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Photo Tips: Reflection Magic – Purple Hour –

Photo Tip: Violet Hour Reflection– On-location: French Chateau

Enlighten Tour- Caryn Esplin – Europe in 40 days – People, Culture, Landscapes of Europe

Violet Hour: Photo tips for photographing people, culture and landscapes of Europe.  One of my favorite chateaus! I had to pinch myself several times at this magical place to see if it was real. That perfect moment when golden hour meets blue hour.

PHOTO TIP – DOUBLE THE MAGIC WITH A REFLECTION: I looked online for a chateau surrounded by water, then planned a night in a town near this Sully-sur-Loire chateau. It’s worth the drive when you can double the color and light with a perfectly still body of water to reflect the magic. There were closer, very captivating castles but none with water like this. The moat is not as large as it looks, but with just the right angle and a wide angle lens, I was able to achieve a complete reflection. This is when it pays off to drive and not take the train. Trains don’t stop for perfect light at perfect locations. —

Photo Tips: Cool & Warm – Cassis

Photo Tip: Cassis– On-location in Italy

Enlighten Tour- Caryn Esplin – Europe in 40 days – People, Culture, Landscapes of Europe – Photo Tips- How to

Cassis: people, culture and landscapes of Europe! The quaint harbor village on the French Riviera with a castle on the hill, a beautiful beach and secret coves to discover around the bend.

PHOTO TIP – COOL & WARM: Try combining warm and cool lighting in the same image for a pleasing complementary and contrast. For example, the blue hour light makes an image very cool…but if you wait until the surrounding warm city lights turn on at dusk you get both cool and warm! —

Photo Tips: Shadows – Village Bench

Photo Tip: Village Bench Ritual

Enlighten Tour- Caryn Esplin – Europe in 40 days – People, Culture, Landscapes of Europe – Photo Tips

Village Bench Ritual: Photo tips for photographing people, culture and landscapes of Europe. I imagine these two friends meet each evening to reminisce about the good old days and watch the people pass by. I observed them for a while and at times they laughed, stared, smirked and argued the night away. Environmental portraits are my favorite type of portraiture so capturing these two in their normal routine of life, just melted my butter. ?

PHOTO TIP – SHADOWS: I used the burn tool in Photoshop to add shadows to push everything into the background, except our delightful subjects. As I like to say.. “Use shadows to shape, define and draw attention to the light.” Caryn Esplin

Photo Tips: Golden Hour Reflections

Photo Tip: Golden Hour Reflections– On-location in Paris

Enlighten Tour- Caryn Esplin – Europe in 40 days – People, Culture, Landscapes of Europe – Photo Tips

Golden Hour Reflections! Photo tips for photographing people, culture and landscapes of Europe. This Village outside Paris is a great place to stay and swim and take photos! Then just catch a 40-minute train ride into Paris.

PHOTO TIP – GOLDEN POND LOOK: First shoot into the sun with an aperture of f16 to f22 right when the sun is going below the horizon. Next, open the image in Photoshop and add the selective color adjustment layer. Choose the WHITES and move the color sliders to add more yellow and magenta! —

Photo Tips: Foreground / Low Angle – Tuscany

Photo Tip: Foreground / Low Angle – On-location in Tuscany Italy

Enlighten Tour- Caryn Esplin – Europe in 40 days – People, Culture, Landscapes of Europe – Photo Tips

Vintage Tuscany Bike: Exploring people, culture and landscapes of Europe- I saw this old bike and just had to come back at golden hour!

PHOTO TIP – FOREGROUND / LOW ANGLE: When composing a landscape, look for something you can position in the foreground and then try a low angle to see if it improves the composition. —

Photo Tips: Bracketing – Belfort, Brugge

Photo Tip: Belfort Golden Hour–On-location Brugge, Belgium

Enlighten Tour- Caryn Esplin – Europe in 40 days – People, Culture, Landscapes of Europe- Photo Tips

Golden Hour at the Belfort of Brugge (aka Bruges) —

PHOTO TIP – BRACKET FOR QUALITY NOT HDR: Photo tips for photographing people, culture and landscapes of Europe. To get optimal quality and superb pixel depth, I like to bracket and shoot in raw. For this sunset, I set up my Sony A7Rii and Zeiss Batis 18mm lens on a tripod and captured a set of five raw images one stop apart. This way I get one image that is a perfect exposure for the sky, one for the water, one for the buildings, etc. But I do not bracket for the HDR effect. Instead, I combine several exposures to produce better pixel depth so I can raise the shadows without getting noise and print large format fine art prints with tack-sharp pixels. So I avoid using the auto toning or HDR effects when merging the images in Lightroom. Once I have a merged DNG image I run through some quick Lightroom edits to reproduce the fabulous light my eyes were seeing during this sublime golden hour. Finally, I hit Cmd+E to bring the image into Photoshop (Be sure to change your default export setting to PSD instead of TIFF) Then I do some spot cleanup, lens distortion correction, selective sharpening on the buildings, color balance or photo filter and a bit of dodging and burning. Voila’!–

