I find that so many photographers don’t get the results they want our of their RAW files because they’re simply scared of introducing Photoshop into their workflow.
Yes, I have some premium tutorials that help you learn Photoshop, but I wanted to provide a completely FREE way for you to learn the basics so that you aren’t afraid of the interface. That is where the “Photoshop Made Easy” series comes in, and I have made four videos already! With each new video, I teach you a new tip or trick that Photoshop offers, and I make sure to go step-by-step so you don’t miss a thing! 🙂 If you decide to take your photoshop skills further and want to join me for over 10 hours of post processing knowledge, be sure to pick up myLandscape Photography Post Processing & HDR Blending course while it’s 75% off! Only $25!
Enjoy the four videos I have posted so far! I will update the blog post as I record more!
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-vkBnZX5/0/2163843c/X3/i-vkBnZX5-X3.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2018-01-17 15:58:122018-01-17 15:58:12New FREE YouTube Series! Photoshop Made Easy
It’s finally here! I have been promising a tutorial like this to my subscribers for quite a long time, and It feels fantastic to make this a reality! Thank you all for your support the past few months while I have been producing this!
This in-depth tutorial covers my post processing workflow, different levels and methods of exposure blending, the benefits of luminosity masks, texture and contrast enhancement, selective dodging and burning, how to individualize color, using restricted luminosity masks for sharpening and noise reduction, etc, etc.
Surprisingly, this my very first video series on landscape photography post processing, and I couldn’t be more excited to finally release it! I have been carefully compiling all of the techniques I wanted to teach, building the lesson plan, choosing the photos, filming, re-filming, and producing this tutorial for almost four months! Today, all of you finally get to see it, and I am more than humbled by all of the requests I have received to produce something like this! It’s because of YOU that this now a reality!
Not only do I show you how to use all of the tools in my post processing workflow, but I also stop along the way to explain WHY I make the creative decisions that lead to the end result of each photograph.
What software do I need?The only software you really “need” is Photoshop(not elements)and the Nik Collection. TheNik Collection plugins are completely FREEnow, and you can easily follow along with me while I use Lightroom and On1 RAW by simply downloading their FREE trials. Click HERE for a Lightroom free trial, and click HERE for a free trial of ON1 RAW.
Do I have to be a photography wizard to take this course?You definitely do not have to be an expert to take this course. However, I would recommend that you have basic knowledge of processing RAW files since you will learn many advanced techniques, but I slowly walk you through each step that I take. Also, I spread the techniques over 10 hours of video lessons so that I don’t overload you with information in Lesson #1.
Do I need advanced Photoshop knowledge?Again, I would recommend that you have a basic knowledge, but I walk you through the tools that you need to know in order to follow along with me in this course.
What happens if I have a question or don’t understand a certain part of this video course? No worries at all! I have a created a private FaceBook support group just for people who purchase this tutorial. As long as you have questions that pertain directly to the content in this video tutorial, I will be more than happy to answer your questions and help you overcome any possible confusion. I will have a few other photographers helping me manage this Facebook support group so that we can answer all questions in a timely manner. This group will also become a very fun community as more people join, and we can always continue learning from each other’s creative vision.
How much is this going to cost me?Creating a price for this tutorial was one of the hardest aspects of this entire experience. It’s easy sometimes for creators to overcharge for digital products because we know how much it consumed our life for months at a time. I preach so much on my YouTube channel about being smart with your money when investing in yourself or new gear, so I wanted to make this affordable! The price for the first 15 days is going to be only $69.00 USD, and after the first 15 days are up, it will reset to it’s regular price of $99.00. If you’re part of my FME newsletter, you will get surprise discount codes all throughout the year. Want to join? Just head to the top right of this page, and click the “SUBSCRIBE” button. UPDATE: I have decided to extend the promo pricing of $69 until 09/25/17. Enjoy!
A Few Photo Examples…
Here are a few of the photos that we will be working on together.
introduction to workflow and getting the most out of one single RAW file
Auto HDR blending and using gradient masks to add directional lighting effects
Enhancing texture and selective dodging and burning
Choosing the best portion of three brackets to piece together the your creative vision
Basic luminosity masks and the benefits of color separation
Using individual RGB channels to enhance color and learning new methods for sharpening and noise reduction
Advanced exposure blending and processing with 7 bracketed photos
Gain ultimate control by using luminosity masks to selectively dodge and burn, add color, blend exposures, sharpen, reduce noise, and completely separate the foreground from the background.
Learn How To Unleash The Power Of Your RAW Files With The Landscape Photography Post Processing & HDR Blending Course. Includes Over 10 Hours Of Video Lessons!
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-SdZFcX5/0/aec45a5b/X3/i-SdZFcX5-X3.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2017-08-17 04:45:002017-09-05 02:23:36NEW COURSE! Landscape Photography Post Processing & HDR Blending Video Tutorial
While I was on holiday with my family near Rosemary Beach, Florida, my dad and I took a day to explore the coast in search of great seafood and photography. We found both!
The best tips I can give you for shooting in the mid-day sun is to look for high-contrast scenes where the natural shadows make interesting compositions, and you will also want to take a really powerful ND filter to add interest to water and clouds. You will notice in the VLOG and photos below that I used the high-contrast light AND a 9 stop ND filter for almost every photo I captured. Always take advantage of the creative tools in your camera bag, and if you don’t own filter already, feel free to watch my video where I tell you all about my favorite filters for landscape photography. Also, the filter company even gave me a discount code that allows my viewers to get 10% OFF of all of their products. All of the info is in the video.
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-h4CNcgs/0/ea58bc5b/X3/i-h4CNcgs-X3.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2017-06-10 18:33:442017-06-26 23:26:31Exploring The Gulf Coast With The Fujifilm X-T2
ON1 has been doing great things for photographers with the release of ON1 Photo, and They have quickly been adding features and fixing bugs along the way. They truly listen to their photographers and have delivered some really great features with the 2017.5 update that was launched this morning!
When you opened a RAW file in the “develop” module before today, you would have access to the “tone and color” pane where you would tweak your exposure, contrast, and color. With the new update, we now have default access to the new “details” and “lens correction” panes.
The new details pane offers sharpening and noise reduction options, and they both seem to work really well, especially on Fujifilm RAW files. If you’re a Fujifilm user like me, you know how hard it is to find a RAW processor that renders and sharpens Fujifilm RAW files correctly. As of today, ON1 Photo 2017.5 easily has the best sharpening for X-Trans files in my personal opinion! I did testing on many different X-T2 files, and I was very impressed with the subtle but very effective ON1 algorithm. You can watch my video below to get an idea of just how good the sharpening really is.
Lens Correction Pane
I know it’s hard to get excited about lens corrections, but this feature did not exist at all in the previous version. A lot of Lightroom users I have talked to were “on the fence” about ON1 due to the lack of lens correction, so this should put their minds at ease. It operates just like the lens correction panels you’ve always known in other software, and it works great in combination with the “transform” tool. You can see an of this feature in my video below.
This new feature is very useful and will absolutely be loved by wedding and event photographers! While you’re in the “browse” module, you can mass select a sequence of photos and enter “compare mode” to easily use the process of elimination to choose the best shot from the sequence. There are some really cool and intuitive features that make “compare mode” really nice and easy to use. You can see an example in my video below.
Other Honorable Mentions
STACKING PRESETS:In the effects module, you can now stack multiple presets on top of each other and use masks to pick and choose the best of each preset. Once you apply a preset to your image, you can hold the alt/option key to view the thumbnails of other presets with a preview of how they will look once they are stacked. I will make a video example of this soon on my FME YouTube Channel.
