When I first started using Aurora back in 2017 it really felt like the beginning of something awesome. Like the baby alien that just burst out of Kanes chest in the first Alien movie, it took off running doing all these mysterious things behind the scenes.
The little creature continued to grow while occasionally popping out for an update here and there. It was exciting and still powerful, but we only got to see hints of what this beast would become. Finally, with the launch of Aurora HDR 2019, it’s true form has been revealed as the perfect landscape devouring monster.
We were lucky. The rivers all around us were on the brink of overflowing and many of the neighbor towns had to evacuate. We live in a giant apartment complex that could probably withstand a tsunami so we didn’t have too much to worry about, but as the rivers all around us started filling up and our phones continued beeping with alerts about evacuations for areas near us, we were still a bit nervous. It never let up from relentless pouring rain.
If you haven’t yet heard, the mid year update to AuroraHDR just dropped. Version 1.2.0. What’s it about? Two things really, performance and performance.
If you have no idea what AuroraHDR is, I’ve tossed in a few sample photos I took last night from my bike ride around town. I shot these with the Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon 14mm and 7Artisans 35mm f1.2. Processed with AuroraHDR + Luminar + Lightroom. This will give you a general idea of some of the looks you can achieve using this combination of software.
With the introduction of Aurora HDR into my workflow, editing is getting pretty cool and a lot quicker, but it now means I have to use three different programs (Lightroom,
When shooting Bodie, a ghost town high in the Sierras of California, I had my ten-month-old baby with me and I needed to be able to get some shots quick without thinking about it. It was also 94 degrees outside and somehow raining on and off. I felt that bracketing shots was a good approach to getting an interesting takes on this crazy California ghost town. I was so confident in the X-Pro 2 to be able to do this that I even left my A7rII in my car, hidden of course.
With the new +-2EV bracketing, HDR on the X-Pro 2 is a lot of fun and much much easier.
So how do you shoot HDR on the X-Pro 2?
It might seem like I’ve been shooting a lot with Fujifilm, but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my Sony A7rII.
I actually still love my Sony, but because of the larger sensor with a ton of megapixels and larger files sizes, it’s become my special occasions camera. Mainly my landscape photography camera and it especially shines after the sun has set when you’re on the edge of complete darkness. Like with this shot.
There was only a sliver of light and it seemed the colors were all but gone. But after a thirty second exposure, the colors just exploded. And that’s where the Sony A7rII out shines any other camera out there.
On my second night up in Mammoth there wasn’t much going on with the weather. It was clear blue skies everywhere except in this one direction looking out towards the Twin Lakes. Literally everywhere else was boring blue skies so this was my shot for the night.
In front of me here were the twin lakes with mosquitos buzzing thick in the air (I somehow did not get one bite), behind me was another lake, Lake Mammie. I got a few shots there later, but didn’t stay long because there was a black bear hanging out about thirty feet away from me and it was making me uncomfortable.
I come to the Santa Monica Pier a few times a year to test cameras and lenses or to just update my portfolio. Even though I only live a few miles away, it’s a huge pain in the ass dealing with the crowds and parking. At least this time it ended up being a rewarding experience.
This time I was using the Fujifilm X-Pro 2 and the Fujinon 16mm lens.
I haven’t been spending enough time with my Fujinon 10-24mm since it got back from repair. It really is a fun lens to use, especially for landscapes. My only gripe is who ever repaired it left a giant piece of dust on the inside of the rear element that screams at me when shooting anything over f11. I’m so tempted to open the thing up and remove it, but I guess I shouldn’t.
I’ve been working on a Sony 16-35mm f4 review but got called in for some work, so I had to put a delay on that.
This photo was taken with that lens and all I can say is this – It’s been a phenomenal lens and is well equipped to handle 42 megapixels no problem. It’s sort of rekindled my desire to shoot around town and has been a lot of fun so far.
Sometimes we get caught up thinking we need to go somewhere special to shoot and completely forgetting about all the great areas around where we live that have become mundane. New gear tends to be a great cure for that. It suddenly turns you into a tourist in your own town.
All I need now is my lime green fanny pack, an I ♥ LA shirt and a thick German accent and I’m good to go. 🙂
And speaking of German, something else I got on the way, the Voigtlander 35mm f1.7 Ultron. It was just released last month with a fresh optical update. I’ve had my eye on this lens for a little while and saw Steve Huff using it with only great things to say, so I thought I would pick it up.
I actually bought it to use as more of a 50mm on my Fujifilm XT1, a range I desperately need on that camera. So we’ll see how that works out next week. Hopefully it fits the Leica M to Fujifilm Adapter.