Fujifilm Releases New Medium Format Camera

After may rumors and speculation circulated around the virtual photography water coolers, FujiFilm announced at 9:00 a.m. that they have released a new medium format camera.

Already on the market is their GFXS, and released today is the GFXR.  Both are a staggering 51.4 million pixels.

We wanted to look at the notable differences and the biggest thing we noted was the price.  Coming in at $4,499.95, she is less expensive than her sister the

GFXS who is priced currently at B&H for $5,849.00

Additionally, the GFXR also has Bluetooth compatibility, so that the photographer can pair with their smartphone or tablet to transfer images.  This is different from the wifi capabilities of the other FujiFilm models.

Other notable differences is a lighter and thinner body.

If you’re in the market for a medium format camera, this just might be the option for you!

Deconstructing Success: How Ansel Adams became Ansel Adams

While culture praises and promotes quick success, 4 hour work weeks, and instant gratification, most of us are keenly aware from life lessons that success rarely comes without hard work, persistence and laser sharp focus.

Looking at the ‘Father Of Photography’, it’s interesting to step back and join him in the 1920’s long before he became Ansel Adams, and simply was young Ansel. Born in 1902 with a grandfather who was  a wealthy timber baron, Ansel grew up in a life of privilege for the first 5 years of his life.  In 1907 the entire family fortune would collapse. In his early days as a young adult, we would have found him studying and intent on the piano being his primary occupation.

Young Ansel had trouble fitting in at school.  He was naturally shy, and could possibly suffered from dyslexia.  As a result, he was then tutored at home by his father and his aunt.   Early on Ansel took solace in his love for nature and long walks alone.

It was only when he first experienced the beauty of Yosemite Sierra that he picked up a camera that his parents had given him and began to photograph.    Something important shifted during those long days of exploration and they shy boy that could never quite fit in, started to become a man who found himself comfortably at home in the wilderness.

At 17 years old he joined the Sierra Club and became a “keeper” of one of the lodges. Unknowingly to him, we can see that those years of networking within the Sierra club would be his first steps into his destiny as a world renowned photographer.  3 years after joining, he would have his photographs and writings published in the Sierra’s 1922 Bulletin.  6 years later he would have his first solo exhibition at the club’s headquarters.  At 25 years old and 5 years after his first  published achievement, he would meet a patron who would pave the way and financially support him in his becoming Ansel Adams.

There’s a few important lessons that we can learn from his beginning and apply to our own lives:

1. His love for nature came before his love of photography.

I’ve had the opportunity to interview many big names in the nature photography community and I have noticed one key trait amount all of them:  Their love of nature.  Quite simply without passion it’s hard to sustain a desire to get out of bed while it’s still dark, or to sacrifice your mattress for the forest floor.  Passion for nature places you on trails and your curiosity keeps one foot moving in front of the other when the incline becomes steep.

Ansel wouldn’t be Ansel Adams had not his love of nature been birthed.

 

2. He placed himself in a situation to be and do what he loved. 

His love for nature caused him to step out of his comfort zone by surrounding himself with like-minded people who shared a common passion for wilderness.

There’s nothing more valuable and harder to fake than authenticity.  His commitment to be present, to help where help was needed, as long as he was able to be present in nature is what led to his natural promotion within the Sierra Club and ultimately a seat on the board of directors.

Ansel wouldn’t be Ansel Adams had he not put himself in an uncomfortable position by putting himself out there.   Had he hid his photographs from his adventures in the mountains, or neglected to share them, he would have never been published.

 

3. Passion is easy to promote.

In 1927 Ansel would make his first “fully visualized photograph” (meaning he took a thoughtful approach to make an image based on knowledge of the gear and filters he had, combined with patiently waiting for the right light).  In addition that same year he would challenge himself physically by making his first High Trip. Pushing himself further both physically and creatively would cause him to become noticed by a patron who would be a significant figure in his artistic life and helping him to become who he was supposed to become.

Ansel wouldn’t be Ansel Adams had he not pushed himself further both with his creativity and physically.  Fostering his intrinsic need for creativity and expression through prints caused him to push further, wonder and contemplate different ways of doing things.  Passion is easy to promote, but more importantly it’s contagious and something everyone wants to be around.

 

Although there will never be another Ansel Adams, we can reflect back on his life and his early beginnings as a photographer to take away valuable lessons to inspire and challenge us to love and preserve nature, to capture the beauty of what we experience from our travels, and share our passion with others.

 

I know I shall be castigated by a large group of people today, but I was trained to assume that art related to the elusive quality of beauty and that the purpose of art was concerned with the elevation of the spirit – Ansel Adams

 

 

 

The World’s Largest Camera Show Starts In 5 Days!

In just 5 days the photographic world will flock to Cologne, Germany for Photokina 2018. Having attended Photokina in the past, we can tell you that it is an overwhelming experience of photographic fuel to fill your mind.

This has been a huge year in the industry where the “traditional” camera brands, Nikon and Canon entered into the mirrorless market. In addition, mirrorless veteran, FujiFilm just announced their new flagship piece the X-T3.

We are anticipating and watching to see if Fujifilm will release a speculated new GFX camera that is more compact and less expensive than the GFX50S.

Rumor also has it that Panasonic could break away from their Micro Four Thirds systems and enter into the full frame market with a brand new camera.  Exciting news for Panasonic lovers!

The most surprising rumor that we heard was that Zeiss may announce a mirrorless system.  We would be shocked to see them enter the camera body market, but with their name, why not.  Anything could happen…  They may be releasing a 100mm 1.4 lens and a 40mm f/2 CF FE lens.

We are however anxious to see the surprises that come from the show and are released to the public.

Historically the show has been held in the fall every other year, but starting in May of 2019 the show will be held annually for four days.

Until the show starts we will all sit and anticipate the fun new gear that’s coming our way!

Wildlife Photography That Will Make You Smile

With the east coast being pelted right now, Hawaii needing to evade hurricanes and all the storms, I think we could all use a little light-hearted humor today.

In walks the Born Free Foundations photography contest called “Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards”.

