Hi gang: This is a quick update because it’s after 3:00 am, and I am just beat. We had an amazing day today—the Expo floor was jammin’ today, and I saw lots of cool stuff, met lots of great people, and had a ball (The shot above is from the opening keynote). Here’s a quick recap:

  • I spent a lot of time with the gang from Wacom today, getting really into their new Intous 4 line of tablets. They had a hands-on lab where any attendee could follow along with a Wacom trainer as they showed you how to make the most of their new tablets, and I sat in on one of the sessions, and I learned a lot of cool new things that I never would have known. A number of vendors are sellling the new tablets on the floor, and people are buying them left and right. It’s one of those things you have to try for yourself, and then you want one SO badly!
  • I sat in for a while on RC’s class called “10 Things you Need To Know in Photoshop” and I was just blown away at the quality of what he was teaching, and how he was teaching it. He really has a gift for training, and it really made me proud that he’s on our team. I literally had to find him after the session and give him a hug. He was that good!
  • I heard great things about Corey Barker’s special effects class, people were still raving about Kevin Ames Live Shoot Pre-con, and the Photoshop & Video classes were so packed people were sitting on the floor.
  • The Expo Floor was packed today, and when I went by the Adobe booth today, I was Photoshop Principle Product Manager John Nack doing a session, and later answering questions at their booth. Grid Iron Software was there showing Flow and it was creating a lot of buzz around the show floor. OnOne had some nice show specials on their Plug-in Suite, as did Hoodman. Westcott had a huge booth doing demos all day, and all the show theaters were packed all day.
  • Today I did Part 2 of my Portrait Retouching class, and after building on the techniques we learned in Part 1, I then did a live photo shoot in class, and then took the images into Photoshop and retouched them live on the fly without any prior knowledge of the subject or what retouches might be necessary, and it really turned out to be a lot fun (it’s kind of cool seeing the techniques you just learned applied in a real world scenario right in front of your eyes).
  • Tonight was our now famous “Photoshop Midnight Madness” late-night session, and it was absolutely wild, hilarious, off-the-hook, insane (insert your own adjective here_____) kind of nite. We tried a bunch of fun new stuff, and it was just a riot!!!! You’ve never heard so much screaming, cheering, and laughing. At one point I thought the hotel would come and throw us out.
  • This conference made a lot of CS4 believers out of people who were on the fence. In the classes, there’s been a lot of focus on maximizing your time, getting quick return on your investment, and working as quickly as efficiently as possible, which are some of the key things Adobe did in this upgrade, and I think people are really starting to see and realize that. The big flashy features are what often grab the headlines, but I think today a lot of people realized that it’s all the little improvements, tweaks, and efficiency enhancements that really pay the bills. Right now that’s what everybody wants to learn—how to work fast, smart, and maximize their time and investment, and they are getting loads of it in every conference track.
  • Macworld magazine did a very nice write-up on the show on their home page. From their article, it appears that they came to the show yesterday and spent the day observing how we do things, the mood of the crowd, the traffic, ect. and then shared their observations in a piece called. “What Photoshop World can teach other trade shows.” Here’s a link to the story.
  • Jeff Revell of PhotoWalk Pro posted some shots of my band, “Big Electric Cat” playing at the nightclub “The Estate” during the attendee party. Here’s the link to check them out.
  • Don’t forget: if you want to come and check out the Expo Floor, today’s the last day (In fact, the show floor’s only open until 1:00 pm today, so this is your last chance), you can get a free Expo Pass by signing up right here.

That’s it for today gang. Have a great Friday and we’ll see you back here on Monday when I return to my regular blogging schedule.

Yesterday in Boston we kicked off the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, and here’s a quick look at Day 1:


NAPP Releases New CS4 Watermark Panel
During yesterday’s opening keynote, we released a special CS4 Watermark Panel created just for NAPP members (shown above) that lets you add a custom watermark to your photos automatically, and it even includes a batch processing option that lets you apply a watermark to an entire folder of images automatically.If you’re a NAPP member, you can download this free Member Exclusive panel from the member’s website.

