Scott, are you serious? After all the heat you took over:

(a) Buying your first Apple watch, and
(b) Then returning it for a full refund, you’re going to buy another one? Really?

Yes, really.

Here’s a quick Q&A on why:

Q. So, I thought your big problem with it was that you didn’t want to take your watch off each night to charge it? Isn’t the battery life still the same?
A. Yes, that was absolutely my main gripe — I like to wear my watch at night, but apparently that’s when it should be charging.

Q. So what changed your mind?
A. Apple releasing Watch OS2 (supposed to be tomorrow I believe). It has a new nightstand mode that lets you lay it on its side while charging on your nightstand – it flips the watch face sideways, and if you need to see the time in the middle of the night, you just tap the watch face.

Q. That’s not nearly as convenient as just wearing it though.
A. I know, but it’s at least a step in the right direction, so I’m willing to give it a try.

Q. Really, that’s all it took?
A. Well, quite honestly there are three other reasons:

  1. When I returned my original Apple watch for a full refund I went back to my Fossil watch, which never needs charging and looks pretty decent, but I hate the watch band like you cannot believe, and after having the Apple Watch, I realized that it’s a “dumb watch.” It just tells the time, looks nice and that’s about it. The Apple watch at least did cool stuff – it was lighter, and I liked being able to change the watch face on a whim.
  2. This article called “The thing with the Apple watch is everybody thought about it wrong” really made me see the Apple Watch in a whole new light, and it’s the best explanation of why the tech bloggers and writers just “don’t get it.”
  3. My old Fossil watch was heavy and I hated the strap (the end kept popping out of the two thin loops), whereas the Apple Watch is really lightweight (I didn’t realize how heavy my old watch felt, or how much I liked the Apple Watch strap until I put my old Fossil watch back on).

Q. When you returned your first watch, you said you actually liked the watch itself – it was just the charging thing. Is that still correct?
A. I must admit, though I still don’t like the charging, I actually missed the watch itself, which is another big motivating factor.

Q. But didn’t you get slammed for buying it in the first place, and then slammed again for returning it?
A. Oh man, did I ever. Here’s just one (of many) I received after returning my first Apple watch – the first line is referring to something I wrote in that post, so his words start with “What about…:

I really needed to know what time it was, and my iPhone was charging on the other side of the house, so I had to find my iPad just to know what time it was.”

What about the oven, microwave, television, computer, any number of other devices within steps of you inside your own home. Did you try glancing at any one of those you pathetic douchebag! This is the most absurd article I have ever read, and you should be ashamed of yourself for bitching about needing to buy a second watch because you are too [deleted super bad words] worthless and lazy to be bothered to get off your fat a@# and figure it out. Go [really bad word] yourself [bad]hole.”

[Note: I edited his last line by adding in  those @#’s in his naughty words. His original comment of course didn’t have those].

He wrote me that comment because I returned my first watch for a refund.

Q. Ouch! Why was he so mad that YOU returned YOUR watch? It’s not like you forced him to return HIS watch?
A. I know. Welcome to my world. I’ve learned that if you say anything positive or negative about Apple, there are a certain percentage of people who just absolutely freak out, and they pretty much fit into two groups: Apple apologists are people who can’t imagine Apple creating or doing anything that isn’t perfect, so if someone complains about their Apple product they immediately blame the user (me, in this case), because they can’t bring themselves to blame Apple. Apple haters on the other hand, are just haters, and just the mention of Apple’s name brings them out in droves. You’ll see them here in the comments, even though I just called them out. They just can’t help it — haters gotta hate.


Q. So which model did you get?
A. I got the Stainless Steel version this time rather than the aluminum Sport Watch (it was $150 more), after seeing them all in person at the Apple store yesterday (it’s the one in the center above, with the white band). I also bought a black band (yes, you have to buy them separately if you don’t want the one that came with your watch, and they ain’t cheap — $50 for their lowest priced one. The one I really wanted turned out to be $445. For just the watch band. Um…I passed on that one.). The bands just slide in/out surprisingly easy — you push a button on the back and they slide out. Very cleverly designed.


