How to Photograph Birds With Clean, Simple Backgrounds

How to Photograph Birds With Clean, Simple Backgrounds

One of the most difficult challenges in bird photography is finding the subjects you want in front of non-distracting backgrounds. With limited means of placing wild birds exactly where you need them, what methods can be used to ensure other elements in the frame don’t overpower the subject?

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Fstoppers Hands-on Look at the Hasselblad CFV II 50C (and X1D Mark II 50C)

Fstoppers Hands-on Look at the Hasselblad CFV II 50C (and X1D Mark II 50C)

With companies like Fujifilm entering the medium format industry, it’s not going to be an easy place to compete, especially for a company like Hasselblad. The new Fuji GFX 100 looks pretty incredible; however, Hasselblad does seem to have a few tricks left up its proverbial sleeve.

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Trump Threatens to Imprison Photojournalist Who Took Photo of Letter From Kim Jong-un Despite Warnings Not To

Trump Threatens to Imprison Photojournalist Who Took Photo of Letter From Kim Jong-un Despite Warnings Not To

President Trump has scolded a photographer in the Oval Office, even threatening to send him to prison, after the photographer took a picture of a letter from Kim Jong-un.

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Ready to Replace Your Main Camera With an iPhone With Multi-Lenses?

Ready to Replace Your Main Camera With an iPhone With Multi-Lenses?

The pictures you can make on the latest smartphones are starting to give regular cameras a run for their money. Combine these advancements with a multi-lens case and you might just be able to leave your regular camera at home.

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Insights on Retouching From a Retoucher’s Perspective With Jeff Whitlock

Insights on Retouching From a Retoucher's Perspective With Jeff Whitlock

Jeff Whitlock’s work as a high-end retoucher has been gaining notice for the last several years, and just about every time I turn around, Jeff is sharing some amazing project he’s just worked on. From the “This is not Magritte” series to his work on portraits of celebrities, Jeff has been knocking it out of the park with great regularity.

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So Many Photographers Make This Mistake. Are You One of Them?

So Many Photographers Make This Mistake. Are You One of Them?

We all make mistakes. They are part of the learning process, and if we want to improve, we have to accept that we’ll make plenty of them. Photographers are no different, but there’s one big mistake I see so many photographers make time and time again, yet it’s so avoidable.

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6 tricks with the RØDE Wireless GO mic system (TLDR Filmmaker)

While I await the review unit of the RØDE Wireless Go microphone system (which I first covered upon its release at NAB in April), I am now sharing with you TLDR Filmmaker’s must-see video about it. It’s entitled 6 tricks with the RODE Wireless GO you need to know about! Ahead is the video with my comments.

My first (short) article on RØDE Wireless Go

If you missed my initial article, here it is: RØDE launches smallest cordless microphone system: Wireless GO (illustrated above, B&H).

My comments

First, congratulations for an amazing job done to TLDR Filmmaker!

Second, his suggestion of the Y-cable to connect two wired mics to a single transmitter reminded me of my article Multitrack audio for best control later, versus live mix back in 2016 (illustrated above). In this case, TLDR Filmmaker is not using the Y-cable to bridge (combine) the two independent microphone signals, but to maintain them separate (quasi-stereo Left + Right) which can later be separated in, i.e. treated as multitrack, for maximum control. In addition to his important suggestion of matching both connected microphones as those which require bias voltage (“plugin power”) or not, it is also important to try to have the closest output level as possible, since the transmitter has only one gain adjustment for both channels. Smaller level differences can be handled later by normalizing the two tracks after separating them on your timeline. It will be even better if your camcorder, recorder or camera app can record the audio 24-bit (or greater), as covered in Understanding 24-bit vs 16-bit audio production & distribution from 2015. For example:

  • The SC6-L interface for iOS devices (covered in several articles, AmazonB&H) and RØDE Reporter app (covered most recently here) both handle 24-bit audio at 48 kHz.
  • The Panasonic Lumix GH5 and GH5s can allow 24-bit audio recording, but only when used with the DMW-XLR1 XLR interface, as covered here (AmazonB&H).
  • The Sound Devices MixPre-3 (reviewed here, B&H) can record 24-bit audio.
  • The Zoom H5 recorder (AmazonB&H) can record 24-bit audio at 48 kHz.
  • The iRig Pre HD from IK Multimedia (reviewed here, AmazonB&H) can allow recording 24-bit/48 kHz when matched with a capable recording application on Android, Chromebook, iOS, macOS or Windows.
  • The RØDECaster Pro (covered in several articles, B&H) is a multifaceted mixer/recorder with bulletproof mix-minus and virtual carts that exclusively records at 48 kHz/24-bit.

