Tuesday, June 29, 2010

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Olympic sights and a gallery tweak...

One of the many art pieces on Granville St. in downtown Vancouver during the 2010 Olympics

Well, I have tweaked the look of the TTG Highslide gallery plugin one more time and improved how things render in Internet Explorer as well. I might go live with some new galleries on my website - soon I hope! Here is the latest version, showing some images I took downtown during the Olympics...

Gallery: 2010 Olympics: Downtown Sights 

For more information on these Lightroom gallery plugins, see my last post from Sunday.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

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Lightroom 3: Web module plugin compatibility

A note about web-gallery plugin compatibility with the latest version of Lightroom...

(Shortcut to the gallery mentioned: 2010 Olympics: February 22nd Festivities)

Adobe is finally shipping boxed copies of Lightroom 3, and we now have upgrades and full versions in stock at Beau Photo.  I have been using the beta version of LR3 ever since it came out, and one very obvious improvement is in image quality.  The new "Process 2010" raw conversion algorithm is vastly improved over the previous one, which Adobe has tagged "Process 2003".  Much better noise reduction (very near the quality of third party programs like Noise Ninja) with detailed control over luminance and chroma settings, including the ability to essentially turn NR off completely if you want to handle noise using third-party software. In any case, what I want to mention here is compatibility with third party gallery plugins, specifically those from The Turning Gate.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

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My sublimephoto.com domain is down...

Grr... I did not receive any notification of its impending expiry. I see that it expired just the other day and I am arranging to get it renewed ASAP. Sorry, but don't bother trying to connect at the moment! There is a chance that some of the embedded images in this blog might still be down because of this. I have already fixed the most important ones and am hosting them at another location for now.

Update: My domain is back up! Quicker than I thought it would be actually...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

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Sale: DataColor Spyder 3 Studio

We have some Spyder 3 Studio kits in stock still, on sale for $489, over $100 off the previous price. Everything you need to calibrate your inkjet printer and monitor, all in a slick padded aluminum briefcase!

This product has been replaced with the new Studio SR, but the as far as quality of calibration, they are essentially the same.  The major difference with the SR is faster reading of printer patches, although since you tend not to have to recalibrate most printers very often (usually just when you decide to standardize on a new paper), I personally do not feel the speed increase is all that important.  You can use the very latest Spyder 3 Print SR software with older Spyder 3 print as well.  Not to mention the Spyder 3 Studio SR is selling for $629, so the older package is a really sweet deal!
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Canon EOS-7D in stock again...

We finally got a shipment of EOS-7D bodies in again, luckily while the rebate is still running! Our price is $1825 and Canon's rebate is $150, so effectively $1675.  A good price for an awesome camera! I should know... I shoot with one myself.

We were also out of LP-E6 battery packs and they have made it in as well...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

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Lexar Instant Rebates...

These rebates on Lexar memory cards are running until Friday, July 4, 2010. You don't need to mail-in: Beau Photo will apply them at the till for you!
  • $10 off - CF 8GB (233x UDMA)
  • $13 off - CF 16GB (233x UDMA)
  • $18 off - SD 16GB (100x - PLAT-II Class 6) 
  • $10 off - SD 16GB (100x - PLAT-II Class 6)
  • $5 off - SD 16GB (100x - PLAT-II Class 6)
  • $18 off - SD 16GB (133x - PRO Class 10)
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Epson Printer Rebates...

Epson has several excellent rebates on in Canada at the moment! Rebate PDF files are linked in the following list...
  • Until June 30, 2010: get $1,000 off the purchase of a Stylus Pro 9900
  • Until June 30, 2010: get $1,000 off the purchase of a Stylus Pro 7900
  • Until July 6, 2010: get $200 off the purchase of a Stylus Photo R2880
  • Until July 6, 2010: get $150 off the purchase of a Stylus Photo R1900
We stock the R2880 at Beau Photo but the other printers are special order items. For all the current rebates, see the Epson Canada Rebate Centre...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

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Zacuto Z-Finder Pro: Take our Poll !

Since becoming an authorized Zacuto dealer, we have been surprised at the demand of the Z-Finder for doing D-SLR video.  It is, I suppose, understandable since it really is an excellent product and is nearly indispensable when shooting video in brighter conditions, or when you are trying to do critical on-the-fly focusing when using wide open f-stops.  Our last shipment sold out in a matter of days and we have another order pending... with a 5-6 week stated delivery time unfortunately.  Ouch.

So... we need to do another order soon to get more in the queue, but we have no real idea of the pent-up demand.  Therefore, I have decided to post our first blog poll!  I will be doing another Zacuto order in the next few weeks and based on the results of this survey, I may adjust the order for quantities and/or ratio between the 2.5x and 3.0x magnifications. Yes, you can have an influence!  Needless to say, I would appreciate you voting only if you are in Canada and are planning on getting one from us!  However if you have one and love it, feel free to vote that way.

