DPS 10-04: Photoshop CS6 tips, Texas trip report & announcement, Airport TakeOff reviewed, new Nikon Flash book reviewed

Welcome to DPS 10-04, April/May, 2012: New tips on using Photoshop CS6, Think Tank Airport TakeOff bag review, new book on Nikon CLS Flash reviewed.

Cypress trees over Rusty Bend on the Guadalupe River, Texas

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Texas is definitely not all about deserts! This private, pristine stretch of the Guadalupe River that we photographed was also where we photographed Summer Tanager on our Texas Hill Country Photo Safari.

Welcome to DPS 10-04, April/May, 2012: New tips on using Photoshop CS6, Think Tank Airport TakeOff bag review, new book on Nikon CLS Flash reviewed.

Event Updates: (or skip straight to the articles, including Photoshop CS6 tips)

We still have an opening for our unique July Alaska Bear and Puffin safaris so now is a good time to sign up. You can read my trip report from last year online or just skip to the 2012 Alaska Bear Photo Safari info if you'd like to join us.

There is no better trip of a lifetime than our Deluxe Botswana, African Wildlife Safari, which we're offering in Nov/Dec, 2012: We're accepting deposits for the Botswana trip and it is already half full. It features three of the very best safari camps in all of Africa, so if you've been waiting for the perfect time to go on that safari of a lifetime, this is it! If you have any quesionts, please let us know by emailing safaris [at] cardinalphoto.com.

Our January, 2013 photo tour to Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia is almost full, so if you'd like to join us don't dawdle. Myanmar is going through some of the most positive and exciting changes of any country in the world. Texas Photo Safaris trip report & 2013 Announcements!

Texas 2013: I'm just back from two very successful photo safaris in Texas. I started with a small group at the excellent BCNA in the Hill Country. These adjacent ranches feature not just carefully crafted blinds and alternate wildlife settings (including a pond of Whistling Ducks), but great accommodations & home cooking. We had plenty of birds although the specialty species were a little slow for the first couple days. Eventually though we were treated to excellent opportunities with Painted Bunting, Summer Tanager and Vermillion Flycatcher. We've scheduled next year's trip to be a little later, which should give us more of the migrant species. You can put down an earlybird deposit online for our 2013 Hill Country trip now.

Summer Tanager from Hill Country Texas Bird Photo Workshop Scenics and Summer Tanager
Summer Tanager from our Hill Country Safari
Nikon D700, 200-400mm f/4 lens w. TC-14E

My next stop was the always birdy Rio Grande Valley, where we spent time on three different private ranches and again had the benefit of excellent home-cooking. Participants photographed over 40 different woodland species during the 5 days, making this visit one of our birdiest ever. Everyone got plenty of Painted Bunting, with some gettting Indigo, Varied and Lark Buntings as well. Scissor-tail Flycatchers were abundant, as were Orioles, Green Jays, Harris Hawks, and Crested Caracara -- along with usual residents like Bobwhite, Scaled Quail, Northern Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia and plenty of doves.

I'll be back again next year, and welcome you to sign up early for our 2013 Rio Grande Valley trip to make sure and get a good room.

Click to enjoy the Participant Slideshow from our Cardinal Photo South Texas Rio Grande Valley photo safari and workshop, 2012. Images were taken by participants (Michael, Walt, Nancy, Tor and Bill) during our 5 days of shooting on private ranches, then admired by all of us on the final night. Congrats to a great group and our wonderful hosts!

Painted Bunting from the Texas Hill Country Photo Safari -- Photo by participant Bill Ferry

Please enjoy our participant slideshow online and see the kind of images
you can expect to get if you join us!


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Product Updates:

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New: Nikon Camera and Lens
Rebates at B&H through May 26

Hwange National Park Zimbabwe

Other News:

I was featured in PC Magazine's Connected Traveler section. You can read up on what I carry and the tools I use for my photographic projects

In a bit of a return to my high-tech journalism days, I've begun writing a bit for extremetech.com. Only a few of the articles are directly photo related, but if you enjoy keeping up with technology that may impact all of us eventually, you can keep up with my articles on their site. I covered both PMA (the photo trade show) and CES (the consumer electronics trade show) in mid-January in Las Vegas.

Stay tuned for an announcement of an event at B&H in Manhattan during early June. We're still working on specifics, but hopefully it will happen.


Remember: You can earn great discounts on our trips with our new Customer Loyalty Program If you have a group and want a custom safari to any of the destinations we frequent, drop us a line at safaris [at] cardinalphoto.com!


