Canon, Nikon, and Sony News for Jan 2016 (Page 2)

 Tuesday, January 19, 2016
I encountered numerous lion's mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata, AKA the giant jellyfish or the hair jelly) while walking the docks at Seward Harbor in Alaska. With a Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens mounted to the Canon EOS 5Ds R, I was focused on harborscapes and was not expecting small subjects such as jellyfish. While I could have gone back to the SUV for the 100-400mm Lens, I was able to find a couple of these subjects just below the dock, allowing me to occasionally get close enough to fill much of the 70mm frame.
 
By photographing a lion's mane that was near the surface with a circular polarizer filter cutting the reflections and by adding some contrast in post processing, I was able to get an underwater look from a surface-captured image. In post, I removed some debrise in the water and increased saturation a bit to brighten the colors. Hard to see at this resolution is the small jellyfish, one of the lion's mane jellyfish's prey, just out of tenacle reach toward the left side of the frame.
 
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr, Google+, Facebook and 500px. If reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
 
Camera and Lens Settings
70mm  f/8.0  1/125s
ISO 400
8688 x 5792px
Post Date: 1/19/2016 11:00:10 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
From Nikon:
 
Changes from Version 1.3.0 to 1.3.1
 
  • Renaming folders created in root directory (under startup disk) has been made unable in order to prevent images stored in the folders from being deleted.
Download: Nikon Capture NX-D v.1.3.1 for Mac
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 1/19/2016 10:03:02 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
YouTube superstar Devin Graham has released his 2015 highlight reel for a second time. Unfortunately for him, he had a little trouble with his first attempt at uploading and sharing the video.
 
According to Devin's Blog, the original title for the 2015 highlight reel was "People Are Awesome 2015 - ULTIMATE DevinSuperTramp Edition in 4K." However, unbeknownst to Devin, the phrase "People Are Awesome" had been copywrited/trademarked by a company called Jukin and was swiftly removed from YouTube after an infringement complaint.
 
After a time consuming back and forth, Devin was forced to upload the highlight reel with a new title having lost all of the momentum his first video enjoyed after it was initially uploaded.
 
For the entire story, check out the Devin Graham Blog.
Manfrotto, world leader in the photography, imaging equipment and accessories industry, announces the new generation compact LED lights for professional and advanced hobbyist videographers and photographers.
 
CROMA2, MICROPRO2 and SPECTRA2 offer the latest LED technology available (SMT - Surface Mount Technology) in a portable size, which guarantees images with perfect color rendition and improved optical efficiency.
 
These on-camera LED panels, powered by Litepanels, are part of the new ready to use Manfrotto LED lights.
 
CROMA2 AND MICROPRO2: COMPACT NEW LED TECHNOLOGY
A new range with the same design, the SMT LED panels embed innovative lenses, which have been specifically created for high efficiency and CRI (Colour Rendering Index).
 
The intensity of the LED devices can be controlled by the user - CROMA2 up to 900lux and MICROPRO2 up to 940lux. The colour temperature in CROMA2 can be regulated from 3100K to 5600K, which makes this device the perfect versatile LED panel to match the existing ambient lighting. MICROPRO2 is Daylight 5600K and permits the colour correction thanks to the diffuser and gel filter included in the pack.
 
CROMA2 and MICROPRO2 operate on six AA standard batteries, from mains through the included AC adaptor or on L-Type Li-ion batteries through the included battery adaptor.
 
Compact and powerful, thanks to the included ball head they can be used for both on camera as well as off camera use.
 
SPECTRA2: MINI BUT POWERFUL
The most compact LED Panel in the professional range - high efficiency in the palm of your hand. SPECTRA2 features the state-of-the-art LED SMT technology, which guarantees images with perfect colour rendition and flicker-free functionality.
 
SPECTRA2 is perfect for on camera use with the included new ball-head, as well as for off camera use.
 
The LED device is dimmable, capable of emitting 650lux, and provides a further increase in the light output thanks to the boost mode (+50%). The colour temperature of the LED Panel is Daylight 5600K but it can be changed thanks to diffusers and filter gels.
 
