Monday
Aug
2013
26

Shots From My First Football Shoot of the Season

by Scott Kelby  |  47 Comments

I’m really, really glad I had this preseason game to shake off the rust from the 7-month football shooting drought, because I was some kinda rusty. Whew!!! This was my first shoot of the season and my timing was still a bit off, especially at first, but by the 2nd half, I was starting to feel comfortable again.

It was the Falcons vs. the Titans, in Nashville, and I’m there shootin’ for the Falcons, with Michael Benford and Jimmy Cribbs (two of the best guys ever). It was my first time shooting a night game at LP Field (all my shoots up there have been day games), so it was fun shooting a night game there, especially with all this new gear (see my post from Friday).

Camera Settings
I shot the game with two Canon 1Dx bodies (one with a Canon 400mm f/2.8 lens on a Gitzo monopod, and the other with a 70-200mm f/2.8 for when they get inside the 20-yard line).

The lighting at LP field in Nashville was actually pretty darn good, so I was able to shoot at just 2,000 ISO all night while keeping my shutter speed at or above 1/1000 of a second. I shot wide open all night at f/2.8 on both bodies, and I pretty much used the settings I got from Peter Read Miller’s article (noted in my post on Friday), but with a tweak or two from Michael Benford, and one or two to suit how I’m used to shooting.

First Impressions
This was my first time shooting with the 1Dx, and I gotta tell ya — it is a camera absolutely born to shoot sports. I shot at 2,000 ISO all night and you don’t even see any noise (I did no noise reduction). Michael says the Falcon’s crew routinely shoots at 5,000 ISO and you just don’t see any noise, but after the way they had raved about it, I was expecting insanely low amounts of noise, and that’s what I got.

Better than the low noise…
…the auto-focus system on the 1Dx. It’s AF is insane! It’s so fast, and so precise that I know I’m picking up shots I would have missed otherwise. That’s the part that really surprised me. I need more time with it to really get the little nuances of setting it up for my style of shooting, but of everything on this camera, that was what impressed me most.

Everything about the 1Dx feels fast. I was shooting at 12-frames per second and I know that’s only 2-frames faster per second than what I’m used to shooting, but it felt like it was 10 frames faster.

One thing I thought was really intriguing about the 1Dx is that it’s obvious that a pro photographer’s workflow was part of the camera design. It’s infinitely customizable (much more than I would have thought), and it’s very easy to get to controls that are usually buried under menus. I learned a number of very clever little things along these lines (I could do a whole episode of “The Grid” just about this).

Another thing that surprised me was how fast you can scroll through your images on the LCD using the Quick Control dial on the back of the camera.You get spoiled really quickly (especially when you only have 24-seconds between plays to find and tag a photo). This is all stuff I’m sure you’ve heard before, since this isn’t a brand new camera, (it’s just new to me), but there was just a lot I hadn’t realized about using it.

The quality of the images
The images you see here are low resolution, 72 ppi screen res. The high res images that came out of the camera? Brilliant! Sharp. Crisp. Wonderful color. Plus, I love having 2-extra megapixels, because for football I can crop in just that much tighter.

OK, so what didn’t I like?
I thought the LCD screen on the top was a bit small and the type size is pretty small as well (yes, I’m getting old), and I’m used to a larger screen up there, so I would have loved to have seen a larger screen up top. The body itself feels pretty heavy (heavier than any DLSR body I’ve ever held), but at least that’s more than offset by a 400mm f/2.8 lens that is much lighter than previous models (and that made a big difference on the field).

These next two things are both things where there may be an option to change their functionality, so if any Canon shooters out there know a way around these two, let me know: (1) To move the focus point, you have to hold a button on the back of the camera, then move the point with the tiny Multi-controller joystick thingy. I just want to be able to move the point without having to press and hold a button first. Also (2) I accidentally lowered the Exposure Compensation amount during the game and didn’t realize it for a while. So, in this case I actually want to have to push a button. That way, I don’t accidentally rotate the big dial and change my exposure. [UPDATE: As I suspected, some readers posted ways where I can move the focus point without pressing the button, and how to keep the Quick Control dial from changing Exp comp. Will try out both on Thursday --- thanks for the tips gang!].

