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PROGRAMMING ALERT: I’m the guest this week on Steve Brazill’s highly acclaimed “Behind The Shot” podcast, and we’re talking about composition, timeless photos, and all sorts of fun photo photography stuff. If you’ve got a sec, I’d love it if you checked it out. Here’s the link but I also embedded it below (and a big thanks to Steve for having me on again. Truly an honor.

OK, onto this “Photoshop Tip Friday!

This is a super-handy selection tip for selecting something that seems like it should be really simple…and it is, once you learn this tip. Check it out:

Pretty handy, right?

If you’re new to Photoshop, this online course can really help

We just released one of my new classes, and this is one expressly for Photoshop beginners. Check out the official trailer below (it’s short).

Here’s a link to the course — you can watch it right now (if you’re not a member, you can unlock this course for just $29).

Thanks for stopping by. Have a rockin’ weekend, everybody!!! :)

-Scott

P.S. The Outdoor Photography Conference is almost here — coming May 18 & 19, 2021. It’s two full-days, two simultaneous training tracks, all online, and super affordable and features one of the greatest teams of instructors we’ve ever assembled. It’s going to an incredible event —  Here’s the link for tickets and info.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an underwater photographer? Imagine sitting on a boat, putting on this heavy gear (40-50 pounds) and then, after you giant stride into the water…. you’re weightless!

Actually, more than that, you’re floating (“wait, what?”), yep, floating. You get your camera rig handed to you from the boat, hook up with your buddy, let a little bit of air out of your BCD and descend, weightlessly gliding through the water in search of adventure, from the smallest sea critters to the largest pelagic predators, maybe even spotting a wreck!

You may be thinking “very cool, but how do I get there?”


Well, you have to start by being comfortable in the water – which takes education and practice – because when you are shooting on land, you don’t have to worry about breathing, but underwater, there is no air except what you bring with you.  Even the best swimmers can always use practice and improvement; though I grew up freediving and spearfishing, I recently took a freediving class just to hone those skills even more.

Depending on what type of underwater photography you want to do, if it’s in a pool or other shallow water or you’re looking for large pelagics like dolphins and whales you don’t need SCUBA – you can simply take a freedive course to learn how to handle that environment, but don’t neglect a water-based first-aid course to keep yourself and others safe.

Now you’re feeling good and your comfortable in the water, how do I get my camera in there with out ruining it? There are several answers anywhere from a $50 plastic bag off Amazon that I would advise against, up to a pro level DSLR with an aluminum underwater housing and strobes that would run you the price of a small car.

But let’s start with something that is good and won’t break the bank, if you are planning on just working in your pool or in the shallow waters of a spring or river (Less than 33 ft.), Outex makes a great solution around $400. If you are looking for something a little more robust like a surf housing from AquaTech you will be between $1000 and $1500. The pinnacle will be a full dive housing that’s rated to depths from 60 meters or more; like Ikelites ABS-PC housing going for $1600 up to a fully machined aluminum housing like the one from Seacam for $5000 and that’s just for the base housing no ports or lights.

This is all assuming you know the camera you want to use, which is a topic in and of itself because the optics underwater are more different than on land and what makes a great land lens might make it a poor underwater lens.

(more…)

I’m Dave Williams, and #TravelTuesday has come round again. Let’s get straight into it!

The most Instagrammable bird has been announced. It’s big news, I can assure you. There are some keen bird photographers among the KelbyOne community, so this may be no shock to some, but let’s flip things on their head and begin with the least Instagrammable bird. 

Vultures have scored high on the list of least Instagrammable birds. Maybe it’s their bald heads from the neck up, often covered in entrails, or maybe it’s the dreariness associated with their scavenger lifestyle, but the vulture doesn’t tend to feature alongside other beautiful wildlife.

Topping the list is the Frogmouth owl. This bird was once designated the world’s most unfortunate-looking bird, but it’s the bird you may recognise from social media posts showing it seamlessly blending into its forest surroundings. What may make it even more special in terms of an ornithology model is the fact that it’s quite rare, so each sighting and each awesome image attracts attention and likes, along with its huge, inviting eyes and unusual facial features adding to the attraction.

What is it that makes a good bird photo in general?

In general, it’s a tight crop, exposing the details, such as an attractive plumage or a detailed activity like fishing or building a nest. A long lens is a fairly important piece of gear to get close in on the small subjects. Composition, which we rely on so much in most fields of photography, takes a bit of a back seat in bird photography owing to their less-than predictable movements, so long as the surroundings have been considered. Above all, those wishing to get into bird photography should get out there and into position to get as much experience and practice as possible.

