Holiday Lights — Make a Sequence GIF

My friend, Patti Edens, and I spent the evening at Magical Winter Lights in LaMarque, Texas, last week.

The lighted displays were a lot of fun to photograph.  As you see from the slideshow below, there were huge and amazing lighted objects to photograph.  We had our cameras on a tripod and used an f/22 most of the time.

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A different display was a lighted cube.  It was pink, red, and purple outside but filled with disorienting colors inside.

Outside the cube was a huge silhouette of a potbellied man.  The words “In the city where beauty and pain integrate, I am the most perfect stain,” by Fan J.

How funny to see a huge pink cube in the middle of a lighted holiday display.  Yet the cube captivated our eyes.

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Patti silhouetted against the pink wall.
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Me against the giant pink wall.

Camera settings were pretty basic.  Camera on a tripod, set at Aperture Priority, f/22, and ISO in a moderate range like 400 or 500.  For the silhouette photos, we just stood pretty still.

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For this GIF, though, we used a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the walking.  That meant changing the f/stop to a f/4.5 giving a shutter speed of 1/40th.  The shutter speed gave us a bit of blur but not too much.

Fun playing with lights and our cameras.

(Instructions how to make a GIF are in December 6, 2017 blog post on this site.)

Porteen Gear Camera Bag

My Porteen Gear Camera Bag is here and I’m enjoying taking it out in the field.

Click here if you missed my post about Porteen Gear Camera bags a month ago.  This is my YouTube video showing my bag.

The Porteen bag is amazing and I’m loving it.

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Here’s my custom designed Porteen Gear Camera Bag at Eleanor Tinsley Park in Houston.  This is a great bag for carrying a small selection of equipment around the city.
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My Porteen Gear Camera Bag can be rugged, too.  Here it is out in the Chihuahuan Desert of Big Bend National Park.

 

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The Porteen Gear Camera Bag looks nice even in a rugged setting.  Yet, it carries the equipment I need for a short outing.

Design and order your own Porteen Gear Camera Bag today!

Thanks to Patti Edens for the photos!

Storm Clouds with Macphun Intensify

We had some great desert lightning storms during my recent workshop in Big Bend National Park.  Each of the images below is a composite of several lightning strikes to make the scene more dramatic.  The images have then been processed with Macphun Intensify to bring out the details in the clouds.

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Composite image of lightning strikes in Big Bend National Park.
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Same image with a touch of intensity added thanks to Macphun Intensify
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Composite image of several lightning strikes.  Then processed with Macphun Intensify to enhance the clouds.
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Single image of magnificent storm clouds in Big Bend National Park.  A touch of drama was added with Macphun Intensify.

I love what Macphun Intensify does to bring out details in a photo.  Thanks to a full range of sliders, I can bring out details and drama that enhance my photos.  Intensify really does “bring out the hidden beauty” of a photo.

Porteengear Camera Bag

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 7.27.36 PMPorteengear Camera Bags have me so excited.  I can’t wait for my new bag to arrive.

For years I’ve used a LowePro Passport to carry my cameras and lenses when I’m out photographing the streets or  an amusement park or traveling light with my equipment.  My LowePro Passport carries a camera, two lenses, and flash plus wallet, cellphone, and bottle of water.

But things have changed and Porteengear is in my life.  Well almost — my bag will be here in two weeks.

Porteengear offers camera bags that you design yourself.  On the Porteengear website you enter the custom design page.

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You choose the size of your camera bag from tiny bag to one that will hold your laptop.

  1.   You select the flap design.  Options include a bit of accent color or fabric to a uniform color.
  2.    Then the fun beings.
    1. You can select  the overall bag covering including tooled leather, snake skin, aged leather, or even Damask.  There’s a Vegan fake leather option.
    2. Then you select your second leather color.  For example, black with tooled leather.   Maybe teal leather with a some subtle brocade.    Maybe distressed leather with a nice tartan plaid for a more masculine look.
    3. Next you select the color of the outer shell of the bag.
    4. Then you can select the interior color of the camera bag.  All my camera equipment is black so the last thing I want is a black-colored interior.  Select a bright color or a dark color.  The interior color of your camera bag is your choice.
    5. We get to choose the color of the strap.
    6. We get to choose antique hardware or traditional.
    7. Then there’s an option to add a dust flap and/or luggage sleeve.

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All those options are live on the screen.  That means you can design several bags and then make a final decision in a couple of days — or maybe after consulting your friends.

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Need help designing your bag?  Head to Porteengear’s Etsy page to see bags designed by the pros.  Click the Shop option on the Porteengear page and see bags already designed for you.  Order one of those or use the design as a starting point.

My new Porteengear camera bag!?  I’ll show you in a couple of weeks when it arrives.

 

Macphun Free Launch of Beta Luminar for Windows

 I’ve been working with Macphun’s Luminar on my Mac and love it.  PC users can now get a beta version of Luminar for Windows.  Free!

