Category Archives Photography

Pete Collins here filling in for Scott…

I don’t know about you, but when another photographer says to me… “You have to go there!” I tend to nod politely while internally I am thinking… yeah right, it can’t be that good. So for a couple of years now I have heard about Old Car City outside of Atlanta, and how great it was, but I was secretly like “it can’t be as good as they say.” Well, I am here to admit that Old Car City is definitely worth putting on your bucket list. According to the Internet, which only tells the truth, this place is ranked as the third best junkyard in the world behind the Russian space junkyard, and the Airplane boneyard out in Arizona. (of course I don’t know who rates these things or what is the criteria, but at the end of the day this place is pretty darn impressive.)

Fancy sign Fancy spelling. Photo by Clint Brownlee
The inner lair of Dean Lewis... Photo by Clint Brownlee

Located about 50 miles outside of Atlanta in White, Ga. (Yep, way too easy to make inappropriate jokes so let’s move on.) This dixieland automotive museum spans 34 acres with over 4000 American cars covering over six miles of trails. The thing that makes it so unique is that the cars are becoming one with the environment… some of them have been around since 1931 and have been reclaimed by trees, grass and bushes. I could give you a lot of facts, etc… about the place, but I am going to write this from my perspective as a photographer and first time visitor and hopefully you will enjoy the images and the insight with the end result being that you having a new place added to your bucket list. Be sure to check out their website, OldCarCityUSA.com.

The Journey
I drove down from Chattanooga with my buddy and fellow camera junky Mike Daniels; he did the navigating. I tend to get distracted and miss places, so I was glad he was there to guide us. I was then extra glad that he came along since Dean Lewis (the owner) only takes cash and I conveniently forgot my wallet. :D The cost of entry is $25, and Dean is happy to direct you down the road to an ATM if you forget. Dean was busy doodling on one of his cups and talking to a gentleman named Clint Brownlee when we arrived. Dean is what I like to call “a mess.” Now for those of you not from the south the term “a mess” can be used in a variety of ways depending on the tone/inflection and twinkle in the eye of the one speaking. This particular use of the term means “someone who is unique and inspiring, and yet maybe a bit strange.” Sort of like that uncle that you hope will come for Christmas and bring his amazing set of fireworks, but then you spend the whole time trying to not let him drink too much eggnog before he goes out to light them so he doesn’t lose yet another finger. :D (I hope that makes sense… someone you want to watch, just to see what he will do next.)

Clint Brownlee is another one of use crippled with the photography bug and is responsible for putting together the Old Car City blog, and he happens to follow Scott and our crew, so he was able to vouch for me with Dean. Actually, Dean knew of our group because last year at Photoshop World in Atlanta we had a workshop come out, and then Bill Fortney has done a class out there. I told Dean that I was Scott’s boss… but I don’t think he bought it since he then tried to charge me double. :D Make sure to check out Clint’s blog. Clint volunteered to show me around the place… which is a huge undertaking… only 34 acres… meh, we should be done in no time. As we started out, he shared with me that he and a friend of his had been coming out here multiple times a week when they first discovered the place and I now understand whey.

To get a true feel of the place, you need to appreciate this new installment that Dean has placed near the entrance to the cars. Yep, that is pretty creepy. Larry Becker titled it “Youth Springs Eternal!”

Dean says welcome! Don't mind the dolls!

Once past the baby dolls, it became sensory overload… It wasn’t a matter of trying to find something to shoot, it was trying to narrow your focus so that you could actually not spend the entire day just at the front of the place. You know that feeling when you come across something so neat and cool that giggles sneak out spontaneously? It was at that point that I felt like Roy Scheider in Jaws… “We are going to need a bigger boat!” We were going to need a longer day and more energy to be able to take it all in.

Clint was doing his best to be a tour guide, but at a certain point I just needed to play, and so I asked if I could take off on my own to wander around with my camera. It was early morning, hot, humid, wet and I didn’t care… I was in heaven. How good a place is it? I don’t know about you, but I hold my breath when I take a picture, and at one point I realized I was really out of breath from taking too many pictures back to back… it was such a target rich environment. Think of it like a giant easter egg hunt with 4,000 golden eggs.

