Monthly Archives June 2010


Joe McNally’s Work Featured in National Geographic
Joe’s been covering assignments for National Geographic magazine for many years now, and in the July 2010 issue he’s got some amazing photos in their feature story on the 21st Century Electrical Power Grid. There’s a harrowing shot of Joe climbing out onto an electrical tower, from the skid of a helicopter (photo by Drew Gurian), and when you actually see what Joe goes through to “get the shot,” you realize what it takes to be a National Geographic photographer, and Joe has it in spades. You can see some of the images from the spread online, right here. Congrats Joe. Ya done good, kid. ;-)

Tom Bol Baby, Yeah!
Killer Guest Blog yesterday from Tom Bol. One of my readers, Jeremy Proffitt wrote this comment yesterday about Tom’s post. “I think you said it best when you said ”I’ve come to realize non-paying personal projects are equally as important as paying jobs. I need them both to survive and grow as a photographer.” I couldn’t agree more. Just a great job Tom all around. Thanks for sharing your work and wisdom with us all.

There’s a deal goin’ on two of my books over at Borders
Well, it’s not every single Borders store, but “a whole bunch of ’em.” Borders is running a promo for 30% off a small group of book titles, and two of them are mine:  The Digital Photography Book, Volume 3, and Photo Recipes Live. The promo runs now through August 15th, and is available through select locations (here’s a link to the store locations that are doing the promotion). Visit a Borders store near you and check it out (provided of course, there is a Borders store near you).

You, and Rob Jones, raised another $1,200 for the Orphanage
With Towner Jones Photography’s gracious donations included, together we raised about $1200 this weekend on the Photo Walk t-Shirt sales, bringing the total raised so far for the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya to around $3,700 (we’ve already raised more than half of what we did all of last year). If you haven’t ordered your official Photo Walk t-shirt yet, here’s the link. Thanks again Rob for having such a big heart for the kids.

World Wide Photo Walk Update
As I write this, we have 905 Walks around the world, and over 18,000 walkers. You gotta join in! Here’s the link.

Facebook “Like” is here
We’ve added Facebook’s new “Like” button to each of my daily posts, so if you see a post you like, share it with other folks by clicking on the Like button. You’ll like it. I’ll like it. It’s a like-like thing.

Forget the Dave Hill Effect…
…and check out Dave Hill, the photographer. It has been a while since I’ve been by his site, and his work just keeps getting better and better, on both the shooting side, and the post production side, and his concepts and execution are brilliant. So, if you haven’t checked him out since the “Dave Hill Effect” craze was in full swing, it’s time to stop by again and enjoy some really amazing photography. Here’s the link.

That’s it for today folks. See ya tomorrow!
Have a great Thursday, and try to stay cool.


It’s an honor to be included as a guest blogger for Scott Kelby!  Since there is no higher blogging status, I thought long and hard about what to include here.  I decided on some background, some humor and hopefully some inspiration.


I’m an editorial and commercial photographer based in Colorado.  My photo career began as a journalism major in school, but took a turn towards the wild side…literally.  My passion was and still is adventure sports.  After school I set off to travel the globe climbing mountains and kayaking rivers, spending years guiding in the backcountry.  I traveled with camera in hand, documenting expeditions and attempting to capture the mood, atmosphere and drama that was taking place around me.  My guiding skills put me in spectacular locations for shooting, my photography skills progressed to help me capture the moment.



But some moments I couldn’t capture.  I took part in an Indo-American expedition to climb Nanda Devi, a 25,000 foot peak in the Indian Himalayas.  We established one camp on a narrow ridge around 20,000’.  I knew this location would make a great shot of our tents perched on the icy ridge with the summit in the distance.  We had a full moon, so I went out at night along the ridge to photograph our tents illuminated by headlamps.  As I set up in the dark, I kept hearing noises right behind me.  I was sure it was the wind….until I heard the heavy breathing.  Now this might sound like an abominable snowman encounter, and at the time I was sure it was.  I looked over my shoulder and saw something big moving in the shadows, coming right towards me.

That moment was almost the end of my photo career and me as I practically fell off the ridge running back to my tent.  Running at 20,000’ on an icy ridge is like breathing through a straw while jogging on a balance beam at sea level; you almost pass out and fall off due to lack of oxygen.  The next morning we discovered the identity of the mystery creature.  A snow leopard had been in camp, walking right over my shooting spot from the night before.  I don’t have a single image from that night.  But I remember it like it was yesterday.  That is one reason I love photography.  It is a catalyst for producing experiences I otherwise would never have.

