Tuesday
Jul
2008
01

Breaking News: Two New Mosers Have Arrived!

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

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Huge news: My best buddy Dave Moser and his wife Lisa just delivered twin girls!!!!!!

I’m blogging this from the hospital waiting room, and my buddy is so thrilled, relieved, exhausted and overjoyed! The girls were four weeks early, but they’re doing GREAT!!! Thanks to everybody who sent their prayers Dave and Lisa’s way!!!

As soon as I get some photos, I’ll post ‘em here. Congrats to Dave and Lisa, and a big welcome to Katherine and Elizabeth, (who I’m sure will both soon have MacBook Airs and the Creative Suite). ;-)

Whoo Hoo!!!!

Tuesday
Jul
2008
01

New Full Frame Nikon D700 (and new SB-900 Flash) Announced!

by Scott Kelby  |  2 Comments

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Nikon just announced the Nikon D700 DSLR: a brand new, full-frame FX format 12-megapixel camera (shipping near the end of this month for around $3,000), along with a new flagship for the Nikon Creative Lighting System: the Nikon SB-900 Flash (available July 25, 2008 for around $500).

The BUZZ on the D700: The outside still looks like the D300, but supposedly the inside is said to pretty much be that of a Nikon D3 (with a CMOS sensor and extremely low noise), but with some additional features not found on the D3. Unlike the D3, it comes with a built-in pop-up flash. It seems like it’s a D3 in a modified D300 body (RobGalbraith.com wrote, Pictures shot with the D3 and D700 are expected to look the same in every respect.”)

The BUZZ on the SB-900: Faster recycle time, more powerful, better software, larger LCD window, and my favorite; a simple switch on the back for going from Master to Remote for wireless use. It automatically senses whether you’re using a DX or FX format camera, and adjusts accordingly. It’s extended zoom range auto-zooms from 18-200mm, and it features the ability to have its firmware updated via user uploads.

For the full scoop visit either:

>> Download Nikon’s 24-page Brochure on the D700 here (PDF).
>> Download Nikon’s Spec Sheet on the SB-900 Flash here (PDF)

I can’t wait to get my hands on that flash, baby!!!! :)

Tuesday
Jul
2008
01

How to Shoot Fireworks

by Scott Kelby  |  4 Comments

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Mark Allen, one of my blog readers, posted this comment yesterday:

“I’ve used your books over the years in a number of projects. One thing I’ve always wanted to learn to do was take some good photos of fireworks. I used your method in The Digital Photography Book last night and got some great ones. Wow! With the right technique, it was easy!”

So, I thought with the Fourth of July coming up this week, I’d do a quick post on how to shoot Fireworks (well, how to photograph fireworks, anyway). So today I’m posting the technique, directly from page 175 in my book. Thanks to Mark for the comment (saying nice things like that is a surefire way to get my attention, by the way), and for inspiring this post today. Here we go:

This is another one that throws a lot of people (one of my best friends, who didn’t get a single crisp fireworks shot on the Fourth of July, made me including this tip just for him, and the thousands of other digital shooter that share his pain).

For starters, you’ll need to shoot fireworks with your camera on a tripod, because you’re going to need a slow enough shutter speed to capture the falling light trails, which is what you’re really after.

Also, this is where using a cable release really pays off, because you’ll need to see the rocket’s trajectory to know when to push the shutter button—if you’re looking in the viewfinder instead, it will be more of a hit or miss proposition.

Next, use a zoom lens (ideally a 200mm or more) so you can get in tight and capture just the fireworks themselves. If you want fireworks and the background (like fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World), then use a wider lens.

Now, I recommend shooting in full Manual mode, because you just set two settings and you’re good to go:

  1. Set the Shutter Speed to 4 seconds
  2. Set the Aperture to f/11. Fire a test shot and look at the LCD monitor on the back of your camera to see if you like the results. If it overexposes, lower the shutter speed to 3 seconds, then take another shot and check the results again.

TIP: If your camera has “Bulb” mode (where the shutter stays open as long as you hold down the shutter release button down), this works great–hold the shutter button down when the rocket bursts, then release when the light trails start to fade. (By the way; most Canon and Nikon digital SLRs have bulb mode). The rest is timing—because now you’ve got the exposure and sharpness covered.

There you have it—-hope you all get some great shots! :-)

Tuesday
Jul
2008
01

Tomorrow’s Special Guest Blogger is…

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

….Adobe Photoshop Senior Product Manager, John Nack.

