The term “texture” is a catch-all term for adding either abstract images, detailed photos, or patterns of different surfaces, like metal, cracked paint, sand, etc. as an overlay on your image. This is a type of “compositing”, combining multiple images into one finished work. Adding textures to your images can change the mood, create special effects, strengthen the composition, or help better tell a story.  These five concepts will help you add textures more easily, realistically, and quickly in Adobe Photoshop

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Funny thing about animals is they move around, a lot. So a technique like HDR, which requires several images that are nearly identical in everything but exposure values, is usually not an option for wildlife photographers. Often thought of as mainly a tool for landscape and architecture photography, High Dynamic Range photography captures a series of shots at multiple exposures to provide detail in both highlights and shadows a camera cannot capture in one frame. But, in the case of a running horse or flying bird, even at high shutter speeds and frame rates there will be large differences in their position from frame to frame. This makes multiple exposure HDR pretty impractical, if not nearly impossible, for wildlife and other action photography.

While the multi-shot HDR technique may not work well for high-speed creatures, software like Aurora HDR is a useful tool to put the finishing touches on your wildlife photos. Instead of capturing a series of shots at multiple exposures as you would for landscapes, you use a single shot in a process called “tone mapping”. This is a fast and easy way I use Aurora HDR to Tone Map a single image and add some extra pop and punch to wild animal images.

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HDR (High Dynamic Range) processing of your photos by its nature can result in a lot of noise or graininess in your final image. While Macphun’s new Aurora HDR 2018 for PC’s does a great job overall reducing noise, there are still times when noisy areas appear in your processed HDR. This can be caused by many reasons, but most commonly it’s due to your settings in camera (such as shooting at too high of an ISO) or any image processing you have done to your images before merging them in Aurora (such as exposure adjustments). Regardless of the cause, you can remove most of this noise by using a “Luminosity Layer”. This technique saves a lot of time, giving you consistently good-looking results, quickly.  

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A lightweight travel tripod is a handy piece of equipment for every photographer to have in their gear collection.  There are times where larger, heavier, “workhorse” tripods are not the right tool for the job, or places where they are too cumbersome to transport and use.  On the lookout for a new one, a few months ago I got my hands on the Oben CT-3451 Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod and  BE-113T Ball Head.  

After unpacking it my first thought was “Wow this thing is light, I’m going to break it.”  But, half a year later with pretty constant use, it shows few signs of wear and tear.  In that time, it has been used for landscape, travel, and macro photography, in various locations and conditions.

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Most photographers will tell you that a good tripod is one of the most important equipment investments you can make for your photography.  But, just owning one isn’t enough to give you better pictures.  You have to have the right one to fit your photography, as well as know how to use it properly.  

For as much time as we spend discussing and dissecting our settings, we often don’t think about the physical mechanics of how we take pictures.  Over the years of running photo workshops and pursuing my own photos, I have seen many mistakes and mishaps with tripods, some resulting in pretty serious damage to pricey gear.  These are some of the most common I’ve encountered (or accidentally committed), so you can avoid not only the pain of a missed shot, but worse, a toppled tripod and a crashed camera.  

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