Monday
Mar
2015
23

I’m Back From Dubai (and it was awesome!)

by Scott Kelby  |  17 Comments

Above: My wife texted Brad that if he didn’t take a bunch of photos of me in my tux, that when we got back she would shave his beard off herself. Needless to say, he took lots of photos. 

The best way I can describe it is “Surreal.” I know that term is over-used, but it honestly best describes the whole event. The scope — the scale of it all, was way beyond what I was expecting. I figured the awards ceremony would be in a nice hotel ballroom, but I wasn’t prepared for something more along the lines of “The Oscars” and when we pulled up in front of the massive stage, assembled from scratch in the shadow of Dubai’s iconic Emirates Towers, in front of the Dubai International Financial Centre, I was speechless.

Everyone connected with HIPA’s event was just incredible 
They are some of the most gracious hosts on the planet (a special thank you Mohammed Al Daou, Ronald Villegas and Ziad Al Salama). It’s a first class organization, and a world class event and having his Highness the Crown Prince there, and to be presented with an award by His Highness himself…well…it’s something I’ll never forget. To say it was an honor, and an amazing evening, is just an understatement.

Today, I’m going to share a lot of behind-the-scenes photos, mostly taken with an iPhone, mostly taken by Brad, and I’m going to hold off on sharing my images from my 2-1/2 days of shooting until I find out (later today) if we’re going to do a live Webcast about the trip.

RC was there 8-days right before I arrived, and I’m hoping the two of us, along with Brad, can do a live Webcast about the trip next week (I’m off to Amsterdam this week), so I want to save sharing those images until then (but I’ll do a simultaneous release on Exposure.co of the images from the webcast for those who can’t attend).

I could share so many stories, but for now here’s some BTS shots, with captions that help tell the story of at least the HIPA Awards Ceremony, until I can tell the full story, and share some videos during the live Webcast (details as soon as I have them). Until then, here we go:

Above: Click on this pano to see it much larger, and it will help you get a feel for the scope of the event. This is about 2-hours until curtain, and everybody’s in prep mode, testing the lights, projectors, audio, cameras, etc. 

Above: Look at the size of that video screen — it blends down and continues right onto the floor, so they can project images on the floor as well. That entire black wall behind the screen was erected just for this ceremony. 

Above: Here’s a shot from the stage looking back toward the seating — the Emirates Towers make an awesome backdrop. 

Above: Yes, of course we have time for a selfie. :)

Above: Brad was looking very spiffy for the event as well, and his beard really took on an international flavour, don’t ya think?

Above: Brad was clearly concerned about not having enough tux shots, so he was constantly posing me, but it must have worked — he still has his beard. 

Above: Here’s an iPhone pano of the scene just before showtime at 7pm (click for a much larger view).

Above: The Crown Prince has arrived, and now it’s showtime! (and time for me to get a little nervous). 

Above: Before each category was presented, we saw a really slick video that interacted with performers on stage. Very well done, and they must have rehearsed like crazy to get the timing down the way they had it. Very well done. 

Above: After seeing lots of amazing images from around the world who were entered into the contest, it was time for the Special Awards category. In just a moment The Crown Prince His Royal Highness Hamdan bin Mohommed bin Rahshid al Maktum would come to the stage to present the HIPA Special Award himself to a very excited American author and Photoshop Guy. 

Above: Here’s a shot of me receiving the Award from The Prince. I will never forget that moment!

Above: You can see how excited I was to receive this award. 

Above: When I got back to my seat, I just could not stop smiling. What a night!

Above: At the end, all the winners came on stage to get a group shot with the Prince. I’m way over on the left side. 

 

Above: That’s a shot of me, and my buddy Ali Rajabi from Iran, posing with our awards (Ali won in the general category for an amazing shot he took of a snowy street in New York City). 

Above: Amazing after-party under the stars, and then off to bed for an early sunrise shoot on top of building (this was taken just after sunrise). 

