*Moving onward and upward! A new recurring retouching project for the blog w/ @alienskin software.

IMG_7323As many of you have figured out, we stopped our monthly flicker photo blog challenge, much to my dismay.  Flickr’s desire to dumb itself down, into little more than a mobile app proved to be the death rattle for our monthly project which was going really well, bringing in hundreds of submissions for our monthly contests.  C’est la vie.

Well, with these lemons, I’d like to make lemonade because lemonade is awesome, especially if you only use half the recommended sugar and watch your unsuspecting friends, and young children drink it.  

I’ve been in conversation with my friends at Alien Skin Software, and have had the great fortune to be both a contributor to their blog, and a beta tester for many of their programs over the years, the newest of which is the yet to be released, Exposure update.  As a long time fan of Exposure, I’m excited to see the final version.  With this new project, I’d like to gauge interest in having a retouching tutorial, where by I process and retouch submitted images using Exposure, which may then be shared with many, many thousands of viewers here and through the Alien Skin blog.  Come on in for more details, and my hope for this collaboration…

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*Brand new, TRP Vector strap available, and giveaway winners!


TRP Vector Straps available now

The brand new, hand built Vector straps are now available via the TRP Camera Straps Page HERE for $27 delivered ($33 outside of the US).  They’re light weight, low profile and comfortable wrist straps for any camera.  Utilizing very high end materials, I’ve chosen to build these with both comfort and function in mind.  They’re great when wanting to keep weight and bulk down, comfort up all while maintaining a casual, modern look.

The Vector Straps are now available along with the Garda and Cascade Straps.  Come on in to see who won free straps from our social media giveaway…

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*Social media giveaway! Be one of the first to get a brand new TRP Vector camera strap #trpcamerastraps


The new TRP Vector straps are low profile, lightweight wrist straps made from blended, 24 plait braided line utilizing high end materials like Vectran, Cordura and high tenacity Polyester.  Strength, style, fashion and function.  Used in high performance, professional sailing, this rope is built to last.  I personally, hand build each and every strap, and I’ve been testing these for the last 6 months.  They’re dialed.  The brand new, Vector straps will be released next week, and for a chance to win one, shipping included, I’m going to try something newish (for me and the blog anyway).  

We’ve done a giveaway with each of the other straps, and this time, I wanted to also start up bit of a reward for helping me get the word out, guerrilla marketing style.  Being that I hand build each and every strap myself, I want to do my best to keep costs as low as I can to both make enough money for this whole venture to make sense, but to keep the delivered price as low as possible to make sense for you as well.  The more I can sell, the more I can invest, etc, etc.  Kind of my own kickstarter so to speak, except you don’t have to put money in to get this going, I’ve already done that.

The idea here is getting the word out, and figuring out a way to reward those who help me do that.  Here’s what I’m thinking…

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*Shooting Portland’s newest, whiskey-centric bar, the Bit House Saloon for the @ELKcollective


There is always an emotional transition when one longstanding bar transforms into another.  The Eastbank Tavern was a stalwart on the industrial east side in Portland, at least for as long as I can remember.  One of those bars along Grand that you’d pop into after heading back across the river from a show downtown for a nightcap.  The smell of smoke and fried food, lingering in the air engrained into the DNA of the establishment, like a good, working class bar should.  Times though, they are a changing.  The neighborhood is now looking to appeal not just to the growing group of more astute imbibers, but to the younger, newer Portland crowd.  A population that values aesthetic over quirk perhaps, and sees the quality of their surroundings as important as the quality of their drinks.  A trend happening not only in that MLK/Grand corridor, but all over the city.  Evolve or get left behind as it were.  While there are many venues I’ve visited in town, I feel too many of them aim for a wine bar feel for those with a champagne budget, too easily classified as gentrificated snobbery which is totally out of place to many who have watched Portland transform over the last twenty years or so.

The beauty of this new iteration is that is still holds much of the Eastbank’s character, but has helped move this saloon into the new age of more discerning quaffers.  This newer, hipper, fancier version of Portland that has followed in the wake of the boom over the last decade has asked these venues to offer up a bit more ambiance.  What I love about the Bit House Saloon, is that it has taken the rough, grimy portland, and like many of its longstanding residents, gone from damp carpet, PBR and flannel, to wood, whiskey and leather, and well, $1 High Life Ponies for those of us looking for a back, or no frills option.  I’d always seen Portland as a working class town even if Fred and Carrie have shown us that retirement can be achieved early as long as we’re willing to not do much of anything, and it’s good to see that there can exist a bridge between this new era of craft cocktails and earlier, perhaps simpler times.  Change doesn’t have to happen entirely overnight…

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*Using the Kipon EF to m4/3, smart adapter. Things are getting interesting w/ @adorama

kipon ef to m4/3 af adapter

The Kipon EF Lens to Micro 4/3 mount smart adapter is a fairly big deal.  Not just because it enables aperture adjustment for the electronically controlled EF line of lenses when adapted to a micro 4/3 camera body, but it has also bridged the proprietary technology to gain the use of full auto focus and lens based image stabilization capabilities.  Having followed a fairly similar path into the micro 4/3 world as I would imagine many others, I came from a long standing investment in the Canon system.  I still shoot my Canon full framers, and have compiled some very nice glass over the years that tends to sit on the shelf more often now that I shoot the micro 4/3 system.  I’ve been waiting for a solution to merge my two beloved systems, and Kipon has produced it.

Enter the new, Kipon EF>m4/3 Smart Adapter. Come on in for some insight and my experience over the last month…

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*Topaz ReMask 5 is here! Free upgrade, or on sale for 30% off with @topazlabs

IMG_0456 - 2008-08-17 at 16-20-00 - Version 2

I’ve reviewed ReMask a couple times before, and have spoken at length about how useful I find it.  If you use any layer based software, like Photoshop, or Affinity, this is a remarkable piece of software capable of saving hours upon hours.  ReMask5 is available as a free upgrade to anyone who owns an earlier version, or on sale for new folk at 30% off, $49.99 (normally $69.99) via Topaz Labs website HERE  

While ReMask has always functioned as a plugin for Photoshop, version 5 now operates as a standalone too!  This is great news for those of us who may be starting to work Adobe software out of our workflow as you can now select and mask a subject in an image within the program itself, and open that up in any layer based program.  Good news for the photography community at large as options are always good.  I still use PS CS6, but have started to work with Affinity Photo in anticipation of CS6 becoming unsupported at some point down the line.  Knowing that I’ll be able to continue to use ReMask if and when that happens has made me very happy.

C’mon in for a look at how easy it is to use ReMask5!

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*Alien Skin Software is 40% off right now! Summer sale w/ @alienskin


As a long standing fan of Alien Skin products, I find that it is my duty to alert you guys to their substantial price cuts on all software.  Full disclosure, I make no commissions on any sales of Alien Skin software during their sale, which while I’m a bit bummed about that, it is a great deal on some great apps.  Any and everything is 40% off through this Wednesday, the 26th, so  check it out at AlienSkin.com HERE 

You can download free trials of anything they have going.  I really like Exposure, myself.  Hit me up if you have any questions in the comments or on  Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram. If you’d like to receive email notifications on sales, reviews and tutorials, please feel free to add your email address at the top right of the page here. You’ll get email alerts as new articles are released.

Happy shooting!