One of my participants, Mark Doing, on the November photo tour to Costa Rica asked if I’d like to use his Canon RF 800mm f/11 lens. This is a relatively new lens in the Canon RF line-up so I jumped at the chance.
Above shows an image taken with the Canon RF 800mm lens. Notice the detail in the shadows and the sharpness around the bird’s eye.
Above is a comparison of an image photographed at the same time with the higher priced Canon RF 100-500mm lens. Notice the detail in the shadows and the sharpness around the bird’s eye.
Canon advertises this lens as its “first compact and lightweight 800mm super telephoto lens in the RF lineup.” The lens has image stabilization that provides up “to 4 stops of shake correction” for nice hand-held images. The lens also takes the RF 1.4x teleconverter. That would be 1120mm!
The lens does not focus close like the RF 100-500mm. It only focuses to 19.69ft, which is pretty far away.
The lens is 13.85-inches long with the lens hood. Yet, it only weighs 2.77-pounds. Cost $899.
As a comparison, the RF 100-500mm lens focuses to 3.94-feet, extends to 11.71-inches, and weighs 3-pounds. Cost $2799.
I’d love to work with this lens for a longer time. My short experience with it, though, tells me that this is a quality lens. The price is nice, too.
Bokeh between the Canon RF 800mm and the Canon RF 100-500mm? Look below. Pretty sweet with both lenses.
Have you used the Canon RF 800mm? Opinion and comments below would be nice. Thanks for reading.
Years ago I remember my friend Nolan Braud telling me that updating the camera’s firmware was not as easy as it seemed. Nolan wrote instructions and it still wasn’t easy.
Today I updated my firmware and remembered Nolan’s words. Yep! It’s still not easy. Here are some instructions that might help.
Go to your camera’s website and navigate to the firmware page. Canon lists firmware on the page for each piece of equipment. Click “download” when you find the firmware. Then open your computer’s download site and double-click on the firmware package to open it.
Glitch #1 — I found the .afu file would not copy to a CFExpress card. The .afu file copies without any problem to a SD card.
Glitch #2 — the card needs to be formatted for your camera. It doesn’t matter if there are pictures on the card. The card doesn’t need to be empty.
Instructions from Canon say to update firmware for the camera with no lens on the camera body. I put a body cap on the camera body during this process.
Instructions from Canon say to update the firmware for the LENS with the lens attached. That’s what’s showing in the illustrations for this post.
Was it easy to update your firmware? Problems or tricky situations with other camera brands? Post below. I’d love to hear from you.
October 2022 gave us the annual grande-sized upgrade to our Adobe products. When I logged on to my Adobe Cloud and clicked the Update tab on the left, I saw that my Photoshop, Adobe Camera Raw, Bridge, and Lightroom all had updates.
The annual updates are historically big. Adobe sends the little stuff throughout the year and then WHAM! we get hit with the big stuff in October.
Warning! Update when you have time to review the changes. I wouldn’t suggest you push the Update tab when you have a big photo deadline looming. Things you use everyday might get moved, renamed, or combined. Yet, we also get some great new tools.
Here are the big things I really like in the 2022 Update
Bridge has a Workflow tab at the top. You can save workflows that you do on a regular basis. For example, your camera club wants monthly submissions at a specific ppi and size on the longest side of the photo. You can now do that workflow once and save it as a preset. Learn how to build a workflow by clicking the Learn More tab at the bottom of the Workflow screen. Or click this Workflow Builder tutorial from Adobe.
Bridge users who’ve attended my classes might notice that Bridge looks a bit different the first time you open it. Don’t freak out! Click the “Workspace 1” tab at the top. That’s the workspace I helped you build and it’s still there.
Adobe Camera Raw has changes too! Double-click a RAW file in Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw opens automatically. (Readers learned how to do this in my classes and via my YouTube videos.)
Lightroom’s Develop Module and Adobe Camera Raw do the same things so I’ll introduce all the new features together.
Masking has combined the old adjustment brush, radial filter, and graduated filter.
The tools behind this tab are HUGE! You can now click Select Subject and the software creates a mask around the subject. It does a pretty good job, too. Hover your cursor over the subject and you’ll see sliders on the right. Now you can process just for the subject.
Click Select Sky and the sky is selected. Hover your cursor over the sky and sliders appear. Now you can process just the sky.
Play around and you’ll see that you can enlarge, shrink, or fine-tune the mask.
Luminance Range allows you to only select a luminance range. Color Range allows you to select just certain colors. Then you can adjust that color only. Anyone for a bit more yellow in autumn leaves? A bit more turquoise in a cormorant’s eye?
Want to only adjust the shadows to change their tone? Here’s your way to do it.
Lightroom Users! This is a game changer for you. You now have layers.
Layers Resisters! This is a way for you to start using layers without having to really know all the technicals of Photoshop layers.
Adobe offers a great tutorial when you click on the Masking icon the first time. Read the instructions — they are super simple — and learn how to use this great new too.
Photoshop has some great new tools, too.
