I always appreciate photo subject and location scouting help and my family looks out for me in this regard. It was early-mid morning and I was sitting in my office when the phone rang. As you guessed from the title, it was my wife. "The neighbor's field is full of yellow dandelions in full bloom. The light is perfect."
My wife has a good eye for beauty (she married me, didn't she? OK, OK, just kidding). I knew that the field she was talking about was indeed full of these yellow flowers and I had already considered photographing them. The part of the report that I was most questioning was the perfect light part. It was well after the golden hour and the sky did not look hazy enough to remain warm and/or soft this late in the morning.
The big question was, "Did I want to carve out an hour+ of my day for this shoot?" Keeping the scouts happy always has merit, the blooms were not going to last for long and a circular polarizer filter can take care of the high sun issue, so I loaded a couple of lenses and a 5D III into a Think Tank Photo StreetWalker Backpack and drove a couple of miles to the field.
My goal was to create an attractive photo highlighting the massive quantity of yellow dandelions, so the lenses I took were of the wide angle variety. Upon walking up to the field, I realized that looking downward revealed a much lower flower density than I wanted to see and dirt showed between many of the green plants in this hay field. Looking at the field from a low vantage point (from near or far) showed the bed of bright yellow flowers perspective I was looking for.
The chicken barn was not going to be avoided being included in the frame with the wide angle lenses I had with me, so I embraced it. Much of the very long barn was featureless, but taking a position close to the feed bins allowed the bins to become a prominent feature of the barn.
With the sun still relatively low in the sky, the CPOL filter needed a specific angle into the scene to work its magic.
The final composition involved finding the best-available foreground flower clumps relatively close to the grain bins, getting down close to ground and shooting in the angle providing the best CPOL filter effect. While I often avoid getting much of a clear sky in the frame, I felt that the bright polarized blue gradient sky color was attractive and added balance to this overall composition.
Down low and up close to the foreground flowers meant that an f/16 depth of field was not quite enough to give me sharp details in the closest foreground subjects, so I shot a second frame with those subjects in better focus. The two frames were stacked in Photoshop layers and the not-sharp-enough foreground details were erased from the top layer to allow the sharper second layer to show through.
What I didn't remember from childhood is that the yellow readily comes off of dandelion flowers. Upon getting into the car, I realized that my pants were very yellow. They were still yellow after blowing them off with an air compressor and they were still somewhat yellow after their first washing. All photos have a cost, but some have unforeseen costs.
In the end, I was glad my wife called and the collection of images I captured on this morning were worth the costs.
Have you ever stood on the edge of an active volcano or swam in 110 degree water while ducking lava bombs? Photographers CJ Kale and Nick Selway do it so that you don't have to.
Kale and Selway are former rescue swimmers who devote their lives to capturing the ever-changing Hawaiian landscape, where active volcano meets crashing waves. Their work is physically grueling and oftentimes dangerous, but the challenge and beauty of the volatile landscape keep them coming back for more.
Insurance can be a complicated beast, but knowing how to cover yourself and your equipment is a must-do for your business. In this guide, we review the types of insurance you should consider as a working photographer, plus offer up tips from insurance experts and additional resources to help you make the smartest decisions for your business.
"When photographers want quality in their images, they know it starts with as much attention and detail as possible before the shutter clicks. We know we have post-production there to enhance the images, but it should be used like an artist with a fine brush, not like a construction worker with a jackhammer.
I am a big believer in the nondestructive workflow to its fullest degree and refer to my approach to this as “the way of the fast retreat,” which requires being ready for any change with the least amount of backtracking as possible. It comes after a career of working with advertising photography projects that need to have as many options for last minute changes as possible. We used techniques like creating HDR images from multiple exposures, stitching panoramic images, and depth of field image stacking to increase both the quality and dynamic range of our images. But the most important factor is to get the best possible original image captured. One way to maintain the highest quality in a photograph is the ability to control the image perspective before the image is taken."
Brianna, my high school senior, has had a very successful high school track career from multiple perspectives including having her name on three school records. This success did not come without a huge effort on her part, and we had discussed shooting a more-formal senior picture highlighting her passion for mid-distance running. Track season became busy and I shot many images of her competing, but time got away from us and suddenly we had only one evening remaining before she had to turn in her uniform.
