Category Archives News

loose-change

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, iStockPhoto.com 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 “EquipmentLady.com“). 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.

jeff-golf

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. ;-)

picture-2

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! :)

the-edge-2-low-res

That’s right; in the fine tradition of so many Thursday’s before it’s “Embarrassing Photo Thursday.” This one is a promo photo from the band “The Edge” (I posted a photo of me playing with them on May 14th). This shot was taken about 25 years ago, in a parking garage in downtown Lakeland, Florida, and I must say, I was sportin’ some pretty slick aviator’s sunglasses. (Note: In case you were wondering; yes, that is Big Electric Cat drummer Scott Stahley [2nd from the left], when he was just a mere lad of 18-years-old). OK, you can stop all the snickering now; it’s time for some news:

  • Eddie is Rock Steady!
    My man Eddie Tapp scored big yesterday with a great guest blog, despite the fact that he included a photo of me (during Eddie’s Photoshop Hall of Fame induction ceremony), which was taken before I had lost over 100 lbs. (in that photo, I was in an “I’m Jabba the Hutt” stage of my life—a time that I’d rather not relive), but since he did such a great job, I’m not going to dwell on my previous ginourmousness (or the vivid depictions thereof), and instead I’ll just tip my hat to Eddie, who will always to be known from here on out as the guy who posted my “fatty fat” photo (totally kidding, Eddie—you know I love you man!). :)
  • Quick Photo Walk Update
    Over 500 cities have active walks; over 6,000 walkers already signed-up, and we’ve got some awesome new prizes:Official Photo Walk sponsor Adobe Systems has kicked in ten copies of Lightroom 2, to be awarded to each of the top-10 finalists, and we’re adding more prizes as more sponsors come on board. Sweet!

    If you haven’t signed up for a walk yet—why not? It’s free! Also, you don’t have to be a pro, or have a DSLR camera, or any of that stuff—-it’s not about the gear, or your level of experience; it’s about having fun with a bunch of other friendly photographers. I hope you can join us on Saturday, July 18th (here’s the link).

  • Finally, a monitor just for photographers
    My buddy Terry White broke the news today about a new 42″ television monitor that’s designed especially for photographers (and includes a range based on the Adobe RGB 1998 color space). Jump over to Terry’s Tech Blog to find out the details.
  • Dead MacBook Crisis: Day 9
    As I write this (on my home computer, which is designated only for photography, so it has virtually no software on it, besides Photoshop, Lightroom, and some plug-ins), my laptop is still technically dead. We finally popped in a new hard drive this afternoon (long story), and now it’s trying to Restore from my Apple Time Capsule backup. It’s been just sitting there saying, “Checking Time Machine Backup” for about 40 minutes now (I’m connected direct via Ethernet). I’m starting to get concerned. Anyway; it’s totally my own fault that I didn’t have a bootable back-up of my laptop on an external drive (last time that happens—-I got a 500GB external today), so I have to take my lumps in the meantime. Ouch!
  • Congratulations to Julieanne Kost!
    Adobe’s own Photoshop Evangelist, and wonderful photographer and artist, Julieanne Kost was included in Fast Company magazine’s recent Top 100 Most Creative People list. I’ve known Julieanne for a number of years now, and let me tell you; I’d put her up against anyone on that top 100 list! She is a brilliant educator and creative professional, with insights and vision like few people on the planet, and I’m delighted to see that she’s getting this wonderful recognition, which she so richly deserves. Way to go Julieanne!

  • It’s Back Up Your Hard Drive Day
    Ya know, today would make a great day to back up your hard drive (I know, actually last Tuesday would have been ideal, but barring that; learn from my mistakes and take a few minutes and back-up your hard drive today—right now. Ya just never know). ;-)

That’s it for today folks. Have a great Thursday everybody, and I hope to see you again tomorrow. :)

sneeksm

Hi Everybody:
I’m back in the saddle after a wild week out West last week (I missed my “Embarrassing Photo Thursday” so here ya go: It’s from the mid-80s during my short stint with the band “Sneek.” (photo by NAPP member Jay Handler. Who’d a thunkit?). I think we played just one or two gigs before we broke up (dig my Eddie Van Halen knock-off red and white taped guitar).

Now, onto the update, report, and stuffage that’s been stacking up:

  • Down in Downtown
    The day before the shoot, I got to do an impromptu photo walk in Downtown Denver with Jason from the Canonblogger.com (really great guy—we had a lot of fun, laughed a lot, and had a great dinner with the seminar team). I think I even got a few decent shots, but I’ll never know, because the next morning I accidentally reformatted the memory card (it’s a long story, but suffice it to say, that was the least of my problems in Denver). Here’s why I didn’t back up my images that same night.
  • Crashing in Colorado
    The night before my seminar I’m going through my classes in my hotel room, and I can tell something’s wrong with my laptop. I’m getting the “Spinning Beachball” each time I click. A restart (which usually does the trick), didn’t help. Rebuilding Preference, zapping pram, running Disc Warrior; nothing worked. Finally, it screeched to a halt. At 6:45 am we were scrambling to resurrect the drive, but this was a hardware failure (bad hard drive), and we had to move to the back-up machine for the seminar. Unfortunately, the back-up machine didn’t have Nikon Camera Control Pro on it (I needed this for the tethered shoot that afternoon), so we spent all morning working on that. Anyway, we did finally get it up and running (after a few miscues), and we “got ‘er done.’ The nearly 500+ crowd on hand was awesome; I met lots of great people (including a bunch who read this blog), and then headed for the airport for my flight to Portland.
  • 20 Hours with Laurie Excell
    One of my favorite landscape photographers, Laurie Excell, lives in Portland, and she invited me to go shooting along the beautiful Oregon coast on my day-off between seminars. We landed in Portland around midnight. She picked me, and my buddy Jeff Leimbach, up at our hotel at 3:45 am,  (Zzzzzzzz) and we headed out for sunrise. Along the way we saw some amazing light starting to peek over the hills. The problem was: we were still 23 miles from our shooting location. By the time we got there; the good light was already gone. It was only 5:15 am.  I was dressed in a t-shirt and jeans. It was 36 degrees when we got there (Good planning, eh?)! We still shot, and had a lot of fun (I slipped and fell flat on my %$&, but as Laurie said, “It was the most graceful and soundless slow-motion fall she’d ever seen.” Nothing was bruised but my ego (since Jeff and Laurie were laughing there #*$ off!). Next, we headed down the coastline. 450 miles in all. In crappy light. It was a blast. We didn’t shoot much, but we laughed, and had some great meals, shared stories, and saw some absolutely beautiful scenery along the way. We kept going until sunset (which was around 8:50 pm). At about 8:00 pm the sun tucked into a cloud bank and we never saw it, or any color whatsoever, again. We didn’t care. We got back in the car, and wound up back at our hotel after midnight. We were beat, but still laughing. There is probably something wrong with us.
  • Panic’d in Portland
    The next morning we had more issues to deal with before the laptop was ready for the day (and it came right down to the wire), but everything went pretty smoothly (well, until the last 10 minutes, when not only did Photoshop crash, but upon restarting, it said the serial number was invalid. We just restarted it again and it worked fine, but the audience was just cracking up). Then we had a quick dinner at Red Robin, and then took the train to the airport for an 11:00 pm red-eye home (through Chicago). Thanks to everybody in Portland and Denver who came out to spend a day learning Lightroom. You all made it a lot of fun (and a special thanks to my long time friend, and Mac-book co-author, Dave Gales who literally saved the day by resurrecting enough of my stuff to help the day come off right).
     

    NOTE: As always, I had all my Lightroom Tour files backed up on an 8GB USB jump drive on my keychain. On Tuesday it broke off my keychain, and when I went through security, I had to put it in the gray bin separately. Unfortunately, I forgot to take it out. Figures, eh? Also, luckily, I did have a full back-up of my computer (using Apple’s Time Capsule), which I’m using to restore all my files now that I’m home. I should have had a full bootable external drive with me. I will next time.

  • Quick Photo Walk Update
    While my computer was down for the count, my assistant Brad Moore stepped in and helped me out, getting a lot more cities approved, helping lots of folks, and keeping the flow of info going. He also started a Photo Walk blog on the site (worldwidephotowalk.com), where we’ll both be giving updates as we move closer to the event. We hoped that this year’s blog would build on what we did last year, but we had no idea it would mushroom to what it already has. For example: 

    Last year’s number of cities active by the day of the walk: 236
    This year’s number of cities active in the first week: 422

    We already have thousands of people signed up to walk (won’t have the exact figure until I get into work tomorrow), and a number of cities not only have full walks, but we’ve added multiple walks in multiple cities to handle the overflow. Also, I just learned that NAPP’s Executive Director Larry Becker is now hosting a photo walk in Lakeland, Florida. If you’d like to join Larry, go to the Photo Walk site and sign up quick.

    Catch “The Laddy” doing Down & Dirty in Richmond on Wed.
    Corey Barker, the man who helped me develop the new Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks Tour, is going to be teaching the tour himself this Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia. It’s going to be a packed house, so if you want to catch the Photoshop Laddy and learn some really cool stuff from an incredible instructor, here’s the link to sign up.

  • Learning Location Lighting from Joe McNally
    There’s just one spot left for the week-long Location Lighting seminar Joe is hosting on the Island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean this July (I’ll be there, too, doing some workflow stuff on the last day), so if you’ve been on the fence about going; this is “last call,” (here’s the link).
     

    In other McNally news; Kelby Training Live is kicking off a new one-day Location Lighting Techniques seminar tour with Joe, that kicks off in San Francisco on Friday, July 31st. If you’ve ever wanted to spend a day learning from Joe; this is your chance. It will change the way you light forever! The one-day workshop is only $99 ($79 if you’re a NAPP member). Here’s the link with all the details.

    No Indy For Me
    Remember that shooting gig I dig for the Indy Racing League for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg? Well, right after that gig they contacted me and offered me the gig of shooting the entire Indy 500 weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), as part of the Indy Staff. There was only one problem: Friday I would be doing my Lightroom tour in Portland, and I looked at flights and I’d pretty much miss Saturday, too and everything but the actual race itself on Sunday. But after having been away from my family Tuesday through Saturday, I thought I’d better pass on shooting the race this time around and head home to see the kids. It was tough missing the opportunity to shoot the Indy 500. Well, it was until my daughter jumped into my arms on Saturday, and my son came running to hug me so fast that it literally almost knocked me over. That just reminded me once again that I had totally made the right decision. There isn’t a shot I could have taken that would have put that feeling in my heart, and that big a smile on my face. It’s great to be home.

    Tomorrow’s Special Guest Blogger is….
    Photoshop Hall of Famer, Canon Explorer of Light, Photoshop World Instructor, and one of the nicest, most genuine guy’s you’d ever want to meet; Eddie Tapp.

    If you’ve ever been lucky enough to catch one of Eddie’s classes at Photoshop World, or his online courses, then you know you’re in for a treat any time Eddie shares, well… anything! So join me here tomorrow as we check out our very special guest blogger, our good friend Eddie Tapp.

That’s it for today folks. I hope to have lots more to share on Thursday, so have a kick-butt Tuesday and Wednesday, and oh yeah, did I mention you should back-up your computer? ;-)

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