Q. What if it doesn’t work out this time? What if you don’t like the new nightstand mode?
A. I’ll know within just a few days how I like it, and of course I can return it for a full refund (within 14 days), but honestly, I don’t think I will this time because I realize that I actually miss having an Apple Watch, and with Watch OS2 it seems like it has more of what I liked about it in the first place. Plus, I’m tired of having a “dumb watch.” So, I’d be pretty surprised if I wound up returning it this time.

Q. But you could be wrong, right?
A. Right. Just ask anybody. ;-)

Q. But the Apple watch isn’t nearly as advanced as [insert the one you like better here]. Why’d you get that one instead of [insert the one you bought here]?
A. Read that article in Reason #2 above. That pretty much explains why.

Well, despite the fact that I decided to give the Apple Watch another try, I still hope you have a great Tuesday. :)



P.S. I’m also trying out a PC Laptop, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and a set of Bose Headphones, so load your weapons. ;-)

Hi Gang: Sorry for the late post today (I’m still up in NYC – supposed to have gone home last night but the weather didn’t cooperate), but better late than never (at least, I hope that’s what you’re thinking). Anyway, today’s is a ad I was in a Web banner for a test-drive of some Olympus cameras, but of course as a Canon shooter I don’t have any photos of Olympus cameras, so I used a shot of a 5D Mark III (photo by Brad Moore) and it’ll do the trick.

NOTE: If you want to follow along using the same image I used here: here’s the link (right click on it to download).

There are actually three cool techniques in this tutorial
So it’s definitely worth giving it a try. Here goes: (more…)


Wedding Photography Bundle by Jerry Ghionis
Join Jerry Ghionis on an action-packed, non-stop series of wedding shoots as he shares an endless supply of professional tips and tricks on everything from posing your subjects to getting proper exposure in every form of light you can find. This bundle includes Jerry’s KelbyOne classes Picture-Perfect Lighting Techniques and Perfect Posing Techniques. Leave a comment for your chance to win this bundle, a $69.00 value, for free!

Last Week’s Winner
1-Month KelbyOne Subscription
– Randy in MS

If that’s you, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

Passion Tells the Story

We’d driven eight hours and gotten in later on Friday night than desired. We needed to be in place for the sunrise shoot the next morning, which with the alarm set for 04:45, we were ready to greet it. We’d been trying to make this shoot happen for a couple of months and had rescheduled it numerous times because of weather and smoke from a number of wildfires. While in theory if we got skunked, which does happen more times than not, we could reschedule the shoot again, but the time had been committed to now. So before turning off the lights for the night, sensors were cleaned, batteries charged and everything triple checked. The forecast for the next day was perfect so sleep came fast and hard. Then the alarm went off and it was time. We stepped out of the lodge with gear and coffee only to be greeted by overcast and a rainy mist. I looked up to see a low, dense coastal fog had rolled in and then I knew we were not going to see a sunrise. Off we went as if everything was going to plan. What other option is there? We were skunked this day, but as it turned out, the next morning the stars lined up, we flew and made the images we needed to tell the story.


What continues to push and inspire my photography is a passion to tell the story. My greatest joy still comes when a critter is in my viewfinder sharing their world with me, so I can share it with you. I’m very fortunate to indulge in this love nearly every day. Then a number of years back, our photographic world grew when a closet passion for aviation was able to enter my viewfinder. It came at the right time in our photographic lives when we had the time, photographic tool chest and room in the heart to chase it down as we have critters for over three decades. And it’s with that critter and landscape background that we approached aviation.


