Articles written by Mel Martin
The next version of Luminar, called Luminar 4, will include a one-click sky replacement feature. Other photo editors can get it done, but it usually involves masking, and it often doesn't work very well with foreground objects like trees with a lot of leaves. Adobe demonstrated a one-click sky replacement in 2016, but alas, it never appeared.
I've watched with interest as videographers use external small monitors attached to their DSLR or mirrorless cameras. I could see the advantages: the larger screen, the ability to see vectorscopes, histograms, and the variety of focus tools available. At the same time, I wondered if a monitor would enhance my landscape and nighttime photography, so I took the plunge, and here are my findings.
Many of us remember the debut of NIK Tools in 1995. They were a powerful set of plugins for Photoshop that did color adjustments, created lovely black and white images, and could sharpen images and lower noise in them. Just about every photographer I knew snapped them up at $500.
Software and firmware updates are a fact of life for photographers. They don't come all that often and usually offer bug fixes or new or improved features. As a longtime Canon user, I found firmware updates easy and unintrusive. Having recently moved to a Sony a7 III, I'm rather shocked at the complexity of what should have be a simple operation.
I've been a long-time Canon shooter, back to the film days, then a Canon 10D, 20D, 5D, and 6D. I do mostly landscape work and some nightscapes. They've been great cameras, close to state of the art at their release, and frankly, I've never needed a single repair on any of them.
Skylum's Luminar 3 has been rapidly advancing with new features, and today, they've released Luminar 3.10. It's a free update for current users. This new update features significant enhancements and content-aware recognition to the software’s Accent AI filter, as well as other improvements to its Library.
I've owned lots of image de-noisers over the years. I've used external apps, Photoshop/Lightroom plugins, and I've used the noise reductions controls built into Photoshop and Lightroom. They all work to some degree, but you wind up trading noise reduction for details, and I've never found a noise reduction aid that didn't have some rather large trade-offs. Increase the noise reduction and details suffer. Preserve the details and the noise reduction is not effective. Many of you know the drill.
Late last month I did a post on my ongoing problems with Adobe and the Creative Cloud software and apps. I sometimes find Photoshop unreliable, as well as Bridge. I've also had numerous crashes with the Creative Cloud app too. There were a lot of good comments on my piece, and I also attracted some of the good folks at Adobe who were anxious to weigh in on my experience, which I welcomed.
Photoshop and I go way back. I had the first version in 1990, and it has served me well as a photo editor for both my landscape and deep sky work. Over the last couple of years, though, every time I use Photoshop or Lightroom in their Creative Cloud versions I can't help thinking something is wrong.
If you spend a lot of time under the night sky, you already understand the challenges: weather, setting up in the dark, and processing. Astro Panel 2.0 is a nifty Photoshop Plug-in that can automatically ease a lot of processing challenges and greatly improve your night sky photos.
I thought I'd seen iPhone camera capabilities stretched just about as far as they could go with add-on apps, but I was wrong. Focos for iOS does a bunch of interesting things, including real bokeh effects, focusing a photo after shooting it which mimics light field photography, and selective diaphragms to give you different bokeh spot effects and 3D lighting, far more powerful and sophisticated than what Apple provides.