Also see the related article: Enter the 48 kHz Alliance.

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Save US$20 on Google Fi, my favorite mobile telephony and data service

Click here to save US$20 on Google Fi, which now works on iPhone and Android. With Google Fi (covered previously in several articles), there is no extra charge for data-only SIM cards on the same account, for up to 10 devices. You only pay for the total data, and data is free after 6 GB per month. So you could be using one Google FI SIM card on your primary phone, another in a tablet or secondary phone (or third, of fourth…).

FTC disclosure

No manufacturer is specifically paying Allan Tépper or TecnoTur LLC to write this article or the mentioned books. Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur , BeyondPodcasting CapicúaFM or TuRadioGlobal programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs. Allan Tépper’s opinions are his own. Allan Tépper is not liable for misuse or misunderstanding of information he shares.

Copyright and use of this article

The articles contained in the TecnoTur channel in ProVideo Coalitionmagazine are copyright Allan Tépper/TecnoTur LLC, except where otherwise attributed. Unauthorized use is prohibited without prior approval, except for short quotes which link back to this page, which are encouraged!

The post 6 tricks with the RØDE Wireless GO mic system (TLDR Filmmaker) appeared first on ProVideo Coalition.

Shoot With Less to Create More Effectively

Shoot With Less to Create More Effectively

Let’s be honest. While we as photographers have a troublesome relationship with gear at times, we could mostly do with a lot less of it. In yet another wonderful discussion, Nick Carver gives us his thoughts on hiring a wedding photographer, using less gear, choosing a rum as a digestif, and what it means to be a photographer.

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Get a Great Deal on a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art Lens Today and Tomorrow Only

Get a Great Deal on a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art Lens Today and Tomorrow Only

The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art lens was the first in the company’s highly lauded “Art” line, which has become well known for high optical quality at prices that seriously undercut those for equivalent lenses from first party manufacturers. Now, you can get an even better deal on the 35mm f/1.4 Art by taking $250 off today and tomorrow only. This includes both the DSLR and mirrorless versions of the lens.

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Transcend Portable SSD ESD350C: the quest for fast portable drives


Announced recently, the Transcend ESD350C Portable SSD is one of a series of new options introduced by the company, which include a range of speedier products from USB flash drives to card readers.

To explore the ease of use and fast transfer speeds offered by USB Type-C ports, you need more than one drive with the interface, you need to have a whole range of products that allow to keep data flowing at the speed offered by the fastest connection available. That’s the reason why Transcend is expanding its family of USB Type-C portable storage devices. USB Type-C also has another advantage: it is easy to insert, because it is reversible. This symmetrical oval plug will replace Type A and B, making life easier for users.

The launch of the ESD350C Portable SSD is one example of the solutions now available to users who need breakneck speeds.  Compatible with desktops, laptops, on-the-go (OTG) mobile devices, as well as gaming consoles, it provides the perfect expansion with its large capacity and speedy file-transfer capabilities. Available in 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB capacities, the ESD350C is equipped with the USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface with the support of UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol), delivering, says Transcend, “blazing-fast transfer speeds of up to 1,050MB/s, meaning that even 4K resolution videos transfer instantly.”

The Portable SSD ESD350C

The ESD350C comes pre-formatted in the exFAT file system and is perfect for saving high-resolution photos, 4K resolution videos, and other multimedia files. The ESD350C also delivers, according to Transcend, “excellent cooling performance so that it remains cool to the touch even when working hard. The SSD comes equipped with both a USB Type-C and USB Type-C to Type-A cable, so it can be used with legacy as well as new devices.”