Here’s the Press Release from Macphun:

Macphun makes free public beta of Luminar for Windows available for download 

 

San Diego, CA – July 13, 2017Macphun, the California-based developer known for delivering award-winning products for Mac, today launched the free public beta of its award-winning photo editor Luminar for Windows. To download the beta, please visit macphun.com/beta.

Luminar is a powerful photo editor designed to tackle anyone’s photography needs, from correcting challenging image problems to artful stylizing. Users can choose between levels of image processing complexity based on their experience, and adapt the workspace controls to their skill level, moving up to more advanced modes as they learn. Luminar works in non-destructive fashion and aims to take “work” from photo editing “workflow” for photographers worldwide.

In April, only 5 months after its launch, Luminar for Mac won the prestigious TIPA award for Best Imaging Software 2017. This all-in-one photo editor is a cutting-edge solution for creating fascinating images without extra hassle. Luminar includes over 300 robust tools that make fixing, editing and perfecting a photo as easy as moving a slider.

“We are thrilled to release our first PC product today and give photography enthusiasts around the world the first taste of our best-selling Mac product,” said Kevin La Rue, Vice-President at Macphun. “By test-driving Luminar for Windows, beta testers can help shape our software and make the final release a perfect fit for everyone,” concluded La Rue.

 The public beta is free of charge and already matches some of the most important features of Luminar, such as the newest and most advanced tool developed by Macphun’s Research and Development Lab – the Accent AI Filter, powered by artificial intelligence technology. The filter allows anyone to create stunning images with a single slider, substituting for dozens of traditional controls like shadows, highlights, contrast, tone, saturation, exposure, details and many others.

Admittedly, several features from the Mac version of Luminar remain in development for the Windows platform, among them workspaces, plug-in integration, object removal, noise reduction, and more. As these are completed, the public beta will be updated regularly leading to a full cross-platform release late in 2017.

Key features of the Luminar for Windows public beta:

  • Adaptive user interface – Exactly matching the Mac version, the software adapts to the skill level and preferences of the photographer.
  • One-click presets – Over 50 pre-defined styles for every photography style.
  • Photo Editing Filters – Over 40 custom filters, each with built-in visual tips and a unique set of easy-to-use controls for correcting, enhancing and stylizing images.
  • RAW file conversion – Support for the latest RAW file libraries.
  • Non-destructive workflow – Edit without fear.
  • Recommended System Requirements – Windows 10, Core i5 2.2 or better, 8GB RAM, 1GB GPU RAM, SSD with 20+GB free space.

Macphun Intensify

I’m having fun exploring Macphun’s Intensify.  This is a plug-in that works with Photoshop or Lightroom

Watch what happens to this image that I took in Venice two years ago.

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This is my photo of a magnificent storm over Venice.  I’ve processed the image in Adobe Camera Raw and then opened it into Photoshop.  

With the image open in Photoshop, I click Filters and open Macphun Intensify.  A screen capture is above.

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The first slider I  selected was Architectural Details.  Notice the details in the clouds.  
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The second  slider that I used was the Balanced Tool slider.   Notice how this slider brings out the gold on the edge of the clouds on the right side.   It was too much at 100% so I moved the slider to 49%.
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Then I selected the Strong Indoor Details slider.  The change is pretty subtle but there’s a bit more detail in the buildings.
Venice Macphun before and after Intensify
Here’s the before and after.  Macphun Intensify is pretty amazing.  

Vacation Photography — Remove All Those Tourist

We’ve all encountered vacation locations crowded with other tourists.  A clear shot of the amazing location is impossible because people keep walking through the scene.  Our irritation grows as each opportunity for a great photo is messed-up by one more human walking through the scene.

It is possible to get rid of all those pesky tourists.  Capture the scene is the right way and then ask Photoshop to come to the rescue!

At the location — Put your camera on a tripod.  Compose your amazing photo.  Focus on one spot so the focus point in your scene does not change.  Then take a series of photos as people move through the scene.  Space the time between photos.  You don’t want anyone to be in the same spot in all of the photos.

Later on the computer — Open Photoshop.  Click File>Scripts>Statistics.  A dialogue box will open.  Select “Median” from the drop-down menu.  Then select the photos you took at the crowded tourist location.

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Screen capture with all the photos selected

Here are all the photos I took at the location.

Press the OK button and Photoshop will go to work.  In a few seconds or minutes, your final photo will be presented on the screen.

Landry Kemah Boardwalk KAC9306_12 stack
This is the composite of the seven image I showed above. Notice that there’s a bit of a smudgy area on the right.
Landry Kemah Boardwalk KAC9306_12 stackfixed
I took the image back into Adobe Camera Raw and did a bit of work on the smudgy area on the right using the healing brush.  A bit more work and all of the smudge could be erased.

Notice that the people on the bench were in all the photos.  That means they will stay in the finished photo.  There’s no way around that.

Enjoy this technique as you visit crowded tourist locations during your travels.