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

Lightroom Auto-Mask in Photoshop? Yes, there is one!

Sometimes, when I already have made some edits in Photoshop and find that I missed out some small areas when using the auto-mask in Lightroom, it was a pain using a brush to fix it.

Turns out that Photoshop not only has an equivalent to the Lightroom auto-mask feature but, it is far more powerful in the way you can control how the auto-masking works.

So, without spending any more time on explaining this, let us open a raw file in Photoshop and see how this works…

Photography #Lightroom #Wildlife #Photoshop #Workflow

Lightroom 9.3 and Photoshop 21.2.0 Updates

These updates were released a few hours ago and we will take a brief look at both to figure out the changes.

Of course, the individual features and internal changes will follow in a later video…

Photography #Lightroom #Wildlife #Photoshop #Nikon

Nik Collection 3 – What I would like in the next update

Even after all these updates and features, the one thing that is still lacking in the Nik Collection, and some others as well, is the almost total lack of attention to the UI/UX and consistency of usage.

Let us look at the latest version of the Nik Collection, one by one, and see what I mean by this.

Inconsistent menus, zoom, pan, navigation, buttons and settings. No standard shortcuts apply where they could.

#Photography #Nik #NikCollection

White Backgrounds with Lightroom, ON1 Photo Raw and Photoshop

I have already shared how to create black backgrounds earlier, but, this one is going to be slightly different as we will also discuss a bit about the original exposure and which shots lend themselves well to a white background.

Do not confuse a white background with a high key image. High key images are those that are mostly light and white which is not true for just a white background image.

We will go through the process of making a white background in Lightroom, Photoshop (with and without Topaz Mask AI) as well as ON1 Photo Raw.

Yes, I have recently installed the trial version of Topaz Mask AI and so far, not very impressed as far as wildlife is concerned. Still learning more about it and experimenting…

This would also give us a reasonable comparison as to what one can do with each.

So…This is an image from my rooftop shooting today and this is what we will use in this session. Let’s start with this in Lightroom and then we will look at the same in Photoshop and finally in ON1.

First, the shot itself. As you can see from the base EXIF, this is overexposed specifically for a white background. I have avoided the wall behind the bird and it’s mostly the floor of the roof in the background. The angle of the shot is just over the bird to do this.

Similarly, when you have grey and/or overcast conditions, you can always look to overexpose a bit to create similar effects. Even low light conditions are good for this as long as the subject is close enough. In this case, the bird is just 6 meters away.

Now that we already have a dull background, let’s see how we can make this image pop a bit…

First, we apply my wildlife preset to this and tweak it a bit for a white background. Then, as with the black background, we use the adjustment brush and mask the background around the bird and then pull up all these sliders to make it white.

Do keep in mind that we can only do black or white in Lightroom, anything beyond that, you would have to look at some other application.

Okay, now, let’s remove the mask and try the same in Photoshop.
First the select subject.
Now, let’s try the Topaz Mask AI

Finally, let’s do the same in ON1 Photo Raw…We will use the local adjustments here with the perfect brush which is the equivalent of the auto-mask in Lightroom.

#Photography #Post #Topaz #Photoshop #ON1 #Lightroom

Topaz Products not appearing in Photoshop 2020?

I had already uninstalled the Topaz Mask AI and the Topaz Studio 2 which I was considering to purchase as part of one of their packs. I am running MacOS Catalina 10.15.5 with all updates applied.

I had already searched around on the net and their own FAQs and forums and nothing helped. I had also downloaded the full installers, but, did not work.

I was about to log a ticket with and then I thought I would go through the apps to try and see if I could fix the issue manually.

Took me around 5 minutes to figure out and fix the issue. The solution is what I will share here.

I would recommend you download the full installers since that takes a lot lesser time to install than the online installers.

Once you start the installers, you might get an error message that the application is from the internet or unidentified developers. Not an issue, just right click on the installer application and click on “open” and then you will be prompted if you really want to run the app and you click on “open” again.

That will start up the installers. Once you have installed any of these products, you will not see them appear in Photoshop as most others do.

You will manually need to copy the plugins to the Photoshop plugin folder and then start up Photoshop to see them appear.

  1. Make sure that Photoshop is not running
  2. Go to the “Applications” folder (press CMD+SHIFT+A)
  3. Go into the “Topaz Labs LCC” folder
  4. Now, go into the application folder you want to add as a plugin
  5. 5. Right-click on the application file and select “Show Package Contents”
  6. Go into the “Content” folder
  7. Go into the “Resources” folder
  8. 8. Finally, go into the “PS_Plugins” folder
  9. You can either copy the contents of this folder, or the folder itself for the next step
  10. Go back into the “Applications” folder
  11. Go into the “Adobe Photoshop 2020” folder
  12. 12. Go into the “Plug-ins” folder
  13. Finally into the “Filters” folder
  14. Paste the plugins or the plugin folder copied from step 9 here.

That’s it. Repeat the process for all Topaz apps.

