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 Sunday, June 4, 2017
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens is in stock again with free expedited shipping at B&H.
 
This lens has been in short supply; if it's on your shopping list, here's your chance to pick it up.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 6/4/2017 6:32:39 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
I know, some of you are thinking that snakes are creepy and that putting any thought into photographing them is ... completely wasted effort. Even if that is your thinking, stay with me here as you can likely apply the same thought pattern to a different subject, one that you find more photogenic. If you scroll your browser past the snake image, you even won't have to look at it while reading.
 
The story starts with me brushing my teeth (you didn't see that one coming, did you?). I looked out the bathroom window and noticed this cute garter snake lying on top of a weeping spruce tree. While garter snakes are common here, they are usually on the ground and are seldom cooperative. So, it is unusual to have the opportunity to photograph them in such a nice environment.
 
The weather was perfect for this opportunity. It was a very cloudy day, meaning that I had soft light to work with and the camera angle decision was not going to be light-driven. After checking to be sure that I could approach at least reasonably close to the snake without it being immediately frightened away, I decided to move forward with an attempt at photographing it.
 
There was no action involved here, so the frame rate didn't matter and the Canon EOS 5Ds R is nearly always my preference in such situations. For lenses, I observed that I had a limited working distance and I knew that getting too close would send the snake looking for a safer location. Interpretation: I needed a telephoto focal length, but not the longest available.
 
I quickly narrowed my choices down to the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens and the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens. I decided that the snake would not likely tolerate me being close enough for the macro lens' close-focusing advantage to be a benefit over the 100-400 L II's already very good maximum magnification ability and I wanted to be able to adjust my framing to the positions I was able to get into along with the scene available at that perspective. Basically, I'm saying that a zoom range was preferable. The macro lens' wider aperture would allow me to create a stronger background blur at 100mm, but the 100-400 easily wins the background blur contest overall due to its much longer 400mm focal length and the longer focal length provides a longer working distance at its maximum magnification. I mounted the 100-400 and began working with the scenario available to me.
 
Using a tripod was going to be too great of a challenge due to the in-the-tree location of the snake. Thus, handholding was going to be optimal and image stabilization was once again proved highly valuable.
 
The lighting was relatively constant, but it was changing with enough frequency to make a manual exposure challenging. Also, because I wanted to use a wide open aperture, the variable max aperture of this lens increased the manual exposure challenge. While I still technically used manual exposure mode, I opted to lock in my shutter speed (I was in unstable shooting positions and counting on some assistance from image stabilization) and aperture (I selected f/4.5 with the lens at 100mm and let it auto-adjust to the max available at longer focal lengths) with Auto ISO becoming the auto exposure parameter. Because the colors in the images were relatively neutral, the camera's auto exposure system worked great with the brightest colors, the yellow lines in the snake, being right where I wanted them at the right side of the histogram.
 
When photographing a potentially-fleeting subject, I quickly capture some good-enough images to have the safety shots on the card. Along with having those safety shots, I can quickly check the exposure and other settings before moving in closer. Upon reviewing these images, I immediately noticed that reflections were impacting color saturation on the snake and that meant a circular polarizer filter would, as it frequently does, provide a significantly improvement in image quality. I slowly backed away from the snake and went back inside to get the filter.
 
With the filter installed and properly adjusted, I was happier with the results and began to work the composition more seriously, including approaching closer to the snake.
 
Finding the proper perspective is often the key to creating the best composition and the longer I photograph a subject, the better I can determine what the best perspective is. Moving closer/farther, up/down or around the subject can significantly change the juxtaposition of the subject and its surroundings, significantly changing the resulting image.
 
To jump start the composition process, I wanted the snake's head to be facing in a direction other than away. That factor eliminates about half of the potential camera positions. A sideways-facing head can work well and a slightly-toward-the-camera angle is usually a great choice. That the snake was on top of the tree removed much of the below-the-subject camera position options.
 
