DJI Will Disable Your Spark Drone If You Don’t Update the Firmware

DJI is releasing a new firmware update for the Spark camera drone, and this is one update that Spark owners will not want to ignore. If you fail to properly update your Spark, DJI will disable it and prevent it from flying at all.

Earlier this year, there were some reports of DJI Spark drones falling out of the sky. This came just month after GoPro Karma drones were found to lose power, leading GoPro to recall and relaunch the Karma.

But while the GoPro Karma’s issues were caused by a faulty physical battery clasp, the DJI Spark’s problem appears to be software based and something that can be remedied with a firmware update.

DJI announced today that the new firmware “enhances flight safety and performance” by improving the “battery management system to optimize power supply during flight.”

The firmware will be available later this week through the DJI GO4 App on smartphones and through the DJI Assistant 2 desktop program. Failure to comply will lead to your drone being grounded remotely by DJI.

“If the firmware of either the aircraft or the battery is not updated by September 1, Spark will not be able to take off,” the company says. “DJI decided on the option of a mandatory firmware update in order to maximize flight safety and product reliability which we consider as top priorities.”

Other secondary improvements in the new firmware include full integration with DJI Goggles, an optimized PalmLaunch function, improved QuickShot Dronie control accuracy, and better remote controller compatibility with new firmware updates.

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The Best Photos of the Great American Eclipse

Of the endless stream of Great American Eclipse photos being shared online, there are some notable gems that are going wildly viral on social media. Here’s a roundup of the amazing shots that are wowing viewers across the Web.

An Airplane Transit

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Amateur potographer Kirsten Jorgensen captured this incredible once-in-a-lifetime shot from Lewiston, Idaho, of an airplane flying across the partial eclipse using a Nikon D5200 with 4 stacked filters (2 UV and 2 night). She’s now selling fine art prints of the image here.

The Progression Over Oregon

Photographer Jasman Lion Mander put together this beautiful composite photo showing the eclipse’s progression spread across the sky over Oregon. You can buy a print of the photo by messaging him on Facebook.

The Progression Over Nashville

Photographer Richard Sparkman shared this composite of the progression over Nashville, Tennessee. You can purchase prints from his website here.

The View from 45,000 Feet

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Photographer Babak A. Tafreshi was soaring at 45,000 feet for National Geographic when he shot this image of totality above the clouds.

Totality with a Shooting Star

Shooting star or jet trail, I'll let you decide. #noedit The totality was incredible.

A post shared by Medi Natanzi (@thenatanzi) on Aug 21, 2017 at 3:12pm PDT

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Amateur photographer Medi Natanzi managed to capture a shooting star and totality in the same shot above Madras, Oregon.

A Climber Silhouette

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Adventure photographer Ted Hesser shared this incredible photo of a climber’s silhouette inside the circle of the totality. The shot took “4 days of planning and hard work.”

Totality in HDR

Photographer Dennis Sprinkle captured 13 bracketed photos during totality and stacked them to create this gorgeous HDR photo of the moon at the moment of totality. The photo shows both the Sun’s corona and the Moon’s surface being lit by Earth’s reflected light.


If you would like to suggest a popular photo to be included in this roundup, please let us know! We’ll continue to update this list.

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How to Remove Color Casts in Photos Using Curves in Photoshop

The curves tool is a powerful one in both Photoshop and Lightroom, with the ability to change both the tones and colors in an image. This 7-minute tutorial from PiXimperfect examines the tool in the context of removing color casts from the shadows of a photograph.

The video starts with an example of an image with a green cast to the shadows, showing how to remove the cast and then going on to explain how exactly the curve tool works to achieve this.

Unmesh Dinda adjusts the image by creating a curves adjustment layer. He selects ‘green’ in the drop-down color menu and then chooses the On-image adjustment tool.

This tool allows you to target your adjustments to just the color that you select. To remove the green, simply click and drag down in the shadowed area with the color cast. This will increase the magenta in the shadows because magenta is opposite to green. If you were to drag up, it would introduce more green, removing magenta.

At 1:25, Dinda gives a crash course in masking. By masking out the areas that you want to leave as they are, you can make sure your color corrections apply only to the part of the image that you want to target.

From 4:30 onwards, Dinda goes on to visually explain exactly how the curves tool works to adjust colors in an image.

Much of this knowledge can be applied to Lightroom or any other photo editing tool with a Curves adjustment panel. Once you know the way it works, it’s simple to apply the same techniques using different applications.

