PROGRAMMING ALERT: I’m the guest this week on Steve Brazill’s highly acclaimed “Behind The Shot” podcast, and we’re talking about composition, timeless photos, and all sorts of fun photo photography stuff. If you’ve got a sec, I’d love it if you checked it out. Here’s the link but I also embedded it below (and a big thanks to Steve for having me on again. Truly an honor.
OK, onto this “Photoshop Tip Friday!
This is a super-handy selection tip for selecting something that seems like it should be really simple…and it is, once you learn this tip. Check it out:
Pretty handy, right?
If you’re new to Photoshop, this online course can really help
We just released one of my new classes, and this is one expressly for Photoshop beginners. Check out the official trailer below (it’s short).
Here’s a link to the course — you can watch it right now (if you’re not a member, you can unlock this course for just $29).
Thanks for stopping by. Have a rockin’ weekend, everybody!!! :)
P.S. The Outdoor Photography Conference is almost here — coming May 18 & 19, 2021. It’s two full-days, two simultaneous training tracks, all online, and super affordable and features one of the greatest teams of instructors we’ve ever assembled. It’s going to an incredible event — Here’s the link for tickets and info.
This is just a quick little video, but besides learning the background effect, you’ll pick up a few handy little Photoshop tips along the way. Give it a quick look below:
Hope you found that helpful. :)
The Outdoor Photography Conference is just two weeks away!
It’s coming up May 18 & 19, 2021 and we’ve put together one of the greatest teams of instructors we’ve ever assembled. It’s going to an incredible event — two full days, two simultaneous training tracks, all online, and super affordable. Here’s the link for tickets and info.
Here’s wishing you an absolutely kick-butt week! :)
Mornin’, everybody! I have an update for you in the on-going chicken wars (important, since it is a proven fact that many photographers and Photoshop user consume chicken sandwiches). Since my last post, I wanted to re-test some of the top-tier chicken sandwiches in the battle and see if after a few weeks I still felt the same way (especially about Zaxby’s being the winner, being at least as good if not better than Popeyes). Briefly, here’s how it went down:
I’m moving this one up a spot in my rankings, perhaps even over KFC’s excellent new chicken sandwich, but primarily for one reason: Burger King’s sauce is better. KFC’s is more like just mayo, where Burger King went more the route of what Popeyes (and Zaxby’s) is using. It’s a very large, very crunchy chicken, and I’m thinking this has moved into the #2-ish spot (behind Popeyes and Zaxbys who are tied are very close to tied. More on this in a sec).
I just retried this one yesterday and it was actually pretty tasty overall, but it’s losing the war here for two reasons: (1) The chicken patty itself is really small. The whole sandwich is small in comparison to the other. My sister-in-law nailed it when she said “It looks like it should be on the value menu.” It’s similar in size to a McDonald’s cheeseburger (not a Quarter Pounder, a regular cheeseburger). And (2) it’s called the Crispy Chicken Sandwich and it’s well-named. It’s just a bit crispy. It’s not crunchy like Burger King’s, Popeye’s and Zaxby’s. So, while it’s fairly tasty, it’s not “big and crunchy” which kind of takes it out of the running in the Chicken Wars. However, I read an article yesterday about how much people are liking the new chicken sandwich and how it’s helped McDonald’s sales, so it is definitely an improvement overall, which is a good thing.
I revisited a local Popeyes and it’s still really great any way you look at it (and they’re the reason the war started in the first place). I still do think it’s their bun. They’re something magical about it. They could put their bun on the menu by itself and people would probably order it. Their side dishes are kind of ‘meh’ but their sandwich is still pretty incredible.
There are over 400 locations out there, but sadly mostly East Coast and Midwest, and there’s a few in Utah for some reason, and that’s about it, which is a shame because I gone back (a few times now) and I’m telling you — if I had to pick one, even over Popeyes, it would be Zaxby’s. They have it all, and they are taking the Chicken Wars VERY serious (their staff uniforms are camouflage. I am not making this up). Their sauce is the boss — their bun is great. It’s big and very crunchy, and all these restaurants were lined up beside each other so I could choose any one, including Popeye’s, I would still go to Zaxbys — double and triple re-confirmed as the winner.
