Posts By Scott Kelby

To kick off this Christmas week, please join in and sing the following to the tune of “I’ll be home for Christmas” by Bing Crosby.

“I’m laming out for the Holidays
You can count on it.
There won’t be posts, or anything newâ¦
It’s a present just for me.

Christmas Eve will find me
Far away from this blog
But I’ll be back again next week
I’m off to watch TV”

That’s right folks, I am totally “laming out” (laming rhymes with flaming) and kicking back and relaxing with the family. I’m not working, blogging, breathing, eating, posting, no Grid episode, no guest blog Wednesday; just joyous rest, relaxation, the sounds of distorted guitars and explosions as I play Call of Duty between football games. So, take a brief moment to soak in all the wonder and magic that is the stock image with text I added in Photoshop, and  then let’s not think about any of this until next week? Deal? Deal!

Here’s wishing you and your family a safe, happy, healthy holiday and all the joy His season can bring. :)

Merry Christmas!

-Scott, Braddo, and the entire crew here at KelbyOne

 

Morning gang (it’s still morning, right?)
Sorry for the late post (putting this together took way longer than expected).

Those of you who follow me regularly here on the blog have seen the photographic stories I’ve posted over on my exposure.co account, which I think is an absolutely marvelous way to tell a story with both pictures and words (here’s a link to my exposure page and you can see what I mean). Far better than any blog post.

Meet Project Luca
A buddy turned me onto this new iPad-based free photo storytelling app called Project Luca (it’s still in Beta at this point, but you can request to try it out at getluca.com) and it has some very interesting features â” including some exposure.co doesn’t offer yet, so I wanted to at least give it a try, and I chose to do it with the 2-1/4 shoots I got to do while visiting London back in October.

Here’s what’s different about Project Luca:

  1. You actually build your project right on the iPad itself (but when you’re done, anyone with a web browser on any device, from desktop to laptop to mobile device, can view it).
  2. It has lots of professionally designed templates to choose from (rather than exposure’s one standard layout).
  3. Your project can have motion (meaning, the text can kind of “float over your images” with a window shade effect).
  4. You can choose your fonts and there’s a decent level of customization.
  5. You can have your images dissolve between frames, so it can be kind of like a slideshow.
  6. It allows captions under the photos, which is awesome (and something exposure.co has yet to do, though they do now offer a caption feature but it can only appear over the image itself, and only at the top of the image).

Here’s how it works:

Once you install the app on your iPad and launch it, it shows you a few example projects so you get the idea of how Luca’s look  and then if you want to create a “Luca” of your own hit the text at the top (I didn’t really have to say that last part now, did I?). ;)

It brings you to this starting screen where you can start entering text and adding pictures from all over, including Lightroom Mobile, your Adobe Creative Cloud account, Dropbox, etc.

What threw me was you don’t pick your template first â” you just start creating. It took me about an hour (literally) until I realized that the “Color Palette” icon at the top (which you would assume is where you go to pick your colors) is actually where they hid the templates. Ugh. Anyway, now that you know, you can pick a template now if you’d like (and I recommend that you do, because this app is all about the layout. Or the bass [no treble]).

Above: That list of fonts on the right side of the screen, is actually the list of template choices. I would prefer to see thumbnails, rather than fonts, but it’s kind of a preview of how the opening screen text will look and layout, sans images. 

The rest is easy â” you add photos, add your text, you just keep scrolling down and adding more stuff. At this point, it’s just the creative process of choosing which photos, at what size (you can choose from full width of the screen to smaller size images with white space on all sides) and entering your text.

When you’re done adding text, you hit the upload button and the screen you see above appears. You can choose to make your Luca public or private, and share it about everywhere if you choose. It also copies the URL to your Luca to the clipboard automatically so you can share the link manually if you want to.

One more thing: you can add credits to the bottom of your photo story, but you add it here in the upload window, rather than in the project itself. The placement of that one had me scratching my head. I’m telling you now so you won’t drive yourself crazy looking for it (like I did).

