6K photo mode

6K Photo Mode post Focus – Lumix GH5

Ran into a very interesting phenomenon pointed out by my wife. She was working in the yard and saw these long strands of moving stuff. (tech talk here) Never saw anything like it. Turns out it was tens of thousands of Gnat larva on a migration.

I wanted to get a shot of the larva to help identify it. Grabbed the GH5, my Leica 45mm Macro-Elmarit f2.8 lens, and a small tripod and was having no success. Even at 6400 ISO I couldn’t get a sharp photo of the moving, writhing masses due to the macro lens and speed with which the larva was moving.

I decided to try the Post Focus Photo Mode just to see if it could help. The photo mode uses all 225 focus points in the camera and captures them in a 6K video. Each of those 225 frames can be pulled and processed into an eighteen meg-pixel photo. The intended use in the beginning was to allow the user to decide which focus point to use later. An addition to the mode is the ability to fuse all the frames together giving you just the sharpest bits. The beauty is this can be processed in camera. Focus stacking in camera! Able to give you a 50MB plus file.

gnat larva on the move photo6K Photo mode image focus stacked in camera.

Even though this was a moving mass because each focus point is being photographed separately it is stopped and in focus. When all the images are processed together I get a Depth of Field i couldn’t with a single capture it also processed the sharp areas into a still image even though there was lots of movement.

gnat migrationSingle capture of the same general subject.

The new technology can be leveraged in many ways to make it possible to create images in a different way.

I’m diggin’ it!!

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

international photographic competition 2017 artist

International Photographic Competition 2017 – Artist Category

You can check out the post from yesterday about my Photographic Open entries in the Professional Photographers of America IPC competition. In that post you will also see the elements that the judges use to make their determinations on scoring. In the Artist category those twelve elements are also an important part of the judging but there is additional criteria that has to do with how much work and the difficulty of it that goes into the creation of the image.

You will notice there are small reference images on the canvas. These are there to help the judges understand the starting point of the art. This helps them see the amount of work that went into the creation of the final piece.

Without further ado, here are my Artist entries.

wall of fame photo ipcWall of Fame – Artist entry. This image scored a 93 at District and unfortunately did not make it to the PPA Loan Collection. This particular image needs a champion and sees the amount of work that is required for each individual image, let alone the collection.

homage to salvador daliFull Moon Over Dali Swamp – This was a personal favorite as I created an homage to Salvadore Dali. The image started to evolve in my head while photographing at the Bosque Del Apache Wildlife Preserve. Seeing that tree in the water at the bottom of the reference images was the catalyst.

Iris artist submissionIris – Started with a ‘focus-stacked’ image of an iris and I then used Adobe Photoshop to paint the resulting image.

grand openingGrand Opening – This image was photographed and processed as above.

I have been participating in imaging competition for eighteen years and feel that it has been on of the most important parts of my education. The process gives you feedback on your work from professional image makers. This feedback and attention to detail force you to stretch and improve.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

international photographic competition 2017

The International Photographic Competition (IPC) 2017

Professional Photographers of America (PPA) hold a photographic competition each year. Judges from around the country assemble in Georgia near Atlanta in the Gwinnitt Technical College in Lawrenceville. Five thousand eight hundred images were entered and reviewed over a four day period.

Images are judged against a twelve element standard as opposed to being judged against each other. Each artist is trying to achieve their best and it is an incredible event to witness. I had the privilege to be an entrant as well as a juror during the event. Fortunately, they don’t allow you to judge your own work. If they had I might have scored better, ; )>, but then I would not have learned near as much as I did. Here are the images from my Photographic Open entries and their results.

mates for life competition photoMates for Life – PPA Loan Collection Image

monolith competition photoMonolith – PPA General Collection Image

ever watchful competition photoEver watchful – PPA General Collection Image

mission san xavier competition photoMission San Xavier – Did Not Merit

The Twelve Elements

Twelve elements have been defined as necessary for the success of an art piece or image. Any image, art piece, or photograph will reveal some measure of all twelve elements, while a visually superior example will reveal obvious consideration of each one

The Twelve elements listed below.

