The Fuji X-E1 – Some thoughts and impressions

March 13, 2013 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

Last year, not long after it came out, I bought a Fuji X100 because I was intrigued by the promise of a small, rangefinder-like camera with a fixed 35mm lens. I liked the idea of being forced to shoot with a specific field of view; I loved the look and feel of the camera; and it’s hard to beat Fuji’s lens and image quality. What was easy to beat, at the time, was the X100′s autofocus and clumsy menu system. These issues were so frustrating that I sold the camera not long after I bought it. I came to mildly regret this decision as Fuji released firmware updates that addressed many of the issues that had bothered me, but didn’t think seriously about returning to the camera. But with the release of the Fuji X-E1, I couldn’t resist giving Fuji another chance. Here are some of my impressions and thoughts about Fuji’s latest mirrorless camera.

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New Lynda.com Course: Foundations of Photography – Specialty Lenses

January 9, 2013 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Features 

Mostly, good photography is about the skill of the photographer. That said, a lot of photographs are only possible with the right type of lens, and there are a lot of lenses out there tailored to very specific types of shooting. In this new course, I go into detail on how to shoot with ultra-wide-angle lenses, super telephotos, fisheyes, Tilt/Shift, and more. If you’ve been wondering if any of these types of lenses are right for you, or you’ve already got one and want to know more about what it can do, then you’ll want to check out my Lynda.com course Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses.

Shooting Macro Photos With Deep Depth-of-Field

January 9, 2013 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Features 

I’m currently deep in the process of preparing a macro shooting course for Lynda.com As anyone who’s ever dabbled in macro knows, as you get closer, your depth of field gets more shallow. Sometimes unusably shallow. However, there are things you can do to get much deeper depth of field.

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Alien Skin Exposure 4

November 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

To me, one of the most unexpected byproducts of digital photography is that it has rekindled tremendous interest in film processes of one kind or another. Alien Skin’s Exposure 4 plug-in for Photoshop lets you explore all sorts of film processes without ever having to soak your hands in noxious chemicals. I recently spent some time with the latest version, and was pleased to find that it remains an excellent option for users who want either a specific traditional film look, or any kind of analog, or grunge process. You can read my entire review here.

Now Available: Lynda training for the Nikon D800 and Canon 5D Mark III

November 9, 2012 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Features 

If you’re the lucky own of a Nikon D800 or Canon EOS 5D Mark III, and you’d like to know more about how to use either camera, then you’ll want to check out my two latest Lynda.com courses. Both classes walk you through all the critical features and operations of each camera, and are designed to work in concert with my Foundations of Photography series. Note that the 5D Mark III class is also ideally suited for users of the 5D Mark II. Click here if you’re a 5D user or click here if you’re a D800 user.

Some Notes on Canon’s Evaluative Metering

September 20, 2012 by · 12 Comments
Filed under: Features 

I’ve been shooting with Canon SLRs for a long time, and for the most part, I’ve always been pleased with the camera’s metering. Granted, I can never remember which icon corresponds to which metering mode, but now that I keep the PDF of the manual on my phone, I can always look it up. During a recent shoot, though, I came across a curious detail about Evaluative metering that I never knew – one that can dramatically alter metering behavior in certain situations.

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Now available: Inkjet Printing for Photographers

September 14, 2012 by · 2 Comments
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While our topic of choice at this site is digital photography, when it comes to final output, I still want my photos on paper. These days, quality output to paper means inkjet printing, and in this course, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to get fine-art quality inkjet prints. Whether you’re working on color or black and white, with or without a color-managed system, this course will show you how to get the best prints possible from your inkjet print. Click here to get started watching now.

Shooting on the Road, from Gear to Workflow

July 17, 2012 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Features 

Better gear won’t necessarily make you a better photographer, but having the wrong gear can certainly make it more difficult to get the shots you want. In this 3-hour Lynda.com course you’ll see my entire thought process as I equip and prepare for three different kinds of shoots. Through examples of heavyweight, mid weight, and lightweight shoots, you’ll see how I tackle the problems of choosing shooting gear, power, storage, and post-production equipment. You’ll also see how I strategize methods for carrying all this stuff. Discussing everything from tripods to bags and batteries, this course is ideal for anyone who shoots while traveling, and wants a better plan for selecting the right gear. Click here to get started watching now.

Now Shipping: Complete Digital Photography, 7th Edition

July 16, 2012 by · 10 Comments
Filed under: General 

The seventh, and latest, edition of this site’s namesake book is now available. The newest version of Complete Digital Photography features full updating for Photoshop CS6, the latest version of Camera Raw, and new sections on composition, low light shooting, printing, and workflow. For the most part, the book maintains the organization of the last edition, with a few new sections and a few others eliminated. In addition to the included step-by-step post-production tutorials included in the book, many additional tutorials are included on the companion web pages. Order your copy now!

Turning Any Bag Into A Camera Bag

June 18, 2012 by · 8 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

Hi. My name is Ben and I’m a bag addict. It’s true, I have a problem. For years, I was convinced that there was a single, perfect camera bag out there in the world somewhere. So, over the years, I have amassed an embarrassing assortment of bags. A while ago, I came to realize that there is no single camera bag that’s appropriate for every situation, which only exacerbated my problem, because now I have a perfect justification for owning still more bags. Alas, the discovery of Mountainsmith Kit Cube has made the whole situation even worse, because with the Kit Cube, I can turn any bag into a camera bag. This means my bag fetish is no longer constrained to just camera bags!

