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Can creativity be taught? Is it one of those things that you either have you don’t? I’m not sure there is an ironclad answer to this issue, but I am convinced that creativity can and needs to be cultivated in anyone.

I’ve written on a few occasions about steps you can take to rid oneself of the rut that all photographers will inevitably find themselves in at some point. And while the individual exercises, games and challenges therein can be immensely helpful, the underlying issue is one of creativity.

A photographer isn’t much without his or her creativity. Anyone can point a camera at something and press the shutter button. But to train your camera on any given subject and walk away with an image that captures the imagination takes creativity.

So how can you increase and cultivate your creativity? Lots of ways, but here are three surefire methods:

1. Get Inspired

You can find inspiration in all sorts of unexpected people, places and things. But you can certainly narrow this down and focus on the things resonate most with you. To be sure, finding inspiration doesn’t mean you have to stick to things in your field of creativity — if you’re a landscape photographer, you’re not obligated to look to the work of Ansel Adams for inspiration.

Whatever moves you, whatever encourages you to create, whatever pushes you to try new things — whether this comes in the form of a song, a movie, a painting, a sculpture or, yes, another photograph. These are the things you would do well to spend time with.

You will come out the other side with a greater appreciation for the creative work of others and a motivation to reach deeper and create something of your own.

2. Pre-Visualize

I don’t think the importance of pre-visualization can be overstated. Not that it’s the only way to create a spectacular photo (plenty of great photos have been made as a result of instinct and good reflexes), but pre-visualizing what you want can be an immeasurable advantage in the image making process.

Other creatives benefit from pre-visualization — filmmakers, novelists, graphic artists, fashion designers — anyone who needs to have a strong idea of what they want to make before they actually start making it.

This includes photographers.

Have a mental image of how you want to frame and compose a scene, how you want your model to pose, what you want the lighting to look like. Then, be flexible enough to account for and adapt to variables beyond your control.

Your final product may not be a 100% match to what you envisioned, but pre-visualization serves to bring reality and imagination into as much alignment as possible.

3. Take Notes

I know, it sounds so academic, right? Take notes. Yuck.

But if you get in the habit of doing this you’ll come to learn just how valuable taking notes can be.

When you’re absorbing and admiring the work of other creatives, jot down very specific things about why you like what they’ve made, what exactly makes it work in your opinion. Note what you believe the artist is trying to communicate and how you perceive their message.

Also, take notes about the photos that you make. If something didn’t work, why not? If something worked especially well, what was it? What can you improve upon for next time?

I suppose if you have a great memory you don’t need to write any of it down, but there’s plenty of research out there that suggests writing things down helps facilitate learning.

Final Thoughts

You can have the best cameras and lenses and a brain full of technical information, but your most valuable asset is your creativity. The ideas presented above are things you can do on a daily basis to keep your creativity growing or to give yourself a boost whenever you need it.

Further Reading

The post 3 Ways Photographers Can Sharpen Their Creativity appeared first on Light Stalking.

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Getting out of Auto mode is something that nearly every new photographer aspires to. “Automatic” is perceived by many to be a bad word. And photographers who know what they are doing would never shoot in Auto, would they?

Auto mode has its place in photography. It’s a way for novices to dip a toe in the image making pool, and it allows seasoned shooters to forget about settings and focus on just getting a shot.

But there comes a point when Auto mode is simply too limiting. When you want or need more control over your camera, you’ll need to look to Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority or, dare I say, Manual mode.

For those new to the game, those camera modes might be the source of some anxiety, but successfully using one of the more advanced shooting modes isn’t terribly complicated.

These three simple exposure-related principles will help get you out of Auto mode forever.

1. Use Aperture Priority To Control Depth Of Field

Understanding aperture is one of the first steps you can take to get more creative with your photography.

Aperture controls depth of field; depth of field, in turn, describes the section of an image that is in focus and is typically referred to as being either shallow or deep. When a relatively small portion of a subject is in focus and the rest falls off into a soft blur, the photo exhibits shallow depth of field; portraits are often made this way. Conversely, deep depth of field is is exhibited when much of a subject is in focus, as commonly seen in landscape photographs.

