Waiting for Christmas

Part of that wonderful photo session I did last Saturday. We managed to capture those sweet moments and this is one of them. Freckles and blue eyes, what else could ask? Going to have to keep an eye on that one if one day she ever wants to model! My kit lend did a better job I thought it could. It’s great but at the same time I’m retiring that camera and switching to a new one.

Christmas photoshoot

Kendra has been a friend for a long time, we have worked together in the past and I have learned to know her lovely family. We have done a few photoshoot together, and this time, she came to me for a family Christmas shoot. She shared a few pictures with me of what she wanted. The project sounded amazing and knowing how she likes to perfect her plans, I know I had to do it.

When I arrived, the bedroom already looked amazing. I started setting up the lights and doing a few test shot while the final touch up where put in place by Kendra and her Mom. Final discussion going over all the pictures she wanted and the rest of the family arrived. The photoshoot could start! Everyone was just amazing, even the kids managed to have wonderful moments that made those pictures even better.

It’s nice to be able to participate in such event with this beautiful and loving family. As always, I won’t be sharing all the pictures, but you will see a couple be Christmas comes!

Changes on the way

For those who have been following my page, you must have seen that I haven’t been posting much lately. I have been busy with a few things and didn’t have the time to keep on. Don’t worry, all is good and better.

I have been working in healthcare for the last 10 years and in 3 different organizations. I’ve enjoyed my time there but I think it is time for a change. This old picture will tell you all I moved to Adams State University as a System Administrator. Pretty much, it’s the same thing I have been doing for years with new tools and challenge that I gladly welcome.

Regarding my photography business, I am still doing senior and family pictures and of course, my classes will start again in January/February. What’s new is I partner with a great friend and talent photographer Kim Marquez! We already have worked together on a few projects including our latest one with the Town of Monte Vista and the holiday celebration. She’s pushing, in a very good way, to become better and perfecting my skills in portraiture. Next year we’ll be working on several weddings and other numerous projects.

It’s not all, more is to come this month including a brand new profile which will bring a different look for sure! Let’s keep in touch.

Last senior pictures of the season with Haley

Being the end of the fall season, I didn’t think I would be doing any more senior pictures. Lucky for me, I got to meet Haley. We’ve pushed ourselves and tried to take some different pictures. Some pictures were darker and others we played with the sun’s ray for some awesome effect! As always, you won’t be seeing all the pictures here, just some of my favorite ones. Feel free to ask her or her mom to see all of them.

Try out

There has been a picture I’ve always wanted to try during the Fall season. Paige was game for it, I had a good location, and here it is! I wish I would have had a wider angle with me to capture all of the hair and more of the dead leaves surrounding her. Also, maybe find a way to prop her head a bit higher to make the neckline more visible. Thinking about it, it would have helped her to maybe open her eyes more. It’s possible the ground wasn’t even where she was and caused those 2 problems. One the good side, I love the colors between her hair and the dead leaves. I had to make the leaves darker and also bring the saturation up a bit with some warmer temperature as well if I remember right.

Another of Paige

It’s another picture I really love of Paige. She looks so gracious in her perfect autumn outfit. Her satin blond hair matched perfectly the color of the season. Blurring the background wasn’t all the easy with a wide angle and a manual focus lens. I was only at f2.8 and it was hard to get her greenish eyes in focus. Thank you for that opportunity you gave me to capture you for your senior pictures.

Beautiful Paige

I had the chance to photograph Paige for senior pictures last week. We manage to get some amazing pictures despite the fall weather arriving at its end. Paige did a great job helping me with that. In the next few weeks, I will be posting a few pictures of our photo session. If you want to see them all, you’ll have to ask her!

Seeking a better RAW editor – Part 1

With the arriving and changes to the new Lightroom, I with many other people are looking for a replacement for what Adobe can offer us as photographers. Today, we have lots of choices, some more mature than others. I would be looking to get the same features than Lightroom with improved speed, better masking and simplifying my workflow by not going back and forth between the main application and diverse plugins. Of course, I do both Landscape and portraits, so a program that can handle both well would be nice. Most of them do a really good job on Landscape but then almost nothing is available for portrait except a blur tool to blur the skin out, not my cup of tea! This is a research I will be doing for myself base on my own workflow and editing technics.

Here’s a list of what I’m looking for:

  • Price under $300 for 3 years
  • Speedy import, export, and scrolling through the pictures
  • Intuitive and well-thought workflow in general
  • Tools for both landscape and portraits
  • Good masking tools
  • Handle HDR, Panorama and lens correction
  • 3 licenses would be nice

Today, we’re just going to go through a simple overview of the software, their features compare to Lightroom, their costs and their number of license. I have multiple computers, so even though I’ll be using only one at a time, I like the flexibility of having them available on all of them.

