Monday
Apr
2009
27

Update on “The Springs of Hope, Kenya” Orphange

by Scott Kelby  |  25 Comments

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I got an update from Molly Bail (my friend of many years and the woman behind Springs of Hope, Kenya), on the progress in completing the Orphanage that so many of you have helped support through your generous donations, and I’ve got lots of great news to report today:

First, the roof is completely done, the security wall around the Orphanage is nearly complete (Molly tells me this wall is very important), and they are set to open in a little over a month; on Monday, June 1st.

Here’s part of Molly’s construction report:

“We are about to lay the tile on Monday. We are tiling the bathrooms, hallway and kitchen. If funds allow we will do main floor, and bedrooms. If not we will use throw rugs. They are finishing up septic tank; paint inside and out. The kitchen still needs appliances (frig, freezer, Stove/oven), and we need to put up the front gate, doors need to be put on, etc.”

I also asked Molly how we can help hit that June opening date. She gave me a list of things they still really need, and their approximate costs:

  • Furniture for living/dining areas $2,370 US
  • To fully furnish each bedroom is appox. $970
  • Kitchen  freezer $390
  • Refrigerator-$515
  • Kitchen Stove-$960
  • Cabinets for entire Kitchen-$2,170
  • Pots, pans, silverware-$410
  • Chairs and seating for house: $910
  • Linens towels-$447
  • Playground for the children (Molly says this is very much needed!) Approx. $4,840 US

If you, or if you work at a company that supports really great causes like this, and you want to pick up any one (or more) of those items, you will have done something really impactful in the life of a child.

100% of the money you donate goes to actually feeding and housing children who need us so badly. June 1st is right around the corner, and I hope you’ll consider picking up any one of the items on that list above.

You can donate by using PayPal (here’s the link to their site—the PayPal button to donate is there, or you can send a check).

Molly Bail, who sold her home and all her belongings, and moved to Kenya with her husband and son to build this Orphanage, included this line in her email to me yesterday:

“You all are so wonderful…please thank all your readers from us here in Kenya! We are so very grateful for them!

So am I, Molly. My readers constantly amaze me at their generosity, and compassion for others. I am humbled by their contributions to this very important building project, and honored that they’ve come on board with Springs of Hope, Kenya in such a meaningful way.

Monday
Apr
2009
27

Joe McNally and I Team Up This Summer For a Workshop In The Caribbean

by Scott Kelby  |  19 Comments

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I’m sitting at my desk one day—the phone rings, and I hear, “Hey, ya Mook; it’s McNally.” He told me he called to tell me that he was putting together a special week-long small-flash lighting workshop in the amazingly beautiful, lush, tropical island of St. Lucia down in the Caribbean, from July 5-12th.

He told me that it would be limited to just a hand-full of students, and each day we’d all be shooting on location, including hands-on shoots on the beach, in the jungle; we’d be shooting all around the tiny island, and lighting everything from mountain bike racers to professional models, and that he was going to just immerse the class in how to absolutely nail location lighting with small flash.

He said he’d cover his techniques for mixing flash with available light, how to incorporate reflectors and diffusers, how to work with remote flashes, using color and gels, and basically he was going to share his whole bag of tricks on how to get pro results from small flash for your location portraits (which is the subject of his #1 bestselling book, ‘The Hot Shoe Diaries”).

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He went on and on about how unbelievable the island was (he said it was a true paradise) and how incredible the resort was (he had been there many times before), and how gracious the owners of the hotel were, what an amazing location this was for a workshop, and the whole time I was thinking, “This sounds amazing; I’ve gottta sign up for this workshop!” and then Joe says, “…and I want you to come down and teach a class one-day on how to finish your images in Photoshop.” I said, “Are you serious?” He was. He had me at “Hey, ya Mook!” I still haven’t picked my jaw up off the floor. Long story short; I’m so there!!!!

Anyway, now that I’m the official guest instructor, I’m inviting you to be one of those 12 students that will spend a week in paradise learning from the master of small flash. On the last day some Photoshop Mook will show up and share some of his favorite Photoshop techniques for correcting, retouching, and finishing the breathtaking images you will have taken during that week with Joe. I should have lots of shots to work on, because I’ll be sneaking into some of Joe’s classes and shooting right alongside you. I just can’t wait!!!!

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I asked Joe to tell me, in his own words, what the experience that week will be like. Here’s what Joe said:

“I have been blessed to have a bit of a second home in the Caribbean for 15 years–Anse Chastenet. I have always found a welcome there, and every time I have been there, I have found new inspiration about what to point a camera at. To be a better photog, stand in front of more interesting stuff. And in St. Lucia everything is interesting. The people, the setting, the light. We will work and shoot a lot for the week, and also mix in some hammock time and more than a few drinks with umbrellas in them.”

