“Evening’s Entrance”– San Clemente, CA – Charlie Stinchcomb (Me) – Transition Day!   63 comments


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“Evening’s Entrance”– San Clemente, CA – Charlie Stinchcomb (Me)

Transition Day!  Today is the day that we are transferring (upgrading) from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.  Since PhotoBotos might be down for a couple hours, we didn’t want to “short change” a Featured Photographer and we are showcasing one of Charlie’s images instead.  As we noted yesterday, everything will remain the same except that our daily images will no longer show up in your WordPress “Home Dashboard”.  There are a lot of Pros and Cons when it comes to making the decision to transfer to WordPress.org, but, we felt that it was in the best interests of everyone to do so.  Let us know if you would like us to detail our reasoning behind the decision and we will put together a review for our community.

Take it away Charlie!!

There are great rewards in having a camera handy almost everywhere you go.  You don’t have to wait until you are on vacation before you start looking for that prize image to hang over the fireplace.  Some of my best shots are taken during spontaneous brief periods of time where I slip away from a daily activity to capture a shot.   I captured this image between the time my family and in-laws finished dinner and paid the check.  I slipped out (almost unnoticed) for about ten minutes from the restaurant while everyone else was finishing their glass of wine.  I adjusted my camera settings on the quick walk across the street to the beach.  I was able to grab a couple dozen shots of which I thought this was the most appealing!  So throw your camera in the car so you will not miss that next great wall hanger! 

“Drop of Innocence” – Sitra, Bahrain – Isa Ebrahim – Featured Photographer   84 comments


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***Note:  Just a quick head’s up that PhotoBotos will be upgrading and moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org on 3/16/12 (Friday).  Everything will remain the same except that our daily photos will no longer load to your WordPress.com “Home Dashboard”.  Please save http://PhotoBotos.com to your favorites or sign up for our daily email reminders if you typically look for us only on your dashboard.  The vast majority of our friends won’t notice any difference!  We will keep the “dust” to a minimum during this transition and will continue to provide our community with the absolute best in travel photography!***

“Drop of Innocence” – Sitra, Bahrain – Isa Ebrahim – Featured Photographer

Emotion is what makes a successful photograph.  Having the viewer feel something, anything, is the goal of a photographer when he releases the shutter.  This image delivers in spades.  Not to get too political, but I hope by the time this young child becomes an adult he will know peace in Bahrain.  For more spectacular images from this great island nation please check out Isa’s blog at http://www.isaphoto.net/blog/

Enter Isa:

This image is of a child involved with his mother in the process of the funeral of one of the martyrs tortured by the impact Bahraini police in the city of Sitra.  The Arab revolution has been constant since the events of February 24, 2011.

Camera Nikon D300S

Focal Length 180mm

Shutter Speed 1/250 sec

Aperture f/6.3

ISO/Film 400

“Golden Castle” – Loch Assynt, Scotland – Dylan and Marianne Toh – Featured Photographer   74 comments


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**Note:  Press the “Like” button at the top of the white Facebook Box to be automatically entered into any of the upcoming Giveaways.  Next random giveaway is at 750 Facebook “Likes”.  Last week we gave away a popular “Chums Camera Float”.**

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“Golden Castle” – Loch Assynt, Scotland – Dylan and Marianne Toh – Featured Photographer

“Life is what happens to us when we are busy making other plans” – John Lennon.  This famous quote describes the photograph perfectly.  You see Dylan and Marianne set out to take a photo they knew would be beautiful, changed their plans when the opportunity arose and created something magical.  Every time I see this photo I imagine a different mythical beast is about to stick it’s head out from the entrance to the rundown castle.  Dragon?  Troll?  Or just a lonely old hermit?  You decide.   Follow the links at the end of the post to their truly wonderful portfolios.

Enter Dylan:

Marianne and I arrived on the north eastern shores of Loch Assynt in late afternoon hoping to photograph Ardvreck castle at sunset and twilight. It had been raining steadily all afternoon so we were considering driving back to our accommodation at Ullapool.  Then, a clearing occurred in the western skies which allowed beautiful golden light to illuminate the castle with a rainbow behind us. I abandoned the original plan to photograph the sunset and ran to the westerly aspect of the castle in the rain in order to photograph the castle with the rainbow in frame.  This is one of many images taken from that window of opportunity.

