It’s that time of year again! Complete Topaz Collection 50% off.

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The gears of time continue to grind, and we’re at that most opportunistic time of year for photographers.  Personally, you couldn’t pay me to wake up the morning after our Thanksgiving holiday to wait in line for a $0.99 DVD player at Walmart.  It’s a silly tradition built on a consumer culture’s need to find a deal at any cost.  Luckily for us, the marketing world has found opportunity in offering online deals for almost anything available, and for those of us that can hold off until this time of year, many killer deals can be found.  

As is often the case, Topaz has brought their half off deal to the black Friday party yet again, and it is an amazing deal.  You get all 17 Topaz plugins for $250, which is 50% off the already halved price of the Complete Collection, so in reality, it’s more like a 75% off sale if you were to individually buy these programs one or two at a time.  For those who already own one or many Topaz plugins, don’t fret!  They offer a “Collection Upgrade” where if you sign in on the website, it will automatically deduct the pricing for the plugins you’ve bought and registered, and offer you the remaining plugins at an even further decreased price.  This only works if upgrading to the Complete Collection though, as singular plugins will stay at full price.  The sale runs from Friday November 25th, through Wednesday November 30th.  You can always download full free trials of any or all Topaz plugins, but I’d try them soon if you want to go this route as it will be another year at least before getting a crack at all 17 of the plugins for the price of a few of them. Click the link below to go directly to the Topaz sale site.

Find the sale on Topaz website HERE, and use code “BLACKFRIDAY16” at checkout to receive the sale price.

I’ve written about and reviewed many of the Topaz plugins over the years here on the blog.  I thoroughly enjoy, and constantly use a solid handful of them.  Here are links to my reviews for a few of my favorites:

Topaz DeNoise – comparing DeNoise 5 vs DeNoise 6 

Topaz ReMask – If you’ve ever had to select anything in Photoshop, try this.  Seriously.

Topaz Clarity – Professional punch and definition with a single click.

Topaz Glow – Some seriously slick fractal effects

Topaz Adjust – A library of effects in a single plugin

Topaz Impression – Artistically visualize your imagery

I could go on, but rather than add to a list of links, just let me know if you have any particular questions on any of the plugins and I’d be happy to give you my personal opinion or any insight that I can.

Happy holiday season and thanks for stopping by.

I hope you and yours are well, and happy shooting.

tyson

*Who the @#$! needs film? Comparing film to film replication software w/ @alienskin

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(*this article was originally written for, and appeared on the Alien Skin blog, by me, HERE.)

Put out your torches, and put down your pitchforks.  I love film.  I shoot film, and have a freezer and fridge full of it from 35mm Kodak Gold and Ilford Delta, to 120 Tri X and Portra 160 NC.  The question I’ve struggled with though, is why?  Why do I still shoot film?  It’s expensive to process, ridiculously tedious to digitize and even with expensive drum scanning, still doesn’t reach the depth and range of modern digital files.  Well, the answer for me has been nostalgia, the feel of the image, and the ability to take a step back, and focus on shooting in a more organic way that coincides with my initial falling in love with photography in the first place.  A beautiful reality though, is that through software, and remarkable sensor technology, we can quickly and easily replicate the look of film if we want, taking care of one of those (my) criteria.

This post is not meant to be any more than a personal experiment in which I’ll look to answer this question for myself when using my go to digital solution when wanting to help analogize results within my digital reality and workflow because, while I may not need film, I sure do love to replicate the look and feel of it.  C’mon in…

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*Times, they just keep getting better. @alienskin offering total package for 30% off through end of June!

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Hello dear friends.  Long time no see!  I’ve been so wrapped up with the launch of the Nauti Straps stuff (and all the work from the ‘real’ job) that my blogging has suffered.  For that I am sorry.  Good news though!  For those who’ve been waiting for a sale on Exposure X, Alien Skin has been working toward combining all of their photo apps into one super monster of a program, for a while now, and it now lives in the Exposure X Bundle.  First it was a beautifully integrated Bokeh module into Exposure (while Exposure stayed the same price), and now, with the release of the Exposure X Bundle, it has added Blow Up 3 and Snap Art 4, all as a super group of software.  You can see more info on all, download free trials or go for the gold and buy it over at Alien Skin software’s website HERE.

I’ve certainly shilled at length for Alien Skin in the past, but c’mon in for a little on why I use, and don’t ever want to get by without, Exposure X.

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*Topaz Impression and Glow, both 25% off w/ @topazlabs

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Need a little artistic inspiration?  Try running one of your images through Topaz Impression, a beautiful paint and mixed media plugin and/or Glow, Topaz’ deliciously surreal fractal effect plugin.  These two offerings are both on sale for 25% off right now by using the code TOPAZART at checkout over at Topaz Labs HERE.  As always, Topaz offers full free trials for those interested, and I’d highly suggest checking them out if these effects suit your style.  You can download those free trials directly from Topaz HERE.  If you like them, jump on this sale before it disappears.

Come on in to see some more examples and thoughts on how and why I use these two awesome pieces of software in my own work.

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*Topaz Adjust, ‘a bit of everything Topaz’ plugin on sale! w/ @topazlabs

For many of us, Topaz Adjust was the first Topaz plugin that we bought.  It was a one click solution to enhance a variety of images in a multitude of ways.  Many of the newer Topaz plugins have even been born as an expansion from some of the filters in Adjust, so I guess you could call it the OG Topaz plugin.  It has grown over the years to include many more filters and is onto version 5.

It is currently on sale for $29.99, 40% off through July (normally $49.99) on Topaz Labs website HERE (use code julyadjust at checkout).

If you’d like to see and read more about my thoughts on Adjust, come on in!

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*A quick color balancing tutorial vid using Exposure, with @alienskin

Hello everyone.  If you have ever been plagued by color casting or color temperature imbalance, here is a quick and easy way to neutralize color shift in an image.  I shoot a lot of product shots, and often do so with congruous backgrounds.  In these cases, I’ll often use different lights to get everything lit just the way I want it.  This often brings in some issues when wanting to balance that color in post.  Using Alien Skin Exposure (click here to give it a free trial and follow along), by converting a layer to a fairly flat, black and white image, I can control the shift in color while bringing back color where I want it to be.  As opposed to trying to reiterate the video, just give it a watch, and c’mon in for a few example before and afters…

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*Yes! Topaz DeNoise on sale!!! 25% off through June @topazlabs

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I’m often asked about various plugins that I use, and would recommend.  One that I always suggest, and state as one of my go to’s is DeNoise, and it is $20 off through the end of the month (use code “junedenoise” at checkout) HERE!  DeNoise usually goes on sale about once every year for a couple weeks, so if you’ve been waiting for this plugin to go on sale, here ya go!  If you’ve not yet tried DeNoise, I suggest downloading the free trial via the link above, at least and seeing what it can do.  C’mon in for some examples and my take on why I find it to be so useful.

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*Topaz Simplify, on sale through May 31st!

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Hey guys.  Topaz is back with their monthly sale, and this month, it’s Simplify, a plugin that puts a painterly spin on your photos. You can download a free trial, or purchase from Topazlabs HERE, and if you do purchase, use code “MAYSIMP” to get 30% off through May 31st for a sale price of $27.99 (normally $39.99).

If you’ve not yet tried Simplify, download a free trial via the link above, come on in for some more info and insight into this cool plugin and follow along.

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*Lens by lens on the Sony a7II…

lens by lens on the sony a7ii This is purely a personal journey here.  A little retrospective look back at the last couple months to see what I’ve been getting out of the new Sony a7II  (Sony Alpha a7II Mirrorless Digital Camera -Body Only- at B&H HERE).  I tend to spend a lot of time looking at specific things in regard to a lens or camera for the blog here, and I figured I’d compile a few shots from the combination of lenses I’ve been using.  I have mostly used my Canon EF mount lenses via the Metabones adapter (review on that HERE), but have recently acquired the Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 because I felt the camera deserved to also be shot with a high quality native mount lens, plus I was curious to see how it handled this new, crazy feature all the kids talk about in auto focus. Click any image below to see a larger version, and let me know your thoughts in the comments. Less talk, more rock as it were.  Without further ado… Continue reading

*Freebie Photography 101, the Exposure Trifecta Part 1 : Aperture

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Welcome to a new series on the blog, FREEBIE PHOTOGRAPHY 101 where we will explore both technical and artistic aspects of photography and our cameras.  The aim with the Exposure Trifecta (the relationship between Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO value) is to learn how to better understand and control our exposure manually through examples and exercises to gain a better grasp on some of the seemingly daunting exposure modes and tools involved.  I’ll add articles about metering, exposure compensation, white balance and other often automated, yet powerful to understand settings that our cameras provide us the ability to control as time goes on as well.  It doesn’t matter if you’re shooting with a phone camera or a fifty thousand dollar medium format machine, understanding how an exposure is created, how a camera works while perhaps overwhelming at first, is easy, it really is.  With just a little time and effort, you’ll be understanding the hows and whys of different photographic effects and how to apply them in different situations.

When starting this blog 5 years ago, I did it to help friends and family who were interested in photography, to share techniques, and help answer questions I’d field to better understand basic photographic principals.  The site has grown and evolved into what you see today, chalk full of camera, lens and software reviews, gear-centric comparison pieces, lighting explanations or post processing tutorials, travel ramblings and editorial articles for the design collective I work with.

As is the cyclical nature of life, I’ve recently been having more and more conversations lately with friends and friends of friends who have shown interest in better understanding these powerful image creation tools and I thought it would be a good opportunity to refresh my original Exposure Trifecta article, written over 5 years ago.  Getting back to the roots as it were, and perhaps act as an introduction to some new friends we’ve gathered along the way here on the site.  So, grab your camera and a cup of coffee, we’re gonna have some fun.

If you feel like you could use a refresher, would like to add your input, or know someone just starting out or looking to better understand the Exposure Trifecta of Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO sensitivity, come one, come all.  Through my amazing ability to ramble on, and the community we’ve built through this site, we’ll get you sorted and knowing how, and when to adjust these exposure variables to understand how to completely control your photographic vision. C’mon in… Continue reading