Nik Collection for Free

What a great Easter Egg: the Nik Collection is now a free download! Nik is a maker of post production plug-ins for tools such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

  • Analog Efex Pro – explore the look and feel of classic cameras, films, and lenses
  • Silver Efex Pro – master the art of black-and-white photography with darkroom-inspired controls
  • HDR Efex Pro – from natural to artistic, explore the full potential of HDR [high dynamic range] photography
  • Dfine – improve your images with noise reduction tailored to your camera
  • Color Efex Pro – a comprehensive set of filters for color correction, retouching, and creative effects
  • Viveza – selectively adjust the color and tonality of your images without complicated masks or selections
  • Sharpener Pro – bring out hidden details consistently with the professional’s choice for image sharpening

nik-collection-free

It was then bought by Google, and now Google is making the plug-ins available as a free download…

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Captain’s Chair

During my visit to Patriot’s Point in Charleston, SC, I snapped this picture of the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier captain’s chair.

Aircraft carrier captain’s chair. Post processed.

Seemingly an easy exposure enough, but with the bright sunlight, it created a wide dynamic range (range from the brightest pixel to the darkest pixel) that it poses a challenge for most digital cameras. How so, you ask? Take a look at the original exposure below.

The original exposure. Details of the ship’s bridge surrounding the captain’s chair were lost in the shadows.

You can see that while the out-the-window view of the Ravenel cable-stayed bridge is about the same as the post processed photo, the details of the ship’s bridge is almost completely lost in the shadows. Even large portions of the captain’s chair is lost. So how do you capture a photo like that in the first image above, that shows a balanced exposure from the outdoors to the indoor elements?

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How to Take Pictures of a Ferris Wheel at Night

Carnivals. Cotton Candy. Arcades. Rides. Ferris Wheels. These words conjure up thoughts of fun, good times, and simple pleasures.

Nikon D600 & Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S lens @ 5 sec, f/22, 28mm, iso 100 on tripod.

To a photography enthusiast, it conjures up an opportunity to shoot long exposures at night to capture the dazzling lighting effects of the newer Ferris wheels. Read on to see how I harvested the light…

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How to Take Pictures of Fireworks

Fireworks. The word conjures of memories of 4th of July’s, New Year celebrations, visits to Disney theme parks, and other very special occasions.

4th of July fireworks

Opening salvos. Nikon D600 with Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S lens @ 10 seconds, f/13, 28mm focal length, iso 100, and tripod.

So how do you take pictures of fireworks? It is not that hard really. Fireworks photography is one of those photographic techniques that is rather prescriptive. This article is a “how to” for digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras.

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Project 30: Practicing Your Photography Skills Everyday

I just completed my first Project 30, where I practice my photography daily and choose one photo to post on my Project blog. I have heard of this exercise from other photographers, and I was finally inspired enough to start it when I came across this Click It Up A Notch blog post. I know it would be a challenge to shoot everyday, but my work/life balance is finally starting to level out so I thought I should just give it a try.

Lake Eola

Lake Eola, Orlando, Florida

What is has taught me? Plenty…

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At the End of the Rainbow

Thunderstorms in Florida in the summer is a daily occurrence. Nothing unusual. This storm was a little bigger than usual as there were flood warnings throughout town. Just before sunset, however, it let up a little bit, enough for the sun to peak through before setting. And then this magic happened…

Rainbow after the storm

Rainbow after the storm. Nikon D600 with Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G AF-S lens @ 14mm focal length, 1/80 sec, f/4.0, iso 200.

Read on to see how I post-processed the raw image to get this final result…

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Adobe offers free Creative Suite 2 download

Adobe is offering the complete Adobe Creative Suite 2 as a free download, probably to encourage photographers and graphics artists to try the Adobe CS2 application suite which includes a Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. While CS2 is considered archiac as it was originally released in 2005 for Windows 2000 and XP operating systems, it may still be worth a try for the those uninitiated with Adobe Photoshop. Download your free copy here for both PC and Mac computers.

Adobe Creative Suite 2

Adobe Creative Suite 2

Dreaming of a Bokeh Christmas

With individual members of my family traveling before the holidays, it was not possible to take a complete family of five group portrait for this year’s electronic greeting card, so I opted to take individual portraits in front of the Christmas tree over a period of several weeks. With a common theme and background, I should be able to assemble a coherent collage. As I was preparing my “studio”, I was lacking a willing volunteer/model so I can set my camera and off-camera flash settings. For the sake of progress, I volunteered myself as the model and used a wireless remote shutter trigger. After numerous tries and adjustments to my placement and camera settings, I ended up with this self-portrait.

Bokeh Christmas self-portrait

Bokeh Christmas self-portrait.
Nikon D5000 with Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S lens in manual exposure @ 1/200 sec, f/2, iso 320, TTL flash with -1 EV, and manual focus.

Read on to see how I capture this self-portrait or “selfie”…

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Tutorial: Capturing Dimly Lit Scenes Without a Flash, Using High ISO Settings

When Flash Just Won’t Do

In dimly lit situations, a flash unit is often used to light up a scene.  But in some venues, flash photography is strongly discouraged or forbidden. Worse, some venues are too large for the flash unit to work effectively (remember, light falls off with the square of the distance).

High ISO shot of a high school band concert

High ISO shot of a high school band concert.
Nikon D5000 and Nikon 18-55mm kit lens, 1/60 sec @ f/4.5, iso 3200, no flash.

What are we photographers supposed to do? Read on for some tips…

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