Monday, October 31, 2016

Time Trap Event Instagram Photo - October 31, 2016 at 05:13PM

5:13:00 PM


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REVIEW: Everyday Messenger Bag for Photographers… And Everyone Else!

9:49:00 AM

Peak Design is familiar to any pro photographer and their latest Kickstarter project for their Everyday Bags that gathered over $6,000,000 of funding has made them famous far beyond the photography world.

While their new backpack, tote, and sling from the Everyday series are conquering the world, I’ve got a chance to put my hands on Peak Design’s Every Messenger that has already become classics to many.

Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag Review

Below is my review of this stylish camera bag and messenger which includes a brief unboxing video.

Whether you’re a photographer looking for a functional bag to put your gear into, or you’re a smart gift giver preferring to shop for gifts before they are out of stock during the holiday season, this review will come in handy.

Thanks to Peak Design for providing a bag for this review.

Unboxing and overall impression

The bag was delivered in a branded envelope with my favorite unstitch-to-open end. Seriously, I can’t help loving that kr-r-r-r-r-r sound of a thread being pulled, or watching the loops coming through the holes one by one (I told you I’m an unboxing junkie, right?).

Here’s the video of unboxing the Everyday Messenger 15”, as well as packing it with some photo gear and, you know, everyday belongings.

As you can see from the vid, the bag is not your average photo equipment bag, nor is it an average office messenger.

The bag was designed to fit the needs of both photographers throughout their day and everyday commuters who might take their DSLR along from time to time.

Capabilities

My bag review process usually starts with checking the product’s features listed by the manufacturer one by one. I heard of a few innovative elements the team at Peak Design implemented in their Everyday Messenger, so I couldn’t wait to put my hands on it.

Everyday Messenger Bag for Photographers

Here’s what the Everyday Messenger includes inside and out:

  • Weatherproof waxed shell and interior zippers
  • 1 main spacious compartment to hold a DSLR, up to 3 lenses, and multiple photo accessories
  • 1 dedicated rear pocket for a 15” laptop
  • 1 velcro tablet sleeve located in the rear pocket
  • 3 fully versatile padded dividers
  • 1 quick access front panel pocket with multiple compartments for smaller items
  • 2 side pockets with a hidden key tether in one of them
  • Fold-over flap with a latch-based closure system for quick, no-look, one-hand access
  • 1 top zipper for quick access to the bag’s interior
  • 1 Adjustable internally padded strap enabling both classic messenger and shoulder-bag wearing manner
  • 1 stabilizing strap to wear cross-body or around the waist (converts to luggage trolley strap)
  • 1 top-grab handle

Quite a list, huh? And here are the bag’s key specs:

  • Exterior dimensions: 12 x 17 x 7 in / 30 x 43 x 18 cm
  • Volume: 823 – 1251 cu in (13.5 – 20.5 L)
  • Nude weight: 2.5 lb (1.1 kg)

Some of the features were easy to spot, such as the latch flap or top zipper. I had a few “Aha!” moments, though, discovering certain elements. But more on it later.

I really like the versatility of the bag’s dimensions. It looks quite slim at first sight, but should you need to carry some bulky things, it will cope with the volume graciously, so that you won’t believe it can hold so much stuff.

Materials

The Messenger is made of the ultralight waxed Kodra synthetic canvas with DWR undercoat for weatherproof capabilities. The interior features poly-spun mixed twill and high-density EVA foam dividers. The same compression-molded foam is used for the interior protective panels. The bag’s hardware is manufactured from premium stamped aluminum with applied sandblasted finish and clear coat for extra protection.

Everyday Messenger Bag Materials

For this review, I’ve received the Everyday Messenger in Charcoal and I must admit there couldn’t be better option for you if you have little kids in the house, and if you’re living in a 4-season climate with sleety falls and snowy winters.

Design

The design of the Everyday Messenger very well reflects the idea of the universal multi-purpose bag that the founders of Peak Design once decided to put into life. How is this achieved? Well, the bag has a classic shape, neutral color options, sophisticated functionality, and even provides several wearing styles.

The 15” Messenger I’ve put my hands on for this review is a bit too large for my body type, but there’s also the 13” version for smaller figures.

Special hooks

As you might know, the Everyday Messenger was created by the San Francisco-based Peak Design in collaboration with Trey Ratcliff, the well-known photographer and traveler.

No wonder the bag has a number of special elements that any photographer would appreciate. Besides, the Messenger is equipped with a few quite nifty functions making it pleasure to use, regardless of whether you’re into photography or not.