The background is always a huge key to good composition and using a telephoto focal length is useful in both reducing what remains in the background and blurring what remains into obscurity. I adjusted my position to take in a variety of background colors and textures and also worked my position around the snake to get different angles on the main subject. Eventually I went for a step ladder and tried some downward angle compositions for some variation.
 
Another compositional opportunity available to me was that, with no discernable horizon or other sense of levelness showing in the frame, I was free to rotate the camera as I desired and that adjustment could change the entire balance of the snake in the frame.
 
Every so often the snake would move slightly and I was able to work with a modified scenario for a period of time. The snake cooperated for about an hour – long enough for my arms and shoulders to get tired from holding the camera in awkward positions. Then the snake abruptly dropped from sight and it was game-over.
 
As so often is the case, the 5Ds R and 100-400 L II proved to be the perfect combination for this purpose. With a bit of unexpected rain occurring during this shoot, I was happy for the camera and lens' weather sealing protection, meaning I could simply keep shooting without worry in that regard.
 
Just an hour of shooting not only gave me some of my best-ever garter snake pictures, but it also provided a great practice session. Simply spending an hour photographing something that interests you around the house can keep your photography skills fresh along with teaching you new ones. So, get out there!
 
A larger version of this image is available on BryanCarnathan.com, Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px. If reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
 
Camera and Lens Settings
263mm  f/5.0  1/200s
ISO 1250
8688 x 5792px
Post Date: 6/4/2017 7:12:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
B&H has the Manfrotto Off road Hiker Backpack (30L, Green) available for $119.88 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $199.88.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Holds DSLR, 70-200 Zoom and Extra Lens
  • Removable Photo Insert with Zipper
  • Movable Touch-Fastening Dividers
  • Large Top-Flap for Weather Protection
  • Protective Rain Cover Included
  • Two Adjustable Shoulder Straps
  • Padded Adjustable Waistband for Comfort
  • Waist Band Pocket for Smartphone
  • Padded Nylon Mesh to Reduce Moisture
Note: B&H has many more photography gear deals available during its OPTIC 2017 event (June 4 - 7).
Post Date: 6/4/2017 5:56:19 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Friday, June 2, 2017
From Canon USA: Canon EOS 7D Mark II Firmware v.1.1.2
 
Firmware Version 1.1.2 incorporates the following fix:
 
  • Corrects the phenomenon in which remote shooting with the Camera Connect App is not possible after connecting the EOS 7D Mark II to a smartphone via the Wi-Fi Adapter W-E1.
*This phenomenon only occurs when the firmware was updated from Version 1.0.5 or earlier to Version 1.1.1. There is no need to update the firmware if the firmware was updated from Version 1.1.0 to Version 1.1.1, or if the EOS 7D Mark II was equipped with Firmware Version 1.1.1 at the time of purchase.
 
Download: Canon EOS 7D Mark II Firmware v.1.1.2
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 6/2/2017 11:54:16 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
B&H has the Impact Hexi 24 Speedlight Softbox available for $99.95 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $149.95.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • For Use with On-camera Flashes
  • Adjustable Flash Bracket
  • Extra Tall Flash Bracket Adjustment
  • Contoured Grip Handle for Hand-held Use
  • Attaches to Any 5/8" Light Stand Mount
  • Removable Front Diffuser & Inner Baffle
  • Bright Silver Interior
  • Easy Setup and Take Down
  • Adjustable Cold Shoe, Carrying Case
Post Date: 6/2/2017 8:51:05 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
The 2017 Complete Video Creators Bundle by 5DayDeal is a value packed collection of video tutorials, software, LUTs, and digital resources to help you thrive in the video industry – and this fantastic deal is short-lived.
 
Get instant access to more than $2,000.00 in cinematography training and tools and pay only $97.00. And when you pick up this bundle, $9.70 of the purchase price is donated to charity. Sale ends Tuesday at noon (PST).
 
