Prints That Win: In Flight With Twigs

Photographer Uldis Ilvess was on a road trip through South Carolina when he took his Sunset Print Award-winning photograph In Flight with Twigs. “We happened to drive by a small pasture with some private houses, and in between the houses was this fenced in area with a pond, and in the shrubs were these birds nesting there,” says Ilvess. The image of the bird with twigs in its mouth instantly captivated him.

Based in Des Moines, IA, Ilvess has been a photographer since the 1970s. The art form originally started out as a hobby for him before developing into a full career. He taught photography through a local art center, which he says was a mutually beneficial experience.

Nature’s Best Photography Printed for the Smithsonian

Smithsonian Exhibition of the Windland Smith Rice International Awards

Each year, winners of the prestigious Windland Smith Rice International Awards are showcased at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. This year, you can find the exhibition on the Rotunda level in the Special Exhibitions Hall next to the Mammal Hall. The exhibit is free and runs all the way through March of 2014.

Smithsonian Exhibition of the Windland Smith Rice International AwardsThe exhibition brings award-winning nature photography to the public through larger-than-life inkjet prints. The prints for this year’s exhibition were produced with the Epson Stylus Pro 9900 using Epson’s HDR inks. Epson is the official inkjet printer and paper partner for the exhibition.

“We’re thrilled to work with Epson to display the extraordinary photographic journey from the wild to the walls of the Smithsonian,” says Steve Freligh, Windland Awards Director. “Epson’s exhibition-quality printing technology allows our visitors to experience nature in a fine art print… the closest it comes to what the photographer experienced.”

Grand Prize Winner of the Windland Smith Rice International Awards
Grand Prize Winner C.S. Ling for her capture of the Southern Pig-tailed Macaque in Sabah, Borneo. Shot with a Nikon D3, 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens at 400mm, 1/500 sec at f/8, ISO 2000, hand-held.

The Smithsonian exhibition opened on June 7 and features winners chosen from more than 20,000 entries from photographers in 46 countries to the annual Windland Smith Rice International Awards program, hosted by Nature’s Best Photography magazine.

The exhibition showcases the Grand Prize winner (C.S. Ling), the Conservation Photographer of the Year (Frans Lanting) and the Youth Photographer of the Year (Joe Sulik, age 16), as well as finalists selected in 13 separate categories.

The annual photo competition is open to the public and encourages submissions from photographers at all levels of expertise: pros, amateurs and youth.

For more information, visit

The Fine Art of Photography on Canvas

Wolf printed on Fredrix canvas from LexJetDavid Micelotta, owner of Through the Eyes of David, a fine art photography studio in Farmingville, N.Y., prints his work almost exclusively on canvas, Fredrix 777VWR Vivid Matte Canvas from LexJet, to be exact.

“At one time I sold framed pieces, but switched to canvas because my customers love canvas. I print them all on 1 1/2″ gallery wraps so the customer doesn’t have to worry about framing the piece and it gives the piece more dimension,” explains Micelotta. “I love the color reproduction and the gamut the Fredrix canvas produces.”

Micelotta travels the art show circuit in New York and neighboring states showcasing his unique take on a variety of subjects. Though he leans toward nature photography, eager art buyers also appreciate his landscapes, cityscapes and nautical photos on canvas.

The key to selling a great photo at art shows, says Micelotta, is the quality of the finished print. Therefore, Micelotta profiles his inkjet materials and calibrates the entire process, from capture to monitor to print.

Fracture Art printed on Fredrix canvas from LexJet“I get the same quality in gamut and detail in both papers and canvas due to the calibration between monitor and printer. After I print the canvas and let it dry, I coat it with a varnish and it tends to saturate the color 10-15 percent more than the fine art paper and gives it more gloss, which I like,” says Micelotta.

Micellota also creates more abstract pieces he calls Fracture Art, a technique he developed using five different graphics software programs.

“It starts with a photo that I bring into the five different programs and then apply formulas I’ve create in each. The outcome is the Fracture Art, and then I adjust those formulas from there to change the look slightly,” he says.

