Dean Souleles Photography: Blog en-us (C)2018 Dean Souleles [email protected] (Dean Souleles Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:59:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:59:00 GMT Seven hour of my life, in two minutes, with Mozart 7 Hours of my life, in 2 minutes - with MozartTime lapse video shot over seven hours after the mid-Atlantic blizzard of 2016.

Technical details (more to come).  D800, manual focus and exposure.  I exposed for the highlights - and opened up the shadows in Lightroom.  For time lapse I use JPG FINE rather than raw - it allows many more exposures on a single memory card.  Interval timer set at one exposure every 30 seconds.

The time lapse was made in Adobe Premier.  The trick to making simple time-lapse is to have all the images sequentially numbered in a single folder.  Then, when you import them into Premier, you select the first one and check the "Image Sequence" box and Premier will import the whole series as a single clip.  The default is one frame per second, but you can change that by right-clicking on the clip and selecting Speed/Duration.

That's it for now.  I'll update this post with step by step instructions and screen shots later.  


[email protected] (Dean Souleles Photography) Adobe Premier Blizzard 2016 How to Photography Instruction Time Lapse Tutorial Video Tue, 26 Jan 2016 18:11:34 GMT
Stars Over the Bay Stars Over the BayStars Over the BayJust two hours from the Great Falls, but far enough away to bring out the stars on a moonless night. A 20 second exposure gives time for the faint starlight to come through.

Stars Over the Bay – A dark night and a new moon, wispy clouds and bright stars.  The town of St. Michaels Maryland is just 80 miles from the national capitol.  Just far enough away from the city for the night sky to fill with stars.  Nestled in the sheltered Miles River which feeds the Chesapeake near Easton, the night sky overlooking the river is beautiful.  One particularly clear June evening I camped out on the lawn outside our townhouse and waited for the night to get dark.  As the stars began to emerge I wondered if the sleeping residents were dreaming about the spectacular overhead display. This 20 second exposure was shot just after midnight.   This is my “Stars over the Bay”.

Come see this image and others from my solo exhibition… “Life on the Eastern Shore” show, August 1-30, 2015 at Katie’s Coffee House at the Old Brogue in Great Falls, VA.

Check out Dean Souleles Photography, subscribe to my Blog, like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter for regular updates and more striking images.


[email protected] (Dean Souleles Photography) Eastern Shore Life on the Eastern Shore Lighthouse Nigh Sky Stars Stars over the Bay Sat, 18 Jul 2015 01:53:16 GMT
Miles Point Tractor

St Michael's Mile Pt Green 20101023-3622_3_4_5_6_7_8_tonemapped(b)St Michael's Mile Pt Green 20101023-3622_3_4_5_6_7_8_tonemapped(b)Miles Point Tractor

Miles Point Tractor – point of view is everything.  To most of us, Maryland’s Eastern Shore means boating, blue crabs, beaches, oyster shucking and shopping.  To many of the residents it means farming.  The robust farm economy outpaces even tourism along shores of the Chesapeake.  I saw this tractor at a rally to save Miles Point in historic St. Michaels from further development.  From a distance it appears to be an antique tractor among antique boats and cars.  But up close, and down low everything changes.  Using a wide angle lens to emphasize the strong vertical lines of the plow, the smoke stack, clouds and lamp post, complemented by a high dynamic range treatment to bring out every last detail of the old machine, puts this tractor in its appropriate position.  This is my “Miles Point Tractor”.

Come see this image and others from my solo exhibition… “Life on the Eastern Shore” show, August 1-30, 2015 at Katie’s Coffee House at the Old Brogue in Great Falls, VA.

Check out Dean Souleles Photography, subscribe to my Blog, like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter for regular updates and more striking images.

[email protected] (Dean Souleles Photography) Eastern Shore High Dynamic Range Life on the Eastern Shore Miles Point Tractor St. Michaels Fri, 10 Jul 2015 12:18:18 GMT

Justine's - Justine’s Ice Cream Parlor has been the go-to place for ice cream in St. Michaels, MD for a generation.  The famous wall of shakes has amazing sounding names like “Peanut Butter Covered Pretzel”, “Mud Slide”, “Brown Cow”, and “Chocolate Skippy”.   Walking back from a sunrise shoot at St. Michaels Harbor and the Maritime Museum I was struck by the way the morning light illuminated the store front and provided just a hint of the interior and the magical treats that will be available later in the day.  This same shot at noon would have neither the magic nor the mystery, proving once again why photographers call the hour before and after sunrise or sunset the “Golden Hour”.  This is "Justine’s”.

Come see this image and others from my solo exhibition… “Life on the Eastern Shore” show, August 1-30, 2015 at Katie’s Coffee House at the Old Brogue in Great Falls, VA.

