Category Archives News


Happy Thursday everybody!

First, it’s Thursday, and it’s time for an embarrassing photo or two from my massive archive of embarrassing imagery. I debated about posting this one, not because I apparently had only one single “look” back in the mid-80s (the thrift store sports coat with the sleeves rolled up, a white shirt with a skinny tie, jeans and sneakers), but because it was taken on top of New York City’s World Trade Center. The Trade Center is a very emotional symbol for us Americans (it was even emotional for me when I saw it again), but this photo, taken by my brother Jeff, is also a part of the visual history of my life, and  so I thought I would run it in memory of a wonderful day spent in one of my favorite cities, and as a tribute to 9/11 and to New Yorkers everywhere (my folks were raised in NYC).

If you look at the photo, you’ll notice I’m sporting a very cool ‘film shooters” accessory—a camera strap that holds film canisters, whose contents eventually made their way into my Pentax SLR. You can also see my shopping back with goodies from the NBC Studios tour we took earlier that day.


This 2nd photo (above) was taken later that same day, also by Jeff, in front of One Liberty Plaza; the headquarters of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith (I was working for Merrill at the time as a Financial Consultant). I’ve really got to come up with a new look; it’s been 20-something years and all that’s changed is I don’t roll my sleeves up, I’ve lost the tie and traded my white shirt for a black one.

Before we get to the news: let’s throw up our “rock hands” for Scott Diussa’s kick-butt blog post yesterday. I was going to give him the award for the longest special guest blog post, but instead I’m going to give him the award for the “Longest special guest post that I couldn’t stop reading” award. What an amazing life Scott has led, and the range of what he’s done in the world of photography is inspirational just on its own. Thanks Scott for a really wonderful read, and some classic images (plus, I’m a sucker for the dueling guitars). ;-)  Now, onto the news:

  • RC’s Got Everybody Talking (Arguing) about HDR
    RC Concepcion did an excellent post over at Layers Magazine, called “Why does HDR bring out the best/worst in you as a photographer” and it’s getting more and more people talking about it every day (even though he wrote the post a few weeks ago). As you might expect, people are on both sides of the HDR fence, and it has started some pretty lively debate (and that’s being kind). Here’s the link to join in the fun.
  • Photoshop Curves vs. Levels Use
  • Matt, Dave and I had lunch together today (yes, we do everything together), and we somehow started talking about a topic I discussed here back on March 6th (here’s that link) about The Diminishing use of Curves in Photoshop for color correction (thanks to Camera Raw). I ran a reader poll then asking how your use of Curves has changed, and 60% of you indicated that you either use Curves somewhat less to a lot less and 21% said you don’t use Curves at all (that means 81% either use it less, or not at all).

    None of the three of us were surprised at those results, but what did surprise us was that all three of us are now using Levels more and more when we need a quick contrast tweek. Why Levels and not Curves? We all agreed—it’s just so quick and easy. So, I’m curious; do you find yourself using Levels more today than you did two years ago, or are you using Curves to create contrast instead?

  • Topaz offers NAPP members a 25% discount on any plug-ins
    Larry Becker saw my review of Topaz Adjust last week, and he comes by my desk today to tell me that NAPP members now get a 25% discount on any plug-ins they order from Topaz (not just Adjust). If you’re a NAPP member, click here to get the discount code.
  • McNally’s One-Day Lighting Seminar is going to sell out!
    I just saw the figures today on the sign-ups for Joe McNally’s new one-day location lighting workshop that we’re producing (at Kelby Training), and although it’s more than a month and a half away (July 31st in San Francisco), it’s already outpacing our upcoming Lightroom and Photoshop seminars in New York, Chicago and a half dozen other cities we’re going to. In short; it looks like it’s going to sell out in advance, so if you want to go, I’d go sign up right now (here’s the link).
  • Quote of the week
    “I’m lucky if I get to spend more than 20% of my work-time actually photographing.

    (here’s the link to read the story).
  • Some Thursday Photographic Inspiration
    I ran across the site of photographer Greg Sims, and I have to say; I love this guy’s look. He does have a very HDR-style look that he goes in and out of, so there’s a lot of post in his shots and although not everybody digs that, I think he’s got a nice marriage of great photography and great post production. Got a minute? Check him out right here. I also found architectural photographer Melissa Castro, and she had some images I was really drawn to (I particularly love her intro page shot, but she’s got some other real gems in her portfolio as well). I love her clean graphic style, and if you’ve got a minute, give her stuff a quick look, too.

