*Helpful Topaz Workflow Suggestions

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image © Darcy from Topaz – all rights reserved, used with permission

Hi all.  Darcy from Topaz Labs was nice enough to share this simple yet remarkably helpful graphic showing us the proper order to best utilize and stage different Topaz plugins.

As many of you know, I’m a bit of a honk for the Topaz products as I really feel they offer an amazing value in the plugin universe.  I’ve fielded quite a few emails over the years asking about when is it best to implement noise reduction versus sharpening, etc and I’ve always said it is good to get your initial, simple exposure tweaks done in your host or digital asset management software (lightroom, aperture, et al) and then before altering the pixels any further, run through noise reduction before doing anything to sharpen or further define the pixels as that would also further define the noise or any artifacts, color shifts, posterization, etc.  Sharpening should be the last thing done to any image, and now we have a cool step by step in visual form.  Thanks Darcy!

Darcy has laid this out wonderfully in Topaz terms, and for those of you who’ve been getting into the Topaz plugins like myself, I’d imagine this graphic will do well to help us streamline our workflow through the various Topaz plugins.

Currently, Topaz Detail 3 is on sale for 50% off through April (click HERE and use “aprdetail” to get 50% off)!  What is normally a $40 plugin is now $20, so head over and download the free trial to give it a go.  If you like it, buy it before the end of the month to qualify for the half price license.

You can head over to Topaz Labs website to see what they offer, or below are reviews I’ve done of some more of the Topaz plugins that I use often, and love.

Topaz DeNoise 5, the best noise reduction software I’ve ever used.

Topaz Clarity, possibly my favorite enhancement plugin.

Topaz ReMask, anyone using photoshop masks should download this. Now.

Topaz Simplify, art filters with the click of a button.

Have a look, have a go, and enjoy.  Please feel free to share your results (or any imagery) with our ever growing community on Flickr HERE, and connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks and happy shooting!

Tyson

 

*Topaz Detail 3, my first run

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Hi all and welcome to a quick review on your Topaz special plugin of the month!  This month Topaz is running a special on Detail 3 for 50% off!  Normally $39.99, if you use the code “aprdetail” HERE on Topazlabs website, the price drops down to $19.99!!!

That’s all well and good, but what does Detail do?  I had not tried it until I was made aware of the sale, so here is my experience and thoughts on what I think it is best at doing.

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*Monthly Flickr Photo Blog Challenge #2 – Music

Music

Photo © Marco Bozzato

Welcome to the second monthly flickr photo blog challenge!  Marco Bozzato, the winner of last month’s challenge has chosen the theme “Music” which will lay the foundation from which we can build out submissions.  You have until April 30th to submit your musical image to the following Flickr group threads:

 

TRP Photoblography

Mirrorlessons

If you’re not a member of either (or both) group(s), please join us, submit your image and prepare to vote.  Heather and Mat from Mirrorlessons, as well as myself will each choose our favorite from all submissions and on the first of May, we will open up a vote on both of our blogs to allow everyone, and all readers to vote from May 1st through May 5th.  The image and photographer with the most votes will get showcased on both blogs and gets to choose the theme for the month of May.  We had dozens of images submitted for the first challenge, and I’d love to see this continue to grow.  The larger we can build this community both inside and outside of flickr, the larger an audience and family we will have to interact with, learn from and build upon.

So, get your camera out, and get creative.  The only rule is that the image needs to be related to music, and while not an official rule, we like the idea of newly taken images so that we can use these monthly challenges to spur creativity from the ground up.

If you’re not signed up to receive new updates, you can enter your email at the top right of the screen which will merely sign you up to get emailed when new articles are posted, nothing more.  I’ve thought about going into pharmaceuticals or trying to become Nigerian royalty, then looking for eager investors to help separate me from my royal billions, but at this point, I’m so far behind on just keeping the blog up so you’ll only receive relevant emails to photography.  Sorry about that.

Let’s get to it!

Happy shooting,

 

Tyson

*Congratulations to Marco Bozzato for winning our first Flickr Photo Blog Post

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Congratulations to Marco (see more from him HERE) for compiling over half of the overall votes between the poll here and on Mirrorlessons (click HERE to visit Mat and Heather)!  Stay tuned to find out Marco’s choice on our Flickr Photo Blog Challenge topic for April.  To sign up to receive posts as they go live, enter your email at the top right of the page, find me on Facebook here, or Twitter here and find the TRP Flickr group HERE and the Mirrorlessons Flickr group HERE!  It’s all about family, friends and community and I’m very excited that we’re continuing to grow ours.  If you didn’t see the recent eye enhancement tutorial featuring Heather from Mirrorlessons, check it out HERE.

Thanks to all for the continued collaboration, support and conversation.  I look forward to seeing where we can all continue to take this.

 

Take care and happy shooting,

 

Tyson

*Fun with soul windows. Eye retouching techniques using Photoshop.

