Monthly Archives March 2011

Since we’re all at Photoshop World this week, we thought it would be cool to broadcast our new weekly talk show “The Grid” live from the Photoshop World Expo Floor, so…..that’s what we’re doing. Here’s the schedule:

When: Thursday, March 31st
Time: 4:00 pm (LIVE!)
Where: Same as always:

We’ll be having some cool giveaways (live on the air, and afterward in case you can’t make the live broadcast), and some special guests, so make sure you don’t miss it!

On Friday we’ll post the free rebroadcast on the Web, and through iTunes. Hope you’ll be tuning in live (don’t forget—to send a comment to us live during the shot, add the twitter hashtag #thegridlive to your tweets).

I got an assignment from Southcreek Global to shoot the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Indy Race (my 2nd time for Southcreek, and my third time shooting the race over-all. The first being for the Indy Racing league itself).

The race was this past Sunday. and I thought I share a few of the shots I uploaded to Southcreek here (the image above is one of my shots featured on their home page). Here are a few more, but I also uploaded some extras to a gallery on my Facebook page (here’s the link).

Above: That’s fan favorite Danica Patrick, just after she climbed into her car right before the race. I got to shoot a for just a few more minutes before the race, but they cut down the time the drivers have in their car before they start ’em up in half this year, so they hustled us out of there after just a few minutes.

Above: I had a special pit access pass (only a limited number of them are given out on race day, to keep from having too many photographers in the pits during the actual race), and even then, to shoot near the wall like this, you have to ask permission from the pit crew first. Every crew I asked let me shoot, but during the press briefing (at 7:15 am) they let us know which teams don’t allow photographers due to safety issues, so I stayed clear of those.

Above: Here’s a slow-shutter speed panning shot of what turned out to be the winner—Dario Franchitti, heading into the straightaway. I kept trying different shutter speeds from 1/30 of a second up to 1/125 of a second. I had to lower my ISO to a setting called L01 (which is lower than Nikon’s native ISO of 200), to let me leave the shutter open that long in direct sunlight.

Above: I don’t know how they drive all tilted like that, and still stay on the track. ;-)

Above: Before the race all the drivers got together to show their support for the people of Japan, and I got this shot of them, despite the fact that I didn’t have a flash with me. I just shot in High Speed Continuous mode and about every three or four shots, another photographer’s flash was going off, so I was all set.

Above: I liked this shot taken just a split second after a pit stop, while the driver’s tires are smoking as he pulls out into the Pit lane.

Above: This is another one I liked, probably because they look like they’re on the deck of a carrier.

Above: Another pit shot—dig the drill in mid air in front of the car, and the pit crewman signaling the driver not to leave yet.

Above: Here’s the first and third place finishers coming out of a turn.

Above: The bubbly goes flying in the winner’s circle.

Above: Race winner Dario Franchitti grins after his big win.

Above: This was another of my favorites, of driver Will Power, and as luck would have it, he came in 2nd. :)

Camera Specs (and some bad lens decisions)
I don’t know what I was thinking. I took my 400mm f/2.8, which works great for football, because you’re shooting more than you’re walking. Not at an Indy race. It’s a 1.8 mile track, and you spend the whole day walking, in the hot Florida sun (it was hot!!!!), and the 400mm was over my shoulder so much, I actually got a sore.

I wondered what I used last year, because I remember it not being so bad, and when I looked at my post, I realize why: I used one camera (instead of two, like this year), and only took my 70-200mm f/2.8 with a tele-extender. That would have worked great. In fact, I wonder how my 28-300mm would have worked (one camera body and one lens the whole day. That would be sweet).

I shot at f/2.8 all day on both cameras, and my shutter speeds were through the roof so freezing the motion wasn’t a problem as long as the car were heading straight toward me. For side shots, I had to lower the shutter speed dramatically, so at that point I switched from Aperture to Manual mode.