That’s it for today folks. Have a really great day, and I’ll see ya tomorrow! :)

Hi folks. Here’s what’s goin’ on.

  • Jay Maisel, a true living legend of photography, is hosting a week-long workshop this fall, and I’m telling you this early because like all his others, it will probably sell out months in advance. It kicks off Monday, September 14 at Jay’s studio in NYC and runs through Friday, September 18. For more details click here.
  • I did something special yesterday for the folks following me on Twitter. If you’re following me, go check it out (here’s the link).
  • We now have well over 11,000 photographers registered to be a part of my Worldwide Photo Walk on July 18th, and we have over 760 walks. We are totally psyched! :)
  • A big thanks to the blog “Inkd” for naming Layers Magazine to their list of “The 15 Best Magazines for Print Designers.” We are truly honored.
  • Our friends at Barnes & Noble are running a special 30% off promotion this month (in stores and online) on a bunch of Peachpit Press books (including some of my own, along with Jeff Revell’s new book and David DuChemin’s, among others), Here’s the link for more details (the promotion ends at the end of this month).
  • Our buddy and friend of the blog, Dwayne Tucker did a behind-the-scenes article on a recent on location lifestyle photo shoot on his blog. If you’ve got a quick sec, you can check it out right here.

That’s all I’ve got for today. We’ll see ya back here on Thursday after a very special Guest Blog tomorrow. Have a kick-butt Tuesday!


Hi folks. Before we get started you can see that standing in for “Embarrassing Photo Thursday” is “Embarrassing Photo Friday.” The shot above was taken in Corfu, Greece (an island near the coast of Albania) when I was 19-years-old, playing in a funk band called “Loose Change,” (You can see the “Loose Change” t-shirt under my way cool sweat jacket that we all wore back then for no apparent reason). I spent the summer of 1980 playing with Loose Change at an outdoor rooftop lounge atop the Regency Hotel in Corfu (not a bad gig for a teenager). Pictured left to right are Loose Change’s bass player Alan Carmen, lead vocalist Marshall Gillon, and yours truly (on keyboards).

But before we get started…..
The award for most supportive Guest Blogger ever has to go to my buddy, sports photographer Mike Olivella, who spent most of Wednesday and part of Thursday personally answering follow-up questions posted here by readers, and answering personal emails from people who visited his Web site.

I’m just so impressed, not only with this excellent Guest Post (which garnered more than 60 comments), but with his commitment to my readers, and for both I’m very grateful. Mike really captured the spirit of what guest blogging is all about by sharing some inside info that few in the industry would divulge. My hats off to Mike, and a big thanks for all his time and involvement. Now, onto the news:

There’s a New Blog in Town
Larry Becker, NAPP’s Executive Director, has launched his own personal blog called “phaim” (pron. Fame), dedicated to “Street smart marketing, photography, and smart phones.” Larry is incredibly savvy at getting the most from his equipment, for finding deals on equipment, and for getting pro results using DIY gear and inexpensive solutions (his recent post on how he utilizes his inexpensive SB-600 flash is already making some noise), and I suspect his blog is going to become a must-visit for an awful lot of folks. Here’s the link—take a quick minute and check it out.

Free “Budget Safari” Online Seminar Coming June 16th
This sounds pretty cool; it’s a free online seminar (called a “Webinar”) called: A Budget Safari: Wildlife Photography at your Local Zoo—a roundtable with Julie Larsen Maher. The seminar is produced by Bogen Imaging as part of their “Bogen Cafe” series, and the seminar is free and everyone’s invited. Here’s the link with details and sign-up info.

Cut Off Day For Adding New Photo Walk Cities is June 18th
The final day to register to have a Photo Walk in your city as part of my Worldwide Photo Walk is Thursday, June 18th (about two weeks from now). After that date, we can’t accept any more requests from leaders for walks in new cities, but of course, you’ll still be able sign up to attend your local walk. By the way, here are some quick stats:

  1. We’re currently have over 9,000 photographers signed up for local Photo Walks
  2. There are now 676 active Photo Walks (contrast this with last year, when we had 236 cities by the official walk date. Just amazing!)
  3. We are proud to welcome Wacom, and B&H Photo as official Photo Walk sponsors.

If you haven’t signed up to be a part of this photographic history-making event, why not? It’s free, and I really want you to join us on Saturday, July 18th. Here’s the link to get on board.

Catch my Photo Walk interview with Shawn King
Last week I did a radio interview with Shawn King of “Your Mac Life” (Shawn hosted a Photo Walk in New York’s Greenwich Village as part of last year’s World Wide Photo Walk), and the interview gives you some insights and background details surrounding the upcoming event (plus Shawn just always makes the whole thing fun, so you’ve gotta check it out). Here’s the link.

