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.


OK gang, as promised, here’s the cool secret thing: Today I’m releasing a free custom Photoshop CS4 panel that lets you get the RSS feed for this blog, “The Photoshop Insider” right inside Photoshop CS4 in its own separate panel (so it’s just like any other panel [formerly known as palettes], inside Photoshop).

If you click on the graphic above, you’ll see the Photoshop Insider panel is right there alongside the Layers panel, Channels, Paths, etc. and you’ll see the headlines from my posts, along with the RSS feed of the beginning of each post. If you see one that interests you, just click on Read More…..

The ability to add your own custom panels to Photoshop is new in CS4, and it came in the form of a free utility called “The Configurator” which lets you customize and extend Photoshop in some amazing ways. In fact, at Photoshop World in Boston next week, we have a special “Extensibility Track” featuring in-depth classes on how to create panels and extend Photoshop (taught by Adobe’s own John Nack, Tom Ruark, and Jeff Tranberry from the Photoshop team). If you’re into this stuff, make sure you check out their sessions (open to all Photoshop World attendees).

Here’s the link to the download the free panel. Once you download it, just double-click on it, and the CS4 Extension Manger will automatically install it where it’s supposed to go, then all you have to do is Restart Photoshop, then go under the Window menu, under Extensions, and choose PS_Insider.

A big thanks to Jeff Tranberry and our friends on the Photoshop team for their advice and suggestions in helping us develop this panel.


After I posted my video review of the Elinchrom BXRI-500 strobes earlier this week, I was contacted by the folks at Bogen Imaging (who distribute Elinchrom gear here in the US), and who watched my review and saw that one of my few minor “dings” about them was the fact that you needed to keep the instruction manual around for assigning groups.

They let me know that they had created a downloadable quick chart (in PDF format) that BXRI users can now download, which has all the programmable controls laid out in a very simple and easy-to-use format (plus, the chart includes more than just how to assign groups). You can download their free quick chart right here.

My hat’s off to Bogen for making this available so quickly (I’m going to print and laminate two of them, then attach them to the lightstands so they’re right there when I need them).

NOTE: If you’re new to studio lighting, and you go to Bogen’s Web site, these will be listed under the heading “Monoblocks.” All that means is that strobes don’t require a separate power pack to power them—they plug directly into a regular wall-socket like any other electronic device.


On Tuesday I got lucky enough to spend the day shooting Tiger Woods and some of the best golfers in the world at the Tavistock Cup in Orlando, Florida. My buddy, and top-notch sports shooter Mike Olivella, (who was covering the event for AP), was able to score me an “inside the ropes” all-access media pass to shoot the event, and as you might expect, I had a blast!

Although I planned to follow Tiger and his parings for the entire 18-hole round, I had to leave after only four holes because of a family emergency, but I got to shoot Tiger during his warm-ups on the range, and during those four holes (about an hour), so I still had a few opportunities to capture Tiger now that he’s back. (Note: I chose to include the shot above because even though you can’t see his face, you instantly know exactly who it is. Plus, I thought it was kind of cute the way the Nike logo on the ball in his hand happened to be facing directly at my camera position).

This was my first time shooting a golf tournament (talk about being thrown into the deep end of the pool for your first tournament shoot), but Mike (link) was incredibly gracious and gave me lots of tips and pointers the entire time.

I only used one camera body for the event–my Nikon D300 (I chose it because I just felt like shooting with it that day), and I used two lenses: a Nikon 200-400mm f/4 and a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR. I shot wide open the entire day. I used a Think Tank belt system and it once again reminded of how awesome their gear is—-I wouldn’t want to shoot a sporting event without it (Mike had a set, too).

Here are a few shots from those four holes on Tuesday.


After an 8-month layoff due to his season-ending knee injury, Tiger’s back to form.


Ian Poulter plays out of a fairway bunker.


Tiger studies a putt during Tuesday’s round.


A fully clothed Henrik Stenson tees off.


Kicking up some grass!


Waiting on the green.


Here’s a photo of me taken during warm-ups at the range (photo by Mike Olivella taken with my iPhone).

Anyway, despite the fact that I only finished four holes, it was still a day I’ll never forget! Many thanks Mike, and to the folks at Tavistock who gave me the opportunity of a lifetime.


Hi gang. Before we get going, how ’bout a round of applause for Jay Maisel’s inspiring Special Guest Post yesterday! I was just so tickled to have Jay as a guest blogger here, and I know that a lot of you that are going to Photoshop World are now going to make it a point to check out Jay’s session live. I guarantee—-it will move you! Thanks Jay, for honoring us with your words and images.

Now, onto the news:

  • Something Cool is Coming Tomorrow
    If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve got to check back here tomorrow because I’m going to release something that I hope you’ll find really cool. It’s definitely something unique, it’s Photoshop related, and best of all—it’s totally free! I can’t wait to share it with you, so check back here tomorrow when all the pieces are in place.
  • 10 Annoying Things Photographers Say to Each Other
    I saw this on Paul Burwell’s”Wildshots” blog and it cracked me up (mostly because so many of his 10 things are so ‘on the money).” If you’ve got two minutes, give this a read. It’s either going to crack you up, or you’re going to think, “Oh no! I’ve said that same thing!” (NOTE: After you jump over there, if you see any that are missing, feel free to post ’em here as a comment).  Here’s the link to the article.
  • My iPhone Book is now availble on Kindle for the iPhone
    It doesn’t get any more convenient than this—-my book, “The iPhone Book” (co-authored with top iPhone guru Terry White), is now available for download to your iPhone itself, using Amazon’s free Kindle for iPhone app (here’s the link to the app). That way, you’ve got the inside tips on how to get the most from your iPhone right on your iPhone. Anyway, I was kind of psyched. It sells for $9.99 on (that’s for the book, the reader is free). NOTE: A new review just went up on the book over at the iReviewiPhoneApps blog. Here’s the link to the review.
  • Creative Photography and Photoshop Work
    Check out the work of photographer Kate Turning at her “Turning Pix” site which features some amazing (and detailed) Photoshop work combined with some first-rate photography. Very cool images and wonderful creativity. Here’s the link.
  • Our Three-Part Free Series on Nikon Wireless Flash
    (with special guest Joe McNally!)

    Today we released this week’s episode of D-Town TV (the weekly show for Nikon DSLR users), and in it we kick off a three-week series on using wireless flash. These three episodes are aimed at folks who are brand new to wireless flash, and we start at square one, so if you’re new to wireless off-camera flash—make sure you check it out. If you’re more advanced at wireless flash, make sure you watch as we have Joe McNally on as a special guest where he shows how to use some of the new features of the Nikon SB-900 wireless flash units. That guy is brilliant! Here’s the link to the first part of our three-part series.

That’s all for today folks. Hope to see you back here tomorrow! :)