April 2015 Newsletter is Posted

Posted April 23rd, 2015 by   |  Photography, Software, Workshops  |  Permalink

Our April 2015 Newsletter is posted here: http://visadventures.com/newsletters/2015-04-newsletter/

In this month’s newsletter:

- Greetings
- New Books
- Stuff I Like This Month
- Studio Tips: Seven Things I Learned by Photographing 500 People
- Digital Tidbits: Don’t Forget These 3 Things in the Lightroom Develop Module
- Digital Tidbits: New Software Options in 2015
- Workshop and Business Updates

newslettertilt

Check out our April 2015 newsletter for three big articles, new business updates, and tips related to new products in the photo market. One of the articles covers tools you should be using in Lightroom 5, 6 and CC. We also have an article comparing of all the new photo processing software available in 2015 including Apple Photos, Nikon Capture NXD, Nikon View NX-i, Affinity Photo, Lightroom CC. Our third article is dedicated to what I learned when photographing 500 people for a church directory. I give some great tips for setting up a studio on location, posing, and working with the public.

Read it here: April 2015 Newsletter





Rise of the Drone Cameras

Posted April 17th, 2015 by   |  Photography, Travel, Uncategorized  |  Permalink

Drone photography is gaining in popularity every single day and camera manufacturers have taken notice. We are at the very beginning of the new drone era and imaging companies are producing more advanced photo and video products every day.

GoPro was the first to really promote the use of their cameras with drones. Their line of Hero cameras integrated very well with the DJI Phantom series of quadcopters . This integration brought about a revolution in the photo industry that allowed just about anybody with $1,000 to capture high quality HD aerial footage of their adventures.

Now, in the quest for 4k drone video and super-high resolution stills, new players are jumping into the ring with incredible cameras specifically designed for drone usage. Here’s a run down of some of the new high resolution drone cameras available on the market today.

GoPro

GoPro Hero4

GoPro Hero4.

GoPro continues to up their game and this year they released the new Hero4 Black edition that captures 4k video at 30 frames per second. The Hero4 comes with a live view system that integrates with wi-fi enabled devices such as tablets and phones. Price is $499.99.

B&H Link: GoPro Hero4 Black

Sony

Sony FDR-X1000V

Sony FDR-X1000V action camera

Sony just announced a new series of 4k ActionCams called the FDR-X1000V to compete directly with the GoPro Hero 4. These use a live-view remote that you wear on your wrist for easy control of the camera from a distance. That’s cool. Price is $498.00.

B&H Link: Sony FDR-X1000V

Phase One

Phase One

Phase One aerial cameras.

Phase One just announced the iXU 180 drone camera with 80 MP CCD sensor. The price is $60k. Yes, $60,000 USD! These products are designed specifically for aerial imaging where you need the utmost in image quality for applications like surveying, scientific analysis, wind turbine inspections, crowd monitoring, and mapping.

Read more about the iXU 180 here: Phase One Industrial Imaging

Canon

Canon XC10

Canon XC10 4k camera.

Canon XC10 4K camera with a 1” sensor. This is a small form factor camera with a 24-240mm zoom lens. It has the ability to shoot 4k video, 12MP stills and grab 8MP JPGs during live recording. It is smaller than 5” in all dimensions and just under two pounds, so it could be mounted on medium to larger drones such as hexa-copters and octa-copters. Price is a very reasonable $2,499 with free shipping from Adorama and B&H.

Adorama Link: Canon XC10

B&H Link: Canon XC10

Panasonic

Panasonic Lumix GH4

Panasonic Lumix GH4.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 has been out for about a year and is commonly used in drone photography because of it’s light weight and 4k video capability. Add to that the fact that you can attach virtually any lens from any manufacturer with an adapter, and you have a powerful video platform. Price is $1,498.

B&H Link: Lumix DMC-GH4

Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Micro cinema

Blackmagic Micro Cinema camera.