Free February Webinars from X-Rite Cover Color, Editing and Enhancement

X-Rite Photo Marketing announced its schedule of February 2012 Webinars that have been developed to address specific color management topics and are designed to appeal to both professional and serious amateur photographers.

Learn how to edit images in LightroomFebruary Webinar Schedule

Thursday, Feb. 9, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET, Editing Portraits in Photoshop & Getting Prints Back that Match Your Display!
Spend an hour with host Joe Brady learning how to edit portrait photographs to create images clients will love. Joe will share some of his favorite techniques, tips and tricks for adding shape, direction and finish to portraits. From simple blemish removal to complex reshaping of body parts, these step-by-step tutorials will enhance your Photoshop skills and improve your editing quality and speed.

Before starting any serious editing, it’s critical that a photographer’s monitor is calibrated and profiled. Joe will start with a short profiling demonstration and then dive into Photoshop edits.

Topics that will be covered include the why and how of monitor calibration and portrait edits from minor to major including: correcting color casts, exposure issues, blemish removal, body re-shaping, skin softening and “glows”, layer masking for local control, light shaping, adding “pop” to flat images, image sharpening and preparing files for lab printing.

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 11:00 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET, Image Edits and Enhancements in Lightroom 3
While many photographers have become comfortable with the basic image edits available in Adobe Lightroom 3, some of the more powerful image editing capabilities remain a mystery. Host Joe Brady will explore both basic and advanced image editing techniques in a software program every photographer should have.

Joe will first discuss Lightroom’s Library Module and deciding how and where to organize images. He will also discuss how to make sure a monitor is calibrated to show the most accurate color so that prints will match what is seen on screen as closely as possible. Joe will also share his favorite editing tips, including

retouching, creating masks for local adjustments, using the gradient tool, cropping for composition and other fine details to best prepare a file for printing.

Topics that will be covered include why monitor color is important for Lightroom 3 (and what can be expected in LR 4?) and image edits and batch processing including: Global image edits, local color and light adjustments, retouching both skin and landscape blemishes, composition, image sharpening options, and preparing files for lab printing.

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 1 p.m. ET, For the Birds! Nature Photography with Maxis Gamez
Nature photographer Maxis Gamez specializes in bird photography. As a self-taught photographer he views the world from a different perspective capturing powerful images that have been featured in Audubon, Shutterbug, Outdoor Photography Magazine, and Nature Photographers Magazine.

Maxis will share his secrets for capturing amazing images of birds relying on X-Rite color management solutions and Nik Software to enhance and finish his images. Attendees will learn how the X-Rite i1Display Pro and Nik Software’s Viveza 2 can give them the creative edge they need. Using live software demonstration Maxis will share some of his techniques for creating amazing bird photographs. He will demonstrate how to pull details from digital images using Nik’s Control Points showing the before and after results.

Who should attend: amateur and enthusiast photographers, nature and wildlife photographers, bird and raptor specialists, and birders interested in photography.

Thursday, Feb. 16, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET, Edit & Enhance Landscape Images in Photoshop
Photographers spending an hour with host Joe Brady will learn how to enhance landscape images using Adobe Photoshop. Joe will share some of his favorite techniques and processes to bring out the beauty in landscape photography and will share his workflow, decision-making process and enhancement techniques to bring life into image files that just don’t match the beauty and spirit of the scene the way it’s remembered.

Following a short discussion about workstation color and calibration, Joe will show attendees step-by-step Photoshop edits that they can put to work right away to bring life and drama back into their landscape images.

Topics that will be covered include monitor color for consistent results and image edits from minor to major, including: Using Adobe Camera Raw – even with JPEGs, exposure, contrast and light shaping, global and local color adjustments, compositing new skies, composition, removing unwanted elements from an image, image sharpening options and preparing files for lab printing.

All Webinar registration can be found on Visit the Webinar page found under the Learning section.