Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

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

The Ultimate Nikon Birding Kit

Crested Caracara, South Texas. Photographed with a Nikon D500 and 300mm f/2.8 AFS VRII Nikkor lens. The fast autofocus and frame rate of the D500 really came through!

You probably know I enjoy photographing birds whenever I can get the chance. Over the years, I’ve used lots of different Nikon cameras, and I have to say that we’re living in good times if birding is your thing. After a year with the Nikon D500, I can honestly say that I’ve not run into a better birding camera from Nikon. The autofocus is deadly fast, the camera delivers 10fps RAW, and you can shoot 200 continuous frames when you use a fast QXD memory card. I’ve also had the chance to test a variety of Nikon lenses on my birding safaris, so here’s my current recommendations for anyone looking to maximize their Nikon birding experience.  Continue reading The Ultimate Nikon Birding Kit

Retina Macs: Setting Proper Screen Resolution in Photoshop

If you’re using one of the new iMacs or MacBooks with Retina Display for Adobe Photoshop, you may have noticed that your images look very small when selecting, View–> Print Size.  That’s because the retina display has a MUCH higher resolution than the typical CRT or LCD monitor. Most displays have a screen resolution around 72 pixels per inch (ppi), which is far less than what you get with a retina display.

Get the fix here:
Continue reading Retina Macs: Setting Proper Screen Resolution in Photoshop