The toolbar now has Object Selection Tool. Click the icon and then watch the little circular arrows at the top. When the arrows stop turning, you know the software has selected an object. Nudge the software along if nothing happens by clicking on one of the subjects in the photo.
Once an object is selected, click the Adjustments palette on the right. Choose one type of Adjustment and a layer mask appears. (If you don’t see either of these, click Windows and be sure Layer is checked.) Those of you who know layers will find yourself right at home at this stage.
Another new thing is called Harmonization. Sometimes when we work with different photos in layers, we get colors that don’t really go together. This is especially true when we’re working with Textures.
Harmonization to the Rescue!
Click Filters>Neural Filters>Harmonization. A new pop-out panel will appear. (Click the download button to download the filter the first time.)
Wait, wait, wait!!! The process bar at the bottom of the photo shows you the software is working.
Once Harmonization is finished working, you can use the sliders to fine tune the color harmony. Click OK and a new layer is created in your layer stack. Now you can go in the layer masks, use black or white brushes, and clean-up the image.
Landscape Mixer is another interesting Neural Filter. Open a landscape photo in Photoshop. Click Filter>Neural Filters>Landscape Mixer. The Landscape Mixer shows up. (Click the Download button to get the filter the first time.)
Notice you have sliders for Sunset, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. I’ll move the Winter slider almost all the way to the right. Wait, wait, wait and watch the blue bar move slowly along its path.
The end product is Casa Grande in Big Bend National Park in the snow at twilight! The trees are green but that’s a minor problem. Notice that there are other option to choose from. I’ve given an extreme example but I can see how this tool might be useful to some photographers.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief overview. Adobe has given us some nice new tools. The tutorials provided by Adobe are simple and easy to understand. Update your software when you have some time to play. We’ve got a lot of new toys tools.
Comments? Did I miss any new features that you like? Post below.
My photography students and photo friends frequently ask me how to resize a photograph. It’s super easy in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw.
Why would you need to resize a photograph?
A teacher like me asks that you submit homework at a particular size and ppi. (PPI is pixels per inch).
A photo contest needs the images to be a particular size.
Your camera clubs asks that photo be submitted a certain size.
You want to email a photo to someone but the photo out of the camera is too big.
You’re building a Powerpoint or Keynote program and a lot of images to be resized so they project well.
Photos on your website need to be a particular size.
From Lightroom Library, right click on the image or images, and select Export.
In Bridge, select the photo or photos to export (or save), right-click to open in Adobe Camera Raw. Once in Adobe Camera Raw, select the image(s) and select the tiny “save” icon. You’ll see that when you hover your mouse over one photo.
What size photo do you need?
Powerpoint or Keynote images look best when resized to 1280 pixels on the longest side at 96 pixels/inch resolution in jpg
Instagram likes 500 pixels square at 96 pixels/inch in jpg
Printing? Use the sizes recommended by your printer or printing company. You might need a tiff so do some research.
Webpage photos vary but jpgs at 800 pixels on the longest side at 96 pixels/inch show well and don’t take too long to load
Short lesson that I hope answers some of your questions. Comments welcome below.
It was just a small article in the June 18th Houston Chronicle. Texas Supreme Court ruled that it was okay for The University of Houston to use Jim Olive‘s photograph of downtown Houston without permission.
The Texas Supreme Court ruled that the University of Houston is protected by “sovereign immunity.” This well-respected university that is charged with teaching our young people is allowed to use something without permission due to “sovereign immunity.”
I’ve followed Jim Olive‘s case since it began back in 2014. It’s made my blood boil and my heart race since day one. As photographers we do everything we can to protect our photos from unauthorized use. We embed metadata, we disable right clicks on our websites, we even pay companies to troll the internet looking for unauthorized use.
I suspect those student at Bauer have to take a class in ethics. Years ago I taught an ethics class to freshmen business students at Lone Star College. One of my favorite chapters introduced the concept that something might be legal but its not RIGHT.
Let me give you two examples: In the 1800s slavery was legal in the US but slavery wasn’t right. Before the 1970s, women in the US could be fired from their job because they were pregnant.
Olive sent the University of Houston a cease-and-desist letter when he found out his photo was being used without his authorization. The university took his photo down from their site. Olive invoiced them for the use . . . and the university essentially said “sue me” versus acknowledging their error and making it RIGHT.
It boils my blood even more that the University of Houston was willing to pay a team of lawyers to defend their stand versus admit they were wrong and pay Jim invoice. I wonder how much the UofH has spent to fight Jim’s claim?
Fellow Photographers: We should all be outraged! Our work is our work. That applies if we are a high-level professional like Jim Olive or a beginning photographer posting our photos on Facebook. Our photos are our property.
Please spread the word about this issue. Share it on social media, at your camera clubs, and in your newsletters. As photographer we should be outraged.
Write a letter to the University of Houston and let them know you disapprove.
Let Dr. Khator and Dr. Pavlou know your thoughts on this issue. I’ve written both to let them know my disapproval.
I’ve been a professional photographer for the past 26 years. Client pay to use my photos in magazines, books, newspapers, calendars, and websites. Professional editors, graphic designers, book publishers and creatives all know that you have to get permission to use a photograph and there will be a fee involved. That’s the way the business works. Except if you’re the University of Houston.
Thanks for reading and thanks for supporting me in this issue. Jim Olive needs to know the photography community is behind him and his cause.
I started pushing the AF: Eye Detection (Animal Eye Focus) feature on the Canon R5 and R6 cameras this spring. Warblers are fast moving little birds who love to feed in dense foliage. Could the Animal Eye Focus stay with a hyperactive warbler?
Notice in the above video that the camera focused on the bird most of the time. Things were great once it narrowed down to the eye.
The Canon R5 focuses on the bird pretty well. It does very well when the bird turns its face to the camera. Notice that the camera did get confused by the foliage for an instant. Yet, it kept focus when the warbler went behind the leaves.
I’ve been impressed with the AF: Eye Detection on the Canon R5 and R6. The photographer has to keep the camera on the bird. That’s a skill that has to be developed. The camera does its job and we get the reward of outstanding images.
Here’s what it’s like to traveling internationally in the time of Covid.
We flew out of Houston’s IAH airport on United. Everyone in the airport was masked and things moved efficiently from check-in to arriving at the gate. A few more precautions but nothing unusual that we haven’t experienced in 2020.
On the plane, United personnel greeted us and gave us a nice, big alcohol wipe. The United wipes are the best I’ve seen! They are huge and wet enough to clean the entire area around your seat.
United personnel no long open your drink for you and pour into a small cup. That’s a “touch point” that’s been eliminated. We get the entire can of soft drink! Love it!
Once we landed in Costa Rica, we had to follow all local Covid protocols. Masks in pubic and hand washing before entering any public building.
This last one was different for us as Americans. There’s a handwashing station outside every public building — every store, shop, lobby entrance, restaurant, etc. Each handwashing station has a foot operated water dispenser, soap, paper towels, and trash can. We never found one of these handwashing stations that wasn’t working and fully equipped.
Restaurant menus were emailed to our Costa Rican guide or we accessed it through a QR code.
QR codes were used several times. There was a QR code we had to present to the agent in Houston to prove we had Costa Rican travel insurance that would cover us in the event of Covid. We even had a QR code to access our Covid test at departure.
The US requires a negative Covid test within three days of departure for all people flying into the United States. That meant we had to be tested while we were in Costa Rica. Our tour company arranged for lab technicians to arrive at our lodge at an appointed time and administer the tests. The major hotels are offering this service now since all departing tourists need the test.
After our tests, we had to wait 24 hours for the results. Results were emailed to each person. Those results had to be uploaded to the United app for verification.
A person has to have a smartphone to travel today. This is my biggest takeaway from traveling in the time of Covid. QR code at departure, QR code to get a menu, ability to receive an email with an attachment, ability to upload that attachment to an app, ability to have an app on your phone, etc. All this sounds easy in the US but international travel complicates things. It’s interesting how many travelers can’t get emails away from home on their phone or can’t download an app away from home. Traveling with a flip phone is out!
Everyone in my group had been vaccinated. That meant we could take off our masks when it was just us. Around waiters, hotel staff, our guide, or driver we did wear our masks. It became pretty routine.
In conclusion, travel in the time of Covid is pretty easy. The usual complications are still there but only a few minor things added here and there to keep people safe. We followed the established rules and had a great time.
One of the joys of going on a photo tour is you’re with photographers all the time. There’s no one saying it’s time to go — except when the bus is leaving — no one to ask how many times you’re going to photograph the same thing.
During our recent photo tour to Costa Rica, the group noticed a nesting pair of s great kiskadees in the parking area. The birds built their nest in a palm tree right in the main parking area of the lodge. We walked below the nest to meals and returning from meals.
The nesting kiskadee pair was just part of our day. The pair carried grass and fibers into the nest throughout the day. One bird could spend four or five minutes inside the nest packing the grass in just the right spot. Then that bird would fly out and the other member of the pair would fly in with a beak-full of fibers. That bird would pack their fibers in place, round and round inside the nest, then rest in the opening for a bit, and fly out.
Over and over again we watched this pair of birds perfect their messy nest.
Finally when the light was lovely on the nest, I suggested we stop and photograph the kiskadees building their nest.
For the next hour, we stood together and photographed the kiskadees.
We compared shutter speeds to see if we stopped the wings of the bird as it left the nest that time. Slight blurring — raise the ISO, get a faster shutter speed and give it a try next time.
Someone got the crown pattern on the top of the kiskadee’s head. It looks like a bulls-eye if you’ve never seen it. “Wow! I need to get that next time!” someone in the group said. And off we’d go again. Waiting for the bird to fly out of the nest and show us its head pattern.
Over and over and over we photographed two birds as they built their nest. Those birds gave us such joy. We learned so much about our cameras and photography thanks to them.
My thoughts go out to that pair of determined birds in Guanacaste Costa Rica. I hope they are sitting on a clutch of heathy eggs that will mature into a nestful of great kiskadees.