Monday
Nov
2012
05

Announcing The Winners from my 5th Annual “Worldwide Photo Walk”

by Scott Kelby  |  92 Comments

Picking just 10 finalists and one grand prize winner from more than 1,100 images is a tougher job than it sounds. Remember, each of the shots that I’m looking at have already been chosen as the “best shot” from each local walk around the world (that pick is made by each walk local walk leader). So, all I’m looking at is good shot after good shot — the cream of the crop — so at the end of the day what it really comes down to is which ones are my favorites — which ones would I hang on my own walls.

What makes it even tougher is that the scenes and subjects taken by walk photographers are so varied — there’s everything from landscapes to seascapes, cityscapes to children, architecture to still life and about everything in-between. But I’m not complaining — it’s really been fascinating and fun looking through so many amazing images from every corner of the globe. It’s a job I take seriously, but at the same time, it really is a treat.

I was up all night and at it again yesterday morning just narrowing the field down again and again and again. I finally got it down to 84 images I really, really liked but then I had to go over those again and again until I could finally get down to just these 11 images. Whew!!!!

I’m Posting Honorable Mentions Tomorrow
On Tuesday I’ll be posting some of the images that made up that first round of 84 — shots that didn’t win a prize, but were so good that I thought they should get a special mention nevertheless. Tomorrow I’ll also post a link to the “People Choice” page where you can vote for your favorite image to win the “People Choice Award.” 

OK, I won’t keep you waiting any longer; let’s get to the winners and we’ll talk in a few moments.

Here are the 10 finalists (in no particular order):

By Klienne Eco (Binmaley, ILocos Philippines Photo Walk)
This shot caught my attention right away — not just because of the fantastic colors and the bright burst of yellow setting sun — it’s the story that this image just hints of. It has a real cinematic look, almost like you’re looking at a set from the movie “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” and just want to know where this is, what that bus is all about (if it’s a bus at all), and was this taken after the “gas wars.” Very compelling. Note: To really appreciate this image, you have to click on it and see the larger version.

 

By Pranab Banerjee (Logan, Utah USA Photo Walk)
This has such an illustrated look, and I love that. The colors are wonderful, especially against that black background, but I think the thing that puts this image over the top is the post processing. Really nicely done. Not too much — it’s just right.

By Eds Euqui (Doha Ad Dawhah, Qatar Photo Walk)
I love the juxtaposition of old and new and it first look I figured it was Hong Kong, but then I didn’t recognize the buildings and the more I looked at it, the more I liked it (look at the buildings on the far right of the frame, you get a hint that it’s not in Asia). Great colors and composition, too!

By Mohammadmehdi Azarnoush (Isfahan, Esfahan, Iran Photo Walk)
What a wonderful, overhead view of a market. I love the colors, the post processing, the angle, and it just makes we want to be down there shopping myself. Very well done and clever framing as well. Nicely done.

By Allilie Carcasona (Butuan City, Caraga, Phillipines Photo Walk)
I love long exposure shots; make ‘em black and white and I love ‘em even more, and the starkness and simplicity of this shot really stood out to me. It’s moody, great composition and use of leading lines and just a very well put-together shot.

By Ken Bair (Elkhart, Indiana USA Photo Walk)
I klove how this froze a moment in time that seems so matter-of-fact at first glance, but there’s a lot more going on here that you see at first glance. First, look at the colors (or lack there of). The white walls, the bright bare florescent lights the white floor, and most everything else is black. It’s almost a monochrome shot but for these little things of color — the blue coverup, the washed out image on the TV; the barber’s jeans, the wooden stool. It all makes for an interesting shot in the midst of something very ordinary. I dig it.

By Ben Freer (Winchester, United Kingdom Photo Walk)
I kept coming back to this image. The shallow depth of field is wonderful and the expressions on the people’s faces on the left versus the right is just very compelling. I really want to know what’s going on here, and I love the atmosphere and snow (rain?) that has pulled them all together under this archway. It’s simple, yet powerful. Very nice.

