Tuesday
Dec
2013
17

Another Epic Remote Camera Fail….

by Scott Kelby  |  99 Comments

Above: Me and Mike Carlson, lying down on the job getting our focus set. I use auto focus to focus on the spot where I think the players will come through the smoke (Chip Litherland and Casey Brooke Lawson were our stunt models for focusing position), then once the focus is locked in, I switch Auto Focus off (Photo by Casey Brooke Lawson)

OK, the remote shoot wasn’t exactly “Epic” but to be fair, my buddy Mike Carlson (who shoots for the Bucs) warned me in advance that because of a series of factors, it’s very hard to get an epic shot of the player intros at Raymond James Stadium.

One being that the pyro comes out on these big rubber wheels, and they are incredibly distracting (he was right, and it was worse than I thought); plus you have a huge Publix sign in the background (awesome grocery store, but….), and it was a gray overcast day (I could go on….), but what really killed it is that once again, my remote camera didn’t fire consistently (to say the least). Arrrrrrrggggghhhhhh!

Above: Here’s my lonely little rig. f/plate, a Manfrotto ball head, a Canon EOS 1Ds body with a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, and the evil PocketWizard Plus X remote (more on the evil part soon).

Above: There were three of us firing remotes. The guy on the far left isn’t really a scary stranger — he shoots for the Bucs too, (nice guy in fact) I’ve just never been introduced, so we’ll just call him “Scary Stranger” (Danger!). Then Mike’s rig behind mine, and then mine pretty up close on the far right. It’s the triple threat! (not really).

Above: When we were both lying there getting our focus set, I look over and Carlson is taking a picture of me, so I rolled over and flashed this devistatingly sexy pose. Sorry you had to see this. (Photo by Mike Carlson — his best photo of the day). 

Above: I stand behind my remote camera and do a number of test shots — everything’s working perfectly. Of course, we have to move way away from the pyro, so I back-up about 40 feet away so I can shoot a different angle of the player intros with my 70-200mm. Here’s the Defense taking the field as a unit — the individual Offense intros are next. This was actually shot with the remote camera. Not terrible. Not great. But the individuals is where it gets good!

Above: Here’s a shot from my shooting position on field, taken hand-held with my 70-200mm f/2.8 at 70mm. The guy in the red kneeling on the right side — that’s “Scary Stranger.” He probably thinks his remote is firing, too. 

Above: Here’s what the shots look when I zoom into 200% from the same position. In this case, I kinda like the other shot (zoomed out to 70mm) better, but this is kinda cool. But I’m not worried, that remote has me covered (snicker, snicker).

Above: Here’s Vincent Jackson leaping through the smoke and up in the air. Doesn’t look like much from the remote camera and the wheels look really huge!

Above: The same moment from my hand-held 70-200mm 40-feet away. Not great, but certainly better. 

Above: Well, at least the remote fired, right? Right? Right? (Man, those wheels ARE distracting). 

OK, here’s the problem with the remote
It did fire. Occasionally. Just like in Denver. You see the three shots in a series above? Well, I fired the remote 17 times and it only took those three photos. For the player intros, I fired around 196 shots total, but the remote only fired 28 times total. That’s around 166 times it DIDN’T fire. There are a number of players where it never fired, so I missed them altogether. It would fire maybe one or two frames, or not at all.

It wasn’t just me
Right before kickoff, I went over to Mike and told him my remote didn’t fire most of the time. He said he had the exact same problem (and this wasn’t the first time this has happened). We were both using PocketWizards (we checked — all three of us were on different wireless channels), but I was using the PocketWizard Plus X, and Mike was using the PocketWizard Plus IIIs and yet we’re both having firing issues.

Mike may have figured part of this out
I stood there and tested the remote (just like in Denver) and when I was close to it, it worked perfectly — fired every time, but when I walked to the shooting location 40 or so feet away on the field (like in Denver), it didn’t fire every time. Mike said the same exact thing — when he’s close to the camera — it works every time. When he walks away it stops firing consistently.

Don’t PocketWizards have like a 400 ft range? 
Nope. According to their Website, the Plus X’s range is actually 1,600 feet (500 meters). So, why aren’t they firing when you’re just 40 or 50 feet away? That’s exactly what I’d like to know. Could it be some sort of interference? Could be, but I have no idea from what. The three of us are firing the only remote cameras. There’s something seriously wrong here, and I’m not the only one having the problem, so if you’ve run into something like this and you’ve found a solution, please let me (and Mike) know ’cause this is really starting to get old. I don’t want to blame PocketWizard because they are the gold standard when it comes to stuff like this, but I’m stuck and very hesitant to rig any more remotes until I get this figured out, so any help, ideas, or advice would be really appreciated big time.

