I really like Twitter a bunch. I do. Super Dig it!
That being  said, I could totally and utterly “love” Twitterâ¦if somehow for Christmas (or maybe just for 2015) Twitter added these four things that I believe would revolutionize, re-engerize, and just do a lot of awful lot of good all around. Here goes:

(1) Stop penalizing me for including a photo with my Tweets
You send me emails telling me how awesome it is to add images to my tweets. You show me stats which show that each tweet with a photo is likely to get so many more retweets and favorites, it’s just crazy. But then if I actually add an image to my tweet, you subtract characters from my 140-character limit per tweet. You basically penalize me for doing the thing you’re asking me to do. Please let me add an image and still have my 140 characters. I promise to add more photos in 2015 if you do. We all will.

(2) Give me one 10 or 12-character hashtag for free
You’re penalizing me again â” I know that using hashtags will expand the number of potential people who read my tweets, but I already added a photo to my tweet, and I could barely say anything cohesive when I had the full 140-characters. Between losing characters for the photo I attached, and being penalized for adding a search term (hashtag), I spend 15-minutes just to get my tweet under the limit with what little is left. I usually don’t even add hashtags â” I just don’t have the room. Plus, I often say lots of inappropriate words during this frustrating pruning process so I have to stay clear of children or small pets during this critical phase of the tweet-shortening process. Could you please give me just one hashtag per tweet “on the house?” â” without subtracting from my 140-charaters? Make it a 10 or 12 character limit, and make it just one hashtag for free per tweet (so things don’t get out of hand) and we promise to use more hashtags in 2015.

(3) Give us a 50% discount on links
I use bit.ly like a boss. It really helps. It does. But even using bit.ly, sometimes the link eats up so many precious characters. I looked at a bit.ly link I created last week and it took 14 character’s out of my allotment. When you see something starting with http:// have your magical unicorn of backend database stuff automatically give us a 50% discount, and only count it as 7 characters instead of 14. Please help me to share more stuff and I promise to share even more stuff in 2015.

(4) Let me buy an extra character or two with the proceeds going to charity
Sometimes I just can’t make my thought or idea fit. I’m two characters away from making it fit, and I’ve cut and cut, but I just can’t make it work. There are times where if I could buy two or three characters for a buck a piece (so $2 or $3 total) that would be the fastest two or three bucks I would spent all week, especially if I knew the proceeds went to charity. Each week you could choose a different charity (might I suggest, for week one, that all the “character buyers” contributions go to the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya. They need the help like you cannot believe. It’s just 33 kids, but it’s 33 kids that matter. Please, let us give a buck for each extra character in 2015 (you could limit the extra characters, so maybe the maximum you could buy would be 10-characters, so a $10 limit per tweet). It could do a lot of good in the bigger picture, and I promise to buy a few extra characters fairly often in 2015. Especially in that first week. ;-)

So there ya have it. This is perhaps not the most photography or Photoshop-related thing that I’ve covered here on the blog, but I’m hoping that somebody at Twitter might be in the Holiday Spirit this year and take the time to give it a read, like you just did. Hey, ya never know, right?

Here’s wishing you all the best Monday you’ve had all year!



A few weeks back I got a chance to try out a pre-production model of Canon’s new 100-400mm f/4.5 – f/5.6 USM II lens shooting on the sidelines for an NFL game (Eagles vs. Titans) up at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly, and I thought I’d deliver a field report here in a quick Q&A format. It’s not a technical look or in-depth review, just my initial thoughts after shooting it for a game. Here ya go:

Q. How is the physical size of the lens?
A. It’s really close to the size of Canon’s 70-200mm. It’s just a little bit wider but I was surprised to see it’s actually a little bit shorter than the 70-200mm. However, with the large lens hood attached, it definely looks beefier than the 70-200mm.

Q. How was the weight compared to the 70-200mm?
A. If I handed you the two lenses, you’d think they weighed about the same, but I think technically the 100-400mm weighs about 2 or 3 ounces more.

Q. Which other lenses did you use during the game?
A. None. I shot the entire game using just this one lens.

Q. What was it like shooting with just one lens?
A. It was absolutely awesome!! I cannot tell you how sweet it was using just one body, just one lens, no monopod needed and so lightweight compared to what I’m usually lugging along the sidelines (two camera bodies, a 400mm f/2.8 and a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a monopod). Shooting on a monopod definitely limits you, and affects your shooting angles, so it felt like it does when I shoot my 70-200mm, so that was really nice.

Q. Did the lens get heavy to hold up as the day went on?
A. Not at all. Like I mentioned, it’s about the same as size and weight as my 70-200mm (which I shoot quite often, and it’s usually on my 2nd body at games anyway) so the weight wasn’t an issue.

Q. How’s the overall sharpness of the lens?
A. I felt it was a very sharp lens (especially for the money). It was super-crazy sharp at 300mm and under, and only slightly less at a full 400mm, but I was using a pre-production model on loan (just for that one game) so it didn’t have all the final tuning and adjustments the shipping model will have, but even at that it was still very crisp. I called a buddy of mine who is one of the tech gurus at Canon and he said that the Canon engineers internally are saying the final shipping version of this lens is really close in overall sharpness to the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 (which I think is one of the sharpest lens ever made by anybody), and for a 100-400mm at this price, that’s saying something.

Q. When is it supposed to ship?
A. I believe B&H Photo is shipping their pre-release lens orders today, so I’d say “any day now.”

Q. How was the overall “feel” of the lens?
A. Well, in the first quarter of the game I was surprised how tight the zoom barrel was on this lens (the older version of this lens was a push/pull lens â” you didn’t rotate a barrel to zoom â” you pulled the lens outward or pushed it in). Luckily, between quarters I saw a circular adjustment that lets you set the exact amount of tension you want, so I set it right then to how I like it (which is a looser zoom than the default setting).

Q. Did you use it on a full frame or crop sensor body?
A. I shot on a full frame Canon 1Dx, which is why I could get away with using just that one lens all day.

Q. So, is there a downside to using it on a cropped sensor body?
A. I wouldn’t say it’s a downside, because you gain something but you also lose something â” it’s more of a tradeoff. On a crop sensor body, you’d gain 60% reach, so your 400mm lens suddenly has the reach of a 640mm lens on a full frame body, which is awesome (especially if you’ve ever priced a 600mm lens). However, that means when you zoom all the way out to 100mm, on a crop sensor that’s the equivalent of a 160mm and that would be too tight once the players get close to where you’re shooting from. So, if you’re shooting on a crop sensor body, you would want to have a 2nd lens to switch to for when the team gets inside the 20-yard line (something like a 24-70mm would probably be ideal).

Q. How did the auto-focus perform?
A. I was impressed â” it was pretty snappy! I’m used to shooting some really high-end lenses and this one still felt pretty quick overall.

Q. Who is this designed for lens for?
A. I’d say it’s really designed for daytime sports photographer and for wildlife photographers, but of course it will take a picture of whatever you aim it at, so you’ll see everybody from wedding photographers to portrait photographers using this same lens, especially at its size/weight and price (B&H Photo has it for $2,199).

Q. Is it a Daytime only lens?
A. Well, it’s like this: it’s an f/4.5 to f/5.6 lens, so unless you’re shooting a body with really great high-ISO (low noise) performance (like the 1Dx I was shooting at this game) you’re going to have some really noisy images after dark, or inside a gymnasium or an arena. For wildlife photographers, this probably won’t be much of a problem, but for sports photographers this is something you have to consider, which is why I say it’s a daytime lens. During daylight, it rocks! I set my f/stop to f/4.5 and didn’t change it all day. I had Auto-ISO turned on and set it so the slowest shutter speed it would ever take would be 1/1000 of a second, so the ISO would climb as high as it needed to get that shutter speed. It worked awesome. It would be less awesome (at f.4/5 to f/5.6) at night or indoors.

Q. How did the f/4.5 to f/5.6 range affect you for this game?
A. At first, at the 1:00 pm kick-off it didn’t at all, but later in the game some cloud cover rolled in and my shutter speeds started dropping. Then the game ran long (lots of penalties) so by around 4:30 pm it looked like dusk and the stadium lights were on, and my Auto ISO started climbing. Take a look at the shot up farther on this page â” the shot where Titan’s Lineman Mike Martin is pulling on Sanchez’s jersey  â” that was shot at 1,600 ISO and it’s just 4:41 pm in the afternoon. Lenses with these higher f/stops make you shoot at higher ISOs when it’s not bright sunshine â” it’s that simple, and that’s why I call it a daylight lens. Just my take on it.

Q. Wasn’t there (ahem) an “incident” during this game? Something to do with a bullet pass?
A. Next question, please.

Q. Did you sharpen any of these images?
A. Of course. Every image you see from a pro game is sharpened (I applied an Unsharp Mask filter with these settings: Amount: 90; Radius 1.5, Threshold 0 – to the full-sized images). I didn’t think it would be a fair comparison to put un-sharpened sports images from any lens up against the sharpened sports images you see every day.

Q. Can’t you post an unsharpened image?
A. Sure. Here ya go (below) â” this is an un-edited, un-cropped, tilty, unsharpened, JPEG shot straight out of the camera that needs straightening, brightening, cropping and sharpening. Still looks nice and sharp, but outside of this blog post I would never post ANY sports image without, at the very least, applying sharpening first.

Q. Did you shoot in RAW or JPEG?
A. I shoot all my sports in JPEG, so these are all JPEGs. 

Q. Anything else strike you about it?
A. Not really. I think Canon did a nice job with this lens, and I think at this price, it will make a lot of people happy (especially since the old version was introduced about 10-years ago). What was most memorable for me about shooting with it was just how awesome it was shooting an entire game with just one lens. Shooting without a monopod gives you a big advantage, so that was a big thing, and not ever having to switch bodies or lug all that gear was a real plus for me. I took all my gear to the game, and was expecting to switch to my regular much (ahem) high-priced lens for the 2nd half, but I was enjoying the freedom, size, weight and results so much I decided to just stick with it, and I was really happy with the results.

Q. By the way, who won?
A. The Eagles won 43-24.

(Above: Although I was shooting for the Titans that day, my buddy John Geliebter shoots for the Eagles and I snapped this one of him during a time out. After the game he drove me to the airport in record time to catch my flight, so I owe him several beers next time I see him). 

(Above: That’s my buddy Donn Jones, Titan’s Team Photographer and just one of the greatest guys out there. However, I feel like his iPhone is outdatedâ¦wellâ¦especially since my 6-plus just came in last night. I’m not sure Donn and I can be friends any longer). ;-)

This weekend off I’m to shoot with the Falcons on Sunday for their home game against the Steelers. Might do a few remotes (you know I love that!). I have some shots from the game next week. :)

Hope you all have a great weekend (#gofalcons, #riseup) and we’ll see you back here on Monday.




Adobe Photoshop Creativity Seminar with Ben Willmore
The last KelbyOne Live seminar of the year is TOMORROW, December 12, in Phoenix with Ben Willmore! If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still time. And if you want a chance to go for free, leave a comment here this morning, and we’ll pick a winner this afternoon!

DSLR Filmmaking: Camera Motion & Support with Adam Rohrmann
Attention aspiring filmmakers! There's a lot more to camera rigs than just providing support for your camera. In this class our very own filmmaker extraordinaire Adam Rohrmann takes you through the technical how-to aspects of six of the most common camera supports used in DSLR filmmaking, and then brings it all home in a series of lessons designed to give you a camera operator's-eye view of how each rig can be used to elicit a different emotion in your viewer through the production of a short film scripted for this class. Adam's practical approach gives you a real world perspective on how to use each rig, how to keep your subject locked in sharp focus, and the importance of using camera motion with attention to the emotional impact it has on your audience.

Moose Peterson Discusses Image Quality
And he’s not talking about megapixels. Check out this video where Moose shows a print he had made and talks about how the quality of a picture has less to do with megapixels and more about the craftsmanship behind the making of the image. And if you want to see the behind the scenes from the shoot where he made the image, you can see that right here.

New Fuji X-System eBook from Bill Fortney
The Fuji X-System User's Guide from Bill Fortney is a real guide to getting the most from this system. The guide features over 300 photographs spread over 200 pages with helpful information and tips for getting the most out of the fantastic System. The book also features work from today's top pros that are using the Fuji X-System! You can find out more and buy your copy right here. Leave a comment for your chance to win a free download!

Last Week’s Winner
KelbyOne Live Ticket
– 3lyssa

If that’s you, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

Greetings everyone! Corey Barker here to share with you my latest holiday project. Once again I collaborated with headshot photographer Peter Hurley and we decided to do another movie poster project. Some of you may remember a little project I did with Peter on recreating the poster for the Chevy Chase movie Vacation using Peter as the main subject and then we also recruited Mia McCormick and Brandon Ford to be part of the fun. We gathered everyone in the studio and we had RC shoot the images I needed. I then took those images that afternoon and created the poster below. I love projects like this where I feel under the gun because under pressure is where I most creative. The result came out so nicely that it ended up being a featured tutorial in my Down & Dirty Tricks Book Vol 2.

Now jump ahead 2 years and it is November 2014 and Peter has once again come to visit our office. This time to work on his new book, which is going to be awesome! So while he was here some of us went to lunch and we started started talking about the Shabang! poster and how much fun that project was. He told me that he was going to be back here in December and that we should do another one. Since it was going to be Christmas time and we wanted to keep the Vacation theme going we decided to do the obviousâ¦Christmas Vacation! I was so excited and yet so bummed because I had to wait another month until we could do it. Though I had plenty to keep me busy in the meantime.

Now it is December and Peter has returned and I cannot wait to get this project started. This time he was here filming a KelbyOne class on headshots and the art of the edit, so he already had the studio set up and ready to go. Of course, while he had it set up I took advantage of that and had Peter take some new headshots of me (see the image above), but then after that it was Peter's turn in front of the camera. Using the original Christmas Vacation poster as a reference, I wanted Peter to have a similar expression to the Chevy Chase character on the poster. He was doing well but still wasn't quite there until I told him to act like a cattle prod just got shoved in his bum! That worked and gave me the shot I needed. I only needed the head because I was going to create the rest entirely in Photoshop. Let the fun begin!

The Photoshop Process (Abridged)
So now I had the shots of Peter and now I was ready to get started. Again referencing the the original post I noticed that it was originally an illustration and not a photo. Being an illustrator myself I thought I would go ahead and illustrate the whole thing. However two things occurred to me: One thing was time, to illustrate the entire poster would have taken days for me. I had two days at most to do this. The other thing was the teaching aspect. If I had illustrated it and did tutorials on it it would have only appealed to a handful of digital illustrators out there. There are no doubt designers out there that can't draw so well but really want to achieve this level of design. So I decided to mostly composite the whole poster using stock photos with a few illustrated elements added in. This would make it easier for someone to learn the technique. So I started by building the background. I created the snow and illustrated the rooftop and chimney first. This established the environment and also establishes a reference of scale as I add other elements.

Once I had the background set I was ready to get started on the main subject. Like I said, my original thought was to illustrate this but just had no time. So I went to Fotolia.com and started searching for images of Santa. I obviously could not expect that I would find a Santa image that looked just like the image in the poster, that would be wishful thinking.

Instead I had to shift my gaze and not look at the entire image but rather break it up into parts. Each of these Santa images are obviously from the same series but each one was picked for a specific part of the design. I chose the first because of the legs and torso because they were facing front, the second and third images I chose for the boots, and the fourth one was used for the arm. I needed a straight arm and this was the closest I could find, but no problem with Puppet Warp. So now I had all the parts I needed to create the body, I already had the head shot of Peter so I was ready to go!

I started with the legs by extracting just that part of the image minus the boots and then brought it into the main design then scaled and position them in place. Then I extracted one boot each from the other two images. I needed them to be turned and did not want to use the same boot and duplicate it as that would have been obvious. Next was the torso, once again I extracted just that part and then added it to the image. Though the torso and legs came from the same image I needed them separate so that could manipulate the torso shape without affecting the legs.

Now the arms. I used the one arm of the Santa holding the bell for both arms. I extracted it then used Puppet Warp to straighten it. I erased the hand and bell and filled in the the fur cuff. I then used the Warp tool to basically sculpt the arm to the scene. Then I duplicated it and flipped it to put on the other side. Because of the abstract nature of the fabric and such it easy to make them look different. I then copied a couple little patches of the fabric to fill in the gaps.

Next I added Peter's head to the scene and then used a strip of fur I got from the Santa hat image and made it a collar around his neck. The last thing of course was the hands. I found a simple open hand stock image and then used it for both hands. However I did use puppet warp again to manipulate the fingers just slightly so they were not obviously the same. Oh and I almost forgot the pillows, in the original he had a couple pillows stuffed in the suit so thought I would add that too. Now the main subject is assembled, but we are far from done.

Once I had all the pieces together I went ahead and merged all those layers together so I could edit the subject as a whole. Did a little bit more cloning and patchwork to make the suit a little more seamless and then did some dodging and burning to make the lighting and shadows consistent.

Now it was time to start with the surrounding elements like lights, flying presents, and such. I started with the lights. I used Illustrator to create the cord for the lights because you get much smoother paths using the Smooth tool. Once that was done I brought that path into Photoshop and then used it to draw not just the cord for the lights, but I also created a brush tip in the shape of the light and painted that along the same path in various colors. Then used some layer styles and some blur effects to get the lights to glow.

Now the lighting effect around the subject I created using a custom lightning brush I created. I then just scatter painted the lightning around the edge of the subject. After that I added an Outer Glow layer style to enhance the effect. Finally there were just the prop elements floating around the subject. In the original they were just presents floating around so I wanted to use that but also add a some Peter touches as well, like a PhaseOne camera and lights. The camera you can see floating in the air and the light is in Santa' sack. Once I had those elements in place I added lighting effects based in their position in relation to the subject. The very last touch of course was the text. Peter came up with Squinchmas Vacation and I added the Yule Wonder Why! at the top.

In the end this version took about 10 hours over two days. I built it to the dimensions of a full-scale movie poster which is 27 inches wide by 40 inches tall. It is comprised of about 50 layers and the file says weighs in at about 1.5 GB. This project will be broken down in step-by-step video tutorials as part of my Photoshop Master FX Series exclusively at KelbyOne.com in the the next couple months.

A big thanks to Peter Hurley for once again being such a good sport and allowing me to to create this image. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and watch out for cousin Eddie! LOL


You can see more of Corey’s work at CoreySBarker.com, and follow him on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

OK, my buddy Jeff Cable (he's a sports photographer and works with Lexar), does this "Jeff's Favorite Things" big giveaway every year, and he's giving away a ton of stuff again this year â” everything from a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet to a Canon 70D camera, to a DJI Phantom 2 Drone to a Sigma lens and a whole bunch more (including some of my books).

Anyway, he's got 36 prizes in all and he'll draw 36 winners starting on December 12th, so it's worth checking out. Here's the link to enter.

Here's a list of what Jeff is giving away this year:

  1.  DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Drone
  2. Canon 70D DSLR camera with 18-135mm IS STM lens
  3. Canon PIXMA Pro-1 Printer
  4. Wacom Intuos Pro Medium
  5. Drobo 5D
  6. 32GB Lexar Professional 1066x CF Card or 32GB 600x Lexar Professional SD card (2 prizes)
  7. Sigma 50mm 1.4 lens
  8. Lexar HR-1 Workflow Solution w/ 2 Readers
  9. Gitzo GM5561T 6x Carbon Fiber Monopod
  10. Photo Mechanic software (2 prizes)
  11. One year subscriptions to Zenfolio (2 prizes)
  12. Scott Kelby Autographed Books - "The Digital Photography Book, Part 5: Photo Recipes" (5 prizes) and "Lightroom 5 book" (2 prizes)
  13. KelbyOne: One year full memberships (2 prizes)
  14. LowePro ProRunner 450AW Backpack
  15. JOBY Suction Cup (2 prizes)
  16. Epson R2000 printer with Velvet Fine Art paper (8—10), 5—7 pack and 4—6 pack of photo glossy paper
  17. FotoFusion Extreme software (2 prizes)
  18. B&H $100 gift certificates  (2 prizes)
  19. Acratech GP Ball Head with lever clamp and a Swift Clamp
  20. M&M Photo Tours - $750 credit on one of their International photo trips
  21. BlackRapid straps - CrossShot strap, Sport strap, Yeti strap (3 prizes)
  22. Western Digital - My Passport for Mac 500GB drives (2 prizes) and a My Passport Wireless Drive 1TB
Here’s the link to enter in case you missed it. Good luck everybody!
P.S. Where’s that field report? I know, I know. I’ve been heads down on so much end-of-year work stuff, and taping new classes and on and on.  Field reports like that take a ton of time to put together and I’m trying out a new format and blah, blah I’m just way behind on literally everything. Hope to have it very soon â” thanks for your patience.  

Good mornin’ everybody! OK, so I had planned on posting my field report on the Canon 100-400mm today, but I haven’t finished it (it’s been a really busy week), and now I’m off to tape some classes at the studio, and blah, blah, blah â” it’s not done. Totally my fault (it’s the old “too much on my plate thing”).

However, since I’ve taken over the reins at LightroomKillerTips, I’ve been posting daily Lightroom tutorials and tips over there and my latest post is “Why Are There Three Different Places to Sharpen in Lightroom?” So, if you’ve got a minute to bop over there and check it out, here’s the link.  (while you’re there feel free to check out my other posts; enjoy the new car smell; and please stand clear of the doors (Por favor mant©nganse alejado de las puertas).

My plan is to run the field report tomorrow, but of course that was the plan for today, so I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll get everything done I need to get done, to finish it up. Now, if you come here tomorrow and you see something entirely different, then you know how that went down. ;-)

Hope you all have a spectacular Monday (there’s an oxymoron to start your week â” “spectacular monday”) and we’ll see you here tomorrow come rain or come shine (I have no idea why I just wrote that last part).