Extra compact and portable, the palm-sized ESD350C, protected inside a navy blue silicone rubber case that’s ruggedized and shock-resistant, is the perfect pocket-sized storage companion. The drive uses exclusive Transcend Elite software, an advanced software package compatible with macOS, Windows OS, and Android systems that helps users manage data. A free download from Transcend’s official website, Transcend Elite features backup and restore, data encryption, and cloud backup functions.

USB Type-C connections

The ESD350C joins a family of portable SSD solutions  available in a variety of speed ranges, housings and capabilities to suit the needs of different users. It includes solutions as the ESD250C (960 GB capacity) and ESD240C (120 GB, 240 GB, and 480 GB capacities), that come in a lightweight metallic casing and feature excellent shock resistance and a maximum transfer speed of 520 MB/s.

The credit-card-sized ESD230C, which fits snugly in a wallet or purse, providing portability as well as transfer rates of up to 520 MB/s, is also a solution to consider. It comes in 240 GB, 480 GB, and 960 GB capacities. All models include a USB Type-C cable as well as a USB Type-C to Type-A cable to work with desktops and laptops featuring the USB Type-C or USB 3.1 interface, or with OTG devices and gaming consoles.


StoreJet and JetFlash

Also introduced this month, the StoreJet 25M3C is the latest USB Type-C portable hard drive to join Transcend’s expanding family of USB Type-C portable storage devices. The new drive features a a native USB Type-C port, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface for amazing speeds, and is offered in the 2 TB size. Featuring a ruggedized three-stage shock protection system that meets US military drop-test standards, it joins the StoreJet 25C3S, available  in 1TB and 2TB capacities. It has a Type-C port and includes a USB Type-C cable and a USB Type-C to Type-A cable to connect to desktops and laptops featuring the USB Type-C or USB 3.1 interface.

USB Flash Drives continue to be the ideal solution for many, and Transcend‘s JetFlash 850 and JetFlash 890 are options to consider. The JetFlash 850 flash drive is equipped with the with the USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface, a Type-C connector, and USB OTG technology, and delivers transfer speeds of up to 130 MB/s. The JetFlash 890 flash drive features both a USB Type-C connector and a regular USB 3.1 one. The dual connector design allows for easy file transfer between the latest USB Type-C port equipped devices and USB 3.1 Gen 1 port equipped desktops and laptops. Both USB flash drives come in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB capacities.

RDC2 OTG, a smart card reader

A card reader is an essential accessory for some, and Transcend has two solutions: RDC8 Card Reader and RDC2 OTG Smart Reader. Transcend‘s 3-slot RDC8 card reader supports a wide variety of flash cards, including SD cards, microSD cards, and CompactFlash cards. Equipped with a USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface, the RDC8 is an ideal choice for fast and efficient data transfer from a flash card to a laptop or computer with a USB Type-C port.

Transcend’s RDC2 smart reader, meanwhile, is an OTG card reader specifically designed for USB Type-C equipped Android smartphones and tablets. In addition to an SD card slot and a microSD card slot, the RDC2 has a standard USB Type-A port that allows users to connect accessories such as USB flash drives, keyboards, or mice to their Android devices.

The post Transcend Portable SSD ESD350C: the quest for fast portable drives appeared first on ProVideo Coalition.

The Battle of Rugged, Waterproof Compact Cameras

The Battle of Rugged, Waterproof Compact Cameras

Modern professional and semiprofessional cameras can generally withstand moderate exposure to the elements and an occasional bump or knock, but dunking them in 30 feet of water is an entirely different proposition. For that sort of use, you’ll want to look into rugged compact cameras, and this excellent video review compares three of the best models.

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Photos: This is what it looks like when farm machinery goes to battle

The Lind Combine Demolition Derby takes place the second weekend of June every year, and draws huge numbers of people to a town with a population of around 550.
Panasonic Lumix S Pro 50mm F1.4 | ISO 100 | F5.6 | 1/100 sec

Lind is one of those western American towns that, unfortunately, a lot of folks have forgotten about. It was never a huge town, but the railroad brought enough hustle and bustle to support people’s jobs and families. But then the completion of Interstate 90 from Seattle to Boston effectively altered the flow of people around Lind instead of through it.