Wacom Releases New Intous 4 Tablet, and it Rocks!
The big buzz around the show floor yesterday was around Wacom’s release of their new Intuos 4 line of tablets. I’ve had one of the prerelease units for a few weeks  now and I have to tell you—it is absolutely amazing! This will be the tablet that makes everyone who ever wondered if they should be using a tablet finally “get it” and wonder why they waited so long. I used the Intous 4 in my retouching class yesterday and I was swamped with questions and people wanting to see it after my class. Luckily, Wacom had a special hands-on lab here where anybody could sit down and take it for a test drive. I’ll probably tape a short video next week to show you why this is new tablet is so amazing, but in the meantime you can check out Wacom’s site for all the details.

Adobe’s Opening Keynote Scores!
The real star of yesterday’s show was Adobe with their fast-paced keynote, hosted by Adobe VP John Loiacono (better known as Johnny L to Photoshop World attendees), with guest appearance by Photoshop Principal Product Manager John Nack, and Adobe Evangelist Russell Preston Brown. In their presentation they convered a whole different side of Photoshop CS4, and it really blew a lot of people away (they also announced a new “Adobe Marketplace” coming this summer, and a special NAPP-members discount on Photoshop CS4). Adobe always does a great keynote at Photoshop World, but a lot of folk felt this may have been their best, with a great mix of info, laughs, ooohs and ahhhhs. Thanks Adobe for a fantastic start to the conference!

The Live Blogging Continues
I know thousands of people have been following our own Nancy Masse and her daily Photoshop World blog, along with her live coverage of the keynote yesterday, but if you’re not on board yet, here’s the link to her daily blog, the link to the Kyenote Live Blogging (you can replay it right there on the site) and here’s the link to her NAPP_News group on Twitter (they held a “Tweet Up” in the Sheraton Boston Tuesday night, and we all were standing around laughing and Tweeting).

McNally is Everywhere!
At this point, we might as well rename the event “Joe McNallyWorld” because this guy is everywhere! Yesterday Joe was part of the keynote (appearing in a video segment), we was doing sessions in the Peachpit Press Live Theater on the show floor; he was doing one-on-one Porfolio Reviews, then he’s got a session at the Nikon theater; his new book “Hot Shoe Diaries” is selling like wild fire, and the guy can’t walk five feet without being stopped to sign autographs. I’m thrilled to see one of the nicest, most humble guys on the planet, having the time of his life, and it’s all happened because Joe wants to give back and share what he’s learned from a lifetime behind the lens. Way to go big Joe (Not to mention his Kick-$#^ Special Guest Blog Post here yesterday, that if possible, even won him more fans. Thanks Joe, for honoring me with your wonderful post. You seemed to handle the “Pressure” with an awful lot of grace). :-)


There’s More
There’s so much more going on here than I can possibly cover in the short time I have to blog today (Above LtoR: Corey Barker, Me, Terry White, and RC—photo by Jeff Revell). I did a talk at the MPIX booth yesterday and met a lot of great people (and everybody I talked to get a $25.00 credit at MPIX.com on their order); I stopped by the Hoodman booth and they are killing with their new cards (which by the way—they still don’t have a single in-field failure, which is just amazing), Epson had a large booth with an amazing gallery of images and people were all over it. Matt Kloskowski did a free “Shooting for HDR” class over in the Nikon Theater and it was standing room only. I sat in on a class from Nikon’s Sam Garcia that was just fantastic (what an engaging speaker). We’re taping another live “Walk around the Expo Floor” episode of Photoshop User TV today, so that should be fun.

Anyway, I’ll be back tomorrow with more (but it might go up a little late like today’s post). Don’t forget, if you’re in the area, you can stop by the Expo Floor for free (get your free Expo Pass at PhotoshopWorld.com). Have a great day!

