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 Monday, March 9, 2015
PNY Metal Attaché 32GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive
For a limited time, Amazon is featuring the PNY Metal Attaché 32GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive as a Lightning Deal and is available for $10.99. Compare at $15.99.
 
Note: I've had one of these flash drives on my key ring for over a year now and it's been as useful as it is rugged. I highly recommend it. [Sean]
Post Date: 3/9/2015 9:37:07 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ v2.0 Quadcopter with Stabilized 1080p Camera
For a limited time, B&H has the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ v2.0 Quadcopter with Stabilized 1080p Camera available for $699.00 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $1,159.00.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Camera with 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer
  • Takes 14MP Stills and 1080p Video
  • Wi-Fi Downlink for Smartphones
  • iOS/Android App for Monitoring/Control
 Sunday, March 8, 2015
Western Digital My Passport Portable Hard Drive
If your hard drive failed right now, what would you lose? While I hope that your answer would be "Practically nothing", unfortunately, I know that the percentage of photographers lacking regular backups is very high.
 
While shooting at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge last week, I overheard one gentleman asking another why he was shooting a particular scene, indicating that the person already had photographed that particular scene numerous times before. The response sent a chill down my spine: "My hard drive crashed. I didn't have a backup and lost most of my pictures. I'm trying to replace what I lost."
 
PLEASE don't let me hear those words from you. Hard drives fail or become corrupted far more frequently than you want to believe. You could be the next victim and you could become so right now. Theft and fire are additional perils you should guard against.
 
With so many good backup options available today, there is no good excuse for not backing up. Western Digital My Passport Portable Hard Drives are currently my first choice backup strategy. I have 15 of the 2 TB models in active use and another dozen or so smaller capacity models acting (mostly) as archive drives. The small size and high capacity of these drives allow me to easily rotate current copies off-site and also to a second location in my studio regularly.
 
If you are lacking a regular backup strategy, decide right now to tackle that problem and commit to a routine that protects what you've worked so hard to create.
Post Date: 3/8/2015 8:55:47 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Saturday, March 7, 2015
Adobe Photoshop Elements 13
For today only, Amazon is featuring Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 as a Gold Box Deal of the Day and has the software available for $49.99. Compare at $79.99.
Post Date: 3/7/2015 8:54:04 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Friday, March 6, 2015
Photoshelter Logo
From Photoshelter:
 
It may not be obvious, but your wedding photography business’ brand and its worth -- i.e. what your able to earn -- go hand in hand. The stronger your brand, the more you’re able to capture the hearts and minds of potential clients and charge them accordingly. In this special webinar in partnership with Tamron, we’ll talk to internationally renowned wedding photographers Justin & Mary Marantz. The duo, with 10 years’ experience shooting and building their own business, has presented workshops to wedding photographers from London to Australia and been featured on Inside Wedding, Style Me Pretty & Martha Stewart. They also co-founded the blogs The Black Tie Bride and The Well-Groomed Groom.
 
As an added bonus, all webinar attendees will be entered to win a Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 lens!
 
This jam-packed 1 hour takes place March 12, 2015 at 4pm ET, and will include tips like:
 
  • Editing your portfolio to attract the clients you want
  • Finding your “brand personality”
  • What quality will have clients paying you more
  • Turning clients into ambassadors
  • Branding mistakes to avoid
Register Now
Post Date: 3/6/2015 12:25:17 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
Nikon D4s DSLR Camera
eBay (via GetItDigital) has the Nikon D4s DSLR Camera Body available for $4,699.99 with free shipping. Compare at $5,996.95.
 
Note: This is likely a grey market item and not technically eligible for a Nikon USA warranty or service; however, the seller advertises that a 3-year warranty is included.
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 3/6/2015 12:03:00 PM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
Aaron Nace of Phlearn (Photoshop and Photography Tutorials) shows us how to add a realistic reflection to sunglasses.
 
From the Phlearn YouTube Channel:
 
Adding a little Paris to your studio portraits is simpler than you might think! Learn how to add a reflection to sunglasses in today's episode.
 
Start by scaling the scenery down to the right size. Lower the opacity to see how it will look inside of the lenses. Be aware that only one of the lenses needs to look good, because it will be copied!
 
