Monthly Archives May 2010

Inside the pianosm

Let me get this out of the way right up front. This challenge kicked my butt.

I could give you a half dozen or so excuses why I wasn’t able to get out to shoot some of the people and places I had planned on, and blah, blah, blah….but the fact is, I didn’t, and I wound up having to shoot right around my house, and well…I took 18 shots total—none of them good.

I felt like I should post something, so I’m posting the last shot I took (in desperation mind you), of the inside of a piano (shown above) because I knew as I was taking the other 17 shots that I didn’t have anything. However, even though I didn’t get a decent shot; I still really enjoyed the challenge.

NOTE: Here’s a link to the flickr Group I set up for anyone who participated in the challenge, where you can upload images you took during the weekend (and following the challenge rules). There are already lots of cool images up there from people who clearly did a better job than I.

The “Oh No!” Moment
I hiked over to a large pasture near my house, with these beautiful cypress trees with a perfect glassy mirror-like reflection. I got set-up to shoot (and it didn’t look nearly as good through my viewfinder as it did as I’ve driven by it a hundred times), but I took the first shot, and then immediately looked at the LCD monitor on back of my camera (which of course was turned off), and even though I was all by myself I had to laugh. How I’ve come to rely on that little monitor!

Click: 22¢ Click: 22¢ Click: 22¢
I remember back when I actually did shoot film, and how hesitant I would be to press that shutter button because each time I did I knew it cost me 22¢. I had that same feeling all over again, of making darn sure that before I took the shot, that it was composed properly, that my settings were right, and that I was really holding the camera steady (By the way, none of that helped).

Time won’t let me…..
Of course, it was the wait that got me. If I thought I really had gotten something, it would have killed me, but knowing I had pretty much blown it, it was easier waiting than I thought.

I didn’t get extra credit
Although I did set my ISO before I started (and didn’t change it, though I was highly tempted to on one occasion), I didn’t get extra credit for not post-processing, because I  had to tweak the White Balance as I had been shooting outdoors and had pre-set my White Balance to cloudy, and needless to say, the Piano wasn’t outdoors. The fact that I needed to change the White Balance was just another reminder of how much we rely on the ability to change WB on the fly with digital, any time the light changes, without having to pop in a new roll of film. I also added contrast and an edge vignette in post (Oh the shame!). Anyway, I didn’t get extra credit for no post-processing, but do I get any love for hand-holding the shot at 0.6 of a second? No? Didn’t think so.

Of Course the Real Winner From All This Is….
The children of the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya. Just a few hours after I announced the challenge on Friday, I got an email from Molly Bail at the Orphanage, letting me know that she knew something was up, because all of a sudden donations were literally pouring in (she didn’t know we were doing this, so it caught her totally by surprise).

So many people really pitched with donations—-it was just amazing. Even people who couldn’t participate still donated, and that really warmed my heart. There were posts from people who went way above and beyond, and literally donated hundreds of dollars (people like my friend and fellow photographer Janine Smith who has an incredibly big heart, and reader Eric Harmon, who couldn’t shoot this weekend, but gave a big donation anyway).

I am so genuinely thankful to everyone who went that one optional step further, donated the cost of a roll of film, and helped  move the orphanage closer to self sufficiency. Your compassion never ceases to amaze me. I feel very fortunate to have you guys as my readers.

More Challenges to Come
Although we won’t be helping the Orphanage every time, I’m planning a new challenge each month, and the goal will be for us all to try new things photographically and creatively (including some techniques in Photoshop and/or Lightroom that will be new to a lot of us), and I hope you’ll share some of your ideas with me of things you’d like to see in upcoming challenges.

By the way….
Did I mention I have big news tomorrow? :-)


Today is Memorial Day in the United States, and our offices are closed as we honor and remember those who gave their lives in service to our country.

This post is also dedicated each year to the memory of David Leimbach, (brother of our own Jeff Leimbach), who died two years ago in combat in Afghanistan.

Just a humble word of thanks to the dedicated men and women of our armed services and to all those who came before them who laid down their lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy each day.

All we have of freedom, all we use or know –
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.
~Rudyard Kipling, The Old Issue, 1899


First, watch the video below which explains the challenge, and the five things you need to do to complete the challenge, which is actually designed to stretch your creativity and give you a greater appreciation of the photographers who came before digital. So, start by watching this short video now:

So, what you’re going to do is shoot with your digital camera like it was a traditional film camera, but just for one day, and for just one “roll of film.” (but I’m not letting you off that easy. Keep reading on page 2:

Here’s a recap of the Old School Photo Challenge rules (to be completed this weekend):


….I’m still waiting for our Web team to post the video clip that describes the challenge, and as soon as they post it, I’ll update the text and the wait will be over.

So, while you may be ready for a challenge….apparently, we’re not. My apologies for the delay.

Up late in Atlanta


Tomorrow I’m going to reveal something really new, fun, and challenging:

  • It’s something we’ll be doing together every month, but each time it will be somewhat different (it’s not the Worldwide Photo Walk, but news on that is coming soon).
  • This is something that will help us all expand our photographic skills, our Photoshop skills, our Lightroom Skills, our appreciation of the craft, and our Creativity (though not all at the same time).
  • Tomorrow I’ll have a short video with all the details of this first Challenge, and I think you’ll really want to take part. It’s not easy, but I promise it will stretch you in a way that will be an awful lot of fun.
  • Plus, it has a great twist that takes it over the top. :)
  • For those of you that have blogs, Twitter or Facebook accounts, might you help me spread the word tomorrow to your fellow photographers? They’ll thank you on Monday (but of course, you get my thanks now).

I’m excited. I hope you will be, too.

Archaeological site with petroglyph of two men in Argentina Pata

Before There was Photoshop
Rick Sammon has a cute post over at his blog called ‘Before there was Photoshop.” If you’ve got a sec, it’ll make you smile. Here’s the link.

It’s Time for Another D-Town TV Episode
Actually, the new episode should be up live later this afternoon, so if you get a chance a little later, stop by and check it out right here.

“Vacation with Vanelli & Friends” Workshop
Vanelli’s back with another of his now famous four-day “Vacation with Vanelli” workshops. This time the workshop is in St. Augustine, Florida, it and runs June 16-19, 2010. Here’s how “V” describes it:

Vacation with Vanelli is a unique style workshop that teaches the art of digital work-flow covering the FIVE P’s: Plan, Photograph, Process, Post and Print. Vanelli and friends travel to exciting places working on projects for their books and portfolio. Vacationers get a chance to work and learn alongside these photographers as they refine their own skills. The vacation workshop is designed to be hands-on. All levels from beginners to advanced can attend. Imagine having a personal instructor looking over your shoulder whispering tips and tricks in your ear! [He forgot the Sixth P: “Plague!” – Ed].

The four-day workshop is limited to just 15 participants, and runs $395 per person (but Vanelli is giving $50 off to readers of my blog, if you use the special link below).

Besides the four-day workshop, he’s adding a special hands-on HDR break-out session on Friday, June 18 (open to everybody—not just workshop attendees) from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm with HDR & Architectural Photographer Randy Van Duinen.

Regular price for the break out is $59.00, but he’s cutting a deal for the readers of my blog for just $39). NOTE: This break out session is free to anyone attending the Vacation with Vanelli & Friends Four Day Workshop. For all the details, or to sign up (with a special discount), click here. NOTE:  if you do sign up, it wouldn’t hurt to have a bail bondsmen on your speed dial. Ya know, just in case. ;-)

Cute Wedding Photo Idea
Portuguese photographer Luciano Meirelles sent me a Tweet (@scottkelby) asking me to take a look at the new design for his blog. I checked it out, and his new layout is really top notch, but as I was looking through his photos I came across a very cute use of the iPhone’s built-in camera which he used as a prop in some Wedding photos he had taken. Very clever! (nice photos, by the way Luciano!) Take a quick look right here. When you get there, keep scrolling down ’till you see the iPhone wedding photos.

See you in Atlanta tomorrow!
I hope to see you guys at my seminar in Atlanta tomorrow. I’m having dinner with a couple of  my blog readers tonight (Ken Toney and my buddy Jeff Rease, the Chancellor of Birmingham). I’ll let you know if we make bail in time to be at the seminar. ;-)

See you tomorrow here for the big “Challenge.” Don’t miss it!