During the cold winter month, I will be testing 3 of them. Let’s see which ones those may be.

Cost Upgrade cost New release every Max. cost after 3 years License Feature and options
Old Lightroom $150 $80 18-22 month $230 2 HDR, Pano, Lens Correction
Lightroom CC Y/s $120 $120 $360 2 HDR, Pano, Lens Correction
Capture One $299 $99 12 month $497 3 Lens Correction
DxO Photo Lab $200 $20 18 month $290 3 Lens Correction $79
MacPhun Luminar $69 $49 12 month $167 5 Lens Correction
MacPhun Aurora $99 $59 12 month $217 10 HDR only
ON1 Photo RAW $120 $100 12 month $320 2 HDR, Pano, Lens Correction
ON1 Photo Raw Y/s $150 $150 $450 5 HDR, Pano, Lens Correction
Alienskin Exposure 3 $149 $99 12 month $347 ?
ACDSee Ultimate 18 $149 $79 12 month $308 1 Lens Correction, Frequency separation
ACDSee Ultimate 18 Y/s $89 $89 $267 Lens Correction, Frequency separation

Prices are listed without any discount. Different companies offer various discounts before the release of a new version of the program.
Also, I assume people will buy the newest release everytime it’s available. Of course, this is up to you.
Y/s: Yearly Subscription


I was amazed in comparing the cost of the old Lightroom with their subscription model, the cost simply double. Yes, you do get Photoshop as well, that’s true. For those needing that, it’s perfect, but it’s not for me and Affinity Photo works good enough for me. Anyway, Adobe will be our reference since we’re all trying to find something to replace them.

Capture One

Most of the professional use that program. It had great color rendition and is the best program for tethering. Though it cost a lot of money and it’s not the fastest program around. Also, PhaseOne who makes Capture One decided NOT to support cameras that would compete with their, yes they make Medium format camera. The software might be nice but not sure I want to invest in a software that may not support a future camera.


They always had a good program, with great clarity and noise filtering but never had any masking too. This last version, bring those tools and with the recent acquisition of the Nik Collection, they have added the U point technology for selection (which is using a luminosity mask if I’m right). Lots of possibility for them in the future, like adding HDR but how will that be integrated? Looking at the Lens correction plugin (a $79 add-on), it looks like it would be an added module inside the program, so no need to export and import. The bad news is the limited cameras they support, for example, they do not support any Fuji from the X series and not sure if they ever will.

MacPhun (Skylum)

The cheapest program of all… don’t you think that it means it’s not good. It’s the equivalent of the Nil Color Effect Pro 4, which lots of update filters and brand new ones as well. They are adding a DAM early next year to manage all of the images. Testing the PC beta version, I found the software a bit slow. Most of the features are here, though, if you want HDR you need to go buy Aurora (one of the best HDR program available). Regarding portrait, this software has nothing specific for it, at least not yet but if they did, would it be a separate software like it is for HDR? We don’t know much about there future except that they will keep improving and adding more advanced filters along the way.


This is the program I’m the most curious about. It can do exactly what Lightroom does (HDR, Pano..) and even more.Their older program used to have a portrait module, so maybe one day, they will bring that back into this program. They have been having a few issues in their early program, to say the least, but it looks they have managed to stabilize their software. Still, bugs may still appear but from following people on social media, their support team seems to do an amazing job! It’s not perfect, like any other company but it’s a good sign. Also, with the ON1 Photo Raw project, you can go a vote on the next feature you want to be implemented, that’s something I really like and wish other company would do the same.


Exposure 3 seems to be a nice program but “new” solutions like Luminar and ON1 Photo Raw have surpassed them. It doesn’t mean the program is no good, but they have some catch up to do. It looks like the usage of the interface is similar to Luminar by being light and easily accessible, but still trying to bring more feature and functions like ON1 does.


It feels weird having this brand on here, they always seemed to be a gimmick company to me. Though, if you are looking at features, they have it all and even more, except HDR and Pano. The price isn’t too bad and I’m more willing to open my might and look at what they have accomplished. For portraits, they even have frequency separation, the only one on the list to do that as of right now.


Affinity isn’t on the list but they have said they are working on a Lightroom-like program. For those who don’t know that company, they do make Affinity Photo (a Photoshop competitor) and Affinity Designer (an almost Illustrator competitor). I own both and like many others, I just love them! Their program works good, features are amazing, pricing is small and they keep updating the features. So it’s not a program to test, but rather a program to look for when it comes out, which I will test then!

Which one will I test?

I will test what seems to be the most complete of all ON1, the interesting filter based one at a very good price Luminar and finally, I’ll give ACDSee a try since they have lots of features. Among my pictures, I will test 4 of them, one landscape with high dynamic range, one portrait with lots of colors, one in low light and high ISO to manage the noise level and the last one would be a black and white. Come back around the end of winter to see the results of which one would be my next editing software for all my pictures!!!!

