Tag Archives: Photographer


China had long been on my top 10 list of travel destinations to visit. This year brought an unusual confluence of events that made it a possibility. It arose at a time of year that is good weather for China and we were able to get virtually free flights from Janice’s sister who works for United. We spent two weeks traveling to Shanghai, Xian, and Beijing. We took the high-speed (300kn/h) bullet trains from city to city and I’ve got to say that they rekindled my enthusiasm for high-speed trains in the USA.

China was an amazing mixture of one of the oldest civilizations and the ultra-modern 21st century. It has one of the longest standing palaces: The Forbidden City and Shanghai’s Pudong district where 28 years ago it was farmland and now is a well-designed skyscraper-scape including the world’s second tallest building: Shanghai Tower. It was strikingly spotless; there wasn’t a piece of litter or a bit of graffiti to be seen. The people were very friendly and very helpful when asked a question. English is commonly understood in these cities and most of the attractions, street signs, and even mass transit signs were also in English. Security was abundant and the issues we were warned about, spitting, smoking, crowds, and air pollution were all non-issues. In fact, we only had one day that was a bit smoggy.

The challenges we ran into were a little unexpected. First among them was the amount of walking we did. The short distances, under 2 miles, are commonly walked by the Chinese. No taxis would consider picking up a fare for a shorter distance. Therefore, for instance, we walked from our hotel in Dong Chen to The Forbidden City entrance, 2.5 miles then walking around the complex is another 8 miles, and then another 2.5 miles back. Over the course of the trip, we walked an average of 12.5 miles a day which is a bit more than we normally do. Fortunately, the mass transit was easy to navigate, fast, and very extensive.

The other issues were minor but perhaps a warning never goes to waste. Eating was not as easy as we thought it was going to be. In the medium to lower end restaurants English was not widely spoken. Although the menus were full of pictures they did not describe the ingredients very well. We obviously eat and did so well, but we did more searching than we thought we would do. Finally, we did not see a single laundromat in our travels and when we asked the hotels they looked at us with a bit of confusion. Whether such a thing existed or not, we ended up doing our laundry in the hotel room sink.

Overall, China is a remarkable country and there’s so much more to see than just these three cities. I’m amazed by the sheer scale of their monuments and buildings. Their infrastructure, their art, and their commitment to preserving their history and culture are equally as impressive. Whether it was Deng Xiaoping’s opening of economic reform or any combination of events, China can certainly take its place among the most Interesting travel destinations and well worth a visit or two.

For those of you who may have more time on your hands or are just a glutton for images, there is a more extensive slideshow here: China 2018

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Fooling around with Infrared

Ever since the day I switched over to digital, I’ve been jonesing to do some IR photography. For the longest time I relied upon external filters to help block out the visible light leaving me with very long and noisy exposures. Disappointed with the results and hassle I pretty much gave it up. Then there were small, enterprising companies that made cameras specific to IR and/or modified existing cameras to read the full spectrum -but these cameras were either too expensive or the megapixels were far too low to make it worth while.  Last Christmas, on a lark, I decided to take another look at the array of IR cameras on eBay. Much to my surprise, there were a plethora of makes and models out there for under $200.

After doing some research I settled upon a modified Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH27 by Kolari Vision.  It is a 16 megapixel camera with a Zeiss lens and is small enough to fit into the side pocket of my camera bag. Kolari Vision specializes in IR camera conversions. They have cameras in 590nm, 665nm, 720nm, 800nm, 850nm, and full spectrum filters. They take used but good condition cameras and remove the Hot Mirror and replace it with an IR pass filter. I chose a 720nm filter for the widest range of results. Because you not putting a huge light block on the front end of the camera you can shoot many shots without a tripod. You do however have to make sure you set your white balance before shooting -they recommend a grass field as it’s closest to an 18% grey card.

Kolari Vision does a great job and provides a CD with tips about IR photography as well as some great false color Photoshop actions. This has become one of the more satisfying additions to the kit in quite a while. I can hardly wait until spring time!

