Behind-the-Photo: Elakala Falls

Photography is more than just the 'click' - there is a lot of planning and editing required to make a spectacular photograph. I recently posted about my revisit to Blackwater Falls State Park in West Virginia, where I photographed Elakala Falls. This photograph was particularly difficult to create, so I wanted to deconstruct the image into its raw parts and share the creation process with you. It's like a chef showing you the recipe...

PS - this technique is *exactly* the same as the technique I used to create this waterfall photograph at Great Falls. Once you know the technique, you can apply it anywhere!

The Equipment

Obviously the first step to taking a photograph like this is having the correct equipment. The basis of this image is a long exposure at the base of a waterfall, which requires two fundamental pieces of gear: a tripod and neutral density filter.

In this case, I was using my Leica SL and Leica 24-90mm lens. I use a Really Right Stuff L-bracket on the Leica SL and mounted that via an Acratech GP bullhead with leveling base to my Gitzo tripod. I use a funny combination of filters and mounts for my neutral density filter - it is greatly oversized for this lens, but that results in no vignetting, which can be a problem with filters. Here's a quick iPhone photo of me with my gear for the day (note the boots so I can stand in the water):

So, to recap, we have the following equipment in use on this photograph:

The Secret Sauce

There are two secrets to this photograph: 1) the neutral density filter and 2) the leveling base. Let's explore why...

To create the flowing water effect and the swirl in the bottom of the image, I need to take a long photograph. That long image exposure will allow the sensor to see things - like the swirls - that are not really perceptible with the human eye. It takes some practice to spot things like the pools of water that will swirl in a long exposure, but it is doable with the naked eye. Anyway, in daylight, the only way to get the camera to take a long photograph and not have the image washed out is by putting a pair of sunglasses on the camera - known as a neutral density filter. Like sunglasses, this darkens what the camera sensor sees, and thereby makes the exposure time required to get a properly exposed image longer. I stacked two filters to give a really dark effect - resulting in exposures of over a minute.

Not all tripods are created equal, and this photograph is a great example for why investing in good gear matters. I knew this was going to be a panorama, and the only way to ensure a level plane as you rotate the camera is with a leveling base. Let's explore.... Set up your tripod in your house and purposefully make it a little uneven by putting a book under one leg of the tripod. You can remove that un-level-ness by making the ball head level. But now if you loosen the rotation on the tripod head and move the head left to right, you'll see that the head doesn't stay level.

A levelling base sits below the ball head on the tripod. Once you level that, you can rotate the ball head portion and the whole things stays flat. Compared to the price of a great tripod and head, the leveling base is cheap, and it's a must have if you plan to shoot panoramas.

Planning the Shot

The goal was to get a swirl of water at the base of the waterfall - the trick was how. I walked around the falls taking some test shots for a few minutes before eying this pool of water. I knew it'd be prefer to make my swirl, so I setup my tripod. 

Unfortunately, there was no way I could get the image I had in my head in a single capture. The 24mm focal length of my lens meant I'd have to aim down toward the pool of water, and I wanted the image to feel more straight on. Thankfully there is a solution to this problem - shoot the image as a vertical panorama.

When most people think of making a panorama, they mistakenly orient their camera horizontally because they want the final image to be wide. But you actually get a better final product by taking vertically oriented images and stitching those together to get a wide final image (see photos below to illustrate this point).

The five photographs that were stitched together to make the final image. They are intentionally underexposed to preserve shadow detail.

The five photographs that were stitched together to make the final image. They are intentionally underexposed to preserve shadow detail.

The next challenge was lighting. It was a cloudy day, and the sun would pop out of the clouds to create a harsh light, then would duck behind a cloud and generate a soft diffuse light. I wanted the later. So I waited.... a lot. Every time the cloud went in front of the sun, I triggered the shutter and waited for the 60 second exposure to complete. Unfortunately this process isn't scientific, so the end result was that there were some images that were just brighter than others. 

In the images below, you can see how the rocks in the foreground are brighter in one shot and darker in the next. I knew I could resolve this in post production, so I didn't stress over this - as long as the waterfall was evenly lit between images, I knew I could adjust the foreground.

