Monthly Archives December 2008


The spread above is from my book “The Digital Photography Book, Vol 2.” It’s my opener for the chapter on shooting portraits (click on it for a larger view), and the reason I’m mentioning it is that I found the shot below, showing the set-up for that shot (taken just moments after I took the shot above). I found it this weekend while I was searching for a completely different shot.


The set-up photo above (click for a larger view) was taken by my buddy Dave Moser, and that’s my buddy Terry White holding a Lastolite 30″ TriGrip Diffuser (here’s the link to it on B&H) in front of the window. The sunlight was pretty harsh and direct, so I had Terry hold the TriGrip in front of the direct light to soften, spread, and diffuse it, to give you the shot you see at the top of this post.

The lighting is a little flatter and less directional than I usually go for, but when I looked at the shot on my laptop (which is what I’m doing in the shot above), I was happy with the overall look. So basically, I just tamed the light with a simple diffuser—no flashes or reflectors—just that one diffuser.

TECH SPECS: Shot with a Canon EOS 1D Mark III, with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS lens (at 100mm), at f/4 at 1/200 of a second in Aperture Priority mode.

Anyway, I thought since I found the set-up shot, I’d share it here. I usually have that Lastolite 1-stop diffuser with me on every location shoot, and its paid for itself many times over (I also use the Lastolite diffuser to spread and soften the light from a Nikon SB-800 off-camera flash).


Howdy. Hope everybody had a great weekend. Here’s what’s up!

  • You’ve heard me talk about photographer/retoucher David Cuerdon numerous times here on the blog. Right after Photoshop World Las Vegas I got to talk to him about a new “Retouching Kit” he had put together, with included not only more advanced retouching techniques, but a specialized set of brushes, actions, textures, shapes, and color swatches for retouching that he uses together in a very clever way in his everyday work. Well, I’m happy to announce that not only were we able to convince David that he needs to be a part of KelbyTraining, but his Beauty & Retouching Kit online class (along with all the downloadable actions, brushes, and more) is now up online at! (here’s the link to see his sessions).
  • I just saw somewhere that keeps a running list of their bestselling digital cameras, and their #1 selling camera (at only $110.95) might make a great stocking-stuffer for someone on your holiday list. It’s the Canon PowerShot A590IS 8-megapixel point-and-shoot with 4x optical image-stabilized zoom. Here’s the link.
  • My humble thanks to everyone who not only donated on Friday to help build the Springs of Hope Orphanage. You can’t imagine what a difference your donations will make. For example, I was really touched by what Melody from Let it Shine Candle Supplies is doing. She wrote, “My family business has decided to have this be our highlighted charity of the month and will be donating 10% of our December sales to the cause.” That’s really amazing! So, if you’re planning on buying any candle supplies this holiday season—by all means, send your business to Let it Shine (here’s the link to their site). Also, thanks to those who wanted to donate but couldn’t because Springs of Hope Kenya can’t accept PayPal or credit cards. I’ll be working with them this week to work on the Paypal/Credit Card issue, and I’m sure we’ll get that addressed.
  • My thanks to for including my “Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers” in their 2008 Holiday Gift Guide (here’s the link).
  • We’ll end this post with a chuckle; remember I mentioned photographer Scott Diussa’s shots of Big Electric Cat on Friday? Well, it seems like Scott has a secret—he was in a 80s band as well, and posted some shots on his blog. Here’s the link (way to take the heat, Scott!). :)

Have a great week everybody!


I’m not proud of what I’ve done. I hurt a lot of people’s eardrums along the way. I had blond tips. I wore stage clothing that would make Duran Duran blush. But I was lucky. I got out. A lot of good people never did.

OK, so why am I not only admitting that I spent years of my youth in a disco band, and worse yet, sharing pictures? Well, it has to do with a chapter intro in my new “Photoshop CS4 Book for Digital Photographers,” and in that intro I stupidly mentioned that I would put a photo of some of my old bands on my blog. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but then I actually saw the photos, and then….well….I wish I had rewritten that intro.

But what’s done is done, and above you see four of the five members of my current band, Big Electric Cat, but in a promo photo from the mid-80s when we were in the band Rumor Hazit (when we played disco for a living). From left to right: Guitar player Tony Llanes, Bass Player Jackie Green, My wife (and lead singer) Kalebra, sadly that’s me on keyboards, and lastly Drummer Scott Stahley. Oh, but there’s more.


