Category Archives Photography

Few things are more exciting for a photographer than when a B&H Photo shipping box arrives at your door, and today was that day! I had been shooting a Canon EOS R6 for the past few years, and I wasn’t really planning on updating when I heard the R6 Mark II announcement, but then I made a fatal mistake.

When I was out at the OPTICWEST Conference in Monterey last month, I stopped by the Canon booth, and they had a pre-release model, and I held it and played around with it (huge mistake), so my next step was the B&H Photo booth (which happened to be directly next to the Canon booth) to arrange to sell them my used R6 (they buy used gear) and upgrade to the R6 Mark II, and well…it arrived today and I’m giddy (a term used by old folks. No me, mind you. Actual old folks).

I was actually inspired by a buddy of mine, who had gone to Mirrorless but was still hanging on to a bunch of his old DLSR gear and lenses, and while we were on the phone, I convinced him to go to B&H’s Used Dept and see what they would give him for the old gear (you get an instant online offer on their site). I kid you not – he got over $5,000 for gear he hadn’t used in years. Well, that inspired me, and I’m about to ship them a bunch more of the DSLR gear I don’t use anymore so I can get a new R-mount 70-200mm (and I’m probably going with the f/4 instead of the f/2.8 because I hardly ever get to shoot it at f/2.8, and it’s lighter and cheaper and still sharp as anything).

Here’s my current loadout

OK, so the new R6 Mark II is my main camera body. I don’t really carry a backup body, so my iPhone is my backup camera unless I’m shooting something critical, like a wedding or a sporting event. I use three lenses (seen below):

  1. A Canon RF-mount (for mirrorless) 24-240mm lens (my favorite all-around travel lens) below left.
  2. A Canon RF-mount 14-35mm Lens (mostly for shooting interiors when I travel) below center.
  3. A Tamron 150-600mm lens for shooting aviation (I use an adapter, so I can use this on my mirrorless)

I have some other gear, but mostly for shooting sports (I still have two 1Dx’s and a 400mm f/2.8, and some other various lenses, like an F/1.2 85mm, but that’s one I’m probably selling off as mentioned above).

I am super digging having a simplified loadout, and most of the time, especially when I’m traveling, I’m just using that 24-240mm anyway. One body, and one lens….awwww, yeah! :)

I’ll let you know more once I’ve had a chance to shoot with the Mark II, but I’m just so excited I had to share it with you. Have a great weekend, and hope to see you back here next week! :)

-Scott

P.S. Next Wednesday at 1PM ET on ‘The Grid,’ it’s our annual Holiday Gear Guide show with my special in-house guest, the one and only Vanelli. Lots of great gift ideas for the photographer on your holiday gift list. :)

This is one of those super quick tips, and it’s how one simple accessory, and a few simple settings, allow you to create that smooth silky look in scenes where water is moving, as you see above (so a waterfall, harbor, fountain, stream., etc.), or scenes where the clouds in the sky are fast moving. Check out the accessory and technique in the short “Photo Tip Friday” video below:

That’s a pretty powerful little accessory, right? However, if you’re shooting a Mirrorless camera, the process is even easier because you can put the filter right on your lens from the start and then focus like normal. Here’s the process, step-by-step, for mirrorless camera users:

  1. Switch to ‘Bulb’ mode on your camera (this mode lets you can keep the shutter open for longer than 30-seconds).
  2. If you’re doing a long exposure, your camera can’t move at all, not even a little, the entire time, so use a tripod.
  3. Put your ND filter in front of your lens. If you’re going to be shooting in daylight (like I was for the shot above), you’ll need at least a 10x (10-stop) ND filter or a 12 or 15-stop. I have a 10-stop and a 3-stop, so I can put on the 10-stop and then screw the 3-stop right on top for a 13-stop equivalent.
  4. Figure out how long to keep the shutter open. There are apps for your phone that do this. I use either ND Timer (¢.99) or the use ND timer included in the PhotoPills App(I know a lot of you already use that app).
  5. Press the shutter button halfway down to focus, and then all the way to open the shutter (or if you’re using a cable release or wireless remote, press it and lock it into position, so you don’t have to hold it down the whole time physically). On my Canon R6, I set a two-second timer and then tap and screen, and it starts a timer right there on my screen for me. When it hits the amount of time my app told me it would need for a proper exposure, I simply tap the screen again.

There ya go for all your mirrorless users out there (you save a few extra steps that folks that are shoot DSLRs still have to do, like covering the viewfinder so light doesn’t leak in, and pre-focusing and switching to manual focus before putting the filter on your lens).

Give this technique a try – it’s also great for removing tourists (as long as the tourists keep moving while you have a long exposure going, they will literally be gone when the long exposure is gone. We’re talking during a 30-second+ exposure).

Have a great weekend, everybody! Happy shopping to everybody getting those early bird Black Friday details.

-Scott

P.S. Our Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals for a KelbyOne Pro membership are already in place if you want to take advantage of our absolute lowest prices of the year. Here’s the link – you will get so much out of it, and it also makes a fantastic gift for the photographer on your holiday list. :)

It will be a very special event, and I’m honored to be one of the speakers, along with an all-star crew of instructors. Here’s how the symposium organizers describe it:

“Jack Graham and Bill Fortney invite you to join them for a memorable experience in the Saguaro National Park and Tucson area. Their immense experience throughout the photographic industry, leading workshops and helping people “see” more creatively, all go in to creating this amazing symposium.”

Here are the details:

WHO: You, Me, and some of the best photography instructors in the industry
WHEN: Next October 30, through November 3rd, 2023
WHERE: The Saguaro National Park area
HOW: For more info or to reserve your spot (space is limited), click this link

There will be incredible shooting and learning opportunities, so mark your calendars now and I hope you can join us out West – it will be (wait for it…wait for it…) epic!

OK, it’s Monday – a week with lots of fresh opportunities – let’s make the most of it! :)

-Scott

I had a moment Monday morning at the B&H Photo OPTICWEST Conference that will stick with me for a long time. At 6 AM, we pulled out of Monterey harbor before dawn on one of two huge whale-watching boats – each packed with hundreds of photographers, chartered by B&H Photo for the conference attendees. I was on the smaller two-deck boat – but it still had around 150 photographers on it, along with reps and loaner gear from Sigma and Sony (Canon and Nikon were over on the “big boat”). I was asked to be kind of an informal Cruise Director on the smaller boat (I shared cruise director duties with the awesome David Brommer on a cruise around Manhattan at the New York City OPTIC conference, so I was a seasoned tourboat sidekick.

Above: It was “Bring your long lens to school” day.

You probably already know I am not a nature photographer or a whale expert. The only whale watches I had been on previously were pretty much a bust (they claimed there was actually a whale out there somewhere, way off in the distance, but it was probably a sea lion or some driftwood). But on this whale watch, not only did we see lots and lots of whales, it was “whale soup” out there. We had lots of shooting opportunities, and even some “Friendlies” – whales that would come right up alongside the boat while our engines were off – they were literally six feet away. They were so close you could pet them, as long as you didn’t mind falling in the sea and never being seen again. Anyway, they were right there, and photographers who only brought their 400mm lenses groaned at the missed opportunity because the whales were actually too close to get a shot, so out came everyone’s iPhones.

Luckily I was not alone on this whale-watching hosting journey – I shared mic duties with a really nice nature guide named Jacob, who worked on the boat, knew the waters, knew whales, and (bonus) he was a photographer with some great whale shots himself. So, all I had to do was fill in the dead air between him announcing, “Three whales at one o’clock!” over the mic, and then he would hand me the mic. At that point, I would say something silly, like “For those unfamiliar with nautical boating terms, the front of the boat is referred to as the “Frontus.” So, you can see I did a whale of a job (That bad pun should give you some indication of how little I brought to the party). 

Above: Captain Bill at the helm. Or, ya know, the steering wheel thingy.

I did bring my camera, though, and I had a great view from up top with Captain Bill (super nice guy) and Jacob, “the whale guy,” and I got an okay shot or two, but I wasn’t really there to shoot – I was there to bring those crucial insights I usually save for the chapter intros of my books (stop snickering).

What this story is really about

So, Jacob spots a small group of whales 200 yards out in front of us (a group of whales swimming together is called a “Cankle.”). Anyway, we start heading that way, and I’m out in front of the wheelhouse all by myself, and whales are diving in front of us, and the sky was amazing, and it was gorgeous brisk morning, and I was just taking it all in, and suddenly tears started streaming down my face.