This one moved down a notch swapping spots with Burger King (who moved up). Their chicken is top notch — the bun is great — the pickle sublime — it’s big and crunchy, but their sauce is (as I mentioned earlier) kinda boring. Still, a great choice (even with the boring mayo-like sauce, because their chicken and bun are top notch, and size and crunchiness are on point). If they offered a different sauce choice, I think they could win it all. Plus, KFC’s sales of these new chicken sandwiches are reportedly up big-time, so people are super digging them!
So, that’s a quick update. I get lots of emails and comments (and people telling me, “You need to try that particular one again…” so I made another pass, and there was only one change — Burger King is on the rise, which is not easy for this Non-Burger King fan to say, but they have a great sandwich and there’s a Burger King fairly close to my house, which is not a great thing because it’s a tad too-convenient.
This is only sandwich I did not re-try. I had tried two already — I bought a 2nd one because I thought there must have been a mistake with the order on the first one and they gave me their old chicken sandwich. When I bought the 2nd one, I kid you not — I took two bites and threw it away. It’s awful. I don’t know what in the heck you have to do to a chicken sandwich to make it awful, but Wendys (whom I otherwise love), somehow found a way. Yeeech!
Here’s two music videos of the same great song
Kalebra and I love Bruno Mars — his music, his dancing, his lyrics, and his joy while he’s performing. He’s just incredibly talented (I surprised Kalebra a few years back with a birthday trip to Vegas to see him perform live, and he was just fantastic!) Well, he teamed up with Anderson Paak to create the group “Silk Sonic” and their single (which has been out a few months now), called “Leave the door open” is just awesome! It’s like an old 1970s Chi-Lites song (Have you seen her?) or the Spinner’s “Could it be I’m falling in love” or the Manhattan’s songs (like, Let’s just Kiss and Say Goodbye), kind of in that genre but with today’s recording technology.
Beside and musicianship and incredible vocals, but lyrics are kind of hilarious (in a good way), as is their performance (it doesn’t come off as silly, it’s cute) and their personalities really come through in both videos.
First, here’s the official music video (note: it already has 176-million views!).
But after you watch that, watch this performance from the recent Grammy Award’s show where they totally nail the Temptations style choreography and overall 1970s TV show performance vibe, look and feel. You’ll dig it (and you get to hear a really great song again).
There’s only 11 copies left in stock of my book, “It’s a Jesus Thing”
I wrote a book about Jesus a while back (video above), and Amazon does have the print version in stock, but there are only 11-copies left in stock, so if you know someone who might get a lot from a book like this (a book for “Wanna-believers”), or you think you might want a copy for yourself, here’s the link (of course, you can always get a Kindle version since they are always in stock). If you watch the video above, one of the bonuses is you get to see what I look like with more hair and an Ibanez guitar t-shirt that somehow I lost, and now I’m kinda wondering what happened to it, and now that’s opened a whole can of worms and I won’t be able to sleep tonight wondering what happened to that shirt.
Have a really great weekend, everybody! Here’s wishing you good heath and happiness (and some great tunes to take you into the weekend). :)
Well, on Friday I talked about how I had to upgrade my Canon EOS R mirrorless’ firmware (which is an upgrade to the software inside your hardware to fix problems mostly, but also sometimes to add new features). Today, we’re looking at how to do that (in this case, for Canon cameras, but most cameras use a similar method to what I’m going to show you).
STEP ONE: Pop a memory card into your camera and Format that card. Remember, this is going to erase any images you have on that card, so make sure whatever you had on that card is backed up somewhere. Once it’s formatted, go ahead and pop that memory card out of your camera.
STEP TWO: Go to the Website of the company that makes the piece of equipment you’re updating (In my case, it was Canon), and download the free firmware update right on to your computer. In this case, Canon even has a big red “Firmware Update Now Available” badge right there next to a picture of the camera, so they must really want you to update it, right? Click the gray “Drivers & Downloads” to download the firmware to your computer.
STEP THREE: Connect a memory card reader to your computer, and pop that memory card you just formatted (back in step one), into the reader so it mounts on your desktop. Now take the firmware file your downloaded to your computer (see above left), and drag it onto the memory card. Don’t put it inside a folder on your memory card. Don’t drag the whole folder over there, either. Just take that one file (in this case, the file with .FIR as it’s file extension) and drag JUST THAT ONE FILE over onto your memory card. It should be right on the root level, so don’t drag it inside anything — just leave it out there on its own. I’m over-explaining this because this is the step where people seem to mess up. “Should I drag it inside that folder?” No! Just leave it right there at the root level.
