Category Archives: Videos

What Can Photographers Learn From Rembrandt?

Rembrandt’s classic painting, The Night Watch, uses light to identify the main figures of interest.

Not everyone (myself included) has a degree in fine art or has studied art extensively. As such, I find it enjoyable to take a look at classic paintings and see what makes them so effective. One such example is Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch.” If you examine this image, you’ll see that Rembrandt uses light and color to emphasize the important subjects in his painting. Note that the two primary figures are well-lit, but so is the smaller girl in the background. The other characters in this scene are not as bright and colorful as the ones Rembrandt wants us to focus on.

We can use the same technique in our digital photography. Studio photographers use well-positioned lights all the time to achieve this effect. However, if you’re an outdoor photographer, you might not always get the kind of lighting conditions that perfectly illuminate your subject. Continue reading What Can Photographers Learn From Rembrandt?

New Companion Video for HDR Efex Pro 2.0 Users

I’m pleased to announce the immediate release of a high-definition video companion to The Photographer’s Guide to HDR Efex Pro 2.0 (eBook site)

In this video, you get over two hours (159 minutes, actually) of in-depth training on creating fine-art HDR images with Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro 2.0. I’ve gone through the entire HDR workflow, starting with image capture and RAW conversion and moving through all the steps you use in HDR Efex Pro 2 to create amazing HDR tone-maps. Continue reading New Companion Video for HDR Efex Pro 2.0 Users

Color Efex Pro 4: Graduated Neutral Density Filter Effect

Traditional ND Grads are great filters, but they have two primary drawbacks. One, they can be tricky to align in the field. Secondly, they don’t work well for objects that protrude into the sky.

The Graduated Neutral Density effect filter in Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4 solves these problems, provided that you have an image that doesn’t have blown highlights. It has controls that let you create just about any kind of custom ND Grad filter, and it unlike real filters, this effect lets you brighten areas, too.

The big challenge with this tool is proper positioning. I’ve put together a short tutorial on how this filter works for landscapes.

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Download The Photographer’s Guide to Color Efex Pro 4 today! 

Nikon 3D Matrix Metering and Focus Points

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Ever wonder why you can get different exposures on the exact same scene with your Nikon camera using 3D Matrix Metering? The meter and AF system are linked in a way that usually produces great results. But for landscape photographers, it can sometimes cause overexposure if you focus on dark parts of the scene, like a shady foreground.

Nikon’s 3D matrix metering is an advanced exposure system that evaluates the entire color image. The same scene can be exposed differently, depending on the location of the active AF point. When the AF point falls on a dark part of the scene, the meter tends to open up the exposure (brighten it). If the AF point is on a bright part of the scene, the camera will expose the scene slightly darker. This difference in exposure can be particularly important to landscape photographers, who usually choose a foreground object for the focus point. If the foreground is relatively dark, the camera will often blow out the sky.

The solution is to first focus on the dark object in the foreground, and then lock focus (I use the AF-On button technique for this). Next, move the active AF point to a bright part of the scene. This allows the meter to bias the exposure to preserve highlight details in the final image.

Look through the viewfinder of the Nikon D4 (video)

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Hey friends, here’s a quick video I put together that shows you what it’s like to be behind the wheel of a Nikon D4. I used my little Nikon 1 V1 camera to capture video right through the viewfinder of my D4.

In the viewfinder, you have the option of enabling gridlines. In the D3, you had to buy a separate viewfinder screen. So that’s another welcome improvement. In the video, you’ll see the full viewfinder display readouts, including Metering Mode, Exposure Mode, Shutter Speed, Aperture ISO, and frame counter. You can also see the light meter readout on the right side of the viewfinder window.

The AF system is Nikon’s Multi Cam 3500 FX phase-detection module, with 51 AF points. Each point lights up in red as you activate it.

The D4 is capable of shooting single shots, and at a variety of continuous frame rates. The default rate for Continuous Low (CL) is 6 fps and in Continuous High (CH) you get a whopping 10 frames per second! The D4 will shoot faster than that, but you lose some exposure and focus capability.

The viewfinder blackout in the Nikon D4 is practically nil, meaning you can easily track a moving subject while firing 10 fps bursts.

You can also put the D4 into a “quiet” mode. In this mode, the mirror raises and the camera fires when you press the shutter release, but the mirror won’t drop back down until you release your finger from the shutter button. When it drops down, it does so slowly.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Check out Jason’s comprehensive guide to the Nikon 1 System, available now via instant download.