Two images showing a big change in the lighting as I shot the panorama

Two images showing a big change in the lighting as I shot the panorama

Post Production

I don't do a lot of 'chimping' (aka looking at the back LCD screen), but I gave a quick scroll through my results and determined they were satisfactory for my final product. The rest of the image would wait until I got home.

Back in my studio, I downloaded the original RAW files to my backup and primary hard drive and imported them into Adobe Lightroom. Before creating the panorama, I did some minor adjustments on the individual files to make them uniform in the lighting. In other words, I reduced the highlights and exposure values for the 2nd image slightly.

I then asked Lightroom to turn the five images into a panorama, and this was the result:

The panorama resulting from the five images - notice there is some distortion, which I resolve by cropping.

The panorama resulting from the five images - notice there is some distortion, which I resolve by cropping.

I cropped the image to remove the distortion and to crop out the branches in the foreground. Next was to go in with the spot removal tool and clean up that sensor dust (I am very anal about sensor dust!). 

Finally, it's the fun part! I used the sliders to adjust the image to bring it back to what I had in my mind's eye. Remember, I intentionally underexposed the images as I shot them so that I could revive some of the shadow detail, so the final product was always going to look more vibrant than the RAW files. That is why we shoot in RAW, so we can have all that dynamic range to play with!

The biggest adjustment I made was a selective whitening on the pool in the foreground to really enhance the swirl.

And there we have it - the final product. I exported it in several sizes - one suitable for printing, another suitable for the internet, and a third suitable for mobile devices.

This technique is a process I use all the time - including with this other waterfall photograph. There are dozens of images on my website shot like this, so I hope this little tutorial helps! Ask questions below....

Review: RNI All Films 4 Pro

Over the past few years, there's been a resurgence in film photography- folks are going out to buy vintage film cameras and put them back to good use. Two years ago I joined the ranks of photographers returning to film and analog photography techniques. Since then, I've studied printing in darkrooms and explored a variety of film processing and development techniques.

As consumers flock to buy old film cameras, companies are joining in the movement by offering "easy out" film photography.... that is, film photography without the film. One such company is RNI (stands for Really Nice Images), a London-based company selling film presets for digital Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

Two weeks ago, RNI approached me asking if I would review their "All Films 4 Pro" software suite, which retails for $122 US Dollars. Full disclosure, they provided me a free copy of the software in exchange for my review- though I have reviewed this with the mindset that I had just shelled out my hard earned cash for the software personally. This lady can't be bought with free software (but maybe for cars).

Anyway, I downloaded the software and began the installation on my MacBook Pro. While they offer the features for Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw, I only tested it for Lightroom as that's where I now do 90% of my editing.

Essentially the software is a suite of Lightroom presets designed to make your digital images look like they were taken on film. So if you aren't awesome enough to rock some film and learn a little development, this is how you can get the "look" with your digital files.

The installation of the software was relatively uneventful- RNI provides detailed step-by-step instructions for installing all of the presets and features, and it took me only a few minutes to complete. The software package took approximately 100MB of hard drive space.

After the installation, I restarted Lightroom and saw that I now had hundreds of new presets in the development module. So many presets that I stand no chance of capturing them in one screenshot...... 

When RNI says the software includes "All Films" they are only slightly off.... it includes presets for the most common films, and then a healthy stock of more obscure film. There was only one film I love to use frequently missing from their list, which is the Adox line of film, specifically the Silvermax film.

Anyway, I had a bit of shell shock seeing the list of film choices. It's actually overwhelming! To help with the organization, RNI has folders for each type of film, as follows:

  • RNI Toolkit (contains features like frames, vignettes and lens effects)
  • RNI Films 4 BW (Black and white films)
  • RNI Films 4 Instant (obviously, instant films like Polaroid) 
  • RNI Films 4 Negative (negative color films/ films developed with C-41 chemicals)
  • RNI Films 4 Slide (color slide films / films with development in other chemical combos)
  • RNI Films 4 Vintage (a selection of films that aren't produced anymore)

Ok, so I haven't come close to shooting a 10% of the films offered in these presets, so I stuck to presets for films I have used - Kodak, Ilford, Fuji, etc. As noted previously, my beloved Adox Silvermax is missing from the preset list.

