Friday
Jan
2012
13

Bill Frakes on Shooting The Nikon D4

by Brad Moore  |  50 Comments

[Bill Frakes was one of the first photographers in the world, alongside Joe McNally and Corey Rich, to get his hands on the Nikon D4. Here's his story on shooting Istanbul and Its Many Faces.]

We had an intense 10 days in Istanbul making this short documentary shooting exclusively with the Nikon D4. Exhausting and invigorating. Crazy great fun.

It’s a wonderful place. The only major city in the world spanning two continents. Divided by the Bosphorus, this place is packed with activity and people, but yet is comfortable and calm.

This is where East meets West. It is an ancient city with modern rhythms. It has been inhabited for more than 5,000 years, every stone is steeped in history — while every day new fascinations emerge combining eastern style with European flare.

I picked Istanbul because of its history. A city of one thousand names, it has been the capitol of two major civilizations. The Ottoman and the Byzantine. It was the eastern Capitol of the Eastern Roman empire. For thousands of years, it has been a cultural and religious center.

Our challenge was to really put the D4 to the test. And to challenge ourselves to extend our vision, to use this incredible new technology to not just make our lives better, but to honor the people who gave us the opportunity to have these chances by making better images.

This is photojournalism. We controlled nothing. Everything is candid. Reportage.
It’s real world solutions to real world problems.

In post we did virtually nothing to the files. We edited the video native.  On the stills we did minor corrections so that they would fit with the video when we put them together. No sharpening nor grain reductions. Some burning and dodging. Cropping. That’s pretty much it.

We used the cameras 18 hours a day for 10 straight days. We used it as a still camera, a video camera, an audio recorder and an intravolometer.

What stands out for me most about this camera is the power of subtle changes. Small ergonomic changes make it incredibly comfortable to hold. You can activate backlight on all of the buttons and controls, now you can see everything on the camera in the dark. The video controls are the best of any DSLR I have seen, and I think I have seen them all. Audio, always a Nikon strength, is better than ever. They dominate this just like they do small flash.

The camera is amazing. The high ISO files exceeded my expectations, and after the D3S I had huge expectations! The new video and audio functions have transformed this camera into something beyond what we have seen before.

It is a rock solid, well crafted, easy to use machine. The menus are simple and elegant. The autofocus is extremely fast and accurate. The sensor delivers perfect, very sharp images.

I didn’t have any concerns about the technical, the Nikon engineers had taken care of that for me. I was free to concentrate on the creative, which is exactly as it should be.

We had a tight team of four.

Laura Heald. My creative partner in Straw Hat Visuals. She is everywhere on these projects. She shoots video and stills. Collects audio. Carries gear. She just makes things happen in the most positive way possible. When we get back to the studio she puts the pieces together. Having her on location making creative decisions is incredibly helpful both in the field and then in the edit bay because she has such a great feel for the material. She is the calm in the storm.

Andy Hancock. Our good friend and long time associate came to Istanbul for the first half of trip to help with the stills and video for the backstage video. Andy’s only been out of the country a few times, twice with us, and it’s great fun watching a Texas cowboy on the loose. If you meet Andy ask him if he remembers his first trip abroad., it’s a really good story.

Jana Erb joined us from Munich to do data management and run some of our robotics. Like Laura, Jana doesn’t understand the word no. Whatever needs to get done, she figures it out. Always in motion she is, as my good friend Paolo Frisson from Manfrotto says, “an EXPLOSION.” Although she was constantly scolding her mobile for it’s imprecision, she managed to navigate us seamlessly through the labyrinth of the city once known as Constantinople.

My job on these things is to do the connecting. I figure out what we need to do and keep pushing until we’re done. I do the lion’s share of the shooting both stills and video. I am in charge of quality control. In the edit process, I do the rough edits for concept and style. And then I try to stay out of Laura’s way until she is ready for me to weigh in on the final edit.

Things happen for a reason. We were ready to go. Spent seven hours packing 14 cases of gear. Left for the airport with plenty of time for our 3 p.m. flight home. We got to the counter, nobody there. Jana took off to find her gate for the flight to Munich. Laura found an agent. We missed the flight out of Istanbul. I had looked at the wrong flight. Back to the city, tired, cranky and annoyed at what this was going to do to our post production schedule -which was too tight.

