Luminar by Macphun

Macphun did it again.  Luminar is in my opinion, another editing tool that will help thousands of photographers of all levels.  The interface is easy to use and also has very advanced features that will please avid post processing photographers.  I spent one week exploring the new and slick Macphun software and here is what I have to share with you.

Luminar can work as a stand alone application or can be run as a plugin with Photos, Lightroom and Photoshop.  I personally will use it as a plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop.  There are so many features and ways to enhance an image that it just makes sense to easily send a file straight to Luminar to create a little POP.  Luminar works seamlessly between other Macphun applications like the new Aurora 2017 or the creative suite.   You can watch my video on how to work between Luminar and MAC Photos.

Luminar has over 300 + features.  Take a look at the  Luminar Comparison Chart vs Lightroom and Aperture . There are a good amount of presets and effects ready to use and you can download some more or create your own.  It is also very easy to customize your working environment to tailor your needs.  The algorithm in this software is great.  For example, the noise reduction tool is very efficient, standing out against competitors. Macphun really nailed it with new and improved filters like micro structure, a type of detail enhancer that you won’t find anywhere else.

It is a layer based environment.  This is a major game changer in the editing world at that price range.  Like Photoshop,  Luminar gives you the option to do some digital blending.  There are a few masking as well as blending options for layers.  So far I managed to create some very interesting images from two or more different photos.  You can watch a video about my Luminar workflow with layers and filters.

I hope I intrigued your curiosity about this new and solid editing tool!

Manny Photo Ideas – Olympic National Park.

I have been very impressed with the beauty found in the Olympic National Park in Washington state, USA.  The park is very diversify with mountains, lakes, rivers, and the Pacific coast line.  You can visit it the easy way driving your vehicle from campsites to lookouts or pack your backpack and hike the step terrain for days. Either way this is one of my favorite area to photograph in the Pacific North West.

Make sure to pack a wide variety of lenses and a good tripod.  There is great wildlife and landscape opportunities.  I normally pack my Canon 7D with my telephoto 100-400mm L series, wide angle 11-16mm f/2.8, macro 70mm f/2.8, my Manfrotto 055 tripod, Speedlite, ND and polarize filters.  That way I am ready for everything that the park have to offer.

Here are a few areas you should keep in mind if you are visiting the park.

  • Hurricane Ridge.  The step road from Port Angeles will lead you right to the top of the mountain ridge.  From there you can park your vehicle and walk along the ridge.  I highly recomend doing the whole loop during a high visibility day.  The view is stunning and you might encounter some wildlife.
  • Elwha fall.  There is a very nice waterfall just a few minutes from the road.  It’s an easy detour on the way to or from Lake Cresent.
  • Lake Cresent.  This large lake have a few campsites and a lodge to stay at.  You can use the lake or hike the various trails found all around the lake.  I suggest visiting Marymere fall,  just a short walk from the road and hike the step trail to the Pyramid mountain WWII old cabin lookout.
  • Sol Duc area.  You will find the Sol Duc river and a few hiking trails,  hot spring, a campsite and a lodge.  Make sure to hit the hot spring early morning and walk the hiking trails where you will find the famous waterfall.
  • The Coast.  Head west pass Forks.  This little town featured in the Twillight movies.  You might just find one or two photo opp.  You will finally arrive to the coast after a few hours.  You can either go North or South.  I suggest going South and camp on one of the beaches, Ruby beach or Kalaloch.  Either way you should find great pinnacles to photograph during sunsets.

I invite you to click here take a look at my Olympic National Park gallery on my Facebook page.

Looking for last minute shopping ideas?

Here is a few ideas for last minute Christmas shopping.

Get Luminar, the brand new Macphun editing software for MAC.  Luminar is the new simple but yet very powerful editing software.  Imagine a blend of MAC Photos, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop for only 69.99 CDN$. (from the app store)

Aurora HDR 2017 for MAC.  A new version of this complete HDR software is available for 119.99 CDN$.  There is good improvement versus the older version and you no longer have to choose between the normal and pro version.  Aurora is the best HDR software in my opinion because it will let you take over so much controls in the creation process.