Latch flap

The closure system of the Everyday Messenger consists of 4 ladder lock bars riveted to a stainless steel plate. It takes a moment to pull up on the latch to make it securely locked onto the closest lock bar. Same works for opening the flap. The best part is that you can open and close the latch flap with one hand and without the need to look at it. Plus, the mechanism produces almost no sound so you can check your gear quietly without disturbing anyone around.

Everyday Messenger Bag Latch Flap

Origami-inspired inserts

Unlike regular-rectangular dividers provided in most photo camera bags, the FLEX-FOLD™ inserts you can find in the Everyday Messenger are pre-folded in all directions so you can bend it in any possible way you like. It’s possible to customize the dividers specifically to your gear or current bag contents, which is definitely a win.

Everyday Messenger Bag Flexible Dividers

Stabilizer straps

These are ingenious. Seriously. My husband who helped me test the “everyday capabilities” is not a big fan of messenger bags because of the uneven weight distribution they usually cause.

With the stabilizer straps it feels so much different, though. You might use one strap to fix the bag cross-body (to ride a bike, for instance), or you can fix the straps around your waist while in the classic messenger mode so that you could feel comfortable even with a loaded bag.

A minor downside to using the stabilizers is that it takes a couple of extra minutes to hide the straps back into the hidden side compartments after you use them. This is probably a cavil since using the stabilizing straps is so much worth it.

Everyday Messenger Bag Stabilizer Straps

Image Credit: Peak Design

Trolley strap

The abovementioned stabilizers easily turn into trolley straps to securely place your Messenger on your luggage. A small yet super handy feature we’re happy to see, especially after our latest trip when we made like hundred of attempts to fix that damn backpack on the suitcase.

By the way, the Everyday Messenger is approved for carry-on by all major airlines.

Tripod carrying

To be honest, when I saw a silicone band in one of the pockets, I thought this is a hand accessory (girls will be girls). The aha! moment was when I saw the “tripod band” legend on it. There’s a secret tripod sleeve on the back of the front flap, which together with the tripod band makes a built-in tripod carrying mechanism.

Everyday Messenger Tripod Carrying System

Image Credit: Peak Design

Just as promised by the manufacturer, the Everyday Messenger is tailored to carry a tripod of nearly every type with ease. Don’t have one? Hint: see the first sentence of this paragraph. You’re welcome! :)

In real life

I used the Everyday Messenger once for our family photo walk in a local park. As I mentioned above, the bag is a bit too cumbersome for me. However, this was by no means a disappointing factor for me. Quite the contrary, the bag’s versatility and extreme capacity made me want to get a 13” model rather than reject the product at all.

My husband Dmitry (the handsome guy in the unboxing video) loved the Messenger’s overall style so he happily agreed to help me test it for the review. Hence, this article reflects our combined impression.

Dmitry is into photography too (check out his photos, he’s cool!) but he’s only carried the bag for work so far and for the most part he’s quite happy with it.

The latch closure mechanism felt quite secure even with a more heavy-load setup.

Top zipped pocket also proved its value in everyday use – it’s way easier to just unzip and take out what you need rather than take the bag off and open it in a regular way. This is especially cool for some quick-access things like your water bottle or camera during a shoot. If you remember its position in the bag, just unzip and take it with one hand without even distracting from whatever you’re doing at the moment (I hope you won’t do this when driving, though).

Everyday Messenger Review: Top Zipper

One more element I want to applaud Peak Design for is the color-coded mesh pockets inside the zipped front panel compartment. Now you can quickly separate full memory cards and low batteries from fresh ones.

“What about the cons?”, you may ask. Well, frankly speaking, the minus list is quite short in the our case.

In particular, I noticed that the strap starts sliding when the bag is loaded to its max capacity. It’s quite easy to readjust it with a special handle (can be done with one hand without taking off the bag), but this can get a bit annoying if you plan to load it to the fullest often.

Dmitry’s observation is that the side pockets lose much of their function without some kind of closure. The small things he tried to put there, including his keys attached to the key tether, were constantly falling out when the bag was placed horizontally or just slip off the seat in the car.

Another thing I thought is worth noting is that the bag is designed to be carried on the right side. I’m partially a left-hander (hope to take this to the ambidextrous level someday!) and it’s equally comfortable to me to carry bags on both my right and left shoulders.

