A really well designed piece of gear by Jobu (A Canadian company). It is made of airplane grade aluminum, and fits snugly around the camera, so you can shoot either vertical or horizontal. The bracket on the left still allows you to access all the ports on the side of the camera. And it has an allan key which ingeniously is hidden in the bottom, and held in place by a magnet in a recessed groove. On sale at Vistek for a fabulous price.
I finally bit the bullet and bought this tripod for shooting macro. I first learned about it from Mike Moats, after taking one of his workshops. The tripod almost lays flat, has spiked feet, and has a center column that can be adjusted at a multitude of angles. I like that you can shoot over top of your subject. It also has a loop under the center column when shooting higher, so you can attach a back-pack or whatever for more stability. It is available in aluminum alloy or carbon fibre, and priced accordingly. Really reasonable at B and H, if you live in the States, I got mine at Amazon.ca.
They throw in a carrying case as well.
I attended this exhibit last year at the ROM, and it is well worth it. Over 100 photographers' are represented, and I think I spent about three hours going through it. (two or three times) The exhibit starts on November 21st.
From WPOTY 2014 photograph by Will Jenkins
From WPOTY 2015 photograph by Morkel Erasmus
A great way to make local adjustments to an image, using luminosity masks. Tony Kuyper has developed masks, in three combinations, lights, darks, and zones. He also has a panel for quick access to adjustments in Photoshop. The masks leave no outline, so it is great for LCE (Local Contrast Enhancements). The whole package is 40 USD, and his site includes a lot of tutorials. Pretty easy to use, and it gives you very good control over certain areas in an image that you choose.
A before and after comparison.
In this image I knew I had to lighten the lightest lights, and the darkest darks for print. The first image is before the luminosity mask, the second after.
If you are looking for some really nice soft light, I recommend the Lumiquest Pocket Bouncer for macro photography. It will give you really nice soft light from your external flash (mine is the Canon 580 EX), with the 100mm macro lens. Available at Vistek on special order for 26.99 plus tax. Would be good to use for portraits too, as the flash will go about ten feet. I was using the twin light macro light and the direct lighting is harsh even with Stofen diffusers. This is a much better alternative.
A few sample images below.
The first shot was taken outdoors, and the second indoors, with the flash pointing directly at the subject.
I took a very good course on painting pet portraits by Cheryl Butler, called "Fur Babies". It is a five week online course, but you can do it at your own pace. Brushes and techniques are all supplied in the weekly PDF files. To start with you do need a good image. The one above was taken with a flash, so the lighting is pretty good and the background blurred. The background blender brush is worth the price of the whole course by itself. You have to be really committed to doing portraits, because they can take you anywhere form 6 to 8 hours. The hardest part, the whiskers! If you are interested, you can go to www.bellefleurtextures.com, for more information.
Another film recommendation. National Geographic photographer James Balog set out to complete his "Extreme Ice Survey" and his film was presented at the Sundance film festival in 2012. He set up over 50 cameras in 3 continents to measure the retreat of the world's glaciers. After all of the camera's failed he had to set them up all over again. The time-lapse photography records the deaths of this giant glaciers. He also has done a TED talk worth watching. "Chasing Ice" was on Netflix for a while. Mandatory watching for anyone who cares about this planet.
In 2009 John Maloof went to a contents sale in Chicago. He was hoping to find some historical photos of the area, and stumbled upon box after box of negatives, and thousands of rolls of undeveloped colour and black and white film. It was the work of Vivian Maier, an enigmatic, notoriously private person who worked as a nanny. She always had a Rolleiflex twin reflex camera around her neck. Now hailed as one of the great street photographers of the 20th century, a number of books have come out featuring her work. John Maloof is currently trying to get her work included in some of the great galleries, but MOMA for example will not accept her work, as it is being printed posthumously. If you get a chance to see his movie "Finding Vivian Maier", I highly recommend it.
David DuChemin, a world-renowned photographer, sustained multiple injuries in a fall in Italy when he was scouting out a shot and slipped and fell down thirty feet. Broken ankles, fractured wrist, a fractured hip were some of the injuries. He is lucky to be alive. This happened back in 2011, and he is still having surgery.
He has number of wonderful books, some of which I own, and frequently epubs. Visit his site, wish him well !
This makes my broken ankle look like nothing.
More info on what he calls "The Italian Incident".
I think I could make through a metal detector:) Still healing though. Never break your ankle. It is a tough recovery.
This is one of my most recent x-rays. I hope just be able to walk normally, hike, and photograph like I used to! Wish me well!
This started out as a pretty conventional shot, but the flow and the colours were pretty, so it was a good choice to further enhance the image. I must mention I use Photoshop CS6.
First of all I put it through a filter called Fractalius (by Redfield) a very reasonably priced filter, and lots of fun. This gave the flowers edge definition with a white outline. The opacity was reduced.
I then create a new layer using the Control>Shift>Alt>E keys. On this next layer I went to Filter>Filter Gallery>Distort>Glass Filter.
I was lucky enough to witness this beautiful and amazing spectacle in Mexico. The birds arrived just after sunset and just before sundown, like clockwork, everyday. It is like a huge organic wave made up of thousands of starlings. This particular murmuration takes place in the UK. Thanks to George for the video!
Thought provoking video from David Attenborough. Thanks to my friend George who shared this with me.
An important lesson from a National Geographic Editor. Another heads up from my friend George.
I was excited to find out yesterday that my image, "Waiting for the Little Prince", was chosen as the Image of the Year (Out of the Box Category) at BirdPhotographers.net . This is one of my favourite images of all time and there is a tutorial in this blog on how to create a mini-world.
BirdPhotographers.net is a great site and you will improve your photography skills with great critiques, and posts from other members. Also it is only $20 dollars/year. Quite a bargain.