Above: This is my new friend, Daniel Cheong (thanks Elia Locardi for introducing us!) who was a wealth of knowledge on where to shoot in Dubai, and how to get access to high places, like this rooftop (he should know – he’s taken some of the most well-known iconic images of Dubai with the tops of skyscrapers peeking through the clouds). Awesome guy — tons of fun, and we’re looking forward to having him on “The Grid” when he visits us later this year. 

Above: Look who we found in Dubai! Yup, skyscraper scaling, lunch eating, flash-firing, love-making (love-making?), risk taking, bundle of energy and light, the one and only Joe McNally, who was taking up residence at the Park Hyatt before heading home from his Gulf Photo Plus gig (and photographing the Burj Khalifa’s window washers hanging off the side of the building 140-something stories up. Yikes!) Had a wonderful lunch with Joe and Brad, and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful. 

Above: What’s Brad’s beard look like 124 floors above the earth? Like this. He can take a selfie like a boss!

Above: Spent two really fun days in Dubai and Abu Dhabi with the wonderful Eva von Pepel, from the Swedish Photo Crew (a wonderful group of Swedish expat photographers living and working in Dubai — they led a photo walk last year as part of my annual Worldwide Photo Walk, and I contacted them before my trip and Eva was kind enough to chauffeur us all over, and get us access to cool places). This shot was taken in front of the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Unbelievable place (more on this, and many photos, to come soon). Thanks again Eva! I think we put 1,200 miles on her Nissan Armada (and we crushed several slower, smaller cars along the way). 

Above: This is Brad “In da club” (it’s true. It’s just that we were in this rooftop club at 6:00 am for a sunrise shoot, but we couldn’t resist the “I’m in da club” shot). 

Above: On Wednesday night there was a press conference/panel at the hotel, hosted by HIPA and I was one of the participants. Totally cool event (very well run — the hostess who asked the questions and kept things moving was really great). A tux was not required, but had it been…I was prepared. 

Above: The panel discussion part mostly focused on photographic education and that was really fun for me. You could tell from the discussions how serious the Crown Prince and HIPA are about making Dubai a center for serious photography. Their commitment and passion are really refreshing and there were really engaging moments, spontaneous applause, thoughtful comments and just a really great presentation all around, presented in three different parts. I was really tickled to be a small part of it. 

Above: After the panel, there were meetings with different magazines, press organizations, the team from HIPA, and some serious photographers from all over the world. 

Above: Here I’m taping an interview for a Philippine’s based magazine. 

I’ve got so much more to share…
This is just a peek at some of the behind-the-scenes stuff. Again, I hope to be announcing a free live Webcast about the trip with RC, Brad and me, hopefully for next week (depending on schedules and things), and I’ll be sharing some of my images then.

Thanks for hanging with me through this very long post. Can’t wait to share the pictures and stories and people of one of the coolest places on the planet — Dubai and the UAE. :)

Here’s to an awesome week everybody!

Best,

-Scott

Friday
Mar
2015
20

This Weekend Only – 25% OFF Prints from MPIX!

by Brad Moore  |  4 Comments

THIS WEEKEND ONLY – 25% OFF ALL PRINTS!
Our friends at Mpix are here to help you clean out your camera just in time for spring with a 25% off all prints sale you can’t afford to miss. From now, Friday March 20, through Sunday March 22, fill up your cart with whatever prints you’d like to purchase, then enter the promo code kelbyspringcleaning at checkout to receive the discount!

Maybe it’s time to freshen up your home with some new photos for your walls, give that special someone a way to remember that amazing day you shared recently, or it’s just time you treated yourself to some new prints for your portfolio. Whatever the reason, why not do it now when you can save 25%? Head over to Mpix.com now to get started.

