Friday
Sep
2012
21

Some Shots from my Monday Night Football Shoot with the Atlanta Falcons

by Scott Kelby  |  53 Comments

What a wild, long, confusing, exciting game as the Atlanta Falcons whupped up on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football up in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome.

I had a total blast because I got to shoot with the Falcons crew (the awesome Michael Benford, the magnanimous Matt Lange, and the gentlemen of NFL football photography, the incredible Jimmy Cribbs), and their guest (and our mutual buddy) Joey Wright. Overall, I had a pretty lame shooting night and I was pretty disappointed with what I got, but at least I did like some of the fisheye stuff I got from the full frame Sigma 15mm fisheye lens I was trying out. I liked it so much, yesterday I bought it (it was $300 cheaper then Nikon’s full frame 16mm lens which is an older lens that hasn’t been updated in a while). It’s sharp, has great contrast and a fast auto-focus. Totally digging it.

Here’s a shot Joey took of me taking the fisheye shot I showed above this one. I liked it so much, I made it my Facebook cover photo (thanks Joey!). This was about three hours before game time, and right before the opened the doors to the public. That’s my favorite time for stadium shots — when it’s empty like this. A few hours later, the dome was packed to the gills and it was an absolutely electric atmosphere in the Georgia Dome.

Like I said, I was pretty disappointed with how I shot overall, but here’s a few that I did get (more on the fisheye stuff in just a minute).

Some Fisheye Work
When you’re shooting for the Falcons (they get all my shots straight off the card, which is pretty terrifying by the way, especially with the night I was having), you get extra access (and a green photo vest that tells security its okay for you to do things like go on the field while the players are warming up about 45 minutes before kickoff).

So, I put my Sigma 15mm lens on my camera; attached my camera to the end of my Monopod, and put a PocketWizard Plus II on the camera, and I held another Pocket Wizard Plus II in in my hand to wirelessly trigger the camera on the end of the monpod. Then I headed out to the field to catch these shots — I balanced the foot of my monopod on my knee to balance it and then I extended it up high over the players (It was actually only about a foot or two above the players, but the fisheye makes it look like it’s MUCH higher, as seen below).

(Above: Here’s an iPhone photo of the rig — you can see the camera mounted on top of the monopod, and the PocketWizard Plus II on top, with a short cable into the socket on the camera. I’m holding another PocketWizard Plus II in my hands. The JBL vocal monitor on the bottom left is so I can hear myself singing over the crowd noise. ;-)).

(Above: Here’s another shot of the rig in action where I’m taking the shot you see below [iPhone photo by Mike Benford].  The bottom of the monopod is on my thigh — the top of the camera is cut off, but it’s there). 

My epic remote-camera fail
To be able to mount a remote camera anywhere near where the players come out, you have to first get permission from the guys that handle the pyrotechnics and the safety crew, and these crews generally would just rather you didn’t use a remote camera and they treat you that way, but in Atlanta, they were incredibly accommodating and even helped me find a better, closer vantage point. How sweet (and usual) is that (but honestly, that’s how it is in Atlanta — everybody I came in contact with, from elevator operators to the guys that hand out the photo vests, were as friendly and chatting and just downright nice as can be). So, I got my remote all set-up in an awesome place — right where the players come out, and the smoke is shooting out, and the fireworks and fire are going off. This is going to be Epic. Unfortunately, it was an epic fail.

I tested it out, and the remote triggered perfectly. The aim was right (I used a beanbag tripod I picked up at B&H Photo called “The Pod” so I could place it right where I wanted it on the ground), and then I set-up at mid-field to capture the players as they came out through the smoke and fire (see the shot above — four shots back) so that way I could get them from two angle. I had the Sigma 15mm fisheye on the ground aiming up, and the 400mm f/2.8 out on the field with me.

(Above: There’s my remote rig, on silent duty waiting patiently for the players to run through the smoke and fire.)

I hit the PocketWizard every time a player came through the smoke — the only problem was — it never fired. Not once. I have no idea why. Uggh. Could have been so cool. Sigh.

There were a lot of fireworks between the replacement refs and Broncos Headcoach John Fox. This photo gives you an idea of how he felt.

