I recently had a chance to see and touch two groundbreaking photo ballheads at Imaging USA 2020 in Nashville, TN called the Platyball Ergo and Platyball Elite. The main reason why I’m excited about them is the way in which they can “lock down” a camera and lens with just a few presses of a button on the front. They also, due to their inverted design, allow you to take panoramic images while keeping the horizon level. The one Platyball prototype that I tested at the show (Platyball Elite) felt very solid when I held it in my hand, and it responded well when I pressed the buttons on the front. I also have to give the manufacturer props for the way they made the Quick Release (QR) work. I’m not a big fan of the way most Arca-type QR systems work, but they’ve designed an elegant turning mechanism that looks to me to be a big improvement.
The best way to truly see how the Platyball works, and why it’s different from all other ballheads, I would highly recommend taking a look at these two videos:
A Note About ALL Kickstarter Campaigns
As Sharky James, host of the PetaPixel podcast always says: “Kickstarter is NOT a store,” so it is possible that you will not receive this product, or anything that you back on Kickstarter. However, based on my experience as a backer of multiple Platypods (another fantastic product which you can find by searching for the word: platypod), I have faith that the company will deliver quality products on time.
Where to Find Out More or Order a Platyball
Because I believe that the Platyball Ergo and Platyball Elite products are worth recommending, I have decided to use the Kickbooster platform to become an affiliate for this campaign, which means that I will receive a small commission if you use my link to visit the campaign site and make a purchase. You can also just search on your favorite search engine for Platyball if you’d prefer not to use my link for any reason. To see the Platyball’s campaign on Kickstarter (Ends Sun. 3/15/2020 at 4:30PM EST) , visit THIS PAGE.
For the last seven years, an amazing bundle of software, e-books and video training has been made available for just 5 Days. It’s called The Complete Photography Bundle from 5daydeal.com and this year, it has an estimated value of just under $3000 for just $89 (there are some upgrades with more content that are also available). Last year was the first year I became a partner with the company who puts the bundle together, which means that I receive a commission on sales when I share my referral link to the main page for the bundle.
Here’s a quick overview image of the people and companies who are contributing:
A $10,000 GIVEAWAY AND A FREE APPLICATION FROM SKYLUM SOFTWARE
Because the bundle is so highly discounted (nearly $3,000 in value for just $89), I believe that if you find just one valuable item from the bundle, it will be worth investing it. 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 (here’s a link to a quick overview video tutorial of the application). Just look for the entry form toward the bottom of the 2019 Bundle Page. It looks like this:
10% of all the proceeds goes to charities (over $1.5 million has been raised thus far), which you can select. I usually choose to give an equal amount to the charities they have selected. About 100,000 people have purchased the bundles over the last seven years, and I’ve bought at least four of them. In a word, the content is AMAZING! If you’d like to check out what’s inside the bundle (and it’s A LOT), visit THIS PAGE.
P.S.: I HIGHLY recommend purchasing a dedicated external hard drive (or making some space on a drive you own) for all of the files that you will probably be downloading if you purchase the bundle. That way, you can move the content from computer to computer and not worry about filling up your internal hard drive (if space is an issue on your internal hard drive(s)). You may even want to purchase two relatively small hard drives (512GB or 1TB) so that you can use one as a backup. They can be found for $50-75 each online or in camera stores/office supply stores like Staples.
All the best!
Editor, The Imaging Buffet
There is no shortage of Raw photo processing software that can be used to convert your images from Raw to many other formats (TIFF, PSD, JPG, etc.). Examples include Adobe Lightroom, Alien Skin Exposure X4 and Phase One Capture One Pro 12. Most photo processors also have powerful editing capabilities. And one thing I should note is that even if you don’t take photos using the Raw format that your camera may offer as an option, these programs work very well with other formats (even JPGs from smartphones). At their core, most of these programs are what’s known as “non-destructive editors,” which means that no matter what adjustments you make inside the software, you can easily get back to the original version of your images if you like, instead of having to make multiple copies before you begin editing. Lightroom has been my “go-to” application for years, but I’m always interested in seeing what else is out there.