Above: Once it uploads (it goes very quickly) your story is ready to view on anything with a web browser (here it is on my iPad). You just scroll down the page to see the images and read the story (you can click on the image above for a larger view). 

Above: You can edit, and view your Luca, in either landscape or portrait mode. Here’s an interior shot of London’s famous Royal Albert Hall. If you get a chance to read the story, I posted more images and the story behind it.

I Hope You’ll Check Out My First “Luca”
My “A Little bit of London” Luca is now live online and if you get a moment, I hope you’ll check it out (just seeing it will answer a lot of your questions, including “what does he mean about the text floating over the images?”).

Here’s the link

So, how does it stack up against Exposure.co?
It has some advantage and disadvantages, but at this point, Project Luca is still in Beta (it’s not the full final version of the software). While it’s very promising overall, I’m not ready to switch from Exposure to Luca for these reasons: [NOTE: the Luca Team responded to these comments â” when you done, see the bottom of the post]

  1. Writing long text on an iPad is pretty brutal. Most folks don’t use a separate keyboard with their iPad so typing in long paragraphs of text on a touch-screen keyboard can really become tedious. In fact, if I didn’t finally switch to verbally dictating the text (using the iPad’s built-in dictation feature) I think I would have bailed on the whole project.
  2. There are still a lot of user experience things that just don’t make sense. Like not starting by choosing your template. Sure, now I get it, but I was totally thrown off by it at first. Also, the color palette icon for choosing templates is a head scratcher [see response from the Luca Team below]. So is putting the credits on the upload screen. I could go on.
  3. If you want to turn off their window-shade animations (the floating text effect) for a particular template…you can’t. You’re kinda stuck with it, and if it annoys youâ¦you’re stuck with it. [See response from the Luca Team below].
  4. At this point, it appears that you can use bold and italic, but you can’t. You can highlight text; choose bold or italic; it just doesn’t work. Could be a bug (I’m hoping it’s a bug).
  5. You can’t center headlines or subjects or even captions (all of which exposure.co does beautifully), which is kind of a deal-breaker for me right there. What’s weird is â” you can center or left/right justify the text on the opening cover page of your Luca, so it’s not like they don’t have the technology to do it. [See response from the Luca Team below].
  6. You can’t change the order of your photos once they’re in your Luca, so you have to do a LOT more planning beforehand (exposure.co lets you change the order any time).
  7. I couldn’t find the URL to my “Luca” (to share with you in this post), without literally re-uploading my entire project. Ugh. [See response from the Luca Team below].
I’ve communicated all these things directly to the Project Luca team, so this isn’t the first time they’re hearing it from me. In fact, they’re probably really tired of hearing it from me.

The Bottomline:
I generally pick up learning new software fairly quickly, but I was lost in Project Luca a lot.

Your experience may differ, but the Luca creation process just doesn’t seem to be designed in an intuitive way overall. What’s weird is â” there are parts of it that are designed beautifully, and I say to myself “Man, I wish Exposure did it like this!” and then there are other parts where I’m really surprised they totally dropped the ball from an author experience perspective. In fact, if this product has an achilles heel it’s that the user experience of building a Luca seems like it was designed by committee, if that tells you anything.

I so wanted to love Project Luca, because there are still some things Exposure.co (as great as it is) hasn’t added (like captions under the photos for example), but it’s still got a ways to go. To be fair, it’s Beta software and I’m hoping that before they’re finished they’ll address some of the issues, but I think it needs a major rethinking on the author experience part â” the final uploaded Luca’s look really nice, but getting there is more than half the battle.

-Scott

UPDATE!!!! Right after I released this first-look, I sent an email to the Project Luca team, and I was delighted to see their response (especially since I was kind of scared to initially see their response): They wrote:

    1. Centered captions are in the next build [see example below -ed]
    2. The template icon is changing from a paint icon to a magic wand [I probably would have clicked that just to see what it did -ed]
    3. Ability to turn animations on and off is on the roadmap, but will not be in version one. That falls under the category of theme customizations, and those come a little later.
    4. Bold and Italic are not in the product right now. They are on the roadmap. The bug you described has been fixed.
    5. You will be able to re-order photos in our next build [yay!!! -ed]
    6. We are surfacing the URL for your Luca on the projects screen so you can get it without republishing [perfect! -ed]
    7. You will be able to left or right align floating captions (the ones that fade in/out over your photos) in the next build [awesome -ed]:

Above: Here’s one part of my Luca [from the desktop view] â” notice the centered caption below the photo. Yay!

Above: Here’s a template with centered subhead text. Of course, I’d like to be able to center the subhead in any template, but at least this is a start.

I think these are all very positive developments, and my thanks to the Project Luca team for sharing a bit of their roadmap with my readers. :)

 

 

http://youtu.be/IH5qGVWECes

Hi gang, meet Julio. He’s a little shy in the video above (after all, it’s just his first day), but he’s an awesome guy (we’ve been working with him for about a year – he helps out on complex shoots and assists the instructors that come here with location shoots and stuff while they’re taping classes for KelbyOne). He’s an event/portrait photographer himself, and he’s joining our team full-time as chief editor, fancy-pants blog specialist, and big kahuna of content on the just-launched KelbyOne blog, where you’ll find him every day bringing’ the love.

Julio’s job is to make the KelbyOne blog incredibly awesome! He’s going to make it packed full of cool content on Photoshop, Lightroom and Photography; he’s going to tell us what’s going on in the biz each day, he’s bringing cool guests, breaking news, reviews, whatever’s going on â” he’s totally going to be on top of it. Plus, he has really awesome hair (rivaling the finely-tuned fro of Jared Polin, which is not an easy thing to do).

If you get a chance, stop by the K1 blog, or just leave him a shout-out here.  Thanks for helping us welcome Julio (you can follow him on Twitter at @julifro) and we look forward to him sharing his hair care secrets his freshly starched ideas with us all.

Have an awesome Tuesday everybody, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow for Guest Blog Wednesday.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Joe McNally is our in-studio guest tomorrow at 4pm live on “The Grid.”  

I really like Twitter a bunch. I do. Super Dig it!
That being  said, I could totally and utterly “love” Twitterâ¦if somehow for Christmas (or maybe just for 2015) Twitter added these four things that I believe would revolutionize, re-engerize, and just do a lot of awful lot of good all around. Here goes:

(1) Stop penalizing me for including a photo with my Tweets
You send me emails telling me how awesome it is to add images to my tweets. You show me stats which show that each tweet with a photo is likely to get so many more retweets and favorites, it’s just crazy. But then if I actually add an image to my tweet, you subtract characters from my 140-character limit per tweet. You basically penalize me for doing the thing you’re asking me to do. Please let me add an image and still have my 140 characters. I promise to add more photos in 2015 if you do. We all will.

(2) Give me one 10 or 12-character hashtag for free
You’re penalizing me again â” I know that using hashtags will expand the number of potential people who read my tweets, but I already added a photo to my tweet, and I could barely say anything cohesive when I had the full 140-characters. Between losing characters for the photo I attached, and being penalized for adding a search term (hashtag), I spend 15-minutes just to get my tweet under the limit with what little is left. I usually don’t even add hashtags â” I just don’t have the room. Plus, I often say lots of inappropriate words during this frustrating pruning process so I have to stay clear of children or small pets during this critical phase of the tweet-shortening process. Could you please give me just one hashtag per tweet “on the house?” â” without subtracting from my 140-charaters? Make it a 10 or 12 character limit, and make it just one hashtag for free per tweet (so things don’t get out of hand) and we promise to use more hashtags in 2015.

