WOW!!!! What an unbelievable playoff game!!!!
It came down to literally the last seconds of the game, when Atlanta came back from behind with a beautiful field goal by Matt Bryant for the big win and to take the Falcons to the NFC Championship Game this coming Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. The winner of that game goes to the Super Bowl! I’ll be there this coming weekend again shooting for the Falcons team (thanks Jimmy, Mike, Matt, Lynn and crew) and I could barely be more psyched! Post season baby! Woo Hoo!!
When they gave out our assignments, besides regular game coverage, I volunteered to not just shoot the action, but to shoot some of the moments surrounding the game, and so I included a few of those here as well. The energy and excitement in the Georgia Dome was just incredible and it was amazing just to be there and soak it all in, but there’s wasn’t much time for that, so here we go:
Above: I took this one during pre-game warmups when the Defense forms a circle and get each other pumped up with some serious “BOOM!” chants and lots of smack talk. It’s an awesome thing to see, but a bit risky to do what I did here: I had my camera mounted on the end of a monopod, facing up toward the top of the dome with a 14-24mm lens (at 4,000 ISO) and shot straight up. The guy who is off-center lead the chant and when he’s done, he jumps up and then dives to the ground and so I had to be careful my camera didn’t get in his way — especially since all those guys would have turned on me in an instant. LOL!).
Above: Here’s one of my remote shots with the 14mm. I went a little too wide and put the camera a little too far forward so you don’t see any of the massive smoke and pyrotechnics going off, but this Sunday I’ll move it back farther, plus I’ll have three remotes going from three different angles. I really like the idea of seeing a lot of the dome, crowd, cheerleaders, drumline, etc, but at this small size you can’t appreciate it. It looks much better full screen on my laptop, but alas, it just needs better execution, and I’m very lucky I get to try it again this weekend. By the way — see that guy holding a monopod up right just player the player on the left. That’s me!
Above: I just love these overhead super-wide angle shots during the pre-game warmup.
Above: This one is right after the win, heading into the locker room from the field. It was a very emotional few minutes of the game.
Above: Falcon’s Defensive End John Abraham between plays. I totally dig his tattoos, and a shot I took of him on the bench last season is in my football portfolio so I was particularly drawn to making this image. The subject of this shot, like the one in my port, are the tats, so I framed it so it was nice and tight, but I really like the way the NFL logo on his towel becomes part of the focus of the image.
Above: Here’s the coin-toss right before the kick-off with the Captains of both team. If you look up at the dome, you can see the coin in mid air. This was a hand-held shot, I’m down on one knee with the 14-24mm at 14mm aiming up.
Above: Here’s a game action shot, but I wasn’t as focused on the game as usual as I was looking for opportunities to shoot things and players surrounding the game.
Above: To stop a Falcon, you have to take flight. See, this is why they don’t let me be a color commentator in the booth — I would actually say lame things like that. LOL!
Above: I kept thinking I was going to capture a great shot of Wilson getting sacked, but that guy is amazingly slippery and got out of some situations that would have gotten most other QB’s sacked for a huge loss.
Above: It’s good!!!!
Above: Shot of kickers get little love, so I thought I’d toss one in here just to say I did.
Above: Sorry, this lane is closed! (That was courtesy of “Lame Caption Man”).
Above: This is what it looks like when the Falcon’s kicker split the uprights to win the game for Atlanta. I so wanted to turn toward the field and get Matt Bryant’s reaction, or the other player’s reaction, but instead I turned around and saw a stadium cheering on its feet.
Above: Nothing like a genuinely happy fan!!!!
OK, how about some “Behind the Scenes” shot? (mostly taken with my iPhone).
Above: Here’s a glimpse of the media work room (for still and video crews covering the event). They had some serious Southern Style cooking for us — Fried Chicken, BBQ Sandwiches, Baked Beans, Cornbread, Potato Salad and Apple Cobbler. Just enough calories and carbs to slow you to almost a full stop! LOL.
Above: This iPhone Pano is from the pressroom, where we work after the game getting our final images together for downloading. The Falcons have a runner who comes and takes your cards from you right after the initial player introductions (when the first come on the field through the fire and smoke), and then at the 2-minute warning before Halftime, and then we turn them in again up here, where by buddy Mike Benford and I spend an hour or so sorting images and talking about the game over a soda and some stale popcorn. The food and drink might not be fancy, but you can’t beat the view.
Above: Here’s my Camera Gear load-out for the game.
Above: here’s my remote gear, in a rolling Pelican Case. I also have three steel safety cables as well.
Above: That’s me, testing the remote camera shortly before they do the player intros. Notice the PocketWizard in my hand (I use that for triggering the remotes), and the super-stylin’ neon green vest! ;-)
Above: Oh yeah! Oh yeah! How ’bout we go to the NFC Championship Game next week!
My thanks to the Falcon team photographers, the always cool Jimmy Cribbs, Matt Lange, Lynn Bass, and Michael Benford. Some of the best and most talented guys out there, and I’m truly honored that you let me shoot for you guys during such an important season.
Also, of course a big congrats to the Atlanta Falcons for pulling off a HUGE win, and let’s do it again this week when a very tough 49ers come to town. Oh yeah, one more thing: GO FALCONS! #riseup!
Announcing: Full-length Photoshop and Lightroom Online Training Classes Exclusively for NAPP Members
Hi Gang: I really want to tell you about my shoot yesterday at the Atlanta Falcons playoff game, but that’ll have to wait until tomorrow because today I’ve got some really big news about our launch of full-length, in-depth Photoshop & Lightroom classes for members of the National Assn. of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), the association for Photoshop users that I head.
Here’s a quick Q&A on it:
Q. Didn’t NAPP always have full-length training classes?
A. Actually…no. We have an insane amount of tutorials on the NAPP member Website, but our thing has always been quick, to the point, tutorials covering a particle topic or effect. This is the first time we’ve launched this type of in-depth, full length online classes.
Q. Is there just one class?
A. Nope. We launched with 20 full-length classes, starting with the basics and moving to more in-depth topics, including Layers, Paths, Shapes, Brushes, Printing, Selections, Blending Modes, and a bunch more. The cool thing is: this is just the start — we’ll be adding new classes all year long.
Q. Is there anything for beginners?
A. Actually, beginners were our main focus for this launch — we wanted to make sure we didn’t leave anyone behind, so if you’re brand new to Photoshop, man do we have you covered!
Q. So who does the teaching?
A. The Photoshop Guys (of course). The online classes are from me, Matt Kloskowski, Corey Barker, Pete Collins, and RC Concepcion.
Q. Where should I start?
A. Well, I’d love it if you checked out my brand new four-part Portrait Retouching techniques class. I cover an amazing amount of stuff, but it’s not for absolute beginners — you kind of have to at least know your way around a bit, but once you do, I really think you’ll get a lot out of it. I also have a whole new series on learning Camera Raw (Lightroom’s Develop Module) there, too!
Q. How much extra does it cost?
A. Nothing — it’s included free as part of your annual NAPP membership.
Q. Hey, just to break things up, how about a Pop Quiz?
A. Sure. OK, “how many fingers am I holding up?”
Q. Three? No…four!
A. Oh, I’m sorry…it’s two. See, you would have gotten that right if you had taken our new online classes.
Q. Really, you guys teach that?
A. Well, not that per se, but taking these classes just generally makes you smarter. Kind of like staying at a Holiday Inn Express.
Q. So, what’s the difference between NAPP and Kelby Online Training?
A. NAPP is for people who want to learn Photoshop (everyone from graphic designers to Web creators to photographers to artists). Kelby Online Training is for people who want to learn photography. We have thousands of folks who subscribe to both, because they want to learn both (Do you know what we call these people? “Our favorite people in the whole wide world.”). ;-)
Q. But what if I don’t belong to NAPP?
A. We can fix that — you can join right now (membership is open to anyone who wants to learn Photoshop, regardless of your skill level). Here’s a link with details on how to join (and I hope you do — you’ll love it, and you’ll be joining more than 70,000 other Photoshop users around the world who are a part of NAPP already.
Q. What if I already belong to NAPP? Is there a special deal to renew?
A. You bet. If you renew your existing membership by Feb. 1, 2013 (so, in the next three weeks), then you get two bonus gifts: (1) A complete digital collection of all 10 issues of Photoshop User Magazine from 2012, and you’ll get 2 extra months added to your membership free! Sweet!
Q. What is Photoshop User magazine?
A. It’s a very cool print magazine that comes out 10 times a year (you can choose a digital version if you like — see above), of course I’m a bit biased because and I’m the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher but it is awesome! It’s like getting a Photoshop book mailed to you 10 times a year! Inside the magazine, is our “magazine with magazine” on Lightroom, so if you use Lightroom and Photoshop, you’re totally covered. We’ve got all the best writers in the industry, great columns (I write a column on Camera Raw), and people totally dig it.
