It’s a new week—the dawn of new day–bright with opportunity and excitement. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and….ah, who am I trying to kid? Here’s the stinkin’ Monday news:

  • Back in June, Dave Moser and I were out at Adobe’s Headquarters in San Jose, CA for some meetings, and walking back to HQ after dinner we noticed these large symbols being projected on top of Adobe’s North Tower building, and every so often one of the four symbols would change (We joked that it was code to let the alien craft know where to land). Anyway, we figured it was “art” (a “California thing”), and kept walking, but then this weekend I ran across a story about some very clever, and curious guys (with way too much time on their hands), who cracked the code and revealed what the symbols mean. It’s a very interesting story. (Hint: the message says really mean things about QuarkXPress. Kidding!) Here’s the link to read the full story (worth a quick read).
  • Series Four of the machine Wash plug-ins for Photoshop have been released. These plug-ins make your art or type look like they’ve been thru the rinse cycle, with a totally cool aged and weathered look. You can see demos right there online (click here to check them out).
  • Freakish coinsidence or carefully calculated plan? On the same day that I did my first ever report on Canon gear, Canon released a batch of new gear, including the rumored 40D, and their first 20+ Megapixel camera (plus some cool lenses as well). Check for all the juicy details. (by the way; it was a freakish coinsidence).
  • If you’re out on the West Coast, check this out: We’re opening the Photoshop World Expo Floor to the public for one day only (Friday, September 7th). If you’re interested in seeing all the latest gear from the biggest names in the industry, plus you want to soak up loads of free Photoshop training in three different Expo Floor theaters, not to mention the training in individual booths, then sign up for your free pass now. If you sign up in advance, it’s free. If you show up at the door, it’s $25 per person. To get your free one-day Expo-Only pass, visit the Photoshop World site.
  • We’ve added links to the past archives of “Photoshop Insider,” and they’re found on the right side of this page—just scroll down and you’ll see them listed by month. Anything prior to what’s listed is on my old blog hosted over at (here’s the link to the old site).
  • The first ever “Voices That Matter Web Conference” is coming to San Francisco’s Grand Hyatt on October 22-25, 2007 and is aimed at people who design and create for the Web. It features an all-star lineup of leading Web design authors and gurus (including Cory Barker, the “Photoshop Lad”), and you can get all the details by clicking here.

That’s it for Monday. Have a great week everybody! :-)


Here’s a shot [click on it for a larger view] taken shortly after dawn at Utah’s Monument Valley (which is just an amazing place—almost surreal). I’m using this shot as a perfect example of me not following my own rules, and paying for it later. Here’s what happened:

The night before this was shot, Jeff (scroll down two posts), Dave and I went to this cool little steakhouse about 40 miles from Monument Valley, where they cook the steaks outdoors on a “Swinging Grill” (it literally swings back and forth over a huge open flame to grill your steaks). It was a quirky place, with a live country band playing outdoors, and everybody there had a camera, so we were all taking shots of the band, the grill, and the scene. It was a low light situation, so I had to show off to my Nikon-shooting buddies by changing the ISO on my Canon 5D to ISO 1600 and hand-holding for a half-an-hour of shooting while waiting for our table.

The next morning, at 4:00 am as we’re driving toward Monument Valley, I told the guys, “Hey, don’t forget to change back your camera settings from last night’s low light shooting.” Then I told them about an Acronym I use to help remind me to check my most critical settings. It’s WHIMS, which stands for:

  • W: White Balance
  • H: Hightlight clipping warning
  • I: ISO
  • M: Mode (JPEG or RAW)
  • S: Shooting (Resetting to the right shooting mode for the subject: Aperture Priorty, Shutter Priority, Manual, etc.)

If I remember to check those five things, I’m set, and I reminded them twice during our drive there. Then, when I got to spot where we’d be shooting, it was so beautiful, and I was so excited, I just jumped out and starting shooting. At ISO 1600, at f/4 (the camera settings I used the night before). It wasn’t until about an hour later, after sunrise, that I actually checked my settings and learned that I had been shooting all morning at ISO 1600. My heart sank.

To Canon’s creditâ”the noise is amazingly low (in fact, I was shocked at how little noise there is), but obviously I would have preferred that it was at ISO 100 (which is the ISO I try to shoot in as much as possible, and since I was shooting on a tripod, ISO 100 would have been ideal).

So, although this is an embarrassing story for me personally, I hope you’ll use it (and my Acronym if it helps), to keep you from making the same mistake I did.

To wrap up: the shot was taken with a Canon 5D, using a 70mm – 200mm lens with Image Stabilization) in Aperture Priority (at least I got that part right), and because of the ISO of 1600, it was shot at 1/8000 of a second. The processing was minimal: In Lightroom I simply increased the Shadow amount (dragging the Shadow slider to the right), and increased the Clarity amount. Then I went over to Photoshop and darked the clouds at the top of the photo a little bit, and ran a Unsharp Mask filter, then saved as a JPEG for the Web.