STEP FOUR: Now that your firmware update file is on the memory card, go ahead and eject it from your card reader, and pop it back in your camera again. Go to the Settings menu and find the Firmware menu (shown here, where it’s under that “wrench” menu (for lack of a better term); in the 6th set of menus (seen above).
STEP FIVE: The last step is to click on the Firmware menu and that takes you to another screen asking if you want to update the firmware, and then finally it shows you the firmware it sees on your memory card (as shown above). Choose your new firmware update from the menu; click the OK button, and in just a minute or two your firmware update will be complete. That’s it. :)
Hope you found that helpful. :)
Coming Next Month…The “Outdoor Photography Conference”
We’re less than a month away from our two-day, two track, online event for outdoor photographers, and we want you to be a part of it.
We have an absolutely incredible list of instructors, and it’s going to a very special educational event. Here’s the link for details (if you sign up early, you save a bundle!). Hope you can make it.
Here’s to a great week! A happy, healthy, and creative one at that! :)
OK, I’m still dealing with the error problem I’m getting on my new Canon EOS R6, but I think I may have a found a solution, or a culprit, or some way of moving forward (here’s the link for more on this “Err 70” problem I’m having which shuts my camera down during my shoot).
1. Could it be a compatibility issue with my new Tamron lens?
There was a compatibility issue early on with the EOS R6 camera body and certain Tamron lenses (including my new SP 150-600mm G2 lens). So, I contacted Tamron and they checked my lens’ serial number and were able to confirm it already has the firmware update that makes it compatible with the Canon EOS R6, so it’s not that. They did offer to have me send in the lens and they would inspect all the connections and such (no charge), but I don’t think that’s the issue, so unless I hit a road block and that’s the only possible solution, I won’t need to be shipping the lens to them. High-five to Tamron for the awesome customer service either way.
2. What about my Canon EOS R6’s firmware?
This is what I think the most likely culprit is. I checked my new R6’s firmware version and even though I just got the camera recently, it was still on the original 1.0 firmware. It’s now up to firmware version 1.3.1 and I found an article where it mentions the err 70 issue, and that this addresses it. I also heard from a reader who said his err 70 issue went away after he updated his firmware, so yesterday I updated the camera’s firmware to the latest (1.3.1), and I’m hoping it fixes the issue. More on this as I keep shooting with it, but I’m hopeful.
3. Another scary possibility
I also heard from a repair tech who used to work full-time as a Canon tech guy, and he said,
“ …the error you experience (error 70) is almost always due to a defective main board in the camera. The camera may work on and off but the problem will always return, often the problem correlates to a defective memory buffer or issues within the mainboard related to power (think EOS Rebel 70D). The only way to get rid of it is to send to Canon for service.”
I hope that’s not the case, but at least since he said that, I’m mentally prepared to send the unit back if need be, but I’m hoping my updating the firmware to 1.3.1 will have done the trick. I’ll let you know if it doesn’t.
Thanks to everyone who has offered suggestions and tried to help me figure this out. There’s not many photographers out there experiencing this issue, so while it’s not widespread, it certainly is frustrating, but I will get it figured out and get back to enjoying the R6. Outside of “Err 70” it is, hands-down, the best camera I’ve ever used by far, and I am super digging it. All the more reason why I want to get it working right. :)
Have a great weekend, everybody! Wishing you good heath and happiness. :)
PROGRAMMING UPDATE: That TV show called “The Great Create” where I compete against another photographer, is now live. You can catch it right here.
On Friday, I gave you my initial field report on the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens, which I bought specifically for shooting airshows. After shooting more with it this weekend (as one of the official photographers for the Sun n’ Fun Aerospace Expo airshow), I like it even more. Super sharp, responsive, feels great, not too heavy — I’m loving it.
However, the same issue cropped up with the AutoFocus button turning off on the lens again, but outside of that minor nuisance, the lens is just an incredible bargain for the money (here’s the link to my post on it from Friday).