The lush tropical Anse Chastanet Resort he mentioned is our home for this workshop (you can see some of the views in shots above, taken by McNally himself—Here’s the link with workshop and hotel details), and if you scroll down that page a bit, you’ll find the info on Joe’s “Hot Shoe” workshop in paradise, which kicks off the evening of July 5th with a meet and greet. It’s going to be the learning experience of a lifetime for just 12 lucky photographers, and I hope I’ll get to shake your hand, and go shooting with you down in St. Lucia in July.

NOTE: Joe wrote about the whole thing on his blog; here’s the link to read about the resort, the island, how he wound up down there—the whole nine yards. A great read!

Friday
Apr
2009
24

Lighting Gear Deal This Week on Larry’s NAPP News Show

by webeditor  |  5 Comments

I know a lot of you already watch Larry Becker’s weekly NAPP news report, but for those of you who haven’t caught his show yet, one thing I like about it is that he always covers different stuff from one week to the next.

He just did a great interview with Corey Barker about the new Intuos4 tablet, and he’s always got some new deal or discount cooking, usually along with what’s going on in the industry. Anyway, the reason I’m bring this up is today; this week one of his stories is about where to get less expensive photography gear and studio lighting for advanced amateurs who can’t drop $500 or $600 right now on something like a Westcott TD5 Spiderlight, but want something similar.

Anyway, you can watch the show right here today (above), or if you’re a NAPP member, each weekly NAPP News episode appears on the NAPP member home page, but you can always subscribe to NAPP News free through iTunes so you don’t miss an episode. Here’s the link (clicking it launches iTunes):

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=300445403

That’s it. I thought you guys might dig this since it’s a pretty cool lighting thingy.

Friday
Apr
2009
24

Giving Yourself a Photo Assignment

by Scott Kelby  |  40 Comments

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Last week I got an email from a reader in Denver, Colorado who had seen my post about my Indy Racing assignment, and he needed a favor. He was preparing to take his family to Walt Disney World in Florida (It’s one of their favorite places so they’re regular visitors) and since has shot it so many times he was wondering if I had any ideas he could use for a self-assignment at Disney World.

The funny thing was: I had faced that same situation (both my kids are Disney fanatics, and I grew up about 45 minutes from Disney’s Main Gate and I started going there back in October of 1971, so I’ve shot it “to death.”). I shared with him a couple of self-assignment projects I had done at Disney, and one I hoped to do in the near future. Anyway, I thought it would make kind of an interesting post about shooting a place you’ve shot many times before. Here’s what I told him:

(1) Try and capture a series of images inside Disney (particularly in the Magic Kingdom park) that most folks would never know were taken inside Disney. Look for architectural elements, flowers, little alley ways, etc. and you’ll know the assignment worked if you ask someone where it was taken, and the last place they would guess would be Disney World. The image shown at the top was taken in Tomorrowland, and while that one’s not that hard to figure out (especially since you know we’re talking about Disney), I included a few below taken in other parts of the Magic Kingdom that are a bit harder (these were taken about three or four years ago).

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The top two were taken on Tom Sawyer’s Island in Frontierland, and the bottom one was taken in one of the shops in Adventureland.

Now, the one’s below are a bit harder yet, because they were taken at Disney World’s EPCOT Center park (once again, about three or four years ago).

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Now the photo below is a special case, because back when I took it, I ran it here on my blog and challenged people to figure out where it was taken, and I offered a prize to the person who figured it out. It took several days (and a few hints) to finally get someone to choose Disney World. Here’s the image:

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It was taken in the Morocco section of EPCOT’s World Showcase. OK, onto my 2nd project.

(2) Shoot only things that are round. I got this idea from Photoshop World Joe Glyda, who always gives himself assignments for his presentation during “The Art of Digital Photography” panel at Photoshop World. I tried this one myself and you can’t believe how many things are round in the Magic Kingdom, from sewer covers to the round street lights on Main Street to signs and even one of Mickey’s ears. The circles should almost fill the frame, so it’s obvious the circle in the subject. I had a great time with this one (but could not find a single shot from it, which is kind of driving me crazy because I know I have them on a hard drive somewhere).

So, those are two I had already done, but the one I had been saving for the future would be called “Quiet Places” or “Alone in the World” and it would be to capture a person (a child, a parent and child, a senior citizen), enjoying Disney when it appears they are all alone in their little corner of the park. So, for example, if someone was standing in front of the castle looking up at it, you’d have to frame the shot so you only see that single person, and the castle. No one else. So, no tourists or park employees could appear in any shot. If they’re standing on a bridge over-looking one of the little moats around the castle, you have to frame it so it looks like they’re all by themselves in the park.

