Posts By RC Concepcion

Hey everyone – RC here. If you have spent any time on this blog or at KelbyOne, you have more often than not come across of Joe McNally.  With over 30 years in the business, he is one of the most sought after photographers out there working today.  He’s shot for Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, LIFE and National Geographic – winning a dizzying amount of awards in over 60 countries.

But the best honor for him yet happens this October 3 – November 23 2014 at the Monroe Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He will have his first solo show!  I figured it would be neat to share why Joe’s one of my photographic idols – and why I cannot wait to make the trek to New Mexico for opening day. (Click on this link for more details on this)

The Tenacity of Being a Photographer

(photo credit - Christopher Morris - VII Agency)

I’ve been a fan of Joe’s work for a long time – long considering him one of my photographic idols. His ability to work with flash has always been second to his tenacity for wanting to get an interesting shot. Here he’s working on a rooftop in Russia photographing a ballerina. Why? Because that’s where the picture was.

I’ve always thought of Joe as one part Ernest Hemingway, one part Hannibal Smith from The A-Team.  When he has an idea – it would seem that there is not much that will get in the way of him getting it. Just yesterday, I saw a location here in St. Lucia (we’re teaching a workshop out here) and thought to myself “Man, this one cave/vine area would be a great location to make a picture. But man, that looks like a bit of a climb. I wonder how dangerous that climb is….”

Telling Joe about the location? “Yeah, I made this picture up there a couple of years ago when I was…”

The next time I get there, you’ll be sure that I won’t hesitate climbing to that location to make a shot. Because that’s where the picture is.

The Storyteller in the Photographer

The quest to tell a story has brought him around the world. This is a picture of a girl in Mumbai in 1999.

This picture was a part of a series he did called “The Panorama of War.” That series won him the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Journalistic Impact. Eisenstadt. A giant in the photographic world.

I often look back at my own work and think about how much excess I throw into a picture to try to make a point. To try to help the caption that I have under the picture. I want the effects that I place in the file to help move the reader to the conclusion I want them to see.

I’ll often look back at pictures like this and get inspired to find a story. Forget about the effects and the software. Just walk around and find one picture that doesn’t need a single caption. I’m completely OK with the fact that I am not there yet. This isn’t a race. I just want to make sure that I am on the right track. In this – I see Joe as a beacon.

The Dreamer in the Photographer

Imagine going into a shoot with Michelle Pfeifer. Most people would be freaking out about having to make a picture with an actress of that stature.

Joe’s response? Oh lets make a custom jewelry case, and make a picture with the Hope Diamond.

As a photographer you don’t really need an actress or the Hope Diamond. But – how many pictures have you had in your own head that you’ve never really given yourself permission to create?  How many ideas stay stuck in your head – a victim of “Oh that will never work.”  I think that one of the biggest challenges that one can have as a photographer is to know that sometimes you have to shift from capturing whats in front of you to realizing a concept. I am horrible at that. I relegate my creative experience to making something cool of a situation in front of me. I get extremely timid, however, telling people “Oh… I have this idea in my head… Let me tell you what it is.”  In that, I feel like I don’t move myself along. I should. But I don’t. But looking at Joe’s work makes me want to. In that, he’s my inspiration.

The Monroe Gallery

When it comes to historically important pictures in Photojournalism – you cannot beat The Monroe Gallery in Santa Fe. The gallery features the work of photographers like Alfred Eisenstadt, Margaret Bourke White, Carl Mydans, Arnold Newman, Neil Leifer and many others.

Walking into this place feels like you’re walking into a hallowed hall.  As a photographer, I think it’s so important for you to look back into these founts for inspiration and bearing.   To be surrounded by the work of someone we all admire, is a big call for celebration – and we are all so happy for him because of it.

Hopefully I will see you guys there on opening day!!

(Big thanks to Joe for letting me use your pictures)

Hey everybody – RC here.  First off, I wanted to thank Scott for the opportunity to jump in here real quick and tell you about something that I am really pumped about.  This September 14-19 2014, I will be joining the legendary Joe McNally once again at the Anse Chastanet / Jade Mountain resort for a Workshop in Paradise.  This is my third time teaching the workshop with Joe and I feel like every year there are new things to find and explore- not just in the beauty of St. Lucia, but in the techniques we use as photographers.

This is a 5 day workshop intensive that covers a ton of things for the emerging photographer.  From advanced speedlighting techniques in the jungle, to one light cover model assignments.  In depth critiques to the best workflow and post processing techniques.  We even go into the worlds of post production, video, and HDR .

 

The classes are small.  These classes work you hard.  You also relax and play hard in one of the most beautiful places i’ve ever seen.

