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
Details of a canvas print. For my first canvas print I used Premier canvas, because it came in 17 ' x 22 ' sheets. Couldn't find a colour profile, so I made one up with the help of people on Naturescapes where I post. (Big thanks). I have since switched over to Breathing Color's "Lyve Canvas", it has great colour reproduction, details, and Dmax. Putting on the varnish can be a pain. I may switch over to their Crystalline canvas, if putting on the varnish becomes too impractical ( although the finish is very nice),,,,,,,,,(Crystalline Canvas requires no varnish)
Also the Stick and Stretch bars come in all different sizes. The 1 3/4 inch deep frames look the nicest in my opinion.
You can make all sorts of frame combinations. Panoramic, square, 2 x 3 ratio.........
Adding textures to photos seems to be quite popular at the moment.
There are a lot of different sets of textures which you can use, but Totally Rad Dirty Pictures, and Flypaper Textures seem to be two of my favourites. There are also freebies, and you can also create your own, if you have the time. There is another site called "Texture A Photo" which was featured on a Martin Bailey Podcast, but the bank only goes so far.
You can download it or have it sent on a flash drive.
Totally Rad will add your existing textures to its' library and autofit and rotate the textures to your base image. You can also preview your images with your selected texture, this is a huge time saver! The textures are also in RGB colour space, at 8 bit. If you work in TIFF (16 bit), I just convert the texture to the working space I am in when in Photoshop CS6.
The photo above is a Wisteria seed pod, shot high key on white matte board for the base image. Using Live View gives you a great preview on your camera for exposure, white balance, etc., (Canon cameras) before you press the shutter button. I added lots of different textures, and I will often use poster edges in Photoshop filters as well, to give an even grittier look. It is a lot of trial and error, and I have been working with this technique for about two years, and I can usually get an effect that I like and have in my head. A lot of times too though, it is a work in progress and takes shape as you are working on it. The image above had about 16 layers or so, all with different opacities and blending modes. I think this image took about 3 or 4 hours to complete. It is one of my favourites.
I recently took a workshop with Martin Bailey called Pixels2Pigment. The workshop was expensive (400 for two days), but I thought it was worth it. It was an intensive look into printing, from image to final print. Lots of info was covered, too much to go through here. You can get a lot of the information about printing and lots of other useful information on the Martin Bailey Podcast. Martin will not recommend anything that he has not used or tried himself.
He is currently using Breathing Color's "Lyve Canvas" for printing, and actually perfected the method of putting on their "Timeless Varnish" on the canvas. He followed their initial instructions, but found he was getting flaking (the ink actually coming off the print because too much varnish was applied). Instead he found you need much less varnish, applied rather quickly, in different directions. The first layer has quite a bit of pressure applied, with subsequent layers applied with less and less pressure in different directions.
Breathing Color will be putting out a new type of canvas coming to Canada in November called "Crystalline Canvas", and it will not require a coat of varnish. It will be available at Amplis Photo. You can buy a trial roll, and if you like it, you buy any size in a quantity of three or more, and there is a significant price break.
I must admit putting on the varnish is a bit of a pain. You can do maybe 3 or 4 prints at a time, and your environment and everything needs to be clean and dust free as possible. Use your Rocket Blower to clean up your surfaces!
I have tried applying the varnish, and don't think I applied enough pressure. I only did some test prints as I knew it would be a bit of a learning curve. I think the next batch will be much better. Also I use Hahnemuhle Stick and Stretch System. Pretty easy to use, and much cheaper than having your canvas stretched. It produces a professional looking image.
Also you can use Photoshop to do mirror images of the edges for the canvas wrap. I found an online Photoshop action, only 35 dollars. The program Perfect Resize will do the same thing, but it will cost you a lot more.
Anyways in summary, check out Martin Bailey's website and podcast. You won't be disappointed.
Recently I had to have some camera/lens repair done. I read about Sun Camera . They are an authorized Canon dealer.
I brought in my 50 mm 1.4, and my 580 EX Flash. My flash needed a new pin assembly, and the barrel on the 50mm was damaged. (Knocked off a shelf). They do not have a flat rate bench charge, but they will assess what needs to be done, and let you know the cost. You can decline the repair. You can also mail stuff in if you do not live close-by. They are also open on Saturday for those of us that work from M-F.
Total cost for both repairs was 235 dollars, with tax. Pretty reasonable in my opinion. Might be my imagination, but the 50 mm seems sharper than when I took it in. I think they did a calibration. I am sure I will be back for tune-ups and repair in the future. I recommend Sun Camera.
A host of upgrades for the 5D Mark II from Magic Lantern. (Some call it a hack) You decide.
I like the Auto HDR Bracketing feature. I will be installing this firmware on my camera. Release notes and download page.
Once again the liabilty is up to the user.
