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Harsh Light is All Right

We spent the mid part of Saturday in Sausalito for the TDS SF Workshop. The weather was beautiful for tourists, but not ideal for photographers. So what do you do when you want to take pictures in harsh, contrasty conditions?

I have three tricks to recommend. First, fill flash can help offset nasty shadows for portraits. If you have an off-camera cord or wireless communication, you can even position the fill light at exactly the right angle.

I think shooting infrared is also a terrific option. It thrives in contrasty lighting. And the one that I'm going to show you now is using a built-in camera effect. In this case I'm using the Key Line Art Filter on my Olympus OM-D. I saw a watercolor greeting card in one of the shops, and thought, "I can do something like that right now!"

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I capture these in RAW+Jpeg, so I have the "regular" images too without the effects. For the Jpegs, I use the Large/SuperFine setting to get as many pixels as possible. And with photos like this, you can make your own fine art greeting cards. You can get the scored blank cards, envelopes, and everything else at Red River Paper's Card Shop.

So, on a bright sunny day, I put on my sun block and keep taking pictures. I could care less about harsh light.

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Under the Bridge

Like any photographic subject, the more angles you explore, the more variety of shots you can capture.

This becomes particularly important with mature subjects, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, that is photographed hundreds of times a day. During the TDS SF Street Shooting Workshop, we went under the bridge for a different perspective. Here are a few of the images.

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In addition to playing with different perspectives, also consider working with different filters and exposures. For example, two of these shots were made using Art Filters on an Olympus OM-D mirrorless camera. I shoot RAW+Jpeg, so even with the filtered shots, I have a straight RAW version that I can work with in my photo management app.

Many of us have mature subjects in our worlds. Revisit one and explore how you can create fresh images from an old friend.

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Recently, David Grover, business support for Phase One, and myself got together for a conversation about moving from Aperture to Capture One Pro. This falls into line with my thinking that C1 is the logical transition from Aperture for professional and demanding enthusiast photographers.

This one-hour video, that you can watch for free, covers topics such as:

  • Similarities between the two photo management applications.
  • Differences and things I miss from Aperture.
  • New tools in C1 that I wish I had had in Aperture.
  • Tips for new Capture One users.
  • Resources for making the move from Aperture to Capture One.

If you're interested in these topics, you might want to spend your lunch break with us. It's a good conversation that I hope you'll find helpful.

More Capture One Pro Tips and Techniques

Improve your skills by watching Capture One Pro Essential Training now available on lynda.com. More than 5 hours of tips, tricks, and techniques. Plus many free movies using advanced techniques.

I've also created a dedicated Capture One Pro Training page on The Digital Story. You can follow all of the tips and techniques that I publish in one convenient spot.

Thinking About Making the Transition from Aperture or Lightroom? - Download my free eBook titled, Rocky Nook's Guide to Moving to Capture One Pro. I show you the steps to create a test library, then build the foundation for a smooth transition to Capture One Pro.

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This is The Digital Story Podcast #527, April 12, 2016. Today's theme is "Are Your Pictures Too Perfect?" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Photographers tend to be obsessed with perfection. Many discussions I read focus on the sharpest lens, the best image sensor, and the most extreme low light capability. But as part of that quest for the best, do we lose the feeling? Today's top story explores image perfection and its side effects.

Are Your Pictures Too Perfect?

I was reading an article titled, In Defense of Steve McCurry (Petapixel, Allen Murabayashi) where the author cited a critical comment about McCurry's new book, India. The comment was by New York Times Magazine photography critic, Tegu Cole, who wrote about McCurry, "Here's an old-timer with a dyed beard. Here's a doe-eyed child in a head scarf. The pictures are staged or shot to look as if they were. They are astonishingly boring." Later, Cole suggests that the perfectness of McCurry's photos somehow invalidates them - also slyly suggesting that McCurry's 1 million Instagram followers is proof of the eye candy nature of his images. Cole's criticism might also imply that the entirety of National Geographic photography is boring and "too perfect."

This got me thinking about the pursuit of perfection, and how it might lead to an absence of emotion. Here are a few points to consider.

  • Wrong side of the brain - When we become obsessed with the technical details, we may find ourselves stuck on the wrong side of the brain.
  • Viewers respond to images that make them feel something. Generally speaking, they don't care about the technical details of a photograph as much as they do about its content.
  • Photographers sometimes hide behind tech. Instead of stretching our artistic capabilities, we take an easy way out by pursuing technical perfection.
  • We forget to seek feedback. Instead of presenting a handful of images to a viewer and asking for comments, we think we know the best photos and move forward accordingly.

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theAnalogstory.com Debuts with Camera Giveaway for Film Photography Day

In celebration of Film Photography Day, we're giving away one Contax 137MD film camera with a 50mm lens. All you have to do is visit theAnalogstory.com and click on the red announcement banner across the top of the site. That will lead you to the page that spells out the details.

What, you didn't know about theAnalogstory.com? That's because it's brand new. Its focus is film photography in the digital age. And with contributions by photographers who have rediscovered film, plus a Camera Shop, Tech Specs, and more, my hope is that you'll find inspiration there too.

Film Photography Day was started by the good folks over at Lomography.com. You might want to wander over and take a look at their microsite too.

Mounting Old Lenses on New Cameras

This piece ties into both themes of today's show: disrupting the perfection of digital photography and enjoying the classic optics of analog gear. So I wanted to revisit the practice of dusting off one of your favorite optics from the film days, finding an adapter to mount it to your digital camera, and exploring the imagery you can create with than tandem.

Updates and Such

In Aperture Exile? Easing the change to Capture One, with guest Derrick Story - I'll be the special guest on an upcoming Capture One Pro webinar on April 13 at 9:00 AM PDT. The webinar is free, and you can sign up here.

Eastern Sierra Reservation Forms Went Out - I sent out the workshop reservation forms to the Reserve List this weekend. If you were on the list and didn't get a form, please send me an email. The Eastern Sierra photography workshop begins Thursday evening, Oct. 20 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 23rd. If you want to get on the next round reserve list, then go to the TDS Workshops page and use the Send Me Info form to get on the list.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

ImageFramer Take your photos to the next level with ImageFramer. Visit www.apparentsoft.com today.

MacPaw Creators of CleanMyMac 3 and other great software for Apple computers. Visit www.macpaw.com today.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

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You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Why would you care about theAnalogstory.com? After all, you're perfectly happy with your digital camera. Or are you?

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Have you had the sense that your images are all starting to look the same? Or that maybe you've lost your artistic edge as a photographer? I know I was feeling that. So back in December 2015, I took the challenge to start shooting film to see if that approach would elevate the entire body of my work.

And it did. And I began to notice the changes quickly.

I'm not an extremist who advocates that you flush your iPhone down the toilet and ditch your digital on craigslist. In fact, just the opposite. I believe that the integration of analog photography with digital workflows completes us. We now, literally, can choose the right tool for the project at hand.

I have never been happier as a photographer as I am now. I depend on my nimble mirrorless kit to help me publish online and satisfy clients' needs. My iPhone is an invaluable tool that records metadata for the analog shots, and quickly captures and shares images with others. I will never give up my digital cameras.

But exploring life with a film camera in hand on Sunday morning walks, bike rides, and strolls downtown has added an element of excitement and creativity to my work. I feel like a real photographer again. I'm approaching my images in a more thoughtful way. And I love working the controls on the camera.

I believe that the integration of analog and digital photography is the next big step. And I want to do everything that I can to share that journey with you.

Come by and browse theAnalogstory.com. We have viewpoints and images from film shooters, quickie tips, spec sheets, a Camera Shop, and links to related articles throughout the Web.

And if you have a passion for film, share your story with our audience. Send your post (approx. 500 words or less) with up to 6 images to theAnalogstory@gmail.com, and I'll read it. I promise. And if you want to see what others have shared, take a look at the Viewpoint section of the site.

I hope to see you there...

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I was just reading an Fstoppers review titled, The Funky Bokeh King: the Zenit Helios 40-2 85mm f/1.5. After looking at the pictures that the author created with the optic, I started thinking about exotic glass again.

the_swirly_bokeh_king._fstoppers_reviews_the_zenit_helios_40-2_85mm.jpg Fstoppers tests the Zenit Helios 40-2 85mm f/1.5.

We've seen similar offerings from Lensbaby, Lomography, and others, so clearly there's some interest in this category. Why?

My theory is that digital photography has become so precise, so perfect, that visual artists are craving something different. In part, this has fueled the renewed interest in film. But another way to go is to adapt old lens designs to your modern digital camera.

You probably have a few candidates in your closet right now. And there certainly are a plethora of inexpensive adapters on the market to mount just about any hunk of glass to any mirrorless or DSLR.

So if you're starting to feel that your images are all looking the same, think about an old lens... Then see what you can create.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

From Aperture to Capture One Pro

Aperture users still contemplating their next move may want to read my guest post on the Phase One blog titled, Smooth transition from Aperture to Capture One Pro 9.

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I write a bit about why I chose C1, then delve into the test library concept for those who prefer a smooth ride from one photo management app to another. There's also a 35-percent off coupon code for the book, "Capture One Pro 9, Mastering Raw Development, Image Processing, and Asset Management" by Sascha Erni. Not a bad deal at all!

More Capture One Pro Tips and Techniques

Improve your skills by watching Capture One Pro Essential Training now available on lynda.com. More than 5 hours of tips, tricks, and techniques. Plus many free movies using advanced techniques.

I've also created a dedicated Capture One Pro Training page on The Digital Story. You can follow all of the tips and techniques that I publish in one convenient spot.

Thinking About Making the Transition from Aperture or Lightroom? - Download my free eBook titled, Rocky Nook's Guide to Moving to Capture One Pro. I show you the steps to create a test library, then build the foundation for a smooth transition to Capture One Pro.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

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Panasonic just announced the DMC-GX85 mirrorless camera ($799 with 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 lens) that features new 5-Axis Dual I.S. (Image Stabilizer).

They write: "The LUMIX GX85 incorporates the new 5-axis Dual I.S.(Image Stabilizer) for more effective suppression of blur. Combining an O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer, 2-axis) and a B.I.S.(Body Image Stabilizer, 5-axis), the 5-axis Dual I.S. compensates for larger movement which was conventionally uncontrollable, making it possible to use 4-step slower shutter speed. By making the most of both O.I.S and B.I.S., it is highly beneficial not only in wide angle but also in telephoto and in the adverse situations such as at nighttime or with one-hand shooting."

"The 5-axis Dual I.S. works in both photo and motion picture recording including 4K video. Panasonic LUMIX G DSLM (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless) Cameras offer a wide variety of digital interchangeable lenses and most of them will comply with this 5-axis dual I.S. in LUMIX GX85 and the B.I.S. compensates for the camera movement even when a lens without O.I.S. is used."

Other highlights include:

  • 16MP Live MOS Sensor
  • 2.76m-Dot 0.7x Electronic Viewfinder
  • 3.0" 1.04m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
  • UHD 4K Video Recording at 30/24 fps
  • Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity
  • ISO 25600 and 10 fps Shooting with AF-S
  • DFD AF System, 4K Photo Modes

All of this tech is packed into a handsome, compact package. Personally, I like that Panasonic is offering dual-image stabilization more often these days. I think it's an excellent option, and it allows us to more easily use both our Panasonic and our Olympus lenses.

The Lumix DMC-GX85 will go on sale at the end of May for $799.99 with a 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 collapsible kit zoom.


Nimble Photographer Logo

The Lumix DMC-GX85 has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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This is The Digital Story Podcast #526, April 5, 2016. Today's theme is "Is Aperture Priority the Ultimate Exposure Mode?" I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Of all the exposure modes, I think Aperture Priority offers the best convergence of control and convenience. I like it because it keeps my head in the composition game without killing my creativity. In fact, I'm a far more expressive photographer in Aperture Priority mode. We lead off today's show with a closer look why.

Is Aperture Priority the Ultimate Exposure Mode?

Practically every camera offers Aperture Priority. You set the f/top and the camera sets the shutter speed. It's so simple, yet shooting in this mode is bound to improve your pictures. Here are some reasons why.

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  • Controlling Depth of Field. This is the biggie. Not every composition should have a soft background, nor should it be sharp from front to back. What works best for your subject?
  • Lens Performance. Most of my SLR optics are best at 5.8 to 11. But my Micro Four Thirds lenses are ideal at f/4 and not stopped down.
  • Keeps You In Touch with Your Camera. Have you ever drifted off while shooting without any idea of what's going on with your camera?
  • Natural Vignetting. Many lenses, especially those without in-camera correction, will vignette slightly wide open. You can use this to your advantage for portraits.
  • Motivates You to Shoot With Primes. As you get more hooked on Aperture Priority shooting, primes become more desirable because of their wider latitude of exposure settings.

In the News

Fujifilm releases several camera and lens firmware updates - covered by DP Review.