Much love

Dave

This is just a quick little video, but besides learning the background effect, you’ll pick up a few handy little Photoshop tips along the way. Give it a quick look below:

Hope you found that helpful. :)

The Outdoor Photography Conference is just two weeks away!

It’s coming up May 18 & 19, 2021 and we’ve put together one of the greatest teams of instructors we’ve ever assembled. It’s going to an incredible event — two full days, two simultaneous training tracks, all online, and super affordable. Here’s the link for tickets and info.

Here’s wishing you an absolutely kick-butt week! :)

-Scott

Mornin’, everybody! I have an update for you in the on-going chicken wars (important, since it is a proven fact that many photographers and Photoshop user consume chicken sandwiches). Since my last post, I wanted to re-test some of the top-tier chicken sandwiches in the battle and see if after a few weeks I still felt the same way (especially about Zaxby’s being the winner, being at least as good if not better than Popeyes). Briefly, here’s how it went down:

Burger King

I’m moving this one up a spot in my rankings, perhaps even over KFC’s excellent new chicken sandwich, but primarily for one reason: Burger King’s sauce is better. KFC’s is more like just mayo, where Burger King went more the route of what Popeyes (and Zaxby’s) is using. It’s a very large, very crunchy chicken, and I’m thinking this has moved into the #2-ish spot (behind Popeyes and Zaxbys who are tied are very close to tied. More on this in a sec).

Above: Look at the size and texture difference between the two (and yes, Burger King’s is really huge like that), and for both of McDonald’s Chicken Sandwiches I tried, the patty looked significantly smaller what you see above right.

McDonalds

I just retried this one yesterday and it was actually pretty tasty overall, but it’s losing the war here for two reasons: (1) The chicken patty itself is really small. The whole sandwich is small in comparison to the other. My sister-in-law nailed it when she said “It looks like it should be on the value menu.” It’s similar in size to a McDonald’s cheeseburger (not a Quarter Pounder, a regular cheeseburger). And (2) it’s called the Crispy Chicken Sandwich and it’s well-named. It’s just a bit crispy. It’s not crunchy like Burger King’s, Popeye’s and Zaxby’s. So, while it’s fairly tasty, it’s not “big and crunchy” which kind of takes it out of the running in the Chicken Wars. However, I read an article yesterday about how much people are liking the new chicken sandwich and how it’s helped McDonald’s sales, so it is definitely an improvement overall, which is a good thing.

Popeyes

I revisited a local Popeyes and it’s still really great any way you look at it (and they’re the reason the war started in the first place). I still do think it’s their bun. They’re something magical about it. They could put their bun on the menu by itself and people would probably order it. Their side dishes are kind of ‘meh’ but their sandwich is still pretty incredible.

Zaxby’s

There are over 400 locations out there, but sadly mostly East Coast and Midwest, and there’s a few in Utah for some reason, and that’s about it, which is a shame because I gone back (a few times now) and I’m telling you — if I had to pick one, even over Popeyes, it would be Zaxby’s. They have it all, and they are taking the Chicken Wars VERY serious (their staff uniforms are camouflage. I am not making this up). Their sauce is the boss — their bun is great. It’s big and very crunchy, and all these restaurants were lined up beside each other so I could choose any one, including Popeye’s, I would still go to Zaxbys — double and triple re-confirmed as the winner.

KFC

This one moved down a notch swapping spots with Burger King (who moved up). Their chicken is top notch — the bun is great — the pickle sublime — it’s big and crunchy, but their sauce is (as I mentioned earlier) kinda boring. Still, a great choice (even with the boring mayo-like sauce, because their chicken and bun are top notch, and size and crunchiness are on point). If they offered a different sauce choice, I think they could win it all. Plus, KFC’s sales of these new chicken sandwiches are reportedly up big-time, so people are super digging them!

So, that’s a quick update. I get lots of emails and comments (and people telling me, “You need to try that particular one again…” so I made another pass, and there was only one change — Burger King is on the rise, which is not easy for this Non-Burger King fan to say, but they have a great sandwich and there’s a Burger King fairly close to my house, which is not a great thing because it’s a tad too-convenient.

Wendys

This is only sandwich I did not re-try. I had tried two already — I bought a 2nd one because I thought there must have been a mistake with the order on the first one and they gave me their old chicken sandwich. When I bought the 2nd one, I kid you not — I took two bites and threw it away. It’s awful. I don’t know what in the heck you have to do to a chicken sandwich to make it awful, but Wendys (whom I otherwise love), somehow found a way. Yeeech!

