Monthly Archives January 2014

Coming off such an amazing year, it's a bit daunting to think about the New Year already unfolding. Being a very fortunate photographer with the lifetime self-assignment of affecting the world as a visual storyteller, each day brings its frustrations and rewards, propelling me onto the next. As one who really hates calendars and loathes clocks, containerizing life in twelve-month blocks at times seems stifling. Like Mark Twain said, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

The process of projecting the year to come in large part is based on the year(s) that has passed. It's comparable to what I always refer to as the great blessing of digital photography. We need to go through our day's images to see what we did right, and most importantly, see what part of the visual story we didn't capture or we can improve. While these are questions I ask others when they seek my photographic business advice, I ask them of myself when looking to the photographic future. Where do you want to take your photography and where do you want your photography to take you?

Where do you want to take your photography? This question often befuddles folks because there isn't a technical answer that quickly comes to mind. The usual quick answer isâ¦make it better. But that's a given and something you really don't need to put conscious thought into because it's going to happen without conscious thought. Your photography is always getting better as long as you constantly keep shooting. It's probably just not as fast as you'd like but trust me, there is no race to win being better quickly. As a creative, you should take this question and look inward for the answer, for it's in your heart that you'll find the force that drives your photography forward. That's right, the answer is your passion, that's where you want to take your photography.

Dang, there's no histogram that can help with that! And that's really hard to put on a calendar or purchase at B&H, that passion thing. What you can put on the calendar are lots and lots and lots of shoots, especially ones that really make you sweat! "So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor" is really sage advice! You want to take your photography where it hasn't been before, and from that exploration comes the growth that propels you to better photography. What can you look back on this past year that fits that description? How did you fare? Were there failures you can improve on? Are there successes you can build upon? You hold the answers inside your heart as to where you want to take your photography, you've just gotta listen to it.

April found me in an 8x8x6 plywood box with my dear friend for 18hrs on the very cold Platte River. Mark and I were once again going after the magical sunrise where we look out our wooden cell-like blind to the delight of thousands of Sandhill Cranes, dancing on the sandbars. And while we had an amazing sunset and lots of hours of conversation locked in our box (good thing Mark is such an amazing pastor), we awoke again to just empty sandbars. Not the first time for us, and not the last, but getting skunked is part of the photographic equation you've got to embrace. If I just shared the photos of the naked sandbars, sand isn't that attractive. Wanting to grab heartstrings, I know the purdy sunset shot with all the reds will suck you in and is the one to share. Perfecting your storytelling is just as important in where you want to take your photography as the f/stop.

After a 13-year absence I headed north again to the Tundra of Churchill, Canada in May for one of the most amazing bird spectacles a photographer can witness. I went looking for one species, the Hudsonian Godwit, a bird that in all my previous journeys to Churchill eluded me. Yet on this summer's trip, the first trip from the lodge and within a few blocks of the town literally on the side of the road, I nailed it. Go figure. When that happened I wondered to myself what I was going to do for the rest of the week. That's when you reach down and look for the photos, the stories that sum it all up. Think about it this way. When you grab your iPhone and show folks photos that sum up your trip, how many photos do you show them? One, two, five or fifty? Often it's just one or two that you find on your journey and put your passion into!

And no matter where you are in your photographic pursuits or career, you have to keep evolving or you parish (my version of the Darwin Photographic Theory). I pushed myself this past year into areas where I'm not only technically not as "sharp" as I should be but also personally very uncomfortable. In July, Jake and I headed to Oshkosh and while most naturally think of planes, I knew for my work that week, they would just be the backdrops. My focus was going to be people involved with aircraft and in particular, WWII vets. Shooting just shy of a thousand portraits in one day (and retouching), I thought I was gonna die! But I made new friendships and furthered others that I will always cherish. One new friend is Clancy.

Clancy and I struck up an instant bond from my very first click. You see him here standing in front of just one of the many aircraft he flew during WWII, a TBM Avenger. In his hands is a photograph of his and if you can identify the four aviation anomalies in the photo, then you're OK in his book. You see, Clancy amongst his other hooligan roles during WWII, was a Navy photographer. Most of the photos we see in history books from WWII from the Pacific are his.  After I got done taking this easy portrait (18-35AFS with the cement acting like a giant fill card and scattered skies above), I went over to shake his hand and say thanks. Clancy said, "You know light, you worked the situation perfectly." Our shortest phone call since that day has been ninety minutes, he's simply a hoot! And you could say I'm slowly, finally, getting out of my box working with folks.

And that's what we all must constantly keep doing, following our heart to push our photography further. Because it's in this pursuit we slowly, ever so slowly get the hint where we want our photography to take us. It's not about a destination, but rather a journey. And more often than not, it's not a journey we can note on a calendar and schedule, especially not in a twelve-month period of time and perhaps not even unfolding over a decade. I'm going on decade four, if that's any encouragement.

I've been very fortunate that life has taken me on an amazing journey for which I can take very little credit for piloting. The last few years has included my longtime passion for aircraft. And fortunately I learned early on it's not the aircraft but those behind them that is really the story. Sharon and I love to fly and when you get in the air with classic aircraft with dear friends at the stick, well there simply is nothing better (except a critter). Combining what I've come to do with critters and landscapes, seeking the light and wanting to tell the story, aviation photography has evolved into a big part of our lives now. All those WWII vets we've come to call friends tell us their exploits from the war, which coming full circle, with our friends flying their warbirds to turn those vets' stories into living images. And while we think we know where we might want our photography to take us, the serendipitous nature of being creatives, you just never know where the magic will take you.

"We need you to take a portrait." My good friends at the Texas Flying Legends Museum have carte blanche with me, whatever they need or want I'm there, so with such a simple request, I said yes. "Tomorrow at 1300, meet us in front of the XXX lodge, we'll pick you up." The next day with just the D4, 24-70, SB-910 and TTL cord, I was dropped off and walked across the street and waited at the XXX lodge to be picked up. Five minutes later two Escalades came down the road, the door opened on the second one and I jumped in. Greeted by the pilots of TFLM, we headed down the road. Ten minutes later I was in the personal office of Pres. George Bush at Kennebunkport, taking portraits. After it was all said and done I was asked if I wanted my portrait taken with the President. "Of course Moose does," the President said (the autographed print is one of my most cherished). Moments later I was in the office all alone with the President having a conversation about my dad and the President's time as a TBM pilot during WWII. You simply just don't know where your photography is going to take you!

And like all of you, I now look back on the last year and ponder what this New Year has in store. We need to know where we want to take our photography and with reflection we can focus better where that is. The heart is a great guide, keeping in mind one important fact. What the world needs is not more technically perfect photographs, but rather more photographs with passion. And when you share those photos, when you visually tell the stories of your journey, we take the world along with us. Photography is still one of the grandest pursuits I know and I look forward to seeing how the year unfolds in your photographs. "Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

You can see more of Moose’s work at and, check out his iPad app MoosePress to keep up with his iBooks publishing, and follow him on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and YouTube.

First, A 90-Second Recap:
I shot four fewer games this year than last year, even with my season credentials for shooting the Buc’s home games for Zuma Press. I picked up a few other games when the Buc’s were on the road, including two Falcons games (one against the Bucs); a Titans game in Jacksonville, plus the Broncos/Chiefs out in Denver and the Eagles/Cowboys in Texas.

Here are the teams I got to shoot this season:

  1. Tampa Bay Bucs
  2. Tennessee Titans
  3. Miami Dolphins
  4. Arizona Cardinals
  5. Washington Redskins
  6. Atlanta Falcons
  7. Denver Broncos
  8. New Orleans Saints
  9. San Francisco 49ers
  10. Kansas City Chiefs
  11. Jacksonville Jaguars
  12. Buffalo Bills
  13. Dallas Cowboys
  14. Philadelphia Eagles

There’s only ONE single NFL team left I haven't had the opportunity to shoot yet: The Baltimore Ravens.

As we're kicking off this New Year, I thought I'd take a look back at some of my favorite shots from this past season. All of them pretty much taken with the same set-up: 2 camera bodies: both Canon 1Dxs (truly amazing for football). Main lens: a 400mm f/2.8 with a 1/4 tele-extender added on, or a 200-400mm f/4 with a built-in 1.4 tele-extender. Second body lens: 70-200 f/2.8 and an 8-15mm fisheye zoom.

