Topaz Labs Detail 50% off Sale!

Topaz Labs announced today a 50% off sale on their great sharpening program Detail

From April 10th to April 30th will be 50% off it’s usual retail price of  $39.99 US that’s only $19.99 ! how can you not?

The great thing about Topaz Labs detail is that it’s not a one size fits all sharpening tool, with most sharpening techniques they apply the same amount of sharpening to everything

With Topaz Labs Detail you can adjust the detail for the scale of the objects, say for instance you have a rock face and a puffy cloud sky, you would want to enhance the rock detail but you really don’t want to enhance the detail of the soft edged large clouds. With Topaz Labs Detail you can do just that, adjust sharpness based not only on Detail size but also based on Shadow or Highlight – which is important because it can cut down on sharpening halos around areas  of contrast.

Got you hooked? Good.

To take advantage of this great offer for Topaz Labs Detail. Simply follow the link  banner to the right and at Checkout use Discount Coupon Code : aprdetail

Photomatix Pro 5 Review

Photomatix 5 review 

I’m a little overdue with this review but it’s given me a little more time to play. 

In November, HDRsoft released Photomatix Pro 5, which contains one of the most important upgrades since changes to it’s De-Ghosting way back when. 

It’s no secret that since the release of Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro 2, I’ve used that for the majority of my HDR Image Processing. I found it was able to accomplish a more natural look easily and of course that’s the look I prefer. However Nik had some serious side effects, the worst of which, its alignment and Chromatic Aberration control. And while it’s de-ghosting was very good; it just didn’t have the power or the versatility of Photomatix Pro.

I would, on some difficult images, use the superior alignment capabilities of Photomatix to create a 32Bit Radiance file and then open that in HDR Efex Pro 2 to do my tone mapping. But with Nik acquisition by Google, I truly doubt that there will be any further releases or significant Updates to HDR Efex Pro 2 or any of Nik’s other software. Which IS very good but without support, I don’t see much future. 

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OnOne Software solves your Adobe woes

OnOne Software solves your Adobe woes 

I don’t think anything has caused a bigger stir in the Photography World, then Adobe’s announcement they were going to a Subscription based Licensing (Creative Cloud) instead of their long standing Perpetual Licensing. 

While subscription licensing makes sense for a lot of businesses, it’s not something that either small businesses or Hobbyists are used to nor do they like. 

At first the cost was prohibitive, but that’s lessened a bit, but still for a lot of people that want to buy and then hold for a few product cycles it proved to be a thorn in their side. 

I’m not here (nor will I) debate that subject. Nor am I here to do a full review of onOne Perfect Suite 8, which was released yesterday. I truly believe, it doesn’t matter much what I have to say about the software, they have a 30 day free trial so you have a whole month to take it for a spin and decide for yourself. 

But I am here to tell you that onOne Prefect Photo  Suite 8 IS a replacement for Photoshop/Lightroom if you so desire one and a good one at that.  Continue reading »

onOne Software Releases Perfect Photo Suite 8

PRESS RELEASE:
onOne Software Announces Availability of Perfect Photo Suite 8

New Perfect Eraser for Content-Aware Fill, Enhance and Browse Modules, Perfect Batch Processor, and Re-imagined Effects Module Evolve Popular Plug-In Into a Complete Photo Editing Solution for Every Workflow

Portland, OR – November 26, 2013 – onOne Software, Inc., a leading developer of innovative digital photography solutions, today announced the availability of Perfect Photo Suite 8—the Photographer’s Choice for Photo Editing. Perfect Photo Suite 8 is a full-featured, standalone photo editor that also integrates seamlessly with Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Photoshop Elements, and Apple Aperture. It includes all the best tools a photographer needs to create stunning images.

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Topaz Labs brings Clarity to the Milky Way – Photographing the Milky Way

Milky Way Shoot ABDSPTopaz Labs brings Clarity to the Milky Way – Photographing the Milky Way 

I’ve always loved looking up at a star filled sky in wonder. When I was a kid we would go camping in Canada. It was so dark up there away from all civilization I don’t think there was a star you couldn’t see. I remember seeing satellites fly across the sky when satellites were still new. 

But the truth was/is I’ve lived most of my life in or near big cities, first NYC and Philadelphia and now San Diego. So in my normal everyday life there wasn’t much star gazing. But there was something special about it. 

In my photography there wasn’t much of it either. Sure I did a few long exposures when I was out in the National Parks like Zion or Yellowstone. But that was when I shot film and film didn’t always offer the same possibilities or capabilities, whether it was max ISO or reciprocity. This was especially true when it came to shooting the Milky Way in color and having the stars static. 

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Using the Histogram to Ensure you have covered the Dynamic Range of a Scene

HisogramAs I discussed in this article: How many Exposures are enough the most important part of the -How many exposures do I shoot – is the fact that you need to cover the entire dynamic range of the scene. As the article pointed out the spacing between exposures was not AS important as covering the entire range.

In this article  Measure & Exposing for HDR I told you how to meter different areas of the scene to know the range of shutter speeds you would need to shoot to cover the dyanmic range. But even though it’s a good way to get you close, there still can be some margin of error because of course we know…sometimes the meter gets fooled. Continue reading »

Depth of Field – In Depth

Depth of Field – In Depth

Everything you wanted to know about Depth of Field and some things you didn’t but you will be glad you did

So you may think you understand Depth of Field (DOF) but do you? Let’s try to confirm what you do know and maybe show you a couple things you didn’t.

What is Depth of Field?

Let’s start with a definition: Depth of field is the total distance that is in “acceptable focus” from our actual point of focus. Let’s clarify that definition further because we artistic minded hate reading definitions.

When you focus on an object, you have a “point of focus” that is the only part that is 100% sharp and in focus, then you have a “field of acceptable focus” in front of and behind that point. That area is the total Depth of Field Continue reading »

Advanced Metering

Advanced Metering

In the blog post “How to Shoot in Manual” I gave some very basic information about where you meter is in your camera and how to use it. In this post we’ll talk really In-Depth about your Camera’s meter

and how to get the most out of it and when to know when it is lying to you and how to correct for that.

What type of Meter do we have in our camera?

The Meter we have in our cameras are known as “Reflective” meters. What they actually meter is the light reflected off of our subject, what we are shooting. This is different than Hand Held Meters. While those meters can be used also to measure reflected light, they normally measure the light source itself also known as “Ambient” or Incident” light and are mostly used to measure the light from Strobes/Flashes that a reflected meter can not. Continue reading »

Topaz Labs introduces ReStyle

ReStyle_box_clear-125x175Topaz Labs introduces ReStyle 
 
I’m sure most of the readers here are familiar with Tone-Mapping. Where we take a specific tone (lightness) and change it to a different tone (Lighten or darken). But what if we could instead do the same thing but with Color and Hue..In other words; Color-mapping. Taking something of a specific color or hue and changing bit to another.
 
Well, the good folks at Topaz Labs have brought that to you. With “Styling” apps all the rage for your Smart Phone Pics, why not take that idea to a professional level. Whether it’s a cross processed look or a dark and Smokey look to your image. Just about anything is Possible with Topaz Labs Re-Style

Software Review – Topaz Lab’s new -Clarity

Clarity_box_clearTopaz Labs Clarify – Get the Funk out of your HDR

Read to the end for a special Discount Code on Topaz Labs Clarity

Just released today is the new software from our friends at Topaz Labs – Clarity

Some of you may have read the article I wrote on “Why HDRs don’t look real” In it I went on about how what’s missing in a lot of HDRs is Midtone Shadow and Midtone Contrast. Controlling these two things either in the original HDR process or later in post can really do a lot to add photorealistic look to your HDR or actually any image.

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Topaz Labs releases B & W Effects 2.1

bwbox_transparentToday Topaz Labs announced the realease of B & W Effects 2.1

As always the update is fre to anyone that owns B & W Effects

The new updates to B&W Effects 2.1 make it the most powerful and comprehensive black and white conversion software on the market. The two biggest additions are:

The Zone System Viewing Mode lets you see your image broken down into 11 zones that represent the full tonal scale going from 0 as black to 10 as white. Zones are shown in different highlight colors for easy viewing. This viewing mode helps you determine whether or not you have the full tonal range in your image and then make exposure adjustments in our conversion module to correct these tones.

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Why HDRs Don’t Look Real

10_MG_4458-blankWhy HDRs don’t look real  

Let’s start out by saying; you may not want your HDRs to look real, maybe that’s not your Artistic intent or vision. Or maybe you don’t even know what your artist intent or vision is and maybe you are just following what others do. And that’s OK, It all depends what you want out of something. But perhaps, if you want to take images beyond snapshots and work on Art you may want to delve into what your vision is. 

But on the pretense that you want your images to look real and natural, what is it that makes so many HDR images not look real at all? 

The quick answers is: lack of shadow. 

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HDR Pro in Photoshop CS6 – Using ACR

Photoshop CS6I’ve never been a fan of making HDRs in Photoshop; other programs like Photomatix and Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 were just simpler and just had much better results. So when I upgraded to Adobe Photoshop CS6  ® a few months ago ( Which I absolutely LOVE), I have to be honest, I really didn’t even take much more than a cursory look at its improved HDR module. 

But I thought, if I’m going to talk and teach HDR I need to look at all the tools out there. Not everyone will have the same tools and they may need advice on using a different one. 

So I went back to explore HDR Pro in Photoshop CS6. ®

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Twilight – Nature’s HDR

13_MG_3603-TI’m often amused when I shoot the sunset and there are other photographers around. As soon as the sun dips below the horizon line, they fold their tripods and pack up their gear and head home. Sometimes it’s when I just start shooting.

Twilight is a wonderful time…sometimes.  It really can be seen and used well in the desert, especially the low desert that is surrounded by mountains. When you shoot around mountains, the twilight period is extended by 1/2 to a full hour because the sun will set behind the mountains, but still has not set below the horizon.

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HDR does not = Light

We get caught up sometimes thinking HDR is the cure all to everything. No matter the situation, shooting HDR will make it all better. But it simply does not. HDR allows you to capture the light our eyes can see and possibly our cameras can’t but it does not turn bad light to good. 

This was hammered back in my head once again two weeks ago as I was out in Joshua Tree NP on a shoot. A friends I was traveling with called me over to see an area he was looking over down into the valley. It was a beautiful scene in front of me, but quite honestly the light sucked. It was an hour too late to shoot that area and no good light was getting down into the rock outcroppings, just a small area of great golden hour light was hitting the peak of one of those rock formations. 

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