The Canon EOS (Electro-Optical System) ecosystem was born 30 years ago with the introduction of the Canon EOS 650 35mm SLR on March 2nd, 1987. Since then, over 70 EOS cameras have been launched. Here’s a 1.5-minute video by Digital Camera Warehouse that shows the evolution of EOS cameras over three decades.
Dell showed up at NAB in Vegas this year intent on making a splash. To that end, the storied computer company debuted its very first HDR monitor: an HDR10-compliant 27-inch UltraSharp monitor with Ultra HD 4K resolution and a steep price tag.
The UltraSharp 27 4K HDR is Dell’s official entry into the HDR monitor space, and they’re not being coy about who this monitor is for.
“This monitor allows creative professionals to view and edit HDR10 content to create incredibly realistic images,” writes Dell. “With a peak brightness of 1,000 nits, the UP2718Q produces the deepest blacks and brightest whites and the REC2020 color coverage makes it an ideal choice for video editors working on color-critical post production.”
In addition to the 1,000 nits brightness spec, the new Dell monitor also boasts 100% Adobe RGB and sRGB coverage, 100% REC 709, 97.7% DCI-P3 and 76.9% REC2020. Dell calls this “unparalleled color performance,” and to live up to that promise, each monitor is individually factory-calibrated. What’s more, users can store their own calibration setting into an internal Look-Up Table using Dell’s UltraSharp Calibration software.
Video and photo editors interested in top-of-the-line color capabilities and HDR compliance will definitely want to give Dell’s newest display a good hard look.
To learn more about this monitor and everything else Dell brought to NAB, head over to Dell’s website. And if you’re interested in buying the the UltraSharp 27 4K HDR, Dell’s first HDR monitor will go up for sale on Dell.com starting May 23rd for $2,000.
July 2nd, 2015. The weather forecast is dreadful. Warm and sweaty and with a chance of tornadoes. European Storm Forecast Experiment (Estofex for short) issued a level 2 warning, which means that there’s a 15% chance of severe weather.
There was lightning, downbursts, and even something that may have been a waterspout off the coast of Den Helder. This image shows an incoming shelf cloud of a multicell-type structure of cumulonimbus (thunderstorm) clouds. Right in its path is a so-called outflow, where most of the precipitation plunges from the sky.
This incessant, sometimes life-threatening fascination with severe weather gets me and my antenna-like tripod in situations when I ask big questions: What am I doing here? What is my purpose in life? It’s a constant internal struggle when you’re out shooting severe weather. Every fiber of your being tells you to GTFO, when a pale blue, rotating monster passes overhead.
At this point, the temperature is still quite high and winds are low, but with this thing passing overhead, it became cold in an instant and the wind picked up significantly. Then the outflow followed. Torrential rain and hail made it both fun and exciting, but terribly wet — far too wet to be trusting the weather sealing of the camera and lens. I had this plastic rain sleeve packed to put another layer between the camera and the elements, but that prepared me for another attempt at an image.
Sharpness and Frustration
“Just one more shot”, I could hear myself say, positively drenched to the bone. In my book, one shot almost never means one exposure though. I’ve long been a fan of using a wide-angle lens to emphasize a big, sweeping foreground. A Nikon D600 and the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 sat firmly on a tripod, damn close to the subject. My lens is often at the minimum focus distance, but that brings with it the necessary challenges if you’d want everything tack sharp.
A simple f/22 won’t do, because the gap between 20 cm and infinity is just too wide to bridge it at the hyper focal distance. Aside from that, diffraction also deteriorates the image quality, so that means focus stacking. That’s a really helpful technique when the wind is cooperative, but very frustrating between gusts and lightning strikes.
When a lightning bolt comes crashing down within three kilometers, you know. When it takes less than a second for the sound to reach you after you’ve seen the strike, and it startles you with the loudness, it’s time to realize where your position is, relative to the storm. You won’t want to get caught in the middle of it in an open field. And yet, here I was… In an open field. If it’s some consolation, the cloud did move away from my position and the aggression in the sky was subsiding by the time I was done dialing in this composition.
While it took about twenty exposures to capture everything, timing it between gusts and during strikes, I’ve created this image with the help of four final images. One at minimum focus distance and one at ~35cm for the immediate foreground. A third one captured everything from that to about three-quarters into the frame. The fourth one was the trickiest and the most fun. For that one, focus was set close to infinity while I did make the aperture smaller to accommodate a slightly longer shutter speed.