Next, select the area right around the lens with the Marquee tool. Go to Select - Inverse, then press the delete key. Now you should have a little square of reflection over one eye. Copy that layer and move it over to be on top of the second eye. Now make the reflection layer invisible and select the Magic Wand tool. We use this to select out the lenses (be sure that “sample all layers” is checked). Use the refine edge tool to soften or bring the edge in a bit. Group those layers with themselves and hit the layer mask button.
 
To style the reflection so that it doesn’t look fake, create a levels adjustment layer. Darken the darks and mess with the output levels so that it looks more like a reflection. You can add a Hue/Saturation level as well, to match the color from the original lens. In this case, we make it a little bluer and lessen the saturation.
 
Being able to see through the glasses a little bit is extremely helpful in terms of realism. We use a black to transparent gradient to select areas to be darker, and others to be more see-through.
 
Now the part you’ve all been waiting for…time to blow some minds! Select the layer that the reflection is on with the Marquee tool. Go to Filter - Distort - Spherize. From here it’s very simple to adjust the slider to a certain amount of curve. This bulges the image out and makes it appear less flat!
Post Date: 3/6/2015 9:40:28 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Canon 100-400 L II Captures Bahia Honda Railroad Bridge at Sunset
Few lenses have grown so important to me in such a short amount of time as the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens. Wildlife has been my first-choice use for this lens, but landscape photography is a very close second on the list (sports will compete with these other two uses as soon as the snow melts and more athletes go outside).
 
I love the great outdoors and landscape photography ties in very well with that love. Landscape photos allow me to take my favorite scenes with me and many hang in my house and studio. Many of these prints are very large (up to 40x60") and I'm always looking for the ultimate image quality. While I'm often using wide angle lenses to capture landscapes, I love using telephoto lenses nearly as much. Narrow angles of view are easy to compose with and, even mediocre sunrises and sunsets can fill the frame with color. The 100-400 L II provides a great focal length range and very impressive image quality, making it the perfect choice for landscape uses.
 
The historic Bahia Honda Rail Bridge (the bridge story) spans the channel between Bahia Honda State Park (Bahia Honda Key, mile marker 37 U.S. 1, the Overseas Highway) and Spanish Harbor Key (Florida). After the new highway was constructed, sections of the old bridge were cut away to accommodate boat traffic. The remaining portion of the steel truss construction bridge provides a great silhouette for sunset photos captured at the western end of the state park and the missing portion of the bridge definitely adds a uniqueness to the images captured here.
 
This is a single-frame HDR image. I simply processed the same raw image at two different brightness levels to bring up the ocean brightness slightly.
 
A larger version of this image is available on Google+, Flickr and Facebook. Also, if reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
Post Date: 3/6/2015 8:14:46 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Thursday, March 5, 2015
Nikon D610 DSLR Camera
B&H has a Nikon D610 + Battery Pack Bundle available for $1,496.95 with free expedited shipping. Regulary $2,363.46 ($500.00 instant rebate + $366.51 in free accessories).
 
Bundle Includes
 
  • Nikon D610 DSLR Camera
  • Nikon MB-D14 Multi Battery Power Pack
  • Watson EN-EL15 Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (7.0V, 1800mAh)
  • SanDisk 16GB Ultra UHS-I SDHC Memory Card (Class 10)
  • Ruggard Commando 36 DSLR Shoulder Bag
  • Vello FreeWave Plus Wireless Remote Shutter Release for Nikon
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 3/5/2015 4:04:01 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
FocusMaker DSLR Focusing Tool
B&H has the FocusMaker DSLR Focusing Tool (review) on sale for $20.00 off – now only $69.00 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $89.00.
Post Date: 3/5/2015 10:41:09 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Canvas On Demand Logo
Through midnight tonight, use coupon code STAR50 at CanvasOnDemand.com to get 50% off your entire order (excluding shipping).
Post Date: 3/5/2015 8:25:44 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
From the Nikon Europe YouTube Channel:
 
Corey Rich is one of the world's most recognized adventure sports and outdoor lifestyle visual storytellers. In this video he shares what to keep in mind when shooting time-lapse photography and how to make the most out of it creatively.
 
Note: One very interesting feature of the D7200 is exposure smoothing during time-lapse capture. This feature allows the camera to adjust for drastic changes in exposure (day to night, for example) without getting the typical flicker caused by changing settings.
 