So when I tried to hang the bag across the chest on my left side, I noticed that there’s no way to use the stabilizer strap. Nothing catastrophic, since you could still distribute weight putting straps around your waist. Still, take this into account if you’re a left-handed person.

Everyday Messenger Review

The Verdict

Peak Design did an excellent job with the Everyday Messenger. The bag is super stylish, super functional, and super versatile. To recap our impression, here are our favorites:

  • Durable, weatherproof materials
  • Innovative, multi-functional design
  • Lots of space for photo gear and smaller accessories
  • Lots of small yet life-saving functions
  • Weight distribution with stabilizer straps
  • Elegant, universal style
  • Carry-on approved

What we thought could be improved:

  • The bag may become a bit messy inside when used for everyday commuting. An extra inner compartment could help.
  • The strap is not adjusted for wearing on the left side.
  • The strap starts sliding when you carry a lot of things in the bag.

In general, the Everyday Messenger is very close to being the perfect everyday bag for photographers, office workers, city wanderers and, quoting the manufacturer, “everyone in between”. It features an exceptional design, both from the technical and aesthetic points of view.

I think it’s fair to say this bag can be your No.1 candidate for the perfect gift this holiday season, so be sure to check out more reviews and order the Everyday Messenger on the Peak Design website or pick up your Everyday Messenger at B&H.

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Go DARK to create fantastic moody photos

6:22:00 AM

In photography, we’re often told that the ideal exposure is one that creates a bell-shaped histogram, smack dab in the middle of the tonal range, with a good balance of darks, mids, and brights. Even when post-processing, the general rule of thumb seems to be to keep the histogram right between the uprights; boost the shadows and pull down the highlights to create a balanced histogram, add some contrast and saturation, and voila! While this approach has led to millions of beautiful photos, what happens if it doesn’t suit the mood you’re going for?

Let me suggest an easy approach to add mood to your photos…

In post-processing, decrease the image’s exposure, then use the highlights slider, whites slider, tone curve, and/or dodging feature to increase the brightness of the photo’s highlights. The dark exposure creates the mood whereas the bright highlights maintain good global contrast which prevents your photo from looking muddy or flat. The bright highlights also call attention to the luminous parts of your photo, giving them extra draw and visual importance.

Take the following photo, for example. I shot it at Milford Sound in New Zealand. The first version is well-exposed with a bell-shaped histogram and, in post-processing, I preserved that histogram. In the second version of the image, I deliberately darkened it, then pulled the highlights back up. See how the second version has a more interesting mood? The quality of the light is more obvious as is the contrast between the light and dark parts of the photo.

  • jc7_6230-web
  • jc7_6230-web-2

Note that I said “in post-processing, decrease the image’s exposure”. This means that, in the field, you should still follow all the normal guidelines to get a good exposure. If you underexpose in the field, you risk having a low-quality, high-noise, clipped-shadows photo to deal with in post-processing. If you get a good exposure in the field, you’ll have the best image data to work with when editing.

And in regards to that editing, I find a combination of steps works the best. I often drop the exposure (and yank the shadows up if I’m starting to clip), then pull the highlights back up. If I need a little extra ‘oomph’, I slide the whites slider up or I pull up the highlights on the tone curve. Typical adjustments might look something like the following histograms. Note how they’re biased toward the darks with a long tail stretching off toward the highlights.

typical-settings

The following are the results of a moody image with eye-catching highlights.

  • jc8_7270-web
  • jc8_7270p-web

It’s important to note that this technique doesn’t work for every photo. I’ve found it most effective with images that have a luminous quality or in situations where contrasting the lights and darks serve to highlight a single element.

  • dsc_5898-web
  • dsc_5898-web-2

In each of these examples, the first photo has a traditionally “good” histogram, with a balance of darks, mids, and brights. Each of the second images have been “mood-ified” and have a histogram biased toward the dark side. Notice that in these second images, there is more interest and ‘punch’ and the method serves to highlight specific parts of the photo.

So… give this technique a whirl. Even though it’s not appropriate for every photo, when it does work it adds a beautiful mood and feel to your images.

  • dsc_2991-web
  • dsc_2991-web-2

Thanks for reading and feel free to share your own images to in the comments below.

About Author Joshua Cripps

Joshua Cripps started making remarkable photos while he was still in the womb. His first significant image, titled Sonogram, was praised for its graininess, deliberate blurring of details, and gritty black and white mood. Earning two thumbs up from his parents, this photo only hinted at things to come. Since then Josh has won countless awards and accolades, including more than one “Certificate of Participation,” dozens of “Good Sportsmanship” plaques, and the coveted “Busy Bookworm” award. His mantel long ago collapsed under the weight of gold-painted, plastic trophies.

