here on the Arcanum and this evening we have Brandon Dodd with us and we’re going to be doing his level for critique Brandon’s got some great stuff that he’s doing especially in the world of underwater photography which is really really exciting for me but at this point I’m going to turn it over to you Brandon if you just give us a brief bio of yourself and what type of photography you like and where you consider yourself heading in the future with this okay my name is Brandon Dodd I live in Arizona I got into photography to do underwater um I really enjoy underwater photography and I needed something to do while i was on land because I’m can’t be under the water all the time so I jumped into I also enjoy doing landscapes in astrophotography I dabble in HDR stuff but I think that kind of goes with doing landscape you know in color I think the hgr helps in you know sunrises and sunsets a lot of times but that’s just me I like to look better so eventually I’d like to do photography full time um you know whatever whatever it is under water would be great but there’s no real real paying jobs out there except for like National Geographic that do you know paid underwater photographers but that would be dream of mine travel around take underwater pictures travel pictures in general um so um yeah is that all questions I think oh yeah you did the boy you know what don’t give up on that underwater paid photographer idea because believe it or not there are state organizations like here in South Carolina it’s the DNR Florida it’s also called the DNR but Florida of all of the states has a whole team of underwater Fatah refers to go out do reef surveys and do all kinds of stuff so there is hope for you and that oh good alright so what I’m gonna do is I’m going to share my desktop with y’all okay like it’s quaint southern term y’all y’all yellow um bring up my photoshop and boy tell us about this cutesy love yours um this is a sea lion I took a picture of in Mexico a couple months back I was doing a safety stop so hanging out about 15 or 20 feet and this one kept hanging out my camera was off because I don’t like to take pictures what I’m doing my safety stop um but the bottom was just underneath me so I wasn’t worried about anything going wrong um but it just kept doing loops and circles around myself and another photographer to my right and she just came up and plopped down right there and turned my camera back on grabbed a shot the other photographer next to me did as well and uh this was it I really liked it I liked how close she got and um kind of the look she’s looking at him but I still you know it helped me get a good I shot of her so oh yeah yeah now how many flashes did you use for this one two strokes okay how deep were we about 20 feet okay so all right wow what a capture brandon i love the composition really that the subject of the lessee lion okay the courses her head nor I and the fact that you have those crystal clear with those beautifully sharp whiskers and I like it that the just looking over at the other photographer because that makes it feel less staged if you know what I mean mm-hmm it would have been nice to be able to see this flipper here but you know that’s such a a small thing that it really doesn’t matter you’ve got good space around the entire sea lion I’m and given that the really the main subject is the head and this is where the best light is this really works well the background falls

off to a nice bokeh and having said that let’s look at this real quick f91 100th of a second okay and this is with your fight is this the new 5d a 5d sr yeah okay so all right it’s probably the first trip I went underwater with that camera uh-huh um the detail in her eye this is amazing is this that secondary eyelid here I don’t know it I mean it zooms in really well so if you zoom in but I I haven’t paid attention i don’t know the anatomy of the sea lions very much but well that is an amazing and amazing amazing shot yeah we can see that the schmutz that the the strobe is picking up underwater which you know that’s just a necessity of underwater shots um I also find it interesting and this is one thing I haven’t noticed with a lot of the underwater photography that I’ve looked at over the years is you had this warm wonderful white balance on her head here based on the white balancing for the flashes mm-hmm and then the rest of it drops off to this this aqua color no it’s just there’s just something mesmerizing about this this entire concept of moving from one white balance to another because of the distance in the water um this is just stunning it’s not often that I see a level-4 Creek image from a new member to the cohort that is just this good this pleasing I’m how far away was she from you uh what lens did I use on that one um I can it possibly my hundred millimeter because that’s usually what I shoot underwater under millimeter yeah yeah um so I would say she’s probably a good five five or eight feet from me Wow and it’s amazing um as much as it pains me to have to say this I can find very little to say negative about this it’s just all super positive you did an excellent job this image is going to get the top score of a three now when you’re underwater I realize you can’t sweep the edges so we have to take that into account one or critiquing this can you tell me what this yellow reflection is down here is this an artifact of the flash no I believe that would be a fish it’s probably uh oh swimming by yeah okay so it might have been much closer or it could have been one of the ones that swim in that little coral down underneath is sure her folks um yeah that would be a little tough to clone that when I wouldn’t it yeah um boy this is a very strong image you have