Monthly Archives October 2008


This is going to sound far from revolutionary, but I tried something a little different in my new Lightroom 2 book; we “bolded” all the keyboard shortcuts to make it easier for them to stand out if you’re searching for them later on.

I got the idea from an attendee to my previous Lightroom Live Tour; in their evaluation form they noted that if they have to go back to their workbook to find a particular shortcut, it would make it easier if they were bolded, so in their search they could skip over paragraphs (or entire pages) without bolded shortcuts. Plus, they thought it would just be helpful, and more eye-catching in general.

So, the reason why I’m bringing this up now is; I haven’t heard any feedback one way or another on this particular aspect of the book. Maybe nobody noticed; maybe everybody thought they were always bold. Is it distracting, or helpful?

Anyway, if you have the book, take a quick look and let you know if this is a step in the right direction or not. I made a screen capture of a page (above), and you can see a larger version by clicking on it, but honestly, it’s kinda hard to see here, so it’s really better if you look in your copy of the book. I’m really interested to hear your feedback for future books, and workbooks (which is what I’ve been working on for days, preparing for my Lightroom 2 Tour, kicking off in just a few weeks. Yikes!). Thanks in advance for your help.

Note: I’ve been getting emails from people who led PhotoWalks around the world who have received their copy of the book. I heard from Glasgow and Paris in just the past few days. I’m lovin’ it! :)

…one of the most gifted Photoshop instructors on the entire planet. Photoshop Hall of Famer, Photoshop World Instructor, Bestselling Author, and all around Photoshop Uber-Brain; Ben Willmore.

I’ve sat in on Ben’s classes numerous times over the years, and I’ve never sat in one where I didn’t learn something new, or understand something at a whole new level. Ben has a way of connecting with his students that is really unique, and I can’t wait to see what he has cooked up for us tomorrow as my Special Guest blogger, so make sure you check back then.

Hi gang: My writing load had derailed my plans for the blog this week (hopefully, I’ll get to do it next week, so I’ll still keep it under wraps), but in the meantime, here’s what’s going on this this morning.

  • Don’t know if you saw this, but Dave Cross is continuing his series called “Finish the Sentence” and I think it’s really interesting. Last week he had Photoshop Hall of Famer John Paul Caponigro “Finishing the Sentences” (Here’s the link).
  • If you’re looking for a way to hand-hold your shots for maximum steadiness, check out Joe McNally’s now famous “Da Grip” video, where he shows you a camera holding technique that’s pretty darn slick. The video’s already been watched more than 44,000 times on YouTube. Here’s the link.
  • Surprise of the week for me; a friend bought me as a gift an “Kindle,” which is their wireless ebook reader. I’ve never met an eBook reader I liked, which is why I was so impressed with the Kindle. It’s surprisingly good, much lighter and thinner than it looks, and you could even say it’s, “Very Apple-like” in everything from its packaging to its industrial design. For photography and Photoshop books, it still really needs to have color inline graphics, so it’s not ideal for these types of books (even though my Digital Photography book is available on Kindle), but overall it’s way better than I expected. There’s a video about Kindle right here.
  • My buddy Matt Kloskowski has released his “Lightroom 2 Power Session” DVD, which is designed to get Lightroom 1 users up to speed quick on Lightroom 2. You can find out all the details here (note: NAPP members get $15.00 off).
  • You can catch Bert Monroy’s Photoshop Creativity Tour in Sacramento, California on Tuesday, and Terry White’s InDesign Productivity Tour in Toronto, Canada on Friday the 10th. Here’s the details.

That’s it for this Monday morning. Have a good one!


Just a few quickies to round out the week:

  • First, thanks to Alan Hess, whose Guest Post this week rocked (no pun intended). I loved having such a different angle, and I thought he did a great job taking us “backstage” at a concert shoot. Thanks Alan!
  • Michael Tapes has launched a new blog over at, and he has a follow-up to the Guest Blog post he did last week covering his incredibly handy “Instant JPEG from Raw” free utility. Here’s the link.
  • Earlier this year I did a shot of our in-house Web Programmer Tommy Maloney’s pimped out Volvo, and Tommy entered the photo in a photography contest put on by IPD; a well-known company that sells custom Volvo performance gear and accessories, and son of gun—it won! Here’s the link, but the photo that won is shown above. Congrats Tommy! (P.S. Don’t race Tommy. It’s what you don’t see that matters!)
  • We released another “CS4” online class over at; this one from our own Dave Cross, who did an amazing class on “Creative Suite Integration” between Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Here’s the link. Also, we were out in the field filming new sessions with Wedding Master David Ziser this week, and we’re in post-production on some new classes from Joe McNally!
  • If you’re in the Orlando/Tampa, Florida area; I’m bringing my Lightroom 2 Tour one-day workshop to Orlando on Wednesday, Oct. 29th at the Orange County Convention Center, and I’ll hope you join me there. Also, my Dallas seminar is filling up fast (on the 27th), so if you’re planning on going—sign up now! Here’s the link with more details. Hope to see you in Orlando or Dallas! (P.S. I expect to be announcing another city next week!).
  • Speaking of Lightroom; I ran across two reviews of my new Lightroom 2 for Digital Photographers Book this week; one at the Benson Blog (link) and one at the Australian photo blog “Lightly Toasted” (here’s that link).

