Rad A. Drew Photography: 2018

Continental Divide at Dawn

Continental Divide at Dawn
Continental Divide at Dawn

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


Please extend a warm welcome to my friend and fellow photographer, Gary Potts, of Indianapolis, Indiana. Gary and I are members of the Photography Society of America, and are involved with local organizations, including Photo Venture Camera Club, Indianapolis Professional Photographer's Guild, and Riviera Camera Club – all excellent organizations full of  talented photographers!

Recently Gary presented to local clubs on one of his passions, Infrared Photography. He did such a great job and shared so many inspiring images that I asked him to write a Guest Blog Post. 

Sit back and learn from Gary's experience with IR, and enjoy his spectacular infrared images posted here. – Rad A. Drew 

© Gary Potts

INFRARED Photography in the Digital Age, 
by Gary Potts, Grand Master PSA, EFIAP/bronze

Gary Potts

Years ago, many of us who started a little earlier than others (Oops, maybe we’re just OLDER than others rather than starting earlier!) used this surreal film in a yellow box labeled Kodak Hi-Speed Infrared HIE 135-36. We needed to load it in the dark into our cameras, not touch the emulsion side more than necessary to get it wound onto the take-up spool of our SLR’s, and finally to develop it by unloading it in the dark or taking it to a lab that knew what they were doing. We had very little idea of what we’d see and what we’d get until that wonderful monochromatic proof sheet made its way back to us in a day or two. Oh, did I mention we had to put a deep red filter over our lenses during exposure and sometimes expose for shutter speeds that mandated a tripod?

© Gary Potts
Those golden days are past us, and like so many aspects of photography, we have a new world in the digital age in regard to photographing in the infrared spectrum. It’s novel, exciting, a unique new view of our surroundings, and yet one more tool in the kit of those who want to create exciting images with impact. A recent image made on a trip to Kauai, Hawaii, “Kilauea Moment”, typifies how the ordinary might just be taken to the extraordinary by changing the medium from normal daylight to the world of infrared.

© Gary Potts
Before going further, just what IS the infrared spectrum? We have heard it mentioned in regard to missile guidance systems, intruder cameras, and night vision goggles…but in photography?

Well, quite simply, it refers to a portion of the light spectrum we typically can’t see. Light as we know it is measured by wavelengths, and the unit of measure used is the nanometer. Visible light is measured from 400 – 700 nanometers. Light at this ‘length’ can be seen with the naked eye. Just above that wavelength in the region of 700 – 900 nm we have infrared light or radiation that is invisible to us. However, remove the infrared blocking filter from the sensor surface of a digital camera, replace it with an infrared enhancing filter, and you have a camera that is capable of capturing images in the infrared spectrum. Enough of the Physics of Light101!

© Gary Potts
How is this accomplished? While there are several businesses across the world that will ‘convert’ a camera from digital (visible light spectrum) to digital (infrared spectrum), the one seemingly most popular or more, pardon the pun, visible, is a firm called LifePixel Inc. Based in Mukilteo, WA, this business is focused primarily on infrared photography and all its components. Not only can you pack and ship your camera to them for conversion, you can download and view numerous tutorials and helpful Q&A pages to reduce the complexity of digital infrared photography.

© Gary Potts
[Editor's note: If you choose to purchase from Life Pixel, mention the name of my friend, photographer, Tony Sweet. Dropping his name when you order could save you some money or get you preferred service (not that LP isn't good to every customer!). 

Another company that is new to me (brought to my attention by Tony Sweet) is Kolorivision out of Raritan, New Jersey. I've not used this company, but fellow photographers speak highly of it. There are two things that caught my attention with Kolorivision: One, their IR conversion process is "reversible," (like some vasectomies!). You can convert a camera's sensor and then have the sensor switched back for regular shooting if you should ever need to. Two, they configure neutral density filters for infrared cameras that work well. Tony Sweet uses them for long exposure IR photography to get those sweeping clouds or moving water that add to the drama of the image. If you decide to use Kolorivision, access via Tony Sweet's link (http://bit.ly/kolarivision_tonysweet) for a $10 discount . 

Another great company for having cameras converted is Spencer's Camera based in Alpine, Utah. I purchased an IR-converted LUMIX DMC LX7 point-and-shoot with 4x optical zoom from them and have enjoyed using it to make many IR images. Spencer's, too, has a host of educational information on their site and are more than happy to discuss IR or Full Spectrum camera conversion with you. 