a lot to be proud of here I bet you’ve gotten a lot of really good comments on that um yeah I think so all right the seahorse I was on a mission to find a seahorse um this trip was pretty much all I fiancé was with me on this one and she loves seahorses she’s never seen a sea horse in real life and um i’ve ever heard a person squeal underwater I um it’s a sound to be heard no liked it up now were you were you in the kelp cuz i know a lot of cifra that’s where the sea horses like uh this seahorse was right off the edge of some kelp in a rock and the issue i find was shooting seahorse cuz I’ve I don’t I didn’t know how rare they are but I go so slow and I swim I find them all the time in places where they’re not too common so I’ve you know tried to shoot them before and until I realized how rare they were I didn’t spend the time required to you know try to get a decent shot they like being um you know down in crevices most the time and they turned their back to you whenever possible because they’re trying to blend in and once you see their eyes

you know it’s a seahorse um so I spent a good 25 minutes shooting this particular seahorse and that’s the best shot i got so i wish i could have got the whole thing but the rest of it just kind of disappears in between two rocks no actually I actually like the the the the the portrait of this I mean this is more like a portrait shot that you would shoot in a studio mm-hmm it’s up close and personal I like that about this I love the tonality you know we’ve got this wonderful curve of the seahorse looking down my sharpness the composition is very pleasing I like this a lot now having said that I do have one or two ideas to present to you for ways to further enhance this image mm-hmm if you would indulge me for a moment I’m just going to drop it into my visa real quick and try something okay I find this bright piece of is this rocker coral rock this bright pries piece of rock to be a little bit on the distract inside okay and I think that by toning it down and then taking your structure and dial it in a little bit of negative structure i mean we want we want some of that there okay all right and just toning that rock down so that it’s not in our face and we’re going to do the same thing in the corners as well okay now these two corners and I’m just going to copy this control point down here and on this corner appear as well especially on the this white reflection here and there just tone it down slightly and then I’m going to attach am a control point to the seahorse itself and I’m going to up the brain it’s just a wee bit and I’m going to add a bit of contrast if you will and I’m going to see what structure does oh yeah the structure brings out a lot okay okay maybe a touch of saturation although we don’t really need much of that and then I’m going to copy this down the yellow areas of the body I don’t want to put it on the white areas because they’re already nice and bright okay okay and what I’m trying to do is to create a dimensional offset between the face of the seahorse in these background objects now on this rock i am going to try darkening up that just a little bit more there yeah that’s enough now let’s do a before-and-after on that take a looks to you what that did okay there is the before there is the after see how the sea horse jumps out to the foreground by doing that mm-hmm and all we did was we slightly shifted that background a little bit softer and just ever so slightly darker while brightening the seahorse itself now the brightening of the yellow the seahorse that’s kind of a subjective thing this image would have been good by just darkening the rocks a bit white spots here and here and you could have left the body of the seahorse the same because there’s a dimensionality built into that with this white standing out and by brightening the yellow we kind of subtract a little from that white so that’s a subjective thing and that’s for you to consider down the line you know which way you like to do it but the point that I wish to make to you here is that by darkening the background and police in these bright edges here okay and darkening notes slightly we make the seahorse stand out and give it a three dimensionality look and feel I am rethinking now that perhaps I shouldn’t have lightened the yellow because I really like how what are these is this that’s just part of the CR SSKIN I really like how it stands out here how it is caught that flash and

it seems to stand exterior to the yellow body mm-hmm and I mean lightning the body that actually takes away from that a little I think what do you think I like to I do like the darkening of the outside but I probably would have left the body alone so I see we’ve and this is the joy of post-processing like this mm-hmm we can we can go back we could do before and afters and make these decisions and change but the real point that I was trying to make was too dark in this background and especially these two white spots up here because they were really detracting right I had tried cropping it because it was distraction and I tried cropping it but then it felt like the seahorse had nowhere to go so I didn’t reopen it up and left it you know uh who do your familiar of course with the Nick tools right uh I’ve dabbled with them but I mostly fiddle with Lightroom okay so um boy I hope I can convince you to dabble just a little bit more with these tools because you can see what just these simple edits did to this with that background yeah okay lovely picture absolutely love you i’m going to give you two points for that a two-and-a-half really okay any because the changes i suggested we’re just so utterly minor you know what I’m saying mm-hmm okay let’s talk about the Stars this was