Technical:

The image was taken in manual mode with a Canon 7D, Sigma 10-20mm lens, Gitzo tripod and 3 stop soft edged GND.

Sites:

Website: www.everlookphotography.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/everlookphotography

Blog: www.everlookphotography.wordpress.com

“Argentinian Christmas Lights” – Ituzaingo, Argentina – Daniel Fox – Featured Photographer   29 comments


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“Argentinian Christmas Lights” – Ituzaingo, Argentina – Daniel Fox – Featured Photographer

Today’s post is packed jam full with lots of really cool information about a really interesting photographer/scientist, Daniel Fox.  Many of our great photos come from scientists working in the field on a particular species, but Daniel seems to go everywhere, literally.  He is embarking on a six year journey travelling around the world on an extreme island expedition.  Let me be one of many to cast my name into the hat as a marine mammalogist/photographer if there are any legs with an opening.  Please read Daniel’s description below and then follow one of his many links.  I suggest the Expedition page at the end of the post

Enter Daniel:

This picture was taken on July 2nd 2010, at the Yacare Pora farm (http://www.yacarepora.com.ar/) in Ituzaingo, a little village in the north of the province of Corrientes, in Argentina 

I was there with my partner Jasmine Rossi (www.jasminerossi.com) doing an interview (http://vimeo.com/channels/lasmarias#13245057) for the Mate Expedition (http://www.kontain.com/thewildimageproject/entries/101111/mate-expedition-by-taragui/) (http://mateexpedition.taragui.com.ar/) The trip was sponsored by Taragui, a famous Mate (tea) company. The trip was also for me to photograph representative animals from the north of Argentina.  I was having a show at the Consulate of Argentina in New York that coming October, called “Wildlife of Argentina”  http://www.kontain.com/thewildimageproject/entries/101107/ny-show-at-the-consulate-of-argentina/

Yacare Pora (owned by Grupoinsud, http://www.grupoinsud.com.ar/) is a sustainable caiman farm.  The local indian community used to hunt the black and broad-snouted caimans. The black market was huge and the animals were in sharp decline. The farm started to hire the local community to find the eggs instead and take them back the farm and to be hatched. Half are returned to the wild and the other half is kept for the market. The black market has been dramatically reduced and the population of caimans in Argentina saved. They have created a sustainable economy based on live animals, not dead ones. You can watch the little documentary here http://vimeo.com/13380831

Caimans are separated by age and size. Interestingly enough, caimans will grow faster and eat more if there are many of them in the same place. So each little “pool” contains a specific number of caimans – enough to provoke them in eating more, but not too many so that it stays healthy and clean.

Jasmine and I knew exactly the kind of shot we were after. That doesn’t mean that it was a “piece of cake”!  The caiman eye at night not only produces an “Eyeshine” but it is also iridescent, meaning that the color changes with the angle of the light source. The challenge was to get a good composition, clarity, and many different colorful “eyeshine”.  And since I do not photoshop my images, I was hoping for a little bit of luck too!. Thank god caimans are good subjects to photograph – they don’t move much 😉 We must have taken at least 200 shots that night.  Trying various flash angles, exposition, aperture, etc. 

This shot was done with a Canon 5D, at ISO 200, Aperture f/16 open for to 2 minutes.  It is exactly what I was looking for. It is kind of abstract, you don’t really know what it is, until you look close enough to realize what it is. On the composition side, I am really happy. I always look to have a central element in the photo, from where the rest of the story evolves. Without even cropping the photo, I was able to get my focus on one caiman slightly off the middle to the right, looking at me.  

It is important for me to stick as much as possible to the essence of photography and value the challenge of capturing “THE” moment.  It is too easy today not to care and manipulate everything on the computer.

 As for the future, right now I am working on an expedition like none before – 6 years navigating the most hostile oceans on earth. Find out more here http://www.wildimageproject.com/The_Extreme_Islands_Expedition.html

You can find me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/foxdaniel and Twitter https://twitter.com/thewildimage

 

“To the Sea…” (First Dream – The Meeting) – Coastal Portugal – Paulo Flop – Featured Photographer   72 comments


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“To the Sea…” (First Dream – The Meeting) – Coastal Portugal – Paulo Flop – Featured Photographer

I keep wondering what this woman is doing here?  Why does she have a lantern in the water?  Paulo’s photography doesn’t answer a lot of questions, but it sure does inspire them.  We have a lot of people who visit our website mention that they get inspiration to write a poem, story, or paint a picture from the photographs we post.  I think this one has story written all over it.  Feel free to add your poem or link to your artwork in the comment section.  We are all one big community here and you never know who might be reading!  Also please check out Paulo’s portfolio to see the rest of this beautiful trilogy.

http://500px.com/FLOP

Here is  Paulo:

This photo was taken in Portugal on a beautiful autumn day when the ocean was thick with fog.  It is the first photograph in a trilogy of photos called My Three Dreams. Each one was an attempt at a deep understanding of philosophy.  This shot was a success and I am very pleased with the way it turned out.

