Tuesday
Mar
2015
03

Photographing Richmond’s Historic Byrd Theater

by Scott Kelby  |  10 Comments

Above: It was a cold, gray day in Richmond — perfect for shooting indoors. Here’s an iPhone pic of me in front of The Byrd (photo by Brad Moore).

So, last month I’m reading USA Today (online) and I run across an article about classic old historic movie theaters (link) and I saw that one of them was in Richmond, Virginia, which was great because in just a few days I was going to be in Richmond with my seminar tour. So, I asked my assistant Lynn to contact the theater and see if there was any way I could come in the day before my seminar; set up a tripod; and take  some shots of the theater while it was empty. Well, as luck would have it, the theater manager (a really cool guy named Todd Schall-Vess) was a KelbyOne subscriber and had some of my books as well, so we were all set for our afternoon shoot, and he pretty much gave us the run of the place, which was awesome.

Above: Here’s the Byrd from the very back of the theater shot with a 15mm fisheye lens on a full frame 5D Mark III. The fisheye is so wide that you’re also seeing the balcony, which is right over my head, in this shot. Click on it for a larger view.

Above: Here’s a behind-the-scenes shot. I mostly shot from the seating areas, and tried both of my lenses for each location (a 15mm fisheye, and a 16-35mm).

Above: Here’s a fisheye from the balcony.

There are not HDRs
I did shoot three exposures (one regular exposure, one 2-stops under-exposed, and one 2-stops over), and I tried doing some HDRs, including 32-bit HDRs but the problem was always the chandelier — when the HDRs merged into a single file, the chandelier was still blown out big time, so instead I put all three images into the same file on their own separate layers (Open all three images, then go under Photoshop’s File menu, under Scripts, and choose Load Files into Stack). Then I just used Layer Masks to paint in the chandelier and ceiling from the layer that was under-exposed, and then I painted in areas that needed to be brightened from the over-exposed layer, so kind of an old-fashioned layer mask party. It takes longer, but it was much more effective than the results I was getting from regular HDRs (including trying Photomatix Pro 5).

Above: Here’s a closer view.

Above: Here’s the reverse view, from the stage looking back at the house, shot with the 16-35mm at 16mm. 

Above: Another behind-the-scenes shot. Using a travel tripod and a cable release. Can’t believe we actually remembered it. 

Above: Here’s a fisheye version from the same shooting position. 

The theater is MUCH darker than it looks in these photos
In fact it’s so dark that Todd Schall-Vess (the theater’s manager, and a photographer himself), told us that one time a photographer was there to shoot the theater and asked Todd to turn the lights on. Todd told him, “All the lights are on.” I could see how he’d ask that — it was incredibly dark inside, so my shots are actually brighter than the theater. When I made them look like it really did, you would swear the shots were 2-stops under-exposed.

The Byrd Rocks!
My thanks to Todd Schall-Vess for letting us takes some photos of The Byrd. Just a beautiful place, and if a three-hour long movie hadn’t been playing that night, Brad and I would have been there that night to take in a show — it’s a perfect place for it, and one of just a handful left like it anywhere in the country, and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity.

OK, I’ve gotta hit the sack — big day today here in Vegas and a long flight home.

Hope you have a Tuesday packed with all the wholesome goodness of 100% whole grain. ;-)

Best,

-Scott

Monday
Mar
2015
02

Today, I’m Loving Mylio on a Whole New Level

by Scott Kelby  |  26 Comments

First, if you’re not familiar with Mylio (and you’re concerned about protecting your images, and you love the idea of having access to all your photos wherever you are), jump over to this link and see what it’s about, then come right back here (by the way, you can download a free trial while you’re there, but wait till later — come straight back here). :)

I’ve been using Mylio since it was in early Beta…
I was there for the launch in NYC and I think the people and technology behind it are truly amazing. But this weekend, I started over from scratch with Mylio, downloading and reinstalling the app and rebuilding the entire thing on my iMac (which amazingly only took about 25 minutes, including setting it up on all my mobile devices), but I decided to do all this after a talk with one of my buddies over at Mylio, Kevin Gilbert (you may have seen Kevin’s Ted Talk about the importance of protecting your images that I shared here on the blog last year), where he said something that made me completely rethink the way I use Mylio. He said,

“All the pictures of your life…with you all the time.”

