think tank bags

Think Tank Bag Discounts

thiink tank summer savings banner Because I am an affiliate I get to share some deals with you on occasion. I’m a big fan of the Think Tank line of bags. One of my favorites is the Mirrorless Mover 20 belt/shoulder bag. It’s perfect for my Lumix cameras with just enough space for a camera with a small lens and 2 other lenses, batteries, tiny tripod, extra sd cards and a bit more.

I’ve had this bag for over three years I believe and it still shows no wear and tear. If you want this bag or the Mirrorless Mover 30 which is a bit bigger you’ll have to pay full price. but if you are interested in many of their other bags, Think Tank Photo have just announced what they’re calling their “Sizzling Summer Savings.”  With it, you can save up to 30% on some of their most popular gear, including their Urban Approach and Perception shoulder bags and backpacks, Retrospective Leather and CityWalker shoulder bags, and the My 2nd Brain laptop bags.

And don’t forget, by using my special Web link, you will receive free gear and free shipping with your orders! Learn more here.

think tank artHere’s a small sampling of the gear that is on sale.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

 

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time lapse play

Learning Time-Lapse Through Practice

I’m always testing and trying to find out more about the tools that I use in photography and image making. This example is taking a bunch of still images and combining them into a video known as time-lapse.

Time-lapse of water flowing on Beaver Creek in Sedona, Arizona

I used to avoid creating time lapse videos because of all the steps that were involved. Making the images, which involved using an intervalometer and hard to follow calculations to gather the photos. Downloading the pictures. Processing the images. And, finally, combining the images through software into the final video.

creek play photo A crop from one of the stills from the spider play video below

There are two things that have gotten me more interested in time-lapse videos, and both have to do with the ease of getting to the final product.

One is the settings built into the Lumix line of cameras which makes it simple to calculate the frame rate and capture of images without additional gear. AND (this is the BIG on) the capability to process finished time-lapse videos in-camera with a variety of settings including speed of playback and quality. This is huge!

The other is a simple processing program called Time-Lapse Assembler. A very easy to use bit of software. Select your images. Set the playback frame rate. Set the quality. And Viola! Time-lapse video complete.

From the same location I set in a new place and in playing back the time-lapse I found the spiders dancing around the scene. You need to watch carefully as they are small critters. I enjoy the shapes and forms of the ripples as they combine and reshpe due to the combining of still frames verses straight video capture.

I got a bit more creative in putting these videos together using Adobe Premeire Pro. Because I was able to process the time-lapse into 4K video size that allowed me to move within the scene zooming in on the spider action. This also allowed for the sound of water to be added. You won’t get sound when making time-lapse video because you are combining still photos. I recorded some other video to get the water sound track.

Images were made with the Lumix GX8 with a LUMIX G II LENS, 20MM, F1.7 ASPH

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob

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outdoor photography part four

Outdoor Photography – The Gear Part Four

In part Four of this series on outdoor photography, I talk more about the why’s of the gear I carried on this occasion. You can see results from the shoot by checking out part three and working back to the previous posts.

Take a look at the video below for an in-depth look at my photo kit for a full day hike.

Video explains my reasons and gear choices

Here are links to all the photo gear from this adventure.

Lumix GX85 with the Leica 100-400mm lens – Rangefinder style camera with five-axis image stabilization – 4 pounds

Lumix G6 converted to Infrared by LifePixel (link to G7 with 14-140mm Lumix Lens the G6 has been discontinued) – 2.2 Pounds

Lumix GX8 and 20mm 1.7 lens Rangefinder style body. – 1.5 pounds

Think Tank ‘MiriorlessMover 20’ Belt Bag with 7-14mm f4.0 lens and  12-60mm f2.8-4.0 lens – 3 pounds

MeFoto Roadtrip Tripod – 4 pounds

Total weight – just less than 15 pounds. If I knew I wasn’t going to be photographing any focus brackets or exposure brackets I could leave the MeFoto Tripod behind. But, you never know. Rather be safe than sorry!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

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outdoor photography part three

Outdoor Photography – Walking Oak Creek Part Three

This is a four-part series. Here are the links to previous posts. Part one. Part two.

