Category Archives Photography

…it was not to be. My hope was to do a post today with my photos from my recent trip to Lisbon, Portugal, and Morocco, but it’s 1:29 AM and I realize that while I have all the photos in place, I don’t have the full story together yet, and I don’t want to rush through it, so it will probably have to wait a day or so. Rats.

In the meantime, this happened:

On Thursday, the day after my San Diego Lightroom seminar, I was lucky enough to be able to be literally almost on the runway at the El Centro Naval Air Facility in California, shooting FA/18G EA Growlers, and Apache Attack Helicopters along with some Navy trainer jets, and it was just awesome (as you might expect). I’ll be sharing photos from the day shortly, but when I posted the shot on Twitter you see above (taken with my iPhone 7 Plus), I saw the response you see below my tweet from someone who follows me there. I don’t think they were being snarky or anything at all, but I did respond to them, and I thought I’d expand on what I told them.

I did have pretty amazing access that day, but…
…I was there as part of El Centro NAF’s annual “Photo Call” but the reason I found out about it in the first place is not that “I’m connected” and have some special “in” — it’s just that (like hundreds of other photographers) I’m a member of the International Society of Aviation Photographers (ISAP). 

Each year they arrange special shoots for their members, and ISAP members wind up getting access to shoots that I can’t even begin to imagine how they were able to get permission for…but they do. When they hold their annual convention (I’ve been a speaker twice now — I think next years is in Tucson), the shoots they come up with for members are just off-the-chain, and I guess if you want to talk about someone that is actually “connected” it’s their President, Larry Grace, who is the wizard of getting photographers into places that they normally wouldn’t have access to whatsoever.

If you’re into Aviation Photography and want some opportunities to learn from some seriously amazing shooters; hang out with some really great people, and shoot some incredibly cool aircraft, I urge you to out the ISAP.

Here’s a link to their site for more details.

Hope you found that helpful, and I hope you check them out. Now, outside of ISAP, if I get special access to shoot some cool things, and sometimes I am able to do that, I never take it for granted. I count it as a real blessing and one I’m very thankful for. Here’s wishing you special access to something you’ve always wanted to shoot (and if it’s super cool – give me a shout – you know I love stuff like that). :)

Programming Note: It’s Thanksgiving week here in the US, so no episode of “The Grid” on Wednesday and probably no Thanksgiving post as well, but we kick off our Black Friday/Cyber Monday stuff soon so I’ll let you know about that when we’re close.

Hope you have an awesome Holiday week!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. If you want to be the first to know about our best deals of the year on KelbyOne memberships during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday fest – head over to KelbyOne.com and get on the early notice list. We’ll make sure you get our best deals of the year. 

Big news – my brand new book “The Flash Book” comes out today! Starting today it’s available in eBook format, ready to download right now (the print edition is already on press).  My publisher (Rocky Nook Publishing) is celebrating today’s launch with an absolutely insane deal — just $15 for the eBook (it’s available for download right now!).

Here’s the link to their $15 eBook deal (and use the code below).

About the book:
I didn’t want to write yet another book that teaches you everything you can do with your flash. Instead, this book is for people who bought a flash, and they’re not loving it. They not getting the results they thought they would, so they’re really not using their flash, and that’s a huge shame because you’ve seen how awesome flash can be.

I really think I can change that for you.
I think I can make you fall hopefully and madly in love with your flash because you’re going to start getting those type of flash images you bought your flash for in the first place. You’re not going to “nerd out” and learn a bunch of tech stuff. Instead, you’re going to learn a super simple system — one I’ve been working on for years now, and I know it works because I’ve received hundreds of emails, comments, and love letters from people who have put this system to use and they’ve finally loving their flash. They’re head over heels (and you could be, too).

You can finally love your flash
…and you’ll see the results immediately (especially since a lot of this system flies right in the face of what the flash makers and marketeers have been telling folks to do). You’re this close to a real breakthrough with your flash, and Rocky Nook is making it so affordable that you’ve got to at least give it a serious look. It’s $15. You can’t buy lunch at Applebees for $15 (plus, this book is better than lunch at Applebees, but then…). ;-)

If you want to wait for the print book, here’s the link to it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (note: it’s not in print yet, but already the #1 bestselling book on flash photography on Amazon). You’ll dig it.