Thousands of photos had been submitted, but there are currently only 41 finalists.  The top prize of Overall Winner will be announced in November and will receive a trophy and a one week photographic safari for them and a friend in Kenya’s Maasi Mara game reserve.

Two tongue – twisting moose

 

‘Stop me if I’m boring you’ – an owl yawns

 

‘Not tonight darling, I’ve got a headache’

 

 

A ninja squirrel rehearses some moves.

 

Two deer argue over who’s the tallest

 

It takes two komodo dragons to tango

 

 

Fujifilm Releases the X-T3!

New X-T3 introduces all-new back-illuminated 26MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4 processor; World’s first APS-C mirrorless camera capable of 4K/60P 10bit recording

 

Valhalla, N.Y., September 6, 2018 – FUJIFILM North America Corporation today unveiled the new FUJIFILM X-T3, launching the X Series mirrorless digital cameras into its fourth generation. Introducing an all-new back-illuminated 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4 processor, the X-T3 delivers superb image quality, dramatically improved AF performance, exceptional tracking performance of fast-moving subjects and blackout-free burst shooting. The X-T3 is also the first APS-C mirrorless camera capable of 4K/60P 10bit recording to meet the needs of professional videographers.

“We are proud to introduce the new X-T3 to market as not only the latest addition to our X Series mirrorless lineup of digital cameras, but as an introduction to fourth generation technologies that feature substantial performance enhancements over previous models, delivering high AF performance, superb color reproduction and outstanding image quality to  photographers and videographers alike,“ said Yuji Igarashi, General Manager of the Electronic Imaging Division and Optical Devices Division of FUJIFILM North America Corporation.

Fourth Generation X-Trans CMOS 4 and X-Processor 4 for Improved Resolving Performance, Color Reproducibility, and Faster Processing

Featuring the latest, fourth generation 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 APS-C sensor with no optical low-pass filter, the FUJIFILM X-T3 boasts the highest performance in the history of X Series. Utilizing the unique color filter array of X-Trans CMOS sensors to control moiré and false colors, it is the first APS-C back-illuminated structure sensor with phase detection pixels distributed across the surface to improve image resolution without compromising signal to noise ratio. With the X-T3, ISO160 is now part of the standard ISO range, previously this was only available as extended ISO, perfect for use in bright scenes or when trying to shoot wide open with a fast, large-aperture lens.

The new X-T3 debuts the X-Processor 4 processor which features a Quad Core CPU to achieve a processing speed 3 times faster than current X Series models. Providing incredible AF accuracy and speed, the processor is also the first to deliver 4K/60P 10bit output, fulfilling the performance needs of professional videographers. It is also capable of implementing complex image processing tasks in an instant, such as the unique FUJIFILM Color Chrome Effect or Monochrome Adjustment function.

The new FUJIFILM X-T3 features the Color Chrome Effect, previously limited to the FUJIFILM GFX 50S medium format mirrorless digital camera, which produces enhanced color gradation in highly saturated colors such as vivid-colored flowers with shadows, a notoriously difficult subject to reproduce. With the high-speed processing power of the X-Processor 4, this effect can be applied not only to a single shot but also during continuous shooting.

Exceptional Autofocus and Viewfinder Performance

With the X-T3, AF performance receives a dramatic improvement from previous X Series products, increasing the phase detection AF area to the entire frame with 2.16M phase detection pixels providing fast and accurate phase detection AF. The low-light phase detection AF limit has been increased over the X-T2 by 2 stops, from -1EV to -3EV, making it possible for photographers to accurately focus in low light conditions, perfect for night photography.

Furthermore, the X-Processor 4’s high processing speed and excellent phase detection algorithm means the camera refocuses (AF) and meters (AE) 1.5 times more frequently than the X-T2, enabling accurate autofocus even when photographing subjects that change speed and move erratically across the frame, such as sports photography. The performance of Face Detection AF has also been improved. Eye Detection AF now supports the AF-C mode to maintain accurate focus tracking. Face and Eye Detection AF is also available during video recording to achieve smooth filming of subjects.

The X-T3 offers photographers incredible viewfinder performance, with the ability to now track a moving subject in the 3.69-million-dot high resolution EVF with a magnification ratio of 0.75x. Further the X-T3, allows continuous shooting of 11fps with the mechanical shutter without the optional vertical battery grip, enabling fast continuous shooting while maintaining a low weight.

Additional enhancements to the X-T3 include a display time lag of just 0.005 seconds and a EVF refresh rate of 100fps for smooth display of moving subject or when panning the camera. A new sports finder mode for enhanced capture of moving subjects is especially useful for sports and wildlife photography, and a new pre-shoot function, which allows photographers to start shooting as soon as the shutter button is half-pressed to ensure the moment is never missed.

 

Enhanced Video Performance to Meet the Needs of Professionals

The X-T3 is the first mirrorless digital camera capable of internal SD card 4K/60P 4:2:0 10bit recording and the first mirrorless digital camera with APS-C or larger sensor that is capable of 4K/60P 4:2:2 10bit HDMI output. Supported video formats include the widely-used H.264/MPEG-4 AVC as well as H.265/HEVC for greater data compression, which enables internal recording of 4K/60P 4:2:0 10bit at200Mbps bitrate as well as simultaneous HDMI output. The X-T3 sensor’s read speed has been increased from that of the X-T2, enabling17msec reading in 4K/60P video, reducing rolling shutter distortion for smooth recording of fast-moving subjects. 10bit color depth for video boosts the amount of color information 64 times compared to 8bit, and is combined with approximately. 12 stops dynamic range to enable capture of subjects with rich gradation of color.

Also introduced in the X-T3 is a new noise reduction algorithm and 4K inter-frame noise reduction, the minimum sensitivity for shooting F-Log footage has been lowered from ISO800 to ISO640, further enhancing the camera’s performance to meet the needs of videographers.

Designed for Ultimate Operability

Inheriting the popular design of the X-T2, dials are positioned on the top panel, and the camera features a central viewfinder and excellent grip design for stability and comfort. The X-T3 also incorporates enhancements to its design, including a lockable EVF diopter adjustment to prevent unintended adjustments while carrying the camera, and a touchscreen panel with higher contrast, wider viewing angles and better functionality for more intuitive operation. In addition, the X-T3 offers larger top-panel dials than the X-T2, and larger rear-panel buttons and a more pronounced press function of the front and rear command dials, as found on the X-H1.

X-T3 Vertical Battery Grip

The Vertical Battery Grip VG-XT3 is designed to be dust-resistant, weather-resistant and capable of operating at temperatures as low as -10°C/14° F, and holds two additional batteries to increase the maximum number of shots to 1,100 (in normal mode). The grip features a shutter release button, focus lever, AE-L button, AF-L button, front and rear command dials, Q button and Fn button to provide the same level of excellent operability with vertical shooting as with horizontal.

 

X-T3 Metal Hand Grip

The MHG-XT3 Metal Hand Grip makes it substantially more comfortable to hold the camera when it is mounted with a large-aperture lens, in order to reduce camera shake. The battery or SD cards can be replaced without having to remove the hand grip, and the base can be used as a quick release shoe when using a dovetail mount on a tripod.

 

FUJIFILM X-T3 Key Features:

  • 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 Sensor with primary color filter
  • X-Processor 4 Image Processing Engine

o   Capable of 4K/60P and 10bit output

o   Features 4 CPU units

o   Startup time of 0.3 seconds

o   Shutter time lag of 0.045 seconds

  • High-precision, 0.5-inch, 3.69 million dot OLED color viewfinder

o   Viewfinder magnification of 0.75x

o   Wide viewing angle (diagonal 38º and horizontal 30º)

o   Display time lag of just 0.005 seconds, refresh rate of approx. 100fps

  • Robust magnesium alloy body
  • Continuous Shooting

o   Approx. 30fps [Only electronic shutter, 1.25 x Crop ] (JPEG: 60 frames Lossless compression RAW: 35 frames Uncompressed RAW: 33 frames)

o   Approx. 11fps (JPEG: 145 frames Lossless compression RAW: 42 frames Uncompressed RAW: 36 frames)

o   Approx. 5.7fps (JPEG: endless Lossless Compression RAW: 62 frames Uncompressed RAW: 43 frames)

o   Pre-shot: Approx. 30fps [Only electronic shutter, 1.25 x Crop ] (max. 20 frames while half press, max. 20 frames after full press, total max. 40 frames)

  • Movie Recording (using a card with the UHS Speed Class 3 or higher)

o   File format

  • MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, HEVC/H.265, Audio: Linear PCM / Stereo sound 24bit / 48KHz sampling)

o   Movie compression

  • All Intra/Long-GOP, can be used with the following settings:
  • DCI4K/4K 29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 400Mbps
  • Full HD(2048×1080)/Full HD(1920×1080) 59.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 200Mbps

o   File size/ Frame Rate/ Recording Time

  • [DCI 4K(4096×2160)] 59.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p  400Mbps/200Mbps/100Mbps 59.94p/50p: up to approx. 20min. 29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p: up to approx. 30min
  • [4K(3840×2160)]59.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p
  • 400Mbps/200Mbps/100Mbps 59.94p/50p: up to approx. 20min. 29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p: up to approx. 30min
  • [Full HD(2048 ×1080)] 59.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p  200Mbps/100Mbps/50Mbps up to approx. 30min.
  • [Full HD(1920×1080)] 59.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 200Mbps/100Mbps/50Mbps up to approx. 30min.
  • [Full HD(1920×1080) High speed rec.] 120p/100p 200Mbps (recording) up to approx. 6min.
  • Recording movies in 400Mbps can be done with DCI4K/4K 29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p.
  • DCI4K 59.94p/50p is not available when H.264 is selected.
  • For recording movies, use a SD memory card with UHS Speed Class 3 or higher. For recording movies in 400Mbps, use a SD memory card with   Video Speed Class 60 or higher
  • LCD Monitor

o   3.0 inch, aspect ratio 3:2, approx. 1.04 million dots touch screen color LCD monitor (approx. 100% coverage)

  • 16 Film Simulation Modes

o   PROVIA/Standard, Velvia/Vivid, ASTIA/Soft, Classic Chrome, PRO Neg. Hi, PRO Neg. Std, Black & White, Black & White +Ye Filter, Black & White +R Filter, Black & White +G Filter, Sepia, ACROS, ACROS +Ye Filter, ACROS+R Filter, ACROS+G Filter, ETERNA/Cinema), B & W Adjustment: -9~+9

  • Bluetooth® Ver. 4.2 low energy technology
  • 16 Film Simulation Modes
  • Accessories included:

o   Li-ion battery NP-W126S

o   Battery charger BC-W126S

o   Shoe-mount flash unit EF-X8

o   Shoulder strap

o   Body cap

o   Strap clip

o   Protective cover

o   Clip attaching tool

o   Hot shoe cover

o   Vertical battery grip connector cover

o   Connector cover (detachable)

o   Sync terminal cover

o   Cable protector

o   Owner’s manual

 

FUJIFILM X-T3 Accessories:

  • X-T3 Vertical Power Booster Grip VG-XT3

o   Weather-resistant design fits two additional batteries

  • X-T3 Metal Hand Grip MHG-XT3

o   Enhanced ergonomic design for horizontal shooting

  • X-T3 Bottom Leather Case BLC-XT3

o   Genuine premium leather

  • X-T3 Cover Kit CVR-XT3 includes:

o   Sync terminal cover

o   Hot shoe cover

o   Connector cover

o   Vertical battery grip connector cover, black

o   Vertical battery grip connector cover, silver

  • FUJIFILM Remote Release RR-100
  • Battery Charger BC-W126S

Availability and Pricing

The X-T3 will be available on September 20, 2018 in the U.S. and Canada. The X-T3 Body will be available in black and silver for USD $1,499.95 and CAD $1,899.99. The X-T3 Body with XF18-55mm Lens Kit will be available in black and silver for USD $1,899.95 and CAD $2,399.99.

