Friday
Mar
2013
08

Some Jet Fighter Shots From My Trip to Key West Naval Airstation

by Scott Kelby  |  30 Comments

On Monday morning I a took a short flight down to Key West, Florida to meet up with my buddy Jose Ramos, a military aviation photographer who was on assignment for Pilot magazine doing a story on Fighter Squadron VFC-111 (The “Sundowners”) based at Key West Naval Airstation.

It was absolutely beautiful down there (and the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful, with temperatures in the high 60s and low 70s), and on Monday, after shooting some takesoffs and landings from long range, Jose and I stayed late to get some nice light at sunset with some of the jets on the flight line.

One of the highlights of the trip was Jose and I having lunch with his good friend, and Squadron Commander,  Joe ‘Monty’ McMonigle. I told him about my carrier shoot, and since he had been flying off carriers for years he had some amazing stories, and I learned a ton about the process of landing on carriers. I already had an incredible amount of respect for carrier pilots but that went up a big notch after our talk with Joe. I seriously don’t know how these guys do it, but I’m sure glad that somehow they can.

Jose goes Air-to-Air
On Tuesday, Jose (who is rated by the Navy to fly in jets) got the chance to go up and do some air-to-air photography in the backseat of an F5 and he got just some absolutely sick shots!!!! He’s done that air-to-air stuff down cold (but when I heard some of the stuff they did in the air, I’m not sure I would have the presence of mind to even raise my camera to my eye. Especially with all the screaming I would have been doing). But Jose has done this stuff a bunch, and he totally nailed it. Everybody was freaking out over the shots he came back with.

I’ll leave the rest to the captions below, but a big thanks to Jose for having me tag along for the shoot, and to the men and women of the Sundowners squadron who couldn’t have been friendlier or more accommodating to us during our visit. Jose is still down there working on the story and by the time you read this, he’s probably in the cockpit for another air-to-air shoot. OK, not the best term, but you know what I mean. Hats off to Monty and the entire VFC-111 — thanks for your service to our country.

 

Above: The jets were all facing toward the setting sun, so to get the good light, we had to shoot from behind or beside the jets, because if we faced them, the sky behind them was kind of…well…gray and boring. 

Above: After the jets come back in from their last runs of the day, the ground crew takes over and that’s when I got this open-cockpit shot. 

Above: At about 5:30 pm and sun was getting low in the sky so we headed out to get some shots, and the clouds were totally cooperating with us. This is a E/A-18G Growler, a specialized electronic warfare variant of the FA-18F Super Hornet.

Above: Here’s the hanger. It’s a half-HDR shot (an HDR shot mixed at 50% with the original non-HDR’d image).

Above: Here’s an F5 fighter (used by the Navy to portray “Bad guys” in dog fights, ala “Top Gun.”). This shot is taken just after take-off (my only take-off shot. Long story) and the front gear hasn’t retracted yet (they go up after the rear. It’s an old plane).

Above: Here’s one of the F5′s taxiing out for a training session with the Growlers. It’s pretty warm down there so they keep the canopy open until they’re about to take off. 

Above: Here’s one of the two-seater F5′s that Jose goes up in for his air-to-air shoots. With a camera. You knew that, right?

Above: Jose is always doing these shoots, but nobody’s ever covering Jose, so I took on the job. Here he is headed out for his first air-to-air of the week (and yes, that’s a parachute on his back). Apparently, it’s more dangerous than shooting football. I’ve never had to wear a parachute. ;-)

Above: Here’s Jose (rear seat) before heading out. That’s ‘Monty’ Piloting the F5. 

Above: Here’s Jose looking very “Top Gun”

Above: Here’s me looking like I always do, standing beside an F5. Snooze. 

Above: Here’s a shot taken inside their F5 flight simulator. It was pretty amazing (I took this one from the platform where you climb into the simulator. I shot it with a 28-300mm f/3.5 to f/5.6. The lighting was pretty dark in there, but I wanted to shoot it with just the ambient light, so I shot it at 2,500 ISO handheld at 1/13 of a second. I fired a lot series of shots in High-Speed continuous to make sure I had one in focus (and sure enough, I did). 

Above: Here’s a closing shot. It would have been sweet if we could have gotten them to turn the jet around so we could have shot from the front or front side with the sunset in the background. Of course, we never asked (for obvious reasons). The squadron has just about adopted Jose (he’s been shooting and flying with them since was 18-years-old), so they would actually probably do it if he asked far enough in advance.