Have a great weekend everybody. I have something cool planned for next week, if all goes well, so we’ll see you back here on Monday! :)



I started writing this post earlier in the week—-right after my Chicago Bears vs. Philly sideline shoot, and I hadn’t had a chance to finish it, but last night I shot the USF #10 ranked Bulls vs. Pitt from the sidelines, so I thought I’d go ahead and finish off the week with it (the top shot above is of Pitt Running Back LeSean McCoy just after scoring a touchdown during last night’s game).

So here’s where my problems started: I need to take five bags with me on my flight to Chicago to shoot the Bears vs. Eagles. They are:

  1. My Camera Bag
  2. My Lens Case (the 200-400mm is so big is has it’s own separate case with shoulder strap), but at least I can strap my monopod to the case.
  3. My laptop bag (I have to have my computer, right?)
  4. My rolling overnighter luggage (I have to take clothes)
  5. My Think Tank gear belt for shooting on the sidelines

Of course, we’re only allowed two carry-ons on the plane. The easy choice was to check my overnight luggage bag (which I did), and since I was only going away for one night, and didn’t have to pack much, I took apart my Think Tank belt, and put it in my overnight luggage as well.

That still left with me three carry-ons (one over the limit):

  1. My Camera Bag
  2. My Lens Bag
  3. My Computer Bag

…so something had to get checked or left behind. My first thought was to use a backpack camera bag that would hold my camera gear and my laptop, but on the sidelines of a game, you don’t really have any place to store your gearâ”your stuff has to stay with you (which is why I wanted to try out my new Think Tank modular gear belt).

So, here’s what I tried: Pelican makes a case called the “Pelican Case Cruzer” (see the photo below from Pelican’s website) and in the main compartment you store your camera gear, and up in the lid is a panel, and inside that panel is a cutout sized for an Apple 15″ MacBook Pro and an Apple Power Adapter. Plus (and this is a big plus)….it rolls!


I loaded mine with two camera bodies, a 24-70mm f/2.8 Nikon lens, a 10.5 Nikon fisheye lens, a 50mm f/1.4 prime lens, an SB-900 flash (hey, ya never know), an Epson P-5000 photo viewer/backup, and an assortment of back batteries, cables, and other stuff that rolls around in your case.

Pros: This actually solved my main carry-on problem, because now my camera gear and computer were both in one crazy-rugged, rolling carry-on. It’s small size is really great, because it’ll fit in the most any overhead, or under your seat if need be. The inside dividers are completely configurable, so you can set it up exactly like you need it. Plus, it looks cool (and looks count).

Cons: Every camera bag I’ve ever owned had a zipper pouch area, or a zippered pocket, etc. where you could store extra batteries, cables, and all that extra little stuff, but with the Case Cruzer you don’t—it’s just configurable dividers and that’s it. I really miss that little zippered pouch (even more than I imagined). Also, it’s just a little too shallow, so you can’t fit a Nikon D3 without laying it down flat, which takes up a lot more room (notice in the photo above, how they have the Canon body lying flat), and the same with Nikon’s new SB-900s. The other downside is that while it’s designed to hold your Apple power adapter, it’s not really designed to accommodate the cord (especially the longer white power cord), so I had remove that part of my adapter and toss that in with my camera gear. One more con: there’s a “lack of laptop access” challenge since your laptop is stored in your camera bag. If you need your laptop during your flight, you have to pull your whole bag down, which is a bit of a hassle, since it’s so heavy when fully loaded.

All in all, I pretty much liked Case Cruzer, and it did work to get me down to two carry-ons, but it’s just not quite 100% there. I wish I could design two camera bags myself; a “Nikon shooter’s bag” and a “Canon shooter’s bag.” But in the meantime, this will have to do.


I wanted to take my “Think Tank Modular Belt System” out for a try (you can see it in the photo above from Sunday’s shoot—it wears like a belt, with different compartments for different lenses and accessories). But here’s the new problem–how do I get it to Chicago? I don’t know what everybody else does, but I packed it in my checked luggage. There’s probably a better way, but I don’t know what it is. Anyway, the Think Tank system absolutely rocks for Sports Photography. I hate carrying a camera bag over my shoulder, and on the sidelines, there’s really no place to store yours safely, so you have to lug it around (but nobody does, because nearly everybody has a Think Tank system around their waist).

Anyway, I’m amazed at how well it works; how handy your gear is, but most of all how it distributes the weight so well that you forget you even have it on. Really brilliantly designed and thought out. I still don’t know the best way to get it to the sidelines, but I sure like having it (and I used it for last night’s USF game shoot).

I also packed two of the greatest inventions known to man; Gel Knee Pads. They are absolutely invaluable!!! (I bought mine at Home Depot, and they have the word “Gel” on the front, under a clear plastic part of the pad).

So, to recap:

  1. I checked my overnight luggage
  2. I packed my Think Tank belt and cases in that luggage, but that only worked because I didn’t have much to pack for just an overnight trip.
  3. I used the Pelican Case Cruzer to hold my camera gear, and my laptop and power cord, and I carried that on the plane.
  4. My second carry-on was the Nikon lens case, so I made the “two-carry” limit no problem.

So, you can see how hard it’s become to travel with photo gear, and because of the very real worries of theft from checking camera gear in your luggage, you really have to take your gear on board as a carry-on. Also, I’m pretty queasy about shipping my gear by Fed Ex to my shoot, especially if all I can do is ship it to the hotel I’ll be staying at (I’ve had hotels turn down or refuse a delivery to a guest for no apparent reason).

Anyway, if there are any other sports shooters out there who have come up with other ideas for getting your gear to the event, and managing it once you’re there, please let me know (post a comment here), because while what I did, worked—it ain’t great.