B&H has the Nikon D7200 available for preorder.
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 3/5/2015 7:54:07 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Hoya 82mm Variable Neutral Density Filter
For a limited time, B&H has the Hoya 82mm Variable Density Filter available for $79.99 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $149.99.
Post Date: 3/5/2015 7:14:35 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Panasonic Eneloop
Adorama has the Panasonic Eneloop "AA" 2000 mAh Ni-MH Batteries (8-pack) available for $17.99 with free shipping after a $5.00 mail-in rebate. Regularly $22.99.
 
Bryan and I both use a lot of rechargeable batteries in our lives (Speedlite flashes, various remotes, etc), and Eneloop batteries are definitely a favorite of ours.
Post Date: 3/5/2015 6:30:44 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Lens
eBay (via GetItDigital) has the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Lens available for $649.00 with free shipping. Compare at $1,296.95.
 
Note: This is likely a grey market item and therefore not eligible for Nikon USA warranty or service.
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 3/4/2015 10:35:14 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Sean's Self-Portrait: Through the Looking Glass
I've always liked the idea of photographing myself through a lens. However, lenses are designed to project an image flipped and upside down. As such, shooting a portrait looking through the lens leaves you with either an upside down subject or otherwise everything else topsy turvy. True, I could simply correct the flipped and upside-down portrait in post-processing, but I just didn't like that idea (I prefer in-camera solutions if possible).
 
Another thing I didn't like about the self-portraits taken through a lens that I had come across before is that they usually had a distinct selfie vibe to them. That's because the subject was typically holding the lens in front of the camera thereby mimicking the outstretched phone in hand capture. When creating my version of the the self-portrait, I wanted it to be different. But until recently I never figured out how to execute an image that avoided those traits.
 
However, while putting the lens caps on my Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter yesterday, I realized something – the teleconverter doesn't flip the image. Of course, that makes perfect sense as it's only supposed to magnify the projected image circle of the lens in front of it, not transform it in any other way. The teleconverter may not be a traditional lens, per se, but it was the answer I had been looking for.
 
So yesterday I attempted to take a self-portrait looking through the 1.4x teleconverter. It was a little challenging to get it right, but I finally got what I wanted.
 
Capturing the self-portrait meant overcoming a few challenges. The first thing I needed to do was figure out a surface on which I could set up the teleconverter. I originally planned on standing for the self-portrait, so I needed a table that that was relatively high. Not surprisingly, I didn't have a table that stood 4 1/2' off the ground. I ended up mounting a video slider onto one of my tripods to allow for an adjustable surface for the teleconverter to rest upon. I leveled the slider so that I could lay something across it (in this case, a clipboard for rigidity and a white 2-pocket folder on top). However, when trying to balance the teleconverter on its edge, I noticed that it was a little front heavy and tended to fall forward. I actually adjusted the ballhead so that the slider was tilted away from the camera just a bit so that the teleconverter was properly balanced. This adjustment meant that my standing portrait became a sitting portrait instead (not a problem, as only a small part of me would be seen anyway).
 
I set up my Canon EOS 5D Mark III + EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro on a second tripod and pointed it at the teleconverter.
 
Framing and focus were the next big challenges to overcome. The solution to both problems came in the form of DSLR Controller and a battery-powered wireless router. With the battery-powered wireless router attached to my camera (via USB) and my Samsung Galaxy S4 loaded with the DSLR Controller app, I was able to see what the camera was seeing (Live View). This allowed me to adjust my position in the frame so that the teleconverter [almost] completely obscured my position behind it aside from my portrait in the projected image circle. DSLR Controller also allowed me to manually adjust focus using 5x and 10x magnification making obtaining focus fast and easy.
 
The final challenge was lighting. I tried several different setups before finding one that I really liked. The main light is a radio triggered Canon Speedlite 580EX (precursor to the 600EX-RT), camera left (facing subject) diffused by a Glow 24" Collapsible Softbox with a grid in place. The rest of the light in the scene is provided by a radio triggered Canon Speedlite 580EX placed just to the right of the camera's position which was bounced off the ceiling. I flagged this flash with a Rogue FlashBender (Large) to keep direct (harsh) light from hitting the subject area. Without the flag in place, a more distinct shadow would have been cast on the wall in front of my face.
 
