Monthly Archives May 2009


Hi folks. How ’bout a big round of applause for Andrew Kornylak for his excellent Guest Blog post yesterday! Besides his very cool adventure photography, I loved what he did with this videos, and I know it got a lot of people thinking about ways to extend what they’re already doing, and that’s one of the things I love best about Guest Blog Wednesday; it gets us thinking and seeing things in a new way. Thanks Andrew for an inspiring and informative post! Now, onto the news:

  • One from The Outer Banks
    The image above is another one from my trip to DLWS Workshop in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and this one is from Tuesday morning’s dawn shoot at the commercial pier (click on it for a larger view). These rusty abandoned old boats made some really great subjects for the class to shoot, and although the sun went in and out of the clouds, I did manage to get this image I kinda like. Thanks again to Moose & Co. for letting me be a part of their creative world for a couple of days. I totally had a blast!
  • Off to DC!
    Today I’m on my way up to Washington, DC for tomorrow’s Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks special effects workshop and I am so excited!!!! Corey Barker, who worked with me to help develop the tour, is coming up with me for the kick-off of the tour (He’s teaching the day himself in Richmond at the end of the month), and I’m hooking up with some buddies for dinner, so it’s going to be a great trip all the way around! If you’re going to be at the DC Seminar (like Stacie), make sure you stop me and say “hi.” It’s always a lot of fun for me to meet people who follow this blog.
  • Making Poster Layouts (like the one you see above)
    I had a number of questions from readers, and even from other students at the DLWS workshop who read this blog about how I made the poster border I put around the image shown above, and those shown on Tuesday. It’s easier than it looks, because all you’re really doing is adding some Canvas side to the left and right; a little more to the top, a bunch at the bottom, and then adding some text. Here’s how it’s done:

canvas1STEP ONE: Go under the Image menu and choose Canvas Size. Turn on the Relative checkbox, then enter 3 inches in the Width field and click OK (this adds 1-1/2″ of white space on either side of your image).

canvas2STEP TWO: Go to the Canvas Size dialog again. In the Anchor Grid, the darkened square represents your images, so click on the bottom center square, so your white space is added above your image. Then enter 4 inches in the Height field, and click OK.

canvas3STEP THREE: Go to the Canvas Size dialog one last time. Now you’re going to add 8 inches of white space below your image (the bottom needs to have more white space to accomodate your text), so click the top center square in the Anchor, then enter 8 inches in the Height field, then click OK to add 8″ of white space below your image.


STEP FOUR: Now add your text, centered horizontally below your image. I used the font Trajan Pro (which comes with Photoshop CS3 and higher), and increase the Tracking Amount (the space between the letters) to 120, as shown in Photoshop’s Character panel above.

OK, that’s all there is to it.

  • Join me in Denver or Portland For A Lightroom Lovefest!
    We’re just a few weeks away from my first time ever bringing my Lightroom 2 Tour to Denver, Colorado and Portland, Oregon, and I hope you’re coming out to join me (hundreds of photographers are already signed up in both cities, so don’t wait until the last minute; we have less room than we do in DC). The Denver seminar is on Wednesday, May 20th, and Portland is on Friday May 22nd (hey, that leaves me a day to go shooting with Laurie Excell, who’s based in Portland, on Thursday. Whoo Hoo!!). Anyway, you’re invited to come join me at either workshop, and I hope you’ll be there, because Lightroom (where I now do 80% of my work) will change the way you work and manage your images forever! Here’s the link.

That’s all for today, folks. Hope I’ll be seeing you in DC tomorrow—we’re going have one heck of a great time!

New Adventures in Photography

Photo by Corey Rich

In 2000 I was a software developer living in Tucson, Arizona. I had been rock climbing for seven years, and taking pictures of my adventures. I was totally psyched on Galen Rowell’s Art of Adventure Photography. I too wanted to share my passion for the great outdoors – not just how it looked, but how I felt about it and how I thought about it. Simple ideas like this make a young person reckless. I quit my job to “go pro.” This was a hilarious idea by the way – I didn’t actually stop doing software work on the side for another six years.

On the Sharp End. Self portrait from the Whetstone Mountains in Arizona.

My first publication was a 2-page spread in Outside Magazine. Climbing in the remote Whetstone Mountains of Southern Arizona, I made a photograph of my hand reaching out into a cave from 40 feet up, clipping my lead rope to the next protection point, depicting the first-person view of what it’s like “on the sharp end” of the lead-rope.

I was hanging from a rope to get this shot of course, not actually climbing. After climbing the line once before, I thought about the idea for a photograph. I went back up with the camera (a Nikon F100) and spent some time getting myself in position for the shot. I contorted myself Superman-style to hold the rope with one hand, shoot with the other, and keep my feet and gear out of the frame. That’s the way a lot of my “adventures” actually went. Out playing somewhere, I would get an idea, marinate on it for a while, and then come back later to create a photograph. (more…)

…..I was introduced to when he and I both wound up being the featured photographers in the same issue of Nikon World magazine, it’s Atlanta-based editorial and commercial photographer, Andrew Kornylak.

He’s got some amazing images—and before you read his post tomorrow, make sure you check out his Action photography portfolio at his Web site (click here). Make sure you check back tomorrow to see what Andrew has in store for us. :)


So after I shot the Honda Superbike Races on Sunday in Birmingham, I hopped a flight (well, two flights), up to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to be a part of Moose Peterson’s DLWS (Digital Landscape Workshop Series) “Outer Banks” workshop, which kicked off Sunday night (I’m not teaching; I just came to shoot and hang out with my buddies Moose, Joe McNally, and Laurie Excell, and I had a blast (That’s right; I did this morning’s sunrise shoot then headed to the airport to head back home).

They’re still going to shoot sunset today and sunrise tomorrow, but I’ve got to head back home, see the kids, and then get ready for my Down & Dirty tour in DC (which was sold out last Friday with over 700 people for the day). Also with me was the ‘Bad Man’ himself, Brad Moore (who used to work as staff at these DLWS events, so this was old home week for him!).

I’ve got to tell you this about DLWS: they run an absolutely first-class, well organized, and most importantly downright fun workshop experience from beginning to end. Everybody here is having such a good time, and the crowd is so into it—they’re really hungry for the information, and they are getting it here by the armloads.

Yesterday we started the day with a dawn shoot out at a local lighthouse (this is lighthouse city out here on the Outer Banks of North Carolina), and while it wasn’t a spectacular sunrise by any means, we still had some fun (I’ve only taken a peek at a few shots so far, but here are a couple [above and below] from yesterday’s morning outing).


When the light got too high in the sky, Joe McNally did an awesome on-location small-flash portrait shoot with a local model, and I don’t care how many times you’ve seen Joe, every time is just amazing. Seeing how he sets up the shot, adjusts for problems with light, and explains how to walk away with a client-pleasing shot is just something to see, and everybody was eating it up (the shot below is Joe during that mini-session; taken with my iPhone’s built-in camera).


Then we were back in the classroom with Moose, Joe, Laurie, and Kevin Dobler (who was doing some of the Photoshop training—and did a great job by the way). After the classroom sessions, (and a late afternoon snack); we headed out to some sand dunes for a sunset shoot, but got totally socked in with rainy weather.


So, Joe pulls out some SB-900s and we did another portrait shoot, in the rain, with Photoshop TV’s own Stephanie Cross as the model, and it rocked. We’re all huddled (about 40 of us) under a shelter, and Joe has her standing just out in the rain, in a raincoat and hood, and came up with a great shot, despite the conditions (like Joe says; your photo editor doesn’t care about how harsh the conditions you encountered; you’re being paid to come back with a shot, and if you want to work for them again, you’d better come back with a shot; and he showed us what to do to get that done—-using High Speed sync).

This morning we headed out to a commercial fishing port, and the highlight was an area with old rusting hulls and salvage boats that were great for HDR stuff. We were all walking around and at one point Joe and I were walking over to these two big boats and I looked at Joe and said something really stupid. “Joe…you shoot much HDR?” He gave me the look you see below. I had to capture it.


So that became the running gag for the day. “Hey Joe, do you think this would make a good HDR shot?” Hey Joe, is this like that HDR shot that National Geographic asked you to do?” It ended up with an HDR breakfast shoot of pancakes joke about an hour later. Just the look on McNally’s face above said it all.

Anyway, after that, we had to head out, and I’m already on my way home. Had a great time, and I saw first-hand why every single DLWS workshop for the rest of the entire year is already sold out in advance. Moose Peterson and his staff have put something very special, and very unique together here. It’s an experience like no other, and I was as excited as everybody else there just to be learning from Moose, Joe, Kevin, and Laurie, and to be spending some time together doing something we all love. Plus, I never had to dive out of the way of an oncoming car or motorcycle moving at 140 MPH. That’s a bonus. Below are some chairs on the back of that house I shot above. Yes, I just took a few minutes, sat in them, and looked out at the beautiful shoreline. I know it’s a throwaway shot, but now those chairs will bring back fond memories of a morning shoot in May.


One last thing: I met so many people who came up to me and said, “Hey, I read your blog first thing every morning.” I was really tickled, and wound up meeting some really cool folks, including one sports photographer that I’m going to hook up with when I shoot the Indy 500 later this month. Small world.


Yesterday I few up to Birmingham, Alabama to spend the day with my buddy Jeff Rease (who we now affectionately call “The Chancellor of Birmingham”), shooting the AMA Racing’s Honda Superbike Classic race at Barber Motorsports Park. Matt Kloskowski came along with me, and the three of us spent the morning shooting (some of the shots I got are shown here; click on them for larger views).


We had full media credentials, including a Hot Pit pass, but as luck would have it; we only got to shoot for 30 minutes total the entire day, (during the Superbike morning warm-up session), because after warm-up and lunch, a huge thunderstorm moved over the track, which delayed the actual race long enough that I had to catch my flight back home without getting to shoot another shot. We only shot from one area, and for only that 30 minutes, but ya know what—we still had a blast! (and I would definitely do it again, if only for that 30 minutes).


Matt, Jeff, and I cracked jokes, goofed off, sorted our images in Lightroom, did some serious chimping, and generally just a great time hanging out for the day and talking about photography. Before I knew it we were on our way to the airport (where I’m writing this post).


The shot above is of the media/press room overlooking the track. This is a shot of Matt and I sorting and editing our images while it pours rain outside (photo by Jeff Rease).


Thanks Jeff, for hosting (read as: putting up with), Matt and I for the day. We love the friendly people of Birmingham, and the great folks at Barber Motorsports Park.


Tech Specs: Mostly shot with my 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens on a Nikon D3. I shot at a slower shutter speed (usually around 1/320 to 1/250 of a second) to get the blurred background and motion in the wheels). It was a very cloudy, very overcast day, so I shot at 400 ISO in Aperture Priority mode at around f/11. I took my 200-400mm f/4 lens but we were so close to the track, I hardly got to use it.


The final shot, below, of Matt and I was taken by Jeff “The Chancellor” Rease.