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Old 06-14-2010, 04:06 PM   #1
mom2rtk
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3000 miles, 3 kids, and too many photos to count! FINAL UPDATE 7/11

We just got back yesterday from our annual summer vacation. We loaded the kids up in the mini-van and headed west for the 4th time since 2005. The past 2 summers we drove to Sanibel Island, FL, so I was ready to see some red rocks again! Fortunately, whether we head east or west, a brief stop at Disney is usually waiting at the end of the road for me.

This year I was especially excited about heading west. Yes, I've photographed most of it before. But I've been hanging out here on the photography board the last year or so, and really wanted to try out some of what I've learned.

Here's my crew EARLY on June 3rd, just before hitting the road. We're not a morning group, so I was lucky to get this quick shot before leaving:



My daughter Katie is 9, son Timmy is 15, son Robbie is 17 and my husband Drew.

We drove from Kansas City, MO that first day to Golden, Colorado. Anyone who has made that journey across western Kansas knows it's a tough first day. But with enough video games and dvd's, anyone can do it. We ended our first day with this shot of the mountains from just off of I-70 at the Buffalo Overlook. I wish I could have done more to capture the beauty of the scene. With the clouds and the snow capped peaks, it was an awesome sight. Maybe there's something I can do in post processing to give it more oomph????? That's a whole other nut to crack though. I feel like I've stepped up my game this year with the camera, but have much to do with PP yet.


Last edited by mom2rtk; 07-11-2010 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 06-14-2010, 04:50 PM   #2
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Sounds like you had quite an eventful and fun family trip! Can't wait to see your photos!

That's a really beautiful picture of the mountains. I tried my hand at Photoshop for your picture, and this is what I came up with...


Here's what I did:
  • brightened the lower half of the photo
  • darkened the upper half of the photo (the skies) to bring out the clouds and rays of sunshine
  • increased the saturation of the photo to bring out the greens
  • removed the distracting red "WRONG WAY" signs
  • increased the contrast of the snow-capped mountains

I'm sure there's probably more that can be done to the photo, but at least here's a start. I could have used Lightroom, but I decided to use Photoshop instead.
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Old 06-14-2010, 04:55 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by disneyboy2003 View Post
Sounds like you had quite an eventful and fun family trip! Can't wait to see your photos!

That's a really beautiful picture of the mountains. I tried my hand at Photoshop for your picture, and this is what I came up with...


Here's what I did:
  • brightened the lower half of the photo
  • darkened the upper half of the photo (the skies) to bring out the clouds and rays of sunshine
  • increased the saturation of the photo to bring out the greens
  • removed the distracting red "WRONG WAY" signs
  • increased the contrast of the snow-capped mountains

I'm sure there's probably more that can be done to the photo, but at least here's a start. I could have used Lightroom, but I decided to use Photoshop instead.
Thanks Disneyboy! That really punched it up! And I appreciate the play by play on what you did. I'm hoping I can share photos on this thread, but I also want to learn as I go.

I've decided to jump in and get a new photo editing program very soon then learn as I go by trial and error. I hear lots of great things about Lightroom, and see I can get a good deal on the new version with the student discount. I've been using an older Photoshop elements program though. Would it be more intuitive for me to stick with a PSE program?
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:57 PM   #4
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Welcome back! Great first day photo! Now get going with that 2nd day. This is a photo board and we want to see lots!
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:16 PM   #5
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Welcome back! Great first day photo! Now get going with that 2nd day. This is a photo board and we want to see lots!

Thanks Steve's Girl! Thanks for joining in! I was just sitting down to add some more.

The next morning we left Golden heading west again. I windexed the windshield to have the best view possible of the scenery that day. It was exciting to think that from there on, the drive would be vastly more interesting than the day before. I grabbed one more distant shot on of the Rockies as we headed toward them.



Along the way, I took my traditional shot of the spaceship house on the hill. This is the first time I've gotten a sharp picture without blur.



Don't ask me why, but I love going through the Eisenhower Tunnel. I think it's just so cool to go THROUGH the mountains. I love watching the shows on the Travel channel about the vast accomplishment this was. So of course, I had to take my obligatory shot.