CLONE STAMP TOOL:The clone stamp retouching tool from the “Layers” module, is now inside of the “Develop” and “Effects” modules as part of the non-destructive workflow. There isn’t much else to say about this feature since most of you are familiar with clone stamping, but it’s definitely nice that we don’t have to enter the “Layers” module anymore just to clone out distractions in our photos.
LIGHTROOM MIGRATION ASSISTANT:This is a very cool and easy feature for people coming from years of Lightroom editing and cataloging. When in Lightroom, you simply visit the “File” dropdown selection, scroll to “plugin extras”, and select the “Migrate Catalog To ON1 Photo” option. It’s more or less a two-step-process to migrate from LR to On1 Photo 2017.5. All of your folders from LR will be accessible under the “Indexed Folders” tab in ON1, and your collections from LR will be accessible under the “Albums” tab in ON1. As for the edits and metadata, ON1 will create a separate sidecar file for each image for a super smooth migration. I specifically tested this feature to see how it would work in practice, and everything came over as expected. Obviously, the more folder and photos you have, the longer the migration will take. Go watch a Lord Of The Rings movie, and everything should be migrated and indexed when you’re done. Its a win-win situation 🙂
Is ON1 Photo 2017.5 perfect??? Of course not! It’s a new update and there will always be a few bug fixes and extra features that need to be added, but the fantastic news is that ON1 is one of those companies that really listens to their customers. With that said, thank you so much for reading, and please let me know if you have any questions!
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-qRcsvw7/0/0b74a262/X3/i-qRcsvw7-X3.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2017-06-07 23:40:462017-06-08 01:32:32NEW ON1 Photo RAW 2017.5 Update And Better Fujifilm RAW Support
It’s no secret that the three biggest RAW processors right now are Lightroom CC, On1 Photo RAW, and Capture One Pro. As with anything, each processor has it’s pros and cons, but the big deciding point for me lately has been how these processors handle Fujifilm RAW files.
In my video below, I give you a detailed comparison on how each software interprets color, detail, contrast, and auto lens corrections from a Fujifilm X-T2 RAW file. The results are very interesting as you will see, but I can tell you now that On1 Photo RAW is really impressing me for being the “new kid on the block” of RAW processors.
I got a phone call from one of the corporate guys at On1 after they saw a few of my videos, and it was so refreshing to chat with a company that loves taking feedback directly from their customers. I made a few videos when On1 Photo RAW was first released where I discussed some issues that I was having, and within about 4 weeks, all of the issues were fixed in a free update along an email from their marketing manager who thanked me personally for the feedback in my videos. THAT is the kind of company photographers should support!
In fact they even gave me a 20% off coupon code to give to all of my viewers that want to purchase On1 Photo RAW. Just use coupon code FMEON1, and you will get 20% off of your order at their online store. Hope that helps all of my awesome followers! 🙂
Enjoy the video!
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This FREE video explores what's in Eric's Camera bags, accessories outside of the bags, and Eric's favorite lenses for landscape photography.
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-ZckKLJF/0/4c16e8ee/X3/i-ZckKLJF-X3.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2017-05-23 14:34:002017-05-24 23:09:41Fuji X-T2 RAW Files - Lightroom Vs On1 Photo RAW Vs Capture One Pro
It’s no secret that Fujifilm shooters are always on the search for one RAW processor to the rule them all. The most popular options right now seem to be Iridient Developer for Lightroom CC and Capture One Pro. I personally use a mixture of Lightroom and Capture One Pro. I tend to choose Capture One Pro when I am processing photos that have really warm or red tones in them. Capture One just seems to make the colors really pop right from the RAW file.
For quite a while, On1 has been producing some great plugins and one of my favorite applications for prepping images for print. As of late, they have joined the RAW processor universe with their newest software, On1 Photo RAW 2017. When it first came out a few months ago, I made a “battle video” where I processed an image and directly compared the results between Lightroom and On1 Photo RAW.
I will post the video below, but I basically found a few quirks with On1 that I couldn’t live with as my main RAW processor. However, I didn’t beat them up too bad over the quirks because every new software takes a few updates before it starts really grabbing your attention away from the main contenders in the industry. On1 Photo RAW still has a beautiful interface and has the best module in the industry for resizing your files for print.
If you subscribe to the On1 newsletter, i’m you have noticed that they have been releasing tons updates and bug fixes for Photo RAW. I dowloaded all of the updates and processed another Fuji X-T2 RAW file and was very pleasantly surprised to see how far they have came in just a couple of months. I will post that video as well so you can compare my results from a few months ago to current.
PS: Keep an eye on the RAW processor, Picktorial 3. It is also a great option and will get better and better with future updates. Picktorial is one of the few RAW processors that has almost no learning curve, and it has one of the most beautiful interfaces I have seen on a RAW processor. Check out my two On1 Photo RAW videos below…
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This FREE video explores what's in Eric's Camera bags, accessories outside of the bags, and Eric's favorite lenses for landscape photography.
First Video Using On1
Second Video Using On1
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-Lqm5h3N/0/a8207982/X3/i-Lqm5h3N-X3.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2017-04-27 14:00:402017-05-03 22:44:05On1 Photo RAW 2017 For Fuji X-T2 RAW Files?
Printing my work is one of my absolute favorite ways to showcase my photographs. There is just something special about seeing my work as a physical object that I can hang in my office. I appreciate it in a different way, and I really hope this blog post inspires all of you to start printing more as well.
Before you watch my step-by-step video, please know that everyone has a slightly different workflow of prepping their photos for print, so everything I am showing you is what works really great for me. If you would like to tweak my process or remove/add a step, feel free to create your own way that works well for you.
The biggest issue that people have when sending their digital files off for print is receiving a print that looks completely different from the digital file that it was printed from. For example, the vibrant and contrasty colors on a digital sunset photo may look awesome on a computer display, but they could be completely flat and lifeless on print.
Our computer displays need to be properly color calibrated to make sure that our computers and printers are reading the same color profile. There are quite a few ways you can improve your post processing experience in order for proper color, contrast, and sharpness to give your prints that extra “pop” that will make the sell. Check out my videos below…
Step-By-Step Video For Print Prepping…
The Prepped Digital Image…
The Final Result – Fuji X-T2 20×30 Print…
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-3jLjcZJ/0/X3/i-3jLjcZJ-X3.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2017-03-10 18:01:292017-04-07 19:55:20How To Prep Your Photos For Printing - Fuji X-T2 20x30 Print
I have been a Nikon DSLR shooter since day one, and as a landscape and nature photographer, I have always been pleased with the image quality and dynamic range of the Nikon system.
For the last three years, I have been testing almost every mirrorless camera on the market to see what all of the fuss was about. So many photographers talked about how mirrorless was completely replacing their DSLR systems, so I knew that I had to use them as my primary camera to see if I could truly live without my DSLR kit.
After tons of testing with different mirrorless camera brands, I came to the conclusion that these new cameras were nowhere near ready to replace my Nikon DSLR system, but they were definitely fun to use. The longest I was able to use a mirrorless camera without touching my DSLR was about two weeks.
