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 Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Zeiss Milvus 21mm f/2.8 Lens on Camera
The functionality of a product must be the highest priority, but I'll argue that us photographers, by trade, appreciate design and beauty in a product more than the general public. Since it is photographers that look at and handle lenses most, it is only fitting that a lens has a beautiful styling. I am pleased that lens makers are taking style into full account with their latest releases, including Sigma's Global Vision lines, Tamron with their latest primes and now Zeiss with their new Milvus lenses.
A few of the new Zeiss Milvus lenses just arrived and product images are usually first on the evaluation to-do list. Avoiding as much of the inevitable-with-use dust and finger prints saves lots of post processing time. I had seen the Zeiss product images distributed along with the Milvus press release, but the new Zeiss Milvus 21mm f/2.8 Lens really caught my attention immediately out of the box.
It was love at first sight. The smooth, modern, curved metal design is drop-dead gorgeous. Lenses are meant to be used for image making and ... this lens makes for a great image. Thus, I'm going to declare the Zeiss Milvus 21mm f/2.8 lens to be the new "World's Most Beautiful Lens" titleholder.
That is my opinion of course. Which lens is at the top of your most beautiful lens list?
Post Date: 10/27/2015 11:28:49 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
Fall Photography Tips: Get Your Spiders Out
People seem to enjoy being creeped out around this time of the year (Halloween) and spiders are a perennial favorite source of creepiness. They happen to be my wife's biggest fear at any time of the year, so when I brought a mother wolf spider carrying a big "cluster" of babies into the house for a photo op (it was dark outside), she was not too happy. And when the spider jumped off of my white paper background and lost her cluster, I went back outside (after corralling what seemed like hundreds of tiny baby spiders).
I wasn't looking to create an award-winning photo of this spider, but wanted decent quality without much time investment. I mounted a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens to a Canon EOS 5Ds R and attached a Canon Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II Flash. The scene was dark (even inside) and the lens shaded the subject at this distance, so I utilized the MR-14EX's focus assist lights to manually focus on the mother's eyes (all 8 of them) with the plane of sharp focus angled to include many of the babies.
As mentioned, I went high-tech with the background: a sheet of white printer paper goes with everything. With the main subject being medium-dark colored, I was able to boost the highlights slightly in post, creating a pure white background, without negatively impacting the mid and dark tones.
Spiders are a popular fall theme and that is probably the only time of the year when you can post a spider picture that gets socially shared. Find out who has arachnophobia. Dig out one of your spider pics or better yet, go create a new one. Share it and peg the creep-out meter.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr, Google+, 500px and Facebook. Also, if reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
Camera and Lens Settings
100mm  f/11.0  1/125s
ISO 100
8688 x 5792px
Post Date: 10/27/2015 9:17:24 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
For a limited time, B&H has an Adobe Photoraphy Plan 12-Month Subscription (for new customers) available for $99.88. Regularly $119.88.
The Adobe Photography Plan gives you access to Photoshop CC, Photoshop Mix, Lightroom CC and Lightroom Mobile.
Post Date: 10/27/2015 6:45:40 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Datacolor Spyder5PRO Display Calibration System
B&H has the Datacolor Spyder5PRO Display Calibration System available for $139.00 with free expedited shipping. Regulary $189.00.
Product Highlights
  • Calibrate Laptops, Desktop Monitors
  • Includes Color Probe
  • 16 Calibration Choices
  • 3 Ambient Light Settings
  • Before and After Evaluation
  • Basic Display Analysis
  • Comes in a Reusable Box / Case
Post Date: 10/27/2015 6:32:46 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Westcott Omega Reflector Kit
B&H has the Westcott Omega Reflector Kit available for $99.90 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $119.90.
Product Highlights
  • Innovative 10-in-1 Design, 38 x 45"
  • White, Silver, Sunlight, Black Surfaces
  • 1-Stop Diffusion Core
Post Date: 10/27/2015 6:16:17 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Monday, October 26, 2015
Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM Lens
eBay (via Deals-All-Year) has the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM Lens for Canon available for $304.99 with free shipping. Compare at $469.00.
A Nikon version is available for the same price via this auction.
Note: These are likely grey market items and therefore ineligible for Sigma USA warranty (and possibly service).
Post Date: 10/26/2015 1:14:58 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
LensRentals Logo
Use coupon code HALLOWEEN15 at to save 15% on your rental arriving Oct. 26 - 30, 2015.
To support this site, navigate to the appropriate product review and click the Rent button.
Post Date: 10/26/2015 11:53:59 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens
B&H has the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Lens available for $279.00 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $329.00.
Product Highlights
  • Ultra Wide-Angle 14mm Lens
  • Compatible w/ Full Frame & APS-C Cameras
  • Hybrid Aspherical Lenses -- Sharp Images
  • Multi-Layer Coating to Reduce Flare
  • Manual Focus Lens
  • Built-In Petal-Type Lens Hood
Note: I bought this lens almost two years ago and use it regularly for panoramas. It provides a great, affordable introduction to ultra wide-angle photography. [Sean]
Post Date: 10/26/2015 11:43:23 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Tokina Cinema 11-16mm T3.0 Lens
From Kenko-Tokina:
Huntington Beach, CA – October 19, 2015 – Kenko Tokina USA is reducing the retail price of the Tokina Cinema AT-X 11-16mm T/3.0 Canon EF and Micro 4/3 mount lenses by $400 to an everyday price of $1499. Consumers will receive an additional $500 in instant savings when they make a purchase between October 19 and October 27, 2015 for a final savings of $900. During the promotional period consumers will pay a final price of $999.00, a tremendous value for an outstanding lens.
The compact, lightweight Tokina Cinema AT-X 11-16mm T3.0 is not just a simple rehousing of the critically-acclaimed still lens, instead the lens designers re-engineered it to provide cinematographers the control and performance they have come to expect in lenses that cost 20 times as much. Engineered to offer superb optical 4K performance the 11-16mm T3.0 delivers sharp, consistent images throughout its zoom range by reducing breathing, and maintaining focus throughout the zoom range or Par-focal. Its compact size gives you the flexibility to use it in creative ways not possible with larger lens designs.
The offer is valid when purchased from an authorized dealer in the USA from October 19th through October 27th, 2015.
B&H carries the Tokina Cinema 11-16mm T3.0 Lens.
Post Date: 10/26/2015 11:10:42 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
by Sean Setters
Do you ever feel stuck in a rut, creatively speaking? You've got all this great gear at your disposal but you're simply not inspired by your surroundings? That's an unfortunate side effect of the human condition – we start losing appreciation for the things (and people?) we see on a daily basis. Even the extraordinary can seem mundane if we see it every day.
Aside from taking a vacation and enjoying the benefits of exploring a new place (providing an excellent source of inspiration), there are several things you can do right in your own hometown to help quell the "been there, seen that" blues. And many of them require little to no investment in new gear. A common (and useful) technique is to limit yourself to shooting with a single focal length. But as that approach has been covered by just about everyone, let's look at other ways to inspire your own creativity.

