Richard Sisk

I am a photographer, in particular since 1993 a full time photographer. I have specialized in landscapes and city skylines. It has been an interesting journey that has taken me all around our great country. I have visited many historic sites and most of our magnificent cities. One thing that has struck me has been the kindness and helpful spirit of the many people I’ve met along the way. It has been an opportunity to learn a great deal about many remarkable locations and people. I was able to travel a remote portion of the Oregon Trail in Idaho. I visited the source of the Missouri River in Montana, and reached down to taste the cold, crystal clear water, as Meriwether Lewis had done 200 years earlier. A few months later I found his final resting place along the Natchez Trace in Tennessee. There have been many moving moments during this long journey. However, the wonderful and kind people of America have been the greatest source of inspiration throughout my travels.

HDR Photography vs. HDR TV Explained

 HDR Info, HDR Software, HDR TV  Comments Off on HDR Photography vs. HDR TV Explained
Apr 132017
 

You’re going to hear a lot about High Dynamic Range, or HDR in the next few years. HDR imaging is already leaving a mark on the photography industry. Now, HDR displays are making a splash too, although it will be some time before they become commonplace.

As a photographer, you might be tempted to purchase an HDR TV or and HDR screen. At least for now, that isn’t necessary or practical.

 

HDR TV vs. NON-HDR TV. Is there a difference?

HDR display and HDR capture, which we’ll discuss, aren’t the same things, although they have a similar goal. Each process makes a digital copy, whether it be a video or photograph, look more like the real thing.

With HDR for monitors or TVs, this display process refers to the device’s ability to recognize specialized content that standard devices cannot. Here, the goal is to make bright images even more so, while keeping the darker parts dark. This difference between light and dark, known as the contrast ratio, is greater on HDR-capable devices than on standard ones.

As CNET notes,

“In its simplest state, it means a brighter TV, but only in the areas on the screen that need it. The result is an image that really pops and looks more like what you’d see in the real world.”

Not surprisingly, the first HDR monitors are very expensive. One from Dell, for example, is expected to launch for $4,999, while the studio-grade Sony BVM X300 costs $18,000.

 

What are the alternatives to expensive HDR TVs?

Rather than paying for an HDR display, purchase an entirely new Apple Mac instead.

Apple currently offers a 21.5-inch iMac with a Retina 4K display and the 27-inch iMac with a Retina 5K display. It also offers a 12-inch MacBook, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and 15-inch MacBook Pro — all with Retina displays too. Each of these devices are ideal for professional and novice photographers alike.

The 21.5-inch iMac with a Retina 4K display features 4,096 x 2,304 resolution and 9.4 million pixels, which is 4.5 times more than the standard 21.5-inch iMac display. The 27-inch iMac features 14.7 million pixels, seven times more pixels than an HD display. Both iMacs are supported by a wider P3-based color gamut, which provides 25 percent larger color space than previous models.

How can I capture HDR with my camera?

By contrast to HDR display, HDR for cameras is a capture process where a display shows a wider and richer range of colors, crisper whites, and much deeper blacks.

Many of today’s most popular smartphones have HDR capabilities, including current generation iPhones, Samsung, and Sony devices. High-end cameras also utilize HDR.

 

From a technical standpoint, smartphones and cameras handle HDR imaging differently. Regardless, each has a similar goal: providing a greater contrast between light and dark images, by combining several photos taken during a single burst.

You capture each of these pictures at a different exposure called “stops” or “brackets,” during the HDR process. The first stop offers an extremely dark image, while the last one is extremely bright. When merged into a single image, the final photograph includes a greater exposure range.

Taking  HDR shots isn’t easy, and in some situations, not recommended. HDR mode requires a steady hand because it doesn’t capture action well. When movement is involved, alignment can be off, and double exposures can occur. Because of this, you should use a tripod.

HDR mode works best for high-contrast scenes such as landscapes or in scenes with backlighting. HDR is also nice when capturing objects in direct sunlight.

 

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Adobe Lightroom for iOS updated with authentic HDR capture, by Zac Hall

 HDR Info, News, Technique  Comments Off on Adobe Lightroom for iOS updated with authentic HDR capture, by Zac Hall
Apr 132017
 

Adobe has released a new version of Photoshop Lightroom for iOS that includes more powerful tools for shooting on the iPhone. Authentic HDR is a new mode that rivals competing high-dynamic-range methods. Version 2.7 also includes exporting raw images and a new widget for 3D Touch and the Today view in Notification Center.