I know, I know, these are really nit-picky little things, but if it affects how you shoot, I think it’s important.

So What’s next?
I’ll get another chance to try this whole Canon rig again on Thursday night when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Washington Redskins (I’m covering Bucs home games for Zuma Press again this year). I’ll probably have to crank the ISO a bit (especially when I put a 1.4-teleconverter on it, effectively making the 400mm a 560mm f/4 lens), and I’m anxious to see how that goes. Also, by then I’ll be more familiar with the camera controls; I can tweak and customize more of the settings (I learned some stuff from Michael Benford during the game), and I can work on my timing to get ready for the regular season.

Thanks to the Falcons Crew!
My humble thanks to the awesome Jimmy Cribbs and Michael Benford for the opportunity to shoot with you guys. It is always so much fun!

Also, a shout out to my buddy Donn Jones (Titans team photographer and a guy who is now officially older than me), and the great guys with the Titans crew (including George [who took the photo of me above] and  Al, the king of the grill), for their hospitality and for inviting me once again to their “lame @s$ tail-gate party” after the game. It was epically lame. ;-)

I’m off to San Jose
My seminar tomorrow is sold out in advance (whoo hoo — almost 600 photographers), but if you’re going to be there, make sure you come up and say howdy. My next tour stop is September 13th in Miami, so get your ticket before it’s sold out!. Have a great Monday everybody.

 

 

Friday
Aug
2013
23

My Loadout For Tomorrow’s Falcons/Titans NFL Game

by Scott Kelby  |  86 Comments

Finally! The wait is over — Football is back, baby!!!! (Whoo Hoo!!) :-)

Tomorrow’s my first shoot of the season (well, the preseason), and I’m off to Nashville to shoot for the Atlanta Falcons in their pre-season game against the Tennessee Titans, and I am trying out a completely new camera set-up (Take a look at my load-out of the game below).

So, last season when I was shooting for the Falcons up in Atlanta, my buddies Michael Benford and Matt Lange (from the Falcons crew) both were shooting the new Canon EOS 1DX, and they kept running over and showing me some shots during breaks in the game because the noise was just so incredibly low (we all have to shoot at around 4,000 or 5,000 ISO in the Dome at night). I’m used to shooting with a camera that does great at high ISO situations, but what I was seeing was still pretty freakin’ amazing, so when a friend at Canon asked if I wanted to try out some of their gear this season, I was all over it (especially since this first game is a night game, so I’d really get to check out the high ISO performance of the 1DX).

Inside My Bag
I’m using pretty much the same lens configuration I was using with my Nikon gear, and I had the option of going wide with my 2nd body lens, but I decided to go back to a 70-200mm f/2.8 for the shots inside the 20-yard-line. I didn’t bring a fisheye, but I might just throw a 16-35mm in there at the last minute for some pre-game and post-game shots.

Above: Here’s a closeup of the EOS-1DX body sitting on top of the my bag (photo by Brad Moore) — one of two I’ll be using tomorrow night (ya gotta have two bodies for football — there’s no time to change lenses during a play).

Setting It Up For Football
I’ve been playing with the 1DX at home at night, just getting used to the feel of it and setting it up for football, and I found an article from sports photography legend Peter Read Miller on his own settings for shooting sports with the 1DX, and if they’re good enough for Peter….well….needless to say, those are the settings I’m using! :-)

A full report on Monday
Check back here on Monday and I’ll have a full report, and lots of photos. Hope you all have an awesome weekend (did I mention football is back?), and GO FALCONS!

-Scott

P.S. I’ll be in San Jose, California teaching my “Shoot like a Pro” tour on Tuesday. If you’re coming out to the seminar, and you read this blog, make sure you come up and say hi. See you there!

Thursday
Aug
2013
22

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  45 Comments

Photoshop World Vegas
What can I say that hasn’t already been said recently that could help you decide to come to Photoshop World Vegas? It’s an amazing conference with amazing instructors, amazing events, and amazing people all around. Just listen to the people in the video above. If you haven’t already booked a flight, you can get some info on travel right here. And if discount airline Allegiant Air flies out of an airport near you, there’s a chance you can get a cheap, direct flight to Vegas!

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to Photoshop World!

The Art Of Digital Photography with Dave Black
Join Mia McCormick for an inspirational conversation with Dave Black, a world renowned sports photographer with over 30 years of experience. Over the course of an hour Dave and Mia discuss topics that range from getting started in photography to overcoming challenges, from the importance of thinking differently to how to develop your own unique style, and so much more!

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

Kelby Training Live
Want to spend a day with Scott Kelby or Joe McNally? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Aug 27 – San Jose, CA
Sep 13 – Miami Beach, FL
Sep 18 – Livonia, MI (Detroit area)
Sep 20 – Arlington, TX (Dallas/Ft. Worth area)

One Light, Two Light with Joe McNally
Sep 10 – St. Louis, MO
Sep 12 – Kansas City, MO

Lots more dates have been added for the rest of the year, so head over to the Kelby Training Live site to get the full schedule! And leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Peter Read Miller Sports Photography Workshop
The Peter Read Miller Sports Photography Workshop returns to Atlanta, GA for the second year. Class will start Monday afternoon October 28 and end on Sunday morning November 3, 2013. If you want to learn from sports photography from the best of the best, this is where you can do it! Join Peter as he teaches you how to photograph football, baseball, volleyball, swimming, and more. You can download a PDF with all of the workshop info right here (right-click and Save Link As if it doesn’t download automatically) and sign up for the workshop right here.

Vincent Versace Workshops in India
Join Vincent Versace next month for some unique workshop opportunities in Banaras (Varanasi), Kolkata, and Mumbai India! Working in conjunction with the Indian talent sharing website Tumbhi, you can choose to do just one or all three! These workshops will involve intense learning, hands on sessions and lots of fun with Vincent and guest instructor Mickey Strand.

You can get more info on these workshops right here, and leave a comment to win a free rental of one of Vincent’s KelbyTraining.com classes!

Winners
Photoshop World Ticket
- Adam Bucci

Zack Arias $5K Challenge Rental
- Patrick Farrington

Kelby Training Live Ticket
- Christopher Arnold

Olloclip
- Tricia Kennedy

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

Wednesday
Aug
2013
21

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Bruce Dorn!

by Brad Moore  |  10 Comments

Wow, what a great honor to be this week’s Guest Blogger – thanks Scott!

Folks who know me personally know that I’ve never met a soapbox that I didn’t love so I’ll try to keep today’s musing short and succinct.  I’ll have a chance to pontificate at length at this year’s Photoshop World and encourage all attendees to try to catch both of my information packed seminars.

On Thursday, September 5th I’ll be presenting The Ten Commandments of Cinematic Lighting.  Although trying to distill thirty years of hard-won Hollywood and high fashion lighting experience down to an hour’s worth of easily digestible tips is an almost impossible task, I’ve taken my best shot at it.  This isn’t a class for hardware fetishists but rather a philosophical primer on the emotional and practical application of any artificial light source, be it large, small, classic, current, or yet to be revealed.  That said, please don’t mistake this class’s admittedly philosophical bent as code for “More Useless Mumbo-Jumbo” for that would be a huge mistake – attentive attendees will learn from many carefully created examples and take away ten concise and useful tips to consider when creating a dramatic lighting design for either cinema or stills.

And these tips are not a simple distillation of my own extensive experience but rather a finely crafted brew of knowledge gleaned from years of working with The Best of The Best in both the still and motion image-making arenas.