The old Old Car City office
Just past the baby dolls, the fun begins
A photographers playground awaits
Wonderful mixture of man vs. nature

Let’s talk about my gear and my approach for the day.

(more…)

One of the great things about always working on another book or another online class is â” you get to shoot a lot for these projects, and I just wrapped up a location fashion shoot a few weeks ago at an incredible location â” the Howey Mansion in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida (about 2-hours from the KelbyOne Headquarters). I learned about the location from RC, and our friend Kathy Porupski had a contact there and so we put an all-day shoot together with a very ambitious schedule.

First, some of the final images:

 

Planning Stages
Once we got close to locking down the location, I asked my wife Kalebra to do all the art direction on the shoot â” everything from picking our models (Adriana and Sara) to the styling (we brought the dresses in from Lindsay Adler’s awesome Dream Shoot Rentals, which is the coolest resource to get access to New York dresses, outfits, and accessories without actually have to be in New York, and at a fraction of the price if you were). She also picked and worked with our awesome Hair and Makeup Team ( Kalebra (art direction & styling); Hendrickje Makeup FX (makeup) and Lauren Edwards (hair).

We had three assistants working with us on the set, Brad, Rob Foldy, and Lynn Miller. The ironic thing was â” we brought so much Lighting Gear and grip equipment that it wouldn’t all fit in Brad’s SUV so we had to go rent a U-Hual van to move it all. As it turned out, we didn’t actually even use any lighting to the very last shoot of the day, which was pretty much a disaster (as you’ll see at the end of this post).

Behind The Scenes Shots
All the shots you saw above were all taken in natural light, with either a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 or a Canon 16-35mm super wide angle. Here (below) are some behind-the-scenes shot (bts photos by Brad Moore).

 

(Above: Here’s the behind-the-scene shot for the first one, with me set-up wwwwwwaaaaayyyyy back!). That’s a mini boombox on the apple crate in front of me. Having music on the set is an absolute must! Also, this is a natural light shoot, but we softened the light coming in the window by putting a frosted shower curtain liner over the window, a tip I learned from Joe McNally years ago). 

 

(Above: I’m shooting down low with a Canon 16-35mm, shooting tethered into Lightroom. So, how did we get her dress up in the air like that? See the next shot.).

(Above: On the count of three, either Rob or Lynn would toss the dress in the air and then duck out of the scene, as seen here. Click for a larger view).

 

(Above: Look how far back I’m shooting here. I’m not even in the same room â” I’m out in the foyer shooting into the room. Again, all natural light). 

(Above: I’m down low, shooting on a tripod with a Canon 16-35mm super wide-angle lens; shooting tethered in Lightroom. All natural light). 

(Above: outside on the balcony, natural light on a rainy overcast day. I shot tight-in shots with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, and the wide shot you see above this one once again with the Canon 16-35mm). 

(Above: Hey, Scott - this is the behind-the-scenes shot. Where’s the final shot? There is no final shot. I had this idea that we’d put a little bit of smoke up into the top of an umbrella but as soon as we connected the smoke machine, we realized there’s no such thing as a ‘little bit of smoke’ and we spent most of the time just standing there in a huge cloud of smoke just laughing. Nice time â” no smoke machine. Dry ice instead). 

Thanks for letting me share this shoot (the good and theâ¦ahemâ¦bad), and I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Hey, next Friday I’m in Hartford with my full-day seminar. Hope you can come out and join me for the day. Tickets here. 

Hi Gang: Today I thought I’d share five trailers for some new classes you might want to check out this Memorial Day weekend over on KelbyOne.com.

