All photos, images and video excluding advertising and google generated content, or unless otherwise labeled, are Copyright Jephyr (Jeff Curtis). All Rights Reserved.

These images are not in the public domain. Contact me for licensing terms and pricing.

Unauthorized or unlicensed use for all commercial and personal applications is prohibited.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Mogollon Rim Time-Lapse - With Photoshop Adjustments


As the dreaded desert summer furnace is being stoked here in the Phoenix area...I'm preparing for the first time to take a class at MCC during these scorching HOT months.

This is necessary because I ain't getting any younger...and I want to complete my degrees in Fine Art and Digital Illustration before they plant me in the ground.

: /

; )


As mentioned in previous posts I just finished the spring semester taking Intermediate Photoshop at CGC.

For my Final Project, I decided to take a time-lapse sequence I captured up at the Mogollon Rim last summer and see if I could improve it.

(Camera:  Canon EOS 5D Mark II with the Canon 24-105mm L Lens and Satechi WTR-A Wireless Timer Shutter)

- See The Final Video At The End Of This Post -

AC, a friend who assisted me with Photography and I got set up on an overlook later one stormy afternoon and captured the rolling sky.  It was kinda a "meh" day...but later when I looked at the footage I saw a remarkable thing:

Campfire wisps of smoke that I didn't even notice when there...suddenly took on an eerie, dramatic appearance in the time-lapse playback.

Unfortunately, as we lost our light in the late afternoon...the sequence got darker and darker and so I wanted to see if I could bring the foreground out a bit more towards the end.

I'd watched a video tutorial on using gradient masks in Photoshop to add adjustments to different parts of images...and decided to see if I could use that technique to improve this sequence. 


  (Click The Image To See It Larger)

 Balancing the foreground and sky on images from the beginning and end of the Mogollon Time-Lapse Sequence - © 2016 Jephyr
 Balancing the foreground and sky on images from the beginning and end of the Mogollon Time-Lapse Sequence

If you want to skip my description of the process for making corrections to the time-lapse sequence...feel free to skip right ahead to the video below.

I took an image from the first part of the sequence...and one near the end...into Photoshop and added a gradient mask (see composite image above) so I could then add separate adjustment layers to both the background and foreground of the image and help balance the light.  *

I used Photoshop's "Action" to record these steps and then the "Automate" function and added the these adjustments to the every image in the entire sequence (nearly 1,000 in all)...once for the image from the beginning...and once for the image from the end.

A look at the Sony Vegas Pro 10 interface during editing.
A look at the Sony Vegas Pro 10 interface during editing.

Then, using Sony Vegas Pro 10, I imported the two sequences and used a cross-fade between the two.  It took a few tries but eventually I got much closer to what I hoped could be accomplished.

You'll see my final result in the video below well as a side by side comparison of it and the original, un-adjusted time-lapse sequence as it was captured.

Thanks as always for stopping by!


*  For those wondering: software does allow masking and effects that might have accomplished the same thing...but this was for a Photoshop class...and is just another way to do it.

: )

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Few More Photos From The Archives


As I mentioned in my last blog entry I've been sharing some of my Photography from the last couple of years that I hadn't posted here yet.

Here are a few more from 2015. 

Camera:  Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Lens (unless otherwise noted):  Canon 24-105 f4 L

Photograph - Copyright 2015 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved

As I've written before, I rented various telephoto lenses to test them out...hoping I can get one some day.

The beautiful creature above was taken one afternoon at the Phoenix zoo using the newest Canon 100-400 L lens.

I showed this image to a friend and told her how the swans had rapidly all bobbed their heads up and down making it difficult to get this shot.  She said she knew all about that....and grabbed her phone and showed me a video clip she had taken of the swans there all bobbing up and down.

: )

Photograph - Copyright 2015 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved

I may have mentioned before, I got to know a photographer who took amazing photographs of skies and clouds.  

Years ago, I'd loved taking those kinds of photos with an old film camera she reminded me of that time...and I started capturing sunsets and clouds again as well.

One afternoon I noticed the sky above my home and took the image above right from a street near by

Photograph - Copyright 2015 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved

I'm beginning to realize that I've got a thing for birds too.  I draw and paint them...and love capturing them with my camera.

Grackles are cool little birds...and remind me of crows...but the ones we have in my area are usually brown...and are sleeker looking too.

