Category Archives Fun

DISCLAIMER: This story has nothing to do with photography, or Photoshop or Lightroom or anything like that. It’s just about my birthday, which was awesome because I have an awesome wifey, which is what the story is about. Just so you know. 

It actually started Saturday nightâ¦
So, the wifey and I are sitting around the kitchen table Saturday evening when I see an email come in with those words from Delta I long to hear⦓Your upgrade is now confirmed.”  I assumed it was for a business trip I have coming up to New York in the next week or so, but then I look at the dates and it says Sunday, July 6th.

I’m  looking at it,  and I say out loud to Kalebra, “Could I have accidentally booked a meeting on my birthday?” She doesn’t answer but when I look over at her she has this big smile on her face. She says “Tomorrow morning I’m taking you and our son up to New York City to celebrate your birthday!!!”

Well, I was psyched!!! First, I love birthday surprises (especially the kind Kalebra plans!!!) and I love to travel, and I love New York, and I just about to burst! Now, just to give you an idea how perfect this day is about to become, all three of us got the free upgrade, and my son is only Silver Medallion (Delta’s lowest loyalty ranking for frequent flyers), but he still got the upgrade. That rarely happens! This day is so gonna rock! :)

I didn’t bring a cameraâ¦
It was a birthday trip, so I left all my camera gear at home and took these shots with my iPhone (that’s looking up at Rockefeller Center. Also known as 30 Rock, or the GE Building, and it’s also home to NBC).

First stop â” Top of the Rock!
My son hadn’t been to New York since he was a little boy, so our first stop was to visit the rooftop observatory on the top of Rockefeller Center so he could see the magnificent skyline.

Above: I have to admit I was a little stunned when I picked up the tickets for the elevator ride to the top and saw it was $87 for the three of us. Ack! Apparently that deterred no one â” it was packed up there and there were long lines  just to go up and again to come back down. It made me want to get in the observatory business. ;-)

But what a view up there!
I’ve always gone up to the top of the Empire State Building in years past, but then you don’t get a view of the coolest building in the skyline, because you’re standing on it. At 30 Rock, you see the whole shebang (Note: Shabang is a registered trademark of Peter Hurley Industries and is used under a written agreement signed in blood during a ritualistic conclave for the Royal Order of the Sacred Squinch).

Above: I did some iPhone panos, too but I liked this regular ol’ shot best. The iPhone is great in nice daylight.

Above: Next stop â” Carmine’s on West 44th (Mmmmmmmm, Carmine’s!). It’s my favorite restaurant anywhere! (I know, I know, there are better Italian Restaurants in NYC, blah, blah, blah, so there’s no need to tell me [again] that it’s just  for tourists and then tell me where I should go next time instead and all that, because I just love that place! The wifey and my son love it, too. Their Chicken Scaloppine is insane!).  Anyway, they just opened one in Vegas (in the Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops) so I might get to eat there again in September. Whoo Hoo!

Above: The wifey got this shot of me in Carmine’s basking in the glow that is Carmine’s!

Lunch was just incredibly delicious, but after lunchâ¦
It was off the Sam Ash â” the amazing musical instrument store. By the way; we have a number of Sam Ash stores right in my hometown, but not like the original one in New York. It was guitar heaven!

Above: iPhone pano of the fancy room with guitars that I never buy. The guitars I buy are out in the main showroom â” this is where they keep the “good stuff.”

Above: That’s me with my birthday present â” a brand new, 120th Anniversary Edition, Gibson Les Paul Classic! I was pretty blown away (to say the least).

Above: Here’s a closer look. If you’re coming to Photoshop World Vegas, you’ll see me playing it on stage at the attendee party where I’ll be playing with my band, “Big Electric Cat.” 

That’s right â” “Kalebra for President!”
She takes me in the room with “The good stuff” so I can pick out a guitar as my birthday present. How awesomely insane is that!!!!

I had been looking at this very same Les Paul online (I’ve always wanted a black Les Paul ever since I saw Peter Frampton playing one during his original “Frampton Comes Alive!” tour which I caught in Lakeland, Florida back in like 1976, though his actually has three pickups â” there’s an extra one in-between the two you see here). Anyway, it’s being shipped to me today â” should be here by Wednesday. Mega-psyched!