Pulse by Alpine Labs.  Pulse is a remote trigger for your DSLR or mirror less camera.  It plug straight to the camera and allow you to wirelessly control your camera from your smartphone.  You can take control over the settings of your camera to create time-lapse,  HDR,  long exposure,  video or simply take a single photo.  Price tag of $100.

Gnarbox.  The Gnarbox is waterproof, shockproof, dustpoof and ready for your adventure.  Connect your smartphone via wifi to look,  edit or share pictures.  It hold up to 128 GB of full resolution footage and have a battery that last 4-6 hours.  Just have to connect your camera or insert your card to transfer files to the box. Pre order for $299.

Genie Mini by Syrp.  The Genie mini is an extremely easy-to-use device to create smooth panning motion time-lapse or real-time video.  This motion control device connect to your smart phone giving you all the tools for easy control.  It is compatible with a huge range of cameras and works with GoPro, mirror-less camera or DSLR.  This compact unit is for sale for USD $250.

Capture Pro Clip by Peak Design.  The Capture Pro Clip is a pro-quality camera carrying clip. Rigidly carry any camera on any backpack strap, belt or bag.  It can also be use as a tripod head itself.  You wont break the back for this great clip as it only cost around $80.

Memory Card Case by Pelican.  This water resistant, shockproof, dustpoof little case can carry 8 SD Cards & 16 Mini SD Cards.  It is compact and allow safe and easy storage for your memory cards.  There is another model that can store 6 compact flash cards. These cases go for $30.  

Four E-Guides for You!

Hello everyone.  I wanted to share my four e-Guides with my followers. There are now available for download for free from my Dropbox account.  Just click on the images to have access to the link. Enjoy!

www.manuelmartelphotography.com

waterfall-ebook

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Bokeh. A Great New App For Photos

I have been looking lately into all of the photo apps offered on the Apple App Store.  My goal is to find good free or decently priced software that will work with MAC Photos.  The Apple team suggested the Bokeh app on the main page.  I decided to invest the $1.39 CDN and take a deeper look at this interesting software.

First I must say that I was happy that I was able to connect it with Photos via the External Editors for Photos.  That was one of my main concern.  I wanted to keep the workflow working between the two.  This app mainly apply blurriness to your image.  I will say that the app is somewhat limited in his capability but have enough freedom to do the job.  It does it in a very simple and efficient way.  I was able to quickly create some great effect to some of my pictures.  All and all I am pleased with my investment and hope other photographers who uses mainly MAC Photos get their hand on it.

 

PhotoBulk. The Best Watermark Tool For Mac Photos.

One of my subscriber asked me how to watermark an image with Mac Photos.  I had to dig deep in the Google world to find a work flow that works at a decent price.  I haven’t found any free way to add a image or .png file to a picture in Mac Photos.  So you’ll have to spend a little money to make it work.  There is a free option to add a text to an image with Preview but you will need an extension if you want it to look good.

I just want to say that there is a lot of different options out there.  I was mainly looking for a extension that works with the Mac Photos workflow that I have created with the External Editors for Photos.  So far PhotoBulk is the cheapest and easiest extentions I have tried. Look at the video to learn how to set it up and watermark your images.

Here is the free way to create a watermark with Preview.  Open you image using Preview. Go to the menu located in the top left corner of your screen and follow these steps.  Go to Tools – Annotate – Text.  Then a box will appear where you can enter a text.  Write down your watermark.  You can change the font,  size,  color and move it where ever you want.  After simply Export your image.

Raya Pro Panel. Luminosity Masks Made Easy!

 

Digital blending is one of my favorite post production technique.  It is a fantastic way to create stunning vibrant images.  The downside is it’s somewhat time consuming if you don’t have the right tools for the job.

I have been a fan of Jimmy McIntyre’s Raya Pro Panel for a while now.  I can’t say enough good things about it.  There is so much you can do with this plugin in early or late editing stage of your images in Photoshop.  I created this video showing how you can quickly create and use luminosity masks.  So this panel is only $45 and can facilitate your workflow and save you lot’s editing time.

