Give Me Lut-erty or Give Me Death!

I hate presets. I have hundreds of presets. Don’t get me wrong, they’re handy, but I really only use them to get an idea of where I want to go with an image. If I apply one, I still have to spend a ton of time working through the settings to get the image right.

I’ve found that I really enjoy using LUTs/profiles much more. It’s probably more of a mental thing, but being able to apply a profile and yank one slider to adjust the effect is awesome. Once that’s done, all of the individual sliders are a blank slate. Oh the joy! I guess I’m saying that I can apply a color grade as a starting point, adjust its overall impact, then get to work on the image. For me, this is where it’s at.

What’s been driving me crazy for a while is not knowing how to create one. I figured out how to create a LUT .cube file, then find that Lightroom CC uses .xmp files…

Back to digging…

Then I found an article that pointed me toward this strange beast called the ACR and Lightroom Profile SDK. Oh the humanity! It even had a tutorial! I’m working through learning how to do this mysterious thing and decided to practice by taking some photos from my favorite Pexels Heros and creating profiles based on some of their photos. I’m not trying to copy or steal their edits, it just seems like a cool theme to use as I figure out the process. Hopefully they don’t get mad at me 🙂

Here, let me show you.

Photo by my friend Ylanite on Pexels.

One of my favorite photographers is Ylanite Koppens. She’s a great photographer, but better yet, she’s a great human. Do yourself a favor and check out her profile on Pexels:

I love this photo. I think it’s the crushed, purple/blue shadows and the slight wash effect. Wouldn’t be cool to have a profile that did that? The answer is yes. So to start with, I needed to find a brown leaf on a grass background. I found this great shot by Steinar Engeland on Unsplash.

Steinar Engeland – Unsplash

This isn’t a tutorial on the process, but if you want to learn, send me a message and I’ll get you a link to the SDK. I popped Steinar’s photo in Adobe Camera Raw and got to work on the photo using Ylanite’s color grading.

This part isn’t so easy, but after working on it for a while (and a bit of headache) I was fairly happy with the result. I exported the profile to an xmp file and imported it to Lightroom CC.

Now I can just click on Profiles, navigate to Ylanite and apply it! The amount can be adjusted with a single slider and serves as a starting point for further editing!

I don’t think I nailed the color grading, but I certainly learned a lot. Here are some before/after shots with Ylanite’s photo as a reference.

Base Image
Final Profile Applied
Ylanite’s Reference Image

As you can see, I haven’t masted the art of profile making yet, but I’ll get there! I should have some pretty cool profiles to use when I’m done. I apologize in advance to my Pexels Hero friends if I don’t do justice to their edits… 🙂

Konica Autoreflex TC

Last week I came across an Craigslist ad. It was for four Konica film cameras and six lenses for $100.

I ran out and met a gentleman to look at the cameras. They were in pretty rough shape, but the price was right. Of the four cameras, only one was in working order. I went for a drive to test this one after three failures. I got home and developed the film and was quite happy! Below are my test photos.

I find it exhilarating to shoot a 40 year old camera and actually get photos out of it. I’m happy to say that I have another great camera added to my bag!


My friend Andrew’s pigs had babies and he invited me out to get some photos. Prepare yourself for cuteness overload!

George Floyd Protest Boise May 31, 2020

Around the country, things are burning. I’ve seen things burn before. I was in southern California in April of 1992 and I’ve decided that riots don’t help anyone. They seem to always hurt the wrong people. I’ve also experienced what it’s like to have a run in with bad cops. Just like people in general, there are good ones and rotten ones. Before I start getting preachy, I’ll say that I attended the Boise protest and took some photos. There were some great people there. Both the protesters and the police were respectful and during the time I was there, nobody was burning anything. That’s how Boise rolls.


So… On the way back from photographing pigs, we ran into some turkeys. It was just about sunset when we spotted them. I jumped out of the Jeep, figuring that I’d get some photos of them as they ran away.

They didn’t run away. They ran to me.

That made for some good photos. They were on the other side of a barbed wire fence about two feet away. They paced back and forth like they were posing. I got some shots and decided to hit the road.

That’s when they decided to get grumpy.

They plowed through the fence and started smacking me with their wings. What is the proper response to attacking turkeys? Get some video! Nikon Z6 in one had, my phone in the other, while getting beat up by turkey wings. What a day!

Hanging With The Pigs…

Last weekend I had the opportunity to head to a friend’s homestead to shoot some pigs. Yes, pigs.

-Brett Sayles

Some might not consider this an exciting shoot, but those people must never have spent quality time with pigs. They’re friendly and not a single one of them shared any political views. It was glorious!

The rules were simple. Don’t get between the big guy and his gals. I was then immediately set upon by one of the girls. All was well, she just wanted to sniff my camera and get a back rub.

Special thanks to Andrew at Indian Creek Homestead for letting me hang out and get some photos!

The Ersity of Was – The beauty of my Idaho

My friend Hinsel kept posting photos of this beautiful place. I hounded him for a while and he decided to entrust me with its location. Whether that trust was deserved or not, I thank him from the bottom of my heart. Nestled out in the sage brush of Idaho’s high desert, is a location he named, “The Ersity of Was.”

It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. My wife and I headed out on a Monday morning to experience it. We got to drive the Jeep through a creek, met some cows and met a cowboy that was one of the most pleasant people I’ve ever met. Sitting on a rock watching the water flow by, all I could think about was how in the midst of all the troubles of this fallen world, the majesty of God’s creation still shines through.

The world is a mirror of infinite beauty, yet no man sees it. It is a Temple of Majesty, yet no man regards it. It is a region of Light and Peace, did not man disquiet it. It is the Paradise of God.

Thomas Traherne – Centuries of Meditations


I picked up Aurora HDR. I headed out, braving the pandemic to get some bracketed exposures. Here they are!

Valentine’s Day 2020

I woke up this morning feeling sick. My wife had been down with a fever for four days. I realized that it was really cold outside and the day before, our water delivery had come. Eleven big old bottles of water sitting on the porch. I went out to start hauling them in, and looked up. I see beautiful clouds all the time, here in Idaho, but this morning was awesome. Being a the stalwart photographer that I am, I grabbed my camera and headed out the door in my flannel pajamas. Here’s what I saw…