5DayDeal Learn More Button
Post Date: 6/2/2017 8:12:32 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
B&H has the Dracast LED500 Silver Series Daylight LED Light with 2x L-Series Battery Plates available for $199.00 with free shipping. Regularly $399.00.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Daylight Color Balance: 5,600K
  • 10 x 10.4 x 1.8" Panel, Weighs 2 lb
  • 45-Degree Beam Angle
  • AC or DC Operation
  • 100-0% Dimming, CRI: 95
  • Low Power Draw: 29W
  • 100-240 VAC Power Adapter Included
  • Carry Case
The Canon Professional Network has an in-depth article which provides details on each Canon battery series – NB, BP, NB & LP – with tips on how to get the most out of your Canon batteries.
 
B&H carries Canon battery.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 6/2/2017 7:52:53 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
eBay (via 6ave - 99.1% Positive feedback) has the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens available for $346.34 with free shipping. Compare at $599.00.
 
Note: This is a grey market item and therefore would not qualify for a manufacturer warranty. However, the item is advertised as including a 1-year seller warranty.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 6/2/2017 6:42:31 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Through this weekend, B&H has the Drobo 5D Professional Storage Array available for $469.00 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $619.00.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Highly Desktop Scalable Storage Array
  • 2 x Thunderbolt / 1 x USB 3.0
  • Holds 5 x 3.5' SATA HDDs (not included)
  • Holds 1 x mSATA SSD (not included)
  • Hot Swappable Drives
  • Battery Backed Memory
  • Any Drive/Manufacturer/Speed/Spindle
Post Date: 6/2/2017 5:30:28 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Thursday, June 1, 2017
There are many types of off-camera flashes available for consideration, so let's go over the primary options. While the term "flash" could be used interchangeably to describe any of the following options, we'll be using the term "shoe-mount flash" to describe flashes featuring a hot shoe and "studio strobe" to describe the bulkier, more powerful flashes.
 
Shoe-Mount Flash: Camera Brand/Third-Party TTL Compatible
 
"Ok, so I own a Canon/Nikon/Sony camera... does that mean I have to buy all Canon/Nikon/Sony flashes for off-camera use?" The simple answer is, "No," but there are certainly some advantages to building a camera brand specific kit. Camera brand shoe-mount flashes – like the 600EX II-RT – can communicate with each other wirelessly through optical and/or radio means and can automatically calculate the amount of flash necessary to provide the correct exposure as determined by your camera (ETTL, iTTL). Optical triggering requires line-of-sight (each flash must be able to see the master flash or commander unit), and its range is fairly limited (especially outside in bright sunlight). Radio-enabled flashes provide much more range without the limitation of line-of-sight positioning. With an all Canon/Nikon/Sony flash system, you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of high-speed sync (exceeding your camera's max flash syncs speed) and rear-curtain sync (where the flash is coordinated to end with the rear curtain). Note: Nikon users can enjoy the benefits of rear-curtain sync even with non Nikon-branded flashes.
 
There are also some third-party flashes that mimic the capabilities of the camera brand flashes providing full communication with your camera and similar features at a reduced cost. However, sometimes these flashes can be incompatible with older and/or yet-to-be-released camera bodies. If the third party flash manufacturer does not release an updated firmware, or otherwise, there is no way to update the flash's firmware, then you're simply out of luck.
 
Shoe-Mount Flash: Third-Party Manual
 
Third-party manual flashes offer a relatively no-frills option as they do not feature wireless communication and power levels must be adjusted manually. These types of flashes work well in indoor studio setups where the flash is placed in an easily accessible location (they are not very convenient when the flash is boomed above a subject and the power level requires adjustments). Manual flashes typically require a radio trigger to sync the flash with the camera's shutter, but some manual flashes offer optical slaves which can trigger the flash when it sees other flashes fire.
 
The downside to all shoe mount flashes is their somewhat limited power. They tend to work great indoors and in times when the ambient light is not necessarily abundant and bright, but outside of those situations or when modifiers are used, you may find yourself wishing you had a few more stops of flash power at your command. If your photography lighting applications require more power, you'll want to look at the available studio strobe options described below.
 
