by Sean Setters
Several years ago I started snapping pictures of various objects with unique, interesting looking textures and patterns which I would place in an appropriately named "Textures" folder on my hard drive. The purpose of this folder was to have a personal collection of images I could pull from whenever I wanted to create an image with an overlay. And while I don't utilize the images in my textures collection very often, I'm really glad that I have texture/overlay options available whenever an image looks like it would benefit from an additional layer of interest.
Below are just some of the images in my Textures folder. Looking at the file names, they were all likely captured on the same outing with the camera.
So which awesome image did I use to create the texture in the image above? That would be this one.
Processing the Image
To get the image above, I added the texture layer to the top of my already-edited portrait photo in Photoshop CC and proceeded through the following steps:
To see a larger resolution sample of the image, click on the picture atop this post.
Do you already have a textures collection? If so, what items have you saved in it that I didn't mention above?
In one of the best marketing videos I've seen from the company, DJI urges its viewers to "step outside" to embrace the adventures that await us all outside the walls of our familiar dwellings. This film is beautifully shot and the voice over dialogue is excellent.
From the Phlearn YouTube Channel:
Today Aaron shows you some basic tools that will help skin look its very best. Learn to remove fine lines and hairs with the Spot Healing Brush Tool, recover skin texture with the Clone Stamp Tool, and get smooth, natural skin tones with Curves.
MELVILLE, NY – Nikon Inc. has announced that applications are now open for the second “Nikon Storytellers Scholarship.” The program, launched in December 2017, is designed to celebrate the power of visual storytelling by supporting the education of aspiring content creators. Beginning today, eligible students in the United States and Canada can apply for the chance to be selected as one of ten winners to receive a $10,000 USD academic scholarship to further their development as visual storytellers and help them in their passionate pursuit of compelling stories. “We are so excited to be able to continue to offer scholarship support to talented students across the US and Canada who are exploring their creative passions,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. “In launching this program for a second year, Nikon is reaffirming its dedication to supporting and encouraging the next generation of creators in their pursuits to become the confident, fearless voices of tomorrow.”
The Nikon Storytellers Scholarship, which received over 1,000 submissions in its first year, is once again open to undergraduate and graduate students in the United States and Canada who are pursuing degrees in visual arts, fine arts, journalism, film, photography and multimedia/content creation, and have completed their freshman year of college or the academic equivalent.
The scholarship includes two stages of submissions. The first round consists of academic and professional references. If selected, students will advance to a semi-finalist round in which they submit an original piece of creative work to be evaluated by a committee of industry professionals. This year, building on its legacy of developing innovative optical technologies that help creators bring their creative vision to life in new and compelling ways, Nikon is challenging students to showcase what "Capture Tomorrow" means to them and how they are pushing the creative boundaries of their craft.
The ten emerging visual creators will be awarded an academic scholarship for use in the 2019-2020 school year. Qualified students are invited to visit www.NikonStorytellersScholarship.com for more information about submitting an entry, including eligibility details.
The Nikon Storytellers Scholarship Key Dates (2019-2020)
For those interested in learning more about the Nikon Storytellers Scholarship, please visit www.NikonStorytellersScholarship.com.
Canon is forecasting a 5.0% decrease in Net Income for 2019 (across all businesses) due to the impact of exchange rates. Canon's goals for the imaging system (Cameras) segment for 2019 are:
Strengthen presence in mirrorless camera marketCanon FY 2018 Financial Documentation
- Expand lineup of products with the EOS R system at its core
- Accelerate development of new products
- Raise proportion of full-frame models
- Expand sales of lenses that have high profitability
- Expand scope of production automation
Upon loading the product images for the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens, the first side-by-side comparison I wanted to see was of the three 400mm f/2.8 IS versions. I figured you might also want to see them.
At first glance, it appears that little has changed between the II (center) and III (left), but upon closer inspection, it seems that nearly everything has been changed. Hit the last link above to see larger versions of these images, but especially note that the tripod collar and foot have been moved significantly rearward, reflecting the much-improved weight distribution of this much lighter lens.
Sony has released a firmware updated for its FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM that resolves an issue when the lens is used with the Sony a7 III and a7R III mirrorless cameras. (thanks Niklas)
Benefits and Improvements
Download: Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM Firmware v.03
Through midnight tonight Eastern Time, B&H has the Dracast LED500 Pro Bi-Color LED Light with V-Mount Battery Plate available for $199.00 with free shipping. Regularly $699.00
B&H customers have given these LED lights very positive reviews. At the time of this deal, 93 out of 97 reviewers rated these lights 4 or 5 stars (out of 5).