Even though you see them all over Phoenix, and you might think they are more used to us humanoids, they can be a little shy.

The good-looking guy above landed near me while I was taking photos one day, and I only got off a few shots before he quickly flew away.

This was also taken with the new Canon 100-300 L Lens.

Photograph - Copyright 2015 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved

The last image I'll share today was taken during the last gasp of a glorious sunset one evening in 2015.

I'd been shooting much of the afternoon at a nearby wildlife preserve...and captured these silhouetted palms and trees with their beautiful glowing backdrop at the end of my journey.


Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, May 16, 2016

Various Photos By Jephyr


I've been going through some photos I took over the last couple of years and came across a few I wanted to post here.

Photography - Copyright 2014 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved

This beautiful creature seemed so curious about me as I stood taking pictures of wildlife at a pond near my home.  

He slowly swam closer and closer to me until he was in the reeds right at my feet.

I love his expression and the way he was keeping an eye on me out of the corner of his eye.

Photography - Copyright 2014 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved

I was taking some shots of the gorgeous sky over-head one day and caught this doubt loaded with passengers...soaring in the distant sky.

Photography - Copyright 2015 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved

I rented the new Canon 100-300 L Lens one weekend for my Canon EOS 5D Mark II and captured this good looking guy sunning himself at the Phoenix zoo.

Photography - Copyright 2015 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved

I'd gone to a nearby wildlife preserve to take photos...and was headed back to my car and stopped to take this. 

When I look at this shot it immediately reminds me of how peaceful and quiet
 it was when I shot it. 

It was a truly beautiful evening!!


Thanks you for stopping by!!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Jephyr's Work Shown At The CGCC Student Art Show


I normally attend Mesa Community College, but as I inch closer to my degree I'm in a bigger hurry to take the classes I need.

After a "Grad Check", I had a short list of classes I'd need to finish my Fine Art and Digital Illustration degrees.

Before the Spring semester I was down to just two Computer Art classes but I couldn't work out taking them at MCC, so I expanded my search of other Maricopa Community Colleges that it's part of.

I did find one, a Photoshop class I needed at Chandler/Gilbert Community College.  I'd never even been there so I drove there one day and discovered it wasn't much further from me than MCC.  So I registered and the next thing I knew I was taking a class for the first time at another college in the system.

It turned out to be a really good experience.  I felt rejuvenated taking a class where I felt unknown, and like I could have a "clean slate" as far as past expectations.  Not that I've ever really had a problem at MCC...but though I can't explain it...that's how I was feeling.

Over-all I had a very good experience, learned a lot, and added to my portfolio. 

Anyway, I hope to be able to share more about the semester in other posts but I'll get on with today's.


I was very honored to have two of my class projects from this semester chosen by my instructor to be included in the 2016 Chandler/Gilbert Student Art Show which I'll share below.

"Desert Dreams" - Photograph/Tryiptych - Copyright 2016, Jephyr

Above:  Our instructor asked us to create a Triptych using our Photography.  Since I'd spent a good portion of 2015 shooting photos all over Arizona I put this series of images together.

The awesome guy in the center is "Teton Ken" who I met at an exhibition at the Superstition Mountain Museum north of Apache Junction, Arizona, in 2015.  He plays a prospector and totally looks the part...and was a lot of fun to talk to!  

The landscape to the left is a distant view of the nearby Weaver's Needle, and to the right is a view of the Superstition Mountains...which come complete with a history of gold mining and the legend of the Lost Dutchman's Mine. 

ART 270 - Photographic Process Imitation - Woodbury Type Cabinet Card - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr
ART 270 - Photographic Process Imitation - Woodbury Type Cabinet Card - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr

Above:  This second image is from our Historical Photography Process Project where we were asked to research old photography methods, choose one, and create an imitation of it.

I found myself really drawn to a process called a Woodbury Type, which was widely used between 1864 and 1910.  It created rich, warm single toned images, mostly in shades of brown, and was often used in printing "Cabinet Cards" which people of the time gave to each calling cards or for advertisements and so on.

I imitated Cabinet Cards like those I'd seen from that era...and added a saying like ones often found on the originals...although I couldn't resist adding a touch of humor.

: )


Well, that's it for now, thanks as always for stopping by!

See you next time!