The weather forecast for that evening called for scattered showers and we were watching the radar very closely. I was packed and ready, and we decided to go for it. After determining the ideal location on the track to shoot at, I began unpacking.
I had three Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites and a Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter to control them with. Two Speedlites were mounted on background light stands (small, light and simple) with Justin Clamps used to hold the Speedlites to the poles at any height I wanted. The third Speedlite was mounted to a weighted light stand with a 60" reversed/shoot-through umbrella mounted to a Manfrotto umbrella adapter.
I first mounted the umbrella to the stand and almost immediately a light rain began to fall. I quickly put Brianna, who feared that her hair and makeup would be ruined, under the Photogenic "umbrella". The rain mostly passed within 10 minutes or so and we went to work.
The two flashes on background light stands were set to group B and used as rim lights, placed to the side or slightly behind the subject as composition allowed. The shoot-through umbrella's flash was set to group A and used as the main light. Ambient light (for the entire background) was controlled through a manually-set camera exposure. The flashes were in E-TTL mode and +/- exposure for the two groups was controlled by the ST-E3-RT's Group mode.
While this may all sound complicated, it was not. Setup was very simple and I was able to quickly and easily adjust/balance the ambient, main and background light levels from the camera. While the rain stayed away for much of the two hours we were shooting, it did not fully stay away. Fortunately, this entire kit, including the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM Lens, was weather-sealed and we were able to make many great images in this time.
I had planned this shoot for an evening so that the flashes would be able to overpower the ambient light levels, though I had hoped for a bit more light than we had. The aperture was wide and the ISO was moving up by the end of the evening. Still, the shoot was a big success for us.
Even selecting this particular image from the many shots of just this pose was difficult. With lighting dialed in, I had Brianna repetitively start from specific position on the track and take one big stride with her left knee and right arm (with the baton) forward. I timed the shutter release (a short shutter lag is extremely useful in this situation) for a near-top-of-stride subject position that coincided with the lighting setup. The composition was arranged to take advantage of the lines on the track.
With a wireless flash system and a little effort, we created the images we had envisioned.
Adobe will be showcasing upcoming changes to Creative Cloud on June 18 at 1PM ET. Adobe's tagline for the event – "Everything is New Again" – suggests there may be some surprises in store.
Sign up at Adobe to receive a reminder of the live streaming announcement.
Reminder: Through May 31, Adobe has the Photoshop Photography Program (Photoshop CC & Lightroom 5) available for $9.99/mo (with 1 year commitment) with no previous ownership requirements.
I've been a Photoshop Photography Program member since September and really enjoy it. I believe it's an excellent value at $9.99 per month. Time is running out on this deal so take advantage of it while you can. [Sean]
Roger over at LensRentals has a bit of a problem. He will soon have so much data (thanks to LensRentals' new optical bench) that he doesn't know what to do with it. Excel experts, he needs your help to present the data in a logical, concise and easy-to-understand way.
Here are the details:
Platinum Medal Prize: $500
To win the Platinum Prize you must write a program or macro that fulfills my wild fantasy – Aaron spends hours collecting data on dozens of lenses, then I push a computer button and beautiful, logical graphs are generated that are easy to follow, present the data and variation, and offers an easy way to compare different types of lenses. I will be a bit flexible on what constitutes pushing a button, but if it takes me hours, it’s not winning.
Gold Medal Prize: We will do the lens test of your choice (within limits of our mounts for the optical bench and lens availability) and a $100 rental credit
So if you’ve always wanted a comparison between the Canon 18-55 IS kit lens and the Olympus 16-50, or just want your ownt lenses tested, here’s your chance. To win the Gold Medal Prize you develop a fairly simple way to create logical, easy to understand graphs that demonstrate the variation of copies for each type of lens, and offers an easy way to compare different types of lenses.
Bronze Medal Prize: Our undying gratitude and we’ll test 2 of your lenses on our optical bench and provide you printouts.
To win the Bronze Medal you simply have to demonstrate a graphing method that presents the average (mean) results for multiple copies of a lens in a way that’s easy to follow and understand. If we use your graph methods, you win a Bronze Medal.
