Fuji X-T2 RAW Files – Lightroom Vs On1 Photo RAW Vs Capture One Pro

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RAW Processor Showdown!

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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Tilley Hiker’s Hat Review – Landscape Photographer’s Best Friend

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The Best Hiking Hat You Will Ever Own…

I have been looking for the perfect outdoor hat for a long time, and I finally found the perfect one. The Tilley Hiker’s Hat provides great protection from the sun, it has a lifetime warranty, and it is so comfortable that I could sleep in it. 

I have spent the past year trying different outdoor hats from tons of different brands, and I can tell you after extensive research, Tilley’s customer service and product quality is second to none. Oh, and it helps that the Hiker’s Hat will make you look like Indiana Jones 😉

Watch my video review below to learn more about the Tilley Hiker’s Hat and where to buy one.


 

How To Prep Your Photos For Printing – Fuji X-T2 20×30 Print

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My Prepping Workflow…

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…

Disney Day #2: Epcot And Dinner At Tokyo Dining

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Good Food, Good Light, And Great Friends…

 

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.

Nighty night, internet friends 🙂

PS: If you’re interested in any of the camera gear I took with me to Disney World, you can watch my “Packing Cameras For Disney” video HERE.

Dia De Los Muertos(Day Of The Dead) - Fuji X-T2 | Fuji 18-55 f/2.8-4

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

Clocktower in Italy overlooking Via Napoli restaurant. Fuji X-T2 | Fuji 18-55 f/2.8-4


 

Disney Day #1: Animal Kingdom And Tornado Warnings

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Gale Force Winds…

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! 

Camera: Fuji X-T2 | Lens: Fuji XF 55-200 f/3.5-4.8

Camera: Fuji X-T2 | Lens: Fuji XF 55-200 f/3.5-4.8

Camera: Fuji X-T2 | Lens: Fuji XF 18-55 f/2.8-4

Camera: Fuji X-T2 | Lens: Fuji XF 18-55 f/2.8-4


 

Why Are Fujifilm X Cameras So Special? Fuji XT2 Mini Review

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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.

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 perfect exposure are straight out of the camera. It impressed the heck out of me!

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.

-Eric


 

Fuji X-T2 Landscape Photography VLOG

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Testing The Fuji X-T2

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

Fuji X-T2 | 42″ | f/11 | ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 | 1/2000 | f/5.6 | ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 | 1/2000 | f/5.6 | ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 | 1/400 | f/4 | ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 | 1/400 | f/4 | ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 | 1/3000 | f/16 | ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 | 1/3000 | f/16 | ISO 200

Fuji X-T2 | 27

Fuji X-T2 | 27″ | f/8 | ISO 200


 

Digital Blending Your HDR Photography

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Blending Your Brackets WITHOUT HDR Software…

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!


 

Landscape Photo Vlog #2 And A Summer Sunset

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Chasing Down The Sunset!

I was super excited about shooting the sunset because we had some severe weather coming in. If you pay attention to the clouds as much as I do, you will start to notice that the best clouds and sunsets come right before and right after bad storms.

As you will see in the video, I had a little trouble chasing down the sunset, but I believe I captured a pretty good image in the end. I hope you all enjoy vlog #2!

The Photograph

Once I finally made it down this steep hill by the shore, I was able to find a good foreground for the composition. As you can see, I used the angles of the rocks to point the viewers right into the sunset. I ended up only having to post process one photo instead of blending the brackets because the mid-ground was not interesting enough to bring into light. 

I made a video explaining when and how to use HDR so that you don’t ever use HDR as a crutch when you’re having trouble finding a solid composition. You can watch that video HERE.

-Eric

NEW PHOTO – “Summer Sunset”

 


 

THANK YOU FOR 1,000 YOUTUBE SUBSCRIBERS!!

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The Finding Middle Earth Youtube Channel

Thank you all SO much for allowing my channel to reach ONE THOUSAND subscribers! There will be a lot more great content coming in the future, and I can’t wait to see the channel at ten thousand subscribers!

-Eric


 

Google Nik Software Collection Now FREE

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Some Of The best Plugins Ever!

Ok, I am really excited about this post because Google actually did something really cool for the photography community yesterday! I will let you watch the video to get the full scoop, BUT……Google made their Nik Software Collection FREE for everyone! Merry Christmas in March!

-Eric

NEW VIDEO – “Google Announcement – Nik Software Collection Now FREE”


 

 

NEW Landscape Photography VLOG

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Landscape Photography Vlog #1

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!

-Eric


 

Landscape Photography Vlog #1


 

Nikon D5 vs D500 – Possible D850/D900 Coming Soon?

