New Workshop/Seminar – “Camera to Output”

Camera to Output – “Begin With the End In Mind”
October 19, 2013 Denver, Colorado

Join us for this comprehensive seminar, and sharpen your skills in image capture, color managed workflow, studio photography, and post-production techniques.

Getting it right in the camera

Begin with the end in mind

Color managed workflow

Introduction: Live Studio Setups and Lighting

Live Image Capture

Macro, Product & Live Model shooting workstations

Effective and efficient post production techniques

Creating Portfolio-Worthy Prints

Attendees receive special discount coupon packs and free sample materials.
Hosted by Digital2You. Sponsors include Datacolor, Epson, Pentax, Eizo, and Photo Imaging Consultants. Fee for attendance. Lunch provided.


New Published Article, Managing Dynamic Range in Post-Production

Latest in a four part series: Managing Dynamic Range in Post-Production, published on the Datacolor blog:

Here’s the link:

© David Saffir 2013

© David Saffir 2013

New Webinar Schedule Updated May 1

Datacolor® , a global leader in color management solutions, announced today its spring 2013 line-up of free color management webinars featuring co-sponsors. The popular webinar series continues with a variety of introductory and advanced webinars that discuss new techniques and offer insights and tips for photographers to enhance their skills. Datacolor is bringing dynamic topics to photographers with the help of notable photography related companies including Triggertrap,, onOne Software and Lexar.

Each webinar includes step-by-step demonstrations using Datacolor’s line of Spyder color calibration devices, and in-depth discussions on how to effectively use the right tools to create images. The bi-monthly webinars, hosted by David Tobie, global product technology manager for Datacolor, and David Saffir, Datacolor expert, noted landscape and fine art photographer, and author of “Master Digital Color,” focus on managing color using tools in both capture and processing stages. Topics range in subject matter and focus on providing photographers with new methods of producing high quality results with their images.

“Photography continues to evolve and there are always new methods to master,” said David Tobie. “Datacolor has always been committed to helping photographers achieve the highest quality photos. By adding more partners to our webinar series, we continue our goal of providing photographers at any level with the methods, techniques, and recommendations on tools to produce incredible photos.”

Upcoming topics for the Datacolor color management webinar series to include:

May 8, 2013 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT: Digital Workflow Process for the Capture Stage (Co-sponsor: Hunt’s Photo & Video)

May 30, 2013 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDT: Remote Control Photography (Co-sponsor: Triggertrap)

June 12, 2013 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT: Introduction to Color Management (Co-sponsor:

June 18, 2013 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDT: Focus Control: Before, During, and After the Shot (Co-Sponsor: onOne Software)

June 27, 2013 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT: Digital Asset Management (Co-sponsor: Lexar)

Those interested in attending can register in advance for the free webinars. Attendees will be given discount codes for Spyder products and/or products from co-sponsors. They will also automatically be entered to win a Datacolor Spyder product and products from co-sponsors coinciding with the webinar topic. Guests will have the ability to interact with the speakers in a Q&A format, and get first-hand input on applying color management effectively in their workflow.

Register now at

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my blog subscription here.

Down In The Weeds © David Saffir

Free Webinar: Architectural Photography and Editing With David Saffir and C. David Tobie

Free Webinar: Architectural Photography and Editing With David Saffir and C. David Tobie

Join us, Thursday, April 4th from 3PM-4PM EDT, 12 Noon – 1 pm PDT as Datacolor Experts David Saffir and C. David Tobie walk you through the issues they have encountered through their years of architectural rendering and photography and offer helpful techniques to be utilized.

Architectural photography offers accurate representation of a building or structure. Achieving this is often complex. Even though photographing interiors and exteriors can be similar, they do have some differences and may require different equipment.

Corner of the Main Plaza at the Louvre, Paris

Corner of the Main Plaza at the Louvre, Paris © D. Saffir

Perspective and context issues may arise when photographing exteriors, while distortion issues may arise with interiors. Other issues may include scale, vignette, chromatic aberration and color accuracy. Technique is key. Helpful tips focusing on low light images, various HDR options, one-point and multi-point perspective versus elevation and isometric will be shared.

An interactive Q&A will take place throughout the webinar to answer any questions you may have.

One lucky webinar guest will win a free Spyder4PRO!


Selective Color Adjustment in Adobe Photoshop

This is the full text of an article that was recently published in Photo Technique magazine, (there may be some minor differences in the text)

Selective Color Adjustment in Adobe Photoshop, by David Saffir

There are quite a few ways you can edit color in Photoshop, even down to the colors of leaves on a tree. The advantages? You can target specific parts of an image for a simple color boost, change the color completely, add a color tint or color cast, improve dimensionality and more. I define selective color adjustment to also include selective color replacement.

I encourage the use of Photoshop, because many of these techniques can be applied to a new layer, or an adjustment layer, or a series of layers. This gives you maximum flexibility in editing although it can sometimes increase file size. I’ll review several methods I use, but keep in mind that there are also many more color adjustment options in Photoshop.

Figure 1 (iStockphoto)

Figure 1 (iStockphoto)

Some of the tools in Photoshop require working knowledge of the color wheel. Figure 1 is a modestly stylized version of a color wheel.

Note that that color blue is opposite yellow, red opposite cyan, and green opposite magenta. If an image has a blue color cast, adding an appropriate amount of yellow can balance the image and give a more neutral appearance. Adding even more yellow would result in a yellow color cast, or “warmer” appearance.

Color Balance Adjustment Layer

The Color Balance adjustment layer is a powerful tool: you can activate this from the Layers Panel, or go Layers>Adjustment Layer>Color Balance. Note the “warm tone” in this image. (I think of the Color Balance panel as a selective color adjustment, because you can balance the image using the color wheel as a guide, and also work selectively among highlights, shadows, and midtones).

Figure 2

Figure 2

I suggest that you work in small steps. For example, add a small amount of blue in the highlights, then switch to midtones, and repeat the cycle until the image is pleasing. Figure 2 is the ‘before’ photograph. In Figure 3 I’ve “added” blue to the image in the highlights and midtones, pushing it toward a more neutral appearance. In this case, I’ve added a bit more blue than necessary just so you can see the effect on this printed page.

Figure 3

Figure 3

Selective Color Adjustment Layer

This option offers a wide range of combinations. First, the panel offers a drop-down menu that contains six main colors that can be adjusted: red, yellow, green, cyan, blue and magenta. (Familiar, aren’t they? These are primary points on the color wheel). It also offers adjustments for white, neutral and black. Figure 4 is the ‘before’ photograph.

Figure 4

Figure 4

In a way, this panel is a “cousin” to the Color Balance tool set. It offers much more flexibility, however—examine the example in Figure 3—we have the option of increasing or decreasing the amount of cyan, magenta, yellow, or black in any of the choices offered in the drop down menu. In this case, (Figure 5) if we select red and increase cyan, its opposite on the color wheel, the reds become subdued. Small steps are best.

Figure 5

Figure 5

You may find it necessary to combine adjustments and/or corrections to get the look and feel you want. If you change the layer blending mode to “color” you can create multiple adjustment layers, and stack them for cumulative effect.

Replace Color

This is one of my favorite tools in Photoshop, particularly when editing landscape or still life images. It is frequently used by photo retouchers to change hue and saturation in commercial photography—and it can be adapted to use in landscape and scenic photography to add depth, dimensionality and tone separation to an image.

Here’s an image (Figure 6) that I took near the California Poppy Reserve some time ago. Basic adjustments, such as levels and curves have been completed. Partially overcast conditions make colors on the ground looks a bit subdued, and a little flat.

Figure 6

Figure 6

Next, we’re going to open the Replace Color panel (Image>Adjustments>Replace Color). At the top of the panel, enable “Local Color Clusters”. This will improve your control of any changes, in many cases limiting those changes to a patch of color, or a patch and its neighbors.

Next, use the left hand eyedropper to select a color area. In this case, (Figure 7) I’ve selected the yellow patch in the distance, on the left hand side near the horizon. I’ve also pushed the Fuzziness slider to the right, to include some of the colors in the grass. (Note that I’ve enabled Selection view in the panel, which provide a black/white view similar to the Threshold tool—the white areas show the selection quite clearly. You can use the +dropper tool to select additional areas—but take care to limit your selections to colors that are close to your original choice).

Figure 7

Figure 7

I then increase the saturation in the selected area. Note the change in the yellow areas of the photograph, Figure 8.

Figure 8

Figure 8

If you want to use a different color, you can move the Hue slider to the right or left. Keep in mind that this adjustment is very intense and challenging to control. I prefer to use the Color Picker, which can be accessed by double clicking on the color square just to the right of the Hue slider. You can select almost any color via mouse click, or by typing in the RGB or HSB numbers for a color (Figure 9). The Lightness slider can also be useful—particularly if you’ve increased saturation in an area, and it’s looking a bit too prominent. You can pull the Lightness slider to the left just a touch to subdue it.

Figure 9

Figure 9

You can continue this process of selected color modification in targeted areas. Note the changes in the grass and flowers on the left side of the image—and now, off in the distance, you can see a stronger hint of the orange color of the poppies in bloom. (In Figure 9, I’ve exaggerated the effect a bit to improve visibility on the printed page).

Final image - all images © David Saffir 2010

Final image – all images © David Saffir 2010

It takes a light touch to get well-controlled and realistic results. Color intensity, dimensionality and tonal separation can be improved. Practice is the key to success—and of course, take full advantage of multiple layers to mix and match and create your final image.

Fog Among the Patriarchs, Zion National Park

An image from a recent photography session in Zion National Park – partial view of the Patriarchs…

Zion, Fog Among the Patriarchs, Winter 2012

Zion, Fog Among the Patriarchs, Winter 2012

Reivew: The Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Camera Bag

Reivew: The Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Camera Bag

I received a package from Gura Gear the other day; tucked inside was their workhorse Bataflae 32L camera bag. This is a fairly large bag, which has exterior dimensions of 14x21x9 inches. This bag is built with the traveling photographer in mind. Total linear dimensions are equal to or under the maximum allowed by most airlines. It is set up as a dual carry-on bag and backpack.

First impressions: Light weight, definitely not a bag that weighs as much as the camera gear. Very high build quality. Great zippers. Compartment shapes and access well thought out, designed with the photographer in mind. Ergonomic carry handles, terrific backpack strap design and storage, versatile tripod carry.

Per cubic foot of storage space, undoubtedly the lightest bag I have used. The padding built into the bag provides plenty of protection, but it’s what I might call “low profile” – not as bulky as other bags I’ve used. More than enough room for medium-format gear, or a big collection of 35mm DSLR.

Also, Gura make the best compartment zipper pulls and zippers I’ve ever seen. I have several bags that are in great shape – except that half the zippers are broken, so the bags are useless. And get this – the zippers are water-resistant, and they’re installed “inside-out” with the waterproof layer facing out –very clever. The main compartment zipper pull is color-coded (they are blue, lower left of this image); interior compartment pulls are color coded as well.

Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Camera Bag

The side carry handle is ergonomically designed, set at an angle to protect your wrist.

Ergonomic Side Handle

The padded backpack straps are very cleverly designed, and hide away (or deploy) quickly and easily. A padded weight-bearing waist belt and chest strap are also provided, the former not only puts the weight where it belongs – on your hip bones – but keeps the bag stable, a real safety issue. The backpack strap design includes some subtle curves that help the straps lie flat across the body, and also help the pack rest flat against my back – quite comfortable and balanced.

Releasing the backpack straps

The image above shows the straps positioned outside the back cover pocket – it’s easy to deploy and re-stow these straps as needed.

Straps deployed

Main compartment access is provided through a dual-end-zippered front flap, which hinges at the bottom. As far as this goes, a fairly conventional design.

Bag interior with partitions

But wait, there’s more! The main compartment has a center spine (see photo – red arrow) which is covered with Velcro. The front flap also has Velcro down the center – which means that you can open the zipper halfway around the edge of the bag, and hinge the flap in the middle for access to one side of the main compartment.

Bag loaded; one-half butterfly flap deployed. Note inside compartments with color coded zipper pulls.

This isn’t just a matter of convenience – much of my photography work is done on location, and quite a bit of that is outdoors, in the weather. Dust and moisture are constant concerns, and the main flap design does help keep the crud and critters at bay.

Note the inside compartments, which are large, and have see-through mesh and color-coded zippers.

The main compartment is light gray in color, which I prefer for visibility. (Gura provides plenty of extra partitions, so there are no issues with setting up the interior any way you like.)

Pockets and compartments are easy to get to, and are gadget-friendly – not only good shapes and depth, but plenty of top clearance to let your fingers in. Exterior pockets are full-length.

Loaded up, it carries well. Nicely balanced. If you don’t wish to use the waist strap, it folds out of the way very comfortably. Interestingly, carried ruck-style the bag rides exactly as it should, low and close to your back. With the waist strap in use, the bag rides a bit higher, positioned correctly over the hip bones – and it’s nice and steady. Inspires confidence for trail hiking and rock-hopping.

The tripod carry system is set up for side or rear carry. I’m not a big fan of side carry for field use, but I can see how it can come in handy during air travel and such. Carrying, I’d rather mount it on the back and let the weight rest evenly on the bag.  Here’s two view of the tripod side-mounted, and back-mounted.

Tripod side mount

Tripod back mount

Gura Gear have come up with a very clever system for attaching the tripod; see this video for a quick demo. I particularly like the quick on/off of the tripod strap design. (note how the tripod rides centered on the bag for better balance; many bags position the tripod too high).

The Bataflae 32L is also provided with a waterproof rain cover which doubles as a ground cover.

Many bags will carry a lot of gear, but not very comfortably. Stability can also be an issue. This bag is very stable and easy to carry, even with a full load of medium-format and DSLR gear. Overall, this is a bag that can handle a variety of assignments, from short trips or location work, all the way through extended field hikes in rough country. Very nicely done!

See David Tobie’s review of the Gura Gear Bataflae 26L camera pack.

More information on Gura Gear Products.