Is your new year starting with fireworks? Photograph them!
If you've photographed fireworks long/frequently enough to be bored with the results, it is time to get creative.
Visiting the local annual fireworks show is a tradition for our family. With years of the normal motion-blurred fireworks images already on the drives, creating unique imagery has become more challenging. To create uniqueness this year, I used the fireworks focus blur strategy for practically the entire show. At least for me, this strategy results in a very low keeper rate. But, having a few of these images that worked out well was worth more to me than having 75 or 100 that looked the same as those captured in previous years.
Let's go over the gear selection for this shot/shoot. A fast frame rate was of no importance and high resolution, sharp imagery was. Thus, the Canon EOS 5Ds R was the perfect choice. The approximate focal length range needed was known and any the 24-something normal zoom lenses would comfortably cover it. I opted for the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens over the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens because a wide aperture was of no importance and ... I had fewer sample images from the newer 24-105mm lens.
A solid tripod was needed, but with over 1 mile of round trip walking required for this shooting location, it could not be heavy. The Really Right Stuff TVC-34 Carbon Fiber Tripod was a perfect choice. A capability-matching tripod head was of course needed. The shooting was going to be 100% in the dark and I wanted all images to be completely level despite the usually-requiring re-framing when the first rockets launch. The UniqBall UBH 45X Ball Head, with its unique capabilities, was the perfect choice. Once the head was leveled, pan and tilt could be adjusted without levelness being changed.
Fireworks are usually launched in the dark and many of us immediately think that large apertures and high ISO settings will therefore be needed. But, that is not the case. Fireworks are so bright that the opposite problem is often encountered. In order to avoid the softening effects of diffraction at the tiny aperture opening required for an ideal fireworks burst exposure, a 2-stop neutral density filter was used. As the f/10 aperture used for this image is still slightly narrower than the aperture where diffraction becomes slightly noticeable, a 3-stop ND would have been a slightly better choice.
Getting the entire fireworks burst in a single image requires a long exposure. The tripod ensures that the camera is stationary during that exposure (avoiding wavy fireworks trails), but the shutter must be opened without causing camera motion. Because timing of the start and finish of the exposure is critical for fireworks photography, a remote release is a requirement.
Fireworks are in fast motion. Thus, their brightness in the image is determined by aperture and ISO. The shutter speed controls how long the rocket and resulting explosion is captured. Since the ideal time duration varies, Bulb mode is the ideal choice. With Bulb mode selected, the release button is pressed, held and released to time with the launches.
Fireworks bursts vary greatly in size. In general, it is better to frame slightly too wide than than slightly too tight. It is easier to crop than it is to build missing light trails. My choice is often to let the largest burst go out of the frame, but keep 90 percent of the explosions entirely framed in black.
A fireworks image seemed fitting to lead a Happy New Year well-wishing post and that wish is what I most want to pass along here. Thanks for a great 2018 and Happy New Year 2019!
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
From the Adorama YouTube Channel:
David Bergman shows you how to photograph reflective objects like a wine glass In Ep 148 of Two Minute Tips.
Benefits and Improvements from the latest update
[Note 1] When updating to this version from a lower version than "Ver. 4.00", the FTP transfer feature and Wired LAN settings are initialised. You will have to configure these two items again. The names of FTP server 1, FTP server 2, and FTP server 3 will be kept, but other items will be initialised. If you have set the Wired LAN Settings to Manual, each of the manually configured settings will be initialised and the Wired LAN Settings will be set to Auto.
[Note 2] When the camera is updated from Ver. 3.00 to this version, the registered settings for Fn (function) menu may not be kept. In that event, please customise the menu to your preferred settings again. Setting: [MENU]-[Camera Settings2]-[Function Menu Set.]
From the B&H Photo Video YouTube Channel:
Over 45 years ago, B&H began as a small and humble retailer, selling cameras and photography equipment to its customers. Now, with over 400,000 products for sale, we still strive to provide the best customer service and the most competitive prices. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.
The titles "How to Turn Water into Gold" and "On Golden Pond" seemed also appropriate for this image. Regardless, gold was the theme here.
