Common Processing Error


I have seen the common processing error lots of times. It is very common as we are visual people by the act of being a photographer. The results of this error brings out the white line between high contrasting areas and our blacks don’t print well due to lack of contrast. I used to make this mistake until I changed on how I opened up my shadows in my images. After correcting this error I ended up doing a lot less work on the images after my initial processing in Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw. If you eliminate this common processing error in your workflow you will be amazed how less stressed your images are. The video shows it all.

Processing for dark shadows we always reach for the shadow slider but if you reach for the exposure slider and move the exposure up the lower your highlights you will get better results. Look at the video Common Processing Error and you will see what I mean. It is simple but your images will be better. Do not forget to subscribe so you won’t miss the next blog. Until next time “Keep on Shooting”

New Anouncments

Twisted with Age_BWNew Facebook Site

I have started a Public Facebook site  John Aydelotte Fine Art Imaging and have posted the complete set of Bristlecone Pine images.

New Analog Gallery

A gallery of analog images I made more than 20 years ago are posted now. Go to Images on the top menu bar and then Analog Images. Keep in mind back then there was no Photoshop and you had to get it right on film. All of these were shot on transparency film so what you see is what I got. These are not retouched and just copied by digital camera while being lit from behind using a color corrected light box.

The Arcanum

If you want to learn photography I have a recommendation for you. The Arcanum is one if not the best school of Artistic Mastery. I used to think that you could only teach craft and techniques but not creativity. I got a chance to go to The Arcanum when I retired and took it. Inside I saw a truly creative environment that fostered creativity through peer feedback and team effort followed by Professional Critique. You learn not only by your own feedback and critique but the ones of others also. This is a fast track your creativity as well as craft grows at a fast rate and you will be astounded at how quickly you learn in the first 20 assignments. After the first 20 you can go on to study with Top Masters of Photography in 10 lesson groups of your choice. It is not limited to landscape there are lots of disciplines to choose from. Go on over and check them out and if you like what you see put in an application.    Hint: I may have something more on this later.

book cover

This is the cover of Mesquite Dunes

The Mesquite Dunes Book

My Book on the mesquite Dunes is available on Amazon under the title Mesquite Dunes so if you haven’t got a copy now would be a good time.

Do not forget to subscribe so you won’t miss the next blog. Until next time “Keep on Shooting”


Analog Images


Analog image

This was shot on 4×5 transparency film.




















It has been a few years since I made an analog image. Analog photography, or in other words film photography, are quite different from Digital. Both Analog and Digital  are valid forms of capturing an image but they are not the same. Is one better than the other is a question that shouldn’t be asked, it is like comparing apples and oranges.  When digital cameras were first marketed it was important for sales to make them as much like film cameras as they could. The makers of the digital cameras once established worked on expanding the capabilities and now today we have a lot of benefits from the digital development.

The state of the camera and photography industry today is digital. The reason for this is simple. Digital is easy, controllable, it has surpassed film in resolution, there are now tool to involve almost anyone in the process and today the digital look is fully accepted as everyone has a digital camera in their phone at the minimum.

When digital first reared its head many professional photographers came to the table with a bad attitude. I remember hearing it will never replace film, it pixelates, and it’s too small to have the swings and tilts of the 4×5. Well all of this has gone away and almost all pros use digital for just about all photography.

There is nothing wrong with analog photography.. It has a slightly different look and I hope it will be around for a long time. I did enjoy my time in the darkroom and the thrill of seeing a 4×5 transparency sitting on my light table a day or two after the shoot. When the pros shot film they had to get it right as they had no immediate feed back like with the digital camera. Couple this with a little knowledge of what to look for and growth can be impressive as compared to learning using film. The key to becoming better is education.

Just for fun I will post a gallery of analog images shot around 15 to 35 years ago.  Do not forget to subscribe so you won’t miss the next blog. Until next time “Keep on Shooting”


Elements of Creativity

Image of Bristlecone tree

This tree sits close to the top of a ridge. The elements of Creativity all came into play at the time of exposure and then were further refined in post processing to create this image.


Here are the basic elements of creativity. Keep in mind creativity comes from you. By definition creativity is the act of bringing something truly unique into being. Look at the elements below and see how they apply to your images.

Desire  Dig deep to come up with the new. Let your passion guide you. Be influenced, stimulated and inspired by others. Use all these forces to make and inspire your own creative projects.

Thought  Before you start a project or even expose an image give thought to composition, lighting, distractions in the image and then things like camera setting or if you need to do a HDR image. 

Experience  Use you knowledge from past shoots and critiques of your and others work. Keep shooting and working in the right direction and the experience will really kick in for you.