Here’s two music videos of the same great song

Kalebra and I love Bruno Mars — his music, his dancing, his lyrics, and his joy while he’s performing. He’s just incredibly talented (I surprised Kalebra a few years back with a birthday trip to Vegas to see him perform live, and he was just fantastic!) Well, he teamed up with Anderson Paak to create the group “Silk Sonic” and their single (which has been out a few months now), called “Leave the door open” is just awesome! It’s like an old 1970s Chi-Lites song (Have you seen her?) or the Spinner’s “Could it be I’m falling in love” or the Manhattan’s songs (like, Let’s just Kiss and Say Goodbye), kind of in that genre but with today’s recording technology.

Beside and musicianship and incredible vocals, but lyrics are kind of hilarious (in a good way), as is their performance (it doesn’t come off as silly, it’s cute) and their personalities really come through in both videos.

First, here’s the official music video (note: it already has 176-million views!).

But after you watch that, watch this performance from the recent Grammy Award’s show where they totally nail the Temptations style choreography and overall 1970s TV show performance vibe, look and feel. You’ll dig it (and you get to hear a really great song again).

There’s only 11 copies left in stock of my book, “It’s a Jesus Thing”

I wrote a book about Jesus a while back (video above), and Amazon does have the print version in stock, but there are only 11-copies left in stock, so if you know someone who might get a lot from a book like this (a book for “Wanna-believers”), or you think you might want a copy for yourself, here’s the link (of course, you can always get a Kindle version since they are always in stock). If you watch the video above, one of the bonuses is you get to see what I look like with more hair and an Ibanez guitar t-shirt that somehow I lost, and now I’m kinda wondering what happened to it, and now that’s opened a whole can of worms and I won’t be able to sleep tonight wondering what happened to that shirt.

Have a really great weekend, everybody! Here’s wishing you good heath and happiness (and some great tunes to take you into the weekend). :)

-Scott

Hey there, I’m Meika, a content marketer by day and a photographer by night (and during any other time that I can free up). I specialize in portraits, food, and lifestyle photography. I’m a lover of studio settings, but I found my visual voice while exploring the concrete jungle that is downtown Philadelphia. There’s so much sauce there.


The Ingredients 

I started this photography journey by capturing landscapes. Finding interesting buildings that stood out to me because of their composition or their color. I also found beauty in odd shadows, shapes and combinations of natural and manmade objects. I told myself that there was beauty in everything. Some people who saw my work agreed, others scratched their heads.

Looking back, I think starting there was important. Vital, really. Starting from ground zero, not knowing anything about photography or why I thought certain things were breathtaking, was and is a gift. I didn’t know anything about the rule of thirds, s-curves or composition. Now that I’ve been taking my photography more seriously, studying terminology and conducting my own research, I’ve come to realize all of that beauty I was seeing was what people like to call “My Eye.”

“Girl you’ve got an eye!”
“Wow, there’s no way I would have stopped to take that picture, you make it look so beautiful.”

You know, that stuff.

Did you know that having “the eye” can be taught? The fundamentals, the maneuvering, the structure of an image, the composition, it can all be taught. Brilliant artists have been writing about it for ages. One thing they may not teach you in some of those books is the sauce.


What’s The Sauce, You Ask?

It’s the vibe, the funk, the freshness, the dopeness, the sway, the love, the heart of an image. The reason you stop dead in your tracks to glare for a second longer. It’s the tilt in your head and the squint in your brow. You can’t find that in those books.

I know when I’ve got the sauce when everything aligns both in front of the lens and behind the lens. When the sun is kissing my subjects’ forehead with such grace, and the lines from the architecture behind them sit so nice that it makes me pull back from my viewfinder and scream “THIS RIGHT HERE!”

When the shadows feel right, when the wind picks up a piece of hair and carries it across the subjects’ face, when the posing isn’t forced or directed, when the eyes of my subject aren’t calculating anything, but instead, just existing. That’s when I know.


Subjective Sauciness 

Remember that saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder?” Well, think about that in relation to photography. Having the sauce isn’t a scientific measurement or statistical calculation, (remember art is subjective). It’s a feeling. When pairing down my images with clients, I’ll express my love for images that sometimes they dismiss. What you find saucy, others may consider bland and vice versa. What I found that works for me is creating a set of images for my clients, and sometimes selecting a separate set of images I can display on my website. 


Making Your Own Sauce

The best way to make your own sauce is to get out and shoot until you start hearing yourself say “THIS RIGHT HERE” when looking at your RAWs. Take to social media to find your favorite artists and figure out what makes them your favorite. Sit with that. Take those thoughts as inspiration and develop your own sauce. You can grab your angle inspiration from one place, your color theory inspiration from another, and your posing inspiration from a third and combine them all to make your individual magic. The sauce.


You can see more of Meika’s work at MeikaEjiasi.com, and keep up with her on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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