Orb or Softbox? That is a question for speedlite shooters

Soft boxes offer directional light. © Rick Sammon
I'm taking the weekend off from posting. Just finished five days of Alaska photos.

This was my most popular posts, so I'm re-posting it for those speedlite shooters who might have missed it.

On my Master Your Flash Workshops, I illustrate - among several other lighting techniques - the difference between portraits taken with softboxes and orbs. We place a speedlite in each flash accessories and get to work – and start to have fun.

Catherine Hall. © Rick Sammon
Basically, softboxes with recessed diffusion panels offer more directional light than orbs. The two illustrations above illustrate directional light from a softbox.

© Jason Ludwig
Above is a picture of me (taken in Dave Cross' studio) using a 28-inch Westcott Apollo softbox to light the subject from above, which was the same technique I used when I photographed Catherine Hall at the Google studio. Speaking of me: You can hire me as a voice activated light stand :-)

Artist Eddi Flemming. © Rick Sammon
Orbs with recessed diffusion panels produce a wider and softer beam of light than softboxes. They are nice to use when you want to light a wider area with softer shadows. I used my Westcott Orb for the photograph above. Orbs also wrap the light around a subject for softer light.

Umbrellas? I don't use them too often, but they are nice for large groups.

For more lighting tips, see my apps.

Explore the light,

Silver Efex Pro = Less Reality, More Creativity

When we remove the true color from a scene, we remove some of the reality.

When we remove some of the reality, our pictures can look more artistic and creative.

On my recent Fossil Rim Wildlife Center workshop, I used Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro to remove some of the reality from a few of my pictures. (Shoot me an email if you'd like to join my next Fossil Rim workshop.)

Above: Yellow 2 effect. Below: Neutral effect.

© Rick Sammon
I also use Nik Software's Color Efex Pro to remove some of the reality from an image. Below: Duplex Filter effect.

As John Lennon said: Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.

You can get a discount on all Nik Software plug-ins, and all the plug-ins I use on my Creative Plug-Ins page.

Explore the light,

P.S. If you enjoy photographing wildlife, my apps offer tons of tips.

A Terrific Deal On Topaz

© Rick Sammon
Check this out: From Friday, April 20 to Sunday, April 22, you can save 35% on all Topaz plug-ins - including the Bundle - which usually sells for $299.00 but with this offer is $194.99.

To save, use my Sammon Savings code: sammontwp. This code only works for for this weekend.

Click here for all Topaz plug-ins.

Click here for the Bundle.

Have fun playing with plug-ins this weekend.

Explore the light,

First HDR with Canon 5D Mark III

We see the world in HDR, cameras do not. Enter the Canon 5D Mark III.

One of the many cool features of the new camera is its ability to shoot and process HDR images in camera. You set set the exposure range (+/-1, +/-2, +/-3), select a processing type (Neutral, Art standard, Art Vivid, Art bold and Art embossed), and choose to save only your HDR image only or your HDR image and your original images. Your HDR image is saved as a JPEG.

Your set of images is magically aligned in camera. In the alignment process, you might lose some of the edge of your frame - so shoot a bit wider than normal.

I made this HDR shot in Sitka, Alaska about an hour ago. It's my first Canon 5D Mark III HDR image. I needed HDR to capture the shadow detail, the detail in the hull of the boat in the foreground, and the detail in the snow on the mountain in the background. My settings: +/-2 and Art Vivid. Handled.

To learn more about HDR, check out my iHDR app on my app page.

For discounts on the HDR programs I use, click here.

I also teach HDR on all my workshops. Speaking of which, I am in Alaska with Bull Schmitt teaching a wildlife, landscape and travel photography workshop for Light. Pictures to come when we get back to shore in about a week. Hal and I hope to see you at the California Photo Fest.

Click here to read about all my gear.

Explore the light,

Tuesday's Talented On-Line Find: John Harvey

© John Harvey
There are many talented photographers out there - and it's easier to discover talent thanks to the internet.

This past Wednesday, I was conducting one of my Tough Love portfolio review sessions with photographer John Harvey. John is a good photographer. He just needed some reinforcement . . . . and long with some needed business advice, which I provided.

His shot here is one of my favorites.

John on his photo: Sunrise shot from the pier on St. Simons Island, GA.  

I wanted to capture the peace and calm of the morning. Sunrises are a special time for me, the few minutes before your day turns hectic, when all is right in the world. 

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Interested in a Tough Love session? Check out the comments below from past participants. A little tough love can go a long way to becoming a better photographer. Info at Tough Love.

Explore the light,