During the 2015 NAB show (National Association of Broadcasters), Blackmagic announced its new Micro Cinema Camera. The Micro is designed specifically for drone cameras and POV shooting for extreme sports. This little wonder shoots Ultra HD files at 4k 30 fps or can be configured to at 1080p60. Price is set for $1,295.

Product info page: Blackmagic Micro Cinema Product Info

B&H Link: Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera 

DJI Phantom

DJI Phantom 3 pro

DJI Phantom 3 Professional.

DJI’s new Phantom 3 Professional drone comes equipped with a 4k camera on a full 3-axis gimbal. This system offers Lighbridge technology, which allows operators to see what the drone sees in real time, in HD, and from up to a mile away. Price is $1,259.

B&H Link: DJI Phantom 3 Professional

 

 

 





Photography in the Galapagos Article

Posted April 16th, 2015 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink

Nikonian_eZine_58_Cover

The newest issue of the Nikonian eZine just published one of my articles on photography in the Galapagos. Clink this link to download eZine issue 58.

The article covers:

  • Gear
  • Packing
  • Photo experience
  • Daily schedule
  • Techniques
  • Tripods
  • Camera settings
  • More

Also, follow this link to the eZine archive to download free issues from previous editions of the Nikonian eZines. http://ezine.nikonians.org/archive.html  





Snapseed 2.0 Released

Posted April 9th, 2015 by   |  Photography, Software, Technology  |  Permalink

Snapseed 2.0

A brand new version of Snapseed for mobile image editing is live, now called Snapseed 2.0. I’m on the beta team and have been testing this new version for a few months. Version 2.0 is a significant update and best of all, it is free!

This program is a winner because of all the local and selective adjustments you are able to incorporate into image development. Also, you are able to work in stacks that allow you to go back and re-edit changes you’ve previously made. This is a solid mobile image-editing app and should be on everyone’s phone or tablet.

IPenguins

Here are a few Snapseed 2.0 links:
iOS: Snapseed 2.0 iOS Info and Download
Android: Snapseed 2.0 Android Info and Download
Product forum: User to user Snapseed forum
G+ page: Snapseed 2.0 Google+ Page

 

Here’s a cool video from Google showing how easy and quick it is to use Snapseed:





New Book – The Nikon Autofocus System

Posted April 3rd, 2015 by   |  Photography  |  Permalink

NikonAutofocus_Cover_small

Announcing my newest book: The Nikon Autofocus System – Mastering focus for sharp images every time.

Publisher RockyNook and I are in production right now and targeting a November 2015 release date. We’ll have pre-order links ready in the next few weeks. More information coming very soon!

RockyNook – The Nikon Autofocus System web page.

Book Description

With today’s advanced camera technology, achieving focus on a photographic subject seems like it should be a straightforward task. But many photographers know that it can be deceptively difficult, especially when shooting moving subjects or in challenging situations. Now, there is a complete guide available for Nikon shooters that will help them get tack-sharp photos every time.

In The Nikon Autofocus System, photographer Mike Hagen, author of the bestselling The Nikon Creative Lighting System, takes his deep knowledge of Nikon technology and concentrates on its focus features. In this book, which covers all current Nikon DSLR models, Hagen fully explains how Nikon autofocus works, including detailed discussions of all the autofocus modules, drive systems, and camera buttons and menus. He also devotes an entire chapter to explore how focus works with Nikon’s lenses.

Armed with this general knowledge, Hagen then dives deep and offers camera setups, settings, and best practices for specific field techniques that address the photographic genres that are notoriously challenging for focus: action and sports (indoor and outdoor), wildlife (including birds in flight), and macro photography. He also covers genres such as portrait, landscape, underwater, low-light, and street photography. Hagen not only advises on the best ways to set up the camera and focus systems, he gives helpful tips and tricks throughout the book.

The Nikon Autofocus System also covers:

• Live view autofocus methods and settings
• Achieving great focus in video
• AF tracking
• AF shooting styles, such as back-button AF and shutter-release AF
• HDR, panoramas, and other techniques for shooting with a tripod
• An entire chapter on additional terms and techniques, such as hyperfocal distance, calibrating lenses, focus and flash photography, and more





Photographing Local History – Skansie Netshed

Posted March 25th, 2015 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink
Skansie Netshed

Skansie Netshed in Gig Harbor, WA.

Creating artistic photos of my home town of Gig Harbor, Washington is one of my favorite things to do. I love capturing the rich heritage of my town and finding different ways to represent its local icons.

One of the more important families in the history of Gig Harbor was the Skansie family. They were boat builders in the early 1900′s and produced over 100 commercial fishing vessels and ferries. Their original netshed still stands along the waterfront. A few years ago, the Gig Harbor Historical Society was able to secure funding to refurbish the Skansie Netshed and open it to the public. Their work helped beautify and preserve this classic building.

For this image, I waited for a day with puffy clouds in the sky, then took my Nikon D800 down to the waterfront with a single lens, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. I kept my kit light and decided to leave my tripod at home. I shot a few compositions of the building, then decided the best look for the given light was a tight crop with no other distracting elements such as buildings or boats. The D800 has an incredible dynamic range, so I exposed a single image to hold detail in the clouds. In Lightroom, I pulled out a bit of shadow detail then sent the file to Nik Silver Efex Pro to convert it to black and white. After the conversion, I brought it back to Lightroom to do the final crop.

Here’s some more information from the Harbor History Museum’s blog:

http://harborhistorymuseum.blogspot.com/2013/08/skansie-netshed.html

For more information on the remaining 17 netsheds in Gig Harbor, follow this link:

17 Netsheds Remaining in Gig Harbor

 





Best of Vancouver 2015 Award

Posted March 20th, 2015 by   |  Photography, Uncategorized  |  Permalink

My old business just won the 2015 Best of Vancouver Award for commercial photography. This is pretty cool, and I’ll take the accolades, but I haven’t lived or worked in Vancouver for over ten years now. It’s good to know that I’m the best in the business, even in places where I don’t work!

Here’s the link to the press release and a bit more about the award:

Best of Vancouver

Our new award trophy for the Best of Vancouver 2015 Award for Commercial Photography.

Best of Vancouver 2015 Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Out There Images Receives 2015 Best of Vancouver Award

Vancouver Award Program Honors the Achievement

VANCOUVER March 12, 2015 — Out There Images has been selected for the 2015 Best of Vancouver Award in the Commercial Photography category by the Vancouver Award Program.

Each year, the Vancouver Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Vancouver area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2015 Vancouver Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Vancouver Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Vancouver Award Program

The Vancouver Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Vancouver area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Vancouver Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Vancouver Award Program

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What is the Vancouver Award Program?

Each year, in and around the Vancouver area, the Vancouver Award Program chooses only the best local businesses. We focus on companies that have demonstrated their ability to use various marketing methods to grow their business in spite of difficult economic times. The companies chosen exemplify the best of small business; often leading through customer service and community involvement.

For most companies, this recognition is a result of your dedication and efforts as well as the work of others in your organization that have helped build your business. Your team is now a part of an exclusive group of small businesses that have achieved this selection.





Setting Up a Portable Location Studio

Posted March 16th, 2015 by   |  Flash Photography, Photography  |  Permalink

This week I’m shooting about 250 portraits for Harbor Covenant Church. I’ll share more of the results of the photo shoot in a future blog post, but in the meantime, I wanted to show how I set up the studio with this time-lapse video. My goal for the photo shoot is to produce a bright white background for each of the portraits. To do this, I used a white muslin backdrop and lit it with four slave flashes in umbrellas. These background flashes are set to produce about 1.0 to 1.5 stops more light than the Profoto D1 monolights I’m using for the people in the foreground.