(via PiXimperfect via Fstoppers)

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Field Test: Using the Loupedeck to Up My Lightroom Game

I’m going to start this field test back to front and for one reason only: the LoupeDeck system blew my socks off. If you’re a wedding photographer — in fact, if you’re into any genre of photography — the Loupedeck is a game changer.

I used it to edit a full wedding from start to finish. It not only halved my editing time, but it made the experience of editing fun again. I was in my element editing with the Loupedeck, waking up early to start editing because my workflow had become so smooth and ergonomic. I could end the field test here and just say get your hands on one, but if you need more persuading, continue reading.

I recently returned from shooting a wedding in Treviso, Italy, and there was a package waiting for me. The guys over at Loupedeck had let me know they were sending across a system for me to try out, and I thought why not give it a proper field test and really put it through its paces by editing a week’s worth of wedding images on Adobe Lightroom.

In a nutshell, the Loupedeck is a console that has a whole host of buttons, twisty knobs and sliders/rollers that all represent those sliders you see on the right of Adobe Lightroom. Its aim is to save you time on both a PC or Mac, become more creative with your photographs, and unlock the potential and detail of every single image you work on.

Initially launched on Indiegogo, the Loupedeck campaign finished 488% above target. People could see the huge potential in Loupedeck, and they weren’t wrong!

As always, I’m brutally honest with my Field Tests, if I were to purchase the Loupedeck initially without reading any reviews, the price does appear to be slightly steep. At $299, it certainly wouldn’t be something I would rush into and I would have probably found myself searching Google to see if it really is worth it. It is.

As any professional wedding photographer will tell you, time is money, especially when you’re shooting 35+ weddings per year, so any product that can aid your time efficiency is certainly worth considering.

So here are my views and test of the Loupedeck. I’ve just returned back home with over 3,000 RAW wedding snaps to rate, edit, and send to the clients, and I’m going to do it all using this new console:

First Impressions

First impressions aren’t everything and in Loupedeck’s case, we’re all more focused on how the console performs than its overall appearance. But — and a big but — there has to be some credit given to the packaging. The Loupedeck comes in a very stylish black box, firstly with its own sleeve that features the logo in raised text which houses the main box. When you’re investing in what may be a considerable amount of money to many photographers, you appreciate a well-packaged product and it certainly screams “professional” from the outset.

Once you open the box, the console is packed just like you see with Apple Products: compact, neat, and simple. You’ve got the console itself, the USB cable housed in its own box and a black card with the worlds simplest set up instructions. You can have the Loupedeck from doorstep to plugged within a matter of minutes and still appreciate how sharp it looks along the way.

The console itself is approximately 400x150x40mm and weighs 600g, it hosts over 50 controls including buttons, rollers, and dials. Each one is individually labeled with various effects, controls, and adjustments you will commonly see on the right of the developed model in Adobe Lightroom. Everything is clear and from the outset looks easy to use, with everything clearly highlighted with text and pro or hobbyist could pick up the Loupedeck and be up and running almost straight away. The console’s look and feel are spot on, the matt black works and there’s one LED light that signifies if you’re editing Hue, Saturation, or Luminance. It’s actually quite lightweight, I expected it to feel a little heavier, but it doesn’t feel cheap.. all the buttons, nobs and dials feel like they could take some stick… but only time will tell there.

Set Up & Installation

Seriously the installation doesn’t even need words, it’s simple, works and does exactly what it says on the tin. The black card that you receive with the Loupedeck has two instructions: firstly go to http://ift.tt/2v5FbaM and secondly plug the console in… and that’s it, you’re up and running.

Once you’re all set up you’re good to go in Adobe Lightroom, you’ll be given the option to edit some of the custom buttons on the console, you can change these and always come back and change at any other time by just clicking the Loupedeck button at the top of Mac screen (I’m sure this is similar for Windows..).

In total there are 22 personalized functions you can add to the Loupedeck so it can become more personal to your own workflow. The main being the ‘P’ functions along the top, these can be easily programmed to your own presets and you initially have 8 of these to change, furthermore you have a second section of 8 to work with which can be enabled by holding down the ‘Fn’ key on the console. So that gives you 16 available presets, literally at your fingertips that can be applied instantly… you don’t even have to take your eyes off the image to apply them, this itself is a game changer for wedding photographers.

