Editing Video? Hearing assist from Nuheara or Audera may help

Until the last few years most still photographers didn’t have much to do with video. A few major trends have changed all that. First, almost all modern cameras can now do a competent job of capturing video, especially when coupled with the right lenses and microphones. Second, phones have become a dominant force in photography, and nearly all of them make it just as easy to capture video as stills (here to, though, add-on microphones and gimbals are very helpful). Third, drones make it possible to capture some unique video perspectives. Finally, and perhaps most important, most creative content is now being consumed digitally. That means it is almost as easy to watch a video as look at an image – very different from when watching a video meant sitting people down in front of a TV or projector.

Valley of Fire captured with Google Pixel 3 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro phone cameras

I’ve always wanted to visit the Valley of Fire State Park near Las Vegas. But somehow I never got around to it until this week, when it zoomed to the top of our daughter’s must-see destination list. So after a hectic week of CES, we headed out there for a morning, and I’m really glad we did. After tweaking my back carrying too much gear in a messenger bag at the show, I decided to travel light and simply use my two favorite smartphone cameras – a Google Pixel 3 and a Huawei Mate 20 Pro – to capture the scenery.

2018 has brought us more alternatives to Photoshop and Premiere Pro

For many years the most-often cited alternative to Photoshop was GIMP, a powerful, free, tool, but one that wasn’t to everyone’s liking. That has changed drastically over the last year. For starters, Adobe’s own Premiere Elements and Photoshop Elements 2019 versions are remarkably full-featured, and not very expensive. We did a . Cyberlink has also upped its game with an aggressively priced new . One impressive new competitor to Lightroom is (formerly MacPhun). What I’m really looking forward to from Skylum is the soon-to-be-released, somewhat-delayed, version of Luminar that will extend it to include image cataloging.

It’s hard to believe, but it has also been .

Working with the latest updates to Adobe's Creative Cloud

Adobe Premiere Rush is designed to be cross-platformWe’re a little late posting this, but as part of Adobe’s MAX conference last month, we covered many of the most important updates to Adobe’s Creative Cloud applications. We’ll be working with them and writing about them in more detail over the coming months, but .

Primer on drone photography

Datacolor just published an article I wrote for them on how to get great photographs (including 360-degree panoramas) with your drone, and especially how to get the best color you can out of those images. You c

My thoughts on DJI's Osmo Mobile 2 smartphone gimbal

DJI Osmo Mobile 2 Smartphone GimbalI’ve been using an Osmo Mobile 2 off and on for a couple months now, and have . The TL;DR version is that it works quite well, but certainly ruins the convenience of simply pulling a smartphone out of your pocket, so it’s definitely a niche product. One reason to consider it is if you’re thinking of taking the plunge on a Ronin for your big camera you can get a relatively-inexpensive taste of using a gimbal, as the .

Nikon gets serious about mirrorless with Z 6, Z 7, and lenses

Finally Nikon has done something to staunch the flow of defections from its DSLRs to Sony mirrorless cameras – and to make life easier for those of us who want to get the benefits of mirrorless, including a smart EVF, fast AF for video, better focus area coverage, and potentially-silent operation, without leaving behind our current Nikon gear and our love for the handling of Nikon’s DSLRs. The Nikon Z 7 is basically the mirrorless equivalent of the , and the Z 6 is very much like the Nikon D750 (although with a much higher frame rate). You can see .

Hands-on with new Loupedeck+: The quickest way to get faster with Adobe Lightroom adds Skylum and others

Adobe Lightroom is an amazing product. However, since the original interface was built for a simple RAW converter, more and more functionality has been squeezed into limited space. Lightroom Mobile, and to some extent the cloud-first Lightroom CC, have started to deal with this situation, but for traditional users of Lightroom Classic CC, it is just painful to find and adjust the endless variety of tiny sliders. Loupedeck aimed to fix that with a custom input device that was pre-mapped to allow instant access to dozens of popular Lightroom functions. The initial version was lauded for its functionality, but dinged by some for build quality and lack of support for other applications. The new addresses both of these shortcomings. I’ve been lucky enough to get a pre-release version to use, and so far I’m impressed…

Benq ScreenBar LED Monitor Light: A great addition to any studio computer

One of the first pieces of advice for anyone doing serious image editing or color correction gets is to keep your working area fairly dark. That provides the best environment for accurate assessment of on-screen colors. Unfortunately, that can also make it hard to see the things you need to see that aren’t on the screen. That includes your keyboard (unless you are an awesome typist), other accessories like a LoupeDeck, or even proof prints that need to be compared to the displayed image. There are a number of lights on the market that are designed to address this shortcoming, but monitor-maker Benq has just released its one of the nicest. I’ve been using one for a couple months and am happy to share my experiences.

Zephyr Drone Simulator Adds Cinematography Training Modules

We’ve . It is a powerful platform for learning how to fly your drone, either for fun or for professionally. Since for many of us our drones are basically flying cameras, it makes perfect sense that Little Arms has added a set of modules designed to train you on how to perform the types of moves that are common in creating video footage. The modules were designed by Skip Fredericks, the Emmy-award winning cinematographer and drone video pioneer. I’ve been working with them a bit over the last couple weeks.

Top-off your travels with a slideshow using ProShow

One of everyone’s favorite parts of our photo safaris is the participant slideshow on the last evening. Everyone gets to relive the trip – which always goes by too quickly – while looking at their images on the big screen for the first time. Each of us also gets to marvel at how many different ways there are to look at the same scene. Set to an appropriate sound track, with some professional-looking touches, the show is popular enough that we normally need to run it twice. Best of all, because it is pre-timed and self-running, it doesn’t bog down the way presentations can if a presenter narrates every image. I always get compliments about putting the show together, but at the risk of spoiling the magic, the secret is simple: . Whether you lead a group or simply want to chronicle a trip with friends or family, it is absolutely worth it to put together a show as a great finale.

MindShift Exposure 15 Field-tested: A Bag for Both City and Country Mice

Shoulder bags for photographers tend to be aimed at either photojournalists or hip street shooters. They come in a number of really attractive designs, including two of my favorites, the and the . However, they’re not designed for extended outdoor use in rough conditions. In contrast, many of the great bags and backpacks for wildlife and sports photographers are anything but stylish, and are often not that practical in confined urban settings. So I was very excited when Think Tank introduced the new and . The Exposure series offers serious weatherproofing (even without using the rain cover), room for a good amount of gear and a laptop, and is stylish enough that they’re at home just about anywhere you’d take your camera. I took an Exposure 15 along on our recent photo safari to Africa, where it did double duty as my computer bag around the camps, and as my all purpose shooting bag when we were touring in Johannesburg and Cape Town…

Family group of White Rhino captured with a Google Pixel 2

Tips for using your Smartphone on Safari

We’re just back from a very productive photo safari to Botswana and South Africa. We had a great group of participants, and had day after day of amazing wildlife experiences at two really excellent camps. Our personalized tour through the sights and sounds of Soweto was also a unique experience. While I brought and mostly shot with my traditional and DSLRs, I also brought along two flagship smartphones and put them to the test. You can read about what I found they were great for, what they couldn’t do, and get some tips on how to use one on your next safari in . Quick note: We’re starting to organize another high-end photo safari to Botswana and South Africa, possibly invitation only and probably Spring, 2020. If you’d like to be kept in the loop email us at .

Bird Photography on High Island and Galveston Island, Texas Gulf Coast

My friend Ed and I got to spend a few days doing some bird photography on the famous High Island in Texas, and nearby Galveston Island. Neither of us had been there before, but it was on our “bucket list” of bird photography destinations. We hadn’t been able to do much preparation, but fortunately the areas are incredibly friendly and easy to sort out for both birders and bird photographers. After only a few days of course we’re no experts, but can pass along our observations on how to make the most of your trip and a few favorite photos.

MindShift launches rugged new Exposure outdoor photo shoulder bags

The MindShift Exposure shoulder bag, shown in "solar flare" is a storm-resistant carrying solutionRegular readers and my safari clients know that I’m always on the lookout for the ultimate field photo bag. Especially when working in inclement weather or in situations where you can’t set a bag down, it has to be both versatile and easy to access. I’ve used a variety of bags from MindShift (and sister brand Think Tank) this way successfully, but I think they’ve outdone themselves with their new Exposure series…

 

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