*Nauti Straps is a go! A new home for my hand built, camera straps w/Discount Code!

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Hello friends! I’ve been working tirelessly (well, okay, that’s a lie, I’ve been fairly delirious actually) over the last couple months to put together a new home for the camera straps that I’ve been building for the last few years.  With a new, grown up name and site, I give you, NautiStraps.com  

Along with the tried and true Cascade and Vector wrist straps, I have introduced two new, shoulder straps as well.  The Speed Sling is a pared down version of the Speed Holster Strap that we launched through Mettle Cycling (available directly soon), and the new Regatta Strap which utilizes a very high performance, dual braid yachting line for a comfortable, and very strong option.  

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Many of you found my blog through the wrist straps that I’ve been building and selling.  Thank you for the support over the years.  If you’ve enjoyed them, I’d greatly appreciate any buzz you can help me create for these.  My wife and I are the dual proprietors of this new venture, and instead of kickstarting or asking for money up front, we’d rather try to build on the reputation I’ve worked so hard to create over time and have already invested in the material to actually make these.  No need to pledge, you or a photog friend can get one whenever you want.  So a tweetmyfacestagram, repost or even a comment here would be awesome.  As always, I’d love to hear about your experience with them, and you can get to me through the Nauti Straps site, or contact me HERE.

Pricing stays the same as it has always been, the only differences are that product and shipping are separate on the new site, and I can now take credit cards directly through the site along with PayPal.  As a thank you to all my friendly blog readers, I’ve set up a discount specifically for anyone that would like to try out a new Nauti Strap.  Use code “TRPBLOG” at checkout for 15% off any and all straps this week.  

Go to NautiStraps.com HERE

Finally, if you have an Instagram account, I’d love to connect there as well.  You can find us @nautistraps and follow for promos, giveaways and photo fun.  We’re a follow back kind of couple too:)

Stay tuned here on the blog which I’ll keep updated with new releases and designs as we launch them.  You can still find us through the Camera Straps Page HERE as well.

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Thanks all, happy shooting and #getnauti!

Tyson

*Fun with Topaz, featuring Billy Burg! Also, Complete Collection 40% OFF w/ @topazlabs

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I’m sure you’re getting sick of seeing me ramble on about Topaz plugins, so let’s try something new here… My friend and fairly frequent contributor, Billy Burg has shared with us, some of his results using a couple of his favorite Topaz plugins and insight into his process.  

It so happens that Topaz is running a couple of pretty substantial sales right now as well.  As mentioned last week, Glow and Impression are available individually for 25% off by using the code “TOPAZART” via Topaz Labs HERE, which runs through the end of May, but now Topaz has decided to go full bore and offer the complete collection, yes all 17 products, for 40% off (normally $499, now $299) using the code “SPRINGSUMMER2016” at checkout via Topaz’ website HERE!  

Now, here’s another cool tidbit for those of us who’ve already invested in various plugins, if you sign in at Topaz Labs with the email address/account you created to download software, your account will automatically deduct the plugins you’ve already purchased from the complete collection price, and using that same SPRINGSUMMER2016 code, you can get the remaining plugins for 40% off!  Of course, you can always download full, free trials via the link above too, and give any or all of these killer plugins a try before deciding to buy or not.  This sale runs through Sunday May 22nd, so you have a couple of weeks to try them out and decide.

Come on in to see more of Billy’s befores and afters.

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*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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*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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*30% off everything! Now is the time to explore Alien Skin software if you haven’t already. w/@alienskin

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I’m a long time user and fan of Exposure along with all the other Alien Skin products having originally researched and purchased Exposure back in version 3, so Alien Skin doesn’t have to do much to impress me.  I’m already convinced and know how useful and enjoyable Exposure is, and has been for me over the years.  Preacher:Choir.

If you’ve spent much time on my blog over the years, you’ve probably seen me review just about every release they’ve done over the last half decade or so, and I’ve even connected with many of you that have found me because of my involvement with reviewing and sharing tutorials using Alien Skin software, or having done some articles for their blog based on specific techniques I use Exposure for in my own workflow.

If you use Exposure, Snap Art or Blow Up, I’m guessing you already have a good idea about what these programs bring to the table, and if you’ve not yet upgraded to Exposure X, I’d highly suggest downloading the trial to see the new, non-destructive RAW editing workflow and feature additions along with beautifully customizable workspace tools.  For those that have not yet gone down this ever enjoyable rabbit hole, now is a great time to kick the tires on some seriously killer software.

Alien Skin has their winter sale going on, offering 30% off of any and all Alien Skin products new or as upgrades for current users at Alienskin.com HERE.

The current offerings and sale prices are as follows:

Exposure X ($149 – on sale for $104.30, upgrade for $69.30)

Snap Art 4 ($99 – on sale for $69.30, upgrade for $48.30)

Blow Up 3 ($99 – on sale for $69.30, upgrade for $48.30)

Photo Bundle (incl: Exposure X, Snap Art 4 and Blow Up 3) normally $299 on sale for over 50% off at $139.30!!!

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Eye Candy 7 ($129 – on sale for $99.30, upgrade for $55.30)

The sale is on now, through next Wednesday, March 2nd, so you’ve got a week to give these programs a free trial.  You can see all the programs, and find the free download links via the product pages HERE.  Come on in for more of my thoughts and experiences with the Alien Skin software programs.

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*ZY Optics, Zhong Yi Mitakon Speedmaster 25mm f/0.95 lens for Micro 4/3 user review

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Small, sharp, fast, relatively light and comparably inexpensive.  All things I love in a lens.  ZY Optics has produced yet another ultra fast option for micro 4/3 shooters, but a first option available in a dedicated mount, faster than f/1.4, new for under $400. 

The question now stands, how does this fit in with all the other standard/normal lens offerings within the micro 4/3 landscape?  Well, more easily than you might think.  While not perfect, it definitely has enough going for it to justify a look.  C’mon in for my thoughts and some tests against the Pana-Leica 25mm f/1.4 Summilux…

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*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