Chasing Storms in the Midwest Last Week

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments


My wife Kalebra has always been fascinated with severe weather, which is handy since so much of it comes our way. She was born and raised in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, (known as the Lightning Capital of the World), so she grew up living with everything from massive thunderstorms to hurricanes and tornadoes, which is why I think my wife is so interested in learning about severe weather.

When you grow up dealing with stuff like this, the pendulum doesn’t usually stop in the middle; you’re either terrified of it, like one of Kalebra’s sisters, or really fascinated with it, like Kalebra is.

That’s why I wasn’t surprised when she told me she wanted to spend a week out in the midwest with a team of meteorologists (and other weather freaks), chasing storms, and learning about them up close and personal. And last week, that’s exactly where she was (where she captured the photo you see above, taken last Saturday, where they saw 11 tornadoes in one day).

By the time she left for the trip; she had company as Moose Peterson, Laurie Excel, and her brother had all signed on for the week of running for their lives, too (Moose has chronicled the week on his blog–here’s the link).

The people on the trip mirrored the people I talked about above; some were there to overcome their fear by facing it head on, and others were there (including native Oklahomans) who were just as fascinated with learning about the weather they have deal with as she was.

The group she went with was called “Tempest Tours” and when I asked her what she thought, she said, “Do they know what they’re doing? Absolutely! Were the guys in charge (Bill, Brian, Keith, and Steve) knowledgeable? Absolutely. Do they mean it when they say, ‘It’s not about the food or the lodging? Absolutely!”

All in all she learned a great deal, had a great time, saw some amazing weather, and got a real insight into what people who live in that part of the country have to deal with each year. Would she do it again? Absolutely!


Get Hands-on With Photoshop World Instructors Jim DiVitale and Helene Glassman

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments


Every once in a while you come across a workshop you’d just love to attend, and for me, one of these is Jim Divitale and Helene Glassman’s 3-day hands-on digital imaging workshop coming up July 28-30th, 2008 at Jim’s studio in Atlanta.

If you’ve ever been to Photoshop World (where Jim and Helene are featured instructors), you already know what amazing teachers they are (Jim has been one of our featured photographers for the past 15 or more Photoshop World’s in a row!).

If you’ve read my book, The Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers, then you know already know Jim, because he’s referenced throughout the book, and in the acknowledgments, as one of the people who help me come up with the initial outlines, concepts, and even some of the techniques themselves.

If you’ve read my book, The Digital Photography Book, Vol. 1 or 2 you’re feeling the influence of Helene Glassman, who spent an entire day with me sharing her portrait photography techniques, tips, posing ideas, and lighting set-ups. She does the same thing in her Photoshop World classes, and she goes beyond that with teaching photographers how to market their work.

I know what these two have to offer; I’ve seen the results they get, and that’s why I’m dying to take their hands-on workshop. The 3-day workshop is designed is for people with intermediate to advanced knowledge of Photoshop CS2 or CS3, and covers:

  1. Hands on digital capture workflow using DSLR cameras.
  2. Understanding lighting formulas for portrait and commercial still life photography.
  3. Custom profiling the camera, monitor, and printer for predictable results
  4. Advanced lighting and camera techniques for location and in the studio
  5. Determining proper exposure values for digital capture.
  6. Repairing damaged files and poor lighting conditions.
  7. Creating high quality black and white and color images.
  8. Understanding bit depth, resolution and file format for professional jobs.
  9. Managing digital files from concept to archiving.

I hope you get a chance to spend a few days learning from Jim and Helene, because it will have a real impact on both you and your work. Here’s the link with all the details.


Korg Keyboard Recording Studio Shoot

by Scott Kelby  |  3 Comments


I recently did a location shoot at a recording studio for a project being developed by the Korg Keyboard company, for a very cool new accessory for keyboard players that lets you apply a “skin” to your keyboards. (You can see the blue image “skin” on the Korg M3 Music Workstation/Sampler above—the keyboard is normally just solid white–click on it for a larger view. The model is musician Justin Finley).

This is bigger than it might first sound. Although guitar players and bass players have always had a wide choice of finishes and patterns for their guitar bodies, and drummers have had everything from sparkle finishes to wood grains to even clear shells; keyboard players have pretty much had one look; solid black. More recently, white. That’s about it.

The idea of skinning keyboards is the brainchild of John Chase over at Korg, and John contacted me to work on the original mock-ups, and slide presentations for the initial concepts, but once we started actually “skinning” full size keyboards for the final prototypes, we had to get some serious help. We brought in the immensely talented RC Concepcion who literally busted his $#%& to get the final full-size mock-ups developed using some of my photography, and some illustrator vector images, like the one shown at the top (he really did an amazing job—RC rocks, and we couldn’t have done it without him).

Once RC got a full sized image designed to the exact specs, and output at full size, I got the chance to be the first keyboard player to play a “Skinned” Korg M3 Workstation live during my Big Electric Cat gig at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Orlando, Florida, (with John Chase on hand). The keyboard was skinned with one of my images of the Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles.


The photo above was taken by RC Concepcion during the shoot at the studio, inside the control room, and from it you can see I was using just one single Nikon SB-800 flash, mounted on a lightstand to my left, and firing through a 42″ shoot-through umbrella. I was shooting tethered to my Laptop so I could see the images coming straight into Lightroom.

SPECS: The photo was taken with a Nikon D3, at 200 ISO, with a shutter speed of 1/60 of a second, at f/5.6. I used a 14-24mm Nikon f/2.8 lens at 14mm for that really wide look. I triggered the flash using a Nikon SU-800 Commander unit sitting on the hotshoe of my D3.

Below are three more location shoots (the top two behind-the-scene shots are by RC, taken hand held at 3200 ISO with a Nikon D3), in a different part of the studio. The third shot below is what I was shooting, but I lit with with two SB-800 flashes; the one in front you see here, behind the shoot through umbrellas, and a bare SB-800 kicker on a lightstand, diagonally behind Justin, with a HonlPhoto Speed Snoot (link) to keep the beam from spreading out. (NOTE: In the top photo, that’s Dave Cross looking at my tethered laptop with a concerned look on his face. In the 2nd photo, you can make out John Chase, on the floor next time, not looking nearly as concerned as Dave).




One last thing: I use two Korg keyboards for my own rig; the M3 Music Workstation/Sampler and a TR Music Workstation, and they’re just amazing! As a keyboard player, you can image how honored I am to be developing a special “Scott Kelby Signature Line” of photography-based skins with Korg, and as soon as these skins are available I’ll be sure you give you all the details (by the way; these skins are called “SkinTronix”).

Thanks to RC for all his help, and thanks John Chase and the folks at Korg for getting me involved in this very cool project!


Jeff Revell’s PhotoWalk DC Rocked!

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments


Yesterday was Jeff Revell’s (of PhotoWalkPro.com fame) GeorgeTown Photo Walk and over 50 photographers showed up to spend a couple of hours shooting the tony streets, shops, and cafes of this DC suburb.

The photo above (by Jeff) shows some of the “walkers” during the day, reflected in a round overhead mirror. Make sure you check out PhotoWalkPro for more photos from the day.

Congratulations to Jeff for another great “walk,” and “Good on ya” to everybody who showed up on a beautiful day in DC to share some fun and photography for a few hours (and of course, some yummy Philly cheesesteaks right after the walk).


The Problem With How Software is Developed Today

by Scott Kelby  |  2 Comments


So, Terry White and I on the phone talking about yesterday’s post, and more specifically about how software is really developed today—all software, whether it comes from Apple or Microsoft or whomever. Terry had the perfect analogy to describe how it is from our, the end users, perspective:

So you’ve been waiting for this new restaurant to open for 12 to 18 months, and when it finally opens you head right down there. They seat you and hand you a menu with all these great dishes on it, but after a few minutes, they come and take the menu out of your hands and set down your food.

You ask the waiter, “What’s this?” He says, “This is your dinner.” And you say, “But I didn’t order this,” and he says “We decided this is what you want.” So, you go ahead and taste the dinner, and some things taste pretty good, and others you don’t care for, but you eat it anyway.

Then you ask the waiter, “Why is my fork way over there?” He says, “We decided to move it because we thought it would be easier for you to use over there.” So you say, “Why didn’t you just ask me where I wanted the fork?” [Blank stare].

When the waiter comes back by again, you ask, “Can I order some of the things I want off the menu?” and he says, “Maybe when you come back next year.”

It doesn’t have to be like this, because the software industry has the power to change the way software is designed. They just have to want to change.


Friday News Stuff

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments


Here’s a few nuggets to take us into the weekend:

  • Don’t forget: This Sunday (June 1st) is Jeff Revell’s Georgetown Photo Walk (held in the Georgetown area of Washington DC), and everyone’s invited to join Jeff and company for this social shooting event. The walk lasts two hours (starting at 10:00 am), and afterward (in a fine PhotoWalk tradition), everyone meets up a local restaurant to hang out, do some chimping, and catch a yummy lunch. Check out PhotoWalkPro.com for all the details (don’t be one of those folks who on Monday say, “Aw man—I shudda gone!”)
  • My buddy, and Photoshop User TV co-host Matt Kloskowski is teaching a free class in Philly next Tuesday, June 3rd at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott, as part of the Creative Suite Symposium, (Sponsored by CDW and Adobe Systems). There are morning, lunch, and afternoon sessions (Matt’s teaching in the Morning session), and all the sessions are free—you just have to register in advance by clicking here.
  • Michael Clark Photography has just released their Spring, 2008 PDF Newsletter, which always has great info (and great photos), so if you’ve got a sec, you can download the FREE PDF right here.
  • This is why I use a Drobo: Terry White did a post at his popular TechBlog on the heels of my backup story earlier this week, where he tells how his backup drive went bad, and didn’t know it for 10 days, when he learned that his backup had crashed. He if had a Drobo, it would have not only told him there was a problem, but it would have protected his data using the other drives inside the Drobo automatically. Here’s the link to Terry’s story.
  • PixSylated.com has posted a detailed article on color management, called Why your photos look lousy…or Simple Truths about Color Management . Click here to jump there.
  • Lastly, Joe McNally’s assistant (the indelibly cool Brad Moore), has launched his own blog recently (which just means that Brad will get less sleep than ever, if that’s possible), so stop by and give the Bradmeister some love. Here’s the link. Don’t worry, you can go by anytime—he’ll be up late. ;-)

Here’s hoping you have a really great weekend, and make sure you get out there and shoot something this weekend will ya? (You know I’m talking about photos, right? Just checking).

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