Please note: This sale is valid for all photo prints. Additional services applied to prints are not discounted. This offer is not available through ROES and no refunds will be issued for orders placed prior to the sale. Offer expires at 11:59 p.m. (Central) on March 22nd, 2015

Thursday
Mar
2015
19

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  17 Comments

The Trailblazers Series with Elsa Garrison
Elsa Garrison has carved out a career capturing breathtaking moments at the peak of sports action for nearly twenty years. Shooting for Getty images, Elsa’s photographs have appeared in every major sports publication, and she’s covered everything from the NFL to the Olympics. A self-described shy person, Elsa’s determination and nose-to-the grindstone work ethic has earned her spots on the sidelines of an incredible array of sporting events and her photographs have earned her the respect of her peers and colleagues.

Next Level 3D with Corey Barker
Join Photoshop master Corey Barker and learn how to take your 3D skills to the next level! In this class Corey takes you through all of the steps involved in three different projects that showcase some of what you can do in 3D. Starting with a logo project that was originally done two dimensionally, Corey shows how it can be done in 3D as well as what the benefits are of having the logo as a 3D object. From there Corey steps you through a project designed to show you how to create a product in 3D and then place it in an environment that looks just like a product photograph. The final project takes things a step further with a demonstration of how you can merge 3D objects with photographic elements to create a composite image with incredible realism. This class has something for illustrators, designers, and photographers, and will leave you wanting to dig in and see what you can do in your own work.

KelbyOne Live
Want to learn from Scott Kelby or Joel Grimes live in person? Check out these seminar tour dates to see if they’re coming to a city near you!

Shoot Like A Pro: Reloaded with Scott Kelby
Apr 13 – Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 15 – Los Angeles, CA

The Photographers Creative Revolution Tour with Joel Grimes
Mar 25 – Washington, DC
Mar 27 – Minneapolis, MN
Apr 17 – New York, NY
Apr 22 – San Antonio, TX
Apr 24 – Houston, TX

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to one of these events!

Last Week’s Winners
KelbyOne Live Ticket
- Lewis Johnston

Peter Read Miller On Sports Photography
- Clay73

If either of these is you, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
Mar
2015
18

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Rick Sammon!

by Brad Moore  |  13 Comments

First off, I want to thank my friends Brad and Scott for inviting me back as guest blogger. I love these dudes – because they love photography and because they love helping photographers, around the planet, make better photographs. They are also really good people.

This post is about Creative Visualization, which is the title of my latest book, Creative Visualization for Photographers. In this post I will share some highlights from the book.

What is creative visualization? Basically, Creative Visualization is envisioning the end result – and doing this is often the key to making a good photograph. It’s kind of like going on a road trip: If you know where you are going, you’ll know how to get there, making the right travel decisions along the way.

When it comes to making a photograph, if you envision the end result, you will know what camera settings to use, what lens is best to convey your creative vision, and what accessories might be needed. What’s more, you’ll envision how your image can be enhanced/processed in Lightroom, Photoshop and with plug-ins.

So seeing the end-result, developing your creative vision, is important.

This is one of my favorite photographs from my Route 66 road trip –– which my wife Susan planned out (envisioned) so we knew where we were going.

Here is the original shot from which I made the image. No, it’s not HDR (High Dynamic Range). The train was actually speeding past us. This image is what I call an EDR (Extended Dynamic Range) image. EDR is about extending the dynamic range of a single file.

Knowing the EDR power of Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) and Photoshop, I snapped a quick shot.

Here is what I did to push the limits of ACR.

Increased:

Exposure – makes an image brighter.

Shadows – opens us shadow areas.

Clarity – makes the image look sharper by increasing detail.

Vibrance – increases the saturation of non-saturated colors.

Saturation – increases the saturation of all the colors in a photograph.

Decreased:

Contrast –reduced the difference between the shadows and highlights.

Whites – preserved the highlights.

Highlights – brings back (and rescues in some cases) detail in bright area.

Blacks – makes blacks look bolder and add contrast to a file.

In case you were wondering, I corrected the perspective (pole on the left leading into the frame) in Photoshop: Select All > Edit > Transform > Perspective.

I envisioned a black-and-white image. To convey that vision, I used Nik Silver Efex Pro, using a red filter to darken the sky.

Photographing What We Recognize is an important concept. It’s another chapter in the book.

What do you see – or recognize – in this photograph? Take a good look. Take your time.

When I show this photograph to my workshops students, most see a silhouette of Christ’s crucifixion. That is precisely what I saw when I took the picture . . . and why I took the picture.

Other comments on this photograph have included:
- A man raising his arms to a crescent moon.
- A blue sky with a low sun.
- A lady dancing.
- Neptune and his trident.
- Sadness.
- Christ, monsters, faith, welcome, danger, decay, a duck.
- Evocative image. Very “Rorschach.” There are many things to see in this image.
- A man with a crown, birds at the end of his arms, leaning against a pole with a crescent moon.
- A poor exposure and bad cropping.

The point is that photographers, myself included, usually photograph what we recognize, consciously or unconsciously. What’s more, some photographers specifically travel to popular locations to get the “iconic” shot, the same shot that a million other photographers on the planet have taken. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It can be fun and rewarding, and you can learn some things by doing this.

The same is true for musicians, including myself (and my friend Scott Kelby may feel the same way). Sure, I like to improvise, but I also like (try) to play the “iconic” leads of my favorite guitar players: Santana, Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Brothers. As I said, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It can be fun and rewarding.

In the chapter, Looking vs. Seeing, I talk about, among other things, seeing a picture within a picture, and the difference between just looking around and actually seeing a photograph.

This portrait of a novice monk is one of my favorite images from my trip to Myanmar.

This is a snapshot of the same scene. Had I not been looking for pictures, I might not have focused on the single monk on the right of the frame. And speaking of envisioning the end result, I wanted to create a “sense of place” image, so I chose a medium aperture to slightly blur the writing on the wall in the background, while still being able to see that there is writing on the wall.

Photography and the Death of Reality, another chapter in the book, is not a new topic, but as we move more and more into digital darkroom enhancements, the topic becomes more and more important.

The chapter leads off with this image of the Blue Swallow Motel on Route 66, which we planned to be at for sunrise – because, again, we envisioned the end result.

Before I go on, I’d like to share a story with you about Ansel Adams, relayed to me by one of his assistants, the talented John Sexton. Here goes: A man writes Ansel Adams a letter (condensed here): Dear Mr. Adams, I have your wonderful books. Your beautiful pictures of Yosemite inspired me to visit this National Park. However, when I got there I was disappointed. The park does not look like the pictures in your book.

So much for reality.

Since the early days of photography, people with cameras have made images that don’t represent reality, even when they tried. That’s due, in part, to the way cameras record light, and how lenses bend light and compress or widen a scene or subject – not to mention that we see in 3D and camera see in 2D, and that our eyes have a dynamic range of about 13 f/stops compared to the five or six f-stops our digital cameras see (in a single exposure without digital enhancements).

The chapter has three main messages:

One, it’s designed to encourage you to make your most creative images ever, and not to be afraid to follow your heart when it comes to making digital enhancements.

Two, it’s important to consider the reality of your photographs and the photographs of others.

Three, photographers are somewhat like magicians, or illusionists if you will. The creative process of image making is like the art of doing a magic trick. If you don’t know the trick, the trick is amazing. If you do know the trick, you know that it’s a relatively simple procedure.

The scene needed some digital darkroom magic, for sure. This is a straight shot (no image processing) of the scene.

The magic started with a bracketed set of images, from which I created my HDR image.

Here’s another example of creative visualization, combined with some HDR magic and basic image enhancements. It’s an image from Fairy Glen in the Conwy Valley in North Wales.

The scene looked like this upon arrival at Fairy Glen.

In the book I talk about the space-time continuum – which may sound a bit far out. I’ll end this guest blog post with this concept for a good reason: I think it will make you feel good about being a photographer.

The space-time continuum is a mathematical model that combines space and time into a single idea. That concept came to mind when I took this photograph of a lenticular cloud near Mt. Rainier in Washington State.

If you had been there, you might have chosen a different space (composition) for your photograph. You might have taken a wider or tighter shot, or you may have composed your image differently.

