Category Archives Photography

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

Two separate topics that taste great together. First, check out what we just announced – our last training conference of the year – ‘The Travel Photography Conference.’ Check out the trailer below and why this is the perfect time for a conference like this, which covers the shooting, traveling, gear, the post-processing, and more:

You can sign up right here (and don’t forget – you get the entire conference, all the classes, archived for an entire year, so you can stream any session again, or any missed, on demand.

Burger King Totally Blew It!

Chicken Sandwich Wars Important Update: Burger King had it. They had one of the top contenders in the entire Chicken Sandwich war in their “Ch’King” chicken sandwich. It was pretty incredible. So much so that it made me actually go to Burger King, perhaps my least favorite restaurant anywhere. Never been a fan, but the Ch’King changed my mind. It made me a believer, and a customer. Until last week, when I was at the Burger King drive-thru near me, ordered a Ch’King, and they told me it had been discontinued. What? That’s right – it’s no longer available. Apparently, a lot of people loved it, but there was a problem. Here’s how a top exec at Burger King explained the problem:

“The Ch’King “was a great product that was difficult or challenging for teams to execute on.”

So, they didn’t replace the Ch’King with something that tastes better. They replaced it with something easier to make. It’s not about their customers. It’s about how easy it is for them to make.

But I gave them the benefit of the doubt since they’re running TV ads non-stop for their new “BK Royal Crispy Chicken Sandwich,” so after ‘The Grid’ last week, I bought one to give it a try (even though one of our viewers commented that they had already tried it, and it was totally “meh”).

I tried it, and I can tell you this: It’s misnamed. It should have been called, “It’s our old boring chicken sandwich back again,” and their TV campaign could have been, “You didn’t like it before, and now it’s back.” It was completely ‘meh.’ Super ‘meh.’ They quit. They gave up. Save your money.

We Have a New Champ!

I mentioned this on The Grid recently, but we have a chicken sandwich that finally (finally) beats the famed Popeye’s spicy chicken sandwich (and it’s close 2nd place entry from Zaxby’s), and I am crowning it the new reigning champion of all Chicken Sandwich wars contenders. It is from the Outback Steakhouse’s new fast food chain called “The Aussie Grill,” and their ‘Crispy Sriracha Chicken Sandwich” is remarkable. Truly. It is the new ‘king’ and Burger King…well…they totally blew it.

Have a great weekend, everybody. Hope your chicken is crispy and spicy!

Scott

….or, Salt Lake City this Friday, where I’m helping kick off the grand opening of Pictureline. I’m doing a “dinner and a class,” and I’ve got lots of cool stuff to share, and I’d love to get a chance to meet you. It’s just $15 for the dinner and the class, and when you go, they give you a $15 gift card, so you get your money right back (how cool is that?). Details and tickets are at this link – go reserve your spot now.

Wonderful, beautiful Italy. A photographer’s paradise

Check out the quick video below where I tell you how you can come with me on an epic travel photography workshop to one of the most beautiful regions in Europe (heck, in the world) – the stunning Tuscany region of Italy, next month – October 5-8, 2022. Check it out (it’s short):

Here’s the link with more details or to snag your ticket and come with me to Italy next month.

Have a great Monday, everybody! (BTW: It was a glorious weekend!!! Both my teams won this weekend – Alabama and The Bucs. Whoo hoo!!!). Remember, when the Cowboys lose, America wins! ;-)

-Scott

A few months back, I was very fortunate to have two incredible artists on ‘The Grid’ as my guests – Canadian photographers Elizabeth “Lizzy” Gad and Kris Andres. We were able to give away one of Lizzy’s prints to one of our viewers, but during the show, I learned that Kris wasn’t yet offering any of his prints for sale, and I really encouraged him to start selling them, because his work is just incredible (they’re both phenomenal, and since have become two of my favorite photographers).

Well, I’m happy to announce that he is now making available a limited number of his fine art prints available for sale.

Here’s a link to his site. I encourage you to stop by and take a look at his 2022 collection of images for sale. Really incredible work – even if you don’t buy a print, you’ll love seeing his images.

Here’s the episode (below) where Lizzy and Kris were our guests on the Grid (it was the same episode where we helped Larry from Platypod launch their new Platypod Extreme.

Happy Labor Day, everybody (well, it is here in the US); and hope you’re enjoying a day off, and we’ll catch you back here tomorrow, “Travel Tuesdays with Dave.”

-Scott

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