We got to the hotel. Checked back in. Rescheduled our flights. And went for a walk. Two cameras for me.  Laura took her beloved P7000.  Headed into the center of the old city for an hour. We got lost. Ended up walking for seven hours, slowly covering 12 kilometers, and we made my favorite images of the trip.

Lost and slow. Lovely way to see a new city.

You can see more from Bill on the Nikon D4 over at StrawHatVisuals.com, see his work at BillFrakes.com, and follow him on Twitter.

Thursday
Jan
2012
12

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  159 Comments

Hey everyone, it’s time for the second ever Free Stuff Thursday! Brad Moore here to let you know about some discounts and give away a free pass to…

The Digital Photo Workshops
The Digital Photo Workshops are kicking off in Death Valley with Rick Sammon, February 23-26! These 3-day, weekend workshops are designed to sharpen your skills behind the camera and in the digital darkroom through hands-on, one-on-one training to photographers and hobbyists who want to become better digital photographers. Just leave a comment here for your chance to win a free pass!

You can register over at TheDigitalPhotoWorkshops.com (NAPP members get $100 off!), and check the schedule for more workshops with Joe McNally, Dave Black, and Ben Willmore.

70% Off David Ziser DVD From Kelby Training
If you’re a wedding photographer or thinking of becoming one, here’s a kick butt deal! David Ziser’s Wedding Photography Rapid-Fire Tips & Tricks DVD is 70% off at the KelbyTraining.com book and DVD store. Renowned wedding photographer David Ziser has over 25 years of experience – and a lot of his best practices are in this DVD. Grab a copy today and put his experience to work for you. Only $14.99 while supplies last.

Photoshop Elements 10 for Digital Photographers
In case you haven’t heard, Scott & Matt’s new Photoshop Elements 10 Book for Digital Photographers will be here soon and we’re taking pre-orders. Reserve your copy here!

NAPP Renewal = Scott Kelby Extra Mega Bundle!
If you’re a member of NAPP, you can get the Scott Kelby Extra Mega Bundle free if you renew your membership before 1-13-12 at noon ET. Check out the January edition of Newswire for details.

Kelby Training Live
Photography & Photoshop CS5: From Focus to Finished with Ben Willmore is coming to Oklahoma City on January 25!

Just a couple days later, Dave Cross is bringing The Photographers Photoshop CS5 Power User Tour to Covington, KY on January 27.

And then on January 30, Scott Kelby will be in Austin, TX with his Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It. Live Tour!

You can find more info, and sign up for these seminars and more over at KelbyTraining.com.

Last Week’s Winner
And, lastly… The winner of the free ticket to Photo Pro Expo in Cincinnati on February 2-5 is… Todd Boone! Congratulations Todd, you were the person the random number generator picked :)

Leave a comment for your chance to win this week’s giveaway, a free pass to The Digital Photo Workshop in Death Valley with Rick Sammon February 23-26!

Wednesday
Jan
2012
11

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Rick Wenner!

by Brad Moore  |  36 Comments


Photo by John Michael Cooper

First of all, what the heck am I doing posting on Scott Kelby’s blog? I haven’t shot for any major magazines. No advertising jobs have come my way. I’m not involved in any speaking circuits or training seminars. Haven’t published any DVDs about lighting. So basically, there’s a pretty good chance you have no idea who I am.

Although this may or may not be true, I am determined to make sure that you know who I am through my work, whether it is sooner or later. My determination to succeed has got me this far into my career and I only see it bringing much more success as time passes. I always say to myself “I have to succeed. I have no choice otherwise.” But I also know that it takes a lot of hard work and time.


Tim MacMillan, a NYC playwright, photographed in a bar in Queens, NY

I come from a graphic design career of 10 years. I used to work for my family’s bread manufacturing company on Long Island. Sounds exciting, right? NOPE. Not so much. Not for me anyway. It did pay my bills, put a roof over my head and food on the table though. It was a comfortable job but it wasn’t fulfilling my creativity in a way that I needed. So about 9 or 10 years ago I picked up my first digital camera and started shooting landscapes and abstract/macro type stuff. It was fun but I still wasn’t really happy with my photography. This is mostly due to the fact that I had absolutely no clue what I was doing with a camera. Then it happened. I created my first portrait and fell in love with photography.