I had hoped to post some field reports today on some of the equipment I used, but I won’t get one up until Monday. Now, if you kindly scroll to the next comment, for a Friday News Wrap up.

Here’s what’s going on:

  • Want to give you photos that Trendy Hollywood Look? Check out a video tutorial I did for Lexar over at their Pro Digital Photographers Website (click here). So far, they’ve posted “Part One” of the two-part series, and I’ll let you know when they post the second part. Also, check out all the Lexar pros by clicking here.
  • There’s an interesting article over at The Sun (a British-based newspaper) about a retouch of a cover shot of actress Keira Knightley, and her comments about the retouch (where she’s nude, but mostly covered by props). The photo is really pretty mild, and there’s some mildly colorful language on the page as well (just so you know). Here’s the link.
  • Our friend, and wedding photography overlord, David Ziser has launched a new blog for pro wedding and portrait photographers called “Digital Pro Talk” and I have to tell you—it rocks!!! David just came back from a trip to France, and although he primarily known as a master wedding photographer, his landscape and travel stuff is so great it really just makes you want to punch him out. ;-) Here’s the link to what I’m certain will be a must-see daily visit for me.
  • Our man Corey Barker just released a new DVD called “Adobe Illustrator CS3 Down & Dirty Tricks” and it’s just amazing (he’s as good at Illustrator as he is at Photoshop)! It’s in-stock over at (don’t forget, NAPP members get a big discount on these DVDs).

That’s it for today. Have a great weekend everybody, and look for my field reports from this week’s Western Shooting Adventure, to start next week.


My buddy Jeff Revell (shown above during our morning in Monument Valley) posted some of his shots from our West Photo Adventure (he’s still out there shooting near Tucson now), and he’s posted some great shots on his blog (when you get there, scroll down to his Thursday post to see a really nice sunrise over Monument Valley, with the sun just peeking over the horizon). Here’s the link to Jeff’s blog.




I took a few days off this week to go shooting with my buddies Jeff Revell and Dave Moser, and over the course of these past three days we covered over 1,200 miles, I took over 1,000 shots, we saw some amazing places and just generally had a blast. (I took the shots shown above [except for the one of me, of course, which was taken by Jeff Revell] at “The Wave” outside Page, Arizona [click on them for larger views]—it took a six-mile hike over rough terrain and hills in 112 degree heat to get there and back….but it was worth it!)

I’ll be posting more images tomorrow and on into next week, plus I took some new gear and I’ll be giving you field reports as well on: The Canon 5D (I shot with all Canon gear the entire trip on loan from our friends at Canon), and I took some Sigma Lenses as well, plus I put the Gitzo Traveler Tripod and Really Right Stuff BH-40 Ballhead through “Hell Week” and I’ll have reports on them as well. I made good use of the Hoodman Loupe (you can see it around my neck, as well as some Lee Neutral Density Gradient filters), and I totally abused a LowePro Camera Backpack, an Epson P-5000 Storage Unit, and both Jeff and Dave (who are great sports, great shooters, and good friends).

Besides “The Wave,” we shot at Monument Valley, The Grand Canyon, and The Antelope Canyon Slots. Really an amazing, tiring, hilarious, and often inspiring time without a decent cell phone signal or Internet connection to be found (thanks for all your patience with “No Blog Wednesday.”)

Now, onto some news!!! (Scroll down to the next two posts). :)


On Tuesday I mentioned some of Ben Willmore’s upcoming workshops, and besides Ben’s, there are some very cool Photoshop and photography workshops coming up that I thought you want to know about, too. Here’s what I know so far:

  • The amazing Vincent Versace is taking a second trip with the Palm Beach Photographic Workshops to Myanmar from October 10-25, 2007. The trip is broken up two ways; From October 10 to 19 (all travel days included), or the full trip is October 10 returning home on the 25. Vincent has said that his last trip to Myanmar was “the most wonderful photographic experience I have ever had.”) They still have a few openings left, so if you’re interested in taking a photographic workshop with Vincent, click this link. You will have the experience of a lifetime!
  • The Santa Fe Workshops (producers of absolutely brilliant photographic and digital imaging workshops), has got something very special coming up: An Australian Photographic Journey, featuring Jerry and Julie Courvoisier (you can also catch Jerry teaching at Photoshop World this year). If you’ve got a sec, check out this page with all the info (and some imagery) from this extraordinary photographic learning opportunity.
  • Randy Hufford is teaching a special condensed version of his Santa Fe Workshops class at Photoshop World, and you can check out some images from his recent Santa Fe class by clicking here.
  • Dave Cross, Moose Peterson, Matt Kloskowski, and Laurie Excell are teaching on next year’s Picture Perfect Hawaii Photoshop and Digital Photography Cruise (August 9th-16th, 2008). Check out the details here (and while you’re there, enter their “Win a Free Cruise” contest.