When you select aperture priority, you choose the aperture you want and the camera will choose the shutter speed.

Of course, there are multiple factors that affect depth of field — lens to subject distance, lens focal length, and sensor size — but manipulating aperture gives you easy, direct control over depth of field. A small aperture (large f-number) will result in deep depth of field; a large aperture (small f-number) will result in shallow depth of field.

2. Use Shutter Priority To Control Motion

Shutter speed is simply a measure of how long the camera’s shutter remains open.

By using shutter priority you’re prioritizing motion effects rather than depth of field. Choose your shutter speed and the camera will select the aperture.

There are two primary types of motion effects: freezing motion and motion blur.

Freezing motion is common in sports photography, for example, and is accomplished by using a fast shutter speed — at least 1/500th of a second. The goal is to craft a meaningful photo that showcases a particular gesture; the proverbial decisive moment matters in these situations, as you want to freeze the moment that is the best indicator of the activity at hand.

Motion blur is a fascinating way of conveying movement because it allows you to “see” motion while also incorporating a degree of abstraction. Motion blur is achieved by using a slow shutter speed. Exactly how slow will depend on the subject and how much blur you want to capture.

When working with long shutter times you will typically want to use a tripod in order to avoid having everything in your shot turn out blurry. One exception, however, would be panning, a method of capturing motion by tracking your subject’s motion with your camera. This keeps the subject relatively sharp while blurring the background in such a way to invoke a sense of speed.

3. Use ISO To Keep Working When The Light Fades

No, there’s no ISO priority mode on your camera’s mode dial, but it’s likely your camera has an auto ISO function.

Auto ISO works in conjunction with aperture priority, shutter priority and manual modes and it does exactly what the term suggests — ISO will be automatically adjusted by the camera based on how you’ve set either aperture or shutter speed.

This allows you the freedom of not having to worry so much about lighting conditions that might be in constant flux.

What About Full Manual Mode?/Final Thoughts

knowing how to work in manual mode is a skill all photographers should possess, not because it represents some sort of creative authenticity, but there will simply be times when total control over exposure settings is the only way the capture a shot the way you envision it.

By starting with the semi-auto modes of aperture priority and shutter priority, you’ll have an easier time transitioning into manual mode. And you can still enjoy the convenience of auto ISO.

Further Reading

The post These Three Tips Will Help Get You Out Of Auto Mode appeared first on Light Stalking.

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Are you involved in any kind of “planespotting” airport photography?

You know, from taking pictures of the planes on take off and landing, among other things.

Well, if you are, then you need to make a beeline to Jean-Lesage International Airport in Quebec and take advantage of their awesome nod to photographers in the form of holes in the fence that allow camera operators to shoot and capture without the obstruction of the fence links getting in the way.

PetaPixel reports that the portals are part of a collaboration between the airport and YQB Aviation – a Quebec-based “planespotting” organization.

Marked with an “Area Reserved for Photographers” sign, there are some 10 portals scattered around the airport.

As noted by PetaPixel and other outlets, this stance stands in stark contrast with other airports that either completely forbid planespotting or don't really go out of their way to encourage it. One TSA poster that the website cites reads “Don’t let our planes get into the wrong hands” and then depicts a photographer standing awkwardly at the gate taking pictures. It would be comical if it weren’t so real.

YQB Aviation posted on their Facebook the following about the collaboration:

“A wonderful collaboration that goes around the world!

For several years, the administrators of yqb aviation are working together with the Quebec City's Jean-Lesage International Airport to make the infrastructure of our local airport more accessible for aviation lovers in the greater Quebec region.

Last Friday, after several months of joint efforts and cordial discussions, the representatives of the Jean-Lesage International Airport of Quebec and those of yqb aviation finally presented themselves on the perimeter of yqb to identify the ten locations where the panels were to be installed. With an opening allowing local “Planespotters” To Photograph aircraft with a free view of any obstacle.