Yep, over the course of my career I have had the honor of not only producing wonderful imagery but also the great pleasure of assigning the creation of such work.  As a young man, working as an Art Director for Conde Nast Publishing’s Mademoiselle Magazine, I routinely assigned juicy editorial assignments to some of the worlds’ best fashion photographers.  Can you imagine how much I learned by offering creative challenges and then stepping back to quietly but intently observe each individual artist’s approach?  It was an amazing time and I gleaned a lot of fresh knowledge with each new experience.

Ditto on the Cinematic side of the street.  As time passed, and my interests changed, I segued from the Rag Trade into the more creatively-broad arena of Advertising.  I continued to do a bit of Graphic Design and Art Direction – and a lot of Still Photography – but ultimately found my True Love in The Art of Cinematography.

I must be the luckiest guy alive because one thing led to another and I soon found myself working in Hollywood!   After induction into the Directors Guild of America, I became a Creative Director at the world’s biggest motion picture special effects house (Robert Able & Associates) where I spent many years busily designing, producing, and directing major television advertising campaigns.  Big budgets and lots of creative freedom added up to what could only be described as truly awesome times.  And, as a Producer and Director, I was once again blessed with the great pleasure of assigning plum jobs to other creative souls – this time to the guys and gals who I think occupy the highest rungs of the lens-based visual arts, the Cinematographers or, as they are also known, the Directors of Photography.  Sweet!

Which finally brings me to my second seminar offering at the upcoming Photoshop World conference, Introduction to HD Storytelling, on Friday September 6th from 1:00-2:00pm.  This seminar will focus on the exploitation of contemporary hybrid tools for a personal exploration of motion picture storytelling.

Here’s how I see it: I think every person has an interesting and compelling story in them – maybe more than one.  These stories may big and far-reaching or small and private but at their heart every well-told story is based on effective structure and basic technique.  If you own a hybrid camera – one that offers both Still and HD capture – and a computer with an editing program, well heck, you’re halfway to your three-picture studio deal with Paramount!   That’s how it went for Writer/Director/Producer Robert Rodriguez when he created and shared his first short film “El Mariachi”!!

Okay, so you’re not really halfway to Hollywood just because you own some gear but you do have a solid foundation on which to build your own personal exploration of motion picture storytelling. And I’m excited to help you along the way with an inspiring hour of entertaining examples and solid advice to get the ball rolling. My personal career with the motion picture camera has taken me to the most exciting places on the planet where I see and capture the most beautiful things. In this seminar I’ll also share how that came to be and offer solid advice on how to start your own cinematic show reel.

My advice? Invest two hours hanging out with me, Brucie -The Second Most Interesting Man Alive!  Fail to do so and you’ll miss out on good solid advice, inspirational imagery, and a well-marked road map to Big Fun ;)

Wait a minute – just two hours?!? I could do days on these topics! Quick, someone tell Scott to get me on the video tutorial program around here!

You can see more of Bruce’s work at BruceDorn.com and iDCPhotoVideo.com, and follow him on Twitter.

Tuesday
Aug
2013
20

90-Second Review: PNY’s Thinksafe Lock for an Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display

by Scott Kelby  |  7 Comments

Above: The rear view, with the included combination lock attached to the PNY hinge-link. 

A few weeks back I reviewed MacLock’s “MacBook Pro Security Bracket” for securing your laptop from theft when unattended (here’s the link). When I posted that review, a few of the commenters pointed me to PNY’s new “ThinkSafe” lock for the MacBook Pro Retina display model, so I immediately ordered it to do a comparison (and here we go!).

How it works
Basically, this works by having you slide a hard, thin piece of metal between the hinge in your laptop’s lid so it sticks out of the back of your MacBook Pro (scroll way down to see a close up of it). There’s a small hole in the end (the part that sticks out) and the lock hooks right through it (and you wrap the lock around something that won’t move, like a chair leg, or table leg) and that’s it — the two become one.

Above: Here’s the little hinge lock from the keyboard view. You only see that little metal plate, but that plate doesn’t sit flush — it kinda slides around loose unless its locked down. 

PROS:
It has a combination lock, which I much prefer over a key lock (if you lose the key, you’re hosed — your MacBook isn’t leaving when you leave, and that freaks me out). Plus, you can register your four-digit code with PNY in case you ever forget it.

