Monthly Archives May 2010

by RC Concepcion

Hey everyone – I figured while we were in the guest blog mood with no guest blog, I’d fill in and talk a little bit about something that seems to be a hot topic as of late – Flash on mobile devices. In what seems to be an open debate – Conan vs. Leno Style – the arguments have spilled out into the open as to whether the Flash technology will die because of its inability to be on smart phones. This argument reached fever pitch when Steve Jobs himself wrote an open letter – defending the decision not to run Flash on their devices.

Now, I personally disagreed with the open letter and posted my own rant about it on my personal blog arguing point by point why I thought Mr. Jobs was looking at it the wrong way. That said- I still don’t think that the iPod/iPad should be forced to have Flash installed on them. I’d like it.. It’d be nice… It’d be even better with an on/off switch.. but it’s ultimately Apple’s call – and you have to respect that. At its core, I just took issue with -how- the argument was presented and how I felt like the choice was limiting – but consumers should ultimately decide with their wallets.

This would beg the question as to whether Flash “is Dead” (as it’s clamored on the net these days). I’d say – don’t count them out yet. Here’s a few reasons why. Come on.. you know you’re curious.. :)


You guys are invited to join me (and my buddy and co-host RC Concepcion) for a free Webinar on the new features of Photoshop CS5, sponsored by nvidia, Dell, and Adobe Systems.

You can register for the free event right here, and I hope you’ll join us then.  We’ll be taking your questions live (you can just post them right on the same page where the live video feed is showing), and we’ll also have the crew from nvidia, Dell and Adobe on hand answering your posted questions live as well, (plus at the end of the show, we’ll be sharing some recommend hardware configurations, and where to get more info.

The cool thing is—it’s all free, so I hope to see you there (here’s that link again). See you tomorrow!


I had a number of questions yesterday about the photos I took during my trip to China, so I thought I’d cover a few of them here today. Here we go:

Q. I frequently refrain from posting pictures of people (unless they are family) on the web. I worry about model releases and stuff like that, I realize that these folks are half way across the world, do you ever worry about that kind of risk?
This question came up a number of times yesterday, and this is probably going to freak you out, because do I not get model releases of people I shoot on the street, yet not only can I post their images on the Web, I can even sell prints of these images.

This whole topic was covered brilliantly by Copyright and Intellectual Property Attorney Ed Greenberg who was our guest on our weekly show Photoshop User TV last year. Ed specializes in copyright for photographers, and we had him on as a guest a number of times, because Ed has such a great way of explaining this stuff and making it understandable. You can catch his first segment in Episode 168 (link), and then it continues on Episode 169 (link), and than it continues again on Episode 170 (link), and we even added a bonus interview with Ed right here (it’s all free!). This is absolutely invaluable information (which is why we had Ed and copyright advocate Jack Reznicki do an in-depth series of online classes on Copyright for Photographers and the use of model releases over at Kelby Training Onlinelink).

Q. What I’m actually curious about is the font used on the last page. I’ve been looking for a nice “Handwriting” style for similar reasons.
Every time I use it, I get lots of people asking that same question. It’s called Satisfaction Pro. It sells for $20 and you can find it right here.

Q. Can you share how you put the panorama shot into 2 pages in [Apple’s] iPhoto. I tried it before but it seems like there is no one button solution in the software.

STEP ONE: You drag the pano on the left page, then you drag the same photo down on the right page (so you have two panos, side-by-side).

STEP TWO: On the left page, you zoom the size in quite a bit (using the Zoom/size slider that appears when you click on a photo in iPhoto).

STEP THREE: Use the Grabber hand (which appears to the right of the size slider) to drag the zoomed-in photo on the left page nearly all the way to the left (the photo drags inside the page template).

STEP FOUR: Then you go to the right hand page, and use the same technique (zoom in to the same amount, then drag that side all the way to the right). Now you have to kind of match up the two halves in the center so it looks like one contiguous photo.

Q. I am a PC user and was wondering if there is a program I can use to make a book like this?
iPhoto is a Mac-only program (and comes with some great drag-and-drop layouts like the one I used), but you can make photo books like this from a number of online labs, including, so I’d start there (here’s the link).

Q. Where’s that HDR photo you talked about yesterday?
That’s it at the top of the page. I did the processing using Photoshop CS5’s HDR Pro. This was taken inside the ferry from Kowloon over to Hong Kong. I had to hand hold it, but I took it earlier in the day, so I had a decent amount of light. Although I took five bracketed shots, I only used three for the HDR tonemapping.

