Sure, we’ve all seen the images that have been run through an HDR-like tonemapping, contrast increasing filter, making the grungy, saturated and contrasty images we’ve all come to accept as HDR, or at least, HDR-like shots. While the “HDR” look can bring about photographic debates bordering on political or religious polarity, there is a way to actually capture and process the actual dynamic range of a scene, not just try and make it look like a processed, HDR image. If you’re not a fan of HDR, by all means, feel free to ignore this post, but to and for me HDR can be a very useful tool, and one that, in this particular situation can help stretch a limited budget by being able to get a good range of exposure for a dynamically diverse scene without tons of lighting. Now, the trick here when wanting to do this with human subjects is that you’re needing to take multiple frames at differing exposure values, which means, in short, a person or people would need to stay statue still to make it work, right? Not so. C’mon in and I’ll show you how to get around this unfortunate challenge…
Hello everyone! You may have noticed that I’m quietly adding content to the site. This is being done to try and make a more complete resource for those visiting the site to reference specific tutorial articles or find gear reviews, etc. The biggest changes are the new “Tutorial” “Review” and “MyGear” pages up at the top of the page. I will be trying to catalog the more popular tutorials and reviews for easy reference, and the new gear page has allowed me to link certain cameras, lenses and miscellaneous gear that I use to my affiliate links at B&H. Yup, you read that right. I’ve finally succumbed to the monetary necessity of trying to make a little coin to keep the site going. Read on for my reasoning and ever cheesy gratitude…
Any of you who have read my blog somewhat regularly know that I love and use Topaz plugins. Topaz Labs offerings are realistically priced, and offer unique, quality plugins. They now have a program set up through the end of March which offers 25% off any Topaz plugin or bundle and a 3 month gift code for 500px as well as a 10% discount for current Topaz users for upgrades to a 500px “Awesome” subscription (normally $50/year) which allows users to host and sell their images through their own, modified online portfolio and store hosted by 500px. You can see all the Topaz plugins on offer by heading over the the Topazlabs.com website (click here) USE COUPON CODE “500px” at checkout to get the 25% discount and 3 month 500px gift account. For existing Topaz users looking to upgrade their free 500px account to an Awesome account, use code 10AWTL at 500px.com upgrade page HERE. For those not familiar with 500px, it is a very high quality photo community that enables members to share, and sell images through their own, user modified galleries and portfolio pages. I’ve used the upgrade discount myself from my free account, and have spent a little time now getting to know the ins and outs and it looks promising
Here are a couple past articles outlining and reviewing my favorite Topaz Plugins:
For the next week, Alien Skin is offering 30% off of all their wonderful plugins. I use and love Exposure 4, Snap Art and Bokeh 2 personally and feel that Alien Skin does a wonderful job at providing a really solid product for the money. You can download free trials of any of their plugins before buying if interested by going here Alienskin.com! While you’re there, download their free iPhone app Alt Photo, it’s radical.
You can read more about my personal take on some of their plugins below:
They’ve also just released Eye Candy 7, which is a plugin that is gaining fanfare for graphic designers. Unfortunately, I’m not a good person to ask about it, but it does seem to be getting a lot of praise, so it may be worth a trial for those interested in that type of stuff.
Happy Valentines Day to all, and I hope all is well for everyone.
After my recent disappointment with the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 macro (read here), and my ongoing ups and downs with the Olympus OMD EM5, I have been looking to be convinced by Olympus. I hear so much about Oly’s stellar reputation, but I’d not personally felt those plaudits justified through my experiences with the few Olympus products I’ve owned (hopefully the fanboys will be kind to me here). In comes the M. Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 lens. A solid, sharp, 150mm EFOV lens with quite a reputation of its own, even being less than a year old has come onto the scene. After returning the 60mm macro, I wanted to make sure that the investment in the 75mm lens would be worth it to me…
As many may know, I’ve done some testing and reviewing of and for Lensbaby in the past. They even used a shot I’d done for a 6 month run in various magazines advertising the Lensbaby’s ability to key in on a “slice of focus” which was really cool. Author Corey Hilz contacted me to gain permission to use another of my Lensbaby images in his new book “Bending Your Perspective, 2nd edition” which I happily agreed to.
Shooting art can be a tricky task. Replicating the colors, texture and vibrance all while lighting it properly and controlling detail ruining reflection is challenging. Every canvas provides it’s own nuances and unique elements needing to be worked around, especially a canvas that is 3 dimensional and isn’t entirely static. All of these tattoos are original works by my friend Josiah Laughlin. He tattoos here in Portland, Oregon at Imperial Tattoo, and this is an ongoing series we’re collaborating on to document his portfolio. C’mon in to see more of his work and read through diagrams on how I shot them.
While the title may allude to a sinister, Imperial-esque characterization of a city known for many a questionable, extra curricular activity, I mean to speak quite literally. For anyone who’s read my blog for more than a year, you may know that I travel to Amsterdam once a year on business. Because of said business, coupled with the late time of year and Holland’s geographical placement, I rarely get to experience it in the light of day. With a +9 hour difference to tackle, and tiring hours spent working while there, my window for photographic opportunity normally falls within about an hour and a half between when I get done working, and the inevitable collapse into a jet lagged coma that prematurely greets the end of each day. Luckily, this year, this window happened to open while the weather was crisp, but dry as it gave me the ability to wander around, camera in hand to document a bit of my annual stay in what has become my home away from home.
The dream of many hard working creative professionals is one born of independence, creative control, self direction, recognition and collaboration with artistic minds enabling a motivating force to push you forward in your craft. There is something to be said about being your own boss, setting your own hours and managing your own business, but this requires you to be a tireless jack of all trades. You must master the business side and all that goes along with it all while maintaining a creative drive, not to mention drumming up business. It is easy to burn out, or fall into a rut, ultimately sacrificing something along the way. What if you could gather great friends, all working in various creative fields with complimentary skill sets to collaborate on projects which benefit greatly from each individual part, making a much stronger whole? I would like to introduce you to the ELK Collective… C’mon in.
Just a quick comparison pre and post firmware v1.5 update showing the difference that the IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization) makes when using adapted, third party lenses in video mode on the Olympus OM-D E-M5.
The above video was shot using a Canon FD 55mm f/1.2 SSC lens adapted to the OM-D E-M5 with segments using firmware v1.2 to show the lack of IBIS support compared to the same setup after the firmware update to v1.5. I was walking with the camera held out in front of me to further amplify the differences that the IBIS can make for video. I would certainly suggest standing still, IBIS or not when shooting video because nobody wants to watch this type of vomit inducing drivel, with the distinct exception of gear nerds like myself, in small, short doses of course.
To properly engage the IBIS when using adapted lenses for video, you’ll need to manually enter the focal length (just as we have to for still shooting) in the Image Stabilization sub menu.
Along with the added IBIS support in video capture for third party lenses, the update included a muting (or more accurately a disengagement) of the IBIS humming when the camera was inactive prior to entering sleep mode. Unfortunately, we didn’t see some of the other issues we’d raised last week addressed (like focus peaking, high ISO banding, etc) but these are two good changes and hopefully are merely the beginning of the firmware update chain for this camera.
You can find the OMD EM5 at B&H HERE.
Thanks for the read and happy shooting,