A composite photo of Korn

From that point on I have been studying portraiture and the technicalities of photography. I figured that if I could get such a great reaction to such a bad photo, imagine what people would say about a decent portrait or…dare I say…a great portrait. My research into photography brought awareness of many great photographers, many of which have posted here on this blog. I became a member of NAPP, read tons of magazines, attended a bunch of workshops, and kept creating portraits of anyone who would get in front of my camera.


Tommy Sica of Sweet Cyanide (NYC) photographed in my studio

I attended a seminar at PhotoPlus in New York City. All I knew going into this seminar was that it was based on portraiture. I didn’t know who the speaker was or what he has done in his career. I was immediately blown away by his unique take on how portraiture. He told stories of his conversations with his subjects and how he photographed some of the most important people in the world. I was inspired. The photographer I’m speaking of is Platon. If you don’t know who he is, stop reading this post and Google his work. Go on. I’ll still be here when you’re done.


Bill Wenner, my uncle, photographed in my studio


NYC actor Doug Drucker (Law & Order: SVU). Yes, they’re real

From that point on I’ve been working my butt off to create compelling portraits. I put up a website, blogged a little bit, and posted photos on Facebook. My work was starting to get recognized by local musicians and actors (a.k.a. potential paying clients). I took the advice of a friend and kept my pricing low in order to get paid gigs while developing my skills. The only reason I was able to keep my pricing low was because I was still working for the bread company. But guess what, all those low paying gigs got me more work. I was developing my skills as a portrait photographer and shooting often.


Tavish O’Keefe, NYC actor and model, photographed in his Brooklyn apartment

As time went on I was able to put together a decent portfolio of portraits, which consisted of mostly bands and models. I signed up for a portfolio review event and got my portfolio in front of 10 different art directors and photo editors. Looking back on it, I now know that I was nowhere near the point of putting my portfolio in front of Rolling Stone, Esquire, Sony, and Island Def Jam but I did it anyway. The critiques that I got from those reviewers however were more valuable than any workshop, blog post, or magazine that I ever read. I want to shoot for these companies so it was important to know what they thought of my work, what they liked, disliked and why they felt that way. After my reviews I went back to the drawing board and decided I had to push even harder to succeed.


A Polaroid from a shoot with The Como Brothers Band

I kept shooting bands, actors and model test shoots. My work was getting technically better and I started to get more emotion and interaction in my portraits. Then I got a phone call from one of the creative directors from that portfolio review event I mentioned. It was Roadrunner Records and they wanted me to shoot Dream Theater. I have to be honest with you, I had no clue who the band was, but I immediately took the job. I researched everything about Dream Theater and found out they are a big deal around the world. This made me pretty nervous, but that research was important for me to get to know whom I was shooting. I spent the day in the recording studio with the band, shooting documentary while they recorded their new album and got to shoot some portraits as well. I was most interested in the portraits that day, since that’s what I do, so I really pushed myself to create the best work I could. The record label loved the work and those photos have been seen by millions of people around the world. That still blows my mind.


Dream Theater at Cove City Studios. Each portrait was shot separately and then composited together in Photoshop


Portrait of Jordan Rudess, keyboard player for Dream Theater

I was still working a full time job at my family’s company and my photography business was picking up to almost a full time job. I kept the graphic design job because it was paying my bills but I really loved my photography work. I was extremely fortunate to be able to change my working hours at the company so that I could split my days between my two jobs. This change was the best thing I could do to move my business forward. I was able to work more on my personal project, “One Question”, and meet with potential clients at more reasonable times for consultations and photo shoots.


Portraits from my One Question series. “What does music mean to you?”

About two years passed as I split my days between the bread company and my photography business. I was getting progressively busier each month. After a couple years of splitting my time between the two, I decided that it was time for me to leave my job as a graphic designer. As much as I wanted to leave that job, it was still very hard to do. It was a comfortable job and paid well. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do in order to be happy. I left that job 6 months ago.


