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Showing posts from November, 2013

Topaz Labs Complete Collection

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As some of you probably already know, or have guessed, I use a lot of +Topaz Labs plugins in my photography work. It started with Adjust which I wrote up a pretty popular (for my blog) review here. Then, because I hate noise and micro fourthirds cameras seem susceptible to it, I went looking at DeNoise. It's nothing sexy in terms of the look of your photo, but without it nothing else can really happen. So the fact that Topaz Labs is putting their entire collection on sale over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend is pretty big news. That's 14 products, which would normally retail for $770, usually sells for $380 on sale for $199! So what are the highlights in this group?

DeNoise: You should hate noise in your photos, and the built in noise removers in Aperture or Lightroom aren't nearly as powerful as this guy is. It often amazes me how just using a preset in the plugin can clean up a photo, and this goes for photos taken with my phone or my camera.

Adjust: I'll admi…

Republic Wireless

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I'm getting a smartphone. No big deal, right? Everyone and their mother (including mine) has a smart phone. But this one is a little different. And, I'm pretty sure I'm paying less than you. I mean like a lot less. But let me back up a bit. +Republic Wireless is a MVNO, a mobile virtual network operator, of Sprint. What that basically means is that RW doesn't actually have a cell tower or a network of their own they buy bandwidth from Sprint's network. So far nothing different than Virgin Mobile who does the same thing. But RW uses what is called a hybrid system. See we're usually around a network that we already pay for and is usually of a higher quality than a cellular network so RW's plan is that we use that network for most of the time using the phone then fall back on cellular networks when we're not connected to it. What network is this? Your home internet connection. Chances are, if you're like me, your cell connection was iffy at best when …

Easy Canvas Print Review

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Printing on paper bores me. Well, that's not true, but being limited to 8.5" by 11" annoys me. And I can't understand why manufacturers don't make wide format printer/scanner all in ones, with awesome color and detail. That last bit was meant as sarcasm as I'm sure those wouldn't sell very popularly. But since I don't have a wide format printer (or the desk space for it) yet, I've been curious about other print media for awhile.

Canvas prints are exactly how it sounds. Your photo is printed onto a canvas that is then stretched over a frame. There is more to it than that, if you want to get into the details, but for the most part that's the basics. Recently I got to try the process with Easy Canvas Prints, and I have to say I'm quite impressed with it. The canvas you see above measures 16X20 inches (40.64X50.8cm) or a 4x5 ratio, which was a little annoying because most of my photos come in at 4x3 so I needed to do some cropping. The photo …

Kudos to Shutterfly!

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Just a quick post to share a wonderful customer service encounter with Shutterfly. I had designed and placed an order for some custom holiday cards. You can see it up above. If you get it, please act surprised when you open it. Anyway when we got the package the interior text, which we had supplied, just didn't ring right. After a day it was decided it needed to be changed. I contacted Shutterfly to see what our options were for placing a new order with different text. I was expecting, since the error was fully on our end and was up front with that while talking with the CS agent, that we would have to place a new order and pay the same prices again. Or that maybe Shutterfly throws us a bone and gives us a percentage discount off the final price. I was in no way prepared for Shutterfly to tell us that they would give us a credit for the same number of cards originally ordered and rush deliver the new order of cards at no charge. And we could keep the original batch. Thanks a lot,…

Foggy Valley

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An early morning trip that involved a driving up and through some mountains rewarded me with some great views of fog flowing over the hills and mountains and filling up a valley. This is the eastern end of the valley. I wish I had taken the time to setup the tripod and snap off a panorma of this valley because it was pretty incredible to see, and the couple shots I have of this really don't do it justice. In terms of processing this shot the tool that I find myself constantly amazed with is Clarity by +Topaz Labs. It really brought out the ridges of the mountains and some shape to the fog.

Speaking of Topaz Labs, if you or someone on your holiday gift list is a photographer and in need of some excellent plugins, keep an eye out here and on my social media profiles for some links to Topaz Labs Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals. It'll be a great price on the COMPLETE collection of excellent Photoshop/Lightroom/Aperture/iPhoto plugins.

Weekly Photo Projects, Week 46

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Stairs was the theme for the black and white group this week. I like looking at stairs photos from other photographers but never like my own. Honestly I took probably 20 shots of these stairs and settled for this one because I like the cloud wisps.

I was really hoping for more from this shot, except I didn't realize until too late that I had shot my HDR brackets in JPEG meaning I don't get quite the detail and flexibility I would normally have with RAW brackets. The theme this week for +Weekly Photo Project 2013 was Vanishing point, and I'm pretty happy with this image.

Coast Guard Station

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For me when I was taking this picture the clouds were the subject, the Coast Guard Station a nice supporting actor. Located on north spit of the Humboldt Bay, this unit sees a lot of search and rescue action throughout the year. Though the main house is a nice house on its own. This was a 7 shot handheld HDR shot.

Weekly Photo Projects, Week 45

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I feel like checkers just doesn't get the love that chess gets. Maybe it's because all the pieces look the same? I liked the light on this travel set and it worked out well.

I was drawing blanks on what I was going to shoot for the theme this week. Finally I stuffed a box with a light in it and there we go.



You can view my Weekly Photo Project album here.
My black & white project album here.

Recess Time

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Shot this awhile back and really liked how it came out. The fog, the school house (now a museum) and a herd of elk just chilling out and feeding. Processing this photo was a little difficult. I wanted to keep the fog, bring out the school house some, and capture the nonchalance of a herd of elk just roaming around. Infact I processed two versions of this shot, this color shot and a black and white shot and liked them both, though I chose the color one for the schoolhouse.

Weekly Photo Projects, Week 43 and 44

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Catching up on two week's worth of project photos here. Up above week have last week's theme lines shown in the lines of the Sundial Bridge in Redding, CA. The tall structure in the back acts as a sundial (hence the name) and is an overall neat bridge.

Mailed this shot in for week 43 Emotions. Best comment that went with the photo on G+ was how the commentator would be sad if they were drinking Costco rum too. In defense of the Costco rum, it tastes quite a bit better than Captain Morgans, has a higher alcohol content, and is $5 cheaper.

Week 43 for +Weekly Photo Project 2013 was Candy or Sweets, because not everyone celebrates Halloween, yet we still wanted to somehow tie in Halloween. I had the good stuff to handout.

I kind of shot myself in foot with this. A couple weeks back I used a reflection shot for our Mirror theme so this week I didn't want to copy the style or type of shot from the other week for Reflections. With time running out I cleaned off the tablet scree…

Stillness

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I've neglected the blog this week. And photography. I think after the ABC Project I was overloaded with both photography and this blog. But October overall was a good month, so far as the two subjects are concerned. Took and published A LOT of photos, and apparently that brings in visitors. Who knew? I drew in a whole lot more pageviews to set a new personal high. So thanks for that, visitors.

On the photography front I did shoot and post photos for both projects, but they were very uninspired. I'll get to posting them on here this weekend. For my normal Thursday photo I submit to you this. I liked the stillness of the photo, the textures of the water and the fog masking the background rocks. The symmetry is eye-pealing as well. I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween, if you do things for that, and have a peaceful weekend.