That’s it for today my friends. Here’s wishing you your best weekend of the year so far. I hope you take some shots, do something creative, hug somebody you love, and sing your favorite Bon Jovi song like nobody’s listening (well, at least that’s what I’ll be doing).

Data Volatility

>> Dead MacBook Crisis: Day 14
Howdy folks! That’s right, I’m still battling with the massive hard drive crash I had the day before my Lightroom Tour in Denver last month, but after jumping through a few hoops (and with some help from Apple), I believe that by the time you read this my MacBook Pro will have been fully restored from my Time Capsule backup, and my work life will be somewhat back in order.

There are half a dozen reasons why this restoration took so long, most of them are my fault, but I’m just glad it appears to be behind me (for the most part), and I can get back to full speed.

>> The Review That Could Have Been
I’m still working off a stripped machine for this post, so I don’t have my review of the Topaz Adjust plug-in for Photoshop that I hoped to have for you today, but if all goes well, I’ll have it for you on Thursday, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

>> The Crazy Numbers Continue for the Worldwide Photo Walk
I am just amazed at these numbers, after only two weeks:

  • 665 Worldwide Walks are now active
  • More than 8,000 photographers have already signed up to participate in their local photo walk.

I don’t know what to say, but “Whoo Hoo!!!” This is going to be a blast!!!! (here’s the link to a list of active cities).

>> Online Gear Guide for Photo Walkers
If you’re going on the Photo Walk, B&H Photo put together a brief Photo Walk Gear Guide with some tips, and links to accessories used by photo walkers. Here’s the link.

>> Auto ISO for Sports Shooters
On last week’s episode of D-Town TV (the weekly show for Nikon DSLR shooters) I did a little tip for sports shooters on how to use the Auto ISO feature for making sure you’re able to freeze the action no matter what the lightning conditions (well, within reason, anyway). This tip is especially helpful for anyone shooting night games, and we’ve gotten lots of great response from that tip. In the same episode Matt has a great segment on our #1 most asked about feature from the past few weeks—Active D-Lighting. You can watch the episode online right here.

>> Moose on “Nikon’s Best Kept Secret”
When I was out shooting in Portland, Oregon a couple of weeks ago with Laurie Excell, I saw Laurie shooting with Nikon’s 70-300mm f/4.5 – f/5.6 VR lens, and I was surprised to see her shooting such an inexpensive lens (around $500) because Laurie owns about every high-end fast lens known to man (after all, she runs ““). Anyway, she was raving about how incredibly sharp the lens was, how surprisingly lightweight it was, and that it worked with the new full frame cameras without cropping the frame, and so she let me shoot with it for the rest of the afternoon, and as soon as I got back, I ordered one myself (it came in yesterday). Anyway, so I’m on Moose Peterson’s blog tonight, and I see a post called “Nikon’s Best Kept Secret” with a video clip from Moose himself, and son-of-a-gun if it wasn’t about this very same lens. Take two minutes and watch Moose’s video (here’s the link), and check out the shot he got of the Thunderbirds using that lens. Amazing!

>> Tomorrow’s Guest Blogger is…...
…a guy who’s taught me a lot about shooting sports, and about getting access to shoot professional sporting events, my buddy (and pro sports shooter), Mike Olivella.

Mike has picked a topic that I’ve had so many requests for here on the blog, and it’s something you’re not going to see just about anywhere else, so make sure you’re back here to see what Mike’s got up his sleeve tomorrow.


That’s it for today, folks. Thanks again for stopping in, and I hope I’ll catch you back here on Thursday. There may well be a photo there that will give you a flashback to a simpler time, when there was no Internet so we didn’t know we weren’t supposed to wear parachute pants or thin ties.


Hi Everybody!
It’s a beautiful Monday and I’m back and totally refreshed thanks to a few days off doing nothing but playing golf with my big brother Jeff (that’s him shown above).

We headed out to the West Coast last Thursday for a long golf weekend (to celebrate his 60th Birthday), and we had such a great, relaxing, fun-filled time. I took a lot of photos; none of which are worth a darn, because we had gray foggy weather every single sunrise and sunset, but luckily during the golf itself—it was beautiful (plus, I probably had my best round ever), so it was about as much fun as two golf-loving brothers can have. Now I’m ready to get back to work!

