Monthly Archives December 2009


Signature Guitar Raffle Update
First, thanks to everybody who graciously bought raffle tickets for the Schecter Diamond Series electric guitar, signed by all the Photoshop Guys at NAPP (shown above), which we’re raffling off as our final fund-raiser for the Springs of Hope Kenya Orphange (here’s the link to a short video with details). Just wanted to let you guys know, you can still buy raffle tickets up until January 3rd, 2010 at 12:00 midnight EST (we pick the winner on Monday the 4th).  Anyway, raffle tickets are just $25 each—buy as many as you like (and your odds are way better than Powerball lotto, where they’re like one in 195,249,054) and  here even if you don’t win the guitar, there’s a guaranteed winner in Kenya under the age of 12, and that’s an amazing consolation prize for all of us. Here’s the link to do something great today!

This Week’s Photoshop User TV’s Episode
I forgot to mention last Tuesday that another episode of Photoshop User TV came out, and here we are the following Tuesday, and sometime today another episode comes out (that’s the good/bad thing about being a weekly show). I’m not going to be posting all the episodes here on the blog, but you can watch them over at Photoshop User TV (link).

A New DVD Series from Photoshop Hall of Famer John Paul Caponigro
JP has just announced a new series of DVDs called R/Evolution, and two of these new titles are available for pre-order (from Acme Education) and they both sound really intriguing. Here’s how they describe them:

(1) Fine Art Digital Printing
Make your digital prints the very best quality possible. Achieve this by learning all the components and aspects of a printing system: substrate, ink, printer, driver/RIP, profile, ink limit, print speed, viewing light, environment, and presentation. Learn what each component contributes to print quality and how they all work together to ensure your prints are as good as they can get.

(2) XDR: Extending Dynamic Range – HDR
Always the detail you want in the shadows and highlights. Extend the dynamic range in all of your images. Unlike yesterday, with today’s technology, you only need to make sacrifices if you want to. Many people think that HDR and merging images are synonymous when in fact it is one technique amid a range of possible options. It’s not only what we do at capture but what we do after. This array of choices for extending the dynamic range spans the gamut from simple to complex. By learning a variety of techniques and understanding how they work, it will make it easier for you to choose the technique that is most appropriate.

You can pre-order these titles, at their Pre-order price of $59.95 each, with free S&H, direct from Acme at this link (the price goes up to $69.95 once it ships). Here’s the link.

RC Concepcion Snags’s Pick for “Picture of the Year”
A big congratulations to our own RC Concepcion whose amazing mother/daughter portrait (or should I say mommy ballerina/baby ballerina portrait) of his daughter Sabie posed with her mom Jenn, was picked by as their “Picture of the Year.” It’s just such a magical shot (I featured it here on the blog just after RC took it earlier this year), and you’ve just got to see it for yourself (here’s the link). Way to go RC!

The Tom Tom GPS Navigation App for the iPhone Totally Rocks!
Last week Terry White posted an article on his new iPhone App site (, about how Tom Tom was running a special deal on their iPhone GPS Navigation App (only $49.95) so I went ahead and bought it, and during my NFL shoot in St. Louis on Sunday, I used the Tom Tom to get me from the airport, to the stadium, and back. I have to say—it rocked. It was even better than I expected. It gave spoken turn-by-turn directions, it had a large easy to read map (including lane assist), and all-in-all I was really impressed from top to bottom. The Tom Tom deal is only good until the end of the year (then it goes back up to $69.95), so get it while it’s hot (you can buy one of these as a last minute Christmas Gift by buying an Apple iTunes Gift Card for $50). Here’s the link to Terry’s review of the Tom Tom App, and to his end of year deal post.

Want Some Cool Photo Presentation Ideas?
Then have I got a cool site for you. It’s called, and this site it packed with lots of clever ideas of how to display your work. You’ll totally dig it.

That’s it for today, folks
Remember, tomorrow is “No Guest Blog” Wednesday (see the post below), but make sure you’re here Thursday for some Christmas spirit. :)


Yesterday (Sunday) morning, I caught an early flight to St. Louis, Missouri to shoot the Houston Texans at St. Louis Rams NFL football game at the Edward Jones dome. (Click on the photos for a larger view)


Although I did shoot some of the game (when the Ram’s offense was on the field), I was actually there on assignment to shoot starting Middle Linebacker James Laurinaitis (#55) shown below.


