Friday
May
2012
11

30-second update from Paris

by Scott Kelby  |  11 Comments

Bonjour! Sorry I haven’t been able to post more. We’ve been shooting from morning until late at night, literally non-stop on the go, and by the time we make it back to our rooms we’re just falling down beat.

Here’s a quick shot taken during our shoot out at the palace of Versailles, hand-held with a 14-24mm lens. What an amazing place. Off to start today’s final day of shooting, so I gotta run. More on Monday. Have a great weekend everybody. :)

Thursday
May
2012
10

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  238 Comments

Bonjour! Brad Moore here with the latest news and updates, live from Paris (well, as live as you can get on a non-live blog anyway)… :-)

Google+ Photographer’s Conference
We’re just a couple of weeks away from the Google+ Photographer’s Conference on May 22-23 in San Francisco! Register now for your chance to participate in photo walks, live shoots, and sessions with great instructors like Guy KawasakiTrey RatcliffPeter HurleyAlex Koloskov, and tons of others. Here are a couple of discount codes to use for registration…

Use GPLUSCOMM to save $50 off registration AND get 2 free months of online training at KelbyTraining.com. Or if you’re a student, use GPLUSSTUD to register for just $99 (must provide student ID)! These discount codes are valid until May 18.

Leave a comment for your chance to win one free ticket to the conference!

KelbyTraining.com
Right on the heels of last week’s new class, What’s New in Photoshop CS6, we just added a slew of new Photoshop CS6 classes from RC Concepcion, Corey Barker, and Pete Collins! These guys go into detail on the latest improvements on Design Features, HDR, Video, 3D, and more.

Not only that, but the highly anticipated debut of Lindsay Adler’s class, Fashion Flair Photography is now available as well! Join Lindsay on location and in the studio to see her unique take on classic stories with a twist of fashion and glamour.

Check out these classes and more at KelbyTraining.com

WELD
If you’re in the Dallas area, you absolutely have to check out the launch of an awesome new photo studio, WELD. They’re having a launch party tomorrow night, May 11, from 8-11pm, where you can tour the space and enjoy free pizza and drinks!

WELD isn’t just a normal photo studio. It’s a community of photographers who share a space for meetings, work, and photo shoots rather than working alone in an expensive, lonely space. It’s the brainchild of our buddy Austin Mann, who gave us a preview of the space when we were in Dallas for the Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It seminar, and we were blown away!

So, make sure you swing by Friday night for some free food, network with other photographers, and see if the WELD community is something you’d like to be a part of!

Crush The Composition DVD
We’re currently in Paris filming Scott’s upcoming Travel Photography class for Kelby Training, and man is it going to rock! He’s even said that he’s just as excited (if not more so) about this class as his Crush The Composition class. So, why not give away a couple copies of the DVD?

Leave a comment for your chance to win one of two copies of Scott’s Crush The Composition DVD!

Heck, Why Not?
Let’s give away a couple more of those A Day With Jay Maisel DVDs while we’re at it. You know what to do!

Last Week’s Winners
Here are the lucky winners of last week’s giveaways…

Google+ For Photographers Conference
- PrototypeM

The Photographer’s Photoshop CS6 Power User Tour
- Doug A

A Day With Jay Maisel DVD
- M. Davis
- Peter Lawton
- Brian Parchim

The Digital Photo Workshops with Dave Black
- Lorri Eastin

That’s it for this today. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
May
2012
09

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Mike Wiacek!

by Brad Moore  |  24 Comments

Hi folks, my name is Mike Wiacek (pronounced WHY-sek, WHY-check, or as Matt Kloskowski suggested, “WHY-check-SKI”). Unlike many of the previous guests who have been in this same position, I’m not a full time photographer, graphic designer, or insightful philosopher. I’m an engineer and manager at Google in Northern California. I grew up in Philadelphia, lived in Maryland for a few years, and then moved out to Silicon Valley. When Brad asked me if I’d like to be a guest blogger, my fingers quickly typed, “I’d love to,” long before my brain could understand what my hands had done.

