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

###

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





Nikon D7200 and ME-W1 Announced

Posted March 2nd, 2015 by   |  Photography, Software, video  |  Permalink
Nikon D7200

Image courtesy Nikon Corp.

Nikon today announced the D7200 digital SLR camera along with a new microphone and a new software package. The D7200 comes along

There are a few improvements to the camera over the D7100.
– Larger buffer capacity that will hold 18 RAW shots (14-bit)
– Improved 51-point AF system with -3 EV sensitivity (center point works at f/8)
– Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC
– Faster Expeed 4 processor
– Better battery life
– Improved 24 MP sensor
– No OLPF (optical low pass filter)
– Broader native ISO range (100 – 25,600)
– 6 fps frame rate (7 fps in crop mode)
– 150,000 cycle-rated shutter
– Full 1080p 60 video recording

In my opinion, the single most important thing Nikon did with the D7200 is add increased buffer capacity. Honestly, the most frustrating thing on the D7100 (and D750 for that matter) is the limited buffer capacity when shooting sports or wildlife. Now, with a decent buffer size of 18 14-bit RAW photos and a professional-level autofocus system, photographers have a real tool they can use for action photography. The buffer is also projected to hold 27 12-bit RAW or 100 JPEG photographs.

One of the things that surprises me is that Nikon didn’t add an articulating screen like they did with the D750. I use this screen all the time on my D750 and have found it to be a fantastic tool to use in the field.

D7200 back

Image courtesy Nikon Corp

Over the last two years, I have recommended the D7100 to hundreds of photographers and now the D7200 will get my wholehearted recommendation. If you own a D7000 or a D90 and are looking to upgrade your camera, then buying the D7200 is a no-brainer. On the other hand, if you have a D7100 and mostly shoot landscapes/portraits then it doesn’t make sense to upgrade to the D7200. If you own a D7100 and need the extra buffer capacity for sports/action/wildlife, then the D7200 is a great camera for you.

Pricing for the D7200 will be $1,199,95 for the body only, and $1,699.95 with the 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR kit lens.

D7200 top

Image courtesy Nikon Corp.

Nikon also introduced two other products that should garner some interest among shooters: Nikon View NX-i and the Nikon ME-W1 wireless lavalier microphone.

View NX-i is a new image browsing program that looks like it will replace View NX. Nikon says that it will allow users to browse RAW files that were adjusted by Capture NX-D while also allowing easy upload of images to social networks. More information here: http://nikon.com/news/2015/0302_soft_02.htm

NX-i

ME-W1

ME-W1 wireless microphone runs on AAA batteries. Image courtesy Nikon Corp.

ME-W1 in rain

The ME-W1 is designed to operate in all weather conditions. Image courtesy Nikon Corp.

The ME-W1 wireless microphone is a lavalier mic designed to be used in the outdoors under any weather conditions. Most professional wireless microphones aren’t designed to withstand the elements, so the ME-W1 will surely fill a gap in some videographer’s camera bags. Pricing for the ME-W1 will be $249.95.

Here are pre-purchase links for the products listed in this article

Nikon D7200 B&H Adorama
Nikon D7200 with 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR B&H Adorama
Nikon ME-W1 B&H Adorama





Announcement: The Nikon Creative Lighting System, 3rd Edition

Posted February 24th, 2015 by   |  Flash Photography  |  Permalink

Cover Design 2312 U1 Hagen Nikon CLS 3 new

Great news. I’m now able to officially announce the release of the 3rd edition of our best-selling book, The Nikon Creative Lighting System, 3rd Edition: Using the SB-500, SB-600, SB-700, SB-800, SB-900, SB-910, and R1C1 Flashes.

There are lots of updates in this 3rd edition. Here are just a few:
– New chapter for the SB-500 flash
– Updated content
– Instructions for new Nikon camera bodies such as the D750, D4s, D810, D610, D7100, D5300, D3300, and more.
– Updated photographs, figures, and tables
– New how-to examples

The 3rd edition is slated to ship May 30th, 2015 and we are taking pre-orders on Amazon at this link:

The Nikon Creative Lighting System, 3rd Edition

NCLS_3rd_Edition_Amazon_tilt





Nikon D4s Dynamic Range

Posted February 20th, 2015 by   |  Photography, Software  |  Permalink
D4s dynamic range

Image after processing in Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro 4. Conclusion: The D4s has an excellent dynamic range and you can pull a tremendous amount of information from a RAW file.

I’ve been shooting with the Nikon D4s this week and wanted to see how its dynamic range holds up against the D800/D810. To do a quick test, I pointed the camera towards a high contrast scene that included dark forest, clearing fog and the bright sun.

D4s and lens

Nikon D4s with 24-70mm f/2.8

To process the image, I opened up the shadows and brought down the highlights in the Lightroom 5 develop module. Next I added a bit of clarity and vibrance to restore the contrast and color in the scene. My final step in Lightroom 5 was to fix the leaning trees using the Lens Correction panel. Finally, I sent the image out to Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to add a little bit of a polarization effect for the clouds.

Nikon D4s dynamic range

Here are my Lightroom slider settings for the file. The next step was to add a polarizing effect using Nik Color Efex Pro 4.

 

Overall, I’m very pleased with the D4s dynamic range. I was able to pull out a lot of detail from a single 14-bit NEF (RAW) file. However, as you can see above, the image isn’t perfect. There’s some CA (chromatic aberration) and some muddiness in the shadows. That said, considering the luminance values of the shadows were extremely low to begin with (i.e. 3% to 9%), I’m happy with the result.

DXO Mark rates the Nikon D4s dynamic range at 13.3 EV (DXO Mark D4s Test) compared to the D810 at 14.8 EV. 13.3 stops of dynamic range is still excellent and I wouldn’t be afraid to use the D4s for professional photographs in high contrast situations.

Here’s the before/after so you can see for yourself how much data is recoverable in a Nikon D4s RAW file.

Nikon D4s high contrast

Unprocessed Nikon D4s photo. Shot into the sun, just after the fog cleared.

D4s dynamic range

Image after processing in Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro 4. Conclusion: The D4s has an excellent dynamic range and you can pull a tremendous amount of information from a RAW file.

 

 





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