Of course, as a linebacker James is on Defense, so when he was on the field, my job was just to isolate on him and hope he didn’t wind up in a big crushing pile of guys where he’d get lost from a camera perspective, or that the play wasn’t a quick slant to the far sideline where the receiver gets tackled right away, so James didn’t need to get involved.


The image above is of the Ram’s only touchdown for the day (the Texans only scored one as well, but sadly they wound up winning by a field goal in the fourth quarter). He caught the ball on the goal line so when his feet came down—it was party time in St. Louis!


Houston dropped a pass in the end zone later in the game (that’s James on the far right), and though I don’t do a lot of wide shots, I kind of liked this one.

CAMERA INFO: It was a domed stadium, so it was pretty much like shooting at night, and I had to shoot at 4,000 ISO the entire time to get my shutter speed in the 1/1000 of a second or higher range to freeze the action. I used a Nikon D3 as my main body with a 200-400mm f/4, and my second body was a D700 with a 70-200mm f/2.8 for when they got inside the 15 yard line.


Here’s another wide shot taken as the Ram’s learned they had stopped the Texans on 4th down and one (yard), and they got the ball back on downs. That’s James in the center celebrating the stop.


This one I just love because of the athleticism of #70. I love to see really big guys in mid air.


One more of James doing his thing. He’s really an incredible athlete, which is why he’s starting in the NFL his first year out of college. He was really working hard out there, which makes it all the more a shame they lost.It hasn’t been an easy year for the Rams, but I’m a Tampa Bay Bucs fan so that automatically makes me sympathetic to any losing team this year.


Although I had a great time (I mean, afterall—-it was an NFL game!), overall I wasn’t any happier with my shooting performance than Ram’s fans were with their team that day.

Right after the game, my wife sent me a text message to ask how it went. I wrote back, “Well, I learned a lot. Does that count?” But that’s exactly why I wanted to go St. Louis and shoot this game, and shoot James, in the first place. This stuff, like everything else in photography, just takes lots of practice, perserverence and experience and the only way to get it is to get out there and do it. So I did it, and I did learn some new things that I’ll try next time (and I tried a few new things this time, too).

The good news is; I was able to get a flight home the same day, and even watched a movie tonight at home with my wife once the kids were in bed. But now, I’m beat so I’m heading to bed. Got a busy day at work tomorrow. Hope you all have a good one! :)

lg3slideHere’s another one of those ‘tiny big things’ that Adobe fixed in Lightroom 3 that used to make me pull my hair out in previous versions of Lightroom.

Now, by know you’ve probably heard about the big thing they fixed in the Slideshow module; you can now export your slideshow with the background music embedded (at long last!), and although this other little fix has to do with music, it’s not the embed thingy. In fact it’s not one thingy. It’s two (thing 1 and thing 2).

Thing 1: You can now automatically have Lightroom 3 set the length of your slideshow to the length of your background music. You do that by clicking directly on the Duration (as shown above). Now, if you’re thinking “Why would they make this feature hidden like that?” I thought the same thing at first, but then I realized that if Adobe actually made stuff like this really simple and easy to find, then I’d be out of a job….so….thanks Adobe!

Thing 2: In previous versions of Lightroom, adding background music on a Mac was different than it was on a PC. For example; on a PC; you just put an MP3 file in a folder, then in Lightroom you pointed to that folder and you were done. On a Mac, Lightroom required you use to use Apple’s iTunes to host your music, and you had to create a playlist with just one song if you indeed wanted just one song. The problem was—it didn’t always work. It did most of the time, but not always.

Also, you had to have iTunes up and running before you started your slideshow, or it wouldn’t launch the application until you hit the Play button in your Lightroom slideshow, so there would be this long pause until it launched, opened, and started playing your song. Anyway, they thankfully did away with having to use iTunes on a Mac, and now Mac and PCs work the same.

Again, this is the little stuff, but it’s this kind of stuff that makes a big difference in the end because it all adds up.

You’ve gotta watch the short video above for all the details, but here’s the quick scoop:

(1) It’s a raffle I’m using as a final year-end fund raiser to help feed the orphans at the Springs of Hope Kenya Orphanage

(2) There’s more to it than just winning a cool guitar, so you have to watch the video.