That brings me to an impressive Raw photo processing application called Luminar 3 with Libraries. For the first time, the folks at Skylum have added a Library-based workflow to their application. I recently saw a live demo of the software, and I was very impressed by the speed at which viewing and editing can be done. I also like how easy they make seeing “before and after” effects with the slide of a bar across the screen. They also have some “AI” features and a sky enhancer that can dramatically improve the look of photos very quickly.
Currently, the DAM (Digital Asset Management) and other tools are not nearly as robust as in Lightroom (for example, there is no keyword support and no ability to create virtual copies). However, the folks at Skylum have been working to implement many more features, and to get an idea about what’s in store for the application in 2019 (which includes keywords and virtual copies), visit this page to see their planned roadmap.
I think that the video below by Trey Ratcliff can help you to get a good feel for how Luminar 3 with Libraries is different from other editors, and what its like working with the new Libraries features inside of the application:
For now, I personally will mostly be using Luminar 3 with Libraries to do edits that I feel can be done better (or much faster) than what I can do in Lightroom or another application. Or, I may process specific projects through the application so that I can quickly rate and edit a large number of images. For files that I would like to then manage in Lightroom, I will export my files from Luminar 3 with Libraries to a folder and then import them into Lightroom. If you keep your files managed with a non-destructive editor like Luminar 3 with Libraries or Lightroom, there’s no need to export your files until you need them for another purpose, like sending them to a photo lab for printing.
PRICING, AVAILABILITY AND A SPECIAL OFFER
Pricing for Luminar 3 with Libraries is currently $59 (normally $69). Also, you can save an additional $10 with promo code: IMAGINGBUFFET (look for the link to “Enter Promotional Code” at checkout). Also, unlike many other software companies’ licenses, one license covers 5 Macs or PCs (check their terms for specific details). Satisfaction is also guaranteed, with a 45 Day money back policy. If you currently own Luminar 2018, you are able to upgrade to Luminar 3 with Libraries for no fee. Also check the website for other possible discount offers if you own other products from Skylum Software.
Also, when you purchase Luminar 3 with Libraries by 12/19/2018 at 5AM PST, you will receive all of the bonuses listed below (if you are thinking of taking a trip to Iceland and like the tours offered by Iceland Photo Tours, that bonus alone is very attractive):
For more information and to claim this very special offer, visit THIS PAGE.
I also have two more “Holiday Specials” to share:
1. The folks over at PhotoshopCAFE have a 15% coupon on everything in their store for at least the next four days (the promo code is 5days2018). To see all of the amazing video training they offer, visit this page. I just purchased their Making Movies in Photoshop Video Training. You can find that title HERE.
2. A few years ago, I created a GoFundMe page for my son Tyler’s intensive Autism treatment in Massachusetts. The results have been fantastic (what we learned we use every day, and Tyler has made great progress). As part of the rewards that were offered, two were consulting packages with me so that I can help others with their workflow, camera setup, custom printer profiles, printing (on their own printer or by using an outside service). I’ve decided to make those two packages available again for a limited time (until 12/31/2018). You will be saving $219 off my standard 6 hr rate ($975 for 6 hrs), and $255 off my standard 10 hr rate ($1,495 for 10 hrs). When I sent the offer to my newsletter subscribers, I was asked if I would create a special offer for consulting sessions under six hours, so I am now also offering a two-hour laser-focused session for just $350 (each additional hour is just $162.50; the same as the hourly rate of my 6-hr special consulting special).
To see if we are a good fit for each other, just reserve a no obligation 15 minute Strategy Session with me HERE, and if we decide that we’d like to work together, you can then choose from either consulting option. I’m also happy to create gift certificates for any of my consulting packages (they are 100% refundable if the person who you give the consulting to decides it’s not right for them after we speak for about 15 minutes).
That’s it for now! I wish you and yours a wonderful Holiday Season, and please don’t forget to back up your precious photos and videos.
All the best,
(Full disclosure: I have an affiliate relationship with Skylum Software (makers of Luminar 3 with Libraries), so I will receive a commission if you use my promo code or links above. However, your pricing before any promotional discounts is the same as if you visit their website directly. I have no affiliate relationship with any of the other companies listed above).