It wasn’t the whales, and it was. It was all of it. The nature, the moments, how kind and gracious Captain Bill and Jacob were to me, who was clearly a fish out of water (no pun intended) on this whale watch. What I was, was overwhelmed. I was just so grateful that I was there. There in charming Monterey, on this beautiful morning, seeing these amazing creatures God made, up close like this. I couldn’t believe I was getting to do this – any of it. I was so grateful that B&H had chartered these boats for us; that they asked me to be a cruise director on one of them that morning, and that they asked me to teach at the conference in the first place. I hadn’t been in California since the January before COVID hit, and yet here I was – on the front deck of a whale watch boat, crashing through the waves, tears in my eyes and my heart exploding with joy.

This conference – all of it – had been a blessing. I saw the most amazing wildlife images I’ve ever seen during Frans Lanting’s wonderful keynote speech, and I think seeing his work had an effect on me, too. His heart for animals and nature is a joy to behold, and his talent as a photographer is extraordinary.

I guess this post is really about gratitude and perhaps a new appreciation for being out in nature and seeing it up close, or even experiencing it through photographs. As amazing as this past week’s experience has been, I’m thankful to now be on a flight back home to be with my wonderful family – the greatest gift God’s given me and the one I’m most grateful for.

Here’s wishing you a weekend full of gratitude, joy, and maybe even a win for the Buccaneers (Hey, it could happen). :)

-Scott

The folks at On1 just did a major new feature release across their suite of plug-ins. My favorite of theirs (the one you guys know I use for my finishing moves after my editing in Lightroom), is On1 Effects, so I did a video on the new features and how to use them, and I embedded it right here. It’s about 15-minutes because there’s a lot to cover, but it’s not just a demo – I’m showing you how to use it as well because I know many of you out there are already using Effects 2022, so I hope you’ll find this helpful.

You can download free trials of their plug-ins right here. Congrats to the On1 crew on taking things up a big notch once again.

Just 8-Days ‘Til the OPTICWEST Conference

I’m so psyched! I haven’t been to California since 2019, right before COVID, and I so miss all the great folks out there, and I can’t wait to be there, teaching again at the OPTICWEST conference. B&H Photo hosts it and the wild thing about this multi-day conference for landscape, travel, and nature photographers (with an all-star crew of instructors), is that you can attend in person (in beautiful Monterey – a photographer’s paradise along the Pacific Coast), or online, and either way – it’s free. All of it. The classes, the tradeshow, the whale watch – the whole nine yards, thanks to B&H Photo. All you have to do is RSVP right here. That’s it. Don’t miss out, especially when it’s free (and these days, nuthin’s free).

Here’s the link, and I hope to see you in person in just eight days.

A Quick Word of Thanks

I want to give a big thank you to all the folks who attended our online Travel Photography Conference, which just wrapped up this week. It was a great success, with some incredible sessions from our KelbyOne instructors, including some new faces teaching with us for the first time, and I’m very grateful to everyone who attended and who has supported our online conferences in 2022. This was our last one for the year, but we’ve got some great conferences brewing for 2023, including a few surprises I can’t wait to share with you soon. 

Have a great weekend, everybody. Hey, My Bucs didn’t play as badly this week, so there’s that. ;-)

-Scott

Well, it actually kicks off today with some pre-conference sessions, and I’m teaching one today on building your travel photography shot list, where I give you a list of what to shoot once you’re out there, and it comes with a downloadable PDF you can keep on your phone to reference while you’re shooting.

Check out this short trailer about the conference: 

Here’s the link for tickets and more details (you probably already know this, but you have full access to all the classes from this two-day, two-track conference for a full year, so if you can’t make it, you can still stream any of the classes on demand. 

We Just Released A New Course On All The New Lightroom and Photoshop Features

Wow! Such great new stuff in Lightroom and Photoshop, and I want to get you up to speed really fast so you can start using these new features in your work, so last week, we released a whole course on those new features, and it’s already getting rave reviews. Check out the short trailer on it below:

Here’s a link to the course (If you’re not already a KelbyOne member, you can buy just the individual course and watch it right now). 

Have a great Monday, ya’ll! :)

-Scott

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