 

Arsenal: An AI-powered camera hardware

Intelligent camera assistant wirelessly controls DSLR and Mirrorless cameras from a smartphone, uses machine learning to find optimal settings in any conditions.

BOZEMAN, MT—May 23, 2017— Arsenal, a camera technology startup, today announced the world’s first intelligent camera assistant powered by machine learning. The new hardware and software product, launched on Kickstarter, enables photographers to wirelessly control their cameras and quickly perform advanced techniques.

Arsenal’s artificial intelligence (AI) is powered by a series of machine learning algorithms trained on a database of millions of photographs and their metadata. By comparing new scenes with its database and adjusting based on environmental variables, Arsenal enables photographers to get the perfect shot every time.

“Today’s cameras have amazing optics, but they do very little to actually help you take a good photo,” said Ryan Stout, Arsenal’s founder and CEO. “You can go spend a thousand dollars and out-of-the-box it will take worse photos than your smartphone. Arsenal changes that by making your existing camera smarter.”

Arsenal will serve the growing market for Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) and Mirrorless cameras. Its initial product will be compatible with dozens of popular models made by Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Fuji.

In addition to its AI capabilities, Arsenal gives photographers control over their camera from up to 100 feet away. Users can adjust settings, watch a live preview, and trigger the shutter remotely from their smartphone.

Arsenal also simplifies several advanced photographic techniques. Arsenal will perform photo stacking (the process of combining multiple photos for more dynamic range or sharper focus), long exposures, and timelapses. In each case, the resulting RAW files are saved directly on the camera.

The Arsenal app also includes powerful photo review capabilities. Users can wirelessly browse the photos on their camera’s card and view individual RAW files in full resolution. Photos can then be shared directly to Instagram, Snap, and Facebook.

The Arsenal system, which is currently being tested in the field, consists of two parts: an ultralight hardware device that sits on top of a user’s camera, and an iOS/Android mobile app. The app wirelessly communicates with the device via wifi or Bluetooth, which in turn controls the camera via a micro-USB connection.

Photographers: Those Who Draw With Light

The word photography was first used in the 1830’s. It is derived from two Greek words, photos (“light”) and graphein (“to draw”).

To draw with light.

It’s a beautiful summary of what we do.  When I discovered the original meaning, something deep within stirred.

Today we live in an oversaturated photographic space.  As I write this, kids are heading back to school and my social media is filled with cute children equipped with backpacks and books.

I then looked at my Instagram account and saw saturated image, after saturated image.  I had to ask myself: Have I become desensitized to photography?  Do I require florescent sunsets and vibrant flowers in the foreground to stimulate and inspire me?

I was then led to this personal reflection:  What if photography didn’t exist?

Social media would be boring.  If photography didn’t exist, we could rule out video.  A larger dependency and reliance would be given to the written word.

It’s hard to imagine a world where something so entrenched in our culture doesn’t exist.

Somewhere between the space of oversaturated stimuli and baulking at the thought of it not existing, is a place where I am reconciling why photography matters.

Recently I began blogging.  I write personal reflections about life, faith and family.  My photography is used to support my written words.  I’ve noticed that I can be granted a few moments of someone attention when I intertwine my words with an image I’ve created.

Keith photographed the approach of Hurricane Irma in 2017.  His image, Irma’s Approach went viral and sold numerous prints.   People’s relatability and emotional connection to the storm they personally experienced caused them to bond with his piece.

As people who “draw with light”, we are more than documenters of moments (although that is exactly what each mother did before they sent their children off to school).   The time invested to learn the art, the financial requirements for gear, travel and education are all proof that there is a deeper need for self expression and enjoyment in the art of creating, drawing with light.

There’s no single piece of art that has touched each eye that has viewed it.  The beauty of art is that it’s subjective.  Created first from something deep within the artist, and then appreciated by those who it speaks to.

Your photography will speak to those it is meant for.  At it’s source though it’s a personal expression of your experience, a journal of your travels, and your interpretation of a moment.

And at the end of the day, when the contest winners have been chosen, the gallery has selected their artists they want to feature, the prints have been packed up from the art festival, or you take account of the numbers of like on social media, the question that should be last on your lips are these:

  1. Did I enjoy the process of creating this piece
  2. Am I happy with what I have created and is it my best.
  3. What does this piece say to me and how can I share it with others?

Of course not every image you capture will be able to have these questions answered in the affirmative, but every once in a while, everything will line up in the field, your processing will flow, you’ll create magic, and you’ll know that the piece will become a benchmark of your life.

Dear artist, don’t stop drawing with light.

Astro Photographer of the Year – 2018 Shortlist

Celebrating 10 years of Astro Photography, the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year the Royal Observatory Greenwich in London seeks out and awards who they consider are the best astro photographers who capture the wonders of the night sky.

The competition announced their shortlisted contestants for this year’s competition and we are amazed!

As photographers we understand how expensive the art of photography can be.  When you enter into Astro Photography and Deep Space, the budget can quickly be broken, leaving our spouses with concerned, partially agitated looks on their faces.

Interestingly enough, one of the shortlisted images was captured by a photographer named Casper Kentish who made the list with his photo of the moon that shockingly was captured with an iPad.

Here are a few of the short listed winners…

 

Photogrpaher:  Peter Ward

“The brightness of the solar corona hides details of the Moon to human eyes during a total solar eclipse. But, by layering multiple digital exposures, in this case from two seconds to 1/2000th of a second, much more can be revealed. In doing so, eXtreme High Dynamic Range photography (XHDR) shows not only the brilliant solar corona, but the newest possible of new moons, seen here illuminated by sunlight reflecting off the Earth”.