Once the first panel installed and the photographs of use carried out, we were already more than satisfied with the work accomplished and the success of this first true collaboration between our respective organizations. We knew that this action would please our community of passionate people and small families gathering around the slopes to observe the planes. So we could say; mission accomplished!”

Do you like to go planespotting? Do you enjoy this type of photography? Let us know your thoughts on the field and whether or not airports that forbid it are being a little too “paranoid” for their own good in the comments below.

[PetaPixel]

The post One Airport Loves Photographers So Much They Cut Holes in the Fence appeared first on Light Stalking.

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When it comes to photography, even if you believe you've taken care of everything in the camera, before you present your photos to your clients, share them online or use them for any other purpose, it is always important to process your images to bring the best out of what you spent a lot of time creating. In this article, we will look at the best photo editing software of 2019.

Amar Saleem

In order to make your images look more professional, you will need to make some adjustments to your images. When you shoot raw, you will need to digitally develop your file, this is the same as how analogue film needs to be developed in the dark room. It is during this process, you bring out every bit of detail including the colours and other information from your raw file, making it presentable.

Every photographer works differently, which means, their workflow, the edits they are looking for, tools (for example, different tools required for portrait and landscape photography) will be different and as a result, their expectations from a post-processing software will be quite different.

Aleksandar Pasaric 

For any photographer who deals with a large number of photographs, like a wedding, travel or event photographer they will need a post-processing software that will help them keyword, label, organise files, batch process whereas a hobby photographer may look for something different.

So the question is, how do you choose the right photo editing software based on your requirements?  We have presented here a few photo editing software packages both paid and free that we thought were the best based on certain criteria like ease of use, editing options, advanced tools and other unique features which will be presented for each software. The focus here is on the “best photo editing” part.

 rawpixel.com 

Based on the various factors, here is the round up of the best photo editing software of 2019 that includes one free and one online photo editor. Some of the software reviewed has great features and is easy to use, but they have gone down on the overall score due to low scores in terms of community.

SoftwareEase of UseFulfils PromiseFeaturesCommunityOverall Score
Adobe Lightroom9991037
Adobe Photoshop51091034
Luminar 3.1.01097632
Aurora HDR1096631
Capture One Pro 12888428
DxO PhotoLab698.5427.5
On1 Photo Raw 2019.28.587.5327
ACDSee PhotoStudio Ultimate 2019776727
GIMP686727
Exposure X4797326
Affinity Photo896326
PortraitPro Professional787426
Paintshop Pro 2019 Ultimate6.587425.5
PhotoDirector 365767.5525.5
Fotor765725
1. Adobe Lightroom:

Adobe Lightroom has high standards to be one of the best photo editing software out there but with the recent updates, the all in one program has been split into Lightroom Classic CC and Lightroom CC making things a bit more confusing especially for beginners in Lightroom. By this, we mean that some new users get confused over which version to use and/or are not aware of the two different versions and their functionalities. Some of its features are,

  • Lightroom Classic CC is the best of the both and it lets you organise images, keyword them, label them, enhance images using advanced tools like gradient tools, brushes, spot removal, healing, tone curves, split toning, use of camera profiles, lens profiles, removing chromatic aberrations, transform and so on.
  • The user interface although may seen a bit confusing at first, once the user understands the basics, Lightroom Classic CC can be a breeze to use if one knows what the different tabs, panels and sliders do to a photo in Lightroom. One can easily use the various advanced editing features to create outstanding images from raw files in a few minutes time and batch processing helps working on huge catalogs easier.
  • On the other hand, Lightroom CC is more like the mobile version of Lightroom and does not support the use of brushes. It is cloud based and helps with syncing photos, edits and presets between devices via cloud. It is a lighter version that can be used for some quick edits.
  • Adobe Sensei uses machine learning to recognise people's faces and other elements and then applies searchable keywords automatically.
Lightroom Classic Interface
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Fulfils Promise: 9
  • Features: 9
  • Community: 10

Overall Score: 37

Adobe Lightroom can be purchased here as part of the Adobe Photography plan via creative cloud subscription along with Photoshop.

