*New Aurora HDR Pro for Mac OS from @wearmacphun

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While the practice of merging exposures is a topic of much debate, I don’t really care.  If you’re not into it, I totally understand and respect that.  I too enjoy capturing and processing final images using single frames for 90%+ of my own photography.  For the other stuff though, I do love me a nicely balanced, merged exposure and have for many, many years.  I find the ability to bracket and merge in post a valuable tool when needing to be in and out of a space in a shorter amount of time (as opposed to setting up multiple lights for each and every shot which can limit the total amount of finished shots in the same time period).  I’d like to say that clients will happily pay for 4 or 5 hours while you set up and shoot, but I’ve not found many that will A) have that much down time to shoot unless I want to shoot at 3 in the morning, which I totally don’t) or B) have the budget for, or see the value in a photographer that takes that long to shoot a space.  Time is money, and the more I can save myself (and price my time to the client accordingly) the better off I’ll be. 

Over my personal journey with HDR, I’ve used quite a few programs (HDR Soft/Photomatix, Everimaging HDR, HDR Efex, Photoshop…) and when Macphun and Trey Ratcliff recently announced Aurora HDR for Mac users, I was very interested.  Much of my actual paid photography work falls into the interior design and hospitality realm, working with that wonderful group of folks at the ELK Collective.  

My goal has always been a natural representation of light and space, which as many know, can be tricky when tonemapping images through an HDR program.  When shooting an interior space, I want to take advantage of the actual dynamic range, getting detail in the highlights and shadows when and where I feel necessary, not just tone mapping for a more dramatic effect.  Well, I chose to process my most recent shoot using solely Aurora HDR Pro, and here’s what I found out about that program along the way…   Continue reading

*Quick look! Check out the dynamic range recovery on the GX8, which also happens to be on sale!

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I am mere hours of work away from posting my GX7 vs GX8 final comparison, but going through images from my work trip last week, I came across a snapshot I took while rushing to catch the tram.  The sun rise was begging to be recorded, and I quickly pulled my GX8 (on sale for $200 off right now DOH! see it at B&H HERE and Adorama HERE) with the PL15mm out of the bag and literally stopped walking for a second to take this shot.  The sky dominated the exposure, as it should have in this case, and just now I tried bringing up the shadows to see what I could get as I’d not really pushed any of the GX8 frames quite this far, in this way.  Well, color me frigging impressed… have a look:

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*Topaz Adjust, ‘a bit of everything Topaz’ plugin on sale! w/ @topazlabs

For many of us, Topaz Adjust was the first Topaz plugin that we bought.  It was a one click solution to enhance a variety of images in a multitude of ways.  Many of the newer Topaz plugins have even been born as an expansion from some of the filters in Adjust, so I guess you could call it the OG Topaz plugin.  It has grown over the years to include many more filters and is onto version 5.

It is currently on sale for $29.99, 40% off through July (normally $49.99) on Topaz Labs website HERE (use code julyadjust at checkout).

If you’d like to see and read more about my thoughts on Adjust, come on in!

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*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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*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

*How to shoot HDR Composite imagery with people

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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…

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*Shooting a residential project for the ELK Collective

ELK Collective Design

Interior design is something I rarely thought about until I started dating my wife years back.  Her eye, attention to detail, intentional purchases regarding furniture and design elements as well as a desire to shift everything in our home around on a regular basis has led me to gain a better understanding of the importance of personal space.  We spend so much time in very few places, which for most of us are our homes, offices and the like.  Mrs Squeeze’s ability to build a continuity of style in our home has allowed me to recognize nuances and features in other’s homes now as well.  My friend and fellow ELK Collective collaborator Megan and I spent a day documenting a residential project she has worked on over the last couple years.  It is a modern, warm and inviting space that balances linear design with an asymmetrical balance that certainly proves both fashionable and functional for a young family.  C’mon in to see more…

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