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 Monday, December 11, 2017
Through midnight tonight Eastern Time, B&H has the Dracast LED500 Silver Series Daylight LED Light with 2x L-Series Battery Plates available for $139.95 with free shipping. Regularly $399.95.
 
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
 Sunday, December 10, 2017
Many of you know that I usually consider the ideal wildlife light to be from behind me, directing my shadow toward the animal (though keeping it outside of the frame of course), but that is just another of the many photography rules looking for an opportunity to be broken.
 
It was a great start to the day. I had found this beautiful large-bodied 10-pt buck right away in the morning while there was barely light enough to see it. The buck was staying close to a calmly-feeding doe and defending against the occasional intruder. I was ready to photograph as soon as there was enough light to make it worth attempting.
 
When the buck moved, I would also change position to what I felt would be photographically optimal (often moving farther away as it approached) and was able to stay with the buck until the sun rose high enough to directly light it. It was at that point when the buck made a short charge to contain the doe, deterring it from going toward a distant intruder. The buck ideally stopped on the crest of a hill. The sunlight was hitting the deer nearly horizontally and I was up-light in position, but ... I saw the background that I had been looking for and that became the higher priority for me.
 
Shenandoah National Park is known for its many mountain ridges and incorporating them into a white-tailed deer image background is a great goal, but one that is not so easy to achieve, especially with the narrow field of view that a 600mm focal length presents. The lighting was making hard shadows, but the intruding buck was positioned toward the sun and that meant this buck was watching toward the sun, easing the shadow issue.
 
Selecting the to-share image from the couple-of-minutes take was challenging and I eventually narrowed the choice down to two. In the other example, the buck had its head turned even farther to the right with its left ear angled back, resulting in no shadows on the head. While that pose made the deer appear larger, I opted for the wider rack perspective shown by the more-toward-the-camera head angle.
 
Especially cool is that, with the Canon EOS 5Ds R's extreme resolution, I can crop this image down to a tight full-body portrait and still have about 24 mp of very sharp resolution remaining.
 
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
Post Date: 12/10/2017 7:00:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, December 8, 2017

 
by Sean Setters
 
One of the greatest features found in current Canon DSLRs is a Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus (DPAF) sensor which allows for easy and smooth autofocus tracking in video mode. This capability alone is a compelling reason to upgrade cameras if your current camera lacks the DPAF feature.
 
On that note, I was recently asked to film a high school basketball game and create a highlight reel of the team. I had never filmed or produced a sports highlight reel before, but here are a few things I learned during the process.
 
1) Small, inexpensive (even variable aperture) Canon STM lenses work great in moderately well lit gymnasiums.
 
When photographing indoors sports, I typically rely on very wide aperture prime lenses in order to achieve the fastest shutter speeds (to free action) while keeping my ISO as low as possible (for the cleanest possible images). However, an action-stopping shutter speed isn't a requirement when shooting video. Optimally, your shutter speed should be double the reciprocal of your video frame rate. That means that when capturing, for instance, 1080p video at 29.97 fps, your shutter speed should be 1/60 second.
 
At 1/60 second, even lenses with a max aperture of f/5.6 can be used in reasonably well lit gymnasiums without requiring the use of your camera's highest ISO settings to achieve a proper exposure. For the game above, I used a Canon EOS 7D Mark II combined with the EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM, EF 40mm f/2.8 STM, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM and EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lenses, with the same manual exposure settings of f/5.6, 1/60 sec., ISO 2000 employed for all of them.
 
And with STM lenses in-use, AF transitions are smooth and AF sounds are [typically] minimized (though the ambient sound level in a gym with cheering/jeering fans can drown out a substantial amount of AF noise).
 
2) A monopod is really helpful to have for stabilizing video and reducing fatigue.
 
Lenses with built-in image stabilization are certainly handy, but a monopod with a tilt head is a relatively inexpensive universal stailization solution that is especially handy when using prime, non-stabilized lenses (like the EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM and EF 40mm f/2.8 STM). You can easily pivot a monopod for horizontal panning while using the tilt head to track subjects vertically (be sure your monopod features a rubber foot that will not damage the gym floor).
 
3) Where you can position yourself on the floor will depend on the most conservative referee's consideration of safety.
 
For the game shown above, two referees were perfectly fine with me being anywhere along the baseline or sides of the floor. However, one particular referee requested that I go no further than about 5 feet in on both ends of the floor. Gyms offer differently sized areas designated as "safe zones" around the playing floor, and those zones are often up for interpretation. Respect the referees and the venue by following all rules, regulations and requests to ensure you can film in the same venue (or in another venue with the same referee crew) in the future.
 