Above: Here’s my load-out for the game: L to R: Gel-filled kneepads (from Lowes), and a Gitzo monopod. My main body is a Nikon D4, and the 2nd body is a Nikon D3s. 400mm f.2.8 lens (top); Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 I’m trying out; Nikon 1.4x teleconverter for the 400mm (making it around 540mm); a 70-200mm f/2.8 for my 2nd body; a beanbag with a tripod mount for the remote shot as the player’s come out [well, that was the plan anyway], and the Sigma 15mm fisheye [the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye I use is for cropped sensor bodies. That has its advantages, but you lose half your megapixels]. Lastly, it’s all in a ThinkTank Photo Airport rolling bag. I’m also now using the Lexar X1000 speed cards for sports which is absolutely insane!!!! (and perfect for sports). The whole thing is just a blast to hoist up into the overhead bin. :)

And all was going well, until….
While I absolutely had the best time of any game this year, I had a rough day on the field. I was out of position for just about everything. One time I was in the perfect position for an amazing touchdown catch from Bronco’s receiver Demaryius Thomas (I was right there — it happened right in front of me), and I knew I had nailed it. Right after, I looked at my screen and sure enough — I had it dead on.

Then I zoomed in and saw that every frame was out of focus. I set up my second camera WITHOUT the backfocus button, so if I have to grab it quickly I won’t miss finding the back button. However, in my excitement from finally being in the exact right spot, all I pressed was the backfocus button and instead focused on the players 20 feet behind him. I blew it. Ugh!!!!  I just stood there shaking my head (and uttering a string of words normally reserved for rappers), but there was nothing I could do but try to make the 2nd half better, which I did, and things finally started coming together.


Above: L to R: that’s me, Matt Lange (who apparently got ahold of some bad sushi), and Joey Wright before the game — photo by Michael Benford.

Overall, I still had the best time yet. Mike, Matt and Jimmy are the most fun, gracious, and talented group of guys anywhere, and Joey Wright kept us laughing the whole time (it was great getting to know him better). And while the game went on for a lifetime (I didn’t’ get back to my hotel until after 2:00 am), I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. I caught an early flight home and was back in the office by lunchtime. All-in-all — totally worth every minute of it! :)


Above: If you’ve ever wondered what Falcon’s Creative Director Michael Benford would look like if shot from above with a 15mm fisheye lens, well, now we finally know. He and Matt make an insane team — both top notch graphics designers and shooters — the Falcon’s are lucky to have these guys (and I’m lucky to have them as friends). :)

What’s next?
On Sunday I’m off to Nashville for the Titans vs Lions game, then the following week I’m back shooting the Bucs in Tampa vs. the Redskins, then onto Jacksonville the following week for the Bears vs. the Jags. I am LOVING football season!!!

Thursday
Sep
2012
20

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  90 Comments

Guitar Raffle for Springs of Hope
Tomorrow is the last day to buy a raffle ticket for your chance to win a Schecter guitar signed by all the Photoshop Guys! All proceeds go to help the Springs of Hope Kenya Orphanage, so buy as many tickets as you like :-) You can also donate directly to Springs of Hope if you’d like.

Photoshop CS6 for Photographers – Los Angeles
Scott Kelby is heading to Los Angeles on October 3 for the Photoshop CS6 for Photographers Tour! Join Scott for the day to get tips and tricks for finishing your photographs in the digital darkroom of Photoshop.

We’re giving away two free tickets to this seminar, so leave a comment for your chance to win!

One Light, Two Light – Atlanta
After today’s Hartford seminar, the next stop on Joe McNally’s One Light, Two Light seminar is Atlanta on September 28! Joe is a master of light, no matter what kind, how many, or what size. If you want to know how to create great images with just one or two lights, you don’t want to miss this seminar.

Leave a comment for your chance to win one of two tickets!

KelbyTraining.com
Photographing The Making Of An Athlete with Bill Frakes is the latest addition to KelbyTraining.com. Join veteran Sports Illustrated photographer Bill Frakes at the legendary Kona Skatepark in Jacksonville, Florida, as he photographs Cason Kirk, one of the best young skaters in the country!

Leave a comment for your chance to win a 1-month subscription to Kelby Training!

His Light Workshop in Slot Canyons & Monument Valley
Two names… Bill Fortney. RC Concepcion
Where? Monument Valley and Slot Canyons
When? November 3-11

Find out more and sign up here, and leave a comment to win a copy of RC’s The HDR Book!