Authentic HDR, or raw HDR, is a new capture mode that Adobe says “combines the benefits of HDR technology and DNG raw” and “automatically analyzes a scene to determine the appropriate spread of exposure values over three shots, then automatically aligns, de-ghosts, and tone maps the image, creating a 32-bit floating point DNG file.”

Apple’s built-in Camera app has long supported shooting in HDR mode, but shooting in raw on iOS is still limited to third-party apps. Adobe also says its new raw HDR capture mode is superior to the iOS method that applies heavy noise reduction, sharpening and tone adjustment, and an overall lower quality image.

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Canon Working on Global Shutter With High Dynamic Range, by Alex Cooke

 HDR Info, News  Comments Off on Canon Working on Global Shutter With High Dynamic Range, by Alex Cooke
Apr 132017
 

Canon has developed a 2/3″ sensor with a global shutter and high dynamic range, helping to pave the way toward future generations of video cameras.

The rolling shutter is a common issue in video. Because most cameras read each frame of sensor data by scanning across the frame either vertically or horizontally, this means that data from the sensor is not read simultaneously, which can cause artifacts, particularly with quickly moving subjects, the most common example being airplane propellers.

While certain cameras such as the Sony F55 have a global shutter, which reads all sensor data at the same time, the majority still use rolling shutters. Canon’s global shutter CMOS sensor initially had a smaller dynamic range that required two improvements to regain a wider range.

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Topaz Labs Spring Sale Info

 News  Comments Off on Topaz Labs Spring Sale Info
Apr 132017
 

I am a big fan of Topaz Labs plugins for Photoshop… They are having a 40% off Storewide sale through April 16, 2017.

Please use the code: “SPRING40” in your cart.

Introduction to Aurora HDR 2017

 HDR Software, HDR360pro Discounts, Technique  Comments Off on Introduction to Aurora HDR 2017
Apr 112017
 

Download the FREE Trial at the link below!

Aurora HDR 2017

Leica Thalia Lens Line Announced for Alexa 65 and Vista Vision by; Tim Fok

 Gear  Comments Off on Leica Thalia Lens Line Announced for Alexa 65 and Vista Vision by; Tim Fok
Apr 022017
 

Leica has just announced a new set of primes for the 65mm Cinema format, compatible also with smaller sensor sizes. The Leica Thalia spherical lenses are compact, come in 9 focal lengths, and will cover a 60mm image circle.

The new Leica Thalia lens line.

The Leica Thalia collection has been designed with large format cinema in mind – think Alexa 65 and Vista Vision (RED Weapon 8K VV). The large image circle, however, will also enable their use on smaller, more regularly-used formats in Super35 film and digital.

Leica has announced 9 focal lengths straight off the bat, with no drip-feeding over time: 24, 30, 35, 45, 70, 100, 120, and 180mm, with T-stops ranging from 3.6 to 2.2 (see the graph further down for itemised T stops).

The Thalia lens line features a PL mount, with i Technology contacts for providing metadata.

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Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA is Here by; Jakub Han

 Gear  Comments Off on Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA is Here by; Jakub Han
Apr 022017
 

The new Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed booster ULTRA was recently announced. It uses special materials and allows you to mount PL (Positive lock) full-frame cinema lenses on E-mount Sony cameras and X-mount FUJIFILM cameras.

Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA

The new Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA features a new 5-element/4-group optical design with ultra-high index tantalum-based optical glass, which should improve corner sharpness, distortion, and reduce vignetting.

Just like the original Speed Booster, it reduces crop factor by 0.71x. Given the standard crop factor of 1.5 of most APS-C/Super35 cameras, using the new Speed Booster will result in having almost no crop at all (1.5 x 0.71 = 1.065). Remember that Speed Boosters are designed to only cover an APS-C/Super35 image circle, so on full-frame camera bodies (A7 series, NEX-VG900) the camera needs to be in “APS-C/Super35” capture mode.

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Camera-Specific Outdoor Packs Suck, Here’s What I Use Instead

 Gear, travel  Comments Off on Camera-Specific Outdoor Packs Suck, Here’s What I Use Instead
Apr 022017
 

If you’ve ever loaded up a large camera backpack (like something from Think Tank Photo or LowePro) and hiked a mountain, you’ll be able to fully appreciate how terrible the experience is… well, except for the views.

The narrow shoulder straps dig deeply into your shoulders and neck. The pack bounces all over, sliding from side to side. The “waist belt”—a piece of bare 2-inch nylon webbing with a buckle—does more harm than good, and executes exactly zero of the functions that a waist belt is supposed to offer. You curse the thing under your breath and mutter that there must be a better way.

And there is!