When out photographing for the day the camera that is converted to infrared makes shooting under the sun high in the sky quite interesting. Non-visible light can be captured with an IR converted camera. Lumix G6 (link to newer camera G7) with 14-140mm Lumix Lens. I used LifePixel for my conversion to a 720nm filter. There is quite an array of information on their website to help you decide what kind of IR filter to have installed on your camera. Many people put their older camera models back into service this way.

Usually, mid-day is not an ideal time for making images due to the high contrast of the light. This is exactly what makes creating images with an IR camera work the best. There’s high contrast, but it renders as dramatic with blue skies trending toward black and clouds picking up this iridescent glow. Green vegetation will provide white tones. This complete change in the way we view a scene creates excitement.

black & white infrared photo cathedral rockGreen trees render white. Blue skies turn black with white puffy clouds. Infrared photo made with Lumix G6 converted to IR.

The benefits to creating IR images in the digital realm is that what you see on the live viewfinder is what you get. To make this happen, I set the camera to monochrome and shoot RAW plus jpeg. The resulting image on the back of the camera makes it easier to judge what the final will be. The RAW files will come into the camera in a magenta color and need processing. The jpeg file will be just as you see them and still need a little post production work but don’t have as much information in the file. The RAW plus jpeg is the best of both worlds.

cathedral rock detail photoThis photo is a detail of the center of Cathedral Rock. The 14-140mm zoomed for in-camera cropping.

infrared photoI enjoy the light and airy feeling of deciduous trees when rendered with infrared.

side view of cathedral rock sedonaTaken with side light a bit later than ‘normal’ time of day for IR imagery and with side-light leads to very contrasty image rendering. I like it because it’s a wee bit different. Always looking to experiment.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

PS – if you have a question don’t hesitate to give me a shout by leaving a comment!

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outdoor photography part 2

Outdoor Photography – Walking Oak Creek Part 2

This is Part two of a four-part series on a ‘day in the life on Oak Creek’ while photographing nature and wildlife. Check out the first installment here.

The second camera I brought on my nature adventure was the Lumix GX8 and 20mm 1.7 lens. (1.5 Pounds) This combination is for capturing time-lapse and/or video. Because the lens is a pancake style it fits in my Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 20 along with two additional lenses. On this day I ended up using the camera for video but I like to have the option of having the second camera body for taking time-lapse while photographing other subjects at the same time.

oak creek video still imageHere’s a still image screen capture from the video


Oak Creek and Cathedral Rock video. A little one and a half minute respite with flowing water and the spectacular rock formation that is probably one of the top ten most photographed places in the United Staes.

the video was captured in 4K quality. Shooting in 4K allows for creating additional camera movements like a Ken Burns movement in post production. A tiny tripod was used to steady the camera a bit but this was for fun and most of this was handheld. It tells the story of the day. The sound was recorded with the in-camera stereo microphones. The 20mm lens was a bit too static so I switched over to the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 lens. This lens has a wonderful range from wide angle to medium distance zoom.

The next installment will be centered around another camera and lens combination. The Lumix G6 and the 14-140mm G Vario f4.0-5.8 lens. This camera has been converted to infrared by Lifepixel and has opened up the middle of the day for more creative imagery.

Yours in creative Photography,        Bob

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outdoor photography

Outdoor Photography – Walking Oak Creek

Getting out into the open air in among the Vortexes of Sedona, Arizona is a great pick me up from being behind the screen of the electronic world in which we spend a fair amount of time as photographers. I chose to spend the afternoon on the banks of Oak Creek near Cathedral Rock and thought I’d share some ideas on the gear I assembled for my trek through the woods.

Since I was out for the afternoon, I took a lot of gear to have many options for various shooting situations. Included in that day’s kit were three cameras, five lenses and two tripods. The reason I was able to pack so many alternatives is that of the light weight of Pansonic’s micro 4/3rds camera system. I’ll share a video on the gear and my day over the next couple days but for now, read on about the first camera. Subsequent cameras and their use will follow.

wildflower near oak creek photoThis flower is about the size of my thumbnail. The 100-400mm lens almost works as a macro lens isolating details against a soft background. It’s all about the light.