I think many adventure sports photographers juggle the balance between wanting to climb/kayak and the desire to create images of these activities.  When I first started shooting, climbing outweighed photography.  Now the opposite is true.  I will always like to climb and paddle, but my desire to create images of these activities dominates my choices.  Everyone who shoots feels this drive at some level.  You just don’t feel satisfied until you have camera in hand creating new work. It is more important to share these experiences with others than participate in them. This creative process is as important to me as the outcome.  Constant shooting develops the nuances of my creativity and technical skills.


When I teach workshops I am often asked what is the most important thing to do in developing your skills as a photographer.  My answer is stay true to your vision and continually shoot.  We all need work to survive financially, but shooting on your own time, especially personal projects, is good for the soul and your creativity.  Your technical skills will be more tangible to track, but your creative style takes time to develop and is harder to evaluate.  You may not know it at the time, but personal projects define your style and vision down the road.  It is easy to talk about your next project and what you are going to shoot, but you don’t progress if you don’t shoot.  I’ve come to realize non-paying personal projects are equally as important as paying jobs.  I need them both to survive and grow as a photographer.

This concept has lead me to where I am today.  I’m obsessed with exploring light, especially applying strobe in outdoor sports.   I think waiting out so many storms and cloudy skies through the years got me thinking there must be another way.  I love experimenting with different lighting styles to add impact to my images.  The more I learn about lighting, the more I realize I don’t know.  The subtitles of lighting are endless.



Using 4000 watts of power near raging rivers can present some interesting technical and safety issues.  I have kayaker friends who will gladly paddle off huge waterfalls without hesitation, but when I ask them to pose with lots of wattage near the water they get nervous.  Maybe they know something I don’t?  So far I have only had one flash head float down a river.  I was able to grab the light before it pulled the pack into the river.  We often put our flash packs in waterproof dry bags used by rafters.  This protects packs from quick dips in the river.


My goal with lighting in adventure sports is to add more drama and adrenaline to the sport being captured.  Sometimes all that is needed is a pop from a beauty dish to add a little snap to the shot.  Other times multiple edgy light sources are used for impact.  Lighting ratios go from near fill flash to minus two or more for the ambient light.  Often the hardest part is getting lights in place across a river or up on a rock wall.  And not breaking any gear.


Photography has allowed me to pursue my dreams, meet new people, experience new cultures and learn a lot along the way.  I’m not sure where this career will take me, but I’m along for the ride.  I just hope there aren’t anymore leopards in the path.

You can see more of Tom’s work at, and keep an eye out for upcoming Kelby Training Online adventure photography classes from Tom as well!

Here’s a quick update on what’s going on with me and the crew here:


Killer Deal on Hotel Rooms for Photoshop World Vegas
The Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, right on the Vegas strip, has been the home for Photoshop World since we first brought the convention to Las Vegas years ago (and it’s connected directly to the convention center), but this year we were able to negotiate our best deal on hotel rooms, so you can stay right on property (at the same place, me and all the instructors and NAPP staff will be staying) for only $129 a night. Plus, this year they’re throwing in the “Resort Package” free (reg. $60), which includes everything from free in-room wireless Internet to free bottled water, and a whole bunch more. Here’s the link to snag your rooms now at this special rate, cause once our room deal is sold out, it’s gone! Hope to see you at the Mandalay Bay.

RC’s Taking Lightroom 3 Users to the Web
We released a new online class last week at (new classes go up every week) from photographer and Web guru RC Concepcion, called “Lightroom 3 for the Web.” RC knows this stuff inside and out, and if you want to get your images from your computer to the Web using Lighroom, RC’s your man.  Here’s the link with more details.

Quick Photo Walk Update
Last year, we had 917 walks around the world, and we’re getting very close to breaking that number with about a month still to go, as we now have 878 walks and over 17,500 registered walkers. This is going to be big! If you haven’t signed up for a walk, search to see if there’s one in a city near you, right here.

I Gave the Wrong Date for my Lightroom 3 Live Tour in New York
I mentioned during the Photoshop CS5 Summit last week that I’d be back in New York City with my Lightroom Tour on July 12th, but I was totally wrong. That’s the day I’ll be kicking off the tour in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (that’s just a few weeks from now). I actually be in New York on Monday, July 19th. Sorry for the confusion, but I was…well…confused. ;-)  Here’s the link for more info (for either city). Hey, don’t forget, Matt is taking the tour out as well, and he’ll be in Boston on Friday, July 18th; LA on July 21st, and San Francisco on the 23rd.

Tomorrow’s Guest Blog is gonna kick butt!
I cannot wait for tomorrow’s Guest Blog, as it’s from Adventure Photographer Tom Bol. I met Tom at the Photo Plus Expo last year, and saw part of his presentation about location lighting over at the Elinchrom booth, and his stuff just kicks butt (Matt just did a workshop with Tom out in Moab, and Matt couldn’t say enough great things about him. Also, Tom just finished taping some on location adventure photography online classes for Kelby, which will be going live very soon—-I’ll let you know when). Make sure you check back here tomorrow to catch his guest blog. Can’t wait!!!!

That’s it for today, my friends
That’s a quick update on what’s going on here (there’s actually more, but that’s all I can say right now). Anyway, gotta run. Got a crazy busy day (but it’s all good!). Don’t forget Tom tomorrow (it’s gonna rock!). Have a good one!


Just a quick word of thanks to everybody who came out and spent the evening with Matt, Corey, Dave, RC, and I for NAPP and Adobe’s free “Photoshop CS5 Summit” this past Friday in Manhattan.

By Friday morning we had over 2,100 people registered for the event, and it was great to see so many familiar faces in the crowd. Our thanks to everyone who endured the long queue outside the theater, and the horrendous audio issues in the back of the room. (Believe me, we know. So does the very expensive company that we hired to do the audio and video, who’ll be hearing from us again today).

Here are a few scenes from the event (photos by Brad Moore):


Above: We worked in teams of two during the night, with each of doing start-to-finish products and working CS5 into our existing workflow. Here I’m doing a camera raw start-to-finish retouch with the final image used as the cover of a sports magazine (That’s Corey Barker to my left).


Above: Dave Cross and RC Concepcion on stage during their presentation. Both Dave and RC had some really slick projects they tackled in front of RC’s home town (two of RC’s brothers were in the audience that night).


Above: Adobe’s Product Manager for Photoshop, Bryan O’Neil Hughes (left) kicked off the 2nd segment of the three hour summit, and gave the crowds some amazing insights into how Photoshop CS5 was developed with direct input from the Photoshop community.

CS5 NYC 1sm

Above: View from the 2nd floor balcony.


Above: In the theater lobby there were tables manned by Wacom, B&H Photo, and Adorama (among others).


Above: Matt Kloskowski during his “Seven Commandments of HDR” presentation. He had a hilarious true story of how he took the HDR image of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Thursday, which he used in his presentation.


Above: Lightroom Product Manager Tom Hogarty got the “Rock Star” treatment when he took the stage in New York, as he had an incredibly Lightroom-friendly crowd who were cheering him big time, even though it was a CS5 event.


Above: Corey and I did the final session (before giving away a third round of cool prizes), with Corey’s amazing 3D Photoshop presentation (along with lots of teasing from me, a 2D guy, along the way).

A special thanks to Adobe, and all the great people on the Photoshop team for sponsoring the event (we couldn’t have done it without them) and a big thanks once again to everyone who came out to be a part of the event.

I hope to see some of you again when I head there next month for my Lightroom 3 Live! Tour at the Javits Center, on Monday, July 19th (here’s the link with details).


Gang—this deal is off the hook! The crew from Artistic Photo Canvas gave my readers a “This Weekend Only” deal about 7 months ago, and loads of people took them up on the offer, and this time, they’re giving you guys an even better deal.

Before we get to the deal, I just gotta tell you—-the quality of their canvas prints is outstanding, and I don’t think there’s anyone in the building here that has done canvas prints with APC (that’s Dave Cross above posing with one of his canvas prints—-photo from my new iPhone 4) who doesn’t love them. Super highly recommended! Now, onto the deal:

– 20% OFF your entire order
– PLUS Free Shipping
– PLUS a $15 APC e-Gift Certificate applicable toward any future purchase

Also, you choose from their entire product line which includes:

– All 120 standard size and finish combinations for gallery wraps, stretched canvases and unstretched canvases.
– All optional techniques and add-ons including texturizing gel coats, dust covers, and blind drop shipping.

The only exclusions are:

– Does not apply to custom sizes
– Cannot be combined with other discounts

Here’s the link to Artistic Photo Canvas.

Your “This Weekend Only” Deal code is: SCOTTSENTME

One more thing: APC gives NAPP members 10% off all of their stuff all year round, and APC has told us directly that they know a number of NAPP members who cover their annual membership dues just with the money they are saving at APC.


Our buddy Rob Jones (of Towner Jones Photography), has come up with the “Killer Deal” of the year, for anyone participating in the World Wide PhotoWalk (or not).

You guys know we have official Photo Walk t-Shirts (Rob’s idea), and 100% of the profits from the sale of these shirts goes to the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya, but Rob’s deal takes this up a BIG notch.

For this weekend only (through the 27th at midnight EDT), Towner Jones Photography will contribute an additional $10 per item to the Springs of Hope Orphanage.

Whether you’re walking or not, this is a AWESOME way to support the Orphange, and the walk, and you’ll look totally cool in the shirts.

Here’s the link. Order yours right now, while you’re thinking about it. :-)

My humble thanks to Rob for his incredibly big heart, and all his help in supporting the kids!