2. Adobe Photoshop:

Adobe’s Photoshop is also one of the best photo editing softwares available, but it can be hugely confusing and difficult for beginners to start with. It is a brilliant tool designed for professional photo editors looking for highly advanced tools and for artists looking to create illustrations, graphic designs, digital art, etc. but if you are looking to use photoshop solely for photo editing purposes, we think that would not be the best decision.

  • Photoshop comes with advanced retouching, masking and layering tools and has been a great software for a long time
  • A new, dedicated Content-Aware Fill workspace provides interactive editing experience to achieve seamless fill results. All thanks to Adobe Sensei technology
  • Opening raw files in photoshop need to be done via camera raw and there are a lot of tools in photoshop that you will never be using as a photographer.
  • The new version comes with multiple undo mode and it is enabled by default
  • Photoshop can now transform most layer types proportionally by default, it comes with live blend mode preview, colour wheel to choose colours and a lot more new features are packed into the new version.
Image via Adobe
  • Ease of Use: 5
  • Fulfils Promise: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Community: 10

Overall Score: 34

Similar to Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop needs to be purchased as part of the Adobe Photography plan via creative cloud subscription and comes as a package of Lightroom and Photoshop. You can purchase it here.

3. Skylum’s Luminar 3.1.0:

Although Luminar hit the photo editing market quite late compared to Adobe, it has quickly become one of the most popular photo editing softwares out there that many professional photographers use these days. It also provides  the facility for photographers to organise and edit the photos effectively. Some of the best features of Luminar 3 are,

  • Luminar comes with unique AI tools and signature look presets that can be applied to images quickly making them look the best.
  • One of Luminar’s most popular features is the Accent AI 2.0 which is the new generation of AI image enhancement where the AI slider lets a photographer make very quick fixes to the basic adjustments in an image with just one slider.
  • It also comes with some inbuilt presets (over 60 of them), for specific shot types and other filters like rays, light leaks and the Orton filter. You can make your images look best in a second’s time.
  • AI sky enhancement uses AI to make the skies in your image look incredible and this is done automatically.
  • Another advantage of purchasing Luminar is, you can either use it as a standalone software or as a plugin with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. This way, if you have both softwares and would love to make use of the features that you have in both the softwares, then Luminar lets you just do that.
  • Luminar also is a friend to photographers who like working with adjustment layers.
Image via Skylum
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Fulfils Promise: 9
  • Features: 7
  • Community: 6

Overall Score: 32

If you like Luminar’s features and are looking to purchase a copy, it can be bought here

4. Skylum’s Aurora HDR:

For anyone who focuses mostly on creating HDR images, Skylum’s Aurora HDR is one of the best software focusing mainly on HDR merging and processing. The software is powered by AI and it is well known for having no halos, artefacts or chromatic aberration in the final image. Some of its best features are,

  • Powered by artificial intelligence means, this software enables the highest quality of bracket merging and very high level of colour enhancement.
  • There are various advanced tools for editing like LUT mapping, polarising filter, colour toning, dodge, burn, and so on.
  • HDR Denoise feature automatically detects noise in the HDR images and removes them while still preserving quality and details in the image.
  • Aurora HDR can be used as a standalone version or as a plugin with Lightroom and Photoshop.
  • It also comes with some inbuilt presets and has the option to expand the dynamic range from single images.
  • Besides the above, it supports layers, masking, batch processing and raw files.
Image via Skylum
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Fulfils Promise: 9
  • Features: 6
  • Community: 6

Overall Score: 31

Aurora HDR can be purchased here.

