An Easier Path to HDR Photos

by Scott Kelby  |  7 Comments


Just a few weeks ago, when I was doing my GAPW photo workshop out in Montana, Barney Streit (one of my students in the workshop—-a really great guy and accomplished photographer, who I’d met at a previous workshop), turned me on to an HDR program he uses that just might make an HDR believer out of me after all. The program is called Photomatix Pro, (available for Mac and Windows) and it makes the process of combining multiple exposures into a single HDR image much more simple and straightforward.

In the example shown above (photos by Barney Streit); the top photo is the regular correct exposure for the building, which was shot in flat overcast mid-day light. The bottom photo is the HDR image which displays a much broader dynamic range. That image was processed in Photomatix Pro, from nine separate photos (all shot on a tripod), each with a different exposure (bracketed in the camera) to capture the full range from the darkest possible shadows to the brightest highlights.

You can download a trial version from the Photomatix Pro Web site (click here), and here’s a link to Barney’s NAPP online portfolio, where you can see more of his HDR work. My thanks for Barney for the use of his images, and for turning me on to this very cool program.


The LowePro Pro Mag 2 AW Camera Bag Gets a “Scott Thinks It’s Hot” Award

by Scott Kelby  |  3 Comments


For about the past two years, I have been in search of the perfect camera bag. It’s been a frustrating two years during which I’ve bought about every make and model out there. Generally, they’ve been either too big and bulky or if they’re smaller, they’re not big enough to hold what I need (which for me, is basically one body, and three lens [including a full-sized 70m-200m f/2.8], and an Epson P-5000, a battery charger, a cleaning kit, a Hoodman Loupe, a Cable Release, a closeup filter, and a flash).

A couple of months ago I was up at B&H Photo in New York, and I wound up, once again, in their giant camera bag dept. and I saw this bag (The LowePro Pro Mag 2 AW) and thought, “Well, here we go again,” and so I bought it, brought it home, and at first (like with most of my other bags), I was pretty happy with it. But it was on my recent workshop in Montana that I fell deeply and madly in love with it.

It has the perfect size/weight/usability ratio that I’ve been looking for. It holds all my gear perfectly, and although I bought a modular lens case that attaches to the outside to hold one extra lens, I’ve yet to have to use it. It’s lightweight, but extremely rugged. It fits in the overhead bins of even smaller regional jets, and it has lots of room for all kinds of little accessories, with lots of little pockets, compartments, and well…I just love it, and that’s why I’m giving it my “Scott Thinks It’s Hot” award!

I still have my LowePro ProRoller 1 (for when I need to bring the kitchen sink, with two bodies, three flashes, and every accessory known to man), but I find myself going out of my way to use the Pro Mag 2 AV every chance I get. B&H Photo has it for $139.95 (here’s the link), and it would make a great holiday gift for the photography freak in your life.

P.S. My buddy Dave Moser bought the same bag, that same day, and he feels the same way. This is THE bag!!! :)


Thursday News Quickies

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

Happy Thursday everybody. Here’s what goin’ on:

  • RadarOnline has a story on how a recent cover of Star magazine featuring Jennifer Aniston was “digitally enhanced” to make it looks like she was carrying a manuscript for a tell-all book, when the unretouched photo shows it was clearly a catalog. They have large before/after photos, and it’s just interesting to take a quick look (here’s the link). Ethics in journalism aside; it was refreshing to see a celebrity retouch that wasn’t trying to make her looking younger/thinner/better, etc.
  • I saw our buddy and landscape legend Stephen Johnson featured in a full page ad for Canon’s new EOS 1Ds Mark III on the inside back cover of September’s PDN. Go on ya, Steve. :)
  • You’ve gotta check out the site of photography/retouching firm “Royal Post Club” based in Hamburg, Germany, for two reasons: (1) their work is just stunning, but also (2) the layout of their Website is just so darn clever. Trust me—you’ll get a kick out of it. Click here to go there.
  • Corey “The Photoshop Lad” Barker and “RC” just posted their latest episode of Layers TV (the how-to video show for everything Adobe), and their new show just keeps getting better and better. Here’s the link so you can watch it online. Also, if you haven’t seen this week’s episode of Photoshop User TV, it’s worth watching it just to see how non hip-hop Deke McClelland (our guest guru) can be. We just cracked up.
  • Just a quick reminder; we’re bringing my Lightroom Live Tour to Tampa, FL on Tuesday, Oct. 30th, and then I’m up in NYC for the Photoshop CS3 Power Tour on Tuesday, Nov. 6th at the Javits Center. Hope to see you there.
  • Jeff Revell’s photography blog is starting to get a lot of buzz as of late, and this week he’s got an interesting rant (his words; not mine) on Epson’s choice of paper sizes, that’s worth a quick read by clicking here. Also, just drop by for the inspiration, ’cause he’s got some great stuff up there. (While you’re there, be sure to read his post about HDR software).

Have a fantastic Thursday every body!


Epson’s New Exhibition Fiber Paper is “The Real Deal”

by Scott Kelby  |  6 Comments


On Monday, Epson announced their Signature Worthy Exhibition Fiber paper, and last week before their announcement, Epson sent me some printed samples, and a stack of sheets that I could test for myself. I have to tell you—this new paper is absolutely ‘the real deal.’

The black and white reproduction on this paper is just off the charts for anything I’ve seen coming out of an inkjet, and I’m now spoiled to the point that I’m not sure I’ll be able to print on anything else. I really think the texture, look and feel of this new fiber-based paper is going to finally win over that last bastion of the photographer who was clinging on to the notion that lab prints were still king. This is that big a deal.

Also, I found this interesting; while this new Exhibition Fiber paper is now clearly THE paper for black and white, I was stunned by the quality and richness of the color reproduction as well. This paper is just sick!!! (in a really, really good way).

Here’s a link to Epson’s Pro Imaging site, and here’s Epson’s press release on this new paper, and while you should definitely read it to catch all the technical blah-blah that I skipped, you’re going to have to see it and feel it for yourself to fall in love with it (and believe me, you will).


Pixel Genius announces color profiles for new Epson paper

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

The boys over at PixelGenius LLC are set to release a host of free custom paper profiles for Epson’s just announced Signature Worthy Exhibition Fiber Paper (the paper I talked about in the previous post), and you’ll be able to download them direct from Epson’s new Pro Imaging Site starting on October 15th. Here’s the link to the profiles download page from Pixel Genius.

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