See today's full list of B&H Deal Zone Deals for excellent savings opportunities.
Firmware v.3 Changes
The Godox Round Head Magnetic Modifier Adapter allows you to attach various modifiers to your shoe-mount flash quickly and easily.
In the video above, photographer David Bergman announces that he is ending his long-running Adorama YouTube series "Two Minute Tips" to work on a new series, "Ask David Bergman," on Adorama's Instagram TV channel. If you'd like for David to answer a photography question on an upcoming episode of the new show, you can submit your question here.
Gimbal tripod heads make using big super telephoto lenses very easy. With a level tripod under them (and the lens collar tightened at precisely 0° or 90° rotations), gimbal heads allow a neutrally-balanced camera to be easily panned and tilted up or down with the camera always remaining level. All of the gimbal heads I've used provide an adequate range of motion for most of the subjects typically encountered, but occasionally, there is a need to shoot at a strong upward angle. For me, those occasions seem to frequently have the word "eclipse" associated with them and fresh on my mind is the Jan 2019 lunar eclipse.
When shooting at a strong upward angle with a gimbal head, the bottom of the camera will typically impact the tripod apex and that impact will solidly prevent any further upward angle to be achieved. Most of us photographers will not let gear get in the way of a good image and there are some work-arounds for this one.
Remove the Battery Grip
When the bottom of a camera impacting the tripod is the problem, a battery grip compounds the problem. Remove the grip to gain some extra degrees of upward rotation. If battery life is going to be a problem, periodically swap out the drained battery with a fresh one.
Before reading any further, I need to raise a very important point: using any of the strategies discussed below will destabilize your tripod and the entire setup tipping over will be a real concern. Use extreme caution if implementing any of these ideas and be ready to catch your rig if tipping happens.
Highly recommended is the use a very strong tripod (the UniqBall IQuick3Pod 40.4 for example). Extending one or more of the tripod legs longer while using the next-higher leg locks can provide a larger, more-stable footprint. The orientation of tripod legs relative to the camera's weight can make a difference in stabilization. Also wise is to strap/stake the tripod down, add weights to the tripod feet and/or to use counterweights. Pressing long, spiked tripod feet deep into the ground can also aid tripod stabilization.
Tripod Leg Orientation
Orienting the tripod legs so that the camera is centered between two of them usually provides the camera the most range of vertical motion. If the subject will be moving horizontally (solar and lunar eclipses check this box), the tripod may need to be repositioned to keep the camera centered.
Lens Plate Position in Clamp
Observe your setup and determine if adjusting the lens plate or tripod foot dovetail's location within the gimbal head's clamp will provide additional clearance. Remember that longer lens plates offer a greater range of adjustment.
Raise the Gimbal Head Cradle
When using a gimbal head with a height-adjustable cradle, such as some of the excellent Wimberley Gimbal Heads, typical is to place the center height of the lens at the axis of the tilt pivot. This position provides ideal balance and handling. However, raising the cradle higher will raise the camera higher above the tripod apex, providing more clearance and allowing a greater degree of camera tilt. The cradle is raised only partially in the above image, but this height provided enough angle to photograph a high-overhead sun (important: solar filter in use). This tactic also moves the center of gravity of the camera and lens combination when the lens is not positioned level. Tilting up will then make this setup back-heavy.
Use a Tripod with a Narrower Apex
Tripods designed for big camera and lens combinations often have big, broad apexes. While a large apex is great for strength and rigidity, it can impact cameras at lower angles than narrow apexes. If a strong-enough tripod with a narrower apex can be used, a few degrees of upward angle may be gained. Note that the tripod legs can also be the first-impacted. The top of the legs being positioned tighter together can be helpful in this regard.
Tilt the tripod Apex
If the tripod and head combination will not provide enough upward angle, it might be time to tilt the tripod, or more accurately, tilt the tripod apex to move it out of the camera's way. This may be as simple as extending a leg or two by a short amount or it can be more involved such as using far-rear-extended legs positioned in the next-up angle lock (reaching back like the wheelie bars on a dragster) with the front leg angled more sharply toward the ground and raised higher.
Tilting the apex of course eliminates the level base that is ideal for gimbal head use. One solution is to use the camera's tripod collar to level the camera each time it is repositioned. Much better is to use a leveling base or a tripod that has a leveling base built in.
Use great caution with the tilted-apex strategy as the tripod can become strongly unbalanced.
Reverse the Vertical Arm
If the gimbal head uses a vertical arm design similar to that of the Really Right Stuff PG-02 Pano-Gimbal Head and FG-02 Fluid-Gimbal Head, reversing the vertical arm places the camera to the side of the apex, clearing potentially great amounts of space. The image above shows a pro-sized DSLR (Canon EOS-1D X Mark II) and a non-gripped Nikon D850 is shown in this article's lead image.
Both of these rigs are shown with the reversed vertical arm as close to the center of the head as possible. Moving this arm toward the other end of the horizontal panning base would permit even more rotation, potentially 360°.
Assuredly, this technique is going outside of the manufacturer's intended use for this gear and tipping of the tripod is a serious risk. Consider positioning a longer-extended leg locked into the next-up angle lock under the camera and lens' center of balance. Also note that the right hand (or a reaching-over left hand) will be needed to access the gimbal head's now-right-side-located tilt angle lock.
Use a Ball Head
With the tripod foot raising the camera up and a drop notch likely available for use, a very high upward angle can often be achieved when using most ball heads. The downside to this option is that using a big, heavy lens over a ball head is not ideal and such a lens tipping over can cause an entire tripod to crash to the ground. Finding the sun and moon in a 1200mm angle of view while using a ball head is very challenging and keeping that setup level increases the challenge. But, it can work. A strong ball head is needed if the lens is substantial in size.
I don't shoot at strong upward angles with my big lenses very often, but when I do, I quickly remember that camera or lens contact with the tripod quickly becomes an issue when using a gimbal head. While perhaps none of the above strategies may be the perfect solution, hopefully a combination of them can get your upward shooting angle job done.
Do you have a strategy for photographing upward with a gimbal tripod head that I missed? Please share it with us!
Canon has published a very detailed Devlopers' Interview for the EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM & EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lenses (PDF, 19.6 MB). In the interview, the developers discuss their motivation for significantly reducing the lens' weight and the implementation of their solutions, such as rethinking optical designs and employing the use of new glass materials and carbon reinforced magnesium alloy.
Another resource you may enjoy is below, a video by Rudy Winston that accompanied the 400L IS III and 600L IS III's announcement.
From Canon USA:
MELVILLE, NY, January 25, 2019 – Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, returns as a Sustaining Sponsor to the 2019 Sundance Film Festival (January 24 - February 3) in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Sundance, Utah. Canon will celebrate filmmakers with programming at the Canon Creative Studio, located at 592 Main Street.
At least 61 of the 241 films and projects that will screen as part of this year’s slate – over 25% percent -- are shot using Canon equipment. Festival projects filmed using Canon cinema cameras include Paddleton, Tigerland, This Is Personal, Ask Dr. Ruth, Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, American Factory, Hail Satan?, Lorena, The Great Hack and others.
“The Sundance Film Festival is home to bold filmmaking, driven by filmmakers who push the boundaries of technology to better the art form,” said Kazuto Ogawa, president and COO, Canon U.S.A. “We take great pride in celebrating the incredible talent behind the lens, and leave Park City every year inspired and honored that so many select our products when forging new expressions in visual storytelling.”
Canon will host Sundance Film Festival attendees for hands-on, interactive displays of Canon equipment, panel discussions curated by American Cinematographer, and refreshments at the Canon Creative Studio (592 Main St; Open Friday, January 25th - Monday, January 28th, from 11am-7pm). Inside the studio, guests can touch-and-try the latest Canon gear, including the EOS C700 FF cinema camera, CN-E 20mm lens, and the new EOS R, which is Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera. Also on hand will be the EOS C200 Cinema Camera, which features Canon’s innovative Cinema RAW Light 4K technology as well as Canon’s CINE-SERVO, COMPACT-SERVO, EF and RF lenses.
Guests can have their headshots taken by professional photographer Michael Ori, who will be shooting with the EOS R. Canon will provide guests with an 8” x 10” copy of their portrait, printed on-site with the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Professional Inkjet Printer. All portraits will be available online at orimedia.com/sundance after February 15, 2019.
On Sunday, January 27th, Canon will toast creativity behind the lens at the seventh annual invite-only Raise Your Glass with Canon cocktail party.
The Canon Creative Studio will feature three nights of Magic Hours, co-hosted by the AFI Conservatory (January 25th), Francis Ford Coppola Winery (January 26th), and Adorama (January 28th). Each event presents opportunities to network with companies and organizations that share Canon’s mission to support filmmaking.
Canon will also continue its partnership with American Cinematographer, the world’s leading publication dedicated to motion imaging and the art and craft of professional cinematography. The monthly international journal published by the American Society of Cinematographers marks its centennial this year and Canon will honor its history and industry expertise with several on the ground partnerships. The magazine’s editors will be on-site at the festival and several of its contributors will moderate a series of six in-depth panel discussions at the Canon Creative Studio. The panels will be streamed through Facebook Live via American Cinematographer’s page, allowing viewers the opportunity to engage with the panelists. American Cinematographer’s website, ascmag.com, will also feature a series of online interviews with Sundance cinematographers, along with additional articles exploring cinematography trends at the festival, all sponsored by Canon.
On Wednesday, January 30th at 3:00 pm MT, Canon will present a panel titled “Demystifying the Technical Process: Where Art Meets Technology,” featuring experienced filmmakers and Canon U.S.A. representatives. During the discussion, panel participants will share how Directors of Photography and directors can best collaborate to craft the visual aesthetic of a film. They will speak to their experiences on recent films to lend real-world context to their insights. The panel will take place at The Box at The Ray, 1768 Park Ave., Lower Level.
For a full schedule of events for Canon's activities at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and to request access to attend, please visit canonatsundance19.splashthat.com.
Santa Fe Springs, CA - January 2019 – TASCAM has introduced the next generation of their acclaimed line of professional grade handheld recorders, the DR-X Series. The natural evolution of TASCAM's highly successful handheld recorders, the DR-X Series marks a dramatic update to these recorders' already robust feature sets.
The perfect companion for videographers, voiceover artists, songwriters, and podcasters, the DR-40X's integrated unidirectional stereo mics with scalable A/B or X/Y configuration, dual XLR/1/4-inch combo inputs, built-in phantom power for condenser mics, integrated 4-track capability, and wired remote control option make it an essential tool for DSLR video, music recording, sound design, and more. DSLR filmmakers will love the DR-40X's Auto-Tone function, providing an audio cue tone identifying each recording take.
Incorporating all of the DR-07X's features minus the scalable microphones, the DR-05X is equipped with a pair of omnidirectional condenser mics, making it the ideal tool for recording music, meetings, dictation, and more.
All DR-X models boast a totally revamped user interface, making it easy to access recording, adjusting levels, deleting takes, adding markers, and other common functions with just the click of a thumb. Multi-language menus in English/ Spanish/ French/ Italian/ German/ Russian/ Chinese/ Korean/ Japanese/ Portuguese are included. And with increased capacity for microSDXC cards up to 128GB, DR-X Series recorders can literally record for days on end.
Other features in the DR-X Series include a new powerful bright white backlit display that's easy to see even in the brightest sunlight, as well as Dictation Mode, which enables the user to instantly jump back audio playback in preselected increments including speed control and a special dictation EQ, and Overwrite Mode, which allows users to select a precise Record drop-in time for replacement recording with one level of undo. The DR-X Series' Auto-Recording function can be set to begin recording when a sound is detected, and its Pre-Recording function delivers fail-safe recordings with up to 2 seconds of pre-record time.
DR-X Series recorders are available now. The DR-40X carries an estimated street price of $199.99, the DR-07X $149.99, and the DR-05X $119.99.
B&H has the following available for preorder:
In his video, photographers Jay P. Morgan and Ed Rudolph discuss several of the clamps Rudolph uses for professional food photography. Note that all of the products discussed also work well for general product photography and the beefier items work well for all types of studio and on-location photography, including portraiture.
Gear Discussed in the Video
The Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III Lens is all about speed and fast-moving subjects ideal for the 400mm focal length are scarce in my location right now. The race cars are all being re-built in preparation for the next season. With a layer of snow on the ground, outdoors sports are in the off-season. The ski slopes benefit from the snow, but the closest is hours away. The horses, however, are always ready for some galloping and provide a convenient subject for an AF performance testing session.