During my stay at Red River Camps in northern Maine this past summer, a pair of loons were raising their chicks on Island Pond. Especially unusual was that the chicks were very small for the mid-August timeframe. The loon's first nest had been attacked by a predator and the adult pair started over. With winter arriving early here, there was concern that the chicks would not be able to fly in time for migration and biologists were monitoring their progress. But, having small chicks available was a bonus from a photography perspective.
Hanging with these loons required a watercraft and a small canoe was my best option. A light wind made keeping the canoe properly positioned a big challenge and probably more time was spent paddling than photographing. The sun was setting and maintaining a position between the sun and the loons was the goal.
The adults were constantly diving for food and moving around the lake while doing so, but fortunately, they were in the area of the lake receiving the latest direct light when the sun went behind the trees. The color difference between shade light and a late day sun light is dramatic with shade light typically being very cool and direct setting sun light being very warm. As the sun went down, the water became shaded before the shoreline and shaded water usually shows reflections very well.
The photograph shared here was only lightly processed. The primary edit was selecting a custom white balance point using a patch of the adult loon's solid white feathers as the basis. Those feathers were in the shade and the result was a color temperature setting of 10500 K being established. At this setting, the reflected sunlit background becomes very golden and a slight saturation increase (+18 on a -100 to 100 scale in Lightroom) finishes off the liquid gold.
Be looking for opportunities to use the light color mismatch of sun and shade to your creative advantage when out photographing. The subject in the shade, background in the sun option as shared here often works well, but the opposite can also work, creating a blue-toned background with a properly white-balanced subject.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
As a professional Instagram star, Meghan Young gets paid to climb beautiful mountains and post about those adventures to her fans. It sounds like a glamorous job, but a surprising amount of work goes into making it a full-time career. Bloomberg Technology's Aki Ito tagged along on a recent trip to learn more. This is the sixth episode of Next Jobs, a mini-documentary series about careers of the future.
For those looking to add a Speedlite flash to their photography kits and don't need the highest-end option available, the Canon 430EX III-RT and 470EX-AI are budget-priced, feature-filled mid-grade options worthy of consideration. With that in mind, we'll compare/contrast the features of the 430EX III-RT and 470EX-AI flashes to see which one might be best for your needs.
Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT and Speedlite 470EX-AI Shared Primary Features
Primary Advantages of the Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT Flash
Primary Advantages of the Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI Flash
Who should opt for the Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT?
If you endeavor to use (and control) multiple light setups, and want to avoid the limitations of optical (line-of-sight) triggering, the Canon 430EX III-RT will be the best choice for your needs. While the Canon 470EX-AI can act as a slave in optically-triggered setups, the Canon 430EX III-RT can act as a master or slave in radio or optically-triggered setups. The flexibility that the 430EX III-RT's wireless features afford is immense, greatly increasing the usefulness of the flash. Also, those wanting a smaller/lighter flash atop their cameras, photographers who prioritize battery life and/or recycling time or persons with a limited budget will find the 430EX III-RT to be a better flash for their needs.
Who should opt for the Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI Flash?
Those photographers who appreciate the convenience of a flash that automatically calculates the optimal bounce direction will find the Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI Flash's auto-rotating head to be the deciding factor. Wedding / event photographers and those new to Speedlite flash use will especially appreciate the 470EX-AI's unique auto-bounce capability, allowing for flattering subject lighting with little effort or experience required. If optical triggering is sufficient for your multiple flash setup needs, the 470EX-AI can easily be incorporated as a slave unit. Few will find the 470EX-AI's slightly higher guide number to be a deciding factor, but the flash's extra power could prove beneficial in certain situations.
In this episode, Mark Wallace demonstrates the power of editing with frequency separation in Adobe Photoshop CC 2019. Mark walks through the entire process, from setting up the lighting, the shoot, and all the steps involved in editing your images.