Currently Josh spends over 700 days every year in the field seeking out the finest landscapes on earth. He has a mighty beard and sings in a rich baritone. Hiking at least 45 miles to capture every photo, Josh ensures that every image he crafts represents the very heart of the wilderness. While you were reading this Joshua Cripps did 93 push-ups, won more awards, and became internationally re-renowned.

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4 Extreme Sacrifices You Will Make For The Perfect Shot

6:07:00 AM
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You Want That Shot? It’s Gonna Cost You.

I’ll let you in on a secret.

That is this: Photographers generally don’t give up for good reason. Why? They’re resilient and they’re passionate and some might say downright stubborn.

Well, you’ve got to be determined if you want that shot and you’re not returning to that stunning location anytime soon this side of 2016!

photographers don't give up

Image by David Mark

FREE BONUS: One of the sacrifices we mention is staying out for a long day, might be just as well to have our free Sunset Photography Cheat Sheet on you, just in case. No one wants to walk back to the car! Download it here.

It’s quite well known that in life, the most rewarding things never come easy.

You’ll have to work hard, take risks and make sacrifices in order to achieve your goals. However, in photography, this applies with much higher magnitude.

Here’s Why…

Nowadays, we take loads of photos – no, like loads!

To put that into perspective, some statistics show it was estimated that in 2015 the total number of photos taken will be something around one trillion. That is 12 zeros right there.

AMAZING FACT!

If each photo is printed (as a 4×6 inch) and stitched end to end, the length would be sufficient for 2 round trips to the sun.
How about that?

You, as a photographer, will need to generate photographs that need to stand out from that enormous pool of photographs. And that, my friends, is not an easy task to do.

Photographers Don’t Give Up…(Providing They Want To Stand Out From This Huge Crowd)

Here Are 4 Sacrifices and a ton of inspiration coming your way, so grab a seat…

1. The Elements

To be honest, you’ll get dirty, wet, suffer from exhausting heat (plus more) – all that is quite normal. For example, if you want to take some shots during the rain, you can’t expect to remain dry.

You’ll have to go out there in the rain, wind and everything else, and shoot. Over and over again. 

This is taking the saying “rinse and repeat” to a very literal level!

Photo by Jesse Wagstaff

If you live in a country like mine, where the summers are hot and dry, and temperatures rise up to 115 degrees easily, with UV factors skyrocketing, you can’t expect not to get a little sun burned.

Things like that are common when shooting out under the sun, especially if you are high up in the mountains, or near water. Brace yourself, apply plenty of UV protection, and head out into the world.

Want some shots in the forest? Yes.
Especially that mysterious mood after rain in the morning, when there is mist all over the place? Yes.

Well, be prepared for mud, and lots of it. It WILL be slippery, you’ll probably fall down a few times, and it will hurt a tad more than a regular fall since you’ll be focused on keeping the camera intact rather than your own body. 

Take care in these scenarios, especially if you’re alone!

You’d be better off dropping that insured $2,000 beloved camera body than risking your life! Yes, it’ll be emotionally painful but just try and use some practical common sense here. Seriously.

I do know some people who’d rather break their neck than have their camera slip off a rock into the unknown…I don’t recommend this mindset for one second! We say photographers don’t give up, but sometimes you sadly have to accept these things…

Further Learning

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2. The Physical Sacrifices A Photographer Makes

Besides the fact that you’ll be out there in almost every weather condition possible, even in the extreme cases, the toll of physical exertion is quite large too.

You’ll be carrying your gear all the time, so back pain is something that you’ll grow used to, and you’ll have to (temporarily) live with it. Your hands will often start failing after shooting for extended periods of time too.

But, despite everything, you’ll find yourself not calling it a day just yet!

Not to mention all the sleepless nights you’ll go through for the sake of that single perfect shot, and all those extremely early mornings hunting down the perfect sunrise.

It’s hard in the beginning – but then you somehow grow into it, and a great deal of this becomes “normal”? 

3. The Damage To Your Wallet Being A Photographer Has

If you are passionate about photography like most photographers out there, including me, your photography gear will cost more than your car.

Yes, your friends or family will assume you’re probably nuts! Driving around in that rust bucket, while carrying thousands of dollars worth of gear up some muddy trail at the crack of dawn….

