Posts By Brad Moore

Thank you, Scott, for the invitation to write a guest blog. I’m truly honored. I hope that I can hang with the rest of the amazing talent that have graced these pages. Also, a big thanks to Brad for helping me get my story to you.

When I was 17, I never imagined where I’d be today. I was young, naïve, energetic and optimistic about my future. I enlisted in the US Air Force as a basic still photographer. I went to basic training, also known as boot camp, and then to the Defense Information School. The brief photography course taught me how to process film of all types, black and white, C-41 and E-6. I learned to read light using a hand-held meter and make a manual exposure with my Nikon camera. After learning the basics of camera operations, I learned the concepts of composition, content and storytelling. The classes lasted six months in total, which also included a brief course on how to process U-2 reconnaissance aircraft large-format camera film. I loved the photography classes, but the film processing – not so much. As luck would have it, the Air Force sent me the Joint Intelligence Center to process thousands of feet of infrared spy plane film. If that torture wasn’t enough, I had a follow-on assignment to the Joint Analysis Center for more darkroom shenanigans. Needless to say, I spent four years tucked away in a vault, within a vault, within another vault.

I had to get out of the darkroom, so I plotted and planned my escape. During my research and scheming, I came upon one of the best-kept secrets, Combat Camera. I had not touched a camera outside of my own personal projects, since that wasn’t part of my duty description. I scrounged together some pictures that resembled a portfolio and submitted them along with my military evaluation reports and full-length photo of me in uniform. Combat Camera was made up primarily of very talented male photographers with years of experience. Furthermore, someone in that unit had to die or retire for a position to come available – they were coveted. At the time, I was 21 with moderately acceptable quality images and no technical background at all. The odds were stacked against me – or so I thought. After the tragic events of September 11th, I received word that I had been accepted into the premier Combat Camera unit.

Weeks later, as I was prepared to move from England to Charleston, S.C., I watched troops make their way into Afghanistan. My first few months at “COMCAM” were the most challenging both personally and technically. I learned how to ingest digital files from the camera and transmit them via satellite all over the world, how to take images from the open ramp of a C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft at 14,000 feet, how to fire a weapon on a target while moving, how to tactically drive armored vehicles and how to navigate terrain using only a topographical map and a compass. I felt the pressure to perform without error, because I had the critical eyes of my male peers watching me closely – ever ready for me to make a mistake. Whether that was reality or perhaps my perception of reality, it drove me to work harder and harder.

BAQUBAH, IRAQ – Images by Stacy Pearsall

By the time I was considered to be combat ready, I was aerial qualified and had attended ground survival and evasion courses, prisoner of war training, water survival school and close quarters combat training. I was hammered with photography training and techniques as well as workflow and accessioning. I was certified on multiple weapons and knew just about everything there was to know about war… without the real war experience. Before sending me off to document the real thing, I was sent to South America and Southeast Asia. I also ran re-supply missions to the combat zone with a senior photographer. Basically, I had to prove that I could not only take pictures but also perform under fire when it really mattered.

DEADLY DIYALA – Images by Stacy Pearsall

My first combat deployment was Iraq in 2003 followed by a series of combat deployments, which included Somalia, Lebanon and a couple more trips to Iraq. I spent 280 days a year away from home covering Special Forces operations and humanitarian relief missions. It was a far cry from my think-less and thankless days in the darkroom processing film. My primary goal was getting real-time combat imagery from the battlefield to the Joint Combat Camera Center in Washington DC. The President, Secretary of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff used my pictures to make informed decisions on military tactics and maneuvers in the battle space. The photos were also disseminated to news agencies such as the Associated Press and Getty Images and were picked up by several newspapers, magazines and online newsgathering sites. All of the images I took while in the military are considered public domain, so you, the taxpayer, own them. As a sidebar, I’ve seen my pictures sold as posters, mouse pads, mugs and screensavers. I had no control where they end up. Actually, I’ve seen my pictures used by anti-war and anti-military websites – go figure.

As a general rule, combat photographers adhered to the National Press Photographers Associations (NPPA) rules, guidelines regarding the photojournalism’s code of ethics. I did my best to remain unbiased and document what unfolded in front of me without judgment or prejudice. Even though I wore a uniform, I strove to stay objective. As I gained more experience and grew more confident in combat, my outlook of photography began to grow and change. I was taking more risks and pushing myself photographically. During my basic courses, I was taught just that – the basics. I began to realize that there was so much more to understand in order to truly capture artful, colorful and memorable pictures. After losing several friends in combat, I also realized that there was more to my pictures than just news worthiness. In many cases, I was the last person to take their pictures. That was pretty heavy stuff.

