sunfun-1a2

Hi gang. Here’s what’s up:

  • Shooting the Sun & Fun Fly-in
    Last Friday my buddy, and co-workshop instructor, Bill Fortney hooked me up with media credentials to shoot one of the largest aviation events in the nation, the Sun & Fun Fly-in, in Lakeland, Florida. I was pretty psyched because that afternoon they had an airshow, and I had amazing access (right next to the runway), and what I was really excited about was shooting a squadron of F-16s. They were scheduled to take off around 5:00 pm, so we shot some classic warbirds and stunt planes while we were waiting, but then my cell phone rang and sadly my mother-in-law Barbara was on her way to hospital, so I immediately packed up my gear and headed back home (after all, there will be other airshows, but my mother-in-law is very precious to me). She’s still in the hospital, and she’s really struggling along, so if you’re the praying type, and don’t mind sending a prayer her way, she could really use it. Anyway, I barely shot any frames, but I kinda liked the one you see above of a WWII era Grumman F4F Wildcat (click on it for a larger view). It was my first time shooting aerial photography, but I can tell you this—-it won’t be my last. I really enjoyed it a lot, and I got a whole new respect for people who do it well. Now, next time if I could just get a shot of those F-16s. ;-)
  • Pinhole Photography for Digital
    After I ran that piece last week about the pin-hole camera construction kits, Michael Tapes dropped me a line about a Pin Hole adapter for DSLRs (so you don’t have to process film), that is actually a body cap made for pinhole photography. They’re fairly inexpensive (in the $30 range) and you can find them right here. Thanks for the heads up, Michael.
  • My Landscape Workshop is Sold Out
    Just a heads up: My landscape workshop in Savannah, Georgia with Bill Fortney is sold out. Thanks to everyone who signed up—-looking forward to spending that week with you all. I can’t wait!!!!
  • Photoshop Down & Dirty Tour Update
    Two quick things: we now have over 600 people signed up for the Friday, May 8th kick-off for my Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks Tour in Washington, DC. If you’re thinking of going, I would sign up now (here’s the link). Also, the amazing Corey Barker (who helped me develop the tour) is taking the Down & Dirty Tricks Tour to Richmond, Virginia on Wednesday, May 27th. You can sign up for Corey’s tour right here.
  • Memory Cards Sense Fear
    I heard it again this week. Another photographer talking about how when you need it most, you look down and your memory card is full. It happened to me at the Grand Prix of St. Pete, and this photographer was relating his story to me. The moral of the story—if you’re heading off to shoot something important, better check your memory card on the way.
  • CS4 Book For Digital Photographers Reviewed
    Yesterday I saw a review of my book, “The Photoshop CS4 Book for Digital Photographers” over at Ronald Martinsen’s Photography Blog (Unfiltered reviews with real feedback), and he did one of the most in-depth reviews I’ve seen in quite a while, going chapter by chapter through the book giving his take on each section. You can read the review right here.

That’s it for today folks, see you here tomorrow for Guest Blog Wednesday, and then I’ll be back here on Thursday for another installment of “Embarrassing Photo Thursday.” Have a great one!

….someone from inside the photography industry itself; the co-founder of liveBooks, photographer Matt Bailey.

Now, this is probably the first time I’ve had an industry vendor as a guest blogger, but I was contacted by a reader of this blog who suggested having Matt as a guest, and in particular to have him talk about a subject he’s very passionate about, which is how photographers can incorporate video into their photography website.

I thought, since video is the next emerging must-include feature in new dSLRs, this might be a perfect topic (here are three photographers’ websites which have incorporated video with their photography):

  1. Colin Finlay (link)
  2. Gene Higa (link)
  3. Christopher Griffith (link)

Anyway, I think it will be really cool, so check back here tomorrow to see what Matt has to say about this fascinating new era in photography and the Web.

wr

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.

stlucia004jpg

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”).

_jm22005jpg

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!!!!

magslucia

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!

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.

disney2

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).

poster-11

poster-10

poster-8

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).

poster-16

poster-15

poster-1

poster-2

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:

poster-3

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.

Close