Now, he added an extra line to it, which I’ll share in a moment, but it made me rethink how I’d been using Mylio. I think I was influenced by a lot of top pros who literally now have their entire photo libraries, raw files and all, being managed by Mylio. There are users with over one-million photos being managed in one Mylio catalog (yes, they have one-million+ photos on their phone), I had a ton of photos in there myself, and yes they were now on all my mobiles devices — tens of thousands of them, but when Kevin said that simple sentence to me, I realized something.

The RAW files I didn’t finish, the ones that didn’t “make the cut” — the ones I didn’t like enough to tag even as a pick, or that the client rejected — I was managing them all through Mylio. Why am I loading hundreds of thousands of photos I don’t like, just because “I can?”

So, I looked at the folder of images I do care about. It’s named “Final Images” and I looked at the size: it’s 126 GB, with around 23,800 photos inside it. It’s all my high-res final JPEGs going back for years from every family vacation, every photo book, every slideshow, every trip, ever photo I’ve taken with my phone, everything I actually care about. They are all in folders within that one big “Final Images” folder.

Those are the images I care about. Those are the pictures of “my life” that I care about. I would love to have all of those with me all the time, but I don’t have 128-Gig free on any mobile device, but today as I write this, I have every one of those photos I care about (23,800 or so) not just on my pon all my devices because Mylio’s compression (and smart sizing) let me add all those images to my iPhone and it only took up (wait for it…wait for it…)…

912 Mb.

That’s all. Not even 1-Gb.

I already had my “Final Images” on my backup drive at home, (attached to my iMac) so I just imported that one folder into Mylio and it did the rest automatically, keeping all the folders and file structure intact and the whole nine yards. In less than an hour, I had every image I cared about on my laptop, on my iPhone, on my iMac and on my iPad. Every photo! (and by the way, I can’t imagine a situation where I would want to show somebody one of the Raw photos I left on my backup drive. It would be like “Hey, wanna see some photos I didn’t think were any good?”).

I know every Mylio user will use Mylio in a different way, and I had been in that “keep everything with me always mode” and now I’ve shifted to “Keep what’s important with me always mode” and I’m absolutely loving it. But besides having them always with me, I was particularly tickled to go to Mylio’s “Flow” view (which does a beautiful job of displaying tall and wide images together like a completed puzzle) and see my entire life flow by in thousands of photos — photos I literally haven’t seen in years (they were neatly tucked away in folders), but now I’m seeing them again as I flick through the years and I spent hours just looking. Exploring. Smiling. Tearing Up. Laughing. It was totally worth it just for that experience.

It helped me rediscover a photo that means so much to me
This is a photo of my wife Kalebra, which is one of my favorites of her, taken in Nafplion, Greece. It has such meaning to me because for most of our married life (26-years this year), she absolutely hated (mega-hated) having her picture taken. She really felt that she was incredibly unphotogenic and any time you tried to take a photo of her, she would put on that “This is going to look awful” face to ensure that she was right. Well, we’re on this beautiful island, and she looks so beautiful to me every single day, and now here she is in this beautiful setting and I took a picture of her and sure enough, her beautiful face contorted into that “This is going to look awful” look and so I walked over to her, and said…

“Honey, these photos are the visual history of your life. When our children look back on these photos, do you want them to see your beautiful smile, or this “please get this over, I know this looks awful” look you put on. You look like you’re hating the moment that’s not the way you want your children to remember you.”

She gritted her teeth and kind of smiled. But later that same day, we were in line for something and I called out her name and she turned, paused and gave me her real smile — the one you see in the photo above, and I was just floored! She even stood there and let me take three or four shots!

I walked right over and said “Honey, you smiled a real smile!” And she said that she had made up her mind that she didn’t want me or our kids to look back and see her old “This looks awful, right?” look, and from now on she would be happy to have her photo taken; I could take as many shots as I wanted, and she would give a genuine smile every time. I was absolutely thrilled, and now she always flashes her gorgeous smile, and I have boat loads of photos of her looking the way she really does day in and day out. When going thru my “Mylio flow” I saw this photo, one I hadn’t seen in years, and it stopped me right in my tracks because I remember so vividly why this shot means so much to me. Time to make a print for my desk.

