Posts By Brad Moore

Hi everyone, it’s a privilege to be invited to contribute to this community. Thank you Scott and Brad for the opportunity to share a little here as well as to discover so much rich content from previous posts.

I’m astonished by the rate of change in our craft and our industry. There has never been a better time to be a creative person, or to be in the media business. The number of opportunities are expanding at a rate that’s hard to wrap one’s mind around and, accordingly, it’s hard to determine which new avenues to go after and to pursue them with the consistency that success typically requires. Attention has become the scarcest of resources.


Above: “My Dark Little Room” from the Hasselblad Masters Book

In the midst of this exponentially growing number of balls to chase, the act of creating photographic images has not changed all that much. Digital took over film, but you still operate the camera almost exactly the same. Lens selection is identical. Lighting is identical. And the content in front of the camera still trumps everything.

Photography has always required a personal commitment and many forms of the craft demand a persistent solitary pursuit to create a body of work to later distribute. Richard Avedon said that he began shooting to get closer to the things he was afraid of, citing examples such as women and death. The camera was a protective tool to explore something within himself. And it still can be.


Above: The Witch Hotel

It seems to me that another dimension of photography is gaining new prominence – the performance of photography is emerging as a part of our field like never before.

All the social sharing and audience building and enhanced communication has brought a heightened focus to the process of capturing the image. Everything we do in all aspects of our lives is documented and broadcast on a scale never before seen. And this is equally true for those of us who freeze time with cameras. Whether it’s online discussion, behind-the-scenes photos and videos, or the growing wealth of training media, dissecting and examining the act of photography (apart from the finished image) is on the rise.

Musicians always had this dichotomy – they did their recorded music and their performances. The recorded music has served largely as an invitation to look closer and see the more complete process in the performance.


Above: “Circus Life” from the Hasselblad Masters Book

This is all another way of saying that the work itself no longer exists in a vacuum, but as part of a larger discussion and that we as artists add value to our work and to the community by engaging in a greater dialogue. Many of the most elite photographers in the most high profile segments have virtually no presence or public face beyond their work. The process and persona behind the camera is shrouded in mystery. All of these artists rose prior to the digital communication revolution, and I don’t think we will see this as a norm ever again.

The discussion around the creation of a piece of work is now intricately connected to the work itself, giving it greater meaning and resonance. I think the dialogue is every bit as valuable, perhaps more so, than the framed image.


Above: Masked Beauty

And this focus on the act of creation is not only valuable for a public audience, but for the artist’s inner self as well.

The one experience I have had with yoga left me with sore muscles and a single thought. The instructor said that “the yoga” is not the pose. It’s not the routine, or the workout. The yoga, he said, is how you hold your cup of coffee. It’s how you open the door. The poses are merely exercises to practice applying the deliberate, conscious, in-the-moment approach that you should then bring to every aspect of your life. This easily extends to photography.


Above: Better Living Through Bomb Shelters

When I first started shooting I was hyper conscious of my camera and what I was doing since I was unsure of the tool and of myself. This kind of deliberation was an obstacle. As I internalized the tool and the grew comfortable with the process of working with people on set, I stopped thinking much at all about the craft of shooting, and focused on the end result. The shoot itself was something to get through on the way to an end goal.

Eventually, I made an effort to go back to being conscious of the act of shooting, but with more comfort in the process. Now, I enjoy the act of shooting for its own sake, not necessarily racing toward a goal using the moment of shooting as a means to an end. It makes the process more playful, and I experiment and try more things along the way.


Above: Portraits of actress Dawn Olivieri (Vampire Diaries, Heroes)

When I shoot fashion or conceptual work, it’s like I’m doing sculpture – minutely crafting each part of the composition: the pose, the set, the props, the light. When shooting portraiture, it’s like jazz. I’m riffing with the subject, we’re feeding off of each other’s energy and improvising the direction and tone.


Above: Electric Light

And while the gear is the same and the setup and preparation has not changed, I can see a response in the team around me and in the subject before the camera when I’m in this zone of being more present and intimately connected to the process of shooting. So it’s certainly more enjoyable, which is reward enough. And though it’s impossible to measure, I also believe this heightened attention and joy in the act of shooting can’t help but lead to better results in the final work.


Above: A behind-the-scenes look into a recent commercial fashion shoot

I would love to hear if others have had similar journeys and discoveries.

-August

Portfolio: www.AugustBradley.com

Behind-the-Scenes: www.AugustStudio.com

Workshop: www.AugustStudio.com/workshops

Blog: www.AugustStudio.com/news

Hey gang, Brad here with a few things for you.

Landscape Photography Workshops in Iceland
Sean Duggan (who took the photo at the beginning of this post) is teaching two upcoming landscape photography workshops in Iceland. The first one is True North: Photographing the Interpretive Landscape in Iceland from June 26 – July 2.  And if you sign up before April 30, you get a 10% discount!

The second workshop is Icelandic Visions, along with Mike Shipman, from August 17-26. Head on over to Blue Planet Photo for all the info!

Scott + Scott = Photofocus
Scott Kelby recently joined Scott Bourne for the latest episode of Photofocus, where they talked about everything from press passes to lenses, memory cards, and much more! Head on over to Photofocus.com to download Episode 73.

Kelby Training Online
Head on over to Kelby Training Online to check out the latest class from
RC Concepcion, Website Walkthrough Using WordPress: From Start to Finish. RC literally wrote the book on this topic, and this class is a great companion to that book!

Kelby Training Live
Ben Willmore is bringing the Photography & Photoshop CS5: From Focus to Finished tour to
Livonia, MI on April 28! This one has been rescheduled from April 27. Then he’ll be in Columbus, OH the very next day, April 29! Head on over to Kelby Training Live to register and get all the details.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Have a great Thursday!

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 F8PJ.com, 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 RonMartBlog.com 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 KelbyTraining.com 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 DolePhoto.com

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