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Yesterday I few up to Birmingham, Alabama to spend the day with my buddy Jeff Rease (who we now affectionately call “The Chancellor of Birmingham”), shooting the AMA Racing’s Honda Superbike Classic race at Barber Motorsports Park. Matt Kloskowski came along with me, and the three of us spent the morning shooting (some of the shots I got are shown here; click on them for larger views).

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We had full media credentials, including a Hot Pit pass, but as luck would have it; we only got to shoot for 30 minutes total the entire day, (during the Superbike morning warm-up session), because after warm-up and lunch, a huge thunderstorm moved over the track, which delayed the actual race long enough that I had to catch my flight back home without getting to shoot another shot. We only shot from one area, and for only that 30 minutes, but ya know what—we still had a blast! (and I would definitely do it again, if only for that 30 minutes).

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Matt, Jeff, and I cracked jokes, goofed off, sorted our images in Lightroom, did some serious chimping, and generally just a great time hanging out for the day and talking about photography. Before I knew it we were on our way to the airport (where I’m writing this post).

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The shot above is of the media/press room overlooking the track. This is a shot of Matt and I sorting and editing our images while it pours rain outside (photo by Jeff Rease).

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Thanks Jeff, for hosting (read as: putting up with), Matt and I for the day. We love the friendly people of Birmingham, and the great folks at Barber Motorsports Park.

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Tech Specs: Mostly shot with my 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens on a Nikon D3. I shot at a slower shutter speed (usually around 1/320 to 1/250 of a second) to get the blurred background and motion in the wheels). It was a very cloudy, very overcast day, so I shot at 400 ISO in Aperture Priority mode at around f/11. I took my 200-400mm f/4 lens but we were so close to the track, I hardly got to use it.

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The final shot, below, of Matt and I was taken by Jeff “The Chancellor” Rease.

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Somehow, I actually forgot that yesterday was “Embarrassing Photo Thursday” so just consider this “The Day After What Would Have Been Embarrassing Photo Thursday.”

But before we discuss the photo above (and sadly, we will), just a quick thanks to Matt Bailey for being my first actual Vendor guest blogger, and my hat’s off to him for providing some great insights and ideas without turning the whole thing into a big plug for his company. And, since he didn’t do that, I’ll do it for him. Here’s the link to LiveBooks (the company he co-founded), which builds “…customized photography websites to help you get more work.” Thanks Matt. Ya done good! :)

Now, about the photo above. This one was from a little later in my musical career, around 1984 or 85. If a song I was singing didn’t have keyboards, I’m come up front and do my best Eddie Money impression. This shot was taken when I was in my “retro sports coat phase” where I bought old style sportcoats from Goodwill for about $6 each, and rolled up the sleeves because (say it with me now,) “That’s was we did back then.” The skinny tie was from Chess King in the mall. The name of the band was “Park Avenue,” and we played Top-40 Dance Music and Rock.

At the time, I had a bunch of promo bumper stickers made up for our fans which read, “Darling I love you, but give me Park Avenue.” Of course, this was so long ago that people actually got that Green Acres reference. One last thing; that shadow on my face isn’t facial hair; it’s a shadow from the mic. Now that that’s behind me, onto the news:

As Usual, You Guys Had Some Great Ideas!
The post was up hardly an hour, and I had already found some great new ideas for my Vol. 3 book. I honestly haven’t had a chance to go though even half the ideas, but these folks already definitely have a free book coming:

  1. Jim Godo
  2. Kat Clark
  3. Anita
  4. Alexandre
  5. Marcin Grzybek
  6. Tyler Green

There will be more when I look through the entire list (over 200 suggestions), later today, but I wanted to at least let you guys know how much help you were. Your input will make a big difference in the book.

Workshop Updates
Here’s a heads-up on four upcoming workshops that are all filling up extremely fast

  1. Jay Maisel’s weeklong workshop in New York City (May 18-22) has only one space left at this point. If you want to grab it, here’s where you can go for info. (Note: his June workshop is already sold out in advance).
  2. Mary DuPrie’s “Photographing Models” workshop in Pontiac, Michigan has only two spots left in her May 9-10th workshop (her July workshop is already sold out, too!). If you want to snag one of those last two seats (and I highly recommend you do), here’s the link with details.
  3. My Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks Tour in Washington DC is nearly at capacity and will sell out sometime later today, so if you want to join me in DC next Friday, grab one of those last seats right now (here’s the link).
  4. It was just announced last week, and there are already just a few spots left for Joe McNally’s Hot Shoe Workshop on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. Here’s the link with details. Hope I’ll see you in St. Lucia.

Terry’s Lightroom Workflow
My buddy Terry White did an Adobe Connect session featuring his Lightroom 2 workflow and I saw comments from some of the attendees and it was a big hit. If you’d like to see the entire presentation, Terry recorded it and you can watch it for free (it’s called “An Evening With Terry White”), by clicking right here. Thanks Terry for sharing this with my readers.

