Monthly Archives November 2011

Hey everyone, Jeremy Cowart here. A little over 2 years ago, I launched an idea here on Scott’s blog called Help-Portrait. I had no idea if it would fly or not. But it was worth a shot. 3 years later, photographers around the world have embraced the idea and have reached out to their communities and made a massive impact in helping and serving others.

And with the growth and success of this idea, I’ve had to grow the Help-Portrait team to continue making it all happen. People seem to think that it’s just me running this organization, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a truly remarkable, selfless, all-star team of people around me that are helping make Help-Portrait happen. They are working year-round on making Help-Portrait a success and I’m constantly inspired by them. So I wanted to take this opportunity for you to get to know them a little bit and see why they’re so awesome.

So without further ado and in no particular order, let me introduce you to my Help-Portrait team!

Name and your job title/role for Help-Portrait:
Kyle Chowning – Executive Director + Board member – Oversee the overall planning, development and execution of the Help-Portrait operations

What’s your favorite moment from your Help-Portrait experiences so far?
My favorite moment was the first year, when we worked tirelessly to pull off the very first Help-Portrait. I remember stepping back and watching hundreds of people come through our event getting their picture taken—often for the first time in a very long time, or ever, and seeing the smiles on their faces. They were so appreciative. Truth is, they were doing more for me that I was doing for them. Easily one of the most memorable days in my life to-date.

Why do you believe so much in Help-Portrait?
Not being a photographer myself, I believe in Help-Portrait not because of what it does for the photography industry, but for the subjects: women who never felt beautiful, knew they were beautiful; homeless people who were typically avoided, engaged and became rock stars, even if just for a moment; lack of confidence turned into confidence; shame turned into pride; rejection turned into acceptance; sadness turned into excitement; hopelessness turned into the promise of something new; unemployed and homeless now had a professional portrait to share with prospect employers; the list could go on and on. All of this happened with a simple click and a print. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that story?

Why should others get involved with Help-Portrait?
If you’re a photographer…


Hi Gang: I got invited to shoot the Atlanta Falcons game on Sunday so I shot up to the Georgia Dome for the 1:00 pm game on Sunday and was back the same night, so it was kind of a whirlwind trip, but I really had a ball! (no pun intended). [NOTE: Click on the photos for a larger view—-they look much better bigger. Well, except the iPhone photos. Kidding].

(Above: Here’s my remote rig in an iPhone photo. It’s not fully aimed yet, because they roll this rig out onto the corner of the field about 10 minutes before the players are announced). 

The very cool Mike Benford from the Falcons organization arranged it so I would be able set up a remote camera rig and attach it to the truss archway that the players run through when they enter the field, and a couple of hours before the game we met with the Pyrotechnics team that runs the smoke jets and fire plumes that shoot out as the players come out, and they were incredibly helpful. My original plan was to mount the rig to the top of the semi-circular truss, but that would have my camera aiming directly into four smoke jets, so instead I mounted it down low (using two Manfrotto Magic Arms) with a 14-24mm wide angle lens (zoomed out to 14mm) aiming upward.

(Above: Here’s an iPhone photo of the rig to give you a closer view. The camera is mounted on one Manfrotto Magic Arm, and then I attach a second arm just to make doubly sure it doesn’t move. Lastly I attach a steel safety cable, which isn’t fully secured yet because I’m going to have to re-aim this puppy in a just a few minutes. Also, I’m triggering all this with a Pocket Wizard on top with a short patch cable that connects into the camera’s cable release port).

(Above: This is me in a manly-like football player ready to take the field pose, but I’m actually acting as a warm body for the auto focus to lock onto. A stunning specimen, aren’t I? ;-)

Hocus Focus
Of course, mounting a camera down low at “Maggie the Wonderdog” level makes focusing part fun, especially since once it’s all in place, they’re going to move the whole rig about out  20 or 30 feet anyway, so you have to refocus again. I start by letting the Auto Focus do its thing, then I switch to Manual focus so it doesn’t change while I’m pressing the remote.

(Above: Here’s the remote shot [somehow he looks bigger and meaner than me]. The hugh fire plumes make everything turn red for a few moments, and then the color is gone just as quick as it came. I’m out on the field, about 30 yards or so away, triggering this remote shot with my Pocket Wizard in one hand, and my camera [with a 24-70mm] in the other. I was short the cable I would need to trigger both the remote and my handheld camera at the exact same time).

(Above: Here’s the view from the field, taken with my other camera. As the fire stops, the color changes back to normal, and the players come through the smoke jets. Note my camera rig on the far right side of the frame down low. Nobody came anywhere close to hitting it, but that’s always a risk with pumped up athletes and a lot of smoke). 

(Above: Once the player emerges from the smoke, you can see my rig on the right a lot clearer. I wish the rig had been mounted about five feet farther out in front, and even lower). 

Shots from the Game
Now that I’ve done this particular set-up, I think I would do it differently next time, but at least I got that one shot (which did receive some Photoshop magic, and if I have time in the next week or so, I’ll do a short tutorial on that as well).

As for camera settings; pretty much the same as always: two bodies: Nikon D3s with a 400mm at f/2.8 all day on a Gitzo monopod, and a Nikon D3 with a 24-70mm at f/2.8 all day, both at 2,500 ISO (the lighting in the dome is surprisingly low).

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few shots from the game (Atlanta won 24-14 by the way), and I’m going to start with some detail shots first, then onto the game action:

(Above: I wanted to get a detail shot of the player’s gloves and when I saw the incredible tats this player had, I knew I had the subject I was looking for).

(Above: I always try to get a nice shot or two of each team’s helmets. They’re usually sitting up high on an equipment case, but I saw this one on the ground with such a great reflection of the stadium’s dome and sidelines, I went with it instead).

(Above: Another detail shot: this time of the large duffle bag the officials have on the sidelines where they keep footballs used during the game). I just like the way the light gleaned off the NFL logo. OK, enough detail, let’s get to some action shots).

(Above: Here’s Viking’s QB Christian Ponder getting sacked [not his first on the day], and although I was rooting for the Falcons, I like Ponder from his days at Florida State University—I’m a Seminole fan from way back, and despite their loss I think he’s got a lot of potential).

(Above: This is a little later in the game).

(Above: #7 scrambling out of the backfield once again. It was a long day for Ponder).

(Above: Talk about “leading lines!” I had this shot straight down the hashmark from the end zone, and although it’s a pre-action shot and not normally the kind I take, I just kinda liked the symmetry of it all).

(Above: Love the intensity on both their faces).

(Above: Of course, it wouldn’t be football unless a ref, suddenly realizing that you might have a clear unobstructed view of Falcon’s WR Roddy White jumping up for a pass, suddenly darts into the frame as he winks to the Side Judge, and mouthes, “Don’t worry, I blocked him.”).



Best thing about the day….
…had to be the great folks I met at the game. Michael Benford was just a prince (incredibly gracious, helpful, and just fun), and while I was there I got to meet, and shoot alongside, the Falcon’s team photographer, Jimmy Cribb, who is a real veteran of the league, and one of those guys you meet and you feel like you’ve known him forever. A real gentleman with a great sense of humor (and of course, one hell of a shooter). Thanks to everybody in the Falcons organization, and to Michael, Jimmy, and the other great photographers I met and chatted with on the sidelines. What a great day for a game! :)

It’s our biggest sale day of the year at Kelby Training, and I looked at some of the deals offered TODAY ONLY, and even I was like, “What???!!!!!” (like the buy one Photoshop World pass and bring a buddy for free. Somebody should get fired over that one). Anyway, I didn’t come up with the deals, but I’m passing ’em on.

Click the graphic above, or this link right here, and you will get some insane deals on everything, like:

>> Kelby Training Online Subscriptions ($50 Off a one-year full unlimited access online subscription).

>> NAPP membership (join and get six extra months free, including a subscription to Photoshop User magazine)

>> 30% off our Books, DVDs, and Bundle Deals (Deals so low….they’re insane!!!!!!! [said in a Crazy Eddie voice].

>> Photoshop World Washington DC (buy one full conference pass, bring a buddy for free]. Plus there’s some other psychotic deal where you get a book, and a t-shirt, and some other stuff.

But all of these deals are for today, Cyber Monday (as it’s known) ONLY, so get ’em while they’re not (cause tomorrow they’re not). Here’s the link again (Head their now. You’ll probably pass out cold once you get there. I’m serious. Hey, it could happen. I mean, it’s a possibility. OK, it’s probably not a huge possibility, but things happen. Did you see what happened at WalMart Friday? See, it’s like that, but there’s nobody trying to grab products out of your hand. Now get their quick before the doors open. I’m not really sure what that means).

This has been one of the most frustrating things for us ever. We launch “Light It,” this kick-butt new magazine. We get over-the-top incredible feedback from it, and people can’t wait to get issue #2, which is really exciting for us.

Issue #2 was already complete when we launched issue #1, so we wanted to launch it pretty soon after the first issue. However, there was something we didn’t count on….

…Apple’s App Store has turned down our App FOUR TIMES IN A ROW now.

When they turn down your App, they send you an email why, then you have to go try and fix the problems (ours were related to IOS 5.0, and then our in-app purchasing, and then a memory issue, and then a testing issue, and so on).

Then you have to (wait for it….wait for it….) resubmit the App all over again. Apple has from 7 to 14 days to test and or approve/deny your App, and they’ve been really consistent about denying it.

It was turned down once again last week (uggh!), but it has finally been turned down so much that we have an actual live Apple person assigned to our case, and she seems really helpful and we hope to have the problem resolved now with her help, and hopefully we’ll see issue #2 very soon, since issues #3 and #4 and also already done.

I am SO sorry you guys have had to wait so long for the 2nd issue (believe it, it was not part of the plan), but it’s kind of been that kind of year (if you know what I mean). Thank you to everyone who has waited patiently, who has shown their support, and who has hung in their eagerly waiting for issue #2, which when it finally does get released, will truly earn the “….the most eagerly awaited issue of the year….” slogan). :)

One last thing
I want some of you (you know who you are) to resist the overwhelming urge to write comments like “This wouldn’t have happened if you released it on Android” and stuff along those lines, because it won’t make anything (issue #2, or a release on Android) happen any faster. So, rise above that urge, be a better man/woman (though I rarely ever see snarky comments from women here ever—thank you ladies), and just go about your day as if none of this ever happened. See, don’t you feel better now? I knew you would.

Here’s an iPhone pic of my buddy Corey Barker, who is currently vying for the title of “happiest guy in the world” because he got his first copy, of his first book, “Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks for Designers.”

Corey had been such a big help to me when I did my own“Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks” book a couple of years back, that I talked him into doing his own version of the book, and as much as I hate to admit it, his came out even better than mine. I think Corey is, hands down, one of the most gifted Photoshop artists/trainers out there, and he teaches stuff in this new book that you just don’t see anywhere else. I don’t know how he comes up with this stuff, but man does he ever!

I’ll run a video clip he did about the book next week, but I wanted to share this photo of him, posing in front of his office, because is just on Cloud 9 over this (as well he should be). The book will be hitting stores early next week, so in the spirit of Black Friday, you can preorder it right here from Barnes & Noble or Congrats Corey, and job well done!!!