By Everts Aliredjo (Paramaribo, Par’bo Suriname Photo Walk)
What a wonderful portrait — just a straight up great face, great expression, great composition and appropriate post processing. The whole image just works and makes you feel you know a little about the subject, whose eyes have a real peace about them and kindness. Nice job!

By Mhellan Narciso (Kawit, Calabarzon, Phillipines Photo Walk)
There is a joy to this image that makes you smile right away, but once you get past the wonderful smiles of the children, you realize, this is a really well-composed shot with great color, energy, and post processing. I also love the way the pole cut diagonally right across the image. Very clever composition .

 

By Johan Conradson (Oslo, Oslo Norway Photo Walk)
Two things really make this image for me: The movement (courtesy of the slow shutter speed) and the way the colors work so beautifully together. I love the way the bottom of the photo just kind of blurs into nothingness — is she on the street, in a mall, on concrete, in a snow drift — it begs more questions than it answers and I love it.

———————————————————–

AND THE GRAND PRIZE WINNING IMAGE IS:

By Lars Anshelm (Lunde, Skane Lan Sverige [Sweden] Photo Walk)
This is my all-around favorite, and Grand Prize winner, because I simply fell in love with it. I could point to how the texture, color. lighting and composition are just absolutely spot on, but what I love is that I want to know more about this image. I want to see what’s behind that door, and what’s in the backpack on the ground, and who the woman is (she’s a total mystery obscured by the umbrella) and what she’d doing there in the first place.The shot is moody and interesting, and I love the way the backpack on her shoulder stands out among all the muted colors. I could make a great case for any of these finalists to have been the Grand Prize Winner, but for some reason I just kept coming back to this one. Also, the post-processing is just right. I love, love, love this shot and wish I had taken it. My congratulations to Lars for capturing this gem.

Thanks Everybody!!
A special thanks to all our sponsors for their gracious support and prizes; to our Walk Leaders who did such an outstanding job once again of giving of their time and talents to make their local walks happen, and to the wonderful photographers from around the world who created such inspiring, creative, and beautiful work.

NOTE: Don’t forget: Although this phase is over, we still have the People’s Choice Award to pick, and a special competition for your Walk Leaders and tomorrow I’m posting a series of other images that, while they didn’t win a prize, are so good that I felt that needed special recognition. So check back tomorrow to see some other amazing shots from my Fifth Annual World Wide Photo Walk.

Have a great weekend everybody, and congrats to this years winners! 

Friday
Nov
2012
02

The Nikon D800 vs the D600: Which One is the Right One For You?

by Scott Kelby  |  230 Comments

I’ve had a lot of people asking me in the past few weeks about whether they should get a Nikon D600 or Nikon D800.  In fact just this week a buddy of mine sent me an email asking that very question and I thought I would share with you pretty much what I told him.

Now before I do this I just want let you know that this is strictly my own opinion. I’m not DP Review and this is not a lab report. I’m certainly not speaking for Nikon here (in fact they would probably prefer I wasn’t speaking about this topic at all) but just know that this is a strictly how I see these two cameras after having shot with both of them (I actually own a D800) so at least I can share from using both in different shooting situations.

Is the D800 the D700′s replacement?
I think one of the big things that people thought when it first came out was that the D800 was the successor to the D700 and that makes sense because the number 800 comes after 700, and that’s pretty much the way Nikon has done product intros up to this point (the D200′s replacement was the D300. The D3′s replacement was the D4 and so on). However in my opinion I don’t think the D800 is a replacement for the D700 at all—it is completely different camera with a completely different customer in mind and here’s how to determine if you’re a potential D800 customer (again just from my experience and point of view):

The D800 is for you if you would be a medium format customer, but don’t want to pay $25,000 (or more) to enter that rarified air (in other words you need a very, very high resolution image file and that’s the most important thing but you’re not a full-time commercial photographer or a rich surgeon). So, who really needs a very very high resolution image file? Well, first off people who are shooting things where they need to capture a tremendous amount of detail, like commercial photographers shooting products. Though the D800 is also attractive if you are a landscape photographer or you primarily shoot cityscapes where keeping every little last bit of detail is of the utmost importance, then the D800 certainly fits that part of the bill.

