Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Review - No More Ugly camera satchels

Recently we stumbled upon a local (Sydney, Australia) camera satchel retailer that is determined to rid the world of ugly camera bags. They were kind enough to supply us with a satchel (same one as in the pictures below), which we took into the field several times.

The satchels are well constructed and although not waterproof would take a moderate amount of drenching due to the thick material that they are made from. The insert is soft and your camera will fit snugly although with an L bracket on our Sony A7r and a standard zoom lens attached it made the satchel bulge a bit.
Back View - closest to body
Inside - From Above - Empty
Inside - From Above - With Gear 
Inside - From Above - No Insert
Side View
Front - with Shoulder Strap

The buckles at the front are quite deceiving as they are not designed to be undone. Instead they connect to the bag using a snap buckle at the rear of the buckle. However when the bag was full including contents in the front pockets this made the satchel bulge which made it slightly difficult to close easily. 
Angled View - From Above

There is also a narrow gap between the inserts and the edge of the satchel that is perfect for carrying an iPad or tablet. The two pockets at the front are great for any filters or accessories. There is another pocket on the body side of the satchel that could fit a mobile phone, notepad etc however we would not use this pocket for any valuables while travelling.

The satchels are available in several sizes and colours. The satchel we tested was the "Canvas Camera Satchel Khaki Large" (the same as the pictures above). The bags are very affordable at AUD$59.95* (Small, in all colours), AUD $74.95* (Medium, only in Dark Brown, Light Brown and Two-Tone Brown) and AUD$84.95* (Large, in all colours). Below are some of the other styles -

 Camera Satchel Dark Brown - Large
 Camera Satchel Light Brown - Large

Camera Satchel Two-Tone Brown - Large
Camera Satchel Tan - Large
Now while we think these vintage looking camera satchels are really cool and awesome for the fashion conscience photographer they may not be very practical for anyone that wants to carry more than 2 lenses (large zoom) on a mirrorless or DSLR system. If you are a photographer that carries a compact mirrorless camera system with maybe smaller prime/zoom lenses e.g. Sony a6000 with 2 lenses (or similar) then maybe these are the satchels for you. Those photographers with more equipment and accessories may not benefit from their current line of camera satchels in their current format. 

All in all, we really like these bags if we were heading out for the day and just wanted to take minimal gear.  There definitely is a niche market for these satchels especially amongst the fashion conscience that carry minimal equipment and they will love these bags and it will serve them well.

If you are interested in purchasing a bag they are only available online at -

* Pricing is correct as at 3rd Sept 2015
If you have any comments or questions about these satchels then we'd love to hear from you.

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Free eBook - 10 tips for Monochrome Photography

We have just launched another FREE eBook titled "Travel Photography - 10 Tips for Monochrome Photography". In the book we have shared some simple tips based on our combined experience of 5o years in the Travel Photography industry. Ideal for the beginner/amateur wanting to learn more about this genre of photography or anybody interested in Travel Photography in general. Over the coming months we will be launching a series of eBooks. To get your Free Copy click on the image below.

It would be great to hear any feedback you may have about the eBook so that we can make improvements to any future releases.

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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Discount - On1 Photo 10

On1 Software has just announced the new On1 Photo 10 Suite. It will be available in late October, and they are taking orders starting today, September 8th. If you order ON1 Photo 10 by September 24th you will receive several bonus extras for purchasing early (see ** below). 

We have the current version (9.5) and it is an indispensable tool. Every image we process goes from Lightroom to On1. It works as a plug-in for Lightroom & Photoshop but also as a standalone which is awesome if you do not have either of the above. The Browse module is the fastest in the industry for viewing your images especially if you are shooting RAW. If you are interested in purchasing click on "Learn More" below.


The new ON1

Photo 10 will deliver seamless app integration, up to 4x faster performance, fast module switching, an integrated mobile workflow, modern user interface, require less memory, and will still include all of the essential ON1 photo editing tools photographers love. Included are major improvements to Browse and Portrait, and overall enhancements that will make your workflow smooth and efficient.

Key new features/selling points:

* Browse module - Lightning fast. New Albums and Smart Albums features. Access to photos on popular cloud devices. Sync photos with your devices using the new Photo Via mobile app.

* Portrait module - Faster speed, performance, and overall quality has been greatly improved. Completely redesigned for optimum workflow efficiency. Finding multiple faces in a portrait image has never been this fast or efficient.

* Photo Via - Sync your albums, smart albums and your favorite folders of photos with your mobile devices with our new Mobile App. We will be rolling out Photo Via in two phases, the first will be this fall with ON1 Photo 10 and the second in the first quarter of 2016. Taking your desktop photos with you and syncing your mobile camera shots back to your desktop is nothing new. Having complete flexibility to use ANY mobile editing app with your favorite desktop editing app IS new.

* New Export Features - Take a single photo, or a group of photos, and create whatever size and file format you need. It does the important file conversions, color conversions and file renaming you need when printing or sharing. It will also include all the power and features of ON1 Resize (aka Genuine Fractals) for cropping and resizing.

