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I’m back from Hawaii(I know, tough life) — Canon had us out there for the launch of their EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera, and we were able to broadcast a live episode of ‘The Grid’ that morning after the announcement.

There are already reviews all over the Web about the new camera, both from those who have actually shot the camera (mostly very positive) and those from those who are judging it strictly on specs (mostly very negative). On the day of the launch, between ‘The Grid,’ and some Facebook live stuff we did, we had nearly 2,000 questions and comments — so today I thought I’d answer some of those questions that I’m getting again and again, in a Q&A format. Here we go:

Q. What was the vibe from the other journalists at the launch?
A. When we’re all sitting around the bar, far out of Canon’s earshot, everyone I talked to there liked the camera quite a bit. I think a lot of folks were pleasantly surprised (myself included). In this group were, of course, some serious tech nerds who had their “I wish Canon had added this…” or “Why doesn’t it have that…” but none of it was major missing stuff. One thing everybody seemed to be in love with across the board were the new RF-mount lenses. I didn’t hear anything but serious love for them.

Q. But what about the harsh reviews online?
A. You mean, the ones from people who have never touched the camera; never taken a shot with it, never seen a print from it, and never even held it up to their eye? Just like with any other camera release (Canon or otherwise), I pretty much ignore those. I did get in-person reviews from two top pros I really respect; two working professionals who shot the camera in multiple situations; had prints made, and actually know what it can do. My friends and colleagues Lindsay Alder and Joel Grimes both had great things to share with me about shooting with the camera, and killer images to back it up. That speaks way more to me than some tech nerd pixel-peepers comparing a list of features and specs. The image quality we see with our eyes will always beat the results of pixels measured on some oscilloscope. Lab tests can’t measure a quality — that certain something that makes an image look “just so.” The combination of this camera, with these RF lenses, has its own look, and it’s beautiful.

Q. So which is more important, how the specs look on paper, or how the images from the camera look?
A. You tell me. :)

Q. The lens control ring. Gimmick or gold?
A. Absolute gold! When I heard about it (in a training class shortly after the launch), I thought it sounded really cool. Once you use it, you’ll fall in love with it. It’s highly customizable, so I assigned mine to exposure compensation, and I gotta tell you, it’s way better than it sounds.

Q. This is a mirrorless camera, so it’s smaller and lighter, right?
A. It’s a little smaller, a little lighter, but once you put a decent lens on it, it weighs about the same as a DSLR. I don’t think this camera was about being small and light at all. I think it’s about starting an evolution of where Canon is going in the future, and this is the first step of a long journey.

I know that for some folks, smaller and lighter is the most important feature any mirrorless can bring, but I don’t think that’s how Canon sees the future of Mirrorless. In the big picture, I think they see it replacing mirror-based cameras altogether at some point (just my opinion) and while smaller and lighter may be a side benefit, in some of their bodies; I don’t think that’s where their focus is. In short: I think you’re going to see big ol’ cameras going mirrorless in the near future.

Q. But I wanted something really small and lightweight. 
A. If that’s your main concern, then get the Canon Rebel SL2 DSLR. It’s doesn’t even weigh 1-pound, yet it has 24-megapixels; it has a touchscreen, and it’s got a full tilt and a flip-out screen; it has an external microphone input, built-in flash, Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth built-in; it shoots 5-frames-per second, and it’s only $550. It’s why I crack up when people tell me “they switched to Mirrorless because they wanted a small, lightweight body” and then they buy a camera that costs five times as much and weighs 50% more than the SL2, and when you add a decent lens to their $3,000 body it virtually weighs the same as a big DSLR anyway.

Q. Wow, you’re making a pretty good case for the Rebel SR2. Should I get one? 
A. Hell, no! I mean, “It’s probably a great beginner camera, with a lot of features you wouldn’t expect to get on a $550 super small, super lightweight DSLR.” There, that’s better. But don’t get it. It’s not for you.

Q. How does the new EOS R feel? 
A. Just like a DSLR. How a camera feels in your hands is really important to me, and it feels better than I was expecting. They crushed it on the ergonomics.

Q. What about the build? 
A. Really, really good. I think it’s a magnesium alloy body, and it feels like you could drop it, pick it back up, and keep shooting without missing a beat. Really solid feel. Fairly weather sealed, too.

Q. How many cards slots does it have?
A. One. It’s an SD slot, but it also supports the UHS-II SD cards.

Q. How can they call it a pro-body if it only has one card slot?
A. I asked Canon that question live on the air. Their answer was “It’s not a pro body.” They said it was aimed at serious amateur shooters, so it’s essentially a consumer body (which is one reason why it only has one slot) — their pro body is the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II, and yes it has two slots. That being said, a lot of pros will wind up shooting with this body.

Q. But I can’t live with just one card slot?
A. You do realize that most of the cameras Nikon, Sony and Canon all make only have one card slot? I’m just curious, what did you do before cameras had two cards slots? Did you just not shoot back then? (by the way, the Sony mirrorless just got two card slots about a year ago — it wasn’t born with two.

Q. But everybody’s talking about the one card slot thing. It started with Nikon’s Z7 mirrorless when we learned it had just one card shot, now Canon’s mirrorless, too. I think I need to get on board with this ‘slot shaming’ thing, right?
A. Or, maybe you need to buy better quality memory cards. I shoot on Lexar memory cards, and in my entire career I’ve only had three cards go bad total (none of them SD, and only one a Lexar), and I was able to recover the images from all three cards. People used to be concerned about dynamic range, and megapixels, and how the images looked, and stuff like that, but now it appears the only measure of whether a camera is good or not, is whether it has two card slots. This is a weird time we live in.

Q. Why do you think Canon went with SD cards instead of something faster like Nikon did with the XQD cards?
A. I’m not certain, but I for one am glad they didn’t go the XQD route, strictly because of price. You can get a 1000-speed Lexar 32GB SD card for around $27 a card (B&H has them two for $54.99). If you want a 32GB XQD card, just one will run you around $90 (B&H). Ouch!

Q. The touchpad (above with arrows) on the back of the camera: Gimmick or Gold?
A. They struck gold again with this one. You can assign so many things to it (up to three), it really is incredibly handy. Anytime I can keep from searching under a menu for something, it’s a win. It takes a little getting used to at first, but once you do, you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

Q. Are there other features that stand out to you?
A. They told us it’s important to turn off the camera before changing lenses. Why is it so important? Because when you do that, a little door comes down and blocks the sensor from getting dust and junk in it. Don’t know why it’s taken all this time for someone to come up with that, but it’s pretty clever. Also, it’s fairly weather-sealed (at the level of a 6D Mark II, not the level of a 1Dx, but still). Also, the viewfinder is very crisp. I’m still an optical guy, but this is the best I’ve seen, and you can really control what you choose to see and how it’s displayed.

Q. Is there in-body Image Stabilization?
A. There is not. I asked Canon about it (also during that live poolside episode of The Grid), and they said they made the decision not to because while in-body works fine for wide angle shots, it doesn’t work nearly as well for long lenses, so they kept it in the lenses instead.

Q. I can’t believe that this camera doesn’t have every single feature I ever wanted it a full-frame mirrorless camera. Why would I buy it?
A. Maybe it’s not for you. Not every new camera that comes out has a feature set that was aimed squarely at you. That’s why camera companies make more than one camera body, with different features, for different people. If this camera’s not for you, it’s not the end of the world — you just probably need to look at a different camera.

Q. What are your seven favorite features?
A. They are [in no particular order]:

(1) the flip-out touch-screen (my 5D Mark IV doesn’t have that)
(2) the customizable control ring on the lenses (and the fact that you can get an adapter so you can have a control ring for your existing EF Canon lenses)
(3) the RF mount and the lenses made for it
(4) the directional touchpad on the back
(5) the amazing level of customization — you can configure the buttons and knobs in so many ways — making it feel like it was made just for you.
(6) You can set your focus point with your eye still on the viewfinder by just touching the touchscreen with your fingers (kind of like you’d do in Live View mode, but while your eye is still on the viewfinder). You can have it work with half the screen (which is what I set mine to), or you can use the full screen.
(7) A ridiculous number of auto-focus points. Not 500. 5,000+

Q. What do you wish were different?
A. I wish it shot more frames per second (I know, I’m the only one talking about this, but only because everyone else is so busy ‘Slot Shaming’). It’s got the best Electronic Viewfinder I’ve seen (and I’ve tried quite a few), but I still prefer optical viewfinders. That will change one day, and I’m going to work on getting used to this one (and I’m sure I will), but it’ll take me some time. I haven’t tested the low noise capabilities yet, but with a similar sensor to the 5D Mark IV, I imagine it won’t be noticeably better (I could be wrong, but haven’t read anything raving about lower noise, so I’m guessing no). So, I would have loved one of the features to be 1Dx-style low noise. It’s like the latest cameras from Sony, and Nikon — they all have something missing; some Achilles heel, that keeps it from being the perfect camera for everyone on earth, but in reality, it’s really all about what matters to you. For example, I don’t use my DSLR to shoot video, so whether it has this kind of 4K or some video fps rating or whatever, it simply doesn’t matter to me, but for some folks, that’s all that matters.

Q. Are the new RF-mount lenses as good as people are saying?
A. They are very sharp and crisp, all the way to the edges, but I think focusing on the sharpness is missing what makes these lenses so special. The combination of this body with these lenses create images that have a certain something. It’s hard to define, but I really like what I see. This is the kind of stuff you can’t measure on a spec sheet — how the images from the camera and lenses really look.

Q. Is there a loss of quality if you use the Adapter to use your existing Canon EF lenses?
A. Nope — no loss of quality at all. No losing stops of light either (been asked that a bunch).

Q. How much is the Adapter ring?
A. The one that lets you use EF lenses is $99 I believe. There are two other adapters available — one that lets you drop in filters like a variable ND filter or a Circular Polarizer, but those don’t ship until Feb. 2019.

Q. What about the batteries, and battery life.
A. Thankfully, they went with the same batteries many Canon cameras already use (like the 5Ds, and the 70D, 80D, etc.), and you get around 370 shots per battery. You can get a battery grip for a 2nd battery.

Q. How much is it?
A. $2,299 for the body.

Q. When does it ship?
A. Sometime in October of this year. One of the lenses ships as well, and the Adapter ring that lets you use the EF lenses, too.

Q. Are you getting one?
A. I have a loaner unit now, but if this past few days of shooting with it are any indication, I will have to get one when it ships next month, but this isn’t just a camera. It’s a new system, and a big step into the future for Canon and I really like where it’s going. Plus, the price is right. The new RF lenses are insane — Canon’s optics are brilliant, the new features of the camera are really compelling, and I love the images I’m seeing from it. That right there is really all that matters. The rest of the features may make using the camera more fun, or easier, or speed my workflow, and that’s all good, but at the end of the day, it’s the images — not the feature specs — that really matter. I saw some incredible images from this camera, and I took a few decent ones myself. I hope to have some to share after this week’s trip.

Q. What if I use a different brand of Mirrorless camera. Should I write defensive things in the comments? Should I mention how it missing some feature that’s a deal-breaker for me? Should I do some light slot shaming while I’m at it?
A. You don’t have to defend your choice of camera. Canon releasing a new camera shouldn’t threaten you. It doesn’t make a judgment about the camera brand you chose; it doesn’t make your current obsolete, or effect you and your camera choice in any way. Your camera is still just as good today as it was last week, and if this isn’t the camera for you, for whatever reason, lots of companies make different model cameras for a reason — not every camera is for everybody. I’m celebrating this new camera as a win for the future of photography. This is a birth of a new system, and Canon coming out with this, pushes Sony and Nikon and the whole industry to keep innovating and competing, and in the end…we all win. Our cameras get better, we get new innovative features like we’re seeing in the EOS R, and a rising tide raises all ships. Canon just helped raise the tide a bit more, and I’m digging the results.

Q. So, is this going to be your new camera?
A. I’m thinking this is my new camera. I have a loaner unit now, but if this past few days of shooting with it are any indication, I will have to get one when it ships next month, but this isn’t just a camera. It’s a new system, and a big step into the future for Canon and I really like where it’s going. I’m taking the EOS R with me this week to shoot landscapes out West (in the Golden Triangle), and then to Rome with me the following week, and then to Austria right after that. I got to shoot with it out in Maui, and so far it’s pretty darn close to a perfect travel camera.

The images look very much like the images look from my 5D Mark IV (they share a similar sensor), which I love, but it has some features my 5D Mark IV doesn’t have, like a full flip-out touchscreen, which I fell in love with while using it mounted on my Platypod this week in Hawaii. Also, the control ring and touchpad on the back, along with a ridiculous level of customization of dials and buttons (more on this later). Plus, the price is so right. Lower than I was expecting.

The new RF lenses are insane — Canon’s optics are brilliant, the new features of the camera are really compelling, and I love the images I’m seeing from it. That right there is really all that matters. The rest of the features may make using the camera more fun, or easier, or speed my workflow, and that’s all good, but at the end of the day, it’s the images — not the feature specs — that really matter. I saw some incredible images from this camera, and I took a few decent ones myself. I hope to have some to share after this week’s trip.

Q. Bottom line?
A. It’s a dang good camera for the money. Dang good! You’ll see what I mean when it ships. It’s way better than you’re hearing from people who haven’t shot it, seen a print from it, or even touched it.

Hope you found that helpful.

I’m off to Vegas, to the Mirage (a planning trip for Photoshop World 2019), and then I’m off shooting landscapes in Utah and Arizona.

Here’s to a week full of opportunities and great possibilities. :-)

Best,

-Scott

Aloha from Maui, Hawaii — I’m here at Canon’s launch event for their just-announced EOS R Full Frame Mirrorless camera. I got a chance to get my hands on the new camera, and I have to say, Canon did a kick-butt job on this big-time Mirrorless. 

Get The Scoop Live on The Grid and Ask Canon’s Tech Gurus Yourself
Before we get to the tech specs — today you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions directly to Canon’s photo and video gurus, along with YouTube sensation Devin Supertramp, and Fashion Photographer Lindsay Adler, as we’re broadcasting The Grid live from Maui, Hawaii today at 4 PM ET (kelbyone.com/thegrid or facebook.com/skelby) -These guys have the answers, and we’ll be taking your questions live – see you at 4PM EDT today!

OK, onto to my first impressions:
The camera specs are found all over the Web (here’s a link to Canon’s EOS R official spec sheet), but here are the features that stood out to me:

30.3-megapixels

5,655 AF points (read that one again, out loud)

They nailed the ergonomics, and the overall feel (and grip) feels great! It feels like a DSLR even without the battery grip. They crushed it on the ergo side, and everybody at the event was talking about how great the camera feels in your hand.

Touch Bar in the back is very clever, and it’s customizable. You can assign what you want it to controls (like your ISO for example), but you can have it control more than one thing. Really slick when you try it.

Full articulating touch screen, up/down, flips out, the whole 9-yards

The very small size of their just announced 24-105mm is worth nothing (more on new lenses in a minute)

It has 4K video at 30-fps, and 1080p HD at 60 fps, but the one that stood out to me was the 720p HD at 120 fps for super slow-mo.

There’s a $99 mount adapter so you can use your existing Canon EF or EF-S lenses.

Only one card slot, but at least it’s SD (SD cards are probably the lowest priced cards out there).

It takes the super popular, ubiquitous LP-E6N or E6 Canon battery (thank, goodness!), and you can get a battery grip for it, to add a 2nd battery. About 370-ish shots per battery.

My first impressions of the Electronic Viewfinder
Way, way better than I was expecting. I’m not a fan of Electronic Viewfinders at all, but this one might make me change my mind. Really well done. 

But at the end of the day, features are just features 
It’s like describing a guitar by telling you what kind of pick-ups it has and what type of wood the fretboard is made from. What really matters is this — how to do the images look? I got a chance to play with one, and see the images right from a pre-release model of the camera, including large prints (so it’s not a full production unit yet, and will still be tweaked, enhanced and such), and they are just beautiful! Vivid. Crisp. Rockin! I also saw some 4K Video Devin shot and it looked absolutely stunning. At the end of the day, how the images look — that’s what it’s all about. 

Pricing: 
I think they killed it on the pricing – $2,299. 

Anticipated Ship Date:
The body ships in October 2018  

They launched some nice new lenses for their new Mirrorless R-mount as well – smaller, lighter, very fast! 
But, I think their new control ring feature is show stealer!!! Such a clever idea for adding controls right to the lenses themselves, and you even buy an adapter to add a control ring to your existing EF lens. This is really slick! OK, on to the new RF Lenses:

> 28-70mm f/2 ($2,999) ships in December 2018

> 24-105 mm f/4L IS USM ($1,099), December 2018

> 35mm f/1.8 MACRO IS STM ($499) December 2018

> 50mm f/1.2L L USM ($2,299) October 2018

> Mount Adapter for the EF-EOS R ($99) October 2018

Pretty serious-level lenses. 

Lighter big lenses, too!
Another big announcement was the release of two big EF lenses (for sports and wildlife shooters), that are about 2lbs lighter than previous models, making them the lightest weight lenses of their kind. The crowd here dug ’em!

Lots more to share later today on our “Live from Hawaii” edition of The Grid. See you then – 4 pm EDT today! 

Best, 

-Scott

P.S. I also saw (though not covered in today’s launch event) Canon introduced a new EL-100 flash (Speedlight). 24mm coverage. Optical wireless. Mode dial driven. Very small, and simple. $199.99 – ships October 2018

I’m happy to announce that we are now accepting entries to have your own solo gallery showing at The Gallery at KelbyOne, in Tampa, Florida.

Our last winner, Ian Munro, works for the police dept. in the UK. Our winner before Ian, Stephen Wallace is an Anesthesiologist. Our next winner could be you. If you’re thinking there’s no way you could win, that’s exactly what all over previous winners said. The only way you don’t have a chance is if you don’t enter.

Here’s a quick one-minute video with some details:

Here’s how to enter: 

  1. Here’s where you submit a link to your portfolio, or Facebook album, or Flickr page, or online gallery – (we’re looking for a body of work – at least 20 images) Note: this competition is only open to KelbyOne Pro members.
  2. From the submissions, we will choose a single winner. It could be you. If it is, we’ll fly you and a guest (from anywhere in the world) to the gallery in Tampa, Florida for a solo gallery showcasing your work, where we’ll feature approximately 18 of your images, beautifully printed and displayed by Bay Photo Lab using their amazing Xpozer system.
  3. The evening of the opening, you will welcome the crowd to a wine and cheese reception held in your honor that evening in the gallery where they can see your work, and get a chance to chat with you in person.
  4. Following the reception, we’ll move to our theater for an interview with you about your work, your life, your inspirations, and well…you. It will be streamed live around the world (along with behind-the-scenes images of the opening, and photos of your work).
  5. When it’s all over, you will receive all the prints from the exhibition (courtesy of Bay Photo Lab), and one of your images will be added our permanent collection, so future visitors can get see one of your winning gallery images.
  6. The deadline for submissions is: June 24, 2018, at 11:59 PM EDT.

 

Have questions?
Here’s the link to an earlier post with a detailed Q&A on how this all works.

Hope we’ll be welcoming you to your own gallery show very soon. Good luck everybody!

One more thing…
We’ll wrap up with some photos from earlier gallery contest winner’s gallery openings:

Have a great weekend!

Best,

-Scott

Here’s a quick look at what’s up on this glorious Monday in April:

SmugMug buys Flickr (What!!??!!)
I don’t know exactly what they’re going to call it, but I’m just glad they did it. Just in case you missed it this weekend – the folks at SmugMug bought Flickr. That’s right! Whoo Hoo!! There’s hope for Flickr at last! SmugMug is a great company, and a class act in our industry, and I can’t wait to see what they do with Flickr — one whose future just got a whole lot brighter. Congrats to the SmugMug crew. Well done, lads! :)

Our first instructor gallery show was a hit!
We were honored to feature KelbyOne instructor Moose Peterson for a solo exhibition in ‘The Gallery at KelbyOne’ last Friday night, and people were absolutely LOVING his aviation images (Moose, who is a print master himself, even gave a big shoutout to the folks at Bay Photo Lab for their big beautiful prints, displayed in the gallery using their Xpozer system). It was such a fun night, and Moose’s talk (broadcast live) afterward was funny, insightful, and often touching. We’ll be re-broadcasting the event, free to everyone, streamed on my Facebook page.

Who: Moose Peterson, with host Larry Becker
What: A talk with Moose about his aviation photography
Where: My Facebook page
When: Tuesday, at 2PM ET

Hope you can tune in – you’ll dig it big time.

The “Save $100 Early Bird Discount” to the Photoshop World Conference in Orlando is Ending Soon
If you’re thinking of going (and yes, you absolutely should be going – everyone’s invited), then get your ticket’s now before next week’s early bird discount deadline. Hurry hurry! Details and Tickets here.

How to be the first to get my new Lightroom Classic Book (spoiler alert: it’s already on-press)
It’s my biggest update to the book yet and has all the new features from the just-released update (including all the new Profile stuff). You can get yours first by pre-ordering right now from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Spend the day with me in Cincinnati / Covington next week, or Hartford the week after
I’m teaching my full-day Lightroom seminar (it’s just $99 for the full day) and I want you to come out and spend the day with me learning Lightroom. Lots of fun, useful, practical stuff to share, so come on out. Details and tickets here. 

Don’t forget Travel Tuesdays with Dave, here tomorrow.

Here’s wishing you all an absolutely rocking week!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. I finally (finally!) got around to updating my gear page here on the blog – here’s the link if you’ve got a sec. 

 

Howdy, folks – here’s what’s up:

Check out this still image my buddy Erik Kuna (or “dcats” to Grid viewers) – took at last week’s NASA Atlas 5 Rocket launch from the Cape (one of three cameras he had set up), but then he took his still image into Plotaverse to add the animation you see below (click the play button). Man, does it work like a charm for shots like this!

Congrats, Erik on an amazing shot! (plus, that Plotaverse is amazing)! Not to plug our own stuff, but at the same time actually plug our stuff – we have an entire course on how to add animation to your still images. Here’s the link, ya know, if you’re so included.

 

I’m excited, honored and just plain psyched to be included in Berlin-based XXLPix’s annual list of the Top 100 Photographers on The Web. It’s an international listing, and I’m thrilled to be on a list with many awesome photographers. Many thanks XXLpix. You can see the whole Top 100 list here. 

 

 

 

My Venice Travel Photography workshop next month (with guest instructor Mimo Meidany) that I announced last week is sold out (whoo hoo!). I’m excited to share this amazing city with such a cool group of people.

 

Thanks for stopping by, everybody and we’ll catch you here tomorrow for Tuesday’s with Dave. :)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Just a few weeks before I’m in Atlanta and then Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my full-day Lightroom seminar. Come out and spend the day with me. Tickets and more details here.

B. Winston Hendrickson   |    1962 – 2018

If you’ve been to the Photoshop World Conference, you probably recognize Adobe VP Winston Hendrickson from the many times he’s delivered Adobe’s opening keynote presentation to kick off the conference.  That’s Winston above during the keynote in 2013, but even if you didn’t recognize him, you’ve felt his input, his influence, and his vision every time you launched Photoshop or Lightroom.

Winston was Adobe’s Vice President of Engineering for Photoshop and Lightroom, and he was the perfect person to be in that role because he used and loved those programs as much as we do. He was a brilliant sports photographer — a far better one than I’ll ever be — and he used Lightroom and Photoshop every day for his photography work. He was a true champion of the end user because he actually was an end user. He “got” us in a way I’ll bet few execs in America today could ever do.

Winston between plays in Tampa for the Falcons/Bucs game.

He would fight for the new features, and improvements and speed boosts — the same ones we all wanted, and his drive, and his team, have made so many of those requests a reality over the years. I loved that when we sat down and talked about things that needed to be added or addressed or fixed in Photoshop or Lightroom, he didn’t defend them; he didn’t excuse them — instead he set out to fix them or to add them, and he had the power and will to do it, and the team that could make it happen. He was the kind of guy you wanted behind such important products, and him being in that role really made a difference.