Kevin’s extra line…
So, I know one of Mylio’s main things is making sure your images are protected and backed up in multiple places, and I now know that as I’m traveling to Las Vegas for the WPPI show this week, that for the first time in my life, ALL my important photos are with me (by the way, the thing that Kevin added to the end of that sentence I mentioned near the top was the “marketing part” but it’s a powerful one” “All the pictures of your life…with you all the time, for $4 a month.”), but it’s helped me to relive some of the most important moments of my life, of my family’s life, and it’s changed the way I’ll use Mylio from here on out, and I’m more excited about Mylio today than I’ve ever been (especially since the latest version supports PSDs), so thanks Kevin, and thanks to my buddy David Vaskevitch for having the vision and passion to bring Mylio to life.

Hey, if you’re out here in Vegas and you see me strolling by, stop me and I’ll show you my photo flow in Mylio on my iPhone (don’t worry, I won’t show you 23,000+ photos. I’ll stop around 19,000). ;-)

Hope to see you at my Canon booth presentation (today at 1:45 pm and tomorrow at 10:45 am) , or at the Canon-sponsored “KelbyOne Theater” on the Expo Floor (I’m doing a free session on portrait retouching at 10:30 am today).

Have a butt-kicking, feeling-the-love, takin’ lots of photos Monday!

Best,

-Scott

Friday
Feb
2015
27

Going to Vegas This Coming Week? Hey, Me Too!

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

Happy Friday every-ba-day! :)

If you’re out in Vegas this week for the WPPI show (the big Wedding and Portrait photography show), I hope you’ll stop by and check out my talks at Canon’s booth and the KelbyOne Theater on the Expo floor. All the talks are free and open to anyone attending the WPPI expo.

Canon Booth: My talk is called “Photo Recipes Live”
Monday @ 1:45 pm
Tuesday @ 10:45 am

KelbyOne Theater: My talk is on Portrait Retouching Secrets
Monday at 10:30 am 

You may also be able to catch my short talk called “My order” at the counter at the In/Out Burger location behind the New York, New York Hotel & Casino at some point during this event.

If you’re out at the show, I hope you’ll stop by one of my sessions and say “hi.”

Hope you all have an awesome weekend, and we’ll see ya back here on Monday (I have a cool post for Monday about me rethinking some cool technology). :)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. One more thing: Our third episode of “The Lightroom Show” went live today (we release them every Friday), and we packed some awesome Lightroom tips and techniques in a very short package. Here’s the link if you get a sec. 

Thursday
Feb
2015
26

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  13 Comments

Digital Art: The Inspirational Series with Bert Monroy
During Photoshop World, Mia McCormick had the opportunity to sit down with Bert Monroy, an insanely talented pioneer in digital art, to get his perspective on art and what inspires him to keep creating. Bert has been an artist his entire life, and is a master in Photoshop and Illustrator with impressive roster of clients and his work hung in galleries around the world. Bert and Mia touch on topics ranging from how he sees digital fitting into the world of art to the impact his work has hard on others, and so much more! Check it out at KelbyOne.com

KelbyOne Live
Want to learn from Scott Kelby or Joel Grimes live in person? Check out these seminar tour dates to see if they’re coming to a city near you!

Shoot Like A Pro Tour with Scott Kelby
Mar 9 – Sacramento, CA

The Photographers Creative Revolution Tour with Joel Grimes
Feb 23 – Indianapolis, IN
Feb 25 – Atlanta, GA
Feb 27 – Arlington, TX
Mar 25 – Washington, DC
Mar 27 – Minneapolis, MN
Apr 17 – New York, NY
Apr 22 – San Antonio, TX
Apr 24 – Houston, TX

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to one of these events!

Last Week’s Winner
KelbyOne Live Ticket
- Al

If that’s you, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
Feb
2015
25

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Ron Martinsen!

by Brad Moore  |  11 Comments


An imperfect pub shot is both a rare portrait as well as a great memory

Recently the Ethernet support on my DroboPro stopped working so I thought I lost access to 12 terabytes of archived photographs. I had used Drobo’s dual disk redundancy feature to make sure I was covered if a drive crashed, and I had seen this work flawlessly several times over the last few years. However, I didn’t count on the connection between the computer and Drobo dying. After multiple attempts to get help from Drobo that went unanswered I started to panic!