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I’m a big fan of John’s official Adobe blog (it’s called “John Nack on Adobe.” Here’s the link), because it gives us all a “peek behind the curtain” and his insights and comments really give you look into the mind of Adobe.

Besides his comments on all things Adobe, John digs up some of the most unique, fascinating, often funny, and just downright interesting sites and articles (and he blogs at least five-days-a week), and its won him a legion of devoted readers.

I’ve been lucky enough to work with John on a number of things over the years, and I can tell you this; he’s exactly the kind of person you would hope would be a Product Manager at Adobe. He’s really a brilliant, articulate, hilarious, and extremely talented guy, and it’s truly an honor to have him here tomorrow as my guest blogger, so make sure you stop by and check out his post.

Monday
Jun
2008
30

Your Final Votes Are in: Here’s “The Top 10 Things You Want Most In The Next Version of Photoshop”

by Scott Kelby  |  11 Comments

Over 2,500 of you voted on Friday’s survey. Here are the top 10 results, in order by popularity:

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Interesting stuff to note:

  • You didn’t ask for wild new features, and stuff Photoshop can’t already do; instead you just asked for improvements to things Photoshop can already do.
  • A lot of things you asked for, can already be done in Photoshop, but only through workarounds. For example, you can apply Shadow/Highlight as a Smart Filter (after you convert your layer to a Smart Layer), but obviously that’s not what we want; we want it as a real Adjustment layer.

    Same thing for wanting Filters to be applied as Adjustment Layers. Smart Filters offer the same basic functionality as an Adjustment layer (it comes with a layer mask, it’s fully editable after the fact, you can change the blend mode and opacity, you can save your Smart Filter layers in a layered Photoshop document, and you can delete your Smart Filter layers any time—all traits of an Adjustment layer), but obviously; that’s not what we want. We want to apply filters as a simple Adjustment layer without converting it to a Smart Layer first.

    Also, you can certainly apply watermarks in Photoshop, and you can even create an action that will do it for you—but that’s not what we want. We want a dedicated Watermarking feature.

  • Seeing a quick before/after (like Lightroom lets you do) was one of the top 3 most requested features. Again, you could do this, in most cases, by going to the History palette—but that’s not what we want. We want a simple before/after keyboard shortcut, or button, etc.
  • Overall, speed isn’t an issue—even having Photoshop launch faster wound up near the bottom of the list.
  • Better noise reduction is the #1 feature request (but of course, this is skewed by my audience, which is skewed toward photographers).
  • Just a reminder: Remember my original premise: Adobe could add 50 or even 100 other features as well, but in this “feature dreamland” they’d have to include your top 10 (as shown above) in the next release. Then, after a while another version of Photoshop would come out, and then you’d get to vote again, and they’d have to include your next top 10. I know–the mind reels.

Last night I forwarded your Top 10 to a list of people at Adobe, including Photoshop product managers, engineers, etc. Hey, ya never know. :)

My personal thanks to everyone who participated in this survey, and for sharing such great ideas with me, my readers, and Adobe.

Monday
Jun
2008
30

How I Did Those Italy Calendar Layouts, Step-by-Step

by Scott Kelby  |  2 Comments

I had so many questions and requests to show how I made those calendar layouts last week using photos from my vacation to Italy, that I’m going to give you a step-by-step on how it was done (and how to make your own).

Now, before I go any further; most of this was done using Apple’s iPhoto application (which comes free with every Mac), and it’s absolutely brilliant for stuff like this. If you’re using a Windows PC, then later in the week I’ll have a separate tutorial on how to achieve a similar look in Photoshop (but it takes a bit more work).

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STEP ONE: Import your photos into Apple’s iPhoto application, then create an Album (similar to a collection in Lightroom, or a Playlist in iTunes) by clicking on the + (plus sign) icon in the bottom left corner of the iPhoto window. Name your Album, then drag your newly imported photos into this album. Once your photos are in their own Album (seen above—click for a larger image), click the Calendar button in the toolbar at the bottom of the window (as shown above).

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STEP TWO: This brings up the Calendar window (shown above) where you choose which theme you want for your calendar from the list of themes on the left side. I choose the Classic Theme (as seen above), and it shows you a preview of how that style of calendar looks in the main part of the window. Once you’ve chosen Classic, click the Choose button. Continue reading

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