Click here to purchase the Raya Pro Panel.  

Snapheal. A Great Extension For Mac Photos!

I have recently got the MacPhun Snapheal software for free when I entered a photo contest with Viewbug.  I quickly downloaded the software and realized that it can work as an extension for Mac Photos.  I was delighted to see that you can do a whole lot for only $7 Cdn.  This program will allow you to selectively delete things from your images, use brushes and do some basic editing.  I think that every Mac Photos user out there looking to add to their extension collection should get this software.  Watch this video to see the features.

How to create a HDR Image using Mac Photos and HDR Efex Pro 2

There is no way to create a High Dynamic Range images if you are only using the Mac Photos software. The only solution I have found is to use a third party software like the free HDR Efex Pro 2 from the Google Nik Collection with the help of the External Editor for Photos.  It is not an easy task…  This is why I created this video.  Feel free to watch if you want to learn how to import and export your pictures in order to create and unleash the power of HDR photography!

Third Party Batteries. Should You Buy Them?

Having more battery power for your camera can make the difference between coming home with the shot you were looking for or running out of juice just before the golden moment.  Unfortunately most factory brand batteries are very expensive as most of them come with a $100 price tag.  So you might break the bank if you want to carry 3-4 batteries with you at all times.  But what about those cheap third party brand batteries, do they work?

I recently had to purchase some new batteries for my Canon 7d.   I looked for a deal or a good price the Canon LP-E6 battery online.  I had no luck as most of the links I looked at offered the battery for $100.  I decided to go ahead and buy 2 BM LP-E6 batteries just before leaving for Bali.  It cost me $35 for the 2 batteries and shipping.  I used them heavily during my 2 week trip and must say that I saw very little difference between them and the Canon one I still had in my bag.  In all fairness my Canon battery is old and probably looses it’s charge quicker than a brand new one but still I was able to shoot all day with a BM battery.

All and all I believe that the BM batteries I bought are great and hold their charge long enough in a very hot climate.  I would love to be able to try them in a very cold environment as well.  The batteries are compatible with the Canon 7d, meaning that I can see their status on my body or in my menu.  I was able to shoot around 500-600 photos without fully draining the charge.  I don’t use the Live View Mode unless I shoot very specific scenes, so it could be a little different for someone that uses the Live View Mode a lot on their camera.  That being said I was deleting photos on my camera everyday for about 20 minutes on the same charge that I used to shoot them.  I came back home with hundreds of great photos and never ran out of power in the field.

So should you buy them?  My answer is ABSOLUTELY!!   How can you go wrong with two batteries for $35.  You can get six batteries for the price of one Canon LP-E6…  Click here to take a look at these BM LP-E6 batteries at Amazon.ca

Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet

www.manuelmartelphotography.comI only have good things to say about the Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet.  This device allowed me to take precise control of my brushes while working in Photoshop or Lightroom CC.  The pen gives me a whole new level of freedom and allows me to decide on the amount of pressure that I apply to every stroke.  This tablet saved me a lot of time and wrist pain over the last two years.

I will keep the impressive feature list short and I will share some of my favorites.  The tablet delivers 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition.  Pan, zoom, and navigate naturally with gestures on the multi-touch surface like the tracking pad on a an Apple device. The tablet recognizes application-specific shortcuts and lets you customize them to your liking.  It is wireless and works on MAC or PC.  For the full specs please visit the Wacom Intuos Pro Official Website

 

Click here to buy a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet at a great price from Amazon.ca

5 Great Camera Gadgets You Should Look Into!!

Photography can be an expansive hobby as you will always look for the next lens or camera body you can afford.  You might get to a point where the next purchase will cost an arm and a leg…  So you save money for a while and wait.  Meanwhile you might get your hands on a gadget or two that can improve your camera kit and satisfy you untill the next big purchase.  I did some research and found 5 reasonably priced products you should definitely look into.

