Wednesday
Feb
2013
20

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Bill Frakes!

by Brad Moore  |  8 Comments

We came to Norway chasing the night light. Laura and I have been planning this trip for months. This was more than an assignment, this was a quest. We wanted to make a time-lapse video showing the Aurora Borealis–the Northern Lights.

We thought the light we sought would be green and dancing, and there was some of that. Mystical, almost spiritual waifs.

There is science behind the swirling bands of green. During large solar explosions huge quantities of particles are thrown from the surface of the sun into deep space. When the particles hit the Earth’s magnetic field they are drawn to an area around the magnetic North Pole creating the celestial green streaks of light.

But the real beauty to me was watching the bright full moon travel across the sky illuminating the mountains and fjords.

The night sky above the arctic circle is different. Rich and blue. Dark clouds racing across the night. Peaceful, tranquil, calm, and then the next minute massive amounts of snow and wind pelting us and the gear.

In Northern Norway this time of year the nights are long and the days are short. The sun is up for at most 4 hours a day, but you can only see it shining brightly for 10-15 minutes, if you’re lucky. It’s always night.

We had this well sorted out. We are on the road most years around 300 days and so we are fairly well organized, and certainly accustomed to packing for all kinds of contingencies. But seldom have we had to be concerned with keeping cameras and fingers warm enough to work in temperatures that can quickly drop to 20 below. Did I mention that we are from Florida?

We brought 5 tripods, 7 Nikon bodies, 9 lenses and a bunch of hand warmers. 6 extra batteries per camera. Rain covers to protect the bodies and lenses against the blowing snow. We learned after the first day that snow storms come quickly, sometimes when you are least expecting it.

The bag guys at Kata made some special cold weather pouches for us to protect bodes and more importantly batteries–I’m not sure if the bags made the difference or if the Nikon batteries just function perfectly in the temperatures, but I do know this: we didn’t have any issues with camera power. Even during 5 hour time-lapse captures.

Our buddy Andy Hancock was with us. Being a Texan he always does things a little, different, than we do. We were making most of our exposures for between 2 and 4 seconds, at f 2.8, ISO 1600. Andy decided to try 30 seconds, at f 16, ISO 1600. His images resonated with me–they had a blurred feeling that just worked. Since we had so many cameras running we had plenty of room, and time to experiment. We switched two of ours to 20 and 30 second exposures and loved the results for the time-lapse. As independent still images they are too soft for my use.

We fought the weather the first few nights. Dense clouds dropping heavy snow made it very tough to see the green lights we  came to find.

It would have been easy to be frustrated and depressed. It’s not easy to get to Tromso–we traveled for almost 24 hours, and we had been planning this shoot for months. But it didn’t go that way. The calm, serene beauty and the light from the moon was enchanting. We had the best time, and made gorgeous images.

It’s what makes this job so difficult and so rewarding at the same time. When you are dependent on mother nature to produce, you are subject to her whims. It just reinforces what I have always said, you never know when the muse will strike, and when the stars will align to produce the best images in the toughest conditions.

Our next trip out to nature will be in March when we travel to Nebraska to host a workshop photographing the sand hill crane migration. We are excited to see what the weather has in store. Rain, shine, warm or cold, we are sure to be amazed and humbled.

You can see more of Bill’s work at BillFrakes.com and StrawHatVisuals.com, and follow him on Twitter

Tuesday
Feb
2013
19

3 Quick Things: New Issue of Light it; Stay with Me; Feel Some Grid Love.

by Scott Kelby  |  14 Comments

The new issue of “Light It” magazine is here!
We publish a magazine for the iPad for people into hot shoe flash and/or studio lighting and the latest issue is now available for download from the App Store (that’s the cover above, with a cover shot by yours truly — it’s from my regular column called “Lighting Recipes” where I show the final image, and then the behind-the-scenes images, camera set-up, lighting set-up and the whole ball of wax so you can not only see how it’s done, you can do it yourself. Lots of awesome stuff in this issue, so I hope you’ll check it out.

Stay with me at the Rosen Centre Hotel
If you’re joining us in Orlando in April for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, stay where me and all the instructors are staying — the Rosen Centre Hotel (a very nice hotel right directly across the street from the convention center). They’ve got a special room rate just for our convention attendees ((rooms are only $159 per night + tax if you grab one now), but when those rooms are gone… they’re gone… so if you want to stay with me at the Rosen, here’s the link with the discount codes and all that stuff.