 

Image Credits:  Mark Hanson, Warren Keller, Steve Mazlin, Rex Parker, Tommy Tse, David Plesko, Pete Proulx

“These spectacular reflection nebulae in Corona Australis exhibit the characteristic blue colour produced by the light of hot stars reflected by silica-based, cosmic dust. The data was acquired by Star Shadows Remote Observatory at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory’s PROMPT2, using LRGB (luminance, red, green, blue) filters. The data was prepared in CCDStack and post-processed in Photoshop and PixInsight by Mark Hanson. While the whole of Corona Australis is a gorgeous region, the cores of NGC 6726 and NGC 6727 are rarely seen at this amazing resolution. We feel that this is one of the most stunning regions of the southern sky, which leaves us with mouths agape!”

Image Credit:  Łukasz Sujka

“These spectacular reflection nebulae in Corona Australis exhibit the characteristic blue colour produced by the light of hot stars reflected by silica-based, cosmic dust. The data was acquired by Star Shadows Remote Observatory at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory’s PROMPT2, using LRGB (luminance, red, green, blue) filters. The data was prepared in CCDStack and post-processed in Photoshop and PixInsight by Mark Hanson. While the whole of Corona Australis is a gorgeous region, the cores of NGC 6726 and NGC 6727 are rarely seen at this amazing resolution. We feel that this is one of the most stunning regions of the southern sky, which leaves us with mouths agape!”

 

Image Credit:  Carlos F. Turienzo

“We had been travelling for 24 hours without sleeping to reach our destination before the one night where clear skies were forecasted ended. After reaching the hut and having a nice dinner, we climbed up to the cliff and waited for night-time to come. Unfortunately it came with a cloudy sky. We stood there being optimistic, knowing that all our efforts would be rewarded, and eventually the clouds disappeared and the magic happened: a beautiful Milky Way emerged over the mountains! It was amazing being there together enjoying the magnificent spectacle, truly a dream come true.”

And our personal favorite and the one we are hoping wins…..

Image Credit: © Miguel Angel García Borrella and Lluis Romero Ventura

Image Title: Mosaic of the Great Orion & Running Man Nebula

“The Orion Nebula, also known as Messier 42, M42, or NGC 1976, is a diffuse nebula situated in the Milky Way, south of Orion’s Belt in the constellation of Orion. It is one of the brightest nebulae and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. M42 is located at a distance of 1,270 light years and is the closest region of massive star formation to Earth. The M42 nebula is estimated to be 24 light years across and has a mass of about 2,000 times that of the Sun. This image is the result of the efforts of two astrophotographers, Miguel Angel García Borrella and Lluis Romero Ventura, who chose a common target of the Orion Sword area (one of the most beautiful areas of our night sky) using different equipment from their observatories, which are located hundreds of kilometres from each other”.

 

You can see the complete list of shortlisted images along with signing up to hear more about next year’s contest and the 2018 winners when they are announced by visiting the Royal Museums Greenwich website.   Winners from the 2018 competition will be announced on 23 October.

2018 IPPAwards – Landscape

If you’re unfamiliar with the IPPAwards, don’t be surprised.  So were we.  Surprisingly, the IPPAwards have been around for over 10 years.  So what is it?

The iPhone Photography Awards

Recently the 2018 winners for the Landscape division were released and we were eager to see what the judges found to be the best.

Below is a recap with full credit to the iPPAwards and the photographers who entered the contest.

Charles Thomas

United States

1st Place – Landscape

Human vs. Nature
“I’ve always been fascinated with the view out of an airplane window. On this afternoon, I was lucky enough to get a window seat on a return trip from Las Vegas. I watched the landscape slowly transform from cityscape to rows of identical suburban houses, to surreal desert- scape.”

Location: Between Nevada and Arizona
Shot on iPhone 8 Plus

 

Asuman Robson

Turkey

2nd Place – Landscape

At Sycamore Gap
“Taken on a hike along Hadrian’s Wall in the North East of England. It was a typical moody day and I liked how the tree and hikers looked in front of the clouds in this dramatic dip of the Roman wall.”

Location: Northumberland, UK
Shot on iPhone 7

 

Naian Feng

China

3rd Place – Landscape

The Kerid
“This is a photo of Kerid mount in southern Iceland. Kerid is a dead volcano and in the middle there is a blue volcanic lake. I took this photo during winter when the lake was frozen. The black spots on the surface of the lake are tourists.”

Location: Kerid, Iceland
Shot on iPhone X

 

If you’d like to enter the 12th Annual iPhone Photography Awards, you have until the deadline, March 31, 2019 to enter.

To enter go here: 2019 iPPAwards

Just a girl with an iPhone…

Have we officially arrived in the future?  Are we now at a place where we can disregard our expensive, heavy DSLR’s for something as compact as a smart phone?

From the millennial to the baby boomer, folks are trading in the weight of heavy “traditional” DSLR’s for mirrorless cameras and have been for a number of years.  Are we now in a place where smart phones are becoming a standard in photography?

Last September Time Magazine published an image on their cover that had been captured with an iPhone.

In her post titled “How we created Time Magazine’s First iPhone Portfolio“, Kira Pollack states this:

“Last summer, I came across the work of a young Brazilian photographer named Luisa Dörr while I was browsing Instagram. I had never heard of her, but with all great photographs, it’s the image that captivates me, not the name of the photographer.” 

Pollack goes on to state that she became captivated with the Instagram feed and the consistency of the images the feed contained.

As a result, Pollack hired the Instagrammer to photograph women such as Oprah, Hillary Clinton, Aretha Franklin, Serena WIlliams and many others.  All of these names have been photographed by the best in the industry, and yet they chose a young girl with an iphone for this large task.

Luisa Dorr, left, shoots Oprah Winfrey on her iPhone in Los Angeles, Oct. 2016.

Luisa Dorr, left, shoots Oprah Winfrey on her iPhone in Los Angeles, Oct. 2016.

 

“As Luisa told me in our interview, which you can read here, many of them were disarmed by her stripped-down, bare-bones process. The iPhone has become so ubiquitous in our culture, so essential to the way we are communicating, that our subjects, I think, were at first surprised that something so basic was being used for something as singular as a portrait for TIME. But such a universal tool in fact became a refreshing and equalizing force for each session. It enabled the shoots to be much more about the “act” of portrait-making—the gestures, the eyes, what even the most subtle body language can reveal about a person.”  – Kira Pollack 

Although most of us won’t be willing to set down our DSLR’s for strictly an iphone, it’s a challenge to all of us.  For many of us, each piece of gear we carry in our bags is beloved.  We know the lenses intimately.  We have spent time with them and we know their limitations and the places where they can come to life.