I shot this hanging out the back of my SUV while a friend drove his custom motorcycle over Robert Moses Bridge in Long Island


Portrait of Lindsay who was diagnosed with Alopecia, a disease where hair is lost very quickly

Since I went full time with my photography, I’ve been working harder than ever to be successful and keep a roof over my head. I still take on personal projects because I feel that it helps me improve my skills and create work that I’m not getting hired to do yet. Some examples of personal work that I’ve shot is the biker riding over a Long Island bridge, the portrait of my friend Lindsay who has alopecia, and the owner of a high end antique & art store in The Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC. These portraits were a lot of fun to create and they’ve also helped me get more work creating similar portraits for new clients. I’m currently working on a personal portrait project that I think is going to be the best one I’ve created yet. I am not releasing any information about it just yet, so keep an eye on my Twitter and blog for updates on that.


David Assoulin, owner of Elliot Stevens Ltd., in his antique & art store in The Waldorf Astoria Hotel NYC

So after almost 10 years with a camera in my hand, I’m starting to shoot what I want to. I emphasize the word “starting” because I know there is still a lot of work to be done. I still haven’t had any major movie stars in front of my camera (you reading this De Niro?). I haven’t created a portrait of the biggest musician yet (preferably Jay-Z or The Black Keys). I’m still working on getting my first big advertising campaign. I know that as long as I keep saying to myself, “I have to succeed. I have no choice otherwise.” those jobs will come soon. Work hard and you will get what you want!


Portrait of Eric B., a Long Island hip hop artist, in a dirty bus stop


Photo of NY rock band The Given Motion

I think I’ve talked enough here on Kelby’s blog. If you made it to the end of this post, I thank you for allowing me to waste some of your time. I am incredibly appreciative of Brad and Scott allowing me to talk about my work and how I’ve made it to this point in my career. Scott’s blog is one that I’ve read daily for a very long time, so this is a honor. Thank you.

Rick.

You can see more of Rick’s work at RickWenner.com, keep up with him on his blog, and find him on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Tumblr.

Tuesday
Jan
2012
10

Adobe Lightroom 4 Public Beta Release!

by Brad Moore  |  24 Comments

Today at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm EST, join Matt Kloskowski and Lightroom Product Manager Tom Hogarty for the unveiling of The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Beta!

Tune in at KelbyTraining.com to get the scoop on all the latest features, enhancements, and updates from one of the leading experts on Lightroom, and the person who oversees its development, and get some of your questions answered.

You can download and check out the Lightroom 4 Beta right here, and check out the NAPP Lightroom Beta 4 Launch Center, and get more details over at Matt’s blog, LightroomKillerTips.com!

Tuesday
Jan
2012
10

Brad Moore on How Concert Photography Will Influence My Portraiture

by Brad Moore  |  13 Comments

When I moved to Florida, I needed to find something to get me behind the camera regularly, so I took up concert photography. With lots of advice and help from Alan Hess (whose new book you should order), I made the leap into the world of high ISOs, slow shutter speeds, long nights, and tight spaces between rowdy crowds and sweaty rock bands. And I loved it!


A fan sings along with The Word Alive during their performance at The Ritz in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida

Shooting concerts has helped me learn more about how I see, and to develop my vision. Through shooting regularly, I’ve been able to find my style, and to hone in on the type of lighting scenarios I enjoy having in front of my lenses the most. I’ve learned where to position the camera in relation to the light to get certain effects, like lens flare, in shots. It’s taught me how to tweak settings in post production to get the most impact out of the images. It’s opened my eyes to complementing and contrasting colors. To the impact of showing a full range of coverage, from close-up detail shots to wide coverage The list goes on.


Michael Maddox of Kill Hannah performs at The Ritz in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida


A fan body surfs over the crowd while A Day To Remember perform during 97X Next Big Thing in Tampa, Florida

Fast forward a couple years to today. I still love concert photography, and plan on continuing to do it. But this year I’m going making an effort to transition more into portrait photography. That doesn’t mean I won’t be bringing part of my concert photography with me, however.

Through honing my vision, I hope to bring a unique take on portraiture. By translating certain aspects from the stage to the studio, I plan on exploring new possibilities (to me anyway) in portrait photography. Thanks to all the lessons learned above, I have ideas sloshing around loosely in my head that I’m noodling on, trying to figure out how that translation is going to look when it arrives in the studio.