Should you decide to purchase from Spencer's use this code: RADDREW25 (or mention my name when you call). You'll get $25 off purchases of $150 or more, and 10% off purchases that are less than $150. In addition to these discounts, you will receive priority service, including faster completion of orders! I don’t make anything on this the one; it’s just a nice thing Spencer's does for my contacts. Software is easier to discount, so any discount at all on the fixed cost of hardware is great!]


© Gary Potts
So, you’ve converted a camera (at a current cost of about $375 +/-) to digital infrared, now what?

But I’m getting ahead of myself, and a better question to ask at this point is “why should I shoot infrared?” The flip answer is “because you can”, but a more cogent answer is that digital infrared images offer you more variety, more latitude, and perhaps greater creativity in your pursuit of the winning image. In general, images taken in deep black and white infrared display bold black and whites, darken the skies, and turn most all foliage to various shades of white. The ethereal effects of infrared are most pronounced in the image “Fallen Dreams”taken at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana. Note the skies and equally view the grass and the foliage. Inanimate objects like stone would typically render as normal monochromatic representations in infrared.

© Gary Potts
There’s so much more to say about all this. What shutter speed and f-stop and ISO you ask? Start with a bright sunny day with an ISO of 200, a shutter speed of 1/60th second and shoot at f8 or f11. Your histogram, while not exactly accurate for measuring infrared light levels, gives a decent approximation of your exposure. Adjust your next shot from there. What about focus? Infrared light focuses at a different place in the film plane to daylight. Images can be blurry if you rely entirely on your camera’s AF feature or even focus manually. LifePixel solves that during conversion such that your converted DSLR will now be ‘tuned’ to auto-focus in the infrared spectrum. This takes away much of the guesswork or special lens settings from the film days.

We could go further, but you have the idea, you have some new information, and you have at least one website from which to learn even more. Give it some thought, especially if you’re in the market for a new camera and are wondering if it’s worth it to put the old one on eBay or another similar online site. Your new images in INFRARED may be all you need to convince yourself you’ve added to your photo portfolio and have made a wise choice!


Thanks for reading everyone, and thanks, Gary Potts, for a great post! If you have any comments or questions, please email me here. I'll share any comments that are directed to Gary.

To see some of the IR images I've created with my LUMIX DMC LX7, visit my Infrared Gallery

Also, I process my IR images using Topaz Studio and Topaz Labs plugins and adjustments, and I love the results! To see how I process IR images in Topaz, see my Topaz Webinar videos on YouTube. I usually process one IR Image per webinar.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Registration Open for How I Did It!™ Webinar 1 of Mobile Webinar Series

Webinar 1: The Magic of SnapSeed & Your Mobile Images

At long last, I've opened registration for my How I Did It!™ Mobile Photography Webinar Series! 

To provide a foundation for subsequent webinars in the series, Webinar 1 will delve into the nooks and crannies of SnapSeed, arguably the most widely used (and underutilized) of all mobile photography apps. Read on to learn more and to register!

Wisteria, iPhone 7 Plus, Processed with SnapSeed


SnapSeed is one of the most widely used apps among mobile photographers and for good reason: It’s a virtual dark room in the palm of the hand. 

But are you getting the full benefit from this powerful app? Because of the breadth and depth of this comprehensive app, it’s possible that you are using only a fraction of SnapSeed’s potential. 

In this webinar, I'll take you on an exploration of the nooks and crannies of SnapSeed, revealing its hidden powers, and introducing you to new steps to include in your post-processing workflow. 

Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi
iPhone 7 Plus, Processed with SnapSeed

In this webinar you’ll learn to:

  1. use multiple methods to selectively brighten or darken specific areas of your image 
  2. level a landscape’s horizon without cropping away part of your image 
  3. correct perspective problems with your composition 
  4. correct keystoning of buildings, trees and other subjects that are skewed 
  5. use SnapSeed’s hidden masking feature for selecting colorization, sharpening, and tonal contrast 
This list represents just the core learning objectives covered in this hour-long webinar. I'll demonstrate these and other features on actual images so you can see how the adjustments effect the image. 