Q. How much extra is the magazine?
A. It’s not. It’s part of the annual membership, which is (and has always been), just $99 (US), and that includes the online Photoshop training classes, too (and lots more cool stuff).
Q. So, I get the magazine, and the new online Photoshop training classes?
A. Yup. You also get exclusive access to our kick-butt members-only website, with very cool tutorials, articles, reviews and tons of great learning resources. I honestly think it’s now, hands down the best Photoshop site anywhere. The content is real world stuff you can really use in your daily work.
Q. Do you guys arrange discounts for members?
A. Man, am I glad you asked that. Absolutely! We have TONS of discounts, everything from free shipping from B&H Photo to discounts on Adobe upgrades just for NAPP members, to Mac and PC hardware, Photoshop plug-ins, you name it. We hear from members all the time who have paid for their entire membership using discounts the first time they even try one.
Q. Did you just say you offer discounts on Apple hardware products? Really?
A. I know, it’s crazy right, but we have a special version of the real Apple Store just for members. Want to see how much I saved myself using the member discount? I wrote about it on my blog a while back (even took a screen capture) right here.
Q. This is starting to sound like an ad for NAPP
A. Starting to? Are you kidding? This started sounding like an ad back at Question #6.
Q. Well, isn’t that bad?
A. Look, I’ve spent my entire career building NAPP, along with an incredible team of very passionate, genuine, and dedicated professionals, and adding these online classes is one the coolest, biggest, and most important things we’ve been able to do for our members, and:
(a) I’m really excited about it, and…
(b) I want as many people to take advantage of it as possible. NAPP is where people go to really good at Photoshop, and I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished thus far and for the great things we have planned for our members this year. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think it’s a great thing (even if it does sound a bit “ad-y.” OK, more than a bit but you know what I mean).
Q. So when do we get to see the stuff from the big Falcons win of the the Seahawks playoff-game yesterday?
A. Check back here tomorrow, where I’ll have full coverage, photos, and other stuff.
Q. But you feel like I should join NAPP first, right now, and start watching these full-length online classes, right?
A. Oh, absolutely. I feel strongly that’s what you should do (Hey, it was worth a shot, right) :)
Q. OK, I’m convinced. I’ll go join right now.
A. I knew I liked you. There’s just something about you. Something different. You’re not like the other kids. ;-)
See you all back here tomorrow! Cheers, –Scott
We’re going to wrap things up this in this “Best of the blog in 2012″ with some of the best and most popular episodes of live, free weekly talk show on photography, “The Grid” (hosted by Matt Kloskowski & me, and some very special in-studio guests): Here they are (in no particular order):
1. A woman’s Perspective on Street Photography (above)
This was an incredibly eye-opening episode as we had three female guests tell us how they feel and react when they wind up being the subject of a street photographer.
2. Blind Critiques of Portraits with in-studio guest Joe McNally (above)
The most insightful critiques of portraits I’ve ever seen. Period. He was brilliant, and if you take portraits you will learn, laugh, and look at things very differently after this episode. This is Joe at his very best.
3. Tough Love: 5 things people won’t tell you about your photography (above)
This one hurt, but somebody had to do it.
4. How to become a better photographers in 2013 (above)
I heard from so many people that are using this step-by-step plan as their goal for 2013. One of our most helpful episodes ever.
5. Our favorite Gear (above)
Matt and RC share their favorite gear; they take gear Q&As from viewers and have some great recommendations.
6. Reverse Critiques (above)
Instead of showing what’s wrong with submitted photos, we showed what the previous episode’s critiqued photos are supposed to look like. This is a fantastic learning experience and the examples make it all crystal clear. A killer episode from a learning perspective.
7. Five Harsh Realities about Photography Today (above)
Hey, somebody had to say it (but it’s actually very helpful, in a “somebody had to say it” kind of way).
8. How to tell if you suck at photography (above)
Don’t worry — we’ll tell you. (wink). Lots of straight talk here, plus a look at whether or not to get the D800 with the moire filter on or off (and I talk about which one I ordered). Kalebra’s our special in-studio guest.
9. Lindsay Adler: The Business of being a photographer (above)
Her fashion photography insights are fantastic, but even if you’re not into fashion photography, the savvy business advice for growing your business are pure gold. If you’re trying to make it as a photographer, this episode is for you.
10. Our First blind critique episode (above)
These brutally honest Blind critiques are an incredible learning tool (we show the images we critique but don’t reveal the photographer’s name) and these have become are so popular it is now a monthly feature on “The Grid” and this is the episode that started it all. This isn’t flickr — it’s time somebody told the truth.
I wanted to include a direct link to some of the best episodes featuring some very special guests, so we’ll wrap up with these:
- Tamara Lackey (link)
- Frank Doorhof (link)
- Jeremy Cowart (link)
- Brian Matiash (link)
- Moose Peterson (link)
- Glyn Dewis (link)
- Erik Valind (link)
- Peter Hurley (link)
- Scott Bourne (link)
- Dave Black (link)
- Joe McNally & Jeff Snyder (link)
- Zack Arias (link)
Well, there ya have it folks — our best and favorite episodes from an entire year on “The Grid”
We broadcast “The Grid” LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 PM (Eastern Time) and then it rebroadcast for free the following day at http://www.kelbytv.com/thegrid (but if it’s a really killer episode I re-run it here on the blog, too!).
Thanks to everybody who tuned-in, thanks to our sponsors, our in-studio guests, and our awesome video crew here at Kelby Media Group (Erik, Juan and Meredith) who make it all possible. Cheers to the new year (and see you next Wednesday for “Blind Critiques.” It’s gonna be rough — make sure you tune it. ;-) Have a great weekend! :)
Dave Black’s Lightpainting Grand Landscapes
Start your year off right with some creativity and venture into lightpainting with the help of Dave Black! In Lightpainting Grand Landscapes, Dave’s latest class for KelbyTraining.com, he heads out to Grand Teton National Park to capture the beauty of rustic barns and grand landscapes. He covers everything from the gear he uses to create his painting-like photos, to surveying the area, and shooting the scene to capture beautiful images.
Kelby Training Live
The first seminars of the year are on the calendar! Check out these dates:
Lightroom 4 Live with Matt Kloskowski
Jan 25 – Oklahoma City
Jan 31 – Austin
Photoshop CS6 for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Feb 1 – Covington, KY
Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to one of these events!
Frank Doorhof Workshop
Want to spend two days with Frank Doorhof photographing classic cars and doing glamour photography? He’ll be holding two one-day workshops on April 13 and 14 in Lakewood, NJ (just outside of NYC). You can sign up for one day for $450 or $550 (depending on the day), or both days for $900! If you’ve seen Frank’s classes on KelbyTraining.com, you know that he is a master at lighting and creativity. Make sure you sign up soon, because space is very limited!
And, anyone who registers through Scott’s blog gets a free copy of Frank’s first Lighting DVD!
Photo Pro Expo 2013 Ticket
- Eric Blitz
How I Met My First Pixel
I remember that cold day in spring, back in 1991, when I visited a photography fair in the Javits Center in Manhattan. At that time, I worked for Neil Molinaro as a first assistant in Clark, New Jersey. Neil is an unbelievebly creative advertising photographer and an blooming nice guy. Not only has he created his own lighting system, he also managed to bring scenes on film that were almost impossible to even think! And because that’s not enough, he hired a German guy named Uli Staiger as his assistant.
Slowly, stop. Uli Staiger, that’s me. I am a photographer, Photoshop addict and 3D artist based in Berlin, Germany. After an apprenticeship of three years I figured I could need some international experience and boom: After a few weeks working at a New Jersey gas station I found myself as Neil’s assistant. Crazy world! So we visited the mentioned fair in NYC. Fresh design for Hasselblad’s 500 CL. Nice. New film emulsion for Fuji slide films. Woohoo. But then it happened: I met my first pixel! I hate big words, but anyway: Imagine you meet the love of your livetime, maybe at rush hour in a crowded supermarket. You wouldn’t even realize it! That’s what happened to me in a way! I clearly remember seeing this television screen (monitor), where some guy zoomed into the middle of a sun flower (pan tool). Then all of a sudden, the film grain became square: PIXELS!! And I had no idea that the scene I just whitnessed would power up my live more than anything else did before.
Back in Germany, I started my own business. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were not even in anybody’s mind (Mark Zuckerberg was nine years old), so marketing was a complete unknown planet for me. I worked analogue, photographing with an KODAK EPS, Tmax and Highspeed Infrared.
I also went to photography school in Potsdam near Berlin. One of my classmates had this software called Photoshop. Brand new version 3.05, and of course I was curious as hell, so he showed it to me. And believe me or not: Staring at the monitor I could FEEL my life was changing in the first ten seconds I sat there! This was the most amazing gadget I could think of and I needed it. Now. Somehow I rediscovered the girl in the supermarket…
Photoshop was the missing link I needed for my work without even knowing I missed it! Sure enough it took no longer than a couple of days and I had organized a PC with incredible 16 MB RAM, a scanner and a Photoshop instruction book (at this time, there was almost nothing you could buy concerning Photoshop, so I was happy to get a PS 2.5 book). I scanned my landscape photographs and combined them with new studio stills, focusing on kitchen tools. The results were mindblowing, at least for me they were. Photoshop still was a pretty new thing to Germany’s photography scene, so anything that was somehow composed was cool and modern. I sent a few works to a contest and for the first time I won! That encouraged me a lot and I sent more stuff to more contests, even to a few magazines, hoping for a story about me and my new buddy Photoshop.
Slowly, a new kind of creativity grew in Germany and the rest of the world, and I was a part of it! The internet no longer exclusively belonged to the Pentagon, and my busines partner and I started our first website and a complete new studio. I wrote several books about Photoshop and up to this day I write articles about my work for German and international magazines. I’ve done a bunch of training videos, stage workshops in several coutries and try to improve both my skills and my style.
One of the limits I realized after a few years was the fact that my ideas grew faster then my skills. That meant I had to learn Photoshop more profoundly, not only knowing how the tools work, but also what strategies can do for me. Let me give you an example: It is nice to see what blending methods can do to an image. Good to know that “multiply” is a great way to correct overexposure, while “negative multiply” works the other way round. But masking a hairy portrait, just by using a grey background and a layer mask, thats a strategy.
In CS3, Adobe implemented a brand new feature that I always wanted to work with: The possibility to use 3D objects. That was when I started to combine 3D with classic retouching. They took it further, brought in a powerful material system and a real raytrace renderer. Today, you can import just about any 3D object you want into Photoshop, texture it, light it, render it. I combine my Photoshop work with self built 3D models. I use Maxon’s Cinema 4D, a powerful tool that works perfectly with Photoshop. Some of my design studies are pure fantasy, others are inspired like the “Racer A” by Dough Chang or the “Detonator motorcycle” by great designer Daniel Simon:
Maybe you want to earn money with your creative work, maybe you are lucky and just work for your own pleasure. Anyway I have a few tips that would have helped me when I started out (but probably I would not have believed them in my early days, so be smarter then me and at least read it!):
Show your work!
Send your images to one or more platforms on the net! Discuss with others and don’t be sad if someone gives you a mean comment. Be happy about honest compliments, think about critique and forget insults (and let me know how you do that please).
Compare your work!
Look for contests. Some of them are just for the honour of taking part, others have great prizes to win. If you do not win anything, try to find out what the difference is between your work and the winner’s.
In a time of omnipresent internet you can be pretty sure that you are not the first person on the planet who found out about this or that Photoshop secret. So if anybody asks you how you did it: Tell it to them! We all get better by working together, not against each other.
When I was a kid, learning meant going to school. But the possibilities of how we can learn changed dramatically: There are fantastic blogs like the one you are reading in this very moment. You can pick tips and tricks for free from the internet, follow a webinar or get a video training. Online, offline, wherever, whenever, your choice. Just do it. Learning means sharpening your mind.
That’s the most important of all tips. Only by practicing you join your knowledge and your creativity. It may take some time until the result comes close to your imagination, but once you achieve your aim you’ll realize it was more than worth it!
Don’t think about it, it’s like falling in love: You will KNOW when it happens, as you will know when you develop your own style. To achieve it: See the point above!
Find your topic!
You are interested in everything? Love portraits, street photography and little birds? That’s good. Don’t make a decision, which of these themes might be more important then the other. But be aware of the fact that probably just one of them will be “your” topic in the future. Or maybe you haven’t even discovered it yet?
Make a scribble!
I could never ever start any work by opening Photoshop at first. I start with an idea. It stays in my mind until I can feel the image. Then I draw a scribble (oh yes, everybody can do that). After the idea is scribbled on a piece of paper, I start collecting the images I need, and then, but only then, I put them together in Photoshop.
Take your own pictures!
Stock images are not really expensive. But they are compromises! You decide, whether it is smart to buy an image (snow covered mountains are hard to photograph in July when you live in Texas) or if you can take it yourself. Perfect lens, perfect lighting, perfect subject. Right? Right.
Take. Your. Time.
I know people who complain that nobody likes one of the 500 composed images they produce every year. Probably it would be better to produce just 5 great ones than 500 middle class ones. And never forget: Always go on full speed, but be aware of harbour walls:
Okay. Now you have a rough impression what I do and how I do it. Want to take a look at the studio? Paul Lundahl and Glen Janssens from emotionstudios in San Francisco did this videoportrait about me and my work: