Recently in Photography

  Page 217 of 296 in Photography  

The Lensbaby Composer ($270) is the latest in a line of special effects lenses that allow you to blur out areas of an image while maintaining relative sharpness in other parts. In this week's show, Derrick Story interviews Stephanie Scheetz who has been experimenting with the Lensbaby on an Olympus E-520 with live view functionality.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (27 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

"Doll Arms" by Stephanie Scheetz. Captured with a Lensbaby Composer on an Olympus E-520 DSLR. Click on image to zoom.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Simple is the Sept. 2009 Photo Assignment. My original thought was the power that comes from a simple composition, with as few elements as possible. But you might find another twist on this month's theme. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Sept. 30, 2009.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. It's a blast!


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter

-


Podcast Sponsors

SiteGrinder lets you take ownership of your websites. Effortlessly output pages right from Photoshop.

Red River Paper -- Try the $7.99 Sample Kit.

Add Magic to Your Slideshows -- FotoMagico presentations are so amazing that your audience will be asking how you did it.


Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

PhotoPlus Expo 2009: Are You Going?

One of my favorite US photography shows is right around the corner: PhotoPlus Expo 2009 in New York City, October 22-24. This event is a terrific blend of a vibrant expo hall and intelligent conference sessions. You can download an overview of the conference sessions in PDF format to see who is speaking on what. There are also more than 200 companies on the current exhibitor list, comprising a virtual who's who in the photography world.

I'll be hanging out in the expo hall too, working in the Lowepro booth (#818). I've signed on as their Photography Evangelist, and this will be my first event with them.

If you're attending the show, I'd like to say hi. You can find me by coming by the Lowepro booth, or arranging a meeting ahead of time. Leave a comment here if you're interested in a quick hello. I'll have a pocket full of TDS D-Ring keychains for all of our virtual camera club members. Just mention that you listen to the podcast to get one. I'll also be twittering my whereabouts while in NYC. You can follow me at twitter.com/Derrick_Story.

Hope to see you in New York on Oct 22!


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter

-


canon_7d.png

We're learning more about the Canon EOS 7D every day, including this hands-on report with a pre-production model by Luminous Landscape.

Camera characteristics that folks agree upon include its rugged build, solid feel, 19-point cross sensor autofocus system, 8 fps shooting speed, 24 fps HD video capture, 100 percent viewfinder, and a built-in wireless flash transmitter. All great stuff and wildly tempting for the travel photographer.

What we're still waiting for is a definitive ruling on the 7D's image quality. Michael Reichmann wasn't comfortable giving us a ruling in his Luminous Landscape article because he was working with a pre-production model. And more broadly speaking, we just don't have enough data from production models. So we'll just have to wait and see.

B&H, Amazon, and Adorama are all accepting orders, but as far as I know, no one is shipping units yet in the US. But as photographers start posting their opinions in real world use, I'll certainly keep you posted here.


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter

-


"Colorado Rainbow" - Grab Shot 186

"There's a lot to be said for being in the right place at the right time and having your camera with you," writes Mark Castleman." I saw this striking rainbow in the South Park of Colorado, about 10 miles east of Fairplay. I took it with my K10D and a Sigma 17-70mm lens at ISO 100, 1/350 at f/5.6. Yes, it really was that bright; I'm not that good with Photoshop."

Photo by Mark Castleman. Click on image to zoom to larger size.

If you have a candid you'd like to share, take a look at our Submissions page, then send us your Grab Shot. We'll try to get it published for you on The Digital Story.

And you can view more images from our virtual camera club in the Member Photo Gallery.


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter

-


Technorati Tags: , , ,

5d_markii_top.jpg

The Canon 5D Mark II is an excellent tool for creating instructional videos in high definition. We've been using this DSLR to record our Creative Output tutorials featuring Stephanie Scheetz. After publishing the latest episode, Shrink Plastic Jewelry, I thought you might enjoy a peek behind the scenes to see how we manage these filmmaking projects.

On average for a 5-minute movie, we spend a half day planning, another 4 hours shooting, then the better part of a day in post production and publishing. So we figure about 2 days work for me behind the camera and in front of the computer, and 1 day for Stephanie to prepare the project and to be the talent.

Parts List

Our goal is to keep the production process as simple as possible. My feeling is, the easier the movies are to make, the more we will produce. Here's what we use.

  • Stock Canon 5D Mark II with 24-105mm f/4 IS lens
  • Audio Technica lapel mic
  • iMovie '09 for cutting and adding transitions
  • Adobe SoundBooth for cleaning up audio
  • BoinxTV for adding lower thirds and production effects
  • QuickTime Pro for various mini-steps

If you're already dabbling with movie making, you've learned there are many different ways to accomplish the same goals. I'm showing you this method as a point of interest. Take from it what works for you, and adjust accordingly.

Recording with the 5D Mark II

Video capture has become much more manageable since Canon released the Firmware update that allows me to manually set shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Previously, having to rely on auto exposure settings was a real problem for us. Because when Stephanie would hold up a bright object, the camera would be fooled by its luminosity and dim the overall exposure. Now I can lock-in the settings for the overall scene without worry about exposure shift during recording.

I typically shoot on a tripod or monopod with the Canon 24-105mm L IS zoom lens. If we take the camera off the tripod for handheld shots, as we did for the kitchen scenes in Shrink Plastic Jewelry, the image stabilizer becomes very important. IS is vital for handheld scenes. They are just too shaky without it.

After trying a few different methods, I've settled on using the ExpoDisc for my white balance setting. In part, I like it because I can establish a good custom white balance setting in mixed lighting.

We capture in full HD (1920x1080) even though the published movies are served via YouTube at lower resolution (1280x720). I do this because all of my options are open up the road. For example, if we decided to publish this content on a DVD, I would want full HD resolution for more compelling playback on HDTV screens.

It's very important to record at the best quality possible in terms of exposure, white balance, focus, etc., because as your compress your movies for web publishing, degradation always happens. I'm very careful in post production, and still there's more loss than I like.

Audio Capture

Sound recording has been the most challenging part of this project. The audio input jack for the 5D Mark II isn't high quality, and you can't control audio directly with the camera. We've had the best results using a wireless lapel mic (an affordable Audio Technica model). Even so, I always seem to have hiss as a byproduct. To control this, I've been processing the audio in Adobe SoundBooth to reduce unwanted noise and increase the DB a bit.

Many movie makers record the audio with a separate device then sync it with the video in post production. This is a great way to go if you're using Final Cut Pro of some other high end software. We keep things a bit simpler, so I try to get the best audio possible as part of the original movie file.

iMovie for Initial Production

For ease of use, it's hard to beat iMovie for organizing the scenes, trimming them, and adding transitions. On my Snow Leopard MacBook Pro plugged into a 23" Cinema Display, iMovie can handle the 1920x1080 files from the Canon 5D Mark II. Some folks have had problems with this. We published a good article by Kip Beatty titled, Managing Canon 5D Mark II HD Video in iMovie '09 that should be helpful for those having problems with the large files in iMovie.

Once the initial cuts are made and transitions added, I export a sampled down version of the movie (1280x720) using the Apple Intermediate Codec to retain as much quality as possible for the next step.

Clean the Audio

I usually want to clean up the audio a bit too. iMovie doesn't have very good controls for this, so using QuickTime, I extract the audio track as a .mov file, open it up in Adobe SoundBooth, remove noise, then use QuickTime again to add the audio track back to the video file. Make sure you delete the old audio track before adding the new one. This always works great, and I've never had any syncing problems as a result.

Final Touches Using BoinxTV

I love BoinxTV for final touches because it allows me to create layers for each effect, then turn them on and off while I watch the movie. I feel like the director of a television show as I enable lower third titles and graphics. I could probably do most of this work in iMovie, but it's not "live" the same way BoinxTV allows me to work. This method feels much more dynamic.

Plus, I can save my work as a BoinxTV project, switch out the main video feed, and create a new show without have to set up all the graphics and titles again.

I also use BoinxTV for the final export for YouTube. The dimensions stay the same 1280x720, but I switch to the multipass H.264 codec to keep file size down. For example, the 5-minute Shrink Plastic Jewelry episode file size was originally 1.4 GBs using the Apple Intermediate Codec, but was reduced to 42 MBs using H.264.

Archive All of Your Work

I use a Drobo hard drive array to store my original video files, the iMovie Project, the BoinxTV project, and the output along the way. This allows me to go back to any stage of the project, make changes, then output the best quality possible.

I also recommend keeping detailed notes during every step of the project. I've learned so much each time I make a movie, and I want to retain that knowledge so I can bring it into the next project. Like dreams, you always think you'll remember the details when you wake up. But you won't. So write it down.


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter

-


Macintosh Computer Expo Coming on Oct. 3

The Mac Computer Expo is coming to Petaluma, CA on Oct. 3, 2009 featuring 10 speakers and a couple dozen vendors. The free event is celebrating its silver anniversary, entertaining Mac enthusiasts for over two decades.

In addition to Tom Negrino, Dori Smith, Jim Heid, and a host of other Mac luminaries, I'll be presenting two sessions focusing on iPhoto. My afternoon session, How to Set Up an iPhoto Referenced Library, shows you how to establish a library of master images on an external hard drive, then point iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom, and Bridge to that same set of masters. This eliminates the problem of migrating your iPhoto library to other applications, plus it frees up your Mac's hard drive. You have to see this demo to believe it.

Vendors include Griffin, O'Reilly Media, Ambrosia, Microsoft, Parallels, Intuit, and many more. I'll be signing books at the O'Reilly booth after each of my sessions. So if you want your book signed, bring it along. O'Reilly will also have my latest titles on sale (at a discounted price) in the booth.

If you're within striking distance of the North Bay on Oct. 3, then check out this speaking schedule and make your plans. It's a great way to spend a Saturday, and the price is right (free!).


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter

-


If you're running a Mac and haven't upgraded to Photoshop CS4 yet, then I have good news for you. You can get the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw (5.5) with all the current profiles, and the CS4 version of Bridge, with the just-announced Photoshop Elements 8 for the Mac, and you can get it for $79. (According to the official press release, "Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac will be available in Oct. 2009." You can have Adobe notify you when it's available.) As part of the deal, you get Adobe's latest merge technologies included the new Photomerge Exposure.

One of the reasons I think this is exciting is because the Bridge CS4/ACR workflow is so powerful. If you really look at what's there, you only need Photoshop or Photoshop Elements for the finishing touches on your best photos. I wrote an entire book on this approach.

You can hear all about it in my interview with Bob Gager podcast. Bob is the Elements product manager for Adobe.


Master Adobe Camera Raw 5.5 and Bridge CS4

psc_cover_web.jpg

Get the most out of Adobe Camera Raw 5.5 and Bridge CS4. The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers lays out the entire workflow that you can master in just a day. It fits in your laptop bag and is very easy on your wallet. And it works with Photoshop Elements 8 for the Mac too!



twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter

-


Adobe just announced Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac and Windows. On the Mac side of the equation, you get the latest Adobe technology plus Adobe Camera Raw 5.5 and the CS4 version of Bridge. That means you'll have access to all of the current Raw file profiles available from Adobe. This is a big deal if you have a new DSLR. On the Windows side, the Organizer has been greatly improved and includes lots of helpful automated tools. You also get ACR 5.5 for Windows. I sat down at Adobe HQ with product manager Bob Gager to discuss the ins and outs of Elements 8. It's a terrific conversation, and I think you'll enjoy listening to it.

Photoshop Elements 8 will be available from Adobe.com for $99. And you can take advantage of a $20 rebate lowering the price to $79.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (27 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Bob Gager, Photoshop Elements 8 Product Manager. Click on image to zoom.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Simple is the Sept. 2009 Photo Assignment. My original thought was the power that comes from a simple composition, with as few elements as possible. But you might find another twist on this month's theme. You can read more about how to submit on our Member Participation page. Deadline for entry is Sept. 30, 2009.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. It's a blast!


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter

-


Podcast Sponsors

SiteGrinder lets you take ownership of your websites. Effortlessly output pages right from Photoshop.

Red River Paper -- Try the $7.99 Sample Kit.

Add Magic to Your Slideshows -- FotoMagico presentations are so amazing that your audience will be asking how you did it.


Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

virtual_photo_studio.png

There's always more to learn in Photoshop. I just came across a terrific article on Virtual Photography Studio titled, 21 Photoshop Tutorials And Resources. They provide links to excellent articles that show you how to create HDR images, build effects, make stunning backgrounds, retouch portraits, create 3D effects, and more. If you're looking to improve your Photoshop chops, you may want to keep this resource in your back pocket.


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter

-


Drobo Field Test - 18 Months Later

drobo_web.jpg

I've been using a Drobo for about a year and a half, and it's worked wonderfully. So I was interested to see this published report on Photography Gadgets titled, Drobo Experience Report: Going strong after 18 months. This post covers the setup, usage, pros, and cons. If you've been considering a Drobo as a backup for your media, I think you'll find this report useful.


twitter.jpg Follow me on Twitter

-