BROTHERHOOD – Images by Stacy Pearsall

Once I grasped that concept, my vision as a photographer changed immensely. From the age of 21 to the age of 27, I captured over 500,000 images from over 41 different countries. I was considered the best photographer in the military and was the first woman to have won the Military Photographer of the Year twice. I was giving the boys a run for their money. I was awarded one of the military’s highest honors, the Bronze Star, for saving the life of several soldiers during an enemy ambush in Iraq. However, I was wounded in action and my combat photography career came to a screeching halt. My life had changed in an instant.

I spent around 18 months recovering from my wounds, during which time I could barely lift a camera, let alone take a picture. It was determined I could no longer wear the 80+ pounds of body armor and tactical gear, which meant that I could no longer deploy to the combat zone. The Air Force retired me from service in August 2008 – I was only 28 years old.

Simply because I was disabled did not mean I was unable. I didn’t give up. I figured if I could survive six straight years of combat, then I could survive this transition in my life. I brought my skills as a seasoned combat photographer to my photography assignments stateside. Specializing in the armed forces, I began to shoot commercial and editorial assignments related to police, fireman, soldiers, sailors, airman and marines.

DSM DYNEEMA CAMPAIGN – Images by Stacy Pearsall

I advocate on behalf of veterans and concentrate my personal projects around raising awareness for disabled veteran’s groups. During my rehabilitation, I started a portrait project, which featured veterans from South Carolina. I photographed vets from WWII all the way to Vietnam and the current conflicts. I’m continuing this project all over the U.S.

VETERANS PORTRAIT PROJECT – Images by Stacy Pearsall

My time on the battlefield has provided me an appreciation for life and an infatuation with photography. No matter what happens, I’ll continue to push myself.

You can see more from Stacy over at, keep up with her on her blog, and follow her on Twitter.

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

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

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

AND it’s also available for the Kindle!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope to see you at the races!

Rick Dole

You can see more of Rick’s work over at

Hey gang, Brad here with lots of cool and kick-butt stuff (and probably lots of exclamation marks too)!

FREE Live Webcast with Scott Kelby & Matt Kloskowski
Today’s the day! Tune in at 3:00 pm Eastern this afternoon to catch Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski during their FREE live webcast on Scott’s new book, Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers Using Photoshop.  They’ll be discussing some of Scott’s favorite retouching techniques from the book and answering your questions. You can sign up for the webcast over at

Scott Bourne just reviewed the book a few days ago over at, so you can head over there to see what he thinks about it!

Westcott Photoshop World Shootout Deadline
Not only is today the day, but so is tomorrow!
If you were at Photoshop World Orlando and took part in the Westcott Shootout Contest, tomorrow is the deadline to submit your images. Head on over to Flickr to submit your images for a chance to win some great gear from Westcott!

Kelby Training Live Seminars
Ben Willmore is bringing the Photography & Photoshop CS5: From Focus to Finished Tour to Livonia, MI on April 27 and Columbus, OH on April 29! You can get all the details and register over at

Datacolor Presents: How to Capture Color!
The Manfrotto School of Xcellence and Datacolor are teaming up to bring you a free webinar called How To Capture Color! It’s happening on Tuesday, April 19th from 2pm-3pm EDT, and you can get all the info right here.

From Idea to App: Creating iOS UI, Animations, and Gestures
Shawn Welch (the guy who designs and develops all of our iOS apps at Kelby Media Group), just published a new book with Peachpit called, From Idea to App: Creating iOS UI, Animations and Gestures, and teaches you what you need to know about iOS to design and/or develop apps for the iPhone and iPad.

Shawn wrote this book for designers who are interested in iOS, not just for a technical audience.  One of the reasons website designers in a non-technical role are able to work the way they do is because of an inherent knowledge of what is possible in web design — they know how websites should behave and how developers work. While From Idea to App teaches developers how to write better code, it also teaches designers what they need to know in order to design and communicate a user experience in iOS back to a developer.

You can pick up your copy from Amazon and Barnes &Noble.

Photoshop Remote for iPad
Speaking of Shawn, check out this Photoshop Remote iPad app he’s working on

It’s expected to release in May, and you can get all the details over at Shawn’s blog.

Want to know what’s new in Adobe’s CS5.5 update? Head on over to the NAPP website to check out some videos from Corey Barker showcasing the new apps developed for iPad and Photoshop users!

And don’t forget to scroll down on that page to take advantage of some killer this-week-only deals (like $20 off Scott Kelby’s books, $100 off Photoshop World Vegas registration, and more) from NAPP and Kelby Training. These offers expire tomorrow!