This is an earlier photo of the band, with a couple of different members. That’s me on the far left (dig the hair), Bass Player Lon Crawford, that’s Kalebra in the middle, drummer Scott Stahley bottom right, and Guitar player and vocalist Gary Granelli. You can’t see it in this photo, but my coat is actually a trench coat that goes all the way down to my calves, and I was wearing white boots like those shown in the photo below). I know. I was funky fresh! ;-)


This is perhaps the most important photo, because of the guy above on the right. That’s Barry Greene (with the pink guitar)—-the guy I wrote about in one of the book’s chapter intros, and the reason these silly photos went up here in the first place (the guy on the left is bass player Steve Burgess). This will all make sense when you read the chapter intro, but in the meantime, just enjoy some of the finest moments in fashion history.

This is my early Christmas present to you. ;-)

P.S. If you’d like to see some photos of us playing now (with Big Electric Cat), check out photographer Scott Diussa’s blog, where he shares some photos from this past Photoshop World, including shots of us playing live during our set at the Las Vegas House of Blues (here’s the link; when you get there, just scroll down a bit and you’ll see ’em). You’ll see from his photos, I haven’t aged a bit. ;-)


I wanted to share a photo of the incredible progress being made to finish the orphanage in Kenya that many of you here on the blog have helped to make happen. The roof is almost done (as seen in the photo above), and they’ve come so far, and we’re so close. That’s the good news. The bad news is; I’ve just learned that the construction has stopped.

The global economy has affected their efforts dramatically, and their funding has basically run out. We have all come too far to let these children down who have no parents, no place to lay their heads at night, and don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Two good friends of mine just returned from a 10-day visit to Spring of Hope Kenya, and their stories were absolutely heartbreaking, and the need there is so desperate.

Gang—we’ve got to do something to help. Next week I’m working to come up with something that, with your help, will hopefully get the construction rolling again, and get that roof finished.

In the meantime, if you want to do something today that will really make a difference in the life of child, you can make a donation, in any amount, to this address:

2180 N McMullen Booth Rd.
Clearwater, FL. 33759.

If you send a check, please write ‘KENYA’ in left hand corner. If you do send something, please post a comment here and let me know.

For more information, you can visit their Web site at


P.S. The photo above is of Molly Bail. She and her husband Joseph, two of the finest people you’d ever want to meet, sold their home, sold all their possessions, pulled their pre-teen son out of school, and moved to Kenya to help build a clinic and this orphanage, and to feed hungry children. I’m humbled by their sacrifice and their heart for helping those in need. Molly and Joseph are Springs of Hope Kenya. It’s not a huge organization, with loads of international funding. They run on what we, and their friends and church are able to send them. They need our help. This, is something we can do!


Here’s a few things to take us into the weekend:

  • Photoshop Hall of Famer John Paul Caponigro has just announced three new Photoshop training DVDs, seen above (produced by Acme Education). The titles are: (1) Black & White Mastery (2) Photoshop Color Strategies, and (3) Photoshop Color Tools. All three are available for pre-order, and you can reserve yours now by clicking here.
  • I ran across a photography blog this week that looks pretty cool. It’s called “ProPhotoNut” and the author shares a number of interesting techniques, and posts some great images. If you’ve got a few minutes, check it out right here. 
  • Here’s another cool Holiday Deal (but it expires on December 15th, so you have to get on it pretty quick). If you buy a Ray Flash from ExpoImaging (the Ray Flash is a ring-flash attachment that turns your off-camera flash, like a Nikon SB-800 or Canon 580 EXII), into a ring flash (you can see it on this week’s Photoshop User TV “Gear Guide Live” episode). Anyway, if you buy one direct, you get our DVD, “The Best of Photoshop User Magazine, The 10th Year” free as a bonus. Sa-weet! Here’s the link for more info.
  • Let’s wrap things up with a little photographic inspiration. The work of Livingston, Montana photographer Tony Demin isn’t the type of stuff you usually see me highlight here, but I dunno—I just really like his images. They have a freshness and realness about them that I really enjoyed. See what you think (here’s the link).

That’s it for this Friday folks. Take some shots this weekend. Hug the kids. Take a moment to enjoy some of the wonders this season can bring.


This week on Photoshop User TV, we did our annual “Holiday Gear Guide Live!” where we share some of our picks for holiday gifts, including a bunch of cool gear that isn’t in the printed or online versions of my gear guide.

You can watch it here online, or in Apple’s iTunes (where you can subscribe to it, and get each episode, free at this link).

NOTE: On a completely unrelated note: Brad totally rocked his Guest Blog Spot yesterday. I knew Brad was a great assistant, and skilled photographer, but honestly, I had no idea he was such a great writer. I’m both impressed and a bit scared (I don’t know whether to find him a photo agent, get him shooting some stock, or find him a book deal). Way to go, Boy Wonder!!!