Of the many ways Earth is polluted, light pollution may be the least talked about. It's not an illusion; astronomers measure it from one to nine on the Bortle scale, and earlier this year, one study suggested that light pollution may be causing spring to come earlier. This short film, shot mainly in California by Sriram Murali, goes through all the levels of the scale, showing how the view of the cosmos gets better in less light-polluted areas.
The girls were my support staff on this trip and we rolled into Whistler late in the afternoon after a challenging 10 hour drive through western Canada. We checked into the hotel, unloaded, drove to the other end of the village to park in the free lot and began walking back through the village to find dinner. The girls were a bit vague about what we were doing on this end of our trip ("Whistler" wasn't a location they knew much about) and they were quite awestruck as we came into the beautiful and impressively-designed Olympic village. Fitting were the Olympics rings being one of the first sights seen in the village as the 2016 summer Olympics were scheduled to begin a few days later. To be at one of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics venues was very fun to them.
I knew that our schedule was tight (and I was really tired and hungry), so I tried to keep moving them along (vs. stopping at every shop we were walking past). We finally found a restaurant (with reasonable prices and still open), ate and went back to the hotel. It was nearly midnight until we got to bed and that meant the morning was not going to be an early one as I needed enough sleep to drive to Vancouver the next night.
By the time we packed in the AM, finished breakfast and waited in line for lift tickets, it was afternoon and we arrived near the top of Whistler at about 2:00 PM. As we got off of the gondola, we noticed a sign stating that the last lift ride down was at 5:00 PM. While it would have been nice to know that piece of information before heading up the mountain (and even better to know it the night before), the 6 mile (9.5km) High Note Trail was a high priority and we were determined to make loop trail hike happen. We had another line and chair lift to go before hitting the trail head and we proceeded. So, we were left with about 2.5 hours to do the moderately difficult hike with photos of course being the primary goal.
Although I had the MindShift Gear BackLight 26L loaded with several lens options, I mounted the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS and left the pack on my back for the duration of the hike, due to the time constraints. That lens mounted to the Canon EOS 5Ds R worked great for the scenery encountered on this hike. I hadn't brought a tripod along and, with image stabilization doing its job, I didn't need one.
If photographing landscapes during the middle of a sunny day, I nearly always have a circular polarizer filter installed and did on this day. By cutting reflections, these filters significantly increase saturation, making colors "pop".
The hike ended up being mostly a run with stops for photos while trying to resist some of the constant photo temptations along the way (for time reasons). At about 7,000' (2,133m) in elevation, the view over the valley 5,000' (1,524m) below (including the turquoise-colored Cheakamus Lake seen in this image) was continuously spectacular. The timing of this trip, to coincide with wildflower season, was also perfect. I captured numerous images I liked and, though exhausted, made it back to the lift in time to ride down. That was a very good thing as hiking the 3 mi (5 km) down the steep mountain would have been rough at this point.
If you’re at all like me, you’re the designated photographer for your family and friends. If there’s a family photo, you take it. At some point on New Year’s Eve, you’ll have 4 or 5 random iPhone in your hands at once, taking the group shot for everyone to post on social media. Have you ever been invited to an event, or even a wedding, and it’s casually suggested that you bring a camera along? If they ever refer to you as the one with the “nice” camera, it can be a little annoying. Most of the time, though, people are asking because you know stuff and they trust you to do a good job. You are the photographer. This means that eventually you will get asked to build a photo booth.
One of the popular questions we get asked from customers that call and email us, is that they need to build a photo booth for an event they’re either working or hosting, and want our expertise on how to create an effective booth using some of the gear we have available. It’s a tough question because there is no right answer, but we wanted to give you a headstart on how to go about it, for any upcoming holiday parties you may have planned.
I’ll pretense, and tell you that I’ve never made the same exact photo booth twice. There are a hundred ways of doing it and I’m constantly changing my mind based on the location, type of event, gear at hand, or maybe a fleeting creative inspiration. At the core, however, all photo booths have the same basic requirements. It’s a camera, locked off on tripod or stand, taking photos of people standing in front of a backdrop. So I’d like to start by describing the different areas of setup you should think about.
Just a few weeks ago, Apple revealed the all new MacBook Pro featuring a breakthrough new interface that replaces the traditional row of function keys with a Retina-quality Multi-Touch display called the Touch Bar. We’ve been working hard to build custom support for the Touch Bar, and I’m pleased to announce that, as promised, it is available in today’s update to Photoshop.
I’ve had a chance to use the Touch Bar a bit and I find it exciting for two reasons. First, the Touch Bar is useful for surfacing a contextual “next step”. This is helpful both for a beginner who might not know how to navigate Photoshop, and for an experienced user in giving them speedier access to the desired next action. Second, the Touch Bar is useful for accessing controls in a new way, especially controls that were sometimes clumsy with a keyboard and mouse.