SPECTRA2 can operate on six AA standard batteries and offers, as optional, AC or L-Type Li-ion batteries adaptors.
 
These new powerful and compact Manfrotto LED lights guarantee best performance with a high quality light. CROMA2, MICROPRO2 and SPECTRA2 represent the top range of on-camera units.
 
B&H has the Manfrotto CROMA2, MICROPRO2 and SPECTRA2 on-camera LEDs in stock.
Category: Manfrotto News
Post Date: 1/19/2016 6:09:52 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Monday, January 18, 2016
by Sean Setters
 
If the term "stroboscopic" is unfamiliar to you, you're not alone. My guess is that many Canon 580EX / 580EX II / 600EX-RT owners have yet to explore this intriguing feature found in their Speedites.
 
So what is stroboscopic flash? Fortunately, the 600EX-RT manual provides a good description in the feature's introduction:
"When using stroboscopic flash with a slow shutter speed, you can shoot multiple successive movements within a single picture, similar to stop-motion pictures.
 
In stroboscopic flash, set the flash output, number of flashes, and flash frequency (number of flashes per second = Hz)."
As outlined above, stroboscopic – or MULTI, in Canon's terminology – flash allows for the Speedlite to fire several continuous flashes within a specified duration of time, which is beneficial in illustrating movement by exposing the subject with individual burst of lights as it travels across the frame during a single exposure.
 
What kind of subjects work well when captured with stroboscopic flash? Dancers and falling/bouncing objects are commonly utilized, but just about anything that moves will work. Keep in mind that a dark shooting environment is necessary to achieve optimal results because any constant/ambient light will cause motion blur to be captured between flash bursts.
 
To set up your flash for stroboscopic/MULTI mode, press the Mode button until "MULTI" is displayed on the Speedlite's LCD panel. If the flash is set to Slave mode, you may need to hold the Mode button for a few seconds until it switches out of ETTL mode. Note: In Slave mode, the MULTI label will blink.
 
Next, you'll need to set the flash power, number of total flashes and number of flashes per second (Hz).
 
Canon Speedlite Multi Stroboscopic Illustration

In the illustration above, the flash is set to fire 8 times at a rate of 12Hz. In this situation, the flash wil be firing for 2/3 of a second, meaning that the camera's shutter speed will need to be set to 2/3 second or longer in order to capture all 8 of the individual flash bursts.
 
Note that as you use higher flash powers, the number of flashes you can fire in succession begins to dwindle. That means that there's a limit to how many continuous flashes you can expect to achieve at various power levels, with higher power level use allowing for fewer continuous flashes. Once again, the 600EX-RT's manual comes to the rescue to provide a handy resource for determining the number of continuous flashes we can expect at specific power levels:
 
Maximum Number of Flash Bursts During Stroboscopic Mode 600EX RT

Creating the Example Image
 
To create the image above, I used a tripod mounted 5D Mark III, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, ST-E2 and (2) 580EX Speedlites set to stroboscopic/MULTI mode. The flashes were set to 80mm zoom and positioned slightly behind the bouncing platform (a board) so as to limit the amount of light spilling onto the background, an Impact Collapsible Black/White Background.
 
The flashes were set to 1/128 power, 15 flashes at a rate of 30Hz. This made my shutter speed calculation quite easy – 1/2 second. And if you look closely, you'll notice that the exposure time and framing allowed me to capture every flash burst from the Speedlite in the image (you can count 15 individual balls). With an aperture of f/7.1 and an ISO of 250, I was able to capture a dark background while maintaining a good exposure on the subject, a ping pong ball. Note that I purposefully shot this image at night with the overhead lights turned off to minimize the ambient light in the room (I left a hallway light on and the studio door cracked to provide enough working light). To create the exposures, I set the camera to manual focus noting the plane of focus on the board. I then gently dropped the ping pong ball at the point of focus while triggering the camera's shutter button with my other hand.
 
