Monthly Archives: August 2012

Update your Video Card – Update your Video Card Drivers

Photo editing software these days is placing extraordinary demands upon your computer and it’s resources. Motherboards, CPUs Memory. But increasingly, Photo software companies are moving a lot of that load to your video card and it’s own memory and processors. Since the introduction  of Photoshop CS4, Adobe has shifted a lot of the work of editing photos over to the GPU (Graphic Processor Unit) rather than only the  CPU.  So much so that Adobe set about standards that Graphics boards needed to meet for their software to run at it’s optimum

A lot of Plug-in makers like Nik software, Topaz labs or onOne  rely heavily on Video cards and Open GL Continue reading »

I’ve got the Hippy Hippy Shake – Cure Tripod Woes

I’ve got the Hippy Hippy Shake 

No one remembers that song huh? It was by this little group called the Beatles. OK, enough music nostalgia. 

Reader Duane W had a question on camera shake while ON A TRIPOD. 

Duane wrote: I was shooting at the beach back in May and tried to pull off a shot.  What I did not expect or plan for was the amount of wind in the evening.  A storm was working up and the wind was gusting off the water about 20-30 mile an hour. 

I love shooting water and getting that nice shutter speed about 1/4 – 1/6th of a second.  That made the water perfect, but because the wind was strong made the rocks not sharp due to my camera and tripod shaking. Continue reading »

You Say Halo, I say Goodbye – PhotoMatix Pro 4.2

OK, so I’m on a Beatle Kick today

So you love that Grunge look to your HDRs but then you post them to Flickr, 500px or your favorite Photography forum and get all kinds of He** for Halos around trees, buildings and other areas of high contrast. So what’s an HDRer to do?

Well take a hold of one of the controls in Photomatix Pro and use the He** out of it. The Smooth Highlights control.

What the Smooth Highlights control does is just as the name suggests, It smooths the area between a Highlight and a shadow or midtone so that it is a smooth gradation in tone and not an abrupt one that causes halos

We can see the results here using the normal Grunge Preset in Photomatix Pro 4.2 Continue reading »

I got the Hippy Hippy Shake

I’ve got the Hippy Hippy Shake 

No one remembers that song huh? It was by this little group called the Beatles. OK, enough music nostalgia. 

Reader Duane W had a question on camera shake while ON A TRIPOD. 

Duane wrote: I was shooting at the beach back in May and tried to pull off a shot.  What I did not expect or plan for was the amount of wind in the evening.  A storm was working up and the wind was gusting off the water about 20-30 mile an hour. 

I love shooting water and getting that nice shutter speed about 1/4 – 1/6th of a second.  That made the water perfect, but because the wind was strong made the rocks not sharp due to my camera and tripod shaking.

So thinking about it, there were a couple things I could have tried.  Continue reading »

When HDR is Not Enough

When HDR is Not Enough 

I’ve been looking for a challenge. Something to really test me and I also wanted to really put HDR to the test. So I was trying to think what would really be a good candidate for HDR. So then I came up with the idea that a cave would be a great subject. Then I thought where am I going to find a cave? I thought about some of the old gold and silver mines but I must confess I have severe claustrophobia and some of them are pretty tight. 

Then it finally hit me, there is a cave right where I do most of my shooting,La Jolla,California. I had forgotten all about it and hadn’t been in it in probably 12 years. So on Sunday I headed down there I had it all planned out in my mind. (Lesson I learned long ago, never plan a shoot, they never work out…hmmm) 

You enter the cave through a little shop at the top of the cove. Down 100 dark, wet, slippery, mud laden steps with a handrail just as slippery. Finally you arrive at a boardwalk that takes you into the cave and an opening in the cave out to the ocean. It takes a while for your eyes to adjust, once going down the dark steps and then once again when you emerge out of the darkness to the sunlight coming through the opening. (Clue number 2). The opening looks like a profile of an Indian. That’s how it got its name Sunny Jim (the Indian) Cave.  Continue reading »

Achieving a Natural Looking HDR in Nik HDR Efex Pro 2

Achieving a Natural Looking HDR in Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 

Today I am going to take you through the steps that I use to achieve a natural looking HDR for that “As the eye sees” look that I desire in an image. Everyone has their tastes when it comes to HDR and this happens to be mine. But while it’s a natural look it’s one that people struggle with most. It seems it’s pretty easy to get a painterly or grunged up effect but trying to get something that that look Photographic and not Graphic is a tougher road (Thanks to Joe Buissink for that line, I was captivated watching him on Creative Live today).

I think a lot of it comes down to trying to do too much. Even the software manufacturers have a hard time with this. In talking to the folks at Nik, it is a struggle to decide what to include in software and what to leave out.  It’s a delicate balance.

I tend to err on the side of less is more and here’s why; when you give people a lot of options, they think they need to use them all. It’s like giving someone inexperienced, a rack full of spices and telling them to cook. They will probably overdo it because they think they need to. When really that delicate piece of fish just needed salt, pepper and a little garlic (always garlic I’m Italian).  Continue reading »

Anatomy of a Shoot – Long Exposures

Anatomy of a Shoot – Long Exposures 

Long exposure shots are all the rage right now. You’ve all seen them; Pier, Cotton Candy Water, B & W. We are not just talking silkening the water with 10 second exposures on waterfalls. We are talking cotton candy, fog or mist look to water (or Clouds) of exposure for 5 minutes or even an hour. It’s the newest thing to catch on in landscapes so if you want to know how, follow me through a recent shoot. Continue reading »

Hand Held Meters and HDR

Hand-Held Light Meters and HDR 

Friend of the HDR Image and Photographer Dale Smith wrote and asked; “Do you use a Hand-Held Meter and what do you think of them?” 

Well Dale the answer is, yes I do use one and like them quite nicely. So let’s explore this question further. 

First I’ll answer one really important question. Do I need a Hand-Held Meter to do HDR? Absolutely not. The reflective meter in your camera is more than capable of doing everything you need to do to successfully meter an HDR scene. But Hand-Held meter can make things easier in some instances and are also handy for other types of photography.  Continue reading »