You also have the option to change the C1 dial which allows you to have two (using the ‘Fn’ button) customisable functions set up. Whilst the customisation of the C1 dial is limited, it can be set up for usual adjustments depending on how you edit. I have C1 to adjust both my vignette and level of noise and it works perfectly for me.

I have C2 set up to select my Graduated Filter Tool which I use heavily on my skies within my wedding photography. I also have C3 set up to toggle my Spot Removal Tool on and off, to use both of these tools you will need to grab the mouse as usual but it certainly does speed up by pre selecting the tool and then it’s ready to go with your mouse.

Selection Options

Whilst wedding photographers work flow may differ from person to person, we all start with thousands of images that firstly need selecting to move forward with our edits. Many photographers I know do this outside Adobe Lightroom, but just personal preference I work solely in Lightroom for 90% of my workflow. Loupedeck features a large host of selection tools all available at your fingertips, agreed, most of these selection tools are available on a keyboard. It’s good to know they’re still the same as a keyboard although the Loupedeck does have a more appealing visual aspect and easier to put your finger on the selection tool, physically, rather than knowing the keyboard shortcuts.

The console’s Copy and Paste features work fantastically well, you literally have ‘Copy’ and ‘Paste’ buttons to work with. Again with one click of a button, no keyboard shortcuts, you can copy and paste adjustments to a single image or Fn + Paste to paste the adjustments to all the photos that you have selected in the filmstrip.

You finally have a collection of obvious buttons, Undo, Redo, Brush, Full screen, Before/After, Export and Zoom which shouldn’t require any explanation for you readers.

Performance

So now we get to probably the most important part, how the Loupedeck performs and does it actually speed up my workflow? Firstly the responsiveness of the basic adjustments are perfect, each dial turns smoothly in the hand/fingertips, and there is no delay in the adjustment happening on screen, it works just the same as using a mouse/trackpad. As you move the dial up it makes slow adjustments, or turn the dial very quickly to move faster from end to end, you can also press each dial to return the selected adjustment to zero.

This isn’t advertised on Loupedeck’s website but I also found you can make two adjustments at once, for me, I found this useful for bumping up my Exposure and Contrast by turning both dials together, which is something I adjust on 99% of my wedding photographs. So not only can you make multiple adjustments within seconds with your fingertips, you can jump from Exposure to Vignette which with a Mouse or Trackpad would require you to move over to your develop settings and navigate up and down. So with all your adjustments such as Exposure, Contrast, Clarity, Shadows, Highlights, Vibrance, Saturation, Blacks, Whites, White Balance, Tint, and Vignette all next to each other and accessible to your hand… you genuinely forget about the mouse for all of the above.

Now we move onto the Rotate/Crop button on the Loupedeck, you’ve probably noticed it already, is the big bulky round thing on the left of the console. This is an impressive function the guys have added, for Rotation it works perfectly well. As a wedding photographer, I’m the first to say I’m not always taking enough care with aligning my shots perfectly, especially when you have a split second to grab a shot. So I’m often rotating and cropping my shots and if I’m truly honest, a mouse can be a bit of a nuisance to get it perfect straight away. With the Loupedeck you move the big chunky circle dial and your rotation grid will pop up instantly, from there the rest is fairly straight forward. You turn the dial left or right until you have the desired rotation, but something that is even better, if you hold the Fn key on the console, your rotation adjustments become more precise ensuring you can achieve perfection every time… this is one of my favorite features on the Loupedeck. The crop feature requires you to press the dial and then use your mouse to crop the image as normal, ok yes you have to use your mouse for the crop.. but when you think about it I’m not sure how else you could achieve a crop using a console.

The personalized functions are again a huge selling point for me as a wedding photographer, I have about 5 common presets that I use in my work and then maybe 10 others that I occasionally work with. With the 16 personalized functions all available you can quickly skip between presets within seconds, combine that with being able to make multiple colors and lighting adjustments at the same time, you are gaining a huge amount of time saved per image…HUGE!

The color adjustments, I’ll be totally honest I don’t use that much anyway, but for anyone that does, I can see the Loupedeck winning at this well. The console allows you firstly to select Hue, Sat or Lum which activates the color adjustment wheels along the top. You also have a bright LED to notify which of the above you’re currently controlling. These scrolling wheels work very like the dials, you scroll them up and down for the desired color, you can press the wheel to return to zero and move quickly from end to end for harsher results.

