finland

21 April 2017

Photomatix Pro 6 Beta now Available!

Posted in: finland, Photomatix Pro|

HDR image edited in Photomatix Pro 6

Photomatix Pro 6 has been in the works for many months now, and today public beta has been released. It means you can finally try it out! BTW above image from Finland (as well as this photo) was rendered in Photomatix Pro 6, and I used some of the features introduced in it to get the desired result faster and easier.

You can download Photomatix Pro 6 beta here:

https://www.hdrsoft.com/download/beta/photomatix-pro-6-beta.php

Below is the list of the main updates introduced in Photomatix Pro 6:

  • New realistic rendering method – Tone Balancer. It’s perfect for landscape and architecture work in my opinion. Since it was added, it became one of my favourite rendering methods along Contrast Optimizer.
  • Individual colour adjustments – you can now edit each colour’s (e.g. yellow or blue) hue, saturation and brightness instead of just global settings. Useful if you find one colour too saturated for instance, but also if you want to adjust colours for artistic reasons (e.g. to make the sky bluer or to turn the summertime photo to autumn). I love this feature!
  • Ability to blend HDR image with one of the source photos to achieve a more realistic look.
  • Brush Tool allowing to apply colour or blending selectively.
  • Straightening and distortion correction tool.
  • Lens correction when loading RAW files.
  • More intuitive workflow.
  • UI overhaul.
  • Endless bug fixes and minor improvements.

Of course, you have to be aware that beta means that there are still bugs and issues and that mean that beta should be used for testing purposes only (i.e. you shouldn’t use it for production work yet).

If you would like to get started with Photomatix or HDR photography, make sure to read my free HDR tutorial:

hdr-photographer.com/hdr-tutorial/

16 April 2017

Northern Lights Timelapse Experiment

Posted in: finland|

I’m completely new to timelapse photography (videography?) and were experimenting with it a little bit during my last Finland tour as I thought northern lights would make a perfect subject for it. I captured several time-lapse videos and only back home I realized how many mistakes I made! Timelapse photography definitely isn’t easy! But anyway I would like to share my first attempt with you. I’m aware that it isn’t very good, but I firmly believe that sharing even not ideal work is part of a learning process. And besides, I think that northern lights look so much better in motion than in the static photos.

I hope it will be better next time as I really enjoyed experimenting with this technique and plan to use it more frequently from now on.

13 April 2017

Reindeer Farm in Lapland

Posted in: finland|

In Finland, I wasn’t only photographing northern lights. After all, they are only visible at night, so I had a few hours spare time each day for other activities. One day I went to a reindeer farm where reindeer are prepared to pull sleighs much to tourists fun. Some of them are tamed already but some of them, like the ones in the photo below, are still wild animals.

Reindeer farm

Taking photo and post-processing

It probably doesn’t look that way, but editing this photo was a real nightmare and challenge. Why? Because Before photo had a lot of ropes and cords with which reindeer were attached to the trees (remember – that was reindeer farm and not wilderness). And I decided to remove all of them to produce a more pleasing image. It means a lot of cloning was involved, and I used 3 various photos to do that. I still find cloning very difficult even though I’m getting better and better at using it. I hope that in the After image it’s very hard to notice any cloning artifacts.

I also cropped the image significantly to make the composition a  bit cleaner and focus viewer’s attention on the reindeer in front (by removing distracting elements on either side and also by framing reindeer with trees).

Apart from that lighting conditions were quite difficult (subject was backlit) so I spent a considerable amount of time fixing that using luminosity masks.

All of above took me several hours to do but I think the end result was worth all the work as it looks quite good!

CAMERA: Canon 5D MK IV (read my review)

LENS: Canon 16-35 f/4 L IS USM (read my review)

FOCAL LENGTH: 25 mm

APERTURE: f/5.6

EXPOSURE: 1/640 s

ISO: 100

NUMBER OF EXPOSURES: 1

E.V. STEP: n/a

FLASH: no

TRIPOD: no

FILTERS: no

TECHNIQUE: n/a

SOFTWARE: Lightroom CC, Photoshop

8 April 2017

Crazy Aurora

Posted in: finland|

What about one more photo of Aurora photographed in Finland? It was really crazy one as on that night kp-number varied from 5 to a bit more than 6 meaning that virtually whole sky was dancing. And we could also enjoy a lot of colors: apart from most common green, we saw some yellow, purple and reds. Fantastic and magical spectacle that was!

BTW aurora season is ending shortly in the Northern Hemisphere but if you still have a chance, make sure to make the most of it! I hope that my tutorial on photographing northern lights will help you a great deal in capturing some stunning aurora images.

Also I’m sorry for a very short post (and lack of posts recently) but I’m very busy right now.

Aurora in Finnish Lapland

23 March 2017

Photomatix Pro 6 is coming!

Posted in: finland, Photomatix Pro|

It was very difficult for me to keep this as a secret for much longer but I’m now allowed by my company to tell you this:

Photomatix Pro 6 is coming!

Finally 🙂 The release date hasn’t been announced yet and there is a lot of info I still can’t share with you at this point (like show you how the new UI looks for instance) but I’m allowed to talk a little bit about new features that will be available in Photomatix Pro 6 😉

One of them is new rendering method. And today I would like to share HDR image edited using this brand new rendering method, called Tone Balancer, which is especially useful if you’re after that natural look.  It means it’s perfect for landscape, architecture and real-estate photographers. It’s very easy to use and the results are really fantastic! I love it so much that it became one of my favourite rendering methods already (besides Contrast Optimizer, which is available since version 5).

BTW make sure to follow official Photomatix account on Facebook for news and updates. Especially if you don’t want to miss public beta tests which are expected in the future and in which everyone will be able to participate.

HDR photo edited with Photomatix Pro 6
13 March 2017

Back from Finnish Lapland

Posted in: finland|

I’ve just returned from Finnish part of Lapland where I spent last 9 days chasing northern lights, trekking, driving snowmobile, trying cross-country skiing (I still feel pain in my muscles after trying that one!) and a few other crazy and wonderful activities. I also finally tried to fly my new Phantom 4 Pro drone but the results are not yet good enough to share a detailed review (but expect review-in-progress in the next few days). And I almost crashed it due to aurora magnetic interference but that’s a story I’ll share on a different occasion. And it wasn’t drone fault in any way.

As for the northern lights, or auroras, yes I caught them. I saw them several times even though their activity was highly unpredictable during my stay due to specific behaviour of sun. There was a night when very strong northern lights were predicted but there were none in the sky – just millions of stars. There was a night when very small activity was forecasted yet the northern lights display was the strongest during last month (classified as severe storm or G2 if you know kp-index meaning)! All in all I saw aurora 4 times and took hundreds of images of it. But I’m hungry for more! And I’m already planning next trips to the far north!

Below you will find animated GIF which is example of what I’ve managed to capture. The edit was very quick on this one, basically just some white balance correction and contrast improvement, just to see how it’ll work (I couldn’t wait myself to see the first results!). It wasn’t the strongest activity I saw but I think it still looks fairly cool. I’m looking forward to hearing your opinions!

Stunning aurora display in Lapland, Finland