Above: It’s great to see such a great relationship built between Jose and the Squad, but Jose has worked very hard to earn their trust (plus he delivers some amazing images, which literally line the walls of the squadron’s headquarters, as shown above in this photo taken with my iPhone —- that’s Jose’s shot framed on the wall beside him). 

Anyway, it was a quick, really fun overnight trip, and I was already back home the next afternoon, but I gotta tell ya — shooting jets is just a blast!

sdfsdf

Thursday
Mar
2013
07

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  63 Comments

Pre-Conference Workshops at Photoshop World
If you’re going to Photoshop World Orlando, make sure you check out the Pre-Conference Workshops! These are workshops that happen the day before Photoshop World officially starts, and they last between 4-7 hours so you can really dive into one particular topic.  Spend the day learning Lightpainting from Dave Black, photographing Characters on Location with Joe McNally, shooting a live concert with Alan Hess and Scott Diussa, shooting a wedding with David Ziser, or maximize your Photoshop skills with any of the workshops from Corey Barker, RC Concepcion, Dave Cross, and Matt Kloskowski! There are even more workshops than the ones listed here, so go see what’s available here.

All of these workshops have limited space, so once they are full, they’re full! And there are only 7 days left to save $100 on registration for the conference, so you really don’t want to wait to sign up. And make sure you book your room at the Rosen Centre Hotel so you can stay where the instructors stay!

Leave a comment for your chance to win a full conference pass!

Mastering Beauty Lighting & Fashion for Portrait Photography
Joel Grimes, who is known for his creative edgy lighting and compositing, is back and showing the softer side of his lighting techniques with his latest class on KelbyTraining.com, Mastering Beauty Lighting & Fashion for Portrait Photography! In this class, Joel takes you from the creative process in the beginning, through the different lighting modifiers he uses for fashion and portrait photography, and all the way to the end with the post processing that helps create a beautiful finished image.

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, Joe McNallyMatt KloskowskiRC Concepcion, or Ben Willmore? Check out these seminar tours!

The Digital Photography Book Unleashed with Scott Kelby
Apr 3 – Philadelphia, PA
Apr 30 – Chicago, IL

Photoshop CS6 for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Mar 15 – Tampa, FL
Mar 25 – Houston, TX
Apr 10 – San Francisco, CA

Photographic Artistry with Adobe Photoshop with Ben Willmore
Mar 19 – New York, NY
Mar 20 – Washington, DC
Apr 12 – Portland, OR

Lightroom 4 Live with Matt Kloskowski
Mar 22 – Phoenix, AZ

One Light, Two Light with Joe McNally
Apr 24 – Minneapolis, MN

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to one of these events!

Sports Photography Workshop with Peter Read Miller
Legendary Sports Illustrated photographer Peter Read Miller is hosting a sports photography workshop in Denver from April 8-14! You’ll spend six days photographing high school and pro sports, all the while learning from Peter and other industry experts that will be on hand to help you get the best photographs possible. Events will include football, mountain biking, track, basketball, boxing, and more! Not only will you photograph the action, but you’ll be learning how to use studio strobes, speedlights, and remote cameras to get unique images as well. You’ll also have a one-on-one portfolio review with Peter so you can see how to take your images to the next level.

Get all the info for the workshop here, and sign up for it here. And, leave a comment for your chance to win a signed copy of Peter’s upcoming book, Peter Read Miller on Sports Photography from Peachpit Press!

Winners
Photoshop World Full Conference Pass
- Jason Strickland

Kelby Training Live Seminar
- Alex Alegre

Growing Your Business with Scott Kelby Rental
- Sandryte

Dave Black KelbyTraining.com Rental
- Jerry W.

That’s it for today. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday
Mar
2013
06

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Pete Collins!

by Brad Moore  |  34 Comments

Ok, so when you get asked to be a guest blogger for Scott, one of the first things to do is check out the competition and see what others have done. The top blog posts as far as comments and reshares have been from Peter Hurley… Seen here hamming it up in our studio:


Photos by Pete Collins

And Zack Arias’:


Photo by Zack Arias

I wanted to be considered as insightful and popular as them. So I did some studying on what they did to get such a good response and it became quite obvious… It is all about the hair! If I am going to get the greatest response and win the top honor as the “coolest, hippest blogger on earth,” I am going to have work the hair angle hard. So without further ado… I give you Peter Bob Ross Arias!

Take that hair club for men!

Now that I have established my hair cred… on with the blog!

The opening paragraph was done in jest and a bit over the top (sorry Bob Ross!), but I wanted to use that to illustrate a point. We are killing ourselves by comparing ourselves to others. We ask constantly ask ourselves… “Am I as good a photographer as _________?”, or “Do I communicate like ______?” We find ourselves on the unending treadmill of trying to catch up with this artist or photographer, and feel like a failure because someone we know is doing it “better” than we are. Please stop doing this. If you don’t read any further than this, I hope you will take this thought with you. “Comparison is the Thief of Joy.”