Multiple Exposure Wormsloe and Amanda

1. Multiple Exposures
One particularly intriguing camera feature that has trickled down from high-end bodies in the past few years is the Multiple Exposures feature (found in the EOS 1D X, 5Ds/5Ds R, 5D III, 6D, & 7D II). A multiple exposure is just what it sounds - a single exposure created by combining two (or more) individual shots. The possibilities for creative multiple exposures are limited only by your imagination, and forcing yourself to think about your multiple exposure before capture is an excellent exercise in creative thinking. Using Live View in Multiple Exposure mode enables you to preview the result you can expect after capture. If you don't have a camera that features Multiple Exposures, you can easily recreate the most common multiple exposure effect in Photoshop by layering one image over another and setting the top layer's blend mode to "Lighten" (that's exactly what I did for the image above).

Oak Island Pier July 19 2015 640

2. Long Exposures
As photographers, we're used to capturing the world in split seconds. Movement is frozen in when our shutter speeds are short enough and our images are sharpest. Capturing an image that spans seconds (if not minutes) can completely change the dynamic the scene. A tripod and 10 stop neutral density (or even more dense) filter can allow water along the beach to appear as flat as a sheet of glass or can aid in reducing the evidence of people when photographing in a crowded place (think architectural photography).
A neutral density filter isn't necessarily required for creating long exposures. If shooting at night, you can easily use just a tripod (or other means of support) to help capture light trails left by passing vehicles.

