See the aqua blue water in this photo? Caribbean blue may be my favorite color and this is the color that I hoped to capture a lot of on my recent St John, USVI photography trip. I mentioned in the 100 Megapixel Francis Bay, St John, USVI Sunset post that I faced a big challenge to my landscape photography on this trip. That challenge was dust blowing nearly 5,000 miles from the Sahara Desert to the Virgin Islands, causing haze.
To get the brilliant blue color I like so much requires white sand under clear water and a clear sky with an overhead sun. The white sand and clear water are generally abundant on this island, but the haze caused by dust took out the clear sky requirement and with the exception of about one day, the blue water did not pop like I wanted during my trip. Since that one day was partly-to-mostly cloudy, shooting was only good for part of that day. Some clouds are of course desired for adding interest to an otherwise solid blue sky, but too many clouds become an issue.
This picture of Ram Head and Booby Rock was captured during a break in the clouds with part of Ram Head, the distant sea and the island under shade from the clouds. I shot a variety of compositions of this scene, but liked the panoramic captured handheld at 53mm the best.
Often, an extremely wide angle of view captured using a circular polarizer filter will result in an unevely darkened sky, and I have been asked about the evenly polarized skies in this image. The key was that this image was captured at 12:48 PM under a very high sun. With the sun was high in the sky, the 90 degree angle of strongest sky darkening is at the horizon – the entire horizon, making wide panorama skies captured using a polarizer filter look great (if significantly more sky was included in this photo, you would start to see the sky lighten toward the top of the frame). I frequently shoot under a high sun for this reason. Use a circular polarizer filter to create mid-day amazement.
Even without landscape photography being greatly successful on this trip, I had success in another area of photography and will share some of those results soon.
07/10/2014 – DxO FilmPack v4.5.2 and DxO ViewPoint v2.1.7 are now available! These two upgrades allow both software products to integrate perfectly with Adobe Photoshop CC (2014 edition).
DxO FilmPack: All the quality and emotion of fine arts photography
Acclaimed by professionals for the fidelity of its analog film renderings, DxO FilmPack lets photographers apply to their digital images all the characteristics of the analog films that have made photographic history, as well as many original looks, filters, tones, and visual effects. All of these renderings and effects can be infinitely combined and customized for unlimited creativity.
Coming in two editions, Essential and Expert, a single DxO FilmPack v4.5.2 license lets the software be used as a standalone application for OS X and Windows, and as a plugin for Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, Adobe Lightroom, Apple Aperture, and DxO Optics Pro.
DxO ViewPoint: the indispensable companion to wide-angle lenses
DxO ViewPoint fixes even the most complex problems with perspective, and easily restores the natural shapes of subjects located on the edges of images. Taking advantage of all of DxO Labs’ know-how in terms of optical calibrations, the software corrects barrel, pincushion, and fisheye distortions. DxO ViewPoint supports all photographic equipment, much of which also benefits from the automatic corrections provided by DxO Optics Modules.
DxO ViewPoint is available as a standalone application for OS X and Windows, and as a plugin for Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, Adobe Lightroom, and Apple Aperture — all with the same license.
The Essential and Expert editions of DxO FilmPack v4.5.2 and DxO ViewPoint 2.1.7 for Mac and Windows are available at photo resellers.
Upper Saddle River, NJ – July 10, 2014 – Manfrotto, a manufacturer of premium photo and video accessories, unveiled a new travel backpack in its Advanced bag collection: the MB MA-BP-TRV BeFree backpack. Billed as the perfect travel companion to the Manfrotto BeFree tripod, this new backpack features a unique carrying slot in the extendable side-padded pocket that is designed to fit the BeFree and other compact travel tripods.
The interior of the backpack was created to provide durability, flexibility and ease of use for travel-minded photo enthusiasts to carry their photographic gear and personal belongings in one compact bag. As part of the Advanced bag collection, the travel backpack features hard-wearing fabrics and professional features.
The backpack employs the Manfrotto Camera Protection System (CPS), which is designed to provide protection at its most vulnerable spot—the center of the bag, where the lenses are stored. The CPS consists of specially structured 3D foam encasing dividers that reduce shock and absorb and dissipate the force of impact.
It also has a rugged, durable bottom half that’s made of high-density nylon as well as nylon material on the top. It’s carbon detailing ties it in with Manfrotto’s Italian heritage.
The all-in-one carry solution is divided into two main compartments. The upper section is dedicated to personal belongings, while the bottom section has a quick side access. It can fit a DSLR with attached lens, two additional lenses, flash and accessories. Additionally, a 13-inch laptop can be stored in a back compartment. The bag can also be converted into an everyday backpack by removing the main compartment divider. And its extendable side-padded pocket makes it possible to add additional space to the bag by unzipping the pocket to insert a travel tripod.
Manfrotto’s Advanced bag collection includes six basic bag designs, each in various sizes, including active backpacks, tri-backpacks, gear backpacks, active slings, shoulder bags and holsters. Manfrotto’s new BeFree travel backpack is available now at Manfrotto Authorized Resellers.
Modifications that apply to both the Windows and Macintosh versions
Not only can the application be used from ViewNX 2 and Capture NX-D, but it can now also be installed and launched as a separate, stand-alone application.
Support for the D810 has been added.
Users can now choose to save Custom Picture Control files in "NP2" format, compatible with the new Picture Control System, or in "NCP" format for use with all cameras that support Custom Picture Controls.
The following are possible when "NP2" is selected.
Flat can now be selected from the list of Stored Picture Controls.
When Manual Adjust is selected, each of the adjustment items can now be adjusted in units of 0.25 for more precise adjustment.
A new Clarity item has been added to adjustment items.
The adjustment range for Brightness has been expanded to -1.50 to +1.50.
The Custom Curve is larger, making it easier to adjust tone curves.
The size of the application window can now be adjusted, allowing the area in which the preview image is display to be enlarged.
A new Adjustments for Preview function enables adjustment of Exposure Comp. and White Balance. However, adjustments to these settings are not reflected in the Custom Picture Control being created.
A Reflect changes on preview check box has been added for before-and-after comparison of the Custom Picture Control on the preview image.
"There are days when the whole world seems to smile upon you. But there are also days when the forces of nature seem to conspire against you. This shoot belongs in the latter category…
The shoot was done at Långtora Airfield outside Stockholm, which is the airfield where my gliding club is based. The look we were going for was a modern version of the flying ladies of the 1940s. Quite a few of the classic Hollywood stars flew gliders. The particular glider we were borrowing for this shoot was used by the Danish air force during the 1940s to train fighter pilots. Some people at the club claim that the gilder was once flown by Greta Garbo. But that fact is still to be verified…
Lighting-wise, we planned to shoot with sunlight and Collapsible Reflectors only. I wanted a subtle and natural backlight in the images, and Collapsible Reflectors are great for that. The fact that Profoto offer ten different Collapsible Reflectors in six fabrics (black, white, silver, sunsilver, gold and translucent) would be helpful, as that allowed us to create different light characters and moods by simply replacing one Collapsible Reflector with another.
That was the plan. But as it turned, the forces of nature refused to cooperate."