*Topaz Impression and Glow, both 25% off w/ @topazlabs

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Need a little artistic inspiration?  Try running one of your images through Topaz Impression, a beautiful paint and mixed media plugin and/or Glow, Topaz’ deliciously surreal fractal effect plugin.  These two offerings are both on sale for 25% off right now by using the code TOPAZART at checkout over at Topaz Labs HERE.  As always, Topaz offers full free trials for those interested, and I’d highly suggest checking them out if these effects suit your style.  You can download those free trials directly from Topaz HERE.  If you like them, jump on this sale before it disappears.

Come on in to see some more examples and thoughts on how and why I use these two awesome pieces of software in my own work.

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*Finally, new Speed Holster Straps finished and available exclusively through Mettle Cycling!

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This strap has been a labor of love.  Over the last 6 months or so, I’ve worked on a design to keep a camera from swinging all over the place while riding or hiking while also enabling quick and easy one hand operation to swing the camera back and forth.  Those with a keen eye may have seen some leaks as we’ve eluded to this design over that time.    My friend and collaborator, Randall and I have finally launched the new Speed holster Strap over on his site: MettleCycling.com Head over and check them out!

The Speed Holster Strap focuses on weight (weighs a few ounces) and a low profile, perfect for those that like to blend riding and photography.  Meant to carry a small to mid size system camera (or compact) via the quick release clip and heavy duty, 170b split ring attached to the camera.  Offered in two sizes, M/L for those riders up to about  5’10” and then and XL for us gangly monsters.   The holster piece comes across your chest and under your opposite arm to keep the camera from swinging while riding or hiking around and will relatively stay put when put back.  

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These are a very labor intensive product, so we’re only able to do small runs at a time.  We’ll see how these are received and then try to continue to keep up with any demand.  Head over to MettleCycling.com and grab one while they’re still around.

Thanks to all who’ve helped us prototype these, and to Randall for getting these out to the community.  Tag us with #trpblography and #onmymettle so we can see and share your shots and of course, we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with us via the socials: find me on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram.   

Happy shooting,

Tyson

@Lensbaby Twist 60, rebirth of a classic, quirky, beautiful optic w/@SeeInANewWay

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Lensbaby’s optical engineers have done it again.  After moving away from the toy camera replication type lenses into more complicatedly designed optics with lenses like the Sweet 35 and 50, Edge 50 and 80 and the Velvet 56, they’ve replicated the swirly vortex of the old Joseph Petzval designed optic from 174 years ago with this new Twist 60.  Don’t dismiss this lens as pure kitsch, as it is remarkably sharp where you’d want it for a portrait lens (middle frame) and while, wide open you’ll see some pretty severe vignetting to go along with the twirly bokeh, this adds to its charm and vintage qualities.  Portrait painters of yesteryear used many different brushes to create their renditions, and this can certainly be seen as a wonderfully specialized brush for the portrait photographer, along with those looking to add some fun to shots of any kind. 

While perhaps not an effect to suit everyone’s taste, it is one that has found a place for certain portrait and fine art photographers looking to add in camera effects to visibly differentiate their look.  With other companies seeing the value in chasing this corner of the market with lenses like the Kickstarter Petzval clone and the Trioplan Soap bokeh lenses that are looking to be launched on the market, it’s obvious that there is some demand for these newer versions of throwback optical designs.  The question though, is how much are photographers looking for these optical effects willing to pay?

Priced at a very modest $280 for the Twist 60 Lens (optic and non-tilting metal lens body housing) available in Canon EF, Nikon F and Sony E mount, or $180 for the optic solely, the Twist 60 is certainly worth a look.  You can find it at Adorama HERE, B&H HERE or directly through Lensbaby HERE.