I was heartbroken to learn this weekend that after waging such a brave battle against an incredibly tough form of cancer, he passed away. He faced that fight with an attitude, strength, courage, and sense of humor throughout that was truly inspiring to everyone around him. His passing caught us all by surprise because his on-going coverage and witty writing style (on his CaringBridge blog) made you feel certain that any day this would be behind him, and he’d be back on the sidelines at a Falcons game, or up on stage at a Photoshop World. My heart sank when I read the news. One of my heroes at Adobe, and one of my dear friends and sidelines buddy was gone. He’s younger than me and gone far, far too soon.

I could tell you so many stories about what an awesome person Winston was. How he stayed up crazy late on the phone giving me advice when I really needed it, or how we’d talk for hours about football gear and settings and lenses (and how I tried to tell him how much he’d regret hand-holding a 200-400mm for an entire NFL game). I could tell you great stories about how he genuinely looked out for Adobe customers, how he even looked out for friends and colleagues, and how much he loved his wife and family, and how proud he was of his daughter’s softball skills and how much he loved traveling with her team.

Anyone who knew him could tell you how humble, funny, laid back, and down to earth, he was. He could make anybody feel comfortable around him, and if you met him for five minutes, you felt like you had known him forever. No pretense. Not an ounce of “bragging” in him. When you were with him, you lost all sense that you were with one of the top minds in our industry. He was just “one of the guys,” and I loved that about him. I could fill pages with stories about him, and our times together, but instead, as a tribute to Winston, I’d like to share a very special story. It’s about what Winston told me was one of the greatest days of his life, and I was blessed to be a small part of it, and watch it all unfold.

L to R: Me, Lynn Bass, Falcon’s Team Photographer Jimmy Cribb, Michael Benford, and Winston

Our story starts in Atlanta
A few years back, at a Photoshop World Conference in Atlanta, some friends of mine from the Atlanta Falcons NFL team were at the conference, and I had told them what a lights-out sport shooter Winston was (thanks to his many years of shooting his daughter’s college softball team. His timing and technique were pro level). Well, I got the opportunity to introduce them at the conference, and my friend Michael Benford (Creative Director of the Falcons, seen next to Winston in the shot above) invited Winston to come shoot a Falcons NFL game on the sidelines.

Well, he was thrilled at the opportunity, and he also made the most of it — shooting like a pro and garnering an open invitation to shoot for the Falcons any time, and sure enough, he wound up covering a number of games for them, in Atlanta and on the road, too.

When we’d be shooting a Falcons game together, in-between plays we’d talk about big picture Photoshop and Lightroom stuff, and I was always bending his ear about feature requests, or things our members would like to see added under the hood, and we’d wind up just talking about everything from cameras to cars, too. We laughed a lot, shot a lot of pictures, but when he shared his Picks after the shoot, I was always amazed at his timing and how many “keepers” he got during the game. He nailed a lot of shots I totally missed. Winston was really talented, and he could have been shooting on assignment for any sports wire service, newspaper, or magazine. He was that good.

I learned something about Winston I never knew
One night over dinner, this Californian revealed something I never knew — he had been a lifelong Dolphins fan. I think saying “fan” is underplaying it a bit. He was a raging Dolphins fanatic! Despite not being from Miami, or even Florida, the Dolphins were the team he grew up following and loving, and he knew every player, every stat, and every piece of trivia from the Dolphins famous 1972 miracle undefeated season. Well, as luck would have it, my buddy Rob Foldy shoots for the Dolphins, and he had invited me to come down sometime and shoot a game with the Dolphins photo crew (Surf, Jon, Brandon, and Jeff). After dinner I called Rob and asked if there was any way that Winston could join me for that sideline shoot. After a few calls, Rob got it approved (Rob already knew Winston from meeting him at a few Bucs games he covered for the Falcons down here in Tampa, so he was already “buds” with Winston, and more than happy to make it all happen).

Game Day in Miami
The night before, Winston treated Rob, the Dolphins photo crew, and me to a wonderful dinner near the stadium and we basically closed the place – staying up late talking football and photography, until they nearly threw us out. Winston was super psyched (to say the least), and the great guys on the Dolphins crew were nearly as excited to see someone so tickled about this opportunity. Just one of those great nights you don’t forget, but this was only the beginning.

We got to the stadium early
Winston couldn’t even make it from the parking lot to the stadium without stopping every 50 yards to get another picture of Hard Rock Stadium. He was all grins, and we kept busting his chops as sports guys are known to do when one of the guys can’t stop smiling from ear to ear. We get inside the stadium, and the Dolphin’s guys and Rob give us a tour of the newly renovated stadium (and it was pretty sweet). We’re getting a tour of one of the VIP clubs (which this early before the game, was practically empty) when up steps Dolphins Hall of Famer, Larry Little to welcome us (and yes, he was wearing his Hall of Fame jacket). Winston recognized him immediately, and the two stood there sharing stories for 20 solid minutes. Larry was so gracious and kind, and funny, and I think if we hadn’t dragged Winston away, we probably would have missed kick off. As we were finally walking away, Winston looks over at me, and says, “I can’t believe I just met Larry Little. I can’t believe it! He was so nice! I can’t believe what just happened!” He was on cloud nine.

It was a perfect day — perfect weather — we’re at the stadium nice and early, and he just met one of his childhood heroes. It can’t get better than this, right? ;-)

Photo by B. Winston Hendrickson

A Field of Dreams
Winston, Rob and I headed up high into the stands to take some shots of the still empty stadium from up high (that’s one of Winston’s shots above). Then we headed down to the field as soon as some of the Dolphin’s players started to take the field for warmups. After a few minutes, the stadium is open; fans are starting to stream in, and they’re cranking the music down on the field. There’s a buzz — an electricity in the air, and there’s Winston, in the middle of “Dolphin-land” and he looks like a kid in a candy store. Huge grin; he’s taking some shots of the Dolphins warming up, and one of the Dolphin’s photo crew comes up; taps Winston on the shoulder and says, “Want to take a photo with the coach?”

We turn around, and behind us, just a few feet away on the sidelines, sitting in a golf cart is the one and only Don Shula – the legendary Dolphin’s Coach — and yes, the coach of that miracle 1972 Dolphin’s team. Winston was speechless (for about two seconds) as they walked him over to meet “The Coach” and Winston and Don chatted for a few minutes about the old team, and today’s game, and then I got this photo of them together. This was truly a magic moment, and I was just thrilled to be there to see it.

Winston meeting “The Coach” — Don Shula.

When they parted, and Winston walked back over to me, he laughed and said, “I just met Don Shula.” Then he stood there with the biggest smile. I don’t think even for a second that Winston thought he might meet Shula in person, but he did, on the sidelines of a Dolphin’s game he was getting to shoot. It doesn’t get better than that! Actually, it does.

While Winston is still reeling from meeting Shula, one of the guys comes up again and says, ‘Hey, want to meet Dan Marino? He’s right here.” Winston turns around, and there is Marino — Dolphin’s Hall of Famer QB and another of Winston’s heroes. That look on Winston’s face says it all.

Dolphins game time
Before you knew it, it was game time. We covered the player intros (through the smoke and fire), and then it was kickoff, and we all went to our different positions on the field and started shooting. Because it was “that kind of day” for Winston, of course, the Dolphins won. Winston once again shot “lights out,” and he shared his Picks from the game over at his SmugMug page. I captured a few for you below so you can get a sense of what a talented shooter he truly was, and why teams were so happy to have him shooting for them on their sidelines.

I knew Winston would want a few pics of him shooting on a day like this, so in between plays I’d grab a shot or two, and I wanted to share them with you here (below).

After the game, as we’re packing up, and he can’t stop grinning from ear to ear, I asked him “So, how was your day.” He just laughed, “It was OK.” As we’re walking out to the car, he thanked me again and again for helping him get this opportunity, and he said, without a doubt, it was absolutely one of the best days of his life. I know a lot of people say something like that, but in this case, I believed him. However, I was just blessed to be there and to have seen it happen, but it was Rob Foldy and the gracious crew of the Dolphins that truly brought Winston such a magical day.

I will always miss Winston. He was just one hell of a guy. A friend and mentor — immensely talented and humble to a fault. You can ask anybody who knew him, inside Adobe or on the sidelines — he was a Hall of Famer in his own right. He was one of the greats.

-Scott

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