Photoshop 2021 Sky Replacement vs Luminar 4

Let’s take a look at the all-new sky replacement feature introduced in Photoshop 2021 first since that is the most talked-about addition.

There are some other new features in Photoshop as well as Lightroom, but, we will get to those in later videos.

Sky is the replacement 😀

Photoshop – Remove specular highlights/shine/shadows for wildlife

This is perhaps more relevant for macro photography and flash, but, can also be used in other cases.

To demonstrate this technique, I will use a close-up image of a snail for the highlights and shine removal and a bird image for shadow removal.

Let’s see how we can go about doing this in Photoshop…

#Photoshop #Wildlife #Highlights #Shadows #Post

Lightroom 9.4 – Local Hue Adjustment for Macro Photographers

This feature was introduced in version 9.3 and I have found it very useful for wildlife macros. Of course, we do have similar conditions with birds at times, but, this is more useful for macros.

We often see a major green tint when we photograph insects in the wild on leaves and branches. Adjusting the overall image tint in the white balance does not work in these conditions.

Earlier, one would have to go to Photoshop to fix these issues, but, now it can be done in Lightroom itself.

Let us look at an example to see how this is done…

Lightroom 9.4 Import Bug – EXIF Date-Time Issue!

I ran into this major bug while re-organising my mobile shots and I consider it serious enough to share. In short, if you are using date/time functions in the Lightroom import, you have to be careful and double-check to make sure this bug does not impact your catalog.

Let us see what this bug is and how it can create chaos in our catalog.

Focus Stacking Using Lightroom & Photoshop

One of the ways of overcoming the current technology limitations in photography is called Focus Stacking.

This technique allows us to overcome the area of focus (DoF) in images. We can take multiple shots with different focus points and later combine these to get the entire image in sharp focus.

Let us see how this can be done using Lightroom and Photoshop.

Mac OS – Empty the Trash/Bin Fast!

This is a little known feature on Mac OS which allows you to clear the trash extremely fast compared to the normal “Empty Trash/Bin”.

For example, if you have thousands of files left by some application, or, just want to rebuild files for any application and delete the existing ones, just emptying the trash can take quite some time.

A typical example of this, in my case, would be to delete the preview files in Lightroom or ON1 Photo RAW cache which can have thousands of files.

This is far more apparent if the data is on a HDD, external or internal, rather than a SSD.

One way around this is to use the command line and delete the files and folders using the rm command. Fortunately, the trash/bin in Mac OS has an equivalent which just deletes instead of displaying the file count and its status while emptying the trash/bin.

Let’s see how this works…

Wildlife Photography – Nikon D500/D5/D6 or D850?

While most people are talking about the latest and greatest new Nikon D6, in this video, we will try to figure out which of the Nikon bodies is more suited for wildlife and why.

When I talk of wildlife, I include birding, macros (insects), as also mammals (large and small).

In general, the gear you use would depend largely on your usage and budget. In my case, I share images on the web and also print some. Personally, I like to have details in the subjects that one would not see via the naked eye which presents the beauty of nature from a different perspective.

Before we move on, all my image reference numbers are based on my Nikon 200-500mm at the full 500mm regardless of which body I use it on as also the fact that I like to fill the frame where practically possible.

Now, I also put some images on stock sites occasionally and most such sites, if not all, require at least 3000 px on the long edge.

Now that we have all this talk done, let us look at what the two most discussed features of any new camera:

1. The AF or the Auto-Focus system
2. The low light performance or ISO response range

Yes, there is the frame rate or FPS as well, but, that part I have already discussed in an earlier video.

Let us take these one-by-one and see how they impact wildlife photography.

The ISO or low light performance first. This definitely impacts the image quality in low light and there is no doubt on that part.

Unfortunately, this improved ISO performance comes at a cost. The cost is generally the resolution of the sensor. This is also reflected in the latest Sony A7 III which is a 12 MP sensor as also in the top end Canon bodies. The most often used term in this regard is the larger “pixel” size. There are details on the sensors available on the internet for those who might want to know more about this.

Once again, your gear depends on your purpose/usage and budget.

Now, let us look at the AF part. The AF is not relevant for macros or super macros (1:1 or higher). That leaves us with action shots of birds and mammals.

Most mammals are large enough so one could easily use just a single focus point. The same applies to large birds. I would say the size of crows and larger.

Most of the issues we look at the AF system is when we are dealing with smaller mammals (squirrels and the likes) and small to tiny birds.

Now, there are actually two issues here…First, these subjects are small and unless you can get close to them, you will not really get any detail. Second, when you get close enough to these small ones, every AF, as also you, would be hard-pressed to track/pan them.

Getting close to a subject can be achieved in two ways.

1. Getting physically closer, or
2. Using a longer lens

Let me talk of a couple of specific examples. If you have ever tried to shoot a running squirrel around a 10-meter distance, you already know what happens when you try to pan the camera with it. The same applies to a tiny sunbird or tailorbird. Although you might get a squirrel running across a wall or the ground, the birds would be even faster and more erratic.

If you cannot move the camera fast enough to track, the AF cannot do much since the subject is not within the AF range. The 10-meter distance that I mentioned is just about good enough to get some detail on these subjects even though you will have only a quarter of less of your frame with the subject.

Before we look at some images to figure out the above-mentioned points, let us look at some of the Nikon bodies and their image resolutions…

D5200, D5300, D7200 – 6000 x 4000 (Approx. 24 MP)
D7500, D500, D5, D6 – 5568 x 3712 (Approx. 20 MP)
D850 – 8256 x 5504 (Approx. 45 MP)

Excepting for the D500, D5 and of course, D6, I have owned all the other bodies and used them for years. My current gear is a couple of D850s, a D7500 with a Nikkor 200-500mm as my long lens and a Tamron 90mm as my macro lens besides some others.

Let us now look at some of my shots to see what becomes more relevant for wildlife and why.

I will use ON1 Photo Raw 2020 for this purpose for two reasons.

1. It shows the subject distance as seen by the camera
2. I have not processed the images in any way in this application

To summarise what we just saw…

The resolution is perhaps the most important part for wildlife photographers. The AF, regardless of how good it is, cannot do much unless you can pan the camera and keep the subject in the frame. For long shots, the AF would not really make a difference in practice as also for larger subjects.

The sensor resolution detail would be limited by the lenses you use, so, keeping a reasonable balance between the resolution, lens and your budget might be a prudent choice. Getting the highest-resolution sensor around might not be the best choice.

In my case, I try to figure out the maximum ISO at which the image quality is acceptable to me at given distances for every camera body. I do not shoot if I have to go beyond that excepting in some cases or to test.

Ultimately, it is your choice as to what is more important to you as a wildlife photographer. Of course, there is also a possibility that all this would change in the future as technology moves ahead…

Nikon D850 – No XQD reader? No Problem!

A few months ago, when I got my D850, I also invested in an XQD card besides the SD card so I could compare the two and have both the slots occupied in case of overflows.

The camera was still on older firmware and to update it, I would have to copy the firmware to the primary card which happened to be my XQD card.

The solution to this one was simple, I copied the firmware update to my SD card and simply made my SD card as the primary card.

Once the update was done, I switched the XQD card back to being the primary.

More recently, I ran into an issue which happens at times even with my earlier Nikon bodies…

For some strange reason, Lightroom refused to import more than a few files. The only way out, that I already knew from my earlier experience was to copy the files from the card and then import to Lightroom.

Since I never bothered to get an XQD card reader, this was an issue. Fortunately, the D850 offers a very simple card-to-card copy operation.

Once again, the solution was simple. I just copied the contents of my primary XQD card to the SD card and copied the files from the SD card to my computer.

Hope this small tip helps some people who have similar issues.

Nikon D850 ISO 25600 – Usable with Topaz DeNoise?

I have been experimenting with my D850 for a few months now and I will share some of my findings regarding the ISO response for wildlife.

As one would expect, the ISO response is a lot better than compared to my earlier D7500. In fact, it turns out to be twice as good for my kind of shots.

Normally, I try to shoot as close as practically possible and try to get as much detail on the subjects given the light and exposure I can achieve.

Then, I tried to push the ISO to the limits which, one normally would not do. Today, I tried it at the highest native of 25600 but, in low light. Around 7 pm on a cloudy day.

The idea was to see what I could get from the D850 and use Topaz DeNoise to try and make the images usable.

Let’s see how this experiment went…

#photography #nikon #Topaz #noise #iso

Creating Textures in Photoshop 2020 and more…

Photoshop has built-in actions for a variety of functions that not many people that I know of actually use.

Not that I personally use those a lot, but, these built-in actions can save a huge amount of time if you need to do anything similar.

Before we look at the actions, there are a couple of points to keep in mind…

  1. If you invoke Photoshop from Lightroom, you will get all kinds of errors and this is definitely a bug in the Lightroom-Photoshop workflow.
  2. In case you get any errors while running these actions, just reset the settings for Photoshop by pressing CMD+OPT+SHIFT and then clicking on the PS icon to start PS. You will be prompted to reset the settings and just click okay on that.

Now that we are done with the issues, let us take a look at all the goodies we have already built into Photoshop.

#Photography #Lightroom #Wildlife #Photoshop #Nikon