September 15, 2014, 12:16:36 AM

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Topics - TWI by Dustin Abbott

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This is about a six minute video tutorial on how to easily blend multiple exposures into first a 32bit HDR, tone it in Adobe Camera Raw, and then convert it into a fully editable 16B file with the full range of the blended exposures.  Easy to use, and now that the there is the "Photography" option for Creative Cloud it is also a very reasonable way to get high end landscape imagery.

The link to the brief article and video tutorial is here:  http://dustinabbott.net/2014/09/why-i-switched-to-hdr-pro-for-natural-exposure-blending/

Here is the image that we blend in the tutorial with no processing other the blend of three exposures:

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I recognize that we are a Canon community, but I am interested in your reaction to the seemingly continual updates to Nikon's camera bodies (D810, D800E, D800S, D610, potential D620, etc...)  Their market strategy seems very different than Canon.  Canon never seems to be in a hurry to release new bodies (other than the Rebel series), and has often had at least 4 years between major model releases (more in the case of the 7D).

So, in your opinion, is Nikon's approach to continually releasing incremental upgrades to existing models a good thing or a bad thing?  I can see pros and cons, but as a consumer I'm not sure that I would be crazy about my camera being outmoded so quickly.  You would be stuck either using "inferior" tech or very possibly taking a pretty big financial hit because the resale value of your equipment has been eroded.  The thought of getting upgraded technology more quickly is also appealing, and I know that many of you feel that Canon's development cycles are often too long.

Your thoughts?

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Reviews / Tamron 16-300 VC Review and Video Review
« on: August 29, 2014, 10:55:05 AM »
Hello, all.  Just completed a review of the new crop sensor all-in-one lens from Tamron, the 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD.  This lens has a massive 18.8x zoom range, and on a Canon crop has an 35mm equivalent 25.6-460mm range.  That is both wider and longer than all previous lenses of the type.  If you would like to read more about (or watch the video review), you can click here:

http://dustinabbott.net/2014/08/tamron-16-300mm-vc-pzd-review/

Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Review by Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott, on Flickr

P.S.  I have previously reviewed the 28-300 VC for full frame bodies, and B&H is currently sending me the 18-200 VC for EF-M mount that I will be reviewing (alongside the Samyang 12mm f/2 for EF-M and the 16-35mm f/4L IS).  Full plate for a bit, but the new reviews should start coming in about a month.  Somewhere in there Zeiss will be sending me the two Otus lenses for review (55 and 85mm).

Is there anything out there that hasn't been reviewed much that you guys want me to request in the future?  At this stage I can get just about anything for review (although some of the higher end superteles are a little more work to get).

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I recently did a review/video review of the filter system made by Samyang for the 14mm f/2.8 lens from Samyang, Rokinon, Bower, etc...

The system works well, although Samyang's distribution in North America is basically nonexistent.  I had to use Ebay to get mine even though I work with the Rokinon distributor in North America.  I still have been unable to get the solid ND filter, but the ND grad is a treat for it.

Anyway, here's a link if you are interested.  http://dustinabbott.net/2014/08/samyang-14mm-f2-8-filter-system-review/

I'd be interested in reading any of your own experiences with both getting and using the system.

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Reviews / Quebec City and the new Tamron 28-300 VC as a Travel Lens
« on: August 18, 2014, 11:45:20 AM »
I recently did a review of the new Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD lens (someone posted a link here, but if you didn't see it you can find the review here:  http://dustinabbott.net/2014/08/tamron-28-300mm-f3-5-6-3-di-vc-pzd/).  It is an obvious choice for travel, but I hadn't actually traveled with the lens.  I just spent 4-5 days traveling to the beautiful Quebec City and used the Tamron almost exclusively.  This is a companion article with a lot of photos that show off the range and image quality of the lens in a variety of settings.  It is also a bit of a travelogue on Quebec City.

http://dustinabbott.net/2014/08/quebec-city-and-the-tamron-28-300-vc/

Enjoy.

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Hello everyone. I have a quick question for other wedding photographers.  I have done custom albums for several years.  Nice, leather bound, padded, etc...  I have a nice wide format printer and can produce really stunning prints because I control the whole workflow, so the albums look fab, but....

I find producing albums time consuming and because the albums themselves are expensive, the small margin makes it seem like it isn't hardly worth my time. 

How are the rest of you handling albums these days? Any tips?

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Photography Technique / How (and Why) I Took the Shot #3: Inferno
« on: April 22, 2014, 10:43:09 AM »
Here's a third article from this series that mixes some light tutorials on both capture and post-processing.  Hopefully this will help to provide a little inspiration for those of you looking that are looking for it.

Inferno by Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott, on Flickr

"...I arose early on Good Friday morning, took a quick look out the window, and knew that I wouldn’t be going back to bed. You only have so many days with a fabulous dawn. After dressing and preparing my gear in haste, I traveled to a spot where I knew roughly what I would have to work with to enhance the great sky.

This is one of the keys to being a successful landscape photographer – scouting. Amazing skies don’t automatically produce amazing photos. I have seen some shots of fabulous skies that were completely ruined by the entirely uninteresting nature of the foreground.

Foreground matters.

This is doubly true if you use a wide angle lens and compose in a portrait orientation as I have done here. My 14mm lens has an incredibly wide angle of view, and composing like this means that the foreground is somewhat exaggerated. That exaggeration produces very visually compelling images…if the photographer does a good job of composing the shot. It also means that some serious thought needs to be put into the foreground and to visualize how the final shot will appear
."
to read more, click through here: http://dustinabbott.net/2014/04/how-and-why-i-took-the-shot-3-inferno/

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Here's a little technique article for those interested on utilizing a polarizer even in lower lighting conditions like indoor exhibits or (as the example photos in the article) an aquarium.

http://dustinabbott.net/2014/03/circular-polarizer-where/



"...In the perfect world for photographers, it would always be “golden hour”.  The light would be soft and directional, making even mundane things appear rich and interesting.  But in the real world golden hour only comes (at best) twice a day, and often not at all.  Experienced photographers learn to use things like circular polarizers and ND (neutral density) filters to help control the light in less than ideal conditions.  These filters are particularly helpful when the light is more harsh and glaring.  I personally like to have a circular polarizer available for all my lenses.

But this little article isn’t about using a circular polarizer in a conventional way.

It’s about why I screw on a circular polarizer in a very dark place like interior spaces at zoos and, most recently, at an aquarium.  What?!!"
...to read more click the link above...

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Software & Accessories / Adding Punch through Exposure 5
« on: February 25, 2014, 09:40:43 AM »
Adding "Punch" Through Exposure

There are some people who make a very good living by buying somewhat rundown houses, renovating them, and then “flipping” them for a large profit.  Not everyone can do this.  Some people try it and discover somewhere during the renovation project that they have made a terrible decision.  But those that are successful often share a certain quality:  they can see the “bones” of a house.  They can look past the clutter and disrepair and visualize what the house could be.

This little article is about applying the same principle to photography.  As a professional photographer I take a lot of pictures, and most of the time I at least think I’ve taken a great shot when the shutter clicks.  Some photos are amazing all by themselves, but others are a lot like those rundown houses – they have good “bones”, but they are lacking a bit of punch.  I have enough experience with both photography and software that I can look at a photo and pre-visualize how it will look when I’m finished.  Experience has taught me how to achieve that vision most of the time, and a big part of getting the vision of the finished product out of my head and into reality is through the use of Alien Skin Exposure
..."

To read more, click http://dustinabbott.net/2014/02/adding-punch-through-exposure/:

You can also read a smaller version at the Alien Skin blog later today.  Enjoy

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Photography Technique / How (and Why) I Took the Shot #2: Persistance
« on: February 17, 2014, 08:51:22 AM »
My last article brought a certain amount of controversy, so I post the next in the series with some trepidation ;D

I did take to heart some of your suggestions, so let me be clear about what this little article is:  it is a brief look into the why of what was going on in my head when I chose the subject to shoot along with a few technique tips of how I took the shot.  It's a mix of a little photography philosophy and a few technique tips for framing and producing pleasing, complimentary bokeh.  I realize that there is a broad ability range on this message board, as there is in the greater audience of the people that visit my site.  I in no way am trying to be offensive or even self-promotional with this series; I want to help people.  A few of you seem offended by that, and, if you are, then please disregard this thread and move on to something that is interesting for you.

Here's a little snippet of what the article is about, and if you want to read more...click through.

"Why I Took the Shot

Winter came early this year, and shows no signs of being in a hurry to leave. It has been a hard one. Cold, bleak, and with heavy storms. Winter at its best can be fabulously beautiful, but amongst all the seasons it is also most likely to come with a lot of dark, dreary days.

It doesn’t help that as winter sets in, most of the color gets leeched from the world. The trees are bare (other than the evergreens), and that, combined with frequently overcast skies, leaves the world a pretty bleak place. I often feel like the world has become monochrome.  It seems at times like I am stumbling around the woods looking for something with just a hint of color to photograph.  Desperate…..for…..color!!!

It is for this reason that I have a special place in my heart for the beech tree.  It breaks the rules...
" to read more, click herehttp://dustinabbott.net/2014/02/how-and-why-i-took-the-shot-2-persistance/..."

Thanks for you time, and, I sincerely hope this helps someone...

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Photography Technique / How (and Why) I Took the Shot #1: Overlook
« on: February 08, 2014, 03:25:52 PM »
Hi everyone!  I've been encouraged from multiple sources to start writing smaller pieces that tell the story of what was in my mind while shooting.  This first shot is a simple subject that tells a story.  Thought you might enjoy reading the piece if you are interested:

http://dustinabbott.net/2014/02/how-and-why-i-took-the-shot-1-overlook/

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Hello, everyone!

Here is a new workflow article for those interested in my process.  This demonstrates how that I use Snap Art 4 to help create the formal portrait out of the snapshot.

http://www.dustinabbott.net/2014/01/snap-art-4-tuturial/

As a bonus, I have 10% discount coupon for anything from Alien Skin in the article.  Thanks for your interest.

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Reviews / Review: Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro VC USD
« on: December 31, 2013, 10:47:09 AM »
Hello everyone.  I have just completed my most recent review of the Tamron 90mm VC Macro lens.  This is a great option for someone who doesn't have the money to spend on the Canon 100L Macro.  Take a look here if you are interested:

http://www.dustinabbott.net/2013/12/tamron-sp-90mm-f2-8-di-macro-11-vc-usd-review/

There are many, many pictures included along with my typical real world review of the handling, functionality, and performance of the lens.  Thanks for looking!

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Animal Kingdom / The Moose of Algonquin Park
« on: November 08, 2013, 11:54:28 AM »
Here's a little travel/Photography Adventure article that I wrote on the many moose (and opportunities to photography them) in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. 

http://www.dustinabbott.net/2013/11/the-moose-of-algonquin-park/


Bull Moose Portrait by Thousand Word Images by Dustin Abbott, on Flickr

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I have been asked by several members to share processing workflow information.  The following is a series of articles that I wrote for Alien Skin Software, specifically about a few ways that I incorporate Alien Skin Exposure 5 into my workflow.

The three pieces of software discussed in these articles are:  Lightroom, Photoshop, and Exposure 5.

http://blog.alienskin.com/dustin-abbotts-from-good-to-great-part-1

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