Wednesday
Nov
2008
26

It’s “Guest Blog Wednesday” featuring Andrew Rodney, Jeff Schewe, Greg Gorman, Mac Holbert, and John Paul Caponigro

by Scott Kelby  |  3 Comments

[ From the Editor: "A lot of folks are really serious about printing, and a lot of those people use Epson printers, (myself included), which is why Epson puts on this big tour every year called the Epson Print Academy, where a group of instructors teach people how to get better prints. Andrew, Jeff, Greg, Mac and JP are together out on the road right now and we thought it might be kinda cool for each instructor to give you their take on what their job is on the tour, and what they're going to teach, so that way if it comes near you, you can check them out. So here, in their own words, is what the tour is all about. I listed their upcoming cities at the end of this, my first-ever group blog post]. -Scott

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Andrew Rodney
I do warm-up for the band, starting the morning with 30 minutes of non-lethal color management fundamentals. Its lays a foundation for much of what we’ll present the rest of the day using Photoshop, soft proofing and printing. My goal is to get people comfortable with color spaces, working spaces, the gamut possibilities of our capture and output devices. Since we cover Lightroom and Camera Raw, its important for the audience to understand the implications of what color space they select from the beginning of the capture process. I tried to keep it fun and math free; there’s a really cool optical illusion in the presentation.

I also do a session on printing using Photoshop and the Epson drivers in OS X and Windows. The various paper settings and profile names are decoded in this presentation. We dismiss the old ideas about resolution and printing. Printing should be easier, and here are a few pitfalls to look out which I discuss. Throughout the rest of the Print Academy, there’s a 7900 printer being used to output some amazing photography. The audience gets to see the processes presented from start to finish.

Our group has so many talented photographers who discuss the aesthetics and the art of photography and fine art print making. I speak from the opposite, left side of the brain hemisphere,the geek end of the imaging process. Its a great mix of talents and personalities on stage that make this such a fun, educational and well rounded event.

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Jeff Schewe
As long as I’ve been in photography (which seems like a really, really long time now) my main purpose as a photographer is to produce a final print. While I was a commercial/advertising photographer, the “print” was the final halftone reproduction, but now it’s the final inkjet print. However, the task of producing a technically excellent print really comes down to having a technically excellent capture that has been optimized for printing.

As a user of both Lightroom and Camera Raw/Photoshop/Bridge, (I’m coauthor of Real World Camera Raw these days) I’m often at a quandary about what tools to use when and for what purpose. From the standpoint of dealing with mass amounts of raw captures, I find Lightroom to be uniquely suited for that task. The power of the parametric editing in Lightroom allows me to do the vast majority of the image adjustments right in Lightroom. Lightroom also has a optimal print output capability (and even has output sharpening based on PixelGenius’ and Bruce Fraser’s output sharpening from PhotoKit Sharpener). But, for substantial image retouching, compositing or low level pixel editing, the image will still need to be round-tripped into Photoshop. Photoshop also has another function that Lightroom is currently missing and that’s Soft Proofing.

To truly optimize and image prior to printing, you really must soft proof it using the output profile of the printer paper combination you’ll be printing to. But merely soft proofing for color is not enough. You must also soft proof for the final dynamic range of the print and that means using the “make your image look like crap” button in Photoshop. This is the Display Options (On-Screen) for simulating paper color and black ink inside the Customize Proof Condition dialog in Photoshop. By using both the color profile and the Display Option, you get a really accurate prediction of the look, color and dynamic range of your final print.

I realize many people don’t like (or don’t understand) Photoshop’s soft proofing, but it’s a valuable tool when you know how to use it to save both time and money (ink and paper in particular) and to optimize your image prior to the final print. Clearly, not everything can be soft proofed to a really high degree of accuracy (things like image detail and sharpening come to mind as well as paper texture) but from the standpoint of tone and color, Photoshop is really pretty darn good.

I also take the opportunity while in Photoshop to do any and all retouching (beyond spot healing) that needs to be done at a pixel editing level. Once I get the image tweaked and ready for printing, I save the image and Lightroom will automatically add the edited image to the catalog. From there I take advantage of Lightroom’s considerable improvements in making and using print templates for error free printing. Lightroom and Photoshop should both be equal in terms of print quality, it’s in the printing workflow where Lightroom really outshines Photoshop.

That’s pretty much my role at the Epson Print Academy, teaching people how to optimize images for printing–particularly on these new UltraChrome HDR printers like he 7900 that travels with us to each city. At this stage in my career, the thought of going back down into my darkroom with stinky chemicals and long hours rocking trays just isn’t very attractive. The fine art print output I can get these days from the 7900 far exceeds the technical aspects and quality of the traditional darkroom by such a margin, I’ll never have to face tray rocking again.

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Greg Gorman
My session happens just before lunch and just before your brain feels as if it is going to explode from the generous technical information shared by my colleagues. Being a photographer first and foremost and certainly long before the age of digital, I spend half of Continue reading

Tuesday
Nov
2008
25

Tomorrow’s Special Guest Blogger is…

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

…not just one single person, but a collection of photographers, artists, and instructors who will present my first special guest “Group Blog.” But this just isn’t any group of guest bloggers; I’m honored to be able to host:

  • John Paul Caponigro
  • Greg Gorman
  • Mac Holbert
  • Andrew Rodney
  • Jeff Schewe

I honestly can’t wait to see what they have in store, and I hope you’ll join me here tomorrow to see what they have planned for the first-ever “Group Special Guest Blog!” This is too cool! :)

Tuesday
Nov
2008
25

Trying Out a New Lightroom Workflow For Travel Photography

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

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As promised, here’s a breakdown of a new Lightroom 2 workflow I tried out during my vacation trip to Turkey, Greece, and Egypt.

When I’m on vacation, I take two types of shots:

  1. Regular travel photos, where we’re posed in front of a monument, and I shoot the quaint restaurant we ate at, and all the standard tourist stuff that chronicles your vacation, and would make a great travel slideshow to show friends back home.
  2. Shots that just appeal to me as a photographer, which don’t always show a place like most people would expect. For example, I could shoot for a week in Paris and not have a single shot of the Eiffel tower; an act which would make most wives bludgeon their husbands upon return from their trip.

I always make a printed photo book of each trip when I return (once you start making printed photo books—you’ll always want one for each trip), but since I knew I would be shooting a lot of arty travel shots as well (my wife’s term) travel shots, I wanted to make a second book of just that stuff (which is the layout you saw here on the blog last week). So, I’m making two different books, which is what got me wanting to try a slightly different workflow.

DISCLAIMER: Just so you know; I tried out something new here, so there will be things in this workflow that are very different from my standard workflow which is detailed in my Lightroom 2 book. You know that up front, so you’re not allowed to post any comments that include the phrase, “…but in your book you said to…..”

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Step One: Creating a New Catalog
I figured I’d start fresh by creating a new empty Lightroom catalog on my laptop, especially since I was going merge this catalog with my main Lightroom catalog (on my main photo workstation) when I got home. So, in Lightroom I went under the File menu and choose New Catalog. I named it “Turkey Greece Egypt” and up came a completely empty new Lightroom window.

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Step Two: Creating My Initial Collection Sets
I knew which cities and countries I’d be visiting, so I created a Collection Set (kind of like a folder of collections) right up front for each city and country (you create Collection Sets by clicking on the little plus (+) sign at the top right corner of the Collections panel, then choose Collection Set from the pop-up menu).

Step Three: Importing and Sorting
At the end of each day, I would come back to the room and download my photos onto Two OWC On-The-Go drives (they’re 160GB each). One set goes on a drive named “Main Drive” and I have Lightroom automatically back-up a 2nd set to a drive named “Back-up Drive.” So, our first stop was Istanbul, so I imported the first days photos, and quickly went through and flagged any photos as “Rejects” that were just too awful to store on the drive.

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Then, I quickly went through and made collections sorted by where the photos were taken that day (as seen above). This step isn’t entirely necessary, but I just like to be able to click and jump right to particular set of photos from an area, so I usually organize my days like this.

Now, my wife and I sat down in front of Lightroom; I double-clicked on the first photo to Continue reading

Monday
Nov
2008
24

Shooting Ohio St. vs. Michigan From the Sidelines

by Scott Kelby  |  4 Comments

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I mentioned on Friday I had a shoot this weekend, and this was it—-one of the most famous college football rivalries; The Ohio State Buckeyes vs. the Michigan Wolverines.

I flew up to Columbus, Ohio on Friday night (with my brother Jeff who came along to hang with me), and when we woke up Saturday morning (game day) it was 17° (-8°C) Brrrrrrr! Luckily by game time it was up to a toasty 32° (0°C), but I was dressed really warm and the cold wasn’t a factor—-in fact—it was a blast!!!!

It was the most crowded sideline I’ve ever shot on, and I had to jockey for position all day long, which made it one of the most challenging football shoots.

I shot with two bodies; my Nikon D3 was my main rig, with my Nikon 200-400mm f/4 lens (mounted on a Gitzo carbon fiber monopod), and when things got close-up, I switched to my Nikon D300 with a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 wide angle lens.

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I used the R-Strap (link) on my D300 with the wide lens on it, and I can tell you this; I won’t shoot another football game without it! Being able to reach down and have my 2nd body ready to fire in a split-second is a sports-shooter’s dream. (That’s me shooting with it above—photo by my brother Jeff, taken with an iPhone).

Even though the game started at 12:00 noon, it was so overcast that I had to crank up my ISO to between 800 and 1250 (on my D3), to keep my shutter speed at the minimum of 1/1000 of a second (needed to freeze the action). I left my D300 at 800 ISO, and son of gun if I didn’t get a little blur here and there (I really should have pushed it to 1200, but that’s the point where you start to see noise on a D300, so I hesitate to push it past 800). I shot wide open all day, at f/4 on the long glass, and f/2.8 on the wide.

Here’s a few shots from the day (click on them for larger views):

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I was set-up in the end zone for this one, (you’re required to be on your knees when shooting from the end zone), when Ohio State Running Back Chris Wells broke out and headed straight for me. I shot this with the 200-400mm until he was all the way up to about the 15 yard line then I switched to the 24mm wide.

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Here’s Chris again, later in the game, after being gang tackled by Michigan.

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Ohio State Quarterback Terrelle Pryor on a keeper putting the stiff-arm to Wolverine Safety Stevie Brown.

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This is one you have to click on to see the larger size, to appreciate because it’s the crowd that tells the story, with the Ohio State fans on the left side cheering wildly as the throw connects with Wide Receiver Brian Hartline for the score, while the Wolverine band remains stoic on the right. I also like the way you can see Ohio State Quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the foreground signaling for the touchdown.

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Hartline does it again, and looks to the ref as he confirm that it is indeed—a touchdown.

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Above Two Shots; the reason why I was at the game—my assignment was to cover Ohio State superstar Middle Linebacker James Laurinaitis (2007 Butkus award winner for best college linebacker) in his last game as a Senior (he led the team in tackles that day, with 12 tackles and one sack).

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Here’s another one where what’s happening on the sidelines tells the story, as Ray Small starts what turns into an 81-yard punt return.

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Bodies flying everywhere as Wolverine’s Running Back Carlos Brown breaks a tackle.

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Lastly, here’s something you don’t see every day; a football pano —-click on it for a much larger version.

All in all, it was a great day, and I got lots of shots of James in action, which is what it was all about. The excitement and sheer mania of a Big-10 rivalry like this was just amazing to see, and it made the cold weather, cramped shooting conditions, and dragging all that gear around in small Delta Connection jets all worth it. Can’t wait to shoot my next game! :-)

Friday
Nov
2008
21

Friday “Photoshop Insider” News Nuggets

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

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Howdy folks; here’s what’s up as we head into the weekend:

  • I had some questions yesterday about the font I used as the header for my shots from my trip (where I wrote, “Istanbul, Greece, and Cairo” and it’s shown again above). The font is P22 Cezanne Regular, by the font developer P22 (here’s the link to it on MyFonts.com).
  • On the heels of releasing my 3rd annual 2008 Gonzo Holiday Gear Guide, the blog “Camera 47″ put together a terrific gift guide of their own of “20 Photography Gifts under $100″ and I gotta tell ya—there’s some really great stuff on their list (and lots of ideal stocking stuffers). Here’s the link (definitely worth checking out).
  • Jeff Revell (from PhotoWalkPro.com) did a nice piece recently called “The No Memory Card Gotcha,” and he used photos of both Canon and Nikon cameras in the piece. I remember thinking, “Man, those camera photos look really great” and I wasn’t alone, because Jeff got enough comments about them that he did a follow-up article on how he shot those camera images in his basement using a simple off-camera flash set-up and a little Photoshop. Here’s the link to his tutorial on how he did it.
  • Jeff is also interviewed in this week’s “Digital Photography Life” radio show, and you can listen to Jeff’s interview right here.
  • We just released the online training class “Mastering Layers in CS4″ (from the man who literally wrote the book; Matt Kloskowski) over at KelbyTraining.com. Here’s the link to Matt’s brand new online class.
  • The prices for memory components have come down recently, and Hoodman (who make the RAW memory cards I use), have new prices, too: Their 4GB CF RAW cards are down to $99.99; the 8GB CF RAW are $179.99, and the 16GB CF RAW cards are $299.99. You can get them direct from Hoodman (here’s that link).
  • I had a lot of comments on Tim Grey’s Guest Blog here (it was a few weeks back), and people were asking how he did the Infrared effect he had applied to some of the photos he used in the post. Well, Tim has gone and created a tutorial on how he did it; here’s the link (thanks Tim, for pointing us to this tutorial).
  • Lastly, let’s wrap up with some inspiration from photographer Glen Wexler. He combines some top rate photography with top rate Photoshop work to create amazing images that combine realism with fantasy for everything from album covers to advertising campaigns. Follow this link, then under the header Portfolio (up in the top left), start with his Altered Anthropology portfolio. Definitely wild stuff!

That’s it for this Friday. I’m doing a shoot this weekend, and if I get anything decent, I’ll post it on Monday. See you then! :-)

Friday
Nov
2008
21

10 Observations From My Trip

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

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First, thanks to everybody who posted such kind comments yesterday. It absolutely made my day! :) The photo above is one I took of my wife in a Mosque in Istanbul (women have to cover their heads to enter the Mosque). Here are some quick things I learned during the trip:

  1. I was curious how we’d be treated (as Americans), but everywhere we went, without exception, the people were incredibly warm, friendly, and very genuine.
  2. Barack Obama is an absolute rock star over there. People would see us, figure out that we were American’s (we kinda stuck out), and they’d start yelling “Obama” and high-fiving us when we walked by. I even saw locals in Turkey and Egypt wearing Obama pins, and I saw Obama stickers in store windows. Our local English-speaking guides all were huge Obama fans (and let us know in no uncertain terms that Bush was even more unpopular there than he is here, if that’s possible).
  3. I was surprised at how “Western” both Istanbul and Cairo had become. You didn’t have to look far to find a TGI-Fridays, Chili’s, Fudrucker’s, Burger King, McDonalds, Starbucks, a BMW dealer, Sony Plasma TV retailer, or a big multi-level shopping mall.
  4. Coke Light, their version of “Diet Coke” is incredible! (even better than Coke Zero), and I wish we had it here in the states.
  5. It’s a small world. I was sitting in a coffee shop in Istanbul, when the manager come up and said, “Excuse me…are you Scott Kelby?” He had the Turkish translation of my book, The Digital Photography Book, and my Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers, and he recognized my photo from the back cover. Really nice guy.
  6. My wife and I stopped in a small town in the countryside of Crete and had a real Greek Gyro for lunch—they were unbelievable!!!
  7. Our guides went out of their way to try and counter what they said was a “bad opinion” of Muslims, (because of terrorism). They were frustrated and embarrassed (their words), with what they said was the world’s current view of Muslims. It was kind of ironic, as American foreign policy hasn’t made us any friends in the Middle East, but when you go to the Middle East, they’re worried about how we see them.
  8. So many locals we talked to told us that their dream was to one day visit America.
  9. I’ve never seen more tourists (from all over the world) shooting DSLRs. I still saw plenty of point-and-shoots, but I was surprised at how much “big glass” and high-end Nikon, Canon, and Olympus DSLRs I saw around the necks of tourists. That’s a cool thing.
  10. People everywhere are pretty much the same, and want the same things; they want a good job so they can pay their bills and have nice things, they want to raise their families in a safe place, and they’re worried about their kids and the future. They’re concerned about high taxes, the price of gas, war, global warming, and the same things we’re all worried about, and they’re as crazy about their national football team as I am about my NFL teams. It was nice to see that while our governments may have major differences—people are all pretty much the same.

One more thing; the food in Egypt was just delicious, and at one point we asked our guide (a really nice and very sharp guy), what his favorite meal was (hoping to get an idea of what to try for dinner the following night). He said that was easy; it was a Whopper, fries, and a coke from Burger King. Sigh.

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