The solution I found and have been very happy with is to ditch the camera bag and go with a pack that has been developed over decades with engineering designed to handle heavy loads comfortably in all kinds of conditions and terrains: a hiking pack.

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New Marshall 7″ On-Camera Monitor V-LCD70W-SH by; Olof Von Oss

 Gear  Comments Off on New Marshall 7″ On-Camera Monitor V-LCD70W-SH by; Olof Von Oss
Mar 262017
 

Marshall Electronics has just unveiled their latest LCD on-camera monitor, the 7″ V-LCD70W-SH. Originally planned for IBC 2016, it’s now finally available, so let’s have a quick look.

Marshall 7″ V-LCD70W-SH LCD monitor

There’s a wide range of decent on-camera monitors to choose from, and now there’s one more candidate: the new Marshall V-LCD70W-SH. It’s a 7″ HDMI and SDI LCD monitor with pretty much every feature you would expect in this class of monitors.

It features a detachable sun hood that’s also foldable, which can be quite useful for stowing away when not needed. Those tiny brackets look like they may be a little fragile, though…

Folded and extended sun hood.

When the sun hood is attached, all buttons remain accessible as they are located on the outside, which is nice. Three user-customizable buttons for common functions such as focus peaking can be found on the left-hand side of the monitor. The other buttons are for input, menu access and on/off.

In terms of connectivity, you can use both the HDMI and SDI signals as an input. There’s a cross converter built right into the V-LCD70W-SH, so you’re able to loop through whatever signal is needed to a client monitor, for example. As an addition, this 7″ LCD sports a built-in tally light with two colors to choose from: red or green.

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FUJIFILM X-T20 Review – Real World Video Samples and First Impressions

 Gear  Comments Off on FUJIFILM X-T20 Review – Real World Video Samples and First Impressions
Mar 262017
 

Late last year while visiting Japan, I was fortunate enough to test the FUJIFILM X-T2. Now I’m delighted to have its little sibling before me, the X-T20, which was first announced at the beginning of 2017. I certainly had some expectations in regards to the video capabilities from this little camera, especially knowing how well the bigger X-T2 preformed. Here’s my FUJIFILM X-T20 review, where I will focus on its video performance.

If you have been following the latest developments in our industry, you might agree with me that something good is happening regarding all things FUJI. Besides FUJINON – their optical devision that now brings us quality cinema zoom lenses at a reduced price – FUJIFILM now offers high-quality 4K video throughout their new APS-C line, an indicator that the company is listening to their customers. If I can be a fool and look into the future, I wouldn’t be surprised if FUJIFILM’s ambitions eventually merge, and what we will see is a proper high-quality filming tool to accompany their high-quality glass.

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Check Out This Crazy Deal on the 5D Mark IV by; Alex Cooke

 Gear  Comments Off on Check Out This Crazy Deal on the 5D Mark IV by; Alex Cooke
Mar 262017
 

This is the best price we’ve seen on the Canon 5D Mark IV yet, and it likely won’t last long. If you’re in the market for Canon’s latest full-frame body, now is a really good time to pick it up.

I just completed two shoots with my 5D Mark IV today, and it continues to be my favorite Canon body to date. It’s a very capable and versatile camera that spits out gorgeous files. I recommend it very highly to anyone in the Canon system.

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With the Panasonic GH5 Imminent, Atomos Announce the Ninja Inferno as the Ultimate Companion by; Mike Briggs

 Technique  Comments Off on With the Panasonic GH5 Imminent, Atomos Announce the Ninja Inferno as the Ultimate Companion by; Mike Briggs
Mar 262017
 

With reports that Panasonic have already begun to ship the hotly anticipated GH5, it seems Atomos have perfectly timed the announcement of their latest external monitor-recorder, the Ninja Inferno, due to ship March 31st. With 4:2:2 10-bit recording in 4k 60p and HD 120p, is this the ultimate companion for videographers awaiting their GH5 pre-order to arrive?

The Ninja Inferno will become the world’s first external monitor-recorder to accept 4k DCI signals from cameras like the GH5, recorded in ProRes or DNxHR and displayed on a 7″ 10-bit HDR touch screen LCD with 1500nits of brightness. You’ll get the typical rugged, high quality build you’d expect from an Atomos monitor-recorder made from ABS Polycarbonate. Also expect to see the usual features you’d expect in a premium external monitor-recorder such as focus peaking, zebra patterns, vectorscopes, false color and anamorphic desqueeze.