There are still a handful of businesses scraping by – Slim’s Tavern is one, and Jim’s Market is another. Although, given that Slim’s is owned by a man named Skip, it seems unlikely that Jim’s Market is still owned by someone who goes by Jim. Then again, Slim’s has literally been around for more than a hundred years, so I guess an eventual change in ownership was inevitable.

Bill, at his home one block off main street in downtown Lind. Bill used to be the announcer for the demolition derby, but health problems have forced him to retire and pass on the torch.
Lumix S 24-105mm F4 | ISO 100 | 1/320 sec | F4

A friend and I went to Lind for the one weekend a year where Slim’s Tavern is packed to the rafters. It’s the only weekend where Skip’s grandson comes through not just to visit, but to help out behind the bar, pouring shots of Jaegermeister and Fireball, neither of which is stocked (or needed) for the bar’s regulars the rest of the year. There are only two beers on tap: Budweiser and Bud Light, and they ran out of Bud Light.

The second weekend in June is home to the Lind Combine Demolition Derby. There are pickup truck races too, and there’s a parade, but the main attraction concerns the smashing of ancient combine harvesters. These mechanical steel farm hands belch out black diesel smoke as they slam into each other in the arena to the sounds of cheers and the crushing of beer cans.

The tail-end (pun intended) of the parade.
Lumix S 24-105mm F4 | ISO 100 | 1/1250 sec | F4

So how exactly does a combine demolition derby work? There are several heats taking place over the course of the afternoon starting at 1pm sharp, and if a driver hasn’t made contact with another combine in three minutes, he or she is disqualified. The last wreck still moving at the end of each 15-minute heat is the winner, and in-between heats there are intermissions where teams may make some repairs if necessary. Honestly, the full rules are pretty thorough.

And lest anyone worry about the waste involved in smashing up perfectly good equipment – well, it’s not exactly perfectly good. The rules require the combines to be quite old, and most people are upgrading to fancier GPS-driven equipment anyway. Will they eventually run out of old combines? Perhaps. But for now, that’s a bridge best crossed when it’s arrived at.

In any case, my friend and I showed up on the morning before the main event, just catching the tail-end of the parade. The plan? Talk to the locals, soak up the culture, and photograph the crap out of everything. It was a spectacle the likes of which I’ve never seen before, and won’t likely see again (until next year, anyway).

Spectators in the beer garden are kept some distance from the combines, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get covered in dust.
Lumix S 24-105mm F4 | ISO 100 | 1/400 sec | F4

I used the new Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R. This brief story, and the point of our trip, are about the town and pictures of Lind and not about the gear we used, so I won’t go into too much detail beyond the fact that it was a great camera for this sort of work. In short, it was responsive, sealed against the dust and beer, and gave me tons of resolution and great color out-of-camera.

Some of these images will make a reappearance in our full S1R review, but for now, enjoy the sights of Lind, Washington, during the one weekend where the town’s status rises to that of ‘destination’, the streets are crowded, and late at night, the bar is once again packed.

Spectators exit the stands after most of the combines have died.
Lumix S Pro 50mm F1.4 | ISO 100 | 1/320 sec | F8

All images in this story are processed through Adobe Camera Raw 11, using the ‘Camera Standard’ color profile.

Sample gallery

Beast Beast, Lingua Franca Take Prizes at U.S. in Progress Paris

Beast Beast, the first feature from Danny Madden, took the top prize at U.S. in Progress Paris on Friday. In a statement, the jury (of which I was a member), wrote of the multi-strand story, “The film is a successful attempt to capture the present teenage generation. The director approaches his protagonists with empathy and understanding. The film has a strong political (gun control in particular) and social aspect while remaining an entertaining and creative piece of work.” Beast Beast is produced by Vanishing Angle (Matt Miller, Tara Ansley, and Benjamin Wiessner), and Alec Baldwin is an executive producer. A […]