How This Portrait Was Shot and Edited, From Planning to Final Photo
Photographer Francisco Hernandez has launched a new video series titled “Behind the Shot” that will document the entire process of how a photo of created, from concept to finished image. In this 12-minute video, Hernandez shares how he shot a portrait of a model named Barbie.
Hernandez originally met Barbie back in 2014 when he was just starting out. After sending out around 40 messages to photographers in search of an assistant position, Hernandez heard back from one based about an hour away. It was at the first shoot with the photographer that Hernandez met Barbie, and this is one of the portraits that resulted then:
Earlier this year, Barbie contacted Hernandez and asked if he would be able to do a portrait shoot. She suggested a location, and Hernandez agreed after taking a look at it through Google Street View. Barbie also selected her own outfit and did her own makeup.
Since he was planning to expose for the sky, Hernandez had an assistant hold a reflector to illuminate the darker shadows in the shot.
Here’s what a first straight-out-of-camera test shot looked like without any lighting on the model:
After adding in the light and reflector, Hernandez found that placing the octobox 3.5 feet away was too far and didn’t illuminate his subject well despite being at full power.
When Hernandez moved the octobox to about a foot away and the reflector closer as well, here’s what resulted (the straight out of camera shot without the octobox cloned out from the upper left hand corner):
Hernandez boosted exposure and brought down highlights (to prevent the sky from stealing attention from the model).
After more adjustments in Lightroom, this is what resulted:
Finally, Hernandez did more detailed edits and cleaned up the image in Photoshop. Here’s the final portrait that was created from the shoot:
Watch the videos above to watch Hernandez discuss the changes that were made to the image at each step of post-processing. You can also follow along with Hernandez’s new series in this YouTube playlist.
On ‘Making It’ as a Photographer, or: What if Your House Burned Down?
What if your house burned down? Have you still “made it” as a photographer?
3 weeks ago I was sitting, much as I do now, winding down on a Saturday evening, finding some time to write a newsletter and blog post. I had just released an image shot for Kohler, a company whose advertising I had wanted to be a part of for a long time, and wanted to write something around this image and the process to create it.
Earlier in the day, I had listened to comedian Bill Burr being interviewed on Tim Ferriss’ podcast. A good laugh, as always with Bill Burr, balanced by Tim’s prodding for life lessons.
At one point, they talked about accomplishments and the idea of “making it.” Bill Burr had bought a house and said to his wife “I know you are not supposed to say this, but… I made it!”
He continues, “There’s a sickness in this business of: if you think you made it, you’re going to relax and then it’s all going to go away!
“No! I tell jokes for a living and I bought a house. I MADE IT!”
The stigma is that one can’t, as a photographer or creative, say or admit that you have made it. The second you do, you relax and lose your drive and creativity… I can so relate, and Bill Burr’s thoughts lingered with me as I started writing.
Shooting for Kohler was a long time goal of mine creatively and by Bill Burr’s standard of buying a house, I have “made it” several times over.
So have I really “made it?”
I settled in that evening reflecting on what I had accomplished as a photographer and the blog post shifted to words about goals and the acknowledgment of reaching them. Of pausing and being content for a moment rather than going straight into the chase of creating another image or landing the next assignment.
That was my Saturday 4 weeks ago.
That Sunday night, we were woken up by flashlights shining into our bedroom window and our neighbor shouting that the hillsides were on fire. We packed our essentials and got out.
That was October 8th.
The weeks since have been indescribable. The fires around Sonoma and Napa in California, where we live, burned more than 100,000 acres. Lives were lost and neighborhoods left in ashes. One of my best friends and 5 of our neighbors lost their homes. It is devastating.
There are many emotions around the 17 days we were in mandatory evacuation. My perspective on having “made it” as an artist has shifted during the past weeks, and I wanted to finish the blog I started and get back to Bill Burr and his benchmark of having made it.
I have learned that a home is absolutely no measure of having “made it” as a creative. The truth is, we never “make it”. We just keep making.
I now know this to be the truth.
