Previously, I wrote a tutorial about a quick and easy landscape enhancement workflow in Nikon Capture NX using a snowy landscape photo as an example. The tutorial demonstrated the use of Black and White Control Points, Color Control Points (CCP), and Selection Brushes. With the release of Nikon Capture NX2, there has been a very important addition to control point tools: the Selection Control Point (SCP). In this tutorial, I will show you a very simple but effective landscape workflow that can save a dull image within minutes. Instead of CCP, I will use SCP to selectively enhance the sky without affecting the rest of the image so there is no more need to use Selection Brush to remove the effect from unwanted area. Read More…

Posted in Tips and Techniques, Tutorials on May 27th, 2009. 5 Comments.


We covered the book last December. After a long wait, the book is finally available from Amazon, just a few days before the scheduled release date of May 11th. Instead of 288 pages as originally described, the book is now listed as 320 pages.

The author of the book is Mike Hagen of Out There Images, who is also the author of the well received book The Nikon Creative Lighting System: Using the SB-600, SB-800, SB-900, and R1C1 Flashes.

The Wiley “After the shoot” series books target on-the-go photographers who want the ability to edit photos on a laptop wherever the shoot takes them. The book should provide effective references on the location. Another book in the series is the Photoshop CS4 After the Shoot.

Book details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470409266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470409268
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
Posted in News, Photo Editing on May 5th, 2009. 3 Comments.

Pete Zimowsky, an outdoors columnist of my local news paper Idahostatesman, shows some tips on taking photos of wildflowers. Check out this video here.

Posted in Tips and Techniques on May 5th, 2009. No Comments.

In the misty fog

The picture above was taken in my back yard about a week ago. With my Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro lens mounted on a Nikon D200, I was searching for suitable macro photography subjects. The Sun was setting so most areas of the back yard was in shadow. A bunch of Sun light managed to get through some tall trees and fell on the flowers around the tree. The back-lighted flowers looked pretty. So I kneeled down and took some shots. Some of the photos turned out like the one shown above. It appears that the scene was in a misty fog but that was not the case.

What I believe happened was that the setting Sun, barely outside of the frame, caused lens flare. Some light got reflected and scattered by the inner surface of the lens hood into the lens. In this particular case, there are no specular rings or circles that are common in lens flare situations, more like the glare human eyes can sometimes experience.

Thanks to the modern digital imaging technology, I was able to detect the problem immediately on the LCD preview screen on the back of the camera. I raised the camera slightly and the lens flare was totally eliminated. The following is one of the captures without the lens flare. Which one do you like better – accidental capture or conscious creation?

In the last light

In the

Posted in Tips and Techniques on May 3rd, 2009. 3 Comments.

When you are shooting with a Nikon Speedlight flash unit mounted on your camera, sometimes you may not want to fire the flash. For example, you are using flash for fill in outdoor portrait shooting and you want to take a landscape photo. You don’t want to shoot landscape with flash firing. You could simply turn it off or remove it from camera. If you need the flash again, just turn it on or mount it back on the camera. This works, but it can get very tedious if you have to do this repeatedly. Here is a tip on how to avoid the hassle.

Nikon DSLR cameras have a FUNC. button that you can assign different roles to it. One of the roles you can assign is called “Flash off”. If you press and hold the FUNC. button while taking a photo, the flash will not fire. 

You can change the role assigned to the FUNC. button in the Custom Settings menu. On Nikon D200/D300, it is custom setting f4, while on the D90, it is custom setting f3. Unfortunately, the lower end D40/D40X/D60 does not allow you to assign flash off role to the FUNC (Fn) button. 

This trick works for the built-in flash too. If the camera is in Auto mode, the camera will decide when to fire the flash, you can disable the flash temporarily using this method. Typically camera with an Auto mode also has a Auto Flash Off mode. The difference is that it turns off flash for all shots.

Posted in Photography Lighting, Tips and Techniques on April 8th, 2009. No Comments.

Last weekend I was at a local park with my son for Easter Egg Hunt. While I was waiting in the crowd, I noticed two guys with DSLR camera and flash mounted on top. Since I have a habit of taking pictures of other photographers at work, I quickly snapped a picture as shown below. It turned out to be quite interesting.


The photo above was taken using the AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8. A zoomed-in view of the above photo showed the interesting ways they decided to use their flash outdoors. Read More…

Posted in Tips and Techniques on April 7th, 2009. 14 Comments.

According to Nikon, NEF Codec is a module that makes Nikon RAW (.NEF) image files as easy to work with as JPEG and TIFF images. In a less nebulous explanation, it allows users to view the thumbnails of NEF raw photos and embedded metadata and preview raw images from within Windows Explorer and Windows Photo Gallery. There is no official 64bit support yet. The demand for official 64 bit support has grown louder and louder but Nikon is still slow to respond. That has caused some grief among certain Nikon RAW shooters.

Well, if you really want NEF raw codec with 64 bit support, there is a third-party codec offered by Ardfry Imaging, LLC. It is not free, unlike the official Nikon codec, but it is not very expensive either: $19.95.  Some even reported that it works in the upcoming Windows 7.

On NikonCafe forum, a visitor called Greg_B mentioned the following:

FYI…I was playing around with Windows Photo Gallery on my Vista 64-bit system today and discovered a way to view NEF photos using the available Nikon codec. 

How I did it? I just ran the 32-bit version of Windows Photo Gallery which is located in the ‘\Program Files (x86)\Windows Photo Gallery\’ directory. When using this 32-bit version of Windows Photo Gallery the Nikon codec works fine and you can see NEF files properly. I then just created a shortcut to the 32-bit version on my desktop, so that I could access it easily.

I know this isn’t an ideal solution, but I don’t think it’s too bad until they release a proper 64-bit version.


I haven’t tried it because I don’t have a 64-bit system. Please let us know if it does work this way.

Personally I found raw codecs little useful even on the supported 32bit system. It seems to be able to display thumbnails only for unedited NEF photos in Windows Explorer. NEF photos edited in Capture NX show up as not thumbnails but only small part of the photo. If you don’t want to spend the extra money, you can get by with the Capture NX 2 that is not officially supported on 64-bit vista but actually works fine.

Update (November 23, 2011): Nikon has release NEF Codec 1.12.0 that supports 64bit OS. You can download it here.

Posted in Digital photography, Tips and Techniques on March 3rd, 2009. 13 Comments.

2005_01_22 173626_V
Typically we want to avoid lens vignette (light fall off at the corners of the photo) caused by lens itself or stacking too many filters on the lens, but sometimes it can add some intrigue to a photo. In this tutorial, I will show you how to add the effect using Nikon Capture NX 2. This technique is similar to the other tutorial I posted here: How To Create a Soft Fade Vignette Effect in Nikon Capture NX but with some twists. Read More…

Posted in Tips and Techniques, Tutorials on February 25th, 2009. 3 Comments.
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