A few weeks ago I was shooting a how-to video at a local park and came across this young squirrel on a branch. As quickly as I could, I pulled out my D750 and 70-200mm f/2.8 to try and grab a shot of the cute guy, but it took off behind a tree. Mildly disappointed, I lowered my camera and started to hike back to the trailhead. Before I made it five feet, a little voice in my head chided me that a “real” photographer would stick around and try harder. Since the light was soft and the squirrel was super cute, I decided to stick around and at least attempt to get a nice image of the critter.
While scoping out the scene to find a spot to wait, I spotted a large pile of pinecone scales at the base of a tree. These scales were a tell-tale that this tree served as one of the squirrel’s favorite spots for feeding. In fact, upon closer inspection, I noticed a small branch above the pile of scales must be where the squirrel perched when feeding. So, I set up my camera gear at that location and waited.
After a couple of minutes, the young squirrel poked its head around the side of the tree to see if the area was safe. I stood motionless with my camera at the ready and the squirrel slowly made his way over the the branch. It picked up right where it left off, munching away on seeds while allowing me to photograph it to my heart’s content. Over the course of the next 45 minutes, scampered about, but always returned to the spot to check on me before consuming more seeds. What fun! I’m very happy I stuck around and committed to making the image.
Photography is like that. Whether you photograph wildlife or children or buildings, you have to operate with equal amounts patience and diligence. Patience to be able to wait for the right moment. Diligence to not give up when the situation doesn’t initially go your way
I’ve been shooting with the Nikon D500 for a couple weeks and have to say that Nikon has truly created a beautiful camera. I’ll write up a more-detailed review in our next newsletter, but so far, I am exceedingly impressed. The things I’m liking are:
1. Autofocus performance is top-notch
2. Frame rate at 10 FPS is addictive
3. High ISO performance is excellent
4. Ergonomics are best in class
5. Rear flip-screen is very useful
6. Image quality is excellent
The camera “only” costs about $2,000, so I consider it a true bargain. It fundamentally has all the professional tools of the Nikon D5, packed into the smaller body of the D500. The size of the D500 is almost identical to the FX format Nikon D750 and the ergonomics/handling are excellent. I can guarantee you are going to love this camera for sports, action and wildlife. It is a killer camera.
I just received notice from Adorama that the D500 (and D5) are in stock and ready for sale. Here are my affiliate links:
Nikon D5 FX-Format Digital SLR Camera Body (CF Version)
$6,496.95 with free shipping
Nikon D5 FX-Format DSLR Camera Body (XQD Version)
$6,496.95 with free shipping
Nikon D500 DX-format DSLR Body
$1,996.95 with free shipping
Nikon D500 DX-format Digital SLR Body with AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR Lens
$3,066.95 with free shipping
Here are a few more photo samples from the D500.
Photographs combined with a story truly have the power to engage, influence and potentially compel people to action. Whether it is as simple as improving your ability to convey your message or as complicated as trying to convince people to change their way of thinking, combining your images with a great story is a powerful tool.
Recently, I was asked to share my images with a private school in my hometown (http://lcschool.org/). They often bring in guest speakers to help teach core principles, and the week I spoke, they were teaching about temptation.
In response, I created a story from my images to help reinforce their curriculum. In this case, I used a series of images I took in Africa demonstrating how lions were tempted to kill a tawny eagle. They wisely didn’t because they knew the eagle could very easily gouge out their eyes with its talons. The lions resisted temptation and literally lived to see another day.
During the presentation, I had the schoolchildren roar like lions and fight like the eagle. We laughed and oohed and aahed at the photos together. It was great fun, but more importantly, I was able to help reinforce the lesson that the school was working to convey.
Over the years, I’ve been asked to share my images at all kids of events, meetings, and conventions. In each case, I always adjust my presentation so it reinforces the main topic that organization is trying to broadcast. Some recent examples of my talks include:
– Community groups. A non-profit group was focused on keeping members challenged and active, so I told stories of travel photography.
– Middle school writing class. I talked about the writing process and working with editors. I used images and props that reinforced the instructor’s teaching plan.
– Rotary International. The focus was on service, so I showed images taken in developing countries.