So why would someone uses stroboscopic flash instead of simply firing off a continuous burst from the camera with flash set to trigger on every exposure with the intend of combining the exposures in post? One word – speed. For example, an EOS 7D Mark II can achieve a burst rate of 10 frames-per-second, meaning that the camera's burst rate limits the number of individual exposures you can create in a 1-second duration. And if shooting with a Rebel/xxxD series DSLR, the burst rate becomes even more limiting. But using stroboscopic flash, you can essentially capture a subject 40 times within the same 1-second time period (at 1/128 power), translating into a much faster burst rate while simultaneously reducing the amount of post-processing required to achieve the desired result.
 
If you've never tried stroboscopic flash, we invite you to do so. Creating images using stroboscopic flash is a great way to spend an evening creating fun, creative images. And when you've captured your favorite stroboscopic image (or if you already have one), share it in The-Digital-Picture Flickr group with the tag "stroboscopic flash".
 
A larger version of the example image can be found on my Flickr photostream.
Post Date: 1/18/2016 9:02:44 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Introduced in 1976 and discontinued in 1998, the Nikon 13mm f/5.6 is often dubbed "The Holy Grail" because of its ultra-wide angle of view with minimal distortion. It was only available via special order during its production run making it one of Nikon's rarest lenses.
 
However, a Nikon 13mm f/5.6 lens has just appeared on eBay. If interested in bringing home this ultra-wide, ultra rare lens, a significant emptying of the wallet will be necessary.
 
The serial number of this particular lens translates to a production year after 1982.
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 1/18/2016 7:06:11 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
From the Canon USA YouTube Channel:
 
Professional motorsports photographer Kevin Wing takes the Canon EOS 5DS R out to canyon roads to show off its action shooting capabilities.
 
B&H carries the Canon EOS 5Ds R which currently qualifies for 13 Months Of Complimentary Damage Protection and Priority Service (CarePAK PLUS).
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 1/18/2016 6:26:14 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Friday, January 15, 2016
The bears I encountered in Katmai National Park were primarily catching salmon, eating salmon or resting. I thought this bear chillin on a mound of dirt looked humorous.
 
Leave your caption for this image in the comments.
 
Friday seemed like a good day for sharing this pic. A larger version of this image is available on Flickr, Google+, Facebook, Instagram and 500px. If reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
Post Date: 1/15/2016 10:49:01 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan

 
Canon's CarePAK PLUS promotion provides protection from kids, pets, and life including accidental damage such as drops, spills, power surges and other unforeseen events. Originally scheduled to end January 9, the promotion has been extended through February 27, 2016.
 
Eligible Canon cameras and lenses include:
 
Camera Bodies/Kits
 
Lenses
 
In addition, any lens included within a kit with an eligible body will be covered. For example, if a customer purchases the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens kit, the lens will be covered since it is included in the box with the body (also known as a “hard bundle”).
 
For more information, check out Canon USA's CarePAK PLUS Promo page.
Posted to: Canon News
Category: Canon USA News
Post Date: 1/15/2016 7:52:27 AM CT   Posted By: Sean

 
From the Canon USA YouTube Channel:
 
Professional motorsports photographer Kevin Wing shares his techniques for shooting vehicles in motion using his Canon EOS-1D X.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 1/15/2016 7:39:20 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
From Canon:
 
Service Notice: Free exchange for imagePROGRAF PRO-1000
 
Thank you for using Canon Products.
 
We have determined that some imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printers may experience ink leakage. This announcement conveys Canon’s service policy for affected printers. We offer our sincerest apologies to any customers who have been inconvenienced.
 
Phenomenon
 
In rare instances, ink may leak from inside the printer to the outside of the printer through an opening on the bottom.
 
Affected units
 
imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 units starting with serial number prefix AEGL.
Example: AEGL01234
The serial number can be found on the back of printer.
 
Canon IPF PRO1000 Image Serial Number Affected by Leakage

Support
 
Affected imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printers can be exchanged for a new printer free of charge when replacements become available around the end of January, 2016.
 
For details regarding how to exchange your printer, please contact the Canon Customer Support Center at 1-800-423-2366.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 1/15/2016 6:14:09 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
From Think Tank Photo:
 
The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) today named Think Tank Photo as the winner of the 2016 J. Winton Lemon Fellowship Award. The honor is given to those who render continuing outstanding service in the interests of press photography and for outstanding technical achievement in photography. Previous winners include Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, and Adobe Systems.
 