In addition to the X-Pro2 firmware update we reported on last week, Fujifilm has released a number of firmware updates for several lenses and camera bodies: the X-Pro1, X-Pro2, X-M1, X-E1, X-A1, and X-A2, as well as the XF 50-140mm F2.8 and XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lenses. Changes and firmware versions vary based on model, but most camera body updates simply add support for a focus limiter function on the XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6.

Member Quotes of the Week

Intelligent comments culled from The Digital Story Facebook page.

In regard to last week's Facebook Post: "Choosing to Go It Alone," we had some terrific comments, and I want to share them with you now.

Charles wrote: "Good for you Derrick and the best of luck. Although I switched to digital about a dozen or so years ago, I spent more years as a film photographer (Kodachrome 25, 64, and the 'high speed' 200) and will happily follow the analogue story."

Chris added: "I'm now in a position to start scanning my slides they're from back in 1981 onwards my latest love is a 1950s Mamiya 6 folder - film photography is FAR from gone! Bring it on Big D."

John kicked in: "I recently had my Nikon FE2 refurbished. My first camera was an oatmeal box pinhole. I miss the smell of chemicals and the feel of working under a red tinged light. Looking forward to seeing what you create!"

And finally Andrew wrapped it all up by commenting: "Good luck with this new venture. My film camera collection keeps growing. Your new site is probably going to do nothing to stop that trend."

Post your thoughts on our Facebook page. Believe me, I read them. Also, we have a question going on Facebook right now: "If you had to pick one film camera from the past, that you craved, but couldn't afford, what would it be?"

Editing Extensions Update

There's been another rush of editing extensions recently added to the Mac App Store. If you haven't checked lately, just enter "Editing Extension" in the search field. My current count of legitimate extensions is about a dozen. I just reviewed Color Filters on TDS. I really like it a lot. And don't forget about my lynda.com training, Photos for OS X Essential Training.

Updates and Such

In Aperture Exile? Easing the change to Capture One, with guest Derrick Story - I'll be the special guest on an upcoming Capture One Pro webinar on April 13 at 9:00 AM PDT. The webinar is free, and you can sign up here.

Eastern Sierra Reservation Forms Went Out - I sent out the workshop reservation forms to the Reserve List this weekend. If you were on the list and didn't get a form, please send me an email. The Eastern Sierra photography workshop begins Thursday evening, Oct. 20 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 23rd. If you want to get on the next round reserve list, then go to the TDS Workshops page and use the Send Me Info form to get on the list.

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

ImageFramer Take your photos to the next level with ImageFramer. Visit www.apparentsoft.com today.

MacPaw Creators of CleanMyMac 3 and other great software for Apple computers. Visit www.macpaw.com today.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

For only $5, you can add an exhaustive (but easy to use) collection of filters to your Photos for OS X app. The editing extension is called Color Filters for Photos, and it's worth a look.

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Like any Editing Extension, the easiest route is to purchase and download from the Mac App Store. In this case, Colors will only set you back $4.99. Once the download is complete, go to System Preferences > Extensions > Photos and turn on Color Filters. Now you're ready to have fun.

Open an image in Photos for OS X, then press the Return key to go to editing mode. At the bottom of the list on the right side, click on Extensions, and choose Color Filters from the popup menu.

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In the Color Filters interface, you're presented with some nice pre-processing adjustments, such as highlights and shadows. Then you can move down to the filters themselves. There are six different sets, each with a healthy list of options. Just mouse over the different items on the list, and you'll see your image temporarily transformed with the filter. Find one you like, and click on it. The filter is applied. Click the Save Changes button to return to Photos.

Just like anything else in Photos, this process is totally non-destructive. While in Edit mode, you can press the M key to see the unedited version of the image, or choose Revert to Original to remove the effect altogether.

Color Filters is a well-coded, well-designed application. The performance is snappy, and the effects are terrific. Seems like a must-have investment for any Photos for OS X photographer.

Master Photos for OS X

(It's More Powerful than You Think)

For hands-on tutorials, be sure to take a look at Photos for OS X Essential Training on lynda.com. I cover everything you need to know to get the most from this surprisingly powerful image management application.

More Help and Insights on Photos for OS X

Don't forget about the Photos for OS X Special Feature Section on The Digital Story. It's a roundup of tutorials, videos, and articles focused on helping you master Apple's latest photo management software. You can also find it under Photography in the top nav bar.

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