Featured Articles from nikondigital.org

Think Tank Airport TakeOff: Finally a rolling photo backpack that works!

Like most nature photographers, I’ve used photo backpacks for most of my life. They’re great for getting around, working from vehicles, and fitting into small planes. But lugging them through airports or conference centers – especially when combined with other luggage – is hard work, and doesn’t get any easier with age. A roller bag that doubles as a backpack is the obvious solution, but there hasn’t been one that is compact enough to fit nicely in an overhead or on a vehicle seat, until now …

read more


Using Iris Blur in Photoshop CS6 to direct attention

djc_6713cOne of the niftiest new filters in Photoshop’s bag of tricks is the Iris Blur filter. It mimics the behavior of limited depth of field by blurring the image outside a customizable “iris” shape. As usual, Photoshop provides plenty of options for controlling the radius of the non-blurred area (both an inner “hot spot” and outer "total effect” area), the shape of the iris, and the amount of focusing you want within the iris. Unlike using a wide-open aperture on your camera to blur the background, Photoshop doesn’t “know” which objects are close or far, so you need to craft the shape of the iris yourself. Fortunately Photoshop also lets you add multiple different iris blurs to create effects that would not be possible with a camera…

read more


From birds to blooms in the Texas Hill Country

djc_6619Our Texas Hill Country photo workshop drew to a close today with a full day of photography. We started this morning in the excellent blinds at BCNA, with our co-hosts Larry and Sharron Jay making sure we not only had a great breakfast, but were well set up for the arrival of the sun and songbirds.

read more


Fixing lens flare using Photoshop CS6’s Content-aware Patch tool

djc_6163hgLens flare can be a major problem when photographing wide-angle scenics, especially through large groves of trees. Sometimes the sun is close enough to the frame that it isn’t possible to completely block it out without changing the composition of the photograph. Removing it after the fact is difficult if not impossible with traditional photo editing tools. One common approach is to use the Patch tool in Photoshop. Fortunately for all of us, the new Photoshop CS6 Patch tool can be made content-aware, and does a remarkably solid job helping fix lens flare…

read more


Some raptors are friendlier than others–”rehab” Harris Hawk

_djc1228cWe took a break from songbird photography this morning during our workshop at BCNA for a great session with John Carter and some of the raptors he works with at Last Chance Forever. These are birds that are either imprinted on humans or for some other reason can never be released. He brings them to schools for educational programs – and out to let us photograph them from time to time. This Harris Hawk was getting some “flying time” while she was out, and decided that my camera made a great perch for her. Fortunately neither claws nor sharp beak took advantage of the camera, and the bird was polite enough not to soil it. It made for a fun moment, though!

read more


David featured by PC Mag in "What do you carry?"

David Cardinal along with some of his favorite travel gearDavid has been featured by PC Magazine in their "Connected Traveler" section. You can read about his travel exploits, what he carries and why, as well as how he gets it all where he is going online at their site. If you'd like to join him on one of his trips, he has a pair of great ones to photograph grizzly bears and puffins in Alaska coming up in July, and one to Botswana later this year.

read more


Learning to use Nikon Flashes: Book Review of Nikon’s CLS by Mike Hagen

Product DetailsEach generation of Nikon flash systems has become more powerful and flexible, but also more complex. Understanding how the latest version, dubbed Creative Lighting System (CLS) works, and how to make the most of it, can be a daunting task, especially since each Nikon flash unit has slightly different controls, and works in a slightly different way. Fortunately, Mike Hagen’s new book, The Nikon Creative Lighting System, provides an easy-to-read, soup-to-nuts, dissection of CLS and specific, detailed instructions on how to use it with just about every model of Nikon flash – both on and off camera.

read more


Finishing a photo with Photoshop CS6’s Adaptive Wide Angle filter

ev_firetrain_sm040812_0042htWhile not one of the marquee new features of Photoshop CS6, the Adaptive Wide Angle filter can help with one of the trickiest post-processing situations – correcting the distortion caused by using a wide angle lens. At the same time it can help reshape the image to draw attention to the subject in an image, which can be tricky if the subject isn’t the closest object to the camera….

read more


Harris Hawks, photographed during our Rio Grande Valley Texas Bird Photo Workshop Wildseed Farms
Harris Hawks are hard to find and harder to photograph, but we always get great
shots during our Rio Grande Valley bird photo safari


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