Photos from fun days with our family are irreplaceable

I used to have all my images backed up “in the cloud”, but after spending nearly a year getting all of my images upload my service providers rate went from $9.99/mo to nearly $400/mo so I cancelled the service. I kept saying to myself that I’d take care of this problem next week, but I kept procrastinating. When the iCloud hack happened I also began to get concerned about having my images in the cloud, so that had me reconsidering my local backup solutions again.


Priceless expression photos are the ones I treasure the most

This experience really got me to think deeply about what had happened and what I’d do if I could go back in time. The funny thing is that I didn’t think much about losing my money making commercial photos that had provided for my family. I did think about losing the snapshots and videos taken of my family and I was sick to my stomach about it! My older children were born when I still shot film so I had negatives to fall back on. However, my youngest (age 5) was born in the digital age so the only backups were electronic!


Kids grow fast, so milestone shots remind you of those fleeting moments

After racking my brain I remembered that all wasn’t lost because of the work that I had done for my printing series a few years back. While I certainly hadn’t printed enough, I did have some prints of some of my most cherished moments with my family. I also had some images stored on Facebook as well as my very rarely used sites on 500px and Flickr. I don’t like storing my best images on social media so all that was really there were a bunch of cell phones shots or stuff that I didn’t care as much about.


This unexpected pose from my grandma “in-law” is a priceless treasure

What was missing for both print and online were the personal photos that captured memories of my favorite life experiences, few of which would be considered works of art – ha, ha! It was for this very reason that I hadn’t taken the time to print those, because even I don’t want to wallpaper my house with photos from my kids’ birthdays, pictures of my meal from a great anniversary dinner, or the incredible hotel room in Asia with the jaw dropping view. These aren’t works of art, but they are more valuable to me than my photos which had built my career. In the old days these were printed out as 4×6” photos and stored in photo albums, but the cost of film and printing limited how much I actually kept. In addition, negatives in a safe deposit box offered a plausible backup for the print photos that I’d toss for lack of storage space for them.

I never throw away old hard drives, so I did find a few years worth of photos on my fireproof ioSafe, as well as some scattered across loose drives. About a week after thinking the rest were lost, I remembered that my DroboPro not only had my normal iSCSI Ethernet connection, but also a USB connection. I plugged it in and I was back in business, albeit slower than before.


A rare shot of a my wife and her mother who are now a half a world apart

With access to my photos restored, the first thing I did was export my entire collection from Lightroom as JPEG’s that were large enough to print at 8×12”. After a couple of days of my computer chugging away, this shrunk my massive storage needs down to a more manageable 500 GB. This gave me “at least something” I could hang onto if all were lost again. I also took this time to go back and look at some of the photos that I had feared were lost forever. This sent me down the rabbit hole of editing some photos that I never planned to edit where I discovered another problem – some of my images shot in only RAW format were no longer readable by current raw processors from major camera makers. Sure, I could see the thumbnail but that’s just a small jpeg. However, the ability to use that precious raw image data was gone. Using older versions of their raw processors that I thankfully still had backed up on CD worked – but only after I found an external CD drive to use to install them!


The last pre-puberty shot of a camera shy son isn’t art, but it’s important to me

Last year I saw this article entitled “This may be the oldest surviving photo of a human. Earlier this year I also read this great article about “Why your digital photos might die before your grandkids see them,” and as I was writing this article the web was buzzing about an article entitled “Print Your Photos or Risk Losing Them to the Digital Dark Age, Internet Pioneer Warns.” In the end, all of these great articles say basically the same thing – the most certain way for your photos to outlive you and deprecated technology is to print your photos (using archival worthy ink and paper). However, I have hundreds of thousands of photos! I have neither the time nor the financial means to print them all, much less space store them all!

As a result, I’ve decided to go about solving this problem in a more manageable way.