But there more to it than just image file size
I don’t think that’s the main determining factor on whether you should get a D800. I think the main determining factor is actually “how large do you need to make your final images.” If you only show your images on the web, you’re pretty much wasting your money because the D800 hundred’s biggest feature is the ability to make very large prints which look very, very sharp. I’m not talking 16″ x 20″ prints — I’m talking about where 30″ x 40″ prints would be a small size print for you — I’m talking huge posters, backlit signs in the airport, billboards, and large output of that nature, and if that’s really what you’re doing, the D800 may be perfect for you because it has that 36-megapixel resolution that you really need to make sharp prints at huge sizes.

So, is it a Medium format camera in a DSLR body?
Now, while the D800 has a resolution that is similar to some medium format cameras, I don’t want you to think the D800 is a complete replacement for a medium format digital camera (or a digital back), because while it has a similar resolution, medium format cameras definitely have their own trademark look. There’s something special about the look of a medium format image that it unique to it. So while the D800 has incredible crispness, sharpness and all the stuff that is indicative of a medium format camera, the medium format cameras still have their own trademark look and feel. Some D800s would argue this point and say that their D800 files look better than a medium format. I’m not saying the Medium Format’s look is better. I’m just saying it has its own look (and some folks might like that look better).

So what’s the downside of a D800?
While for some folks the resolution is the best feature, for others it’s the biggest drawback. For example — I don’t think it makes a really great camera for travel photography.  For example if you shoot a simple five-frame HDR photo and you open that image in Photoshop —  those five images open on screen at one time is about six hundred megabytes. That’s 6/10 of a gig for one single HDR image (whew!).  Now imagine you’re stitching a pano with 14 frames. Something like that just really clogs up your pipeline in huge way (you’ll be stitching that pano for an hour). I know from first-hand experience because I took a D800 to Cuba and to Paris and while the images were sharp and crisp, the file sizes were just tremendous, and storage space really becomes an issue. You eat up memory cards like nobody’s business and you eat up your hard drive space like it going out of style, and your entire workflow is much slower because working with such huge files. Again, if you need files this big—no problem—perfectly understandable and you’re cool with all the extra headaches those file sizes bring, it’s great, but for most of us—working with those super high-resolution files will really be more trouble than they’re worth.

Contrast this with the old D700
I wouldn’t use the D800 for sports — the resolution is just too high to make it practical, and the frames per second rate is just too slow, and I’m sure Nikon would be the first ones to tell you it was never designed as a sports camera. In contrast, the D700 actually was pretty decent for sports, especially if you added the battery grip which pumped it up to eight frames per second, and I used it as my 2nd body on a number of occasions and it rocked.  Both cameras are great for portraits (though you might have to do some extra retouching with the D800 files because they pick up everything, and I mean everything), but again — if most of your images will be seen mostly on the web, I would have a hard time recommending that you by a D800.

The Nikon D600 is an entirely different story
I do see this camera as the upgraded replacement for the D700 (even though the model number is lower). Its file size is still pretty high (24 megapixels) but lower than the D800s 36-megapixels; it’s easier to work with its smaller files, it’s faster all around, and it’s got great video features.  That’s really how I see the D600 — a better D700. Take that great D700, then add great video features, and a few extra tweaks and updates and you’ve got the D600.

