Prior to doing the Grand Trans-Siberian Express, we went on a whirlwind three-day tour of Armenia. Like most people from this part of the world, I had very little, if any, preconceptions about Armenia, and what I found is a country with a deep, ancient history, fierce pride, and beautiful people. I hope to have captured some of that experience in the video above.Read More
Here's "Manilapse," my first piece for 2017! Teaching myself to hyperlapse on a day around Manila last year. Turns out it's hard work to shoot and even harder to edit cleanly. Practice, practice!
0:00-0:12 Rizal Park
0:26-End Around Manila Bay
All shot on a Sony A7RII with a Canon EF 24-105 L IS on a Metabones adapter and a Sony FE 24-240 f3.5-6.3.
This post has been a long time coming: a showcase of the incredible night skies I experienced back in April 2016 on the Akiki Trail of Mt. Pulag. The quantity and quality of images I shot on that one trip was easily worth 3-6 months of average shooting. On this post, I take you through my best shots of the trip and the process of shooting and post-processing them --- in effect, this is my first virtual night sky workshop!
And coolest of all: my first 180-degree VR panorama of the Milky Way!
The trek on the Akiki Trail --- known as the "Killer Trail" for its seemingly never-ending steep ascents --- is worth a Photo Diary of its own, but for this post, I'll be focusing solely on the night sky shots.
Coming into the trip, I was optimistic and excited to shoot the night sky because the conditions were just right:
- It was the peak of the Milky Way season in the Philippines, right in the middle of the summer;
- It was just after the New Moon, and the weather forecast was good;
- I had two full nights to shoot because it was a three day trek;
- and, because we were on the difficult Akiki Trail, it was guaranteed there would be few other hikers to ruin my shots with their errant headlamps and indiscriminate selfies.
One of my main agenda when traveling abroad this year has been checking out museums and galleries to check what world-class photography looks like, to find inspiration, ideas, and benchmarks for my own practice. As I've written before, photography does not yet have a high level of awareness as fine art in the Philippines, so I wanted to gather ideas for how to help elevate it to that level back home.
So I made sure not to miss visiting the Colorado Spring Fine Arts Center near downtown Colorado Springs. I was not disappointed, as they had a interesting and diverse collection of photography, paintings, and other art.Read More
Finally got around to making a video on one of my favorite topics: printing! This is one of the most technical but also most rewarding aspects of photography, as many photographers insist that it's not a photograph until it's printed. This is quite a deep topic that I've spent many, many hours studying both online and under the guidance of my mentor, but I hope this demonstration both gives you a decent overview and whets your curiosity about all the work that goes into fine art printing.Read More
For those of you who haven't heard this story yet, it's actually simple and soon-stated. Upon the prodding of my frequent-flying mentor --- who prodding has led to many of the questionable and exciting things I've done with my life --- I joined the Air France KLM Flying View Photo Competition last June. With no entry fee, there was nothing to lose, so I submitted what I thought would be a strong entry, and promptly forgot about it. I've joined a good number of contests, and lost every one of them, because I suck, just kidding, but maybe I do? Anyway...Read More
Following up on my previous guide to shooting the Milky Way, this quick and easy tutorial is meant to give beginners a solid starting point for editing Milky Way and night sky photos in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. While it doesn't address the finer points of a perfect Milky Way edit, it will definitely give you a more visible and dramatic Milky Way galactic core and can save photos taken in less-than-ideal night sky conditions.
A summary of the basic workflow I followed in the video:
- Shoot in RAW with the right aperture/ISO/shutter speed for your setup. You want your stars to be pin-sharp and not streaking lines. Use this handy calculator to get the right settings. No RAW photo? Download the RAW photo used in the tutorial here.
- Set your camera calibration to Adobe Standard and turn on automatic Lens Profile Corrections for your lens. If not available, try to manually select your lens from the dropdown menu.
- Set Contrast to 100 and compensate overall brightness using the Exposure slider.
- Bring down Highlights slider to minimize effects of light pollution.
- Set white balance by maxing out Vibrance and Saturation, then moving the Temp/Tint sliders until you have a balance of yellow, blue, magenta, and green. Set Vibrance and Saturation back to 0.
- Increase Clarity to taste, taking care not to introduce unwanted artifacts and too much noise into the photo.
- Apply Noise Reduction. Attempt to minimize grain without smooshing out detail excessively.
From here, you can proceed to perfecting the photo with localized edits, composites, dodging and burning, etc. Hope this helps! Til next time.
A lot of readers and followers on social media ask me how to shoot the Milky Way properly. I'm entirely self-taught, and the good news is, all the resources I used to learn are easily available online, right now.Read More