From the photographer’s point of view, the car is just a transportation tool, if it takes you from point A to point B. Is there any other function is should perform, other than to keep you (and your gear) protected from the elements?

It’s crazy to think all those

  • lenses,
  • flashes,
  • lights,
  • light stands,
  • tripods,
  • tripod heads,
  • scrims,
  • modifiers,
  • diffusers,
  • filters,
  • bags, and of course,
  • cameras and computers, quickly add up to values higher than whatever you paid for your car, or perhaps even twice as big!

Photo by Bryan Minear

Top Thought!

Photography equipment is really necessary, especially when it enables you to do your job fully, more easily and express yourself creatively. When your wallet starts to gain some weight, you’ll begin to invest in gear that will enable you to do your work faster, but that is always  optional.

FREE BONUS: One of the sacrifices we mention is staying out for a long day, might be just as well to have our free Sunset Photography Cheat Sheet on you, just in case. No one wants to walk back to the car! Download it here.

4. The Ultimate Investment In Photography…Time

They say “Time is Money”. But is it? 

I say to photographers, put in the time and the money will eventually follow, especially if you’re following your real passion. But spending more time behind the camera does not equally correlate to more earnings – sadly, there ain’t a graph showing that! It would be nice, though.

You probably see photographers walking around with the camera all day long, as if it was their smartphone. It’s because we’re hardcore!

No, but seriously, that’s basically part of the job description for many photographers.

The hours you put into your photography will begin to stack up quite fast and you’ll come to realize that you are basically doing photography 24/7. Don’t worry, that is normal.

Photo bu Dzvonko Petrovski.

Photo by Dzvonko Petrovski.

Make no mistake, if you don’t have your camera with you it doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing photography – so do not feel guilty!

When you start photographing on a daily basis your visual perception starts to function quite similarly to the camera: you are framing shots in your mind even though you aren’t photographing.

You’ll be evaluating light all the time, memorizing possible locations (even writing down) for future shoots and so forth.

FREE MATERIAL: One of the sacrifices we mention is staying out for a long day, might be just as well to have our free Sunset Photography Cheat Sheet on you, just in case. No one wants to walk back to the car! Download it here.

Summary

Photography is rarely just a job description. For most photographers, photography is a way of life – everything is molded around it and there is nothing wrong with that. Well, except when it goes to extremes.

Photography takes its toll, but at the end of the day, every single bit of it is worth it.


Photographers Don’t Give Up (Easily) – Top Takeaways!

  • Be prepared for all weather conditions, because you’re gonna be in them.
  • Allow extra time, because you’re ALWAYS going to need it.
  • Have your gear insured! Sometimes, accidents happen.
  • If you workout, great, if you don’t make sure you’re physically stretched a little before heading out for a long day or night shoot.

Further Resources

Further Learning

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I bet you are, and luckily, you’ve arrived just in time because we’ve got tons here.
100% revealed, so you can get on a master your Landscape Photography.

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

This Modern Technical World

5:52:00 PM

This Modern Technical World

Think about it. The computerized guts that power your digital camera far exceed the capability of the computers in NASA's Apollo spacecraft that landed man on the moon. Improving technology has changed nearly everything.

All cameras these days are computerized. Long gone are the days when fully manual cameras were the norm. Modern camera lenses themselves have inbuilt CPU chips. And once shot, we edit out images with Lightroom and Photoshop on a computer. Digital photography is all about computers. Readers who grew up on digital may not realize how much modern technology has converged the world of computers with that of photography. Computers have become indispensable tools for photographers in other ways too.

Earlier this week when I sat down to start writing this week's article, I found that my Comcast Internet connection was down. That got me thinking. At least while I'm at home, I rely on Internet access. Simple things such as email communication, Netflix and Hulu steaming, and Amazon Prime shipping just scratch the surface. The answer to nearly anything answerable is only a few minutes away via Google.

Years ago, I can remember carrying a small book with printed tide tables so I knew when to be ready to shoot low tide, and when to be getting back on dry land before the tide started coming back in again. These days, I have all that and more readily available on my smart phone. If I really want a printed copy, I can create custom tide table on my laptop for any particular place and time. Not only that, I can easily determine the best time for a given tide pool location, well in advance. I can compare sunrise and sunset times to those tide predictions with just a few more mouse clicks or taps on the screen.

These days, I can get online from most anywhere not completely isolated from civilization. In many places, I can stop at a coffee shop with free Wi-fi, but that sort of luxury isn't always available, nor is it needed. Cell phone antennas are everywhere, and if I don't have an app for something on my phone, I can tether my laptop to the mobile hotspot I do have on the phone.