5. Phase One’s Capture One Pro 12:

Capture one pro is an application developed by Phase One and comes packed with some amazing features similar to photoshop. The software comes with customisable interface so the user can personalise it the way they want it to be. Some of Capture One Pro’s advanced features are,

  • Accurate and rich colours, faster processing, import and export, tethered shooting, powerful tools for organising, etc.
  • Layers are another fantastic feature of this software and there are many adjustments one can make to a layer.
  • Capture one pro supports more than 500 cameras and it has full featured support for Fujifilm and Sony cameras.
  • More features of Capture One Pro are advanced colour editing, annotations and the speed with which it can handle raw files, film curves, high dynamic range, luminosity masking, grey scale mask, PSD round trip support, rating, key wording, lens corrections, noise reduction and so on. It can also can be used as a plugin
Image via Capture One
  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Fulfils Promise: 8
  • Features: 8
  • Community: 4

Overall Score: 28

You can purchase it for either a one time fee or on a subscription basis and so there is greater flexibility in how you want to purchase the software. You can purchase Capture on pro here.

6. DxO PhotoLab:

DxO PhotoLab is a replacement for DxO Optics Pro and is an advanced photo editing software that is designed keeping professional standards for photographers in mind. Some of the best features of DxO PhotoLab are,

  • U point local adjustment technology that helps to apply local adjustments automatically to all similar points within the area you have selected without having to spend hours on complicated masking processes.
  • Moreover, DxO PhotoLab comes with customised profiles where the software can detect and correct flaws based on the lens that you used. The optical corrections feature helps correct flaws in lenses with a single click
  • Denoising technology helps maintain colours and details in your image even if they were shot at high iso. This is helpful for night sky photography and other night photography in very low light where shooting at high iso is required.
  • Settings in the software can be switched to manual or automatic depending on how you want to make adjustments to various features in the software.
  • Besides the above, other important features are photo library, graduated filters. brush tool, automatic repair to remove specks and unwanted objects, advanced colour management, smart lighting, etc.
  • If you want to apply perspective corrections to your image, then you will need to buy DxO Viewpoint which will have to be purchased at an extra cost.
Image via DxO
  • Ease of Use: 6
  • Fulfils Promise: 9
  • Features: 8.5
  • Community: 4

Overall Score: 27.5

DxO PhotoLab can be purchased here and does not have a subscription option.

7. On1 Photo Raw 2019.2:

On1 photo raw is an easy to use software that comes packed with hundreds of presets and filters, textures and borders, that you can use to beautify your images in a single click if that is what you are looking for – a quick edit before presentation. It is a very good photo organiser as well as a photo editor and has advanced features like use of brushes, masking tools, and any tool a professional photographer will be looking for. Some of its advanced features are,

  • The workflow in On1 Photo raw is quite efficient, powerful and at the same time simple. It almost has features of Lightroom and Photoshop and so if you are looking on leaning towards a photo editor other than Lightroom or Photoshop, then On1 Photo Raw may be your go to software for photo editing.
  • You can quickly browse, organise, manage and edit your images.
  • The use of layers lets the user create composites using multi layered photos while helping maintain a non-destructive workflow.
  • The filters and presets are stackable and customisable
  • There are other advanced editing features like retouching, masking, blending and use of brush tools.
  • Other very important features that photographers would be happy about is the HDR merge and panorama stitching.
Image via On1
  • Ease of Use: 8.5
  • Fulfils Promise: 8
  • Features: 7.5
  • Community: 3

Overall Score: 27

On1 photo raw is without a doubt one of the best softwares available and can be purchased here. On1 Photo Raw 2019.5 releases mid May.

8. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2019:

ACDSee Photo Studio is another software package that has recently gained popularity amongst professional photographers. The interface of this software is simple and it comes with some advanced features like face recognition that help with sorting files. Some of the best features of ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate are,

  • This software allows you to make edits directly on the source files without the need to import them.
  • It is renowned for its performance based adjustment layers that let you do the editing faster and spend more time behind the camera.
  • Facial recognition feature lets the user non destructively target specific areas in the image.
  • The media buzz is that the develop module for this software has more choices compared to Lightroom.
  • Layered editing helps to make individual adjustments and effects that can be tweaked anytime later.
Image via ACDSee
  • Ease of Use: 7
  • Fulfils Promise: 7
  • Features: 6
  • Community: 7

Overall Score: 27

The software offers flexibility in terms of payments where you can go for either a one off payment or opt for monthly subscriptions. You can purchase it here.