The correlations between the disciplines in our photography of critters and aviation are rather spooky. With critters it’s always been the relationship with the biologist as much as the critter that led to eventual success. With aviation, it’s the pilot as much as the aircraft that’s taking us in that same direction. The biologist and the pilot bring to life the story of the subjects who can’t speak for themselves. Because of this, just as our relationships with biologists have been the key to my photographic success with wildlife, it has turned out that our relationships with pilots are the reason for my success with aviation. And without any grand design, this all evolved into a book project, which at this time has no end point.


The Flying Passion – History Alive in Today’s Aviators actually wasn’t a book project in the beginning. It all started with Chris’ portrait, what was originally just going to be an article. We have been good friends for some time, I’d photographed him in his OY-1 Sentinel air to air long ago (thanks Jake!). Tracking down its history he learned it flew over the beaches of Iwo Jima on landing day in WWII! Chris has a deep passion for flying, aircraft and history, and especially sharing all of that and so much more with others. Well his portrait turned out pretty good and as we all know, when photographers make a photo that works, we attempt to repeat it. The next one went well too, so did number three and four (I’m now up to number 43). The single article morphed into a series and that, well you guessed it, morphed into the book. But Chris’ portrait set the criteria for those included in the book, which is how the name Flying Passion came to be.


As a visual storyteller sharing life’s events I’m so fortunate to witness, and the verbal stories I’m told, puts a huge load on my shoulders to share with others. It turns out taking the portraits is the easiest part of the book. Doing the interviews and writing up the accounts, now that’s a cranker! I think one pilot in particular really sums up the passion this project brings to my photography.


Don Rolf’s story in aviation began in Southern California when he was 17, in 1939. Back then he was flying around So Cal in a 1931 Waco delivering airplane parts. He flew out of Monrovia Airport, which is now a shopping mall. Don didn’t realize it but on one of his approaches into Monrovia, his photograph was captured in what turned out to be a very historic image taken by a young photographer, Clancy Hess. Clancy, as fate would have it, also flew that exact same Waco back then and became a famous Naval photographer shooting in the Pacific during WWII. He also became a dear friend of mine. On D Day+1 Don found himself on Omaha Beach, and, as life would have it, he was in a special unit with the Army, not the Air Corp. The unit worked their way across Europe and Don has quite the stories about his adventures. The storytelling turns solemn when Don comes up to the Battle of the Bulge. His unit had to crawl between the Allied and German lines on those dark, cold, snowy days. They were putting orange flagging into place to direct the aerial attack for the P-47 Thunderbolts when the weather cleared. Can you imagine, bullets and shells flying overhead in both directions because no one knew they were there?! He tells the tale all the way up to when the P-47s were directly overhead and making their runs. Here he goes silent. The rest of the story goes untold, so we can only assume it’s too dreadful to be told.


Well that exact same ’31 Waco that Don & Clancy and so many others flew in So Cal in the ‘30s still flies! It was restored by its current caretaker (as he prefers to say) and flown by our dear friend Warren. Sharon & I have flown many times in this gorgeous aircraft and have a real love affair with it. Warren being Warren, he seems to have vets gravitate to him and in this case, Don’s son reached out to Warren. Finding out that Warren owned the plane his dad had flown so long ago and that it still flies, he arranged to get his dad back into the Waco. Two months later Don was in Minot, ND with Warren at the stick flying him around. Don had the biggest smile you’d ever seen! Yes, Warren is very much a part of the Flying Passion project, as are Don and Clancy (who passed this last December). One aircraft touched the lives of these three aviators and time brought them all together. And our camera was there to tell their story. That’s what photography is all about!


And there are SO MANY thousands upon thousands of stories like this out there waiting to be told! We learned this decades ago with critters and it was reinforced when we started working with pilots. The living history they have to share is overwhelming! And any one person can’t do it all! There are some really dedicated individuals and organizations out there working to preserve this history, but as you might imagine that’s still not enough. As you might also imagine, just wanting to take on any personal project no matter what the subject takes more than just the desire. It’s what gets you started and what keeps you going, feeding your passion, but there are some gaps and that’s why we share all that we do. One photograph can change the world!


I’m very fortunate to have a special relationship with KelbyOne. (Hope you’re catching the drift, relationships are important in this business!) Sharing this story with them got them involved in my personal project and taking it to a new level. It first led to the production of our film, Warbirds and the Men Who Flew Them. The response was huge! From this we learned there is an audience on the edge of their seats (that in large part is you!) wanting to hear these stories and getting involved with it all. We’ve recognized the desire, so now we want to help with the tools to mix with that desire to take on that personal project.


We literally need an army of photographers / videographers out there to record the story of our living history! Don is 93 this year and like many WWII vets, is creeping up to the end of his storytelling years. With this pressing need and the response to Warbirds, KelbyOne and I have produced two new classes on Pilot Portraits and Air to Air Photography. The first one comes out tomorrow to get you involved in the storytelling process. Both of these classes are based on the assumption you’re new to all of this and take you from the start to the very end, covering the basics to the most advanced. Small flash and small planes, big flash and big planes and everything in between is covered. Yeah, there is that camera gear and technique stuff thrown about in the classes, but it’s also just as much about building that all-important relationship and telling the story. Both projects are from the heart as much as the camera bag.


Where do you start? Well in Pilot Portraits, you start by first making introductions and the simple portrait. Always working on making the uncommon from the common, we start at the hangar. With nothing more required than a camera and lens, I’ll show you by simply moving a subject back into a hangar you can find dramatic lighting to create that first portrait. That huge door wide open is a great light source and the hangar is a place pilots are very comfortable. Combining the two is how you introduce your skills and passion to the pilot that can lead to so much more, hopefully that air to air photo mission. In our Air to Air class, we also start in the beginning, which means on the ground. Light is what wraps up our visual storytelling and learning that on the ground is essential! How do you do that? You’ll see as we “fly” a model around looking at the light falling on it, the background and then the combo to tell the story. You learn just like the pilots do, in ground school before you take to the air. We’ve laid it all out for you so all you have to do is insert your passion to make it all come to life!


Photographers come to photography often thinking the f/stop, shutter speed and Photoshop are the biggest challenges to be conquered to be successful. Not to scare you, but that’s the easiest and simplest to master in this craft. It’s not till after you think you understand light that the challenge really becomes personal and the mastery creeps along. Because it is then you must invest the most important ingredient for improvement, time! Personal projects where you invest your heart, time and personality to tell the visual story are the true calling of photography. Stories unfold every second of every day around the world providing us all with an opportunity to explore and invest, to fail and succeed in and what I still feel is the grandest pursuit in life. The ball is now in your court to move forward, just remember, passion tells the story!

You can see more of Moose’s work at, and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Keep an eye out for his upcoming KelbyOne classes, Pilot Portraits and The Art of Air to Air!

I know that a lot of you already are on Instagram, but almost daily I have somebody ask why they should be on Instagram if they’re already on Facebook or on Twitter. But it wasn’t really until two things happened recently, that I really got excited about Instagram and started to post there regularly.

The first happened during an episode of “The Grid” where we were talking about social media for photographers, where that same “Why should I be on Instagram” question came up, and when I heard my answer out loud, it even upped my usage of Instagram (I was really, really late to the Instagram thing – I started an account years ago but only used it a couple of times because I really didn’t “get it” but there were other reasons. So today, I’m giving you 7 reasons, including my first one, from that Grid episode:

  1. It’s the only big social media platform based on photography
    Twitter is about text (and not much of it at that). They just started embracing photos recently, but they still penalize you for using a photo by taking away from your 140 character count. Facebook only started really caring in the last couple of years, and that’s only because when Google+ was getting big, it did care about a photo. A lot. That’s why it resonated with the photo crowd. So, that was what I said on “The Grid” that day in answer to that guy’s question — it’s the only big social media platform based on photography – how can you not be there?
  2. They fixed the whole “your image has to be cropped square” thing
    Now you have the choice, and it’s built right into the app. This is a brand new development and it changed everything for me personally (this is the 2nd thing I mentioned above). I used to use a separate app called SquareReady which kept my image’s original wide orientation intact by adding black bars on the top and bottom (kind of like letterbox widescreen in movies), but now that’s it added right in, it doesn’t take me twice as long, and two different apps, just to post one photo. This is a HUGE thing for serious photographers because the original crop is how we saw the scene. It’s our composition. Having to make your image square (or use a separate app with a letterbox effect), wasn’t cutting it. Thank you Instagram for making your app serious photography friendly.
  3. You don’t have to write a lot.
    Unlike the other social media, here your image counts more than your words, so you can say very little, or nothing at all, and its totally OK. Sometimes, I just can’t write another post, but I still want to share an image. Instagram is perfect for that.
  4. Tons of photographers are already there
    All the big name photographers. All the big brands. The whole world is on Instagram, so you’ll be in good company and lots of it. It took off back in 2010 and it’s just exploded since then. I wish I had embraced it a long time ago.
  5. It’s a wonderful place for inspiration
    Just like other social media platforms, you follow the photographers you want to follow and you’ll see the images they post daily (I hope you’ll follow me there – I’m posting lots of travel, portraits/fashion and sports images there each day now. I’m on there under ‘scottkelby‘ on Instagram). There’s tons of inspirational images that keep your creative juices flowing. I see a lot of really wonderful, beautiful, compelling images there every day. You can tap a heart to send a like. You can comment. Or you can just sit back and scroll through a stream of inspiration and fun.
  6. The Instagram App is really good
    It’s simple and clean and that’s a good thing. It’s the least complicated app on earth – you just scroll down through images. If you want to post an image, you can tap the bottom center icon; either upload a photo from your camera roll or take one with the built-in camera. It has built-in filters (it was Instagram that made all those retro looks so popular) and you can apply them with one tap (you get a preview), and that’s pretty much it. Simple is good.
  7. There are photographers you’ll only find there
    Just like you have people who are famous ‘Youtubers,’ you have photographers who have gained their fame from being ‘Instagrammers’ and this is where they showcase their work. They’re getting working from Instagram. Lots of people are. People can get noticed here. Maybe you’ll be next.


Of course, there are some things I wish were different on Instagram. For example:

  1. It doesn’t allow you to embed links into your posts.
    You can put a web URL in your post, but if viewers click on it, it doesn’t take them to your link. It does nothing. Ugh. It’s about the only place left on the entire internet where posting a URL doesn’t create a live link.
  2. It gives you very little analytics other than likes and comments 
    I use a Web app – (which is excellent by the way) to give me all the stats you should be getting from Instagram.
  3. You can’t post images from the desktop
    You can see them on your computer, but you can’t post images or comment, etc.  without subscribing to an expensive third-party service – you have to do it from the phone app itself. Ack! This is a pain for sure. Plus, there’s no iPad app — you just download the iPhone app and then it runs at 2x size, but the images don’t look nearly as good. Instagram just recently upped it resolution, so I’m hoping that an iPad/Tablet app is behind that move.

Those three things aside (things that I imagine will all be addressed at some time in the near future), I have to say I’m loving my Instagram experience (and it’s now my wife’s favorite social media. You can follow her at kalebrakelby – she posts some really wonderful stuff, and her stories and commentary and either quite touching or really hilarious).

If you’re not already on Instagram, I hope this post at least has you giving Instagram a try. The app is free. The account is free. The free is free. It’s free! Give it a try for a few weeks – I’ll bet you fall in love – after all – it was made for you!

Hope you all have an awesome Tuesday!



P.S. I’ll be up in NYC all week this week at the big Canon Expo. I’m speaking on Thursday afternoon doing a class “How to Present Like a Pro!” (the class is sold out, so if you’re already signed up – I’ll see you there! I’m really excited about this session – I’ve put a ton of time into making it really valuable for anyone who attends).