 

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A couple years ago, I’d posted a tutorial on simple eye enhancement techniques and I wanted to revisit and build on that.  Lately, “Photoshop” has seemed to be getting absolutely bludgeoned and cast as some evil, socially destructive outcast.  Used as a verb, photoshopping has become akin to kicking a blind puppy, and then forcing it into a life of anorexia.  While I am in no way a fan of, nor support using photoshop to unnaturally build unrealistic body proportions, or overly plasticize a face to perfection, I will make the case that retouching is an art and like anything has boundaries.  If viewing retouching from a creative angle, there are things that can be a lot of fun.  If viewing retouching from a practical angle, it can be effective.  Going overboard in any direction can certainly lead to criticism, but so many forms of artistic manipulation have and will always continue to draw ire.  For this post, I want to play around with both the creative and practical angles in regards to enhancing one’s eyes in a portrait.  Thank you to my friends Mat and Heather from Mirrorlessons – Bestmirrorlesscamerareviews.com for the shot you see above.  Eyes are often a focal point in many a good portrait, so why not add a bit of punch to that focal point?  Come on in to see how I achieve this quickly and easily.  If interested, you can download these eye enhancement Photoshop actions for free…

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*Vote now for the winner of our first Flickr Photo Blog Challenge!

Confession time?

“Confession Time?” by Alex O’Neal (clocks-and-clouds on flickr Click HERE to see more of his images)

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“Lux – Arco” by Fernando Pereira (Nando.uy on flickr Click HERE to see more of his images)

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“Magia” by Marco Bozzato (MarcoBozzato on flickr Click HERE to see more of his images)

Thank you to everyone who has submitted their images in our very first joint Flickr Photo Challenge!  Heather and Mat from Mirrorlessons as well as myself have chosen the three we feel did best to tackle the theme of “one light” and you can now vote below.

The poll will be open until this coming Saturday the 5th at which point the photo with the most votes between this poll and the comment thread poll HERE on Mirrorlessons will get to choose our next challenge topic.  Be sure to visit both polls and vote for your favorite!  Click the images above to see more work from each of these photogs, and thank you again to everyone that participated.  I can’t wait to see the next challenge topic.

 

Let Alex, Fernando and Marco know what you think in the comments!

 

Great first month to all!

 

Happy shooting,

 

Tyson

 

*Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens, Tested

Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 lens review Yet another kit lens has come onto the scene.  On paper, ho-hum, a little wider, a little shorter, still slow, no focus ring…  Why would this particular kit lens be a better choice than the other current options?  Yes, it’s tiny and light weight and nearly as small as the Lumix 14mm Pancake lens, but what’s this?  It’s reasonably sharp at all focal lengths and all apertures and offers us a 24mm equivalent lens as opposed to the moderate wide 28mm equivalent in most all other kit zooms… Interesting.  Hit the jump for my user review on this little optic…

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*Hallelujah!!! Apple finally supports Lumix GM1 RAW files! (as well as XE2, XT1, and others)

GM1 with green garda wrist strap

 

I may be speaking to a small audience on this one, but I cannot contain my momentary excitement, er, relief.  For those GM1 shooters who’ve been using Lightroom or ACR, DXO or Silkypix, this news will be of little consequence.  For those of us who use Apple’s Aperture, today is a good day.  FINALLY (seriously Apple, this camera was announced last Fall and has been in shooters hands for almost 5 months!) Apple has decided to properly support the .RW2 RAW files from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1.

Along with the GM1, below are the cameras that are now supported in Apple’s most recent Digital Camera RAW Update 5.04:

  • Fujifilm X-E2
  • Fujifilm X-T1
  • Nikon D3300
  • Nikon 1 AW1
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GM1
  • Pentax K-3

If you’re a shooter with any of the above cameras, and use Aperture as your Digital Asset Management software, you can download the new version of Digital Camera RAW v5.04 – HERE or just go to your Software Update and it should be sitting there ready to go.

I will be testing the RAW files from the GM1 shortly and will have an article posted in due time.  In the mean time, if you’d like to receive that when it is posted, feel free to enter your email at the top right of the page to subscribe or find me on Facebook or Twitter.

Happy shooting,

Tyson

*Topaz DeNoise5, updated and on sale for 50% off!

Topaz DeNoise5 On Sale

Hi guys!  Your monthly Topaz deal is here!  Topaz Labs is offering up DeNoise for 50% off.  I have written up a more in depth review on DeNoise 5 before, and feel it is one of the best, and most effective plugins I use.  It’s pretty amazing to see what this software can do for your high ISO images.  Topaz is running this sale through the end of March via Topaz Labs Website HERE.  Just use the code “mardenoise” at checkout to get the discount.  C’mon in to see some before and after examples…

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*ELK Collective and MWL, featured in Hospitality Design Magazine!

Multnomah Whisky Library in Hospitality Design by ELK Collective I’ve written about the shoot we did for ELK at the Multnomah Whisk(e)y Library, the award that it won for best new design via Eater.com, and now it has garnered national attention via Hospitality Design Magazine.  The article is short and sweet, and gives a little insight into the aesthetic and design approach by my friend and ELK Co-founder, Kelly OG.  Come on in… Continue reading