Tag Archives: Photography

Roadtripping South Africa’s Panorama Route

What would you spend R10 000 (approx. $1000) on to improve your photography? That was the question posed by an article I recently read, and besides the obvious gadgets and filters and software there was one answer that really stood out. A plane ticket! The point being that once you have a camera the next way to improve your photography is by practice and ideally with an inspirational subject! With that in mind I packed my bags for a long weekend on South Africa’s Panorama Route in the heart of Mpumalanga. It’s not difficult to see why it’s called The Panorama Route, no matter where you are there’s a view nearby. See what i mean…


The Power of Photoshop Express

Before I go into this I want to address the issue that “non photographers” have with Photoshop. The mere mention of it seems to bring out emotions of shock and horror, accusations of cheating and not being a real photo anymore etc etc etc. So… the first thing I want to clear up is the fact that in spite of how incredible modern camera equipment is becoming it’s still a very poor substitute for the human eye and brain combo! A camera simply cannot capture images the way your eye sees them. Secondly, the camera already adds “creative effects”, think background blur in portrait shots. I don’t know about you but my eyes don’t blur the background when I’m looking at someone. So by the photoshopophobes logic I “cheated” the moment I took out my camera! Thirdly, Google defines photography as “the art or practice of taking and processing photographs”. There’s two things to note there, firstly, photography is an art, we never promised to be producing 100% replicas of reality! Secondly part of the definition is processing one’s images, this goes back to the shortcomings of the camera, Photoshop (or any other image processing software) completes the process and either corrects in camera flaws or adds the final polish to your ART! Now to the point, earlier this week I posted this photo and I just want to share how quick and effective it was to capture and process using my iPhone and Photoshop express, nothing else! Here is the “raw” out of iPhone camera and the post processed image.

RAW panorama from iPhone 5.
RAW panorama from iPhone 5.


Sunrise Panorama from iPhone 5 processed with Photoshop express
Sunrise Panorama from iPhone 5 processed with Photoshop express

Now during my processing this photo I had two goals, correct the dull colours so the final image was a better representation of the incredible sunrise that morning, and make sure those viewing the image will feel the same “wow!”, that I felt seeing it in person. I can promise you the dull washed out colours of the first image are not a real representation of what I saw so that’s one mark to Photoshop in the reality box! Below is what settings I applied to correct the shortcomings of the camera. Most of them were necessitated by that fact that i was shooting into the sun and this is where digital cameras really struggle to capture the detail in both dark and light areas as well as accurately record the colours in the picture.

  • Vibrance +25
  • Shadows +25
  • Clarity +40
  • Sharpening +10
  • Exposure -10
  • Contrast -10
  • Highlights Recovery -100

If you use your iPhone’s camera a lot I highly recommend getting Photoshop Express to compliment it, your images really will improve and it is a very quick and simple app to use, it took me less than 10 minutes to shoot and process this image. Good luck and love to hear from anybody else using Photoshop Express or if you start using it going forward please share your experiences.

First Photos from The Canon EOS 70D (or not!)

So it turns out that Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 can’t handle the RAW files from my new Canon EOS 70D. There is no update for LR 3 that will correct this either.

This leaves me with three options. I could write off Lightroom and just use Canon’s bundled software. I don’t really see this as an option having the rest of my photos in Lightroom and being so comfortable with what Lightroom can do, I see it as pretty much a necessity in my photography workflow these days.

I could use Canon’s bundled software to import the RAW files and then export them as DNG, which LR would then be able to read. While this is not too ridiculously complicated it does add a lengthy step to my workflow which I’m not very keen on.

So the answer was to bite the bullet and spend the $85 dollars on upgrading Lightroom. Not ideal with the Rand Dollar exchange rate heading the wrong direction! However, to be honest I’m not actually upset about the “forced” update, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s new in LR5 and I enjoy my gadgets and new technology so no problem there. Until I tried to install LR5 that is…

I should have read the system requirements before jumping in and buying the Lightroom update but, you guessed it… I didn’t and LR5 needs Mac OS X 10.7 or later to run. I’m currently running OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard and a mild panic set in knowing what the usual going rate for operating systems can be.

Fortunately an update to OS X Mavericks from Snow Leopard is free and is currently downloading, phew….

The moral of the story is do your homework! When it comes to new technology, make sure whatever setup you have is compatible with whatever you are getting. I think I’ve been pretty lucky in that I was considering upgrading my LR anyway and mac’s OS X Mavericks is free. Unless of course there are some more hidden gremlins, Fingers crossed that’s not the case, I’m soon going to have a whole lot of new software to go along with the new camera!

Fun Features on The Canon 70D

I recently took the plunge and decided to upgrade my camera! I’ve been using the Canon 40D for five years now and I love it but just felt the time was right to spoil myself. There were a few things I was looking for in a new camera and the 70D ticked all the boxes, as well as adding a few extra “nice to haves”.

Canon 70D
Canon 70D

Here is a little video showing off three of the nifty features of the 70D, namely the ability to control an off camera flash using the 70D’s built in flash, the articulated LCD touch screen (this should be very useful when trying to shoot from really low angles and some other awkward spots i’m sure), and the ability to control the 70D with your smartphone via wifi.

I’m really looking forward to playing with the 70D over the next little while and really utilizing these and other features to their fullest! Hopefully i’ll have some pretty great pictures to add to my gallery as well!

Finally a big thanks to Andrew Beck and the guys at Wild Eye for the advice and sourcing the camera for me!