Category Archives Fun

Please join me in wishing a happy 80th birthday to one of the most talented, fun, giving, and down right lovable guys out there, and a true living-legend of photography—our dear friend Jay Maisel.

Jay, we wish you your best birthday ever, and many more to come!

Hi everybody—-it’s time for my 2nd annual “Best of 2010 Awards” (Well, it’s not actually my 2nd best of 2010; it’s my 2nd “Best of” awards but you know what I mean).

It’s important to note once again that I didn’t say “Best photography gear” or “Best Photoshop stuff” (though both of those are represented). Instead, this is just my favorite “bestest” stuff from 2010, (including things like songs, movies, travel stuff, food, etc.) presented in no particular order. Hope it starts off your New Year right! (By the way; make sure you read my disclaimers at the end of the list). Here we go:

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Best iPad App: Flipboard. It brings Facebook and Twitter to life.

Best software utility of 2010: 1Password

Best iPad fun App that’s not a game: D-Jay. It’s amazingly like the real thing and lets anyone play “mix master.”

Best new Photoshop plug-in I saw in 2010, but it’s not shipping until around now: Perfect Layers from OnOne Software (brings real layers, layer masks, and layers power to Lightroom).

My most-used plug-in of 2010: Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 3

My guess for most-used plug-in of 2011: OnOne’s Perfect Layers

Best new lens of 2010: It’s a tie between my new Nikon 85mm f/1.4, or the new 28-300mm zoom.

The Best five photographers you might not have heard of (not in any particular order):

  1. Regis Lefebure (link)
  2. Markus Schwarze (link)
  3. Tim Tadder (link);
  4. PetrKlapper (link)
  5. Stephan Cooper (link)

Best thing in 2010 for photographers that’s not a camera, lens, or lighting: The iPad (maybe the coolest way to show your images ever).

Best iPhone/iPad App for presenters: pClock (the ultimate timer–from Shawn Welch).  

My favorite iPhone/iPad game of 2010: Tie: Word Warp Extreme or Angry Birds
Both responsible for untold hours of my lost productivity

Best iPad stand for travel: Arkon’s IPM-TAB1 (link)
(Horrible name—yet fantastic super-lightweight fold-up stand).

Best game ever: Call of Duty: Black Ops for XBox Live
I would have written two more books if not for Black Ops.

Best iPhone App for Photographers: Plastic Bullet Camera (link)

Best airline: Delta. (In-flight Go-Go Internet, and adding power plugs and USB ports to all its gates, plus TV on many flights; the best FF program, and great clubs. Plus, I think they have the best and friendliest flight attendants).

Best hotel chain: Hilton Garden Inn. Free in-room wireless. Big, clean rooms, with a microwave, fridge, and free bottles of water in the room. Great hot breakfast in the morning, and 24-hour mini-store, at half the cost of a regular Hilton (which charges for Internet, and bottles of water, among other things.

Best way to manage RSS feeds: Pulse app. It’s visual layout rocks.

Best new blog: Larry’s Cheap Shots (link).

Best new printer for working pro photographers: Epson Stylus Pro 4900

Best new HDR software: Nik’s HDR Efex Pro, and Photoshop CS5’s built-in HDR

Best other gadget of 2010: Verizon MiFi (wireless anywhere)

Best steak of 2010: Ocean Prime (link)
Their New York Strip with a Bleu cheese crust is insane!

Best burger of 2010: Hands down it was Milt’s in Moab, Utah

Best hotel deal in Manhattan: I’ve tried them all, but this one is the best: Hilton Garden Inn Times Square (great location, price, and great restaurant attached to it).

Best gift idea of 2010: an MPIX.com Gift Card

Best thing I added to my Mac in 2010: DropBox (link)

Best App that saved me money in 2010: Tom Tom Navigation for the iPhone 4 (Saved me $14.99 a day on having to rent a GPS system for my rental cars)

Best business book of 2010: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Another that comes close: “Making Ideas Happen” by Scott Belsky

Best addition to my Photoshop arsenal: Wacom’s Small-sized Intous 4 tablet. Fits perfectly in my laptop bag, so it goes wherever I go.

Best thing to put in front of your studio strobe: Elinchrom’s Deep Octa softbox

Best romantic comedy I saw in 2010: She’s Out of My League

Best really lame movie of 2010: Skyline
So bad it was almost good. Almost.

Best movie of 2010: The Book of Eli
I think I was the only one who didn’t “get the surprise” thing until two weeks after the movie when a friend told me. It made the whole movie even better for me.

