Wednesday
Nov
2012
14

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Moose Peterson!

by Brad Moore  |  27 Comments

Pushing the Envelope

I have a phrase for it, the Darwin Theory of Photography – Evolve or Perish. While it’s very true that I’m a gear head and one of my greatest pleasures in life is to get a new piece of gear and just sit and inhale the new gear smell, there is most definitely a method behind my madness. I love telling stories and since I can’t draw, dancing is out of the question and my family won’t even let me sing in the shower that leaves me with photography to tell my stories. In 1998 when I first started to shoot digital, I knew then that the means in which I delivered my photographic stories was going to have to change.

It gets complicated for Sharon & me in the fact that we make our livelihood by telling stories with my photographs. The editorial marketplace is where we have worked and grown for the last three decades in part of our own mission to get the word out about our wild heritage. Realizing from the get-go that we couldn’t do it on our own, we needed to enlist every possible photographer in shooting and sharing their stories, so then our editorial requirement grew from our own stories to helping photographers tell theirs as well. This created an even greater need for the editorial marketplace to be healthy and strong.

Over the years digital photography has as you know become more and more powerful as a medium. Its ability to instantly tell a story and the web’s ability to deliver it has in some ways crippled our traditional method of telling stories. Many a magazine and newspaper has succumbed to this new pressure due in part to not following what they don’t know about, my Darwin Theory of Photography. In a nutshell, if you’re a storyteller, you gotta have a way and place to tell your story. And if you’re a storyteller who tells stories with photographs and depends upon magazines for a vehicle and they are disappearing, your ability to tell stories is going to disappear too. And if you have a mission to help others, the pressure is even greater. You gotta push the envelope!

One of the greatest perks of working with all the great folks at NAPP is the constant flow of creativity. I am very fortunate to be able to sit down and talk with Scott or Matt or RC or Moser and discuss the creative and business side of photography and outreach. It was from a conversation with Scott years ago when the iPad was first made known to us though it was not on the market yet that got my wheels turning. It was then that I saw at least in my own mind, a way to push the envelope of photography and the editorial marketplace and deliver content in a very new and exciting way.

Shortly after the iPad’s release, a plug-in became available for InDesign that permits you to take your InDesign document to the iPad. I’m not talking eBook, which is just a glorified PDF. I’m talking a whole new method to deliver content in an exciting and visually more stimulating way, taking advantage of all the unique qualities of the iPad to improve learning. This was the way we could push the envelope and take advantage of our digital photography and the way more and more want to receive their content, how they want to learn. One major, big, giant problem…it was way over my head!

I was sitting at my desk working and our son Brent was down for the weekend from college. Brent has this unbelievable ability to make computers sing with just a glance. He was looking over my shoulder while we were talking and I was doing battle with the program when he asked, “Dad, what are you trying to do?” I explained it to him, kinda and he just said, “I’ve got a minute why don’t you let me try it?” The rest is history now. He had it working within a heartbeat and my blood pressure went back to normal.

Our first goal was to take our 15yr old BT Journal to the iPad. The main thing was to just not “take” it to the iPad but take advantage of the iPad technology. The first thing that came to light is the ability to deliver more photographs and more of their stories. Brent loves the “push dad button” as he started asking for more and more photos for the digital version of the BTJ. This is because he was able to do slideshows, adding 400-500% more images to the content. With the traditional editorial model, you have only so much real estate where you can place images. Such is not the case with the iPad, which not only vastly increases useable real estate but also presents the layout designed both in landscape and portrait format. (And when magazines can use more and more photos and you’re in the business of selling images, this is a good formula!)

