Gordon Osmondson Workshop

Crosshead detail of Union Pacific steam locomotive no. 844, made in 1973 when the engine was numbered 8444. Photo by Gordon Osmundson.

A Photographer’s Approach to Photoshop

Download PDF files of Gordon Osmundson’s presentations:
Part I (via Slideshare)
Part II (via Slideshare)

A lifelong railroad and industrial photographer, Gordon Osmundson, of Oakland, California, will present his approach to using Photoshop as a tool, including an exhibition of his work that attendees can view on Sunday morning. Osmundson is currently working on a book about the Nevada Northern Railway, and one of his photos was included in Trains magazine’s “100 Greatest Railroad Photos” special publication. After working in a traditional darkroom for over 30 years, Osmundson now does his printing digitally. He continues to shoot film, but does work with digital capture as well. His presentation will emphasize techniques for black & white, but most everything covered will also be applicable to color.

Osmundson works in the tradition of Ansel Adams and other great American landscape photographers (he attended the last of the Ansel Adams workshops), using the zone system and large format cameras. Traditional black & white photographic materials have a certain characteristic look and this is a big part of the drama of traditional black & white photography. Digital materials do not naturally have this look, but it can be replicated and even improved upon.

Workshop Outline

The workshop will be split into two hour-long sessions. Osmundson will begin by introducing his photography and describing the differences between how the eye sees, how film sees and how digital capture sees, and how the zone system and histograms can be applied. Topics in the first hour will include 8 bit vs. 16 bit, jpeg vs. tiff vs. camera raw, and scanning negatives. Tools: spot healing brush and patch tool, grid, rotation and perspective correction, sharpening.

After the break there will be two segments: working with the selection tools and using the tonal manipulation tools. With selection Osmundson will cover the marque tools, the lasso tools, magic wand and quick select, refine edge, and expand, contract, inverse, select all, reselect, etc.

The interpretation section will return to the discussion of how the eye, film and digital capture see, and how to get the look of film and black & white paper with inkjet prints, including the use of levels and brightness/contrast, but most of all curves. Also important are shadows/highlights, the black and white conversions, the gradient tool and paint brush.