Best remake of a classic Motown song: I Want You Back (iTunes Session), by Colbie Caillat (iTunes link)

Best really old song I added to my iPod: Tumblin’ Dice by Linda Ronstadt (iTunes Link)

Best (and first) Beatles song I bought on iTunes: Paperback Writer (iTunes Link)

Best old soul song I added: It’s Only Takes a Minute Girl by Tavares (iTunes Link)

Best classic rock song I added: Ah! Leah! by Donnie Iris (iTunes Link)

Best new song: California Gurls by Katy Perry (iTunes Link)
Any song with Snoop Dogg sayin’ “West Coast. West Coast!” has got to be good (“Who could it be, it’s the Dee-oh-dubba gee!”)

Coolest kinda-jazz but yet kinda alternative song I bought in 2010: The Sound of Muzak by Porcupine Tree (iTunes Link)

Best song I bought after hearing it on my son’s iPod: Hero by Skillet (iTunes Link)

Best New Band I learned about in 2010: Rock Sugar (Link)

Best guitar-related gift I got in 2010: A Rocktron Banshee Amplified Talk Box (link)

Best new reason to love Germany: Calvin Hollywood
This guy is insane (in a good way!). He has “Freaky Detail!”

Best new photographer to learn from: Frank Doorhof
He’s teaching stuff I don’t see anybody else doing out there

Best new gadget for DSLR video shooters: Hoodman’s Cinema Kit.
Makes your DSLR feel like a video camera, and it’s affordable. (Link)

Best way to start a fight since mentioning HDR: Mention the iPad and Flash in the same sentence

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IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS:
(1)
I could be totally wrong about any of these—they’re just my opinions

(2) Some of these things could have actually come out in 2009, or even 2008. I’m old and lose track of time easily.

(3) If you disagree with any of my picks, that’s OK.

(4) If some of my picks make you seething mad, and you want to post mean comments to me, remember—you can start your own blog today, for free, and by this afternoon you can post your own list (don’t worry—everybody will agree with all your picks). Here’s a good place to start (link).

Well, that’s it gang. I’m always on the lookout for great anything (songs, movies photo gear, iPhone/iPad Apps, restaurants, travel tips, etc.), so if you have something I missed on my list, just let me know. :)

I thought I’d kick off the first blog post of the new year with a quick look back at the most popular, and most commented-on posts of 2010, and some of the fun stuff we shared during the past year.

The Top 10 Most Commented-on Posts of 2010
Here are the posts that garnered the most comments from readers during the year, in order:

  1. How US Airways Just Lost Yet Another Customer (link)
    This was the #1 most-commented post with nearly 400 comments. This was just one of those “I have to get this off my chest” type of posts, and I never dreamed it would get that kind of response (but apparently, I wasn’t alone on this one). Here’s the rest in order.
  2. What I’d love to see in Lightroom 4 (link)
  3. HDR Quote of the week (link)
  4. Why is everybody so angry about Apple’s iPad (link)
  5. What they’re not telling you about HDR Images (link)
  6. To Correct or Not To Correct? (link)
  7. When will we finally get frames and mats for digital camera images sizes? (link)
  8. US Airways Responds (link)
    This post was a follow-up to the original post, where I reported that USAir had contacted me and said they would reinstate my miles. Within a few days, they had credited my back miles, and credited my missing miles, and the same day they hit my account I donated all the miles to the Make-A-Wish foundation.
  9. What constitutes an over-the-top HDR shot? (link)
  10. Apple’s iPad and Apple Secret Weapon (link)

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Guest Bloggers
I’m indebted to all the Guest Bloggers who shared their images, ideas and inspiration with my readers each Wednesday. Here are the top commented posts from 2010.

  1. Matt Kloskowski’s “Photoshop is not a bad word!” (link)
  2. Alex Walker’s “Parental Sports Photoshop — My Most Fantastic Voyage” (link)
  3. John McWade‘s “Design for Photographers” (link)
  4. Brad Moore’s “The Shot” (link)
  5. Jeremy Cowart’s “Perception” (link)
  6. Peter Eastway’s “What is Photographic Reality?” (link)
  7. RC Concepcion’s “How HDR saved RC’s Star Wars Celebration” (link)
  8. Andy Locascio’s “I never thought it would happen” (link)
  9. Calvin Hollywood’s “I am addicted to Photoshop” (link)
  10. Jasmine Star’s “Optimal Wedding Timeline” (link)

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My Photo Shoots
When I do a shoot, I usually post the images here within a day or so, and here are the shoots that garnered the most comments from 2010 (in order of popularity):

  1. Back from 16 days in China (link)
  2. NFL Sidelines Shoot: Bucs vs Rams (along with my sports camera settings) (link)
  3. Shooting the NBA Bulls vs. Cavs (link)
  4. NFL Sidelines Shoot: Steelers vs. Jets (link)
  5. A few shots from my week in Maine (link)
  6. Behind the scenes at a major sports shoot (link)
  7. College Football Sidelines Shoot: LSU/North Carolina (link)
  8. Shooting the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama (link)
  9. I’m back from 9 days in Barcelona, Spain (link)
  10. It’s Fashion-shoot Monday (link)
  11. My first Soccer shoot (link)

While not technically a “shoot” the post I wrote about my New Online Portfolio Design (link) got more comments any of the shoots.