Lumix GX85 with the Leica 100-400mm lens – Fast becoming one of my favorite combinations for wildlife and art photography. One of the reasons is the five-axis image stabilization plus two. This combination allows for an extra five stops of handhold-ability, negating the need for a tripod in almost any situation that does not involve multiple exposures for the creation of a single image.  Weight 4 pounds.

bird on a rock oak creek sedona imageOf course, reaching across the creek for small wildlife and getting plenty of detail is evident. The 100-400mm lens is the equivalent of a 200-800mm and with the stabilization makes for sharp images.

Another feature that helps in obtaining sharp images is the removal of the anti-alias filter. The filter was placed in front of sensors in the past to help prevent moire patterns. That is now being handled by the processing engine. The filter blurred detail. The noise patterns showed the adverse effects of this filter. Now I’m getting a film grain-like noise which is allowing me to push up ISO if necessary with no ill effects.

oak creek and pondI generally don’t bisect an image, but I stitched two images together to complete the scene. When I go to use this, I can crop to make the images more about the pond or more about the falling water.

These were just a few images from this camera/lens combo. Next post I’ll share why I bring the Lumix GX8 and 20mm 1.7 lens. (along with a couple of others)

Yours in creative Photography,        Bob

 

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flower time lapse

Prickly Pear Cactus Time Lapse Bloom

I enjoy the ability to create time-lapse video in the Lumix line of cameras. Built into the cameras are settings that many cameras need an add-on to complete the captures. One of these is an intervalometer which makes it possible to set the number of images to record and the timing in between each capture that is made. Even better is the in-camera processing to see your videos almost immediately without having to download images to a computer for processing.

In today’s post, I’m going to look at three versions of in-camera processing and then another version where the jpeg files were downloaded, processed through Adobe Camera RAW and then run through Time-Lapse Assembler for a different look. Time-Lapse Assembler is a free download.

First, let’s take one of the original jpegs that I processed through Adobe Camera RAW and added a little zip and pizazz with the MacPhun Plugin from their Creative Suite called Focus CK.

cactus blooms photoOriginal SOOC (straight out of camera) capture

processed image prickly pearCropped to 16×9 aspect ratio and added some clarity and saturation in Adobe Camera RAW. Then finished off with MacPhun’s Focus CK plugin to add a bit more snap and intensity.

Here are the three versions processed straight out of the Lumix GX8 camera sized to 4K. You can choose any number of settings for size along with the number of frames per second. I used 6 fps, 12 fps, and 24 fps. Because I made these in 4K I am able to add additional movement to the videos without loosing quality.

Images were resized to 16×9 aspect ratio and saturation along with clarity was added. They were then saved out to jpegs. The files were processed into a six-image fps and twenty-four image fps videos. These were not able to have panning and additional movement as they were processed to HD size.

Yours in Creative Photography,           Bob

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simple image

Turning a Simple Image into Something More Complex

It’s always a push to try out new gear and push the boundaries a little bit. I was taking the Lumix GH5 out for a spin with the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 100-400mm lens which works well for wildlife and images that need a long reach. I was curious how I could use in my everyday art photography.

Since I was out in the wetlands and the birds were not cooperating I started playing. I had already experimented with motion while making exposures to get fantastic color palettes and forms. I would never have thought that a scene with great depth of field which I’m showing down below would have started with a lens of this reach. Here’s the scene. The Wind is blowing. Grasses are swaying gently. I focused in the middle on a single blade of grass. This emphasis point made for an overall softness on the scene due to the depth of field and the foreground being way out of focus and moving. The sharp piece of grass in the middle followed by more falloff and motion and in DOF with the background grasses.

original capture grassesFirst image Straight out of Camera as a RAW File.

“OK, Bob, I don’t get it. What do you see that I don’t?”

Here you go with a little processing in Adobe Camera RAW you will start to see where I am going with this.

adobe camera raw Added a little Saturation, Clarity, Contrast, Shadows, Highlights and Whites up and Blacks down to get to this point.

MacPhun Focus CKPhotoshop for a little clean-up on the grass stalk that had some scratches on it with the next stop MacPhuns’ Focus CK plugin to add a bit more sharpness and color and a slight vignette. P1033023_2_3_600pFinal settings were a change of Mode to Multiply and the use of MacPhun’s Luminar to add some more color and snap. I enjoy the feeling of depth and dimension achieved by this process. I’ve got a deal below for you to get Luminar and some other goodies below!


Luminar + Creativity Mega Preset Pack, Essential Pro Secrets for Unleashing your Creativity eBook, Ultimate Posing Card Collection, Overlays Variety Pack and first 3,000 customers will also receive a collection of Light and Bokeh Overlays for $69. Total value $250.

If you are already a MacPhun User pay only $49 when you use my coupon code or $59 if you are not already a Macphun user.

You Get:
Luminar, The Supercharged photo editor for Mac that adapts to your skill level.
Creativity Mega Preset Pack – 26 beautiful presets from Presetpro to create stunning looks in Luminar
Essential Pro Secrets for Unleashing your Creativity ebook by Ian Plant – Creative lessons and techniques for how to make your photos match the depth of your passion
Ultimate Posing Card Collection – Hundreds of ideas for boudoir, family, indoor, newborn, wedding photography and more
Overlays Variety Pack – Sky, snow, rainbow, leaf, and fireworks overlays to create a unique look in your images
ADDITIONAL BONUS FOR FIRST 3,000 CUSTOMERS – Light and Bokeh Overlays

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post focus photo mode gh5 part two

Post Focus Photo Mode – Lumix GH5 Part Two

Let’s look at some more examples of using the Post Focus Photo Mode (see part one here).

post focus mode gh5 lumixThe focus is all throughout the image. Detail works in this case.

gh5 lumix camera post focus modeWith the post focus mode used to capture this image there is still a soft bokeh even though the camera used every focus point in the processing. But because the background is so far in the distance the background stays very soft and all the flowers are super sharp.

I’ve been testing the Lumix GH5 and the Post Focus Mode in which the camera leverages a 6K Photo Mode wherein the camera creates a short video clip using all two-hundred and twenty-five focus points. Any one of these points can be pulled as an eighteen MegaPixel file. Or a range of images choosing a set of focus points. Or even better, it will combine all of the focus points into a fully focus stacked final image. This is an amazing technology to secure a look that is not possible in a regular capture with a camera. I love leveraging this tech to create artistic images.

Yours in Creative Photography,    Bob

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post focus mode lumix gh5

Lumix GH5 Post Focus Mode

This winter and spring have been wonderfully wet in the southwest leading to one of the most wonderful flower bloom seasons in many years. With that said I have been chasing some of those blooms, especially the cactus as they are absolutely beautiful.

I’ve been testing the Lumix GH5 and the Post Focus Mode in which the camera leverages a 6K Photo Mode wherein the camera creates a short video clip using all two-hundred and twenty-five focus points. Any one of these points can be pulled as an eighteen MegaPixel file. Or a range of images choosing a set of focus points. Or even better, it will combine all of the focus points into a fully focus stacked final image. This is an amazing technology to secure a look that is not possible in a regular capture with a camera. I love leveraging this tech to create artistic images.

Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities using my cactus flower friends.

post focus lumix gh5This image has been processed using all the focus points processed in-camera from front to back. This is not necessarily a good look for this particular image as to the field of focus makes too much of the image in focus.

post focus lumix gh5Another image using the same Post Focus capture but processed with a range of focus points which helped to isolate the subject of the flower buds from the background. The beauty is that this can be processed as many times using different sets of focus points for very different looks. All in the camera!

Post focus mode in camera processing sharpnessHere is another image with everything in sharp focus. Depending on the story you want to tell this can be a perfect rendition of the scene with all of the thorns in sharp focus. Very prickly.

range selection on post focus on lumix cameraThis image has all the important information in focus with the background allowed to be more soft which has a different feel even though it was from the same video capture.

More on this in a few days.

Yours in creative Photography,         Bob

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