Never mind a data connection though. Even the ability to get a basic cell phone signal to place a call has become ever more commonly available when travelling. I have been able to place a phone call while sitting on the top of Burroughs Mountain near Sunrise in Mt. Rainier National Park, now doubt availing myself to a signal from some line of sight cell tower far below me in Puyallup or other town on the far outskirts of Seattle. I've gotten a data connection to check email far up in the Olympic Mountains too. It's kind of freaky, really.

Technology has improved to help photographers in other ways too. I have an Android application called PeakFiner that portrays and names a panorama of surrounding mountain peaks. Hold the phone up in front of you and compare it to what you see on the horizon and you can tell what mountains you are photographing.

When I hike somewhere, I want to know where I am. Getting lost is something best avoided. It used to be, that I would carry a dedicated GPS that could tell me the longitude and latitude I could then locate on a map. The came GPS units that had crude graphic displays that themselves showed a map. Such displays increased in resolution with each new device generation. And then one day, phones started including GPS chips. That gave us beautiful displays with detailed maps, on a device we already had in our pockets.

Not everything is rosy and wonderful with modern technology though. All these gadgets require battery power. And that includes my camera of course. Thankfully, my rats nest of proprietary charger cables has mostly given way to standard and therefore interchangeable USB cables. But batter power remains a key failure point unless I keep a close eye on things.

Speaking about potential battery problems, I made the ill-fated choice to upgrade my phone back in August. I've grown to love the build quality of the Samsung Galaxy line, so you may already be able to guess what I got myself into. Yes, I bought a Galaxy Note 7. After a few of them (out of millions sold) caught fire, Samsung decided there must be something wrong. Once the US Consumer Product Safety Commission officially issued the recall, any chance that this would all just go away, itself went away. I exchanged my phone for a replacement Note 7 once they became available, but then some of those reportedly caught fire too. Plan "B" left me no better off than my initial phone upgrade choice did. While I think the chances of my Note 7 having a problem is low, it's clearly not zero. US carriers won't let me fly with this thing anyway, so I need to figure out Plan "C." Hopefully this week. For the time being, I've changed the signature line on my phone email to read "Sent from my flammable Galaxy Note 7." I need a phone I can count on. And I don't just mean one that has a calculator application. In this modern technical world, this isn't optional, at least for me.

At times, it may seem like a mixed bag, but I think I've used all this technology to aid me in being a better photographer while also more easily staying connected with family and friends. At least I hope that's true.

Yes, technology has changed things a lot of over the years. But what about you? How have you changed? Have you grown as a photographer, or merely become increasingly reliant on modern technology to handle all the difficult tasks? Something to think about.

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Time Trap Event Instagram Photo - October 30, 2016 at 12:11PM

12:11:00 PM


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These Photography Links Are Smokin’ Hot!

6:02:00 AM
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Come On In, Grab A Seat And Enjoy….

These Photography Links Aren’t Just Smokin’, They’re Plain Awesome!

Another terrific week in the world of photography has passed us by, and here we find Toad Hollow Photography searching everywhere online looking for links to tutorials, special features and great photography to share with photography enthusiasts interested in many different genres.

Now we’re talking!

these-photography-links-are-smokin-hot

Image by Esi Grünhagen

FREE BONUS: Learn a load of pro tips for photographing the Milky Way by downloading our free Milky Way Cheat Sheet. Print it out and take it with you so you always have your essential tips with you on location! Download it here.

This week’s comprehensive list features a wide assortment of posts and pictures from artists and writers currently working in the field today and is a great cross-section of all the latest techniques and images they produce.

We really hope you enjoy checking out this weeks list as much as the Toad did himself in bringing it to you.

PHOTOGRAPHY TUTORIALS

4 Great Insider Tips For Using Artificial Lighting In Photography – progressing into artificial lighting is a natural step many take when shooting portraits, and there is a lifetime of learning to be had just in this one concept alone.  This great primer here on Light Stalking takes you through all the basic steps one-by-one as you introduce more artificial lights, and you apply them to the work you create.

driver Photographer

driver Photographer

Video showing the power of High-Speed Sync in a bright environment – being able to shoot with a wide aperture is key to create great portraits where the backdrop is blurred out with great bokeh to ensure the subject pops out of the frame.  This video presentation shows us the power of high-speed sync using strobes by showing pictures that use this feature versus ones that do not.