– Camera clubs. Obviously, the focus was on photography, but since I always try to go one step deeper, I tell the story surrounding the images. This created context while simultaneously teaching technique and philosophy.
Here’s my general approach when speaking for an organization:
1. Talk to their leadership to understand their current focus and theme.
2. Ask for resources from which they are currently teaching, such as articles, books, scripture, websites, etc.
3. Gather images from my image library that resonate with their story.
4. Tell the story of my images in a way that reinforces their organizational purpose or goal.
You’d be amazed at how receptive organizations are to having you speak for them. Schools, teachers, clubs, colleges, and libraries – everyone wants content and is eager to have you provide it for them. If you are able to share your images, then work hard at adding value to their organization and they’ll have you coming back every year.
People really appreciate it when you support their cause. Want proof? Just wait until you start getting thank you letters from the attendees. Check out these thank you letters from students who attended my talk last week. Their artwork was endearing and their heartfelt words of thanks meant the world to me.
I encourage you to join me in sharing your story with the world. Just get out there and do it!
Adobe just released an update to their imaging software including Lightroom CC 2015.5/6.5, Camera RAW 9.5, and Photoshop CC. There are a quite a few software bug fixes in tehse updates including some significant fixes for tethering, especially with Canon cameras like the 5DM3, 5Ds, 1DsM3.
The bigger news however is Adobe now has support for a bunch of new cameras like the Nikon D5, Nikon D500, Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, Canon Rebel T6, Canon EOS 80D and the Sony Alpha a6300. This marks the first time I can remember that Adobe and Nikon/Canon/Sony worked together to allow shooters of these new cameras the capability to process RAW photos before the cameras are released to the public. Kudos Adobe.
On the Adobe Camera Raw side, Adobe changed the default color schema in ACR to gray. This better matches other software interfaces and is a welcome change.
To update your software, use the Creative Cloud application/utility from Adobe as shown here.
Alternatively, you can download the files directly here:
Lightroom CC Installations
Please select Help > Updates to use the update mechanism in the Creative Cloud app.
Adobe’s Lightroom Journal http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/
Lightroom CC 2015.5 update http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2016/03/lr-cc-2015-5-now-available.html
Adobe Camera RAW 9.5 update http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2016/03/camera-raw-9-5-now-available.html
|Android||Huawei Nexus 6P|
|Android||LG Nexus 5X|
|Canon EF||SIGMA 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM A016|
|Canon EF-M||Bower 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Canon EF-M||Rokinon 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Canon EF-M||Rokinon 21mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC CS|
|Canon EF-M||Rokinon 300mm f/6.3 ED UMC CS|
|Canon EF-M||Samyang 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Canon EF-M||Samyang 21mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC CS|
|Canon EF-M||Samyang 24mm f1.4 ED AS IF UMC|
|Canon EF-M||Samyang 85mm f1.4 AS IF UMC|
|Canon EF-M||Samyang 300mm f/6.3 ED UMC CS|
|Fujifilm||Bower 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Fujifilm||Rokinon 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Fujifilm||Rokinon 21mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC CS|
|Fujifilm||Rokinon 85mm f1.4 AS IF UMC|
|Fujifilm||Rokinon 300mm f/6.3 ED UMC CS|
|Fujifilm||Samyang 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Fujifilm||Samyang 21mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC CS|
|Fujifilm||Samyang 24mm f1.4 ED AS IF UMC|
|Fujifilm||Samyang 85mm f1.4 AS IF UMC|
|Fujifilm||Samyang 300mm f/6.3 ED UMC CS|
|Nikon F||Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR|
|Nikon F||Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G|
|Nikon F||Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR|