Both the new Z-Finder Pro models are $439 CDN. If you really want one ASAP, make sure you contact me and reserve one in advance.  Although I may be ordering a bunch more, there are no guarantees on how many we will be getting. If you have your name down for one, the chances of getting one sooner are better...

Beau Photo: Zacuto Poll - June 2010

- Voting closes on Thursday, July 1st at 1:00pm -

So there you have it: the first official Digital Imaging Blog poll.  Seeing as how this blog is so very new, I suppose there may not be all that many responses, but we shall see... and if you voted, thanks for participating!

Check the detailed review of the new Z-Finders by Philip Bloom.

Had some initial poll widget problems...
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Photos: Kitt Peak, Arizona

I am an astronomy buff (majored in it at UBC as well) and I really like Kitt Peak. Beautiful location in the desert (which I like) as well as a large number of interesting telescopes. One of the more unusual telescopes is the McMath Solar Telescope, a weirdly shaped building that is quite distinctive: if you've seen it once, you'll likely never forget it.

I just spent a few minutes going through some trip photos and thought I would post a few of the more unusual views I captured of this interesting observatory, courtesy of my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 and Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L.  Depending on the direction I was facing, there were some crazy deep blue skies.  All the following shots were taken without a polarizing filter!

Monday, June 14, 2010

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Hasselblad Promos • June 2010

There are tons of great new promos available from Hasselblad! These are only on until the end of June 2010, so don’t wait too long if you want to take advantage of any of these great offers!

  1. Purchase an H4D-50 and get ANY lens FREE! That’s right...ANY Hasselblad lens of your choice, FREE! This is a potential savings of over $7,000 USD!
  2. H4D-40 camera available without lens - $17,995 (USD). You now have the option to purchase just the H4D-40 (body and viewfinder) without the lens.
  3. H4D-40 w/ 35-90mm zoom kit - $19,995 (USD). This promotion is bundling the popular 35-90mm zoom lens with the H4D-40 camera body. This is a huge savings of over $5,000 USD!
  4. Purchase an H4D-40 get 30% off ANY one lens.
  5. Purchase an H4D-40 kit (includes 80mm) or body/viewfinder and get your choice of ONE Hasselblad lens at 30% off.
  6. Purchase a H3DII-31 without a lens for $9,995 or with a 80mm lens for $11,995 USD. Hasselblad has never been more affordable!  Please note that there are very limited quantities only for the H3DII-31 promo.
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Canon: Rebates and CPS orders...

Update: As of July 1, 2010, the rebates on the 1Ds Mark III and 5D Mark II are over but other rebates are continuing until end of July.

Canon Canada has some amazing instant rebates going on right now, but keep in mind, they are only until the end of June!  While there is a chance that Canon will extend the rebates, at the moment June 30th, 2010 is the deadline... so do you really want to take a chance and not take advantage?!  Here is a complete list of the EOS body rebates...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

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New subscription & feedback options...

I wasn't too happy with the subscription options I had originally, so decided to do a little work on that. Soon, news of this blog will be sent to all Beau Photo customers who have signed up for email updates, so I wanted to have the subscription services fine tuned and in place. Check on the right hand column of this blog, under SUBSCRIBE, for these new subscription options.

Since presumably not everyone is tied in to some social networking site, or online account that allows blog-feeds, I thought I would add in a simple email only subscription option. Quite simply, when I add posts to my blog, you will get a summary email of those updates once per day only, if you've signed up. Should you decide that you hate getting email updates or just find this blog incredibly boring... well, each email you get will also include an unsubscribe link.

Friday, June 11, 2010

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Online ID madness...

For years, I've been fighting to keep my online presence to a minimum. I have a website with a domain email, and I figured that was plenty good enough. When email reliability became spotty for a while at one point, I gave in and signed up for gmail. No MySpace, no FaceBook, no Twitter, no Flickr, no Pbase, none of that. Oh, at one point I did sign up for a hotmail account, for Skype or iChat or something, but I have long since lost track of that one. I do have a Mobile Me account as well, but at least I get a lot out of it: domain hosting with lots of free space and contact, calender, bookmark and email syncing between all my computers and my iPhone. All that's bad enough I figure!

Then I created this blog.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

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Canon Canada's New CPS Program...

If you are a serious Canon photographer, pro or otherwise, you should read up on Canon Canada's revamped CPS program.  I am not going to pass judgement on whether or not the new fees are generally worthwhile, however if you rely on your gear to make a living, and use it heavily, I would suggest it is worth a serious look.  Make sure you read the fine-print to see exactly what it is you get for the two different levels of service.