4) Record everything that could result in a great play and use your camera's Rating feature to mark the best videos recorded.
 
After I got home from the basketball game, I had recorded over 100 individual videos. Unfortunately, I had to preview each one to determine whether or not it was worth including in the highlight reel. While previewing, I marked videos that I would definitely include with a special character (I added an underscore) and videos that could possibly be used with another special character and moved uninteresting videos to the trash. This left me with only the videos I needed for the highlight reel.
 
After going through my organization process, I realized that I could have simply rated the videos right after they occurred, opened up my memory card in Digital Photo Professional 4, filtered by the star rating and then only copied the relevant videos to my hard drive to begin with, quickly culling the videos that weren't interesting enough to use. You can even distinguish between "will use" clips and "possible filler clips" with a two star and one star rating, respectively, to further expedite the organization process.
 
5. In post processing, separate the video and audio tracks and extend/blend the after-play audio with the next play's audio.
 
When an exciting play happens, the crowd usually cheers afterwards. To best capture the drama, preserve some of the audio captured just after an exciting play and blend it into the following clip. Even if the clip doesn't feature a cheer-worthy play, blending a clips audio with the adjacent clip(s) will ensure the audio of the crowd sounds natural.
 
Summary
 
Offering to shoot highlight reels is a good way to earn a little extra income and gain exposure (especially if wearing a t-shirt displaying your photography/videography services brand) while getting to enjoy a sporting event up close. And, not only does the team get something awesome to show for their efforts, your highlight reel could possibly help a student get noticed by college scouts resulting in a scholarship offer.
 
That sounds like a good deal for everyone involved.
Post Date: 12/8/2017 9:18:32 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
From Macphun/Skylum: Today, Apple named Aurora HDR 2018 as their Best Mac App of 2017. This is a big honor for all of the team and we’re very grateful to cap off a year of hard work this way. At the same time, we will continue to work hard to achieve our bigger goal of ensuring Aurora HDR is the industry standard for HDR photography
 
To celebrate this milestone, and help even more people access this great photography tool, Aurora HDR 2018 — both Mac & Windows — will be available for the rest of December at $20 OFF with a pack of special bonuses included. Read below for the detailed information about the offer.
 
Pricing:
 
  • Current users of Aurora HDR may upgrade at a Special price of $39
  • New users can purchase Aurora HDR 2018 for $79
  • A collection of bonuses will also be included with every purchase.
Bonuses:
 
  • Deep Dive video tutorial from Trey Ratcliff
  • “How to create realistic HDR images” Ebook
  • 2 Preset Packs - 40 presets! Preset pack 1 - Winter Vibes. Preset Pack 2 - Wonderland.
Download / Purchase: Aurora HDR 2018
Post Date: 12/8/2017 9:21:30 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
From the Adorama YouTube Channel:
 
Using candles as a source of light for portraits is an exciting idea but it comes with some problems. Slow shutter speeds and unflattering light on your model are two pitfalls photographer Gavin Hoey will demostrate and resolve in this video.
 
After the shoot Gavin will take you into Adobe Photoshop where he'll add some finish touches such as the instant snow effect.
 
You can download the instant snow action here.
Post Date: 12/8/2017 5:31:49 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Through this weekend, B&H has the Ruggard Fabric Camera Rain Cover (Black) available for $29.95 with free shipping. Regularly $69.95.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • For Canon DSLRs
  • For Nikon DSLRs with Square Viewfinders
  • For Lenses 7 to 14" Long
  • Fits Lenses with 4 to 4.5" Diameter
  • Water-Resistant Protection
  • Camera-Access Control Window
  • Eyepiece Port for Viewfinder
  • Adjustable Lens Barrel Sleeve
  • Three Assorted Eyepieces with Caps
  • Drawstring Case
Post Date: 12/8/2017 5:09:42 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Throug this weekend, B&H has the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Photo (Pink) available for $49.99 with free shipping. Regularly $99.99.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Creative Enhancement Target
  • Classic Target
  • White Balance Target
  • Protective Pocket-Sized Case
  • Camera Calibration Software
  • Accurate Consistent Color
Post Date: 12/8/2017 5:07:17 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Thursday, December 7, 2017
B&H has HGST 4, 6, 8 & 10 TB SATA III Hard Drives discounted for a limited time.
 