After we left our house that morning I got a chance to go back to grab a few items. I had a shortlist from Andrea; Journals, some jewelry, and some additional clothes for our 3-month-old daughter. The main item for me was my server rack containing all my work as a photographer. I ripped it out of the office and by sheer adrenaline got it into the car.
I hosed down the house with water and walked through it one last time. I grabbed a few small items as I passed them and unhinged a few framed prints by Nadav Kander, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Mario Testino, Alexi Lubomirski, and a few others.
In these moments, I was strangely okay with the house being gone. I knew then that this house was no measure and had nothing to do with who I am, my self-worth, or how much or little I have accomplished as a photographer.
I’m sharing this, as I believe it can help a lot of young photographers starting out. And Bill Burr for that matter.
I know there are a lot of talented photographers who have given up on photography. Making a living taking pictures is as competitive as it gets, and a long endeavor if you choose to take it on.
What makes this process even harder is the social demands for immediate success.
But what if there was no monetary measure attached to successfully creating?
What if there was no pressure of even being good at it?
What if we would proudly call ourselves photographers without making money doing it?
I believe this paradigm would keep photographers in the game long enough to break through to the side of success!
As I was starting out I was embarrassed to call myself a photographer. In my heart, I was one, but my job was to be another photographer’s assistant, carrying his gear. It took a long time for me to proclaim that I was a photographer.
Why is it so darn hard for us artists/comedians/photographers to confidently identify with what we do early on?
Why can’t we just claim our photographer (or comedian) title right out of the gate and then just slowly go about creating? Why do we have to “make it” before we can proudly claim our title?
I believe any young photographer would increase his success rate 10X if there were a detachment between creating and success. If the bar of “making it” was set so that one would never fail there would be nothing to “give up on”. It would only be the process of continually creating and as that continual creating would go on, success would only be a question of time.
Experiencing the certainty of losing my home and how that realization affected me created a shift in my perspective on success and what having “made it” is.
In no particular order, and without being right for everyone, here’s a work in progress short list of what now resonates with me and the idea of “making it”:
If you keep your focus on creating, you have made it.
If doing what you do expands you and fills you up, you have made it.
If you crave creating every day, you have made it.
If you are excited about what you just created and even more excited to improve upon it, you have made it.
If you are proud to show your work, you have made it.
If you found an expression that consistently expresses who you are, you have made it.
If you have done the above so consistently your expression starts to recognize itself, you have made it.
If you question why and how and who and explore this through your work, you have made it.
So my shift and lesson is this:
You can celebrate your successes like Bill Burr, but don’t attach them to an event, a monetary item or any other social measure of success. This will yield nothing but downward pressure and distractions to the significance of creating something which deeply resonates with your being.
It will leave you feeling like you are coming up short every time. Which, in turn, will make you want to give up…
3.5 of our 5 acres of land burned and the firefighters stopped the fire just a few feet away from our home. I’m glad our house is standing. I’m also glad I had this experience and deeply realize the house is without significance when it comes to who I am as a creative. My “I have made it” has nothing to do with a fancy car or a home, but to every day do what expands me and fills me up.
I will remind myself of this going forward. I will worry less and create more because of it.
And if there are any up and coming photographers or other creatives reading this; please worry less about achieving success and focus on the items on my “having made it” list above. You will then achieve your success…
Like Steve Jobs said: “Stay foolish, stay hungry!”
A few side notes…
It is an archetypal event to build or buy a home. I’m by no means diminishing this fact. In short, I’m saying to not attach anything to your self-worth as a creator. Instead, focus on creating and consistency, and measure yourself against your own progress.
The word hero gets thrown around a lot. I have not fully understood, or felt, what a true hero was till now. The fire firefighters and individuals who fought the fires in Napa and Sonoma are my heroes. These men and women will all be my heroes forever.
The Kohler assignment was an extraordinary one. We started with the design of the dress. The fabric, color, pattern, and form was designed for the shoot and sown to fit the model. This design informed all the other elements and creative choices of the image.
I absorbed the fact that the house would burn with a strange detachment. The news that it had survived however brought big tears of relief and gratitude. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to those less fortunate.
About the author: Erik Almas is a California-based advertising photographer who travels around the world shooting for clients like Kohler, Toyota, Puma, Nike, Hyatt, USPS, Citibank, and Amtrak. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. To see more of his work, visit his website, Facebook, and Instagram. This post was also published here.
Photoshop CC Easter Eggs: Monkey, Banana, Coffee, and Toast
Did you know that hidden within Photoshop CC are a number of “easter eggs” that customize the photo editing app in wacky ways? Three that you can activate in the latest version of Photoshop CC are “Layer Monkey,” the “Banana Toolbar,” and “Coffee & Toast.”
Here’s a quick look at how you find each one (keep in mind that these are entirely for fun, i.e. completely useless):
While you have a document open, select Window->Layer Comps. Create a new Layer Comp.
Rename that Layer Comp to “Layer Monkey 0”, and you’ll suddenly see a “cute monkey face” icon looking back at you instead of the standard comps icon.
“‘Layer Monkey!’ appears in English no matter what the app or OS language is,” Adobe tells PetaPixel. “To dismiss Layer Monkey: Rename the Layer Monkey 0 Layer Comp to any other name.”
The Banana Toolbar
This easter egg is one we shared recently. First, open up the Customize Toolbar menu by either selecting Edit->Toolbar or by clicking the “•••” on your toolbar and selecting the option there.
Hold Shift while clicking the Done button, and voila! Your toolbar’s “Edit Toolbar” icon has now been replaced by a yellow banana.
To get rid of this banana, open up the same Customize Toolbar menu and hold Ctrl/Cmd while clicking on Done instead of Shift.
Coffee & Toast
You can replace Photoshop’s UX color chips with icons of coffee or toast. First, open up Photoshop/Edit->Preferences->Interface.
To replace the color chips with Toast, hold Shift and Opt/Alt while clicking on a Color Theme color chip.
To use icons of Coffee instead, hold Shift and Ctrl/Cmd while clicking on a color chip.
You can also toggle between the two options by clicking on a Color Theme repeatedly while holding the Coffee key combo. To revert back to default color chips, click on the Coffee or Toast icons again while holding the Toast key combo.
Ugly Places, Pretty Portraits: I Did a Photo Shoot in Lowe’s
A few weeks ago, a model friend of mine, Rachelle Kathleen, and I were planning to meet for a fun little photo shoot. Instead of searching out the usual beautiful locations around where we live, I had the idea to do just the opposite. I wanted to go somewhere “ugly” by all conventional photography standards and then see what we could do with it. Lowe’s seemed like the perfect option.
The point was to challenge ourselves. I wanted somewhere with horrible lighting and limited backdrops. Somewhere that made absolutely no sense for a photo shoot. Our local Lowe’s home improvement retail store hits all those points. Before we went in we decided on a few rules:
1. We had to work with whatever was already there. I brought in just my camera without any artificial lighting or props. She simply brought a small bag with a couple outfit options.
2. We couldn’t rearrange the displays or make any big changes. In one instance (as you’ll see later) we moved a cart from the side of the aisle to the center, but then put it right back. We’ve both spent years in the service industry, we weren’t about to leave the workers with a trashed store an hour before closing time on a Sunday night.
3. We’d stop shooting if anyone was in the background. We didn’t want to give anyone any reason to complain, so we went to a place that was completely empty of customers, and if someone did show up, we lowered the camera until they were done browsing and left the area.
Of course, if none of this was allowed we would’ve left, but as soon as we walked in an employee asked if they could help us and I asked, “We were just going to take a few photos, is that okay?”
He replied, “Of course! I was just wondering why she was so overdressed for a trip to the hardware store!”
Since they were about an hour from closing the store was almost completely empty. Anyone we did come in contact with was super friendly, if not slightly curious. We had a few people stop and watch, but that’s to be expected anytime Rachelle models anywhere. The girl just can’t help but stop traffic.
And this is what we got! I’ve included the cell-phone pic of the actual location along with each photoset, so you can see what we were working with.
Lowe’s Location 1: The Paint Samples
I have to admit, I have always wanted to shoot in front of these paint samples, so as soon as we walked in the door I made a bee-line right to them. I’m excited I finally got to shoot in front of them – these shots turned out to be some of my favorites ever!
Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC):
Lowe’s Location 2: The Lighting Section
I was also excited about the lighting section. I’ve always been a fan of shooting straight into the light (though I’ve heard it’s a bit of a no-no). The main problem was the lights were so much higher than we thought…or maybe we’re just a lot shorter than we realized (we’re both barely 5’4″).
I knew the light itself was going to be pretty horrendous, with all the different colors, brightness levels, and shadows, but I was excited to give it a shot. You can see in the second photo what it looked like straight out of camera.
Lowe’s Location 3: The Aisles
We knew we couldn’t avoid the aisles. Photographically speaking, they were awful. Horrible lighting, lots of plastic surfaces, really nothing that would be considered aesthetically pleasing, but that was the point. This was the essence of Lowe’s, and we wouldn’t have been doing the challenge justice to steer away from it.
Also, yes, we know you aren’t allowed to sit on the carts. An employee was there and gave us permission to keep shooting. Like I mentioned earlier, we were in a pretty big hurry, so she was sitting on that cart for a total of maybe 6 minutes, so calm the hell down, it’s not like we were dancing on them.
And yes, we know there has probably been something pretty disgusting spilled on them at some point, but we really couldn’t care less. Rachelle and I have shot nude in abandoned buildings full of spiders, bats and bird shit, a dry cart really isn’t much of an issue.
We shot in both the larger aisles and the skinnier ones. Here’s the larger aisle:
Location Shot: Aisle 1
Location Shot: Aisle 2
Lowe’s Location 4: The Garden Section
I would’ve loved to spend more time in the garden section, but the store was closing and we were running out of time. We spotted a cluster of fake shrubs and I had her kneel down in front of them so I could fill the frame. It’s too bad we had to move on so quickly – this was actually the best lighting we got out of the entire store! If we had been there in the daytime, it probably would’ve been even better!
I knew I wanted to edit the finished photo with a kind of moody, wintery look. So even though the raw image really wasn’t too bad, it still needed some adjustments to get to what I wanted it to be.
Overall, this was a really fun challenge! Not that I’d invite an actual client to ever do a Lowe’s photo shoot (I mean, never say never), but I was pretty happy with the result! Horrible location for the win! Next time you see an awful spot, maybe give it a chance, you never know what you might end up with.
About the author: Jenna Martin is the founder of PhotoFern.com and a fine art and underwater photographer based out of Billings, Montana. After acquiring her Master’s in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, she made a drastic career change into the field of photography where she has been producing surreal images ever since. You can find more of her work and writing on her website and blog. This article was also published here.
It’s finally here! My Nikon D850 review is finally finished! It took me 11 states, two countries, eight weeks, and 16,000 images to get it done, but here it is! This is a true field test loaded with real-world examples, advice, and tons of tips for getting the most from all the new features.
Yes, it’s a bit of a long review, but I didn’t want to simply tell you about the new features — I wanted to show you how to use them as well. Nothing more frustrating than a review that tells you about some amazing new feature but leaves you clueless when it comes to using it, right? Well, rest assured this will give you all that and more. So, sit back, kick your feet up and enjoy!
I also wanted to include some extras to go along with the video. These are either items that people have frequently asked about or that I referred to in the video.
D850 Bird In Flight (BIF) Settings
One of the questions I am getting a LOT is about bird-in-flight (BIF) settings. As with my other cameras, this sensor sees a lot of flying feathers, so you’re in luck!
As always, keep in mind that what works for me may not work for you and that’s cool – we can still be friends.
Focus Mode: AF-C of course. Since I use BBAF, I’m always in AF-C. However, if you’re more of a shutter release shooter, you’ll want to make sure you remember to switch to AF-C for action or face cards full of 46MP disappointments. AF-C is the only mode that can track/follow your subject, so, if you’ll pardon the pun, it’s the only way to fly!
AF Activation: For me, it’s always Back Button AF. It gives you the best of both AF-S and AF-C without all the switching back and forth. Rather than ramble on, I’ll refer you to this good-looking guy who did a video on the subject:
AF Area Modes: On the D850, I found myself once again gravitating towards Group AF for BIF shots, however, I also used the super-small D9 Dynamic Area as well – especially when the subjects were a bit slower or I needed more precise focus. Group AF likes to grab whatever is closest to the camera, so sometimes that can lead to sharp wingtips and cottony soft eyeballs. D9 gives you a little more precision in that department, BUT it is more difficult to keep on target.
Speaking of which, if you find D9 / Group is too tough, try a larger area like D25 or F72. As a general rule, always use the smallest AF area you can manage for whatever subject you’re after. Only go bigger if you can’t seem to stay on target.
For more on how Nikon’s AF modes work, see this video. Note that this was done prior to the D850 (and D500 / D5), but the way the modes (Group, 3D etc) work is the same.
Focus Tracking With Lock On (custom function A3): I mention this in the video, but I’d like to go into more detail here since Nikon has made some changes from the D810 to the D850. The first part of this setting is, “Blocked Shot AF Response” and the idea here is that if something comes between you and your subject for an instant, the camera won’t jump to the obstacle but instead hesitate just a bit and stay with your target until the obstacle has passed. Very handy if you’re tracking a bird flying by and a tree jumps between you and your subject as you pan.
The setting allows you to choose a value from 1 to 5. The higher the number, the “stickier” the AF system is. Of course, when people read that, the first thought is often to crank it up to 5 and call it a day. However, if the system is too sticky it will make it tough when you need to switch between subjects. Additionally, it can cause hesitation when you have an AF point on the wrong area of the subject and are trying to lock back onto the eye. I usually have this set to 2 or 3, but it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it option either. You may want to dive in and switch things up if the AF is letting go too easily or when it’s stickier than a three-year-old who just discovered the maple syrup jar.
The other part of this setting is “Subject Motion.” This new setting is a way for you to let the camera know how erratic or steady your subject is – especially when it’s coming at the camera. If you have a subject that likes to start and stop suddenly, you want “Erratic.” On the other hand, for a subject coming steadily at the camera, switch to “Steady.” For wildlife and BIF shots, I usually have good success just leaving it in the middle.
Custom Controls (Custom Setting F1): The D850 also has some exciting new options for the preview button, sub-selector, function button, and AF-On button. Here’s how I have a couple of mine set up.
For the PV (preview) button I have selected the “AF area mode” option, “Single Point AF.” This setting allows you to press the PV button on the front of the camera and regardless of what AF area mode you’re currently in, it will switch you back to single point as long as the button is held in (demo in the video). This is really handy when you’re in Group AF and your subject gets into a tight area (since Group AF loves to focus on the vegetation around the critter instead of on the critter itself).
For the Fn1 button, I have it set to cycle through Image Area Mode (1.2X, 1.5DX, etc.). The reason for this is that the buffer capacity of this camera is somewhat limited and switching to a crop mode will increase buffer depth. And, if I’m going to crop back home anyway, I figure I might as well just do it in the field and enjoy the gains.
To set, head to custom setting F1, and choose Fn1 button + dial turn (the right hand column). Select “Choose image area” from the resulting menu. You’ll also notice an arrow on the right of this menu. Give it a press and you can even select which image areas you want to scroll through. Way faster than setting this stuff via the menu!
Oh, and another cool option for crop modes is called “Masking” and is found under the Photo Shooting Menu > Image section. Look for an item called Viewfinder mask display. Turn that on and kiss those useless crop outlines goodbye. Instead, you’ll have a handy, semi-transparent mask to show you your image area. Try it, you’ll like it!
Frame Rate: This is set to maximum frame rate (7 or 9, depending on if you have a grip). Keep it at maximum for the best variety of wingbeats/expressions and shoot in short, controlled bursts whenever there’s something cool under your AF point.
Shutter Speed: I’ve been keeping my shutter speed at 1/3200 or higher for most of my birds in flight shots and that seems to keep my success rate pretty high. I have gone with lower speeds, but my keeper rate gets progressively more disappointing as my shutter speed drops (exactly like the D500 in fact). For faster birds, don’t be afraid to go to 1/5000th or higher if you have enough light.
F/Stop: This really depends on how much light I have at my disposal. Most of the time, I shoot wide open to keep noise to a minimum (usually F4) and capture those creamy, subject-isolating backgrounds. However, if it’s bright enough, I’ve been known to drop down to F5.6 for a little added depth-of-field fudge factor — especially with fast, tricky subjects.
ISO: This varies depending on the light of course, but I tend to cap out around ISO 6400 (preferring to keep it under ISO3200). Beyond that, I feel like I’m losing too much detail in the fur and feathers of my favorite subjects. About the only exception to that would be if something extraordinary was happening, but if I can get basically the same shot the next day in better light, I’ll wait (or grab the D5).
Also, I generally use Manual Mode with Auto ISO if I’m in an autoexposure kind of mood. With this method, I just set in the ISO range I want and choose the shutter speed and F/Stop I want to use. From there, the camera will float the ISO to give me a proper exposure. It’s either this or full manual mode, depending on the subject/scene.
See this video for more:
Nikon Approved Lenses For The D850
Now, for the “Nikon approved” lens list. As noted in the video, this list is chock-full of current lenses that Nikon wants to sell you. Many older discontinued lenses are NOT listed but would work just fine (like any big prime for example). Ditto for excellent third party glass. So, for what it’s worth:
AF-S NIKKOR 20 mm f / 1.8 G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 24 mm f / 1.4 G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 24 mm f / 1.8 G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 28 mm f / 1.4 E ED
AF-S NIKKOR 28 mm f / 1.8 G
AF-S NIKKOR 35 mm f / 1.4 G
AF-S NIKKOR 35 mm f / 1.8 G ED
AF-S NIKKOR 58 mm f / 1.4 G
AF-S NIKKOR 85 mm f / 1.4 G
AF-S NIKKOR 85 mm f / 1.8 G
AF-S NIKKOR 105 mm f / 1.4 E ED
AI AF DC-Nikkor 105 mm f / 2 D
AI AF DC-Nikkor 135 mm f / 2 D
AF-S NIKKOR 200 mm f / 2 G ED VR II
AF-S NIKKOR 300 mm f / 2.8 G ED VR II
AF-S NIKKOR 300 mm f / 4 E PF ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 400 mm f / 2.8 E FL ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 500 mm f / 4 G ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 500 mm f / 4 E FL ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 600 mm f / 4 E FL ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 800 mm f / 5.6 E FL ED VR
AF – S Fisheye NIKKOR 8 – 15 mm f / 3.5 – 4.5 E ED
AF-S NIKKOR 14-24 mm f / 2.8 G ED
AF – S NIKKOR 16 – 35 mm f / 4 G ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 24-70 mm f / 2.8 G ED
AF – S NIKKOR 24 – 70 mm f / 2.8 E ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 24 – 120 mm f / 4 G ED VR
AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-200 mm f / 2.8 G IF-ED
AF-S NIKKOR 70-200 mm f / 2.8 G ED VR II
AF – S NIKKOR 70 – 200 mm f / 2.8 E FL ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 70-200 mm f / 4 G ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 80-400 f / 4.5 – 5.6 G ED VR
AF-S NIKKOR 200-400 mm f / 4 G ED VR II
AF-S NIKKOR 200-500 mm f / 5.6 E ED VR
Macro / PC
AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60 mm f / 2.8 G ED
AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105 mm f / 2.8 G IF-ED
PC-E NIKKOR 24 mm f / 3.5 D ED
PC-E Micro NIKKOR 45 mm f / 2.8 D ED
PC-E Micro NIKKOR 85 mm f / 2.8 D
PC NIKKOR 19 mm f / 4 E ED
D850 ISO Comparisons
Next, we have the actual images from the video for ISO comparisons (100% crops, the D850 downsized to D5 and D810 size. The D500 was downsized to D850 DX size). Just click to enlarge and it will open on a new tab.
D850 vs D810
D850 vs D5
D850 in DX mode vs D500
D850 full frame downsampled vs D500 at ISO 6400
D850 Buffer Findings
Next, we have my buffer test findings. I may add more down the road, but for now this should get you started.
First, results from my normal, outside test scene (again, these can and will vary depending on the scene, don’t take the number as gospel).
14 bit 7 fps
14 bit – 9 FPS
12 bit – 7fps
12 bit – 9fps
Now, some figures I got with the lens cap on and viewfinder shutter closed. (The results are higher because it’s easy for the camera to compress and create a file when it’s just black.)
12 bit FX 9 fps = 48
12 bit 7 FPS = 193
14 bit FX 9 FPS = 26
14 bit FX 7 FPS = 51
I also tried a few rounds with higher ISOs. As you can see, the higher the ISO, the shallower the buffer:
12 bit 7 FPS ISO 6400 = 67
14 bit FX 6400 = 25
14 bit FX 5000 = 36
14 bit FX 3200 = 43
14 bit FX 1600 = 46
14 bit ISO 800 = 47
14 bit ISO 400 = 50
I also wanted to share the settings I typically set with I use Focus Shift Shooting (I wish they would have called it focus stacking, but what do I know…). Be sure to see the video for a quick intro.
Number Of Shots: 50+ (since the system stops at infinity)
Focus Width: 4
Interval Until Next Shot: 0 or 1
Exposure Smoothing: On (Off if you’re in manual mode)
Electronic Shutter: On
(I usually shoot landscapes between F/6.3 and F/8)
Number Of Shots: 20 (you can add more if needed)
Focus Width: 4
Interval Until Next Shot: 0 or 1 (set to 3 or 4 if electronic shutter is off)
Exposure Smoothing: On (Off if you’re in manual mode)
Electronic Shutter: On
(I usually shoot macros between F/8 and F/11)
Facebook Messenger Now Lets You Share Photos in 4K High Resolution
Facebook has just introduced the ability to share high-resolution photos on its Messenger app. This makes for a much better, and less compressed, visual user experience for the countless people who send photos to one another every day through the popular app.
“We’re making significant investments in how people communicate visually on Messenger,” says Facebook in a statement.
Photos up to 4,096px x 4,096px in size can now be shared at their maximum resolution. According to Facebook, the new photo sizes will be shared “just as quickly as before.”
These comparison images show the benefit of 4K photo-sharing on the app (the quality before is on the left, and the 4K resolution is on the right):
Once you have updated your app to the latest version, high-resolution photo-sharing will happen automatically since it’s the new default setting.
As of today, both Android and iPhone users in the US, Canada, France, Australia, the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea will benefit from the 4K resolution sharing. Other countries will be added to the rollout in the coming weeks.
DxOMark says the 51.4-megapixel camera has extremely good image quality scores, and the large pixels on the sensor gives the camera the best low-light ISO scores ever recorded up to this point among all cameras.
“It’s clear from our testing that the Pentax 645Z’s sensor is extremely capable, coming within a whisper of matching the performance of the Hasselblad X1D sensor (our highest-scoring sensor to date),” DxOMark says. “The 645Z’s high dynamic range and color sensitivity make it ideally suited for capturing the types of scenes that are traditionally favored by medium-format photographers — landscapes, weddings, portraits, and still lifes (commercial).”
The camera is interesting to compare against the Nikon D850, DxOMark says. The Pentax has a sensor that’s 1.7 times larger, but the D850 is about 3 years newer. The Nikon D850 actually stacks up well against the medium format camera thanks to Sony’s sensor manufacturing prowess.
“While the 645Z beats the Nikon sensor in our tests, the Nikon comes closer than you might expect, given the size difference,” DxOMark says. “If Sony made a medium-format sensor with the same design as the D850, it would beat the sensors in both the Pentax 645Z and the Hasselblad X1D-50c.”
If you’d like a medium format camera that has the look and feel of a 35mm DSLR and fantastic image quality, the Pentax 645Z is one option you may want to take a look at these days. It costs just $5,500 new now, which is a significant discount from its original retail price of over $8,500.
The Photographer Behind Windows XP ‘Bliss’ Shot 3 New Wallpapers
Bliss, the photo used as the default wallpaper on Windows XP, is considered to be the most-viewed photo in the history of the world. The photographer behind that iconic photo has just published three new photo wallpapers, this time for smartphones.
Charles O’Rear captured his famous photo in 1996 in Sonoma County, California, using a medium format camera while on his way to visit his girlfriend. The photo was sent to Corbis before Microsoft purchased the photo rights in 2000, the year before Windows XP was launched.
Now, 21 years later after Bliss was shot, the airline Lufthansa recently recruited O’Rear to shoot “the next generation of wallpapers.” The project is titled New Angles of America.
“I am turning seventy-six and realize how much the Microsoft Bliss photograph has meant to my life,” O’Rear says. “As the photographer of the most viewed photo in history, I have enjoyed every minute of the fame.
“Likewise, I am thrilled to create for Lufthansa a sequel to the ‘Bliss’ photo on smartphones so that my views of other beautiful places can continue to be enjoyed by millions of people. After all, smartphones have become the primary place for the world to see new and interesting photography. And, I’m glad to be part of it.”
Here are the three new photos O’Rear captured while visiting famous landscapes in the United States:
Maroon Bells (Colorado)
Peek-A-Boo Slot (Utah)
White Pocket (Arizona)
Here’s a short video about this project that shows O’Rear shooting the Bliss sequels:
Man Finds DJI Customer Data Exposed, Gets Threat and Rejects K Bounty
Security researcher Kevin Finisterre recently found a flaw that exposed private customer data of the Chinese drone company DJI to the public. After reporting the bug to DJI’s bug bounty program, Finisterre received pushback and a legal threat. So instead of collecting his $30,000 bounty, Finisterre is now going public with his findings (and experience).
Ars Technica reports that DJI developers had left private keys for the company’s web domains and cloud storage accounts within source code hosted on GitHub.
Using the keys, Finisterre discovered that he was able to access private data uploaded by DJI customers — not just flight logs and aerial photos, but also government IDs, drivers licenses, and passports. What’s more, some of the flight logs appeared to have been sent from government and military domains (as a side note, the US Army ended its use of DJI drones earlier this year due to “cyber vulnerabilities.”
After reporting the vulnerability to DJI, Finisterre was initially informed that his report qualified for the top bounty of $30,000. He then engaged in a lengthy conversation with a DJI employee who both confirmed the existence of the exposed data and showed a striking lack of cybersecurity know-how.
“This was the first in a long line of education on basic security concepts, and bug bounty practices,” Finisterre says. “Over 130 emails were exchanged back and forth at one point in one thread. At one point days later DJI even offered to hire me directly to consult with them on their security.”
As he continued his conversations with DJI, however, Finisterre soon found that DJI wasn’t readily agreeing that its servers were part of the scope of the new bounty program. Finisterre was also turned off by DJI’s refusal to provide him with protection against legal action.
What’s more, DJI itself sent a threat of charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), accusing Finisterre of “unauthorized access and transmission of information.”
Still, Finisterre went ahead and negotiated a “final offer” from DJI for the contract in the bug bounty program. After consulting with lawyers, however, Finisterre concluded that the terms were horrible.
“[N]o less than 4 lawyers told me in various ways that the agreement was not only extremely risky, but was likely crafted in bad faith to silence anyone that signed it,” Finisterre writes. “I went through various iterations to get the letter corrected. It was ultimately going to cost me several thousand dollars for a lawyer that I was confident could cover all angles to put my concerns to bed and make the agreement sign-able.”
DJI is investigating the reported unauthorized access of one of DJI’s servers containing personal information submitted by our users. As part of its commitment to customers’ data security, DJI engaged an independent cyber security firm to investigate this report and the impact of any unauthorized access to that data. Today, a hacker who obtained some of this data posted online his confidential communications with DJI employees about his attempts to claim a “bug bounty” from the DJI Security Response Center.
DJI implemented its Security Response Center to encourage independent security researchers to responsibly report potential vulnerabilities. DJI asks researchers to follow standard terms for bug bounty programs, which are designed to protect confidential data and allow time for analysis and resolution of a vulnerability before it is publicly disclosed. The hacker in question refused to agree to these terms, despite DJI’s continued attempts to negotiate with him, and threatened DJI if his terms were not met.
Finisterre says that DJI has since given him “cold blooded silence” after his last messages expressing disappointment and offense over DJI’s bug bounty program.
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