But our abilities to present content in more untraditional ways doesn’t stop there.  When you go to iPubs, you have the ability to incorporate video content right along with the written and visual. This is very powerful stuff when it comes to teaching and inspiring! One of the first cool videos Brent incorporated was of Upper Yosemite Falls. When you flip the page in the BTJ, folks see the waterfall shot and at first think it’s a still image until after a moment they notice the water is flowing, falling and crashing. The look on folks’ faces when they see their digital magazine “come to life” is great! Being able to include video got Brent to thinking and that’s how the Pg28 Videos came to be. Where on the hard copy Pg28 are just photo captions (which are greatly expanded and attached to the photos in the digital version), in the digital version Pg28 are video Photoshop lessons about photos in the issue. It wasn’t long before we realized there are no limitations! Our latest BTJ issue with an interactive map is an example of this, but wait, there is so much more.

You might have noticed I like to take pictures of planes. For awhile now, I’ve been trying to get you excited about playing with planes. Just like with wildlife photography, I’ve been putting out information on how to improve your aviation photography and wanted to put it all in one place for folks, what we traditionally call a book. Well, no one wanted to publish a book on aviation photography, “no market” was the response. Publishing a book is expensive, distribution is tricky and marketing is everything and this all takes time. Brent & I put our heads together and decided we were going to push the envelope again and produced the world’s first iBook, Taking Flight.

Taking Flight took one month to write, lay out, assemble and put on the market. Taking Flight is an iBook that has hundreds of photographs, web links, videos and the best thing, is updatable! That’s right! Our iBook (only $14.99) includes free updates, which we have already done in the form of additional photos and more videos since its release. If you want a new edition of a traditional book, what do you have to do, buy a new book right? This is not the case with an iBook. The worldwide response has been so amazing that we’re working on our next iBook, and it will be FREE!! We don’t stop pushing the envelope around here.

But what does this all have to do with you? I know one of the first comments below will be, “I don’t have an iPad or will it be coming out on Android?” which to me is no different than, “I don’t have $29.95 to buy a book.” And I’m sure each producer of a new means of communication since the printing press has heard the same basic comment for their day at the introduction of their product. That brings us back to the Darwin Theory of Photography. And this is not for those books you want to curl up with next to a fire on a snowy afternoon. What we’re talking about here is increasing the marketplace, the means to tell our visual stories in a changing editorial world, which we need to support if we want it to support us!

Our traditional model of delivering content is fading with newspapers, magazines, and books slowly disappearing from our visual landscape. If you are like me and tell your stories visually through the editorial medium, this means you’re going to lose if nothing else, income. If you not only need that income but also have a burning desire to share your photographs (which you all should have!), then you need to push the envelope and be part of how we develop the next generation of magazines and books. You can do that by subscribing to all the magazines now available on the iPad and buying those iBooks that might interest you. At the same time, think creatively how you can add content to these mediums and get more involved in sharing your photographs.

Evolve or perish…be it a new body, lens, technique or passion, it is at the heart of my photography. And I hope now I’ve planted the seed that becomes the heart of yours. When Brad pinged me to write about how Brent & I went to the iPad with content, I scratched my head how the story might be of service to you. And in a long winded way, I came back to really basics illustrated with a high ended story. Pushing ourselves and more importantly our photography is what all great photographers have done since the dawning of the medium, which is how we got where we are today. It is now up to us to push past camera brands and megapixels and focus on telling the story of our days by using the mediums now available to us. Don’t settle, share your photographs and change the world, knowing that in part you do it by pushing the envelope!

You can see more of Moose’s work at MoosePeterson.com, follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook, and circle him on Google+

Tuesday
Nov
2012
13

Behind The Scenes Shots: Athlete Portrait Shoot

by Scott Kelby  |  28 Comments

On Friday I did a series of promo shots for Performance Compound, a training facility where a lot of pro athletes train, everyone from NFL players to Major League Baseball, and did about 14 portraits that day assisted by Brad Moore and crew (that’s Third Baseman Sean Buckley above) and I thought I’d share a couple of finals here, along with the behind-the-scenes photos and the post-processed and unprocessed images.

This entire process is the same as what I showed on my Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it tour, with the addition of one extra back light on the subject (as you’ll see in a moment). Here goes:

1. Above: here’s the shot as it came out of the camera. I used a Grid on the beauty dish above his head to get a quick fall-off on the light. My main concern here is the side lighting from the back, and that part looks good. His face is supposed to be darker.

