Tools and resources

Software | Merchants | In my bag | Resources | Website

Software

I am a big subscriber to the notion that even the best SOOC photos can benefit from post-processing.

These days, the level of sophistication of Adobe Lightroom is such that it supports a significant amount of what I do with my photos in post. The $9.99/month Creative Cloud subscription for a Photography Plan (which includes Lightroom and Photoshop) is a no-brainer deal for any photography enthusiast.

Adobe Photoshop remains my go-to tool for complex distraction removals, any layered processing, or panorama stitching. If you subscribe to the Adobe CC Photography Plan, you get both Lightroom and Photoshop, including every single upgrade, for ten bucks a month.

I have recently become a big fan of the Color Efex Pro plugin from Google Nik Collection for enhancing the look of most of my photos.  I rarely use any of the other plugins, but Google has made the entire suite of 7 applications free, so there is no reason not to have this tool in your arsenal.

ON1 Perfect Effects has a nowadays diminishing place in my workflow for landscape processing. It offers layering and masking coupled with pre-built algorithmic processing, which should appeal to people seeking Photoshop-like capabilities without having to attain the level of color management knowledge often required for Photoshop. I have so far resisted upgrading to the latest version, which has been re-branded without the word perfect in it. There are several other apps in the ON1 Photo suite, which I have tried in the past but do not use actively.

For bracketed HDR processing, I feel that Photomatix Pro offers significantly wider range of possibilities than Lightroom.

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Online Merchants

Widely acclaimed by pros and enthusiasts alike, B&H Photo is a leading store in the photographic field. I have been to the physical store on New York’s Garment District – and it borders on intimidating, with its size and range of products. The same wide range can be found in the online store, which I use regularly.

Adorama is another contender, smaller than B&H but still offering anything a photographer might need. Their online photobook service – Adoramapix – has been my favorite for several years.

Of course, the giant of online commerce, Amazon.com, has got to be in the mix for literally any type of product purchase. It frequently pays to compare prices found on Amazon against any other source.

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In my bag

I have been a Nikon guy for close to a decade, going through several DSLR models. I am not a believer of “advanced cameras make you a better photographer” adage, so my most expensive – and current – camera is just-below-enthusiast-range Nikon D5100.

I use 18-200mm Nikkor lenses for practically everything I shoot – they are truly universal. I also recently added Sigma 10-20mm lenses for wide-angle situations and Nikkor 50mm lenses for portrait photography reasons.

I have a serviceable tripod in Oben. It is sturdy, not too heavy, and not too big when in folded state. Nor is it expensive.

One of my best ever acquisitions in the photography field has been JOBY UltraFit Sling Strap. Carrying the camera on the hip, easily covered under a jacket if needed, ready to be pulled into a shooting position in one swift movement, has been a tremendous positive change in my travels with the camera.

Lee filters system is high quality and reasonably priced. I do not use filters very frequently, but I have both ND and polarizer filters by Lee.

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Other photography resources

My online galleries reside on Flickr. Since its face-lift several years ago, which included practically unlimited free photo storage, it has become hard to argue for any other choice. Unless your purposes are mostly selling your photos, or you seek non-trivial levels of customization, in which case other platforms may appeal more to you.

500px is undoubtedly the place to find the most eye-catching and mind-blowing photos anywhere on the internet. Whether you just want something to admire or to find inspiration, you can hardly do better than follow 500px feeds. You need to have a healthy attitude toward your own skills – or a strong desire to hone them and become an acclaimed photographer yourself – in order to avoid feeling inadequate.

I individually follow several well-known photographers: Trey Ratcliff, Gary Arndt, David duChemin, Brian Matiash, Nicole Young, Scott Kelby, Jimmy McIntyre. There is a wide range of inspirational, practical, educational, and simply photographic material offered by them as well as by a large number of other professional photographers and travelers. I welcome any suggestions to enrich my list.

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Website development

WordPress has grown from an easy-to-use blogging engine into a comprehensive site-building platform, with unlimited scope for customization and functionality expansion. It remains easy to use for people with limited technical development skills and regular website needs – there are literally thousands of pre-built themes freely available with any WordPress installation. If your development skills are above average, you can quite effortlessly mould WordPress code to satisfy any desired page behavior.

This website is based on Minamaze WordPress theme. I do possess above-average development skills, and certain aspects of the theme behavior have been adjusted beyond available admin-screen customizations.  As is frequently the case nowadays, certain customization options are only available in the paid “pro” version.  I am handy enough around code to adjust the behavior to my liking without having to pay for an upgrade.  Feel free to ask questions.

My current hosting provider, Siteground, is hands and shoulders above several others I have employed in the past. Excellent uptime and response time, comprehensive range of services, and a fantastic customer support. Highly recommended!

Web Hosting

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