(3) Give us a 50% discount on links
I use bit.ly like a boss. It really helps. It does. But even using bit.ly, sometimes the link eats up so many precious characters. I looked at a bit.ly link I created last week and it took 14 character’s out of my allotment. When you see something starting with http:// have your magical unicorn of backend database stuff automatically give us a 50% discount, and only count it as 7 characters instead of 14. Please help me to share more stuff and I promise to share even more stuff in 2015.

(4) Let me buy an extra character or two with the proceeds going to charity
Sometimes I just can’t make my thought or idea fit. I’m two characters away from making it fit, and I’ve cut and cut, but I just can’t make it work. There are times where if I could buy two or three characters for a buck a piece (so $2 or $3 total) that would be the fastest two or three bucks I would spent all week, especially if I knew the proceeds went to charity. Each week you could choose a different charity (might I suggest, for week one, that all the “character buyers” contributions go to the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya. They need the help like you cannot believe. It’s just 33 kids, but it’s 33 kids that matter. Please, let us give a buck for each extra character in 2015 (you could limit the extra characters, so maybe the maximum you could buy would be 10-characters, so a $10 limit per tweet). It could do a lot of good in the bigger picture, and I promise to buy a few extra characters fairly often in 2015. Especially in that first week. ;-)

So there ya have it. This is perhaps not the most photography or Photoshop-related thing that I’ve covered here on the blog, but I’m hoping that somebody at Twitter might be in the Holiday Spirit this year and take the time to give it a read, like you just did. Hey, ya never know, right?

Here’s wishing you all the best Monday you’ve had all year!

Cheers,

-Scott

A few weeks back I got a chance to try out a pre-production model of Canon’s new 100-400mm f/4.5 – f/5.6 USM II lens shooting on the sidelines for an NFL game (Eagles vs. Titans) up at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly, and I thought I’d deliver a field report here in a quick Q&A format. It’s not a technical look or in-depth review, just my initial thoughts after shooting it for a game. Here ya go:

Q. How is the physical size of the lens?
A. It’s really close to the size of Canon’s 70-200mm. It’s just a little bit wider but I was surprised to see it’s actually a little bit shorter than the 70-200mm. However, with the large lens hood attached, it definely looks beefier than the 70-200mm.

Q. How was the weight compared to the 70-200mm?
A. If I handed you the two lenses, you’d think they weighed about the same, but I think technically the 100-400mm weighs about 2 or 3 ounces more.

Q. Which other lenses did you use during the game?
A. None. I shot the entire game using just this one lens.

Q. What was it like shooting with just one lens?
A. It was absolutely awesome!! I cannot tell you how sweet it was using just one body, just one lens, no monopod needed and so lightweight compared to what I’m usually lugging along the sidelines (two camera bodies, a 400mm f/2.8 and a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a monopod). Shooting on a monopod definitely limits you, and affects your shooting angles, so it felt like it does when I shoot my 70-200mm, so that was really nice.

Q. Did the lens get heavy to hold up as the day went on?
A. Not at all. Like I mentioned, it’s about the same as size and weight as my 70-200mm (which I shoot quite often, and it’s usually on my 2nd body at games anyway) so the weight wasn’t an issue.

Q. How’s the overall sharpness of the lens?
A. I felt it was a very sharp lens (especially for the money). It was super-crazy sharp at 300mm and under, and only slightly less at a full 400mm, but I was using a pre-production model on loan (just for that one game) so it didn’t have all the final tuning and adjustments the shipping model will have, but even at that it was still very crisp. I called a buddy of mine who is one of the tech gurus at Canon and he said that the Canon engineers internally are saying the final shipping version of this lens is really close in overall sharpness to the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 (which I think is one of the sharpest lens ever made by anybody), and for a 100-400mm at this price, that’s saying something.

Q. When is it supposed to ship?
A. I believe B&H Photo is shipping their pre-release lens orders today, so I’d say “any day now.”

Q. How was the overall “feel” of the lens?
A. Well, in the first quarter of the game I was surprised how tight the zoom barrel was on this lens (the older version of this lens was a push/pull lens â” you didn’t rotate a barrel to zoom â” you pulled the lens outward or pushed it in). Luckily, between quarters I saw a circular adjustment that lets you set the exact amount of tension you want, so I set it right then to how I like it (which is a looser zoom than the default setting).

Q. Did you use it on a full frame or crop sensor body?
A. I shot on a full frame Canon 1Dx, which is why I could get away with using just that one lens all day.

Q. So, is there a downside to using it on a cropped sensor body?
A. I wouldn’t say it’s a downside, because you gain something but you also lose something â” it’s more of a tradeoff. On a crop sensor body, you’d gain 60% reach, so your 400mm lens suddenly has the reach of a 640mm lens on a full frame body, which is awesome (especially if you’ve ever priced a 600mm lens). However, that means when you zoom all the way out to 100mm, on a crop sensor that’s the equivalent of a 160mm and that would be too tight once the players get close to where you’re shooting from. So, if you’re shooting on a crop sensor body, you would want to have a 2nd lens to switch to for when the team gets inside the 20-yard line (something like a 24-70mm would probably be ideal).

Q. How did the auto-focus perform?
A. I was impressed â” it was pretty snappy! I’m used to shooting some really high-end lenses and this one still felt pretty quick overall.

Q. Who is this designed for lens for?
A. I’d say it’s really designed for daytime sports photographer and for wildlife photographers, but of course it will take a picture of whatever you aim it at, so you’ll see everybody from wedding photographers to portrait photographers using this same lens, especially at its size/weight and price (B&H Photo has it for $2,199).

Q. Is it a Daytime only lens?
A. Well, it’s like this: it’s an f/4.5 to f/5.6 lens, so unless you’re shooting a body with really great high-ISO (low noise) performance (like the 1Dx I was shooting at this game) you’re going to have some really noisy images after dark, or inside a gymnasium or an arena. For wildlife photographers, this probably won’t be much of a problem, but for sports photographers this is something you have to consider, which is why I say it’s a daytime lens. During daylight, it rocks! I set my f/stop to f/4.5 and didn’t change it all day. I had Auto-ISO turned on and set it so the slowest shutter speed it would ever take would be 1/1000 of a second, so the ISO would climb as high as it needed to get that shutter speed. It worked awesome. It would be less awesome (at f.4/5 to f/5.6) at night or indoors.

Q. How did the f/4.5 to f/5.6 range affect you for this game?
A. At first, at the 1:00 pm kick-off it didn’t at all, but later in the game some cloud cover rolled in and my shutter speeds started dropping. Then the game ran long (lots of penalties) so by around 4:30 pm it looked like dusk and the stadium lights were on, and my Auto ISO started climbing. Take a look at the shot up farther on this page â” the shot where Titan’s Lineman Mike Martin is pulling on Sanchez’s jersey  â” that was shot at 1,600 ISO and it’s just 4:41 pm in the afternoon. Lenses with these higher f/stops make you shoot at higher ISOs when it’s not bright sunshine â” it’s that simple, and that’s why I call it a daylight lens. Just my take on it.

Q. Wasn’t there (ahem) an “incident” during this game? Something to do with a bullet pass?
A. Next question, please.

Q. Did you sharpen any of these images?
A. Of course. Every image you see from a pro game is sharpened (I applied an Unsharp Mask filter with these settings: Amount: 90; Radius 1.5, Threshold 0 – to the full-sized images). I didn’t think it would be a fair comparison to put un-sharpened sports images from any lens up against the sharpened sports images you see every day.

Q. Can’t you post an unsharpened image?
A. Sure. Here ya go (below) â” this is an un-edited, un-cropped, tilty, unsharpened, JPEG shot straight out of the camera that needs straightening, brightening, cropping and sharpening. Still looks nice and sharp, but outside of this blog post I would never post ANY sports image without, at the very least, applying sharpening first.