Today I’m sharing my field test on my new camera body, the Canon EOS R6, and I’m going to cut right to what it does for aviation photography (and this would also work for wildlife photography); that just absolutely blew me away. Check this out:
Your point your lens in the general direction of where you see the jet in the sky (as seen here, where the jet is still WAY far away).
2. It recognizes the moving object, snaps focus, and locks right on to it (as seen here where five focus points all hit right on it), and it now tracks along with the jet as it moves. Come on — that is crazy!!! It locks on pretty darn fast, too!
NOTE: That shot above is not a keeper — the jet is too tiny in the frame, and I don’t want to have to crop in that far to get the jet larger. It’s not going to have the sharpness we’re all looking for if you crop in that much). This is just an example of how far away the jets are when I first start trying to lock focus onto one. Once the focus is locked on and tracking with the jet, then I pan along with the jet as it gets closer and closer. When the jet gets nice and big in the viewfinder, I’m already locked on, and all I have to do is hit the shutter button to start taking shots.
Above: This is an un-cropped shot and where I’m trying to get to as far as filling the frame with the jet. Now, this shot actually does need cropping but not to make it bigger. The front of the jet is too close to the edge of the frame, so trimming the back in some would help it look more balanced). But to get to here and have the jet in razor sharp focus, I start focusing and locking on while the jet is still far away and small in the frame like you saw previously. When it starts getting closer and much larger in the frame — that’s when I start shooting.
Also, to give you those two viewfinder examples above, I had to create those viewfinders myself and put my shots inside them (thank you, Photoshop), so you could get a good idea of what it looks like while you’re actually shooting with it. Otherwise, I’d have to shoot with my iPhone’s camera stuck up to the R6’s viewfinder, and well, that all sounds like a lot more work than I’m willing to do. LOL!
The biggest thing for me was…
…I got the most number of in-focus shots I’ve ever gotten at any airshow, period! It almost felt like cheating. Not enough for me to turn these auto tracking features off, mind you, but still. I showed some other guys from the team how well the tracking worked, and they were as amazed as I was (I probably sold two or three units while I was there. Canon should give me a commission).
This miracle of focus is a simple combination of just four settings on the camera:
(1) High speed continuous shooting mode (burst mode)
(2) Switching from Single Shot focus (for non-moving objects) to Servo AF mode (which is the Continuous Auto Focus Mode)
(3) Using the Large Zone AF Horizontal Auto Focus mode (great for tracking objects that move horizontally across the frame).
(4) Using the “Case 2” Focus mode, which is for tracking moving objects while ignoring obstacles that might get in the way (like another jet passing by).
Note:Tip of the hat to my wonderful techie/nerdy friends Larry Grace (President of the ISAP – International Society of Aviation Photography, and one of the top aviation shootesr out there) and my Grid co-host and serious techie wonderland Erik Kuna, as they helped me with some of my settings on this new set-up, and for aviation photography in general, so a big shoutout to them both.
I will say, when you first start shooting aviation with an Electronic Viewfinder, it’s a little weird because as you crank off a rapid series of shots, each one appears for a moment on screen inside your viewfinder. This is both a blessing and a curse (more on the blessing part in a moment), but it does take a little getting used to, as it feels almost like it’s stuttering, while you’re tracking the jets, but when you stop and review your shots, you’ll see it’s clearly not. Definitely a different experience from shooting with a DSLR, but you get used it quickly.
Something Else I Loved
Another great feature of the R6 (and the blessing I mentioned above) is that you don’t need to pull the camera away from your eye and bring up the images on the screen on the back of your camera. Your images, as you take them, appear right on your viewfinder, and you go back and review your images (basically, you can “chimp”) through your viewfinder, and the images look large and bright and crisp even if it’s incredibly bright and sunny out. You try this a little bit, and you’ll find yourself looking at the back of your camera less and less. It’s really a huge advantage for anybody shooting outdoors in daylight.