Impact is the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion. There can be impact in any of these twelve elements.

Technical excellence is the print quality of the image itself as it is presented for viewing. Retouching, manipulation, sharpness, exposure, printing, mounting, and correct color are some items that speak to the qualities of the physical print.

Creativity is the original, fresh, and external expression of the imagination of the maker by using the medium to convey an idea, message or thought.

Style is defined in a number of ways as it applies to a creative image. It might be defined by a specific genre or simply be recognizable as the characteristics of how a specific artist applies light to a subject. It can impact an image in a positive manner when the subject matter and the style are appropriate for each other, or it can have a negative effect when they are at odds.

Composition is important to the design of an image, bringing all of the visual elements together in concert to express the purpose of the image. Proper composition holds the viewer in the image and prompts the viewer to look where the creator intends. Effective composition can be pleasing or disturbing, depending on the intent of the image maker.

Presentation affects an image by giving it a finished look. The mats and borders used, either physical or digital, should support and enhance the image, not distract from it.

Color Balance supplies harmony to an image. An image in which the tones work together, effectively supporting the image, can enhance its emotional appeal. Color balance is not always harmonious and can be used to evoke diverse feelings for effect.

Center of Interest is the point or points on the image where the maker wants the viewer to stop as they view the image. There can be primary and secondary centers of interest. Occasionally there will be no specific center of interest, when the entire scene collectively serves as the center of interest.

Lighting—the use and control of light—refers to how dimension, shape and roundness are defined in an image. Whether the light applied to an image is manmade or natural, proper use of it should enhance an image.

Subject Matter should always be appropriate to the story being told in an image.

Technique is the approach used to create the image. Printing, lighting, posing, capture, presentation media, and more are part of the technique applied to an image.

Story Telling refers to the image’s ability to evoke imagination. One beautiful thing about art is that each viewer might collect his own message or read her own story in an image.

Tomorrow I’ll share my Artist entries in the competition.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

density range gh5

Density Range of the Lumix GH5

Mucking about in New Orleans while in town speaking at the Professional Photographers Association of Louisiana last week. I took my relatively new ** Lumix GH5 and the Leica 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 lens out for a solid workout, keeping my camera with me at all times recording lots of different situations. It was a real eye-opener seeing what the camera was capable of recording.

Here is a great example of what got me very excited. As I was prowling the French Quarter just about dark after the sun fell below the horizon I captured this image of the Rev Zombie’s Voodoo Shop.

new orleans voodoo shop photoPhoto made from one image. No HDR involved. Detail in shadows and detail in the neon sign.

voodoo store hdr sequenceHDR sequence in the original capture. I used the middle exposure for the image processed above.

When out photographing random areas if I’m not certain that the camera can capture the entire dynamic range in a single image I’ll run a five stop bracket of the scene and then process the images in Aurora HDR software. I use Aurora because I’ve been able to achieve realistic results on a regular basis.

Just for fun I decided to forego the HDR software and see what I could pull from a single image just utilizing Adobe Camera RAW. There’s full detail in the brightest areas of the image and details in the shadows and the color is spot on for the scene.

Could I have made an even better image using the HDR software? Let’s see.

rev zombies voodoo shop photo hdrI’ll leave the decision up to to you. I seem to have been able to pull some more shadow detail. Lots of options are available in making the image tell the story we want these days. An exciting time in photography indeed.

Yours in Creative Photography,    Bob

** Smokin’ deal alert! Panasonic has bundled this camera lens combo for about $2600 saving 400 bucks from separate purchase.

tech talk on kazm

Tech Talk Radio Show – KAZM Radio

Had a chance to visit with Tom Taback (sitting in for Mike) on my monthly Tech Talk appearance at KAZM Radio station in Sedona, Arizona.

tom taback with bob coates on the radioTaback & Coates recording Tech Talk – Photo by Josh using the Lumix FZ2500

Tom and I chat about new Lumix cameras and some of the features that help get well exposed images. We also chat about advanced features, creating art and where I’ll be traveling to share info on photography and the Lumix line of cameras.