Dogwood Park in Infrared

3. Infrared
Shooting in infrared is a great way to help you break out of a creative slump because it allows you to experience the world in a whole new way. Suddenly, drab and familiar landscapes become intriguing when capturing the typically unseen wavelengths.
There are a couple of ways to capture infrared shots. The first and least expensive way is to purchase a filter that blocks visible light but allows IR light to pass through. When using the infrared [passing] filter, your exposure times will be very long (sometimes minutes). That's because your camera has a built-in infrared blocking filter that prohibits most of the infrared light from hitting the sensor. The infrared filter on the front of your lens allows you to create an exposure out of the trickle of IR that makes it through to the camera's filter. For these shots, a tripod (or other stable shooting platform) is essential.
Keep in mind that with the IR filter in place, you cannot see through the viewfinder (and you'll see very little if anything in Live View). Therefore, you must frame and focus your shot before placing the IR filter on the camera. And since IR light focuses at a slightly different point than visible light, you'll want to shoot at or near hyperfocal distances with a narrow enough aperture to compensate for focus shifting.
Another piece of gear helpful for capturing images with an infrared filter is the timer remote. The timer remote/intervalometer will allow you to shoot exposures longer than 30 seconds without having to continually hold down the shutter button (as in Bulb mode). Some newer camera bodies – like the 7D Mark II and 5Ds/5Ds R – feature an in-camera bulb timer and will not require the remote timer accessory.
If you'd like to dive into infrared photography head first, you can have your DSLR converted to an infrared camera. The cost will vary depending on your camera body and filter option, but the conversion will likely be in the ballpark of $300.00 (or more, depending on camera model and options). One big benefit of an IR conversion is that your exposure times will closely mimic your exposure times for visible light, meaning a tripod isn't absolutely necessary. However, you will need to compose and focus using Live View because visible light no longer passes through to the viewfinder.
If you only have one camera, I wouldn't suggest an IR conversion. Converting your camera to infrared means that you can no longer capture visible light with your camera. However, converting an older DSLR to infrared after upgrading cameras is a great way to extend the useful life of your likely-to-be-neglected equipment (assuming you don't need a backup camera). That was the motivating factor for sending my rarely-used EOS 7D to Life Pixel for an infrared conversion. With my newly converted 7D in-hand, infrared photography has never been more fun and inspiring. The image at the top of this post was created with my EOS 7D modified with Life Pixel's Super Color IR conversion.

Tiny Planet Panorama

4. Panoramas
As a general rule, I see the world in a 2x3 ratio frame. But even I know there are times when a wider, theater-like view is required to truly experience what it's like to be standing in a specific spot. Maybe you need a wider angle lens but just don't have one. Or maybe you just want to squeeze every pixel of detail out of a scene. No matter the reason, panoramas force you to think about your composition differently. It gets much more difficult to hide "distracting" elements of a scene when you force yourself to capture everything that's in front of you in all its glory.
There are many different ways to create a panorama. The easiest way is to simply stand in one spot and point your camera in different directions and stitch the resulting images together in post. Unfortunately, this may not always work well because of parallax errors caused by not rotating the camera body at its no-parallax point. That's exactly why I built my own panning rig for creating 360-degree panoramas. Another way to create panoramas while avoiding parallax errors is to use a tilt-shift lens to capture images at widest extents along the shift plane.
No matter what method you use to capture your images, you'll need a decent photo editor to stitch them into a seamless panoramic image. Photoshop CC is a full-featured, reasonably priced option; Hugin is free and open source, but the learning curve is [in my opinion] relatively steep.

5. Time-lapses
One way to inspire creativity is to throw another variable into the mix – the element of time. We generally try to capture images that attempt to tell a complete story in a single frame. Time-lapse photography gives us the ability to illustrate changes that happen over time and require a completely different approach to planning and capture.
Creating a good time-lapse requires patience, planning, dedication and a fair amount of post-processing. Preparing for time-lapse capture means that you have to consider what elements in your scene will change over time, how to protect your equipment and how to compensate for changes in exposure thoughout your time-lapse.
To create time-lapses you'll need a solid support system (a tripod is likely best, but any stable platform will do), a timer remote (if your camera does not have an interval timer built-in), and patience.
Shown above is the time-lapse I created when evaluating the Triggertrap Mobile Dongle. The Mobile Dongle (paired with a smartphone) not only allows you to create a time-lapse, but it allows you to adjust the timing and exposure values during capture so that you can be even more creative with your time-lapse.