Test 1: Finland Window

I took this photograph on my Leica SL Type 601 in Finland a few weeks ago, and the colors and textures are a good subject to explore the various film presets with. We'll start with the original image as I edited it, then go through a list of presets. Read the subtitles for each to get the film preset name, and click on the files to see an enlarged version.

My original file - edited without any RNI presets

Color Negative Film Presets

Kodak Ektar Preset

Kodak Portra Preset

I don't shoot much color negative film, but when I do, it's either Kodak Ektar or Portra, so those are the presets I can fairly judge. Before applying either preset I thought about the films, what I know about how they render colors, and formed my expectation for how the preset would look, then clicked the button. For the Kodak Ektar, the resulting image is pretty true to my expectation - colors are bright and vibrant with strong black tones. The Portra, however, was not what I expected. In my experience, Portra renders nice pinks and red hues, which is why it's popular for portraiture. But the reds and pinks in the wood became muted and the black looks wimpy. 

If I am judging these presets based on my experiences actually shooting these films, then the Portra comes up a bit short, while the Ektar meets expectations.

Black and White Film Presets

The true test is black and white film. I shoot a LOT of black and white film, specifically Ilford Delta 100, HP-4 and Adox Silvermax. Since Adox wasn't a choice, I experimented with Kodak T-Max, a popular film, but one I don't shoot as often.

Ilford Delta 100

Ilford FP-4 Preset

Kodak T-Max Preset

From my experience, these three presets are fairly true to expected performance, particularly the Delta 100 and HP-4 presets. I have shot hundreds of rolls of each film, and the preset looks pretty true to the tonal composition, contrast, and detail of those films. The T-Max preset is maybe a little heavy in contrast, but I have only shot a handful of T-Max rolls, so I am not the expert on that film.

Other Presets (Slide & Effects)

As previously mentioned, the RNI film presets pack includes some slide and vintage films, plus some effects. I have only shot one roll of slide film before, and it was such an epic disaster to develop that I quickly gave up and retreated to the safety of C-41 color negative film for those times I want color. 

Here's our starting image, again from the Leica SL Type 601. This is Esa, a Finnish man who leads dogsled teams.

Esa, our dogsled guide. Original image from the Leica SL Type 601

I first played with the Fuji Velvia preset, which is the only slide film I'm remotely familiar with. But as mentioned, my experiment developing it at home resulted in a lot of green film, so the RNI preset was sure to be better!

Fuji Velvia 50 preset

Sure enough, nice pop in the colors and beautiful saturation. This is what Velvia is famous for, and the preset delivered. Next I took the same image and played with some of the effects filters. There are a billion effects, from vignettes, contrast, etc.... but I went for "Vintage Lens 4."

Velvia + Vintage Lens 4 Preset

Apparently "Vintage Lens" means reduce sharpness and add a vignette? Because, as far as I can tell, that's what this effect did.

Choices Galore

RNI All Films 4 is full of film preset choices - so many choices that I couldn't possibly begin to represent an opinion on all of them without a heavy amount of BS'ing involved. And I was overwhelmed with choices before opening the camera profiles, at which point I ran for cover. If you want an endless selection of choices, this is your software, but I'd have to start deleting some of the presents I don't like to de-clutter my workspace.

The Problem....

On the surface, RNI All Films 4 offers a lot of presets in their package, which is good considering it's moderately pricey software at $122 US Dollars. But thats the problem. There is other software with film presets (albeit not as many choices) that you can download for free. So you have to be pretty dedicated to wanting almost every film emulsion known to man to shell out the money, and I suspect many folks won't know the difference. If you've never shot film, would you know the difference between the dozens of black and white film emulsions available? Doubtful. 

Which brings me to the next question - who is the target audience? Surely someone who shoots film regularly will just shoot film and bypass the filters. So I am assuming that RNI intends this for a digital photographer who wants to give their images the film look and feel without actually shooting film. But again, so many choices - are there that many Nikon-Shooting-Joe's who know enough about film to appreciate all the film presets?

