The PhotoPlus Expo 2019 in New York City is happening from 10/24-10/26, 2019, and like every year (I’ve been attending for over 25 years), it will be packed with the latest and greatest new cameras, lenses, accessories, editing software, booth presentations by working pros, photo walks, art exhibitions and much more. It’s one of the largest photo trade shows in the world, and until 10/23/2019, free expo passes are available on the show’s website HERE.
The best way for me to describe how to get the most from the show is to read THIS ARTICLE that I wrote last year all about the show. There, you will also see articles from previous years.
METAL PRINT EXHIBITION: ON + OFF THE GRID
This year’s exhibition of metal prints by Blazing Editions will feature the work of Jay Maisel and Stephen Wilkes, and I’m sure the images, as well as how they are presented will be outstanding as always. See the caption above for more information about the exhibition and the opening reception, which will be on Thursday, 10/24 from 5:30-7:30pm.
EXPO FLOOR SPEAKER SCHEDULES (constantly being updated)
One of my favorite parts of the PhotoPlus Expo are the many talks that happen on the show floor during the show. It’s also an opportunity to sit down for a bit after walking up and down the aisles. Here are a few of the many speaker schedules:
Unique Photo (Booths #945 and #845)
Hahnemühle (Booth #237)
Olympus America (Booth #1063)
Skylum Software (Booth #149) and they are doing continuous demos during the show, as well as speaker presentations (you can see a Google Doc overview of their talks HERE). They just announced their Luminar 4 software, and it looks extremely impressive. If you don’t use Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw for your editing (or if you want to access some of Luminar’s unique tools as an external editor/plug-in), I think you will love it. Full Disclosure: I have an affiliate partner with Skylum, so I receive a small portion of sales when you use the links I provide. To see all of what Luminar 4 has to offer, including a lot of amazing bonuses when you pre-order, including a free 1 year subscription on Smugmug.com, visit THIS PAGE. (Luminar 4 ships Nov. 18, 2019).
Tamron (Booth #620)
I listen to a lot of podcasts, and one of my favorites is called ‘Founders,” hosted by David Senra. Every week for about the last 90 weeks, Senra has shared insights and quotes from many amazing biographies and autobiographies in a very friendly, “let’s learn and grow together” type of way. I can’t put into words how much I’ve learned from his synthesis of so much information. I have also purchased a number of the books, including the one pictured below, which helps support the hard work of the authors.
Cover of the book: Insisting On the Impossible: The Life of Edwin Land by Victor K. McElheny
I especially enjoyed David Senra’s overview of the book: Insisting On the Impossible: The Life of Edwin Land. Polaroid cameras and instant film have been such an important part of my life, both personally and professionally. Much like with electricity, automobiles, planes, etc. (Senra covers the people behind those stories as well!), it’s easy to take for granted the incredible amount of time and effort that went into creating Polaroid’s various instant films and cameras. It’s also fascinating to learn how much Edwin Land influenced Steve Jobs. I doubt Apple would be the same company today had it not been for Dr. Land and Polaroid.
PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL STORIES
I can remember my family taking photos with Polaroid cameras from a very early age, and the sound of a Polaroid sheet of film coming out of a Polaroid film pack is one that’s etched deeply into my memory banks. For years, as a photographer in New York City, I also used Polaroid film backs on a Hasselblad camera, which gave me and my clients a sense of security re: the exposure and the overall look of an image before shooting the job on 120 roll film. I also have fond memories hiking with a dear friend and using a Speed Graphic 4×5 camera with a Polaroid 545 Film Holder and Polaroid Type 55 Pos/Neg film. If you want to see those exact items on one page, I found a website with them HERE. And I can’t leave out Polaroid Transfers, which I created for years using 35mm slides and a Vivitar Polaroid Instant 35mm Slide Printer. This page has a nice overview of Polaroid transfers and “emulsion lifts,” which you have to see to believe!
To see thumbnails of all the books David Senra has read and distilled on his podcast, as well as podcast episodes, you can visit his show’s website HERE. He has decided to have a premium model for his show, which means that some of his podcast episodes are reserved for those who become supporters of his show. That’s why you’ll see that some of the episodes are short “previews.” But more than half are full episodes, which probably totals about 75-100 hours of audio. I would recommend downloading his episodes through a podcast app on the Apple App Store (Overcast is my favorite, but you can use Apple’s Podcast App) or Google Play Store (Pocket Casts is free and an excellent choice) so that you can listen to them on the go.
Hugs and all the best,
P.S.- As I mentioned a few days ago, I’m a partner once again for The Complete Photography Bundle VII from the folks at 5 Day Deal, and this year, it has an estimated value of just under $3,000 for only $89. The amount of video training, presets, e-books and much more from a wide range of professional photographers and video professionals is incredible. Also, 10% of all sales is donated to charities (about $1.5 million has been donated to date, and more than $50,000 has been raised in the first three days of the event). Whether or not you decide to purchase the bundle, you can enter a $10,000 giveaway that includes a free copy of a piece of software for everyone who enters from Skylum Software called AirMagic. Just look for the entry form toward the bottom of the 2019 Bundle Page. There are only two days left to take advantage of the bundle (ends on 10/8/19), and you can find it HERE.
It’s truly an amazing time to be a photographer. There is no shortage of incredible tools to edit just about any scanned or digitally-captured image, whether it be a Raw file or many other file types. In September of 2018 I posted an overview of Alien Skin Exposure X3 as well as some of the new features that were coming to Exposure X4. You can find that article here. Recently, the company released Exposure X4.
I was impressed then with the speed and feature set of Exposure X3, and I’m even more impressed now with Exposure X4.5. There are many effects in the application/plug-in that just can’t be found on other non-destructive image editors.
Some of the things that stand out for me in Exposure X4 and X4.5 are as follows:
• LUTs: (short for Look-Up Tables) are small files that allow you to apply certain “looks” or color grading non-destructively to your images inside of Exposure X4. This is an excellent article on the topic that shows a number of examples, with a link to some free downloadable LUTs from Lutify.me.
• Preset thumbnails: (allow you to see and apply many different effects, such as film simulations), are able to be resized by dragging the panel where they are located. This is extremely helpful when choosing different looks. Like all of the panels, you can even customize where they are located.
• Hovering effect for presets is very fast (I tested it on a 2013 MacBook Pro with an i7 Processor). This feature allows you to hover your mouse over a preset, and the image in the center window will temporarily apply that preset, making it very fast and easy to test out different looks.
• The “IR” tools are nothing short of amazing. This tool allows you to create different types of “glow effects” that simulate the look of infrared (or you can use them to just add a softer look) in your images. As they say, you have to see it to believe it!
• The Bokeh tool (used to create creative blur effects) could be an application all by itself. It’s just mind-blowing.
• Tethered Shooting and Non-destructive Layers: Here is a link to a tutorial that shows some of what Exposure X4.5 can do, especially when put in the hands of a skilled image maker:
• User Configurable Keyboard Shortcuts, including one option that makes it easier for Lightroom users to either use Exposure X4.5 as an additional editing tool (standalone or as a plug-in), or for those who want to make the transition from Lightroom Classic to Alien Skin Exposure X4.5.
And here are a few of the newest features that have been added to Exposure X4.5 (from the company’s press materials)
MODIFYING KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS – A Real World Example
I try to use keyboard shortcuts whenever possible to save time, and two that I constantly use in Lightroom are the “-” and “=” keys to make thumbnails larger or smaller in the Library Module. With that in mind, I was able to change the default keyboard shortcut in Exposure X4.5 for those keys (they were previously assigned to “Toggle Pick Flag” and “Toggle Reject Flag”. Now the keyboard shortcuts match between both applications.
NEW VISUAL BROWSING OPTION FOR CARD IMPORTS
I found the new visual browsing option when copying photos from a card to be very well designed and easy to use. The thumbnails can be made quite large (almost full screen if you like), which is great for quickly making selections. Here’s what it looks like (click on image to see it larger):
Alien Skin Software has an excellent collection of tutorials to help anyone get started or hone their skills with their applications. Here is a link to the tutorial page for Exposure X4.5, and here is a link to their YouTube channel.
I would be remiss not to include at at least one screen shot from my testing. I praised this feature in my review of Alien Skin Exposure X3, but this tool never ceases to amaze me. It’s the Overlays panel, and if you like the idea of being able to create a wide variety of custom borders for your images, I would reserve a few hours for yourself to dig in and enjoy!
EXPOSURE X4.5 PRICING and 30 DAY FREE TRIAL
Alien Skin Exposure X4.5 is free to all owners of Exposure X4, and is available in two configurations for Mac and Windows OS:
• Exposure X4 (US $119). I should note that this is a $30 savings compared with the previous price of Exposure X3.
• Exposure X4 Bundle (US $149), a $50 savings compared with the previous Exposure X3 bundle. It includes Exposure X4, Snap Art, and Blow Up. As I noted in my other article, Blow Up is an amazing application that can enlarge your images quite a bit while retaining good detail and minimal or no visible artifacts. Snap Art’s forte is transforming photos or other artwork in many different ways. Effects include many different looks, including pastel, oil painting and watercolor. For more on Snap Art, visit this page, or see the the video below:
and here is a quick video overview of Exposure X4:
• Re: upgrades, the cost to upgrade from previous versions of Exposure to Exposure X4.5 is $79. The company also frequently releases updates to support the raw files of new cameras, make bug fixes, etc.
I highly recommend downloading a copy of Alien Skin Exposure X4.5 and giving it a test drive. Even if you are happy with your current Raw processing app or other image editor, you may find that some of the tools are well worth the cost of the application. If you’d like to try out Exposure X4.5 for free for 30 days, visit this page.