Experimentation  Don’t keep doing the same old thing. Get out of your comfort zone do or try something new. This may end in failure on first glance but it really is just a lesson learned. Keep trying until you get what you want and any failures along the way will add to your knowledge.

Conviction  Don’t be hesitant use your inner conviction, Listen to others but you make the decisions. You must have the conviction to go with your passion.

Enjoyment  Love what you are doing then it will be rewarding and fulfilling. Be an innovator not an imitator and you will wake each morning full of passion. You don’t have to be a great photographer to be creative you just need to love it.

The above concepts were taken from the book The Essence of Photography by Bruce Barnbaum.

The Expressive Image

Magnificent Bristlecone pine at timberline

Magnificent Bristlecone pine at timberline

The expressive image is a mystery to most. Great masters talk about the expressive image but few photographers are able to make a truly expressive image. I talk about feeling a lot with other photographers and some do get it others don’t at all. Images that conjure feeling in the viewer that the photographer intends are truly expressive images. This is not easy to do and it starts at the time of exposure. I recently posted an image that people really got that feeling when seeing it but in my analysis I saw two things in the image. First was the total feeling and expressiveness of the image and that is what others saw first and few went beyond that point. The second thing I saw was the lack of perfection. I worked so hard to make the feeling that the image file was stressed to the max as far as I was concerned. I heard no one else with that concern but as an artist I must make decisions as all is not perfection. I did 2 more images in the same way as the first but have not yet posted them but will in the next week or so.

This morning I looked through my files and saw an image that I had a lot of emotion and feeling when I made the exposure. The image was near timberline in the white mountains of California, the light was bright and the rock covering the ground was white dolomite (ancient lakebed compressed to rock) making exposure difficult at best. The main subject was a long-standing dead bristlecone pine weathered by blowing ice during hundreds if not thousands of winters. I looked beyond the bristlecone to the entire environment remembering hiking high up at timberline in the sierras as a boy with my beloved dad. To me the image posted here is expressive of my feeling of high elevation I had as a boy and the starkness of the high country as well as the great survivability of the bristlecone pine.

Do not forget to subscribe so you wont miss the next blog. Until next time “Keep on Shooting”


Mesquite Dunes Book

book cover

This is the cover of Mesquite Dunes

The Mesquite Dunes Book is the reason I have not posted for a while. The book is now available on Amazon It’s 24 pages with 19 black and white images of the Mesquite Dunes. The whole publishing process was very interesting and the book become available just a few days ago. The following is from the book Mesquite Dunes:

“The Sand Dunes are mystical to me.  Over 40 years ago I made a photography trip to  Death Valley. At that time I carried a 4×5 camera into the dunes exposing several sheets of film.  What those sheets of film contained kindled a my love for photography. I developed and printed those images and they have hung on my wall for years. I had read about the masters of photography and their experiences in the dunes and I could then and still do feel their presence when I am in the dunes. I had not shot in the dunes for over 35 five years after that trip only returning in 2013. The magic is still there but now days a lot of people are present so I pick my times when I shoot very carefully. I don’t only shoot dunes and image almost anywhere at any time of day and even night. For those beginning their journey in photography I have included camera lens and exposure data for each image. I caution you that it is not the camera or the lens it is much more the vision of the photographer. For me I look first for the light then I work on subject and composition if it is not right I may move on or if I feel there is something there I will make several images until I know I have what is the best possible image. Photography is about feeling and the excitement of a great image. I used to be mechanical in my commercial studio as things had to match but shooting landscape I can put my feelings into each and every shot. I feel it is true that the camera sees two directions.

For my process I image in color and use the color information to make my black and white images using Lightroom and Photoshop.  Many times I know an image will be black and white before exposure. It has taken me years to visualize in black and white with color being so present at the time of exposure.  I also shoot color only images but almost always with a plan or visualization of some sort. Black and white images involve the viewer so they invoke thoughts. Black and white is like a fine book as opposed to a movie. The movie shows you everything but the book lets you supply the visuals. When you look at the image in this book let your mind wonder and feel the mood and textures. Imagine walking in the blowing sand with the sand hitting your legs. Think about a walk at night in the dunes or a climb to the top of a tall dune. Think about the constant change of the dunes. Most of all enjoy what you see.”

