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PhotoTube: Tutorials and Videos for Photographers

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

PhotoTube.info is a website dedicated to photography videos containing tips for producing HDR, infrared, landscape, portrait, flash, macro, night, and product photographs. It is a relatively new website but already contains hundreds of instructional videos. Here is a list of some of the most viewed videos:

  • phototubeDSLR Tips: Night Photography
  • Strobist Preliminaries
  • DSLR Tips: How to blur backgrounds on portraits
  • DSLR Tips: How to blur water for a dreamy effect
  • Merge to HDR in Photoshop
  • Long Exposure Turorial
  • DSLR Tips: Using polarizing filters
  • Secrets of Amazing HDR Photography
  • Night Photography: Finding Your Way in the Dark
  • HDR Photography
  • Strobist Softbox Technique Tutorial
  • In-Camera HDR Using Multiple Exposure
  • Photoshop Tutorial: Creating an HDR Image from a Single RAW File
  • Canon T2i 550D HDR Tutorial
  • Shooting the Moon
  • Landscape Photography Tips: Creative Composition
  • 20 Essential Things for Landscape Photography

It is easy to see which videos have been Recently Added, Most Viewed, and Top Rated as well as many categories. PhotoTube is definitely worth checking out! Oh, by the way, it is completely free!

Use Panomonkey.com to Stitch 360×180-Degree Panoramas

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Join Panomonkey.com and stitch 360×180-degree panoramas for free. Well, mostly for free:

Creating panoramas can be absolutely FREE on Panomonkey. Every successfully stitched panorama can be downloaded and shared to Twitter and Facebook or embedded to your website. The FREE version of the panorama is 3000 x 1500 pixels and can be viewed up to 100 times.

Hign-resolution panoramas of up to 6000 x 3000 pixels can be purchased for $2.50 / €1.80 (that’s “one banana” in Panomonkey language) and can be viewed up to 1,000 times.

Additional views of the hign-resolution panorama can be purchased in bundles of 10,000 views for one banana ($2.50 / €1.80).

The free version of your panorama will display a watermark along the bottom of the image. I’m assuming that you have to purchase the stitched image to get rid of the watermark. I haven’t purchased an image, yet, because my tests didn’t stitch properly.

For my tests, I uploaded photographs that I had successfully stitched together using Hugin or PanoramaPlus. The results were less than stellar. To be fair, PanoramaPlus also had problems with one of the sets of images, too. Neither Panomonkey.com nor PanoramaPlus have the ability to manually add control points, Hugin does. Click to continue »

Review: HDR Efex Pro 2

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Summary: HDR Efex Pro 2 is a major improvement over the original version. Not only is it much faster, the presets are usable right out of the box. Finally, Photomatix has competition. I highly recommend upgrading. If you already own HDR Efex Pro, the upgrade cost is only $49.

Review: I seldom used the original HDR Efex Pro. It was deadly slow and, quite frankly, I hated the presets. Version 2 fixes all that and more. I could now find HDR Efex Pro 2 my go-to program for HDR. The new presets are extremely usable and the program is now speedy. Click to continue »

Review: Digital Landscape Photography

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Summary: I highly recommend Digital Landscape Photography by John and Barbara Gerlach. If you are at all interested in landscape photography, get this book! Digital Landscape Photography covers cameras, lenses, exposure, composition, HDR, and panoramas.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1. Landscapes are Everywhere
  • Chapter 2. Cameras and Accessories
  • Chapter 3. Choosing and Using Lenses
  • Chapter 4. Mastering Exposure
  • Chapter 5. Techniques for Sharp Images
  • Chapter 6. Light on the Landscape
  • Chapter 7. Composing Pleasing Images
  • Chapter 8. Special Subjects
  • Chapter 9. High Dynamic Range Images
  • Chapter 10. Panoramas

Review: The chapter on cameras and accessories emphasizes investing in a camera system not just the camera. The authors recommend Canon and Nikon cameras because both brands have an excellent selection of lenses and accessories. This is the same advice that I give my students. The book is filled with excellent tips such as how to use a back button to auto-focus rather than having the shutter button initiate the auto-focus function. 34 out of 36 customer reviews on Amazon, give Digital Landscape Photography 4 stars and above with 26 5 star reviews. This is an outstanding book that is clearly written and informative. Click to continue »

Review: Night Photography: Finding Your Way in the Dark

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Night Photography: Finding Your Way in the Dark is a amazing book that has many examples of fantastic night photographs as well as step-by-step instructions for how to get the same kind of results.


Click to continue »

Review: Crafting Reality: Painting with Light

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Captain America and 3-D BoyCrafting Reality: Painting with Light is an inspiring eBook by Eric Curry. The photographs in the eBook look like HDR images but they are created in quite a different way. Small sections of the subject are illuminated from different directions then merged together with Photoshop. Eric goes into detail about how to take the photographs and the settings to use in Photoshop.

Throughout his eBook, Eric emphasizes that you should think and plan your shots.

So often during my public presentations and coaching new photographers I advise them to think in terms of “concepts.” Do not just go out into the environment and photograph neat stuff you happen to see, but take the next step and envision an idea first, then try to create that vision you see in your mind’s eye.

This is good advice and Eric spends a lot of time telling you how to plan a photoshoot. He tells you what he does and why as well as which equipment he uses. Crafting Reality: Painting with Light is an extremely thorough how-to book and I highly recommend it.

You can find more videos about painting with light at Eric’s YouTube Channel and on his website American Pride and Passion.

Review: Manfrotto MBAG80PN Padded Tripod Bag

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Summary: The Manfrotto MBAG80PN Padded Tripod Bag is roomier than expected. Not only does it hold my Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 Tripod with a Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick Head on it but I can also store two more heads in the bag. This bag is really heavy duty!Manfrotto MBAG80PN Padded Tripod Bag

  • Recessed zippers
  • Comfortable carrying handle
  • Easy access even with the bigger video tripods
  • Thermoformed padding

Review: As I stated in the summary, the bag is very roomy. At first, I wasn’t so sure that my tripod and head were going to fit because I have the optional Manfrotto 204SPK3 Retractable Rubber Spiked Feet attached. Click to continue »

Review: Manfrotto 460MG Magnesium Camera Head

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Manfrotto 460MG Magnesium Camera HeadSummary: I can’t recommend this head unless you have lightweight equipment. I really like the compact style but it droops too much with a long lens.

Review: I have used the Manfrotto 460MG Magnesium Camera Head with a variety of lenses and the head doesn’t tighten enough to prevent droop with a long lens. I really wanted to like this head because it is light and compact. I intended to use it for landscape and architectural work. On a positive note, it does use the same quick release plate as my other Manfrotto heads and works well with a wide angle lens. This head can also be twisted into some unusual positions.

Manufacturer’s Description: An innovative 3D Head unlike any other! Cast from lightweight magnesium, the head can be positioned in virtually any position to get the exact framing of the image. The lock-system using spring-loaded conical joints allows greater flexibility than any other 3D head whether mounted on a tripod centre column or lateral arm. The rubber grip knobs provide finger tip control and won’t poke you in the eye like conventional handles do. The 460Mg is the ideal head in combination with the Carbon Number One line for 35mm SLRs and medium format cameras. This replaces the Bogen Manfrotto 3437.

I am still searching for the best head to use for landscape and architectural work. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment.

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Review: Sigma 150-500mm F/5-6.3 APO DG OS

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Sigma 150-500mm LensSummary: The Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO DG OS HSM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras is a huge, heavy lens. Be prepared to use a monopod or tripod with this lens.

Review: The lens weighs 4.2 pounds and is 3.7 inches in diameter by 10 inches long when at its shortest length. This is the longest lens I have owned so please bear with me if I write about some things that anyone would already know if they owned an ultra-telephoto lens.

The build quality is solid. The only thing that feels cheap is the lens hood which is made out of a relatively thin plastic that feels like I could crack it if I squeezed it too hard. It comes in a well padded case and two straps — one for the lens itself and another for the case. It is good that they included a strap for the lens because I’m not so sure that I would want my camera to support the burden of this lens hanging around my neck. Click to continue »

Review: Hoodman 3.0 Hoodloupe

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Summary: OK, so I feel a little dorky having the Hoodloupe hanging around by neck but I don’t care because it makes it possible to see my LCD in the brightest sunlight. Click to continue »