“5 Incredible Online Communities to Get Genuine Feedback on Your Photography” list
A big shout-out to the LightStalking blog (and Tiffany Mueller) for giving our free weekly show for photographers “The Grid” some love about our monthly “Blind Photo Critiques” episodes by including us in their list of ““5 Incredible Online Communities to Get Genuine Feedback on Your Photography.” By the way, we had a great episode this past week with Wedding photographer Cliff Mautner as our in-studio guest. If you’ve got a sec —  here’s the link to LightStalking’s full list of 5 incredible online communities for genuine feedback. (our humble thanks to LightStalking.com for including us. We were pretty psyched when we saw our name on that list!).

Lastly, check out our “Seven Conferences in One” concept for this year’s Photoshop World (above).
It’s an exciting new concept for us, and people are totally digging it (the short video above explains it). I don’t want to spoil it, so just watch the really short video where I explain it.

Oh yeah, more one thing
I have a cool announcement set for Thursday here on the blog that I hope will only marginally interrupt our regularly scheduled “Free Stuff Thursday.” We’re doing something I haven’t seen anyone do  —-  ever (I gotta tell ya — it’s not for everybody, but the people that go “Oh man — that is for me!” are going to lose their minds!) so make sure you mark on your calendars to check back with me here on Thursday. PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE: Ken Toney, don’t send me a private email asking me to tell you what the secret is — it’s “too secret” even for you! LOL!

Have a great Tuesday and we’ll see you back here tomorrow when a sports photography legend takes over for Guest Blog Wednesday. Cheers! -Scott 

 

Monday
Feb
2013
18

Shooting Detail Shots of an Aston Martin Vantage

by Scott Kelby  |  41 Comments

Last week when I posted my detail shots of exotic cars from the duPont Registery’s in-house collection, a buddy of mine Karl-Franz Marquez dropped me a line about it, and included some shots he had taken of his own car, a beautiful Aston Martin Vantage that he also shot “Tim Wallace” style (after watching some of Tim’s online classes at KelbyTraining.com).

He had some taken some beautiful shots, and I was totally digging on his car, and Karl-Franz offered to drive over for the day (around 150 miles each way) to let me shoot this British made Aston Martin, and so yesterday we did an afternoon shoot, indoors at our headquarters inside our video studios.

Above: Here’s the behind-the-scenes shot of the image at the top of the page. That’s Karl-Franz holding a second flash to light the grill in the front of the bar (it’s half the size and power of the large soft box lighting the wheel and edge of the hood above). So, it’s two strobes total powered by the Elinchrom Quadra Ranger powerpack hanging from the light stand in front of me. Camera settings: ISO 100, Aperture f/22, Shutter Speed 1/200 of a second. Full power on the strobe. 

NOTE: The screen screen area behind the car is just there by coincidence — we rolled the car into that part of our video studio so we’d have room to shoot it —  it had nothing to do with our photo shoot (other than spilling green on the other side of the car so we could only shoot on one side).

Above: here’s a detail shot of the engine. I went back and watched Tim’s class and he had a segment on shooting engines so I just followed his instruction to get this shot. 

Above: here’s the behind-the-scenes shot of the engine shot you just saw. Just one light with a long strip-bank positioned opposite me. I’m shooting with a Macro zoom lens. 

Above: After watching Tim’s videos on shooting car details, there was something I missed the right time around, and it’s that he angles the wheels about 20° and it definitely does make a difference. 

Above: here’s the behind-the-scenes of the wheel shot. Not particularly glamorous — a lot of laying on the floor or shooting on your knees (fun on concrete). Just one light for this one. Same settings — shooting at f/22 (or up to f/32 in some cases) makes the light fall of fast to black. 

Here’s a few more shots from the day.

Above: Those three above are just using that one soft box with the long stripbank. All the settings are pretty much the same — f/22 to f/32 so the edges fall off quickly to solid black. I tried to fix a few mistakes I made during the duPont shoot. Luckily, Tim gave me some tips after I sent him some I was struggling with. Mostly, I think I wasn’t getting the softbox in close enough, and I wasn’t powering it high enough, and of course both of Tim’s comments were super helpful. 

Above: I don’t actually like this shot — it didn’t come out quite like I had hoped (I like my rear shot of the Ferrari last week much better lightning wise), but I’m showing it because I did pick up a great tip from Karl-Franz — and that is — he has a black license plate that he uses when shooting cars (seen here). It’s actually the flip-side of the dealer’s license plate that came with the car — how handy is that! :-)

Anyway, I liked the idea so much I ordered a blank, black custom license plate last night from Speedysigns.com (it was probably not the cheapest way of coming up with an all black license plate, but I was short on time). Anyway, hats off to Karl-Franz for the idea.

Above: Here’s our crew: that’s Karl-Franz’s girlfriend  wife Honey (her real given name); me in the center, and Karl-Franz (fake German guy who owns amazing sports cars and yet is a friend of Vanelli) on the right. 

Above: Seeing as we’re: (a) Shooting a car made in the UK, and (b) using techniques we learned from UK-based commercial automative photographer Tim Wallace, I thought I’d (c) wear my Marshall Amplification Union Jack shirt (legendary guitar amps made in the UK) to create a British “triple threat.” 

A big thinks to Karl-Franz for driving all the way over to our offices to let me shoot one of his cool cars; to Honey for being incredibly patient during the three-hour shoot; to Brad Moore for all his help and suggestions, and of course to the amazing Tim Wallace for helping Me, Karl-Franz, and thousands of other photographers by sharing his awesome automative lighting and shooting techniques.

P.S.  Good news — Tim will be back here in the States filming more classes for Kelby Training very soon (I haven’t seen the full slate of what he’s teaching, but I know I’ll be begging him to do one on lighting car interiors). :)

 

 

Sunday
Feb
2013
17

Great Deals on Nikon Lenses from B&H Photo!

by Brad Moore  |  7 Comments

Hey everyone, Brad here with a quick bit of news… I just found out that B&H Photo is having a sale on Nikon lenses, and you can save up to $350! If you’re in the market for some shiny new glass, this is the time to buy. It’s not just the four lenses above, there are 18 different lenses on sale!

The sale is only on till March 2, so make sure you take advantage of it before then.

Friday
Feb
2013
15

How Photoshop World has become Seven Conferences under one roof (plus the photoshop-world-athon rebroadcast)

by Scott Kelby  |  3 Comments

Hi gang — other short video above explains how the Photoshop World Conference and Expo has evolved over the past few years.  It’s exciting to see how it’s grown and morphed into basically seven conferences in one. Check out the video and you’ll see what I mean.

Also, If you missed Wednesday night’s “Photoshop World-a-thon” here’s the free Rebroadcast

We all showed techniques from some of the classes we’re teaching at the Photoshop World conference (I did a retouching technique, a showed how to create book covers in Lightroom’s Book Module, and I did a live demo of how to set up a remote camera from scratch from my Shooting Sports class).

Everybody had really cool demos (Matt had an awesome one for post processing long exposures), plus we have some special deals (that are good until March 2nd), and the whole thing gives you a great idea of what its like actually being at a Photoshop (the next one’s in Orlando, April 17-19th). You can check out last night’s rebroadcast above.

Hope you all have an awesome weekend!

Cheers,
- Scott

Thursday
Feb
2013
14

Watch Joe McNally’s Entire Presentation from Photo Pro Expo

by Brad Moore  |  6 Comments

Check this out… If you missed this year’s Photo Pro Expo, you now have the opportunity to see Joe McNally’s entire 2-hour presentation online! It’s only available until Wednesday, February 20, so make sure you watch it sooner than later. Plus, you can also watch interviews with Kevin Kubota, David Ziser, Zach and Jody Gray, and Rick Sammon! Just click this link to watch those videos and register for next year’s Photo Pro Expo for only $129.

Speaking of Joe McNally, you can also see him at Photoshop World Orlando in April. From now till March 1, if you sign up using one of the discount codes on this page, you can either get an extra 6 months added to your NAPP membership, or 3 months of online training from KelbyTraining.com.

AND, if you want to spend a day with Joe, you can sign up for his BRAND NEW pre-conference workshop, Characters On Location: Telling Stories With Light. This one is limited to only 45 people, so sign up now to make sure you get in!

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