Let’s fast forward to December of 2016… I bought my First Fujifilm mirrorless camera, and my world changed instantly…
Love At First Sight…
after months of research on the Fuji “X” line of cameras, I decided to purchase the Fujifilm X-T2 in December of 2016. You’re probably asking yourself why I never tried Fujifilm cameras in the past, since I stated above that I have tried tons of mirrorless cameras over the years. Well, I wish I had a great answer for you, but the 16 megapixel APS-C sensors that Fujifilm had just never caught my attention. HA, that was stupid of me…
All I can say is that from the moment I touched the X-T2, I instantly fell in love. It could have been a 10 megapixel camera, and I would not have cared one bit. This camera simply makes me want to take more photographs. Every single time I pick it up, I just want to get out, take photos, and make art. Isn’t that what all cameras are supposed to make me feel like?? If you own one of these magical Fujifilm X cameras, you know what I mean.
Here is the video where I unboxed this camera and held it for the first time…
Ok, so let’s get into the good stuff that will help you decide if this is the camera for you or not. I will be covering build quality, the firmware and menus, autofocus, dynamic range, ISO, EVF, ergonomics, and I will end with the main features that I liked and disliked about the camera.
The X-T2 has a very rigid build, and I found that after just a few days of using it in the field, I was almost as confident in it’s physical reliability as I am with my Nikon D810.
Flip out screens always worry me since most of them feel like they could snap off at any second. Somehow, even the flip out screen on the XT2 feels very strong and secure. I put my cameras through serious use in the elements, so the fact that this tiny mirrorless camera is still working like new should tell most people that it can take a serious beating.
Oddly enough, The only thing about the X-T2 that seemed a little “flimsy” was the exposure compensation dial. If you put even the slightest bit of pressure on the dial, it will physically move forwards and backwards like it’s about to snap off the camera body. That being said, I am sure that it’s built just as well as the rest of the camera, but that is the only physical part of the camera that just didn’t feel as rigid and strong as the rest.
Firmware And Menu System
One of the biggest reasons that Fujifilm has such a loyal fan base is because of the way they handle their firmware. Instead of releasing a new camera with simple upgrades every 6 months like other big brands, they release FREE firmware updates that fix and/or upgrade the features of their current cameras. For example, when the X-Pro2 first released, it had 273 AF points. The autofocus system in the X-Pro2 was fast enough for most situations, but when the X-T2 was released only 6 months later, it had 325 AF points that were all just a bit faster than the X-Pro2. What did Fujifilm do about this? They released a firmware update that literally upgraded the freaking AF system on the X-Pro2 so that it matched the same 325 point AF system from the X-T2! THAT, my friends, is how you run a business with a core competency of customer satisfaction…
As for the menu system, I think it’s laid out pretty well. It definitely takes some getting used to if you’re coming from a DSLR since there are so many more customization options in the mirrorless cameras. All in all, I found it pretty easy to navigate after the first few days of use, and I really enjoy that they give you a “MY” menu for storing all of your most-used menu settings in one place.
The feature that needs the biggest firmware improvement is the wireless communications setup between the X-T2 and smart devices. It’s extremely slow to connect, sometimes it’s very laggy once it does connect, and it often doesn’t want to connect at all. The biggest issue I have been having with it is that I can use my iPhone as a wireless feed and remote for the camera, but the second I want to import the photos to my phone, the app will crash or disconnect from the camera. This happens about 50% of the time. It seems that it makes you choose “remote” or “import” right from the launch of the app instead of being able to bounce back and forth between the two like it’s supposed to do.
Now that I have talked about how bad and unreliable the wireless communication features are, I will give you a big positive point to end this category with. The Fujifilm wireless remote app is really good… when it works. It’s one of the only wireless camera apps that allows you to change aperture, shutter speed, white balance, AND focus. If you do a lot of videos trying to record yourself, it’s hard to know when you’re in perfect focus. When using this app, all you have to do is tweak the focus for where you’re already standing instead of trying to pre-focus the camera to an area where you may or may not even be.
I am going to get right to the point. The autofocus system in the X-T2 is the fastest and most accurate AF system I have used in any mirrorless camera. The real test for AF systems is seeing how well they acquire focus in low light. I don’t mean going out at golden hour to see how well the AF performs. I’m talking about shooting a wedding reception where all you have are some candles and DJ lights. Fortunately, I was able to test this camera in some serious low light situations, and it performed wonderfully. The best low light focusing cameras I have used to date are the D4 and D500 from Nikon, and the X-T2 is just a hair faster than both of these cameras when the best Fujinon glass is mounted to the b0dy.
As for tracking fast moving subjects with the X-T2, it’s tough to give a definitive answer. I say that because the X-T2 tracks insanely well when the AF-C custom settings have been tweaked for the specific situation. If you just flip the AF mode selector from “S” to “C” and start firing off frames, it’s not as accurate as I would prefer it to be. It’s not slow or bad by any means, but I would say that it’s pretty inconsistent if you don’t tweak the AF-C custom settings and focus zones in the menu system.
EXAMPLE: This photo was captured in AF-C mode on custom setting #2 with the center zone selected. I chose custom setting #2 because this tweaks the focus to ignore obstacles like the bushes and weeds you can see creeping into the foreground. After tweaking, it produced tack sharp images every time! Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 55-200mm
Lastly If you’re interested to see how fast the X-T2 obtains focus acquisition in low light, you can check out this video I made comparing the AF speeds between the Fuji X-T2 and Nikon D810.
X-T2 vs D810: Low Light Autofocus Test
Dynamic Range is a big deal for me being that I am a landscape photographer. To be honest, I was still worried about the dynamic range on the X-T2 even after I placed the order to purchase one. Dynamic Range is a topic that most camera reviewers don’t test, so I did’t really know what to expect.
Using the X-T2 exclusively for the past two months has allowed me to learn a lot about it’s dynamic range capabilities. It seems to recover highlights in a much better way than it recovers shadows. Now, this all depends on the lighting situation you’re in whether it’s Indoor tungsten, direct sun light, dusk, etc. The quality of the light directly impacts how much noise and degradation you get in the image. I have posted a couple of example photos below…
HIGHLIGHT RECOVERY: The version of this photo on the left is 2 stops over exposed straight out of the camera, and as you can see from the version on the right, the RAW file held together brilliantly during highlight recovery. It even brought back the nice colors that were deep within the file.
SHADOW RECOVERY IN BAD LIGHT: The version on the left is 2 stops under exposed and completely blacked out. The version on the right is after shadow recovery in Lightroom CC. As you can see, it’s quite impressive how much luminance was able to be recovered from the file, but if you take a closer look, you can see significant color noise and loss of image quality.
This is a 100& crop of the shadow recovered photo above. I wanted you to be able to see the loss of detail and the noise that creeps in when trying to recover the shadows from this kind of lighting condition.
SHADOW RECOVERY IN GOOD LIGHT: The version on the left is 2 stops under exposed. As you can see from the version on the right, the shadows recovered with no issue this time. This photo was taken during mid-day light instead sunset like the noisy result above.
Here is the 100% crop of the shadow recovered version above. You can see that good light makes all the difference in the world. The only negative aspect of shadow recovery from the Fujifilm RAW files is that some of the colors start to turn a bit grey. Fortunately, it’s an easy fix with the Nik Collection Color Effects Pro software suite.
Surprisingly, I have no complaints concerning high ISO performance. I am comfortable shooting at ISO 6400 since it retains about 80% of the detail you would normally see from this camera at lower ISO values. That’s assuming that the subject you’re shooting at has some kind of ambient light source around. What impresses me the most about the higher ISO values of the X-T2 is the camera’s ability to produce 99% perfect color rendition and white balance in every image.
I just wish that Fujifilm will allow us to natively shoot lower than ISO 200 in the near future. I haven’t experienced any big issues at ISO 200 for my landscape photography, but my favorite thing about my Nikon D810 is that I can shoot at a native ISO 64. The lower ISO values give me a cleaner image, more room in post production to push the dynamic range, and it really helps when trying to drag the shutter for long exposures without the use of an ND filter.
I could keep writing about ISO, but people like seeing results. Not long after I purchased the X-T2, I did a direct ISO comparison between the X-T2 and the D810 all the way up to 12,800 ISO. I think you will be surprised at the results, and I even provided a link for you to download the RAW files from both cameras. You can read that blog post HERE or check out the video below…
HIGH ISO EXAMPLE: This photo was taken at ISO 10,000. Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 55-200mm
EVF And Rear LCD
To be 100% honest, I really love DSLR optical viewfinders. It’s all I have ever known. When the EVF’s first came out on these mirrorless cameras, I was sure that I could never use one for my professional work, and Unfortunately, I was correct. After using the Sony a6000, Sony A7r II, Panasonic G7, and a few others over the years, I never found an EVF that made me want to use it over an optical viewfinder. The EVF’s were just not detailed enough, a little laggy, and way too noisy in low light.
When I first put my eye up to the X-T2, it was like looking into my own personal HDTV. The colors were amazing, it was easy to see focus, I could see depth of field in real time, and there was room for a live histogram without taking up 60% of the screen. The EVF is so detailed that I use it almost exclusively over the live view to grab perfect manual focus for my landscape photos. I’m not sure what Fujifilm did when creating the EVF for the X-T2, but I can tell you that it’s the first EVF that I have been able to use without missing my optical viewfinder.
After all of my positive feedback on the EVF, I wish I could give you the same for the rear LCD. However, it’s just nothing special. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s hard to use it as a primary source for image review and focus check when the camera has a 2.36 million dot EVF right above the 1.04 million dot LCD. Now, you’re probably thinking how spoiled I sound for saying those things since they both have over 1 million dots of resolution, but you will completely understand once you go back forth between the EVF and LCD. Luckily, the LCD on the X-T2 was not a “make it or break it” feature for me. I shoot through the viewfinder 95% of the time, so I am lucky that the EVF is where Fujifilm decided to work their wizardry.
The last point I will mention regarding the LCD is the fact that it can now flip out into a vertical format. At first glance, you might think that you won’t use this feature, but It proved to be pretty useful when I had to get low to the ground in vertical format.
At the end of the day, I wish that the rear LCD was fully articulating like the Canon 80D and many others. I think that adding that one feature would make the X-T2 much more attractive to vloggers and videographers.
Handling And Ergonomics
This category is one of the most important for me because if a camera isn’t comfortable enough to use on a daily basis, it wouldn’t make sense to purchase it. I personally found the X-T2 a little small for my big hands when I first picked it up. It was mainly that my pinky finger had nowhere to go on the grip. I love the size of the camera, but once I started mounting heavier lenses like the Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8, it made the camera even harder to balance in with the tiny grip.
After the first 24 hours with the camera, I got online to see what other people with big hands were saying about the X-T2, and I saw the same advice on every forum… GET THE BATTERY GRIP! So, that is exactly what I did, and it’s the best accessory I have purchased for my X-T2 so far. It gave my pinky finger a place to grip, balanced the camera with larger lenses, gave me longer battery life, and it gave me the ability to shoot at 11fps in “boost” mode. It’s a no brainer! I highly recommend purchasing the booster grip with your X-T2.
As for overall ergonomics, the manual dials are the stars of the show in my opinion. They are simply perfect. I love having manual dials and rings at my fingertips to control shutter speed, ISO, aperture, and exposure compensation. It allows me to change my settings very quickly without having to take my eye out of the viewfinder. Other than the dials, all of the buttons on the camera have a very nice and tactile feel to them.
My two favorite features regarding ergonomics, are the new joystick and the locking/unlocking mechanism for the shutter speed and ISO dials. The joystick makes it super easy to navigate around the 325 AF points, and no matter what focus point you have selected at any given time, all you have to do is press the joystick inward to automatically get back to the center AF point. The new lock/unlock mechanism for the shutter and ISO dials are a very welcome upgrade. It simply insures that my settings won’t accidentally get changed when I’m taking the camera out of the bag, mounting it on a tripod, or slipping a rain cover over the top of the camera.
I want to preface this category by making all of you aware that I am not a professional videographer. I definitely have a great interest in video and find it very fun to film and edit all of my VLOGS for my YouTube channel, but my career is in photography.
I can tell you that the video is extremely sharp compared to other 4k mirrorless cameras I have shot with. The X-T2 records in a higher resolution than 4k and somehow down samples to 4k in real time for sharper footage and less moire. Fujifilm doesn’t fully explain how the technology works, but it works well.
What impressed me the most about shooting video with the X-T2 was it’s buttery smooth autofocus in continuous mode. With the influx of vloggers over the past few years, Having smooth autofocus transitions while shooting video seems to be one of the most important features that people look for. Until now, I have always recommended the Canon 70d or 80d for people who wanted smooth AF during video due to Canon’s dual pixel AF technology. In my opinion, the video AF on the X-T2 really holds it’s own against the 70d, and it’s just a little slower and less smooth than the 80d.
I wish I could keep going on about all of the video features for you, but it just wouldn’t be accurate or fair to give you strong opinions on the X-T2’s video capabilities without hardcore testing like I have done on all of the other categories. However, I promise that I will do more testing in the future and post the results on my YouTube channel. You can SUBSCRIBE to my channel HERE.
What I liked The Most
Snappy autofocus in good AND bad light
Autofocus tracking accuracy after tweaking the settings
Sharpness and image quality
Clean details and color accuracy at high ISO
What Needs The Most Improvement
Continuous autofocus tracking in default AF-C mode
dynamic range shadow recovery
Base ISO lower than 200
Fujifilm app and Wifi communication reliability
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Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 16-55mm f/1.8
Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 55-200 f/3.5-4.8
Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8
Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8-4
Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8
Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8
Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 55-200 f/3.5-4.8
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-3WXgMsZ/0/X3/i-3WXgMsZ-X3.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2017-03-03 19:04:142017-05-03 22:25:35Fujifilm X-T2 Full Review - One Camera To Rule Them All?
We all went back to Epcot tonight because…well, Epcot is a whole different world of magic and culture when golden hour hits. The countries all start to turn on lanterns and beautiful lights, the weather gets cooler, and all of the golden light starts reflecting off of the huge man-made lake in the middle of the Epcot World Showcase.
Our wives were looking at all of the souvenirs while Joseph and I were taking photos and drooling over the light hitting the architecture all around us. After walking around a bit and enjoying some family time and photography, the wives wanted to get some snacks. They were talking about ice cream, some kind of French fruit parfait, etc etc. This is where Joseph and I offered to take the kids, part ways from the ladies for a little while, and find some “man snacks” in another country.
After getting distracted by taking photos of the kids around the park, we finally arrived in Germany at Biergarten to get some homemade sausage and authentic German beer. Typically, I’m not a beer drinker, but when I travel, I love experiencing new things.
After we all enjoyed our snacks, we met back up with the wives and continued to have a fantastic evening! Family, friends, food, and great photos. Couldn’t ask for a better night! Below, you can see a few of my photos from tonight. Time to get in bed and gear up for tomorrow!
Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 18-55 f/2.8-4 | This photo was captured about 45 min before sunset. Everyone else was watching the Chinese dancers preform under this beautiful structure, but I was focused on capturing the golden light and interesting clouds.
Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 18-55 f/2.8-4 | The sunset was so good that I had to take a photo even though there wasn’t a great foreground at the time. However, I thought it was a pretty interesting image since I captured two countries and a hotel in one single photograph. Across the lake, you’ll see Morocco on the left, The Swan & Dolphin Resort in the middle, and France on the right.
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-Z5CRJvh/0/e74a05a1/X3/i-Z5CRJvh-X3.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2017-01-26 22:27:292017-06-28 14:39:37Disney Day 5: Epcot At Golden Hour And German Sausage
If you follow my YouTube channel, you have heard me say millions times that the best time to take photos in Disney World is at night. Well, Animal Kingdom is an exception to that statement. Why? Most of Animal kingdom is covered with trees due to all of the animals, and that ends up providing lots of dappled light in the best way possible.
You have to really look for those “magic light” moments, or they will be gone just as fast as they came. If you’re new to photography, you may be asking yourself right now what the heck “magic light” is. It all has to do with the way the light interacts with shadow and creates an interesting contrast between the two.
Here’s a couple photos from today, and if you want to check out the rest of my Disney portfolio, CLICK HERE.
Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 55-200mm | Swahili Sax Player jamming some soulful tunes. The second I pointed the camera at this guy, he started really animating stage presence. It was awesome!
Fuji X-T2 | Fujinon 55-200mm | Gorilla dreaming of freedom… FYI, this shot was taken at 10,000 ISO. It’s amazing how the detail held up.
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-4bd3tLP/0/X3/i-4bd3tLP-X3.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2017-01-24 19:14:092017-02-19 23:43:15Disney Day #3: Animal Kingdom And Swahili Soul
Today we spent the first half of the day in Epcot while our friends and their son traveled from Georgia to spend the week with us.
It’s always nice taking photos and being in Disney during the most uncrowded times of the year. THAT is where it’s awesome having a wife that is a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. She always hooks us up with the best shows, fast passes, and dinner reservations.
Once our friends arrived, we met them back at the hotel and got ready for dinner at Tokyo Dining in Epcot’s World Showcase. If you haven’t eaten there before and you like Japanese cuisine, you are really missing out! They have some of the best sushi I have ever had in the states. Disney definitely prides themselves on making all of the countries insanely authentic with the people, architecture, food, and the whole cultural experience.
There was a fantastic golden hour today with tons of beautiful/warm light kissing the sides of the epic Disney Architecture. I was able to take one photo of the light hitting a clocktower in Italy that stands next to another awesome restaurant called Via Napoli. Great pizza!
All in all, it was an awesome first day with our friends, and we’re all looking forward to a great night of sleep to prep us for another day in the magical world of Disney. I should probably stop blogging now since I’m the last one awake. Look below for a few photos I took today with the Fuji X-T2.
Dia De Los Muertos(Day Of The Dead) – Fuji X-T2 | Fuji 18-55 f/2.8-4
Clocktower in Italy overlooking Via Napoli restaurant. Fuji X-T2 | Fuji 18-55 f/2.8-4
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-CtM2HH3/0/X3/i-CtM2HH3-X3.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2017-01-23 00:37:282017-02-18 14:54:31Disney Day #2: Epcot And Dinner At Tokyo Dining
I am very thankful that we left for Disney on Saturday instead of Sunday since the storms were crazy all over Florida today! There were 40 to 50mph wind gusts, and the clouds were pretty crazy looking.
Since it was our first day waking up here in Disney, we decided to head to Animal Kingdom since we knew our 10 month old daughter would love looking at all the different animals! The park wasn’t very crowded at all, but the security bag-check-line to get in the park was honestly ridiculous. They have changed their bag-check procedures apparently.
I rarely get ticked off, but I was not happy about how they were treating me different JUST because I had photography equipment. They acted like my camera equipment was homemade explosives. When I asked why they were checking MY bag differently than everyone else’s, they said, “I’m sorry sir, it’s procedure.” Well, that makes about as much sense as the Canon 5d Mark IV…
Anyway, I don’t want to go into too much detail, but they basically let my wife and tons of other people walk right into the park with their backpacks full of stuff after simply taking a quick “peek” into their bags. Not me…They unzipped every tiny little zipper on my camera bag, went through my memory card pouch, took both lens caps off of every lens, etc. It was just dumb. You can watch my VLOG about it HERE.
Happiness From Here On…
Once security finally made up their mind that I wasn’t a terrorist,(sarcasm)we had a blast! Our daughter, Scarlett, loved seeing all of the animals run around! It was a great “dad moment” watching her enjoy Disney for the first time, and it might have even brought a single tear to my eye…
After my emotional “dad moment” was over, I noticed that it was going to be tough to find a photo with the mid-day light and crazy winds. However, I made up my mind that I was going to work the ominous clouds and crazy wind into my art, so that is exactly what I did 🙂
I used a fun technique where I purposely let the shutter drag down to around 1/10th to 1/30th of a second to get some cool motion blur effects. I ended up getting two decent photos out of the day that you can check out below.
Thanks for reading, and check back to see what fun and/or craziness we get ourselves into on Day #2!
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-v8NSB8z/0/X3/i-v8NSB8z-X3.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2017-01-22 18:43:242017-01-24 01:33:49Disney Day #1: Animal Kingdom And Tornado Warnings
Ohhh, so THAT Is What Fuji Fanboys Are Talking About…
I am going on three weeks of being a “Fuji Shooter” with my X-T2, and I can say with complete confidence that it has exceeded my expectations.
I am primarily a landscape/nature photographer and have always used my big Nikon DSLRs. I have been very pleased with my D810 for the past two years, but there are four distinct features that I think sets Fujifilm X cameras apart from the other camera brands I have used.
#1 Light Rendition:
I have no technical explanation for this one. I have used tons of cameras, but the way the Fuji X-trans sensors record light is just magical. There is such a defined and attractive separation between highlight and shadow. I’m Pretty sure that Fuji performs some kind of wizardry on these sensors after Sony sends them over.
This image was taken during golden hour, and I still can’t explain how the sensor magically portrays the separation between the cold blue shadows and the golden highlights kissing the rocks.
#2 High ISO Detail:
This is a big one for me because I do a lot of printing. There many times where I see “the shot” and just have to crank the ISO much higher than normal to capture the moment before it disappears. Usually when this happens while I am shooting with my D810, it’s kind of a general rule that loss of detail and color starts happening around 3200 ISO. For sharing online or any kind of web use, 3200 and up is easily useable on the D810, but printing is entirely different. To my complete surprise, the XT2 files are still useable at 6400 ISO and up for printing. I ordered a 16×24 print from an XT2 TIFF file that was shot at ISO 8000, and it looked freaking phenomenal due to the amount of detail that held together at the higher ISO values on the Fuji XT2. If you would like to see a Fuji vs Nikon ISO comparison I did, you can read that blog post HERE.
This image was taken handheld at 5000 ISO with no noticeable loss of detail at all.
#3 The Mechanical Dials:
The image quality isn’t the only reason that the XT2 has been an absolute pleasure to shoot with. The handling and ergonomics of this camera simply make it fun to use. My favorite feature about the ergonomics of course are the mechanical dials on top for controlling ISO, shutter speed, metering, and exposure compensation. Not only does it make for a super fast workflow when shooting, but it also adds that beautiful bit of nostalgia as if I’m shooting on an old film camera.
#4 Color Rendition:
Last but not least, the color rendition on that Fuji cranks out of their files are stunning. It really has a look of it’s own that I have not seen before when using any other camera or software plugin. If you make the jump and purchase one of these Fuji X cameras, you will know exactly what I am talking about. Ever since the first few Fujifilm mirrorless cameras started to hit the market a few years ago, I have heard nothing but good things about their natural rendition of “colory” buttery goodness. Now I know why people won’t shut up about it ;-).