Anyway, he really liked the ideas (his exact words were, “…that’s exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for.” Then he sent me a link to a shot he had taken a few years back that accidentally fell into the category of my future shot. He had taken a photo right when the park opened, first thing in the morning, of a little girl all by herself looking down Main Street toward the castle. There were a few other tourists on the left side of the photo, but they were out of the way enough to make you think, “Hey, how’d he get a shot with the park so empty?”

Anyway, I hope my reader’s idea, and my subsequent suggestions, get your gears cranking about what you can do the next time you’re at a familiar location and think to yourself, “Should I even bring my camera? I’ve shot that place to death.” Give yourself an assignment, and see what you come up with. Hey, ya never know.

Thursday
Apr
2009
23

It’s Embarrassing Photo Thursday,” (Plus Some News Stuff)

by Scott Kelby  |  41 Comments

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Happy Thursday everybody. I’m back from three-days in the Florida Keys as chaperone for my son’s school trip to “Sea Camp.” It was three solid days without my laptop, without meetings, without working. It was awesome!

OK, about this Thursday’s Embarrassing Photo: I really can’t explain it. I can’t explain our hair. Why we were dressed that way. Or how we got gigs, or dates, or paid our bills, etc. but somehow, we did. Hey, it was an 80s disco band. Not much was expected of us.

The band was called “7th Avenue,” named after Ybor City’s main drag–7th Ave. (From L to R: Drummer Randy Wheat, Bass Player Mark Southwick, Lead singer Chris Denham, Me [yes, I'm actually wearing a square-ended, knit tie from "Chess King."], lead guitarist Tony Llanes [of Big Electric Cat fame], and lead vocalist and rhythm guitar player Jose Herrera). Now, once you stop giggling, we can move onto the news:

  • Tom Rocks The House!
    First, a big thanks to Tom Opasinski for his thought-provoking blog post yesterday, that had everybody talking. I thought his message was really insightful, and from reading your comments, you guys got a lot out of his article as well. Thanks for making him feel so at home here on the blog.
  • New Online Class from RC
    Kelby Training Online just released another online class from Web Guru RC Concepcion. This one’s called, “Dreamweaver CS4 for Beginners” and if you ever wanted to finally get up to speed with building Web sites from scratch, you definitely want to check out RC’s class. Here’s the link.

    Which Monitor Do You Use To Tether?
  • I have a question for you guys. You’ve probably heard about me shooting tethered directly into Lightroom on my laptop, but my question to you isn’t about shooting to a computer. Instead, this is for people who use a large TV or computer monitor in place of the LCD monitor on the back of their camera (so you’re taking a cable out of your camera, and going straight into the monitor itself—-not into a computer).
    My questions are:

    (a) Which monitor have you found works best
    (b)
    How are you connecting your camera (RCA jack? HDMI cable? etc.) to the monitor.
    I want to try a different set-up for a change, and any advice you guys could share would be greatly appreciated.

  • Is it a photo, or a fake?
    AutoDesk (maker’s of 3D CAD software) has a very cool promo-site where they show you different images, and they have a little poll where they ask you to choose which images shown are real photos, and which are 3D computer generated (and both are really there—it’s not a trick). It’s kind of fun, and kind of amazing at the same time. Here’s the link.
  • Only Four-Spots Left For My Landscape Workshop in Savannah
    Remember the landscape workshop I mentioned on Friday, coming up in Savannah, Georgia? I just learned that there are only four-seats left, so if you were planning on being a part of it, I’d grab one of those seats today. Here’s the link to my post with the details. Hope I’ll see you in one of those four remaining spots.

That’s it for today, gang. I’m really beat (it was a nine hour bus-ride home last night), so I’m keepin’ it short today, but I’ll be back in full swing tomorrow! Have a kick-butt Thursday everybody (and stop snickering).

Wednesday
Apr
2009
22

It’s “Guest Blog Wednesday” featuring Tomasz Opasinski!

by Brad Moore  |  45 Comments

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Images courtesy of: The Ant Farm, Trailer Park Print, Crew Creative Advertising

“If I am to speak for ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.”
- Woodrow T. Wilson

I think that I know what Wilson had in mind back then. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines… My constant source of inspiration. :)

Hi Scott and fellow bloggers-photoshopers… what a pleasure to be here!

Since a topic of this blog was wide open, I had a reaaaaalllyyy hard time deciding what to talk about. It’s due tomorrow, so I better focus now… 3… 2… 1… focus. Opasinski, focusss…

I would love to share some reflections with you guys, not fully Photoshop oriented, but associated to a certain degree by Photoshop existence.

Long story short… or short story long, we’ll see… :) Continue reading

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