9. GIMP:

GIMP is a very good software package with advanced features and tools almost similar to most advanced photo editing software and above all, it is free. Gimp comes loaded with advanced features like file management, retouching, cloning and even supports plugins that it can be considered as a free alternative to photoshop. Some of Gimp’s best features are,

  • It provides top-notch colour management features to ensure highly accurate colour..
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Social media experts claim that it is both an art and a science.

Or is it really?

For Instagram, it might be more interesting alchemy than the above dichotomy presents us.

And it might include a healthy dose of cheating to get ahead.

At least that’s the claim behind a new documentary that shows the various ways users “cheat” at the world’s most popular photography social media platform to gain followers and clout.

The documentary was made by the public television station VPRO from the Netherlands who examines the ways that users grow, monetize, and continue to push the limits of Instagram’s rules to make a living or just collect likes.

FStoppers quotes photographer Sara Melotti when she explains the power of the metrics on Instagram.

“[Instagram] became a number game. Numbers are gods today, meaning the number on your social media — the number of followers, the number of likes — unfortunately, determines whether you get work or not as a creative freelancer,” she said per FStoppers’ report.

Of course, none of this is anything new to people who work in and with social media, but how widespread the phenomenon of bots and fake followers etc. is pretty damning stuff from an advertising standpoint.

Advertisers aren’t trying to appeal to computers, after all.

Yet it also highlights a really modern phenomenon in a society where some kind of worth – whether self-worth or even artistic merit – is somehow attached to nonsense engagement metrics.

If you’d like to watch the documentary you can do so on….Instagram itself.

VPRO released the following statement attached to the Instagram post with the video.

“The first documentary about Instagram released on Instagram, ​#followme,​ is now launched to audiences worldwide by Dutch public broadcaster and producer of the project ​VPRO​. From bots, comments-on-demand and fake accounts to ‘boost boys’: in ​#followme​ documentary filmmaker Nicolaas Veul @nicolaas_veul dives into the lawless economics of Instagram, exposing a shocking world behind the medium that currently holds 1 billion active users.”

You can watch it by clicking here.

Do you use Instagram? Have you purchased followers or done anything of the sort? What do you think of this practice? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

[FStoppers]

The post How to Cheat at Instagram – New Documentary Reveals All appeared first on Light Stalking.

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It’s a rare moment when working with any Adobe product on a laptop is a pleasant experience – let alone using Photoshop (or forbid Premiere Pro).

That’s all about to change according to early reports about the new 8-core MacBook Pro coming from Apple.

From what we can tell, people are saying that it is at least 75% faster at PhotoShop than the quad-core MacBook Pro. Apple also said that Adobe users will see at least a “50% performance increase when doing RAW image imports in Lightroom Classic CC with Smart Previews” according to PetaPixel.

“Apple updated MacBook Pro with faster 8th- and 9th-generation Intel Core processors, bringing eight cores to MacBook Pro for the first time…MacBook Pro now delivers two times faster performance than a quad-core MacBook Pro and 40 percent more performance than a 6-core MacBook Pro, making it the fastest Mac notebook ever,” Apple said of the new laptop.

Of course, the laptop doesn’t deviate from previous generations in terms of design but does come with a host of features that might be of interest to photographers. That includes their Retina display, Force Touch touchpad, and SSD storage, among other things.

Being an Apple laptop, though, all of this isn’t going to come cheap.

And at a starting price of $USD 2,799 this laptop is anything but inexpensive. Body colors include Silver and Space Grey which, while not as exciting as the various iPhone shades, are pretty much standard Apple at this point.

Nonetheless, it seems to offer a major speed boost over the previous generation is most likely a de rigueur purchase for hardcore Apple fans.

Do you use Apple’s MacBook Pro lineup? What do you think about this upgrade? Is it something that would appeal to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

[PetaPixel]

The post New 8-Core MacBook Pro Chews Through Photoshop Like Never Before appeared first on Light Stalking.

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Photography has the ability to show us reality in a way we simply can't see.

Our brain can't create still images, so we rely on photography to capture everything from freezing motion to registering movement thanks to the wonders of long exposure photography techniques.