Above: the cast of “Motown: The Musical.” I took this iPhone shot (I didn’t use a flash or anything) and an usher ran over to me and about took my head off, and while she’s yelling at me, flashes are going off throughout the audience. I didn’t argue or anything (especially since the iPhone isn’t great under these types of lighting situations) I just put my phone away, but just so you know, I did stick my tongue out once she was gone and made a grumpy face. That’ll teach her! ;-)

Time for a Broadway Show!
After Sam Ash, the wifey takes us to see “Motown: The Musical.” It was awesome and she got us just great seats â” six rows back from the stage, center, on the aisle! Fantastic music (of course), good story (learned lots of things I didn’t know about Barry Gordy and Diana Ross and the Motown family). Plus, really great dancing and staging. Really a fun show all the way around (my son really loved it)!!!!

One more thing! A quick stop at Junior’s for Cheescake!
The weather was beautiful (about 82° with a nice breeze and low humidity), so we sat outside at Junior’s and it was a perfect end to the day (and I split an awesome slice of cheesecake with my son).

Having my son come along (our daughter stayed home with Grandma â” she’s still a little too young for a whirlwind day like this, and a long Broadway show of songs she’s never heard), really made this day so special for me (and he totally loved the trip; especially the show, and the drum department at Sam Ash, and Carmine’s andâ¦heck, he liked it all. He’s a lot of fun to travel with).

Even a perfect day comes to an end
After Junior’s we headed right back to the airport where we had landed just nine hours before. Before you knew it, we were back home (where I’m sitting on the couch writing this now).

Although we definitely celebrated yesterdayâ¦
â¦today’s my actual birthday, so I’m taking the day off today to recoup. LOL! Hey, you only turn 38 once, right? ;-)

Thanks for letting me share this story with you today
â¦the story of my mega-awesome wife surprising me with a perfect day â” and one I’ll never forget!

Hope your day today is every bit as good! (but without the whole getting older part, which we can probably do without, though Kalebra says getting older sure beats the alternative). :)



Hi Gang: July 4th is a big holiday for us here in the US â” it’s Independence Day â” a day where all Americans celebrate their independence from Glyn Dewis and Dave Clayton (shown pictured with me above. This shot was taken during the Third Global Biennial Conference on International Bakery Treats held at a random Pret a Manger in the heart of London).

If you’re thinking of shooting some fireworks shots tonight, I wrote an article for ColaCola’s Journey website where I take you through the recipe for how to make Awesome Fireworks photos (It’s a step-by-step article â” follow the recipe and ya can’t miss). Here’s the link.

I would add three things to that article for the serious photography crowd here on my blog. They are:

>> Set your focus to infinity (This isn’t critical but if your lens can do it, why not). The fireworks are so bright you can use just regular ol’ auto focus for the most part, but if you have a lens that has a distance scale window on the top of your lens barrel; first turn off your auto focus (right on the lens â” switch it to off), then rotate the focus ring on your lens until you see the Infinity symbol [it looks like the number 8 lying on its side]. Again, you don’t have to do this, but it might make things a bit easier.

>> This is a tip I haven’t tried yet (I’ll try this one tonight), but @SuzanMcEvoy (one of my followers over on my Twitter page) said you get much truer colors if you switch your White Balance to Tungsten. Hey, I’m gonna give it a try. Thanks Susan for the tip.

>> This one probably goes without saying, but you’re on a tripod so use your lowest ISO setting for the cleanest shots.

Hope you all have a safe, happy 4th of July as we celebrate our nation’s physical distance, in miles and magnitude, from Glyn and Dave. It is truly a day worth celebrating. ;-)



I am on my way to beautiful Nashville, Tennessee for my SOLD OUT seminar there tomorrow (Whoo Hoo!!!). Very excited to meet everybody (and thanks for the wonderful turn-out Nashville).

I’m getting in to town early and not surprisingly Nashville has a lot of music stores, so I’ll be hitting a bunch of them this afternoon. If you’re a local and know of a music store I shouldn’t miss, please leave me a comment below so I make sure I stop by there.

I’m especially on the lookout for cool used guitars or vintage guitars (and of course my search continues for a distressed Fender Strat with a British Union Jack flag painted on it (like this one here — I’ve contacted them about getting that exact one — so far, no reply at all. Not looking good). Anyway, I know finding one in Nashville is a bit of a long-shot, but hey â” ya never know, right?

Is Photoshop Dead for Photographers?
That was the headline from an article I ran across last week (Well, it was actually worse than that â” it said “Is Photoshop Dead?” and it showed a tombstone with the Photoshop Icon on the tombstone). We tackled that article and issue on last week’s episode of “The Grid” (which I’ve embedded right above).

Our buddy Mike “Hollywood” Kubeisy was our in-studio guest and we also got to talk with him what it’s like working with celebrities and on Hollywood sets and he shared lots of interesting stories (and answered lots of questions from our viewers). Anyway you can watch it right above.

The big Adobe Event is this week!!!
I’ll be tuning in live on Wednesday (and so can you â” it’s free â” here’ the link), and of course we’ll be talking about all the new stuff on “The Grid” that afternoon, but in the meantime all I can say is there is some really slick stuff coming our way from the folks in San Jose (hey, that rhymes). Mark it on your calendars.

Hope you all have a first-rate Monday, and I look forward to seeing a whole bunch of you in person tomorrow at my seminar here in Nashville.







Above: That’s me, Nicole Young, Brad “Your face is going to freeze like that” Moore, and Brian Matiash at a waterfall somewhere in Portland (note the beautiful falls behind us. Errrr, to the left of us. Outside the frame. Yeah, that one). 

Greetings from beautiful Portland, Oregon where the sun is shining (well, not this instant as I’m writing this right before bed, but it was a gorgeous day here today), and we’re hanging out with some friends, and shooting’ and stuff.

I’m here for my “Shoot Like a Pro” Seminar today, and as you can see from the photo aboveâ¦I’ve just got nothing for the blog today. Nuthin’ — but on some level, I think the expression Brad is making above was totally worth a visit. Just sayin’.

Hope you all have a “I hope your face doesn’t freeze like that” type of day!



P.S. Although I’m posing here in Oregon with Brian Matiash (from Google photos), he’ll be our very special in-studio guest this Wednesday on “The Grid” where he’ll be sharing some cool stuff. That’s all I’m gonna say. :)

â¦.that doesn’t mean there’s no time to share a photo of (wait for itâ¦wait for itâ¦) “Maggie The Wonderdog!”

That right, it’s Maggie Monday, because I’m out in Vegas teaching at the WPPI (Wedding and Portrait) show and it’s late at night, and I’m still on East Coast time, and I’m really tired, and blah, blah, blah I got nuthin.’

By the way, Maggie is a Coton de Tulear, which is French for “A dog that will occasionally sneak up on the dinner table and eat your meal if you are dumb enough to walk away for a moment to go to the fridge or something.” The reason why we do not load her into a circus canon and send her hurling into a faraway net isâ¦she is just so darn cute (who’s a good dog! who’s a good dog!).

Anyway, I’m hoping that Maggie’s innate cuteness will distract you from the fact that I actually have no real content today, so for now please enjoy, if you will, the oneâ¦the only⦓Maggie the Wonderdog!” 

My work here is done.


P.S. If you feel like wasting some more time today, and you don’t mind helping some Orphans who could really use a break, check out my new eBook that is nothing but my hand-picked favorite super-off-the-wall Chapter Intros from the books I’ve written over the years. It’s some pretty whacked stuff. That’s why it’s only $10 bucks. Here’s the link. Remember, helping orphans is crazy good Karma, plus Maggie will lick you right on the face if you buy a copy.

OK, it’s here — I finally put together a book that readers have been asking me to do for years — one where I compile some of my favorite chapter intros from all my books into just one book of nothing but chapter intros.

These quirky chapter introductions have become a tradition in all my books and they’re there to give my readers a “mental” break from all the step-by-step tutorials and such. These offbeat intros have very little (OK, pretty much nothing) to do with what’s actually in the chapter itself — again, they are just totally there for fun and I hear from readers all the time who really dig them (and I hope you will, too because if not they’ll just really p@$& you off).

Fresh, hand-picked goodness on every page
Anyway, I hand-picked the intros (it really is nothing but intros — there is no other content whatsoever), and they’re all in this brand new book just being released today. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the book go directly to the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya to help feed, educate clothe and care for some very wonderful children who really need our help.

Here’s a link to the eBook on for the Kindle.  (it’s only $9.99). Also coming any day now to the Apple iBooks Sore (it’s there awaiting approval now).

Hope you enjoy the book! You’ll really learn a lot (wink).