Monthly Archives June 2011

Hey gang, Brad here again, letting you know about the Season 2 premiere of our popular talk show, The Grid.

Tuesday, June 28 at 12:00 noon Eastern

Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski, and special guest Joe McNally


That’s right, we’ll have the one and only Joe McNally in the studio to help bring in the new season!

As always, you can join the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #thegridlive, and in the live chat on the show page. Hope to see you there!

Hey everyone!  RC here doing a quick blog post on this Friday to see if I can convince some of you to do something I just recently did.  Go Fishing with your camera!

I was inspired to do this after watching “Another Day With Jay Maisel” over on the Kelby Training website.  I’ve been an admirer of Jay’s work for a while, and as a friend I try to visit with him when he’s available in New York City.  Every time that I do, I’m always nervous as to whether he’ll ask if I have been carrying my camera around everywhere I went.

I’ve always seen my relationship with Photography as a “I will decide to do it at key points” – and to that i’ve always been quick to leave my camera at home.  Because of that, I am always the guy who runs into a scenario when I see a great shot, i’m never able to get it.  To counter that – i’ve made myself a little bit more disciplined in carrying a camera.  While it’s not all the time, it’s certainly a lot more than it used to be.

I was traveling into New York City to give an interview over at School of Visual Arts with Katrin Eismann.  I figured, while I was there, I would take advantage of the time and try to make some images.  After watching Jay’s event – I became tempted to do one thing:

The Challenge

Take my camera – nothing else – and wait for a moment to come to me.  While i’ve heard this concept before – Find your stage – the actors will come to it – I’ve never really been confident enough to actually give it a shot.

I took to the streets of Manhattan, and just walked around until I found a place that I thought was interesting – a colored wall.   Standing across the street, I aimed my lens to this newly found stage.  Rather than run around and try to find the killer image that I would put into X – I took a deep breath and said to myself “Lets wait here to see what kind of moments come to me.” I also gave myself a limit. I wouldnt go out to find a great place in the city. I could only choose the location of the scene between where i had lunch, and Penn Station – where I was boarding the train back to Long Island.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I cant stand being in hot weather.  Anxious as I was – I noticed that the feeling of frustration that I had was replaced by anticipation. Excitement.  It almost felt like a fisherman – setting up a spot and casting into the water, and wondering what kind of story you will be able to tell your friends at the close of the day.  Some of the shots that I got from the day are in the collage that I have above.

Watching The Stage

I noticed that as I started working on getting these shots, I became more focused on the types of color relationships that were coming down the street.  Blues on Greens, Reds and whites on Blues.. things like that.  I also started looking at things like negative space – and how biased I was for one direction versus another.  I changed its usage and saw images that I thought were cool become that much better for me.  I started looking at how people could affect these relationships, and I nervously sat around waiting for magic moments to occur.

For example – I had my camera trained to the picture of the windows of this post for a long time.  That picture on it’s own doesnt really do a great deal.  However, I stayed fixed to that spot for two reasons:

If a person wouldve shown up in this general area, I would have been incredibly happy.

If a person wouldve shown up in THIS spot and looked down to that center window I would’ve been overjoyed!

Unfortunately for me – neither of those things happened.  As much as I wanted to make these moments happen – luck just wasn’t on my side.  There were no fish to catch today.

Packing it Up

I got to Penn Station  with a mixture of disappointment and intrigue.  I sooo hoped to have that Henri Cartier-Bresson moment of the man jumping the puddle but all I got back was a bunch of OK pictures, and a lot of sweat.

Then I sat and thought it a bit more:

I sat at these places and wondered about color and the relationship between the subject and enviroment.  I played around with space, lines and composition in a quick paced enviroment.  I exercised my technique by moving focus points around, and tried to relearn hitting my automatic “Center Focus” button.

I spent time looking at scenes and wondering what kinds of things would make them more interesting. In effect – I was pre-visualizing my scenarios and making calculations on this.  It was as if I had gone to the photographic gym and went through a workout on my technique.  Yes – for me I looked like a chubby guy doing a half a pushup – but it was MY half a pushup.  I went out with a goal to try something, and in the process was inspired to get a bunch of other lessons.

I was also reminded of one thing we often forget as photographers. Try as we may – luck is still a portion of being in the image.  The more practice we have, the luckier we can get, this is true.  But sometimes luck just doesn’t hit.

Or maybe not in the way you originally intended it.   Happy Friday everyone!

Hey gang, Brad here. You know the drill ;)

NAPP Refer-A-Friend
NAPP (The National Association of Photoshop Professionals) has a pretty sweet new referral program that’s just launched.  You earn rewards for each of the first five people you refer and then some serious stuff for 10, 15 and 20 rewards.  The prize for referring just one person is a $25 gift certificate to The Official NAPP Gear store! Check out all of the details here.

While you’re at the NAPP Member Site, make sure you check out the latest discounts from 500px ($10 off premium account), Adorama (10% off Gitzo and Induro tripods & heads), BlowIt Fans (10% off the new V2 fan), Tether Tools (free JerkStopper with purchase of Tether Table or Studio Vu), and more!
Check out the latest classes that have been added in the past week:
Edgy Photography: From Photo Shoot to Photoshop with Calvin Hollywood
Photoshop Elements 9 for Beginners with Larry Becker

Kelby Training Live
Here are the next dates for the Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Live! Tour with Scott Kelby:
– July 6 in Toronto, ON
– July 21 in Calgary, AB
– July 22 in Vancouver, BC

And check out our newest tour, The Art of Photo Painting with Fay Sirkis:
– July 29 in Washington, DC
– August 3 in Los Angeles, CA

St. Lucia Workshop with Joe McNally
Joe McNally is heading back to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia this August for his Advanced Flash Techniques in the Islands workshop! It’s held at the beautiful Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain resorts August 15-20. Head on over to Joe’s blog or the resort website for all the details. (Insider tip… Make sure you book at least one night at Jade Mountain. The place is AMAZING!!)

Vision E-Book from Scott Bourne
Scott Bourne has released his first e-book, Vision, and it’s free for everyone as his gift to the photo community. Download it here and pass it on!

Lightroom Workshops with Rob Sylvan
Our buddy Rob Sylvan of Lightroomers is joining the Lightroom Workshops and teaching workshops in Providence, RI, Manchester, NH, Boston, MA, and Jacksonville, FL. Head over to to check out dates and all the details!

EXDR with Vincent Versace
Vincent Versace has released the third installment of his Welcome To Oz 2.0 series, EXDR: Extending The Dynamic Range of Focus! In this new lesson, Vincent shows how to use his popular image harvesting technique from a different point of view in regards to focus, blur, and image structure to get the most out of your photography. Click here for all the details!

That’s it for today. Have a great Thursday!

Introductions are in order…

I am Pete Collins…”The New Photoshop Guy,” or, as I am called around the office, “Monkey Boy.” I have done a bunch of stuff in the past… from surviving cancer, teaching tennis, competing in Disc Golf tournaments in the U.S. and overseas as well as living in Bangkok, Thailand for over 6 years. I have a Fine Arts degree and I have been a graphic designer for the last eight years. I am a Canon shooter and I have shot just about every type of photography you can imagine. The sole reason why I got this job is because Scott lost a bet and I was the booby prize. Can I use the word booby in this blog? I guess following after Jay Maisel and Moose Peterson, I can get away with it. :D

Ok, so once I was given the privilege of writing this post, I had to decide what I was going to say. This is big stuff! My plan was to write this hilarious post where you would laugh and think what great a guy I am and my name would become synonymous with cool. My picture would be put into dictionaries next to the word cool, and people around the world would talk to their friends and say, “Did you read that super cool blog post by Pete?” Isn’t that the goal? Isn’t that what we all want?

The truth is… we all long for acceptance and will do almost anything to avoid rejection. I will try to become the person that everyone will like, and I will easily compromise my principles if it means that they will think I am cool. And I bet just about every one of you reading this is the same way. Our lives are lived behind masks that we project to the world and we live in fear that someone will see the real us behind the illusion and reject us. Being rejected is one of our most painful experiences, because it says that we are not worthy and there is something inherently wrong with us. Once we feel rejected we just want the hurt to go away, but unfortunately, the heart remembers that pain so we seek out ways to distract ourselves from the pain and do things to ensure we are not rejected again in the future.

However, the very things that we are doing to cover up our hurt and our pain are causing a greater sense of isolation. We have traded our pain for numbness, but the cost is loneliness. We are so alone and we are not truly alive. The crazy thing is that we think we are the only ones who feel this way. I know because I am one of them… I know I am screwed up, but I am pretty sure that you have your act together… and since you have your act together I must pretend I have mine together too so you won’t think I am worthy of your rejection. So we pose and pretend and act like everything is ok, and yet inside both our hearts are dying. So in order to numb the loneliness, I stay busy, I find things to entertain me, I strive to find that perfect niche in society, or that perfect photograph that will validate my life. I put on a fake bravado, I make people laugh so that they won’t see my fear, or I spend countless hours trying to craft my words in a blog so that it will give people the impression of how important and smart I am. But, all that does is strengthen the masks that hide my real heart from you.

Have you ever watched a child get lost in the joy of a moment? They are not burdened with any sense of shame and they are not concerned with what others will think… they are free and full of life.

I want my life to be like that, and I bet you do too… I am trying to regain that joy… I want to be stirred to tears by the beauty that surrounds me, and not be so critical of others. I want to let go of my masks and let you see the real me, and have you accept me despite my warts and my fears. We have this awesome power to come alongside each other and encourage one another yet we don’t do it because of fear. If we will dare to allow those close to us to start getting glimpses behind our masks, I bet they would start to do the same, and before you know it… we might all be living real lives and with real joy. Imagine how much more wonderful our art, or music, our relationships would be if we were really alive and not caught in the self-imposed Matrix. What if I did things because I loved doing them rather than doing things based upon whether or not it would be accepted by the masses? Am I going to live a life of fear or joy…? That is the $64,000 question.

One final question before I go…

How comfortable are you with love? Are your masks keeping you from really being honest and intimate with those around you? I bet someone near you could really use a loving word from you right now… and the crazy thing is when you push past the fear inside and say it to them, it chips away at the masks in your own life and opens your heart to be free a little bit more. At the end of life, do you want people to say? “He was a great photographer, but his life was a mess” or would you rather them say… “He was full of life and look how that showed in his relationships and his work.” Do me a favor, instead of taking time to comment on this post, which will do you no good… since I can’t read; call up someone you love and just let them know they are special to you. Then go take some pictures, or draw or sing or dance and do it with a sense of wonder as if you were a kid again. Give yourself permission to be real and alive!

You can find Pete on Facebook, and keep an eye out for him on Photoshop User TV, Photoshop User Magazine, and other random places he might pop up :)

Hey gang, Brad here to share this video of Scott Kelby talking with Rafael “RC” Concepcion about his brand new book, The HDR Book.

If you haven’t already ordered The HDR Book, you’ll definitely want to order it today. Why? I’ll give you one reason…

1) RC signed a limited number of books, and they’re almost gone.

You can order your book here (or here if you want the Mastering HDR DVD as well) and cross your fingers that you’ll get a book with a “golden ticket!”