This image only had some micro contrast and sharpening applied to it. The colors and exposure are straight out of the camera. It impressed the heck out of me!
Conclusion And Video Going Over These Four Topics…
If you can’t tell, I am really loving this camera so far, but I have obviously found some quirks and cons that I will mention in my full review(coming soon). I will go ahead and put your mind at ease by saying that I haven’t found anything yet that bothered me enough to sell it or return it. I am going on almost a month of not touching my Nikon D810. It might sound weird, but when I get creative and feel like going on a photo adventure, I just naturally pick up my Fuji kit without thinking. It just feels right…
As Always, please let me know in the comments if you have ANY questions at all.
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-jfq5bcK/0/X2/i-jfq5bcK-X2.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2017-01-09 14:39:282017-01-13 22:44:06Why Are Fujifilm X Cameras So Special? Fuji XT2 Mini Review
This was my first time bringing the Fuji camera for a day of landscape photography while leaving my Nikon D810 at home, and the X-T2 honestly impressed me way more than I thought it would
I have been shooting on 35mm full frame Nikon cameras for as long as I can remember, and after an entire day of shooting waterfalls, creeks, architecture, and very harsh lighting situations, I honestly forgot everything about what camera I was shooting with. I was just focused on capturing the photos.
There were many great aspects of shooting landscapes with the X-T2, but the best part was the size and weight. I was able to fit my entire day-kit in a messenger bag…that was AWESOME! I did not miss my full frame camera all day, and I am very happy with the images I came away with.
No matter what camera you are shooting with, never let your gear get in the way of taking the photo itself. You can see the VLOG and photos from the trip below:
Fuji X-T2 | 42″ | f/11 | ISO 200
Fuji X-T2 | 1/2000 | f/5.6 | ISO 200
Fuji X-T2 | 1/400 | f/4 | ISO 200
Fuji X-T2 | 1/3000 | f/16 | ISO 200
Fuji X-T2 | 27″ | f/8 | ISO 200
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-p2w4fxd/0/O/i-p2w4fxd.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2016-12-31 18:25:102017-01-07 19:50:04Fuji X-T2 Landscape Photography VLOG
HDR(High Dynamic Range)is one of those styles of photography that some people love, some people hate, and some people just don’t understand.
This fun style of photography is nothing more than capturing multiple photos of a scene at different light values in order to blend the best part of each photo into “one photo to rule them all.”
I made a very detailed digital blending tutorial that you can follow along with by downloading my PSD with the RAW files from this project below. I hope this helps everyone, and you can always find more free tutorials on my YouTube channel!
http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Digital-Blending-Blog_Feature-Image.jpg12602048Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2016-12-08 13:25:332016-12-11 23:27:49Digital Blending Your HDR Photography
This is just one of those photos that was really fun to capture and post process. I’m not 100% sure why this happens, but every once in a while I really show favoritism towards a specific photo.
I was on my way to a small town in Alabama to shoot Fall colors when I saw this beautiful overlook to my right. Obviously, I had to stop the car so I could determine whether or not the scene had potential for a great photo. Well, the second that I saw the little house with it’s own little section of the forest, I just fell in love with this scene.
Wait For The Light…
The clouds were moving very fast that day, so it was making it tough to capture the light at it’s best. For the longest time, that beautiful little house was in deep shade, but I waited as long as it took for that perfect beam of light to accentuate all of the magic that the landscape had to offer.
https://photos.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-XRCqcJg/0/XL/SoShinesAGoodDeedInAWearyWorld-XL.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2016-11-10 16:17:362016-12-11 14:46:45So Shines A Good Deed In A Weary World
A Dedication to my late grandfather, Frank Mosley…
I love shooting sunsets, but it can be very hard sometimes to find truly magical sunsets here in Georgia. What makes a sunset magical? Well, it takes a few elements that all have to come together at the same time. The clouds have to be the right size and texture in order for the colors to reflect off of them, the colors have to be the perfect mixture of orange/purple/pink, the sun can’t be covered by any clouds so that the warm golden light can kiss the surroundings, and THAT is what makes a magical sunset…
I found this location and captured this photograph 4 hours and 11 minutes before my grandfather passed away and went to heaven. THIS photo turned out to be the truly magical sunset that I very rarely get to see. Some might say that it’s just a coincidence….. I say that God opened up the sky in the most beautiful way to bring home one of the best men I ever had the pleasure of knowing and being able to call my grandfather.
NEW PHOTO – “The Edge Of Night”
http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/The-Edge-Of-Night_100ppi.jpg10332028Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2016-03-23 23:13:532016-12-02 16:38:56The Edge Of Night -Dedicated To My Late Grandfather
I have received quite a few requests over the past year to video document all of my photography hikes and adventures in order for all of you to see my process from start-to-finish. After researching the best way for me to vlog my adventures while delivering quality video production, I decided to finally purchase a full GoPro rig to handle all of my my on-location vlogging.
As per your requests, here is the the FIRST Landscape Photography VLOG. I hope you all enjoy!
Landscape Photography Vlog #1
http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Vlog-1-YT-GRaphic.jpg7201280Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2016-03-13 21:20:302016-05-12 01:51:59NEW Landscape Photography VLOG
I am all about getting up at the crack of dawn if it means I get to be in the silence of nature with my camera. My dad called me on a Friday evening and said, “Eric, I know you love shooting sunrises, and I know of this really cool farm that sits in between two mountains. Want to go tomorrow?” Well, how could I have turned him down after hearing about a pretty farm, mountains, and sunrise?
Here is where the story takes a bit of a turn… We got up at 4am, traveled to the road where the farm was, checked our weather apps and made sure there was still no rain in the forecast, and then waited for the sun. Well, I spent 25 minutes scouting for the best spot to shoot from, I set up my tripod, put on my polarizer so the warm side lighting from the sunrise would look perfect, and then…… No colors, tons of cloud coverage, and it was getting brighter by the minute. We both agreed that the farm location was a bust for sunrise that day due to the clouds and grey atmosphere. However, the Weather Channel still said 0% chance of anything with clear skies…
Last Minute Panorama
Right before we packed up and decided to climb the mountain for another perspective, I made the random decision to shoot a series of photos that I later stitched into the panorama you see below. I didn’t realize how much I would love this shot until I got home and started post processing it. This just goes to show that you should always try to make the best out of any location. Sure, I didn’t get my epic sunrise with beautiful colors, but I got one of the most impactful black and whites I’ve ever shot. Spend 80% of your time scouting the location for interesting compositions and the other 20% making the photographs.
NEW PHOTO – “The Comforts Of Home”
https://photos.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-PxgvTww/5/M/The%20Comforts%20Of%20Home-M.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2016-02-29 16:45:312016-09-03 02:13:05The Comforts Of Home
I am 100% serious when I say that there are endless photo opportunities at Car City! I was honestly like a kid seeing Disney World for the first time. My dad and I wondered around for a couple of hours and still didn’t see even half of the cars that are sitting there just waiting for someone to come along and make inspiring art out of the rusty ruins.