My Football Gallery
I was inspired by how the Atlanta Falcon’s coverage of Tony Gonzolaz’s last game, using “Exposure” (a new photo storytelling blogging service with simple on-screen editing [no coding — all drag-and-drop] that I had signed up for earlier this year when they were in beta). So, all the shots are at this link (the screen shot at the top of this post is the opening shot of my gallery on Exposure):

I’ve written more over at that gallery, and if you get a few minutes, I hope you’ll check it out.

There ya have it â”-my favorite shots from this season 
Thanks to everybody who tolerated all my football posts once again this season and to everybody who supported me throughout the year with your kind comments. I love sharing what I pick up from these games (good and bad), and it's been really fun having you all along with me for the ride. :)

“The Grid” our weekly photography talk show which airs live each Wednesday at 4:00 pm ET, was back after our holiday break this week, and we did our 2nd annual “How to become a better photographer inâ¦.” show, where we give our viewers ideas on how to move forward in their photography in the coming year.

Last year’s episode was one of our best of the year, and this year we had the advantage of having a wonderful in-studio guest, landscape photographer Karen Hutton, and she was just fantastic. Lots of great insights and totally worth watch just for her tips and perspective. Best of all, it’s free and you can watch it right above (how about that awesome thumbnail up there, eh? Geesh!).

Here’s wishing you a kick-butt weekend, and we’ll see you back here on Monday. :)

What’s Happening At CES 2014?
If you haven’t been able to keep up with all the new gear announcements coming out of CES 2014, Larry Becker and Mia McCormick have you covered! They’re at the event checking out the new gadgets every day and getting hands-on previews from Canon, Sony, Nikon, Sigma, Panasonic, and more. You can start with the Canon Powershot Cameras in the video above, and head over to our YouTube channel to check out the rest. More videos are being added throughout the conference, so keep checking back throughout the event!

Introducing KelbyOne
You’ve no doubt heard the news about NAPP and Kelby Training combining to become KelbyOne, your central resource for learning about photography and design. Well, to celebrate, we’re giving away a FREE YEAR of KelbyOne to THREE lucky people! Just leave a comment for your chance to win, or you can head to and sign up now.

KelbyOne Live
Want to spend a day with Scott KelbyMatt Kloskowski, or RC Concepcion? Check out these seminar tours!

Shoot Like A Pro with Scott Kelby
Feb 21 - Tampa, FL
Feb 24 - Atlanta, GA
Mar 12 - Phoenix, AZ
Mar 28 - Minneapolis, MN

Lightroom 5 Live with Matt Kloskowski
Jan 31 - Covington, KY (Cincinnati Area)
Feb 5 - Richmond, VA

Photoshop for Photographers with RC Concepcion
Feb 19 - Lansing, MI
Feb 26 - Oklahoma City, OK
Mar 4 - New York, NY
Mar 26 - Arlington, TX

You can check out the full schedule for seminars through March! And leave a comment for your chance to win a ticket to one of these events!

Frank Doorhof New York City Workshop
On May 3, Frank Doorhof will be hosting a workshop in New York City at a great location that will combine studio work, shooting with natural light, and even shooting on top of a building.

The group is limited so there is a lot of time for personal attention. This will be a learning frenzy with loads of tips and tricks on lighting, coaching the models, getting the right expression, natural light, strobes, mixing light sources, telling a story, building a brand, retouching and much much more.

Click here to book your ticket for the workshop you don’t want to miss!

Leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Frank’s book, Mastering The Model Shoot!

Last Week’s Winners
Photoshop For Lightroom Users
– Geoffrey Atkins
– Lewis Johnston
– Brad Oliver

Wedding Photography Essentials Rental
– Jacquie

KelbyOne Live Ticket
– John Price

If you’re one of the lucky winners, we’ll be in touch soon. Have a great Thursday!

On the heels of the biggest college football game of the year, the BCS National Championship, I found myself laying in bed the next morning (yesterday) when the phone rings and the lovely voice of Brad Moore is on the line. "Why are you calling me this early?" I mumble. Well it turns out Brad was asking me to write this guest blog about my experience at the big game the night before. So with that in mind, I don't think I'll have any life-changing epiphanies or deep, touch-your-soul revelations, but I hope you will at least be able to get a glimpse into what things were like Monday night and enjoy some decent images.

As I write this, I'm not sure what the time is. I can read a clock, but I'm not sure how my body feels. As is the case with many of the shooters last night who cover both teams, I live in the Eastern Time Zone, and obviously the game was on the West Coast, so it felt like the game started at 5:30 and ended at 3 o'clock in the morning. But I digress.

I feel like the most asked question I got when telling people I was going to the game: "Who are you shooting for?" So to get that out of the way, I am the team photographer for the Tennessee Volunteers and my counterpart at Auburn, Todd Van Emst graciously extended an invitation to help cover the game for Auburn. So out to California I flew.

Technical Specs
(3) Canon 1DX camera bodies
Canon 16-35 f/2.8
Canon 24-70 f/2.8
Canon 70-200 f/2.8
Canon 600mm f/4
Canon 1.4x extender
16gb cards

Shutter speeds were at 1/1000 or higher and fastest available aperture except for the fireworks shots which were f/11 - f/22.

Note: It was my first time putting a 1.4x extender on a 600 and it was great shooting downfield like that. Will definitely do it again.

If you watched the game, you know it was not a disappointment to football fans. Big lead. Big comeback. Down to the last few plays. Everything you want in a game (except the team I was shooting for didn't win).

Sidelines were exceptionally crowded, as you would expect from a big game, but I was extremely impressed with the organization and communication with photographers out there. It was shoulder-to-shoulder with shooters most of the way around the field. As you can see in the photo here, there wasn't a lot of room to move. But I never heard anyone having any trouble, which is unusual for a historically curmudgeon-y group. One thing I thought was pretty cool that you'll probably see more often was the use hard-line ethernet cables run to the field.  With the technology in cameras to now shoot tethered via Ethernet cable, this was huge for the shooters who had them to send their images instantly to an editor in the digital workroom. In a world of instant gratification, I can't imagine it can be sped up much faster than that.

You'll notice looking my photos that there are no photos of FSU raising the crystal ball. I was there shooting for Auburn so I followed Auburn off the field.  I'm sure there are hundreds, if not thousands, of those somewhere else if you really want to see them :)

Lastly, and most notably among the photography world, I want to make one final note. It was a wonderful night of College football. The BCS had its final game, as there will be a playoff next year. The weather was perfect, per usual in Pasadena, CA. And the crowd was loud and proud. It was a who's who of sports photography, with staffers from Sports Illustrated, Getty Images, AP, USA Today Sports Images, other top agencies, and even a bunch of bums like me who managed to get in. One person who was not there was the legendary Dave Martin. As many of you may know Dave Martin, aka "Mullet" died tragically while shooting the Chick-Fil-A bowl in Atlanta, GA.

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images

There were several events Monday night to celebrate his life and what he meant to the photojournalism industry. I believe these events were the workings of USA Today Sports Images C.O.O. Bob Rosato. There was a group photo of photographers who knew Dave, there were T-shirts for people to wear, there was time on the Jumbotron dedicated to honoring Dave, and even graphic stickers for shooters to put on their gear to show their support.

But the thing I thought was the coolest of all, was a spot reserved for ole' Vern (the name he affectionately gave to many of his fellow photographers) on the sidelines.  With shoulder-to-shoulder shooters, and people standing behind those who were kneeling, it was very cool to see a space left open for a man who was dear to many fellow photojournalists. An honor that stood above the rest. If you don't know who Dave Martin is, please search his name or visit his tribute page on Facebook.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this and look at some of the images I captured Monday night.  My hope for all of us is that we continue to work, continue to learn, and continue to get better in everything we do…

"Just shut up and make a picture."
– Dave "Mullet" Martin (1954 - 2014)

You can see more of Donald’s work at and, and follow him on TwitterInstagram, and OKDOTHIS.

It’s official! (Watch the short video above first, then I put together a short Q&A below to help answer any questions you might have). Thanks so much for all your support, and we’re looking forward to a really amazing year (and this is just the beginning). :)

Q. If I'm already a member of NAPP or Kelby Training, is there an extra charge for all this new stuff?
A. Nope â” you just get it all now that we've become KelbyOne.

Q. I'm already a NAPP member, what does that mean for me?
A. It means your membership just got a whole lot better (even though that's terribly bad grammar, which is probably why we employ so many editors, but clearly none of them were allowed to read this Q&A). You now get access to the entire library of Kelby Training's online classes. All of them. Literally thousand of videos, hundreds of full-length classes. You get it all!

Q. If I'm already a Kelby Training subscriber, what does that mean for me?
A. Your world of learning just got a whole lot bigger and better. It means you now have also have all of the benefits of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals rolled into your membership, but at no extra cost to you. Lots more stuff at the same price. It's a mountain of training, and you get it all.

Q. So, if I'm already a NAPP member, how much will it cost when it's time to renew my membership?
A. We're "grandfathering you in" at NAPP's original renewal price. Since back in the 1990s, NAPP membership has always been just $99, and so if you're a NAPP member, you can renew your KelbyOne membership for that same $99 (even though the full price is $249). Best of all, your renewal rate stays the same, as long as you don't leave KelbyOne. If you leave, and then decide to come back at some time in the future, you'd have to join from scratch at the new price of $249, so in shortâ¦don't leave.

Q. But what if I'm a Kelby Training Subscriber?
A. You're grandfathered in, too! A Kelby Training membership and renewal has been $199 for years, and thankfully that's not going to change for you â” as long as you remain a KelbyOne member. If you leave, and then decide to come back at some later time, you'd have to join from scratch at the new price of $249, so stay up to date and you're locked in at the old price.

Q. What if I have both?
A. You can renew at whichever membership you had first. So, if you were a NAPP member, and you later joined Kelby Training, you can renew at the NAPP price. If you joined Kelby Training first, then you'd renew at the Kelby Training price instead.

Q. You really want me to stay as a member, don't you?
A. Are you kidding? Absolutely! So much so, that we just doubled all your member benefits without raising your cost. We really, really want you with us, and there's a lot more great stuff coming, starting as soon as Feb 1st.

Q. What can I expect from KelbyOne in 2014?
A. Lots of amazing new classes, including more classes on shooting and editing DSLR video, lots more training for graphics programs like Illustrator, InDesign, Muse, Dreamweaver and more. Along with the most amazing photography classes we've ever produced. More classes from your favorite teachers (like Joe McNally, Jeremy Cowart, Moose Peterson, Joel Grimes, Lindsay Adler, and of course me and the "Photoshop Guys"), plus lots of amazing new classes from some instructors that will blow your mind!

Q. What does a brand new member pay?
A. It's $25 per month, or they save $50 by choosing an Annual Subscription at just $249.

Q. So does the NAPP member site roll over into the KelbyOne site now?
A. Absolutely! Right now, we're still maintaining the NAPP site for our members convenience, but it's all rolling over to KelbyOne. A lot of it is there already, but we've made lots of improvements.

Q. What else is new?
A. For our online classes, we now have a completely new, vastly updated player which makes watching the videos even better. Now you can watch our classes at 1.5x speed or even 2x speed. Also, you can pop out the viewer into a separate floating window, and just overall it's a much better user experience than ever before.

Q. What about the App? When can we expect an update?
A. Our newly redesigned iPad App is already at Apple awaiting their approval. As soon as they give it the thumbs up, we'll release it. It's much improved, and we're already working on the next update to the App which will include the ability to download a class for offline viewing, so you can watch classes while you're on a plane, or train, subway, etc. without a wifi connection. All good stuff.

Q. Will the magazine still be called "Photoshop User" magazine?
A. Yup. It's still the same magazine, produced and written by the very same people.

Q. Will everybody now get all the NAPP member discounts?
A. Yup, we're all in this together. KelbyOne will offer the same benefits offered previously from NAPP and KelbyTraining, but now it's just one product at one price from one source. Yay!

Q. You seem pretty excited about this!
A. I really am, and this is just the beginning â” the first step, of what we have planned this year. For anyone who wants to learn Photoshop, Photography, Lightroom, Design, Video or Lighting, this is going to be an incredible journey for them. No matter how you like to learn, we've got you covered.

Q. OK, what's the Website now?
A. It's

Q. Can I tell my friends about this and share it on social media?
A. We'd be best pals forever if you did. Thanks.