You can use it for travel and it works wonderfully well. You can shoot landscapes and it’s great for that too (and the images are still sharp and crisp), and you can shoot sports with it (I actually shot an NFL game with the D600 as my second body it while was a little slow, it took beautiful shots overall and I’d use it again).  I think this is a camera that will work for almost anything that you wanted to shoot and while it’s just an evolutionary step (where many would argue that the D800 was a revolutionary step because of its high resolution and sharpness at that price point) it’s a very good step in its evolution and an improvement over the D700, which is all we ever wanted, right — a better version of what we had. So, if you wanted to replace your D700 with something newer and better along the same lines (but with HD video), I think the D600 is that camera (and it’s about $1,000 cheaper than the D800).

So, which one takes better pictures?
Well, here’s the thing and its the big tiebreaker: where will you images be seen? If your images are seen on the web, I don’t think anyone will really be able to tell you, at web resolution, which shot was taken with the D800 or the D600 — even large sized images on the Web will look pretty much about the same (if not identical). However the one place where these two images will really hit that fork in the road is when you print really large images. At 13″ x 19″,  I think they would probably look very close to the naked eye if not identical.  At 30 x 40 , you’ll probably see a visible difference. As you get larger in size, the D800 images will really pull away from the D600s (or the D4′s for that matter), but you’ll have to go fairly big to start to see a real difference. So, honestly, unless you’re printing really large files, I’d have a hard time telling you to choose anything other than the D600 — it’s just that right camera at the right price with the right features for most of us.

Now, I know that since I’ve written this I will immediately hear from some photographers who’ll say “Scott, I have the D800 and it’s a wonderful travel photography camera” and then from someone else who uses it for sports and it’s perfect for them, and that’s fine— if you’re happy with your camera choice that’s great. Just remember this: loads of folks bought the D800 when it first came out, and I talked to a number of folks who bought it thinking it was the upgraded D700. That being said, it’s very, very, very rare to read anyone ever admit “I bought the wrong camera.” In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that sentence written online ever. As photographers, our job is to defend our purchase, and never admit we might have jumped the gun a bit, and I’m fully aware of that (and I hope you are, too). So, if you bought the D800 just to shoot Facebook profile photos for your clients, I fully expect you to tell my why you made the right choice. It’s OK. If you’re happy, that’s really all that matters.

They both have their Strengths and Differences
I shot with both cameras and they both have their strengths and weaknesses.  I think the reason why there are two separate cameras — the  D600 and D800 is because they were created for two very different customers and that’s a good thing because instead of just having just a D700 and D3 (like we used to have — just those two choices), now we’ve got this other camera in between (the D800) that I think actually replaces the very expensive D3x but at a fraction of the price, and I think that’s a great thing. The D3x was aimed at commercial photographers, and that’s who I think the D800 probably works best for, though those high res files may also appeal to some of us landscape and portrait photographers, too.

The bottom-line
There is nothing I hate more than reading a shootout review or article in a magazine comparing two or more cameras and at the end, the writer really doesn’t choose one or the other, they just kind of leave you with “Well, it depends on what you’re needs are, they’re both great cameras.” Well, duh. Every purchase we make depends on what our needs are. Well, I don’t want to leave you with that either, so I’m going to tell you what I told my friend. Get the D600.
I hope that helps you somewhat if you’re in that same “on the fence” situation between these two great cameras, and I hope it helps you make your decision that much easier. Cheers.
Thursday
Nov
2012
01

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  34 Comments

One Light, Two Light with Joe McNally in Philadelphia & Tampa
The magical unicorn of lighting, Joe McNally, is going to be in Philadelphia tomorrow, November 2, and Tampa on November 5 with his One Light, Two Light seminar! Whether you’re using small flash or studio lighting, Joe shows the amazing results you can get using just one or two lights. It’s not to late to sign up for these seminars, or you can leave a comment for a chance to win a free ticket! I’ll choose a winner for each this afternoon, so don’t wait to leave a comment.

Photoshop for Photographers with Scott Kelby in Boston
The miniature pony of Photoshop, Scott Kelby, is going to be in Boston on November 7 with his Photoshop for Photographers seminar! Scott shows photographers his famed 7-Point System for Camera Raw, 10 Portrait Retouching Techniques Every Photographer Needs To Know, Down & Dirty Tricks, Killer Tips, and ends the day showing how he finishes an image beginning to end.