 

I’m triggering everything optically, which is another way to say that all the flashes are set to fire when they see a flash pulse from the main camera. For the Profoto D1 monolights, I’ve set them to trigger using the IR mode. For the Nikon flashes, they are all set to trigger in SU-4 mode. On my Nikon D800 camera, I’m triggering everything with a Nikon SB-700 flash set to manual output so that when it fires, everything else fires. All slave flashes are set for manual output and I metered everything using my trusty old Sekonic L-358 (no longer sold).

Location studio portraits

Some of the early shots from the location studio. Nice white backgrounds and lots of happy people!

Here’s all the gear I used to create the location studio.

Profoto D1 Monolights

Tether Tools Aero Tether Table for 15″ MacBook Pro

Gitzo GT3542L Mountaineer Carbon Fiber Tripod

Manfrotto and Creative Light light stands

Creative Light Back Light Stand

Nikon SB-910

Nikon SB-900

Nikon SB-700

Impact Background Studio Stand

White muslin backdrop 10′x24′

Apple MacBook Pro 15.4″ Retina

Adobe Lightroom 5

Location studio

An overview of the on-location studio I set up at Harbor Covenant Church using six flashes to produce a white background.





Pantages Theater Vertical Panorama

Posted March 7th, 2015 by   |  Photography, Software, Travel  |  Permalink

Last week, my daughter participated in an adjudication for her flute quartet. After the adjudication, my wife and I took her to the Pantages Theater for a concert with the Tacoma Concert Band. As I always do, I brought a camera and found a great opportunity to take a vertical panorama of the interior before the show began. To get the shot, I found an open seat in the middle of the theater and took 10 photographs, starting with the stage, continuing towards the ceiling, and ending with the row of seating behind me.

Pantages pano

Vertical panorama of the Pantages Theater. 10 shots taken with Nikon D750, 24-70mm f/2.8. Processed in Lightroom, merged to panorama in Photoshop CC.

Back at the computer, I processed the images in Lightroom for proper white balance, shadows, and highlights. Then, I exported out the shots to Photoshop CC’s panorama merge utility. The result is a very interesting looking vertical panorama of the interior of Pantages Theater.

Here are a couple of other shots from the day.

Pantages theater

This is a horizontal panorama of the Pantages Theater. Nikon D750, 24-70mm f/2.8. Seven-shot sequence merged in Photoshop CC.

Flute quartet

My daughter’s flute quartet, just before their adjudication. They scored a 1 with the judges! (that’s the best rating)

 





Gig Harbor’s Painted Ladies

Posted March 4th, 2015 by   |  Photography, Travel  |  Permalink
Row houses

Row houses at Harbor Crossing. Nikon D750, 70-200mm f/2.8. Processed in Adobe Lightroom 5 and Nik Color Efex Pro 4.

A couple of days ago I was in Gig Harbor taking some photos for a new project I’m working on. While shooting in a local housing development, I came across a line of houses that reminded me of the famous row houses in San Francisco near Alamo Square. These famous Victorian houses were affectionately called The Painted Ladies because of their bright colors and beautiful architectural details. These San Francisco Painted Ladies are iconic and have been photographed millions of times by tourists and locals.

Houses and blue sky

High cirrus clouds, blue sky, and row houses make for a pretty composition. Nikon D750, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, Gitzo CF tripod. Image processed in Adobe Lightroom 5 and Nik Color Efex Pro 4.

When I saw the similar style of homes here in Gig Harbor, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to create my own local version of the Painted Ladies. To get these photos, I shot with my Nikon D750 and the Nikon Triple Crown of lenses. These included the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8.

Back at my office, I imported the shots into Lightroom 5 and added just a little bit of clarity and vibrance. Then, I opened them up in Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to further pull out a little bit of detail and add a polarization effect for the clouds in the sky.

Here are a few links for those wanting to photograph the San Francisco Painted Ladies or the Gig Harbor Row Houses at Harbor Crossing housing development.

San Francisco Travel Guide to Painted Ladies

Inside a Painted Lady

Painted Lady Wikipedia

Gig Harbor’s Painted Ladies

Inside_Painted_Lady

SFO_Tourism_Painted_Ladies





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