More over on Facebook
Like I said, there are a few more shots over on my Facebook page, but overall, despite my bad lens choice, and multiple camera fiasco, I still had a great time shooting. My buddy, pro sports shooter Andy Gregory was also shooting the event, so I followed him around so he could steal all my shots (gotcha Andy!). Ran into some NAPP members as well, which is always fun for me, and as luck would have it, I even met some of them indoors. In the air conditioning. :)

Hi Gang: Since I’ll be at Photoshop World this week, I wanted to give you a quick update on what to expect here on the blog this week:

(1) Each day we’ll be posting images from Photoshop World here on the blog, but of course, it doesn’t start until morning EST, so I hope you’ll check back later in the day to see the images from the event as it unfolds.

(2) No Guest Blogger this week, as Wednesday is the opening day of the conference. Lots of photos thought, and you can follow the Photoshop World keynote live blog over at

(3) We have a live blog from the opening keynote, so if you want to “Share the love” with Nancy and crew (in the Morning Zoo!) then follow this link on Wednesday morning starting around 8:45 am EDT.

(4) This isn’t exactly Photoshop World related, but I’ve posted some behind-the-scenes shots from my Boston “Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It Tour” on my Facebook page (here’s the link). Just a quick heads up: My Minneapolis and Chicago tour dates look like they’ll be sold out this week, so if you were thinking of going (and I hope you do), better sign up quick. Here’s the link (hope I’ll see you there!). Also, I’ll be in Indianapolis on Wednesday, April 6th, and there are still a few seats left if you want to snag one.

(5) If you’re anywhere near Photoshop World, don’t forget to go to the site and get your FREE Expo Floor pass. Lots of vendors, classes on the show floor, demos, and goodies to be had!

That’s it for now gang. If you’re going to Photoshop World, make sure you stop me and say “hi.” Have a great week everybody, and don’t forgot to stop by here and catch some of the action. :)

In Episode One of “The Grid” Matt Kloskowski brought up one of our favorite things about Twitter, which is that it’s such an amazing resource when you when need to find….well…anything. If Matt’s heading to a city to teach a seminar, sometime he’ll ask on Twitter if anyone in that city knows a good place to shoot, or a great steakhouse, or whatever, and he gets a dozen responses in minutes, if not seconds.

Last week, I went to Twitter for something similar. My son’s all time favorite band is the Christian Metal band “Disciple” and I surprised him with tickets to their show last week (I actually like Disciple, too, and have some of their songs on my iPod). Then I thought it would be cool to see if I could shoot a portrait of the band before the show, as I would take my son to assist on the shoot (he assisted on my shoot for Fight Factory), and that way he’d get to meet his favorite band in person.

I put out a Tweet asking, “Does anybody have a connection with the band Disciple? I’d like to shoot a portrait before their Florida show.” Well, in short—it worked. Within just a few hours, I was working out the details of the shoot with the band’s tour manager, and he invited me to shoot the concert that night as well. Amazing. I was excited. My son nearly blacked out.

An Unexpected Twist
We got to the shoot early and met with the band’s manager outside their tour bus. As it turned out, he told us we wouldn’t be able to do the portrait shoot after all, because one of the band members was actually on stage at that moment playing with their opening act—he was filling in for their missing guitar player, so the shoot was off. I was OK with it, especially since my son got to meet their Bass Player when we were out at the tour bus, and he was pretty psyched.

Shooting the Show
I still got to the shoot the show, and they gave me full access to go pretty much anywhere. I think the tour manager felt bad about having to cancel the shoot, so he let me shoot the entire show (not just the first three songs, like usual).

Six Lights, but only Five Were Working
It was a pretty challenging shoot, because there were only five lights total on the band, which had me shooing at around 8,000 to 10,000 ISO all night long. Thankfully, my Nikon D3s did an amazing job (but as pro concert photographer Brad Moore warned me—this is what Lightroom’s built-in noise reduction was made for. I had to apply a little on some shots, and it worked brilliantly).

Disciple put on a great show. We got to meet the band afterward, and I got a great shot of my son with the band (can’t show shot of the kids here on the blog. Mom’s rule). and he got a signed shirt and a poster for his room. My son had such a blast (and he knew every song. He has EVERY Disciple album).

Brad to the Rescue
Anyway, I thought I’d share a few of the shots I got here. I really felt Brad’s pain when he shoots a band without a big light show. It makes it really challenging, but Brad did give me some pointers on how to set up my camera for shooting concerts, and I have to say, his settings worked really well (He also had me turn on Auto ISO, which is why I wound up at 8,000 ISO most of the night).

There’s also a great feature story in this month’s Photoshop User magazine from pro concert shooter Alan Hess on not just the shooting, but the post processing, so if you’re a NAPP member, make sure you give it a read.

The Power of Twitter
Thanks to Brad for the settings; to Twitter for once again proving the power of social media, and to @chadphillips for the Disciple hook-up in the first place and to everyone who tried to help me make a Disciple connection. It was a day my son will never forget, which is all this dad wanted to give his awesome son. :)

OK gang—we’ve got another “This Weekend Only” Deal, and I’m pretty sure this one falls under my rule of “It’s got to be the best deal they’ve offered anywhere” because the product just came out this past week (we talked about it on “The Grid,” and even gave one away).

It’s for a new flash modifier called (wait for it, wait for it….) the “Rogue Grid” which is an adjustable grid that attaches to your off-camera flash.  It’s not from us, though. It’s from Expo Imaging (the people behind cool gadgets for photographers like the popular ExpoDisc and the Rayflash, and Flashbenders.

Here’s the deal:

Readers of this blog receive 25% off the purchase of the new Rogue Grid, or the purchase of a Rogue Grid with a FlashBender 3-Piece Kit.  Valid from Friday, March 25th through Sunday, March 27th.

The Discount Code is “NAPPGRID”, and it is case sensitive.

Here’s the link with the details.

Thanks to the folks at Expo Imaging for making this offer to my readers. This is the first time we’ve had a deal like this, this close to the launch of the new product. Cool! (and kick butt).

Hey gang, Brad here with this week’s news. Lots to cover today, so here we go:

March Madness Sale
This month only, purchase an annual online training subscription to and receive $20 off, plus Scott Kelby’s Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers Using Photoshop book as a free bonus (a $39.99 value). This book is not in stores yet!

Photoshop World
While Scott’s new book isn’t available in stores just yet, a limited number will be available next week at Photoshop World! Just swing by the Peachpit Bookstore at the Expo and pick it up. And make sure you get it signed at 10:45 am Friday at the same place!

Even if you’re not planning on attending the conference, you can still get a FREE Expo Pass to take advantage of exclusive discounts from vendors, as well as free bonus classes from people like Frank Doorhof, Dave Black, Jeremy Cowart, and tons more!

And don’t forget that we offer one-day passes so you can pick a day to come and play, er… “research new techniques to enhance your job performance” if you can’t make it for all three days ;)

Also at the Photoshop World Expo, you can check out some cool stuff from our friends at Epson, including Bert Monroy’s latest creation, Times Square, printed out at full size (300 x 60 inches) on their DisplayTrans Backlight paper.  Dan Steinhardt produced a video of Bert discussing his process for creating this piece.

History of Dano
Speaking of Dan Steinhardt, better known to many as Dano, he was recently featured on Nik Radio, sharing how he got his start in photography and wound up at Epson. Definitely a great listen!

And lastly,
today’s Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE! seminar in Boston is SOLD OUT! If you’re in Minneapolis, Indianapolis, or Chicago, tickets are still available, but we’re close to selling out on some of those as well, so register soon!

That’s it for this week.  If you’re in attendance at any of the seminars or Photoshop World over the next couple of weeks, be sure to say hi!