|Nikon F||Nikon AF-S Zoom-NIKKOR 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED|
|Olympus||Bower 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Olympus||Bower 24mm f1.4 ED AS IF UMC|
|Olympus||Rokinon 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Olympus||Rokinon 21mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC CS|
|Olympus||Rokinon 24mm f1.4 ED AS IF UMC|
|Olympus||Rokinon 85mm f1.4 AS IF UMC|
|Olympus||Rokinon 300mm f/6.3 ED UMC CS|
|Olympus||Samyang 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Olympus||Samyang 21mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC CS|
|Olympus||Samyang 24mm f1.4 ED AS IF UMC|
|Olympus||Samyang 85mm f1.4 AS IF UMC|
|Olympus||Samyang 300mm f/6.3 ED UMC CS|
|Olympus||SIGMA 30mm F1.4 DC DN C016|
|Panasonic||Bower 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Panasonic||Rokinon 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Panasonic||Rokinon 21mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC CS|
|Panasonic||Rokinon 24mm f1.4 ED AS IF UMC|
|Panasonic||Rokinon 85mm f1.4 AS IF UMC|
|Panasonic||Rokinon 300mm f/6.3 ED UMC CS|
|Panasonic||Samyang 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Panasonic||Samyang 21mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC CS|
|Panasonic||Samyang 24mm f1.4 ED AS IF UMC|
|Panasonic||Samyang 24mm f1.4 ED AS IF UMC|
|Panasonic||Samyang 300mm f/6.3 ED UMC CS|
|Pentax K||HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR|
|Samsung NX||Bower 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Samsung NX||Bower 24mm f1.4 ED AS IF UMC|
|Samsung NX||Rokinon 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Samsung NX||Rokinon 24mm f1.4 ED AS IF UMC|
|Samsung NX||Rokinon 85mm f1.4 AS IF UMC|
|Samsung NX||Samyang 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Samsung NX||Samyang 24mm f1.4 ED AS IF UMC|
|Samsung NX||Samyang 85mm f1.4 AS IF UMC|
|SIGMA||SIGMA 50-100mm F1.8 DC HSM A016|
|Sony E||Bower 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Sony E||Rokinon 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Sony E||Rokinon 21mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC CS|
|Sony E||Rokinon 300mm f/6.3 ED UMC CS|
|Sony E||Samyang 16mm f2 ED AS UMC CS|
|Sony E||Samyang 21mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC CS|
|Sony E||Samyang 300mm f/6.3 ED UMC CS|
|Sony E||SIGMA 30mm F1.4 DC DN C016|
|Sony FE||Rokinon 24mm f1.4 ED AS IF UMC|
|Sony FE||Rokinon 85mm f1.4 AS IF UMC|
|Sony FE||Samyang 24mm f1.4 ED AS IF UMC|
|Sony FE||Samyang 85mm f1.4 AS IF UMC|
|Sony FE||Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM|
|Sony FE||Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM|
Our March 2016 newsletter is posted here: https://visadventures.com/newsletters/2016-03-newsletter/
Articles this month include:
New Instructor and Author – Rick Hulbert
New Workshops in The Wooldands, Texas
Stuff I Like This Month
Book Review: Picture Perfect Lighting
Book Review: Studio Anywhere
Digital Tidbits: A Custom Approach to Panoramas Using Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC
Check out all of our previous newsletters here: https://visadventures.com/newsletters/
Nikon announced a bevy of new compact cameras for CP+ 2016. The cool thing about the higher-end models is they are large-sensor compact cameras. It is clear that Nikon is listening to their user-base and offering professional quality cameras that don’t weigh as much as a DSLR.
In my opinion, two of the cameras are very enticing and worthy of your attention: The DL18-50 and the DL24-85. Both of them have a f/1.8-f/2.8 fluorine coated lens and the 18-50 has the Nano coated lens to help reduce lens flare at the wide-angle settings.
The DL18-50 and DL24-85 have a compact form and are small enough to fit in your pocket. Nikon is claiming the DL cameras have DSLR functionality, which includes fast/accurate autofocus, a blazingly-fast frame rate of 20 FPS, 20.8 megapixel 1″ sensor, and 4K video. If these specs hold up in real-world shooting situations, then these little powerhouse cameras will be tremendous for travel photography, street photography, and multi-media story telling.
As a prolific user of Nikon’s wireless flash system, I was happy to see that these cameras support the Nikon CLS (creative lighting system). I’m looking forward to testing out these enticing little cameras.