Now before I ramble on too much, let me make a few promises about my little spiel here. I won’t bore you with any technical computer jargon, apart from a brief mention of C++, HTML, and SQL, and as I only mention them in this disclaimer, you’re safely past them now. I also won’t advocate any pro-HDR, anti-HDR, or selective color agendas. I say this even though selective color is almost never a good idea, but I do think Selective Color Agenda would make a fantastic band name. With the legalese out of the way, let’s move on.

I bought my first SLR about 5 years ago.  I debated the purchase for nearly 6 months until my wife, Sara, said, “Oh for Pete’s sake, just buy it.” When it arrived, Sara and I headed down to Point Lobos, which is a state park just south of Carmel, CA. Landscape artist Francis McComas once called it, “The greatest meeting of land and water in the world.” I was armed with no clue how to use my Rebel XTi, just some instructions from a friend to put it in Av mode and shoot. After that first trip, I was hooked, even though none of the photos were any good. Having always lived in large cities, I’d never been one to go to state and national parks, but now I was a photographer. I now not only wanted to go to these places – I had to go to them.

I fell in love with landscape photography, and as many before me, it made me fall in love with California. I was new to the area and to be honest, I didn’t know when I moved out here that I would only be a short drive from Napa Valley, Yosemite, Mammoth Lakes, Big Sur, Redwoods National Forest; the list goes on and on. And so, here I was, an amateur photographer living in quite possibly the best place in the world for any photographer to call home. I did the only reasonable thing. I started exploring, seeing places in person that I had taken for granted as existing only in magazines and books.

As I started shooting more and more, something unexpected happened. I began to notice potential photographs pretty much all around me. I think as a photographer you become more aware of your surroundings. Such moments can be in the way a cloud rolls over a mountain peak, or the way the sun illuminates a person’s face through an airplane window, or the expression of a child meeting their hero at Disneyland. These moments are gifts and as photographers, it’s our job to capture them. To make this concept more concrete, I often think of Eisenstaedt’s photo of the sailor kissing the nurse after the end of World War II. That single image captures the elation, joy, and relief not only of a single soldier, but of the entire world. That’s why, 70 years later, we still know this photo. It carries a gravity with it, that is both timeless and grounded in our collective memory.

Before I moved to California, I salvaged a box containing family photos that was mistakenly put out with the trash. They sat in that box for several years, almost forgotten. As my experience in retouching my own images grew (thanks in no small part to Kelby Training), so did my interest in preserving those old family photos. I started sorting the box of images, and I realized that some of them were over 70 years old. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe how close we had come to the entire photographic record of my family being lost forever. I packed the images up in plastic wrap, and prepared to ship them off to be scanned. It was an incredibly emotional and thought provoking moment for me. All tangible forms of the smiles, tears, joy, and pride of four generations were wrapped in cellophane, sitting on my granite counter.

My mother’s brother, my uncle, died before I was born. An accidental fire broke out while he was asleep one night. Even though I never knew him, I feel a profound sense of loss and pain when I think about what happened so many years ago. Very little survived the fire, and what pictures of him we still had, were in this pile of photos. None were larger than a 4×6.

When the images were returned, I cropped, straightened, and restored nearly 1000 of them. I removed scratches, long set color casts, and fixed the aging paper. Mixed in with the stack of photos, I found one of my uncle from when he was on vacation. I don’t think my mother or I even knew it existed. I spent nearly a week fixing it. I removed a honeycomb pattern from the paper, added sharpness where I could, and enlarged the image to a 12×18. I had it framed, and I gave it to my mother for Christmas that year. I don’t think I’ve ever given her a better gift, than the rescued photo of her only brother. She hung that picture in her living room, and even without saying it, I knew how important it was to her.

That’s when I realized the second obligation of a photographer, and it’s one that most of us don’t do well at all. We have a tendency to want to be behind the lens, as a passive observer of life. However, we are part of the story, even if we don’t want to admit it. Most family photos are missing one person, and that’s unfortunate. And if that person is a photographer, the problem is often compounded. So while we strive to record those little moments that express true magic, we must also remember to participate in them. We are only on this earth for a short time, and while we may create memories in the form of photographs, we are not truly passive observers. We do have a place and a role to fulfill. When we’re gone, those who remain will never look back and wish that we had captured one more sunset image, but rather that we had spent one more sunset together.