What caught my eye about this old truck was the crazy amount of broken glass, the green moss growing from the dashboard, and the odd shaped textures that were all over the truck. This truck just had so much “character” compared to all of the other ones sitting around it, and the way I decided to compose this shot even gives off a bit of a post-apocalyptic feel to this photo. This place is nothing short of an automotive cemetery…… and photography paradise 😉
NEW PHOTO – “Loyal To A Fault”
https://photos.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-PXTvsRD/5/M/Loyal%20To%20A%20Fault-M.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2016-02-09 20:28:192016-09-03 14:59:48Loyal To A Fault - Old Car City Part #2
I typically don’t like to photograph “iconic” places that have been photographed a million times, but I decided to visit Anna Ruby Falls anyway since it was less than two miles from where I was camping with my grandfather. Well, I was so glad that I decided to visit because I found this random trail that was way to the right of the falls(where everyone else was)that was so narrow and looked like it was strictly a biking trail at one point. Basically, the trail looked like it hadn’t trekked for a long time.
After navigating the trail for a few miles and clearing it of overgrown foliage, I was starting to wonder if I should turn around….. until I stumbled upon this really etherial creek with big mossy rocks surrounded in beautiful greenery. It was much prettier than the actual Anna Ruby Falls that so many people travel to see. I love hiking off the beaten path to find my photos because it makes me feel like I really earned the shot! This was one of those rewarding moments… I hope you enjoy looking at this one as much as I enjoyed being there.
NEW PHOTO – “The Woodland Realm”
https://photos.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-c67C5m6/5/M/The%20Woodland%20Realm-M.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2016-01-11 21:55:162016-09-03 15:49:16The Woodland Realm
After loads of people asking how I give my photos a magical and etherial look, I made a video on how I post processed one of my most popular Disney photos. I hope you all enjoy it!
NEW VIDEO – Disney World Photography Post Processing #2
http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Disney-Post-Processing-Video-2.jpg7201280Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2016-01-07 22:34:122016-09-03 15:49:57Disney World Photography Post Processing #2
December of 2015 was my first visit to the Opryland Hotel, and it definitely took me by surprise. The hotel had tons of waterfalls, around 20 restaurants, offered riverboat rides, and was within walking distance of the historic Grand Ole Opry. Needless to say, it was very hard to fit all of this beauty and excitement into one photograph. As a matter of fact, I went out of my way to make sure I didn’t fit it all into one photograph. I believe that one of the biggest mistakes people make when documenting cool places is zooming their lens to the widest angle and trying to fit everything into one “crowded” looking image.
In my opinion, one of the most important things a photographer can give to his/her viewers is a feeling. Yes, it might sound strange. However, think about why you have certain framed photographs or paintings throughout your home. It had to have given you a feeling or made you think of a meaningful memory. Now you’re starting to see what goes into making a great photograph or piece of art. We do a lot of work to make sure that the way we compose the photograph expresses the feeling of the scene that made us so happy to take our camera out of the bag to begin with. Let that sink in for a bit 🙂
Have a wonderful week!
NEW PHOTO – Christmas At Opryland Resort
https://photos.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-RKNSCsL/5/M/Christmas%20At%20Opryland%20Resort-M.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2016-01-06 19:28:442016-09-03 15:51:25Christmas At Opryland Resort
My wife and I were in Disney World for an entire week around the holidays last year, so I thought I would share a cool photo I took on our trip. We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Resort which was beautifully decorated for Christmas! As you can see in the photo below, the lobby had this unbelievable Christmas tree that was one of the largest and most extravagant I have ever seen! The problem was, it was so beautiful that hundreds of people were constantly waiting to take photos of their families in front of the tree. Well, even indoor photography involves knowing exactly when the best time to shoot is. Unfortunately, the only time I could get a photo with no people around was at 3am…
I waited in the hotel room trying my best to stay awake after a long day at the parks and finally got the perfect shot in the middle of the night with no one around. Even the guy that was waxing the flowers offered to move out of my way for a few photos as long as I promised to show him the results. Everything came together perfectly, and I even gained a new fan(floor wax guy).
ALWAYS be willing to take risks! As you can see, sometimes it’s worth it. Merry Christmas and thank you ALL for the continued support!
NEW PHOTO – “Harambe Christmas”
https://photos.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-GRkXN2B/3/L/Harambe%20Christmas-L.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2015-12-25 23:15:372016-09-03 15:55:35Merry Christmas To All
Just incase you all haven’t noticed yet, I absolutely love taking photos all over Disney World!
There is just something so special about taking photos in Disney. I feel so creative and free when I’m there. As adults, we often hold back certain emotions, feelings, and creativity that was so easy for us to express when we were children. The reason I love art so much is because it’s the perfect platform for me to express all of those feelings as often as I want! Art/photography is an outward expression of the creator and should never be taken too seriously. Every time I capture and post process photos, I do it ALL unapologetically. What I mean by that is that there are no “right” or “wrong” ways to create art. Every person will create it in a different way… Some will use art to find themselves, and some will turn out like Thomas Kinkade who always used art to enrich the lives of others…
Always follow your dreams
NEW DISNEY PHOTO – “When You Wish Upon A Star”
https://photos.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-pQ3pc94/2/M/When%20You%20Wish%20Upon%20A%20Star-M.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2015-12-08 17:15:162016-09-03 16:00:03When You Wish Upon A Star
Here it is, folks! I am super excited to release the second photo in my Portraits Around The World photo series!
The subject’s name was Harry, and he was a really cool and nerdy guy…which I loved of course. We hit it off pretty quick once we discovered that we’re both die hard Star Wars fans. We spent about 10 minutes talking about nerdy stuff before I asked him for a photo, and you will see where the scenario goes from there when you watch the video below. Can’t wait to hear everyone’s thoughts!
NEW PHOTO – Portraits Around The World | Harry From England
http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Harry_PATW-England.jpg39982751Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2015-11-20 18:32:192016-09-03 17:18:53England - Portraits Around The World
Any outdoor photographer will tell you that making the perfect photograph is around 90% skill and 10% luck. The 10% aspect is all about what mother nature decides to unleash. The right clouds, the right color tones in the sky, and most important, the light…Well, this particular moment in time was almost all luck, and there is nothing wrong with that! It’s always good to have the perfect elements come together when you’re trying to capture a great photograph.
This beautiful scene was at the very top of Amicalola Falls overlooking The Smoky Mountains. I was actually there shooting a wedding with a friend and saw this after doing some sunset photos with the bride and groom. Lucky for me, the guy I was shooting the wedding with knows that I am a maniac for landscape photography, so he covered me for 10 minutes while I got this photo for my portfolio. I hope you all enjoy it!
NEW PHOTO – “Amicalola Falls Sunset”
http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.png00Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2015-11-16 21:39:062016-09-03 17:25:39Amicalola Falls Sunset
I am SO excited to finally kick off my “Portraits Around The World” photo series!
This really sweet Chinese girl in the photo is Rebecca Pik Kei Wong. While visiting each country in Epcot, I walked around for at least half an hour looking for the perfect person to ask about taking their photo. Lets go ahead and get your thoughts out of the way… yes, that last sentence makes me sound like a total creeper. However, there really is an art to choosing the perfect person to take a portrait of. I look for someone who will make eye contact with me, someone with a sweet smile, someone who looks approachable, etc.
When you approach random people and ask to take their photo, there is another form of art involved. You have to be great at building fast relationships based on trust. I say this because this day in time, random dudes with cameras asking people for a photo can be looked at as very sketchy or uncomfortable. I have made a video that goes along with each photo in this series where I explain exactly how I handled each situation. I go over how I approached each person, the words I chose to use while asking for a photo, and I will share some cool facts that I learned about each person I photographed.
I really hope you all enjoy these photos, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
NEW PHOTO – Portraits Around The World | Rebecca Pik Kei Wong
http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Pik-Kei-PATW-Watermarked_Web-Optimized.jpg53823309Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2015-11-02 18:50:482016-09-03 17:37:14China - Portraits Around The World
Any HARRY POTTER FANS out there?!?!?!? You will love this! My wife and I recently went on vacation to Disney and Universal. I have photographed Disney quite a few times, but I have never had the chance to photograph the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter… until now that is…
If you are interested in purchasing a print of this photo, feel free to contact me HERE
NEW PHOTO – “Borgin And Burkes”
https://photos.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-vBk4rKT/6/M/Borgin%20And%20Burkes-M.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2015-10-19 22:32:492016-09-03 17:39:51Harry Potter: Borgin And Burkes
About a year and a half ago, I was in Chattanooga, TN for a few hours with my wife and in-laws taking in some of the beautiful sights in the city. As we were walking past the Chattanooga Aquarium, I saw this very cool looking man on the sidewalk playing an old guitar. There were quite a few homeless men making loud noises with various instruments, but this particular man caught my attention and was actually quite good at playing.
As always, I had my camera with me for some street photography, so I snapped a quick shot of him and didn’t think much of it….until later that is. When I got home from the trip and started post processing all of the photos, I could NOT stop staring at the photo I took of that one man playing guitar. There was such a story hiding behind his eyes, and the way he was looking at the camera really pulled me in.
After falling in love with this photo and realizing how oddly photogenic this random man was, I couldn’t wait to publish this piece to see if all of my viewers felt the same way. Well, I can tell you after gathering all of the data from the various websites and galleries I featured this photo on, it received over FOURTY THOUSAND views in such a crazy short amount of time. As you can imagine, the hype around this photo blew my mind and took me by complete surprise.
Shortly after I learned about all the attention this photo was getting, I told myself that I HAD to go back to Chattanooga in order to introduce myself to the man and give him a print of the photo. Call me weird, but this piece just didn’t feel “complete” until I personally delivered a print to this man that had brought so much attention and joy to my website.
I specifically planned to spend my birthday in Chattanooga a few months later. I made a beautiful print and kept wondering what I was going to say to the man when I approached him. Well, we drove to the street where I saw him months before and walked around the whole town looking for him, but we just couldn’t find him. I didn’t tell my wife and family, but I was SO disappointed and wondering if I would ever get “closure” on this project. I know it sounds weird, but I couldn’t stand the fact that this image had brought so many new viewers to my website, and the star of the show(guitar guy)had absolutely no clue. I saw a Chattanooga Aquarium employee walking toward me not far from where I took the photo, so I asked him if he was familiar with the man in the print that I was holding. The aquarium employee knew exactly who I was talking about and said, “I’m not sure where he is today. I haven’t seen him for a few days actually, but he is an icon here in Chattanooga. Everyone knows who he is.” Now I was even more intrigued with this guy being that he is homeless, plays guitar on the sidewalk, and the aquarium employee just described him as an icon? It slowly started to make sense because he is the only homeless man I have ever seen that had such a positive, inspiring, and happy spirit about him. Those are probably the reasons I felt compelled to photograph him so many months ago. I had an awesome birthday in Chattanooga, but I was never able to find the man and give him the print…
Nineteen days later, I got the chance to go to Chattanooga again for a quick trip. The second we got to the end of Broad street in downtown…..there he was playing his guitar with a big smile on his face. I couldn’t even explain the excitement that jolted through me. As I was approaching him to give him the print, I noticed he was saying “happy summer time” to every single person that walked by. I walked up, introduced myself as a photographer from Atlanta, and I showed him the print. His facial expression said it all when I revealed the print to him, and he didn’t even know it was for him to keep. Ha! He even looked at me and said, “for me??” It was a very short and simple moment we had together, but I could tell he loved the print. I finally felt accomplished with this image and walked away with a peaceful relief. He even let me take another portrait of him, but this time he gave me a great big smile since he knew I was shooting him. What a cool guy…
Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this story, and I hope you enjoy looking at both of the images I took below.
http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Homeless-Musician_For-Blog-Post.jpg13542048Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2015-09-27 23:46:522016-09-03 22:34:30Story Of The Homeless Guitar Guy
You’re probably wondering what my new project is all about! Well, my wife and I just recently got back from spending a week in Disney World. When I was driving us there, I had 7 hours to think of this interesting idea………
I always take photos while I’m in Disney, but 99% of my work is typically of iconic rides, fireworks, and cool architecture. While I believe that all of my photos have a signature look, there are still so many people that take photos of Disney architecture. I just wanted to do something different….something special. As I started throwing ideas around in my head, I knew that I wanted my special project to involve Epcot. Well, one thing lead to another, and I had this idea to do “Portraits Around The World” in Epcot’s World Showcase. For those who don’t know what that is, Epcot has a huge section of their park dedicated to replicating many different countries around the world.
Portraits Around The World
Now that you know how the idea came about, I will explain. Disney requires that each country in Epcot only hires employees that were born in the country they are working in. That is how Disney keeps everything super authentic. That being said, I put myself on a mission to take a compelling portrait of an employee or group of employees from each country in Epcot. I thought the mix of culture would be really cool to see! Now you see why I named the project the way I did. I knew it would be a cool idea the moment it came to me, and I hope you all like it as well! I think it will be a really unique series of images!
Conclusion And What’s To Come
I will release the first portrait of the series in a couple of weeks, and I will make a quick video that goes with each portrait. Each video will explain how I got the photo, how I chose which person to photograph, and I will share some cool info about each person. The key to getting a great portrait of someone you don’t know is to build a quick relationship and earn their trust. You will be amazed at how much better your portraits look when your subject opens up! Thank you all so much for the continued support, and I can’t wait for you to see the portraits!
http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Epcot-Portraits-Around-The-World.jpg10001500Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2015-09-22 23:55:042016-09-08 16:42:50NEW PROJECT - Portraits Around The World
The Georgia Aquarium is one of the coolest places to visit in Atlanta! It is a very challenging place to photograph because of all the reflective glass and people everywhere. I was lucky enough to see this little cove during a sea otter show that was going on, so there were no people around. I mean come on, when would have been a better time?? People LOVE sea otters….Anyway, I don’t know what it was that caught my eye about this scene, but I think the way this photo is composed made it look pretty nifty 🙂
NEW PHOTO – “Portal To A Blue World”
https://photos.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-92849gf/6/M/Portal%20To%20A%20Blue%20World-M.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2015-09-02 17:00:292016-09-04 00:26:36Portal To A Blue World
This trip was our first time visiting Disney World during Christmas, and it was incredible! I captured this image in Magic Kingdom where my wife and I lingered in the park two hours after closing time. We never knew that it took THAT long before Disney employees nicely ask you to leave.
I am so glad that we hung around until midnight or I would have never been able to capture some of the best photos I have ever taken in Disney. Staying in the park that late is truly the key to avoiding all of the crazy crowds ruining photos of Disney’s surreal architecture. I can’t wait to go back in 6 weeks!!
If anyone is interested in purchasing a print of this image, feel free to concat me HERE.
What is YOUR favorite place to take photos in Disney World??
NEW PHOTO – “Christmas On Disney’s Main Street”
https://photos.smugmug.com/Portfolio/i-vzc8BMw/2/M/Disney%27s%20Main%20Street-M.jpg10801920Eric Marks (Author)http://findingmiddleearth.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FME-X-THEME-LOGO-FINAL-1030x259.pngEric Marks (Author)2015-07-25 16:53:422016-09-04 01:10:40Christmas On Disney's Main Street