If you want to know how to make your images look great quickly, sign up right here! Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket.

Conquering Midday Light with Lindsay Adler
Doing an on-location portrait shoot, and the only time your subject is available is the middle of the day? That’s every photographer’s worst nightmare. Well, thanks to Lindsay Adler’s latest class on Kelby Training, it doesn’t have to be anymore. In Conquering Midday Light, Lindsay shows you how to create great images even in the harshest of light. With just a couple of accessories and available light, you can still get images that you and your subject will both love.

Shortcut Sumo
Scott told you all about this on Tuesday, but it’s a free app and today is Free Stuff Thursday, so I’m mentioning it again! :-) Shortcut Sumo was designed to help you find all the shortcuts available in Adobe Camera Raw, Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, along with some of The Photoshop Guys’ favorite shortcuts in a short video for each program.

[And, of course, they couldn't just do something like "Hi, I'm Matt, and my favorite Lightroom shortcut is pressing D to switch to the Develop module." because that would be lame and boring. So, let's just say they decided to have fun with the videos :-)]

Right now, the Adobe Camera Raw module is available for free, the Photoshop module is available for $2.99, and Lightroom, Illustrator, and InDesign are on the way!

Winners
Photoshop CS6 for Photographers with Scott Kelby
- John Swarce

One Light, Two Light with Joe McNally
- Zach Winnie

Lightroom 4 Live with Matt Kloskowski
- Michael Scott (but only if you show up as Michael Scott…)

Kelby Training Book/DVD
- Maarten Mennes

That’s it for today. And if you’re in the US, don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour this weekend!

Wednesday
Oct
2012
31

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Frank Doorhof!

by Brad Moore  |  23 Comments

Let me start of by introducing myself.

My name is Frank Doorhof, and I’m based in the Netherlands where I run a photostudio together with my wife Annewiek. We shoot mainly fashion, artists, celebrities and some family work.

Where most people will probably know me from is the workshops and the videos you can find on Kelby Training. You probably already read a lot from me about why you should use a light meter, calibrate your monitor and use a color checker…. So when I’m asked for a guest post on Scott’s blog I decided to do it a bit differently this time.

One of the things I always hear during the workshops I teach can be boiled down to two main topics:

Creativity and getting your name known.

Let’s look at these two for todays guestblog.

Creativity
When I do portfolio reviews I see a lot of nice work, but very often I see work that I think could be improved A LOT by adding some simple things in the image. In other words, the light is great, the posing of the model is okay, the location is great but… Well, let’s start at the beginning.

We all know how we started out right?

A model with jeans and a tanktop. Now this is great as an outfit for outside, don’t get me wrong. I love jeans and a tanktop (although you will never see me wearing them :D) However when we do a photo shoot it’s often much more interesting to add something extra to the image and this is were the problems start…. Styling costs money right?

Well yes and no.

What a lot of photographers forget is that you don’t really need a stylist per se. A stylist is a great addition to your shoot, but there is a lot you can do yourself just by being “creative.” Most of all, learn to see possibilities with materials and props you would normally probably not see fit for photoshoots.

I can write a lot of text, but let’s look at some examples and you can see how material that actually did not cost anything (or very little) can make some really interesting images.

The material in this first image is actually bubble plastic. A lot of companies have big rolls of this in the packing department, and with a bit of creativity, the model has a new dress. When lighting this material it gives an awesome look due to the structure of the bubbles and the slight reflective look.

The next image did raise some eyebrows when people heard during a seminar what the material was for these dresses… Believe it or not, but it’s all Christmas wrapping paper that was left from Christmas, so in fact it got a second life.

But you can also use props.

In the following shot I used an old window that I bought for less than $20 in a junk yard. The dress the model wears looks like a wedding dress with a twist, but it’s not a dress at all. The whole dress is made out of curtains (yeah the stuff that hangs in front of windows).