In designing the interaction with the Touch Bar, we imagined three distinct categories of functions that would be useful to our customers: Layer Properties, Brushes, and (true to Photoshop’s ethos) your customizable Favorites.
Inside the Layer Properties section, you can quickly access common actions like place a Smart Object, clip Layers, and open Select & Mask. Controls for changing the blend mode and scrubbing through the history are especially nice to use on the Touch Bar Retina display because of a visual preview of the result.
The Brushes section gives you quick access to brush color, size, hardness, opacity and flow. Each of these commands has a movable slider to pick just the right value.
The Favorites sections allows you to configure your own set of favorite actions. This includes any combination of actions from the previous sections, or other commands like Full screen mode, Flip Horizontal/Vertical, and launching the macOS share menu.
More details on of the new Touch Bar capabilities are available here.
It’s an exciting time in computing, bringing all new ways to interact with your content and control your device. The Photoshop team is constantly evaluating new technologies and thinking of ways to make our customers more productive. As we continue to evolve our support for the Touch Bar and other alternative input methods, we would love to hear your feedback. Please let us know your feedback and suggestions here.
To install the update, choose Help > Updates… More info here.
For a complete read me including fixed customer issues, see here.
These are 30 of the tools and features in Photoshop that I think are the most important! In this Photoshop CC tutorial, we’ll cover everything from how to use the Pen Tool in Photoshop and how you can learn to use Curves to Masking, Retouching Skin, and even playing with the newer Select and Mask functionality.
There is so much that is covered in this video and I also go off script quite a bit and dabble with features that aren’t even included in the description of video guide (located in the comments section.) I created this tutorial as more of a beginner level overview of these tools and functions of Photoshop, but my hope is that there is something here for Photoshop users of all skill levels. Enjoy!
List of tools covered:
00:55 - Color Balance
01:48 - Masking
02:44 - Quick Selection Tool
04:03 - Quick Mask Tool
05:03 - Content-Aware Fill
05:31 - Clone Stamp Tool
07:05 - The Patch Tool
08:07 - How to use Levels
09:12 - The Pen Tool
10:31 - Flames Filter
15:03 - The Type Tool
15:41 - TypeKit Fonts
17:42 - Using & Working with Guides
18:38 - Smart Objects
19:35 - Field Blur
21:41 - How to use Curves
23:20 - The Eyedropper Tool
24:58 - Import Color Themes with Adobe Color
25:49 - BONUS: Gradient Maps
26:27 - How to Create an Action
28:38 - The Crop Tool
30:36 - Colorize Live Shapes
31:23 - Convert Objects to 3D/Working with 3D
34:24 - Custom Workspaces
35:57 - The Camera RAW Filter
37:18 - Exporting Images and Graphics
38:46 - BONUS: Changing the UI Background Color
39:29 - Color Range
40:55 - Select and Mask
45:38 - Liquify
47:36 - The Healing Brush
49:28 - The Rotate View Tool
Today, the SIGMA Corporation is pleased to announce the availability of “SIGMA Optimization Pro 1.4.0 for Windows” and “SIGMA Optimization Pro 1.4.0 for Macintosh”, the dedicated software for the SIGMA USB DOCK, SIGMA FLASH USB DOCK FD-11 and SIGMA MOUNT CONVERTER MC-11.
This download service is for users of the SIGMA USB DOCK, SIGMA FLASH USB DOCK FD-11 and SIGMA MOUNT CONVERTER MC-11 who are using our interchangeable lenses from our Art, Contemporary and Sports product lines or ELECTRONIC FLASH EF-630 SA-STTL.
Please ensure you download SIGMA Optimization Pro 1.4.0 for the effective use of the SIGMA USB DOCK, SIGMA FLASH USB DOCK FD-11 and SIGMA MOUNT CONVERTER MC-11.
Benefits of SIGMA Optimization Pro 1.4.0:
It has become compatible with the SIGMA Cine Lenses in EF mount.
It has added the new function to import/export the history of attached products.
In July 2016, Canon released an important firmware update for the C300 Mark II. It turns out they were just getting started. To make things even better, this December 2016 Firmware offers improved camera functions for both the EOS C300 Mark II and, just in case you thought they had forgotten about it, the original EOS C300 as well. This is not a firmware to pass up or ignore because it represents a direct response to requests from users for new or improved camera functionality, and Canon’s overall continued support for Cinema EOS products.
So, let’s take a look at these new updates and how they just might help you on your next job.
Canon seems to be missing some of their availability projections lately.
Canon announced the W-E1 Wi-Fi Adapter in mid-September with an availability scheduled for "early September 2016," but September came and went without the adapter appearing at retailers. At that time we contacted two trusted sources who stated that the availability had been rescheduled for "the last week of October" (according to one source) or "the first week of November" (according to the other).
As it turned out, our sources were somewhat right. Early W-E1 preorder customers were treated to the first batch of available adapters which were shipped the first week of November. However, it's mid-December now and the item has never been "In Stock" at any of the major online retailers (B&H, Amazon, Adorama, etc.).
A third-party seller on Amazon is stating that the W-E1 is expected to be in stock "December 21, 2016," but considering that the retailer is selling the W-E1 at a price signifcantly above MSRP, I wouldn't necessarily call the retailer a "trusted source." Regardless of when the next shipment is scheduled to arrive at retailers nationwide, I think it's fair to say that Canon has missed its second "widespread availability" target even with a few Wi-Fi adapters in the hands of select consumers.
Unfortunately, the W-E1 isn't the only product which has missed its availability target recently; the EF 24-105 f/4L IS II USM shares the same designation.
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM was originally announced alongside the EOS 5D Mark IV in late August with an availability date of "late October" stated in the press release. As October drew to a close, B&H and Amazon changed their expected availability dates for the lens to December 10 and December 6, respectively. With both of those dates now having lapsed, we're left with yet another product that has missed its revised availability date.
Of course, it is possible to get your hands on the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM; however, doing so requires buying a 5D IV + 24-105L IS II kit (which is exactly what we had to do in order to review the lens).
So when can we expect the W-E1 Wi-Fi adapter, EF 24-105 f/4L IS II & 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM to be widely available? We don't know for sure; and at this point, having missed the originally scheduled availability dates (and the rescheduled availability dates for two of the products), we're not sure that Canon knows either.
This is a great quality, well-designed backpack with a reasonable price. As one can never have too many camera cases, this one would make a great Christmas present for even those who seem to already have everything.
December is a great month to photograph bright, festive decorations. One of the most eye-catching decorations is also the most challenging: holiday lights. There are many different tricks and techniques detailed below to capture the beguiling colors, glitters, and twinkles – pick the one(s) that work best for you and your equipment, and make the most of this beautiful holiday season!
One of my primary goals for my time at Moraine Lake was to capture the warm light from the rising sun hitting just the top of the mountains with the amazing blue lake reflecting the same. The scene I was visualizing required a very clear sky to the east, allowing the sunlight to reach the mountain unimpeded/undiffused. The other important factor was wind – I needed there to be none of it. I had three mornings for everything to come together.
Capturing this scene of course meant being in place and ready to go before the sun rose. On the first morning, having never been there before, I not only needed to find the lake, but needed to hike to (find) and climb up the Rockpile (via a trail) followed by scouting – all in the dark. Well, in the dark but with the help of a super-bright SureFire Maximus Headlamp. As incredibly bright as that light is, I was not going to be lighting the distant mountains and it was a guess as to where the sunlit mountain peak reflections were going to fall in the lake.
I picked what seemed like a great position, with a distant glacier framed between the trees, some nice boulders in the foreground and the overall scene nicely framed and bookmarked with a pair of large evergreen trees. After setting up a Canon EOS 5Ds R with an EF 11-24mm f/4L Lens on my primary tripod, I set up a second 5Ds R with an EF 16-35mm f/4L IS Lens mounted on my travel tripod a short distance away. The plan was to go back and forth between the cameras, rapidly capturing multiple compositions with immediate redundancy available if a problem was encountered (it is called the Rockpile for a good reason and I had one very close call).
The weather proved ideal and everything was looking great until ... I realized that the mountain peak reflection was being cut off by the foreground. I immediately abandoned the carefully selected locations, running across the rocks with the primary camera setup to quickly find a better position. There was no time to waste because the sun line moves down the mountain very rapidly.
While I have a large number of images I like from my three mornings at Lake Moraine, this one, one of the first ones I captured on the first day, remains a favorite. The sun line had moved down the mountains slightly farther than I originally visualized, but ... I may actually prefer this version better. While simply having that preference adds to the satisfaction of achieving the goal, I really do think that I like this scene better. With more of the mountain in the still-very-warm sunlight, there is more desired color in the frame and more of the peaks are being lit than when the first light hit only a couple of the peaks.
This is an HDR image. Because, as I mentioned, the line of sunlight moves quickly down the mountain, it is important to capture the HDR frames in very quick succession in this situation. My preference is to use AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) with the camera in high speed burst mode. I used Live View to gain mirror lockup and used a locking remote release to complete to capture. Lock the release down and quickly go to the second camera. Quickly check the results, fine tune if needed and repeat.
For processing the HDR image, I used a combination of Photomatix (the best HDR software I've used) and manual blending in Photoshop.
While 4-5 hours of sleep three nights in a row is not a good habit from a physical or mental health standpoint, I'm sometimes willing to make that sacrifice for a good image. While that effort is not always rewarded with a great photograph, the disappointing efforts serve to make the successful ones even more special. Fortunately, disappointment didn't happen in this location.