One of the things i’ve been really in love with is how tight the group gets towards the end of the workshop.  By working really hard in small groups – you’re guaranteed to come out with a killer set of techniques.. some great memories.. and some good friendships. These are some stills from the actual workshop.

I could go on and on about this..  but I sure wish you guys join us.  Click on this link to be taken to the page where you can get more of whats in store on a day to day basis.  It will also take you to the Eventbrite page for registration to the Workshop.

 

A Slideshow Tutorial for Photoshop

http://youtu.be/j3UqUGAvQ3I

This brings me to our tutorial.  One of the things that we talk about in the workshop is the ability to use Photoshop for making quick videos.  Its no Premiere – but it can really make something cool with some creative thinking.  One of the other things that it can be used for is the creation of slideshows.  While I dont mind the slideshows that Lightroom does, I dont think it offers a great amount of customizing in terms of the timing of the slideshow.  I’d rather do this by hand, and Photoshop makes it pretty easy to do so.  I figured i’d share how to do that right here.

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you have a great weekend!

(picture of the Dancing House in Prague, Czech Republic.  Can see more info & vote at 500px)

 

Hey Guys, RC here- wanted to thank Scott for letting me randomly come in and just share with you a couple of things that i’ve been up to, as well as some resources that I think you guys would really dig – in the event that you’ve missed them.

The Exclusive Look at the Profoto B1 500 AirTTL

http://youtu.be/Tj4FggI_cSU

I’ve been out traveling a bit more than normal (the shot above was something that I took while in Germany and the Czech Republic testing out the 41Megapixel Nokia phone), but that didnt stop me from making it out to the Photo Plus conference in New York.  While there I was approached by the folks at Profoto and given an exclusive access to do a “First Look” video at their new battery powered light.  I was grateful for the opportunity, and wanted to get as much information as I could into a bonus Photography Tips and Tricks episode.  If you’re not familiar with my weekly podcast on this, make sure you click on this link to check it out.

Exposing HDR : Zombie Attack!

 

I love being able to find new and interesting ways to teach something.  To that, I had been cooking up an idea for going through HDR in an urbex fashion, yet add another dimension to it.  With the Halloween season, I figured it be a good idea to take this concept and add a splash of zombies to the mix, making “Exposing HDR”.  It seems like people are really digging it – and Im thankful to all of you who have checked it out already.  If you havent – make sure you go and see it here 

 

Just Plain Love: A Bresson Documentary

http://youtu.be/r6l09YEeEpI

A couple of weeks ago, I did an episode of  The Grid with Pete Collins and Brad Moore talking about the importance of having a visual library of photography from which to build on your own work.  In there, I had mentioned a free documentary that was on youtube from Henri Cartier Bresson called “Just Plain Love”.  I thought this was a great shot in the inspirational arm for this morning and thought i’d reshare that.

 

I Got Gregory Heislers New Book and Love It!

While I was out at Photo Plus, I was able to take in a lecture and a live shoot with someone that I have on my top 3 list of inspirations for me – Gregory Heisler.  Gregory is widely considered to be the master at the art of the Portrait – and he is one person that never disappoints in a talk.  He has a new book out (thats been killing it, btw), and in NY his book release party was actually thrown by Mayor Bloomberg!  I was fortunate enough to be in a spot where he was selling his book and got a signed copy of it – something I am personally very proud of.  Just great stories and information on what it takes to really get down to the essence of making a portrait of someone, with some amazing photography in it (my fav shot right now has to be his OJ Simpson shot… wont spoil it).  To check out the book, click on this link

 

Hopefully this has brought a little something for everyone, and giving you a quick taste of the things i’ve been up to.  Again.. thanks for the opportunity.  If you’d like to keep up with my antics, i’d suggest following me at http://www.aboutrc.com or at http://gplusrc.com

Last year I got a call from photographer Joe McNally asking to talk to me about a project that he wanted me to work on. I have the absolute pleasure of being able to call Joe a friend , but its never really lost on me the fact that when we are working, this is Joe "Frigging" McNally we are talking about. Joe is one of the three most influential and inspiring photographers for me - a long studied idol. To be asked to do a project with him filled me with anticipation.

As it turned out, Joe wanted me to work as a guest instructor with him on an annual class that he does: The Advanced Flash workshops at Jade Mountain. Jade Mountain is a beautiful resort in St. Lucia. In this wonderful paradise, Joe takes out a small group of photographers and takes them through the paces of a variety of different flash scenarios. This isn't a "What is your favorite Fstop" kind of event - you are a shooter.. with an assignment.. and your goal is to produce an image that celebrates the person that you are trying to shoot. From sunset portraits to mountain bikers racing along the jungle - you learn how to run your gear to light an image.