I did run into a problem
So I’m up on this 1-story platform out near the taxiway they had set up for the official airshow photographers, and I’m warming up doing some slow shutter speed panning because we’re shooting prop planes, and I’m excited because I haven’t really had a chance to shoot my favorite WW-II prop driven fighter/bomber, the P-51 Mustang, and it’s coming up next. Then this happens:
This is not what you want to see during your shoot, but I quickly followed the instructions because now the P-51 is taking off, and I don’t want to miss it. I missed it. Turning it on/off didn’t do the trick. I reinstalled the battery numerous times — that didn’t do it. There go two or three more passes of the P-51, and I’m still futzing around trying to get the camera to come on. All I get is this screen or a completely black screen (as if the camera is off). While I’m doing this, Erik pulls out his photo and looks up what an Error 70 is, and it says it’s a “data error,” so I pop out each of the memory cards, one by one, using the process of elimination. Finally, it fires up, and I think it’s fixed. I’m wrong. It goes right back out again. I switched cards again. No luck. Finally, I popped in a completely different new fresh battery, and that did the trick. Of course, I completely missed the entire P-51 routine and photo pass and everything, but at least my camera was working again.
It happened the next day again. It happened again on Sunday during the Warbirds demo. It happened just now as I’m writing this article (I had to double-check something in the viewfinder). I popped a different battery in, and now for whatever reason, it’s working again.
So, at this point, I feel like either:
a) Something is wrong with a number of my Canon-brand batteries (these weren’t knock-offs, except for one Erik gave me Friday afternoon but that one worked fine), or
b) There’s something wrong with my R6.
Either way, the last thing you want is your camera going down in the middle of the shoot, and just putting “Error 70” on the back of the camera, and not at least saying what the issue might be, is just this side of useless. It wouldn’t haven’t cost Canon anything extra to put “Error 70: Data Error,” or “Battery error” so at least I could also check my memory cards or battery issue, which they could have said on screen as well. That’s just straight-up lousy User Interface design.
Anyway, I’ll be spending some time this week trying to figure this Error 70 problem out. I’ll search for Firmware updates and the such, but that was pretty aggravating, to say the least, and obviously, I’m still dealing with this issue. After searching online, I see a few other people have had this same error, but not a ton of folks, so the quick answer isn’t easily found out there.
Back to Good Stuff
I used both super-fast UHS-II SD Lexar memory cards in the R6 and some of my older slower Lexar cards as well (not crazy slow, but not nearly as fast as those newer UHS-II cards), and I never “filled the buffer” or got any stuttering, which was great. I felt I could fire as long as I wanted without hiccuping, and I was shooting in Raw the whole time. Maybe I just didn’t hold the shutter button down long enough (LOL!), but I never had a single buffer issue the entire two days I was there.
There are lots of other great features about the Canon R6 (dual card slots, built-in focus stacking, super incredible high ISO performance, in-body stabilization, etc.), but for what I was doing (shooting jets and prop planes streaking across the sky), I only used a minimal amount of what the R6 can do. I never even swiveled out the LCD screen, for goodness sake (my single favorite feature for shooting landscape and travel and automotive). So, this wasn’t’t a full review of the camera and all its features — by now you’ve probably read and memorized all the specs — but I wanted to give you a real-world look at what it’s like shooting aviation with it out in the field.
More to come on this new rig as I get a chance to shoot with it a bit more with different genres and shooting situations. Still, I can tell you, at this point, I am absolutely in love with the combination of that Tamron 150-600mm paired with the Canon EOS R6 for aviation photography. For the killer prices of the two, their smaller sizes and weights, it’s a tough combo to beat. I’ve just got to get that Error 70 issue addressed (and I will, one way or another).
The Sun n’ Fun Aerospace Expo Rocks!
The Sun n’ Fun Aerospace Expo is one of America’s largest airshows, and it’s so well run from top to bottom and just so much fun for everybody. If you haven’t been, it’s worth the trip down (and there’s LOTS of on-site camping right in the middle of it all).
A special thanks to the awesome folks at Sun n’ Fun for having me on their official photography team this year, with a special thanks to the wonderful Joe Caccioppo and the great crew he put together. Such a great guy and team leader. So organized and helpful (he really knows this stuff inside and out). Also, the folks at Sun n’ Fun fly-in set up the photographers for success, providing a fantastic home base and lots of ways to make great shots, and I can tell you, all the show photographers sure appreciated it big time. It was a treat!
Anyway, I hope you found that field report, helpful. If you have any questions, you can hit me up here on the comments, or bop over to my Facebook page where I’ll be answering questions over there as well. Here’s to a great week — hope yours is a safe and happy one!