A few weeks back, I went ahead and bought the new Nikon D700, but I really wanted to spend some time with it, and shoot in a number of different situations and scenarios, before I gave you my review. Now that I have a few thousands shots on it, I’m ready to share what I’ve learned.

My Field Report
The D700 was announced on July 1st, and Nikon seeded a number of photo sites with an early review unit, so for more than a month now we’ve all had access to very detailed write-ups of every single pixel, technical aspect, and mechanical specification possible. So, when I do a review, I want to bring a slightly different angle to it, so it’s really more of a ‘Field Report’ (what I liked and didn’t like and my personal impressions from actually using it out in the field).

My challenge in writing this field report, is that while it’s true the D700 is a new camera, it’s really two existing cameras made into one (the guts of a Nikon D3 inside the body of a Nikon D300), so I’m not going to have a bunch of exciting new features to share that everybody doesn’t already know about, so it’s really going to be a “feel for the camera” type of report, and my feelings on who might want one and why. We’ll start with a quick recap of what the D700 brings to the table.

Comparing it to the D300:

  • It looks just like a D300, and if you didn’t look at the name on the front (or the camera strap), you’d probably never know, so cosmetically, they’re very much the same, except that the D700 is slightly taller because of the updated viewfinder, and the D700 has the new flash sync and remote caps. Also, on the back the viewfinder area looks more like the D3’s, as does the multi-control wheel.
  • Since it has the D3 chip inside, you get two things: the Full Frame FX format sensor, (more…)


First, just a quick word of thanks to Corey Barker for his incredibly creative blog post and bonus video yesterday. That video really turned a lot of people on (if you didn’t see it, scroll down to yesterday and check it out. It will get your creative juices flowing), and it got a lot of folks thinking about using Photoshop in new ways, which I think is cool. Now, onto the news:

  • One of my readers, Bill Mitchell, dropped me a very helpful article about the new Nikon SB-900 Flashes and the challenge of fitting them in Justin Clamps, and some other off-camera hot shoe mounts. Here’s what he wrote:

“I just purchased some SB900’s and after a couple days shooting I thought you might like to know this. The Nikon SB900 does not fit many cold shoes like the Justin Clamp or Crane cold shoe. It does fit the Really Right Stuff cold shoe perfectly. And of course it fits the camera hot shoes.

After looking at it and trying on several shoes I thought it was because the body of the flash was lower to the flash shoe and most of the shoes it would not fit were plastic and had a thicker top lip than is on a camera hot shoe or the RRS cold shoe. Others on the web seem to think the shoe is bigger. I don’t think so; or if it is, it doesn’t affect the fit in a Nikon hot shoe.

So I took a Crane cold shoe (from B&H) for Nikon flashes and sanded down the top. And now the SB900 fits the shoe. Same for the Justin Clamp shoe. I started with coarse sand paper then to medium then to very fine and it worked great. If you do it just keep the shoe level (I lay the sand paper on a flat surface and work with the shoe) and only do enough to get the shoe to fit. Too much and you will weaken a plastic shoe. Be sure to finish with the very fine so the flash will slide on easy.

While I can’t guarantee this is the only solution, it worked for me. I’m sure that Bogen and other companies will modify their cold shoes to work in the future. I have been working to get the word out about this because it’s a problem for lots of photographers.”

Thanks for your research, and for sharing this with us, Bill. It’s much appreciated!

