The Tools I Use

I thought I would give all you an insight into the camera gear I use and the programs I use.

I am the type of photographer that is more about the experience when I am photographing nature than the details and settings of my camera.
Please don’t get me wrong you still need to know some of the basic setting, but I prefer when I am on a photo adventure to just enjoy the whole experience.
You may find yourself all composed ready to take a photo and someone might walk through your shot, and you feel that this will turn out to be a better photo. If you worry about shutter speed, aperture, white balance and the other setting, by the time you work all of those settings out the moment will be gone.
Just relax enjoy the moment and always shoot in RAW, you see a single raw file contains so much information that correcting the photo in photoshop is a breeze.
The Surfer's Dream

All images © 2013 Mark Hobson

I composed this photo with the top phi points along the horizon and the bottom phi points where the rocks that sit on the sand. I had set up my camera to capture a 7 shot exposure -3, -2,-1,0,+1,+2,+3. The surfer in the photo with the red surfboard started to walk into the shot so it was one of those situations that if I over thought my settings I would of missed the photo opportunity. I quickly changed my camera to capture one shot instead of the 7 shot exposure, I changed the settings so that the surfer would not be in a different part of each photo.
The canon 5d Mark iiiI am a huge canon fan, my very first film camera I had as a kid was a kodak Instamatic 100. I remember everytime I went somewhere with my nan she would take lots of photos with a Canon AE-1 camera, when my nan passed on my father gave me her camera and this was where my canon obsession started. I shoot all of my photos on the Canon 5d Mark III, in my eyes it is the world’s best full frame digital SLR, it easily lets me create smooth, clean, beautiful and colorful images in all sort of light. It is 22mp and my favorite treat that this camera offers is a 3,5 or 7 exposure brackerting sequence, this 7 exposure really comes in handy when you are shooting into the sun. There is so much more that this camera offers and there a so many good reviews on the web, these reviews cover all of the nitty gritty details and specs.
The Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon ZE canon mountThis Zeiss 15mm would be the crown jewel in my camera bag. I love this thing it spends 95% of its life attached to my camera, it would have to be the sharpest price of glass I have ever owned. It is sharp from corner to corner, most of my photos are shot at f11 so with this lens everything is in focus. I love the way I  see the world through this lens, it bends and warps parts of your photo in the most appealing way. There are a lot of people who turn there nose up at the fact that this lens is full manual focus, there is no AF focus. So many photographers these days depend on auto focus, I myself love the feeling that you are in control. I love the way this focus ring feels, it takes me back to when I first inherited my Nan’s Canon AE-1 camera.
Zeiss Makro-Planar 50mm f/2 ZE canon mountIf you want an amazing all round lens this is the one for you, you can shoot street photography, landscape, portraits and macro. I can say I have never used this lens for macro but I like the fact that I will have that option one day. Did I say that this lens was sharp, this should of been my opening sentence because the quality that comes out of this thing is nothing short of spectacular. One of my favourite features that this lens offers is the bokeh, it is so creamy and smooth. It really makes your subject jump out from the photo, again there are a lot of people who opt for the canon 50mm f1.4 because of the auto focus, I just love the old feel of the smooth focus ring. There is something very special about this lens and I never go anywhere with out it.
70 200mm
The Canon 70-200mm f2.8 USM IS lens. I use this lens for so many shots, I mainly drop my f stop right down to f2.8 and capture my daughters running around or doing the cute things that children do. This lens is so good for action shots, with the built in USM and IS it is very fast and freeze subjects in mid air. This next part may seem a bit of a strange concept but I use this lens for landscapes, just say you are at an epic scene you know what I mean a beautiful valley with mountains all around you and clouds sweeping across. Wide angle lenses are great to get everything in your photo but in the middle of your photo the valley will become very small, so this is where you need this lens (and sometimes i use my 1.4x converter) and capture a compressed shot of the valley. I have had some tell me that you will be cutting off some of the mountains in your shot, I find just having a small part of the mountains makes the viewer guess how big the mountains really are.
The Canon Speedlite 530EX II. I am not much of a speedlite guy but it is still very handy to have in your camera bag, I mainly use the speedlite to add fill flash. I prefer to use natural light because I like the challenge, but there are sometimes you just need that extra burst of light on your subjects face.
I use four main programs to edit my photos, each program is the building
block to the final artwork. Over time I have found that I can’t use one program without the others, I also use many photoshop plugins such as Onone, Nik software and Topaz. Below I will explain in brief what I use all of the programes for.Photomatix pro 4This is the foundation to a good HDR image, you need a really good starting point so you can remix some of the original photos you captured. There are some great presets that you can start off with, I have about 6 that I choose from. Once I have selected the preset that best suits my image I then start playing with the sliders, each one does something a little different, after you process a few of your own images you will get to know what all of them do. Once I am happy with my image I save it and I am then ready for my next step.Adobe Lightroom 4This program plays a small part in the process of my final image, I import my mid exposure images usually -1, 0 and +2. I then start to develop each image one at a time, along the way I play with some of the sliders to get the effect I am looking for. I sometimes will use some presets to give them a different look, after I have gone through all of the exposures or maybe only one depending on the photo I then export it to the same folder that I saved the photimatix image to.
Adobe BridgeThis program is used for only one reason, but without this process it would take you a few minutes to achieve the same result. When you start mixing your images together through photoshop you need to have each image stacked on top of your photimatix image, if you didn’t use bridge you would need to open every image you going to mix together and select it then go to you photimatix image and paste it below the top layer. If you have a number of images you want to mix together this process can be very tedious, using bridge is so simple all you need to do is highlight all of the images you want to mix and go to the Tools name in the top menu and then click on Photoshop and then go to Load files into photoshop layers. This process will open up photoshop and stack each layer on top of one other as layers, you can then start mixing the images together.
Adobe Photoshop Puts It All Together

Once you have processed a HDR image consisting of 3,5 or 7 exposures through Photomatix and processed some image ideas through Adobe Lightroom it’s time to use Adobe Bridge to import you photos into Photoshop. If you follow the steps above then it time to put it all together in Photoshop, this program is so complex but can give you some amazing results. Photoshop uses a button called masking this button combined with the brush tool can remix all of your Lightroom and original images with your Photimatix image. Another great feature that Photoshop offers amongst many others is the ability to add effects through filters, the three main brands of plugins or filters I personally use is Onone, Nik Software and Topaz.

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