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  • When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge. -Albert Einstein I have come to believe that my job, why I was put on this earth, is to tell the truth and see the pretty. My job is to walk all over the planet and allow myself to be taken by the moment and to record the truth, beauty and moments of abandon with a camera. Interesting work if you can get it. What I discovered is so long as I stay on this path I (mostly) stay out of trouble. What I have also discovered is that coincidence is the universe’s attempt at remaining anonymous. I live in a world where my fantasy as a child has come true, to make…

    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 — everything — 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 — 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…

    Hi gang — 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 — we were supposed to be there three days — 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 — lots of great feature ideas in the comments section. 

    Above: Photo of me by my brother Jeff at an awesome little restaurant near our hotel. Greetings from Spain, everybody! Well, by the time you read this, I'm already on my way home — it was a VERY short trip, just me and my big brother Jeffrey (the trip was a Christmas gift from my awesome wifey), and Jeff picked Valencia, Spain after a recommendation from our friend David Ziser, and David was spot on — what a beautiful, fun, charming place! Above: That's my big brother Jeff, at the City of Art in Valencia. He really got some great shots on this trip! So, I don't really have a post for today other than to say — I'm on my way — I'll share some photos soon, and a big thanks to everybody who shared the trip with me live during my Periscope App streaming…

    Photoshop World Preview We are hosting a live webcast this Friday at 12pm ET to talk all about Photoshop World! The webcast will be hosted by Larry Becker, the MC of Photoshop World. Larry will give you an insider's view of the event and introduce you to a few of the instructors and preview some of their classes. Whether you have been to Photoshop World before or this is new to you, you'll want to check out the webcast THIS Friday at 12 pm. Get all the details at KelbyOne.com/pswpreview. DJI Inspire 1 with Mia McCormick and John McQuiston Mia McCormick and John McQuiston will help you capture compelling footage by mastering the DJI INSPIRE1 quadcopter. In the first of two classes, designed to walk you through the basic set-up and calibration process, the flight system and all the features of the DJI Pilot…

    Let There Be Light
    Thanks Scott for the opportunity to be a quest blog writer this week…it’s such an honor dude.  And perfect timing as I am preparing for my own Lightpainting Workshop on May 28-30, in Loveland, Colorado.

    Okay… Let’s learn how to Lightpaint.

    Humanity is drawn to light. It is in our DNA. We can’t help but look towards the brightest part of a picture. As a photographer it is my responsibility to help guide the viewer to the subject in the picture, and I can do so with light.

    But sometimes a flash or strobe just isn’t graceful enough. That’s when I turn off the studio lights and delve into the most creative lighting technique of all. Lightpainting… it’s the perfect combination of photography and artistic expression.

    The word photography in the Greek means “light writing.” Simply said, Lightpainting is the revealing of the subject from darkness with light. In general, Lightpaintings make use of long exposure times like 3 seconds, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 2 minutes, or more.

    Let’s begin with some basics and Lightpaint a “Table-Top” Still Life. I will need a dark environment for my little subject …the Yellow Tail Fly. I will use a Manual Exposure of which I have a basic starting exposure that I begin many of my Lightpaintings with: ISO500, 30 seconds at f/8.

    During the 30 seconds exposure time I will use a mobile light source to illuminate the subjects in the scene and reveal them from the dark with Lightpainting.

    For my Table-Top still life and live model Lightpaintings I use a small Stylus penlight with a single LED bulb made by Streamlight.

    First I arrange my subject and composing the scene. Then, like with all Lightpaintings, I secure the camera on a sturdy tripod. With the studio lights turned “on” I use Auto Focus on the subject and then turn “off” the auto focus. This is so the auto focus does not activate or “search” in the dark when you turn off the lights, open the shutter, and begin to Lightpaint.

    I use the Auto Focus (AF) back button. By simply releasing your thumb from the AF button on the back of the camera it stops activation of the Auto Focus operation. Or you can also simply turn OFF the AF switch on the barrel of the lens or camera.

    I also use a Manual WB of 10,000 Kelvin when Lightpainting with any LED flashlight. This setting helps add a warm color tone to the overall picture. And I will also activate the Long Exposure Noise Reduction mode in the camera. This prevents any noise speckles from appearing due to the long exposure time that generates heat inside the camera.

    I’m now ready to turn OFF the room lights and make my first “TEST SHOT” without adding any Lightpainting to the subjects, just to see if there is any unwanted ambient light creeping in from a window or the door.

    With a dark or “Blank” image on the LCD screen I’m now I’m ready to add some Lightpainting. I like to apply the light from off camera angles to create a dramatic lighting effect. In this image titled Yellow Tail Fly, the light from my Stylus is coming into the scene from the upper right corner of the frame.


    Yellow Tail Fly: Nikon D7000, ISO400, 30 seconds exposure at f/32, Nikon 28-300mm VRII zoom lens at 300mm, WB 6700K, Manfrotto Tripod with 410 Gear Head, Stylus penlight, SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro Flash Card.

    The closer the light source is to the subject, the brighter the subject becomes. Also said, the longer time I spend illuminating my subject the brighter the subject becomes. Too much light or too much time spent applying light can overexpose portions of the image…and vise verse.

    I try to keep the light source (Stylus) moving while applying the light, usually in a swirling or brushing motion. This helps soften the transitional edges between light and shadow, which is key in creating a painterly quality to the picture. You are in effect “painting with light.”

    My basic Manual Exposure setting of ISO 500, 30 seconds at f/8 is a good way to begin, but it can vary depending on intensity of your flashlight and the distance from flashlight to subject, and also how large your subject is. Don’t give up, I sometimes make 10-15 Lightpaintings before I get one that I like.


    The Red Violin: Nikon D800, ISO100, 1 minute at f/6.3, Nikon 105mm MACRO lens,
    WB 10,000K, Manfrotto Tripod with 410 Gear Head, Stylus penlight, SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro Flash Card.

    Here is another “Table-Top” Still Life, but it has 2 variations from the Yellow Tail Fly. I used a lower ISO of only 100 and I increased the exposure time to 1 minute. Why? …because I felt I would need 1 entire minute to “precisely” apply Lightpainting from only a few inches away, and from multiple Off Camera angles. Lightpainting so close to the subject using ISO500 would result in way overexposing the subject.

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