I think a lot of you know about this feature, maybe some don't. Pretty handy feature. Thanks to my friend George who reminded me about this. Note not all cameras have it. Just check and see if you see and AF-ON button on the back of your camera. Here is the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzqQskGoURE
This is something I never knew about before. A good reason to shoot Live View with your Electronic First Curtain Shutter Enabled. (EFCS)
A great read from Robert O'Tooles' January 2014 Newsletter. http://www.robertotoole.com/2014/01/28/electronic-first-shutter-curtain/
It is another dull winter day. I was given these paperwhite bulbs for Christmas, and they have just come in to bloom. So I set up a little indoor shoot using window light and the 100mm macro lens. I used a green matte board for the background and used a silver reflector to brighten up the centers of the flowers. They look like miniature daffodils and have a wonderful fragrance.
I used the image overlay feature of the 5D Mark III and shot one shot with a shallow DOF and the other quite blurry. I combined them using the "average" mode of the camera. After a few tonal tweaks and a little vibrance in Photoshop I added some textures for the final picture. It makes a lovely print on Velvet Fine Art paper. I must say it is one of my favourite images.
Thinking of selling your camera? I found a neat little app that will be able to determine your shutter actuations and help you put a value on your camera when you put it up for sale. It is called EOScount.com It will allow you to hook up your camera via the USB cable that came with your kit. It will read the serial number if it is able to determine the number of pictures taken. Then for a small fee (1.79 via PayPal) it will give you the shutter count. Helpful when determining a selling price for your camera!
From an excerpt from the Ontario Beekeepers Association:
"Ontario's bees are dying in massive numbers due to the pervasive use of neonicotinoid pesticides on our agricultural field crops. Fully a third of our food relies on pollinators: without bees, Ontario's food supply could be in serious trouble. Further, these chemicals leach into soils, groundwaters and waterways, and can persist for years, killing not only bees, but other pollinators, aquatic insects, amphibians and birds.
We already have sufficient evidence to prove that neonicotinoid pesticides are killing our bees.
Canada's Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency has confirmed that last year's widespread bee deaths in Ontario were caused by neonicotinoid pesticides. As well, dozens of independent, peer reviewed scientific research studies have concluded that these pesticides pose a significant threat to bees and other wildlife. Furthermore, science and experience has shown that neonicotinoids don't really increase significant agricultural yield in the long run.
Join Ontario's beekeepers and their agricultural, environmental and scientific partners in urging Premier Wynne to ban neonicotinoid pesticides in time for the 2014 planting season.
Ontario's bees are in unprecedented peril. In the past two years alone, Ontario has seen a 35% decline in honey bees. The time for urgent, precautionary action is now."
For information on the science behind our position: OBABee Cause. Sign this petition and
share with everyone here.
The European Union has banned this pesticide for two years. Also the bees die a horrible
death and become paralyzed and die. I think this is important.
Please sign this petition.
An excellent article by photographer E.J. Peiker in his quarterly "Quack Newsletter", the Summer 2013 edition. http://www.ejphoto.com/newsletter.htm Too long to reprint here, but worth the read.
I found lots of books on how to shoot IR images, but few on how to process your RAW images. I had my old Canon 20D converted to Super Colour IR by LifePixel. Every so often they have specials so check their site. They also have lots of information on infrared photography and video tutorials.
First off I try and shoot a piece of white paper in the light I am shooting and do a custom white balance in the camera. I have heard that shooting green grass works well too, although I have not tried that method.
Also when shooting IR the camera likes sky, water and anything with chlorophyll in it so try and get these elements in your images. Also I bracket expose in camera because it is really easy to blow out the highlights in an image. More often than not the image I choose will be at -2 or -1 when shot in manual mode. I use the 50mm for shooting.
When you have your image in Camera Raw I use the white balance dropper and place it on part of the image that I think that is close to middle green. This will usually change your colour temperature to 2000K and change the tint dramatically (it will end up in the green side). Now open your shot in the editor of your choice. I then run the
image through a noise reduction program. Then I run the photo through an
action from here http://khromagery.com.au/resources.html
You can download this and add it to your actions dropdown menu. (This
site also has an excellent write-up on IR so it is worth
reading. It recommends lenses and cameras that are best for doing
IR. ) The action will swap the red and blue colour channels as well
as adjust contrast, and hue and saturation. Finally if the image
needs a colour boost I adjust in LAB. The more you practice the
better you will get at converting. I find it helpful to have sky in the
image, then I know how far to adjust the hue slider. Anyways, happy
B and H tested a Canon T5i and a Nikon D 5200 with a lens on yesterday and dropped them both from a height of 4 feet to see how they would hold up. The lenses were toast and the Nikon needed some time to recover, but after putting new lenses on they both worked. Canon was declared the winner as it had fewer scratches.
In this same vein, the following is a video of a Canon 7D that was put through various forms of abuse.
You'll be surprised at how durable it really is.
The stamens of an apricot.
Japanese graphic designer turned artist Susumi Nishinaga has used an electron microscope to delve deep into the fabric of the petal, leaves, and pollen. He then colours the scanning electron microscope (SEM) to colour the images using a computer to reveal the building blocks of life.
From an article originally posted on the UK Guardian, May 19/2013.
More images available to view here: http://gajitz.com/look-closer-stunning-up-close-electron-microscope-art/
My apologies for no blog entry as of late. I had a bad ankle fracture and leg break. I have not been motivated or able to do much of anything lately. I hope to be up and running soon.
Worth Watching. Video by photographers Beverley and Dereck Joubert on big cats in Africa and their peril to survive on this planet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ht6TTA8z3MI
Nature Images and More!