That same dress can be made into something really special… Continue reading

Tuesday
Oct
2012
30

It’s Shortcut Sumo: The Biggest, Baddest Collection of Adobe Keyboard Shortcuts Ever!

by Scott Kelby  |  34 Comments

It’s big. It’s bad. It’s here — Shortcut Sumo, a brand-new ebook from “The Photoshop Guys” at the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) [Matt, RC, Corey, Pete, and me] with quick, easy access to all the Mac and PC keyboard shortcuts for Adobe Camera Raw, Photoshop, Lightroom, InDesign and Illustrator and it’s available NOW for the iPad.

Here’s the Scoop:
If there was ever an idea that works as an ebook, this is it because to do the book the way I envisioned it, you really couldn’t do it as a printed book — it would literally be thousands of pages; as thick as a phone book and nobody would ever buy it at the price you’d need to charge. That’s because I really felt this book would need to have two very specific features:

(1) I wanted just one shortcut per page. That’s right — just one, but with some bonuses, like a screen capture of what the shortcut is for, a full keyboard visually showing just that one the shortcut, and a brief sentence that explains the shortcut.

(2) If you use a Mac, you should only see Mac keyboards shortcuts. Same with a PC. So, when you first launch the App, you tap on Mac or PC, and from then on, you only see the shortcuts for the platform you chose (but you can change your mind, anytime). That means creating a separate page for every Mac shortcut, and another for every PC shortcut. Way too costly to do in print, but perfect for an eBook.

But today’s ebook format didn’t give me quite what we needed
The standard ebook format (used by everyone from Apple’s iBooks store to Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and so on), doesn’t allow you to type in a word and have it search through the book, and with a book of keyboard shortcuts, we felt it would be important to be able to search using a key word, so that was one of the reasons we decided to make the book an App, rather than a standard ePub book found in the iBook store.

A small kink in the plan
It’s always something, right? In this case, it happens when you key word search — at this point in the development of the App, the search results bring up both the PC and Mac shortcuts (not just the shortcuts for the platform you chose at the beginning). So, as long as you’re looking through the contents pages to find the shortcut you’re looking for, it stays platform specific. If you type in a search term, you get both. Not a deal breaker, but it’s not exactly the way we wanted it to work, but it gives us something to work on going forward.

Since it’s an App, now we can add video, right?
Right! We included a short video at the start of each program where we each share a few of our favorite tips. The tips are good, the presentation is…well…we very loosely kept with the theme [wink]. Check out RC in the screen cap above and you’ll see what I mean.

How much does it cost?
The Shortcut Sumo App is FREE and comes with the shortcut module for Adobe Camera Raw. Additional Modules are $2.99 each, and the module for Photoshop CS6 is already available for download right from the App (we’re just finishing up other shortcut modules for Lightroom, InDesign, and Adobe illustrator, which when added to the Camera Raw and Photoshop, they form the “Biggest, Baddest Collection of Adobe keyboard shortcuts ever!” [insert gong sound here].

I hope you’ll check it out today (especially since the Camera Raw module is free). Here’s the link to Shortcut Sumo on the iTunes store, and of course you can just search for “Shortcut Sumo” on your iPad in the App Store. Hope you like and find it useful.

Monday
Oct
2012
29

Bad news alert: We’re having to cancel my seminar in Washington DC today

by Scott Kelby  |  6 Comments

I wish I had better news about this one, but due to Sandy (the massive storm), most of DC and the surrounding areas are in a state of emergency and we had no choice but to postpone today’s event (my Photoshop for Photographers seminar).

We’re working with the Convention Center to reschedule a new date as soon as possible, and I’ll keep you informed as soon as we know the date. Of course, we’re very disappointed, and we know many of you are, too — thanks for understanding, and we’ll be back on a sunny day real soon.

If you are registered for the event, keep an eye on your email for more details. In the meantime, stay safe everyone and know that our prayers are with you.

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