Category Archives: General Photography

HDR – Bad?

The Music Lesson

The Music Lesson by Johannes Vermeer

Since I have been shooting HDR (High Dynamic Range) images, I constantly hear and read some rather nasty comments against this technique. Trey Ratcliff told me he takes the attitude just to ignore them, but I wonder just what it is that these individuals find so distasteful? Yes, I have seen some really over-the-top HDR images, but I have also seen a lot of over-the-top non-HDR images. It would be a very big stretch to conclude that all photography is bad just because one particular image isn’t the best. However, there are those who apply that logic to HDR! Continue reading »

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Lightworks

Lightworks Open Source

Video capability for professional level DSLR cameras is here to stay, so anyone wishing to get the most of that new camera should have some knowledge and ability to shoot and edit video. However, that means more expensive software such as Adobe Premiere, Apple’s Final Cut Pro or even Avid. Until now, that is.

Editshare has just released their Academy and Emmy award-winning professional-grade editor, Lightworks, into open source. That means it is free!!! Just a simple download! Lightworks is no slouch, having cut hundreds of films such as Pulp Fiction, The Departed, Centurion and Shutter Island. It includes a full feature set of editorial tools and is being used by many top Hollywood professional editors. It even has stereoscopic support and realtime effects including multiple secondary colour correctors. Lightworks has an advanced effects pipeline, utilizing the power of your GPU. And with support for up to 2K workflows with realtime effects, it is the most advanced editing application available. It even accepts Premiere plug-ins.

Head on over to LIGHTWORKS to download and try it out for yourself. Currently it is only available for Windows 32 and 64 bit systems, but support for Linux and Mac OSX is coming later in 2011.

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Want to become a better photographer?

I have been fortunate to be able to spend some time and talk with some outstanding photographers on my podcast (The Fotobug), and although their approach and interests may differ, the one thing that they all have in common is the fact they all get out there and make the magic happen! I really encourage reading photo magazines and photography books, but the only way you are really going to improve is to go grab your camera and use it. The more you use your camera, the more comfortable you will feel with it and before you know it, the camera becomes an extension of yourself and you are going to find that you will be able to spend more time concentrating on the image you see in your viewfinder and less time fumbling with camera controls and worry about shutter speeds, aperture settings, etc.

I also encourage you to consider workshops and seminars in order to interact with other photographers to learn new techniques and to help keep up your inspiration. C’mon, what are you doing sitting there reading this blog? Get out there and make some great images!! (Don’t forget to share!).

Also posted in technique

Black Rapid Camera Straps

RS 7 Black Rapid strap

Frequently I have been stopped by other photographers and asked about – my camera strap? Yes – the strap! I purchased my first Black Rapid Camera Strap RS7 a few months ago after researching for a comfortable, practical camera strap, I decided on the Black Rapid. In fact, I liked it so much, I purchased a second for my other camera.
These straps are comfortable, quick to attach and remove and keep the camera at a comfortable position by your side. Yet, you can quickly pull the camera up into shooting position. I also find that the two RS7 straps work great, even though Black Rapid makes a dual strap.
Check them out – highly recommended!

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Quick Tip – Dust to Dust!

Dust in your DSLR getting you down? Me too! I find dust especially a problem if you are using your DSLR cameras for video. Perhaps it is because a smaller portion of the sensor is being used, but I tend to see dust on video that I don’t see on the still images.

I keep the body cap on my camera when I’m traveling and not shooting. When I put a lens on, I generally toss the body cap and end lens cap back into my camera bag. How about you? Bad idea! That is a great way to pick up dust. When the body cap is placed back on the camera, there is a good possibility there is dust lurking on it just waiting to jump onto that sensor! Of course, using an air bulb to blow off the dust first is a good idea, but I also recommend taking the rear-lens cap and the body cap and join them together! Just a simple twist and it not only keeps them from bouncing around in your bag (vest, pocket, whatever!), but will help keep dust out of the inside of the caps!

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Give us a Listen!

microphone

Fotobug – Elusive Image Podcasts

I just posted the Fotobug podcast number 4 and the next one will be ready in a week or so. If you are interested in nature, travel or even general photography – give us a listen! The podcast is available at PODBEAN and is also available on iTunes and Zune. I recommend you subscribe so you don’t miss any episodes and give us a listen!