Today we are bringing you a special subject, speed. Speed is present from our own footsteps to the stars in the sky, so sit back and enjoy the ride!

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Camera stores are often the target of robberies because they have such valuable inventory on site.

But the robbery usually occurs after hours when no employees are around.

Yet, in the case of a recent The Camera Store robbery in Calgary, Alberta, the thieves arrived during business hours and armed with bear spray.

As these tales usually begin, the customer entered the store and immediately alerted people to something being “off” about him because of his demeanor.

After grabbing a Sony A7R III camera and Sony 16-35mm F2.8 G Master lens, the thief then fled out of the store with The Camera Store employees in pursuit of him.

To dissuade them from following him the thief sprayed capsaicin bear spray at them.

The Camera Store’s Evelyn Drake posted the following to social media according to Sony Alpha Rumors:

“This one hurts. A few of our staff were attacked when they tried to recover a camera as it dashed out the door in the hands of a thief.

On Thursday, May 16th, 2019 at approximately 5PM, a Sony A7R III and Sony 16-35mm F2.8 G Master lens was stolen from The Camera Store in Calgary, Alberta. A middle-aged man in a grey jacket, dark pants, light runners, and sunglasses perched on his head. We knew there was something “off” about him since the moment he walked in, and our team was on high-alert.

Sure enough, he reached down to check his phone for a moment, then dashed for the door with our camera in hand. One staff member attempted to intercept him and was shoved out of the way. Two other employees chased him out foot down the street. The man paused and sprayed a can of bear spray towards our staff, then hopped into a black pick-up truck. Our camera was gone, and our staff’s eyes burned as they came back to the store where we called the Calgary police who were fast to respond to the scene.”

She said of the employees’ chase, “Although it is not our policy to chase down thieves, the loyalty and bravery of the staff who risked their safety are commendable.”

Of course, the thief’s getaway attempt was caught on video. You can watch that over on YouTube by clicking here.

DPReview reports that the stolen Sony camera has the following serial number 3372445 while the lens uses serial number 1803243.

If you see these for sale DPReview urges you to contact The Camera Store.

As always we’d love to know your thoughts in the comments section below.

[DPReview]

The post The Camera Store Robbed Using Bear Spray appeared first on Light Stalking.

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Tech sleuth Anurag Sen discovered a database of Instagram influencers, celebs, and brands that included user information that was both public and private in nature.

When Sen discovered the database it was at 49 million entries and growing by the minute.

Hosted by Amazon Web Services, the database did not have any kind of security on it to keep prying eyes from scanning through its data.

After getting in touch with TechCrunch, the publication traced the owner of the database back to a social media marketing firm called Chtrbox.

To verify the information, TechCrunch also contacted a few of the accounts in the database and the users that responded verified the publication’s findings.

Things get a little weird though when the website tried to contact Chtrbox’s CEO and founder, Pranay Swarup.

TechCrunch also attempted to elicit some kind of statement from Pranay Swarup as well as ask him a few questions about how his company was able to scrape such data. As of press Chtrbox has not responded.

Nonetheless, the database was made private shortly after TechCrunch contacted him.

Part of the database also included a calculation about how the company should pay each account for a sponsored post.

Chtrbox’s actions come after reports of data scraping via a bug in the developer API of Instagram that exposed pretty much the same kind of data on six million Instagrammers.

Facebook for their part issued the following statement: “We’re looking into the issue to understand if the data described – including email and phone numbers – was from Instagram or from other sources…We’re also inquiring with Chtrbox to understand where this data came from and how it became publicly available.”

As always, we’d love to know your thoughts on this story in the comments below.

[TechCrunch]

The post Millions of Instagramers’ Private User Info Made Public by Data Scraper appeared first on Light Stalking.

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What we all want are super sharp photographs. We rarely print our photos today. Technology has taken over and instead, we use devices with ultra-high definition screens to display our images.

The more the technology evolves, the greater the demand for producing high-quality photos. The images need to be sharp, in-focus with vibrant colors and superb quality.

