Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Lightroom Classic CC 7.3 Update

What’s New in Lightroom Classic CC 7.3 (April, 2018)

Lightroom Classic CC 7.3
In Lightroom Classic CC 7.3, camera profiles are now at the very top of the interface, in the Basic Panel.

Yesterday, Adobe released Lightroom Classic CC 7.3. It includes some of the biggest changes to the Adobe Lightroom Develop Module in quite some time, so let’s take a look at what’s new in Lightroom Classic CC 7.3.  Continue reading Lightroom Classic CC 7.3 Update

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My Go-To Focus Setting For Birds In Flight

Better BIFs Starts With Better Focus

Nikon Group Area AF
Good flight shots start with fast focus acquisition.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve struggled with photographing birds in flight for years. The number one problem I and others have is focus acquisition. With birds in flight (BIFs), the ideal situation is to lock focus early while the animal is still at distance, track the approaching bird, and then capture a rapid burst of shots when the bird begins to fill the frame.

For me, my struggles have always been two-fold. First, when birds are very far away, it’s often hard for the camera to discern the difference between the subject and the background. Often times the camera will focus on the background instead of the bird. When this happens, you need to quickly re-cycle the focus system (pump the focus). The other challenge is when the bird drops below a background object such as trees or a mountain ridge. Again, the focus system can quickly lose track of the subject unless it’s fairly large in the frame. Continue reading My Go-To Focus Setting For Birds In Flight

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Long Exposure Photographs Are Simply Amazing

long exposure photographs
Use a long exposure to dramtically transform your scene from a snapshot to a work of art.

If you’re looking to transform your images from snapshots into stunning creative photos, try experimenting with long exposure photographs. All you need is a camera that supports bulb exposure mode,  a tripod, and in some cases a dark filter. In twilight conditions, long exposure photographs are pretty easy. Set your lens aperture to f/16 or f/22 and then set your camera’s ISO value to its the lowest possible setting.

To capture long exposure photographs during the day, you’ll need to add a dark filter to your lens. These filters, called a solid neutral density filters, enable you to capture a long exposure photograph during the day. In either case, keep in mind that you’ll need a solid tripod to make a long exposure photograph.

How Long Exposure Photographs Transform Your Images

Here are just a few ways how a long exposure photograph delivers maximum impact, especially in places that are popular with photographers. Use a long exposure and deliver dynamic images with the “wow” factor you can’t capture with a snapshot. Continue reading Long Exposure Photographs Are Simply Amazing

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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

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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

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