This American quarter horse's name is "Nugget", as in "gold nugget", referencing the coat color. "Gold" also reflects the parent's perspective of what it costs to keep a horse. The positive in this investment is that the kid's have had to do most of the horse maintenance work, teaching them responsibility and how to work hard. The horses are of course fast and fast makes them good focus performance test subjects. An added benefit of such testing is some nice pics of the kid(s), as long as the camera and lens perform well of course.
And to that matter, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III Lens combo performed stellarly. They performed so well that they created a bit of a problem. It took forever to go through the well-over-2,000 images captured in this session as most were keeper-grade. With a great camera and lens, one's brain needs to be retrained to be OK with deleting really nice images. I keep telling myself that.
With steady lighting conditions (solid clouds), the setup for this shot was easy. Using manual mode, the shutter was set to 1/1600, a setting that I know works well for freezing galloping/cantering horse and similar action. The aperture was set to f/2.8 to let in as much light as possible and to create the strongest background blur possible. Having the shallowest depth of field possible also emphasizes the AF precision. The ISO was then adjusted until the snow was slightly overexposed, causing the brightest areas to blink while reviewing test images on the LCD. With the exposure locked in, I could concentrate on composition.
The AF mode was of course set to AI Servo (continuous) and the top-center AF point was selected with the surrounding points assisting (the horse bounces a lot, making it difficult to keep a single point on the rider's head).
While this camera and lens combination is handholdable, shooting it from a monopod is still more comfortable (especially for long shooting sessions) and doing so made tracking the subject easier.
Nugget was not moving very fast in this frame, but I liked the heavily-clouded sky in the background, making the subject pop with a bit of a high-key look. Note that snow is a great reflector and gives images a different look, usually in a positive way. I'll share other images of this horse in fast motion in the review. Some of these images will show another way this lens can make the subject pop – by strongly blurring the background.
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr.
EOS R Quick Tips Videos
From Canon USA:
Agility and Ability to Adapt in Disruptive Times Help Company to Thrive
MELVILLE, NY, January 24, 2019 – In challenging times, it is a company’s ability to lean in to transformation, to rely on innovation as more than an ideology but a practice, that breeds success. Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced that Canon Inc., its parent company, received the #4 Industry Ranking in the computers category on FORTUNE Magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” 2019 list.
“It is a gift to witness a company so steadily transform and, in doing so, evolve as Canon does on a continual basis through hard work, innovation, dedication to its customers, and the employment of a team of talented professionals,” says Christine Sedlacek, senior director and general manager, corporate communications, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “This listing is a true testament to our company’s futuristic approach. We pride ourselves on developing next-generation technology, while staying committed to our strong philosophy of corporate social responsibility, to empower today’s generation of visionaries.”
To determine the list ranking, executive directors and analysts rate companies according to nine criteria: financial soundness, long-term investment value, people management, social responsibility, use of corporate assets, quality of management, quality of products/services, innovation, and global competitiveness.
by Sean Setters
Before I delve into my new appreciation for the 35mm focal length, let me first explain why I've never really savored using the 35mm focal length (until now). Typically speaking, I'm either shooting portraiture in a studio with a small, carefully selected backdrop or outdoors where my goal is to minimize any background distractions. In these situations, longer telephoto primes (or a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom) are helpful in capturing a frame filling subject while blurring the background to oblivion. But there are times when a larger scene needs to be documented, such as when the subject's environment provides a desired context.
This past December my wife and I spent a weekend in Atlanta celebrating Christmas with my extended family before heading off to New Orleans for two weeks to celebrate Christmas with her family. For both trips, I packed the following camera and lenses (as well as a few accessories) in a Lowepro shoulder bag:
You probably noticed a pattern in my selected lenses – they're all primes. While packing, I reasoned that most of my photographic opportunities over the holidays would be indoors, often in relatively low light situations. The wide apertures available in these primes meant that I wouldn't have to rely on a shoe-mount flash to obtain my desired image brightness level while employing action stopping shutter speeds at low-to-moderate ISOs (for optimal image quality).
In theory, having a wide range of focal lengths covered sounded reasonable. In practice, however, I used one lens about 95% of the time – the Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM. And that got me wondering, "Why does a 35mm prime lens work so well for holiday family photography?"
If you don't already have a 35mm prime lens in your kit, now would be a great time to investigate the options found below.
Thank you for purchasing and using our products.
We would like to announce that a new firmware update for SIGMA’s interchangeable lenses for CANON EF mount listed below is now available.