Have a great Wednesday everybody, and I hope I run into you at my seminar here in San Diego today. :)

Best,

-Scott
‘The Flash Book’ Guy

P.S. Please scroll down to catch Jesus Ramirez’s awesome Guest Post today. It’s about the importance of perspective in Photoshop and he’s got some killer compositing tips in there. Very well done!  

 

Hey hey! It’s #TravelTuesday again here on ScottKelby.com and that means it’s time for this weeks #HybridDaveTuesdays post! This week I want to talk to you about my prior aversions to auto-ISO and how I overcame them.

ISO stands for International Standards Organisation, and it’s a standardised scale for measuring sensitivity to light. That’s boring though. It pertains in todays world to how sensitive a sensor is, but was obviously used in its same scale for measuring the sensitivity of film. It’s one of the three elements of exposure, alongside Aperture and Shutter Speed, but although these two are commonly understood it seems that ISO is the link in the chain which causes the most confusion.

I won’t make this a lesson on ISO, more of a glimpse of why I have switched to auto-ISO. And it was a bit of a big deal for me because I like to retain absolute control with my camera and basically not let it think for itself….. here’s what happened:-

ISO at higher sensitivity always used to mean grainy exposures. Noisy images and a lack of quality. Well looking at recent developments in the quality of higher ISO performance it’s certainly fair to say that it’s no longer as relevant as it used to be. I’ve shot fully manual for as long as I can remember, but it’s because of one situation very recently that I realised that perhaps auto-ISO is the way forward. Here’s the shot:-

 

The Mechanic – An old mechanic in his workshop in Marrakech

 

So I was hunting for candid portraits all day in Marrakech with Scott, his brother Jeff, and good friend Mike. We found one thing universally characteristic of Moroccans – the aversion to having their photo taken! Finding our candids was no easy task so everything had to be set up exactly right for the moments which presented themselves, which were not at all prevalent. To get this shot which I’d seen from the minivan we were cruising Marrakech in I had to ask the driver to go around (which I wasn’t doing for the first time that day) to get another glimpse through the open door into this mechanics garage. Upon stepping, at the 200mm end of my lens, across to shoot this the old gent raised his hands and lowered his head. It was a split second, but knowing exactly what I wanted from my shutter and my aperture I was able to use auto ISO to get the right exposure.

What I’ve discovered is that contrary to my previous fear of raising the ISO, I’ve now swung the other way and would much rather have a well exposed image even if it does have a little grain. Nobody ever really looked at a well exposed and well composed image and turned their nose up at the noise caused by a high ISO. In fact there are many, many tutorials telling you how to add noise to your images. Furthermore, removing a thought process and giving the camera the decision with regards to ISO makes the whole process a whole lot easier unless there’s a specific reason why I need to retake control. I’ve found it a really rewarding experience to concentrate more on the image and less on the settings, particularly when I can’t afford so much time on a shot.

So in essence I’m telling you this:-

Have a read of your camera manual, learn about auto ISO (and what I’ll call semi-auto, whereby you set limits) and give it a try. You might love it just as much as I do.

Much love

Dave

 

(By the way, the picture I’ve shown you is actually two photos. The old man’s reactions were far quicker than mine – they really don’t like having their photo taken! One shot has a clear view of his face with a huge chunk of trailer in the way blocking parts of the workshop. If you think you can spot the major changes feel free to get in touch and I’ll tell you if you’re right! You can find me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram)

 

You need a drone…right?

It’s that time of week again! #HybridDaveTuesdays, on #TravelTuesday, right here on ScottKelby.com—boom! So, I caught you with that bait title and now I need to deliver the goods. Let’s do this!

 

Old Harry Rocks in Dorset, UK, shot from my Mavic Pro

I’ll start by offering you a view of Old Harry (the little rock at the end closest to the lens) as seen from 69 metres up. It’s a view that would have cost the price of renting a helicopter or airplane, gambling with the risk of weather, and far less flexibility in maneuvering and fine-tuning.

The market for consumer and prosumer drones is growing like you wouldn’t believe. DJI, manufacturers of the Phantom and Mavic among others, are now the worlds largest aircraft manufacturer AND the worlds largest camera manufacturer. So what does that mean for us photographers?

Well, for me as a travel photographer, it’s all about two things:

  1. Capturing familiar places from unseen angles.
  2. Finding brand new places with no previously seen view.

That means using a drone, which can travel the world with me and can demonstrate an optical performance, which maintains the aesthetics of my portfolio. Mavic, if you were wondering. But, this post isn’t about why I need a drone, it’s about why you need one!

Number one: It’s the best toy ever! The number of times I’m flying and some passer-by sees me with a controller in my hand and immediately stops in their tracks, craning their neck skyward, trying to nonchalantly spot my drone soaring high; or the yell of a child upon noticing the whirr of the rotors, exclaiming to their parents, “Look, a drone!” It’s a fantastic attention-grabber and this translates to the commercial world of a subscribed audience—for example, the fascination of guests and couples when I’ve pulled out a drone whilst shooting weddings is a great marketing tool, not to mention the awesome perspective the paying couple will get for their album.

 

Somewhere in the Black Forest in Germany, shot from my Mavic Pro

Next up, it opens up a whole world when it comes to water. A lot of drone work we see includes water, and that’s because it’s an entirely new world which, short of hiring a helicopter or a boat, wasn’t possible before drones. We can get low and shoot long, get a bit of altitude and throw in some 45-degree views, or go straight up and shoot bird’s eye view, just as a few from many possibilities. Water is, as we all know, the carpet to two-thirds of our planet, and the amount of action going on there carries an intimate captivity, which lends itself to so many awesome views.

 

The Pacific Ocean, off the California coast, shot with my Phantom 3

 

Malibu Farm Pier, CA, shot with my Phantom 3

Drone flying is just impressive. People are fascinated by flight, and by cool new views of things, and the fact that you have a toy (/weapon) in your backpack that can launch—that’s right I said launch—is just intrinsically cool! Drones are one of the most impressive pieces of commercially available kit to hit the ground (see what I did there?) in the last few years, and with just a little practice, you can get some awesome photos and videos to share and boost both your portfolio and your reputation. Also, when you talk about your drone, you get to use words like “velocity” and “attitude,” which makes me wet myself a little bit. ;)

The dot next to the rental is me, shot in Arizona with my Phantom 3

The cost: It’s cheaper than you think! My first drone experience involved a lot of money. And a crash. That memory echoed through me every time I looked at getting another drone, in particular, the cost of replacing it if I killed another one. Well, the advances that have been made in drone tech are astounding. Two particular examples that stand out to me in terms of the automatic features, which DJI spent many, many hours perfecting in order to stop me from crashing my drone, are these:

I was driving through the USA. Nevada, I think. I was making my way along a valley and noticed the awesome mountain changing beside me. It was near Navajo Rock and bore colours not dissimilar to it, so I had to get the drone up and get the shot. Winds were steady and high, but out came the DJI Phantom 3. I took off and the wind caught the Phantom, taking it sideways toward a rock face. The thing was nearly on its side in the air, but the GPS and all the other gadgets built into it kept it flying steady, albeit practically on its side. My better judgment told me to land it, but the demonstration of its stability was incredible, and the awesome tech flew by itself to keep in position.

The other example is when I took the photo up top of Old Harry Rocks in Dorset, a couple of miles from my parent’s home. I stood on a cliff top and the winds were gusting something unreal—the air was still, then felt about 50 MPH, then back to still, then back to 50 in seconds. I had my DJI Mavic Pro on the ground all ready to go. When you launch a drone, it’s good practice to hold a low hover for a short time as a kind of systems-check, and in the case of the Mavic, it takes that opportunity to use two ground-facing cameras to take a snapshot of its take-off point, so it can auto-land back in the exact spot. Whilst I held this hover, the intermittent, wild wind made my poor Mavic flap. My drone was literally wobbling in the air as if it were Homer Simpson on one of those fat shakers. The sound of the motors working hard with fine changes to deal with the deflected air buffeting the cliff below was a sad, sad sound, but it held itself with no control input from me, keeping its cool and just dealing with it until I gave it enough altitude to get out of the situation. Kudos, DJI.