Camera:  Canon 40D

Lens 10mm

 F-stop: 3.5

ISO:200

Shutter Speed: 1/125

 

By the way, I made up the title “To the Sea…” just because I thought it was fitting.

“Relaxing Monkeys” – Jigokudani Park, Japan – Jollice Tan – Featured Photographer   58 comments


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“Relaxing Monkeys” – Jigokudani Park, Japan – Jollice Tan – Featured Photographer

I have seen monkeys all over the world, but I have never seen them in the snow.  I must say that these Japanese macaques (Macacafuscata) have found a little slice of monkey heaven in a park who’s name translates to Hell’s Valley.  This looks like a great place for a snowball fight.  Jollie  not only takes wonderful photographs, but she writes beautifully and  travels often.  Please keep up with her work in the following blogs.

https://lifetoreset.wordpress.com/   

https://sofarreaching.wordpress.com/ 

Take it over Jollice:

I went for a weekend break to the beautiful town of Yamanouchi, Nagano, Japan for some winter wonderland experience and to see the famous snow monkeys of Jigokudani Park.

A bit embarrassing to admit but I have bad experience with monkeys, particularly those naughty ones of Ulawatu Park in Bali. So I was thinking that maybe these snow monkeys will be as naughty as those in Bali too, but to my surprise, they are so used to visitors that they developed these  “ignore and don’t care” attitude. 

Look at the photo and it says one thing – Bored and Cold.  They are so cute and the snow covered land just makes one perfect shot.

Camera Used:  Olympus PEn E-PL2 Micro-four thirds series.

Adobe Lightroom 4 – Stephen Lerch – Product Review   9 comments


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There has been a huge buzz lately over the release of Adobe Lightroom 4 and Adobe Lightroom is also referenced quite often by our past and future Featured Photographers.  What is it?  Why do I need it?  What are the differences between Lightroom 3 and Lightroom 4?  Well… keep reading beacuse Stephen Lerch has the answers!!

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 Adobe Lightroom 4 – Stephen Lerch – Product Review

Adobe Lightroom is Adobe’s flag ship digital image development program. When I say “image development” I mean just that. Think of Lightroom as a digital darkroom and now you know what is possible in the software.

The first lesson you must learn when using Lightroom is… stop shooting in JPEG. Lightroom can do some amazing things, even with JPEGs, but if you want to enjoy the benefits Lightroom has to offer, you really need to shoot in RAW. You can pull some shadow and some highlight detail from JPEGs, but there is an order of magnitude difference in the amount of detail present in a RAW file.

The other thing to realize is that yes, if you have Photoshop, you can do everything Lightroom does. The difference, for now, is Lightroom 4 uses the new Adobe Camera RAW version (CS5.1 doesn’t have this), which is where a lot of the new highlight/shadow recovery comes from, so for now Lightroom is quite a bit nicer than Photoshop in that regard. The other, most important piece, to remember is that Lightroom is designed from the ground up to only include the functionality you need for digital photography – you can’t do advanced photo editing where you replace a goat’s head with a person’s or remove trees and so on. If you need that kind of software, buy Photoshop. If all you want is to develop your digital images as they were shot, with some spot removal tools, cropping and so on, Lightroom 4 is the place to be and the interface is designed with just these things in mind.

Next, if you are new to the product, check around the web for tutorials (Adobe has a few) and buy a book. You’ll need it. The interface isn’t horrible, but not all of the tools are intuitive enough that you can just pick it up and run. There is a lot of hidden power to be tapped and if all you want is to just skim the surface and not dig into the details, you might be better served with something like say, Photoshop Elements instead.