Mpix Hip My House Winner
Mpix has announced the winner of the Hip My House contest! Head over to their Facebook page to find out who the lucky person is.

The DOORhof Is Always Open
Frank Doorhof has launched his new show, The DOORhof Is Always Open, and each episode is filled with great tips on photography and post processing from Frank and his friends! His latest episode, filmed at Photoshop World Vegas, includes tips from Pete Collins, Dave Black, Rich Harrington, Cliff Mautner, myself and more.

Mastering the Lensbaby with Doug Sahlin
If you’re a fan of the Lensbaby line of creative lenses, you’ll definitely want to check out this book from Doug Sahlin, Mastering the Lensbaby. In this book, Doug walks you through everything you need to know to use the Lensbaby lenses to get great images.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a digital copy of this book!

Winners
One Light, Two Light Seminar
- Bill

Video Nation
- Maarten Mennes

Wednesday
Sep
2012
19

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Colby Brown!

by Brad Moore  |  17 Comments

Let me start off by saying thank you to Scott for reaching out and asking me to put together this guest blog post. While my passion for photography is well known, I love being given the opportunity to talk about the philosophical and underlying importance of realizing just how fortunate we all are to be in the world of photography these days, but I digress…so let’s begin!


“Walking to Nirvana” – Angkor Wat, Cambodia

While my passion for photography lies with my landscape and nature work, it is actually my travel and humanitarian photography that has allowed me to carve out a name for myself in the photography industry. It has been through these experiences of traveling the globe as a photographer and photo educator that I have been able to take a somewhat unique view of both life on this planet and how it correlates to the ever changing photo industry as a whole.

These days, I feel there is no doubt that we are in the middle of a shift when it comes to photography and the photo industry. As digital cameras continue to become more affordable, photo technology continues to advance at unbelievable levels and digital editing software continues to become more accessible and easier to understand, we will continue to see a massive influx of individuals becoming interested in photography as their artistic median of choice.

While photographers of past generations seem to stubbornly focus on the perceived over-saturation of the market, they sadly miss one of the most prolific and fundamentally important virtues of this change. The simple fact that today, more people have the ability to creatively express themselves through the art of photography than ever before in the history of our species. And tomorrow….there will be even more than today.


“Lost Innocence” – Port Au Prince, Haiti

While giving more individuals the ability to capture their experiences throughout life is amazing in its own right, it is through our unprecedented ability to share those images and experiences instantly with the world around us we begin to truly see just how significant this change truly is. According to Internet World Stats in 2011 there were 2,267,233,742 active internet users on the planet. This equates out to roughly 32.7 of the planet. Can anyone guess how much of an increase this was from 2000?

If you guessed 528% then you would be correct! The advent and increased popularity of the Internet has dramatically shaped not only how we find information, but how we share content. While sitting in my office on the complete opposite side of the world I can instantly get information of a civil uprising in Syria, an earthquake in Haiti, the discovery of a new species in Papa New Guinea or simply hear about my sisters new job….all with nearly the same amount of ease…using the same pathways of instant communication that many of us have taken for granted over the years…Social Media.


Colby Brown’s image of Mt. Fitz Roy in Patagoni on his Google+ Account

As Photographers we all should all already understand the importance of the “visual element” when it comes to our photographs. All of us strive to create compelling images that are enjoyed by others, but do we really understand just how powerful our images are in influencing others? Let’s find out…

For the images below, I want you to take a second and asked yourself what are the first words that come to mind when you view each of these photographs individually.

Now while each of us might have different reactions to these images, the average response is fairly consistent when I give this presentation at seminars and photography events.

1st Image – Serene, balance, peace, tranquility. This image is of a set of mountains taken in a valley in Las Glacieres National Park in Southern Argentina.

2nd Image – Destruction, Earthquake, Sorrow, Sadness, Despair. This image is of the Carribean Market in Port Au Prince, just months after the devastating earthquake in 2010.

3rd Image – Happyness, Joy, Warmth, Bright. This image is of a sunflower in my home town of Denver, Colorado.

4th Image – Love, Compassion, Innocence, Peaceful. This image is of my son just hours after he was born in 2012.

