*Lensbaby Velvet 56 for Micro 4/3 Review! w/ @SeeInANewWay


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There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the newest lens in the Lensbaby family.  The Velvet 56 offers a bit of a departure from what Lensbaby has been known by in that it has forgone the ability to selectively manipulate the plane of focus into a point or tangential plane, with most lenses offering the ability to be swapped into or out of one of their lens housing bodies like the Composer Pro, or Scout.

The new Velvet 56 is a solidly built, fixed focal length 56mm f/1.6 prime lens that has a different trick up its sleeve.  In days of yore, many portrait photographers used lenses that would intentionally soften contrast and the overall image, aptly called “soft focus” lenses.  

Enter the Velvet 56, and as its name suggests, it is as smooth as Barry White by candlelight.  C’mon in for some sample shots and my thoughts…

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*A quick color balancing tutorial vid using Exposure, with @alienskin

Hello everyone.  If you have ever been plagued by color casting or color temperature imbalance, here is a quick and easy way to neutralize color shift in an image.  I shoot a lot of product shots, and often do so with congruous backgrounds.  In these cases, I’ll often use different lights to get everything lit just the way I want it.  This often brings in some issues when wanting to balance that color in post.  Using Alien Skin Exposure (click here to give it a free trial and follow along), by converting a layer to a fairly flat, black and white image, I can control the shift in color while bringing back color where I want it to be.  As opposed to trying to reiterate the video, just give it a watch, and c’mon in for a few example before and afters…

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*Yes! Topaz DeNoise on sale!!! 25% off through June @topazlabs

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I’m often asked about various plugins that I use, and would recommend.  One that I always suggest, and state as one of my go to’s is DeNoise, and it is $20 off through the end of the month (use code “junedenoise” at checkout) HERE!  DeNoise usually goes on sale about once every year for a couple weeks, so if you’ve been waiting for this plugin to go on sale, here ya go!  If you’ve not yet tried DeNoise, I suggest downloading the free trial via the link above, at least and seeing what it can do.  C’mon in for some examples and my take on why I find it to be so useful.

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*Monthly Flickr Photo Blog Challenge – June 2015 “Friendship” with @mirrorlessons

Faraway Friends by Gonzalo Broto

“Faraway Friends” by Gonzalo Broto (Visit him HERE)

Welcome to our sixteenth monthly challenge theme, as chosen by last month’s winner, Gonzalo Broto.  If you’re just stumbling across these challenges, we (myself and friends Heather and Mat from Mirrorlessons) co-host a monthly photography theme challenge where anyone and everyone can submit an image, or images to our group threads over on flickr.

Simply interpret the theme, in this case “friendship” however you would like and as long as the image you submit is your own, it qualifies.  The theme runs through the current month, and at the end of the month, Heather, Mat and I each choose our favorite images and showcase those three along with a public vote on our respective websites, to be seen by all of you fine folks, giving us the ability to choose our overall favorite image.  The votes are tallied both from the polls here and on Mirrorlessons, and we crown the monthly winner after the vote is open for 5 days.

The real fun begins when we take our monthly winners, every 6 months, and showcase all the monthly champions again in a vote for the semi-annual champion, with the winner receiving free photography software, and various photo related hard goods.  We’ve been fortunate to have Alien Skin Software, Topaz Labs Software and Lensbaby all contribute in the past.  Great tools by great companies, by and for photographers.

Find the monthly theme threads in our Flickr Groups:

Tyson Robichaud Photo-blography Flickr Group HERE

Mirrorlessons Flickr Group HERE

It’s all free, and a fun way to provide a little motivation to get out and shoot while possibly connecting with fellow photographers all over the world, fittingly themed this month with ‘friendship’ so that’s pretty cool.

Take the theme, friendship, go forth, and enjoy.

To stay connected, find me via the socials, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Instagram and if you prefer email, 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.

Thanks for the read and happy shooting,

Tyson

*Congratulations to Gonzalo Broto, our winner for “Textures” with @Mirrorlessons

Water caprice

Congratulations to Gonzalo Broto (see more from him HERE) for winning our fifteenth monthly challenge for the theme “Textures” during the month of May.  See more from Gonzalo on his Blog HERE.  Stop by, say hi and give him a follow.

Thanks as always to Heather and Mat from Mirrorlessons for co-hosting.  We know that the recent flickr redesign has made it a bit trickier to stay abreast of the goings on through the groups there, but thank you to everyone that made the effort and submitted this month.  Hopefully Yahoo will leave flickr alone for a little while and let us get used to where everything is as opposed to continuing the attempted transformation into a boiled down, instagram clone.

Stay tuned for our soon to be announced theme for June, as chosen by Gonzalo, and keep up with all our challenges, reviews, specials and tutorials via the socials, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Instagram and if you’re into the email thing, 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.

Thanks for the read and happy shooting,

Tyson

*Time to vote for our 15th Monthly Flickr Photo Blog Challenge Theme Winner, Textures!

Congratulations and thank you to Tara Tanaka (visit Tara here) for both winning last month and choosing our theme this month, Textures.  We now have a new set of selections that Heather, Mat and I have chosen for this month’s vote.

Please vote for your favorite both below and over on Mirrorlessons here.  For those new to this, Heather and Mat from Mirrorlessons and I co-host a monthly challenge via our Flickr groups where anyone can submit an image based on the current theme.  At the end of the month, Heather, Mat and I each choose an image that we feel best exemplifies the theme and we host those images on our sites (like this vote here) and open a public vote to all our readers and passers by.  The winner gets to choose the next month’s theme, and is entered into our semi-annual champions vote where they go up against the other monthly winners in a vote where that winner walks away with photography gear and software.  Not bad.  Are you on Flickr?  Find us HERE and keep an eye peeled for new themes, the first week of each month.  This month, our choices for “Texture” are:

Color Mess“Color Mess” by suheilunneen


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“Voces” by Fernando Pereira


Water caprice

“Water caprice” by Gonzalo Broto

Vote for your favorite image, and please share with friends.  The more the merrier!  It has been wonderful to see these monthly challenges grow, getting to see and be inspired by many awesome photographers around the world.  We started these as a way to collaborate, network and hopefully inspire each other into shooting based on these themes, and while I am not technically submitting, I use the themes as motivation to try and shoot for the month.  It’s fun.

Thanks as always to everyone who submitted, all the voters and of course, Heather and Mat for being awesome.  Make sure to visit Mirrorlessons to both vote there, and say hi.

Stay tuned for our new theme which will be chosen by the winner of this vote after we’ve closed it on the 5th.

You can stay abreast of challenges via the socials, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Instagram and if you’re into the email thing, 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.

Thanks for the read and happy shooting,

Tyson

*A Pana-Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 review – I never should have doubted you.

Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH OIS Lens Panasonic

Now, readers may remember a mere 6 months or so ago, I purchased the Voigtländer 42.5mm f/0.95 lens (see that review on a new page HERE) for my micro 4/3 system setup.  I’ve loved that lens, but since its announcement I’ve been curious about the Leica branded Nocticron, largely because I do really enjoy shooting two of the other Leica branded lenses for the system in the Summicron 15mm and 25mm models.  The asking price for this portrait lens was always high for my taste, which was why I opted for the Voigt to begin with (which isn’t cheap in its own right, but 2/3 the retail price of the Nocti).  Well, as luck would have it, an open box/like new Nocticron came up for sale at near the same price as the Voigtländer and my curiosity couldn’t be held back, and now I’m tasked with figuring out which one to hold onto.

Here are my initial impressions on this beautiful lens.

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