Skylum Software Releases Luminar AI

Skylum Software Releases Luminar AI

Skylum Software Releases Luminar AI

Luminar AI

Skylum Luminar AI

This week, Skylum Software released their newest version of the Luminar image editing application, Luminar AI. Available as a standalone product for Mac and Windows and as a plug-in for Lightroom, Photoshop, and Photos for MacOS, Luminar AI added 13 AI features to the previous version. Luminar AI includes all the most powerful tools for professionals but also makes image editing easy for beginners. It makes editing so easy, in fact, that advanced photographers might think it’s more of the toy than a professional image-editing tool. They would be wrong.

Technically, Luminar AI is not an upgrade to Luminar 4. It’s a completely new product although there is enough familiarity with the layout and tools that it might feel like “Luminar 5.”

Luminar AI

Luminar AI is intended to help photographers reduce editing time behind the computer and allow them to focus solely on the results and not necessarily the process. A big addition is the Templates module for one-click processing based on a series of editing recipes for various types of photographs. The Edit Module is similar to Luminar 4 but with quite a few additions including Composition AI which gives recommendations on cropping and the amount of negative space. I’m proud to say I contributed with this particular feature as a Global Ambassador for Skylum Software.

Other AI features – in addition to Composition AI – include Body AI, Atmosphere AI, Augmented Sky AI, Accent AI, Sky AI, Bokeh AI (coming very soon), and Iris AI. The intelligent features are meant to help you make your images look their very best while spending the least amount of time behind the computer.

Luminar AI is now available as either a one-time purchase that you own forever or as a Luminar X Membership which comes with photography courses, new and fresh templates and skies, and more.

Buy your copy of Luminar AI here!

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Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. 


5 Tips for Preparing for Your First Exhibition

5 Tips for Preparing for Your First Exhibition

5 Tips for Preparing for Your First Exhibition

First Photography Exhibition

At one point or another, each aspiring photographer is likely to have a first public exhibition. It might be at a festival, inside a gallery, at a university or even through a local arts fair. Whatever the case, it’s an exciting and important event! But it’s also one that calls for a fair amount of strategic preparation. Where that preparation is concerned, here are a few tips that might help with a first exhibition.

#1 Know Your Goal

Before you set up for your exhibition, you should do some honest reflection on what your goal is. Are you looking to sell your work? If so, give some careful consideration to pricing, try to determine which photos are most appealing to potential buyers, and think about how to set up a booth that will show off your work as a product. Are you looking to build your brand? If this is the case, consider how you can use the event to network. Think about what an article on brands building at Entrepreneur referred to as building a “tribe” — piecing together the beginnings of a loyal fan base.

Your goal can of course blend different purposes, but the better you understand what you want out of the exhibition, the better you’ll prepare for it.

#2 Save on Prints

When preparing for a first exhibition, you’re likely to obsess over the idea of quality — and that’s a good thing to do! But you shouldn’t let it steer you toward unnecessary expenses. For instance, it may be tempting to send your work to a high-end or high-res printing service to get professionally produced versions of your top photos. Or, as an alternative, you could take the same photos to the nearest Walgreens or similar store and have similarly excellent prints produced in a size of your choosing. The former can cost you quite a bit of money; the latter is quite affordable, and fortunately there are lots of coupon deals on Groupon that can provide you with substantial discounts ranging between 40-60%.

Use this as an opportunity to save a bit of money for your budding photography business. You’ll still have excellent prints that you can stage just the way you like.

#3 Save on (or Avoid) Frames

We can more or less repeat the section on prints with regard to frames. At some point, depending on the style of your photography, it may be that a frame becomes an essential part of a piece. You may even be at that point already. If not though, you can typically get away with more affordable framing options, or with your photos displayed in a way that doesn’t necessarily require frames. This will save you some money as you prepare for the exhibition, and if you happen to sell a piece you can always have some framing options in mind to discuss with the buyer.