Now when you start Photoshop, you will see them appear as they should have to start with. These are simple to add in Lightroom, so, that should not be an issue.

I can only hope that Topaz fixes these installation issues soon…

#Photography #Post #Topaz #Photoshop

Nik Collection 3 with Lightroom Classic 9 and ON1 Raw 2020

DxO just released version 3 of their popular Nik Collection of plugins for Photoshop and Lightroom.

The plugin pack also contains stand-alone applications for all the 8 plugins and can, therefore, be used with any application that can export and import TIFF files.

There has been an issue for quite some time with the Collection that if you set your Lightroom presets to be stored with the Catalog, the plugins will not appear in Lightroom. You will have to manually add them, one-by-one.

ON1 seems to have no such issues and for some reason, picks up the applications automatically.

Let’s see what the new, non-destructive edit for Lightroom really means.

To be honest, not much. The idea is to export a TIFF file from LR to edit in the Nik Collection and the changes you make in the Collection, is retained and you can keep tweaking that for the TIFF file. The settings are saved back to the TIFF file and there is no “sidecar” file. This also implies that Nik will take a while to save the edited file every time.

The issue is since we already exported the raw file to a TIFF, we have already lost the raw data for any kind of recovery. This might not be a major issue in practice though. Once you have made all your basic adjustments in LR, then, Nik can be used to enhance and tweak the same bitmap/raster image over and over again.

You have to check the box to make sure the “non-destructive” part is saved. If you want to save space on the TIFF files, make sure that you select “ZIP” compression in the Nik Collection settings. Changing the setting here will work for all cases including ON1.

#Photography #Nik #DxO #Lightroom #ON1

Macro Photography – External Flash

After the AF modes and areas, we now talk about the external flash and how to use it for macros.

Firstly, check and set your flash sync speed and make sure you never exceed the shutter speed specified here. You will start getting black on the bottom of the frame if you exceed the sync speed.

Second, check the flash mode on the camera. If it is set to red-eye, then make sure you change it to normal. Most flashes support the red-eye double flash and that can totally ruin a wildlife shot.

Keep in mind that not all camera bodies have a popup flash.

Let’s now look at the modes a flash would offer. In general, you would have an auto or TTL mode which works exactly like a popup flash and you can control the flash via the camera. There are master and slave modes which allow controlling either a single or multiple flash setup. Finally, there is a manual mode and that is the only mode we are interested in here.

Since we use a flash cord to connect the flash and the camera body, we only need to set the flash to manual mode along with the zoom and power we want.

In the wild, one would generally not get a chance to fiddle with the power and zoom of the flash and we will see how to get around that. Recall the inverse square law for light falloff we discussed earlier? Yes, that is how we control the power of the flash in the wild. Simply changing the distance of the flash to the subject will increase or decrease the power of the light on the subject. We would, in general, never need to change the power once we are set for that depending on the GN of the flash and the capability of our camera sensor.

This is an aspect you will have to experiment and find out for your setup based on the aperture you use. I will discuss what I generally use in a later video.

Let us now look at the zoom and power aspects of the flash and how they impact our macro shots.

First, the zoom.

The zoom on the flash tries to match the zoom or focal length of the lens to cover the FoV for that focal length. A 50mm zoom would cover a wider area than a zoom of 90mm. In the TTL (auto) mode, the flash would automatically set the zoom to match the focal length of the lens on the camera.

So, where would we change the zoom to be more or less than the actual FoV of the focal length?

Recall the example in an earlier video where I used a zoom of 50 on the flash instead of the 90mm focal length of the lens? This was to spread the light out a bit more so we could see more of the surface and the reflections the objects created on the surface. The other case would be where you are lucky enough to get a subject in a clear area and want more of the natural background to blend in the frame rather than holding the flash on top of the subject for a dark background. In this case, you would point the flash directly at the subject, but, do not want intense light on the subject itself and therefore you can reduce the zoom to spread the light more than required for the FoV.

Now, let us look at the flash power.

Almost all flashes will shoot at the full power based on their GN, down to around 1/128 of the full power. Generally, the increments would be in 1/3rds but, can differ for different flash units.

In general, we will never use the full power mode for macros. A higher power for the flash implies a longer duration of the flash and vice-versa for low power. Understanding this part is critical for macros. Using a low power not only allows the flash to recharge faster (generally under a second), but, more importantly, since the duration of the flash is so short, it helps in freezing the subject and eliminating any shake we might get when shooting at 1:1 or higher magnifications.

For example, the flash duration range on my Godox flash is 1/300 – 1/20000 of a second. Imagine the speed of the low power flash. This is also the reason why the shutter speed cannot be used to cut the flash light and only the aperture can.

Therefore, my recommendation would be to use the lowest flash power that allows you to shoot around the base ISO of your camera to get the best possible details in your macro shots.

Now that we have covered the flash part, let us look at a few examples…

Photography #Nikon #Macro #Wildlife