Category Archives Photo Gear

Just a heads up: My daily giveaway of semi-useful stuff from my camera closet” is still happening daily. Yesterday I gave away a cool flexibile flash mount; today it’s actually something really useful:

It’s a Kata-103 backback camera bag that holds lots of gear, plus your laptop, plus a tripod and all sorts of accessories. It comes with a pop-out rain cover, and is actually a fantastic camera bag—one of the best I’ve ever used. Really well made. (Here’s the link to it on Kata’s site just so you can see it better—-these photo on the blog were taken with my iPhone).

To enter, just go to my Twitter page (@Scottkelby), and leave me a Tweet saying something like “I want your stuff” or “I gotta bag that!” or something naughy (like you guys did yesterday. Since it’s empty you can call it the naked Kata bag if it makes you feel better), and you’re entered. Good luck!

TWO THINGS: (1) Tomorrow’s won’t be as cool. Back to semi-useful. (2) This actually is stuff from my camera closet at home. See you then!

OK, that headline sounds actually better than what this is going to be—because what’s really going on here is that I have accumulated a bunch of stuff in my camera closet at home, and sadly much of it has never been used, so it’s just been collecting dust. So I thought each day for the next week or so (or until I run out of stuff) I’d give some of this junk (er…cool photography micro-accessories) away to people who follow me on Twitter.

To enter this lame excuse for a giveaway, just stop by my Twitter page (@scottkelby) and if you see something you want that I’m giving away that day, just leave me a Tweet that says something along the lines of “I want Scott’s stuff” (Ok, that actually sounds kind of naughty, but you know what I mean). Anyway, each day I’ll post that day’s camera closet giveaway on my Twitter page, then later in the day I’ll pick somebody at random to get that day’s stuff.

Plus, I’ll ship the gear/gadget/dead squirrel to you free anywhere in the world, as long as it’s in Florida (kidding—I’ll gladly ship it anywhere just to get it out of my house. I mean, I’m happy to ship it wherever you live).

Now, at the top of this post is an intriguing photo taken in my home office on a white piece of paper using available light with my iPhone camera (however, I did have to do a bit of post production to get it to look like decent). That thing at the top, with the Nikon logo on the thin plastic case is actually….

…a very cool set of small screwdrivers that fit perfectly in a zipper pocket in your camera bag! (I never said this stuff was expensive, but this is actually a pretty handy little set, especially if you’re a Nikon shooter, but even if you’re a Canon shooter, too). So, that’s today’ kick-off giveaway.

Lastly, if you’re thinking, “This stuff isn’t that great…” just remember….I told you so. ;-)

I did a quick video about my first shoot with the just announced new Westcott Spiderlite TD-6s. If you’ve got two minutes and 16 seconds, check it out (I interrupt the shoot briefly to show you the difference between the old TD5-s and the new TD-6s and it will be instantly clear what’s new).

For more on the TD-6s, visit Westcott’s site. Also, if you’re not following Westcott on Facebook, you oughta. They always have cool stuff going on, or info on lighting techniques, giveaways, and stuff like that. Here’s the link.

P.S. Terry White did an in-depth review of the TD-6s over at his Tech Blog Here’s that link. While we’re having a link-fest. Here’s another (I’m not sure where it goes). ;-)

Sports photography legend Dave Black has been down here at the Kelby Training Online Studios this past week taping a class on using off camera flash for shooting action sports portraits. He was doing some amazing stuff all week (his class is going to be SICK!!!!! If you use off-camera flash, his stuff is going to blow your mind!!!!).

By the way: I know many of you already know Dave is an amazing instructor (ask anybody that saw him at Photoshop World), but when he’s not teaching, and just being a regular guy, he’s just as amazing. I got to spend some time with him this week—Dave even went to church on Sunday with my family, and he spent the day with us just hanging out, talking sports [my poor wife], sharing stories, but mostly laughing. He’s one of the most fun, genuine, and just great guys out there. He’s “the real deal.”

A Night to Remember
Anyway, one night at dinner I asked Dave for any tips he had about an upcoming Major League Baseball shoot I had coming up for Southcreek Global Media. Of course, he had a ton! I’ll tell you the exact same thing I told Matt Kloskowski when I came into the office the next day: “I learned more about sports photography last night, than I had in a year!” (It’s WAY more than I can fit in a blog post, or two, or 10!).

I had a bunch of questions about setting up a remote camera for shooting sports, and Dave convinced me to put together a remote rig  (shown below) and take it with me to my next MLB shoot (which was two days later—The Rays vs the Twins this past Saturday). He told me to mount it near me, just so I could get used to shooting a remote, and then once I was comfortable with it, then start to find cool places to mount it (like in the catwalk above the domed field, which they do allow if you get there the day before, or very early for the game, and you’re not afraid of crazy scary heights or intense heat. I was out on both counts).

The Remote Set-up
Brad put together a Manfrotto Super Clamp with a Manfrotto Variable Friction Magic Arm attached to mount and had a Nikon D700 with a 300mm f/2.8 lens attached. On top of the camera sits a Pocket Wizard attached to the camera with a 10-pin connector. That way, I could fire the camera in (High-Speed Continuous shooting mode) from where ever I was (there are four shooting pits at Tropicana Field, one before and after each dugout). I started with it just a few feet above my head, aimed at 2nd base (I used the auto focus to focus on 2nd base, then I switched to the focus button on the lens to Manual so the camera wouldn’t accidentally change focus while firing).

Above: You can see the position of the camera a little better here. The photo pit is below and to the right of the camera). To position or check the camera, I had to either climb up on the railing to adjust it (can’t do that during game play), or make the long trek up to the top of the that section, back down to the camera, and then back up and down again. Tip: when you re-aim the camera at a new target, make sure the focus is on the money. I switched to catch the batters, but the guy I focused on wasn’t fully in batting position, and I had about 100+ photos of batters, all just a little bit soft. Lesson learned.

Above: Here’s one of the shots I caught with the remote camera. I was shooting my 400mm at the batter, and out of the corner of my eye I saw the play developing at 2nd base, and I hit the fire button on the 2nd Pocket Wizard in my left hand, and caught the shot you see here (and a whole series of this play) with the remote camera.

The part of actually getting used to shooting with the Remote didn’t take long (I totally dig it), but now the challenge is timing and finding cool places to put the remote (where I won’t get in trouble—they have rules where you can put them). I’m covering a few more games for them in the next week or so, so I’ll get more opportunities to work on my remote scheme. But, I want to thank Dave for encouraging me to do it, and to Brad for making everything work together. :)

Above: I saw one of my shots from Saturday’s Rays vs Twins game featured on the home page of Southcreek’s site (seen above). Sweet!!

Catch Dave Today on “The Grid”
Dave’s our in-studio guest on today’s LIVE broadcast of “The Grid” (at 12:00 noon EDT) and our first topic is “Can you make a living shooting sports photography.” It’s gonna be a great show!!! We’re also talking about what we want to see in the next round of DSLRs. Here’s the link (send us live comments during the show via Twitter: just add #thegridlive to any tweets, and we’ll see ’em).

One Last Thing!
While Dave was already here doing classes, we also got him to do a separate class on Light Painting (for those of you who follow his excellent “Workshop at the Ranch” tutorials [link], you know Dave is one of the leading educators when it comes to light painting, and is a true master of this very cool genre. If you don’t know what Light Painting is, follow that link. You’ll be hooked!

Have you been eyeballing that 70-200mm f/2.8 lens for a while?  How about the new Nikon D7000 or Canon 7D?  Now is the time to try out the object of your desire, because our friends over at Lens Pro To Go are offering a 15% discount on all seven-day (or longer) rentals this month!

To take advantage of this limited-time offer, just enter the discount code FEB15 during checkout.

While you’re there, also make sure you check out their sister site, StudioShare.org!

And keep on reading for more pimpy :)

Well, football season is over (at least for me, anyway), so it’s time to move on to other shoots. This weekend I was up in New York City speaking at an event Friday evening (more on that tomorrow), but while I was up there, I managed to fit in a fashion shoot on Saturday morning at Sandbox Studio in SoHo.

I was lucky enough to work with the same creative team I did for my last shoot up in NYC (link) and the shoot was coordinated by the coolest Fashion Stylist ever—the wonderful Sophia Batson (link). She coordinated and styled all the outfits, and I got to work once again with Sophia’s hand picked hair and make-up artists: Linh Nguyen and Cassandra Renee (they rock!).

With Sophia’s help, we arranged two fantastic models (Megan [Seen above] and Tanja) through a New York City agency, and before you knew it, Brad Moore and I were getting the studio ready for our 10:00 am call time. (Note: in the photo at the top of the page, L to R that’s Susan (helping out on the set); Lihn, Megan, Sophia, and Cassandra).

(Above: Here’s the lighting set-up for the shot up top [production photo by Brad Moore]. That’s a 500 watt Elinchrom BXRI strobe right above her, with a 17″ Beauty Dish attachment on it, with a diffusion sock in front on it to soften the look a bit. Below and in front of her is just a reflector—–the other light isn’t actually turned on—I’m just using it as a makeshift reflector stand. I tried the shot with the bottom strobe turned on, but even powered down as low as it would go, I felt it was too bright, so I turned off the strobe, and instead just laid a silver reflector on top of it like you see here.

There is a second strobe on the floor behind my laptop lighting the white cove background. I’m shooting tethered directly into Lightroom 3. Here’s a link for details on the tripod accessory arm I’m using to hold my ballhead and my laptop. Here’s the link to the laptop stand itself. The tripod they’re mounted on is the new Really Right Stuff TVC-33 Versa Carbon Fiber tripod (link) and this was my first time trying it out (a full review coming soon). Incredibly well made tripod—sturdy as anything, and 100% made in the USA no less).

(Above: some unretouched frames from that set, shown in Lightroom’s Grid View)

Sandbox Studio also is a daylight studio, so I wanted to opportunity to try some natural daylight stuff while I was there, but you can also limit the light for shooting with strobes which is primarily what we did.

Above: Brad shot the short video tour of the studio with his iPhone (we had Pandora radio playing in the background), which gives you a better look at where we were shooting (plus, it includes a gratuitous shot of me texting before the shoot). Very cool place, really helpful staff (and five different studios available for rent).

(Above: Here’s a beauty-style shot of Tanja [originally from Serbia, and has a thick accent, but raised in Wisconsin. Probably a Packers fan, but she kept it well hidden so I didn’t kick her off the set. Kidding.]. I like this shot because it shows off Cassandra’s beautiful makeup job.

We used the same lighting set-up as the first image, but Brad got a great perspective of the lighting set-up with this production shot, so I wanted to share it with you. The reason the Beauty Dish light looks orange is because what you’re seeing is the Modeling Light only—not the actual flash from the strobe.

(Above: some unretouched frames from that set, shown in Lightroom’s Grid View)

Over the three hours of shooting, we did six “looks” with different outfits, hair, and make-up, and Sophia coordinated everything so all Brad and I had to do was focus on the lighting and the shooting.

I’ll share some of the other looks and production photos tomorrow in Part 2. See you then.

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