Ms. Pollack, her position with Time Magazine and her willingness to identify a young girl with an iPhone and to engage her to create 12 cover photos for her magazine, should encourage all of us to use the tools we have.   Rather than chasing, striving for new gear, let’s instead focus on our artistic abilities, dig deep into our passion of the art itself and see what can be created.

As with all artists, it’s easy for us to get distracted.  I’m sure Luisa Dorr never imagined that she would get a call from Time Magazine. She was staying in her lane, consistently making work that stemmed from her heart, and was committed to doing what she loved.  When that diligence and passion is done consistently over a period of time, creation does evolve and with the creation, growth that you could never imagine.

3 Tips For Staying Active With Your Photography When You Can’t Travel

Inspiration is life to any artist.  It can also be your worst enemy.  If we full rely on only creating our art when we are inspired, we’ll find that one thing happens:  We don’t create.  In fact, the same is true with romantic relationships.  Contrary to popular Hollywood opinion, you are never in the rapture of euphoria 100% of the time.  For those of you who have been married for a few years, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

There’s a place where practicing the discipline of your art must come to be a priority in your creative practices.  

This has never been more true of staying inspired while staying close to home.  Although Keith and I are fortunate enough to live in one of the higher rated locations for vacationers, it’s easy to take Charleston and her surrounding lowcountry for granted.  Do not be fooled:  Even Charleston can become commonplace to someone who lives here.

Below are three tips that we find helpful to keep things fresh, staying inspired, and maintaining consistency in your photography:

1)  Create Margin to Create

This is true of both your post processing, and your field work.  As mentioned above, if we only act when we’re inspired we will not only create less, but we will stunt the natural growth that occurs when we are routinely creating.  Make time to get out and explore, or learn a new technique in your post processing.

Your photography is like a lake, 

to be healthy, it must always have a source fresh water flowing in

and an outlet where it can flow out. 

 

2) Cultivate Curiosity

I can personally attest to this truth:  Being intentional about curiosity is key to feeding your creativity.  A sure threat to your art is finding yourself in a place where you think you know everything, or worse yet, being unwilling to enter into a place of discovery.  This is true with your post processing.  It can be very easy to get into a rut doing the same “recipe” or using the same tools over and over, without asking “what does this image need”.

The same is true with getting out and photographing where you live.

Just this past spring, Keith and I entered into the dangerous place of thinking we knew all of Charleston and her surrounding areas.  Smugly we thought: “We’ve seen it all”.   It was only then that we found what we consider one of the most beautiful locations in Charleston for azaleas.   The truth that came from this:  Never underestimate where you live.

Just because you don’t haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist

3) Be Present

When I was working in the Mortgage Industry, it was during the 2009 Refinance Boom.  The hours were long, the stress was high, and the only thing that allowed me to maintain some semblance of sanity was regularly scheduled explorations into nature.  I’d come home from the office, grab my dog, grab some food, and set out to hike, walk, or drive down old back roads.  It may be that I’d drive for 3 or 4 hours TRYING to get lost.   There I discovered fallen logs, dilapidated  tobacco barns, rusty trucks, and hidden rivers just waiting to be photographed in the light.

When your desire to be surrounded by nature becomes your priority, amazing photography will always follow’

 

 

*My deepest thanks to Mandy in our community for inspiring this post.  Although it may not have answered her questions, it provoked a lot of thought.  For that and the inspiration you gave me today Mandy, you have my deepest thanks.

Nik Is Back!!!

Y’all! Nik is back!!   DxO, the company that purchased Nik from Google in 2017 announced just a couple of days ago that they have re-released the beloved software.

The best news of all, is that the entire suite is now fully compatible with Lightroom and Photoshop.

The Nik Collection 2018 by DxO is now fully functional and compatible with all 64-bit Windows and Mac platforms, as well as with Adobe Lightroom Classic CC, Photoshop CC 2018, and Photoshop Elements 2017/2018. In addition, DxO now provides support in four languages on its website (http://nikcollection.dxo.com/), which will soon include exclusive tutorials. The software suite update, including the seven plugins, is now available in 13 languages, and includes a free 30-day trial period.

The Nik Collection 2018 by DxO is available for download on the DxO website (http://shop.dxo.com/us/photo-software/dxo-nikcollection) for $49.99 /

 

 

AI Is Already Changing The Way We Think About Photography

AI is rapidly changing the way we think about photography. Just a couple of years from now, most advances in the photo space will be AI-centric, and not optics or sensor-centric as before. The advancement in photography technology will, for the first time ever, be untethered from physics, and will create a whole new way of thinking about photography. This is how it’s going to happen.

Processing power

Just six months ago we saw the first glimpse of AI entering our consumer world when Apple introduced A11 Bionic neural engine chip, which powers current generation of iPhones. The A11 is important because the chip is specifically designed for tasks such as image–and face–recognition, AR applications, etc. In applications like this, it’s way more effective.

I then wrote that the Google Pixel line would introduce it’s own hardware chips, designed for specific tasks, and that indeed happened sooner than anyone—including me—expected, as the Pixel 2 featured dedicated image enhancement chip to help with image processing on the fly. What made it intriguing is that when Pixels were announced and shipped, there was no mention of the feature, and only sometime later did Google admit that the Pixels had a dedicated chip which would be “enabled” sometime in the future (if you own Pixel 2 today, this hardware feature is already enabled).

Then came Chinese smartphone maker Huawei with the P20 Pro, featuring 4 cameras — 1 in front and 3 in the back. In addition to achieving the highest DxO Mark score to date, the Huawei P20 Pro is packed with AI features, such as real-time image scene recognition, meaning it can discern 500 scenarios in 19 categories, such as animals, landscapes, as well as an advanced night mode, where the AI assists in processing noisy photos, making them almost perfect. The Verge has great coverage with image samples to provide a good overview of this photo powerhouse.