In addition to the previous episodes featuring interviews with Clyde Butcher and Trey Ratcliff, the new podcasts feature a tour of Clyde Butcher’s darkroom facility and Clyde’s “backyard” in the Big Cypress Swamp, as well as an interview with writer, director, producer, cameraman, Richard Clabaugh and a sneak preview of his latest film, EYEBORGS. Rick discusses the use of DSLR video capable cameras being used on professional Hollywood style films.

We also feature discussions on the latest news in photography and new equipment, such as the iPad. Upcoming episodes will feature more interviews, software reviews, techniques, and a series of training videos hosted by photographer Jason Hahn. The first video is about wading techniques based upon Jason’s article in the August issue of Popular Photography. Last, but not least, we will be discussing our latest photo tours and workshops (Everglades workshop in November and Costa Rica in March for Outdoor Photo Workshops, as well as my tour to Mongolia in August, 2011).

So, now you know why I’ve been lax in my postings here!! Please check out our Fotobug Podcasts, don’t forget to rate us, (I recommend subscribing) and we want to hear from you about your photo tours, workshops, questions, complaints, etc.

Also posted in DSLR, Podcast, Video

64bit Raw Viewers?

Rufous-tailed hummingbird

I just put together a new computer to edit my podcasts (PODCAST) and to edit the new HD formats, I decided on Windows 7 64bit OS along with the new Intel 930 processor and 6Gb memory. Great machine – but there was one small problem: I loaded up the Canon raw codec to view my RAW image files and discovered Canon doesn’t support 64bit – neither does Nikon! That’s a real problem – although I use Lightroom, sometimes I just want to do a quick look at the RAW images using the Windows viewer.

However, I discovered that all is not lost! Axel Rietschin Software Developments to the rescue! Axel has developed a complete set of raw codecs for all the major manufacturers that will work in 64bit (and 32bit) operating systems and is currently selling the codecs at the bargain price of only $5.99! He also has an image view that sounds quite interesting and I may download the trial version and check it out. Go to HERE and check out the codecs and his image viewer!

His codecs and viewer work on regular 32bit systems as well and I recommend you check it out!

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Podcast now live!

Clyde Butcher

Our long awaited podcast is now live! The first podcast features an interview by James Shadle with Clyde Butcher and an interview I conducted in Tampa with HDR guru, Trey Ratcliff.
The podcast is also available on iTunes, Zune, etc. and I hope you will subscribe and consider commenting. In the mean time, go here – http://fotobug.podbean.com/ – to watch the Elusive Image Podcast!

Also posted in Photographers to inspire, Podcast Tagged |

More HDR!

HDR Panther

HDR Panther from Ecuador

OK, I’ve received a few emails asking more about HDR (High Dynamic Range) – I highly recommend checking Stuck in Customs for tutorials on how to process these images. The image to the left is a captive panther I photographed during one of the Photo tours I conducted to Baños, Ecuador. I then processed the single RAW file using Photomatix and then finished up with some masking techniques in Photoshop. I really like the way it turned out! I have a number of images from my Photo tour to Turkey from last year on my gallery and on my Flickr account HERE. I’ll be happy to post more information by request! Although the panther image isn’t a “true” HDR image since it was created from a single RAW exposure, some images can benefit from processing in a similar manner and programs such as Photomatix can sometimes draw out more range from the RAW file than a ‘normal’ RAW processor. Continue reading »

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Kayaks and Cameras

kayak

Cameras and kayaks

Perhaps I’m just tired of walking.

Last year, on a visit to Myakka State Park, I rented a kayak to get closer to the hundreds of roseate spoonbills feeding along the river bank. Now, I have rented kayaks and even canoes there before, but somehow this time it was different. I don’t exactly know why – but the bug bit me. Perhaps it was the large groups of shore and wading birds – black necked-stilts, wood storks, great egrets, plovers, etc. – all along the banks of the Myakka presenting marvelous photo opportunities. I don’t really know why – but within two months I bought my own kayak and one for Carolyn. Continue reading »

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