  • Jeff Revell over at PhotoWalkPro.com did a really nice follow-up post to my tethered shooting follow-up post, where he showcases two new products for shooting tethered outdoors. Well, there goes another $110, cause now I’ve gotta get ’em both (please don’t tell my wife). Here’s the link.
  • Landscape Legend Stephen Johnson is offering NAPP members 10% off on his upcoming 3-day Zion National Park workshop, coming up the week before Photoshop World. Zion is breathtaking, Stephen is one of the best in the business, and this is an incredible opportunity to shoot and learn in one of the most beautiful places in the country. Here’s the link for more info, and/or to sign up.
  • If you’re going to Photoshop World; do yourself a favor—go and download Dave Cross’ free “Photoshop World Planner 2.0,” which is a very clever PDF that helps you choose which classes to attend on each day (Here’s the link). I used it last year to make sure I got to some classes myself, and it was absolutely invaluable. I highly recommend it for anyone coming to the show. And if you’re not coming—it’s not too late; here’s the link to Photoshop World.
  • Worldwide PhotoWalk Update: Although we’ve closed the submission of new cities (because the walk is just nine days away), in the last few days we have released four new cities, so take a look at the city list to see if your city was added). By the way; we have over 5,600 photographers signed up for walks. Whoo Hooo! :)
  • Here are the blogs that, if you haven’t been there in a few weeks, you definitely should drop by for a refresher:
    1. Joe McNally’s Blog (link)
    2. Digital Pro Talk (link)
    3. Moose Peterson’s Blog (link)
    4. John Paul Caponigro’s New Blog (link)
    5. Imaging Insider (link)
    6. Terry White’s Tech Blog (link)
    7. 1001 Noisy Cameras (link)
    8. The Pixelated Image (link)
    9. PhotoshopNews.com (link)
    10. The Online Photographer (link)
  • Also, I plan on doing a field report tomorrow on the Nikon D700 DSLR (I say I ‘plan’ on it, because I can’t swear that I’ll be able to get to it, but at least, it’s my plan).

Have a great Thursday everybody! See you tomorrow. :)


Greetings from Planet Photoshop! So first let me say it's a real privilege to be able to share some thoughts with you all today and as an added bonus, I have prepared a special video tutorial (found at the bottom) exclusively for this post. But before we get to that, I wanted to briefly touch on the subject of creative exploration.

I am often asked how I come up with some of the stuff I do in my tutorials. To put it simply, it's a lot of experimentation. When it comes to Photoshop, the only limitations seem to be that of the artist or photographer using it. One can spend a tremendous amount of time learning the textbook functions of Photoshop but to achieve something remarkable one must be willing to look beyond the obvious and strive to present something in a new or unusual way, or even create something no one has ever seen before.

So where do you start? I often engage in a little creative exercise I like to call creativity farming. What I like to do is spend an afternoon at the bookstore, pouring through most of the magazines on the newsstands and just feeding that visual data into my brain. When you are faced with a creative challenge your mind is at work flashing images through your thoughts of things, places, people, objects and making connections between them. Well, it cannot create these connections or ideas if your brain has nothing to refer to. Look at it this way. Just turning the oven on and waiting doesn't produce a cake. You have to get the ingredients together, mix them up, then let it cook for a while. It's not just magazines and books either. I have found inspiration in places like the web, restaurants, and even the movie theater. When you go to the movies. Don't just look at what's on the big screen. Look at all the movie posters and banners in the lobby. There's a host of good ideas everywhere. Now I am not suggesting you copy someone else's design altogether. You may just notice a small part that interests you, like the background or the text. It's just building one idea on top of another. You would be hard pressed to find any artist, designer, or photographer whose work isn't influenced by another, even if they aren't aware of it.

So how does this translate to working in Photoshop? This is where experimentation comes into play. To be honest, playing is probably a more accurate word. Playing with the tools is where I discovered a lot of interesting stuff. Have you ever been in a situation where you would ask: What if I did this? It's that attitude that you need to have when playing around in Photoshop. Sure, the Levels can adjust the contrast, but what if I move this slider way over here? You won't know until you try. Most of the time it's something pretty unexciting, but every now and again there is that ‘aha’ moment. Even if that discovery isn't necessarily what you are looking for at the moment. Save that file, brush, or layer style right then and you may use it later. Have you ever remembered something you once did but couldn't remember how you did it?

Which brings us to the bonus video tutorial. What I wanted to do was to show how I go about experimenting with Photoshop and how one idea can build on another and produce another idea altogether. By discovering one simple technique that can be explored in many different ways and produce so many different results, you will have a library of techniques at your disposal. When you see something that interests you, the mind will bring those components of technique and creative thought to harmonious fruition.