RNI has a solution for this - which is the Lite version of the software. For $59, you get a smaller subset of the film set, which I expect will appeal to most photographers. If you are enough of a film die-hard to know the difference between HP-4 and HP-5, then you probably shoot them, and don't need a preset.

Sidebar: This Isn't Film Photography

I need to detour away from the RNI product for a second to explain that film photography isn't this simple. I don't just load some film into my camera, snap away and voila. There are two other chemical processes after I take the photograph that determine the look of the final product - development and enlargement. I won't attempt to expand upon this too much, but let me start by explaining that Ansel Adams wrote three very long and detailed books about this process.

To click a preset button in Lightroom - no matter where that preset came from - is disingenuous to film photography. A film photographer goes through three different chemical process to produce a print - it's not just a button click. I can make a film that is light on contrast have more contrast in the final print by changing how I enlarge the negative. I can lighten or darken a negative by extending development by a matter of seconds or changing the water temperature. 

If you want to make film photographs, buy a film camera and learn about film photography. Using presets won't give you the same experience, and your hands won't smell like fixer!

RNI Mobile Apps

RNI also offers a suite of mobile apps for applying these sorts of presets to images and then sharing them on Instagram, etc. To be honest, this is probably the most interesting application of these presets for me personally - I don't use one click filters for most of my photography, but I will use a quick filter if I'm sharing some cutesy selfie on my personal Facebook page. 

I was not given a trial of the RNI mobile apps to review, but based on the photos and videos on their website and Facebook page, I think RNI has built a nice platform for Instagram'ers to modify and share their iPhone images.  

In Summary

The good:

  • Lots of presets to choose from
  • All major film emulsions represented, including a nice selection of vintage films
  • Easy installation
  • One-click use. Easy for any Lightroom newbie to use

The bad:

  • The full suite is pricey, particularly given some of the free choices on the market
  • Adox Silvermax is missing
  • The number of choices can be overwhelming to someone not familiar with film photography

Would I Buy It? Would I Recommend It?

Personally, I would not buy RNI All Films, though that doesn't have anything to do with the product RNI offers. I already shoot film, and if I want the look of film, I'd just grab a roll and go. Some of the features, like the vintage lens presets, are a bit gimmicky too. Not to sound like an elitist, but I shoot Leica cameras - I spend a lot of money to have my images look good and don't have any intention of introducing flaws to a photograph on purpose. 

Would I recommend it? Hum. Depends. I probably would tell someone looking at the RNI films software to start with one of their cheaper and smaller scale products to see if they like the presets before diving into the deep end with preset mania. Had I used the pro version before becoming familiar with film photography, I think I would have been very intimidated by the number of choices. If you don't know much about film photography, start with one of the Lite versions and upgrade later if you like it. RNI lets you upgrade at a discount, and that's where I'd start. 

If film photography does interest you, then also consider spending $50 on a cheap film camera and a roll of film. You'll learn something and have a ton of fun - more fun than you'll have clicking preset buttons in Lightroom!

Have you used any of the RNI products, like their mobile apps? What was your experience? Leave me a comment!

Digital Photography Workflow on Your iPad

Living in Europe, I spent a lot of time traveling and on the road. Every day spent away from my main workstation is a day less blogging, editing, and producing content (although it is usually a day creating new images). Travel is important for me to create new works, so I'm certainly not complaining! However, the down time spent at airports, on trains, flying, and in layovers between destinations could be spent supporting ScenicTraverse.com. 

It's important to pause here by saying first that as much as Apple and Microsoft would love to convince you that their tablet systems are capable of supporting digital photography workflow independent of a 'traditional' desktop / laptop, I don't think that is fair (at this point in 2016). Processing speed, memory, storage, and application complexity alone are evidence that the iPad cannot substitute for a traditional workstation. And, in my experience, the workflow on the iPad is much slower than on the desktop, so even if you could one-for-one do the same tasks, the time required to complete them is very different. For that reason, the iPad is designed to compliment my workflow by enabling me to extend it to the field.

I can't wait until I get home to edit and download all my images.... I'd have a forever long backlog! So I have complimented my desktop by working in a mobile Lightroom setup, even if it isn't as fast as the desktop. 

