Friday, 22 June 2018

Luminar - a great alternative to Photoshop

Luminar 2018 is a newish (2016) photo editing package that works as a plug-in, or as a standalone application, for editing your images. It's put out by Skylum (formerly Macfun), costs A$99 (no subscription needed) and works by either choosing a style from one if its many presets or by adding filter effects, in the form of layers, to the file. It comes with a huge range of effects that are easy to identify (because of their name) - which are very effective. Here are a couple of short how-to videos using Luminar

Luminar Overview from Robin Nichols on Vimeo.

Luminar Polarising Filter from Robin Nichols on Vimeo.

Getting ready for a New Flash Class

I was just testing my gear prior to starting my Speedlight Class at CCE- testing my collapsible studio softbox. I left it on the garage floor for a few minutes while packing something else, turned round and discovered that it also doubled nicely as a new house for Sooty the cat. A good reason for having your smartphone handy...

Saturday, 16 June 2018

What Happens on My Mastering Your Speedlight Course: Some Student Work

Green-gelled speedlight portrait of Scott Keenan
Pic by Phil Blackford
Photographer Phil Blackford in front of his own (blue-gelled) speedlight and camera
In a slightly different take on the traditional use of a speedlight, Phil Blackford and team captured this ink dropping into a wine glass using high speed flash sync with an exposure of f16, 1/1000s, ISO 1600
Another great use of high speed flash.
In a slightly darkened room Phil set up a speedlight close to the wine glass with a fast shutter speed of 1/1000s in the speedlight's high speed sync mode

(I was the official 'wine' pourer - no wonder I never got a job as a sommelier...).
Flash portrait of Phil Blackford by Jeff Hankins using coloured gels - orange and red on the face, plus a dark blue gel on the background.
Phil Blackford portrait
Red and blue-gelled shot by Jeff Hankins
'Scott'
Another moody gelled, two-flash portrait by Jeff Hankins
Nice portrait shot in an office situation (typically producing unflattering light) using a carefully bounced speedlight
Pic by Scott Keenan
Another great, natural-looking speedlight result from Scott Keenan
Portrait of Jeff by Scott Keenan - again, a bounced speedlight against a white board background
Here's another nice, underlit, and very moody portrait from Scott Keenan using a single speedlight and a honeycomb grid.
Two superb high key flash shots from AJ.
Faye (above)" and Scott below.

A very professional result from AJ.
Though this is a flash shot - it looks very casual and is perfectly lit...
Portrait of Harsha by AJ.
Perfect combination of natural light and speedlight, balancing indoor and outdoor illumination perfectly.
A very strong low key speedlight result by AJ - a little too dark in the background perhaps - a second speedlight with a honeycomb grid or snoot to backlight the hairline would help but, as a single light result, this works nicely.



Friday, 1 June 2018

Raniala Nature Reserve in South West Madagascar

Raniala is a small nature reserve in the small village of Mangili, 30 minutes drive north of Tulear in South Western Madagascar.
It's full of baobabs, succulents and a wide range of other exotic plants endemic to Madagascar.
The reserve has a small population of rescued ring-tailed lemurs




Its baobabs are spectacular...
We were told that this was the oldest in the reserve - around 1200 years old. The marks in its bark were made by local people wanting steps to the top of the trunk to gather the fruit.
Not a baobab, but a pachypodium
Not all the lemurs in the park are complete - stumpy here is missing most of his long tail, which might be why he's happy to be sitting on the ground.