C’mon in for more example shots, some technical mumbo jumbo and my thoughts on this lens…

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*@Topazlabs ReMask Prime?! A powerful standalone quick selection app for Mac users + FREE GIVEAWAY! (not an April Fools Joke)

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Firstly, this is not an April Fools ruse.  I am giving away activation codes for this new software:) Technology can be embraced or ignored, it can be celebrated or feared, or it can fumble somewhere in between all those things.  I myself, really enjoy much of what is on offer, especially as a photographer.  I totally appreciate those that take a purist approach, but for me, I love playing with digital imagery using various software applications, and here my friends, is a very cool, very affordable piece of remarkable software.  Enter, Topaz ReMask Prime (click here to see in in the Mac App Store).  A fully functional, standalone desktop version of the irreplaceable ReMask software.  If you already own ReMask and run it as a plugin for PS, you’ll probably not need a standalone version (although, I’m starting to see a benefit), but for those who do not, this is a very cheap way to see the power of ReMask in all its glory.

Come on in to see some info and examples from Topaz ReMask Prime, a new standalone app built on the standard ReMask plugin…

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*GX8 Shutter Shock test. Mechanical and Electronic both with and without IBIS…

IMG_9722I had never, ever noticed any issue with shutter shock personally.  This goes for my experience with the GX8, the OMD EM5 years back that many claimed to have had issues, and any other camera I’ve owned and shot with.    This isn’t to say that my cameras didn’t suffer from this issue, I’m just saying that I’ve never noticed it.  That may be that I’ve not been a huge pixel peeper (except when doing these types of tests for these articles) or perhaps I’ve just been easily able to excuse any softness for whatever reason.

That said, I have received a few emails over the last couple months asking specifically about the shutter shock issue with the GX8 and so I thought it might be handy to run a test to satisfy my own curiosity, and better equip myself when attempting to answer these types of inquiries.  C’mon in to see the results…

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*1 day left for the Alien Skin super sale! w/@alienskin

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Please excuse my software pushing here, but as an avid user of Exposure, and contributor to the Alien Skin blog over the years, I’ve developed a great personal relationship with a few of the folks there.  They’re awesome, and I want to see a company like them continue to succeed wherever possible so that they keep making radical software for photographers and designers.  

That said, I don’t suggest buying anything you’re not into simply to appease us lowly photo bloggers, so if you haven’t yet, give it a free try and do it quick because I don’t know if Alien Skin will offer Exposure X (brand new) on sale again for some time.  That, and you can get the Complete Collection (Exposure X, Snap Art 4 and Blow Up 3) on sale for less than Exposure X goes for normally!  

You can see my thoughts on the different releases over the years from Alien Skin under the Software section on my Review Page HERE lest you think I’m blindly shilling.

You can see, try and buy any or all Alien Skin software products via their website HERE.

30% off single plugins, or over 50% off the already discounted Complete Collection.  Sale ends tonight!

 

*Topaz DeNoise 6! New, on sale, reviewed and compared to DeNoise 5 w/@topazlabs

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Topaz has just released version 6 of their DeNoise software.  It may seem like I’m plugging a lot of software of late, but it just so happens that the software that I have chosen to use is getting updated, and offered on sale which is pretty awesome.

I have used most all noise reduction (NR) plugins out there over the years, and while DAM software like Lightroom and Capture One do a good to decent job for a lot of NR tasks, I have never found better noise reduction anywhere than I have with DeNoise.  So, what has changed with version 6?  I’ve been testing version 6 against version 5 all week to see if I can really tell where they’ve improved it, and I feel that comes in the way of interface primarily, a huge boost to developing, saving and grouping presets specific to cameras, and further allowing those of us using this plugin to streamline our workflow when batch processing.

Topaz DeNoise 6 is on sale now, $30 off through March 20th HERE at Topaz Labs Website for $49.99 (normally $79.99) or as a FREE UPGRADE (as seems to always be the case with Topaz) for DeNoise owners!  Use code “NOISEFREE” at checkout to get the sale price, and do so knowing that future upgrades will very, very likely be offered as a free upgrade as well.  You can always try it out for free too.  You can download a full free trial HERE if interested to see if it makes sense for you.

I chose DeNoise years ago because it beat the pants off of NIK Dfine for me (especially when correcting for noise banding), which I’d switched to after using Noise Ninja for years.  I’ve yet to see anything outdo DeNoise, and the new version is an upgrade to an already stellar program.

If you’d like to see a side by side comparison between DeNoise 5 and 6, along with my thoughts on what has been improved upon, come on in…

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