Other updates I am part of The Arcanum and must say that anyone who has a serious interest in photography should check into this online school. I am amazed at how fast people are growing their technical and artistic skills. This school has many people waiting to be picked by a master which is bad news, but New masters are coming online all the time and as people move to higher levels the classes open up. The key is to make a great application that shows how eager you are to learn. I am hoping to become a master in The Arcanum and I am working my way to that position. Imagine having a master and fellow students in a private ego free community to show your art and get helpful positive feedback or help with technical issues. If I do become a master I will let you know when it happens until then it would not be a bad idea to put you application in. Each master picks his own apprentices it is not a first come first serve situation.

I do hope you get a chance to see the book. I priced it reasonably and hope all enjoy the images contained in the book. Do not forget to subscribe so you wont miss the next blog. Until next time “Keep on Shooting”


Lightroom gets Brush for Gradient Tools

Bushes on top of the dunes

Bushes on top of the dunes

Yes it is true Lightroom 6 and CC as well as Adobe Camera Raw now have a brush that works with the gradient tools. There is no better way to show this new tool then a demo. I made the Making of an image video using an image that I would have not worked on due to the time it would have taken for masking in Photoshop. The task was easy using the new brush tool. Things to remember when using it was to check the auto mask box if not checked by default as it was when I did this demo. Please note the brush adds by default so you will need to push the Option/Alt key to remove and re mask areas from the gradient. This is only one great feature of the new release but I think it is very significant as it does keep me  doing more in Lightroom without the need of Photoshop. Other features in the new release of Lightroom include HDR and Pano all in Lightroom with the output being a raw file and a performance increase by pushing some of the processes to the graphics card and other processes running in the background. Its time to sit back and enjoy the video below. Do not forget to subscribe so you wont miss the next blog. Until next time “Keep on Shooting”.


A Few Simple Clicks


Just a few simple clicks is all it takes to make dramatic changes in an image. In this video John Aydelotte of shows how to use lookup tables to take a daylight image to look like it was a moonlight image. Color Lookup Tables have been used by the movie industry for years to create and looks which are applied sometimes to whole films or sometimes to just short segments. These can be very powerful tools and they are very efficient. Using color lookup tables is only the first step as you can make your own and apply them to whole batches of images or videos so they have a common look. Do not forget to subscribe so you wont miss the next blog. Until next time “Keep on Shooting”.

moonlight image

This daylight shot was changed moonlight using color lookup tables in Photoshop CC 2014

HDR Without Halos

32 bit HDR image

32 bit HDR Black and White

HDR processing was cool and had a special look to it that made it unique to look at but it has lost its glamour due to overuse and the halos it produces.  It is a great tool when a scenes tonal range exceeds the dynamic range of your cameras sensor and the look is not a totally bad thing but too much of the look is. When making a HDR you have to make it a point to maintain your midtones and watch the saturation in places like the sky. With this method you have much more control than the traditional methods and the standalone products. With Practice you will be able to make a HDR that no one can tell it was made by HDR processing. This HDR process is known as 32 bit HDR.




How to Improve your Art

Workbench image

I felt the workbench represents the hard work that goes into talent.

How to improve your art is the goal of many. The notion that you need talent is a myth. Just ask a successful person considered to have talent and they will tell you it was hard work not really talent. Talent is learned, it takes hard work in a positive direction and is not without the pain of failure. You can only grow with the help of others and a firm understanding of the footing your craft and art stands on. The steps needed to perfect your art and craft are simple to all who are willing to follow but you need to take the steps yourself. You can read or watch a video on how to do anything but until you actually do the process you cannot own it and have it as part of your craft.

Craft is the easy part it amounts to gathering information and applying it until you reach a point where you are developing your own procedures. In other words you fully understand the tools and processes. Next is looking at, studying and reading about the art of others until you understand it and start developing a feel for your art.

Art is the hard part mostly because it is where you express yourself. Using your learnt craft you lay your ego on the line for all to see. Have no fear most people will give positive feedback and the ones that give unsolicited critiques are often jerks. Now this happens everywhere be it a gallery, show, online or between friends  and other artists. Now here is the hard part you need to take your ego out of your art because you need the negative feedback to grow and get better. No attention should be paid to unsolicited critiques but you need to seek feedback from people in your field of art. You need to know what is good about your art and craft as well as what is bad so you can correct and build your art and craft.

For those giving feedback to an artist never give any negative unless solicited to do so. Critiques should always start with what is good about the art. Next what is keeping the art from being better and how to improve the art. Lastly the critique should always end on a positive note.

With hard work and good solicited critiques you will grow your art at an enormous pace. Seek out the type of ego free environment where this can happen. Local Art clubs and organizations or art based communities are all possibilities. I have found such an ego free environment for myself in an online group known as The Arcanum. 

Do not forget to subscribe so you wont miss the next blog. Until next time “Keep on Shooting”.