#4 Invite Easy Sales

If you’re hoping to make sales directly from the exhibition, you should keep in mind that it’s your responsibility to make it easy for buyers to pay. Most notably, this means considering some ongoing shifts in payments methods that can very feasibly be the difference in making a sale or having an interested, would-be buyer pass. According to 
CNBC most Americans now claim not to carry cash, and three in 10 say they make zero cash purchases in the average week. Because of this, it’s wise to provide a cashless option.

The good news is that it’s gotten easier than ever before to do this. There are numerous services that allow you to use simple card scanning or swiping devices alongside mobile apps to take card payments.

#5 Convey Your Passion

Most important of all is to convey your passion! Among the ‘6 Insightful Photography Tips for Beginners’ you may have read here previously was the advice to follow your passion, and this should indeed be one of the true driving forces behind all of your efforts as a photographer. But this is also something you should consider when arranging an exhibition. Convey your passion for a certain subject, and show the photos you’re most proud of or passionate about. They’ll likely showcase your talent and your brand in an almost intangible way you can’t otherwise construct.

Join The Adventure!

By subscribing to my monthly newsletter, you'll get timely updates on events, stories, my latest photos, and my favorite photography tips. Let me share this amazing world with you directly to your computer or phone. Come on, join the adventure!

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. 

How To Photograph Stunning Autumn Color

How To Photograph Stunning Autumn Color

How To Photograph Stunning Autumn Color

Autumn Color

Five Essential Photography Tips for Autumn Color

Autumn color season is one of the most eagerly anticipated times of the year for restless nature photographers. The brilliant red, orange, and yellow foliage is like a jarring wake up call for all the creative energy atrophied by the listless and drab dog days of late summer (August through mid- September has always been my least favorite time of year). And since these photos aren’t going to just take themselves, here are 5 essential tips to help you make the most of the autumn color season.

Polarize

A polarizing filter removes glare from almost any non-metallic surface, which includes autumn leaves. Leaves have a waxy coating and they produce glare when viewed from certain angles. A polarizing filter makes fall color look more colorful and saturated but in reality, it’s only allowing you to see the color that’s already there. Wet leaves create even more glare so during rainy conditions, a polarizing filter is nearly essential.

When working near water, a polarizing filter will also remove glare and refections from the water’s surface and surounding west rocks. It will cut glare from water vapor and particulates in the air as well, making blue skies darker and richer in color. The direction of maximum polarization occurs at 90-degree angles from the sun, while no polarization occurs when shooting directly at or away from the sun. Therefore, no polarizer is necessary when photographing sunrises or sunsets.

Get a screw-in polarizing filter for your lens with the largest front element size, then step-up rings for those smaller lenses. Step-up rings are much more cost effective than a polarizer for each lens. Some recommended polarizing filters (links to Amazon).

B+W 77mm XS-Pro HTC Kaesemann Circular Polarizer with Multi-Resistant Nano Coating ($$$)

Hoya 77mm HRT Circular PL Polarizer UV Multi-Coated Glass Filter ($$)

Lee Filters Circular Polarizer – Glass 100x100mm For Lee filter holder system.

autumn color

Use Backlight

The leaves of autumn foliage are translucent, which means sunlight is allowed to partially pass through them when viewed or photographed from the opposite side. The foliage seems to glow and radiate the boldest colors when this happens. Seek out as many of these lighting opportunities as possible for stunning, luminous color.

This will work anytime there is direct sunlight. Even when most photographers retire during the “idle light” of midday, you can always aim the lens skyward as the canopy of yellows and reds glow against the complementary crisp blue sky. Stop the lens down to f/22 for a sun star to add additional interest.

Keys to Using Backlighting

  • Aim the camera toward the sun (duh!)
  • Be aware of ghosting or flare when shooting into the sun. Your lens hood might help, although probably not if shooting directly into the sun, so consider using your hand, a hat, a book, anything that can block the sun’s rays from striking the front element of the lens.
  • Avoid underexposure. Your camera’s meter will probably want to underexpose the scene under most backlighting conditions. Consider adding a stop or two of exposure to keep the image from being too dark. Better yet, consult the histogram and “exposure to the right.”
  • Look to add a sunstar for additional interest and a strong focal point of the image – if it needs one. A sunstar is created by using lens diffraction when a small aperture is used. A small aperture is associated with large f-stop numbers so a setting of f/22 usually does the trick. Best results are when you partially obscure the sun behind a tree branch or mountain, leaving only some of the sun’s rays peeking through. Let diffraction do the rest.
  • Try to employ complementary colors by shooting skyward on a sunny, blue-sky day. The warm tones in the backlit foliage fully complement the blues in the sky.

