Monthly Archives April 2011

I just found out that OnOne Software has just released a Free Public Beta version (a pre-release version) of a plug-in that I think is going to be a real game-changer for Lightroom (and Aperture) users.

It’s called “Perfect Layers” and this plug-in brings layers functionality to Lightroom (I got to work with OnOne on this plug-in, and although this public beta doesn’t have all the features the final shipping version will have, I can tell you—it’s going to expand what you can do in Lightroom to a whole new level!. We’re talking multiple layers, blend modes, layer masks, a brush—the works!)

You can download it now for free, and have a chance to try it out, and share your feedback with OnOne’s development team. They’ve got a sample movie and just a few examples of what you can do. I’m working on a video to show some collaging, portrait retouching, and other stuff we wouldn’t normally be able to do in Lightroom.

My hearty congratulations to OnOne for giving us the tools we need to work faster and more efficiently!!!! Yay!!!! :)  Here’s the link to download it in case you missed that one above.

Scott Kelby’s Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers Using Photoshop is now available in a spiral-bound edition, exclusively at the Kelby Training Bookstore!

Ron Martinsen recently reviewed the book over at his blog, so you can head over to to see what he has to say about it.

The non spiral-bound edition of this book is also available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

AND it’s also available for the Kindle!

Hey gang, Brad here with this week’s pimpy!

FREE Live Webcast with Scott Kelby & Matt Kloskowski (Take 2)
Today’s the day (again)! Tune in at 3:00 pm Eastern this afternoon to catch Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski during their FREE live webcast on Scott’s new book, Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers Using Photoshop.  They’ll be discussing some of Scott’s favorite retouching techniques from the book, answering your questions, and, of course, juggling puppies. But not kittens. That would just be cruel ;) ANYway… Head over to for all the details!

Scott Featured on Zuma Pictures of the Day!
Remember those killer shots Scott posted from the Tampa Bay Rays game the other day? It turns out one of them was featured on ZUMA’s Pictures of the Day (screenshot below)! Scott was absolutely pumped when he found out, so I knew I had to share it with you all:

Kelby Training Online
The latest class from Kelby Training Online is Frank Doorhof’s Creative Light Uses in Studio Photography. I just watched this one, and man can Frank really create something amazing from very little! If you want some help thinking outside of the box with your studio lighting, Frank is the man for the job.

Kelby Training Live
Ben Willmore
is bringing the Photography & Photoshop CS5: From Focus to Finished Tour to Livonia, MI next Wednesday, April 27, then heading to Columbus, OH on Friday, April 29! You can get all the details, sign up, and read just some of the rave reviews Ben’s gotten over at Kelby Training Live.

New From Terry White
Terry White’s “Learn the Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White” has gone iPad Native. You can now get the app as a Universal app for all iOS devices
– See his post here.
– And download the App here from the Learn Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White - Wizzard Media

That’s it for today. Have a great Thursday, and go watch Scott and Matt at 3:00 pm Eastern :D

Thank you Scott and Brad for inviting me to be the guest blogger this week.  It is quite an honor.

I have photographed a wide variety of sports throughout my 25 year career including the Olympics, U.S. Open and French Open tennis, PGA Tour golf and college football.  However, I am probably best known as a motorsports photographer, which typically represents about 70% of my corporate and editorial work in any given year.  With the racing season now in full swing I thought I would offer some insights on how I approach a typical assignment.

Most of my 2011 racing season will be spent covering endurance sports car racing – these are high-tech, multi million dollar prototype cars with the typical race lasting between 6 and 24 hours.  The 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans are two of the best known sports car races.  LeMans is the Indy 500 or the Daytona 500 of sports car racing.

I prefer shooting sports car racing for a number of reasons.  The venues are great – whether shooting in Monterey, California or Imola, Italy – no two tracks looks the same.  The tracks are road courses, so the cars turn left and right, and go up and down hills. Le Mans, for example, is 8.5 miles long and much of the track are public roads through the French countryside. And the races take place rain or shine. Shooting in great, magical light is the norm, especially at the longer races.  At the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the sun sets around 9:45 and rises at 5:45.  These races give the photographer a rich, ever changing palette. Locations are only limited to your imagination.

My kit for most assignments consists of three Nikon D3s bodies, a 500mm f/4, 70-200mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4, 24-70mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, two 1.4x tele-converters, two SB-800 flashes, two 77mm circular polarizer filters, a 52mm drop in polarizer, a Singh-Ray Vari-ND filter (1-8 stops of neutral density, two spare camera batteries, and a Nikon remote trigger.  All of this gear, with the exception of one camera body and one flash, is carried in a Think Tank International Roller (yes it all fits!); and the other body and flash go into a Think Tank Airport Check In along with my laptop, card readers, and external drive.  I carry both of these bags on board, so if my luggage gets lost, I can still work.   My checked luggage carries a monopod, battery chargers, magic arms, super clamps, and radio slaves.

Photo Mechanic and Photoshop are the two most used programs on my MacBook Pro (15 inch, anti-glare Matte screen).  I use three different online photo library systems, depending on my client’s needs – Photoshelter, PhotoCore, and MagImagebank – and charge every client for the space they use on these systems.

I feel the key to good photography is location.  I always try and scout every track, even if I have been there 30 times before.   And quite often my scouting is from the public viewing areas or something off the beaten path.  Photographers David Burnett and Bernard Asset were big influences early in my career. Burnett said if 50 photographers were in the same location looking the same way, he would turn in the opposite direction and seek out an angle others did not see.  Frenchman Bernard Asset thinks much the same way.  He is like a sniper, working alone away from the pack of other shooters, but returns at the end of each event with killer images.   So part of my scouting routine is to seek unexpected, undiscovered locations – which could be in the middle of the woods, the top of a building, or simply driving my SUV to a spot and standing on the roof for a different perspective.  The dented roof is well worth the results.

I also feel it is important to tell a complete story with my images.  Motorsports photography is far more than shooting cars on the track.  It is important that my photographs give the viewers a sense of place, a feel for the ambiance, and insight to the people who encompass this sport.

I receive a lot of questions regarding technique.  I have some general rules, but like every rule in photography, I break them all of time.  But here are a few guidelines.

a) When shooting head on or font 3/4 car shots, the aperture needs to be at  f/6.3 or f/8 to insure the front of the nose to the drivers helmet is sharp.  This is important when shooting for corporate clients who want to see their sponsor logos clearly.
b) The majority of my head on or front 3/4 car images are shot at 1/640th or 1/500th of a second.  I want the tires to be moving and shooting faster than this usually freezes the car too much.  It is a race car, it is not a parked car.  The exception to this is ground level shots at the Indy 500.   The cars are going 230mph, the cover the length of a football field in one second – shutter speeds need to be at least 1/1250th and the wheels are still have motion.
c) Change your angle.  Race cars are low to the ground,  shooting them from a standing position tends to get boring in a hurry.  Shoot as low as possible, shoot as elevated as possible, anything to give you a different perspective.
d) As the weather gets warmer, heat haze becomes an issue when shooting ground level.  The easiest solution is to shoot from an elevated position, above the heat haze.
e) Experiment with slow shutter speeds – 1/125th to 1/15th of a second should be part of your comfort zone.  And don’t just shoot pan shots at slow shutter speeds.  Front and rear 3/4 angles work great with slower speeds, especially if you find a corner where the lead car is exiting the corner in one direction and another car is entering the corner from the opposite direction.

Motorsports photography is the best place to take chances, experiment, and to stretch yourself.  If you mess up a shot, wait a couple of seconds and another car will be in your viewfinder.  Take advantage of this.

I hope to see you at the races!

Rick Dole

You can see more of Rick’s work over at

I did a quick video about my first shoot with the just announced new Westcott Spiderlite TD-6s. If you’ve got two minutes and 16 seconds, check it out (I interrupt the shoot briefly to show you the difference between the old TD5-s and the new TD-6s and it will be instantly clear what’s new).

For more on the TD-6s, visit Westcott’s site. Also, if you’re not following Westcott on Facebook, you oughta. They always have cool stuff going on, or info on lighting techniques, giveaways, and stuff like that. Here’s the link.

P.S. Terry White did an in-depth review of the TD-6s over at his Tech Blog Here’s that link. While we’re having a link-fest. Here’s another (I’m not sure where it goes). ;-)

Sports photography legend Dave Black has been down here at the Kelby Training Online Studios this past week taping a class on using off camera flash for shooting action sports portraits. He was doing some amazing stuff all week (his class is going to be SICK!!!!! If you use off-camera flash, his stuff is going to blow your mind!!!!).

By the way: I know many of you already know Dave is an amazing instructor (ask anybody that saw him at Photoshop World), but when he’s not teaching, and just being a regular guy, he’s just as amazing. I got to spend some time with him this week—Dave even went to church on Sunday with my family, and he spent the day with us just hanging out, talking sports [my poor wife], sharing stories, but mostly laughing. He’s one of the most fun, genuine, and just great guys out there. He’s “the real deal.”

A Night to Remember
Anyway, one night at dinner I asked Dave for any tips he had about an upcoming Major League Baseball shoot I had coming up for Southcreek Global Media. Of course, he had a ton! I’ll tell you the exact same thing I told Matt Kloskowski when I came into the office the next day: “I learned more about sports photography last night, than I had in a year!” (It’s WAY more than I can fit in a blog post, or two, or 10!).

I had a bunch of questions about setting up a remote camera for shooting sports, and Dave convinced me to put together a remote rig  (shown below) and take it with me to my next MLB shoot (which was two days later—The Rays vs the Twins this past Saturday). He told me to mount it near me, just so I could get used to shooting a remote, and then once I was comfortable with it, then start to find cool places to mount it (like in the catwalk above the domed field, which they do allow if you get there the day before, or very early for the game, and you’re not afraid of crazy scary heights or intense heat. I was out on both counts).

The Remote Set-up
Brad put together a Manfrotto Super Clamp with a Manfrotto Variable Friction Magic Arm attached to mount and had a Nikon D700 with a 300mm f/2.8 lens attached. On top of the camera sits a Pocket Wizard attached to the camera with a 10-pin connector. That way, I could fire the camera in (High-Speed Continuous shooting mode) from where ever I was (there are four shooting pits at Tropicana Field, one before and after each dugout). I started with it just a few feet above my head, aimed at 2nd base (I used the auto focus to focus on 2nd base, then I switched to the focus button on the lens to Manual so the camera wouldn’t accidentally change focus while firing).

Above: You can see the position of the camera a little better here. The photo pit is below and to the right of the camera). To position or check the camera, I had to either climb up on the railing to adjust it (can’t do that during game play), or make the long trek up to the top of the that section, back down to the camera, and then back up and down again. Tip: when you re-aim the camera at a new target, make sure the focus is on the money. I switched to catch the batters, but the guy I focused on wasn’t fully in batting position, and I had about 100+ photos of batters, all just a little bit soft. Lesson learned.

Above: Here’s one of the shots I caught with the remote camera. I was shooting my 400mm at the batter, and out of the corner of my eye I saw the play developing at 2nd base, and I hit the fire button on the 2nd Pocket Wizard in my left hand, and caught the shot you see here (and a whole series of this play) with the remote camera.

The part of actually getting used to shooting with the Remote didn’t take long (I totally dig it), but now the challenge is timing and finding cool places to put the remote (where I won’t get in trouble—they have rules where you can put them). I’m covering a few more games for them in the next week or so, so I’ll get more opportunities to work on my remote scheme. But, I want to thank Dave for encouraging me to do it, and to Brad for making everything work together. :)

Above: I saw one of my shots from Saturday’s Rays vs Twins game featured on the home page of Southcreek’s site (seen above). Sweet!!

Catch Dave Today on “The Grid”
Dave’s our in-studio guest on today’s LIVE broadcast of “The Grid” (at 12:00 noon EDT) and our first topic is “Can you make a living shooting sports photography.” It’s gonna be a great show!!! We’re also talking about what we want to see in the next round of DSLRs. Here’s the link (send us live comments during the show via Twitter: just add #thegridlive to any tweets, and we’ll see ’em).

One Last Thing!
While Dave was already here doing classes, we also got him to do a separate class on Light Painting (for those of you who follow his excellent “Workshop at the Ranch” tutorials [link], you know Dave is one of the leading educators when it comes to light painting, and is a true master of this very cool genre. If you don’t know what Light Painting is, follow that link. You’ll be hooked!