2. Above: Here’s the shot with some simple, quick adjustments in Lightroom’s Basic Panel (if you don’t have Lightroom, it would be exactly the same settings in Photoshop’s Camera Raw). The settings are below.

3. Above: I wasn’t kidding about simple adjustments: Just increased the Whites a bit, plus lots of Clarity and I lowered the Vibrance a bit to desaturate his skin. I also took the Adjustment Brush, increased the Exposure slider a little bit (dragging to the right) and painted over his face to brighten it (It’s supposed to be a lot darker than the sides, but I thought it was a bit too dark). The white balance was set to Auto in my camera and look fine in this case.

4. Above: Here’s a behind-the-scenes shot of the lighting set-up: 17″ beauty dish with a grid: two strip banks in back on the sides with fabric grids. We have a tiny bit of light on the white background to make it a very light gray (if we turned the power up, it would turn solid white). Production photo by Brad Moore.

5. Above: Here’s a composite from the exact shot you see in #4. The two backgrounds (here and at the top) are from an awesome company called “Photo Art Streetscapes” (link). Their stuff costs a bit more, but it’s totally worth it.

As for matching him to his surroundings: I showed the techniques of how to match the overall color and tone of the composited image on my live “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch It” tour, and in my “Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it “ book as well (Amazon or Barnes & Noble), and Matt covers all of this in his Compositing Secrets book, too! (Amazon or Barnes & Noble).

Well, there ya have it —- short and sweet. Hope you all have a fantastic Tuesday! :-)

Monday
Nov
2012
12

Some Shots from Yesterday’s Bucs/Chargers Game

by Scott Kelby  |  27 Comments

Today I’m mostly just going to just share some shots from the game (thankfully I did a lot, lot better this week than last), but for me the game was awesome for three reasons:

(1) I tweaked my sports photography workflow (thanks to suggestions from people here on the blog and in particular, a bunch of tweaks from sports photographer, and my new hero, Rob Foldy — more on this very soon). I uploaded nearly 60 photos to the wire service, in about 1/2 the time.

(2) I bought the right lens. For day games, that 24-120mm f/4 is definitely what I was looking for as a go-to lens for my 2nd body and I’m really happy with it. Shooting at f/4 is a bit more challenging in a dome (haven’t tried it at night yet), but so far, I think it’s the 2nd body lens for me.

(3) I learned from last week’s mistakes and double-checked everything from the get-go. It helped — one of my shots (above and below) made the sports “Pictures of the Day” (below).

Oh yeah, and the Bucs won (Whoo Hooo!). As I write this though, I’ve got the Bears game on (GO BEARS!). Hated to see that the Falcons lost (especially to the Saints, in our same division and they’re coming on strong), but now it’s up to the Bears to beat Houston (fingers crossed).

OK, here’s some images (with the occasional caption):

Above: I like this one because you can see Bucs QB Josh Freeman in the background as his pass goes into the hands of Dallas Clack, who is two yards from the goal line. He turns, takes to steps and scores!

Above: It’s not what you think: Bucs punter Michael Koenen is actually celebrating — his kick was good, and it sealed the win for the Bucs and when he turned around to head for the bench he kicked an imaginary ball into the stands to celebrate.

That’s it for this week! I’m off to Washington DC soon for my seminar this Thursday (this is the re-scheduled one from the one we had to postpone due to Hurricane Sandy). If you haven’t signed up to spend the day with me learning a ton of cool Photoshop techniques for photographers, it’s not too late. Here’s the link. 

Hope you all have a awesome Monday (I know, that’s an oxymoron). LOL! Cheers. -Scott

 

Monday
Nov
2012
12

by Scott Kelby  |  3 Comments

Yesterday was Veterans Day in the US, and I wanted to take a moment to honor and thank the men and women who have served in our country’s military, and who fought to defend the very freedoms we enjoy today.

