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Pick of the Week: Luminar – Macphun’s New Photo Editor

Pick of the Week: Luminar – Macphun’s New Photo Editor

Macphun’s web site describes Luminar with two words, Simplicity and Creativity.  And with the statement: “It’s the most fantastic piece of software we’ve ever created.”

Pre-orders will start on November 2nd, and the release is scheduled for November 17th.  I’ve been using their Aurora HDR software, and if that is any indicator of how valid their Simplicity and Creativity description is, then they may have nailed it.

Luminar sports a user interface that can be changed to support various skill levels and preferences. For those that have had enough with the overload of functionality on the screen of some apps, this will give you just what you normally need.

It supports Filters, Presets, and Workspaces.  35 custom filters are included with it for various looks.  Presets can be created to make that look you want to get on many photos easier to get, with fewer clicks.  And you can share presets with other Luminar users.

You can also share workspaces with other users.  This looks like a quick setup feature, to set up the tools you need for a specific type of job.  Portrait retouching doesn’t always use the same tools and filters as sports photos, or landscapes.  So configure multiple workspaces for your needs.

It also supports RAW files, as any photo editing software should now.

The price is discounted during the preorder period.  Just $59, with an additional $10 discount for current Macphun customers who own any of their other software.  The only downside I can see right now is that Windows users are going to be out in the cold, because like Aurora HDR, this software is only supported on a Mac.  I’m looking forward to getting my copy, and reviewing it here.  Stay tuned!

 

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Using Photography for a Cause

Using Photography for a Cause

Whether you are a landscape photographer with thousands of social media followers, or just starting out, you can use images to bring attention to a cause.  You don’t have to have the skills of a seasoned photo journalist.  You just need to know where to look

The photos in this article are from the US Geological Survey.  They have a whole library if images on their site.  Using “repeat photography” where they re-take photos that were originally taken earlier in the century, they are showing changes in the glaciers that are located in Glacier National Park. Take a look through their library, and see the trends in the glaciers over the last 80+ years.  Watch the video at the bottom of this article, and see more about their technique, and about their findings.

Chaney Glacier terminus

Chaney Glacier terminus, Glacier National Park

As you can see, the photos by themselves make a strong statement on climate change.  Taken over time, the paired photos document what is happening, making it easy to see.

What causes do you have in your area?  Environmental issues, economic issues, success stories? You can tell people about an issue, but if you can illustrate it with photos, it’s much harder to ignore. You don’t need expensive gear, or years of experience to make compelling images, either.  The key ingredient is to Be There.  Pollution, erosion, urban decay…. if you are there where it’s happening, take a photograph (as long as you don’t put yourself in personal danger).  Then share it.  Many people go on about their daily lives, and don’t see these things.  It’s up to photographers to document and share, and increase awareness of things that are happening in our communities, and in our world.

Use your camera (or even your cell phone) to make a positive impact on the world.  Use your photography for a cause!

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Is Photography Art?

Is Photography Art?

A recent episode of a podcast I listen to, This Week in Photo, asked the question “Is Photography Art?”  The discussion they had got me to thinking about that question.  Current camera technology does a lot of the work for you.  Just point and press the button, and put it online.  So where is the art?
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Is there really a Santa Clause

No, this isn’t really photo news, but it’s a serious issue that is on many people’s minds this time of year.  Is there really a Santa Clause?  Research web site ProCon.org has taken on this topic.

“Mountains of historical data and more than 50 years of NORAD tracking information leads us to believe that Santa Claus is alive and well in the hearts of people throughout the world…”  This along with other Pro Santa arguments, are part of the lively debate on the site.  They also provide a great history of Santa.  While they don’t have a definitive answer, they do provide solid arguments, and let you draw your own conclusions.

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Christmas Buying Guide for Photographers – 2014

Christmas Buying Guide for Photographers – 2014

Are you looking for something to give the photographer in your life?  Not sure what to get the photographer that already has everything?  He are some ideas for your holiday shopping:

 

Black Rapid Cross Shot Strap.  A long strap that goes across your torso, with the strap on the left shoulder, and the camera on your right hip, or vice versa.  Approximately $45.

A Beautiful Anarchy by David Duchemin.  I’m currently reading this book, which is not exclusively a photography book.  This is a book about bringing out your inner creative.   Do you want to nurture your inner creativity?  This book is about creativity, and the obstacles that block you from becoming more creative. $10 for the Kindle edition.

 

Domke Chronicle Camera Bag.  A nice traditional camera bag, sized for a moderately sized kit, and includes a tablet pocket.  Approximately $330.

 

The Sirui Camera/Video Monopod.  63″ tall, 4 section monopod.  It has fold down feet for added stability, but that can be removed when you want to use it as a standard monopod. $160.

 

 

 

OnSlot LCD Cleaner. Cleans the LCD screen of your digital camera in the field. Stores conveniently on the hot shoe mount when not in use. $20.

 

 


Shoulderpod S1 Professional Smartphone Rig. Photo tool for the Smart Phone photographer on your Christmas list. It can be used as a tripod mount, filmmaker grip, or traveler stand.  $35

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Drones and Photography

Drones and Photography

DJI Phantom QuadcopterI’m a nerd.  I absolutely love technology and all the new innovations that have been coming along recently.    One in particular I have been paying attention to, and wanted to try out, is the use of Drones in Photography.  Photography is all about finding a different look, a new perspective.  And what could be better than getting a birds eye view of something to change your perspective.

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