Use Telephoto Lenses to Isolate

You should look to use a short telephoto lens (70-200mm or even 100-400mm) to isolate patterns of autumn color, interconnected shapes, and textures within the larger landscape. A forest of trees, colorful or not, can be a confusing maze of visual chaos. But by isolating smaller vignettes with a telephoto lens, you can help bring some order to that chaos.

Telephoto isolation in landscape photography is the fine art of exclusion, stripping away any extraneous visual elements to reveal only the most essential and important parts of the scene. This is particularly true when shooting autumn color.

In the example above with a focal length of 85mm, I reveal to the viewer only a small section of a larger waterfall and scene, splitting the image into three equal sections: the autumn color, the falling water, and the distinctive glacial blue of the river.

Some short telephoto lenses to consider (links to Amazon):

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM Lens
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens

Autumn Color

Look Down

When exploring autumn color scenes in the trees and hillsides, don’t forget to look down at the ground at the “leaf litter” scattered along the forest floor, river rocks, trails, etc. This is particularly true in late autumn, my favorite part of the season when a lot of the leaves have already fallen, some of the trees are completely bare or still holding on to a few leaves, and there no longer is any green hanging around.

There are often many tiny scenes within the autumn leaves themselves found in the patterns of veins and variations in color found in a single fallen autumn leaf. A versatile macro lens of about 100mm is a useful tool for these types of images, like this image shown above. Links below to Amazon.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens
Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Vibration Reduction Fixed Lens
Sony SEL90M28G FE 90mm f/2.8-22 Macro G OSS Standard-Prime Lens

Autumn Color

Look For Reflections

On any sunny autumn day, find a body of water that is in the shade but also near some brightly illuminated autumn color, such as a grove of colorful trees or hillside. Here is where you will find a great opportunity to photograph fall reflections. If the water is still enough, you can capture some literal refections that create a mirror image of the primary subject. If the water is choppy from the wind or is moving, like you would find in a river or stream, you can make abstract reflections or colored water with longer exposures. The above image is an example of the latter, with a 10-second exposure being used to smooth out the water’s surface.

These type of refection images almost always need some help in the form of one or more visual anchors in addition to reflection. A rock or rocks, a log, or a duck are just some examples to look for when making autumn color photos of reflections. In order to get exposures of 10 seconds of longer during the middle of the day, you will need a strong neutral density filter of 6 to 10 stops in filter strength. I use the Lee Big Stopper (10 stops) and Little Stopper (6 stops) for these situations. Links to these and some other options below on Amazon.

Lee Filters 100 x 100mm Big Stopper 3.0 Neutral Density Filter, 10-Stop
Lee Filters 77mm Big Stopper Kit – Lee Filters 4×4 Big Stopper (10-stop ND Filter), Lee Filters Foundation Kit and 77mm Wide Angle Ring with 2filter cleaning kit
Lee Filters 100 x 100mm Little Stopper 1.8 Neutral Density Filter, 6-Stop
Tiffen 77mm Variable Neutral Density Filter

A Last Piece of Advice

Bookmark this page for next year.