America owes you a debt of gratitude for your service and sacrifice, and I just wanted to join in with a heartfelt thanks.

Friday
Nov
2012
09

Some Shots From the Falcons/Cowboys Game Last Sunday

by Scott Kelby  |  18 Comments

I love shooting the Atlanta Falcons. First, I get to shoot with the awesome Falcons Photo Crew — Jimmy Cribbs, Matt Lange, Lynn Bass and Michael Benford are just some of the most fun, most gracious, and most talented guys around and I have so much fun shooting with them. I always wind up learning new stuff from these guys.

Secondly, because I’m shooting for the team, they let me do stuff like set up remote cameras in insane places to get shots like the one you see above, taken during the team introductions before kickoff.

Above: Here’s where I set up the remote camera. You have to get permission from the Pyrotechnics crew to place your gear in this area, but just like everybody I’ve met that has anything to do with the Falcons, the guy was incredibly friendly and helpful. In the third quarter he even found me on the sidelines and said, “Next time you’re up here, get with me early and we’ll find a really cool place to put it!” and I about fell over (and I’m going to take him up on his offer, because I’ve got an idea where I’d like to try next time and it will definitely need approval and help from him).

Above: Here’s a close-up (these two are a little blurry — shot with my iPhone). I tried out a new mounting rig this time and I love it. It’s called an fplate from fplate.net and compared to other remote mounts it’s a steal at just $55. It’s very well made, and it’s designed to have you mount a bullhead on it (it comes with different size tripod screws). I had a small challenge with my “Really Right Stuff” ballhead because the knob is so large that it hits the bottom of the plate when you try and tighten it, so next time I’m going to use a Gitzo ballhead I have that has a round tightening knob and that should do the trick.

Above: Here’s a screen cap from their Website so you can see the plate a bit better. Lightweight but solid as anything. I might have to pick up their plate that lets you mount 2 remotes on one plate. Mmmmm. Two remotes. :)

Above: Once I set the remote in place, I stand in the spot where I think the players will pause when they come out, and I fire a few shots so the Auto Focus kicks in, and then I walk back to the remote; check the focus on the LCD, and then I switch the focus to Manual mode so it doesn’t change again. I also got photographer Phil Williams (very nice guy) to help me out by acting as my “focus model” for a few frames, too! You can see me holding the Pocket Wizard remote in my hand which triggers the remote camera. Over my shoulder is my other camera, with a 15mm Sigma Fisheye lens, mounted on the end of my monopod so I can shoot up high farther down the field as the players come out. When I fire the Pocket Wizard in my hand, it fires both cameras simultaneously.

By the way: The bright green vest means tells the security guards that you’re with the team so you get extra access, like being on field during the warm-ups and stuff like that. Green means GO!

Setting up a Remote Camera
If you want to see how easy it is to set up a wireless remote camera, watch the video above from our new photography tips weekly show, “Photography Tips & Tricks” (Photo TNT for short), and my remote tutorial starts at around 7:49 seconds into the show.

One problem that burned me at another game was when I think either the camera or the remote went into “Sleep” mode on me, so I was careful to test the camera and fire a burst of shots every couple of minutes to make sure everything. Right before the introduced the players, Lynn was kind enough to lean down and listen to see if he could hear my remote camera burst off a round of shots in High-Speed Continuous mode. He gave me a thumbs up after hearing it go off (and seeing the little red light on the remote) and we were good to go.

I’ve got a number of solid shots from them coming out, but they all look pretty much like the one you see at the top (which is my favorite of the bunch).

Above: I got to take my fisheye/monopod rig out for the coin toss at center field to start the game. This is the ref announcing who won the toss (Cowboys) and you can still see the coin on the field behind him. I shot the actual toss but since I was shooting kind of blind (remember, the camera is out at the end of my monopod) in those shots I cut the head off the refs (which should only be reserved for replacement refs), so I (ahem) won’t be showing off those (cough).