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Nikon’s NEW DSLRs

If you follow my videos, you will know that my primary and favorite camera is the Nikon D810. I absolutely love the high resolution files that come out of that camera! However, with Canon pushing out a 50 megapixel camera and Sony pushing out their 42 megapixel camera, I can’t help but wonder if Nikon is going to fight back soon in this megapixel war.

I understand that a lot of people whine and moan about megapixels when they never actually need the crazy resolution, but I will ride with megapixel-pony all day long since my clients want large gallery prints. I would love for you to check out my video below where I discuss all of these topics while comparing the new Nikon D5 and D500. Enjoy!

-Eric

NEW VIDEO – Nikon D5 vs D500- Possible D820/D900 Coming Soon?


 

Why Is The Rum Gone

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Photography & Seafood Adventures 

This photo was taken on a super fun adventure that me, my dad, and my brother went on while we were vacationing in Panama City Beach.  My dad knows that I am obsessed with seafood and taking photos, so he wanted to take my brother and I on a day-trip to Apalachicola, Florida where they have the best oysters in the world.  I had never been to Apalachicola before so I was really excited to embark on a day of adventure, seafood, and photography!

It was a beautiful drive from Panama City Beach to Apalachicola!  We stopped probably ten times along the way for me to take photos and for us to try different seafood of course.  I took a lot of photos that day for documentary purposes, but the one I ended up using for my portfolio was the photo you see below of the abandoned ship consumed by sand.  I saw the boat as we were crossing the bridge to enter St. George Island, and I immediately asked my dad to find a place where we could pull off the road and hike to it.  Without going into detail, it was quite a difficult process hiking down to the ship due to things like high tide, steep hills, slippery rocks, etc. However, it was all worth it once I saw the immediate result on the back of my camera.  It was an awesome location for photos!

-Eric

NEW PHOTO – “Why Is The Rum Gone”

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Photography Video Tutorial

I made a quick video while I was photographing boat to show everyone how I helped mother nature out a little by adding an element from my surroundings into the shot for a stunning final composition.  If you have any questions at all or simply want to talk about seafood, lets chat in the comments!

NEW VIDEO – Landscape Photography Tutorial – Abandoned Boat


 

Disney World Photography Post Processing #2

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Video Tutorial 

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!

-Eric

NEW VIDEO – Disney World Photography Post Processing #2


 

Happy New Year With A NEW VIDEO

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Art Of The Image

I was honored this week to be featured on the Art Of The Image youtube channel and website. I was asked to speak on my top tips for theme park photography. I have never spoken on this topic before, but how could I turn down the opportunity to be on this awesome photography show? I have posted the link to the video below, and I hope you all enjoy it!I was honored this week to be featured on the Art Of The Image youtube channel and website.  I was asked to speak on my top tips for theme park photography.  I have never spoken on this topic before, but how could I turn down the opportunity to be on this awesome photography show?  I have posted the link to the video below, and I hope you all enjoy it!

-Eric

NEW VIDEO – Theme Park Photography Tips


 

How To Take Better Family Photos For The Holidays

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Pop-Up Flash Is The Grinch

Hello!  I hope everyone is having a magical evening on this lovely “eve” of Thanksgiving!  First, I want to tell everyone how truly thankful and blessed I am to have fans and supporters of my artistic life adventures here on The Finding Middle Earth Photography Blog!  You are all very important to me, and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families.

Instead of a quick “Happy Thanksgiving” video, I wanted to provide a cool tip that might help you all when trying to take family photos this Thanksgiving and Christmas.  You might find the tip a little goofy, but I promise it works wonders on the quality of your photos.  Enjoy The video below!

-Eric

NEW VIDEO: How To Take Better Family Photos For The Holidays


Adorama Flashpoint Zoom Li-oN i-TTL Speedlight REVIEW

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In Depth Video Review

I have been using the Adorama Flashpoint ZoomLioN i-TTL Speedlight for a while now, and I finally did an in depth review on it.  I hope I can finally answer the high speed sync questions that so many people have and put them to rest.  I could not find any good videos about this flash online, so I hope you all enjoy the information in this one!

-Eric

 Adorama Flashpoint ZoomLioN i-TTL Speedlight REVIEW


 

Learn How To GEOTAG Your Photos

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Geotagging With Adobe Lightroom

After talking with and observing many other photographers, I learned a few things:  There are a lot of photography professionals and enthusiasts out there that do not geotag their photos, and a lot of them have never even opened the “Map Module” inside of Adobe Lightroom.  Needless to say, I wanted to make a quick video to show everyone how and why I geotag my photos!  It sounds really hard, but I promise I go slow enough in this video for you to see every single step in my geotagging workflow.  

I hope you all enjoy the video!

-Eric

 NEW VIDEO – “GEOTAGGING YOUR PHOTOS WITH ADOBE LIGHTROOM”