The images from high resolution DSLRs and mirrorless cameras tend to consume hard drive space at an alarming rate. Upgrade your storage now before you run out of space to store or back up your files.
Post Date: 12/7/2017 11:56:09 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
B&H has the Mountainsmith Parallax Camera Backpack available for $149.95 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $269.95.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Fits 3 DSLRs, 70-200, 4 Lenses, Flash
  • Accommodates 17" Laptop & Tablet
  • Three Access Points to Camera Gear
  • Anvil Airway Suspension
  • Back-Panel Gear Compartment
  • Side Tripod Attachment
  • Water-Resistant Exterior
  • Padded Waist Straps with Pockets
  • Removable Rain Cover
  • Interior Camera Case
Post Date: 12/7/2017 11:43:00 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Through midnight tonight Eastern Time, B&H has the Glyph Technologies 8TB Blackbox Pro Enterprise Class 7200 rpm USB 3.1 Type-C External Hard Drive available for $299.95 with free shipping. Regularly $399.95.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • 8TB Storage Capacity
  • USB Type-C 3.1 Interface
  • Enterprise Class Hard Drive
  • 7200 rpm Rotational Speed
  • Up to 220 MB/s Data Transfer Speed
  • Includes External Power Adapter
  • Fanless Design
  • Preformatted for Mac (HFS+)
  • Windows Compatible with Reformatting
The addition of a new lens can add life to a kit, sparking creativity and inspiring a new look on old subjects. One such lens example is the Irix 11mm f/4 Firefly and for most photographers using full frame gear, the extreme wide angle focal length is the big appeal for this lens.
 
Shared here is the Irix 11 view of the Pennsylvania Capitol Rotunda ceiling. While this appears to be a simple image to capture, establishing the perfect camera alignment is very challenging. Any decentering within the space causes opposing side detail alignment mismatch and forces slight camera tilt to establish balanced framing with the latter quickly being made apparent by converging lines.
 
While software can be used to correct some issues such as perspective, it cannot easily move the relationship of near and far details. Getting it right in the camera is a much better option.
 
With those bright lights in the frame, an HDR strategy was needed for this picture.
 
Consider getting the Irix 11 or another lens that would be useful to you and provide a creative spark. The holidays are great time to use such a lens and your Christmas tree makes a great 11mm subject.
 
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
Post Date: 12/7/2017 8:41:38 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan

 
From the COOPH YouTube Channel:
 
COOPH presents 10 fun and easy DIY photography gifts you can make at home. Simply grab your favorite photos, get creative and give someone special something they’ll love!
Post Date: 12/7/2017 7:12:35 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
B&H has the Oben AT-3565 Folding Aluminum Travel Tripod with BC-217T Ball Head available for $119.95 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $149.95.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Load Capacity: 20 lb
  • Max Height: 61.7"
  • Min Height: 9.7"
  • Folded Length: 15.2"
  • Leg Sections: 5
  • Weight: 3.75 lb
  • Integrated Monopod Max Height: 64.2"
  • Retractable Spiked Feet
  • Arca-Type Quick Release
  • Includes Low-Angle Center Column
Through midnight tonight, B&H has the Tamrac Corona 26 Convertible Pack available for $89.95 with free shipping. Regularly $164.95.
 
Smaller versions of the Tamrac Corona bag (also discounted) are also available via the links above.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • Pro DSLR, Lenses & Accessories
  • Padded Compartment for Laptop or Tablet
  • Converts Between Sling & Backpack
  • Top, Side & Front Access to Gear
  • Padded Touch-Fastened Interior Dividers
  • Top & Bottom Storage Compartments
  • Front Daisy Chain for Tripod
  • ARC & M.O.L.L.E. Attachment Points
  • Padded Harness & Sternum Strap
  • Seam-Sealed Rain Cover
Post Date: 12/7/2017 5:22:07 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, December 6, 2017
B&H has several Used Sony Alpha a7R II Mirrorless Digital Cameras (Condition: 8 - 10) available for $1,778.95 - $2,026.95. Compare at $2,398.00 new after $500.00 instant savings.
 
Product Highlights
 
  • 42MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor
  • Internal UHD 4K Video & S-Log2 Gamma
  • 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization
  • 399 Phase-Detect AF Points & 5 fps Burst
  • 0.5" 2.36M-Dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF
  • 3.0" 1,228.8k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
  • ISO 102,400 and Silent Shutter Mode
  • Durable Reduced-Vibration Shutter Design
  • Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC
While Canon lenses will generally work with Sony a7-series bodies via an adapter, optimal performance will be realized by using native FE mount lenses. On that note, B&H has several used Sony FE lenses in its inventory.
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