Yours in Creative Photography,      Bob

PS – In the program I refer to the Lumix FZ1000 (which is a fine camera too!) as the camera I have with me. It is actually the newer model Lumix FZ2500


working the scene part two

Working the Scene – Part Two

A couple of days ago I shared some ideas on working a scene to yield more and/or better images from a landscape photography shoot. See that Post here. The post was getting a little long, so I decided to continue sharing a few images and some more ideas.

I talked about using technology to improve upon a capture along with changing the view of the scene and not getting locked into the first composition you feel works. I did lock down my Lumix GH5 on a tripod on what I felt was the best image with lots of depth and dimension to layer passages of time into the final process. That’s why I also carry an additional camera to capture other areas and things which grab my attention.

courthouse butte with bell rock photo sedona arizonaThis image was processed in *Macphun’s Luminar Neptune used as a plug-in in Adobe Photoshop. Luminar can also be used as a stand-alone program to process your files.   As shown below and I wasn’t able to pull the details and color the way I wished.

HDR process imageThis was the original process using Aurora HDR 2017 and four of the five one-stop exposures I made of the scene. I wasn’t able to pull the details and color the way I wished. Then I moved to Luminar for the finishing. (see the top image in the post)

So a different angle and a different ‘feel’ give me more from the shoot.

Let’s keep going with a couple more examples.

red rocks of sedona photoZooming into the scene has a more intimate feel. The lighting shown here was a situation the appeared and disappeared quickly. Able to capture it with the FZ2500.

common desert beetle photoWhen I posted this little guy on Instagram, https://instagram.com/bob_coates I received a few EWWW’s, but I feel a bit of real nature’s beauty here. He’s kind of cool!

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

PS – * Luminar is in Beta for Windows machines. Check it out here.

work the scene

Work the Scene for Best Results

There is one error that I see repeated in photographers work that come to me for some feedback.

Know what it is?

It’s getting to a beautiful scene and not working it to see how many different ways the scene can be photographed. There are many options for creating different looks on location. Here are a few ideas for expanding the number of bonafide keepers for your photo collection.

Courthouse Butte Sedona, Arizona photoFirst image of the evening. Photographed with the Lumix FZ2500 bracketed exposures due to foreground being in shadow. Processed in Aurora HDR 2017. I like Aurora because I can pull realistic HDR images without the “HDR!!” look.

HDR exposures imageYou can see when the detail in the clouds is good that the foreground is almost totally blocked up. I usually photograph a sequence of five exposures one stop apart. When processing I’ll sometimes use all five exposures. In this case I used these three.

• Number One on my list is – Wait for different light.

Can’t tell you how many times a beautiful subject or scene is presented but the light was lacking or lack-luster. It’s all about the light people! I have witnessed some pretty terrible photographs of Cathedral Rock in Sedona, which is one of the top ten photographed places in Arizona if not the country. And, I’ve seen an exquisite photograph of a pepper. The difference is the light. When you get the chance spend more time on location waiting for the sun to change or do your best to return when weather,sunrise or sunset can add more interest to the beautful vista.

I know I said one error but as I was writing this post a couple more jumped into my head.

courthouse butte image bob coates photographyDifferent view of the same scene a little while later. Made with the Lumix GH5 and the 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 lens

• Number Two – Change your view

There are a veritable plethora of possibilites to accomplish this. Walk closer. Walk farther. Zoom in. Zoom out. Change lenses. Get your camera higher, or lower. Of course, this is in addition to working the light if at all possible.

courthouse butte photo bob coates photographyHere was another exposure made at a slightly later time when the clouds parted. I made all the exposures from a locked down tripod in order to be able to mix and match different moments in time.

images of different exposures at courthouse butteDiffernt exposures allow for different processing options to give make it possible to show a photograph of the scene as you saw it.

