Sunday
Dec
2013
29

Winners of tickets to Matt’s Lightroom Seminar

by Scott Kelby  |  7 Comments

Okey Dokey, folks — it’s the rare Sunday blog post — this time to announce the winner’s of tickets to Matt Kloskowski’s Lightroom 5 Live! Tour. Here are the cities and the winners:

Covington, Kentucky: 
Ray Justice, Kenneth Ely

Richmond, Virginia:
Johnnie Abbott,  Elisa Anderson
Houston, Texas:
James Prechel,  Kim Ellis
Los Angeles, California:
R. Dennis Crawford,  Kathy Flynn
If you didn’t win, tickets are still available for these cities right here. 
My first tour stop of the year (for my “Shoot Like a Pro” tour) is coming up in Tampa, Florida on Friday, Feb 21st. Then I’m off to Atlanta three days later, then Phoenix in March. Hope I’ll see you in person at one of those cities. 
Congrats to the winners — you are going to have an amazing day of learning! :)
Best,
-Scott
P.S. I’m off to shoot the Cowboys/Eagles game today in Dallas. Should be an amazing game! :)
Friday
Dec
2013
27

It’s Free-Stuff Friday (Well, if you’re into Lightroom it is!)

by Scott Kelby  |  158 Comments

Hey Gang: I’ve been taking a few days off for the Holidays, so I’m in “lame blogging” mode, but I’m stepping in for a last-minute save with a few FREE tickets to Matt’s Lightroom 5 Live Training Tour coming up at the end of January and into March.

Just post a comment here, with the city you want to go to, and we’ll pick two winners in each city for a free ticket. Here’s the upcoming cities for Matt’s live tour:

  • Covington, Kentucky — January 31st
  • Richmond, Virginia — February 5th
  • Houston, Texas — February 17th
  • Los Angeles  – March 3rd

Here’s more info on the tour, along with class schedule for the day. Good luck everybody (and Happy Holidays!)

-Scott

P.S. I’m shooting the Eagles/Cowboys game in Dallas on Sunday — I’ll share some of those shots next week.

Wednesday
Dec
2013
25

A Very Special Christmas Thank-You

by Scott Kelby  |  4 Comments

For Christmas Day, I wanted to share something very special with you..

It’s a “thank you” card from Molly Bail, the amazing woman behind the “Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya” (an orphanage that the people who read this blog helped build from the ground up six years ago, and is still supported by you, my wonderful readers, to this very day).

I hope you’ll pause for just moment and read her card to you (below). The things you have done, and support you have shown, make more of a difference than you will ever know.

I’d like to add my own humble thanks, along with my Christmas wish for you:

May your Christmas be filled with love and laughter, and may your home by filled with peace, health, and happiness in the New Year.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

-Scott

Tuesday
Dec
2013
24

A Christmas Song For Christmas Eve

by Scott Kelby  |  23 Comments

Below is an audio clip of “The Christmas Song,” made by my wife on her iPhone using her iPhone’s built-in Recorder App (which is normally used for making voice memos), but how it came to be is what makes it special (and it’s why I asked my wife if I could run this on my blog. That’s her above earlier this year taken during the Photoshop World Concert Pre-Conference Workshop — photo by William Beem),).

Here’s the story behind it, which I copied and pasted  from an email my wife sent to one of her friends. Here it is in her own words:

Our daughter was 3-1/2 year old at the time and she used to constantly play with the voice recorder App on my iPhone. I was in my bathroom blow drying my hair (singing/humming that song) when she came in playing around with that recorder App on the phone. She likes it when I sing “The Christmas Song” so she asked me to sing it into the phone. So I did. The phone did a pretty decent job with the recording so I thought I would send it to Scott’s brother Jeff (because he’s always after me to sing him Christmas songs) and then as I was about to send it I thought: “Well, mom might like to have it, and so and so might like it” and then it became my Christmas card!

It took quite a bit of convincing to get my wife to let me run this on the blog a few years back, and again today (especially since she was just goofing with my daughter when she did it, plus it was recorded in just one take, into an iPhone no less, and not done in a professional recording studio), but I think the spirit of Christmas got the best of her, and she finally said yes.

I hope you enjoy listening to it, and that it brings a little Christmas Eve spirit your way. (click this link to hear the song).

Merry Christmas everybody! :-)

Monday
Dec
2013
23

Announcing My Brand New Book: “Photoshop For Lightroom Users”

by Scott Kelby  |  15 Comments

Hi Gang: I know it’s the end of the year, but at the very last minute I’m jumping in with a brand new book (should be available next week, just in time for your Amazon and Barnes & Noble gift cards ;-) called “Photoshop for Lightroom Users.” Here’s why I wrote it:

Lightroom is such an awesome program for organizing and editing photos, but after you’ve worked with it for a while, you’ll hit a wall — a point where you realize that there are things you need to do that Lightroom just won’t do. It could be anything from retouching portraits to blending two or more images together to stitching panoramas to creating realistic HDR images, to adding beautiful type to your images — there are lots of incredible things you could do…if you only knew Photoshop.

But while Lightroom is pretty easy to learn, Photoshop is…well…it’s Photoshop. It’s this huge amazing Swiss-Army knife of a program with 100+ tools, and two dozen floating panels, and a ton of filters and compared to Lightroom it seems really complicated, but that’s only because…it is. But what if you only needed to learn about 10 or 20% of what Photoshop can do. What if you only needed to learn a few important techniques for photographers? That’s what my new book is all about. Teaching just the stuff Lightroom can’t do — and it’s one of the shortest books I’ve written (at 192 pages), so it’s short, sweet, right to the point, and even shows you things you might think you need to jump over to Photoshop for (but you can actually do right in Lightroom — I show you how).

Anyway, you can pre-order the print version right here from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or the Kindle version which is available right now!

I really feel like this book will help a lot of folks add Photoshop to their workflow in a quick, easy and fun way (especially all those folks who got in on the $9.95 Photoshop CC/Lightroom bundle, which ends at the end of the year). Anyway, thanks for letting me tell you about it, and I hope you find it helpful.

Holiday Cheers,

-Scott

Friday
Dec
2013
20

Pocket Wizard Responds To My “Epic Remote” Fails With Helpful Tips

by Scott Kelby  |  41 Comments

On Tuesday I did a post about my latest “Epic Remote Camera” fail (my 2nd fail in a row at an NFL game). The camera shoots fine in tests minutes before the players take the field, but once I move into position a bit farther back and the players actually come out, the remote camera only triggers intermittently at best. Arrrrggghh!!!)

ABOVE: That’s my basic remote floor mount rig: four pieces: a metal floor plate (from fplate.net), then an Oben BB-0 Ball Head which attaches to that plate. Then a PocketWizard Plus X and a sync cord that connects the PocketWizard to the camera. The Camera is a Canon 1Dx and I generally use either a 16-35mm lens or an 8-15mm Fisheye zoom. 

Anyway, the folks at PocketWizard contacted me and had some ideas as to what might be causing the interference, and strategies to get more reliable results (and to keep me from pulling my hair out). I asked if it was OK to share key parts of their three-page letter to me with you here, and they were happy to let me share it in hopes it might some other shooters experiencing similar issues. It sounds a bit “markety” here and there, but it’s still solid info. Here’s a few highlights:

“Our first piece of advice; Use the right gear for the occasion, in this case use the Plus III or MultiMAX the next time. The PlusX is our “value priced” radio and is perfect for simple setups, but shooting remotes in a stadium requires a bit more than the PlusX has to offer. Both the Plus III and especially the MultiMAX have special features that help make sure the radio signal gets through in challenging environments.”

OK, that makes sense, and when I look back, I realize that I’ve done most of my remote triggering using the PowerWizard Plus IIIs or the older Plus IIs and haven’t had many problems, so I’m wondering if using the Plus X instead couldn’t be the main culprit right there. Next time, I’m going back to the Plus IIIs for sure. Test results soon on this swap out.

“Second, you’re putting your camera close to the ground; real close in fact. The ground is a sponge. A radio sponge. It absorbs radio waves like you wouldn’t believe. The higher you can get the radio the better but we realize that isn’t always possible which is why we’ve designed special features just for situations like this. Those features can be found on both the Plus III and MultiMAX, but not on the value priced PlusX.”

Ah Ha! More reason to use the Plus IIIs instead of the Plus X. And those features are…

“In both the Plus III and MultiMAX you have a couple of special features designed particularly for remote triggering.  The one that would have helped the most here is Long Range Mode.  What this does is double the communication to make sure the receiving radio can hear it.  Just like repeating yourself to someone who can’t quite hear you. It’s a bit more technical than that, but that’s the general idea.  Using this feature should effectively double the reliable distance your radios will work in.”

Definitely will turn that feature on. Don’t actually know how yet, but that’s why God invented Brad Moore. ;-)

They also just had some troubleshooting tips in general to help for more reliable remote triggering:

“Due to the invisible nature of radio waves, understanding exactly how they work is not for the faint of heart.  Any one of a million things can have an influence on them and getting them to do exactly as you want is both science and art.   

Here’s a short list of the key things you can do to increase your success with remote cameras so before you go out on your next remote triggering event, read these basic rules of engagement: Whenever possible,

  • Maintain a line of sight between radios.
  • Keep the antennas parallel and at least 12” apart.
  • Make sure the radios, especially the antennas, are not near any large metal, concrete, or high water-content objects.  
  • Make sure the radios are not blocked by large objects or hills. Crowds gathering between you and your remotes will reduce range. Try to keep the antennas above the heads of crowds.
  • PocketWizard radios will have reduced performance if deployed close to the ground. 
  • Try to get them up high – 4 feet or higher improves range dramatically. Consider using a cable to locate the receiver higher up.
  • Avoid mounting them to metal railings or other building structures.
  • Avoid “Dead spots”.  These can be caused by a number of things but the solution is usually the same: move the unit a few inches or feet away from the problem area.
  • Avoid mounting them near long cable runs for other equipment or close to wiring.
  • When a long burst is needed or especially when using a radio in the hot-shoe of your handheld camera, increase the contact time (MultiMAX only) on the remote receiving unit. If range is an issue or remote operation is intermittent, this will help. If any single trigger is received, a long burst is guaranteed.”

I really found this all helpful, although there are some things in that last list that I can’t change [like deploying remotes close to the ground, or for things like mounting in the ceiling of arenas or domed stadiums, not mounted to metal railings], but at least I know there are some things I can try when I run into interference. I do think just switching to the Plus IIIs might do the trick for my situation, as I’ve never run into these problems before, so I’m hopeful, and will hopefully get to test this fairly soon.

My thanks to Dave Schmidt and his team at PocketWizard for reaching out, and for letting me share this troubleshooting info. and I fully expect to have a better story next game (if I can get permission to set up a remote, which I’d better get on if I have a prayer of doing that).

Have a great Weekend everybody, and Happy Holidays. :)

-Scott

 

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