How can we produce such quality in photography so we can replay and enjoy it on our 5K computer monitor?

Here’s a list of 10 keys to super sharp photographs.

Aleksandar Pasaric Manual Mode
  1. Use Manual Mode: Get full control of your camera. When you feel more confident on how to get the right exposure and compose a good-looking image, switch your camera to manual mode. This mode will give you the ability to have full control of your camera’s settings and result in sharper photographs.

Further Learning:

Johannes Plenio The Exposure Triangle
  1. Use the right Aperture: Most lenses have a “sweet spot”. This spot is a specific focal length and aperture the lens performs best. If you can’t find this information, use aperture values from f/4 to f/11. You can also take sharp images in lower f-stop numbers when your subject is closer to you or when you want to separate it from the background.
  2. Use the correct Shutter Speed: You never want your photos to be blurry and out of focus. In bright daylight, use a faster shutter speed of at least 1/125sec. For better results, if your camera or lens doesn’t support image stabilization, use a tripod. The fastest the shutter speed, the better the image quality and sharpness you’ll get.
  3. Keep ISO low: ISO is your camera’s sensor sensitivity. Higher ISO values add more noise in your photos. In situations when you have plenty of natural light, keep your ISO as low as possible (i.e. 50, 100 or in some Fujifilm cameras 200). The lower the ISO, the better the image quality.

Further Learning:

Aris Ioakimidis Focusing Modes
  1. Single-Point Focusing Mode: Control where your camera will be focusing. In some camera systems, you also have the option of “flexible spot” where you can move the focus point anywhere you want. By focusing quickly on your subject, you end up taking crisp and detailed images. This mode is ideal for landscape photography or when your subject is not moving.
  2. Continues Focusing Mode: If you’re photographing action and your subject is moving fast, you should switch to Continues AF mode. This way the camera can think faster and track your subject while it’s moving. Make sure your shutter speed is at least 1/250sec.
  3. Manual Focusing Mode: In some occasions, the autofocus can fail and result in hunting between your subject and the background. This is when you need to switch to manual focusing mode and take control of the focus. By focusing correctly on your subject, you have more chances to get sharper photos. This mode is also ideal for night and astrophotography.

Further Learning:

Noelle Otto Portraits
  1. The ideal setting shooting super sharp portraits are:
    • Switch your camera to “Single Point Spot Auto Focus”.
    • Get some distance from your model. Sometimes the camera can focus better when you’re further away.
    • Have the camera at the same level as the model.
    • Keep your camera steady. Use lenses with built-in Image Stabilization or buy a tripod.
    • Focus on the eyes.
    • Use low ISO.
    • Use a 50mm or 85mm lens with f/1.2, f/1.4 or f/1.8 aperture.

Further Learning:

  • Portrait Photography: The Ultimate Resource for Making the Perfect Portrait
  • Bite Size Tips: 5 Ways to Get Sharper Eyes In Your Portraits
  • Andrea Candraja Landscapes & Street Photography
    1. The best ways to take sharper landscape and street photos are:
      • Start by using a tripod. It will give you the stability to frame your shot.
      • When you use a tripod to take a photo, switch off the image stabilizer. If you leave it on, it might create motion blur.
      • Get everything in focus by decreasing the aperture to f/11.
      • Use a cable release or a phone app to release the shutter and prevent movement or shake.
      • Use wide-angle or mid-telephoto zoom lenses for best results.

    Further Learning:

    Hunter Moranville

    Camera Sensor and Lenses

    1. Invest in a good lens: Sharpness and image quality doesn’t come only from the camera’s sensor. You also need to have good optics. The better the quality of the lens, the more you will maximize your image sharpness.

    Further Learning:

    It takes time and effort to learn how to take super sharp photographs. The first thing you need to do is to know your camera features and settings. Then, practice in manual mode by choosing different focusing areas. Invest in a good lens and tripod. The more you take photos in different settings and modes, the better you will understand how things work. Eventually, you will be able to increase your photography skills and take super sharp photographs!

    The post The 10 Keys to Super Sharp Photographs appeared first on Light Stalking.

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