[email protected] (Dean Souleles Photography) Eastern Shore Justine's St. Michaels Sunrise Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:09:07 GMT
Watermen's Sunrise

Watermen’s Sunrise – The Miles River is a 13 mile long tributary of the eastern Chesapeake Bay.  Originally called the St. Miles River, it derives its name from Saint Michael, the patron saint of Colonial Maryland.   Maryland Rt. 33 connects the Easter Shore towns of Easton and St. Michaels.  Along the way you cross the little bridge where Oak Creek connects to the Miles.  This small community wharf is home to several traditional Chesapeake Watermen’s work boats.  Most watermen on the Chesapeake Bay are independent fishermen who own their own boat and equipment, and they sell the catch to different wholesale seafood houses.  Watermen start their day at sunrise – in the summer they crab, and in the spring, fall, and winter they fish for a variety of fishes and eels.  This high dynamic range image, taken late in November a few years ago combines three exposures to bring out all the detail of the sky, the forest in the background, and the dramatic contrast between the vertical dock pilings and the graceful lines of the work boat.  This is my “Watermen’s Sunrise”.

Come see this image and others from my solo exhibition, “Life on the Eastern Shore” show, August 1-30, 2015 at Katie’s Coffee House at the Old Brogue in Great Falls, VA.

[email protected] (Dean Souleles Photography) Chesapeake Bay High Dynamic Range Life on the Eastern Shore Sunrise Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:24:38 GMT
Sharps Island Light 140830_Souleles_Choptank Day Trip-0035140830_Souleles_Choptank Day Trip-0035

Sharps Island Light is located about 2 miles off the southern tip Tilghman Island on Maryland's Eastern Shore marking the entrance to the Choptank river. The light, which was built in 1882 tilts permanently northward due to heavy ice flows in the 1970s.   The contrast of sky, clouds and sea with the 54 foot high rusted caisson speaks to the inevitable pull of nature to reclaim her own.  Tellingly, this is the third light built on this spot.

Photographed as part of my ongoing project to document the beauty and mystery of the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake bay.

[email protected] (Dean Souleles Photography) Chesapeake Bay Eastern Shore Lighthouse Sun, 31 Aug 2014 17:43:39 GMT
Cheasapeake Bay Bridge - Long Exposure Black and White Chesapeake Bay BridgeChesapeake Bay BridgeLong exposure black and white at sunrise photographed from the jetty at Sandy Point State Park.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is one of the major dual span bridges in the United States.  It is 4.3 miles long and connects Maryland to the beautiful and rural Eastern Shore.  When the bridge opened in 1952 it was the world's longest continuous over-water steel structure, and it is still one of the longest in the world.  So how do you photograph a 4.3 mile long bridge and do it justice?  Most images you see are either details of small portions of the bridge or aerial views.  This view, taken from the end of the jetty at Sandy Point Regional Park shows nearly the entire length of the bridge, reduced to its simplest, most majestic form.  I made this 4 minute exposure shortly after sunrise.  The use of a long exposure results in a softening and smoothing of the water and sky, and it hides anything that only momentarily enters the frame - like vehicles moving across the bridge.  Combined with a high contrast black and white treatment you are left with sky, bridge, stone, and all that water.   The Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Over the next year I'll be photographing various aspects of the Eastern Shore for an exhibition next summer and I've been looking for the shot that will open the show. I think I have found it - the Gateway to the Eastern Shore.   I'll provide more details on the exhibit as the date gets nearer. 

[email protected] (Dean Souleles Photography) Bay Bridge Black and White Chesapeake Eastern Shore Landscape Long Exposure Wed, 20 Aug 2014 03:57:26 GMT
Lighting PigPen Pottery From time to time I get questions about how I made a certain picture and whether I use Photoshop and so on, and I’m always happy to explain.  I was asked this question several times last week at the book signing for my new book:  “Creative Spaces: Inside Great Falls Studios,” so I thought I’d take an image from the book and walk you through the decisions I made as I put the image together.   Before I dive in, I should let you know my bias.  I do use Photoshop for many things, but my strong preference is to capture the image in the camera the way I want it to look.  I’d much rather spend time shooting than sitting at the computer fixing mistakes I made in the field.

Here is the first image in the book, Laura Nichols in her studio Pig Pen Pottery at Hidden Springs Farm in Great Falls Virginia.

006-130712_Souleles_Laura_Nichols-0039006-130712_Souleles_Laura_Nichols-0039Laura Nichols - Potter - At Pigpen Pottery Studio

There were a number of challenges to overcome in creating this image and I’d like to walk you through it just as I did on the day, so here we go:  

Step 1 - Composition. 

When I arrive at Pig Pen Pottery I already know that I want an image that includes Laura working at her wheel and as much of the studio as possible.   So I look through the view finder, walk around the studio and finally settle on a view.   I put the camera on the tripod and adjust it to show as much of the studio as possible while making sure that Laura will still be prominent in the frame and I snap off a quick test shot.  



I’m not worried about the awful lighting right now – I’ll get to that after I complete the composition.  There is no point is spending time lighting things that may not even be in the frame.

I setup directly parallel to the fireplace so that the plane of the images acts as an invisible fourth wall between the scene and the viewer.  This position also mostly eliminates the distortion that is caused by the use of a wide angle lens.  It also has the advantage of exploiting several classical compositional elements which give the final image balance and energy:

Rule of thirds.  The rule of thirds is a compositional guideline that suggests that composing an image with the subject off center, about a third of the way in from an edge, provides more visual tension and interest than composing an image with the subject in the center.  Laura will be seated at her wheel in front of the brick fireplace surround – approximately 1/3 into the image from the left.  In addition the fireplace provides a strong horizontal line 1/3 down from the top of the image. 

Leading lines.  A leading line draws your eye towards a subject.  The line of student pottery wheels, again about 1/3 in from the left, leads your eye directly to the main subject.

Triangles – are strong classical compositional elements.   In the final image, Laura is at the vertex of a triangle formed by bottom of the image, the leading line of tables, and the edge of the cart.  There are other triangular elements that reinforce the compositional structure of the frame.

With the composition complete I begin looking for ways to improve the image.  

Step 2 - Staging.

I’m fortunate that the pottery studio is visually interesting to begin with – all it needs is a little attention to detail to go from interesting to compelling.  The fireplace is the most significant architectural feature of the studio and the blackened wooden mantle is a visual treat.   Since we are shooting in the middle of summer, and the birds are nesting in the chimney, a fire is out of the question.  Without a fire the fireplace forms a kind of black hole in the middle of the picture.  So I put a cart in front of it.   Also, the mantle is cluttered with spray bottles and broken pottery and a white note card taped right above where Laura will be sitting.   A brief chat with Laura and the clutter is replaced by pieces of finished work that add a little color to the scene and remind you that you are looking at an artist’s creative space.

With the staging complete it is now time to think about lighting.

Step 3 – Lighting

The first thing I notice is that with the room properly exposed the exterior seen through the windows is completely blown out.  Frankly, it looks as if someone set off an atom bomb right outside the studio.  This is not unexpected, while the human eye can easily see tones from very bright to very dark at the same time, all cameras have a more limited “dynamic range.” In a scene like this, with bright sunshine outside the window, and a relatively dark interior, the camera simply can’t capture it all. So the first thing to do is get the windows under control.   To do that, I adjust the exposure for outside and snap off another frame.


One problem solved and a couple of new ones created.  The view outside the windows looks nice, but the room has been cast in near total darkness, except for the annoying fluorescent fixtures at the top of the frame.   I take the easy one first and adjust the composition so that the fluorescent lights are out of the frame.

Now it’s time to add some light.  This is where off camera flash is really helpful – almost mandatory.  An on camera flash will result in nasty looking reflections and glare in the windows and in the glass frame of the picture on the mantle.  In addition, on camera flash is almost never a flattering way to light a person.   So, I put one external flash about three feet to the left of the camera and one about three feet to the right.  Both flashes are mounted on stands and shooting through white umbrellas to diffuse the light and make it softer.  They are pointed at about forty five degrees into the scene which guarantees that that the camera will not see any reflection in the windows or glass picture frame.   With the flashes in place, Laura sits down and starts working and I take another test shot.


 It’s starting to look pretty good.  Laura looks terrific and the pot she is working picks up nice highlights from the flashes.   The room looks good too - the light is even and there are no harsh shadows or distracting reflections.   The fireplace still looks like a black hole so I’ll have to do something about that.   The white pot on the pedestal is distracting and the pot with the plastic bag over it makes the studio look cluttered.  With Laura’s help I swap out the white pot for one of the new red clay ones, and uncover the pot on the student’s wheel.   Since I’m not able to light a fire, I do the second best thing.  I put a flash on a small stand, cover it with an orange gel and set it in the back of the fireplace and snap off another frame.



Ok, now we’re cooking with gas!   While Laura takes a break I make a few minor adjustments to the light levels. I reposition the light on the left to eliminate the glare in the blue plexiglass above Laura’s head, and I snap off a quick test frame.


Now I’m happy with the composition, staging and lighting.  Laura sits down and starts to work. I don’t even look through the view finder now, I just snap off frames while Laura works and we chat, waiting for the right moment.  When the moment arrives I know I have it in the can since I’ve already taken care of all the problems.

  006-130712_Souleles_Laura_Nichols-0039006-130712_Souleles_Laura_Nichols-0039Laura Nichols - Potter - At Pigpen Pottery Studio

The total elapsed time between the first image and the last: 52 minutes.   The total time in post-production, using Adobe Lightroom was about 10 minutes - adjusting contrast and minor burning and dodging, followed by sharpening, and I never even opened the image in Photoshop.

There you have it.  I hope this was helpful.   Please leave any questions in the comments.

[email protected] (Dean Souleles Photography) Artist Falls Great Lighting Tutorial Sun, 13 Oct 2013 04:33:52 GMT
Great Falls Studios Projects - Artists and their Studios

[email protected] (Dean Souleles Photography) Artistst Great Falls Multimedia Sudios Sat, 08 Dec 2012 17:57:34 GMT