What about time? You may not have pressed the shutter release button at exactly the same time as I had, so the clouds might have been in slightly different position. You also may not have used the same shutter speeds that I used, which could have affected the movement of the clouds in your photograph.

Back home, you probably would have processed the image differently, perhaps making it a more saturated image or a black-and-white image.

When you think about, a photograph you take is a single idea – of your individual creative vision. Acting on your ideas, and accomplishing your goals, will give you a good feeling about your work – and yourself.

Creative Visualization is not limited to photography. It applies to your life, too. In his book, Real Magic – Creating Miracles in Everyday Life, Dr. Wayne Dyer talks about (basically) how you can create your own reality. Visualization is the key.

You can see more of Rick’s work at RickSammon.com and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Rick will also be talking about creative visualization at Photoshop World in Vegas later this year, and you can check out his classes on KelbyOne.


Available in paperback and Kindle versions

Tuesday
Mar
2015
17

Our Friend and Instructor Cliff Mautner Wins the WPPI Grand Award for Photojournalism For The 2nd Time!

by Scott Kelby  |  3 Comments

A big congrats from everybody here to KelbyOne instructor Cliff Mautner who not only took the 1st place at in WPPI’s annual 16×20″ print competition, but he also won 1st place for wedding photojournalism, AND the Grand Award for photojournalism (this was his 2nd time running the Grand Award by the way) at the awards ceremony held on March 4th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
There were more than 3200 images entered from around the globe in various categories, which is fairly awesome unto itself, but while Cliff was there he also received the title of “Double Master of WPPI” with his accumulation of points in this competition. To view a video (and while you’re there, check out Cliff’s Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp, and also check out his new online classes on KelbyOne filmed on location during an actual wedding (it’s a two-part series).
About Cliff’s award-winning photo, above (in Cliff’s words):
“In many traditional weddings when a bride prepares for her wedding at her home, it’s common for them to have her father waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs. I had concerns about my ability to capture this moment because of the lack of space between the steps and the front door. I decided to shoot this from inside the living room- thereby using a frame within a frame. I take great pride in never staging a moment like this, and it’s rare that all of the elements fall into place the way this did. Her twin sisters followed her down the stairs along with her niece, and her dad, normally a stoic man, was really overcome with emotion. The three ladies were a bit stunned at dad’s reaction, and I was able to fire off one single frame with this composition. Those judging the image compared it to a Norman Rockwell illustration that depicted an American wedding. This happened so fast, yet I thought I’d made something pretty special at the time, but I wasn’t sure until I went back and chimped on the LCD a few moments later. One frame-one decisive moment, and it was gone. The only thing I did was put myself in the right place at the right time, and the rest was all about my client. I called and thanked them for handing me this moment, because in the end, we’re only as good as our clients!”
Please join me in congratulating Cliff on these amazing accomplishments, and my personal thanks to him for his willingness to share the techniques that have made him a celebrated award-winning photographer with all of us. :)
Monday
Mar
2015
16

Check Out This “Behind The Scenes” Tour Of the KelbyOne Headquarters

by Scott Kelby  |  7 Comments

https://youtu.be/jJAL4pgA_sk

That video above is a public sneak-peek of a new Webcast created exclusively for KelbyOne members called “Backstage Pass” and it’s produced and hosted by our own Mia McCormick. In this first episode, she takes you on a rollerblade tour of our expanded KelbyOne HQ and she meets up the “Photoshop Guys” along the way, including a stop by my office for a quick chat.

Anyway, since it has this behind-the-scenes tour in it, we thought we’d make just this first one available to the public, and I hope you enjoy Mia’s “rolling review.” ;-)

I’m in Dubai today, and as you might imagine I’m very excited about tonight’s Awards Ceremony and I’ll be posting photos from the event (taken by Brad) over on my Facebook page, so stop by there if you get a chance (btw: Dubai is nine hours ahead and the ceremony is at 7:00 pm, so by 10:00 New York time the awards ceremony will be starting.

Hope you all have a fantabulous Monday!

Best,

-Scott

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