Orange Flower Macro Oct 2015

6. Macros
If you already own a macro lens, then you already have everything you need to explore the wonders of your own back/front/side yard. If you do not own a macro lens (and even if you do), using extension tubes with your current lenses will help increase the maximum magnification possible by shortening the lens' minimum focus distance.
The flower seen above is located about 6 feet from my backdoor in a small flowerbed. Tip: Plant flowers around your home. Not only will they provide you with ample opportunities to shoot beautiful macros, but your significant other will likely enjoy displaying them in your home. And just in case you forgot a special occasion, being able to pick flowers from your yard may help you avoid the ramifications of your lapse in memory.
Is the weather not conducive to venturing outside? Try macro photography with objects around the house. Many everyday objects become much more intriguing when viewed up close (salt, peppercorns, etc.)
So that's our top 6 ways for inspiring your own creativity. Do you have other suggestions? Let us know in the comments!
Post Date: 10/26/2015 10:30:28 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Canon Photo Paper Glossy 4x6 (50 Sheets)
The Canon Store has a great deal on 4x6 photo paper right now. Just buy (1) Photo Paper Glossy 4x6 (50 Sheets) for $9.99 and receive 10 free packs with free 2-day shipping.
Paper Overview
Great Photo Paper for Everyday Projects. This vibrant, glossy paper gives you crisp, clear pictures that are high quality without the high cost - an economical choice for great prints. Weight: 56 lbs Thickness: 8.2 mil Brightness (ISO) 98%
Post Date: 10/26/2015 5:43:11 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
B&H has the Raya Octa 7-Socket Fluorescent 2-Light Softbox Kit available for $189.95 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $499.95.
Product Highlights
  • Octa 7-Socket Fixture x2
  • 26W Spiral Fluorescent Lamps x14
  • 32" Octa 7 Softboxes x2
  • 9.5' Air-cushioned Light Stands x2
  • 5,000K Daylight Balance
  • 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz
Post Date: 10/26/2015 5:10:23 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Friday, October 23, 2015
AdoramaPix Logo
Through 10/26, use coupon code PXEPPE30 at AdoramaPix to get 30% off your entire order (exlcudes gift cards and pro membership). Alternately, use coupon code PXEPPECL50 to save 50% on calendars or PXEPPEGR12 to get 12 free 5x5 or 5x7 flat cards.
Post Date: 10/23/2015 11:32:57 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR Lens
B&H has the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR Lens in stock with free expedited shipping.
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 10/23/2015 9:35:26 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Garbage Bag Camera Rain Cover
When I left for my Alaska trip, I was packing on the end of a 90+ hour work week and was still actively fighting against a DDOS attack on the site as I was going out the door. With major distractions, I left without a key piece of kit that I expected to need on this trip – my Think Tank Photo Hydrophobia 300-600 v2.0 rain cover. When I remembered what I had forgotten, it was too late to recover from my mistake.
As it turned out, I was shooting with my Canon 600mm f/4L IS II Lens on a Canon EOS 5Ds R in light rain about 50% of the time I was in Katmai National Park. While this lens and lens combo is weather sealed, I don't like to test the limits of this sealing.
What saved me? Minimally, from anxiety? A simple garbage bag. Having needed to use this backup plan before, I knew what to do. Place the makeshift rain cover (I usually carry at least two in my larger cases) over the camera and lens. Then tear a small hole in the bag, with the opening just large enough to tightly stretch over the lens hood. The plastic stretched around the hole holds the bag tightly to the lens hood, providing a seal between the gear and the makeshift rain cover.
A hole can also be made for the viewfinder, but I often use the bag's normal opening when shooting. My ball hat brim provides some protection for the exposed back of the camera and I pull the bag completely over the camera when not actively shooting.
This solution is not nearly as elegant as the TTP rain cover. The one problem with this setup is that wind can swiftly blow the bag off of the camera, generally turning it inside out and into a flag blowing from the snug-fitting tear/cut hole hold holding onto the lens. Wrapping some tape (carry a small, perhaps self-made, roll of gaffer tape) around the back of the lens can be enough. Other securing options abound, including the use of ball bungies.
Forget your garbage bags? Garbage bags are ubiquitous; they can be found at most household supply, grocery and camp stores. Your hotel can likely give you one if there isn’t a good one to be found in your room. If your hotel happens to provide shower caps, that is another rain cover option.
Garbage bags have many uses beyond camera and lens rain protection. Use them as a drop cloth/ground matt to keep you and/or your gear clean and dry. You can even put your camera case/backpack in a bag. Use a garbage bag as a makeshift raincoat for yourself (important: allow for fresh air to prevent suffocation). You can of course use the bags for their namesake purpose. Carry a load of trash out of the location you are shooting in.
Choose your bag size and its duty-level based on your need. While a super telephoto lens works great with a full-size garbage bag, smaller lenses work better with a kitchen-sized garbage bag or smaller. When used as a ground cloth, my preference is for very heavyweight contractor bags, though I find lighter weight garbage bags easier to work with as a camera rain cover. I often have various size and material weight selections at my "disposal."
While it is your choice, I highly recommend "unscented" bags. :)
Garbage bag are cheap, readily available and incredibly useful. Put some garbage bags in all of your camera bags now, before you forget. And, add this useful accessory to your packing lists.
Post Date: 10/23/2015 9:05:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
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