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.

Thursday
Nov
2008
20

Some Shots from My Trip

by Scott Kelby  |  3 Comments

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I put together a iPhoto book of some of my favorite shots from my trip, and I’ve included some of the pages from the photo book below (click on them for a larger version). I went in a bit of a different direction with photos I shot on this trip than I did on my trip to Italy this past summer. These images have more of a focus on texture, color, and mood than my Italy images (I just wanted to try shooting in less of a commercial style than I usually do).

Besides this photo book, I did take loads of regular vacation photos (with us posed in front of pyramids, the Sphinx, etc.), and those are going into a separate photo book that’s more for us to look at to remember the trip, the places we ate, photos of our tour guides, hotels, and regular stuff like that (more like the photo from Tuesday’s post).

The images below were mostly taken with my Nikon D300, and my 18-200mm f/3.5 – 5.6 VR lens (my standard vacation shooting set-up) at ISO 200, 400 and occasionally 800. I took my D3 along as a second body, but wound up using it on just two occasions. The photos are pretty much “as is” out of the camera, but I did apply the “Camera Landscape Beta 1″ profile in Lightroom’s Calibration panel, and I added some Clarity to any photos with texture (Clarity loves texture—or vice versa). Anyway, here are the images as I laid them out in two-page spreads for the photo book.

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Wednesday
Nov
2008
19

It’s “Guest Blog Wednesday” featuring Jim DiVitale

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

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Greetings from Atlanta‐Barbara.

Splitting my time between our Atlanta commercial photography studio, my wife Helene Glassman’s portrait/fine art studio in Santa Barbara, and teaching digital photography programs means I spend a lot of time in the air. Today as I start to write the beginning of my guest Blog entry, I am flying to do a program in Chicago.

As I was shooting snapshots of clouds out of the window and thinking of what I would like to write about, I took notice of the date. I realized that in two weeks it will be exactly 30 years since graduating from the Art Institute of Atlanta and official start of my professional career in photography. In those thirty years I then realized that exactly 15 of those years have been in a film‐based work environment and the other 15 years have been in a totally digital capture environment. A very interesting moment in time to reflect on….

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A lot has changed in those 30 years. Although the tools we work with have changed and the final product is somewhat different, we are still doing the same job that we have always done. What was important then is even more important now. Where quality counts, doing just an OK job is not going to be good enough. For me as a photo-illustrator, I now have the tools to make things as perfect as possible which makes the clients very happy.

As I have been giving programs at photography schools around the country, I am meeting some incredibly talented art students educated in the latest digital imaging workflow techniques and software. It’s exciting to think about their futures ahead of them as they get ready to start their new careers. For those of us who are not currently in school, staying a head of the learning curve by being active members in your specific trade associations (like NAPP) and attending seminars isn’t even a choice any more. It’s a necessary part of your continuing education you must put yourself through to be competitive.

We must all constantly be working hard to improve our portfolios. That’s where the self‐assignment comes in. I have several different types of self‐assignments going on at once. One on-going assignment I have been doing for a long time is creating a multi‐image montage or digital panting that represents my feelings of each of the places I visit as I travel. These images are not for clients. Even though they are just for me, working on them makes me better prepared for the illustrative assignments that I do get from clients.
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Over the last few years, I have had the honor of hosting the “Art Of Photography” panel at Photoshop World. Several of the PSW photography instructors each get 15 minutes to show off their latest imaging with most of the entire conference in attendance. I am always amazed of what each artist has been doing it the 6 months between each show and I get even more inspired to create new portfolio images. For me, the trick is to now pick subjects for these self‐assignments that I have little or no experience photographing.

I decided I wanted to photograph whales…. That’s a lot different that photographing golf Continue reading

Tuesday
Nov
2008
18

I’m back from 11-days in Istanbul, Greece, and Egypt!!!

by Scott Kelby  |  2 Comments

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Back in early July, as my birthday present, my wife surprised me with a dream vacation, which we’re just coming back from today (In fact, I’m writing this on the plane flight home right now).

We started our vacation in Istanbul and spent a couple of days there (even got a few tips on where to shoot from David Honl, who used to live there). Then we boarded a cruise ship for a week visiting Athens (where the photo above was taken by our waiter) and the Greek Islands, and we ended our cruise in Alexendria, Egypt where we transferred to Cairo, to spend a few days seeing Pyramids and Sphinx’s before heading back home. Here’s the kicker—-the even bigger surprise was—it was just us two—the kids stayed home with Grandma. We haven’t done anything like that in years (the kids go everywhere with us), and it was just an absolute blast to have that time together.

Although we totally loved having that time to ourselves, we couldn’t stop talking about the kids day and night, and suckers that we are, we missed them terribly the whole time we were gone. Let me tell you, those two are going to get some serious hugs and kisses when we walk in that door (by the time you read this, we’ll already be home, and they’ll be all “hugged up.”)

During the 11 days, I took lots of photos (as you might guess) and my wife was the ultimate trooper making sure I had plenty of shooting opportunities each day, and planning special shore excursions to places she thought I’d like to shoot. I tried to make it a point not to overshoot, and still enjoy each city and country, and most importantly, I just wanted to enjoy our time together, and that worked out really well (I didn’t even take as many photos as I did in Italy this summer). I also took plenty of just regular “vacation” photos, so when we got home, I’d be able to put together a photo book to relive this trip of a lifetime.

We were blessed with really great weather the entire trip, and we laughed, drank wine, had some really yummy food, slept late, and did an incredible amount of nothing. It was the perfect vacation (and boy does my wife know how to give a birthday present or what)!!

I really haven’t had a chance to process the images yet, but I tried out a different Lightroom 2 organization workflow just for this trip, and if I can get one kink worked out; I’ll share it with you (well, even if I don’t get the kink worked out—I’ll still share it, hopefully later this week).

Anyway, my batteries are fully recharged, and I’m really psyched about the great stuff coming up before the end of the year. My thanks to you all for hanging in there yesterday for “Unexpected No Blog Monday.” I thought I would have time to do it before we left for the airport, but I was so wrong.

Have a great Tuesday everybody, and I’ll try and get some photos together for Thursday.

Tuesday
Nov
2008
18

Tomorrow’s Special Guest Blogger is…

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

…..commercial photographer, Photoshop User magazine columnist, Photoshop World Instructor, and master of the montage, my friend Jim DiVitale (I always just call him, “Jimmy D” for short).

I’m particularly honored to have Jim as a guest blogger because he’s had such an impact on my career. Jim was an attendee at the first Photoshop World Conference ever, and a few months after that, I ran into him at an Atlanta tradeshow (I had never met Jim, but I saw someone walking by with a Photoshop World t-shirt on, and I went up and introduced myself). An incredibly lucky break for me, for as it turned out Jim had been teaching courses for PPA for a while, and he told me (in as kind a way as possible), what we needed to do to offer real photography training at Photoshop World, and he even offered to teach a class. Well, he’s been a fixture at Photoshop World ever since, as one of our key instructors, and for years now Jimmy has penned Photoshop User magazine’s digital photography column.

Beyond that, Jim (along with Kevin Ames) was a big help to me when I was developing the concept for my first “Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers,” and Jim is the reason why I include a tear-out gray card in the book to this very day. Jim and Kevin also flew down from Atlanta to NAPP headquarters a few years ago to help us set up a product-shoot studio for the magazine, and Jim and his talented wife Helene, flew down on another occasion just to spend the day with me, teaching me how Helene lights and poses her subjects.

Jim’s given me an awful lot during the years, and it truly is an honor to have him here on my blog tomorrow, so please make sure you stop by and check his guest post out. Also, in the meantime, check out Jim’s own blog by clicking here.

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