Photo Tips: Get Wet – Moret Sur Loing

Photo Tip: Get Wet! Moret Sur Loing, Photographing Water

Enlighten Tour- Caryn Esplin – Europe in 40 days – People, Culture, Landscapes of Europe, Photo Tips

MORET SUR LOING: Photo tips for photographing people, culture and landscapes of Europe.This is a magical village outside Paris where you can swim and explore charming medieval buildings with water wheels, Waterfalls and swans appear out of the blue!

PHOTO TIP – GET WET – Look for water to get light and color reflections at blue hour and be prepared to wade in the stream to get the best low angle with your tripod. —

Photo Tips: Photographing French Riviera

Photo Tip: Searching and Photographing– On-location The French Riviera

Enlighten Tour- Caryn Esplin – Europe in 40 days – People, Culture, Landscapes of Europe, photo tip

French Riveria: Photo tips for photographing people, culture and landscapes of Europe. On the way to Cap Canaille, the highest point in Europe directly above the sea.

PHOTO TIP – RESEARCH: Do some Google searches to find the best photography spots in a new area. For example, search for “How to – where – best photos Cassis France” then click on IMAGES. When you find an image you like, open it to get the name of where it is. Type that name in Google Maps and drive there! We drove into this town on the French Riveria only 30 minutes before sunset so I texted my Enlighten teaching assistant in Rexburg, Idaho, USA…Alex, to do a quick search because he had a better internet connection and voila’ he said this was the best spot… and he was right! —

Photo Tips: Vernazza, Cinque Terre

Photo Tip: Hiking Vernazza, Cinque Terre – On-location in Italy

Enlighten Tour- Caryn Esplin – Europe in 40 days – People, Culture, Landscapes of Europe- photo tips

Vernazza, Cinque Terre — Photo tips for photographing people, culture and landscapes of Europe. One of the prettiest little harbors in the world. There’s no driving here, so pack light and plan to hike plenty of steep paths and stairs with narrow, picturesque streets.

PHOTO TIP – VANTAGE PONT: There were some nice views from the jetty at the harbor entrance near this town. But getting as high as you can above the city is always worth the effort if there is a hill nearby. Take a flashlight so you can see to hike down, because it pays off to stay and shoot during blue hour, the hour after sunset. —

Photo Tips: St. Peter’s Basilica

Photo Tip: Smartphone: St. Peter’s Basilica– On-location Vatican City

Enlighten Tour- Caryn Esplin – Europe in 40 days – People, Culture, Landscapes of Europe – Photo Tips

ST. PETER’S BASILICA, ROME: Photo tips for photographing people, culture and landscapes of Europe.  This place is so inspiring. My favorite piece here is the Pieta sculpture by Michelangelo. When I was 11 years old my parents brought me here and they told us it is the only statue Michelangelo signed. He was a new artist and people were attributing this sculpture to someone else. So he brought in his chisel and hammer and added a sash across Mary’s chest with his name on it!

But seriously his work is incredible. He carved his marble statues out of one piece of stone and the detail is perfect. I believe he was inspired of God to create his art to inspire us with more loving feelings about Mary and Jesus, etc. At that time we could walk right up to it and see it close up. I will never forget the feeling I had. When I arrived here after all these years, I remembered it was on the right side as you come in the front door.

So I hurried in that direction and it’s still in the same place! However, now it is all protected behind a large glass wall. That is because a crazy man came in with a hammer and broke off Mary’s nose and her arm the year after we saw it, all those years ago. When I saw it this time…emotion took over and I couldn’t stop crying. It was a wonderful feeling of joy and love for all the pain and sacrifice that Mary and Jesus endured while in this mortal existence. And that’s what good art can do.

PHOTO TIP – POCKET CAMERA: Smart phone cameras are the best option when touring cathedrals and museums with famous art..because you can’t use a tripod or flash in many of them. —

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Welcome to my Photo Blog



Caryn Esplin Photodesign
Photography and graphic design are some of my favorite distractions in life, so teaching something I love, couldn't be any better. I enjoy curriculum design on the college level, and I love the amazing students I work with. When I don't have a camera or computer mouse in my hands, I am cooking up a new recipe or traveling with my family, who are the coolest people on the planet. After all is said and done, I really love my life, and it is my peeps that make it so great.

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