Here is a link to Canon's website for more info: www.canon.ca/cps/ 

The above link has been permanently added to the Other Blogs & Useful Sites page also.  One question I have been asked several times, is "...why is my older 'L' professional lens not listed as qualifying for this program?  It was expensive and qualified for a CPS purchase back when I bought it!"

Well, basically this new CPS program is a service program, so if your older 'L' lens or pro body is not listed, it means that parts are no longer being actively stocked to repair them, and could take some time to order in.  Since paying for the program entitles you to one of two levels of guaranteed turnaround times for repairs, Canon simply cannot allow these older bodies and lenses to qualify, since they would be unable to meet those guarantees.

Monday, June 7, 2010

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A little lighting...

... can go a long way.  I am just editing some images from a shoot I did for a friend of mine, who has brainstormed an interesting web-series that should start being filmed later this summer.  Before I went on my three week trip to the southwest, she asked me if I could do some promo shots of her and the other two main actresses.  While my Canon EOS-7D handled the ambient light just fine (it was much brighter in the forest than I had anticipated), there just wasn't enough contrast separating the three ladies from the background.  I had brought some minimal lighting along just in case, and decided to set it up after I saw how flat the contrast was.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

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Changed the look... obviously!

Well after much messing around, editing the code for the blogger template, I think I am now happy with how it looks.  The page is slightly wider with a revised banner, the alignment has been tweaked all over and I have given the postings themselves a border and a slightly lighter background. It bugged me before in that sometimes the embedded images looked like they were off-centre visually, even though they were not! Now that the eye has a more obvious point of reference with the box surrounding each post, they look centred.

I also added in a clustrmaps widget so I can see where everyone is visiting from.

If anyone has feedback on the look of this blog, good or bad, please email me!
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IR from Gila Cliff Dwellings NM

I have not been shooting much with my infrared-modded Canon EOS-20D.  I probably took less than 100 shots on my entire 3 week trip with it.  Just thought I'd post one that caught my eye, post-processed in Photoshop CS5 to simulate halation-glow and grain using actions I created for CS3 which, thankfully, still work perfectly in CS5.

Road to Gila Cliff Dwellings, New Mexico

Saturday, June 5, 2010

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CS5 HDR Toning & Topaz Adjust

Photoshop CS5 has introduced a useful new image adjustment control called HDR Toning.  I have found it to be useful on not only HDR images, but even on regular images that need a bit of extra pop.  It probably wouldn't be that good an idea to use it aggressively on 8-bit per channel images, but on 16-bit images or 32-bit HDRs it can work wonders with minimal effort.

On the left (click for the full size dialog box), you can see the adjustments I've made for the following image.  As with the Shadow/Highlight control in Photoshop, I don't find the defaults to be particularly good ones, but with some careful tweaking, the HDR Toning function can make some fairly subtle and natural looking adjustments, although over-the-top settings are readily available for those who really like the obvious "HDR Look" that seems so popular these days.

Friday, June 4, 2010

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Camera Raw v6.1 Lens Corrections

If you have bought Adobe Photoshop CS5, you should ensure you also have the latest update of Adobe Camera Raw (ACR).  If you haven't upgraded to CS5 yet, Beau Photo has the upgrades in stock!

At first glance, ACR 6.1 might not look all that much different than 6.0 or, for that matter, the 5.x versions, but trust me, it is! First off, v6.0 has brought a whole new level of image quality, with massively improved rendering of fine detail, mainly due to its new demosaic, sharpening and noise reduction algorithms. Version 6.1 ushers in something that is truly huge though: automated lens corrections for chromatic aberration, vignetting and even distortion. This is the part of the new ACR window I want to draw your attention to:

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Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II - in stock!

Well, we finally received another shipment of these new and highly sought after lenses. We have filled backorders and now have a few available in stock for sale! Call or email if you'd like us to put one on hold for you!

NO this is not a Canon lens mug! -

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Back from the Southwest

Well, I’m back at work after three weeks of traveling in the US southwest! Almost 11,000 km of driving took me through Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah and Idaho! With well over 70 GB of photos and video to slog through, it will be a while before I get a full set of galleries from this trip on my website. For now, here are a few teaser images…

John Muir Wilderness - California
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Hello World!

Hello everyone! This is the start of the Beau Photo Digital Imaging Blog.

Watch for frequent small updates containing interesting tidbits on equipment I’m testing, cool things I may discover about new hardware or software, as well as mentions of updates to my personal website which may be of interest to others with respect to the equipment I am shooting with… or just because they like to explore my photography. In addition, if the Digital Imaging Dept. puts items on sale, receives stock on new gear that people are eagerly anticipating and so on, well these sorts of things will also be prime candidates for blog entries.

Choose from a blog category on the right hand side to filters posts, so you can quickly see what interests you most.  Or if you want to read the blog on a regular basis, you can sign up on the right side of each page under either the "Subscribe" or "Followers" sections.

Hope you enjoy…