torstai 16. elokuuta 2018

PictureCorrect.com: New: Topaz A.I. Gigapixel to Enlarge Photos

Topaz A.I. Gigapixel is a standalone application only (it does not work as a plugin or Topaz Studio adjustment) made for batch resizing your images. It uses the power of Topaz’s proprietary Artistic Intelligence engine to make sharper and clearer upscaled images than traditional upscaling tools. Our readers can use the coupon code picturecorrect to get 15% off if you want to try it out. Found here: Topaz A.I. Gigapixel

topaz ai gigapixel

New: topaz A.I. Gigapixel

A.I. GigaPixel is the first desktop application to use the power of Deep Neural Networks to realistically enlarge your images, up to 6x.

Traditional up-scale methods use “interpolation” (bi-cubic, Lanczos, fractal, etc.) to create higher resolution images.

These traditional methods produce images that are blurry, unrealistically painterly, and lack the details that are present in real high-resolution images.

gigapixel sharpness

Gigapixel sharpness vs others

The unsurpassed quality of A.I. Gigapixel can enlarge full-size Raw images to over a gigapixel in size. it can also enlarge thumbnail images to create full-size versions that are practically identical to original high-resolution photos. Can you tell which image is the original and which was upscaled from a thumbnail?

thumbnail enlargement

We scaled the original image down to 16% of its original size then used A.I. Gigapixel to enlarge that thumbnail 600%

This is the eye from the thumbnail.

eye analysis

This is the output from A.I. Gigapixel on the left, and the original full-size image on the right when zoomed to 150%.

gigapixel by topaz

Turn ANY camera (even a smartphone) into a $50,00 medium format Gigapixel camera

Enhance your DSLR from 30MP to a WHOPPING 1080MP!

And your smartphone’s 12MP to a 432MP BEAST.

Gigapixel also increases the dynamic range of photos. Go from 8bit to 16bit with your images using the power of A.I.

mural print

30 megapixels to a huge 1080 megapixels

Create wall murals that are 6ft (2m) at 300DPI from your smartphone’s camera.

How to Get Topaz A.I. Gigapixel:

Enlarge your images with revolutionary A.I. upsampling to create up to 3600% more pixels. Our readers can use the coupon code picturecorrect to get 15% off.

Found here: Topaz A.I. Gigapixel


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keskiviikko 15. elokuuta 2018

PictureCorrect.com: Interesting Photo of the Day: Fields of Indian Paintbrush

The Eastern Sierra in California is well known for its scenery. Photographer Elliot Hawkey shot this beautiful image of Indian Paintbrush at sunrise while hiking in the region’s Ansel Adams Wilderness:

field of indian paintbrush at sunrise

“Fields of Indian Paintbrush at Sunrise” by Elliot Hawkey (Via Reddit. Click image to see full size.)

Hawkey shot the image handheld at 24mm, f/6.3, 1/200 seconds, and ISO 800 with his Canon 6D body and Canon 24–70 2.8 Mark I lens. The Banner Peak in the background is seen wrapped by the morning light while the flower field is yet to be sun kissed. The way Hawkey has composed this shot by using the flowers to create a leading line toward the peaks is really interesting.

“About a month ago I decided to head down to California on a spontaneous four day backpacking trip through the Ansel Adams Wilderness in the Eastern Sierras. Roughly 35 trail miles, more lakes than I could count on two hands, a weird case of heat exhaustion, hundreds of mosquito bites, and some of the most beautiful views I’ve seen to date. The wildflowers in the photo are called Indian Paintbrush, with Banner Peak towering in the background at 12,936 ft, and just at the end of the field are the gorgeous waters of Thousand Island Lake.”


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PictureCorrect.com: Understanding Focal Lengths

Focal length is the distance between the optical center of a lens and the point where it converges a beam of light to form a sharp image. In photography, the focal length of the lens determines the field of view and the magnification of the subject. Understanding focal lengths and their uses can allow you to make more creative choices. Photographer David Flores from B&H takes us through popular focal lengths and how they can be used in the field:

Wide Angle

Wide angle lenses (14–35mm range) enable you to have a perspective that is wider than the angle of view of the human eye. Wide angle lenses are popular for photographing landscapes, architecture, group photos, and documentary work that requires lots of context.

