Luminar User Spotlight: Gail Barsh

October 10

8 min. to read

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Using her gear, Gail tries to shoot the most beautiful things in our diverse world–from shorebirds, butterflies and bugs to astounding night scenes, phenomenal land- and cityscapes. She's in our user spotlight this week.

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Using her gear, Gail tries to shoot the most beautiful things in our diverse world–from shorebirds, butterflies and bugs to astounding night scenes, phenomenal land- and cityscapes. Get inspired by Gail's works.

Luminar User Spotlight: Gail Barsh Image1

Meet Gail Barsh, a woman with a wide range of interests and expertise. She not only served in the US Armed Forces as a civil servant, but she’s also a website developer and a talented photographer. That’s not even the most interesting thing about her, however.

See, Gail's story is truly inspiring; it is proof that photography isn’t just a skill or a trade. Her story shows just photography can also be an escape, a conduit for healing, and an avenue to help you through tough times. And of course, it’s a way to commune and connect with nature.

‘’Being able to capture the beauty of wildlife and nature is icing on the cake. Whether it’s two juvenile owls huddling together, ospreys flying and playing, a blue heron gathering nesting material, a sand crab peeking out from its hole in the sand or a waterfall in one of our state parks.’’

Luminar User Spotlight: Gail Barsh Image2What is it that you do for a living?

I am a retired USAF Civil Servant. The last six of my 31-year employment involved creating, editing, and developing multimedia products for warfighter’s in the field. I originally picked up a camera in 1984 to keep busy at World Karting Association go-kart races. I continued to hone my skills off and on through the years, my main subject being late model stock car racing.

I became the track photographer in 2006 for a season at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. During this time, I also engaged in website development and had several clients in the NW Florida area. It wasn’t until I fully retired from the USAF that I got serious about photography as I now had the time to travel more and learn how to use the many software programs for photo editing.

“Photography is my vehicle to escape the ugliness of all we are faced with on a daily basis.”

Why do you take photos?

I live in a beautiful area on the Florida Gulf Coast. Scouting out the beaches, lakes, and wetlands requires long relaxing walks. Being able to capture the beauty of wildlife and nature is icing on the cake, whether it’s two juvenile owls huddling together, ospreys flying and playing, a blue heron gathering nesting material, a sand crab peeking out from its hole in the sand, or a waterfall in one of our state parks. I could go on and on about what I’m able to find. These are the reasons I take photos.

READ MORE: 7 Creative Ways to Photograph Wildlife

Luminar User Spotlight: Gail Barsh Image3What does photography mean for you?

Photography is my vehicle to escape the ugliness of all we are faced with on a daily basis. It’s my way of tapping into my creative side. I’ve never been able to draw very well so I’ve never learned how to paint. Photography forces me to really study all things natural and all the different ways to capture the beauty. I would say it a cross between being a lifestyle and my hobby.

Luminar User Spotlight: Gail Barsh Image4Have you participated or won in any photo contests?

I’ve participated in Viewbug.com’s many challenges as well as Gurushots.com’s. I’ve not been fortunate enough to win any of the challenges, but after viewing the winners I now have something to shoot for where I need to improve.

The Wide Angle Photo Club in Pensacola, FL conducts an annual contest, Power of Photography. It is a judged contest that allows 1500 images and accepts 300 for the weekend show. I was fortunate enough to take the 3rd Place in 2017 and an Honorable Mention in 2018.

Luminar User Spotlight: Gail Barsh Image5How would you describe your post-processing workflow?

My workflow consists of Lightroom first where I remove camera distortions, and then use Luminar as a plug-in. I haven’t quite mastered all that Luminar has to offer, but I’ll keep trying. To master Luminar—its powerful clever filters like Accent AI or Smart Tone—it is best to watch the video tutorials then play with all the features to get the photograph you want to display.

READ MORE: 5 Luminar Editing Tricks to Epic Landscape Photos

What gear do you typically have in your camera bag when shooting nature and landscapes?

My gear consists of a Nikon 28-300mm 3.5, which is what I use the most. Then there is the new Sigma 150-600mm 5.6, Nikon 105mm Macro 2.8, Tokina 16-28mm 2.8, and a Nikkor 50mm 1.8. 

I also use the SB700 flash and a macro ring flash.

Any shooting tips for beginner photographers?

There are a multitude of tutorials online from which to get guidance. The best tip is to just shoot. Try looking at your subject at all angles, paying particular attention to how the light affects it from every angle. Be sure to have your photo tell a story, whether obvious or imagined.

What is it about Luminar that you like most?

What I like most about Luminar are the many presets available to get you started. Then there’s the ease of using the many tools to adjust your photo to get what you are trying to accomplish.

Luminar User Spotlight: Gail Barsh Image6

Using her gear, Gail tries to shoot the most beautiful things in our diverse world–from shorebirds, butterflies and bugs to astounding night scenes, phenomenal land- and cityscapes. Get inspired by Gail's works.

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