As the next generation of smartphone products are developed, many manufacturers are focused on image capture and real-time processing, partially because it’s a great marketing differentiator, but also because advances in this area are clearly visible to the consumer.

Catering to the pros

But in professional and semi-pro setting, there are several other developments that are key to image quality. First of all, is the processing part, that has to happen right after the photo has been taken. Advances in RAW processing have been steady and predictable (but yet, very welcome by everyone), but AI is ready to supercharge this process. Recently PetaPixel featured a research paper named “Learning to See in the Dark” by Chen Chen, Qifeng Chen, Jia Xu, and Vladlen Koltun, that covers techniques of recovery of extremely underexposed RAW files.

For the consumer it means that AI-assisted software can create high-quality images way beyond the current physical limit — allowing smaller sensors (such as found in drones or mirrorless cameras) to leapfrog current top-end DSLR’s.

In other applications, it might allow tiny security cameras to yield high-quality imagery, increasing overall surveillance.

Photo optimization

One intriguing technology I had a chance to see recently is AI-powered upscaling, far beyond in quality than what is currently available to the public. A team of AI developers at Skylum is putting finishing touches on technology that will allow smartphone images to be upscaled and printed at an incredibly high resolution and sharpness. As I’ve previously pointed out, not everyone has an iPhone X in their pocket — hundreds of millions of people today are buying brand new phones that use 4-year-old technology, so having sharper, crispier photos from outdated smartphone sensors will allow millions of people future-proof their precious moments.

Thousands of kilometers from Skylum AI research lab is another startup, that stealthily applying quantum mechanics research to RAW files, is promising to compress your photos up to 10x without loss of data.

A year ago Apple introduced HEIF, High Efficiency Image Format. If you use iPhone with iOS11 you are likely using HEIF without even knowing it. HEIF allows for higher quality images (compared to JPEG) at about half the size, allowing to keep twice as many photos as before. Dotphoton, a small startup from Switzerland, is aiming to up HEIF format and is focusing on the professional applications, from aerial footage to professional photographers.

After a long technological hiatus in image tech, we are yet again seeing an explosion of interest in the space. Photography plays an important role in every tech company, but nowhere it is more important than in the smartphone race. And as September edges closer, Google and Apple will both be aiming to announce cutting-edge photography advances. Yet, an influx of smaller players are innovating at a rapid rate and raising the stakes for everyone.

 

 

Via: Forbes, Writer: Evgeny Tchebotarev

Sony’s new mirrorless camera EVF is 60 percent sharper

Sony has unveiled an OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) display with a resolution of 5.6 million dots and a record 6.3 micrometer dot pitch. That’s a significant boost over the 3.69 million dot EVF on its flagship A9 and A7R III mirrorless cameras. It also boasts a refresh rate of 240 fps, double that of the previous model. Once it starts shipping later this year, you can expect to see mirrorless cameras with much sharper and more responsive displays, further closing the gap on DSLRs with optical viewfinders.

The displays, which have 1.6 times the resolution of the last model, will be used on “high-end cameras that demand extremely high image quality,” Sony said. You can also expect to see them on augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) headsets. The high refresh rate should be particularly helpful when shooting 4K video on mirrorless cameras, and will also reduce motion sickness and image artifacts in VR.

Sony-manufactured EVFs are used on most other mirrorless cameras, including models from Fujifilm, Panasonic and others. So, the arrival of a crucial new component clearly designed for flagship cameras will no doubt set off speculation as to which models will get it and when.

Sony’s A7S III video-centric camera is due to arrive soon, and given the ship date, reinforces rumors that it will first be shown at Photokina in Cologne, Germany this September. Nikon has also said that it’s making a full-frame mirrorless camera that could use the EVF, and it could also be unveiled at the same show. Other models from Fujifilm and Leica might come out around the same time, so it could be one of the most interesting Photokina shows in years.

Via: Engadget and Steve Dent 

The best iPhone photography app just got a complete makeover

One of the best original iPhone photography apps is about to make a comeback.

Camera+ was one of our favorite camera apps in the early days of the iPhone thanks to its streamlined UI and unique features. Now the developers behind have given it a complete overhaul in time for the summer.

Camera+2 is a complete rewrite of the original, making it better, faster and stronger than ever to take advantage of the iPhone X’s new camera features. Best of all, the developers are doing away with in-app purchases. Now you get everything you need to make your photos look amazing for just $1.99.

So, what’s changed from the original? Pretty much everything. All of the camera features like Slow Shutter and manual shooting controls are still there. You get support for Portrait Mode now and can choose between using the wide or tele lens if your iPhone has a dual-lens camera.

On the editing side everything has been streamlined. Camera+2 integrates your Photo Library with the Lightbox now so that you don’t have to import and export photos you want to edit. They’ve also added RAW photo capture and editing so you can push each pixel to the limit.

Camera+2 is a universal app too so you get all the same features on your iPad too. It is set to launch on May 29th at $2.99, but you can pre-order it now for just $1.99 on the App Store.

 

Via:  Cult of Mac

Fujifilm’s entry-level X-T100 brings classic style for $600

Fujifilm has unveiled the X-T100, an interesting mirrorless camera that’s quite similar, spec-wise, to the entry-level X-A5, but looks more like the X-T20. It’s one of the few inexpensive mirrorless cameras out there with an electronic viewfinder, great for serious photographers on a budget. Unfortunately, it’s not as great for video, as Fujifilm crippled the 4K by limiting it to 15 fps.

While X-T100 looks much like the X-T20, it lacks the front dial and a few other features from that model. Still, you get four dials for tactile control, along with the classic good looks and compact body you’d expect from Fujifilm (it comes in dark silver, black and a surprisingly nice-looking champagne gold, above). Unlike the X-A5, it has a 3-way articulating screen that you can flip around for selfies or vlogging.