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Other Milestones
This year we saw seven new books produced by Kelby Training launch here on the blog (four from me and two from some of the best in the business today.  Here they are (in no particular order);

1. David Ziser’s “Captured By The Light” book for wedding photographers.
David wrote the definitive book on the topic. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photography book with a better review rating on Amazon.com: 67 5-star reviews, and one just that just hated it (there’s one in every crowd).

2. My Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers
This one was a lot of work, and I added a new “Lightroom Killer Tips” section to each chapter, but I’m so passionate about Lightroom that it made this major rewrite a lot of fun for me.

3. The iPhone 4 Book (co authored with my good friend Terry White)
There are two things I love about this book: (1) It causes me to really learn my new phone inside and out, and (2) We split the book in two, each writing half the chapters, and I love the fact that Terry takes all the hard chapters.

4. Captured: The journal of a wildlife photographer, by Moose Peterson
Moose did something in this book that I think few people have ever accomplished with their books—he shared his most important techniques for capturing wildlife in a very straightforward way, and he captivated the reader with simply amazing photography, and weaved throughout the book is the story of his life and his career shooting nature. Brilliantly executed, and not surprisingly it’s become one of the most highly acclaimed books of the year.

5. My Photoshop CS5 for Digital Photographers
Adobe made my job really easy on this book, as CS5 was almost tailor-made for photographers, but as an author, I had to make some difficult decisions about how to develop this new version, one being my decision to remove the chapters about Adobe Bridge from the printed book and move them online (updated for the minor Bridge tweaks in CS5), and instead focus on the “Mini-Bridge” built- in to Photoshop CS5. This gave me more room to cover new features, and workflow stuff, without overly bloating the book. This decision of what to cut becomes more difficult with each new version, but I’m happy with how it came out.

6. My Photoshop Elements 9 book (co authored with my good buddy and ace Call of Duty: Black Ops teammate Matt Kloskowski)
This book is tough to do for the totally opposite reason of my CS5 book. Adobe doesn’t add a ton of new features to Elements in each rev, so what Matt and I do instead is add the new things that we have learned during the year, and we take the techniques we use in CS5 each day and try to convert them into techniques that work in Elements, and that has worked wonderfully well (based on feedback from readers).

7. My “Photo Recipes Live 2” Book/DVD Combo
This one skated in just under the wire—shipping right before the end of the year. I shot this down in Miami over a two-day period, and tried some new stuff and more ambitious lighting set-ups, along with some fun location lighting shoots, and I think it turned out even better than Photo Recipes 1 (which I guess is always the goal, right?

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Taking Time Off
This year I did a lot of new projects,  books, new classes, I was out on tour for both Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5, and I taught at  Photoshop World, and did workshops, and just a lot of training-related stuff this past year. Of course I want to share all my projects with my readers, so every time a book comes out, or I do a seminar, I would mention it here on my blog (after all, I want my readers to come out to my seminars, and read my books, and watch my online classes, and so on).

Well, some weeks I’d have two or three things to mention, and it starts to seem like (to me and you) that that’s all I’m talking about, so I tried to consolidate all my training and book stuff onto just one day a week—Thursday—which we now affectionately call “Pimpy Thursday.”

Thankfully, my photo assistant Brad Moore stepped up to be the person who actually compiles and writes the post each Pimpy Thursday, which gave me a break during the week I so desperately needed (thank you Brad!). This let me focus more on shooting and other fun stuff during the rest of week (though sometimes, because of timing, I still wind up having to find a mid-week pimping in, I try to wait until Thursday if at all possible).

2010 has been a year of huge growth and expansion at Kelby Media Group, and during all that, blogging four days a week was really starting to take a toll on me. I actually missed a few days of blogging during year (I called in “lame” 5 days with essentially nothing to say, or no time to say, including 2 days during Photoshop World), and I had one sick day in Jan of 2010 where I didn’t blog, but outside of that, between Brad, my Guest Bloggers and I, we pretty much kept the ship afloat all year long.

My most surprising fact about me from 2010
I went to my calendar and looked, and believe it or not, I took nearly EIGHT weeks of vacation with my family this year! (Whooo hooo!), and I didn’t work a lick on any of it (which is even better). Yet, I got quite a bit done in 2010 anyway. Maybe I should take more time off in 2011? ;-)

We Did Some Really Important Stuff, Too!
Besides all the fun stuff, and discussions, and controversy (HDR & iPad) we did some really important stuff, as the readers of this blog donated literally tens of thousands of dollars to help feed and cloth the orphans of the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya (the very orphanage my readers helped to build from an empty plot of land in 2009).

You guys bought Photo Walk t-shirts, we raffled off one of my guitars (signed by all the Photoshop guys), and you guys generously gave to some wonderful, deserving kids on the other side of the world. Ya done good gang!

More 2010 highlights to come on Thursday
I’m planning on running my 2nd annual “Best of” awards on Thursday to celebrate the best of all kinds of stuff, so I hope you’ll join me then.

One more thing….
I couldn’t do any of this without wonderful readers like yourselves, who make doing all this so worthwhile. You guys are as forthcoming and helpful and sharing as an blog author could hope for from his readers, and it’s very gratifying to see the wonderful community that has grown here. I consider it a real privilege to be able to get together with you here each week and I hope you’ll continue to check back during 2011—a year that truly hope will be your best yet!

At our house, we have a wild time on New Years Eve. We all stay home, huddled together until Midnight where we watch the ball drop at Times Square on TV, then we have our New Years Eve family tradition of “Banana Splits at Midnight” (which is obviously a tradition for our kids, because I don’t like banana splits). A wild night, I know, but I love it.

I was planning a cool post for Monday—kind of a look back at the year here on the Photoshop Insider—but there are some big NFL games this weekend, and…well…I’ve got a long lens or two….so….I’m not sure I’ll have time to write that post until Tuesday or so, if ya know what I mean. ;-)

Here’s wishing you and your family and safe, happy, healthy, and prosperous New Years. I hope 2011 is your best year yet!

Happy New Year Everybody!

-Scott (and the whole gang at Kelby Media Group)

How’s that for a headline? I had actually announced that today would be a “holiday no-guest blog,” but then Nikon just released a 15-minute video as part of their NPS (Nikon Professional Services) Pros Spotlight series, where Joe and I discuss a wide range of photography topics, and Joe is as funny as he is insightful. There is no “interviewer” per se–it’s just Joe and I, and we go back and forth discussing the topics, and it was a lot of fun (which, of course, describes any interaction with Joe).

We talk about everything from our favorite lens to what we see happening in camera technology to our backgrounds in photography, and much more.

Here’s the link. Hope you guys enjoy it.

-Scott

P.S. I apparently was having a bad “hair mousse” day when this was shot, which diminished my usual on-screen beauty by 12 to 15%, so adjust your eyes properly.

Hi gang: It’s 7:54 am and I haven’t blogged yet. Please choose any of the lame excuses I have listed below:

(1) It’s too cold in Florida today to blog (The low was 32°F [0°C) here in Tampa, which for us is arctic cold.

(2) I was up too late playing Call of Duty: Black Ops with Matt, Terry White, and our buddy Hans from Seattle

(3) I’ve taken the week off to write, and yet when it came to the blog I really didn’t have anything for today.

(4) The dog ate my blog (she’s actually a “Christmas puppy” and while she will eat literally anything and everything, I put my laptop on the floor and all she would do is considering using the bathroom on it. After all; to her anything’s better than going outside. When we take her outside, she thinks to herself: “I can’t wait until they take me back inside, so I can go to the potty.”

(5) Since I’m still in Holiday mode, the blog had totally skipped my mind until I climbed into bed, and I just couldn’t get back up and write it. This happens rarely, but last night was one of those night. Brrrrrrr.

All of those lame excuses have some basis in fact (except #4. We can’t get her to do anything but snuggle and ferociously attack her stuffed squirrel toy), so any one you pick won’t be far off.

Hey, I’ve got an idea!!!!
I’m pretty sure I have another episode of Larry’s Cheap Shots. I’ll run that. Yeah, that’s the ticket. I’ll make it separate post, so that way, not only do I have a blog post for today (albiet a late one), I actually have two! I am just feeling so good about this.

Tomorrow is “No Blog Wednesday”
Remember, this week Brad and I decided not to have a guest blogger (Brad is even lamer than I, taken the entire Holiday break off and heading home to Tennessee to make homemade whiskey, which is his true calling). Anyway, have a great mid-week, and I’ll be back here on Thursday if I can think of anything to share, and there’s only a 50-50 chance of that, but whatever it is, it probably won’t be either “Kick Butt” or “Cool.” (that was for you, Ken).

Hope you’re enjoying a wonderful Holiday Season!!! :)

-Scott
The Late Light Tuesday Blogger

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