Studio Strobes: Monolights and Pack & Head Systems
 
The two most common types of studio strobes include monolights and pack & head systems. With monolights like the Profoto D1, the flash bulb, modeling light, cooling system and power supply (requiring AC input) are all contained within the flash head's housing. In a pack & head system (Profoto Pro/Acute/D4) , the power source (often called a generator or power pack) is a separate component from the flash head. As you likely guessed, both these systems have benefits and drawbacks compared to the other.
 
Benefits of a pack & head system include smaller/lighter flashes, the ability to run off of battery power or AC and remote control of power levels via the pack with only one radio device needed for triggering all connected flash heads. Downsides to a pack & head system include a single point of failure (pack) could render all flashes unusable, power cords running from a single location to all flash heads (making positioning lights difficult at times) and higher cost.
 
Benefits of monolights include [generally] lower cost and easier positioning of lights assuming multiple AC outlets are available. Downsides include the need for a radio trigger for each individual light (unless the monolight features a built-in optical slave and your shooting situation allows for that type of triggering), AC power requirements and having to adjust power levels at each light (unless a radio triggering system is available that can perform power level adjustments).
 
Studio Strobes: Battery Powered
 
Relatively new to the industry are battery powered studio strobes (Profoto B1, Broncolor Siros, Interfit S1, Dynalite Baja, Phottix Indra) which offer the power of traditional studio strobes with the flexibility and convenience of a user-replaceable, rechargeable battery built right into the flash head unit. Most of these strobes feature built-in wireless receivers providing benefits such as independent power control (possibly even TTL) and high-speed sync.
 
With benefits of increased power and the inclusion of built-in rechargeable batteries (making them an excellent option for on-location/outdoor setups), the downsides of battery powered studio strobes compared to shoe-mount flashes include increased size, weight and higher cost.
 
Wrap Up
 
While there are certainly products that fall in between these categories offering a blend of benefits and drawbacks, the groups listed above constitute the majority of what's available for off-camera flash use. And with so many options available, it's very likely that you can find a flash/strobe setup (or mix of these products) which can adequately cover your lighting needs.
 
In our next installment in this series, we'll take a look at the wide range of radio triggers available in the today's marketplace.
 
Other Photography Lighting 101 Posts
 
Post Date: 6/1/2017 9:03:41 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
Bergün, a village in Switzerland, has banned photography in its municipality in order to prevent the overwhelming sadness experienced by those who view the images of the village on social media yet cannot experience Bergün in-person.
 
In the above video, President of the Board (Mayor) Peter Nicolay kindly asks NASA to remove or blur all its images of the beautiful village to spare viewers the inevitable sadness, despair and longing associated with not being there.
Post Date: 6/1/2017 7:36:58 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Canon's instant and mail-in rebates are scheduled to expire June 3. As we generally say, there's no guarantee that the rebates will be extended, so purchase qualifying gear now to ensure you get the best value for your investment.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 6/1/2017 7:27:31 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, May 31, 2017

 
From the Russell Brown Vimeo Channel:
 
In this tutorial I will demonstrate a classic technique to match colors in Adobe Photoshop. I discovered this technique in the beginning of time and it is still just as helpful today. This technique uses the RGB, grayscale channels to adjust colors within an image.
 
B&H carries Adobe Photography Plan subscriptions.
Post Date: 5/31/2017 11:45:33 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
According to a recent press release, Canon is planning on purchasing roughly 14 million of its own shares – at an estimated cost north of $450 million dollars (50 billion yen) – with the "...aim of improving capital efficiency and ensuring a flexible capital strategy that provides for such future transactions as share exchanges."
 
The stock acquisition is scheduled to take place June 1 through July 14, 2017.
 
Note: At Canon's current stock price ($34.79 USD at the time of this article), they would only be able to purchase 12,976,343 shares with a 50 billion yen investment. [Sean]
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 5/31/2017 11:13:38 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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