Thanks For Your Ideas
First, a big thanks to everybody who shared your thoughts about my “Down & Dirty Dilemma” on Friday. It gave me a lot to think about (including that maybe I should consider writing a “Down & Dirty Tricks Book for Photographers”), but of course I hoped that part of the audience for the current book would actually be photographers (after all; nearly every effect starts with a photo).

There are some things I will change going forward (certainly with how we market the live tour), and some things I can’t or shouldn’t change (based on your comments), but I did read each and every comment and want to thank you all for taking the time. I really consider it a privilege to be able get your unbiased input, and it’s something I never take for granted, and am always very grateful for. I think it really helps me write books that are better tuned-in to my readers, and I think you can see your handprints on my books as they have evolved in the past few years.

The Landscape Photographer’s Roll of the Dice
This week out West reminded me of what a “roll of the dice” it is trying to find great locations for shooting landscapes. In the past month I’ve done landscape shoots at dawn and dusk now in Portland, Oregon, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and along California’s Big Sur coast, and I’ve yet to have a single decent image, even one time. But that’s OK—I know it’s coming. It has too. It’s just a matter of time, right? (Sigh). ;-)

Seriously though, this is just part of the process, and part of shooting landscapes. Finding that spectacular light, at just the right time, isn’t something that happens every day, or every time you go out, which is why you have to go out again and again and again until you catch it. The odds favor the photographer who doesn’t give up, so I’m not giving up, and I’ll be shooting a lot this summer in an unrelenting search for that golden magical light. I know that it’ll be hit or miss, but I also know that even a bad day of shooting landscapes is still an awfully great day.

A big welcome to three new Photo Walk Sponsors
Just a quick shout out, and a word of thanks, to three new official sponsors of my Worldwide Photo Walk. They are:

OnOne Software
Developer of cool award-winning plug-ins for Photoshop (link)

Digital Academy (by Panasonic Lumix)
Digital Photography Educators with a nation-wide tour (link)

Bogen Imaging
Distributor of Gitzo, Elinchrom, Lastolite, and lots of other cool photo gear (link)

Thanks to these fine companies for being a part of the world’s largest social photography event. Great to have you on board!

Quote of the Week:

“Photography is like this addiction. Every day you try to get another great shot to add to the collection.”  (Read the full article)

–Jared R. Milgrim

I wish you all a beautiful Monday, and I invite you back tomorrow when I’ll be all stressed out from being back at work. ;-)


Howdy folks. It’s Friday—here’s what’s up: 

Lightroom 2 Discount over this weekend
Adobe’s $25 off deal on Lightroom 2 is over on Sunday, so if you were thinking of making the jump; tick, tick! (here’s the link)

A Slew of New Online Classes Posted
I’ve fallen behind on letting you know about new classes. Here’s what’s gone live recently: 

  • Using your Nikon D90 with Laurie Excell. (Link)
  • Adobe InDesign and Photoshop CS4 Integration with Terry White (Link)
  • Mastering Color in Photoshop CS4: Creative Color with Matt Kloskowski (Link)
  • Using Your Nikon D700 with Laurie Excell (Link)
  • Successful Pre-Production for Location Shooting with Richard Riley (Link)

Plus, we’re just finishing up some long overdue classes on how to use your Canon DSLRs from Canon Explorer of Light, Rick Sammon. I’ll let you know as soon as his classes go live (hopefully next week). 

Corey Kicked Some Butt in Richmond
I have heard nothing but rave reviews from Corey Barker’s Richmond, Virginia stop for the “Photoshop Down & Dirty Tour.” He really hit one out of the park, and I have to say; I’m not surprised. After working with him developing the tour, I am still so amazed at his talent, creativity, and mastery of Photoshop. In short—that dude is sick! (In a good way). His next two stops are in Canada (Toronto and Calgary next month). Here’s the link with details. 

Canon To Release 5d Mark II Fireware Update with Manual Exposure Control
I just saw on PDN online that Canon is releasing a free Firmware update for their very popular 5D Mark II DSLR (which also shoots full HD video), and the update will include the ability to use Manual Exposure (a big deal when it comes to shooting video), and the ability to control ISO, aperture and shutter speed when you’re in video mode. Here’s the link for more details. 

Quote of the Week

“It is no surprise that talented photographers are 99% pain in the ass to work with. They have strong opinions, are stubborn, reckless, and most of the time have an extremely bad character.” (link to full story

That’s it for today folks. I hope to have some reviews plus a photography and Photoshop technique for you all next week (if all goes as planned, but it rarely does). Have a really great weekend, and I hope to see you back here next week! :)