During the past few weeks our friends at KeepSnap have been going through the many entries submitted by PL’s readers and finally chose a winner of the PL + KeepSnap lens giveaway. I have just received information regarding the #1 prize winner and I am happy to announce that Karl Kiili will be taking home an 85mm f/1.8 lens and a Spyder5 Express calibration tool!
Istanbul is one of the most magical cities of the world. Divided between Europe and Asia, Istanbul straddles the Bosphorus strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. With its rich history and diversity, it is without a doubt one of the most popular cities of the world to visit. Although I had previously been to Turkey once in my teenage years (which included a sightseeing tour of Istanbul), coming here feels like home. Perhaps because I used to be fluent in Turkish and hearing the language reminds me of my childhood, or perhaps it has to do with my memories of attending a Turkish high school in Uzbekistan. Whatever the case, I love the beautiful country of Turkey and I absolutely adore the magnificent Istanbul. Last night Lola and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary at one of the rooftops close to the Sultanahmet Mosque, also known as the “Blue Mosque” and as we were dining, I noticed the moon rise from the left side. I grabbed the Fuji X-Pro2 with the 56mm f/1.2 lens and took the below photo of the mosque.
Iliah Borg and his team at LibRAW have been working hard on a major update to my favorite image culling software FastRawViewer (FRV). Today, the team released the final 1.3 version of the software and this time the updates are truly exciting! Now FRV sports an awesome grid mode, so that you can quickly go over your images just like you can in Lightroom. In grid mode, you can perform all kinds of file management functions such as copy/move (including move to “Rejected” folder) and image functions such as changing file orientation, setting labels and ratings (you can even set ratings and labels on multiple images at once!). Once you pick an image for viewing, you can double click on it to switch to image view and perform all the functions like zoom in to 1:1 view. There are many new features such as focus peaking, highlights inspection mode and sharpening for display, along with performance improvements and other changes to the core software. Overall, this is a huge update for everyone who has purchased FRV and if you have not tried it already, it is about time for you to take a closer look at FRV!
One of the biggest privileges I have of running Photography Life, is meeting wonderful people all over the world. Some of them I get to meet through photo walks, some through workshops and others I meet online, with the hope of meeting them face-to-face one day. Except for my friend John Bosley (who I met locally at a photo event), I met the rest of our team online – through this very website. Most of them started out as readers, but as we got to know each other via comments, emails and other phone conversations, they eventually joined the team of talented writers because they had the urge to do something amazing, which is to share their knowledge with the rest of the world. As of today, we have over 1600 articles, close to 300 reviews and we will soon reach 100,000 reader comments (yes, we are planning to celebrate the 100K commenter!). I have recently posted my 1000th article and Tom Stirr will soon be publishing his 100th article. And today, we have another gifted individual who will be joining our team – Vaibhav Tripathi. Or should we call him Dr Tripathi? After-all, he did get his PhD from Stanford University!
I might be visiting Portugal at the end of May this year, so I wanted to reach out to our readers in Europe to see if anyone would be interested in joining me for a photo walk. It will be a free event and it is not only a great opportunity to meet and get to know each other, but also an opportunity to take and share some pictures. I love Photo Walks, because I get to meet so many amazing people all over the world. Being able to connect with people who share the same passion is truly a wonderful experience. And if I can help someone out along the way, that’s even better! Please join us for another photo walk in the beautiful country of Portugal! As with any other photo walks we have hosted in the past, please bring all the photo questions you have, along with your portfolio of images. It will be my honor and pleasure to go through your images and help you become a better photographer. And if you don’t feel like doing it, or you are amazing already, please do come still – perhaps we can all learn from you! Having hosted a number of photo walks in the past, I have learned so much myself, that sometimes I wish I organized such events more often.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to planning and other unforeseen issues, the trip to Portugal has been cancelled.
Our 2016 Colorado Fall Colors Workshop just got a few extra spots available due to cancellations, so if anyone is interested in joining, please register as soon as possible. While there is still plenty of time before the workshops kick off, I am trying to help out with all the reservations ahead of time, so that we don’t have to worry about them later. This year I am doing something different – instead of conducting two identical workshops like last year, I will introduce two different levels. The first workshop (September 23-26) will be tailored towards beginner to intermediate-level photographers, so it will be ideal for those who are just starting out, or have been shooting for a few years and need help with gear, post-processing and composition. The second workshop on the other hand (September 28-October 1), will be targeted towards more advanced photographers, who are very comfortable with their gear, know their way around in post-processing and want to enhance their knowledge further.
UPDATE: Only 1 spot left for the September 23-26th workshop!
We have been out of the Sticky Paper and the Sony / Fuji version of the Sensor Gel Stick for a while now and back-orders have been piling up as a result. Wanted to let our readers know that we have just received a fresh stock of both. Existing orders were going to be sent out today, but due to the snow blizzard in Colorado (we got dumped with over a foot of snow and it is still snowing!), all mail will go out on Monday.
After reviewing Microsoft’s Surface machines, a number of our readers requested us to also review other competing products that sport enough processing power to run photo applications like Lightroom and Photoshop. Since in my past corporate life I spent quite a bit of time with Dell PCs and servers, it was my first natural selection. Having previously owned a Dell XPS 13 (when it was first introduced a while back), I wanted to take a look at the newest-generation version to see how well it would do for photography needs. Although a more direct competitor to Microsoft’s Surface Pro line would be the XPS 12, once I found out that it was maxed out at 8 GB of RAM and only 256 GB of storage, I had to move up in size. And since my goal was to find something light and compact to travel with, I did not consider the Dell XPS 15, which boasts the most power among the three models and comes with a dedicated GPU. When the Dell XPS 13 finally arrived, I got ready to put it through some tests to see how it would do. After a two-week trip to California and four more weeks of heavy work on the XPS 13, I decided to share my thoughts on the machine with our readers in a detailed review.
John Bosley and I have been working hard on producing our second video course – PL Level 1: Workflow and Post-Processing. While we still have quite a bit of work to do, we are planning to wrap things up by the end of the spring this year. Meanwhile, we thought it would be a good idea to share the below teaser, which shows some of the content that will go into the final production version of the course. We’ve had tremendous feedback on our PL Level 1: Photography Basics course from our readers, so we are really excited about producing the second video. We believe that this particular course will be of great value for many photographers, because it encompasses the entire workflow process, from setting up the camera, shooting and post-processing images, all the way to exporting images for the web or print.
When using telephoto and macro lenses, it is often desirable to get tighter framing on a subject that is being photographed. There can be many reasons for wanting to make subjects appear larger in images, but the main reasons are typically related to enhancing composition, improving subject detail and increasing image resolution (particularly after extensive cropping). For example, photographing a bird with a short focal length lens from hundreds of feet away will result in the bird appearing very small and insignificant, with very little to no detail in the resulting image. But if the same bird is photographed at a closer distance or with a longer focal length telephoto lens, a lot more detail can be revealed about the bird. In addition, making the bird take a larger portion of the image can also enhance the image by reducing the amount of clutter surrounding the bird, allowing for a better overall composition. When conditions allow, it is possible to achieve tighter framing by simply walking closer to the subject or zooming in with a zoom lens. However, what if getting closer is not an option and one is already at the longest focal length of their lens? In such situations, a teleconverter can come into rescue. Teleconverters allow increasing the focal length of lenses by coupling with them and thus essentially magnifying the image, allowing for tighter framing of subjects. While teleconverters can be incredibly useful, they also have a few rather serious disadvantages that can lead to increased blur and loss of sharpness. Let’s take a look at what a teleconverter is and go over its advantages and disadvantages in more detail.