Let's start by discussing what I'd like to be able to do, in a perfect world, from my tablet (Apple iPad Pro in this case):

  • Download RAW files from SD media
  • Review / quality control files on the iPad
  • Apply a rating (1-5 stars) in Lightroom Mobile and have that rating preserved when the file is imported into Adobe Lightroom Desktop
  • EASILY send a selection of files between Lightroom Mobile and Lightroom Desktop
  • Do minor adjustments (contrast, blacks/whites, sharpening) to the RAW file
  • Do spot healing adjustments to remove dust
  • Controls for black and white developing
  • Export images to display on my website / Facebook / Instagram

The good news is that most of these things can be done, although not as perfectly as I'd like. For discussion of how this actually works in practice, you should know that I am using the 2016 Apple iPad Pro 9.7" with the Apple Keyboard, Apple Pencil and Apple SD Card Reader.

The cool thing about Lightroom mobile is that you can share images between your mobile devices, and edits on one carry to another. This is a screenshot of my "photography page" on my phone.... lots of Adobe apps!

The cool thing about Lightroom mobile is that you can share images between your mobile devices, and edits on one carry to another. This is a screenshot of my "photography page" on my phone.... lots of Adobe apps!

Now let's take a quick step backward and look how I got here....... I started using Adobe Photoshop in 2008, long before Creative Cloud existed. I didn't buy Lightroom and just used Adobe Bridge (gasp) and Adobe Photoshop (really, Adobe Camera RAW...... don't want to upset the Adobe crowd with the wrong terms) for all my editing. I became very fast editing a RAW file with that combination, and as much as Bridge sucks, I adapted it to fit my archive method. All was good. When I travelled, I'd haul my laptop and do some editing on the road, but that became a real pain. Laptops are big, they need a different power source (or not the same one as my iPhone), and don't las as long. So I got to thinking about trying to swap out the laptop for an iPad and being even more portable in my editing away from home.

Photoshop on the iPad isn't really "Adobe Photoshop" - its a smattering of the best functions from the desktop version, but it isn't designed to do the basic edits. Adobe gives us Lightroom Mobile and has clearly emphasized that Lightroom is the future of digital workflow and archiving. 

I hadn't learned Lightroom previously because I didn't need to  - I was fast and efficient with Photoshop and Lightroom didn't offer me anything else. But the mobile apps finally tipped the scale, and I spent a few weeks building the muscle memory and recall to be as fast with Lightroom as I was with Photoshop. Now I use Lightroom more. Same results, different app.

Back to the mobile workflow..... does it work? Can I accomplish that list of wants?

Sorta? 

Generally, most of the things on that list can be done with the mobile applications, but I'm not totally on board with the entire workflow. For starters, I hate how many apps are involved. I need at least FOUR different Adobe apps running on the iPad to achieve the same results as I get from desktop Lightroom. For instance, you can edit the basic exposure and sharpness in Lightroom Mobile, but need to change apps to do dust removal. In all fairness to Adobe, I suspect they had to break up the processing into several apps to make it manageable for the processors on the iPad, and they do have the apps able to pass images back and forth between themselves, but it still is a slow down....... in fact, the slow down is really my beef.

I edit roughly 200 images per week. If I spend one minute per image, that's 3+ hours per week spent editing. Kill me please. I've mastered the desktop software and can edit most photographs in 20-30 seconds (there are plenty of exceptions, so don't get all judging). But the same edits in Lightroom mobile might take 2-3x longer. 

What better time to work on editing your digital images than when you're flying with a budget airline? It's not like they are about to bring me a drink, snack or meal!

What better time to work on editing your digital images than when you're flying with a budget airline? It's not like they are about to bring me a drink, snack or meal!

What that translates into is that I'll edit a selection of image on the road just to 'keep ahead of the curve' and take advantage of that down time at an airport, but if I have access to my desktop, I'm using that. I have also found that using Lightroom Mobile and the iPad is a great way to review, but not edit, the images from that day, and often use it for that without editing. 