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Nikon Capture NX 2 Essential Training

May 3, 2012 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Features 

Nikon Capture NX provides a complete editing environment and workflow tool, all built around Nikon’s exceptional raw converter. A complete, non-destructive image editing system, Capture NX also uses Nik software’s uPoint technology for selective editing. This gives you incredibly powerful editing without having to hassle with masks, keys, paths, or any other traditional selection tools. You can learn all the ins and outs of this great image editor in this new five hour and forty minute course at Lynda.com. Watch it now right here!

Photoshop Automator Actions 5.0.4 Update

April 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Automator Actions, Features 

The Photoshop Automator Actions v5.0.4 Updater is now available. If you’re not familiar with it, this is a piece of software that lets Mac users drive Photoshop from Automator, which allows you to create very sophisticated automated workflows. This is a very important update for anyone who’s currently using the package. With this release, the entire package has been ported to the AppleScript-Objective-C platform that Snow Leopard and Lion prefer. This offers much better stability, and possibly improved performance. Along the way, I also fixed a lot of bugs. Finally, with this release there is finally a Photoshop 5.5-specific version. You can learn more about the collection here. If you already use the collection, you can get an update here. Available for CS4, CS5 and CS5.5. CS6 coming soon!

Foundations of Photography: Night and Low Light

April 27, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Features 

Digital cameras offer tremendous convenience over their film counterparts, but one of the most dramatic changes opened up by digital imaging technology is the world that exists in low light. Whether you need to shoot an event in a dark auditorium, a landscape at night, or simply want to shoot in your house after the sun goes down, you need a particular skill set, and this Lynda.com course will give it to you. This four-hour course will walk you through all the details of preparation, shooting, and post-production for any kind of low-light or night shooting that you might be interested in. Watch it now right here!

iPhoto for iOS

April 6, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

It’s taken a while, but Apple has finally crafted a version of iPhoto for iOS. Of course, there are already lots of other image editing apps available for both the iPhone and iPad, so where does iPhoto fit in? This detailed review takes a look at iPhoto from the perspective of the more serious, even professional, shooter.

Photoshop Touch 1.0

April 3, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

iPad-toting Photoshop users finally have an actual version of Photoshop for their tablets. Photoshop Touch offers layers-based compositing, masking and retouching tools, and color correction, all wrapped up in a touch-based interface. The question, of course, is what exactly it gets you in the way of a tablet-based post-production workflow. In this detailed review, I take a look at the app from the point-of-view of the serious, working photographer.

Camera-Specific Training at Lynda.com

February 27, 2012 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Features 

There’s a lot to know to be a capable photographer. Exposure theory, lighting, composition. On top of all that, there are all those buttons and dials on your camera. To help you understand exactly how your camera works, you might want to check out one of my camera-specific courses at Lynda.com. These courses will work you through all of the features of their respective cameras, and help you understand those features in the context of larger photographic theories. Courses are now available for the Canon EOS60D, the Nikon D7000, the Canon Rebel T3i, and the Nikon D5100.

Experimenting With Less Contrast

February 25, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Features 

In most of your image editing endeavors, you probably find yourself striving to achieve more contrast in your images. This probably leads you to crank up black points, and make sure your whites are as white as possible. There are times, though, when less contrast will give you a better image. I first covered this idea in 2005, in this article. Recently, the subject came to my attention again, as I decided that the best way to handle an image was to dramatically reduce the contrast. This time, I took a different approach to solving the problem.

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Foundations of Photography: Black and White

February 23, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Features 

Your digital camera is capable of producing incredible color images, but color isn’t always the best way to represent a scene. By choosing to express a scene in black and white, you’re stripping photography down to its barest essentials, and very often, you will achieve an image with more power than if you choose to capture rich, perfect color. This Lynda.com course covers every aspect of digital black and white, recognizing a good black and white scene to shooting, to black and white conversion and further retouching.

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Foundations of Photography: Composition

February 23, 2012 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Features 

It doesn’t matter how technically perfect you are with your exposure, if you compose a boring shot, you’ll have a boring picture. If you find yourself shooting boring pictures, and would like to stop, you might consider checking out my Foundations of Photography: Composition course at Lynda.com.

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Photoshop Automator Actions 5.0.3 Update

February 17, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Automator Actions, Features 

The Photoshop Automator Actions v5.0.3 Updater is now available. This package updates delivers numerous bug fixes and tweaks, and adds Lion compatibility. Available for CS4 and CS5, the update is free to all users of both the free and Pro versions of the Photoshop Automator Actions Collection version 5. Updates are available here.

For this updater to work, you must have a copy of the version 5 package installed. (Obviously, you’ll need to install the updater package that matches the version that you have installed, either CS4 or CS5, free or Pro.)

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    Foundations of Photography
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    Good photography is largely a process of making choices, and many of the critical choices you must make when taking a shot center around your lens. What focal length should you choose? How does that affect camera position? What about lens aperture, stabilization, and on and on. In this course, you'll explore all of the critical decisions that center around your camera's lens. An essential counterpart to Foundations of Photography: Exposure.




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