There are a few adjustments I make which Loupedeck doesn’t cater for, firstly we mentioned earlier you will have to grab the mouse to help with your cropping. Secondly, I regularly make Lens Correction Adjustments which again you’re going to have to rely on your mouse/trackpad. I have C2 set up to select my Graduated Filter Tool which I use heavily on my skies within my wedding photography. I also have C3 set up to toggle my Spot Removal Tool on and off, to use both of these tools you will need to grab the mouse as usual but it certainly does speed up by pre selecting the tool and then it’s ready to go with your mouse.

The Experience

As much as the performance is perfect from the Loupedeck, honestly, the experience is what sells it for me. It has completely changed my approach to my workflow and editing, those days during wedding season where I have 5 to 10 weddings all sat on external drives ready to start editing used to send me a little bit crazy with just the thought of working through them all, now I’m actually excited to stand at my desk and start editing. There’s something special about how the Loupedeck connects you with the photographs you’re editing, something that isn’t just quite there with a mouse and keyboard. I think that split second where your eyes have to move off the photograph to navigate down your develop settings or scroll for that desired preset might just be the gap Loupedeck has bridged. Without sounding too cheesy, when I first started using the console, I got the feeling this is what DJ’s must feel, creating music with their fingertips.

I would actually say I’ve gained more confidence in my editing whilst using the Loupedeck, it’s so much easier and quicker to make adjustments, it allows you to quickly combine effects together to get those images just the way you want them. I can quickly work my way through hundreds of wedding photographs and hardly — sometimes never — take my eyes of the actual images I’m editing.

It’s also got that ‘photographer’s feel’ about it, as professional photographers, we’re so used to holding something of value that creates an image, we’re constantly using our fingers and thumbs to scroll through shutter speed and apertures and select our focus points on our camera. Then we upload our images to edit and we lose that freedom of our hands, we’re almost shackled to a mouse and keyboard. The Loupedeck has something very familiar to using a camera, it’s all there at your fingertips, you don’t have to look away from the image in front of you. I guess it’s very similar to when Wacom tablet came around, which gave illustrators, designers and photographers that freedom in their editing… it’s actually surprising it’s taken so long for consoles that work in Adobe Lightroom to come along.

Summary

So when Loupedeck mentioned they were sending me out a console to field test I got rather excited and honestly, it didn’t disappoint. It probably landed during the busiest time for me as a wedding photographer and I was a little hesitant to unbox it and start using it during such a busy period but I’m certainly glad I did. The main selling point for me is the enjoyment and ergonomics it’s brought into my workflow, it goes without saying I won’t be touching Adobe Lightroom again without the Loupedeck to hand. I edited Kelly & Sam’s full wedding, including selecting the images to edit from over 4000 Raw files from the trip, from start to finish the Loupedeck proved an asset rather than a hindrance. For any wedding photographer who spends a considerable amount of time in front of Adobe Lightroom, it’s well worth considering.

If you’re looking to considerably speed up your editing time and replace the restrictions of a mouse and keyboard I would highly recommend, of course, it doesn’t replace the mouse/trackpad and keyboard fully (although I actually can’t remember hitting the keyboard throughout the whole edit). I see the console as a 90% replacement and then using your mouse/trackpad for particular adjustments.

The price for professional photographers I think isn’t any issue, the console is something you will use every time you load up Adobe Lightroom and will more than repay you in time saved. For amateurs and hobbyists the price might be a little steep, like everything it’s all personal preference but in my opinion, it’s a great asset to have in your editing arsenal.
Below are some of the images I edited using the Loupedeck console and you can view more of Kelly & Sam’s Italian Wedding by clicking here!

You can learn more about Loupedeck and purchase your own console for $299 by visiting the LoupeDeck website and B&H.


Full disclosure: A review unit was provided for the purpose of this article.


Image credits: Loupedeck imagery captured by DannyRichm>

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Cam Link Turns Any Camera with HDMI Output Into a Webcam

Facebook Live is becoming much more than shaky smartphone streams from celebrities like it once was in its infancy. Elgato just announced a new live streaming tool called Cam Link that will change how you go live.

Cam Link is an HDMI tethering device that will allow you to connect any high-end camera (that has an HDMI output) to your computer, readying it for live streaming onto social media. Your modern DSLR, for example.