You have until January 15, 2019 to register any newly purchased Tamron lenses (teleconverters and Tap-In Console are excluded) to qualify for Tamron's VIP Club Membership for 2019. Benefits include:
Registration is not complete until proof of purchase is provided and you have received confirmation the registration process is complete. New members are admitted annually on Feb 15 and members meeting club level requirements will be notified via the email address on file.
See here for a complete list of membership benefits, details and rules.
Mike Mandel’s Baseball Photographer Trading Cards (1975) is more or less a standard set of trading cards, except for one thing: rather than famous athletes, Mandel’s cards feature photographers. For the series, Mandel shot some of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century, including Imogen Cunningham, Ed Ruscha, and even Ansel Adams, whose portrait session didn’t go quite as planned.
A fresh snowfall leaving a blanket of white was calling me outdoors this morning. The snow has just subsided and the wind was arriving, promising to clear the snow from the tree branches, so time was of the essence. With the M50 and EF-M 18-150 mounted, I had an ideal combination in my hands.
The snow was beautiful and covering everything, but a good composition was not obvious. Finding order within chaos is frequently what landscape photography is about and that was the challenge I faced. Finding the order within chaos often means isolating a portion of the scene. The huge focal length range made available by the EF-M 18-150 was ideal for this task.
Exploring the scene through the viewfinder, this section of a pair of hickory trees caught my attention. The contrast between the trunks and branches and the snow and background fog was strong. As much as possible, I avoided having the larger branches leave the frame, hoping to use the large trunks as leading lines, but without branch lines leading viewers' eyes out of the picture. The distant trees visible at the bottom of the frame provide a small hint to what lies beyond otherwise hindered by fog visibility. The overall balance in the frame is always important and this composition seemed to check that box.
Good composition is often easiest to determine while reviewing images and this one was my favorite from this short session.
Check out our Winter Photography Tips page for more ideas on how to spend you winter.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
Putting up the Christmas tree is a highly-anticipated annual event at our house. We visit a local tree farm, driving up into the hills to select the perfect tree. The off-road 4x4 driving with the family might be my favorite part of the entire process. That, and causing the girls to complain about the trees I suggest. They think we need the tallest tree available, although I'm not fond of driving home with an enormous tree across the back of the SUV (on a Hitch Haul), usually with the trunk barely clearing the guard rail while the top is hovering above the road's center line on the other side.
I "get" to put the finally-agreed-upon tree in the stand (twice this year – it ran out of water and needed to have the stump cut off again to eliminate the sap seal) and try to keep it upright for the season (we understand firsthand that a fully decorated tree falling over is traumatic, at least to young kids). Oh, and I also "get" to string the lights, regardless of the height. Photographing the Christmas tree is the last job and one of my favorites. Who can resist capturing all of those sparkling lights?
While I photograph the result of a lot of work every year, I don't remember if I've ever used the same lens more than once for this task. There always seems to be a new one on hand that would work great for the task. This year, the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM Lens on a Canon EOS R seemed like a perfect option.
Deciding on a composition is always an early decision for this task and this year I opted for a straight-on view from a level camera position. I wanted the windows to remain vertically straight and any camera tilt would create converging or angled lines. I determined that the timing for this photo should be during the blue hour so that a touch of color would show through the windows. With windows in the frame, reflections had to be controlled and in this case that meant that I needed a dark house. So, an afternoon when the girls were going Christmas shopping seemed ideal. That way, the have the house would be empty with no one's interests being hindered (i.e. a relaxed shoot). The exposure would not have to be timed for when no one was walking on the floor, creating vibrations for both the camera and the hanging ornaments. And, no one would care that the lights were off.
After sitting at my desk all day, I needed to get some exercise, ideally in the form of a trail run, before it was dark. A late start on that task meant that an increased pace was necessary. Despite a blown out sock along the way (requiring a stop and reversal to prevent a hot spot from becoming a blister), I still managed to complete my tough 3k course in near record (for me) pace. Phew. there was just enough time to cleanse the scene and set up the camera prior to the ideal shooting time.
Experience taught that when the outdoor ambient light was ideally balanced with the indoor light, an ISO 100 exposure of 30 seconds at f/16 would be ideal. Why f/16? Do you see the stars on the candles sitting on the windows? Every light on the tree also has a similar-but-smaller star. You need a narrow aperture to make those happen. Also note that a wide max aperture lens often creates the biggest stars and the RF 28-70's stars are awesome.
While f/22 will create even larger stars, the strong softness caused by diffraction at this setting is hard to accept. While some diffraction effects are visible at f/16, this seems to be an optimal choice for balance between star size and sharpness. Using a +1 sharpness setting is a good compromise for using f/16 over the sharper f/11 setting. Nice is that the deep f/16 depth of field makes it easy to keep everything in the image sharp.
Scene prep involved moving a couple of items (couch, ottoman, ...) out of the way and smoothing the carpet. As I began setting up the camera, my oldest daughter called (from the shopping excursion) to ask questions about a Christmas gift she was putting together for her husband. I of course wanted to help her, but ... the light was fading (so much for the relaxed shoot). Her questions were answered just in time to finalize the setup and begin shooting. It is difficult to visualize when the perfect blue hour light balance is achieved, so I usually opt to shoot through the period of time that contains the ideal balance. Then, during post processing, there is again a struggle to decide which time was best because subsequent images appear quite similar.
When there was no more blue left in the windows, I knew that additional images were not going to look any different than those already captured (without choosing a new perspective) and I went to find warmer clothes (there had been no time to change out of my running clothes prior to the shoot).
Amazingly, the girls opted for a tree that I selected this year! They did a great job decorating the tree (as always) and they like the results of my final job, the formal tree picture. That is ... my final job until I get to clean up the results of the Christmas morning package destruction (and later take the tree out).
That is probably more than you wanted to know about this Christmas tree, but ... from my family to yours, we wish you a very warm Merry Christmas! And, I wish you many memory cards full of memories from the day!
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
Note that you are going to be hearing more about this tripod. I'm impressed.
Those wanting an entry-level, yet feature rich DSLR will likely be considering the Canon EOS 77D and Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D. And while the two bodies appear (and, in fact, are) very similar, there are a few differences that may tip the decision-making scales in one direction or the other. So, let's take a closer look at these DSLRs to see how they stack up against one another, beginning with their similarities.
Canon EOS 77D and EOS Rebel T7i / 800D Shared Primary Features
Primary Advantages of the Canon EOS 77D
Primary Advantages of the Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D
Who should opt for the Canon EOS 77D?
Few camera comparisons are as simple as this one. If the features listed in the Primary Advantages of the Canon EOS 77D section are worth its incremental cost over the Canon EOS Rebel T7i, then the decision is easy – get the 77D. The top LCD panel and AF On button (enabling back-button focus) specifically are features that many photographers will find especially beneficial, making the incremental investment over the Rebel T7i a worthwhile one.
Who should opt for the Canon EOS Rebel T7i?
If the EOS 77D's advantages listed above are of little value to you, or your budget is limited, then the Canon EOS Rebel T7i has gives you 95% of features of the 77D but at a lower cost. Like all top-end Rebels before it, you get a lot of value for your money.
Are you a procrastinator? Was there someone on your gift list that you forgot to get a gift for? Thankfully, there's still time to rectify the situation.
Control the Light with the Amazing "Horizontal Curve" Technique in Photoshop! Discover the most natural way to adjust the brightness of any area without disturbing the colors, using a simple straight Curve.
In this tutorial, we will use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and combine with a Curves adjustment layer to create a "Light Map" that would allow us to control the amount of light all throughout the image.
You ... want this lens under your Christmas tree.
In response to a tilt-shift lens question, Canon USA Technical Advisor Rudy Winston provided a detailed response that we though was worth sharing with you.
Canon TS-E Tilt-Shift Lens General Shooting Procedure
While there's no one "official" way to work with the TS-E lenses (I'm sure you'll find some diversity of opinion on what different users feel is best), the following is what works best in my experience. Keep in mind there's no "one-touch" way to set the lens up unless you've recorded previous settings and are shooting the same subject subsequently, at the same camera position, subject distance, and so on. Otherwise, there's a bit of trial-and-error, especially if you're trying to adjust the zone of sharpness (notice I avoided saying "depth of field," as that technically doesn't change; you're altering the plane of sharpest focus via the tilt operation).
THE BASIC OPERATIONS
It is important to be sure in one's mind what the two different possible adjustments – Shift and Tilt – do, and why you might want to apply one or the other. There are certainly many instances where just one will provide the look you want in finished images, so don't assume every shot will need a combination of both (of course, experimentation can be great fun).
A couple of other points:
I *always* recommend starting with both tilt and shift zero'ed out, before you begin to work with adjustments.
Metering with DSLRs: You MUST perform any in-camera metering with a TS-E lens at the zero Shift and Tilt positions. On any of the cameras with an optical viewfinder, you will get exposure errors or deviations if you meter daylight or E-TTL flash with a TS-E lens that's not at its zero adjust positions. Note that this is far less of a problem with the mirrorless cameras, since they're metering directly off the image sensor, and the light doesn't have to get reflected upward by a DSLR mirror, and then get scattered by a focus screen before it's read by a metering sensor in the prism area, near the viewfinder eyepiece. Bottom line, do any metering (manual mode, of course, is ideal for this, since nothing will change if you begin to adjust the TS-E lens), before you start tilting and/or shifting, and you should be in a good place to begin taking actual shots... don't freak out if you do need to tweak exposures, after a couple of quick test shots, to nail it down the way you want. Parenthetically, if you're using a separate hand-held meter (not the one built-in to the camera body), you can normally set the camera to whatever the meter suggests, whether you've engaged tilt and/or shift or not, as typically a hand-held meter will be pretty close to optimum exposure for ambient light.
Shifting the lens up, down, left or right is primary for perspective control – the obvious example is keeping vertical lines on a building or product (like a cereal box) straight, and avoiding the "pyramid" effect of converging vertical lines. It can sometimes also be useful for literally shifting the subject in the frame, removing the image of photographer & camera if shooting into a wall with small mirrors (this won't work for an entire mirrored wall, of course!), and so on.
Tilting the lens, so that the front section is no longer perfectly parallel with the image sensor/film plane, changes the plane of what is in sharp focus. Shooting with a lens from an angle (rather than straight into a subject, like a wide-angle shot of a car taken from around the front fender/wheel well), it's possible to focus on the near part of the subject, then tilt the lens so that the front section is closer to being parallel to the whole length of our hypothetical car (or any other subject), and you can get sharpness to run from the near area focused upon, down the length of the subject. To be clear, tilting has **nothing** to do with the architectural photography need to keep vertical lines straight; that's SHIFTING alone. Of course, you CAN combine tilt and shift in the same image... just be clear up-front about the role of each, or you'll spend a long time trying to dial-in an optimum setting.
Anything you want. If you apply tilt correctly, you won't require tiny f-stops like f/22 just to hope to get an entire subject sharp. In some cases, even a wide-open aperture can get the job done, which might never be possible with a conventional lens.
Tripod use is definitely preferred where possible, since it keeps everything anchored and lets you concentrate on composing and working the lens's controls... though it *is* possible to do this hand-held. However, it's nowhere near as smooth an experience, and you can expect your arms to get tired after a while at the controls.
Release Knobs for Shift & Tilt
180 degrees from the actual adjustment knobs for each movement are locking knobs, slightly smaller in diameter. Be sure to UNLOCK each before trying to adjust shift or tilt, and then snug it back down once you've arrived at a desired setting to keep it from any inadvertent movement. This is especially important for SHIFT, since if you apply it vertically, the weight of the front section of the lens can sometimes allow it to drop downward slowly, if it's left unlocked after you've adjusted it.
Home Position and Rotating the Lens as Needed
By default, whether you've decided to apply shift/tilt or have everything zero'ed out, there's still a basic position from which you can apply your tilts and shifts. Mount the lens on the camera when it's all correctly oriented to the default settings, and you'll see the name plate at the TOP of the lens, when it's mounted and secured to the camera. AT THIS POSITION, any tilt movements (with most of the TS-E lenses, anyway) will be tilting the lens *left or right;* the larger Tilt knob will be facing upward and any shifting at the same default setting will move the lens up and down. This means the direction of each is at 90 degrees from the other movement, which is NORMAL operation for Canon TS-E lenses.
You're not locked-in to this. The lens can rotate, without loosening it from the camera. The 2nd generation lenses (see below) have TWO rotation points. However, the one closest to the camera body is definitely the primary one. It'll allow you to rotate the lens up to 90 degrees left or right. Example: in the standard position, the Shift is up and down. Say you wanted to shift side-to-side, for whatever reason. Ninety degrees to the right (think the 3 o'clock position, with the camera aimed at a subject, and in horizontal orientation) is a small, projecting tab, just inside the camera grip when the lens is correctly mounted. Press this release tab toward the camera body, and virtually the entire lens can be rotated in 30-degree increments, to the left or right. Move it 90 degrees, and your Shift now moves side-to-side (the Tilt moved as well, now tilting upward or downward).
In most real-life situations, you can rotate via this rear-most tab and move the desired adjustment to where you want it; much of the time, realistically, you won't be applying shift and tilt simultaneously. So just rotate the lens so your Shift *or* Tilt is where you need it.
Rotating Using the Forward-mounted Control
About 1/2 inch or so in front of the little, 3 o'clock projecting metal tab is another, very similar tab. THIS ONE allows you to rotate JUST the front section of the lens, while the rear section stays put. The primary purpose here is if you needed to apply both shift and tilt, and needed to change the normally standard orientation where tilt and shift are at 90 degrees from each other. However, DON'T use this rotation point to simply rotate the front section, if all you want is to change the tilt orientation... if you only want to change the direction of tilt, use the rear tab and rotation point to arrange the tilt where you want. There's a technical reason for not reaching for this forward rotation point if you can avoid it.
As I said, first-generation Canon TS-E lenses didn't have this forward mounted rotation capability... there is only one way to temporarily unlock and rotate the older TS-E lenses. Here are the lenses... check the lens naming at the front of the lens to determine which one you have.
First-gen TS-E lenses:
Example 1: Correcting converging vertical lines with SHIFT. I'll assume the camera is tripod-mounted, although again, you can do this hand-held if you can endure the hassle.
a. Keep the Camera Level – This is the most important part of being able to correct for converging lines, regardless of the lens you're using. Any upward angling of the entire camera, to "get the whole subject in," is going to make it impossible to correct for convergence... this is why buildings shot with conventional wide-angle lenses look like they're falling backward. It's perfectly normal not to get the entire subject in the frame at this stage.
Here's a wide-angle example of a typical building, with the camera aimed upward. The vertical lines converge inward, making the subject look a bit like a pyramid, or like it's falling over backward.
Example 2: Tilting to keep a subject sharp, as it recedes into the distance. Normally, this would require stopping-down to your minimum aperture, and hoping you have enough depth-of-field to cover you, front to back. TS-E lenses offer another alternative, and sometimes, you can even pull this off at the lens's widest aperture. Regardless, though, you'll find a lot less need to shoot at f/16, f/22 and so on!
a. Compose the scene as you desire, horizontal or vertical. We'll use a horizontal example here. b. **Focus on the NEAREST part of the subject or scene you want in sharp focus.** Of course, the background will be out of focus.
In this example, we've got a receding fence, drifting out of focus. Sharpest focus deliberately placed at nearest point we want in-focus; in this case, the first-generation TS-E 90mm f/2.8 lens was used wide-open, at f/2.8 throughout. No Tilt/Shift movements applied, yet.
