Tuesday
Aug
2007
21

New Lightroom Training DVD From Matt

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

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My buddy Matt Kloskowski just released a kick-butt training DVD on Lightroom, called “Photoshop Lightroom Basic Training” (Matt is the guy behind the incredibly popular “Lightroom Killer Tips” weekly video podcast.). This 2-hour DVD takes you from start to finish, in workflow order, and teaches you how to get up and running in Lightroom fast. Highly recommended for anyone who’s ready to make the jump to Lightroom. Click here for the full scoop, or to order your copy.

Monday
Aug
2007
20

Canon 5D Field Report (followed by the news)

by Scott Kelby  |  4 Comments

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As promised, here’s the first installment of my field reports on the gear I took out West last week, and I’m starting with the Canon 5D, which was my primary camera body for the entire trip. (The shot above is from Monument Valley at sunrise–click for a larger view).

As a longtime Nikon shooter, this was my first time out with one of Canon’s higher end digital rigs and Canon L glass, and although it was a bit awkward at first (just figuring out where all the dials and buttons I use most are located on a Canon body), by the second day I was totally comfortable and the transition was easier than I thought.

My field reports are based on my personal impressions (and not loads of lab testing), so I’m going to boil these field tests down to what I liked and didn’t like, so here goes:

What I liked best:

  • The low noise. As a general rule, I don’t shoot at 800 ISO or above unless it is an absolute emergency (and I cringe if I shoot at 400 ISO), but in both of my last shoots with the 5D I’ve shot at 1600 ISO and higher numerous times (even some when I was intending to) and the noise levels are shockingly low. This pretty much blew me away.
  • I fell in love with the scroll wheel on the back of the body. It makes image review so much easier and faster. It’s a little thing, but at this point, they’re all little things (well, except the low noise).
  • The weight: I was really surprised by the light weight of the 5D, and the 70mm-200mm lens. It seemed like half the weight of my regular rig, but not at all cheap or too lightweight.
  • I liked the full frame more than I thought I would, but then again I was shooting landscapes, and that let me really take advantage of the 16mm wide angle lens (which I love).
  • The Canon IS (Image Stabilization) is just outstanding. Better than anything I’ve used on any brand. Period.
  • I like the 9-point AF system quite a bit, and the overall picture quality rocks.

What I didn’t like:

  • The thing that drove me particularly crazy was the fact that you can’t get full-screen Highlight (clipping) warnings. In fact, worse than that, to get them at all, you have to first take the shot, then push a button to switch to the postage-stamp sized view of your shot, and its so small that if something is blinking it’s just about impossible to tell if it’s an area of important detail or not. This drove me nuts. Now, I heard someone say that the new Mark III has full screen clipping warnings, but I haven’t confirmed that (if anyone knows for sure—let me know).
  • The other thing that threw me was the sound and feel of the shutter button. Longtime Canon users look at me like I’m crazy when I mention this, but it just feels kind of “Digital.” It doesn’t feel “real” and even though there’s no shutter lag, it feels like it doesn’t matter whether you’re shooting at 1/60 of a second or 1/8000, the shutter sounds the same. This could just be me, because after a day or so it didn’t bother me as much, but it definitely takes some getting used to.

Other than those two things; I have to say I’m very impressed with the 5D and I’m starting to see what all the fuss is about. I haven’t had a chance to do any serious portrait or studio work, and I’ll be interested to see how it performs there, especially how it captures skintone. I’ll continue my landscape field testing going into Photoshop World next month, where I’ll be shooting out in the desert once again (it’s a great way to lose weight).

More field tests this week, including the new Sigma 300mm zoom, the Really Right Stuff BH-40 Ballhead, the Gizto traveler tripod, and more.

Now, scoll down to the next post for a fresh cup of Monday news (that’s called spin, by the way).

Monday
Aug
2007
20

It’s a Monday News Thing

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

It’s a new week—the dawn of new day–bright with opportunity and excitement. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and….ah, who am I trying to kid? Here’s the stinkin’ Monday news:

  • Back in June, Dave Moser and I were out at Adobe’s Headquarters in San Jose, CA for some meetings, and walking back to HQ after dinner we noticed these large symbols being projected on top of Adobe’s North Tower building, and every so often one of the four symbols would change (We joked that it was code to let the alien craft know where to land). Anyway, we figured it was “art” (a “California thing”), and kept walking, but then this weekend I ran across a story about some very clever, and curious guys (with way too much time on their hands), who cracked the code and revealed what the symbols mean. It’s a very interesting story. (Hint: the message says really mean things about QuarkXPress. Kidding!) Here’s the link to read the full story (worth a quick read).
  • Series Four of the machine Wash plug-ins for Photoshop have been released. These plug-ins make your art or type look like they’ve been thru the rinse cycle, with a totally cool aged and weathered look. You can see demos right there online (click here to check them out).
  • Freakish coinsidence or carefully calculated plan? On the same day that I did my first ever report on Canon gear, Canon released a batch of new gear, including the rumored 40D, and their first 20+ Megapixel camera (plus some cool lenses as well). Check DPReview.com for all the juicy details. (by the way; it was a freakish coinsidence).
  • If you’re out on the West Coast, check this out: We’re opening the Photoshop World Expo Floor to the public for one day only (Friday, September 7th). If you’re interested in seeing all the latest gear from the biggest names in the industry, plus you want to soak up loads of free Photoshop training in three different Expo Floor theaters, not to mention the training in individual booths, then sign up for your free pass now. If you sign up in advance, it’s free. If you show up at the door, it’s $25 per person. To get your free one-day Expo-Only pass, visit the Photoshop World site.
  • We’ve added links to the past archives of “Photoshop Insider,” and they’re found on the right side of this page—just scroll down and you’ll see them listed by month. Anything prior to what’s listed is on my old blog hosted over at Blogger.com (here’s the link to the old site).
  • The first ever “Voices That Matter Web Conference” is coming to San Francisco’s Grand Hyatt on October 22-25, 2007 and is aimed at people who design and create for the Web. It features an all-star lineup of leading Web design authors and gurus (including Cory Barker, the “Photoshop Lad”), and you can get all the details by clicking here.