architecture photo with wide angle lens

Standard

Standard lenses (40–60mm range) have a perspective that is very close to what human eyes see. They’re versatile and are used for photographing a variety of subjects, such as portraits, travel, nature, or just about anything. Many standard lenses have a wide aperture, usually f/1.8, which make them very useful for low light conditions and getting a very shallow depth of field for a smooth background blur.

photo taken with standard lens

Telephoto

Telephoto lenses (70–800mm range) have the ability to zoom in to subjects that are far away. They’re mostly used for shooting wildlife, sports, nature, and portraiture. With their ability to have a reach on distant subjects, they allow the photographer to have some space between them and the subject. When a lens is used at the telephoto end, it compresses the foreground and background and isolates the subject. This is why many portrait photographers love to work with telephoto lenses.

portrait photo using telephoto lens

Now that you have an understanding of the usage of focal lengths, you may have a dilemma of choosing whether you want to get a lens with a fixed focal length (a prime lens) or something with a variable focal length (a zoom lens).

Prime Lenses

Prime lenses have a fixed focal length, meaning that you cannot zoom in or out using the lens mechanism. It will have to be done by moving the camera closer or farther from the subject. The main  advantage of a prime lens is that it can have a very wide maximum aperture, like f/1.2, f/1.4 and f/1.8.

Zoom Lenses

Zoom lenses have variable focal lengths and are more flexible. They’re more useful in the sense that you don’t need to continuously change lenses to zoom in or out. It is also important to note that some zoom lenses, especially kit lenses, have different maximum aperture sizes at the wide and telephoto ends. For instance, if you see that a zoom lens has 18–105mm 3.5-5.6 written on it, it means that when you are at 18mm, your maximum aperture can go up to f/3.5 while at the 105mm end, the aperture will be at f/5.6 at its widest.

The story of focal length doesn’t end there. The frame that is created by a particular focal length is again affected by the sensor size of your camera. Consider the following scenarios:

  • On a full frame body, a 50mm lens will behave normally (i.e. all of the frame being created by the lens will fall on the sensor).
  • On an APSC body, a 50mm lens will have an image frame that is slightly more zoomed in than the full frame body. Canon APSC sensor has a crop factor of 1.6, while others, like Nikon and Sony, have a crop factor of 1.5. This means that a 50mm lens on the Canon will have an image frame like that of an 80mm lens (50*1.6 = 80), while on a Nikon or Sony, it will have a frame like that of a 75mm lens (50*1.5).
  • Even smaller sensors, like micro four thirds sensors, have a larger crop factor of two. In such bodies, a 50mm lens will form an image frame similar to that of a 100mm lens (50*2).

It is therefore necessary to consider your camera body and its sensor size when deciding on what focal lengths you want to use for your work.

Now that you have a better understanding of focal lengths, we hope that you’ll be able to make more informed creative lens choices.

For further training: The Photography Action Cards at 88% Off


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tiistai 14. elokuuta 2018

PictureCorrect.com: Wild Bird Photography Tips

Capturing great wild bird photos can be challenging at times, but with good preparation, the right equipment, and a few simple tips, it can also be quite fun and rewarding. What follows are our top tips for capturing better stock wild bird photos.

bird in foliage

photo by Vikramdeep Sidhu

Know Your Venue

If you’re hoping to capture some great wild bird pictures, the first thing you need to do is get to know your venue. First up, do some research and find out what species you’re likely to spot. From there you can work out when and where you’re likely to find them. Once you figure out where you’re likely to find them, find a map of that area and convert it to a sketch map so you can mark your own details on it.

When you first arrive, use your sketch map to mark out the overhead path of the sun, so you can anticipate lighting in different locations, mark different vegetation/habitat types, and where you can find good cover for yourself.

Then, as you spot different species, mark the locations (and times) on your sketch map. Soon, you will have a very handy reference guide for future shoots. When you return, you’ll know when and where you need to be to capture the bird photographs you seek.

The best bird photographers often tell me they rarely get their best shots on the first visit… the best wild bird pictures usually happen once they know the location as well as their own backyard.

Know Your Subject

This should go without saying for any sort of wildlife photography, but it’s particularly important for capturing great wild bird photographs. Birds are incredibly fast and often seem totally unpredictable, so the better you get to know them, the better your chances are of anticipating their behavior and getting the shot you want.

For starters, invest in a good bird guide and learn everything you can about the species you want to photograph. Getting to know their feeding habits, breeding, nesting, and migratory behaviors will help you make sure you are in the right place at the right time.

Knowledge of their specific behavior, from guides and observation, will help you anticipate what they’re going to do once you’ve found them. The more time you spend observing the birds, the better you’ll be able to predict their behavior. It will also give them more time to get used to you.

puffin photography

photo by Jacob Spinks

There are some bird behaviors that are fairly universal though, so you can start with these.

Most birds will take off and land into the wind. So if there’s a prevailing wind direction at your venue, be aware of it and position yourself facing towards the bird’s likely location with the sun behind you (ie. so your photos will be with the bird flying towards you and lit from the front).

Most birds ‘tense’ their feathers just before they take off. When they’re relaxed (and going nowhere) they look more ‘fluffy’. When they’re about to take flight, they almost seem to shrink for a second or two before launching themselves. If you watch for this, it can be a great trigger to start shooting.

pelican in flight

photo by C. P. Ewing

Buy the Longest, Fastest Lens You Can Afford

This tip comes with a caveat. You don’t need an exorbitantly expensive lens to get marketable bird photos, but any extra length you can afford will be helpful.

Some of the best bird photographers I know use nothing more than a standard 100mm–400mm telephoto and get incredible results. In fact, most will tell you it’s more about the preparation, research, good positioning, and patient stalking techniques, as opposed to the lens.

In a perfect world, all bird photographers would have a 600mm f/4 auto focus lens, but realistically, anything over 300mm is probably good enough if you hone your other birding skills.

bird in snow

photo by Henk de Boer

You can, of course, use a teleconverter: a 1.4 teleconverter on a 400mm lens will put you in the 600mm range, but be aware you will lose a couple of f-stops in the process. In open, well-lit settings, that can be OK, but in any sort of vegetation, it’s probably going to make life difficult.

A final option a lot of dedicated birders use is called “digiscoping”. This entails attaching their camera to their spotting scope. A spotting scope with 25x magnification would be equivalent to a 1500mm lens. Even when you buy the adapter as well, it can be a very affordable way of getting close to your subjects.

Adjust Camera Settings

In most cases, you’ll want to use the fastest possible settings to deal with the speed and mobility of your subjects. When the birds are flying, you’ll usually need at least a 1/500 second shutter speed to keep it crisp. Even when they’re perched, many birds fidget and rarely keep perfectly still.

There will be times when you want to slow it down and convey the motion, and this can (should) be done deliberately. Just remember, there’s a difference between a photo deliberately captured to convey movement and one that’s just not sharp. If you’re going for movement, my suggestion would be to use panning to make sure there’s no question in the viewer’s mind that it was deliberate.

Digital ISO settings allow you to speed things up considerably, just be aware of how fast you can go before the picture quality suffers.

Always remember to constantly check your exposures. White, bright skies will trick your camera’s auto-exposure. So, for in flight shots, you’ll generally need to dial in 1–2 stops or more for exposure compensation.

Maximize Other Equipment

Usually a tripod would be considered essential equipment when using a long lens, but in bird photography, you will often find yourself in situations where setting up a full-sized tripod might be difficult. By all means use one whenever you can, especially if you’re working from a hide or semi-permanent position, but if you’re on the move, I always find a monopod more useful. In wooded areas there’s usually at least a tree to brace yourself against.

A lot of bird photographers will tell you their car makes a great hide and tripod all in one. Many birds are quite used to cars by now, so if you arrive on site and sit quietly for a few minutes, many birds will soon forget the car is there. Keep a small bean bag handy for a camera rest, and you’re in business.

Always carry extra battery power and extra storage. In the field, plastic bags are always helpful for protecting your gear from the elements (i.e. rain, fog, dust, etc.). If you’re really roughing it, a lot of pros suggest you don’t even change lenses. If you really need a choice of lens, carry it already attached to an extra camera body, to avoid any chance of getting dirt or water inside.

Be Deliberate in Your Composition

There are a few basic rules that apply to most wildlife photography, and they are particularly relevant to bird photographers as well.

owl in flight

photo by dingopup

First and foremost, focus on the eyes.

If the eyes are sharp, the rest doesn’t matter. If the eyes aren’t sharp, the rest doesn’t matter! No doubt there will be exceptions, but if you keep that firmly in mind when you’re shooting and editing, you will end up with a much stronger collection.

Another “rule” that applies to most wildlife photography is: shoot from the front. With few exceptions, there’s rarely much call for the rear end view of any creature leaving the scene.

The approaching view is much more natural, therefore making it easier for most viewers to connect with the photo. With birds, the approaching view is even more important. Birds usually present to their mates ‘head on’, which is when they display their more brilliant plumage. While the rear view is more likely to be plain or even camouflaged.

Finally, as much as possible, shoot from eye height.

eye level bird photography

photo by Linda Stanley

For ground or shore birds, this often means getting down on your belly. For high nesting birds, it means getting as high as you can yourself. Obviously you can’t always get to their level, but the more you try, the better your results. Telephoto lenses do help give the impression you’re more equal, but try not to rely on that alone.

If you’re photographing birds in flight, you need to anticipate and pan. Be extra careful not to crop too tightly. It is much better to trim things later than to find out you repeatedly clipped off a tail or a wing. And when possible, try to capture the birds flying into the frame, rather than out of it. A seemingly obvious part of flight is the wings. Always watch the wing position of the species you’re photographing and refer to your bird guide. Different species will present very distinct shapes. The ability to capture those behaviors and traits that make a creature unique is what separates the great wildlife photographers from the good ones.

Lastly, make sure you get good clear detail shots as well, so you can be totally confident in your identification of the bird. That means close up shots of the head, beak, breast, tail shape, and back. If you are planning to sell the images, accurate identification is essential. Don’t ever rely on common-names; buyers will usually want scientific names to be completely sure (i.e., If you have photos of a common Blue Jay, know that the scientific name is Cyanocitta cristata before you try to sell them).

Be Patient and Prepared to Practice

Patience is a virtue, especially in bird photography. When you arrive on site, always give the local inhabitants time to get used to you being there; you will get better images. Don’t try to force the issue by going too close too fast. At best they’ll fly away, and at worst, they’ll look visibly stressed which never makes a good photo.

Instead, after waiting and watching, work out what the comfort zone is for the species and stay just outside that. Most birds are instinctively afraid of people, but if you sit and wait quietly and patiently, you’ll find most are quite inquisitive, and many will actually approach you if you give them the opportunity.

Beyond that, shoot often and shoot heaps. Don’t expect your best shots to come on your first visit to an area. Instead, treat your first visit as a scouting trip. Work out your lines of light, wind, where your cover is, and identify as many species as you can, then you can research more fully before your next outing.

If you’re just starting out in bird photography, you might even find it useful to set up a feeder at your home, so you can practice and observe the birds in a relatively closed environment. Remember, the more time you spend getting to know your subjects, the better your photos are going to be.

Finally, spend plenty of time studying other people’s wild bird pictures. Dissect each shot and think about how it was created in terms of equipment, settings, timing, positioning, and the photographer’s understanding of the bird and its behavior.

A great wild bird picture doesn’t happen by accident. In fact, quite often, you’ll find the best bird images aren’t shot by bird photographers but by birders with photography skills. Something to keep in mind!

About the Author:
Matt Brading writes for GlobalEye Images, a site that lists wild bird pictures and stock bird photos. They represent some exceptional bird photographer specialists in their field.


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PictureCorrect.com: Interesting Photo of the Day: Sunshine Through the Rain

Nature has many ways of surprising us with her beauty, and the following image is just one of many such examples. The image was taken by photographer Jeffrey Groneberg while the sun was shining on the horizon but it was raining heavily at the spot he took the photo. The result is an image with a lovely golden haze glowing through the humidity:

sunshine during rain

“Sunshine During Rain” by Jeffrey Groneberg (Via Reddit. Click image to see full size.)

“Even though it might not be really viewable it was raining cats and dogs. The light was just awesome because the sun had fought through the clouds on the horizon. Everything was glowing in this warm haze. It was not possible to use a tripod, because I had only [a] few minutes time to reach that point and the tripod would have hindered me to run as fast possible. I was shooting at high iso and doing an exposure bracketing.”

Groneberg took this image in Odenwald, Germany with his Sony A7RII and 24–70mm f/2.8 GM lens at 24mm. His settings were f/8, 1/60 second, and ISO 200. To take this beautiful image that looks like a place straight out of a video game, Groneberg had to expose for the highlights (at the horizon), which caused all the elements in the foreground to turn out dark. He later recovered the shadow details and used a bit of dodge and burn and split toning in Lightroom to reveal this amazing beauty. If you are interested, Groneberg has shared the unedited jpeg as well which is 4 stops underexposed.


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PictureCorrect.com: Cameras are Better Now Than They Have Ever Been

Cameras manufacturers market new products in a way that makes you feel like you have to have the latest and the greatest equipment to improve your photography. And many people fall into the trap. But if you think about it, every famous photograph was made with a camera that was less advanced than any modern day camera. So, have we plateaued with our creativity and photography skills? Do we always need the best gear to get the job done? Photographer Ted Forbes shares his thoughts on the matter:

Some photographers are so obsessed with gear that they forget that a layman doesn’t understand and value the gear that was used to take a photograph—or the medium that was used to develop the photo. These have nothing to do with the resulting image. All that matters is if the photographer is able to convey their message to the viewer:

“Painters don’t sit around and talk about what kind of paint brush or pencil they’re using or what kind of canvas they’re using, because nobody really cares about that. What you see in the end is the end result and that’s what matters, and I think the same holds true for photography.”

The camera that you use is just a tool to capture an image and tell a story. A medium format camera, for instance, may have a great build quality, amazing lenses, super high resolution, and the ability to take amazing photographs, but you still need to understand how to use it to fulfill your vision as a photographer. Image quality alone does not make a great image. It still relies on the photographer and their creative process to capture something beautiful.

On the other hand, a camera that has no quality control, no shimmering features, and which may not be able to take a brilliant looking image can still be a problem solving tool. Such equipment can force you to focus more on your vision and on ways to get that camera to work toward fulfilling that vision. The camera may have certain drawbacks, so you sit back and think of ways to overcome those drawbacks. It forces you to think creatively.

photography skill matters more than camera gear

“For me, the common denominator between the cheapest camera you can find and the most expensive is you. It’s the photographer, it’s what you’re able to do and what you have to say, and it’s something that I think a lot of people lose sight of.”

A good photographer should be able to get a good image no matter what equipment they’re using. If the job in hand is somewhat specialized, like in the case of shooting macro, then yes, gear will matter, but again cameras, lenses, and other gear are merely tools to get the job done. Do you really need the latest and the greatest gear? Probably not. A better option is to make use of what you already have.

Don’t make the mistake of falling for the marketing hype that manufacturers create for megapixels, shutter speed, auto focus, and such other things. Try to understand these technologies and learn how you can use it to your benefit to create a beautiful image. That’s more important. Photographers from the past didn’t even have auto-focus and auto-exposure, yet they were able to create some amazing pictures.

Photographers are also guilty of blaming the camera for its deficiencies—and also for appreciating the camera when they get a good result. Again, remember that the camera is just a tool that depends on the skill of the photographer. You get hired based on your skills, not because of what equipment you use.

“I have never seen anybody in a museum gallery sit there and look at images and go, ‘I wonder if that was a Nikon or a Leica.'”

Well, what do you think? Do you still think that gear matters?


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maanantai 13. elokuuta 2018

PictureCorrect.com: Interesting Photo of the Day: Great White Shark Breaching at Sunset

Wildlife photography can involve an element of danger or surprise from the unpredictability of animals in their natural habitats. In this case, ocean wildlife photographers are permitted to drag seal decoys through the water during peak Great White season. They lure them into breaching so that they can photograph these immense creatures and their impressive power leaving the water. If you need some reference for their strength, imagine trying to get your entire body out of the water by jumping without a push off:

shutter speed exposure wildlife ocean

“Great White Shark” by Chris Fallows (Via Imgur. Click image to see full size.)

Photographer Chris Fallows captured this amazing shot of a Great White Shark jumping out of the water with a seal decoy in its teeth. He used a Canon Mark IV camera with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 135mm, an aperture of f/5.6, shutter speed at 1/4000, and ISO 500. When photographer sharks, he uses a seal decoy to convince the shark to ‘breach’ (i.e. leave the water to either lunge at the decoy or leap into the air) for shots such as this one. Fallows only has a fraction of a second to capture this moment and must be ready at all times for it! The ideal aspect of using seal decoys is that he can position himself to frame his photograph with ideal lighting and backgrounds. All he needs after that is an active Great White to breach for him.


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