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QUICK LOOK : Aputure Trigmaster Plus II 2.4G Wireless Flash Triggers

If you are spending money on kit for photography, you know by now that there is a ton of stuff coming out of China to help you do what you want, often at a significantly lower price than you might expect.

Sometimes, this stuff is utter junk, but the folks building products under the Aputure brand have been pretty consistent in delivering good value for your money for simple products done well.  That’s also true for the Aputure Trigmaster Plus II. Continue reading

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QUICK LOOK : Cactus V6 Flash TX/RX – despite all the pins these aren’t TTL

I’ve written before about the very excellent Cactus V5 radio transmitter / receivers for your hotshoe flash.  Great range, simple to use, and pretty much foolproof, so long as you understood power and exposure control were all manual.  Then a seminar attendee was telling me of his challenges with off camera flash and how things would be solved by his new Cactus V6 set because the salesperson told him that they had TTL.  Really?  For about $160 a pair?  I had to check this out. Continue reading

Canon 7D Mark II w Canon 85mm f:/1.2L  1/6 f:/11 ISO 100

STUDIO TEST : Canon 7D Mark II ISO Performance

Ever since I received my Canon 7D Mark II, I have been itching to see what its real high ISO performance looked like.  I could have tried this with JPEGs but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Fortunately, the day I write this, Adobe has released Lightroom 5.7 and the latest Camera RAW that directly supports the new RAW format.  Let’s see what I learned. Continue reading

1Dx 70-210/2.8, face 3 feet from front of Octo 150

The Size of the Light – Thoughts on the Big Octa

When I first started learning about lighting a long time ago, my master (I was an apprentice and he liked being the master) said it very succinctly, “big light up close is good light”.  Of course there are  situations where this could be untrue but since I’ve been tagged as a  lighting geek, I’ve found that most of the time he was right.  Later, when taking a class with Joe McNally, I asked the dumb ass question, if you could only have one light with one modifier what would it be, he said “big octa”  Then he showed the class why.  This past Sunday, I did a seminar at Henry’s Newmarket on getting started with studio flash and I demonstrated a bunch of modifiers.  But due to time and space, I didn’t show my favourite.  One of the attendees had heard me speak about the big octa in the past and asked why it is so good. Continue reading

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REVIEW : Canon C300 Dual Pixel Auto Focus (DAF) Upgrade

I am not a professional videographer.  On my best days, I might be an amateur, but I do try.  Like many folks making videos, I have struggled with the size of my crew, given that it has a count of one, and since I do reviews and training, I am often the camera operator, the director, the producer and the alleged talent.  So when Canon announced the ability to make my loved C300 do useful and speedy autofocus, I gave it serious consideration. Continue reading

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REVIEW : Nissan MF18 Ring Flash

mf18_mdling_2Close up and macro work usually also means some form of supplemental light for adequate depth of field and shutter speeds that don’t last until the next ice age.  I was kitting up to do a Macro Photography seminar at Henry’s Newmarket and asked Store Manager Chris Atkinson if he could bring in some ring flashes for demonstration and potential sale.  I specifically asked about Canon’s MT-24EX because I like the idea of positionable heads.  Then I saw the price tag, and that rings to fit my lenses would be special order because they don’t come with the unit and I just gave up.  I already knew the MR-14 EX II and it’s ok but overpriced.  I own a Sigma EM-140 that is getting long in the tooth and is not exactly intuitive.  Chris surprised me by getting the Nissan MF18 for both Canon and Nikon. Continue reading

Opening Up Your Eye

I often hear from photographers, who are typically strong individualists, that they are stuck, or have hit a wall.  Yesterday I led my third #Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk in my town.  Based on feedback it was a great success for the mid sized group of folks who came out.

One of the most telling things I saw was the breadth and scope of images that were being made by the walkers.  Many commented that they made shots that they would not normally have considered doing, but by simply being out with other photographers, they were encouraged to get out of a comfort zone, to try something new, and to shoot subjects that they would not normally consider.

Yes I did plan the walk and knew where we would go and had some information to share, but I really think that it was the people getting out to shoot together that made the day successful.  Certainly we had great weather, and we had the surprise opportunity to shoot the fire truck helmed by Anne of the McCaffrey Street Fire Station, but everyone who came out really played off each other.

So if you think you are getting stuck, gather a few folks from your local camera club, or photographer friends and just go somewhere to shoot. It may amaze you what you see and discover, and the doors that this kind of thing can open up.

I am very grateful to the hard work done by the folks at KelbyOne to make the worldwide walk happen, and I really feel for them as the registration system let them down in the last few days.  They do great work, but you don’t need a global initiative to go do a walk, just go, but go with other photographers to see the possible.

Crayons after Piccure+

REVIEW : Piccure Plus

You might remember me writing several months ago about a tool to help correct camera micro-shake called Piccure.  I had questions and the manufacturers got in touch right away.  While other options, such as Photoshop, have a camera shake filter, I found that Piccure did a better job.  It was more demanding on the computer CPU because of the complex math, but that complex math ended up doing a more consistent job.

What if the folks who do Piccure made it even better?  What if they added robust distortion correction, without having to buy a dedicated, albeit excellent, tool like DxO Optics Pro?  What if they “added” Lens + to Piccure and called it Piccure  Plus?  They did and it is superb.  Want to learn more?  Then read on neighbours… Continue reading

The Father's Desk - after correcting for shake caused by moving floorboards

Flex : Long Exposures in Wooden Buildings

Last weekend, I ventured to Sainte Marie Among the Hurons with my friend Bryan Weiss and some of his Daytripper Photo customers.  The re-creation of the habitat of the Hurons and Jesuits is very well done, and the facility is perfect for photography, so long as one is prepared with a tripod and willing to go with longer exposures.  But I did discover a problem… Continue reading

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