Think Tank Photo Founders Photo 10th Anniversary

Founded in 2005 by designers Doug Murdoch and Mike Sturm, and Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Deanne Fitzmaurice and veteran photojournalist Kurt Rogers, Think Tank is a group of designers and professional photographers focused on studying how photographers work, and developing inventive new carrying solutions to meet their needs. By focusing on “speed” and “accessibility,” it prepares photographers to Be Ready “Before The Moment,” allowing them to document those historic moments that reflect their personal visions and artistic talents.
 
“When we started Think Tank over 10 years ago, we vowed to serve the needs of NPPA members and other working photographers,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank’s CEO and lead designer. “It is an extreme honor to be named for such an illustrious award, especially by an organization we hold in such high regard. We believe photojournalists and other press photographers and videographers serve such a high purpose in helping convey the truth, especially in settings where they often have to put their lives at risk.”
 
Winton Lemen was a charter member of the NPPA. In 1952, after a distinguished career as a news photographer at the Rocky Mountain News, Pittsburgh Press, and Buffalo Times, he established the photo press markets division of the Eastman Kodak Co. and served as the firm's liaison with news photographers.
 Thursday, January 14, 2016
You were shooting madly throughout the year and now, during the dark, cold months of winter, you have settled down to process and post your successes. The problem is that your desk is cold and that your wrist, where so many blood vessels are located, rests directly on that cold desk, radiating the coldness into your hand. When your hand is cold, your entire body feels cold.
 
My right hand is cold most of the winter. For years I have been hunting for a solution and until now, a variety of mouse pads with some insulation capability were the best solution I've come up with, but they fell far short of keeping my mouse hand warm.
 
On my latest search, I came across a heated mouse pad. While this is not the first such model I have found, it is the first one that didn't have some restrictive tent-like or glove-like structure over the pad. It was inexpensive, looked like it would work well for its primary function (a surface for the mouse), had a decent appearance (we're photographers – appearance matters) and I didn't deliberate very long before ordering one.
 
For the price, I didn't have very high expectations for build quality, but I was far from disappointed with what I got. The basic, nondescript, 8 7/8 x 10 1/4" (225 x 260mm) mousepad design features a smooth, 7 3/4 x 9 3/4" (197 x 248mm) matte aluminum surface (great for mouse friction and response) surrounded by matt black ABS plastic (white is optionally available). Four non-slip feet hold the pad in place.
 
Creating heat generally involves electricity or burning something and fortunately the designers chose the former option for this product. Included is an approximately 5' USB cable that appears designed to plug into and draw power from the computer's USB port.
 
Upon plugging in the USB cable, my Dell XPS laptop immediately informed me that a device was requesting more power than the port had available. I rely heavily on my laptop and that message sent a little chill down my spine, but no harm was done. I unplugged and instead used an A/C to USB wall outlet adapter.
 
The next issue was trying to decide which switch position on the provided USB cord was "On". This determination became easier when I realized that there was a faint blue light emanating around the port when the switch was in the "On" position.
 
As you would expect with a low-draw power source, the heat isn't instant. But, the warm-up time isn't bad and the amount of heat provided after warm-up seems ideal for me. The great news is that my wrist and hand now stay toasty warm on even the coldest days. Eventually, even the mouse even becomes slightly warmed, at least near its bottom.
 
With the heated mouse pad on my desk, winter has become a little brighter. Sometimes it is the little things that make life better and the heated mouse pad may have been the best money I have spent recently.
 
The heated mouse pad is available at Amazon.
Post Date: 1/14/2016 11:22:12 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
For a limited time, Adorama has the Audio-Technical ATW-1701L System 10 Camera Mount Wireless Microphone available for $239.99 with free shipping. Regularly $449.95.
 
