I am a hiking, backpacking, and photography enthusiast, and I enjoy sharing my adventures and techniques I had learned through landscape photography.
I have created this website to share the photography and outdoor skills I have learned, both through my camera lens and while out exploring the wilderness.
Once all this data was captured in my exposures, I wanted to use the additional processing power of Photoshop to bring out the detail and dynamic range that I was looking for.
So what are luminosity masks?
It is a process within Photoshop that will select a precise area of a photo, based on the lighness value. Sometimes you want to zero in on a specific area of a photo, and just add adjustments to that area, without affecting anywhere else. More on this later.
So far, I am happy that I am able to bring out the light and the highlights of these landscapes, to help these photos look more like what I really saw when I was out there enjoying the scene.
This is very exciting, and I hope to capture many more photos with this technique!
Especially during tough times, I occasionally go back to review the basics on my positive framing technique.
I thought I was share my techniques I had learned about and adapted, in the chance that you may benefit from this method as well.
I had developed this technique during my self improvement phase some years back, when I had found myself unhappy in both my career and personal life.
I had finally decided I was going to live life, rather than allow life to live me.
With my new outlook, I have never been happier. I have never loved life this much since my earlier stress-free and worry-free years, and the nostalgia feels amazing.
Here are some concepts and new behaviors that I had focused in on:
Journal your thoughts – make it a daily habit to keep a journal, and write down your feelings throughout the day. It will help you zero in on where the stress and negative thoughts in your life are coming from.
Identify positive “triggers” – Track the things that give you a good feeling throughout the day. It could be a certain memory, a certain person, or a certain activity that you enjoy. Knowing these triggers will be important later in this process.
Reframe negative thoughts – In your journal, if you are writing down something negative that has happened, try to also find something positive to get out of it. Trust me, you can find it.
Be appreciative and grateful – Every morning, practice thinking about things that you appreciate in your life, and how they make you feel good. These daily positive thoughts will eventually drown out the negative voices we may find ourselves listening to.
Realize that (most) other people are simply trying their best – this helped me be more patient, and prevents me from being judgemental toward others. Oh, and for those people who are destructive and harmful to yourself and others….phase them out of your life as efficiently as you can.
These basic techniques allow me to have a realistic, mature approach to life, while automatically filtering out the anxiety, stress, and worry that I had experienced before.
I plan to explain these concepts in even more detail in future posts.
This has happened to us all before, to some degree, on a hike or even a simple walk into the wilderness.
We had allowed ourselves to get distracted, and we somehow lost the trail we were on, or lost our direction on how to get back to the safety of our vehicle.
As a member of search and rescue, I take interest in learning about and discussing lost person behavior. This knowledge had helped our teams locate lost people more quickly.
It also motivates me to learn about the best steps to take, what things would be the best to do when you get caught in this situation.
While the concept of being lost on the trail or being separated from our hiking companions is terrifying, the actions we take over the course of the first few minutes can rapidly increase or decrease our chances of getting out safely.
First, let’s back up to before you got lost in the first place, and was planning on this particular trip.
1. Plan out your trip ahead of time, and check on the weather and any hazards on this particular trail and area?
2. Bring your ten essentials?
3. Communicate ahead of time to someone responsible of the trail and the route you were taking, and approximate time of your expected return?
(Please review the link below if you are new to hike planning, or want to learn more about it)
Once you have become lost, here are the steps, as recommended by the Forest Service, that you need to take to make yourself more likely to be found…
As soon as you realize you may be lost: stop, stay calm, stay put. Panic is your greatest enemy.
Try to retrace in your mind how you got to where you are. What landmarks do you remember, and should be able to easily see? Do not move at all until you have a specific reason to take a step.
Get out your map and compass, and determine the directions based on where you are standing. Do not walk aimlessly.
If you are on a trail, stay on it. Most trails are marked with signs, where intersections meet and where you may find points of interest. This information could be helpful for somebody to come and find you.
Based on your clear thinking and observations, think of some possible plans. Think them through, then act on one of them once you are convinced this is the best action to take.
If you are not very, very confident in the route, if it’s nightfall, or if you are injured or you are near exhaustion, stay in place.
If you are feeling up for a self rescue, here are some guidelines to follow.
Stop and take a breather when your body is telling you to. Don’t expend your energy too early.
Remember to take rest, food, and water breaks, even though your mind maybe racing a mile a minute.
Drink plenty of water, not just on your breaks, but also while you are hiking to find your way back. Dehydration will increase your stress and frustration, while depleting your energy rapidly.
Take the time to deal with small issues while they are still small. If you ignore your body and gear and just keep pushing, the pain, illness, or risk of injury will only get worse and make recovery more difficult.
Avoid hiking, if possible, on highly exposed areas on hot days. If you are on a trail such as this, find a shady spot and stay there until the temperature cools down. Adjust you’re hiking pace to what you can comfortably maintain and rest when you feel necessary.
Hope you find this information useful (or, better yet, never will need it!)
All over the Internet, there are plenty of lists of the few “top” ways to do something. You know what I’m talking about.
If you were to put in a simple web search on any type of topic, it seems to always generate “Top 5 Ways” to do this, or “Top 10 Ways” to do that articles and videos.
This applies in just about any skill or passion that takes immense time and effort to be mastered.
The reason I don’t like to see these lists is simply because I see this as an easy way for people to search for “shortcuts”…….to attempt to learn all these complex skills and tasks quickly, and then attempt to rapidly benefit from them.
While this may initially appear as an efficient way to learn something, I feel that it bypasses the passion that drives us to continuously excel.
I follow quite a few blogs on here, and the articles I enjoy reading are the ones reflecting the hard work people have put into the skills, challenges, or lifestyles they have mastered.
Whether it’s obtaining and maintaining the fit lifestyle they wanted, finding and conquering the trails they’ve always dreamed of exploring, facing the every day challenges of keeping up with writing, or trying to simply increase skills in photography so they can take better pictures (that’s me!), these articles are the most motivating to me.
I don’t enjoy seeing articles that just list these briefly summarized lists on how to do a particular craft, I feel that they just inspire us to take shortcuts so we can obtain quick results.
To me, it just feel genuine to see those of you who have spent the time and learned the research, skills, or experience to become good at something you are passionate about.
When I research something online, I have been finding myself just scrolling past the Top 5 or Top 10 lists, and spending time researching the actual principles of the skill, learning the mechanics, and coming up with my own conclusion of how to apply it to my craft.
In the meantime, please keep posting the articles that reflect the hard work and tough lessons you may have learned in your quest for your passion….I will read through these over an abbreviated Top 5 shortcut list any day!
Over the course of the last couple of years, I have become very interested in minimalism.
This new interest had motivated me to completely declutter my house, and I systematically got rid of things that created clutter and no longer make me happy, by either selling them on eBay, giving away, or donating.
Long story short, my house feels much more open, organized, stress-free, and I see things every day that make me happy, rather than allowing these unnecessary items to bring back memories from the past (that I occasionally would much rather keep there!).
So what does this have to do with photography?
Well, once I removed a lot of the noise and negativity from my life by leaving social media, I next zeroed in on my photography hobby.
I have volumes of photos that I have taken. on multiple drives, that I neither don’t care for, or have no future use for. These were causing me stress and anxiety as I went through my thousands of photos that I no longer needed or wanted.
Once I began to organize (and delete) all of these meaningless photos that I could part with, I started to question why I’ve been taking so many photos to begin with.
A lot of the reason, I found, was to keep up with social media. I felt like I had to keep up with the popular people, take the same compositions they are and go to the same places they have been, in order to feel like I was part of the community.
These recent changes by adapting minimalism have helped me realize my outlook has been wrong.
By applying minimalism to my photography, I could now begin to capture just the photos that have so much more meaning and creativity to me, versus the thousands of photos I had allowed to pile up on my hard drives before.
I now focus more (pun intended) on capturing meaningful memories, special events, and true creativity, versus taking photos strictly for gaining social media’s approval, simply because everyone else on my feed had been doing it.
This new outlook had made photography fun and exciting again. I had went back to the basics, and I am excited again for putting my energy into creativity, versus trying to create photos that I felt would be popular to others.
As we all know, the 10 essentials of hiking is very important. These essentials will not only make our adventures more enjoyable, but are usually necessary to get us back out of the wilderness safely.
I recently took an online Leave No Trace awareness course, and had become certified. This had helped both educate and remind me how important these principles are.
I always feel that I do a good job of protecting the wilderness when I am out there, but also realize there is a lot more to learn about these very important concepts.
The 7 current Leave No Trace Principles are:
Plan Ahead and Prepare.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces.
Dispose of Waste Properly (Pack It In, Pack It Out)
Leave What You Find.
Minimize Campfire Impacts.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors.
I had actually made a couple of changes recently to decrease my own impact on the wilderness.
First thing I did was disband my Facebook hiking group.
I enjoyed being a group leader and always enjoy the company of hiking partners, but I also found that I allowed this hiking group to get too big. I was bringing too many people out at once, and realized I was sometimes disrupting or even possibly creating damage to the wilderness areas by doing this.
Now, I simply send out texts to smaller groups when I plan a hike, backpack, or a photo shoot and want company.
The second change that I made, was I stopped sharing photos to the large hiking groups on Facebook and Instagram.
If you are curious about this, you can read about my main reasons for quitting social media here: