED IT.

What a beautiful couple. The moments were so stunningly intimate. I couldn’t be happier for these two.

Praying with her Matron of Honor before the ceremony.

The pastor’s Bible.

Her son and grandson walked her down the aisle.

That kiss had some heat!

Ahh, the relief, and JOY.

First picture of the family together. This is the bride, groom, matron of honor, grandson, and the groom’s two adopted daughters from China. These girls were soooo incredibly happy to have a new mom. I wish you could have heard them. Their mom passed of cancer after they were adopted. The groom was a widow. It’s a very touching story. Isn’t love always?

Cutting of the cake.

Love how their hands clasp together so tightly. They would not even take off their rings for me to photograph those on flowers. I thought that was too sweet. Congratulations!

Of course, I have tons more pictures. I just wanted to grab a few “sneaks” for you to see. I was afraid to look at them until now. I’m not kidding. My terrifying vision entailed image after image all being blurry once on the big computer screen. And weddings? Well, you get ONE shot.

This photography business is tough for a perfectionist. Good thing, my photography teacher told the class as long as we strive to take a better photo, to get the shot, angle, and composition adjusted. As long as we keep reaching for that. We are growing, and learning.

This business is a welcome challenge. I can’t wait to learn more.

On the Road to SuperBowl XLV

We saw some pretty fantastic sights. And this was before the game, not only that, we didn’t even go to the game. We were just trying to get a burger at Sonic. The closest Sonic to our house happens to be on one of the roads to the Cowboys Stadium.

Since yesterday I have been hearing planes buzzing. I hear jets all the time, but little plane buzzes – not so much. Until SuperBowl XLV that is. You might as well not even try to sleep in, because they are relentless in their quest to advertise.

So on the way to Sonic, on the road to SuperBowl XLV, I spot SIX planes in the air flying with banners. The back-up to get into the stadium, luckily enough, began right after Sonic. Excellent!

However Sonic’s credit card machine was down, so on the road to ANOTHER Sonic which goes back by our house since it’s the opposite direction. I remember. I have some cash in my nightstand. AND my camera. Back we go while I snap away. I didn’t get the six planes in the air, but I did get a few.

Then, we saw this creepy guy, riding a bike, and carrying a backpack. Does he look suspect or what? Sorry for the quality of the shot, this was taken through a moving car’s back tinted window. He is wearing a camouflage face mask, a plastic mohawk bald cap, and goggles. What’s in his backpack? Who knows!

We saw cowboy parking attendants. You could find a parking space for $50.00 if you parked a couple of miles away. Not to shabby.

We get back to the Sonic with our cash (credit card machines still down, phone service also went dead), and the bomber biker is a few clicks back. Now the Sonic had a parking sign too.

Then I glimpsed a figure in a glass front window.

Could it be? The sparkly white suit and sideburns, I’d know that guy anywhere.

Is it Elvis?

Why yes, yes it is.

Thank you…thankyouverymuch!

Who knew he was a Steelers fan?

I had no desire to go to the game (and join the masses and madness), but it sure was fun getting a burger for lunch!

Our favorite sign on the Road to SuperBowl XLV…….

Sign reads – Avoid the crowds parking and luxury transportation across the street.

And what’s across the street you ask?


For real.

It’s brilliant in it’s own way. If they even got one? That’s a good Sunday.

These guys are true entrepreneurs. I like how they have the machine all set up for credit too. I apologize for the blur. Moving car, and I just had to wave, since they spotted the camera and all.

Aren’t they cute? Much better than the scary biker fan.

So that was our brief (and incredibly entertaining) outing for the day.

The game was GREAT. Loved the heart the Packers played with and the Darth Vader cutie commercial was my favorite.

Congratulations Packer Champions!

Now, Arlington? Can we please get back to normal?