*Alien Skin Exposure 6, now available!

P1050201 Alien Skin is a company focused on producing very high end and useful software plugins.  Two of my favorites from Alien Skin have always been Exposure for the remarkable film emulation filters, and Bokeh for the focus control.  Now, Alien Skin has chosen to merge both of these into one super plugin in Exposure 6. Continue reading

*All Alien Skin Plugins are 50% off until the end of the month!

birthday-special

 

If you’ve been waiting for an Alien Skin software sale, now may very well be the time.  I’ve not ever seen them offer any more than 50% (I don’t even remember seeing a half off sale in the past!) so it is as good as I’ve seen it!

I like the AS plugins a lot, and have been absolutely loving the new Exposure 5.  You can read my take on some of their plugins via the links below, and you can buy any of these directly from AlienSkin.com (click here). I get no kickbacks from Alien Skin, and have no monetary incentive to sell their plugins, I just really enjoy using them and for those who may also be interested, it won’t get much cheaper than this.  Go get you some.

Exposure 5, the best gets better

Bokeh 2, blur it out

Snap Art 3, release your inner artist

*All Alien Skin Software 30% off through September 25th!

If you’ve been on the fence about any of the Alien Skin plugins, now might be a great time to pull the trigger.  Of course, they offer all of their plugins as full featured, free trials to try before you buy.  You have about a week, get at it!

I’m a big fan, if you’d like to read my reviews on some of their plugins that I use and suggest, hit the links below:

Exposure 4 (tons of wonderful color and b/w film filters, a personal fave)

Snap Art 3 (instantly turn images into paintings)

Bokeh 2 (replicate the bokeh from high end lenses, or just have fun obliterating the background)

You can purchase any of the plugins, or bundles directly from Alienskin.com

I know this seems a bit like a sale’s pitch, and something I try not to do with the blog, but I love these plugins, the company they come from and both Jeff and Jimmy are really cool guys, so support ‘em if you can.

Cheers,

Tyson

*Sunny 16 and the Moony 8. Shootin’ the moon.

Most of us have heard of the Sunny 16 rule by where the rule of thumb for “proper” exposure on a sunny day would be setting your aperture to f/16 and your shutter speed to 1 / x, where X = your ISO setting.  Basically, at f/16 and shooting at ISO 100, we would set our shutter speed to 1/100 and you’d be set (1/200 at ISO 200, etc).  Of course there are other variables to take into consideration depending on your desired outcome or subject, but it gets you close enough.  Well, after some trial and error (emphasis on the latter) I came to realize that when shooting the moon, I was having a very hard time properly exposing it.  Wanting to eliminate as much noise as possible, I was shooting at lower ISOs and after some more trial I found that I was coming in at about f/5.6- f/8 when spot metering and compensating for the extra brightness (I figured I should account for about 2 full stops over midtone) with the same one over rule as the Sunny 16…  This got me wondering if there was in fact a night shooters rule of thumb, and there in fact is…

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*Everything you need to know about digital photography (well, almost). Two years of tips, tricks and various freebies, revisited.

With my blog’s second anniversary coming up, I wanted to thank everyone that has stopped by, commented and added to the content.  It’s been a fun couple of years and has been far more educational for me than I’d ever thought it would have been.  I wanted to make a list of my more popular posts as well as some that can help some of us who may be just stumbling into the fold.  Any of us who have recently acquired a new camera and may be wanting to learn how to use it to its potential, or are looking to build up a few post processing techniques, I’ve compiled some of the more useful and popular posts below…

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*Tiffen Dfx 3, one plugin to rule them all?

There are no shortages of plugins to help photographers and digital artists streamline their workflow and help fine tune their look. Tiffen Dfx-3 offers an amazing amount of digital filters and user manipulatable options in one plugin. Is it useful to have this many options in one plugin, or is it too much? Well, depending on your needs and budget, this may be the only photoshop plugin you’d ever require. Read on for examples and my tip of the iceberg review on this amazingly filter packed plugin…

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*Metering and Exposure Compensation. Which, when, why?

Metered off the wall…

Metering for a particular scene can be tricky.  The goal, in most cases, is to expose for your subject, telling your camera what it should consider the proper exposure for 18%, or “Middle Gray” and adjusting your exposure based on the light that is hitting your subject, or the light involved in the scene.  Most cameras will utilize an automatic, average metering as a default which most of the time will do a decent job at keeping the highlights and shadows in control.  First, before we delve into the different metering styles, we should examine one of the most helpful tools on your camera.  The histogram. Continue reading

*Aperture!

Controlling your aperture, and understanding it’s relationship with the exposure trifecta can be one of the most profound tools to manipulating the look of your photographs.  As we discussed in the trifecta post, the aperture is a hole which allows light to pass through the lens and onto the sensor or film.  By controlling the size of this hole, you control the amount of light passing through the lens.  This is it’s primary function.  Bright day, smaller hole.  Dark cave, larger hole to allow as much light in as possible.  The other feature of the aperture is its responsibility for your depth of field (DOF) or area in focus.  If you look at the picture above, you can see on the bar top, that it is blurry in the foreground, sharp at the first wine glass, and then fades quickly back into the out of focus area.  This was achieved by setting a large aperture, which when also getting the camera physically close to the subject in focus, it narrowed my DOF.

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*The Exposure Trifecta. Or, how to shoot on Manual.

Have you ever taken a photo where your subject looks like a deer in the headlights from the flash while the ambiance in the scene behind them fades quickly to a black abyss?  Or, you try to catch your child scurrying around the house and no matter what you do, the picture turns out as a blurred mess?  This post is being written to help those (mainly my mom) who’ve asked me “how do you do that?” when they see a picture that avoids some of the common frustrating problems.  Whether it be a selective focus, blurred action to accentuate movement or an image that is intentionally over or underexposed, the key to photography is understanding the three main components of proper exposure control.  Hold on to your hat, I am going to help get you off of the ‘auto everything box’ and manipulating your own exposure in no time. Continue reading