Why all the focus on the remote shots?
For every game I shoot, well after the game I look at my images and do an honest assessment on how I did, what I did right, what I did wrong, and how I can improve next time. The most important word there is “honest.” I’m especially hard on myself when it comes to my photography, but I think it’s helped me to improve. Going in to this game, I felt like I was really getting in the groove so I was excited to be shooting such a dynamic team in such an important game, but as I looked at my images, I confirmed what I had felt during the game. I had an off night. It happens.

It was one of those games where I was in the wrong position at the wrong time; I missed some key plays, my timing and focus was less than stellar, and I had a setting wrong that had a lot of my fisheye shots looking kind of soft, so overall I was disappointed with everything but my remote work above, but I’ll share a few that came out OK below.

I also made a rookie mistake — I didn’t double-check my settings before the game and I shot nearly half of the first quarter with the settings Brad had used the night before at a concert. I figured he changed them back to my sports settings, and he hadn’t. It’s not Brad’s fault — it’s mine. I should have checked. It wasn’t until I saw some blurry shots I realized I was shooting at 1/320 of a second in Auto ISO. I can tell you — if it’s below 1/1000 of a second (even 1/800th), the shots aren’t going to be tack sharp. Totally 100% my fault. That won’t happen again.

Above: This one makes me laugh ’cause it kind of tells the story of how the Cowboy’s played that night.

Camera Settings
My settings are pretty much the same for most games in a dome — high ISO because of the low lighting (I know what you’re thinking, “Low lighting!!!???” I had to shoot at 5,000 ISO on my 2nd body because my 24-120mm lens is an f/4 and at f/4 with the Georgia Dome’s lighting, I have to shoot at least 4,000 if not 5,000 ISO to reach 1/1000 of a second. This is why I love day games. :)

Above: Michael Turner scores the only touchdown of the entire game to set up the Falcon’s big win. 

On my main body, with the 400mm f/2.8, I leave it at f/2.8 all night (I shoot in Aperture Priority mode) and I’m usually between 1,600 and 2,000 ISO in a dome or at night like this. My focus is set to Continuous at 9 points.

Above: A totally spontaneous, non-posed, completely natural shot of my buddy Matt Lange, a totally spontaneous, non-posed kind of guy showing off with his 600mm lens. 

The Falcons are now 8 – 0, but…
…the Falcon’s crew of photographers (led by the amazing Jimmy Cribbs) are always #1!!! It’s a real honor to get to shoot for them and alongside Mike, Matt and Lynn, and I’m thrilled for the year their team is having. OK guys, now go beat the Saints — I’ll be shooting the Bucs/Chargers game on Sunday (in glorious 100 ISO daylight shooting conditions). Whoo Hoo!!!

Trying Something New
On Sunday’s game I’m going to be trying out my new modified sports post-processing workflow with tweaks suggested by  my buddy Rob Foldy after I outlined my bottleneck a few weeks ago (link), and I’m very psyched to give it a try. If I pull it off, I’ll have more details next week. :)

And make sure you check out my other post for today for a killer “This Weekend Only Deal” from Image Wizards!

Friday
Nov
2012
09

“This Weekend Only Deal” on AluminArte Metal Prints from Image Wizards!

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments

These are the prints on metal (aluminum) from ImageWizards (I’ve talked about their prints quite a bit before—here’s the link). Even though I’ve seen other prints on metal, I’ve never seen metal prints like theirs (don’t confuse these with printing on metallic paper—this isn’t printing on paper at all—your image is printed on Aluminum [they call it AluminArte]. The detail is insane!!!).

Since the detail is insane, we asked them for some insane deals. Here they are:

Today through Sunday, November 11, ImageWizards is offering a couple of special deals:

20% off any size up to 24×36 for either Framed To Edge or Float Mount prints, plus FREE shipping*

OR

20% off anything over 24×36 for Framed to Edge prints

Just go to ImageWizards.net and enter the promo code SKB20FS in the Comments box during checkout to get your discount!

Limit of 4 AluminArte metal prints per client

*Standard UPS ground in the contiguous US on final productions in New Corrugated packaging only

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