Warning: If you proceed to read further I will attempt to talk about what hinders us from being creative and alive. I will talk about feelings and ramble on some about our hearts etc… because I truly believe that is where our work comes from. So if you aren’t interested in any of this… no problem, just look at the pictures and perhaps take a look at the list at the bottom as it is a bit more no-nonsense… well, sort of. :D  Yes I do realize that some of you are hoping to hear amazing photographic stories or maybe juicy gossip that Scott is really Keyser Soze, but that is for another post… this one is a little more about what drives us.

Let me walk this out for you with an example in my own life. I was asked to write this blog, and I got excited and immediately I started to plan what I was going to do. Thoughts start to swim around of all the things that I can talk about or show. Then I get the brilliant idea of doing exactly what I did at the top of the post. Comparing how other folks did their posts. Suddenly, the excitement I had for sharing my heart and idea with you turns into fear of “not screwing up” and not being rejected. Now I start to feel pressure and the idea that I don’t have what it takes starts to grow inside of me. The voice in my head/heart tells me that I am lacking and that I should just give up and do something safe and boring, or better yet, find an excuse and not do anything at all. The problem with listening to that voice is that my heart and creativity die a little each time I give into it.

So I try to ignore the lump in my throat… and no longer feel excited… scared yes, excited… not so much. What is safe and accepted? You folks like videos… so I should definitely do a video and it shall be really cool! I will create this masterpiece video that shows the behind the scenes here at Kelby Media Group, and highlights the creative process that goes on here and how I get to be part of this. Great idea, but then the doubt kicks in… I haven’t done a lot of videos and editing on that big a scale, and it won’t look as cool as Zack’s… I mean he had a smoke machine and mannequins! Ok, so let’s settle for something safer.

How about I do a neat time-lapse drawing that will amaze and astound all who see it! Yeah, that will be easier I have done those before. But, what should I do? What should my subject matter be? What is normally easy to decide becomes impossible when the pressure of comparison is added to the mix. I need inspiration: that mystical illumination that quiets the voices and brings new wonders to our minds! Desperate, I start to work on playing with words like Inspiration that all have the word ration in them… even though I am feeling anything but rational right now. It might be cool to draw these words over time and do some neat stuff with them.

But then I start to worry that this is dumb and suddenly I don’t like the order of the words so decide that what I need to do is develop a new creative font. Why? So that I can dazzle you guys with my talent and to make up for my lack of hair. Granted this is already late in the evening, and the blog post hasn’t had the first word written. But a cool font is all this needs to make this abomination turn into glory. Hours later I have created something… and boy is it something, I just don’t know what it is and I am pretty sure it won’t work for this. Help!

So now I have spent hours scrambling to find that just right combination of hip creatively breezy elements that will amaze you and have you resharing this blog for years to come. I have visions of folks talking about my blog as The Blog of 2013! Whispering in cubicles across the globe “Hey did you see Pete’s blog?” Of course it would be in different languages according to local dialect, but you get the drift. How is that for pressure? This is no longer a blog… it is my life’s destiny and the fate of the free world depends on my ability to produce something earth shattering. (Please tell me, you have been in a similar situation… Letting your feelings overshadow the importance of a task until it becomes all encompassing. Yes, you there in the back, I see that hand… thank you for sharing.)

So I step back and try to regroup with a Coke… or three and some chocolate. Yep, that calms the nerves right down, don’t mind the seizures. But while I stare at the blank screen, my lack of coolness taunts me. I start to think about my situation and how many times I have been in this very same state of pressure when I am trying to be both creative and safe. How many times have I been so wrapped up in trying to be accepted that I lose the ability to fly. By flying I mean to go where the heart and mind take us without the constraints of worrying about what others will think, or limiting our art to what others will like.

I bet you are like me and the best art you produce is when you are doodling while on the phone or waiting for a friend at a coffee shop. Why? The pressure is off and the only reason you are doing it is for the pure joy of it. Life Example: My kids don’t make a picture and then throw it in the trashcan or hide it… they want us to display it and stick it on the refrigerator because it is something they put their heart into and they see it as good. But, as they get older, comparison creeps in and starts to tell our children… “Your sister draws better trees than you,” or “That dog looks stupid!” The result is that they stop drawing altogether or they draw “safe” pictures that are acceptable. But their hearts wants to draw wild things. And guess what… we are just kids in grown up bodies.

