Being away for the last week and half has thrown me behind on some of the post I wanted to work on. Before I left I had download 2 new ebooks released by the team at Dreamscapes. I was planning on reading them and writing a review while I was away but I only got as far and doing the reading.
The first ebook is another in their new mini-guide series, Wildlife Photography by Ian Plant.
I love these mini guides. They’re the perfect length with just enough enough information to digest in one sitting. They’re also wonderful to have with you in the field and quickly be able to refer back to the information you’re looking for. This Wildlife Photography guide is no different. Photographing wildlife has its own challenges and while it’s vital to get it technically perfect there are other things to consider such as does your image tell a story. Ian’s mini guide touches on how tell that story by using light, providing context, positioning yourself and much more.
The 2nd release this month is Post Processing – A Guide for Nature Photographers by expert bird photographer Glenn Bartley.
If you’re a bird photographer you’re gong to love this new ebook if you’re not you’ll still get plenty out of this book because it deals with post processing of images and not the capture. If you feel bogged down with your workflow then this guide will help you get up and running in no time.
Glenn Bartley shares techniques t improve and simplify your image processing and photo management. Bartley covers the gamut here from the basics of file management, monitor calibrations, RAW processing, selective adjustment and and advanced techniques to name a few.
The book interspersed with video tutorials, expert tips and timesaving tips that will help you get the most out of Photoshop and BreezeBrowser but these techniques are transferable to any imaging software you use. I myself use primarily Lightroom and found the instructions and tips useful for LR as well.
In addition to the ebook itself you can download time-saving Photoshop actions and sample images to experiment with.
The Wildlife Photography Mini-Guide is available for $4.9 or purchase all 4 guides for $16.95. Post Process- A Guide for Nature Photographers is available for $24.95. Both books can be found at the Dreamscapes store here.
Aside from spending the weekend getting ready for Passover (and that constituted spending lot of time in the kitchen) I was able to kick back a little bit and catch up on some reading. Last week I download 3 new photography books to my iPad and I finally found some time to read them.
Ian Plant has just released 3 new mini-guides….
These bite sized guides are the perfect companions when you’re planning your shoots or to have with you when you’re out on a shoot. Ian Plant’s has kept these simple and to the point with the information you need to know to get the shot. Each guide is 20 pages, they are concise and Ian has included all the tips that you need to get stunning photographers in these locations. From timing and composition, shooting angles and location specific tips, these guides are indispensable.
Each guide is priced at $4.95 but you can purchase all 3 for $12.95. In addition Dreamscapes is having a Spring sale until the end of April. Simply use the discount code SPRING and you can save 15% of all purchases in the Dreamscapes eStore. You can click here to go to the Dreamscape store.
Walking through Soho one day I almost missed this mural. Can you imagine? I was talking and not paying attention but luckily, as I was about to cross the street a car was coming through the intersection which made me stop. When I looked across the street this is what I saw.
Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.
I also wanted to let you know of new ebook by Ian Plant and it’s absolutely free to download. Costa Rica – Wonders of the Osa is a 40 page ebook showcase the beautiful forest wildlife of the Osa Peninsula. Click here to download this free ebook.
The Dreamscape team has also recently released The Complete Lightroom Workflow tutorial. This series of 18 video tutorials is over 3 hours long by Dreamscapes blogger Kurt Budiger will show you how to use Adobe Lightroom 5 to unlock your photos’ hidden potential. Kurt takes the mystery out of this powerful program. He leads you
through his personal workflow, taking you every step of the way—from importing media through organizing and editing images, applying common adjustments, synching your settings across images, and exporting to Adobe Photoshop. And as an added bonus, he provides you three case studies from his own images, explaining the aesthetic decisions he made in processing each image. The normal retail price of the videos is $29.95, but use discount code Darkroom1 to get $3 off! Click here to purchase or download a free sample.
The first book that I ever read by Ian Plant was Visual Flow: Mastering the Art of Composition. That was the start of a beautiful friendship between myself and Mr. Plant…in print anyway :) That monster 287 page ebook has become my go to reference book when I’m conceptualizing what images I want to shoot and how. You can read the review of Visual Flow here.
You’ll understand my excitement then when I found out that Ian Plant has just released The Visual Flow Companion as a compliment and update to the first book. Overflowing with new images, new ideas and insights and new image analyses I was ready to dig in.
Each image in this 51 page volume is brilliant and Ian goes through a thorough analysis of the compositional values of each and the techniques he employed. In addition to his own images Ian goes through the same in-depth compositional analysis of images of fellow Dreamscapes bloggers, George Stocking, Kurt Budlinger, and Richard Bernabe.
As with the first book this companion piece, albeit not as hefty in page count, is packed with indispensable information and insight for photographers at any level.
The Visual Flow Companion retails for $7.95 which is a great deal in itself but for the month of December you can get 15% OFF just use the discount code DECEMBER at check-out! For more information, please visit the Dreamscapes Store.
Quick Update Folks…I’ve just learned that the Dreamscapes Store will be running a Thanksgiving Sale starting on Wednesday Nov 27th at midnight. 15% off everything in the store. No discount code required! Have fun.
What better way to enjoy a soggy cold weekend then by digging into two new books recently released by the Dreamscapes team.
First out of the gate…Desert Paradise – The Landscape Photographer’s Guide to Death Valley National Park. It looks like Dreamscapes is building their travel photo guide offerings (their previous guide was Forever Light – A Guide to Iceland) and I couldn’t be more pleased.
Desert Paradise is written by Ron Coscorrosa and Sarah Marino who between the 2 of them have clocked thousands of miles over many trips to Death Valley.
Truth be told Death Valley National Park is on my photography bucket list so I was especially excited to start digging into this book. The amount of detailed information that the authors provide in this book is invaluable for the first time visitor, to this desolate yet beautiful location and to the return visitor.
Desert Paradise contains:
- Detailed information on seventeen locations, including classic Death Valley icons and places off the beaten path. Each location includes several photos, directions and, when applicable, GPS coordinates.
- Photography advice and techniques for Death Valley’s myriad different landscapes—tips on how to photograph salt flats, playas, sand dunes, badlands, abstracts, macros, in black and white, and wildflowers.
- Over 150 photos highlighting the diversity of Death Valley’s stunning landscapes. Technical information (including exposure settings) is included for every photograph presented.
- Basic travel information, including lodging and transportation, seasonal variations, weather, and hazards to help you in getting started in planning your trip.
- Features on an additional ten minor locations in the park are featured, as well as several other major locations located outside the park—including California’s Mono Lake, the Eastern Sierra, and Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.
- Recommended gear and gear considerations.
- Maps highlighting every major location in the book.
- Suggested itineraries for both brief, short, and long trips (plans from one day to several weeks in duration.)
- A brief human and geologic history of the park.
As I was reading this book it quickly became apparent that there was so much that I didn’t know about Death Valley and its harsh landscape. The authors spared no detail when discussing the geographical terrain and all the photographic considerations that must come into play for this type of photography trip. The cherry on this sundae is that the photography is just so jaw-dropping gorgeous it’s going to want to make you pack your bags and hop on a plane. I am now officially inspired.
If you want to learn more you or pick up a copy for yourself check out the Dreamscapes store here.
The 2nd release is The Complete Guide to Gear for the Landscape Photographer by Justin Reznick.
If you follow this blog you may remember that I reviewed Justin’s, Photographing Waterfalls and Streams just last month. You can see that review here.
OK…so you’re reading the title of this book and you’re thinking to yourself…“why do I need a book about gear? I have what I need…what’s left to learn?” Well, quite a bit actually. There are reviews for everything from lenses to headlamps, backpacks, tripods and ballheads, clothing, camera protection, hand-held GPS devices, photo storage, and much more!
Justin provides an explanation on full-frame and APS-C cameras and what makes sense for different kinds of photography. Oh…and you’re going to love this…he discusses both Canon and Nikon bodies and lenses. I love it! He also covers off compact cameras including the beloved iPhone :)
Here’s what the Dreamscapes team had to say…
His recommendations make sense. He tells you that your camera is not the most important thing you can own, that iPhone cameras have their uses, and that rubber bands can save you thousands. And he avoids some of the battles that equipment nerds fight over, instead giving you practical, real-world recommendations.
While the latest and greatest gear won’t itself make your photographs shine, having an expert lead you through these decisions will go a long way.
Justin also includes interviews with 6 different professional landscape photographers who share their thoughts on equipment and what works and what doesn’t.
You can find Gear for the Landscape Photographer at the Dreamscapes store.
Can you believe that the holidays are just around the corner. Have you started on your holiday shopping? Have you put together your own wish list? If you’re anything like me the mental wish list starts in January and just gets longer as the year progresses. :) Just in case you haven’t started I thought I would help you out with your list this year. The ever-growing number of products on the market makes it really hard to stay focused on what essential gear should be in your toolkit. Below is a list of equipment, software and reference material that I use and find invaluable for my photography business. So grab a cup of java, sit back and have a read through this rather long post. You may find a deal or two as well as some free stuff. Keep reading :)
I really love my Canon 7D. I’ve had it for about 2 years now and it’s definitely a workhorse. I sometimes find the need to shoot at high ISOs (3200 and higher) and it handles noise beautifully. It’s got a 19 point AF System and a shooting rate of up to 7fps. It’s really come down in price since I bought mine so worthwhile taking a look at this.
I must say that this lens is one of the best investments that I’ve made. The 24-70 f/2.8L is the lens that is always on my camera. It’s so versatile for all types of photography and the images this piece of glass produces are sharp, sharp, sharp. I promised myself a long time ago that as I needed to upgrade or buy new lens I would wait until I had the money to buy a quality lens and Canon’s “L” lens live up to the hype that you always hear about. You may want to put this one on your wish list ahead of time so Santa has sometime to save up for it.
Is this a must have? For me it is. It allows me to mount my camera onto a tripod in either a horizontal or vertical position quickly. The Kirk L- Bracket works with any Arca Style Quick Release Platform so if you have a Really Right Stuff or Markins ball head this will work. Make sure your purchasing the one that will fit your DSLR.
If you’re not backing up your images you’re taking a big risk with your images and all the hard work you’ve put into them. You’ve read it before I’m sure…the question isn’t “will your hard drive fail but when”. After I transfer all my images from my memory card to my hard drive I back them up immediately to my WD external hard drive which is a RAID drive. I then have an additional backup, the LaCie 3TB d2 Quadra Hard Drive with USB 3.0 / Thunderbolt. Both these drive perform extremely well and I’m confident that if one should fail my library of images are just a few keystrokes away.
After many years of using a traditional camera strap I found I was doing more damage to my neck then I really wanted to. I tried different straps…padded around the neck, different materials but I just wasn’t pleased or comfortable. A friend told me to give the Black Rapid a try, I did and I really love this strap. It’s saved me a lot of neck ache and the BlackRapid made specifically for women (don’t laugh you male photographers out there) is curved in just the right places so it sits across your chest nicely. And yes there are non-female versions available as well.
I just wrote a review about the Bataflae a couple of weeks ago which you can find on my products review page. I love this bag and if you or someone you know needs a new camera bag then look no further.
My go to store for photographic equipment is B&H Photo in New York. Unfortunately I don’t get to New York as often as I would like but their online store is the best. Even for little ‘ole me living in Canada, B&H has made so easy to order from them. If your living in Canada they will calculate shipping, customs and duties before you submit your order online so you know exactly what you’re paying. I’ve done the math and I save money when I order from B&H.
Software & Plug-Ins
Here’s a list of the software and plug-ins that I use and swear by. These form part of my workflow and I couldn’t do what I do without these tools. You might be surprised to find Photoshop Elements on the list and not Photoshop CS. I was holding out for the longest time and was eventually going to purchase CS and then Adobe changed the rules of the game. Since I didn’t already own CS5 or CS6 I would have had to pay the full subscription rate for Adobe CC so I decided against it. Do I feel that I’m at a disadvantage by using Elements? Absolutely not. I think the advances in Elements over the years has made it a software any professional photographer can use.
Clarity, Black & White Effects, Adjust, DeNoise, Detail…these are just a few of the Topaz plug-ins that I use. I write about them in my blog posts and usually let you know when I’ve used them in processing my images (check the tags). You can get a 15% discount on all Topaz products by using the discount ELPHOTO.
I also wanted to let you know that Topaz Labs is running a promotion on its Black & White Effects plug-in. Until November 19th B&W Effects is only $29.99. That’s a 50% savings and a steal for this plug-in.
Give the Gift of Art!
Yikes…I’ve said it…there you go. Here’s a bit of shameless self promotion. Gear is fun but if there’s someone special on your list why not give the gift of art. You can head on over to my gallery. All images are available in a variety of sizes. Make sure you check out the Float Mounted Metal Prints. They look great and they’re ready to go up on the wall when you receive them. From now until December 25 use the code Holiday2013 and save 15% on your order.
eBooks & Free Stuff
Well really…you must have known that I would include some of my favourite ebooks as part of this list :)
Ok…let’s start with some free stuff….yes free…first from Craft & Vision. Just click on the images and download…Happy Holidays!
Other Craft & Vision titles that are a must for your library include:
Here’s a terrific ebook from Ian Plant and the team at Dreamscapes and it’s absolutely free…
…and if you haven’t yet picked up and read Visual Flow – Mastering the Art of Composition then I suggest you check it out. You can read my review of Visual Flow here.
This free ebook has just been released from photographer and author Mitchell Kanashkevich, 7 Tips for Natural Looking Travel Portraits.
Well I hope you’ve enjoyed my little round-up of gear, software, art and ebooks. Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas for gifts for yourself or for some one special. If you’ve enjoyed this post and found it useful please share it with your social networks. Thanks and have a great week everyone.