Patricia, Cuban National Ballet,
iPhone 7 Plus 


Date: Thursday, April 12
Time: 5:00 to 6:00 PM EDT
Cost: $24.95
Log-on information provided at time of registration.

Due to the size of the group,  questions cannot be answered during the webinar, but will be collected and I'll respond within 48 hours. 

Each webinar is recorded and archived and participants will have access to these recordings for repeated viewing. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

How I Did It!™ iPhone YouTube Tutorial Series!

Capitol, Havana Cuba, with Distressed FX

Camels, Razeen Dessert, United Arab Emirates 
iPhone 7 Plus, processed with Distressed FX

With the new iPhone X and the latest iOS 11 update, the iPhone has reached new levels of photographic capability, and also provides other utilities that make doing photography with an iPhone and sharing about iPhone photography a snap.

Not only do the latest iPhones sport dual lenses and portrait modes that allow us to create remarkable images with a narrow depth of field (once possible only with sophisticated “big” cameras), new utilities like Screen Recording with audio make sharing and teaching iPhone photography easier than ever before!

Timber Heads, Grafitti Underground, Philadelphia, PA
iPhone 6 Plus, processed with Distressed FX

To celebrate the new screen recording capabilities, I’m launching a new series of videos that I’ll feature on my YouTube Channel. I’ll take advantage of this new screen recording capability to demo favorite apps, share processing tips, and create how-to videos that walk through all the steps to achieve a certain look. To brand my instructional videos, I’ve acquired the US Trademark, How I Did It!™.


Here’s a link to my most recent video, 


I hope you’ll enjoy and learn from these videos! I welcome any questions you have and would love to hear your suggestions for topics you’d like me to cover. Email me here with Your Suggestions.  If it’s in my repertoire, or it's something I can research and share, I’d love to!

Cathedral Square, Old Havana Cuba,
iPhone 6 Plus, processed with Distressed FX

If you find my videos helpful, please subscribe to my YouTube Channel. When you like and share my videos, and leave comments, you're helping me grow my YouTube presence and making it possible for me to continue sharing videos. So, please like and share!

Of course I’ll still be offering my How I Did It!™ Webinar Series, and my 1:1 iMentoring Sessions!

To be notified when enrollment opens for my next How I Did It!™ Webinar Series, email me here with Notify Me of Webinar Sessions! as the subject line.

How Screen Recording Works

If you’d like to try Screen Recording for yourself, here’s a quick step-by-step. 

  1. Add the Screen Recording function to your Control Center. (Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls > Screen Recording (set to on))
  2. Go to your Control Center
  3. Press the Screen Record "bullseye" icon

  4. A single press starts the record-only function.
  5. To record sound, press and hold the bullseye icon. The screen recording menu pops up and you'll see a microphone icon; press the microphone to turn it ON.

  6. To stop recording, tap the bullseye icon in your Control Center, or, tap the red status bar at the top of your screen that appears when recording is on
All the screen actions you do and the audio are recorded until you turn recording off. It will record you opening and working in apps, and, if you have the microphone on, it will record you narrating your recording.

I did my final editing (like adding a title screen, taking out hems and haws, etc.) on my computer using the desktop app, Camtasia, but if you prefer to do all your editing on your iPhone, use the app, Splice. Splice is powerful, but intuitive and simple to use.

Thanks for reading. I hope you get some value out of this Screen Recording How To, as wells my How I Did It!™ Create Captivating Images with Distressed FX. Please remember to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and like and share the videos! 

Thanks for reading, and, until next time, keep on shooting!

Sentinel, iPhone 7 Plus,
processed with Distressed FX and Flypaper Texture.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Using PhotoLogo to Brand Your Images

Are any of you old enough to remember the 1960's TV commercial for Red Ball Jets, the sneaker for kids that promised to make us run faster and jump higher?!  I so wanted a pair of those magic shoes! What kid wouldn't want to run faster and jump higher!

Well, we all know now that Red Ball Jets weren't magic shoes that would help us do these super-human feats, but that didn't make me want them any less! They were fun and they looked cool

Red Ball Jets are no more, but, today, there's PhotoLogo! With a professional logo by PhotoLogo, your images will look sharper, and have more impact!

Ha! Wouldn't that be great if it were true?!

Of course, having a professional-looking logo made by PhotoLogo won't make my images better, but that doesn't make me want one any less! Just like those Red Ball Jets of yesteryear, a PhotoLogo is fun and it looks cool! (Oh, and professional, too.)

Here's the part where I fully disclose my relationship with PhotoLogo. I am an affiliate rep, which means when someone purchases a PhotoLogo using the link I provide, I earn a commission. Being an affiliate rep for photo-related products I love and use frequently is one of the ways I generate revenue for my photography business. I represent only products that I find are high quality, reasonably priced, and have excellent customer service. Oh, and they're fun! PhotoLogo fulfills all of these criteria!

Here’s how it works. Log onto the PhotoLogo site. You'll be prompted to answer a few questions like the thickness of the line, the flow of the text, and what you want your logo to say. 

PhotoLogo will take your information and design an attractive logo for you. They'll email you png files in black and white, and in high and low resolution for use in different media. The pngs are transparency files that can be laid over any of your images. Source files (.ai files) are available for an additional fee. Source files may be necessary if you plan to use your logo with magazines, printers, or other third parties. You can purchase source files later if you find you need them.

All PhotoLogo products are currently 60% off. You have these options, paying more if you need your logo within 24 hours and saving a little if you can wait 7 days.

I add my PhotoLogo on images created and processed on my iPhone, and on images shot with my Fuji or other “big boy” cameras and processed in Topaz Studio. (Lightroom or Photoshop works, too.)

Here is my YouTube video showing how I add my PhotoLogo to images using my iPhone and the Image Blender app. 

And here's my Topaz Webinar that includes a segment on how to add your PhotoLogo using the new free Topaz Studio Photo Editor. (Fast-forward to the 27 minute mark to see the segment on how to add your logo file to your images.)

Whether you’re using your iPhone or software on your computer to add your logo, the process is quick and easy and the results are great!

Tip: When you apply your PhotoLogo, use the opacity slider in the software you're using to tone down your logo so that it doesn’t overpower your image. (It is after all about your photograph!)

Oh, and one other thing. PhotoLogo does not protect your images from thieves. I don’t use it for that purpose, or have that expectation of my PhotoLogo. I use it strictly to label my images with an attractive brand.

Want to try it for yourself? 

Here are a few images showing how I've used my PhotoLogo.

Have fun with PhotoLogo!

Questions? Comments?  Email me here.

Until next time, keep on shooting!

(Oh, and sign up for RadDrewPhotography Newsletter here.)

Monday, February 5, 2018

7th Annual Mobile Photography Awards

Winners and Honorable Mentions


To be inspired by the work of others is one of the joys of photography, and there is no better source of inspiration than the Mobile Photography Award’s collection of work across 19 categories chosen from the submissions of thousands of artists from around the world. It’s thrilling and fascinating to explore this exceptional body of work, and to experience so many diverse perspectives of the world in which we live.
"With the MPA ... phone photos 
reach fine art proportions" 
– San Francisco Guardian

Special thanks to MPA founder, Daniel Berman, for his vision, and thanks to the diverse world-class panel of jurors he assembles each year to judge the MPA! 

Here's the link to next year’s 8th Annual Mobile Photography Awards! It's not too early to start creating your images for next year!

I encourage everyone to view all the winners and honorable mentions, but there are some photographers I’d like to call out, either because they are personal friends, or because their work has been featured in the MPA for many years, or both. Here’s a short list with links to their Facebook pages; it is by no means all-inclusive! I hope you’ll take time to enjoy the wide-ranging work of this talented group.

In addition to these artists associated with the MPA, there are also many others; some are household names in Mobile Photography, while others are emerging, talented artists whose stunning work is gracing the MPA for the first time this year! I encourage you to view their work and discover them on your own. I’m confident you’ll find your own favorites, and I dare you to not be inspired!

In the 7 years that the Mobile Photography Awards competition has run, I’ve participated every year — except 2016 when I missed the deadline. That’s how much I love this competition! I’ve done better in the judging during some years than others, but I’ve always enjoyed participating and seeing the exhibition of truly amazing photography from around the world.

This year, six of my images across five categories were recognized as Honorable Mentions. (You can see them all here, on FB.) It’s truly an honor and quite humbling to be recognized in the company of such talented artists.

A hearty congratulations to all who participated in this year's MPA!