Audio-Technica ATW-1701L Features
 
  • Digital 24-bit/48 kHz wireless operation for ultimate sound quality and dependable performance
  • Operates in the 2.4 GHz range - completely free from TV interference
  • Ultra compact receiver size with multiple mounting options
  • Selectable balanced and unbalanced output jacks with level control for use with most cameras and recording devices
  • Internal rechargeable 12 hour battery
  • Separate headphone port and volume control for local audio monitoring
  • Multi-pairing function to link a single receiver with up to eight body-pack or handheld transmitters
  • Three levels of diversity assurance: frequency, time and space
  • Automatic frequency selection for seamless, interference-free operation
  • Extremely easy operation with instantaneous channel selection, sync and setup
Included:
 
  • ATW-R1700 Camera-Mount Wireless 2.4 GHz Receiver
  • ATW-T1001 System 10 Digital UniPak Transmitter
  • Lavalier Microphone
  • Hot- or Cold-Shoe Adapter
  • 2 Year Limited Warranty
From Nikon:
 
January 14, 2016 – TOKYO – Nikon is pleased to announce the release of two new COOLPIX cameras, the COOLPIX A100, a slim and lightweight stylish model that can be easily taken anywhere, and the COOLPIX A10, a model powered by common AA batteries that makes capturing high-quality images fun and easy.
 
The COOLPIX A100 has an effective pixel count of 20.1 megapixels, and is equipped with a 5x optical zoom (10x when Dynamic Fine Zoom is used) NIKKOR lens that covers the wide-angle 26mm to telephoto 130mm (equivalents in 35mm [135] format) range of focal lengths, all in an extremely portable, slim body with a depth measuring approximately 19.8mm and a weight of approximately 119g. It is a stylish model equipped with a number of features that make taking and editing photos fun. For example, Scene Auto Selector makes capturing beautiful, high-quality photos easy with the camera doing all of the work, and functions such as Glamour Retouch are easier to use with adoption of a new Creative Slider.
 
The COOLPIX A10 has an elegant body that offers an effective pixel count of 16.1 megapixels, and is equipped with a 5x optical zoom NIKKOR lens supporting a range of focal lengths that begins at the wide-angle 26mm (equivalent in 35mm [135] format). Users can easily enjoy taking beautiful, high-quality photos using Scene Auto Selector mode, which automatically selects and applies the optimal scene mode, and retouch functions including Special Effects and Quick Effects have been enhanced. What's more, the A10 is powered by readily available AA batteries, allowing users to respond flexibly should the batteries become exhausted on unexpected outings.
 
Release dates and suggested retail pricing are unknown at this time. [Sean]
Posted to: Nikon News
Post Date: 1/14/2016 7:35:49 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
From Canon:
 
TOKYO, January 14, 2016—Canon Inc. again ranked first among Japanese companies and third overall for the number of U.S. patents awarded in 2015, according to the latest ranking of preliminary patent results issued by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services on January 13, 2016.
 
Canon actively promotes the globalization of its business and places great value on obtaining patents overseas, carefully adhering to a patent-filing strategy that pursues patents in essential countries and regions while taking into consideration the business strategies and technology and product trends unique to each location. Among these, the United States, with its many high-tech companies and large market scale, represents a particularly important region in terms of business expansion and technology alliances.
 
Canon U.S. patent rankings among Japanese companies 2005–2015
 
YearRanking*No. of
patents
20151st (3rd)4,134
20141st (3rd)4,055
20131st (3rd)3,820
20121st (3rd)3,173
20111st (3rd)2,818
20101st (4th)2,551
20091st (4th)2,200
20081st (3rd)2,107
20071st (3rd)1,983
20061st (3rd)2,366
20051st (2nd)1,829

*Number in parenthesis represents Canon's ranking among all companies
 
Canon prizes its corporate DNA of placing a high priority on technology. And with regard to research and development results, the Company actively promotes the acquisition of patent rights in accordance with the management direction of the Canon Group and technology trends while conducting thorough pre-application searches to raise the quality of applications. Through close cooperation between Canon's technology and intellectual property divisions, the Company aims to improve its technological capabilities while further enhancing its intellectual property rights.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 1/14/2016 6:09:48 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
From PocketWizard:
 
New Key Features:
 
Compatibility with Mac OS X El Capitan (10.11.2):
 
Apple made significant structural changes in OS X El Capitan (10.11) compared to previous versions of the Mac operating system. As a result, PocketWizard Utility beta version 1.63 required significant work to integrate El Capitan’s differences.
 
Make sure you are using the latest iteration of El Capitan, OS X version 10.11.2. Previous OS X versions of El Capitan, 10.11.0 or 10.11.1, have only received minimal testing with this Utility and will not be tested further. Testing against OS X version 10.11.3, currently in developer and public beta, will commence soon. If you are using 10.11.3, we would appreciate any reports you may have about this Utility’s functionality in that OS.
 
Utility 1.63 remains reverse-compatible with the previous 5 versions of Mac OS X:
 
  • Yosemite (10.10)
  • Mavericks (10.9)
  • Mountain Lion (10.8)
  • Lion (10.7)
  • Snow Leopard (10.6)
If your Mac OS X version is Leopard (10.5) or earlier, or you are using a PowerPC-based system, try PocketWizard Utility version 1.54. It will not have the latest features of version 1.63, but should still work for most PocketWizard products with the exception of the Plus III and Plus IV.
 
Continued compatibility with Microsoft Windows:
 
Both this beta version 1.63, and the prior official Utility version 1.58, are fully compatible with modern Windows versions:
 
  • 10 - Version 1511
  • 8.1 – Version 6.3.9600
  • 7 – Version 6.1.7601 (Service Pack 1)
Other versions of the Microsoft OS, like 8 (prior to 8.1), 7 (no service pack), Vista, 2000 and XP were not tested for this release, but the Utility may still function. Operation in these operating systems is not officially supported.
 
Added support for the PocketWizard Plus IV:
 
This Utility will be ready to support the PocketWizard Plus IV when it launches (estimated Q1/2016).
 
Simplified and Improved Workflow:
 
Based on your feedback, we have incorporated many improvements to streamline the Utility especially around firmware updating:
 
  • Dramatically simplified firmware updating. Reduced and removed dialogue boxes and buttons to speed the process up, especially when “Advanced Mode” is unchecked
  • Clarified the notification system that reminds you when a firmware update is available
  • New radio firmware is automatically downloaded upon program install and launch if there’s an internet connection available. This speeds the firmware update process for multiple radios and allows for updating later when there may be no internet connection
  • Removed the “Apply Changes” confirmation dialogue. Now, when you click Apply Changes, your settings are immediately updated. Please wait for the radio to reconnect (see it reappear in the Utility) to allow the changes to be completely applied as well as visually verify the changes you just made
  • Reduced, removed, and clarified dialogue boxes in several places
  • Moved Save Profile, Load Profile, and Replicate to the advanced area. Tick the “Advanced Mode” checkbox in the lower left corner (by the blue gear) to reveal these features
Other Improvements:
 
  • Incorporated the latest security certificates for Mac and Windows operating systems
  • Improved offline operation for a smoother experience when an internet connection is not available. This is in addition to workflow improvements noted above
  • Added a delete feature to the Device Inventory. Device Inventory is located under the Settings Menu. Click the blue gear in the lower left corner to access it. When a radio is deleted from Device Inventory, the information is immediately and permanently deleted
  • Fixed a bug where sometimes the context help window would be empty on some computers
  • Fixed other minor display issues
For full details including installation instructions, please refer to the PocketWizard Beta Utility 1.63 Release Bulletin.
 
B&H carries PocketWizard gear.
Post Date: 1/14/2016 5:37:02 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Wednesday, January 13, 2016
They don't take Christmas decorations down on December 26th, but ... the crowds will be lighter than before Christmas. Public Christmas displays, including large Christmas trees frequently found in towns and cities, make great photography subjects. Photographing these displays after the crowds leave can make life easier for the photographer (and your social schedule will likely be cleared). Though the Christmas anticipation feelings may have subsided, the resulting photographs can be as good or better than those captured before the holiday.
 
When do they take down public Christmas decorations? That answer varies greatly, but on this particular year, the large Christmas tree on display at PPG Place in Pittsburgh was scheduled to be taken down on Jan 26th. Part of my pre-trip planning involved asking that question. On January 5th, a very cold Tuesday afternoon, the crowds at the ice skating rink were light, but ... timing the photograph with the ice being cleared for the Zamboni to do its resurfacing work meant a completely empty rink.
 
To add an extra element to the image, I aligned the sun with a small hole in the Christmas tree and used a narrow aperture to create a strong starburst effect.
 
Setting the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens to 11mm will take in a VERY wide angle of view. Pointing 11mm upward will cause buildings to strongly lean inward.
 
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr, Google+, Facebook, Instagram and 500px. If reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
 
Camera and Lens Settings
11mm  f/16.0  1.30s
ISO 100
8688 x 5792px
Post Date: 1/13/2016 11:14:16 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
B&H has the Tokina AT-X 14-20mm f/2 PRO DX Lens available for preorder with an expected availability at the end of February.
Post Date: 1/13/2016 11:23:59 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Note: While this is primarily a tongue-in-cheek article, all the facts presented are accurate to our knowledge. [Sean]
 
Both Bryan and I recently had images featured in Flickr's Explore. Bryan's image was a view of Pittsburg during blue hour and mine was a shot of the Tybee Island Pier with stars shining above it. As such, Bryan and I had a brief discussion about the formula that Flickr uses to determine each day's most interesting – and thereby Explore worthy – images.
 
If you're not familiar with Flickr, the Explore feed is basically a gallery that Flickr uses to feature the most "interesting" (their term, not mine) images that have been uploaded recently.
 
I mentioned to Bryan that while I was unsurprised that his image made it to Explore, I was very surprised that mine had. Why? It was never posted to a single group (which can garner a lot of views) and didn't seem to have much activity after being on Flickr for almost an entire day. When I went to bed, I the picture had about 50-60 views and one favorite. But when I woke up the next morning, I found the image had been viewed roughly 3,000 times and had garnered almost 50 favorites while I was sleeping and the stats continued to rise. For some reason, the activity from my contacts alone had pushed the image into Explore (but what that activity was, I'll never know).
 
The algorithm used to determine Explore worthy images (via an "Interestingness" calculation) is proprietary to Flickr and, by all accounts, top secret. There's no doubt that the formula is tweaked from time to time, but what is known is that views, favorites and comments are all positive factors. But if your image is posted to a large number of groups, that can count against your image in the calculation. So that's basically all we know. But does Flickr actually weigh the actual subject matter into the Interestingness equation? Or to put it anothe way, are some subjects more likely to boost your image into Flickr's Explore?
 
Then Bryan sent me an email around 7:45pm last night. It read,
"I just figured it out. Buttons are the key subject to get into today’s Explore pool. Why???"
I wish someone could have seen the look of confusion on my face. I had absolutely no idea what Bryan was talking about. Buttons?? What are you talking about, Bryan?
 
Then I took a look at Flickr's Explore feed. My jaw dropped. Buttons were seemingly everywhere. Shirt buttons, coat buttons, pants buttons, political buttons, computer and game controller buttons...
 
That's when I decided to collect some data.
 
I captured a screenshot of Flickr's Explore feed and analyzed the first 50 rows containing a total of 145 images. Of the set, 26 of them featured buttons as the main subject, or very nearly 18% (17.931% to be exact).
 
Now, I would completely understand if 18-20% of the images in Flickr's Explore featured landscapes, animals, people or buildings as the primary subject matter. But buttons?!
 
Which begs the question – do specific subjects get more weight on any specific day in the Interestingness equation (allowing for an image theme), or was the surprising number of buttons shown in Flickr's Explore yesterday just a really big coincidence?
 
The world may never know.
Post Date: 1/13/2016 8:42:23 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
 Tuesday, January 12, 2016

 
Mitch Aunger of Planet5D noticed something odd in one of Nikon's official videos demonstrating the capabilities of their new flagship DSLR, the D5.
 
At around the 4:00 mark of My Nebraska ( seen above) you'll notice a time lapse showing the moon and the stars over Nebraska. The issue is that you can see stars passing over the shadow side of moon, which simply isn't possible. For that to be possible, those stars would have to be between the Earth and the moon.
 