The point of this little exercise is to showcase the power that a single image can have over another individual. Not only can an image invoke a particular emotion in the viewer, it also has the power to effectively change their view of a given moment, experience or scene. Think about it. How often have you been moved by an image and allowed it to change the way you think about a particular subject. It could have been an image of a malnourished child in Africa, a group of soldiers in Afghanistan or a Polar Bear floating away on an iceberg.

While these scenes are more exotic that the average photographer typically gets to experience, let’s make this a little more relatable. Have you ever thought about how your images of the area surrounding your home effect other individual’s impression of your state? Let’s use Colorado, my home state as an example. According to Longwoods International, the state of Colorado had 57.9 million visitors in 2011. Out of these travelers, my home state brought in over $10 billion in revenue, which is no small amount, especially in a difficult economy. What does this have to do with photography?

Well every time I shared an image of Colorado, every time I wrote about my travels throughout the Rockies every time I gave a presentation on photographing this beautiful state, that content was published out onto the interwebs for the entire world to see. Was I personally responsible for the massive numbers I listed above? Of course not. But when you imagine the residents of the State of Colorado, the Colorado Tourism Board, all of the businesses that rely on tourism and the travelers themselves all sharing images and stories via the internet and a picture begins to be painted.


“Mt. Wilson in the Fall” – Telluride, Colorado

In understanding these fundamental changes, I created a new organization in 2011 called The Giving Lens. The idea is to combine photo education with supporting sustainable development initiatives in 3rd world countries around the globe. Each workshop we offer acts as a fundraiser where over 60% of the proceeds go back to the NGO’s and individuals we work with on the ground to help fight for child education, women’s rights, clean drinking water projects, species preservation and much more. So far this year we have worked in Peru and Nicaragua, with trips to Cambodia, Jordan, Israel/Palestine, and a second Nicaragua trip on the horizon. The idea is to find tangible outlets for your photography work to make a difference.

In the end the digital revolution of the photography industry and the Internet has changed the world. As more and more individuals are able to afford quality digital cameras and as we continue to become more globally connected through the Internet, the importance of the freedom of artistic expression has never been more visible. As artists and photographers we have the opportunity, and to some extent responsibility, to share our experiences with the world no matter if we are full time professional photographers or just picking up a camera for the first time. From receding glaciers to species preservation to the perception of the place we call home, we all have a role to play in shaping the image of life on this planet.

You can see more of Colby’s work at ColbyBrownPhotography.com, circle him on Google+, and follow him on Twitter

Tuesday
Sep
2012
18

My Life After Drobo

by Scott Kelby  |  77 Comments

For everybody who has been waiting patiently (and otherwise) for what I did after my “I’m done with Drobo” article, today’s the day. I’m so sorry that it’s taken this long, but I was waiting for the last piece of my backup strategy puzzle to be complete, but that’s taken so long that I’m just going to go ahead and write it from where it stands now, so here goes.

First off, I went with G-Tech G-Speed Q drives
Three of them, 12-Terabytes each (they look like the one you see below, and are a little smaller in height and width than my Drobos). I keep one at my house, one in Brad’s office, and another one at the office networked to an Apple Mac-mini so Brad and I can go access it if need be (that one is stored in our server room with our IT guys. At least, that’s where I assume it is, it could be stored at Five Guys burgers for all I know — it just shows up on my network, so I’m cool with that).

When I originally wrote my post about dumping Drobo, and asked for suggestions on what to use instead, I had a lot of folks recommend G-Tech drives and Synology drives as well. I even had the Synergy folks reach out to me on Twitter (though we never actually connected), but when I learned that my in-house video team had been using G-Tech drives and really liked them, that was enough to push me in that direction.

So far — I love them. I was able to move all my stuff off my Drobos (we had to swap drives to a working Drobo to transfer them over to my new G-Tech drives), and everything has been smooth as glass ever since (and I never have a problem mounting my G-Tech).

True Story
Last night Kalebra and I went to our friend Alan’s birthday party, and a photographer comes up to me at the party, introduces himself and asked me what I ever did to replace my Drobo because his Drobo just “bricked” (his words).

He said he bought a replacement to get his images off his Drobo but he wasn’t going to chance that again, but he wasn’t angry — he said his Drobo lasted three years — he was just a little miffed that he had to buy another Drobo to get his images back, which is pretty much what my post was all about.

Part 2: My offsite Back-up: I went with CrashPlan

After this last episode, I wasn’t taking any chances
A lot of folks recommended CrashPlan.com as well for my offsite backup, so we went that route, but I gotta tell —- this is the piece of the puzzle that’s been taking so long. It initially told us that our back-up to CrashPlan.com would take just over a month (yikes!), but then we hit some snags (on our end), and then we learned we were backing up too much stuff to take advantage of their “buy hard drives from Crashplan, fill-them-up, and send them back via FedEx” plan so we just had to wait it out.

Well, with Photoshop World and everything —- we’re STILL backing up, so while this is clearly not the speedy choice for backing up, at least when it’s finally done, I’ll sleep a whole lot better at night.

I wasn’t searching for the cheapest possible deal
I’m sure there are probably cheaper deals out there for on-site and off-site back-up, but the cheapest deal wasn’t my goal. I wanted two methods I could really depend on, and although these were clearly not the cheapest routes to go, after all my research (done in house, through your recommendations, and through recommendations from friends), I felt this was the best route for us, and so far, I’m happy with how it’s going.

And the Winners are….
I mentioned that rather than give the $100 to Drobo (which is the price they finally came down to after three calls on my repair), instead I would give a $100 bounty to the person who helped me find my new backup solution. Congrats to my readers Kody Kahle (who recommended CrashPlan) and  Lee Ramsden (G-Tech) — I’ll be contacting you directly about where to send you your bounty! :-)

Thanks to everybody who was so patient while we were putting all this together, and a big thanks to my assistant Brad Moore who had to administer this whole plan and is still putting the final touches on it. But in the end, I think we both agree it was totally worth it (and very necessary).

Monday
Sep
2012
17

Shootin’ some Monday Night Football Tonight! (and it’s contest time!)

by Scott Kelby  |  53 Comments

OK, I am super psyched because tonight I’ll be shooting on the sidelines at the Monday Night Football Game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Denver Broncos at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, alongside my buddies Michael Benford and Matt Lange.

Monday Night Football is a grand sports tradition here in the US and it’s broadcast nationwide (as it’s the only pro football game that airs on Monday night—-all the rest play on Sunday).  I know a lot of you will be watching, so I thought I would post this shot of me wearing pretty much what I’ll be wearing tonight (with black kneepads) and the beige vest and al — that way if  you see a photographer get creamed by a receiver on the sidelines (or if Peyton Manning breaks my monopod), you’ll be able to tell if it’s me they’re carting off. ;-)

Let’s make it interesting with a “Scott Spotting Contest”
The first three people who take a photo of their TV Screen where you can see me, and post it, or a link to it, it either to my Facebook page (link), Tweets me with the photo (link), or posts it to my Google+ page (link) gets a signed copy of my new book, “Photoshop CS6 for Digital Photographers.”

Where I’m likely to be on the field:
I generally shoot from these two areas:

(1) The End Zone (there’s less chance of refs, the chain gang, video crews, and the guy with the giant blue parabolic mic walking in front of your shot)

(2) Between the 15 yard line and the goal line.

However…
If I get flattened by a player during the game, the first person to visit me in the hospital (besides my wife), gets my entire Photoshop and Photography book library. I’m hoping we don’t have a winner for this one.

Can’t wait to share the shots with you guys (provided I get any decent ones), but tomorrow is the long-awaited “Life after Drobo” post so it’ll have to wait. Have a great Monday, and we’ll see you tonight. Well, you know what I mean. :)  GO FALCONS!!! #RISE UP!!!

Friday
Sep
2012
14

Get a Shot at Winning an Awesome Guitar and Help Out Some Wonderful Orphans At the Same Time

by Scott Kelby  |  49 Comments

Hi Gang: Please take a minute and check out the short video clip above—We need to raise some funds for the kids at the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya (the orphanage built from the ground up with help from people who read this blog), and the video shows how you might win “The Photoshop Guys” signed incredibly cool guitar for helping out (hey, it comes with a floyd rose locking tremolo and beautiful pearl inlay).

Here’s the link (watching the video first, then I hope you’ll click the link and help. If you do help, please leave me a comment so I can thank you personally!). :)

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