After going back and forth with limited time offers (that got extended several times) to lure photographers into its Creative Cloud platform, Adobe finally decided to create a special, permanent plan specifically for photographers for $9.99 per month. Compared to the $49.99 per month “all inclusive” plan, or the $19.99 per month single app plan that sparked a lot of negativity among the photography community, the $9.99 offer from last year attracted a lot of customers for Adobe, increasing the number of subscribers to close to 2 million. Since the program was introduced, close to half a million people signed up for this plan in just the first quarter of 2014. Since then, the program has been attracting even more subscribers, since $9.99 per month price appears to be much more reasonable for the latest and greatest features that Adobe packs in its Creative Cloud platform.
Today is a big release date for Adobe, because the company is rolling out a few major updates to its Adobe Creative Cloud platform, along with new apps for mobile devices designed for creative professionals and enthusiasts. One of the silent updates that got rolled and did not get much press is the final version of Lightroom 5.5 and Camera RAW 8.5. Adobe was so busy with its new products and updates, that it did not include any information on additional features included in Lightroom 5.5. It seems like the final release is similar to the 5.5 release candidate, where support for additional lenses and cameras were added, as shown below. The most notable bugfixes in this release are: properly reading lossless compressed files from older Nikon DSLRs and correct processing of Fuji X-T1 RAW files when using Dynamic Range 200% and 400% setting. And the most notable feature for Nikon D610 owners is that now there is finally tethering support, although Adobe never mentioned it on their website!
Aside from various online portfolio solutions, there aren’t many online services that photographers can use for their work. Well, this may change soon. With technology of in-browser RAW processing, Pics.io aims to become an all-in-one photo management and editing solution in the cloud or, as they call it, “Google Docs of photo editing”. We spent some time checking out what Pics.io is all about and we are excited about where this project might take us in the future. Although it is at an early stage of development, some interesting and useful tools have already been released for beta testing. For example, the newly announced online raw converter, raw.pics.io works with Canon and Nikon RAW images. And despite our initial thoughts and doubts, it turns out that the converter opens images locally from your computer, without uploading any data to the Internet. Basically, you open the site raw.pics.io in your browser, drop a raw file (nef/cr2/dng) and save a processed JPEG file. At this point it is not anything amazing, but that’s just the first step. Imagine what this platform could potentially do when it is built with a complete set of controls and various presets, similar to what you see in Lightroom.
It has taken a little longer than I wanted, but I finally got around to writing this second article on photographing wildlife. The writer in me is still struggling to get out, wants to keep hiding and do more interesting stuff like taking photographs rather than write about it. Let’s get started and see where it leads. If you would like to read the previous part, please see this link.
1) Do you have what it takes?
Wildlife photography can be so rewarding and so frustrating at the same time. It can be a challenge of patience and persistence and all those wonderful photos you see from wildlife photographers around the world took time and effort to get. What a photographer usually shows you on their website or portfolio is the best of their work, a hundred or so photos, sometimes more. What you don’t see is the amount of time it took them to get those photos or what they had to go through or just how many attempts were involved before they got what they were happy with. The featured photo of this article is of a huge wet 500lb black bear taken in New Hampshire, where I live. Let’s talk about that photo for a bit as it relates to this topic of “do you have what it takes”. I have lived in northern NH for five years and it is a place known to have many black bears, yet they are the ghost of the woods, the animal that hardly ever shows itself to you and a male that got to be this big is very aware and cautious. So I have been trying and trying for years to get really good black bear stuff, success in Yellowstone but not at home. It was a little frustrating to say the least, but I kept plugging away, got some keepers but nothing spectacular. Then this year (2014), things fell in place and all of a sudden I got a couple of beauties, photos that make my heart pound faster and take my breath away, the kind of photos that drive me through this crazy passion of getting great wildlife photos. This black bear (photo above and below) is as big as they get for a black bear and a rare opportunity here in New Hampshire, so all my years of hoping and trying finally paid off.
On Thursday, June 26th I’ll be conducting an Introduction to Landscape Photography presentation at the Grimsby Public Art Gallery in Grimsby, Ontario. This session will be focused at the beginner/introductory level and will cover composition tips, understanding your gear and getting the most from it, along with some basics on using photo editing software to enhance landscape images, including a number of ‘before and after’ examples.
Many Nikon owners have been chomping at the bit waiting for the F-Mount version of the new Tamron 150-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VC zoom lens to be available. I recently borrowed a review sample from Tamron’s Canadian distributor. In advance of my full review, I thought that Photography Life readers would like to see some sample images of birds in flight. My full review of this lens will appear later in June or early July.
If you do photography in a studio, you probably have a few shot bags laying around. This very small shot bag has a variety of uses.
For most people who just want to have some fun with their photography and have another ‘trick up their sleeve’ focus stacking can be an interesting technique to explore. To put this article in proper context, I’ve never used focus stacking for any of my client work, and I don’t profess to be an expert at the technique…but I have experimented with it. The following image is a quick focus stacking example I put together for this article. It was composed from 11 separate exposures. It’s far from perfect, but it does represent a typical result that most hobbyists can easily achieve.
After months of waiting for the manufacturer to modify the chemical properties of the Sensor Gel Stick so that it works perfectly well with the new Sony cameras and heavy testing, we are happy to announce that we will soon be shipping the Sony version of the product to our customers. I have received a couple of sample units last week and I am happy to say that the product worked very well with the Sony A6000 and A7R mirrorless cameras. The manufacturer assured us that the Sony version will work with ALL Sony cameras without problems, but just to be sure, we did perform our own tests and found no problems! If you own a Sony mirrorless camera and would like to use the Sensor Gel Stick, you can now pre-order it from our store.