This firmware allows compatibility with Canon’s in-camera Lens Aberration Correction function to enable correction matching the optical characteristics of each lens. It also corrects the phenomenon that abnormal images appear or operation errors occur when the function is enabled. In addition, it improves the functionality. Furthermore, phenomena particular to some lenses when they are used in combination with the Canon “EOS R” and their “Mount Adapter EF-EOS R” or “Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R” that we announced on January 16th, 2019 are also improved on by this firmware.
For customers who own the SIGMA USB DOCK and applicable products listed below, please update the firmware via SIGMA Optimization Pro.*
* Before updating the firmware using the SIGMA USB DOCK, please ensure to update SIGMA Optimization Pro to Ver. 1.5.0. or later.
SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM | Art for CANON EF mount
Benefits of the update:
SIGMA 500mm F4 DG OS HSM | Sports for CANON EF mount
Benefits of the update:
SIGMA 18-300 mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM | Contemporary for CANON EF mount
Benefits of the update:
* Compatible Canon camera models:EOS R1, EOS-1D X mark II, EOS 5Ds, EOS 5Ds R, EOS 5D mark IV, EOS 6D mark II, EOS 80D, EOS 8000D(EOS Rebel T6s, EOS 760D), EOS 9000D(EOS 77D) , EOS Kiss x8i(EOS Rebel T6i, EOS 750D), EOS Kiss x9i(EOS Rebel T7i, EOS 800D), EOS Kiss x9(EOS Rebel SL2, EOS 200D)
1 When the Digital Lens Optimizer is switched [OFF], but “Peripheral illumination correction”, “Chromatic aberration correction” and “Distortion correction”, located within the in-camera Lens Aberration Correction function is switched [ON], the appropriate corrections can be achieved in accordance with the optical characteristics of each lens.
Download: Sigma Optimization Pro
Phenomena particular to some lenses when they are used in combination with the Nikon “Z 7” and their “Mount Adapter FTZ” that we announced on October 26th, 2018 are improved on by this firmware.
For customers who own the SIGMA USB DOCK and applicable product listed below, please update the firmware via SIGMA Optimization Pro*
* Before updating the firmware using the SIGMA USB DOCK, please ensure to update SIGMA Optimization Pro to Ver. 1.5.0. or later.
SIGMA 24-35mm F2 DG HSM | Art for NIKON F mount
Benefit of the update:
SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art for NIKON F mount
Benefit of the update:
SIGMA 85mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art & SIGMA 135mm F1.8 DG HSM | Art for NIKON F mount
Benefit of the update:
Download: Sigma Optimization Pro
* Before updating the SIGMA MOUNT CONVERTER MC-11 firmware, please ensure SIGMA Optimization Pro has been updated to ver. 1.5.0 or later.
SIGMA MOUNT CONVERTER MC-11 SA-E
Benefit of the update:
SIGMA MOUNT CONVERTER MC-11 EF-E
Benefits of the update:
Download: Sigma Optimization Pro
My apologies if I missed an important keyword in that title.
Regardless of what the event was named, the show was spectacular. I hope that you were able to take it in and, even better yet, photograph it.
The sky visibility forecast for everywhere within a long drive provided little hope of this eclipse being viewable. Unexpectantly, the problem, remnants of a significant winter storm, began to move out just in time and the sky started to clear about an hour before the eclipse began. With the full moon peeking out of breaks in the clouds, the hope became strong enough to warrant the effort to photograph the event and I scrambled to put a plan into place.
Also seeming to meet the definition of spectacular were the near-zero-degree (-18° C) temperatures accompanied by very strong winds those of us in much of the east/northeast US were required to endure for 5 hours (some short indoor warm-up breaks were taken). Admittedly, the temperature made shooting through skylights from inside the house a very attractive option, but donning many layers and going outdoors became the plan. While the skies cleared beautifully for the full eclipse, the wind remained an issue and wind is an especially big stability problem when photographing with a large, long focal length lens. Setting up next to a solid fence significantly aided with this issue and also took some of the bite out of the wind chill.
The composition plan was easy. The moon was going to be high overhead and that meant incorporating foreground elements in the frame was going to be very challenging, so making the moon as large in the frame as possible was the choice. That meant 1200mm, a combination of a 600mm f/4 lens and a 2x teleconverter.
For a solid base, the UniqBall IQuick3Pod 40.4 Carbon Fiber Tripod with spiked feet installed (for use in snow) was perfect. Simply stick the spikes into the ground and use the IQuick3Pod's leveling base feature to quickly level the tripod head platform. A gimbal head makes using big, long lenses easy and the Really Right Stuff FG-02 Fluid-Gimbal Head is awesome (the RRS PG-02 is also excellent). With a level base, the gimbal-mounted lens will always be level with only tilt and pan adjustments, both very simple to make, requiring attention while tracking the moon. It is much easier to keep a tightly-framed moon centered in the frame with a gimbal head than with a ball head. Shooting at a strong upward angle can be a challenge with a gimbal mount as the camera body can impact the tripod before a high-enough angle is reached. I'll talk more about that issue soon.
Looking through a viewfinder with the camera directed at such a hard-upward angle is tough, but the D850's tilt LCD made subject framing easy in this situation. An angle finder is another great option for shooting upward.
What is the best exposure for photographing a lunar eclipse? That depends mostly on the varying brightness of the moon and that changes by season and it also changes during the eclipse. When the moon had direct sunlight reaching it, f/8 (my max aperture with this setup), 1/200 and ISO 200 with a -1 EV adjustment in post worked well. During this time, I opted to capture brackets of up to 9-stops to use for adding as much detail as desired to the dark portion of the moon during post processing. A Vello ShutterBoss II Timer Remote Switch made vibration-free capture easy.
Once the moon was completely in the earth's shadow, it became very dark and 1200mm exposures became very challenging. The blood moon image in the center of this frame was captured at f/8, .6 seconds and ISO 6400. Getting tack sharp details from a subject that is over 221,000 mi (356,000 km) away does not happen and these settings do not help.
Photographing the lunar eclipse brought back great memories of the 2017 solar eclipse (a bit ironic is that event occurred in extreme heat for many of us). A similar post-eclipse scenario now faces those of us who photographed it. We have a large number of images capturing the entire eclipse progression and want do something with them. While each individual eclipse image may be great, likely none of your friends want to see all 300 (OK, 800) of them. The friends will be interested in a partial eclipse image or two and perhaps one from totality, but then eyes glaze over and they start checking their Instagram account. Creating a lunar eclipse progression composite is a very logical way to tell the full eclipse story in a single, interesting image.
The method for creating the lunar eclipse progression composite is the same as that shared in the How to Create a Solar Eclipse Phase Composite Image article (skip the HDR part). The arrangement options for such a composite vary greatly. The left-to-right option shared here works well, but this unique ultra-wide aspect ratio is a bit awkward to share online and will not typically be as easily viewable/displayable as closer-to-square arrangements.
Also ultra is the resolution able to be created from such a composite. This one measures 52000 x 5500 pixels for a 286 MP (over SmugMug's max file dimensions limit I learned) final image (the .PSD weighs in at 3.19 GB) looking for a long hallway wall to be displayed on. Those not able to frame the moon tightly in-camera can crop heavily and still have a high resolution result from the composite technique.
Sure, getting images requires some effort. Getting to bed well after 2:00 AM means being tired the next day and it took about an hour under the covers to get my core temperature back up. But, at least a day or two later, only the rewards remain. The memories of this lunar eclipse, with the images to buoy them, will remain a lifetime.
What is the subject calling you right now? Get motivated and go for it!
Did you photograph the recent lunar eclipse? We invite you to share your images and tips below.
According to several sources (Nikkei Asian Review, BBC, Fortune), Sony's European headquarters in Weybridge, UK (greater London area) will be merging with a newly created subsidiary in Amsterdam, Netherlands to avoid complications brought about by Britain's exit from the European Union (Brexit). Sony's Amsterdam subsidiary is scheduled to be up and running in April.
In this video, Adobe Product Manager Meredith Stotzner demonstrates how to set the Targeted Adjustment Tool as the default selection method when using relevant adjustment layers.
During CES, Christopher Schodt (Video Producer at engadget) sat down with Canon Senior Technical Specialist Drew MacCallum and Nikon Senior Technical Manager Steve Heiner to discuss the recently released EOS R and Z 7 / Z 6, the impact of mirrorless technologies on camera and lens design and their respective benefits to consumers.
This is one of the first times I've seen two higher-ups from Canon and Nikon sitting side-by-side and discussing newly released products. I found the respect the two technical specialists show toward each other and their opposing brands quite refreshing. [Sean]
B&H carries the following: