My Arcanum JournEy mystical academy of the arts

Early submissions in sphere 0

Here is some early work. These are images I submitted at the beginning for the first few levels. They were the best I could do at the time. Things start out slowly getting to know your way around the private Google+ community and figuring out how everything works in your cohort. You meet some interesting and inspiring people some of whom are also talented photographers.

Post processing using software like Photoshop and Lightroom was totally new to me so I had a steep learning curve to process images like these two.

Composite using off camera flash.
Spli toning.

To compliment the Arcanum experience I flu out to New Zealand and attended a week long workshop with the founder Trey Ratcliff. While I was there I took this little Ag Cat up for a short flight near Mt Cook.

HDR, composites and portraiture.
An example of bold experimentation which is encouraged throughout the levels.
Replicating the old 'Wet Plate' look. In my cohort there was a weekly photo competition judged by the previous weeks winner. There were also weekly challenges set buy our master Glenn Guy. This was a challenge of my own to take a digital portrait and then introduce all the defects associated with the old art of 'wet plate" photography.

Catherderal Cove, NZ Around Level 14 I learned how to incorporate luminosity masks into my workflow and was comfortable with selectively applying presets.

Landscape and travel photography are my particular areas of interest, but you are free to choose what you are interested in and your 'master' will select you accordingly from the pool of apprentices. I had the pleasure and privalige of being under the watchful eye of Glenn Guy.

Milford Sound, NZ This image was taken while on a trip around NZ with two other members of my Arcanum cohort. It was really fun to meet some of the others in person, share processing skills and get up early for shots like this.

The 'Grand Library' which you will have access to has hundreds of photo critiques and tutorials on every topic of photography you can think of and ones that you never knew existed. It's a wonderful resource that you will also contribute to as you work through the levels.

For me there are three parts to every photograph. The pre-visualization of it, capturing it in camera and post processing. With regards to processing images, the two biggest things I learned about in Sphere 1 were a) Organizing my images in Lightroom and learning how to process images with it. b) Learning about luminosity masking and how to use it in Photoshop.

My take on the infamous 'Wanaka Tree' in NZ. Sometimes half the battle is just showing up. I got out of bed at 5am ant went down to this lake in the dark only to find 30+ other photographers already there. Much to my consternation there was no space for me on the shore line so I took matters into my own hands. Dropping my drawers I waded out into the lake with my tripod for the exact composition I came all the way to get.

'Sakura' in full bloom in a park in downtown Tokyo.

Back in my office for my day job, well sometimes nights too.

You get out of the Arcanum what you put into it. I worked hard at it and had a lot of fun along the way making many new friends.

I started out taking HDR images that looked like this. All the classic mistakes on full display. Mistakes are great tools we can learn from and try not to repeat.

This was the first image. Behind you can see the same image re-processed as an assignment around Level 16 incorporating new learned skills.

(L) Mid day sun HDR (C) Snow sculpture at night. (R) Off camera fill flash.

As you move through the levels you are repeatedly asked to go out and take 10 new images (new being photographs taken after completing the previous level), using the new skills and techniques you have learned. You have to take a lot of pictures. Practice is the name of the game.

I submitted this as one of the images for my Level 19 critique. It was the movie set for the filming of 'The Hobbit' in Matamata, NZ.

During your critiques your images are graded 1-3 by your master. You have to get the minimum score to 'level up'. The grading standard is what changes to make this system work for all the different skill levels within each cohort.

I was part of a landscape and travel photography cohort which suited my vocation as a commercial pilot very well.

One of the goals through the first 20 levels is to come away with a portfolio of images that showcase your best work to date. You do not get to choose the portfolio images which really helped me see my own work from a new perspective and the style that I never realized I had developed.

Colored hierarchy on display while heading out for lunch.

I am now in Sphere 2 working with a new cohort under master AD Wheeler. The focus of Sphere to is very different than Sphere 1 focusing on web building, blogging and getting your work out on the Internet through social media. You still get to take lots of pictures and have 'Google Hangouts' with your fellow cohortians.

Working with no tripod in low light. This was taken at ISO 5000

Frequency Separation is an essential PS technique to make your life a lot easier when working on skin tones in portraits.

One of the reasons I like travel photography so much is that the camera acts as a passport into new cultures and strangers lives.

While parked at the side of the road and photographing the approach to Mt Cook. Heidi Hetzler pulls up next to me in her 1930's car. She is spending two years driving it solo around the word. She asked me to take her picture.

I hope this gives you a taste of what the Arcanum is like and the magic behind it.

Created By
Jussi Lyons
Jussi Lyons

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