* Presets & User Extras - All presets and user extras that customers may have on their machine from previous versions will all automatically integrate and merge into the new version.

** Pre-sale Campaign Extras - All included with purchase during the pre-sale for free:
  • 3 months of ON1 Photo Magazine ($10 value). Exclusive training and content in a monthly eMagazine for ON Photo 10 Users
  • The Ultimate ON1 Photo 10 Training ($50 value). In-depth video courses from Matt Kloskowski. Over 10 hours of ON1 Photo 10 training.
  • Family License Pack ($200 value). Install ON1 Photo 10 on up to 5 computers. Mac or Windows.
Please Note: We are affiliates of On1 software and any purchases using the link above will earn us a commission however regardless of the commission we would still recommend this software  as it is a excellent product.

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Monday, 7 September 2015

Review - Topaz ReMask 5

Topaz ReMask is designed on one simple idea: To create the best quality mask with minimal input. By using ReMask’s simple 3-color tri-map technology, users have the power to quickly and easily extract even the toughest elements — hair, foliage, and transparent materials — in their photos. The new updates to ReMask 5 makes it the most powerful masking software on the market. The two biggest additions to this version are the standalone capabilities and background replacement tools.

We have been using the Topaz suite of plug-ins for several years now and they are absolutely indispensable in our workflow to get the look we want from our images.  As Professional Travel Photographers we don't always have the luxury of time to wait for great light or  the ideal background. Sometime you just have to get the shot regardless of the background or light. 

It is a great comfort for us to know that there is a plug-in that will save the day when we need to remove distracting or boring backgrounds and give the image more mood and emotion. We have used Topaz ReMask since version 3 and have been astounded by how easy it is to use when wanting to create an accurate mask. Some masks can take you a great deal of time in Photoshop however Topaz ReMask will give you an accurate mask in a fraction of the time. 

Before and After (example supplied by Topaz Labs)
With the new release of ReMask 5 it has now become even easier to mask images with the added benefit of being able to now replace the background and fine tune entirely in the application without the need to work in layers in Photoshop. The images below literally took us 5 minutes to mask using ReMask 5 including the sky replacement. 

Before - Scroll down for Final Result

Compute Brush (Blue), Fill (Red) to cut, Green to keep
Your first step to creating your mask is to select the Compute Brush (Blue) and paint along the edge separating what you want to keep (Green) and what you want to cut. Once  you have made your selection fill the areas to cut with the Red Fill button. This will fill everything that you do not want to keep with Red. If for some reason the entire image turns Red it means that you have not closed the area painted in Blue. Make sure that the Blue is painted to the very edge of the image (see example above). Once you are happy with your selection click on the Compute Mask button.

Compute mask result
You can now refine your mask using the Primary Brushes to fix all the edges that the Compute Brush didn't completely mask on its first attempt. You can do this by toggling between all three brushes (Compute, Keep, Cut). You can also toggle between the tabs at the top of the interface to change your view between Original, Trimap, Mask, Keep and Cut to see the mask. Once you are happy you can either click OK to return to Photoshop (if using as a plug-in) or if you want to replace the background in ReMask go to the Background Heading. Underneath this you will have three choices : Transparent, Solid Colour, Image.
Background choices Panel

Show Grid and Add Image 
To replace the background with an image select the "Image" button. This will open a File Box where you can navigate to an image such as a sky (or whatever you want in the background). This will import the image into the background of your masked image. A grid will be displayed (see below) so that you can stretch the file to cover your cut section of the mask. If you change your mind and want to use another background then click on the yellow button (see above) or if you want to reposition the background image then click on the orange button and the grid will reappear.

Added Sky
Screen View Options
Background image panel
Final Result
To make changes to the background image you can use the settings below these buttons (see left). You have the options of Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Temperature, Tint and Blur. These will only affect the imported background image and are invaluable in making your background match your foreground more evenly giving the whole image a more natural look.

In the top right hand corner of the interface you have your 3 view options: Single View, Split View, Quad View

Once you have finished simply click OK to be taken back to your Host application. Masking has never been so easy!

Final Result - with balloon in bottom right removed
If you are interested in trying out Topaz ReMask 5 then click here and go to Free Trial in the Menu Bar. Topaz is offering the software at a discount until the 18th September 2015, so if you want to buy the best masking tool on the market at a great price then click here . It is currently priced at USD$49.99 which includes the discount.

If you have any questions or comments then we'd love to hear from you.

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Monday, 31 August 2015

Published - National Geographic

Our images have been published worldwide over the years in various publications such as books, magazines, calendars etc however we were pleasantly surprised recently when we received a request from National Geographic Books requesting to use the image below as a full page in an upcoming book titled "Destinations of a Lifetime". The image was taken by Helen in Aitutaki in the Cook Islands 

Aitutaki Lagoon in the Cook Islands
Once we have received a copy of the book we will post it here so make sure you subscribe to our blog to be kept notified. If you would like to purchase a copy please visit the National Geographic Shop. Orders will be sent out after 27th October 2015. Visit our Cook Islands gallery to see more of this great destination.