If you’re not already a member, you can join for $19.99 and watch the full-length versions of ALL of these classes today, (and while you’re there, you can watch any of the about 500+ more online classes on Lighting, Photoshop, Lightroom, Video Editing, and Photography unlimited for the next 30-days!) Here’s the link (but check out these trailers first!):

1. Peter Hurley shows you how to edit down an entire shoot to get you to that “one” special image

http://youtu.be/AAoBuSE4QwI

2. Joe McNally takes you underwater for aâ¦umâ¦Mermaid shoot? ( You’ll love it!)

http://youtu.be/ObtUJj0nUaU

3. Cliff Mautner teaches you how to shoot a wedding, during a real wedding! (live and uncensored)

http://youtu.be/wQMaNJuRHOs

4. Learn to shoot a Safari, on an actual Safari in Africa with Moose Peterson

http://youtu.be/JTgK4xmaIvM

5. Jeremy Cowart shows you how to light and shoot awesome portraits just about anywhere!

http://youtu.be/W9GBh6OIWTU

Lots of fun stuff to learn this weekend – make the most of it, and for those of you who are joining KelbyOne for the first time, welcome aboard â” we’re really glad to have you with us. :)

Here’s wishing you and yours a safe, happy, and fun Memorial Day Weekend.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. I posted #6 of my series on “What I’d love to see next in Lightroom” over at LightroomKillerTips.com

 

 

Go Back Up Your Photos. Right Now!
When I was on the road in LA a few weeks ago I heard yet another heartbreaking story from a photographer who didn't have a back-up of his photos, and he lost every photo he had taken in the last few years, including family shots â” everything â” gone forever.

Stop whatever you're doing and right this very minute, and take a few minutes to protect the visual history of your life, and back up your images. Just drag them onto another hard drive. If you don't have one; here’s a link to one of the portable drives I keep with me â” it’s a WD 1-terabyte drive for just $58 at B&H Photo. It works like a champ!). It takes so much less effort than you'd think.

My Backup and Organization Strategy
I’m working on an online class right now that not only shares some real world backup strategies (I use Synology NAS drives, which are awesome but it works with any drives), but more importantly I reveal a method for organizing your images (even before you get into Lightroom or whatever), that will make your life so much easier and less stressful (plus you’ll sleep better at night). I might do it as a live Webinar, and then record it for KelbyOne members to watch anytime â” not sure yet, but I’m working on the outline now. More when I have all the details.

Anyway, this is just your friendly reminder that this is, officially, “Back Up Your Photos Tuesday.” :)

Hope yours is a productive one.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. If you haven’t yet seen my stirring, emotional, personal message to the photographers in the Hartford, Connecticut area, you’ve got to take a moment and watch this short 1-minute, 30-second video. It will change you in a very dramatic way (Note: if you don’t live near Hartford, don’t watch it because then it will just freak you out). bit.ly/1AcrE2p 

Hi gang â” I just posted a few shots from my trip this past week to Valencia. We (my big brother Jeff and me) were only in Valencia one and a half days, and we got just over 5-hours in Madrid. Why so short? We totally messed up our planning â” we were supposed to be there three days â” the images, and the story, are over at Exposure.

Here’s the link

If you get a sec, I hope you can check them out. Have a great Monday, and we’ll catch ya tomorrow.

Best,

-Scott

P.S. I’m doing a series on “Features I’d love to see added to Lightroom” and today is “#4” of 10. If you get a sec, pop on over to LightroomKillerTips.com and join in the discussion â” lots of great feature ideas in the comments section. 

Hi gang. Here’s a few pages from the photo book I always create after a trip (I made the book in Lightroom’s Book module). The area we were mostly in is the French Riviera, but there it’s called the C´te d’Azur and that sounds a lot fancier so I went with that for the name of my book, even though we would up taking a day trip to Italy (where we went to in Italy was just 3-1/2 hours by car).

Anyway, I was pretty light on the photography this trip – I did a lot of relaxing and just sightseeing – In six days I only took 1,057 shots total, including a lot of bracketed shots. That breaks down to only around 170 shots a day, which is really light for me, but I have to say, it was one of the most relaxing and fun trips I’ve had in a while. Absolutely loved it! OK, on to the book (I’ll tell more in the captions).

NOTE: Click on the images to see a larger version.

Above: Is it bad that my first shot isn’t from France? This is Vernazza in Italy’s Cinque Terre. We drove there one morning, and then hiked up on the side of the hill to get this shot and stayed there until well after sunset. Kalebra was a trooper to make the climb with me up there because it was a bit of haul, going straight up tons of really steep stairs and stuff, but the view was really gorgeous from up there. 