• Number Three – Utilize available technology

When capturing images think about the scene. (we’re back to the light here) Is the enough dynamic range in your camera chip to capture all the detail you need in highlights AND shadows? If not, then please grab a few extra frames and process the images in HDR. I’m not necessarily telling you to go for the oveerprocessed, highly garish HDR techniques we have seen over the years. But with the correct technique you will have much better detail in the highlights and the shadows if you process properly without going over the top.

Yours in Creative Photography,       Bob

PS – See more of this shoot in Part Two of Working the Scene





beaver creek

Short Water Video Captured at Beaver Creek

There’s something about water and the sound an motion of it that speaks to my soul. It calms. It relaxes. It stimulates deep and comfortable thoughts.

beaver creek photo bob coates photographyStill frame from the video at Beaver Creek. Look below for sound and motion.

I made a short video to share with you from a small little-known creek south of Sedona, Arizona. The place is called Beaver creek and while I often find it barren of people, it is also enjoyed by families, fellow creek water enthusiasts and my photographer friends enjoy an exploration along it’s banks.

Take less than a minute to enjoy the sound and some of the sights. Breath in. Breath out. Relax.

That is all for today.

Yours in creative Photography,      Bob

PS – for those interested this was made with the Lumix GX8 and the Panasonic Lumix 20mm f1.7 lens


beaver creek time lapse

Time Lapse of Beaver Creek near Sedona, Arizona

The video below is a time-lapse of Beaver Creek near Sedona, Arizona. Time lapse of water gives a slightly jerky feel at least the way this was captured and processed. These were captured a frame every 2 seconds and processed out to time lapse at 24 FPS 4K video then slowed 50% in post-production in Adobe Premiere Pro. The sound was added from another clip of video captured at the same place.

Watch for ‘The Dance of the spiders’ in the right-hand bottom corner.

screen shot of beaver creek videoWatch the space pictured above when you look at the video and you’ll find my ‘spidey’ friends.

Images captured with the Lumix GX8 and the Lumix G 20mm f1.7 lens. In a couple of days, I’ll share some video from a different day on the creek shot with the same gear and an entirely different feel.

Yours in Creative Photography,        Bob

studio photography – part two

Studio Photography – Part Two Jewelry

The other day I showed you the set for photographing items in the studio with a beautiful radiating feathered edge glow around the subject..(check that post here) The images from that post were cameras which were larger than today products.

Jewelry is a different subject with different needs but can be on the same basic set. The difference is that the scrim is much closer to the subject than it was for the cameras.

jewelry photoJewelry is well served in this setting.

In the image above the transitions from light to shadow make the color of the beads and turquoise and out from the background, but still have quite a bit of interest overall.

jewelry photoThis is a piece of my wife’s jewelry. She noted that it actually could have used a bit of polishing.

When photographing product you need to know what the subject should look like. Since this was a lesson session, I am the final client and think it looks great. If this were a paying customer, I would have noted more information as to the handling of the piece. Also, sets and product must be kept sanitary and dust free. Being very careful while prepping for shooting can save an enormous amount of time in post production. On the job, I will even use a magnifying glass to ensure there is as little schumda in the photo as possible.

jewelry photography imageRose gold and diamonds. Care with chains and their layout is critical. Here also a shallow depth of field takes some attention away from the chain.

Jewelry with facets such as diamonds need a bit of extra thought, care and maybe a few additional exposures. Facets of stones are highlighted by light striking different surfaces. If the light is hitting one surface, it won’t necessarily be showing off another surface. One way to sculpt the stone to best effect in to make multiple images with the light in different positions. Then by layering the exposures, it is possible using masks to show off exactly the stone as you wish.

Yours in creative Photography,    Bob