IMPORTANT: As you start to tilt the lens, you'll see two things. The farthest part of the subject (fence in this case) will become progressively sharper. However, the front portion you just focused upon in step a will begin to drift a bit out of focus. Here's the key element to using tilt – you want to tilt until the degree of DE-FOCUS you see, front to back, is essentially constant. In other words, as you tilt, nothing in the fence or whatever the subject is will appear tack-sharp. What you want is to get the tilting so that the entire subject, front-to-back, appears about the same degree out of focus (it won't be radically out, but obviously just not tack-sharp, even at the point you focused on a moment before). This is absolutely normal.
d. Once you get the tilt so the entire subject looks pretty much the same, in terms of the degree of out-of-focus you see, you've got the tilt close to right-on. NOW, RE-FOCUS THE LENS TO GET THAT FRONT POINT SHARP AGAIN. If the amount of tilt was correct, the entire subject will now appear sharp. Again, if you examine the picture immediately below, keep in mind this was taken at f/2.8 with a 90mm telephoto lens.
Thanks go out to Rudy Winston for providing this information. Images used in this article were provided by Mr Winston.
Read our Tilt-Shift lens reviews to find the right model for your needs:
From the Adorama YouTube Channel:
If you're looking for a portrait project that's a little different and captures a bit of the festive season then this simple fine art shoot by photographer Gavin Hoey is for you.
Download Gavin's Festive Stars background from here.
After Gavin has given an overview on how he shot and edited the background he moves on to the portrait shoot, lighting the model to match the mood of the background.
Finally Gavin takes you into Photoshop to make a simple composite of the portrait and background stars.
Benefit of the update
Eurasian magpies are common in many locations, but not where I live. Thus, they are more interesting to me than others. Especially interesting is that they are extremely intelligent (relative to animals in general). That these birds' loud calls can become annoying surely leads to local disinterest, but with their great colors and shape, it is hard to argue that magpies do not look amazing.
Magpies are not a subject I have set out to specifically target with a camera, but I will take advantage of incidental encounters. When one landed in a tree in front of me as I was chasing elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, I went into opportunistic mode. I had the right lens in hand and all I had to do was adjust the monopod height, direct the camera at the bird, focus on the eye and press the shutter release.
I of course pressed the shutter release many times in the short period of time the bird cooperated with me. Why did I select this particular image to share? Here are some reasons:
First, I like the head angle, turned slightly toward me with some sky reflecting in the eye to add life to the subject.
I also like the body angle. While the bird may be turned very slightly away and that is not usually my favorite angle, in this case, that angle allowed the iridescent feathers on the wing to show their colors prominently. The tail was angled downward enough to fit in the frame (that can be an issue when photographing magpies) and with a slight toward-the-camera angle, the iridescent tail feathers also showed their colors.
Aspects I like that were common to this set of images, in addition to the beauty of the magpie, include:
I was able to get to eye level with the bird (by quickly adjusting the monopod).
The background was very distant and became completely blurred with a close subject photographed at 600mm f/4. With all details in the background eliminated, the bird stands out prominently.
I also like that the lighting was very soft with a touch of rim lighting happening. Looking closely at the catchlight in the eye tells me this day was partly cloudy and that clouds were blocking the sun during this exposure.
Unless flying, birds are on something – a branch, sand, rock, water, etc. In this case, that something was a dead tree limb. That this particular limb did not distract from the bird and even had a little character was a positive aspect.
While Rocky Mountain National Park is an awesome location for elk photography, it offers much more. Including magpies.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
December 20, 2018, Saitama, Japan - Tamron Co., Ltd. announces a new firmware update for the Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 (Model A022) for compatibility with the Canon EOS R and Mount Adapter EF-EOS R. The new F/W version makes the model compatible with Canon "EOS R" and Canon "Mount Adapter EF-EOS R" for general operations.
The lens firmware can be updated with the separately sold TAP-in Console. Customers may also contact Tamron USA's service department at 1-800-827-8880, option 1 for information on sending in the lens for the update.
Compatible Tamron Lenses as of 12/20/18
 Functions used on DSLR cameras
 With the latest version of lens firmware
In this episode of Perfecting Audio, Keith Alexander discusses various accessories for audio field recording.
Sony a7R III / a7 III Firmware v.2.10 Changes
Just posted: Really Right Stuff LCF-54 Foot Review.
After seven months of using the LCF-54, it has become a must-have accessory.
This is a very well designed lens that features exceptional build quality.