Nebraska Time Lapse Screenshot

That means, most likely, two time lapses have been combined and layered for that particular sequence.
 
Of course, Nikon never prefaces the video by saying that it has been created with stills taken straight out of the camera. And we'd expect some minor editing to take place for a time lapse sequence such as the one shown. But as Mitch rightly asks,
"...how much post-processing is OK in a promotional video for a new camera?"
Should edits be taken so far as to defy the laws of physics when promoting the capabilities of a new camera?
 
Check out the full post over at Planet5D and then let us know – what do you think?
Post Date: 1/12/2016 1:48:52 PM CT   Posted By: Sean
With plentiful wildlife and beautiful scenery, Katmai National Park ranks very high on my list of favorite places to photograph.
 
In this photo, the large, bare, coarse-edged mountain peak, the more-gently sloping mid and lower elevations covered in green, and the various waters below, all being large in the frame, are obvious to the viewer. With a little more attention paid, a sow and her standing cub, concerned about the risk presented by the boar that is eyeing and potentially approaching them, come into view and give the photo that extra element I always like. Additional elements (and not as visible at this resolution) are the large number of salmon splashing their way up the stream in the foreground and a pair of brown bears on the distant shoreline.
 
The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens was practically glued to one of my Canon EOS 5Ds R bodies while in Katmai NP and a great complement to my big lens, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II. The 100-400 L II, with its long focal length range, can capture wildlife images ranging from environmental portraits to close-ups, depending on the subject distance of course. That 100mm was nearly too long to frame 1,000+ lb brown bears at times was ... a very exciting part of this trip.
 
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr, Google+, Facebook, Instagram and 500px. If reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
 
Camera and Lens Settings
142mm  f/9.0  1/320s
ISO 200
5792 x 8688px
Post Date: 1/12/2016 12:17:46 PM CT   Posted By: Bryan

 
From the Guinness World Records YouTube Channel:
 
A spectacular display of drone technology by Intel Corporation (USA) involving 100 small aircrafts being launched skywards in formation has earned a new world record title for the Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) airborne simultaneously. Read the full story Read the full story here.
Post Date: 1/12/2016 11:02:26 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
As I was creating yesterday's post about the New York Public Library releasing 180,000 images into the public domain, I began thinking of ways in which the wide range of images could be used.
 
With a primary interest in portraiture, the first idea that came to my mind was incorporating one of the public domain images in a portrait simulating a multiple exposure. With that in mind, I picked up my 5D Mark III and favorite portrait lens – the 85L II – and captured a profile of Amanda lit with a 580EX flash diffused by a small soft box positioned in front of (and slightly behind) her and another flash pointed at the background. This left me with a significant portion of Amanda's profile in shadow, meaning that I could use a public domain image set to a Lighten blending mode in Photoshop CC to easily blend the two images.
 
After cleaning up the background (making sure it was completely white) and a few adjustments (including a Black and White adjustment layer), the base image looked like this:
 
Profile Portrait with Public Domain Image Base

For the overlay, I settled on an image in the public domain library that seemed to indicate that the wheels were turning in the subject's head. I thought this overlay image would work well because with the subject's eyes looking to the right, she looks as if she's thinking about something.
 
New York Public Library Public Domain Image no. 1691644

I adjusted the brightness and contrast of the overlay layer in order to obtain an optimal balance with the base portrait (a matter of taste, of course) and placed the overlay below the same Black and White adjustment layer so that the adjustment applied to both images. The final composite can be seen above and the full resolution image can be found on my Flickr photostream.
 
Do you plan on using public domain images in your work? If so, let us know how in the comments.
Post Date: 1/12/2016 8:30:18 AM CT   Posted By: Sean
Sample pictures have been added to the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens Review.
 
These sample pictures are primarily showing the background blur this lens is capable of creating at f/1.4 along with angle of view examples.
 
B&H has the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens in stock.
Posted to: Canon News
Post Date: 1/12/2016 8:18:06 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
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