Tuesday
Apr
2008
22

Two From Today’s Shoot

by Scott Kelby  |  2 Comments

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I did a shoot today with Big Electric Cat lead guitarist Tony Llanes, and his Harley (click on it for a larger view). Tony looks like like a tough guy, but I’ve been friends with Tony for around 27 years and he’s a total teddy bear, and one of the nicest, warmest, and most fun guys you’d ever want to meet (and one hell of a guitar player, to boot).

The shoot was done on a black seamless paper background with just one light–an Elinchrom Ranger RX strobe with an Elinchrom Octaback, and we placed it directly above the bike, aiming straight down, for a dramatic, shadowy look. I intentionally let the shadows on Tony just fall, rather than trying to fill them in with a reflector, but there are two reflectors on the floor, just outside the frame, one on each side, bouncing some light back on both the front and back wheels of the bike.

Specs: It was shot with RC’s Nikon D300 because I forgot my rig at home (and RC was nice enough to loan it to me), and it was shot in Manual Mode at 1/60 of a second at f/5.6 at 200 ISO using an 18-200mm Nikon f/3.5 – f/5.6 VR lens. I triggered the flash using a Skyport trigger.

Last week, when I ran a poster-look with a shot of a sand dune, I had a number of questions about which font I used. The font for the regular Dunes shot (and the one used here as well), is Trajan Pro (look in your font list—it’s probably there). For the Pano poster I showed (on the black background), I used the font Gil Sans Light. I added space between the letters (called Tracking) to make the type look a little more airy and elegant.

As far as creating the Poster layout itself, the key is to crop the photo so it’s perfectly square, which already gives the photo a different look. Secondly, in Photoshop add 2 inches of white Canvas Area on all sides, then add 3 more inches just to the bottom. Then add your text (in this case, Trajan Pro), with lots of Tracking (I set it at +240), in the Character panel, and type the first letter of each word in upper case.

The photo itself was processed using my Photoshop 7-Point System, and I had to clone away some things like a wheel of a C-stand, part of a light stand, and the front edge of the seamless.

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I also wanted to have a few shots that had just a hint of light–just lighting the highlights, and the the shot above is the result (it looks much better larger, so click on it for a larger view). The light is in the same place, but I powered the strobe down as low as it could go. The processing is just in Lightroom, but I did do a final sharpening in Photoshop right before I saved the JPEG. The rest of the specs are the same.

Overall, it was a fun shoot, and next time I’m shooting a specially built green chopper of Tony’s, and I’ll wind up lighting it differently to bring out the color, and who knows; maybe I’ll throw a reflector on Tony and make him look like a nice guy again. ;-)

Tuesday
Apr
2008
22

Spend The Day With Me in Hartford, Connecticut at the Photoshop CS3 Power Tour

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

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I’m coming to Hartford, Connecticut for the first time ever, on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 with the Photoshop CS3 Power Tour one-day seminar, and I hope if you’re in that area, you’ll come out and spend the day with me.

The seminar is held at the Connecticut Convention Center, and it’s only $99 for the full-day seminar, (if you’re a NAPP member, it’s just $79).

Here’s the link with full details, class schedule, and you can sign-up there as well. Hope I’ll see you there!

Monday
Apr
2008
21

Scott’s Top Five List For Everything!

by Scott Kelby  |  9 Comments

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I get emails and comments from people who ask me for suggestions on everything from which lens to buy, to which restaurant to eat at when they come to the Tampa Bay area. So, for the past few months I’ve been putting together a “top 5″ list of all this type of stuff—from my favorite Photoshop books, to great places to get an amazing steak, to five things you probably didn’t know about me, to…well, just a load of different stuff—all over the board, on all different kinds of stuff.

I share the same recommendations I’d give to a friend, so you might actually find one or two parts to be helpful. I put links to as many things as I could, but as you’ll also see some things couldn’t have a link.

Note: although it’s a “top five” list, they’re listed in no particular order.

Also, if there’s a topic I missed, or a product/service/restaurant, etc. that you want to turn me on to….post it here…there’s nothing I love more than learning about cool new stuff.

One last thing: it’s a long list, and if I posted it on my home page, it would take up the whole page and then some, so click the “More” link below to see the full list. Hope you enjoy it, and that it starts off your Monday with a smile.

Continue reading

Friday
Apr
2008
18

Friday News Wrap-up

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

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First, here’s a shot of my brother Jeff taken in Dubai (click for larger version). I don’t really have anything special to say about the processing (just Lightroom), or settings—I just love my brother, and wanted to share this photo of my lifelong best friend and mentor.

Now, here’s a quick look at what’s happening as we head into the weekend:

  • World Famous landscape photographer (and Photoshop World Instructor) Stephen Johnson, has two workshops coming up that sound really fascinating; the first is right around the corner, on May 3-5, 2008 as his “Landscapes of California” digital photography field workshop takes place in the beautiful Point Lobos, and Carmel, California area (here’s the link). Then, he’s taking the show on the road to Ireland’s Spectacular West Coast for 10 days (June 20-30,2008) for a workshop co-sponsored by the Maine Media Workshops (Here’s the link). If you’ve never taken a workshop from Stephen—he’s an amazing instructor, photographer, and person. Highly recommended.
  • I saw a review of my Photoshop CS3 Book for Digital Photographers over at a site in Sweden. Here’s the link.
  • Part 2 of Dan Margulis’ “5 Minutes to a Picture Postcard” online class from KelbyTraining.com just went live yesterday. Here’s the link with all the details (and you can watch a sample there as well). By the way; Dan did a “mini” version of this class at Photoshop World in Orlando, and it had everybody talking. Dan has, once again, pushed the envelope of what you can do color wise, and sharpening wise, in Photoshop.
  • Catch Photoshop User TV and Layers TV over at Adobe TV. While I was out in Dubai, Adobe released the very slick Adobe Media Player, along with Adobe TV (which plays in the media player), which a free online source for video tutorials on a wide range of Adobe products, and NAPP is honored to be a part of the launch with free episodes of Photoshop User TV and Layers TV included as part of their channel. Here’s the link with all the details.
  • David duChemin, over at the Pixelated Image, did a follow-up post to my “Always Shooting With The Wrong Lens” post that builds on what I was saying, and it’s definitely worth a read (here’s the link).
  • I had a number of comments and emails about the photo I posted of Jeff Revell shooting in the desert yesterday (the bottom shot in the group). I wish I could take the credit for performing some “Photoshop Magic” on it, but that’s pretty much the way it came out of the camera. I just used Lightroom’s White Balance slider to add more blue to the sky (yes, it was that bland of a cloudless sky, but if I had tilted the camera a little higher, you would have seen some pretty uninspiring cloudy skies, so I kept it low), and I sharpened it. Sorry there wasn’t more razzle dazzle to it.
  • One last thing: I’m so gratified to see how regulars of this blog are helping field questions posted here as comments. I actually do answer some of them privately (I do often email answers to the person who posted the question directly), but obviously there’s no way I can answer them all (or even most of them). So please consider this my humble thanks to those of you who help other folks out here. You’re doing a really nice thing, and my hats are off to you for helping them, and for helping me out, too. :)

That’s it for today. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and we’ll see you back here next week! Take care—Scott.

Thursday
Apr
2008
17

The Photo Police Are On The Job

by Scott Kelby  |  2 Comments

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After my sunset shoot of the Burj Al Arab hotel using the wrong lens (posted earlier this week), I was determined to go back and shoot it the following night using the right lens–my brand new 14-24mm f/2.8 lens (The lens was a gift from my book publisher, Peachpit Press, who presented it to me, on stage, at the end of my “7-point system” class at Photoshop World as they announced that for the 4th straight year I was the world’s #1 bestselling computer/technology book author).

Since Jeff Revell and my brother Jeff had been stopped by the hotel’s security during the previous evening’s shoot, “The Jeffs” went to the hotel’s head of security to ask for their permission for us to shoot the hotel at dusk using a tripod. The security chief was very cordial, but asked to see Jeff’s camera, and once he did, he explained that they are very concerned about professional cameras and tripods, because they are trying to protect the image of the hotel and how their image is used or sold.

He went on to say that point-and-shoot cameras were not a problem, but as soon as DSLRs and tripods appear, it becomes a problem, but he was gracious enough to allow us set up and take “five or six photos,” and he gave us his business card, and told us to contact him so we he could give his security staff a heads-up that we would be out there shooting on tripods.

I planned my day around getting back for this “reshoot with the right lens,” but Jeff recommended that I set-up a little short of where they set-up the night before, because that would put a large white tent between me and where the security guards were the night before, so maybe I wouldn’t have to pull out that card after all. As it turned out, I was able to shoot without any intervention from hotel security (at least at this point), so I was able to get the shot I was hoping for (seen above–click for a larger version).

After I packed up my gear, I headed back for the hotel, and while walking over the bridge toward the hotel, I had a perfect straight-on view I hadn’t seen before, so I quickly set-up my tripod, and as soon as I pressed the shutter button once, a security cart appeared, and a security guard, in white Arab robe and head dress appeared (I knew why he was there).

I have to say, he was incredibly friendly and polite. He came right over with a warm friendly smile; and shook my hand as he introduced himself (He treated me more like he was welcoming me to the hotel, rather than telling me I couldn’t shoot it). He calmly and eloquently explained why they couldn’t allow the use of professional cameras and tripods, and he was so friendly and warm, that I didn’t even pull out the “head of security’s” card. I told him I understood, that it was no problem, and I packed up my gear while we were chatting. He thanked me profusely, wished me a nice evening; he got back in his cart, and was gone as quickly as he had appeared.

I wasn’t the least bit upset. In fact, I thought to myself; if all security guards handled these situations in the manner this guard had, you wouldn’t be reading all those stories about photographers getting hassled and abused by overzealous security. I think as photographers most of us understand and respect situations like this, and a little politeness, and professional courtesy, on both sides goes a long way.

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