It helped tremendously to be shooting well into dusk, so the shutter speed was at 4 seconds. I clicked when I saw the air-to-air strike happen. Not two seconds into the exposure, those two ground strikes shot down in short succession. I was awfully lucky with that last one and called it a night shortly after.
While I won’t get into fine detail about processing this image, I do want to share the thought process going on with each step. After the initial raw conversion in Lightroom and focus stack in Photoshop through Auto-align layers and Auto-blend layers, I felt that the strikes looked rather lackluster and the balance of the image wasn’t quite right. I do appreciate the split complementary color harmony that’s going on at this stage, so I intended to process towards that.
Leading the eye
We’ve got flowers in the foreground, lighting at the horizon and a big couple of clouds with interesting colors in the back. The idea is to lead the eye from the bottom to the top of the image and there are a couple of ways to do that. Firstly, I want to dodge the lightning a good amount to make it stand out more. I’ve done this with two layers set to Soft Light.
I’ve selected the very brightest parts of the image through a luminosity mask selection and with a 1px brush set lavender, just off-white in brightness, I hand-painted over the strikes in the first layer. I applied the same technique to the second layer, but increased the brush size and lowered the opacity to soften the edges a bit and increase the apparent size of the strikes.
A stretch and a warp made the strikes stand out even more, while balancing the foreground to the sky, thus leading the eye upwards. The warp isn’t perfect just yet, but I like to work in stages, nudging post-processing in a direction instead of forcing more extreme adjustments early.
With the aid of new layer set to Hard Light, I’ve dodged the areas around the origin points in the clouds, to denote reflections in the sky. While we’re at it, the highlights inside the cloud could do with dodging as well. A fairly large, bright violet color works well here, but go easy on the saturation and dial in an opacity of about 5% if you’re using a mouse for this.
Next step is to stamp down all of these adjustments through (control+shift+alt+E on PC). With a new levels adjustment layer, I’ve brought the shadows closer together. That means brightening the blacks while lowering the shadows. This gives the image a silky smooth look to it.
Contrast work and color balance
If you find luminosity masks too complicated or too much work, than try to follow this next step. We haven’t paid much attention to the overall contrast yet. Every contrast adjustment I do is confined by a luminosity selection. That’s easier than you would think. So if I want to adjust the highlights, then all I do is hold down control (or command on a Mac) and click the RGB channel in the channels palette. That loads the brightest 50% of the image as a selection. When you add an adjustment layer now, Photoshop automatically loads a mask that masks out the darkest 50%.
Just this mask will make your adjustments target either the brighter or darker (invert the mask) parts of the image. With this in mind, I bumped up the contrast in the sky and shifted the hue of the foreground more toward the yellow to make the colors adhere more to the aforementioned split complementary harmony.
Before we get into sharpening for the web and a final contrast boost, I want to warp the foreground somewhat once more. A great tip I’ve picked up is to flip the image to see if the image works more or less the same when mirrored. This particular image wasn’t balanced because the flower in the foreground is too far to the left here. With that last warp, the image guides the viewer up from the lower right to the upper left.
Finalizing the image is usually done in Lightroom again. This is why the end result in Photoshop is a little flat and lacks the impact that I want it to make. Of course you could use the camera raw filter for these adjustments, but I like the fact that I’m importing the image straight into my library at this point. This is when I mostly pronounce the adjustments already done in Photoshop. The thing I want to tell you a bit about though, is the hue shift and lowering of the saturation.
Contrast and saturation are inextricably linked. Boost contrast and you increase the saturation. Lower the saturation and the apparent contrast goes down with it. This is why you can get away with more dark/light contrast in black and white versions of the same image. In the last milestone of the image, we saw a huge amount of blue in the sky. That wasn’t there with me at the time. The sky felt much more glacial than cobalt blue. That’s because these huge energetic clouds contain something that’s know as a hail core. And almost nowhere on Earth do you see this amazing color, save for the arctic. It’s definitely something I want to keep when I do see it in nature.
Tips for Aspiring Chasers
It’s difficult to control, but try to match the lighting conditions with the storm. That means that you could drive to a location where sun and storm meet, but it’s insanely tough to also include a great foreground subject in the nick of time.
As a foreground subject: Less is more. Severe weather photography is about the monster in the sky, but a picture of just a cloud gets boring quickly. Finding a color or a shape in the land that matches the sky is your challenge here.
Get to know the weather forecast. In particular: CAPE, acronym for Convective Available Potential Energy proves very useful in advance of the storm.
Be aware of the dangers of thunderstorm photography. Be sure the storm moves away from you, what to do when you’re caught in the middle of it and most importantly: when to quit.
Eventually, I did find an answer to the big questions I told you about. Storm season is about to start again and I can’t wait to go out again.
Stay up to date of my work by following me on 500px or on Facebook to be the first to see my new releases!
About the author: Daniel Laan is a landscape photographer based in the Netherlands. In addition to being a full-time landscape shooter, Laan also teaches photography to students around the world. You can find more of his work on his website, Facebook, 500px, and Instagram.
It’s time for one more Sony a9 demo, because a high-speed sports camera is only as good as its AutoFocus system. Sony Artisan Gary Fong uploaded this pole vaulter demo, showing how well the a9 can keep up with a running athlete while shooting wide open.
Just like the 20fps no blackout demo last week, it’s easy to forget that Fong is not shooting video here: he’s taking 20 full-frame photos per second. In his case, it looks like he’s shooting JPEG, but the camera is capable of capturing this same sequence in RAW no problem.
Fong was shooting in Manual mode, at ISO 6400 and 1/2500 second shutter speed on a 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master lens wide open.
General wisdom has typically maintained that mirrorless cameras simply can’t keep up with DSLRs when it comes to AutoFocus capability—a critical feature if you’re shooting fast-moving sports or wildlife. After watching this demo, general wisdom may have to change its mind.
My name is Jake Hicks, and I’m an editorial and fashion photographer based in the UK. In this article, I’ll share a look at some of the sharpening techniques I use in Photoshop to give my images a little visual-pop before I publish them.
What is Image Sharpening?
Sharpening is one of those odd processes that we all do with our images even if we’re not aware of it. In fact, even the default import settings on a lot of raw processing software sharpens the images for us before we even look at them. Most of us don’t actually change that default setting because, let’s be honest, it looks better with a little sharpening to begin with. To see what I mean, the next time you import a raw into Lightroom or your preferred raw converter feel free to reduce the default sharpening settings to zero.
But even though our raw converters add a little bit of sharpening, I personally don’t add any additional sharpening until I’ve finished nearly all of my editing in Photoshop. Sharpening should be one of the very last things you do your image for a couple of reasons.
Firstly; the amount of sharpening applied to an image should be relevant to where you want it to be displayed. For example you would obviously apply a different amount of sharpening to a file being uploaded to the web as you would a file being printed out for a billboard advert. Applying the sharpening at the end of your post-pro workflow means that you can output several different versions with varying amounts of sharpening applied based on the final usage.
Secondly; sharpening in post-pro is a synthesised process. What I mean by that is that software plays tricks on the viewers eyes to ‘simulate’ an image being sharper and crisper than it actually is. We obviously can’t re-focus the image after the fact so we apply ‘sharpening’ to simulate it. During this process of our software synthesising sharpening it actually just increases the contrast of adjacent pixels thereby giving the image an overall sharper appearance. But that increase in contrast can also increase saturation in edge detail, which can be a problem if you haven’t finished editing your file yet.
The Sharpening Trifecta
So which sharpening techniques do I use? Now that we’ve established that we aren’t really re-focusing our image in post, we can look at sharpening as more of a series of clever tricks to simply visually improve our images. With this in mind I actually do my sharpening in three distinct stages; detail, global and local.
This is the one that most of us will apply by default and if you simply hit the ‘Sharpen’ filter in Photoshop this will sharpen the detail in your image. This detail sharpening is the one that is increasing edge contrast the most and is the technique we use to give our images a little visual pop. If you were only going to apply one level of sharpening then it would be this one, but I apply this detail sharpening as a base and then build on it with global and local sharpening afterwards.
This is a sharpening technique that I use to visually tighten up the image towards the end of an edit. The technique uses the visual illusion of sharpening but increases the edge contrast at a far broader and softer scale. This is also a technique that is used to quickly and easily apply a dodging and burning effect by increasing the brightness of highlight areas and the darkness of shadows.
Remember what I said about sharpening only being the increase of contrast in adjacent pixels? Well this global technique is what sharpening can look like when applied more broadly as this technique sharpens adjacent tonal groups.
This localized sharpening technique I use is specifically targeted at visually drawing the attention of my viewers eyes where I want it. It’s a heavy sharpening look but it is localized to only areas like the eyes of a subject or the jewelry in an image where that extra pop of contrast can make those items really stand out.
The Photoshop Sharpening Technique
The following steps take you through my Photoshop process exactly as I would when I’m retouching a shot. The keys and shortcuts are from a Mac so if you’re a PC user some things may be a little different but very minor.
First off we will need to make a flattened duplicate of the layered Photoshop document so far. As I mentioned at the start of the article, you will have already done the skin retouching, dodging and burning etc so now we need to create a flattened version of our file so far to work from. The following step creates a single flattened layer of everything below.
Select your top layer and hold the keys:
Rename this layer ‘Detail‘.
Now that you have your new layer we want to strip any colour information that may be present in that layer.
Remember: sharpening increases contrast in adjacent pixels and an increase in contrast is also an increase in saturation. We don’t want to increase the saturation so we should strip all the colour from our image before we sharpen.
With our Detail layer selected, hold the keys
or go to: Image -> Adjustments -> Desaturate
Your detail layer should now be black and white.
Next we want to apply the sharpening so go to: Filter -> Other -> High Pass…
In the dialog box that opens, we want to select a sharpening amount that is specific to the edge detail of the chosen image. Choosing a lower amount at this stage is a good place to start and I went for 4 pixels here.
At the moment our image is looking pretty horrendous so we need to select a blending mode that will best display the sharpening amount that we’ve applied.
In the layers ‘Blending mode’ drop down choose something like ‘Vivid Light‘ or ‘Hard Light‘.
The next step is optional and down to personal preference but you may also want to reduce the amount of layer opacity of your Detail layer. Try varying amounts of opacity and see what works for your specific image.
Next up we want to apply our Global sharpening. Remember this a technique that helps tie an image together and can be a great way to add some contrast via adding darkness to the shadows and brightness to the highlights. This is a very powerful technique but caution is advised because if overdone, the image can start to look very fake and artificial very quickly so subtly is key.
We need a new layer to sharpen so with our top layer selected hold the keys
Rename this layer ‘Global‘.
Again we want to strip away any colour information so with our Global layer selected, hold the keys
or go to: Image -> Adjustments -> Desaturate.
Your Global layer should now be black and white.
Next we want to apply the sharpening so go to: Filter -> Other -> High Pass…
In the High Pass dialogue box we now want to choose a far broader amount of sharpening. In fact we want to select such a large amount that it now no longer looks like a sharpen but more like a glow. Again this amount is based on your image but I chose 40 for this particular shot.
Next we will need to blend this layer just like the previous one but we will choose a more subtle blending option this time.
In the layers ‘Blending Mode‘ drop down choose something like ‘Soft Light‘.
At the moment the effect is probably still looking a little strong so you may want to consider reducing the amount of layer opacity to soften the look.
For our last stage of sharpening we will be focusing on sharpening just certain areas of the image and masking out everything else. For a lot of images this can just be the eyes but this localized sharpening technique can also be used on jewelry and other styling items to really make them stand out if need be too.
As with the previous two stages we will need a new layer to sharpen so with our top layer selected hold the keys
Rename this layer ‘Local‘.
Once more we want to strip away any colour information so with our Local layer selected, hold the keys
or go to: Image -> Adjustments -> Desaturate
Your Local layer should now be black and white.
Next we want to apply the sharpening so go to: Filter -> Other -> High Pass…
This time around we are just looking at specific areas to sharpen so in the High Pass dialogue box we want to be gauging the amount we sharpen by looking solely at those features. For this image I will be looking at giving the eyes a little extra sharpening so I’ve chosen 8 as a good number to show that.
Next we will need to blend this layer just like the previous ones but we will choose quite a strong look as we will be masking out everything apart from the eyes in our next steps.
In the layers ‘Blending mode’ drop down choose something like ‘Overlay‘.
We’re going to be masking this layer so we can leave the layer opacity at a 100% for now.
We want to completely hide this layer and only show certain areas so first we will mask it by either;
Holding ALT and clicking on the Mask at the bottom of the layers palette or by going to Layer -> Layer Mask -> Hide All
Your Local layer should no longer be visible and in the thumbnail in the layers palette there should be a black square next to it.
Next we want to reveal the areas we want so hit B for the brush tool and choose a large-sized soft bush. Next make sure the layer mask is selected by clicking onto it and lastly, paint with white paint over the eye area with 10-20% flow until the right amount of sharpening in the eyes is revealed.
If after you’ve finished you feel you’ve gone too far then you can always reduce the layers opacity to reduce the effect further.
That is it, you’re done. You can either choose to save the file as it is or continue on with any other final colour toning adjustments.
P.S. Sharpening my image like this is just one small step in a long line of adjustments I make during my post-production process. If you’d like to know more about my post-pro workflow then I discuss my entire post production process from importing in Lightroom to exporting in Photoshop. Both for fast paced studio work and for my intense editorial retouching, I cover absolutely everything in my new face-to-face Post Pro Workshop.
See you there 😀
About the author: Jake Hicks is an editorial and fashion photographer based in Reading, UK. He specializes in keeping the skill in the camera and not just on the screen. You can find more of his work and writing on his website, Facebook, 500px, Instagram, Twitter, and Flickr. This article was also published here.
Photojournalist or not, if a news story unfolds before you, to you shoot photos or risk your life to save theirs? (#)
More thoughts on the Sony a9 and its place in the market.
Fujifilm releases two new lenses for its mirrorless medium format system as well an adapter for mounting to a 4×5 view camera. (#)
The Trump White House opens its Flickr page, sans an important learning tool. (#)
Panasonic announces a reasonably-priced compact with advanced features. (#)
Listener Nick in Portland, Oregon wants to know if Adobe will be significantly updating the program soon or if he should jump ship to Capture One or another program.
Canon announces that C-Log is coming to the 5D Mark IV, but at a cost and a roundtrip to the service center. (#)
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It’s five o’clock in the morning, and a cold mist lies upon the small Kenyan town of Kitale. Only if you walk around the empty town at the break of dawn will you notice the part of life that society is hiding. On cold, concrete floors, all over the city, lie hundreds of children fast asleep.
Their skinny bodies are covered in plastic bags or blankets as they sleep right next to each other to escape the cold and rigid nights. As the first rays of light are sipping through the trees the town is slowly awakening. Some children are running into the damp and misty fog while a young boy brings out an old t-shirt and starts cleaning up the children’s urine and dirt from the concrete floors.
There is a silent agreement with the city dwellers, that the street children are allowed to sleep on the cold floors of the town, as long as every trace of them ever being there is erased in the morning. Nobody wants to know where the homeless children sleep at night.
They are forgotten by people. Ignored in social debates. Through police raids they are forced to their deaths. The homeless children are a common sight in the modern Kenyan society. During the 20 years I have been travelling between Kenya and Finland the number of street children has increased rapidly. Today, I find them in the smallest of cities, including the village I grew up in myself.
My name is Sofia Jern. I am a Finnish photography student at UAS Novia in Finland. In April 2016, I had the honor of accepting a Sony World Photo Award when winning the Student Focus competition with my photo series “Glue Boys”. The past year I have repeatedly returned to Kenya, my second home. I have spent my days and nights documenting the lives of the street children in town of Kitale.
I felt like flipping a coin when deciding to pursue a career in photography. It is safe to say that it was a passion of mine, but that is not why I chose it. Photography is my way to communicate inequalities, or in this case, give the street children of Kitale a voice.
In Kenya, there are 250,000 to 300,000 children living and working on the streets. The use of psychoactive substances, or in this case glue fumes, among street children for survival has been a prevalent problem in most urban centers in Kenya. This is also why they are called the Glue Boys.
Street children is a global phenomenon. In Colombia they are called ‘mariginais’ (criminal), in Rio de Janeiro, ‘polillas’ (moths) in Bolivia, ‘bui doi’ (dust children) in Vietnam, ‘saligoman’ (nasty kids) in Rwanda, ‘moustiques’ (mosquitos) in Cameroon and ‘chokora’ (garbage picker) in Kenya. I know them by the name ‘glue boys’.
Most street children reflect an image of misery, suffering and neglect. They are viewed by society as being dirty, dangerous, unhealthy thieves and so are consequently treated with apathy and disgust. The social stigmatization directed at street children is based on their appearance.
But the children I met go under the name Shidriki, Kevin, Brian and Shadrak, and I can not ask this question enough: who will take care of you?
About the author: Sofia Jern is a photographer based in Finland. Having grown up in Kenya, she became aware and interested from an early age in the issues of social inequality and human rights. You can find more of her work on her website.