The price: it’s only $20 including the combination lock. That’s a third of the price of the MacLocks solution, at around $60.

It comes with a carrying pouch that keeps it all together nicely for travel.

It also supports the MacBook Air & MacBook Pros with the built-in lock hole

It can’t easily be defeated by someone with a small screwdriver.

CONS:
This really isn’t something you would leave attached to your MacBook Pro all the time. You really need to attach it when you need to lock it, and remove the whole thing when you don’t, because the way it sticks out of the back of your MacBook Pro, makes it tough to fit comfortably in a laptop bag. It also looks kind of awkward when not in use.

The potential for scratching everything from a desk, to your MacBook itself is pretty high. It’s a piece of metal hanging out from the back of your computer. As long as you just use it when you need to secure it, it’s probably OK, but if you left it on all the time, something’s gonna get scratched.

You can’t change the four-digit lock code. They give you a pre-programmed code when you buy the lock, so you have to memorize it, because you can’t change it. That’s surprising.

The instruction manual is really poorly designed. It looks very easy at first glance, but it’s confusing as anything for such a simple device. There are not quite enough visuals and not nearly enough text to describe some aspects. It took three of us to figure it out. Having six languages on the page didn’t help the matter either.

The clip that slides into your MacBook’s hinge just sits there kind of loose (not flat and tight), so when it’s not locked down, it slides around, clanks and giggles a bit, and generally is somewhat annoying, kinda like having a large paper clip sliding around between the hinge in the lid of your laptop. It’s not quite that bad, but close. This kinda surprised me as I figured it would be a snug fit.

Above: Here’s a close-up of how the lock attaches to the metal hinge-link that sticks out of the back of your MacBook Pro. There’s a hole in the metal plate, and the lock hooks into it. 

Bottomline
Both of these will do the job of keeping your MacBook Pro from getting swiped unless you come across a determined thief with both time and the right tools. In the end, I see the MacLocks solution as one I can leave on MacBook Pro all the time and only use it when I need it by just taking out my lock. The PNY is one I would need to install each time I want to use it. It’s a quick install (once you know how to do it), but still, you have to take it on/off each time, so it is a different beast.

If I had to choose between the PNY and the MacLock’s solution, I’d spend the extra $40 and go with the MacLocks, because I think it’s an easier-to-live-with solution for everyday use. If you only lock your MacBook on rare occasions, then just spend the $20 on the PNY — it’ll do the job.

Overall Rating
If I actually had a five-star rating-system, with 5 being best, I would give it 4 stars, knocking off a star for the clunkiness of the clip; the fact that you have to take it on/off for the most part, and for the really bad manual.

PNY ThinkSafe Portable MacBook Locking System
Price:
 $20
Works on: Apple MacBook Pros, MacBook Pro with Retina Display, MacBook Air
Available from: Amazon.com

Monday
Aug
2013
19

Want a New Feature Added to Photoshop? Now’s Your Chance!

by Scott Kelby  |  26 Comments

Imagine being able to talk directly to Adobe’s own Photoshop engineers, and you get to tell them about your feature idea, or an addition to an existing feature, or some little fix or tweak that would make using Photoshop even better for you, and they turn around and try to apply the fix to the code to add your feature to Photoshop right there! The fixes will ship with a future version of Photoshop.

Well, it’s happening in two weeks at Adobe’s ‘Codeathon’ — held at the Photoshop World Conference in Vegas next month.

So, if you’re like me and you’ve got some ideas — one’s where you think “Hey, I wish they’d add a checkbox for this….” or “If they would just add a button that did that…” ….well, your dream may just come true right in front of your eye, while you wait! :)

If you can’t make it to Vegas in two weeks (there’s still time if you want to go), I’d still to love to hear your ideas here for new Photoshop features, tweaks, fixes, add-ons, and enhancements, and I’ll make sure they get delivered directly to Adobe’s Photoshop team for you. :)

Cheers everybody and having a great Monday!

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