One of my resolutions for 2016 is to do a better job at timely completion of projects, and one of such tasks is to catch up with all the long-overdue reviews of gear that I had a chance to use, but never had a chance to write about. I will start off by reviewing the Sony A6000, an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera that has been Sony’s flagship APS-C product since it was released almost two years ago (and soon to be be replaced with a Sony A6100). Sony dumped the “NEX” name in its line of mirrorless APS-C products and merged everything into the “Alpha” ecosystem with the launch of the A3000, A5000 and A6000 cameras, so it looks like all the future iterations of these cameras will be labeled similarly. Let’s take a look at the A6000 in more detail, see what it has to offer and compare it to other popular mirrorless cameras on the market.
Today Adobe released a bunch of updates to its Creative Cloud suite, along with a new Lightroom 6.4 update. Aside from the regular bugfixes and new camera and lens profiles, Adobe introduced a new feature to its panorama stitching option within Lightroom called “Boundary Warp”, which is basically a tool that allows straightening the curves we usually see in panoramas. As we have seen before, while bugfixes and camera / lens profiles are available for all versions, new features are only available for Creative Cloud subscribers, so the Lightroom 6.4 standalone update won’t include the “Boundary Warp” feature. In addition, Adobe promises to double the speed of the panorama merging process, as well as much faster thumbnail updates when settings are copy pasted to multiple images at once. I have been running Lightroom CC 2015.4 for a few hours today and while I cannot yet state if it is more stable than the previous version, the panorama stitching process is indeed much faster in comparison. Let’s take a look at the new “Boundary Warp” update in more detail.
The nomadic Rautes are the last hunters-gatherers of the Himalayas. The Rautes, who call themselves Kings of Forests, subsist on langur and macaque monkeys, wild yams, rice and a few kinds of vegetables traded from local farmers. Their main occupation is to trade and exchange of wooden items in nearby villages and bazaars. They migrate from river valleys up to middle hills in the Western parts of Nepal living in temporary camps hidden away from the villages in remote parts of the forests.
During my trip to Death Valley, I experimented a little with timelapse photography. One of the moments, particularly at Zabriskie Point, was the one I did not miss and capture it at its full glory, while the light was constantly changing. At first, I set up “Interval Timer Shooting” on my Nikon D810 to take pictures every 2 seconds, then I left the camera to go shoot a panorama with another one, as described in this recent article. After I came back, I saw that my camera captured a total of 1675 images. I reviewed some of the photos and really liked the fact that I captured so many different images and the transitions in between – from colorful pink clouds, to sun hitting the Manly Beacon. Since light conditions were changing so fast, I decided to shoot in Aperture Priority mode (see our article on camera modes), with ISO set to 100 and Aperture fixed at f/8. For the Zabriskie Point timelapse in the video, I used the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E VR lens (obviously, with VR turned off). Since I already had plenty of images for my upcoming review, I decided to use the Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art lens. Boy, what a mistake!
We’ve gotten several emails, the most recent and the best phrased one from a reader of Photography Life, with questions along the following lines:
What happened to my mid-tones? I set the exposure using exposure meter, opened the shot in Adobe Lr (or Adobe Camera Raw, or some other converter) … and the shot looks overexposed and everything from mid-tone and up looks very flat. If I shoot in RAW+JPEG, the JPEG looks OK, while the RAW is not. Should I expose lower?
We’ve decided that the reply to this question belongs here.
Every once in a while, I bump into a great idea that I wish I came up with myself. Recently, I came across such an idea – a website called “KeepSnap” and I thought that the concept behind it was very smart. Many of us photographers often go to the streets and events armed with cameras, in hopes of finding something or someone interesting to photograph. And sometimes we do indeed come across fascinating people that we immediately get attracted to, wanting to take their pictures. Many of us can relate to such situations. While I was photographing a beautiful sunset in the mountains last fall, I saw a couple, sitting on chairs and enjoying the sunset and the surrounding beautiful scenery. I approached them and asked for a permission to photograph. They not only immediately agreed, but also requested me to take more photographs, because they had not been photographed for many years! I took a few photos, including some close-ups. When I showed the photos to them, they were really excited and they were ready to pay me for preserving their moment of happiness and joy.
When photographic architecture, landscapes and even people, photographers often desire to increase detail and resolution, capture a wider angle or create a unique look that is impossible to achieve with standard camera gear. That’s where panorama photography comes in – it can be a great technique to utilize in order to accomplish such goals. Although the concept and the technique itself are fairly straightforward, panoramic photography often confuses many photographers. We often get many inquiries about this topic from our readers and one of the most frequently asked questions is about the specific type of gear to buy in order to produce stunning panoramas. And that’s certainly one of the biggest myths about panoramic photography – you rarely ever need such gear! Most of the panoramas I have stitched so far have been done without panoramic gear and although I do own a panoramic slider, I rarely ever get to use it. Read on to find out why!
Earlier this week I posted a portrait as the next installment to our How Was This Picture Taken series. Most of our readers took this as an opportunity to stretch their brains a bit and try to use visual clues within an image to figure out how it was taken. They are rewarded all of the internet points.* A few, missing the entire point of the post in an effort to be “right”, decided to go directly to the image’s EXIF data and rattle off the technical details of the image. They are rewarded zero internet points.*
*internet points are imaginary, useless and non-redeemable for anything except for maybe bragging rights
As a Southeast Asia nomad for the better part of two decades, Vietnam has always been one of my very favorite places to photograph. On the surface it’s easy to see why – the spectacular, seemingly endless mountain rice terraces of the northwest; 54 colorful tribal/ethnic groups, most of whom still live traditional lifestyles; the fabled karst limestone formations of Ha Long and Bai Tu Long Bays; The Imperial City of Hue and several other World Heritage sites; the French colonial, “Indochine” streets of Hanoi and Saigon; 2,000 miles of gorgeous coastline; the legendary Mekong Delta, and so much more.
When photographing landscapes and including a bright source of light like the Sun, we often end up getting quite a bit of ghosting and flare in images. Although seeing lens flare is quite normal in both images and video (in fact, videographers and movie makers often purposefully add ghosting and flare to their footage to make the scene look more natural), sometimes the effect can heavily harm images. Since every lens reacts differently to bright sources of light, with some having special coatings and optical optimizations in place to reduce such effects, the effect of ghosting and flare and its damage are not something that can be easily predicted – there are too many variables involved, like focal length, optical design, coating, light source angle and even dust within the lens. So what do you do when you have a beautiful sunrise / sunset moment and you want to capture it with the sun in the frame without traces of ghosting / flare? I have been using a “finger the sun” technique for many years and today I want to explain how this technique works and how you can use it to create stunning, dramatic landscape images.