For users new to Lightroom, there are 7 modules now that you work with primarily. The first is the Library module. This is where you allow Lightroom to troll your hard drive looking for images (you can determine where it looks). This is where you would go to quickly find an image you’ve tagged (you can keyword tag your photos). The next module is Map. If you have a camera with GPS functionality or want to manually input the location data, you can use this module to locate your images on a map of the world. Next up is the Develop module. This is where all the magic is done. In this module you can choose white balance, change color temperature, change exposures, add sharpness, enhance shadows and highlights, perform lens correction and so on. It is amazingly powerful stuff. You then have the Book module, where you can create photo books in a streamlined manner and send it to Blurb for printing or create a PDF for printing wherever you might print books. Next up is Slideshow. Here you create Slideshows of images and can run it like a presentation with some added text and so on. Then there is the Print module. I still use Photoshop for printing since I know how to get the results I want from there, but I will be trying Lightroom again now that we have a new version. And finally you have the Web module that can be used to upload your photos automatically to many services you already likely use or have seen, such as Facebook.

So what’s new/different between Lightroom 3 and 4? First up is the geo tagging. For those of you lucky enough to have GPS built into your camera (including camera phones!), you can now have Lightroom import this information and tag your photos according to your locations. This means you can search via say, Indiana and find all the photos there. The inclusion of a map function allows you to see where the photos were actually taken, so if you were in a pub taking photos in New York City, then found your way to another pub 10 miles away, your photos are separated by 10 miles (scale miles!) on the map so you know exactly where the photos were taken.

Next up is the book module. I’ve used this extensively in the beta, just to try it out, and it is fairly intuitive and easy to use. I haven’t yet submitted a book for printing, but that is just a button click away as well. You can easily create books and send them off to Blurb (Adobe partnered with them) or print to PDF for printing elsewhere. The results are nice, but if you have to be in control of every aspect of the layout, InDesign is the way to go here.

You can now, if you are lucky enough to have a camera that does video, import and perform color/white balance corrections on DSLR video. I have seen it used and borrowed files from friends (my DSLR doesn’t do video) and it works. It’s not as easy to use as a dedicated video program, nor as robust, but it works. I watched a video on the Lightroom YouTube channel where they took a snap shot from a video, color corrected the photo then applied that correction to the video as well. I tried that out, and it works, but results aren’t always what you want. You may be able to do it, but I haven’t found it, but it seemed to me you had to apply the correction to the entire video, not just a scene. So those of you looking for video editing, you are better served with real editing software, not using Lightroom for this.

Another major improvement is highlight and shadow recovery. When used properly, you can actually pull detail out of a photo, even some JPEGs, you never would have thought was there. You can also do faux HDR with a single image instead of a series of images and, believe it or not, the results are actually quite nice (if you like HDR that is). The highlight/shadow recovery is similar to the sliders you knew and loved in Lightroom 3, only they are so much more powerful here.

When Adobe releases the next version of Photoshop, it will likely be amazing given how awesome Adobe Camera RAW seems to function in Lightroom.

So there are a couple questions you have to answer.

If you already own Lightroom 3, is it worth the upgrade for you? If you live your life in Lightroom 3 and rely on it for your livelihood, yes, buy 4 without question. The new highlight/shadow tools can work magic on your photos. For the rest of us who don’t make our living and it’s just a hobby, the question comes down to new functionality. If you like the idea of geo location of photos, the enhanced shadow/highlight functionality and video support, buy it. If Lightroom 3 gives the results you want and you’re just a hobbyist, you may wish to wait or not spend the money at all.

If you don’t have Lightroom already, should you buy this over Aperture? That depends. If you know Aperture and the functionality it offers, then Lightroom 4 may be a steeper learning curve for you. Personally I feel Lightroom gives ME better results, but I’m not an expert at Aperture and I’ve learned on Lightroom. If the option is DxO vs Lightroom, just buy Lightroom. It is worth the extra money.

If you want digital imaging software that allows complex cutting and editing, you don’t want Lightroom.

One other nice feature of Lightroom 4 is the new pricing structure. The prices are set at a point where it actually makes sense, if you are a hobbyist and especially a professional, to move to Lightroom.

I give Adobe Lightroom 4 five stars. It does an amazing job, works really well and the details it can pull, even from JPEGs, is astonishing.

Adobe has hit a home run here.

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 ** If you would like to download the software instantly or looking for the Mac Version CLICK HERE  ** 

 

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