Also a review of some of the features of the video updates. http://www.dslrnewsshooter.com/2012/07/19/the-new-magic-lantern-2-hack-for-canon-dslrs-marcus-waterloo-tests-if-it-ready-for-pro-use/
Located in Barrie Ontario, Don Komarechka photographs snowflakes in a unique way. He was interviewed on This Week in Photo. Listen to this interview on how he does it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06suT6Zlsl8&feature=youtu.be The part on the snowflakes starts at around the 9:00 minute mark. Fascinating!
He has launched a website dedicated to his snowflake imagery. www.skycrystals.ca
A great learning resource with new segments on weekly. They are intensive and sometimes are three days long.
I recently watched "Skin" with Lee Varis. If you think you know Photoshop, think again.
Interactive with a handpicked small audience, questions fielded from the Internet, this is a great way to improve your Photoshop and photography skills. You get to watch the entire workshop for free, and then if you like it, you are able to download it for reasonable price. A great way to improve. www.creativelive.com. Click on the "Live" button to see what is currently playing. They also have a calendar of events so you can see what is coming up.
Yiming Hu's photo was chosen to showcase the new Retina Display on the new MacBook Pro.
Read more about it here.
Did you ever wonder how many actuations you have on your camera? Thinking of selling so it would be really good to know? Reaching that end point of almost 250,000 clicks? Here is a link to help you determine your count. It covers different programs. I couldn't find the one for Magic Lantern, but it was the one that Dave Dugdale used for his T2i 550 D. Here is a short video and article on his website. http://www.learningdslrvideo.com/shutter-count-eos-canon/
The links are mostly for Canon cameras, but there is a link for Nikon too: www.myshuttercount.com
For this one you just upload a photo, rather than installing a program on your memory card.
For Canon it looks like www.eoscount.com works well. They also have a FAQ page. Link here.
As an FYI, I will not assume any responsibility for you determining your count through these programs. You do so at your own risk. (Also I have yet to try one yet (no time), but I think I will go for the www.eoscount.com
Getty photographer Joe Klamar shoots portraits at the Olympic Summer Games in London !!
Well some call the photos creative and nuanced. To me the exposure is different from shot to shot. The lighting is horrible, and in a few shots you can't even see the athlete's eyes, which to me is a big no-no. Click on the link and you be the judge.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2168894/Shoddy-genius-Photographs-taken-U-S-Olympic-team-slammed-disgraceful-wonder-mistakes-deliberate.html
He defends himself by saying he was unprepared, and he thought he would have had an area set up for him in which to shoot. I think he was the only one to show up with shoddy gear.
For a comparison we have Syl Arena who specializes in flash photography, who has done some portraits of coal miners. Personally the last one is my favourite. And these are GOOD.
If you are in need of some inspiration, or just like to view some darn good pics. Visit
www.500px.com There is everything but the kitchen sink in here.
Also Naturescapes has some very nice work too. Lots of tutorials and interesting articles.
www.naturescapes.net Some of the shots will make you wonder how they did them. Some really talented people here too!
Our Cottage with Star Trails
I had a weeks holidays recently and went up to my sister's cottage. I got two whole days of shooting in out of a four day stay. We have had this cottage in the family for over 50 years, and I fell in love with it all over again! Check out the "Inverhuron" page for more shots.
If you find a still day with no wind and good light to shoot macro, it is a rare day.
To shoot on a day with light wind, you may want to build yourself a windbox, made out of Plexiglas. Quite simple and you can place your diffuser on the top.
Check out this link and build your own windbox. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUhbhXbslW4 Well known macro photographer Mike Moats shows you how to build it. He has three different sizes, thirteen inch, eighteen inch, and thirty inches (with a width of 15 inches). I built the eighteen inch size. The largest, 30 inches, is for the tallest wildflowers.
I bought some Plexiglas at Rona, and they cut it for me. (One cut didn't work out very well, so I covered the edge with extra duct tape.) Mike says that if you buy it at Loews they will score it and snap it for you. (That was in the States though) He also uses something called Gorilla tape for the edges. Couldn't find any up here, so duct tape had to do.
Today I bought the Epson 3800 standard printer, with print capabilities of 17" wide. This printer is just one step below Epson's Pro Printers which can print up to 44" across, and have a vacuum which holds down the paper in the printing process. I can't wait to get it out of the box! I am sure it is everything every one has said about it. Viva Vivid
Magenta! I'll let you know how it goes! Can't wait to try printing on metal!
Update: The interface takes a while to get used to after using the Epson 2400. But the prints that come out of the printer are exactly what you see on your monitor. This printer is well worth the money, considering that the fully loaded printer contains about 600 dollars worth of ink. Also getting a rebate of 250 made it an irresistible deal. This is a huge step up from my old 2400 printer. I don't regret the purchase one bit!
Also the printer is so quiet I had to turn around and actually put my ear to it, to see if it was on and printing.