Making Light of Things

Yikes. Guest blogging for Scott. (Pressure.) Guest blogging right after Jay Maisel. (More pressure.) There’s actually been kind of a photographic “who’s who” who has blogged here on recent Wednesdays. (Now there’s a sentence in search of an editor!) They have collectively toured many points on the photographic compass from inspiration to instruction and back again. There have been tutorials, advice, histories, and videos. (I hearken back to that amazing piece Zack Arias put up here.)

So, how to continue? Be funny? Man walks into a bar…. (more…)

…the one….the only….Joe McNally. What else can I say? He is “The Man!”

I pretty sure he’ll have his guest blog in on time, because if not I can go down the hall to his room here in the Hotel in Boston and keep knocking on the door until he turns it in. ;-)

Seriously though; I’m thrilled to have Joe back here on the blog, and I asked him to do this guest blogging spot on the heels of the release of his amazing new book, “The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flash” which is, as I write this, the #36 bestselling book of ALL books on Amazon.com!!!! That my friends, is just amazing. One more thing—the book just came out, and it’s already got 7 reviews—-all of the 5-star reviews!!! I can’t wait to see what Joe has cooked up for us tomorrow. :)


On Sunday I took a quick trip up to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama to take part in a very special event; the “IndyCar Series Open Test” Weekend. This is where the big name Indy Car teams spend a weekend prepping for the Indy racing season which kicks off right in my back yard with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg coming up in two weeks.


I was there as the guest of one of the readers of this blog, photographer/designer Jeff Rease (that’s him on the left above—photo by Pete Collins), and we had a ball (well, Jeff seemed like he was having fun, but I had one of my most fun sports shooting days ever!).

The weather was just incredible—the Barber Motorsports track and facilities were really just beautiful, and I was really taken with how friendly everybody was, from the media crew, to track officials, to everybody involved with the Indy team. It was just a first-rate, well organized, kick-butt day of Indy cars screaming around the track. Plus, Jeff was a lot of fun, really helpful, and put up with my lame jokes all day, which is really saying something.

I met lots of other photographers who were covering the Test Weekend, including photographers who read this blog, have bought my books, been to Photoshop World, etc. and that made it even more fun, as Jeff and I wound up hanging out with some of them.

The big buzz at the track was around Indy racing driver Danica Patrick, and scores of her fans lined up behind her pit and the day before stood in line a country mile long to get her autograph. I took shots of her in the pit (I had an over-the-wall pass, so when she made a pit stop, I could actually climb over the short wall and shoot standing right on the track, directly in front of her, behind or to the side), on the track, and at the media-only press conference.

Anyway, here are some of the shots from the day (You really need to see these a larger size to appreciate them, so click on them for a larger view). All the shots were taken with a Nikon D3 with a Nikon 200-400mm VR lens, mounted on a Gitzo monopod, except for Danica standing in the pits; for that I used my 24-70mm f/2.8.










A big thanks to Jeff Rease for giving me the opportunity, and to Darrell McCalla and all the great folks at Barber Motorsports for just an incredible day!!!


Well, we’re on our way to Boston this week for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo (NAPP’s own conference, sponsored by Adobe, and the largest Photoshop event in the world), and I just wanted to give you a heads up that this will be a very light blogging week for me.

In fact, so light that I want to send you over to the Photoshop World blog this week where NAPP’s own social media ninja Nancy Masse will be blogging LIVE from Photoshop World, including a special live blog from Adobe’s opening keynote.

The keynote kicks off at 9:00 am this Wednesday morning (which will still be Guest Blog Wednesday here on the blog), so make sure you check out our first-ever live blogged keynote, staring Adobe’s own John Loiacono. Here’s the link for Wednesday (though you can check out the blog anytime)!

FREE EXPO PASS: If you’re in the Boston area and want to check out the Exhibit Hall for free (and see all the new goodies from vendors, as well as catch some of the free Expo hall Photoshop and photography classes), you can get a FREE Expo pass (normally $20, and that’s what it’ll be if you just show up at the door without signing up for your free pass), right here.