Q. Did you shoot in RAW or JPEG?
A. I shoot all my sports in JPEG, so these are all JPEGs. 

Q. Anything else strike you about it?
A. Not really. I think Canon did a nice job with this lens, and I think at this price, it will make a lot of people happy (especially since the old version was introduced about 10-years ago). What was most memorable for me about shooting with it was just how awesome it was shooting an entire game with just one lens. Shooting without a monopod gives you a big advantage, so that was a big thing, and not ever having to switch bodies or lug all that gear was a real plus for me. I took all my gear to the game, and was expecting to switch to my regular much (ahem) high-priced lens for the 2nd half, but I was enjoying the freedom, size, weight and results so much I decided to just stick with it, and I was really happy with the results.

Q. By the way, who won?
A. The Eagles won 43-24.

(Above: Although I was shooting for the Titans that day, my buddy John Geliebter shoots for the Eagles and I snapped this one of him during a time out. After the game he drove me to the airport in record time to catch my flight, so I owe him several beers next time I see him). 

(Above: That’s my buddy Donn Jones, Titan’s Team Photographer and just one of the greatest guys out there. However, I feel like his iPhone is outdatedâ¦wellâ¦especially since my 6-plus just came in last night. I’m not sure Donn and I can be friends any longer). ;-)

This weekend off I’m to shoot with the Falcons on Sunday for their home game against the Steelers. Might do a few remotes (you know I love that!). I have some shots from the game next week. :)

Hope you all have a great weekend (#gofalcons, #riseup) and we’ll see you back here on Monday.

Best,

-Scott

 

OK, my buddy Jeff Cable (he's a sports photographer and works with Lexar), does this "Jeff's Favorite Things" big giveaway every year, and he's giving away a ton of stuff again this year â” everything from a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet to a Canon 70D camera, to a DJI Phantom 2 Drone to a Sigma lens and a whole bunch more (including some of my books).

Anyway, he's got 36 prizes in all and he'll draw 36 winners starting on December 12th, so it's worth checking out. Here's the link to enter.

Here's a list of what Jeff is giving away this year:

  1.  DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Drone
  2. Canon 70D DSLR camera with 18-135mm IS STM lens
  3. Canon PIXMA Pro-1 Printer
  4. Wacom Intuos Pro Medium
  5. Drobo 5D
  6. 32GB Lexar Professional 1066x CF Card or 32GB 600x Lexar Professional SD card (2 prizes)
  7. Sigma 50mm 1.4 lens
  8. Lexar HR-1 Workflow Solution w/ 2 Readers
  9. Gitzo GM5561T 6x Carbon Fiber Monopod
  10. Photo Mechanic software (2 prizes)
  11. One year subscriptions to Zenfolio (2 prizes)
  12. Scott Kelby Autographed Books - "The Digital Photography Book, Part 5: Photo Recipes" (5 prizes) and "Lightroom 5 book" (2 prizes)
  13. KelbyOne: One year full memberships (2 prizes)
  14. LowePro ProRunner 450AW Backpack
  15. JOBY Suction Cup (2 prizes)
  16. Epson R2000 printer with Velvet Fine Art paper (8—10), 5—7 pack and 4—6 pack of photo glossy paper
  17. FotoFusion Extreme software (2 prizes)
  18. B&H $100 gift certificates  (2 prizes)
  19. Acratech GP Ball Head with lever clamp and a Swift Clamp
  20. M&M Photo Tours - $750 credit on one of their International photo trips
  21. BlackRapid straps - CrossShot strap, Sport strap, Yeti strap (3 prizes)
  22. Western Digital - My Passport for Mac 500GB drives (2 prizes) and a My Passport Wireless Drive 1TB
Here’s the link to enter in case you missed it. Good luck everybody!
-Scott
P.S. Where’s that field report? I know, I know. I’ve been heads down on so much end-of-year work stuff, and taping new classes and on and on.  Field reports like that take a ton of time to put together and I’m trying out a new format and blah, blah I’m just way behind on literally everything. Hope to have it very soon â” thanks for your patience.  
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