Can I make studio strobes mimic the effects of stage lighting?


Olga Yagolnikov of Kye Kye performs at The Roosevelt 2.0 in Tampa, Florida

Can I make a large empty warehouse look like a dance club?

Will anyone notice the large brick wall I’ve built where the cyc used to be? ;-)


Roger Waters of Pink Floyd takes the stage at the start of his “The Wall Live” tour at St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida

Like learning any new craft, it’s going to take a little while to find my footing. While I’ve had the honor of working with a couple of the greats in McNally and Kelby, I haven’t had much experience directing subjects from behind the camera on my own. There’s a HUGE difference between being told where to put a light and making the decision of where to put it, much less pulling certain expressions, or more importantly, emotions from a subject. Through years of experience, these guys know how to connect with their subjects, make them feel comfortable, even confident, in front of the lens.


Sean Gadd and Andrew Wessen of Grouplove goof around backstage during 97X Next Big Thing in Tampa, Florida

And that’s something that doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s something I’ll have to work on. Which means setting up shoots and having subjects waiting on me to direct them to figure it out. Like I said, I’ve been watching Joe, Scott, and others for years. But there’s a big difference between the water boy and the quarterback… And there are only so many tricks you can pick up from other people before you have to find a way to make them your own.

Which is why it’s important to stay behind the camera, working to make the ideas in your head reality. Even if you don’t get it right on the first try, keep working on it until what’s on the screen matches your mind’s eye. It’s a process, and not something you can learn from a book or video. Those are great for learning the technicalities of photography, but not always for finding your vision.


Derek E. Miller and Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells perform for a sold-out crowd at State Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida

Vision can’t be taught. It has to be discovered.

And once you’ve discovered your vision, keep feeding it with new work so it can continue to grow and find new possibilities to explore.

So, here’s to a new year, new possibilities, and new goals that will keep pushing us all to grow creatively!

You can see more of Brad’s work at BMOOREVISUALS.com, follow him on Google+ and Twitter, and come see him at Southwestern Photojournalism Conference February 24-26.

Monday
Jan
2012
09

Great Nikon D4 Video | CES Notables | Photoshop Video

by RC Concepcion  |  7 Comments

Hey guys, RC jumping in the line over here to just share out a couple of things that came across my Google plus feed.

Amazing Nikon D4 Video

WHY – Nikon D4 Release Video from Corey Rich on Vimeo.

I know many of you are interested in the Nikon D4 as much as we all are over here. That said, the biggest question that i’ve had on the brain is just how good will the video footage be coming out of the camera? Thankfully I didn’t have to plunk down the 6K in order to find out. Corey Rich has made a phenomenal video not only highlighting the features of the D4 from a video POV, but showcasing three amazing people in sports. I dont know about you guys, but the saving of the pennies has been on for me to land one of the pro level Nikon cameras for video. This one just makes me want to chomp at the bit even more!

Upcoming Notable – The Fuji X-Pro1 (RC’s Impressions)

This has interesting written all over it. The X100 definitely put Fuji on the radar in terms of Rangefinder type cameras with impressive optics, and while I may not have warmed up to it in the end, it cannot be denied that it certainly made a splash. One of the things that I couldn’t get out of my head was “a Fixed lens? Really? We havent heard that last of this one.. there’s GOT to be more to it.”

Well, say hello to other shoe dropping. It appears that Fuji will be dropping the new X-Pro1 cameera pretty soon (some say today!). Checking the Photorumors website, the X-Pro1 looks like an X100 on Steroids, giving you a 16MP APS-C sensor in a small rangefinder body – complete with interchangeable lenses. It’s also rumored that Fuji will be making an M-mount to fit Leica lenses onto this. Interesting indeed! Click on the link below to get more inffo on this:

Photorumors – All Details about the X-Pro1

Changing Metadata Copyright Information for 2012

With it being the new year and all, it goes without saying we need to start changing our copyright data in our Lightroom and Photoshop installs. I figured id make the requisite reminder video to make sure you guys had those changes all taken care of!

Wanted to thank Scott for letting me pitch in here! Should you want to follow more of what i’m doing, please feel free to visit me on my website at www.aboutrc.com or circle me over at Google Plus

RC – www.aboutrc.com
RC on Google Plus!

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