Posts By Brad Moore

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Death Valley Landscapes and Night Sky Workshop Trip Report
I just finished up the Death Valley workshop and we had an amazing time! I was unsure of what to expect due to the recent floods in the park. All the roads were closed due to flood damage except the main road. Going to some of my favorite places like The Racetrack and Badwater would not be an option with all the water damage! I shifted gears and decided to go to Valley of Fire instead for part of the workshop, but the night before the workshop started, we got news the Racetrack was now dry and we could walk on it! Plus the road to Badwater and Devil’s Golf Course opened up, just in time. The workshop was back on track in Death Valley as planned!

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Sand Dunes at Sunrise: Photographed at F/16, 1/13 to 1/200- second, ISO 100, EF 11-24mm f/4L USM lens at 11mm, Canon EOS 5DS R. See below for how I reduced the lens flare.

We spent our time with lectures on night photography and out in the field photographing the stark, but beautiful landscapes and night scenes. One night, we headed out to the Rhyolite Ghost Town and had a blast light painting the old buildings. We used red, blue and green lights to paint the abandoned town with the stars providing a beautiful backdrop. Out of nowhere, a donkey hee-haws across the street from us. It was so loud! Perhaps it was telling us that we were disturbing its sleep. We finished our night photographing an old car with the stars in the background and then headed back to our hotel for some much needed rest.

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Rhyolite: Light painting for about 4 or 5 seconds with an orange gel on a flashlight for the back wall and a red headlamp for the interior room. Photographed at F/2, 20 seconds, ISO 2500, EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM, Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
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Bank Building at Rhyolite: I painted with a red headlamp for 5 seconds on the building. Then taking another photograph, I painted the inside of the building with the red headlamp for about 10 seconds. I combined light painted images with a layer mask in Photoshop CC. Photographed at f/2.8, 20 seconds, ISO 6400, EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM at 16mm, Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
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Star Trails: This is a stacked star trail with fifteen, 4-minute exposures for at total time of 1 hour. These were combined in Photoshop CC. Photographed using an intervalometer set to 4 minutes, f/2.8, ISO 800, 15mm fisheye lens, Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

The morning light was beautiful at Zabriskie Point. We enjoyed seeing the pink glow of twilight, known as the Belt of Venus. Watch for the pink glow in the sky about 10-20 degrees above the horizon, just before sunrise or after sunset.

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Zabriskie Point: I chose an aperture of f/8 because it is one of the sharpest one the lens. Generally two to three stops from wide open will be the sharpest aperture for the lens.  I didn’t have a close foreground therefore I didn’t need f/16 for more depth of field. Photographed at f/8, 1.6 seconds, ISO 100, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM at 28mm, Canon EOS 5DS R.

We took a road trip to The Grandstand and The Racetrack, renting jeeps to protect our tires. It was cold and breezy but we photographed the racing rocks through sunset and then stars, despite the cold!

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The Racetrack: Photographed at F/16, 1/60 second, ISO 100, TS-E 17mm f/4L, Canon EOS 5DS R.

I love the sand dunes. The forms and shapes have endless possibilities for compositions with sand patterns, animal footprints and s-curve shapes. We photographed at twilight and then with the sun, as it rose over the dunes.

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Sand Dunes: Photographed at F/16, 1/30 second, ISO 100, EF 11-24mm f/4L USM lens at 12mm, Canon EOS 5DS R. I converted to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

Our last evening had howling wind gusts throughout the park. We decided to stay inside and did some additional lectures. The following morning was our last shoot. The weather report predicted even stronger winds but it was beautiful and calm. The hexagonal shapes, created by the drying salt, made for a delightful pattern. There were storm clouds hanging above Badwater adding drama. We saw some mammatus clouds, meaning breast clouds, that you can see in the gallery of images below. They have a cellular pattern of pouches that are under the base of another cloud. Overall, a great last photographic outing and a wonderful trip!

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Badwater: I angled the camera downward to emphasis the hexagonal shapes in the foreground. This makes it look larger in the scene. Photographed at f/16, .3 second, ISO 100, EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM at 18mm, Canon EOS 5DS R.

Happy Star Trails,
Jennifer

You can see more photographs of night photography and Death Valley, as well as Jennifer’s other work at JenniferWu.com. Make sure you check out her KelbyOne class Photographing the Moon, Stars, and Milky Way, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Free Books from KelbyOne!
Yesterday you saw the video above where Scott and RC made gift suggestions in the way of books from KelbyOne instructors. Well, today is Free Stuff Thursday, so how about we give away a free copy of each of these books! Leave a comment letting us know which one of the following books you’d like for your chance to win!

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Kevin hams it up in front of the Mylio video background. Seattle. Washington.
Kevin hams it up in front of the Mylio video background in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Daniel J Cox/ Natural Exposures

What do you love most about your life?

Your kids…
Your spouse…
The places you have been…
The sunsets you have seen…
The smiles of strangers and oh so familiar grins of your family…

Photographs reflect the memories that tie our lives together. They are the parties, the vacations, the first kiss and the last days   They are the moments that live in our hearts and stir our souls. They define us. Both in our work, and in our professions….

But too often, we get caught up in the technology of photography…the race for more megapixels and faster lenses.   We don’t stop to embrace our families and friends and find ways to share the photographs of our lives in meaningful ways.

But you know what? All those pictures, those moments, those special times that define us are completely worthless if you can’t find them.

Everyone needs to make sure the pictures that matter in you life can be found quickly and easily. And they better be safe and backed up. We owe this to ourselves, and to the people we love. I know I am guilty of taking the easy road sometimes with my pictures. Forgetting to rename or add keywords when I ingest files. We all do it. It’s like flossing… you know you should… you just forget sometimes.

The same things go for our photographs. Sometimes, we just don’t take the time to set ourselves up for success. Oh we all have our own MacGyver solutions… This piece of software and this drive and that drive and this cloud and that cloud. If it works, keep going. If it doesn’t, then call me! But can you find the pictures from your vacation to the Grand Canyon 2 years ago? Where are they? What computer, what drive… How long is this gonna take!?

So light of recent tragic world events, and the impending emotions and wonder of the holidays, I decided to take my “hit by a bus” test and see where I would be if anything happened to me today. Would my family find all the pictures that matter in our lives? Would my professional legacy be preserved? Would the defining moments of my life be shared with the ones I love?

(And before any of you think this is a morbid exercise, think about why you have life insurance, or homeowner’s insurance. We never ever expect the worst to happen, but if it does, your family is secure. We cannot predict the future.)

So here goes. 5 pictures that define parts of my life. Seminal moments that I will always remember. Its part of my history and my life, and I found them in moments.

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55 years ago in 1960. My first chocolate cake and not my last. A scan of an image my mom took on my first birthday.
Cottage (Photo by Kevin T. Gilbert on 20030420 Shot with a NIKON E2500 set to white balance of AUTO and ISO of 100, shutter speed of 1/535 at f/4.5, with exposure compensation at 0.0, lens at 5.6mm and sharpening set to AUTO, tone set to .
25 years ago in 1991. My triplets jumping on a beautiful summer day. Such a great blackmail photo!
1995 One
20 years ago in 1995. Doing a selfie with President Bill Clinton in the Oval Office. (Damn I wish I had invented selfie sticks back then!)
1995 Two
And then the ensuing image, taken from a Fujichrome slide of the finished product. I was at that time a working photojournalist in Washington, DC and President of the White House News Photographers Association.
Video clips
10 years ago in 2005. Working the Boardroom on the Apprentice with Donald Trump. I shot the first 4 seasons of the NBC show. I was working with Mark Burnett on Eco Challenge and subsequently on The Apprentice, The Contender and many other reality shows.
Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadoccia, Turkey (Photo by Kevin T Gilbert on 20100218) Shot with a SAMSUNG NX100 set to white balance of and ISO of 200, shutter speed of 1/100 at f/5.6, with exposure compensation at 0.0, lens at 200mm and sharpening set to , tone set to .
5 years ago in 2010. Hot-air ballooning with my wife Jamie in the Turkish mountains. Such a magical place on so many levels.
2015 Today
And now today in 2015… My two year old Viola Grace playing with pumpkins on her birthday in the back yard.   This is my life is defined by the past, present and future. My life in photos. Evoking every emotion imaginable.

So the reality. I have been to 70 countries in my life and seen lots and lots of crazy things covering the world. I have over 2 million digital files and slides on various drives and stuck in boxes in storage. But I have a tapestry of about 1000 images that define me. The who, what and where of my life. The images that I want my family to have. These images mean so much to me.

This is My Mylio KG 2015

So can you find your best, your defining, most personal moments? Are they organized, are they on all your devices? Are they with you all the time? Mine are. And I can put my hands on them in seconds. They are on my computer at home, the laptop I travel with, on my iPad and my iPhone. They are on my Windows Surface at the office and on a separate drive at my mom’s house in Virginia, and a NAS at my home. And I just do all this with a few quick actions and I am done.

Please please please take some time this holiday season to reflect on your lives, pray for peace, do good for others, and find the pictures that define your life and share them with your family.

Kevin Gilbert is a 30 year photojournalist, entrepreneur, teacher, Panasonic Lumix Luminary, and the memory evangelist at Mylio, a Bellevue, WA software company building products to help us all find our pictures, make them safe, and have they with you all the time. Keep an eye out for his Inspirational Interview with Mia McCormick releasing tomorrow at KelbyOne.com!

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Photo by TomDiPace

Hello everyone, I’m Rob Foldy and I’m a freelance commercial sports photographer based just outside of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I’ve been a friend of Scott and Brad’s for quite a while now and they have asked me to share with you some images and tales from a recent shoot. As always, I’m extremely humbled to be asked to share with you.

Not too long ago, I was asked to photograph each of the Miami Heat players before the start of the 2015-16 season for one of my clients, Getty Images. The most common opportunity to photograph professional or college athletes is on what’s called “media day.” If you’ve never heard of media day, it’s basically a day dedicated for all of the players on a team to fulfill various media needs, from still photographs to radio broadcasts to television interviews. This is a very busy day for the athletes. I’ve had the pleasure of covering a fair number of these over my career for different teams and organizations, and I’ve been able to pick up a few tips and tricks from others as well as stumbling upon some of my own.

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Josh Richardson #0 of the Miami Heat poses for a portrait during media day at AmericanAirlines Arena on September 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Josh Richardson

Allow me to explain a bit more of how the photo section of these “media days” work. For basketball, most of the activity takes place on the practice court at the team’s home arena. The team/league, and typically a large local paper, will do photos as well, but traditionally in different locations around the arena. I don’t know exactly what else these players were required to participate in on that day, but I know there were at least 7 different sets of photographers from various newspapers and wire services set up and making portraits in the same room that I was in.

This is one of the first challenges. It’s a technical challenge with all of those strobes firing and all of the other distractions, but it’s also difficult to make a strong, unique image when these players are pumping out the same photos for various photographers as if they were on an assembly line. I don’t mean that to belittle any of those agencies or photographers, and those photos are very good and very important. However, my assignment was to make something different than the other photographers there that day, and I took it upon myself to strive for what I hoped to be a different image than anyone shooting any of the various teams and players throughout the country. Where as the other media day portraits are used for editorial work or television, the images from Getty are often used in advertising campaigns or for other commercial purposes.

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Chris Andersen #11 of the Miami Heat poses for a portrait during media day at AmericanAirlines Arena on September 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

I’ll start with the gear stuff. I know when I first started reading this blog the gear stuff is the first thing I’d look for. So if you’re like me, here you go. I used Elinchrom BRX monolights (a BRX250 and three 500s) with the Skyport triggering system, two Westcott strip banks for side/back lights, a basic Elinchrom reflector to light the background, and an Elinchrom beauty dish with the silver deflector (with and without the diffusion sock) as my front light. I shoot with both a Canon 5Ds body mounted to an EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, and a 1DX body with an EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens. The 50 plus megapixels of the 5Ds gave the images a ton of detail, while the low noise capabilities of the 1DX, along with the 12 frames per second motor drive, allowed me to shoot using just the modeling lights and capture the exact moment of the player’s expression that I was after.

I wore my Spider Holster dual camera system so that I could easily switch between camera bodies or have my hands completely free, and tethered into Lightroom on my laptop (just the 5Ds, as that was my “primary” camera). Every client wants things done a bit differently, and for Getty I always shoot JPEG. (I’ve had to familiarize myself with a lot of functions in my Canon cameras that I didn’t really know were there to help get my JPEGs as close to perfect as I can right out of the camera). I shot large JPEG plus RAW for this shoot just so I had a backup, but I’m proud to say that I was able to use my standard JPEG workflow for all of the photos that I delivered. Below is an iPhone photo of my setup.

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As you can see, it’s not a typical portrait setup, so let me explain a little more about media day. Photographers get, on average, about 2 minutes with each of the players before they’re onto their next commitment. They move from one photographer directly to the next. How do I make good portraits, much less ones that are unique, in less than 2 minutes?! That’s where this dual background setup comes in. I can get two different looks with one lighting setup, without my subject really having to move or reposition. I cannot take any credit for this idea. A good friend and Getty staff photographer, Mike Ehrmann, told me about it and uses it himself, as do many other very talented shooters.

But, like anything I learn, I try to adapt it and make it my own. Although I used the two background idea that Mike had used, he traditionally uses it with all of the light coming from the front. It gets more difficult when you try to add lights behind the subject as well. But, if done correctly, I can get 3 different looks, each of those with a few different expressions, giving my clients a good variety despite only having the players for a short period of time.

I’ll start with my “main” setup. I shot these straight on, strobed, white background shots with the 5Ds and 70-200, ISO 100, 1/160th of a second, somewhere around f11. Before you give me too much grief about the players sitting down, like the great portrait photographer Peter Hurley did, let me explain to you why. I agree that most of the time portrait photographs look best when your subject(s) are standing, but there are a few problems with that on media day.

The first being that I’m trying to make a different photo than everyone around me, and everyone else has the athletes standing. But the main reason why I have them sit is more psychological than physical. I try to set up my little “portrait station” to be welcoming and comfortable. When the players walked up, instead of posing them and asking them to stand one way or the other, and then turn and pose some other way, I simply introduced myself and asked them to sit down, put their feet up, and make themselves comfortable. “Imagine you’re just chillin’ on your couch at home watching TV…except for some reason you’re holding a basketball.” I’ve found that an approach like this gets them out of the “routine” of media day, and into something along the lines of, “Wait a minute, I’ve never taken a photo like this before.” I try to make them feel relaxed. Sure I have an agenda/shot list in my head, but I don’t tell them that, I let the photographs come to me.

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Josh Richardson #0 of the Miami Heat poses for a portrait during media day at AmericanAirlines Arena on September 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

For this shot I knew I wanted some more serious photos, but also something with a bit of that specific player’s personality. If I were to ask them to smile, the players would just give me what I have nicknamed their “media day smile.” So if they did, I would jokingly say to them something along the lines of, “Come on man, that ain’t your real smile. Give me the smile you would give me if I told you I was sending this photo to your mom.” Bam. You’re in.

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat poses for a portrait during media day at AmericanAirlines Arena on September 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat poses for a portrait during media day at AmericanAirlines Arena on September 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Dwyane Wade

But photos of people smiling are a dime a dozen, so how do I make something different? Something genuine, something that really shows their personality, but do it in less than a minute? I have found a trick that seems to work pretty well for me. After I snap a few frames, I drop the camera in my Spider Holster and walk up to them like I’m about to tell them a secret. In the pros, a lot of these guys are married, so my conversation with them usually goes something like this: “Hey man, are you married? (If yes, keep going, if no, skip ahead a few lines.) Okay, well, let’s go back a few years to before you were married, okay? Okay, so you’re out at the club with your buddies, the place is packed, everyone is having a good time. You see this group of girls walk by and they are smokin’ hot. You realize one of them keeps checking you out, you think she’s worth getting to know a little better, so the next time you catch her looking your way, you give her ‘the look.’”

At this point, they are usually snickering because they know exactly the look you’re talking about. “You know the look I mean? I call it the ‘ay girl’ look.” (I now demonstrate my best attempt at the “look.”) “I’m going to walk back over there, but when I count to three, do you think you can give that look to the camera?” Admittedly it works on some guys right out of the gate and others not so much, but it gets them out of their own way and continues to get them to relax. If they try the look and it doesn’t work, that’s usually followed by laughter. Like Dr. Hurley says: sometimes it’s not the face you’re after, but the smile you get right after the face.

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Greg Whittington #22 of the Miami Heat poses for a portrait during media day at AmericanAirlines Arena on September 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Greg Whittington

So at this point, hopefully they’re playing ball with you (yes, I just made a basketball pun). That’s when I holster the 70-200 and grab the 1DX with the 85mm. I have this camera set to Monochrome JPEG, and on the 1DX cameras you can adjust the sharpness and contrast, as well as apply filter and toning effects for black and white images right in the camera. My exposure settings were somewhere in the neighborhood of ISO 1600, f2 and 1/500th shutter. I shot these in black and white for a few reasons. One, I like black and white images. Two, I shot these only using the modeling lights from the flashes, so I knew a ton of mixed color temperature ambient light would be creeping into my photos and my white balance would be a mess.

Free from the tethering cable and not having to wait for lights to recycle, I was able to keep those looks and expressions coming while they were still trying to make a good “ay girl” face, and the subsequent laughter that follows. My good friend David Santiago from the Miami Herald took this photo of me while I was trying to shoot just that. (Oh yeah, that’s another distraction. In addition to the portrait shooters, a lot of papers or agencies will cover the event overall, so there are people shooting photos and video of you as you’re shooting photos of the athletes.)

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Photo by David Santiago/The Miami Herald

I like to get in really close with the 85mm. It may make the subject a bit uncomfortable at first, but in the end, they’re all real human beings like us, and they want to look good in the photos. A lot of times they’ll ask to see the photos on the back of the camera. If they like them, you’re in even better shape moving forward.

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) Amar'e Stoudemire #5 of the Miami Heat poses for a portrait during media day at AmericanAirlines Arena on September 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Amar'e Stoudemire

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat poses for a portrait during media day at AmericanAirlines Arena on September 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Chris Bosh

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Justise Winslow #20 of the Miami Heat poses for a portrait during media day at AmericanAirlines Arena on September 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

I still know that I’m on a time crunch, so once I know I have what I need from the front, I tell the players that they’re almost done, I just have to make a few more frames. I re-holster the 1DX, grab the 70-200 again and head over to the side so I can shoot them against the black background. (Below is another photo from David Santiago. You can see another photographer’s setup right next to mine, and there’s another one next to that, and 4 more on the adjacent wall.)

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Photo by David Santiago/The Miami Herald

This shot also requires some foresight. Remember how I mentioned that someone had told me about the two background idea, but that all of their light was coming from the front? Well, if I were to fire all 4 of my lights and shoot from the side, my photo would be a mess. There would be light spilling into the lens, the strip banks would probably be in the frame, and it would just not be the image I wanted. I’ve used other brands of lights and triggers in the past, and my work-around was to plug the background light and strip banks into a power strip and then just turn off the switch before taking the shot on the black background. That worked, but is not ideal. By using the Elinchrom Skyport system, I had the background light, the strip banks, and the beauty dish all in separate groups. This not only allowed me to turn each of the groups up and down individually, but also allowed me to fire just the beauty dish.

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Amar'e Stoudemire #5 of the Miami Heat poses for a portrait during media day at AmericanAirlines Arena on September 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

To close, I’d like share with you a story from a few years ago… I was shooting another team with a similar setup and was trying to use the same tricks. It was towards the end of the day and honestly I was starting to get tired. I was pretty far away from this player who was a bit larger than some of the other guys, so I was zoomed all the way in towards 200mm, and instead of walking over to him and really selling the “girls in the club” story, I kinda gave a brief explanation from across the room. After I’m finished I ask him for the “ay girl” look and he gives me something. Not perfect, but not bad. I shot a few more at that distance and then came in close with my 85. I ask “hey, give me that ‘ay girl’ look one more time.” “OH! You were saying ‘ay girl’, that makes a lot more sense. I thought you were saying ‘egg roll’.” I lost it. My assistant, the other photographers near by, the player’s handler, he and I we were all cracking up. “The rest of those guys were giving me that look thinking they were giving it to an attractive girl, you gave it to me for an egg roll!” “What can I say, man, I really like egg rolls.”

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat poses for a portrait during media day at AmericanAirlines Arena on September 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Udonis Haslem

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and I hope it encourages you that, despite the obstacles you may be facing on any particular shoot, if you think outside of the box you can still walk away with some unique images! Cheers!

You can see more of Rob’s work at RobFoldyPhotography.com, and follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

GonGear

Welcome to my 10th Annual Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide. I know it’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years. When I wrote the first one, Roosevelt was still President, The Dick Van Dyke Show was a prime-time hit, and the Spice Girls had just released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (please don’t dwell too long on any of that—just let it go). Anyway, that’s not important; what’s important is that there are some really cool, fun, and tasty gear in this year’s guide (including my throwback pick—the Flowbee). It’s almost time to unleash the “gonzoness” of this guide upon you, but first, some housekeeping stuff.

As is my sacred Gonzo tradition for more than a 10th of a century, I’m breaking things into three distinct categories:

  1. Stocking Stuffers: But you can use these as actual holiday gifts if you’re not that crazy about the person.
  1. Great Value Gear: Stuff that’s a really good deal for the money, and even though it’s not a lot of money, they’ll still totally dig it.
  1. Cha-ching! Stuff you buy for the surgeon/Wall Street banker/rap mogul on your Holiday gift list. This is the stuff that makes them burst into spontaneous tears of joy. Well, at least I would.

THE RULES
These are my annually self-imposed guidelines for which products make it into the guide. It’s just two rules actually. First, to be listed here, they have to be products that I use myself, and that I absolutely love, and now can’t live without (well, I could live without them, but I just wouldn’t want to). Second, if a product makes the guide, it has to be one I’d recommend to a close friend without hesitation, especially if my friend was Justin Bieber.

Okay, folks, hang on to any loose body parts; here we go!

 

STOCKING STUFFERS

Yong Nuo Trigger

YONGNUO YN-560TX Wireless Flash Trigger
If the photographer on your gift list has a YONGNUO flash, this is an inexpensive wireless controller that sits on top of their hot-shoe and controls up to six groups of flashes. It’s simple, it’s effective, and it’s cheap at less than $45. If they don’t have a YONGNUO flash, then it becomes a unique tree ornament.

Prices:

YN560 TX (for Canon): $44.95 (link)

YN560 TX (for Nikon): $39.99 (link)


 

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Lastolite Ezybalance 12″ 18% Grey/White Target
If they shoot people…(let me rephrase that). If they take portraits, this is an awesome gift because it helps them get the white balance right on the money. It’s super portable (it collapses like a diffuser or reflector so it’s really small and fits in any camera bag), super lightweight, and pretty cheap.

Price: $32.88


 

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Tether Tools RapidMount SLX Speedlight Holder
Okay, so technically it’s for mounting a flash just about anywhere, but it’s really for mounting just about anything anywhere. So clever, and very affordable.

Price: $24.95


 

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Some Cool Books
If they’ve ever wanted to create really professional-looking headshots, they’ll love Peter Hurley’s The Headshot. It came out this year and it’s already going into its third printing. A huge hit! (Full disclosure: I was the development editor, and despite that—it’s still a good book.)

Every photographer and/or graphic designer/illustrator needs Ed Greenberg and Jack Reznicki’s The Copyright Zone book. It’s full of invaluable information for protecting your work, and lots of great business advice, as well. Good stuff.

Our dear friend Glyn Dewis wrote quite an awesome book this year. It’s called The Photoshop Workbook and it’s packed with great techniques for intermediate users and up.

If you have a few extra bucks to spend, check out Jay Maisel’s It’s Not About the F-Stop and Light, Gesture & Color. Both brilliant books (from us and Peachpit Press).

 


 

 

GREAT VALUE GEAR

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Perfectly Clear Plug-in 2.0
This plug-in is pretty much your “retoucher-in-a-box” type of plug-in (for Lightroom or Photoshop) in that it applies up to 20 automatic image corrections. Yes, there are other plug-ins that do automatic corrections and retouching, but this is probably the best I’ve ever seen. Good stuff.
Price:
Photoshop or Lightroom Plug-In v2: $149
Photoshop and Lightroom Bundle v2: $199


 

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The Everyday Messenger by Trey Ratcliff and Peak Design
This awesome little camera bag/messenger bag was co-designed by travel photographer Trey Ratcliff, and funded through a Kickstarter program that raised more than $500,000 its first day (raising nearly $5 million total), and when I got mine, I saw exactly why. It’s beautifully made, thoughtfully constructed, very clever, holds a little or a lot (and cleverly adjusts for both), and overall it’s just an awesome camera bag that the photographer on your gift list will love you for.

Price: $249.95


 

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Platypod Pro Deluxe Kit
This is a very slick, small, lightweight camera support that you use in place of a tripod (you just put a ballhead on this incredibly sturdy plate and you’re good to go). Its small size lets you use it in places where tripods aren’t allowed, which is a big thing. I love it for doing interior photography with a wide-angle lens down low, or travel photography for getting a really low perspective in a cathedral or palace, but I’m also using it for remote cameras at sporting events. It also has a very well thought-out carrying case.

Price: $49.95


 

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CamRanger: Wireless Camera Control & Tethering
This is one of the most useful, smart, and just brilliantly designed things to come along for photographers in a while. It lets you wirelessly control your Canon or Nikon camera for everything from tethering (with touch focus) to time-lapse photography, to making movies, and more with your iPhone or iPad, Android-based mobile device, and even your Mac or Windows desktop computer, and the level of control you get is pretty astonishing. You can view images, save images (RAW and JPEG), adjust the controls all wirelessly, change metering modes, do bracketing—it’s just sick! It’s won about every industry award you can win and its fan base of evangelists around the world grows larger every day.

Price: $299.99


 

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Tether Table Aero System
This is a shelf that attaches to a tripod to hold your laptop for tethered shooting, which by itself is incredibly convenient for shooting in-studio or on location, but the optional accessories they make for it are awesome, including a little under-mounted holder for external hard drives, to a secondary holder for your iPad, to a pullout drink holder that I personally just love. It’s totally worth it.

Price: Starting at $175.95


 

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Westcott Apollo 50″ Mega JS Softbox for Hot-shoe Flash
It’s a big, beautiful, super portable, lightweight softbox that’s a miracle for the money. Perfect for lighting portraits, full-length shots, or even group shots, all with just a single flash. It collapses like an umbrella but forms into a big ol’ 50×50″ softbox, and at $169.90 you can’t beat it.

Price: $169.90


 

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DxO ONE
If you have an iPhoneographer on your Holiday list, this gift will blow them away. It’s a pro-quality 20-megapixel camera lens and sensor that attaches to your iPhone via a lightning connector, and the results are pretty stunning. With its f/1.8 aperture, now you can take shots with those soft out-of-focus backgrounds right from your iPhone, but it integrates directly into your iPhone so you can still do all the iPhone stuff to the images it captures. The images are sharper, clearer, better in low light than your iPhone, and well, it’s basically a whole new experience in quality and size.

Price: $599


 

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Vello Shutterboss Version II Timer Remote Switch
This is so inexpensive that it probably should go under “Stocking Stuffers,” but it doesn’t look cheap, so I’m sticking it here. This accessory does double-duty—it acts as a cable release for your camera, but then it also does time-lapse photography (well, that’s actually its main act). It’s pretty well made (mine has lasted for years now), and it’s only $49.95 at B&H.

Price: $49.95


 

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Use MPIX to Print, Mount, Frame, and Deliver One of Your Own Images
This is a really personal gift—giving one of your images, framed, to someone else. The impact this will make is pretty incredible. Expect them to follow you around like a puppy for the rest of the year for giving them something only you could do. You upload your image to MPIX.com; pick your mounting, framing, etc.; and they’ll ship it directly to the person on your gift list. Don’t go chinchy on the size—get a 16×20″ or larger (figure around $100 with mounting, framing, printing, and delivery or more if you choose a larger size).

Price: Depends on size, mounting, and framing you choose


 

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The B&H Photo Gift Card
Not exactly sure what to get them? Get them this! That way they can get whatever they want (within the limit of how much you put on the card, of course) from the greatest photo store on earth. You can order gift cards directly from the B&H site. They’ll send a card and a catalog so it looks pretty substantial.

Price: That’s up to you


 

CA-CHING!

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A Fisheye Lens
I’m just saying a fisheye, because you have to pick one that fits the camera make and style (crop sensor or full frame) that the photographer on your Holiday gift list uses, but whichever brand you wind up getting, they’ll super-dig this special-effect lens.

I use the Canon EF 8–15mm f/4L Fisheye USM zoom (for full-frame cameras), and it’s awesome! ($1,249).

For crop-sensor bodies, a lot of folks like the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye (around $600).

Nikon makes an AF Fisheye-NIKKOR 16mm f/2.8 for full-frame cameras that’s right around $1,000.

Their AF DX Fisheye-NIKKOR 10.5mm f/2.8 for cropped sensor DX bodies is around $771.

Price: Starting around $600 and on up.


 

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Elinchrom ELB 400 Battery Pack
If you want the photographer on your list to fall in love with you with a burning passion that knows no bounds, get them this awesome little battery pack that can use two small lightweight (but very powerful) flash heads. This is what I use when I want studio-quality light on location, and this latest version is better than ever. It has its own built-in (better) version of high-speed sync for freezing motion and strobe special effects that’s just awesome. Very lightweight battery back, well designed, and incredible for the money.
Price: $1,019 (without optional Lithium-ion battery or strobes)


 

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Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Ultra-Wide-Angle Zoom Lens
This is the greatest super-wide-angle lens I’ve ever used, and I believe it’s the widest wide-angle lens ever made without becoming a fisheye lens. It’s sharp as a tack, it’s a rectilinear lens so it minimizes distortion, and the images you’re able to capture with it are just stunning. It’s just so darn wide! I love it! Of course, this much love doesn’t come in a cheap package. It’s around $3,000 but for the greatest wide-angle ever made, it’s worth it.

Price: $2,999


 

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DJI Phantom 3 Standard Flying Camera
Everybody wants a drone copter for taking aerial shots these days. Everybody! It’s “a thing.” I know I included a copter in my list last year, but however popular they were last year, it’s pretty much quadrupled for this year, so I had to include one. It’s a really fun thing, and the DJI Standard is, well, it’s the standard! (Note: If you give this to someone, prepare to receive the same reaction a dog gives his owner when he returns home: They’ll jump up on you and lick your face. Just sayin’.)

Price: $699


 

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Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Professional Inkjet Printer
We have one of these in our offices, and it’s among the best printers Canon’s ever made. It’s a 17″ wide-format pro-quality printer with all new guts (print head, new inks, new technology, new special magic, etc.) to make prints that are just unbelievable in quality, sharpness, and vibrance. They’ll not even believe you bought them a printer. It will totally freak them out (in a good way).

Price: $1,299


 

COOL STUFF FROM US

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A One-Year KelbyOne Online Training Membership
How awesome would this be? (Mighty awesome!) They’ll think of you for a full year as they’re learning cool new stuff. From lighting to landscapes, weddings to travel photography, portraits to pet photography, there are more than 500 in-depth online training classes here (including lots of classes from me). They’ll love you (I’ll love you). It’s only $199 for a full year of unlimited access. Feel the love.

Price: $199/year 


 

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Get Them a Ticket to My Live Full-Day Seminar
I’d love to see the awesome photographer on your gift list in person at my live full-day photography (and Lightroom and Photoshop) seminar. I’m heading all over here in the U.S., and I even pop over to Canada and the U.K. You can see a list of cities over at www.kelbyone.com/live. They’ll super-dig it, and you’ll be a hero.

Price: $99


 

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Treat Them to Photoshop World Las Vegas
It’s a three-day photography, Photoshop, Adobe CC, video, and Lightroom lovefest coming this summer (July 19–21, 2016), and you can send your loved one (or hope-to-be-loved-back one) for an experience they’ll never forget. They’ll learn more in three days than they have in three years, and they’ll have you to thank. Plus, if you buy their full conference pass now, you’ll save a bundle.


 

Well, there ya have it folks. Remember, it’s not how many gifts you get. It’s about how many gifts you get me! ;-)

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving Week!

-Scott

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It’s An All-New KelbyOne.com
Yesterday we launched a whole new website designed from the ground up to give you the best KelbyOne experience yet. There’s an all-new member dashboard, all-new navigation, and just all new everything! If you’re already a KelbyOne member, log in now to check it all out. And if you’ve never been a KelbyOne member, you can take it for a spin for FREE (click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for info)!

And to celebrate the launch of the brand new site, we’re going to give away a free 1-month membership to five lucky people… Just leave a comment for your chance to win! (more…)

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