Above: While we’re in Italy, let’s have lunch! These are from Portofino, Italy. I was there in 2009 and it was awesome to see it again. It looked exactly the same. They hadn’t even moved a pebble in six years. 

Above: It tasted even better than it looks! Bella bella cucina! (inside joke there).

Above: OK, we’re back to the French Riviera, and here’s a shot overlooking Monte Carlo. They had the grandstands and track set-up for the world famous Monaco Grand Prix Formula 1 race, and you could actually drive the track since it winds through the city streets, and so of course we had to. There’s nothing like driving an F1 track in an SUV. ;-)

Above: My two favorite places in Monaco were the marina, where all those amazing yachts are docked, and the area around the famous casino, which is just beautiful. Here’s a few shots from around the casino (btw: the cover shot shows part of the roof of the casino itself). 

Above: Monaco is like a moving exotic car showroom – especially in front of the casino where I found this Ferrari, but honestly finding a Ferrari or Lambo in Monaco takes about 60-seconds â” just stop anywhere on the streets and one will be driving by shortly. 

Above: Here’s the Casino at night. They’re kinda “Snapshottylooking” â” I just handheld them on the way by as we were heading back from dinner, but I wanted to have something to remind me of how the Casino looked at night. I didn’t even have to wait â” a Porsche 911 was, of course, driving right by us. 

Above: Kalebra really wanted to see the Princess Grace Rose Garden and as soon as we arrived it started raining, but we waited it out and an hour later we had the place to ourself. I grabbed a few shots, but I’m not a “flower guy” – I have to say, Kalebra is a “flower girl” and she crushed it with her flower shots. Here’s a link to her blog where you can see some of them.

Above: This is the hotel we stayed in, in Cap-Ferrat, which is located pretty much right between Nice and Monaco, and not far from Cannes. It’s called the Royal Riviera and it was a wonderful place to stay. Terrific service and pretty fast internet (which matters when you’re doing research for what you’re going to do the next day, and backing up your files to Dropbox). Anyway, the next couple of pages are interior shots from the hotel. 

Above: These are 16-bit HDR images compiled using Lightroom CC’s Merge to HDR feature.

Above: More 16-bit realistic HDRs done in Lightroom CC alone. 

Above: We took a morning trip to Eze Village â” a tiny old world village on the top of a hill, and it was just as charming as it could be. Really enjoyed it (and the girls loved the shopping). Had an amazing lunch at Deli', a tiny salad restaurant and olive oil shop at the top of hill. If you go to this region, Eze is a must-see. Here’s a couple of more shots from Eze.

Above: These shots were taken at the restaurant Deli'.

Above: It wasn’t exactly a spice market, but a vendor had a nice set-up selling different spices, including some that looked like potpourri.

Above: I call it “Spice stuff in interesting light.” ;-)

Above: That bowl was behind the spice vendor’s table and it looked kinda interesting. On the right â” this little sculpture was under an umbrella at one of the many outdoor cafes in Eze. 

Above: Remember I mentioned earlier that Kalebra and I stayed up on the top of this hill until sunset? Well, the sun didn’t actually “set” it just kind of disappeared into a foggy cloudy mess, so the sky is kinda lame which is why I pretty much kept it out of the shot. I took this one and then we headed back down the hill toward town for a delicious dinner in a charming little restaurant. 

Above: Here’s a few inside the church in the Eze village, and one of the only fisheye shots from the entire trip. Why did I lug a fisheye to France? I have no idea. Shoulda left it home. 

Above: Another one inside the church to wrap things up. 

Two versions of the book
I always make two versions of each book â” one for me as a photographer, and one for the folks with us on the trip, and we were there with another couple (Debbie and Kleber), and they were a blast and made the trip so much fun, so the other book has all those sorts of shots, and if you look at my blog post from yesterday you’ll see a shot of Kalebra and me taken in front of the casino â” so it’s this book (with lots of other pages I didn’t show), along with a bunch of shots like that.

Well, gotta get to the office. Thanks for letting me share these with you, and I hope you all have an awesome Tuesday!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Tomorrow on “The Grid” we’re doing our monthly “Blind Photo Critiques” show, so check out my Facebook or Twitter pages on how to submit your images to be critiqued on the show. 

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