Freezing oasis

Driving to work this morning was just amazing! I wish I could have stopped at least 4 different places a picture the light come through the clouds and fog. The tone was sometimes a warm yellow, some other times a bright pink. The texture the cloud was providing in the sky made the landscape surreal. The contrast with the shape of the dead trees made everything magical. Sadly, I was heading to work and I had to be where I needed to be. So I had to look for some surreal winter pictures I may have taken a few years back and hadn’t posted them yet. This is the case of this one. Warm sand surround by snow mountaintop and an icy river.

Train of smoke

One of the last picture I want to share of this marvelous ride we took between Antonito and Chama. You had those curves that we took where we could see exactly what people from the less modern days saw. Makes you think of what is really necessary for today’s world. The ability to get a good health would be my first and my second would be the ability to connect with people all over the world. Connect could be through good transport system and or the use of technology to communicate.  There might be other things that could be good to have but I’m not so sure. How about you, what do you think? What do we absolutely need to live a good life? Or course, I would still need my photography hobby as well!

Orange and blue

I had one more picture of fall left in my collection. Nothing fancy too fancy but I really love the colors and it represents Colorado so well! During the cold season coming slowly towards us, I still have several photoshoot planned. But also, I would like to test several other editing software. Software like Luminar, On1 Photo Raw and DxO Photo Lab comes to mind, maybe others will make the list too.

Pictures on sale at Milagros

During the month of November, I’m displaying and selling 9 different pictures all taken from our beautiful San Luis Valley. Out of the sales, 15% will directly go to La Puente Homeless shelter. Perfect to help people in need during the holiday season.

Can’t find the picture you want? During November, every sale of print from my website will also go to La Puente.

Promise, I won’t tell

I love taking pictures and making those moments memorable forever, but what I love even more is to have a theme just like we did here. With a very expressive model, you can really push and try new emotions. This is exactly what happened here. It was amazing to see the relationship between a mother and her beloved daughter and their desire to work together on this project.

I’m not sure what has been said here or if it was some really good pretending from Mom! We’ll never know.

Photoshoot at Quincy’s

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to photograph a mother and her daughter dressed up with clothing of a prior generation. We did this picture and many others at the Quincy’s restaurant in Monte Vista. Thank you so much for the manager and stuff to have given us that opportunity. Quincy’s is an amazing place with great staff and excellent food! If you haven’t had the chance yet to go, plan your next dinner out at Quincy’s. There will be more pictures to follow of that very same photoshoot.

Claude Peay

With my modeling and some of the senior pictures, I always work with women. It is nice to have a chance to work with men. You can do different pictures and bring a different look to them. I cannot wait to do another photoshoot with Claude next month. It’s one I have been waiting for a while to do.


It has been what seems to be a long time and I’m hoping to go back there next summer. I’m always amazed by the look of those rocks and how the light hit them and cover the rest in shadows. It’s a long drive there with beautiful sceneries along the way. Though, once you’ve arrived, the hike starts. Sometimes it gets pretty steep but going around this massive natural architecture is worth the trip. That one time I went, we camped there. I wasn’t prepared enough and got too cold to get out of the sleeping bag and look at the amazing night sky. You could also hear lots of animals in the far distance… not sure if they were big ones or not.

Source of life

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go do a family shoot. The wind was mice with us the most part. We stopped at two waterfalls including the famous North Clear Creek Falls you see right here. It has been a long time I went back that way and I think it’s the best picture of that fall so far I have taken. I’ve only used Lightroom on this one with classic dodge and burn method. It’s always nice to get back to the basics with a picture like that!

Melting ice

That day was cold. I had a shirt, light sweater, and a hoody. The model on the other hand only had summer clothing. Tara posed like nothing was bothering her. She looks warm here but that’s just because I changed the while balance. I cannot wait to work with her again with that Indian outfit.

End of a season

While the fall season is slowly ending and the winder is arriving rapidly, some youth are slowly ending a part of their life with high school while adulthood decisions are arriving rapidly. Most of them are glad this time is finally coming while parents being happy as well, cannot help by being saddened. They are losing the last remnants of their little child and gaining the trust, love, and affection of an adult they have helped build. With all the mix feeling a parent may have to go through this year, proud would be the best one to describe what they really feel.

Antonito to Chama

It was a wonderful ride with amazing sight!!! The staff was so nice with us and we got to learn a lot on the way to Chama. The lunch was fabulous. If you haven’t take the train yet from Antonito, just plan to do so soon. Otherwise, plan it for next year. It’s worth doing, it will take you a full day and you won’t regret the time.