  1. I’m returning to storing my photos locally on one ioSafe drive for each year as I used to do back when I got a new ioSafe each year. This spreads my risk to only one year per drive and protects me against fire, water, and connection problems between the drive and my computer. I already break my Lightroom catalogs up by year, so this old system is one I will get back into the habit of doing again.
  2. My backup software will now backup all of my drives to a new NAS. Currently I’m considering the ioSafe NAS powered by Synology. This gives me a solution for the big backup of everything that is available for quick access and recovery, yet protected from on-site disasters. This isn’t a cheap solution and it may not be for everyone, but with my 12 TB of data that will likely double in the next couple years it works for me – for about the cost of a new camera body.
  3. I’ll use one a 1 TB drive to hold JPEG’s large enough to print at 8×12 for my whole collection, and I’ll store that drive in a safe deposit box. This will be my digital photo album of everything that uses a format that should be around for decades and saves me the hassle of sorting through tons of photos for what needs to be backed and what doesn’t.
  4. I’ll definitely start printing more of the memorable photos at 4×6 again with a printer that uses archival ink. I wrote an article about Getting Great 4×6 Prints Without Any Hassle for those “honey, can you just print this” scenarios that never seem to go as smooth as we hope. It’s time for me to stop waiting for my wife to ask me to print and just get in the habit of doing it at least monthly. I’ll also take a few extra minutes at import into Lightroom time to mark the photos that need 4×6 printing so they are easy to find when I’m ready.
  5. These images that I flag to print will also get uploaded to my Zenfolio account in the form of a private password protected gallery. This experience made me and my wife realize how many photos we take that the world never sees simply because there’s just not enough time to edit them (even with Lightroom).


A day with the gators is a trip that we still all talk about

Caution, Don’t Be Too Ambitious
Decades from now when people see your meaningful family photos they will care less about the color, cropping or distractions you removed in in Photoshop. Even today my mom still can’t understand why I don’t put my subject in the center of all of my shots so she sometimes thinks the unedited shots are better – ha, ha!

When doing your archive printing I also recommend that you print any of the photos that you haven’t already edited straight from the in-camera JPEG (if you have it, otherwise the from the RAW). I learned this lesson long ago which is why I just buy extra memory cards and shoot RAW+JPEG. This allows me to have a JPEG that matches what I saw on my rear LCD when I took the shot, not today’s software interpretation of how it should process the RAW file (which does change over time and not always for the better).


Like many people, I have many photos that are awaiting the final step – printing

Since I love printing, I’ve never had a problem printing the photos that I’ve taken hours to edit as that’s my favorite part of the creative process. To hold a print in my hand rendered exactly as I intended gives me the ultimate satisfaction. I don’t have to worry about other’s poorly calibrated displays or web browsers rendering things differently than I intended as you see the image exactly as I envisioned on a substrate that adds to the experience. As a result, I can take a little time to mark the photos that I’d like to give this attention to later, but the key point here is to not let yourself get bogged down trying to edit while you archive print. If you do, archive printing will be so cumbersome you’ll never get it done.

Are Your Images Really Safe?
I’ve had conversations about backing up with fellow photographers and geeks many times over the years. Nearly everyone I talk to falls into two camps: those who think they have it all figured out; and those who know they are screwed if something bad happens. To find out what camp you are in, consider the following ways your data could be lost:

  1. Your computer hard drive crashes and you lose the photos you spent the last couple days editing. Imagine your client is threatening legal action if they don’t get their images today no matter what your signed contract says.
  2. Your house destroyed by a natural disaster (fire, tornado, flood, etc…). What if the disaster was so bad your hard drives can’t be found (mudslide, etc…)?
  3. A hacker gets remote access to your computer without your knowledge and unleashes a virus that corrupts every file to every computer connected on your network and those connected to them remotely.
  4. The file format your raw files are stored in stops being supported and the current operating systems (perhaps a new future smartphone OS) you use can’t run the old software? What if all software dropped support for DNG 10 years from now because it wasn’t popular enough? What if PSD was an unsupported file format 20 years from now?
  5. Your computer and external drives are physically stolen and lost forever.
  6. You die and nobody knows how to get to your images.


The joy of my son who sees his dad for the first time in 3 months

I know that I have work to do to really protect my data, so there’s not really just one solution to address all the possibilities. I’ll have an offsite backup solution with a regular schedule for updating and storing that drive offsite (TIP: having two to rotate between is wise). I’ll also print to make sure my most cherished photos are archived saved for future generations to protect against technology challenges. Finally, I’ll store those 8×12 sized images of my most cherished photos online in a private protected gallery for family members so that there’s zero chance that they’ll never be seen.

I hope this article inspires you to think about the true value of your non-portfolio shots to yourself and your family. I also hope it helps you to put together a plan to make sure those images outlive you by many decades or even centuries to come!

You can see more of Ron’s work at RonMartinsen.com, keep up with his blog at RonMartBlog.com, follow him on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, or learn about his Printing Series, right here!

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