Designed for photographers and videographers on the move, the new Pro Light bag range offers extremely lightweight construction with maximum internal protection for your equipment, making them the perfect on location carrying solution.
Versatile, functional and extremely ergonomic; the Pro Light Photo range offers intuitive solutions for rapid access to your equipment. Simply rotate the backpack to your chest and access your equipment using the fast opening side pocket within seconds, without even having to remove the bag from your body. The Pro Light range includes backpacks and holsters in a variety of sizes to meet your needs
Shooting on location often requires carrying a lot of equipment. Pro Light video bags feature an advanced harness system, organised internal storage and our innovative removable CPS dividers which together offer unrivalled lightweight protection for your valuable equipment. The video range includes backpacks, shoulder and roller cases offering a solution for all eventualities.
Unpredictable weather conditions are always a challenge. Pro Light rain covers provide waterproof protection for your photo or video camera allowing you to continue your shoot confidently knowing your camera remains dry. Drawstring collars ensure a firm seal around your hands, lens and microphone.
This was one of the longest, coldest winters that I can remember, and the leaves that have finally appeared, bringing color to the long-monochromatic landscape, have been calling me. While I have not avoided the typical spring landscape shots, I have been looking for creative ways to incorporate the beautiful light green color of the new leaf growth into my images. And then this guy showed up.
This is a big black bear. One way to tell that a bear is big is by the size of its ears (small) relative to the size of its head (large). It is also is one of the nicest-looking black bears I have seen, lacking scars and other deformities that these animals so commonly have (bears often do not play well with others). It is in especially good physical condition for recently coming out of hibernation. (Yes, the bear is indeed bad - it has been causing damage to multiple neighbors' properties, primarily targeting bird feeders.)
Photographing black bears is usually very challenging. Finding these animals in light bright enough for photography is frequently the biggest challenge. Photography is about capturing light and black, especially in the form of fur, is the absence of light. So, once you find a black bear, properly exposing their light-absorbing black coat is the next challenge. If using an auto-exposure mode, the camera will need to be instructed to under-expose the image by a significant amount. That amount varies depending on the percentage of the frame the bear is consuming and the percentage of the frame you are using for auto-exposure.
If the lighting is consistent (or not changing fast), a manual exposure setting is best. Either way, it is hard to completely avoid blocked shadows (pure black with no detail) – especially on the shadowed areas of the bear and especially if there are bright subjects in the frame (because they will become pure white). With a manual exposure locked in (the log is just under blown brightness before I reduce the final exposure of this image), I was free to concentrate on focus and framing.
Composition and focusing are two additional bear photography challenges. These animals do not stay still for very long – unless they are staring at what they think is a danger (or perhaps is food) to them (me in this case). The closer the selected focus point is to the bear's eye in the desired framing, the less time you will spend adjusting the framing after establishing focus. This means that the bear is less likely to move before the shot is captured and more images can be captured in the potentially short period of time that the bear is posing. A turn of the head means a new focus distance is needed and then I usually want a different subject framing (to keep the animal looking into the frame) and this usually means a different AF point becomes ideal. Sometimes I use only the center AF point and sometimes I use a more-ideally-located AF point.
While I would like to say that I had established this bear's patterns and was waiting for him for long periods of time, this encounter was more divinely-timed with me being able to very quickly capitalize on it. The 200-400 L performed incredibly well as always and the bear did also. The bear's position in the clearing with direct evening sunlight along with brightly-lit green spring leaves in the distant background could not have been better planned. This shot has become one of my favorite black bear pictures and I'm guessing that I will not find a better way to incorporate the spring leaves into a photo this season.
New Campaign Includes TV, Theater and Digital Advertising as Well as New Consumer-centric "Bring It" Microsite
MELVILLE, N.Y., May 27, 2014 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is proud to announce a new marketing campaign, "Bring It," designed to enlighten consumers to a new perspective of telling better stories with higher quality images and video. The campaign, scheduled to roll out this month, features Canon's line of EOS digital SLR cameras and lenses with a rallying cry for everyone to bring their best images and videos to be shared on the Canon "Bring It" microsite.
With a history dating as far back as the 1930s, Canon brought high-quality photography to market. Then, the heritage brand was the first to bring Hollywood caliber HD video to its digital SLR cameras. Today, Canon builds on its legacy by bringing a movement designed to show the public the value a Canon camera can bring to capture outstanding images and videos. Consumers should not settle for good enough, when they can have great. The new 'Bring It' campaign asks the masses to bring their talent, bring everything they have to the art of creating inspiring still and video images.
Through a series of TV, in-cinema and digital spots, "Bring It" pays homage to Canon's past and future as a leader in digital imaging technology, including scenes from the recent film Need for Speed, as well as personal home videos conveying the impact Canon has had from Hollywood to the general public. Consumers are also encouraged to be part of this social movement using the hashtag #BringIt every time they upload their creative HD videos and still images on social media sharing sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Consumer submitted content shared online with #BringIt may be featured and celebrated on the campaign microsite, bringit.usa.canon.com, beginning in July.
"We want this new ad campaign to inspire everyone who is passionate about photography to show us the talents they possess," said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A. "The idea behind 'Bring It' is to encourage people to strive to not only take better pictures and videos, but to take their cameras wherever they go, allowing them to tell their unique visual stories -stories that will stand out from the crowd and last a lifetime."
Bring It Microsite In addition, the "Bring It" microsite will serve as a gallery for consumer-submitted images and video, visitors to the bringit.usa.canon.com microsite will get a behind-the-scenes view of the inspiration behind each contribution and information on the products and methods used to produce what is being showcased. The microsite will also feature interactive content about Canon products, as well as educational tools to help inspire and guide consumers as they embark on their own journeys of producing still images and Hollywood caliber HD videos.
For the latest news and announcements related to Canon's "Bring It" campaign, follow @CanonUSAImaging on Twitter and join the conversation with #BringIt.
RØDE has today announced a fully updated version of its award-winning Blimp system. The new model is now twenty-five percent lighter, with Rycote Lyre suspension and premium Mogami cabling.
The original RØDE Blimp as launched in 2008, and quickly became the best-selling system of its kind. Upon release it was awarded both the European Red Dot and Australian International Design Award – two of the world’s most respected product design awards – recognising the Blimp as a product of sophisticated design, solving a number of challenges faced by location sound recordists.
This new version of the Blimp sees a range of functional improvements that make it unquestionably the best windshield and shock mounting accessory available.
Building on the system’s existing high level of performance, the Blimp’s shock mounting is now performed by the robust and user-friendly Lyre system, licensed from Rycote. Constructed from a single piece of hard-wearing thermoplastic, the Lyre provides superior acoustic suspension to traditional elastic solutions, and will never wear out, sag or snap. Whereas the previous Blimp required users to reconfigure the elastic suspension for heavier microphones, the Lyre is able to accommodate a range of microphones without any modification, making adjustments in the field even easier.
The Blimp’s handle has also been completely redesigned, reducing the product weight significantly, while increasing the ergonomics for handheld use. Housed inside the grip is a heavy-duty Mogami cable which splits via a junction box to a highly-flexible thin cable inside the Blimp, to minimise the transference of vibration to the microphone.
In addition to RØDE’s range of shotgun microphones – the NTG1, NTG2 and NTG3, the Blimp also accommodates most shotgun microphones up to 325mm (12 ¾”) in length. It attaches to any standard boompole via 3/8" thread attachment at the base. RØDE also offers the Universal Blimp Mount as an option to remove the handle when the Blimp is being used primarily on a boompole to reduce weight.
An artificial fur windshield (affectionately known as a Dead Wombat) is included for outdoor use to minimise wind noise. Additionally a compact folding brush is supplied to maintain the Dead Wombat’s artificial fur.
"Everyone has a method of getting critical focus for a shot. There are no right or wrong ways to do it. If you can get the focus you are looking for, then you are doing it the right way for YOU.
Canon’s engineers have included a plethora of tools in recent EOS cameras to aid the photographer in getting that perfect focus. They have included great features such as more autofocus points, smaller Spot type focus points, three options for expanding the size of an AF point, and even a joystick to control them. While each AF Area setting has its place in different shooting situations, what if you want to use two interchangeably from shot to shot without slowing down?"