With everything set up I tried several iterations of the self-portrait before ultimately settling on the one above. It had everything I wanted – decent pose, good lighting, and a right-side up portrait, foreground and background. It was a fun and rewarding exercise – the image was even featured on Flickr Explore last night (click on the image above for a larger version).
 
But more importantly, I figured out a solution to an image that's been rattling around in my head for quite a long time – the experience of problem solving is worth more than the image itself as it will [hopefully] lead to even better images in the future.
Post Date: 3/4/2015 8:36:56 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens
For a limited time, DigitalRev has the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens (review) available for $939.00. Compare at $1,069.00.
 
Note: When purchased by US customers, items sold by DigitalRev are considered grey market.
Post Date: 3/4/2015 9:18:54 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
RØDE Microphones Logo
From RØDE:
 
RØDE Microphones is excited to announce that the ‘My RØDE Reel’ international short film competition - first launched in 2014 to huge international acclaim - will return in 2015, with an increased total prize pool of more than $200,000 in prizes.
 
My RØDE Reel’s inaugural competition saw RØDE receive a staggering 1,120 entries from 76 countries worldwide, with nine category winners sharing a total prize pool of over $70,000, making it the largest short film competition of its kind.
 
Entrants to ‘My RØDE Reel’ are required to create a short film of three minutes or less, as well as a behind-the-scenes reel that features a RØDE product being used during the production of the film. RØDE has provided an entry pack that steps through the process, as well as templates for scripting, storyboarding and more, available now by registering at www.myrodereel.com.
 
There are three main awards and prize packs of filmmaking gear available to win -- a Judges’ Film award for the best short film in competition, a Judges’ BTS award for the best behind-the-scenes reel, and a publicly voted People’s Choice award for the most popular short film. Each of these award winners will be presented with an enviable production filmmaking kit valued at more than $40,000.
 
Additional technical and genre awards and prize packs are available for Best Sound Design, Best Soundtrack and more, and for the first time in 2015 RØDE has announced a Young Filmmaker award, to acknowledge and encourage entrants under the age of 18.
 
Joining an incredible list of sponsors and bringing the 2015 total prize pool to more than $200,000 are Atomos and Freefly Systems, supplying their Shogun 4K RAW Recorder and MOVI M5 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer respectively to multiple prize packs. They join an already illustrious list of sponsors including BlackMagic, Carl Zeiss lenses, Miller tripods, RedRock Micro rigs, SmallHD and Teradek monitoring equipment, Kessler sliders and jibs, ThinkTank Photo bags, Event studio monitors, G-Technology storage solutions, software from Adobe and RedGiant, licensing credit from The Music Bed and Film Supply, and of course plenty of RØDE microphones. A full list of the prize packs is available at www.myrodereel.com.
 
Once again, RØDE has brought together a respected judging panel for ‘My RØDE Reel’ that includes inspirational pioneer filmmakers Philip Bloom, Ryan Connolly, Vincent LaForet and Rodney Charters.
 
“Last year’s My RØDE Reel was really one of the best film competitions I have ever judged.” commented Philip Bloom. “The calibre of entries from all over the world was superb. I can’t wait to see what we get this year, it’s going to be even better I am sure.\"
 
"I’m really excited to engage with the next generation of filmmakers and to see what they come up with in the RODE Reel competition in 2015” added Vincent LaForet. “2014 was an impressive year and I can’t wait to see what they come up with this time!\"
 
Putting its “money where its mouth is”, RØDE has put together its own short film plus a complete series of behind the scenes tutorials to highlight the production process. Hosted by filmmaker Clinton Harn and the RØDE Production team, the course guides viewers through the filmmaking process from pre-production through to shooting and on to post-production.
 
Entries for ‘My RØDE Reel’ are open from March 2nd and close June 1st. All entrants will receive the exclusive 2015 My RØDE Reel Directors T-shirt, and a free subscription to Hollywood DP Shane Hurlbut’s “Inner Circle” online community.
 
Visit www.myrodereel.com now to learn more.
 
B&H carries RØDE microphones.
Category: Rode News
Post Date: 3/4/2015 6:16:59 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
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