(3) The raffle tickets are $25 each, and you can buy as many as you’d like to increase your chances to win. (Once you add your ticket to the cart, just click the “add another”  button as many times as you want).

(4) All the money, every single penny from every raffle ticket goes directly to Springs of Hope Kenya to feed and care for these wonderful children

(5) We’ll choose the winner at random on Monday, January 4, 2010 so enter now (or at least before that Monday. If you win—what an awesome way to start the year. If you don’t win, all your raffle ticket money still goes to feeding orphans. There is just no way to lose on this one).

(6) Here’s where you enter (link)

(7) This is my last fund-raiser for the year, so please help me spread the word through your blogs, Twitter, Facebook, carrier pigeon, etc..

(8) This is the stuff that Christmas is really all about. Well, not necessarily guitars, but you know what I mean. :)

Thanks you guys for helping transform an empty plot of land into a place where homeless children are homeless no more, and they’re loved and cared for by two of the most wonderful and genuine people I’ve ever known—Molly and Joseph Bail.


OK, they’re not “technically” High-Def prints—-I call them ‘high definition’ because to me they look like the difference between an HD television and a regular television (they are that good!).

These are the prints on metal (aluminum) from Imagewizards (I talked about their prints earlier this year—here’s the link), and 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 an insane deal. Here it is:

Two (2) of their 16 x 24″ Framed images for $250
NOTE: Their Regular Price is $237.61 each, so you’re saving around $225.22!!!)

One 24″ x 32″ Framed image for $250
NOTE: Regular price is $322.77 (you save 72.77)

Shipping for these items will be in double sided corrugated cardboard. Cost of shipping depends on location and number of pieces. They do ship internationally

This “This weekend only” deal actually runs through Dec 23rd (I know, it’s more than a weekend).

To get this discount:Enter the coupon code SKB12 in the comments section right here.

My thanks to Imagewizards for hooking my readers up!!!!! :)

First, I have to thank our wonderful guest blogger this week: Trey Ratcliff. Any time a Guest Blog post garners nearly 100 comments, you know it spoke to a lot of people on a lot of levels. Trey once again reminded me why the Guest Blogging thing is so awesome, so thanks Trey.


New iPhone App Site Launches Today
My buddy Terry White today launched a fantastic new site dedicated to finding the very best iPhone Apps. It’s called and it takes Terry’s incredibly popular “Friday App-of-the-day” concept from his Tech Blog to a whole new level. This is my new stop for finding killer Apps, and if you’ve got an iPhone, I’d head there right now (well, right after you finish the rest of my post, anyway.). :)  Here’s the link.

Trey’s HDR book rocks!
Unrelated to his guest blog appearance; last week I got a copy of Trey’s book, “A World in HDR,” and I have to say, of all the books I’ve seen teaching HDR technique, I think his is hands-down the best of the bunch. If you want to learn HDR, this is the book to get (if you don’t like HDR, don’t feel like you have to post a comment here and get really harsh and condescending. Just move onto to the next news piece). Here’s a link to his book at Barnes & Noble or

Get Some Free Stock Images from Fotolia
Fotolia is a HUGE micro-stock agency in Europe, and now they’ve set out to conquer the U.S. and they’re offering my readers a chance to get download some of their images free to try them out. We’ve been using their stuff more and more at NAPP (Corey Barker swears by their images, and he’s picky as $*#@). Anyway, here’s the link (hey, they’re free—whatdayagottolose?).

Shout Out to Yanik’s Photo School
Just a quick thanks to Yanik’s Photo School for including my Digital Photography Book (Volumes 1 and 2) in their Top Photo Books Christmas gift guide. Here’s the link. Also, the Unofficial Canon T1i blog has an in-depth review of my three-book box set right here.

RC’s Part 2 of this WordPress Blog Design for Photographers is now Live
Part 1 of his class had everybody talking, and apparently he really hit the nail on the head with this one, because everybody’s been emailing us saying, “We can’t wait for Part 2.” Well, it’s here, and up live at Kelby Training Online (here’s the link).

That’s it for today everybody
I hope you’re getting caught up on all your Holiday Shopping, and I wish you all a wonderful weekend (and I hope to have some shots to share with you on Monday). :)