Above: Parting shot: So where does all the smoke go after the player intros? At Raymond James Stadium it gets sucked down the tunnel and back into the media and locker room area. I took this quick shot so you could see what it looks like as I headed back in to the photo work room to tear down my “it works sometimes” remote rig.

Ah well…maybe next season, as this was the Buc’s last home game of the season (and after all this time of shooting the Bucs, this was my first time setting up a remote camera at a Bucs game. Sigh). Thanks and a shootout to Mike Carlson for his help and advice — I hope to repay his kindness by solving this “we only fire sometimes” mystery. To be continued…

Monday
Dec
2013
16

A Christmas Gift I’ll Never Forget

by Scott Kelby  |  36 Comments

Above: It’s my original film SLR kit, including three filters and a cable release (yes kids, that steel cable is what we used to capture photos of dinosaurs, and those two small circles with gray caps were what film rolls came in). 

Each year we throw a Christmas Party at our house for our family and friends, and this past Saturday was this year’s get-together and one of my dear friends from my childhood days, John Couch, was able to come this year with his lovely wife Diane and his kids Will and Katie (they live hours away so we don’t get to see each other very often). It was really a treat to see John and his family (I was his Best Man at his wedding, and now not only does he have kids, they’re pretty much all grown, and just wow — how time flies).

At some point during the party, John calls me over and says he brought me a special Christmas present. He holds up a camera bag and asks, “Does this look familiar?” I looked at it, and it kinda did look familiar I guess, but I wasn’t sure. Then he says, “Your gift is what’s inside. It’s your original camera.” He opens the bag and sure enough — there is was — my first SLR film camera, a Minolta SR-T 101 body with my old Soligar 50mm lens and my 200mm Vivitar Telephoto lens. I was just astounded (and I had a smile as big as the moon)!

Above: Here’s a close-up of my mighty Minolta SR-T 101 (later supplanted by a Pentax SLR). Kind of ironic that these photos of SLRs were taken with my iPhone, rather than a DSLR. 

John said I had given it to him many years ago, back when we were roommates just out of high school, and he thought I might like to have it back to display on my desk at work or at home, and was he ever right (and man did that old gear bring back memories of my older brother Jeff and I traveling together and shooting and laughing and spending more money than we could afford on film and processing).

Above: Clearly there must have been a problem at the factory, because the LCD monitor is missing. ;-)

Anyway, I can’t tell you how tickled I am to have that old camera back again (it still has film in it. Now, if I could just find a place that actually develops film…). Anyway, I thought I’d share a few photos of my new “old” rig here with you. It certainly was a wonderful surprise and surely a Christmas Gift I’ll never forget. Thanks John, and Merry Christmas!

Friday
Dec
2013
13

One of this year’s best episodes of “The Grid” (and the start of my 12-days-of-Christmas giveaways)

by Scott Kelby  |  9 Comments

This week we had New York-based fashion photographer Lindsay Adler as our in-studio guest on our free weekly photography talk show “The Grid”, and I gotta tell you — she gave some of the most clear, concise, helpful, and just downright “on-the-money” advice for fashion photographesr I’ve ever heard.

People are absolutely raving about this episode and if you’ve got a few minutes, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn — she totally rocked it! (you can watch the free rebroadcast above — just click the Play button).

Also, I start the show with the story of my “Canadian Border Fiasco,” (and it’s some story), so I hope you get to check it all out.

My 12-days-of-Christmas Giveaways Start Today
For the past couple of years I’ve been doing giveaways over on my Facebook and G+ pages each day leading up to Christmas, and I’m kicking it off (in reverse) today by giving away 12-copies of my just refreshed book, “The Digital Photography Book, Part 2.” All you have to do is stop by my Facebook or Google+ page starting at 8:00 am ET, leave a comment and you’re entered to win (We just pick random names as winners) and it doesn’t matter where in the world you are — we’ll ship your prize direct to you.

Here’s the link to my Facebook page and my G+ page. Good luck everybody (and don’t forget to check back each day for that day’s contest (tomorrow I’ll be giving away 11-gifts, then 10 the next day, and so on until Christmas Day).

