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on Jul 12, 2017 in Landscape Photography

My Luminar “Procontrast” Preset

It’s SO cool to see so much excitement and curiosity about MacPhun’s Luminar! The Windows Beta should be available shortly to all and right now only the Mac version is available for purchase. Knowing Nik was going, I’ve been using Luminar since last October. In that time, I have been working to recreate in Luminar my favorites in Nik which is not really fair to Luminar because, in many ways, it does a better job (for example with the following Procontrast Preset, I can tweek a whole of small details you can’t in Nik and that’s huge!). For example, I’m posting here for the first time my Preset for what I call Procontrast. Procontrast is a Nik Color Efex filter I’ve used since I was part of the team that developed it. It is essential to my workflow! There is no easy or clean way at this time to share my Luminar Presets like I have in the past for Nik recipes. So for right now, watch Scott Kelby’s...

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on Jul 11, 2017 in Landscape Photography

“Are Those Clouds Real?”

This question came in not once, but twice over the weekend in response to an Instagram photo I posted. I take that as a great compliment! There is a reason my bud McNally calls me “Dances with Clouds” and that’s because I can’t pass up a good cloud. And that’s where it all starts the challenge for many, determining if it’s a good cloud or not. There are a couple of key elements in my approach to a romantic cloud photograph and that does it have character and will finishing bring out that character? What’s cloud character? In my mind that comes from the shape(s) in and about the cloud that shades of blacks, whites, and grays create (foreground earth is key here as well). The way the light plays on the shape and texture in the cloud is key! To see this I think you need to have a vivid imagination which I have. I’m not talking about seeing a face or critter in the clouds but rather,...

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on Jul 6, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Looks Gr8 on Paper

We were so fortunate last week to spend it in the company of some great shooter and amazing birds. That combination should have produced some killer images. It was on paper the perfect mix of biology and technology, hummers and flash. Madera Cyn, Santa Rita Lodge, in particular, is simply a spectacular location for birds, specifically hummers. With that biology, today’s iTTL technology is the perfect tool for produce the images we were after. We should start there, the image we were after. There are definitely two camps when it comes to Hummer photos, frozen wings, and blurred wings. After seeing my aviation work and the blurred props, it’s no coincidence I’m in the blurred wing camp. It’s simple, I experience hummers as this blurred jewel and that’s how I want to tell their story in my photos. And that’s where this all begins, the subject and the story I want to tell. What makes hummers so darn cool? Their hovering abilities and the amazing colors they bring to...

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on Jun 28, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Slow Progress … Still Progress?

After sitting, stewing, and sleeping on it, I came up with minor changes in our technical tools and ideas and they started to payoff for us. Still shooting with the captured by D500 / 300PF / 2x SB-5000 set up but have made better use of Auto Area AF. The idea, of course, is not only capture the photo but have a ton of fun and enjoy the magic that is hummingbirds. We got much closer to that today. Now it’s still not “the” photo I want, but it’s now moving in the right direction so while slow progress, it’s still...

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on Jun 27, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

So Far, Yet So Far!

I’m down in nirvana, or to birders better known as Madera Canyon. It’s been thirteen years since our last visit here and we have a great, advanced group taking on the challenge of photographing hummers in flight. The goal is not to take a photo of a hummer frozen in the air, the goal is to bring to life in our still the magic that is these flying jewels. Today, I went down in flames not even coming close to the goal! Thirteen years ago, we didn’t have such cameras as the D500 to use with flashes like the SB-5000 wirelessly (using WR-R10 powered by SD-9 and light modified by Rogue Flashbender 2) which makes a huge difference. And shooting with the 300PF is a simply a joy. And while we’ve come so far in technology and gear, the same challenge of subject and light remain the same. So while technically the photo is OK, the light pleasant, it is miles from my goal! Will I get there in...

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on Jun 23, 2017 in Wildlife Photography

Our Photographic Progression Never Ends

It’s essential that the more we click, the better we click! Because if we don’t learn from our photographic past, we are doomed to relive it over and over again. One of the huge challenges is remembering what we’ve done, the good and the bad and remember which is which so we avoid one and embrace the other. That’s kinda what this week’s podcast is about. Perhaps if we look at the lessons we learn on a minute by minute scale, the bigger lessons might stick better. Case in point. A week ago we had this amazingly cute and cooperative Arctic Hare. When we first stopped, he wanted nothing to do with us, slowly sliding off into some low cover. Doing an 180, we walked to where I thought he might emerge. He did and when he did he found the four of us there staring at him through our lenses. And with that, he could care less we were present and went back to munching. Biologically and photographically,...

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