Less is More: Retouching Tips – this tutorial takes us through a series of steps that can be applied when shooting a model in the great outdoors as we go into the digital darkroom and see some post-production in action.  Sample shots are accompanied here by computer screenshots, showing you each step of the process and the results you can expect.

Rushen

Rushen

Sunrise and Sunset Photography – Shooting into the Sun – shooting into the sun can be a very challenging proposition, with many artifacts and undesirable characteristics emerging in many cases.  This brief tutorial covers several key points to consider, and how to deal with them, when shooting into the sun, giving you some techniques and procedures you can apply on your own to create great shots.

John Bastoen

John Bastoen

Faces: Telling a Story Through Portrait Lighting – an extensive set of photographs is shared in this post that discusses a photography project involving capturing great portraits of people.  The entire process is discussed in detail, giving you a bit of a behind-the-scenes idea of how a series like this can be accomplished over time, with consistent results.

SPECIAL FEATURES IN PHOTOGRAPHY

Supermodel Captures Her Intense Wingsuit Flight Over an Active Volcano – here is a minute and a half of video that most rational people would never undertake to capture in this lifetime, as shot by supermodel Roberta Mancino who dares fate to bring back this footage.  You have never seen a volcano from this perspective before, guaranteed, and this presentation is sure to leave you wanting more.

Hitler’s Hospital: Exploring the Huge Abandoned Beelitz Hospital Complex – the sprawling spaces and grand architecture of what once was Hitler’s hospital forms the subject for this terrific urbex themed photography exploration.  These empty spaces were used up until the mid 1990’s, and today they left forgotten and abandoned as time continues it’s relentless work with natural decay to return the elements to the earth they came from.

Dom Crossley

Dom Crossley

Prepare, shoot and develop wet plate collodion through the eyes of the photographer – if you love the craft behind photography, you are surely interested in techniques that were used in the early days that helped make photography what it is today.  This presentation takes us through the entire process of wet plate photography from beginning to end in a compressed video format, making for an ultimately interesting piece for photography enthusiasts.

Anecdotes: Bacardi Rum Shoot – one of my favorite commercial photographs with a career spanning over many, many years often writes posts that share behind-the-scenes tidbits and thoughts regarding shoots he has done over the years.  This post features a delightful story that occurred during a corporate shoot for Bacardi Rum, sharing a perspective of what it means to be a pro shooter in this wonderful world.

MORE GREAT PHOTOGRAPHY

Opera Inferno – this gorgeous shot of the world-famous Sydney Opera House comes to us from photographer Timothy Poulton.  The dramatic architecture of the facility is explored in this shot with great detail, as a fire-colored sky lingers far overhead to add a perfect feel to this amazing image.

Henry

Henry

morning glow – Frank King’s abstract piece focuses on a section of a contemporary building that finds incredible natural light glinting off of it’s multi-faceted facade.  The leading lines created by the edges of the building work flawlessly with this composition to gently guide the viewer into the frame itself.

Spirit Island – jagged mountains with caps of snow seem to reach forever towards the sky in this stunning landscape piece by Sarah Lyndsay.  Spirit Island is a must-see landmark in the park, and in this shot Sarah brings out all the majestic beauty of this tiny little island in the middle of a glacier fed lake.

SamAlive – this shot features an alternative perspective and style from the picture shared above here, both featuring the incredible Spirit Island that sits in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.  This shot exhibits a brighter outlook of the landscape from a different vantage, revealing a wholly different look of the same magical spot.

Mark Gunn

Mark Gunn

La Philharmonie de Paris – the Paris Philharmonic building is explored in this black-and-white set, creating a series of abstracts that are found in it’s various angles and lines.  Mathias Lucas has a real knack for composition, and this collection shows off his skills by taking advantage of the dramatic features found in this world-famous building.

Summer Journey – the inherent romance of steam trains is something unique to this genre of travel, and when captured well in a photograph can really create a compelling image.  Alexander Riek does a terrific job of this as we enjoy the terrific details of a steam locomotive travelling straight towards the camera as it moves through a lush green landscape.

Morning Snack – warm tones greet the viewer in this gorgeous photograph from Len Saltiel.  Len captures a scene with a red and weathered barn in it, with a horse snacking away in the foreground to add the perfect anchor into the picture.