Q. Your wife speaks Mandarin? What don’t you guys do?
She is truly an amazing woman. Right now she’s working on her pilot’s license, and she has her first solo flight coming up probably later this month. I don’t know how she does it. She makes me feel like a slacker.

Q. This is probably a typical camera guy question but the shot of that ferry [yesterday] is fantastic and I wanted to know how you took it! It looks to be a long exposure and also appears that you panned along but those two things generally don’t play well with each other. Care to share?
Mostly, I got lucky. I was on another one of those ferries coming back from Hong Kong to my hotel in Kowloon. Since it was dusk, and the ferry itself was moving, I knew I was shooting in really tough circumstances, and that I would have to pan with the ferry going by, but to increase my luck I did these three things:

(1) I raised my ISO to 400

(2) I shot wide open at f/3.5 to increase my shutter speed

(3) But most importantly I shot in Continuous High Speed mode and cranked out a long stream of shots hoping that one of the images would be in focus (I’ve written about this trick in my digital photography book series), and son of a gun one was! There were plenty that weren’t, but all I needed was that one.

Q. Is the Birds Nest in as bad a shape as has been reported? I read that after the Olympics the govt stopped maintaining it.
From what I saw outside—it looked great. It’s kind of a tourist attraction now, and there were literally hundreds of people there just making the scene (kind of like people gather at Trafalgar Square in London). The bird’s nest was beautifully lit at night, and from all outward appearances it looked to be in good shape (our guide told me they hold football [soccer] matches there now).

Q. Did you go to the World Expo in Shanghai?
Sadly, we left port just a few hours before the massive fireworks display to kick off the opening of the Expo. We saw some of the Expo grounds, and it was just amazing. Shanghai in general was just amazing—I could totally live there. The people were incredibly friendly and open, and I’m still stunned at how capitalism has caught on there. I remember sitting at Starbucks, next to the Lawry’s Prime Rib restaurant, right across from the Staples and UPS Store, right around the corner from the Häagen Dazs ice cream store, thinking, “This is a communist country?”

Q. May I ask how did u carry your equipment for all day? (ten hours)?
Once I switched to the D3 and the two lenses, I had to go and buy a small camera bag from a street vendor (paid about 240 RNB (about $35), which was way too much, but my wife was shopping elsewhere so I had nobody to negotiate the deal for me. As it turned out though, the bag the perfect size to hold my 70-200mm when I swapped out for my 14-24mm. However, at one point, the strap holding the top came loose, and my 14-24mm rolled right out of the bag. It’s a tough lens—not even a scratch.

Q. As a photographer, how often did you see a blue sky versus a gray one. Most of the recent travelers to China that I’ve talked to were amazed at the perennial gray skies due to pollution. They thought it impacted their photos not to mention their breathing.
We really only had two and a half days that were actually sunny—the rest were kind of gray and hazy (smoggy) which is why I usually avoided including the sky in my shots if at all possible. If you look at my Forbidden City shots, you’re seeing the gray, smoggy skies we saw most of the time. In fact, look at the first shot, and you’ll see more of that haze, with a slight hint of blue. But then on the day before we left Beijing, it rained overnight and the next two days were gorgeous so I tried to make the most of it.

Hope that answers some of your questions. :)

Intro art_sm1

Hi everybody—I’m back from my break, which turned out to be 16-days in China of nothing but rest and relaxation (with some travel photography throw in as we slowly made our way from Hong Kong to Shanghai by ship and eventually to Beijing for a few days before heading back home).

My wife surprised me with the trip as my Christmas present (I was totally blown away—-and still am), and what was cool was it was just us two—we left the kids at home this time (well, it was us and two other couples who are good friends of ours). Another cool thing is that my wife speaks Chinese (Mandarin), so that made everything much easier (even though they primarily speak Cantonese in Hong Kong, and “Shanghainese”[dialect] in Shanghai, they still understood enough Mandarin to help us get around and get everything we needed).

I’ll have a few more details tomorrow but China was absolutely incredible and loads of fun. I had been to Beijing 11 years ago and I can’t believe how much it has evolved since then. Just simply amazing.

Just like I did for my Tuscany trip last summer (link) I put together an Apple iPhoto book of some of my favorite shots from my trip, and I’ve included some of those pages below (click on them for a much larger view). I did take lots of regular vacation photos as well but those are going into a separate iPhoto book for the family and our friends that were with us.