But, what I was actually talking about was the price. That Phantom 3 is around $500, and the Mavic is around $1000. For what you get it’s totally worth the investment. By the way, never say anything like “I digress.” All that does is remind people that you’re digressing. ;)

 

A shot from a wedding taken with my Phantom 3

The photos and videos you can make can be absolutely stunning. Interesting at worst. I don’t need to explain this point in depth, as it pretty much speaks for itself. Drone laws are surprisingly relaxed. In the USA, stay below 400 feet, don’t fly within 5 miles of an airport (unless you’ve contacted the tower for permission), don’t fly over the Super Bowl—it’s basically all common sense. Just don’t risk being one of those drone pilots who makes the evening news and screws up my and Terry White‘s fun!

 

The Alpine foothills on the Austrian/German border, shot with my Mavic Pro

So, what about commercial use? Well my buddy J.R. (who can be seen here on Instagram) has photos plastered on his pickup advertising his successful photography business, and occupying a third of the back portion is a shot of his DJI Phantom 4. It’s there for good reason, and the reason is that the perspective offered by drones brings a whole new lease on life into real estate photography. (Lease. Get it? Real estate… catch up!) Not only that, but tennis clubs, golf clubs, marinas, country houses, aerial surveys—they are all potential earners for your photo/video business if you have a drone.

 

Soaring above Simi Valley, taken by J.R Maddox with his Phantom 4

 

By J.R Maddox with his Phantom 4

 

So, in summary, if you’re thinking of getting a drone, you probably should! It’s a decision you won’t regret!

 

Much love,

Dave

 

A Gator in Florida shot on my Phantom 3

KelbyOne Members sent in entries from all over the world, and these entries keep getting better and better, which makes the judging harder and harder. Nevertheless, we found an incredible photographer to honor with this own gallery opening, and we’re excited to announce that our latest winner is:

Stephen Wallace

Stephen (and a guest of his choice) will be flown to Tampa, Florida to be there for the wine and cheese reception celebrating his own solo gallery show at “The Gallery at KelbyOne.” (Note: If you’re like “What’s this whole gallery thing?” check out this quick Q&A)

Stephen is both an anesthesiologist and an attorney, but with an incredibly creative side, as his wonderful, playful, fascinating images from Myanmar absolutely wowed the judges. The colors and composition were spot on, but his dramatic light scenes were so breathtaking they won the hearts of the judges.

We can’t wait to see Stephen’s images hanging on the walls of the gallery presented using Bay Photo Lab‘s ‘Xpozer’ system for exhibition printing. We know Stephen will be blown away, and you will be too if you can come and see them in person (and yes — if you’re a KelbyOne member, you’re invited to be there his gallery opening).

You’re invited to Stephen’s gallery opening!
The opening is:

7:00 pm on Saturday, December 9th at the Gallery at KelbyOne (in the Tampa, Florida area). 

We’ll be broadcasting a live 1-hour interview (hosted by Larry Becker) with Stephen at 8:00 p ET that evening from our theatre (the live stream on Facebook from the opening and interview are open to everyone). More details and a link as we get closer to the opening.

Congratulations Stephen – we can’t wait to share your fascinating work with the world. :)

Here’s to an awesome week!

Best,

-Scott

“Yes! I’m so happy that this has taken off and has been well-received. Another fantastic interview! I absolutely love his impressions. He’s snuck a few of them in on the Grid from time to time. Great job Kalebra! And great interview Dave!”

That’s a quote from one of our members, talking about this new interview series from Kalebra called “The Personal Side of…. The series is well-named, as it unveils another side of some best-known educators, artists, and photographers in the world. I was thrilled Kalebra got to chat with Dave Black, my hero in sports photography and although I’ve known Dave for years, I learned so much about Dave I didn’t know.

What a fascinating person. He reveals so much about himself in such an honest and real way. It’s what I love about her series.

Her first published interview…
…with UK-based photographer Tim Wallace literally had me in tears — an incredible experience and you’ll find that Dave’s interview is packed with these same type of insightful, personal moments that make it a joy to watch and listen.

There’s much more to these legends than we know from their work behind the camera, and I’m honored that we get to share this other side of our KelbyOne instructors with our members in such an inspiring way. If you’re looking for something uplifting, intriguing, hilarious and just plain entertaining this weekend, give Dave’s “Personal Side’ conversation a try. You’ll be glad you did.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Best,

-Scott

Close