As a side note: I LOVE that Leica has programmed apps for the Leica Q and Leica SL to connect to the iPad via wifi. The photo download and transfer rate over the self-broadcast wifi network is significantly faster than the SD card reader that Apple sells (apparently the transfer rate is better on the 12" iPad, but I didn't want something that big). So if you are using a mobile device to edit, get the free apps for your cameras, because they may make this even faster.

I suspect the difference in editing times will shrink in the next few years; mobile devices are getting faster and continue to close the gap in processing performance to their desktop counterparts. As Apple installs better processors, Adobe will be able to collapse apps together and streamline workflow. I genuinely believe that we will get to a point where the tablet workflow is on par with the desktop workflow, at least in speed. 

Do you edit with the mobile applications? Have you found them a nice compliment to your desktop?

 

Photoshop World Day 1 Recap & Vincent Versace Award Winner

Greetings! Today marked the official start to Photoshop World Atlanta 2014 and it was a busy and fun filled day! Let's recap some of the highlights.....

The show opens with an opening ceremony where Adobe announced the new Lightroom Mobile, but before we talk about that.....

..... Let's talk Vinnie!

As I mentioned last week, I was selected as a finalist for one of the Photoshop World Guru Awards for my photo of Elakala Falls. The winners were going to be announced at the opening ceremony, so I have been waiting with baited breath to find out if I won all week. The Guru Awards are presented at the end of the ceremony, so it was a long hour of fidgeting with anticipation to find out the results...... One of the last presentations in the opening ceremony is the Vincent Versace Award for Photographic Excellence - it's the "big prize" at the show and the winner gets lots of cool photo equipment. Vincent Versace, for whom this award is named, came in person to present it, so I sat eagerly hoping he'd call my name as the winner. Sure enough, he did! 

This was a very humbling experience - Vincent is an extremely well know photographer - to have him select my photograph was a huge honor. Being selected as a finalist for any of the awards was a great acknowledgment of my hard work, but actually winning the "Vinnie" - the big award at the show - was more than I could have ever hoped for. As part of winning this award, I was given a TON of photographic equipment, for which I am very grateful. Photography isn't a cheap hobby - I've always purchased all of my equipment at retail prices and have spent a significant amount of money on taking the photos you see on my website. Winning all this new equipment will open alot of new doors for me - it will give me opportunities to expand my photograph vision to entirely new levels. Winning this award not only represents an acknowledgment of the work I've put in to date, but also serves as a launching pad for me to continue to expand my photography and take it to places that yesterday, I could only dream about. 

So you're asking, what photo did I win for? It was this photograph of Elakala Falls, West Virginia. If you missed it before, be sure to read the whole story behind this image.....

Elakala Falls, West Virginia. Winner of the 2014 Vincent Versace Award for Photographic Excellence!

Elakala Falls, West Virginia. Winner of the 2014 Vincent Versace Award for Photographic Excellence!

On stage, receiving my award from Vincent Versace. Photo by Ed Buice.

On stage, receiving my award from Vincent Versace. Photo by Ed Buice.

Standing in front of the winning photograph in the Expo Hall. You can't blame me for the blurry photo - I obviously didn't take it! But you get the idea.... ;-)

Standing in front of the winning photograph in the Expo Hall. You can't blame me for the blurry photo - I obviously didn't take it! But you get the idea.... ;-)

Detour over - back to the show! Adobe kicked off the conference with a bang when they announced the new Lightroom Mobile app. Although they only spent a few minutes on the demo, it looks to be some really powerful software and will create more integration between mobile and desktop computers for users of the Adobe Creative Cloud. For instance, you can take a picture, edit it on your iPad, and then have that edited version automatically sync through the cloud with Lightroom on your Macbook. Sweet! If you already subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud, then you've got Lightroom Mobile now - so go check it out!

With the opening ceremony complete, it was time to get my learning on! I started with a great light painting workshop by David Black, but the highlight of the day was the back-to-back flash workshops with Joe McNally. You might not know Joe by name, but I promise you've seen his work in National Geographic, Time Magazine, etc - he's the king of flash and lighting. In his workshops, he grabs someone from the audience and will light them in front of you. What's great is that you see everything as it happens - even the mistakes. It can be hard to deconstruct a finished photograph to figure out how the photographer took that photograph, but in these sessions, you watch Joe from start to finish as he selects his model and trouble shoots his way to getting that magazine shot. 

After lunch, the convention expo center opens and I spent the next few hours exploring the latest equipment and technology. Let's review some of my favorites from the day:

  • Tamron was there with the new Tamron 150-600mm lens that wildlife photographers have been eyeing. They only had it in the Canon mount (no delivery ETA on the Nikon one - I asked!) but I played around with it to get a sense of how well it was going to work. Initial thoughts were very positive - it was pretty smooth to focus at 600mm and didn't search for the focus. The weight wasn't too bad and the construction looked pretty sturdy. The lens did get confused sometimes with the focus because I was shooting in an expo center and there were LOTS of people walking around, but this isn't an easy environment for any lens to track a subject, so I won't hold that against the lens.
Tamron's new 150-600mm telephoto lens. This is the Canon mount (Nikon mount version delivery is TBD). I was pleasantly surprised with how well it shot!

Tamron's new 150-600mm telephoto lens. This is the Canon mount (Nikon mount version delivery is TBD). I was pleasantly surprised with how well it shot!

  • Epson has some groovy new canvas paper! I actually don't know how "new" it is, but is't new to me, so we'll go with it! The paper has a canvas feel and is available in matte, satin and glossy finishes. I was very impressed with how this looked and I think it'll be a great addition to my print offerings because of the durability and unique look. From a distance you can't tell it's canvas, but when you get close, the texture is great. I took a quick iPhone snap of the glossy version, which can be seen below. Best yet, Epson claims it doesn't use any more ink that normal papers!
The glossy canvas paper. It's a terrible iPhone pic, but you can see the texture in the paper. Very cool stuff!

The glossy canvas paper. It's a terrible iPhone pic, but you can see the texture in the paper. Very cool stuff!

  • The Westcott model shoot..... every year Westcott comes out with some different lights and brings some models for show attendees to photograph. I only took one photo today, and it was an el basic iPhone shot of the whole scene. Tomorrow I'll actually work on shooting the model - today I was busy drooling!
The Westcott model shoot. The theme for the show is pirates, so I think she's supposed to be some pirate wench, but don't hold me to that!

The Westcott model shoot. The theme for the show is pirates, so I think she's supposed to be some pirate wench, but don't hold me to that!

  • Other cool things that I saw, but haven't explored enough to speak to with any authority.... some cool quad copters and dSLR video stabilizer rigs, the Promote Control dSLR camera controller, new software called Flixel Cinemagraph Pro, and some new options in metal prints. 
Camera copter anyone? Or how about a bada$$ dSLR video rig that is super smooth? Both are being used in demos at the Adobe booth in Photoshop World Atlanta!

Camera copter anyone? Or how about a bada$$ dSLR video rig that is super smooth? Both are being used in demos at the Adobe booth in Photoshop World Atlanta!

The day concluded with an inspiring talk on aviation photography from Moose Peterson, who has been one of the most influential pro photographers on my career to date. Moose could put on a class about almost anything and I'd attend it - his passion is truly contagious. 

After almost 10 hours, day 1 of Photoshop World Atlanta has concluded, but it was an AWESOME day. I cannot wait for another busy day tomorrow! 

Once again, my thanks to Vincent Versace for the award and thank you to all of you who have sent me a note on Facebook or Twitter today about the award! I'm very humbled! 

Until tomorrow.... happy shooting from Atlanta!

Video Blog: Why Every Photographer Should Shoot in RAW and Edit their Photos

I have had many of you email me in the past few weeks asking me to do a photo critique. I am always happy to do so but found that I kept giving the same advice over and over.... 

I am a firm believer that all photographers should shoot in RAW and edit ("Photoshop") their photos. Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with editing, but I address that and why it is so important in this video blog. In fact, I believe editing is so important that I edit every single photograph before sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or my website. 

If you aren't shooting RAW or don't edit your photos, watch this video and see if it helps you understand why this is so important. Questions? Leave me a comment!