This reminds me of an idea I have for a kids book that deals with our needing to forget our past hurts and failures so that we can be free to live, love and fly. I call it Dilbert the Forgetful Elephant, because the way most of us deal with life is a lot like how an elephant deals with captivity… but more of that in a minute… I can’t talk to you now; I have an idea for this blog! Yes! I laugh at my angst earlier… I am now inspired and I start sketching elephants that will amaze you: and to be honest they looked better in my caffeine soaked brain than they do on paper. I need to study how elephants look and how to draw them. But at least I am excited about the direction this is taking.

So I Google “drawing elephants” and God being the gag writer that He is… wouldn’t you know it, the first three hits to appear are from my friend Aaron Blaise, animator and illustrator extraordinaire who has some wonderful lessons on drawing elephants.

If you haven’t seen his work, make sure to check him out at AaronBlaise.blogspot.com

Crap! Just when I was starting to feel ok about what I was doing, now I am going to compare every sketch I do with his. My sketches start to lose all life and joy as I try to sketch like Aaron. I know what he has done is good, I don’t know if what I can do is good, so I try to slip on the mask of another that I know is accepted, because that will mean I will be accepted too. Won’t it? I have shared this drawing before, but it still is one of my favorites that I have made to remind me of our tendencies to hide ourselves behind masks that in turn imprisons us and keep us from be real and alive.

The problem is that creativity lives in the land of freedom. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others and start living. The story of Dilbert is an offshoot of what is probably an urban legend that goes like this… “when elephants are very young, trainers use rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break the rope so they never try to break free.” It is a great illustration of the mental bonds that we can place on ourselves in regards to who we are and what we can do which we place upon ourselves by comparing ourselves to others.

So I wanted to create a story about an elephant that is forgetful, and as a result forgets that the rope is stronger than him and flies away. (Now you will have make the mental jump with me as I use the idea of an elephant as a balloon to represent the natural pull to fly as rope/string dangles beneath him representing what use to hold him back).

If I can stop comparing myself with others, I will be truly free to be creative and the result will be a better me.  It is like a self-fulfilling prophecy… the less I worry about others the more of me shows through, and the unique beauty that only I have to offer is seen and cherished by the ones who get to see it, which encourages me to show more… etc… etc… The world does not need more masks and copycats, the world needs more folks that are truly alive and free to create.

Yeah, yeah Pete we have heard this before… be free and be real… yada yada yada. Well, to be honest, I don’t mind repeating it because I need to hear it daily, if not hourly because I forget. I fall right back into the trap of comparing and I shut down and cling to the easy road of mediocrity. The world is filled with mediocrity; we need folks who are brave and reckless enough to be excellent.

Photographers don’t’ worry I haven’t forgotten about you. Below is an excerpt from a blog post that I started a while back that I never finished because something shiny came along and distracted me, but I think will tie in with what I hope is the heart of my thoughts today, which is don’t settle… don’t make excuses… fight to go beyond mediocre. Strive for joy and life… learn to fly!

“Over the past while I have had the privilege of watching Scott, Matt, RC and others like Joe McNally and Joel Grimes give photo critiques. I have also been able to watch the comments that go on during those critiques and I have noticed a societal trend. Often there is a rush to excuse why something isn’t right, or to try to give the benefit of the doubt due to exigent circumstances. But, is our goal to be ok? Mediocre? If so, then here are some ways to keep attaining that safe yet heart killing standard.

Don’t worry about telling a story… who cares if it is boring.

Don’t worry about what is in the corners… distractions and lines add excitement.

Don’t change the angle of your shots… tripods should always be shot at comfortable heights that every other photographer uses.

Make the same shot as others… You’re ok, so I’m ok.

Only shoot when it is convenient and then blame the bad lighting for why it is not better.

Limit your shooting to your surroundings and then ask for a break in judgment because the locations are boring. It takes to much work to go somewhere else to shoot.

Demand fairness and equality even if your images are not good and not special. Your heart was in the right place, even if your camera wasn’t.

Mediocrity can be attained by everyone, and that may be why we are not happy with our work when we settle for it. You are created in a dynamic and special way, and when you listen to the voice of comparison and settle for safety and excuses, you cheat the world of the special vision and voice that you have to offer. I need you to fly so that you can remind me to fly. I am one elephant trying to help the next one loosen the ropes that keep us tied down.

The question at the end of the day, and the end of this long post is… are you going to stay tied down to that stake of comparing what others are doing, or are you going to forget about what tends to hold you back and fly?