a multi shot I believe it’s a pan o dot d ng ok or it was um yeah it is and I I’ve done a few before and if somebody pointed out in my pre critique it’s not extremely sharp and I’m I haven’t had an issue with sharpness before because i used the LCD and zoom in on a particular star and then i manually focus it until that 1i i took my shots so the only thing we could picture was or think of um was it was a little breezy um so that might have been shaking my camera on the tripod while i was taking the shots but it is possible maybe um because I didn’t even notice it until I somebody asked about the not so sharpness of the picture and then I you know racking my brain thinking of what was wrong with it that’s the only thing I could come up with so I was up you know most of the night taking this shot and then I waited and got a sunrise over on the other side of where it started there was a big lagoon in mountains and it was really pretty uh sunrise um so I in a hurry or anything I just think I didn’t hear in Arizona when I do night shots we don’t really have Wendy nights they’re pretty calm so I think being on the ocean it probably was just too windy and shook my my camera too much um but but it’s one of my more favorite ones because it you can see the milky way in it mm-hmm so that’s why I picked it instead of one of my better shots but not fine okay all right good good pre-visualization preset up how many how many shots did you combine for this one um I don’t remember a four or five do you remember the shutter speed for each of those ah I can look you actually that was only three shots okay see if it’ll tell me you hmm it’s on a different hard drive so it won’t okay the all right that’s fine I wish it was just a curiosity for me you seem to have captured a satellite here hmm okay that is exactly what that is something in space moving across the sky

um okay now one more question the three shots that you did was this to build the pano and you took vertical shots no I took across the horizon so I left the middle and a right okay with a 14 millimeter I believe that was my broken on okay all right good enough I have enough information then a boy I love the composition up and they were absolutely right it is slightly out of focus now if we look at the stars themselves you notice how it’s really rounded with a halo around each mm-hmm that can be caused by camera shake as long as the camera shakes one direction and then back the other way an equal amount mm-hmm so I’m not going to discount let’s see these are more oblong so this speaks more to a shake problem then to a not being focused issue all right now I also look at this you’ve got good brightness and detailed down here in the foreground but the lights over here mm-hmm are a distraction right I realize that we can’t do much about the light pollution down here but i would suggest just considering a crop in if you will not that kind of crop though more then like this what camera did you use for this hmm that might also be my 5d sr okay maybe something like that okay come in a little bit yeah come in a little bit more go edge to edge and just take this area out here on the left all right I think that’s a small price to pay in terms of real estate to get rid of this light pollution over here in this lower corner yeah all right um boy I just I really like this I like how you set it up I like how you you did it I also want to look at something else real quick here I’m not going to do much in fact I’m not even use control points but I am going to add some structure to it as I want to bring out more of the Milky Way all right add a bit more contrast to darken the sky see how i darken the sky by adding a little bit of contrast not a lot well okay I like the fact that the corners are veiny added I think that works very well and it draws our attention into the center where your main subject is um and I just what I would not do anything other than that to this image you know a slight crop and maybe enhancing them stars themselves let’s fit this and let’s look at see just a slight addition of some contrast brings out that darker sky a little bit better and enhances the Milky Way and a little bit of structure more of the Milky Way um simple simple things I think that you did a really really great job on this I love this I’d love to see some more the style of work from you to in the future if you get the chance to get out and do it I know with your work hours that this is difficult damn not to mention the fact you got to be out late late at night to do this yeah I’ve made the mistake many times trying to do it right after the sun goes down and it never works you know you have find you have to wait about three hours after the Sun completely disappears so I kind of take them live in mind how do you find your stars in the sky that you want to shoot at how do you get the direction in the elevation well I guess I just picture on this one I shot towards the land because behind

me is the ocean and it was cloudy out but over the ocean um okay which direction of my face in here north okay would you remind me later on in the week to give you a name of some apps that will really help you get set up fast and point you in the exact right direction for each of these groupings of stars that you want to shoot another possible direction is to shoot to the south but there are some really great tools what kind of phone do you use a nandroid okay 26 all right I will get that information for you okay okay i’m going to give you a two and a half on this one too he said you know in the future in a sweet the edge is just a wee bit more and get rid of these this area down here okay in Lightroom I think I switched I did to gradient filters now oh good so the one reduces the bottom um to give it rid of that and then the top I increased some contrast and up the highlights and saturation and decrease the dark search it and it looks a little bit better but I didn’t react sport it and reupload it but it’s very light room has some very powerful tools in it right but what it doesn’t have is the ability to work in 16 bits which is you really want that 16 bits coming out of that new camera of yours yeah a boy I admire the effort that you put into this fabulous fabulous image all right tell me about this guy um I believe he’s an emerald tree boa I was at a an aquarium mm-hmm in DC I believe and uh I had my macro lens on okay my hundred millimeter um and I wanted more of him in focus but I couldn’t get it with the low the very low lighting he was in a kind of a dark area and I was doing handheld I didn’t have my tripod out so I kind of went with that I couldn’t get his whole head and focus and put the focus right on his eye and you know made that the point of the picture right though you know accidentally on purpose here yeah okay you got 180th of a second at f 2.8 and this was take let’s see what was this taken with the 5ds this latinas are oh okay all right so I got enough information there with this camera there is no reason why you can’t go up to say 6400 iso mm-hmm and what a teeth of a second you could afford to increase your aperture to say 56 and you know born focus now how far away from the glass of the aquarium were you from the I think I was touching the glass um so I didn’t put because you’d see my reflection in the glass of the of his you know partition name right you see how the light is coming up like this okay from the right um this speaks to lightly between the end of the lens and the glass you may want to consider getting yourself a rubber lens hood for your macro lens mm-hmm and then that will allow you to push that lens hard up against the glass and not damage the lens or the glass and the block any light leaking in from the sides which will enable you to control this area here without these streaks of light okay his body right yeah yeah okay and this is really unfortunate but this is an artifact to shooting at 2.8 but even shooting at 2.8 you have as I crystal sharp so that’s that’s very well done controlling your focus for shooting handheld

but given the the bright spots on the body of the snake and being totally on focus and then we have these areas here of the leaf that you just can’t police out I mean we need to really uncharted just a possible for you to do because you’re shooting through an aquarium um this is a shot that you should possibly consider going and reshooting again mm-hmm should you get access to this particular beastie again and hope that they’re in a slightly different position because as it stands there’s not much that we can do with this image you did the best you could with what you had right but again think about the rubber lens hood which will help with light leaking and I’m not seeing any reflection so you you you controlled that very well we do have a good bokeh but you’re going to get that Ted f 2.8 and for this particular shot you really needed to be at five six or eight even right and given the hardship that you face shooting this I’m gonna bump that iso up and then just clean up the noise and post-processing give yourself that f8 okay okay bump that iso up and one of the powerful tools in the Nick tools is that define just from the define in the automatic mode do your post processing and then go in and evaluate areas for noise and how I do that is I simply magnify it and I’ll go weigh in and I’m looking for grain and I’m not seeing a lot here okay so I mean I’ve not really seen any much of an indication that you’re shooting at a higher ISO except in the edges here around the dark and the mid green tones and the final take all that out for you so you could go much much higher okay okay um yeah higher ISO more depth of field so I mean you’ve got to shoot at f8 in it in order to get that you’re gonna have to bump that is up to about 64,000 to be able to do that ok I’m going to give you a one and a half on this image but even this has promised if you could go back and revisit it and don’t be afraid of using those higher ISO is ok right now you have a phenomenal camera and it will do it it’ll do a good job at it well you have way more than enough points to level up so this this is done so I’m going to get out of here in clothes photoshop but I do want to talk to you about something else I want to draw your attention to something you don’t want to do the tiger or own you know what I didn’t get the tiger it’s right there I do not get it into Photoshop let me drop that in and yell okay I’m bad so I for some reason that didn’t load in you okay but before I jump into the tiger let me go back I want you to notice something you have your camera set to the srgb colour space mm-hmm you spent a buttload of money on that wonderful camera system srgb is really really good for web page work and some print companies demand srgb because they don’t want to invest in a wide color gamut printing system but having said that you want to get the best possible image that you can out of your camera system you’ve spent a bundle on it srgb only has about two thirds of the color gamut that adobe RGB 1998 has and that is the other built-in color space for your camera and I’d like to suggest to you that you consider changing this srgb to Adobe 1998 okay it will give you way more colors in your images okay okay it’s blood here let’s talk about the