Don’t forget to sometimes put the camera down, and stop trying to capture life, but live it. Accept that there are truly wonderful experiences on both sides of the lens, and while we can never capture them all, we don’t need to. Life is too short to try.

You can see more of Mike’s work at MikeWiacek.com, find him on Google+ and Twitter, and come see him in person at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference!

Tuesday
May
2012
08

Today’s 5-Minute Update From Paris

by Scott Kelby  |  24 Comments

Belles femmes bonjour! [OK, I couldn't resist after my French mistake yesterday].

The crew is waiting for me in the hotel lobby, so I have to make this quick:

(1) Thanks to everybody who sent questions via Twitter, G+ and Facebook yesterday for Jay during our taping. Lots of great questions, and I was rattling them off to Jay during our walk down the Champs-Élysées yesterday. Keep those questions coming (you can post them here as comments), and I’ll pose them to Jay during the day.

(2) On the flight over here, I finished off my teaching outline for my class at the upcoming “Google+ Photographer’s Conference this month, and I’m really excited about teaching the class. If you’re going to the conference, I’ll hope you’ll stop by and check out my class (it’s on day one). If you’re not signed up yet, it’s not too late: Here’s the link. 

(3) Thanks to everyone who tweeted names of chocolate stores or bakeries here in Paris (my wife, who dearly loves chocolate and considers it its own food group) is here with me, and I wanted to find her some awesome chocolate). As it turns out, one of the chocolate stores that was mentioned often is literally directly next door to our hotel (I am not kidding — its wall butts up against the wall of our hotel). Another often-mentioned one is a block away.

(4) Matt Kloskowski was here last year, and met up with Paris-based photographer (and NAPP member) Serge Ramelli, and Matt just raved about Serge, and we are lucky (lucky like you cannot believe) that he is working with us this week. First, he’s a terrific photographer (here’s the link to his G+ page) and his French is actually pretty good, too (wink), but we’re really enjoying our time getting to know him, and his work. Just a great guy, and a huge help.

(5) We’re getting some amazing stuff from Jay. We’ve had many wonderful learning moments during Jay’s time here in Paris so far, and the whole team is really excited about what we’re getting. Jay has so much to give, and I can’t wait until the class is done to see it myself, because he says so many things as we walk and chat in cafe’s (all on camera) that I’m afraid I’ll miss some of it, so I’ll be watching it right along with you.

(6) I just saw where Amazon.com says they now have my Lightroom book in stock. Whoo Hoo!!!

Have a great day, everybody!! Merci! :-)

Monday
May
2012
07

Greetings From the Streets of Paris!

by Scott Kelby  |  29 Comments

Bonjour mes amis:

Our crew landed here in Paris yesterday morning for our taping of a new class for Kelby Training Online called, “A Week in Paris with Jay Maisel.” 

Although we hadn’t planned on shooting on our first day, Jay was rev’d up and ready to go so we hit the streets of Paris, and wound up shooting at the church where they filmed parts for the movie “The DaVinci Code” and at the Luxembourg Gardens, and Senate buildings, as well as a little bit along the Seine river.

We’re literally heading out the door to begin another day of shooting today, but I can’t believe some of the eye-opening, thought-provoking moments I’ve already had with Jay. He really makes you think about your photography in new and different ways. Incredibly inspiring being around him.

Lots more to come, but the Pain du chocolats of Paris await! :-)

Ayez un beau jour!

-Mssr. Scott

Friday
May
2012
04

The new issue of “Light It” magazine (our magazine for hot-shoe and studio photography” is finally (finally!) out

by Scott Kelby  |  51 Comments

Man, publishing a digital magazine should just not be this hard. First, our developer came out with a bug fix update, but because of a small technicality in the submission process, it got turned down (uggh), but now, at last, finally it’s out, along with the latest issue (the cover is shown above).

The bug fix addresses problems some users had with downloading back issues they had already purchased, and a bunch of other annoying stuff.

We still have a few more bugs we’re working on squashing, and our developer thinks they have now tracked down the subscription problem a small number of users are still suffering with, and we’ll be submitting an update to the App Store that should put that nasty problem to bed. Whew!!! It’s almost makes me miss print (nobody ever rejects your printed copies. Well, maybe the post office). ;-)

Anyway, it’s available now in the App store for $2.99.(That’s less than a Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal) :)

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