At this point, I was still fumbling a lot with my lenses, filters and such. I hadn't had time to really work with my camera in quite a while. It's a massive undertaking to finish up the school year, close out all the work I have to do, pack and get on the road. So it was awesome to just get in the car and GO. When I wasn't driving, I was reading the photography books I brought along and playing with the camera.

We had been this way 3 times before, but it had been 3 years since our last trip, so I really enjoyed soaking in the scenery. Let's face it.... Missouri is pretty boring when it comes to the landscape.....
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:39 PM   #6
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I love your photos of the mountains. They're breathtaking.
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:43 PM   #7
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I love your photos of the mountains. They're breathtaking.
Thanks! Honestly though, they are just breathtaking all on their own. No real photography skill involved.

I keep saying that I want to take the scenic drive up into the mountains I keep hearing about, but we're always on our way somewhere else and don't have time.

For someone from the midwest, there's nothing like pulling into Denver and catching the first glimpse of the mountains. Makes me want to break out singing "The Sound of Music". Unfortunately my teenage boys wouldn't have appreciated it.....
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:17 PM   #8
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No I'm pretty sure that your teenagers wouldn't appreciate your singing ability. I know mine don't. Although there are times that I do feel it is my motherly duty to drive them as crazy as do me.
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:31 PM   #9
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On our first trip to Arches National Park, we inadvertently took the back way into the park. It is marked on the map as a scenic route, and we didn't really understand just HOW scenic that would be..... but it turned out to be an amazing drive, well worth all the extra time it added to the journey. With that in mind, we set out on purpose to take that same trip again.

Our first hint that we were getting close was a view of the La Sal Mountains on the horizon. Thankfully this year there was no road construction along the way. In 2005, we got oh so close..... only to be stopped on approach for 45 minutes while they worked on the narrow 2 lane road. I guess with the economy in the gutter this time, there was no money for road repairs and on we went!

That entire scenic route is one jaw dropping view after another. The road is narrow and winding at times, but if you just go slowly and stop often (for photos!) it's not too overwhelming. It follows the Colorado river.







With all the rocks near the road, it's a wonder more cars don't get nailed from time to time! The boys were dying to get out of the car and move around after a day and a half cooped up inside......



We did let them climb around a bit, but had to drag them back into the car so we could be on our way.


Last edited by mom2rtk; 06-14-2010 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:39 PM   #10
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No I'm pretty sure that your teenagers wouldn't appreciate your singing ability. I know mine don't. Although there are times that I do feel it is my motherly duty to drive them as crazy as do me.
My favorite thing to do is to drive through the national parks listening to the songs from "Pocahontas" like "Colors in the Wind". The boys have had about all of it that they can stand over the years though. So I was kind and didn't indulge this time....... I have a 5 CD set of Disney tunes, so I've got all the bases covered. It gets me through driving early on Sunday mornings, or any time we're out of range to listen to the radio (which is often down in that part of the world!)

Last edited by mom2rtk; 06-15-2010 at 02:48 AM.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:43 AM   #11
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I've decided to jump in and get a new photo editing program very soon then learn as I go by trial and error. I hear lots of great things about Lightroom, and see I can get a good deal on the new version with the student discount. I've been using an older Photoshop elements program though. Would it be more intuitive for me to stick with a PSE program?
Why not do both? Since you've already got Photoshop Elements (I forget which version you've got, but the current version is 8.0), why not get the brand new Lightroom with the student discount?

Lightroom can also help you organize your many many many photos. You can also do a lot of post-processing using Lightroom. Much of my post-processing (about 90-95%) is done in Lightroom. It is only about 5% or so that requires further work in Photoshop.

Everything I did in your photo above could have also been done using Lightroom, except maybe cloning out the red signs.

I've got the new Lightroom 3, and I must say, I'm VERY AMAZED at the new noise reduction feature. I used to be scared to push my camera above ISO 800, and now I'm actually very impressed with photos using ISO 2000-3200, partly thanks to Lightroom 3!!!

