Canon Rant

Rant alert, rant alert! I just wanted to get that out there. This is going to be a Canon rant. While I love Canon products and Canon CPS, they have been pretty lackluster in terms of releases and upgrades. Canon recently announced the T5 rebel. While this is not a camera I am personally interested in, it really isn't an upgrade from the previous model. They released the Canon EOS M, a while back and have yet to support it here in the States. No new lenses, no upgrades, nothing. It's clear that other camera manufacturers are going into the mirrorless sector with guns ablaze, while canon seems to be abandoning it. While these small quibbles aren't going to make or break my relationship with Canon, the following might. When Nikon released the D800 and Canon released the 5DIII I knew megapixels wasn't going to determine which camera I bought. The 5DIII in my opinion is a better overall camera. The difference between the high megapixel Nikon and Canon's sensor is only noticeable at pixel level examinations. In my opinion the Canon 70-200 2.8 IS II is the sharpest lens I've shot with. Maybe I have a really awesome copy, but it's proven to be more sharp than my 24mm TS-e II. This lens alone is why I stuck with Canon. With the release of the 24-70 II, I knew canon was coming out with some really great glass. This is how I determine what camera system I will invest in, it's the lenses, not the bodies.

So my style is wide vast landscapes. I like getting close to a foreground subject, capturing it's surroundings and the sky above, all in one click. My only hesitation staying with Canon is because they didn't have the 14-24mm lens that Nikon has. The 16-35mm is really a good lens. I have made many of great images from that lens, but it lacks in a few key areas. I stayed with Canon because I believed they would soon release a lens in the 14-24mm focal length that would rival or beat Nikon's legendary lens.

Well where is it? The 70-200 was updated and totally rocks, the 24-70 II is said to be one of the best zoom lenses ever made. Where is the 14-24mm? Where are the innovative updates to camera bodies that Canon is known for? Where is the support for the mirrorless sector? Everytime I go out to photograph wide landscapes, I am wishing I had a 14-24mm. It's getting bad so much so I might follow fellow Canon photographers and buy a Nikon lens and an adapter so I can use the legendary 14-24 on my 5DIII. Canon please make this lens. Put it atop your todo list. It would make me and many..many other photographers very happy.

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Canon 5D III is Here

Canon just released the the 5D III Early this morning. This might be one of the most anticipated cameras ever. The popularity and "game changing" as the Canon 5DII was, many of us were wondering what the 5D III would bring. Canon also released a new radio transmitter ST-E3-RT for the new radio speedlite the 600EX-RT. They also released a GPS GP-E2. Being a nature photographer the GPS is exciting. I will find that to be a useful tool. I feel the 5dIII will be hard to get being that Japan has had a few tragedys these past few years that have slowed production, so it's best you pre-order and hope you are on the short list. I have mine on order so I will keep you posted with an un-boxing and review.

Here is a link to B&H to pre-order the 5D III

Here is a link to B&H to pre-order the 600EX-RT Speedlite

Here is the link to Canons page for a list of the specifications of the 5D III.

Prints

There is nothing better than seeing your photographs printed. A recent trip to Yosemite and the Ansel Adams Gallery has inspired me to print my photographs with the best quality and craftsmanship that I can. When in Yosemite valley visit the gallery. Even the restaurants in the valley display the beautiful work of Michael Frye and others. The work and detail in the prints are gorgeous. With that being said this is how I develop my prints. After editing (click here for more on editing) I will print from Photoshop. I will go to lightroom select the photo I want to print in the library tab, right click on that photo and select edit in: then select edit in Photoshop. Once I have it in Photoshop I do very little to the image since it's already been through the edit ringer. What I do is add some sharpening. The easiest way to do this is with a Nik plugin called Sharpener Pro. This makes sharpening a simple process based on your needs.

Once you have your photo loaded in Photoshop and Sharpener Pro loaded, go to filter, Nik Software, Sharpener Pro: Output Sharpener. Nik will then open up your photograph in the Nik Plugin. Under output sharpening I change it from display to ink jet. It will then give you a few options you will have to fill in based on your needs and printer. Under viewing distance I usually select the 4-8 ft range on my 13x19 prints. I then select my paper type. Last but not least is the printer resolution. My Canon Printer is a 4800 x 2400 but refer to your printer manual for proper resolution. That's it! Nik also has a selective sharpening option if you want to apply sharpening to some areas and not others. This is helpful if you want to sharpen the foreground but don't need sharpening for things like water and clouds. When that is completed press OK.

Once Nik applied the sharpening you should set up your printer to get the best possible prints. In Photoshop click file, then print. I then click Print Settings... This opens up the setting for my Canon printer. The menu for other brand printers may vary but the same concept remains.  The main thing we want to do is have Photoshop manage the colors not the printer. So after you select your media type, paper size, and print quality, we want to click the box for "color/intensity manual adjustment".

Next click the main tab near the top. Double check media type, paper source, print quality and make sure color/intensity is on manual. Next click the set button. This will bring up the color adjustment tab, click on the matching tab next to that and click "none" under color correction. Press ok, press ok again and now you are ready to print. Double check the settings in the Photoshop print menu. Select color management; and document. Under color handling select "Photoshop Manages Colors". Pick your printer profile based on the paper you are using. Most manufactures have the paper profiles available for download on the manufactures website. I use Canon Paper and a Canon printer so paper profiles came preloaded. Now under "rendering intent" I either use "Relative Colorimetric" or "Preceptual". I normally do a couple 4x6 test prints to see which one comes out best, but sometimes you can see the effects in the Photoshop print setup page. I click the black point compensation box and now I am ready to print my photograph.

All in all the process takes just a few minutes. I am using Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5. Process may vary based on different versions of  software. I am using a Canon 9000 mark II printer, Epson and other printer procedures will vary so consult your manual when trying to set up your printer. The main thing we need to remember is to sharpen your photographs based on our needs and allow Photoshop to manage colors. When you have a calibrated monitor your print will look like what you see on your computer. This will save you time and money when trying to match your monitor with your prints.

After the printer prints, I let the print sit on the printer for a couple hours before I even touch it. This allows the print to dry. I then take the print and place it in a shaded area at my office and let it completely dry for a couple days before I frame it or ship it. I ship using a hard density tube with the print placed in an archival plastic bag. I also place a pair of white cotton gloves in the tube so when the buyer receives the print they will be able to safely handle it. A good idea for your customers is to have it shipped right to the framer. This way the customer won't have to handle it at all!

Happy Easter & Happy printing!

5 Holiday Christmas Ideas for Landscape Photographers

It's that time a year again. It's time to buy your special someone a gift for Christmas. Here are 5 Holiday Christmas Ideas for Landscape Photographers 1) Filters! One of the most important tools for a landscape photographer is the Neutral Density Graduated filter, another filter is the circular polarizer. These 2 filters should be in every nature and landscape photographers bag. Find Polarizers Here and Find ND Filters Here

2) A cable release. Both Nikon and Canon make them, some of them are wireless. These will help the landscape and nature photographer achieve those tack sharp photographs.

3) Rain gear for your camera. There are several options out there. You can get a disposable, or a reusable version. The disposable ones are relatively cheap, but if you are shooting in rain all the time it may be worth while to invest a reusable version.

4) A hotshoe  bubble level. This will assure that your horizon lines are straight. Nothing is more annoying than a diagonal horizon line.

5) A good ball head and tripod. These are worth their weight in gold to a landscape and nature photographer. In my opinion these two things are almost as important as the camera itself. Hope this helps with the holiday shopping.

Photography Gear

When it comes to my photography the most common question I get is: "what camera do you have?" Or what camera should I buy? For a buying guide click here but when it comes to photography gear I don't really ask what other photographers use nor do I really care what they use. I have heard several examples such as; "do you ask a writer what pen he used when he wrote his book?" "Do you ask a painter what brushes he used to paint his work of art?" Some people think if they have your gear they can make photographs like you do. This is far from the truth.  I think gear is some of the most overrated part of photography. What matters is how you can make your camera work for you and the situations you are faced with. That being said, being a photographer there is a lot of excitement and somewhat of an addiction getting new gear. It's part of the fun of being a photographer. I have used a Canon 40d for several years now. It's a good camera and it has been good to me. I know that camera inside and out, but there always seemed to be something missing. I have saved up to buy the next in line 5d, but when I read canon rumors saying that the next 5d might not even show up until 2nd or 3rd Q of 2011, I decided to upgrade to a 7d.  Will I get the next 5d.... you bet I will. Being a nature photographer, I will use the 5d for landscapes and the 7d for wildlife.

There are many reviews of the 7d so I won't go to in-depth but the first testing of the 7 d proves that it's awesome as everyone says it is. The thing that I noticed right away is that the metering is more accurate than the 40d. The second thing is that if has a better focusing system. The 7d is a great camera and I have only had a couple of days and 2 shoots, but it's a dream to work with. I know I am late jumping on the 7d bandwagon, but most of my money is invested in lenses.

Lenses in my opinion are the best thing to buy if you immediately want to upgrade your photography. Cameras come and go every couple of years. Lenses will last for 20 years. So when it comes to camera upgrades I tend to hold off until I feel my camera is holding me back, such as my current situation. I'm excited to start working with my 7d and to see what this camera is capable of. I will keep you posted but so far so good.