Bhaskara Rao S

Bhaskara Rao S

la la laaaaa… – let’s all join Mark Bridger here as he shares a terrific portrait of a stag in its natural habitat, with it’s neck craned upward as it bellows a cry.  Wonderful details in the shot showcase the rich spirit and character these amazing creatures have, as the shallow depth-of-focus Mark used in this shot helps to isolate it from its backdrop.

Matterhorn Gold – Andy Hooker (LensScaper) shares a terrific high vantage shot that overlooks a rather strange sight in the context of where it is located; that is we are looking at a golf course situated where many would call the top of the world itself.  Shadows play with the green grasses from this perspective, adding a sense of depth and texture to the scene.

Bald Eagle – while its feathers may be damp from playing in the shallow waters on the shore, its spirit remains wild and free in this epic photograph of a mature bald eagle by Milan Zygmunt.  The incredible details in the bird’s face and feathers are accented terrifically as the shallow depth-of-focus creates a soft bokeh in the background.

Travis Wise

Travis Wise

Watchmen – this perfectly framed shot features a portrait of what is referred to as a “watchman” at T’aanuu Llnagaay on the west coast of Canada.  In this shot, Ehpem captures Mary who is performing this important role in the region, acting as a guide and intermediary into the area that is full of gorgeous landscapes and thousands of years of incredible history.

Buttermere – Barry Turner shares a great landscape that features predominantly blue tones, highlighting the feel of a mid-summers day on the side of a small body of water.  The lush greens from the surroundings find perfect harmony with the wavy reflections cast on the water to complete this delightful image.

Jennifer C.

Jennifer C.

St. Andrews Church (Cowichan Station Church) . . . – ƊƦคƓ๏ƝŦlץƊгєคɱʂ88, a local Vancouver Island photographer, shares a wonderful rendition of a scene captured at a church we’ve visited and shot often ourselves.  This shot utilizes a portrait orientation, including a bit of the historic cemetery in the foreground with a full frontal shot of the character-filled wood shingled church in the back.

Braies Reflection – incredible reflections dominate this gorgeous landscape photograph, captured by Johannes Nollmeyer in the Dolomites in Italy.  Wood buildings sitting on the piers create great anchors into the frame as you make your way around the picture taking in the beautiful details explored in the scene.

New Zealand Seascape – this black-and-white seascape shot comes to us from Barbara Youngleson who finds a sailboat as it slowly passes dramatic rock formations on the seashore.  The rippled reflections from the windswept waters adds a great element to complete this shot.

Timothy Neesam

Timothy Neesam

Rebirth – Alister Benn shares a terrific image captured of a little tree growing from a long dead tree trunk that peers out above the still waters of Fairy Lake right here on Vancouver Island.  This little tree seems to never really grow much larger over the years, and is the source of many great photographs from artists who see the wonder and dichotomy that nature shares in life and death.

Foggy Glow – if you enjoy intense mood in your photographs, look no further than this terrific image from Brad Truxell captured in his home city of Pittsburgh.  This fog enshrouded scene features a bridge with spots of lighting that lead you into the frame where the city lies buried in a thick veil of very moody and dramatic fog.

Downwards – a straight down perspective creates a vertigo-inducing photograph of an active city full of people running about far below.  Roof Topper’s shot highlights the dramatic contemporary architecture of the city with terrific details creating a multitude of points of interest to explore within the frame.

李 季霖

李 季霖

Another Morning Sunrise – a gorgeous and vibrant color palette is explored in this collage of photographs taken in the early morning as rich sunrises push back the night and greet another new day.  JayJacy Photography loves to find and share incredible natural colors, and this series is another great example of the beautiful work they produce.

What’s that? – a beautiful Polar Bear appears to be enjoying its natural habitat in this wonderful character study captured by Marsel van Oosten in the far north.  As the bear, who seems to be rolling about on the ice sheets, looks straight back at the camera, it poses naturally and shows us all the incredible spirit these endangered creatures possess.


The Memory Box – there is no better way to wrap up a weekly list of photography links than to enjoy the interaction between the digital realm that captures and holds our memories so tightly alongside the human aspect of this entwined existence.  Lisa Gordon adds a delightful poem to the shot, framing the emotions found in this black-and-white shot with prose that is sure to tug at everyone’s heart.

FREE DOWLOAD: Learn a load of pro tips for photographing the Milky Way by downloading our free Milky Way Cheat Sheet. Print it out and take it with you so you always have your essential tips with you on location! Download it here.
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Time Trap Photography is dedicated to freezing those special moments in life that can be revisited and admired for generations to come. - Shannon Bourque

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“Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important and capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.” — Unknown

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