Canon 5D Mark II diopter

What it does and why you should use it.

The diopter adjustment allows us to compensate for our eyesight and whether or not we wear glasses.

When a camera properly auto-focuses on an object, you should see that the object you are focusing on is sharp. If it isn’t, you need to make an adjustment to the diopter, Further, if you are manually focusing, you need to make sure that the diopter is properly set, otherwise you might not be seeing a properly focused image.

Here’s how to set it up.

Note: It’s important to keep your camera still when auto-focusing and making the necessary adjustment.

Now, auto-focus on an object. You don’t need to take a picture; you need only to get the camera to auto-focus.

Whatever you focused on should look sharp in your viewfinder. If the image “looks” out of focus, then we need to make a change to the diopter.

Simply rotate the wheel (one way or the other) until the image comes into focus. Done.

If you wear glasses, I suggest that you wear them when taking pictures. I found that If I set the diopter to render an in focus image without my glasses that I had difficulty making any other adjustments to the camera because everything (the world) was out of focus. That’s why I wear glasses! So, wear your glasses, set your diopter for sharp focus with your glasses on then when you pull the camera away from your eye you can still see everything properly (as you normally do) because you have your glasses on!



Filled Under : Photo Tips

The Pen Tool

The Pen Tool 

in Photoshop and other programs near you

I’ve used Photoshop for many, many years, mostly staying away from the wonderfully powerful and daunting Pen tool.


Another year is ending and I decided to take the time to learn it. Mastering it will take time; using it over and over again.


It’s easy enough to draw straight lines, but heck, you can do that with the Polygonal Lasso. Nope, I want to draw curves, to change direction of the part I am selecting(S-curves, back and forth add/remove points – the whole ball of wax.

Well, I took the time and I can finally do it! I successfully selected, with precision, a family of 5 and separated them from their background. That, for me, was a lot of work.


I thought having a pen and tablet would make it easier, nope! At least not yet. I found selecting an existing point terribly frustrating; hit and miss. So far it’s easier with a mouse. I’ll get there.


Now it’s practice, practice.

I’ve used it enough now to remember the keys to hit to modify my selection.


Upward and onward.


Filled Under : Photo Tips , What's New!


Do you have a backup solution for your data? I have one, but I need two.

I have been backing up (creating a duplicate copy) of my data for many years, but I took the final step in insuring that I won’t lose anything.

Backblaze cloud backup

My backup has always been local, meaning that the backup physically sits right next to the primary storage; my computer. So, in case of fire or theft, I lose EVERYTHING!

I needed another backup solution that is physically outside and away from my primary storage. For me the best solution is cloud backup.

Yes, cloud backup is slow, taking days to weeks to do the initial backup, but I couldn’t stand the thought of losing everything I have.

While watching a video on Creative Live, featuring photographer John Greengo, he mentioned Backblaze.

$5 per month gives you unlimited backup of your computer, including any attached drives. This is done seamlessly, monitoring any changes to your data. I used the free 15 day trial to do a sample backup and restore – super easy.

My Backblaze backup is running right now, I can’t tell you how comfortable I feel knowing that my data is safe.



Filled Under : General , Photo Tips

Lightroom "Reference View"

To use the tool, visit your Develop Module and then click on the new Reference View on your tool bar (you might need to show your Toolbar first if you’ve hidden it). Once you’re in the view, you can drag any photo into the left pane to make it your Reference Photo to compare with the one in the right pane.

You can also select a photo and click the “Set as Reference Photo” option in the menu while you’re in the Library Module. Once your Reference Photo is set, it will remain displayed on the left while you edit your main photo on the right.

To get started with Reference Photo, download the latest update to Lightroom through Adobe Creative Cloud.


Adobe just announced its latest update to Lightroom CC. Aside from new camera support and performance improvements, the main feature found in version 2015.8 is the introduction of the new Reference View.


Reference View is a new view mode in the Develop Module that lets you compare two different photos side by side in order to make sure they’re visually consistent. If you’re editing a set of photos and you’d like to make sure your edits are cohesive, this tool should come in handy.


“This is helpful when making a group of images from a single event look similar or setting the white balance appropriately in mixed lighting conditions,” Adobe says. 


Filled Under : Photo Tips


HUGE NEWS!!!! Today Google makes the entire Nik Collection of plug-ins for Lightroom and Photoshop available for free. FREE!!!


Until yesterday, it was $149 for the collection, and that was a steal.


Thank you Google for making this available free to the photographic community (here’s a link to Google’s announcement:

nik products


Filled Under : Photo Tips , What's New!


I won’t drone on and on about this aircraft, but I am going to share a few thought about my process.


I’ve been considering getting one of these for some time now.

I’ve hesitated because of cost: money & time.


I’m already weirded out about the $$$$ I spent on the aircraft/control, extra battery, memory card and android tablet I purchased. I don’t think that will go away until I actually have the thing and get it in the air.


The time cost is significant. I already spent hours researching which I would buy (tablet, too), then spent a couple more hours just familiarizing myself with how the thing works via YouTube and videos from DJI.


I’m preparing myself for the disappointment I’ll encounter when I only get to fly the thing for about 20 minutes per battery.


Agony awaiting elation.

DJI PHANTOM 3 Advanced Quadcopter


Filled Under : Photo Tips


 Unveiled: the New, Blazing-Fast, 4K-Capable Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

This year, 2016, is already shaping up to be an incredible year for the photo industry and now, as we just poke our heads into February, Canon is releasing an update to its flagship DSLR in the form of the blazing-fast, 4K-shooting EOS-1D X Mark II. The headline feature is obviously the ability to record DCI 4K video at an impressive 60p, something we have only seen in traditional camcorders and cinema cameras at this point. With video taking a side-by-side seat with stills, this addition will please any photographer looking to add filmmaking to their tool set. Of course, stills have not been forgotten, since this camera brings with it a new 20.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor, as well as dual DIGIC 6+ processors to boost performance in nearly every arena.


Filled Under : Photo Tips , What's New!


Giclée Print of Fort Point in San Francisco

I just ordered my first Giclée print. It will be on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Pearl.


The image I’m printing (and have reworked and printed several times) required deep blacks that you can’t get through many other methods. I had this same image printed on aluminum and it rocks.


Screens/monitors don’t do justice to the detail.It’s an expensive process, but I thought it time to give it the treatment it should have.


I just talked to the company about my order and the fine art paper I chose, they said it should be stellar. They are going to send out a sample pack of their papers so I can make a more informed choice.

They even told me to call them when ordering multiple prints that are mounted on foam board and they will group them for me and only charge one shipping fee.


I’m stoked!


Filled Under : Photo Tips


The most common way photographers deal with irregular boundaries in stitched photos is to select a smaller complete portion of the frame and apply a rectangular crop. This leaves you with neat edges, but at the cost of losing some of the pixels you captured.

You can also do Content Aware Fill, but it can take some work to obtain a smooth and artifact-free final image.

That’s where Boundary Warp comes in. It analyzes the boundary of your panorama and then warps the image so the edges fit nicely inside a rectangular frame. Here’s an animated GIF that shows it in action:


You can start using Boundary Warp by updating to Lightroom CC 2015.4, Lightroom 6.4, or Camera Raw 9.4, all of which are available starting today.


Filled Under : Photo Tips


Types of Contrast

 Photo Tip: Contrast


You might immediately think, “Yeah, contrast is the difference between light and dark (white/black)”, and you’d be right – partially.


Contrast is simply, difference. The types of contrast would be a really long list if you think about it.


Here are a few examples below.

Our eyes are drawn to contrast. Look for it, recognize it, shoot it! 


Filled Under : Photo Tips