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Five Ways to Edit Video More Quickly in Adobe Premiere by; Alex Cooke

 Technique  Comments Off on Five Ways to Edit Video More Quickly in Adobe Premiere by; Alex Cooke
Mar 142017
 

Some view editing as the place where the magic happens, while others see it as a necessary evil before they can get back out to shoot some more. Either way, we’d all love to be more efficient at it. These five tips will help you speed up your workflow in Adobe Premiere.

I use workspaces constantly in Digital Performer, and they’ve dramatically increased my efficiency and allowed me to intuitively design my window sets for the task at hand. Along with workspaces come four other tips in this great video, including adjustment layers to apply effects and corrections to multiple clips simultaneously, using presets to save single or multiple effects, color-toning, etc. for easy access down the road, using nested sequences to ensure you can easily move around blocks of clips without disturbing their relative ordering, and of course, shortcuts to keep you out of menus.

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10 Tips and Tricks for Making Difficult Selections in Photoshop

 Technique  Comments Off on 10 Tips and Tricks for Making Difficult Selections in Photoshop
Mar 142017
 

If you’re just starting out in Photoshop and would like to learn the art of making difficult selections to isolate things in photos, check out this great video tutorial by Tutvid. It’s a 37-minute lesson with 10 tips and tricks on methods that range from beginner to advanced.

“Learn to make virtually ANY selection and cut out anything you would even need in Photoshop,” writes Nate Dodson. “We’ll make simple, straight-line selections with the Poly Lasso tool, we’ll select car parts with the Pen Tool and edit the path, we’ll use Calculations to create extremely intricate and difficult selections VERY quickly, we’ll learn to use and work with Select and Mask as well as Refine Edge, we’ll build a selection based on a single channel, and SO much more!”

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Lightroom Mobile Adds Powerful RAW HDR Capture Mode in Latest Update

 HDR Images, HDR Info  Comments Off on Lightroom Mobile Adds Powerful RAW HDR Capture Mode in Latest Update
Mar 142017
 

Adobe released a major update for Lightroom Mobile on both iOS and Android today. And in addition to a few simple features like “speed review” and a notification widget for iOS, and radial & linear selection tools for Android, Adobe dropped a bombshell: RAW HDR capture… on your smartphone.

Smartphone cameras are improving by leaps and bounds, but they still fall far short of bigger-sensor brethren, particularly where dynamic range is concerned. This update, claims Adobe, will change all that, allowing your measly smartphone to capture a wider range of tones than previously possible:

“The new HDR mode works by automatically scanning the scene to determine the correct exposure range and then capturing three DNG files which are then automatically aligned, merged, deghosted, and tonemapped in the app,” explains Adobe. “You get a 32­bit floating point DNG, with all of the benefits of both an HDR and a raw photo, which is processed by the same algorithms with the same quality as the HDR technology built into Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom.”

The new RAW HDR mode in Lightroom Mobile should make a mockery of your phone’s built-in HDR capabilities, which can typically balance out only the harshest of tones by using two JPEGs. In comparison, Lightroom’s Mobile’s three RAW DNGs are orders of magnitude more useful.

To take advantage, you’ll have to have an iPhone 6s or newer, iPhone SE, or iPad Pro 9.7-inch on the iOS side, or a Samsung S7, S7 Edge, Google Pixel, or Pixel XL for Android. Additional Android devices are being developed for “as quickly as possible.”

Here are some sample photos, all of them captured using this new HDR mode:

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Rumor Has It Sigma Is Releasing a 70-200mm f/2.8 Sport Lens in Late 2017 by; Alex Cooke

 Gear  Comments Off on Rumor Has It Sigma Is Releasing a 70-200mm f/2.8 Sport Lens in Late 2017 by; Alex Cooke
Mar 062017
 

Sigma is showing no signs of slowing down. As their line of unique and high-quality lenses continues to expand at an explosive rate, it appears they’ll be adding a lens almost every photographer should own later this year: the 70-200mm f/2.8.

The 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is arguably the most important lens most photographers can carry, along with the 24-70mm f/2.8. Every major manufacturer has their own native version: Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Pentax, all of which represent some of their best optics and performance. Tamron also recently released the SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2, an update that provides improved AF, stabilization, and optical quality. With Sigma on a roll, having released four new full-frame lenses, it’s only logical to hear that they’re planning an update to their 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, which is a holdover from the days before their revamped design that started with their Art series. Such a lens would surely be widely welcomed by photographers who have mostly embraced Sigma’s new lenses, while the continued pressure put on the mainstay manufacturers by increasingly tempting third-party options is always good for the market.