About the Photos
Although China has all these amazing landscapes, and stunning mountain ranges, our trip was all to major cities and ports, so all the photos are from big cities we stopped at along the way.

The shots below are all taken during group sightseeing bus tours or guided city tours, so I could pretty much only snap shots during those times (though in Beijing we did take a taxi to shoot the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium at sunset, which was a blast). So, if you’re wondering where all those “fisherman in a small both in the mist with jagged mountain behind him” shots are—I’ll have to try and find those on another visit (I’d love to go back on a dedicated photo trip).

Camera Specs:
For the first few days in Hong Kong, I shot with a Nikon D300s with an 18-200mm f/3.5 – f/5.6 VR lens. Having just one lens that does it all was incredibly convenient, but then when I got to Shanghai I switched to my D3 using either my 14-24mm f/2.8 or a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens. I have no idea why I switched. I guess I thought the quality would be better, but lugging all that heavy gear around for 10 hours a day really turned out to be a huge pain in the $@#. When will I ever learn.

Before we get to the photos; a big thanks to everyone who covered for me here on the blog while I was slacking off. They did an absolutely fantastic job (and how about Alex’s awesome guest blog, eh?).

Anyway, here’s some shots from the trip (click on them for larger views).  There’s no HDR here, but I did shoot a few HDR shots during the trip, one of which I actually like, but it’s not in this batch. I’ll run it separately here tomorrow if I can:

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(I’m going to go ahead and apologize up front… There aren’t many, well, any, images in this post to help break up the text [I know, I should’ve had my camera with me the whole time!], but I’ve done my best to break the text up into smaller chunks to make it easier to get through. Hope it’s worth the read!)

How did I get to where I am today?

That’s a question that I get asked somewhat often when people meet me, so I figured I would share it here. That way, if we do meet some day, you’ll already know and we can talk about something besides me :)

I was born at a young age in the hills of East Tennessee…

Actually, let’s fast forward to the part where I pick up a camera, cool? Thought so.



Hi folks!!  Well I thought I would just bring you some news bits today. Just a few things I have heard pop-up in the last few days.

Sports Photographer Producing “How To” Web Vids

Mike Olivella is a sports photographer in Tallahassee, FL whom you have no doubt heard Scott mention a couple times here on his blog. Recently Mike has been doing something very interesting. He has been bringing a small video camera with him to the sporting events that he shoots in an effort to give viewers an inside look on how to he preps and shoots these events. He just recently shot videos at an FSU spring football game and pro tennis tournament. You can also find more information at Mike’s website by going here.

The Lighter Side of Apple Drama

Well you have no doubt seen or heard about all the drama surrounding Apple these days with Flash technology issues, misplaced iPhones, and now possible antitrust inquiries. What the heck is going on? Remember when Apple was just a computer company that made computers. Things were so simple back then. Oh well, despite this drama you can always count on people to make light of the issues. In case you missed it, you have to watch this rather hilarious bit that Jon Stewart did on The Daily Show regarding Apple’s response to the misplaced iPhone debacle involving Gizmodo. Ellen Degeneres also seems to be under fire for making her own spoof of the iPhone commercials. As funny as the spot is, it didn’t thrill the good folks at Apple and Ellen is quick to apologize.

Dating! Yeah, there’s an app for that!

Okay. It’s not an app. It’s a new dating site recently launched called dedicated to Apple users looking for that special someone to iDate.  I am not kidding, this is a real site for Apple fanboys and fangirls who are looking for someone with similar Apple interests. The catch is that it will only run on Apple platforms like Safari, iPhone, iPod, and iPad. The site isn’t live yet but there is an intro page that describes the purpose of the site. So, hey, give it shot! Who knows, you could meet the Apple of your eye!  (Insert lame drum sound here!)

Don’t Forget to ‘Ask Dave’!

Dave Cross recently launched a new podcast called Ask Dave where the content is made up by you. Meaning you write in your burning Photoshop questions and if selected Dave will answer it right in the video. To submit a question you simply go to Dave’s Twitter page and submit it there. Then check out the videos over at There already a number of episodes on the page already so it might be a good idea to check those out first to see if your question has already been addressed. Hey, and while you are there check out Layers TV!

Oh yeah, Iron Man 2 starts this weekend! Anyone going to see it?

Be sure to check out tomorrow as I will be posting a new tutorial based on the movie.

– Corey