Happy Holidays everyone!

-Scott

P.S. I’ll be shooting the 49ers/Bucs game this weekend, and if I get any decent shots I’ll post them on FB and G+

Thursday
Dec
2013
12

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  36 Comments

The Business Side of Zack Arias: Becoming a Successful Commercial Photographer
KelbyTraining.com’s own Larry Becker is joined by Zack Arias, an editorial and commercial photographer based in Atlanta, for an honest and insightful discussion of Zack’s path to becoming a professional photographer. Zack offers candid and real-world wisdom on topics ranging from getting started to finding the right people to help your business grow, and from striving to achieve that mythical work/family balance to his thoughts on gear, post-production and file delivery. Zack’s ability to learn from his mistakes and harness his determination to succeed in a life behind the camera is an inspiration for anyone in the business of photography.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free rental of this class!

Kelby Training Live
Want to spend a day with Scott KelbyMatt Kloskowski, or RC Concepcion? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Feb 21 – Tampa, FL
Feb 24 – Atlanta, GA
Mar 12 – Phoenix, AZ
Mar 28 – Minneapolis, MN

Lightroom 5 Live with Matt Kloskowski
Dec 13 – Jacksonville, FL
Jan 23 – San Antonio, TX
Jan 31 – Covington, KY (Cincinnati Area)
Feb 5 – Richmond, VA

Photoshop for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Feb 19 – Lansing, MI
Feb 26 – Oklahoma City, OK
Mar 4 – New York, NY
Mar 26 – Arlington, TX

You can check out the full schedule for seminars through March! And don’t forget, if you register for a seminar at least 14 days in advance, you can save $10 by using the code KTL10 at the checkout. And leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

The Grid with Lindsay Adler
If you missed yesterday’s episode of The Grid, make sure you check it out as soon as it’s available today! Lindsay Adler joined Scott and Matt for an episode of blind critiques, and she rocked it! The focus of the critiques was on fashion, beauty, and portrait photography, and Lindsay gave some great feedback and tips for better posing, composition, and ideas for more interesting images. It’ll be up on YouTube and Kelby TV later today, so keep an eye out for it!

The 48 Shot Wedding with Mark Cleghorn
In this Manfrotto School of Xcellence webinar, Mark Cleghorn discusses his wedding photography, using a combination of images as well as 1 wedding to explain his 48 shot technique. Having been a wedding photographer for over 30 years but still loving everyone he shoots, Mark strives to add a bit of difference as well as a storytelling element to each wedding day. His 48 shot technique allows any photographer to cover a wedding in a realistic time period without the stress and time pressures. Mark also talks lighting, posing and album design.

It all happens this morning at 11am ET, so click right here to register!

Last Week’s Winners
Peter Hurley Class Rental
- Dave McDonnell

Kelby Training Live Ticket
- Martin Boling

If you’re one of the lucky winners, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
Dec
2013
11

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Alan Hess!

by Brad Moore  |  11 Comments


Photo by Drew Gurian

A big thanks to Scott and Brad for having me back here on Guest Blog Wednesday. In the past I have discussed workflow and why you should only show your best work. This time around I want to talk about something a little different, keeping yourself motivated.

I am writing this on Monday evening after a crazy week of shooting five different concerts in five nights with 17 different bands.

There was a lot of standing around and waiting.

There were some really odd restrictions.

There were some very crowded photo pits.

There were some really challenging lights.

And I loved every second of it.

I have one of the best jobs in the world.

The question I get asked a lot is “What is your favorite band to shoot?” or “What was your favorite shoot?” The answer might surprise you.

My favorite band to shoot is the next one. Doesn’t matter if they are a huge name like Jay Z or a up and comer with the opening 5:00pm slot on a multi-band holiday show like J. Roddy and Business. I approach each one as if it is the most important shoot ever, and for those three (or two) songs, it is.

Recently, I was reminded how I important it is to take each shoot, each day, each moment and make it the most important ever. It was all because of Andrew Youssef. Andrew was a Southern California based concert photographer. He wasn’t a friend, we didn’t know each other well. We were more like work acquaintances. We shared the photo pit on numerous occasions. We chatted in hallways of venues and swapped concert photography horror stories. Bad lighting, pushy photographers, good publicists. The stuff that we had in common at the time. Andrew was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in 2011. He lost that battle on November 30 at the age of 38.

The thing is, Andrew kept shooting. He kept going to shows and taking great photos even while battling cancer. It really put it into persecutive for me. I have had days where I didn’t want to go shoot some opening act. Where I knew the lighting would be tough and I would be pushing my camera into the 6400 ISO and higher zone. I didn’t want to go hunt for parking downtown only to stand around waiting to shoot some band I have never heard of. But I have never had to battle cancer.

Imagine loving your job so much that nothing could keep you from doing it?

Imagine loving your job so much that it actually made you physically feel better when you got to do it?

So, my favorite band to shoot? The next one, and the one after that. Every single time I walk into a photo pit, I feel rejuvenated, I feel alive. Each one of the 17 bands photographed this past week got the same level on intensity and focus from me. Each of the bands had me striving to capture the best possible images. Sometimes I have to stop, take a deep breath and look around. I’m one of the lucky ones, I’m doing what I love.

The reality is that no matter how much I love this, there re times when I need a little creative pep talk. Here are a few of the things that I try to keep me interested and motivated to getting the best shot.

1) Change focal lengths: I love the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. So when start to feel like I am just going through the motions, I switch up lenses to something wider like the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens or the 20-35mm f/2.8 lens. It’s uncomfortable, it can be frustrating, and it forces me to really look at the scene as it unfolds in front of me.

2) Change locations: There isn’t much space to work in photo pit and I usually start over on stage left. So when I am feeling complacent, it’s time to move over tot he middle or stage right.

3) Use the lighting: I have really started to try and use the stage lighting more in my images. Instead of just focusing on the performer, I start to look to see if I can incorporate the lights as an element in the image and not just as something illuminating the subject. This can mean dropping the shutter speed a little so you have to really time it right to get a sharp image.

4) Stop and watch: There are times when the lighting is so tough, that it is better to put the camera down and just take a few moments to watch what is going on. Look for lighting patterns or angles that might make a better shot.

5) Stay out of the pack: I really don’t want the same shot as everyone else in the photo pit. So I tend not to crowd right in the same areas as everyone else. I will try to get a different angle on the same scene by shooting from further rout to the sides. This works really well with bands that like to reach out to the crowd.

6) Turn around: This is something that I really need to do more often. Photos of the fans watching the show can be just as much fun as photos of the band.

The payoff is that if you treat each shoot as if it was the most important thing you could be doing, chances are your images will reflect that. I know mine do.

You can see more of Alan’s work and keep up with his blog at AlanHessPhotography.com, and follow him on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. You can also come check out his classes at Photoshop World Atlanta or on KelbyTraining.com, and pick up one of his many photography books or eBooks.

Tuesday
Dec
2013
10

Tuesday News Stuff (and a cool giveaway)

by Scott Kelby  |  5 Comments

Bucs/Bills
First, to kick things off here are a couple of shots from the Bucs/Bills game on Sunday (I’ll share some game action shots over on my Facebook/Twitter/G+ accts. The 49ers come to town this Sunday and that should be a really fun game to shoot, so I’m looking forward to that one for sure.

Thanks Toronto!
What a great city to wrap up this year’s tour! It was my last seminar of the year and the photographers in Toronto sure made it a memorable one. Great turnout (The seminar was sold out weeks in advance). I’m over at Henry’s Camera on Church St. in downtown Toronto today if you’re around and want to come by (it’s free!). I’ll be talking lighting and retouching.

Jeff’s giving away the farm!
My buddy, sports photographer Jeff Cable is doing it again, but this time he’s giving away nearly $3,000 worth of goodies (including some of my new books, and Lexar cards and readers, and an Epson printer, and on and on). To enter, just head over to Jeff’s Facebook page (here’s the link).

New Kelby Training iPad App is on the way!
We’ve submitted the updated, IOS7-compatible Kelby Training Online App to the App store, and as soon as Apple approves it (hopefully by the end of this week/first of next week), I’ll let you know. We’re working with an Android developer to create our first Android version of the App and I’ll let you know how that progresses (thus far, we haven’t had a whole lot of luck developing for the Android platform, but our fingers are crossed that this time we’ll have better luck).

OK, that’s it from the frozen tundra of Canada (OK, that might just be stretching it a bit, but it is super-brrrrrrr here — at least for this Florida guy). Hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday!

 

 

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