Good News From Kenya
I just had to thank you guys once again, because you always come though. I heard from Molly at the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya (which is due to open next month), and in just one day you guys donated nearly three thousand dollars to the Springs of Hope, Kenya Orphanage to go toward the furnishings, kitchen supplies, and playground equipment for the kids. No matter what else you do or don’t do today, one thing you did today is help build an Orphanage from the ground up—-one that’s half way around the world. One where you’ll probably never meet the kids whose lives will be changed by your donations. These are children on the other side of the world who’ll never know you helped put a roof over their head. And the fact that they won’t, makes it that much more special that you did it. Stuff like this is what it’s really all about.

The Votes are in!
I didn’t get a chance to thank everyone who participated in my “Guess which one of these three shots was shot with a small off-camera flash” poll last week (the other two images were shot with a studio strobe). Literally thousands of you voted, and the fact that most of us got it wrong (56% chose either 1 or 2) just reinforces the fact that as far as “quality of light goes,” the difference is now very, very subtle (so subtle, most people aren’t able to tell the difference).

Want to See some Great Photography?
Time for a little Friday inspiration. If you’ve got two minutes, check out the black and white work of photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. It’s just different in an interesting way, and I think you’ll enjoy it. Here’s the link.

I wish you all a really fantastic Friday, and I hope you make some amazing photos this weekend. Have a great time, and we’ll see you back here on Monday!

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OK, so yesterday I heard from a friend that it was reported that the government spent an estimated $360,000 for that “Photo Op” debacle which had the President’s 747 flying low over New York City (good plan!), escorted by a fighter jet (luckily the President wasn’t on board).

I heard what they wanted was a shot of Air Force One (of course, it’s only called Air Force One if the President is actually on board, so we’ll just call it “Big Blue and White 747”) flying over the statue of Liberty with Manhattan in the background. There were probably more cost efficient ways getting that image, and so in literally less than two minutes I hacked together the composite you see above in Adobe Photoshop CS4, using a background from iStockPhoto.com and an official White House shot of “Big Blue and White 747” from their web site.

Now, here’s my plea to the White House. Rather than spending $360,000 somewhat foolishly (wink, wink), whatdayasay we work out a deal?

I’m trying to raise money for furniture and household appliances for an orphange in Kenya (run by Americans), and I’d be happy to actually take 90 minutes (or more; whatever it takes), and really do the compositing job right, and all you have to do is buy a freezer for around, say $360. You can keep the other $359,640 or give it to GM.

Anyway, by next weekend my schedule will have freed up, so if you’re interested just drop me a line here or call my cell phone (you know the number).

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Hi gang:
Next week I’ll be wrapping up writing Volume 3 of my book, “The Digital Photography Book,” and while I still have the chance I wanted to ask you if there were any particular topics, subjects, or techniques you wanted me to cover in this new book.

Now, before you get involved, there are three things you should know:

  1. This book picks up right where Volume 2 left off, so there are chapters that focus on the next level of studio stuff, and the next things you need to know about small off-camera flash, and there are chapters on shooting landscapes & travel, how to photograph children, how to shoot Sports, a chapter on lenses, a chapter on composition, one on just how to take better photos, a chapter on shooting products, and of course, my photo recipes (how to get this type of shot). So, keep those in mind, because those topics are already in the new book.
  2. Below I’ve posted the table of contents for Volumes 1 and Volumes 2 (two completely different books), so before you post an idea, could you take a quick look there first and see if it’s already been covered in one of the first two books.
  3. If I wind up using one of your ideas in Volume 3, I’ll give you your choice of: My new “Photoshop CS4 Book for Digital Photographers,” my “Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers,” or my soon-to-be-released book, “Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks.” Again, your choice if I use your tip (and I’ll let you know here on the blog right away).

So, that’s the scoop. I really appreciate the thought you guys put into this, and as you’ve seen, I really take your ideas to heart, and often right straight to paper, so I offer my thanks in advance. Now, here (below) are the Vol. 1 and Vol.2 TOCs (click on them for a larger view):

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Photographers Using Video on the Web

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I’m a still photographer. I have spent roughly 25 years studying lighting techniques, obsessing over the best equipment, perfecting my darkroom prowess, and then starting over with Photoshop. Video is a very different animal; one that intimidates and frightens me. Recognizing what I’m good at and leaving the rest alone has gotten me this far; why do I need to consider utilizing video at this stage of the game? Because the web is here to stay and the competition is heating up.

My background in photography and interest in leveraging the latest technology to advance image making, led to my involvement with liveBooks, the industry’s leading provider of professional-level websites. Over the course of the last five years, I have seen an evolution in the way photographers are using the web to market themselves. One substantial change has involved the inclusion of video in some very interesting and resourceful ways.

What I will focus on here is not photographers offering video as a service to their clients, which is certainly happening as well, but more specifically how still photographers are using video on the web to market themselves. (more…)

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