tiger yeah I did I did see this when I initially looked at your images but for some reason it just did not open and photoshop for me so excuse me please it’s forgiving okay so we’re in a were in a zoo tell me about the image um I was I saw this tiger it was pacing around and I had pulled out my tripod so I was trying to take some shots on the tripod of different things I had a 400 millimeter lens I believe or one hundred four hundred and he get moving too much for me to get a nice close shot of him her I don’t know what it was and so I left I came back and it was playing in the water with its ball so I set up again and took some shots and I walked around to over in the area where he’s looking or she’s looking and I didn’t like that angle so I walked back over here and I grabbed this one um and I liked after i got it in to work on it it’s clear um and he she’s in focus so I kept it um and I just I’d like the image i like the head turner i like in the middle of playing with a ball so i gnaw on it and it would slip out of its paws and it would go chase it again and just like it didn’t have a care in the world so it’s kind of a great image of you know it wasn’t just lazing around cuz had nothing to do being all cooped up it was actually you know enjoying its time it looked like yeah no you’re right it’s a wonderful image so many people um frown on captive an animal photography but I love this you’ve got her in an activity of play I think this is great the composition is lovely I like the post-processing I don’t think you need to make any changes whatsoever to the post-processing okay the composition is good but I would like to draw your attention to two maybe one other small consideration and that is the fact that we’re not level here and then we have this line coming in on this wall and it’s a slight distraction so I want to show you a quick and easy fix for that that doesn’t work on every image and you probably already know this but I’d like to go through with your indulgent for a minute yep and to do this we have to make a copy of the background so I’m going to well that’s interesting let’s look at this image mode RGB eight bits okay and there’s no reason for that you there we go it wouldn’t let me a doubt it wouldn’t allow me to do a background copy but this little technique requires a second layer okay mm-hmm this has to be done in photoshop once we’ve made a copy of the background layer then we can go up under edit and then free transform or transform I like transform better and go into the skew and then we’ll simply take this corner and we will lift it up all right mm-hmm and make that level and then we’ll take this corner and we will move it this way now I know we’re distorting the tiger holding bear with me a little I’m going to bring her back in a little bit they said this doesn’t work with every image because it’s going to distort everything just a wee bit so I’m going to come back out this way and bring her back into perspective again okay okay now I notice i have extra data here that’s not supposed to be here mm-hmm that’s the layer behind it i’m in

here in ER and accept this edit and now if i take this away we all right we’re going from this to this okay mm-hmm and now you either going to wreak Raupp here okay to take that out or you could just do a simple fill by selecting that area and going to edit fill content-aware and it’s going to look at the area around the area that i want to fill and copy the area in from around it and take that corner out mm-hmm all right now it’s still not straight but if we do any more of a perspective adjustment we’re going to continue to skew the shape of her body mm-hmm ok I think that this is a decent compromise okay okay but i might even consider doing a wee bit more and maybe cropping out a bit more of that edge okay Leah like that I don’t want to make this perfectly straight because that’s going to skew the Tigers body too much but I do like this a little bit better simply because if we go back to this that this my eyes are drawn to this piece of the wall at the edge of the pool and it’s it’s distracting in that it takes me away from the main subject here all right can I had cropped that out and made the subject you know bigger so sure because it was a distraction um so now with I don’t know where you were standing it was obviously there was a fence between you and the tiger right yes could you have shifted a little bit to the right in reposition yes make this wall street yeah I could have and that’s you know I need to remind myself of being aware of everything in the frame more yeah and you know that just that just comes with practice it’s better to get it right in the camera than for us to have to do these styles of edits in the computer okay because we did in order to do this we did flat the tiger a little mm-hmm but even that’s minor it’s it’s a minor trade-off for a more pleasing composition whereas had you just take and maybe let’s look at this may be two steps to the right you could have taken more of an angle like this into the tiger right and then you wouldn’t have had this to worry about mm-hmm okay um I like this this this is a good learning image and you’re right boy that Tiger is sharp you did a really good job you’re on the tripod on the tripod good work good capture but always try and be aware of the edges of your image sweep around them in the viewfinder when you’re setting up the camera mm-hmm and try and fix these before you take your picture right a you will be way way more happy all right okay I loved working on your images today this was great fun for me and I appreciate your images to their very well done you show great potential here both in the underwater and in the the wildlife landscapes I congratulate you and a job well done thank you i am going to level you up to level 5 i thank everybody for coming in supporting you let me stop the broadcast real quick you you