Photoshop Elements 8

A number of people have asked me over the years, what editing software do I use.  I have Photoshop CS4 which I am learning to use.  But I stll have my dear old Photoshop Elements.  I have used Elements since they came out with their first version several years ago.  I now have version 8.

As they have upgraded, they have gradually added tools, bells and whistles,  that were originally in the full Photoshop software.  Version 8 has continued improving in that sense.  It is very user friendly, and very, very less expensive.  Example:  Full Photoshop CS4 or CS5 – around 600.00.  Photoshop Elements 8 – less than 100.00.  If you are inclined to shoot RAW file, Elements can handle the conversion with no problem.

I myself, shoot RAW and JPEG simotaneously.  My Canon EOS 7D allows me to do that.  Then I can choose to use whichever image I want.  But either way, I find that the final results are excellent.

Following are two examples.  Both were processed in Photoshop Elements 8.  An Eastern Bluebird and a Sunflower, which you saw the photo yesterday.  The bluebird original was a JPEG, whereas the Sunflower was shot in RAW.  These were shot with my 18MP Canon EOS 7D.  Having that extra large file to work with enables me to crop extra close.  Both of these photos produced very nice 11x14s.

Eastern Bluebird - original from the camera



Sunflower - original from camera




Of course, there is more to producing a good photograph than just cropping.   In these photos, I have adjusted the light, color saturation, contrast, and done a little more sharpening.  So that’s how Photoshop Elements has helped me out. 

If you have any questions or comments on this subject comment here or contact me direct at   Click on any of the images for an enlargement.

Sandpipers and Sunflowers

This morning I noticed that the Roseate Spoonbills were too far out in the lake to try to get any photos.  I could barely make them out even with my binoculars.  I and Ann just strolled along the shore for awhile.  We saw several shorebirds including some Least Sandpipers.  They are very small birds and hard to photograph, when they move so much when feeding.  Here is the result of one image.

Least Sandpiper


On the way back towards the car, we came across a stand of Sunflowers.  I started to just bypass them, but on a whim I tried for some photographs.  I guess I was still thinking of the discussion on “photographyfree4all”‘s blog, about macro and flower photography.  I took this shot with my Canon EOS 7D, 100-400mm f4 zoom lens,  ISO 3200, 1/250 @ f14,  minus 1/3 EV .  I was about 8 feet away, and my lens was set at 260mm.  The sky was overcast.  By the way, I don’t claim this to be a macro shot. 🙂


I hope you enjoy the photos.  See more by clicking my Photo Album pages at the top of this page.  Click on any image for an enlargement.

Persistency equals great photos!

You probably remember that for the past ten days, I have been stalking a couple of Roseate Spoonbills that arrived here recently from the gulf coast.  They have been hanging around O. C. Fisher lake, but usually so far out that it was difficult to come up with great images.

But this morning, we found a spot where I could get the best photo yet.  No more crawling, mucking thru mud, mesquite brush and shoulder high weeds, trying to avoid critters like rattle snakes and bobcats.  This place required just a 500 yard hike along the shoreline.  Ann carried my tripod and I lugged the big 500mm with a 1.4 tele-converter.

The Roseate Spoonbills were about 100 yards off shore on a little spit of dirt and gravel about 30 feet wide.  Keeping company with them was a magnificent Great Blue Heron.  With my lens a working 700mm I was practically able to fill the frame.  For all three photos I had the ISO at 400, F16, at 1,250th of a second, minus 1/3 EV.

I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking the shots.  Click on either image for an enlargement.

Roseate Spoonbills and Great Blue Heron


Roseate Spoonbills and Great Blue Heron

Roseate Spoonbill and Great Blue Heron

Commemorative Air Force Show + Photos

It’s that time of year.  A few days ago I posted some of my birds of another type, the United States Air Force Thunderbirds.  This is about some other warbirds, that to some, time has forgotten.  Soon, on October 9-10 the Commemorative Air Force will have their annual big air show at their headquarters at Midland International Airport, Midland, Texas.  They were once known as the Confederate Air Force, but of course some people can’t let anything alone, and they had to change their name for “political” reasons.  But for non-interupted excitement you shouldn’t miss it. 

I have attended several times and there is non-stop flying, featuring predominantly old World War II fighters and bombers.  One of the stars of the show is Fifi, the only flyable B-29 Superfortress left in the country.  It is a nostalgic journey for me to see these old warbirds.  I am of the age to remember them very well.  Check out to get more information.

P-51 Mustang


B-29 Flying Fortress "Fifi"


B-17G Flying Fortress "Sentimental Journey"


TBF Avenger


Also, last but certainly not forgetten to me, are the two more photos that I’d like to share with you.  I was stationed at now defunct Ardmore AFB, Ardmore, Oklahoma for three years back in the 50s.  It was home to the 463rd Troop Carrier Wing, part of the old Tactical Air Command.  Chief of Command was General Curtis LeMay.  He used to visit us and when he did he arrived in the C124 Globemaster pictured below.

C-124 Globemaster


In December of 1957, we at Ardmore AFB, received the very first operational C130 Hercules.  It was flown in by a civilian techie from Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, the builders.  It became part of the 463rd Troop Carrier of the 838th Air Base Group.  We received an outstanding unit citation with this aircraft and her sisters.  I was very proud to be part of that citation.  This is the actual aircraft as it arrived from the factory.  It, with the same tail number,  is now sitting on a pedestal in the Air Park at Dyess AFB, Abilene, Texas.  By the way, these two black and white photos carry my copyright, as do the others.  I was the photographer that took the pictures and they are part of my personal collection.

C-130 Hercules

Roseate Spoonbills still here!

Persistence can sometimes pay off.  After doing my regular chores at San Angelo State Park this morning, I got to thinking, “What if those Roseate Spoonbills are still around?”  Ann and I decided to go back and check and see.  Sure enough, we were rewarded.  We spotted them on a little spit of sand much closer than before.

I still had to use the 2x converter on my lens, and so back to manual focusing.  Not my favorite thing to do at those distances.  But however, I did come up with a much better image that before.  Take a look.

Roseate Spoonbills

Hot morning at San Angelo State Park

Map of Tom Green County Texas highlighting San...

Image via Wikipedia

Ann and I made our usual trip to San Angelo State Park. As hot as it was getting be, her and I still had a good time after feeding the birds at the blind.  While at said blind I did manage to get this nice shot of a Black-chinned Hummingbird  It was feeding at the blossoms on a Red Flowering Yucca.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

 We then made a drive around with the windows open and the air-conditioning turned on.  Checked to see if the Roseate Spoonbills had stayed, but apparently they are not used to this west Texas heat.  We did get a good list of birds, though.

25  Red-winged Blackbird

50  White-winged Dove

2   Northern Cardinal

25   House Sparrow

10   House Finch

1  Black-chinned Hummingbird

12  Northern Mockingbird

2   Black-crested Titmouse

40  Common Grackle

2   Pyrrholoxia

1   Painted Bunting

3   Morning Dove

2   Brown-headed Cowbird

3   Western Kingbird

3   Killdeer

1   Long-billed Dowitcher

8   Black-necked Stilts

5   Snowy Egrets

2   Great Blue Heron

8   Double-crested Cormorants

3   Turkey Vulture

3   Canyon Towhee

1   Greater Roadrunner

1   Golden-fronted Woodpecker

3   Common Nighthawk  (all withing 10 yards of each other)

4   Barn Swallow

10  Lark Sparrow

3   Western Sandpiper

Several un-identified ducks.

Not bad count considering the heat.  Today is supposed to be the 23rd consecutive day of 100+ degrees.  So we’re setting a new record as the days go by.  The old record was 18 straight days.

So folks, I am going to cool off this afternoon in front of the TV and watch the Texas Rangers take on the Baltimore Orioles.  Life doesn’t get any better than this. 🙂

Happy Birding everybody!!