Spring has arrived early here in Ontario. On April 9th I went for a hike in the Rouge Valley with botanist Richard
Aaron. We were on the lookout for early spring wildflowers and were not disappointed. Flowers we saw that day were Wood Anemone, White Trillium, Bloodroot, Coltsfoot, Trout Lily, early Meadow Rue, and Virginia Waterleaf.
A plant that Richard thought that should have been up was Gaywings, but we couldn't find any. It was a camera-
free walk, and what I learned that day is how little I know about flowers. Newcomb's Guide to Wildflowers is now on order!
Richard is a proverbial font of knowledge, and leads many walks. You can connect with him here:
These are 2400 mah batteries, come precharged and ready to go. The recycle time on the flash is very fast, and if
you forget to charge your regular batteries, these are perfect to grab and go. Found a supplier in Canada (Paul's
Finest), so no duty or exorbitant charges from the States, I would highly recommend them. They hold a 75 percent
charge for up to a year.
I bought three packs @ 15.99 ea, and they have a handy little carrying case with them. They are made by Power Ex
and if you don't have their recharger, I would recommend that as well. It charges each individual battery, so no one
battery will overcharge.
A friend sent me this pic and asked me if I could do anything with it. The
dimensions are 496 x 374 pixels. Not very big for a print. I have Genuine
Fractals and enlarged the print to 1240 x 935 @ 72 ppi and approx. 17 x
12 inches. I then put it through a noiseware reduction program as the
noise was quite evident from enlarging it. It also sharpened it at the same
time. I use a program called Noiseware Professional by Imagemonic and
I am quite happy with it.
Below are the original, upsampled image, and then put through a painting
program. Crops are at 100 percent. You can upsample using bicubic smoother in PS in 10 percent increments but I
find this much faster. I bought Genuine Fractals for 159.99. (now called Perfect Resize 7) Alien Skin also makes a
program called Blow-Up, which retails for 199.00. I have never used it, but they allow a trial of their product. Not a
perfect picture, but a nice memory made larger! Final print was cropped slightly and printed on satin paper on an
8.5 x 11 piece of paper.
Final Image with Painting Effect
"Waiting for the Little Prince"
First of all the hard part is to select an image that is suitable. Images can have land, water, in the
foreground, and a level horizon is essential. Also a simple sky I found is most effective.The best images
are quite simple with a tree, buidling, person, etc., prominently appearing on your horizon line. Below is
the original image. It was not ideal as there is a strip of water showing through which can be cloned or
masked out later. The important part was the tree which I really liked.
Now comes all the technical info....
An excellent article by Kari Post. http://www.karipost.com/blog/we-live-through-experiences-not-
pictures/ It made me step back and think about my own photography. Kari also has an excellent e-book
on photographing waterfalls. I bought it, and would recommend it. Kari is so young and very talented.
She also is very conservation minded which is a theme near and dear to my heart as we live on this very
taxed planet EARTH! I hope you enjoy the article.
I have just gotten sampler pack of Epson Signature Worthy Papers and Canson Infinity Discovery Pack.
Once I have tried them all out, I will report back with my recommendations!
So far I have used the Canson Infinity Photo Satin RC 270gsm. It has a lovely satin finish and the
colours are vibrant and exactly what I saw in my monitor proof. More info on longevity is here on this link
http://www.wilhelm-research.com/Canson/canson_infinity.html This link provides longevity numbers for
Epson K3 inks, HP Vivera, and Canon inks under a variety of test conditions. I would recommend this
paper for casual printing, not fine art printing due to the thin feel of the paper.
NEW REVIEW Canson Photo High Gloss Premium RC 315 gsm - A lovely buttery gloss finish, nice
and thick, with a warm tone. If you are a fan of glossy I can recommend this paper.
NEW REVIEW Canson Photo Gloss Premiun RC 270 gsm - Glossy finish, warm tone, thin feel. For
NEW REVIEW April 24th /2012: Canson Rag Photographique 310gsm: A warm matte finish with a
nice thick feel. Prints come out lovely with nice deep blacks and good colour gamut. I would
recommend this paper for printing!
Will your prints fade? Are they buffered? Do they contain any optical brightening agents? Read more
in this excellent article from Inkjet Art to find out more about which paper might be best for you.
This photo went for almost 4 million dollars! Dunno, can't see the value in it. And I find it quite a boring
"Circle of Life"
Well this is a happy post. I learned today that my image entitled "Circle of Life" was chosen as Image of the Year on
Naturescapes ( www.naturescapes.net ) where I post my work. It was actually quite a surprise and an honour at the
same time. I have worked very hard at honing my skills over the past year so I felt like I have been rewarded for all
my hard work! My photos are mainly posted in the Photo and Digital Art section. To read more about the making
of the pic click on the link.
I also get some money to spend on more gear. yeah!!! more gear............
Nature Images and More!