……the co-host of the popular Layers TV, daily blogger and the man behind one of the most popular Photoshop web-sites; “PlanetPhotoshop.com,” columnist for Photoshop User magazine, Photoshop World instructor, and the one they call “The Photoshop Lad,” it’s my buddy Corey Barker.

Corey is one of our industry’s most talented artists, trainers, and illustrators. He caught our attention after he won, or was one of the finalists, in every single Photoshop Guru Award category (along with winning The Vincent Versace Award for Excellence in Digital Photography), so it’s not surprising that we asked him to join our team full time, and he’s had a huge impact, and a rapidly growing fan base, ever since. Make sure you check in tomorrow to see what “The Laddy” has in store.


Here’s what’s up:

  • Back in March of this year I did a tutorial about shooting tethered directly into Lightroom during a bridal shoot (here’s the link), and since I was shooting Nikon gear, I showed how to do the set-up using Nikon’s Camera Control 2 software to link between my camera and Lightroom. Luckily, one of my readers, Terry Reinert did a tutorial follow-up that ties directly into my tutorial (picking up at Step Four) on how to shoot tethered for Canon users using the Canon EOS Utility, and he did a great job of it, too! Here’s the link (My thanks to Terry for adding this important info. Way to go!). :)
  • If you’re going to Photoshop World in Vegas next month, I hope you’ll stop by and catch one of the sessions I’m teaching. I’m doing three classes (one each day of the conference).
  1. On Thursday, Sept. 4th, I’m doing a class on Typography Essentials and Type Design, which combines two of my all-time most popular Photoshop World classes into one session, where the focus is mostly on designing with type for photographers and designers new to working with type.
  2. On Friday, Sept. 5th, I’m teaching a brand new class on Retouching Portraits.
  3. On Saturday, Sept. 6th, I’m doing the “Photoshop Seven-Point System” class that I debuted earlier this year in Orlando, and I had such great response from it, that I’m offering it in Vegas as well.

There are more than 70 sessions overall, and if you want to see the full class schedule, you can check it out right here. Hope to see you in one of my sessions!

  • NAPP member Tom Calderwood did a Star Trail photo, using time lapse photography, that came out really beautifully (you can see it right here in his NAPP online portfolio), but Tom took things up a step by showing how he did it, including putting together an online video of all the frames coming together, and if you’ve got a minute, it’s worth checking here (here’s that link).
  • Just an update; I’m getting a lot of questions from people who have pre-ordered my Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers, because Amazon.com shows the shipping date as January 2009. Not to worry—that’s just a glitch in the system of some sort; I’ve already finished writing the book, it’s already in production, and I’ll be signing copies at Photoshop World in Vegas in just a few weeks, so the January thing is, well…it’s wacked. So, if it doesn’t freak you out seeing a totally wrong shipping date, you can preorder it now at Amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble.com, or wherever fine Lightroom books are sold.

That’s it for this fine Tuesday. Have a good one! :)


Three workshops in one week is a lot for even me; I took that architectural shooting workshop last weekend, then I taught that sports shooting workshop on Tuesday for the Chicago Bears, and then this past weekend my buddy Terry White and I took a weekend workshop with well known Detroit-area photographer and instructor Mary DuPrie.

My buddy Dave Moser had given me one of Mary’s excellent DVDs last year for my birthday (it was a DVD for photographers on how to work with and pose models), so when Terry told me about her workshop, I was already very familiar with her work, and signed on right away (she only allows four photographers per workshop, which gives you lots of personal one-on-one instruction).

The workshop started with a Friday night “meet and greet” with Mary, her assistant Chris, Tammy the make-up artist, and the other photographers (Blake and David). Mary’s large natural-light studio is ideal for a workshop like this, and besides having just about every prop and background known to man (I told her it was like shooting in a Pier One store), she also had about every style of strobe, softbox, and accessory, too, so everything you’d want was just an arms-length away the whole weekend.

The next morning we got right to work. While the make-up artist was getting our professional model ready, Mary started the day with a session on how to work