That’s it for Monday. Have a great week everybody! :-)

Friday
Aug
2007
17

Scott’s Photography School of Hard Knocks

by Scott Kelby  |  7 Comments

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Here’s a shot [click on it for a larger view] taken shortly after dawn at Utah’s Monument Valley (which is just an amazing place—almost surreal). I’m using this shot as a perfect example of me not following my own rules, and paying for it later. Here’s what happened:

The night before this was shot, Jeff (scroll down two posts), Dave and I went to this cool little steakhouse about 40 miles from Monument Valley, where they cook the steaks outdoors on a “Swinging Grill” (it literally swings back and forth over a huge open flame to grill your steaks). It was a quirky place, with a live country band playing outdoors, and everybody there had a camera, so we were all taking shots of the band, the grill, and the scene. It was a low light situation, so I had to show off to my Nikon-shooting buddies by changing the ISO on my Canon 5D to ISO 1600 and hand-holding for a half-an-hour of shooting while waiting for our table.

The next morning, at 4:00 am as we’re driving toward Monument Valley, I told the guys, “Hey, don’t forget to change back your camera settings from last night’s low light shooting.” Then I told them about an Acronym I use to help remind me to check my most critical settings. It’s WHIMS, which stands for:

  • W: White Balance
  • H: Hightlight clipping warning
  • I: ISO
  • M: Mode (JPEG or RAW)
  • S: Shooting (Resetting to the right shooting mode for the subject: Aperture Priorty, Shutter Priority, Manual, etc.)

If I remember to check those five things, I’m set, and I reminded them twice during our drive there. Then, when I got to spot where we’d be shooting, it was so beautiful, and I was so excited, I just jumped out and starting shooting. At ISO 1600, at f/4 (the camera settings I used the night before). It wasn’t until about an hour later, after sunrise, that I actually checked my settings and learned that I had been shooting all morning at ISO 1600. My heart sank.

To Canon’s credit—the noise is amazingly low (in fact, I was shocked at how little noise there is), but obviously I would have preferred that it was at ISO 100 (which is the ISO I try to shoot in as much as possible, and since I was shooting on a tripod, ISO 100 would have been ideal).

So, although this is an embarrassing story for me personally, I hope you’ll use it (and my Acronym if it helps), to keep you from making the same mistake I did.

To wrap up: the shot was taken with a Canon 5D, using a 70mm – 200mm lens with Image Stabilization) in Aperture Priority (at least I got that part right), and because of the ISO of 1600, it was shot at 1/8000 of a second. The processing was minimal: In Lightroom I simply increased the Shadow amount (dragging the Shadow slider to the right), and increased the Clarity amount. Then I went over to Photoshop and darked the clouds at the top of the photo a little bit, and ran a Unsharp Mask filter, then saved as a JPEG for the Web.

I had hoped to post some field reports today on some of the equipment I used, but I won’t get one up until Monday. Now, if you kindly scroll to the next comment, for a Friday News Wrap up.

Friday
Aug
2007
17

Friday News Wrap-up

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

Here’s what’s going on:

  • Want to give you photos that Trendy Hollywood Look? Check out a video tutorial I did for Lexar over at their Pro Digital Photographers Website (click here). So far, they’ve posted “Part One” of the two-part series, and I’ll let you know when they post the second part. Also, check out all the Lexar pros by clicking here.
  • There’s an interesting article over at The Sun (a British-based newspaper) about a retouch of a cover shot of actress Keira Knightley, and her comments about the retouch (where she’s nude, but mostly covered by props). The photo is really pretty mild, and there’s some mildly colorful language on the page as well (just so you know). Here’s the link.
  • Our friend, and wedding photography overlord, David Ziser has launched a new blog for pro wedding and portrait photographers called “Digital Pro Talk” and I have to tell you—it rocks!!! David just came back from a trip to France, and although he primarily known as a master wedding photographer, his landscape and travel stuff is so great it really just makes you want to punch him out. ;-) Here’s the link to what I’m certain will be a must-see daily visit for me.
  • Our man Corey Barker just released a new DVD called “Adobe Illustrator CS3 Down & Dirty Tricks” and it’s just amazing (he’s as good at Illustrator as he is at Photoshop)! It’s in-stock over at PhotoshopVideos.com (don’t forget, NAPP members get a big discount on these DVDs).

That’s it for today. Have a great weekend everybody, and look for my field reports from this week’s Western Shooting Adventure, to start next week.

Friday
Aug
2007
17

Jeff Revell’s Shots from Our Trip

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

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My buddy Jeff Revell (shown above during our morning in Monument Valley) posted some of his shots from our West Photo Adventure (he’s still out there shooting near Tucson now), and he’s posted some great shots on his blog (when you get there, scroll down to his Thursday post to see a really nice sunrise over Monument Valley, with the sun just peeking over the horizon). Here’s the link to Jeff’s blog.

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