Other specs, which Fujifilm accidentally leaked all over the internet last week, look pretty nice. It’s got a 24.2-megapixel CMOS (not X-Trans) APS-C sensor that provides a wide field of view and works with Fujifilm’s lovely X mount Fujinon lenses. You also get 6 fps shooting for up to 26 frames, double the capacity of the X-A5. Most importantly, it comes with a 2.36-million dot resolution OLED EVF, a very nice feature to have on a relatively inexpensive camera.

While you do get 1080p video at 60 fps, 4K (3,840 x 2,160) is limited to 15 fps, making me wonder why Fujifilm even bothered. You could use it to capture video at high speed to use for photos (à la Panasonic’s 4K Photofeature), or speed up the video to get an old-timey early-1900s look, I suppose.

If you’re okay without 4K video, the X-T100 is a solid mirrorless camera for the price, slotting in between the X-A5 and X-trans sensor-equipped X-T20. It will arrive in the US and Europe on June 18th for $600, or $700 with a Fujinon XC15-45 F/3.5-5.6 kit lens. If you decide to order one, just don’t confuse it with Fujifilm’s very similarly-named X-100T compact APS-C model.

Via: Steve Dent @ Engadget 

Really Right Stuff Tripods Has “THE BIG MOVE SALE”

Y’all.  I’m not kidding.  This never happens.  The coveted, and very pricy American owned tripod company is hosting a huge moving sale.  They are relocating from California to Utah and as a result consumers are the winners in this case!  They are offering 30% off some products.  Apparently because they want less to move!  For the Rolls Royce of tripods to go on sale is a big deal.  If you were on the fence about any of the products that they have listed for sale, now is the time!

 

FROM RRS:

We are excited to announce the start of The Big Move Sale. From now until June 20, 2018 11:59PM PST, select gear is available at 30% off with promo code BIGMOVESALE30. Visit The Big Move Salesection for a complete list of sale items. 

Note: As of June 11, 2018 – Please send all returns and repairs to the new RRS office at 720 S 850 East Lehi, Utah 84043, USA.

 

Check out the sales page here:  RRS BIG MOVE SALE

DJI Unveils Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 Drone

Los Angeles, CA—Fans of the iconic DJI Phantom drone can look forward to the release of its latest variation—the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 (P4P V2.0).

Packed with the features of the P4P, the P4P V2.0 uses DJI’s OcuSync transmission technology, which was developed for high-resolution, low-latency digital video transmission. Moreover, the technology improves the flight experience by reducing propeller noise by up to 60%.

DJI-Phantom-4-Pro-V20

In addition, drone pilots who utilize the first-person-view experience for work or for play can now directly connect the P4P V2.0 with their DJI Goggles for a more immersive FPV flying experience.

Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 Features

Specs state the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 drone provides 30 minutes of flight time with a nearly 4.5-mile transmission range. In addition, the drone features a five-directional obstacle sensing system. The drone also retains the line’s iconic white airframe. Moreover, its 1-inch CMOS image sensor provides 4K 60p video recording capabilities.

As a result, the P4P V2.0 is being marketed for “prosumers and professionals who need a reliable and powerful imaging solution that can cater to diverse filming needs and mapping operations.”

In addition, DJI is also offering the P4P V2.0 drone as a Phantom 4 Pro+ V2.0 version. The Pro+ is bundled with a 5.5-inch, 1080p resolution screen built into the remote controller. The screen is targeted at operators who fly outdoors under direct sunlight.

DJI-Phantom-4-Pro-Plus-v2.0

The Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 is now available for purchase. It has suggested retail price of  $1,499. Bundled with the aircraft is a battery, a remote controller, four pairs of propellers, a battery charger, a power cable, a gimbal clamp, a Micro USB cable, a microSD memory card and also a carrying case.

The Phantom 4 Pro+ V2.0 has a retail price of $1,799. It includes all the P4P V2.0 drone accessories, along with a 5.5-inch monitor built into the remote controller.

 

VIA:  Digital Imaging Reporter

 

New Canon 70-200mm Lenses Coming in Early June [CR3]

We’re told that Canon will finally unveil their new 70-200mm lenses with an early June announcement. Yes, that’s plural.

We can 100% confirm that one of the new lenses will be an EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II.

We can also 95% confirm that the second lens will be a EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III. All of the tips we’ve seen point to this lens coming, but we haven’t actually seen the “f/2.8L IS III” in writing.

We do not know pricing or when these new 70-200mm lenses will begin shipping.

Please keep in mind that lens announcement dates can change, even at the last minute.

VIA:  Canon Rumors

Eyes Beyond The Ordinary

We are knee deep into May and June will arrive faster than we can count the days on the calendar.  With that, Keith and I will start shifting our focus to our annual pilgrimage to the Canadian Rockies to lead this year’s workshop.

This image was captured at Lake Louise.  Lake Louise is a special spot for me.  My grandmother had one life-long dream and that was to experience and see the turquoise waters of Lake Louise with her own eyes.  In fact, she kept a postcard on her refrigerator of the beautiful lake for as long as I can remember.  She never made it there.   Whenever I step to the shore, I think of her.  It’s a special place that’s iconic to many people.

Sentiments aside, and photographically speaking, Lake Louise is a hard place to photograph.  The majority of times I’ve been there, the clouds lingering over the glaciers stick close to the ridge, and don’t allow the color and light to creep in.  Also, there is a boardwalk that stretches in front of the Chateau Lake Louise that most tourists capture images from.   While you can make the trek to Lake Agnes and the teahouse, few photographers venture there.  It’s a bit of a lung burner.

On this particular trip (last year), we had an exceptional sunrise for which I was abundantly thankful for.   However, I very much wanted a different composition from what you usually see coming from there.  I decided that I might be able to unleash some creativity if I released the glacier from needing to be in my point of view, and I embraced what everything else around me was saying.    That’s how this image was created.

Photography teaches me many life lessons.  Sometimes we have to let go of something we are expecting, or familiar to us to receive something fresh, new, and unexpected.   This is true as well of your creativity.

I’d love to hear from you.   Do you have an image you can share or a story that reflects this lesson in your own life?