Posts By Brad Moore

Hi folks, my name is Mike Wiacek (pronounced WHY-sek, WHY-check, or as Matt Kloskowski suggested, “WHY-check-SKI”). Unlike many of the previous guests who have been in this same position, I’m not a full time photographer, graphic designer, or insightful philosopher. I’m an engineer and manager at Google in Northern California. I grew up in Philadelphia, lived in Maryland for a few years, and then moved out to Silicon Valley. When Brad asked me if I’d like to be a guest blogger, my fingers quickly typed, “I’d love to,” long before my brain could understand what my hands had done.

Now before I ramble on too much, let me make a few promises about my little spiel here. I won’t bore you with any technical computer jargon, apart from a brief mention of C++, HTML, and SQL, and as I only mention them in this disclaimer, you’re safely past them now. I also won’t advocate any pro-HDR, anti-HDR, or selective color agendas. I say this even though selective color is almost never a good idea, but I do think Selective Color Agenda would make a fantastic band name. With the legalese out of the way, let’s move on.

I bought my first SLR about 5 years ago.  I debated the purchase for nearly 6 months until my wife, Sara, said, “Oh for Pete’s sake, just buy it.” When it arrived, Sara and I headed down to Point Lobos, which is a state park just south of Carmel, CA. Landscape artist Francis McComas once called it, “The greatest meeting of land and water in the world.” I was armed with no clue how to use my Rebel XTi, just some instructions from a friend to put it in Av mode and shoot. After that first trip, I was hooked, even though none of the photos were any good. Having always lived in large cities, I’d never been one to go to state and national parks, but now I was a photographer. I now not only wanted to go to these places – I had to go to them.

I fell in love with landscape photography, and as many before me, it made me fall in love with California. I was new to the area and to be honest, I didn’t know when I moved out here that I would only be a short drive from Napa Valley, Yosemite, Mammoth Lakes, Big Sur, Redwoods National Forest; the list goes on and on. And so, here I was, an amateur photographer living in quite possibly the best place in the world for any photographer to call home. I did the only reasonable thing. I started exploring, seeing places in person that I had taken for granted as existing only in magazines and books.

As I started shooting more and more, something unexpected happened. I began to notice potential photographs pretty much all around me. I think as a photographer you become more aware of your surroundings. Such moments can be in the way a cloud rolls over a mountain peak, or the way the sun illuminates a person’s face through an airplane window, or the expression of a child meeting their hero at Disneyland. These moments are gifts and as photographers, it’s our job to capture them. To make this concept more concrete, I often think of Eisenstaedt’s photo of the sailor kissing the nurse after the end of World War II. That single image captures the elation, joy, and relief not only of a single soldier, but of the entire world. That’s why, 70 years later, we still know this photo. It carries a gravity with it, that is both timeless and grounded in our collective memory.

Before I moved to California, I salvaged a box containing family photos that was mistakenly put out with the trash. They sat in that box for several years, almost forgotten. As my experience in retouching my own images grew (thanks in no small part to Kelby Training), so did my interest in preserving those old family photos. I started sorting the box of images, and I realized that some of them were over 70 years old. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe how close we had come to the entire photographic record of my family being lost forever. I packed the images up in plastic wrap, and prepared to ship them off to be scanned. It was an incredibly emotional and thought provoking moment for me. All tangible forms of the smiles, tears, joy, and pride of four generations were wrapped in cellophane, sitting on my granite counter.

My mother’s brother, my uncle, died before I was born. An accidental fire broke out while he was asleep one night. Even though I never knew him, I feel a profound sense of loss and pain when I think about what happened so many years ago. Very little survived the fire, and what pictures of him we still had, were in this pile of photos. None were larger than a 4×6.

When the images were returned, I cropped, straightened, and restored nearly 1000 of them. I removed scratches, long set color casts, and fixed the aging paper. Mixed in with the stack of photos, I found one of my uncle from when he was on vacation. I don’t think my mother or I even knew it existed. I spent nearly a week fixing it. I removed a honeycomb pattern from the paper, added sharpness where I could, and enlarged the image to a 12×18. I had it framed, and I gave it to my mother for Christmas that year. I don’t think I’ve ever given her a better gift, than the rescued photo of her only brother. She hung that picture in her living room, and even without saying it, I knew how important it was to her.

That’s when I realized the second obligation of a photographer, and it’s one that most of us don’t do well at all. We have a tendency to want to be behind the lens, as a passive observer of life. However, we are part of the story, even if we don’t want to admit it. Most family photos are missing one person, and that’s unfortunate. And if that person is a photographer, the problem is often compounded. So while we strive to record those little moments that express true magic, we must also remember to participate in them. We are only on this earth for a short time, and while we may create memories in the form of photographs, we are not truly passive observers. We do have a place and a role to fulfill. When we’re gone, those who remain will never look back and wish that we had captured one more sunset image, but rather that we had spent one more sunset together.

Don’t forget to sometimes put the camera down, and stop trying to capture life, but live it. Accept that there are truly wonderful experiences on both sides of the lens, and while we can never capture them all, we don’t need to. Life is too short to try.

You can see more of Mike’s work at, find him on Google+ and Twitter, and come see him in person at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference!

Google+ Photographer’s Conference
We’re just a few weeks away from the Google+ Photographer’s Conference on May 22-23 in San Francisco! Register now for your chance to participate in photo walks, live shoots, and sessions with great instructors like Guy Kawasaki, Trey Ratcliff, Peter Hurley, Alex Koloskov, and tons of others. We just set up a couple of discount codes to use for registration…

Use GPLUSCOMM to save $50 off registration AND get 2 free months of online training at Or if you’re a student, use GPLUSSTUD to register for just $99 (must provide student ID)! These discount codes are valid until May 18.

And and, you can leave a comment for your chance to win one free ticket to the conference!
Want to know What’s New in Photoshop CS6? That’s the latest class from Matt Kloskowski over at!

Plus, there are two brand new classes from Rich Harrington: DSLR Video Planning & Shooting and DSLR Video Post Production. If you want to learn about DSLR video, there’s nobody better than Rich to teach this stuff!

The Photographer’s Photoshop CS6 Power User Tour
Speaking of learning the latest in Photoshop CS6… If you’re in Indianapolis, you’ll want to sign up for The Photographers’s Photoshop CS6 Power User seminar with Dave Cross! Dave is coming to town on May 23 with the tour that’s just been updated to showcase all the features photographers will want to know to get the most out of Photoshop CS6.

Keep an eye out for more dates to come, and leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to this seminar!

A Day with Jay Maisel DVD
It was announced on The Grid yesterday that we’re heading to Paris next week to film another class with Jay Maisel called (what else?), A Day with Jay Maisel in Paris! To celebrate, what better way than to give away three copies of the Day with Jay Maisel DVD that includes the first two classes that were filmed on the streets of Manhattan?

Leave a comment for your chance to win!

The Digital Photo Workshops with Dave Black
Join Dave Black and The Digital Photo Workshops crew as we explore the rugged coastline, lighthouses, and majestic villages of Maine. Rockland, Maine will be base-camp for this nautical themed workshop June 14-17, 2012.

You will work side-by-side with legendary photographer Dave Black as he shows you his magic technique of lightpainting. Take part in dawn patrol as we take you to some of Maine’s best sunrise photo spots. During the day learn workflow, Lightroom, and Photoshop techniques from the pros. Also get personal one-on-one help processing your images. As the sun goes down we’ll have you in the perfect spot to catch an image you can be proud of. And did I mention NAPP members get $100 off?

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to this workshop!

Last Week’s Winners
Here are the winners of last week’s giveaways…

David Ziser’s Wedding Portraits DVD
– S Traynor
– Lewis Johnston
– Camelia

The Digital Photo Workshop with Ben Willmore
– Lizzy Pat

That’s it for this week. Have a great Thursday!

Humble Beginnings

Most started as bird watchers, I always loved that fact. The birds had the secret they all wanted, sought and required!

We’d driven past the brown and white sign along the highway a couple of times, but Huffman Prairie Field meant nothing to us. Then at the Monday night briefing for the next day’s B-25 flight to Wright-Patterson for the Doolittle reunion celebration, it was mentioned we’d be flying over the field the next morning. So now I was curious. Four days later we decided to explore where the signs were directing us. We drove through the gate, which at first seemed would stop our quest. Negotiating it we went down a country road that turned into a one way lane. We came up to one of those big signs indicating ‘You Are Here’ telling us we were at a dead end road with a gate. In fact, we didn’t see a thing nearby resembling a field or prairie. We had no choice but to continue down the one way road.

We made a turn in the road, which took us out of the trees to a big open field that looked like any other field. It was a gorgeous day with an armada of giant puffy clouds, sailing across the crystal blue sky. The green carpet of spring grasses raced to the horizon to greet the clouds. We just had to stop to make a click. We got out and then saw another sign stating ‘You Are Here.’ But this time the sign said more, telling us we were on the edge of Huffman Prairie Field, the world’s first aerodrome! But it’s more than that.

Off in the distance we saw a small tower and shed, so we headed there to check them out. It was important to me to reach this place, in the middle of nowhere Ohio that 99% of the world has never heard of. It is from this point over 100 years ago all of our lives would be changed. Huffman Prairie Field is where the Wright Bros made their first powered and sustained flights, proving the flight was not only possible, but also our future!

Flying over this field in the nose of the B-25J “Maid in the Shade” to honor the Doolittle Raiders was quite something, especially when the Wright Brothers thought flight would stop wars because it would connect societies by bringing them closer together. Touring the Wright-Patterson USAF Museum and then writing this on my commercial flight home I am blown away how flight continues in magical, marvelous ways and to think it all started with simple bird watching.

A common beginning

How did your photography begin? Mine started as a bird watcher at age 9 (but I never invented a means of flight!). Do you ever take time to reflect on that first moment, experience, magic, love or click? I sure do. I grew up in a family of shutter buggers who were always taking pictures. We would have big family parties that would culminate at the end of day by sitting in front of a large screen either inside or outside in the summer viewing images, reliving past memories and telling new stories. Not much of a stretch understanding where I got it from.

Well wanting to participate in the fun and of course the attention that comes from having your photo on the screen, I needed a camera. I collected and saved Blue Chip stamps until finally I could redeem them to get a Kodak Brownie Instamatic. I was 9. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I was using my dad’s Argus he’d carried through the wars, which evolved to using his Minolta SRT 101. That lasted me about a year until I’d saved up my money to buy the latest and greatest Minolta SRT 202 (since my dad and brother had lenses, seemed like the thing to do). The first pages of my book Captured pick up the story from there when one evening on a beach in So California I had found my two loves of my life, Sharon and photography.

I doubt many of us have really too different of a beginning in photography. Bird watching or people watching, car watching or sports, like the Wright brothers something sparks in all photographers the power of observation and then the desire to share what we see with others. But unlike the Wright brothers, we are fortunate enough to hopefully learn from others who came before us. I personally can’t imagine that first time zipping down a rickety wooden rail in a wood and cloth contraption about to be launched into the air and feeling, “Is this a smart thing to be doing?” Photography in the beginning can be just as scary, especially when you share your photography for the first time! Wait until the first time you start to teach!

I have a desire

I’ve had a couple of great teachers in my life who have greatly influenced me. My dad loved to teach and had a style of making folks think about the answer. He devoted a lot of his life to helping other teachers be better teachers though that wasn’t his occupation. The other was my high school photo teacher. Mr. Traub made his students go out with a camera and find answers for themselves, not handing us easy answers or those that would work for just the moment. Not until I was much older would I understand why he started the first weeks of the class studying the images of old masters (McNally & Maisel were part of our lessons, ha!), looking at light and thinking about composition before he ever put a twin eye monster in our hands.

I started in my sophomore year and by the end of that year, Mr. Traub had me helping the new students. That’s when I started to teach photography and yet, I wasn’t even a photographer myself. And I’ve never stopped.

What is it about photography that gets us up early, takes us out in the rain, at times traveling what seems like the end of the earth just to make a click? I wonder if it’s really any different than what those cave dwellers in Germany felt when they made crude paintings on the wall we can still see today. Did they pass on their knowledge of mixing paint and painting? I wonder.

One of the greatest attributes of NAPP and especially Photoshop World is this huge community that comes together to celebrate creativity in all its visual forms! Even better is the amazing group of people, on stage and off with the desire to share what they have learned so others can learn from their life experiences. I love watching “fans” when they see in person one of their heroes at PSW for the first time. Even though we are all just people, we are very fortunate that fans think so highly of us when at some point, we all had the same simple beginnings.

Unlike the Wright brothers, those on stage are not sharing a new invention but more often just a different way of thinking, approaching and communicating visually. At the same time entertaining and inspiring you to not only try this or that new technique or tool, but also to share your vision. Share through your photographs and share through your teaching others what you’ve learned.

I’ve never heard of any photographer being born with a silver camera. Each and every one of us has had to move ourselves down the path and at times, with the help of others a little further down that path. That’s how I see myself, just a little bit further down that path than some and because of the passion my teachers passed along to me, a responsibility to pass that on to others. And now that you’ve had your beginnings, it’s up to you to pass along what you’ve learned as well! Just think how we can change the world if everyone shared that same desire to help others?

What’s this ramble all about? For quite a while now, I’ve encouraged photographers to share their images, knowing that photography can change the world. Now I want to challenge you to share what you’ve learned with other photographers! And it doesn’t matter what your skill level is, you have something to teach everyone and that includes me. I always come away with at least one great lesson from someone at Photoshop World, someone willing to share an experience they have had that I have not. You don’t have to do a workshop to teach, it can be as simple as a five minute conversation with someone at a camera store counter (of course finding one of those these days is a challenge).

Photographers, every single one as far as I’m concerned are the luckiest folks on the planet! The experiences life has afforded us and that we can share are life-changing. And all you have to do is look at some of the great “projects” already in place like Help-Portrait and you can see the change we can affect on the world. The Wright Brothers while protecting some of their concepts of flight because of business nonetheless opened the doors to a world we enjoy over 100 years later. They taught by doing, leading and inspiring. I think we as a photographic community can do the same thing. Wouldn’t it simply be cool in 100 years society could look back and see the tremendous changes photographers made with the simple act of sharing and teaching? And no matter where you’re at, take comfort in knowing that every single one of us started with humble beginnings.

You can see more of Moose’s work at and, check out the new BT Journal for iPad, and find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE! in London
We’re just two days away from the last ever Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE! seminar in the world. We are currently en route to swingin’ London to meet up with some jolly chaps named Glyn and Dave who’ve helped us get everything sorted for the seminar. Then on Saturday, we’ll be in Islington, London at the Business Design Centre (silly Brits and their “re” endings)! We hope to see you there for what’s sure to go down in history as the best Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE! seminar we’ve ever done in London!

6 Days of Photoshop CS6
NAPP is offering 6 Days of Adobe Photoshop CS6 this week. It’s a series of live webcasts showcasing the cool new features of CS6. The webcasts are open to the public through Saturday, but after that you can only access them if you’re a NAPP member. Today’s starts at noon ET and it’s all about Design and JDI Features. If you missed the first 2 days, you can still catch those webcasts on Saturday when we show the week in review. Check out the complete schedule here.

Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers
For anyone who missed it last week, Scott is giving away a free chapter from his Adobe Lightroom 4 for Digital Photographers Book. You can grab it here. As for the book itself, well it’s not even out yet but you can pre-order a copy here.

David Ziser Wedding Portraits DVD
Leave a comment to win one of 3 copies of David Ziser’s Wedding Portraits DVD. In this two-disc set, you’ll learn the classical posing and lighting techniques along with how to get the perfect shot in tricky situations from one of the best wedding photographers out there.
Check out Tim Wallace’s latest class on Kelby Training – Post Processing for Automotive Photography! Take what you learned in his classes on automotive photography to the next level with this class on post processing. Fine tune your results to bring out the most in your vehicles.

The Digital Photography Workshops
Join Ben Willmore and The Digital Photo Workshops crew for a southwest adventure in Page, Arizona from May 10-13 that few experience.

Page, Arizona is a little-known spot with big photo opportunities. This small town, located on the Colorado River and overlooking the Glen Canyon Dam, will be base camp for our photo adventure, which will include Slot Canyons, Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend and Lake Vistas, just to name a few.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to this workshop!

Joe McNally in Australia
Joe McNally is heading down under for the Nikon “Through The Lens” Tour! Head over to his blog for info on the tour.

Last Week’s Winners
Here are the winners of last week’s giveaways…

Scott’s London Seminar
– PJ
–  Marchino M

Matt’s Lightroom 4 Chicago Seminar
– Bruce G

Fay Sirkis’ Wild About Animals DVD
– Suzanne Offner

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

Photoshop CS6 : What’s in it for photographers?

First, thanks Scott for having me back, I always enjoy the opportunity to reach so many like-minded Photoshop users and photographers in one place. Photoshop means a lot of things to a lot of different people, but today I want to answer one of the questions I get from photographers – “what’s in it for us?”. The answer – more than ever.

Photoshop CS5 was one of our strongest releases to date; even though we grappled with the enormous mountain that was Cocoa, we still delivered a broad, powerful and very magical release. How do you follow that? Well, without a major architectural change we were able to respond with 62% more features than CS5! Here’s what excites me as a photographer.

Lets go from the general to the specific…

Adobe Camera Raw 7.0
For those of you enjoying Lightroom 4, you’re already aware that we have an entirely new raw processing engine. The new technology features a revamped UI with sliders all set to an equal start point; new auto functionality and most dramatically, new controls for shadows and highlights. As the below image from my iPhone shows, even shooting into the sun, you have considerably more latitude with your exposures. Why a phone you ask? If this is what can be done with a heavily compressed JPEG – imagine how nice the raw images look (they look amazing).

I shouldn’t fail to mention that local adjustments (by brush or graduated filter) have nearly doubled in number!

Mini Bridge
Mini Bridge can now run in a filmstrip; if you’re coming from Elements or Lightroom, you’ll appreciate the familiar interface. As before, Mini Bridge taps the power of Bridge and serves it up in the flexibility of a panel (you can drag and resize it as you like). Bridge has now been rewritten as a 64-bit native application; bottom-line, we can support as much memory as you have available. Faster, more stable and with a cleaner interface than ever before. I find that most photographers are spending a great deal of time in Lightroom, I’m no exception; my workflow (and I’ve found many who share it) is to get as far as I can in LR, then export DNG files {my HDR candidates, panos, composites, fine-art and things which need retouching} to a folder – I target that folder from within Photoshop in Mini Bridge.

This is a feature for everyone and I mention it because there’s much more than meets the eye. You can’t miss Photoshop’s new dark interface and we hope you like it. The darker tone helps make the image the center of your work; plus it’s consistent with Lightroom and our video applications, all of which are increasingly being used alongside Photoshop. This feature is anything but just a fresh coat of paint though; we replaced over 1,900 icons and policed alignment, cursors, buttons, layout and even grammar throughout the application.

If you’re fond of the old look (or two other options), you can easily change the UI tone in preferences. Our research strongly supports our default choice of dark grey, but we gave you a 4-way switch just in-case.

Background Save/Auto Recovery
One of the things I love about Lightroom is that it can save quietly in the background while I continue working; no waiting for a progress bar before I can continue on – thanks to Background Save, Photoshop can too. We didn’t stop there though, this technology gave us the ability to Auto Recover as well; this is one of those features you can’t really appreciate until it saves you. A few weeks back I was on a flight back from New York, busily putting together a demo in Photoshop; I had ignored my low battery indicators and my machine went dark in the middle of an operation – so frustrating. Hours later, back at my desk, I plugged my machine in and powered up; there were my open documents, patiently waiting in Photoshop – it just worked.

Gradient Map Presets
If you love Black & White as I do, you’ll definitely appreciate the new Gradient Map “Photographic Toning” presets for the adjustment layer of the same name.

Color Lookup
The new Color Lookup adjustment layer deserves a post of its own… (more…)

Photo Walks at The Google+ Photographer’s Conference
The Google+ Photographer’s Conference is next month in San Francisco, and while the main sessions will be broadcast live, you can only be part of the Photo Walks if you’re there in person! Scott Kelby will be leading one at Golden Gate Park, plus lots of others around San Francisco will be led by Trey Ratcliff, Catherine Hall, RC Concepcion, Lindsay Adler, and more! Get all the info and register at

The Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers
Since Lightroom first launched, Scott Kelby's The Lightroom Book for Digital Photographers has been the world's #1 best-selling Lightroom book. His latest version for Lightroom 4 is being printed as we speak and it’s available for pre-order now here. Scott uses his same step-by-step, plain-English style and layout to make learning Lightroom easy and fun in this edition. He doesn’t just show you which sliders do what and what the new features are â” instead he will teach you how to create your own photography workflow using Lightroom. In the spirit of Free Stuff Thursday, you can grab a chapter from the book here.

Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE! in London
We’re just nine days away from the last ever Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE! seminar with Scott Kelby! We’re heading to Islington, London, UK on April 28 for a day of awesomeness that you won’t want to miss. Sign up here, or leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket!

Lightroom 4 Live
Matt Kloskowski is hitting the road with the Lightroom 4 Live seminar tour. Head over to for dates and registration, or leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to one of these seminars! Make sure you specify which city.

How about $2,500 and a Wacom Intuos4 Tablet for free?
If you can create a kick butt political t-shirt design you could walk away with those prizes and more! NAPP and have teamed up to offer you the chance to put your Photoshop skills to the test and win amazing prizes in a Political T-shirt Design Contest.The 2012 political race is heating up, so now is the perfect time to show off your best and most exciting political design ideas. The grand prize winner will be walking away with $2,500, a Wacom Intuos4 Tablet, a one year membership to NAPP and a one year subscription to Kelby Training! In today's world, designers must be not only talented, but also savvy when it comes to using their skills. Take your creativity and expertise off the screen and paper and apply it to a real world product! The contest is open to anyone, but hurry, because Sunday, April 22nd is the deadline. For complete details, visit the contest page.

Fay Sirkis – Wild About Animals DVD
OK - so you know those amazingly cool photographs you take? Did you know that in Photoshop, you can turn them into hand painted works of art! Yep, that’s right and our very own Fay Sirkis will show you how in this 2 Disc DVD set called, Wild About Animals - A Photo Painting Safari.

Just leave a comment and as always, we’ll randomly draw for 3 winners before next week’s Free Stuff Thursday post.

Think Tank Products Now Available at B&H!
That’s right, the full line of Think Tank Photo products is now available at B&H Photo Video! Two of our favorite companies together at last. Head on over to B&H to shop for camera bags, laptop bags, card holders, and everything else from Think Tank Photo!

Rick Sammon’s Big Cats App
Rick Sammon’s 7th app is Rick’s Big Cats: For big (and small) cat lovers. For just $.99, you get 20 photos to use as iPad and iPhone wallpapers! Head on over to for all the details.
Environmental Light and Automotive Photography, the latest class from the ever-popular Tim Wallace is now available at! If you’ve ever wanted to get into automotive photography but weren’t sure where to start, this is the perfect class for you. Tim shows you how to get the most out of one camera, one lens, and available light to make some killer car photos!

Last Week’s Winners
Here are the winners of last week’s giveaways:

Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. LIVE! in London
Jim Diedrich and CJ Evans

Lightroom 4 Live Seminar
Marc Myton, Jennifer, and Glenn Nieciag

David Ziser’s Live Wedding Shoot DVD

Photoshop Quiz Game
Don, Randy, and RFrazier

Congratulations, and we’ll be in touch soon!

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