My contribution to this? I was tasked to take the participants through the world of post processing as well as explore the world of HDR with them. I know. The concept of tying Joe McNally and HDR in the same sentence sounds like a complete shocker. HDR is often a polarizing topic, and many photographers have started big flamewars on its contribution to the photographic space.

Joe however, saw this situation differently. To him, this was a technique that merited a space to talk about. While it's not something that he himself works on, he appreciated the form enough to give it a platform. To that, he believed enough of my contribution to it to talk about it as one of the foremost experts on the topic (I assure you, his words.. not mine)


Knowing how the industry can sometimes be on HDR never really bothers me. I believe that for the most part, my work on it stands for itself - and I've prided myself in showing through example how you can totally work on it and have great results - not the typical "Elvis on Velvet" kind of look people cringe at. Having said that, this was one of those situations that did make me nervous about me doing it. Here's a person that I respected - asking me to teach and show my art. I would be lying if I didn't say I was determined on focusing on other types of shooting entirely - ignoring the use of HDR. I figured my technique would be something that I would keep to myself, for fear of not wanting to look too different - or look bad.

I guess I wanted to write about it because I believe that many of us as photographers struggle with that entire concept of voice all the time. In looking for a place for us to make a mark, we can often struggle with accepting the things that we like and surrendering to them. To giving in to what we love and in the process of it, finding a new style that we can call our own. We quickly comb through websites of other work and say to ourselves "Look at THAT. That image is great. If only I shot this. If Only I shot that.. " Perpetually looking at the grass on the other side just keeps us thinking that the grass we stand on isn't as good.. or cannot be cultivated as well as the one right in front of us.

At times like this, I remember a maxim that my good friend Pete Collins shared with me:

Comparison is the thief of Joy.

Rather than sit and compare myself to all of the other stuff around me, I found it better to just sit and think to myself "This is what I do. This is how I work. Let me dive into the scenarios and leverage how much practice I've done with this technique to see if I can bring about something completely new that these people have not seen." Eric Clapton was once asked about legendary guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn. When asked about playing next to Stevie, Eric stated that he tried not to watch him play. To do so would have him lost in the greatness.. and not let him speak what he wanted to say musically. Arming myself with that, I just said "Let me be truthful to myself and contribute by shooting what I love"

The next few days, I spent them making pictures that I was immensely proud of. From gigantic panoramas of the environment to intimate portraits of my wife resting after a wonderful day, I was able to really show what it felt like to be in this magical place. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the principals at the restaurant really loved the images. The work really resonated with the students as well, and I was able to teach how I produced the images, giving me a chance to do what I love - share my experiences.

Rather than swim in comparisons, remember that doing what you really love can be the best way to express your photographic gift. It's the best way to leave your mark on this art . Its also the best way for you to find joy in what you do.


(see.. not all of the shots I made were HDR. This is a pic of my wife Jenn totally in her element during our vacation. :) )

*****

Im excited to say that I will be joining Joe again this August leading another workshop. This time around Joe is out there for two weeks. One week has students learning with the incomparable David Burnett. The next week, I go back with Joe and explore post processing, video production in Photoshop, HDR, and shooting techniques. If you want to join us on either week, you can find out more information at the link below:

The Workshops at Jade Mountain- with Joe Mcnally, David Burnett, and RC Concepcion

If you want to find out more about me, visit my website at www.aboutrc.com or visit me on Google Plus

Hey everyone, RC here. Just wanted to share something that one of our Photoshop Guys did recently that I thought was just too cool!

http://youtu.be/Q5EDBe7Eduw

Hands down Corey Barker is one of the most talented #Photoshop artists out there. With all of the Olympics fever coming around, Corey wanted to see if he could re-create the entire olympics logo, right inside of Photoshop. He took a timelapse of it, and I think its a wonderful 2 and a half minutes of watching the guy work. Thanks for the inspiration, Corey!

THIS JUST IN:
Hey everyone, RC here. Today August 2, 2012 at 2PM EDT (in about 90 min), #Photoshop instructors +Matt Kloskowski +Corey Barker +Pete Collins and I are getting together with some lunch to just talk about all of the other reasons we love Photoshop world outside of #Photoshop and #Photography . Obviously there is a ton of training out there to be had, but you would be amazed as to how so many other things at the conference totally make it one of my favorite places to be.

If you want to watch as we tape this, you can watch at http://kelbytv.com/onair – you can even leave comments or questions.. be happy to answer any.

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