“With [our device], the computer reads the professional camera as a webcam,” Cam Link tells PetaPixel. “[This] allows users to capture footage directly to their hard drive for easy viewing and storage, resulting in a simplified workflow and elevated production value.

“There are almost no competitors on the market, and the closest solution comes in at 4x the cost of Cam Link.”

The device boasts “ultra low latency technology,” which should allow its 1080p/60 video to stream with minimal delay. It’s really easy to work too, you just plug it in and get going! No fiddly settings to work with.

All of your streams are recorded straight to your hard drive, too, and that means you don’t need to worry about your camera’s memory card filling up and ending your broadcast early.

“A high-quality camera is a critical upgrade to any creator’s setup, but often comes at the cost of a complicated and cumbersome video workflow,” says Julian Fest, General Manager of the company. “The arrival of Cam Link will kick off a new era of higher-quality visuals on YouTube, Twitch, and other platforms. These products will help content creators stand out by allowing them to experiment with creative production elements like chroma keying, wide angle and close-up shots, depth of field, and more.”

Elgato has also released a collapsible chromakey green screen, something that could further spruce up live videos.

You can buy the Cam Link device via the Elgato website for $129.

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NASA’s Best Photos of the Great American Eclipse

Countless photographers tried their hands at capturing the Great American Eclipse yesterday, but leave it to NASA to nail some truly incredible shots. The agency has begun sharing some of its best work, giving us a different perspective of the awe-inspiring phenomenon.

The photos above and below show the moments of totality as seen from Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Madras, Oregon, respectively.

Photo by NASA/Aubrey Gemignani.

One amazing sight NASA photographers were able to capture was the International Space Station passing in front of the Sun as the eclipse was underway.

Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls
Photo by NASA/Joel Kowsky

7 photos of the ISS transit were combined to create this beautiful composite image:

Photo by NASA/Joel Kowsky

Kowsky also shot the transit at 1,500 frames per second using a high-speed camera. Here’s the slow-motion video:

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While photographers on Earth had their cameras pointed at the ISS, NASA was also capture photos of the moon’s shadow covering the United States from the perspective of the space station:

NASA’s DSCOVR satellite captured this same shadow passing over Earth from 1 million miles away:

This 11-photo composite shows the progression of the eclipse as observed from Madras, Oregon:

Wide-angle composites were also used to beautifully capture this same progression across the sky:

Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls
Photo by NASA/Aubrey Gemignani
This photo shows the last glimmers of sunlight as the moon heads toward totality. Photo by NASA/Aubrey Gemignani.

Finally, here’s what the total solar eclipse looked like from a jet flying at 25,000 feet above Oregon:

Photo by NASA/Carla Thomas

Image credits: Header photo by NASA/David Cantillo

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Demystifying the Camera Calibration Panel in Lightroom

The Camera Calibration Panel in Lightroom is often left untouched, owing to its position in the panel stack and uncertainty over its functions. This 15-minute video from Anthony Morganti explains the panel’s features in detail.

The Camera Calibration panel is split into a few sections, starting from the bottom: RGB Primaries, Shadow Tint, Camera Profile, and Process.

The RGB Primaries section tweaks the overall color mix in your image. Each camera manufacturer has a different profile calibrated for that camera’s make and model. These values can differ dramatically between manufacturers, which is why you may hear people say that a certain manufacturer’s images have “better skin tones”, for example.

Changing these values differs from changing the values in the HSL panel because they affect the overall definition of red, green, or blue. Changing blues in the HSL panel will target areas of the image that appear blue, whereas changing blues in the Camera Calibration panel will affect all pixels that contain blue in their mix.

The Shadow Tint is a little more straightforward: this will just change the color cast that shadows have, with green and magenta canceling each other out.

The Camera Profile options match the profiles that are available on your camera. When you select a ‘scene’ or profile mode on your camera, this changes the way the image is processed to JPG. If you’re shooting RAW, the options in-camera have no effect on the final RAW image (although they will be visible in the JPG preview). This panel gives you the opportunity to apply a profile of your choice in post.

Finally, the Process section will change the entire process engine that Lightroom uses. Adobe has changed this three times in Lightroom’s lifetime, which is why there are currently three options. Changing this will affect everything, including the sliders available in the basic panel. It’s recommended to leave this at the setting marked with (Current).

(via Anthony Morganti via Fstoppers)


P.S For a detailed write-up on Profiles and why they’re important, check out our earlier post on the topic here.

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