I shared this white-tailed buck image in the LensCoat RainCoat Review and decided I would share it individually as well.
This deer encounter was mid-afternoon on a mid-fall day in Shenandoah National Park.
The time of the day combined with the time of the year meant a relatively low sun angle and the time of the year also meant that the buck was in rut.
This nice-sized buck was with a doe and he was making sure that rivals did not intrude and was constantly watching for such.
The constantly watching aspect is a key point. During non-rut times, it can be hard to get a buck to lift its head in this national park, but during rut, that problem vanishes. The buck are constantly giving their best alert poses. And, when a challenger shows up, the action gets especially entertaining.
Many basic image composition strategies involve establishing balance in the frame. When an included subject has eyes, the direction they are looking adds weight to the side of the frame being peered toward. This means the subject, adding weight itself, should be moved toward the opposite side of the frame for equalization. There is some flexibility as to how far to move the subject and the rule of thirds often has value in this situation.
Had this buck simply turned his head the other direction, I would have had to rapidly change AF points to the other side of the frame and recompose to move the majority of empty space to the right side of the animal to again achieve the desired balance. As an aside, if that head turn happens, quickly grab a photo placing the already-selected AF point on the closest eye. Then switch AF points as desired prior to continuing to photograph. I often do this because moments with wildlife can be fleeting and as long as you have the entire animal/bird in the frame and in focus, you still have the option to photograph additional empty space after the animal is vanishes. The photo of empty space probably will not be very special (don't accidentally delete it later), but it can be perfect for stitching into the fast-captured wildlife image.
In this case, the buck was motionless for a long enough period of time for me to capture a dozen or so images. All seemed ideally-composed in the viewfinder, most were composed slightly differently and many variants still looked potentially the best during review on the computer. That of course meant that picking only one of them to share was a challenge.
Some of you remember that I often use the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens at SNP. The zoom is ideal for working around obstructions, but this time I opted to use the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM Lens. I made this choice primarily to get the stronger background blur (and foreground blur in this case). I know, you are thinking that this is a big and expensive lens. But, it is among my most-frequently-used and a large percentage of my favorite images were captured with it.
One editing question regarding this image remains in my mind: should I remove the small branch over the deer's head? Or does that detail add to the image, emphasizing of the thickness of the brush he is in?
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
Canon has issued a product advisory for the EOS 5D Mark IV to alert customers of a delay in the release of a firmware update.
From Canon USA:
We would like to inform you that release of firmware to enhance functions of the EOS 5D Mark IV, which was originally scheduled for November 29 at the same timing as the firmware updates for six other models (EOS-1D X Mark II: Ver.1.1.4; EOS-1D X: Ver.2.1.0; EOS 5D Mark III: Ver.1.3.5; EOS 5DS: Ver.1.1.2; EOS 5DS R: Ver.1.1.2; EOS 6D Ver. 1.1.8), has been postponed until late February 2018 for reasons related to firmware preparation. We would like to offer our sincere apologies to users of this product who have been inconvenienced.
In the firmware to enhance functions of the EOS 5D Mark IV, we are planning to incorporate the following enhancements:
*This phenomenon occurs when tilt or shift is applied on a TS-E lens (TS-E 50mm f/2.8L MACRO, TS-E 90mm f/2.8L MACRO, or TS-E 135mm f/4L MACRO) during LV shooting when Silent LV shooting is set (set to Mode 1 or Mode 2 on the menu). For this reason, until the firmware update, when performing viewfinder shooting or LV shooting, please shoot with the Silent LV shooting set to [Disable].
by Sean Setters
I was in the middle of a head shot session with a local Savannah model when I thought to myself, "Just how many flashes do you need in a studio setting?" After the session was over, I thought a little bit more about that question.
Before going any further, let me be clear – a flash is not absolutely necessary to create a compelling studio portrait (but the use of flash can make capturing compelling portraits easier). Many beautiful, classic portraits have been created using window light alone, or possibly combined with an inexpensive reflector or two. Other constant, man-made light sources (either inexpensive or high-end LED panels) can be used for compelling portraiture, and can even be combined with flashes for interesting effects. But when I think of a versatile lighting tool for the studio, my mind immediately goes to "flash."
With that said, flashes have a few inherent benefits over constant lighting:
Right now, I have (5) shoe-mount flashes and (6) studio monolights. I use the shoe-mount flashes and monolights interchangeably in the studio, often in the same setup.
So let's walk through a few of the images from my most recent studio session to see how many flashes were used and why.
Now let's take a look at a more traditional headshot.
So is four the magic number? I don't think so, because I can think of a couple of situations where you I may want one or two more flashes based on the last setup.
For instance, if I had wanted to create a similar headshot to the one directly above but on a darker background (possibly black or gray) I could have used another flash to create a color gradient spotlight behind the subject (using a colored gel and grid modifier). Otherwise, if I had wanted the background to be completely white, with a nice, even coverage, at least two flashes would likely be required to achieve a clean white background.
So, with that in mind, I think a studio lighting kit with at least six flashes would be ideal, allowing for a very wide range of portrait styles to be captured. With six flashes, you'd have:
(1) main light
(1) fill light
(2) rim lights
(2) special use/background lights
If you have a reflector or two handy, then you could likely get by slightly fewer flashes, with the compromise being that reflectors are not nearly as versatile as flashes. But keep in mind, the actual flashes are only one part of a lighting kit. As you add additional flashes, you'll also likely need to add more light stands, umbrella swivels, light modifiers, radio receivers (if not a built-in feature of the flashes), etc. to support use of any flashes added to your kit.
Are there any circumstances that would warrant more than six flashes? Absolutely. But with six flashes (and the corresponding gear) in your kit, accomplishing your creative portraiture goals will rarely be inhibited.
Macphun/Skylum has released an update to Aurora HDR 2018. See below for details.
Aurora HDR 2018 version 1.1.1 for MAC:
Aurora HDR 2018 version 1.1.1 for Windows:
Aurora HDR 2018 is designed to receive all free software updates automatically. However, if for some reason this doesn't occur, or you want to make sure you're using the latest version:
While the UI for Aurora HDR 2018 is not necessarily my favorite, the results you can get with the program are great and well worth acclimatizing to its (somewhat quirky) interface. [Sean]
From the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom YouTube Channel:
Lightroom tips and tricks in 60 seconds or less from longtime Lightroom team member Benjamin Warde.