  • Pulse by Alpine Labs.  Pulse is a remote trigger for your DSLR or mirror less camera.  It plug straight to the camera and allow you to wirelessly control your camera from your smartphone.  You can take control over the settings of your camera to create time-lapse,  HDR,  long exposure,  video or simply take a single photo.  This slick looking gadget will be available during the summer 2016 at a price tag of $100.

 

  • Gnarbox.  The Gnarbox is waterproof, shockproof, dustpoof and ready for your adventure.  Connect your smartphone via wifi to look,  edit or share pictures.  It hold up to 128 GB of full resolution footage and have a battery that last 4-6 hours.  Just have to connect your camera or insert your card to transfer files to the box.  This boomproof external hard drive will be available in September 2016 and you can pre order it for USD $250

 

  • Genie Mini by Syrp.  The Genie mini is an extremely easy-to-use device to create smooth panning motion time-lapse or real-time video.  This motion control device connect to your smart phone giving you all the tools for easy control.  It is compatible with a huge range of cameras and works with GoPro, mirror-less camera or DSLR.  This compact unit is for sale for USD $250.

 

  • Capture Pro Clip by Peak Design.  The Capture Pro Clip is a pro-quality camera carrying clip. Rigidly carry any camera on any backpack strap, belt or bag.  It can also be use as a tripod head itself.  You wont break the back for this great clip as it only cost around $80.

 

  • Memory Card Case by Pelican.  This water resistant, shockproof, dustpoof little case can carry 8 SD Cards & 16 Mini SD Cards.  It is compact and allow safe and easy storage for your memory cards.  There is another model that can store 6 compact flash cards. These cases go for $30.  

Learn how to edit a night picture with Mac Photos and the Nik Collection

I have received a request to edit a picture with the Nik Collection and MAC Photos.  I chose a night photo so I can explain how to play with the white balance and change the exposure in Photos.  Then I will go to the Nik Collection to sharpen and de noise the photo.  I will quickly touch on how to had some effect to your image using Color Effect Pro.

Here is how you can create a .JPEG image from your RAW file in MAC Photos.  Click on the RAW photo you want to convert.  Once selected go to File in the top menu and choose Export, the shortcut is shift+command+E.  Then a menu will appear asking you details on your export.  Choose these settings:  Photo Kind:  JPEG,   JPEG Quality: Maximum,  Size:  Full Size.  Then click Export and choose a desire location for the new file.  After you will need to import your new .JPEG image to MAC Photos.

Get the most out of Mac OS Photos.

I have been looking lately for a friend into the default Mac OS photo editing software.  Mainly looking how to use it and what type of extensions or plugins would project this basic editing software to the next level.  I believe that it is one of the best sharing platform between all of the Apple devices.  It is very easy to organize and share photos.  It’s editing capabilities are very limited but the interface is user friendly.  All and all I found that Photos works great but could benefit from some help from other third parties applications.

I did a little research on the Apple Store and found some very cheap options.  It look like Photos is only compatible with applications downloaded from the Apple Store.  Well there is a way around it.  You can buy External Editors for Photos for around $1.50 cdn.  This software will let you use plugins that wasn’t working with Photos.  This way you can work with the free Google Nik Colletion.

Here is a list of extensions worth looking into:

  • Google Nik Collection free
  • Filters for Photos from MacPhun LLC free
  • External Editors for Photos $1.50
  • DxO OpticsPro for Photos $13.99

Please look at this video if you want to learn the basic on how to use Mac Photos to edit a waterfall picture.

Free Google Nik Collection.

Google Nik Collection is now free.  Yep you can even get a refund if you purchased the collection in 2016.  I am very happy to see these 7 photo editing plugins available for download at no cost.  You can get your copy at this website https://www.google.com/nikcollection/

The collection consist of 7 softwares that can be use as plugins with Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom,  Elements,  and Aperture.  Unfortunately the Mac Photos users will need to work a little harder to use these plugins with the default Mac OS photo editing software.  This video will show you how to make it work.

All and all I am sure that every Mac Photos user will be delighted to see how much more post production and editing power they can get from this great free Google Nik Collection.