Tuesday
Dec
2008
02

A Word From Moose About the Comments On The Nikon D3X

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

[Note From the Editor]: Moose and I were both emailing back and forth about the angry comments posted here yesterday by readers concerning Nikon’s new D3X product announcement. We were both surprised at all ‘the hatin” goin’ on.

My (Scott’s) take on it was this: “Look, Nikon came out with a new camera. It’s $8.000. If you think it’s too much, or not for you—-don’t buy it. That’s it. End of story. If Toyota comes out with a $75,000 car tomorrow, with just one big advantage over a Toyota Camry—I don’t get mad at Toyota. I don’t berate Toyota. I don’t go on forums and slam Toyota—-they can offer as many Toyotas as they want, at any price they want—I don’t have to buy one—I’ll just stick with my Camry. That’s it.”

Anyway, after writing back and forth, Moose emailed me a short story/follow-up, which I wanted to share with you here today because it’s much more eloquent than my short rant above. It’s Moose’s take on the situation, and I thought it really adds to the discussion. So, here my first mini-guest blog, from my friend Moose. –Scott].

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The scent of fresh baked turkeys still lingers in the air, boxes are a strewn across the living floor as xmas reemerges for its grand annual show. The family has all come home and by some amazing good fortune, fresh snow has fallen so inside and out, everything just says happy holidays. Laughter is in the air, stories of past fun being told, adventure while we were apart are being shared. It’s what life is all about.

And then there is dad. He’s got that black box in his hand and light on a string bouncing of this wall, that ceiling, saying hold still, reposing a prior moment, crawling on the floor looking for a new angle (while you’re down there, can you hand me that ornament that just fell). He’s even outside on the deck shooting in through the giant window as if some stranger peering in on the family fun. “Honey, come in from out there, you’re scaring the neighbors!” All this just to preserve forever the special moments that, when we look back on the photograph, a smile comes to our face, a warmth to our heart.

Photography is a funny thing, it’s full of “gotchas!” and “round robins” and “catch 22s.” There are probably more idioms involving photography than life itself. And yet, that simple click of the camera can on one hand put a giant smile on your face, or giant frown. To have fun with a camera, you’ve gotta take some aspects seriously. Take photography too seriously and all the fun goes out of it. Throw into this mix the human factor and oh man, all hell can break loose!

The one thing though that has always puzzled me about photographers and their photography is, the stress they seem to pile on it. In all honesty, it’s just a picture. Yeah, the photograph can have an impact, they can change the world but, they are still a picture. The sun will rise tomorrow with or without those pixels corralled, shined and displayed. That’s more than can be said for some photographers though.

What brings me to this wondering rant is the current blogishsphere response to the D3x. Not too many years ago, photographers were daring the photo industry to come out with more pixels. Daring is probably too gentle a word, demanding is more accurate. While many of us were saying quality is more important that quantity, the web was alive with forecasts of world doom if we didn’t get more pixels. So the manufactures produced, on their time schedule (which never, ever matches photographers) said cameras and being more pixels, charged more. And with that done, now the outrage, the anger because what, they delivered what you asked for but at a price so they can stay in business? They are not putting a gun to your head to buy them, they are not taking away all the other less expensive options forcing you to jump on board. All they did was add another body to the line up. They brought out a tool that some demanded and others truly need. And with that, the flood of anger. Emotion in photography is good, it’s a must for powerful images, and contained in your image is where that emotion should be focused.

I had a very wise high school photo teacher, Mr Traub. Most of his lessons, being the typical dumb kid, didn’t sink in until long after I’d left his class. I learned a lot about photography, and photographers in those two years. One day after a number of the upper classman had moaned about how they were stuck using the “old” cameras, twin eye monsters, and not able to use the new Nikon F2, they weren’t able to take good images. Mr. Traub in his oh not so subtle style handed them his Nikon F2 with 55f3.5 Micro and said, “You go shoot with that, I’ll go out with this broken TEM and we’ll compare what we get.” We all know the outcome, Mr. Traub had great images, the kids had kid’s stuff. It wasn’t the gear but the inspiration, the talent and the emotion behind it that made the images.

I’m the first to admit: “Hi, my name is Moose, I’m addicted to cameras.” And yet with that admission, I still have a small camera bag of gear. I am very fortunate and thank the powers to be that I have the opportunity to evaluate gear before putting down hard earn cash so I add only those pieces, those tools that permit me to make a click into a smile. I would suggest if we took ourselves and our photography just a little less seriously, we’d have a whole lot more fun, better images to share and witness the best outcome of our efforts. Bringing a smile to the hearts of those we expose to our photography from the emotion we’ve packed into our photograph!

– Moose Peterson

Tuesday
Dec
2008
02

My Lightroom 2 Tour is in Los Angeles This Thursday

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

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I hope you’ll be in the crowd this Thursday at the Los Angeles Convention Center as I wrap up my final Lightroom 2 Tour date for the year, on December 4, 2008.

As I mentioned earlier on the blog; my buddy Matt Kloskowski will be there helping me field questions during the day, and Mike “Hollywood” Kubeisy will be there assisting me with my live shoots (I left Brad back at the office because he’s wanted on a outstanding warrant in LA. Hey, don’t laugh—he could have warrants. That’s why they call him).

Anyway, we’re going to have a great day, and if you want to snag one of the remaining seats (we’re going to have around 700 photographers there that day), here’s the link. Hope I’ll be seeing you there!

Monday
Dec
2008
01

Three Video Tutorials on Making Photo Books

by Scott Kelby  |  4 Comments

I had so many requests last week to show how to create Photo Book layouts (like the one I did for my trip to Turkey, Greece, and Egypt), that I did three short videos for you (below), to show you how, but using different applications. The three videos are:

  1. How to create them in Apple’s iPhoto
  2. How to create them in Lighroom 2
  3. How to create them from scratch in Photoshop CS4 using Smart Objects

Click on the videos to watch them. Hope this helps jump start you into making photo books, because once you start, you’ll be totally hooked!

The iPhoto Video:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/2iexUVyMRJ8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

The Lightroom 2 Video:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/t3EGSLPEYhY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

The Photoshop CS4 Video:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/PTWnrGBbMM4" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

NOTE: If you’d like to see a higher quality version of these videos, click on the links below, which will take you each video’s page on YouTube.com. Just below the bottom right corner of the video (which is already larger in size on YouTube.com), you’ll see a link called “Watch in Higher Quality.” Click that to see a much sharper, and larger version of each video.

  • iPhoto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iexUVyMRJ8
  • Lighroom 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3EGSLPEYhY
  • Photoshop CS4:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTWnrGBbMM4
Thursday
Nov
2008
27

A Day To Give Thanks

by Scott Kelby  |  5 Comments

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Today in the U.S. we celebrate one of our most popular holidays; “Thanksgiving,” which is a day for giving thanks for the blessings in our lives.

This is a day we usually spend at home surrounded by family, and we enjoy two key Thanksgiving day traditions: a huge Thanksgiving day turkey dinner (an example of which is shown above), and lots of American football on TV (there are three NFL games today!). Thanksgiving also signals the beginning of the Holiday season here (with tomorrow, the day after Thanksgiving, being the #1 shopping day of the year).

I truly lead a charmed life, and I have so many blessings and so much to be thankful for, but today I want to focus my thanks around this blog, which has become a part of my daily life.

  • I am so grateful to everyone here on the blog who helped support “Springs of Hope, Kenya” this year and helped feed so many hungry children and build an Orphanage and clinic in Kenya. I’ll have a report on the construction progress next week, but you will be very proud at what’s been done, and how far it’s come.
  • I’m thankful for everyone who has stepped up to answer questions posed by other blog readers. I can’t answer every question, and I’m so thankful there are people so willing to jump in there with answers (and I’ve yet to see someone post an answer that’s wasn’t correct).
  • I’m thankful to everyone who let me know about a link that was broken, a word that was misspelled, or something I forgot, so I could go in there and fix it.
  • I’m thankful to everyone who linked to my blog from their blog. When you work as hard on something as I do this blog, you want as many people as possible to be a part of it, and your support and exposure has meant a lot.
  • I’m very blessed to have such a wonderful Web team behind me, including my designer Fred Maya, and my in-house crew Michael Ritchie, Tommy Maloney, and Aaron Westgate who all get involved from time-to-time in keeping this puppy up and running.
  • I’m thankful to everyone who has stuck up for me, said a kind word, or came to my defense. It means more than you know.
  • I’m very thankful for my friend Larry Becker, who gets up each morning, proofs my blog, (a job he took on himself just because he’s my friend), tries to make sense of what I wrote at 2:45 in the morning, and actually even makes the edits himself. Larry is a one-of-a-kind guy, and everyday I’m more and more thankful to have him as a friend.
  • I’m thankful to everyone who has dropped me an email with ideas for things to be covered here on the blog. Those ideas have saved my butt more than once.
  • I’m thankful for Vincent Versace’s idea to turn “No Blog Wednesday” into “Guest Blog Wednesday,” and I’m thankful for every author, instructor, photographer, and friend who has volunteered to do a guest blog post.
  • I’m thankful to have such involved frequent commenters, who are always polite, always helpful, always have a kind word to say, and really add to the overall community.
  • I’m thankful to everyone who stops by here, and spends a few minutes with me each morning. I feel very blessed to be able to do this blog, and I’m especially grateful that we’ve been able to keep the blog comments pretty much “without haters” and that means a lot to me.

Wherever you are in the world, whether you celebrate a day of thanks or not, I wish you and your family a day of warmth, togetherness, and peace. Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Our offices are closed today and tomorrow, so I took these days off to spend with my family, so I’ll be taking tomorrow off from Blog Posting, too! So, I’ll hope you’ll join me back here on Monday.

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

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