Fixing Color Casts with Photoshop and Luminosity Masks

See how I used a luminosity mask in Photoshop to correct the color in the background of this photo while protecting the subject.
See how I used a luminosity mask in Photoshop to correct the color in the background of this photo while protecting the subject.

Adobe Photoshop has some really good color correction tools hidden in the Curves tool, but sometimes they are too strong when you apply them globally. By targeting your color cast adjustments via a luminosity mask, you can fix color casts in specific tone ranges such as shadows, highlights, or midtones.

Download my free set of luminosity masking actions for Adobe Photoshop, and check out my complete PDF guide to creating and using luminosity masks with Photoshop, Mastering Luminosity Masks.

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POTD: House Finch

I always make a point of testing out new gear and settings before using it in the field. I’m still getting comfortable with the Nikon D500, which has a few new nuances in the autofocus system, before I head down to Texas next week for my annual South Texas Birding Safari. So here’s a house finch from the backyard, cropped to actual pixels (100%).

House Finch
Backyard house finch captured with Nikon D500 and 200-500mm f/5.6E VR (click to see full size image).
Tech Specs

Nikon D500 with AFS 200-500mm f/5.6E VR Nikkor zoom lens
1/600s f/7.1 ISO 800 (auto ISO)

 

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Backyard Shootout: Nikon 500 f/4 VR vs. 200-500 f/5.6 VR

Can a $1400 zoom compete with a $8000 prime telephoto lens?

That’s the $64k question, isn’t it? When I saw that the new Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E VR was announced at under $1400 (check price here), I figured that either: a) I read that wrong, or b) it must be a compromise. Seeing as how I own the 500mm f/4 AFS G VR Nikkor, I figured I’d do the obligatory comparison, so here’s my backyard shootout:

Continue reading Backyard Shootout: Nikon 500 f/4 VR vs. 200-500 f/5.6 VR

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Hands-on Review: Nikon 300mm f/4E PF AFS VR Nikkor

A Lightweight, Compact Telephoto Lens from Nikon Perfect for Sports and Wildlife

The Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Nikkor lens is perfect for hand-held shooting.
The Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Nikkor lens is perfect for hand-held shooting.

I’ve always considered Nikon’s 300mm f/4 lenses to be underrated for sports and wildlife photography. They are sharp, focus fairly close, and can handle a teleconverter. Because these lenses are fairly compact, they just scream to be hand-held. The only thing missing was image stabilization (VR). Nikon released a completely redesigned 300mm f/4 lens that includes the latest VR stabilization, and I was able to get a demo lens from B&H Photo for evaluation.

The Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR Nikkor is an interesting lens. It features:

  • E designation: Electromagnetically controlled diaphragm for consistent exposures
  • PF: Phase Fresnel lens design (This lens uses a Fresnel element, which drastically reduces chromatic aberration).
  • AFS: Silent wave internal focusing motor with full-time manual focus override
  • ED: Extra low-dispersion glass element
  • VR: Image stabilization
  • Nano-Crystal coating

Continue reading Hands-on Review: Nikon 300mm f/4E PF AFS VR Nikkor

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Tripods for under $500

A good tripod is one of the most critical photographic accessories. A solid tripod enables you to shoot long exposures, use lower ISOs, and get sharp images. However, I think the first time any of us went tripod shopping, we had a bit of sticker shock. Good tripods, like my recommended Gitzo Series 3 Systematic, can cost nearly $1000. For most of us, that’s just a ton of money to spend on a tripod, even if it will last for years.

Fortunately, there are some good tripods out there for under $500. Many of these are aluminum models, but you can also find some carbon fiber ones at this price point. I had the opportunity to try out three tripods courtesy of B&H Photo, and all of these would be excellent options for outdoor photographers. Continue reading Tripods for under $500

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