2017 Solar Eclipse Photos

Experiencing the Totality of the Great American Eclipse

I made a special road trip to eastern Wyoming and managed to position myself in the path of the August 21st 2017 solar eclipse. What an amazing experience! I had great weather and clear skies for unobstructed viewing. I found a friendly farmer who let me set up in his cornfield. I had two cameras set up. My Nikon D500 was set up with my 200-500mm Nikkor zoom and  a solar filter and I used it to capture closeups of the sun during the eclipse. My Nikon D810 was set up with the Nikon 8-15mm fisheye Nikkor for some unique wide-angle shots:

I had two cameras capturing the eclipse.

Read on to see my eclipse photos and download a desktop wallpaper photo for free! Continue reading 2017 Solar Eclipse Photos

First Impressions of the Nikon 8-15mm Fisheye Zoom Nikkor

A fun fisheye zoom that will spark your creativity… just be careful not to photograph your feet!

The Nikon 8-15mm Fisheye zoom Nikkor is a fun way to get creative with your photos.

I received a production copy of the new Nikon 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5 E ED Fisheye Nikkor from B&H Photo to test and review.

I’m still playing around with this lens, but so far, it’s been fun! At 8mm, you get a circular fisheye with a whopping 180° angle of view when you mount this lens on a FX-format Nikon DSLR. Point this lens straight up and you will get subjects both in front of you and behind you in the frame! Yep, you’ll want to be careful of getting your feet or tripod legs in the shot with this lens. Continue reading First Impressions of the Nikon 8-15mm Fisheye Zoom Nikkor

Moving to Macphun: Tips for Nik Users

Luminar from Macphun can be used to create dramatic effects and is an effective replacement for many Nik Collection plug-ins.

With the recent announcement that Google will no longer support the Nik Collection, I’ve started using Macphun’s suite of editing tools more and more frequently. Most specifically, I’ve jumped feet-first into their newest editor, Luminar. I’ve found it to be an excellent choice for photographers who are familiar with the Nik Collection suite. You can read my initial thoughts on Luminar here.

Here’s why I’m moving to Macphun:

  • Macphun Software applications use the latest technologies for image adjustments and special effects
  • Macphun products are compatible with Lightroom and Photoshop, plus you can use Luminar as a stand-alone editor (it even opens most RAW files)
  • Luminar offers a full complement of tools and effects filters that in many cases replace multiple Nik plug-ins, including Color Efex Pro 4 and Silver Efex Pro 2.
  • Built-in layer support for selective editing and effects partitioning.
  • Smart “erase” and noise-reduction tools, along with clone stamp
  • Smart Filter support in Adobe Photoshop
  • Luminar for Windows will be released this fall
  • It’s a full-featured image editor with lots of effects filters for under $60

Get Luminar for Mac Here
Get Luminar Public Beta for Windows Here

Learning to Love Luminar

While there are several Macphun software plug-ins available for Mac users (and they are excellent), Luminar is so incredibly flexible that it can take the place of most of the other filters, provided you know where to look. Because Luminar is coming to Windows, too, it’s the one Macphun product I think you should be familiar with. Here are some tips for getting the most out of Luminar. Continue reading Moving to Macphun: Tips for Nik Users

A Homemade Solar Filter

The sun, photographed with my Nikon D500 and 200-500mm VR Nikkor lens.

I’m not a total die-hard when it comes to solar photography, but I’m going to be close enough to the 2017 solar eclipse event that I figured I’d at least try to get some photos. But first, I had to construct a solar filter. Here’s how I made mine for about $45.

First, decide on which lens you want to use for photographing the sun. I chose my Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 VR lens, because it’s versatile and I can shoot it hand-held if I want to. I also chose this lens because it has a front filter thread, which will allow me to easily mount the solar filter to it. Continue reading A Homemade Solar Filter