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The Art of the Twilight Shot

Nothing quite sells a set of photographs like a twilight shot. It is often referred to as the money shot because most clients swoon over it. On a recent shoot for Jackson Dean Construction, I was given the instruction to get many angles of the exterior. But when I got there, I realized that there were few angles and they would all have to include the front facade to hold any interest. Therefore, with a limited number of angles, I decided to shoot a couple of times throughout the afternoon and ending with the twilight shot above.

The prime objective of the twilight shot is to balance the exterior and interior luminance. This can occur anywhere between 1 hour before sunset to one hour after. It is also dependent upon the Sun’s setting direction and the geographic features in it’s path. I  recommend disabling the auto focus because it can get dark enough to throw it off. Rather than resetting your color balance to 3200° (tungsten) I recommend leaving the setting on daylight (5000°) to warm up the building. Then you can desaturate the red/yellow from the tungsten sources in post. Finally, make sure you are set on a tripod, in place, before this time occurs because, depending upon the time of year, it may only last for about 5 minutes.


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DPA Lightroom Fundamentals

Saturday April 14th 11am-3:30pm – $125

At Adobe Systems as a contractor in 2007, I had the privilege of working on Lightroom’s launch. Many of us felt that this is what Photoshop should have developed into. Both programs are great but if your focus is photos, you need Lightroom. The cost factor aside: the code is lighter and the algorithms are much more effective in many of the functions. In addition, Lightroom has great tools for metadata, keywording and databasing. From photo pro to interested hobbyist, this is the one program you’ll need.

Before                                                                                                    After

This course is for all levels. There will be plenty of time to work on your images, ask questions and have nagging issues resolved. You must bring a laptop with Lightroom 3 already loaded (a free trial is available at Adobe). PCs or Macs are fine.

©Eric Sahlin

In the LIBRARY module we’ll cover

-Import Dialog
-Renaming, changing order, rating, keywording, organizing, synching metadata and comparison functions
-Quick Develop
-View Options
– Collections and Exporting

In the DEVELOP module we’ll cover

-White Balance, Tone, Presence, Tone Curve, HSL/Color/B&W, Detail, Lens Corrections and Camera Calibration.
-Localized corrections
-Synching corrections
-Panel control
-Output to file, Facebook, Flickr and SmartMug

In the SLIDESHOW module we’ll cover

-Options, Layout, Overlays, Backdrop, Titles and Playback
-Adding Text, Music and Templates

In the PRINT module we’ll cover

-Layout Style, Image settings, Guides, Page and Print Job
-Templates and customization

In the WEB module we’ll cover

-Layout Styles, Site info, Appearance, Image Info, Output Settings and Upload Settings
-Flash, html and user templates as well as custom plug-ins

There is no doubt that Lightroom will change your workflow and will truly “Simplify photography from shoot to finish.”

We will break a half hour for lunch and my studio is close to a number of restaurants.

Eric’s studio is located at:309 4th Street #108 Oakland, CA

For more information or to register contact our student Liaison at 877.372.2231 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 877.372.2231 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

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1000 Broadway Ave.

I was recently hired to shoot the Trans Pacific Center at 1000 Broadway. Of course it had to be done on a very busy intersection and during the winter. In the northern hemisphere the sun is about 23° further south than in the summer and unless you have a south facing building, at least half will be in shadow. In addition, this was a block size building and the sun rose right above it. I solved this problem by shooting an additional sky and striping it in.

The backlit shot of the building with a custom lens shade -my hand.

I liked the original sky with the sun flare


After blending the two images with a coupe of others and after a little more work on perspective and lighting, I arrived at the final image. Customers today won’t accept an average shot which requires Photoshop work to make it acceptable.


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DPA Workshop: Advanced Photoshop – Photoshop for Photographers

Saturday Nov. 19th, 9am-5pm ~ DPA Instructor Eric Sahlin $150 per person

At Adobe Systems as a contractor in 2007 – 2008, I  had the privilege of working on Photoshop and Bridge. Photoshop is the most ubiquitous and powerful imaging software in the world and a must for every photographer. Eric will cover advanced techniques to improve your workflow. The course will cover:

  • Photoshop Bridge Management
  • The new features of Adobe Camera Raw
  • Work space customization
  • Color fundamentals, neutralization and local adaptation
  • Blending, image distortion and luminance controls
  • Cloning and healing techniques, Noise reduction and output sharpening for print and web

Photo ©Eric Sahlin Photography

I will do a deep dive into these features and how they will improve you output. Please bring your own images to work on for the second half of the class.

