The Digital Photo Guy

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More Photos of Emily (NSFW)

by on Mar.13, 2018, under Articles, gear, Lightroom, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing

The Camera Loves Emily

In a previous post, I promised to post more photos of Emily as I finished processing them. Here are the ones I’ve finished to date. All images were made with a Pentax K-1 with a Pentax HD D-FA 24-70/2.8 and processed in Lightroom Classic.

If you’d like to photograph Emily in a workshop with assistance and instruction, register for the Red Bench Spring Fling Photo Extravaganza Weekend Workshop in Jerome, AZ (April 27-29) where Emily and other models will be available for workshops as well as 1-on-1 photo sessions. Instructors will also be available for individual mentoring. If you’re at all interested in nude and/or bodyscape photography, you will learn more in this one session than any other workshop this year.

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Another Yongnuo Light!

by on Feb.11, 2018, under Articles, gear, Lightroom, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photoshop Elements

Honest, Yongnuo Doesn’t Pay Me!

To date, I’ve written about the Yongnuo YN-622C-TX TTL flash controller, YN685 Canon TTL flash, YN560 manual flash and YN14-EX-C ring light for Canon TTL. Now, I want to tell you about the Yongnuo YN300-III from B&H.

Yongnuo 300-III LED Variable-Color On-Camera Light Yongnuo 300-III LED Variable-Color On-Camera Light

I wanted a set of continuous lights to make it faster and easier to light art for reproduction. Based on my previous experience with Yongnuo products, I decided to try these and YN didn’t disappoint. First, the price can’t be beat – $63 for a light with accessories including 4 gels/diffusers and multiple mounting options. Next, it offers both 3200K and 5500K lights. I can have all 5500K or all 3200K or a mix of both. Third, this light can be controlled with a remote as well as an Android app. Finally, it can be powered by either 120v or LiON battery. Sadly neither the 120v power brick nor a battery are included but both are relatively inexpensive.

The integrated barn doors are very effective and the whole unit looks and feels well made. It’s not a pro grade light but, for projects around a home studio, it’s an outstanding value. Another cool features is the ability to control the lights in either 10% or 1% increments. So, if the light is set to 100% (full power) and you want 10%, it’s 9 clicks of the remote instead of 80. Conversely, if you decide you want 19%, 9 clicks of the 1% button gets you there. Last, if you use multiple lights, the controller can be set to different channels so they aren’t all adjusted each time you adjust one.

I haven’t done any stringent testing but they’re certainly well within the limits of my needs as measured with my Sekonic LiteMaster Pro L-478D-U Light Meter.  I can usually get within 1/10 stop with just a few adjustments. White Balance also appears very close when checked in Lightroom. If you need/want continuous lights, this is the best value.

A Pet Peeve (rant)

I’ve been noticing more and more “wanna be Rambos” in the news. These are people, usually men, who wear unauthorized military regalia and medals and spin fantastic yarns about secret missions behind enemy lines or some such baloney. There’s a whole network of real special operators whose personal mission is to uncover these fakes and expose them for what they are – cowards, liars & thieves, stealing the honor and valor of real heroes.

If you meet someone claiming to be a Vietnam-era Navy SEAL who partook of secret missions they can’t talk about but happily blabber on, you can bet your paycheck that they’re full of it. One of the biggest tells is if they claim their service records were lost in the 1973 National Archives fire. Given that only about 2-3 dozen Navy and Marine Corps records (out of approximately 18 million Army and Air Force records,) were lost in that fire, the chances of them being affected are between zero and nil.

There are many sites dedicated to unmasking these phonies. A quick Google search can help you find them. However, be aware that, unless they’re using their baloney for financial gain (fraud,) it’s not illegal to wear undeserved medals and tell lies. Just know that they’re cowards, liars and thieves.

In Vietnam, 80% of the personnel were support. I was an elite Remington Raider in a REMF unit. If you know what that means, you’re a real vet. If you don’t know, buy me a beer sometime and I’ll regale you with hair-raising stories about my 364 days “in-country.”

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Your Own Personal Cloud

by on Jan.25, 2018, under Articles, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos, Workshops

Tonido Server – A Free, Private Personal Cloud

By now, anyone who can fog a mirror has heard about the “cloud.” Every company wants you to use their “cloud” so they can mine your data and lock you into their services. Before getting ahead of ourselves, let’s first define “cloud” for the Rip Van Winkles and Sleeping Beauties who slept through the past few years. “Cloud” is nothing more than remote access to your files. Many websites allow visitors to download/upload files, images, PDFs and other digital assets. A personal cloud allows you to do the same for files on your personal PC/Mac/Linux box.

You may ask, “What’s the purpose?” Let’s say you’re away from home and need a file on your home PC. Who’s going to find that file and e-mail it to you? Also, today’s dSLR RAW files range from 20MB to 60MB, a bit hefty to email. Enter the “cloud.” Files stored in a “cloud” can be accessed by anyone with the appropriate URL, user name and password. If you need a file while on the road, you can access it. If needed, you can download a file to your laptop, make edits and upload to a shared folder for others to retrieve. This can be invaluable for clubs and volunteer organizations where files need to be shared.

The New Tonido Logo

Tonido Server, the FREE solution. There are many ready made solutions but they all charge to use their software. I don’t begrudge anyone making money but I like doing it myself. However, free is awfully hard to pass up. I assumed it was some neutered demo product that would be more hassle than it was worth but I was wrong. After installing Tonido on my big, clunky home PC, I could immediately access folders I had designated as SHARED from my sleek, lightweight HP Spectre X360 travel laptop.

Using Tonido, I can access and retrieve image files for my blog posts. On the road, I log into Tonido, find the files I want to include in a post and download it to my travel laptop. I make necessary edits, save photos as JPEG and then import into the post. I don’t have to carry around a 2TB external hard drive (EHD,) taking the chance it may be damaged by all jostling and flaky power sources.

Why Not Use a Free Cloud Provider?

As we all know, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Regardless of claims, I suspect all cloud service providers mine your data to gleen information for resale. I’m not saying these companies view your photos or read your manuscripts but they know enough about you to qualify as stalkers. Add to that most “cloud” services charge for storage space big enough to be useful. My active image files take up about 1TB (1,000,000,000,000 bytes.) Dropbox charges $16.58 per month ($198.96/year) for 1TB, the same as Google Drive and Apple iCloud. Microsoft OneDrive is the least expensive at $69.99 per year which includes Office 365 Personal but it’s limited to 1 PC and 1 tablet. Between us, my wife and I use 8 devices, oops! Adobe is more opaque charging $19.99/month for Adobe CC plus 1TB of storage. Since Adobe charges $9.99 for for their Photography Plan, that 1TB costs $10/month. In reality, Adobe CC is more about selling their photo editing products than providing storage.

If you need help setting up your Tonido Server, leave a comment here and I’ll try to help.

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New Model (NSFW)

by on Jan.25, 2018, under gear, Lightroom, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos, Workshops

The Camera Loves Emily (contains nudity)

I met Emily last summer and was impressed with her intelligence, drive and “girl next door” good looks. I felt she had the qualities of an excellent model. Our first shoot was themed “Monsoon” where I wanted photos of Emily in a monsoonal rain, drenched from head to toe. As you can see, that idea was a bust. Our shoot was on a beautiful day with nary a cloud in sight. I did, however, get a chance to see Emily’s cute, adventurous nature mixed with her quick mind.

Last week, I invited Emily to participate in a nude shoot at Red Bench Photography Studio in Jerome, AZ which is owned by one of my favorite models, Zushka Biros. Being so new to the world of modeling, I was expecting her to be shy, tentative and/or nervous about posing nude. To my surprise, Emily jumped in with both feet and an enthusiastic, “I’m in!

Emily turned out to be fearless in following directions as well as contributing her own ideas. And, the camera loves her. With new models, I’m lucky to get 5% good images; with Emily, I’ve identified over 50 good images and 15 or more great images. I’m still working on the rest so stay tuned for more of Emily in the near future.

All the photos were made with a Pentax K-1 and Pentax D FA 24-70/2.8 and processed in Adobe Lightroom Classic.

Spring Fling Photo Extravaganza 2018

Speaking of the near future, Emily will be one of the models at Red Bench Photography’s Spring Fling Photo Extravaganza Workshop on April 27-29 at the Jerome studio. I can’t emphasize enough the studio’s beautiful light and artistic ambiance. I’ll be leading several sections on bodyscapes. You’ll have the opportunity to book time with the models to practice what you learn. Check it out and register soon because space is limited and there’s a huge discount for the first registrants.

 

 

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Pentax K1 Images

by on Jan.01, 2018, under Articles, gear, Lightroom, Monday Morning Tips

Enough Talk, Finally Some Photos

I finally have enough experience with the K1 to make real photos. These aren’t controlled tests where I capture two photos under the same conditions with the K1 and 5D MkII and compare them side by side. If that’s what you want, click HERE. Be sure to select the appropriate cameras from the drop down menus.

In Feb 201, I had the opportunity to photograph two models, one in a studio and the other outdoors using natural light. For both shoots I primarily used the Pentax K1 although I made some shots with the Canon 5DII. In the studio, I controlled a pair of Yongnuo YN685C with a Yongnuo YN560-TX manual flash controller.

Here are a few of my favorites. In the studio, I stayed with my favorite genre of B&W bodyscapes but followed the model’s lead on some of her ideas.

This was the first time I’d worked with this model so it took a while to get into sync with each other. She’s an excellent model who isn’t afraid to give feedback on my directions.

The 2nd model is someone I’ve previously worked with several times. For her shoot, I asked some friends to use their property. This series was all natural light with a little help from a reflector.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to see minor differences in photos resized for the web but I believe the Pentax K1 advantage is significant. If not, you’ll have to take my word on it until you can get your hands on a K1 to see for yourself.

The next thing I want to evaluate is Pentax K1 Pixel Shift technology. The hold up is the search for a better RAW converter than the included Pentax SilkyPix processor. Right now, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom does an acceptable job but Adobe has made it clear they don’t intend to put anymore effort into it. I’m also reviewing RAWTherapee and Affinity Photo but neither has gotten much of a workout up to now.

It’s Been an Exciting Summer

My main laptop was bricked by a Microsoft update at the beginning of summer. Being on the road, it was difficult to get anything done so I simply put the blog on a backburner until I got home. Upon my return home, I discovered my Epson 7800 had croaked and I no longer had the capability to print 24″ wide prints. Of course, I had a stack of print orders to be printed so I ran around like a chicken without a head. In the process, I met a fellow who had just installed a Canon 44″ imagePROGRAF PRO-4000.This was fortuitous since I had been thinking of jumping ship to Canon. After creating ICC profiles using an X-Rite ColorMunki Photo, I was able to turn out prints very close to what I was getting from the Epson. I’m now slowly getting back to where I was in April 2017. I hope to get this blog back on schedule by mid-January. Thanks for reading.

 

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