Check out these early reviews from Nikon shooters Steve Simon and Drew Gurian:
Steve Simon DL Review at ThePassionatePhotographer
Drew Gurian DL Preview at DrewGurian.com
Purchase Links here:
Nikon DL18-50 F/1.8-2.8 Compact Camera – $846.95
Nikon DL24-85 F/1.8-2.8 Compact Camera – $646.95
Nikon DL25-500 F/2.8-5.6 Compact Camera – $996.95
I’ll be teaching a class for CreativeLive during the industry’s biggest event of the year – Photoshop Week 2016. My workshop will be on producing beautiful panoramas using Lightroom CC, ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) and Photoshop CC. During the week, there are multiple instructors teaching in different learning tracks that you’ll be able to watch live for free. Other instructors include Tim Grey, Ben Willmore, Lindsay Adler, Matt Kloskowski, Jared Platt, Dave Cross and many more.
Tune in to watch the live panorama workshop broadcast at 1:15 PM PST, February 22, 2016. For more information on this specific class, check out the workshop page over at CreativeLive: Creating Panoramas in Photoshop and Lightroom – Mike Hagen
Photoshop Week 2016 Full Schedule: https://www.creativelive.com/photoshop-week-2016
RSVP today to watch live for free. Signing up early also allows you to pre-order the complete Photoshop Week training package for half-price.
Discover the tools you need to remake the world in your image. Learn from some of the world’s most inspiring photographers and retouchers. Unlock the power of Photoshop and Lightroom to transform the images you have into the images you want.
On February 22nd-27th watch the free live stream of the industry’s biggest week. Learn exciting new ways to enhance your work and remake your post-production workflow. Create images that stand out and inspire. No matter how many years you’ve been in the game, find the tools, techniques and shortcuts you need to bring your unique creative vision to life.
This year, you can chose from 4 unique course tracks to find the skills you need. We now have a Beginner’s track and an Advanced track, so you can master the essentials and then graduate to more complex techniques. Get in the habit of shooting with post-production ideas in mind with our Shoot to Edit classes. After you get your skills locked down, keep up to date on the latest Photoshop techniques and designs with the Trends series.
Make the most out of what you learn this week! Our partners at Adobe are offering 20% off the Creative Cloud Photography plan to new subscribers if you join us for Photoshop Week – get access to Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and Adobe’s versatile mobile apps to craft amazing images anytime. RSVP now, and we’ll email you a link to this exclusive offer.
Adobe released a new version of Lightroom today for the Creative Cloud and stand-alone versions. Lightroom CC 2015.4 and Lightroom 6.4 address a number of bugs while also updating the software for new cameras and lenses.
As far as I’m concerned though, the two most important things about this release are the Boundary Warp feature in Lightroom CC and the ability to tether Nikon cameras for photographers using the newest Mac OSX 10.11 (El Capitan).
Here’s the link to the press release at the Adobe website: Lightroom CC 2015.4 Press Release
Boundary warp is a brand-new feature available in the Lightroom CC version aimed at improving panorama merging. It is designed to warp the corners and edges of the panorama so you don’t lose those areas of the image.
This slider works exceptionally well when merging photos taken with extreme wide-angle lenses. You don’t typically get much distortion with focal lengths of 50mm or longer, but you get quite a bit with 14mm and 20mm lenses. Boundary Warp helps solve this problem in a very easy-to-use interface.
Check out this video I created to help further explain the tool.
YouTube Link: Boundary Warp (https://youtu.be/2yt-A6OoZuc)
Another great fix with this release of Lightroom CC/6 is the ability to tether Nikon cameras in Mac OSX 10.11 (El Capitan). Finally!
Unfortunately, operating system updates can be very troublesome for us photographers. We heavily rely on software for our businesses, so any hiccup in the operation of our computers is a major deal. The most recent update to the Macintosh operating system, El Capitan, broke the ability of Lightroom CC/6 to tether with Nikon cameras.
For me, that was a deal breaker to upgrading to El Capitan since I use Lightroom tethering for my portrait and commercial work. Tethering really helps when shooting with clients on set as it allows them to immediately collaborate on images.
The newest version of Lightroom CC/6 now fixes the tethering issue for us Nikon shooters and represents my last obstacle to upgrading my Mac to El Capitan.