In your case, Lightroom should work well (ie. hand-in-hand) with your Photoshop Elements. You have the ability to export any photos from Lightroom into Photoshop Elements for further post-processing.

btw, those red rocks are beautiful. I'm sure you're glad you took the scenic route again.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:10 AM   #12
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Why not do both? Since you've already got Photoshop Elements (I forget which version you've got, but the current version is 8.0), why not get the brand new Lightroom with the student discount?

Lightroom can also help you organize your many many many photos. You can also do a lot of post-processing using Lightroom. Much of my post-processing (about 90-95%) is done in Lightroom. It is only about 5% or so that requires further work in Photoshop.

Everything I did in your photo above could have also been done using Lightroom, except maybe cloning out the red signs.

I've got the new Lightroom 3, and I must say, I'm VERY AMAZED at the new noise reduction feature. I used to be scared to push my camera above ISO 800, and now I'm actually very impressed with photos using ISO 2000-3200, partly thanks to Lightroom 3!!!

In your case, Lightroom should work well (ie. hand-in-hand) with your Photoshop Elements. You have the ability to export any photos from Lightroom into Photoshop Elements for further post-processing.

btw, those red rocks are beautiful. I'm sure you're glad you took the scenic route again.
Thanks Disneyboy!

Yes, we are glad we took the scenic route again. It's an amazing piece of real estate and well worth the time investment. We even took the same route on our way back East a week later.

I'm embarrassed to admit my PSE is version 2.0, so woefully out of date. It came with my first Rebel in 2004. All I know how to do is crop, lighten and adjust contrast a bit. I can do a little clone stamping too, but that's it. So maybe LR3 would be a good starting point, with the plan to update PSE later too.
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Old 06-15-2010, 04:09 AM   #13
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I'm embarrassed to admit my PSE is version 2.0, so woefully out of date. It came with my first Rebel in 2004. All I know how to do is crop, lighten and adjust contrast a bit. I can do a little clone stamping too, but that's it. So maybe LR3 would be a good starting point, with the plan to update PSE later too.
Version 2 from 2004?!?!?!?

I'm not sure what your budget is, but buying both Lightroom and Photoshop Elements shouldn't be too expensive. The academic pricing for Lightroom 3 is $89.95 (compared to $299.95 full price), and Photoshop Elements 8 is $69.99.

When I used Lightroom and Photoshop for the first time, I also bought a few books, too. So you may want to factor in the extra costs of Lightroom / Photoshop books, too.

If you had to choose one, though, I think Lightroom 3 would be a great starting point. And then watch your photos "POP!"
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:02 AM   #14
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Enjoying your photos, mom2. I've never seen this area of the country. It's beautiful. Thank you for sharing your trip with us. (Are you a teacher?)
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:08 AM   #15
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Version 2 from 2004?!?!?!?

I'm not sure what your budget is, but buying both Lightroom and Photoshop Elements shouldn't be too expensive. The academic pricing for Lightroom 3 is $89.95 (compared to $299.95 full price), and Photoshop Elements 8 is $69.99.

When I used Lightroom and Photoshop for the first time, I also bought a few books, too. So you may want to factor in the extra costs of Lightroom / Photoshop books, too.

If you had to choose one, though, I think Lightroom 3 would be a great starting point. And then watch your photos "POP!"
It's the story of my life......... woefully out of date and behind the times.....

I've actually considered upgrading on many occasions, but mostly I haven't because I just didn't have time for the learning curve that comes with something new. That's probably still the case, but now that I have such a friendly forum here to ask all my questions, I think I'll give it a go.

And yes, I already planned to buy a book or 2 as well. Any suggestions? I do like the idea of getting LR3 and PS8. I wonder how long it will take to find books on the new LR3...... or is it similar enough to the previous editions of the program to use something already out there?

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Enjoying your photos, mom2. I've never seen this area of the country. It's beautiful. Thank you for sharing your trip with us. (Are you a teacher?)
Thanks Pea-n-me. It's an area of the country that is absolutely other-worldly. I can't believe you can just get in the car and drive into this amazing and unbelievable area. It's hard to really understand how BIG everything is until you get there. I love the pictures I bring home, but they really don't even begin to do it justice.

And no, I'm not a teacher. I actually work from home sewing custom made costumes and dresses.
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