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New FUJIFILM X-T2 Cage – LockCircle Kinetics XT2 by; Jakub Han

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on New FUJIFILM X-T2 Cage – LockCircle Kinetics XT2 by; Jakub Han
Mar 062017
 

LockCircle is introducing their new FUJIFILM X-T2 cage called Kinetics XT2. Its asymmetrical design approach lets you hold the original grip of the camera, and features various threads for accessories as well as a baseplate, and HDMI and USB ports protectors.

LockCircle Kinetics XT2 cage with all the features

FUJIFILM X-T2 Cage – LockCircle Kinetics XT2

FUJIFILM X-T2 is a very interesting mirrorless camera for filmmakers that is especially capable in 4K. We tested this little camera couple of months ago, os if you haven’t yet, make sure to take a look at our real world video test and also our Lab test where we compared it against the Sony a7S II. LockCircle is now introducing their ergonomic cage for the FUJIFILM X-T2, which is designed to fit around the camera with an “asymmetrical design approach” for a right-handed camera grip. This means it is possible to hold the camera using the original grip even when the cage is mounted, as visible in the product photos. The weight of the cage itself is 300g (10 oz).

All camera controls remain visible and available as the FUJIFILM XT-2 cage has many cutouts, and offers multiple threads to mount various accessories – 79x 1/4”-20 threads and 3x 3/8”. The cage has also several threads to mount the AC tape measurement titanium hook.

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Cinematic Motion with GoPro ND Filters – PolarPro Cinema Series Filter Review

 Action cams  Comments Off on Cinematic Motion with GoPro ND Filters – PolarPro Cinema Series Filter Review
Mar 062017
 

A little edit of my recent skiiing holidays in Flachau, Austria. I used the GoPro Hero 5 black with the Karma Grip Gimbal and PolarPro ND filters – combo that works very well! Music is “High Speed Chase” by Terry Devine-King, licenced from audionetwork.com

Let me know how you like it and feel free to share it!

Follow me on twitter: twitter.com/gunmac

The timelapse sequences were shot on my Sony A7s II

 

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FUJINON MK18-55mm Technical Review – The New E-Mount Cine Zoom in the Lab by; Sebastian Wober

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on FUJINON MK18-55mm Technical Review – The New E-Mount Cine Zoom in the Lab by; Sebastian Wober
Mar 062017
 

FUJINON just introduced a new line of affordable E-Mount Cine Zooms made for documentary-style cine shooters. The FUJINON MK18-55mm T2.9 is the first of two complimentary zoom lenses and it’s already on our test bench – here’s our FUJINON MK18-55mm Review.

Featuring a claimed non-breathing focus mechanism, par-focal design and fully-geared cine lens controls, let’s confront this newcomer with our 8K test chart and compare it to the infamous new Zeiss LWZ.3 21-100mm T2.9-3.9 and a similarly-specced Canon photo lens.

Also, check out our Hands-on FUJINON MK 18-55mm with Footage HERE.

Why is this Lens Interesting for Cine Shooters?

First of all, let’s look at why this lens is interesting for us! For many years, large-sensor video shooters have been forced to use photo lenses with our Canon, or Canon-adapted large-sensor cameras. As many of us shoot documentaries or documentary-style projects, using photo zoom lenses has been a real frustration as they’re designed for photography, meaning they have a short focus throw, no hard stops, no manual iris control, clunky zooming, breathing, are non par-focal… the list goes on, as these are considerations that aren’t really relevant for shooting still images. Only recently manufacturers have finally started delivering zooms that are fit for video production and are not as heavy on the lens barrel and the wallet as high-end cine zooms. The Sony 28-135mm was the first of its kind (reviewed here), Canon was next, and now FUJINON is the one to catch our interest.

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Sony Develops Super Slow Motion Sensor for Smartphones by; Jakub Han

 Cinematography  Comments Off on Sony Develops Super Slow Motion Sensor for Smartphones by; Jakub Han
Feb 162017
 

The capabilities of image sensors are constantly getting better, also in the area of the ubiquitous small smartphone sensors. Sony has developed a new 3-layer stacked high speed CMOS sensor with DRAM. It promises to minimise image distortion and add super slow motion capabilities to future smartphones.

Sony announced the development of the industry’s first 3-layer stacked CMOS sensor for smartphones. Compared to traditional 2-layer sensors, the new Sony sensor features an added DRAM layer. The purpose of this extra layer is to increase data readout speeds and make it possible to capture still images of fast-moving subjects with minimal focal plane distortion (something we also call “rolling shutter”) as well as super slow motion movies at up to 1,000 frames per second in 1080p.

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