You can see more from Pete at PeteCollins.com, and follow him on Twitter and Google+

Tuesday
Mar
2013
05

Photography Tips & Tricks

by Scott Kelby  |  10 Comments

If you haven’t caught our Photography Tips & Tricks free weekly show yet, here’s your chance because this is a great episode! (it’s actually aired just a few weeks ago, but this particular one got a lot of love and loads of great feedback so I wanted to share it first).

(1) It starts with host RC Concepcion showing a really great, often overlooked feature on hot shoe flash: adjusting the flash zoom. He shows how to do it (and why you’d want to).

(2) Then we have a couple of really great tips from our in-studio guest Tamara Lackey on how to interact with children during a family portrait shoot. Really great insights (and Matt Kloskowski is on the set with Tamara for a brief interview as well).

(3) Lastly, Joel Grimes has a trick for a technique I haven’t seen before for getting more megapixels out of your camera so you can make much larger prints. Pretty slick Joel! :)

Anyway, the episode is right above, but ya know we do one of these every week (each one runs about 15 minutes, so they’re short and sweet), and you can find lots of other Photo T&T episodes (all free by the way), at this link. 

Have an awesome Tuesday and we’ll see you back here tomorrow for Guest Blog Wednesday. Cheers! :-)

Monday
Mar
2013
04

Going to WPPI in Vegas? Catch My Sessions at Nikon’s Booth All Three Days

by Scott Kelby  |  6 Comments

I am totally psyched to be teaching for Nikon in their booth/theater at the upcoming WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) Conference & Expo in Las Vegas later this month (the Expo part where I’m speaking runs March 11-13th  – link). I am also honored to speaking alongside some truly amazing photographers, like Cliff Mautner, Jerry Ghionis, Dixie Dixon, and Tamara Lackey among others. (Above: that me on stage in Nikon’s booth at Photo Plus Expo — photo by RC Concepcion). 

I’m speaking all three days and my session is called “Shooting it With Just One Light” (the official times are shown below — click on it for a much larger view)

If you’re at the show, I hope you’ll catch one of my sessions (and if you see me wandering around, make sure you stop me and say “hi”).

Above: Another shot of me teaching from RC. 

Friday
Mar
2013
01

What I’m Teaching at Photoshop World

by Scott Kelby  |  16 Comments

Hi Gang: We’re just a month and a half away from the biggest Photoshop event on the planet: The Photoshop World Conference and Expo (in Orlando on April 17-19 at the Orange County Convention Center), and if you’re going (and I hope that you are), here are the sessions I’m teaching (there are over 100+ sessions but I hope you’ll check out a couple of mine while you’re at the conference).

Designing With Type for Photographers
Bad type can ruin a really great photo and in this session, I’m going to show you how to create photo book covers, posters, web graphics and more  and how to have your type really compliment your work, rather than destroy it. You’ll learn everything from the basics of typography including which fonts to use, when, and why, and how to create simple, beautiful-looking designs (it’s easier than you’d think). This class will change the way think about, and use type and photos together from this point on.

Creating Your Own Custom Photo Book in Lightroom 4
In this session you’ll learn how to create beautiful photo books from right within Lightroom 4 itself. You’ll see the entire workflow, step-by-step and exactly how to create your own custom books the easy way. There are lots of little inside tips, tricks, and time-saving techniques that you’ll learn that will make creating photo books one of the most-fun, easy, and enjoyable parts of your photographic journey.

Tips and Tricks for Shooting Sports
I’ll be covering everything from the gear you need, to camera settings, accessories, remote cameras, techniques, strategies and the whole ball of wax to get you shooting sports like a pro! I’ve put together some of my favorite tips, the latest tricks I’ve learned, and how to get the type of sports photos you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re into shooting sports (or think you might want to), I think you’ll really get a lot out of this session.

Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers
Learn professional portrait retouching techniques for photographers from the guy who literally wrote the book (hey, that’s me!). You’ll learn my latest portrait retouching techniques and the fastest, most efficient, and most realistic-looking retouches for anyone who shoots portraits, and need to spend less time behind the computer and more time making images.

If you’re going, I hope to see you in one of my classes. If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s not too late: Here’s the link.

Also, we’ve designed this year’s event to have Seven very distinct FULL training tracks, so you can pretty much pick what you want to learn and get immersed in that topic for the entire conference, every day, all day long if you like (for example, if you’re into Lightroom, you can take Lightroom classes every day all day — it’s like its own separate Lightroom conference within a conference. Same thing with Lighting, or graphic design, or business, and so on).

I put together a short video (below) that describes this “Seven Conferences in One” concept. Hope to see you in Orlando in April.

 

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