This course is meant for intermediate and above users of the program. Please bring your Mac or PC Laptop, loaded with Photoshop CS4 or CS5 to the studio (a free trial is available at Adobe).

Photo ©Eric Sahlin Photography

The studio is located at 309 4th Street #108 Oakland, CA

Register online at: www.digitalphotoacademy.com, or via email: info@digitalphotoacademy.com, or Toll Free: 877.372.2231  877.372.2231 

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DPA Workshop: DSLR 101 for those who want to know their camera

May 11th 6pm – 10pm ~ DPA Instructor Eric Sahlin  $50 per person

The DSLR can be a little overwhelming when you are not used to it. I will take you through the simple concepts and commands that will put you back in control of your images.

Whether you have a Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Pentax, or whatever -the fundamentals are the same and easily explained.

Please bring you camera with the batteries charged and your owner’s manual.

The studio is located at 309 4th Street #108 Oakland, CA

Register online at: www.digitalphotoacademy.com, or via email: info@digitalphotoacademy.com, or Toll Free: 877.372.2231 .

This also makes a great gift for the photographer in your life. Gift certificates are available from DPA.

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DPA Composition in the Field Workshop: Wildflower Expedition

Saturday May 7th – 10am-2pm ~ DPA Instructor Eric Sahlin $50 per person

April showers bring May flowers and with the years increasingly turning wet, it is especially true in Northern California.  I will be teaching a composition in the field workshop at Tilden Regional Wilderness.

I will cover:

  • Telephotos, macros and extension tubes
  • Compositional techniques
  • Use of Fill and Ring flash
  • Bounce cards

Please bring your DSLR and all the gear in your kit.

Photo ©Eric Sahlin Photography

The group will assemble at the Quarry Picnic area at 10am. After a few notes Eric will lead the hike up Quarry, across Big Springs Trail and back down Seaview. It’s an easy hike (under 1 mile) and there’ll be plenty of stops along the way. Please wear appropriate shoes and bring water and a lunch for the journey. All Levels welcome.

Photos ©Eric Sahlin Photography

Photo ©Eric Sahlin Photography


Register online at: www.digitalphotoacademy.com, or via email: info@digitalphotoacademy.com, or Toll Free: 877.372.2231 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 877.372.2231 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
This also makes a great gift for the photographer in your life.
Gift certificates are available from DPA.

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DPA Composition in the Field: The Golden Gate Bridge

Saturday April 30th  – 2pm – 6pm

How many times have you driven across the Golden Gate Bridge thinking that you have got to get some pictures of this iconic landmark and never manage to quite get to it. An expedition is just the thing! There are thousands of potential compositions there that would offer numerous opportunities for your photographic interpretation.

Bridge at Blue Hour

The class will assemble at the north end of the bridge at the first car park on Conzelman Rd. It is pretty busy there so you should try to be early. From there, we’ll proceed to the bridge on the east side and walk the length of it and back. It can be gusty on the bridge so please bring a windbreaker. It is also very noisy on the span itself, so you also might want to bring earplugs to cut out the ambient road din.

You should end up back at the headlands closer to sunset for those powerful shots of the western side glowing bright red.

Topics covered will be composition, depth of field, image compression, macro photography and polarization. So grab your walking shoes, your kit and your polarizer and join us for this expedition!,

All photos on this page ©Eric Sahlin

Composition in the Field classes are $50.00. For more information or to register by phone, contact our student liaison at our toll free number: 877.372.2231 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 877.372.2231 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. or click here and scroll down to April 30th. to register on line.

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Eureka! And the North Coast

For years we’ve been devoting our 3-day get always to going South along the coast. This year we decided to venture up North for a change of pace.

Although it’s a very long drive it is well worth the journey. The images can be seen here in the  Eureka/North Coast Slideshow

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