– SIGMA 50mm f1.4 ART lens was incorrectly identified as Zeiss Milvus 50mm f1.4
– Import from iPhoto would result in all photos receiving a “pick” flag
– Comments from Lightroom web come in to Lightroom on the desktop as already “read.”
– Lightroom would not display the correct EXIF metadata for some video files generated by Canon, Fuji and Panasonic cameras
– Vertical panoramas created using Merge could appear with the wrong orientation
– The video cache did not respect the maximum size specified in the preferences
– Fujifilm X70
– Fujifilm X-E2S
– Fujifilm X-Pro2
– Leica M (Typ 262)
– Leica X-U (Typ 113)
– Panasonic DMC-ZS60 (DMC-TZ80, DMC-TZ81, DMC-TZ85)
– Phase One IQ150
– Sony ILCA-68 (A68)
– Nikon 1 J4 Camera Matching Profile added
– The panorama merging process should complete roughly twice as fast as Lightroom 6.3
– Improved quality when applying Auto Straighten and Upright “Level” mode
– A preference was added to the Mac to prevent accidental “speed swiping”
– Metadata is added to merged panoramas to support Photoshop’s Adaptive Wide Angle filter
– Customers can now set the location of where photos are stored when downloaded from Lightroom mobile or Lightroom web in the preference panel or – contextually in the folder panel
– Thumbnails update much quicker when copying and pasting settings in the grid view
– Images load faster in the Library module when you are zoomed in and navigating images
– Tethered support added for the Nikon D5500 and Nikon D7200
I make a habit of carrying a camera with me just about everywhere I go, especially when heading out on short errands. I love finding new photographic gems in my hometown of Gig Harbor, Washington.
Last week, I headed down to the Post Office to ship some books and took a quick side trip to photograph the Gig Harbor waterfront with my Nikon D750 and 14-24mm f/2.8 lens. A couple days prior to that, I took a one-hour break from writing to walk across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge with my D750 and 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. In both cases, I decided to create panoramas of the scenes before me.
I’ve been shooting more panoramas lately because I really enjoy the entire process from capture to print. I also love being able to capture the atmosphere of the scene in a way most people don’t normally see. On the technical side, I thoroughly enjoy the discipline it takes to create a good-looking pano. There are a lot of settings and techniques that have to be executed well in order to produce an image that works.
– Exposure control for the darkest and brightest areas of the scene
– Depth of field
– White balance
– Panning technique
– Dealing with subjects that are moving
– Overlap percentage for individual frames
– Lens choice
– Distortion control
– Developing the images in software (Lightroom CC) so all images work together in the final panorama
– Stitching the images together in Lightroom CC or Photoshop CC
– Post-processing the panorama to fix problem areas
– Final presentation and printing
Some panoramas work really well and others are just, well, boring. Sometimes, you don’t know until you’ve gone through all the work and have the final image on your computer screen. In the case of the two images I’ve shown here, I like the image of the boats from downtown Gig Harbor, but don’t really care for the Narrows Bridge image. I think the reason why the Narrows Bridge shot falls flat for me is the clouds lack texture and form. I’ll need to go back on another day when the sky is more dramatic.
Because of my love of panoramas, I have decided to teach a panorama workshop on when I travel to The Woodlands, Texas in April. My partner in crime, Rick Hulbert (http://www.rickhulbertphotography.com), and I are running a series of four different workshops from April 4th – 9th, including one on panorama photography. These workshops are open for all camera users (Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, etc.) and all skill levels.
While in The Woodlands, we are joining The Woodlands Camera Club to celebrate their 10-year anniversary. After their party, we’ll run workshops and photo walks on a variety of topics like autofocus for action, urban and street photography, studio lighting, HDR photography, and more.
You should join us! More information here:
Our January 2016 Newsletter is posted. We have a great series of articles covering everything from book reviews, to backpacks, to new products.
In This Month’s Newsletter
– Stuff I Like This Month
– Workshop Updates
– Our Newest Book: The Nikon Autofocus System
– Book Review: The Digital Negative, 2nd Edition
– Book Review: Jay Maisel, Light, Gesture & Color
– Long Term Gear Report: Naneu K5 v2 80L Backpack
– Workshop and Business Updates
Check it out here: Visual Adventures January 2016 Newsletter