Essential Autumn Color Links

U.S. Fall Color Map by Weather.com https://weather.com/maps/fall-foliage
Fall Foliage Prediction Map for the U.S https://smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map/
Peak Fall Foliage Map by Stormfax http://www.stormfax.com/foliagemap.htm
Peak Fall Foliage Map for New England https://newengland.com/seasons/fall/foliage/peak-fall-foliage-map/
Your Ultimate Guide to the Smoky Mountains Fall Colors http://www.visitmysmokies.com/blog/gatlinburg/attractions-gatlinburg/ultimate-guide-smoky-mountains-fall-colors/
15 National Parks for Fall Color (Wilderness.org) http://wilderness.org/15-national-parks-fall-color
The 10 Best Places to See Fall Foliage in Canada https://www.tripsavvy.com/places-to-see-fall-foliage-in-canada-1481743
Best Times To See fall Foliage Across Canada with Interactive Map http://www.winnipegsun.com/2013/10/02/best-times-to-see-fall-foliage-across-canada

Join The Adventure!

By subscribing to my monthly newsletter, you'll get timely updates on events, stories, my latest photos, and my favorite photography tips. Let me share this amazing world with you directly to your computer or phone. Come on, join the adventure!

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. 

Outer Banks Photography: The Battered Strand

Outer Banks Photography: The Battered Strand

Outer Banks Photography: The Battered Strand

Outer Banks Photography

 

North Carolina’s Outer Banks is a land both infinitely brutal and beautiful. For 125 miles, this narrow ribbon of barrier islands stretches from the Virginia state line south to Ocracoke Island, giving protection to the mainland from the raging Atlantic. In return for this natural amenity, the islands are the recipient of a safe harbor as well, by way of the establishment of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, America’s first such designation.

The most extensive stretch of undeveloped beach on the eastern seaboard, this wild and untamed verge of tidal forces and nomadic sand is at the mercy of nature’s primal forces – wind and water. When viewed on a map or from above, these islands display a stunning composition of coastal geography, boldly protruding into the Atlantic like the chin of a cocky prizefighter, daring each passing storm to give it their best punch. Its best defense is clever passivity, dodging and weaving, bending yet never quite breaking to the will of nature. This reality is a boon to the landscape photographer, as each new visit reveals yet a new wrinkle to the landscape. It’s never the same place twice.

Outer Banks Photography

Nowhere is this change more evident than at the immense sand dunes at Jockey Ridge State Park near the town of Nags Head. Here stand the tallest sand dunes on the East Coast, many approaching 150-feet high. Wind whips the sand into slithering granular waves that reshape the massive dunes right before your very eyes. A climb to the top offers 360-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean to the east, oak forests to the north and south, and the Pamlico Sound to the west. This is a classic sunset location where compositions with foreground dunes and the setting sun over the sound are possible.

Water is never very far away when you are photographing these narrow islands. The Atlantic Ocean dominates the Outer Banks, influencing the weather, land, its flora, and fauna. The sounds and their fertile salt marshes are within sight even from the ocean side of the islands. Landscapes images with water as a primary element are possible almost anywhere and are only limited by your imagination and vision.

Sunrises and sunsets over glistening water are legendary and both can often be captured from the very same vantage point. Even Orville Wright stepped away from his plane engine from time to time at his workshop in Kitty Hawk to observe, “The sunsets here are the prettiest I have ever seen. The clouds light up with all the colors, in the background, with various shapes fringed with gold.”

Outer Banks Photography

Cape Point at Hatteras Island is the physical confluence of several divergent ocean currents, creating a nutrient-rich habitat for sea life and a haven for pelagic birds and mammals. It’s also responsible for the infamous Diamond Shoals, also known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” for the many dozens of shipwrecks in this area. Dramatic seascapes, particularly at sunrise, are well worth the mile-long drive over the beach to photograph. This drive, however, should only be attempted with a 4WD vehicle with plenty of clearance.

Standing guard is the iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse with its distinctive “barber pole” design. Compositions with both the lighthouse and the Atlantic Ocean are no longer possible since the structure was moved 3000 feet inland in 1999, but dramatic landscapes with the wild dunes are still possible at both sunrise and sunset.

A short free ferry ride from southern Hatteras Island will take you to the remote island of Ocracoke. There are no roads that lead to Ocracoke, only three different ferries operated by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Ninety percent of the island is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and is protected from any development. Of interest to landscape photographers is the dune system at South Point, a two-mile drive over the beach to reach with a 4WD car or truck. The dunes here are not as large as those at Jockey Ridge, but their delicate, windswept shapes and form create fascinating interplays of light and shadow, even during mid-day.

Outer Banks Photography

The Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is 5,000 acres of luxurious wildlife habitat on the north end of Hatteras Island. Nearly 400 species of resident and migratory birds inhabit refuge including snow geese, Canada geese, tundra swans, herons, egrets, terns, gulls, brown pelicans, and a varied assortment of ducks. During the autumn and winter seasons, large flocks of the migratory snow geese take up a temporary home at the refuge, making it a can’t-miss location for wildlife photographers. A bird-watching platform off Highway 12 and the North Pond Trail offer photographers ample opportunities for shots at these waterfowl. Lenses 400mm or longer are recommended.

It should be noted that the raw elements of the Outer Banks can also wreak havoc on your camera equipment and tripod. Wind, water, sand, and salt spray are ever-present realities of outdoor life on these islands and great care should be taken to protect your equipment. Clean your camera and lenses after each day of shooting and wipe down your tripod with fresh water. Fortunately, these same destructive elements make the Outer Banks brutally beautiful and a must-visit location for all nature photographers.

Join The Adventure!

By subscribing to my monthly newsletter, you'll get timely updates on events, stories, my latest photos, and my favorite photography tips. Let me share this amazing world with you directly to your computer or phone. Come on, join the adventure!

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. 

Living The Dream: My New Online Photography Course

Living The Dream: My New Online Photography Course

Living The Dream: My New Online Photography Course

Living The Dream

 

The Ultimate Guide to Landscape, Wildlife, and Travel Photography

A photo expedition to one the planet’s bucket-list destinations can easily cost many thousands of dollars in guides, food, lodging, and transportation. And don’t even get me started on how expensive photography gear can be these days. So how heartbreaking is it to return home from your trip-of-a-lifetime only to find your photos to be disappointing, lacking the technical refinement, excitement, and emotion of the experiences you just had? Wouldn’t it be wise to invest just a fraction of those costs into a comprehensive learning experience that will guarantee better photographs from your next trip, whether that’s elephants marching across the African savannah, first light on the peaks of the Rocky Mountains or even a favorite photo location close to home?

18 years ago, when I became a full-time professional photographer, I literally started with nothing. Since then, I have traveled to more than 60 countries in pursuit of exotic lands and magic light, completed assignments for National Geographic, The New York Times, and the BBC among other clients, and built a social media following of more than 1.2 million. I guess you can say I’m Living the Dream but I’m really just doing what I love. Now I want to share with you everything I’ve learned – as well as what it takes to be a professional nature, wildlife, and travel photographer – since I became a pro in 2003.

Living The Dream

In this course, I’ve carefully and thoughtfully laid out what I believe are the most important photography lessons I wish someone had taught me when I was starting out. Here’s just some of what’s included:

  • 5 hours of premium video content (watch it from our site or download it for life). This includes brand new material not covered anywhere else, including a 80-minute sit-down interview on camera, Photography and the Six Principles of Art presentation, composition, long exposures, scale versus personal vision, natural light, and a lot more. You get to see and hear me explain everything in detail with well-organized class segments using my own photographs as vivid illustrations.
  • Tips on the gear I use and proven wildlife photography techniques I’ve used all over the world.
  • Lightroom and Photoshop processing videos, including using and making your own luminosity masks, exposure blending with blend-if sliders and color channels, focus stacking, panoramas, and more.
  • 2 Bonus PDF books: Richard’s Epic Photo Destinations and Richard’s Guide to Going Pro.
  • My Lightroom Preset Collections: “Enhance” for color landscapes and “Transform” for Black and White conversions.

Consider this your preparation for that next bucket list expedition by upping your game now. There’s no better time to make that quantum leap in your photography skill set and knowledge than this current travel “hiatus.”

Join The Adventure!

By subscribing to my monthly newsletter, you'll get timely updates on events, stories, my latest photos, and my favorite photography tips. Let me share this amazing world with you directly to your computer or phone. Come on, join the adventure!

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe.